December 27, 2011

Our kind of Christmas...

It was delightful.
Busy, but not crazy. The good kind of busy- filled with lots of love, good food, family, traditions and laughter.

Olivia was sick the entire weekend. {That was no fun} But we all managed to stay in the spirit.

Christmas Eve both families came together to celebrate. No presents, just togetherness. {I am so thankful that both sides of our family come together for things like this so that we can ALL enjoy the magical moments in life.} I love traditions. Some of my happiest childhood memories are of Christmas traditions. One of my favorites was every Christmas Eve my Gran would read me "Twas the Night Before Christmas;" it was a very special moment for me to share that with Olivia this year.

{she wore her cupcake shirt because we were throwing a birthday party for baby Jesus. She chose her outfit this evening, everything down to the leopard print ballet flats. What can I say- she's definitely my child.}

Another tradition was leaving cookies for Santa and sprinkling 'reindeer food' for Santa's flight crew.

{Don't tell Olivia, but we were out of milk from all the baking so Santa's milk is actually expired liquid coffee creamer. Sure hope he liked hazelnut as much as I do!}

Olivia sprinkled the reindeer food all by herself.

This Christmas morning was super special. My Mom, Step-Dad Robert, and Grandmother came to see Olivia open her presents. She got so much! Best part.. she said 'thank you' a lot!

Santa brought her a toy kitchen and a tricycle. You know, because she was a super special girl all year!

We rounded out the day with a visit to our "bonus parents." Chance's best friend, Terry's parents. They spoiled us, as always. They are so good to us and treat Olivia as though she's their granddaughter. So thankful to have so many people in our girls life that love her.

{excuse our scary eyes!}

I hope your Christmas was as wonderful as ours!!

December 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Jesus!

From our family you yours,
have a blessed and happy Christmas season.

With Love,
The Bendel's

December 23, 2011

21 months.

How can it be?
You, my sweet girl, are 21 months old.

We took you to see Santa tonight, you didn't have much to say to him.

I want to journal a sweet moment that happened today in the cake aisle at the grocery.

Mommy: "Olivia, do you want to make a birthday cake for baby Jesus?"
Olivia: "Jesus died."
Mommy: "Yes, baby, he did."
Dee Dee: "Yes, He died on the cross for us."
Olivia: "It's sad."
Mommy: "No sweetie! It's happy because now he's with God!"
Olivia: "With God." {Nodding her head and smiling.}

Moments like that tell me I'm doing something right.

December 22, 2011

We're Back!

We're home from Virginia!
Olivia did awesome on our flights!! What a relief.

Tons of fun was had.
Two life long friendships were strengthened.
Lots of sweet moments between two little girls.
Lots of relaxing.
It was a good trip.

Here are a few pictures from our week away...

Ready for our first flight!
Olivia was so good, on both flights.


 She really liked looking out the window.

We took a field trip to the library. Olivia had never seen that many books- she was in awe. Precious.

Thanks for having us Nikki, Michael and Ellie!!!

December 14, 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Today's the day.. we're off!
Headed to see some special friends in Lexington, VA.
I'm so nervous excited.
I hope I've remembered to pack everything.
We'll be back on the 21st!

December 13, 2011

December 13, 1963

December 13th. It's a difficult day for my family and myself. On that day in 1963, my grandparents were married. This would have been their 48th wedding anniversary. Now being married I understand just how truly incredible that is. Sadly, this is an anniversary that won't be celebrated. My sweet PawPaw passed away on Oct. 31, 2007. (I can't believe it's been 4 years.)This is what I wrote for his memorial site. Today I wanted to share it on this platform as well.

On December 13, 1963 Beverly A. Nichols & Bobby G. Yancey were wed.
(For any of you who don't know- that's my Grandparents)
It was an intimate wedding, without all the muss and fuss that usually go along with weddings (what mine was filled to the brim with) but it was a beautiful one, or so I'm told. Just a few family, friends and a preacher in the church that my Grandmother grew up in, in Tupelo MS.
The bride wore a simple ivory dress, no veil. There was no reception, no photographer; actually there is only one photo from that day it's of the two of them, and I've never seen a picture capture so much love. They so loved each other. That's not to say that my Grandparents marriage was perfect, they had their hard times just like everyone else (maybe more than anyone else) but through it all they never stopped loving each other. They were the role model that taught me to love, that taught me how marriage should be. I often told them when I was younger that I hoped one day to have as full of a marriage as they did. The same still remains true today.

My Grandfather was many things to me. He was, of course my Grandfather; but he was also my Daddy and my best friend. He held my hand as a little girl learning to walk. He held the handle bars of my bicycle and taught me to ride a bike. He held my hand and congratulated me on the day of graduation. And he gave my hand to Chance on our wedding day.
In the last few years of my Grandfather's life he was not well, several years ago he was diagnosed with a malignant tumor on his right lung. Thanks to the marvels of modern science, the doctor's removed the cancer. He went into remission. He never completely recovered though, he had several other health issues that we contributed this to. And then the phone call came that changed all of our lives forever. In early January 2007 on a Friday night at around 9 pm Pawpaw's physician called the house. He had a tumor on his brain, near the cerebellum. The surgeons did their best but admittedly were not able to get it all. In the ten months that followed he got better, got worse, got better, and then got worse again. I believe that God led my Grandmother to nursing so many years ago so that she could take care of him in his final days. She nursed him through it all, staying up all hours of the day and night, neglecting herself so that he might not feel the pain. She was so selfless. In his final days we were all by his side. Eventually we all, in our own time told him it was ok to go. We all said our goodbyes, we were as prepared as you could be for that kind of situation. But he kept holding on, then on Oct. 31, my Grandmother (& sisters) birthday she told him it was time. A few hours later we went peacefully. He waited until he knew that she'd be ok, until she was ready. I had never seen that measure of love, he was dying and he was still taking care of her. (It's what he did best)
My Grandparents enjoyed two daughters together, sometimes more than others. And reveled in the glory of being Grandparents. I may be partial but I think the excelled at the latter. Their marriage was a rock that their two daughters and 5 grand-daughters will be able to look to as guidance for the rest of our lives. It was a blessing to us all. Their's is my favorite love story.

December 5, 2011

December, really?

First things first, a very dear family friend is struggling right now in the ICU at a local hospital. They believe he may have had a stroke but has been in pretty much the same condition since early last week. Please pray for his healing, for comfort for his family and wisdom for the doctors and nurses caring for him.

December snuck up on me. Big time!
I was so busy with the bustle of Thanksgiving, I feel like I blinked and November was over! And here we are in December- the happiest month of the year. I love everything about the holiday season; especially all the fun traditions.

Last Firday was Chance's birthday, he's 28 now.

Olivia helped make his birthday cupcakes- carrot cake with cream cheese icing. He's the only one in the house that likes them. (I gag a little just thinking about them)

Saturday was a big day for us too. We took Olivia to see her very first Christmas parade. We were able to meet up with our dear friends the Pooles. You've heard me talk about our awesome play dates before.
Olivia and Adley just have the best time together, and it's so fun to watch them learn to interact.

Adley (Right) & Olivia (Left)

Olivia liked the marching bands and the gymnastics teams... Adley liked the pup-pups (dogs) best.
These girls make my heart smile. I love that Olivia is building friendships even at her young age. She asks for Adley all the time. I sure hope we're able to squeeze in a few playdates before the Christmas craziness starts!

Olivia is at such a fun age right now. She is so articulate, and has no problem telling you exactly what it is she wants!

In other fun news, and adding to the craziness, Olivia and I get to spend the week in Lexington, VA. We fly out on the 14th and won't be back until the 21st!! So the Bendel Christmas has to be planned and prepared for by the 13th! Whew- I feel a list coming on.