Sunday, December 18, 2011

Chirstmas. Home. Family.

Today we had our family chirstmas, Mommy and Daddy gave our presents to the kids and to each other. It was only a few gifts but it meant something to us to give something special to them. Each of the kids got a project to do with daddy, such as making a treasure chest or bug barn, whre they will get to hammer, nail, glue and paint all with Daddy. He is looking forward to this. He does really enjoy spending time with each of them alone, just like I do to... and this way they get to be outside and work with daddy and his tools. {we tried this picture a few times... then mommy gave up!}
This morning we started with church and when we got back the kids couldn't wait to open the presents under the tree. (This little gift opening saves us from hauling a few less gifts back to Ohio for the holidays. Lil Miss was a Dead Man Walking when we got back from church so we had her open her gifts first then she went off to bed while the other kids hooted and hollered while opening the rest. We tried a kid picture in front of the tree... but that was a disaster. I think they were too wound up on sugar -- oh wait we hadn't made cookies yet, I don't know what was in them maybe to much excitement but they couldn't sit still! Rosie was going from the chair to the couch bouncing on furniture literally!

{where do I start?}

{Lil Miss took her time opening her gifts} {it's what I always wanted!!!!}

{the kids got me and wrapped like a tootsie roll, a garden apron AND it has Komen on it!}

{our John Deere girl}
{proud owner of a new craftsmen hammer}

{a gift from Bubba to mommy!! I love!!!} {doing the happy dance}

{the moment he realizes what is in the box!!}I told Nate to be ready with the camera when Bubba opened his third and final box... I was right. Daddy captured the moment he saw what it was... a Green Bay Packers Jersey and not just any Packer's Player... A.J. Hawk a Buckeye alum.


{Rosie gave Daddy a gingerbread man she made in art class}

{our little puzzle maker}

{mommy's little helper}
After opening gifts, Rosie and Daddy headed out to run a few errands and get lunch and Bubba and I started the Cookie Making Marathon. We cranked up the Christmas tunes and put on the aprons and got to work.

{this picture should have video -- because he was jamming out to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer!!}

Cookie Making marathon -- just a few of the ingredients.

{Posing in his new jersey!!}
The cookie making came to a halt when the dishwasher started to leak water everywhere ... so I will continue that tommorrow. We did get to sneak in the making of a gingerbread house before going to bed tonight. Check out our handy work. Daddy wants proper tools next year and gave me lots of advice with what doesn't work... thanks for the help honey. So I think next year he is in charge of the gingerbred making project. Mommy was more worried about the decorating not so much the construction. Lil miss even got into the project by warming up the icing for me by playing with it!! See the whole family was involved!! The three older kids were the general laborers, mommy was the decorating supervisor, Lil Miss was concrete mixer, and Daddy was the Foreman shouting directions from the sidelines but not wanting to get his fingers dirty!! We work like a well oiled machine. LOL Oh the memories.... it was a great day. Can't wait to scrapbook it!!! :-)

I really like being sung to!

I am a happy girl. I am so proud to be mommy to my four little blessings. This week they have shown me extraordinary things. It was the last week for the three oldest swimming lessons. They have grown so much in their first session of swimming lessons. Each one has grown more confident in the water, our little Gigi was scared to get her eyes wet but yet the second class she was going completely underwater. Such a proud mommy!!!

The UPS man has visited our house a couple times this week -- some people's gifts have landed on our door step -- and I always love to get the bright orange packages on our porch. Our Shutterfly Christmas cards came this week, oh I know I am usually one of the first ones to get them out but our pictures didn't get back until thanksgiving. I excitedly opened the orange box to see how they turned out and they didn't disappoint. The best part isn't stuffing the envelopes and addressing the envelopes and putting stamps on and putting them in mail. The BEST part is getting Christmas cards in return. {Christmas cards... luckily I have a little girl who likes to like envelopes!} It's the one time a year I really am like a little girl running to the mailbox to see who's card will be there today. Unlike after Christmas when all we get is bills in the mail... it's definitely not as exciting!

