Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reflecting on 2008

This year has been one of change, no doubt. I honestly cannot believe that this year has come and gone so quickly. The summer months especially seemed to fly by, due to anticipation of Mary Ella and the weeks following her birth. I am thankful for all the blessings we've received and the lessons we've learned, and I know that 2009 has much more in store for us. But for a moment I think I'll just reflect on this past year... (and don't feel like you have to read all of this. I am really just writing this so that I can recall our 2008 memories when I am old and gray and can't remember what happened this year.)

Chad and I had been happily married for almost a year. Our town house had been on the market for about 10 weeks and we were getting a bit antsy to move out. I was only about 3 months pregnant but being a woman I wanted to start getting my nursery prepared, of course! At that point we had decided not to find out the sex of the baby, so I hadn't done much anyway. We rang in the New Year with our good friends Adam and Sara Jonas and I remember we watched that motorcycle daredevil attempt some crazy jump on TV, right after the ball dropped. Random, I know. Chad was still looking to move from pharmaceuticals to medical sales and we were praying for an open door.

At the beginning of the month, a sweet lady from Pheonix, Arizona decided she would put an offer in on our house. We accepted, with the agreement to be out in 10 days. We didn't know then what a crazy agreement that was. With me being 4 months pregnant and not physically able to lift much, I called in the troops - my mom, Chad's mom, and my Bible study leader, Betty - to help me pack, pack, pack. We spent an entire day boxing up dishes and China and clothes and our garage full of junk. Chad and I went house-hunting as fast as we could, and ended up finding a house in Ballantrae. We had looked at the neighborhood back in the fall as soon as we put our townhouse up for sale, so we were pretty familiar with the area. We ended up finding a wonderful house which I have since learned to call home. I loved the floor plan and its architectural details and it was also right across the street from some of our closest bible study friends - so we bought it! We ended up closing on both houses on the same day - another stressful decision that we probably wouldn't have done had we known it would be so crazy! We moved in mid February and swore afterwards we'd never move again. The day we moved in, we also turned in my leased car and bought a Tahoe for me to drive. We wanted something safe - didn't exactly anticipate the raging gas prices that the summer would bring, but on well, you learn. Later that month I had my 20-week ultrasound and found out I was having a GIRL! I met Chad at McDonald's after my appointment to show him my ultrasound pictures, and I had the "IT'S A GIRL" shot at the end of the stack. He was so excited, and I was too. Especially since there were only boys on his side of the family. We finished the month with Chad being offered a medical sales position with Covidien, which he gladly accepted. So February was full of changes! We thank God for every one of them!I also welcomed a new baby cousin on leap day, February 29th! My first cousin Ashley gave birth to her precious baby girl, Addie Jane Jordan. She and Mary Ella are going to be best friends. I look forward to watching them grow up together!

In March Chad began his 5-week home study with Covidien. He would be home for 5 weeks learning his material and taking classes and tests online, then he'd leave for his intense training at the end of the month. I was feeling really good at this point in my pregnancy (although I never really felt bad) and was enjoying my job at CareFirst. My patients were so excited to see my changing belly and all my ultrasound pictures so it was fun visiting them. I was having fun getting settled into the new house and had painted the entire upstairs including the nursery. I think I had my crib and bedding picked out at this point too and I was just waiting for everything to come in. Chad left at the end of the month, right before our 1-year anniversary, for Norwalk, Connecticut, where he would be spending 5 long weeks in training for his job. I was pretty bummed. So to cheer myself up, I let my cousins paint an Easter egg on my growing baby bump.

I think I pretty much worked my tail off in April, probably because I was lonely and missed Chad a bunch, and I wanted to keep my mind off things. However, I did get to fly up to Connecticut on April 13th, Chad's 31st birthday, to spend a long weekend with him in New York City. It was fantastic. We saw "Mary Poppins" on broadway and just walked around and enjoyed the city. I was sad to leave on the next Monday, but knew it wouldn't be long until he was home again. He came home the last week of April.

With the temperatures rising and the belly growing, I began getting more and more uncomfortable with being pregnant. Mary Ella was moving constantly and I was HUGE! And I had 2 entire months to go! I worked in the hot sun and luckily I never had any ankle swelling or anything like that, or I would've really been miserable! I was at the point in my pregnancy, though, to where I was sleeping with about 6 pillows and tossing and turning all night long. Ugh. I also endured a quick stay at St. Vincent's due to my sweet dog, Lucy, pulling me down onto my stomach in the park. I fell on my stomach pretty hard and my friends convinced me to go to the hospital. I did, and when they hooked me to the monitor, they found I was having contractions. A few doses of Terbutaline later, I was good to go home - after about 8 hours! So that was my first big pregnancy scare, I guess. I was also diagnosed with gestational diabetes and increased my exercise regimen at home as well as cut out sweets entirely. This was really hard to do but I managed well and never had any abnormal blood sugars... only a 9+ pound baby squirming around inside me 24/7. Ha! I ended the month of May with my debut as the biggest bridesmaid in my best friend Katie's wedding. My dress was handmade by a lady, whom, at the final fitting, looked at me and said, "Oh! I didn't know you were pregnant!!!" I looked at her and said, "So you just thought my 38-inch bust and 47 INCH WAIST was NORMAL?!?!!" Ummmm, no. Needless to say my dress made me look like a weeble-wobble. But oh well. The wedding was perfect and I enjoyed being there for Katie, no matter how disgusting I looked.


I worked the first 2 weeks of June and then officially retired as an RN. My friends at work threw me a sweet baby shower and I said goodbye to all my patients. Then I went to the beach with my parents and brother and sister for a last vacation before the baby. Soon after I was given a choice by my doctor to either induce or schedule a c-section, due to the size of the baby. I chose the latter, and we scheduled Mary Ella's birthday for July 2nd. I spent the last 2 weeks of June nesting and washing baby clothes and trying to get some sleep. I was also given showers by our good friends Wes and Jackie and our bible study friends.


Well, July 1st was spent organizing and preparing for the next day! My mom and Amy Browning came down to Birmingham and helped me organize the nursery and pack my bags and Mary Ella's bags. I made sure all my checklists were complete and just enjoyed my last day being pregnant, feeling her move and kick and squirm. It was my last day to have her all to myself and I wanted to remember it. We all went to Cheesecake Factory that night with Chad's family and ate the entire restaurant. We also began taking weight predictions for Mary Ella, which ranged from 7.5 pounds to 11 pounds - agh! The next day I arrived at the hospital at 11am and was holding the sweetest little blessing around 3pm. Her name was Mary Ella Morgan, named for her great-great-grandmother, and she was the chunkiest, most beautiful thing I had ever laid my eyes on. I loved her instantly and haven't stopped. It is true what they say about motherhood - it is the most indescribable miracle in the world. She weighed 9 lbs 8 oz and was 21 inches long. The next weeks flew by, and to be honest, I hardly remember them (probably due to sleep deprivation). All I know is that it was wonderful. :)


The month of August FLEW by just as quickly as July did. As I adjusted to motherhood I realized that my child was indeed not the child in all the "What to Expect" and "How to Be Mommy of the Century" books that are out there. She was her own little personality, full of the expected and unexpected, and I learned to just trust the Lord instead of getting all my how-to's and what-to-expects from books. Best decision ever made. I enjoyed my time with my little girl and didn't worry about a schedule or whether she was eating enough or how much sleep I was getting. I just basked in the blessings of motherhood. And I don't regret a minute of it. August marked a few firsts for Mary Ella, including first outings, first smile, first laugh out loud, first bout with the sniffles, and first trip to our Tuesday night bible study.


September brought some much needed cooler weather, even for Alabama, and I enjoyed taking Mary Ella to the park for the first time, as well as the zoo and to a Briarwood football game. We had visits from grandparents and great grandparents and aunts and uncles and everyone seemed to love to get their hands on her. We were having fun doing photo shoots on a regular basis, which she didn't seem to mind as long as they didn't last more than 5 minutes. Chad was 6 months in to his job with Covidien and was loving it. He made it priority to be home by 5pm every day and I couldn't ask for a better Daddy for my little girl. We were looking forward to fall and the changing of the leaves!


