First Snow!

Within a few hours of arriving back home last weekend, snow started falling! I admit that I was skeptical when I heard we were supposed to be getting snow because weather people are known for their dramatic predictions of winter storms. But they were right this time!

 
We awoke to a winter wonderland! The trees looked so pretty.
 

The boys had no idea that it snowed through the night so I led them into our room, covering their eyes and surprised them:)

Turned out the boys had a 2 hour delay (something completely unheard of in Chicago!!) that morning so the kiddos played in the snow for awhile.

The boys taught Eliana how to make snow angels! She was so cute laying there in the snow:)

I was exhausted from our weekend but had to run to the store to get a few things. This is exactly how I felt;)

Last Tuesday night Eliana had a birthday party for a preschool buddy at Chuck E. Cheese. She had a great time but let me just say that that is NO place to go when you have a headache!!!
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A couple of weeks ago, we borrowed some pruning gear to attach the monstrously overgrown bushes in front of our condo. Ben went at them with a vengeance!!

The boys took a turn, too. Here’s Samuel giving it a try…

I love Zakkai’s face in this one! He loves doing things like this:)

Eliana pretty much hung around watching and narrating on their work. We had a huge pile of brush after B was done. Thankfully the landscaping people came a few days later and cleaned it up for us!

We also signed up to do Operation Christmas Child at church. The kiddos each did their own box and had so much fun going from table to table filling them up and writing letters or drawing pictures for their child. Love these cuties!

Eliana took so long coloring her picture that we had to speed her up a little bit. As you can see, we were the last ones in there!

Daddy helping:)

Now we are busy getting ready for Thanksgiving but this year, we actually don’t have to travel!! It will make a world of difference not to hop in the car and follow all the other traveling sheep on Wednesday night. Woohoo!

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Birginia.

 We just got back from Awana and finally got all 3 kiddos tucked in bed. I realized that once again I have been neglecting my blog terribly. I feel guilt over it sometimes but I also feel so tired at night lately that the last thing on my mind is sitting down and rehashing the boring business of our day! I did have something really cool happen to me last week and sometime, if I can figure out how to express it, I would like to share:)

In other news, my mom, Eliana and I took our trip to VA to visit my sister this weekend! Or..”Birginia” as Eliana calls it:) It was definitely a longer trip than we’d realized (although in the scheme of things, not too bad!) The rough part was that I got kicked in the teeth from a migraine and felt absolutely horrible for most of the trip. I was supposed to share driving responsibilities with my mom but she had to drive most of the way. I was only able to help the last 1 1/2 hours. The good news is Eliana was a perfect angel the entire almost 9 hours!

See? An angel!

Our sweet niece/cousin “L” was beyond ecstatic to have Eliana there! They are only 7 mos apart in age. This was their “tea time” the first night we got there:)

The James River!

We went on a tour of Richmond Saturday but unfortunately, there was a marathon and most of the roads were blocked off so we didn’t get to see a whole lot. The girls were so good in the car!

We did get to see St. John’s Church, where Patrick Henry gave his “Liberty or Death” speech. Cool!

Sweet “L.” I got to squish in between both girls for our tour on Saturday.

The Confederate White House was another building we drove by. There is definitely a lot of history there!

We stopped to have lunch at a really good burger place! It was good to stretch our legs and fill our bellies:) It was called the Burger Bach and is definitely one to put on your list, should you ever visit Richmond!

“The sun is in my eyes, Mommy!”

L has a really cool playground in her backyard and we bundled the girls up and let them blow off some steam.

Swinging together before we got back in the car for our trip back! We will definitely be going again and hopefully staying longer!

One of the amazing houses in my sister’s neighborhood. Wow!

The beautiful scenic highway! I wouldn’t mind driving this highway everyday!

E listening to music:) She was so good, once again on the trip home, although much more tired. She had a brief 5 minute meltdown in the car after lunch and promptly passed out for the rest of the trip. She was SO out of it that we could hardly wake her up to tell her we were home again!!

The weather was terrible on the trip home. I wouldn’t recommend driving through the hilly, winding roads of W. Virginia in the pouring rain! But thank the Lord, we made it back safely to two happy boys waiting with signs and big hugs:)

AND the best gift of all (besides seeing our favorite three guys) was that they cleaned the house for me!! That is totally my love language these days:)

Next up, our first snow!!

Weekend Travels!

Man, what a week! I have hardly had time to think, let along take the time to blog! There has been so much going on and my days have been filled to the brim. I am not used to having such full days so it is hard to get used to!

One thing I have been working hard on is getting new doctors for all of us. It has taken a lot of time to get established here and things are finally getting put in place for us to get doctors. It has taken me literally hours over the past 2 weeks to make multiple phone calls and get paperwork sent here and there and meet doctors, etc. We’ve been fighting to get Ben his medicine to tide him over until we can meet our new doctor. He has to use a nasal spray daily for the rest of his life and he has been out for 2 months now. He got away with it for a month because he used up my prescription spray I had from a sinus infection last winter but then he had to resort to over the counter crap which has done nothing. I knew, when he was awake at 3:30am a couple days ago unable to breathe well or sleep, that something had to be done! I can be a mama hen when I need to:)

So, hopefully we can get all of that settled asap. I met the kids’ new pediatrician yesterday and loved her and the office! I am excited to get that all finished up and start making long over-due appointments for everyone. Hooray!

It has taken so long for us to really get settled here. Everything is coming in slow increments, which has been hard. We are adjusting though and overall doing really well.

