Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Morning

We had a wonderful Christmas morning. We started by placing the Christ child in the manger where the girls have been placing pieces of yarn to make it softer for the baby. They get to put a piece in every time the did an act of secret service. We really wanted the girls to get into the true meaning of Christmas and it also helped diminish some of the arguing in our home for the week before Christmas.

Moira was a bit put off that the presents were right there and she had to pose with the nativity.

And then on to presents. Grace got the biggest gift this year (box wise, which is the only thing that matters at this age)

Violet's first present of the morning.
This is what Violet did most of the morning.

The girls all ready for church. Such beauties, all of them!
For dinner I cooked a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings and we had our friends the Estrada's over. We were having a great time catching up until Liliana threw up. And then Violet. Grace followed after bedtime (course she didn't make it to the toilet, so I got to clean up Hawaiian Punch dyed turkey out of the carpet while Kaylon sat with her). Kaylon came next and I finally blew at 2am. Moira only escaped because she had the pukes Wednesday night. So we have had the laziest day after Christmas ever- basically we just made sure that the kids were fed, after they were able to keep food down, of course.

And now that I have thoroughly grossed everyone out- Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

We were lucky enough when we moved to join the ward where our old friends the Smiths live. Both our families moved to Montgomery Village the same week 6 years ago and that year we spent Christmas Eve together. So it was fun to spend Christmas Eve with them this year along with another fun family in our ward and to see how our families have grown.

This year we did a potluck dinner, the kids acted out the nativity story, and we sang some Christmas songs. Lots of fun, friendship, and laughs. I have video but it's not loading- I'll have to try again later.

When we got home we opened certain presents from Grandma Susie (PJ's!) and exchanged presents as a family. The threat of Santa not coming until they were asleep had them running to their beds and even demanding that we do the same. Kaylon and I instead stayed up to put bows on presents and watch White Christmas together- one of our traditions. Still we got to bed at a good time- making this Christmas Eve just about perfect.

Sugar Cookies 2011

We decorated and delivered a bunch of sugar cookies on Christmas Eve in McInelly fashion. Grace was very artistic, Liliana made as many as she could, and Moira liked the sprinkles- A LOT. Pop and Grandma Brandi came down and helped as well to add to the fun.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Welcome Soldier!

And we have army crawling! I love this age because they LOVE doing things- they love being able to move, and find things, and go places. You can see the excitement in their eyes- and they smile all the time... course nothing is safe on the floor, and whatever you don't want them to find, they will. But it's fun! Even though she's our fourth- it's still as amazing as the first.

Friday, December 2, 2011

My New Favorite Thing to Say

One of the reasons that I love the girls being in school is because I only need to take 2 girls grocery shopping with me. You'd be amazed at how easy 2 girls are vs 4! The funny thing is that I still get the looks of amazement and comments about how my hands are full (remember this?). My new response to them?

This is only half. :) hehe.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

Hehe... That in one well-loved branch!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

It's All About the Timing

My favorite moment of our trip to New York had nothing really to do with the city itself. At one point as we were filing down the stairs to the train platform at Penn Station with the many other travelers, we had stopped moving as we waited for the front of the line to move out. Above the din of the black Friday bustle I heard Liliana's voice start to sing, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..."

First of all- what a perfect moment for that song! And second, I was so proud that she was willing to sing like that around all those people. :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

We spent Thanksgiving in New Jersey this year with my family. We haven't been up that way in years so it was wonderful to reconnect with Grandma, uncles, aunts, and cousins. It was great to see a new generation playing together (just as rough as we were in my time).

Since we were up that way, Kaylon talked me into a day trip into NYC. We kept in short and sweet- we rode the train in (on which my uncle was the engineer!), walked to Times Square, saw Toys R Us, ate at McDonald's, caught a cab back to Penn station, and took the train home. The girls were impressed by the buildings, but Grace said that the city was crowded. Moira somehow got the idea that it was called "Bubble City" and yelled at anyone that called it anything else.
This was an ad along the train tracks. We couldn't help but take a picture!

It had been awhile, but we felt so welcome and loved, it was like no time had passed. I guess that's why it's called family. :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veterans Day!

Thank you to all those who sacrifice all to protect our freedoms- especially to my dad, a navy veteran! Grace made a card for him last night- I thought it would be nice to put on here :)

(note the American flag pinata, hehe.)

Why Do Parents Bother Buying Toys?

This is the toy she's supposed to be playing with:

This is the poster paper she found nearby and liked more (and got mad when I took it away):

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Essence of Grace

Parent teacher conferences were this week and at this new school 2nd graders and older are asked to participate as well. I was not surprised to hear how well Grace is doing in school, or how much her teacher enjoys her. But I was touched to hear just how sweet my Grace truly is. Two autistic children participate in the class part of the school day. Grace had told me about "P" once and how she helped him sometimes, but her teacher informed me the extent to which she does this. Grace not only helps "P," she volunteers to do so without being asked and picks him as a partner when there is a need. She tries to understand him, even though he doesn't talk much, makes him cards, and cheers him on in his assignments. No one asked her to do this. There was no reward dangled in her face. She happily helps however she can and tries to help "P" feel included.

While every parent is proud of their kids at every age, I am realizing that the pride is more poignant as they get older and make real decisions that make real differences in the lives of others. I had tears in my eyes as Grace's teacher conveyed all this information, knowing as a mother how "P"'s mother must every day hope and pray that her son will be treated well, despite his differences. I am so happy that Grace has chosen to be an answer to that prayer- to be an angel on earth.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pop's Boat

We visited Pop and Grandma Brandi's boat for the day. We had a lot of fun, even though it was chilly. We explored the boat (it always amazes me how much they fit on boats!), fished off the back, and pretended to be captain. Can't wait to take it out when it's warmer!

I'm princess of the world! (actual quote)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween 2011

Here are my trick or treaters! They had a great time this year- I always love watching the youngest one who can talk (this year Moira) as they begin to make the connection between candy and those magic words "trick or treat"! Moira especially was very polite and grateful at each house.

Here is my 4th little lady bug. She was quite memorized by the camera!

I'm pretty proud of Liliana's costume- 5$ for the outfit on craigslist and then a few dollars for the hat at party city and she was the happiest girl around. She adores Jessie, so I was glad I could do that for her.

Moira is SwiftWind, the unicorn of She-Ra. This was a little mommy-magic on my part. She had wanted to be He-Man, but there aren't many He-Man costumes in her size. So I pulled out our old unicorn costume, bought a sword and she was some combination of SwiftWind, She-Ra, and He-Man. Whatever makes her happy.

Grace debated for a while, but finally settled on the Batterina costume. Kaylon added the blood.

Kaylon was trying to do Skeletor, but the permanent smile makes him look a lot like The Joker. He used his deep voice to scare kids on the sidewalk.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Grandma Susie's Visit

Mom got to spend the last four weeks with us in between treatments. We were so glad to have so much time with her! She got be here for Violet's blessing, to see the girls in their Primary Presentation, and for lots of fun every day moments. While she was here her hair grew out so much she had to stop wearing her wig, which was exciting. We joked that she and Violet had the same length of hair. :)

Can't wait for another visit when it warms up again!

Get the Gates Up!

Violet is now rolling back to belly AND belly to back. She rolled across the floor this afternoon. And so ends the time of putting her down and finding her in the same spot when you come back.

My baby is growing up. :) :(

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pumpkin Patch 2011

We needed to find a new pumpkin patch this year since Summer's Farm in Frederick was just too far. Belvedere Plantation answered the call. I missed the familiarity of Summers, but Belvedere had lots of activities, and a pick your own pumpkin patch, which we really like. To top it off we had great weather! I just love days like this!

Our four flowers

The Pumpkin Train

Pony Rides!

Grace's dream job (Pumpkin Princess)

Face Painting