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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our Annual Santa Visit

We started the family "tradition" of visiting Santa (and periodically Mrs. Claus) at our local Bass Pro Shops each year. The kids have now come to expect their little visit with the jolly fella.Santa is a little controversial in our house. We don't push the whole Santa thing and we certainly don't use the line "Santa is watching." Both the two older kids took it upon themselves this year to say "We are either on the naughty or nice list."
I picked up this dress outfit for Dawson for LAST Christmas and the little dude with a big 'tude wouldn't dream of putting it on. This year he was all about the button up shirt, tie, sweater vest (which he isn't wearing in the picture) and the "handsome coat." Good thing it fit him this year!
Oh my goodness. 
These are some CUTE kiddos!
The wait in line was really very manageable but the kids wanted to play a few games and color a picture and write a letter to Santa. Gabi was so funny when she asked me what she should tell Santa she wanted for Christmas. I asked her "Well, what DO you want for Christmas?" to which she responded "Santa can't give me the two things I really want." I expected her to say she wanted her Mema's cancer to be cured but instead she said she wanted a magical medicine to make her allergies go away and braces. An almost 7 year old wanting braces!!
I absolutely can not look at this picture without nearly rolling on the floor in laughter. Gabrielle is pretty "strike a pose" camera ready, Dawson looks like a deer in headlights & McKenna is screaming stranger danger!!
Followed by the two "big" kids attention being stolen by the screaming babe. Take note that Santa's eyes are still fixed on the camera with a mile wide smile.

Friday, December 23, 2011

CRCC Children's Christmas Choir

Sunday the kids from church opened our church service by singing "Light of the World" by Hillsong Kids
You called me in
To your glorious light

I will not fear
'Cause I'm walking with you
And talking with you

Pre Chorus:
From heaven you came
To show me life

You are the light of the world
You are the light of my life

The hope of the earth my Jesus
My Jesus

I'm gonna be a light and let it shine
Be a light and let it shine
The kids were beyond cute all dressed in their Christmas best.
May Christ's light shine in your life this Christmas season!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Embrace the Camera: December 22, 2011

Today's technology.
You either love it or hate it.
I personally have a love/hate relationship with it.
No need for explanation.
Photos courtesy of my IPhone being within an arms reach and me who apparently doesn't have a steady arm, doesn't know lighting, have a clue about angles, etc. and who also HATES being in front of the lens.
Recently I was enjoying one of the few fleeting moments where Dawson was willing to just sit on my lap and "be." I treasure these moments with everything that is in me. 
D man, I love your square face
{You get that straight from your momma}
Your infectious laugh
All your hugs & kisses
And probably more than anything I love this face right here. 
There is no denying how cute you can be and how adorable you are to us. 
Hugs and Eskimo Kisses

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

School Holiday Par-Tay!

Friday the 16th was the last day of school before winter break AND it was the day of classroom party festivities.
Ms. G ready for school. I made her buck up to the crisp morning air in order to snap a picture.
What's a party without TONS of sweet treats and a juice pouch? Obviously it is what puts a smile on our girls face.
The homeroom mom schemed up this "game" where the kids decorated one of five parents as a Christmas tree. I'm not sure how Mr. Herrig (G's 1st grade teacher) got roped into it, but Gabrielle's table got to deck him out in streamers & stickers. Gabi found it hysterical adding candy cane earrings, a Rudolph nose & a beard to Mr. Herrig. He was a true sport throughout the process.
Gabi & several classmates admiring their handy work.
And I had to add these last two photos because they are a perfect representation of Dawson's display of affection for McKenna. He has this obsessive way of showing his love for her by patting, rubbing, squeezing & kissing her head. As this picture shows, at times he grits his teeth and goes for the "You are the cutest baby in the world McKenna Jane!!!!" pat.
Followed by the death squeeze "I'm so glad you are our precious baby sister." 
And yes, he really says and does those things EVERY single day. She tolerates it, loves it and squeals with delight as well as hates it at times (when he gets a little too over jealous).
Break started this Monday and the kids don't return to school until Thursday January 5th. Lord help me to remain patient and not loose my sanity. We are keeping our previous neighbors Kindergartner every day as well as having Kendall & Kellen several days so if you'd like free admission to a small circus feel free to stop on by!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Get Your Bake On

Christmas isn't Christmas without a little holiday baking. Our #1 has a class 6 peanut allergy and most all my favorite recipes call for peanut butter, so #2 and I had a blast whipping out some yumminess Thursday while big sis was at school and little sis napped.
Ignore the madness of magnets and coupons stuck to the side of our fridge. What a sight!
My neighbor said she did a double take when she saw this picture thinking at first that it was Gabrielle. No, this is just my man child looking C.U.T.E. in a play apron and chefs hat. And yes, I am very aware that he is hanging over a hot stove. Have no fear, I didn't leave his side.
And here is the finished spread: peanut butter blossoms, 2 batches of peanut butter fudge, no bake cookies (hubs favorite), chinese noodle drops, dipped pretzels & peanut clusters. Like I mentioned - lotsofpeanutbutter goodness right there!
Pictures taken on my IPhone. I would love any suggestions from IPhone users on obtaining the best quality photos when taken with your phone.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chors {Spelling intentional}

It is no secret that Gabrielle is a Daddy's girl. She loves him and loves spending time with him so when Travis recapped their bedtime conversation to me this past Friday night, I nearly doubled over in laughter. 
G: Daddy, when is your next home day?
T: Daddy works two more days then I have a home day on Monday when you go back to school.
G: You mean when I have my home days, you have to work?
T: Yes
G: So Dawson and I will be home with Mommy on Saturday
T: Yep
G: Awwwww man! That means all we'll do all day is clean, clean, clean!
T: Laughing - well, your momma likes a clean house :)

So Saturday afternoon after she returned from the first of two birthday parties she grabbed her journal and pen and set to work writing. I wasn't aware of her "assignment" until I found it posted on our kitchen display board. This is precisely what she wrote - no changes or corrections made.

Clean Gabi B room.
Clean basement.
Clean toy room.
Clean citchen.
Clean up everything els.
Dust and sweep.
Take naps.
Do agin.
Chek dents on wall.
Tell wher dents are.
Chek agin.
Big rest.
2 hours rest.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Man Child Musings

You will forever be my baby boy. You ask me that question often. "Mommy, even when I am a teenager I will still be your baby boy, right?" Yes! Even though McKenna is the babe of the family - you, my handsome little man, will always be my baby boy. In your own words "always and forever." I wanted to document just a couple of cute things about you that are current. Sunday morning Gabrielle told you how handsome you looked. You did look very dapper by the way. Here is a picture to prove it! 
Anyway, you then turned to McKenna and said "McKenna, you are so (pause), so damn adorable!" Yessiree, you dropped the "d" word. Child, you are too cute, too stubborn, too funny and growing up too incredibly fast. You have been taking a real shining to doing jigsaw puzzles. The house will become quiet (which doesn't happen often enough if I might add) and I will find you either in the front entry way on the hardwood or in the playroom on the craft table working away at a puzzle. Now if I could just get you to be as good about the clean up process. You are beginning to protest your afternoon naps, but I have learned a little trick which works every time. I "hold you me" {carry you} to your bedroom and "lower you like a crane" into your bed, tuck you in and smother you in Eskimo kisses. Your naps have shortened, but praise the good Lord you will still nap for me. You love singing the ABC song with me as I do diaper duty on baby girl. You are insistent that I don't home school you. This simply means if I begin to do anything of educational value with you you interject "I'm NOT doing school!" Like I said earlier - STUBBORN! You have succumbed to sitting very well and completing your weekly AWANA lessons and scripture memorization. I suppose the candy bribe I offer doesn't hurt in this area :) Candy ... you ask for it d.a.i.l.y. as if it is a necessity to your survival. I allow it but generally only one piece of your choosing. Our days home together aren't complete without you asking for a play date with Kellen. He is your favorite buddy and we are so lucky that we get to have him every Tuesday and several Thursdays each month while Ms. Kiersten works. I hope you two will continue to be buds over time and maybe someday even play sports together. Oh, I can't forget to document that your bald spot is nearly all filled in. Woot! We were so concerned that hair would never grow on the crown on your head again. Ring worm or chronic hair pulling/twirling? We will never truly know the cause but whichever, our hope is that your nugget will remain hair covered. And the biggest piece of news praise in my books - you have stopped changing your clothes umpteen times a day!!!! I hope this new trend will stick for good. I still laugh each time I see you pick up a pair of your underwear off the floor and sniff them to determine if they are clean or not. Where did you ever learn such a thing? Oh, yes. That would be from yours truly.
Never forget that your Daddy and Mommy love you always and forever. We are so lucky to have you, sweet boy, sandwiched between your two beautiful sisters. It is where you fit best! As Mema told you recently "you will always be a little brother to Sissy and you will always be a big brother to your baby MaJane." What a lucky boy you are!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dishing the Dirt

Hi Monkeys,
Mommy feels compelled to share a little secret with you. Today was the day we set aside to "deck the halls" and "trim the tree." Daddy pulled up all the storage totes and the tree and set to work. You each began a happy dance running up and down the stairs staying on his heals. You ripped into the totes unloading things as fast as your hands would allow you to. The front room was quickly covered in ornaments, tissue, strands of lights, an assortment of holiday beanie babies, etc. I did what I do every year and began putting out the Christmas dishes and storing our every day table ware. When I walked back to the front of the house my blood pressure rose. You see, I enjoy decorating the mantle and the little things, but when it comes to the tree I prefer to take a back seat. Your Daddy pokes fun of me saying it is because it is work. And it is, I won't argue with that. I don't know what it is about the process of fluffing, stringing lights, strategically placing ornaments & topping the tree with a golden star that I have a distaste for. Maybe it is my deep desire to have a NEW tree. A tall, slender, pre-lit tree with beautiful trimmings. I will have that someday, but for today we have our tree. The same tree your Daddy and I have had since the year we met and fell in love - 1999.  We called a time out (it is totally fair for you to interpret this as mommy having a bad attitude and was the one needing a time out) and took a short break from the decorating. When we came back together your Daddy did something I am very grateful for. He told us he was going to go outside and put lights on the rose bushes and shrubs leaving us to finish trimming the tree. It was then that I had a change of heart. I watched as you marveled over some of the prettier ornaments and recalled when and where you had made or acquired others. I want to make the tradition of preparing our home for Christmas a happy memory for each of you so I vow to take on a new attitude (one of gratitude as we are instilling in you) in the years to come.
Here are a few closing memories from this year:
McKenna,you wouldn't nap with all the fuss going on downstairs so you joined in the mess making. You sucked on lights (unplugged of course) and found a Pottery Barn sterling ball ornament that you took a shining to.
Dawson, you were gung-ho out of the gate, but quickly lost steam until I started handing you specific ornaments and telling you the story behind it.
Gabrielle, you were in your diva decorating limelight, taking charge and being the ultimate helper elf.
Gabi, GG gave you kids a really pretty gingerbread house night light that you claimed as your own. You have it plugged in at the foot of your bed and it lights up your room so bright we question how it is possible you can sleep. We have found both you and Dawson sitting in front of it admiring it.
After the decorating was complete and Daddy and I were working on the clean up, MJ napped while you two older kiddos laid out on the family room floor with the basket of Christmas books. My goal is to read at least one book a day from now through the new year.
Mommy needs to print out a new set of scriptures and hang the advent calendar in preparation for December 1st. I commit to reading and praying the scriptures with you daily.
Daddy cut the perfect branches for our thankful tree that will now hold your beanie ornaments.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Little Ravens

GG treated Gabrielle to a morning cheer clinic at Olathe Northwest High School which was hosted by the Ravens cheerleader team. She counted down the days until the clinic and was so excited when the morning finally came. The clinic was 3 hours with the morning ending with a parent performance. Each class, K - 5, learned several cheers and the older girls did a little dance skit.

All the girls who participated in the clinic were invited to perform during the 1st quarter of the ONW Varsity football game on Thursday night the 13th. The girls were just that - girls! Giddy, giggly, busy bodies.

Poor girl has suffered something fierce this year with her allergies. I seriously chuckled out loud when I uploaded the photos I took as many (OK, most!) have her nose in sniff mode. I'm looking forward to a new calendar year when we can have Gabi scheduled for allergy testing to get her on the right path to a better way of living. The Claritan, Flonase & inhalers aren't cutting it. She has resorted to the old man's snort. You know which one I'm talking about. Yeah, the one that makes you shutter with disgust. Uh huh, that's our girl.

Look out Little Ravens - Gabi is on your turf and she has some mean cheer skills!

An out take showing the obnoxiousness cuteness - of G's snorts :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Schaake's Pumpkin Patch 2011

The Sunday before Halloween we played hooky from church (ssshhh, don't tell) and headed West to Lawrence to the Schaake's Family Pumpkin Patch. We have always gone to the KC Pumpkin Patch in years past but wanted to try somewhere new this year. Schaake's is just a short drive up the highway, VERY family friendly and best of all FREE. They have many of the likely attractions such as a hay maze, children's play area, donuts & cider, etc just on a smaller scale.

Travis was a sport (or should I say goof?) and knelt behind this prop to get his photo with the kids. Have you ever taken notice that Dawson isn't a fan of the sun being in his eyes? Well, me either!

Yep, I think our 3 are about as cute as they come. Would you believe Gabi picked out their clothes? She did pretty good coordinating outfits whether she intended to or not only she will know.

If I haven't said it before, (which I'm sure I have and I'm even more sure I will say again at some point) McKenna is thee best baby! She is just so laid back and happy to tag along with whatever we are doing. Here she is chilled watching G & D play in the kids area.

Gabi wanted to take her chances at pummeling a target with the mini pumpkin sling shot. She rocked it and came oh so close to hitting one.

Here you can see the pumpkin headed right for the ghost.

I want to look back at this age/stage in the kids life and remember that wherever Gabi is, Dawson is sure to be two steps behind. He adores her and she really is very tolerant of him for the most part.

We took the tractor ride out to the patch which as the pictures show was very dry & dusty. Even though it appears as if there were slim pickings, there were hundreds upon hundreds of big, beautiful pumpkins of all colors and varieties to choose from. I think D was a little too ambitious with his choice!

Leave it to our miss perfectionist to pick the most perfect pumpkin. She takes into account the size, color and the stem. Who made this child anyway?

2nd attempt at capturing all 3 looking at the camera at once.
I digress.

And we couldn't leave without pictures in front of the "How Tall this Fall" prop followed by warm cinnamon donuts and ice cold slushies.
D - 3 1/4 spiders and G - 4 spiders and growing

Halloween 2011

I'm once again playing catch up with posting events and such so bear with me.
Halloween proved to be a good day this year. Pair incredible weather with happy kiddos, a Daddy who got to attend the Kansas City Chiefs versus San Diego Chargers game (which was unbelievable if you missed it), and a Mommy whose "crack" of choice is anything sweet and it makes for one picture perfect evening. All were happy!

Costumes were easy this year.
I asked the older two what they wanted to be/dress as and they both said they just wanted to pick something from their dress up bin. Score for the wallet! Dawson picked a monkey costume picked up on clearance at Old Navy for $5 if my memory serves me correct. Gabrielle was a wizardess (Target post Halloween 75% off clearance purchase) and McKenna was the cutest darn cupcake you ever did lay eyes upon (another Old Navy clearance buy). I love seeing siblings dressed in matching or themed costumes, but alas that wasn't the case for us this year. Next year perhaps! Maybe three little monsters?

Both "big" kids wanted a picture taken with their baby sister & I obliged.

And here MJ is all her cuteness. I could just eat her up.
Thanks to Little Sugars {like my friend Brandi's page on FB} for the fun pink puff hair clip.

I LOVE this picture!
I plan to print it and replace an existing picture taken at the pumpkin patch in 2009 of Gabi and Dawson. My friend Jeanna gifted me an adorable little frame that says "My brother & Me that has been on G's bedside table since we received it.

And I will close this posting with this crazy, cute monkey child of mine.
The costume is very appropriate for his current monkey like personality :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Embrace the Camera: November 3, 2011

My heart bleeds a little each time I look at my sweet MJ and know that she is our last baby blessing from the Lord. She is growing so fast and changing with each passing day. My talented friend and neighbor provided these keepsake photos marking McKenna at 9 months of age. I will forever treasure them!

Little Miss,
You are the littlest love of our life! There is nothing that brings us more happiness than to watch Gabrielle and Dawson interact with you, to see your face light up when Daddy walks into the room, the way you lean into your Mema and look at her with such love in your eyes when she sings to you, the way you laugh from the depths of your tummy at your Papa & most of all the way you love Mommy best. Tis true! You are a Momma's girl and for this I am thankful as I know in time you will become a Daddy's girl just as your sissy did. We love you McKenna Jane. YOU complete US!