Tomorrow Eliana, my mom and I are headed to visit one of my sisters in VA! We are having a girls’ weekend there (well, my brother in law will be there so…almost!) and the boys are having a boys’ weekend here! Ben is really looking forward to some good time with the boys. He even took the day off of work Saturday to be with them which will be so good for all of them. Samuel and Zakkai are really sad that we are leaving but I think they will have a good time. I wonder if I should be worried that I am not here to keep them all from getting themselves in trouble;)

So, I will be back in a few days with pictures and stories and hopefully update a little better! Happy Weekend!

A little Algebra, Leaves and an Answer to Prayer!

 So, you know, there’s nothing like a little Algebra in your spare time…

That is, if you pretty much have a genius for a father;) Not my cup o’ tea, I assure you! Math and I are not friends. We actually don’t really like each other so I’m extremely thankful for a husband who not only likes math (really??) but is really good at it!

We took a little drive after church on Sunday to the library so Ben could pick up something. He took Eliana in with him so I sat in the car and let the boys play in the leaves for a little bit. A much better alternative to having them sit idly in the car and cause trouble!

It was really chilly out so they were pretty cold by the time they were done!

Such a beautiful fall day:)

I remember building big leaf piles when I was younger and jumping in them. A childhood experience every kid should have!

We did something big this weekend!! We cleaned out our garage (which really means that we shoved everything down into the basement~ha!) and squeezed our dear old Odyssey into it! It is a close fit but it works. This is a momentous occasion for Penny (she was newly Christened this week) because it was her very first time in a garage. Chicago was hard on her so she is looking forward to some new-found rest.

Side-note: The name Penny is short for Penelope, who is the mother of Odysseus. Get it? Aren’t we so clever?!

So anyways, one of the reasons that we had to clear out the garage is….

Someone new joined our family and his name is Kermit! No, not the guy in the picture (that’s Ben:), the car! We FINALLY have a 2nd car! We have been searching actively for about 2 months now and have wasted many a Saturday getting cars checked out and getting disappointed over and over. We met a nice guy at our church who has good contacts in the car business and he helped us find it. It is a 15 year old Honda Accord but only has 115,000 miles and while it doesn’t look pretty on the outside (it IS old after all!), the mechanics are good and we are happy. We were able to get away with one car for 9 years in Chicago but unfortunately, public transportation isn’t quite the same here so we had to give in.

It will take some time to get used to actually getting to go places or run errands on days other than Thursday only. I haven’t driven much in the past 4 months. At first, it was really frustrating for me not to have the freedom to go places on my own time schedule and to rely on others so much. After awhile though, I finally came to appreciate not only the extra time with family members who were so sweet to pick us up each week but also, quiet days at home getting things done and just enjoying time with Eliana. I think I will still continue to make some days like that each week but I do know that we will definitely not take having a car for granted!

Thank you, Lord, for answered prayers!

Chickens and Halloween and Surprise Time Change!

 Well, there’s nothing like waking up to a time change that you didn’t know was happening!! I heard the boys up and peered at my phone clock through one slitted eye to see 6:20am staring back at me. We recently laid down the law and enforced some morning rules about times they are allowed up to read and then to play. (ex. on the weekends: stare at the wall or go back to sleep if it’s before 7am, read a book if you’re awake between 7-7:30 and after 7:30, they may get out of bed and play. Simple!)

So I threw on my robe, went to their room and said in my evil-mommy-perturbed-by-the-early-hour voice, “It is only 6:20 in the morning! What are you doing up?!” And of course, to pierce my heart, they turned from the books they were reading so nicely in their beds and replied in their innocent voices, “But mommy, it’s 7:20!”  What?! Oops:)

I roasted a whole chicken in my cast iron skillet a couple of weeks ago with potatoes and carrots nestled around it and it was SO yummy!! Juicy and tender and delicious! Cheaper than store bought, too:)

My mom and I have been going to story time together for the past month and a half or two with E and Little E (my niece) on Wednesdays. A couple weeks ago, we decided to kill time afterwards by going to the mall to let them play! They had a lot of fun!

Getting so big!

Here is Eliana watching Daddy cut the cake at her birthday party:)

And playing with her new favorite Elsa doll the next morning! She loves this doll!

 
Feeling very proud of herself that she is learning to write so well! The pictures always turn out badly on this blog so if you can’t read it, she wrote all of our family names, first and last!

Trick or Treat from Queen Elsa, Captain America and Samuel the Magician! Samuel didn’t want to go trick or treating this year but changed his mind at the last minute (seriously THE last minute) so he threw on last year’s costume. He was upset about it but ended up having fun. Next year, we’ll plan better!

We met up with Rapunzel (a.k.a. Cousin E!) and found a nice neighborhood to collect some loot:) Our little neighborhood is so filled with children that they are all out trick or treating and no one is home passing out candy! So everyone has to find a different neighborhood to go to. Isn’t that funny? Anyone happen to notice that the girls have bigger candy buckets than the boys? Hmmm, how did that happen?! People were more than willing to put multiple pieces in cute little princess buckets and the princesses were more than willing to accept them:)

Thankfully, we have places to donate our unwanted candy this year. Ben took the extra yummy stuff (a.k.a. chocolate!) to work the next day where it was inhaled in mere minutes by a bunch of hungry warehouse workers and we are taking all the non-chocolately/peanutty stuff to Awana. They have a big candy bucket and the kids get to pick out one piece every week if they say verses. So we were just left with the top 15 pieces in our kiddos buckets and a few extras for their dearest mummy and daddy and that’s it!

Happy Sunny Sunday!