My favorite month of the year! I love the leaves, the colors, the decorations, the mums and pumpkins and spiders and Halloween candy! I loved seeing the leaves change into beautiful shades of orange and gold and red and yellow! Our back yard looks into deep woods, so it was so much fun taking pictures and experiencing the cooler weather. I enjoyed painting on our back deck and cooking soup in the afternoons. Mary Ella enjoyed trips to the pumpkin patch and to Gulf Shores. We loved taking long walks in the neighborhood and decorating our house with the fall decor. I was in my friend Lauren's wedding the first weekend in October and it was absolutely beautiful. She was the prettiest bride and I loved getting to be a part of her special day. And on the 25th I celebrated my 26th birthday by going to a murder mystery hosted by my dear friend Courtney and spending the rest of the weekend with my parents. Mary Ella was a pink poodle for Halloween and I ate all of her candy. :)

In November I was busy with my first few weeks as an EllaBug Lunch lady. I was having fun cooking during the week and making deliveries every Thursday. Mary Ella was my handy dandy kitchen helper and I kept her entertained by singing into wooden spoon microphones and dancing while washing dishes. We also started cooking once a week for Chad's grandparents and would take them dinner and visit with them. This was (and has been) a very special time for us and they love getting to see their great-granddaughter. At the end of November Chad left for a hunting trip to Texas and I prepared to host the Morgan family Thanksgiving. Our Thanksgiving dinner was a huge success, thanks to Chad's mom for cooking all of it, and we had no real issues except for the power going out halfway through our meal. But we still counted our blessings and thanked the Father for giving us each other. And Mary Ella didn't miss out, either - she started solid foods mid-November and celebrated Thanksgiving by eating squash and sweet potato purees. Yum, yum. The end of November marked a girls' weekend with Amy B, my sister, my cousin Katie and friend Maggie. We spent the weekend eating everything in sight and decorating my house for Christmas. It was SO much fun.


This month marked Mary Ella's first Christmas. It was also our first Christmas in our new house so we were excited about that too. For the most part, we did the typical holiday things - ornament swaps, Dirty Santa, decorated the house, drank hot chocolate and visited Santa Claus. We exchanged a few gifts with family and celebrated the birth of our Savior. We started our own family traditions that will continue on through the years. We welcomed a friend's baby, Miss Anna Joy Hill, into our lives. We celebrated Chad's grandfather's 82nd birthday and his parents' anniversary. And we traveled, traveled, traveled, and ate, ate, ate. Boy did we eat. Which brings us to now... and my resolutions... which I don't want to think about because I have some ice cream in my freezer. So instead I'll continue reflecting and watch the ball drop in a couple of hours.

What a great year we've had together! I wish everyone a joyous and happy new year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

All I want for Christmas is my 2 front teeth...

Well, Santa granted that wish... don't know how I feel about that little surprise though! Mary Ella had been drooling a lot since mid-November so I figured the teething process had begun. But on Christmas Day we noticed a whitened area underneath her lower gums, and sure enough, the next day, a tiny little point broke through - a tooth! As excited as I am that she has reached a milestone and I can fill out another blank in my baby book, this whole teething thing is NOT fun - for Mommy OR baby. She is quite fussy and she has totally forgotten how to sleep at night. I feel like I am back to square one with the whole sleeping thing! But maybe it will get better. We got some baby Orajel today and little gum massager thing so maybe she will feel better soon.

Here are some of the faces she's been making since she's been going through this whole process...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Christmas

Christmas has come and gone in a flash, like it seems to do every year. This year was so much fun because of our little Mary Ella. I loved picking out her gifts and watching her play with her new toys. Christmas was always my favorite time of year. Up until I got married, my brother, sister and I would sleep in the same bed on Christmas Eve and wake up to a family room full of Santa surprises! My Dad would hang a sheet over the family room doorway to keep us from peeking, and he would video all of us opening our gifts. I am excited about the Christmas traditions that my own little family will share and experience over the years.
On Christmas Eve we ate dinner with Chad's parents at Outback and drove around looking at Christmas lights. Despite the yucky weather, we still had a great time. On Christmas morning his parents came back over for breakfast - spinach & bacon quiche and blueberry muffins - and we watched Mary Ella stare at her Santa presents. She loves her Fisher Price Sing-a-Long stage and her Mozart Cube the best, I think because they allow her to exercise her favorite skill: patting. She knows the word "pat" now and will literally pat anything and everything within reach. It's pretty cute.
After we ate breakfast we loaded up the Tahoe and Chad, Mary Ella and I headed to the Compound for my family's Christmas festivities. We opened gifts there with my immediate family and then my dad's parents, Lanie and Bubba, came over for dinner and we enjoyed our time with them too. They got Mary Ella the cutest little elephant coat! It has a trunk and ears on the hood. She loved modeling it. My parents got Chad and I a TV for our bedroom so we are super excited about that. I also got a craft table for our playroom and a new charm for my Waxing Poetic necklace. Chad got some under armour stuff and a pair of golf shoes. Mary Ella got some cute outfits, and 2 new pairs of shoes from Aunt Betsy and Uncle Buzz.

