Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas!!!!! 2009

I love Christmas!!! I really do. I love the shopping, the wrapping, the crowds, the food, the parties--I love it all! Being 8 1/2 months pregnant slowed me down a bit this year, but I still loved every minute preparing for Christmas morning!
On Christmas Eve we had a nice dinner with some friends and then came home to do our traditional things. We started with letting the kids exchange gifts they have picked out for each other and for Kris and I. Their school has a Christmas store that lets the kids bring in money and pick out gifts for people on their list. The kids love picking things out for everyone. It is so sweet to picture them choosing carefully the item they think another would like. After they exchange their gifts we let the kids pick out which person in the Christmas story they would like to be. Then they gather parts to their costume. This year Samantha was Mary, Mariah was the angel, Joshua was a Shepperd, Gabriella was the wise woman, Kris was Joseph and I was the star. We read the Bible and let the kids act out the story, it is so sweet.

After the story we let the kids open their pajamas from Mom and Dad. They race to get changed and ready for bed and can't get into bed fast enough! They were in bed and all asleep by about 8:30. This year we told them they needed to try to stay in bed until 5:00 am. At 5:05 they were in our room waking us up:)

The kids waited patiently for Kris and I to get up and then we went to the living room. We tried to have them take turns, but didn't want to stop their excitement. Gabriella hugged everyone of her gifts. After the kids had opened all their gifts we told them to sit in front of the tree with their eyes closed. Kris and I then went downstairs and got their gift from us. Two baby bunnies! When the kids saw them they could not believe it. I do not care for pets and it was very hard for me to get them, but the kids have asked for so long and the bunnies were so cute it was just too hard for me to resist. I have since discovered I am allergic and so I have to keep my distance, but the kids are being very good about caring for them. I keep warning them that if they do not take care of them I will find them a nice home in the trees behind our house:)

While I was taking a nap Gabriella found some chocolate coins and discovered that if she squeezed them in her hands enough they became very melted. Apparently she thought the melted chocolate would make a good moisturizer. Gross. So where was Kris during all this? He was sitting 2 feet away from her playing Xbox with Joshua. I am sure I don't need to say anymore about that:)
I guess we finally wore Gabriella out and she crashed in the middle of all the chaos! What a fun day! Did I mention how much I love Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

All ready for Church!

It rarely happens that all the kids are ready for church at the same time and that we are not super rushed to get there on time, so when it happens I have to take advantage of it with a picture. It is hard to get a good one so we had to try lots of times:)

Gingerbread Houses

This is one of my most favorite Christmas traditions! We used to make gingerbread houses when we were little and I love watching my children get excited about it too. Joshua especially loves all things Christmas--or any holiday for that matter--and was counting down the hours until our friends could join us for the decorating. They were all very careful and patient with their houses. I just love Christmas time! Seriously, it just doesn't get any better than this:)
The kiddos--look at all that candy--I am pretty sure most of it was consumed before it made it to the houses.
Gabriella was very careful to place her candy just right. She had very specific ideas and I was amazed at how much she enjoyed it. I laugh when I think of last year when she would just point and grunt from her high chair as to which candy she wanted to eat next. What a difference a year makes.

Little Jane and her creation, so sweet!

Serving Others

A couple of my friends and I really wanted to find something that our kids could do for someone else during this Christmas season. We know that they are very grateful children but we still wanted them to focus on giving something to someone else. They made up stockings full of goodies and gifts to give to a local retirement center so they seniors could enjoy a little Christmas gift. They worked quickly to fill the stockings and wished they could have done more. They delivered the stockings to our local YMCA who then took them to the Senior Center. I think the kids really had fun making something for someone else and perhaps for a few minutes forgot about their own Christmas wishes!

The Polar Express

We went on a Christmas pajama train ride this past weekend. The kids loved climbing aboard the train. They loved that they could sit facing each other. It was cold when we first got on, but warmed up perfectly! We enjoyed hot chocolate during our ride and the kids all got to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus who gave them all some treats and surprises. Our friends the Haymore's came with us and Heidi B. joined us as well.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A night at the North Pole

We went to a local hotel for a night of Christmas fun. A few other families came with us so it was a great party time! It was all set up for the kids to enjoy a bunch of Christmas activities. They enjoyed making crafts, visiting Santa, shopping at Santa's workshop, pizza, donuts, grabbing prizes in the blizzard booth (Gabriella was especially good at this) and of course swimming in the pool and enjoying some down time in the hotel room. It was a lot of fun. We love getting away and we hardly had to hear anyone say,"are we there yet?" because it was only 10 minutes from our house!

I guess Gabriella wanted a really good seat to view the strange cartoons they had at the hotel!
Joshua worked so hard on his craft projects, I have hardly ever seen him so focused.
Gabriella liked to empty as many bottles of glitter glue as she could. Her poor sisters were very patient while helping her make a pretty tree.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Halloween is always such a fun day! It started off with a parade at the kids school. This is Mariah's last year to walk in the parade and that made me a little sad. Where do the years go? I was also able to peek in on all the kids Halloween parties in their classes. Wow, there was a lot of sugar consumed! I got to Mariah's class in time to watch them all have a donut eating race. Mariah actually won! It was really funny to watch the boys reaction to her winning. One girl said, "but you are so girlie, how can you eat that fast?" It was a proud moment to be her mother, I think? At least I was glad I was able to watch it.

Sweetest witch in the world!
Go Vikings! If I had to hear Mariah say one more time "I can't believe you used to fit this uniform" I was gonna give her away! I try to make myself feel better by thinking that it is because I am 7 months pregnant that she can't believe it--but whatever!
Joshua has wanted to be Robin since May. I am so glad we found him a costume that he had in mind, he is very particular. No matter how tough he thinks he is, I think he is ADORABLE!!!
Mariah and her prize winning donut eating!
I am sure anyone who knows Gabriella thinks that a devil costume would have been more fitting for her, but we are trying to bring out positive qualities in her. One lady suggested I just add a devil tail to her angel costume, that would have been funny--but I didn't so we will just pretend she is all angel!

Pumpkin Carving

Always a good time. Smelly pumpkin guts and messy kids, it doesn't get much better than that. Joshua has been counting down the days since last Halloween to carve pumpkins again. We weren't sure it was going to happen because he was having a rough week. He got his carving privilages taken away because he was struggling with his behavior. He would not listen to a word we said. It was like he wasn't even in the room as we gave him directions and tried to tell him things. It got really bad and so after a few days we had to start to take privilages away to try to get him to focus and listen to us.

To make a long story short it turned out the poor kids had 2 VERY bad ear infections and in reality could NOT hear us talk to him. I asked him if it sounded weird when we talked to him, like if he was under water or something. He said "No, it sounds like this" and then proceeded to move his mouth without making any sound come out at all. To say that we felt like the worst parents in the world is a huge understatement! Although I am sad that his ears were hurting, I am so glad that there was a fixable reason to his behavior. When I explained the whole situation to his teacher she nodded her head and said, "Oh, that explains a lot". Apparently we were not the only ones being ignored!

Too many leaves!

I know I post fall leaf pictures every year, but what can I say in Upstate NY we have a lot of snow and leaves so we have to work with what we have.

I am not going to mention any names, but someone is not pulling their weight around here. Well, ok so it is Kris:) He has been really busy with work and studying for a big test this weekend so he is forgiven. Anyway, the leaves needed to be moved off the grass and with him tied up that left me to do it. Gabriella insisted on being outside with me while I took care of the leaves and she also insisted I hold her while I blew the leaves. Maybe Kris could take some cues from me on how to multi task! I am kidding of course, but next year I want to see him do the leaves while holding a 2 1/2 year old AND be 30 weeks pregnant.

Actually not the last part, that would just be weird.

Just the Girls

I have so many pictures I want to post, but I just haven't found the time. Here are a few pictures of just the girls in our family.

Kris took the girls with him to "work" one Saturday when he was working as a physician at a bike race. Hopefully no one got hurt because from the look of the pictures they were no where near the bike racers. He keeps telling his job is really hard, but I had a few questions after this day. The girls had a great time with Daddy!

This silly face is Gabriella's newest trick so we get to see it a lot in pictures. I wonder who she learned it from...

Here I am at about 24 weeks working on another girl for our family. This pregnancy has gone so smoothly and quickly. I feel great and hope to continue to do so. We are all excited about her arrival. Joshua loves to have me lay down and feel the baby move around. The first time he felt her it really surprised him. Now he can't get enough. He says she is having a dance party in there by herself. Although he is sad he is not getting a brother , I know he already adores his new sister.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It is time to let her go...

