Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas with Nana and Grandpa

We celebrated Christmas with my parents on the 28th with dinner at Dosey Doe's and opening presents after.  I think my family goal for the new year is to be able to take a family picture simply and as easily as counting to 3 and smiling!  Yes, I know... that is never going to happen with my kids.  Maybe Isaac will be a camera ham.  In terms of gifts, my kids made out like bandits this year.  They received lots of books, puzzles, games and modeling kits which have been great because 2 weeks off from schoolwork gives them a lot of free time!  I have been able to put them to work raking in the back yard though which has been awesome this year.  In order to earn their much coveted privilege of 20 minutes of iPad time, they have to fill up one of those large lawn and leaf paper bags I get at the home depot.  David and Emily work together to do so and there are so many leaves in the back yard that they can be kept busy doing this every day!  It's good exercise too and gets them outside so I say win/win for everyone.  Lia helps me when I rake by picking up the piles but she isn't quite independent or motivated enough to do this every day.  She earns privileges by reading aloud to me from her readers... I desperately want her reading so I don't mind bribing her in this way!  So I guess it is time to sign off for 2013... and get on to the new year.  Hard to believe!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas!!!
Look who's smiling now!  They are excited because we told them they could go home and open one gift before we had our Christmas Eve dinner.  Aren't the poinsettia's beautiful?  I love our church at Christmas time.

Emily sang with the Children's choir tonight and they all got together for a group picture after mass.  Good looking group, aren't they?

And here is our living room, all decorated for Christmas.  This is our first year to purchase a fake tree... but I really think we got a good one and hope it will serve us well for many years.

And yes, we got our lights up outside the house this year too.  I love driving up to our house each night... it makes me smile to see the blinking stars on our little redbud tree all decked out for Christmas.  So yes, there's no place like home for the holidays.

And now off to bed...  I'm thinking there are going to be some kids wanting to open up gifts tomorrow morning!

Family Pictures

 I sent out Christmas cards in 2011, but not in 2012... so I really wanted to get it done this year.  Most of our friends and family know we are expecting our 4th child, but I wanted to announce it on our Christmas cards for the few who may not know yet as it is such joyous news for us.  Normally, we just put pictures of our kids on our Christmas cards, but this year I wanted a picture of our whole family.  Goodness gracious though, it is hard to photograph us!!!!  A kind family at church took a ton of pictures of us after mass on the 2nd Sunday of Advent.  I liked this one... but wasn't completely happy with it so we ended up trying again the next Sunday.  And no, David would not smile... believe me, we tried!
This one, on the 3rd Sunday of Advent ended up being the winner.  Unfortunately, waiting so long to design and order Christmas cards delayed me getting them out in the mail till today, Christmas Eve, but I am pleased they will be received in the days following Christmas.  And as a catholic family, the Christmas season doesn't even begin till Christmas Day and then continues for 12 more days till the Epiphany on January 6th... so really, I'm right on time!

Ice Skating!

On Monday, David and Chris returned from their trip and I was able to take all the kids ice skating.  It was crazy crowded because it was the 2 for the price of 1 day... but they sure had a ball.  I got a few short videos so you can see how they did on the ice.  We only go ice skating once a year... so the kids spent quite a bit of time trying to remember how.  That said, they were doing really well at the end of our 2 hour skate session.

One Starry Night in Bethlehem

Sunday afternoon, we headed out to Crossroads Baptist church for their Christmas story drama and hands on Bethlehem experience for the kids.  What an amazing event for the community.  We really enjoyed our time there.

The girls wanted to sit at the very top of the worship area and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Christmas story come to life on stage.

After the show, the girls were able to experience the sights and sounds of Bethlehem and do a ton of fun crafts.  We registered for the census, paid our taxes, sampled Bethlehem bread, and even weaved a real basket!  Lia was so excited to do everything they had to offer.  Emily was thrilled to go off on her own to experience it all as well.

Lia's making a little tile mosaic here.  The crafts were really impressive for the numbers of kids that turned out for this event.  Did I mention this was a free event.  Score.  :-)

And animals too!  You don't get to see camels very often.  I was told this one was a baby. 

Donkey, goats, pigs...

Oh yes, and a Shetland pony ride!  What a fun afternoon.

Bouncin' Bears

Chris and David travelled to North Carolina last Friday night to participate in the Nelli's big family Christmas dinner.  It wasn't possible for us all to go this year, so I promised the girls we would have fun while they were away.  They wanted to go to Bouncin' Bears and I was all for it!  Bouncin' Bears is a big indoor play area with bounce houses, inflatable slides and this huge jumping pillow that my kids absolutely love.  As you can see, the place wasn't very crowded so the girls were able to get all their crazies out and I was perfectly happy to sit at the picnic table and enjoy the free wifi.

And you can bet if I wasn't pregnant, I would have been bouncing with them!

Ornament Decorating Work Shop

Emily's art teacher hosted an ornament decorating workshop at her house and we were so pleased with how well they turned out.  Emily told us Gaby found the ornaments at Hobby Lobby and that they were just plain cardboard ornaments to begin with.  The kids applied primer and then acrylic paint.  I think the metallic paint pen decorations she did at the end are what make them really special.  It will be fun to pull them out each year and hear Emily announce that these are the ornaments that "I" made!  And even better, they aren't breakable!!!

Christmas Tree Farm

This year, we managed to do lots of fun Christmas activities.  I'm glad I'm finally relaxing on Christmas Eve and updating our blog.  :-)  David's cub scout pack hosted a fun night at a local Christmas Tree farm.  We took a hay ride through the Christmas tree fields and under the beautiful stars, to a picnic area all set up with bonfires for cooking hot dogs and smores!  As you can see, we were all bundled up because it was in the low 40's that night!  The kids really enjoyed cooking their hot dogs over the fire and there must be something about being outside and being really  hungry... because those hot dogs were delicious!  We made smores for dessert too.  :-)  Ooey Gooey marshmellows, melted chocolate and graham crackers made everyone very happy that night.

Here is Emily, Lia and our friend Sophia on the hay ride.

And me and my friend, Christina.  I loved her red hat and wool jacket.

And here is my little girl all in pink.  The kids really didn't complain about the cold.  I was okay with it, with the exception of my feet getting cold.  I think I needed to wear wool socks or something!  Chris tells me I would never cut it at the cub scout camp... and he's right if we would have to sleep in cold weather like it was that night.  No thank you.  I'll take my comfy bed and electric blanket on cold nights every time!  :-)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Emily sings a verse or two of O Come, O Come Emmanuel at dinner each night.  My iPad doesn't take good video when it is dark but the idea was to capture her voice and the first lit candle.  We are now in the second week of Advent so two purple candles are lit each night.  It is getting brighter as we get closer and closer to Christmas.  Her comment at the end has something to do with not burning her choir book... it made me chuckle to see it was captured at the end of the video.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ready for Advent

See look... we're getting back on track!  We got our advent wreath out for day 3 of the 1st week of advent, lit the first purple candle, and sang O Come, O Come Emmanuel before dinner.  This tradition has become very important to all of our children and I don't think they could imagine preparing for Christmas without it.  It is still Emily's job to go out and hunt the perfect greenery for our 'wreath'.  She says she's going to add to what you see here but it was fun for her to find some yellow leaves this year and a few pine cones to go along with the traditional greenery.  I'll video her singing tonight... I just wasn't quick enough to get it last night.

"This isn't Asthma..."

We saw David's pediatrician yesterday, which was reassuring, as she has been our doctor for over 8 years now.  After briefly explaining what happened to David last week, she said, "This isn't asthma.  That doesn't make sense."  If David had developed asthma, he would have most likely had an episode years ago and would have continued to have episodes.  Due to how quickly his condition became so serious, she thinks he most likely had a nasty case of viral pneumonia, which looks like an asthma attack on a chest scan.  The fact that he had a bad sinus infection and couldn't breathe well through his nose combined with his seasonal allergies just proved to be too much for his respiratory system all at once, prompting his need for oxygen, breathing treatments and ultimately steroids to heal his lungs and airways.  Ultimately, we will never know exactly what happened, but if this is the case, and we can get his lungs healed completely over the next 4 weeks, his chances of a repeat episode are low.  And that is good news to me!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Normal (almost) and Very Thankful

I am feeling very blessed and thankful this morning to take this picture of my kiddos playing happily together.  They have all seemed to take an interest in chess and have been spouting off all the rules about pawns, knights, kings and queens... I don't know how to play chess so it is very cool they can read directions and learn.  Last night, David and Emily were playing the dice game Farkle till it turned ugly with a loud argument about one of the rules.  It ended with both of them agreeing they would never play with one another again... but it looks like that has already been forgotten.

I am also thankful for my sweet neighbor Betty who came over to watch the girls a few days ago when Lia was in bed resting with a minor cold and I needed to run to the hospital.  She taught Emily the basics of knitting!  The timing was so perfect because Emily, who knows a basic crochet, had been studying this knitting book but was unable to follow the diagrams for getting started... and along came Betty with her knitting bag that day and was willing to give her a little lesson.  She is very proud of her work right here as you can see. 
Chris found our little Lia playing the board game Sorry with another neighbor Nancy, who came to help another day as we traded shifts at the hospital.  Another set of neighbors, Larry and Stacy made us delicious banana bread and apple cinnamon bread which we devoured this morning as our breakfast supplies were running low and nothing tastes better than homemade bread.  David's grandparents and his Godparents came to visit him in the hospital. and lovingly listened to him describe in great detail his hospital stay, what he ate each day, what all the medical equipment was for and what he liked and didn't like about this whole ordeal.  David also received a care package from his Aunt Stacey and Uncle Te-Te, prompting the response of, "I didn't know people got gifts when they are in the hospital!"  So, "Why yes David, people send gifts to you in the hospital to lift your spirits and to let you know that you are loved and being prayed for!"  We received holy communion on Sunday by one of the kind ladies from St. Anthony's who is part of their hospital ministry.  While David is still preparing to receive his first communion, we were able to pray over him and he looked very proud to know all his prayers and he was able to witness our catholic faith in action, which is a beautiful thing.  I was also glad to receive communion as I would be unable to attend church that day as I cared for him.  It is wonderful to be blessed in this way, with kind neighbors, a loving church community and family who love us so much.   I know my kids notice all these things, really, the don't miss much... and all these offerings reinforce, in a very real way, all that we strive to teach them about their faith and how to treat others....the way you would like to be treated yourself.  So even though this last week was hard, we know God has been with us the whole time and is using this experience for good.

And... we are all hoping that our next visit to the hospital, will be a more joyous one:  namely that it will be the hospital visit to welcome David's little brother Isaac to the world next March.
St. Anthony of Padua, pray for us!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sunday afternoon... We are home!

I wanted to post quickly and let everyone know that David was discharged from the hospital after lunch today and we are all very happy to be at home.  I have quite a regiment of nebulizer treatments, antibiotics, probiotics, and allergy meds to keep track of for the next few weeks but it is all worth it to have David out of the hospital.  And thank goodness, for sleep tonight that (hopefully) won't be interrupted.  :-)  Good Night.  I'll post some more later once we settle in.