Merry Christmas, I am Still Pregnant

I wish I was here announcing the birth of our new baby but as God would have it the baby is not quite ready to make his/her appearance. I am now seven days past my due date and feeling remarkably well and sane. Don’t get me wrong, I am Ready. To. Do. This. but hanging in there since I know babies come when they are ready…our own miss Abigail hung in there for ten whole days past her due date.

We took the girls to the 11pm Christmas Eve vigil and it turned out to be a great night. We put them to bed early and woke them up around 9pm to start getting ready to go. They thought it was very special to be getting up at night to go out and we drove around looking at lights on our way to the church. As it turns out, the late night mass is not as chaotic as the early evening one and we could have easily left home around 10pm and still had great seats. I feel like we have stumbled upon a bit of a secret! We may just do it again next year.

We had a very simple Christmas this year. We decided to invest in one nice shared gift for the girls instead of lots of little things. My mom and Ben’s parents bought the people and furniture to go along with our gift and the girls have been having a great time with it. We woke up Christmas morning and came upstairs and started the morning with a prayer and a very enthusiastic Happy Birthday to Jesus! We opened our gifts and we had a really easy yummy breakfast of croissants, fruit, coffee and orange juice. The girls played, we napped, put the dollhouse together and then headed over to my mom’s for Christmas dinner. It was nice to be there with everyone but I do believe this year was our last for going to someone else’s home for Christmas dinner. Next year we will have three kiddos and I think we will start making our own traditions for the day and stay home and enjoy being in our pajamas!

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I have never felt more ready for a baby to join our family and I can’t wait to breathe in that gorgeous newborn smell and hold my baby for the first time. We are as ready as we are going to be and now I am trying to be patient and remind myself that the time is coming and to just enjoy the time leading up to it. Thank God it is the Christmas season and there is so much joy and rest to soak up. Ben is now off for the next three days and I don’t imagine he will go back to work after that…please, God, let the baby come by then!! Please offer a prayer or two for us if you think of it and I will likely be back here in a few weeks to share our story and some photos of the newest little Andrews. Now if you’ll excuse me I am off to eat a super greasy/spicy supper in hopes of coaxing baby out!!

The Feast of St. Nicholas

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We are still here…waiting on our little baby due December 22nd. These months have been busy and happy and challenging. There is so much to say and yet I can’t bring myself to go back and go over the last four months in great detail. I’ll just give it to you in point form…

-Lucy turned 4 years old and started going to preschool two mornings a week. It took her about a month to get used to the drop offs but now she loves going and always asks me to show her on the calendar when she is going again.

-Abigail has really come out of her shell and is talking all the time and telling the most hilarious stories.

-We bought a van! It’s turned out to be quite a lemon but we are still grateful to have a vehicle big enough to accommodate our growing family.

-We got rid of our computer sometime in September in hopes of replacing it with a laptop that just needed a new hard drive…and we have yet to purchase said hard drive. That is why the lack of updates! I can’t upload pictures anywhere right now…except this one above which Ben emailed to me from his phone.

-We got through November. I’m so glad it’s over and we can move on to Advent!!

-Baby’s room got painted and everything is all set to go..car seat, hospital bag, etc..

I was just so relieved for Advent to finally be here this year. We are excited and hopeful and waiting on our own baby and it has brought me more in tune with the spirit of Advent and not just getting all Christmas happy/crazy in November. Truth be told I just can’t get into Christmas joy or music right now..we don’t even have a tree up yet! Those of you who know me might find that surprising. Heck, I am surprised but I think the reason is that I know in my own body that Christmas is not here. Jesus is not yet born. Our baby is not yet born and so it just feels like cheating to get started on all the celebrating too soon. We like to keep our tree up until at least January 6th and with baby coming hopefully around the due date it will give us lots of opportunity to celebrate the season of Christmas as it is meant to be celebrated.

The girls really seem to understand the idea of St. Nicholas/ Santa this year and they are so cute about it. They got so excited when I reminded them about the treats he likes to leave in people’s shoes and they asked me all kinds of questions about him. It was perfect timing to dig out our book about St. Nicholas. This is a tradition that I love and look forward to each year…did your family do anything to celebrate this awesome feast day this year?? Do tell, friends!

 

A Quiet Christmas

We had a very quiet Christmas this year. The girls got up around 7am with squeals of delight that continued all the way up the stairs to see what ‘Pere Noel’ had brought them.

They were each given legwarmers knit by me, new art supplies, a little baby doll and the Winnie the Pooh movie that came out last year. We really wanted the day to be about simple things to be enjoyed together and it was exactly that. We gave the girls gifts we knew they would actually play with and use and didn’t worry so much about whether they had that face melting shock and awe that most parents strive for.

We spent most of our day in our pajamas sipping hot drinks, eating boxes (!) of chocolate and napping. Sometime mid afternoon we got ourselves dressed and headed over to my mum’s for a lovely Christmas supper. It was great to see everyone (minus my sister and her family who didn’t come up from NB until boxing day) and when the day was done, we went home full and content.

The year 2011 was an interesting one. Abigail turned 1, Ben turned 30, we bought a house, I started to work, Ben was offered his dream job, we both quit our existing jobs and through it all, God held us together in His hands. I don’t know how else we would have done it.

Ben and I didn’t get each other anything for Christmas this year, mostly due to a lack of time  to shop, but the hope and joy that we had to look forward to for the coming year was really all the gift either of us needed. It really was a very merry Christmas.

Our First Real Tree

Two hours before I left for work yesterday, we made the impromptu decision to go out and get our Christmas tree. Luckily, there were two tree lots just down the road from us so it didn’t take long. It is our first real tree in our almost 5 years of marriage! We were all giddy with excitement bringing it into the house and breathing deeply the gorgeous smell of fresh pine.

When I returned home from work, I set about wrapping up some little books I bought them from a local thrift store that were in mint condition. There were also chocolate gold coins as per the tradition and a few candy canes to stir in our hot chocolate at breakfast this morning. This year also marks the second year running that we have had two NET team ladies staying in our home for this feast day! I cannot tell you the joy it brings me as their host mom to include them in our little traditions. It feels good and right to share what little we have with people who are giving of themselves to God’s beautiful ministry with young people. Our home has been truly blessed in having them under our roof!

The girls were very excited to see that St. Nicholas had paid them a visit and Lucy immediately asked when he might come again. She has come to a really fun age where she is beginning to remember the fun things our family celebrates. The smiles beaming from both of the girls faces keeps me feeling hopeful and grateful that we have decided to walk this road towards Christ in our family life. Did anyone else celebrate the feast of St. Nicholas? I would love to hear about it!

Christmas in July

You had to know this was coming. If I had things my way, we would be in perpetual Advent. Oh, how I love me some Christmas. I really dislike the idea of waiting until December 1st to begin preparations. This past winter I learned to knit and so I have high hopes of making a few special things for those I love between now and that blessed morning. There are no specific projects in mind yet other than finishing our Advent calendar which is sitting in pieces in a Rubbermaid bin somewhere. What I would like to share is something extremely wonderful I happened upon in Value Village last night. If you’ve been there before you’ll probably remember that there is a long wall covered in bags of random stuff. Well, as I was walking by something caught my eye. It was a bag of little wooden figurines. Upon looking closer I identified the pieces as a nativity set! I know we already have a little Tykes nativity set but can you ever have enough baby Jesuses, really? The bag cost me $1.99 + Tax. When I got home and ripped open the bag I discovered that there were 3 whole sets! Each mini bag contained three of the same figurines. Here is one of the sets grouped together…

Isn’t it great? Perfect for little hands to play with. My hope is to sew up a few drawstring bags and give them as gifts to friends of our girls. I think any child would be happy to play with these. I like putting thought and time into what we will give our children, our friends and our family for Christmas and so…Christmas in July! Have any of you started thinking about what you will do in preparation? or what you will make and/or give? I would love to hear about it all. Blessings to you today!

2011, Here We Come!

Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed some joyous celebration to kick start 2011. We ate chinese food and went to bed at 11pm. What can I say? We. Like. To. Party.
Let me rewind a little since I haven’t checked in here since before Christmas. We had a very lovely Christmas at my mum’s house, although we did miss Ben very much, me especially. We went to mass on Christmas eve and enjoyed a few traditions once back at my mum’s. One being her chicken stew. I’m not sure if it’s a french thing or just our family, but either way we look forward to it every Christmas. The girls opened a few gifts from extended family on Christmas morning but we saved nearly everything for our very own little Christmas when Ben returned.

Ben brought home some awesome kiwi loot! Tim Tams, Weet-Bix, some butter chicken packets and a few gifts for us girls. He brought me a special gift, some beautiful earrings that his sister helped him pick out. He also brought us Brooke Fraser’s new CD which is completely fantastic. She writes so beautifully about her faith and also just some fun music to sing along to. Among all of these goodies, was a gift from one of his sisters for our family. She created an artwork to add to our Christmas decorations. I totally love it. It’s colourful, different and sparkly.

Here is our tree looking a little smooshed in the corner, but it worked out very well because I was able to block it off with our coffee table whenever Abigail decided she felt like pulling the lights, beads and decorations off.

Ben arrived home on December 28th as his flight was scheduled to. His bags got stuck in Boston overnight but we were all so happy to see one another that it didn’t even matter. It worked out well that Lucy and Abigail’s naps weren’t in sync the day that Ben came home since he was able to spend some one on one time with each of them. They were so happy to see him! Lucy kept asking Ben to play with her and read her stories and even now, days later she is so excited when he comes home.
All in all we had a wonderful Christmas. The girls enjoyed our Advent traditions, Lucy learned about scripture and asks for it whenever we sit down to eat now. Ben arrived home safely, and that is all I could really ask for this year. He enjoyed his time with his family and was so grateful that he was able to be at his sister’s wedding. It was a blessed time for his whole family and God was good to us girls as well. It had it’s difficult moments but God really was present in each and every day helping us and gracing us with good friends, food and family to help us through our time without Ben home.
Now onto a new year. I have no idea what God has in store for us, but I trust that He knows what we need and that He will provide for us in whatever He asks of us. I have decided on two simple resolutions/goals for 2011. The first being that I will read from my Bible each and every single day for the next year, whether I read one sentence or an entire chapter, I will let God’s word feed me. Secondly, I resolve to become Katie Andrews this year. Legally speaking. All of my documents and identification still say Katie Toner…four years into our marriage seems as good a time as any to resolve this.
I pray that we can all be open to the many gifts God wants to give us this year, whether we recognize them as gifts or challenges. It seems fitting that the first day of the year is also the feast of Mary, the Mother of God. She said YES! to God when he called upon her. 
 Whatever this new year brings, Lord, give me the courage to pray,  “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”