Monday, December 31, 2012

December Happenings

Between parties and events at school for Jackson, dance practice and recital for Ansley, well check ups at the doctors for Elsie and Vada Belle, Christmas parties, Christmas parades, meeting Santa, family get togethers, Christmas play at church, and all 4 kids being sick, December flew by so fast we are still wondering how in the world it is the last day of 2012! Since I haven't had time to blog any this month, I'll do a quick recap of some of the things we were busy doing.

Jackson had a music performance at his school earlier this month. He absolutely loves music class and was so excited about this performance, so we of course were very excited to watch him. The music teacher did a wonderful job with all of the students in the school! (Half the school performed on a Monday night, and the other half on Tuesday night).

Jackson also was chosen as a "Bucket Filler" again in December! When I opened the letter from the Vice Principal I was so proud to see not one letter in there stating he was a bucket filler of the week, but TWO letters! He was chosen by the reading teacher (who said he was reading on a 2nd/3rd grade level- yeah!) and the librarian. Here is what they had to say:

Ansley Kate was in her very first dance recital, playing the part of one of the small mice in The Nutcracker. She was so excited about dancing on "the big stage," and I was so excited to watch her, as well as The Nutcracker for the first time.
 We let the kids take turns putting the star or angel on top of the tree each year, and this year it was Elsie's turn for the first time. Look how cute she is!

Vada Belle turned 6 months (already?!?!) on December 19th. At her 6 month well check up she weighed 12 lbs. 9.5 oz., and was 24.5 inches long. She loves to play with her toys, roll everywhere, laugh at her brother and sisters, listen to daddy sing, and have mommy carry her around everywhere.

I won some tickets from our local newspaper, The Tomahawk, to see Sesame Street Live, Elmo Makes Music, in Johnson City, and we were very pleased with how wonderful the show was.

The last half of the month was a whirlwind of events, as I'm sure it was for all of you, too, but the kids loved every single second of it. We are so fortunate to have such a large family and get to spend Christmas with party after party celebrating the Birth of our Savior with those we love dearly. Maybe I'll get around to posting some of the pictures from Christmas, but just in case I don't, here a few from the Sunday before Christmas.

We hope you all had a blessed Christmas and have a wonderful 2013!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December 14, 2012

On Thursday night Eric looked at me and said, "Jackson's getting sick." With Jackson, all you have to do to know if he is sick or not, is to look at his eyes. If he is sick, his eyes will definitely show that he is. Later that night he started complaining that he wasn't feeling well and that he wanted to sleep in our room. When I woke him up yesterday morning and checked his temperature, he had a fever of 100.9 (which isn't a high fever at all for Jackson), and asked how he was feeling. He said, "bad" and rolled over and went back to sleep, and I decided to let him stay home for the day. A couple of hours later (when his Tylenol kicked in,) I was feeling kind of guilty letting him stay home since he was running around with his sisters and having a great time. It wasn't just a few short minutes after I had that moment of guilt that the horrific events of yesterdays tragedy began to unfold. Some evil monster went into a school where he shot and killed 27 people, 20 of them being children. I instantly broke into tears and then got my four babies on my couch so we could read some books and watch some cartoons together, and that moment of guilt I had earlier was gone. I was glad that I had all four of my kids there with me at that moment. I was glad that I could hug them, kiss them, and tell them how much I loved them. I was heartbroken for those parents that lost their sweet precious babies for absolutely no reason at all, and would never again be able to hug, kiss or love on their kids. I was heartbroken for the family members & friends of the adults that lost their lives while trying to protect and take care of those sweet children. I was heartbroken for all of those children in that school that lost their innocence in just a few minutes while having to hear the shots of a gun being fired throughout the school, a place that should never be a scary or dangerous place for a kid. I was heartbroken for the teachers, staff, and volunteers at that school, and can't imagine the fear they had while trying to protect those classes full of children that they love so dearly. Tears streamed down my face thinking of how when my children are scared or hurt the only thing they want is mommy and daddy. I cried thinking of those parents waiting at the local fire department with their arms aching for their child to run into them for comfort and security.  I cried thinking that my children are growing up in a world that is completely different from when my grandparents, parents, and even myself grew up in. They have to grow up in a world of monsters that can harm beautiful, innocent little children. I am sad for so many reasons, too many to list, but there are things that I am thankful for. I am so grateful that I have a God that tells me not to worry or to fear tomorrow, even though this seems so incredibly hard at the moment. I am thankful that through Jesus we have comfort in knowing that this life is not the end, but that we are promised eternal life in Heaven after this one, if we only accept Him as our savior. And, as I prayed over each one of my children last night while they were sleeping in their bed, I thanked God again, like I do every day, for choosing me to be their mother. I prayed that they would never have to deal with a monster like these children had to. I prayed, like millions of others are doing, for the families and friends of those innocent victims, to hold them close during a time that no one should ever have to go through. I prayed and thanked Him for His word that says, "The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit." Psalm 34:18.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Guess who got their ears pierced!

Ansley has been asking us for a while if she could get her ears pieced, so on Monday after dance I took her to Claire's to get them pierced, but the lady working asked if I would bring her back in one day when there were two people working. She was afraid she might get one pierced and get too scared to get the second one done, so she wanted to wait and do both of them at the exact same time. So, tonight we went in there and she hopped right up in the chair, held the "Claire's Bear," and was so brave sitting there waiting on the two ladies to pierce her ears. She picked out the star earrings to be pierced, I signed the paper work, and then on the count of three she had both ears pierced. She tried so hard to not cry, but a few seconds after it was done the tears came, but only last for a few minutes. She was so excited and loves them!

Here she is right before:

And right after:

It didn't take long for those tears to go away and she was showing her ears off to everyone:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Vada Belle is 5 Months!

I can't believe our baby girl is already 5 months old! She is a whopping 11lbs. and 14 oz. (such a little thing!). She is already on the go by rolling herself across the floor, and Ansley thinks it is so funny that we'll lay her down in her play gym and a few minutes later she'll be on the other side of the living room. Vada Belle loves to play with toys and laugh at her big brother and sisters (who keep her very entertained).
She had a month or so where she was fussy and only wanted mommy, but thankfully we are over that and she is such a happy and easy go baby these days.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Apple Butter Making Day!

 Last Saturday (11/10/2012) my mom and dad wanted to make some apple butter, so they decided to have some people over, have a pot luck meal, and for everyone to have a great time. My mom of course can't have anything without having everything decorated perfectly. I can't believe I didn't take pictures of all of the beautiful fall decorations she had up everywhere, but you can see how lovely everything looked from these couple of pictures that shows just a little of the work she had done.

Mom and dad had some cast iron pots cooking over the fire at their outdoor cooking station going, with one huge pot of chicken and dumplings, one with beans, one with some turnips and a skillet with some fried potatoes. Mom also fixed about 6 different delicious desserts, add that to all of the other food that everyone brought and it was one incredible meal!
Fried Potatoes, Chicken n' Dumplings, Turnips, & Beans
There were plenty of other delicious food and desserts!

We did more than just eat, though. The kids had a blast jumping on the trampoline, shelling & grinding corn and feeding it to the chickens, riding the little cars, and rolling down the hill.
Caden, Brett, & Jackson (can you tell they were on the trampoline- notice the static in their hair)
Sweet Cousins

Here is Jackson giving a lesson on how to shell the corn: 

And here is Elsie teasing the poor chickens:

The adults enjoyed watching the kids do all of those fun things while stirring the apple butter, which we ended up with 82 pints of.
Frankie and Eric Stirring the Apple Butter
Putting the apple butter into the jars. 
The weather, the food, the company, all contributed to it being a perfect day! These smiles right here show just how wonderful the day was:
and this shows how exhausted the kids were by the end of the day:
 My only regret from this day is that it was kind of last minute planned (we were going to do it earlier, but then had to postpone because of snow) and I didn't invite many people that would have enjoyed spending the day helping out. At least there is always next year! :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Flashback Friday

 Today I had a visit from some of my wonderful friends from high school. Don't you love those friends that you can go a while without talking to, but the moment you see one another it is like no time has passed since you have last seen one another? Thanks for bringing your sweet boys over, Lydia & Jennifer!

 Jay, Elsie, Cam & Ansley
(There are 3 kids missing in this picture- Jackson was at school, Vada Belle was asleep, and baby girl DuMont is still in her mommy's belly!) 

Me, Jenn & Lydia our senior year
I love you girls and your sweet kids!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Somebody's Ticklish!

I have never really been a ticklish person, but all four of my babies sure are! Here is little Vada Belle showing off how ticklish she is at 4.5 months:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Halloween 2012

This Halloween was definitely not like any other Halloween the kids have had before. We started our day off with breakfast, and then went outside to play in the snow. Yes... we played in the 8+ inches of snow that we got the day and night before. We went sledding and built a snowman (topped off with a pumpkin head) on Halloween- crazy!

Elsie, as you can see, was NOT a fan of the snow at all and didn't want off of that sled. She didn't last long and ended up going in the house and playing a game while Vada slept. Jackson and Ansley stayed out there a long time and sled as long as I would let them!


After we came in and warmed up with some hot chocolate, we got dressed and were ready to go Trick-or-Treating as the Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Piggies!
Big Bad Wolf & The Three Little Pigs

I LOVE having them dress in themed costumes, but I know it won't be many more years until they all want to dress up as something different. So far though, they have been the ones that help me come up with these themes and have been so excited about them!

How adorably scary is this Big Bad Wolf:
(The black eye is from a couple nights before, during the snow & crazy winds, the power went out and he was walking and tripped, and hit his eye on the table- ouch!)
Our Princess Piggy:
Our sassy and wild piggy:
and our littlest piggy celebrating her first Halloween:
I lucked up and found Jackson, Ansley & Elsie's costumes all on eBay for great deals, and I crocheted little Vada Belle's diaper cover and hat.
The kids love dressing up all the time, so they spent a long time actually playing the roles that they were dressed up as. Here the big bad wolf is blowing down this little pigs house. Love them!
Cute little piggy tails:

Because of the weather many places postponed Trick-or-Treating until later in the week, and then one place had theirs on Tuesday night, so we ended up dressing the kids up and taking them to different places on Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday night, and our church had their little fall party where the kids dressed up last Saturday (and had a great time!). Tuesday night they got to trick-or treat in the snow, but this was the first year that they were old enough to run up to the doors by themselves, knock, and get their candy, so the snow didn't slow them down at all. Jackson was shy about it at first, but Ansley just marched right up to the doors and didn't mind knocking at all. I would carry Elsie from driveway to driveway and would then let her run up to the door with her brother and sister. Daddy and Vada Belle waited for us in the car, because it was too cold for her to be out! On Wednesday night we went to the ridiculously packed mall, and then around to some trunk or treats and trick or treating in a couple of neighborhoods. By the end of that night the kids were arguing about whose turn it was to knock on the door and say trick or treat! Friday night we went to Mount Vernon's "God's Big Story Family Fellowship" and it was AMAZING! Thanks to everyone there that spends so many hours preparing and putting on this wonderful event every year.

So, if you have a candy craving anytime soon, please come by our house and our kids will be more than happy to share! :)
We hope you all had a wonderful Halloween!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Our Pumpkin Carvings

Ever since we went and picked our pumpkins last Wednesday, Jackson has been asking non-stop if we could carve them. I'll go ahead and admit it- I do not like or enjoy carving pumpkins. I am not an artistic person at all, and getting the pumpkins cleaned out is just gross to me. Maybe it is because I don't ever remember carving pumpkins when I was little (and if you know my mom this won't surprise you- right, mom!). When I was a kid we would have the coolest Halloween decorations... stuffed zombies, witches, ghost, etc. all throughout the yard and would even have the spooky music going on a cassette player, but never would you see a carved pumpkin at our house. The first time I really remember carving a pumpkin was my freshman year in college there was a pumpkin carving contest that my friend Emma and I decided to enter at our dorm (thankfully Emma was artistic and probably did most of the work-ha!).  Since then Eric and I have carved some throughout our married years, but when my sweet little 5 year old kept asking if we could carve one, I knew it was something I was just going to have to get over and do. Thankfully on Saturday night Eric came home a little early from working and told the kids to go grab their pumpkin and he was going to help them carve them- yes, carve more than one pumpkin. He said they each could pick out something to carve on their pumpkin and he would help them out. Jackson wanted a scary Jack-o-lantern face, Ansley wanted Ariel, and Elsie wanted Mickey and Minnie on hers. So, Eric grabbed a marker, outlined what each kid wanted on their pumpkin, and they were SO excited!
Eric drawing the outline for Elsie's Minnie & Mickey pumpkin

Eric then scraped the inside of each pumpkin and told the kids they could reach inside and get all of the yucky stuff out. Jackson started gagging- he is my child. :) 

Then Jackson and Ansley started poking holes and cutting on the outline that daddy drew for them:

Elsie stayed busy playing with the different pumpkin tools, even if she was only working on the "lid" of the pumpkin:

They had fun and were so excited with their finished pumpkins:

Vada Belle and I helped out by finding some candles to put inside, and taking the pictures! :)

My friend had posted this prayer from another blog that you can say while carving pumpkins. I didn't see this until after we carved ours, but will definitely have to remember this for next year! 
Pumpkin Prayer:

Lord, open my mind so I can learn new things about you and the world you created.
(Take off the top of the pumpkin.)
Remove the things in my life that don’t please you, including my seeds of doubt.
(Pull out the bag of seeds.)
Open my eyes and help me to see your ways.
(Remove the eyes.)
Open my ears and help me to hear your voice, so I may learn how you want me to live.
(Remove the ears.)
I’m sorry for the times I’ve turned up my nose at the things you want me to do.
(Remove the nose.)
Let everything I say please you, and help me spread your word to others.
(Remove the mouth.)
Lord, help me show your light to others through the things I do.
(Place a candle inside and light it. Then turn off the lights)

Also, I have heard this before, but just love it!
Being a good person is like being a pumpkin. God lifts you up, takes you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. He opens you up, touches you deep inside and scoops out all of the yucky stuff — including the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc. Then He carves you a bright new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see!

 Happy Pumpkin Carving!