Thursday, January 31, 2013

Snow Day

We celebrated at the news of a school closure on Monday...I love school cancellations.  We had a ton of snow.  The kids instantly had plans of calling a friend over and playing with them in the fresh deep snow.  First, we had chores and an appointment to take Claire in for immunizations.  After spending nearly an hour shoveling, trying to make sure we could get out of the driveway, we were off.  (p.s., why do shot days always fall on snow days?)
But, it ended up fruitless.  We got stuck.  We were stuck pretty good, in our own driveway.  Jed my husband, and Jed the neighbor got us unstuck, and we just nestled our car right back into the garage.
Then, I broke the news to the kids:  no friends for the day.  But I was actually really happy about that.  :)
So we played a game with spelling words/random facts, danced, did chores, and then when the snow calmed down we went out and enjoyed it.  The sky was so beautiful and bright blue!  That is so rare in winter.  I love having lots of snow.  If you're going to have any, you might as well have lots.  I think it just makes everything seem so cozy.  ;)

I love huge piles of snow!!
 Eat away my friend, it's fresh.
 Snow babies.
Trudging around in the deep deep snow.
 The cutest perfect little snowballs, thanks to the little girls' snowball makers.

Then when everyone was chilled enough, they came in for a hot lunch.  Then onto the next activities!
We planned to perform a couple of skits.  Drew wrote one and Madelyn wanted to act out little red riding hood.  
They are making their own scenery.
 Hannah and Lily each had to color their own poster too.
Hannah is the granny, I think she makes a pretty darn cute one.  (They also got all of the sound effects and costumes ready themselves).  
I didn't get any more pictures of the skits.  I was in the skits, making them a little difficult to photograph.
Claire was the audience.

Drew wrote his own skit,  I just want to record it.  So here it is with all of the original everything:
School Time
1st day of school
At home:
Fred:  I don't want to go to school!
Mom:  You hafe to go to school
Fred:  o.k.

At school:
Fred:  Aaaa chooooo!!!
Teacher:  what's wrong.
Fred:  I'm allirgict to something
Teacher:  You better go home.
Fred:  o.k.

At home again:
Doctor:  You are allergict to something Fred.

In morning:

Mom:  Fred wake up time to go to school.
Fred:  o.k.

At school:
Fred:  Aaa choo!
Teacher:  You are allergict to something at school.
Fred:  I have to go home.

At home:
Mom:  You are sneezing every time you come home from school.
Fred:  I know what I am allergict to!
Mom:  What!
Fred:  I am allergict to school!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Comic relief...

  A couple weeks back, we had a snow day with all of the children home.  It was that day that I also decided to take everyone in and see if there were enough flu vaccines for all of us.  Unfortunately, there were only enough for 3 of us.  Anyway, the rest of the stay at the office was rather exciting.  Lots of bouncing off the walls, whining--some of them were there for a shot after all, and crying--post shots.  Feeling exhausted after calming everyone down and gathering all of the children and belongings back into the car, it felt like I had just run a marathon.... Then, we headed home. 
   In the car, out of the blue, I hear Hannah's little excited voice:  "Hey guys!  How about we have a contest to see whoever can get their boogers out first!!!"
   If that was not enough to send myself into great surprise laugh I hear, "I did!.........I won!!!"
                Oh my goodness!  It was so hilarious and lightened me right up after feeling worn out at the doctor's office.  
It still gets me. Every time.  ;)

Saturday, January 26, 2013


I'm a pretty serious "no-tolerance" mom when it comes to chewing gum.  It has to stay in the mouth, or that gum is a goner.  But, I'm not always around to police the gum chewing activities of my children.  So, we had our first serious gum related accident.  Hannah had a piece of gum intertwined permanently with her hair beyond repair.  Thank goodness it was not way up high on her head!
 So, out of necessity, we cut off about 4 inches of her hair!!
 There she is, hair 4 inches shorter, and waaay more healthy hair.  I think it looks really cute.
   Then check out that first picture, see Lily in the background?  Looking on, admiringly, and of course decided she needed a haircut too.  I only trimmed the very edges of her hair....  Then Madelyn too.  Then Drew also got his haircut.  
Jed and I got our haircut last week....
We've got new do's all the way around.


After observing disturbing table manners in our home, such as throwing each other pancakes instead of passing them, I decided something needed to be done.  Something I've missed since serving in our YW group, is having an Ettiquette dinner like I always did in YW growing up.  That is how our yearly family Ettiquette dinner came to be....  Plus, since I have never had a baby in January ( :) ), that month was in desperate need of some sort of party, and I always love a party...
 The children helped plan the party, they planned the menu....which ended up being rather extensive:
soup, salad, meat, rolls, and dessert.
So naturally, I enlisted all sorts of help.
Madelyn made all the noodles for the chicken noodle soup.
And Drew washed our special dishes.
We always have an Ettiquette lesson before the actual dinner.  And it varies a bit from year to year, last year I included a made up story of a princess who had horrible manners--they thought it was hilarious.
We also dress up to make it more formal.
 Drew and Jed are the official escorts of the evening.

 Jed was catching me demonstrating not desirable manners and tried to catch me on camera....  :)
Jed and I are the waiters and serve the kids.  This year we had different courses.

It was sure fun.
So does that mean everyone in our family has perfect manners at every meal?  No.  But it has given us something to reference to and that sure is helpful! 

My Growing Girl

Sweet little Claire fell asleep in her jumper.  Sad....but cute.
 Developing her writing skills already.  :)
Comfy on dad's lap.  (What in the world is wrong with Jed's hands?!  He was priming all day...)
 Don't leave Claire alone with the mail.  Thankfully, none of this was bills....
(And just to clarify, she wasn't really alone.  We were all talking together right by her, and didn't really notice how big of a mess she was actually making.)

 Too funny.
 With her adoring big brother.
 Showing off....
And growing up, getting all ready to start seriously moving around....

Having Claire in our home has been such a blessing.  She is such a sweetheart and we all love her dearly.  It seems like the last 7 1/2 months have passed in double time.  I guess that is what happens when life is moving at a considerable speed with so many kids.  There are some things I want to record about Claire that I haven't yet, so here goes:
1-When she was a littler baby, she loved to be held vertically and right next to your chest.  If she was held in any other way, she would be fussy.  I loved it so much because her head was in the most perfect kissable range.  :)
2-During her cryie/colicky stage, I remember being totally exhausted one day.  I turned on the Motab 24th of July concert on the computer and she sat with me, in her favorite position, for the entire concert completely content.  It was just what I needed that day.  And I think I will remember that sweet precious moment forever....but just in case.....I'm writing it down.
3-We let her stay in her bassinet in our room for 6+ months.....crazy I know.  But, we were fearing her safety in the other room.  :)  Plus, I loved having her in there with us....minus waking up together several times a night.  It was really hard to move her into the other room.  I just wanted her to stay little a tad longer.  It was so fun to just spend time with just her at nighttime.  
4-She loves to suck on her bottom lip and it is adorable.
5-She just started saying "mamamama" this week and my heart melts to hear it.
6-Claire loves to give me gigantic slobbery kisses--which I love.  And we discovered that she only gives them to me and not Jed.  When she is with Jed she pinches his face.  So we thought it was so funny one night to put it to the test.  We put her up to my face--she gave me the slobbery kisses, then switched to Jed's face--she pinched his face.  We did it back and forth and just laughed!  So funny!
7-When she eats her baby food, she will put her fingers in her mouth following the baby food and then sucks on her fingers.  It works, but man oh man is it messy.  :)
8-Her bottom two teeth just broke through a couple weeks ago.  I was not expecting that at all, since the last three girls were way slow at getting their 11 months old....
9-She has the most kissable cheeks that get kissed by me alone about 100 times daily, maybe more....
10-Everyone everywhere we go talks about her cute curly bangs.  I agree, they are cute.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A New Year!

I love January.  It wasn't always so.  I always thought that January was the worst month of the year.  Time used to just crawl along in January. I've always secretly wanted to have a baby in January, just to give us something to celebrate in the bleak of winter.
But, suddenly January is no longer a dreaded month.  It is already half over!  I can't believe it.
But the real reason that I've come to really love it, is because I've been really thinking deeply about myself, where I'm going, how I'm getting there, and what I need to change so I can realize my goals.  I've always done the resolution thing, and I've always liked it.  Not because I accomplish everything that I set out to do for myself, but because it at least gets me closer to where I want to be.
But for some reason I've enjoyed it even more this year than ever.  
Maybe it's because I've needed to slow down and take a closer look at some things and I've finally done it.  And I feel more that I've been Guided with things that I need to change and improve. 
I've made some specific goals for myself, and so far it's been great.
I love that we are agents who are not just acted upon, but are able to act.  I love that we can be intentional with the things that make up our lives.  I'm grateful for change and progress.
Here's to a new year!!

