Thursday, December 31, 2009

christmas new year's eve!

we just can't seem to stop celebrating! we made a very quick trip to simonton to have christmas with my side of the family. we tried to take a pic of the kids... thanks to grammie and poppy for all the new clothes!
it began with lots of food prep which allie loves to be a part of

caleb stayed well entertained with the christmas villiage that my mom always sets out.

they attacked my sweet grandmother when she arrived... it was such a blessing to see them excited to see her - if you are a parent of little ones, you know you have no control over their outward show of affection toward people!

look at this handsome guy!!! his eyes get more blue everyday!

all the girls... four generations!

riley got fireman boots to be a little like his older bro

aunt robin brought silly string... a family tradition.. this is mady and katy on the attack!

allie and the silly string

ready for fireworks... my mom is holding "baby jackie"... she's not so baby anymore!

my dad put on an amazing display of fireworks!!! caleb ran in circles and screamed the entire firework show! he loved it. i don't know if you recall our last time of seeing fireworks, but he ran up to me in the middle and said, "mommy, i'm not even throwing up!!!

a final merry christmas to all our friends and family! we'll be posting our new year's letter tomorrow night!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

on the road....

we finally got to head out of town and get our christmas vacation underway. i couldn't help but take this picture. after watching two movies the kids finally crashed... but only for 30 min.
soon after we arrived so did the snow!!! the kids were thrilled. i would have a fun pic of caleb in the snow, but just after this shot he got snow in his mittens and flipped out!!! it was cold!
we shared christmas eve with family at gg's house. lots of fun with food, cousins, and presents!
on christmas morning the kids were excited to see all the snow that they would get to play in!
we continued our christmas morning tradition of christmas tree cinnamon rolls.... Yummy!!
we opened gifts from grammie and poppy.... here is one of allie's most prized gifts... oooh, la, la!
then it was out to play in the snow.... it was too dry to build a snowman, but still perfect for snow angels. caleb still tried to throw snowballs much to his frustration!
i LOVE this picture!!! they are getting so big!
on christmas evening we had the opportunity to visit with our friends, shawn and rachel tate. here are all six of our kids... FIVE BOYS... poor allie!
we headed home the next day, braving the icy road conditions. it took us a little longer than normal, but at least the kids were in good humor. at one point, allie said, "mom, watch!" and did this:
she learned to cross her eyes this summer and thought we could all use a laugh after such a stressful drive....she just loves to keep us laughing!
(**scroll down to see christmas at our house**)

Christmas at home!

the night before our trip to Bartlesville, we celebrated as an immediate family. we've combined traditions by wrapping most gifts, but leaving one gift unwrapped. lance got the tree all set up while i gave the kids their baths. we'll tell you each of their favorite gifts:

allie was thrilled with her baby bed and LOVED that it was pink... of course! i found this bed at an antique shop up the street. lance sanded it, gave it a new bottom, and painted it for her.
caleb couldn't wait to get the plastic off his fireman outfit. HE has not stopped being a fireman ever since!
riley had no clue what was happening this year, but he did get his first "lovey." it is a crocodile that we affectionately named "hatch." it had been his travel and sleeping buddy!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


i have to say that this holiday has not started out as well as we'd like... we were so looking forward to some time off, but.... lance lost his voice over the weekend, caleb had fever on sunday, i was throwing up on monday, and riley has fever today. so far allie has the stongest immune system of all of us! Despite our health we still want to wish everyone a very merry christmas! May you be richly blessed by the Lord's love which he lavished on us through the birth of his son!
oh, and here is a little laugh

Friday, December 18, 2009

getting creative

riley's photo shoots (and i use that term lightly) are getting interesting... weather and his mobility are making it difficult to get a good pic, but here are some sweet shots that i snapped this was part of my slowing down and enjoying my kiddos!

what he is up to: he will be 10 months next week, smiles non-stop, babbles continually, signs more when eating, has taken a few steps without holding onto anything, loves to wrestle with dad and brother, thinks his sister is the BEST, doesn't like to be left in a room alone.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

focus mandy!!

