Monday, December 16, 2013

Welcome to the world!



On Monday December 9, 2013 at exactly 3:00 in the afternoon, Abraham Joseph “AJ” Murray entered the world.


He weighed in at a hefty 8 pounds 6 ounces and reached a whopping 20 inches long.

We are thrilled beyond measure to welcome this sweet baby into our family.

2 years ago Ella attended a birthday party for one of her friends.  While there she was admiring a newborn baby.  She stood by his carseat for several minutes just looking at him and talking to him.  A woman came up and asked Ella, “Do you have any brothers or sisters?”  Ella replied with complete confidence, “Not yet, but I will soon.”  Joe and I were shocked by her statement.  She had been praying for a little brother or sister, but had God given her an answer?

Well now here we are, a family of 4.  Things are going great so far!  Ella is completely smitten with her baby brother and kisses him and cuddles with him as much as possible.  Joe is thrilled, I am thrilled, the grandparents are thrilled, and even Sabrina seems to be accepting this new little creature.  This is going to be a great Christmas!

 Ella holding her brother for the first time.

 It was love at first sight!

 Our first picture as a family of 4.

 GiGi holding AJ for the first time.

 Paw Paw holding AJ for the first time.

 Daddy and AJ.  This is the norm around here.  Daddy always falls asleep with the kids.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Letter to Santa



Ella wrote a letter to Santa this weekend.




For those of you who can’t read first grade, phonetic handwriting, allow me to interpret:

Dear Santa,
For Christmas I would like a Junie B. Jones chapter book when she loses so many teeth and Santa please put something in our dog Sabrina’s stocking because it is her first Christmas!
Love Ella

First off, don’t everyone run out and buy Ella a Junie B. Jones book about losing her teeth.  Santa has already taken care of that purchase!

I love this letter!  It’s so cute and shows so much of Ella’s personality.  Ella is a really hard kid to shop for at Christmas and for her birthday because she really doesn’t ask for a lot.  I mean seriously, she only put down one item for herself, and it’s a book that costs about $5.  She only asked for one other thing…clothes for her Build a Bear.  Ella’s gift requests for Christmas total around $20.  I realize that this won’t last long and that soon she’ll be asking for high priced items, but for now I’m happy she’s so easy to please.

I did ask her if she wanted to include her baby brother in the letter since it’s also going to be his first Christmas.  She said no.  Don’t worry, I’ll make sure Santa doesn’t forget about him.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!



Thanksgiving is one of my all time favorite holidays.  I love that it’s the beginning of the craziness.  I love that it’s all about being thankful for what you have.  I love that there’s such a big emphasis on spending time with family.

Several years ago Joe and I decided that we were going to stop traveling at Thanksgiving and just spend the days off at home as a family.  This has become one of the best times of year for us.  No running around.  No hustle and bustle.  No packing.  No traffic.  No sleeping in a strange bed.  Just us, at home, hanging out.

This year Joe took Monday and Tuesday off so we could finish up some last minute things for the baby.  We were able to get the car seat installed and get my hospital bag packed.  We put some things in the attic and brought some things down from the attic.  All in all I feel good about where we are.  His room isn’t perfect and still has a lot of work, but all of the baby items are in their place and have been washed.  The bassinet is ready.  The crib is ready (even though he won’t sleep in it for awhile).  The pack-n-play is ready.  The bouncy seat, swing and floor mat are ready.  I’m ready.  Joe’s ready.  Ella’s ready.  Sabrina…I don’t think she’s ready, but she’ll figure it out once he arrives.  I can confidently say that this kid could be born today and we’d be fine.

Tuesday Joe and I headed over to the hospital for my weekly baby check.  We got to sit in a room and listen to his heart beat, then go have another ultrasound.  They didn’t tell us how big he’s measuring, but I’m not sure it really matters anyway.  When it comes to measurements, he’s all over the map!  One week I’ll go in and he’s in the 75% for his gestation.  The next week I go in and he’s only gained 3 ounces and is now in the 40%.  The following week I’ll go in and he’s gained 2 pounds and we’re now staring at the 90%.  I’ve decided that I just don’t believe any of it.  I’m taking both newborn and 0-3 month clothes to the hospital just to be prepared no matter what he comes out weighing.

Wednesday was Ella’s first day off school, so we were able to sleep in and spend the morning in our jammies just hanging out.  The perfect activity for a cold, rainy day!  In fact, I think I’m the only family member that actually got dressed on Wednesday.  Fortunately it’s days like this that keep me caught up on laundry.

Thursday morning is Ella’s favorite family tradition of the year.  I make a yummy breakfast (it’s the least I can do since I don’t cook Thanksgiving dinner) and we all go in the basement to watch the Macy’s parade.  She sat completely glued to the TV and if one of us left the room and something exciting came on, she would yell for us to come back quick so we didn’t miss it.  Ella’s life dream (at 6 years old) is to go see the parade in person.  She asked to go this year, but in my current state we knew that it wasn’t possible.  We’re crossing our fingers for next year.  I know she would love it!  And hopefully while we’re up there I can also take her to see the Rockettes Christmas show!

Thursday afternoon we have some wonderful friends who gladly invite us to invade on their family Thanksgiving every year.  They are a family with 7 kids, not to mention spouses, significant others, grandkids and extended family, so it’s a little like spending Thanksgiving with Joe’s family.  We always have a lot of fun!  This year was no different.  What’s funny is that Christy (our friend whose family this is) hadn’t told many of them that we’re expecting another baby.  So when I arrived, in all my huge glory, they were completely shocked to see me.  It was a wonderful meal with great company.  In true Ella form, I changed her into her jammies before heading home and she was asleep in the car within minutes.

Today the plan is to go buy our Christmas tree and get the house decorating started.  There’s a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it in!  I almost have all of my Christmas shopping done and just need to get things wrapped.  I’m feeling pretty good about where we are.

I could fill this blog with things I’m thankful for, but you’ve already heard most of them.  God has given us so much.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Nesting?

One of the top 5 questions I’ve been getting lately is, “Are you nesting?”  How do I answer this gracefully?  Umm…No.  No, I’m not nesting.  In fact, I have the complete opposite of nesting, whatever that is.

I wake up every morning feeling great and well rested and with a load of things I want to accomplish.  Then I get Ella off to school and Joe off to work and I have breakfast, take a shower, and get ready for the day and decide that I need a break.  By noon I’m pretty worthless.  I go pick Ella up at 2:30 and by the time I get home with her (we usually walk to school) and help her with her homework, I’m completely done for the day.  It takes all I have to muster up the motivation to give her a bath every other day.  All too often I justify putting it off just one more day.

That said, I have had little to no motivation to blog.  I feel guilty about it…honestly.  But when I sit down to type the motivation just doesn’t come.  Sure, lots of exciting things have happened over the past month, but I’m not really sure how to put them all down, so they just get left undone.

Here’s a quick summary, just so I feel like you’re at least kept up somewhat.

On October 24th Paw Paw flew into town, and on the 25th the 4 of us headed up to New Jersey for the east coast premier of “What Were We Talking About?”  In case you don’t remember, in the summer of 2012 my mom and her 3 best friends wrote and performed a play to raise money for Debra.  Here's the link to the blog post from last summer:  What Were We Talking About?  In total this play has raised nearly $80,000 from our 2 home towns!  It was wonderful to get up to NJ and see so many family and friends, as well as watch this wonderful play again.  I am so proud of Joe’s mom, my mom and the rest of the Wyoming Magnolias for their hard work and dedication to raising money for EB.

