Happiest Christmas

We actually made it to Christmas Eve Mass. I rested all day so I could make it. It was beautiful to celebrate Christ's birth who loves us so irrationally that he would leave his Heavenly home to suffer in flesh to save us. I could understand his love a small splinter more by holding Christiana and loving her tremendously just for her own sake.

After Mass we had a Christmas Eve party over at the Niewald house with everyone home. There was food, wrapping paper, and children everywhere - a holly jolly Christmas.

Christmas morning we woke up and opened presents with Hilary and Tim. Nicholas loved his presents and was content to play with his toys all morning; he got puzzles, blocks, farm animals, and a xylaphone. We had a swell Christmas breakfast, long afternoon naps, and later, a big Christmas dinner with all the cousins and aunts and uncles.

Andrew and I couldn't be happier. It is always the simple things in life that bring about great joy. We watched Nicholas play with his toys, his little hands, his happy little self bopping around...holding Christiana in my arms just watching her sleep, kissing her soft cheeks and smelling her newborn smooth skin. Pure and simple happiness. Thank God for all our blessings.


How She Arrived

The Labor and Delivery...
I was busy checking off my "Christmas Pre-Baby To-Do"list all day last Friday. I skipped the nap to do some Holiday baking and cleaning. By the time Andrew came home at 5:30 I plopped on the couch to give my back a break. I suddenly had 3 contrations in a row. I thought, " Well three in a row is good - at least things are starting to get ready. I'm sure it's because I've been on my feet all afternoon and they'll let up in a little while". I was in denial. It was December 20th and my due date was not until December 28th. Apart from that, Nicholas came two days after his due date so I couldn't possibly go this early. I had all along dreamed to go in early though and have enough time before Christmas so I could arrive home just before Christmas with a new little baby. God heard my prayer. The contractions came every 5-8 mintutes all night. I still thought they'd stop so we went to the high school basketball game,came home, I wrapped some Christmas presents, packed a bag for Nicholas "just in case" and went to bed. I think I may have got about 20 minutes of sleep before I was waking up to stronger contractions and ones closer together. I still thought it was bizzarre, but I started to get a little nervous and anxious so I told Andrew we should go to the Hospital. We called Mechie over and left. We arrived to the hosiptal at 12:30 am. and by 6:04 a.m. Christiana Marie was born, all 6lbs. 10 1/2 oz. of her. We both were shocked and fell immediately in love.

After Birth...
Andrew went home to sleep for a few hours and then came back with a dozen roses, what a husband! He couldn't wait to bring Nicholas up to the hospital to see his new baby sister. He was so gentle with her, but was way more excited with the big pink balloon in the room. We had many other visitors that day, Mechie and the girls brought more roses so the room smelled wonderful. Another friend in town had her baby the same day so we got to visit for a bit their family as well.

A neat custom the local hospital does here is provide a steak dinner on your last night's stay. They wheeled into the room a circle table with red table cloth, candles, and sparkling grape juice ; ). It was such a kind gesture and awesome way to celebrate a new baby birth. Right before we sat down to eat, a large family was caroling to patients in the hospital. They came to our room and sang Silent Night and some other songs to us, and it was simply beautiful to listen to. It definitely captured the moment and so fitting for Christiana's Christmas birth.


THIS is my family.

So Skype is our new found family way to communicate lately. We did a Skype call while Joe was home for two days before getting sent to Ireland. The only person not able to be there was me - go figure, but with only a week with baby coming - the 7hr drive may have induced me to labor on the highway. Anyway - we did the call and everyone tried to get their head in to the computer camera. Wow I had a good laugh. I felt I was right there, I got to see and hear mom play Christmas carols on the piano, watch Gabe attempt to string lights on the tree,and see Paul and Gianna vying for camera time. Grace just sat and stared and it was so fun exchanging live conversation with Joe. Happy times.


Crunch Crunch

I knew it was coming...the stomach flew. Nicholas woke up in the middle of the night last night with it. Luckily I think it is a light version. He has been taking naps all day long. At about 5p.m. this evening he was munching on a rice cake and decided to lay down. He fell asleep with it in his mouth. About 40 minutes later, Andrew and I were eating a quiet dinner when we heard some crunching going on in the family room. He was still laying on the floor, his back toward us, and all we heard was munching. Apparently he woke up and just finished where he left off.


Getting Ready for Baby

We took the past weekend to rest and put up the baby cradle once again. Only this time around, we had a little helper. A little someone was all about doing whatever Dad did.


Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother's House We Went

Thanksgiving could not have been better. I am so thankful for my family. We crossed over the Missouri River into St. Louis to visit Nanna and Papa and all the aunts and uncles. There were basketball games, turkey carvings, the game family, Ange's big 21st Birthday (on the 27th!!), and lots of pictures of Nicholas and Grace.

Angela's 21st Bday Bash.

Dad carrying the Thanksgiving bird.

Nicholas stealing Aunt Grace's cookie.

Nicholas playing basketball with Papaw

Grace and Nicholas exploring the first snow of the season.


Veteran's Day Parade 08

The parade this year was cold and it had rained, but luckily it stopped for the parade. Nicholas and Henry enjoyed watching the bands and everyone tossed them candy. I think they had more than on Halloween. It was a good time, good marching bands, old cars, clowns, and firetrucks went by and I was was entertained watching Nicholas watch the parade.


Wherever Nicholas Goes...So Goes the Puppy

Little did Anna know she was buying Nicholas' favorite dog. This little store we have downtown has these stuffed puppies. I go in once every week or so to get coffee or whatever and Nicholas goes for the this puppy every single time. I have to give distract him with food to let it go so we don't take it out of the store with us. Well, when Anna came, she bought it for him and he hasn't put it down since. As you can see, it follows him wherever he goes. I think they have the same eyes.


First Immediate Family Member to Visit Beloit! Anna!!

A highlight of Halloween weekend was definitely having Anna and Gabe here! They got to go trick or treating, we took walks, did some shopping, Gabe got to experience a pheasant hunt, and we had lots of good food and people to share them with. Nicholas looked for his new favorite Anna when they left. We miss them already.

Halloween in Beloit

Oh wow - we had a blast. It took about 20 orange tic tacs for Nicholas' face make-up to be put on, but other than that he did really good in his costume and kept his wig on the entire time. I told him he had to where his "hat" if he wanted to go outside. He did so dutifully.

There were kids everywhere - I think about five families with countless aunts and uncles to join in on the trick or treating. The mob of us made a quite a scene as fifteen kids, babies, and 20 million adults trooped up to each house. Nicholas hit the wall with a "minor" tantrum by about 8p.m. with a belly full of sugar, teeth coming through, and exhaustion settin in. Andrew and him had a bonding moment outside for awhile. We all crashed at the house and enjoyed a party with chili and beer and good conversation. Good times.

Visit from Soon to be Uncle Phil!

We were surprised with a pop in visit from Phill Simpson who was passing through from Colorado on his way to Tennessee. He stayed long enough to get some sleep, food, and make a new friend. We had some great chat time and he will be missed and in our prayers when he heads to Iraq next week!


Mr. Stinky Feet Concert

Oh what fun Nicholas had at his first concert. Nicholas lifts up his feet for us to smell every time we take his shoes and socks off so he can hear us say, "Shoowee stinky feet." He gets a kick out of it so I thought this concert woudl be appropriate. He danced and watched all the kids, (and Andrew and I) make lots of crazy ridiculous moves to the songs. Cousins Benedict and Sebastian even got to go up on stage. I think I just loved watching Nicholas dance the most.

New Face Lift

This past weekend Dominic, Andrew, and I (but mostly the guys) knocked out the painting job our house needed by painting the shudders and window trim from a putrid green to a clean black and white. They worked so hard and now our house doesn't look too shabby ; )


Little Buns Run

This scooter has been the joy of someone's little life lately. Immediately upon going outside he beelines straight for it. He runs up and down the sidewalk and would do so all day if we let him. He usually ends up parking it in Meechie's yard to vist the girls, the dogs, or the swing. I can't image why he heads for her yard everytime. I love to see the back of him run and his little buns in those jeans.



Nicholas' favorite past time these days is to color. He opens the second desk drawer, pulls out the bag of crayons and then gets his paper out from under the desk. He'll plop down and scribble for a good 10-15 minutes at a time. He concentrates so hard and his little circle scribbles are funny to see.


Fall Tailgating

Thanks to Hilary and Tim...we had a blast watching some football and eating good food in Lincoln on Saturday night.

Our big hay ride!!

The Pumpkin Patch

I know I was by far more excited than anyone to go to this huge pumpkin farm. It was such a tradition in my family growing up to visit a pumpking or apple farm in the fall and ride a hay ride. So it brought back fun memories, but it was also neat to start our own.

Roca Berry Farm...it was a beautiful fall day and this farm had so many fun things for Nicholas...and for Andrew and I to do ; ) Lindsay was with us - which made it extra fun. Pig races were interesting and there was miniture Candy Land. The best was Giant Pumpkins in the fields. I think they thought I stole one and hid it under my shirt.


My Chipmunk

So a humorous incident this morning happened at breakfast. Nicholas ate a hardy bowl of cereal with half a banana, a piece of toast and half a yogurt. Good, I thought - he should be full and ready to go. I washed his hands and he started to play in the family room. I had made myself some coffee and peanut butter toast with some bananas on it, set it next to the computer and ran to the bathroom. I was hungry and anxious to eat. When I got out two minutes later, I found Nicholas sitting at the computer, mouth covered in peanut butter, and all the bananas missing from the toast. As I headed toward him, he put his hand out to stop me from coming closer, guarding his little treasure of food. Some coffee had spilled onto the counter and the mug's handle had peanut butter on it, he must have thought he would have some coffee to go with his toast. So my breakfast that I was so looking forward to eating was stolen by a little porky chipmunk thief.


Visit from Aunt Hilary

His fairy godmother came to see him and he was all smiles! Hilary and Tim came for a visit...we played Pass the Pigs and I cried laughing.

The Big Helper

I know all babies go through this phase, but it's still so fun to watch. Part of his daily routine includes opening the one hundred cabinets in our kitchen one by one so he can hear them open and shut. Just a normal routine check. One cabinet has my spices and baking goods...he got into the baking powder, dropped it on his foot and the floor. Cried. Went to the side of the fridge, got out the broom and started sweeping it up. I had a good laugh...his meager but truly meaningful attempts to help clean it up. haha I loved it.


Hike at the Lake

Yesterday, we enjoyed the great outdoors and went for a family hike. It was perfect weather and of course Nicholas was outdoors and happy. He made us smell all the flowers. I'm sore from walking, but it was wonderfully refreshing. Let's see...while exploring we saw the remains of a dead baby dear, badger holes, and giant pelicans out on the lake that looked like small boats. My little nature experience in Kansas.


Little Green Kermit Feet

Andrew didn't put shoes on him at first so his little feet were good and green when I got out there. I wanted to eat them.