New Years Eve Baby

Happy Birthday to my new four year old daughter, Julia Star!

She is no longer a toddler...

She is ready for bigger and better things!

She asked us all day, "How old am I now?" "When I went to bed I was three, and now I'm FOUR!" "Am I five yet?"

We had such an amazing family day just the four of us.  This is the first year we didn't have a kiddie birthday party.  Just us four at a new fun restaurant the Rain Forest Cafe at Menlo Park Mall.  We had reservations at 11:30 and every half hour was a rain/thunder storm, it was AWESOME!  There were alligators, snakes, monkeys, gorillas, two huge elephants, balloons, rain, huge fish tanks, a huge waterfall (we got seated right by it!) and a huge gift shop where we purchased a baby monkey that Julia named...Skeleton, and then Molly!

The kids are at the perfect age to enjoy every moment of new experiences like this.  They ate like champs too...we had cheeseburgers, french fries and awesome onion rings!  And the place is so family friendly the kids were able to take it all in and walk around and look at the "rain forest animals and wild life"....good choice mommy!!!

Last night we had a bunch of dear friends over and Julia got a new dress, a new huge doll that resembles her, a silver charm bracelet, and a gold cross necklace from Uncle Adrian and Aunt Vivi...oooh they spoil us so!


All dressed up and ready to go!



















Mark was happy to drive us to the Menlo Mall...just kidding...

Thanks Daddy for spoiling us all today...

Happy New Year!

God is so good!
Photobucket


blog Hop #30 almost 175 followers :)

 It's Time to Mingle!

Hosted by Happy Go Lucky, I Heart Crafty Things,
Joy in the Jumble and Keeping Up With Kristi.
Each week we will choose one blog at random to spotlight at the next week's blog hop.
This weeks guest host is Running With A Glue Gun



There are no rules to this blog hop.  Just link up your blog's main page.  Then have fun reading new blogs and making new blog friends.  We would love for you to follow the hostesses in the first four spots and our guest host in the fifth spot.   We always follow back!!

Grab our button if you want to share our blog hop with others.  There will be a new list every Thursday, so be sure to come back every week.


We hope you have fun and thanks for joining us!  We are so excited to find new blogs, share great ideas, and inspire each other.


Photobucket


Leaving a legacy of love

On Wednesday, Dec. 21st, after a really fun playdate, I got two serious voice mails and texts, and after calling my Grandma in New York, I found out that my Aunt Pat (the woman on the far left) had passed away.  She and my Grandma were very best friends...she had two children, Patty (we call her Little Pat) and Ricky her son.  My Grandma had 7 children, and they all lived in Spanish Harlem side by side in a two family home.  They became family and every holiday, birthday, summer BBQ, beach day, has been with them.  My mom is pictured on the right, and this was many years ago, Aunt Pat was like a second mom to my aunts and uncles and this has been a true loss for all of us.

Aunt Pat left a legacy of love.  She was a great mom, a kind soul, gentle, sweet, and giving, as most mothers are.  She was selfless.  She was encouraging, and she was always a blessing.  I'm thanking the Lord she knew Him so that I will see her again one day.  But cancer took over her body and in the last 3 months she became skin and bones.

This is a picture of me, my mom, and my aunt Leah (my matron of honor in my wedding).  We were all at a party at Aunt Pat's house.

My last memory of Aunt Pat was this summer at the beach.  We have a family reunion every summer at Belmar beach and we all meet up (we roll in deep because there are so many of us)  I'm so glad my kids got to know her and she got to meet them.

I'm praying now for her two children Little Patty and Ricky and their children Ryan and Kien, and Tyler and Journey for this grieving process.

Aunt Pat we love you.  Thank you for leaving behind this legacy of love.

Photobucket


Christmas Break

Merry Christmas!

We will be with tons of family and friends celebrating Jesus' birth for the next few days...

Wishing all of you not only a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but tons of family time, relaxing time, special moments, and lots of great memories!

We will be back around New Year's Eve to talk about Julia's special  birthday!!!

Photobucket


Finding your OWN traditions...

Every family needs to find their very own traditions.  Things that are special, things that celebrate each other's personalities, and things that ultimately bring honor and glory to the Lord.

I grew up in a family that did not have many traditions.  Of course we had family vacations, we had a Christmas tree, we played Christmas music, but we didn't do the same special things year after year that I looked forward to as a child.  I'm not saying my parents were wrong, or that they didn't love us, because they did love us very much, but I am saying that family traditions can be really, really special, especially for little ones.

In just 9 days our Julia Star will turn 4, so Christmas time is extra special for all of us because we remember our first Christmas being pregnant with Julia being so exciting!  I was super big, and super ready for her to come join our family, and John finally gave me the key to her nursery that he had been working on for months on Christmas morning to surprise me!

This year I decided to do something special for Julia...we got her nails done at a salon!  Now, she is a nail polish pro, she loves it, but she's never gotten a full manicure at the salon before, and she was in all her glory today (Thursday, Dec 22) as Mark and I watched her get her nails painted.  She got Christmas red, and pink flowers on two of the nails.

I think this will be one of our girl traditions for Julia!




As for my Marky boy, who no longer cries during hair cuts, but now asks for Ms. Debbie at Snip and Snap Kids to cut his hair...

I took him on Wednesday, Dec 21, to get a hair trim, and boy was he brave.  Not a whimper, or a cry, he picked out his toys, he picked out his train to sit on, and he sat oh, so perfectly as Debbie did his hair.

And he looked so handsome when it was all done!

Nothing like getting a nice new hair cut before Christmas!

Another tradition for my boy...










And today we went caroling with about 9 moms (from our home school, and mops group), and 21+ kids!  It was so fun.  We met up at my buddy Bianca's house and the kids were given bells and lights to carry...we walked around her neighborhood picking the houses nearby that were lit up and we sang: Silent Night, Away in the Manger, Jingle Bells, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas!  Julia sang her heart out, and Mark rang his bell and held his little light high...another tradition in the works...

Then we headed back to Bianca's house for cookies and hot chocolate...and I wish you could've seen how many marshmallows mark put in his cup!  He was having a blast.

I love this time of the year when you get to spoil those around you and just love on people!

Merry Christmas!
Photobucket


Blog Hop #28 almost 165 followers!

 It's Time to Mingle!

Hosted by Happy Go Lucky, I Heart Crafty Things,
Joy in the Jumble and Keeping Up With Kristi.
Each week we will choose one blog at random to spotlight at the next week's blog hop.
This weeks guest host is Criss-Cross Applesauce
Criss-Cross Applesauce

There are no rules to this blog hop.  Just link up your blog's main page.  Then have fun reading new blogs and making new blog friends.  We would love for you to follow the hostesses in the first four spots and our guest host in the fifth spot.   We always follow back!!

Grab our button if you want to share our blog hop with others.  There will be a new list every Thursday, so be sure to come back every week.


We hope you have fun and thanks for joining us!  We are so excited to find new blogs, share great ideas, and inspire each other.




Photobucket


Grace wins!

Last weekend we had a double date night with the Dimares.  Roe and John are Mark's godparents, and Roe was my doula (birth assistant) for both my children.

We headed to a sushi restaurant and we talked about Jesus the whole time, as always.  They attend a church in New Brunswick called Liquid and their pastor has a phrase with his congregation, "Grace wins!"  And it is oh, so true!

In thinking of the miracle and love and grace of the Christmas story in Luke 2, I think of how grace won...

God created man and gave man free will.  He didn't create robots who would automatically serve Him and worship Him.  In His grace He allowed man to choose...

Man sinned.  Sin entered the picture and in our disobedience we were cut off from a relationship with God.

But grace wins...
God saw that man needed a way to get back in a relationship with Him and so He designed a plan.  All throughout the Old Testament God showed His love and grace to His chosen people and to all people (deliverance out of slavery from Pharoah).  He showed His power (the flood and Noah's ark), He showed His authority (Jonah being swallowed by the big fish) and might (protecting Daniel in the Lion's Den), and He showered man with grace (He gives second chances, He forgives, He pursues a relationship with us, He stands at the door of our heart and patiently knocks waiting for us to open up and allow Him to be a part of our lives).
grace wins...
And then He does what no other "god" has done...He sent His one and only son, Jesus, fully God and fully man to enter the world as a baby...

grace wins...
He didn't come to earth as a tyrant, or a dictator, or a nasty mean old King, He came to earth as a helpless baby who would grow to be a man, who would choose to give up His life for the sin of man, so that He could be the payment for our sins...
grace wins...
He took our payment our punishment when he was brutally beaten and spit upon, and mocked, and punished when he did nothing wrong, he hung on a cross, he didn't deserve to die, he did nothing wrong, but...

grace wins...
Grace is God's Riches At Christ's Expense...God's best for us at the expense of the life of a sinless man, someone had to pay the price for our wicked hearts, someone had to restore us and make us new, and only God could do it.  Thank you Jesus. Grace wins!!!

Now, what about me?  Do I need to extend that same grace when I am loving people around me?  Oh, yes!

Grace wins!
Forget about past hurts, forget about past wrongs, mean words, offenses, whatever it is, if God can provide a way to forgive us, and love us, and extend grace, guess what, how can we not do the same, with His help of course.

Grace wins!



