Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Recap

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014!! 

2013 was a great year.  
We made so many memories. 
Cuddling babies
St. Patty's Day 
Losing more teeth 
Potty Training
1/2 marathon
I don't know what 2014 has 
in store for my family but know that there are many more memories to be had. 

Some of my favorite memories this year were -- 
Favorite Memory:  Taking the kids to Chicago
Most rewarding memory:  Completing my second 1/2 Marathon
Biggest milestone:  TIE 1. Lil Miss being potty trained  AND Bubba losing his first tooth and then his second, third, fourth, and fifth! 
Luckiest moment:  Nate and I's weekend in Chicago ending up with him 
watching the Buckeyes play in the Big Ten Men's Basketball Championship
Most beautiful moment:  My little niece getting hitched

So many moments I want to relive.  
So many more moments to come. 
Bring on 2014!!! 
Happy New Year!!!! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Our Christmas

I have been completely absent from the blog this month.  Yikes! 
While away, we have been busy like always making memories. 
December is always a busy month trying to go to Christmas parties, prepare for 
traveling, and of course shopping for gifts.  My goal for this year was to 
change that.  Slow things down.  
I also wanted to put an emphasis on giving back. 
I have spent everyday of December doing something for others. 
It has been as simple as paying it forward at Starbucks, to donating items to 
Goodwill, to writing letters to women who just found out they have breast cancer. 
{blog post on this to follow}
Most of these "acts of kindness" have taken a rather small portion of my time, such as smiling at random strangers throughout the day, but it has given me such an appreciation for the holidays this year. 

Here we are less than a week away from Christmas and 24 hours away from traveling to Ohio for the holidays and I can honestly say I am pretty calm.  Is everything done? No.  
Will it get done?  Yes. 
My to do list is manageable and I even have enough time to sit down and write this post AND 
get a workout in this morning. 

The best part about my "acts of kindness" this month is getting the kids involved.  
Last week, we helped out the Salvation Army by being bell ringers at 
our local grocery store.  I think my kids smiles had people putting a little extra in the bucket!  
Now just when you are thinking "Man, this girl has it going on!".... let me tell you 
how the bell ringing went.  
Yes, we were all smiles and ringing bell but it was cold and about 1/2 way through our 2 hour time slot, Bubba was sitting on the ground taking a break and tells me he has to go to the bathroom.  
Three seconds later he is throwing up all over the lobby of the grocery store.  
Yep.  Puke on him, puke on me, puke on the carpet, puke in a trail all the way 
to the waste basket ten feet away beside the sliding doors.  
What a site!! 

I felt like such a bad mommy. 
Luckily, daddy was on his way and was able to come and 
save the day and take Bubba home to rest.  
The staff at the grocery store was kind in helping me clean up and the girls 
kept ringing their bells amongst all the chaos!  
Making memories!!!  LOL 
{I was hearing ringing in my sleep}
This flu bug that has been going around our house is only a 24 hour thing so 
Bubba was back to his old self the next day..... only to give it to 4 more of us.  
This past weekend we celebrated Our Christmas with just the 6 of us.  
We have done this the past 4 years and take time to do family things over the weekend and 
then exchange gifts.  This year all the gifts the kids got from Mom and Dad were handmade by us.  
When I say "us" I mean me.  Nate isn't really the making type. 
The kids also got a chance to make some gifts for each other.  
We also can't get through a holiday season without making Christmas cookies. 
On Saturday we pulled out the cookbooks and found a few recipes to create.  
I love how much the kids love helping.  They all had a part in something. 
Everyone was taste testers! 
We did take a break from the cookies to have a dance party. 
Gigi was supposed to be helping me reach the cornstarch in the top cabinet when she got the urge to dance.  Love my crazy music loving kids!  

We attempted to make our own gingerbread houses too! 
Being really adventurous, I made two packages of gingerbread and  tried desperately to make large rectangle pieces out of the dough to create houses.  It worked.  They weren't perfect and 
certainly didn't look as pretty as the right of the box kind, but the kids didn't know any different. 

This week Bubba also brought a cookbook home from school. 
I love my kids!  He went to the library at school and picked out a cookbook so we could make some recipes at home.  Seriously they are my children, no denying that!! 
He had a blast making firecrackers.  A drink that includes grape juice, 7 up and ice cream.  
Happily I think we will have more cookbooks coming home from school. 

Sunday is when we finally got to open up gifts.  
You see all the gifts under our tree.... 90% of them were handmade. Only Nate and I's gifts to each other were actually bought at a store.  
After church, we started the fire in the fireplace and exchanged gifts.  
Seeing the smiles on their faces from such little gifts like a Hershey chocolate bar or handmade pajamas makes my heart swell.  It really isn't how much you spend, truely!!! 

There were lots of hugs!!! 
Even this girl smiled from ear to ear. 

After opening gifts, we declared it pajama day and everyone got comfortable in the pajamas made for each one.   I even made myself a pair.
That night we went out and looked at Christmas lights around town.  
We visited a few houses that have their lights programmed to music and the kids had 
a ball dancing around the car watching the lights. 
{first time using a timer on my phone... there are lots of bloopers!}

I love this family tradition of Our Christmas.  
As much as we love being with Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandmas and Grandpa for Christmas, it is 
fun to have a little time with the 6 of us.  
I hope for many Christmases like this to come.  

Now on to more packing.... 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thanksgiving Recap

I know it's already been a week since Thanksgiving, 
I've been slacking, but here is finally a recap of our Thanksgiving week. 
Gigi started out our Turkey Week festivities with a Thanksgiving program at school. 
Lil Miss was a wee bit excited to see her sister!!!
Gigi did great saying her lines and singing their songs. 
{Gigi and her friend Ellie}
When school got out we packed up the truck (because the minivan was in the shop indefinitely) and 
headed to Ohio.  It was a cozy ride with all 6 of us in the truck, but we had alot to be thankful for.  
First on the list was having another vehicle that we could drive home. 
 The kids were so excited to see Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Neil.
On Wednesday night, Nate and I were able to slip away for a few hours to 
visit with some friends.  It's always good to catch up, since not everytime we 
visit do we get time away to see them.  
While we were home in Ohio celebrating Thanksgiving, someone also celebrated her 9th birthday! 
She was completely spoiled and has made enough loom bracelets to go all the way up to elbow!!
{birthday girl}
 The kid's pitched in setting the table at Aunt Kathy's. 
Yes there were three kinds of silverware at some of the place settings, but they 
were placed there with love! 

 I tried to sneak in as many cuddles with 
my little guy Reed at Thanksgiving too.  
He is just the most perfect little baby boy you ever did see!  
Nothing like getting together with the family!!!   

{my brothers}
 Instead of pie, the kids dug into Rosie's birthday cake.  
 On Saturday we recovered from turkey coma by cheering on the Buckeyes as they 
played the biggest game of the year!!!  
The kids had a blast playing with their cousins and got along great!!  
Lil Miss just loves the baby.  It was hard to keep her away from him. 
She was doing her silly face to make him smile.  
 {these two are too cute!!! }  
By the time we headed home on Sunday it was DECEMBER FIRST!!! 
I couldn't believe it.  
My favorite month of the year.  
We spent most of the ride back to Iowa singing Christmas carols and 
starting our wish lists for Santa.  
It's the most wonderful time of the year... you can't tell by my kids faces because they 
were about sick of pictures by this point.  
The disadvantages of having a mommy who is always snapping pictures to capture a moment... even 
the unsmiley ones!!!