Friday, November 30, 2007

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Today is the last day of NaBloPoMo. I am happy to announce that I successfully blogged at least once every day in November. My sister, Katie, says that I have set a new bar for myself and will disappoint lots of people if I don't continue to blog every day. It has been kind of nice making time for myself (even if only 5 minutes) to update the blog every day, instead of my usual once per week. I won't promise to blog every day from here on out, but I will try to make it more often than I used to do. I should have lots to write about with Christmas and all its festivities drawing near, and I'm sure I'll have tons of pics. of the kids to post. Thanks for following me through the highs and lows of National Blog Posters Month. It will be fun to participate again next year.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

What a kid!

Today we took Jacob for his 5-year pics. and Emmaline for her 9-month pics. While we were there, Santa and Mrs. Claus were getting set up to take pictures in one of the other studios. Mrs. Claus was especially nice to the kids and gave Jacob and Ellie several suckers. Now we've always told our kids that St. Nick used to be real but isn't anymore and that Mommy and Daddy are the ones that give them presents at Christmas. When we got home, Jacob told me, "Mommy, I knew that they were just people dressed up, but I didn't tell them that I knew." It cracks me up that even though he doesn't believe in Santa Claus, he was considerate enough to play along and not spoil it for anyone else. What a great kid!

Ornaments a plenty!

Every year since I was born, my mom has gotten me at least one ornament for the Christmas tree. It was always so much fun growing up to take out the box filled with my own special ornaments so that I could decide where they should go on the tree. These ornaments were especially helpful the Christmas after Nathan and I got married because we had enough ornaments to fill a tree. I've carried on the tradition by buying a family ornament for us every year. Then, when the kids came along, they started getting at least one ornament for the tree every year. Our tree is getting pretty crowded, but I love going through the boxes to see what ornaments we've gotten in the past. Here are some pics. I took of this year's ornaments (and the kids too!):

Our Family Ornament is a train because we took a train ride while on vacation in PA this past summer.

Jacob got a train with his name on it because he took his first train ride this year.

Gabrielle got a "HOPE" ornament because that is her middle name.

Emmaline got a pink baby carriage that says
"Emmaline Kate, First Christmas"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Emmaline's Weekly Pic.

Here is Emmy's pic. for this week. She had physical therapy yesterday and her gross motor skills are between 8 and 9 months. For the most part she is right where she should be, so we're happy for that. She goes for her 9-month check-up on Monday, so I'll post stats after our visit.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A New Little One

Our friends, Tim and Stephany, added a new little one to their family when James was born last Friday, November 23. It's kinda funny because Emmaline was due on their other son, Peter's, birthday (March 4th), but she arrived 11 days early. Our oldest, Jacob, was due on November 23rd, 2002 (the day James was born this year), but arrived 16 days early. Since I don't have anything to write about today, I'll send you over to Stephany's blog. Who doesn't love looking at pictures of newborn babies?!

Monday, November 26, 2007

O Christmas Tree

The tree is finally done and only a few ornaments were broken in the process. This year it seems that decorating for Christmas is taking forever. Granted, I'm homeschooling now and have one more child to look after than last year. The end is definitely in sight though. I'm hoping that the last of the decoration boxes will be in the attic by tomorrow morning...we'll see. Here is a pic. of the oldest two and the tree. This is probably the nicest it will look this year as they have a tendency to rearrange and play with the ornaments.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Our Own Christmas Library

I love books and reading is one of my favorite things to do when I get any spare time. Thankfully, our kids love to read also. We have books on practically every subject and it is always fun to pull out the ones that match whatever holiday we are celebrating. I got out our Christmas books today and was surprised at how many we have collected over the years. It will be fun to read them over the next few weeks.

Jacob wearing his Santa hat (literally)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas!

I am currently buried in boxes of Christmas decorations. I hate this part of the holiday, but love what our house looks like when everything is up and all of the lights are plugged in. My sister, Katie, came over tonight and helped me pick up the house, put away the fall stuff, bring all the Christmas stuff down from the attic, and she put up my tree. Isn't she great?! Tomorrow I hope to have everything else done and will post pictures of our festive makeover.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Girls' Day Out

Today was a fun day. Nathan's parents took Jacob and Gabrielle to lunch and to see "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium". While they were gone, Mom, Katie, Emmaline and I headed to breakfast/lunch at Cracker Barrel and then to the Holiday Gift Show (our annual day-after-Thanksgiving tradition) at Hara Arena to do some shopping. We made some nice purchases although there seem to be fewer vendors every year. I'm sure this is due to a newer Holiday Craft Show that started at the Airport Expo Center 3 years ago. We might head to that one next year to see if it is better. Anyway, after we were done at the craft show, we went to see "Enchanted". It was a great movie...very funny! That pretty much sums up my day. It was so nice to come home to Nathan having bathed the other two kids and reading bedtime stories to them. Now everyone is asleep (including my hubby!), so I think I'll head there myself.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Turkey Day!

