Sunday, January 25, 2015

Birthday Boy

Happy Birthday to the love of my life!

Your hard work and dedication to our family speaks volumes of your character. The countless hours of seen and unseen hard work that you do to provide for us, to keep us safe and secure does not go unnoticed.

The kids adore you and clamor to your side the minute you come home. The boys copy your every move and want to be just like you. Nothing gets a squeal out of Macy as the sound of the garage door opening and you walking through the door has her running to greet you.

I am so thankful to get to do life with you and look forward to many more birthday celebrations.
You are deeply loved and I hope you can feel just a smidgeon of how vast that love is today.

So, happiest of birthdays, ol' husband of mine! We all love you so.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Walk in the Woods

On one of the last perfect fall days of the year, we ventured outside to attempt some family pictures. My brother, our photographer for the day, came down to hang out and try to capture my brood.

The sun was warm, the air was crisp  and we had the area to ourselves.  And the pictures...well... we got a few great ones!

But, my favorite photos are the out takes. The kids in their natural state.

While those photos did not make our annual Christmas card, I smile every time I see them.

 A large hill is much too tempting. The boys were bribed to get "just a few more shots" than they could run down the hill, getting the wiggles out.

Corralling 3 kids, getting them to smile AND look in the same direction is not for the faint of heart.

But being silly? Not a problem.

Uncle Joel, the photographer, had to take his turn chasing Macy.

Don't mind that baby, photobombing our photo, running with her shoe in hand.

Sometimes you need to have Puppy join the family photos. Or you will not have a Christmas card picture.

This picture sums it all up.
  Jack is asking about the creek off the left. Colin is done with pictures, pouting on the ground. I have the "mom" pose with my hands on my hips. Ryan is explaining something and Macy is grinning, flirting with my brother.

What do you like best, the out takes or posed pictures?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Silver Linings

Oh, Christmas.

We started our Christmas break off with a bang.

Around 12:30a.m on the Saturday night before Christmas, the light in our en suite bathroom clicked on. Ryan and I had just crawled into bed and were discussing our plan of action for the following day. We had stayed up late, packing and cleaning and preparing to leave for my parent's house and the beginning of our Christmas vacation.

I figured that Jack needed to go the bathroom, as he drank a bunch of milk with his freshly frosted sugar cookies that night.

I was wrong.

He was sick. Very, very sick.  Repeated rounds that lasted throughout the night.

We did not make it to church that Sunday morning. We did not wear our special Christmas clothes and than start our trek up north. We washed a lot of laundry and watched a lot of Christmas movies.

Halfway through the third round of soiled blankets, I noticed that the washer was not draining. Hmm. Weird. Try again.

Still not draining.

After a few hours of manually scooping out the water, watching various YouTube videos and taking apart the front of the washer it was determined that it was broken. The pump, the corroded plugs, everything.

No more washer. Yay.

So while Ryan and Colin spent the evening at the laundromat, I disinfected the whole house and we waited.

We were able to head out late Monday afternoon. Jack felt much better and we thought it was a quick little bug. Good to go.

45 minutes from my parents house, Macy threw up her apples. In her carseat.

We spent the night cleaning up a tired, sick little lady who had her first stomach bug and was so confused about what what happening.

Tuesday came and went, while we nursed a sick baby and than another sick little guy. Colin rallied and was sick for just a short time. No messes, no clean up. He made it the bathroom every time.

Christmas Eve came with healthy kids and celebrations with Ryan's side of the family.

 Presents were passed around and Macy enjoyed tearing off the wrapping, piece by little piece. Once she found out that she could rip the paper, she was very helpful with unwrapping everyone else's gift for them! She also claimed Colin's new sleeping bag as her own while she grabbed a quick cuddle with Grandpa.

The boys insisted on wearing ties for Christmas...until the actual day came, than it was a semi-battle to get them dressed. Colin broke his tie within 7 minutes of our arrival.  Jack, however, proudly wore his as he passed out the gifts this year. He insisted that he could do it, since he can read now and all.

Christmas morning brought excitement and waiting, as we opened stockings and presents with my parents, brother, my sister's family and two different grandparents.

While the kid's waited for everyone to get ready and the other's to arrive, books were read to little cousins and bananas were consumed by exposed toes little ladies. 

Presents were opened and enjoyed. Breakfast was made by the men and coffee was drank by the gallon. Little tiny baby boys were tickled and loved by little mini mommas, whether it was wanted or not. There was laughter and noise, paper and chaos. Everyone was happy and healthy. A wonderful Christmas morning.

Later that Christmas day, we made our way up north to my grandparent's home. It was a strange Christmas. No snow in sight. Temperatures in the 40s. The house in the woods on the river was still pretty and cozy, bathed in lights and fragrant from cooking. It was emptier this year. Missing the grand matriarch that welcomed all into her home. We all came together on Christmas, just like my grandmother loved. We ate, laughed, gifted and gave. There were a few tears, but mainly smiles. A happiness with a twinge of sorrow, missing one who was so dear.  But there was joy in knowing that, while she was so deeply missed and loved, we, as a family, were doing everything that she loved most. We were together.

 We ended our Christmas night with sleepy children in tow. All the kids went right to sleep, nestled into their beds.

Or so we thought.

Our sweet little Macy cried out for a bit, probably awakened by the adults moving around upstairs, or so we thought.
Unfortunately, we ended our night bathing a sick little girl who filled her crib and than went back to sleep in it. 

Ryan did a few more loads of laundry, I draped a towel over my chest (again), snuggled a baby back to sleep and just like that...Christmas was over.

While it was not a perfect holiday, or a preferred way to spend our time, it was real life. We had our ups and down and a multitude of laundry.

But there is always a silver lining. I have a new washer and dryer being delivered tomorrow. We did laundry at both parent's house and only had to use the laudromat once. We don't need to get a flu shot, as Jack gave it all to us. We all were together, in sickness and in health, and that is really what is important. There is always that glimmer of hope, even when clouds are grey.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas season with dramatically less clean up than I did.

Here's looking at you, 2015!