Tuesday, December 28, 2010

{merry and bright}

for the second year in a row we celebrated Christmas at the lake with my parents. it was a delightful weekend...a white Christmas without crazy slick roads or overly cold temperatures...snow on the ground, a frozen lake right outside the door, sleds, ice skate (or ice skaters as libbers calls them!), loved ones all around, plenty of treats, and lots of love.

the girls ages made for an extra special year of celebrating. everyone was old enough to "get it"...elizabeth and kate realizing that we are celebrating JESUS...not just presents, jillian getting the joy and excitement (and, oh my, she sure loves anything involving singing...especially Christmas carols, as we found going through our monthly advent devotionals and singing).

we were able to enjoy a candlelight Christmas eve service at my parents' church...and then after the girls received their traditional Christmas eve present (matching jammies...monkeys this year...but none of the jammie opening pics turned out well) we snuggled in to watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" together....how special that GG (my grandma--the girls' great grandma) was even with us, as she spent the night so she could be there at the crack of dawn Christmas morning.

here are some excerpts of our Christmas...which was oh so merry and bright!

a rare family photo...sorry for the flash in the window, but its actually not bad otherwise...poor jilly was teething and battling a cold most of the weekend, hence blankie and paci being nearby! :)

the girls awaiting their Christmas eve jammie present

my jilly-babe (family doesn't she look JUST like shell in this picture...seriously!)

after the girls were tucked in bed the adults spread the bounty around the tree

jilly was the first to dig into her stocking...she was so cute, just kept looking inside and pulling things out!

she definitely figured out the unwrapping thing (and if you zoom on the second picture you can see the super cutie felted doggy slippers grandmommy knit her)

all three girls received felted clog slippers knit by grandmommy...we love our warm feet! :)

a glimpse of the aftermath

we spent lots of time outside as well (and by "we" poppy and daddy provided the bulk of the fun!)--the girls loved sledding down the slope in the side yard (perfect for them!)

and yes...here is proof that 30+ week prego me did take a turn! my dad took a video of the event, but i'll spare you that footage! :)

perhaps the favorite event for kate was "ice sledding"...daddy and poppy tied rope to the sleds and pulled the girls in circles on the icy lake....they had a blast...they would occasionally get going so fast they fell off, but they were quick to get back on. the giggles and screams of delight were endless and contagious!

we also borrowed some skates from a neighbor, and elizabeth took to them amazingly. poppy gave her some instruction, but she quickly took off on her own with just two minor falls...she really was a natural!

kate got a turn too...she wasn't quite as sure or steady, but she definitely was not going to miss out after seeing all the fun sissy had! maybe we'll have to invest in some skates!

and finally...some video of the ice sledding...the tears at the end are because kate took a spill...no worries, she was back up and at it just moments later! :) (hint...press the button in the bottom right to make the video full screen so you can actually "see" it!)

Friday, December 17, 2010

december snippets

so...my calendar says there is only one week left before Christmas....
...my last blog post was on december 1st...
...umm...where did the past 2 1/2 weeks run off to?

honestly, it hasn't been "busyness" that has kept me from blogging (which is refreshing!). it has mostly been that we have had lots of other things we wanted to be doing...cookie baking, Christmas crafting, snuggling up with books or movies, and, of course, napping (seriously...i find it hard to keep my eyes open during the girls' rest/naptime these days...pretty much impossible most days--which really cramps my blogging habits, since i tend to blog during their naptime!).

perhaps i find it most hard to believe, though, that i am already at the 30 week point in pregnancy...hello third third trimester...where did you come from? that means we are just 8-10 weeks from meeting this little guy...whoa! in light of that revelation mike decided to take the entire day off today (he typically only works half days on fridays) so we could finally work on switching elizabeth and kate to their new bedroom (we basically switched their room and the playroom). the big part of that is mostly completed...with just a few odds and ends to finish up...but rest time arrived, and well, a certain 3 year old was really ready for a nap in that new bedroom!

anyway...what we've been up to...in snippets...and, in reality, mostly for my own sake...this has become my scrapbook and memory keeper. but i am happy to share with you for your own viewing/reading enjoyment as well. and perhaps someday (although, to be honest, i'm not guessing that day is coming anytime overly soon...) i will get back to blogging about things other than way overdue family updates! :)

-okay...so the girls have gotten soooo into "helping"/watching me get ready if i am going somewhere (because, nope, i usually don't do make-up, etc. if we're just hanging at the house)...they LOVE watching me put on make-up (and getting tickled with the blush brush, etc.), helping pick out my clothing, etc. on this night in particular i was heading to a MOPS steering appetizer and dessert night...elizabeth even picked out my outfit...then, since they didn't go to the party they asked if we could at least take pictures together (well...jillian, not so much...but i tried anyway!)

can you see the massive bruise on elizabeth's head...yep...flying sippy cup...ouch!

