Sunday, December 23, 2012

Meeska Mooska Mickey Mouse and a Merry Christmas to You

We have been really busy this Christmas season. The week of Anna Dixon's birthday our church had its annual walk through nativity. Over 8000 people attended over the three nights, and Tommy participated in two of them. He was one of the magi the first night and a Roman soldier the second. The weekend before her birthday we took our annual trip to the tree farm with some friends. Tommy and I both sing in our church choir and sang in our church's Christmas program on the 16th which also happens to be Tommy's birthday! This weekend we took AD to the Zoo Light Safari at our local zoo. We saw lots of fun Christmas light, loved the petting zoo, and took a hay ride. And, tomorrow we are singing in our church's Christmas Eve service. As you can see it has been a busy month.

At church this morning, we were encouraged to have a "Mary Christmas" meaning to stop and meditate on and worship Jesus the way Mary did instead of busying ourselves with the fleeting things of this world like Martha did when Jesus came to visit them. It is hard to do sometimes especially with so many fun events and wonderful traditions during Christmas time. So may we all take time to truly worship our Savior who was born to die to save us from our sins and bring true joy to the world! I wish you all a very "Mary" Christmas! we all struggle to slow down during the Christmas season here are some pictures of my Mary/Martha Christmas beginning with Anna Dixon's Mickey Mouse themed 2nd birthday party...

ready for cake!

hayride at the tree farm

look Dad I found one!

somewhat better then
last year's

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happy Birthday to My Baby Girl!!!

Anna Dixon turned 2 last Thursday!!! I can't believe it has been two years already. It scares me how fast time flies. It is amazing how quickly we went from desperately wanting a baby to desperately loving our baby. Now two years in the love keeps growing, and I can't imagine life any other way. Last week was a crazy fun filled week long birthday celebration. It started on Tuesday at school with donut holes with her friends and a birthday crown. Wednesday I had her playgroup over for cupcakes and a little birthday playdate, and Saturday we had a birthday celebration with family and some close friends. Sadly, Sadler (our dog) ate the crown before I could get a picture of her in it, but I have lots of pictures from the other festivities that I will be posting soon. If you remember last year Tommy did a video of AD's first year, and he has decided to make it a yearly tradition. So, here is his video of "Anna Dixon Year 2."

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Thankful Heart

We had a very fun filled Thanksgiving at Bibi's last week. It is the first time that my three older sisters and I have been together at my mom's house in a very long time. So, it was great to be back home again. Anna Dixon had a blast being in the same house with her cousins too! One morning my nephew, Samuel, had the two girls crawling and then marching around the house behind him while the adults sat at the table eating and enjoying the show. As always, there is so much to be thankful for this year, so here is my attempt to narrow it down to five...

1. My precious family of three. I still look at my sweet angel from above in awe and thank God for bringing her into our family!

2. Good health and family. Tommy and I are both very close to our families. It is such a blessing to have strong relationships with them. Also, we have had some sickness in our family this year. Everyone seems to be doing better this holiday season, and I am thankful for that.

3. Wealth...yep I said it...wealth. I'm pretty sure everyone reading this blog has food on the table every night. By some countries' standards that is wealthy. I'm so thankful for my Jehovah-jireh who provides for all of my needs.

4. Freedom. I'm so thankful to live in a country that is free to elect its own leaders. I'm even more thankful that no matter what the outcome our King is still King, and He's got this!

5. The Christmas season is particularly special to us because the Lord brought us Anna Dixon in December (yep she is about to be 2!!). For the past two years I have reflected on how much joy this baby has brought to me. Then I think about Christmas as the celebration of our dear Savior's birth. I think about how much more joy He brought to the world, when he came to earth as a baby and ultimately died on the cross for our sins. How great our joy! I'm thankful for a Savior who saved a wretch like me!

Here are some pictures from Thanksgiving weekend and this fall...but first a couple of long promised beach pictures from the summer...

afternoon toddy!

the pumpkin patch with Anna Holt

yummy s'mores!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Whoo Whoo Whoopy Halloween!

