December Randoms

DSC_4047 DSC_4049 DSC_3978 These girls!  I started making Emmie outfits to go over her halo and am working on building up an inventory to sell them.  I grabbed this fabric and just couldn’t resist outfits for two of our girls.  They were none to shy about posing either.DSC_3980 DSC_3985 And being silly.DSC_3993 Mark got Zoe to pose too.
DSC_4032 DSC_4037 Dress up time!DSC_4038 DSC_4081 Emmie loves to play “nite nite.”  She grabs all of her animals, wants a pillow behind her and then we count to three and she throws herself back as hard as she can.DSC_4082 DSC_4087 IMG_20151202_111552870 Malachi and Bryant made the letter K.IMG_20151202_195135998 Emmie has the proper way to eat oreos:  Take off the top.  Eat all the icing.  Try a bite of a cookie and then declare, “Yuk!” as you toss it on the floor.
IMG_20151204_090713705_HDR Oh, you know, just riding in the car, hanging on to my halo.
IMG_20151206_153702504 Emmie was blessed with a sweet gift from a neighbor.  There was a beautiful handmade crochet rabbit blankie and a bigger crochet blankie.  She calls her rabbits Hop Hop but this Hop Hop is her favorite buddy and goes everywhere with her.IMG_20151207_135124104 Piling toys.  Taking a nap.IMG_20151209_130914927_HDR Emmie’s made a little desk by my desk and loves to sit and color.  We have since gotten a step stool for her to sit on but before that, she used a box of adoption tees.IMG_20151210_155102879 She’s learned to turn to the side to sleep.IMG_20151211_133523059 Braving the mall crowd to run some errands.  My kids were amazing and we needed photographic evidence of this.
IMG_20151219_194718586 Mark got Star War pjs.  Awesome. IMG_20151220_090122853 PreciousnessIMG_20151221_184344504 Our neighborhood had some pretty amazing lights on display.  This one was one of our favorites.IMG_20151226_091145498 Peek-a-…IMG_20151226_091149947 Boo

It’s been a year 2015.

Christmas Visit

We love having birthdays and Christmas all rolled in to one month.  No, really, we do.  It means we get to visit more with family!

Papa and Grandmere came down before Christmas to celebrate Zoe and Liam’s birthdays.  They got the added bonus of participating in some of our Christmas traditions.DSC_4302 Dipping pretzels. And opening gifts.DSC_4318 DSC_4328 DSC_4330 DSC_4332

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And goofing around with Papa.

On Parade

We decided to try out our local Christmas parade early December.  We got there early, set up shop and enjoyed playing.DSC_3951 My children are playing and not arguing…oh be still my heart.

DSC_3953 Books are good to read while you wait.DSC_3954 Emmie just enjoys the chips.

IMG_20151205_122003831_HDREager anticipationDSC_3957 Here they come!DSC_3967 It’s safe to say that Emmie hit the jackpot at the parade.  A couple of floats were handing out stuffed animals and one sweet float rider ran back to Emmie to hand her a little stuffed lion.  That lion has joined her menagerie and gets lots of hugs on various occasions.

We had a wonderful time!  The best part was that it was five minutes from our house and not crowded at all.  Oh, and the drums, floats, and candy.  The kids came home with a gallon size bag of candy.

Christmas at CHOA

Emmie had an appointment at the beginning of December.  It was fun seeing the hospital all festive.IMG_20151204_104500518 Baby and Emmie were waiting patiently for an x-ray.
IMG_20151204_112651056 IMG_20151204_112722163 A small toy soldier army.
IMG_20151204_114554917 The weather was pretty decent and we had free time after the x-rays before Emmie’s appointment.  We wandered down to the koi pond.  On previous trips, they were doing construction and it was all closed.  I thought it was just a little pond.  Nope.  They have a small basketball area, green space to kick a soccer ball around and a small putting green.  IMG_20151204_114556643 IMG_20151204_114611796 Our kids had a wonderful time!IMG_20151204_114825387 Bryant had to get a picture by the turtle.IMG_20151204_114906360 Putting away!

