Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Day

So for Christmas day we spend time together in the morning at our house with our little family which I love. It's so special that we get that time alone for presents and a nice breakfast =) After breakfast (my mom's casserole recipe!) we bake Jesus' birthday cake that we decorate over at my parent's house together before singing to Him. This tradition is probably my favorite because it really keeps Claire focused on why we celebrate Christmas. She LOVES to sing to Jesus! After nap and lunch we head to my parents house for presents and dinner. This year we had Kate join us for dinner since Abbey was out of town while Kate was packing up her house to move. We also had Heather Adams come and visit that morning but I didn't get any pictures of either of my childhood friends! Love you guys!

We kept gifts simple - Santa brought goodies for the stockings and one big gift for the girls. Then we gave them two small gifts and one to share. Something we started this year which was SO fun was taking Claire to the dollar store to pick out gifts for mom, dad and Eden. She did really well and was SO excited to give us what she chose for us. I got a candle, dad got a flashlight and Eden got a baby doll. Eden gave Claire a coloring book and activity pad.

Here is the tree all decked out. Love our tree - every ornament has a story! A lot are from my Aunt Linda who gave me ornaments while growing up. Thank you so much Linda! That angel on top is the one you gave me forever ago. We have an ornament from every trip we've taken together, baby's first Christmas ornaments, handmade from Claire, gifts from friends and family.... our tree tells a story in itself and I love it over a "pretty" tree. Our tree is BEAUTIFUL to me!
Claire opening her first gift and first Disney DVD at home =) Sleeping Beauty
We had to wake Eden up so she wasn't in the mood but did unwrap her matching gift with Claire.
Eden's Little Sister doll - her name is on the skirt
Love this picture!! Claire got a big sister doll and the two match with each name on the skirt.
Cheese with Daddy!
Claire's gift from Santa - a castle!! It's a really neat one with different rooms and accessories on the other side.
Matching sisters by the tree!
Making Jesus' birthday cake - the train didn't make it this year =( We decorated the cupcakes instead!
At Grandma and Grandpa's decorating!
Claire LOVES marshmallows and M&M's - can you tell?
Opening gifts!! Eden loves this new learning toy!

Claire with her Princess blanket that we'll be making together soon!
Eden LOVED this cat from Grandma Ann that went with her book "If you Give a Cat a Cupcake". She hugged and kissed on that thing for about 5 minutes!

Claire loves her Moose and book from Grandma Ann - such a great idea!
When she opened this one from Grandma and Grandpa she said "I always wanted this!" She always played with it EVERY time she visited Target. It shows you how to write your letters and she's getting pretty good!

Coming over for dinner anyone?
Mom with her Holiday Lenox dishes - she collects the set
Mom hanging her ornament from Grandma - she loves it!
All of us after a wonderful ham meal!
WOW!!! I'm tired just writing everything! It was all wonderful and we already can't wait for next year when Eden is more aware of what it going on.

Christmas Eve

I LOVE Christmas and all of the traditions we have as a family! We are so blessed to be able to spend time with both extended families. It does lend to a whirlwind of a holiday but I wouldn't change it for the world!

Christmas Eve we take the kids to my parents church for the afternoon children's service which is A-MAZING! Claire LOVES it more each year and talks about it year round. It changed a little this year but thank God they still had to "big head" characters that she loves =)

The best we got of us four! Eden wants to be standing all the time now.
Checking out the tree and presents in the foyer. That's a sweet face isn't it?
Loving on baby sister
The best we got with the grandparents - not an easy task these days!
After lunch and nap we head over to Neil's parents house to celebrate with his family. Claire loves her cousin time and they had a great time opening gifts together this year.

Eden showing off! I can finally put a little bow in her hair - it's growing so fast these days!
Mimi and Claire opening her stocking together. CLaire got to do that right away and didn't have to wait for the boys. It was nice to share that with Mimi by herself.
This was Eden's favorite thing Claire got
Claire and her new pink laptop - just like mommy and daddy now!
Eden loving her new books from Shannon and Steve. Of course she stopped to point at the cat!
We got a few good pics of the four kids this year. Amazing how hard this is.....

Family of four!
The Schimelpfenings
Mimi and Poppa
Silly Cousin time!
Isn't this the sweetest? Eden is VERY into noses right now! Kyle is so good with her.
When we got home we set out our cookie and milk for Santa and scattered the reindeer food in the front lawn.
So far this Christmas has been the BEST!! Having kids during the holidays is just an experience like no other. They are so excited and innocent and for the most part, grateful!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Claire's Christmas Program

Mid-December brought Claire's school Christmas program which proved to be a better experience than last year. (Claire sat down and cried the whole time so I was up there with her.) Boy has our girly grown!! She was SO excited about singing and would practice at home, in the car, everywhere she would go. She would often hear her songs on the radio and say "I'm singing that at my program!" I was so proud to see her up there - still a little shy but I saw those lips moving to almost every word =) Her favorite was Feliz Navidad with the maracas.
Our big girl - love this one
A proud mama and daddy
What was the motivation? Her cookie - she would often remind me that there were going to be "goodies" after she performed!
SO glad her grandparents got to be there to see her! Thanks for coming!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Carols

Merry Christmas Everyone!! For your enjoyment I have recorded some Christmas Carols for you by my girls with Feliz Navidad starring our friend, Jed aka Happy Feet! Hope you all have a great day celebrating our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Letter and Picture

2009 Christmas picture! Love it =) I went more electronic this year and tried to cut back on our send outs. Hoping this gets to everyone who wants to know what we've been up to this year!

