Monday, December 26, 2005

Great Holiday Memories!

Okay - first let me say, I have been working on this post for some time now - and it is finally ready! Don't ask me why but for some reason, in my disorganized mind, I still felt the need to have the whole holiday packed into one forgive the length!

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Our holiday season has been wonderful, filled with blessings, and also with surprises! It all began months ago when we decided to surprise my Mom with a Christmas visit to Canada! I knew that December would be a difficult month for all of my family as 1 year approached since the death of my Dad. With the help of Charlotte, my sister, we had it all arranged. Reece, Chase and I braved the skies and flew into a snowy Saskatchewan. All of the grandkids (except for Kenzie because she was the bait to draw Grandma close to her surprise) were perfectly positioned under the tree and as Grandma came around the corner her mouth fell open at her first glimpse of little Chase sitting there with his hand in a bowl of fruit loops to keep him in his spot! I popped out from behind the chair and all of the kids yelled "surprise!". After much hugging, laughing, and reassuring her that this was really true we enjoyed a terrific week together.

Our accomplice in all of the surprise planning - Auntie CharPosted by Picasa

Grandma with her Christmas packages! Merry Christmas!  Posted by Picasa

Reece and Chase loved playing with Kenzie, Kalen and Camrynne....not to mention their toys! Reece got a special tour of the cattle from his uncle Bruce, and he loved that! And his uncles spoiled him by giving him more candy in a few days than he has eaten in his two and a half years combined! I got the chance to see my sister perform with her singing group, All for One - and that was a very special blessing for me. The weather was cold, but I loved the snow and having a white Christmas like it always was for me as a kid. I think we all felt like the week flew by - and as always we tried to pack a whole lot of activity into too little time so there was lots of driving back and forth between the farm and town and my sisters' house. But it was so much fun to be back home and for my kids to reconnect with everyone! I think the following pictures will illustrate the fun times we had!

Chase all bundled up with no place to go....brrrrr - it is too cold out here! Posted by Picasa

Reece playing in the snow!  Posted by Picasa

Checkin' out the cows with Uncle Bruce  Posted by Picasa

Our Christmas lights photo shoot with all of the Canadian cousins together!  Posted by Picasa

But I must say that we did miss Benjy (Daddy) lots too and so it was good to get back to Dallas to be together as a family. We were soon met by another surprise - but this time not a good one. Chase had caught a cold but was quickly getting worse and was struggling with breathing. We took him into a walk-in-clinic on the 23rd and were told he was okay...just needed a few prescriptions. By that afternoon he had gotten much worse, was struggling to breathe, so we took him back in - where they sent us on to an urgent care center for breathing treatments...they then sent him on to the emergency room where he was eventually admitted into the hospital. Chase's oxygen levels were not maintaining on their own without oxygen and so we feared a Christmas in the hospital. But....thankfully, the morning of Christmas eve Chase awoke with a whole lot of energy and was feeling much better. The doctor released him after checking him out and his breathing was back to normal, his levels fine and we were very happy to be able to continue on with our plans to be with Benjy's Dad for Christmas.

Chase right before he is discharged from his hospital stay - as you can tell....he is feeling much much better!  Posted by Picasa

We arrived at Benjy's dad's on the eve of Christmas eve - in time to hang out a bit and have our family traditional readings of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and the birth of Jesus from Luke. The video will always remind us of our hospital visit because as I am videoing Benjy reading with both kids on his knees - you can barely hear his voice over both Reece and Chase's bad coughing spells. We ended up all sleeping in on Christmas morning and taking our time to open the mountain of gifts beneath the tree. We had a really nice day with Gary, Robin, Burke, Betsy and Jared. The kids were spoiled rotten...again. And I was pretty spoiled myself - with some very thoughtful and special gifts from Benjy. Reece received an electric train from Grandpa Bear - and as the picture below shows, I think all three generations of Brednichs were pretty excited about the train! Chase, like all little guys, was more interested in the wrapping and packages than the actual gifts. As always, Gary and Robin were gracious hosts and our family stayed with them for several days - a good chance to recup from travels and sickness. The kids enjoyed their visit to the museum to see more trains!

