Tell me what it is you want to do with your one wild and precious life? -mary oliver

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Day

 Once you choose HOPE, anything's possible.
Christopher Reeve

I find it difficult to put into words the emotions that surrounded Sarah's First Christmas Day, and that it was on a Sunday was even more special.  I had to wake each child up, comb through Sarah's rat nest of hair, and then the kids walked downstairs to see what Santa and his elves had left for them.

There were moments that morning when Andy and I looked at our kids and the blessings each one has received this year.  Addy, who has taken the role of big sister to the nth degree, and Austin, who in his own way teaches Sarah about the little things in life.  And Sarah, who embraces every moment with gusto.  Our hearts are overflowing.
 I wanted a family photo before church that morning and try as we might, Miss Sarah would not smile, except for the moments we weren't ready.

As we walked into church that morning, our friends said, "This is a very special Christmas for your family, isn't it?"  And when we sat in the church pew, those who followed Sarah's story knew this moment had great significance for us.
There was a moment during the service when all the children were asked to come to the front for a story by our children's pastor.  Addy and Austin walked down, and Sarah wanted to go also.  When she got down front, our friends saw her make a beeline for  her sister.  Then, Austin moved on the other side of her...and one by one, she reached for their hands.  And tears filled my eyes, and the eyes of my friends who watched that beautiful moment unfold before their very eyes.  My heart took a picture and captured that moment forever.  Then, she stroked Addy's hair, and rubbed Austin's back,  and walked back with her brother and sister to sit with HER family.

She is loved.

She has a family. 
 She will move mountains.
 If I have but one monument in this world, it is that of my children.

Filled with Gratitude, Shelly

Saturday, December 24, 2011

From Our Hearts To Yours

Our year has been abundantly blessed by our firecracker, Sarah.  She has wrapped herself around all of our hearts and those she meets on her merry way.
As we nestled our children in their beds this Christmas Eve, I am so very thankful that I am given a front row seat to the miracle show of Sarah's life.  Experiencing her firsts is an amazing way to live this wild, and precious life.
Tomorrow when she experiences her first Christmas, the reason we have this special day, and the love of her family, I will watch her excitement and embrace these special times, capturing them with my camera and my mind's heart.
From our family to yours, may you have a blessed Christmas day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

To the North Pole

It's a magical time when all the stars align, schedules are cleared, and we whisk away for a brief moment in time to celebrate so many miracles.  Two weeks ago, we did just that.  Andy had an idea and my job was to get all the grandparents to clear the weekend and we journeyed, not too far away, but away to celebrate Addy's birth and Sarah's first Christmas.  He had found a Polar Express train ride to take our children on and wanted both grandparents together.

We began with a Christmas Parade in a quaint town that had over 100 carriages of horses marching along the parade route.  The weather was a remarkably, balmy 50 and that's a heatwave for Ohio country in December.

Of course, a sunny afternoon isn't complete without a trip to the park.

Finally, we had someone to take a picture of our entire family together.

Later that evening, our family had dinner together.  Fresh pizza dough was brought out for the kids to mold and keep occupied while we waited.  I looked and marveled at what this past year had brought us.

As Sarah worked her magic around the table from one grandparent to another, my heart was filled with emotion.  So much gratefulness and thankfulness and blessings. Our family's support, love, and prayers provided us the foundation to give Sarah a family and her first ever Christmas.  We are so very blessed and she is daily teaching us to live in the moment.

Our adventure the next day led us to The Polar Express, which in turn broke down and we had to walk to the North Pole.  But, it's the memories, the moments, and the togetherness that matters.  And we took pictures with our minds, hearts, and cameras to remember this special time.

I am so very thankful for our family.  A memory our kids will cherish.  
Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 2, 2011


Family importance...the tradition and heritage my grandparents have passed down from generation to generation.  The tradition where each member, if able, make their journey back to our hometown for the family dinner, conversations, love, and joy of being together for that one moment in time.
Where hugs and coffee are plentiful, and sharing of the happiness and glass is half-fullness that we have embraced over the past year.  My Sarah had her first Thanksgiving in this family, as did other new members we welcomed with open arms.  Some through marriage, others by birth.  No matter how they have joined, they are embraced with love.  My mother counted 54 attended this Thanksgiving.  That number has been constant these past years.  A testament to the tradition and family importance my grandparents passed down to their children.  Their children passed down to their children and so one.  Where grandkids are having children of their own, and celebrating those special moments.

Sister knows that Grandma has a soft spot for all that cuteness and will "feed" her at command.

Then after dinner, the kids spread out in chairs watching football, playing video games, or sharing girl stories in their own little way.

My nephews, while older, spend time with the little ones, which makes my heart melt.

No matter where you stand in the circle, you are loved.  You are celebrated.  You are embraced with open arms.  Tradition, family, and the most important of all...LOVE.
The Friday after used to be our Black Friday shopping trip before the madness.  Now with the internet and online shopping, we celebrate Addy's early birthday with my family.  She'll be 9. 
My oldest has embraced her sister and Sarah adores and emulates Addy.  Addy includes her in learning about the 3rd grade Cootie Catcher!

She is amazing with Sarah.  She can get  Sarah to do things, we adults cannot.

  Another tradition my mother started was to ice birthday cupcakes with cousins.  Sarah saw a cupcake and took a bite before learning the icing is so much better on the cupcake.

The cousins planned a raffle and VIP seating for her party and she could hardly contain herself.

Family Traditions....

The elves made their way back from the North Pole, complete with new ornaments for the tree.  After one week with Sarah, Austin's elf was rushed to Andy's ER for neck surgery.  He's recovering well, thank you.

And tomorrow, we embark on another tradition.  Both grandparents are traveling with us to a "special event" for the night.  Celebrating our first Christmas with Sarah and celebrating Addy turning nine.

Traditions, family, LOVE.  It's a wonderful thing.