Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009--Our Year In Blessings


I cannot begin to touch on all that has made 2009 a special year for our family. This has been the most wonderful year of my life. We have been blessed more than I could ever begin to adequately thank my Heavenly Father.

I want to touch on some of the things that stand out in my mind as most special from this year. I will do it numerically to go along with the above pictures. (Each thought below is linked to the post it goes with—to read the post, simply click on the highlighted link.)

  1. Our family was sealed in the temple January 31st. Other than the day each of my children was born, this has been the most special day of my life, and definitely the most special and important to our family now and forever.
  2. We heard our sweet baby #4’s heartbeat for the first time.
  3. We celebrated Jamie’s 36th birthday.
  4. Jack turned one.
  5. We began our wonderful journey in homeschool.
  6. We found out baby #4 would be another boy, and chose his name—Jesse Kent.
  7. We celebrated Joe’s 4th birthday.
  8. We celebrated my 32nd birthday in Charleston—my favorite place in SC.
  9. We enjoyed many trips to the beach as a family throughout the summer—a first for Jack this year.
  10. Jamie and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary.
  11. We welcomed our fourth, healthy, beautiful child into our arms, hearts and family.
  12. My baby girl turned 10, and I realized how fast time is truly passing as I see her becoming a young lady more each day.
  13. We had fun dressing up all of our children for Halloween.
  14. Hanna’s cat, Baby O., turned 6.
  15. We counted our many blessings as we celebrated Thanksgiving together.
  16. We had a wonderful Christmas time, and enjoyed every minute of it TOGETHER!

The year of 2009 passed me by in the blink of an eye. There have been several life changing events for our family—one of the most important being our decision to homeschool. This has blessed our family in ways I had never thought it would. I am so thankful to teach my children each day and wouldn’t trade these moments for anything.

The other most important blessing in our family this year was welcoming Jesse into our home. As I watch our family grow, and watch our children interact daily, I realize how blessed I am to have each one of them. What a miracle it is to have four healthy, happy children.

I am so thankful to have Jamie by my side as my husband, best friend and father to our children. I couldn’t do any of what I do without his unconditional love, support and help every single day. He is amazing. He goes above and beyond, and not a day goes by that I don’t think of how much I love him, and how thankful I am that he truly dashed in and swept myself and Hanna “off our feet” 7 years ago. He is “my knight in shining armor”. He has made all of my dreams come true and more.

I look forward to making many more special memories as a family in 2010. I pray each day that my family will continue to be blessed with health, strength and the spirit of love in our home each day.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Muffin Tin Monday—New Year’s Eve Party Hats—Edible, of Course!

We made some cute, edible “Party Hats” for our Muffin Tin Monday this week. The kids had so much fun with the edible Christmas trees we made, that when I saw these I knew they’d be a hit too.


I melted a bag of chocolate chips and then rolled sugar cones in them until they were completely covered. I placed them on a sheet of waxed paper, and put them in the fridge to harden. I filled our tins with assorted decorations, and put out frostings and spreaders.

Once again, I don’t know what Joe enjoyed more, decorating or eating all the candies:-).


And, once again, Jamie’s was the coolest of the creations.


Here is Hanna’s:


Here is mine:


We had fun making our hats, and can’t wait to ring in the New Year together tomorrow night!!


Playing for Fun?

It’s been so nice at home this week just letting the kids play having no real schedule, or having to worry about school lessons.  They have been enjoying Christmas toys, staying up late, sleeping in and doing whatever they want!

When I was shopping for Christmas gifts, of course I made sure to get what was asked for, but I also snuck in some toys that would be good fun fun play as well as work on fine motor skills, manipulation and have an educational twist. 

So far, the top two toys out of this bunch have been Straws and Connectors….


….and Shapescapes.


Hanna and Joe both equally enjoy these toys and I am so impressed with them myself after seeing the fun they are having creating with them!  I tested these both out weeks ago when they arrived in the mail and I can’t lie—I was very doubtful that the kids would like either of them.  I couldn’t do much with either one.  Well, my kids’ imagination, manipulation and abilities with these toys far exceeds my own:-)! 

They built a cool boat….


a hot air balloon….


and a tent (among other things) from the Straws and Connectors….I have already ordered another set of Straws and Connectors so they can build larger structures. 


Many cool sculptures have been made from the Shapescapes.  Here is Hanna with a cute mask….


….and other miscellaneous creations that I thought were creative and fun.  I love the “little man” in the second picture.




I LOVE finding toys like these!!  They are unique, promote creativity, imagination, help develop fine motor skills and the best part—the kids find them fun and they keep them entertained.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Jesse—14 Weeks Old

I got some good pictures of Jesse over this last week.  I captured some expressions that are truly “Jesse”.  Jesse is about 16 lbs. now.  I have officially packed up his newborn clothes, and he has  no more growing room in his bassinet.  We have got to get this little man’s crib set up!!  He was beginning to sleep through the night a couple weeks ago more so than not.  For some reason he has gone backwards.  He is back to waking up between 2am-4am pretty much nightly.  I’m hoping he decides he’d like to sleep all night very soon!

Jesse loves attention!  He wants someone in his face at all times, and he gets it too:-).  With 3 siblings and two parents who adore him, he gets plenty of it.

Here he is the night we did our Nativity play.  He was baby Jesus.


Here he is with Daddy.


Jesse with his new Lovie.


Here are my most favorites from the week.  These are the expressions Jesse has most often and to me these pictures look most like the “real Jesse”.


Jesse is a sweetheart!  He is so much fun to play with and is always so excited to play with us.  This week Jamie and I have noticed that as soon as he hears my voice he immediately starts scanning the room for me, and if he can’t find me he starts to cry—yep, another “momma’s boy”—so sweet. 

What is Jesse doing this week:

  • learning to roll over
  • coos and “talks” lots
  • bats at and grabs toys

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ornaments from Nana

On Hanna’s first Christmas my mom began the tradition of making an ornament for the grandkids each year.  She puts alot of thought into each child’s ornament, and usually they either tie in with the gift she is giving them, or something they really like at the time.  I love seeing these ornaments each year as I take them out and hang them.  They bring back so many memories from when each child was younger.  I also enjoy getting the new ones each year.  It’s funny how as a parent when your kids get excited over something/get something new it’s like getting it yourself.  You share their enthusiasm and enjoy things in ways you never knew existed before becoming a parent. 

This year my favorite of the kids’ ornaments was Jesse’s.  He got a sweet, little lamb ornament….


….to go with the Lamb Lovie she gave him.


She made the other kids’ ornaments from drawings on Shrinky Dinks paper.  Joe’s ornament was a dragon to go along with the Fisher Price dragon he got.


Jack’s ornament was a dinosaur….


to go along with the Junior Spike he got. 


Hanna’s ornament was a letter “H” with glitter and snowflakes on it.  This was to go with the calligraphy set she got.  Hanna loves to write and has wanted a set like this for quite some time.  She spent a couple hours yesterday practicing and having fun with this set.


I know I will treasure these ornaments my mom makes for a lifetime, and I hope my kids will too.  I love the sentimental parts of Christmas time best.  Anything we do that makes memories, traditions and the actual time we spend together is what means the most to me each year.  Sure, it is a blast watching the kids get so excited over their presents, but years from now after the kids are grown and on their own, I know what will mean the most to me are the times we spent together—my memories—mental ones, pictures and recorded thoughts that will last me a lifetime. 

I am so very thankful for the special time we had together on Christmas Day.  As I write this the day after Christmas I have nothing but happy thoughts to recall, and this is such a blessing.  I love my family with all my heart, and hope they know how much they each mean to me.

Christmas Day 2009—Part Two

Jesse joined us shortly after breakfast on Christmas morning.  The kids had already opened presents from Santa and from me and Jamie.  My parents stopped over for a short visit, along with my brother and sister-in-law to give the kids their gifts.

The kids had fun opening presents all over again and then playing with what they got.

Favorites were….



….this Playskool busy gears toy for Jack.  He loved this, and has been playing with it often since yesterday. 

Joe got a model dinosaur kit, and was begging to paint one last night.  He spent so much time painting his dinosaur.  He put alot of thought into the colors and tried to be so careful while painting.  He was so proud of it when he finished.  He has another to paint too, and I’m sure he’ll do it soon.  I love presents like this:-).



I got some good family pictures too.  Here is my brother, Teresa, Hanna and Joe. 


Here is my dad, Jack and Jesse.


My Dad and Jesse.


What Christmas would be complete without presents for the cats?  Hanna asked me to make homemade cat treats this year for our cats.  She enjoyed giving them to Baby O., and then our two outdoor cats, Kit and Lexxie.  She is so sweet to always remember them, and treat them all so lovingly.


I’ve got just a bit more to share from our Christmas Day, and will save that for another post.  What’s left deserves a post all it’s own. 

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day 2009—Part One

We had a wonderful Christmas Day.  Everything went just as I’d hoped.  The kids were all so happy the whole day long and we truly enjoyed our day together just as much as I’d been anticipating. 

Hanna woke us all up around 7am.  The kids could hardly wait to see what Santa left for them.  We walked in and found this….


Of course, they all started spotting their presents and got totally excited!  Jack immediately ran to his spot where he found his buggy full of groceries and felt play foods.  This kept him busy for quite some time before he was ready to open presents from me and Jamie.



In the meantime, Joe spotted his gift from Santa, and was SO excited!!  He got Spike and played with him all day long.  This was by far his favorite present.




Hanna was ecstatic to spot her stash!  From Santa she got a wardrobe for her American Girl clothes/accessories and a Salon Chair.  She didn’t waste any time trying out the salon chair.



Hanna’s favorite gift was the American Girl Doll Kirsten.  She was really hoping she’d get this and was grinning from ear to ear when she opened the box.


She had fun playing with all of her American Girl stuff throughout the day.  I love American Girl, and have to admit, I introduced Hanna to it in hopes that she’d fall in love with it—it worked!!  I like getting and playing with this stuff as much as Hanna does:-).

She had a tea party with Nana, Kirsten and Felicity.


And she finally got to try Kirsten’s St. Lucia’s Day crown that Nana made for her.  It looked great!


The kids had fun opening and playing with their gifts from me and Jamie too.  Jack loves cars right now and we added some Shake ‘Em Ups to his collection.



Joe got a remote control truck he’s been asking for, for over a year.  He went back and forth all day from Spike to this truck.  He also got another piece to add to his Imaginext collection.  He loves all of his Imaginext toys, and I know Jack and Jesse will get years of play out of these too.



The kids made sure to check Santa’s cookie plate to see if he ate them.  He did!!  He also left a letter for the kids, just as he does each year.



We got a family picture.  I love to have a family picture each year on Christmas morning.  Even if we are all in pajamas, I know I will love looking back on these pictures years from now.  I already do.


Christmas morning was just as I’d hoped it would be.  We had so much fun together.  Our whole day was fun, and each of us enjoyed every minute of it! 

Stay tuned for Part Two which includes lots of Jesse.  He was napping for the first part of the morning and joined us near the end right after we finished up a delicious breakfast of french toast casserole, bacon and fresh fruit.