Monday, January 31

101 years later

Yesterday we attempted a remake of this picture.

Great-Grandma Adeline, May 19, 1910

Adeline, January 30, 2011

Those are some pretty cute Adelines.

Saturday, January 29

birthday girl

Waking up to a bit of snow (she is quite the snow magnet!)

Opening one gift at breakfast

Meeting Dad for lunch at school and then passing out on the way home

[Not shown: screaming in the morning when her diaper rash became unbearable, and then getting so exhausted later in the day she needed a third nap right before dinner. Not to criticize the birthday girl, but she was gruuumpy.]

Cupcaking with a straight face. She ate it like quite the lady, using just her thumb and finger and pinching teensy bits at a time.

Thursday, January 27

one year old

Happy birthday,
to the cutest, chubbiest, messiest, best thing that ever happened to us.

We love you, Addy!

Monday, January 24

i think i'm turning japanese

Our dear friend Anna is living in Japan whilst her husband is assigned to an Air Force base there. When Addy was born, Anna hooked us up with some baby Japanese clothes that are to die for.

Teensy kimonos, stylish furry hoodies, and darling little hats. Love them.

One of my favorites is a shirt Addy is just fitting into.

Yes, that says, "New Hopes Luckily Realization." Apparently the Japanese love to take English words and phrases and put them together on a shirt, whether they make sense or not.

Thanks, Anna and Japan!

Sunday, January 23

how to strengthen your marriage

What do you get when you combine a zip line, paintball guns, and a bunch of married couples?

Redneck marriage therapy, of course.

Back at Christmastime my sisters and I opted out of playing paintball with the guys. But when one of the guys suggested the wives take free shots at their husbands as they went by on the zip line, we all jumped at the chance. (I think this is the white trash equivalent of a guy insisting you punch him in the stomach as hard as you can.)

A few of my sisters proved to be quite the sure shots... a couple of the husbands walked away with some serious welts in some seriously uncomfortable places. I think the wives found it surprisingly therapeutic.

Sadly, I managed to miss Doug entirely even though he went down the zip line twice for me. I was too ashamed to have him go down again. One theory is that our marriage is so solid that I subconsciously wanted to avoid hitting my one true love.

My theory? I have really, really crappy aim.

Wednesday, January 19

the days are just packed

Addy keeps us on our toes. Here's why:

Her budding social calendar. So many friends, so many reasons to do the ultimate cheese smile.
Jamming with Kara (Our friend Alicia made that hat. Awesome, no?)

Loving the Lucy


She discovered Sesame Street and she learned how to stand so she's 2 inches from the screen

She dances with her dad, and then she dares to let go and stand on her own. She'll be walking in no time. Yikes.

Tuesday, January 18

weekend highlights

- Watching lots of movies
- Checking out Yorktown, VA and enjoying the beautiful colonial town and revolutionary battlefield
- Using self control and only running into 3 stores at the outlets (that's record breaking)
- Trying out Cook-Out that just opened near us, and declaring them burger champions and milkshake geniuses
- Making truffles from our friend Rachel's recipe... oh baby!

Aaand last but not least...
- Finding a small yet dead squirrel in our dryer's duct

(We were frustrated that it takes so long for stuff to dry. This "blockage" may or may not affect its drying ability, but it does affect how I feel about all the clothes I've dried in that dryer. I'm considering burning everything and starting from scratch.)

Happy MLK, Jr. weekend to one and all.

Friday, January 14

there's an app for that

This picture haunts my dreams, and I want it to haunt yours too.

At Christmas my niece, Kennedy, took this picture on her iTouch and used some freaky app that switches the people's faces in the picture.


Wednesday, January 12

growing and growing

Do you know this girl has the audacity to turn one this month? Unreal.

8 months

9 months

10 months

11 months (and 95% uncooperative)

Tuesday, January 11

little miss sunshine

Here's the girl that keeps us smiling on even the lowest of low days.

(She's noticed the birds now. Squirrels are SO last year.)

I want to thank all of you for your outpouring of love after my last post about my dad's cancer. I don't know why I blog about private family stuff sometimes. It took me a few days to publish it, because I couldn't decide if I really needed to. Writing is therapeutic for me, but I wasn't sure if I should keep personal stuff like this personal. But I'm glad I did, because the love, encouragement, and understanding from our friends and family is helping this seem more bearable. Knowing many of you have experienced similar things helps take away some of the despair. You've helped remind me that families are forever and God doesn't leave us hanging... surely my family can get through this. Thanks again.

Saturday, January 8

the bitter, the sweet

My dad's cancer is not improving. His PSA levels have doubled, which means there is cancer in his body, and its presence is growing. And it's time to start more treatments. He got the news on Wednesday, and he has a little while to figure out what he and my mom want to do. Get second opinions, start treatment, whatever.

Adversity is a part of our existence here, whether we like it or not. Doug and I believe that God allows adversity to let us grow and learn and develop into better people. He doesn't enjoy seeing us in pain, but He gives us comfort and strength and the tools to get through it. Adversity shows us what we're made of. Sometimes we see we're not made of much, and it gives us a chance to improve ourselves.

There's a scripture that says, "For if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet" (Doctrine and Covenants 29:39). I often think of that scripture when I think of the day Addy was born. I was so inexplicably caught off guard by the intensity of my labor pains. As the contractions came so strong and so close together, Doug and I struggled to do the breathing and relaxation techniques we'd practiced. I kept looking at him as if to say, "Uh, this is NOT what I was expecting." (Why, you ask? Because I'm a dolt.) It was a whole new kind of pain for me. So when I eventually got the epidural, all I can remember is the almost laughable relief. I felt SO good! I was able to rest and talk and function. The contrast of that extreme pain to that extreme lack of pain was so drastic, that when I look back at that day I only think of (a) the relief and (b) the fact that it ending with a beautiful, healthy baby being born. Serious joy.

As I've thought about my dad's cancer today, I've realized how mad I am at cancer. How annoyed I am that it won't leave him alone. How upset I am that my dad... and my mom... and all the people that love them... have to deal with this type of adversity. And I realized something: I only seem to accept certain types of adversity. The more comfortable kind. The childbirth that brings painful labor but results in a baby, the exercise that causes sore muscles but makes you healthier, the failures that teach you life lessons and make you better in the long run. I somehow feel like any adversity beyond that is unfair.

But then I think of when my little nephew died. During his six months of life, he struggled day to day in the children's hospital just to live. But along the way he gathered a fan club outside of our family that was made up of nurses, doctors, friends of family, and coworkers of those friends that prayed for him and that felt a unity of faith in supporting him and his family. I think of all the joy we felt just by being touched by his simple, humble life. The appreciation we felt for the little things, and a reminder of what's truly important in life.

His life is exhibit A of the type of adversity I don't seem to condone. It's the type that I say to Heavenly Father, "Nice try, but that's too much... let's try something easier." But He allows those things. And some beautiful things came--amazingly--from that tragedy. And now He is allowing this cancer. And I wonder... what strength will come from this? What joy will come--could possibly come--from this pain? And I admit, I'm so emotional right now that I just don't know. Maybe this is a chance for us to all show some appreciation for good health and medical victories. Maybe this is a time to become closer as a family. Maybe this is a time to forgive differences and just celebrate the good. I really don't know. But I'm going to try and lose this anger I'm feeling. Maybe I won't stop being mad at cancer, but I'm going to stop being upset with the Lord for allowing this to happen to my dad. I want to accept that there are things I can't control, work for the things that I can control, and do what I can to make this bitterness give us something sweet.

Thursday, January 6

the road trip

Our drive down to Alabama went smoothly thanks to our easy-going baby, Harry Potter 6 on CDs, and beautiful weather.

There are two main routes we can take to Birmingham, and they take the exact same amount of time. One route is south through the Carolinas, Georgia, and then into Alabama, and the other is more western, through western Virginia and then down through Tennessee into Alabama.

Snow prevented us from taking the western route on our way down, so we took advantage of it on our way up. We passed up the chance to stop at Dollywood (ha!) and were hoping to stop in Buena Vista and at the Natural Bridge, but it was too dark and cold by the time we got there. We had to settle for a scary stop at a ghetto Burger King in Roanoke instead. Almost as exciting.

A snowy route near the VA-NC border

A huge water tower peach in SC

Atlanta at sunset... with traffic. Super romantic

I really do love road trips, so it made for a nice, relaxing part of the holidays.

Tuesday, January 4

happy holidays, ya'll

We took advantage of Doug's looong break (student life= fake life) and spent most of it at my parents' house in Alabama. We drove down and were soon joined by my four sisters and their families. All in all, there were 27 people in one house. Epic.

Our Christmas was merry and bright... and southern. We ate okra and bbq, one family slept in a trailer in the driveway, the guys played a lot of paintball on my parents' lot, and Doug wore his camo pants to Wal-Mart. All we lacked were some mullets and Nascar.

Really, it was a blast. The weather was mild so we got to play outside a lot. My parents set up a zip line (yes! a zip line!) and created a Survivor game for us (it's becoming a yearly tradition, and it's competitive and INTENSE). We baked, played games, watched movies, gave gifts, and loved our time together.

It was so fun celebrating Addy's first Christmas. She was smothered in love as the smallest (uh, youngest... maybe not smallest) cousin, and she loved watching the chaos around her. She fought an ear/sinus infection right before Christmas, but she was still her darling, happy self.

And now... a ridiculous number of photos:

Little girl cousins in matching shirts
(our family is so big we often went to my parents' church down the street to play in the gym)

Pulling Stace up to start her zipping

Headed to church

The reluctant baby Jesus in the family pageant

Mary, angels, animals, and a babushka (?) surrounding her in love

Christmas Eve

We loved FINALLY getting all five of these baby girl cousins together

Christmas morning

Since we came early and stayed late, Addy scored some one-on-one time with Grandma and Grandpa.

She kills me... love that face!

We proved again and again that "Just Dance for Kids" on the Wii is NOT just for kids

Poor little Harry Potter sleeping in our closet

Thanks again, Dunlop fam, for a fabulous Christmas!