Greetings to you all! December 2009

What a blessed year the Lewis Family has had! It never ceases to amaze me when I look back on the year and see where God’s hand has been in our lives – in everything and everywhere. Let’s see… where to begin… This year’s biggest challenge was adjusting our lives to being a family of four. We’re still learning, as we should always be, but things have finally settled a little bit and we’ve gotten into our routine. Let’s start with Eden a.k.a. Little Miss.

Eden came into this world with her own agenda and has seemed to stick to it! I can’t believe what a sweetheart she is. She certainly has her preferences and lets you know all about it but her gummy smile, big dimple and wet kisses make everything worth it. She just celebrated her first birthday on Nov. 25th and has quickly grown into her own little person. Eden’s favorite things right now are music, Rollo our cat, laughing at/with her big sister, when we come home from work, being a very independent eater, animals of any kind, waking us up in the middle of the night, taking her first steps (she’s so proud!), her mama, being chased up and down our stairs and her baths.

Now for big sister, Claire. Wow has she changed this year! She can’t wait to be four in March. She is ALL girl and not just because she loves anything to do with princesses or anything frilly but because she has such a tender heart. She is so empathetic and is always looking to be generous to those around her. She definitely is challenging her boundaries but learning how to make better choices. Some of Claire’s favorite things right now are pretending, dressing up, drawing and practicing writing her name, singing while usually creating her own songs, her books, pretending, peanut butter sandwiches, going to school once a week, did I mention pretending?! Her imagination runs wild all day long!

Neil continues to work hard at Northwest Vista College and has made it to the half way point of his 3 year Department Chair position. He has been able to teach at least one course a semester which has been great because he really misses classroom teaching. This leadership role has been a great experience and we know he has been blessed with this position to help and influence others. He just turned in his tenure portfolio for review and hoping to become officially tenured this next semester. Outside of work at NVC, Neil is the most incredible dad EVER! His fun loving and imaginative play keeps the girls entertained and all of us laughing. I can’t believe how patient he is and how blessed I am to be on this journey of life with him. Some of Neil’s favorite things right now is reading as many books as possible at one time, seeing his girl’s faces when he gets home (including me!), hiking, spending time with friends and family, leading discussion when we host our life group, chocolate chip cookies & planning and carrying out community service. As the wife writing this letter, I must say he’s amazing.

As for me, I keep crazy busy staying home raising Claire and Eden. It’s the hardest job but the most important and by far most rewarding. We play at home, keep up with the house, get to playgroups during the week and run around getting things done. I’ve continued with my private voice studio as well. I teach 10 kids on Mondays while Claire is at MDO and Eden stays with our wonderful friend, Stefany. Mondays are great days for me to be teacher and continue to keep my feet and heart in the music world. It energizes and refreshes me to get back home with my babies. I’ve also been given opportunities to take on more of a leadership role in our church’s music ministry which is very exciting for Neil and I. Some of my favorite things right now are keeping up with our family blog (, getting together with playgroup and life group, scrapbooking, visiting the kids resale shops, singing with our worship ministry, watching my girls grow, a full night sleep and spending time with family and friends.

This season is so magical. We’ve learned that even more now that Claire is old enough to look forward to everything! We constantly remind her that we are celebrating this time of year with the greatest gift God has ever given us, His Son, Jesus. I pray that this letter finds you praising Him not only for the gift of Jesus but the promise of the gift of eternal life when we completely surrender ourselves to Him. Have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!
Grace & Peace,
Neil, Kathryn, Claire and Eden Lewis

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hallelujah Praise Jehovah

This old hymn has been running through my head the past month any time something good happens! So guess who's been singing it the past 4 mornings? Me! Singing! Because my baby slept through the night!! YES - I said 4 nights in a row. I am a different woman. I could run a marathon. I can get my laundry done. I can be more patient. I could hug a stranger.... ok.... I couldn't run a marathon but that's how I feel!

Just wanted to share my great news especially to those who are wondering when your sleepless nights might get better. It happens and it only took close to 13 months =) (On the other hand, Eden woke up Friday morning with a fever. Ends up she has a double ear infection. Poor baby! Pray that she gets better and that she continues to sleep well)

Who's got the cutest baby? A mama says "I do!"

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Pioneer Woman

OK - so I've gotten hooked on something new but probably something old to many of you... The Pioneer Woman! She is hilarious!! Her story is on her sight that I've linked with the blogs I follow. Just love how she writes... so real and candid. Haven't even gotten to her recipes!

That to say that I've been catching up wit my blogging the past couples days so be sure to look below to find Breakfast with Santa, Sea World, The Nutcracker, Look who's walking and I'm working on Eden's first year appointment update too! They're out of order because I want to keep them organized by date. I love it when Neil's home =) I actually get other things done besides surviving!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Locks of Love

So I had been talking about chopping of my hair for 2 months and I finally did it back on Dec. 5th! I got 10 inches cut off to donate to Locks of Love which is an amazing organization that makes wigs for children who have lost their hair. God has blessed me with the fastest growing hair so this is my 3rd time donating since 2006! The new do feels great and makes me feel more up to date - none of that washed up mom look that I was sporting =) I always had my hair up in a semi-bun - YUCK! Oh, not to say I won't wear it up but it is really easy to do to wear down now. I'm just having to learn the art of a flat iron... not as easy as my hair dresser made it seem but I'm getting the hang of it. Neil LOVES it which makes me feel even better =)

Love the longer in the front, shorter in the back look!

So if you have the hankering to chop away, think about donating! 10 inches to Locks of Love but you can do 8 inches for Pantene Beautiful Lengths which is for women who have lost their hair. I even found a site that takes 6 inches called Pink Heart Funds if that is more of your inches to lose! If you do a google search, donate hair even more sites will come up so check it out =)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Guest Blogger

We are SOOOO behind on blogging it's not even funny but I'd like to post something from someone very special, the man of the hour, Neil!

Hi, this is Neil. I’d figure I would make my blog debut just by sharing random tid-bits about being Claire’s Daddy. I just wanted to capture those seemingly small moments or habits that make being a parent all worth it. I love being a dad!! I’ll work on an Eden blog soon. Without further adieu,

Things to remember about Claire:

Nicknames for Claire (these are Daddy’s nicknames except the first two): Claire Bear, Bear, Goose, Cheerio, Sweet-Heart, Boo, Love, Choo Choo.

“Jus’ tending Daddy” or also common; “Let’s tend someone’s knocking on the door” (“tend” = pretend)

“I-I-I-(this part is often stuttered because she is so excited) be Shannon, you be Neil as a little boy” – (More pretending--- we often “pretend” to be various family members, characters or babies multiple times a day…sometimes I (as well as Kathryn) say, “I just want to be Daddy (or Mommy) right now, Claire!”)

“dank you” (almost without pause with her infliction going up on the “you”) every now and then Claire’s “thank you”s still come out this way and I will miss it when it’s gone.

She always wants her peanut butter sandwich in the morning “with a vitamin on top” – without fail she reminds me of this either in the evening or first thing in the morning.

Baby Pillow - Sure, there are other critical elements before Claire can be properly tucked in – (i.e., two blankies, baby alley, my old teddy bear and “giraffe-y” but the most important has to be Baby Pillow (this is a small, pretty much flattened pillow for those who don’t know)

“Goo Goo, Gee Gee, Jee Jee” – just a few characters we made up (it’s a family, don’t ya know)

Claire: “Tell me a story Daddy”
Neil: “About what?”
Claire: (smiling) “About when you were a little boy!”

Claire has to say “hi” to just about EVERYONE and constantly wants to know their names.

She loves stories, books, and any good narrative.

“Sowack” – Claire created Sowack which is essentially a cross between time-out and prison which

Claire loves the Beatles and the Beach Boys – I’ll never forgot dancing in the kitchen with Claire to “Barbara Ann” (which amounting to running around in circles) and then slow dancing with you to “God Only Knows”. Awesome.

Love to hear Claire say either “Actually” and “Seriously?” – it’s just cute. Our favorite had to be “Actually, I’m in a bad mood”.

When Claire gets out of bed at night, she often knocks on her own door and waits for us to put her back in bed.

Neil: “You’re getting older Claire – you’re almost four!”
Claire: “Really Daddy – tomorrow? – I can’t wait to be four!”
Neil: “No, not for a few more months – why do you want to be four?”
Claire: “So I can wear make-up and make jewelry with beads!”

I’ve talked about it with Claire for at least a year, and I think she is beginning to understand the concept of “consequences” and “choices”. Although it’s always risky – I often tell her, “you can choose to do whatever you want but there will be consequences and go to time-out”.

“Let’s build a pillow fort Daddy”

“AAHH….A Creature!!!” – Claire and I were pretending to see “creatures” out a window (first it was Rollo, then Billy) after 30 minutes of creature-play – I asked Claire if she knew what a “creature” was…of course she didn’t it!!

Characters from the Closet:
-Botswana – one of Kathyrn’s old dolls that inhabits Claire’s closet – yes, she is scary and she often says “Wuba Wuba” – which for the longest time scared Claire. I think she still does.
-Dr. Wally (penguin back-pack from Sea World) – named by Claire – and has a Eastern European accent.

That’s all for now! I also want to publicly thank Kathryn for maintaining this amazing blog. She never writes to brag or to promote herself or her family – although I must admit, she has done a fine job. She writes first and foremost for us. So that one day we can remember what this amazing time is like.

And because we can't leave you without pics, here is our big girl!

Here's to catching up!