Monday, January 24, 2011

two likable characters

Toy Story might forever hold a special place in my kids' hearts.  Buzz and Potato Head have been having fun this morning.  ...wish you could hear Xander's impressions of the voices.  :)  They just might be calling for a video. .  .   

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Bentley Olyvia came to visit for a few days and we got a couple of photos taken.  Missing is the one with grammy and grandad sitting with all the grandkids, I hope to have that one soon.  In the meantime. . . 

benn and phoebs hanging out together on the loveseat.  phoebe was in a silly mood and would not sit up for the picture.  she wanted to recline and tickle her belly.  who can blame her?

These shots were from the morning after Bentley's arrival.  The first thing Xander wanted to do was hold Bentley.  Very sweet.

then Phoebe wanted to get in on the action, and xander sort of... disappeared.  :)

but he held his own.

Libby came to the rescue.

then Libbs got her turn with Benj.  (we have lots of nicknames for Bentley)


Thursday, January 13, 2011

phoebe walks!

I know many of you saw this on facebook - but here it is for the blog followers (and for our scrap-booking purposes!).

Yay to Phoebe who decided she was in the mood to walk the Tuesday after Christmas (12.28) at grandma Anna's and grandpa Larry's house. That evening and for several days after, the girl was DETERMINED. Taking two steps at a time multiple times per day, she'd walk to mama, to grandpa, to daddy, to libby, to xander, to her dolly... Then one evening one week after her determination set in, she took 22 steps around the house. I grabbed the camera. Here is Phoebe's second journey as captured on "film."

funday monday (first monday of the year!)

if there's one thing they did right at Kutak this year, it was give their employees Monday, January 3rd as a holiday for celebrating the new year.  (okay, so lets be real, they do a lot of things right at Kutak.  we're incredibly blessed.)  Thankfully, there was early dismissal on Friday the 31st anyway, and everyone knows that having a Monday off is the best case scenario.  Three day weekend with a shortened workweek to follow!  love it!  such a blessing!

SO, what were we to do with a very special day of daddy loving?  Family Fun Day!

Kick it off with donuts, duh.

libby is developing a sarah-like habit of closing eyes for pictures.  :)  
as a photo-taking mama, i have a new passion.  correcting her.  :)
sarah, be thankful i'm not your mama.  i'm tough.  ;)

after donuts, we headed home for a phoebe nap and a mama shower.  daddy and the big kids watched a movie.  cuddle time on the sofa with daddy; there can be no complaints. 
then off to Bounce U!!

the only pic I got of the big kids was this one.  Libby's sweaty and Xander's soaked from the drinking fountain.  Oh, and he's pouting.  Guess what we told him a moment before?  Time to go home!

Phoebe really wasn't into bouncing, but she did enjoy cruising around, playing with shoes, and rocking on this little fellow.

here's a shot of her playing with her shoes.  a total girl, she looves shoes.  mama's, libby's, and phoebe's shoes in particular.  probably because of shoes, one of P's favorite words is:  on?

after bouncing we stopped for ice cream, then headed home for dinner and ended the day with a big-kid sleepover in xander's room.  their first.  :)  we think we may make it a weekly event.

We looved having you home with us daddy!  What a funday monday you gave us!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Together We Can

Am I rolling with the blog posts, or what?!  Setting myself for letting you all down is what I'm doing.  But hey, while I've got the time and the photos uploaded, why not roll with it?

In the not so distant past, Libby-Lou brought some papers home teeming with instruction and rules and procedure and brimming with fun and excitement.  The PTA was participating in an arts contest.  The gist of it, Libby could enter an original creation (a movie, a musical score, a book, a piece of art, an interpretive dance) and it would preferably relate to the theme:  Together We Can.

I filed it away, on my dresser.  For weeks.

Four days before the said entry was due, as is my style, I thought -hey!- we should do something about that art project!  SO, I immediately went to the source:  Libby.  When I asked her if she wanted to participate she lit up and clapped her hands fancifully.  These silly displays of excitement are reserved for immediate family only.  We enjoy them.  When offered the choice between writing a book and doing a painting, Libby chose painting.

