Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ian Hits Double Digits

On February 5th, Ian turned 10.  I can't believe it's been a decade since he was born - I remember that specific time very clearly because I was in my very last semester of college, and had a ton of responsibilities. plus the added bonus of giving birth mid-semester.  I remember that he was born on a Thursday, I missed just that Thursday and Friday of classes, that I was back in school on Monday taking a math test (nugget of wisdom: don't save your required math class for your last semester because you hate math) and on Friday my string quartet performed in a master class for a world-class string quartet (I remember my Mom, who arrived a few days after his birth holding him in the back of the recital hall, and the quartet members oohing and ahhing over him).  This decade has absolutely flown by, especially the latter half!  We celebrated his special birthday with the first big "friend" birthday party since he turned five, at the local entertainment center.  The kids enjoyed pizza and cake (shaped like an orange lego - his choice) and then played arcade games, rode on indoor rides, and played laser tag.  It was a great time for them, although corralling and watching Colin, Cecily and Elle was a bit like herding cats...

Ian with his kitty

Party time

The birthday boy

Ian and a school friend - I was impressed with how well-mannered his friends were

Colin, the tag along little brother

Pizza's finished, now it's time for cake

Ian's custom designed orange lego cake

Happy Birthday Dear Ian!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Happy Nerthday!

New Year's Eve pulls double duty in our family, as it's also Allegra's birthday.  This year she turned 12 and was surprised with her very own pet, a parakeet she named Elsa (who's kind of temperamental, like her Frozen namesake).

Awaiting the big birthday surprise

Ah the suspense

She was truly surprised

Such a photogenic girl, celebrating with her My Little Pony cake

She's a good big sister, friend, and cousin

Smile!  You're 12!

Awkward candle blowing photo

Cecily bit the dust before the clock hit midnight

Allegra and her friend made it to the end though

Colin was the second little one to fall asleep

Elinor was the first, and all the screaming, jumping up and down, and exploding streamers/noisemakers didn't even wake her up

Ian was ready to get the party started

Bigger Family Christmas :)

After our intimate (or as intimate as a Christmas with eight people can be) Christmas morning, we head over to James' parents house to share the rest of the day with his family.  It's a veritable feast of fine food, a gorgeously set table, presents, and lots of lots of coffee (it's been a long day by the time we finish opening more presents and eating our Christmas dinner).

This is how the day starts out - all energy and excitement

A rare Mom photo

Ian rocking a Christmas sweater

Just like his Dad

Post-gift opening fun with Little People playsets

And Colin with Legos!

And this is how the day ends, everyone wiped out and falling asleep

Family Christmas

Christmas Eve and Christmas morning are our family times.  We spend it together, just the eight of us, in a fairly regular routine.  Christmas Eve wraps up, post-eating and post-Holiday Inn watching, with the sprinkling of the sparkle oats on the lawn (the brown lawn, as you can see, it's almost never a white Christmas here, but on the flip side, it's not too cold either, as you can see based upon Colin's short sleeves).  Then everyone slumber parties in our room and gathers at the top of the stairs before we "release the hounds".  Usually we've got one or two grumpy kiddos who didn't get enough sleep, and, judging by the picture, that role was played by Ian and Cecily this year.  In all seriousness, though, we are blessed to be able to provide a veritable wealth of Christmas presents for the kids, and we don't take that for granted at all.  This year we instituted a new tradition - three presents for each child.  If it was enough for Jesus, it should certainly be enough for us.  It was refreshing - gift-opening wasn't so overwhelming and there wasn't as much mess to clean up afterwards.  We are definitely going to incorporate that into our annual traditions.

Allegra in the spirit on Christmas Eve

The kids sprinkling sparkle oats for Santa's reindeer

My daughter being goofy

The trips ready and waiting for the okay to descend the stairs on Christmas morning

Stocking fun

More stockings

The rest of the bunch with their stockings

Friday, April 11, 2014

I was "That Kid"s Mom this Christmas :)

December is one busy month with six kids.  The little ones had a program for their preschool.  After attending the same preschool seven years now, between all the kids, I think I know the songs better than the kids!  After all of my previous children behaved decorously and politely, I finally got my "scene stealer".  This year, it was my Elinor who was the kid belting out the songs  Oy.  That girl is something.

My little Elinor, the second from the left, in the red holding her jingle bells

Cecily, singing like a little angel

Sunday School Program

I always have a difficult time deciding which Sunday to put on our "Christmas clothes".  Do I do it on the Sunday School program Sunday, or the Sunday immediately preceding Christmas Day?  First world problems, eh?  At the end of the day, I chose the Sunday School program.  Weren't you just dying to know?

Mr. Colin Man - behind those innocent big brown eyes lie heaps of mischief

This was literally the best photo of all the kids.  Sad, I know.  Better luck next year, I guess.

Elle, or as she refers to herself "the baby of the family"

Ian, who was a Bethlemite "extra" in the program

Miss Cec, usually prim and proper

The tie is totally my fault - don't blame him, he wears whatever I tell him to...

The littlest ones (2-3-4 classes) sang a few Christmas songs for us, including Away in a Manger

She made eye contact, but she wasn't going to break her "game face" by waving on the way back down the aisle

Allegra played Mary (in the pink), Ian's in the second row in the striped blue tunic, and Colin's in the first row in the dark brown robe with light blue scarf

Homemade Teacher Gifts

I struggle with knowing what to get teachers and coaches and special folks for Christmas.  We don't have a big budget, and I'm not huge into the commercialization of the season anyways.  I've done gift cards in the past, but this year I decided to break a few rules - I gave a homemade gift AND I gave chocolates.  The best I can do is give something that I myself would be delighted to receive, and indeed I would have loved one (okay, correction, I DO love one, because I had a few left over).  I love the vintage ball jars, and really they are so useful for any number of things and can work with any type of decor.  So, I purchased the blue ones, loaded it up with fine (Costco) chocolates, slapped a lovely gift tag on them, and viola, Christmas present problem solved.  Next year I'll probably go back to gift cards though.  Gotta keep 'em guessing.

Allegra in the Nutcracker...Again

Allegra performed for the I've-lost-track-of-how-many performance of Ballet Idaho's Nutcracker.  She was in the Garland Dance and a Big Mouse, which she thoroughly enjoyed.  It's most definitely a Fife institution at this point.

Garland Dance

My girl loves to be on stage

My dancer (since she was 3)

Allegra is such a sweet, bright spirit that she makes friends wherever she is