Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful and Then Some!

 Happy Thanksgiving!  We spent the day with both sides of the family at my parents' house.  It was so nice having only one place to celebrate today and not having to drive to multiple locations.  This was the first year we tried this and it went swimmingly.  The kids had a blast spending the day with both sets of grandparents and Mema.  Katie came up from Charlotte for the weekend as well.
So thankful for my sweet family
Turkey, dressing, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, green beans, and other yummy things to eat
Time to eat

Getting pedicures from Aunt Katie

Jen's Thankful 30

On facebook, several friends listed something each day that they were thankful for.  I didn't get around to doing a daily list, so I thought I'd just list my 30 things here instead.

Jen's Thankful 30:
1.  the ability to stay home with our children
2.  being able to homeschool, even on the bad days
3.  Usborne books - I love the freedom this job brings!
4.  our cozy old home, even though something always needs fixing
5.  our dog, Paige - the sweetest canine ever.  She is so great with the kids
6.  2 reliable vehicles - Nathan's is 15 years old and mine is 10, but they keep plugging along
7.  that we've never had to pay for a baby sitter - I love having both sets of our parents close by
8.  our homeschool co-op - a great chance to socialize the kids (& myself!)
9.  good neighbors
10.  that Emmaline's heart surgery isn't until next summer - plenty of time for God to heal the hole
11.  Netflix - so many shows, so little time!
12.  our church - i don't know how people get through life w/o a church family to support them
13.  friends from childhood and beyond
14.  facebook - i love keeping in touch with friends and family that are near and far, including my brother in Qatar
15.  that God's ways are not my ways, and that they are ALWAYS better than what I had planned
16.  Jacob - He tries my patience, makes me laugh, and is such a good big brother for his sisters.
17.  Gabrielle - Sneaky & sweet rolled into one.  She loves to read, just like her Momma.
18.  Emmaline - Hard-working, loveable, strong-willed, and a friend to everyone she meets.
19.  running - a new found hobby that keeps me healthy for my family
20.  hubby's reliable job - he loves what he does and is a good provider for our family
21.  Aegis Martial Arts - a place where Nathan and the kids can train for free
22.  Katie - my younger sister - I hate that she lives 8 hours away, but love that we stay connected through weekly phone calls and text messaging
23.  books - I love to read and don't know what I would do w/o a book or magazine to help settle my mind each night before bed
24.  the laptop - makes work, editing pictures, and blogging so much easier than our old desk top
25.  Mrs. Kristen - Emmaline's new speech therapist this year - she has helped Emmy make so much progress with her communication skills
26.  that my unexplained lung/breathing issues cleared up - it was awful not being able to breathe w/o coughing and wheezing for 3 months.  I don't take regular breathing for granted anymore!
27.  freedoms allowed in the USA that are banned in other countries, like speech and worship
28.  date night - every Thursday, I look forward to this time to reconnect with hubby sans kiddos
29.  monthly moms' night out with our Down syndrome group - they get me!
30.  Nathan - part of my life for 29 years, my husband for 13...I truly can't imagine life w/o my best friend

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chuck E. Cheese

We met some friends at Chuck E. Cheese today.  It's not my favorite place to go, but the kids love it, so we decided to endure it.  Since it is the day before Thanksgiving, we figured it would be completely crowded, but it was just the opposite.  The kids had plenty of time to spend all of their tokens and redeem their tickets and we could see where they were at at any given time since it wasn't packed.   It actually turned out to be a fun time for everyone, especially since I got to visit with Becky and Erin while our kids played.  A big thanks goes out to hubby for coming with us and keeping track of the kiddos so I had to time chat with my friends!
 Do you think Emmy likes the giant mouse?!
 Ellie and Chuck E.
 Is it just me, or is my baby looking a little too grown up?!
 Noah and Ellie play a game of Air Hockey
 Riding in a car
The Boys:  Collin, Noah, and Jacob

Friday, November 18, 2011

Operation Christmas Child

Today we packed boxes for Operation Christmas Child.  I took the kids with me to Dollar Tree this year to pick out the items they wanted to put in each box.  Let me just say that their eyes were much bigger than the boxes we were filling.  Oh well, it was fun watching them pick out the things they thought the boy and girl would like to get in their boxes.  They chose:  notepads, markers, toothbrushes, flashlights, tissues, tic-tac-toe, puzzles, and so many other fun things.  I loved seeing their generosity (even though Nathan and I are footing the bill).  We're trying really hard to teach them that it is more important to give than to get at Christmas, and I think they are finally at the age where they get it.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Birthday Lunch at Red Robin

For Jacob's actual birthday, we went to the mall to spend some of the gift cards he got and then we ate lunch at Red Robin. He loves to eat there, but his one stipulation was that they NOT sing to him for his birthday. He did, however, want the sundae.
My Boys
Em playing Aunt Katie's ipod touch
Me, Katie, and Mom
Andy and Alora
Ellie trying to escape from Uncle Andy's hug
Yay! A sundae and no singing!
Andy didn't mind the singing though!

I was really impressed with Red Robin today. Once they found out that Andy was deploying tonight and would miss out on their Veteran's Day special on Friday, they gave him his meal for free. It was a nice gesture to show they appreciated his service to our country!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Andy Turns 26 (a few days early)!

My brother, Andy, turns 26 on Saturday, but since he deploys to Qatar tomorrow and won't be here for his actual birthday, we celebrated tonight at my parents' house. Mom made the family favorite, chicken pot pie, and then Andy's favorite cheesecake for dessert. Present time was fun, as well. We finished the evening off by watching episodes of Psych, one of our favorite t.v. shows.
Katie decorated for the party with monkey stuff, which has to do with Andy's nickname
The Kids Table: Emmaline, Jacob, Colton, and Ellie
Ellie and Papaw
Monkey Cheesecake
Happy Birthday, Uncle Andy!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Jacob's 9th Birthday Party - Part Deux

The partying continued in the evening with our family party. We ate pizza, veggies, taco dip, and other yummy stuff. Then Jacob opened lots of presents. He is totally obsessed with camouflage and all things war-related, so many of the gifts revolved around that theme. After that, we ate cake and ice cream and then played with the toys Jacob got. It was a fun time celebrating Jacob Clarence. I still can't believe he is 9 years old!
A present for Jacob, Ellie, and Emmaline
The Green Machine
Emmaline enjoying her cake and ice cream
Jacob and Daddy
Me and my sweet boy...where did 9 years go?

Jacob's 9th Birthday Party - Part 1

At the beginning of the year, Nathan and some friends opened an Indonesian martial arts school. He teaches there two nights a week and Jacob and Ellie get to train there for free. It is definitely a win/win situation for our family because Nathan gets to do something he loves while the kids can get rid of some of their extra energy.

When we asked Jacob what he wanted to do for his birthday party, his immediate response was to have a party at Aegis. The school had never done anything like this before, but they were willing to give it a go. Nathan and Kim did an excellent job instructing the kids during the party. We could tell that everyone had a great time and they probably will sleep really well tonight.
During the party, the kids did an obstacle course, learned some martial arts moves, and played "roller ball tag".
I love this can almost hear his laughter!
Align Center
It's not a party without food. We had veggies, cheeseballs, Gatorade, and of course, cupcakes and ice cream.
Time for presents

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Here He Goes Again

Andy is getting deployed again, so I'll be updating his blog as he sends us information. He leaves for Qatar on Monday, November 7th and will return to the states sometime in May 2012. Please keep him in your prayers while he is gone.