Thursday, January 13, 2011

Happy First Birthday, Sweet Girl!

Earlier this month we celebrated Claire's first birthday. One year old! What a wonderful year it has been... (this is the link to the video Brian put together of Claire's birth--you'll want to stop the music on the playlist at the bottom of the page before viewing)

On her birthday Brian gave Claire a pink rose. Claire loved the flower! She was all smiles for her daddy.

We celebrated with a simple party at our house. We were blessed to be able to share the evening with family (my aunt and uncle and cousins visiting from Santiago, Chile were even able to join us!). I tried my hand at cake decorating and made a butterfly cake for little Miss Claire. It was a fun celebration.

Happy 1st Birthday Claire Elise!

Monday, January 10, 2011

A December to Remember

This Christmas season was truly a memorable one, celebrating with family and friends, sharing Christmas traditions, and enjoying many opportunities to remember the birth of Jesus . It was our first Christmas as a family of seven, and we did our best to take advantage of many special Christmas activities.

Carter and I worked together to make a gingerbread house one afternoon during "happy school" (we do preschool at home). Carter enjoyed the project and the house was our best one yet. Carter was being a bit of a showboat for the camera as you can see in the pictures below. What a ham! But he is quite good with icing, perhaps he'll give the Ace of Cakes a run for his money one day...

A tradition passed down from the Waagner side is making gingerbread men. It's definitely not Christmas at our house without gingerbread men! The boys always do the decorating. Yum!

After the amazing amount of snow we got last winter we decided to invest in snow boots for the boys this year. They enjoyed our first snow fall and discovered that our driveway makes a great sledding hill with the sleds from Gramma.

One event that is not pictured is a "Walk Through Bethlehem" that we were able to attend. Put on by Salem Baptist Church in Goochland, Virginia, it is a phenomenal event and one I'm sure we will revisit next year. We were so glad that Jake and Jessica were able to join us for the evening. Visitors are guided through the recreated town of Bethlehem on the night of Jesus' birth. The experience of reliving what it might have been like on that night becomes graspable as you see Roman soldiers on horses, smell food cooking over open fires, see the blacksmith making real crucifixion nails, and talk and interact with the costumed people of the town. The walk takes you through the birth of Jesus, through several events of Jesus' life, to his death on the cross, resurrection and then concludes with the testimony of Nicodemus.

"For this is the way God loved the world: he gave his one and only Son that everyone who believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

For the third year in a row now Brian has taken the older boys to the manger build at our church. Together they build a realistic size manger that they are able to take home. We keep the manger in our family room as a reminder of reason we celebrate Christmas. It is a great opportunity to bring about conversation about the significance of Jesus' birth.

This year we were able to host a Christmas party for the children in our neighborhood. It was wonderful to have 15 kids and 6 moms from around the block come over for games, Christmas carols, the Christmas story, and cupcakes. My mom did a wonderful job of teaching the children and we all enjoyed reflecting on the gift of baby Jesus.

My brother, Jake, and sister-in-law, Jessica, hosted the Waagner family Christmas dinner and gift exchange. We enjoyed a delicious meal at their house and a fun time opening presents and being together.

Eric and Mandie

Jake and Jessica


Claire's first Christmas present!

Christmas morning at our house was full of fun.

Grant and Bryce got stuffed animal komodo dragons in their stockings
(which they've been sleeping with ever since).

Bryce and his remote controlled helicopter, which shoots missiles I should add.

Davis LOVES these little Woody and Buzz Lightyear figures that Daddy picked out for him.

Claire got a doll stroller/walker.

Then on our way to Aunt Trish and Uncle Jim's house...

Gramma and Grandpa with Claire

Our Family
Christmas 2010

After Aunt Trish and Uncle Jim's house we headed over to Grammy and Pappy's, just a few minutes away.

Aunt Tara and Archie with Claire

Davis with Pappy

Bryce intrigued with Grammy's Peanuts snow globe.

It was a very white Christmas with 12 inches of snow falling on Christmas night! We enjoyed a couple of days at Grammy and Pappy's house, playing in the snow, eating good food, playing games and watching movies and making fun memories together.