On Friday morning (the 26th) we headed to Huntsville to open gifts with the entire Compound clan - my grandparents, their 4 daughters (including my Mom) and all their families. So all in all, 2 grandparents, 4 sisters and their 4 husbands, 12 grandkids, 2 grandson-in-laws, 2 great grandkids, 6 dogs, and a partridge in a pear tree. Chaos, basically. We ate (and ate...and ate...) and opened gifts again then played tons of games and slept late the next morning. My grandmother gave me a recipe album with tons of old family recipes and plenty of room to add more. They gave Chad a bunch of homemade goodies from the Mennonites - honey, jam, molasses, etc. He loves that kind of stuff. After breakfast Saturday morning Vicki wanted to take some of the kids on a hike (she's always up for an adventure) so she, Chad, myself, and 5 of the kids went on a 2 mile hike at Green Mountain nature preserve. It was so much fun - the weather was perfect. I took a bunch of "jumping" pictures so the kids loved that.

Now we just have one more Christmas celebration left, with Chad's family. We were going to celebrate Christmas Eve, but Chad's nephew Case was in ICU with asthma, so we decided to postpone until he was at home and had completely recovered, which, thankfully, he has. So I still have one more Christmas to look forward to. After that I guess I'll start putting things away. I always hate putting all the decorations back in the boxes. My house feels so much more cozy with the Christmas decor. Oh well.
I haven't uploaded any of my pictures from my camera onto my computer, but hopefully I can get to that tonight. So check back for pictures later!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tacky Christmas 2008

Tonight was our community group's Tacky Christmas party. This is the second year we have done this and everyone really went all out with their costumes. There were tacky sweaters, sweater vests, tapered jeans, stirrup pants, Keds, and even poinsettia headbands. I am proud to say that all my hot-gluing paid off, because Mary Ella took the GRAND PRIZE!!! Everyone cast their vote and SHE WON! We were so excited. Our costumes really weren't that great so we knew she'd pull us through... and she did! We won a great prize too - a $100 gift card to Highlands Bar and Grill - which we will REALLY enjoy. I've never been there but I hear it's wonderful. And Chad and I haven't been out to eat ALONE since she was BORN! Wow... I didn't realize that until just now. So thanks, Mary Ella, for winning us a fabulous dinner out. Haha... I should mention that she ALSO won us money to the charity of our choice! Jim and Betty are so generous to do this... we chose to give the money to the Compassion Ministry's Child Survival fund, which helps to feed give babies 12 months and under the nourishment they need to survive. So again, thanks Mary Ella! Food for us and food for other children. You can't beat that.

Tonight was sort of a "reunion" for all of us. Our small group began at Jim and Betty's in May 2007... our purpose was never to be a "holy huddle" as Betty says but to grow and multiply... which we DID! Soon there were over 40 people at small group each week. So we broke into smaller groups and those groups began meeting elsewhere. In the meantime Jim and Betty have recruited even more folks and have started an entire new group! So praise the Lord for that. I can't see them NOT leading a group, honestly... they are so giving of their time, their energy, their home, their FOOD... they are amazing people and we are fortunate to have been a part of that group that started in their home last year... because now we have friends that I know we couldn't live without. Tonight the 4 smaller groups ( I think there are 4 ) came together for the Christmas party and I was reminded of how Heaven will be... just one big happy reunion with nothing but hugs and laughter and joy and praising our Father! It was so much fun.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Shout Out

To Mary Ella's buddy (and mine too), Miss Jackie...


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cupcakes in the making...

Today we ventured into cupcake land and I must say, they turned out to be pretty cute! Mary Ella begged to help in the kitchen. First I made strawberry cupcakes using the Pillsbury box cake mix - ha! I'm a cheater, I know.

Then I contacted my dear friend and expert baker Ashley for a good cream cheese icing recipe. She was happy to give me one and the icing turned out to be finger lickin good. Literally. I decided to use my standing KitchenAid mixer instead of the hand mixer because I knew I needed to triple the recipe. Well, here's what happens when you dump the entire box of powdered sugar in at once...

"I didn't do it! I swear!!!"

So instead of using my mixer, I switched to my handy dandy helper, Miss Mary Ella herself. She did a much better job.

Finger-lickin (or spatula-lickin) good.

Finished product soon to come... I promise...

Look at these sweet cheeks...

This week has been a fairly laid back one. I did finally get our Christmas cards finished and they turned out pretty cute... although next year I think I'll just go with Snapfish. This year I really didn't see any that I absolutely LOVED except on TinyPrints, and they were just too expensive. The Snapfish and Shutterfly ones were cute but I couldn't get the pictures positioned the way I wanted them, so I gave up. I decided to make them myself. So off I went to Hobby Lobby and I bought card stock, scrap book paper and stickers and ended up with a kitchen table full of scraps and a card that I am happy with. It took about an hour to get it exactly like I wanted it, and that's when I decided I'd just make ONE and then make copies of that one on cardstock, rather than making 50+ cards by hand... I can't imagine. Anyway, so that's the Christmas card story. I will post a picture after I get them sent. Don't want to spoil it for anyone.

I am so glad tomorrow is Friday! Adam and Ashley are coming, and Betsy is coming with them, so I will have fun spending time with them at the house. Then Saturday morning Mary Ella and I are off to an ornament swap at my friend Shelley's house, then Saturday night we have a couples baby shower for our sweet friends Jake and Laura. We have been in bible study with them for about a year and a half now, and they are expecting their first daughter, little Anna Joy, in less than a week! I am so excited that Mary Ella will have her first best girl friend! Our other bible study partners, Wendy and Jeremy, welcomed their sweet baby boy just a month ago - Tyler David Peacock. He is so sweet and has a head full of dark hair! I am thankful to have these friends that we can study with and experience life with - I can't believe we have all been together for almost 2 years. It's crazy. Life is passing by so quickly. I am making cupcakes for baby Anna Joy's shower so I will post pictures of them. I hope to get a lot of good pictures this weekend because I have been lazy when it comes to taking pictures lately!

Mary Ella has been wonderful lately. She is so funny and is laughing and squealing a lot. I love hanging out with her. Tonight she and her Daddy hung out together while I went to Hobby Lobby and Kinko's and finished Christmas cards. He fed her rice cereal and applesauce before bed and had her in her pajamas when I got home. She lights up when Chad gets home, it is really sweet.

Well, that's about it. I really need to learn to go to bed earlier. It's been a busy day! Happy Friday, everyone! And Happy SNOW day to all of you up north who are getting out of school/work! I'm jealous!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tagged by the Christmas Elf

Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your friends. Feel free to join in if you need some blog inspiration!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper - I love wrapping gifts!

2. Real tree or artificial? I personally prefer the real ones, because that's what we had when I was growing up, and I love the smell! But we have an artificial one this year. Maybe next year we'll get a real one :(

3. When do you put up the tree? Usually the day after Thanksgiving

4. When do you take the tree down? Sometime in January, whenever we get around to it. I always hate taking my Christmas decor down.

5. Do you like eggnog? NO.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Trampoline and American Girl dolls

7. Hardest person to buy for? Brother and uncles

8. Easiest person to buy for? Mary Ella

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes - 2

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail, of course... which is on my list for this week

11.Worst Christmas gift you ever received? an assortment of hotel shampoos/soaps from my grandparents.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? The Holiday... not a classic, but I love it @ Christmas time

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually right after Thanksgiving...but I have a list of everything I'm going to buy WAY before that.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes :)

16. Lights on the tree? Yes, colored lights, all the way!

17. Favorite Christmas song? My classic choice would be Santa Claus is Coming to Town; other favorites are Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas" and "This Christmas" by Donny Hathaway

18.Travel at Christmas or stay home? Usually travel, but not too far - just up to Florence and back

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? yes indeed

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? I usually do a big ribbon or star

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Family gifts on Christmas Eve, Santa gifts Christmas day

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? crowds!!!

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I like the personalized dough ornaments, and of course anything homemade or handpainted

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? My family has always done just a huge finger-food dinner - chicken fingers, wings, shrimp, spinach dip, cheese ball, etc... like a huge spread of appetizers...instead of the traditional dinner... and I love this. I get sick of turkey and dressing.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? To get to spend time more with my family than we did last year!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

5 Months Old

Mary Ella turned 5 months old this week! Almost half a year has gone by since she was born - wow. It's too fast. I wish I could send her growth into slow motion somehow! And at the same time, I am looking forward to all the milestones she is soon to reach.

