Thursday, December 24, 2009
The snow is fiercely blowing outside in our winter wonderland. We are all snuggled up in our warm house – playing games, eating snacks and reading by the fire. All of us are happy, content and healthy – truly a day to remind us of how blessed we really are. It is the kind of day to reflect on the year that is coming to an end and to remember the amazing family and friends that are such an important part of our lives.
Spencer celebrated his 8th birthday this summer at one of his favorite places on Earth – a water park in the Wisconsin Dells. He is in 2nd grade this year and doing great in school. He excels at reading and absorbs science facts and figures like a little sponge. He enjoys riding his scooter, playing outside with his friends and watching TV. Spencer’s dream came true in March when we adopted a kitten. His name is “Dickens” (he had a roll in Trent’s production of Oliver!) and he is the most mild-mannered, patient, little cat that we ever could have hoped for. Most days I am surprised he doesn’t run for his life with the love (i.e. torture) the kids bestow on him.
Evan is 5 ½ and started Kindergarten this fall. He rides the bus every morning with his big brother – I still wonder every day how my baby boy can be that old. Evan loves school and I have never seen a kid that looks forward to doing homework and begs to work on flashcards like he does. He is a natural helper and enjoys working on any kind of project. Evan played soccer again this year and has improved immensely. He even scored a hand full of goals this past fall.
Hailey will be 3 in January. She has grown up so much in the last year. She speaks very well (and often) now. She has been working on potty training and catching on pretty quickly with the lure of gymnastics classes or Polly Pockets to hasten the process. After the New Year, the crib will be coming down and she will move into a new big girl bed. Big stuff is happening around here for our baby girl! Hailey loves her big brothers and tries to emulate them all the time – though they don’t seem to find it as endearing as we do. She loves her baby dolls, books, playing dress-up and stealing sips of Diet Coke.
Jen is still “working” at home to keep everyone and everything on track. She has been volunteering in Evan’s classroom and loves being back at school to keep “tabs” on the kids. She was able to get out with her camera and do some photography jobs this year. It has been very gratifying to open up Christmas cards that we have received and see the smiling faces on the photos that she has taken. Thank you to those of you who have supported her “habit” and put your memories in her care.
Trent is as busy as ever with work, theatre, golf, Cub Scouts, church, Knights and anything else that comes along. He discovered a new hobby in geocaching this year and spends most of his free time walking around in the woods looking for “treasures”. It is a fun family hobby that gets us moving around and even keeps the kids interested (most of the time anyway).
We were shocked and saddened in February when Trent’s mom, Lyn, passed away unexpectedly. It has been a year of trying to find a new normal as we carry on in our lives without her. She is extremely missed and will be even more so at this time of year that she loved so much. On the other end of the circle of life, we were thrilled to find out that Jen’s sister Dana and her husband Mark will be welcoming a new baby into their family in March.
The most important thing we have learned this year is that each day is truly a gift and not a guarantee. Miracles happen and devastating things occur without any rhyme or reason. It forces us to trust in God, to believe and to have faith – which is what this holiday and this life is all about. We wish you all a holiday filled with peace, health, happiness and most of all love.
Trent, Jen, Spencer, Evan and Hailey
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Spencer did very well with his "part". Thankfully, he remembered to use the bathroom this year before the show, since last year he was in agony the whole time. I only noticed him attempting to bite his nails a couple times - a hard habit to break as I know from personal experience. I was extremely proud of him.
Each year they finish the program by singing "Let there be peace on Earth" and calling up the former multi-age "graduates" to the stage to sing along. They also sign the song while they sing. For some reason I find myself getting choked up every year during that part of the show. It is just so cool to see these big kids walking up to the stage, hugging their former teachers and singing and signing a song that they learned so many years ago. It was like I could see into the future with Hailey standing on the risers as her big brothers sat on the stage in front of her.
For the time that it takes them to sing the song, everything seems right with the world. You leave the auditorium thinking that maybe all of those sweet voices singing in unison really did make some sort of difference.
Friday, December 18, 2009
He was just a little bit excited about it! He walked around the house practicing his songs and "word parts" for weeks.
These pictures are not edited at all. I shouldn't even be taking time to do this post. We are having around fifty people at our house tomorrow night for a party. We are also helping with a children's party tomorrow morning at the Viking's club. One week from today we are having another thirty people over for a family Christmas party. Throw in all the school activities and shopping and food prep and wrapping....bite off more than you can chew much?
