Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Oh, we have SO much to be thankful for. My heart is still bursting with joy as I think about all the Lord has done for me. We live a blessed life! And, yesterday we enjoyed celebrating with our family. What a wonderful feeling it was to wake-up knowing my husband would be home for a month, my parents and Daniel's parents were on their way, the house would soon be filled with wonderful smells of cooking, and our girls were bursting with excitement!

Our first task was to work on pies, as well as homemade butter! Natalie was so excited to do the pumpkin pie, so I recruited Allison to help me make butter. It is the simplest think ever... yet so fun! You fill a jar 1/3 full of heavy whipping cream, add a marble or bead and a shake of salt, and then shake until you can no longer hear the bead. Allison and I also came up with a game we called the "Pilgrim butter roll," once our arms tired of all the shaking!

It's like magic! You open the jar, and you have yummy butter! I found the recipe and cute labels from "A Lemon Squeezy;" You can find them here.

Grandma and Grandpa were the first to arrive at noon, and the girls were all smiles!

Sierra wanted to enjoy the pie-making experience as well, and bullied her way onto the chairs to help. Her big sisters were very kind and patient with her! Allison worked on the berry pie, and Natalie was the helper with the pumpkin pie.

Both pies turned out incredible!

The girls thought it would be fun to wear Indian vests... Allison didn't even decorate hers, and Natalie glued on 3 feathers. I found them quite humorous!

We enjoyed our very first fire in our fireplace. (Does it get any cozier than that?)

The dogs were all about begging. Poor guys had to smell the yummy food all day!

Sierra was quite content in her new boots from Grandma!

For our 3rd year in a row, we enjoyed a delicious smoked turkey from Lucille's. But, that doesn't mean Daniel didn't slave all day in the kitchen working on the pies, the sides, and a wonderful salmon dish!

Even now as I type this and look at all the pictures, I can't help but feel so thankful and overwhelmed. My girls just love their family. We are blessed with health, good food, a beautiful home, and a God who meets all our needs and then some!

Despite being overly tired, Sierra was so happy and stayed up late playing with her cousins and grandparents!
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Fountain

And, I officially made it through day 3 without Daniel. No sign of labor; kind of a bummer, yet what we wanted! (Daniel really needed to work these last 3 days, but I also wanted the excitement of actually going into labor for once!) So, why am I up late blogging? Well, 2 reasons, really.
  1. I was feeling lazy and took the kids to Chick-Fil-A for dinner, and now have a caffeine-high from all the sweet tea I consumed.
  2. I am still in nesting mode in preparation for the baby coming, and actually almost finished our 2011 Christmas letter!
Speaking of nesting mode, I think I've mentioned before how we've been getting a few projects done here and there lately. Before he left, Daniel got our fountain up and running, again. I just love the sound of water running throughout the day! Sierra has also enjoyed it, (and given me cause to change her outfits several times a day!)

Only 6 more days until Yehbie arrives! (But who's counting?)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving School 2011

Today we had our "Thanksgiving School," which our girls have been looking forward to for a week now. Unfortunately, I was a little too tired to actually plan and do all the fun things I've pinned on Pinterest and seen online. But, we ended up having more than enough activities, and the girls had fun with their friends!

(Side note: the 2 older boys are just one week younger than each of my older girls, the babies are just a few months apart, and my friend is pregnant with her first girl while I'm pregnant with my first boy. Too fun!)

We started off reading some Thanksgiving jokes. Here's one for ya: Q: Why did the turkey join the band? A: Because he had drumsticks!

I found a fun little game online, (So sorry I lost where I got most of this stuff!) It's called "Roll a Turkey" and is played just like "Cooties," only you draw the turkey in parts as you roll them. Natalie was our winner!

You may wonder what you do with 2 little ones while trying to teach the older ones. I've found these 3 steps to work wonders:

My friend brought a wonderful story of why we celebrate Thanksgiving, and not just "Turkey Day."

And, we limited our crafts and upped our recess in honor of the boys. I had 3 crafts planned, but decided to go with just one.
Oh, little baby boy in my tummy... what am I in for? :)

I didn't take pictures of everything, but we found some great Mad Libs on Classroom Jr. and Family Fun. Before lunch, since we had to wait for the pizza man, we put on the "Charlie Brown Thanksgiving." Such a classic!

Once the boys left, I put Sierra down for her nap and then went on to our last activity. I sent the boys each home with a can so they could do it while their little brother was sleeping, too. I came up with this late last night, and was excited about it. I had SO wanted to make some fun turkey treats. I found a million ideas out there -- but alas, I didn't have the energy to go to the store with the girls in the rain to buy the neccessary ingredients. Then it occurred to me... why not throw a bunch of leftover Halloween candy in a can and have the girls make their own turkeys? It's a snack and a craft all in one! Here's what they came up with:

Each can had the following:
1 each: red, yellow, orange Starburst
1 pack: m&m's
1 pack: candy corn
1 pack: Reese's peanut butter cup
4 peanuts

That's it! I just had to help the girls manipulate their Starbursts enough to make legs, eyes, a beak, etc.

We're on an indefinite break from "formal learning" as I am now one week away from giving birth. It is a nice relief to not have to plan for a while -- at the same time, we are finally in such a good routine, it will b a little difficult to stop and have to start up again -- especially with a new little one around! For now, I am just going to enjoy each day as it comes.

One more idea for you... I taped a Thanksgiving word search to the window. Each time the kids remembered to say "Thank you," (which wasn't very often!), they were allowed to go to the window and look for a word. If they found one, they were rewarded with a treat. I may have to keep this up for a while until saying thank-you once again becomes a habit!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Date Night!

I have been dreading today for a while... it's the start of my husband being gone for 3 1/2 days. Of course, that's a common occurrence when you're married to a firefighter; just not so fun at 39 weeks pregnant! It didn't start out so great, either... bad dreams for my 4-year-old kept me up from midnight until 3:30am this morning. To top it off, today was gloomy and rainy. And, the girls have colds, so I couldn't even escape to church!

Good thing God is bigger than my circumstances! I was reminded last night to take one day at a time, rather than looking at the 3 1/2 days. I was also reminded to count each day a blessing (Psalm 118:24) And, today really was not so bad at all! We had a few hours of overcast before the rain came, and had a great time at the park. We were the only ones there, which always makes me wonder, "Where is everybody?"

Despite being overly tired, the girls were very good and the day went by fairly quick. They had fun flying their new gliders from their cousins' birthday party yesterday from the top of the stairs down, as well as playing with Triscuit on his new pillow we bought him on our date last night. I couldn't believe what a good dog he was; he just let them cover him in blankets, put on a dinosaur mask from the birthday party, and jump all over him. I guess wearing him out at the park was as important as wearing the girls out!

Yes, we bought the pillow on our date night last night. I just love cozy date nights... and yesterday was super cozy! We got coffee, walked through model homes, went to a creperie for dinner, and then did some Christmas shopping while bundled -up and holding hands. We came home to 3 sleeping girls, and our sweetest friends asking why we were back so soon!

Things will change soon; in just a week, in fact! I am so thankful for these times of refreshing. The next year I will have a little one attached to me once again. Or, perhaps, this will be the first baby to allow me to pump a bottle?!?!? Either way, I am exited for the change, as I know time goes by all too quickly and I will soon have time to myself again. For now, I am anxious to meet my little man; but I will do my best to cherish each day before he gets here; (Including the next 2 1/2 when my husband is gone!)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pink Patience Day

Ever since finding out we were going to have a boy, I've had this idea in my head... I wanted to surprise the girls with a "girly-themed" day just to celebrate sisterhood! I wanted it to be one of the last school days before Yehbie arrived, and a day when Daniel was gone so that it would be all things girl-related. I decided to go with a "Pink Patience Day."
I decorated the table, and bought the girls a few fun pink surprises the night before. I was excited to see their reaction the next morning when walking into what they thought was another ordinary school day.
The most important element I wanted to give them was a love letter to each girl. I want each of them to know how special they are, and how much I enjoy having girls. I also explained to them that I will be busy nursing a lot when Yehbie comes, and they will need a lot of "pink patience." I also asked them for grace when I am fussy, tired, and impatient, and we did our morning Bible study on what that means.
The letters were definitely a huge hit. I would do today all over again, just to give them the letters. But, sometimes things don't always go as planned... Rather than a "Wow," when seeing the decorated kitchen, I got more of a "Why does it look like Valentine's Day in here?" This was followed immediately by tears, and a rendition of "Why are Allison's socks more beautiful than mine?"
The pink muffins were snuffed because the raspberries made them "too sour."
Gotta love 2-year-olds; "A muffin on my plate is not good enough! I must have a different one, lick it, and leave it! Then I must whine and throw a tantrum because all I want is the pretty pink candy on the table!" (Guess I asked for that one myself!)
Our manicure/ pedicure session was fairly successful. The girls were actually pretty excited, since I don't normally alllow them nail polish. However, our pink smoothie "snack" which followed was also a disappointment, as the 2 big girls have decided they don't like smoothies. (And, this was a really yummy one!) At least Sierra still appreciates my smoothies.
We did a few pink school activities, including a pink scavenger hunt.
Then came lunch... turkey/ cheese croissants. Apparently, they were "too pink," the apples were "too sour," and the lmonade was "too bubbly." At this point, I reached my peak of complaints. I honestly questioned whether I wanted to do anything like this, again. I made an analogy that they could understand, asking them how they would feel if they worked really hard drawing a picture for someone, and then the person didn't respond well...

... Natalie got it! She worte me this note, and I decided I would definitely do this again!
And, just so you don't think we're too girly over here, the girls enjoyed a nice wrestling session after lunch!
Overall, it was a really good day! I share the complaints and some of the negatives just so you don't look at the pictures and think things are "perfect" around here. Tonight actually ended really well. At dinner we discussed our highlights and low-lights of the day, and then I explained my 3 reasons for doing pink day once again. They really got it. And, they thanked me sincerely; my heart is full! The beauty of the discussion was I even heard some things that surprised me, like how excited they were to see the table in the morning. As I mentioned earlier, they sure didn't show it at the time!

One last thing:

Hobby Lobby recently opened up here in Rancho Cucamonga. I have never been to a Hobby Lobby, and have always wanted to go. I told the girls we would go and look for a "pink patience craft." I ended up letting each of the girls pick out 4 colors of embroidery floss to try friendship bracelets again. I reminded them each time they needed my help and I was helping the other person that this is how it is going to be when Yehbie arrives. Once again, they totally got it and smiled patiently.
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