"mom, i've got places to go and people to see!"...but notice that elizabeth really wants to be in the picture...she wants to be in EVERY picture!

i love how kate gets "shy"...she really wanted to show the camera her silly band

-the theme for december 2010 in indiana seems to be snow, snow, snow, and more snow...seriously, i don't know when the last time was that we had this much snow in december. of course, this week both "snow events" came in the perfect timing to cancel preschool monday and MOPS on thursday...but we rolled with the punches and made fun-days of our own. but let me be honest, i am really looking forward to getting out for flock group tonight...really!

this was jilly's first experience with "playing" in the snow...she isn't a fan. i think that is mostly because she can't move once all bundled up. luckily elizabeth and kate are old enough to go out on their own to play a bit...good thing since my warm jacket doesn't really zip over the baby belly these days! :)

i should mention that we've also enjoyed lots of hot cocoa after playing in the snow...

-and she might not like the snow, but seriously, jilly is hilarious! this girlie has personality, and she is getting so communicative and grown up all of the sudden (she will be 16 months on Christmas eve!). she babbles ALL the time...and especially likes carrying around phones and babbling into them (which is ironic, since of all my children she has seen me on the phone the LEAST of any of them...not a lot of ability to chat on the phone these days!). she so wants to climb on everything and do anything her sisters are doing. she LOVES it when we sing...and last night after our advent devotion at dinner we were singing "Angels We Have Heard on High"...and sweet jilly was swaying and clapping to beat the band. we are so thankful to have her back to herself...that said, this week has been a rough one for her...a cold, molars breaking through, and trying to figure out whether she is a one or two nap a day girl (and honestly, i am okay with either...just need her to pick one or the other already!)

-we've been baking...and baking...and baking. we are about ready to package up all of our goodies and deliver them to some friends and neighbors. so far we've made salty turtles (with pretzels, rolos, and m&ms/pecans), chocolate dipped (and sprinkled--much to libs and katers delight) pretzels, buckeyes, Christmas-doodles (snickerdoodles with Christmas sprinkles), triple chocolate mint chip cookies, peppermint crunch cookies, and mexican wedding cookies. the big girls have had a blast measuring, rolling, scooping, and sprinkling. all three have loved watching the oven as our creations bake! :)

salty turtle making...love that they were able to do just about everything themselves...well, except putting them in the oven...

kater rolling out some buckeye balls

-after several years at a company that didn't have an office Christmas party, mike and i thoroughly enjoyed that his new company has a party...a great party. it was downtown in the OneAmerica building, the Skyline club on the 36th floor...great food, fun to meet his co-workers, and a treat to get to dress up and go somewhere just the two of us. it is the one time a year we actually pay a sitter rather than swapping with friends! it was actually warm enough that evening that we were also able to walk the few blocks to the circle and see the lights after the party. :) did i mention how thankful i was for the maternity dress a friend let me borrow!? i fooled myself into thinking the black dress didn't make me look quite as pregnant...but then as i was headed to the bathroom at one point, one of the servers at the Skyline club said, "honey, when are you due?--with eyes wide like i might drop a baby any moment...umm, yeah...i'm 30 weeks pregnant/look like i might deliver any day apparently. :)

-and we've been crafting...of course. simple crafts...seriously simple crafts. but i've been trying to coordinate a daily craft with our daily advent lesson and ornament we hang on our advent tree. it has really helped the girls get into the advent devotional if we have already talked about it earlier in the day and they've had the chance to do a hands-on activity. we've made stockings and gift boxes, angels and shiny ornaments, and much, much more...so fun! i love watching them do all the cutting and painting and pasting and creating...even if it results in "JOY" signs that are spelled..."YOJ"...its all good, kate can still tell you all about how the shepherds brought "JOYFUL" tidings. :)

gluing and cutting...the keys to kate's heart. seriously, this child loves her some glue...and scissors.

even jilly got in on the action when we repurposed our rolo wrappers from the "salty turtles" into shiny ornaments. :)

-and because i can't resist...this is my sweet frozen blueberry eating monster...seriously, she had blueberry EVERYWHERE!

-and i could surely share much more...if my brain and memory functioned better these days. we did have a delightful afternoon visit from our dear "miss jill" (and, of course, i failed to take any pictures); we've had tons of pajama days; i've found mary and joseph and baby Jesus (from their little people nativity) in the craziest places; i've done a bit of sewing and knitting here and there...finishing a hat for the baby, a stocking for my friends' baby, the baby's special lovey blankies, and lots of reusable snack bags for a MOPS friend; i have far more projects i'd like to work on...someday! :) i have had plenty of stir-crazy, overwhelmed moments...but mostly i have been able to truly relax and enjoy this december more than i can remember in quite awhile...my shopping is finished (and my husband has promised to do most of the wrapping), we've avoided being overly busy, and we are simply spending time together.

and that, sweet friends, is a snippet of our december! :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

smiles, snippets, and pictures

well hello there december...where in the world did you come from!? seriously, it feels like time is sneaking past more quickly than i can grasp! my poor blog has been so neglected, but i must be honest...just trying to keep up with daily life has been more than enough lately...and to be really honest i'm not even really "keeping" up most days. there are clean dishes waiting to be put away...i really should vacuum before the day is over, my kitchen needs endless amounts of attention, i have sewing projects to complete for a friend, girlies who would love if i would play games and crafts ALL day long every day, a 15 month old who is into everything, and a wee baby in the womb who seems to have once again zapped me of all energy and motivation, and on and on and on and on. so blogging was on my "to-do" list today...otherwise i surely wouldn't get "to-done"...and i simply want to preserve the moments (mostly for myself at this point!). i'm still striving to find balance...to seek each day to keep His agenda and recognize where i need to focus my attention at any given moment...to discern when i need to take a nap and when i need to push through the weary and accomplish a few tasks...i suppose i will always be striving for that...

