Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tea Party

Esther's imagination is so fun. It's like she just hit the creative step in her development and is letting it run wild. We love it! We've been having a lot of tea parties, with accompaniment of cookies and lots of 'friends'. Esther tells them all where to sit, how to eat, and to make sure the tea cools down before drinking.
The life-like doll is from Ben's Granny and PawPaw. It talks, moves it's mouth to eat, drinks a bottle, and other things we won't allow it to do (pee/poop). Esther loves her. We don't turn her on very often, but E plays with her just the same. She even wears Esther's cloth diapers from when she was a newborn. I loved pulling them out and reminiscing. Not that I miss diapers, but the tiny baby that E once was.
Some of the kids at E's school still nurse and she remembers that time of her life fondly, as do I. She still asks to nurse sometimes. I tell her that the milk is long gone, but we can still cuddle. I'm so glad that I was able to nourish her and nurture the bond with my sweet girl through nursing. Esther also 'nurses' her baby when she's 'hungry' or 'crying'. I think that it is so sweet!
And we cannot forget the beloved fairy wings. Of course, I still love fairies, so am totally loving (and maybe pushing) her love for fairies and all things whimsical.
And this a gratuitous cute outfit picture. Ben went on a shopping spree a couple of weeks ago. They were having an incredible sale (75% off). These fleece lined jeans and hoodie are so fabo! She loves wearing hoodies like Papa (which is pretty much all Ben wears during the winter). We also go these rockin' orange crocs. One of E's classmates has some orange shoes and she's been begging for some of her own. It isn't that easy to find orange shoes for little girls, but I got quite a deal on ebay. Esther loves them! Ben keeps saying her orange phase is going to end soon, but so far, it is going strong. (Oh, and please ignore the looks of a tornado having gone through our house. It's just a toddler and exhausted parents...)

Wishing you and yours a good weekend!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Family weekend

Oh, it was so good to be home this weekend with Esther and Ben, with absolutely nothing to do. We enjoyed a visit with a sweet friend on Saturday, but otherwise did not leave the house or get out of our jammies.

Esther played with our old coffee maker (we got a new one for Christmas). Our little barista!
Reading on an extra mattress we have that has served for many places in E's imagination. One day it is the beach, another a pool, sometimes the park, and often just a bed.

I made Esther some new orange pants today. She asked for some for Christmas, but orange pants are hard to find, especially for little girls. I used some of the leftover fabric from her birthday outfit and some old orange batik I had laying around. It has been quite a while since I made pants, so I had to rip them out way too many times, but they finally turned out.
She hates posing.
A declaration of love for the color orange!
Ben has had a wonderful day of cooking (have I mentioned how much I LOVE his new interest in the culinary arts). He started off the day with a large batch of red beans and rice. Yum! and just finished off some pralines. Thanks, Mom, for the recipe books for Christmas. I am surely reaping the benefits.
She picked out the airplane, boat, car, and train apron over the flower or swirly one.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Winter days

We are settling back in to being home and enjoying time together as a family. Here are a few random pictures from the new year.

Lounging on the couch
Playing with blocks (Christmas present from Aunt Courtney and Uncle Boo Boo) - she was making a playground
Her new Cinderella castle and carriage (passed on from Ben's friend at work). It has lots of tiny figurines. Esther loves singing, "Cinderelli" and playing like a princess.
Winter walk
Tricycle - she's almost got the hang of it

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunshine peaking through

The sunshine has peaked through the clouds the last few days. We lost another loved one, but this time were more prepared. My 'uncle' passed away after a long battle with cancer. We were lucky to have known him and spent so many happy times together. His wife and children were able to spend time with him in his last days and he passed without pain at home.
With all of this loss in the new year, I've gone through a range of emotions: utter sadness, disbelief, heartache, peace that passes understanding, comfort, anger, and gratefulness for my many blessings. I am blessed with my amazing family and friends that have prayed, listened and comforted me over these last couple of weeks. I know my sadness does not compare to those who were closer to those who passed, and my prayers continue for them, knowing that is the best thing we can do.
This year holds a lot of change as we will be moving, Ben starting school, Esther beginning a new school/daycare, and me looking for a new job. I am focusing on the many things I have to be thankful for. Some words that remind me of my blessings...

