Friday, February 6, 2015

Giving thanks

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays! The focus is on gratefulness, something we can all stand to focus on more. There is no pressure of major decorating, gift giving, social obligations . . . just lots of being thankful and eating great food. What could be better?

Living many many hours away from our families, it is often not really practical to travel for the short Thanksgiving break Russell has for work. We have enjoyed family visits throughout the years, but we have also had many opportunities to enjoy Thanksgiving with good friends. Which is so much fun! This year, our friends Christy and Matt and their kiddos joined us for a day of playing outside and eating a smoked turkey from our favorite barbeque restaurant. Christy and I made sides and it was just a wonderful day!

I didn't take many pictures. Really, this whole pregnancy, I haven't been doing great on taking pictures (or cleaning bathrooms or really doing much of anything beyond the absolutely necessary). There is a reason why this Thanksgiving blog post is being published in FEBRUARY. Just the same. Here are a few snapshots!

Rockin the kids' table!

My girls both agreed whole-heartedly that the best part of Thanksgiving was Miss Christy's pie! And homemade whipped cream. Yeah, I can't say I blame them!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Living and learning

Articles that encourage toy-less, clutter-less gift giving are all the rage in the viral facebook world. And as a mom of two small kids with one more on the way and a relatively small house, boy, do I get it! Stuff for stuff's sake can absolutely smother you!

For Catherine's birthday, her daddy and I decided to give her a kit that allowed her to watch caterpillars grow into butterflies and she just loved that! We got the caterpillars in the mail shortly after her birthday. Within a few days, they had spun chrysalises and we transferred them to a netted butterfly habitat (um, well, cage). About a week later, within 48 hours, each of them broke out of their little spun homes and we had five pretty new butterflies to enjoy! We watched our butterflies for several days, partly because we had a cold snap and it was too cold to release them. We had fun feeding them sugar water and oranges and watching them dry their wings and learn to fly. The girls thought this was awesome! Seeing their excitement and seeing them learn was the best part!
Our five cocoons

First one to bust out!

Ready to set her new friends free

All of them and their empty cocoons

Caroline trying to convince them to come out of the habitat

Catherine looking for one who flew away into a pile of leaves

Coming soon!

We've had a major shake-up in our house the last six months that I haven't really officially mentioned on the blog yet. We are expecting another sweet little girl into our world this February! If I had my act together, I would have a picture of my pregnant belly or a scanned in ultrasound photo. But walking upstairs to the scanner seems just too hard. And I am still trying to decide whether or not I'd even like to take a picture of my pregnant belly. So this is what you get for now. A text-only announcement. Poor third child.

She doesn't have a name yet. She doesn't have a room yet. But that's how it goes, for now. Hopefully by February, she will have both. :-) She will be beautiful, precious, and loved. She will stretch my body to its limits. She will have two sisters that couldn't be more thrilled to have a baby to love. So something tells me it will all be okay.

Happy birthday, Catherine!

While Peaches was with us, we were able to celebrate Catherine's fourth birthday! Wow, this kid is 4! Let's do a quick recap.

One day old
One year old

Second birthday
Third birthday - oh hair!

Turning 4!
We had a difficult time pulling off the birthday party this year. It rained and rained and rained. Catherine's birthday falls during Fall Break here, so many of her friends already were out of town. Then on top of it, our plan was to have her party up at the state park here  like we did last year. Usually fall is the best time of year here - dry, crisp, and gorgeous weather! But this one weekend was just awful. After postponing the outdoor party from Saturday to Sunday, we ended up with our group at a very crowded Chuck E. Cheese. Our friends were wonderfully supportive and everyone made the best of it. Catherine felt loved and that's what mattered on that day! Here are a few party pics - it wasn't quite the photo event it might have been at a park on a beautiful fall day. But ya know!

Sweet Daniel. Catherine gets so excited and he is Mr. Serious!

These two are such good friends! I don't look forward to the day when they suddenly realize the opposite sex is gross!

What cupcake? I thought we were just supposed to eat the icing!

What a pretty Anna Paige. She figured she'd just take home the tray of Sleeping Beauties.

Apparently everyone has the idea that you eat a cupcake this way.

Blowing out all FOUR candles, sigh!

Sweet girlfriends!

I love that I have a picture of every kid covered in icing and Daniel is eating salad! Good boy, raised right!

Gotta admit, even I thought this ride was fun!

Catherine and sweet Clara loved spinning in this teacup. I posted the pics in a funny order; this was before the cupcakes, which is a good thing. I mentioned spinning, right?

Big Jen thought it was as much fun as I did!

These two are such close friends! Thankful for her and her sweet family!!

And these two have been buddies since before they were born. And I hope they will be for a long time to come!

Gratuitous pic of my cupcakes. One of my favorite parts of birthdays is making cupcakes that go with whatever theme the girls choose. I love it! I think I was supposed to push the sticks in a little further to get the whole icing dress thing. Oh well, one of many things that wasn't perfect. My little princess had fun anyway!
We also enjoyed some gift-opening back home. Here are a few favorites.
A whole series of Amelia Bedelia books from our own resident book lover, Aunt Allison!

A great big hug from Daddy

An enormous gift to unwrap from Nana and Paw Paw. An easel!

Fun book and cd from Grandma and Gramps!

A girly storybook from Peaches and Grandpa!

And the much anticipated princess umbrella! She has reminded me every week SINCE MARCH that she wanted a princess umbrella for her birthday. I don't even know how she knew to ask for that, but there was no chance she was forgetting! When you wait for something for six months (and that's an eighth of your life!), you get pretty excited when you get it. She has loved this thing! Here, she was trying to get under it with Caroline, who was less than enthusiastic.
Happy birthday, sweetie! We sure love you!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Visit from Peaches and Pumpkin Pickin'

The weekend of Catherine's birthday (Oct 12), we enjoyed a visit from our favorite Peaches! The weather left a lot to be desired, but we did manage to sneak in our annual trip to the Pumpkin Patch. Around here, a pumpkin patch is way more than just a place to get pumpkins. More like a fall-themed amusement park! This is always a highlight of autumn for small kids in our area and we were more than happy to share the fun with family! Peaches is such a good sport, isn't she? She even got on the giant jumping pillow so this pregnant mama didn't have to! Sweet lady. The girls had a blast!

Pumpkin slushes . . . best part!

Petting rabbits? Check!

They were done with pics by this point in the visit. So this was the best we could do! :)