December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

Waiting in line to see Santa

She did not cry but enjoyed herself

Eating at the food court after seeing Santa
(I am holding cousin Lydia)

December 17, 2008

December 16, 2008

Ice, Ice, Baby...Ice!

When we woke up this chilly morning, the thermometer told us it was below freezing. So, we bundled up and started our day. Ryan had a different experience. He was slipping and sliding on the driveway trying to get the ice off the car window's. Olivia and I watched from the front window and were glad to be inside. It took him nearly twice as long to get to work due to the black ice on the highway. Needless to say, I won't be going to my much needed hair appointment. And so it has begun...crazy temps, even crazier wind, and ice, ice, Baby...ICE!!!!

December 12, 2008

A Different Christmas Poem

My sister-in-law, Sarah, emailed me this great poem. Please feel free to copy it and email to those you know who have a family member in the military.

A Different Christmas Poem

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

'What are you doing?' I asked without fear,
'Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!'
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.

To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said 'Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night.'
'It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ' Pearl on a day in December,'
Then he sighed, 'That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers.'
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ' Nam ',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.'

' So go back inside,' he said, 'harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right.'
'But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
'Give you money,' I asked, 'or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son.'

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
'Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.'

PLEASE, would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many
people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our
U.S service men and women for our being able to celebrate these
festivities. Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people
stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

December 11, 2008

Merry Christmas

This year has just flown by for our family. We started out in 29 Palms, CA and are now settled into our new home near Fort Sill, OK. It certainly feels like winter with the chilly weather and blistering wind. I think it might be worse that 29 Palms wind, minus the sand. The house is all decorated, the tree is up and Christmas cookies are warm from the oven. We'll be traveling back up north to meet our new niece Lydia and to visit family and friends. Our Christmas will be celebrated early and then we'll drive the new van north (cats included). We do hope everyone has a safe, exciting holiday season, and we wish the best for the New Year. To our friends from CA...enjoy the winter weather while you can...cause it's cold everywhere else!

December 5, 2008

Just Some Pictures

As I'm sitting here writing this entry, it is currently 24 degrees outside (feels like 16 degrees) and my toes are cold. Here's some pictures over the last few weeks I thought everyone would enjoy.

Olivia sitting in the same basket we let her sleep in after coming home from the hospital. At that time, she could stretch out inside the basket.

Talking with Grandma and Grandpa Collins on webcam...she knows they can see her.

Olivia loves her giant snow globe from Uncle Travis...she really enjoys making the music play.

Wearing a homemade knitted dress and sweater Grandma Collins wishes to become an heirloom.

Olivia standing on the bench in the background at Moppets (MOPS-Mother's Of PreSchooler's).

December 2, 2008

Our Thanksgiving Dinner

The Collins Family before dinner

Keira (sorry I don't know the spelling), Mike and Olivia

Our dinner mates

This year for Thanksgiving we stayed home once again. We traveled over across the street to our wonderful neighbor's, Mike and Sarah, to enjoy a lovingly prepared turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Mike's parents were there as well as good friends from their church. Olivia enjoyed being the center of attention after warming up to all the new faces. She even gave Mike a huge hug while helping him clean the dishes, something she has not done before because we think she was unsure of him. She devoured her dinner and enjoyed apple pie and ice cream for dessert. Next year, we've all agreed to have dinner at our house...come one, come all!!

December 1, 2008

The Mom Song

So, I haven't figured out how to post video yet, but here is a link for the greatest song about Mom's ever!!

It's called The Mom Song from the Northland Church in FL, and is a tribute to mothers set to "William Tell Overture". Enjoy.