Saturday, December 24, 2011

December Days

Where has this month gone?  It seems like I was just counting down the 15 days of school until Christmas break.  December has been a very busy month for our family.  We finally finished decorating our Christmas trees!  We have a few theme trees in our house, but my favorite tree to decorate is our Hallmark tree.  As a little girl, my grandma always sent me a Hallmark ornament each Christmas.  It is a tradition that Ray and I continue with each other and our children.  We always open the ornaments on Christmas morning, but with all the excitement of new toys the kids aren't as excited about an ornament.  This year we decided to change it up a little and exchanged ornaments on the night we decorated our tree.  I hope this becomes a tradition that our children cherish as much as I do and one they continue with their families.  Here are a few pictures of the festivities.

My sweet boy decorating the tree.

Even Lexi is ready for Christmas.

Our new ornaments. (Ray's ornament was not a Hallmark
this year.  It is an ornament of The Bluegrass.  I think it meant
a little more than a Hallmark this was where we went
on our first date.)

We had several events at work and school to get through before our break started.  Four of my students participated in the Student Technology Leadership Program (STLP) regional Fall Showcase this month.  Their project and interview with the judges earned them a trip to the state competition at Rupp Arena this coming March.  Whoohoo!
VMS Safe Patriot Booth
Parker had so many fun events at school!  He had his class party, school-wide party, and Polar Express (pajama) day. 

Slow and steady wins the race!
Parker was ready for Polar Express day!
We made treat bags for his classmates.  They
have an elf on the shelf named Rudolph
in their classroom. 

Parker also had his tonsils and adenoids removed this past week.  It was not the best way to spend our first week of Christmas break, but it was necessary and hopefully he will be feeling back to his old self in no time!

He was such a brave little guy!

Carter also had some fun school events, but since he does NOT like having his picture taken (unless it is his idea) there are no cute pictures to share! Instead, I have recorded him singing and reciting Christmas versus.  I love the sound of his sweet voice.  For your listening pleasure...

Max turned seven months old this month.  He is changing so much each day!  His newest accomplishments are pushing up (I have no doubt he will be crawling soon and honestly, I am just fine with him staying in one spot), the arrival of his first tooth, and saying "da-da."

This Christmas has been a little extra exciting with the arrival of our elf on the shelf, Jingle.  However, he doesn't usually stay on a shelf...he is into EVERYTHING! The boys have had so much fun going on "Jingle Hunts" each morning to see who can spot him first.  He always seems to make a bit of a mess, but nobody complains about cleaning it up because he's a pretty funny little elf.

Jingle hiding in the ceiling fan with a "snowball."
Snowball fight with Buzz and Rex.
Jingle, is that a marker your holding?
Oh, Jingle!  You made Parker look like Ray!
Carter thought Jingle did a lovely job making him
look like a reindeer.
Toilet paper garland.  Compliments of Jingle.
Curious George and Jingle having a midnight snack of s'mores.
Jingle got the house ready for Santa's arrival
and Jesus's birthday!  (He's sitting on top
of the curtain rod if you can't spot him.)
We've had so many laughs with this little elf!  I know the boys are going to be sad when he leaves tonight to head back to the North Pole.  We'll be looking forward to his arrival next year!  And you never know, he may just drop in and peek in the window sometime this year!  We hope each of you have a Merry Christmas!  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Week of Thankfulness

I am so fortunate to have a job that allows me to be home with my family over holiday breaks!  Our goal was to spend each day doing something fun and entertaining.  We kicked off our week with a trip to Hobby Lobby for some craft supplies.  A few ink pads and some card stock kept my kiddos entertained for hours!  My favorites:

Thumbprint Turkey by Parker
Thumbprint Turkey by Carter

We also made our annual trip to the Paramount's Festival of Trees and Trains.  I have visited the festival since I was a little girl and love sharing the tradition with my children.  The trains have made a nice addition to the festivities!  Parker and Carter were mesmerized by the display and could have watched for hours.

Parker's favorite tree

This photo is definitely not great quality,
but the expression on his face says it all!
Carter voting for his favorite tree

The Highland's Museum & Discovery Center was also on our to do list.  We spent an entire afternoon exploring the exhibits.  I highly recommend a trip here if you have young children.

