Friday, December 28, 2007

A Perfect Example of The Greatest Generation

It is a sad time for our family. After 83 wonderful years, Joseph McGuinness passed away yesterday. He was loved by everyone who knew him. He had a joyous spirit and a zest for life that was evident to anyone in his presence. Known to me always as "Grandpa", he was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He grew up with virtually nothing (not even a bed to sleep on) and created a life for himself and his family that must have been far beyond his wildest dreams. Here is a picture of him from his surprise 80th birthday party as he was greeted by his adoring family.

And here he is surrounded by 11 of his 12 grandchildren.

Grandpa left a legacy of family. He had four daughters - each of their families strong and intact (although we miss Uncle Bill greatly). Family celebrations are such fun with lots of food, lots of dancing, and lots of laughs. Grandpa and Grandma (who I never had the pleasure to meet) raised their daughters to understand that happiness can be as simple as being together with the ones you love and just enjoying each other. It's as simple as that.

Here's an example of the dancing. It seems every time we all get together there is lots of music and dancing. This picture is of Matt's mother and Grandpa dancing at his 80th birthday party. She was with him yesterday when he passed away. It comforts us to know that he wasn't alone.

These are Grandpa's four daughters and I know they will miss their father very much. They have taken such good care of him over the past few years and I know his memory will always live on in the values they have instilled in each of their children.
Family comes first.
Here, in this picture, they had all traveled to be at my baby shower when I was pregnant with Drew. It was a wonderful surprise and it meant so much to me that they were all there.

These last few photos are of Grandpa at a recent family wedding. Always the center of attention - he wasn't going to let a wheelchair slow him down. He truly lived a full and happy life.

Grandpa, you will be missed more than you will ever know.
Thank you for giving us a wonderful example to follow in living the best life possible.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

In Which There Is Much Harmony

For all the harmony, scroll down to the video of my sweet children singing their favorite Christmas carols. In the meantime, here are some pictures of our Christmas celebration with Grandaddy, Nessa, and assorted Aunts and Uncles.

Are there even words to describe the joy in my heart when I look at this picture? I think not...

As most of you know, it wasn't long ago that Grandaddy won his battle over cancer. He's healthy and happy and in love with his grandchildren.

I had to post these pictures because Grandaddy added my website to his IPhone today and I know he'll be checking for pictures ALL THE TIME!! Welcome to the century of the technology, dear Grandaddy!

There has been a development in the competition for "favorite uncle." Uncle Adam introduced us all to the newest member of the family today, little puppy Cara. (or is it Kara? these are facts I should be checking before posting on the internet). Anyway, the kids were ecstatic and they both told me that their favorite part of the day today was playing with the new puppy (despite much present opening). Uncle Austin continually reminded them that he takes them to Disney World, but the sweetness of their little furry friend won out today.

Here's Uncle Adam with the adorable puppy who had been worn out by my extremely playful and affectionate kids!

And now, finally, the Christmas carols!!

Joy to the world, my friends. Joy to the world.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dear Santa,

We went to visit Santa today. The kids were excited. They were dressed. They were brainstorming the best gifts to ask for from the jolly man himself. They practiced their "ho, ho, ho's" and we read 26 different Christmas books before we left the house. We looked at pictures from last year and talked about sitting on Santa's lap. I didn't want anyone to be afraid. They didn't seem scared. They were ready.

We got to the mall and Drew insisted he would rather play at the playground than see Santa. He told me "Mama, I think it's just going to be too crowded today. " Abby wanted to see Santa though so I bribed Drew with a snack and we got in line. Fifteen minutes later we were at the front of the line and Drew made a beeline for Santa. He jumped in his lap and was all smiles and already listing all the things he wants for Christmas. Abby, however, froze. Her face crumpled, tears sprung into her eyes, and she clung onto me for dear life.

Did she miss the part with all the preparation?

We are not scared of this man with the beard, little girl. We are not scared.

Except we were. But, then the photographer pulled out a spinning toy with lights and Abby was hooked. He told her she could play with it if she sat on Santa's knee. Well, clearly the child doesn't have any toys with lights on them at home because she jumped up next to her brother with lightning speed and pulled herself together quite nicely.

Drew had so much fun. He talked and talked about the things he would like Santa to bring him. He asked about Santa's beard and if it was "scratchy." He gave him lots of hugs and told him "Don't forget to make a birthday cake for Jesus...after you finish flying with all of your presents."

And then Santa asked Abby what she wanted for Christmas. "A telescope" she told him. He said, "Oh, do you want to look at the stars in the sky?" "No", she said, "I want to look for animals just like Diego does."
Maybe I should consider cutting down the amount of TV we watch.
You think?

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Lost In Translation

My children love to talk, love to hear themselves talk, love to repeat things over and over, and, have I mentioned they LOVE to talk?? Seriously, they do. But, only on their terms and apparently, unless you are me, it is not always easy to understand what they are saying. Sometimes daddy even needs to ask me to translate for them, and, when I'm having trouble understanding one of them, the other one can almost always tell me what their sibling is trying to say.


So, imagine my surprise when I picked Drew up from school a week ago and he told me he read a book called, "The mother eats the baby animals." Appalled, I asked if he was sure that was really the name of the book, and, he insisted "Yes, mama. The mother eats the baby animals." I'm ashamed to admit that it took me more than a few minutes to realize that he most assuredly meant that he heard a book about a mother FEEDING baby animals - that's a pretty significant difference.

Especially if you are a baby animal mentioned in the above referenced children's book.

Anyway, it's things like this that just make me laugh as they try to figure out exactly how to express the thoughts that are constantly filling their little heads. From the minute she could talk, Abby has wanted us to repeat everything she says. Word for word. It's her way of making sure that we really understand what she is telling us - even two year olds need to be validated, people. Whenever I can't understand her I just try to nod and say ok or some other acknowledgement, but she will repeat herself over and over with increasing intensity until one of us finally figures out WHAT SHE IS TRYING TO SAY ALREADY!

It's charming, indeed.

Oh, but their little voices. I love the sound of their little toddler voices. Still baby-like, but often they say such big words or have such important thoughts and it just sounds so precious coming from those sweet mouths. They learn quickly, these kids, so they are always picking up new words or phrases or stories even after only hearing them once. Drew learned the story of the three little pigs at preschool and could re-tell it with amazing accuracy even though he could have only heard it just a few times. Of course, Abby also jumps right in on the story-telling fun!

That's not just me, right? Could they be any cuter?

And, notice they both said that the three little pigs built a "house of straws." There is no doubt in my mind that when they imagine that part of the story they are seeing a house built of drinking straws rather than the actual straw the pigs used to build their houses.

A mother just knows these things...

Every night I tell Drew, "I love you with my whole heart." Last week, as I was leaving his room he grabbed my hand and told me, "Mama, I love you with YOUR whole heart!"

And then my heart melted, because though his translation was a little off...I totally understood what he was saying.

A mama just knows these things...