Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Day

Christmas morning: I finally started making noise to get the kids up around 7:20 because we didn't have much time to get ready for church after that. So we woke up Madi, and they all came out to see how much Santa spoiled them this year!! They were thrilled with the loot and it is always so fun to watch them. Some of Ty's favorites: a scooter, a light saber, some cool books. Bryn's favorites: a doll with lots of accessories, and strawberry shortcake. Madi's favorites: Baby doll and balls.

We had to be at the church at 10 for one final choir practice. Kenny and I both decided to do it this christmas since they had babysitters before church for it. It's been a really fun experience. I love being in choir, but especially singing Christmas songs. Sacrament meeting started at 11, and the Pattees were kind enough to sit with our kids for us. The program went really well and the spirit was strong. I don't understand why we don't go to church every Christmas, no matter what day. It really makes a difference, I think.

We came home, had lunch, and opened up the rest of the presents under the tree! I was so excited about the cricut expressions (!!!) from my parents, and a cool vegetable steamer, and boots from Kenny. We got Kenny some new basketball shoes, running shoes, and a calendar I made through Shutterfly he can hang up at work. We enjoyed just taking it easy and playing with the new toys the rest of the day. Oh, and we had a big google chat with everyone in my family. We surprised my mom with the fact that we're sending her and my dad on a cruise Jan. 16th! That was fun to watch her reaction :). I wasn't so great at taking pictures, because we were recording a lot. But here's a few of the kids playing with new toys on Sunday and Monday.

These are blocks you have to build and make ramps and stuff for the marbles to roll down.

Bryn got bath baby from Grandpa and Grandma A that she just couldn't wait another minute to get in the tub and play with her.

Madi likes to take a pretend sip from the baby's bottle herself, then give it to her baby. She is such a sweet little mommy. It is amazing to me how natural and strong that motherly instinct is even at such a very young age. My mom made some darling blankets and a "diaper bag" for my girls to put all their baby stuff in. It's perfect!

Fingerpaints and tools are always a hit.

Merry Christmas!!

Christmas Eve

For Christmas Eve we didn't want to be alone, so we invited over 2 other families from the ward who we knew didn't have family around either. James and Natalie Palmer came with their two kids, Scott and Sara. Justin and Joslyn Pattee came, and brought a friend Jeni, who's from France. I made the traditional ham and augratin potatoes, with a yummy salad, rolls, and corn/peas. They brought desserts and we loved sharing that evening with friends. We read through Luke 2, and part of Matthew 2 and the kids somewhat acted out the nativity, yet again.

We visited for a little while, then they all went home. Then it was time to open up the Christmas pajamas I made them!!

Love my 3 little hams.

Don't look too closely at Tyler's pajamas...the print is upside down! All except for one sleeve, haha. That's what I get for trying to work on sewing projects with the kids awake and bouncing all around me. I realized the mistake after cutting it out, but I was not about to go buy some more material. While laughing at my own stupidity, Tyler says "That's okay mom, they can just be my crazy pajamas!"

We read "The Night Before Christmas", and Tyler slept in the girls' room so they could all be together. Kenny and I stayed up watching "It's a Wonderful Life" while drinking sparkling cider, cleaning up dinner, and setting out Christmas. I just love Christmas time.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Calendar of Events for December

Dec. 3rd: Ugly Christmas Sweater Party at Keith and Lexi Bielozer's house! Kenny and I got some great sweaters at goodwill that afternoon, I made cookies to bring, and then our babysitter called and cancelled on us. :( But since they live in our neighborhood and I had been looking forward to it for so long (Lexi throws the best parties!), I snuck over there for a little over an hour. Kenny was supposed to go when I got back, so we'd just take turns. But he didn't want to. Anyway I had a really fun time while there and it was funny to see everyone in their sweaters!

Dec. 14th: Mary Kay Party! I love mary kay stuff and have been going through withdrawals lately, so it was fun to go there and get a few essentials. Although after Kenny saw the price, it was hard convincing him they were indeed, essential! :)

Dec. 15th: We had the missionaries over with a cute girl, Erica who is investigating the church. Kenny played with the kids in the other room while I sat in on the discussion with them. Her 3 year old son bit Brynlee in the calf really bad and left a good mark for several days. He is one scary little kid. But the good news, is she's getting baptized next week :).

Dec. 16th: Ward Christmas Party!! It was a fabulous event that they put on with the theme, "A Night In Bethlehem". Everyone dressed up, they had the whole gym decked out like it was back in time. Each family had a basket and 5 gold coins they could use to pick up some food to sample that they ate in Jerusalem back then. We all sat on blankets on the floor and enjoyed the people acting out the story of Christ's birth. I didn't get a picture of all of us, but here's Bryn dressed up before we left.

Dec. 18th: There's a lady in our ward that collects the little "Christmas Village" things and displays them in a room in her home with a big train set going through the village. We went over to the open house to see it and mix and mingle with other ward members. It was a pretty impressive collection! After that we went over to the Palmers and decorated gingerbread houses with them. Joslyn Pattee came with us too, but her doctor husband was working. Below, Natalie Palmer is on the far left, Joslyn in the middle, and me with no make up on the end. That's a story for another day...maybe.

I can't remember what day this was, but it was warm enough to jump outside on the trampoline. Everybody was warning us about the "horrible winters" here, but so far it has been better than anywhere else we've lived, except of course Texas.

And another pic off my phone...Tyler helping make sugar cookies.

Dec. 19th: For Family Home Evening we decided to go to Kirtland where they have a big display of nativity scenes from all around the world. We went and picked up Kenny from work, then headed out to Kirtland. (We got his car on the way home, and I went and did some christmas shopping all by myself which is my favorite way to shop!)

We discovered that downtown Cleveland was all decorated and lit up!

This was a huge display they had in the visitor's center. Some man bought it in bethlehem for real and lets them borrow it to display it at Christmas time. And a blurry Madi walking in front of it.

Along with all the cool nativities from around the world, they showed a short video (Luke 2) and there's a room where the kids can dress up and play. It was a fun night and I'm glad we went. I love living so close to church history places.

This is just random, but here's Madi getting tangled up in christmas lights. :) She sure is cute.

Dec. 22nd: All the kids in Tyler's Joy School put on a nativity program for us. The Lassen's hosted it, and it was a fun night, even with 2 of the kids (and their families) missing. It just allowed for more siblings to participate, haha. Tyler played the role of Joseph.

Here's a group shot of the kids. Only 4 are actually in the joy school. Tyler in the middle, and working to the right we have Julia Lassen next to him (whom he's going to marry) and of course she was Mary. On her right is Grant, and next to him is William. They are O'Neil brothers and we just love their family. Ty and William are really good buddies.

It's been a wonderful month with lots of fun, christmas-y activities.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Picture A Christmas

When I picture Christmas of 2011, I want to remember a few things...

My cute girls in their darling skirts that my mom made them. I love the hug-turned-choke-hold going on :).

We have given away a plethera of cookies this month. We take our sugar cookies very seriously around here. The kids were frustrated that we kept giving away all of the treats we were making, so I made sure to make our family represented in gingerbread people, for us to eat. I can't believe we'll have 6 people in our family in a couple months. Yikes!! As you can see, Ty and Bryn each decorated their own, Kenny accidentally got decapitated, and the frosting on the word "baby" melted together so you can't really tell what it says. But the cookies were devoured joyfully.

A few things around the house: Our stockings. My mom made mine and Kenny's when we were first married, I've made the kids' stockings, but I'm not sure what we'll do when we need another one next year. I think I"m out of that fabric and she'll be the only one not matching. Oh well, that's a problem for later. The table runner was something my mom and sisters made at girls week this summer which I wasn't able to attend :(. The wooden trees and stable were crafts I did with my sisters-in-law at Bear Lake this past month. "The Mansion" is our Christmas book this year that's been on display all month, we've only read it once. But it is a keeper, Pres. Monson recommends it and reads it each year, so we figured we should get it. The other fabric trees displayed on my quilt rack was a gift from my mom last year (we get a new one each year cuz she's awesome) and I just love it.

Our beloved (and blurry) Christmas tree with beautiful presents underneath that the kids just can't wait to open! Notice how the bottom third of our tree has no ornaments, and the lights hanging off the lower branches too. That's because I have a one year old.

And this is our house. Looks like some of those lights got caught in the rain gutter--guess we'll have to fix that.

We are really loving this Christmas season. The holidays are so much fun and so magical with little kids! I love this time of year!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Updates on all of us, including our newest member

I will start off by saying that we did not have our baby yet. That would be scary early, we still have 2 1/2 months to go. But we do have a little elf that joined our family December 1st. His name is Joey. I had never heard of all these "Elf on the Shelf" things but luckily my sister, Steph, is a lot cooler than me. She sent our family one in November since they have us for Christmas and I am SO glad she did. The kids LOVE Joey. It is the last thing Tyler talks about before he goes to bed at night, and the first thing he and Brynlee look for when they wake up. Seriously, I think they're way more excited about Joey every day than Santa coming haha. But it's been a lot of fun for them to find him in a new spot every morning. Thankfully we haven't forgotten to move him yet, and Kenny is much more creative at finding a funny spot for him then I am. But it's a fun new tradition.

Madison: I cannot believe how quickly she picked up on walking, and really well. She just walks around the house like the other kids now and it's so cute to watch her. Her climbing abilities have also improved, thanks to her frequent practicing. She keeps me on my toes, that's for sure. Church is pretty difficult with her, and I'm already couting down the months till nursery. She thinks she's one of the big kids and just tries to do everything her big brother and sister do. She gets really, really mad if you don't let her try and do everything they do. She has also figured out how to pull the elastics and clips out of her hair, so she often looks like an orphan child because she never leaves anything in for very long.

Brynlee: She's still sort of like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. Totally sweet and perfect angel child one minute, and will turn on you in a second. She occassionally resorts to "baby talk" and acting a lot younger than she is, which worries me for this baby coming. She's very needy about being hugged, held and loved a lot. Sometimes I think I'm going to hire someone to just sit here and hold whatever child needs it so I can get something done, or not have them fighting over my lap. It's even more awkward with my ever-growing belly. But we sure love Bryn and she loves to sing and talk in the cutest little voice. She pretends to read books all the time and always begins each page with "One day..." Bryn's very good about cleaning and picking things up when she's done playing, if it's something that's obvious or an intentional game, if that makes sense. Like she carries a lot of little knick knacks around and leaves stuff out all over the house, but if it's something we get out like a bin of legos, or the play-doh, or a game, etc. she is very good about picking up after herself. Everybody loves her curly hair, and I often get asked how I do the ringlets when she has pigtails or something. She's just a natural babe :).

Tyler: He loves going to Joy School two days a week, and always has such a fun time playing with friends. There's a girl in his primary class, and joy school with him named Julia, and they always say they're going to marry each other. I've tried to get him to stop talking about it so much. It was funny and cute at first, but then I think it was starting to get a little overboard for 4 year olds. But they are good friends. He is such a good big brother and really helps me out a lot. He thinks he is hilarious and tries to make up "funny jokes" all the time, and we try to give him our best laughs :). He's in the "silly" phase of childhood, but he's still pretty well behaved. We still do preschool at home each day with our own Sonlight curriculum, and mostly he just soaks up all the books. He can't get enough of reading books, and I don't mind a bit. He's actually getting pretty good at reading on his own and sounding out words.

Me: I am doing fine. Tired a lot, but fine. I hate wearing maternity pants more than anything else in the whole world (random sidenote). I was looking at some home videos from back when it was me and Ty and Bryn, and I was missing the old me. I used to be not nearly so chubby, a lot more energetic and fun. Now I feel like I can't keep up with anything, or I just don't even want to try, and I'm tired. I have a lot of dreams of me running, or being back in highschool playing basketball, and then I wake up with leg cramps, or because I have to pee again. So I'm really looking forward to not being pregnant anymore, which is too bad because I still have 11 weeks to go. I'm still trying to be patient with waiting to hear on where we're moving; some days I do better than others.

Kenny: Seems to handle everything much better than I do, and I'm grateful for his strength in that regard. He works out every day during lunch, they have a nice gym in the same building as his work so that's a good outlet for him. I feel bad making his shorter than everyone else's, but he really hasn't changed, haha.

So that's us in a nutshell. I don't have a single picture to put on here, but we'll get to that this week, hopefully.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Come what may and love it.

I saw this the other day on and couldn't help but get it. It's my new motto right now. I needed it up in my home every day where I could see it and be reminded of the attitude I need (and want) to have. Kenny's work has thrown us for another loop again, and we are once again on the verge of moving. We expected a good year and a half, or two years here in Ohio. But the week before Thanksgiving, the project they are working on got cancelled. Shut down. Now there's no work to do here, and they are finding places for everyone to go. Everyone that didn't get laid off, that is. So we are waiting to hear back on a few different places, and waiting and waiting. Kenny was in Austin, TX interviewing with a different company yesterday, so we'll see how that turns out too. I wouldn't be quite as stressed if we weren't having a baby so soon. I just hate not knowing what's going to happen and plan on even a few weeks in advance. But as we've really fasted and prayed, and poured over the words of the prophets I've received several times over, comforting words and feelings. I know that we'll be okay, and it'll all work out. Even if it is hard, and perhaps that's what I'm afraid of. I realized after several weeks of praying for patience, that that's not really what I meant. I just sort of expected the Lord to "give me patience" so that it wouldn't be hard, that it would just be made easeir for me. But I see now that I was missing the point of trials entirely. So I've changed my prayers, and work daily on having a good attitude about it. We have so much to be grateful for, and the fact that Kenny is still employed is up there at the top right now. So throw at us what you will, life. Come what may--because we're gonna love it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Madison's 1st Birthday--December 5th

Look who turned 1 year old!!
My baby girl is growing up so fast! Lately she has really started to look like a little girl, and not a baby. She's also started walking and it is so fun! She progresses pretty much hourly, and I love watching her figure it out and gain confidence as she goes. Today she was going across the whole room! Her birthday celebrating went a little like this...

Checking out her presents (2 from us, one from Gpa and Gma Andersen). Yes, that's Christmas wrapping paper--that's all we have right now.

Loving on her new baby doll. She really, really loves dolls. She even feeds her the bottle.

After opening presents, we had a little cake and ice cream. I used the same giant cupcake pan I did for Bryn's 1st b-day.

Nice and clean starting out...

And this was her by the end!! I think she's the first one of our children to smear it all over her hair like that. We headed straight to the bath tub, for her second bath of the day. Baths are one of her favorite things, so she didn't mind.

All cleaned up and playing with her toys. The grocery cart is what my parents gave her, and she cruises around the house with it. (It's also a big hit for Ty and Bryn!) The ball popper is on the floor behind it, those are her 3 gifts.

We sure love our little Madi Lynn! She is such a fun, lovable, and stinkin cute little girl. We just can't get enough of her. Some of my favorite things about Madi:

How she points at everything

She sits on my lap and loves to read books

She tries to climb everything

The way crosses her sweet little hands over each other when we say "fold your arms" for prayers.

How she waves her chubby hand and says "ba ba" for bye bye.

The way she wrinkles her nose when she smiles and laughs.

The satisfaction she gets from emptying out every kitchen cupboard, bookshelf, or dresser drawer she can reach...several times every day!

How tight she squeezes when giving hugs

We're so glad you're in our family Mads! We all love you so much!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Nov. 28th-29th

Sunday we drove to Mt. Green and stayed with Chris, Stacie, Caiden, and Traegan. Kenny's parents, along with his sister Shariane and her two kids decided to come down with us and stay there the party continued! Our poor kids were so exhausted pretty much the whole trip, and so was I. I just love this sweet picture of Madi, hugging Bryn's new doll to fall asleep in the car.

Monday we took the kids to a bounce house in Roy, UT. It said online that they were open at noon, but when we got there they said it was a mistake, and they weren't open till 3. But since it was their fault, and we only had little kids, they let us in anyway. It was like having a private bounce house for a whole hour, which normally costs like $750 to do that for real!! Pretty ridiculous, but we sure loved having the whole place to ourselves. The kids jumped and ran to their hearts content and wore themselves right out. Even Kenny, who's just a big kid, had fun jumping and playing around with the kids.

Kenny also thought it would be funny to tackle his dad into the huge pit of foam! It was funny, but I felt bad when it came time for him to get out... haha.

This was a normal scene...Madi trying to get away from anyone that tried to hold her. It was extremely annoying the WHOLE freaking time. She wouldn't go to anyone but me or Kenny, but mostly me.

These cool TV's had a 15 second delay so you could do a trick, then watch yourself on the tv and see what it looked like.

Monday night we went down to Temple Square to see all the pretty Christmas lights!! We all ate dinner at The Lion House, then walked around. It was cold, but we had fun. Jeni and Eric, and Kyle and Keli and kids also came so we had a big group.

Brynlee is the exact opposite of Madi. She attaches to people really quickly and wants/needs lots of attention and love and snuggles from any willing family member :). She loves all her grandparents.

We said good-bye to everyone for who knows how long. The next day we flew home (2 flights again, always a layover in Chicago) and got back around 6:30 at night. The kids were such troopers. It's not easy changing time zones, and switching houses/beds every day or every other day. We stayed with 7 people in 12 days, that's a lot of moving around and they handled it as well as could be expected. The airplane flights went pretty well, obviously Madi had a hard time holding still for 3 hours at a time but it was SO much better than the 30 hour drive would have been. We'll never be able to do that again because it's way too dang expensive, but I'm glad we did it this once. We also had a little sickness at the beginning, lots of stomach issues for Ty and Bryn. And Madi was pretty difficult a lot of the time. Not just because she wanted to be held all the time and was scared of everyone else, but because she isn't used to stairs. We don't have any in our house, and she was obviously fascinated with them. Everyone but Cami had stairs, so it was stressful constantly keeping her safe and alive. She did have one fall down the stairs at Bear Lake, but she wasn't hurt at all, thank goodness. She can go up and down, but she doesn't get that she can't just stop and stand up, or try to sit back while on her way down. But what's a vacation without some sickness and stress, right? :) Overall, it was a great trip and we were so glad we got to see so many family and friends.

Nov. 23rd-27th

Kenny's parents were kind enough to rent a house in Garden City, UT at Bear Lake. We are getting too big to go anywhere else, but with over 30 people in a house, it's still a little crowded :). We had a great time with everybody. There were lots of activities! Some are pictured below, others are not. We had a photographer come out and we got family pictures taken, with everyone except Kenny's youngest brother Mike, who's on a mission. Thanksgiving seemed to come and go all too quickly, sort of like any other meal. But we did have a great discussion that night and everyone went around and said something(s) they were thankful for. I sure am grateful for such wonderful families on both sides. We have so many many people who love and support us, and we love them too. Big families rock! We also did some Christmas celebrating: a white elephant game, presents from grandparents to grandkids, acted out the nativity scene, built gingerbread houses, etc. There was a huge movie theater room that the kids really enjoyed, a pool table, a hot tub, and lots of games and just visiting. They went sledding twice, I didn't go either time. But Kenny took Ty and Bryn the first day, and just Tyler the second time. They rented a snowmobile one day, and the boys had a lot of fun with that.

Sunday, we went to a sacrament meeting there at 9, packed and cleaned and were gone around 2 p.m. From there we headed down to Mt. Green, UT and stayed with Chris (Kenny's bro.) and Stacie. To be continued again...