Of course Ella went Trick-or-Treating on Halloween.  This was the first year GiGi wasn’t able to make her costume, so I had to come up with the costume.  Since I wasn’t gifted with the same creativity gene my mom and grandma have/had, I was really crossing my fingers that Ella would choose a costume I could easily pick up at the local party store.  We had several ideas come and go.  At first she was going to be Dorothy (Wizard of Oz) and Sabrina would be Toto.  Then she decided she wanted to be a cowgirl and Sabrina would be her horse.  There were a few other ideas thrown in here and there, but ultimately she decided that she wanted to be a ghost (a friendly ghost) and daddy would be a vampire.  I’m going to blame school on this costume choice since we don’t really talk about ghosts, vampires, mummy’s and witches around our house.  One day Ella came home from school with a drawing she had done of these 4 Halloween characters.  I assume another kid at school was talking about these and Ella just jumped on the bandwagon.  Anyway, Ella wanted to be a ghost.  The kind of ghost that was just a white sheet with eyes cut out and draped over her head…think Charlie Brown.  While this costume would have been really easy, I had fear of her tripping over the sheet, or the eyes getting off-centered and her not being able to see clearly.  So I convinced her to still be a ghost, but one where her face was actually shown.  After a quick google search I found the perfect costume that didn’t involve any sewing.



Ella and vampire daddy
 
 Ella and her Mummy To Be


Ella has started attending Wednesday night activities at our church.  Every Wednesday we go to church at 5:00 for church dinner (always delicious!), then at 6 she heads upstairs for Children’s Choir.  Yesterday her choir had their first performance during “big church” so Ella practiced all week to make sure she had the motions and words down perfectly.  All of the kids did a great job!  I did get it on video that I've posted in the November folder on the right.

On Wednesdays Ella has also started attending GA’s.  For those of you not in the Southern Baptist world, GA’s stands for Girls in Action.  Think of something similar to Girl Scouts, but at church.  This was a big deal for me since I was very active in GA’s all growing up.  My first mission trip was through Acteen’s which is the teenage version of GA’s.  My mom was my GA leader and those Wednesday nights and the mission activities we did are some of my fondest memories growing up.  So I was thrilled that Ella gets to be a part of the same activities.  So far she loves it and every Wednesday night on the ride home I get an ear full of what they did or talked about.

I guess the most exciting news of the past few weeks is that Ella has lost not one but two teeth!  Her two bottom teeth have been really loose for a long time, but Ella was afraid to let me pull them.  Finally the first one was so loose that I was afraid she was going to swallow it, so I convinced her to let me just try pulling it and see if it would come out and not hurt.  Sure enough I put my fingers on the tooth and Ella pulled her head back, leaving the tooth in my fingers.  The VERY generous Tooth Fairy stopped by and left Ella $5.  The second tooth came out just a couple of days later, but this time the Tooth Fairy only left her $2 since it wasn't her first tooth.  All of this makes Ella feel very grown up.  Loosing tooth is a big deal when you're 6.
 
The trip to NJ was our last trip for the year.  We’re settled in at home for the time being and getting last minute things in order for this baby to arrive.

We ordered the car seat last weekend, and that was the last piece of the puzzle to getting things ready.  We have diapers, clothes, a crib and bassinet, and now a car seat (that’s on order but it should be here in a couple of weeks).  So this kid is able to come anytime and we’ll be ready for him.  It has been fun pulling out all of Ella’s old toys and baby items.  6 years is a long time and I had forgotten about so many things.  She loves to hear stories about what she loved and didn’t love, what clothes were hers, what blankets were hers, etc.  She often takes her baby brother doll and will put him in the bassinet, cover him with a blanket and give him a stuffed animal, then gently rock him and sing.  Her other favorite preparation activity is to rock her baby brother doll in the rocker and sing to him.  She’s been brushing up on her lullaby’s and plans on singing to him as often as possible.

I will ask that you continue to pray for our new addition.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit nervous.  I really just want him to be here sooner rather than later so that I can see his little face and know that he's safe and sound.  I tell Joe, I know I'm not going to stop worrying about him, but at least I'll know that he's ok.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Picture Day


Today is the big day!  Quite possibly the most important day of the school year.  Last night Ella picked out her clothes specifically because the hearts on the shirt match her new hot pink glasses with hearts on them.  She got to bed early so that she would be good and rested.  I meant to give her a haircut, but didn’t get around to it, so it looks like she’ll be wearing a pony tail.  It doesn't matter...she'll look cute anyway.

In honor of this important day for kids across America, here’s is a special song written and performed by Ella’s uncle Curby.