Saturday, December 15, 2012

Special Celebrations for a Special Baby Boy

It's hard to believe I haven't updated my blog in almost a year!  It's been a very busy and eventful year, to say the least.  Jaden and I both started kindergarten in August - he is in the classroom right across the hall from mine, and it's been awesome and exciting for both of us!  I am so fortunate to be able to continue working in a job-share positon, so I get to stay home part-time with Lijah Bear, which is so much fun!  And if you read the story of our precious angel baby, then you know that this year has also turned out to be the most difficult and heartbreaking of our lives.  We are all still trying to make sense of it all, while navigaing through the overwhelming feelings and emotions that have become a part of our everyday lives. 

The holidays have proven to be very trying on the heart.  Family get-togethers, while beautiful and heartwarming, have also become a hearbreaking picture of the reality we never imagined.  It's painful to experience the joy of being together, while also feeling a true emptiness and longing for our sweet baby boy to be sharing it all with us.

It's so hard to believe that Caleb has already spent his first Thanksgiving, and soon will spend his first Christmas, in Heaven.  Even though he is no longer with us, we know that he will forever be a part of our lives.  And before he was born, we shared some very special celebrations that were especially for him that I never want to forget - our gender reveal party, when we all found out that we were expecting our third precious boy; and my little pumpkin's baby shower.  These now hold extra special meaning, as they will always be some of the few precious memories we have of our angel baby.

Our Gender Reveal Party...
I thought it would be so much fun to have a Gender Reveal Party to find out the sex of baby #3.  I wanted it to be a surprise to everyone...Sam and I included!  So at my 20-week appointment, we told our sonographer we wanted to know...but didn't want to know the sex of the baby.  I asked her to write down the result on a piece of paper, and seal it in an envelope -- just to be safe, she double-enveloped and triple-sealed it!  Then we delivered it to our dear friend, who was going to make our reveal cake for us (so other than our sonographer, she was the only person who knew what we were having before we did)!  She colored the cake batter so that when we cut into the cake, it would reveal either pink or blue!  We asked all of our party guests to cast their vote by wearint pink or blue.  It was so much fun!

Sam comes from an all-boy family, so he was "Team Blue" all the way.  I was "Team Pink," but snuck some blue in there, too!

Lijah was on "Team Blue" and was sure that a baby brother would be "in the cake"

Jaden was on "Team Pink," hoping for a little sister.

Sam and the other "outlaws" - my sister-in-law and brother-in-law




Anxiously awaiting the big reveal...

Isn't our cake adorable! 

When I looked back at our pictures, I was so bummed to see that we didn't get a picture of the inside of the cake... obviously it was BLUE! 

My Little Pumpkin's Baby Shower...
Some of my wonderful girlfriends, along with my mom, threw a baby shower for me and my sweet Caleb.  The theme was pumpkins, perfect for my little October baby!

I never imagined I would love seeing pictures of me with my baby bump, but looking at these pictures now brings tears to my eyes because my precious baby boy was still with me, his little heart beating strong right under mine.

 My precious baby pumpkin cake, perfect for my little October baby!

The details were so adorable!  The glass jars were hand painted by my brother!  And on this tree were colorful leaves with wishes to baby Caleb, written by each guest at the shower.  The tree is still in Caleb's room, where I sit and read them often.  And the book, Squirrel's Fall Search, is also signed to him by each guest.

The table centerpieces, each with a little quote about baby boys.

The food table, filled with beautiful brunch dishes, all made with love.

 Wonderful family and friends

All of my gifts were hung on a clothesline so that everyone could see them all.  Such a fun idea!

My wonderful friend, Jennifer, and I.  She has two little girls, just about the same ages as Jaden and Elijah; and is expecting her third girl and I was expecting our third boy!

Some of my very best friends, and shower hosts, Lisa, Denise, and Melissa.  Love these girls so much.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gingerbread Houses at Jaden's School

Before Christmas, Jaden had a gingerbread house-making party at his school. I was so excited because it's his first time getting to experience all of these fun activities at school. He was beyond excited about it and fortunately we were all able to be there! We used graham crackers, icing, and tons of candy to make our own unique little house. I'm amazed it stayed standing as long as it did!
The end result - a hot, cute, gingerbread mess... I mean creation :).

These two look like they're on sugar overload!
Jaden handing out holiday treats to his friends.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Santa Claus is Coming to Town...Again and Again

Santa's First Time Coming to Town...
We went to the annual lighting of the Christmas tree at the outlet mall in El Paso, where Santa makes a grand entrance and does the countdown for the tree lighting each year. This year, while waiting for Santa to arrive, all of the children were invited onto the stage for a dance contest, where the winner would win a $10 gift card to the mall. Jaden got a sudden burst of courage and asked if he could go up on the stage to dance. He was so cute up there dancing his little heart out, and was thrilled when they announced that all of the kids on stage won the contest and would all get a $10 gift card to the mall. While the kids were still on the stage, Santa arrived in a beautiful sports car and the US Marines were lined up at the entrance to the stage so that Santa could make his grand entrance through their lineup and onto the stage. Jaden happened to be standing right at the edge of the stairs, and by the time Santa was headed up there, I could barely see him anymore, but I could imagine that he was either having a minor panic attack at the close proximity of Santa, or was thrilled beyond belief. And as the crowd began to sit back down, I could see that Jaden was anxiously awaiting his turn to talk to Santa. It was a very fun opportunity for him, and even got to help with the countdown to the lighting of the Christmas Tree!

Jaden's at the edge of the stairs in the brown and green jacket, waiting for Santa to arrive.

They had fake snow falling, which was actually bubbles of some sort. The kids thought it was the coolest thing ever!

We concluded with hot cocoa and cookies!

Santa's Second Time Coming to Town...
It's amazing how Santa can be in so many places at one, all throughout the month of December. Our second time seeing Santa was at the Railroad Museum. It started raining, so we went inside to keep warm and missed his arrival on the train, but still got to see him later.

Santa's Third Time Coming to Town...
Our third time seeing Santa was an unexpected surprise! We went to see my Grandma's Christmas choir performance, which is always a treat (Grandma's the adorable lady sitting in the front row). Jaden had commented that one of the gentlemen in the choir looked like Santa. I admit that he did, but told Jaden that that wasn't really something he should keep announcing! And at some point during the performance (must have been while we were on a potty break), "Santa" left the group. And what a surprise it was while we were jammin' to "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," to see Santa enter through the back doors with Mrs. Claus, both wearing the most beautiful, authentic looking Santa costumes I've ever seen, and handing out candy canes to everyone! It was wonderful. Then Santa took his place back up on the stage with the choir, and Jaden gasped and said "I knew that was Santa!" We were sure to find him after the performance for a photo op. And when we were leaving, Jaden wanted to get a good look at the building rooftop because he was sure Santa would be up there getting ready to fly off with his reindeer and he didn't want to miss it. Right away I noticed Santa helping Mrs. Claus into their white Honda. So I had Jaden looking up, down, over...anywhere I could to distract him until Santa drove away. Didn't want to ruin the magical moment for him.