"The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when i will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness." - Jer. 23:5-6

we have had something going on every night this week and tonight will be no different. in just hours, our home will be filled with many of our Ranch college staff and i can't wait to see each of them, but i have to be careful...i have been trying to keep a lid on my energies as to not lose what this season is all about. if you are like me, you have to be very intentional about your time or your days can quickly turn into gifts to buy, food to make, and things to clean. this verse reminds me of the PERFECT GOD we serve... he is our righteousness!

so stop... have a some cider... stop...take a breath or two... stop..cuddle with your kids..stop...look deeply in your husband's eyes...stop...hug a at the stranger in the mall...

stop...thank Jesus for His gift...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

choose any adjective you like...

it doesn't matter... they all describe our morning! because december is an already packed month of events, i decided that all the kids' well check appointments with the pedi would be at the same time. allie had a four year check up, caleb had a three year check up, and riley was late for a 9 month check up. however, since i have not completely lost my mind, i made sure that lance could come with me. it began better than expected with both big kids enthusiastically being measured and weighed. we were largely impressed with their cooperation to this point. once we entered the room the nurse began the verifications and questions that come with each child while allie and caleb got far to familiar with their surroundings... turning the bed area into a balance beam and the drawers into drums. we graciously answered questions in between "stop that" and "sit down." allie did all the normal things: blood pressure, heart beat, lungs while caleb began to cower in the corner, arms folded whispering, "i'm not gonna do that!" while we coerced caleb to allow the nurse to do her job, allie began spinning on the doctor's chair and fighting an inward battle of playing with the nurse's laptop. once caleb had the litany of procedures done, it was riley's turn (sad when the nine month old is the easiest to deal with). all was fairly calm and i was relishing in the fact that this might actually turn out well when the doctor came in. we LOVE our pedi and he is truly gifted at what he does. we talked about allie and some concerns we have for her. she was super mature and let him check everything he needed to and would even spout off, "see, caleb, this doesn't hurt!" when caleb's turn arrived he fought everything on every front... he can not stand the tool that they look in his ears with and it sets him off every time! after doc. B determined that his ear infection was in fact gone (after three antibiotics), caleb simply could not recover! here is where it gets good... please picture it (so as to laugh along with me - not at me).

a very small room, two rambunctious toddlers, one infant, three adults, and a stroller. i'm holding riley with my back to lance, lance is holding a SCREAMING caleb, dr. b is attempting to talk to us about caleb's anger and response issues, allie is standing in the seat of the stroller that is parked in front of me. lance trys to make caleb laugh (b/c nothing else is working) by throwing his head back and lifting him up, throwing him back and lifting him up, throwing him back..... and b/c i've not seen any of this... i tell allie to get out of the stroller and i step backward as to move the stroller from allie's space... that is around the time that my elbow makes direct contact with caleb's two front teeth.

i know this story is long, but you're still with me, right? blood, screaming, screaming, and more screaming. his tooth was shoved up and a little back... dr. barrett steps out of the room to get caleb something... lance sits down w/ previously mentioned screaming child. riley is now crying and allie is asking 5-6 questions at a rate of 100 words a minute. i'm utterly embarrassed and ready to go. BUT IT GETS BETTER.... lance looks at me and says, "babe, you're going to have to take him." this is the first time that i realized that lance's face is ghostly white... i put down the crying baby, pick up the screaming toddler. allie picks up the crying baby and hands him to the nauseous daddy.... mom snaps at allie... allie puts baby down, dr. comes back in, sweating daddy lays down on floor, allie climbs on top of daddy, mom snaps again... leaving us with a total of three kids crying/screaming, daddy barely hanging in there, mom humiliated, and an always cool as a cucumber doctor... THANK GOD he is a chill man!

yep, i have never wanted to melt into the floor more than in this very moment! our story doesn't end there. there were still four shots and the exiting of the building, but that was all very trivial.

i'm currently praying that all parties will sleep and this will be funny in just a few days! in regards to my sweet husband: we don't know why that happened to him... he has made it through the birth of three kids just fine and, although he doesn't think he was helpful this morning... i'm so GLAD he was there!

just yesterday a friend described my life as a circus... point on!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

caleb turns THREE!

i can not believe that my little boy is so big!!!
we celebrated this weekend with a thomas the train party!
so, of course, he got a train set... this is when we realized what it was!
Toby!! one of his favorite trains!
when allie turned three we got her a big girl bike... so he was thrilled to get his big boy bike!
he jumped right on and said, "kachow!"
we had cake and icecream and then went out for lunch!
the day must have been busy b/c we managed to get a few pics of caleb, but not one of any other family member. he had both sets of grandparents, his aunt jeni, and two cousins there to celebrate! thanks for coming family! he had a blast!

here is the train all set up on the table that lance made for him. he did a great job... eventually, we will take the legs off and had casters so that it will roll under a bed. as you can see caleb's cars have joined the trains in Sodor! HA!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

christmas tour

i love decorating for Christmas. a day or two after thanksgiving it all comes out! although i wish a i could have all my friends and family over for a hot cup of cider, i know that is not possible so i will give a virtual tour for those that won't be in our home this season!

i have a thing for colored themed trees.... this year is blues and silver!
remember this little nook that i loved at thanksgiving? i made it into a spot for the kids to play with a nativity. OH, and my apologies to my dad for not mentioning it the first time.... he made this bench and I LOVE IT! i had it on my porch when i moved into my very first apartment post graduation. on the bottom it reads "who loves ya?" a famous daddy phrase! :)

our mantel: the small red scrapbook is a gift from my mom that captures the special moments of Christmas 2006 (aka: Christmas in the hospital) the ornament wreath looks purple for some reason... it is really silver!
this was my first attempt at making a scrapbook paper tree.. i learned alot from the first one and i think i'll make a whole little forest!
would you believe that it only took me four years to finally get my kids' stockings done. these are crazy quilted.... so easy, and so fun!
this is my FAVORITE nativity!!!
this is our Christmas countdown/advent. each envelope has a scripture to read and every once in awhile an envelope will have a Christmas carol to sing or a fun activity to do. activities include drinking hot chocolate, driving through Christmas lights, watching a Christmas video, wrapping gifts for others, or decorating cookies.

this is elf on the shelf (can be found at hallmark)... he hides from the kids most days... today he was hiding in the tree!
this is one of three nativities that our kids are allowed to play with. i think it is so important that they can use these to act out the story of Jesus... we want our children to know that THIS is Christmas!
this book has been such a blessing during the holidays. it is full of ideas, stories, activities, and great explanations for the traditions of the season. (examples: baking reminds us of the bread of life, and the lights on our houses remind us of the light of the world).
and, of course, my kids have their own little trees because i have theme issues. they love using these as nightlights. they decorate them all by themselves... check out the bottom left corner of this tree (which is allie's .... mostly PINK an purple)!

Monday, December 7, 2009

lovin' me some bartlesville

last week was hiring week at pine cove. it is one of the hardest times for me because lance is here, but he pulls long hours and his mind is completely spinning with so many things. it has only taken me five years to realize that it would probably be a blessing to all involved if we left town.

so we packed up the van and made a six hour drive to bartlesville to visit grammie, poppy, and many other friends! i don't have time to discuss the drive... it was wild, but i learned some good lessons!
we took tons of pictures...
helped poppy decorate the christmas tree...

visited family: this is lance's cousin, stacey - who is like a sister to me! we wished we lived closer! (sorry about the blurry pic... she has a better one here).
played dress up with cousin mackenzie

and decorated a gingerbread train!

thanks for the great time grammie and poppy... we can't wait to come for christmas!

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