On to the next source:  Jenny.  My artsy-schmartsy friend was my only hope of offering Libby guidance on this little project.  She graciously agreed to take us in the following afternoon, and let us use her kitchen, her paints, and her painting prowess.  We were excited!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:
mom:  Okay Libby, the theme is TOGETHER WE CAN, so you need to be thinking of what you can paint, that relates to something that we can do together, that we can't do very well alone.
libby:  okay.
mom utters same sentence time and time again throughout the day.
mom:  So, Libb, do you have some ideas of what you could paint for TOGETHER WE CAN?
libby:  I was thinking maybe a race.  Because we can run races together, but not alone.
mom:  okay, that's an idea.  did you brainstorm any other ideas?  things we can do better together.
libby:  welllllllll, we can help people.
mom:  oh!  that's good!  okay, who can we help?  who needs help?
libby:  Phoebe.
mom:  okay, yes.  Phoebe does need help.  And who helps her?
libby:  you.
mom:  yep.  who else needs help?  i think you're on to a good idea here.
libby:  wellllllllll, all babies need help.
mom:  okaaaaaay.  yes.  and who helps babies?
libby:  well, some babies need help, like babies in China who need adopted.
mom:  okay, yes, that's true.  (i say okay a lot.  i know it.)  how can we help babies in China?
libby:  by adopting them.
mom:  yes, and are there other ways?
libby:  by sending them money.  and presents.
mom:  okay, so you think that together we can help babies in China better than one person can help them by themselves?
libby:  yes.
mom:  okay.  well what would you paint that would illustrate that?
libby:  i was thinking babies in cribs.

okay, so that's where we are.  and we're standing in the kitchen and i'm thinking of what a sweet girl she is, and I'm loving that she has a heart for the orphans in China.  i love that.  she's truly saddened by their situation, and as we drove to Michaels to pick up some supplies she asked me 20 questions about them and their parents and the details as to why they are abandoned, and why the moms don't leave them presents so they can come find their moms when they grow up, and why their moms leave them on a doorstep or on the ground in a public place, and who adopts them, and how, etc. etc. etc.    But back in the kitchen, I'm also thinking I'm not surrrrre this is exactly fitting with the theme - but I quickly dismiss those doubts because hello, she's in kindergarten.  What's a kindergartener going to paint to fit that theme?  An orphanage, I guess!  And then I wonder, how on earth is she going to paint an orphanage on a canvas?!  That seems like a lot of detail. Perhaps she should draw?  Or paint just one baby?

I toss some ideas out to her and I request that she do a practice at home.  Because I want to see her idea on paper and evaluate whether its feasible.  My fear at this point is that she's going to get a brand new canvas in front of her and make a big mess of it and then what?  We turn in a mess, or we drop out.

Why do I worry myself about this sort of thing?  Ridiculous.  Pride.

She does a practice, and we learn some things.  We learn that she should do her painting landscape rather than portrait, and we learn that she doesn't like practicing.  She had a bit of a bad attitude and did a real quick lazy job for me.  I asked her a few questions about the details of the painting, suggested that she might not be able to paint words on blankies, or pictures on nightstands.  But I couldn't help but be touched by the sentiments.  She explained to me that the blankies were presents from the moms who had to give their babies away.  The blankies said, "I love you."

I asked her for more details, and she told me like a teenager, "mom.  i have an idea in my head."
mom:  are you going to take time to do a better job on the idea in your head than you did on your practice paper?
libby:  yes.  offering a sideways grin.
mom:  okay!
(yes, I'm kind of tough.  sorry.  sort of.  also, I know she can do a good job and she was being lazy!  I spent $20 on supplies for this little contest and didn't want to waste the money or Jen's time... so I was being tough. :)

Off to Jenny's we went!  and lo.  My girl knocked my socks off.

 meanwhile, her dear friend kate painted a gorgeous landscape that made me yearrrrn for spring, and their dolls looked on.  at some point before the painting was this far complete, I asked her, "is this kind of how you were thinking it was going to look when you pictured it in your head?"  Her reply:  "it's even better actually" accompanied by her little pleased chuckle.  :)  She promptly received a kiss.

libb knocked xander's socks off too.  he and joshy watched despicable me.  it's a lot funnier than it looks here.

here is my lovely lady with the finished project, properly matted, sealed with saran wrap, and ready for whatever .  she did such a great job.  she makes my heart smile.  libbs, i love you dearly my sweet girl.
and here is her 250-words-or-less statement on why she chose to paint "Orphanage."  
I photographed it, so you may have to click the image to enlarge enough to read clearly.  Her words.  My typing.