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
That kid of mine just cracks me up! As far as the storm...they did have a snow day today but it was sort of a bummer. We couldn't just hang out and chill. We had to have all three kids to the doctor for flu shot boosters at 8:30 and Evan had a dentist appointment at 1:00. The forecasters are predicting that round two is going to hit tonight and most likely school will be closed tomorrow as well. I am really hoping so because I have a lot to get done around here that is much more doable if I have another person to help with entertainment of the masses.
Friday, December 4, 2009
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower
who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly
i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid
look the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,
put up your little arms
and i'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy
then when you're quite dressed
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they'll stare!
oh but you'll be very proud
and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
I haven't done a blog hop in a while, but when I stopped by the Kelly's Korner blog today and she was hosting a "Show us your Life: Christmas Trees", that poem was all I could think of. I knew all of my former English major poetry books with the pages dog eared to my favorite verses would come in handy someday. And how much do I love the fact that I could google and copy and paste the whole poem. Technology is amazing!
Anyway...the first photo is of our main tree. It is real. It is huge. Every year we bring home a twelve to thirteen footer and it still looks tiny in relation to the nineteen foot ceiling. I love that the kids are old enough to be excited about decorating the tree and are actually able to help. Granted there are a lot of branches with six ornaments hanging in a bunch, but they are on there none the less. We get each of the kids a Hallmark ornament every year that symbolizes something about them or that happened over the course of the year. All of those ornaments are so fun to get out and reminisce about why we picked those and the things they did when they were younger.
This tree is on our stairway landing. It is my "Gone With the Wind" tree. All of the ornaments are from the Hallmark GWTW collections. I love this tree, and I love that movie. Obviously.
The kids each have a mini tree in their rooms. Evan's is the tree I used to have in my office at work. It has seen better days. His is decorated with mini dinosaur and truck ornaments.
Hailey's tree is pink and has some pink glitter ornaments on it. As she gets older she will probably want to pick out her own ornaments to hang, but for now she is pretty happy with these.
I don't have a photo of Spencer's tree because he has no ornaments. He didn't have a tree in his room last year so we need to find some for him this year.
I also have a little tree in our room for the first time. I bought a new tree for the basement and the former basement tree went to the GWTW tree and the former GWTW tree is now empty. I was thinking it might be cool to get some little frames and make a photo tree.
This is the new six foot tree I bought for the basement. Trent's MSU Spartan tree. All of the ornaments are from MSU or at least Spartan themed. I also hung some green and silver balls on it because it is a pretty big tree. Our neighbor usually buys Trent the Franklin Mint MSU ornament every year so those are on there as well. I need to think of a clever tree topper. I tried to put the Spartan Santa hat up there, but it just didn't look right. I was realizing that the tree needed a tree skirt and was thinking of all the MSU fabric at Joann's - as if I need another project right now.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I think I am finally finished putting up all of the Christmas decor. I don't know what it is this year. I feel like I am so behind already. I think it has to do with Thanksgiving falling so late in the month. We usually have everything all festive around here after that long weekend. I changed some stuff around, so that is taking a lot of time. Things that I usually plop in the same spot year after year are getting a new home for the first time. I like how it is turning out, it just takes a lot more thinking and figuring.
I have been on the computer most of the day doing some Christmas shopping. I feel like I am way behind on that too. I don't know why. I don't think I am. In fact, we had our "Christmas" with my sister and her family over the holiday weekend since they won't be coming to town for "real Christmas" (as my kid's say). I am kind of at a loss as to what to get the kids this year. They are not really asking for anything much (which is good!), I would love to find something to WOW them, but am not finding anything that ignites that in me at all. Plus I need to watch our money so that Trent can buy me the new camera that I really want for Christmas this year! Ha! (I feel like I am cheating on my camera by writing that last sentence - seriously - I love you, you do a terrific job - I am really just jonesin' for an upgrade. I will still keep you around for the day to day fun stuff around here...I promise!)
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
We have had these little guys at our house on and off this past week. Trent told me that they needed a cat to play the part of Dinah in Alice in Wonderland. He wondered if I thought Dickens would like to go back to the stage. I told him that he should contact the lady that he got Dickens from and ask her if she had other cats that needed homes and maybe the exposure would get them adopted. He thought the idea was inspired.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
It started with her calling for Mommy at 5:20 a.m and when I went to get her so she wouldn't wake her brothers she was wide awake ready for morning and asking to watch a TV show. I told her it was too early for shows and she had to go back to bed. She then proceeded to tell me she wanted to watch a show approximately one hundred and thirty five times in a row. She seems to think that if she keeps saying what she wants, it will happen. I can't tell you how many times I have almost caved because I just wanted her to be quiet for thirty consecutive seconds - but I try to stand firm so the little annoyance doesn't become a full fledged habit.
Then came the spilling episodes. She has spilled full cups of water on the carpet three times today. She has also squirted a juice box filled with apple juice on the carpet and all over my scrap booking stuff, guaranteed to leave a nice sticky residue all over the bag. What makes that even better is that Trent and I spent hours on Saturday cleaning the carpets. I don't know what to do about her access to the cups. The boys need to be able to get cups on their own so that they can independently tend to their own thirst needs. She wants to do everything they do, so she fills her own cups with water from the bathroom sink and proceeds to carry them around the house and spill them. Granted, I am lucky it is mostly only water, but I am so tired of wiping up spills I could scream.
We were home all day today so I put her in easy sweat pants so that she could wear her big girl unders and go to the potty when she had to. She has gone through four pairs of pants today. She peed once on the carpet while she was pant less. She pooped in her pants about thirty seconds before we had to leave to make it to the bus stop to pick up Evan. And she pooped on the dining room carpet. The freshly cleaned carpet. Just to keep things interesting. You think I would have slapped that diaper on her after the first accident, but I am a gluten for punishment I guess.
She has been in time out more times today then she usually is in a week. And not for the potty accidents. Just for general badness. She has tried to hit and push me numerous times today. I had to put her in time out in her crib twice. The first time because she kept getting out of time out and smiling and laughing at my threats of a worse punishment. The second time because while all three of them were coloring nicely at the table, she decided to try and cut Evan's finger off with scissors.
Needless to say, I am counting down the minutes until bedtime.
Monday, November 16, 2009
The theme this week on the I ♥ Faces blog is Autumn Beauty. I can't think of anyone more beautiful than this little girl in her Halloween tu-tu.
If you have time to spare go to the blog and check out all the other gorgeous photos on the I heart faces blog.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I know that one is a little hard to read so I helped you out a bit in the next photo.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
And my accomplice - this screen that I sit in front of for minutes upon hours of time each day - does not help the matter. I could sit here for days and read blogs and surf Facebook-don't-talk-about-Facebook until the chair forms the shape of my behind. I am not proud of it. I am just being honest.
I have a lot to do. Much to accomplish. And I am not getting very far in my tasks. I am starting to feel very overwhelmed and very overextended and I don't like the way that feels. In church on Sunday, our Pastor began his sermon by talking about the very thing I am feeling. How life gets so unbelievably busy and you just keep going. And while you are so focused on what has to be done and how to make it happen, you lose sight of why you are even doing it. Who you are doing it for. And you just wait for survival mode to kick in.
Eventually you realize that something has to change. Something has to give. Unfortunately and too often, what "gives" is something that shouldn't. I don't want to get to that point.
Things are extremely busy around here these days. Trent is in full blown play mode. The holidays and the craziness that surrounds them has suddenly started to kick in. The normal day to day stuff that has to be done just seems to be building at a frenzied pace. I feel like I am so behind on so much. Something has to give. We need to find a way to re-prioritize.
I know the months of November and December are always insanely busy. There is so much planning, cooking, shopping and partying to do. I love this time of year and I enjoy all the hubbub and the celebrating that goes along with it. I just really want to make a point to slow down just a little. To cuddle with the kids and read books. To get out the board games and play with them. To just sit on the couch and look at the Christmas tree. To find time to work on crafts with them. To make them realize how incredible they are and how much they are loved.
So yesterday, even though many tasks were looming, Evan and I did a little project. The weather has been gorgeous so we were able to sit outside and bask in the sun while we worked on it.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
The photo challenge this week on the I ♥ Faces blog is balloons. When I think of balloons I think of them being carried in a big bunch or a single balloon tied to a child's wrist at the fair. I don't have any pictures like that. I do have some pictures of Evan trying with all his might to blow up a balloon - so that is my entry for this week.
Check out the blog for more balloon pictures. I am sure that there will be some amazing ones!
Carving pumpkins - Spencer carved the face on his pumpkin this year without any help. Evan wanted to, but was not quite strong enough to maneuver the knife through the body of the gourd. Hailey just liked looking at the pumpkin guts and wielding the knife in her hand whenever she could manage to grab it.
Making yummy treats - We made Witchy pretzel fingers, pumpkin bars and the traditional Ghost in the Graveyard cake. On Saturday morning while I was mixing up the pudding for the graveyard cake, Spencer walked by and asked me if that was what I was making. When I told him it was, he started to sing "Best Day Ever...." his made up happy song.
Dressing up for Halloween- I LOVED my kid's costumes this year. They were fairly simple to put together ( despite some minor sewing headaches) and they turned out so cute. They all had so many compliments on how great and creative they looked.