Saturday, December 29, 2012

Asher turns 1 month old

Oh how fast the time goes by. Asher turned 1 month old, and we have loved every moment with him. He is sweet-natured, calm and rarely cries. He is a good eater and he patiently puts up with his sister's hugs and "kisses" (a.k.a. headbutts). Unfortunately he's still only sleeping 3 hours at a time (vs. Reese who slept 6 hours straight after only 2 weeks), so I guess he's a typical newborn in that regard. So fingers crossed he'll soon start to sleep through the night!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Asher's newborn photos

Here's a link to a sweet video that made me cry! Asher Allen {newborn}

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas comes to Ark of the Rainbow students and families

Thanks to generous donations from friends and family, the students and families of Ark of the Rainbow enjoyed a wonderful Christmas celebration. The children received toys, dolls and backpacks, while the parents received useful toiletries and other household items. Everyone feasted on a special meal while the 30 kids performed the nativity story and a number of dances. We are so grateful for our wonderful teachers and the kindness of loved ones who have opened their hearts to help support our school and the numerous underprivileged families in India who are benefiting from its activities. What a year 2012 has been... we can't wait to see what 2013 has in store for Ark of the Rainbow!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Asher's Birth Story

The morning of November 28 I had an appointment with Dr. Berry Fleming, my OB-GYN. He said I was dilated 4 cm, which was how far I was when I entered the hospital to deliver Reese... so quite a head start this time! That night, Dana stayed up very late working. He came to bed around 2 AM and we chatted for awhile before he fell asleep. At 2:30 AM on November 29, I started having contractions. They weren't too strong or painful (more like cramps you'd have with your period), but they were consistent and I knew that false contractions weren't supposed to be painful, so I started tracking them immediately. Thankfully I found a handy little iphone app that helped me do this, so I didn't have to do math or think too hard about this in the middle of the night while half asleep! My contractions quickly got closer and closer together and by 3:30 AM I knew for sure that we were heading to the hospital. I finally woke Dana up and told him to take a quick shower. Luckily we had JUST packed our bags for the hospital after procrastinating for weeks... so we were pretty ready to go. At 3:50 we gave Dana's parents, who were staying with us to help out with the baby's arrival, a heads up that we were leaving and they were now officially in charge of Reese (who was 15 months old at this time). We arrived at Baylor Frisco hospital around 4 AM, just as my contractions took a turn and decided to get PAINFUL! Thankfully, I had my epidural about 90 minutes later so I didn't have TOO much pain (I know, I know... I was very lucky. But at the time, it didn't feel like it!). After the epidural took effect, we relaxed and tried to nap for a couple hours since things seemed to slow down. Just like he did with Reese's delivery, Dana tried to make the delivery room as comfortable as possible with dim lights, (flameless LED) candles and soothing music. It was quite nice. Around 8 AM Dr. Fleming decided to break my water. At 8:30 AM he and the nurse told me to start pushing. I couldn't feel a thing due to my awesome epidural - just the way I like it : ). I pushed for about 10-15 minutes and little Asher was born! We stayed 2 nights and enjoyed yummy food (they have a 5-star chef) and sweet visitors (the Cavins, the Wannemachers, Emily from our church small group, Dana's parents... and possibly others that I've forgotten in my sleep deprived, epidural fog). All in all, it was pretty easy. I'm thankful that we have an amazing hospital pretty much across the street and that epidurals are readily available in the U.S.! Most of all, I'm thankful for a healthy baby. Thank you God : )

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Getting ready for Christmas in India

We have big plans this year for Christmas at the Ark of the Rainbow school. With some appreciated contributions from friends and family, we'll be providing blankets, sweaters, toiletries and toys to children and families in need this Christmas in India. Here is a recent pic from the after school Girls Club. The school continues to grow and prosper! It has been an amazing year watching God's blessing upon this school. We are so blessed to be a part of it.

