Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008. Hello 2009!

As I sit here on New Year's Eve day thinking about 2008, I am sad, happy, blessed, and looking forward to the future.

2008 started with the birth of Reagan Lauren Lindsey, my sister's first child. I rushed to Atlanta on January 5th to be with Elissa and Steve as they welcomed Reagan into the world. It was an awesome experience and a joyful time for our entire family.

In February, we celebrated my mom's 57th birthday. It was bitter sweet because she was ill and bald from chemo, but happy because she had made it through another year.

March brought sadness for the Fink side of the family. My grandpa Fink passed away after a "too" short battle with multiple myeloma cancer. We celebrated his life shortly after Easter with a beautiful service at his long time church in Houston.

April was a great month. My mom finished chemo and got a CA125 blood test result that was really good. It looked like the chemo had worked. Her hair began growing back and things seemed to be "normal" again.

In May, I had an emergency appendectomy that was scary but ultimately resulted in the BEST NEWS! I was pregnant. After several years of trying for #2 and several failed infertility treatments, God blessed us with another little angel. Olivia also performed in her first dance (ballet) recital this month. It was adorable to watch. I am looking forward to many more!

We took our first family vacation in June. (Just Adam, Olivia, and me) We went to Hot Springs, AR and then to Atlanta. More to come about the trip in July. In AR, we took Olivia to Lake Hamilton and spent an awesome day on the lake as a family.

July started in Atlanta. We took Olivia to Aunt Sissy and Uncle Steve's house for the first time. The girls had so much fun going to Varsity, the Georgia Aquarium, and their first Braves/Astros game! Too bad for Adam, the Astros lost! It was a great time, but July wasn't all good. We found out that Adam's sister, Bree, had lost her eye in a firework accident and my mom was told that she had 2 new tumors growing in her abdomen. We knew it would be a long fall.

In August, my mom and I took Olivia to her first Circus. She loved it. We had great seats and Olivia was mesmerized by the show. Elissa brought Reagan to Dallas and we took the girls to the American Girl store and cafe for their first ladies night! Just a few weeks later, I was back in Dallas for work. My mom spent 3 action packed, summer days taking care of Olivia for me before she got sick and was hospitalized due to the cancer recurrence. We also found out that baby #2 was a girl in August! We were thrilled to have another little princess!

September marked Olivia's 3rd birthday and Adam's 35th. We celebrated Olivia's birthday at Chuckie Cheese. She had a great time and it helped take our minds of mom's illness. On September 18th at 5:43 a.m., we lost my mom to ovarian cancer. That is a day that will be on my mind and in my heart forever.

October was a month of getting back to normal after being in Dallas for 8 weeks caring for my mom while she was on hospice. I celebrated my 31st birthday less than 2 weeks after burying my mother. (Not much of a celebration, but Adam and my friends made it nice!) I went back to work after being on leave and Olivia dressed up like an adorable butterfly for Halloween!

In November, we hosted our first "big" family Thanksgiving. My brother, Adam's brother, his wife, and daughter, Adam's dad and step-mom, Adam's grandma, and our neighbor, Dave, all joined us for Thanksgiving. We had a lot of delicious food and lots of laughs. I found out that I was getting "laid off" 2 days before Thanksgiving, but nothing was keeping us from having a good holiday this year!

That brings me to December, we spent Christmas at home with my brother and my sister, her husband, and daughter. It was great to be together. We took Olivia to see Disney Live and the Rockette's...she loved both! We have been preparing for our new arrival and looking forward to a new year.

Losing my grandfather and mother all in one year was hard, but by no means can I say that 2008 was a "bad year." Our family received so much love and so many blessings that it would be harsh to call the year a bad one. I am looking forward to what 2009 will bring. I am praying for a safe delivery and healthy daughter in January. I pray that cancer will rest for now in our family and that all the money and time going into cancer research will soon pay off. I am looking forward to trying my hand at this "stay at home" mom thing and hope that Adam's job/career remain stable.

As we say goodbye to 2008 and welcome 2009, I am thankful for family, friends, love, peaceful moments and for time.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

All Updated!

I know! I know! I know! I have been very lazy about updating my blog for about a week. I am now all caught up. Scroll down for post after post of Christmas cheer!

P.S. Tonight ended our whirlwind holiday celebration. We took Olivia to see the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes (they were in Austin) and she loved it! It was my first time to see them too. It's pretty amazing. I highly recommend going if you ever get the chance.

Celebrating Christmas with Gramps, KK, Uncle Drew and Uncle Pierce

My dad and Kathryn (Drew and Pierce too!) all came to Austin on December 26th to celebrate Christmas with us. I got some cute pictures of the kids and some blackmail shots too!

Christmas Morning

Santa Claus, Presents, and lots of loot....enough said!

Cousins and Christmas Eve

Olivia and Reagan had a great time together over Christmas. They pushed each other around in the doll stroller... (Yes, little Reagan is not even 1 and she is walking and pushing her 3 year old cousin in a stroller!) They even wore matching Christmas Eve PJ's and matching angel outfits to the Christmas Eve service at church!