In the midst of winter, I discovered within me an invincible summer. ~Camus

Barn's burnt down - now I can see the moon. ~Masahide

Pray not for a lighter load, but for stronger shoulders. ~St. Augustine

What is to give light, must endure burning. ~Victor Frankl

The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials. ~Confucius

I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet. ~Persian saying

Star soul will soon be back to pictures and stories of how our lovely daughter is filling our lives with joy and laughter.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Russell, you will be missed!

In an attempt to stop the heartache for our dear friends, I'm asking for prayer and kind thoughts. We lost a good friend, Russell Hays, January 1st in a car accident. He was an amazing father, kind husband, wonderful musician, and sincere friend. He leaves behind a wife, 7 year old son, and 4 year old daughter. Please raise prayers and send healing thoughts to his family and friends. He will surely be missed beyond the numbness of this moment, the reoccurring tears, and the smiles of fond memories.

I'm not sure how many locals read this, but Russell's band, the Buzzards, will be doing a memorial show for him in February (information below). We are hoping that it will be a fundraiser for his family. A memorial fund has also been set up at Regions Bank under the Hays family. If you are able and inclined, his family will need help and support.

There will be a memorial show by some of his band members (The Buzzards) on February 6th at the Fieldhouse in Dacula. Please tell all your friends and come show support for Russell's family and our dear friend who left this earth way to soon.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Christmas 2008

Well, we've returned from our holiday of nomadic traveling and are happy to be home in this new year of 2009! I hope that all of your time with family and friends was relaxing and rejuvenating. Here is a recap of our last week of 2008.
We spent Christmas eve and morn in Athens as a family. Esther still hasn't quite grasped Christmas, but was excited none the less. We made cookies Christmas eve and read 'Twas the night before Christmas'. As tradition in the Allegood family, we allowed E to open one present on Christmas Eve.
Cuddling w/ Papa early Christmas eveOpening her Eve presentChristmas Morn'We didn't have an abundance of presents for E, but I think she was pleased with her books, doll, and other small items. This cute wooden doll family was my personal favorite. I found it at a garage sale and it is from Finland. I think the little figures are so precious!
Later Christmas day, we headed to Ben's parents' house. His brother, sister-in-law, and our nephew came up. Esther had so much fun playing with Colt. They are really sweet cousins!

Bath-time (black mail for the teenage years)!

Later in the week, we celebrated Christmas with my family. My brother, sister-in-law and nephew were there, so Esther got some 'Spencer-time'. My grandparents also came down from North Carolina, which was a special treat! The magna-doodle (below) was a life-saver with the road trip to Mississippi and Louisiana!Great-grands!On Sunday, we left for Mississippi to visit Ben's grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Esther has never been a fan of long car rides, but did really well this trip. Our first stop was at Ben's grandparents' in Gulfport, which for some reason, I don't have any pictures of. Ben's aunt took a bunch, so I'll have to get those soon. She had lots of fun playing with Ben's cousins and her new gifts from Mississippi's 'Santa'.

Our next stop was Ben's Aunt and Uncle in Lousiana. Ben's cousin lives close by and brought her daughter, Maggie, over. They are only two months apart and have so much fun together.
Matching piggy-talesThey got into Miki's closet and played dress-up. Esther was running around singing, 'Cinderelli, Cinderelli' thinking she was a princess in her heals and 'dress'.Esther loved going to Maggie's house and visiting their chickens, ducks, and horses!
We then headed back to Mississippi to visit Ben's other grandmother (which I also somehow don't have pics of). The girls entertained with song and dance until they were both tuckered out.

The last leg of our trip brought us to Bowden, GA, the home of our good friends/family. We have gone there to pray in the new year most years since Ben and I have known each other. We got engaged there and are blessed to have such a wonderful community of people to share life and prayers with. Unfortunately, Ben had to work early this morning, so our visit was cut short this year and we had to head home before the year ended. However, it was wonderful to see the new babes added to the community, and those on the way, and all of our friends that we consider our family and are so blessed to have in our lives.
The 'farm' is beautiful and E loved exploring the fields, woods, and creeks.
Looking for fairies in the moss
As always, it is good to be home. We returned to our humble abode in Athens around 10:00 last night. We got little lady to bed and enjoyed a relaxing last couple of hours of 2008. This next year holds a lot of change, as we will be moving, I'll be starting a new job, and Ben will be starting his Masters at Emory. We are excited and optimistic for an exciting year. Blessings to you and yours, wishing you much love and happiness in the new year!