Tuesday, December 28, 2010

You want to take a Christmas picture of us, Mom? What are you thinking?

The holidays are always busy, but so much more so when moving into a new house and trying to settle in while at the same time getting ready for Christmas and working on a new house.  So, as you can imagine, getting a family Christmas picture and Christmas card out this year have been virtually impossible - don't hold your breath, I don't think one is forthcoming.  We have developed a family tradition of going Christmas caroling at retirement and senior care centers with my Mom's real estate company every December.  The girls thoroughly enjoy this and are learning valuable lessons about appreciating older people, and being kind to others that are less physically and mentally capable than themselves.  The older people are extremely appreciative for the children's presence as many of them rarely see children during the year and miss the experience.  This year, after the caroling had concluded, we went back to the office for a potluck and I thought I might just be fortunate enough to get one good picture of all 5 girls dressed in their Christmas outfits.  As you can see below, this didn't exactly turn out as I had hoped for.   But, I think we will laugh about these attempts in the future, so at the very least I have Christmas pictures of them this year for posterity's sake.  Notice that half-way through the photo session, #3 (in the middle) has red eyes from crying because she was sad that I insisted upon taking a few more pictures, and she was hot-to-trot to go and have a bowl of soup instead.  :-) 

Where is #4?

There she is! . . but now #3 is doing crazy eyes.

Looking pretty good, but not always getting the idea of looking at the camera.

#1's arms were too tired from holding #5, so they sat down in front of the tree.  #3 has melt down over not going immediately to the potluck supper, hence the red eyes from crying.

#3 & #4 trying to smile for Mom, but not exactly succeeding.  #2 can barely see over #4's head.

#1 is 7-years-old and gets the idea of taking several pictures in a row while the rest are having a hard time staying on task.

O.K.  This is really not working out.  I think we'd better give up for now and all go have a bowl of soup.  (Wow, Mom, it took you that long to figure this out?  :-)  )

Thursday, December 16, 2010

And the Fabulously Fun Item of the Day is . . .

. . . a Creatology foam snowmen craft kit.  Which, by the way, I bought last year after Christmas on a deep discount at Michael's.  I thought it was kind of silly last year buying this item and then just putting it away for a year, but imagine my great surprise and delight at finding it buried away in my Christmas items as I was getting them out to decorate this week.  Just what the girls and I needed to add a little additional Christmas pizzaz to our new house while still being in the midst of organizing and unpacking. 

After the girls went to bed, I got the hot glue gun out and and glued the snowmen on a piece of yarn and proceeded to hang up the snowmen garland above the fireplace.  I need to dig out some of my cords and computer items so that I can start uploading pictures again.  When I do, I'll post a picture of this because it's pretty cute - at least I think so.  The nice part about these craft kits is that they are pretty easy to put together, either with hot glue and an adult doing the gluing, or with regular glue and then leaving them to dry overnight.  All the pieces are included, but the kids can get creative and put together the item (a snowman, in this case) the way they want.  My 2-year-old even really got into this project and went gung ho on it.  :-)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lessons I'm Learning from my Kids: Time is Fleeting - Enjoy the Precious Moments

My baby just turned 8 months old and it seems like she was just born.  I'm trying my darndest to hold onto these sweet and so fleeting moments with her as she grows up before my very eyes.  It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day frustrations of the mundane and focus in on that instead of the wonderful blessing of time we have been given with our kids while they are still little.  Every year I'm learning more and more the importance of doing my best to major on the major stuff and minor in the minor stuff - but I'm far from perfect in this area and need to keep on learning. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dance Recital

When Arianna's community rec. class (Tiny Dancers) fell through this fall, I signed up Isabella for a short 6-week class called "Street Jazz" (a mix of hip hop and jazz).  Isabella loves to dance and improvise, but hasn't taken a class for some time so I thought now that she is 7, it was about time to get her back into a dance class.  I'm glad I did because she had a blast!  She wanted to go to class every day of the week.
My pretty, so-sweet "big girl".

The kids were in the class for a short period of time, but were able to work hard and get a number prepared for a combined dance recital with the teacher's other classes from the YMCA.  Isabella's group peformed to the Lady Gaga/Beyonce "Telephone" Remix song.  Grandma was nice enough to lend Isabella and old cell phone of hers that is no longer in service to use as a prop during the dance performance.  

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Life in the Country

Our barn-shaped house with an already fenced-in yard for the dog.

Well, a new phase has begun in the life of our family.  We have made the move out to the country - a new house, a new school for the kids, a new and longer commute for the hubby, and all the new differences from living in the middle of a city to living further out in an unincorporarted part of the county.  And, as you can see, I am finally reconnected to the internet - albeit via wireless internet because that is the only type of service available to us in our location (who would have thought?).  

I've missed blogging for the past couple of weeks, but to be honest, daily life just took over anyway and I'm sure I wouldn't have had time to blog even if I had wanted to.  The first couple of days of the move were very stressful for me.  I do pretty well managing day-to-day stress with 5 kids and staying calm through most situations, but when it comes to big transitions and major upheaval, I am quite the opposite.  I feel very tense, stressed out, and almost immobilized for a day or two wondering where I should begin to tackle the monumental new task.  For me, this was compounded by my stove not having arrived (and it still hasn't) and having to rely on 1 electric burner, a toaster, and foods I can keep in the fridge that don't need to be cooked.  Thankfully, I have my parents close by and they are very involved in our family's life; they sensed that I needed not just the physical help to get my house to look more like a home, but also the emotional help that this would bring.  So, God bless them, they came over two days in a row and helped whip all my major rooms into shape by cleaning, helping me re-arrange furniture, unpack boxes, and generally make it more livable while I continue to unpack.  Then, the day after, they came back with me to the old house to clean that out some more as it needs to get ready to be rented.  So, this week I have come full circle from wondering, "What in the world did we move for?", to "I'm so glad we made this move; this is such a blessing!".  Now as before, home is where a new page of our story will begin to be written.   

View from my kitchen window.

View from the front of the house.

Dog playing behind the house.

Looking down the driveway to the bridge and creek.

View from the bridge up to the road.