She is still hanging out somewhere around 17 lbs 12 oz or so, and I'm sure she's getting longer but I haven't measured her. She is at my favorite age, so far. I love that she is a cuddle bug, that she loves being held but doesn't mind laying on her play mat or getting in her exersaucer, that she smiles every time I find her awake in her crib, that she is reaching and grabbing at everything in sight, that she laughs out loud all the time and loves to squeal, and that me and her Daddy are her favorite people!
She has been successfully sleeping through the night ever since we started the solid foods after her 4-month appointment with Dr. A. She now eats at 8am, 12pm, 4pm and 8pm every day. For breakfast at 8am she usually eats cereal and some sort of fruit, as well as a bottle, then she also eats solids for dinner at 4pm - usually a veggie, a fruit and a bottle. She takes just a bottle at 12pm and 8pm. This is working pretty well and I love watching her try new foods and gobble them up! So far I think her definite favorites are my homemade squash, sweet peas and carrots. The only think she hasn't liked so far is avocado. It made her gag. But I probably should have mixed it with something, because I don't even know many adults who like just plain avocado. Anyway, the eating is going well and thus the sleeping is too! For that I am thankful!
Favorite toys include books, Crunchy the Peacock, and anything that hangs within arms reach. Other favorite items are her new silky blanket from Miss Faye and her pink lamb, which she's been sleeping with since she was about 2 months old. And I can't forget the paci - I don't know what I'd do without those things! She also enjoys our new "jumperoo" that hangs from our doorway and lets her bounce up and down. Thanks to our sweet cousin Addie Jane for letting us borrow this! She loves it so far. She is also becoming more and more interested in Lucy and likes to watch her, grab her face, and she laughs when Lucy runs around. She can roll over pretty well, although she still has trouble getting that arm out from under her so most of the time she stays on her back. I know soon she'll be all over the place, so I'm thankful I can pretty much expect her to stay in one place for now! She has discovered her feet just this week and is obsessed with grabbing her toes, even if that means plunging face first into her bath water - ha! She loves those feet.
I can't believe Christmas is coming up. We have done a little "Santa" shopping and I'm trying to think ahead of some things she'll need/want/be ready for in the months to come so that I don't just get a bunch of junk that she'll like for 2 days and then be done with. Any suggestions would be MUCH appreciated! One thing we have purchased that I think she'll really enjoy is the Fisher Price sound stage - it's basically a big mirror with a bunch of colorful buttons that look like instruments. It plays some really cute familiar childhood songs and of course mirrors are her favorite thing, so I think she'll like it. She's also getting a wooden highchair which we are having built by the Mennonites up in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.

Happy 5 month birthday, sweet baby girl! We love you!

Thanksgiving, etc

Thanksgiving ended up being interesting, to say the least. I had volunteered to have the Morgan family Thanksgiving lunch at my house. My sweet mother-in-law had already bought all the groceries for food so she offered to cook and just bring the food to my house. It doesn't get better than that! And it was wonderful - turkey, ham, dressing, green beans, potatoes, broccoli salad, cranberry sauce... the works. Plus I made 2 desserts - a banana sour cream cake and a turtle pumpkin pie (delicious - I will post recipes later.) However, right when we sat down to eat, the power went out. It wasn't too big of a deal right then, just because it was early afternoon and the kitchen windows welcome plenty of sunlight. But it soon began to get a little stuffy inside. We opened a couple windows. But as the sun began to set it began getting a little dark in the house. We went outside and all of our neighbors were outside enjoying the nice weather and letting all the kids run around. Brooks, Case and Mary Ella enjoyed being outdoors playing and looking at all the other kids. One of our neighbors had called the power company and they told us the power would be back on by 5:30 pm. No big deal, we thought. After all, we'd already eaten and we were pretty much ready for bed at that point - full and tired! But 5:30 came and went and at around 6 pm we were sitting on the couch by candlelight, bored and full and tired. We called again and the recording said the power wouldn't be on until 11:15pm. So we just decided to get in bed! We woke up around 8:30, still no power, and made our way into the kitchen and made ham sandwiches by candlelight and enjoyed the last bits of the cranberry jello salad I'd made. Then we sat on the couch again, wondering how people make it without electricity. We finally went back to bed around 9pm I think, and woke up around midnight when all the lights suddenly turned back on!

We definitely learned to be thankful in a whole new way! For our warm house, our food, our full stomachs, our friends and neighbors, for our kitchen appliances (ha!), our refridgerator, and just for each other. It was nice to have the quiet evening, in a way, because we were able to talk about what we were each thankful for and how much our lives had been blessed this year. We look forward to Christmas and the new year's blessings!

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