Time is winding down!!!!

I am happy to report that my little border has finally turned! He is now upside down which is exactly where I want him to be! WooHoo! His head is firmly locked in heading toward the light. Who knows when that journey will actually begin, but I know that it’s coming. Sometime in the next three weeks we will be heading to the hospital as a family of 10 to come home as a family of 11. As a little side note,  I have always liked the number 11. Maybe because my birthday is on the 11th. Brian and I were married on 11/11. It seems fitting that our little family will rest on the number 11. (at least for a while! :0))  Anyway, this little man will have a birthday and a name at some point in the next three weeks. I must admit that this has kind of caught me off guard. I have been very unprepared for this baby, which is pretty embarrassing seeing that I have done this about a million times. Life has been going full speed and I haven’t had time to just sit and think about having this baby. I don’t mean the actual giving birth of him, but I mean actually having him as a new little tenant in our home. What will he look like? How will he change our normal? Will he like us? How big will he be? What in the world will his name be? As my pregnancy winds down, I have been thinking more about these things. His clothes are washed. His bed is set up. I have bought some teeny tiny diapers. I have dug out my sling and nursing cover. Everything has been washed and readied for him . I have finally gotten all of the Christmas decorations down and put away.  (Although my husband has re-decorated my entire living room in preparation for the super bowl with Steeler’s paraphernalia.) I am “ready” for him in the practical sense of the word. I just need to get “ready” for him in the psychological and emotional sense. I am ready to hibernate and wrap myself up in a new baby cocoon! I can’t wait to have him here to snuggle. He has deliciously chubby cheeks, which we saw in a recent ultrasound, that are just begging to be kissed. I can’t wait to have nothing to do but sit and nurse him. ( Ok,  so obviously I will have more to do than that, but that’s all I’m going to do!)  I am ready to get ready. I just pray that he doesn’t decide to come during the Super Bowl next Sunday or Brian might cry!

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Take my breath away!

The new baby has taken my breath away…literally. I haven’t been able to take a deep breath since yesterday afternoon before the sweet little thing firmly planted his head right in the middle of  my lungs. Not ideal. I have come to recognize the importance of breathing. It kind of comes in handy for the day to day tasks, like walking, talking and carrying smallish sized people. You get it. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love this baby! I have from the very instant that I found out that he was there, but this kind of togetherness, well, I am looking forward to holding him on the outside of my body, rather than having him wedged between my vital organs. That will be nice. I can’t wait to snuggle him and kiss his little toes and feel his little heart beating. I am a sucker for babies, obviously. And I actually don’t mind being pregnant. In fact I kind of like it, at least after the few months. Those are always kind of rough with the morning sickness and all. This time was even more challenging. When I went in for the initial ultrasound, there was nothing. Just an empty sac measuring 2 weeks smaller than it should have. I was devastated. I literally couldn’t get out of bed for a week. I just cried and cried and threw up (from nerves). Eventually the week passed and I was again laying on the table just waiting, too terrified to look at the monitor and see what I knew would be nothing. Only it wasn’t nothing! It was a tiny little bean with a beating heart! I have never been so thankful and so relieved. Our little one was safe and sound! After that the nausea went from being from nerves to being from hormones. I was actually happy to have morning sickness! Everytime I ran into the bathroom, I said a little prayer of thanksgiving. I think that maybe God allowed that week of worrying to remind me of how very precious each baby is, whether it’s your first, or ninth!  The morning sickness gave way to gall bladder problems…woohoo. The gall bladder issues gave way to heartburn and numerous nonstress tests ( a major pain in the butt!) and eventually the inability to breath. But honestly, it’s all small compared to the ultimate payoff…a sweet little baby boy! I cannot wait to meet you face to face!!! This gift that God has blessed us with again is something that Brian and I know that we are unworthy of, but one that we welcome wholeheartedly! This little baby, this little soul! He is our responsibilty to love and nurture and teach the richness of our faith with. What a  blessing! So I guess getting back to the beginning of this blog…this little baby has taken my breath away, literally and figuratively. And for that I am truly thankful.

