Monday, December 31, 2007

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Welcome 2008!!!

I always love the new year. I always feel so grateful for the previous year and so excited for all that will come in the new year. I usually set 1000 new year's resolution, 2 or 3 of which I generally follow through with. I haven't taken the time to set my 1000 new year's resolutions for this year but I have joined in on a "resolutionary challenge" with a group of people from my ward: a competition of developing new healthy habits each week. We get points for each day we do the new healthy habit and over 7 weeks whoever earns the most points wins the pot of money that everyone contributed to (if you want to join the challenge, let me know and I'll e-mail you the info) so I guess that's a start.

I guess my goals will include:

* I'd like to run another marathon this year

* I'd like to better understand what it means to be "pure in heart" and work on becoming it

* I'd like to be better at keeping in touch with family and friends (you all know I suck at this and it will be nothing short of a miracle for me to acheive!)

* And of course, I want to be a good mommy!

2007 was great - perhaps the greatest and most life changing year of my life yet. There were many highlights most of which I have previously blogged about, but I thought I'd review some moments of the year.

Year in Review:

No matter what part of the nation we live in (well at least while we lived in UT and now in MA) Darek's favorite b-ball team, the Seattle SUPERSONICS come to town to play in honor of his birthday. We saw them play the Jazz a couple times on Darek's birthdays while living in UT and last year the Sonics wanted to celebrate Darek's birthday again so they came to town to play (and kill) the Celtics. Ironically - they are coming again this year. We already have tickets to see them play (and likely get killed by) the Celtics for Darek's birthday this year. This is becoming quite the tradition. Thanks Sonics for always coming to town for D's b-day.

Darek's parents came to visit in April when Darek was put into our bishopric. It made the experience even more special that they would come across the whole US of A to be a part of it. Thanks Ma and Pa McCoy!

We took them sightseeing a bit: here at the beautiful Boston temple.

There were many a bike ride along the Charles River, always a favorite pass time

We got to visit friends and family in UT last summer, which we are planning on doing again this year so get ready for some fabulous festivities you Utahans!

This was the first time my whole family was together in a few years. Ironically by the time this picture was taken Darek had already headed back to Boston for work so he's missing from this photo.

We got to spend time with nieces and nephews including attending the dance recital of this little lady!

Hanging out in downtown Salt Lake with the fam

Another cute niece

Still hanging out downtown

Tour of the tabernacle

In July Darek's parents came to town again. We celebrated the fourth by watching the Boston Pops play at the Esplanade, which was really great!

We also spent a few days with them touring the capital of our fine nation, Washington DC, which was a really cool experience.
Iwo Jima Monument

George Washington's mansion and Darek acting like he's cool like the good man, G.W.

Another mansion where another George W. dwells

Jefferson memorial, one of my favorites

And my very favorite - Jojo! She and her cute little family met us in DC to hang out for an afternoon! Isn't she the cutest?

The DC temple - beautiful!

I never got to blog about turkey day because I headed to the hospital two days later for the birthing of the son - but we celebrated with our friends the Noyes, Cox and Weeks families! The food was so delicious I just about died! And the best part was that my fabulous friends did all the cooking and just had me bring the cranberry sauce and sparking cider! So lucky! Pays off to have the big belly!

Darek also got to visit the Phoenix McCoys and the Las Vegas McCoys this year. I was pretty jealous! I haven't hung out with many of the McCoy siblings/nieces/nephews in forever but hopefully will soon. We are having a multi-family reunion this March in Salt Lake when we will be blessing Atticus the same Sunday our niece gets baptized and our nephew gets blessed.
Everyone is invited and I'm hoping to see lots of McCoys!

And of course the highlight of the year:
the arrival of the little bug

He's such a rock star, even his socks think so

a little spa bath in the sink

and the countdown...can't wait for the 2008 holidays!

It has been a great year! Hope 2007 was great for you too and 2008 is filled with happiness and love!
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Hope you had a great holiday...

this is not what a "My First Christmas" photo is supposed to look like! don't worry, he was happy the rest of the day, just not at photo shoot time.

cereal anyone? the mccoy family has a tradition of eating cold cereal for breakfast on christmas, and specifically the little tiny boxes of sweet cereals. i'm kind of embarassed that we have so many kinds of's a major staple in the mccoy household (this should not be a surprise to any of you who have been a roommate of mine in the past!)

have you read this book? if not, i recommend it. it shows how the tradition of santa actually symbolizes the life and example of Jesus Christ. i love it and it makes me believe in santa and how he represnts the true meaning of Christmas - love and giving to others!

we had a great christmas. i didn't even remember to be homesick until my family called me in the evening to say hi. it was really nice to spend the day with darek and atticus and just hang out. we hope you all had a great day as well!

Downtown on Christmas Eve

We spent last night meandering around downtown enjoying the seasonal atmosphere. The sunset was gorgeous and it was so nice to be outside. I just thought I'd share some pictures from our outing.

