In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. And everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
A few nights ago I was exhausted. I think Bennett and Will had used up every amount of my grace and patience that day. I couldn't wait until they went to bed and I could just collapse and breathe for the first time all day.
So, I took Bennett upstairs for story time before she went to sleep. I sat in her rocker and she snuggled in my lap. Bennett is very particular about her story time. She knows all of books by name and will tell you which one she wants. No, she will insist. Actually, she will demand that you read the book she has her mind set on for that evening. I forgot to pick out her book before I sat down, but once I sat down with her in my lap, I was not moving. I had no energy left to get up and go through the 5 minute routine of her picking out a book.
So I looked on her nightstand and sitting there was, "The Night Before Christmas." I thought that was perfect so I picked it up and began to read. Then Bennett looked up at her bookshelf and realized that she had been had. That was most certainly not the book she had in mind. She wanted her storytime Bible. The rest of our conversation went like this-
Bennett: No no. Jesus. Me: Bennett, we will read that tomorrow night. Let's read this book. B: Okay, Jesus. M: Oh, sweetie. I can't stand up. Let's just read this pretty book. B: Please, Jesus? M: But look at this one. It's about Santa. B: No, Mommy, no, no no. M: But we love Santa. B: Okay, Jesus. M: We will read about Jesus tomorrow. Tonight we are reading about Santa. B: Okay, Bible. Jesus? M: We are reading about Santa tonight and that is final. B: (sighing) Okay, Santa.
The irony was not lost on me. I got three pages into the book and then got up and got the Bible. We read about Jesus and the manger and the star and Mary. Then Bennett said-
You know how everyone laments the lack of time around Christmas? I know I have every year. Every December the most common phrases are, "I don't have time to enjoy the season," "I am too busy to stop and breathe," "Is it December 23rd already? It was just Thanksgiving."
I think I have felt that way as long as I can remember, but thankfully this year has been different. This was the first year in over a decade that I was not involved in a Christmas production at church. I intentionally didn't sign up for it this year. I didn't want to practice every night for the first 2 weeks in December. I wanted to be at home with my babies. I didn't have 10 parties at attend. I didn't have to run tech for a FCA breakfast, a men's pancake breakfast, the youth program, the children's program, the women's holiday brunch, the adult cantata, the dinner theatre..... I remember 2 years ago realizing that Rob and I were only home for 3 days together the whole month of December.
So this year we scaled back. Partly out of choice and partly because we don't know as many people in Kansas and aren't nearly as involved. And can I say that it has been wonderful? I have loved Christmas this year. I have spent many nights holding my kids, singing Christmas songs on the piano, making cookies, reading my Bible and reflecting on the enormity of what it means, and just being with Rob. We have had so many cups of hot chocolate, driven around and looked at so many lights, hung out with a handful of friends that we dearly love, and I have curled up at night and just stared at my tree. I don't think I have ever done that. And I loved it.
It also gave me time to listen to my favorite Christmas song which is, "Welcome to our World," by Chris Rice. It is so easy to just hum along to that song and not really listen to the lyrics, but when you really ponder them, they can be overwhelming. My favorite lines are-
Bring your peace into our violence Bid our hungry souls be filled Word now breaking Heaven's silence Welcome to our world
Fragile finger sent to heal us Tender brow prepared for thorn Tiny heart whose blood will save us Unto us is born
So wrap our injured flesh around you Breathe our air and walk our sod Rob our sin and make us holy Perfect Son of God
I don't know if it means more now that I have a baby boy. Maybe not. But I have spent a lot of time staring at Will in the light of the Christmas tree and just praying. When I think of Jesus and that He really did in fact come in the form of an infant, I want to cry. His little and tiny baby finger was truly sent to heal us. I look at Will's little forehead and think of the infant Jesus whose tender brow was prepared for thorn and his little heart whose blood saved us all. It's amazing. It is truly amazing. His peace was brought into our world of violence and it still surrounds us today.
I still have trouble comprehending that God took on our injured flesh.I think of the Jewish people waiting for their king. Waiting for a soldier. Waiting for a warrior to take on their oppressors by firestorm or by sword. And they got a tiny infant whose perfect blood saved us all. It is mind blowing. And as I sit and reflect I can't help but crying out, "Welcome to our world." Still. Two thousand years later we need our hungry souls filled.
And I am thankful. I am hopeful. I am grateful. And I am saved.
