Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Santa Conundrum

Last year was Sarah's very first Christmas. As Christmas approached and we started discussing what our family traditions would be. Stephen and I talked about our own Christmas traditions and decided there was absolutely no way we would be able to ever provide our children with the abundance of presents we received. Our parents spoiled us rotten but they were also financially capable of doing so.

But they also spoiled us in the name of Santa. Now, I am certainly not anti-Santa - that is not what this is about. Stephen on the other hand could care less whether Santa was even a part of anything we do. But you probably expected that. The season really is about Jesus and he's in the Jesus business, but then again, as Christian's so are Sarah and I.

Not sure how to proceed and relieved that Sarah wouldn't know the difference for at least a couple years, we agreed our giving practice for our children would go as follows.

Something you want
Something to wear
Something you need
and something to read.

It gave her plenty to open and as predicted she was aptly spoiled by the rest of the family. But there was still the fundamental question of how to address the Santa Conundrum. We can't afford the extravagance of the Santa that we had and in some way we're both not sure about lying about whether he is "real" or not too. (Even though, neither one of us had a scarring experience surrounding the truth of Santa).

Even still we're Christians who want to place the emphasis on Jesus more than Santa and we also happen to be servants of the Lord in a particularly public way because of Stephen's vocation as pastor.

BUT - I refuse to let our child be the one to spoil the mystery of Santa to others whose family have chosen to continue to celebrate him. And, let's be honest, Santa isn't anti-Christian - it's the commercialization of him we dislike. His story came out of that of a 4th Century saint of the early Christian church (more on that later).

Much to my dismay as I had yet to figure out what to do about the Santa Conundrum, Santa is already the focus of Sarah's Christmas play at daycare. (The Mrs called Santa and Santa said, "No more ELVES jumping on the bed!") And we have been told by her teachers that Sarah is quite the performer of this said song. (And we are not the least bit surprised of our little ham either.)

Alas, I guess we need to figure out what to do this year. As the story of Santa is already making his way to our house, and to that Sarah is fully enjoying herself singing about the magical guy and his elves. (And let's be honest, who doesn't LOVE a good Santa themed Christmas movie?)

So just who was this Santa guy based off of? Who was this Saint Nikolas "The Wonder Worker" whom had started it all? Could we find a way to bring Jesus to Santa so we don't have to abandon one for the sake of the other?

Enter, December 6th and the celebration of St. Nikolas Day. St. Nikolas was a Greek who lived in part of Modern day Turkey which at the time was Lycia, a region that was ruled by Rome. Raised by his uncle after the death of his parents, he became a priest and later a Bishop who served on the First Council of Nicea (ever heard of the Nicene Creed, my Lutheran, Episcopal and Catholic friends??). Yes, he signed the Nicene Creed himself!

He became known as a great giver to those in need and there are many legends of how he did this, most notably helping a man provide a dowry for his three daughters by throwing gold in the window (or as some legends say, the shoes and stockings outside the door) and even down the chimney to provide for the man and his daughters. (Sound familiar?). St Nickolas chose to give in the name of Jesus because of all Jesus had done for him.

And so, we decided as a family to celebrate St. Nikolas day, December 6th. Santa, who is based off of the St. Nikolas the Wonder Woker, will leave Sarah a fun gift that day and to carry on the tradition of blessing others as Christ has blessed us, when she gets old enough, she'll choose a way in which she wants to bless others. (For now, we'll choose a family project).

We've decided we won't talk about whether Santa is "real or fake" because Santa (St. Nikolas) was a great man who gave generously to others. And seeing as how this means gift giving will commence earlier for Sarah (at least from Santa - we will still exchange gifts as a family on Christmas following our tradition from last year) we doubt she'll really complain.

I am more than aware we are not the only family that have chosen to do this and if you have any advice on navigating this as she gets older, we are definitely open to your suggestions. If you wish to join us in celebration of St. Nikolas, let us know and we'd be happy to walk this journey with you and perhaps we can choose to give back together in the name of St. Nikolas as Jesus has blessed us.

But, beware, if you wait to ask Sarah what she wants Santa to get her for Christmas after December 6th, she's likely to tell you Santa already brought her a most awesome bucket of duplo Lego's and some socks and in response she is going to be sharing in the gift giving spirit to a child who is not as blessed with life's essentials as she is this year.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mother's Day Out!

This is 15 month old Sarah on her first day to Mother's Day out at Faith Southwest here in Amarillo. She was SO proud to put on her backpack. She walked around like she was "the stuff" while it nearly drug the ground.

I could apologize for the lack of updates for the past, oh almost 10 months, but holy cow, is she a busy kid! I'm sure you understand.

At 15 months old, Sarah is an emphatic babbler. She knows a few words. The ones she uses are "Da da" and..."NO!" (which usually includes her shaking her hands back and forth in front of her face). She knows "Mama" but she knows lots of other ways to get my attention so she rarely uses it. She points to things and says "that." To which we rehearse "that's a yellow flower" or whatever it is she's trying to figure out.

Despite her lack of vocabulary, she tells some wild stories with amazing inflection and facial experessions. They usually go like this, "Dabadabadabadaba. Bububububub. Mimimimimammamam Dababaabdabadba" Then a pause that says and a cut of her eyes to me, as if to say "Did you get all that mom? Because it was REALLY important?"

She loves to pretend to read. Books are probably her favorite "toy" at this point. She has my personality, more over all the ones I'm not particularly proud of. Stubborness, independence and a lack of patience. Poor child, I'm sorry. But mostly I'm sorry because I'm sure that means to two of us will butt heads quite a bit when she grows up. Trust me, I'm the queen of stubborn and she's just my little princess. :-)

But she does have some of my good traits, like the ability to entertain herself with just about anything for long periods of time. I'm proud of that to this day as I don't remember a time when I was ever bored. She has also adopted the "Too much to see, so much to do" mentality I have.

Being mom has had it's challenges. Last night, I told Stephen I wish I could be a good stay at home momand devote all my time to Sarah. But I get antsy and feel like I have to work (aka make money because we all know parenting is work!) and do my part for the family finances. But I can't ever do anything part-time. Business got out of hand last week and I ended up getting overwhelmed. It's under control now, but I'm learning I have to say "no" sometimes and that's just not my strong suit.

Sarah makes every struggle worth it though. She is the sweetest, kindest soul already. Her smiles light up our world and giggles are infectous. Her hugs and kisses are coming more and more without solicitation. She has learned to bless us after we pray every night. In fact, the other night when Stephen was busy and I put her to bed myself, after we finished (I finished) the Lord's Prayer and said "Amen" she reached up with her cute little pointer finger and blessed me without me asking her. Granted, this morning as she noticed I had laid out her pink overalls, she wanted no part of being distracted by blessing us for the day because, she had pink overalls to put on. But those sweet little moments make me cherish her little developing personality.

She's also our little social butterfly. At the gym for childcare, she doesn't hesitate jumping in and the same happened today when I dropped her off at MDO. Before we got in the door she saw a little boy a little older than her. She ripped her hand out of my hand and ran off squealing toward her new friend. As we got in the door and saw more friends her age, I had to pick her up so I could figure out what we were doing because she wanted to go "talk" to her new friends SO bad. I set her down in her classroom to ask the teacher what to do with her stuff, and she ran to the other kid and started playing with her toys. I looked over at her and she was so engrossed with playing, I smiled and walked out. It wasn't until I got in the car that I realized I didn't kiss her goodbye, or tell her to have a good day or that I love her. But something tells me, she was just fine.

In a few minutes, I'll be picking up Sarah and we're meeting my friend Andrea and Sarah's friend Kaiya (who went to kindgergarten today) to celebrate our 'first day of school'. I won't be able to understand what any of Sarah's highs and lows are, but trust me, she'll be trying to tell me, and I'm thinking it will go like this. "Sarah what was your high?"... "There were SO many toys. There were kids my age, like Wyatt who I went to music class with. They let me play with crayons. I ate my lunch all by myself with no help from an adult." ..."Sarah what was your low?" .... "They wanted me to sleep on the floor on my nap mat. How was I supposed to sleep when there are so many other things I could be doing?? Did you see those blocks??"...

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dear Sarah... (six months!!)

Dear Sarah...holy macaroni!


I'm not sure why this shocks me so much - just that maybe it took FOREVER for six months of pregnancy to pass and now you're such a sweet six-month old girl!

We have had such a fun month! Most of it included a long trip half way across the country for your Uncle John and Tia's wedding.

We first stopped for a quick visit with your Uncles Doug and Terry for some ultimate spoiling - if not too short of a stop!

Unfortunately - your Uncle Terry had to dash off and go to work quick on Thursday morning so we didn't get any pictures - but be sure - there will be plenty at Christmas!

Friday - at the rehearsal for Uncle John and Tia's wedding you wore a special outfit for your Unkie John.

I'll have you know at one point there was a matching blue and pink tu-tu and some silver sparkly shoes, but that was quickly aborted.

You also got to meet your great-Nana - that is MY Nana who could have just eaten you to pieces. Your Mimi has pictures of that. Unfortunately I was not so quick on the photo ops and have little in the way to post from the weekend.

Your Tia was beautiful as ever and your Uncle was quite handsome. I'm sure the professional pictures were do them more justice anyway.

One picture we didn't take is one I'm sure you'll be glad to know in the years to come - because I'm quite certain you won't live this story down - ever.

At the reception as we were eating our lovely salads -well, let me put it this way - you got your Dad good. You didn't just get him good - you got him all over. Yes, you pooped in your dad's lap something FIERCE. I was off talking to Mrs. Rhonda and Mr Mike - who kissed your elbow! - when your Mimi came over to tell me that the two of you may need some assistance in the hotel room.

I'm sure you'll hear the details of just how you got your dad until the day you die, especially the "that's a rather large stain" comment we got from the dry cleaners when we dropped his suit off - so I'll spare you here.

You didn't seem to care too much as you went down for a second round of partying until you decided it was way past your bedtime.

Your dad - who went back to the reception in blue jeans - laid you down on the bed after he carried you back and you didn't even bother rolling over. You just stayed there.

And despite the large amount of crap you shared that night - we still thought you were the most adorable thing ever.

What's just as adorable is your constant desire to master the art of crawling. You're SO close! You're finally figuring out you need to tuck your knees under you and move your hands, but every time you move your hands, you move them at the same time and end up flat on your belly. Nothing discourages you though - because you just pick yourself off the ground and try again. Then you wiggle your entire body back and forth on your hands and knees like if you do that long enough, surely you will move. It's so stinkin' cute!

You have now learned how to balance on three so it's only a matter of time before you learn how to scoot forward!

I thought you were growing like a weed last month - but you've trumped that - sometimes taking 12 ounces of a bottle and a jar of baby food in one sitting.

We recently started to get you on a three meal a day schedule with Oatmeal for breakfast and then a choice of peas, carrots, squash, green beans, or apple sauce as one of your entree's for the next two meals all followed by around an 8 ounce bottle. You eat like a horse but according to your doctors appointment this morning you are doing just fine.

You weight 14 lbs and 15 oz which leads me to believe that if I'd just fed you some bottle before you were weighed we could've called it 15 lbs even. You measure long and lean continuing steady on your own growth curve. I keep being asked what I'm going to do when you out grow me in 12 years. Let's just say, I know it's coming - and you will ALWAYS be my baby. ;-)

You are becoming more and more interactive with us and that has been so much fun. Any time you catch us in your eye you give us a grin to surpass all grins. Tonight, your dad came home from work. You heard his voice first, and looked at me quizzically like "Did I just hear Daddy?" He came around the corner, bent down and I led your eyes to look in his direction - and "OH!" A grin and a coo - "Thats my Dada!" you seemed to say with a little squeal! I mean - could you get any cuter?

When you're happy you suck in your bottom lip and let out a smack as if to say "Yep, this is alright." When you're especially amused, you giggle to the point of squealing which we're trying to find a way to discourage...not the giggling - but let's just say there's a little soprano in there that is not quite honed and whoo-- it's high!

When you're bored or just plain discontented, you let out a large audible sigh "Hurumph" As if to say "That's what I think about this..."

When you got your shots this morning you furrowed your brows and looked at me like "Well what was that - that wasn't so cool" the second one caught you off guard with a little whimper and by the third one you turned MAD, I mean angry, red face squealing crying mad. You looked at me like with brows furrowed "How could you let them do this to me!"

You are so full of expression it'll be interesting to hear what you have to say about things once you can use your words. There's not much guessing going on as it is! You've even developed this habit of getting upset when I try to coddle or rock you to sleep. Alas, you have enough of your mother in you that you have decided that when you're tired, you're tired and you just want to be laid down in your crib. I'm trying not to blame you since I understand it so much myself. *Sniff* but it is a little hard to take sometimes...

Must of all I just continue to be enamored with you.

I love you SO much!


Monday, October 21, 2013

5 Months

 Dear Sarah,

While part of me wants you to stay little for ever and ever - I'll say it once, and I'll say it again! The joy each new month brings with each new little milestone is so much fun.

This month was chalk full of amazing firsts!

We have videos of you trying almost every new food. Rice cereal hurts your tummy. Green beans are yucky. Peas are okay but you like avocados, carrots, butternut squash and most of all apples.

In fact, you love apples SO much that you learned how to grab your spoon and hold onto it so tight that it's hard to get it away from you! But much to your surprise unlike a bottle, after a while there were no more apples on that spoon! Confused you give a little cry and furrow your little eyebrows until I can wiggle that spoon from your vice grip and give you more.

You pack away more food than I ever imagined someone your size could do. Consequently, you have grown like crazy this month! You're officially out of 3 month clothing. You have been long for quite sometime, so I figured all that eating would just fill you out a bit. All that good nutrition is going to work though because not only have you filled out, you're still growing long and strong!

You love to bounce and twist and dance. The more movement the happier you seem to be! Your Baby Einstein jumper is your favorite place to be.

  Your giggles are SO infections. In fact, I'm afraid your dad and I are teaching some rather bad habits just because we are total suckers for a good giggle fest! This picture of you in your crib was after we were bouncing the mattress around you and you were just LAUGHING!

Just forget about this little incident when we tell you you can't jump on your bed. ;-)

Three weeks ago, you discovered your daddy is upfront during worship. You followed his every move the entire time. You turned your head to follow his voice and became memorized with him. You are a daddy's girl!

At church I rarely hold you. However, week before last you fell asleep strapped in the ergo, so when it came time for me to play the communion hymns I wasn't going to dare to wake you up. You just sat there sleeping through the first hymn I played. (Did I mention your had your head nuzzled in on my sweet. Mommy does happy dances inside during those tender moments).

When you woke up during the second, you were content and sat there strapped to me like we do this all the time. (Truth be told we have or else I wouldn't have been confident enough to feel like I could wrap my little arms around you and reach the keyboard.) You looked around like your usual curious self but didn't make a peep. Sometimes, I can't believe how well behaved you are. I don't like to talk about it a lot because it's the kind of stuff that make other mothers want to vomit all over me. Can't help it you've got such stellar genetics, kiddo! ;-)

(I'm fully aware if you have another sibling this will bite me in the behind, biological or not.)

During Sunday School, I often pass you off as I teach the middle school class. This week, you went with Kyndra to Brielle's class and got a spot in the play. Here draped in white, you are the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus (aka Brielle) after he was baptized by John the Baptist. 

You love music. You love when we sing to you. You like to wiggle to the music. You like to watch me play the piano. The past two weeks, you've enjoyed going to music class with other babies. We sing, play, dance, shake rattles, roll hula hoops, pat with rhythm sticks and beat on drums. The other babies are a little older than you which has been good. Today when you saw them schooching around on the floor (some were walking), you though, hmm I think I'll try that and reached with your arms to the floor. After you got in the floor, your friend from Moppetts, Wyatt came over the say hello. Soon, everyone else followed and by the time they lost interest, I could tell the wheels were turn on how you could follow them. This evening, you stuck your butt way up in the air and propelled yourself forward. Not an easy feat on hardwood. I expect to report that you're crawling at 6 months!

Sure, there are some days that just aren't the best. Especially when your gums start hurting when those pesky teeth try to come through. There were some rough couple of weeks this past month when you cried every time I laid you down for a nap or bedtime. Then sometimes it's just normal mistakes like when I don't keep up with your diaper and it gets just a little too soggy for comfort. Or maybe when I should have fed you but chose to play instead until World War Three broke out because your tummy is just a little too empty.

 But most of the time - this is us. The Friedrich girls happy in love with a man you call daddy, and I call hubby.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dear Sarah - four months

Dear Sarah,

I'm a terrible mom as in, at three months I didn't write you a letter. To my credit, it fell right around your baptism and we had a lot going on. If you ever are blessed with a younger sibling, you can now boast "See, she didn't always write to me either!".

Truth is, there is SO much to share about you, it's hard to find time to write it all down.

This month, you lost your dear sweet, great-grandmother. I plan to tell you all about her when you get older and can understand just what a wonderful woman she was. You'll learn that often times, family only gets together at weddings and funerals and this was no exception. But the perk - you got to meet your Uncle John and Tia Cat earlier than expected, PLUS you were passed around to all your great aunts, uncles and...2nd cousins (we think...we couldn't figure out their relation to first cousins). Your great aunts decided they were too young for their title and surely it just means "exceptionally awesome aunts" or something to that extent.

You were a champ on the plane despite the one incriminating photo your father chose to take right before we changed your diaper on the plane. It's floating around somewhere, but I have your back and will not post it here. ;-)

They all oohed and ahhed over you and you were your usual ray of sunshine which brought us all joy in the midst of some pretty intense sorrow. You don't have any cousins of your own yet, or second cousins once removed (or whatever it would be...), but I'm pretty sure you passed baby fever on to a few. In fact, they all agreed they would consider children if their children were as pleasant and easy as you are. I was then asked to be a surrogate, but by now, you've heard your story and can understand when I quickly nixed that idea.

Your dad and I have so much fun with you. You interact with us on a regular basis now, smiling, cooing back and forth with us, and letting out some of the most infectious high-pitched giggles I've ever heard.

These giggles are also nothing but excuses for us to continue tormenting you with things like blowing raspberries on your belly...

You are growing like a weed and although six months clothes swallow you trim body whole, you are 24 1/2 inches long. All footed sleepers are now at least marked 3-6 months, if not 6 months, and some of your onsies won't snap because you're so long. (Ok, your big fat diapers don't help...). However, hold fast that you were at one point this small:

You love to stand up "like a big girl". If we hold you up you will plant your feet firmly and balance yourself to stand up as straight and as tall as you can manage. Usually, you smile and giggle with great accomplishment as we praise you for this! You also prefer to sit up and while you still need a little help with keeping upright, it's not going to be long before you do it yourself.

You're curious about everything around you and no longer like to be held facing us. Nope, the world is much more interesting than my boring old face. You follow sounds with your eyes and head. Much to my dismay, you LOVE tv or anything with a screen. Your papa let you watch your first cartoons while we were home and you thought they were magical. Sesame street was a big hit.

After your dad and I take a video of you doing something cute (which is all the time), you will watch it with us, mesmerized with the sights and sounds on the screen.

You're quite the wiggly worn and have learned how to roll over by yourself. As much as I manage to try to put you to sleep on your back, you have discovered you prefer your side and stomach a whole lot more. I try not to worry about you too much because you can lift your head high for quite a long time now, so I just pray you'll do that if you need to breathe!

We just bought you a jumper that clips onto the door frame. It's too big for you so we stuff a blanket behind you, but you've decided this thing is awesome. You also enjoy sitting in the bumbo and your swing is still a favorite!

The blanket below you was to help stabilize your feet between the hard wood and the tile floor, but it was also a spit catcher. You're a droolin' fool with teeth that want to make their debut in the world. While we were in TN, I may have bought you a bib that said "I spit orange." and by may...I  mean...I did.  I can't let you forget your that your heritage runs from the heart of East Tennessee.

We also got to visit some friends from college while we were in NC. I tried to get you a shirt so you could spread the word about that great Lutheran university in Hickory, NC, but alas - they missed their big publicity opportunity with a bookstore that was closed. We did however, introduce you to the man, the myth, the legend: Pastor Weisner.


We took you to the Tap Room with our friends Cory and Jessica after we enjoyed some rousing organ music and fantastic worship at the Episcopal church where Cory serves as organist. I could swear we took a picture with them, but I can't find it.

We also took obligatory pictures of you with the big Bear on campus and the new Luther statue. Unfortunately, we took them with your dad's iPhone. Hopefully by the time you read this, Apple products will figure out a way to be compatible with the rest of the world and they'll let me save pictures to my Samsung (non apple product). That - or non of these two companies will exist anymore...

Bottom line kid - you're loved more than you could ever know. Four months is just as joyful as the other months and watching you grow-up is a privilege I will never take forgranted.

Thanks for letting me be your mom. 
 Love and raspberry kisses,

Monday, September 2, 2013

This is the Day the Lord has made...

and I'm at a loss for words...At least in person.

That's a song I vividly remember my Grandma singing to me again and again.

Last night my Aunt Cathy suggested to my dad that I call my grandma and say goodbye to her. She's been on a slippery up and down slope for several weeks, but it looks like there will be no rebound on this latest slope. I talked to Stephen for a while before I called...he wanted me to write down what I wanted to say: A favorite memory, what she means to me, how Jesus loves her. I didn't want to write it down because I didn't want to think about it. I wanted it over with.

You can read into that BIG FAT WEENIE.

Truth is, I've been gone so long, I have a hard time picturing my always active, always smiling, always up doing something for others grandma in a hospital bed in her room, not getting up, not opening her eyes, not speaking, not eating. So saying goodbye over a telephone just doesn't feel right to begin with.

Having my aunt tell me she is hearing me because her breathing pattern changed...doesn't feel right either.

My grandma was one of the most servant-hearted people I have ever met. Perhaps the most. I think I may have told her some gist of that, but the truth is I can't remember because it felt like I was vomiting at the mouth...wanting to say something comforting and wanting it to be over with at the same time.

I have a picture of us when she drove up to my junior recital in Hickory that is always how I'll remember her. Bright shining eyes with a huge smile and a look like she couldn't love or be more prouder of me. The next year she actually catered my senior recital because the woman could cook and bake things better than anyone. The first sign she was getting older was my aunts committing to help her because they thought it might be a bit much for her. I have the best family in the world. I've been looking all over for that picture. It had been on my refrigerator for years, but we recently got a new refrigerator and those pictures were put somewhere "safe".

