Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Evolution

This blog has evolved quite a bit from it's start. Andrew and I began it together before we had children - we blogged about our work, our dog, and other things that we found amusing. And then Andrew got busy and I took over. And then the boys came along and I had less time. And then the unexpected blessing of baby #3 came and I've had even less time. Thought-provoking, conversation-starting posts have dwindled and the blog has become heavy on the kid and mom front. While I love that (and it is a wonderful and main part of my life now), I also miss the more thoughtful posts. Perhaps they will come again some time - even just occasionally. But for now, the blog is largely about the kids and motherhood with occasional personal posts about me or Andrew or my work or cooking.

Through it all, I'm so thankful to be able to share my life and joy with you, readers. Some of you have been stopping by from the start and some have joined later, some of you are friends in real life and others are friends through blogging, to all of you, I say, "thanks!"

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Favorite Picture

This is just my favorite. We are all mostly smiling and even Pippi made it in to the picture which made me so happy! Wow, I feel so incredibly blessed with all my handsome guys!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas in Pictures

We had such a wonderful Christmas - probably my favorite ever! We spent Christmas day at home - it was quiet and perfect. The boys played and enjoyed their new toys. Andrew and I played with them and started reading our new books. We built a fire. We had good food and just kept things very relaxed. It was such a great day! Here are some pictures.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Christmas has been magical this year. The boys excitedly counted down the days, talked about Santa even though we don't really *do* Santa, and tried so hard to keep secrets about the presents they were giving. It's been memorable, adorable, and fun. Titus has been right with them in enjoying all of the festivities. What a privilege to be their mom - it's been one of the best Christmas' ever!

Here are a few things of note:

Calvin is convinced we need a baby girl. He has been talking about it for a couple of months and has been telling me that we need to get another car seat. He is quite insistent despite our us gently breaking the news that we aren't going to be having a baby girl right now. It's very sweet though we are quite happy with our three boys for now. :) Calvin doesn't have a still bone in his body and is talking a mile-a-minute - he is quite inquisitive. He has started back to speech therapy and we are thrilled that his initial testing shows that he is doing well.

Patrick is also quite talkative. He tells us all kinds of things and not much gets past him - makes us all the more aware of what we say. :) He is also starting to be quite particular about what he wears. Patrick is also a foodie - a boy after his mama's heart. He enjoys impressing us with his food knowledge. And he has learned to order his own food at restaurants - he has come quite a ways from the very shy little boy that became our son over three years ago.

Titus is into everything and has recently started saying a few more words and making some animal sounds. He has been resistant to doing any signs other than "more" but this week, of his own accord, he started signing "thank you". He is such a lovey little guy and often wakes us up with hugs and kisses. He continues to be a bit wary of other people (even family) and takes awhile to warm-up but is quite the ham.

My heart often overflows with gratitude at God's gracious gifts - I love being their mom!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Busy Week

Can you tell we've been too busy to blog?! With a trip to the museum, a family gathering, food planning, and last minute shopping, we are now ready for Christmas! It can't get here soon enough for my four-year-olds. Pictures and posts will come soon and I'm pretty sure there will be a great picture for tomorrow. :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Gingerbread Houses

I feel like a kid again. I am SO excited about Christmas this week! The boys are just at the perfect age. I said, "Christmas is almost here." And Patrick replied with,"I know, I can't wait!" They wrapped their gifts for their brothers and Daddy and wrote the tags themselves this year - so cute! Despite sounding like a broken record, I truly can't believe how much they have changed since last year.

Anyway, we had a great time at a gingerbread party last Friday:

The big kids working hard on their masterpieces. Hannah and Jack wanted to make small houses; Calvin and Patrick wanted to make big houses!

Patrick kept coming back and adding things to his house.
And it turned out so cute!
Calvin was wearing about as much icing as was one the house. :)
He had very creative ideas and even made a pretzel house on the roof.
Titus & Sarah were the beneficiaries of all things dropped. :)
Special thanks to Catherine and her sweet kids for such a fun morning!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sigh. Happy.

This week, I love...

Gingerbread houses.
Christmas movies.
Clean houses.

Despite being sick this week, it has been a delightful week filled with some of my favorite things. I am blessed. Pictures will come of some of the above list but for today, I'm just enjoying!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Excited Boys!

Teacher's gifts have been given.
Goodie bags handed to eager children.
Merry Christmas wished to waiting parents.
Goodbyes waved - see you next year!
School is out 'til January is here.

Boys carefully guarding secrets.
Packages wrapped and hidden.
Whispers and giggles fill the air.
Sweets consumed - quite enough for a year!
Christmas is coming; the excitement is here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Last Year...