This was the scene after our PB&J lunch today. Rob commented that it looked like the crime scene of a jelly incident gone horribly wrong. I am submitting this photo for forensic evidence. Please note the weapon, the spattered gobs of jelly, and the sandwich parts gone astray and then submit your own verdict. I rest my case.
Santa was a success this year. I was expecting a melt down, but Rob did fine. So did the kids. Bennett looks slightly unsure about things and Will looks like Charlie Brown, but there were no tears and the requisite picture was checked off the list.
My sweet husband asked me last night if I would like some hot chocolate. I was blown away by his generosity and I readily accepted his offer. I heard some strange sounds going on in the kitchen but was too engrossed in the GLEE finale to see what was going on. When he delivered my drink, this is what I got. I give him 10 style points and a few extra for artistry, but he gets -25 for not knowing to warm the milk first before you add the hot chocolate.
I don't have 2 babies anymore. I have one baby and one big girl and it is killing me. Bennett has changed so much from even a month ago. She loses more and more of that baby quality every day that passes and I am desperately trying to grasp every second, cherish every hug, and revel in every smile.
She can speak in 4-5 word sentences. She says phrases like, "Thank you very much," "Help me, Mommy. I'm stuck," and her favorite, "Come on, guys!" She will snuggle and watch a movie with you now. Even a few weeks ago she would only last 5 minutes before she was running around, but now she buries her head on my chest and watches all of Clifford.
She knows 6 letters and can tell you what words start with that letter. She knows M, P, B, L, and S. I didn't push her on this, but we bought her alphabet letters for the fridge a few months ago and she just took an interest in them on her own. My parents are in town and I went to a meeting at my church today and left them with Bennett. When I came home my Dad told me that he had taught her a new letter. He held up the letter "J" and he said, "Bennett, what letter is this?" She immediately said that it was J and that juice started with J. My mouth fell open and my Dad told me that he had only gone over that with her twice. She just amazes me.
But my absolute favorite thing about Bennett is how much she loves her brother. She can be a terror to other kids (Sorry Sutton and Levi) but she adores Will. She is always bringing him his blanket and his paci. She kisses his head, gives him high fives, and cuddles with him. She has never once hit him or been anything but sweet to him. He will be laying on my bed and she will crawl up on the bed and lay next to him and just sigh. I die a little bit every time.
I am just a few weeks late posting these. I thought I should post them before it's Christmas Eve.
Enjoying a beautiful Tahnksgiving afternoon with my girl My family The day after Thanksgiving we went to the Iron Bowl. I almost had a heart attack, but we won in the end. Visiting with my cousin Erin's son, Elijah Brooks.
I know that I haven't posted in awhile. There are 2 reasons for this-
1. My only computer is in my basement and I can't leave the kids alone upstairs and they don't like playing in the basement. And by the time they go to bed at night, I am too tired to do anything but stare at the wall and contemplate whether or not I should have gone with Benjamin Moore instead of Sherwin Williams
2. Too much has happened lately and I don't know where to begin. Does that ever happen to you? When you haven't blogged in awhile you feel so behind on stories, so behind on pictures, so behind on...life. And so you just put it off.
So to ease my way back into the blogging world I am going to start slowly and just post a few things I have learned over the past 2 weeks. I can't post about bike rides, swimming in the pool, playing in the sand, going on hayrides, going to the Iron Bowl, visiting with our dearest friends in the world, hugging my grandmother who is very sick, flying back with 2 kids under 2..... it is overwhelming. So I will sum it up like this-
- Benadryl does not work on plane rides. I don't care what they tell you. It does not. If anything, it has the reverse affect.
-Auburn fans are surprisingly polite. We had a wonderful time at the game and I was so pleased at how courteous everyone was. That is until I got home and got on facebook. I guess the politeness stops in cyberspace.
-My baby girl can and will sleep in a big girl bed. Sniff Sniff...
-The same baby girl likes to sing jazz to poor unsuspecting travelers on a "Hairpane."
-Second helpings of turkey is never a good thing.
-There is nothing like a long bike ride at night through a beautiful beach town.
-Sand is just as annoying as you remember and stupid nostalgia makes you forget this every year.
-Budgets on vacation are frustrating at the time, but you are so grateful for them when you get home.
-True friends can pick right up no matter the time or distance. A good cup of coffee helps.
-Ornaments on trees must start halfway up the tree for the next 3 years.
