Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas 2008

As of last night around 11:00, my house was officially clean and back to normal (that is, if it's ever normal around here). The Christmas decorations are put away, new toys have found a home, old toys have been stored, and the dust that collected during the holidays (or should I say the entire month of December) has been cleaned! It feels good to have things clean and fresh, but it always makes me a little sad that it's all over.'s hard to stay sad when I think about all the great memories we made this year. It truly was a great Christmas!

We started our celebrations on Friday, the 19th. We had our annual "Big Family" Christmas at my parent's house. This is the time when all 4 of the Baddley children, their spouses, their children, and Nana and Doo Daddy get to celebrate together. This year my OLDest sister, Tracey, and her husband Steve were unable to make it (they had a company party in OKC that night), but the rest of the clan was there. We had a terrific time exchanging gifts with the ones we knew we wouldn't see during another part of the holidays, EATING, and talking a ton! If anything can be said for the Baddleys...WE CAN TALK!
Those in attendance: My brother, Tommy, his wife Amy, and their son Griffin; My sister Tracey's children: Steven, Steven's girlfriend (who has since become is fiance'- YEA!) Barbara, and Todd; My sister Tina, her husband Kirk, and their sons Joshua and John Thomas; Myself, my husband Rusty :), and our daughters Karson and Campbell! And of course...the patriarchs of the whole crew...Mom and Dad (aka - Nana and Doo Daddy).

I'm so mad at myself...I didn't take a single picture that night. Boo.

Our next celebration started on Chrismas Eve. My sister, Tina's family, and mine alternate every other year spending "real" Christmas with our family and our in-laws. This year was a year for our family, so we met our parents at their church for their Christmas Eve service. It was a very special time. Campbell didn't last long, so Rus spent most of the service in the foyer with her. She kept wanting to "talk" through the sermon. It was so sweet, but a little disturbing to those around us. The sermon was about anticipating the joy - how appropriate! Our hearts are still so tender right now after losing Mar, that the service was extra emotional for us...and that's okay.

After church we headed back to Nana and Doo Daddy's for some yummy snacks and fellowship. We got the children bathed and in their PRECIOUS matching jammies that Nana bought them, put out cookies for Santa and food for the reindeer, and then scooted them off to bed. Santa (or should I say the 4 elves) got to work! Thankfully Rus had already put together the bike Santa was bringing for Karson, so we didn't have hours of work ahead of us! We were still up til nearly 1:30. Oh! I almost forgot...We added something new to Santa's repertoire this year...we made boot prints out of baby powder coming from the fire place (it looked like ashes)! So cute, and the kids thought it was so funny the next morning!

Christmas morning started as late as we could hold the children off...7:30 (but I did have to wake Campbell up - bless her soul). We let them come downstairs all together and the festivities began. They discovered all that Santa had brought them with MUCH delight, and then spent quite a bit of time opening their gifts from each other, Nana and Doo Daddy, and Mom and Dad. We had to take a breakfast break after the "children's portion" of the morning and re-fuel. After a YUMMY breakfast of biscuits, bacon, cinnamon rolls, garlic cheese grits, and fruit - wow!, the children got to play with their presents while the adults opened their gifts. What a blessing! After it was all over, we were on "joy overload".

We all rested for a little while, and then started up the cooking for Christmas night. My brother and his family came over and we had a yummy dinner and fun time with them. My parents had given each of the grandchildren his/her own fleece blanket as one of their gifts, and we all got tickled watching all of them wander around with them. Those blankets were totally multi-purpose - they were turned into forts, capes, skirts, lovies, trampoline partners, and other assorted things. I don't think Nana expected quite the amount of joy they would bring! By the time we went to bed that night, we were EXHAUSTED! Thankfully everyone slept well and woke up rested.

The day after Christmas, Teen and I were able to stay at Mom and Dad's and help take down ALL of the Christmas decorations. With Mom's MS, this is always such a huge task for her. The kids played so sweetly (even little Miss Campbell crawled around happily) while we worked. Not only were we able to help Mom out, but we got to spend fun time together talking and working side by side. I know these are the times that always make the best memories. By the time we all went home, my heart was completely FULL!!!

Those in attendance: Nana, Doo Daddy, Teen, Kirk, Joshua, John Thomas, Tommy, Amy, Griffin, Rusty, Melissa, Karson, and Campbell - fun times!!!

Look! Santa brought Karson a bike! She was showing us her mad driving skillz. That's John Thomas following behind on his new big wheel!

Campbell says, "Oooooh!!! Look! Santa put these yummy wagon wheels in my stocking!"

Sticking with the "Baddley girl tradition" of trying on all new pairs of's Big Girl in her new and very cute rain boots!

This precious hat came courtesy of Nana and Doo Daddy. Now that is some cute!

Karson took this picture of us after we had finished the Presents Extravaganza of '08! As you can see, we dressed for the occasion!


Our final celebration took place on Saturday with the Zumwalts. On years that we are not with them for "real" Christmas, we usually try to celebrate before, but with Rus's job change, the timing just wouldn't work out this year (we're missing those days off work for Winter Break). We had a fabulous time, nonetheless!

I must say that I married into one of the funniest families on the planet! These people are comedic from the oldest to the youngest. It's so fun to watch (and participate with) them all together! It's also somewhat comforting to know that the next generation will carry on - the kids are hilarious too!!! We had some moments of side-splitting laughter and fun! We all opened MORE presents and so enjoyed spending time together!

Those in attendance - Jerry and Martha (aka- Rus's parents, aka- Ma and PaPaw); Rus's brother Rob, his wife Leigh Anne, their children Parker and Bella, Rus, Melissa, Karson, and Campbell

Here are the girls in front of Ma's Christmas tree!

