Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Photo Dump

(backdating to go in 2013 archives)

Whew! We are back from ten days of celebrating Christmas with all of our families. We had a great Christmas, highlighted by the fact that we did NOT have the stomach flu! It's all about perspective, and once you've had the worst stomach flu of your life and infected your entire family over Christmas, every other year is going to seem pretty great.

Lots and lots of photos...

First up - an extended family gathering at my mom's house. Katy and cousin Nate playing piano.

My cousin Abby's boys play so well with my kids - it's always fun to get them together.

Anna gears up for her first Christmas!

Standing in the back next to Opa is his daughter Mary and her boyfriend Craig. My grandparents are sandwiched in the middle of the pack (notice Granny without a neck brace - yay!), on the floor is my cousin Abby with her husband Stan and her boys Gabe and Nate. And next to David is my aunt Bonnie, then of course Mel, Oma, and my whole gang. We were only missing my Uncle Neil who unfortunately had to attend a funeral that day.

Great Grandpa spent quite a bit of time training my "future engineer" to fix broken toys.

We made a trip out to Wildlights at the zoo with Oma and Aunt Mel. It was nice, but it also reminded my why we haven't gone in a few years. It's a lot of work to bundle everyone up and keep track of 4 kids in the dark and keep warm and fed and get home before meltdown and find the nursing station to feed your poor baby. This is one of those things that will be SO much easier in a few years.

This girl really was a trooper, considering how cold and late it was for her. She loved chewing on the knot in her hat.

New tradition? We've not decorated cookies in the past because the task seemed too daunting to me. But someone told me about these pre-cut frozen cookies that you just pop in the oven and bake and then decorate - let me just tell you - they were delicious!! The kids had a ball decorating.

We made up some plates to take to neighbors and sent Katy and David out to deliver. They did a great job.

After Christmas Eve service at church - I love this dress because her sister wore it, too. I didn't get to participate in much of the service (nor have I for the past several months) because Miss Anna will not go into the nursery, and she's way too loud and active to stay in. So I was in there for the music but then in the cry room the rest of the time.

Oma brought over The Night Before Christmas to read. Katy also read aloud the advent book of the Christmas story (it's a bit long).

Setting out milk and cookies.

I took a picture of Katy's letter to Santa, but I can't post it because she says her last name and address. But I want to remember this sweetness so I'll write it here:

Dear Santa, 
I have been relley good this year. My name is Kathryn [last name]. But pretty much evry one calls me Katy. I have a big family. I have two brothers, one sister, a dad and a mom. I live at [address]. 

You know, Santa. I want to let you know what I need to work on. This is what: bragging, tattleing, and saying excuse me [instead of interrupting]. But I've been good in ways two. I bought gifts, work hard in school and I have always been star student [school's term for no misbehavior]. 

Now all I have to tell you is what I want for Christmas. Well, I want a big art set and Rainbow Loom please. Please give my brothers transformers.
Love, Katy [last name]

7am, Christmas morning

Luke loved his Angry Birds sleeping bag and slept on it for all of our travels that followed.

Oma had gotten the kids' matching jammies for Christmas morning. Katy's playing with Anna's one and only toy gift.

Christmas evening, we went back over to Oma's house to exchange gifts with them and have dinner - I didn't get very good pictures, but the kids continued to have a blast.

Oma gave the boys a set of tractors and they quickly discovered that the wheels come off. That was all they did the rest of the night.

On to Kentucky, where the cousins wasted no time demonstrating how to make Rainbow Loom bracelets in the top bunk.

And here it is - the gift of the year! (And yes, she's winking on purpose)

Another theme was nail decorating - here's their salon - David got toenails that looked like soccer balls.

David mid-jump to launch the stomp rocket. I think this gift was technically for Luke but David looooves it. With 4 kids close in age, it all runs together who got what.

Feeding ducks during a trip to the park.

Taken just before Luke fell into the water. He only got his feet wet, but it scared me half to death. I got it on video, too, although you just hear me yell "Luke!" and can't see him go in. The water was less than a foot deep, but still.

A new adventure - we've never taken this whole crew out to eat before.

They did SO well because it was very very VERY busy and we were there for over 2 hours. But the food was excellent, and I think everyone had fun trying a new place.

I could not believe how well this baby did. She sat in this high chair for over an hour eating every little morsel we put in front of her. Eventually I got up and walked around with her, but then she sat back down again and continued eating!

A little bit of silliness while we sing an early Happy Birthday to Anna.

Love this picture. Look at this baby checking out her birthday candle - precious face.

Not sure at first...but not bad afterall. (For those of you coming to celebrate Anna's actual birthday - I hope you don't feel cheated out of the first cake experience. I'm thinking this was a good warm-up so she'll be ready to really smash the heck out of her next cake.) 

So I must stop and mention our trip from Kentucky to Dayton, where we were going to celebrate with my Dad and Sue. Our van had been vibrating off and on for the past several months, but hadn't done it much lately, and we had never gotten it looked at because it's a logistical nightmare to have the van in the shop (we can't all fit in the Corolla, so we can't drop the car off and come home in another vehicle, and then the whole time the van is in the shop, I don't have a vehicle and we can't fit in Brian's car.)  So you can guess - the van's check engine light came on and the vibrating took a significant turn for the worse, when we still had almost 3 hours left in our trip. Brian was nervous to stop (what if it wouldn't start again? And it would take 2 vehicles for our family to come and pick us up), so we drove-thru for lunch, ate in the car and googled the problem on Brian's phone to see if it seemed safe to keep driving. Short story is that we made it, although it was a little stressful. We took it to a mechanic in Dayton (of course my Dad knows one, he knows everyone), and it took them until late the next day but they were able to fix it for less than $500. We were so relieved because the van is getting to the age where super expensive repairs start to make you wonder if it's worth fixing. But for now, we are just thankful to have our van back on the road and functional. Hoping that it hangs in there for another year or two.

I got to stop in and see my friends Cindy and Dutcher for a bit while I was in town. Cindy's holding her new baby Amelia and I got to see Jen's son Will for the first time in ages. The both live on the west coast and are so dear to me.

We had a nice celebration with Dad and Sue - although some of my pictures didn't turn out very well for some reason. Making Rice Krispie treat trees.

David was THRILLED about this Switch n' Go Dino. We had to send some things home with Aunt Mel because we were packed to the gills. David called her first thing the next morning to ask when she was going to bring over his Switch n' Go Dino.

Making loom bracelets wherever we go...and David playing a new map game.

Aunt Mel keeping Anna happy while Brian and my Dad installed new closet doors and we waited on van news.
Thanks everyone for a great Christmas! We are truly blessed to have all of you in our lives.


bluedaisy said...

I love all the pictuers and stories! I need to find those pre-cut cookies, I wish I lived close to you so Katy could teach us HOW to do the loom-thing and also- the van problem- whew!! Happy 2014 :)

Kelsey said...

The picture of you and Cindy and Dutcher... Oh, just oh. Makes my heart happy!

I would be SOOOO jealous if I hadn't gotten some Cindy time myself that weekend. :-)

Looks like 2013 was a good year for you guys.

cindy said...

Please, TELL me that is your Bob Evans apron on Luke!!!! who could have ever dreamed it would be used by a son of yours??
Such a good summary of Xmas. Really, really appreciate you and Anna coming over...what a busy time it is. Hoping to see you again soon under less chaotic curcumstances! the kids look so good.
(and you have answered a question i was going to ask...ALL the kids we saw on airplanes and in airports were doing this weaving thing and i keep seeing adults wearing the results....guess it's rainbow loom! you will have to tell me more.)