Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Christmas to Remember

"When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us." So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart."
Luke 2:15-19

I absolutely love the part about Mary treasuring those things and pondering them in her heart. To ponder means to consider deeply and thoroughly; to meditate; to weigh carefully in the mind; reflect; and even estimate the worth of. Mary took the time. She was still and quiet. She treasured those first moments and pondered the destiny of this baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes. She hid them in heart. Reflected and rejoiced.

I felt a bit like Mary this holiday season. I pondered so many moments, wanting not one to be taken for granted.

I pondered reading the story of baby Jesus to Max.

I pondered baking Christmas cookies with Sam. Twice.

I pondered decorating the house, inside and out, for the holiday season.

I pondered Max taking every ornament he could reach off the tree until the bottom half was bare.

I pondered the packages that arrived on our doorstep with Maximus' name on the front, just a reminder of how many people truly love and adore the little man.

I pondered our Christmas Eve in, Max tucked in bed, and Sam and I putting together the toys.

I pondered our Christmas morning and Max excited to open his gifts. And the breakfast Sam made that will hopefully be a family tradition.

I pondered our relaxed Christmas get-togethers with all the grandpas and grandmas and aunts and uncles and cousins.

I pondered how different Christmas was only a few short years ago.

I pondered how a gift like Max, a beautiful, blue-eyed, baby boy could change our world. Forever.

I think I got a small glimpse this Christmas into what it meant for Mary to "treasure all those things and ponder them in her heart." She was overwhelmed. Thankful. Grateful. Filled-up. Satisfied. And deeply moved by the goodness of God.

And so am I.


Some of my favorite Christmas moments

Max models some of the clothes he received from our friends in NY.
Lookin' good my man!

Sam sportin' his "Cousin Eddie" [from Christmas Vacation] outfit.

Christmas morning Max played with his toolbench forever. and ever. and ever.
[and was completely oblivious to the BIG WHITE SHEET behind him that had his new Jeep Power Wheels underneath!]

Another favorite gift, his dog he calls "Abby"
[after my parents dog that is named Abby].

Checking out his new ride.

Standing on his new ride.

One of the gifts from Grandma Tonya and birthdaddy, Colton.
I love wooden toys and so does Max!

Max, so proud of his new [and noisy!] fire truck.
Thanks Uncle Josh, we owe you.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Why Is It So?

Today, Max and I had the pleasure of hanging out with two of my nieces, Abigail and Lauren, and my nephew, Gabriel. I won't bore you with all the details of my SIL's dislocated shoulder [yep, that's right. Kristen fell, dislocated her shoulder, and is now doing all functions with only her left arm]. I thought it would be a nice and welcomed relief to have some of her kiddos hang with us today.

Since I strive to win the "Aunt of the Year" award, I pulled out all the stops. Art projects. Board Games [you play a mean Hullabaloo, Gabe!]. Baking. Snacks. Treats. Cartoons. A delicious pot roast dinner.I think you get my point. One would think I would have this award in the bag.

One. Would. Think.

That is, until, Uncle Sam walked in the door. How easily the children forgot the Rolos I offered them spontaneously. You know, a "just because" treat. Or, the two cartoons I let them watch back-to-back. Or, allowing them to take every single stuffed animal out of hibernation and tuck them in Max's crib. Every. Single. Last. One. And, oh by the way, I found all three children in the crib [at the same time] with these said animals.

Again, one would think I have this award in the bag.

So, why is it so that children just love their daddies and uncles?

I give you
Exhibit A: The Ball Pit War
Exhibit B: Ride the Bull

You will know exactly why Uncle Sam won the coveted award today.

you are one incredible husband, amazing father and fun-loving uncle.

You deserve the title.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Let It Snow

I feel that I am being reminded, more than ever, of how fast our little boy is growing up. Last year, around the holidays, he was just learning to crawl and was quite content to lay or sit in one spot. He barely noticed the big green tree in our family room. And he certainly didn't touch any of our Christmas decorations. This year, well lets just say, he is fully aware of all the holiday cheer sprinkled throughout our house!

We had our first snow day this weekend. I couldn't resist showing you then and now pictures. What a vast difference a year can make.



Enjoy the holiday week ahead! May it be Merry and Bright as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Feliz Navidad

To get into the Christmas spirit, Max and I participated in a holiday party at a local art studio. It was an hour packed with music, crafts, snacks, and of course, Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

The attentive student

Max did not enjoy his meet n greet with
Santa Claus

Craft time

Music man

And for your listening enjoyment. Max on the bongos to the tune of Feliz Navidad. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mama's New Shoes

A girl's best friend: shoes.
Or is it diamonds?
Well, just to be safe. A girl's best friend is shoes and diamonds.

Today I will be talking about one of my best friends: shoes. Doesn't every girl love a new pair of shoes. Well, I received a box from Piperlime.com [ahhhhhhhh] this afternoon and couldn't wait to rip it open.

**On a sidenote, isn't this so funny? I mean, I already knew what was in the box. I ordered it. Myself. Just the other day. But, when the glorious box shows up on the doorstep [thank you UPS man, I heart you], I get that giddy feeling all over again. Please tell me you can relate.**

OK, back to the story at hand. My little sidekick, Max, is also excited to see what is in the box. O little man, it is shoes, sweet shoes. I know my love of shoes has definitely rubbed off on Max. I am certain I have shared that with you before. So, much to my delight, Max squealed with excitement when I opened the box and pulled out a brand.new.pair.of.tennis.shoes.

Now, I only buy a new pair of tennis shoes once every other year. So, I labor over the purchase since I know I will be wearing them for a longtime to come. These shoes? They did not disappoint. [Mizuno's...in case you are wondering.]

And can I mention that these shoes were worth every penny. Every. Penny. And I haven't even worn them yet.

Why, you ask?

They kept Mister Max's attention for 45 minutes. Yep, that's right. Forty-five minutes. Just in case you didn't catch that. He played and tried on my new shoes for 45 minutes [I am pretty sure that calculates to like 3.5 years in dog years]. He was.Totally. Completely. Captivated. And who could blame him?

Here is a short clip of him concentrating to put them on and tie them up.

And one photo of him successfully getting both new shoes on at the same time! Well done Max. You made mommy proud!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Here Comes the Ring Bearer

Max and I were honored to be a part of my cousin, Marie's, wedding day.
It was a fairy tale wedding that included a stunning bride and adorable little ring bearer.

Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Marie and her girls

Max the Ring Bearer

There's a smile!

Time to call it a night

Mommy and Daddy stayed late
and cut a rug on the dance floor

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Sam and I just returned from paradise in Riviera Maya, Mexico. We spent 6 glorious days and 5 glorious nights pretending like we were on our honeymoon again. It was pure bliss.

We celebrated my 30th birthday in style. Our lazy days were spent by the beach and our evenings at romantic dinners. What a way to celebrate a birthday!
While we were away, Mister Max was well taken care of by his Grandma and Papa. We emailed daily with the little guy and he seemed to get along just fine without us. Here are a few excerpts. I am sure they will bring a smile to your face as they did ours every time we read one!

11/12: Day 1 of Trip

Hi mommy and daddy,

I hope you had a fun afternoon at the pool/beach. I was soooo good all day. I got
to play with Eli all morning and Maddie watched us and took us outside in the back. It
was great fun. We then had a delicious lunch (I'm wearing a bib for grandma) of grilled
cheese, tomato soup, etc.

I didn't nap very long, maybe one hr. and then talked and coughed a little for another
hr. Grandma got me up and I was very good and happy. We left for home at 4.
Papa played with me lots while grandma finished dinner and cleaned up. I ate
all my spaghetti, some peas, yo-gurt, raspberries, pretzels. I did good, huh? and milk.
Well it is after 7 so I know they will say it's bedtime soon so I guess I better go and
play with them a little more so they won't be sad. Maybe read them a book.

All is well and I am happy. Have fun and don't be sad at all.
I love you, Max

11/15: Day 4 of Trip

Okay I'm telling on Grandma. She slept til 7:30 this morning. Papa got up and moved the monitor and
shut the door so she could sleep. Papa and I had a great early morning time together.
We looked at books and he gave me some dry cheerios and a drink to hold me til breakfast.
He loves to hold me when I wake. Me and my baa baa.

We went to church and I went to the nursery. Aunt Becca and Uncle Chris were in there.
I stayed in there til 11:15 and then they took me back to Gma. Becca said my nose was
running and I coughed on kids. Whatever! Don't tell I told or Gma will get in trouble.

Church was great. The Lord was moving. Worship lasted til noon again and then Pastor Jim
said to get your kids and come back up front if you want to. We left and went to Jersey
Mikes with Uncle Luke, Aunt Bethany and cousin Claire.

Home for nap. I slept not quite 2 hrs. Then books, played outside etc. My favorite -
Gma sat me in her lap and we checked out all the blogs. I loved it and didn't move for
20 min.

Lauren came at 4 and we played, outside and in. I ate the biggest dinner - spaghetti,
kiwi, and frozen yogurt and milk etc. Delicious! Lauren and I are now watching a video
before bath/bed. What a great day here at the Ritz. Uncle Tom and Beth are stopping by
at 8:30 to show us her engagement ring. I guess I'll be in bed:-(

I am wearing a bib at every meal. I even tuck it in behind the tray. Gma has these
great cotton bibs. Plastic sucks!

I love you and miss you but I am doing so great - real bonding with these old folks.
Love, Max

11/16: Day 5

Hi mommy and daddy,

I'm counting down. 24 hrs. or less. I miss you. I had a great day. Lauren played with
me this morning. Then we met Auntie Kristen and kiddos at Mc.D's for lunch and we took
Lauren to school.
I slept and slept for my nap. After 2 and half hrs. Grandma turned on the hall light,
15 more minutes and she turned on the bedroom light. I finally roused at almost 3 hrs.
Whew, I bet I grew sleeping so much.

We ran a couple errands and went outside. It is so nice here, the weather has been good.

O.K. it is 8:30 pm and I am jabbering up a storm in my bed. I stayed up til 8:15. Papa got
home from his elders meeting and I wanted to spend some time with him. I go from Grandma to Papa without hesitation. Hope I don't hurt her feelings. It's a guy thing.

See you at the airport. I'll be the little guy with beautiful blue eyes and blond curls
grinning ear to ear.
Love, Max

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Keeping the Tradition Alive

I love sharing then and now photos. And here is a winner! Sam recruited his trusty sous chef, Max, to assist him in baking a pumpkin pie again this year!

Pumpkin Pie Cook-Off 2008

Pumpkin Pie Cook-Off 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Max and His New Obstacle Course

Doesn't every child need an obstacle course in their family room?
Max certainly thinks so. Check him out!


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat

Max's first Trick or Treat
as an OSU Football Player

Getting geared up for the big night

What is this 'candy' they speak of?
Have you heard of it?

It's delicious. Oh so delicious.
I must. Have. More.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Little Things

I know. This picture probably doesn't mean much at first glance. But, as I walked through our Mud Room today, I was overwhelmed at the sight of little shoes. And these little shoes were in my house and belonged to my son. Completely. Utterly. Overwhelmed.

My every day life now consists of...
Folding little clothes fresh out of the dryer.
Filling little sippy cups with milk, juice and water.
Cleaning up little toys and books and puzzle pieces.
Calling little friends over for play dates.
Giving little hugs, kisses and hand pounds.
Taming little golden curls that can be quite unruly.
Scrubbing little toes clean in the bathtub.
Whispering in little ears, "I Love You."
And of course, lining little shoes up by the door.

It's the little things that help remind you of the big things, you know? Where you have been. Where you are going. And the journey that makes up the in between.

Amazing how a pair of little shoes could be so inspiring.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

We enjoyed a warm, fall day at the pumpkin patch with friends and family. Max was quite at home on the farm. He dragged his favorite pumpkin around for ages, played and played in the cornbox with his cousins, and even had his first homemade powdered sugar doughnut. All in all, I think it was a success!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Eighteen Month Update

Max had his eighteen month well visit [about 10 days early].

I've got two words for you: Growing. Boy.

He weighed 26 lbs 12 oz - 55th percentile.

He measured 34 inches long - 93rd percentile.

At eighteen months, Max has 25+ words [doctor shared that 5-10 is typical at this age]:
Daddy, Mommy, Abby, nose, sock, shoe, eat, bite, hot, cheese, uh-oh, dog, duck, blue, up, out, car, happy, more please, help me, shoot [as in a basketball, and he puts the hand motion with it], moojoo [that's his word for movie], baa baa [his beloved blankie], yes, and no. And it seems like he is saying a new one everyday...

Animal sounds he knows:
Lion = roar, Duck = quack, quack, Cow = moooooo, Horse = neigh
He also laughs and laughs when I snort like a pig, but he is yet to do it himself. Hmmmm....

Body parts he knows and points at when you say the word:
nose, ears, eyes, tongue [which is hilarious because he sticks his tongue out and wiggles it back and forth], toes and belly button.

We are so blessed to have a happy, healthy, bright and FUN little guy.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Craft Time

Max officially worked on his first art project this weekend: painting a pumpkin. What a beaut! Really, I think he has quite a gift. I, on the other hand, do not have a gift when it comes to arts and crafts.

Therefore, I will be leaning on my sis-in-law, Amy, [who is quite brilliant at ideas for crafts], to teach him all her arts and crafts ways. She was the brains behind the pumpkin project at our nephew, Vance's, second birthday party this weekend.

Thanks Amy, and Happy Birthday Vance!

**please note the paint is non-toxic as it is obvious that Max tried to eat it. :-)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

For the Love of Hockey

I just can't get enough of this YouTube video and had to share. With all the hockey talk around our house, I wonder if this will be Max in a few years...

And for those of you that have time....
This video became so popular on YouTube that it caught Ellen's eye.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sweet and Delicious

Max and I just returned from Minneapolis, Minnesota. We were visiting some of our best friends - Shawn, Joy and kids, Judah [age 3] and Luciana [age 1].

One of my highlights [there were many!] was Max experiencing his first Jamba Juice. I am a lover of the Jamba. We currently do not have this delicious smoothie chain in our city so whenever I am in a location that has a Jamba I seize the day!

Needless to say, Max officially loves his Jamba as much as his mommy does. This particular Jamba Juice is attached to a Whole Foods [I know does it get any better?] so as we strolled through the market Max held his Jamba high in the air and jabbered to anyone that would listen. He was obviously excited to share the good news of his Jamba drink.

You make me so proud, little man.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lets Go Jackets

Welcome to the 2009-2010 Hockey Season.

Our little fan is growing up.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Max decided to use his creative juices today to make up a new game. After I stopped laughing at/with him, I had the sense to grab my camera and catch some of it on film. I think this one definitely belongs in the "Boys will be Boys" category. But, you be the judge.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New Fashion Trend?

I think so! Our little Max is quite the fashion-forward thinker.

His new routine? Immediately following breakfast every morning [the boy is still in his jammies] he finds his shoes, brings them to me, and insists on putting them on his feet by saying over and over again, "sooz, sooz, sooz..."

He struck a pose for me this morning:

As much as I would like to think my own love of shoes has rubbed off on him, I am almost certain he is putting them on so that at a moment's notice he can run outside. All I have to do is say, "Max, outside?" And he literally sprints to the door so he can go outside and play.

This boy is smart. He is simply being proactive so that when the opportunity arises, he is ready to go.

Monday, September 14, 2009


I love to hike. And we have some great Metro Parks in the area that allow you to enjoy nature while walking the trails. So beautiful.

Today Max and I shared a 2.5 mile walk with our friends Monica, Isabel and Caleb. If you want to burn some extra calories while you hike, strap a baby to your back. Whew, let me tell you. It was hard work! But, I am always up for a challenge so Monica and I are going to plan a weekly hike. I can't think of a better way to enjoy the fall weather.

Come and join us!

That would be a 25 pound toddler on my back.

Max and Izzie

Monica and Caleb