Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night...

It was a short night at our house.

I spent all of Christmas Eve in bed; I was so sick! I finally got up around 6:00pm. I was feeling good so I cleaned the house a bit, did some laundry, marinated the chickens and made preparations for Christmas day visitors. Then I had to shuffle the kids off to bed. Of course, my husband wanted to watch a movie with Connor after the girls went to bed, which meant Connor would be staying up late, which meant getting presents out would be delayed, which meant I was going to bed late. You wouldn't think it would matter what time I went to bed if I had already been in bed all day. But I did not get to sleep in bed all day. Chase hit a growth spurt on Wednesday and spent the entire day nursing.

One good thing about the evening was we got a great picture of the kids right before bed.

We forgot to hang stockings before the kids went to bed and we even forgot to leave a snack for Santa...I was not at peak performance this year. So after all the kids were in bed, I continued getting things prepared for Christmas day and finally headed to get a shower at 11:45pm. It was nearly one before I was snoring. At 3:30am Connor came runnig into our roomasking if he could have food. Like food was really what was on his mind. This, of course, woke Chase...which means feeding time (which takes at least an hour). I made Connor get in bed with us, hoping he did not see what Santa brought on the way to our room (it would have been hard as he practically had to step over his Santa presents to get to our door). He was very nonchalant about it all. He hopped in bed and never complained or hinted that he had seen anything.

After further questioning, we discovered Connor had in fact seen the gifts and had maybe even rifled through his stocking. But he was being so good about it all that we hated to be disappointed that we missed his surprised face as he discovered what Santa brought. After a brief mommy/daddy pow wow, we determined it was best to just go ahead and get up...mostly because my husband is BIG kid and gets more excited about Christmas than the kids do. Isabel was not even awake when she stumbled in

We jumped right into opeming gifts and ended up with Vader

A snow princess

And a regular princess...all she asked for was a crown that wasn't broken. Santa was happy to fill that order.

And this is our clothes-changer; Isabel changes her clothes constantly. I'm always washing clothes that have been tossed around the room and worn for only a couple of minutes. She must have changed clothes 4-5 times by 7:00am.

We then entertained the family. I spent the morning cleaning, cooking and preparing for the crowd. We had 21 people in our house today...can you say, "Chaos!" It's a surprisingly fun chaos that turns into sadness when people aren't getting along (it's rare but happens, expecially with the kiddos) and then I started getting really tired...only having 2.5 hours of sleep, having a baby nursing every hour and cooking and cleaning for 21 people a short 3 weeks after having a new baby...I sure hope I sleep like a baby tonight; the kid is getting a good sized bottle before bed!

I scored a sewing machine and an aerogarden! I've been wanting both and haven't splurged on either for myself. What an awesome Christmas! Hope your Christmas was just as wonderful :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year

Imagine Andy Williams singing...

It's the most wonderful time of the year
There be much mistletoe-ing
And hearts will be glowing
When loved ones are near
It's the most wonderful time
It's the most wonderful time
It's the most wonderful time of the year

These words perfectly describe how I feel!

I have had a hard time getting in the Christmas spirit as I have not had the time or energy to think about Christmas much less do any shopping. However, my parents came to town a few days ago and we exchanged presents and went to the Washington D.C. temple and Visitors' Center for the Festival of Lights.

It was frigid outside...with the wind chill factored in, it was in very low single digits! We ran from the parking lot to the VC where it was warm and toasty and full of Christmas excitement. We saw the amazing photographic display Reflections of Christ. I've been waiting a long time to see these images in was awesome!

After seeing the photo display we wandered over to the room where creche (nativity scenes) from around the world were on display. Here are a few of my favorites:

This one is from Japan

This one is from Poland

After feeling thoroughly warmed (physically and spiritually), we decided to brave the outdoors again and attempt to watch the live nativity. Mary and Joseph are volunteers, there is a different Mary and Joseph each night...I feel sorry for the poor couple who had to be here this extremely frigid night, but they sure did a great job!

The lights were beautiful and really made you feel like you were in some magical winter wonderland. Here is a gorgeous photo of the Washington D.C. temple surrounded by a few of the hundreds of thousands of multicolored lights that are displayed each year.

How could I not be in the Christmas spirit after seeing all of this? I even got in a little shopping the day after going to see the lights and I found I was very happy and cheerful to all I encountered. I definitely was inspired by the beauty and spirit and I just want to say a HUGE "Thank you" to all the volunteers and missionaries who make this winter wonderland possible each and every year!
Oh and did I forget to mention, Lillee and Isabel threw major fits in the middle of viewing the creche and my dear sweet husband was kind enough to take a screaming 2 year old and 4 year old in each hand and walk them through all the way through the VC (they were making a major scene with all the screaming) and took them home so the rest of us could stay and enjoy the evening.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Random Thoughts on Hair

So I was thinking about baby Chase and what he'll look like once he's past the baby stage and I began to remember back to how much my other babies changed from what they looked like at birth; their hair being one of the most striking changes.

Here is Isabel's hair at birth:

Of course, all her hair fell out and came back beautiful and blond and luxurious (do you hear envy through my words?!?!) and this is what it looks like now:

That's quite the change!

Then there's Lillee, whose hair was nearly black:

And a year later, was sort of a dirty blond:

And now is a beautiful shade of brown:

Unfortunately, I do not have baby pictures of Connor on the computer, but he also went through several stages of hair color. From very little hair at birth that seemed to have a bit of red in the right light then it turned off really blond, then dirty blond or very light brown, now.
I am amazed at how drastically our children transform before our very eyes. Sometimes I look at pictures of Connor in his first year and realize that I have forgotten what he looked like back then (it was only 5 years ago!). How will I ever keep up as they all change in the coming 20 years? My mind is not that strong and it is definitely deteriorating every day! I guess I'll have to be content with memories through photos, at least they're more accurate than what I see in my mind.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The magic of a Christmas tree

We've been meaning to get our Christmas tree for the past week, but in all the hustle and bustle of a new baby and a 4 year old birthday, we failed to pick a tree. My mother-in-law, Jane, couldn't take it any longer. She headed out on Saturday, found a tree, purchased it and then sent my husband out to pick it up...when she wants something done, she knows how to do it :)

I had hoped for a nap and a chance to finish Breaking Dawn (book 4 of the Twilight saga). Neither happened...I heard the tree coming through the front door and my husband urging kids to move before he knocked them over with prickly pine needles in uncomfortable places. I just couldn't lie there trying to sleep knowing I was going to miss out on tree decorating fun. So I grabbed a blanket, made a cup of hot chocolate and snatched the camera to play photographer for the event.

Al & Connor add the lights.

Lillee gathers and prepares her favorite ornaments (read: hordes).
She adds the first ornament to the tree, a precious angel.

Everyone had a great time adding ornaments.

My little boy is not so little anymore, he's growing much too quickly!

Lillee loved the tree topper, a glittery gold and silver star (picked up at our favorite thrift store for $0.99)!

And she crowned the tree!

Isabel was so excited she stood on the sofa clapping her hands and cheering for the finished Christmas tree.

Isabel was so in love with the tree she went to give it a hug and announce, "Me love the tree!"

The real magic happened once the tree was complete. We were finally in a Christmas spirit. When we woke this morning, the Christmas lights were the first thing on followed almost immediately by Christmas music. As I made breakfast, we took breaks to dance and sing to the music and enjoy the beauty of the tree. Now the biggest challenge will be to get the kids to stop taking ornaments off the tree. Or maybe it's that I need to let go of my control issues and just let them have fun!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chase's 1st bath

I decided after a week Chase could use a bath. His hair was getting really oily - from the kids and me rubbing it all the's so soft and I can't keep my hands out of it. So I gathered the kids and we met at the kitchen sink.
As fun as it was for the older kids, Chase was not so impressed...

He eventually warmed up to it and stopped complaining...he's a really nice guy!
Out of 4 kids, I wanted just one that had curly brown hair and brown eyes like their momma...I am so hopeful with Chase, when his hair is wet it seems to have a slight curl to it.

However, then it dries....

Stick straight, just like Lillee! Oh well, I guess I can't complain that they all have my husband's beautiful blue eyes and gorgeous straight hair.

Lillee is 4!

Today, December 10th, is Lillee's birthday. Lillee is the type of kid that makes you want to laugh and cuddle her from being so cute or such a stinker that you can't even decide what to do with her because you're so frustrated.

Grandma Jane has set up Santa's workshop in the basement...she has her wrapping station and present s out as she's getting ready for Christmas. The kids don't normally go down stairs, but they've definitely been banished from the basement since the workshop has been set-up. Well yesterday, Lillee decided to follow Grandma downstairs and discovered Smurfette sitting on the wrapping table. Lillee was beside herself as she ADORES the smurfs. So the cat was out of the bag and she knew one of her presents...remember the statement about being a stinker?!?!

One of the first things Lillee said this morning, after she was reminded it was her birthday, she asked, "Can I have my Smurfette?" So Grandma retrieved Smurfette from the workshop. Lillee spent the morning dancing around the living room making a birthday song out of everything she did; it felt like we were in a musical.

Fortunately, my mother had wonderful forethought and decided to order a cake from the local grocery while they were in town for Thanksgiving. She knew I would not be up to making a cake, like I did last year...Lillee still talks about her princess cake from last year! She's actually been plotting and planning her cake for this year, but I've been noncommittal as I knew we'd have a new baby.

You can see that Lillee really enjoyed the cake, especially the purple icing!

Then the presents came...Barbie ended up being the theme. She received a Barbie house and accessories including a new Barbie doll from Mamaw & Papaw. Lillee has spent the entire afternoon AND evening sitting at our table playing with this...what a great present!!! However, there has been some arguing and bickering as all the kids want to play, including Connor (don't tell Al!). However, Connor did find some other ways to entertain himself, using the box the presents came in:

This was while he was watching the new DVD Lillee got, entitled Barbie, A Christmas Carol. Once again, don't tell Al!

All in all, it's been a fun day and I think Lillee had a great birthday!

Friday, December 5, 2008

We're home

I don't have a lot of energy at the moment and need to get some sleep as all the kids are in bed now...but I wanted to take a minute and let everyone know that Chase is doing so well! We came home this afternoon, BOTH of us; for those of you who know our baby history, mom and baby coming home together is a huge deal for us!
Chase is healthy, strong and nursing well (yet another big deal for us). Our biggest challenge is keeping the other 3 kids off of him so he can get some sleep.

Connor was so excited that Chase was coming home he called us for driving updates, wondering when we would arrive home. Then I walked through the front door, Connor came running through the house, blew right past me without even glancing my way and charged for the door saying, "Where's Baby Chase?" I can tell he really missed me the past 2 days :)

Here he is making his big arrival...look how tiny!!!

I'll work on getting some more pictures up, soon.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Welcome Baby Chase

Baby Chase is Here!!

Born 6lbs 10.5oz at 7:23pm 12/3/08

I will leave details to Amanda
Mommy and Baby are doing great and will be home tomorrow!!!!