Monday, December 26, 2011

A Special Gift from Santa

Of course, having Charlie with us this Christmas was the best gift of all. He loved the excitement of all our festivities, though he's too young to really understand what's going on with all of it. I'm sure next year will be much different for him. For now, Madi is his "gauge," and if she's happy, he's happy.

Madi chose not to send a letter to Santa this year. Clearly aware of all she's been blessed with, she told us that she wished for Santa to give her toys to other kids who needed them.

Madi has a heart of gold, but she's also a very smart kid, so we think she kinda knew that Santa wouldn't forget her.

And so, on Christmas morning, we found this, along with the letter below, straight from Santa himself.

Dear Madi,

I understand that you’ve been a very good girl this year.  I’ve also been told that you’ve decided not to send me a list because you wish for your toys to be given to little girls and boys in this world who have none.

I want you to know that your generous request has provided Barbie dolls, games, and clothing to children who needed them very badly.

Now…back to you, my dear Madi.

I know how much you love having a lemonade stand, and I understand that—in the past—you’ve raised money for various acts of charity.

For this reason, I have decided to send you a special lemonade kit that will help you to draw attention to your causes.

May you continue to be a blessed angel on Earth doing good things for one and all.

Yours truly,
Santa Claus

Her kit came complete with a personalized sign, pitcher, tray, and cashbox. We went outside today and Madi raised her first $30 (including a sizable donation from Bubba). Her charity of choice for today is the Ronald McDonald House. We are very proud of her!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


A song written by Madi 
(and translated by Mommy)

The tim is hire 
(the time is here)

it is crismis Ev 
(it is Christmas Eve)

The Buls are ringing 
(the bells are ringing)

crismis is so fun 
(Christmas is so fun)

it is not a bot tos 
(it is not about toys) 

it is a bot jesis 
(it is about Jesus)

if you are lukey a lf will kom to yr hos 
(if you are lucky, an elf will come to your house)

But not ares 
(but not always) 

if you havit wune tim it wil com bak 
(if you have it one time, it will come back)

crismis is fun
(Christmas is fun)

it is a bot shiring a bot ciring and loveing to
(It is about sharing, about caring, and loving, too)

so crismis is for evebudey
(So, Christmas is for everybody)

Monday, December 19, 2011

'Tis the Season... be jolly. Except I've been quite grumpy. As much as we've tried to embrace the meaning of Christmas around here, we've still managed to get caught up in the whirlwind somehow. It's such a busy time of year, isn't it?

And this week, school is winding down. Shopping is finally done (started last night). 

Prepare for the coming of Christ.

It's time to truly focus on Christmas. Better late than never.

Though we set out our Advent wreath on time this year, we've not been so good about adhering to our tradition. I guess because Charlie goes nuts when he sees candles. He must think a party is in order. I think he expects that we'll all break out in the Happy Birthday song. And then he refuses to eat dinner, because he's much too busy trying to blow out the candles from across the table.

Maybe next year.

I am happy to reflect, though, on the things we've done thus far to celebrate the reason for the season.

We took our annual visit to Bethlehem. A local church sets up an amazing living nativity each year, and we've ended up going with our same group of friends for the past four years together.

Bubba and Grandpa treated Madi and me to the Christmas Pageant at the First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale. They put on an amazing show every year. If you ever have a chance to make it to this show, DO IT. It is a must-see and there is nothing like this show to put things in perspective and remind you of the true meaning of Christmas. Here's the link in case you want to put it on your list for next year:


One night last week, Jimmy and I stuck the kids in the wagon and walked around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights. We were stocked with popcorn, hot cocoa, and a warm blanket for the kids. Our walk was cut short by rain, but good thing Bubba had a trusty giant umbrella to help us out in case of emergency. We'll venture out again this week, I'm sure.

We were thankful that our Christmas elf, Peter, decided to come back this year. This was a subject of wonder in our house for most of the year. We weren't quite sure whether we deserved to have him back or not.

Now that I think about it, since he did come back, maybe that means we haven't been so good, which would explain why we're under surveillance again! Hmmm...

