Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Farwell 2013

Originally we had plans to party with friends tonight. As much as you can party with 7 kids under the age of six that is :) However, four of the seven kiddos became ill in the last 24 hours (2 of them being mine) so it looks like we'll be having a quiet night at home.

I picked up Chinese for dinner since we were supposed to be dining on pizza with our friends. I didn't have a back up plan for food and wasn't really in the mood to cook. We dined on blankets in the living room with sparkling grape juice while we watched 'Despicable Me 2'.

I would have loved to have more Pinterest worthy activities planned out for the kids but I just didn't have it in me. The past few weeks of shopping, planning, prepping and parties have left me feeling a little burnt out. I don't think my kids felt like they were lacking anything though.

Everyone hit the hay early, including the hubby. So here I am at 9:34 getting ready to hit the hay myself. That's right, we're not even staying up to watch the ball drop. And this year I'm okay with that. This season of life that were in can be rough at times. So we need all the sleep we can get.

But it also can be wonderful at times. Amazing even. I love our three little people more than life itself. I have an awesome hubby who works hard for us every day. We have a warm house to call home. Food in our pantry, clothes in our closets.

Thank you God for all the blessings you have given us. As we say goodbye to 2013 I want to say thank you for all the ups and downs that have brought us to where we are today. We are leaving this year behind with lots of memories and look forward to all the new ones we will be making in 2014!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Day

Our Christmas Day was busy as usual. We spent the morning opening presents with my mom, step dad and brothers. It gets a little crazy with all 10 of us! I apologize in advance for the photo quality- my camera battery was dead and the ipad does not take good pics when the light is poor.

Emma loves her new baby carrier
After we cleaned up, packed the car and had a big brunch we headed to my dad's to do Christmas with him. He didn't have power, but he has a generator to run most of his house.

Once we opened presents and had some sandwiches, we had to pack up and head home since Jason had to work the next day.
 Easton was spoiled this year!

Emma was too- she got the snowmobile in the background
Whew, it has been so busy this year! Our plans weren't much different from years past, but I think the 3 kiddos (two of them being under 2) makes things feel a little more chaotic. So grateful we were able to celebrate with all of our families the past few weeks!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve 2013

We went to my grandma and grandpa Doyle's house for our Christmas festivities per tradition. My lack of pictures is disappointing again, but I at least got all the family ones. Everyone was thrilled that I voted to do them before dinner this year...

My grandparents with all the grandkids and great grandkids

Following pictures we snacked on delicious appetizers, stuffed ourselves silly with prime rib and mashed potatoes  and then take a break to do our Christmas program. This portion has changed and developed over the years. My brothers are currently in charge.

The kids all have lines to read out of the Christmas story. We sing songs by candle light. I love it and hope it is a memory my kiddos cherish some day too. Almost everything about our evening is predictable because we have been doing it for so long.
From there we open gifts. Then we move on to dessert before we have to go our seperate ways. This year there was one thing that was drastically different. Earlier in the week Michigan experienced violent wind storms so my grandparents were without power.

Thankfully they have a generator that ran all of the necessities, but it definitely kept things interesting. I'm still in awe of all the food my grandma was able to make without an oven. Every year she sends our families home with a coffee cake for Christmas morning. I assumed we wouldn't get one this year, but she was able to make them in her roaster!

We also lost the generator while they were finishing up the prime rib. It definetly kept the night interesting! So thankful to have so many family members to celebrate with.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Our Family Christmas

Tonight we celebrated just the 5 of us. This seems to be a common theme for me this year- I don't have many pictures of our festivities. Guess that means I have my hands full!

Our day didn't go quite as I had planned. Jason had a busy morning working and then he took Emma shopping. I wasn't planning to even do our presents today, but Jason mentioned it to Emma as a possibility and after that there was no turning back.

Originally I was hoping to load everyone up after dark with popcorn and hot coco and go check out Christmas lights. We haven't made many holiday traditions for our family yet. I thought this might be a fun one to start. No one else shared my enthusiasm.

Once we settled on opening gifts instead, everyone had to finish their wrapping. I haven't even completed my shopping yet. Jason's Christmas will just be spread out I guess. We separated to complete our tasks and then came back together to open presents.

After a few meltdowns, a couple time outs and a flurry of wrapping paper it was bed time. Expectations were high and attitudes were at an all time low. Not how I envisioned things playing out in my head. Hopefully after a good nights sleep everyone will be more cheerful in have morning!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Round 3

We had our Christmas celebration with Jason's immediate family tonight. The kids are becoming pros at devouring presents. Easton is at the age where he doesn't necessarily care what is inside. He just wants to rip through that paper! We have been really trying to focus on the true reason we celebrate Christmas, but Easton is still only 20 months...

