Monday, December 6, 2010

Check & Check

We knocked two things off our "wanna do this Christmas list" this weekend! The girls and I made Christmas cookies:

Please don't let these pictures fool you into thinking that it was a storybook experience. It wasn't. I need to embrace the mess and let go of the images in my head of baking with my girls! Hopefully I learned a thing or two from this year's experience and next year will go more smoothly!

Secondly, our sweet friends, Mr. Tom & Ms. Ginger, came to help the girls do gingerbread houses:

The girls had a blast with Tom & Ginger and their houses turned out so cute! Best of all -- I didn't have to do a thing! Thanks, guys!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Easy Christmas Craft

I had to put together a Christmas craft for a play group we had this morning. The unique aspect of this particular group is that the kiddos ranged in age from 6 all the way down to teensy-tiny! I wanted a craft that everyone could participate in and, for the most part, do for themselves. We hit Hobby Lobby up for glass ball ornaments (24 for $5.99; can you beat that?), raided our craft stash, and picked up a few things from the dollar store. Loved the finished products:

Other ideas using these glass balls:

~~drop in a little watered down paint and let your kids shake them.

~~add stickers (letters for initials are super-cute)!

~~for an "adult looking" ornament carefully stuff in an entire sheet of printed tissue paper (think animal print or something else out of the ordinary).

~~paint markers work great on these ornaments, so you can pretty much personalize them however you'd like!

I have about a dozen left, so we'll be crafting a few more this season; would love to hear your suggestions if you have any!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's Time!!

Thanksgiving is over.

(Let me insert a little parenthesis here while I jump up on a soapbox: There is a holiday between Halloween and Christmas, people! It's called Thanksgiving -- it celebrates a significant time in the history of our nation -- it gives us a chance to emphasize gratefulness before our kids start asking for every toy in every catalog!)

Thank you. End parenthesis. Stepping down from the soapbox!

We spent the month of November, like we've done in years past, writing down things we are thankful for. On Thanksgiving morning, we spread out our collections from the entire month and read Psalm 100. After reading, we took some time to do what the Psalm told us to do: we prayed together, sang together, and testified to each other about the things we were thankful for. It was a sweet time and one of my favorite memories from our Thanksgiving weekend!

But, as I began: Thanksgiving is over!! Christmas has arrived!

Lest you think I'm some sort of Scrooge, I am ready for Christmas; in fact, we've already started the celebrating!! Every other year my side of the family celebrates Christmas on the day after Thanksgiving. It makes for a crazy busy weekend, but a sweet time for the kids with aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. One of the perks is that my Christmas shopping is half done by Thanksgiving!

In addition, we've hunted out, cut down, and decorated our 2010 tree!

We've much more planned: Christmas cookies to bake, cards to mail, gifts to wrap, books to read -- today is December 1, so we'll start our Jesse Tree tonight! We're counting down the days until we leave for snowy Michigan, where we'll celebrate Christmas Day!

Tomorrow . . . a craft idea!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Another Katie Post

Last night I asked Katie to pick out some pajamas from her drawer. She had just found a mirror in a purse, so she said, "Hang on, Momma, I gotta check out my mirror." (We'll discuss first time obedience strategies another time!)

I waited as she gazed at herself in the mirror.

"Yep, Mom, I'm pretty!" she came back with, then hopped up completely satisfied and picked out some jammies!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Remember This?

One year ago, I posted this. My most popular post, by far -- I still get comments on it from random people. I can't believe this was a year ago, and that Katie is still growing up so quickly!

She now sleeps in a twin bed!

Speaks with words like "actually" and "probably." Told me yesterday something would be "helpful."

She knows how to spell her name: "K-A-T-I-E" is how she reads every group of letters she sees!

Is completely done with diapers AND pull ups (SO much earlier than her sisters on the pull ups!)!

Adores her "Sissy" and "Bellebelle."

Speaks to Sweet Cheeks mimicking our baby talk -- so cute!

Is learning to recognize her numbers . . . loves "doing school" with the big girls!

She was our first to get stitches, and, I imagine, they weren't her last!

In the mornings and after naps, she's totally a momma's girl!

Almost every other time of the day, she's totally a daddy's girl!

Our baby girl is quickly approaching the 3 year mark and we couldn't be more proud of the sweet girl she's becoming.

Thanks for letting us love you, Katie Bug!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thanksgiving Poem:

by: Elizabeth Grace Williams

Thanksgiving day.
Happy holiday.
A nice day to celebrate.
Nana and Papa time.
Kids wrestle with Jon Jon.
So Jon Jon can aggravate Papa.

Ella Grace and her Uncle Jon Jon

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Festivities

We started Halloween a few weeks ago at Boo in the Zoo!!


The highlight of our Halloween each year is our annual Pumpkin Party! This year we moved the festivities to a local park ~ this was our 9th Pumpkin Party! We started 9 years ago in a tiny two bedroom apartment. Eric and I didn't have a table big enough to seat our friends and I really wanted us all to sit together: we found 4 cinderblocks, took a door off the hinges and laid it on top of the blocks, threw a tablecloth and some candles on top and sat on the floor to eat chili and carve pumpkins! There was one little guy around then; this year there were 16 little heads bowed as Eric prayed for dinner! Needless to say, we chose the park this year because, although we long ago moved out of that 2 bedroom apartment, we've outgrown our house!

The park was a perfect option! The entertainment was built in and the kids played hard all night:

The dads worked hard on the pumpkins. The kids came and went offering advice or help through the process:

After dark the dads hid all the skeleton bones around the playground while the moms and kids went on a flashlight walk on the trail that surrounds the park. Once they were finished, those sneaky dads hid on the trail and jumped out in the dark to the delight of the kids!

Thanks for a ton of fun, friends! See you next year for #10!

Tonight we took three little cowgirls trick or treating around our neighborhood! They scored way too much candy, but gave most of it to the Jack o Lantern in exchange for a $5 Target gift card and a Hello Kitty coloring book.

It's hard to believe tomorrow is November 1 -- time to shift our focus to Thanksgiving! Love, love this time with our girls!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Soccer Wrap Up

Soccer season has come to an end. Although Eric and I will probably (remind me of this next Fall!) never commit to coaching two teams again, it was a great season. Ella Grace and Annabelle both learned so much about soccer and the value of being part of a team!

At the beginning of each game, each player was introduced and ran through "the tunnel":

Ella Grace!


Cheered on most weeks by their biggest fan, Katie!

Great season, "Soccer Sisters" -- we are so proud of you!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Show & Tell

Annabelle chose opposites:

Her baby, Addison and her taggie.

How are those opposites?

Addison is hard!

Taggie is soft!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bulleted Update

~Soccer is over! (Final pics to come!)

~We're back to 4 kids!

~Grandma and Papa visited from Michigan last week (again, pics soon!).

~Ella Grace is studying weather in Science and loves it!

~Annabelle loves k4 and is constantly trying to fill her social calendar!

~Katie moved out of the room with her sisters into a twin bed with the foster child previously known as "baby sister."

~I've decided that "baby sister's" blog name should be "Sweet Cheeks." If you've met her, you totally understand!

~So, Sweet Cheeks is starting to laugh that delightful baby laugh that comes out as music to whoever can hear!

~Eric is staying busy at work and is in the beginning stages of writing his dissertation!

~I am staying busy (obvious, right?), but finding more and more fulfillment from my role as a mom.

~God continues to lead and bless us in ways that amaze us!

~I promise, more post ahead!

Friday, September 24, 2010




Five babies down for a nap on this Friday afternoon! That's right five! We've recently added the big sister (she's 2) of the baby previously mentioned to our mix. That gives us five ages 6, 4, 2, 2 and 11 weeks!

We visited a local park this afternoon, thus the luxury of everyone sleeping at the same time.


A few weeks ago, Annabelle informed me she wanted to go live at a foster home. She wasn't being rebellious in any way; she's definitely my adventurous one. It's mostly that she only sees the good in fostering. She sees a Mom and Dad who do the best they can to love the kids that come through our home. As far as she's concerned, they all go "home" at some point. Who wouldn't want to go play with someone else's toys, eat new foods, and get some new clothes?