 The lovely weather towards the end of the week provided a great opportunity to visit Central Park. We also took a quick walk over to the library where Parker checked out his first chapter book, Junie B. Jones and the Yucky Blucky Fruitcake.  I love how the burst setting on my camera captured the boys in action in the next four pictures:

Look at that jump!

Finally, we spent time with family and friends on Thanksgiving and enjoyed a wonderful dinner.  Here are four people that I am so very thankful to have in my life:

Our attempt at a family picture.  Everyone is looking
at the camera - I'll take it!

We definitely accomplished our goal of a fun and entertaining week and are looking forward to Christmas vacation...only 8 school days to go!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Max is 6 months old!

Dear Max,

This past week we celebrated six months of you!  I spent most of the day reflecting about how much you have changed and grown since your first days as the newest member of our family.  On the day you arrived, you weighed 5 lbs 15 0z and were 20 1/2" long.

A few days after your arrival.

Laying in your Rock n' Play sleeper - 14 days old

At six months, you weigh 15 lbs 3 oz and are 26" long.  Dr. Stevens says you are growing great and that mommy and daddy must be doing something right!  Personally, I think this has more to do with the fact that you still prefer to eat every 2 to 3 hours.  Here are a few pictures for comparison:

Loving your teething ring - 6 months

Laying in your Rock n' Play sleeper - 6 months

My how you've grown!  You have really enjoyed being able to try some new solid foods lately.  I decided to try my hand at making baby food for you and have been very pleased with my efforts.  In addition to rice cereal, you have tried green beans, peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, bananas, and applesauce.  Your favorites seem to be sweet potatoes, squash, and bananas.

You've reached several other first milestones in the past month too.  You've mastered rolling over from back to front, sitting (with assistance from the boppy), laughing, and lots of cooing.  You have also started to reach for us when we come to pick you up.

You have a very laid-back personality and are so happy all the time!  Some things you enjoy are bath time, hanging out in the Moby wrap, playing patty cakes, and being snuggled (which I LOVE).  At times, you like being laid down to entertain yourself as long as you can see what everyone else is doing.  You very rarely cry, but when you do we can quickly calm you down with a few verses of "You are My Sunshine" or "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."  

Thank you for being such a joy in our lives.  I can't wait to see how your continue to grow and learn in the coming months!

I love you to the moon and back,


Thursday, November 3, 2011

October Outtings

October is always a fun and busy month at our house with two birthdays to celebrate and Halloween!  This year was no exception.  Once the boys finally recovered from croup, there was lots of fun in store for us.  We started out with our annual trip to Imel's to feed the goats, play on the wooden playsets, and to pick out some pumpkins!

We also stopped at the lake on our way to Imel's to check out the scenery.

Park also celebrated his 7th birthday this month!  Birthday party planning is a BIG deal in our house.  We started brainstorming party themes during the summer and after many days of deliberating, he settled on a superhero theme.  It took days of preparation to get this party all put together for the birthday boy! Creating the city skyline seemed to be the most time consuming task, but Parker's reaction made every bit of work worth the effort.

The Skyline before...


Even Carter lended a helping hand!

and after (complete with homemade superhero masks and cupcakes)!

A great looking group of superheros!    

A quick family shot (minus Carter).

We also made sure we squeezed in a trip to the Pumpkin House in Ceredo, WV.  Ray and I took our first trip here when we were dating and have returned each year.

Seeing all the carved pumpkins motivated Park to carve the pumpkins at home.  He also wanted to count and sort the pumpkin seeds! 

Max is growing and changing so much each day.  At five months old, he enjoys being entertained by his brothers and has decided that he has a much better view when he sits up.

Feet are so fascinating.
The boys were so excited for trick-or-treat this year.  Carter insisted on wearing his costume each day when he arrived home from school. 

Optimus Prime (Parker) & Bumblebee (Carter)
Now that Halloween has passed, they have worn their costumes to bed every night.  Max enjoyed the  festivities too!

Love, love, love his smile!

Finally, here's a few pieces of Carter's artwork from school.