December 29, 2009

Monkey Girl

Natalie is our little "Monkey Girl". She has this funny walk that reminds us of a monkey (I think it's in an earlier blog). And she has always been a climber. Ahh, she is just so much fun!

Looking like a big girl in her bathrobe. I can't believe she almost 2 years old already!!

Natalie didn't love the johny jump-up when she was younger... but she's making up for lost time now. I don't even bother taking it down from the door, as soon as she sees it in the closet she begs to jump some more. She gets a bit wild jumping, spinning and having Nathan swing her. It's great activity for her and great entertainment for us!

December 26, 2009

Jen's birthday

Enjoying a birthday muffin with my beautiful family. Natalie didn't get the memo that you are supposed to wait until the singing is done and the birthday girl gets to eat her treat. ;)

December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009

Christmas was so fun this year. I know it will only get better as the years go on. The kids are at such a great age. Trever worked on Christmas eve and Christmas day so we had a small family Christmas on the 23rd. Then the kids enjoyed Christmas eve at Aunt Donna and Uncle Tony's house. Christmas morning we all woke up at my parents house and enjoyed presents again. By this point Natalie was really understanding the fun of ripping into the gifts. Then we finished up the Christmas festivities with a visit from Trev's parents on the 26th. I think the kids loved spreading the fun over 4 days.

When Nathan went to visit Santa in North Pole Alaska he asked for a train set for himself and for Natalie. Although Santa set up separate trains for each of them, they are now combined in his room. Natalie loves to play trains and cars with him. She also got some cute baby dolls from Nana and Papa... we're seeing the first signs of her emerging "girl side".
The real Christmas present for the kids was a kitten (although she came a few weeks early). Her name is now Cooper... yes it's a boy name... the name came before we knew she was a girl. Natalie is finally learning to carry Cooper nicer, it's amazing how much the kitten loves to be around the kids.

Nathan got a Lite-bright, I think I was just as excited as he was!

Christmas dinner, cuddling with Clare. Natalie was relieved to find someone who was happy to carry her around all night.

Papa was helping Nathan distribute the presents.

Some cuddle time with Nana.

December 20, 2009

The Santa Breakfast

The Santa Breakfast is one of my favorite traditions. Katie is always the most gracious host. She decorates so nice and always thinks of the little details (big bowls of red/green/white candy... that she *forces* us to take with us at the end of the day). I think this was the 3rd year, and definitely the most fun. So many of the kids are at the perfect age, excited about Santa without feeling silly... and only a few were still scared.

As Santa approaches all the kids run to the large picture window to get a view.

Oh, those faces!!! The energy was so contagious!

I love Cash in this picture!!

Nathan with his buddy Santa. Santa (my dad) was so good with the kids... he talked with Nathan about how much he enjoyed meeting him at his house (Santa's house in North Pole, AK). He knew that it was Zach's birthday and asked us to sing Happy Birthday to him. I wish I could remember his other conversations. I think the kids felt so special.

Natalie needed Nathan to come back up, and she was not about to leave Daddy's lap. She seemed very interested in watching Santa, hopefully next year she is comfortable on his lap.

The kids... 16 of them (Logan is hidden behind Zach). Katie's kids: Ryder (10), Charlie (4) and Ryann (23 months). Abby's kids: Halle (11), Jordan (9) and Cash (4). Dena's kids: Nick (11), Dom (5) and Gianna (3). Jen's kids: Zach(6) and Luke (3). Marissa's kids: Sam (6), Logan (3) and Anna (2). Our kids: Nathan (3) and Natalie (21 months) ... I think I got the ages right???

We have been friends for over 18 years! Some of us a lot longer than that. We are so blessed!

Just in case a visit and a present from Santa wasn't enough excitement... we celebrated Zach's 6th birthday. Such a fun afternoon!

December 15, 2009

The kids playing together

Glad Natalie is good at holding on!!

