Taylor Christmas Letter 2015

Well, my friends, it is finally that time.  The time of year for your favorite blog post and mine.  The blog post written by yours truly, Mr. Christmas Moose.  (in case you are new to our family’s Christmas letter, you may read my short bio here).

It has been a sweet, happy, wonderful, and always eventful year in the Taylor home.  We started the year trying to lie low and take it easy, as Justine was pregnant with Baby #3 and everyone was urging him to stay put for a few more months.  Fur Rondy came and went and I was packed away in my hibernation box along with the stockings and ornaments.  I was so excited to meet the new little Taylor that I had a hard time falling asleep!  But fall asleep, I did, until just a few weeks ago when I woke up to meet the adorable Little Man.

Paul Moose…er…I mean…Kerry Taylor was born on March 16.  You can read all about that here.  He was quite the Little Man from birth and has stollen everybody’s hearts, but especially the Mommy’s as she still frequently cuddles him close singing her Little Man song.

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Paul, aka, Little Man, Big Guy, and the Rascal of the house, has already surpased his sisters in: number of days in Mommy’s belly, size at birth, age to crawl and sit up, and number of times helping Dad fix the boiler. Looks like he might have picked up on some of that Taylor competitive spirit.

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In April, the Taylor family said a sad goodbye to Dan’s Grampa Dexter as he passed away and is now in heaven with Jesus. Of course, they are thinking of and missing him extra this Christmas season.

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Spring was a whirlwind taking care of the new baby, but soon summer arrived and with it, Lydia (or Lidnacious, Lydster, or Munchkin Number One) turned four.

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She memorialized her fifth year as a human by swallowing a nail during one of the Taylor’s trips up North and spending the entire afternoon in the Emergency Room.  I don’t really blame her as she’s just a little tyke still and even Moose Calves have been known to eat strange things.
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It doesn’t take many weeks out of your hibernation box to realize that Lydia is a fireball. She loves glitter and dresses, dancing and wrestling (with Daddy), giggling and laughing and singing. She never stops talking until the moment she’s asleep, unless you cave in and read her a book. But even then she’ll interupt with fifteen million questions and comments. She’s quirky and energetic and loves to snuggle with a passion that cannot be satisfied. Ya gotta love the kid!

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OH! And I almost forgot, but the Biggest Kiddo is learning. She knows all the letters of the alphabet now (if you round up) and will soon be learning to read. Soon she’ll be writing her own blog posts at the rate she’s going! Here’s a sampling of her handiwork:

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This summer the Taylors took their first real family vacation up North. It’s beautiful up there…the water, the forests, the trees, the perfect Moose homes…but I’m digressing. They loved their vacation and proved to the world that Abby is indeed the second child by spoiling her with treats Lydia wasn’t allowed to touch until…well…this year.

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The family time was priceless. But, no, they didn’t take Christmas Moose. (I know you were all wondering) They didn’t even say goodbye. Sometimes I think they might forget I’m in there (in my box under the stairs, visitors are welcome). Ah well, maybe next year. Anyway, vacation:

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Dan and Justine celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary this year, and I must say, they must love each other more than ever because there have probably been more date nights this year than the previous four combined. Not that anyone is counting (I think Justine might be).

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Dan started a new job as a quality engineer this summer and the family has made quite the transition to switch to his early mornings. But they love having him home earlier in the afternoons too. There was plenty of baseball this year (not enough, according to the Men in the house), plenty of home repair (far too much, according to the Men in the house), and lots of time wrestling and running around outside. As for Justine, well, she’s always on the verge of being overwhelmed by her Munchkins and the Rascal, but she wouldn’t trade it for the world. Dan keeps her in check as far as her priorities (spend more time with the Moose), doing too much (but please, do dust the fireplace mantel where the Moose sits!), and getting plenty of fresh air (feel free to bring the Moose along).

As summer ended, Abby (Abigus, Abster, and Munchkin Number Two, sometimes also referred to as Goobmaster for her ability to maintain a runny nose for WEEKS on end) turned two.

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Abby is the epitome of sweetness and a child of extremes. She is either the happiest kid on earth, madder than you would believe, passed-out-exhausted, or sicker than a dog. But mostly she is just sweeter than sugar with plenty of hugs and kisses to share.

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Fall sure seemed short this year for the Taylors, just chugging along at their respective tasks. Before anyone knew what hit them, it was time for Gobbles (my friend, the ceramic Turkey) to go back in his box and me to come out of mine. Since that celebratory day, the lights have been strung and Christmas carols play daily. This year Justine even attempted Christmas cookies, failed her third attempt to healthify her favorite toffee bars, and roasted chestnuts in the oven.  Talk about festive.

We are in full swing of celebrating the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. So, on behalf of the Taylors, I would like to wish you a blessed Christmas.  May you know more of the love and grace of God in the year to come.

Sincerely,

C. Moose.

PS – If you want to stop by for a visit, I’ll be out until Fur Rondy. And if you’re in the area, you should check it out! I hear there’s a little Taylor Rascal who just may be making an appearance.

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Little Man, Big Moves

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Three quarters of a year, already! Paul is getting so big, so fast. During the past month he hit half a billion milestones and is cuter than ever.

We can start off with the one area where our Little Man is not winning our hearts: his sleep habits. Getting up three times a night is usual, four isn’t unheard of, and there’s a rumor that he got up five times in one night (but who can think clearly enough to count THAT high in the middle of the night?). We’re working on this (and someone may be moving out of Mommy and Daddy’s room a little earlier than his sisters). Moving on.

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Paul is so cute. And he’s doing new things. All in the same week, he started sitting up, army crawling, clapping, and babbling. We have definitely heard him say, “baba” and “mama”. Dan claims he has also heard “dada”, but that hasn’t been confirmed. 😉 We just love it when he talks to us. His laugh is contagious. And boy, can he get around! It has conveniently worked out this year that our baby became mobile within a week of our setting up the Christmas tree, so that makes for some exciting times. His sisters do a great job watching him when we ask, playing with him occasionally, and warning us if he tries to pull the tree down or chew the lights.

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Paul has started to enjoy his solid foods more this month too. He, for a while, would glue his lips shut when we tried to feed him. We recently figured out that he will eagerly eat up his food as long as he gets to be the one to feed himself. So meal times are a little messier now, but everyone is a little happier. And we aren’t too concerned that most of his food ends up on the floor since he’s still gaining weight like a champ: nineteen pounds exactly at nine months old.

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Paul still loves Mom and Dad, but isn’t afraid to go with others either. Mostly he just wants attention and the chance to move around. Even when he’s being held or sitting, his arms never stop waving and his feet never stop wiggling. But my favorite is when Dan has him in the other room at Bible study, church, or even at home and Paul starts to get tired. If I come into his line of vision he’ll stop fussing and watch me, and if I step away he’ll start crying. Then I come back, scoop him up and watch him grin, happy to be back in Mommy’s arms.

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My Thankful for 2015

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Last week our family had a restful and happy Thanksgiving Day. It was so good, I didn’t even think to take pictures, as crazy as that may sound. And, though Thanksgiving has passed for this year, I wanted to share my “thankful” for the year. This is what I shared at our church’s Thanksgiving service, so if you heard me there you can go ahead and return to your Facebook feed. 🙂

A little over two years ago, our second daughter was born. At that time, my doctor told me I would probably never carry a baby past 32 weeks.

The months preceding Abby’s birth and the year following her birth were full of trials. It seemed like one trial after another. We did our best to press on, obey God, and trust Jesus that He was sovereign and using everything for our good and His glory. But it was a struggle. Toward the end of last summer, we found out we were expecting Baby Paul. Because we hadn’t moved into our new house yet (or even put in an offer), and because we were anticipating another 12 weeks in the hospital with a preemie, the news was a little overwhelming. I was praying one day about Baby Paul and felt God saying to my heart, “This is a reward”.

I had stayed up late one night researching possible medical interventions that could help Paul make it further along. That was overwhelming too. Operations, procedures, limitations, bed rest, risks, medicine, hormones…it was all overwhelming and I didn’t know what course we should take. I prayed again and God reminded me of Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

So, over the next several months, we did our best to Trust in the Lord, seek His direction in all our decisions with Baby, and acknowledge Him. Right away, many came along side us and began to pray for Baby. There were at least two women from my Bible study who really carried our burden every single day.

From early in the pregnancy Dan and I started praying that Baby would not be born until after our church’s annual Fur Rondy talent show.

He did.

We also started praying that Baby would not be breach. He had been breach through most of the pregnancy. At our 20-week ultrasound he was still breach and it was around that time that I became convinced that he would not flip. Though I asked our Bible study prayer group and my husband to pray that Baby would flip, I eventually resigned myself to the likely possibility of another breach baby, which would mean another c-section baby. I prayed about it one last time and fully surrendered it to God. A couple of nights later, Baby flipped and stayed head down for the rest of the pregnancy.

Baby was not a c-section baby. He was not even early enough for me to be stuck on magnesium or antibiotics. In fact, in answer to many, many prayers, Paul was born completely naturally. All the hospital did was provide ice chips, a birthing ball, and someone to catch Baby. (They even offered to let me do that, but I was a little distracted at the time).

My last big prayer request was that I would be able to hold Baby right when he was born. I didn’t think that was ever going to happen, but I prayed anyway, and asked everyone else to pray too. I didn’t get to hold Lydia until she was one day old. I didn’t get to hold Abby until she was three days old. Words cannot describe how badly I wanted this. The closest I can come is “desire of my heart” (see Psalm 37:4). Words also cannot describe how happy I was the moment the picture below was taken. Or any time I see this picture. I know I’ve shared it before. I will probably share it again. This was one of the happiest moments EVER.

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God is so kind.

Paul was born at 35 weeks.

He came home with us from the hospital without spending a single day in the NICU. Our transition to having a baby at home was the easiest we’ve had yet and Paul has continued to be such a content, sweet, cuddly, cute, precious baby boy. He really feels like a reward. 🙂

I am so thankful that God is so kind. That he leads us when we seek Him and He blesses us when we obey.