Shortly after Christmas last year, we learned that our family would be growing in September. We were able to share the exciting news with both sets of grandparents-to-be together, which given the distance was quite the special experience! Needless to say, the impending arrival shaped much of the rest of our year! In addition to our news, we knew of at least 1 baby being born each month of this year – and even had several months with 3 new bundles of joy! Emma is blessed to have so many friends her age to grow up with!
Steve has stayed busy working at Macalester and really enjoys what he’s doing. We invested in a rental property early in the year and his connection with students has provided excellent renters and an overall good situation. Steve spent a lot of time this spring preparing the house for renters, after which he transitioned his focus on to our house. He began a full basement remodel early this year and has done a wonderful job expanding our space. Literally every room in our house (except for maybe the kitchen and bathroom) has been rearranged in the process. He’s looking forward to the day when house projects are not quite so intense, but has enjoyed the power tools and help of family and friends. His ‘contractors fee’ was a large flat-screen TV that has made this football season that much more enjoyable!
Katie continued to work as a postdoctoral fellow at a private practice in Burnsville. Once the wave of morning sickness wore off, she spent much of her time preparing for the national licensing exam for psychology. It was a huge relief to pass that on the first try and after jumping through a few more hoops, she became licensed as a clinical psychologist in November of this year. She’s returned to work and feels blessed to be able to do so part-time and still enjoy several days home with Emma. Katie’s aunt has generously been watching Emma during the day while Katie’s at work and Emma and her daddy get to spend Thursday nights together – a win-win for all! Katie accepted a position on our church council and has enjoyed the opportunity to get more involved in the community. She’s also continued to stay active with her bookclub, a group that expanded by 3 babies this year as well!
This year we were able to spend a few days in January in Nashville while Steve had a conference and enjoyed Easter in New Mexico. Once again, weather in MN was unseasonably warm while we were gone (and we had snow Easter morning). Much of the summer was spent in preparation for the baby, but we enjoyed several visits with Katie’s parents and time with Steve’s family as we were able. Thanksgiving was a special treat as the whole Murray family was together for a holiday – a first in many years!
Emma made her grand entrance on 10 September and changed our world in ways we’re continuing to discover. She is growing like a weed and is an absolute joy. Over Thanksgiving she really began to giggle and we’re excited to bring her to NM for a few weeks at Christmas to spread some cheer as only a new baby can.
Wish you and yours a blessed holiday season and joy in 2010!
I haven't felt overly Christmasy yet this year. I think it's because I haven't been out hitting the malls and doing much along the lines of Christmas shopping. Steve and I made the decision to really reign in on the Christmas gifts this year - like much of the rest of the country, we're needing to be a bit more serious about having (and following) a budget and so some adjustments have been made. It makes me a bit sad to think that I have really fallen in to the commercialization of Christmas and that Christmas cheer seems to come with Christmas spending. It's time to re-group, come back to center, and get some perspective. Oh, and bust out some Christmas cheer!
Years ago, gosh, 15 maybe, my best friends little sister died. That year her family put blue lights on the house and the Barbie ontop of the tree wore a blue dress. I spent several days leading up to Christmas with them, feeling sad for their loss, but from a 14 year old who hadn't faced such a loss perspect. Who knew that 9 years later I'd really understand her experience first hand.
As sad as that Christmas no doubt was for them, it also gave me one of my favorite Christmas memories and a future tradition I hope to share with Emma. My best friends mom took us out for dessert and to drive and look at Christmas lights. I'm taken back to that night every time I hear Amy Grant sing Grown Up Christmas List.
Last year our family had two sudden losses on Christmas Eve. I know this time of year is full of joy for many, but it can also be a blue Christmas when we can't be with the ones we love the most. I hope those for whom this Christmas is especially blue may be able to make precious memories to cherish for years to come. Maybe an old casset tape of Amy Grant's Christmas could help.
For the first time in my life with the Murrays, everyone was together for a holiday. There was great food, Loaded Questions, bowling, football, and many other holiday traditions. Although there are always struggles, there's a lot to be thankful for, and those 15 other people helped bring us back to center. Emma's a lucky girl to have so many wonderful people on both sides of her family to love her as she grows.
This was heard repeatedly over Thanksgiving weekend by Emma's cousin Clare. The two are the little 'princess cousins' and Clare seems happy to share her title! It was so fun to see the kiddos together and imagine all the adventures in the years to come. I know I have fond memories of times with my cousins!