Monday, December 31, 2007

Our Baby Girl is 1

Mikayla had her first birthday on Saturday, December 29th. I knew the day was coming, but it was all so bittersweet. As a parent, I want to see her grow and thrive and learn new things. I am excited and proud when she masters a new skill or learns a new word. But, I am still just a parent, and I realize that times goes WAY too fast. I miss the days of endless snuggles and complete reliance on me. But now, she's too busy to snuggle with Mommy...I might hold her back from exploring a new part of the living room or enjoying a laugh with her sisters.


I think it's harder on me this time because she's our last baby. With Alayna and Lilly, I knew that we would most likely have more, so the baby-ness was more on hold than it was gone. But as everyone says, you can't stop time. And since I can't stop it, I may as well enjoy it. So without further ado, here are some pictures and videos from Miss Mikayla's first birthday.


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Friday, December 28, 2007

Guilty

At 12:45 this morning, we woke up to a loud crash and a yelp. Obviously, Andy and I both jumped out of bed and ran downstairs to see what had happened. This is what awaited us as we entered the living room...

And this is the one who committed the crime...


Her motive? We think it was the ham bone that she had for dinner. She loved it, but it must have left her a bit thirsty, as both her water bowls were empty (but had been filled when we went to bed). When we put 2 and 2 together, we realized that she must have been going for the water in the tree stand. I was planning on taking down the trees this morning, but poor Sunny beat me to it.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

More snow!

We've gotten several inches of snow over the past few days, much to the girls' delight. We figure that since Saturday, we have probably had about 8" or more of new snow fall on what we already had. Before Lilly fell ill last night, the girls went out to play in the snow!



When they came in, they wanted to watch "Mr. Increbidles" (yes, that's spelled that way on purpose...that's how Lilly says it) So here are all 3 of my girls, all lined up and watching their movie.


We survived...sort of

We survived another busy holiday, thankfully. We were surrounded with family and friends who all showered us with lots of love and laughs. It was a great time all in all.

Friday night a bunch of us friends got together and the ladies baked cookies while the guys played cards. We had a blast and baked (and ate!) way too much. But it was a great way to get together with friends and kick off the Christmas weekend. Saturday we had Andy's dad's side of the family here for their gathering. I think it ended up being 26 people here, but I'm not sure. It was a good day. Sunday we hung out at home after going to church. We lounged around, watched the terrible Packer game, and just bummed. Monday was Christmas Eve, so we had my sister and parents over for brunch and present opening between us. Then we headed to church and then Andy's parents' house for dinner and presents with them. Tuesday morning we had our family Christmas between the 5 of us and Santa, then my mom's side of the family came over. I think that time it was 24 people. Again, a great time with lots of laughs and good times. Yesterday I took the day off of daycare to recoup and just enjoy the girls and their new toys.

It sounds like everything went well, right? Well, the reason I titled this "We survived...sort of" is because of the bumps that came along with all the good things. Like Alayna getting sick on Sunday evening, or Mikayla getting sick in the middle of Christmas Eve church service. Or how about Alayna and Lilly getting too wild on their new see-saw and Lilly's nose smashing into the handlebars, giving her her first bloody nose (a double one, at that) and a scraped lip. Now Lilly was sick during the night last night and Andy attempted to go to work, but only made it 12 miles before he turned around and came back. So needless to say, I'm just waiting for my turn and in the meantime, drinking tons of water and making sure to take my vitamins!

I hope you all had a safe, healthy and very Merry Christmas!

Pictures from Christmas

Here are some pictures that were taken over the course of our 4 day Christmas celebration.


This was Mikayla's first time opening a present. She had so much fun with the paper that Gramma Paula had to deal with the present-Mikayla could have cared less!




Christmas morning and Santa came!



Thursday, December 20, 2007

Nightmares

I have always had very vivid dreams. Most people barely remember that they even dreamt in a night, and I can tell you the color of my shirt, brand of car, full name of the stranger I met, etc. It's always humorous to Andy when he says, "I dreamt I was in Africa," and that's all he remembers. I then go on to tell him my entire movie.

Andy and Alayna are both in a wedding in early January and we recently got the itinerary for the big day. One thing mentioned was that there will be transportation provided from the wedding to the reception for the wedding party. Apparently, this was on my mind as I drifted into dream-world last night...

In my dream (or nightmare) I arrived at the reception site with our younger two girls and chatted with friends while waiting for the wedding party to arrive. As I talked with a friend I hadn't seen in awhile, she asked where Alayna was. I told her that she was in the limo with the rest of the wedding party, and the friend swore that she saw Alayna at the church after the limo left. Of course, I called Andy's cell phone immediately and kept getting his voice-mail. I asked around to anyone and everyone, and they all had conflicting times and stories of when they'd last seen Alayna-but most said it was after the limo left. I was in a state of panic, bawling, and willing myself to wake up (I have this ability in my dreams, too. Weird, I know.) I must have heard Andy's alarm go off, because in my dream it was my cell-phone ringing. I saw it was Andy, answered it and screamed "Where is Alayna?! Is she in the limo?!" Apparently, I yelled that in real life, because Andy shook me awake to see what was going on. He said my heart was racing and I had tears streaming down my face...

This time of year, aren't I supposed to be dreaming of sugar-plums and dancing fairies? Geesh. I really don't like my very vivid dreams sometimes, and last night was one of those nights. But rest assured, we checked on Alayna and she was sound asleep in her bed, probably dreaming of those fairies and plums.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Busy, busy

Our weekend was busy but just as much fun as I had anticipated. We had great entertainment, great food, even better company and okay weather (it was a little cold to stand outside after dark, but we managed) All in all, a very good holiday weekend.

But then reality hit and I realized that in less than a week, I was going to be hosting 2 holiday gatherings for more than 20 people each. Yikes. I had a lot to do and not so much time to do it in.

So the last few days have been spent cleaning, organizing and straightening up between the dirty diapers, meals, crying fits and arguments that are part of my life as a mom and daycare provider. I don't have much more to do, and what I do have left is mostly last-minute things. Like I've learned never to mop the floor in the kitchen until at least 24 hrs before-hand (or even closer, if possible) It just doesn't happen because it's inevitable that someone will spill their milk or drop their oatmeal on the floor. I also leave the main bathroom for near last because of the last minute showers and baths that need to be taken. As for the mirror, happens about 5 minutes before people get here because I just know that I will get toothpaste splatters all over it within seconds of wiping it down if I do it early. These are things that you come to learn when you have kids (or a husband, for that matter) Gone are the days of cleaning well in advance and keeping it clean. Sure, you can clean up and keep it clean for days...if you have a lock on the door going into that room. Otherwise, you'll have to go over it again at least once. Now don't get me wrong, my house isn't dirty and my family aren't pigs. But they're kids and with kids comes a certain amount of clutter and mess. But it's all worth it. I'd take laughter and smiles over a perfectly clean house any day.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Holiday fun

I am very much looking forward to this weekend. We have a lot planned and tt should be a lot of holiday fun with friends and family.

First off, tonight we are going to watch my cousin play basketball. We haven't been to one of her games yet, but I've heard she's doing really well. While playing JV the other night, she scored 16 pts! So even though she's playing against our school, we don't know any of the older kids anyway, so we'll cheer on Brianna! Good luck and we'll see you there!

Tomorrow, Andy and I are joining my parents for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert. I am very excited, as they are among my tops for Christmas music. I love how they take the traditional songs and give them a bit of a rock flair, without taking away from the music. If any of you have not heard their music, I highly recommend it. By the way, they are the ones who do the music on the Christmas lights show I displayed in a previous post.

After the show, we are meeting up with our friends (who will have the girls-thanks again for watching them while we're at the concert!) and my sister to watch the Holidazzle Parade. It's a great tradition that we try to do every year, though the weather isn't always permitting with our young children. But we try. Anyway, the parade is full of people wearing lighted costumes that are snowflakes, candies, elves, etc. The floats are all lighted and playing Christmas music and it's just such a magical experience for the little ones--and the big ones, too.

Once the parade is over, we hit the Old Spaghetti Factory for some yummy food. My personal fave is the spinach tortellini, but Alayna will tell you they have the best spaghetti ever! We shall see, because she's said the same about mine before. Then we cap off the night with games and fun at our friends' house. It's always a great weekend and something that I look forward to all holiday season. I'm sure I'll have pictures come Monday, but don't hold me to it.

Alayna's school program

Alayna had her school program yesterday afternoon. It was pretty cute and Miss Alayna, along with her best friend, was chosen to be the "Mousey in the Snow" for the one song. The two girls were center stage, dressed as mice and dancing, while the rest of the first graders sang the song. It was pretty darn cute. So, without further ado, here is my little mouse.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Winter Wonderland

These were all taken in our yard this morning. It was cold (about 5 degrees) when I took these pictures. I just thought it was all so beautiful!


Ride 'em, Cowgirl!

This has been a favorite toy of our own kids as well as my daycare kids. Thanks, Aunt LaRaye, for finding this rocking cow over 6 years ago. It has certainly gotten a full life here!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas lights

The girls and I have been addicted to watching things like this on the internet. I so wish that we could go see one in person, but I doubt it will ever happen. Oh well, that's what we have DSL for, right?! So here is our favorite of the ones that we've seen these past few days while searching.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Our Singing Stars

The girls had their Sunday school program yesterday and it was just too cute. Alayna was Mary and had a solo, and Lilly was a sheep and was supposed to sing a duet, but the other little boy wouldn't sing so she sang a solo! We were so proud of them and they both did beautifully. Here are some pics and video of each of the girls singing. On Lilly's video, you need to wait about 20 seconds until the little boy gives up the microphone and she gets to sing.


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Friday, December 7, 2007

Pics of our Christmas decorations

I was on-line this morning, checking my e-mail and friends' blogs before coming on here, and I had to laugh. My intent for this post was to show pics of our decorations. My friend Carol had the same intent with her blog. Great minds think alike, huh? So without further ado... our house.

Those of you who haven't been here, may think that our house is set up kind of odd. It's a modified split-level, so we have a ground level, a "split-level" and a second story above our ground level, plus a basement under the split-level portion. If you were to go from floor to floor, you zig-zag. It makes for an interesting lay-out, but we like it. Anyway, this is the "breakable" Christmas tree that we have in our living room, which is in the middle level of our house.

This is the train that goes around that tree. It used to be my parents' train, but I always loved it so they gave it to me when I got my own house (they no longer had a cat and had originally gotten it to scare the cat away from the tree)


Here are the stockings for our family going up to the upstairs, where the bedrooms are. We are still technically in the living room. And since our house is set up like it is, we have a lot of railings. All of the railing have the garland on it like in the pic.


Here's our snowman coffee table, also in the living room. The nativity scene is in this room also, but I didn't include pics since I just put those up the other day.


Now we are in the family room, which is on the ground floor of the house. Here is a picture of my Candy/Gingerbread Village. It all started as a bit of a joke due to my name, but I love it and try to get new pieces each year.


Here are some of the miscellaneous decorations that adorn the other side of the built in entertainment center, opposite the village.

And here's the whole unit, so you can get an idea of what I'm talking about. It's something that I love and hate, all at once...

And here's the "fun" tree, with all the Scooby Doo, Dora and other fun ornaments. This tree was mostly decorated by the kids, with Andy and I as their arms for higher branches. They have a lot of fun with it but sometimes have issues understanding that while the ornaments aren't necessarily breakable on this tree, they still can't touch.

Now you all can say that you've "been" to my house and seen it all decorated up for Christmas. We have lights outside, but with all the snow we got they are buried-we had strings that lined the driveway. Oh well. Merry Christmas to you all!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Away in the Manger

There is always a great sense of accomplishment when you teach your child something, and they retain that knowledge. It's like you feel successful as a parent, even if only for a short moment in time.


We are Christians and celebrate Christmas, as you all know. I have talked with Alayna and Lilly about how Christmas is about giving to others, showing love, kindness and compassion. But I also talk to them about the true meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate-Jesus' birth, on that first Christmas so many years ago. We have read the Bible stories and sang the songs over and over again. When you ask Lilly why we celebrate Christmas, she answers, "Because we want to! And it's Jesus' birthday!"


I have been looking for a nativity set for a few years now. It's something that I'm very picky about, probably because my mom has a beautiful set that I always loved to help her set up. This year I finally found one that I not only liked, but was within my price range. It was delivered yesterday and between Alayna and I, I don't know who was more excited. We carefully took each piece out of it's wrapping, placing them in 100 different spots on the table until we found just the right place. Then we called Lilly upstairs to look (she was playing on the computer) and I told them the story again, pointing out who everyone was. Now, I would like to keep Baby Jesus out of the nativity until Christmas Eve, but the girls would have no such thing. For one thing, the baby is attached to the manger. For another, they just wanted to look and stare at it as a complete set. So I let him lay and we went about our night.


This morning, I came into the living room to see Lilly staring at the nativity scene, her stuffed dog Sunny in her arms. "Mom," she said, "I told Sunny no touch." I nodded and went about folding my load of laundry. I was listening to Lilly as she showed Sunny who everyone was.


"That's Baby Jesus, it's his birthday. That's his mommy, Mary. That's the angel, and that's his Daddy, Joseph. This is a sheep, that's a camel and those are kings. OKay?" She continued to look at the nativity scene for another minute or so, then came running to my side.


"Mom! It's just like the song!" When I asked what she meant, she took my hand and pulled me to the nativity scene, pointing at Baby Jesus. "Look, it's just like the song! Baby Jesus is asleep in the hay!"

Monday, December 3, 2007

Real snow!

Yes, we got some snow a few weeks ago, but it only stuck around for about 30 hours. This weekend, we got real snow that should stick around for...oh, the next 4-5 months. It started Saturday morning with flurries, then late morning it picked up into a steady snowfall and by the time we woke up Sunday morning, we had about 8" of snow on the ground. The girls could hardly wait to get out and play. Finally, after getting home from church, we let them loose. They had snowball fights with the dog and each other, got pulled in the sled by Daddy and cousin Will, and rolled around making snow-angels. They both were completely drenched by the time they came in the house, but they were so happy for the snow!



Santa came to town!

Santa and the Mrs. were in town this weekend, so we braved the snow (more like the idiotic drivers in the snow) to go see them at the school. The girls were so excited. Lilly talked non-stop about how she was going to hug Santa and talk to him and tell him that she wanted cars, trains, babies and clothes. Alayna was less talkative, but her hand was clutching her list like it was a life-line. When we got to the school, we got in line and soon enough it was our turn. Alayna walked right up and sat next to Santa, Lilly cautiously sat next to her, and I plunked Mikayla on Alayna's lap. The girls complied for some pictures, and then it was time to talk. Lilly clammed up and refused to talk to Santa or Mrs. Claus, not even giving them a high-five. Alayna talked them both up, explaining her list and letting him keep it for reference.