-You can't put candles in your windows when you have a co-dependent golden lab who stares out the window every time you leave. After the 9th candle was knocked on the floor, we opted for wreaths instead
**Pics to come soon. Maybe. If I can find time to sneak away to the basement. But if I do that, even the ornaments that are halfway up the tree will find themselves knocked down by my toddler who will find a way to climb on something and get them.**
Night 5, and sadly, our last at the beach. We have had the best time. I have been on so many bike rides, swam in the pool, walked along the beach, chilled out on a porch swing, played with my nieces, and just had a relaxing and wonderful time.
Bennett has some big news. She slept the entire time in a big girl bed! I was so worried about it before we came because they didn't have cribs here and she doesn't do well with pack and plays. So we tried a big girl twin bed and she loved it. Maybe it's time to make a change when we get home. Sniff, sniff.....But until then, here are a few more shots from our trip.
This may be my favorite picture of Bennett ever. I think she looks like Alice in Wonderland in this picture. Definitely a framer.
Don't worry. This tree was low to the ground and I was just off to the side. I can't get over how much older she is looking just in the past few months.
My handsome little boy all dressed up. How much do I love this little guy?
We are in Seaside, Florida and having a blast. Besides running around 24/7 trying to keep Bennett safe in a huge un-baby proofed beach house, we are loving every second. I absolutely love this sweet picture. It looks like Bennett is saying a prayer on the beach. She's not, but work with me.
My entire family
Will fell asleep on our way home. I like this shot because you can see the town of Seaside behind us. I had to wrap him up in a towel because I left his blanket at the house, but he didn't seem to mind.
All the girls in my family and sweet little Will. He'll be a tough kid.
Will and his big cousin, Emmie. Two beautiful and precious children.
Hey Will- Guess what? Santa's coming soon. Pick out something that you would like. And make it good, little brother. Santa is known to bring on the loot. Will's reply, "I don't need anything because I already got my super duper way too cool for school excersaucer. I am such a big boy."
We have been so fortunate to have so many family members and friends come out to Kansas to visit us since Will has been born. It means so much every time someone takes the time and effort to see us. Last weekend my best friends from college came to see me. Beth and I shared a dorm room and Christy lived across the hall from us. Then we finally all moved into one house together along with 3 other of our dear friends. We had the best weekend reminiscing, catching up, and playing with the kids. I miss them already.
Me and my Roomus. For those of you that don't know what a "Roomus" is, it is someone you roomed with three years in college. It takes someone special to be a Roomus. You must know all of one's secrets, put up with years and years of drama, and be able to love unconditionally. I am so thankful for mine. Me and Christy. Christy was my very first friend at CNC. I think Christy and I have been in 30 plays together, we were in each others weddings, and have been through so much together. I love her so very much. Rob took this picture and told us to act dramatic. Christy and I struck a pose without missing a beat, of course. Beth laughed at us. This was about as typical as you can get for us. Rob loves my roomies. So does Meg. I am so glad Bennett and Will got to meet "Aunt Beth," and "Aunt Christy." Please ignore Rob's apron. He doesn't get out much.
When you have fair skin you have to deal with certain problems in life. You can't ever go to the beach without 5 gallons of sunscreen. You can't ever wear pink lipstick. When your dog scratches you, you bear those scratches for days. Yellow sweaters must never find their way to your closet. And when you get hives, these are the results. I will spare you the shots of the backs of her legs and the back of her neck. Not pretty. We had a pretty rough few days, but thankfully they are gone. And I am not minimizing how bad they were, but I know the fair skin makes them look pretty horrific. But don't worry. She got more hugs, kisses, and story time than she knew what to do with. Well, when she wasn't knocked out from the Benadryl that is.
Happy 4 months, my sweet Will. You have brought so much joy to our family and have added more than you will ever know. You made me the Mommy of a little boy and you gave Bennett a sibling to play with and someone who will be in her life for a long time. You have brought us laughter, quiet moments of cuddling, and so much love. I adore all 4 months of you.
A few things about Will at 4 months
- He weighs 13.9 lbs and is in the 25-50% for weight - He sleeps from about 8:30pm until 5:30am - He takes three good naps a day - If you make eye contact with him, he will burst into a huge grin - He loves to laugh. Funny faces and noises make him laugh as does tickling - He sleeps on his side and is extremely close to rolling over - He can grab his toes now - He loves to be held and would let you hold him all day - He loves to practice sitting up and would prefer that to laying down - He coos when he is happy. In fact, he is in my lap cooing as I type this - He is growing up way too fast
I never use my double stroller. It's hard to open, too bulky, and annoying. I think tonight may have changed my mind.
I went to Walgreens to pick up some prints for the Will's baby album. I got there too early and had 10 minutes to wait. I had Will in his stroller and I was holding Bennett on my hip. 10 minutes was way too long to hold her and walk around the store so I let her walk. I found a few things that I needed and I put them in Will's stroller. I laughed at the bottle of shampoo laying next to his face and so I said, "Thank you, Will," I picked up a pack of gum and laid it on his belly. I said, "Thank you, Will. Thank you for being my shopping cart." He laughed right back at me and told me in his own way that he didn't mind.
So I stop on the magazine aisle. I get distracted by what Paula Deen is cooking this holiday season. My eyes aren't glued on Bennett, but I can hear her giggling and talking right beside me so I read all about a butternut squash casserole.
Then I hear Bennett saying, "Thank you, Will. Thank you, Will. Thank you, Will." I should have put away my magazine, but I thought she was just playing with him. When they finally called my name to let me know that my pictures were ready, I put down my magazine, looked down at the stroller, and gasped. I couldn't see Will. Well, I couldn't see his face. I saw two arms, two legs, a Hershey bar, a Teen Beat magazine, a tube of toothpaste, some chocolate covered almonds, and various other items that Bennett had piled on top of Will. As I realized what was going on she brought a huge bag of cotton balls over to the stroller and put it on top of the rest of her loot. "Thank you, Will," she said.
I'm a bad influence. And she's going in the double stroller next time. And Will still smells like chocolate.
This is how we carve pumpkins in our house. By: Bennett Webster
Cool! Mom and Dad bought a pumpkin. What's Dad doing? I thought those were just for decorations. Whoa! I get it. You scoop out seeds. Fabulous! Look at me helping. I am such a big girl. WHAT? Mom is posing with Will in front of the pumpkins. Will! Are you serious? He didn't even do anything? Why am I not in this picture? Why is Mom holding Will instead of me? I need to do something about this now. Ahhhh... that's better. Dad's holding me now and once again I am front and center. Just where I like to be. Gotta go now because Mom is making me wash my hands. Yay, pumpkins.
I can't help it. I love Bennett in time out. Well, let me rephrase that. I do NOT like the hitting that leads to time out. But she is so sweet when she gets there. I had to videotape the way she repeats what I say. I did not tape the 10 minutes that she had to sit there by herself. I make her stay in her chair for 5-10 minutes and then I go and get her and try to teach her that what she did is wrong. That is the part I had to get on tape because it kills me.
I love the way she tried to say, "It hurts people's feelings," but she can't quite get it out and I love the very last thing she says in this video. "Hugs."
Moving to Kansas was worth it for the leaves and for the weather. This fall has been just gorgeous. Rob and I often take drives in the evenings just to see the leaves and I can't even describe how much I love this cool air. Fortunately we live right next to a walking trail that cuts through this beautiful patch of trees. These are some pictures of our walk a few days ago.
Sweet little Will all bundled up for our walk Okay, seriously. Isn't this beautiful? I absolutely love this shot of Bennett and Rob walking through the woods. Enjoying a sweet moment My happy little girl Happiness Someone got sleepy on the way home.
I love that Benentt can understand me. We have such a great time together and I can tell her anything. She also makes me realize things I say all the time without thinking. Whenever I put a DVD in, Bennett will say, "It's coming!" I wondered where she got that until I noticed myself saying it every time I put a DVD in. There are other phrases she says now that make me laugh at myself, but then there are times when our communication goes horribly wrong. This was the scene before church yesterday. Bennett was laying on her changing table and I was putting on her tights.
Bennett: Socks? Me: No, these are tights. Bennett: Tights? Me: Yes, we wear these in the winter to keep our legs warm. Benentt: No, no, no tights. Socks. Please socks? Pumpkin! Okay, pumpkpin? (She wanted her pumpkin socks, of course. To mach her blue smocked dress naturally.) Me: No, you will like tights. They keep your legs warm. Bennett: Warm? Me:(Realizing that she has no idea what the word "warm" means) Yes, that's right. Warm. Bennett: Okay, socks? Me:(Trying to think of a work that Bennett will know to help her understand) No, we need to wear tights in the fall. They keep our legs warm. You know, like hot. They keep our legs nice and hot.