Looking back once again reminds me how quickly they grow. I can't wait for our PJ picture on Christmas Eve this year!
I'm not very well - some kind of laryngitis and cold so, this will have to suffice for today. :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas on the Farm

On Saturday, we took the boys to a local creamery for their Christmas on the Farm event. We met up with two other families. We enjoyed a "sleigh" ride, meeting santa, seeing reindeer, hot cocoa and more. The event was held in conjuction with their weekly farmer's market. It was a gorgeous day to be out making memories! The boys were so excited that some of their friends came, too!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Growing Up

My sweet big boys had their school Christmas program tonight (rescheduled from Wednesday which was okay since the goatee incident occured then :)). Anyway, they had been talking about it for weeks and singing their songs. It has been so cute! [On a side note: Calvin had a fever last night and I was totally relieved that it was gone this morning and did not come back - he would have been devastated to miss his program!]

So tonight, they had their chance to perform and they were hilarious...neither were into the hand motions at.all. but it was obvious they knew all the words. Patrick was more interested in the slide show playing behind them and Calvin spent the first three songs desperately looking for us (he finally found us and gave us several subtle waves). I was one proud mama watching them up there and laughing at their antics - probably only noticeable to us. They were so happy that a few of their aunts and uncles and my mom were able to come watch!

It's hard to believe they will be in kindergarten next year. All of a sudden I feel like they are growing up so fast. The conversations, the humor, and the understanding is just amazing to me. I love watching them grow and change but it's a little bittersweet, too. I remember like it was yesterday when they were Titus' age.

Anyway, here are a few pictures from the evening (getting them to both smile is still a challenge!):

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Decking the Halls

I'll be the first to admit that decorating for Christmas has fallen way down on the to-do list. So we are slowly working on getting the house decorated though I think there will be many things that will not make an appearance this year. Honestly this is the first year that I've seriously contemplated getting a fake tree for next year. We won't; we love the fresh trees. It just took forever to get it placed just right and lit. And therefore, the tree is still only about 1/4 trimmed with the ornaments that the boys hung. Oh well. It will be finished in time. :)

The older boys each have almost 15 ornaments in their collections. My parents and grandparents gave us an ornament every year and we are continuing that tradition with our kids. We gave them a jump start by starting their collection with several handmade ornaments from Kazakhstan. Seeing those beautiful wool ornaments on the tree brings me so much joy and brings back so many memories of our time in a country that we love.

We had a wonderful time having our family tree-trimming party. I made special food and the boys got to choose several treats to enjoy. We drank our first eggnog of the season - I only drink it a couple of times but it's SO good (Trader's Point Creamery that is).

While we often fight exhaustion and busy-ness and all that comes with being parents of young children as well as having a demanding job (for Andrew), making these memories is incredibly important to us. Seeing all three of our boys' delight and excitement makes every single minute of these traditions worth it. I treasure these moments and these years of Christmas being magical. Our boys are amazing gifts and spending time as a family is my favorite thing in the whole world!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Of All Days

Tonight is the boys' Christmas program at school. And this is what I found this morning:

Of course it's today. It couldn't be any other day.
And yes, I might have laughed a little to myself. How could you not?
And he may have a very red face from the scrubbing.
Sigh. Boys. :)
I think he's "lookin' like a Daddy" which I believe was the goal.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

How Can You Resist...

The boys had hot chocolate and Titus wouldn't be left out so he had a small bowl of whipped cream. Which led to...

Forget the spoon! This is good stuff!


Ah, the spoon comes in handy again.

Yum, yum. The spoon has a little left.

Oh Yeah. Good to the last drop.

...a sweet face like this?!

Monday, December 07, 2009


The art shows went well. A few cards were handed out and I had a chance to chat with a few people about what we do. I was asked if we do catering - a good sign, I think, but alas, we do not anticipate taking that on anytime soon. :) We might offer a few cooking sessions if we have people interested - it could be a fun girl's night out!

Today I enjoyed this...

...while I planned food and menus and read recipes. It was bliss on this, our first snowy day of the season. Andrew could not get into the office this morning so he worked from home today. It was such a treat to have him for lunch and dinner! I made creamy potato & ham soup with a mixed green salad, and a hot sandwich for lunch and for dinner we had pizza. A wonderful, relaxed, low-key day (at least for the boys and me...Andrew really did work!). Just what we desperately needed.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Making Lists

Remember how I wrote about having a hard time keeping up? Well, it's a little over a month later and I'm feeling pulled in every direction again. I'm working harder to say no to things and trying to not over-commit but just keeping up with the basics is sometimes challenging. So, I'm purposing to make lists, spend time with my husband and kids, and let some things go. Who needs a clean house, anyway?! (JK!) :)

And with that, I'm off for the weekend...besides decorating for Christmas, we are having company on Sunday! It's been awhile and I'm looking forward to it! Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

This & That

- Andrew and I are headed to a fundraiser tonight for the adoption organization he serves on the board for. I can't wait! We are going to the Melting Pot which is a fabulous fondue restaurant. We are so happy to participate in this fundraiser - we helped with the golf one but since neither of us are golfers, we were limited to helping make the event happen. :)

- I have not mentioned my love for Costco lately but seriously, it is the best! I find great deals - like 20 oz. of baby brie for $5.29 (brie is my favorite!) and Christmas gifts and baking supplies and...the list goes on and on.