Eric and I are often concerned or engaged with each other in conversation about how fostering affects our children. Don't get me wrong; they handle it all extremely well. When we introduced the thought of adding "big sister" to our family, they were all for it -- Annabelle prayed, "Lord please be with 'big sister'; take care of her even if she doesn't get to come stay with us." And now she prays, "Thank you, Lord, for the time you've given us with 'big sister.'" I love her heart! Nonetheless, at times, we worry about what this does to them. We're trusting, with all that we are, that fostering is for our good and God's glory -- likewise, we trust that it is for the good of our children and God's glory. I'm overwhelmed at times at the part we get to play in his story.

I'm also overwhelmed that we have five little girls in our home; there is no lack of drama here, trust me! The fact that we've chosen to keep Ella Grace at home this year has added to my responsibility, but it's, oh, so sweet to see her learn! It means some things have to give, though! My hair is sporting the reverse skunk look because I've yet to call and get a hair appointment. Our floors need vacuuming. I cook less than I'd like. I've stopped clipping coupons. I don't get to blog very often.

I did have a special snuggle time with each kiddo yesterday, though! I read books to my two year olds and a chapter to my four and six year old. I gave the baby some tummy time. I spent sweet time with my husband after all were in bed last night. We went to story time at the library today and had a picnic at the park. Later, we're heading to an African-American beauty salon to get "big sister's" hair done. Pretty sure that might be another blog post!

The fact that I chose snuggling over vacuuming doesn't make me a better mom. Some would argue the opposite. It's just that yesterday, God gave us the grace to get through another day -- and it was a really sweet day -- one that made me think, with his help, we can do this!

Today didn't start so smoothly. We hadn't been up 30 minutes and someone had already tumbled down the steps and someone else had already been spanked. Katie had a nosebleed at story time (random, that's never happened to her before!) while I was feeding "baby sister" (OK, so we need some "blog names") a bottle. Someone pooped while we were at the park . . . too much info? My point is, it's not all roses over here all the time.

Crazy happens.

A lot.

But, did you forget? Everyone's down for a nap!

At the same time!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Wonderfully Made

Ella Grace did it.
Today was Annabelle's turn.
She is very proud of her eyelashes and pink teeth!
I'm very proud of this girl!
I love, LOVE this project from Mrs. Hamilton's class!

You are wonderfully made, sweet Annabelle Kay! (Everytime she or someone else reads the bag, she says, "That's a verse.")

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Part 3: Triple Falls

On Monday, we loaded up the gang and headed to Triple Falls. It was a short but steep hike that all littles did splendidly on! The reward was a beatiful set of three waterfalls!

I'm always amazed at how outdoorsy my girls are. I'd like to think of myself as the outdoors type, but in reality, I'd probably pick the Holiday Inn over a tent pretty much anytime. I love that they appreciate the outdoors, though, and encourage them to soak in God's amazing artwork whenever I can -- even if it means tent camping!

Daddy let them get adventurous and walk through the river with their bare feet. They tell me the water was freezing and judging by the two spills Ella Grace took into the water, it was slippery too!

I think this may very well be the only picture in the past 6 years that I've taken with my children where we are all looking at the camera semi-smiling! Yes, that's our new placement riding in our Baby Bjorn. She also seems to be an outdoor girl ~ she did great and I'm pretty sure I got more of a workout than anyone else on the trail that day!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Part 2: The Apple Festival

In keeping with tradition, we visited the NC Apple Festival once again this year!
These are so messy, but yummy (although, we promised ourselves we'd try something different next year!)!


The girls like to ride this train-like-thingie. It has something to do with flying, but I've never been able to figure it out . . . all I know is it's the only thing that's free!

It was neat to be able to chat for a second with the parents of the little girl seated with Ella Grace. She was adopted from China. They asked what made us decide to foster (yes, we have a new placement . . . a baby girl!) and my response was: "Uhhh, God." I truly couldn't come up with a better response. They were believers and shared that they'd experienced a similar "calling" to adopt their daughter.

I love that each person in God's story has a story that is so unique and beautiful!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Labor Day Weekend: Part 1

Our Labor Day weekend began with a "kick" (sorry, I know; I couldn't resist!)!

Look at my little chick in there with all those boys!!

Ella Grace playing a little goalie!
More Labor Day festivities to follow . . .