 
Nanny and Poppa Hough with the Dayton Hough kids

The final installment to the Christmas 2010 blog finishes up in Dubois at Marge and Bill’s house. We arrived a little bit after 1:00 and had a yummy lunch and spent the afternoon with Poppa Hough and Nanny and the Ford City Houghs. After eating we played the Christmas card game. If you don’t know what that is, you don’t know what you are missing. There was a pile of presents and everyone sat in a circle around it. Each person got 3 cards and as your card is called you get to choose a gift. Once all of the gifts have been chosen and unwrapped, and your card is called you can “steal “someone else’s gift. It can get a little bit dicey and slightly chaotic, but it is so much fun! Once again, the DAYTON Houghs were triumphant and took home the coveted popcorn tin!!! WOOHOOO!!! And might I just say that the popcorn was GOOOOOOD! Maybe next year Ford City Houghs! There was some grumbling about the “unfairness” because we have more people in our family than they do. Apparently that gives us an unfair advantage….to that I say TOOOO BAD!  Have some more kids! You know you want to! We had a lot of fun. It is always nice to have some time just to sit around and catch up.
Coley look sassy in her “cereal killer” shirt
Playing the Christmas card game
We are the champions !!!!!
Hannah was looking particularly cute
My Christmas Blessings
What a wonderful Christmas we had this year! Each day brought surprises and unexpected blessings. It is amazing to me how God knows exactly what we need and puts it in our lives just at the right time. It has been a season of trusting in the Lord and truly feeling His presence as He has answered our prayers one at a time in His time of course. That’s the tricky part, just waiting for His time! ( And anyone who knows me knows that patience is NOT my strong suit!)
We started off the Christmas fun by having the kids pick names among each other. We had a lot of fun when the kids exchanged their “Secret Santa” gifts with each other. It was neat to see what they picked out for each other. I think that they were actually more excited to give their gifts to each other than to get their presents.
The next fun Christmas activity was Christmas with my Mom and Dad, Chris, Jess and their families. My parents had a neat idea to try something different. They had everyone meet at their house and they gave each of us a very Christmasy fancy decorated envelope with $ in it. We then loaded up into our cars and headed to the mall. There were a few rules…1) you had to spend your money on yourself. 2) you couldn’t make fun of the giant fancy envelope (that was mom’s rule because she was the decorator!) 3) the person who spent the most money without going over won a secret prize. That added a fun little twist to the day. The boys can be the tiniest bit competitive…I know you are probably shocked by this, but it’s true. When there was mention of a prize…it was GAME ON! It was slightly chaotic and crazy, but a lot of fun! The kids really enjoyed shopping. As Hannah said, “I LOVE envelopes…and I LOVE money… and I LOVE shopping!!!” I must say that I agree. I was able to buy myself a tiny little camera that fits in my purse. LOVE IT!!! All of the kids were very happy at the end of the day except Coley. She had been saving her birthday and Christmas money to buy a mini-notebook computer. Well…when we finally got to Walmart, they were sold out. She was sad. But two days later Pap-pap came through. He called me from Staples. They had the computer that Coley wanted and there was only one left. He picked it up for her. She was so excited! So even though it was belated, she was also a very happy Hough.  The other very happy Hough was Isaac. He was the winner! I thought that I had it in the bag with 32 cents, but the little booger beat me! He only had 8 cents left! He won the “big prize.” It was a very fancy fish ornament. He is to keep it until next year for the next winner. After a long day of shopping, we headed back to Mom and Dad’s house to eat a yummy meal of spaghetti and meatballs. All in all their crazy idea was a success! Fun was had by all!

Here is Mom making the pasta.
Gianna Marie
Coley and Franny waiting for dinner
Isaac
The boys table
Even Lucy was dressed up for Christmas. Don’t you just love her fancy dress!
Here is Isaac with his Trophy Ornament!
Everyone playing with their new stuff.
Mama and Pap-pap with the Hough kids
Our next big Christmas event was Christmas eve. Brian took all of the kids except for Aiden to Pittsburgh for our annual trip to see the Santa exhibit.  I stayed home and made pies, our breakfast for Christmas morning and got all of our church clothes ready for the evening. I actually had a little bit of extra time to paint my nails and straighten my hair! Merry Christmas to me! I enjoyed the gift of a Silent afternoon, while Aiden took a nap. Brian and the kids got home in time to run in and change and then we all hopped into the van and headed to Brian’s mom’s house for the traditional Vagilia Polish dinner. The food was delicious. The company was wonderful. It was a good night.
Gia and her pillow pet
Rexton, armed and dangerous!
Aunt Ne’ just wanted a picture with her godson, but Aiden wasn’t having it!
Here was a good one!
A blast from the past…an old Christmas card featuring my three biggest kids…sooo very cute!
Aiden trying to escape…nice try!
Hannah was loving her Pillow pet too!
All that Isaac really really wanted was a bb gun and “Priest clothes with church stuff.” Babee’ came through and found the robes and a bunch of “church things, like a chalice and a paten.
Sweet baby Jude
Noah was so handsome in his fancy Christmas clothes.
Noah and Sissy
After we left Brian’s mom’s house we headed to the 8:00 Christmas Eve mass at our church. It was packed!!! There wasn’t a single seat left in the church. Not cool considering that we need at least 8 seats just for our family. Brian and the boys went to the basement and brought up some folding chairs which we set up in the entry area of the church. At first I was a little bit disappointed, but I think that it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The main church was so crowded that it was REALLY hot and stuffy. We had a good view of the altar, we could hear everything and it was nice and cool. Definitely a good thing. After mass we loaded back into the car and headed home. It was about 9:30 when we got home and the kids just wanted to get their jammies on and get in bed to get ready for Santa, but I made them get their pictures taken first. I threatened to stay up all night so that Santa wouldn’t come if they wouldn’t cooperate. Mean, but effective! ;0)
My handsome boys
My lovely ladies

My Beautiful Brood
My Handsome Husband and I
Christmas morning brought the usual chaotic whirl of activity. The kids actually woke up before we did. Not a normal thing around here! I popped the breakfast casserole in the oven and Brian turned all of the Christmas lights on. The kids came out and gathered around the table for the reading of the yearly Santa Claus letter and to light the Christ candle in the center of the advent wreath.

Coley reading the traditional letter
Santa DID come!
The gift opening commenced. There were many squeals of delight and excitement. It is so much fun to watch the kids open their gifts! They were all truly happy and thankful for everything.
Aiden in his new Christmas jammies

Isaac and his recruited altar server, Gia playing church with his new church stuff.

Gianna and her “little kid laptop”

Noah
Coley and her new camera

Jake and his ihome

DJ and his new gym bag

Hannah checking out the new tea set…plastic so that Noah can’t smash it like their ceramic one.
After we were done opening gifts, we had the big Christmas morning breakfast…well, most of us did. Hannah had a stomach ache and threw up from waking up too early. Poor thing.  She went back to bed for a couple of hours and was fine for the rest of the day. We eventually got showered and dressed and went to Mema and Poppy’s for lunch. Again…YUMMY food and fabulous company. It was so nice to see my family. Unfortunately Jess and Franny weren’t there. They both had the stomach flu and spent their Christmas day on the couch. After a nice visit we headed back home to relax for a little while before Joan, Patrick and Gramma Hughan came for a visit and to see for themselves what Santa had brought for the kids. we had a REALLY fancy Christmas dinner of frozen pizza, mini tacos and corndogs. Don’t judge me! We had been eating giant meals for days and just needed some food to pick at. I thought that it was quite yummy!
There you have it…our Christmas 2010 in a nutshell. It was full of family, food and  blessings. I couldn’t ask for anything more.