Monday, December 31, 2012


*I'm dating this post December 31st, 2012 - my last one of the year.  I've got many memories to look back on and so many blessings and lessons to reflect upon in the coming weeks. 
2012 - thank you...

"Hallelujah" - K.D. Lang

There is this peace - this contentedness that has consumed every part of me in the past week...
It's grown with each waking day.  It's made for late nights filled with long talks and deep thoughts.
Many times, I found myself choked up and ultra weepy as I took a good, hard look at where I'm at
and where I've been.

Where I'm at and where I've been - it all blends together...
creating such an intensely satisfying comfort.

I'm feeling blessed beyond words.   
Because our dreams have finally come true - yes.

But then there's that other good stuff - the stuff that stirs deep within.  I carry it with me - it serving as a reminder to always be thankful, always be mindful and always have faith.
There's this place I've always gone to when I felt fear creeping in - A place 
 where all the trials, crazy wonderful messes, terrifying moments and beautiful experiences all fuse together.  I take them all in.  And not only do I feel so very blessed but... 

I feel so alive. 

2012 - Some days, I prayed for night to come and bring me even a small bit of peace.  Some nights, I prayed for even an hour or two of sleep. And now, I sit here in awe of all the life and love that was packed into the past year.

Yesterday, my mom and I spent the day together.  After lots of bargain shopping, we headed back to her house.  We sat until about midnight, talking, sipping hot tea and eating her famous Christmas cookies.

  A year ago, today, her mother - my nani, passed away.  It doesn't seem that far away to me.  And I know, for my mother, it all still feels so very fresh at times.  
Over the years, my mom and I have learned a fair share about loving and losing.  It certainly isn't easy.  But it teaches you.  You learn more about yourself than you can imagine.  A new kind of strength enables you to not only keep going,
but to live wiser and love greater.

"I've found you find strength in your moments of weakness.  For once I'm at peace with myself." - Rascal Flatts - "I'm Moving On"

I've always loved those words.
  And now, they ring so incredibly true.

2012, I'll always remember and be thankful for you.
I'll come back and visit.  Don't you worry.

 Thank you.

The day before New Year's Eve with the Mr...

A day of celebration.  Just the two of us.  We bundled up and took a pretty drive.

To one of our favorite spots to visit in the winter.

 Snow covered the ground, roofs and trees around us.  The air was crisp and people everywhere were smiling and happy - Christmas was still in the air.

We walked, keeping close to one another as we took in the sites of the village.
We found sweet pieces for baby girl's nursery in one of our favorite shops.  And got teary (yet again) at just how perfect they were and how amazing it all felt.

We checked out these creations in the little gingerbread hut...

And even spotted an angry yeti!

Leaving the hut, we came out to the sky lit up with magic.

We had dinner at a place we've been wanting to try for years.
It was charming and beautiful - a gorgeous church converted into a restaurant.

December 30th - 28 weeks
I officially entered the third trimester.

The last photo I took that day - a hand-painted bench outside a funky, little shop on our walk back to the car...

Couldn't sum up my thoughts on 2012 any better - Love does save the day.  Always.

And to that, I say...

Happy New Year.  Happy New Lessons.  Happy New Begninnings.

I'll be back later this weekend with more reflection and photos from our end of the year and new year.

New Lovin',

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Christmas Letter

"O Holy Night" - David Archuleta
(yes, I like David Archuleta - the kid from a million American Idols ago)
Dear Baby Girl,
                        I had planned on writing you this letter while sitting beside our tree, but your daddy is watching Star Wars 2.  And no matter how high I raised the volume, Yoda's voice was still overpowering my music.  I just came upstairs to your soon-to-be nursery - a room that will begin its transformation come the new year.  You know, I think I like it better in here anyway.  The tree brings me such peace, but being in this room - even with the messy state it's in right now - brings peace to a whole new level.  (And it's a bonus that Muffin and Krimpet are hanging out in here with me.)  I'm sitting in the rocking chair again - it looks a little a lot different now.  It's the first time I've sat in it since it's been painted - the first fully completed piece of furniture for your room.  I can't help but imagine what it will feel like the first time I rock you in it.  I can't help but imagine a lot of things these days.
  It's the night of December 28th...3 days after Christmas.  I know next year will be your first real Christmas, but I want you to know that this year...this Christmas...

