Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Christmas- The actual day

Ready for one more?
Okay, here is the breakdown of Christmas Day. First we open gifts at our home and then we head to my folks' at about 9am.

So, The kids woke us up at 5:20. No surprise there. We ate a light breakfast, and stayed in our PJs. My parents decided to do a pajama theme this year, so that made things easy. We just packed clothes to change into later.

Fred and I talked to the kids (again) about the real meaning of Christmas. We showed them a video clip from The Visual Bible Matthew. We had already read them the story the night before. They do the question and answer fairly enthusiastically, which always kinda surprises me... I always worry that they'll be too focused on the unopened gifts sitting a few feet away.

Fred always hands the gifts out one at a time, so we can see what everyone opens. I really like that. My Dad did it when we were growing up, too. The kids need to take pleasure out of what each person receives, and it's also nice for them to watch others open the gifts they had made. The first time I did Christmas with Fred's mom I was shocked that they all just wake up and do a mad dash for the gifts. There is no story, no breakfast together, no savoring the time or ...anything. No traditions whatsoever. I did not realize that people really "celebrate" that way.

So, anyway, I'm very thankful that my husband has started these routines for our family. Isabelle even stopped after every gift and hugged and thanked us. Including after she opened a crossword puzzle book from her stocking. :-) So cute. Trevor was the only one saying "I want to open more presents. More!" Little rascal.

So, 9am we headed off to Mom and Dad's. My sisters and their families were already there. Mom had made a big breakfast of biscuits and gravy and eggs. We all took our time, ate food and drank coffee. We're a coffee lovin' family, let me tell you.

Julie and I put our babies down for naps and then we all gathered in the living room for my Dad to read the Christmas story. This was the second year that he's read it from his Palm Pilot. Ha. The age of technology. I should have taken a picture.

Then Dad passed out the gifts. The grown-ups alternate between opening their own gifts and helping the kids. It's so much fun to spend Christmas with my family. After all of the opening and cleaning was done, we spent some time looking over and enjoying our presents. The kids got new games and books and music and cameras....lots of stuff to keep them busy for awhile.

After lunch (lasagna and homemade bread and salad... YUM) we played games. Another family tradition. First we played Balderdash. I stink at that game, but I always enjoy it anyway. It was the new one, with movie titles (you have to come up with a convincing synopsis), People, Acronyms, Weird Words, etc. I believe my Dad won that game. And I did NOT come in last! Woo-hoo!

Next we played Cranium. I love it! We drew names for teams. Wouldn't you know that Fred and I ended up together! Neither of us were thrilled. Ha, ha. I guess we're both sick of losing. At least Amy and Vu were on different teams. They kill us when they play together. So that was great, too, despite the many distractions from 6 kids. No one minded, and the kids took it all in stride, too. They'd play on Noni's team for awhile and then switch. ;-) Adam and Vu ended up winning. And, again, we did NOT come in last. YEA! I guess you can tell that I'm really not ultra-competitive.

We had three fun Christmases, and today was our back-to-normal day. We did another room-by-room cleaning. That means we clean one room together, then eat a piece of chocolate and take a 20 minute play break. Then we move on to the next room. We clean as fast as we can for 20 minutes (I set the timer.) It works wonders and we're all happy. I don't know who looks forward more to the chocolate, me or the kids! It's itty bitty pieces, btw.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!! Jesus is the reason for the season and we are the reason for Jesus. Thank you, God!!

Christmas on the Eve

Okay, so we went back to that neck of the woods on Christmas Eve. We had a party at Fred's aunt and uncle's house. We saw Fred's grandma, aunts, uncles, cousin, nieces, and his two other sisters. Lots of yummy food! My kids kept sneaking the summer sausage and chips (things we don't ever have at home.)
Oliver enjoyed opening gifts with Cindy.

There was one major incident when Fre'ds 3-year old niece fell in a pond! Stacy, Cindy, and I had just walked in to say good-bye when it happened. Fred and his Dad were outside with the kids and immediately saw her, thank God. Of course it was nearly freezing outside, and she was frantic. Fred ran for her and began pulling her out. His Dad went ahead and jumped in to get her out faster. Poor little girl. We kept warning the kids to stay away from the water. It's a manmade pond right near the backdoor. Sooo, that was a scary close call, but it all turned out okay.