Can you guess what Anna Dixon was for halloween...a "whoo whoo" owl! She was a champ again this year and wore the hat that went with her costume pretty much the whole day. She really got into it this year too. She loved her costume (even wanted to nap in it) and would answer "whoo whoo" whenever we asked her what the owl said. And, she really racked up on the candy this year. So far her favorites are dum dum suckers and M&Ms, but to be honest Tommy and I have been eating most of it so far! Life has been busy as summer has morphed into fall. So, I need to play catch up on the blog a little bit. I'll be posting more pictures soon, but for now here is our little whoot owl...

with her play group friends

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It's Been Awhile

I realized that it has been a while since I have posted. This summer has been busy filled with ups and downs. I took care of my nephew, Samuel, this summer which was a lot of fun! He is 5 and has a very active imagination, and he asks a lot of questions. So, he really kept me on my toes. Here is an example...

Samuel: "Aunt AH, if you don't believe in Jesus when you die will you go to heaven?"
Me: "No Samuel you won't. That is very sad. That is why we should tell everyone about Jesus!"
Samuel: "No. I don't want to."
Me: "Oh but you should. Jesus tells us to spread the good news of the gospel."
Samuel: "Okay, but not until I'm older."
Me: "Well when you are ready you definitely should."
Samuel: "I'm not going to yet, and I'm not going to tell Mary Ryburn (his sister) about Jesus until she is 4."
Me: "Okay."

As you can see, I would give up after a few go rounds in these theological discussions. Other questions where not so deep, but he always has lots to say. Samuel and Anna Dixon have always loved each other, but this summer they have become big buddies. Most mornings AD would jump down as soon as I got her out of the crib and give Samuel a big hug. I took care of him Monday through Wednesdays, and on Thursday mornings AD would run out into the den and give me a very sad look when Samuel wasn't there. He definitely made this summer much more fun for both of us.

Poor AD had a bit of a rough go physically this summer. First she tripped on the living room rug while running through the house and busted her lip very badly. It looked at first like she bit all the way through it. After a very traumatic trip to the emergency room, we discovered that she had not bitten all the way through and thank goodness did not even have to have stitches. About a month ago she fell off the step going down into our carport and fractured her tibia! When it happened, she was hysterical, but I did not see any cuts or bleeding. When she wouldn't walk or put any weight on her left foot, I realized something was wrong. Thankfully Tommy came home about 30 minutes later, and we called the after hours line at our doctor's office. Because she was not weight bearing, the nurse said we needed to take her to the emergency room. Thankfully, this time we got in at a smaller emergency clinic closer to our house. They discovered that it was actually her leg and not her foot that was hurt, did x-rays, but didn't see anything on them. They put her in a splint and sent us to the orthopedist the next day. He also did not see anything on the x-ray, but said that it was most likely a "toddler fracture." Apparently, in children her age a fracture does not show up on an x-ray until healing begins. So, she got a cute little pink cast, and wore if for 3 weeks. Last week we went back to the doctor. He confirmed that it was a fracture but was healing nicely. Poor AD did not enjoy having the cast removed. You can't blame her, though. I would have screamed too if someone came at my leg with a spinning blade! Bless her heart! The doctor said it may take a couple of days for her to feel comfortable walking again. She was running and climbing all over the place in the cast. But in true AD fashion, she was up and walking again within the hour.

This summer hasn't been all bad, though. We have made lots of fun trips to the Dora exhibit at our science center, the zoo, and the children's gallery at our art museum. AD even had a sleep over with her cousins and Bibi while Tommy and I were out of town. And, a couple of weeks ago we took a family vacation to the beach. Yes, AD was in her cast, and it didn't slow her down a bit! I hope everyone has had a good summer too! Of course, here are a few picture of our summer fun...

4th of July watermelon!

sleepover with the cousins!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

With a Heavy Heart

Yesterday I went to the funeral of a friend of mine. Just typing those words "funeral of a friend" is hard to do. Her name was Laura, and she battled cancer for 5 years before finishing her race Saturday night. To say that she finished strong is an understatement. She was an amazing person. A quote from Laura was printed at the top of the program from her service yesterday. It read, "Once upon a time, a plain and ordinary girl was asked by the God she so desperately loved, to walk through a long and hot fire. He was with her every step of the way." It is one of the biggest privileges of my life to call her my friend. Let me tell you about her...