Much thanks to my sweet friend Stacy.  She and her hubby adopted Elizabeth and Anna Joy.  At a baby shower celebrating Anna Joy's arrival, Stacy shared with us so many details about Anna's life in China, and her journey to her home, and God's evident sovereignty and faithfulness woven through the story of that little girl's life.  Her testimony clearly made an impact on my little lady's heart.


daddy took the kiddos out sledding.  for the life of me, i cannot get a good picture of my kids without 5 failed attempts beforehand.  there was no time for redos on Sunday, the crew was rushed to get out the door and to the big hill to get some good runs in before sundown.  it was xander's first time sledding and he was absolutely wildly excited.  he looooved it.  libby, on the other hand, is an old pro.  so much so that she stood up on the sled and used it as a snowboard.  we are hoping for more warmish snowy weekends!

a special day

Libby (and fam, really) was the recipient of a very special Christmas gift and I managed to photograph at least some of it for memories-sake.  phew!

most of the gang watching despicable me.  loved it.

here are the girls outside the movie theater.  they're the christmas gang.  x and i were tagalongs.  very appreciative ones.  speaking of tagalongs, it's girl scout cookie time!  :)

here's xander with his painted mug.

and the real xander with his painted mug.

my pretty little lady with her vase.

the girls with their painted projects

my kids with their fired and adored works of art.  

in the midst of all that, we enjoyed a family feast at jason's deli, one of our favorite gathering places when we have the whole family together.  thanks so much for a fun day of gifts, aunts and grandma!!  and a special big thanks for letting xander and i come along!  :)

Sunday, January 09, 2011

family jamilies

here they are, the family jamilies.  :)

and daddy reading our newest "version" of the Christmas Story.

before we jammied up, we looked more like this. 
sorry about my lousy pictures.  my camera seems to be a little... ruined.  :(

a notable shame is that we don't have a picture of the WHOLE family in jammies.  Grammy, Grandad, Uncle Mason and Aunt-to-be-Tara joined us for Christmas and each of them also had a new pair of pajammies to open on Christmas Eve.  The kids' excitement grew and grew as they realized that yet another pair of jammies was revealed - and yup, everyone was getting new jammies tonight.  :)  it was fun. 

Saturday, January 08, 2011

All Abooooooooard!

So, we're sitting at the table, slurping up some delicious soup, my girls and me.  We had just assembled some super-fine gingerbread houses with our littles, and learned some valuable lessons in gingy-construction, by the way.  Anywho, girl #1 asks the group, "...any Christmas traditions?....."  

Discussion ensued and my ears perked up and my heart quickened when Jenn mentioned golden tickets and Christmas lights.  What an idea!!  What a fun way to take our annual light-sighting trip through the neighborhoods and glam it up a bit!

So, Brian and I set to work prepping the kids.  "One of these nights, you are going to be alllllllllllll ready for bed, you're going to get jammied, we'll read and pray and smooch, and tuck you in and, OH MY, you'll find a little golden ticket in your bed!  And that little golden ticket will be good for a round trip ride aboard the Meade Express.  You will get to delay bedtime, stay up super late, and we'll all go look at Christmas lights together."  

the idea was a hit. 

Would tonight be the night of the golden ticket?  Tonight?  One of these nights ....

and then it was time!  The kids were none-the-wiser, daddy bathed them and jammied them and I worked fervently to put the plan into action.  The golden glitter tickets were placed neatly in their beds, popcorn and cookies were placed in their seats in the van, Christmas music was queued.  We were ready. 

The kids were thrilled to find their golden tickets (they first noticed the glitter that had managed to get allll over their beds, they each then traced the glitter back to the ticket that they'd initially overlooked).  :)  They were not thrilled to pose for pictures.  In the words of X:  "IT'S A GOLDEN TICKET!!!!   lets GO!" 

We had a most fabulous time.  We saw gorgeous displays of lights, reminding us of Jesus, the light of the world.  Daddy treated us to hot cocoa at the Bucks, Phoebe enjoyed the displays as much as the rest of us, and we did stay up waaaaaay past bedtime.  It was so so much fun.  And thanks to a great idea, a lovely morning of fellowship and a friend's hot tip, we have a new family tradition.

Now, I don't have any pictures of the lights, nor do I have any pictures of our second light-sighting trip, but it was extra special as well.  On Christmases when grammy and grandad are here with us, we go looking at lights together as well.  And so we did; we piled the 7 of us into the Meade Express and had another great evening enjoying one another and the beautiful scenery.  It was particularly fun the second time around, as Phoebe had picked up on "pointing out" the lights.  She was tickled pink to point out every light spectacle she saw and arouse grammy's oooohs and aaaaaaahs.  :)