I love that our kids are always up for an adventure and can have fun wherever they are.

November Randoms

Woohoo!  I may be caught up by the middle of February.  Hold on to your hats!IMG_20151102_123753966 IMG_20151102_190039490 My friend, Tracy’s baby J.  In the corner.  Uh oh.
IMG_20151102_195645063 And Baby J hanging out with the other bestie, Kristina.  She was cuddling with her.  Too cute.
IMG_20151119_151618913_HDR Malachi loves Ukrainian chocolate.  I totally understand.IMG_20151123_102217205 One Monday.  Paint everywhere.    This was not a fun way to start the week.IMG_20151123_110632249 Thankfully, with a lot of elbow grease from Zoe and myself we were able to get to this.  I also saved most of the paint.IMG_20151125_081947788 Emmie loves her pancakes.IMG_20151126_083638948 And her goofy “Bubble.”  Best consignment sale find ever…this was a great goofy jacket that has gotten much use this season.IMG_20151129_191959637 Emmie likes to steal my bracelets and wear them.IMG_20151129_192659399_HDR

Helping Mama get miles in by wearing the fitbit on her neck.  Sure.  Why not?

The Perfect Tree

IMG_20151127_132358283_HDR We’re those crazy people you see with the tree on top of their 12 passenger van.  Oh yes.  We are those people.

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We loved the tree farm we went to for a couple of years but when we saw a different tree farm advertised and the prices they were promoting.  Well, we had to go.  The selection was not wonderful but I almost convinced Mark to get a 12 foot tree for $30.  So, the price was just right.  The people that ran the farm were super nice too.

While we didn’t get a 12 foot tree, we got the next largest.

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It was so big ya’ll!

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We put the tree in our two story entryway so we have room.  Mark, however, had to do some trimming on the bottom and the big tree wound up being a good size but not too large.

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It was full of holes.  Bare on the bottom.  Not perfect by any one’s eyes.  But when we put it up and threw our memories on it…well, it was just perfect for us.

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Our decoration was slow.  I was lagging the whole season as the reality that Y was not going to be home by Christmas sunk in.  And then we were creeping closer and closer to Emmie’s appointment to discuss surgery.    But we had some really precious moments…

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Emmie had to stare at the nativity (that my grandmother had painted a lot of years ago).  She loved pointing to Jesus and saying, “Baby.”  Those precious moments helped my sad heart to make it through the season.

A Good Day

DSC_4027Today was a good day.  Scratch that.  It was a remarkable day.  One of those days that is so rare but so worth remembering.

We started the day off with me being able to check everyone’s school before lunch.  Around 11 Mark texted me reminding me that I need d to pick up something at the mall, so I made a quick plan to brave the mall and the mall food court (with all eight kids…alone…Mark was still at work) and then grab some groceries.

My kids ya’ll.  Oh my.  They were amazing. And that’s no easy feat with the holiday crowd bustling everywhere at the mall  While I got food they sat and chatted and played.  I think I saw halos over all their heads.  We window shopped and grabbed what we needed and headed out.  Easy peasy.

We made it through Costco with no casualties too.  The food samplers even survived.  Okay, by then Mark was with us.

We rushed back home and made it back out the door to a Christmas program at a local church.  Lights, hayride and food.  My family was all smiles.  We even roasted hot dogs without so much as an eye poked with the stick.  Bryant said this was his best day ever. DSC_4017

We are just soaking in our normal for the next month.  January 8th is our big date.  The day we are planning for surgery and have no clue what life will be like in the coming months.  DSC_3997

And today was one of those days that just oozed with awesomeness.  I’m trying to take in every smile and giggle..  Every “mama” and “daddy.”  Her squeals of delight over “tees” and popcorn.  Her hugs and kisses.  Today was just the day to do it too.

It’s true we have no clue what God has in store for us this next year.  But we know He knows.  So, for now, we are enjoying each day for what it is.

October Randoms

All the happenings in October that were just a part of every day life.IMG_20151009_101732020_HDR Tracy, our amazing photographer, put together a picture fundraiser with local homeschoolers.  As a bonus, I got to watch her kids for several sessions.  J, was so sweet and has gotten so big.  I wrote up J’s birth story.  A night I won’t soon forget.IMG_20151009_101747211 G and M at the playground.IMG_20151011_180354058 Emmie with her big buddy, Josiah.  Josiah has been trying to teach Emmie to call him Bubba (even though the rest of us are only allowed to call him Josiah.  Not ‘Siah or Bubba).  She has been working hard, but no matter how hard she works.  He’s “Bubble.”  That was the first “B” word she said.  So, Bubble knows when he is being paged and always comes running with that smile.IMG_20151014_111958019 At the library. They both requested I take their picture.IMG_20151014_112008711 IMG_20151015_101313132 More time with the amazing C kids.  That’s twelve kids there.  And everyone was alive at the end too.IMG_20151016_113724426 M with Jimmy.  I don’t know who Jimmy is or who put him there, but I got a picture of Jimmy and M.IMG_20151017_183408995 Drinking and driving.

IMG_20151020_100034020 Super Ems being Super Cute.IMG_20151021_164738886 Malachi was working hard on putting together the perfect English muffin pizza.IMG_20151022_093336815Emmie’s “Day-dee.”  She was insistent that she put her in the stroller by herself.
IMG_20151023_101712923_HDR Turtles.  On a log.  IMG_20151023_103412962 Dragon fly.  On Minnie mouse’s head.IMG_20151027_093244411 Every so slowly, Emmie is becoming more interested in playing that having mommy right there beside her.IMG_20151027_122541526 A major feat…putting a hat on without help.IMG_20151028_141708731 Babies (Day-dees if you are certain cute toddler) are the thing around our house right now.  Not the all fabric kind.  Not the dolls that look like little girls.  Nope.  They must be baby dolls.  She loves to feed them, walk with them, give them their paci.   You name it.  She just loves babies.IMG_20151029_084126247

Toys aren’t allowed at mealtimes.  But, one day Emmie had baby at the table, and we all agreed that “Day-dee” was not a toy anymore.

Down Under

Emmie.  The older she gets the more of her fun personality we get to see.  She’s a pretty determined girl.  She also works so hard to be as independent as possible.  Talking with a nurse at her surgery several weeks ago, she mentioned that there is so much out of her control that she probably feels better when she can control just one thing.  I suppose most toddlers are like that but when you are having to deal with medical issues, that can be amplified.
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So, when your almost 18 month old grabs a pair of your 5 year olds’ undies and successfully gets them on one leg and makes it very clear that she meant to wear them, you go with it.

IMG_20151008_111325294 And when she grabs one of her diapers and tries to put it on herself and realizes she can’t so she grabs her pillow and sits down and starts yelling for you.  You put it on her.  Even if she is all ready for bed and has a disposable diaper.IMG_20151015_195303796 IMG_20151015_195738260

And she wears it the whole entire night.  Some times you just need to be a little different to be you.

We did it!

Since August, Zoe and I have gotten out one to three times a week to cycle our neighborhood.  She is in American Heritage Girls and decided to work on her cycling badge.  To complete the badge, she has to do a 10 mile ride and a 20 mile ride.  So, we’ve been “training” with a goal of cycling the 10 miles by the end of October.

And we did it!

We actually got almost 13 miles in.  We had a wonderful time.  There are a few walking/bike trails in our area.  The one we chose to do was between the river and a canal.  It was the original tow path for the canal (the boats would go down the canal and donkeys would tow them back up).
IMG_20151031_095814114 Our before!IMG_20151031_102154924_HDR IMG_20151031_104525415 IMG_20151031_105002032 To say that this trail is gorgeous is putting it mildly.  I’m afraid my cell phone pictures are not doing it justice either.IMG_20151031_105226506 IMG_20151031_105504125 IMG_20151031_111018921 IMG_20151031_111957721 IMG_20151031_112001782 IMG_20151031_114556407

Our after!

Zoe kept saying she wants to bike it every Saturday.  We had such a wonderful time and the scenery kept it from feeling like we were actually working!

Our plan is to try the 20 mile (well about 23) in April when there is a big charity ride.