we greeted december with a dusting of snow this morning...and it has continued to drop light flakes all day long off and on. the girls were thrilled, and both elizabeth and kate thought that it simply MUST mean that today was Christmas. yep, they are a wee bit confused about the reality that Christmas comes after Thanksgiving--thinking and hoping it means it comes the very next day. that should be helped by the start of our advent and countdown activities...our muffin tin advent calendar and devotional advent tree and ornaments are all ready to go. and today, we spent school time talking about numbers, tracing numbers, and making their very own countdown calendars (3x3 scrapbook paper with their traced numbers 1-24 glued on, all hooked together with a binder ring).

anyway...i could ramble on and on for quite some time, but instead i will share some pictures, smiles, and snippets from the past week around our house. :)

i'll start with thursday, because, quite honestly the first two days of jilly home from the hospital were sort of a blur. :)

so, first i bring you our not-what-we-were-planning....but really splendid and relaxing in spite of that Thanksgiving day at home. seriously...what a treasured day for our little family. we have never spent Thanksgiving day at home since mike and i got married. but, oh my did pack lots into the day!

1. we surprised the girls, and i woke them up and drove to dunkin' donuts to pick out donuts for breakfast. they were just as delighted as they would have been if i'd had the energy or motivation to make something yummy and homemade. (mike and i enjoyed some homemade pumpkin spice lattes to go with our donuts!)

2. much to elizabeth's (and kate's too!) delight we busted out the Christmas tree...something we typically don't do until a week or so later. the girls were so fun helping get it set up and "fluffed".

3. the entire family (yep, mom and dad too!) made handprint turkeys, talked about (and labeled) what we were thankful for and colored our turkeys in. we plan to make this a tradition...and i kept this years turkeys for future glancing back!

4. after our donut breakfast we had a light lunch...popcorn and fruit and spinach smoothies (and as you can see, we all wore our PJs ALL blissful day long!).

have i mentioned how acutely aware we were of just what a blessing it was to have this sweet, graham cracker munching beauty at home with us.

5. we did enjoy a scrumptious Thanksgiving feast as well...my friend jill showed up at my door wednesday with two massive boxes of food...some for our freezer, some for dinner that night, and one entire box was full of Thanksgiving sides and dessert she made us (all homemade....all sooo incredibly tasty).

6. decorating the tree...with our little helpers. they went to town and had a blast. the lower half of the tree is noticeably more decorated than the upper half (as it should be with little people in the house, right!?).

kate had a particular knack for decorating...loading as many ornaments on a branch as she possibly could before moving on to another branch!

7. after the tree was all decorated we snuggled down under blankets with all the lights off but the tree and introduced the girls to the movie "elf" for the first time. a delightful and snuggly end to a sweet day of togetherness.

8. friday mike was feeling slightly more rested than he had been and with jillian seeming stable he decided to take the older girls down to his parents for a few hours (we traditionally do Christmas with them the day after Thanksgiving). jilly and i spent a quiet day resting at home, and elizabeth and kate were thrilled to visit grandma and grandpa, aunt Kim and uncle Dave, and uncle Dennis and Kaitlyn. they came home with boxes of goodies...including this "cookie jar" that jillian proceeded to carry with her endlessly for the next 48 hours.

grandma and grandpa also surprised the girls with new PJs and "Toy Story 3"...so after dinner and baths we had yet another family movie night. i can't even tell you how thrilled jillian was to be sitting on the couch with her sisters...

saturday and sunday were fairly uneventful (i think...what does it say about my mental state that i can barely remember those two days!). saturday evening we actually ventured out as an entire family for the first time in over a week--to Costco for a bit of shopping and dinner at the food court.

9. when the Christmas decor came out, so did the Little People nativity miss Jill gave the girls last year. oh my they are having a blast with it. yesterday i found this set-up...i asked elizabeth to describe it...and these are her words. "mommy, they all came to worship Jesus!" when she is asked to clean up she always leaves it looking just like this...just as it should be in my opinion!

10. the three most beautiful girlies ever...this morning i decided to attempt a candid in front of the tree shot. i have illusions that i will eventually get Christmas cards sent out...so i keep trying for a good shot of all three together...i think it might be the impossible dream.

11. snow! (and playing in it)

12. our first Christmas/advent/counting down craft. the tree was mostly to occupy them while i was trying to get everything else ready. they loved that both projects included lots of cutting and lots of gluing. :) in other news, crafts and school time may get more interesting soon...i have a sneaky feeling miss jilly is very close to dropping her oh-so-blissful 2 hour morning nap soon...like maybe in the next week soon...oh my!