Christmas on the 23rd

It's fun to dress boys up, too!

When my in-laws got home from evening church we headed over to their house. Fred has 19-year old (?maybe) twin sisters, and one of them (Kayla) came with her fiance. We opened gifts with them, took pictures, watched football, and ate. Typical Christmas gathering, I guess. It was fun, and nice to see them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Workin' for Free!

Isabelle told me that we needed to buy some ice-cream when we headed to the store. I explained that Daddy only gets paid on Fridays, so today we could only buy bread and some icing for the party tomorrow. She was flabbergasted, "Well, why does he leave every other day if they are only paying him for Fridays?!" Hahaha!! So funny. That one needed some more explanation!

Again, it's LATE and I'm TIRED, but need a quick update on here so I don't feel like a total slacker!

Quick version (maybe), and then more later.
And, sorry, people but I don't have time for links, so you'll just have to look things up for yourself. I know, I'm so considerate.
So, here goes.
The 15th was my hubby's bday! Wow. Time flies by. Next year I'll be able to really tease him about his age. And I'll be throwing him a surprise birthday party then, too. You are all invited. Just remember that. This time next year.

Every year really has gotten better. Not that it started out badly, but we were young and stupid. I know people always say "naive", but we were just stupid. We got married, fought, had problems, and then grew up together. Having kids helped that whole process along! So, anyway, now he's my best friend. He makes me laugh all the time. I can't wait 'til he gets home from work, and I look forward to that 1:30pm call every day. I know, it's all silly, but I love it. And I love him, and it was very fun to celebrate another birthday together!!

What else? Well, the Christmas tea was GREAT! I realized I never posted a sequel to the last post about it. There was no speaker!! YEA-- and, just to be sure, I showed up 20 minutes late so as to miss any unpleasantness. Actually, I just missed the prayer and devotional. Oh, well. The food was the important thing anyway, right? And the singing was fantastic!! Good job, youth girls!

Hmmm... Umm...Oliver has been waking me up every 3 hours at night, so I'm having trouble thinking.

Tomorrow is a cookie party at a friend's house. So the kids and I baked cookies today, some to decorate for tomorrow and some to share for snacks. That was fun. We also did a lot of our schoolwork outside today b/c the weather was GREAT. When it started to get chilly, we started a fire and had "recess" (aka digging time and Frisbee.)

OH-- And yesterday I took Isabelle and Ethan to a movie for the first time!! (Yes, they are 8- and 6- years old. I'm not big on spending money to watch a big TV screen.) But we saw Enchanted, and it was quite good. Thanks for the review, Ann-Marie!! It's one of those movie that makes you want to leave singing and dancing. LOVE it. And there were only 4 other people in the theater with us. Unfortunately, our movie stopped abruptly twice and we had to get someone to turn it back on!!! New theater and I guess they had some glitches. If I'd been in one of my feistier moods I probably would have demanded a refund. But it was a happy movie, so I was happy and the guy lucked out.

Okay, gotta hit the sack... only to be awakened in a few hours, I'm sure... pray for me!! ;-)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Intruder plan

Okay, so I was reading this article in Reader's Digest about an intruder that entered this family's home. As if I'm not scared enough already when I hear a noise at night...
So I decided that we should have a plan if we are ever in a situation like that. I thought about what Fred should do, where I would run, etc. I'd almost made up my mind to switch to the other side of the bed, just in case. I told Fred about the article, but before I could give him my well-thought-out-plan, he says, "oh, that's easy... you lift up your shirt and while he's distracted, I'll escape!" Ha! So much for my plan. I guess it's good that I have a husband who "lightens the mood" all the time! :-)

Monday, December 10, 2007

My online Christmas letter!!

I've been finishing up Christmas cards, letters, I might as well make a Christmas update e-letter, too, while it's all in my head... I realized that my official letter had very little about our immediate family, b/c so much had happened this year with extended family.

