Christmas Fun

Vacations “home” in Ohio are SOOOO busy! Hence the lack of blogging:) We have so much family time to soak in to fill us back up for when we go back to our family-less home.

We had a really nice, insanely busy exhausting Christmas:) Our children were so blessed by our families and even a Secret Santa. It brought tears to my eyes numerous times, being so unexpected. We weren’t able to provide much for our kiddos gift-wise, which is fine since that’s not what Christmas is about anyways but it gave us such joy to see our boys’ faces light up and for each of them to get their “Wow” moment.

Zakkai’s favorite gift at the moment is a talking cash register. He carries it around everywhere, trying to convince anyone within reach to buy something:) Samuel is enthralled with his Hot Wheels Christmas! He has a little suitcase to carry his cars in and a garage/ramp now.

We’ve had 4 family Christmases, all wonderful and crazy and approximately 1 really good night’s sleep:) Last night the boys got prob 13 hours of sleep, Eliana got almost 15 and B and I got at least 8 and I can’t tell you the last time that happened! We were stunned to crack open our eyes and see that is was 8am. Wow!

So thankful we have even more days of family time to soak up! And fun adventures like a date (gasp! thanks to gift cards and free babysitters:) a movie for the boys with their cousins, a New Year’s Eve party and of course, more relaxing. I hope.

Good night!

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Ho, Ho, Ho!

We made it! We had a surprisingly easy travel day yesterday with little traffic and mostly happy children:) E almost took a nap…..

Eliana’s been adjusting to traveling really well! She took a nap shortly after we arrived and woke up absolutely hysterical. I think she had no idea where she was and got scared:( But since then, she’s been happy, babbling, trying to walk (6 tiny steps today!), sleeping well and enjoying her Christmas!

The boys are having an absolute blast! We got to have Christmas with Grandma (B’s mama) today and we were all so blessed with the gifts that she so generously gave to us. Samuel could hardly tear himself away from his new Hot Wheels Garage tonight and Zakkai got a lava bubble thing that he’s been carrying around everywhere!

Tonight we all dressed up in our Christmas Eve finery and went to a church service with our family. And now our boys are tucked into bed in their new homemade jammies from Mugga, with the birth story of Jesus fresh in their minds, dreaming of a wonderous day ahead….

Merry Christmas! Pictures coming:)

Busy Day

wow, what a day, what a day! I got to bed around 1am and was up at 6am, beginning our busy day. I know I accomplished a lot today but it seems a little fuzzy at the moment:)

 (Missy eating spaghetti last night…or at least inspecting it:)

Samuel headed off to school today in his pjs. His class had a fun Polar Express day where a conductor took their tickets to the train (a.k.a. the classroom!) and they got to watch the movie while drinking hot chocolate. With marshmallows and whipped cream.

I want to go back to first grade!

(I was calling E’s name when it was time for her breakfast and wondered why she didn’t come…..She was busy:)

Zakkai was SOOOO excited for his school party today and couldn’t wait to bake cookies. Of course, this morning I realized that the dough had to chill for 2 hours. Oops. A little over an hour seemed to be enough so Z and I worked hard making gingerbread men and snowmen for his friends to decorate.

Zakkai decided he was in charge of flouring the cutting board:) In between cookie batches baking, my little helper and I finished folding last night’s laundry and put it away.

We rushed over to the party just after lunchtime and it was a big hit with his pre-k class. There was ornament decorating, pin the nose on Rudolph, decorating (and eating) cookies, a game of “Hot Penguin” (formerly known as Hot Potato), Freeze Dance and a Christmas story. Then they all got a bag of goodies and just like that the party was over.