{a few of our cards}
{engrossed in sesame street}
In the morning as we get ready for school I hear the soft strains to sesame street in the background... its a cult. My girls are instantly sucked into the tv... and mommy has 5 minutes before they get bored to comb her hair and put deodorant on. That's about it before my "mommy" time is over.

{card sharks in the making}
Occasionally I come home to a picture perfect picture. Tuesday night was one of those nights. I walked into the house to a battle of UNO, a very intense game I must say. Daddy is pretty cutthroat, he couldn't end without a win!

{Riley and Gigi}
It was all dress up on Friday as we watched a friends daughter. Gigi was so excited to have someone to play with while her older brother and sister were at school. So much more fun than just hanging out with mom.

On Friday the kids had their winter arts program at school. They had been giving us "preview" concerts at home but to see them up on stage was so cute. Their were sooo many parents and grandparents there in the crowd and you could see every child as soon as they walked on stage looking for their mom or dad. I felt so helpless in the back of the room in the dark with three other girls, literally ALL on my lap, and not being able to get the attention of Rosie and Bubba up on stage. But when the lights came on after each of the performances the sight was priceless as Bubba caught sight of Gigi on Daddy's shoulders, or the smile that spread across Rosie's face when she saw me and Daddy in the back. I would have been heart broken if they would have thought we weren't there. As obsessive as I am we have videos of all the performances and as soon as I have time I will post a few. I come to the realization that when my kids grow up they are going to be overwhelmed at all the videos, photos, and art work their mommy took and kept to capture their childhood and keep it close to my heart.
{Hip Hop reindeer}

{All smiles for her recital}
On Saturday was Rosie's big day for her cheerleading/tumbling recital. For mommy it was a LONG day for a 2/3 hour recital just to see Rosie cheer in the LAST song of the recital. What we do for our daughters! Nate was relieved that Bubba had his last basketball game at the same time so that he had a way out. ;-) Good thing mommy caught it all on tape.

The program was through the YMCA, such a great organization and easy for the girls to get there feet wet in something new to see if they like it without paying an arm and a leg!!!

Sitting patiently for her big sister to grace the stage was Gigi. She was such a good girl sitting through all that time of watching little girls up on stage muddle through renditions of Barbie Girl, but my girl loved every minute of it. She sat at the edge of her seat clutching the program asking when Rosie was going on. The highlight was when "Colors of the Wind" came on (from Pocahontas, you Disney novices) and her eyes lit up and she almost screamed the words from her seat. This is a movie she has watched at least 100 times in the car. It never fails if you ask her what movie she wants to watch that she will answer with Pocahantas.

{Rosie and her flowers from Daddy}

We came home with Roses in Rosie's room. She was ecstatic and Daddy was number one in her book.

{Uh.... I didn't do this seriously mom!}

While mommy is slightly distracted, folding laundry or addressing Christmas cards this is what happens. It is a never ending cycle and you would be amazed at what a mess this little girl can create.

I blame my new found love of pinterest for many of the insane Christmas gifts I made. The most elaborate being the 12 days of Christmas for the teachers. Mommy and the kids have spent a few nights putting together the poems and items that have gone with every gift. They are everything from popcorn, dry erase markers, clipboards, chewing gum, and apples. I tried to have the kids do it as a secret santa so the teacher didn't know who it was from everyday... but that did not last even one day. They can't keep a secret at all. The next 4 days are all ready and sitting in a row down stairs to go to their star teachers who have really helped my children in the last 4 month learn alot. The kids get to share in mommy's love of giving. Love it!!! Only 7 more days to Christmas ..... I can hardly wait!!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

