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.

November 23, 2011

Movie Night with The Houks

Nathan wanted the Houk boys to come over for movie night.  Love it.  We had a fire, popcorn and lots of fun.  Such sweet boys (and Natalie got to cuddle with Trever the whole time).

November 21, 2011

A visit with the Lloyd's

For the second year in a row we've been able to have the Lloyd family stay with us as they visit Washington. Yay for a new house... Yay for them being on the West Coast again!!  I hope we can make this an annual tradition.

Did I mention there are 4 boys??? Nathan is lovin' this!

November 19, 2011

My darlings

I don't think I could have imagined how blessed we would feel with these 3 kids.  How did we get so lucky?

They are each so different.  I've heard that each kid takes the space/personality that is still available.  It seems to be true, each child has developed into a role that was previously not taken.

They are also so alike.  Each of them filled with an ability to give love, to be kind to each other, to work so well within the framework of our family.  They each LOVE the outdoors (although with a different level of need to be outside).

I am so blessed to be a Mama to these kids, and they know it.  I'm so thankful that they are confident in our love for them, they tell me I am blessed.  They hear me tell them and they believe me, that feels amazing to me.

We have a quiet house, I want to remember that it's important to also turn the music up loud and let loose with them.  Dance parties are good for the soul!

I pray each day that I am able to see what their individual needs are, what their individual strengths are, and work to take care of them and help them grow.  I pray that I am constantly learning about them and growing with them.

I want to remember to focus on each of them independently as often as possible.  I think it's wonderful to have that quiet time together, and I always feel like the child in front of me is my "favorite" at that moment.  I feel a bit guilty until I realize that I feel the same way about each of them.  They are each my favorite!  They are so endearing for who they are, again... We are SO blessed!!!

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Sweet, sweet Natalie.  So full of greatness!  She has been her own person since birth.  She taught me that things won't always go my way, but when we work together we can easily find a successful pattern.  What a valuable lesson for me!!!  I'm so grateful to have a Natalie as my daughter!!!

Her little heart is overflowing with love.  I don't think I can count the number of times I hear "Mommy, I love you".  Almost always said out of the blue.  And so often I get to hear "Mommy, can I give you a hug?".  So often I hear that at a moment when what I want is for her to be eating dinner, brushing her teeth, picking out a book.  I have to remember that hugs are the most important thing... not those other things.  She's just like her daddy... enjoy that special hug and then she is able to do her other tasks.  Her heart is fragile, taking care of it is my most important job.

Encouraging her to embrace her beautiful and pure emotions while learning to guide them is so important.  I want her to embrace those emotions, while learning to read them and learning how to express them.

Her personality has always brightened a room.  She is a quite, shy little girl at times... but more often she is full of fun.  She loves to run, needs to run.  Often this turns into racing back and forth in the hallway during the rainy days, or back and forth on the lawn if it's dry outside.  She is dancing a lot lately, singing silly songs that she makes up and wanting to dance for us.  SO FUN.

Her smile makes my heart ache with love.  I love that she gives love on her terms.  It comes out of nowhere, and there are times that we might ask for a kiss only to hear that "she is out of kisses".  I have to love her for those moments too... for her ability to go with how she is feeling.  She will meet in the middle and blow us a kiss most of the time.  This is where I see a bit of myself in my sweet girl, affection for her is genuine when it feels natural to her and she isn't up for faking it when the moment isn't there for her.  I know she will learn how to balance her needs with being nice, we'll help her get there.  For now I just smile at her honesty, she is definitely an honest little girl.

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I love that this girl is willing to work hard.  It's okay for her to make mistakes, she just wants to be involved. She looks up to her big brother and wants to do what he does.  Trying to do his school work.  Love that!  And she loves puzzles, something Trever and I cherish doing with her.  She's really good at working out a puzzle, it's so fun to see her strengths emerging.

Our hearts overflow with love for this girl.


What a lucky Mama I am!  This boy has blessed our lives since the day he was born.

His heart is filled with kindness, he gives so much affection to everyone in the family.  From the moment each of the other kids was born he has given them love, never showing resentment.  How did we luck out??  When he goes to bed he loves to cuddle (that was not the case when he was a baby, he wanted to be by himself in his own bed).  Recently he crawled into bed with me for a nap, I was already half asleep facing away from his side of the bed.  My heart melted as I heard the sweet words "Mama, do you want to hold hands?".  Yes.  Of course I do.  I'm so glad I took advantage of the moment instead of staying comfortably relaxed in my normal sleeping position.  I'm sure someday I'll be missing those words, missing that little hand wrapped sweetly around mine.

He has set the tone for our family.  Each of the kids looks up to him, and he (mostly) guides them with patients.  He loves to learn, he loves to explore, and he is such an excellent independent player.  He fills our hearts with love and I think he knows it... and he values the love he has to give, just as much as we value receiving it.  I hope we are aware of his needs, and able to fill his heart as much as he fills ours.

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This last picture is one of my favorites.  It shows his sweetness, cuteness and loving side all rolled together.  I am so blessed to be his Mama, and so excited to watch him grow up to become an amazing man someday.  Of course I will miss all the moments that I currently cherish, but I am SO excited and hopeful to be a part of his adult life someday.  I have so many hopes for him, but only one need... that he learns what life means to him, and he fills his life with the things/people/activities that bring him meaning.  That is a small goal, right?


Getting bundled up and ready to go!

SNOW... we'll take it!

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 The kids love to get out and play in the snow, it is so fun to watch them playing together.  We're hopeful for many more snow filled days this winter. (A gal can wish, can't I?)

November 16, 2011

Trever's Mini Me

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Trever and his little Mini-Me.  They look almost identical in baby pictures and from what we can tell their personalities are pretty darn similar also!  (It might be the end for me to have TWO of them running around this house... or out of it more likely.)

Since Trever is still laid up in bed most of the time doing PT or recovery from PT the kids always know where to find him.  He gets LOTS of cuddles.  I'm sure Andrew crawled up there all on his own after a bath, I wouldn't just hand the kids off to someone at a disadvantage!! ;)

November 15, 2011

Nathan earning money

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Natalie purchased the camera that Nathan wants... so he's motivated to earn some money.  He's getting some quarters for setting the table and clearing the table if we don't have to remind him.  Of course I give him a bit of a heads up that "if he wanted to set the table dinner is almost ready."

Little does he know Nana and Papa have already purchased his camera for him as a Christmas gift.  We're actually hoping to stall him from getting it for himself.  But very subtly, because it's actually a lot more important to us to encourage this desire to work hard.

Natalie's first purchase

Natalie has been saving up her coins.  The kids get paid for doing various jobs.  At this point it's all voluntary work. Usually when they find something they want they start looking for jobs.  Natalie found a camera at Costco so it was time to take the coins to the bank to get some cash (you're welcome to the checker at Costco!)

Putting her cash into her purse.  They used to be a bit more savvy in their money accumulation... asking my parents to empty their pockets each day.  For some reason that behavior has stopped, the piggy banks are growing slower and I'm sure my parents are feeling wealthy.

Heading into Costco.  She is SO proud, SO excited to be a big girl with her own money.

Such a big girl, making her very first purchase, and even getting change back for some fun in the future.

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