December 31, 2010

2010 In Review


January – This was the month that we spent preparing our house for Joycelen’s arrival. There was a lot painting and cleaning. But the hardwork gave us a beautiful nursery for our daughter.

February – During the month of love we were in the home stretch towards Joycie’s birth. We spent this month having baby showers, visiting the doctor and counting down.

March – Along with the strong March winds, we welcomed our daughter into the world. The first few days were fraught with a few bloopers but we managed to survive.

April – April saw me return to work and learn about the darkside of motherhood. However, the smile of a certain little girl outshined the negative.

May – Things were rough around the Lee household in May. A sick husband and baby added up to one exhausted Mama.

June -  The start of summer saw big changes in our household. I learned that I couldn't do it all, M celebrated his first Father's Day, and Joycie had her first visit to daycare.

July – July brought steaming hot temperatures in South Georgia….so we spent our free time inside. July was also a month of insight and self-acceptance for me.

August – This month started out on a high note, with a lovely family trip to Atlanta. However, it ended on a sad one as we had to say goodbye to my beloved cousin.

September – M turned 31 this month and we celebrated with a birthday scavenger hunt.

October – Joycie experienced her first fall festival, hayride, and placed 2nd in a costume contest.

November – As the weather turned cool, and we prepared to celebrate a day of thanks, Joycie once again taught her Mama an important lesson or two.

December – We celebrated Joycie’s first Christmas with our family and friends.

Our New Year’s Eve plans are low-key. We have a NYE service at church, after which, M and I will watch the “ball” drop from the comfort of our couch.  I hope that each of you has a blessed New Year.

December 28, 2010

Christmas Recap

Our Christmas celebration began on Christmas Eve with a candle lit service at our Church. Joycie was quite thru the first few moments of the service, but began to get sleepy and fussy so I opted to take her into the nursery. I sat in the darkened nursery rocking her and singing Christmas hymns to her. My mind thought about Mary, and that long ago Christmas Eve as she prepared for the arrival of her son. It was a beautiful moment and a cherished memeory of the holiday.
On Christmas morning, Joycie was wide awake by 8 a.m. M fed her a bottle while I called both sets of grandparents to let them know that they could come over to watch Joycie unwrap her gifts. Joycie had little interest in unwrapping her gifts, which was suprising since she had been trying to tear into the wrapping paper all week long. After lots of encouragement from Daddy, she managed to get her presents unwrapped. The picture above is her excited face as she plays with her stacking rings.
After Joycie unwrapped her presents, M and I exchanged our gifts. I was tickled pink at how excited he was over the new WII game that I bought him. However, his excitement was nothing compared to mine, when I unwrapped my gifts. He began by giving me a box, than contained a flour shifter.
I was a little perplexed, but thought that there had to be a purpose to his gift. So I eagerly unwrapped the next two packages and discovered a bottle of vanilla flavoring, and a can of baking powder. I sat there stunned as I realized that M had bought me a stand mixer. M said that he was worried that I did not like the gift.....but I assured him that I was just so blown away that I had to fight tears. Once I got it together, I tore into my box, and soon had my shiny new toy on the kitchen counter.
Once we were finished with our gift exchange, we went to M's brother's for Christmas breakfast. Joycie managed to find her way into a leftover box.....and was entertained for quite awhile.

We exchanged gifts with my parents, sister, brother-in-law and nephews/niece at 11:30. With 4 kids all under 5 trying to open presents, it was chaos to say the very least. However, it was so much fun watching them get excited over each item. When the presents were all unwrapped, we snapped family photos in front of my parents tree and then headed to M's parents for Christmas lunch. At M's parents, more presents were unwrapped, lots of good food was eaten, and laughs were shared. Our Christmas festitvites ended with a Christmas supper at my parents home....followed by M playing his new game, Ghost Hunter. The excitement of the day wore Joycie out and she was tucked into bed by 8:30.

Did you have a wonderful Christmas?

December 24, 2010

From Our Family To Yours

December 21, 2010

9 Months


You turned 9 months old on December 5th. Since we were on vacation when this milestone occurred, and are now in the throes of the Christmas season, you 9 month letter is a little late. Mama’s sorry. Here are your stats for this month:

•You weigh 20 pounds and nearly 29 inches long.
•You are now in size 3 diapers.
•You are now wearing clothing sized 12 months.

Your vocabulary continues to expand with you saying “Bye” whenever someone leaves a room, as well as attempts to say “Meme” (great grandmother”, and La-la (which we think is for Aunt Lane.)

You are beginning to crawl in small bursts. You begin by getting onto all fours and rocking back and forth. Then you pull your legs up to your hands. After 2 or 3 times of this, you realize that you are not moving fast enough, so you resort to rolling – or begin grunting/crying… until someone picks you up. (Spoiled much). However, you have no desire to be held, instead you wiggle until we set you down and then you try to walk with us holding your hands.

Your 2nd tooth is coming in – right next to the first tooth. I chuckle every time I see your smile with those 2 teeth shining thru. You have experienced your first Thanksgiving – and we gave you small tastes of the traditional Thanksgiving fare. You liked pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and stuffing. However, you strongly disliked the ham and turkey.

You are still a happy, loving baby. You have smiles and laughs for nearly everyone you meet – and tend to lunge head first into the arms of whoever starts talking to you. Last night at Daddy’s Christmas party, you were blowing spit bubbles, kisses, and giving a pageant wave to all the guests.

Joycie – you are a constant source of delight to Daddy and I – teaching us something new everyday. We can not wait to see what the next month holds for all of us!

We love you!

~Mama & Daddy

December 10, 2010

Prayer Request

I have a series of blogs that I will ocassional read, but rarely comment on. They are blogs that I have found thru other blogs, and so on and so on. My most recent discovery was the blog of Sarah .

Sarah is an amazing Mom to Ella, Jacob, and Audrey. Jacob and Audrey are the twin that Sarah gave birth to prematurely just a few months ago. I have peridoically read Sarah's post as she shared how her twins were growing/thriving - serving as a testament to God's amazing healing power.

So you can imagine my dismay, when I read today on Sarah's blog that Audrey is bakc in the hospital - battling a serious virus.

Would you please pause and say a prayer for this sweet baby girl, her mom, dad, twin brother, and big sister?

Twas' The Write Before Christmas - Day 5

Day 5 Prompt

“If you had to sing for your supper, you’d starve”.

That’s what my sister told me when she was 3, and I was 7. We were riding in the backseat of my parents silver mini-van, belting out the words to My Boyfriend’s Back.

While her words stung, I knew that they were true. I have been gifted with many talents, but a beautiful singing voice is not among them. I tend to either sound like I am singing with my nose pinched off, or as though I am trying to imitate my husband’s deep bass voice.

And yet, I love to sing. I sing in the shower, in my car, to my daughter as we dance around the kitchen. I songs that I love from all genres of music – from The Beach Boys classic Kokomo, to Etta James soulful love song At Last, and everything in between.

My favorite songs to sing though are hymns. Hymns are to me like quilts – they wrap themselves around you – offering warmth, comfort and security.

In the midst of trying days, I find myself humming the tune “Sheltered in the Arms of God…
And soon I raise my voice to sing

"So let the storms rage high. The dark clouds rise. They won't worry me. For I'm sheltered safe within the arms of God ."

And I sing with reckless abandon – which has often earned me strange looks from co-workers. I am also certain my husband’s ears are often aching by the end of song service – but he never complains.

While earthly ears may hear my nasally tone, my wavering pitch, and my uncanny ability to get off tune, the ears of my Heavenly Father hear an anthem of praise, a song of a grateful heart, and that is a beautiful thing.


December 09, 2010

Twas' The Write Before Christmas: Day 4

Day 4 Prompt

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, is one of my top 5 favorite Christmas movies (although, I will admit that the Grinch scared me just a bit when I was a child). As I child, I loved the movie because the “bad character” became “good” at the end. The movie had a happy ending – and I have always been a sucker for happy ending.

Now that I am a grown up – and perhaps a bit wiser, I love the movie because it teaches the important lesson that in the words of Mr. Grinch

“Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more."

It is that little bit more than can make all the difference in the holiday season. For me, the little bit more is:

  • Celebrating the Birth of My Savior

  • Watching Christmas Movies in my PJ’s with the children from our Church

  • Singing silly Christmas songs with my husband, brother in law, an sister in law while standing in my mother-in-law’s kitchen

  • It is watching my nieces make smores in my fireplace on Christmas Eve.

  • It is decorating Christmas cookies with my nephews.

  • It is the wonder in my daughter’s eyes as she creeps over to touch the lights on our Christmas tree.

Knowing that for the moment all the people that I love most are safe, healthy, and well.

What things make your Christmas “mean a little bit more”?

December 08, 2010

Twas' the Write Before Christmas: Day 3

Day Three Prompt

She shifted uncomfortably on the pew. Glancing at her watch for the third time, she noted that only a mere five minutes had passed. “Will this service never end?’ she pondered.

Her parents had insisted that she attend the Christmas Eve service with them. “It is a family tradition.” Her mother had stated.

“When did you go to detest spending time with us?” her father queried.

It was not her parents. She loved them with every fiber of her being and spending time with them was enjoyable to her. Instead, it was the service. In the 8 years, since she had left home, she had only attended church a handful of time. No longer did she feel the pull to gather with others who shared her faith. After all, what was the point? Life in the city had shown her the hatred, despair, violence that filled the world.

She had done the right things growing up. She had never drank, smoked, swore, had pre-martial sex, made good grades, went to college…. and still she was alone, living in a rented apartment, working at job that paid the bills but left her feeling unfulfilled.

With her dark thoughts filling her mind, she barely noticed the choir filing into the sanctuary. But she was drawn out of her self-imposed pity party, when a beautiful soprano voice rang out “I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play, And mild and sweet their songs repeat, Of peace on earth good will to men."

Her mother leaned over and whispered, “That’s Jenna. She lost her husband and little boy in a car wreck earlier this year. You remember me telling you about her.”

She nodded, watching the woman’s face radiant pure joy. “How – how in the midst of such a tragedy, could this woman be happy? Moreover, why am I so bitter?’

"Then rang the bells more loud and deep, God is not dead, nor doth He sleep. The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, With peace on earth, good will to men" Jenna finished the carol.

The crowd rose to its feet with thunderous applause. But she remained seated, tears streaming down her face. “I have had it all wrong. My focus has been on what have in this moment, in this world. I have overlooked what I have been given here, and what I have been promised in the world to come.”

Casting a tear filled glance around the sanctuary, her eyes first fell on the nativity. The tiny statue of a baby – resting in a manger. A promise of hope, a promise of salvation. Then her eyes fell upon the cross – the fulfillment of that hope, the completion of the promise.

That night, as she left the church with her parents. Her heart sang “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep. The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, With peace on earth, good will to men"

December 06, 2010

Twas' the Write Before Christmas - Day 1

Day One Prompt .:

Lost Amid the Snow

I have never been lost amid the snow. Truth is, in my corner of the world, snow is extremely rare. In 28 years, I have seen snow 5 times, and only one of those came during the holiday season.

I thought that I had nothing to offer on this prompt – no poems to write, no gorgeous photos to share. I started, stopped, deleted, and re-wrote for nearly an hour.

And then it hit me – I was taking things too literally. So I started letting my mind wander (which can be a dangerous thing)…

Snow ---- > White Noise

A gentle snow is a beautiful thing but a blizzard is dangerous, often deadly. In a blizzard, people can lose their way.

Activity during the holiday season is the same way. It always starts innocently – I agree to attend a party, volunteer to prepare a dish for the get together, or just need to buy “one more gift” – and soon the going/doing/being/buying has overwhelmed me. I am bombarded by the “holiday” and lose the reason for the Season.

Too many holidays I have been lost amid the snow. Not this year, instead I am settling in at home, snuggling under the blankets, and waiting out the weather.