if you just believe

Have I said I love this time of year yet? :-) I have really been enjoying the holidays. The reason behind not blogging as frequently lately isn't because of the amount of things I have to get done... all my Christmas shopping is done, decorations are up, Christmas cards are all addressed (as of 30 minutes ago ) but I have been really enjoying my time lately. Can you believe last week mommy had 3, count them 3, nights out!!! I can hardly believe it. On Sunday night, a friend invited me to a women's dessert gala, Monday night was a girl's night out with the Quad City Moms blog that I have grown to love, and Thursday night was rest for mommy while I got my hair colored and cut. I feel so refreshed and pampered by this week. Not to mention we also had a birthday to celebrate... Bubba turned 6!!!! My children are growing up way too fast. Why does it feel like I am not aging and they are? I think I am still 29!! ;-) Tuesday morning was also St. Nick's Day. Now growing up we didn't really celebrate this German tradition but Nate did. So of course we celebrate it!! It's like Halloween -- mommy never did the whole dress up thing for Halloween growing up so now I am making up for it by going all out for Halloween. St. Nick has gotten less elaborate over the last 3 years. The first year St Nick stuffed so much in the stocking that there wasn't an inch of space left. They were showered with small toys, pjs, books, coloring books, socks, everything St Nickolas could find to fit in the stocking. Then last year St Nick put the brakes on it a little bit with of course their Christmas pjs and a few things with a little air left in each stocking. But this year I think he really found his sweet spot. Each kid got the cutest Christmas pjs, toothbrushes, candy cane and one other item. The stockings were even light enough to be hung after being filled.... I cannot always say that was the case. {buddies}
Mommy is a freak when it comes to pictures and the Christmas pjs are a perfect way to have that perfectly coordinated picture Christmas morning with the matching pjs. How many more years can I make that work? I am thinking mommy is going to be really sad one of these years because the kid's aren't going to think it's cool to like their brother and sisters anymore. Tears will be shed I am sure... by me of course. More signs that they are growing up way too fast.
For Bubba's big 5 birthday we made his favorite pizza. The kids got to pitch in helping and everyone got to put their own toppings on their OWN pizzas. Mommy got "infinity" stars for this one. That is out of a 5 point system that we have been using. "Infinity" stars is the highest points any meal can be given! I think mommy scored big on this one.
Most of the mushrooms were eaten out of the can before they went on the pizzas... and sorry daddy but Lil Miss likes the mushrooms!! Just like her momma!

Bubba couldn't wait for the pizzas to come out of the oven.

Our Bubba isn't a big cake fan. In fact, for school treats we brought doughnuts and orange juice instead of cupcakes. So for a birthday treat we took him to Coldstone Creamery for the first time. We usually hit up Whitey's for Ice Cream, but thought we would try someplace new for Bubba's big day. They loved watching their gummy bears, sprinkles, white chocolate chips be mixed in their ice cream. Ewww... yes I know, but they were all smiles eating their mint ice cream with gummy bears. Makes my stomach turn. Lil Miss is also a fan of ice cream, she was not happy when we came to the end of the cup. An ice cream addict just like daddy.
Birthday gifts were an attempt at putting the fun in education. Lame, I think not. He got a Darth Vader Alarm Clock (practical because it has him getting up without mommy being the bearer of bad news and he can learn to tell time) and a start on his own library. The girls and I picked out 7 books just for him. He got Star Wars books, a Kung Fu Panda chapter book, books about ninjas, and more. He was excited and that's what we needed in this household. I was waiting for him to be excited to read. Now when I ask him to get a book to read he can't wait to hear the next chapter. I am so glad, this mommy was wondering if he cared if he ever learned to read. He does have an older sister who would be glad to everything for him that reading was pretty much an option. :-) So I know it sounds like a lame birthday gift... but my man was all smiles. It helps that 1 book was "How to be a Jedi"

Other than eating cakes, desserts, and ice cream last week (i don't really even want to see the scale this week) we had a pretty normal week. Lil Miss was as ornery as ever. Her new thing is stealing people's hats and taking off around the house. We call her the "hat snatcher". Also Lil Miss learned how to give kisses this week and trying to put her own shoes on. Bubba is not too excited about these sloppy baby kisses from his sister.... mommy ooooos and aahhhhs.

