My first-born beauty:
Tim still had time off for Gracen (notice the sexy beard) so we went to the Wild Animal Park:We loaded our double BOB with so much stuff, I thought the storage hammock underneath might scrape. Two diaper bags, three blankets, the baby Bjorn, a purse, three water bottles, a camera bag and lunches for all! Traveling with kids is so far removed from our light backpacking days where every ounce counted.
Tim has taken Madeleine a few times, but they have never been out to the Africa area, so that is where we went. We had a really great view of the lions this time.
Madeleine points out the lion lazing on the truck:
On the tram-ride, we got to see the new Black rhino baby. I love rhinos; I think they are cute:
Mads & Mama swing and play while looking for Meerkats, another animal favorite:
Unfortunately, we could not afford to hire Tracy Dodson, the fabulous photographer that did Madeleine's portraits, so I just set up my fuzzy blanket and snapped some shots, trying to get one that would be good enough for the birth announcement.
I think it's easy to get a good shot when you have such a beautiful subject:
This is Gracen at one month; look at those DIMPLES:
Sisters:I never had a sister growing up, but I can tell that these girls are going to be best friends. Madeleine loves her little sister. She greets her every morning with a kiss and gently plays or pats her. She shares dolls and toys with her "bah-bah Dace".
Gracen sleeps in our room, just arms reach from me, in case she needs to eat. During her first month, she slept wonderfully. It's hard to remember where she was at, but I know that by 6 weeks, she was sleeping 6 hours through the night. She even wakes up cooing sometimes.
More sister play and love:
Tim graciously cut his beard into a fu-man-chu for me. I love facial hair, but Tim can't keep a beard with work. Boo. Gracen loves to stare and smile at Tim!
With the whole "nursing-all-the-time" schedule, Tim really helped decorate for Christmas this year. He put the tree together and strung all the lights. I handed him and Mads ornaments and they hung them. He even brought home a wreath from Trader Joes and decorated it with red and gold balls and some ribbons he picked up. He and Madeleine took many trips to Walmart while I stayed at home to nurse and rest with Grace.We also got our family Christmas card picture done. This isn't the one we chose, but I like it because Madeleine is really laughing at our antics.
We always forget, but Knott's Berry Farm offers free entry for Firefighters during the holiday season. We were able to take our family for free, and our extended family joined in for a discounted rate. We wanted to see how Madeleine would do at an amusement park.
Tim, Mads, Nani, Popi, Uncle Jared and Grammi:
I nursed Gracen while the family took her on the train ride at Camp Snoopy:
Dada took her on the car ride and she liked it. When Mama went to take her on it again, she didn't like it anymore. Hmmmmm...
We went on the train ride through the mountain (of which I had no recollection) and it kinda got a little dark and loud and scary:
That's how we got this face:
Tim and I also got to ride a few fast rides. Ghost Rider was very fun!:
Mads also received a huge Hello Kitty balloon from my dad and she loved watching it follow us throughout the park.
Our tuckered out baby girl:
Back at home, we enjoyed cool days and rain and a general coziness in the house during the holidays.
Sometimes, Madeleine entertained herself:
Sometimes, Gracen entertained herself:
But most of the time, Mama or Dada entertained the girls:
Tim actually got to be home for Christmas! What a blessing; the last two years he has worked on Christmas day. Since we have both the Valencia and Bergon families in town, we celebrated on Christmas Eve with my parents
Madeleine's second Christmas:
My Dad's special treat with Madeleine is to take her to see the horses. They live on the edge of Meadowview, and their neighbors have about 6 or 7 horses. MJ loves to visit them, so my dad just had to give her a pony for Christmas.
It was pure joy:
We opened presents, had a wonderful meal and enjoyed relaxing with my family. The next morning, we went over to Tim's parents to open presents with them. We snapped a few shots before the festivities began.
Tim & Lauren Bergon; Kim Lord; Keith & Lori Trask; Gary & Cindy Bergon and all the grandkids:
The Bergons and their 8 grandchildren:
Auntie Kim always loves holding babies:
Gracie & Grammi
Madeleine probably showing us how a dog drinks water:
Gracen in the outfit Grammi got for her first Christmas:
The next day was Sunday (but we actually skipped church-gasp!!). Tim and I decided that because we had been so busy with extended family, we wanted to set aside the morning to be with just our family, have a leisurely breakfast and finish up celebrating Advent. We had a yummy breakfast, light our Advent wreath, and opened the girls' gifts.
We car MJ her "Cee Cee" car:
We made some cocoa, bundled up and went to the park:
It was a wonderful Christmas morning for our family:
We counted our blessings: beautiful, whole, healthy daughters; a fun and deepening marriage; a steady, secure job and cherished family and friends. We are truly blessed beyond anything we would ever deserve. Above all, God has lavished His Grace unending on us. If we boast in anything, it is in God's work to rescue the worst sinners we know: us. We pray that you find your life in Him, the one sent to Rescue us from ourselves.