If you know me well at all you know how much I absolutely LOVE Christmas! Well, it appears my partner in crime feels the exact same way. Oh joy to the world! We have kicked off this Christmas season with a bang. First the decorating, then every Christmas movie known to man, Advent calendars, Christmas candy making, Christmas lights and of course the true story of Christmas every night before bed.
Madie was SO excited when I got out her tree. She took out each ornament and said "whoa!". I made a promise to myself last year that if I was going to put a tree in her room she had to have total access to it. It is not a "no, no". It is hers. So we rearrange ornaments everyday. We have broken a couple but we love our tree!
Madie also loves our advent calendar. I think she finally got the concept of it now but the first day I put it up she was being awfully quiet. I found her this way and as soon as she saw me she said "uh oh".
Watching Shrek the Halls
My little Santa baby
It has also finally gotten a little cold here. Madie picked out this hat and gloves all by herself and she thinks they are fabulous! I think I agree. Ha!
The most precious gift from above
Madie loves looking at the Christmas lights on the way home in the evenings and we take our time past every house in our neighborhood. She also talks about Santa a lot and knows he says Ho!Ho!Ho! Except when we went to see him she didn't want to sit on his lap. When I asked her what Santa said after that she said "roar!". I love this little girl so much! She just cracks me up. I do love the season so very much but hope she comes to love it for the same reason as me. We were given the most amazing, selfless gift from our Father. The birth and gift of Jesus is the reason we celebrate. The gifts from Jesus are the reason my family is blessed to celebrate in the ways that we do. Now, I think we have a gingerbread house to decorate! Merry Christmas!
This weekend was the second year we did a Cousin Christmas with Chad, Kelly and Cooper. We went to the Great Wolf Lodge this year and had SO much fun! We can even mark it down as a huge success as both families lasted the whole night! Last year we left the Gaylord at 3:00am! Ha!
Madie checking out the decor
Loving the toddler area!
She eventually even figured out how to do the jet ski by herself.
Our sweet little Cooper. He had so much fun and is such a big slider! He must have gone down them 100 times. Madie loved watching him and clapping as he came down.
After the first day in the water park we spent a little time in the arcade while Chad and Mike went to get dinner. Cooper drove the ice cream truck and Madie drove the hot dog truck. Ha!
Waiting for story time. Can you tell we were telling them to say cheese? Ha!
The next day we spent a little more time at the water park before heading out. Madie loved the wave pool!
We had lunch at Rainforest cafe. Madie was not real keen on the animals moving every 5 minutes. She spent lunch in my lap. We then went to Bass Pro to see Santa. We walked all the way up to him and said hi but that was it! No sitting in Santa's lap this year. We did ride his reindeer though!
Coop and Madie checking out the fish.
Coloring a picture for Santa. I picked on with a little girl sitting on Santa's lap for Madie. She didn't bite. Ha!
We then headed back to our house for fun at home. Madie loved having the company. She LOVES trying to do everything her big cousin Cooper does! Kelly and I even rented the Help Friday night. It was a great weekend and we had so much fun spending it with our precious family. To think at this time next year there will be two more little ones to join in the fun.
We went to Abilene for Thanksgiving this year. Unfortunately, pregnancy brain has gotten the best of me and I forgot my camera. Well, actually I remembered my camera but forgot the battery that I had specifically sat right next to the camera to charge so I wouldn't forget it. Thankfully, Kelly sent me some pics. We had a great few days at home and Madie enjoyed being with Cooper! First thing on the agenda was to walk CoCo! I think CoCo got walked more times this weekend than she has in years. Ha!
This pictures cracks me up because it is so typical Madie right now! Full of stories to tell.
This is Cooper showing Madie and the boys how to march like the Aggie band. I am a little worried that there may have been some Aggie brainwashing going on this weekend. (You will see more in pics to come)
LOVE this picture! It reminds me of their first picture together, below. They are still checking each other out saying "what do you want to try to get these people to do?"
Cheese! It's Turkey Day!
This is our Thanksgiving family photo, I guess I took the saying "barefoot and pregnant" literally. Ha!
MiMi and the kids in the tent, or the barn depending on what they were playing at the time!
More Aggie brainwashing. Chad, Cooper and Case made special t-shirts for the (maybe) last aTm vs. TU game. Madie's said BTHOTU and Cooper's had every Aggieism known to man! I really, really love that Cooper has no pants! ha!