 Ripping open his presents
And helping grandma with hers
Emma showing off her new Tangled doll
 All smiles...
 Until mommy got the stupid hat out
Practicing the piano
 Reading a story with grandma
Giving aunt Jessica a check up
It was a nice, relaxing evening spent with family!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Round 2

This weekend we headed to Lansing to celebrate with my dad's side of the family. Unfortunately we are pretty spread out across the state these days so I don't get to see them as often as I'd like.
Emma hanging out with Aunt Cindy
Catching a snooze with daddy

Grandpa and uncle Mark gifted the children with silly string- this should be interesting...

Emma and her second cousins Abbie and Ellie

Caught this little stinker hiding out in the bedroom playing on the iPad 

Happy girl sporting her special Christmas attire. This was an outfit my stepmom Cindy bought for Emma's first Christmas so I was thrilled that Elissa would be able to wear it as well.

Uncle Mark, Emma, Kayla and Courtney playing games
As you can see, it was a little loud and chaotic. Wouldn't have it any other way!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Christmas Round 1

We celebrated with my mother-in-law's family this weekend. I was so busy keeping track of kiddos I didn't capture too many pics, but I was sure to get shots of everyone on Mrs. Claus' lap.
Quick shot of the girls before we left
Emma didn't say anything about Mrs. Claus' identity this year...
Easton was not afraid

Elissa couldn't care less

Sunday, December 1, 2013

4 Months

You are getting so big precious princess!

This month we spent a night at papa Spence's, you've attended two baby showers, we went to the circus, the GR Public Museum and we started to test out baby gear as you continue to grow and take more interest in what's going on around you.
Your 'schedule' is still pretty much the same, although it seems like you've been waking up for an extra feeding at night. Not mommy's fav. But I'll cherish the night time cuddles for now because I know how soon they'll be over.
Newborn cloth diapers no longer fit and you wear a 1 or 2 in disposables depending on the brand. You wear primarily wear  3 month clothing. You tipped the scales at 12 lbs 6 oz and your well visit and you are 24 inches long. Only a touch smaller than your sister was at four months.

You have managed to roll from your tummy to your back a few times now. We have started to use the exersaucer with a pillow under your feet and blankets for support. You love to be able to check out your surroundings.

We love you sweet baby girl and all the smiles you bring to our days!

Saturday, November 30, 2013


With three kiddos ages 5 and under many days fly by. Well, often in the moment they seem to creep. In reality though it's hard to believe I have a 5 year old! The past few months I have been reflecting on our daily grind and I'm working hard to have a more positive attitude.

I despise laundry most days. There.is.so.much. With 5 people in our house plus 2 in cloth diapers there is a never ending pile. As the amount increases, my gumption to do it plummets. Maybe because it seems like such a daunting task. Or the fact that I can never get ahead of it. As soon as the basket is empty, new items reappear. But how blessed am I to have 4 other people to provide clean clothes for?!?

I have the same attitude towards getting the dishes done. The repetitive cycle of fill, wash, empty drives me crazy. Yet I have a dishwasher to use. And the ability to make meals for my family. So many people go without, how can I possibly think of this as a *problem*?

Many mundane tasks that never bothered me before seem to feel like a burden these days. The reality of juggling three kids, a household and my sanity leave me at the breaking point sometimes. You can not obtain all three. Unless you have a live in maid and child care.

There have been days when Jason comes home and asks what I did all day. I simply look at him exasperated and reply, 'I kept your children alive!'. Enough said. The Lord is teaching me, through my sweet children, that there is no 'perfect'. I don't need to have a spotless house all the time. So what if my kids look like ragamuffins in public. They are happy and healthy.

It is more important for me to be present in their lives than for my floors to be vacuumed three times a week. I have been blessed with these sweet little people and I don't want to miss out over laundry baskets of clothes that need to be folded. Sometimes I find myself stressing more over the chore than actually getting it done!

Moving forward, I hope to look for the good in our everyday lives and be thankful for all we've been given. I am so grateful for my wonderful little family, today and every day.
Here is the *only* picture I captured on Thanksgiving. Looks like the food and festivities wore her out too!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Diggin' Up Bones

On Sunday we took a family outing to the Grand Rapids Public Museum to see the new dinosaur exhibit. I was a little nervous that Emma was going to be afraid and Easton was going to wreak havoc on the displays, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Both kiddos were a little nervous around the first few dinosaurs. they quickly warmed up though. they loved the hands-on activities too. I loved that they were the perfect level for Easton to play with while staying strapped in the stroller.

Elissa slept through the entire ordeal.
So thankful for Sundays to spend time together as a complete family!