Sunday, December 31, 2006

Award-winning parenting moment #451

This morning, looking into the kitchen, my husband and I were treated with the sight of our not-yet-talking toddler standing on a stool, waving a knife longer than her arm over the top of the stove.

hmmm... better brush up on those parenting books. Note to self: don't let her out of my sight for more than .5 seconds again. (you think I would learn! Wonder what she was trying to cook... she seems to like the culinary arts).

Oh, and she can open doors now. I spent the better part of friday picking locks on the bathroom doors trying to get her out after she had opened the door, gone inside and promptly locked the knob (three times!)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Friends for Life!

Aren't siblings one of the best gifts you could ever give your children? The way my children interact with each other is so precious to watch. Our little H is 19 months old, and loves to bug her big brother Z who is 3 1/2. She will run up to him and hit him, and then immediately give him a big bear hug (because if you hurt someone you have to make up with them after by hugging). He gets her back later on by running up to her as fast as he can to give her a hug and knocking her over from his excitement.

It's fun to watch JP and P grow up together too. Right now, they are nursing buddies, and sleeping buddies.. but soon they will be crawling around buddies, climbing buddies and ganging-up-on-their-sisters buddies. What a gift they will be to eachother, and to the rest of our family.
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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Our blessings - 2006 edition in photos

Blessings abound wherever you look. Here are some of ours from this year:

Mommy and Daddy:
Turned THIRTY!!
Pregnant AGAIN
Married seven years
Bought a tent trailer

featured at art show
turned six
Learned cursive, addition, subtraction
learning how to read
flower girl at grandma and grandpa's marriage blessing

turned three
learned to swim
learned to ride a tricycle

turned one
first solids
learned to walk
learned to climb

JP and P:
born at home by daddy
front cover of newspaper!
first christmas

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

We wish you all a blessed Christmas!!

Here are some pictures of our christmas eve, and christmas morning... you can click on the album below to view all of them... watch the slideshow of them for the best viewing.
We spent the evening at sean's parent's house, enjoying delicious food and joyful family time including christmas crakers, bread pudding, and presents. Then we went to a lovely evening mass together. (although7pm must be just about the worst time to take 5 sleepy kids to church, they behaved very well! At one point we had five out of the six adults in our group holding kids... what a sight we were!)

Little H wasn't feeling well, so we all got to snuggle her lots (which doesn't normally happen)... but this morning she is her chipper self again, stealing candy and toys from her brother, and rolling her eyes at daddy.

E decided that we should write a letter to baby Jesus so st. nicholas could bring it to him in heaven, so mommy and her left notes on the table. In the morning, we were excited to find a note that st. nick left for us, along with lots of goodies in our stockings.

The children woke us up sometime around 7am and we tried to get some cute group pictures before stockings... right. We'll try again later.

The rest of the morning was spent opening presents, playing, and eating a lovely breakfast prepared by daddy. later on today we will bundle up and go over to my parents house for another nice dinner and more presents with my family.

I just love christmas!!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

two more days left!!!

This afternoon we enjoyed a quiet (?? with five kids?) time decorating our christmas tree. The children each got to find special places on the tree for all of their own ornaments they have collected in their short lives. E placed all of the angels on the tree on the same spot and told me they are having a party, and apparently they are on the back of the tree because they don't want us to see what they are doing.

Mommy and Daddy ate cookies and held the babies.

Heather was the special child who got to place the angel on the top this year.

We also put out our nativity scene, and spent the morning cleaning our house in preparation for baby jesus. I even had a chance to do all the laundry. I'm not sure the laundry has ever been all clean and put away at the same time ever!! Quite an accomplishment for us!

Here's our finished tree! Isn't it pretty? I just love the lull right before christmas.

Come, O come Emmanuel!
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Friday, December 22, 2006


Today we spent the morning making some pretty christmas decorations to continue preparing our house and our hearts for christmas. The stained glass JOY came from an idea here, and E made the nativity scene on the window all by herself (she even designed it and cut it out)... she's very crafty!