*I have 2 more pictures I want to post...but my computer is taking forever! I will have to post them tomorrow.

That about sums it up! It was a VERY Merry Christmas, indeed! We anticipate 2009 with great joy!

Thank you God for the blessings of this year - the gift of new life, the triumphs, the struggles, the sad endings, the changes, the new beginnings, the loss of precious life, the nearness of treasured family and friends, and most of all, for the gift that is YOU!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bring on Christmas!!!!

First of all, thank you for all of the sweet comments and prayers for my family concerning my grandmother. We all made it there and home safely - thank you, Lord! The service was beautiful and so celebratory of an extraordinary life. Our emotions are still high, but we are so grateful for the life she led.

Now that we are all home...Christmas is upon us! We have already celebrated 1 "Christmas" - we have several more to go...we can't wait! I thought you might like to see how the girls looked in their Christmas dresses at church this morning.

*Note - I always try to make things even between them...including the number of pictures I post! Campbell is getting more and more difficult to photograph these days due to her increasing mobility. The only shots we got of her were "action shots", so I had to post both! :)

Here's our big girl! We didn't even have to have a discussion over bows this morning...I think it was an early Christmas gift! :)
And she's off! Look at that grin...she is definitely up to something!
We finally got her to sit still for a minute...even if it was backwards! (She did have shoes on prior to the photography session. By this point, we were "picking our battles")

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My sweet grandmother, Mar

After a really tough battle with Alzheimer's, my sweet grandmother opened her eyes this morning, and then went home to be with the Lord.

Marjorie Elaine Chitty Ferrell Shumate, "Mar", was a lady of class. She was tiny in stature, but she made up for it with spunk! Until she got sick, she was one of those ladies who NEVER acted her age. And she was sassy. She drove around in a little Mercedes, wore cute clothes, and exercised daily. More importantly, she was a godly woman. I am so proud to be part of her heritage, and hope to honor her legacy.

Mar was never really the "typical" grandmother. Now don't get me wrong, she was awesome...just not "typical". She didn't have gray hair. She didn't wear grandma clothes. She didn't send bad gifts on birthdays or holidays. I just never remember her acting like a typical grandmother.

You must know that Mar was a true Southern lady. She had an accent as thick as any Southerner you've ever met. I can hear it in my head even as I type this. I LOVED to answer the phone and hear, "Hello Darlin' ". That was always her greeting. I can only guess that she greeted many heavenly friends this morning with that exact phrase!

In the Summer of 1997, Rus ended up playing pro ball for a team in Meridian, MS...which happened to be the hometown of one Mrs. Marjorie Shumate. What are the chances? Anyway, it was so fun to hear about my Mar from Rus. She took him to church with her and showed him off to all of her friends. She told me later that they all thought he was cute! She also made him brownies!!!! Now, remember, I told you that Mar was not the "typical" grandmother. This includes the fact that I never in my life remember her making me any sort of baked goods...but she made Rus brownies! During that Summer I traveled to Meridian with Rus's parents to watch him play. I stayed at Mar's house for a whole week. This is one of my most special and cherished memories of her. It is the only time in my life that I spent time completely alone with her (without my mom or my siblings). We had so many special talks during that week. I am so thankful for that time that only God could have planned for us.

When my mom called to give me the news this morning, I broke down. Mar has been getting progressively worse for the past 5 or 6 years. She has basically been in a coma-like state for many months. Because of the progression of the disease, babies being born, finances being tight, etc., I haven't been to see her in a long time. I regret this. I regret that my children never got to meet such an amazing woman, and that I never got to introduce her to 2 of my biggest blessings. I regret that I didn't get to say goodbye.

What I do not regret is that she is no longer suffering. I do not regret the fact that she is alert, awake, and no longer confused as to where she is and who people are. I do not regret the fact that she got to see my grandaddy for the 1st time in 28 years. I do not regret the fact that she is in Heaven with Jesus. I WILL SEE HER AGAIN! Oh, how I can't wait!

Tonight, my heart is heavy. I'm hurting especially for my mom. She has been preparing for this for years, but no one is ever ready to lose their mother. She and my dad are already on their way to Mississippi. My siblings and I will go in a few days. The funeral is planned for Monday. It all seems so final...yet so chaotic at the same time.

Lord, give us comfort in this time of grief. Help us to rejoice over her new body and remember that we will be reunited someday soon.

Mar, you will be missed. I love you so much. Thank you for the blessing of your life. You were truly one of a kind.

Monday, December 8, 2008


This past Saturday night was our Sunday School Christmas party. Our friends Pat and Jennifer are the teachers of our class, and they always go above and beyond to make it fun. This year's theme was "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly". We ate good food, gave "bad" gifts, and wore UGLY sweaters. It was a contest to see who could find the ugliest! There would be a female winner and a male winner. Well...

I am SO proud to announce that The Zumwalts took home BOTH prizes! When you look at the picture, I think you will agree that the prize was well deserved. Those are some UGLY sweaters! Can you believe people actually used to think that was cute?

I should have gotten a full length shot...this just doesn't give the sweaters justice! 'bout those turtle necks???? Nice.

In other Christmas news, Karson's Christmas party at dance class was tonight. Her class did a little dance from the Nutcracker, and then they had treats. Fun times! We came home on a MAJOR sugar high...'tis the season! Here are a few pics...

Performing the "doll" dance

Group shot! Look at those arms. Wow Karson. Didn't your Mommy teach you anything?

"Hurry up Mommy! My arms are VERY tired!"

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I'm so technologically advanced...NOT!!!

It's my blog, so I can brag if I want to.

Look at me!!!! I figured out how to make my blog cute and festive for Christmas! It only took me over an hour to figure it out (and believe me, this should not have taken an hour).

It's the little things in life, people. The little things! :)