Friday, November 25

Happy Thanksgiving from Atlanta!

The suspense was building around 11 am yesterday morning.  Could a Father/Daughter-in-law combo really pull of Thanksgiving together??

Ta-da!  We present to you the turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, fresh salad, green been bundles, and homemade rolls.  YUM!                            

Bella loved eating the turkey on her mat.  Well actually, she really loved the sugar-infused sweet potatoes.

And later, she loved feeding the swan in Poppi's pond... despite suffering from a food coma (hence the 5 mile stare).

 Bella loves Poppi.

And Bella loves Gigi.

 And Gigi really loves Bella.  Well, we all kind of feel that way about Bella.

Well, except for maybe Joey.  Just kidding!
Uncle Joey is awesome with this girl.

I hope everyone had a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving! We sure were not lacking in things to be thankful for.  God has surely given in abundance!

Now back to DC and on to some Christmas decorating...  

Tuesday, November 15

A Farewell to Fall

Before it's over, I just want to go on the record and say that this right here...

... is why fall is my favorite season.  I also have amazing memories with my two sisters in the fall, I got married in the fall, and then I had a baby in the fall.  So, it's a pretty great season around these parts.

 Last week, I was able to soak up the last bits of fall with Bella and my little sister.  This week, the leaves are hanging on for dear life.  The best moments in life pass by too quickly.

That Capitol  over there makes for some pretty pictures, huh?

And so do you, sweet Bella.
(P.S. My sister took these pics with her iPhone.)

 "Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;   
wisdom and power are his. 
He changes times and seasons; 
   he deposes kings and raises up others. 
He gives wisdom to the wise 
   and knowledge to the discerning. 
He reveals deep and hidden things; 
   he knows what lies in darkness, 
   and light dwells with him."
Daniel 2:20-22

Friday, November 11

Our God is Faithful... & Full of Surprises

Last year, at the beginning of this past week...
... this happened.

And then four days later...
 ... this happened.

Two sisters, having two baby girls, and all within one week!  You obviously can't plan these things.  But God can.  And boy, did He have some fun with our family this past year.

It all started with the surprise at Easter that we were both expecting.  One sister had been wanting a baby for a while, while the other wasn't quite thinking about a baby yet.  God knew this all along and planned it just so.

Then finding out we were both having girls was like icing on the cake.  After all, it's what Davises do best.

Trying to predict actual due dates was a joke.  And Amy trying to conceal the name of her future child was also a joke. (he he he!)

Sending my mom and youngest sister on crazy rescue missions back and forth between DC and Houston for the month of November was a bit chaotic... but totally necessary and appreciated! 

Add all this up, and what do you get?  Welcoming two little girls in to the world just four days apart was completely unbelievable!

Right now, I'm remembering how these two little bundles of joy brought such hope to events like our BDaddy's funeral.  And I remember how they stole the show at our family beach vacation this summer.  Without even knowing it, they have given our family so much in just their first year of life.

And so, hooray for a wonderful week in our family history!  And praise God for His sovereign plan and these healthy and happy little girls.  And, although this is one day late...

Happy Birthday to our sweet Kate Eliana!

Oh Kate, what would Bella do without you??
 Okay, I admit, your first time together was a little tense.

Just kidding!  You were quickly playing dress up within minutes.

See?  Friends!
Okay, okay.  We're kind of forcing it on you two.  But you'll get the hang of it!

You both definitely love the camera. It's a Davis family thing.

And you're best beach buds.

Just chillin' together.

And even swimming, too!

And here's my weak attempt to make it look like you two enjoy pumpkin patches together.

Okay, okay.  It looks like we're overdue for some cousin play dates.  Kate, Bella can't wait to see you at Christmas!  Happy Birthday!  We love you!

Thursday, November 10

Bella's Top 5 Favorite Books

So while we're in the midst of all these fun birthday posts, why don't I let you all in on Bella's Top 5 Fav Books from this past year?

Dear Sandra, I don't know what it is about your books, but at one stage or another, my child has LOVED your books.  They are simple and short.  They are super silly.  And they teach something basic in each one (i.e. animals, body parts, which one does not belong?, etc.).  For those of you interested, I really don't think you can go wrong in picking one out, but I will say that Bella's current favorite is "Horns to Toes and in Between".

by Ree Drummond

Does this one seriously surprise any of you?  I love the pioneer woman, therefore I love this children's book.  Plus, my daughter gave it to me for Mother's Day. ;)  PLUS, my daughter learned how to "Moo" with this book... at 5 am in the morning. Yikes.  Definitely a top five. 

by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

Oh, I just love this book.  I have a silly song and hand motions that I do with Bella, and she gets so in to it.  She literally throws over the page right before the bear appears, and then at the end she waves "bye bye" to the bear as he heads back home.

by Lisa McCourt and Cyd Moore

The message in this book is so precious.  I just love how the author has captured the silly ideas that kids have and then turns it in to an opportunity for parents to say "I love you."  I'm not 100% sure what makes Bella sit still for this whole book.  Maybe it's the great illustrations, or the silly voices I do, or perhaps she just loves hearing me say I'll love her no matter what- even if she becomes a super smelly skunk or a meat eating dinosaur or an alien from Mars that eats bugs instead of peanut butter.

by Dean Hacohen and Sherry Scharschmidt
Tuck Me In!
This book is probably not as familiar to bedtime readers out there, but Bella LOVES it.  It has become the last book we read before bedtime each night.  The book asks, "Who needs to be tucked in?"  And on each page a different animal jumps out and exclaims, "I do!"  Bella thinks it's hilarious.  And so we do, too.  I even pasted a picture of Mike to one of the animals so that she can always say good night to Daddy even when he's not home in time to tuck her in.

Illustrated by Steve Haskamp
And as a bonus, I'll go ahead throw in #6, our eight silly monkeys.  Again, Bella loves the repetitive nature of this book.  She loves touching the monkeys that stick out, and she also loves sticking her fingers through the little holes on the opposite side of the page.  She has also learned how to bop herself on the head and kiss the monkeys that have fallen off the bed.  Killer cute! So yes, this book definitely belongs in our top favorites.

We'd love to grow our book collection.  What are your favorite books? 

*I don't get any kind of special deal for mentioning these books.  Bella has truly just loved books!

Tuesday, November 8

A Bella Bug Birthday Party

For all our dear family who missed out on the party Saturday- as well as for those who just want to relive the wonder of it all- I give you a "Bella Bug" Birthday Party!
Aunt MeShell made this amazing Ladybug Birthday cake.  Lots of love went in to this, and we had a blast making it together!  
And just for Bella, a special cake for the official cake smash.  This bug doesn't know what he's got coming to him.
 The five star menu for this party consisted of Bug BBQ Sandwiches, Babybel Bugs, Butterfly Pasta, Caterpillar Grapes, and Beetle Juice.

I must say the Babybel Bugs were my personal favorite.

Here's Bella taking it all in before the fun begins.  I'd say she's pretty excited.
Our surrogate DC aunts and uncles!  What would we do without these guys?!

Do you think Bella's having fun?  She seriously loved the WHOLE party... not one fuss the entire time!  Can you say social butterfly?

Prepping for the cake smash.  Bella takes a march around the table with Aunt MeShell to warm up.

Let the smashing commence!  Bella was pretty serious about her strategy on this cake.  She poked around carefully before she really dug in.  You know Bella, I can relate.  I'm serious about my chocolate, too.

"Hey Daddy, why don't you take a picture with me?  I've got a little something special for you."

"Yep!  Just wanted to make sure you felt included there, Dad.  Now back to this cake..."

Oh Bella Bug, what fun we had with you on Saturday!  It's too much fun to celebrate the one and only ever YOU!

Oh and in case you were wondering...

While Bella's favorite part was definitely the cake, I think a close second goes to the balloons.  The fun and laughs lasted well in to the night with those things:
A sight to behold, indeed!

Monday, November 7

Happy Birthday, Bella Mae!

Just one year ago today, we became parents.  From that first moment, we were beaming with love and joy for this new life.
One year later, and I don't think the glow has worn off.  Bella's life and the fact that we get to be her parents still amazes us.

Reaching the first year milestone can easily make a parent think they've accomplished so much.  I'm so tempted to look at all my hard work and dedication this past year and to pat myself on the back.  But the thing is, when Mike and I look back, all we see is God's faithful hand carrying us all the way through- from a surprise pregnancy to the delivery room, from those sleepless nights to that first smile.

He has accomplished it all, and we have looked on in wonder and amazement.  Our hearts are full of gratitude to Him for this precious girl and the wonders He has worked in our new family this past year.

More birthday pictures are soon to come...