Friday, December 28, 2012

A Merry Erwin Christmas (& 40 weeks)

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

Grey's first Christmas was very MERRY!

Chet and I took advantage of one of the only years we won't be opening presents at 4am.  Grey gave us a Christmas gift and snuggled back to sleep with us after her 5am bottle, until 6:30!!  We all got up slowly and had a big brunch (French toast) together.

Then it was gift time!  We let Grey open her gifts while we were still in pajamas.  It was too much fun!  She thought it was a party for her and laughed and squealed the entire time!  It took nearly an hour to open her few presents, since she was tedious to taste and look at each piece of wrapping paper, ribbon, and box.

 We decided to head to the cemetery to visit Holden's grave as a family that morning.  It was freezing out though, so our visit was brief.  Grey was very scared of the frigid wind.
 Such a blessing to spend a Christmas with FULL ARMS.  I could probably write a book about how overwhelmed my heart felt on Tuesday.

Our first Christmas lunch as just a family...  It was humble and definitely not fancy in any way, but we loved it.  :)  We didn't even light candles for the table...but we did enjoy watching Grey devour her mashed potatoes and asparagus!  

Chet and I planned on Grey's first Christmas (and maybe all from here on out!) to be just us.  No traveling, cooking all day, etc. made us really appreciate our quality time together.  We helped Grey put together her new puzzles, read her new books and played with her toys.  I loved it!

On Wednesday, we drove to Brady (and back!) to be with the Shuffields and Ballems.  Sadly, Cohen had a bad case of the flu, so we weren't able to hang out there as a family (to keep Grey well), but I did get to see my adorable nephews for a little bit.  We thoroughly enjoyed a quiet, fun celebration with the Shuffields.  Grey and Camp are getting big enough to interact and play, which is a blast!
10 months and 9 months - in cute outfits from Tisha!

Yesterday Grey turned 40 weeks!  We had an unplanned trip to Lubbock, so I did not get a chance to take any real photos.  This is one from this morning, all bundled up to go to the park:

Grey at 40 Weeks:
Continues to be busy busy busy!
Is attempting one or two 'independent steps' at a time!
Has loved screaming in different tones!
Laughs at herself...completely CRACKS UP at her attempts to do stuff!
Is teething like crazy!
Is on a better sleeping schedule!  PRAISE GOD!
Is defiant and strong-willed! ;)
Has said "Momma" to ME three times this week!

Sunday, December 23, 2012


I have said with every stage "this is my favorite!" but 9 months really, really is my favorite! ;)  Talk about personality plus at this stage!!  This afternoon Grey crawled on my back and literally tried to tickle me like we tickle her.  She was giggling so hard at her own efforts that she was drooling all over my neck and back.  I am so stinkin' in love with her.

We snapped some photos of our little 9 month-old before heading out to Chet's family's Christmas celebration yesterday morning.  At this point we are just happy we have Grey and partial bear appearances in her monthly photos.

  • Our big girl weighs about 17 pounds.  She won't have her "9 month" well check until she's older than 10 months, so we are sticking to what our scale says for now.
  • 9 month clothes fit perfectly for the most part.  This is the first time her age and clothes sizing are matched up so well.
  • She is still in size 3 diapers.
  • She is loving all healthy table food options we have given her.  We take food seriously around here. ;)
  • Pulling up on everything and crawling all over is how we spend most of our days.
  • She discovers everything by tasting it first.  We have licked walls, tree stumps, candles...I better stop before I get turned in.  I love watching her face light up when she sees something new!
  • She still adores animals.  If we say "kitty kitty" she will look all over the house until Henri is found.  Poor Henri.
We headed out to Chet's family Christmas yesterday morning.  This was my favorite snapshot of the day, since Grey loved "non toys" (a bag) the best.

My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.  When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakes, it shall talk with thee.  For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life; Proverbs 6:20-23

Thursday, December 20, 2012

What we've been up to at 39 weeks

It was a touch sunny and cold outside to take our weekly photos, but we did it anyways. :)  We were already enjoying some fresh air at the golf course, so I figured it was then or never.

Our first taste of DIRT was delicious.  Momma overreacted big time. ;)

Daddy found us at the golf course and decided to scoop me up.  Momma thinks I look like his clone.

I didn't have the energy or words to blog about Grey's life at 38 weeks, on the heels of the devastating, sickening event in Connecticut last week.  I still have such a hard time "doing" daily life when I think about those parents whose lives are excruciating to walk.  I am incredibly grateful for this little gift in my arms, and I have cherished each moment even more.

Grey, your life these past two weeks (38/39) has looked a lot like this:
  • You are becoming more and more assertive!  You want your way only and do anything to get it. :)  
  • You are very smart!  Our "wisdom" prayers are being answered to the fullest.  You have figured out how to remove the outlet safety plugs, open safety locked cabinets, etc.  If you have a mind to do something, you work at it until you figure it out.  I am glad your little fingers are not strong enough to undo your carseat clasps, because you are certainly giving them your best shot!  
  • Every day you give us something new to be excited about as you soak up the world.
  • You are teething again!  You have a few more teeth wanting to join your existing two, which is making you drool and bite on everything again!  'Everything' includes our brick hearth.  Gag me.  I would rather hear fingernails against a chalkboard and eat liver at the same time.  This is really a big "no no", yet you are determined to get away with it.  Daily.  Or 10 times a day.  Yikes.
  • You are loving the gifts under our tree, or really just anything that is "forbidden".  Tomorrow I am going to start off the day by letting you play with anything you want.  I'm beginning to think the more off-limits an item is, the more intrigued you are by it.  Hopefully my theory will work?!
  • You tried to say "momma" today!  You mimicked the "mmmm" sound over and over. This is a HUGE deal!  WOOHOO baby girl!
  • You tasted a handful of dirt.  You thought it was an excellent dining experience, as you attempted to shovel a second handful in before I caught you.
  • You are a precious snuggler.  I can't get enough.  I wish I could make you sign a contract that said you would snuggle with me every day of my life, forever and ever.
  • You resist sleep like crazy.  I mean, seriously Baby Girl, sleep and you are not best of buds.  Or buds.  Or even acquaintances.  This has got to stop, please!  You will fight from 7/8pm-ish until way past midnight most nights.  You are beyond exhausted but want to PLAY and discover all the cool things that you can.  You are much like me in this matter, so it's something I should not be frustrated with.  We just really need you to get some of your Daddy's sleep habits soon though!
We let you open your first Christmas gift this evening.  It was too cute to watch you get SO excited over finally getting to rip open that "forbidden" paper!  You kept looking at us as if to say, "This is okay?  You aren't saying no-no?!"  Sweet girl, Christmas is going to be so much fun!

We ingested dirt and a little paper today.  Quite a fibrous selection.

We couldn't end this blog without wishing Uncle Joel a VERY HAPPY 28th BIRTHDAY!!
We love you Uncle J!

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!  Matthew 7:11

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Isaiah 61

I was not able to write Grey's 38 week post Thursday.  Then yesterday, I woke up excited about it being Holden Uganda's 2nd anniversary, and wanted to blog about that too...  I was about to sit at the computer to write when I learned of the horror in Connecticut; I was at a loss for words.

2 1/2 years ago I claimed Isaiah 61 over our lives.  2 years ago Holden Uganda was founded and we have been humbled to experience our Redeemer, Comforter and Prince of Peace restore joy and turn ashes into beauty.  Today, I claim Isaiah 61 over the families in Connecticut.

My heart has not ached over a news story like this in my entire life.  As I held and kissed my daughter last night, my heart cried for the mommies who went home to empty bedrooms and Christmas presents under their trees that will never be unwrapped.

This is a picture of our sweet girl sharing a precious story with me at 38 weeks:

I will catch up with what she has been up to next week.

My Mommy heart and my educator heart is torn...

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  
Philippians 4:7

Thursday, December 6, 2012

37 Weeks

37 Weeks!  That means Grey's been in my arms longer than she was inside of me!  Amazing how much faster the latter 37 weeks have been. :)  I just looked down as I am typing and Grey has our office trash can over her head (note...this trash can has only been used for papers, but it's still gross!).  That basically sums up our sweetie lately!  She is discovering everything she can get her hands and mouth on.  She has toys strewn across our office but she is mostly excited about pulling out all the Holden Uganda merchandise and climbing the desk and file cabinets.

This week has been a very exhausting one for our whole family.  Truth be told I should not be blogging but catching up on the TONS of Holden Uganda work calling to me.  Oh well. :)  Chet has worked a LOT of hours and I have been babysitting all week.  It's fun to have another little cutie pie to play with, but whew...I really... really really look up to moms of multiples.

I did not do an official photo shoot with Grey today, although I did one with Jozee.  ha!  Grey, please forgive me for that one day.  Jozee's mom packed her several cute Christmas outfits, that I just couldn't resist.  Poor babies who stay here.  It's basically 'house rules' to be snapped 1000 times a day!  I did get a few of Grey in a Christmas dress our sweet friend gave her yesterday though.  I adore hand-me-downs:

I snapped this one with my phone earlier this week.  This precious smocked dress was a gift from a dear prayer warrior in my life...and I will certainly be doing a real photo shoot in it soon (of course)! ;)
I am a new sucker for holiday apparel.  Kids change you.
Speaking of kids changing you - the above dress was iron-on hemmed by the wearer's daddy.  True story.  These babies have a way of changing our lives in the most wonderful way!

