Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Merry Christmas

Christmas time is here!  It is my favorite time of year and I can confidently say that this is my happiest Christmas I've ever had, now that my little girls are here celebrating along with us.

There is so much I enjoy about this time of year: the use of cinnamon and nutmeg in tasty treats and coffee, classical Christmas Music, cooler weather, doing good for others and remembering the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ within our church community.

I started playing Christmas music during mine and the girls' breakfast every morning, starting the day after Thanksgiving. They love the music and tend to do a little jig in their seats while eating their Cheerios, which I love.  What's better than a little dance party to cheerful music in the morning?

Trae and I looked forward to taking Lyla and Nixon to "meet" Santa Claus for months. We made an official appointment to meet him, so we could avoid any lines and got to meet him right away! We held them while we said "hello" to Santa, so the girls could get a good luck at Santa before sitting on his lap and seemed cautious, but inquisitive.  In true Nixon-form, she was so interested in him- she just stared at him and I could see her little wheels moving and knew if she sat there much longer, his beard would be pulled, for sure.  No tears- just lots of stares at his beard, which made Trae and I laugh.   Lyla looked at him and then looked back at us, behind the camera jumping up and down like crazy trying to get a smile out of our stunned little girls.  Once she saw us not coming to pick her up.. the cries started and didn't stop until Mama ran over to comfort her.  Let's be honest though, the crying photo really is the cuter photo.

To be fair, here are the other cute photos proving my Lyla was a brave baby girl for the first few shots.

 After all the Santa-drama we decided to go out and treat the girls to a lunch out with Mom and Dad.  Thankfully, Austin has lots of healthy lunch spots where I can be sure the girls will have healthy, nutritious (even organic) food options!  Throw on a long sleeved bib and some yummy bib and my smiley babies were back!!

"Hey Ma- I love pesto sauce!"

Our church hosts a Vespers concert, performed by the Texas Lutheran choir, every year.  I attended the event when I, myself was a TLU student, but haven't had the availability to attend again until this year.  Trae and I thought the girls would love the event since it had everything they loved: Christmas lights, Christmas music, and our church.. Ok, and snacks that mom and dad fed them to keep them quiet. 
It was a beautiful concert. The choir blew us away with their vocal performance.  It was because of their amazing performance I felt SO BADLY when Lyla started squealing in delight when they would start singing. And OF COURSE it was always during a lull in the music or during a classically serene moment that she decided she would "sing" along.  

I was that mom. 

Although our neighbors sitting around us were very kind, giving us smiles, giggles and reassuring pats on the shoulders, I just couldn't bear to think that my daughter was taking anything away from the beautiful experience from someone else, so I took her to the back of the church where our Pastor was there to greet us. Having daughters himself, he offered to take her from me to give me arms a break. Loving Pastor Pete and also loving the opportunity to shake my arms out from carrying my big girl, I took him up on it!   

Have I mentioned lately how difficult Lyla is to hold? She is a mover and a shaker!
A   's q u i r m e r' , if you will. 

Throw in some upbeat Christmas music and a beautiful Christmas display and she was downright dancing in Pastor Pete's arms. He peered at me over his glasses chuckling "woah! She is heavy!" I could only laugh and nod my head in agreement before we both agreed she was too excited to be held by someone who wasn't used to her 'classic' dance moves.
"Go Bulldogs!"

Lyla and I watched the entire program from the back of the church, her "singing" and dancing the whole time.  It was an amazing event, one that we plan to go to yearly.. but hopefully be able to sit through it, next year.

This year we celebrated Christmas from our house. While Trae's work schedule dictated our plans a bit, we were glad to start the tradition of celebrating Christmas Day at our house, without rushing to get anywhere.  We have always wanted our babes to enjoy the Christmas tradition of going to church, coming home to a home cooked meal and waking up to see what Santa brought them in their own house and then chilling out in our PJ's all day, like Trae and I so fondly remember doing ourselves.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve was just the 4 of us, so we chose to go out to eat for dinner (between nap times at 1:00) and the girls loved getting all dolled up in their Christmas best and enjoying a little dinner with Mom and Dad.
We went to Maggiano's since it was close to the house, not super formal (or expensive), had wine (yes, it was 1:00.. but it was also Christmas Eve celebration!), AND Maggiano's has a special deal where you can buy a meal and get a 2nd portion for the "next day".