The Christmas tree in the Common

Monday, December 24, 2007

The First Christmas
please, please take the time to read the following excerpt from
Christmas Doesn't Come from a Store
by Jeffrey R. Holland
As a father, I have thought often of Joseph—that strong, silent, almost unknown man who must have been more worthy than any other mortal man to be the guiding foster father of the living Son of God. It was Joseph selected from among all men who would teach Jesus to work. It was Joseph who taught him the books of the Law. It was Joseph who, in the seclusion of the shop, helped him begin to understand who he was and ultimately what he was to become.
I was a student at Brigham Young University just finishing my first year of graduate work when our first child, a son, was born. We were very poor, though not so poor as Joseph and Mary. My wife and I were both going to school, both working, and in addition we worked as head residents in an off-campus apartment complex to help pay our rent. We drove a little Volkswagen which had a half-dead battery because we couldn’t afford a new one (Volkswagen or battery).
Nevertheless, when I realized that our own special night was coming, I believe I would have done any honorable thing in this world, and mortgaged any future, to make sure my wife had the clean sheets, the sterile utensils, the attentive nurses, and the skilled doctors who brought forth our firstborn son. If she or that child had needed special care at the finest private medical center, ! believe I would have ransomed my very life to get it.
I compare those feelings (which I have had with each succeeding child) with what Joseph must have felt as he moved through the streets of a city not his own, with not a friend or kinsman in sight, nor anyone willing to extend a helping hand. In these very last and most painful hours of her “confinement,” Mary had ridden or walked approximately 160 kilometers from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea. Surely Joseph must have wept at her silent courage. Now, alone and unnoticed, they had to descend from human company to a stable, a grotto full of animals, there to bring forth the Son of God.
I wonder what emotions Joseph might have had as he cleared away the dung and debris. I wonder if he felt the sting of tears as he hurriedly tried to find the cleanest straw and hold the animals back. I wonder if he wondered: “Could there be a more unhealthy, a more disease-ridden, a more despicable circumstance in which a child could be born? Is this a place fit for a king? Should the mother of the Son of God be asked to enter the “valley of the shadow of death” (Ps. 23:4) in such a foul and unfamiliar place as this? Is it wrong to wish her some comfort? Is it right He should be born here?”
But I am certain Joseph did not mutter and Mary did not wail. They knew a great deal and did the best they could.
Perhaps these parents knew even then that in the beginning of his mortal life, as well as in the end, this baby son born to them would have to descend beneath every human pain and disappointment. He would do so to help those who also felt they had been born without advantage.
I’ve thought of Mary, too, this most favored mortal woman in the history of the world, who as a mere child received an angel who uttered to her those words that would change the course not only of her own life but also that of all human history: “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women” (Luke 1:28). The nature of her spirit and the depth of her preparation were revealed in a response that shows both innocence and maturity: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38).
It is here I stumble, here that I grasp for the feelings a mother has when she knows she has conceived a living soul, feels life begin and grow within her womb, and carries a child to delivery. At such times fathers stand aside and watch, but mothers feel and never forget. Again, I’ve thought of Luke’s careful phrasing about that holy night in Bethlehem:
“The days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and [she] wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and [she] laid him in a manger” (Luke 2:6–7; emphasis added).
Those brief pronouns trumpet in our ears that, second only to the child himself, Mary is the chiefest figure, the regal queen, mother of mothers—holding center stage in this grandest of all dramatic moments. And those same pronouns also trumpet that, save for her beloved husband, she was very much alone.
I have wondered if this young woman, something of a child herself, here bearing her first baby, might have wished her mother, or an aunt, or her sister, or a friend, to be near her through the labor. Surely the birth of such a son as this should command the aid and attention of every midwife in Judea! We all might wish that someone could have held her hand, cooled her brow, and when the ordeal was over, given her rest in crisp, cool linen.
But it was not to be so. With only Joseph’s inexperienced assistance, she herself brought forth her firstborn son, wrapped him in the little clothes she had knowingly brought on her journey, and perhaps laid him on a pillow of hay.
Then on both sides of the veil a heavenly host broke into song. “Glory to God in the highest,” they sang, “and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). But except for heavenly witnesses, these three were alone: Joseph, Mary, and the baby to be named Jesus.
At this focal point of all human history, a point illuminated by a new star in the heavens revealed for just such a purpose, probably no other mortal watched—none but a poor young carpenter, a beautiful virgin mother, and silent stabled animals who had not the power to utter the sacredness they had seen.
Shepherds would soon arrive and, later, wise men would follow from the East. But first and forever there was just a little family, without toys or trees or tinsel. With a baby—that’s how Christmas began.
It is for this baby that we should shout in chorus: “Hark! the herald angels sing Glory to the newborn King! … Mild he lays his glory by, born that man no more may die; born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth” (Hymns, 1985, number 209).
Perhaps recalling the circumstances of that gift, of his birth, of his own childhood, perhaps remembering that purity and faith and genuine humility will be required of every celestial soul, Jesus must have said many times as he looked into the eyes of children that loved him (eyes that always best saw what and who he really was), “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3).
Christmas, then, is for children—of all ages. I suppose that is why my favorite Christmas carol is a child’s song. I sing it with more emotion than any other:
Away in a manger, no crib for his bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head
I love thee, Lord Jesus; look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh
Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And fit us for heaven to live with thee there
(Hymns, 1985, number 206)
Merry Christmas!
'Twas the night before Christmas
and all through the house
not a creature was stiring
not even a MOUSE...

WAIT - scratch the last part because there is indeed a measley little mouse living in our house! Darek saw the little sucker last night while he was rocking the babe to sleep! Get out of my house you measley little mouse!

Other then rodents living in our house we had a lovely Christmas Eve! We went downtown and walked around the Common and had dinner at PF Chang's. Then we came home to do all of our Christmas Eve traditions: reading the Christmas story, opening select gifts, drinking egg nog and such!

One month old today!

We also took Atticus to get pictures taken with Santa!

He was less happy about being a stocking stuffer!

sweet dreams to all - I hope Santa makes all your dreams come true!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Nothing like a hot shower...
at 2:30 in the afternoon

then again when you stay in the shower for so long that you have to rinse your hair with COLD water it kind of defeats the purpose

So, today was going to be the day - that all important, pivotal I'm-going-to-take-my-newborn-to-chuch-for-the-first-time day. BUT - it became quit clear to me during the 3 AM feeding that neither Atticus nor I (mostly the I part) would be up for church today. Not only is church time a normal feeding time for the little man, but the idea of getting up early enough to get ready and be on time with major sleep deprivation to factor in? Impossible! Instead Atticus and I had a lazy day at home...well, I say lazy but "lazy" in new mom languange means feeding, burping, rocking, try to napping, and starting all over again (read: no personal hygiene care for mom). Luckily I had Atticus all spic and spanned by the time his daddy got home. As for me, however, Darek came home to a real beauty queen of a wife, poor guy! Luckily once he was on daddy duty not only did I get to go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, and shower, but I actually got to eat something! Such simple pleasures. For a minute I even had high aspirations of tackling big projects such as the dishes and gift wrapping, but I quickly came to my senses and decided that napping would be my most effective use of time...which lasted about 2.2 and here I now find myself, typing one handed and feeding the little bug!

My favorite Christmas gift this year...

daddy burping the babe

PS ~ the little bug was 4 weeks old yesterday! Hooray for not only surviving the first four weeks, but actually enjoying them! His feeding frenzies have paid off too as he weighed in at a whopping 8 lbs 13 oz this week, up from 7 lbs 7 oz, and he's grown 1 1/4 inches. Some of his newborn pj's actually fit this week and will likely be too small next week. Silly mom, I already find myself lamenting the fact that he is growing up too fast!

Friday, December 21, 2007

We hope you are all enjoying a happy and safe holiday season!

I love this time of year and find that I feel especially grateful for my blessings throughout this season. We feel blessed and grateful for each of you for your support, friendship and love. I'm feeling particularly grateful and humbled this year as I reflect upon the experiences of 2007. Perhaps not all of you know that the last week of November 2006 I miscarried my first pregnancy. It was a painful and difficult trial and a real growing experience. I feel so grateful and blessed that the last week of November 2007 I delivered a happy, healthy beautiful baby boy. Our Father in Heaven is a God of miracles and He continues to perform miracles in all of our lives, perhaps not in the way we expect but in the way He intends, which is always better then we could have ever imagined!
May you all be blessed with miracles and happiness this holiday season!
*** The McCoy Family ***

Thursday, December 20, 2007

so remember how once upon a time this picture was in my banner and how now only a fragment of this picture graces my banner? blogger has always had it out for me! any ideas on how I can get the full picture back in my banner? the logical "just upload it to your banner" possibility is, in reality, an impossibility as I have tried this and once again been bamboozled.

Blogger vs. Amberli - victory: blogger

The Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

For the sake of simplicity this year we ordered a fake little Charlie Brown Christmas tree from Target. It's perfect for our first little family Christmas at home. We decorated it with all of our old decorations that we each inherited from our parents that hung on our childhood Christmas trees. I've followed in my mom's footsteps and bought Christmas tree ornaments as souvenirs whenever we travel anywhere so it was fun to pull out our ornaments and be reminded of all of fun travels since we've been married.

Daddy and babe for baby's first Christmas.

Please notice Uncle Rico's orange van gracing our sweet little tree near the bottom of the photo! I purchased that little gem in none other then Preston, Idaho when I attended the 1st annual Napoleon Dynamite festival a couple years ago. So well travelled.

More Christmas decor, nothing fancy, just fun and festive.

I can't believe how this month has flown by and we're a few days away from Christmas. I love this time of year but have barely been able to enjoy it since the time has flown so quickly. Yeah, Christmas cards aren't even an option for me this year so...
Merry Christmas!

third snowstorm in seven days

i went out to dig out this sucker while atticus napped so that when we went to his pediatrician appointment later in the afternoon the car would be all ready to go. well so much for that plan, the car was totally buried again by the time we had to leave. nothing like these nor'easter snowstorms.

this is what our backyard looked like when we moved in...

our backyard today...