Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A *Warm* Christmas Parade

 A few years ago I took Aliza to the Pocomoke Christmas Parade and it was a disaster. It was bitter cold and she was scared. About 4 years and 2 children later we tried it again and it was a fun event! It sure helped that it was a comfortable temperature outside.

Aliza loved sitting on the curb with her aunts.

This is essentially a parade of fire trucks. Josiah stood so seriously and studied the trucks. Every once in a while I would see his hand shoot up for a quick wave.

Josiah convinced his Grandad to come. =) Anna waved too.
Janell made it a party for us and had snacks at her house. We didn't make it through the whole parade. It was a very late night for us, but it was fun to do something fun!

Amazing Weather

 The weather has been amazing. As in 70 degree amazing! Every day I've been thinking every day for a week that this has to be our last day of this, but it hung on through Thanksgiving, the weekend and Monday. I think today was the last. It rained a lot and I only see 50's in the forecast. But who am I to complain? It is the end of November! The only reason I've had long sleeves on my children is because it is the end of November and it only seems appropriate to dress them in long sleeves!

Yesterday we weren't going to waste a moment of the day being inside. Aliza and Josiah headed out at 9:30 and I called them in for lunch. I took Anna and Renee out after their naps. We raked together leaves so the children could slide into them. As you can see they kicked off their shoes and played barefoot!

Of course Little Miss found all sorts of fallish things to put in her mouth. I was so glad that I had decided Monday was going to be a school holiday for us. Now I've had my fill of fall...can we skip to spring??!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Memories

Our Thanksgiving weekend was full of family time. These are some of my cherished memories:

  • Aliza and Josiah always pray for dinner at my parents house. On Thanksgiving Aliza thanked God for every family member (all 20+) by name. When she was finished Dad just said "I have nothing to add to that. Amen."
  • There was lots of wedding excitement in the air. Us married sisters got to reminisce about our weddings and the preceding wedding planning.
  • Josiah and Caleb played and played all afternoon. They even found some potatoes and turnips to dig in the garden.
  • My only cooking responsibility was to make rolls for dinner. I know. I'm pretty much spoiled!
  • Our drive to WV took forever! It was that hour long lunch stop at Panera. How can it take us so long to eat lunch??
  • It was warm and sunny when we got to WV. Aliza wanted to get the pool out! We spent some good time outside. I've been loving this warm weather.
  • Grandpa had his outside Christmas decorations up. Aliza was so excited when she went out to see them. She hugged Grandpa's neck and said, "You are so sweet. You are as sweet as a marshmallow."
  • Jeremy got to golf.
  • The ladies watched Pioneer Woman's cooking show while the men and children went for a drive to look at Christmas lights.
  • Aliza loved watching TV in Grandma and Grandpa's room. She had the TV to herself--PBS was her channel of choice. Well, she doesn't have that many choices. She watched way too much TV.
  • Josiah liked hanging out in the living room with the adults. He curled up on the couch next to Joel. He got to play with the cars without interruption.
  • Anna just explored the house. She had Joel and Brandi and Grandma and Grandpa at her beck and call. Her 5th tooth broke through this weekend.
  • Having a vacation from school was much needed. I can tell that Aliza and I both benefited from it. We are back in the routine today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful Garland

We had a 4 day unit in Bible on Thanksgiving that ended with crafts and a visit from a Pilgrim. The Pilgrim went with the teacher to a Thanksgiving party where she met all of the other K-5 teachers. Aliza watched the lesson twice. She loved seeing all of her teachers together in one place. Each teacher presented a craft and this is the one I decided to use.

It's a Thanksgiving garland. Aliza and Josiah decorated leaves, turkeys, and boy and girl pilgrims. They used mostly glitter glue and pom-poms for decoration. Then we wrote things we are thankful for on strips of red paper. Super easy (except maybe for pre-cutting the shapes!) and fun.

I'm looking forward to lots of family fun the rest of the week. I know things will be festive in my family. My *little* sister and her boyfriend announced their engagement last night!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sweet Anna Girl

Happy 1st Birthday Anna!!!

It is so true that time goes faster and faster. I can't believe Anna is a year old already. Anna is such a content, easy going little girl. I marvel at how God puts families together. 

Anna is completely walking. I still give her a couple bottles because Anna will still cuddle like a baby. Her funny fascination--potty water! I run around like crazy trying to keep potty seats down or doors closed, BUT Anna can crawl up the steps and FAST! If I hear giggling from upstairs I know I'm too late.  I have found all kinds of things in the potty including her teddy bear blanket. Ugh!!

But who can resist that sweet smile and her little voice saying Mama or Dada or the way she lays her cheek on my face for kisses. I love her, love her, love her!!!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

1st Birthday Party

 Anna's 1st birthday is still a few days away, but yesterday we had her birthday party. It was a fun party. Our house was full of family and adopted family. Anna wasn't quite sure what to think, but she held up great and especially enjoyed her spaghetti and cake!

 Given that I painted a pumpkin on my baby belly last year and had a little pumpkin baby shower, I went with a Darling Little Pumpkin birthday theme.

 Anna wasn't very interested in opening presents. Her brother and sister each had a gift for her. Josiah gave her some of his toys. He said "Anna really likes my toys." Aliza has begged to get a certain Dora blanket for Anna since she was born. I finally gave in and bought it for Aliza to give Anna.

And she is off and running! I realized that I have not seen Anna crawl more than once a day these days.

This is Anna's "I'm ready to get out of the chair" look. She likes spaghetti!

Including a face plant and licking fingers, Anna finished off her piece of cake.

 I have a super great sister-in-law! Brandi and I spent hours in the kitchen Friday night getting all the little pretties ready for the party. Then she washed dishes for me after the party--and even swept the floor too!!

I have a super great brother-in-law! Joel tirelessly played with Aliza, Josiah and Anna during those hours that Brandi and I were in the kitchen on Friday.

I have a super great mother-in-law! Karen helped me prepare food, put away food and clean up after the party. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Piles of Leaves

 We have had beautiful fall weather so far this week. It's raining and windy now so I know it is over, but we have had a great time outside the last couple days. Both Mommy and Daddy even ended up in the leaves. Fresh air is so good for the mind and body. That would be for both children and their parents!

Aliza couldn't keep her eyes open when she looked up.

They leaves up to their head. I told them it looked more like antlers!

We have a first birthday party coming up this weekend. It should be lots of fun. I plan parties because I think they will be fun...and then I start doing the preparation!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Generous Heart

As we were walking out the door to celebrate my Grandad's 84th birthday, Josiah gathered up some things and asked me for a bag to put them in. I grabbed a plastic bag thinking that he was just taking a few things along to play with.

I should have known better since Josiah did this for Caleb on his birthday and earlier today he said that Grandad would like trucks for his birthday. Josiah carried his birthday present to Grandad and gave it to him.

This is just one of those moments that makes a Mama's heart burst with pride. Josiah has such a generous heart.

Great Grandad's birthday treasures! Thankfully Aliza didn't make a scene when she saw that Josiah gave Great Grandad her Strawberry Shortcake car! Josiah lined up the presents next to Great Grandad's place at the table.

When Josiah gave some of his toys to Caleb a couple months ago I wasn't sure if he would ask for his toys when we left to go home or if he would mention them a few days later. He has never mentioned any of the things he gave to Caleb and that's how it was tonight. He never looked back. What a great little guy!

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Era of Minecraft Continues

 The other evening I walked downstairs to this.

Here's the story.

Several weeks ago Aliza made a decision that she has told me every day that she regrets. She gave Josiah Minecraft lessons. See, the deal is that you can have your own Minecraft world when you turn 5. Josiah is only 3. Aliza gave him lessons all on her own. Obviously, now he wants to play and he hardly has the coordination to do so.

So I walk into the living room and here they are "playing" side by side. The hilarious thing is that both Aliza and Josiah think he is really playing. The keyboard is disconnected. Josiah was talking to the computer and determinedly pressing keys on the keyboard. Aliza lashed out at him when she died because it was "his fault." I thought it was hilarious.

That evening they were playing on the server. Jeremy is there on the couch playing with them. The two other guys that play on the server are friends of Jeremy. Aliza thinks they are her best friends too. They are very gracious to play on the server with her.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Diggin' Holes

 Do you see that hole my son is sitting in? He dug it with his shovel--all by himself! I knew he was out there working with a shovel. He came in once in a while asking me to come out to look at a bug or a worm that he had unearthed. But I didn't realize quite how deep it was. This week he has been working outside with his excavator.

I don't often get a real smile for a picture!!

As you can tell Josiah is outside first thing in the morning in his pajamas. It is just lovely that our fall weather is holding for a little while. At least once a day I have the fleeting thought that I would like my house to be newer or nicer, but that would probably come with a landscaped lawn that I would not want holes dug in. So I'll be thankful for our plot of land that is perfect for my boy. He can dig holes to his heart's content!

(Janell and Brian, I had to think of your endeavors at an underground fort!)

One other memorable story about Josiah. Yesterday Aliza wanted a chair on the porch. Josiah offered to get her one. He came inside and drug out a wooden table chair. He dragged it out of the house and across the deck. When I got to him he was trying to figure out how he was going to get it across the grass to the front porch. I expressed my surprise that he had gotten that far and he said, "Mommy, I'm strong. I'm as strong as a jellybean!!!" I had to stifle the giggles.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Meeting The Nutcracker

 The Eastern Shore Ballet Theatre is performing The Nutcracker in early December. The library hosted a special story time today. The Nutcracker story was read and some of the dancers were introduced. After the story there was a craft, some snacks and the dancers were available to talk and take pictures.

Right away I could tell that Aliza really wanted to talk to the Sugar Plum Fairy. She wasn't sure how to approach her so we went together. After that picture she wanted pictures with everyone. I almost took my camera and then I didn't. What was I thinking? My iphone saved the day, but a lot of the pictures were blurry. (I'm just not talented like that!!)

with Clara

with one of the Arabian dancers

Josiah worked hard on his craft.

Anna stole the spotlight for a few minutes while she met The Nutcracker. She looked at him for the longest time before she took his hand. You could almost read the questions in her mind...Why don't your eyes blink? Why don't you say hi when I say HI to you? I was sortof waiting for her to burst into tears, but she didn't. My little adventurer.

with a Russian dancer

with the toy soldier  

We will definitely be attending the show. Aliza thought it was neat to find out that some of the dancers were in the Snow White show we saw earlier this year. I figured out how much this experience meant to Aliza when she told me that she wanted to make a scrapbook with these pictures. I told her that I had to print them and gather some supplies for her. She is so excited to make a scrapbook with me...she said, Mommy if there was a scrapbook race you would win. Now I'm really kicking myself for the blurry pictures! She'll still have memories...

Friday, November 4, 2011


My Mom, some of my sisters and I got to celebrate my Aunt's 50th birthday with her. We had tea together at the Enchanted Tea Room in Berlin, MD. The food was fabulous. The company was even more fabulous.


 We were told this is a wish cake. We took turns telling Laurie how much we appreciate her as our Aunt and our relationship with her. We made her cry---but that's not hard to do!!

More sisters. We sure missed the ones that couldn't be there! 

I spotted a cupcake store as I drove through downtown Berlin. I drug everyone there after tea. We were all stuffed which was helpful. Cupcakes in Bloom is amazing. It's a good thing they are all the way in Berlin.

I'm so glad we could celebrate Laurie and that we could celebrate all the other things that each of us were celebrating individually.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fall Quarter

 Aliza is a solid quarter of the way through kindergarten. As my celebration of this accomplishment (lol) I thought I would share a few pictures of things we have done recently.

While studying rhymes about Kings and Queens it was necessary to dress up and make crowns.

I give Aliza every opportunity to show Grandma (and anyone else who will listen) her work. She is so proud to talk about what she does and it is satisfying to me to hear her articulate what she is learning. She IS learning a lot!

Some days it is necessary to sit on a throne.

Other days it is nice to pawn your work off on your brother. He was more than happy to oblige. These no bake cookies did not turn out at all.

In preparation for learning to tell time, a math lesson was about ordering events. The example was making orange we made orange juice.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My Auntie Heart

Here's the abbreviated back story on my niece, Lydia. When she was 4 weeks old, the pediatrician laid out to Janell the indicators he saw that pointed to Down's Syndrome. When she was 6 weeks old, Lydia had labwork completed for a Down's screen. During her 8th week, Jeff and Janell met with a geneticist and found out that the Down's screen was negative. During that exam, the geneticist felt there were enough physical variations that further testing should be done. That testing was done 2 weeks ago today. This morning Janell was told by the geneticist that all of the genetic tests were normal!! 

Over these past 6 weeks my Auntie heart has ached for Lydia, my Sister heart has ached for my sister and my Mama heart has wept and worried and prayed for both of them. There is nothing like having a big close knit family, but it also means that you are going to go through the hard times as well as the good times with them!

When Janell told me the tests were normal this morning it was almost too good to be true. I just burst into happy, laughing tears. In fact the rest of the family was still asleep and Jeremy came down because he didn't know what was wrong.

Lydia does have lower muscle tone. Her holding her head up in this picture was quite an accomplishment. We will continue to cheer for every developmental milestone for quite some time. One thing that we prayed for was that these genetic tests would be conclusive. They were and so  Janell can be confident that the delays are not caused by anything genetic. That is a relief.

For right now I'm going to keep my thoughts on forcing babies into developmental boxes to myself!

Today is a day to be happy and free of worry. My sister got a crushing hug and Lydia got all kinds of hugs and kisses tonight!!!