Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Grandma Sue!

Dear Grandma Sue,

Since you couldn't be here with me for your birthday, I decided I would see what it was like to play in your shoes for a day.

I woke up at about 7am and threw on a Yankee's sweatshirt.

I then grabbed a gumball to chew on.

Then I went into the bathroom to look into my magnification mirror. Did you know it shows even my small pores?

I noticed a few stray hairs and decided I needed to dye them.

I went downstairs and laid on the couch to watch TV, while eating some chocolate covered pomegranates.

Then I checked my facebook.

I LOVE facebook!

Around Noon I decided I would fix dinner for everyone to eat later.

I jumped into my car and drove to Safeway to get some Pepsi. I've had this cough for a few days now...

I had my coupons and walked all around the store.

I read stories to my baby.

After a long day I took my sleeping pill.

To end my day I took a long drink of cold Pepsi, to help me go to sleep.

Grandma I hope that you have a fun birthday in Houston. Thank you for always taking such good care of me. I love when you watch me while Mommy goes to the gym, and when Mommy and Daddy go on dates. I love reading stories with you, and climbing up and down the stairs. I like all the crazy names you call me, and the funny noises you make. Thanks for all the presents and gifts you give me all the time, and for always making me laugh. I love you Grandma Sue!


(Crazy nickname from Grandma)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Light Gazing From Heaven

One of my favorite parts of Christmas are all the beautiful lights. Growing up on Christmas Eve we would all be in our new pajamas and jump into the car and go look at lights. There was this neighborhood that would go all out with amazing lights. The feeling was so special and sparkly.

The past few years living in Michigan there weren't many Christmas lights. I was shocked that not many people put them up. Last year when my parents came for Thanksgiving my Dad put up beautiful lights on our little house. It made such a huge difference to my Christmas spirit.

Tonight Chris, Arista and I drove around the neighborhood and looked at the lights. There aren't as many here in Virginia as there are out west. Since we live in a townhouse community there is limited space for Christmas lights. However, I loved every minute of it. I loved looking at everyone's Christmas trees, and I especially loved all the many twinkling lights. I have been thinking a lot lately about how I am so excited for Christmas this year, and yet dreading it at the same time. How can you have conflicting feelings like that? I keep reflecting back on the past few Christmases and the feelings I had then and now. 2 years ago my world ended, and Christmas was VERY difficult. Last Christmas I was in heaven with my miracle baby, and this Christmas I feel a huge hole in my heart. I want to spend Christmas with my two daughters. I want Preslie to come down the stairs holding Arista and jumping for joy at what Santa has brought her. I want to see her crazy curly brown hair bouncing along with her. I want her to sit on my lap with Arista as we read the Nativity Story. I want to look at our two daughters opening gifts, and look at Chris and feel like my life is complete. I want Arista to have a mother who is 100% devoted to her, and not sad on Christmas morning.

I have come to terms with the fact that Preslie was only here to receive a body, and that she has a bigger purpose. I can't make 100% peace with not having her here with us right here and right now. I wonder if I ever will have that peace. As I have watched Arista grow, I have found myself becoming sad that she is growing up. When Preslie died I wanted that baby. I wanted a live baby to take care of. As Arista is becoming more independent and growing out of her baby stage that want of a baby is growing stronger. My mother tells me that is why it's time to have another child. My Mom just wants another grandbaby. ;) No, I want to go back in time and snatch my baby Preslie and take care of her and watch her grow. I want that empty feeling in my heart and arms to go away. I want Arista to meet the amazing sister she has, and to be able to look up to her and grow alongside her.

Christmas time is a wonderful time to reconnect with our Savior. I am grateful the Savior was born on this earth and that he died for me. He died for me to be able to fill this whole in my heart, and to raise and see my little P again. I know that through him I can temporarily fill my void, however hard it may be. How lucky Preslie is to be able to spend Christmas with the reason for the season.

An angel Daddy sent me this poem two years ago, and I love reading it during this Christmas time.

Christmas in Heaven
I see the countless CHRISTMAS TREES around the world below
with tiny lights like HEAVEN’S STARS reflecting on the snow.

The sight is so SPECTACULAR please wipe away that tear
for I am spending CHRISTMAS WITH JESUS CHRIST this year.

I hear the many CHRISTMAS SONGS that people hold so dear
but the SOUND OF MUSIC can't compare with the CHRISTMAS CHOIR up here.

I have no words to tell you of the JOY their voices bring
for it is beyond description to HEAR THE ANGELS SING.

I know HOW MUCH YOU MISS ME, I see the pain inside your heart
for I am spending CHRISTMAS WITH JESUS CHRIST this year.

I can't tell you of the SPLENDOR or the PEACE here in this place
Can you just imagine CHRISTMAS WITH OUR SAVIOR face to face

I'll ask him to LIFT YOUR SPIRIT as I tell him of your love
so then PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER as you lift your eyes above.

Please let your HEARTS BE JOYFUL and let your SPIRIT SING
for I am spending CHRISTMAS IN HEAVEN and I’m walking WITH THE KING.

By Wanda White

Everytime I look at the Christmas lights on houses and trees I always think "I bet Preslie has an amazing view of all the lights around the world". I imagine myself sitting next to her in the clouds "Christmas light gazing". Someday we will all be together again gazing at the lights, but for now only in my dreams.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A "Grinchy" Thanksgiving Weekend

This year for Thanksgiving we shared it with friends and family. Marissa and Chris flew in from Utah, and even arrived a day earlier due to the "blizzard". My Thanksgiving preparations began Tuesday night by making a pumpkin roll. C3P0(Chris Coates, our brother-in-law)was craving a good pumpkin roll, so I took on the task. I added a little bit of lemon extract to the filling. It was yummy! Wednesday night C3P0 and Chris went and played basketball over at the church, while I baked and Arista played with Marissa and Grandma and Grandpa. I made 2 French Silk pies, homemade rolls, pumpkin pie, Jello, caramel sweet potatoes, and favors.

Thanksgiving started out with a big "Turkey Bowl" played at the church. All the men played including Marissa! Way to go! We had a wonderful dinner together along with our good friends Stan and Lea, and Chris' 3rd cousins Mary-Ann, James, Maria, and their little sons Noah and Moses.

After dinner we played games, while a few of us napped. At 10pm Chris and I headed over to Toys R Us to start our black Friday Christmas shopping. We could not believe how many people were there. The line wrapped around the building a few times. We thought we would never get in, and Chris was begging me to go. Fortunately I made him stay, and we only waited 20 minutes before we were running through the store grabbing anything that Arista would love. We ended up with a bundle of great toys for amazing deals. After Toys R Us we picked up Arista and all headed to Potomac Mills Mall. The mall opened at midnight, and I was one of the first people into Old Navy. I was given a free pair of cozy socks, and a free Dance Central X-box game! After Old Navy we all went our separate ways and shopped till we literally dropped into bed at 6am! Around 3am we stopped into Build-A-Bear to build "Hal". He was only $5 and Arista was awake, so we stuffed him. Right after building him Arista fell fast asleep.

The next day was a blur to all of us. We all took turns napping and watching the football games. I didn't pay much attention to the games, other than the BSU game. I was beyond disappointed at the turnout. Hopefully they can still play in a good bowl.

Saturday we still recovered from black Friday. I went and got my nails done, and then came home to a CRAZY Utah game. There were a lot of fun people over watching, and cheering. There wasn't a dry eye in the crowd when Utah blocked the last field goal. C3P0, Chad and Chris went to a Wizards basketball game that night, and missed the end of the game by 45 seconds. They thought for sure that Utah lost, but were shocked to see that they won! While the boys were at the game us girls watched "Eat Pray Love". I LOVED it! I thought it was such a great movie!

Sunday we woke up and all went out to the National Harbor to see "ICE". The theme this year is "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". These designers come in from China and chisel and sculpt over 2 millions blocks of ice for this Christmas event. It was incredible! They give us each a huge parka to wear because it is 9 degrees inside.

Arista loved looking at all the ice, but thought it was too cold. I swear her little nose was running like a faucet the entire time. There is an ice slide that you can go down, which we all did. Arista was too little so we went down for her. It went super fast and was freezing on your back side.

At the end of the event there was a beautiful nativity made from clear ice, and a huge ice angel. I could not stop thinking of Preslie while walking through. I know she would have loved it, and would have loved going down the slide.

After "ICE" we went into the Gaylord hotel and watched as Arista and Chris rode the train. Arista loved it! I love the bond this little girl has to her Daddy.

After the train ride we walked to the Peep store and then went to grab some lunch before heading to church. Later that night we had our friends Marci and Craig over for a game of Cranium and Golf. It was a fantastic ending to a fun filled weekend. We are grateful for the wonderful family and friends we have. We are so grateful for all of our blessings, and for the opportunity to spend such a humbling holiday with our loved ones. Although we could not spend it with everyone, we are grateful that we were able to share other wonderful holidays and experiences with them through out the years. Most importantly this Thanksgiving we are grateful for our 2 beautiful daughters. Our daughter in heaven, Preslie and our daughter on earth, Arista. Without them our family would not be complete. We have become better because of them, and our faith has increased through the experiences shared with both of them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

They Say it's Your Birthday!

We started out Arista's birthday on Saturday by taking her to the National Zoo. It was a beautiful day outside, but the animals thought it was too cold. Most of them were sleeping but, luckily we were able to see a few.

To end our Zoo experience we bought some cotton candy. There was vending machine that made fresh cotton cool is that? Arista wasn't quite sure about it, so she fed some to Daddy. When she remembered how yummy it was, she went to town!

After the Zoo our friends Stan and Leah came over to meet Arista. They gave Arista 4adorable stuffed beanie babies. Her favorite is the pink and white polka dotted dog. Thanks Stan and Leah!!

Later that night Arista played with Grandma and Grandpa while I started making her birthday cake. Chris and I decorated, wrapped, frosted, and cleaned until 3am! It was totally worth it. I decided to go with a Rainbow theme, because Arista is our Rainbow baby.

We put Arista in her Ariel dress and took her downstairs to open her gifts. She was so excited to see everything.

Arista received many fun toys, clothes, books, etc. She had a blast playing with everything, and even got a little overwhelmed.

Arista wore her first birthday outfit to church, and everyone thought she looked adorable. After church Arista played with her toys and then we stripped her down to eat her first real dinner, spaghetti with meat sauce. She LOVED it!

Here are the cakes I made. Arista's own personal one was german chocolate with buttercream frosting, and ours was german chocolate with the pecan frosting. They were so much fun to make.

After a chorus of singing "Happy Birthday" Arista dug right into her cake. She enjoyed squeezing the frosting inbetween her fingers, and throwing it all over the place. She didn't eat much of it, but had fun playing in it.

The "aftermath"

We were mean parents and put her right into the tub afterwards, which she was not too happy about. After her bath she talked to Grandma Mary on webcam, and opened her main gift...a piano. It's a little upright piano, and she loves it. Even Chewy has been plunking a few notes on it as well.

After a long and tiring birthday Arista fell fast asleep. We were thrilled with how everything turned out, and are so grateful to all our family and friends who thought of her this day. Arista truly is our Rainbow after the storm, and we are so blessed to have her in our lives. Happy First Birthday Arista!! We love you!