Wednesday, December 31, 2008

So Long '08

You know that old adage that says time just goes faster the older you get?'s true. I cannot believe how fast each year passes. It seems like it should be about April, not December. And especially not the last day of December, which means the last day of the year. Yikes.

Even though 2008 has been a fast year, it's been a good one. We celebrated 4 weddings and 6 births with family and friends. We took mini-vacations and day trips as a family. We worked on the house and property to get it even more how we like it. We spent lots of time with family and friends. We were mostly healthy and safe, with only minor injuries and illnesses (nothing even close to serious). We fixed vehicles and saved money. We made new friends. We didn't have to say good-bye to any close family or friends, the only close death being that of George, our horse. We had a lot of fun over the months. We each celebrated another birthday and many milestones. We added a new member to our family with Marley. We still have our home and our jobs. 2008 was a good year. Let's hope 2009 can only get better!

So from our family to yours, may you have a happy, healthy, safe and joyous 2009!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Today our baby girl turns 2. Mikayla has been such a huge blessing to our family! I remember when I found out I was pregnant with her and we were so excited and anxious to share our news and see her grow, first in my belly and then in the flesh. When she was born, it was a very easy, simple delivery. I know our parents and sisters were so frustrated because we asked the nurse and doctor not to use any pronouns and to continue to call her "baby" until everything was said and done. The ears at the door were going CRAZY trying to determine if the cry was feminine or masculine, if the "he" and "she" were about the baby or Andy and I. Once they met her, they all fell in love, just like we did.

The past two years have been great! Mikayla has grown up and now walks, runs, and talks. She tells people off in her own gibberish, brandishing her pointer finger like a ruler and emphasizing her "NO!" She makes the funniest faces and has the most contagious laugh. She looks up to her big sisters and tries to do whatever they do. She's always available to give a hug or kiss, or snuggle for at least a second or two. She's all we could have wanted in a child, and then some, just like her sisters.

Mikayla has so many interests right now. She loves to play with her babies, shushing them and singing them "Rock-a-baby in tee tops". She dances and sings all the time. She can say her ABCs and especially loves to sing them along with her Fridge Phonics. Her favorite movies are "Monsters, Ahhhhh!" (Monsters, Inc) and "Shek," though "Ginkerbell" is fast becoming a favorite, too. On tv, she likes "Jack Show" (Jack's Big Music Show), "Fankin" (Franklin), Diego and Dora, and "Boo Coos" (Blue's Clues) the best. As each day passes, we are reminded more and more that she's turning into a little girl and not so much a baby.

Happy Birthday, Mikayla! Mommy and Daddy love you very much and can't wait to celebrate many, many more birthdays with you!

My friend Karla and I 2 wks before Christmas 06 (she had Emma on Dec 26)
Please ignore my non-existent chin, I think I was laughing at something

In the hospital, only a few hours old

First smile caught on camera, about 2 months

Sleeping in the swing, about 7 months
First Birthday! This past summer, about 18 months
October 2008, about 21 months
December 2008, almost 2!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Welcome to the World, Lucy!

One of my very best friend's had another little girl yesterday, December 22. Karla and Dan welcomed Lucy Ellen shortly after 2:00 pm, weighing in at 8lbs 12oz and 19" long. She's just a doll and I wanted to eat her all up. Big sister Emma seemed as proud as any almost 2-year-old can be when it comes to a baby that will eventually take up Mommy and Daddy's time and attention. She showed us her baby, smiled big when we asked if she was happy, then ran off to play with Mikayla in the OB lobby.

Congrats Karla and Dan on Lucy's arrival! I cannot wait to get to know her and see her as she grows! (I would post pics, but that darn dog...)

Where Oh Where has the time gone?!

I cannot believe that tomorrow is Christmas Eve! I'm ready--the presents are wrapped, the cookies baked, the plans made. But I just can't believe that it all starts tomorrow! But before I get ahead of myself, I'll let you know what we've been up to since last week.

First off, I've been trying to upload the Sunday school program video. I watch it on the computer and it's just fine, but when I upload it here I get audio from the first 2 segments and video from the second 2 segments. Not quite right. I don't know why it's doing it, but I'm trying to figure it out.

We had a busy week of lots of snow and cold temps, school, work and normal things. Plus we also had to finish up the last of our shopping. I also needed to bake more sugar cookies because while I was sick, my husband and daughters ate them all. And they're my favorite. So I needed more.

Sunday we had the first of several Christmas gatherings. Andy's dad's family all got together at Andy's cousin's house. It was a lot of fun, minus a stair incident for Mikayla. She was fine, just caused a minor heart-attack for me, Andy and his cousin Brandon. The girls had a lot of fun, as when all the family gets together there are 10 kids under the age of 12--7 girls and 3 boys. Lots of squealing, but lots of fun too.

So that's what we've been up to. My camera cord still isn't fixed, so I don't have pictures to share yet. Just be anticipating a huge post with tons of photos once it's all better.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cold Weather Rules Part 2

Remember this post about a very important cold weather rule? Well, today I've got a few more rules, or bits of advice, for you all when it comes to the cold.

1. This time of year, when you are sleeping soundly and wake up because of a loud banging sound...chances are someone is not shooting at, crashing into or breaking into your house or anything else. In my dream, it was someone crashing their lawn-mower into a garbage can. In reality, it was something much less tragic and humorous. Once I was awake enough to put 2 and 2 together, I came up with -10. As in the temperature. And that banging noise? The house shifting and groaning from the frigid temps (and our house is only 30 yrs old, you should hear a house like my parents' that's about 100 yrs old!). And just so you all can be really jealous, we're not supposed to make it above zero today and our wind-chills will be -30. Yippee.

2. Don't rely on just one tv station when it comes to checking for school delays and closures. I woke up this morning (see above) at 6am, 30 mins before my alarm is set to go off. I thought I'd be a nice Mommy and check for Alayna's school. I went through the "local" channels (we live over 70 miles from the nearest city, but our schools get called into them because that's where our local tv channels come from) and found the channel closest to our town name in the alphabet listing of schools. As I watched with half asleep eyes, I realized that it skipped over our town. I was a bit peeved that I had to send my child on a bus with -30 windchill and below zero actual temps. But then I thought, "Hmmm, maybe I should check another channel." So I found the next closest channel in the alphabet and sure enough, we're at least 2 hrs late. I sneak into Alayna's room and shut off her alarm, only to still have all 3 girls in bed with me by 6:30. Ugh.

3. Puppy's with short hair do not go off of the porch to "do their business" when it's this cold out. Enough said.

Coming soon...

The theatrical performances of our three girls, as soon as Andy can splice together my camera cord (thanks, Marley.)

The girls had their Sunday school Christmas program yesterday and it was adorable, from what I saw. See, I didn't get to go. I was home sick with a bizarre flu that left me feeling like I was on the verge of puking (or the other end) any moment, though I never did either. I had no energy and slept all day long. Now today I feel fine, just that blah-ness of The Day After.

So anyway, my wonderful husband got the girls up, ready and to church, took video of the program and got them all home--all in the beginning stages of a snow storm. My dad read the lessons I was supposed to read, and Andrea and my mom took over the program portions that I was supposed to be helping with. THANKS GUYS!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Picture Tag!

My friend LeeAnne tagged me in this different and fun game for the blogging world. It's been interesting to see what people have and what the explanations are! So here are the rules of this game:

1. Choose the 4th picture folder on your computer

2. Choose the 4th picture

3. Explain the picture

4. Choose 4 people to do the same

This picture is our church's Sunday School program from 2006. Alayna was a shepherd and is off to the right of the picture, but Lilly is the little black and white sheep on the very right. She was just over 2 years old. The "Wise Man" (I use that term loosely...just kidding, Dad!) on the right is, you guessed it, my dad!

Friends who I'm tagging:

1. Mom With 3 Monkeys
2. Carol
3. Kandace
4. Sarah

Monday, December 8, 2008

Puppy Love

Marley is the biggest snuggler I know of in the canine family. It's so cute and adorable now, when she's only 20 lbs. Won't necessarily be so great when she's 120 lbs. But for now, we're enjoying the cuddles and hoping that we aren't creating a monster. Wait, scratch that. I am trying not to encourage her to be on my lap or the furniture. Andy, on the other hand, loves to snuggle with her. And of course, Marley is more than happy to oblige and nap with Daddy.

Look! Sunny is getting used to the little whipper-snapper and doing more to help train her than just tolerate her. I got this cute moment on Sunday afternoon. Two weeks ago, Marley wasn't even allowed to be near Sunny's spot at the top of the stairs. (isn't that horrendous carpet?!)

And while we were baking cookies on Saturday, Alicia brought over Ellie May, Marley's sister. After fighting and wrestling around, the girls were put into confinement so we could bake our cookies without having to watch them, too. Apparently, they wore themselves out.

Sugar Highs

Growing up, one of the things I looked forward to each year around Christmastime was the cookie baking. My mom would whip up a big double batch of sugar cookies and we'd cut them into trees, angels, santas, stars, snowmen. Then while they baked and cooled, we'd dip pretzels in melted almond bark. Once that was done, it was time to frost and decorate the sugar cookies until they were so beautiful, I could barely stand it. I LOVED doing that each year. Of course, as we got older we added more complicated goodies into the mix, but the sugar cookies and pretzels were always the staple.

Now that I have my own girls, I have continued the tradition of baking with them, especially at Christmas. I invite over my mom, sister, mother-in-law and sister-in-law, as well as a few friends who are available. We bake and chat and dip and create. This past Saturday was the day this year. We made SO many yummy goodies that it's crazy.

We did sugar cookies, like always...

...and spritzes and little elf hats (plain bugles filled with almond bark and an M&M)...

...peanut butter star cookies, peanut butter cup cookies, dipped pretzels, pretzel rings filled with a melted Hug and an M&M, and oreo truffles-some plain, some mint.

I love seeing what master-pieces of art the girls create with their cookie. They are all the most beautiful things, but taste even better. Yum.

And the funniest part of the day? When the "men-folk" showed up later for dinner and saw the HUGE spread over every inch of counter and table that I have. If eyes could drool, their eyes were doing it. They went into an instant sugar high and stupor looking at all the goodies before them. They were like kids in a toy store, not knowing where to start first!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas is almost here!

Did you all realize that it's less than 4 weeks until Christmas? Yup, that's right! So get your cards ordered, go to the store, heat up the oven for all those cookies...You are running out of time!

We have started getting ready for Christmas. As I mentioned in a post yesterday, we cut our trees and put them up, but they needed some decorations!

The girls love to help decorate the trees each year. This year, Mikayla was able to participate somewhat, though she couldn't hang all of the ornaments by herself. Since decorating, I don't know who I've had to yell at more about not touching the trees-Mikayla or Marley. To a puppy, it's like she's gone to heaven!

Sunday was our Christmas celebration for 4H. Every year, the kids sell wreaths, poinsettias, and trees as a fundraiser for the club. We turn in and collect the orders the Sunday after Thanksgiving, then the whole club goes bowling together. We also have another fun thing for that day...

Can you believe that Santa wasn't too busy to come see us all?! Lilly was so excited. She ran right up to him and was the first to sit on his lap, actually standing next to him, waiting patiently for him to take his seat. Alayna sat on his lap as well, but Mikayla didn't want to. The combination of minor stranger anxiety and being up past nap time--plus up late the night before--was not good for Santa-time. Oh well.

One funny, but sad, thing did occur. As we left 4H, Alayna seemed to be a little down. When I asked her what was wrong, she said, "I'm just thinking...Did Santa look and sound like Uncle Johnny to you?" Well, good question, considering that Santa was Uncle Johnny (my MIL's brother) I just told her that Uncle John has always kinda looked like Santa and she seemed happy with that answer. She'll be 8 in January, so we wonder if this year will be the last Santa year for her. We're playing it by ear, waiting to see what she hears at school and if she asks more questions. We won't lie to her, just as I didn't lie about Uncle John looking like Santa. I mean look at the guy--that's not a fake beard or belly or glasses. The man is Santa.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Conversations with an almost 2-year-old

I just had this conversation with Mikayla...

Mommy: Mikayla, are you done with your oatmeal?

Baby: Ummmmm, Nayna bus!

M: Yes, Alayna just got on the bus. Are you done with your oatmeal?

B: Ummmmmm, Nayna cool!

M: Yes, honey, Alayna went to school. Are you done?

B: Marney! Marney bone.

M: Marley's chewing her bone, yes. Are you done?

B: Yeeyee ni-ni

M: Yes, Lilly is still sleeping. Are you done with your oatmeal?

B: Daddy gone.

M: Daddy's at work. Mikayla...

Interrupting me B: All gone! No more o-mee.

It's December!

And since it's December, that means it's almost Christmas! I LOVE Christmas. The music is awesome, the weather is great, the decorations are beautiful and everyone is usually in a good mood and more willing to give to others. How can you not love this season that celebrates Christ's birth?!

One of the very first things we do to celebrate Christmas (after shopping on Black Friday) is get our Christmas trees. We always do this the weekend after Thanksgiving. So Saturday afternoon, we all piled in and went to cut down some trees. Mikayla had so much fun this year, riding on Daddy's shoulders as we walked through row after row of bright green trees. She would put her arms out and try to touch every one of them. Alayna and Lilly, on the other hand, were running ahead of us, pointing out trees they thought were either really good or completely not up to par. Eventually, we settled on 2 nice trees for our living room and family room. As Daddy cut them down, the three girls all giggled and laughed, jumping up and down in their excitement. It was quite the sight.

Once we got home and got everyone settled into bed (we had another Thanksgiving Sat night so we didn't get home until late) Andy and I unloaded the trees into the garage. He was just as excited as the girls and said, "I'm so glad that you love real trees. I don't think I could have married you if you were a fake girl." Aww, so sweet...Don't you love Christmas?