Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking forward to 2010!

There are a lot of big events planned for the upcoming year. Jeff is on track to graduate from law school this coming year. That is a very nice relief for our finances :). December will also bring our 10th wedding anniversary. Man, where has the time gone? Oh to lots of years of school and no income... maybe that will change in the next decade! It will also bring our first baptism in October... they really do grow up fast!

Speaking of growing... we are also adding to our family this coming year. I feel like we do things in twos - marriage starts with two, then we added two boys (one year apart), then came two girls (two years apart), and this year we "decided" to just get it done and add two at once! That's right, TWINS! We are ... surprised, and excited :). My first coherent sentence after learning the happy news (on Christmas eve) was "Isn't this supposed to skip a generation?" Ya, the tech laughed at me. That seems to be a popular response :). Our big bundle will arrive sometime in late June or early July and we are doing well thus far. Let's just say it's going to be one busy year! Happy New Year to all, and hopefully yours will be a little less crazy than ours :).

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A very Crafty Christmas

This year for Christmas we really focused on meaningful non expensive gifts. It turned into doing lots of crafty things for as little cost as we could. It was fun because the kids were more involved this year too. We traded names in our family a few months before and everyone was to think of something to make for the other person.

Daddy had Grant and Mhari had Talmage. Jeff made Grant (and Talmage - to help Mhari out) a pillowcase with his initial on it (the other side is camo fabric). Jeff did good work cutting and sewing it all together (I only helped by sewing on the letter). The boys really liked their presents!

Talmage had me (he ended up doing something for all the girls and even made a book for Grant and a zoo map for Jeff - he was very giving this year). Jeff took him to the store so he could get the materials he needed for the gift. We all ended up with Noah's ark necklaces. This is a picture of Mhari's. He did a great job putting them together and making a pattern to follow and everything. I was very impressed.

I had Sandra and Grant had Mhari. A few weeks before Christmas Grant came up with the idea to make Mhari a doll. I thought that was a great idea and so Sandra and Mhari both got dolls. Sorry the picture isn't the greatest. Grant did a great job helping cut out all the pieces, stuffing the doll, and learning how to braid the hair. It was a fun project to do together.

Sandra had Jeff. It was tricky because she's still too young to really pick something to do for someone else. I tried one way of doing the shirt, but that didn't work so we had to do paints instead. All of the kids got to help by doing their hand prints. It says "loved by lots of little hands". They really like seeing him wear it and picking out which hands are theirs (it's his pj shirt).

I had my sister's family for our sibling exchange and so I decided to make another denim picnic blanket. I think it turned out well and this one I added a skinny boarder trim. I like the way it turned out :).

We had Jeff's brother's family for that sibling exchange. I gave them the option of crafts (since I seem to be repeating them) and they wanted their family names. We have done block letter names before, but this is the first time I've done them all matching. I tried to do a two toned color with the distressed look and I think it turned out well. I may have done things differently if I were to do it again, but I think they turned out well :)

I have been recycling clothes and making different things out of them. I get really good ideas from this one craft site and I knew what I wanted to do for my mom for Christmas. Since my dad's death 8 years ago I knew my mom had kept some things for sentimental reasons. Some of his shirts were among these items. I asked her if I could have some to redo for her to be able to wear.
Here is the before picture. These shirts were 2XLT just to give you a size to go with.

Here is the first one I did. I just wanted to show the detail around the collar. I trimmed it down to fit me (since I'm about the same size as my mom) and then added the ruffles. I really liked this idea and thought it would help the shirt be more professional so she could wear it to work.

For the other shirt I redid the whole neckline. I made it a scoop collar and then added a pleated collar. Another wonderful idea from my craft site!

Here's just to give a feel of how it fit on a person. Again this started out as a 2XLT shirt.

I think my mom was pleased and I know she is planning on sending me pictures with her in the shirts. I hope they are something nice she can wear and enjoy instead of them staying in the closet.
It was a fun Christmas and so great to be able to try do make homemade meaningful gifts. Hopefully we were able to teach more about the spirit of giving this year instead of what everybody "wants" for Christmas - a tricky thing for youngsters sometimes.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The presents!

Merry Christmas! Here are just a few pictures of the kids opening their presents. They had a great time and enjoyed getting new things. It was our first Christmas being away from family and it was a good time to enjoy the holiday together!

Talmage and his new football :)

Mhari with her cowgirl hat and sidewalk chalk

Playing with the new light sabers

Sandra and her new stick pony :)

Grant with his pony and cowboy hat :).

Kids are so fun to watch enjoy the holidays!! I just love happy kids :).

Saturday, December 26, 2009

White Christmas!

For Christmas this year we received a beautiful blizzard. Well, that was the day before. We were left with a lovely white Christmas! The kids had such a fun time playing in the snow. Well, Grant had a great time and everyone else experienced it and got cold. Christmas morning we had lots of ice and we went sledding down our driveway in cardboard boxes. I took video, but forgot to get pictures of that fun. This was even better than presents - at least the presents waited until we were done with all the snow fun :).

What a memorable Christmas and great time to enjoy the snow. The best part about Texas is that you get to enjoy lots of different weather, but it never tends to stay around very long. All our snow is pretty much gone as well as the icy roads :).

Monday, December 21, 2009

Horsey Rides!

I had a meeting Thurs night and later (maybe Friday) I was looking a the camera and found new pictures. This is what I missed out on, but what Jeff got to enjoy :).

