Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Although it has been a very lousy winter for snow, we have enough to cover the ground and the sledding hills. Because we've had rain as frequently as we have had snow, the sleds go down the hills fast! I have taken the children out twice to go sledding. Grandma Karen has taken the older children sledding twice, too, to a school near her home. 

The first time we just went across the street to the elementary school hill. It might have been Evan's first sledding trip--or Matt may have taken him out last year? In any case, I bet it was his first time down a hill on his own! He loved it. We own a seal shaped sled that doesn't go as fast as the saucer sleds which makes it perfect for toddlers. On our first sledding trip Lincoln did all his sledding with Viva on her sled. The next time we went out sledding, Lincoln demanded equal time on the seal sled so he could go down on his own. And then Jake and Viva got in a fight about who got to go down with Evan. They did not want to share that privilege. 

The second sledding trip I started at the elementary school with all five children then we dropped Evan off (he was really angry  about being left behind) and we went down the street two more blocks to the sledding hill at the high school. Most high schools don't have sledding hills, but the geography of our nearby high school gives it a fantastic sledding hill which is very popular. When we arrived I thought there were too many people around to enjoy sledding, but most of them were yakkers and not sledders, so the children could go down the hill as soon as their little legs carried them up the hill--no waiting!

It's hard to get a good photo while the children are sledding because they are bundled up and/or far away. Here is what I took:

Monday, December 29, 2014

Five Funny Photos

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Traditions

Christmas Books
We have two different collections of Christmas books. The hardback collection we wrap them up before December 1st and then try to read at least one a day from the 1st through the 24th of December. The other collection is paperbacks and board books of which we have dozens. We put them out on a shelf during the holiday season for the children to read at their leisure. Viva and Lincoln (with great-grandma's help) were the most frequent readers of this collection this year.

Christmas Nativity Cards
We have a large supply of nativity stickers, so every year we have the children create a card with a nativity scene using them. It's always amusing when the youngest ones put the animals on top of the manger or in the sky. Sometimes we give these cards out, but this year we didn't because we weren't efficient enough to get them out before Christmas. 

Christmas Movies
The older children watched their favorite Christmas movies. Evan and Lincoln joined them once or twice, but other times they were already in bed. This year I added to the DVD collection "A Christmas Story" which is about Ralphie and his quest for a Red Ryder B.B. gun for Christmas.

Christmas Lego Sets
We have a few small Lego Christmas sets. Opa and Lincoln at least two sets and Jake built one.

Ornament Collections
We show off some of our ornament collections on the windows or walls, not just the Christmas tree! 

Christmas Puzzle
Opa helped Viva, Bentley, Jake and I put the puzzle together this year on Christmas Eve. It was finished in under 34 minutes!

Sleeping by the Christmas Tree
Bentley, Jake, and Viva slept in the living room next to the tree at least three nights during the holiday season.

Santa Papered Hallway
Santa papered over the hallway when he left making it harder for the children to sneak downstairs early! The children asked Kara why his wrapping paper matches ours. Obviously there is no room in his sleigh for extra rolls of wrapping paper, so he used what was at our house!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Photo Shoot

Kara posted her favorite two Christmas shots, but I wanted to share a few others taken during our photo shoot. As usual we had more than one session, but the sessions were short and all on the same day! It really was quite amazing that we got some good photos of the group without an excessive amount of time and effort. 

Bentley complained loudly about having to do the photos, but he was a champion smiler during the sessions. Lincoln ruined a whole sequence of photos by pouting which you kind of have to expect of a three year old. Viva was a good sport once we got her into the dress that best matched the boys' outfits. Jake was easy to work with. Evan was a wiggly two year old!

Our first session I posed the boys in back and Viva in front. I put her on the right in front of Bentley. That could have worked with both rows of children lining up tallest to smallest, but the boys were too far back and so their heads were noticeably smaller than Viva's head. Kara didn't like that. She didn't want her girl child to appear larger than the older boy children. 

Here's a photo where Bentley is looking good, but he's the only one doing so. Lincoln is looking sad and Evan and Viva are too serious.

In our next series of photos, we put Viva in the middle of the two little boys and reminded the older boys to lean forward a little so their heads don't appear so much smaller than Viva's head. I like the photo below, but Bentley was squinting so this photo was not chosen as The Photo.

I loved Evan's dimple in the next photo, but Kara thought Bentley looked a little crazy. (However, he was smiling and not squinting!) I think Lincoln was looking a little crazy, too!

In the photo above (as in the photo Kara chose to post on Christmas Day) you can see that as the photo session went on, Evan pushed Viva out of the center of the photo and made himself the focal point. That's not easy to do when you're the smallest child in the photo session, but he managed it. 

And lastly, here are four more fine photos from our photo shoot.


I've saved five funny photos for another post!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Posting Frenzy

I am going to post, post, post the next few days in a mad attempt to catch up on all the holiday posts I've neglected throughout the month and all the general posts I'd like to get in before the end of the year. It's not the way I prefer to post to the blog, but at least I will get it all posted. In a week or two I will come back to the blog and back date a few of the posts.

Christmas Eve

In our home we exchange gifts on Christmas Eve. First we eat a simple meal of favorite foods. This year our meal included crescent rolls with and without hot dogs, homemade rolls, and homemade ham and cheese rolls! Kara was making sure she had some of everyone's favorite rolls--or she lost count of the different types of rolls she was preparing?!

After our meal we had a short concert of Christmas music courtesy of Jake and Bentley. They didn't play songs on their ukulele, but on the piano. Jake has been practicing every day on the piano and he did a great job. Bentley went next and we enjoyed his songs, too. Lincoln insisted on going third. He was entertaining, but it wasn't traditional Christmas music. After Lincoln, Evan demanded a turn. Viva did not join the boys' concert. We then sang a song or two. We read the Christmas story at some point--before or after the music, I'm not sure.

Then the children handed out the gifts under the tree. We opened gifts. The boys received Legos, books, and Ninja costumes. Viva was given a sewing machine, books, and duct tape. Viva made quite a few Christmas gifts for others. Most were made from duct tape, but she also made a bead necklace for Jake (see last photo). It was a nice evening. It is good to be with family for holiday celebrations.

Our tree without the lights on and missing ornaments on the top part. 
The bottom part is rather bare, too!

J plays.

B plays.

L plays.

And, yes, E plays!

B & L distributing gifts.

L opening a gift

 J opening a gift

B verifying whose gift it is before opening it.

V admiring a gift.

E working hard at opening a box.
(E refused twice to take a gift out a gift bag.  
He forcefully pushed the bag away. Why?) 


E loving a gift.

J showing off a gift.

L checking out a gift.

J displaying the gift V made him!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas! (The Official Pictures)

I think our pictures turned out fabulous this year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Then and Now

While digging in the closet to find some Christmas finery for my two littlest peeps I came across some cute matching vests. The vests brought to mind a favorite canvas picture I have of the older three, and I recruited the grandparents to help me recreate it! The original picture was taken in 2010 when the twins were 3 1/2 and Bentley was almost 5. I figured that out towards the END of our photo shoot, as my 3 1/2 and just turned TWO year old were not being super cooperative at striking the exact pose I was looking for... :) Nonetheless, a cute picture was obtained.  And if I remember next Christmas (it's possible... not probable, but possible!) we'll give it another try!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Finally! Some Snow!

Our snow, so far this year, has been a bit on the minimal and uninspiring side.  So the kids were pretty excited this week to receive enough fresh snow to actually play!  Granted, Viva and Lincoln could only make a mini snowman from our mini snow fall, but they still had great fun.  

Later in the evening when I was heading out I snapped a picture of their expanded snowman family:

Viva tells me the Daddy is in the front, his pregnant snowman wife is behind him, and their blind snowman child (they ran out of appropriate pebbles for eyes) is to the left.  What a cute family.  :)