The next day Chad, Kelly and Cooper went to Kelly's house so no more pictures. But that's a good thing because Ms. Priss was up all night with an ear infection and we spent most of the next evening waiting at Urgent Care. Even with that, she was in great spirits and we had a great time. We are so blessed and thankful!
It has been on my heart for some time that I needed to share my story. My story of my children. I told God many times that I would share the blessings that came from heart ache. I told him I would obey. I don't know who will read this that needs to hear it but I know in my heart there is someone out there that needs to hear this story. So here is the altar I am building to my God. My altar of Thanks Given. Mike and I have been married almost 8 years! About a year into our marriage we started talking about having children. I sort of suspected it would not be an easy journey for us so we talked with our doctor about it. After the first of many procedures the doctor said he thought my tubes were blocked and referred me to a fertility specialist. I was devastated. I remember calling my mom from the parking lot and crying my eyes out. The first of many tears. We made an appointment with Dr. Kathy Doody not long after. At the first appointment she told us we would need an exploratory surgery to really see my tubes and see if any damage could be repaired easily. We we nervous, so we put it off for some time. Decided we would just wait and see if anything happened and have the surgery when we felt more comfortable with it. About a year later, we went in. It was the very first time I had been under anesthesia. It was probably the most scared I had ever been too. I was really, really afraid I would wake up and they would tell me I would never have children. Quite the opposite happened, I woke up and they told me there was absolutely nothing wrong with my tubes and we could move on to the next phase of treatment. I was diagnosed with polycistic ovarian syndrome, PCOS. We started with two rounds of clomid, my body wouldn't respond. We then moved on to using FSH shots. No progress there either. Next was FSH shots with artificial insemination. We went through three rounds of this, all failed. At this point, we were getting more and more discouraged. Waiting on the phone call of "congratulations or we're sorry" was the most dreaded day of every month. I felt like I knew every time that I wasn't pregnant, but I also think I was preparing myself for the news I didn't want. People would ask how we were handling it, were we OK? I always answered with "God will give us a baby in His time." At some point I wondered if that was true, did I even believe it? I was getting more and more angry with God. I prayed every night for this baby, every night. But then I had a realization. God knew my heart. He knew how angry I was. It was time for me to have an honest conversation with Him. I will never forget that night. I sat in my room and told Him I was mad. I deserved a baby. Mike deserved a baby. We would be wonderful, loving parents. Why did people who didn't even want children get to have them? Why wouldn't He let us have a baby? I cried and cried and cried. But I finally had an open, honest conversation with my Heavenly Father about my deepest hurts and desires. He immediately led me to Elizabeth's story in the Bible. John the Baptist's mom. And I laughed to myself and said OK, God if I need to wait to have a baby as magnificent as the one you blessed Elizabeth with I will wait. I will wait and I will trust in You. I laid down that night and heard as clear as if He was in my room, "Trust in Me." This was after our 2nd round of FSH and artificial insemination. We had another that failed. It still hurt, I still cried. But I had a new peace about it. I came to realize that I wanted to be a parent more than I wanted to be pregnant. And whatever way God was going to bring us a child, he WAS going to bring us a child and I was going to be happy however they got here. After the third fail, Dr. Doody recommended In Vitro Fertilization. We had a lot of decisions to make. I should mention that all this time we were attending a wonderful Life Group through our church. They prayed with us and for us every week. I never asked them to pray only for our baby but to pray for our peace. Boy does our God answers prayers! We decided we would take a vacation, with no shots, no schedules, no stress and when we got back we would start the In Vitro process. So off we headed for a week at our favorite place, Port Aransas. I always say that is my spot. A wonderful pastor and friend, Matt Chandler, once said in a sermon "where does God really talk to you? Where is for you that you can't help but feel His presence?" That is the beach for me. When we returned, we were refreshed and renewed. We had made a decision, we would go through with one round of IVF. See what happens, trust our God and then take a step back. We were not sure how much more we could go through. If you read much of my blog, you know what a truly perfect and wonderful blessing Ms. Madie Lou McQuitty is. She is the answer to every prayer, the validation of every tear and the absolute love of our lives. I have said more than once, and truly mean it with all of my heart, I would go through every heart ache, every shot, every procedure and every tear a million more times if it meant she was the outcome. God knew what He was doing, I didn't need to. But that isn't the end. I actually think He is just showing off at this point. Mike and I had started talking about another baby. Well, really, I had started talking about another baby, Mike wasn't sure if it was time yet. On the drive home from Madie's first trip to Port Aransas, Mike said "you know, maybe it is time for Madie to have a little brother or sister". God was preparing his heart. It was two nights later we learned we were pregnant with Marlie! No way! I was more shocked than I have ever been in my life. I had started praying for God to prepare us. I was ready to go through whatever we needed to for another child and I was ready to face disappointment again too. But that was not His plan this time around. He blew us away! He said this is My plan, raise these children to follow Me. And we will . Oh, we will! We cannot wait to meet our second miracle baby. We cannot wait to see what God has in store for our girls, but I know it will be in His design. The thing I would say to the mommies in waiting is this: trust in Him. Trust with all your heart. I do not know what His journey for you is. Only He does. But trust me when I say, it will be for His glory and you will reap the rewards. And that is my Altar to Him. My Altar of Thanks Given on a week where we reflect what we are most thankful for. I am most thankful for my blessings. They are plenty, perfect and mine.
