Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mikayla's Birthday Day Recap

One of the perks to homeschooling is that we can have a birthday brunch on a random tuesday and every member of the family can be there!  That is what we did today.  

Here is Mikayla opening her gift.  She was surprised!
(a sweater from Abercrombie that she fell in love with in California but I told her was out of her budget)

Special dinner out on the town at Earls{on top} with fun friends.
(Mikayla wearing new grey striped sweater)

Wow, this girl is growing up before my very eyes.  I can't believe it!

Silly girls striking a pose:)
Taylor Swift was pumping thru the speakers the entire night.  Lots of goofy giggling and loud singing.

Marble Slab, a perfect ending to a fabulous birthday day.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mikayla Is 11 And I Am Reflective

Last week when we were driving into Fresno, I pointed out Saint Agnes Hospital to the kids, the hospital where Mikayla was born.  I then told her how crazy it was when the nurse tucked us into our car, Mike in the front, Mikayla and I in the back, and allowed us to drive away with this brand new little person.  All of a sudden we were the sole care takers of this precious package!  I didn't feel equipped but I was so happy.

I was barely 21 when Mikayla entered my world.  I didn't suspect a thing.  I'm pretty sure I expected to add this baby bundle to my life and go about my business as usual {whatever that may have been back then?!?}.  What I didn't anticipate is that she would change me.  Me, the girl who didn't like to babysit, who didn't much enjoy kids at all.  WOW.  Thankfully God knew better than me who I was and what I needed.  One tiny package of blue-eyed cuteness grew into a smart, strong-willed toddler, a sweet and playful sister, a cute and curious preschooler, a keen and clever student, then a graceful, self-motivated, helpful young girl. And I am not the same.

Mikayla and I have been together for 11 years now, my firstborn, the girl who made me a mother, the girl who's God-chosen arrival changed the course of my life.  What a blessing it is to have had 11 years with this special girl and to have so many exciting things to look forward to as she grows.

Happy 11th birthday to my Mikayla Grace!  I am so thankful for you!


Sunday, November 28, 2010

California In A Nutshell...

We just got home and I have a *bit* of unpacking to do but I wanted to do a quick post, a little tease, if you will, before I get back to laundry and piles!

Here are some of the highlights of our trip...

We saw some amazing Redwood trees on the Northern California coastline....

We got to see my friend Jaime in San Francisco....

Jaime took family pictures of us.  She is amazing, I can't wait to see the whole collection of photos!!

 We got to read books and play toys and do some shopping with Grandma!

We got to catch up with precious friends while eating pizzookie at BJ's to celebrate Mikayla's upcoming 11th birthday (Nov. 30).

There she is:)

We got to celebrate Thanksgiving with this family....
(my mom's side)

And again with this family!
(my dad's side)

We felt very loved.

And we *might* or *might not* have had a few "vacation meals"...

Stay tuned for more details:)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Photo Booth Fun

The kids and I rewarded ourselves after finishing all the school work by playing in the photo booth on my computer for a while.  So fun, they were giggling so much.

Some of our favourites...

Our verse for this week:

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 12:18

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Jamaica Night

This year a big part of our homeschool curriculum is geography.  We are taking a trip around the world (not literally) and learning about the similarities and differences of all the countries.  How exciting!  I am realizing just how much I don't know about the rest of the world and I am thrilled to get to learn alongside the kids.

The first continent we have learned about is North America. Last night one of Mike's patients came over and cooked us an authentic Jamaican meal, shared a power presentation about Jamaica and even taught us how to do a few Jamaican dances!

In preparation for the night, the kids made cookies that looked like Jamaican flags, painted a huge flag on poster board and did a little decorating.

 These cousins have lots of fun together!

 Pimento.  This tree is only found in Jamaica!  The pimento was crushed along with thyme, and garlic to flavour the rice and beans.

 Saltfish and Ackee

 Jerk Chicken

Thanks Ciani for a fantastic evening!

The kids really enjoyed the whole day and this morning they were still talking about how much fun they had.  I am so excited to do our next cultural evening!!

If you or someone you know is from another country and would like to come and share your culture with us, we would be so honoured!  Please send me a message.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Better Video

I was so disappointed to see that something happened to the last video and only a fraction of it showed up so we did a second take tonight before bedtime and here it is!!

Grandma Bev asked to see Cait's talking so for the rest of our faithful readers, please don't be offended that Cait didn't blow kisses specifically to you:)

Cait's Cute Talking

Thursday, November 4, 2010

How Did We Get Here?

I snapped this picture of Mikayla a few weeks ago.  I take 100's of pictures all the time, lots are cute, lots get deleted and sometimes a photograph just does something to me.  When I saw this one on my computer once it was uploaded, I was struck with a typhoon of emotions.  I guess the overwhelming feeling was "How did we get here?  When did she grow up?"

So much to say about this sweet girl of mine.  She grabs my purse and the diaper bag and the baby from the house and gets them in the van while I am getting ready, she dresses the baby, she changes poopy diapers (for a small fee but I don't mind), she reads to the kids with expression, she teaches Maddie her lessons, she starts at least two loads of laundry a day, she reads for fun every minute she is allowed, she is graceful and smart and good at everything she tries.

