Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Isabella!!!

Isabella turns four years old today! I love being this little girl's mommy and am looking forward to a day of celebration! Here is Bella in birthdays past:

November 30th, 2005
November 30th, 2006November 30th, 2007November 30th, 2008After this evening, I'll have a November 30th, 2009 photo! In the mean time, here's the birthday slideshow that I put together for Miss Bella!

(There is music in the slideshow, so you will want to scroll down to the bottom to pause the Christmas music before pressing play on the slideshow). :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Giving Thanks. . . and Christmas Decorations!

Thanksgiving was an intimate affair in the Kilps household: just the four of us. Here's Bella in front of the appetizers. . . and who doesn't put the black olives on their fingers.
Although we wouldn't be getting together with extended family, I didn't want this to feel like an ordinary day. So I tried to add a few special touches. Like this menu. . .
We made some turkey napkin holders. I am particularly fond of Bella's on the right. Two feathers, five feet, and no beak. Perfect!
Daddy carving the turkey while Bella supervises.
Graydon couldn't wait for the turkey, so he snacked on a bread roll while Daddy carved.
This is our Thanksgiving Tree. I think we'll make this into a tradition. Starting in September, I put this tree on the table in our hallway with some blank leaves and wire. Whenever we thought of something we were thankful for, we'd write it on the leaf. On Thanksgiving, we read through all of the leaves. Besides the biggies like family, God, health, our home, etc. we were also thankful for little things like snuggling together on the couch, six straight hours of sleep, Barbie pajamas, good beer (guess whose that was), beautiful fall days, etc. We had a long list - as we should. There's a lot to be thankful for.
At the end of the evening - Daddy had a bit of difficulty with getting Graydon's clothes over his head. He ended up sporting this "hat" for a little while.
The next day was Christmas decorating day! Usually I'm pretty antsy to get decorating; but this time Bella was the eager beaver. She unpacked every box before we were even ready for them. The living room was a disaster - we could barely see the floor!With Christmas music playing and some popcorn to snack on, the house gradually started to look a bit more like Christmas. Andy's job is to string the lights. I stay away from that. I love to do the ornaments, but lights stress me out.
And, he does such a great job - so why mess with that.
Bella put up pretty much every ornament. . . which meant that all ornaments were placed on the bottom third of the tree. Not good when we have a little Graydon who is into everything. I had to do a little rearranging after she was in bed; though I tried to leave as much as I could right where she put it. This was her favorite part of decorating.
And this is just a random pic from the week. Graydon is just like big sister. As soon as I sit down to play, he immediately shows up and starts banging on the keys. He looks serious in the picture, but he was having a blast.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas Music

I added a little Christmas music to the blog for the next few weeks. The music is one of my favorite parts of the whole Christmas season. I do confess to playing it before Thanksgiving. OK, before Halloween even. But I do not decorate until after Turkey Day, so I'm not totally crazy. And anyway, a lot of the Christmas music that I like is all about Christ's birth, which is something to be celebrated all year. I picked 5 songs that I really, really like. I hope you enjoy them!

1. Somewhere in My Memory
This is the song from 'Home Alone'. Whenever I hear it, warm feelings fill me and I'm reminded of so many happy Christmas memories - Dad driving us around to look at lights on Christmas Eve while Mom finished "getting ready" (i.e. putting presents under the tree), Aunt Bia dressing up as Santa Claus and dancing with Grandma, getting a Cabbage Patch Kid, neighborhood kids swearing that they saw Rudolph on their roof. . . Good times.

2. O Holy Night
This song is probably my absolute favorite Christmas song ever. The words are so powerful and the song so beautiful. I love how Josh Groban sings it. Really, I love how he sings everything; but especially this song. He doesn't try to jazz it up or add any fancy runs. He just sings it. Perfect.

The line in this song that really touches my heart is:
"Long lay the world in sin and error pining
till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices. . . "

3. Welcome to Our World
So many Christmas songs focus on Jesus' birth, which they should as this is what we celebrate at Christmas. But it's not just about the birth of a baby, but Who the baby was and What He came to do. This song reminds me of that. Especially these lines:

"Fragile fingers sent to heal us,
tender brow prepared for thorns,
tiny heart whose blood will save us
unto us is born."

4. Christmas Canon
The first time I remember hearing this song was December 5, 2005. We were bringing a 5-day-old Isabella to her newborn check-up at the doctor's office. The song came on the radio on our way to the appointment, and I just started crying. It was probably all of the postpartum hormones running through me, but I just couldn't stop. And whenever I hear this song, I think of my teeny, tiny newborn baby Isabella.

5. Hallelujah
This song always reminds me of the great victory that Jesus' birth and life really was (and is). I love when she sings, "a Savior has been born and all of Heaven smiled." What a celebration there must have been in Heaven that day!

Welcome to the Christmas season!!! This is my favorite time of year!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A little getaway

Andy took Tuesday off and, being that Wednesday is already a day off for him, we decided to take a mini trip and spend some quality time together as a family. During the week leading up to it, we couldn't decide on a particular destination, so we opted to just get in the car on Tuesday and drive. We knew we didn't want to go much further than 2 hours away; and after going just under that we found ourselves in Dover, Delaware.

First stop: visitor's center
Second stop: get some food
Third stop: find a hotel with a heated pool

Graydon was thrilled when we got into the hotel room. He did not sit still for a second. So much to explore. We weren't there for long before we made our way down to the pool.

We swam that night and the next morning. Before heading down, we were looking all over for the room key. Bella said that she had it in a safe place.
Yep. I'd say that's pretty safe.

Besides stopping at multiple parks for Bella to play at, we visited the Air Mobility Command Museum. The kids got to try out the little airplane. And sit in some bigger ones. Bella and I did a simulator where we actually flew and landed the plane. I managed the controls and watched the screen to see how I was doing. I actually landed it without crashing - something I was certain would happen. It was a proud moment for myself.Then we took a look at all the planes outside. And watched them take off. It's always nice to get away for a little bit.

Bella's birthday is a week from tomorrow. The first gift officially landed on our step two days ago. This girl was pumped! Uncle Jeff, Auntie Steph, and Sydney sent Bella this Mariposa Barbie. Here she is out of the box and put together.Bella showing off her new toy to Graydon.
She even slept with it that night. I think it's safe to say that she likes her gift.

Here's a couple of pics of Graydon and Daddy being silly together. I forgot to mention last week that Graydon had a doctor visit. It was supposed to be his 9 month check-up, though he was actually 10.5 months at the time. These are the new stats:

Height: 29 inches, 70th percentile
Weight: 19.6 pounds, 25th percentile
Head Circumference: 18 inches, 40th percentile

I was surprised by his weight percentile. Up until the last appt., he was 50th percent. or above. He's also pretty much the same size Bella was at this stage and she was never below the 50th percentile. I guess that's the difference between the boy charts and the girl ones. Our pediatrician didn't seem too concerned though. He's just predicting that Graydon will be tall and skinny. We'll see!

Oh and one other thing. He earned himself a lead test since our house is so old. We have to take him to the lab to get some blood drawn. Poor baby.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Slow week

We had a very cold, rainy week. And I was feeling a bit under the weather. Combine these two and you have a week with not too many photos. Sorry about that. But I do have a few.

We are participating in Operation Christmas Child, a ministry that sends shoeboxes filled with gifts to kids in poorer countries around the world. They also share the love of Jesus with these kids. As our kids grow up, we want them to be aware of the needs of others and to experience the joy of giving. Wednesday afternoon, we took Bella to the store, having previously explained to her that she'd be picking out gifts for a girl her age who lived in a different country and who didn't have all the things that she does. I was a little uncertain of how this experience would go as Bella is at the stage where she gets a little huffy when she wants something at the store and we tell her no. Thankfully, there wasn't any of that on this day. She gladly picked out different items with excitement saying, "I think she would like this!" Here she is with the loot just before we packed it in the box. We'll be dropping our box off tomorrow. I pray that the little girl out there who receives this package finds joy in these gifts and in the knowledge that Jesus loves her.
The icky, cold weather went away today and left us a beautiful fall afternoon. We went out for ice cream and then to the park. Here's Bella on the slide. Graydon watching her - content to chew on his toy.

And here he is distraught after Daddy took it away. He was trying to get a picture where we could see Grady's face. That clearly backfired. Here's a few of the pics we got back from Olan Mills. These were taken at our church for the directory. This is the actual directory photo. We got a free 8x10 of this. I think it is just OK. Bella has her fake smile and Graydon is so serious. The photographer didn't really engage the kids and it shows. This one turned out a little better. Again, Graydon is so serious. We couldn't use this one for the directory because it didn't have the blue background. Truthfully, I wasn't the hugest fan of the red. I don't know how he decided on that color when our outfits were blue and green. I will say that it has grown on me since then. I hardly even notice it. This is the one we had printed for our home. We got Graydon smiling here, but Bella had been smiling for so long that hers got that tired, unnatural look.These were the best ones. You should see some of the outtakes. I have a cd full of them. Maybe I'll be them up on the ol' blog sometime. :)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Autumn leaves are falling down. . .

. . . and what could be more fun than creating a huge pile to jump in!
Bella sure thought it was great!
Graydon was completely content to explore (and taste) the crispy leaves.Piles of fun!
I love fall! Love, love, LOVE it!!!

Graydon
has been pulling up on all of the furniture. He is way too brave for his own good. There have been lots of bumps and bruises and falls. He's one tough little guy. Because of his new skill, we had to lower the crib to its lowest setting. He loves standing up in his crib. . . which really stinks when he's fighting his sleep. He's getting so big. We've had some beautiful days this week and our goal is to get the most out of them before the winter weather sets in and we're stuck inside for months. Happy Fall to everyone!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Halloween Festivities

Our whole week seemed to be one big Halloween celebration. It began with my MOMS Club party. Here's my little fairy. Graydon stayed home and napped with Daddy.
Candy time!This was just the beginning of the candy collections.This was our third year attending the Halloween parade. It's held the night before Halloween and is a pretty fun tradition.
Bella was armed with her trick-or-treat bag. She wasn't going to miss out on any candy.We followed up the parade with another Halloween party at a friend from church's house. Always a good time!

Halloween morning was pumpkin carving time!!! . . . . . . except that Bella didn't want to touch the insides of the pumpkins. She opted for painting one instead.
Somebody turned 10 months old on Halloween!Little guy had two costumes. The first was the cowboy outfit that my mom sent. For the life of me, I could not keep that hat on his head.
That evening, he dressed up as a lion - the very same lion costume that Bella wore.The fairy and the lion all ready for trick-or-treating! The evening was perfect. Cloudy, but in the 70s. Can't beat that!
We went with some friends. Katelyn was a fairy too!Graydon snuggled up close with little miss Payton.
All the kiddos are ready to go!We had two very eager little ladies on our hands.Trick or treat!!!
Some friends from church got Graydon his own little bag.
He dug right in!That candy bar was mush on the inside of the wrapper by the time he was done with it.We lit our jack-o-lanterns when we got back home.

Here's Andy's. Graydon (and his front teeth) were Andy's inspiration. This is mine! We now have a huge bowl full of candy. I'm sure the kids will share with Mommy and Daddy. :)