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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Embrace the Camera: January 31, 2013

Today McKenna is Embracing the Camera with her best little boy buddy Micah and his momma bear, Ms. Lynee. 
I have the privilege of caring for Little Bear while Ms. Lynee works as a pediatric RN at Children's Mercy Hospital a couple of days a week.
McKenna adores Micah and almost daily wakes {in the morning or after nap} asking "Where Micah at?"
 She loves her LB and enjoys her playtime with him.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Our Girls Combined Birthday Celebration

In true form I am a bit late in getting this post up. We had a small combined birthday celebration for the girls birthday's this year. We invited four families whose kiddos happen to be our girl's top picks :)
Gabrielle choose fruit cookie "pizza" in place of cake or cupcakes. We used my mom's tried and true sugar cookie recipe and a super easy,  super light yummy frosting recipe I found online here with kiwi, raspberry and blackberry for toppings. We also served mini ham and turkey sandwiches, Strawberry Hill Povitica Company Apple Cinnamon bread and raspberry lemonade.
My sweet friend whipped up this printable for me at my request. I <3 as="" atop="" decor.="" is="" it="" mantel="" now="" of="" our="" p="" part="" sitting="" valentine="">
My SIL loaned us her Pottery Barn drink dispenser which I would gladly steal from her if allowed.
The tiered plate stand is one of my favorite garage sale finds of all time and has been used plenty by both myself and Kiersten.
The party napkins and window poms were a Target clearance purchase last year that I tucked away.
That hot mess of a pile on the counter are the take home gifts.
I failed to get a picture of the girls crafting, but Gabrielle choose something similar to the picture below as the craft/take home gift for her friends {Bryten, Adyson & Tatum}. 
We purchased silver trays at the Dollar Tree and taped off the edges with painters tape and then gave them a coat of Krylon's chalkboard paint. Gabi picked out some cute chipboard and cardstock embellishments & grosgrain ribbon to create the hanger at JoAnn's. They turned out pretty darn cute!
McKenna's girlfriends {Hartley & Logann} received a little plastic storage caddy with a coloring book and either crayons or markers and her boyfriend {Micah} and the big boys {Dawson and Evan} got to make a Build and Grow woodworking kit (check them out at Lowes - they are fun and affordable!) while the girls crafted. 

To conclude I'm sharing a picture of each of the girls with one of their favorite gifts. 
McKenna received the ThinkFun Roll & Play game (which is a must own in my books). We promptly purchased it online after her receiving it and gave it as a gift to one our favorite 1 year old. You can find it at Toys R Us, Learning Tree and Amazon.
Gabrielle received a beautiful keepsake necklace from Premier Designs with a personal note from Papa and Mema telling her to always remember Christ's love for her. 
We were so glad Papa, Mema, Uncle Brett and Aunt Linda could join us and we are especially happy that Daddy was able to finagle his schedule in order to be off work that morning. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

I mentioned in this post that the "bigs" single handedly decorated the tree this year. The tree is situated in the corner of what is meant to be our formal dining room just inside the front door. The kids were admiring their ornaments in the glow of the lights following Christmas Eve candle light service at church. In truth,  they were making an effort to stall bedtime in anticipation of waking to gifts under the tree. Take note there isn't a ONE under the tree in these picture. McKenna would have wasted no time in opening them if there had been :)
I grabbed the camera and took a few pictures from the entry way. 
Someday I would like to have a beautifully decorated tree with white lights and tasteful trimmings but for now, I will embrace the multi colored lights and mismatch of ornaments. The kids think it is beautiful, so so do I! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Teeth Tickling

Tuesday Gabrielle and Dawson were scheduled for their semi annual dental exam. Travis had the day off from work so he was able to accompany us to the appointment. The kids argued over who got to be first so Travis flipped a coin - Dawson heads, Gabi tails. Gabrielle won! McKenna took great interest in watching Gabrielle get her teeth cleaned so when it was Dawson's turn to climb into the examination chair, up she went with him.
She laid as still as could be intently watching Dawson get his teeth cleaned. The dental hygienist asked us if we would like for her to see if McKenna was receptive to having her teeth cleaned. Fortunately we were scheduled at the end of the day and were her last patients. Of course we said "Yes, please!" McKenna wasn't too keen on laying on the exam chair however we found that if she was standing and I also had my hand on the cleaning instrument that she was very cooperative. Hooray! Our newly turned two year old got to have her teeth tickled. 
And here she is rockin' some Hello Kitty sunglasses with Dr. Jill counting her pearly princesses. All looked great. 20 shiny whites in all with no signs of her 2 year molars coming through at this time. She had quite a little melt down when it was time to remove and return the sunglasses however that was remedied quickly when she was offered a cup of soft serve ice cream. That's our girl! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Christmas 2012