My friendship with Laura began in her living room about 3 years ago. I was unsure about joining her Bible study. I only had one friend in the group. But, I was in a tough spot in my life, so I knew I needed to be in the word and needed a support system. Well, I couldn't have providentially landed in a more precious group of people if the Lord had picked me up from my house carried me across town and dropped me on the sofa at Laura's house. At first my anxiety grew as we began introductions. We went around the room and everyone introduced I thought great I am the only one without kids in this room. Does everyone in the world have children but me?!?! At the end of the night we did prayer requests. I thought what the heck I'll go ahead and tell them that my husband and I have been trying to have a baby for months and that we are starting to see signs of trouble ahead. Laura said well you have landed in a good group. Then almost everyone in the room told me a little bit about their own infertility struggles and successes some through birth and some through adoption. Okay, so I have never had quite the AH HA! moment with Holy Spirit as I did that night. Needless to say, that precious group of friends was my backbone and support throughout my whole infertility and adoption experience...

And Laura led the charge, which leads me to the first amazing thing about her. Laura, even though she had been diagnosed with an incurable cancer, never belittled anyone else's needs. It would have been so easy for her to say you think you have it bad well I have this, but she never did. She truly listened, took it to heart, and fervently prayed to the Lord on your behalf. The needs of our group included infertility, adoption, divorce, financial struggles, children with sickness resulting in brain surgery, not to mention Laura's cancer battle. We were quite the motley crew! Through Laura and that Bible study I learned the real power of prayer. Never in my life have I felt the love and support, tangible and supernatural, as I did on my journey to Anna Dixon. She taught me to keep it real. I always identified with her because she was a very passionate and out spoken person, yet never once did I come home to Tommy and say can you believe what  Laura said to me tonight? She truly knew how to speak the truth in love, something I could use a little (a lot of) help on. Before meeting her, I thought in order to be a good christian I had to become a quieter person. She showed me that I can still be my loud self and love the Lord and show others His love through my personality. She taught me that I needed to start living for the Lord today and not wait for my circumstances to change. God gave her cancer and she used it for His glory. Yet, she was honest about her struggles. She never tried to act perfect in her situation, which made her all the more real, which gave all the glory to God, because she showed her real need of Him. Laura was a fierce and loyal friend. She was the drop everything she was doing and come to your side type of person. What was amazing was that she was a fiercely loyal friend to so many people. If I could love just one person the way she loved so many...

So, with Laura's home going I am feeling joyous that she is finally healed, heartbroken for her precious family and friends, just plan sad and kinda achy in the pit of my stomach, and vulnerable. Vulnerable? Yes. I have lost one of my spiritual leaders. She was on a very short list of people I would call if I needed spiritual advice. Also, it has been easy to live in her shadow. Laura was an amazing godly woman, and she left this legacy that I want to follow. That can be very overwhelming. But, she was always good at staying on today's page of the book of her life (something that I am really really bad at). So, that is where I am going to start by serving the Lord today and taking it one day at a time. One of the questions she asked our pastor before she died was if she ran a good race. Are kidding me?!?! She was right up there with the Apostle Paul in my book!!! But, she was humble till the end. One thing I know that she would want everyone to know is that all she did was ONLY possible by the grace of God. Well done, Laura, well done. I love you!

"For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth their is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing." 
2 Timothy 4: 6-8  
(from her service)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mullet No More!

AD turned 18 months on the 6th. I can't believe it! We had her check up this week, and she is the average height of a 3-1/2 year old (37") and the average weight of a 33 month old (28 lbs). So, I am not surprised that she was already ready for her first haircut yesterday although I never thought we would cut it before 2. All of her aunts and her daddy agreed that she was sporting a pretty good mullet. "Business in the front party in the back," according to Aunt SR! Well, you will be pleased to know that my child has a mullet no more. It only took a couple of minutes, and she did great. She sat in Tommy's lap for the first half, and I held her for the second part with a sucker in her hand as enticement. We took pictures of course and kept some of her baby locks for her book which I will get around to at some point!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Life Goes On

