Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ashton's First Christmas

Bella with her new doll houses. 
She was just beside herself.
Running downstairs to see their new toys
Emma taking off with Macey's new purse!
Macey was so sick this Christmas with strep throat!
She was such a good sport enduring through the morning with all the children. 
She sat with each and every one of the little kids and went through their stockings
 and helped them open their gifts before she ever opened one for herself. 
She is such an amazing big sister.
A gift from Daddy to me.
 He surprised me with the same purse 
I bought for Macey and then 
Macey surprised me with matching pajamas!
What sweethearts! I felt so blessed. 
I love that she still sits in my lap....
Every year Bella asks for roses for Christmas.
Yes. She really clutched them to her chest!
This little girl loves flowers.
Christmas Dinner 
 Mommy and Daddy with Ashton
Mr. Pearls and Grace is easy on the eyes isn't he?
His heart is just as beautiful.
My favorite ornament this year 
Daddy and the boys
Mommy and Bennett
Sweet Emma
We had such a wonderful Christmas. I am so thankful. More than any other Christmas in my life. I am thankful for our year, as difficult as it was in many aspects. I am thankful for the birth of my healthy baby boy. I am thankful that we are all together and that there are seven stockings hanging over the fireplace this year. I am thankful to be able to say the words- "A table for seven please".  My dream come true. I am thankful that our home is filled with the scents and the sounds of the season. Gingerbread and Mulling Spices. Fresh Pine and pomegranate candles. Roasting marshmallows over the crackling fire. Homemade hot chocolate. Clementines and Christmas cookies. The sound of bare feet running through the house. Building tents with quilts and kitchen chairs. The sound of giggles and laughter. The joyful noise of children playing in the snow. It warms the heart. Most of all I am thankful for this day and for all that Christmas represents. This is truly the day that the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.  I am rejoicing today. There isn't a present or package that could ever fit under our tree that could fill my heart and soul the way that He has. Even if there weren't any of the sights and sounds and smells of this beautiful season - and there have been many where there weren't- I would still have Him. I am so thankful for that knowledge. For that truth. He is the way, the truth and the life. Thank you Father for giving us your precious son Jesus.  Merry Christmas for our family to yours.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Our Christmas Eve

May I just say one thing? Impressive. Maybe two things. Impressive and Clever. This little guy who just happens to be off the charts on the adorable factor, really wanted a train set for Christmas. He already has one. But he just loves trains. It's all he talks about. It's all he plays with. He really, really loves trains. And we bought him one or two (or three.) He also loves the color orange. So all of his gifts were wrapped with an orange satin ribbon. I didn't tell him that, mind you. He just knew those gifts were for him. He begged to open this one box every day.
And every day  I told him no and I would not give in. Unfortunately he could no longer stand it and decided that he needed an accomplice. So he instructed his 18 month old sister to go under the tree and open his gift for him.  And she did. He then came running into the kitchen to say that Emma was tearing into the gifts. Genius. I'm not sure who to be more impressed with. My brilliant three year old. Or my 18 month old baby girl who somehow understood exactly what her brother was telling her to do. We laughed so hard we could not breathe. It was just classic.
Bella holding sweet baby Ashton. He is wearing the same angel outfit that both Bennett and Emma Pearl wore for their first Christmas. I just love the little wings. Precious.
Bennett with his Christmas cookie treats!
Macey and Pearl (a.k.a. "cuddles")
These two need constant supervision. They are hysterical together. Here they are trying to get the other four children to smile for the camera. This Christmas was full of love and laughter!
My five Christmas Pearls in their matching pajamas.
Emma is wearing Bella's gown from her first
 Christmas and Bella is wearing the matching big sister gown.
I am super sentimental......
We had such a wonderful Christmas Eve night. We really enjoyed being together and just spent time eating , laughing, talking and playing with all the children. I was so thankful to have Macey home from college and all seven of us together.  It was a tremendous blessing. 

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Festivities!

Our first snow
Princess Pearl in her very own sled
All the kids enjoying a snow ball fight
Daddy and the kids decorating each other
Nana's visit and cookie decorating
The kids wearing the aprons Nana made for them
Gingerbread Train Decorating
Gingerbread House and Cookie Decorating
Holiday Train Show
We have been busy enjoying some of the very special things about this time of year! The kids enjoyed our annual trip to a holiday train show . We also decorated gingerbread houses, cookies and trains and had a wonderful Christmas visit from Nana for four days! 

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Birthday Girl

Birthday Breakfast in Bed
Princess Bella
Just a few pictures of our adorable birthday girl! This marks the start of our very busy season, from December until August our celebrations do not stop! With big families you have a lot to celebrate! Lucky for our little ones, Mama loves a good party! I will go out of my way to make sure that each and every one of our children know that they are loved and adored. It is my pleasure!
We started out the day with a nice surprise for Bella! Just like every year, she woke up covered in pink rose petals and was served breakfast in bed. She also had a sweet surprise from her Daddy. A pink sparkle headband and a card from him to start her special day. We also went to her school later on that day to read a special story about her, handed out popsicles to everyone and then took pictures with all of her classmates. Bennett went with me at Bella's request and he was so excited the entire day- you would have thought it was his own birthday! We waited for Daddy to come home and then had a "t*nkerbell" party here with just the family. Dinner, presents and pink cupcakes with pink sprinkles and pink candles. Does everyone know what her favorite color is? That's right. We love pink around here. We are planning to host her party with classmates after the first of the year.
There is something really special about this age. She seems so little and so big at the same time. I am trying to hold on to the "little" as long as possible. She loves dolls and babies, as well as playing "Mother" to each of her siblings. She is an old soul. Only six years old in the natural but she is fifty on the inside. Everyone loves her. Her classmates. Her teachers. Her family. Even friends of mine come over just to visit her. She has an unbelievable ability to connect with another person. And not just connect but get to their heart. She speaks prophetically at the tender age of six - something that is very humbling to witness as her Mother. She loves to dance and twirl and dress up like a ballerina and princess. She loves to sing and has the voice of an angel. She also has a beautiful anointing of love and compassion- coupled with a mercy gift the size of the state of Texas. There isn't a baby or child, an animal or insect, a tree or a flower -that she doesn't absolutely love. She loves every single thing that God created. She loves Him and she will tell you that. She talks to Him. She dances with Him and she exudes love with the beautiful heart of a servant toward every single person she meets. I am so thankful to celebrate you, my sweet, beautiful gift of grace.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Giveaway Goodness!

