Sunday, November 17, 2013

Loving November

I've never realized it before, but I think I love November. It feels like fall activities wrap up and things slow down considerably, perhaps in anticipation of the busy season that December brings. And in past years, I've used the extra time to do daily blog posts. But this year I was so thankful for an extra breath that I just took the chance to breathe without adding an extra thing (although I'm loving Kelsey and Pam's daily posts!). We're doing things like cleaning out the garage, cleaning out the cars, getting haircuts, putting things away for the winter, stock-up shopping trips, etc. Brian and I have even gotten out TWICE in the past 2 weeks - once for his birthday and once because we got free tickets to a Blue Jackets game (professional hockey). And I got together with 2 dearest girlfriends that I haven't seen in way too long to discuss new houses and upcoming weddings and kids and all the blessings bestowed upon us.  It's been a banner week.

My mom has started teaching Katy piano (more formally). I love this picture, because my mom is in her element in front of the piano. Growing up, my house was often filled with that sound - I would love it if one of my kids loved to play.

After being a completely petless family for such a long time, Katy begged and begged if she could get a Beta fish with her own money. Sasquatch. She got the name from a kids TV show, having no idea about Big Foot, and she doesn't understand why everyone laughs when she tells them the name. She says she's going to get him a plant for Christmas.

Dear Lord, please have mercy on us. Luke is in a big boy bed. He had been sleeping poorly for a few weeks in his crib, and while Brian was cleaning out the garage attic, he found this toddler bed that a neighbor gave us awhile ago. So we jumped in - you've got to sometime, right? He's doing ok - it takes a few tries to get him to stay in bed long enough to fall asleep, but then he sleeps fine all night. Nap time is a disaster, and he might be giving it up. I'm trying to get him to have a quiet time, but "quiet" and "awake" are two terms that don't exist for this child. But the BEST part is the he is SO proud of himself every time he gets out of bed "when his letters match." (We draw the number "7" on a card and use it to cover up the minutes on the digital clock, then when the hour matches 7, he can come out.) He come out and squeals, "Good morning! My letters match!" He's woken up a few siblings here and there with this display, so we're working on a more quiet celebration.

Following in Daddy's footsteps, I hope - the kids did their first Fun Run - half a mile! They practiced a few times and were really excited the morning of the race.

Katy crossed the finish line first (first of our children, not overall), very proud.

Do you think this boy is determined? Look at that stride!

Everyone was laughing as Luke crossed. He was doing that little toddler run where he barely picks up his feet, Oma was walking behind him to make sure he didn't disappear off the course. He didn't even understand where the finish line was (tried to run over to me), but he had this huge smile because everyone was clapping and he figured out where to cross.

Our friend Adrienne has gotten really fast in her races lately, so she and Brian decided to race each other in the 5K. Brian's competitive spirit wouldn't let her beat him and he came sprinting down the stretch ahead of her.

JT and Brian and the brood - little Miss Emma was an absolute angel during the entire race - sat in her stroller with a graham cracker and didn't make a sound.

Sunday, November 03, 2013


Our family is breathing a collective sigh of relief as it feels, for some reason, as if the calendar just let go of the squeeze it's had on us in recent weeks. Now we're just enjoying fall as we recover from colds and rake leaves and sort through candy.

Halloween was a crazy day. Luke missed his school party earlier in the week because he and I were both under the weather. On the 31st, I had Bible study in the morning, so we did our normal thing which meant that Anna didn't get a morning nap (she either hangs out with me,  or Aunt Mel comes and carries her around the office -she works in the building- for awhile while I'm in study). We came home and rushed to get lunch, put David in his costume and took him to school, came home and put Luke and Anna down for "naps." (That's in quotes because Luke hasn't been sleeping hardly at all lately. And I don't know if these two things are related, but we're also just having a hard time in general with lots and lots of tantrums and emotions and tears and just...struggles.) friend Lynn came over (because she's a saint - and her kids are teenagers plus) to stay with the littles so I could go to class parties. Luke never slept so she ended up playing with him while I rotated between the 2 classrooms and took pictures during the parade.

It was pouring down rain and windy and stormy, so some of the towns were postponing trick or treat, but our town moved it up to 5:30, so it was an even bigger rush to get everyone fed and dressed and out the door. Somehow we did it. With umbrellas and pouring rain, we walked around and visited with neighbors and enjoyed it. A neighbor told us about a "haunted garage" that a house nearby does every year, and Katy REALLY wanted to go, so we went. It was impressively scary, and Katy LOVED it - I think she felt like a big kid.

We also had a new experience this year - going to Oma and Opa's for trick or treat!  That was really fun and she spoiled them with full size candy bars and we visited a few of their neighbors and handed out candy with them before heading home.

I should have known better than to get a Buzz Lightyear costume for him when he insisted (I found the cutest costume at a consignment shop so I went ahead and got it), but he refused to wear it because he wanted to be a superhero like his brother. Oh, well, everyone got a kick out of his huge head.

Also hit the jackpot with this Wolverine costume. David was thrilled.

I was so glad that she wanted to be something like Strawberry Shortcake still.

The ice cream cone did such a great job! She just went with the flow.

Our pumpkins this year - big improvement because we bought those little carving tools.
The big project in our yard this time of year is always leaf removal. At least the kids enjoy it - and anything activity that interests middle school neighbors must be a good one!

And little Miss Anna is on the move! She's getting where she needs to go with an inch-worm style of crawling. Also, she's the first of my children to pull up to stand before she crawled (by a couple of weeks). She LOVES to stand and she pulls up to everything these days and then looks proud of herself and giggles.

But how to get down?

 Finally, if you know me, then you know that I constantly question whether I am doing this parenting thing right. Then once in awhile something comes home from school that helps me feel like maybe we're doing something right. This is pretty much exactly what I would want my kids to say, especially given some of the challenges she's had in 2013.

"My family is the best family because they relley work hard for me. It relley works well. It is so fun being in my family because my mom loves to take us to special places like Young's Dairy. We are very supportive of each other. I love my family!"