We knew this day would come, but we had hoped it would not come for a few more years. I guess the terrible winters and salty roads were just too much for her. When Kris took our 1989 Toyota Camry in to the mechanic to get inspected we were told there was just too much needed to be done to save her. So, it is with heavy hearts we put the old champ to rest. It was actually getting to have quite a few funny quirks about it. The a/c stopped working. The heater turns on, but never really warmed up the car until he got to work 20 minutes later. The interior light doesn't turn on for about 5 minutes after you switch it on. If a rock bounced up and hit the bottom of the car, it would hurt your foot. A year ago the passenger side front door stopped opening. So, if you wanted to give anyone a ride they had to sit in the back or climb in through the window. The kids thought it was great, but one of Kris attendings who attempted it did not find it so humorous. (He got a little high centered) Then about a month ago 3 of the 4 doors stopped opening too. Including the driver's door. Poor Kris had to climb in and out the window every time he got in the car. He was lucky it has not been too rainy here so he was able to leave the window down, otherwise he had to try to squeeze in the back and up to the front. It was usually not much more than a hassle, but some times was very embarrassing. Like the day he parked next to the guy with a Porsche. Of course the guy came to his car the same time as Kris. Kris tried to kill some time waiting to climb in the window until the guy was gone, but he was taking too long. When Kris stared climbing in the guy made some funny comments and said, "That is is cool, it is like Duke's of Hazard". Yeah, it was funny the first time someone said that comment not so funny after the 112th time.

We do need to give another huge THANK YOU to the Koch family for providing us with this car before they left for their residency. We do not know how we could have been able to afford to pay for a car all these years. It was a champ, hardly needing any work until recently--it was a huge blessing to our family. You guys are the best!

Kris and the Champ! Oh I also forgot to mention that the gas tank was impossible to open. In the 4 years we had the car I was never once able to open it to get gas for Kris. You had to pry it open with something. I tried but after chipping away lots of pieces of rusted car I usually gave up.

Kris was not always very graceful at climbing in the window. He had to go through some trial and error to figure out the best entry system.

Here he goes, he got very smooth at the whole process. One day he had to stop at the kids school to do something and when he got out of the car he noticed a teacher watching him and laughing. He joked with her and continued inside. When he came back out she had a few other teachers with her and she started laughing and told them all to watch him get in his car. There is nothing like 4 teachers pointing and laughing at you.

In he goes!

Watch out Bo and Luke Duke, here comes Dr. West!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

There are certain things pregnant women should not have to do--ever!

These things include scrubbing bathtubs and carrying huge baskets of laundry down stairs, but the top of list happened yesterday. I not only had to let Joshua go to Kindergarten which is a very sad event in itself, I realized my first baby was starting her last year of Elementary school. I knew I was going to have a tough morning letting Joshua go, that was expected. I was just surprised at how emotional I was going to be over Mariah becoming a 5th grader. Where did the years go? I can't believe how each passing school year still gets to me. I would never want the responsibility of home schooling my children, but I do love having them all home. It is chaotic, noisy and messy to have them all home--but I love it! Time really is a tricky thing. I always pictured myself surrounded by little kids, I just never saw myself having a 10 year old or teenagers for that matter. I love that Kenny Chesney song "Don't Blink". I need to remind myself everyday to cherish the day to day moments because they go all too fast. I hope the kids have a great year and enjoy every moment. I also hope I can stop stressing about the piles of laundry, dirty dishes, and meals to prepare long enough to enjoy it with them!
Super Joshua off to tackle Kindergarten--hopefully not his teacher.
That is NOT my baby girl, heaven help me! I think I had that same bracelet in Jr. High--love that neons are back in style!
She is so sweet, I am jealous of the teacher that gets her in her class all day!
The faces only a mother could love:)

Where did all the kids go??? That is the question I have received from Gabriella about 29 times yesterday! She was so sad to have all the kids go to school. She even put on a back pack of her own as the kids were gathering up all their stuff. She wanted to go with them. When Josh ran into his classroom she started screaming "My bro-der!" (that's my brother for those that don't speak 2 year old) She screamed this all the way down the hall until Sam walked into her classroom and she yelled "my Dammie" until Mariah walked in to her classroom. She was very mad at this point and I had to get out of the school before she really lost it. She has been very lonely and jumps up from whatever she is doing if she thinks she hears the bus coming. I am glad she loves them so much!