A highlight of any day for me! I love to watch the kids play and interact (nicely) together. I know a time will/may come that they don't get along... right now I cherish the moments when they come up with ways to share and play together. Glad Natalie is good at holding on!!

December 12, 2009

Decorating cookies

We had a such a nice afternoon decorating cookies with Katie and her girls, Charlie and Ryann. Making a mess has never been more fun! And the cookies were *beautiful*!

December 5, 2009

Visit with Santa at Alderbrook

We took the kids to Alderbrook for pictures with Santa. It was perfect! The lobby was decorated beautiful, there really wasn't a line, and the proceeds went to the Fallen Soldiers Fund. I could not have asked for a better morning with the family... SO glad we didn't go to the mall!
I couldn't resist posting a bunch of pics. Every moment felt like a favorite memory.

This sleigh is 100 years old!

The gingerbread house is 14' long. Natalie quickly broke a piece off. Whoops.

I swear he wasn't trying to get away... but maybe I just didn't notice?? Ahh, a preview of the years ahead :)
Nathan was so excited to see Santa "again!". When we told him where we were going he asked if Daddy and Mommy were going to go on the airplane with him? (He knows that you have to take an airplane to Santa's house). Great memories.
Nathan was super comfortable with Santa, they're old friends by this point. Natalie started out curious, quickly became uncomfortable and then started signing "please" with urgency for us to get her off his lap. Too cute.

If there is a train Nathan will find it. To be honest, almost anything with wheels will catch his attention.

That face! She was having so much fun on the sleigh, as well as exploring the lobby. And I think she felt special in her pretty dress.

Our little snowmen!
This is the smile that I love!!! I'm so excited to have captured it on camera!

I've never noticed this sign before. It stopped me in my tracks.

December 4, 2009

The house

For anyone who wonders "Is it almost done yet?" We wonder the same thing daily. We just have the privilege of knowing it's not even close yet. Trever is working SO hard! He's also been very thankful to have friends and family join him in some work days. It makes the work go faster and really lifts Trev's spirits. Right now he is finishing up the electrical work. Then we'll tie up some loose ends in framing. We're hopeful that by the start of the year we are ready for drywall (which we will not be doing!! Yippie).

We have our outside patios (anyone want to drop by for a hottie tottie?), a smooth driveway and a parking area for our guests. Oh yeah, and a lot more work to do...

This experience has been wonderful, stressful, exciting, overwhelming, long, and yet we will look back on this and think it was quick, and we are so blessed!

December 2, 2009

Baby kittens

Our kids have really been wanting a kitten. Whenever we see one they are obsessed. We went to a rescue group to get one but I froze up and couldn't bring one home. Funny how things work out. A few days ago my dad brought these 3 kittens home. He was going to try to find them a home (I know he was hoping one of them would go to us), and he was going to keep one or two for barn kittens. We decided to let the kids keep them while we look for homes (it's so cold out right now)... and of course we fell in love. Trever went from wondering why we would ever own a cat to saying "well, if we're going to keep one, why not keep all three?". Schreeeech! Brakes on! Are you kidding me? But I have to admit, they are so easy to have around it's almost tempting!

The joy a kitten can bring!

This is Nathan's favorite of the three kittens. Trever actually loves him too. He is SO laid back! Nathan loves to hold him while watching a movie, reading a book or sleeping. He gives attention to all the kittens but about 10 times as much to this one. Oh yes, and when asked to name him... "His name is Kitty". Alright. Kitty it is.
The first time that we actually let him fall asleep with the kitten.

Natalie is loving the kittens too. Talk about cheap childcare.

I would have thought 3 kittens in the house would feel overwhelming. Not at all. I keep waiting for the atmosphere to change. They are all really relaxed, it's been a joy having them. And the kids are filled with joy at the sight of the kittens, even when they are hiding away to get a break.

This one is the most unsure, I think he's having the most separation anxiety. I have a feeling that we'll end up keeping him too. He is really beautiful. I feel a bit protective, he seems scared and finds comfort by being with one of his siblings.