Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Family Gatherings

Our family has been blessed with an amazingly large family tree. So every year we have at least four separate family gatherings to celebrate Christmas (usually before, during, and after). This year we had an early Christmas dinner on December 22nd at Tim's with Tom & Geege (Tim's parents), Caitlin & Billy, Darcy (Tim's sis), and Tommy (Darcy's son).

Darcy, Tim, Geege, & Caitlin

Tim, Caitlin, & Billy
Maddy tearing off the wrapping paper covering her new Leap Frog Activity Table from Papa Tim.

Maddy posing for a picture with her new activity table.

Reilly & Maddy

Maddy trying to get at her new learning friend Lilly from Caitlin and Billy.

After the gifts had been opened and Maddy was no longer interested in Lilly she quickly grabbed the stem of my wine glass sitting on the coffee table and threw it to the ground. The wine splashed and the glass shattered. I was horrified. It was as if it was in slow motion. I was sitting right there, and I saw her grab the glass, but I just couldn't stop it from smashing to the ground. Thank you Billy and Caitlin for helping me clean up the mess!

Darcy & Tommy

Geege & Tom

Billy, Nick, & Tim

Newly Engaged!

Billy & Caitlin

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christ Is The Reason For The Season

Christ was born for the most amazing purpose in the world. He was born to save us from our sins so that we may live forever with the Lord in heaven. This Christmas I am thankful for Jesus, for Maddy's health, and for the Lord's truth. My one and only hope is to share the Lord's love and truth with our girls so that they too can experience a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. One way we decided to make our Christmas "Christ focused" was to have a birthday party for Jesus. Reilly thought that would be really cool. So I went to the store and bought the items we would need to have a birthday cake. Reilly made a birthday sign pointing the way to Jesus' party. As time would have it, it slipped away and we never made the cake or sang the song. In fact the box of cake mix and can of icing are still sitting on our kitchen counter. We are still planning on having a party for Jesus, it will just be a little late.

Due to the state of our economy we were inclined to scale down on our purchases and instead focus on time spent with family and friends. This year my mom, Fred, Jill, Joel, Nick & me decided to forgo exchanging gifts. Instead, on Christmas morning we all shared breakfast at our house and watched the girls open gifts.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Traveling Adventures

We traveled down to San Diego on the Friday before Christmas to visit the Stephens Family. Our intention was to be completely packed up by 1:00 so that as soon as Rei was out of school we'd leave and hopefully avoid L.A. traffic. Our plans didn't exactly go as planned.

First of all Nick got off work in the late morning as opposed to the early morning. He had a list of errands to do but his first stop was to take our truck to the Costco tire department. You see, on Maddy's first birthday Nick was traveling out to Buttonwillow after an AM class for the fire department when he realized that the truck had a flat tire. Luckily he wasn't far from home and so the girls and I came to his rescue. We were really just there for moral support even though we all ended up getting dirty and greasy. Maddy was the only one who managed to stay clean because she had fallen asleep in the car on our way to meet Nick. Anyway, the Costco tire specialists informed Nick that not only was that tire bad but we had two other tires that were bad. So, he ended up replacing all 4 and had a wait time of about 2 hours.

We were only about 2 hours behind schedule by the time we ended up leaving our home in the hopes of traveling to SD to party with our niece Sydney who was having her 10th birthday party.

Once we were traveling on Hwy 99 which then merged into I-5 we were really moving. It wasn't until we hit the outskirts of L.A. that we slammed into gridlock traffic. After being cut off by a semi during the I-5 and 110 split we pulled out of the I-5 lane and began our adventure on Hwy 110. While on the 110 we missed the exit for the 405 and then found ourselves at a dead end town. So we stopped at the local Starbucks to get some treats and stretch. While in the Starbucks parking lot Nick ended up sitting on his coffee which went all over the drivers seat and floor not to mention scalding poor Nicks backside. When we finally ended up back on the 110 we took the 405 North when we should have taken South. But once we found the 405 South we were as good as gold and arrived at the Stephens' home at 10:30 PM.
Reilly and Sydney played dress-up on Saturday evening. These were their spy-girl clothes.Nick and Natalie posing for the camera during our game of Chicken Foot.On Sunday we decided to head to Knott's Berry Farm. We were all actually very excited about the trip, that was until we arrived to find the park super packed due to the fact that it was the last day for Toys For Tots... we had NO idea. Apparently if you brought a toy you got in FREE. It seemed like the park didn't have an occupancy limit or if they did they weren't enforcing it! The park was shoulder to shoulder and stroller to heal jam-packed. Isn't this a great picture of Nick! He's so handsome!
Reilly and Sydney posing together. They are both growing up so fast!

All the girls.

Resting at the picnic tables after eating lunch.

All eight of us on the train.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

One Year Old

Madeleine had her first birthday on Saturday. It's amazing how much babies grow and learn in the span of one year. As I look back upon Madeleine's first year I am amazed and ever so thankful. We are blessed by Jesus in so many ways and we are truly thankful for all of our friends and family that helped support us through her first year.