We are home after our whirlwind day. Thankfully, the day started out with nothing to do in the morning. It was nice to relax at home before heading out to see both sides of our family. Lunch was with my family at my parents' house. Everything was so yummy! Then we went to Nathan's parents' for dinner. We had a good time visiting with several of his relatives. It is nice to have a day set aside to remember all we are thankful for. Here is a short list of things I'm thankful for:

1. Nathan: my best friend, world's greatest dad, protector of our fair city
2. Jacob: so funny, smart, and rotten, all rolled into one (He keeps me on my toes!)
3. Gabrielle: so caring, silly, and musical (I love to listen to her sing!)
4. Emmaline: such a sweetheart, the world's best-behaved baby (She melts my heart with each smile!)
5. Supportive family: they've been there through it all (including our rough start to this year)
6. Miami Valley Down Syndrome Association: we've made some great new friends in this group
7. That Emmaline has remained healthy despite the hole in her heart and that God restored the hearing in her right ear
8. Our church, especially our home group
9. Homeschooling: lots of fun, lots of work, but totally worth it!
10. God: who give me everything I need and more

Here are some pictures to highlight the day:

Turkey Placecards made by Jacob and Ellie

Emmaline hoping Aunt Katie will drop something

Andy, Dad, Katie, Nathan, and Mom


Ellie and Emmaline (on Mimi's rocking horse)

Emmaline enjoyed her jar of sweet potatoes and turkey

Ellie enjoys her chocolate turkey

Playing video games with Uncle David

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

9-months Old

Emmaline turned 9-months old today. I think the time goes faster and faster with each child we have. She is such a sweetheart and loves to sit and play. Her favorite thing to do is dance and she is always swaying to the music. We are so blessed to have her in our family and look forward to seeing what God has planned for her future.

Cowan Lake, in pictures...

Here are some of the highlights from our trip to Cowan Lake:

The wonderful fall view

Our hiking boots, all lined up

Celebrating Mom's birthday

Emmy, all smiles

Playing peanut with Katie and Andy

Jacob writes "Mom" in the sand
He then wrote is own name too. I asked him to write Ellie's name and he surprised me by spelling it all on his own! What a smart kid!

The Camo Crew: Jacob, Uncle Andy (his is the real deal), and Ellie

Enjoying hot cocoa with Aunt Katie by the fire place

Walking with Papaw through the crunchy leaves

Mom, Katie, and Andy head down the big hill behind our cabin

Making s'mores

Eating s'mores

Whether in the stroller, or being carried in the sling, Emmaline always fell asleep during our walks

Ellie, Jacob, and Nathan "roughing it"

Family Photo
It was kind of sad when we loaded our stuff into the van and drove away from the cabin. We were sad to go, but look forward to next fall and all the new memories we'll make.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Always Pay for Your Pizza

This was taken from the Police Blotter on the Dayton Daily News website. The officer mentioned is my hubby.

Man arrested for theft after partially eating pizza

By Staff report

Sunday, November 11, 2007

DAYTON — Oct. 6: Police were called after a pizza was delivered to a residence in the 100 block of East Helena Street. The pizza order had anchovies on the side but the subject said he wanted them cooked on the pizza. He asked to see the pizza and the driver told him she wasn't giving him the pizza until she received the money. The subject snatched the pizza box, opened it and quickly ate four to six slices of pizza. He then gave the partially eaten pizza back to the driver.
He told her he ate some of the pizza so she couldn't take it back to the store. The subject told police the pizza wasn't prepared the way he wanted and he decided to taste test it before paying.
An officer told the subject he owed $15.49 since he ate some of the pizza. The subject said he wasn't paying for anything and for the officer to do what he was going to do. The subject was arrested for theft.

Monday, November 19, 2007

We're back!

We arrived home safely from a most enjoyable trip to the cabin at Cowan Lake. I am up to my eyeballs in laundry, so blogging about the experience will have to wait until tomorrow. Until then...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Cowan Lake...a family tradition

We've gone to Cowan Lake in the fall for as long as I remember. Even when Jacob was born (11/02), we were there 9 days after his birth. Here are some of my favorite pics. from previous trips:

Jacob and Katie work a puzzle - 11/2003

Jacob - 10/2004

Katie, Andy, and Me on Andy's 19th Birthday - 11/2004

Ellie gets a bath in the sink - 11/2005

We get home from this year's trip tomorrow and I can't wait to post pics. of what we did and saw.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Another MeMe

7 Random things about Me:

1. I love being a stay-at-home mom, but sometimes wish I had a job just to escape the chaos and get some adult conversation.

2. I do not like milk. I can only stand it on cereal if the cereal is sugared or I've added some sugar to it to mask the taste. Apparently, I've never liked the taste of milk because my mom says I wouldn't drink it when I was little either. Ironically, I love cheese and ice cream!

3. My nickname is "Sticky". I was always super-thin (I hate the term doesn't sound complimenting at all!) growing up, so my family started calling me this because I resembled a stick.

4. I love my New Balance gym shoes and wear them all the time. Occasionally, I'll dress my feet up in something nicer, but I usually pick comfort over style.

5. I am still friends with several people I grew up with. Nathan and I met in kindergarten (25 years ago). I also met Becky M., Becky D., and Jen B. at the same time. My "longest friend" award goes to Emily though because we met when we were 3-months old.

6. I hate to sweat! Therefore, I hate to be outside in the summer or doing anything that makes me feel hot and sticky. Bring on the AC!

7. My favorite place to eat is Don Pablo's. They have the best cheese enchiladas that I've ever tasted and their rice and corn cake are yummy too.

If you want to do this on your blog, consider yourself tagged.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Happy Birthday Mom!

It usually works out that we are at Cowan Lake on Mom's birthday. Here are some pics. of her past celebrations at the cabin. I'll post pics. of this year's party when we get back.



Thursday, November 15, 2007

Crafty Kids, Pt. 1

Jacob got a lot of craft stuff for his 5th birthday. He and Ellie have been busy painting, molding, cutting, and gluing. Here are some pictures of their latest works of art:

Jacob and his dog...he painted it to look like Achilles, Uncle David's dog

Ellie and her red and purple striped cat.

Jacob and his green car

Ellie and her orange and red car

(All crafts provided by a very thoughtful Aunt Katie.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Weekly Emmy Pic.

Here is Emmaline's weekly pic. We head to Cowan Lake today to stay in a cabin with my family. It should be a fun time and the weather is going to be warmer than normal, so we can spend more time outside. I'll post tons of pics. when we get back.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Our New Addition

You can ask anyone and they will tell you that our fridge and freezer are always stuffed to the gills. Tough problem, I know. It is a pain though because things are always falling out of the freezer (and onto your head or foot...ouch!) when you open the door. For Christmas this year, Nathan's parents offered to buy us a freezer or fridge for the basement. I couldn't decide which I would rather have, but Grandpa John helped us decide. He moved to a new apartment over the weekend and didn't need the fridge he had purchased last summer from his old place, so we decided to give it a new home in the laundry area of our basement. I am so excited to fill it up and know it will come in handy as the holidays approach. It will also be nice to have another place to display the kids' artwork. Jacob added the first masterpiece last night. What do you think of our new addition?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy Veteran's Day

Thank you to all our veterans! Our country would not be the same without you!

My brother, Andy, sang this in church yesterday while wearing his Air Force dress uniform. What a tear-jerker! He did such a wonderful job. If I can get a copy of him actually singing it, I'll post it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


I have no clue about what to write about today, so I'll share one of my favorite places to grocery shop...Aldi. This store has tons of the regular grocery items you need (milk, eggs, meat, cereal, baking supplies, paper products, etc.) and they also get special items in each week. Their prices are usually much cheaper than any other place around and we have saved money by shopping there. I do tons of label reading and the only negative I've found is that a some of their foods (mostly refrigerated breads) contain trans fats. Overall, I've been really happy with my Aldi experience.

Here are a few of things to keep in mind if you decide to give Aldi a try: 1) Make sure you have a have to unlock your grocery cart by inserting a quarter. Don't worry, you'll get it back when you return the cart. This eliminates the need to pay someone to bring the carts in from the parking lot. 2) You have to buy your shopping bags to put your stuff in when you're done shopping. The prices are extremely cheap...5 cents for a paper bag, 10 cents for plastic, and they also have bags for frozen/fridge stuff very reasonably priced. You can reuse them on subsequent visits, so consider it an investment. 3) They do not take many forms of payments, so come armed with cash or your 5/3 debit card.

If my word isn't enough, Clark Howard also recommends shopping at Aldi as a way to save money (check out his program notes from 7/26/07). Who wouldn't love to save a few bucks (or more)?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Happy 22nd Birthday Andy!

Although his birthday isn't officialy until 11/12, we celebrated today because it fit everyone's schedules. We enjoyed Mom's famous chicken potpie, lots of veggies, homemade bicuits with homemade jam, and a yummy homemade cheesecake for dessert. Andy got some neat presents (like a display case for the coins he has started collecting) and we had a good time visiting before he had to leave for work. Then it was home to get the kids in bed so they won't be sleepy for church tomorrow. I'm ready to turn in myself and have just finished folding 4 loads of laundry, so I deserve some much needed sleep.
You'll notice a monkey theme in the following pictures. My family gives nicknames to most people (just ask my best friend, Moly Bolkersneitzal, aka, Emily) and things and somehow Andy ended up as "Monkeybutt". So in honor of the nickname, Mom put "Curious George" on the cheesecake, had matching plates and napkins, and we gave him a monkey giftbag and a monkey card.

Jacob and Ellie help Uncle Andy blow out the candles on his cheesecake.

Emmaline helps Uncle Andy unwrap presents.

I'm sure this was his most prized gift. It is a container of "Anti-Monkeybutt" powder. When I saw it, I couldn't resist getting it for Andy. Don't worry, we gave him money too!