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Friday, January 29, 2016


Isabelle seeing a present on the counter top: "Who is that present for?"
Me: "That is for Cat.  She is having a baby."
Isabelle thinking.  Then: "Is the girl named Cat a cat or a human?"

Monday, January 25, 2016

Just Some Day To Day

Couldn't find Hannah for a while and found her in the most unusual spot:  Hiding behind her high chair.  This time she didn't answer me at all when I called her, so I knew that she was doing something she knew she shouldn't.  She had stolen Nathan's little Gameboy and had turned it on.  I told Nathan and he looked at it and said she was actually playing and moving the little guy in the game around.  That worm!

Yep, you're caught!

Hannah has also been enjoying playing with the Tag.  Maybe that will help trigger talking.  She still doesn't say a word, not even "Mama" or "Dada".

Nathan and Abby during "Story of the World, Volume 1".  We listen to it twice.  Each time one of the kids is reading and the other one coloring or mapping.  Then they switch.  Mapping just occured to me the other day.  We look at the map every single time and it seems they don't remember.  When grandma got us tracing paper for Christmas, it all became clear.  And they seem to enjoy it.  Even Abby who is usually a free spirit when it comes to her art work, loves this and made the most beautiful map of the Mediterranean.  We love history!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Oh That Hanny!

Scented markers.  Not the great idea you thought they were.  Why?  That's why:

"Look mom, this is where I shoved the markers in order to get a really good smell...."

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Christmas Eve 2015 Pictures and a little IEW (Student Writing Intensive)

These pictures loaded out of order and I'm too lazy to re-arrange them.  :-)
I've previously posted on our day here.  So these are just the pictures to go along with that post.
For the homeschoolers among you, just for fun: I can't just write anymore.  IEW rules are in my head now!  Arg...  Just for fun,  I've underlined some of my dress-ups for you in the dog paragraph.  :-)

Abby, hanging up her new creations thanks to a Klutz window cling art kit from Oma.  She really made some nice decorations and got very creative.  Our little teacher girl even helped an excited Olive and Rosie make some art while they were here on Christmas Day.

Hanny playing in Oma's kitchen for Isabelle.  The two little girls love to play in here.  Isabelle even decorated it with her owls.  

Hanny's sandbox from Oma.  Since it is not yet able to be played with outside, we have it inside for now and Hanny loves to just sit in it, put stuff in it, play with the figurines or slide down the bridge.  It also makes for easy clean-up for Isabelle if she happened to make a big mess in the play room.  Just throw all the toys in, close the lid, mom will never know!

Stocking stuffer balloons with elastic on them.  I love how Isabelle can't blow hers up but she keeps faithfully trying.  :-)
Both girls enjoyed dressing up this season.  They'd be in dresses every day. 
Tangent: I found these gorgeous curtains at an antique store in a town down the road.  They were not antique but beautiful orange with glitter in them, perfect for the holidays when you have a rust-colored couch.  They looked fantastic, especially with lights around the windows.  Alas, you could see right through them from the outside! Bummer!  Have to figure out how to line them now.  So here are the bum brown ones again.  As I get older, I realize how much I love bolder colors.  Not necessarily in popular color schemes, but my own likes and dislikes.  The love for orange surprised me, as I usually don't care much for it, or at least thought I didn't.  Funny thing is that it is my mom's favorite color and I just found out about it after we got her flowers for Mother's Day from my brother.  The kids do really like the living room, and therefore it makes sense that they too enjoy the colors in it.  It does remind one of a beautiful sunny day. It is calming and uplifting, especially when the window to the outside only reveals a gray and dull day.  I'm so very happy my mom got that couch for us AND decided it was time to repaint our living room.  Thanks mom!

The sport-loving (quality-adjective) dog got himself a pink jump rope.  Don't you just love how he sprawls (strong verb) out frog-legged?  
Nathan has been bonding so much more with Copper lately.  And Hanny adores the dog.  :-)  Although (when, where, while, as, if, .....)  Because (because clause) Copper still isn't sure that he isn't in trouble when Hanny's launches one of her love attacks.  She gets quite the look on her face and squeals (strong verb) and throws her lovely (-ly) self on him.  It makes him wag his tail and escape at the same time.  By escaping he then drags Hanny, who is still leaning on him, along in the other room.  Quite amusing. (VSS)

Isabelle with her precious crown from the Matson's.  She loves it.  And of course she has tons of candy in her hands and a doll she got from Dick & Jennifer.  Hanny got the matching girl doll.  Since they are squishy, the girls enjoy cuddling with them.  
Both girls seem to enjoy the pantry room as a play room.  It is a bit crowded in there for my taste but they don't seem to mind.  So much so that the older kids cram in there as well and build blanket forts.

