Friday, December 31, 2010

Just a few Christmas Moments

A few things I wanted to remember about this Christmas...

- My (almost) 2-year old nephew saying "so much" when I told him "Aunt Cathy loves you!"
- Sarah saying the favorite thing she got for Christmas was love, laughter and celebrating Jesus' birthday - then her DSi.
- Morgan leaving a note for Santa that said "My sister made this book. it is good. I think you should read it." It was called "The Gingerbread Princess"
- My mom making her yummy homemade hot fudge sauce, not once, but twice!
- Staying up til the wee hours of the morning one night just talking and laughing about nothing in particular with Mike.
- My neice staying the night and all 3 girls sleeping in one twin bed. Giggling and singing and telling stories. Too cute!

Of course there were other memories - but for some reason, my heart wanted to capture these ones tonight. 

2010 has been a wonderful year and I look forward to living deeply and fully in 2011!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I know a lot of people have busy Christmases - rushing here and there, trying to see both sides of their families, often putting up with 'crazy' in-laws.   And I'm sure if I was in their shoes, I'd sometimes sigh in the midst of it too.

Yet, today, as we were cleaning the snow off the gravestones of Mike's dad, mom and sister, I felt a silent ache.  The truth is our Christmases should be filled with hustle and bustle and too much family.  We should be sharing laughter around the fireplace with my in-laws too. We should not be standing outside in the cold, trying to explain to our daughter why sometimes little sisters die before their big brothers. 

And while I am super thankful for my family and all the time I get to enjoy just hanging and relaxing with them - I know I'd share it in a heartbeat in order to crowd in the love of both families to our holiday festivities.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Bakers!

So as another year comes to a close, here is my last A to Z list for 2010.  We are thankful for a savior, born long ago, in whom we find freedom, hope and happiness, not only at Christmas, but all year long.

A – A to Z Summer Fun activities all summer long.
B – Brick-laying, Mike tackled a new project of making benches with some leftover bricks. Love them!
C – Celebrated our 16th Anniversary with a float trip down the Buffalo River in Arkansas.
D – Daisy dog blew out her knee and had to have surgery – she was pretty cute in her pink cast.
E – Entertained by the girls singing and dancing on their stage.
F – Fairy Fortresses built in the woods.
G – Girl Scouts-both Morgan & Sarah still participating. Sold 200+ boxes of cookies!
H – Happiness found in all the little things. Especially in the smiles of our girls.
I – Ice cream – ate it every chance we got!
J – Job change for Cathy, went from being an Aide @school to subbing, and spending extra time writing, hoping to pursue that passion more.
K – Keeping in touch with friends & family thru facebook and blog
L – Lawnmower needed lots of repairs, but Mike got a welder out of the whole deal.
M – Michigan Memories with Cathy’s family.
N– Neighbors. We have been thankful over and over again that we moved into this neighborhood two years ago. We love our neighbors!
O – Overnight camp for the girls (first time!). We all had 2 nights of fun.
P – Pomme de Terre Lake (aka, Potato Lake)– camping, boating, tubing, friends
Q – Quiet times to enjoy lots of reading and good stories. So many talented authors.
R – Running. Mike, Cathy & Morgan all ran their first 5k race!
S – Soccer – Sarah played soccer for the first time.
T – Treasure Hunting – Still enjoying geocaching!
U – Upstate New York memories with Mike’s family. Loved Niagara Falls.
V –Visits from Cathy’s parents in March and October.
W – Wildfire rollercoaster rides @ Silver Dollar City (upside down 5x).
X – Xcellent Health, which we try not to take for granted.
Y – Years old, Morgan, 9 yrs (4th grade); Sarah 7 old (2nd Grade)
Z – Zoo – of course we made it to the zoo this year – twice!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

20th Christmas

So, I got to thinking (ok, so my brain never stops thinking!), that this makes the 20th Christmas that Mike and I have shared.  Wow. 

So, that first Christmas, in 1991, I got him a sweater. I loved it. Um yeah, he hates sweaters. It was the last sweater he ever wore or owned since I've known him.  He got me a Mich. State Sweatshirt. I loved it and wore it until I ruined it by leaning into a greasy vent in a plane we were touring. Now I just steal his MSU sweatshirts.  He also got me a Precious Moment figurine. The one with the little boy holding the mistletoe on a fishing pole over the little girl. Awwww. 

We didn't actually spend Christmas day together, as he still travelled with his family to New York until we were married. But I remember before he left, I gave him a card and in the ice on the card were the words "I Love You"! It was the first I had really said those words to him. We had started dating in September (the week before he went away to college and I was in my senior year of HS), and in October he had said "I love you" and I said something like, "you don't love don't even know me!"  And he said, "I love everything I do know about you!" :) Apparently we fell in love pretty quickly!!

Who knew, here we'd be 20 Christmases later, deeply in love after all these years, sharing this amazing life, with two beautiful daughters?!  All I know is that I thank God everyday for the gift of my husband and that "I love you" grows sweeter and sweeter with each passing year we share!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Perspective

So, I've probably spent a little too much on our girls this year. I don't know why.  Maybe because Morgan didn't want to see Santa this year. Maybe 'cuz I feel these precious childhood years slipping by.  Maybe 'cuz I can. Maybe just 'cuz I love them and want to shower them with gifts. 

For the past three years, we've helped at 2nd Saturday at our church.  1500 people came this last Saturday... and our church gave them toys, food for Christmas dinner, visit Santa, a winter wonderland with awesome bounce houses, free haircuts, free immunizations, donuts.  It's pretty awesome.  So our pastor just posted this letter on his blog:

A story I wanted to pass along…

I teach first grade in miller (a rural school district outside of Springfield.) One of my sweet girls came in today telling me how excited she was about a present she had gotten this weekend at a church. As a member of NPC, I had an idea she was part of second Saturday. When I asked her about the gift she said it was the only one she would get this year and it was a littlest pet shop toy. Even though she knew what it was, she wrapped it up when she got home and and would open it on Christmas.

I have been going to north point for almost 4 years now and have served at kid point for most of that time. I have seen a lot of changed lives, but this one just hit a little closer to home than normal.So, a great big thank you for your vision and heart for my sweet kids.

Ok, let me give that girl a Merry Christmas! Let me spoil her like I spoil my own kids! Oh, it was the Christmas perspective I was needing today.  I don't know if I'm more excited for my girls to get home to open the presents that arrived in the mail today, or to read them this letter and tell them about how they were a part of making a little girl very happy.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Celebrating Darian: Part Two

The girls with their favorite sitter. Beautiful.

Darian helped add some of the gorgeous decorative
touches to her wedding cake.

Mr. and Mrs. Stinson

The Happy Couple

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Celebrating Darian

Darian has been an amazing part of our family for the past 9 years!! She is one of the sweetest, most giving, kindest, un-selfish, fun people we know! And for whatever reason, she has decided to LOVE our girls these past 9 years (really, she loves all kids!)  She has graciously watched our kids for several weekends for the past few years. This was an email she sent me last summer: No thanks necessary for last weekend. I should be thanking you for "sharing" the girls with me. We always have such a good time! I'm looking forward to our weekend next month. One day just wasn't long enough!!! Ok, what parent doesn't love to hear that when we leave them for a weekend!?! On top of that she makes them amazing birthday cakes. Darian always makes our girls feel special, important, and loved, no matter how short or long her time is with them.  She comes to their games and activities when she can. To say she is a blessing in our life falls short of how much we love her!!

Well today is her day!!  She is getting married today!! We are super excited for her and Beau. We look forward to watching them create a beautiful life and family together in the years to come.  Someone as beautiful as she is, deserves all the happiness her heart can hold!! We're thankful we get to be a part her life and this very special day!! I'm sure more pictures will follow!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Strange Conversation

Here at the Baker house, sometimes we have the strangest conversations. Here's last night's:

Mike: Can I pull out some of your hair?
Sarah: (with a look that he's slightly crazy) NO!
Mike: It's for Science!
Sarah: (with a look that he's still slightly crazy) Well, Okay.

So, Sarah,  Morgan and I proceeded to surrender a few strands of  hair (roots and all), as he carefully placed them each in their own Ziploc bag.  Apparently at the crime lab he's doing some training for a new employee and needs some samples. Ah, glad we could help fight crime! We jokingly told the girls they 'better be good' because we had standards for any evidence now! (I know most people, this time of year, are telling their kids they better be good 'cuz Santa is coming! Like I said, strange conversations!)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Last Day on Earth

Fourteen years ago, this was (most likely) Mike's mom's and Mike's sister's last day on Earth.  They did not know it would be their last day. We did not know it would be their last day. Yet, their last day came. One moment that forever ended their lives and changed ours. Forever.

I wonder how they spent their last day. I wonder what their thoughts were. I wonder if they would have done anything different if they knew it was their last day. Oh, if I had known it was their last day, I'm certain I would have said a few things more to them, but mostly, I'm thankful for the great relationship I had with them - one filled with both joy and laughter!

The small gift I've received through all of this, is the gift of cherishing every day.  Life is a sweet gift and we are never promised tomorrow.  Really, all we have this moment.  This moment is life. Full of life. I don't always appreciate it, but I try. Try to make the most of this beautiful life I've been given.  To wake up grateful that I have this breath. Grateful that I am surrounded by my family's love. Grateful for the the memories I have which remind me of all that is important in life.