Hi!

I’m back! Did you miss me?! I can’t believe it’s been 10 days since I last posted…I guess I’ve been busier than I thought! So what have we been up to? Well, here’s our last week in pictures and video:
Saturday Brianna receives her 1st Communion. We are really excited, although I’m trying to figure out how I can possibly have a child this old! lol- this is the symbol that we made to add to the banner that hangs in the back of the church so everyone knows who is receiving 1st Communion. I think it turned out cute!

Last Monday I was shocked when I received an alert on my phone that there was a shooting at a local high school. As the story unfolded we learned it was one student who walked into his 1st period class, pulled out a gun and attempted to commit suicide by shooting himself in the head. Fortunately (unfortunately??) he wasn’t successful. He survived the attempt and is still in critical condition at a local hospital. It brought up all kinds of feelings and memories though as it happened right around the anniversary of the Columbine attack.

My mom picked up this Jumperoo at a local consignment shop for Eli. He absolutely loves it and got the hang of it very quickly!

Micah was walking around Friday night while we were getting ready for a baby shower here on Saturday with a wrench up against his mouth saying “Mustache! Mustache! I got a mustache! Mustache!” It was hilarious…especially with the Handy Manny t-shirt that he was wearing!

Thursday Brianna brought home her ballet costume for her recital this year. I love it! I think it is so beautiful! We have really lucked out…since she started I think her class has managed to have the most beautiful costumes. I can’t wait to see her in it on stage! It makes me such a proud mama!

This mess turned into an awesome luau themed baby shower. The mama-to-be loves ukelele music so I immediately thought of a luau when I started planning her shower. It came together perfectly! Everyone had a great time, especially the parents-to-be, which is the most important thing!

Micah made it through his first year of Sunday school. He loved going to “school” and asked all week long when it would be “school day” again. He learned a lot this year and experienced time in a classroom which is really good for him. I’m hoping to get him into preschool next year so it was great training! They had their closing on Sunday which is always a hoot!
And I leave you with one final picture…we wore ourselves out this week and it’s not over yet. One more party for Brianna’s 1st Communion on Saturday and then we get to rest for a while! While I love throwing a good party, I’m going to be all partied out for a while!

Ta-Da!

Yup! I’m great at disappearing! lol! I go through these cycles of loving blogging and hating blogging! Well, apparently last month I wasn’t feeling it! Goodness! Well, now that my magic trick is done here’s what you missed last month!

Valentine’s Day:
Our Valentine’s Day Mantel. You can read all about it here if you missed it!

The gifts that the kids gave their teachers for Valentine’s Day: boxes of raspberry bar mix with tags that said Shooting for Brownie Points. Tags found on Pinterest (of course!!)

Jonah’s Valentine’s that, again, I found on Pinterest. We added a little cherry sucker. They were really cute and very Jonah!

Brianna’s Valentine’s box. The whole thing was foam and was so cool!

Brianna’s Valentine’s. She made them all herself with a kit we found at Michael’s. We added Valentine’s pencils that I found at the Dollar Tree. Brianna loves pencils and I thought it would be a nice change from candy!

The kids goodie bags, Micah’s elephant Valentine’s box (Brianna and Jonah both made sure Micah had a Valentine from them!) and Eli’s owl Valentine (Whooo loves you baby!?! lol)
My 2 dozen long stem roses from my hubby! They were so gorgeous! And he’s so good he had them delivered the day before! He’s a keeper! 😉
Our little cupid! He’s getting really good at this sitting up thing!
 Various Fun:
Brianna being goofy with Eli at the dentist. All three kids had appointments and we were there for like 3 hours!! She got a little slap happy after a while! And I love the look on Eli’s face!! It’s like “Oh here we go again!” lol
Morning fun with daddy before he heads off to work. (I promise he changed and looked a lot more presentable for work!)

The thing about having a baby with a lot of hair means you get lots of crazy baby bed head!
Date night out at Mahogany’s watching my brother-in-law Eric preform. He did awesome and it was such a fun night out. We had a whole crew there including my mom, Steven’s parents and her friends Sue and Jim. And of course Samantha was there too to cheer on her hubby!
Eli’s food list keeps growing. Here he is trying peaches for the first time!

Love these!! He kept turning his head towards the spoon for more! I really think making our own baby food was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. And it takes almost no extra time because we just whip something up while we’re making our food. Super easy and nutritious!

So that was the month of February for us! I hope your month was great too! Now on to our regularly scheduled programming!!!

That’s a Wrap! Week one

So I was thinking that each Friday I will start to write a weekly wrap up post. I hope it will make me more intentional in taking pictures of things that happen during the week (with my camera, NOT my phone!!) and give me another reason to write on the blog until it becomes a habit again and I don’t have to think about what to write about! 😉 Some weeks will be way more exciting than others. This was one of those not so exciting weeks. But next week holds Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday and the first Friday of Lent. What’s not to get excited about!?! 
This week I spent most of it sick with a cold. I got very little done around the house but I did get my food storage container cabinet organized, cleaned out my cooking utensil drawer and experimented with my first batch of homemade dishwashing detergent. 

Once I decide whether or not I like this recipe and will continue making it I will share the recipe with you. And I’ll also make my container cuter…I have some ideas to put my Cricut and some vinyl to work! I also started getting order back into the Master Bedroom but the cold totally sidelined that one. Hoping to finish that up this weekend, and maybe even get our paint on! (Thank you Federal Tax return!!!) If we do get some painting done I will totally take before and after pictures and show you!
Brianna had a great assignment at school a few weeks ago. They had to use recycled materials and create an animal. She wanted to make a penguin! So we used a coffee creamer bottle, some cups of an egg carton, some newspaper and recycled boxes. A little bit of paint and this is what we came up with:
Cute, huh!?!? She did such a great job! It came home from school on Monday with a note from the teacher that said “Awesome!” and a 100% written on it! She was pretty excited and we were really proud of her!
Jonah is our gamer. For Christmas the kids got Skylanders Giants for the Wii. There are over 100 different characters that you can collect and use to place on the portal while you are playing the game. Yesterday was a big day for Jonah. We went to Walmart while Brianna was at dance and the boys were being so good I let them each choose a new character for the game. And Nina bought them a case to hold all their characters. (They started with 3, they now have 10! lol) If I could tell you how many hours a day this boy will spend playing this game I’d probably be ashamed! As it is, I can’t, so I’ll try not to feel too ashamed!
Micah is a little obsessed with pirates right now. It all started with Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Now his obsession is Treasure Planet. It gets watched every day around here. (We are on the 2nd play rotation just today!! Ooooh….bad mommy!!!) While he watches he runs around the house with his Jake and the Neverland Pirate Ship and makes it fly through the air like Treasure Planet. He has such an imagination and I love that he uses it to entertain himself, especially when his brother and sister aren’t around to tell him what to do! (As I write this he has the Skylanders pieces on the ship and is using them as his crew! lol- Jonah would be proud!)
I swear my TV didn’t look that dirty until I was editing the picture! Guess I need to get out the Windex! lol
This week Eli discovered a new (to him) toy. We bought this walk-about from a friend when Brianna was a baby and it’s still going strong! 
He’s been in this quite a few times but only this week did he decide that he really likes it. He even spends almost an hour at a time in it without making a peep except to squeal when he gets something spinning. He has even figured out how to turn the seat around to get to other toys AND gets the whole thing moving in circles on the floor. Yup, it’s my new go to toy when I must get something done around the house and have him some place safe! 
And like I shared in his 6 month post this week he really decided to sit up unassisted. He can’t get himself into the sitting position but once he’s there he has decided that sitting up is pretty cool.
Go me! Go me! Go go go Me!
This week Steven was busy with Confirmation for our 8th graders. They had a rehearsal on Tuesday evening and then a retreat most of the day Wednesday before Confirmation Wednesday evening. We got to spend some extra time with him on Wednesday after the retreat before he had to leave again. It was nice to have him home for the afternoon, especially since that was the day my cold hit really hard. So now Confirmation is over, nothing really big for him til 1st Communion in May. (As far as his church responsibilities go that is!) Other than that he has spent a lot of time working overtime. I can’t complain too much, at least the pay is worth it! But boy I will be glad when tax season is over and the overtime slows down a little! 
Well, that was our week! Looking forward to a slow weekend with nothing scheduled (except PSR on Sunday morning)! Have a great weekend everyone!

Happy New Year!

I love a new year, don’t you!?! The slate is wiped clean and it feels like you get to start all over again. It’s a wonderful feeling! And a new year also means a new start for my poor, poor neglected blog! I had to take a step back and figure out why I was blogging. When I started this blog in 2007 I started it to keep a record of what we were doing, especially as I got farther and farther behind in my scrapbooking. I knew the blog would be a great way to go back and have the stories to go with the pictures when I finally got around to srapping them. Then, I got all caught up in getting followers and blah, blah. Now don’t get me wrong, I do love those of you who follow our little blog! But recognizing that I started this blog as a sort of record keeping and a way for long distance family and friends to keep up with what we were doing, and watch the kids grow, the sudden “need” to have lots of followers started to get overwhelming. I looked at other blogs and what they were doing, and how many followers they had and I felt like a failure in comparison. But I didn’t start this blog to get thousands of followers, and it’s time to get back to the bones. So in 2013 I’ll be getting back to regular posts about what is going on in our lives. I’m embarking on a serious fight to get organized and find a routine (daily, as well as cleaning) that works for me. I’m going to be menu planning again (with the costs of everything looking to go up in 2013 a menu plan is going to become essential to keeping costs down). You’ll hear about my obsession with Pinterest (the heavens part….AHHHHH!!!) and Instagram (how awesome is Instagram!!) And of course, my kids will continue to be the stars of the show around here. After all, they are our abundant blessings and we are so blessed to have them! 
Speaking of Pinterest (are you on there yet?!? If not, why not!?!? It’s amazing!!!), I found so many great ideas that we used for our New Years’ Eve celebration this year. Our circle of friends actually ended up with no plans this year for New Years’ Eve, so for the first time in probably 5 years we were at home with the kids. I knew it was going to take some planning to keep them engaged and playing nicely as we counted down to the New Year. So, off to Pinterest I went! 
First, I found this idea from The Real Thing with the Coake Family.

Source: realcoake.blogspot.com via Kari on Pinterest

She made these bags for her daughters, one bag for each hour of their family’s New Years’ Eve party. Inside each bag was an activity for the family to do together. I loved this idea and decided to make up some bags myself. Using plan brown lunch bags, white cardstock, my Cricut machine and some markers I created 12 bags.

Not nearly as cute..but they got the job done 🙂

Inside each bag I placed an activity. The first one was a little bit of trickery on my part, but it needed to be done! lol

It’s time to start the night off right, we don’t want you to scream or fight. Just run around and pick up those toys, so we can have fun and make lots of noise!
That was our activity for the 1 o’clock hour: cleaning up the playroom and the living room so that we would have the space to have fun. Nothing kills the fun buzz worse than stepping on a car or a Lego!
For the 2 o’clock hour we spent some time looking back at 2012. We used 2 different printables, one for the adults and one for the kids. The printable for the kids came from Amy’s Finer Things. 
Source: amysfinerthings.com via Kari on Pinterest
I liked that this printable had a space to write the kids heights and weights. We broke out a measuring tape and the Wii Fit scale. Each child had an adult to help them fill out their sheets. They turned out so cute! And they’ll be great to go back and look at as I’m trying to scrapbook pictures from this year 🙂
The reflection for the adults came from one of my favorite blogs, The Dating Divas. 

Source: thedatingdivas.com via Kari on Pinterest

It defnitely took some self inspection to fill them out. Some of the questions were just downright hard! But it was a fun way to look back and think about the highs and lows of 2012.

Our girl didn’t need any help-it’s kind of sad when they can start filling out things without your help! Except for the occasional “How do you spell ________?”

And so the day/night continued on, opening a new bag every hour (or 2, in the case of the 4-5 o’clock hour when everyone laid down for naps and no one woke up til 5:30. Luckily the 5 o’clock hour was eating and the 6 o’clock hour was playing board games so we could do that and eat at the same time!)

We played some Wii games (bowling and Just Dance 3-what a workout!!!)

This little guy is good! His first time ever playing Wii bowling and he bowled a 72!

The pile on the desk…the reason I am on an organization mission in 2013! lol Oh, and yes, that is a broken arm! I’ll have to share that story soon!

And that little thing…he’ll be 5 months old this week! Can you believe it!?!? I sure can’t!!!

This game totally wore me out! You don’t need an expensive gym membership! Just buy any of the Just Dance games!!

We ate our favorite New Years’ Eve dinner…munchie foods! I made potato skins from scratch, something I am ashamed to admit I’ve never done before! They were so easy and sooo good! So much better than those frozen things from the store that are probably full of additives and preservatives and other yucky stuff that we are trying to cut out of our diet this year. We also had BBQ chicken wings, sausages, cheese, crackers, celery, carrots, cucumbers, dip, chips, and salsa. I contemplated making quesadillas, but thought we had enough. Don’t you think so?!?!

Yummy, yummy homemade potato skins. I’ll never buy potato skins again! Too easy and too delicious to make on your own!
All the yummies!

 While we were eating, and after, we played a few games that the kids chose. The first was Headbandz. If you’ve never played this game I highly recommend it! It is a great family game and one that is very portable. We will be taking this camping this summer for sure!

I think Jonah was trying to use his powers of ESP to figure out what was on his card! lol

 Our sweet baby boy! The time is going by way too quickly with him! It seems the more kids you have to faster the time goes! I’d love to slow it down just a little. He is just way to sweet and I’m sad to think that we are almost half way through his first year. Knowing he’s the last baby has made every smile, every cuddle, every everything that much more special, but it’s also made it a little bittersweet. Lasts are hard! Now I need some neices and nephews to spoil!(Yes, Samantha and Eric I am looking at you!) For those of you wondering if he really is our last the answer is a big, resounding yes! 5 pregnancies in 8 years have been very hard on my body and my emotional state. For the sake of our family we’ve made the decision that it’s best not to push our luck. I’m doing good right now but it’s been a battle at times and I’d rather not push it anymore. So for the sake of our family Eli is our final baby. It’s a little sad, but at the same time he has made everything feel so complete. We know it’s the best decision!

Another of our activities for the night included calling grandparents to wish them a happy New Year!

Finally, it was time to countdown! With the exception of Jonah’s little cat nap the kids made it all the way to midnight! I didn’t know if they would (let’s be honest, I didn’t know if I would at times!! lol) but they did. And it was so much fun to ring in the new year with all of us together as a family!

10, 9, 8….
Happy New Year! Welcome 2013 (2013-how crazy is that!?!? And where is my flying car?!?! Just sayin’!)
After midnight snuggles! Yup, even the baby was up!
And just a few days after New Years baby came down with RSV and an ear infection. The tears you see here we thought were from teething. Turns out not!
But after a little Tylenol the smiles were back!

We had a wonderful New Years’ Eve together! The bags definitely helped pass the time quickly. We commented often how it seemed like hours were going so fast. It was time for a new activity before we knew it. If we end up doing a family New Years again this year we will definitely be doing this again! It was a huge hit! But we were all ready for a good nights’ sleep not long after 2013 showed up. There may or many not have been a little snoring!

 Happy 2013 my friends! 2012 was a great year for us, but here’s hoping 2013 will be even better!

On A Rainy Saturday

So we’re getting hit today with the deadly storm that passed through Arkansas, leaving at least 16 people dead and countless others unaccounted for. And while I feel awful for their loss, I am greatful that the storm has lost some of it’s strength and fury as it passes over us! One good thing to come out of this though is that we are stuck in the house, no yard work, no building the deck. And while I’d love to get the deck finished, I came down from my shower to find this scene in front of me:

 Father and daughter rediscovering their good friend, the Wii. 

And even though she had been singing “Rain, rain go away! Come again another day!” not an hour before, this smile tells me she’s just fine with the rain, because she’s found something better to do snuggled up in her daddy’s lap!

Have a blessed weekend, be it rain or shine where you are!

Sunday Bible School Graduation

This past Sunday at St. Joe’s  was the closing for their Sunday Bible School. Brianna started in it when she was 3 and this year she graduated from the program! Next year she will start in the Parish School of Religion (PSR) program which her daddy is in charge of. Jonah started in the program this year. The girls who run the program are awesome and they have let our children start earlier because it really helps us out since they meet at the same time that the PSR program does. So for one hour we don’t have to try to juggle them and the PSR, and they get to go learn about the Bible. So even though Jonah didn’t turn 3 until December they let him join the 3 year old program as a favor to us. He has loved it! The decision we have to make now is whether to keep him in the same class that he was in this year again next year, or go ahead and let him move up with his class. If we let him move up then we would have a one year lag between when he’ll be able to start PSR and when he’ll graduate from the Bible program. (Mainly because I don’t think he’ll be ready to start Kindergarten as early as Brianna was!) So we have a decision to make over the summer!

For the closing the children perform some songs for the parents and family members who can come. They are sooo cute! Of course I had to take some video, but blogger has lost my upload videos button (I can’t find it ANYWHERE on my toolbar!!!) so I’m just going to have to post some pics instead.

Jonah was in the front row, and Bri was in the back so I didn’t get any pics of her until it was over and she was coming down the stairs with her goodie bag but here you go!

 Jonah can’t decide how he feels about this!
He was blowing his momma kisses! I love that boy!
My little girl is growing up! Where has the time gone? Who told her she could grow up!?!?!?!
And because he is my baby, and it’s my blog, and I can…here is a pic of my baby! He’s getting big too (and yes, he is chewing on Turner from Handy Manny!)

I’m gearing up for a crazy busy weekend (shopping for wedding gift supplies and Mother’s Day gifts tonight, coming home to make wedding gift, which I’ll post pics of later! NKU graduation tomorrow and I have lots of friends graduating so I’m planning on going to that, a wedding tomorrow afternoon, Mother’s Day on Sunday) and then another crazy week (mainly consisting on making a wedding cake and 100 cupcakes!!! My first ever bytheway!), leading up to another crazy weekend (friend’s birthday party on Friday, Aunt’s wedding in Indy on Saturday, PSR closing back in KY on Sunday, followed by Bri’s dance recital pictures Sunday afternoon, whew!!!) So I may be kind of sparse for the next few weeks! But I’ll be in when I can posting pics of the gift I’m making for my frien, and pics from their wedding. Pics of my first ever wedding cake and cupcakes. And pics from their wedding. Here’s a sneak peak from my practice run with the cupcakes:

The most fun part was eating them! But I always thought these things looked so hard to do and they were soooo easy! Oh and they were soooo good!
 

Anyways, have a great weekend! And as Brianna put so eloquently last night “Just go out and enjoy all that this day has to offer!” (Where does she come up with these things?!?!?!)

On An Eeyore Kind of Day

Today is the kind of day that would have made Eeyore happy. It’s grey and it’s cold, and the sky keeps spitting stuff that goes from snow to sleet and back to snow again. What a great day to stay in doors. We cleaned Brianna’s room this morning (dusted, windows, etc.) and then after lunch and Jonah was down for his nap Bri and I had some craft time. My mom got Bri a great craft book for St. Nick and I’ve been meaning forever to do something with her and just haven’t. Until today. We thought with the weather outside what a great day to make a snowman. So we went upstairs to my scrapbook stuff and picked out white paper, patterened paper, buttons, brads, markers and set to work. Bri is a craftly little thing. She loves to cut and glue and color. Of course there were things I had to do for her, like using the circle cutter to make the snowman’s body, but she did the gluing and drawing all herself. She was so proud of her little snowman (acutally, it’s a girl she pointed out to me, and insisted on drawing her some eyelashes, because only girls have eyelashes!!!) and of course, I had to get some pictures! So here’s my big 4 year old (YIKES!!!) enjoying her craft time with mommy!


Isnt’ it cute! I think it turned out adorable! And she did such a good job! Tomorrow she wants to make Christmas trees (yes, it’s a little late for that, but since we haven’t taken any Christmas stuff down yet I figure it can’t do any harm!) I think a tradition of mommy and me craft time has begun! Thanks mom for getting such a great book!

Brianna turns 4!

On Wednesday, November 19th, our princess turned 4 years old! I can’t believe that it’s been 4 years since she came to bless our family. The time has surely flown by, and I have to force myself to enjoy every little moment to make sure the next four years don’t fly by as quckly as the first four! Here is a picture of Brianna at the hospital the day after she was born.

This is Bri at 1 year.

Here she is at 3! (Don’t ask me where 2 went???? I think I’m blocking it out! LOL!)

And now here’s my big 4 year old! Ooooo….stop growing!



Congratulations my sweet baby on another year in this wonderful world! I love to watch the wonder in your eyes as you discover new things, and enjoy your many favorite things! You are such a great big sister to Jonah, and a big helper to me! You have such a sweet spirit and I am so greatful that God saw fit to send you to me! I love your laugh, and your smile, and your amazing hugs and kisses. I am so excited to continue to watch you grow and I can’t wait to see you accomplish all the amazing things that I know you will! Happy birthday my precious girl! I love you more than I could express!

Tumbling Monkeys

Our Brianna loves to play games. She could play board games, card games, matching games, computer games and puzzles for hours. This year for Christmas she got a great game from her Nina called Tumbling Monkeys. It’s for ages 5 and up but Bri loves it! It kind of reminds me of the game Kerplunk with the marbles and the sticks, do you remember that one?!?! We used to love it and the premise of Tumbling Monkeys is the same. It has a palm tree that you fill with brightly colored sticks and then you drop these plastic monkeys in it. The monkeys hang from the sticks and then you roll a dice and pull a stick according to the color you rolled. The goal is to end up with the least amount of monkeys, but not according to Brianna. She is convinced that the winner is the one with the most monkeys! She is so funny because if she pulls a stick and the monkeys don’t fall she says “Oh, I got stuck!!!” She has so much fun and it is fun to play with her now that she’s learning how to take turns. It’s also helping her with her colors since she has to pull the stick that matches the color she rolls. Games are such a great way to teach kids how to play fair and to have some quality time together. So if you have preschoolers go out and get this game, I bet they’ll love it as much as Bri does! And if you don’t have preschoolers yet buy it anyway to have on hand. It really is a fun game and great for mommy time or family time!

Sleeping Beauty

So last night was one of those nights where Bri just will not go to bed! I think we tried for like an hour and a half before we just gave up and let her come back out into the living room with us. We were watching ER (so it was around 10pm) and she was being goofy and just normal Bri! At one point she climbs off the couch and is standing next to it with her head propped up on some throw pillows, watching TV. The next thing I know I’m hearing this deep breathing and I look over and see this: She fell asleep standing up!!!! I mean, deep sleep, snoring here!!!!! It was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen! And of course, since Mommy is a scrapbooker we couldn’t put her in bed until I snapped a few pictures to document the story! Otherwise, no one would believe me! Plus, it’ll make such a cute page for her scrapbook!!!!!
So there she is- our very own sleeping beauty! Oh, how she makes me laugh!