Friday, December 18, 2009


I love Christmas. I love everything about this time of year. I love the street not far from me that has filled their lawn and house with every kind of lawn ornament and light display known to man. I love the food, the music, the tv specials, the shopping, my 8' tall waving Santa, Devin's holiday work party that has the same food every single year (I don't think engineers believe in variety) etc. etc. etc. As much as I love this time of year, I also get a small feeling of sadness in the pit of my stomach: I miss the memories. Here are my favorites:

-Opening up one gift on Christmas eve after church. It was inevitably new pajamas.
-The first time Eric and I really got to experience snow in Hinesville, GA. We didn't own any snowpants, but we came inside and watched Gummy Bear Adventures and drank hot chocolate while our jeans were in the dryer.
-Receiving my Barbie dreamhouse with the elevator
-Bon bons and Candy cane cookies that my mom makes
-My Christmas band concerts in middle school. I felt like some serious hot stuff playing "Jingle Bells" on my clarinet in my white shirt, black jeans and cumberbund.
-Christmas Eve services at various military chapels that always ended w/ dripping candles and "Silent Night."
-Learning the alto part to Carol of the Bells in madrigals senior year and singing in Old Ellicott City (MD). Hearing that song still gives me goosebumps. I love it!
-Going sledding senior year of high school with Dan and Leigh Ayn. I'm sure if you know her like I know her, you can imagine the facial expressions and screaming noises she made going down that hill.
-Exchanging Christmas gifts with Amanda A WHOLE MONTH EARLY in college.
-Christmastime in the dorms at K-State. They always put on this fabulous Christmas dinner for us and finals week was such a fun week of celebrating.
-Junior year of college when Aunt Shel sent my gift to my house in KS. It was taped shut with "DON'T YOU DARE OPEN THIS EARLY! I KNOW HOW YOU ARE!" slathered all over in black permanant marker. You know I had that bad boy ripped open in about 30 seconds! ;)
-Driving to visit the Rileys my sr. year of high school (a few days after Christmas) to see Devin, who was home from college. I was SO excited to see him. Every now and then I look at him, and am amazed and thankful that I get to spend the rest of my life with this man who made my heart jump out of my chest.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Letter 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We hope this letter finds you doing well, but this letter really isn't about you is it?

Devin is still an engineer at Johnston Burkholder Associates.

Marie still stays home with the kids and works part-time at Baby Gap.

Now onto our little geniuses:

Addison, 3 (but she can tell you that herself in English AND Spanish) is growing like a weed. Devin and I are in awe at her intelligence. While most kids are just drawing scribbles at this age, Addison is able to color completely in the lines. Her attention to detail astounds us: she doesn't just draw a sun, but adds eyes and a smile as well. She spends her days composing music, practicing spatial analysis, and creating scientific hypotheses. She is in the gifted and talented program at both the gym kid's club and our church preschool. She is also becoming a talented gymnast. We are planning on hiring a personal coach to get her ready for the 2020 Olympic Games. We are proud to say that she is smarter than all of our friends' children and we let her know this on a daily basis. Because Addison is so intelligent, we hope to enroll her in 1st grade next fall, skipping preschool and kindergarten.

While Ainsley (10 months) isn't quite as smart as Addison, she is still a delightful little baby. She barely makes a peep, only to request her daily serving of kale with flaxseed (in sign language of course). Ainsley is also in the gifted and talented program in the church nursery, and we our keeping our fingers crossed that she'll make the honor roll at our gym's kids club. She is already able to say ma ma, da da, and guh guh, so we have placed her on the waiting list at the local montessori preschool. Because her diet is so balanced, Ainsley has never spit up or had a leaky diaper. Her b.m.'s are always round and perfectly formed. Like Addison, Ainsley is outperforming her peers in all areas. We are truly proud parents.

Our strict schedules with the girls doesn't allow for much time socially, especially now that we are trying to get a head start on college applications, but let us know if you are in the area. We'd love to squeeze in some time for you (maybe).

Happy Holidays!


Devin, Marie, Addison and Ainsley


Sunday, December 13, 2009


Ten years ago...

I was turning 18. I had already been through so much in my life at that point, and had already learned so many life lessons that I pretty much thought I had life figured out. HA!

I was already in love with Devin Riley, but also dating someone else too. Devin won. I think I made a very good decision.

I was pondering moving back to Kansas and going to K-State so I could be with Devin and Amanda, or staying in Maryland. A few months later I chose Kansas, and 9 years later, I am still happy with this decision.

I was trying to figure out what to do with my life, when deep down inside I knew all I wanted to be was a mom.

I worked at Baby Gap.

I wasn't the least bit active. Since then I have climbed 5 fourteeners, braved spin class and figured out how to run for longer than 3 minutes without wanting to die.

I considered myself a really good singer. Now the only people I sing to are my two little girls, and my repetoire includes songs like "Ba ba ba ba...thank you God for baby Jesus."

I was meeting Devin's family for the very first time. I sat on the couch and watched the Disney Channel with Daniel and Caitlyn. When I returned home from the trip I told my mom that I wanted to be part of that family.

I was more interested in hanging out with my friends than my parents. Now my parents are my friends.

I loved to make people laugh and have a great time. Still true.

I discovered The Cheesecake Factory.

I was late to just about everything and trying to figure out how to not be. I used to stop at Dunkin Donuts and get coffee for my 1st period teacher so she'd excuse me for being tardy. Maybe I'll have this figured out by birthday #38.

I had two piercings in each ear. Since then I've had an eyebrow ring and my first tattoo.

I felt God's whispers of love and grace, even though I had no room for him in my life. I'm so thankful for a God that forgives all things.

Those are my memories. What do you remember the most about me through the years?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Addison's Art

I'm sure lots of other kids drew boobs on their good samaritan pictures too and not just my daughter, right? Maybe? Hopefully? Please!

Please pray!!!!

My friend Angela from high school and Spring Canyon (she's actually the one who told me about Spring Canyon in the first place) just gave birth to a beautiful little girl, Ally. She was born October 12 with a cleft lip and palate. Here are some of the status updates I've seen on facebook:

"As you may or may not know, our daughter Ally was born with a cleft lip and palate. Tomorrow we head up to Great Falls for her first surgery. Tomorrow afternoon we have her pre-op appointment and the surgery first thing Tuesday. It is fairly major surgery and Ally will be under general anesthesia. We would appreciate more than we could ever say prayers for her safety and for the wisdom of her doctors."

She already had one surgery, but the stitches came out and the repair work disintegrated. She had another surgery at around 2 pm.

Please lift up Angela, Nathan, Ally and their two little guys. Pray for complete and TOTAL healing for little Ally.

Update from facebook:

Success!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God is so good!!! And God bless Dr. Santin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!