Grey, at 37 weeks:
  • You want to take off and walk from a stand, but are still cautious.  You babble and scream as if you are saying how badly you want to just do it!
  • You are QUICK.  Oh my.  You could win a crawling race when you want something.  
  • You are following directions!!  We can just SAY "Grey click" (instead of clicking ourselves) and you will do it!  You also can give me your arm when I ask you as I am dressing you, and can "find kitty".  I am SO impressed by this new 'trick'. :)
  • You try manipulating us in the cutest of ways.  When we say "no", you turn your head sideways and laugh.  Oh boy.
  • You spent a couple hours with babysitters on Monday!  They were two sweet ACU students who watched you and Cai so that we could have a Hope Mommies lunch.  You seemed to like them a lot, although you were glad to see me. :)  Yay!  
  • Your hair is getting wavy and a slight curl is forming in the back.  I'm in love.
  • You crack your own self up.  This of course cracks us up.
  • You are the sweetest snuggler when you are finally worn out.  I cherish these snuggles, as they are becoming rarer.  
  • You are truly a sunbeam.
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me - just as the Father knows me and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for the sheep.  John 10:14-15

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Santa Baby

Eating them was the best part

This counts as my "greens" for the day, right Momma?

Auntie Carrie blessed us with this fun outfit :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012


36 weeks of looking more and more like Daddy

How fun it's been to watch Grey grow!
Two funny things happened today, worth noting in Grey's 'journal':

First, Grey and I joined Chet for lunch at Spanish Inn.  There was a gentleman sitting in the table next to us who Grey was determined to make smile.  (Mind you, this kid never doesn't get a returned smile if she smiles at us!)  Well, this man didn't understand that she wanted him to smile.  She kept smiling and smiling and talking at him.  When he wasn't returning a smile after about 20 minutes, she started whimpering and frowning.  Finally she SCREAMED at him.  I'm talking...squealing and squawking in the middle of the restaurant.  He noticed her by this time (as did every other patron) and smiled back.  She got the HUGEST smile on her face and started laughing when she realized he wasn't "mad" at her. ;)  In said gentleman's defense, he was minding his own business and probably just trying to enjoy a peaceful lunch.  At any rate, Chet and I were pretty amused by our little diva.  She is a character.

Second, Grey was scared to tears of my neighbors dog this afternoon.  The dog that is calm, lays there and is a dachshund (small).  She LOVES boisterous, annoying animals who lick her, bark, jump and knock her over (such as our dogs), yet was crying because of a tranquil, sweet old dachshund.  I thought she loved all animals, but today's episode proved me wrong.  Babies are so unpredictable. :)

Noteworthy at 36 weeks:

  • You spent your first night at a hotel in Fredericksburg!  We accompanied Daddy on a work trip, which was very nice, although the hotel was Momma's version of a slight nightmare.  Keeping your busy self away from all the germs and trying to entertain was not easy.  All I could think about - as you were biting and licking the headboard - was the 20/20 episode on what 'substances' are on hotel headboards.  And the headboard was probably the cleanest surface in the room....  You also didn't sleep at all that night.  We shall avoid a second hotel experience with you for quite some time. ;)
  • You are exactly 16 pounds!  
  • You are TRYING TO MAKE WORD SOUNDS!!  Such a big milestone!!  Woohoo!
  • Each week you seem to be a "new person", having learned so much since the previous week.  You understand SO much of what we say.  You understand "no" without a doubt!  The funny thing is that "no" has only come with a 'removal action' (i.e. take a forbidden item away or not allow you to chew on a cord), yet if we say "no", you get so upset.  I love your strong will, because I KNOW you will be using it for good one day.  :)
  • You are happy 99.9% of the time.  (Unless we have to say "no" to something)  
  • You look more and more like your Daddy.  Your hair is getting lighter.  And I think your eyes will stay blue.  Precious.
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  2 Corinthians 4:6

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fantabulous Day!!!


I am so EXCITED...

God is SO good...

Holden Uganda has received funds to build 22 more wells by hopefully the end of 2012/early 2013!  That means up to well #108 has been FUNDED!  Several huge, generous funds were sent, and we are so blessed!

That means that if these wells each served 1000 people (most likely more per well), 22,000 people will get CLEAN water!  

That means that hundreds, maybe thousands, of people won't die this Christmas because of something so preventable.

That means that while we enjoy our extravagance and waste this holiday season, 22,000 people will sip life-sustaining WATER.  They will have something to truly be thankful for.

That means that because of CLEAN WATER, they will be able to live, work, play, learn and most of all hopefully come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ's unfailing love or them, accepting His free salvation above all.

That means that 22 Hope Families will be given joy in such a difficult season, knowing their loved ones are providing LIFE.

That means something so much greater than the gifts that will be under our trees.  Really.  Really.

To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.  O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.  Psalm 30:12

Grey's First Thanksgiving at 8 Months (35 weeks)

Grey's 1st Thanksgiving weekend was WONDERFUL!  It was the best holiday Chet and I have ever spent having Grey to celebrate with us ... and we have SO much to be grateful for.  I do believe it was also the most relaxing holiday ever, an added bonus.

We spent Thanksgiving Day (Grey's 8 month birthday) with Chet's family in Colorado City.  Leigh Ann took a few photos of the day.
Caul, Grey and Shelbi

Most of Leigh Ann and Randy's family (Randy took the photo).  The forced smiles (or lack therof) crack me up. ;)

Leigh Ann's grandkids - minus Holden and a granddaughter living in the Dallas area.
It made me so glad that Grey was having a great day, and was the easiest grandkid to get to smile for the camera.  She's pretty much always happy! :)

I had to snap this one with my phone, since "swinging" with Daddy is one of her all-time favorite activities these days.

We drove to Brady Thursday night and stayed through Saturday to spend Thanksgiving with the Shuffield family.  Tisha took amazing photos (of course) that I will have soon, so I didn't even snap one with my phone.  (I know. Cuhrazy!)  Thankfully Tisha did get a few candid ones with her phone of Grey and "cousin" Campbell (9 months old) in their adorable turkey onesies Nicole brought for them:
They rocked "step climbing" like pros!

I plan on sharing her photos of these two cuties soon. :)  Don't worry!  They had so much fun together since they're at the perfect age to learn from and play with each other.

My sister's family was gracious enough to let us crash at their place while they were in Ft. Worth for the weekend.  It was relaxing through and through, even if we missed them terribly!

I haven't ever taken Grey's monthly photos with the dry erase board not exactly on the day of the 22nd (meaning sometimes she hasn't been in the mood), because I love that it is precise.  To me, why take milestone photos if they don't capture milestones....
Well, for 8 months I took them (or the one) today.  Not in her usual onesie.  Wearing a bow.  Oh well!  (Chet keeps reminding me that these blogs are a waste of time and that Grey will not care about them...if he's right, I am positive she will get over the few days inaccuracy and inconsistency.) ;)

I like our guest bed as the backdrop.  I wish I would've thought of this sooner.

I have not kept up with Grey's "One Line a Day" journal as I should, so I am going to be detailed.

Grey, at 8 months/35 weeks, you:
Are a bundle of energy!  You never stop exploring and learning, even if that means pulling everything off shelves and tasting and touching everything in your reach.  I literally can't set you down for 10 seconds without finding you in the next room.
Are crawling everywhere (see above)!  Nothing is safe (including Henri) at ground level anymore!  We love watching you crawl everywhere.
Are free standing and pulling yourself up to a stand on anything you think might work!  You've even attempted taking steps, but have been getting more cautious since you haven't liked the falling part so much.
Are about 16 pounds.  Every time I weighed you this week you were within a few ounces of 16 pounds.
Are fitting into size 6-9 month clothing.
Eat 5-6 oz. bottles about 4 or 5 times a day, with two "meals" of veggies and fruits in between.  I plan on increasing your "baby food" intake, but you are still so messy that I have to plan for it. ;)
Mimic sounds all the time.  You will click even if someone over the phone clicks.
Mimic head movements.  You are really enjoying shaking your head back and forth really quick.
Are not sleeping as well as usual.  I think all the traveling and "going going" has you off schedule, so we are starting sleep boot camp again today. :(  Sigh.
Love "peekaboo"!
Love water and baths, and have recently been interested in feeling falling water.
Are interested in your hands.  This is a silly thing to note, but it really cracks us up!  You give an expression that says, "Oh my word!  Look at that hand!  Out of nowhere it shows up!" as you turn it and stare.  ;)

We hung up Christmas lights and addressed Christmas cards this weekend.  Grey is loving the tree, although it is quickly becoming an "off limits" item.  The weather is beautiful and chilly, so Grey and I hope to make a few Christmas crafts this week.  We were also blessed with a HUGE influx of Holden Uganda donations this past week, so we have ... DRUM ROLL ... nearly 20 wells to build!  GOD IS SO GREAT!  Such a Thanksgiving miracle...thankful for clean water!

It feels so homey and wonderful around here.

What a BLESSING you are.  What a JOY it is to be your parents.  We are so THANKFUL.

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presences with singing.
Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.
For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.
Psalm 100