Christmas 2012

Our Christmas was quite laid back, beside the early rising part...well, I guess when you go to bed in the wee hours of morning, anything feels really early.  Drew and Madelyn woke us up at 6:30 (as we planned and decided to make the new rule) and we had to wake up Hannah, Lily, and Claire.  
There is nothing like children's faces on Christmas morning.

I love watching them discover the treasures in their stocking and seeing the presents that santa left.
It didn't take long before they were ready to open the gifts...
It's all so exciting and fun to watch.
Lily stripped down to the essentials to get ready for her new pajamas...
And there they are.  Elmo ones too.  Elmo (Nemo) is her favorite thing.

Snowball maker for the little girls, Hannah couldn't wait to see if it really worked!
The aftermath. 
 I tried to be patient with the disaster.  I just grazed our home for garbage all day long....
Some of the kids went out with Jed who pulled them behind the four-wheeler with sleds.  
He left me almost alone to cook the Christmas breakfast of pumpkin roll pancakes, hashbrowns, and fruit.  Yum.
Then after breakfast we all went out sledding together.  Jed gave us all a great ride on the sleds and I held the little girls for a big ride.  I decided I need a sled with shocks since I was sore for a couple days after.... :)
Grandparents came throughout the day to exchange gifts and see how Christmas treated us.
And we had a very casual Christmas dinner with ourselves, ham and rolls....oh, and tons of treats. 
 A good day.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Christmas Eve

 I found this picture on the camera, I think a sibling took this picture of little Christmas princess Claire.  It doesn't really count as Christmas Eve...but I threw it in anyway.
Christmas Eve is one of my favorite days ever.  And we had a great one this year.  
We had the opportunity to help a family going through a tough time.  The children and I talked about what they could do and they decided to help them by earning some money to give to them.  Madelyn decorated an envelope and they placed their hard earned cash inside.  True, it wasn't much.  But it was everything they had.  The widow's mite indeed. 
We always have appetizers on Christmas Eve.  They are our favorite.  The kids go crazy for them.  I guess we all kind of do.
 Claire's first pickle.  At first she was leery, but she sucked that thing dry by the end of dinner.
 Lily is holding up her yearly tradition of chugging a cup of egg nog--not even coming up for breath until the cup is empty.
 Then on to my favorite of favoritest parts of Christmas Eve:  the sibling gift exchange.  
The children draw names for each other at the beginning of the month, then are to do extra chores to earn money to buy that special someone a gift.  
To be honest, they procrastinated like crazy til it was starting to eat at me a little.  But then they finally kicked it in high gear and earned their money and Jed and I took them shopping.
I love that part too.  
Each child carefully selecting the perfect gift.....its cute.
Anyway.....Drew could hardly wait for Christmas Eve this year.  He was practically more excited for Christmas Eve than for Christmas day, and he would tell you so multiple times a day after his gift was prepared.  He could not wait to give his gift to Lily!
 And it was SO sweet.  
This is why I love this so so much.
 She loved the gift and made Drew's day.

 Hannah loves the coloring books Madelyn picked out.
Did I mention I love this tradition??  
I love that they look forward to giving and not receiving, at least on Christmas Eve.
I love that we have traditions of our very own and the kids know and love them now too.

 I couldn't really capture what was going on here, other than excitement.
Drew loved what Hannah picked out too, can you tell?
Love the hugs!
The room is just filled to the brim with love!  It's the best.
Claire gave Madelyn these fancy chapsticks, my that Claire has good taste.  :)
 Lily gave Claire some toys, it was so fun to be with her to pick out Claire's toys.  She was very particular....

 The Christmas tree after we loaded the presents underneath.  
We started something new that the kids could come upstairs at 6:30 kind of failed because after everything was out we had the two oldest come up for some reason or another.  One involved throwing up.....not sure if that was sickness or sheer excitement...
Our Christmas Eve festivities changed a bit this year.  We usually go out and look at Christmas lights and do the nativity.  It was so snowy that night (which I loved) that we decided to not go out on the crazy roads, and we did the nativity with cousins at my parents house the night before.  
So we sang Christmas songs, did our gift exchange, read a story, and then watched a movie.  It was low key and perfect.  Then we sent the younger ones to bed, and hung out with the older ones and played games.

Good times.