Since we ate our "dinner" for lunch, this ensured that we would have an actual Christmas dinner when we got home from church that night! Win, Win!
Lyla giggling at Christmas Eve dinner

After a yummy meal, we attempted a family photo while Lyla was loudly telling us how tired she was, and then left.
Sweet Lyla T. fell asleep on the way home.

A blurry picture at our first Christmas Eve Dinner!
Our kiddos are such schedule-junkies from their A-type Mama who lives and breathes with lists and schedules, so I can't blame the sweet girl for just trying to keep to her sleep schedule!
We didn't want to wake her and relive the TLU Vesper concert , so we let her sleep in the car while I went inside, played with Nixon on the floor, made bottles, changed Nixon and came back to the car 30 minutes later.. still with Trae in the car, with the car running and Lyla still sleeping.  


Church, as always, was beautiful. This was our first year at the kid-friendly early service, and while we missed the candlelit songs and full choir, we loved being around all the families and little kids that sang and clapped throughout the service. It gave us a glimpse of what we had to look forward to over the coming years.  
Both babes did great, loving the music and clapping through the service.  

Christmas Eve church service at St. Martins
We stopped by the Chapel on the way out of church and spoke to the boys, like we normally do when at church. However, stopping by on Christmas Eve was such a surreal experience. No one else was in the Chapel except the 4 of us, so we got to hold Lyla & Nixon and just "be".  Trae and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes, some representing the happiness that we felt, having our healthy girls in our arms and some for the baby boys that we are missing so terribly still, every day.

While we love that the boys ashes are at our church, surrounded by love.. we take comfort in the fact that we feel the boys with us at home all the time.. not just at church. 

We dressed the girls in their Christmas PJ's that night after their normal bed time routine and told them all about Jesus who died for us, explained that their brothers are with Jesus and God and went to bed with a grateful heart.

Christmas Day

Christmas Day morning, my parents (Nana & Pop Pop) drove in from San Antonio. We made blueberry pancakes & eggs for us all, along with the traditional coffee & mimosas to go around. The girls gobbled their pancakes down in no time, like they were all ready to see what Santa brought them!

We took the girls to the tree to see their toys & unwrap their gifts and while they didn't really 'get' the excitement, they got lots of toys that sang to them & lit up and they were ALL ABOUT them. Nixon also really enjoyed ripping the wrapping paper slowly then putting it in her mouth. 

"No Nixon, don't play with the paper- look at the toy- how neat!"
..Nixon is grabbing for the piece of paper I just removed from her mouth..

My brother, his wife Mandy and my niece and nephew came over to play, open gifts and spend time together.  It was so great to see Lyla & Nixon play with Addison & Jack and have fun together. 

My Mom, Dad & Brother
Aunt Mandy & Lyla having fun on Christmas Day
Addison & Jack showing Lyla their new toys
Lyla wanting Mom to stop taking photos and to start playing, already!
December 26, 2014

The day after Christmas, we packed up the car with all the gifts for Trae's family and hit the road to go to Glen Rose. Trae's sister, Carrie & her family was already there and Trae's mom already had the house all ready for us, as usual.

Glen Rose is always such a treat to visit- it's relaxing and beautiful and when its decorated for Christmas, its no exception! Sharon loves to decorate and her house looked so festive all lit up.  Lyla & Nixon loved looking around at all the lights and bright decor.

We all exchanged gifts and loved watching Lyla & Nixon help us unwrap our gifts and play with all their new fun toys.

Their 1st baby dolls!

Poppy pitching in during bath time

Aunt Janice coming to visit
We stayed in Glen Rose for a couple more days before Trae and I left the girls with their Nana & Poppy while we returned to Austin to have our new closet installed.  We had a busy 3 days of organization without our little ladies, but ended up with a beautiful new organized closet that we adore.  

Christmas was such a blessing. We got everything we wanted in being able to spend time with all our family this Christmas with Lyla & Nixon.