"Christmas in Virginia next year!" Little did I realize when my parents made this declaration last year, that everyone would take it so seriously. So five of my seven siblings and my parents made the trek to our house and made it a very fun, exciting Christmas here in VA...with a grand total of fifteen people sleeping and eating here!
The only ones who didn't stay here were my brother Pete, who lives locally and just welcomed a new little baby into their home a few days before Christmas. And my sister, Kristina who lives in CA and is expecting a new little baby any day!
My kids are reveling in all of the aunt/uncle/grandparent attention and staying up way too late in the process. I fear a grumpy, lonely rebellion in a few days after everyone has left!
I, too, have been enjoying the reupholstered dining room chairs, reorganized closets, pleasant conversations, board game challengers, and free babysitting that has accompanied the influx of visitors. I'm sure that my own withdrawal symptoms will be acute when "real life" hits hard very soon!
We can do Christmas in Virginia any time and to all of you that have already left...
Cami's school started this fantastic program called, "Girls on the Run". A group of girls meets twice a week and they train for a 5K. Being a high school cross country and track runner, I am a huge fan. After all who can hate it when your ten year old comes home from school bragging about how she just ran three miles? So here we were at the culmination of their training...The Reindeer Romp. Cami's training paid off well and has given me a shot in the arm that I need to do my own training!
Cami's official time: 32:09 My official time: 33:34 (yes she beat me!)
Gingerbread houses are such a fun part of the holidays for me and the kids too. Despite the extreme craziness of the time of year, I try to set aside one afternoon or evening for the kids to invite friends over to join in on this sweet tradition. Although family starts arriving tomorrow, Ellie's been quite ill, and my list of things to do is endless...here's our dining room table converted to gingerbread house construction zone! There were TWELVE kids here to join in (although Spence's friends only ate the candy and played Nerf gun wars the rest of the time).
Adam and his friend, Garrett with their creations!
Cami and Megan with their elaborate designs that ended up looking a lot like churches.
Emma with her friends, Morgan and Elena. Emma and Elena had some collapsing issues, but it did nothing to diminish the fun and thrill of using sweet treats as construction materials!
Even Ellie wanted to join in on the fun. She was still too weak to do much, as even sitting up at the table seemed strenuous to her. However she still wanted to hold her own house and pose for a picture then pull off the sides and eat them. (Today Ellie finally starting talking, responding, and smiling again...tomorrow we're hoping for walking too.)
Here's my poor baby who has spent yesterday and today lying on the kitchen floor...completely pathetic! Until early this morning she was throwing up instantly after even half teaspoons of Pedialyte. Thankfully she has not vomited today and has been able to keep a little liquid down, so hopefully the worst is over.
In the meantime...we're waiting for our sweet Ellie smiles to return! :(
Part of the fun of the holiday season is all of the concerts we get to attend. Spencer's middle school band concert was Tuesday night where Spence was clarinet player extraordinaire! And tonight was their elementary school's production of the Nutcracker, in which Cami had three parts.
Cami with her three best friends..Mikhaela, Megan, and Ariana wearing Russian, Arabian, and reed flute costumes
It was a fantastic program which was a lot of work for all involved...especially the school's music teachers, art teacher, and a parent volunteer who sewed dozens of costumes herself.
Glen is out of town, so I was on my own in the audience with the other four kids...a challenging enough prospect in and of itself. But to add to the thrill and excitement of the evening Ellie used this opportunity to throw up for the first time this season!
With the increasing insanity level in my life, the amount of time I spend inside stores has dramatically decreased. In fact I've only been into a couple of stores this whole holiday season.
Evidence of this fact and the fact that we've got a house full of people coming for Christmas (so others are sending their packages here as well)...the US Postal Service, UPS, and FedEx have begun to make almost daily stops at our house! It's a rare day when my entry way doesn't have one or more boxes cluttering it up.
My wrapping "machine"--Adam has wrapped dozens of presents for Nate, Kristina, Grandma, and Me Look closely and you can see whether any of these are for you!
In order to avoid the inevitable wrapping crush that will shortly befall us, I've employed Adam as my wrapper in chief (an unpaid position, but one which brings him much joy). He's a great little wrapper and he's saving me loads of time!
If it wasn't bad enough that I like to bake...and then Cami took a strong liking to baking...now Emma's creating culinary masterpieces. I'm afraid these 20 lbs. will never go!
1/2 cup butter 1/2 cup peanut butter 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup sugar 1 egg 1 tsp. vanilla 1 cup flour 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 3/4 cup tiny marshmallows 2/3 cup peanuts 1/2 cup mini M & M's
Mix butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and sugar. Then add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Then add the flour and beat just until mixed.
Spread out dough into a circle shape on large cookie sheet and bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
Shortly after removing from oven sprinkle the center of circle with chocolate chips. Let stand 1-2 minutes or until softened. Then carefully spread the melted pieces over the circle. Then sprinkle with marshmallow, peanuts, and M & M's...or anything else that strikes your fancy.
Put cookie sheet back in oven and bake for five minutes more or until marshmallows are golden brown.
As the mother of 2 boys and 3 girls I've come to see first hand the gender differences that kids are born with.
When Spencer was only 6 months old he could throw a ball across the room...no problem and boy did he have a knack for making the simplest objects into weapons. He could shoot a plastic golf club across the room by pulling back on a plastic hanger and using it as a very effective bow. One time Adam came home from a friend's house telling me that he'd played with dolls while he was there...ohhh how sweet, right? Then he went on to explain that they were using them as sort of a target practice by throwing them at the wall. Okay I guess I am not as impressed, but it certainly made more sense! Of course I think my boys are also very sweet and sensitive, but it comes right down to it they love dinosaurs, cars, weapons, and all the other stereotypical boy paraphernalia.
Adam and his friend playing with dirt, rocks, and sticks
Our little girls have been as girly as our boys have been boy-y (sorry I know that's not a word)! They've all loved dolls and dress-ups and sparkly things...but out of all my girls I daresay Ellie takes the cake on girliness! Not only does she have a strong passion for her dolls, spending HOURS each day dressing and undressing them (Barbies, Polly Pockets, American Girls, Build-A-Bears...she doesn't care, she loves them all), but she even will turn her fingers into dolls when there are no real ones around (a very rare occurrence). Her pinky is the sister finger, then the brother finger, then the Mom finger, Dad finger, and her thumb is the bad guy finger...and she's consistent about which is which! She also completely refuses to eat from any dish that is not pink, calling them her "girl bowl" or "girl cup". Of course this obsession with pink also means that she considers all non-pink clothing "boy clothes". So just to ensure that no one ever question her girliness... her pink, flowery tutu rounds out just about every outfit.
With Glen's late work hours we have completely stopped watching the news. As a result this early snowstorm totally took us by surprise! The kids are SOOO excited and will definitely be taking advantage of all 1.5 inches of it with sledding, snowballs, and tiny snowmen speckled with dirt and grass!
The Minnesotan in me is laughing that it seems like such a big deal to get a little snow in early December...but after 16 years away from the frozen tundra I guess I've become a little wimpier!
Welcome to our family blog where you can find the latest on our family and read all about Spencer's battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (subtype M5). He was diagnosed in January 2012 and was released from the hospital after successfully defeating it on May 31, 2012. Every day he is in remission is a gift to us.
In amongst the leukemia updates you'll find a random conglomeration of humorous, boring, goofy, and inspiring tales (with photos of course) from the adventure of our life with five kids. An adventure that we're taking ...a day at a time.