Asher turns 1 week old

It's been forever since I've updated our blog, but I really do have intentions about going back and filling in the blanks one day (or at least some of them)... so for now I'll keep it short and sweet and say that we had a great day today. Asher turned 1 week old, and we had a newborn photo shoot with Melissa from Cherished Memories photography. She's INCREDIBLE and I know we're going to end up with some amazing shots. Asher was a perfect angel and slept the entire time. Reese was a bit distracted by a big giant plastic duck that she found in the prop room and wanted to play with, so she was not so engaged - but she did look darn cute! We'll see the proofs in a couple of weeks - can't wait!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Celebrating Alberto's 75th birthday!

Christine's dad turns 75 this year, so we celebrated with tapas over Thanksgiving at Cafe Milagra in downtown historic McKinney. Reese doesn't look too happy in this photo, but we all had a great meal before we walked around the annual holiday festival in Mckinney Square. Alberto is now the oldest living male in his recent family lineage. We hope he has many more happy years ahead!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Reese visits Santa

Our family visited Santa this year at the Dallas Arboretum, during the same time as the Chiluly glass exhibit was traveling through town. It was a gorgeous day the last week in November and the sculptures were amazing. I had to laugh at how hysterical Santa made Reese... what could we expect? She was terrified and I might be mean, but it was really, really funny. It was a really wonderful day!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Welcome Asher James

Our little boy was born this morning at 8:50 AM. He is a sleepy sweetheart! He looks a lot like Reese did when she was born, which is nothing like she looks now, so we are curious what he will look like in a few months. He has brown hair and dark blue eyes. He was slightly bigger than Reese, even though he was a week early and she came right on time. He is 20 inches long and weighs 7 lbs, 11 oz. Reese came to the hospital to visit (along with Dana's parents) and she was soooo sweet. She kept saying "Baby... baby... baby" (which is cute because she doesn't yet speak many words) and gave him lots of hugs and kisses. Too adorable! We are very blessed.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Reese's 1st dentist appointment

Reese wasn't too excited about her first dentist appointment, but she now has 8 teeth so it was time to go! Luckily, Dana comforted her and I helped her play with a friendly stuffed pig.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Halloween was such a fun time for our family this year! First we enjoyed the amazing pumpkin patch at the Dallas Arboretum. We met up with the Brazeals and Keys (from our previous community group at Watermark church) for coffee, pumpkins and family photos.
Then we celebrated at the fun Frito-Lay family Halloween parade, which was organized by our dear friend Nicole. Reese started as a ballerina, but then Dana suggested we add some fairy wings that her cousins Skylar and Larkin had brought for her birthday. So maybe she was more of a ballerina fairy? Whatever it was, she was darn cute : ) Finally we took Reese to her Halloween party at Carpe Diem preschool, where we had fun watching her laugh a lot and dance around.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love seeing all of the children in their cute costumes... and I think Reese is the cutest of all!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Wine Country Weddings

October 13 I had the pleasure of seeing two people who I love dearly get married. My friend Janelle married Mike Zbuchalski in a beautiful ceremony that was incredibly touching for me, as I take some credit in them getting together (since I suggested to her that they'd be a great couple). Dana's brother, Sam, also chose this date to wed his fiancee Sheena. Lucky for us, both weddings ended up being in California wine country, so I was able to attend both of them on the same day! We stayed for a long weekend at an amazing resort in St. Helena called Meadowood. This place was truly incredible, and it was super convenient because that's where the wedding happened on Saturday and a croquet event on Sunday. Our wonderful in-laws babysat Reese so that Dana and I could escape to get a couples massage at the spa. It was blissful to have a quiet morning away to ourselves! The wedding weekend was the most incredible that I've ever experienced... and that says a lot since we've been to quite a few weddings! Every detail was just amazingly thought through. It was like we were in a Martha Stewart magazine for the weekend! Events included a lakeside BBQ at Stags Leap winery, an incredible many many many course meal at Redd Wood restaurant, a beautiful outdoor wedding followed by a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, a black tie reception and a croquet brunch. Dana was the best man and he gave a really touching speech, despite the fact that all 3 of us were so, so sick! We almost didn't make it to the wedding at all, and I had to back out of doing a reading at the ceremony because I was so hoarse. It was a weekend we'll never forget... and we are so grateful to Sam and Sheena for their incredible hospitality. We wish both Sam and Sheena, and Janelle and Mike a lifetime of happiness and wedded bliss. We love you all!