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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Flashlight Hide and Seek

Still the BEST game ever is flashlight hide-and-seek.  You turn all the lights off and in teams you go searching just by the light of your flashlight.  If you happen to not be able to find your son, wait for your three-year old daughter to randomly start talking about dog poop and how disgusting it would be to eat and that you can't mix poop and pee and your son (who is in the poop-is-funnier-than-anything-stage) will bust up laughing so hard, that you will easily be able to find him.   And the greatest satisfaction is to catch your husband when he is sneaking back into the house after cheating and hiding outside!  Ha!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mathan Day 2014

 I was really looking forward to Mathan Day this year.  We had planned on going bow and arrow shooting at a local range that we found just a week prior to going.  It was perfect!  Nathan had so much fun and there was an old gentleman who took pleasure in teaching Nathan.  The old man of course shot a simple wooden bow with wooden arrows.  Nathan learned really fast and did great.  He quickly improved and shot all across the hall.  We spent probably 2-3 hours there with Nathan not tiring until the very end.

All that bow and arrow shooting made the boy quite hungry, so we headed to Wendy's for burgers.  That is Nathan's favorite food by the way, hamburger with just ketchup and bacon, if available.

After lunch, naturally we went for frozen yogurt.  Just like his sister, he loves the frozen yogurt places where you can choose from multiple different flavors and toppings.  As you can see, he likes candy corn and marshmallow.  To a former German, those are both odd choices. 

I can't believe how big this boy is.  He is above my shoulder now.  Where has the time gone from the little boy who adored rocks and walked so early?  The last few years have really been blurs so I try to soak up these moments, especially with the male of the species, which is so foreign to me.  But now that I am looking more at the picture, I seem to focus on the frozen yogurt and its creaminess is calling my name.  Yum.  Must.look.away.

After hearing about all the fun his sister had at Chuckie Cheese's, Nathan wanted to go to.  He spent all of his time in the big boy section and we threw footballs, basketballs, shot skeletons and so on.

A hug from Chuckie.  Still not too old for this.  :-)
Also, the hat Nathan is wearing is his pride and joy.  His dad won it at a baseball clinic and it is a hat from the winning team of the 2012 Little League World Series.  Nathan is very proud of it.

Nathan loves football.  He would love to play it but it freaks his dad and I out.  We are worried about concussions, broken bones, and the likes.

Hannah wasn't going to be left out and played with her teddy.  Yummy!  Just look at all that squishy baby yumminess.  I want to go wake her up right now and smooch her!

Nathan was really nice and spent some of his winnings on his sisters.  He brought Isabelle some candy which she loves and Abby a bracelet.  Having such a selection is often agonizing to Nathan.  While Abigail can pick instantly and never regrets her choice, Nathan takes a very long time and then still second-guesses himself.

His service project was Ann Voskamp's Gratitude Jar.  We went to Goodwill and he took great care picking just the right jar for grandma.  It was really cute watching him decide between the different jars.  

He did a fantastic job picking just the right one for Grandma.  Grandma loves flowers and purple and so this one was perfect.

It was another wonderful Mathan Day and I'm really looking forward to next year's.  Although I don't like them to grow up, it is nicer each year spending special time together.  As they get older, we can talk much better and enjoy their increased maturity.   Their personalities show themselves more and we can take pleasure is guessing who and what they will become one day.  My favorite part of the day was the bow and arrow shooting followed closely by Nathan picking the gratitude jar. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mabby Day 2014

As always, our last week before school includes a day just with mom (and Hanny this year) where we do all kinds of special things.  It usually solicits a response similar to this:

To the left is the beloved bear, who inexplicably is still held together by the thinnest fabric you may have ever seen.  It may be thinner than your nylons.  To the right is Mimsy, a rainbow colored bunny who has become a favorite over the beloved lamb in recent months (sorry, Matze & Mandy).

Usually Mabby, Dabby, Dathan or Mathan days revolve around the kids and things they love to do.  This year, I wanted to add a little service to it.  So they got to choose one person from a list and a random act of kindness from another list.  Abigail chose our friend Kim, who is a real sunshine, and wanted to bring her a "bag of sunshine".  So we went to the Dollar Store and picked all kinds of yellow things that Abby thought Kim would like.  Unless it was completely unreasonable, I let Abby pick.  She picked a ton of things in the cleaning isle, so hopefully Kim isn't thinking that there is an underlying message there.....

Abby even decorated her backs and we had some scripture verses from Ann Voskamp (sandwich wrappers) that we hung from the flowers Abigail had picked.

And then there was frozen yogurt!  If you want to tickle Abby pink, this is the way to go.  She loves all the frozen yogurt places with all their tantalizing toppings.  It is so funny from a girl who didn't like ice cream for the longest time.  I mean really, what kid doesn't like ice cream?  Or french fries (Nathan!)?

This had been an exciting morning for Hannah, so she took a break.  Cute baby face with those giant cheeks.  I love it!!! 

Of course the library was on our list.  Don't you just love the way she made herself comfortable?  Abigail still loves books as much as ever.  Although she also loves the library computer games.  I'm glad today she chose to read instead.  I've been trying to do more with her hair.  Learning to braid and such.  Isabelle won't let me do anything to her hair.  So Abby is my obvious victim.  :-)

Somewhere along the way we got this second hand book.  It is a series Abigail likes.  But for the life of me, I can't remember where. (Abigail later reminded me with her super memory that we purchased the book at a local second hand store for clothes.)

These are Abby's favorite books: Junie B. Jones.  She read all but one which we have a hold on at the library.

Hanny woke up!  And is enjoying her pink teddy from Kathrin and Sandersche.  Smooch that baby!!!

Of course Chuckie Cheese was also on the list.  Abigail still likes carousels, so this one was no different, even though it was a little small.  She loved being here and played a lot of the little kids' games.

Another treat for her day, we had saved up some money for her to spend on craft supplies.  Since it was the start of the school year, we got all this really cheap.  

We had a great time together and although we had a little money to do things, it was just plain fun to hang out together.  And a little frozen yogurt always helps.  :-) 
I am missing Abigail greatly at home.  She is my little helper and with her being at school every day, all day, it has put a little strain on the kids' relationships as they get used to different routines.  Isabelle waits all day to play with Abby and Abby just wants to have a few minutes to relax, so you can see how that ends in tears....  Hopefully everyone will adjust shortly.

My favorite part of the day was watching Abby decorating her bags of sunshine on the floor of the van and then also enjoying frozen yogurt together.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Last of Summer

These are the last pictures of summer.  We had great weather and summer itself is stretching well into October.  It was a really busy summer and we did lots as a family.

Hannah in her Ergo, just hanging out.  Big cheeks and little red hats.

Nathan and Abby took advantage of our pool all summer.  The last few days though, they grew tired of it.  It was our last year with this pool, as it had a leak on the bottom and we couldn't find it.

Abby making good use of Isabelle's floating island.

I loved how well the kids got along, especially toward the end of summer.

Obviously the big news this summer is Hannah!

And baby smiles were the biggest news!

Olive and Abby are such good friends.  I love seeing them together.  Here they are giggling at one of Abby's videos on her Leappad.

Abby is going to school full-time now, which makes time with Olive even more precious.

Little Rosie.  Megan rightfully calls her "little shrimp".  Seems as though Hannah is bigger than her.

A free local fair for kids that we went to together with Nate.  We go here every year.  They even have free archery, face painting, bouncy houses, a ride and much more.

Love Isabelle's expression.

Nathan and Nate battling it out.
Isabelle always slides down like this.  

Just a few pictures that I wanted to include on the blog for the kids to remember.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

So Much Like Me - OLD POST

I just found a bunch of drafts and realized that this was never posted.  So here it is, so Nathan always has it.

I have always regarded my children as a gift. They are given to me temporarily and I am privileged to walk along them for a duration of time. To think that they are actually a part of me is still just such an overwhelming thought. It is incomprehensible.
During Nathan's soccer season, I struck me how much he was like me. That seemed strange to me. I've always seen him, if anything, as a little David. He has always looked so much like his father. And his character was so much like his father's. 
The original thought was that Nathan is a natural defender when he plays soccer. That is how I played basketball. Watching him, it struck me that he may have this character trait from his mother. For the next few weeks this thought, that my son may actually be similar to me, kept occupying my mind. It was quite amusing how many similarities we have. Here are some of the traits that came to mind:

When first starting school, he was quite the perfectionist. He had to learn that it was ok to make mistakes.
He is a very picky eater. He wants to always eat the perfect food. That is why he will eat the same school lunch every day. If given a choice, he will not venture to a new food for fear that it could be a bad choice.
He examines his food before he eats it and if we let him, he'll pick all the "unacceptable" parts off.
Although he is so young, the little man is very hard on himself and has high expectations of himself.
He can listen to you intently without ever acknowledging you. You may even think he is ignoring you. But he is listening - very intently.
He has a nervous personality.
He has a cautious nature. Rather than throwing himself in head first, he watches things first.
He is very afraid of "bad guys".
He is very drawn to God. He naturally gravitates toward Him.
He works best by himself.
He is competitive. A force he needs to learn how to wield...

Obviously some of these traits he also shares with his father. However, they are also traits that at least I think are very dominant in me.

Being a parent is truly a gift from God. It is His revelation of love to the parent. I hope that I can always see this, always appreciate this. There are days when I am not a patient parent. When I am very impatient and stressed and do not take this privilege for what it is. I am more interested in cleaning the house than taking the moments. My hope is that I will learn before they grow too old and leave for their own lives. These babies are so precious to me. They are the best gifts that were ever given to me.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


"If you touch my toys, I'm going to be so not happy!"

"Do you hab a mola gar?" (granola bar)

"If you ___, I'm going to be soooo mad!"  (Thanks for the heads' up.)

"I lub you" (I love you)

"When are Nay-nay and Abby coming home?"  (Ask continually until 3pm when they actually come home...)

"I'm a baby ______" (Insert at regular intervals: Kangaroo, crocodile, cheetah or other miscellaneous animals.)

When asked if she is any of the above after pretending to be them all day:
"I'm not any of them!  I'm just Isabelly!"

"Mommy, I know your name.  It's mama."

"MAMA!!!! I'M DONE!!!!" (As in, I'm done on the potty come RIGHT NOW!)

"I'm gonna name baby Hannah "Hanty""

"Do you hab some buddlegum?" (bubblegum)

"Was that funny?"

"When's ________ gonna come?"

"I wanna wear my knitting shirt" (the dress I knitted her a while back)

"I don't wanna go potty."  and "I don't wanna go night-night."  (accompanied by foot-stomping and loud wails)

"I'm not hungry anymore."  (Whenever the perfect food is not served...  And then we'll ask for snacks for the rest of the day.)

Ah, and then there is the typical 3-year old non-stop talking.  My favorite.  :-)  Seriously, non-stop.  I think I'll send her to dad next time and ask her to tell him the story.  :-)

When writing favorites below:
Mama: "Isabelle, where else do you like to go?"
Isabelle: "The hotel."

Wild Kratts TV show
Animal toys
Baby dolls
Knitted dress
Chickadee PJs (shorts and t-shirt)
Song: The B-I-B-L-E
Cream cheese by itself, avocado, mandarins
Chocolate milk and Capri Sun
Taking baths with Abby
Writing letters on dry-erase board
Olive and Rosie
Aunts and uncles
Reading books with mom at bedtime
Getting wisker-kisses from dad
Playing with Abby (it is still hard for her that Abby is in school all day)
Ballet with Abby
Having her picture taken
Grandma and Oma
Frozen blueberries
Going to Grampy's
Playing with Grace (Nate's sister from Nathan's baseball team)

Not so Favorites
Washing her hair
Going potty
Going to bed
Brushing teeth or hair when it is knotted

Baby Hannah

I've been told multiple times that Hannah looks just like the baby models for Hanna Andersson clothing company.  Which is funny because we've since discovered our love for those outfits because they accommodate cloth diapers so well.  And Abby loves them because they are just plain comfy.  This is a hat I knitted for Hannah that Isabelle loves to steal and wear herself.  :-)  Stealing each other's clothes already....

Hannah is such a great baby to have as number #4.  Of course this can change quickly but for now, she is perfect and pleasant and easy-going.  She has been pretty much sleeping through the night until recently.  She hit the four-month sleep regression and after a little talk, we agreed that mom not getting enough sleep is a bad idea for everyone.  Hannah agreed and the next night she slept through again.  :-) But suddenly she started to nurse at night.  Twice, which is normal for her age but unusual for her.  It just makes for hard days with less sleep.  Less sleep, less work gets done, and I get moody and it just all is downhill from there.  It is funny how sleep is the one constant I can't be without.  I can break my tea-drinking habit, eat crappy food for a while and even do without much needed exercise (quite well I might add) but take away my sleep - it breaks me.  Hopefully it is just a growth spurt.

Just look at those cheeks!

Hannah is just a content little one.  She is always pleasant, doesn't complain and only cries when she is tired or hungry.  Or has to burp.  She hates burping.  Hates it.  She loves her siblings and has the biggest, toothless smiles for them.  She talks up a storm in the morning when we are all in the car driving.  It is like she wants to be part of her siblings' conversations.  Her sisters and brother delight in her.  Abigail could sit and talk with her for hours and Nathan never misses an opportunity to walk by, come back, squeeze her cheeks and move on.  Nathan also has a new thing where he taps her nose twice and tells her how cute she is.  He will also randomly come up to me and tell me: "Hannah is so cute/adorable."  Isabelle is constantly giving her "one more huggy and kissy" (hugs and kisses).  Copper and Daisy are starting to get Hannah's attention as well.  She will look at them temporarily and track them.

Love this picture of Nathan and Hannah.  Notice Nathan's new hairdo. 

Abby has her very own "Hannah-voice".  It is a high-pitched tone of voice she uses only with Hannah.  Hannah makes Abigail happy.  :-)

Baby still has her beautiful red hair, her blue, blue eyes and is a chunky little monkey.  She has little rolls on her tummy and it seems as though the skin on her tummy is too big for her.  She is overall squishy.  :-)  Her neck is ticklish if you kiss just the right spot.  Although she usually doesn't make giggling sounds she does so on occasion.  Hitting that right spot on her neck is one way to get her to giggle.  Nathan walking down the stairs behind her and talking to her is another.  It was actually the loudest we've ever heard her laugh.  We work hard to get her to laugh.  She doesn't mind wearing hats and likes the Ergo carrier.  (She didn't like the Moby when she was a newborn).  I love her fuzzy hair on top, it is so soft (according to Isabelle and indeed it is).   We all love to stroke our hands over it and rub it.  Will it be curly like Abby's or straight as Isabelle's?

Her hands are working great now.  While they can't do just everything she wants them to, she is able to grab objects in a wildly frantic way and shove them toward her mouth.  She's got that down pretty well.  She loves this bear from Germany.    The other day she grabbed her feet for the first time.  She's growing too fast!

There is that smile!  It just cracks me up.  

Hannah loves to snuggle.  She tries to gently touch my face, is starting to pull herself toward me and is just a mama-please-hold-me-girl without the crying that goes along with some babies when mom doesn't hold them.   She always has a smile for me, even when she's not well or really tired.  One of our routines is that when she wakes up, I go up to her and ask her with a big smile and an excited voice: "Is it you?  Are you awake?" It is answered with the day's biggest toothless, gummy smile that is only underlined by those big chubby cheeks!  Which then in return makes me smooch her all over.  It's rough being a mama, I'll tell ya.  But somebody's gotta do the dirty work.

Look at those baby blues!  It's funny because I've always been glad to see my kids' eyes change to brown as it is my favorite eye color (yes, my husband has the deepest brown eyes you've ever seen....).  But with Hannah I'm ok with her keeping blue ones.  They are really pretty and not that other blue ones aren't, it is just a change for me.

Love, love, love baby toes.  Especially the ones in our house.  Hannah has the longest little toes (can't see it good here because they are curled).  They are an almost exact copy of her daddies, just miniature.  That too amuses me.

Isabelle had me take about 20 shots of her and "Hanny" together.  We all call her "Hanny" now but it was Isabelle who named her that.  Isabelle liked having that kind of power so much, she'd like to call her "Hanty" now.  We informed her that this was not going to happen!