We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers. - I Thessalonians 1:2

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Complete Nursery

We finally got things cleaned up and organized in Cate's room and thought you might want to see some more complete pictures of Cate's nursery. It won't be long before there is a little Cate in there :-) One month from today is my due date.
I also had my last shower over the weekend and my creative friends and family decorated some onesies for Cate. Here they are:

I have the awesome-est family and friends ever and I can't wait to bring Cate into a world where she is going to be totally loved by all of them. :-)



It's funny how having a baby is starting to bring back some traditions in both of our families and even creating some new ones (Eric and I have put our Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving every year since we've been married). On Christmas Eve, Eric's mom commented that she was excited to have a little one around next year to buy actual presents for (right now everyone just gets money). My mom said she wanted to make sure Cate made it into her Christmas card picture. And there were some other things brought back this year too.

Paintbrush cookies were a staple at Christmas time in the White house. It was fun to pick out the shapes we wanted and then with painstaking elementary school concentration, paint our cookies (just a plain cookie dough) with "paint" (made from egg yolk and food coloring). Then we'd take them home (we usually made them with my cousins at my grandma's house), each kid with their own tin full of cookies they had painted. I've always talked about them and how Eric and I should make them, but we've never gotten around to it.

This year, when we headed over to my grandmother's house on Christmas Day, we were in for a surprise...her and my Uncle Dave had made the dough for Paintbrush cookies and we were going to get to make some. Yum! While we weren't as attentive to detail as I was when I was a kid, it was still really fun to make them together. They still turned out just as yummy, and even though Cate's artistic talents may not be fully bloomed as an 11 month old, we're excited to introduce the tradition to her next Christmas too. Hey, my brother's first painted cookie ended up being a red, doughy blob (it was supposed to be a truck), but it still tasted terrific to him.

Here are our final cookies :-)Another tradition we'll be able to start next year is the advent calendar. My mom, aunt, and grandma all had the same homemade advent calendar with a Christmas tree on it. You hang it on the wall and below the tree are 24 little pockets to fill with small ornaments that you hang on the tree (it has buttons to do this). As a kid, my brother, sister, and I took turns hanging up the ornaments each day in December and fighting over who got to hang up Christmas Eve, the last ornament and always the angel that went at the top. My grandmother surprised us this year by giving us her advent calendar ("the original" as my mom calls it) for Christmas this year. She said it's no fun to do it by herself anymore and figured that we'd have fun bringing it to our house and hanging up the tiny ornaments with Cate and with Cate's brother or sister (someday). We absolutely love it and can't wait to put it up next December :-)

And special big thanks to my family for the new digital camera (our old one held a charge for about 5 minutes...it was one of the original Kodak Easyshares...so it was time). Aren't the pictures above nice and clear? And we'll definitely be posting plenty of Cate in just a few short weeks.


Monday, December 24, 2007

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (Riggs Style)

So, God keeps on blessing me when I least deserve it. For the first time since I've been out of high school, I have been able to enjoy so many wonderful aspects of the Christmas season without the dread of working retail. Walking into a store to buy something, and knowing I will never have to be on the other side of the counter again is a blessing beyond words. This is all in addition to having a wonderful job that is very flexible, gives me several holidays and off days, and has wonderful coworkers to boot. I can't think of many things this season that have really reached a "stress" point. It's truly a blessing.

To that point, next years holiday season will be even more blessed. Despite all the lack of sleep, and financial planning, and all the other undertakings we will have as new parents, it's so exciting to think of having a little one crawling (or possibly walking) under the tree next year. being so close is sort of surreal. You see all of the tangible reminders, and know it is coming, and you feel the change beginning inside of yourself, but there is a part that is just missing. This of course would be Cate in physical form with us, not still in utero. I'm sure I will ball when she is actually here, and I can't wait to be the man that she looks up to. I can't wait to treat her like a princess, and teach her what to look for in a guy, and how to avoid the wrong kind of guy. It's just going to be a great testimony of God's love for Mel and me. Our family is an embodiment of that love. How crazy is that?

In the meantime, it is still Christmas Eve, and I have some house work to do before we go enjoy some festivities. And then the morning we've all been waiting for. I think Santa did well this year for Mel and the girls. A Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. :)

- Papa E

Sunday, December 16, 2007

We are now officially qualified (?) to have a baby....

or at least to go into labor and delivery.

Amidst some falling snow and slick roads yesterday morning, we made it to Good Sam for our childbirth class. It really wasn't as bad or as boring as either of us thought it would be. I think we would both agree that watching 1 birth was enough (they showed us about 4 or 5), but otherwise, it was pretty fun (maybe more so for Melody than for Eric since she got to lay on the pillows and pretend like she was having contractions while Eric learned how to rub her back and feet and arms for 2 hours).

We definitely feel a little more prepared as far as when do we actually need to go to the hospital (that part was freaking us out a little) and I guess this means we're qualified to have our baby now. Only 6 weeks left! She is moving and kicking and stretching like crazy. It's hard to imagine how life will be when she gets here, but we can't wait (even though it will be exhausting). As we look at our tree and wrap up our Christmas shopping, it's even crazier to think that this time next year we'll have an almost 11 month old toddling around the house!

~Eric and Melody

Monday, December 10, 2007

El Tour De Tucson

So, a month has gone by in the new job, and it seems like a dream. I can only thank God and pray that it continues to be a good career, with many future blessings. I went to Tucson in the middle of November with Team in Training as a Staff person, and had an amazing time. I think I had a total of 3 hours free time, but it was well worth it. The team did an amazing job (they raised over $100,000 with only 19 people for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and each one of them finished well under the time limit for closing the course). There were a few logistical things that were hectic (rental cars being foremost) but all things considered, for my first event, it went well.

It was kind of strange for me because it was the first time that I ever left my wife at home for more than 2 days on business. She's had professional development, trips to see her family in Hudson, and a few others that I couldn't attend with her because of my retail schedule, but now I have crazy flexibility. And with the flexibility, I have the tremendous blessing of being with my wife all throughout the week and all weekend. I've seen more of her in the past month than I did in our first three years of marriage. God is Awesome.

I will end with some cool pictures, and my Greg Lemond story (for those of you that don't know, Lemond was the first American to win the Tour De France and has a brand of bicycles named after him). At the beginning of the Tour De Tucson, the elite riders were given about a 5 minute head start. Greg pulled up in an SUV literally about 10 feet away from me and another southern Ohio staff member after those riders had already left the gate. When we finished snapping pictures of him, we asked if there was anything we could help with (since he was already more than 5 minutes late for the start of the race). He handed my coworker the keys to his SUV and asked her to give them to the race director so that it wouldn't get towed. (And yes, that is him in the picture to the left.)

BTW, for those snooty LA types that used to room with me, my brush with fame may seem trite, but to the rest of you midwesterners, it was pretty dang cool. ;) Peace Out.

- Papa E