December 26, 2011

Mommy's Birthday

The most wonderful bakers in the world made me this delicious cake.  And then they decorated it with lots of love!  35 wonderful years... and many more to come.

We enjoyed cake with the kids before heading out with our friends.  And we continued our yearly tradition of staying at Alderbrook as my birthday gift.  There is nothing in this world that I need, so some time to relax with my husband and enjoy room service is the perfect gift.

December 25, 2011

Christmas :)

Santa brought some great gifts this year.  Nathan got his much desired Polar Express train.  He's wanted that since last Christmas when Uncle Mikey gave the kids the book and movie.

Natalie got a big play house.  It's an outdoor playhouse but I think someone forgot to tell her Daddy that... it's currently found a cozy home in our living room. ;)

Andrew got a jack in the box... I'm sure he was beyond thrilled.  He would have told us all about it if he could talk... Lucky for him the kids were willing to help him open all of his presents this year.

Our three beautiful children.  We are so blessed.  They each fill our lives with so much joy, so much love.  We can't wait to see what baby #4 will bring to the mix.  S/he will surely be surrounded by lots of love.

December 21, 2011

Christmas with The Kissels

Cousins.  Kyra, 13. Kameron, 10. Nathan, 5. Natalie, 3. Andrew, 11 months.

With Trever's schedule we don't often get to make it over to Wenatchee close to Christmas.  We were thankful to get to spend an evening with all of the Kissels.  It's nice to have the kids spending time getting to know each other.  Our kids really look up to Kyra and Kameron.

And of course we love the adult time we get to enjoy.  Such a Merry Christmas indeed.

December 18, 2011

Santa Breakfast

Another wonderful traditions with our friends.  Santa Breakfast.

Each of the kids gets a gift from Santa.  Natalie is showing him the Reindeer food that she made.  Thanks Auntie Dena for the great idea!!

I'm so thankful that Nathan still believes.  I wonder when that will end? I wonder if we'll know when it ends?

Andrew is still too curious to be scared.

All the beautiful children.  Ranging in age from about 9 months to 13 years.  Crazy.

The Mamma's.  I'm so thankful for enduring friendships.

The big girls are great babysitters.

December 17, 2011

on being critical

Growing up I always thought I was a perfectionist.  I guess it never occurred to me that I didn't actually strive for, or achieve perfection.  As an adult (let's be honest... as of the last year or two) I realize that I am not a perfectionist, I'm just very critical.  I'm critical of myself for not being perfect.

It's very unattractive to realize this about myself.  But what attracts me is the opportunity for change.  I love change, I thrive on it a bit.  I've been working on it for a while now.  And I'm making progress.  I realize that my self criticism has kept me from being creative, from trying new things.  Where is the fun in that?  Recently I've thought that maybe I will even take an art class someday.  That is just crazy talk.  If there is one thing that is sure to put me in a terrible mood it is art, more specifically me trying to create art.  My hands don't know how to do what my mind sees... I think that is because my mind has never learned how to direct my hands.  There is a good chance that I will stink at art, but at least I will have tried.  My poor family... I hope they will survive me during this adventure.

I heard someone say recently that they were not athletic.  That is something I've told myself for years, for my whole life.  Really?  What does it mean to be athletic?  Do you have to play a group sport?  Do you have to be good at a sport?  I've been to the summit of mountains, some big mountains.  I've finished a half marathon (not gracefully).  I love to hike.  I enjoy skiing.  I wonder if I will ever see myself as athletic.

I'm thankful that I have children because it makes these flaws in myself (ahem, these opportunities for growth) so obvious.  More important is that it makes me so motivated to change.  How can I encourage my kids to keep trying, to enjoy something even if they are not good at it, to try something new if I am not doing the same?  I hope I am able to be a silent example to them... and I hope they can see me SO frustrated but still appreciating the experience.

December 11, 2011

Visiting Santa at Alderbrook

A Christmas highlight for (me) our family is visiting Santa at Alderbrook.  The lobby is so beautiful, and so relaxing.  We have run into very few other families (somehow we miss the rush each year).

The kids get to write letters to Santa and put them in the VERY large mailbox.  And then we get a letter from Santa sent home soon after.

And there is always a big Christmas train among the many other decorations.