I feel badly that she had to be first in line.  Us firstborns come wound pretty tightly and thinking everything should sort of happen our way.  I am so thankful to have her as my number one daughter/helper/test kid for everything because she is strong but I feel guilty about the strain that puts on our relationship.

How did we get here?

I never thought I would be "that mom" that was bossy or annoying or had unreasonable expectations or said "no" ALL THE TIME or didn't have time to listen or, the worst one of all, didn't understand how she was feeling.

But here we are, I can no longer relate to 10 year old issues and apparently I frequently communicate in a way that earns a severe scowl and a pout or an over emphasized eye roll as a response.

This year I am praying for extra grace to meet my little girl where she is and to be able to handle her concerns and issues in a loving way that does not judge or demean.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.   

2 Corinthians 12:9

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Who Knew?

I went to upload some photos just now {some super cute fall ones I might add} and I was informed that I am out of photo storage!  I had no idea.  Not to worry, I opted to pay $5 for 20GB extra but that will take up to 24 hours to process.  Did you know this was possible?  I sure didn't but I am glad there is an option to rectify the situation:)

In the meantime, click here for the pics in a Facebook album.  Facebook has no issue with how many photos I post:)

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Feathery Halloween

 Halloween costume planning always starts with Mikayla.  
Most things start with Mikayla. 
She is on top of it and likes to get things done in advance.  
She decided to be a peacock and get another use out of her gorgeous tutu from last year's ballet.  Jenaya wanted to be a peacock as well.  We made masks on sticks and bought some extra feathers.

The extra feathers went in their hair.  
the whole thing made me happy we got another use out of the expensive ballet suit:)

I wish I had a picture of her facepaint...it was gold sparkles and green and so swirly and pretty!

Mailee chose a pretty yellow dress out of the dance costume bin and wanted to be a canary.  We bought the yellow tights and she was thrilled.  The night before Halloween, she decided that dress was not comfy {very important element for miss Mailee} and she went hunting for something else.
I give you, my little flamingo.

We had one vintage hat shell left for we glue gunned feathers {that we pulled off the boa} all over, added the french netting, some tulle, more feathers and some rhinestones.

I was happy that she was thrilled with her last minute switch.

I had an adorable sunflower costume that I borrowed from a friend.  Maddie loved it until two nights before Halloween when the girls started trying on and talking about their bird theme.

One trip to Michaels for a piece of sparkly white craft foam
a dip in the dance bin
an hour with the glue gun, some felt, rhinestones, feathers and an old shirt with a big pattern in the middle..

...and WA-LA, here's my little swan!

I really loved the way her shirt and mask turned out.  

 Okay, I know it looks like he is not happy about it but I promise, Caleb was stokked on his costume.  You'll see why his heart wasn't in the picture if you continue looking...

ANYWAYS, Tammy and I decided if most of {at the time} the girls were birds, it would be so cut to make the boys something theme related.

Here is my little bird watcher!

My little owl baby!
Jenny at Nut & Satchi executed my owl hat vision perfectly.
I made sure she made it to match the pettiskirt from Grandpa.

Really, that would have been enough but I was so excited about the cuteness I bought some felt and made a little cape.
Then I bought some tulle and made a little tutu.
Completely unnecessary but I was obsessed and I wanted to keep going:)

 Our first stop was the mall.  The big kids did their thing while the owl baby got a free ride in her strolly. Do you see her cute owl treat bag?  She was quite excited when she realised the funny looking people at the stores were putting candies in her bag!

Aunty Terri got some great practice manoeuvring the stroller for next year when she'll have one of her own!

Eventually Owl baby wanted to be held and also wanted to eat her treats.  
Pair this with no nap
Talk about scary!

Here are all the beautiful birdies.  
One is having a melt down but I would go out on a limb and say she is still cute...Yes?

After the mall we all headed to Grandma Cricks.  I have no photos of that but we enjoyed a mini feast and some nice visiting.

 Now here is why Caleb wasn't totally into the earlier photo shoot...
His birdwatching buddies weren't there!

These costumes were easy.  The little owls we got at Michaels in the clearance for .69!  We just glued them and some feathers to the hat and that was it.  
Next time, I would attach strings to the hats so they can wear them around their necks.  I ended up holding Caleb's all night.

Happy peacock!

Cute owl got a lot of help from Daddy.
I just took photos but don't worry, I will offer her a lot of help in eating her treats:)

Getting to take her own candies and put them in her bag...big stuff!!

I love how all the kids look after Caiters!

You know I love all my kids equally but let's get real, this was Cait's first official go at the trick or treat thing so she needs a few more pictures than the rest of them, right?

Little owl's favorite item that went in her treat bag: juice boxes.
If she was given a juice box, she wanted to stop everything and take a minute to sip it down.

Cuteness overload I tell you!

With all the hype the night before Halloween over the bird theme, I got in the mood and made myself  little costume...

I hope you had a great night as well!  
What did your kids dress up as? Please share a link if you posted pics!