Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Monday, March 26, 2012

New Beginnings

You may have noticed that I’ve changed the name of our blog.  This blog started out as a means to update our long-distance family on our progress throughout my pregnancy.  Since Stephen has been born, it has morphed into a means of keeping friends and family, both near and far, up-to-date on things that have been happening with the entire family.  Because of this, I have changed the name from “Snips and Snails” to “Love, Laughter, and Happily Ever After”.  I hope you continue to enjoy our updates!

It is said that March comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb.  After last month’s drama, my fingers were crossed that we would NOT have a lion of a month!  Luckily, we’ve had a wonderful, and healthy, month.  Stephen turned eight-months-old on March 1st.  I know I say it every month, but I just can’t believe how much he has grown and how fast time has gone by.  My little man just knows he’s the boss of this house….can’t you tell?

I get so excited thinking about all of the milestones he has reached and the skills he is developing.  He has just about perfected his army crawl; he doesn’t get around on his hands and needs, but, in the blink of an eye, he can get from one end of the house to the other just by dragging himself with his arms.  He has also started giving hugs and kisses.  There is no feeling in the world as magical as his arms around my neck!  Stephen loves to eat his puff treats, and has even started biting them into smaller pieces.  He has six teeth now, too.  He’s such a big boy!
Early in March, Shawn, Stephen and I took a road trip to Columbia, SC, to the Riverbanks Zoo.  It was a beautiful spring-like day, and we had a great time.  Stephen liked watching the animals move; he kept laughing at the grizzly bear.  His absolute favorite, though, was the aquarium section of the zoo.  I honestly believe he could have sat there and watched the fish, sharks, and eels for hours.  On our way out, we bought him a little fish to remember our trip to the zoo.
Taking a break in the shade of the bamboo
Daddy and Stephen and Lion, Oh My!

Love fishies!
Cutest Leprechaun Ever!
Being an Irish family, we had to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year!  Abi and Stephen both wore green (no pinching for them!) and Abi even had a special breakfast!  She had a bowl of Lucky Charms, but a sneaky Leprechaun changed her milk!

Irish Breakfast

Earlier this school year, Abi had to choose an elective class to participate in.  She chose “Battle of the Books”.  During her time in Battle of the Books, she read nine books.  Last week, she participated in the county-wide Battle of the Books competition.  During the competition, teams were asked questions about each of the books read, including general information, such as author’s and main character’s names, and specific information, such as small yet important details of each book.  Shawn was able to take the day off of work to watch Abi’s team compete.  While they didn’t take home the trophy, Abi had a great time.  We were so proud of her!  (It was only a few years ago that Abi considered reading a form of torture; we’re so excited that she’s reading voluntarily!  One of the most exciting things is when she asks if she can read as soon as she’s finished with her chores!)  Abi has said that, next time, she plans to focus on paying closer attention to details, instead of rushing through books just to finish.  We have faith she’ll be able to help her team bring home a prize next year!
I don't know why this picture won't rotate!!  :(

Two days after Abi’s competition, we left for Connecticut.  When I was pregnant, my mother asked me to consider baptizing Stephen in her church.  Shawn and I agreed to think about it.  In December, we met with the pastor of Plantsville Congregational Church.  We thoroughly enjoyed our meeting with Rev. Koenig, and were honored that he was willing to baptize Stephen.  He spoke to us freely about our journeys in faith, and what we wanted for Stephen.  We scheduled Stephen’s baptism for the service on Sunday, March 25th.

While we were home, Stephen had a few play dates with his friends.  We were able to get to Tad’s house for a little bit.  My hope is that these two boys can have a friendship as meaningful and strong as the one their mothers have.  Kate and I have been friends since the first grade.  While we had our ups and downs, (mainly during the dramatic pre-teen and teenage years!) I know that she is one of the best friends I’ll ever have!   While we visited, Tad shared his toys (Stephen loved the race cars!) and his snacks (Veggie Strips are now on my grocery list!).  We even planned a play date this summer; Kate and Tad will come to my parents’ house for home-made pizza, which was a Saturday night tradition when we were younger.  We’re really hoping our friend, Jean, and her son can join us, too!

Stephen also had a play date with his friend, Gavin.  This is another relationship that I hope has strong bonds.  Gavin’s father, Chris, and I were friends growing up.  Our fathers, though, have been best friends for a very long time.  While I hope that bond is strong, I hope they don’t get in as much trouble as their grandfathers when they’re together!

Our weekend in Connecticut was complete on Sunday.  Stephen was baptized just as Nonna asked.  I am a person that believes things happen for a reason.  Sometimes, we don’t know why; other times, everything makes perfect sense.  When the church service started on Sunday, Reverend Koenig announced that, along with Stephen’s baptism, the congregation would also be able to hear a concert.  A youth group performed at the beginning of the service.  Since we were guests of honor, we were able to sit in the front row.  As I watched the children set-up for the concert, I got teary-eyed as I realized that the violin player ended up standing directly in front of Stephen and I.  The concert was wonderful, and I felt so blessed to be reminded of special people that influenced my life.

The service was beautiful.  Reverend Koenig actually held a sermon that was similar to our discussion when we met with him last winter.  His description of baptism is beautiful, and I appreciate the knowledge that this is a new beginning for Stephen.

Stephen’s sponsors for the baptism were my brother, Adam, and my friend, Katie.  When Shawn and I were talking about people that we thought we would want to sponsor our son, they were the first ones that came to mind.  Speaking personally, Katie has been there for me during some very difficult times.  Somehow, she always knew just what to say, or even more importantly, when to say nothing and just sit with me.  During those times, she never backed away or grew overbearing.  Sometimes, it is difficult to find a balance in things, but she somehow did, and I appreciate that more than words can ever say.  When I asked Shawn why he chose Adam, he told me that he respected Adam’s responsibility and his way of looking at life.  In fact, he said, “I like the fact that he is very passionate about what he wants to do.  He is wonderful with kids, and I couldn’t ask for anyone better to be with my son.” 

We felt surrounded by love on Sunday.  We packed in the first few rows of the church, and even more people came to lunch after the service.  Stephen was able to see family that he hadn’t seen in awhile.  Shawn and I were humbled as we were reminded how much Stephen is loved.

We would like to thank everyone for their love and support this weekend.  Thank you to those of you that came to church, those of you that joined us for lunch, and those of you that couldn't join us but sent us well-wishes!  We appreciate it so much.