I guess Grant wanted to be a horsey for Mhari. Then Talmage wanted to be a horsey for Sandra.

Such good big brothers!

Some day they'll be too big for this...

Until then, I just love when they play nice together! It is so sweet and makes all the fighting seem not so important :).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"I'm 4! I'm 4! I'm 4!"

Sandra has been waiting for her birthday ever since Mhari's was done. The morning of her birthday she was so ecstatic that she danced around singing "I'm 4!" I must say it was very cute :). She had a fun birthday. Nothing to crazy (thankfully), but lots of love, presents, and cupcakes. What more does a 4 year old need?

Here she is opening some of her presents.
Cinderella toys from Grandma and Grandpa.

A play dress from Mommy. It's from the rest of the material that I did for Mhari's dress. She loves it!

Sandra and all her new goodies! She has just loved playing with all of her new things! The rest of the kids have too, but sometimes sharing is not the highest priority (besides, it was her birthday, hard to argue that one sometimes).

Here she is modeling the new dress up clothes from Grandma Whitmer. She loved how well it twirled!

Make a wish!

Sandra is a sweet girl and we just love having her in our family. She is so loving and gives hugs and kisses all of the time. It has been a fun 4 years!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What a difference a day makes...

Sunday afternoon Mhari and Grant got the stomach bug. It was no fun. Grant got it the worst and this is what he looked like that evening. He was on the couch, I'm not sure if he fell on the floor, or just slid off on purpose.

He still couldn't keep anything down by the time he went to bed. Poor guy. So sad to see him thirsty, but not keep it down!

Well the next morning he woke up very happy. I figured it was a good sign that the sickness was gone.

He had a great day off from school...

playing on the stairs with Sandra

Doesn't look sick to me.

Here he is coloring with Mhari.

He had a fabulous day! I'm just grateful that the sickness didn't' last long and that we had two happy kids instead of 2 sickies!

Now on to the rest of our December fun!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Two years ago today...

Our little punkin joined our family. I guess little is a relative term. She was our biggest baby at 10 lbs, but the easiest to deliver - out in half a push (I attribute that to the Dr. letting me go over by a week... the big baby, and probably the easy delivery - go figure).

It is strange to think that it's been 2 years, and yet she's such a part of our family I can't remember our life without her!

She was a beautiful baby (and I'm not biased or anything).

Today we had a small family celebration which included presents and cake.

Here's Mhari with some of the animals her siblings gave her as presents. She had a great time opening up her gifts!

Here she is playing with the toys that she got from Grandma Williams. She had a blast with them and liked "sharing" with Sandra - as you can see :).

We had little party blowers and Mhari just loved that (as did all the kids). Sandra just got Mhari in the face with it and Mhari thought that was too funny!

The official present picture. I spent 50 cents back in sept - that's it. The toys were from the grandparents.

Just finished decorating the cake.

Pictures of her new dresses.
This is a play dress that was made from an old prom dress from the thrift store. She had fun playing in it!

The bottom of this dress used to be a women's skirt... I loved it and thought it would look great on one of my daughters so I made the bodice to go with it. I think it turned out well.

The last dress (I finished it this afternoon - whew just in time). This one was from a pattern. Didn't take too long and I just love it on her - it poofs out so great! I can't wait for her to wear it to church (just because then she'll wear it all day - I'm the one who loves dresses still, I never really out grew that one).

This is to show what it's like trying to get her to pose in her new dresses. She is one character! She is so funny (at least she thinks so) and rarely does what I ask. It was fun to see her be silly, but after like 20 pictures I was a bit frustrated.

She is high spirited, determined, and filled with personality! We all just love our Mhari Punkin! She has been a blessing in our family and we have loved these last 2 years... looking forward to an eternity more!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Traditions continued on...

When I was little my mom would make Christmas candy... and that meant that we all got to help make the Christmas candy. It was so yummy that I didn't mind helping out. Making buckeyes was very time consuming and messy that I didn't enjoy that every year. Some how over the years of getting married and starting my own traditions I have continued to make buckeyes. I have slaved away over a huge bowl of peanut butter, powdered sugar, and butter until I had tons of 1 inch balls waiting to be dipped in chocolate. Occasionally Jeff would roll a ball or two, but it was my tradition and my torture to be sure it was done every year.

This year however it was a family event! All of the kids got to help (some were more helpful than others). I think they may have helped a little last year, but now I was ready for 4 eager helpers.

Here is Sandra focused on making a ball.

Grant doing good!

Unfortunately for us it was too much like play dough for Mhari. She loved helping, but none of her "balls" made it into our finished pile. Maybe next year punkin!

Talmage is a big helper!

I must say that I've never rolled the balls that quickly before. Way to go kids!
The next part of this is the dipping in chocolate. After some technical difficulties with our chocolate on the first night we were finally ready for dipping.
This was much more fun to help out with!

Mhari's best position was on the counter as you can see... hard to reach the chocolate otherwise.

Here are all the beautiful buckeyes. I still have a few that need dipping, but Jeff prefers them without the chocolate (as Mhari probably would as well, since she doesn't care for chocolate) so maybe we're done dipping.
I'm glad to have this tradition done and ready for delivery to friends!
(***disclaimer - All buckeyes were made under parent supervision and all children's hands were washed with no licking during the process!)

You may have noticed that Grant was not in any of those last pics. He wasn't feeling well (ear hurt) so he had laid down to rest and fell asleep.

I'm glad that my kids were so helpful and that this tradition will carry on - at least while I continue to make them every year :)