I realized my mistake immediately. Hot is a bad word in our house. I didn't mean for it to be a bad word, but it became one. She can't touch the oven because it's too hot. She can't eat certain foods right away because they are too hot. She can't get in the bath right at first because it is too hot. We are always saying, "No, it's too hot." Bennett knows that hot is not good. I saw the look of fear in her eyes as soon as I told her that tights were hot. She started yelling- Bennett: Oh, no! No, hot. No, hot. No, hot. Bye Bye tights. Bye Bye tights. Oh, no. Pumpkin sock, okay? (She was crying hysterically by this point) Oh no, hot! Bye Bye hot. Socks, please Mommy? Socks.
We changed outfits. I need to find a book all about the beauty and comfort of tights or else it is going to be a long winter.
I can't videotape Bennett anymore. She has discovered that the viewfinder turns around. And now my little narcissist is obsessed with seeing herself. I know all kids do this, but it's still pretty funny. She has started saying, "Hey Budd-ee" to Will, and "Hey Guurllll" to Meg and so I wanted to capture that. This is what I got.
Oh, and please notice how she will go from screaming to sunny once the camera turns on her. Poor William never had a chance to smile for the camera. He was too overwhelmed.
I had to go into Party City. I didn't want to because I was afraid that it might scare Bennett. Okay, so maybe it scares me a little. I mean come on, when you walk in you are immediately greeted by a 15 foot monster wielding a chainsaw and wearing a ski mask.
She seemed unfazed. I mean how can you notice all the scary ghosts when there are Elmo and Mickey Mouse balloons everywhere. (Side note- I hate marketing executives.) So, I let her out of her stroller since the witch cackling at the top of her lungs was scaring me more than her.
I found what I needed and I was checking out. But then I couldn't find Bennett. I panicked and looked all around the checkout counter. I was calling her name, and then I finally saw her. All 2 1/2 feet of her were standing right in front of the monster at the entrance to the store. She didn't even come up to his knees. She saw me and turned and smiled. Then she looked right up at the monster and said, "Hi, Bud-dee."
"Hi Bud-dee" is what she says to Will. Hmmmmmm.....
Finally, a week after we got back, I am posting pictures of our trip home. I really don't know what to write about the trip. It was needed, it was wonderful, it was fun, and it was rejuvenating. I hadn't been back to Alabama in 7 months and I was thrilled to finally go home and see my grandmother, introduce Will to my friends, worship at my church, and just be surrounded by familiarity and comfort. I think I had every lunch and dinner with a different friend every day and then I would meet someone else for coffee after the kids were asleep. I loved every minute.
But you know what's funny? I was ready to come home. To Kansas. It was nice to know that I do consider Kansas home now and I really do love my life here. After a wonderful week in 'Bama, we were were all happy to be back and settled in our home. That was a very nice revelation and it's nice to know that I have 2 wonderful homes. Here are some pictures from our fun week.
Will meeting his great grandmother. My sweet friends Courtney and Suzanne. Bennett and Will with the kids of our best friends, the Segars. Chilling with our cousins. The old planning team reunited. We love John and Cyndi! Some of our dearest friends and partners in ministry Me with my blog's biggest fan!! Shout out to Julie Oakes! Last year Jerrod would always hold baby Bennett, but this year he and Abby are holding baby Will. Rob, Corey, and Phil back together. But this year, they aren't sopping. I miss my dear friend Lenore more than I can say, but we are going to start a book club through Skype, so it's all good. Rob with Anthony and Tommy.
God has truly blessed us with friends that remain close no matter the distance. And we are very thankful.
A family of red heads. Of course. And quite a fun one at that. Oh, and our last name is Webster. Hence the name, "The Red Webs." You may now proceed with your blog surfing.
A theatre loving, football watching, book reading Mom of 3 who loves the Lord, her husband and her golden lab. In that order. Oh, and she thinks her kids are pretty great too. Five seconds of reading this blog should tell you that.
A guitar strumming, video editing, picture taking creative dude. He loves Jesus, coffee, his kids and he thinks his wife is prety cool too. He dislikes exclamation points, comic sans font and the letter K.
"For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. If you need wisdom-if you want to know what God wants you to do-ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking."