online christmas letter, part 1

The great thing about doing your Christmas letter online is that you can make it as long as you like. Mwahahaha. I'll start with the kiddos. You also have the liberty to not take yourself so seriously & share some of the ugly with the pretty.

Hi Friends!
We hope this Christmas season is bringing you joy and gladness over the birth of our Savior. I feel incredibly blessed to be celebrating this holiday as a Connolly - a part of our small, sweet little family - but even more blessed to be celebrating it as a part of God's family. Now on to our long list of accolades you should know about. Well, not really.

Elias Powell Connolly started out this year with a bang, turning two! It feels like a million years ago that we had his "Cars" party and I'm pretty sure we've watched Cars together during naptime about a million times since then. This year was big for Elias in the area of locomotives - cars, trains, anything that has wheels. I would estimate the he spends about 37% of his day tinkering on his little cars and trains, breaking them and putting them back together and setting aside the ones he would like Daddy to "fiss" for him. He actually thinks his dad is the greatest guy in the whole world and he thinks our garage only exists for Nick to "fiss" everything from booboos to snow to Glory's arm.

It's hard to even imagine him and Glory at the beginning of this year, just beginning to play and cuddle together. As the year went on, their relationship has grown so strong and beautiful. Elias is an amazing brother to her and loves her with a fierce and protective love already. He also like to trick her a lot too, and he convinces her to "swish" toys a lot - leaving her with the poopy ones. But - most of the time, he really loves her and it is amazing to watch them together.

Somewhere in the middle of the summer, Elias' talking just started doubling! We had been waiting and waiting to hear what was going on in that head and it is so sweet now to hear all he has to say and we can't wait for more! Except for when he is begging/nagging me for food and then sometimes I wish he didn't have so many words. Or when he repeats some phrase I say that is annoying like, "ummmmmmm" or "ARE YOU SERIOUS?".

He loves to read and to be read to. His favorites are The Jesus Storybook Bible, Goodnight Moon, DinoTrain, and my actual Bible. My heart feels really warm when I finish reading a chapter to him during lunch and he says, "again! again!".

He loves tv, his truck pajamas, his big boy bed, Christmas, trains, cars, picking his nose, diapers instead of potty training, cuddling, Glory, his "frens", balloons, & holding Benjamin.

And we love him - to pieces. Elias is such a piece of hope in our lives because each day is really exciting with him - hearing him say new things and learn so much. I can't wait to see what THREE, (AGH, 3?!) will hold for him.

So, Miss Gloriana Eloise.
What a difference a year makes.
At the beginning of 2009, we had a feisty little baby who who knew had some super strong baby strength, but now we have this insanely amazing little girl - with a personality the size of a small universe and more beauty than her Daddy is comfortable with.

I'll tell you one thing for reference, she's changed very little physically! I put her in the same tights she wore last Christmas the other day, and they weren't even too small. She is just a little thing that shouldn't be able to do all she can with her tiny little limbs, but if you doubt her for a second - you'll regret it.

As predicted, Glory started walking when we were in the hospital as Benjamin was being born. From there on, it was the the whole goal of her year was to show her independence. Her most favorite phrase is "I DO IT." and we pray over her constantly that the Lord would use her self-suffiency for His glory, but that He'd teach her heart that it's ok to rely on Him and on others in her life. Then Nick usually prays that over me, since she is learning from the worst!

In all seriousness, she is a joy. She can't go a few hours without dancing, laughing, making us laugh, or making her Dad shed a tear over her beautiful little self.

She loves babies - specifically Benja, princesses, the color pink - which she calls "purple", making Elias laugh, walking up to me and saying "Mommy - holds you!", giving hugs, her lovey, her penguin Happy, her puppup, corndogs, shrieking, flowers, the occasional bite, having her hair done, not sitting still, and dancing.

and now, our little prince,
Benjamin Haddon.
In so many ways, our family didn't feel complete until he was born. After what felt like an incredibly long wait, he was born on May 27th and really became the greatest new toy our kids could ever ask for. Glory spent about three days unsure of him, and then he just won all of our hearts.

I believe the pc word for his condition is HUSKY. He's a big boy. Lately, as Elias grows out of something, we just shift it right to Benjamin's because if he doesn't fit in it yet, he will soon! From the get-go, he has actually been the sweetest, happiest baby I could ever imagine. He also has the stinkiest poops I could ever imagine, but he is so sweet - I usually don't mind.

It seemed like he had a pretty long extended infant-season and just wanted to be our baby, and be held for a looooong time but now he is waking up to the idea of being a baby. At seven months, he's just starting to roll over and say some sounds and play with toys. We were content to keep him as a baby forever - but if he insists on growing up we will concede.

He likes um... everything! He likes people, food, giving mammoth kisses, and cuddling. He loves Glory and Elias and his Daddy. He is a just a big, chubby ball of joy and we feel really loved by God to have such a great addition to our family.

Shepherding our kid's hearts this year has been an honor and a challenge all at once. I can't believe how much they've grown and I can't wait to spend another year with them.
Thanks Jesus.
And, some of my favorite pictures from the year.



the boyz

my sweet, messy lady

Glor after her surgery
beach bod

one of many Bellevue playdates with 'frens'

big boy

playing in Puyallup

snow day

baby gurl

the wild things

who is this little thing?

with a fistful of cars and short hair

all three babes on easter

Benja in the NICU