Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas 2011

This Christmas was our best one yet:

We had 2 awesome, laid back days of celebrating.  We spent Christmas Eve morning with Jake's family, a change from our usual Christmas morning breakfast.  We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner with my family.  Each meal was delicious, and the company was even better.  My kids love their cousins, and we love our family.  Good times.
On Christmas Eve, we drove past the Rescue Mission and passed out BLESSING BAGS.  It was a simple way to show my kids how blessed they really are.  
But maybe what really made it the best yet is because of what Jake and I like to call our 'instant family'.  2 years, 3 kids.  Our family doubled in what felt like overnight.  I sat on the couch watching them play with their Christmas toys and I got all emotional.  
Or maybe it was because we finally have Luke.  At one point, I pulled Luke onto my lap.  I thought back to a summer night when I had laid awake imagining what it would feel like to have him with us on Christmas morning.  The thought had helped me through many hard nights.  Holding him on my lap while everyone around us celebrated, I had a quite moment of gratitude.  Miracles happen.

 The girls made Jake THIS massage shirt.  He fell sound asleep during the first test run on Christmas morning.

 Isabelle's silly smile.  She loved opening presents, and no matter who was opening what, she clapped and gasped and cheered.

 It took Luke 20 minutes to calm down from his first face to face with Santa.  Isabelle and Olivia wouldn't go near that big white beard.

I loved celebrating our Savior's birth.  This year I have come to see Him as my friend more than ever before.  I felt Him watching over me and guiding me.  I know that He was born in a lowly stable.  I know He lived a perfect life and then died for us.  I know He lives!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas is coming...

Christmas cookies with my sisters and mom....

My favorite part was when Liv tapped my leg to let me know that she wanted to join us.  We grabbed her a chair and she decorated longer than any of the kids.  I should have taken a picture of her sprinkle/sugar/frosting drenched cookie stub.  (take a bite, sprinkle sprinkle, lick a little, sprinkle sprinkle)

Olivia running in the mall.  She was sick of her stroller, so I let her out and we walked around the mall holding hands instead.  Holy crapola I adore that child.

P.S.  Today Abby bumped her stomach on something downstairs.  She came up to let me know that she had an eternal injury.  (She meant internal.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My little Isabelle

It's about time I posted about Isabelle!  She is, as you can imagine, amazing.  Her little spirit blesses our lives DAILY.  Some updates on her:

She is doing awesome with communication.  She uses her sign language like a pro!  After going so long without ever really knowing what she wanted, it is exhilarating to see her ask me for something specific.

These are the signs she uses daily:  milk, chicken (nuggets, not the animal), food, more, juice (this is my personal favorite...she signs 'drink' but holds her pinkie in the air so it makes a 'J' motion as she tips her hand to her mouth...probably doesn't make any sense if you don't know sign), sandwich, eggs, toast, water, bath, dad, mom, all done.
She also knows these, but only uses them if I prompt her:  grandpa, grandma, please, banana, and a few more that I can't think of right now...
Have I ever mentioned how much she loves spaghetti?  P.S.  Those are her PJ's and we did not have spaghetti for breakfast.  What can I say, the kid hates getting dressed and I hate making her cry.

If I offer her eggs, she'll shake her head 'no' and sign toast.  Sometimes I offer her milk, and she asks for juice instead.  I'm sure my backyard neighbors have caught me jumping up and down in my kitchen many times.  Sometimes I just can't contain my excitement when she is clear about what she wants.  I'm so proud of her!  She doesn't assign the correct sounds with the words yet, (she says 'nah' for eggs, 'buh' for milk, 'dah' for bottle, etc) but she is showing tons of progress.

Sidenote:  Olivia doesn't talk.  (I've talked to a speech therapist, it's totally normal and not cause for concern yet.)  When I say she doesn't talk...I mean she never talks.  She says 'dad' when he gets home, and the other day she said 'Looh' (Luke) for the first time-but thats it.  By now, she should be using 4-5 words correctly at least.  Instead, she signs and mimics the grunts and sounds that Isabelle does.  If it weren't so darn cute I may be more concerned.  My favorite one is when I ask her if she wants eggs, she signs eggs and says "nah, nah, nah" exactly like Isabelle does.  Isabelle's therapist assures me that she'll grow out of it, I hope she's right.  What if Luke follows suit and I have 3 kids that can't talk?

"Isabelle, show me your silly face!"

Christmas Cards are heading out...

My cards are ready to go out!

I love love Christmas Cards. 

*If you want one...send me your address!


When I hear the word Ovaltine, I think of Young Frankenstein.  The reference fits here...because this kid is a monster.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

At Last

Every once in a while...even though it's been over 3 months....I look over at this little guy and take a deep breath.

He's really home.

How 'bout...CUPCAKES!?!

Dancing in the Nutcracker has been Abby's dream for as long as I can remember.  This fall, she was finally old enough to try out.  She made the cut and was chosen to be a cupcake.

Her Nutcracker rehearsals were back to back with her regular class, which meant she was gone for over 2 hours every Saturday.  She never complained, and she worked very hard.  I hope that she has the opportunity again for many years to come!

Backstage, waiting her turn

I am so proud of you, Abbers!  What a beautiful dancer you are.  I love you!


Tonight while I was rocking Olivia back to sleep (she has a new habit of waking up at 11 every night) I closed my eyes and tried to memorize what it feels like to hold her tiny little body.  I try to think back to when Abby & Audrey were at this stage...but I remember very little.  I know I'm going to forget these small moments and it's killing me!

 She always has a bear, blanket or stuffed animal in her arms.  She drags them around and sucks her thumb.

 This was during what I liked to call the 'get-yourself-stuck-somewhere-and-then-scream-bloody-murder-until-mom-comes-running-because-she-thinks-you've-cut-off-your-finger' phase.

 This was her 'I-want-to-be-a-piggy-everyday' phase.

Her current obsession:  anything to do with Luke.  If she catches me feeding him, she comes running and takes over.  If he cries, she runs to find him a toy.  Today, she was sitting on the floor quietly when Luke woke up from his nap.  She jumped up, pointed at Jake and excitedly said 'Looh!' (one of the very few words she says), and then ran down the hall to his room.  She peered back around the corner at us, waved at us to follow her and repeated 'Looh' again.

My favorite sound to wake up to (on the mornings that Jake lets me sleep in a little) is the slapping of her bare feet on the wood floor.  She runs from the kitchen every minute or so to see if my door is open yet.

Whenever I pick her up, she pats the back of my arm with her tiny hand.

She and Izzy have made up a new game:  they put their toys (or sippie cups or snacks or whatever) on a bar stool and push it around the kitchen.

She randomly hugs my legs.

She is addicted to raisins.  Almost any of her tantrums are instantly soothed if I hand her a mini box.  She can't get enough.

Her dance moves are amazing.  She shakes her hips and bobs her head and twists her hands.  When I have time, I will share a video clip of her shakin' her tail feathers.

Dang this brain of mine!  I wish I had a photographic memory so that when 10 years have passed I can close my eyes and remember exactly what she looked like and smelled like and sounded like.  Instead...I will forget.  But in heaven, I'm going to play all of these moments over and over and over again.  I can't wait.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Nudist in our future?

This kid refuses to wear clothes.  Yesterday she removed her diaper TEN TIMES.  I guess she figures since she was born naked...why change a good thing?

That reminds me...I'll never forget the day that Audrey found out that Olivia was going to be born without her clothes on.
Then she realized...
"She's naked right now?  In your tummy?"  

I guess it was hard to believe that my body could make a human being, but not a pair of pants.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I've taken pictures the last few times I've come upon a baby mess.  And by 'baby' I don't mean small...I mean 'made by a baby'...

This was how I found out that Izzy could open cupboards...I ran downstairs to get something out of the freezer and heard a crash.  She pulled out a jar of nacho cheese and threw it at the tile.  Then she played in it.  How she didn't cut her hand, I'll never know.

 This is the girls' favorite past time.  Can you blame them though?  Who would play with the toys when there's a cupboard full of diapers nearby...

Or drawers full of chopsticks, towels, and cookie cutters...

**notice how saggy the drawer didn't take them long to realize that an empty drawer makes a great place to sit...

 And this is how I found out that she could reach what was on the table...

And THIS is what my typical evening looks like.  I always laugh when people ask me how I do 'it all'.  I think it's funny that they think I do it all.  I don't.  Here's proof--I'm allowing you a glimpse into what my home looks like every night.  Actually, this was a tame's usually worse.

 This is the mess after dinner.  I admit, sometimes I leave it like this until the morning.  I'm exhausted by 7:00pm...
Laundry on the couch, the babies locked in the cage, toys everywhere...and the TV on.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

My plan for Halloween was a farm theme (actually my friend Whitney suggested it) but the older girls had other plans.  We ended up with Cleopatra and a gypsy on our farm.
We waited until the end of the night to get a picture...big mistake.  Oh, and you may have noticed that Jake is wearing eyeliner.  He dressed up Goth for work...and forgot to take off his makeup.  He looked a little...well....not straight.

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Hat thief

What do you do if you find a witch running around your house?

You make a witch brew...
Happy Halloween.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Late night Party

Abby hosted her first Halloween party this year.  7 friends came over to watch scary movies, eat junk food and popcorn and giggle and talk about boys.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A special bond

One of my favorite things about having a bunch of kids is watching how they bless each other's lives.

Audrey is the funny one and can always make the kids laugh.
When we first brought our little Luke home...he reacted to each of us as if he already knew who we were, even our personalities.  When Audrey picked him up he giggled.  All night, he giggled each time she came into his view, as if he was thinking--that's Audrey...she's going to make me laugh...

Abby is the thoughtful one.  She gets them drinks before they are thirsty, gets them out of bed before I realize they're awake, and puts them in their highchairs when she knows it's time for them to eat.  I can't tell you how many times I've pulled one of them out of the 'cage' to change a diaper...only to find she's already done it.  Without my asking.  Let me remind you--she's nine.  I'm not sure that's typical.
Izzy and Liv on the big girls' laps
(they were watching a pig race and begged us to get the babies out of their strollers so they would be able to see too)