Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Getting ready for a new baby

After surviving the Christmas season and the start back to homeschooling, I am now finding myself compiling a list of things to do before the new baby comes. We found out on Christmas eve that baby is a boy! I had a neat idea that I had seen about wrapping cupcakes with either blue or pink frosting to tell siblings about the gender of their new sibling and so I couldn't help but decide to do this!

This is the reaction we received from the kids. You can tell Russell is thrilled but Katerina and Natalia seem a little disappointed. They were really hoping for a girl. But once we started getting the baby clothes out to inventory what we have and what we need, they really started to get excited. 

So that is the first thing I did to get ready, I inventoried what I already had for baby. Turns out that we have a ton of baby boy clothes saved. Really I found we didn't NEED anything. However I still wanted to do a few things for this new little one. So I bought a cute dog fabric in a soft blue color to make a new boppy cover since the old one was looking a little worn. And the craziest idea started forming. What if I went back to cloth diapering to save even more money? Hmm...more on that later.

So what's a nesting mother to do in the four months until the new baby comes? Well we do need to reorganize the boys room/homeschool room. And I want to work with my hubby to build some new shelves in an unused closet we have. That should help keep me busy, well you know along with homeschooling, extra curricular activities, and general home management. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas rush

It's that perfect time of year. For us here in Ohio the snow is falling and it's full of Christmas bliss.......oh yeah and all the busyness and craziness of this time of year. We spend so much time like everyone else rushing to get things done and stressing ourselves out worrying about deadlines and presents and even homeschooling.

 But my husband was so right when he said last night to me that it will get done, don't worry so much. And slow down and enjoy this season. It's true. Sometimes we get so caught up with doing the next thing that we forget that this is a season when we should really focus on what's important to us. Stop and evaluate if we are doing that.

The truth is that although I haven't done much Christmas shopping yet, I do have a time set up to go and get it done. Unfortunately this year Steve won't be able to go with me since he has been working crazy hours, 7 days a week all this month, but the nice thing is my sister-in-law heard that I was going alone and jumped in and said she would love to go with me!

God answers our busyness in ways that we may not understand or even see until we slow down. I am blessed with a husband who has a great job, even if the hours are long in December. And with a great sister-in-law. He has blessed me with a sewing machine, tons of scrap fabric, and pinterest to help me come up with some really cute presents for those I love.

How is God blessing you in this Christmas season?

Monday, December 09, 2013

Midwife appointment

I had another appointment with the midwife. It went well. The baby is very active! You can hear the kicks and squirms on the doppler as she tries to get the heart beat. And the heart beat was nice and steady in the 160's.

Also I was able to schedule my ultrasound! December 24, which will be a fun day to get the ultrasound done. We have a fun gender reveal that we will be doing for the kids. I am going to buy some cupcakes that are blue frosting or pink frosting and wrap them. Then once we get all the kids together they will get to unwrap the gift, find out if they are getting a brother or sister, and get a delicious treat! Win-win!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Renewing our wedding vows

Renewing wedding vows on an "off" year. It is always a subject that brings up questions. For our 12th wedding anniversary we renewed our wedding vows with a big party and ceremony in our back yard. It is so important to work on your marriage and to show Christ's love to your spouse. The 11th year of our marriage was a really hard year. Close family and friends know all that went on but the important thing is that we drew so much closer together and focused on working through issues and came out on the other side much stronger.

It was a beautiful ceremony that our pastor performed for us. We decided to do both the traditional vows and then we also wrote vows to each other. it was such a special moment that we both needed. I would encourage anyone who wants to reaffirm their vows to go for it!

I worked for a long time trying to come up with cheap ways to make the whole event feel like a backyard wedding and be classy yet fun and laid back. Due to the help of wonderful family and friends it came together beautifully!

Doesn't she look so cute! And I even saved the dress that Savanna wore in our original wedding and that's what Natalia wore. It was really neat to have her wear it. I am hoping some day one of the kids might use it in their wedding for their flower girl.
 I really love this picture of us. It's right after I came outside and Steve saw me all dressed up. His look of awe was perfect! And the fact that my sister caught a picture of us kissing was the best timing.

 It was hard to pin the boys down to get a picture of them and it's one of the things I wish we would have done but this is what us girls looked like all dressed up. My mother-in-love was so sweet and took us to a resale shop and that's where we found the dresses.

 We discussed how to deal with Hayden's one year wiggles and the solution was to let him wonder. We assigned a friend to watch him if he wandered to far but instead it was cute how he went back in forth. He loves being in his daddy's arms so you see him there a lot too.
 My sister-in-love was so sweet and came over and did my hair. I love it!
 Unfortunately we didn't get a picture of the cake in it's full glory but I used a cupcake stand and made cupcakes for the bottom layers and then this small cake for the top. The sad part is the cake fell before we got the picture. Still you can see how nice it looked.

I wish I knew how to flip this picture but this is what we made as a table decoration. The blue mason jars were in a friends basement. We simply printed labels off, added ribbons, rice, little jewels, and a tea light candle. 

I also like that someday when the kids get older we have experience pulling off a cheap but gorgeous backyard wedding. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Family photo shoot

For so long I couldn't stand the idea of new family pictures without MaKayla in them. But after a few years I realized I had to get new pictures done and move on. So when a budding semi-professional friend offered to do our pictures for super cheap I jumped on that idea.

 Steve and I had fun getting our pictures taken too!
 The Boys


                         The Girls.

 Okay so tell me we are not the only weird strange crazy different family. My kids started doing this weird thing one night when we were praying for dinner. I think it started because one of the little ones already had messy hands from starting to eat to early. So one of the big kids said, earlobes and grabbed the earlobes of the siblings beside them. Next thing I know this is becoming a regular joke between them. It's really kinda cute to have funny moments like this in our large family.
                                                It's hard to believe that this guy was only 4                                    when I first met him. It's even harder to believe he
                                   will be graduating this year! But I can say how
                                   proud we are of him. He has already been accepted
                                   to the Culinary Institute of America in New York.
                                   James is a great student and has such an ambition
                                   for cooking! It is a joy to watch him grow and soon
                                   become an adult.
 Savanna is much more of the free spirit kinda girl. If the mood strikes her to get creative she will in a heart beat. She's been this way for as long as I have known her. Even as a little 3 year old when I met her, she was full of energy. She has really found a place she loves at our local joint vocational school and will be right on James' heels, graduating next year. Her goals currently are to join the navy after high school and see the world.

                                          Russell, my first born, has always been a laid
                              back kid. This summer he disappeared after church and                               when we found him it was to discover that he had
                              accepted Jesus into his heart. Oh how wonderful that
                              makes me feel to know my son knows Jesus as his                                     savior. Ever since then he has felt that he should                                         become a missionary or maybe even a pastor. This
                              little guy (who really isn't so little anymore) will be
                              starting high school next year. Where does the time go?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Katerina is Steve and my first child together. Now that she's 8 I think she wants to be a "big kid" more than ever. She is another kid that is full of energy and lots of creativeness. She is my oldest homeschooler and she is constantly keeping me coming back to the Lord for how best to help her learn. She is a natural leader to the younger two kids and such a helper to me.
                                  Natalia is my sweet little 5 year old. Although technically not old enough for public school kindergarten, she was racing through workbooks faster then I could believe and learning to read very easily, so this summer her dad and I decided she would do kindergarten in our homeschool. It has been such a joy to watch her learn. She picks up everything so fast! She's already doing 1st grade math! She is my little snuggle "kitten" (as she puts it) and whenever I sit down she hops into my lap.

 Hayden was my hardest pregnancy, delivery, and my most challenging baby and toddler. At 3 weeks old we discovered he had acid reflux. And although medicine and a diet change for me did help, he still had nights of screaming that seemed to last forever. Now that he is almost 2 I thought we would move on to words, but instead he gets by using baby sign language and grunts mostly. He has graced us with some words but refuses to use them regularly. Yet he is so smart he can grab each family members shoes without them asking! And his little smile is so contagious! It is exciting to watch his fascination with the world around him. And like a lot of boys he loves cars, trains, and construction vehicles!

So this is us, the whole family, including the dog, Winston. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

4th of July week camping

 Please forgive the weird placement of the photos. I had a hard time figuring out how to post them in a more ascetic manner. Oh well the fun part is seeing the pictures, right?
 So the first few days we were camping it rained pretty good. As you can see Russell fell in a puddle running from our popup to my dad's RV. It was so funny that I quickly got the camera and told him not to move. After one of the really good storms the little dip between campsites turned into a small creek. And of course the kids wanted to play in it. So I did what any mom does...I took pictures!

 You can see how deep the water got in the little creek. After a good day or so of clear weather all the water was gone and things cleared up for the rest of the week.

 So we went fishing. We have been going to this campground since I was a kid and we always joke that the bluegill that practically jump on your hook are "piranhas." Well as normal the kids were able to catch a lot of "piranhas" but the best catch was Katerina's catfish. She was allowed to help Grandpa take the bluegill off the hook but he insisted on taking the catfish off.

 Natalia wasn't as patient with fishing but true to the norm she was able to catch a few "piranhas" as well. I love that I have pictures of my dad and the kids! He is an awesome grandpa and I know they will have wonderful memories from these pictures just as I have of my grandfather at this campground.

 Next we went to a local baseball field and caught a game. Because it wasn't major league there are so many more things for the kids to do. The older kids enjoyed the game and I took the youngers to do face painting, run across the field, see an owl up close, and watch a clown make balloon animals for them. Oh and of course eat hotdogs because you have to have a hotdog at the game.

 On the night before 4th of July we went to Blossom. It's an outdoor/indoor stage music arena. The outdoor portion is on a really big hill. We took a picnic dinner and after another quick rainstorm it dried up and we had a blast. I loved the patriotic music and you can see the kids loved it too! You can see Katerina pretending to be the director.
 You can see that we had a lot of down time and this is one of my favorite pictures, Steve with Hayden and Natalia swinging on this old swing which over looks the lake.

 We also got to go to the Holden Arborium. We hiked and then checked out the kids zone. The kids loved the miniature zipline.

This is Natalia playing her little "guitar." I love when she does this because it is just so cute!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

California in May

 This is pretty much how we traveled as we went through the airport and whenever we were out and about sight seeing. The umbrella stoller helped too for the airport but I think it is so much easier if you know you are going to be encountering steps or crowded situations to be able to put your little one in a carrier. I was able to stick diapers and wipes in the little pouch I made on this carrier and his sippy cup in my pocket. I love babywearing!

 This is my little guy watching the planes before we took off on our first flight. He was such a good traveler! Hayden had never been on a plane before so I didn't know how he would do. I packed so much into my diaper bag that it barely zipped closed but during our layover on the way there he had a diaper blowout. I quickly changed him and we moved to get in line for our next flight. As I stand there I realize that something still smells. Then I looked down and realized it was my shirt! Boy was I glad I had packed a spare t-shirt for myself too!

See I told you he was a good traveler!
 One of the neat things we were able to do was for the rehersal dinner we went to a bocce ball resturant. It was a lot of fun! As you can see Hayden wanted to keep throwing the balls. James loved it too, although he played with the grownups.

This is a picture of beautiful Napa Valley. We went and visited a winery there and enjoyed driving around. What a gorgeous country the Lord has made!

 These pictures of us looking awesome are from the wedding. What a beautiful wedding! And my cousin was an absolutely stunning bride! James was in charge of Hayden during the ceremony so that I could enjoy it but really Hayden was a good kid and sat nicely most of the time.

 Another one of the cool things we did was go and visit San Francisco. My uncle is a retired police officer from there and knows all the best places to visit. We rode the cable car, saw fisherman's wharf and had dinner at a delicious Chinese restaurant. Hayden again rode in the carrier and as you can see here he enjoys it! James loved the food and we all ate so much! It was such an awesome trip and I know I will treasure the memories with these boys!