Tomorrow we will be decorating our tree to christmas music, putting out our nativity scene, wrapping presents, making cookies, and going for a late night walk through our neighborhood with the kids to look at everyone's christmas lights. These last few days before christmas are so special, and I always cherish the time we spend together as a family.
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Thursday, December 21, 2006

What she said

... times TWO!
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What we're reading

Mommy: Holiness for Housewives
with 5 kids under 7 (and four of them under 4) I need all the help I can get!

Daddy: his blackberry and the Hobbit to the kids in his spare time
or is it his 'crackberry'? (actually, he's pretty good about not being too addicted to it)

Z: Richard Scary
Want to learn ukrainian with Richard Scarry books?
Read about his life

H: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
play teletubbies game (warning: VERY Annoying!)

E: The hobbit (read aloud by Daddy)
my Hobbit name is Tigerlilly Burrows... what's yours?

the twins: mommy's blog (while she types with one finger)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Getting ready

When I was a child, the month of December seemed to crawl by. With each morning’s chocolate square from my advent calendar I would count the days left and wish they would come faster. Now, as a very busy mother of young children, I find that December goes by faster than I would like, and before I’m even ready for it, Christmas explodes into my house with it’s decorations, flowers, cookies, trees and presents.

This year we are celebrating Christmas in the most wonderful way: with a baby in our midst… make that two babies!! How much easier it is to reflect on that Silent Night when you have a newborn in your house. When you yourself are up in the wee hours of the morning you can so easily imagine Mary and Joseph’s sleepless, but wonder-filled nights with their new little blessing.

Most nights I am tired and wishing for sleep when feeding babies in the dark, but in this season of wonder, I am grateful for their innocence and dependence, because they call me out of myself and give me precious time away from the business of the day to reflect on what is really important.

This year, in an effort to deliberately set aside time for our family, my husband and I packed up all 5 children and drove out to the mountains for the weekend to stay in a 2 bedroom chalet. We brought along crayons, one toy for each of the kids, a movie, and a whole bunch of stories, and spent all of our time together, unhurried, and happy. There was an outdoor hot tub that wasn’t too hot (so the kids could play in it), and there was a delightful fireplace that was electric and gave you the beauty of a fire without the dangerous toddler factor. (cheesy yes, but so much fun for the children to have on). The kids piled into a soft double bed in their room, and we enjoyed a king size sleigh bed in ours. What fun it was to hibernate together and enjoy each other without the phone, doorbell, messy house, piles and piles of toys, and chores to do at home. We realized, more than anything, that we can get by without 90% of the things we have at home, because what’s really important is that we have each other.

Other things we have done to get ready for Christmas this year:

The kids made gingerbread houses with their grandma one morning

We put up our Christmas tree and put the lights on it (although they are those newfangled LED ones, and after they lit up the tree, we decided that they look more like the dentist office or a fluorescent glow stick, so we’re going to go back to the old fashioned normal ones if we have time).

We have been lighting the candles on our advent wreath each night, watching each week as the light becomes brighter with the approach of baby Jesus.

We went to E’s Christmas concert at a big concert hall and enjoyed the lovely music from the girls choir. The older girls sing like angels, and the little girls are adorable.

We have been listening to the Cinnamon Bear each night (an old time radio Christmas special from the 30’s or 40’s).

Other things we still want to do this year:

Go sledding (if we ever get any more snow!)
Go for a late-night walk through our neighbourhood to look at everyone’s Christmas lights
Go to the Zoo for their Christmas light display
Do some baking,
Build a snowman
Sing Christmas songs together. Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 15, 2006

education in real books

A wonderful example of how homeschooling can create great minds. You must read this post by Elizabeth Foss's son. He is applying to colleges, and reflecting on his homeschool experience that was immersed in great literature. It just makes me want to head off to my local library and curl up with a good book by the fire.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Our Lady of Guadalupe

December 12 is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe

While we didn't have time to do an elaborate party or make beautiful crafts, we did take the time to read about when Mary appeard to Juan Diego, look up Mexico in our atlas, draw a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe, make tacos (mexican food) for dinner, and bake a cake for dessert. (E thinks that all feast days deserve a cake for dessert).

and how can I resist another picture of the adorable twins?? John Paul is smiling away and Peter is still waking up.
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Friday, December 08, 2006

fresh air and freedom!

So the babies are 11 weeks old already.... I can hardly believe it! The time has flown by so fast that I've barely had a chance to think about how much my life has changed. I missed the entire season of Autumn (not hard to do where I live since it comes and goes in about 2 weeks... the two weeks I was in the hospital with the boys).

However, since they have started sleeping more than 4 hours in a row at night, I have had a few more brain cells freed up to start thinking about other things than diapers, milk, and laundry, and I have realized that I haven't actually left my house and breathed fresh air in a very long time. Because I have three kids under 2 (not to mention the other two under 7), and because I only have two arms, I can't leave the house with the kids unless I have help. This has become very frustrating for me, to say the least, because my favorite stroller that I have used since H was a baby wasn't working with the babies.

Take for example, our experimental trip to the mall last week:

Picture the seven of us standing in line at A&W.

All the kids are starving because it's now almost 7pm and they haven't eaten anything since 2pm. The babies are stuffed into the bottom seat of the stroller (which, by the way, is designed to be perfectly comfortable for one baby who is sleeping, but apparently doesn't do the trick for two squirming awake babies), our toddler is strapped into the top seat of the stroller protesting her situation loudly by alternatingly yelling, and banging her boot-clad feet against the stroller while sucking her thumb, E is twirling like a ballerina through the line-up, oblivious to everyone trying to walk past her, and Z the preschooler informs us that he has to go pee... NOW. (did I mention that both babies were crying?)

So Sean takes Z to the bathroom with the toddler and leaves me with the two crying babies, the stroller, the diaper bag, Elizabeth, and the grumpy cashier at A&W who is trying to hand me my tray and get me out of the way so the next person in line can order.

All we could do was just laugh at the absurdity of our new life with 5 kids under 7, eat our food quickly while balancing the babies on our laps and keeping H from climbing out of her high chair. We tried looking in a few stores while we were there but that didn't last long with the chaos we carried along with us.

"If we don't get a better stroller, I am never leaving my house again with the kids", I said to my husband... and the chinook that rolled in yesterday, raising the outdoor temperature up to a beautiful afternoon that just begged for a walk, clinched it for me.

Being the wonderful husband that he is, that very day he came home with one. What a good man he is!!
Very fancy... the nicest (and most expensive) stroller I've ever seen!! Comes with it's own air pump for the tires, two zip off diaper bags, lots of cargo space, shocks, head huggers for the babies, a big fancy rain cover, and the best part of all: a toddler seat so I can push all three of my littlest littles around.
Doesn't she look like the queen riding up there so tall? The kids were very excited about going for a walk. We had lots of fun walking through the snow, and listening to birds chirp in the ravine.... I love having my freedom again!!

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Feast of Saint Nicholas

The children woke up this morning with great excitment and ran downstairs to find that their shoes (which they had left out the night before) were filled with chocolate coins, cookies and oranges. Saint Nicholas has been here!!

He also left them a present (the wise men Playmobile set), a book, and a short letter telling them about the good things they have done this year, and reminding them to work on some of their vices for the next year.

This is one of our favorite feast days of the year because it's far enough away from the hustle and bustle of christmas that we aren't exhausted with all the preparations, and the kids get just as excited.

Right now the babies are still sleeping, and the rest of the family is finishing up a nice breakfast. We are lucky that daddy is working from home so he can enjoy the morning with us.

For some great ideas for activities to do today check out the St. Nicholas Center online. There are storybooks online about him, online games to play, and even a short cartoon movie for the kids to watch.

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