Friday, December 2, 2011

Andrew turns SEVEN!!!

We celebrated Andrew's 7th birthday this past weekend. Boy-oh-boy did he feel the love. Andrew is not one for limelights and attention, but he was much more at ease about the whole thing this year. If you look hard at some of his pictures you can see the joy of the moment shining through.

We headed over to Cape on Thanksgiving night and spent Friday baking and playing with cousins.

The fun continued on Sunday. We celebrated with the rest of our cousins.

Finally! On his real birthday we continued the tradition of opening one gift before school and then enjoyed cookie cake together that night. Yes, if you counted that was three different cakes and sets of candles. A little much, I agree. But there is no doubt in Andrew's mind how much he is loved by all of his family.

Andrew is our middle child (at the moment) and we just can not imagine life without him. In honor of his 7th, here are 7 things we love about Andrew!

1. His smile, which happens to be missing 4 front teeth at the moment. It is a precious thing.

2. Andrew's bear hugs are like gold. He has always been a cuddler. I am talking about since his first week on earth. I am so thankful for his hugs.

3. Andrew loves animals and memorizes fun facts about them.

4. He is our non-fiction child. Give him a story book, and he'll drop it in a minute. However, hand him an encyclopedia of how things work, and he is hooked.

5. His laugh is contagious. It may not be often , but when he gets really tickled about something, there is no stopping it. You have to join in.

6. Andrew is a spiritual barometer in our home. If we are off balance and too busy, he has ways of letting us know. When we remember what is most important and keep our priorities straight, he shines. I am thankful for this aspect of his personality, because it keep me in line.

7. He is generous. He would do anything for the affection of his big brother, and shares all that he has.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thank You Tanner B

Thank you Tanner, for practicing your piano this morning without any Mom-nags , prods, bribes or threats. I can not tell you how much it meant to me to hear you playing while I was getting ready. On top of that you warmed my heart when I overheard you telling Andrew that you really don't mind piano and even think you are pretty good at it. I do too. Keep up the practice!

(I am thinking of the tunes I heard this morning instead of the fact that I just managed to drop a glass jar of tomato sauce on the garage floor. It shattered, of course, and splattered me and the van and everything within 10 feet with red gore. I am also not going to think about how much fun it was to mop it up. Mopping the concrete garage floor is wrong. But I am going to pray that I reached every tiny little shard of glass the next time I back out.)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pre-K Field Trip

I have done this exact same field trip with each of my children, just with different teachers and classmates to share it with. But I have to say that it never gets old. There is something about singing fall nursery rhymes on a hay ride that I just love. So once again this year we set out to sing songs and roast marshmallows and bury kids in the corn. Margaret loved every second of it. She has a wonderful class and two of the best teachers I have ever met. They obviously love their job, and get a lot of friendship and admiration in return.

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My Minions and Rapunzel had a great Halloween weekend. We trunk-or-treated (twice) and trick-or-treated (once). We now have enough chocolate to last us until Easter, or at least Valentine's Day.
I love the wonder of Halloween. Walking through our neighborhood in the near dark and stopping to chat with friends can't be beat. Neither can running into best buddies and joining them on the romp. Some of our friends were making doughnuts at their house and you know I could not refuse a sample (all right, maybe it was a plateful).
I have to say I also love that Halloween is done. I can rip down our ever-so-tacky spiderwebbing from the front porch and move on to other things. Right now I am surrounded by paint brushes and miles of baseboard that I should be painting. We are finishing out our basement as we prepare for our new arrival. This is a fun project and the boys have been excited about helping. Their new room now has a ceiling, paint and doors. We are hoping to get everything done in time to move them over Christmas break. They are conspiring like theives about the fun they are going to have living so far away from the rest of us.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween of Old

I just could not let the season pass without sharing this blast from the past. Jason has lots of fond memories of this time of year. I can see why! He is Darth Vader on the right with his brothers on the left and some buddies in the middle.
(Jason is always telling me he sees so much of his twin brother in Andrew. Looking at this picture, I would have to agree. Uncle Ryan is Han Solo on the left. Same little build as our Andrew for sure.)

It Is A Boy!

This is the whole crew waiting in the parking garage, on our way to meet our new baby via ultrasound. The kids were guessing pink. They wanted "even teams." Although Andrew changed his vote at the last minute to pink and blue. That way he would be right either way.
I really wanted the kids to be able to see the baby moving, so they all came along. Tanner was fascinated by everything. Andrew was excited to hear the gender news. Margaret did not comprehend the word "boy".

But here he is. Our little boy. Now we can not wait to meet you in March!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Michigan Love

Last month we took a great weekend trip to Michigan. It was so hard to jump back into our normal routine around here after such a blissful 5 days together.
All the pieces for a wonderful family get-away just fell into place, (I love when that happens!) with the kids being out of school 4 days and Jason being able to get away from work without too much trouble. So we headed to Lake Michigan with a stop in Chicago. Where we squeezed in an afternoon at the Shed Aquarium. The kids loved seeing all of the fish and I loved staring at their faces, as they soaked it all in.

We had been wanting to explore the Northwest Lakeshore for some time, and boy are we glad we did. It was beautiful. For us it was an ideal getaway spot. The trees, the water, the sand, the dunes, the warm air. It was really, really perfect! We hiked the Sleeping Bear Dunes which seemed to go on forever. As soon as I thought we were at the top, yet another plateau of sand came into view. Going up was hard, but running back down made it worth it.
This lighthouse was a great car stop. We stretched our legs, threw rocks in the lake and were so glad to finally be in Michigan.
The kids loved playing on the beach most of all. We flew kites, buried Tanner, dared each other to take dips in the icy water and sat here to watch the sunsets each night.
Jason and I love when our family trips involve nature and getting the kids to recognize and appreciate its beauty. It seems like in those quiet moments when we achieve our goal, that is when our best memories are made.
This hike was a personal highlight of the trip. The leaves were so bright that the air was glowing. Someone left great hiking sticks at the trailhead for us and we pretended to be real hikers as we treked through the woods. So we scouted out some great sticks of our own and left then behind for the next group to come along.
This was a much needed and much appreciated trip for our family. We LOVE Michigan and can not wait to go back. I definitely see a family tradition in the making.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

We are all in love with the cooler fall weather here. We are also still loving our trampoline. Best gift EVER!

Friday, September 23, 2011

All Hands On Deck.

When there is lots of work to be done, isn't nice to have a sister?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Cat's Out...

"The Cat's Out Of The Bag!"

This phrase has been thrown around our house quite a bit today, and for good reason.

Tanner keeps asking what it means. Finally, after the third time he asked I replied, "It means that now that you told your 4th grade class our secret, everyone will know."

He asked, "Is that okay?"

"Yes, it great news. So now everyone can know."

Jason and I are thrilled. The kids are ecstatic and are all predicting a girl (so there will be even "teams"). This little soul already has lots of nick-names: last hurrah, grand finale and the caboose ;)

Double Digits

Tanner, the boy who started it all, turned 10 this past weekend. We were lucky enough to spread the celebration out over a few days and he felt the love- for sure.

On Saturday, we celebrated at Aunt Emily's with our McMullin cousins. Everyone had a blast fishing and roasting marshmallows. Sweet Aunt Tara even made this awesome fish cake for the day.

On Sunday we celebrated after family dinner with the Burke cousins. Tanner was excited about this cake because of the surprise tie-dye cake inside. (I should have gotten a pic though.)

More than anything he just enjoyed the spotlight and the fun of being with so many wonderful people we love and who love us back.

Here are 10 reasons we love Tan-the-Man:

1. He made Jason and I parents, and turned us into a family.

2. He made a Nana and Poppa and Grandma and Grandad and LOTS of aunts and uncles when he entered this world.

3. He has a fun-loving spirit.

4. He is a leader in our family and at school and church.

5. He is polite.

6. He has a quick smile.

7. He has a real desire to do what is right. (This is coupled with a desire to see that others do the same. We call him "the enforcer.")

8. Tanner is organized and keeps his desk, and room and life that way.

9. He has a soft heart and compassion for those around him. He tries to help when he sees someone is hurting.

10. He gives great, quick little, lean-in hugs...just when I need them :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Soccer Season is Here

We are two weeks into soccer season and this Mom is loving sights from the sidelines like this:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Goldie Cat

During the summer this sweet, gentle cat walked her way into our lives. Well, she actually meowed her way in. After days of hearing her meowing on our porch, I took mercy on her and picked up some food at the store. She's been a fixture ever since.
She spends half of her time laying on our porch or patio and the other half we have no idea about. (Yes, that makes me nervous.) But she had definitely worked her way into everyone's heart- even JASON"S!!!
The kids love her because she adores any attention they throw her way. If they aren't petting her, she is rubbing on their legs until they give in.
Jason and I love her because she is a very low maintenance pet. Just my kind :)
Margaret dubbed her "Goldie" because of the coloring on her face and it stuck. We hope you are here to stay, Ms. Goldie Cat.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Apple Festival Kiddie Parade

Jason's hometown shines this time of year. It is Apple Festival complete with four days of food, rides and parades. The main parade draws about 25,000 people each year. Yes, they take the whole thing very seriously.

The parade is such a big deal that they have a separate day just for children's entries. So every year, we head over to make an appearance and have some hometown fun.

In year's past we've walked, rode bikes and even drove golf carts down the main street. This year though we decorated up Jason's truck and I got to drive in the shade with the windows down. With the 70 degree weather cooperating, I was a happy camper :)

Here are the cool kids, direct from the 1950's, getting ready for the big ride.

And of course, the boys were super tough and cool for the occasion.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Margaret's Room

Margaret working at her table. I LOVE that she does this. I remember turning a little metal stepstool into a "desk" when I was about her age. I would pilfer paper, pens and our family stapler and pretend I was doing very important work. I am sure her work is just as crucial to her.

Her animal friends have recently moved from the closet to this cute tent she got for her birthday.

Don't they look happy about the upgrade?

Showing off her big bed. I was happy to finally put away the toddler bed. Meg was thrilled to graduate and has done great with the transistion.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How to be remembered forever...

Everytime I look at this sweet, slip-covered chair in Margaret's room I remember that it first sat in my own childhood room. The nicest lady, our adopted-grandmother, re-made a chair for each of my 4 siblings once when we moved and this was mine.

Her name was Meta. She and her husband Pertle, were a big part of my childhood. They sat in our pew at church, spent holidays with us and even had my sister and I over for sleepovers as we got older.
They will always be remembered because of their kindness. We were just five rag-tag kids, but they took us into their hearts, made us a part of their lives and made lasting impressions on each of us. That is exactly how you get to be remembered forever.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Birthday Mornings

On birthday mornings we start our day out with a little fun. Nothing crazy-
Just some junkie-sugar cereal (that they devour).

Our early morning redition of "Happy Birthday to You!"

And the honored guest can open one present. (I guess its a little like Christmas Eve in that respect.)

But it sure makes for a fun morning. Thanks to her big brothers, Margaret left the house feeling extra special this year. We love you, Megs!

Back to School Photos

I'm behind and I know none of you are surprised. But my children did return to school and I even took pictures on their first day back.
Tanner- ready for 4th grade. At our school this is his last year of elementary classes. I swear that is not even possible for me to wrap my head around.

Andrew was anxious about first grade, but has a wonderful teacher and is really enjoying his class. Thank goodness!
I am not sure why his photo was blurry. I was probably rushing by that point. So to make up for it below is a photo of a very proud Andrew. Displaying his gap from his very first lost tooth. He lost it in class during his first full week at school.

Finally, Miss Margaret. She waited an extra two weeks to begin school, but was happy to have her first day on her 4th birthday.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A little distraction...

To avoid the onset of any nervous breakdowns (for the kids or me) we went fishing the evening before school began this year. I thought it would be a good idea for a two reasons:

1. Dwelling on a source of worry only makes it seem that much worse.

2. Fresh air is a cure for almost all problems. (I probably read that somewhere and it is so, so true. Try it.)

Turns out it was a great idea. The kids loved it. Jason and Uncle Kyle did all the gross stuff, so I just sat back, took pictures, and enjoyed one last sweet taste of summer.

Andrew with the first catch of the night. We had fun because everyone caught something. The fish were definitely biting for that to happen!

Margaret practiced and practiced her casting skills. I think she eventually broke five feet :)

Tanner holding his own catch. (He did this only after I did. He is smart and knows I am a BIG chicken about most things. If Mom is brave enough to stick her thumb in a fish's mouth, it must be safe.)

I think they loved just spending time with Dad.