You were celebrated.
And you are so loved. 
It's as if you were truly here.
We've waited for you.  We've yearned for this "first" Christmas with you.
We lost 3 Christmases ago...again, the Christmas after that...and last year, we prayed so very hard for a miracle.
And now, it's here - you're "here"...
 Sometimes it feels like a dream.
I decorated our tree this year on December 14th - the anniversary of the very first time I found out I was pregnant.  I cried so hard that day - the happiest and most grateful tears.
  I remembered decorating our tree two years ago, right after getting the news we were losing for a fourth time...literally falling to my knees to pray and ask for the strength to keep going.  And two weeks ago, there I was kneeling beside our tree, big-bellied and giving thanks...
for you.
Baby girl, thank you - you made this one so magical. 
Your daddy and I can't stop talking about how incredible next year will be - our first trip to the tree farm... your first visit from Santa...our first family photo...
We even picked out two fancy holiday dresses for you next year.  They were both so pretty, I couldn't decide.  Daddy insisted we get both of them.
  The week before Christmas, your daddy and I were sitting in the mall parking lot, ready to finish the last of our shopping. Before getting out of the car, he grabbed my hand and looked at me with tear-filled eyes.  He took the words right out of my mouth...I knew what he was thinking...
"This is the best Christmas ever!"
And it was.
The very best.
I took lots of pictures.  Not just for me and daddy.  But for you... 
It snowed on Christmas Eve.  We stayed in...the fireplace "on" and the kitties close by.
Muffin could sense a special day was approaching.
Making funny faces.
We ate dinner in the living room in our pjs...
While watching "Full House" Christmas reruns (and talking about how much we hope the problems you face in life are as uncomplicated as the ones Michelle, D.J., and Stephanie faced twenty-some years ago).
Uncle Jesse is hot.
Muffin got cozy by the tree.
While daddy caught Twinkie ready to tear into one of his presents.
Muffin quickly joined him.
And after some treats, returned to her slumber on the night before Christmas.
Christmas morning, we woke up and headed over to Poppa's (the house I grew up in), still in our pajamas.  There was a thin cover of snow on the ground...not enough for a super white Christmas...but enough to make the day that much more special. 
Elmer and Gibson greeted us as soon as we pulled up.
We drank coffee, ate breakfast, opened gifts and relaxed all morning...
Poppa loves trains.
 Poppa and Meemaw surprised us (you) with your first box of diapers and sweet, soft and warm outfits for your first months.
Uncle Nicholas loves his cars.
Afterwards, we headed to Dee Dee's - the house she grew up in - where Santa had paid an extra special visit the night before.
Here's me and your Uncle Nicholas many, many Christmases ago...
Your daddy's first gift - a video game. 
 They make daddy so happy.  And mommy, so crazy.
Dee Dee's a crazy bird/squirrel lady.
Her first gift was bird food.

Uncle Nicholas surprised us (you) with the Hello Kitty humidifier we had our eyes on.
And Dee Dee spoiled your daddy with clothes and Yankees gear.
You won't know what this is for a very long time - it's called whiskey and it smells funny and tastes yucky.
Your uncle loves to sing and play the guitar.
This is one of the many outfits from Dee Dee.  She can't wait for your arrival and couldn't stop talking about your next Christmas. 
We tricked Uncle Nicholas with a fun little gag gift.
There was really a shirt inside.


After a wonderful day, we headed home.  It was gift time for the kitties.
They waited patiently all day and couldn't wait to unwrap their presents.

Your mommy loves her makeup.
And is learning to love kinda like cooking. 
Dee Dee and Uncle Nicholas came over for dinner.  We spent the rest of the night watching movies and taking pictures, of course.
Baby girl, you were showered with so much love.  I sat the morning after Christmas, looking at all of your sweet gifts from family and friends under the tree, and I cried again. 
All of the people in the photos above adore you already (and so many more people on top of that).  They made your daddy and I feel so special with their thoughtful and loving gifts and words.
It really is like a dream...
Muffin was checking them out too.
You have blessed us. 
You have strengthened us.
You made Christmas so very beautiful.
Thank you so much, Julia, for the beautiful ornament.
You are our greatest gift.
I Love You,

 Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend.  I hope your week was merry. 


Christmas Lovin',

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