Sunday, November 29, 2009

Advent is here....

Where did November go? It seems like just yesterday we were rushing into Halloween yet here we are with December knocking on the door. Today we welcomed in one of my favorite times of the year - Advent. Father Mark hit the nail on the head today when he talked about the state of our hearts and souls - are we really ready for Christ to come again? He talked about weariness of the heart and amongst the scenarios from the readings today was anxiousness about “stuff of the world”. Well - that is me! I have been so stressed and so anxious and always feeling for the one thing I got done there are twenty that did not! I have tried very hard to get things done ahead of this Advent season so that I can truly just enjoy, reflect and prepare - what a glorious time for Gretchen to arrive! I did pretty good today... a few borderline moments....but overall pretty good - hoping day 1 sets the tone!

As a family we prepared our house by setting out our nativity set - the same one we had out when I was just a child and my parents passed down the year Alexandra was born. One day it will be hers too! We decorated the tree and pulled out photos from last year to determine who was in line for placing the angel on the top of the tree and the lighting - this year it was Peter’s turn to attempt the angel placement (with a bit of help from John), and it was Tommy’s turn to do the official tree lighting. Once all was put up, lit and tied up the kids enjoyed a glass of egg nog with John (I’m not an egg nog person.... so I just had milk).

Just a short post to start the season! I have added pictures to our 2009 Family Album in our new website

love -



Here we are a few days after Thanksgiving. Alexandra is off at theatre practice for her upcoming high school production of Alice in Wonderland. Michael helped John bring in the boxes of Christmas decor ready to be pulled out. Jack and Tommy are wearing their matching cowboy boots (again!) and climbing all over the swing John set up in the front. Peter and I just got home from the grocery store and picked up (on sale - yeah!) our Christmas turkey to throw in the freezer for a few more weeks. And I reflect on the last week - the ups and downs, the joys and the stresses..... but here are the things I am thankful for with my family -

Peter.... I am thankful for the health he does have and the incredible amount of love and joy he brings to our family. I am thankful for the times he does eat properly and has good color. I am thankful that he is standing and taking a few steps. But, most of all I am thankful for his smiles and his hugs - and the way he so freely shares them with the rest of us.
Tommy.... I am thankful for his laughter and seemingly unending repetoir of silly jokes. I am thankful for his ability to adapt and flow with the needs of the family and his compassion towards Peter - when he can stand up and say “Peter isn’t different, he is just one of us” with conviction. But, I am most thankful that he is my child going through the “I want my mother” stage and will spend the time to quietly snuggle up when I need it most.
Jack....I am thankful for his spitfire attitude in life. I am thankful for his boundless energy and ability to keep up with everyone. I am thankful for his unparalleled ability to see the positive in life and his giving nature. When he rides the mechanical horse at the grocery store he always leaves a couple of pennies on the coin machine so that any child not as lucky as him will be able to use those pennies and have a fun ride too! Today he spent all morning making cut-outs of his hands so he could make coupon books for massages to give to relatives for Christmas... he has a special heart! But, most off all I am thankful for how he always remembers to give a compliment or pat someone on the back for a job well done. As I tell my kids “...people will forget the things you did and the words you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel”.... and with Jack I know he makes people feel special.
Michael.... I am thankful for his growing maturity and sense of responsibility. I am thankful for his inquisitive mind and natural curiosity about life. I am thankful for his ability to be the quiet strength when everyone else is way too loud. But, most of all I am thankful for the times he comes up and rubs my back because he just knows I need it, the little things he does to make things easier on me, and that of all my kids he enjoys spending time with me baking. We share a common love for brownies!
Alexandra.....I am thankful for the strong young woman she is growing into. I am thankful for her inner strength and her desire to do the right thing. I am thankful for when she prays for her friends, and when she talks to me about how to help others. I am thankful for her desire to make a difference in this world - and her concern for children with disabilities around the world. I am most thankful for her honesty and desire to include John and I in her life - the many times she shares what her concerns and joys are, what is going on at school, and her desires for her future.
John....well, what else can I say than he is the man that made the choice to spend the rest of his life with me - ups, downs, and everything in between - I think that makes me a very lucky woman.

This afternoon we started putting away our Thanksgiving and fall decor..... goodbye for another year to my pilgrim statuettes I love so much, and hello to our Christmas decor - the tree, the lights, the nativity and our advent candles. Hello to four weeks of soul setting much needed at this crazy time of the year.

We are thinking of moving our blog to an Apple/Mac based account and probably keep up the carepages. The link is a little lengthy therefore harder to spell out, but the ease of using our Mac technology to do updates may just out weigh the move off blogspot. Please check it out and let us know what you think!!

(along the top you will see the links to different "pages" - we have photo albums posted and hope to add video shortly)

Please let us know how you like this new site.... the name is a little long - but we hope you will save it in your favorites and visit us often!

love -

Monday, November 9, 2009

Getting Ready for Gretchen...and Peter's Steps!

Well - under T-2 months until our little gal arrives! We continued to make huge progress in getting the nursery ready. After some disappointment I had to give up on my dream of a room with red barns, farm animals, and gingham fabrics. Instead we decided to work with the old bedding we had (I still need to pull out the sewing machine and repair a ripped sheet). We had painted the walls a pretty bright blue sky color. None the less I added some white clouds and yellow stars to match the Serendipity/Noah's Ark bedding. I have to say - I'm really happy with how it turned out! We still have a bit of work to do with the room - hopefully change out the old original 70's carpet (yucky!!), finish trim, put valance up and find a white dresser (please craigslist!!). However, I wanted to share how far we have come - so check out the photos!!

You'll also see how big Gretchen has got in my tummy..... can you imagine how big I will be by the time she comes along!! Now check out the picture below - does it not look like Peter is grooving in his update/new room? Little man is moving slowly towards independent walking but we are so thrilled with his progress. He's working on standing and getting his balance more often. His max was taking 8 tiny little steps - but we are generally around three to four little steps before coming down. However, he is getting further and further with walking if you hold just one hand (minimal assistance) and he is more willing to come up and have you hold his hand and take him for a little walk. He's also - by the true grace of God - got over the aversion to having stuff on his feet. If it is just socks he will still pull them off, but he let's us put Tommy's old shoes on his feet. Thank goodness!!

He has regained his picky eating ways - so we think that will be a challenge going for a while. He continues to work on signing though, and his favorite word is TRAIN - which often is vocalized a "tttt" sound. He literally could spend all day playing with the trains although that can at times mean disassembling the track and flinging it across the room..... oh goodness! I think we have assembled it a million times in the last couple of weeks.

Just wanted to share some pics. Hope all is well with y'all and that you are all staying healthy!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Spooky Boo!

Last week we had awful weather in the Colorado - icy roads, snow, wind, closed schools, nasty roads - just one of those weeks when you need to bunker down by the fireplace and forget the outside world for a few days. But, amazingly, despite what seemed to be a gnarly weather week, the seasons flipped completely and we had a balmy Halloween. Actually in our 13 years in Colorado I think this is the warmest Halloween I can remember having. There went my excuse for staying in doors - but none the less I retained my status as dinner cooker/candy hander outer. Disappointingly we had very few kids come by our house - we are two blocks away from the hopping spot in the neighborhood but I think all the dark houses on our block lead to us being missed. That and the news put the fear in everyone that they would get H1N1 if they went out trick-or-treating. So - you can do the basic math....not enough trick-or-treaters and my large family still knocking on doors. Not only did we have candy left over but they of course came back with a ton. As a result Gretchen is on a Tootsie Roll high right now! [For those of you reading this on the carepages please check out our blog for the pictures]

Halloween started with pumpkin carving with Tio Greg and Tia Brenda. Their persistence paid off as they finally found the last pumpkins for sale in Colorado Springs. They came truly equipped to challenge the kids - and the kids loved it! Piled around the kitchen table there was carving, drawing, sticker pasting and the trips out back to spray paint the pumpkins. Jack and Tommy decorated while Alexandra and Michael carved away! Greg & Brenda got to enjoy some of John's traditional apple cider, and were challenged to a game of Yahtzee by the younger boys. Thank you Greg & Brenda!!

So what were the kids this year? well "green" in some cosmic sense of environmental again. My husband - with the big kid heart - reused his Darth Vadar outfit from last year. He wore it to the Fall Festival at school on Friday and was "taken on" by a miniature Luke Skywalker. Darth John's light saber failed and he gracefully bowed out of what could have been quite an event the school would not be excited about. He was ready for a challenge on Halloween night in the same great costume - but I think his challenge was getting all five kids where they needed to be.

Alexandra and Tommy paired up and pulled out old pumpkin costumes John and I wore to a party when we were first married. They were "big pumpkin" and "little pumpkin". Tommy was so darn cute because the costume ate him up. But he was so excited to get to do something special just with Alexandra. As a result here we are a few days later and she is now the object of all his prayers at the dinner table (I have been replaced!) and he still calls her "big pumpkin". Alexandra accented their costumes with some fake fall leaves - and was excited to have a shared costume with little man.

Michael decided to don a "death" costume my father had used a couple of years back. He glided through the Fall Festival in it - an image in black. But on Halloween night he added a nasty looking face mask I just don't remember how it landed in our house. None the less he was pretty excited. I however had to realize how much Michael had grown to be able to use this costume. Soon he will be taller than me too!

Jack loved his Ninja costume from last year so much that he wanted to use it again. So a little snugger on him he slipped back into it. However, he pulled out the belt that went with Michael's mini-Darth costume last year and put it on. So not only was he a Ninja - but he was a special forces Ninja that was fighting along big Darth (aka John). He is my eccentric little dude - and he made the costume all his by creating a whole long story behind his character. I love his imagination!!

Then we come to Peter who by no choice of his own re-cycled Winnie the Pooh one more time. Actually all the boys have used this costume starting with Michael way back in 1998. He gracefully put it on but was not too excited about it. But here is the exciting news - Peter has grown so much that the legs weren't long enough to qualify as capri's - they were closer to shorts!! It was so great to see how much he has grown despite being a peanut compared to the rest of my big kids. Peter's favorite part of Halloween?..... unplugging the fake pumpkin with a light in it. I swear if I had plugged that thing in at 3am Peter would have woken up, lunged out of the crib, climbed down the stairs and unplugged it. He has some 6th sense ..... which leads me to believe Christmas is going to be quite the challenge!! I told John we are going to have to set up and barricade the tree or get a little one that sits atop a high surface. I think tree, lights and ornaments are not safe this year....

Well....just wanted to get some pics posted. Only other news - last but most definitely not least - little man is taking a few steps here and a few steps there!! Maybe just maybe he'll be walking before Gretchen gets here!! He still prefers bear crawling as his primary method of mobility - but he has several times stood up - gained his balance - and taken up to 4 steps. At first they were the "how many steps can I take as I fall forward" type - but lately they are the more in control "I have my balance and know what I'm doing" type. I am so excited and so thankful and so in awe of the little miracle that he is..... I can tell he so desperately wants to run. He has a need for speed and I think once he can figure it out he will be a speed demon on two feet. The moments are sporadic so suffice to say no camera around - but hope to capture some pics of him doing it soon.

Off to bed I go. Hope y'all had a spooktacular Halloween!