Sunday, December 28, 2008

Randy's Birthday!

I can not believe I have a 24 year old son! It only feels like a few years ago I gave birth to him, Lord knows I am still carrying around the baby fat! Not really though, I worked hard to lose weight after I had him. This is all new and I can not blame him for it...but you know I have to tease him all of the time.

But back to Randy. He was my first baby. The most gorgeous baby in the whole world! I always called him a "button baby". He had this big round head, so big in fact that I had to have an emergency C-Section after 9 hours in labor. It turned out that he was facing forward and his head just wouldn't fit through the birth canal. After he was born I found a littl bruise on the back of his head where it had been trying to push against my pelvic bone. Poor thing. But oh my, what a round head and then such a beautiful face!

I had imagined all through my prenancy that he would be black haired with brown eyes and a dark mediterranean skin color. His father, Randy Sr., had some Native American in his background and I just thought my little boy would look like him. But he didn't...he looked like me, with blue eyes, blonde hair and a golden complexion. Oh he was sooo cute!!

And smart...let me tell you, of course he had only child syndrome something fierce! Though he liked to share his toys and he was always very polite. He was very mature for his age. But I always wanted him to have a brother or a sister. And he wanted that too. He told me when he was 17 years old that he wished he would have had a sibling, that it was his one regret! (And he was only 17...regrets...hah! Let me tell you about regrets!! No, no, just kidding!)

I have been so lucky, he and I have been a great pair. When we moved to Kansas he was so good and so positive. Not a lot of teenagers would go along with moving 1700 miles away from their friends right before High School! But he was great about it. He understood the opportunity, and kept a really positive attitude, and he made new friends right away.

As a man, well I couldn't be prouder. Of course I would love for him to finish college, find a nice girl to settle down with, all of that. But I know he will find his way in his own time. He is gentle with the girls, loves to laugh with them and teach them things. He is mature and helps around the house quite a bit. I love to go to movies with him and then go get coffee and discuss the movie. Now...I don't know if he loves to do this also, but he does it...because he is a good son and he likes to make his Mother happy and he is definitely not selfish! He is kind of shy...I know you wouldn't think so, but in that way he is a lot like my daughter Madyson, who is also shy. But since they both live with me, they kind of can not be shy, because I am not shy and I make all of the people around me feel like they should not be shy...does that make sense? Someone told me that once, and I think it makes sense. So he kind of acts like he is not shy, but sometimes I see that he really is.

I still see him as the little blonde haired boy with the page-boy haircut, sitting in the back of my car singing at the top if his lungs some little song he just made up. Laughing at the wind in his hair and smiling a big smile! I love you Randy, Happy Birthday!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Day at Our House

Madyson loved her Madame Alexander doll "Sara". Though she changed her name immediately to Addy Claire. I got this beautiful doll a few years ago, when Madyson was only 2, she looked just like her right down to the cute little pony tail poms!
Mackenzie announced in November that the only thing she really wanted was this Play Doh Ice Cream Set. Funny thing was I had already bought it on sale at WalMart in October. I wasn't sure who I was going to give it to, then I knew!! She was so excited, and went right down to the basement to play with it...all by herself. She was down there for half an hour and we had to call her up to eat breakfast.

These pictures posted out of order, this was actually supposed to be the first one. I took this just before going to bed on Christmas Eve.

And here are the girls just getting ready to tear into their first gifts. I always let them open their stocking gifts first. They can do that all at the same time. But we still like to have everyone take turns on the bigger stuff. I don't I add more chilfren I will probably have to just let them open at the same time or we will be there until New Years!

Randy has an Ava Present on his lap! She just loves her big brother so much!
What a fun morning it was! After opening all our gifts, the girls started playing with their toys and reading their books. Randy looked after Ava Marie so I could start breakfast. I read on another blog that the Mom had each of her kids sign up for dishes they would make or help make for Christmas Day breakfast and dinner...all I can say is "WOW"! I can not wait until my girls can cook with me in the kitchen. Not that they can't help now...but let's get much would be helping and how much would just be making a bigger mess! I am not real particular about a terrifically clean house...but I can't stand to cook in a dirty or messy kitchen. I like to spread out and kind of clean as I go.
But I figure it is probably a lot like teaching a child to feed themselves, you have to go through the really messy, food on the floor, bananas in their hair, spaghetti sauce dripping from every oriface kind of thing before they can actually get the food in their mouths and you can be sure they got a nutritious meal. And I will most likely have to let the girls get in the kitchen, "help" me pour things and serve things, and stir things and just look the other way when it becomes a big mess.
I can not say that Christmas Day at our house was relaxing...but it was fun, noisy, happy and just plain filled with love! Hope yours was too!

Christmas Eve Dinner

As was the tradition at my Italian Grandmother's home (Nani), we always have Italian Sausages with onions and green peppers on Christmas Eve. We make sandwiches out of them, served on Hoagie style buns. Yum-yum! I like to make extra and then use the leftover sausages, veggies and even the drippings in my eggs the next morning...which is exactly what we did!

I put about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in the pan, then saute the onions and pepper for about 5 minutes, then add the sausages and turn them once. This dinner, which we have a couple of times per month takes about 30 minutes to make from start to plate!

After dinner we have a birthday cake for Jesus, and sing Happy Birthday. We also usually attend the candlelight service at our church. They have a special Children's Service at 3pm and 5pm, then about 7 other services at various times. We did not attend any of the services this year since the baby wasn't feeling well. I really miss it, at the end of the service our Pastor, Adam Hamilton darkens the whole sanctuary (which seats 3,000) and then they light the Purple Advent candle, and then several people light a candle from that one candle, and then they go out to us and we light our candles row by row, and soon the whole sanctuary is lit up with light...all the while we are singing Silent Night. It is so moving...I always cry and have a hard time holding my candle and drying my eyes at the same time! I must be there next year, I am really sad I missed it!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Let It Snow...

I am cheating here. These pictures are not the idyllic snapshots of a snowy Christmas Day! No, they were taken a few weeks ago. And, alas, there is almost no snow on our lawn today. There was a bit yesterday, but then we had a day in the mid 30's and last night just wasn't cold enough to keep it! Darn!

So I am posting these pictures, and humming "Let it Snow, let it snow..." and hoping that the snow will return soon. "Why?", you ask. Because my Mother and my Aunt Marianne will be here on Saturday for a week and I have promised them beautiful snow!! And now I have to deliver!

This is the view from my office, the kids still love to play on the swingset, even in the snow!

They were outside building a snowman, who is now deceased...may he rest in peace. You see, if it would only snow again, then we could resurrect him, and I could teach my girls a wonderful lesson on the resurrection, which is really an Easter story, but, whatever! And we could have hot chocolate, and make snow angels...please snow, please snow, please snow. I'll let you know if it does.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday Ava Marie!

Today is Ava Marie's 1st Birthday! I am so happy to be celebrating this day with my cute little babies big day. Ava Marie was 4 days old when she came to live with our family.

I'll never forget the phone call at 6pm on a Friday night. The girls had just sat down to dinner and we were planning on watching a Christmas movie later that evening. The agency called and said, "We have a 4 day old baby girl...are you interested?" Boy, was I!! I told the girls to eat quickly and then loaded them in the van and we drove to Lawrence (which was halfway to Topeka, where Ava was born.) and met the social worker in a parking lot. Not exactly a romantic story, but I could have been anywhere...when she placed Ava Marie into my arms I was so excited I was trembling! She was asleep, so we gently put her into the van and I told the girls they needed to be really quiet on the way home. Yeah, right! They were way too excited and kept squealing every time she moved! But she slept all the way back to our house.

I carried her car seat into the house and placed it next to the Christmas Tree. Then I got the girls to bed as it was almost midnight by then! After they were settled I went back downstairs and lifted her out of the carrier, I remember standing next to the tree, looking at her little face in the glow of the little white lights. She was the best Christmas present I had ever received. Thank you Lord!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hangin' with my Sisters

Just another lazy Sunday in our jammies! All of the girls are in the childrens area drawing and reading.
Katy and Mackenzie are obsessed with writing letters to people. They write at least one letter a day to me and to each other! It's cute, but I have little bits of paper everywhere!

Katy is now passing this down to Ava, who is awed by the power of the crayon!

I think Katy is trying to persuade her to use the crayon to write with, rather than to eat! I get it!!

Home Sweet Home

I like this photograph of our house, I was actually trying to get the clouds above it...they were pretty ominous that day. I love the sage green color, just wish I had more mature trees. I am going to plant more this spring. Or should I say, I am going to hire someone to plant more trees for me!


This was the first day that Ava Marie wore shoes! She seemed to like them. The real reason I put them on was because it was very cold and I was trying to prevent her from taking off her socks!!

Love those cool pants too!

She's just too darn cute!

Katy's Ballet Pictures

Katy also loves Ballet classes at The Culture House! She is so tall and lean, her body is perfect for ballet. She is in Ballet 1 with her dear friend Megan.
She was so cute when she posed for these pictures.

I told her that her arms were perfectly rounded!

A view from my office...

This is basically the view from my office. I have 2 big picture windows that look out to the backyard. I can watch the girls play, the snow fall, the wind get the picture...well, the mental picture.

For so many years I worked for someone else, stuck in cubicles or windowless offices. It was so important to me when I found this home that it had a great office with lots of light and windows. My favorite thing is that it looks out to the back yard and not the front yard. Because during tax season I am in my office at all hours...oh who are we kidding here...I am in my office to all hours all year long! But anyways, I like to have the blinds open so I can see the first hint of dawn in the wee hours of the morning, and it would be weird if my neighbors could see into my office when I was working...since I often wear my PJ's!