On Monday, Oct. 27, I won this wonderful cookbook from Jennifer at Biscuits Are Never Boring
Can I just say, I am such a Barefoot Contessa fan! I have all of her cookbooks and really enjoy her recipes. I also could not believe that this wonderful blogger stood in a very long line for a very long time to send me an autographed copy. Thank you so much Jennifer, I really appreciate your kindness!
On Wednesday, Oct. 29, I won this fabulous little monogrammed recipe holder! It looks so great in my kitchen. I am still working on filling it with all of my recipes! A big thank you to
Monogram Chick!!  Please pop over and visit my new blogging friend and see what else you might need with  your name on it!!
On Sunday, Nov. 16, I won this from my wonderful friend Lauren at Southern Newlywed!
This is the most wonderful coffee maker ever invented!  It is the Keurig Platinum Brewing System. I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful this coffee maker is! Mr. Pearls and Grace, who is very particular about his coffee, was even more excited about this giveaway than I was!
He could not believe that I won this coffee maker. Thank you so much to Lauren and to Keurig
for blessing this very sleep deprived mother (and father)  of five with such a generous gift!
I am beside myself with excitement. I am also beside myself with feeling terrible that I am just now posting about this on my blog! Please forgive me blogging friends. My heart wants to blog every day, stay current, respond to all e-mails immediately, share awards right away and leave comments on all of your wonderful posts! Oh how I wish that I could! I know there are lots of you with households full of little ones, and activities and many other things that can do this blogging thing very well.  But me? Well, I am lucky to get one post in a week! I am trying. In the meantime, I would like to share the wonderful giveaways that I received! I never win things, so this was really special for me! A big, huge THANK YOU to the following bloggers for these WONDERFUL gifts!!! I am beyond grateful! My kitchen is looking very festive this holiday season!

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Greatest Gift

Oh it's here! We just love Christmas and all that it represents! I pray that I will be able to keep my focus on Him instead of on the hustle and bustle that can easily overtake the importance of this season. I wanted to share one thing that I do with my children that helps remind them of why we celebrate Christmas. I love reading "The Littlest Angel" by Charles Tazewell to them. If  you do not have this book, you must, you must get this book and read it to your little angels this Christmas. It is beyond precious. It is also extra sweet if you can let them wear angel wings while you read it to them! We love so many things about Christmas. Most of all I love the way hearts are softened and opened to give and receive. Whether that means love. Or forgiveness. Or hope. Or encouragement. These gifts cannot be bought. They do not go on sale. They are never marked down. They are priceless. Life changing. Think about a time when someone gave you the gift of forgiveness. It is humbling. Truly. We know that we do not deserve it. And yet, it is given to us anyway.We know that if the truth be told. The offense could and should sit for years. But forgiveness is such a gift. And what about love? Oh love is immeasurable. It is so wide and so deep. It has such a ripple effect too. It cannot be contained. It must be shared. There is nothing like the feeling of loving someone and being loved. I was reminded of just how powerful this feeling is recently when we took our children to a Christmas event here in town. We looked at the trains. We drooled over all of the gingerbread houses. We ate lunch together and listened to the children's choirs sing. It was wonderful. Of course, everyone knew that I wanted to take some pictures of the kids underneath the gorgeous trees. No one was excited about that. I knew it wouldn't be easy with four little ones five and under -But I tried anyway. I was adjusting them, propping them, fluffing and puffing and then leaning back as far as I could to try and get a quick picture. I was frustrated. I wanted a picture of the four of them in all of their Christmas pageantry. After several attempts I gave up and turned around to leave and there stood several grandmothers, one of whom was crying. I walked over to her and asked her if she was okay, and she said that seeing my children just blessed her so much but it also made her miss her grandchildren terribly. I asked her if she was going to see them this Christmas and she shook her head no. An opportunity had presented itself. I picked up Ashton and handed him to her to hold. She held this baby to her chest and cuddled him and hugged him and the tears just streamed her face. I knew there was a story that went with those tears but I prayed that as she held my newborn son, she would feel the love of a Father who has her desires in His hands.
A Father who has not forgotten her but Who is ever mindful of her. I prayed that she would receive my gift of love to her- a total stranger, and that she would be full to overflowing with the real spirit of Christmas. May you each be blessed with boxes full of love and kindness. May you each unwrap the gift of forgiveness. May your hearts be tied with ribbons of mercy and grace. May you open up the gift of hope this year. And most importantly, may you receive the greatest gift one could ever ask for. Him. Merry Christmas to you and your little pearls.