The older I get, the more I realize how I am my grandma both in genetics and personality. I'll never be close to as self-less as she was, but we are the same height, she sewed the most amazing things, loved crafts and loved for them to be organized complete with labels. Because of our height, she used to give the best hugs. I loved getting to give and receive hugs from her because she and I could wrap our arms completely around each other with no reaching or stretching. Pure joy and comfort.

When family came into town for Sarah's baptism and I had a full house of giggling family, loud and boisterous and spread all over the place - I cooked a fair amount of food and basked in the absolute joy of having a full house of family. I suddenly realized why the feasts grandma put together were always viewed by her as nothing much. It made me happy to listen to everyone having a good time and making sure they were well fed. I wouldn't have had it any other way.

And much as I wished Sarah could have met her great-Papa, I wish she could meet her great-Grandma. But not the Grandma the Grandma of I don't even want to remember the Grandma of today. The Grandma that would spend hours upon hours playing skip-bo with me. Teaching me to knit which I was SO horrible at. The grandma that let me play with her stamps and make a complete mess out of all her stuff just because she enjoyed teaching me. Unfortunately I got into sewing too late to learn much from her. I kick myself all the time because turns out I'm a really bad knitter, an ok crocheter,lack the patience for a good scrap booker and stamping...well like most things Grandma taught me I did it for a little while. But once I found sewing...everything else fell away.

 Down in her basement is a mecca of fabric in Rubbermaid containers with labels by color and holiday season. I took some buttons from her a while ago and sewed them onto Sarah's 4th of July dress - but my three Dukes mayonnaise jars of buttons can't hold a candle to the pickle jars still sitting down there. Every button seems to have character and I want to ask her where they came from...but there are so many of them - I doubt she could tell me anyway!

The first time I'd ever heard of a mission trip was when Grandma and Papa went to St. Lucia. The pictures from their trip are a far cry from the luxury resort I enjoyed in St. Lucia on my honeymoon. Both she and Papa had servants hearts. Papa could fix anything and do it right - the first time. Grandma could love anyone she met as her own.

The first time I'd ever spent anytime around people with mental and physical handicaps was going up for worship at the Church of the Exceptional. It's a church founded to cater to the specific needs of children and families with mental and physical handicaps so that they could worship without holding anything back. I remember grandma prepping me for it telling me that I might hear people shouting out things when they shouldn't be, and that some of them would be in wheelchairs, some of them wouldn't have control of their bodily functions but that's ok because that's just who they are. She served as their treasurer until she was unable to keep up with it.

She also taught Sunday school regularly. Anytime we were there for a Sunday (which wasn't often because mom always played at St. Timothy's service on Sunday) she took us and dropped us off to go have Sunday school while she went up and taught her class. One summer when mom dropped me off before she went to Lutheridge, I went to VBS at Adaville Baptist Church. It was there that I got to go play put-put golf and informed everyone that "there was this puddle, and it had water in it". I still haven't lived that down...

And for a break in the's one thing my Grandma taught me that I remember everyday. How to put my underwear on in the correct direction. Apparently I put it on backwards one day while she was keeping me. I remember her holding my underwear in front of me and telling me if I could see fabric behind the leg holes, I was putting them on correctly. Yes, I think if my Grandma every day when I put on my underwear. Somehow, I felt silly telling her that last night.

I felt silly telling her any of this. Do I acknowledge to her that I'm saying goodbye for the last time. Would that make her feel sad or would that make her feel at peace and ready to go? All I know is I want her not to suffer. I want her to go home and be with her Father in heaven and be at peace. If anyone has a special place carved just for them - it would be her.

What this good Lutheran wanted to say to that most devoted Southern Baptist was that there is a place for her. The she has been claimed by God and loved forever. That Dorothy, Child of God has fought the good fight, lived the good life and can rest in the hope of the Resurrection. Well done good and faithful servant. Go in peace.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Baptism!!!

AUGUST 11, 2013

It's a date that will be burned into our brains (and Sarah's) for the rest of our lives! 

A lot has happened since the last update, but tomorrow is also Sarah's 3 month birthday, so the trip to NM and Dallas will be on that post. Then there will probably be another post just of pictures - because boy do we have a lot! (Typical...)

These are a few from mom's phone. There are a lot better pictures to come as a lot of hers didn't come out well. We're just waiting on getting them from other people. These are just to bait your appetite with!

First let me say, apart from the baptism, it was an absolute JOY to have a house full of family. There was constant chatter, a lot of singing going on, some playful TN/KY banter (at the expense of Aunt Amy) and really good food. I cannot think of a more perfect weekend.

Friday, the Friedrich clan arrived (well most of them). Bright and early before the crack of dawn, the Knoxville Friedrichs, the Oakridge Friedrich's and Amy flew out of Knoxville and arrived in Amarillo at 9am, just in time for us toe spend the whole day together! 

We greeted them at the airport with hugs, smiles and lots of Sarah introductions! It was the first time Sarah met her Great-Grandpa Roland and Great Grandpa Mitzi, Uncle Jacob and Godmomma/Aunt Amy. I couldn't wait to share our little miracle with them! They had all witnessed the bad and the ugly of my pregnancy and I couldn't wait to share my happy, healthy, lovable, cute, adorable (need I go on), Sarah.

I don't think I held her the rest of the day, and that was perfectly fine by me! After going immediately to Grandma, we passed her directly on to great-Grandma and great-Grandpa. Of course, it was love at first sight! Again, I didn't get very many pictures, so there will be a post soon with just pictures, but here are a few!

Of course, there are lots of pictures with Aunt Amy, Uncles Jacob and Craig, the Great Grandparents and the Grandparents - you'll have to just keep sratchin' those itches for now!

Uncle Craig's flight got canceled Friday night as a result of a mechanical failure, but turns out he ended up on Mimi and Papa's flight from Houston Saturday morning. It was so good to see them. Craig and his girlfriend Caroline (who couldn't make it but was missed) came at the end of April about two weeks before Sarah was born. It was so good to introduce Sarah on the outside! Craig is a natural with babies. Stephen took to Sarah very quickly, but didn't look near as comfortable as Craig did form the get go. He just picked Sarah up and played with her like it was something he does everyday! (No doubt it's from spending all that time in VA entertaining those sweet Dix girls!)

Mimi and Papa had come about three weeks ago, but like all the grandparents, they can never get enough and love seeing how easily smiling comes to Sarah now! She was just starting to smile when they came the last time. Now, an almost always happy baby (with a few exceptions), she melted our hearts all weekend with sweet grins!

Saturday evening, thanks to some wonderful friends at BSLC, we had a fantastic BBQ! Richard and Ingrid Owen are our perpetual Sunday night Dinner and Farkle friends. We trade cooking dinner every Sunday and play farkle until we can't any longer. Richard is kind of the smoker and had recently purchased a new one, so I asked him if he would smoke some meat for us if we promised to have him over to enjoy it. Well, you've no doubt heard of the Herpich's (as in Wally and Karen - who came to the Oridnation in Knoxville). Richard is their son-in-law and Ingrid (their daughter). The Herpich's, who are always hospitable to us, just invited us right up to their place on the only hills in Amarillo with a fantastic patio and we enjoyed our BBQ there. It was a lovely evening with very mild temperatures, a beautiful view, and quite possibly the BEST brisket I have ever had. (And I've eaten a fair amount of brisket, not to mention Richard's brisket.) Among other smoked items were a bear-butt chicken (chicken with a can of bear that steams into the chicken while it's being moist and tender...geez it was good!) and pork ribs...another delectable meat! (And I'm not even really a meat person). I wanted my other family to be there in spirit, so I made my Nana's pound cake (with strawberries) and green beans, and our Lugoff, SC neighbor Ms. Rhonda's crockpot mac and cheese, and some corn bread a la Jeremy Roberts (a friend from Trinity - to represent all my Trinity Seminary friends!). Come to find out, Ms. Rhonda's granddaughter Collen got baptized on Sunday too! Karen also made Jan and Sally Werner's ranch-style beans, some cole slaw, potato salad and deviled eggs and an apple cobbler. (So there were quite a few options for Grandma Nancy!)

Needless to say - it was quite a feast!

Sunday - the big day! Finally arrived and Sarah woke up as happy as she could be. She had three outfit changes for the baptism in a carefully choreographed service. As a symbol of dying to your old self and rising to new life, Stephen likes his baptismal candidates to come in dark clothing. Sarah channeled her Aunt Kelly by wearing a black dress that was one of the many fashionable outfits given to her by her Aunt Kelly (there by allowing Aunt Kelly to be there in spirit!). When it came time for the baptism, we removed her black dress, and put on a dark gray diaper (yes, I color coordinated this down to the diaper). We came in with a diaper and a dark towel. Then with Godmomma Amy by my side, we promised to raise Sarah in the faith, teaching her the Lord's Prayer, the Commandments and the Creeds. We renounced the devil and all his empty promises and Stephen unmercifully doused Sarah in a ridiculous amount of water. Sarah took it like a champ, only sputtering what Dad had so gleefully gotten in her mouth and eyes. Sarah was baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! God claimed her and we were oh-so thankful! 

We then preceded to change Sarah into her white baptismal garment which has now been worn by three generations of the Friedrich family! Mimi and Grandma helped me dress Sarah into her long heirloom slip and gown (and yes, I changed her into a white diaper even though the gray wasn't wet, because I'm that neurotic!). We arrived back in the sanctuary just in time as the hymn was ending and Sarah was welcomed by her Beautiful Savior family! 

Then, our good friends Julia and Ayden were received as new members. It was a perfect day for them to join. Julia and I are coordinating the new MOPS group (Mother's of Preschoolers) together and have spent lots of time together with our kids. 

Following the service we took pictures and enjoyed a reception.

Sarah had yet a third change into a different white dress for the reception and baptismal lunch. (I couldn't risk leaving her in the heirloom dress that long!)

There are pictures taken by a congregation member of the baptism and far better pictures of all the family. I will post as soon as I get them.

The church gave us a beautiful glass frame with Sarah Grace etched in it and a blessing on her baptism.

After church, we enjoyed lunch at our favorite Mexican place, Fernandos. We had our favorite waitress and a room to ourselves. Baptismal gifts are not something that was ever a part of my family history, but seemed to be a big thing to Stephen's family as Sarah was spoiled by everyone, including great Aunts and Uncles who couldn't make it. 

We have a beautiful engraved frame from Godmomma Amy with Sarah Grace, Child of God, August 11,2013 on it. (This child will never forget the date of her baptism!) Another frame from Grandma and Grandpa that has "Bless this Little One" on it, as well as a photo album for baptism pictures. (Because, really, one can never have too many framed pictures or albums of Sarah!!!). 

Uncle Jacob made crosses that let light in from windows in of course, the best colors around Purple and Pink. Complete with the theological significance of Christ light shining through the cross and a very thoughtful card. That kid is so his brother's brother! (In the most wonderful ways!)
Uncle Craig gave Sarah another present from his escapades in China! A typical Chinese frock! Sarah will always be well cultured thanks to her Uncle Craig's world travels!

Great Aunt Laura and Uncle Matt, cousins Kaley and Erika shared a sweater that was knit by Sarah's great-great Aunt Tilly. Laura was the first girl that blessed the Friedrich family and it sounds like every girl there-after was privileged enough to get to wear such a beautiful pink sweater (knit with a tiny gauge in the softest of pink yarn!). I was also extremely excited for the cowgirl outfit Kaley shared with Sarah. Kaley was apparently a cow girl from Halloween, but here, Sarah could get away with it all year. It came complete with her very first pair of cowgirl boots. She probably won't wear them until she's two or so...I'm trying not to wish the days away until I can put her in it, because it is SO adorable. 

Great Uncle Doug and Terry (who I have now dubbed the Friedlerts) came through with Disney apparel once again. (Which delights me to no end!) She still wears the newborn t-shirts they gave her, but has just outgrown her Lion King pj's (much to my chagrin), however - Sarah now has the CUTEST pink sleeper that has "Sleeping Beauty" across it. Sleeping Beauty had nothing on Sleeping Sarah, so it's quite appropriate! She also has another Minnie Mouse t-shirt (can't deny I'm partial to Minnie!), the sweetest Snow White Dress and a Snow White t-shirt. I cannot WAIT to put her in those! 

(Let's me honest here...these presents were totally for my enjoyment, right?)

Great-Grandpa and Great-Grandma came through with their usual poignant card as well as a prayer book for Sarah, Jesus Loves Me being sung by Bears, and this awesome "Learn to Read" Bible. (It's never too early!) Carrying on their life-long tradition of sharing Jesus with all of their family! I could go on about how cool that Bible is, but I will refrain since this is a long enough post and all you really wanted to see were pictures! 

And so, here are a few more to whet your appetite, including our family trip to What-a-burger and after the Friedrich's left on Sunday.

Please note that Sarah was changed into her UK onsie by dinner time and Aunt Amy! Note they are color-coordinated!!!

This girl is going to have some serious college allegiances when she grows up. Hoping she gets something Lenoir-Rhyne soon! 

It was a joy-filled weekend for so many reasons! I can't wait until I have a house full like that again! This proud mamma loves sharing Sarah with her family and thoroughly enjoyed catching up with everyone! 

May God grant you days of blessing and joys like these!