Grandpa Fred feeding Maddy carrots.

Maddy riding her new horse while Grandma Barbara watches.

Bounce house fun for everyone!

Maddy sharing her cake with Grandma Betty. Vanessa playing with Maddy, Luke, and Rei.
Lori, Marissa, Nancy, Papa Tim, Betty, & Steve.

Grandma Sarah taking a picture while holding her youngest grandchild. That's right, this is Nolan. He was born on Becky's birthday, October 28, 2008. Becky and Nolan came and surprised us all. All the way from Texas!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Snow in the Herndon House

After I finished checking my email this evening I entered our living room to find SNOW! Well, it was actually an entire box of Kleenex that Maddy had got her hands on. She had completely emptied the box onto our floor and had ripped almost every tissue into many many pieces!

Let me back the story up just a bit. This afternoon Reilly and I decided to decorate our Christmas trees while Maddy was taking her nap. We have one large family tree and three small baby trees. When Reilly was finished decorating the three baby trees we decided that one of them would look nice on top of our piano. I moved the Kleenex box that usually sits on our piano and replaced it with the baby Christmas tree. As I was doing this switch-a-roo I put the Kleenex on top of an end table. I am usually pretty careful as to what I place on that table because Maddy obviously has access to it!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

Instead of going out shopping at 4 AM like I attempted to last year, Maddy and I slept in till 6:30! At about 11 AM we drove to Grandma Babe's house for brunch. The family group consisted of Aunt Nat, Uncle Lance, Sydney, Tyler, Sako (their chocolate lab), Aunt Paula, Uncle Geoff, Hannah, Miles, Uncle Neal, Emma, Haden, Haden's friend from college, Grandma Sarah, Grandpa Aaron, Chandler, Uncle Tim, Crim, Grandma Babe, Maddy and me. Maddy took a particular interest in Sako the chocolate lab.

At first I was a little nervous about Maddy playing with Sako because Maddy isn't always gentle. But Sako has been trained well and is very familiar with little ones. Our nephew Tyler will turn four in December and she lets him wrestle with her and love on her as only kids can. She is such an amazingly well tempered dog! Not only did she let Maddy pet her, she let her climb on her, snuggle with her, and stick her hands inside of her mouth! What a great dog!

Our day was filled with catching up, good food, dancing, and singing. In fact the girls (Hannah, Emma, & Sydney) did an amazing job playing the piano and singing a song from Journey. Maddy even joined in on the fun.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Maddy's First Thanksgiving

Today was Maddy's very first Thanksgiving. We had two main stops planned for the day. First we were going to visit Grandma Betty in the morning and then we were heading to McKittrick to spend the rest of Thanksgiving Day with daddy. But, as life would have it our sweet little Maddy came down with the stomach flu on Tuesday. I thought that she was almost over it on Wednesday when I put her to bed but then midnight rolled around and it was back with vengeance. The poor baby was miserable (I'll spare you the details). Due to this unexpected turn of events I had to cancel our morning date with Grandma Betty so that we could catch up on much needed sleep. And after lots of rest and many small bottles of Pedialite Maddy seemed to be back to her old self. So, at noon we headed out. First we went to Albertsons for more Pedialite and then we went to Grandma Betty's house.
We were the first to arrive. Boeboe (Grandma's doggie) always gets a bit excited when new people come around, but Maddy was different. He barked and barked at her. We think that he was a bit jealous because Grandma was paying lots of attention to Maddy. I took a picture of him barking at her. She doesn't seem fazed only a bit amused.

We had dinner with Grandma Betty, Reno, Kyle, Uncle Steve, Aunt Lori, and Boeboe. Maddy even got to eat off of Uncle Steve's plate! He let her pick up green beans and then drop them on his lap! He even let her move on to his mashed potatoes and stuffing. She had a couple of tastes of the stuffing and seemed to really like it.

Boeboe running around and barking at Maddy.

Here is Maddy enjoying some of Uncle Steve's Thanksgiving dinner... just look at her taking over his plate. What a great uncle!

Maddy was able to take a nap on our way to Daddy's fire station in McKittrick. When we arrived we met Engineer Teddy, Firefighter Fred, and Fred's fiancee Megan. Maddy and I had just come from a delicious Thanksgiving feast and we were greeted with another. There was a deep fried turkey, gravy, green bean casserole, potato salad, stuffing, apple crumble, and homemade cheesecake! Maddy had a great time pushing around the dining room chairs (on rollers) and talking to Teddy. Even though I brought numerous toys to entertain her with she was fascinated by Teddy. After dinner he was in one of the offices in the station on a computer and she would walk in and just babble away at him. Then he'd talk back and she would babble some more. It was really cute. I'm not sure how cute Teddy thought it was but he played along anyway.

By 7:45 PM Maddy was ready to hit the road.

GG's 90th Birthday Party

GG's 90th Birthday Party
May 2, 2008