- After a rough month or two at school for one of our kiddos, we are thrilled that our teacher conference reported that things are much better and going very well! The child still loved school but was just having a hard time with hands to yourself etc. :) It was stressful and frustrating but we are thankful that the teacher has been on the same page as us.

- We are having our tree trimming party on Saturday - I can't wait! It is such a fun tradition. The boys each have new ornaments for the tree and they are so excited! We went to the museum yesterday and Santa was there - one son begged to go see him and the other watched from a safe distance. It was cute.

- We have avoided introducing nuts to Ty but that was all ruined yesterday when he climbed up on the table and grabbed a fist full of peanut clusters. He had stuffed some in his mouth, chocolate was all over him, and he had the biggest grin. Thankfully, there were no adverse effects.

- I think that's about it. The month is filling up!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Good Day

I woke up in a state of groggy realization - awake just enough to know that I had a headache and congestion. I was hoping to go to the museum later today (after all the goodies are finished), we'll see. I need to get my head cleared. Andrew graciously stayed a little extra and let me try to sleep it off. Now I'm up...not sure I want to be... Definitely not loving the attitudes this morning. Sigh.

Here are my goals for this day:
1) Have cookie trays ready to go by noon.
2) Do a little school with the boys.
3) Bake 2 other kinds of cookies.
4) Write 2 blog posts.
5) Do something fun (museum or decorate our small tree or plan a fun evening for the boys).
6) Come up with an easy dinner plan (yeah, menu planning not happening so much right now... :)).

Andrew is working late so it will be a long day...but it's going to be good...

Well, I better scoot, a fight has broken out. It's going to be's going to be's going to be GOOD! :)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Busy, Busy

The next few days, I will be up to my eyeballs in baking. :) The Cooks Next Door is providing goodies for two art shows this week - Wednesday and Friday. I will be at the one on Friday for most of the event. We are excited to promote our website in our local area and will have business cards available. So...I'm working on delicious but fairly easy recipes that make large amounts.

December 1 is here. The countdown to Christmas will really begin around here as a few of our traditions get underway. My personal favorite is wrapping up a Christmas book for each day leading up to Christmas. We have amassed quite a collection and we put them away throughout the year so they feel new in December. Let the traditions begin!

Monday, November 30, 2009


This would be my family...all seven kids, five spouses, & three grandkids. My parents are not pictured. We had a great Thanksgiving - we were all together for a few hours before some had other commitments. The food was delicious, the coffee pot never given a break, the laughter infectious, and the joy of being together evident. I'm so thankful for my great big, coffee-addicted, very loud family!

Friday, November 27, 2009


Hope you had a great Thanksgiving! We enjoyed celebrating with our families! I'm headed out to hopefully catch a few deals. :) I never go out early and last year was the first time I went out on Black Friday at all but I scored enough great deals to make me want to go again. It will only be one store but I have a couple of Christmas gifts to pick up!

Head on over to The Cooks Next Door to enter our Black Friday giveaways!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


This year has been a bit less eventful than the previous three years but that doesn't lessen my thankfulness. We are blessed. I love my parents' tradition of us writing on a construction paper turkey feather the things that we are thankful for each year. It gives us a chance to share with one another and to really focus on what is truly important. Here is a small list of some of the things that I am grateful for this year:

- Andrew, Calvin, Patrick, & Titus - they are the greatest blessing a wife and mom could ask for.
- My family - coming from a large family is awesome and I'm thankful for the wonderful relationships we have.
- Adoption - it has not only given me my beautiful children but it has opened my eyes and heart and taught me much about my own adoption in Christ.
- Friends - old and new. This year, I've had the opportunity to spend time with friends that I can truly share my heart with - a rare and true gift.
- The Cooks Next Door - wow, this was a big undertaking but it is such a joy to be able to share my creative outlet and collaborating has been awesome!
- My new job - losing my job was not easy and saying goodbye to patients was difficult but the prospect of my new position is very exciting!

I'm thankful. I feel blessed. God is good.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

4 Months?!

Yikes! I'm really falling down on this blog - I've missed two birthdays (you can check them out here and here). :) The truth is that I'm feeling very busy and I'm not sure how long I will keep thing blog active. But for today, I want to say how incredibly thankful I am for my three boys. What a tremendous blessing. I never could have guessed how absolutely amazing it would be to have the honor of being their mom. I love it! I love them! Here are just a few pictures: