Christmas 2013

I seriously took only one picture. ONE. I feel justified in my failure only because we recorded pretty much the whole thing. Here is the picture:

A picture on the stairs before we could go see what Santa brought was mandatory growing up so it is now mandatory in our household. 

This year we did something a little bit different, the kids wrote a letter to Santa saying that they would like to give presents to someone in need instead of getting presents from him. So he wrote a letter back and included wish lists from some kids in need. They were mostly happy to be doing this. Some days they were really excited about it and some days they were sad that Santa wasn't coming (he still came and filled their stockings). In the end they didn't get to be a part of picking out presents as much as I would have liked, mostly I did it all by myself. But I felt like this was a nice way to move away from Santa Claus and focus more on the Savior and making Christmas a time of giving. Sometimes to really feel the spirit of giving you have to feel a sacrifice as well. Jeff and I decided to keep our gifts to each other really inexpensive, for the first time. It was really fun to give thoughtful, but cheap things. Oh I forgot. Jeff did surprise me with perfume. I have been wanting him to pick out perfume for me so I knew it would be something he'd like too. Anyway he went the the mall one day and I knew what he was doing because he smelled really strongly of perfume when he came home. In the end he said he only liked one, and it was actually one I had told him I liked a long time ago. He told me I could have made it easier for him and told him that before he went and smelled a hundred different perfumes. 

The kids picked out presents for each other and I am beginning to think that they know each other better than I know them. They each picked out thoughtful, really fitting gifts. Speaking of gifts, the present I ordered for Callum from Amazon still hasn't gotten here. I emailed the seller today and hope to be able to figure out where it went. Really. I ordered it November 17th. Oh well. Luckily he wasn't old enough to know he was one present short. Or care for that matter. I had to bribe him with candy to get him to open his presents. Until he sort of hit this point where he thought it was cool and started tearing open everyone's presents towards the end. 

On Christmas day we made plans to go sledding with some friends to the best sledding hill in Madison. It was seriously huge. And. super. fast. I. mean. really. fast. The girls were so brave. We started in the middle of the hill and by the next run they wanted to go up to the top. I went down with our friends daughter and I would have screamed if I didn't have to save face in front of a four year old. We were spinning and going backwards and throwing snow up into our faces. It was kind of scary. It got scarier though when some older lady totally got taken out by a sled. She wasn't paying attention and a sled ran into her. That was only the first one. While we were there two more people got knocked over. Our friend's little boy and a mom with her four year old. The boy was fine but the mom got a tooth knocked out. That's when we called it quits, before any of us got hurt. We had to go anyway because we were having dinner with some friends and we were running really late. Like we needed to be there in 30 minutes and we still had to get home, get changed and make dessert. I had done prep for the dessert so we got it thrown together and I got my makeup and hair done while we left the kids in the garage buckled in playing their leapsters. On our way to our friend's house Lauren said that I had gotten ready really fast. I told her that we didn't just change, but we made a dessert too. She was super impressed. I commented that teamwork makes everything faster. And Lauren said "Like when Kenna and I were pulling the sled up the hill together? Because that was NOT fast." I thought it was so funny. 

The Toothfairy

The Toothfairy has now become apart of our household. Lauren lost her first tooth last week. She was so exicted, and I was so excited. Honestly this momentous change from baby teeth to grown-up, big girl teeth has been the most thrilling step so far in the parenting process. Sending them to school is monumental, but is too emotional to be happy about. And I think it is safe to assume that when Lauren starts driving it will be too scary to be find the time to be excited for her about. Yes, losing teeth is safe, and not emotional. Just exciting. She woke up on Friday morning and said that one of her teeth were loose. So I gave it a wiggle and sure enough, it was barely wigglely. She had that sucker out by Sunday. Ah... a child after my own heart. I don't think her fingers left her mouth all weekend. The way she is NOT my child is that she pulled out her own tooth. I never, I repeat NEVER pulled out my own teeth. It could have been hanging by a tread (or whatever it is a tooth hangs by) and I would never pull it out. It usually required that a) my Mom had to trick me and pull it when she promised that she would just wiggle it, or b) my Mom would restrain me somehow and yank it out while I was screaming and crying. (Hmmm. I wonder why she went with the tricking option so many times)? So I was very surprised when she came to me holding her tooth on Sunday. Lauren then asked when the Toothfairy was going to come and how much money she would get for her tooth. Hmm. Good questions. I can honestly say I hadn't ever thought about it until that moment. But the Toothfairy did indeed come and left four quarters. I think I'll have a talk with said Toothfairy and request dollar bills. They are so much more stealth than change. Perhaps our Toothfairy hasn't earned her wings?????

And here is a question; What does the Toothfairy do with the captured teeth?


Trick or Treating

Why is it that I can never get a picture of us before we go trick or treating? I feel like everything is such a rush and this year I had to bribe Callum to put his costume on. So what I'm saying is is that these pictures are from the next day and there isn't one of Callum because apparently the bribe only works once. Lauren was a cupcake and McKenna was an ice cream cone and Callum was a donut. Jeff and I had baker's hats and aprons, you know "because we made them." I thought it was funny and I'm a little sad that we didn't get a picture of all of us. That is my New Year's resolution. Family picture in our costumes BEFORE we go trick or treating.

Aren't these girls such cuties. 

We got a pretty good haul. We walked around the condos and then headed to an assisted living home that is a couple blocks away. The old people like to see the kids and it is a warm place to trick or treat. After that me and Cal headed home, but the girls (thanks to the long underwear I bought them) kept going for probably a half hour after that. I wish it were warmer here and not so dark so early. I had a hard time coming home with Callum. Seeing all those porch lights always makes me want to go to "one more house." I counted the girls' candy with them the next day and they each had over 90 pieces. I'm sad to say that it is all gone. Sad because its gone and sad because I know its gone because I ate it. I just remembered that Lauren had a lot more than that. Her teacher told the kids to bring her back all their Kit Kats and Three Musketeers because they were her favorite. And sweet Lauren did. She went through her and Kenna's candy and stuffed the pockets of her backpack full of them. I figured her teacher would send them back because I assumed she was just joking, but she took them. I wouldn't be so mad except that I love Kit Kats. Oh well. Her stick thin teacher can eat them.

This little guy was obsessed with his candy. This is two days after Halloween and he was still carrying around his bucket everywhere. I mean he even took it with him in the car when we went places. I was surprised that he didn't really try and sneak any candy. He would just dump it out and then put it back in.


Picking The Perfect Pumpkin

We went to a place I saw on facebook. It was this tiny family farm with the cutest barn EVER. Pretty much everyone knows that I love barns. Jeff and I had our first fight over the awesome asthetics of a dumpy fallen down barn versus the pristine condition of his Grandma's barn. Anyway back to pumpkins. The pumpkin patch was free and so were all of the activities. We spent a couple hours playing and picked an awesome and I might add HUGE pumpkin.

Callum is Two

We kept Callum's birthday really small. No party. Just us, some presents, and cake. Really I knew that this would make him the happiest. He doesn't really like crowds and he doesn't like to share his toys. How mean would that be for me to make him share his new toys with friends? This boy is all boy. He runs, jumps off of everything, throws everything. He has his occasional really sweet moment. Like when he gives me a kiss its always one on each cheek. And when he say "ah, thank you mommy." He may a tricky kid to handle but he certainly makes us all laugh.  

We Have Visitors

The last week in August Jeff had a week and his parents came up for a visit. It was a week jam packed full of fun and adventures. I don't have a lot of pictures because his parents took a lot and I figured that I would get them from them later. We went to Devils Lake, the Dell and saw the Tommy Bartlett show, we went to the Baraboo circus (which as a side not was super lame, and Callum was so scared he never looked and eventually fell asleep on my shoulder). We also went to door county where we went to a drive in movie, which we all loved. That was my first time going to a drive-in. It was really neat and then the next day we went to tour a light house and went to an awesome beach on Washington Island. I hope that Jeff's parents got pictures of it because it was beautiful. It was a limestone beach. No sand. Just really smooth rocks. We skipped rocks forever. Well Jeff did, and Callum just plopped them in the water. I was about as bad as Callum and the girls seemed immune to the fact that the water was literally freezing. It was such clear water that I told myself that I would go all the way under the water. It took me the entire time we were there to work up the courage. So. Cold.
Who doesn't need a giant chair picture. Right?

Backyard Camp Out

We really wanted to go camping this summer. It just feel like something is missing if you don't. In the past however we've had really bad experiences. Like wake up in the middle of the night and drive home, or drive around for an hour until everyone falls asleep and then just sleep in the van kind of bad experiences. So we decided to sleep behind our condo. The kids stayed up forever, but eventually, like 11:30, we were all asleep. Callum woke up around 6:00 and I just took him inside to his crib and he went back to sleep. Jeff was amazing and did all the work for our "camp out" and while the kids snuggled up in the tent to watch a movie Jeff and I got to just sit around the fire for a while. It was a perfect night to camp out.

Jeff's 30th Birthday

You would think that being at the end of July that it would be warm but it was really cold. Like upper 50's cold. Jeff really wanted to go to Cave of the Mounds to celebrate his birthday and who am I to refuse his birthday wish? It is about 30 minutes away it was pretty cool, not the coolest cave ever. The tour was informative, way too informative. I think it lasted an hour. Callum did really good for about the first 30 minutes but after that he was basically a terror and we couldn't wait to get out of there. Here is a picture of us waiting for our tour to start. I really need to start asking random strangers to take our picture. The one handed thing is getting harder with every kid we have.

And I honestly don't remember anything else we did that day. I'm still plagued by the memory of Callum playing a ant smashing game on Jeff's phone in the cave and then the tour guide making us turn it off so we could see something glow in the dark. Callum's reaction wasn't pretty. That must be what is blocking my memory fromm anything else that happened. 

Summer gone by

I know that it is probably ridiculous to post about stuff that happened so long ago but it has been bugging me. If I had to sum the summer vacation up in one word it would be....LONG. This summer was my first time actually having a summer vacation. There were things I loved, but by the end of July I was no longer a fun mom, I was no longer a happy mom, I was no longer a creative mom. At the beginning we kept a pretty rigorous schedule. A different outing each day of the week. Math time and writing time everyday while Callum took a nap, and it was good but exhausting taking all three kids out for outings, and then again if I had any errands to run. I don't have many pictures because at the time our outings seemed so routine, but now I wish I would have taken more and captured their childhood a little better.

We spent lots of time at the lake and at parks. The lakes here are awesome. Not clean enough for me to want to swim in them but that is what is great about it. I sit on a blanket on the beach watching my kids splash around and make sand castles, and if I got too hot sitting there I could go and get my feet wet and return to my blanket. We had our swim suit bag, and beach toy bag packed and ready to go every day almost like you would pack your hospital bag. 

We spent lots 


Our Most Recent Happenings

 May has been a busy month. Mothers day, Lauren's birthday party, Lauren's actual birthday, a quick trip to Nebraska, and doing all the end of school year wrap up stuff.

First up to share: Lauren's 6th birthday party!!!!
She was so excited to be having a birthday, she had been making little invitations on little pieces of scratch paper for months and when I asked her who she wanted to invite she said that she had already invited every person she has met in Wisconsin. After a lot of consideration we got it narrowed down to 11 of her closest friends from school. Whoever came up with suggestion that the number of friends you should invite should be equal to age they are was in fact giving some really good advice. Wish I would have listened. The party was really fun and special thanks goes out to a couple of friends, Becky my photographer and Lindsay, my cake helper, and of course Jeff for being supportive of my crazy antic and being a wonderful host to a bunch of six year olds. Here are a couple favorite pictures.

Lauren's actual birthday was much less glamorous (thankfully) with the request toaster strudels for breakfast and meatloaf for dinner. Her birthday was on Sunday and luckily she was just able to spend the afternoon playing with her new crafting stuff. 

 The day before Lauren's birthday we surprised Lauren by taking her to a horseback riding lesson. She has been saying that she wants to be a cowgirl when she grows up, well if that is true she is going to have to learn not to cry when she is on the horse. She even had the smallest horse. One of the trainers rode double with her and that made her feel much more comfortable.

Lauren riding Applejack

And here a just a couple of random photos that never got to see the light of day. 

Doughnut day is still alive and well at our house. I think we have found of favorite doughnuts, the only problem is that it is far away and has NO seating and they aren't very friendly. So we are trying to find our second favorite doughnut.

Seriously? Who wouldn't smile like this after eating a chocolate doughnut with sprinkles? 

Pretty picture of Spring Harbor Beach. Jeff and I took a blanket and watched a movie on his phone. Sounds nice right? Well it was until the swarm of bugs got too close for comfort and it started to rain on us. 
Me photo bombing our picture pre-rain!

Lauren and I before our date to go see The Music Man. Our friend Maddie was in it and Lauren loved trying to pick out which one she was on the stage. I had to pay $10 for her seat and she ended up sitting on my lap the entire time!! Which was fine, I got some seriously long snuggle time.

Nebraska was really fun. I went to go see my new sweet little niece Hannah and to see my sister and her family that were visiting from Idaho. I drove out there with the kids and I was super nervous about it, but it turned out to be pretty slick drive. Every hour we did a dance and then had a snack or new activity. I'm not sure I'm ready to do it again in a couple weeks when three more of my siblings will be visiting my parents.