We moved on to the next countdown of traveling! We had a little over an hour before we had to pick up Samuel so Z, E and I raced home to do some organizing and packing. Well…..I did the organizing and packing, E threw all of her clothes out of her dresser drawers and Z played with his new treasures from his goodie bag:)

I’m checkin’ my packing list more than twice and hoping that it all fits in the van! We have a lot of stuff we’re bringing/returning to family that’s taking up a lot of room. As long as we fit in the car, I think we’re okay…

Well, that’s it for my lame post. My brain is only firing on a couple of cylinders at the moment. I’m off to catch a few zzzzzz’s before it’s Go time!

I’ll be updating throughout our trip with pics and stories so don’t run away….

Burnin’ the Midnight Oil!

I am swamped over here with so much to do before we leave super early Friday morning, including finishing my last gift which is taking FAR longer than I expected, folding laundry which I just washed, cleaning, baking cookies, helping at Z’s preschool party tomorrow and packing!

So, since time is a-wastin’, I leave you with some truly delightful shots of the glamorous neighborhood Christmas decorations.

Try not to be jealous.

 We like to call this one “Alien Tree.” Oh and I should mention that the orange lights are held up by a giant candy cane fence. Lovely.

You win an award if you can come up with a name for this one!!

Gettin’ Down.

Today our baby girl turned 14 months old! It wasn’t as hard of a change as turning 1 was but we still can’t believe that yet another month has flown by.

She continues to light up our days with her eager exploration of her world, her new words and communication, her sweet love for her family.

This past month:

* E has started saying more words! We hear “Moh” (more) around the house (esp the kitchen:) often. A new one is “Boo” (Book without the “K”) b/c she loves books! She decided if her daddy’s heart wasn’t mush enough (it was, trust me) that she would say his name constantly. She says “Dada” in the highest, softest little voice. It’s so cute! For a day or two, she was trying out Z’s name “Ah-eye” but we haven’t heard it lately.

*New signs are “Tree” “Fan” “Outside” “Up” “Hear” “Sleep”

*She is now blowing kisses at night time. Adorable!

*She got a much needed hair trim! She was starting to look pretty scraggly so I trimmed her hair and it looks much nicer now:)

*She is practicing standing on her own ALL the time now! She will spend many minutes a day standing up in the middle of the room without holding on to anything and stand as long as she can before she plops on her bottom:) It’s coming…

*She took 2 steps yesterday and today!

*Eliana LOVES when we are on the ground with her and will get so silly falling on us, climbing over us, tucking toys into our laps and all sorts of things. Poor thing never gets any attention around here….:)

*Has been sick the entire month:( Her congestion is finally better but her cough continues to linger. Hopefully this next month will be a healthy month!

*She is just about to get a front tooth. We are going to miss her fangs!

*Still in size 3 diapers and wears 12 month clothes. She holds out her arms for me to put into the sleeves and inspects her clothes if they have shapes/objects on them:)

*Current nicknames are: Baby Goose, Missy (still), Biscuit, Sweet Girl, Muffin

*Started dancing, as you will get to see! It’s very cute and shows her inherited dancing skills. On Ben’s side, of course:)

Some things to note:

*She desperately needs a bow in her hair so try to ignore that

*I sound very strange b/c my voice has been hoarse so try to ignore that too..

*She resembles Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder when she dances…

Eliana Gettin’ Down!

Happy 14 Months, Sweet Girl!

Behind the scenes…

Behind the scenes of every cute family/child picture are a few pictures like these:

Without fail, there are always 1 or 2 people looking different directions, blinking, making faces they would never want to show in public….

 Or crying because the mommy tried to take one picture too many!

This is why I always take many pictures at a time, hoping that at least one will turn out!

Can’t hold a thing against this little munchkin though! She’s too cute:)
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Family updates:
*We are all in varying stages of a cold but no one is terribly sick, thankfully! It seems minor compared to the sickness drama of a few weeks ago! Eliana is finally making improvements after more than a month of sickness. Now if she would just sleep well again…..

*Zakkai’s poor nose is raw and he has a cough but seems to be holding steady. Samuel’s had a sore throat for 2 days and I am praying that will pass soon. And B and I are fighting sinus infections and hoping to be healthy (enough) for Christmas!

