Sunday

Nora finally decided to get some rest today! I hope she didn’t detract from her night sleepings!
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Each time she woke up from a nap, she woke up happy and squealy!
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Gavin brought his baby sister upstairs, hooked her up to the portable O2 tank with the proper settings, undressed her and brought her to her Muthr for a quick night baff! As you can see, she’d gotten absolutely filthy since her morning baff! Poooor baby girl!!

Gavin is such an awesome big brother and such a big help!

“One giant baby – coming right up!”
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I was the proud owner of a set of Wonder Woman Underoos when I was a kid. I needed to have this nostalgic derivative! The big kids had to test it out first.
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There are quite a few friends and acquaintances going through a rough time right now. I want each of you to know that you are in my specific prayers tonight. Stay strong and don’t give up!

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
(Galatians 6:2, 9 NIV)

Playing

I noticed I accidentally omitted Gavin’s scooter picture from the previous post. He showed it off for Papa in the street for a few minutes on Thursday. Unfortunately he hasn’t been able to really ride it because of the snow outside. His heartfelt requests to ride it through the house have been denied.
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We woke up Saturday morning to another fresh blanket of snow. The trees in the woods out back were absolutely gorgeous. The pictures don’t do them justice!
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“Oh, hi! It’s me!”
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“And here’s Piggy! … For no reason other than Piggy wanted to say hello!”
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“I was on a ‘NO NAPS’ binge yesterday, but was exceptionally happy and squealy all day long! I slept for a combined hour and 40 minutes for the whole day. I was afraid I was going to miss something! I went to my cousin Keira’s birthday party! She’s ‘flee’ (3)! Mommy was so busy enjoying the moments that she forgot to take any pictures of the sweet birthday girl! Maybe Aunt Sarah will post some on Facebook that we can steal.”
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“I did have a little bit of a nap!”
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“But then I was right back up again!”
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“I have a lot of playing to do!!”
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Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
(Colossians 3:15 NIV)

Pictures

To make up for the infrequent updating I have a slew of cute, sweet photos from the past few days!

Starting with this one that was taken in the middle of the night during one of Nora’s milkies interludes. I’d just come back to her after I went to get rid of a stinky diaper and she was wearing this hat that she got from her cousins in Texas!! I’m running low on sleep, but I KNOW I didn’t put a hat on her while I was changing her diaper or after! The only thing I can think of is that it was laying right next to her head and she must have wiggled perfectly into it? Or maybe Nora and her angels are playing tricks on Mommy! It was very comical to come back literally seconds later to find her wearing a My First Christmas hat–on Christmas night, no less!

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“It’s fun playing tricks on Mommy!”
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Greta is loving her new loft bed! I hope I’ll be just as excited about changing the sheets on it (ehrhemmm). Maybe I’ll just let our “cleaning elf” take care of that. Speaking of elves, if you look closely under Greta’s pink Christmas tree you will see a freshly bathed little elf who was on her way back downstairs with her Mom.
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We woke up Thursday morning to some more snow! Of course the big kids wanted to go out to “play” in it (i.e. run across the yard a couple of times, make a few snow angels, and then hurry back in because they’re cold 5 minutes later!) Fortunately last year’s unused snowsuits still fit. For the time they were out there they probably could have stayed in their pajamas and saved Muthr a whole lot of troubles!! *wink* None the less, they were ushered back into the warm house and compensated with urgent servings of hot chocolate.
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“That doesn’t look like very much fun for babies.”
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“I’ll be in the baff if anyone needs me.”
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“Or I like playing with my nubby ball that Santa brought me! I love playing with my sister!”
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“It sure is sweet when I wake up squealy!”
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“Baffs are pretty sweet too!”
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“Okay. Shhhhh!!! I’m going to sleep now!”
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“Night night!”
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I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.
(Psalm 7:17 NIV)

Christmas Day

Nora slept in the living room Christmas Eve and slept SO soundly that she didn’t even know Santa had come!
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Before long the big kids were up and excited about the array of gifts that were neatly placed beneath the tree. In no time at all the living room was transformed into a chaotic mess of wrapping paper and gift boxes.
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After all the presents were opened, Gavin and Greta couldn’t hide their disappointment that the one thing(s) they’d asked for weren’t there under the tree. We explained that maybe Santa didn’t have room in his sleigh for the motorized scooter or the loft bed and maybe they’d get those things next year. After some of the wrapping paper was cleaned up, I remembered a couple of gifts I’d wrapped for William that were still in the basement. Gavin went down to get those for me, and when he did, he discovered something else!!! He hurried back up the steps yelling to Greta to hurry, come see what was down there!!
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There they were! Two giant boxes – one addresses to Gavin and one for Greta! We guessed that maybe Santa brought them in the basement door and then they were too heavy to bring upstairs.

Greta got her loft bed after all!
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And Gavin got his scooter!
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Nornor FINALLY woke up and opened her gifts. Santa brought her some neat toys!
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Then it was time to continue the celebrations at Nana and Papa’s house. Nornor was a very good girl in the car. She squealed some Christmas carols before drifting off to sleep.
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More presents and more fun!!
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Even the dog-cousins enjoyed themselves!
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Nornor was absolutely stunning in her red velvet Christmas dress.
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We found a sticker on one of the dog-cousin’s new toys that said, “I SQUEAK” It seemed only appropriate for Nornor!
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She will tell you all about it:

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Nora and Nana shared a special moment after a most delicious Christmas dinner.
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Yusko Family Christmas Portrait
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Nana & Papa with their sweet brood of grandchildren. There will be another addition in February! (No – not from the Yusko family!!!!!)
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As we were leaving to go home I spotted the infamous musical ornament that once hung in the basement of my now deceased Grandparents. I gently pulled the string as the familiarJingle Bells joyously tinkled forth. It brought me straight back to Christmas Eve when I was little. I could almost see my Grandpa smiling at my reaction as he pulled that very string for me. Accompanied by the cozy smell of a warm crackling fire this happy little ornament WAS Christmas past. I recalled the Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa’s when I was the last one out of the car. For some reason, despite my young age, I had the foresight to capture that moment in my heart forever. I couldn’t have been but 7 or 8, but there I stood just outside the car staring and smiling up at the starry moonlit sky looking for Santa’s sleigh. Crisp cold air infused my lungs and the low din of voices and laughter beckoned me inside. A fresh thin layer of snow crunched beneath my patent leather shoes as I made my way toward the house smiling in anticipation at what was sure to be “the best Christmas EVER” – and it was.
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This ornament reminded me how quickly “Christmas present” becomes “Christmas past”. I was warned not to let one moment slip by too fast. Take a minute to soak in these treasures as I did all those years ago.

When we got home Nora wanted to take a moment (or 60) to soak in the baff. Christmas wouldn’t be complete without another Christmas baff!

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“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
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But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19 NIV)

Christmas Eve

Sunday

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The big kids and I had brunch with my family Sunday morning – some of which are visiting for the holidays. William and Nornor stayed home out of the way of any germs.

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I LOVE being with my family!

Meanwhile back at headquarters…

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Me n’ Dad were hangin’ out.

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I’m a big girl sitting up in my Bumbo watching football with my Dad!

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Go, Bengals!!

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Celebrating a big win for the Bengals. (Clearly Mommy was not home!!!)

Monday

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All ready for Santa!

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“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12 NIV)

Christmas Cards

In a brazen attempt to lessen the stress in our lives this Christmas season, I have decided to forego several usual holiday traditions. In case you are one of the many who are anxiously awaiting our annual Christmas card, I apoligize that this was one of the things that got elimated this year. Instead I would like to present you with the the 2012 Yusko Christmas Card in digital form below:

Christmas 2012

Should you have a hankering for an actual card, simply right click on the above image and select “print”.  Voila!

We had so much fun doing this year’s photo shoot. Daddy came home from work one evening to find an arrangement of children wearing Santa hats installed in a copious amounts of bubbles — Christmas music resounding. As if on cue, he picked up the camera and began his role of Christmas card photographer. And there you have it. After all of the bubbles were washed away, Nora DID get to enjoy a much more relaxing baff of her own.

Since we’re on the topic of Christmas cards, I wanted to share with you our cards of Christmas pasts. Enjoy!

2006

2007

2007

2008

2009

2009

2010

2010

2011

2011

New

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Sweet little Miss celebrated the first snow a – even though it was just a little bit!

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I’m just a little bit sweet!

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Hmmm… This looks delicious!

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Nomnomnomnom.

It was a relaxing uneventful day accentuated by a couple of baffs.

In the evening we went to see the Awaited show at Crossroads. Hopefully Nora can join us next year. It was an AMAZING production, as usual.

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Every show is a FULL house. We weren’t able to get (free!) tickets online but managed to get awesome seats!!

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One of my favorite parts is when it actually SNOWS in the auditorium!! I love the hushed murmur of excitement that falls over the crowd and all the little hands reaching out trying to catch the snowflakes. Magic.

I sat through much of the performance with a lump in my throat. I was emotional for so many reasons beyond the artistic portrayal before me. I’m so familiar with this story that it came to be just that. A story. As I sat there and watched the series of events unfold, the crazy blessed reality of this “story” filled my heart. Yes, the Messiah came to this earth in the form of a tiny vulnerable infant. No fanfare, no royal accommodations, not even a crib for a bed (as the song goes). He silently came into this world in a way that was completely unexpected by mankind. The “unexpected” aspect threatened to send tears and carefully applied mascara streaming down my cheeks. “Isn’t it just like God!!??” I thought to myself. I look at all of the things in my own life that were unexpected, especially concerning Nora, and Sophie too. In so many illustrations of the unexpected, God prevails and unfolds the story piece by piece as if it had been the most INTENTIONAL of things all along. From the beginning to the end of Christ’s story, the unexpected is revealed as a carefully and meticulously orchestrated triumph!! How can I possibly doubt His hand in my story, in Nora’s story? Why on earth do I worry??!!

Even though we are celebrating Christ’s birth, I can’t help but fast forward to Christ’s death – another source of my internal emotion. Just as the pain and evil of this world affect us, it horrifically affected Jesus. He didn’t cause or deserve to be crucified on the cross, thereby dying a grizzly death. He was innocent! (He didn’t cause the abhorrent and unexpected death of 26 lives in Connecticut. They were innocent!) He obviously could have prevented His own death, but without it there would be no salvation. Amidst the sadness we feel about Connecticut, we can’t help but ask why God wouldn’t have prevented something like this from happening. Evil can run rampant, simply because it exists – but it will NEVER claim victory. Through Christ’s death came Resurrection, new life!! Once again, in our modern times He will reveal Himself though this tragedy in Connecticut piece by piece, day by day and sometimes hour by hour. Treasure each piece because I believe that whatever God is creating here is ONCE AGAIN going to be breathtaking.

The show was beautiful, and I’m so thankful for a fun night out with my family.

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“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares The Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
(Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV)