Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Morning

On Christmas morning at 6:15am, I rolled over to find that Hunter was already gone! I heard a light beeping coming from downstairs, and as I made my way into the living room, I saw Hunter dressed in his robe playing Wii Golf!

We received a Wii from my parents on Christmas Eve, and Hunter was so excited to set it up and start playing that he had been unable to sleep. (and he makes fun of me!) So, as any good wife would do, I snuggled onto the couch and cheered.

Marilyn finally joined our Christmas morning festivities over 2 hours later at 8:30. By the time she woke up, Hunter and I had already unwrapped all the presents and had them situated for her by the tree, with the bows of course. As you can see, she was overwhelmed!

Christmas morning in new Santa Pjs.

What a smile! I just love this one!!

Marilyn loves to sit and read, so Santa brought her a Dora chair that is just her size.

Marilyn was not sure how to carry all three babies. Try as she might, one kept falling on the floor.
Stay tuned for pictures from the Brenton Christmas. I have to wait for Brett and Kate to get back from the East Coast to get his pictures. Of course, I did not have my camera there. I really do need to get better at this.
We had a wonderful Christmas, and I can only guess that by next year Marilyn will be ripping through the wrapping paper and bypassing the bows.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, we celebrate with my parents and Kate & Brett. Mostly, this is because we can't wait to open presents on Christmas morning. When I say, "we" I really mean "me". I am not sure if it is a genetic trait or not, but I get sooooo excited I can't sleep. But my Dad is the same way, and even my Aunt Ronna (his sister- she is usually up before 5am!) so with such an excited bunch (Dad & me particularly), we exchange our gifts on Christmas Eve. This comes after years of EARLY, EARLY morning and sleepless nights, finally we just gave in to the urge, and now it is our ritual.

Marilyn and I spent the day at Dad & Mom's lounging and enjoying quality time with my soon-to-be world traveling sister and brother-in-law. I am going to miss them so much I can't even explain... so I won't even attempt. Anyway, I am trying to spend as much time with them as possible before they leave and Christmas Eve was no exception. Here are some from our Christmas Eve.

Marilyn loved the ribbons and bows more than anything. She eventually wound up wearing this one as a belt and the bows in her hair.

What a pair! Marilyn's eyes light up when she sees Aunt Kate, and there is NO ONE she would rather be with... no one compares to her love for Aunt Kate.

Marilyn sizing up her very large new wagon from Grandpa & Grandma! It even has a sun canopy for her sensitive eyes! It will be perfect for the zoo membership we received from Kate & Brett!

I couldn't resist posting this one! Can you tell Grandpa loves Christmas?!? He wore a Santa hat around the house on Christmas Eve and Marilyn kept looking at him and cocking her head. She would not cuddle with him until he removed the hat and gave his Grandpa call. Too funny, she may think Grandpa really is Santa Claus!

Kate used up all the old scraps from the wrapping bin and made this beautiful Christmas quilt. She's so crafty... ha!

It was a glorious night. Not because of the gifts exchanged but because of the company we kept. Having our family together is priceless and knowing that it won't be possible in the near future makes it even more precious now.

When we became a family of seven, and this precocious little angel entered our world; the dynamics of our family shifted and Christmas became magical again. Having a toddler around and seeing the magic of the season through her eyes reminds me that the best gifts are the people seated around us and that the gift of love shared between us is far better than anything wrapped beneath the tree.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mennel Family Christmas!

Last Saturday, my mom's siblings and their families all gathered for our annual Mennel Family Christmas. You may not realize, but my mom is number 6 of 12! This means that we are blessed with lots of family! We had 73 in attendance last week, with several unable to attend. Marilyn has many little second cousin friends to play with and had a blast!

Here is Marilyn performing her "Grandpa call".

Keegan, Jameson & Marilyn
(Cousin Ryan's twin sons)

Ceili being oh so cute!
(Cousin Holly's daughter)

Keaton cuddling with his Mom, my cousin Holly.

Carter zooming the cars along.
(Cousin Jamie's son)

Santa was beautifully dressed and had a great story for the kids. My cousin Jenni made this gorgeous costume for her husband Jason, and he did such a super job as Santa!!

Keegan & Jameson were not too happy to visit with Santa.