Christmas looked a bit different for us this year compared to years past. The DuBay family gathering was scheduled on an evening when Daddy worked and you kiddos were sick with snotty noses and a croupy cough so we decided to forgo attending. Papa & Mema spent Christmas in Alabama with Uncle Derek, Aunt Teri and family flying out on the 19th. We allowed you to open two items from your stockings from Papa and Mema before leaving for Springfield the weekend prior to Christmas. Daddy had to work Christmas Eve so I allowed you to open your remaining stocking gifts from P & M in the morning. Mommy took you to the candle light service at church Christmas Eve. Christmas morning you woke and opened your stockings from Daddy and Mommy and then we all sat down to a yummy pancake breakfast Daddy made. After breakfast you opened your gifts. Honestly I don't recall all the details even though Christmas was just a few short weeks back. I can tell you that Christmas was quiet and peaceful. Papa and Mema had left your gifts here for you, but we waited for them to return from AL in early January to open them. I couldn't quite wrap my mind around not have Christmas without them so we "redid" Christmas on Friday the 4th - gifts followed by another pancake breakfast made by Daddy. 
The two bigs in front of the tree Christmas morning
Little Miss inspecting a handful of her stocking items - wooden alpha and number magnets, felt cupcakes for tea parties & a juice and milk bottle for her babies 
MJ opening her gift from Papa & Mema
A Tag Junior Reader, book set & storage bag
Papa and Mema added to Dawson's Imaginext line
Gabi thrilled with her new girly perfumed lotion set 
Our favorite gift from this Christmas was the Jesus Calling devotional book by Sarah Young. I have LOVED crawling in bed with all 3 of you {nearly} every night and reading the daily devotion. You take turns looking up the additional scripture verses on Mommy's iPhone. I have noticed such a difference in your evening/bedtime demeanor on the evenings we complete the devotional. You each settle right to sleep after tucking you in.
I decided last year to record what your gifts were, so in keeping up with that here is this years list.
 MP3 player
 Fijit Friend Willa
Lego friends set
 Robotic toy
 Lego DS case and 2 DS games
 BOB book set 1 
 Shopping cart
 Large plastic food set
 Toy Vacuum

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sealed with a Kiss

Winter break from school was welcomed this year. The kids time home from school seemed to go by too quickly and before we knew it they were back in the swing of things this past Monday. 
I had hopes of scheduling play dates with friends from outside our school district, fun outings & events and such to occupy our time during their extended break. Instead we pretty well hunkered down at home and let the days pass by with free play with a few afternoons of baking and crafting inner mixed. The kids didn't complain and nor did I.
One late morning during break I wanted to capture Gabrielle reading to her siblings. She is so good about taking the time to read to them when I ask her to. As soon as little miss saw the camera she offered up her cheese.
McKenna received this book in her stocking from Papa and Mema this year. It is perfect for the toddler years and a wonderful addition to our Christmas book collection.
As I was sitting back enjoying the moment (the quiet, non-arguing/fighting that is) this happened and my momma heart exploded. Ack! I'll take the good and the pullmyhairoutbythefistfull bad for moments like these.  I love these kiddos.
MJ either doses out the kisses by the dozen or reserves them all for her favorite four legged friend, Quila {who is photo bombing this picture in hopes of scoring a Whopper}. This was one of those days when she was sharing the love and her sissy was on the receiving end!  Although there is six years age difference between Gabrielle and McKenna, my prayer is that they will grow up to be the very best of sister friends.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hello, My name is Christine and I am Obsessive Compulsive

I recently noticed I had several (10 to be exact) blog posts which remained in draft form, so expect to see a random blog post here and there :)

This isn't something that I have just recently come to terms with. It is something I have struggled with for a very long time now. Something I hold onto with the grip of death. Call it OCD, call it being type A, call it what you will. I own it! As I was going about my day today doing mindless tasks, it just became so clear to me how methodical I become in doing certain things. Take for example loading the dishwasher. I have a way of loading it so that I can maximize the space provided. I will rearrange the dirty dishes so that I might fit a handful more into the wash before running it. Mind you, the prewashing of dishes is in and of itself a whole other arena of OCD. When anyone else loads my dishwasher it is a guarantee that I will unload it and reload to my liking. Stupid! I have issues with the laundry too. I won't do a load until I have a "full" load and then I am UBER particular about sorting and folding. Here is the crazy thing. I actually enjoy doing laundry. Yep, tizz true! Now ironing. Well, that is a different thing. I HATE when other people do my laundry. Emphasis on the word hate. Well, other than my mom cuz truth be told she does it exactly like I do. Where do you think I learned from? Keeping with the cleaning and household theme I am soooooo over the top when it comes to shredding ANY and ALL papers that contain our names, address or any particulars that give way to identity. I can fill up the shredder in no time. A little ridiculous. I would say so. I jumped on the recycling band wagon when we moved into our current home in October 2009. I get this angry pang when I find something in the trash that belongs in the recycle bin (i.e. beverage bottles & the likes - ahem Travis!). He thinks it is crazy the measures I go to to rinse, dry and recycle OH nearly EVERYTHING! I am a little crazy about making the beds, my hair washing routine, reading/reviewing mail and paperwork of ALL kinds, keeping the checkbook balanced to the exact penny 24/7/365. So with all my areas of OCD, I really desire for it to spill over into areas that I can't seem to "manage" to the degree that I would like such as organization and storage of photos & the respective disks, purging of unnecessary items, keeping track of our expenditures and {coupon} savings.
Why am I taking the time (or wasting the time depending how you view it) to log this madness? Call me crazy, but I am hopeful that in doing so it will hold me a little accountable to work on these things. To relax a little over the not so important things and refocus that time and energy into those areas which I wish to develop a better system for. I'm headed on the right track.
Monkeys, if and when you read this years down the road please know your mommy wasn't completely crazy. Just admittedly a little cuckoo in certain areas :)
It is very apparent that you two oldest have a little OCD of your own. We can't keep enough hand soap in our stock pile as you are forevermore washing your hands. Good habit? For the most part. Bad for your eczema prone skin? Yes. A little too much hand washing? Definitely.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Potato Soup

Quick & Easy Potato Soup
Recipe shared from K. Reaser

8 C chicken broth (2 large boxed cartons)
8 C potatoes (2 pkgs frozen cubes potatoes)
3/4 tsp seasoning salt
3/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp fresh minced garlic (I use the refrigerated variety)
9 slices bacon (I use precooked) cut into small pieces
8 oz cream cheese, cut into chunks

Combine all ingredients except cream cheese. Boil on medium heat until potatoes are tender. Smash potatoes several times to release the starch for thickening. If you like it chunky, smash less - if you like it smooth, smash more.
Reduce heat to low, add cream cheese.
Heat, stirring frequently, until cheese melts
Serve & enjoy

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Embrace the Camera: January 3, 2013

I'm Embracing the Camera today with the hubs 
Photo taken at the 2nd annual New Year's Eve party hosted by the Hoods here in our n'hood

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Eight is Gr8!

Happy 2013 peanut! Today is your 8th birthday. I know it is so cliche to say it, but really, time has flown by! I will never, never forget the joy and excitement we felt when we learned we were expecting you. It is the same joy I feel each year on your birthday as I reflect back on the blessing that you are to us.
Your Daddy and I recently stumbled upon a little video clip of you from November 2008. We watched it half a dozen times smiling, laughing, tearing up (me). It really caused me to reflect on the magnitude of my love for you and put me in a sentimental mood all day. Life isn't always a bowl of cherries between you and I. I struggle. We struggle together to love each other the way God wants us to. You are a mini me, plain and simple. I look at you and I see me. This is both good and horribly bad. You see, Mommy is flawed. I am very impatient, I have exceptionally high expectations, and I am somewhat of a perfectionist. I am highly emotional and oh so tenderhearted. Guess what? You are these things too. From a very young age you were advanced - an advanced talker, early to potty train, you were writing at a very young age, you picked up reading easily, etc. Mema says it best when she says that I need to remember that you are just a little girl. I push you and sometimes that can mean too far. We butt heads a lot. At times we have difficulty keeping our mouths shut and our emotions in check with one another. My way of showing you that all I want is the very best for you and from you has often come in the form of authoritative parenting. For this I am sorry. Mommy is doing a lot of heart change and am relearning how to love you fully. I thank God daily for you and am committed to pray on a more regular basis for you and for our relationship. I want for you to always feel like I love you best {just as I love Dawson best and McKenna too}! That's allowed you know? :)
Your current loves right now are: looooong hot showers; playing your DS/iPad/games on the computer;  you've taken a greater interest in music and photography and are always, always up for crafting and creating; you enjoy prettying yourself up with lip gloss, eyeshadow & blush and most recently wearing your Tommy Girl perfume that Terry & Barb got you for Christmas; but your favorite thing still remains having quality time with your bestie - Mema. She is an expert at filling up your love tank.

Gabi,  I am in awe of your beauty and your strengths.
May this year find me learning to love you even more! 

I love you much,