Photobucket


Early Christmas Gifts...Before and After Pics

We had an amazing photo-shoot in early November with our photographer Adrienne.  Oh my goodness did she do wonders!  She caught all the right moments and captured all of our personalities by the "click click"  of her little camera...we were so impressed at how young she is and yet oh, so talented!  It is a God-given gift!

John and I have tons of pictures of Julia on the walls, framed and mounted since she was born...Mark has tons of photos, but we have been slack about framing and putting them up, thanks to my Dad who has done some framing for us, but still we needed more of both kids, and updated....so, after our photo shoot we gave the CD of pictures to my Dad and he chose 6 that we all agreed on to blow up and print out.

We wanted to put the pictures in a room where we could admire our growing family...


We decided on hanging the photos in our room...but I wanted to "do it" for John so it was one less thing for him to do around the house.

So my dad and friend Kyle came over and helped measure, and hang each 8 by 10 portrait above our bed in our room.













I just love it!!!!! And when John came home from work yesterday it was all done, thanks to my dad and Kyle!!!!
Photobucket


If God wills it, He can do it!

This Christmas season has truly been wonderful.  Having things done way in advance really allows one to enjoy each day and not feel panicked or rushed.  I'm thankful for John who gives me little breaks here and there (this past weekend he took both kids shopping while I was able to get a much needed pedicure!)  His philosophy is, "If you do this all week (bring two kids everywhere) surely I can do it for a few hours!"  My favorite part is when he comes back and goes, "Babe, you are a saint, how do you do this everyday, they are so hard!" (and really they are absolutely wonderful, but they are 2 and 3 and they have lots of energy, and after 2 hours it seems hard.

On Sunday, Pastor Joe spoke about Elizabeth and Zachariah and how they were told by an angel they were going to be pregnant with the prophet John the Baptist in their old age.

In that culture being barren was looked down upon, and now Elizabeth and John were well into their older years, having a baby was IMPOSSIBLE, right?

I look at our lives and there are some things that just seem IMPOSSIBLE to us...but things we would LOVE to have...

*another baby
*mommy allowed to stay home for at least 2 more years (or even more if we are blessed with more children)
*job security for John
*more students at the Taekwondo school

Can you think of things in your life that you just don't see a way for them to be realized because of time, finances, age, health?  Whatever it may be...
 "If God wills it, He can do it."  
Think of the angel telling Elizabeth and Zachariah..."You will have a baby and he will prepare the way for the Messiah..."  Zachariah did not believe it at all, and he was left mute because of his unbelief.  I have decided that my perspective is very narrow...and I need to remember I have a very BIG God who is almighty and powerful, and
"If He wills it, He can do it."
Elizabeth and Zachariah did get pregnant, they did have a son, and they named him John, not Zachariah like most Juniors were named...He was given the name John because they realized God can do anything, and nothing is impossible with God!

If God wills it, He can do it!
So, I am content today at this very moment that God will take care of us, provide for us, and bless us where He sees fit.  I am not limited by my age, or my race, or my education, or my status in society, or finances.  God is limitless.  God can use all of us in mighty ways.  He does miracles every day.  We serve a God of hope!
If God wills it, He can do it! 



Photobucket


Home School Monday #2

We still have not taken a day off of school yet for the holidays, but this week might be the week we do it!  We plan on visiting with friends and family this week and finishing up the last minute details before Christmas gets here!

Just this past Friday, Julia and I did over 10 pages in her Letter tracing workbook and Math workbook while Mark took an early nap (he had a hand stuck in the door issue and was worn out from the morning's events, poor guy, and he did lose a finger nail which was very painful, but as of today it is beginning to harden and heal, praise God).  Julia and I when we do our workbook writing pages or counting (adding) pages we have a blast.  Julia is known to keep going, "More! Another one!" even when I feel we've done enough she is ready to do more, so we do!  It's days like this that I take advantage of so the other days that we have Library or Gymnastics I don't worry about "missing" some school time.  It all evens out.


We are getting lots of Flat Stanley's back!  (Can't wait to mail out a whole new batch in the New Year, this will be a few months long project because it is just so much fun!)  This weekend we got letters back from Ashland, Oregon and Staten Island, New York!

The moms have been great with this project because they have mailed back post cards, state facts, newsletters, and even book marks, it's fun getting prizes in the mail from each state!  Thank you!

In the New Year Flat Stanley is going to travel to Maryland, California, Louisiana, Tennessee, New Mexico, and Indiana!!!

Being a home school parent is so much fun because I get to be a part of their education, guide it, plan it, and supplement it where I see fit.  And yet we have the freedom to do day trips, take a week or two off, focus on one subject at a time, or a day, week or month.  And the prize is watching your child grow, and learn right before your very eyes and be able to say, "Yes, I taught my child that!"