Bubba is really coming in to his own on Tae Kwon Do. If you can see his little head behind the punching bag, he was really kicking hard on his blind side kicks. During sparring this week, I got my first look at him putting what he has been learning to practice. it was so cute with the two little boys trying to fight each other. My little man even made the other boy cry -- which is frowned upon but as his mother I was secretly saying "look at my little man go!"

Daddy found some quiet time this weekend. He might even be so relaxed in this picture he fell asleep. LOL

And of course I found time this weekend to bake and cook. I have really started to LOVE to cook. Any excuse to try a new recipe is okay in my book. I tried a recipe of pinterest, oreo cheesecake minis. They got 5 stars for Nate!! WooHoo!! Gigi was all hands in helping so she could swipe all the broken ones. My kind of girl!

I think I will be making these again this week to freeze for Christmas, time to stock pile for the holidays back in Ohio.

I am really trying this year to make Christmas about Jesus. We read stories about Jesus and talk about the manger and Jesus's birth many times throughout the day. My advent wreath is getting its first use this year. I made it many moons ago but the initial candles I bought with it had never been burnt. I know shame on me. but now every Sunday we light the candles talk say a little story about the advent wreath, talk about scripture and talk about the birth of Christ again. It's music to mommy's ears when I hear it even being talked about on a daily basis. Without mommy prodding I am hearing the kids talk about Jesus and the wise men -- or the fancy kings Rosie likes to call them. I think not really being stressed about the holidays has really helped and we have got to enjoy it. This week I also had the kids go through all the toys and pull out toys we don't play with anymore and give them to kids who don't have toys or as much as we do. The kids were able to fill a big garbage bag. I was very proud of them. Santa better put them on the nice list!

Monday, December 5, 2011

the stockings are hung

How I love to get all the Christmas decorations out and decorate a new house. it was fun to figure out where we would put everything throughout the house. Of course a few new items had to be purchased too!!! {stockings all hung by the chimney with care} {Christmas village}
The kids (even lily too) helped us put the village up. It is high enough that the little miss can't destroy it!!

{Our Traditional Christmas Tree}

{our downstairs kid tree} A super girly tree... I love it!!! Last year this was in the girls room, but to make things fair we put it downstairs this year.

Tiki, our elf on the shelf showed up last week. He has been hiding all over the house getting into mischief. I love the look on the kids face in the morning when they notice he is missing and when they find him again. I just want to bottle up the magic!!!

{our advent wreath}
We light the appropriate candles at supper every Sunday. It is a great time to reiterate the meaning of Christmas.
{did I mention I love decorating my mantels?}

Yesterday we took off to go see SANTA!!! We headed to the Family Museum a place the kids always love. The three oldest kids sat very quietly as they were read How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The reader was very animated and had a great voice for the Grinch.

Gigi was super tentative up on the big guy's lap. She happened to be the first one so my little shy girl was scared. I don't think she said a single word while she was up there.

Rosie was ALL smiles... she asked for her two front teeth of course!!!

Bubba was a listening intently to Santa as he told our man about being good to his sisters. Bubba asked for a DS and a candy cane. Fortunately for us he got a candy cane after stepping off Santa's sleigh... 1 down!

{Santa and Lil Miss}
Lil Miss's experience with Santa was so precious. She was looking up into his friendly face and after a few seconds she put on the charm and gave him one of those smiles and put her head on his shoulder.... it was sooo darn cute! Little ornery gril is trying to get off the naughty list!!

Gigi trying to dance with the polar bears.

I just love this picture. Bubba just hanging out with his daddy.

{our little boy!}

I love this time of year... seeing the lights all up outside, hearing Christmas music everywhere, and seeing family and friends so often at Christmas parties. I feel so happy this year. I have so much to be thankful for, I haven't anything to complain about. With almost all my shopping done I haven't been irritated by long lines, or grouchy people at check out lines.... I've just been so cheery. And now I haven't been sneaking into the liquor cabinet before I go shopping. I literally don't let it get to me. my advice to you is to remember the meaning of Christmas and don't get stressed this time of year, enjoy every minute of it because before we now it 2012 will be here!