And a relaxed, happy Santa.  Which makes for happy children.

Andrew was super curious about all that white hair. :)

This sleigh is from the late 1800's.  I love to imagine what it was like being pulled around by a horse.  Out visiting neighbors for a festive occasion.

What's better than a peace sign?? A love sign. :)  Not sure when or where Nathan learned that, but it's a keeper.

It's hard for us to see such a great rocking horse and not think "hey, we could/should make one of those".

Natalie doing a little dance on her "stage".  A big thanks to Trever for letting the kids dance on the furniture, such a Dad Move!

This was our first year spending the night at Alderbrook with the kids (we usually leave them at home). The day was spent at the pool, the evening watching a movie in front of the fire.  I love knowing that this will be a tradition that will continue, and it will create such a beautiful lasting memory for us and the kids.

PS. We still stayed a night without the kids.  A huge thank you to my loving parents for insuring we have time together as a couple.

December 10, 2011


The before... stockings not really "hung with care"...

Our fireplace has screamed "Unfinished!!" since we moved in.  But that all changed recently...

So thankful for my handy husband :)

And now all is well, "the stockings were hung by the chimney with care..."

December 8, 2011

Christmas Traditions

As our kids are getting older we're working on starting some simple, lasting traditions.
I don't remember making Gingerbread houses as a kid, it's so much fun.  And next year we'll be prepared having put the houses together the day before and having lots of great candy for decorations.

In our advent calendar we are putting in activities on some days and treats on others.  Who doesn't get excited about the idea of hot chocolate with a candy cane?  I like the days that combine an activity with a treat. :)

What  simple and fun activity!  We turned sugar cones upside down, frosted them green and then let the kids add decorations.  So glad that Anna and Logan could join us for the fun.

Each day after the Christmas tree was up the kids got to open a gift.  Each present was a Christmas book.  It was fun for them to discover what book it would be (they finally caught on that all the presents were books) and it was definitely special time reading together as a family.  By mid December we had quite a collection of wonderful Christmas books piled up in the living room.

December 4, 2011

Baby on Board!!!

Andrew is going to be a big brother!!!

We're so excited to be expecting baby #4!!! He/She will be joining us at the beginning of August.

November 27, 2011

Decorating the Christmas Tree

The kids are the most excited about putting the star on the tree.  We've decided that each year they will trade off who puts the star up.

This was Natalie's first year with the honor.

And for some lucky reason they were both great with the idea of Nathan taking it back off and getting to help out also.  We'll see if that holds as the years pass.

Sweet-I-Am and his friend...

We were so excited to welcome back Sweet I Am and his new friend, Frizzle.  We found some fun ideas for a North Pole breakfast.  Think "lots of sugary, snowy food".  It was perfect!

Sweet I Am wrote notes for each of the kids.  The Elves stay with us (one at our house one with my parents) until Christmas Eve.  Every night they fly back to tell Santa how well the kids are behaving. Such a super tool during a season that can get the kids a little wound up at times.

November 26, 2011

The Christmas Tree

Trever doesn't talk much about memories of getting a Christmas tree.  I have big memories.  In my early childhood we searched the forest (who knows if that is true but I'm going with it), I have pictures of my brother and I finding the tree.
Later I remember searching a Christmas tree lot.  And I even have one memory of not liking the tree we got, so my Dad went and found a NEW tree a couple days before Christmas.  He and I were so happy to replace the ugly tree we were glad to take all the ornaments and lights off and then switch them out.  Right now that makes me tired to even think about!  He definitely had the energy when he was determined.  That was our first year getting a Noble Fir... I've gotten one almost every year since then.

Nathan wanting to help cut the tree.
I don't know what we were thinking finding a tree far from the car.  Trever still has trouble walking and we have a baby.  This isn't the first time we have forgotten to use logic when picking a tree far from the car.
SO thankful for the family that helped us carry it to the car (a Firefighter no less!).  Our idea of putting one end into the wheel barrow was not going to work very well.

The kids staying occupied with hot cocoa while Trev and I get the tree on top of the truck.

When the cocoa ran out the boys found their fun with the saw dust.

Moments before Andrew decided to give it a taste test...

My little girl with the sweet tooth.  She LOVES her hot cocoa.