Schooling is about to hit a holiday brick hall. The kids are so thrilled about Christmas coming! The Advent calendar is helping with the hourly "how many days left, Mommy?" We've been spending all of "art class" making Christmas gifts. I felt guilty about less "real" school time until I remember that I started back with table time just days after Oliver was born. We were doing K12 and I couldn't afford to take any time off . So that 6 week break that most people get is what I'm going to take some of now (maybe 2-3 full wks off)! And anyway, I know that learning is still happening all over the place. We bake, measure, scrub, play games, read constantly. Life lessons.

Isabelle: She is growing up so fast! She keeps reminding us that in "just five years," she will be a teenager! She loves to be in charge. She loves recognition. She loves "book work." And she adores her baby brother. In her free time, she studies sign language. She unloads the dishwasher every morning without being asked!! She can be sassy and disrespectful at times, but she is definitely the easiest child. Typical first born! Isabelle also LOVES art and music. She draws all the time, and she enjoys making homemade gifts for people. She's like a mini-version of me, so I have to be very careful about what I do and say. Right now she's still more sugar than spice! :-) She's also an amazing prayer warrior, and reminds me constantly who and what to be praying about.

Ethan is still so passionate. He's our deep feeler. It's hard to be the middle child sometimes. He wants to do all of the things that Isabelle does. But he doesn't want her responsibilities...and he doesn't want to have to work as hard on his school work. He needs me by him, helping him constantly or it's too hard and he's too distracted. He's so smart (but not at all self-motivated!) Ethan loves to hug. And he will hug anyone! Just ask for one, if you need cheering up. :-) Ethan also loves baths, and wants to stay in the warm water for 30 minutes at least. He loves his little brothers, but regularly gets irritated at the way Trevor plays. They always seem to "need" the same things at the same time. Ethan loves all living things, and gets very distraught if he sees Trevor smash a ladybug or inadvertently squeeze a worm to death. I believe someday he will work helping animals or people.

Ah, Trevor...definitely my hyper-active child. It's that turbulent age of 2 that has now carried over into 3... but we’re gonna make it. Trevor loves movies. I've never met a 3-year old that enjoys movies quite so much. Little rascal. If it were up to me, we wouldn't even own a tv. Trev memorizes his favorite books, and likes them read over and over...and over and over. Right now it's Baby Mickey's Nap. Trevor also loves "smooshy things," like yogurt, pudding, Jell-O. And he will eat bananas until he gets sick, if we'd let him! Trevor always runs, always yells, and seems to tumble and roll, and jump over everything in his path. He is just a moving ball of energy...and he's recently stopped taking naps. Of course, now he goes to bed at 7:30, so that's good...but I sure do miss those relaxing two hours when he was asleep after lunch! Oh, and he's potty-trained now! Even gets up at night to potty! Yea!

Oliver is growing faster than I can keep up with. It seems like he was just born, yet he turned 8 months on the 4th of December! He has 2 teeth and is breaking through 2 more. He army-crawls now, and tries to pull up on everything. When Daddy reaches for him, he grins and clings to my shirt. It's a game they play. He is so happy, laughing all the time, kicking his feet, yelling when he wants attention. He eats almost everything that we eat, in squished, small portions. He is drinking from regular sippy cups and is also still nursing about every 3- 3 1/2 hours. I love to nurse.

My honey: still at La-Z-Boy, but holding out hope for a different job. Please keep praying. He is so funny. I thanked him for putting a new trashbag in the can the other day, and then he walked and acted mentally ill for 20 minutes to make a point. He's such a peaceful phlegmatic; so laid-back, relaxed, makes everything into a joke. It drives me crazy sometimes, but keeps everything light. He rarely worries about anything, which is a great example for me. He wants to start evening classes at NWACC next year. That will be a big adjustment for us, but I think it will be great for him! This year he's also gotten involved in some men's ministry things at church, and some homeschool functions with us. Every year gets better. We had our 10-year anniversary in November.

Me? Still homeschooling! Some days are so great and easy...and other days are real character-developers! I'm learning new meanings of the word "Patience." But you reap what you sow, and I hope that I'm sowing a lot of good & love for God in their hearts! They know I love to be home with them, and I love to teach them. I'm also working with my photography now. I can't think of a better way to make some money, have some fun, be around people, and still stay home with the kids. I do have all of the equipment now, except for a few extra lights and umbrellas that I would like to purchase eventually. And I have some jobs tomorrow, which will help with money right before Christmas!

We still have no pets. I tried to take our fish back for awhile, but I HATE cleaning that bowl, and I would regularly forget to feed the darn thing. So it went back to my parents' house. I think I'd like to get a cat animal that isn't totally dependent on me. Although I doubt I could ever let it in the house, because I'm just not like that. It would drive me crazy. And I know I could never handle a litter box. Maybe I should just pet other people's cats.

We're still in the "yellow cottage." I think we'll be here for quite some time, since it's all we can afford. That's okay, though. Its cozy and the cul-de-sac is great for bike riding. I would like to get rid of all of the carpet someday, but that is years away. I may also do black tile in the kitchen someday. Oh, so many ideas, and so little time and money! :-)

So that's us! Give me your update!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

the cough

Well, the dreaded cough has made it to our home. Thankfully, no fevers or stomach bugs. Knock on wood. But we have the snot noses and the cough. Isabelle has a strong gag reflex. So, what does she do? Cough, puke. Cough, puke. Give her cough medicine and she pukes again. How many times should you give a kid cough medicine? I give up after two usually.

I enjoyed a "down day" today. No running around, unless you count the library. Tomorrow should be fairly calm also. We have a reading-intense week and that seems to help the calmness somehow. During science experiment weeks, it get a bit crazy.

Friday night the fun and craziness of the Christmas season really begins. Double birthday parties. Saturday is the Christmas Tea at church. Please no speaker this year. Please. The content of the last ones was inappropriate. Enough said. Not that I dislike the speakers themselves, but it was just not well-planned at all. I will have to run out on this one if someone gets up to talk!! Besides, the next Lowe's workshop is at the same time. It's my back-up plan.

So, anyway, after the tea, Fred will be rushing off to poker. Yes, we are Baptist and my husband plays poker. He's actually quite good, and won a tourney once. :-) You can blame my brother-in-law for getting the family into that! (And you know I'm just jealous because I can't play worth a lick.)

Saturday night ladies Christmas party and Sunday brings us back to church. Church. I really like the book we're doing in Sunday School. It's called In His Presents (play on words, I'm not misspelling anything, Sherrill!) The last chapter was about personality types. It doesn't get too detailed, and maybe it's methods are a bit vague and out-of-date compared to the Meyers Briggs and others, but it's still good food for thought. Fred and I (well me, really, who am I kidding) decided that he is a Peaceful Phlegmatic and I'm a weird mix between Choleric and Melancholy. Would you agree? He laughed outright when the SS teacher said something about Melancholies arranging their closets according to color. But, hey, it makes sense! I know I need a black shirt to wear, so I don't have to spend an hour looking. Of course, they are also arranged according to type. My husband's closet... sheesh... he loses pants and finds them two years later.

Okay, so this was going to be a short post and I got to the rambling again. Talkative...another characteristic of cholerics. What can I say? A lot apparently.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

almost midnight

Well, it's late. And I'm still up. And I have to get up early in the morning, be at church at 9am...stay until 12:30, run to the store, feed family, and help host two baby showers at 2pm. Soooo, I really ought to be in bed. But I thought I'd let you know that I'm still here. My internet connection has not failed me. I am just super busy and have been getting very little free time. The baby has decided to start going to bed late (as in 9pm or a bit after.) :-( That really stinks for me, since Trevor just stopped taking naps and he is now going to bed early (7:30). I thought I'd finally have my nights back. Ah, well. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

At any rate, I do have many things to blog about. So be watching for a new one shortly, maybe on Nutrition Stumbling Blocks, or Christmas Home Tours (this one would have lots of pictures), or More Random and Sleep-Deprived Updates.

I will leave you with a few pictures for now. I took these random shots last night while hostessing and then touring the homes: