Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to post a few pictures before we take off tomorrow. We had a nice family day here. Last night we went to a Christmas Eve service, had dinner and acted out the story of Jesus' birth with Hopey. She had a blast! As we were tucking her into bed she said to Mark, "good night, donkey" and to me "good night, Joseph" and to herself, "good night Mary." We think she enjoyed it.

We got Hope (and Anna) a play kitchen for Christmas. They played with it ALL DAY. It is so fun to watch Hope be so engrossed in cooking and organizing the food. I love her imagination.

Merry Christmas to everyone! May the birth be close in your hearts.

Hope and Mark built a snowman a few days ago. He'll probably be around for the next few months since it doesn't seem like its going to get above freezing anytime soon!

Happy Birthday, Jesus cake!

Scarf made and sent by Ma-maw.

101 Dalmations from Auntie Rah-rah.

Watching the "Nativity Story."

We started putting together the kitchen at 9pm and didn't get done until 12. But it was worth it! Check out all of the screws it came with!

Its fun to have 4 stockings. Ma-maw made them all! AND I love Christmas cards. I really do. I feel loved when you spend 50 cents on me to send one :)

And here's a video of Hope seeing the kitchen for the first time. Its long, so unless you're family you probably won't want to watch all of it :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Month of December in Pictures

Its been a fun and full month so far. We are looking forward to relaxing and enjoying Christmas this next week, and then a trip to Nannie and Papas. Below are some of our recent happenings.

This is a celebration dinner. This past Thursday Mark had his last class EVER. This is quite the milestone for us because Mark has been in classes for the last 5 1/2 years. Of course he still has quite a bit to do before he has finished the program and graduated, but life without classes will be nice.

Hope and her little friend Brayden decorating cookies.

Hopey in her reindeer headband.

Their most favorite Christmas gifts so far: these light up snowmen. Anna loves them. Whenever we turn them on Anna says "oooooo".

Christmas jammies!

Christmas dresses!

Just a picture of Hope before church. She is getting too big!

The first snow. I was very pleased that it did not occur until December.

Anna really does love her Bananas.

Baby Grace, just in case you forgot what she looked like. A lady from church made Baby Grace a new outfit.

We did a little tree in the girls' room this year with their ornaments. Its pretty fun how much they love it.

Hope's first taste of hot chocolate.

Cuddling :)

Decorating the tree. It was a lot less stressful once Anna went to bed :)

Thanksgiving with Grammy and Pappy

My parents came out to visit the week of Thanksgiving. It was a GREAT time. I'm so glad they came. The girls had a great time getting their grandparent love, and I had fun hosting my parents for once. The weather held up pretty well. We did some shopping, went to the Field Museum downtown, had Chicago style pizza, they got to be at church when Mark preached, they babysat THREE times so we could see a movie, do some shopping and go to a Thanksgiving service at church. It was wonderful! Thanks so much for coming, guys!

Pappy and the girls having an afternoon snack.

Anna loved playing with my Dad's hat.

Thanksgiving picture with Grammy and Pappy.

Sweet girls in their Fall dresses made by Nannie.

Hope doing what she does a lot of the day: talking. And having her first taste of the famous Ward family pumpkin chiffon pie :)

Grammy got to feed Anna lots - it was a treat for me!

Thanksgiving dinner - it was so great to be together. I haven't spent a Thanksgiving with my parents since we got married (6 years ago!).

My Dad's birthday was on Thanksgiving so we celebrated the night before with presents and cake. It was fun.

Playing with Pappy.

Playing with her birthday balloon.

Grammy and Hopey reading together. Sweet times.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Anna's Birthday

Here are some pictures from Anna's birthday bash :) We had a fun day celebrating her. Yes, I am a month late in posting on this!

Our family at the end of the party.

Some party guests :)

For some reason she enjoyed rubbing the cake in her hair. Such a one year old thing to do!

She really enjoyed the cake.

My first attempt at cake from scratch. It was amazing. I can almost taste it now. It was the recipe on the back of the Hershey's cocoa box - we highly recommend it!

The girls opening presents.

She's happy :) We had a good day enjoyed celebrating our little Banana.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas

At our pastor's recommendation, we began reading through Come Thou Long Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas. It's been a great way to orient our hearts and mind towards Jesus and the significances of Him coming to earth.

We also downloaded Andrew Peterson's "Behold the Lamb of God" album. It creatively goes through the Bible in song, showing how the Old Testament stories point to the coming of a Savior and ending in Jesus' birth. His song "Labor of Love" is very beautiful. I'll post it below.

Having a three year old, makes us realize in more of a real way how many distractions there are from focusing on Jesus at Christmastime. I hope to not let this season slip away without feeling the weight of God coming to earth; such humility, such love, such compassion, and such a relief for the world.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Bows, Bows, Bows...

I have lots I'd like to blog about, but with Christmas festivities and bow orders, I'll have to put it on hold for a bit. My family is all asleep, the tree lights are on, and its quiet. I'm about to make some serious amounts of bows and listen to Harry Potter.

Merry Christmas!