The special reading time on Christmas eve - coughing included!  Posted by Picasa

Waiting with great anticiaption for the train to make its way around the tree...again!  Posted by Picasa

Yes, I also got a Christmas knot on my head after crashing into the coffee table!   ;Posted by Picasa

Visiting the train museum.  Posted by Picasa

We ended up our time at home with a few days with Mimi (Benjy's Mom). We (all 4 of her kids and families) met her at the airport and she was more than thrilled for that to happen! Our kids were spoiled yet again with another time of exchanging gifts. By now, Reece has learned to declare, "are there more presents for me!" All of us enjoyed a great few days with, watching family favorites (movies, etc..), playing games and of course...taking trips! We took a day trip to Shreveport, LA to revisit some of Benjy's favorite childhood memories of summers with his grandparents - and Mary Beth's roots. I always sit back and marvel as I watch my husband interact with his family - they can quote more movie lines than anyone I have ever known. Each time we are all together I learn more and more of what I thought was simply Benjy's personality is really a line from some movie. Very revealing! We took Mimi with us to Austin as we headed back south so that we could have a little bit of time with Caden and Tabor. Both Reece and Chase loved their days with the Brednich clan - connecting and making special memories with them...

Group shot of Mimi with her kids.  Posted by Picasa

The Brednich cousins!  Posted by Picasa

The home of Benjy's all time favorite coconut cream pie! Posted by Picasa

In all the miles we have travelled in this van I have packed away a whole lot of snacks! Posted by Picasa now we are in 2006! We anticipate another year of God's goodness and faithfulness. And we pray for a year of growth and blessings on all of our family and friends!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tis the Season....

I love the Christmas season...and it just wouldn't be complete without Christmas baking, Christmas music, good friends.... This morning a few of us women got together and baked, and baked, and baked some more.

The bakers! (several are missing from the picture) Posted by Picasa

It is fun to share a little part of our culture and traditions with our Mexican friends - they were writing down recipes and enjoying it all just as much as us! And the kids! Reece was sneaking cookies left and right...and later, while I was cleaning up I suddenly caught Chase with one hand in the icing bowl (which he had grabbed off the counter from his secure high-chair position!) and the other hand firmly gripping a huge spoonful of very sweet and very red icing! I tried a few recipes from childhood memories - lots of fun! Our combined efforts produced around 15 plates of goodies that we will share with church members, neighbors, and friends -just a little way to share the joy of Christmas and to say "Feliz Navidad"!

Hmmm mmm! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Chase is 1!

Our little "chunky munks" Chaser (as Reece calls him) is now 1! Chase is in this "curious and mischievious" stage of life so we fittingly used the Curious George theme for the party. We enjoyed the day yesterday - decorating the Christmas tree, and celebrating Chase with our friends. I was a bit sentimental and wanted to watch home videos of his first year of life...but ran out of time - so I plan to do it today! He has changed so much! Chase always has this twinkle in his bright little eyes. I anticipate great things in his life.

From day 1 until today...oh, how I have grown and changed! Posted by Picasa

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He has been such a special addition to our little family...Benjy and I couldn't feel more blessed. What an awesome time of year all packed in so close - American Thanksgiving, our anniversary, Chase's birthday, and Christmas - both Benjy and my favorite time of the year. My heart feels so full I could burst! Thank you to all of our friends for the gifts, your love, and for sharing this special day with us!

Getting ready to sing "Happy Birthday" and blow out the candle! (Reece was definitely more excited about this than Chase was!) Posted by Picasa

During the cake...what a mess I am making!

After the cake! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Missionary Retreat in Acapulco

Our annual Mexico Missionary Retreat was held in Acapulco this last week. We had a great time of fellowship, prayer, and of course....playing at the beach! It is always encouraging to hear about how God is at work around Mexico. There is much to be thankful for. Here are a few (of the many) pictures I took.

Family beach shot. Posted by Picasa

Reece racing the waves! Posted by Picasa

Chase playing in the sand...and lovin' it! Posted by Picasa

We think we are pretty toned - what's your vote? Posted by Picasa

Mission team kids in a group shot! Posted by Picasa