*We are gearing up for our annual trek to OHIO!! We wake up everyday and countdown the days. The boys, especially Zakkai, are beyond excited. Z’s had his bookbag full of toys/books packed for 3 days now:)

*I am making my ridiculous packing list and checking it twice! I always figure as long as we remembered the children, everything else can be replaced if we forget it:) Thank goodness for the van!

*My foot is finally making huge improvements after 2 1/2 weeks! Suddenly in the last day or so, my swelling decreased quite a bit, the cut closed up and stopped bleeding and I can put more weight on the injured side. Although wearing a shoe is still not comfortable but I know that will come in time.

*I’ve been meaning to share this Christmas radio station that B and I have been listening to. Is anyone else sick of Delilah and her cheesiness? Not to mention the same old Christmas songs every hour? (Ooh, some of my favorites: “Christmas Shoes” “Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart” and “Where Are You Christmas?” Ugh!) Ben discovered a refreshing station with old-fashioned music from the 40s, 50s and 60s. Go to www.live365.com and in the upper right hand corner where it has you type in a radio station, type “Blue Light Christmas” and click on the station when it comes up, then hit play. And then enjoy! No more Justin Bieber and Mariah Carey~hooray!

*A funny story: Zakkai often shares with me his plans for his future house (that will be right next door to ours.) His latest plans are to decorate with Christmas lights~colored on the roof and one bush and blue lights on the other bush (apparently there will only be 2 bushes.) He will also have colored lights on his two Christmas trees:) He said that I can stop by anytime to visit him and can ring the doorbell if he’s not home. But he will be home in the mornings, just not in the afternoons b/c he’ll be working. (nice job!) And then he told me that he will have 2 “kids” and a mommy (a wife). The 2 kids are going to be girls!

Then the 2 kids turned into 6 girls and when his 6 daughters grow up, then he will have 1 boy and 1 girl, followed by 1 more boy. And there might be a 10th child but he isn’t sure about that yet:) Also, he said he will be sleeping on the couch because there will be no bedrooms in his house! When I asked where the children would sleep, he said they could sleep on the floor. Ha!

But he soon changed his mind and said there would be 6 bedrooms with bunk beds in a couple of them:) Love this kid’s imagination!! And I will love reminding him someday that he is going to have 9 or 10 children…

*And now I am off to work hard on my remaining Christmas presents. I only have 3 days left! Yikes!

The beauty of Snow.

 I love snow.

Well, first snow. The first snows of the season. The fresh snow before it is run over by dirty cars. Snow as it is falling; so white and clean. Soft and beautiful.

I love the excitement of children when they see the unique snowflakes falling from the sky and wake up to a frosted ground. I love the excitement I feel when I wake up to an unexpected snowfall!

I love snow.

This morning the boys were the first to discover our surprise snow dusting. They spent long minutes watching it fall out the window and were eager to don boots, coats, gloves and hats after breakfast so they could go build an igloo.

While there wasn’t quite enough snow for an igloo, it was beautiful packing, snowball-throwing, castle-building snow. They begged me to come out and I hesitated, thinking of my long to-do list. I could see the disappointment on their faces and as I turned around I thought to myself, “This would make their day to have mommy come out and play.” So I packed myself into my own winter gear and felt such joy when I saw their faces light up when I came outside!

Later, when I was back inside, Samuel came running up to the door to show me the tiny, perfect snowflakes falling on his coat. This was the best picture I could take with my so-so camera but it was so cool to see a miniature little star! To think that each snowflake is unique?  Amazing!

After an hour or so of play, my rosy-cheeked boys tumbled inside leaving muddy wet puddles all over the ground. They got cozy on the couch with blankets and little cups of warm apple cider and watched a little cartoon.

A good kind of morning:)

And to see my sweet ones playing with and loving each other?

Made it the best kind of morning:)