Christmas with the Harkins & Heiss Families

We celebrated Christmas with Josh, Amy, and families on December 21st. Between Josh, his parents, and the Heiss's, Olivia got totally spoiled! Here are some pics of Olivia and Avery opening gifts and hanging out!

Trail of Lights 2008

We took Olivia to see the Trail of Lights for the first time this year. Our friends, the Klings, joined us and we had a great time despite the huge crowd and OIivia's first experience with a "port-o-potty!" Eww!

Olivia's Dance Class Christmas Party 2008

Olivia's dance class had their annual Christmas celebration on December 20th. The parents got to come in and watch the routines and then the girls had treats and candy to celebrate the upcoming holidays! They had a blast!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve!

We are back from church. The girls looked so cute in their angel costumes, though I think I may have gone overboard. Oh well!

The little people just opened their Christmas Eve gifts...Christmas PJ's and I am cooking our snack supper.

I have tons of pictures to post and will probably have tons more after tomorrow, but tonight I have an inspirational quote from the church program.

"Somewhere in the night of our lives, a baby cries, and that cry is our hope. The grace of God has appeared for the salvation of our world. The Light of the World has broken through the darkness! Look for the Light! Be the Light for all the world!"

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Disney Live

We took Olivia to see Disney Live last night. She had such a good time. This is a picture of Olivia as we were getting ready to leave!

Getting ready for the show to begin.

Miska Mouska Mickey Mouse

Little Einsteins


The whole gang.

Friday, December 19, 2008

20 Little Things to Treasure at Christmas

*My little list was inspired by "The Inspired Room."

1) I absolutely love how Olivia is so interested in Jesus and the story of his birth. We talk about it everyday!

2) I like how everyone seems to have a little swing in their step. People are sharing little holiday treats around the office and if you duck out early, no one seems to mind!

3) Opening Christmas cards and seeing photos of friends and family throughout the year. I have all of mine on display in my living room and I sent out over 100 cards this year!

4) Christmas cookies. All of them. I think I gain 5 to 10 pounds every year.

5) I love the hustle and bustle at the shopping malls. Even though it can get choatic, I like that everyone is there for the same reason. We are all trying to pick out just the right gift for someone that we care about!

6) I love Christmas music. There is a local radio station that starts playing Christmas music a month before Christmas (that was even before Thanksgiving this year) and they play it 24:7 until December 26th. My station never changes until December 26th.

7) Holiday T.V. commercials. I am not a huge T.V. watcher, but I am a sucker for the holiday commercials showing families gathered together in plaid sweaters, opening gifts, and drinking hot chocolate!

8) Speaking of T.V., I do like the Christmas specials that come on year after year. Charlie Brown, Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, The Grinch, and of course, the lighting of the tree in Rockafeller Center.

9) Peppermints! I love peppermint bubble bath, candy canes, peppermint coffee and hot chocolate. If it has peppermint then I am in!

10) Choir programs at church and school. There is nothing like hearing Christmas carols sung by a real live choir.

11) Coming home to find packages or sweet treats left on the doorstep. Today I came home to both!

12) I love that there were no angels left on the Salvation Army Giving Tree at our local mall and that everytime I see a toy donation barrel, it is overflowing. Even in these hard economic times!

13) Family. Christmas is a time for sharing and being with people that we love.

14) Christmas is also a time to remember those that will not be with us, but who are celebrating with Jesus in Heaven.

I lost my mom this year, but know that she will be celebrating Christmas in a big way with her Lord and Savior.

15) Stockings. Christmas stockings are so fun. I love looking at other people's stockings hanging from their mantles. I also LOVE waking up on Christmas day to little treats from "Santa!"

16) I love watching the Santa radar with Olivia. We always check to see where Santa has been and where he is headed before we go to sleep on Christmas Eve.

Yes, that's the burnt orange tower you see!

17) I treasure going to church on Christmas Eve. My mother always included church as a part of our Christmas Eve tradition. It just doesn't seem like Christmas Eve to me unless we attend a service.

18) Our children and the magic that they bring to Christmas. It is amazing how the light in a child's eyes can put everything into perspective!

19) Christmas decorations. I have somewhat worn this one out with all of my "decor" posts, but I love having my home decorated for Christmas. I put decorations up early and take them down at the last minute...usually Jan 1st or 2nd.

20) Lastly, I treasure Jesus Christ for whom we celebrate Christmas. Without God's son, we would have no reason to celebrate.

God Bless and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Little Angel

The Christmas Eve service at our church (or at least the early service) is geared towards children. They ask that the children dress as either angels, shepherds, or a nativity appropriate animal. I decided to make Olivia and Reagan angel costumes. I did a little dress rehearsal tonight with Olivia. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

An Adorable Chair and More Decor

When I talked about our Christmas dinner with the Johnson's several days ago, I had not yet taken a photo of the adorable chair that they made, yes made, for Olivia. She loves it. I remember having a little wooden rocking chair as a child and loving it. It is great for rocking baby dolls to sleep and for rocking back and forth as hard as you can! (That is Olivia's favorite!)

After looking at my pictures of the Christmas decorations, I realized that my dining table was bare. I would still like to dress the backs of the chairs, but that will have to wait until next year. I did make some changes though...

Our light fixture is a little, well, not my favorite. Maybe by this time next year, I will have a new one!