Marilyn on the other hand could have stared all day. I think the Grandpa resemblance really throws her off.

Marilyn with her new doll from Great-Grandpa & Grandma Mennel

After Santa departed, Marilyn went to the door to watch for him. She could not figure out exactly where he had disappeared to. Uncle Brett even walked her outside to try and find him. I think if we are lucky we may see him later tonight...

We are so VERY blessed to be a part of this wonderfully large and loving family.
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!!

(and a big thank you to Brett for all the great pictures. I will miss you so much!)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On the Go!

Marilyn has been such a trooper this holiday season. She has wandered in and out of stores with me, wrapped (and unwrapped presents) and been a super elfing companion. I think the busy-ness just got the best of her last week, she was all tuckered out and could handle no more. Isn't she adorable snoozing in her carseat? Can you believe our little baby is a 15 month old toddler!?! Whew, the time has surely flown by.

Sending out happy holiday wishes that you are making the most of this magical time of year and enjoying it until you are too pooped to continue... we surely are!

Merry Christmas!

Ahoy, Matie!

Last Monday, Marilyn returned to Riley for her follow-up visit. The doctors indicated that all looks well. Their only concern is that her left eye Rx is worsening. She is now a 9.75 which is an increase of 2.5 from 7.25 last February. For those of you with glasses, you know that this is a VERY strong Rx. She is essentially blind in her left eye without her glasses. Due to this, the doctors have started a patching regiment to help strengthen her left eye muscles and decrease the right eye's dominance.

So, this means that for 2-3 hours every night, we have a little pink pirate! She is so darn cute with her patch on that I couldn't help but snap some photos. At first she resisted the patch with her the utmost stubbornness, but she is up to nearly 3.5 hours nightly now. The doctors stated that the longer she would wear it the better, so we are keeping it on all evening if she will permit.

She has successfully removed EVERY bow from the gifts under our tree.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Marilyn & Santa

While we were at the Children's Museum last week, Marilyn had the wonderful opportunity to meet with Santa. As you can see, she was quite cozy up there on his lap. I am not sure if it is the magic of "Santa" or the fact that he closely resembles Grandpa, but either way- she did GREAT!

I can only imagine what she was thinking as she sat there staring up into his eyes. I finally had to go remove her; I think she would have been content to stay all day.

Like I said, to her, Santa = Grandpa: fluffy beard, glasses, twinkle in the eye, the perfect belly for cuddling and both grant her every wish!

She kept cocking her head and giving him the once over. I imagine for a 15 month it might be a little perplexing. I hope Santa took note of her wish list.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Children's Museum

Last Saturday, Marilyn and I traveled to the Indianapolis Children's Museum for a play date with my cousin Ryan's wife, Colleen and their twin sons, Keegan & Jameson. It was such fun to watch these three big kids in action and visit with Colleen.

Aren't they too cute! What good friends they will be.

Here are all three (and Colleen) playing house.

Marilyn dancing in the parade and swinging her flower.

Keegan & Jameson playing in the bulldozer.

Marilyn LOVES the water area and the ducks. Her favorite is the giant duck, and she tries to bring it home every time!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holly & Hal Moose

On Saturday, we headed to the mall to visit our favorite shop, Build-A-Bear. Marilyn is the proud parent of one bunny, two bears and a puppy all from Build-A-Bear. However, this is the first time she has been awake (or even around) to create one.

We chose to build the two holiday moose, Hal & Holly, and Marilyn had a blast! Here are some pictures of Marilyn's first (awake) Build-A-Bear adventure.

Here she is with the two moose carcasses before they had been stuffed.

Marilyn gave each of the moose a heart with a kiss on it. Too cute!!

She loved watching the inside fluff spin around.

Here she is getting ready to make the fluff spin with the foot pedal. The fluff is then blown into the carcass and the animal is born.

Being presented with Hal.

Here is Marilyn hugging Holly Moose.

After she was done stuffing the moose, she ran over to the shopping area and started pulling down outfits. She is sooo her mother's daughter, and of course, she wanted the holiday outfits. We think she is still a bit young for the clothes, so her animals are all naked, minus one bear in a rain coat! Yikes!! In cases you can't tell, this will definitely continue to be a fun tradition.