Luckily for us, he showed up the weekend after Thanksgiving. Madi is always on her best behavior when Peter's around. It's amazing how things change when he's in the room.  Totally hilarious.

The morning he arrived, she pulled up two chairs for her and Charlie, and they sat there for a good half-hour staring at him, while she explained to Charlie what the elf thing's all about.

He seems to have embraced it, because he loves finding Peter's hiding spot every morning, too. He points at him and says, "Pow Pow." It's very cute.

I am just fascinated at how Peter manages to find a different stake out every single day, especially in this little house!

Sad to say that Christmas cards aren't making it out of our house this year. I'm not going to sit here and make excuses. We'll just say "Merry Christmas" to all of you, and we'll enjoy reading your cards this year!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wedding Bells

Grandpa Murphy has a new bride! He met Suzanne (a.k.a. Miss Suzanne to the kids) after we came home from China with Daniel in 2010. She was very supportive to him during the toughest of times, and having been widowed twice before, she knew exactly what he was going through after losing Grandma Pauline.

They started out as companions and ended up falling in love.  In an intimate church ceremony Saturday night, they tied the knot, and Madi was honored to be the flower girl.

Miss Suzanne is a wonderful addition to our family. She adores the kids and they love her, too.  We are so glad that Grandpa found such a special person to spend the rest of his days with.

Charlie wore a suit for the first time (thank you, Amanda. It finally fits him!) and I had to post this adorable picture.

He knew exactly how cool he looked...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

And the winner is...

Several weeks back, when I picked up Madi at school, she asked me with excitement, "Mommy!  Do you know what a Nook is?"

Before she allowed me any time to respond, she then said, "It's something that can help you read!  And we can get one for just one dollar!"

"Really?"  I replied with a chuckle, already aware of the upcoming fundraiser at the school book fair.

So I took the opportunity to teach her how a raffle contest works and explained that her dollar would not get her the Nook, but rather a chance at winning one.

The next day, we filled out eight entries and tucked them into her school folder along with the money.

When I greeted Madi at school this afternoon, she came running at me full throttle to happily announce that she won the raffle!

The story was too cute. They first announced that the winner was a Kindergarten student in Miss Maldonado's class. Madi described how all the children crossed their fingers and how she tightly closed her eyes in anticipation of the results.

Then they did a drum-roll over the loudspeaker, and finally announced that Madolyn Murphy won!  Her gleeful expression when she told the story indicated that she must've been over the moon. She walked proudly to the Media Center to collect her prize, accompanied by the two class messengers for the week.

We are so thrilled for her, though neither Jimmy nor I have a clue as to what this Nook Tablet can do yet. We are in the process of setting it up tonight, and it looks pretty darn awesome! And not a bad deal for eight dollars!

I can't wait for the day when she can download Daniel's story on her Nook:)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bubba and Grandpa are back!

When they left in May, it seemed like it would be forever until they came back from California.

And now, like the snap of a finger, they're here again. My how time flies.

Madi accompanied me to the airport late Thursday night. There's no way we could have held her back from collecting Bubba.

We got them home and settled. Madi was in bed by midnight and needed her first late pass (anticipated in advance) the next day. Totally worth it.

Bubba surprised Madi and came with us to our Girl Scout outing to the Humane Society after school on Friday.

They do unbelievable work there at our tri-county no-kill animal shelter. They truly are angels.

Each of the Daisies and Brownies in our troop made blankets to deliver to the animals. The cats seemed to take to their blankets right away. It was a neat experience to see how loved and well cared these homeless animals are.

We spent Friday evening getting back on track at their house.  Charlie was re-introduced to them and to their great, big bathtub. He loved it though he was literally up to his ears in bubbles at times!

Charlie loves walking around with Grandpa's cane. In fact, both the kids do. Madi named one of them his "candy cane," so Bubba helped her turn it into one by decorating it with red and white.

We've wasted no time throwing Bubba and Grandpa right back into the mix of things. We're so thankful that they are back:)