Last weekend MiMi came down for our "jump start the holiday shopping extravaganza". Ok, I just named it that, but we have been doing it for several years and it is really just a great excuse for some girl time. This was the second year Ms. Priss was in on the fun and oh did she enjoy herself!
The first day we went to Holiday Magic and downtown Grapevine. Here is our most successful group shot. (You can even see little Marlie in this pic. Ha!)
The one time she decided to smile and Mom and I were doing this.......
Madie came home with a special cooking apron and a dancing baby. Both she is quite fond of! Thanks MiMi! - Day one - a success.
The next morning we woke up early and went to Frisco. Mom and I LOVE the Stonebriar mall and decided to head over there and stay the night at the Embassy Suites close by. Let's be honest, as much as we love the shopping, we love the coffee breaks, ice skating rink, people watching and this year - CUPCAKES! We went to the neatest little spot in the mall. This was the carriage inside.
Picking out the sprinkles with MiMi
This is going to be good!
After hours and hours at the mall, we went to eat dinner at GattiLand. Mom and I laughed about how choices change when you have a little one with you. Ha! But Madie was in Heaven. We then went to check in at the hotel, I think you can tell by her face what she thought about that!
Going with MiMi to take back the cart.
Painting our fingernails for the very first time! I found this nail polish called Piggy Paint. It is non-toxic - as natural as mud and comes out of everything. Madie thought it was spectacular!
Here we are the next morning headed down for breakfast!
We had such a great time, memories I will cherish forever. Did we get much shopping done? That's our little secret. :)
This month has been crazy fun! With the break in temperature and lots of events, we have a lot to get caught up on.
Madie has loved pumpkins this season, here she is carving one with Daddy. And yes, she is wearing multiple necklaces, one that is mine. But she thinks she looks good and let's be honest, she comes by over-accessorizing honestly.
Admiring the finished product
Two weekends ago Madie and I struck out to Abilene on a road trip to see MiMi and Granddaddy. We had SO much fun, always just what I need and Madie loves to show off all her new dance moves. For some reason I only took ONE picture - her pretending to be a doctor.
Last week we went to our church's fall festival. It was CRAZY! Tons of people and it looked like a real carnival. Madie had an absolute blast. She ran from room to room saying YAY! She has no idea what the candy prizes were all about but she was sure happy to be getting them.
Visiting the petting zoo.
This was the "make believe" room. She played with the babies mostly, putting them night night and feeding them.
This one liked being carried upside down! ha!
Oh the games, how she loved all the games! They had them specifically for the little ones so it was fun seeing her actually participate.
Madie is very anti-picture right now. This was me attempting to catch her.... This is the speed she is going most days! I just love this little mischievous face.
The other day Madie headed to her room and stayed longer than I am accustomed to so I had to check in. Be still my heart when I walked in to see her reading! And yes I just happened to have my camera ready. I had no idea what I was going to find so I came prepared.
Longest, most random post ever, I know but it is almost ever. I said we had a lot to catch up on!
Here is Madie so NOT cooperating when I wanted her cute little picture Halloween morning. She later got sent home from school sick and has an ear infection so maybe it was that and not her stubbornness. I am not sold though!
That's all for now! Our little Ms. Priss is keeping us super busy and it has been too much fun.