Sunday, November 30, 2008

The End is in Sight

Today is the last day of NaBloPoMo. It's been fun posting every day, but I'm looking forward to a little break, especially with Christmas right around the corner. Speaking of which, we're in the middle of decorating...the house is a mess, boxes are strewn everywhere, and I can't figure out where to put all my knick knacks (tough problem, I know!). I'll post more pics. when the project is complete.

While putting up the tree this afternoon, Ellie was cracking us up:
Quote 1: "My brain is stinking (thinking) of where to put this ornament."
Quote 2: "Mommy, I want to put the garlic (garland) on the tree."

Jacob putting ornaments on the tree

Emmaline is excited about the prospect of all these new playthings

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lunch at Marion's

We met Nathan's extended family for lunch today at Marion's. His Aunt Jean, Uncle Nick, and cousin Brent were in town from Colorado, so it was nice to visit with them. We didn't take many pics., but for some reason, Emmaline was quite the ham and we got several good ones of her.

Sitting with Grandma


Gotta love that pizza face and cheesy smile!

What is it with boys always making silly faces?

And girls too, for that matter?!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Maid Service

Normally, Mom, Katie, and I head to a holiday craft show the day after Thanksgiving. It didn't seem right going without Katie this year, so we decided to go to Cincinnati and clean Katie's apartment to surprise her when she returns from South Africa tomorrow. Dad, Andy, and Alora came with us too. We dusted, swiffered, mopped, scrubbed, and washed until everything shined. After that was done, we went to the grocery to get milk, eggs, bread, and juice to tide her over until she can make her own trip. To reward ourselves for our hard work, we ate a late lunch at Don Pablo's. Our server, Brian, was hilarious and provided great entertainment during our meal.

Dad and Andy put plastic over Katie's porch windows since she doesn't have storm windows

Andy ran the vacuum (with some help from Alora and I to make sure he did a good job)

After the cleaning was done, we put up Katie's Christmas tree

We also turned down her bed and left a small bag of mints on her pillow

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! We ate lunch at my parents' house. My Mom did the bulk of the work, so I was able to just show-up and enjoy the fruits of her labor for the most part. Everything was so yummy! It was weird to celebrate without Katie (she is still in South Africa), but we still had a good time. After lunch, Jacob played video games, Ellie performed child labor (see photo below), and Emmaline fought taking a nap for the longest time. She finally gave in about 30 minutes before we had to leave to meet Nathan's family, but at least she was able to nap some.

For dinner, we met Nathan's parents and grandparents at Hometown Buffet. Since Nathan's parents are taking Jacob and Ellie to see a movie tomorrow, they decided to have them spend the night tonight. We dropped all 3 kids off at their house, went home to grab clothes, extra car seats and sleeping paraphernalia for the oldest two, and then went back to drop everything off and pick up Emmaline.

We have so much to be thankful for this year: Jacob and Ellie are doing well in school, everyone has been relatively healthy, Nathan has a job that he loves that allows me to stay home with the kids, we have a warm house and 2 reliable vehicles, Emmaline's heart condition is stable, our families are close by, we have a church and home group that we love...the list could go on and on. God is so good to us and I often take His many blessings for granted. I'm so grateful that He continues to provide exactly what we need despite my forgetfulness.

Emmaline reads her new book from Mimi and Papaw

Freckles had the best seat in the house as Dad carved the turkey

Ellie can't wait to taste the delicious food that Mimi made

Jacob enjoys a holiday beverage...7-up, cranberry juice, and fresh cranberries

Ellie loves to wash dishes.
She made up her own dishwashing song and sang it the whole time she helped.

Papaw and Jacob enjoy some yummy pumpkin and pecan pie

Ellie and Mimi put stickers in her new Maisy book

Happy Thankgiving to all and to all a good night!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

There's Nothing Bettter

What better way to start the day than to find a birthday present waiting for you at the breakfast table?! Jacob's birthday was on November 7th, but we just got his present from my sister and her family in California in the mail last night. He was so excited to open it this morning when he got up.
Jacob was kind enough to ask Gabrielle if she wanted to help him open it.
It almost made me tear up that he was being so considerate of his sister.
Those moments don't happen often enough.

Just what he wanted: the Planet Heroes Moon Buggy

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Here She Comes...Miss America!

If you know Ellie, you know that she is a very girly girl. She always carries her "make-up" (a.k.a. lip gloss, pretend curlers, mirror, brush. etc.) with her in her purse when we go somewhere. I even heard her pretending to have a boyfriend recently when she was playing. We've never encouraged these fact, we're doing our best to discourage boyfriends until she's at least 60! Anyway, last week, she came downstairs in her swimsuit, side ponytail, and new dress shoes and told me that she was going to be in a "swim competition." Ironically, she refused to pose for a picture, so I had to sneak around the corner to get this shot (this will not surprise at all you if you've ever met her). Ellie is becoming too grown-up for her own good. If she's like this at 4, I can't imagine what she'll be like at 14. I can feel the gray hairs coming in as I type!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Emmaline's New Doctor

Today we met with Emmaline's new developmental pediatrician. We had been driving to Cincinnati a couple times a year to see someone else, but she's retiring, so we figured it was time to switch to someone closer. I was really impressed with Dr. Kasten and her staff. The appt. took over an hour as they reviewed Emmy's history and observed her skills. It was nice to hear from a professional about all the positive things they see in Emmaline's development. I think she's doing great, but I'm just her mom, so I'm a little biased. The only recommendation they gave today was to start speech therapy. Dr. Kasten said to wait until after the holidays (thank God!), and we'd planned to start when she was 2 (which will be in February), so the timing will work out nicely. We're hoping to get in where she takes physical therapy so we only have to make one trip/week and kill two birds with one stone. I'll keep you posted on her progress.

Happy Girl
Pardon the messy face, but she loved her bean burrito from Taco Bell!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lots of Leaves

I had the brilliant idea to rake leaves today since it wasn't freezing outside. With Jacob and Ellie's help, we put leaves on the plants in the backyard and then blew everything else out to the curb for the city to pick up. This took about 30 minutes because we don't have any trees on our property.

I then decided to be neighborly and do Julie's yard next door. I totally forgot how long it takes to do her yard with it's huge tree in the back and two trees in the front. 3 1/2 hours later, I'm still not done. By this time it was 8 pm, really dark and I couldn't feel my fingers any more, so I decided to call it a day.
Jacob helps rake
He was riding his scooter in between when I needed him, hence the helmet.

Sitting in the pile in Julie's driveway

Ellie says, "So long, leaves."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Acrobats in Training

Tonight the kids went to a birthday party for their friend, Nathan, at Hand 2 Hand Acrobat Training. Basically, it's a gym that teaches gymnastics, cheerleading, and trampoline. The instructor really wore the kids out playing games and running them through the different stations. After they were done playing, everyone enjoyed cake and ice cream.

Gwynn and Ellie - these two are inseparable


Jacob loved the swing

Emmy tries to do a somersault

Ellie enjoyed yummy cake and juice

Jacob had a great time

Friday, November 21, 2008

Helmet Cam Fun

Nathan bought himself an early Christmas present this week, a Tony Hawk Helmet Cam. It is supposed to be for skateboarders, but he is going to use it to record stick fighting matches. He doesn't work out until tomorrow, so he and the kids have been having fun at home testing it out in the mean time. It's actually pretty neat and it came with some cool editing software. He, Jacob, and Ellie made this video just for the blog, so we hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Sucker for a Sucker

Nathan's parents bought us our Christmas present tonight. We've been needing a vacuum for a while now, so the gift-giving holiday came at a perfect time. Our old one was in sad shape: its hose attachments are broken, the hose itself has a hole in it, it smells like burning rubber when it runs for more than 2 minutes, the self-propel feature doesn't work, and it barely stands up on its own. They treated us to dinner at LaRosa's and then we all headed to Sears to look at the different models. I hated asking for a vacuum for Christmas (they bought us our current one 5 years ago), but with as much as we vacuum, it was a necessity. Here she is in all her glory:

This baby has lots of bells and whistles and I can't wait to try it out tomorrow (the kids are sleeping as I type and I wouldn't dare do anything to ruin the quiet!). It has a dirt sensor, performance indicator, 3 speeds for the hose attachments (so you don't suck up your curtains trying to remove dust), and an agitator reset button. That last one will be a lifesaver for us. If something gets stuck in the brush (like shoe laces, toy parts, etc.), the brush stops turning until you remove the part and hit the reset button. Pretty cool!

My friend's mom, Kathy, recently blogged about her excitement over getting a new kitchen floor and range for Christmas. She said that it must be showing her age, but I must agree that this new vacuum has me pretty excited as well.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Katie's Send-off

Katie leaves for a mission trip to South Africa bright and early tomorrow morning and will be gone until November 29th. Her church had a send-off meeting tonight, so Mom, Dad, Jacob, Emmaline, and I headed down to Cincinnati to spend the afternoon with her and attend the meeting. It was supposed to be a family day, but Nathan started running a fever last night and Ellie came down with some sort of stomach virus. Anyway, Katie's group has a blog that they will be updating daily. Click HERE if you'd like to follow their progress. Please pray for her safety and ministry while she is there. I know she would appreciate it, as this trip really takes her out of her comfort zone. I can't wait to hear stories and see pictures when she returns.

Katie and Jacob enjoying pizza at Dewey's

Katie's church is HUGE and they had a great indoor play area for the kids.

Emmaline practiced taking steps on her own while Jacob played

Mom, Katie, and Dad

Katie, Jacob, Me, Emmaline, and Andy

Emmy liked carrying around this picture of herself that Aunt Katie had

Almost done packing

Jacob watched a movie while Mom and I helped Katie pack

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's a Baby Shower!

Tonight was Girls' Night Our for our home group and we held a baby shower for our friend, Jenny, at Don Pablo's. Baby Charlotte is due next week and we had a good time celebrating together.
Jenny, her mom, Marge, Me, and Nicole

Mom, Danielle, and Corey

I got baby Charlotte and her big sister, Kaiya, matching outfits

Yummy Mini Cheesecakes

Mom made mints in the shape of roses (because "Rose" will be the baby's middle name) and teddy bears. They turned out really cute!