Christmas Eve 2009

'Twas the night before Christmas in my parents' house...
And for the sake of posterity, here is the recap!

Snugglin' by the fire with my hunky husband,

After workin hard in the kitchen!
Ava hung out with her Aunt Stacie and Uncle Jesse...

While we got ready for Christmas Eve dinner.

The Ferguson women and our newest addition :)

Toasting all the wonderful things this year has brought our family...Little Miss Ava, a relocation for Stacie and Jesse, jobs for all of us, Jennie's last semester of college, my Dad's retirement, and many other blessings.
The Lord has been very, very good to our family and we are grateful!

Grandpa and Grandma are loving their new titles...

And we're all loving this little girl!

The paparazzi showed up for the final presentation of our big spread!
This picture seriously makes me laugh.  It is SO typical of all of our personalities and roles, right down to me taking this picture of everyone :)

Little Tiggy

And little Ava

About to partake in our yummy meal!  This year was a dramatic departure from our usual meal, we went with lots of appetizers instead.  But it was still just as good :)

Jennie and Dave

Stacie and Jesse

Ryley is always in the middle of the action!

Stacie and Jesse surprised Ava with some new Christmas jammies to wear!

We started to tell her about all the fun that was in store for Christmas morning and she wondered if Aunt Jennie would tell her what Santa was going to bring her :)

But Mommy distracted her and let her chew on my necklace...

And Daddy entertained her until she was good and tired!

Even though she'll never remember a minute from this Christmas, we will never forget it!

Our first Christmas Eve as a family of 3!

As soon as she started to rub those little eyes....

We put her to bed and spent our first Christmas eve, setting up for Christmas morning!
Like kids ourselves, we couldn't wait to for our little girl to wake up and open the presents we bought for her.  If this is any taste of how much fun Christmas will be every year, we are in for many joyful years!!


8 Months Old!!

In the hustle and bustle of Christmas, a wedding and being with family, our little Ava turned 8 months old. This year is flying by so quickly I almost can't fathom it.  But, I didn't want to miss the chance to mark it before her 9th month arrives!  So, here's what our 8th month old is up to...

You are officially on the move Ava!  You are crawling like crazy, pulling up on everything and cruising around from one piece of furniture to the next.  We can't keep you contained now if we wanted to!

You are the sweetest little honey there is though!  Besides crawling, pulling up and cruising, you also got your first tooth on December 15th and I'm pretty sure your second one is going to show up any day now.
You woke up in the early morning crying and crying, which you never do, and when I went to get you I saw that little tooth poking through!  Poor baby :) Your little tooth makes you look so big, but you're still a little peanut.
-You are still in size 3 diapers and 6-9 month clothes.
-You are napping two times a day for about 2 hours each time.
-You sleep 11-12 hours every night.  I love you for this!

You are eating all of your baby food, but also some table food too.  You love cantaloupe, grapes (which I cut up into a million teeny tiny pieces), cheese, bread, deli ham, deli turkey, and puffs.  Lots and lots of puffs!  In fact, Ryley loves when you eat puffs because you shovel them into your mouth so fast that you drop tons of them and he happily cleans up after you.

Now that you're on the move, you are exploring around our house and loving all the things you can find!  You discovered the dishwasher and you love to pull up on it whenever I have it open.  How early do you think I can teach you to load it??

For several weeks, you taught yourself to stand by holding onto this bookshelf in our bedroom.  We had to watch you like a hawk, but it worked because now you stand up like a pro!!

And maybe you'll learn to love books just like your Daddy?
You sure look entertained with what you found!

Now that you crawl all over, I have to find places for you to play while I try to do some work around the house.  You love to follow me wherever I go and whenever I turn around to see where you are, this little face is often what I see.  You LOVE Mommy and Daddy's bedroom and you are very content to crawl around and explore.  Your favorite thing to go after is our trash can however, so I always have to spot that before you do!

It didn't take you long to spot the TV and find a way to pull up and touch it either!  You can reach the buttons to turn it on and off, but so far you haven't figured out how to push them.  We'll see how long that lasts!

You are so proud of your freedom that you're starting to get brave and hold onto stuff with one hand.  It makes me nervous, but you do it constantly.  I swear you have absolutely no fear.  Again, just like your Daddy!

You've already started to fall and bump your head, your mouth and your hands.  I guess this goes with the territory but each time you fall I want to burst into tears myself!  I hate to see you get hurt :) Daddy usually tells you to "rub some dirt on it" after he scoops you up and gives you kisses, but Mommy isn't so quick to help you be tough!   I'd rather just eliminate the problem all together :)

You absolutely love the glass sliding doors now and have also discovered how to hold on to them and stand up.  Much of your day is spent looking outside and "talking" about what you see.  It cracks us up to see you standing there, looking so little and yet so big all at once.  It seems crazy that you're old enough to do this!

You also love to put your mouth on the glass and this day, I caught you licking it.  Gross.

Yet another thing that Mommy has to keep clean for you!

Ava, we knew you were going to be active and busy based on all your activity in the womb, and so far our predictions are correct :)
You like to play hard and move constantly but thankfully you also sleep hard as a result!

We love you little girl and we're so glad that you are reaching all your milestones, even though that means you're growing up!  We are grateful that you are healthy and well, and we know that your active and feisty personality is a gift from God.

Pretty soon crawling will turn to running and standing will give way to climbing, but for now we are enjoying the world from your new perspective and marveling at the ways you discover everything around you.

 We love you Ava Page!
You are keeping us on our toes now but we're loving every minute.
Happy 8th month baby girl!!


Merry Christmas From The Armstrongs!

We've had such a wonderful Christmas and I hope you have too!  It's been so fun to celebrate with Ava this year, as expected we were 2 crazed parents so excited to see her "open" her gifts on Christmas morning!!  I have so many pictures, I'm completely overwhelmed by the whole thing :) I'm waiting on a few more from my sister and then I'll have lots to share.
We are at my parents house with both of my sisters and their husbands.  It's been a winter wonderland here, so cold and snowy.  As I'm typing this, I'm watching the snow flakes fall gently from a beautiful blue sky.  What a treat to have a picturesque backdrop for Ava's first Christmas!  She's been a delightful little darling all week long.  We did have one incident, which we have named the "Christmas incident of '09!"  Let's just say it involved 2 parents who were in desperate need of sleep, 1 little girl who was wide awake and giggling, and a 2:00 am drive around town.  Enough said.  Thankfully, it was an isolated incident and she has more than made up for it since then.  Not that we're keeping track or anything :)  Her aunts and uncles, grandma and grandpa are showering her with attention and she is eating it up...I'm not sure how she's going to like it when we go home next week and it's just her and I again!    What a little sweetie!!  So far she has 2 favorite toys from the gift giving extravaganza, but you'll have to wait for the pictures!  Sorry :)
Trav and I have had the best time hanging out with my family.  I love when we're all home...staying up late, laughing and playing games.  We simplified everything about Christmas this year and it's been such a blessing.  There really is an age where you realize, it just isn't about the gifts or the food, but so much about the people and the memories.  We laughed til our sides hurt over a Tim Hawkins DVD and we've played endless games on our wii.  We've been getting an education in my Mom's new appliances and eating more than any of us needs to!  All in all, a perfect Christmas!!
Of course the cornerstone of the entire celebration is the joyous birth of another baby, the only baby who was born to die, born to save us from our sins.  God in flesh, love come down, our Savior and the King of Kings.  Family, food, memories and presents are all blessings from His hand, but the true reason for Christmas is Christ!

So, from our little family of 3, Merry CHRISTmas to you!!  Our greatest prayer for you is wrapped up in the hope of Christ.  In the promise of life eternally through Jesus' life, death and resurrection.  The greatest gift of all time.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
With Love,
Travis, Stephanie and Ava Page


On the Eve of Christmas

Silent Night, Holy Night
All is Calm, All is Bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so Tender and Mild
Sleep in Heavenly Peace
Sleep in Heavenly Peace

Silent Night, Holy Night
Shepherds Quake at the Sight
Glories Stream From Heaven Afar
Heavenly Hosts sing Alleluia
Christ, the Savior is Born
Christ, the Savior is Born

Silent Night, Holy Night
Son of God, Love's Pure Light
Radiant Beams from Thy Holy Face
With the Dawn of Redeeming Grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy Birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy Birth


HoLiDaY HoW-To: CeNtErPiEcEs!!

It's Christmas Eve in just a few short hours and you might be like me, scrambling to get your house and your table ready to go!  Or in my case, my Mom's table :) So, here are few ideas for a centerpiece...

My favorite Christmas centerpiece always involves fresh greens and red roses.  You can't get more classic than that!  In order to make your own, you need the things shown above.  A waterproof container, some oasis to design in (the green foam in the bowl-you can buy it at any craft store or by the block from a florist), some red roses and of course, fresh Christmas greens.  I've got white pine, blue spruce and some oregonia.

After you soak your oasis (by letting it sink into a bowl or sink filled with water), you can push it down into your container so that it is firm and then add some water to the bottom, for it to drink.  Then you can start adding your greens.

Mix whatever kind of greens you've chosen, being careful to cover the oasis so you don't see it.

The pine, spruce and oregonia all together.  It's always nice to combine colors and textures for a rich look, as opposed to only using one kind of green.

One of my favorite bowls :) I put it on our end table every year!

Although the greens are beautiful on their own, the red roses are such a gorgeous addition, don't ya think??

You can be symmetrical or asymmetrical with your roses, but I think it's hard to go wrong....

But, if you don't want to do roses you could also just use some beautiful ornaments.  Pick something you can attach wire to or push a stick into.  Then you'll be able to push it down into the oasis.

Love this look, fresh and simple.

But I had some extra roses, so I also stuck some roses in with the ornaments...Again, can you go wrong?

There you have it, a fresh centerpiece, some red votives and a beautifully set table (use your imagination here!)  And preferably a runner than isn't dirty :)

I can almost smell that pine, can't you??

My end table.

Roses are red and greens are pretty...

But nothing is sweeter than a reminder of what Christmas is really about.
My very, very favorite centerpiece is my manger scene and tea lights.  Easy, beautiful and a great way to use what you already have.
Candlelight dinner, on Christmas Eve, remembering the beautiful gift of our Savior's birth...

Kind of makes me want to cry :)
Happy table decorating!