I'm thankful for each and every minute, even the days that are more difficult or harder to plan, because it has made me a stronger, better teacher, and a better mom, although I know I have lots, lots, more to learn.




Photobucket


Haiku Poems as Gifts

This year I am going to be writing haiku poems for my family members as a Christmas Gift.

What is a haiku poem you may ask?

A Haiku is an unrhyming verse form, conveying a complete image or feeling in three lines of syllables, and are usually about nature or natural things.
You can really make these poems about anything that you like. The Japanese most of the time make them about seasons of the year.
there is no such thing as a haiku PEOM, but a haiku POEM is a Japanese poem with the first verse with 5 syllables and the second with 7 syllablles and the 3rd with 5 syllablles.

My friend Jamie shared this idea at our last MOPS meeting and I loved how personal it was, and since I loved to write I thought it would be a great gift from the heart, that I could frame and give this year.
For example:


Julia's Poem


She lights up a room
With her wit, charm, words, and love
She is contagious






Mark's Poem

Oh my wondrous boy
You are sweet, tender, happy
My heart has melted






Photobucket


Me and You


This is me when I was 3 1/2...

I always loved the color yellow, and I loved wearing dresses.

I'm not sure if I was much of a talker, but I did LOVE nursery school...Busy Bee it was called.

I loved learning and the routine of school...





This is my Julia at 3 1/2...

I finally can see some resemblances.

The cheeks, the eyes, the smile...

People say it to me a lot that we look a like but when I see Julia I just see Julia...but when you hold up two pictures...you see the proof is in the pudding!


Photobucket


Blog Hop #27 165 followers????

 It's Time to Mingle!

Hosted by Happy Go Lucky, I Heart Crafty Things, Joy in the Jumble and Keeping Up With Kristi.
Each week we will choose one blog at random to spotlight at the next week's blog hop.
This weeks guest host is Stardust - Decor & Style
S t a r d u s t   -  Decor & Style

There are no rules to this blog hop.  Just link up your blog's main page.  Then have fun reading new blogs and making new blog friends.  We would love for you to follow the hostesses in the first four spots and our guest host in the fifth spot.   We always follow back!!
Grab our button if you want to share our blog hop with others.  There will be a new list every Thursday, so be sure to come back every week.


We hope you have fun and thanks for joining us!  We are so excited to find new blogs, share great ideas, and inspire each other.







Photobucket


Where is He?

I got to hear this conversation as I was cleaning up in the kitchen today.  Mark and Julia were in the Dining room at their very own little red table.

Mark had just fallen down and was still recovering from the shock of the slip (no boo boo, just shocked, he landed on his bottom).

He sat down next to Julia and I said, "Mark you don't need to be upset, God protected you."

To which he looked over at Julia and asked, "Where is God?"

Julia answered, "You can't see him, buddy, He's in heaven!"

To which I said, "You are absolutely right Julia, we can't see God, but we know He is all around us and that He loves and protects us."

Every day I hear conversations between Mark and Julia that blow me away.  Julia is such a sweet sister.  She is always nurturing and loving on her brother, sometimes, he asks her to stop because she hugs him so much, and she says, "Mom I can't help it, he's just so cute."  And you know what, she's right.  I can't blame her at all.

I always wondered how Julia and Mark would get along.  They are 17 months apart and best friends.  Julia is the happy older sister, and Mark is just at peace in her presence.



Photobucket


Our Cookie Exchange

Last night we made our very own sugar cookies!  The kids got to roll out their cookie dough, cut their shapes, and decorate their cookies!

Words cannot express how very proud they were of their creations.

They were like little bakers.

They wore aprons.

They washed their hands.  They rolled up their sleeves, and they watched me very carefully as I demonstrated each and every step.

They used the kitchen counter space.

They added extra flour when the dough got sticky.

They were super serious about their job.

I was so proud of them, especially Mark, because he's only 2 and he did such a great job!

He listened to everything I said, and was so serious about his work.

Decorating was the best part because they got to shake on their sprinkles or place them and they were so happy to do so.

It took us about 30 minutes to roll, cut, and decorate, and 9 minutes each batch in the oven.  We made 3 batches.

When John got home he could not believe it.

The kitchen needed some work afterwards, but it didn't matter the kids had a blast baking.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) we will be baking ALL day with Aunt Laurie, Grandma Judy, and Grandpa Jack.  I'm so excited.  I have new recipes to bake!!!  Our cookie exchange with my MOPS group is on Thursday and we will share all our different types of cookies and recipes with our friends!

Happy Baking!


Photobucket


Related Posts with Thumbnails