I realized that I never posted about Mother's Day or the first year anniversary of Anna Dixon's adoption finalization. AD's finalization was April 6th which was Easter weekend this year. So, it kinda got lost in the shuffle of the holiday. Looking back it was kinda nice. Her finalization was so long awaited, and it will always be a special day, but it is nice that we have moved on with the business of raising our precious bunnykins and are not still in the process of adopting her. Likewise, last Mother's Day AD was baptized. It was a wonderful way to celebrate my first much anticipated Mother's Day! This year I had a great Mother's Day as well. My mom, Bibi, was in town, and we had an great time just hanging out with family. The big moment for me this year was our church service. It is a tradition in our church to have all the mothers and expectant mothers stand up during the service to be recognized. Last year I was taking AD back to the nursery during that time, and in years past I have always dreaded that moment. This year I was able to stand up and be recognized with all the other mothers with tears streaming down my face praising God for granting me the desire of my heart! Next year I'm looking forward to it being a happy moment but not so is just really nice sometimes how life goes on.

sporting her new shades

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Atlanta or Bust!

Last weekend we took Anna Dixon to the Atlanta aquarium. We headed out Friday after lunch, and stopped by Ikea (one of our favs!) once we got to town. Then we checked into our hotel and were a bit concerned that the room was TINY and there was no bathtub. But figuring we would just make do, we headed on to dinner. Tommy and I like to eat at local restaurants when we travel and found the most precious family owned Greek restaurant in Buckhead. It was delicious and the staff/ family loved AD. They brought her hummus, rice pudding, and a sucker before we left. After walking around the Virginia Highlands area of town (another fav!), we headed back to the hotel. Well I never knew my  bunnykins was such a creature of habit, but she did NOT take to her new surroundings very well at all. After continually struggling to get her down in her pack 'n play, we finally got her to go to sleep in bed with us about 4:00 a.m. She tossed and turned back and forth between me and Tommy for the rest of the night. Saturday morning we decided it might be best to cut our trip short and head home after the aquarium instead of staying another night.

Even though we were all exhausted, we had a great time at the aquarium. It was so child friendly, and AD loved running from window to window, going down the whale slide, and crawling through all the tunnels. In fact she loved the tunnels so much that we couldn't get her out of one and Tommy had to go in after her! She wasn't too sure of the dolphin show at first, but I think she really liked it in the end. I was impressed with how long she lasted considering how little sleep she had had. Despite our abbreviated stay, we all had a good time...and I think we are going to do a couple of trial runs sleeping in the pack 'n play before our beach trip at the end of the summer!

"yay ikea!"

"bye mom and dad"

"okay i'm coming out"

all tuckered out

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Dirty Mouth!

Anna Dixon has a not so clean mouth these days. Lately she has been running a low grade fever on and off with no other symptoms, and I'm guessing this is why...The other day we found her face down in Sadler's water bowl drinking the water! THEN the next day...Tommy walked into the bathroom and found her giggling as she swirled her pacifier around in the toilet!! YIKES! I'm going to have to keep my eye on my adventurous yet not so sanitary bunnykins!

cause two paci's are better
than one...don't worry this was
 taken pre toilet incident!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Easter Fun!

Anna Dixon had a busy Easter season. Her good friend Anna Holt invited her over for lunch, an Easter egg hunt, and some bunny cake Palm Sunday weekend! Her playgroup had an egg hunt Easter week. And, the Easter bunny also left eggs in our front last Sunday, but AD could not quite make it through Easter lunch and went down for her nap just before dessert. Her cousins managed to find all the eggs without her though! Actually despite all the Easter fun, AD was not that into hunting eggs. I am sure next year will be quite a different story. Her favorite Easter treats were definitely her two new purses. She got one from the Easter bunny in her basket and one from Bibi who came to visit last weekend. She is really into the cell phones and the fake lipstick that came inside them. It will be a lot of fun when AD really gets into the Easter Bunny (that we forgot to take her to see...ooopps...although based on her visit with Santa Claus that might not have been a bad thing).

But, what will be more amazing is when she fully understands the awesome love, ultimate sacrifice, and amazing grace given to her by her heavenly Father. I hope that one day she will truly comprehend the gravity of her sin and that Christ bore her sin on the cross and conquered sin and death through His resurrection. I long for the day when AD is not only my precious gift from above but she is also my precious sister in that will be something to celebrate!

For now here are some pictures of this year's Easter fun...

enjoying some cake
after the big hunt!
all her playgroup friends

not sure about
 the bunny ears