Christmas Eve dinner.  Isabelle looks tiny in this picture.  
Because Christmas Day itself is a big cooking day, we keep it simple on Christmas Eve.  Even though I would love to make a big meal on Christmas Eve, one by my own choosing.  Christmas Day is usually a traditional meal that the whole family has come to love.  I look forward to the day when Abby is big enough to help and we whip up things together with Isabelle and Hanny in the kitchen.  Nathan is all about the breakfast on Christmas Day.  He loves pancakes, bacon, sausage.  For a boy who probably only likes 5 foods, having 3 of those in one meal is a winner!

Someone is excited about dinner.  They all wanted to use their favorite cups instead of my pretty glasses.  Whatever....  :-)  The table mats are a previous gift from my mom and the tree napkins were made and gifted by my very good friend Tanya.
The kids like to decorate our tables nicely.  I invest in one of those table cloths ever few years.  They are a bit spendy but a lifesaver.  Any stain washes right out of them (they are stain proof) and they come out of the dryer almost wrinkle-free.

Joining us for dinner: The Elf!  He was a bit lax this year, but we all were busy.  Nathan wasn't too happy about this but hey, what are you going to do?  
The little runner if from my childhood and many an advent candle decoration graced it while I was growing up.  I remember red wax being stuck to it many a year.  It is one of my favorites.
The tree jar was a very special gift this year from my dear mentor Earline.  She made two of them for us, which was perfect: One for the big table, one for the kids' table.

The tree napkins from Tanya.  I admire her sewing talents.  She had seen this at a bazaar and just went home and made some of her own!  
My mom purchased the place mat set when it was just four of us.  They have two different motives of an old-fashioned Santa in nature.  My mom bought them at my favorite Christmas bazaar.  She loved our American Christmas bazaars so much and I hope one year she can come again for the season and maybe spend Christmas too.

Another fantastic sewing project: Isabelle's crown.  While also gifted by Tanya and her family, it was made by Abby and Nathan's former art teacher.  Her sewing skills are amazing!  My hope is to send the girls to sewing classes as they get older.  It is a skill I wish I had learned prior to having children.

Cutie patootie sliding down the sandbox bridge.  Who knew?  A slide included!

More window clings.  Are you admiring my squeeky clean windows?  Yes, I'm being sarcastic.  Gave up on cleaning those.  Literally takes a big chunk of time and the dog will jump up on them with muddy feet a minute later, followed by sticky hand children.  To the top right is Abby's "Merry Christmas", to her left a frog with a crown and a puppy.  There is an airplane in the very top left and a hot hair balloon to the right of the airplane.  Also some of our snowflakes from the scarce projects the Elf required this year.
While this year was very basic and simple (my first year homeschooling and a busy little explorer), it was still very lovely.  I think the kids might have liked to have a few more activities (especially Nathan) but we did alright.  I'm very proud of the few days David was off and we all sat together and played board games.  Catan was our favorite, closely followed by Trivial Pursuit Junior.  Abby also loves her story cubes and Isabelle her Spot! Junior Animals.  We also liked playing Qwirkle.  Haven't even played History Timeline, Set, Iota and Quiddler yet!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Oh That Hanny!

Ever since Abby discovered the "Oh That Hanny!" series the other day, everyone in the house keeps yelling: "Mama, take a picture!  Make a 'Oh That Hanny'."  
Anyhoo, this one made it:
What do you do when school starts again and it's a bit stagnant?  Climb on the table, pull down your pants and wait for reactions!  Fun!!!!

Just look at that smirk on her face while everyone else is busting up laughing!  She's calm as a cat, seemingly unaffected looking at her marker.


Isabelle to mom: "When you were a little kid, were there dinosaurs?"  (Hey!  I'm not THAT old.)

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Christmas Questionnaire 2015 - Much Belated

Favorite Song - Jingle Bells (he can play that on the piano)
Favorite Candy - Skittles (I guess they finally won out after last year's tight call)
Favorite Cookie - Chocolate Chip (Still not a Christmas cookie...)
Favorite Show - Prep and Landing
Favorite Light Color - Neon Green (Is that even Christmas????) then changed to: Light Yellow
Favorite Tradition - Watch Christmas Movies
Hot Cocoa or Tea - Cocoa
Fake Tree or Real - Real
Favorite Board Game - Carcassonne
Favorite Christmas Book - 
Favorite Tree Ornament - Nathan's First Christmas (our special series of special event ornaments)
On My Wish List - Kindle, Nerf Guns, Board Games
Favorite Advent Activity - Sing Christmas songs by the fire

Favorite Song -  Deck the Halls
Favorite Candy - Spekulatius cookies (German Spice Cookie, crispy)
Favorite Cookie - Grammy's Thumb-print cookies (They're delicious!) 
Favorite Show - The Santa Clause 3 
Favorite Light Color - Silver 
Favorite Tradition - "Having other people open my presents to them"
Hot Cocoa or Tea - Mommy's hot cocoa 
Fake Tree or Real - My pink fake tree
Favorite Board Game - Story Dice 
Favorite Christmas Book - The Nutcracker
Favorite Tree Ornament - "The one I got at the Christmas Expo with all the snowmen painted on it."
On My Wish List - American Girl dogs, coloring book, crafts, books, toys
Favorite Advent Activity - Sing Christmas songs by the fire

Favorite Song - Jingle all the way
Favorite Candy - chocolate bears that were at a local store
Favorite Cookie -  The one with the spicy round things on them (Gingerbread people with Red Hots buttons)
Favorite Show - Little People
Favorite Light Color - Pink! I mean red!  Red is very Christmassy.  
Favorite Tradition - Go to Grampy's house
Hot Cocoa or Tea - Hot chocolate
Fake Tree or Real -  A real tree like we get downstairs
Favorite Christmas Book - the book upstairs I was pretending to read, the baby Jesus
Favorite Tree Ornament - Hannah's rocking horse (from Oma)
On My Wish List - American Girl Doll puppy, American Girl Doll (Kaya), Elsa doll
Favorite Advent Activity - Play board games

Favorite Song - Little Drummer Boy (Book By Jack Ezra Keats - she made us sing it every day)
Favorite Candy - Any!
Favorite Cookie - Any!
Favorite Show - Whatever my siblings laugh at.
Favorite Light Color - 
Favorite Tradition - So much candy!
Hot Cocoa or Tea - cold chocolate milk
Fake Tree or Real - Both!
Favorite Christmas Book - Little Drummer Boy
Favorite Tree Ornament - Any I can grab
On My Wish List - Candy
Favorite Advent Activity - The elf itself and the snowman Snowy (stuffed animal)

Friday, January 15, 2016

Like my big sister

Isabelle LOVES Friday School. She thinks it is real school.  :-)  She loves everything about it.  Her friend Kezia is there, she has a lovely teacher, they do fun stuff, she has PE, she gets to take her brother's backpack (although she isn't crazy about the Star Wars theme), she gets a much anticipated lunch box.  All in all, it's an all-around great deal.
She was pretty sad when it was over for winter break.  But thankfully her awesome teacher let her take her binder home with lots of activities to do with her dry erase marker at home.
Isabelle is happy to sit for hours working on her book.

Tracing and explaining it to me at the same time.  

Well Hannah sees how much fun Isabelle is having, so she wants to do that too!

Look at that concentration.

And more concentration....

Not enough concentration.  Thank goodness for dry erasers.

It is just really neat to see them both focusing and working hard and loving being next to each other.  Hannah has such unique relationships with all of her siblings, but the one with Isabelle is the one I love to watch the most.  Maybe because Isabelle has never been an older sister and it gives her so much confidence.  It is sweet to see how caring she is and how concerned for Hannah's safety (she still freaks out every single time Hannah puts anything in her mouth when mom is not around).  And it is just so sweet how much Hannah wants to imitate her big sister.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Oh That Hanny! Part V

What do you do when you really have a craving for that marshmallow-y sugary cereal and no one gives you any?
Answer:  Throw the box on the ground and grab as many as you can before they can pick them all up.  Grab as much as you can with both hands, run like crazy and stuff your mouth.  Repeat as many times as possible until they are onto you....

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Oh That Hanny! Part IV

I guess Hanny has her own series: How much trouble can a baby cause?
On this particular day she locked herself in the dog kennel.  Then she whined.  So I mistakenly thought she wanted out.  Big mistake!  She yelled at me like a maniac.  Nothing like a maniac baby yelling at you before you had your second cup of coffee!  She didn't stop until I locked the kennel again.  Then she was happy and proceeded to read her very interesting tag book (Curious George telling about the primary colors - it's a real nail biter...).
Eventually she let herself out and the dog was finally allowed to get back in his cave.  Poor dog.  Now he can't even have privacy in his cage anymore.  Kids everywhere!

Personal reading time - Please don't disturb or else!

Don't give me that smug baby look!  

Don't even think about coming over here again, Lady!  I'll scream at you!

Don't make me put this book down.

Finally!  Geez, how long does it take the lady to get a hint?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Christmas Day 2015

To say that our kids were excited, is a big understatement.  They were so excited and it was hard for them to wait until they could go down.  They had to get dressed first!  And then wait for dad to be ready to film them unpacking their stockings.  Torture, people!  But they made it and rushed down to find out weather or not Santa came that year.  It was funny because Nathan is in a stage were he doesn't believe in Santa but then second-guesses his decision again.  He kept asking if Santa was going to bring him coal this year (as is typical for a 9-year old, he had some not so pretty moments this year).
Although most of the pictures are from unwrapping presents, the best part of our day was spending it with family.  I loved that my husband was off for a few days (although he did catch of bug of some sort and wasn't feeling well).  But man, is it nice when he is off work!  And then of course all our extended America family is here, which is always so much fun and the kids just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE their cousins.
The kids wake up and we all get dressed and ready.  Then we head downstairs to see if Santa, who is celebrating Christ's birth, has left any presents.  Santa usually leaves us a note, cookie crumbs and lots of goodies, including the obligatory orange, candies, little games and for mom, that wonderful man always seems to leave my favorite wax tarts.  :-)  
After giving the kids some time and sitting with them, Grandma and myself start a pretty big breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes with onions and bell peppers, pancakes (or popovers this year), toast, breakfast sausages and some random sweet breads or other holiday goodies.  We eat around 10am and after breakfast is cleared, IT BEGINS....
Yep, hours upon hours of opening presents.  While us adults have really zeroed in on giving only one present per person instead of 3 or 4 little presents for the same person, the kids are now giving presents to everyone as well.  And let me tell you, Joe, they are good at it!  My favorites this year: Nathan giving his cousins a bedtime story with hot cocoa, then emptying their mom's dishwasher and put dishes away and giving their soda-loving father (his uncle) his favorite soda.  Abby treating Nathan to a McFlurry (made his day!) and gifting her uncles a platter of their beloved popovers.  Isabelle thoughtfully making crafts for 2 weeks for everyone.  So sweet!  And the kids made the nicest coupons to present their gifts.  Very special and made mama proud.

Abby gifting me a rock and Nathan gifting his dad a plush doll from his favorite baseball team.

Isabelly loves it when I knit her a "knitted shirt" and also my first pair of knitted socks.  Funny story, I started this one when I was pregnant with Hannah....  Well, thanks to my larger gauge, it fits!

My yearly photo calendar for dad, always a hit.  

Grandma wanted a knitted hat with this particular yarn.

Hanny just so excited over Grandma's gift to her.  So many buttons to push!

I just love her faces on these pictures.  Priceless!

Giving a high-five to dad and looking excitedly at Isabelle, as if to say "Hey sis!  We scored with this toy!"

Just the cutest photo!  Deep concentration.

Such a sweet gift!  Nathan gifted me a small box with the word "love" on it.  He then wrote me the sweetest note and put it inside.  He gifted it with the promise to write a love note for mom every year. 

Abigail was really dissapointed to get this stuffed animal.

She really hated them.  NOT!

The dog wondering what all this craziness is.

Just love the expression!

Sweet tired baby.  It's always awesome when a toy works out for more than one kid!

My lovebug from David.  :-)

Grandma with Olive and Rosie.  They are getting so big.  Not allowed!

Another tired baby.  Or maybe just faking it so dad will hold her.  :-)

Lovely little Rosie.

Uncle Chris gave Hanny this kitty that moves.  Hannah adores it and I'm pretty sure she is convinced it is a real cat.  

The king!  Isabelle new fabric crown is great fun for her and dad.

Olive and Rosie in their matching Frozen dress-ups.  They never took them off that night.  Hanny still petting her little kitty.  Isabelle just taking it all in.

And that is what it is all about:  family and love.  How much better does it get?  These are the good years for us, all being together and no one being sick, the kids being at great ages.  Surely it won't always be this way, but at least we can always savor these moments.