Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nana's visit

Nana came to visit us for a week before Thanksgiving.  We were all so glad to have her back!  Elijah has decided that it's not good enough to have Nana for most of the summer, and a week here and there, he says that Nana and Grandpa have to come and live with us ALL the time.  =)  We got to go to Elijah's Thanksgiving celebration at school while she was here - the kids sang some songs and said their verses and we got to share their "feast."  Nana helped me get a bunch of little projects done around here - I was so excited to finish some things!  We never would have gotten so much done before having people over for Thanksgiving without her.  She left Thanksgiving morning to go spend the day and the rest of the week in Pittsburgh with her mom, Great-Grandma Jennie.

This kid grew a bit since Nana got to hold him last!

 Nana and the kids had a real tea party while she was here.   They ate fancy cookies and drank "tea" (cran-raspberry juice!) out of tea cups.  It was so much fun!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

So thankful

I  really like Thanksgiving.  I'm not sure why I like it so much - the food is great, but I wouldn't choose turkey and all as my favorite meal or anything.  The meal prep is always a little crazy at the end, but maybe the chaos of too many cooks in the kitchen is part of the goodness - it is certainly an integral part of all my Thanksgiving memories.  Maybe it's just the being together, celebrating, and enjoying good food without much agenda.   I love the attitude of the day - being thankful, encouraging our kids to be thankful, and loving our family and friends who are gathered around.  I love that we have to use our grandmothers' recipes and that everyone has a favorite dish that they look forward to, and that even the jello has tradition and memories and meaning.  I love that both of our extended families celebrate with love and a lot of laughter around the table.

We got to host this year, and we were so excited to put in all the leaves for Great-Grandma's dining table and use our wedding gift dishes and the giant roasting pan that Patrick gave me years ago, when we still lived in tiny places that didn't even have an oven big enough to roast a chicken, let alone a 20 lb turkey, in expectation of being able to do this someday.  i was a little nervous about being in charge of the important stuff - turkey, stuffing, gravy - but it all came out great.  And even though getting ready was a little hectic (especially after Finn was mysteriously very fussy ALL DAY the day before) it was so nice to be home during the day - Molly got a reasonable nap in her own bed, and I could take care of a still extra fussy baby in his own room when I needed to.  And it is just so fun to have a crowd of people that we love in our home. =)

I didn't take many pictures - sorry!  But we had a great time and great food.  I am thankful for lots and lots of things.  We were thankful for my mom's help while she was here, helping us get ready even though she didn't get to stay for turkey.  We are thankful to be so near Patrick's family, and to get to celebrate with them.  I am thankful for Patrick, and Elijah and Molly and Finn.  I am thankful for all the many blessings God has given us this year, and for a day to celebrate being grateful.

Our dining room, ready for Thanksgiving, with the new light Patrick put up.

Making our first turkey -the giant bird goes in!  We made a 27 1/2 lb turkey.  I was surprised it even fit!  And it was so yummy.

Molly and Elijah made lists of things that they are thankful for - I thought they were fun.

Molly:  I am thankful for Finn, Mommy, Daddy, Elijah, my"friends" in my bed (her stuffed animals and baby dolls), and Jessie, my toy (from Toy Story).

Elijah:  I am thankful for Nana, my turkey, Mom, Finn, Dad, Molly, God and Jesus, Love, (his friends at school), puppies and kitties.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pictures, pictures

More pictures ...

Finn is starting to enjoy his toys more.

Reading with cousins - Maiah is great with Finn

So is Zoie! 
Wearing her necklace as a headband

Growing, growing, growing
Warm & cozy

Train audience


Saturday, November 19, 2011

More projects

A few more things I've been working on:


paper + mod podge

spray paint


putting it together


Monday, November 14, 2011

House tour - Elijah's room

Here's Elijah's room.  I know there are a couple of pictures/frames from his old room that I haven't found yet, but it's pretty much done.  It's the only room that I feel that way about. =)  It was pretty easy to get his room together because we had everything for his room from way back when it was his nursery in Colorado. 
I am hoping to refinish this whole set of furniture for the boys sometime.  I especially want to get all the funky adolescent stickers off the beds and dressers.  But it's good, solid furniture, so we're happy with it.

These photos are of Grandpa when he was working as a cowboy - so cool.

We haven't painted, but the white seems to work with all the wood and everything already going on.  Elijah loves his room, and that makes me happy!

The reading corner is my favorite part - he loves this giant bean bag chair!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

House tour - some little projects

I know, I know, it's taken me five months to post any pictures of the new house.  We've been busy, ya know, with a baby and all. =)  Anyway, I am just starting to get some things done around here to make it prettier, homier, and more us.  We have a long list of little things we'd like to do.  This house was in GREAT shape compared to most of the foreclosures that we saw in our super long house search, but cosmetically, kinda blah-meets-ugh.  The carpets are nearly white (WHY????) and grossly stained everywhere, and the paint through the entire house is cheap, flat, and white, white, white ... except where it is dirty.  And the drywall is a little banged up and full of old tv mounting hardware.  Like I said - GREAT for a foreclosure, and really, even a house that was well cared for but not our style would need most of the same work.  (Except for the banged up front door, the splintering deck,  and the yard full of weeds, but ...)   So, to sum up - we are super thankful for this house, and how little needed to be done to make it livable, and enjoying making some little changes to make it prettier. 

Here are some things I've been working on - pictures of the rooms to come later.

My "mudroom" area - which is basically just a tiny wall in the kitchen between the dining room doorway and the main hallway through the house.  I wanted the kids to be able to be in charge of putting away their own things as we come in and go out every day, but there was no room by the garage or back door to do that.  I decided that even if it was not so pretty to have it right in the middle of everything, it would be convenient, which might help it to really work!  So, here it is, so far:

empty, but pretty

Lots of hooks that everyone can reach,  and every day shoes in the chest underneath.  (The chest was made for Patrick by his uncle Jimmy - each of the kids in his family got one.  It's perfect!)

and in use

I still would like to add a shelf above the hooks for baskets to hold hats and mittens and all that jazz.  It is working pretty well so far, though the kids are not quite automatically putting their things away just yet, I'm sure we'll get there.

Just on the other side of that dining room doorway, I put up some more organization help - my little version of what is known around the blogs and pintrest as a command center.  Nothing fancy, just some wall pockets (for mail and school papers) a chalkboard (for the weekly menu plan and lists) and a clock.  I don't have a chalk pen yet, but it's gonna be fun!

I am still looking for something pretty to put on that counter to the left to hold phones, sunglasses and keys, and a small book shelf to put at the end of the cabinet for cookbooks and such (instead of that cute but way too tiny cabinet thing).

In the playroom, I put up an art cable (inspired by this one, and others on pintrest) to hang up the kids' art work.

We also hung these initial fingerpaints that I had the kids do this summer.  (Finn's was done by Elijah.)

More to come!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Three babies

Do you think these babes look alike? 




Friday, November 11, 2011

Celebrating today ...

Wishing a very happy birthday to my daddy today!  We love you so much!

And thankful for all those who have and do serve our country, and the families who love, support, and sacrifice for them.  Thank you, to Papa, Grandpa, and our many friends and family who have served.  And a special thank you to Uncle Cameron and the men who serve with him in the Marine Corps around the world, to Nana and Grandpa and Uncle John and Aunt Linde who loved and supported him through deployment and war, and to Aunt Amanda who loves him enough to marry into the service and sacrifice of being a Marine wife.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Horse Show

A few weeks ago, Patrick took the kids to the Pennsylvania Horse Show.  They had a great time seeing the horses, watching some equestrian events, having their faces painted, and even getting a pony ride!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Our morning

Today we are having a quiet day at home.  The kids have a cold - Molly has been a giant snotty mess for a week now, and although Elijah has been fighting it off pretty well, he was just totally worn out when we picked him up at school yesterday.  I decided that he needed a day off, too.  Finn has been a little congested and a little extra fussy, but he's eating and sleeping pretty well anyway.  Thank goodness!

Finn woke up at 7 and I fed him and changed him and we got the big kids up. It was nice to take it easy and not have to run around in hurry to get ready for school.  In that way, today is not at all typical!  The kids played a little, and I made baked oatmeal.  While it was baking, Finn went down for his first nap, and the big kids colored some pictures to send out in the mail with some photos we need to send to grandparents and aunts & uncles.  As usual, Molly lasted a lot longer than Elijah, but they both did a nice job. =)

For breakfast, we had baked oatmeal with blueberries and milk, and they both had apple juice (their favorite perk of being sick).

Molly calls this hairstyle "hello kitty" because of the one bow -
I call it "desperately keeping her hair out of her snot."

Molly did some more coloring after breakfast while Elijah played.  Then we gathered pillows and quilts and they settled down for a sick day movie - A Bug's Life, which they hadn't seen before.

yep, lots of laundry!
I fed Finn and changed his diaper (a huge poopy blow-out!) and then his clothes.  Finn and I talked and smiled together for a bit, and I put away some laundry. I didn't get as much done as I hoped, since Finn was feeling a little fussy. But I got most of it done once he got back to sleep.

all clean again!
The big kids had some more time to play (build more train tracks) while I made lunch.  They had ham & cheese pinwheels with green peppers and carrots, and tomatoes for Elijah of course.  I fed and changed Finn again while they ate.

After lunch we had the regular flurry of sending everyone to different bathrooms and getting Molly into her training pants for nap, and then it was time to read.  Molly and I read Oh My, Oh My, Oh Dinosaurs! and then she got to read to herself for a few minutes while I read a chapter of Farmer Boy to Elijah.  Finn enjoys the nap time reading, too. =)  After I got both the big kids settled in, Finn and I rocked for a bit until he did that slow, sleepy blink that says he's ready to lay down.

I forgot to take any more pictures of the rest of our day.  I got a little more spray painting done - we had two nice sunny days in a row!   But I also spent some time holding Finn so he could sleep.  We tried a new recipe of creamy chicken enchiladas for dinner and they were good.  Patrick said he liked them almost as well as his new favorite dinner - baked chicken taquitos - yum!