Mark, Jennifer, Ethan, Emily

This blog is about our family, who have dealt with the loss of two sons with Muscular Dystrophy, the adoption of a son diagnosed with Agenesis of Corpus Callosum and the birth our a healthy little girl. It's a crazy life, but we are loving it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmastime Wrap Up

Just tying up a few Christmastime Ends for you!

We did the Secret Santa gift exchange at work. The girl who drew my name was awesome! It seemed that every time I left my desk and came back, a new gift would appear.

She knew my love for chocolate mint.... God Bless her!

I wasn't sure what to do for the girl whose name I had drawn. I talked to her work partner for ideas and a lightbulb went off. She likes to bake and do canning, so I made her an apron.

Her name starts with a B and her favorite color is yellow. I found a plain white apron at Hobby Lobby along with the iron on B, the flower and the ruffle. I ironed the B on and used liquid stitch for the ruffle and flower. I don't sew. Wish I could.

And lastly, here are some outtakes from my Christmas photo shoot I tried to take last night.

Mark already took the Christmas tree down and packed the Christmas stuff up for the year. The house is officially back to normal. Well, as normal as we can be!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

We started our Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve with our church's Christmas Eve Service. Mark did a great job and it was a beautiful service.

After the service, we had cookies, cake, punch, eggnog and coffee. It was such a wonderful time of fellowship and I enjoyed getting to spend this special time with everyone who came to the service.

After the service, we came home and played Uno, Checkers & Mark tried to teach me the basics of Chess. I tuned out after the first 10 seconds. I don't think I'll ever get that game down.

Ethan chose to play on the computer.

When it was time for bed, Emily set out cookies and milk for Santa.

I also took pics of the kids in their PJ's in front of the Christmas Tree.

And here's the tree.

On Christmas morning, the kiddos woke up and opened all the gifts. Ethan got a new bike and Emily asked for a Monster High hair coloring kit, which he came through with. She's also into the British Teen Group One Direction.

Then we went to my parent's house for lunch with other family members and my kids cleaned up with presents as well.

Mark gave me a new tripod for my camera, so I wanted to do a little photo shoot before we left my parents.

Then I got my mom involved...

Then  my mom and dad...

My kiddos and my parents...

Mark and I...

And again...


Can't you just see the pain in their faces? I had to threaten them in order to get this picture.

We had such a wonderful Christmas. I decided before the Christmas season was upon us, that I was going to be intentional with incorporating the true meaning as much as I could. I have to say, this was the best Christmas I have had in a long time. I'm not talking gifts, but the joy of the season. The last couple of years I have dreaded Christmas. Last year, I told Mark I didn't even want to decorate the house. Of course he wouldn't let me do that, but yes, I had had a bad year and not feeling Christmas at all.

I decided that this year was going to be different. I gave my family, my problems and my bad attitude to the Lord and I told him I didn't want to keep taking my issues and problems back. And I so enjoyed this Christmas season, I hate to see it go!

I was so proud of Ethan participating in the Christmas Eve service at church. He had a smile on his face the whole time. And my sweet Emily, who never gets tired of me telling her the true meaning of Christmas. I am so thankful that I got to have this wonderful day with my family.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

1st Grade Christmas Program

Last week Emily had her 1st grade Christmas program. She even had a little speaking part. She and all the other students did a great job.

On the night of the program, I got to the school an hour early. Why, you may ask? You can read about my past experiences here and here.While waiting for the program to start, Ethan saw his best friend, Anthony. Anthony's little brother Aiden was in the program, too.

The program started and all the little one came in. Since Emily had a speaking part, she was on the front row.

Santa made an appearance.

There was lots of singing, and cuteness all around.

After the program, I snapped a pic of Emily with her good friend Emma.

And then her teacher.

After the program, we met my parents at a local Mexican food restaurant to celebrate the special night.

Emily did great. I always enjoy my kids programs. I smile from ear to ear when the kids come out and sing. I get so proud, I think my heart is gonna burst. And to top it off, I had a front row seat this time. I was pretty much on cloud nine. It's an hour early for me every time my kids have a program.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ethan turns the big 1-0!

Today my Ethan turns 10!

10! I can't believe it! I say that with every birthday with all my kiddos.

Oh Ethan, you are just too handsome for your own good!

We had my mom and dad over tonight for dinner. I asked Ethan what he wanted. He didn't even have to think about it, he wanted pizza. So, I made him some of my homemade pizza. And it was good. Really good. It rocked my world, pretty much.

He got some pretty cool gifts.

Emily made him a really cute card.

He got a new helicopter.

So Happy Birthday, Mr. E!

I hope being 10 is a great year for you.

We love you!

And I have to add this one... Ethan when he turned 4. Oh those cheeks...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Catching Up & Tweeting

Here is what we've been up to.

Last Friday I went with Emily and her class to a local Christmas Tree Farm.

Lots of 1st graders at the Christmas Tree Farm.

We took a tractor ride through the farm, then came back and had some hot chocolate. Then Emily's class learned how Christmas Trees are grown.

They also learned about the different animals around the farm.

This guy was mugging for the camera.

And I took a picture of Emily with her infamous eye closed pose.

That night we went to our town's Christmas parade, were Emily immediately spotted a friend and they invited her to sit with them during the parade. So Mark, Ethan and I enjoyed the parade together.

Ethan enjoying his hot chocolate and waiting for the parade.

Santa was there of course.

After the parade, we decided to eat at Sonic. The weather was a little warm, so we sat outside to eat.

Ethan at Sonic.

I told Mark to smile and say "Complicated food order." I always feel for the people who cook our food when we go out. Everyone wants something different and made their own way. We apologized when the carhop brought our food out about all the different special orders, but the carhop was super nice and said it was really no problem.

On Saturday morning, we woke up bright and early to head to our downtown park. I entered Emily into a county recycled ornament contest. They asked that students make a Christmas ornament out of recycled materials. Emily was so excited to enter.

I had her make an ornaments out of a toilet paper roll. I cut it in 5 pieces and she painted it, and glittered it and glued it together. I wish I took a picture of it before she turned it in but I didn't. It looks similar to this. I found this photo on Pinterest.

Anyway, I received a call saying she won a prize and they would be presenting the prizes at the park on Saturday morning.

She won $10 for placing in the 1st/2nd grade category.

I won $25 for helping her with the ornament. That was a nice surprise! I wasn't expecting this!

Then, Emily won $25 for placing 1st in her category. We banked $60 on a toilet paper roll, some paint, glitter and ribbon. Woohoo!!

She was so excited!

To top it off, she and all the other winners got their picture in the local newspaper.

I told Ethan maybe next year he can come up with an ornament too. He didn't seem very thrilled, although he thinks $35 sounds pretty cool.

On a totally unrelated note, I finally signed up on Twitter. Does anyone else do Twitter? Follow me @JenniferStroup2.