24 December 2008

Christmas peace

I've just been so blessed by this post. I want to share it with you and encourage you to read this blog, especially if you are hoping not to miss Jesus this Christmas season.

Click here to read and have a peaceful Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas from the Caboodle and me

I love Christmas Eve! The anticipation, the baking, the cleaning, the lights, wearing lots of red: It's all so fun.
Today John and the children went out for the last few menu items, plus a few things I was not allowed to know about. This is the first year that we have taken the boys to do their own Christmas shopping with their own money. On Monday night, we completed almost all of their shopping at Rite Aid (a drugstore). It was so awesome. Theo is giving his brothers each a can of Pringles potato chips. He got a chocolate bar for John (don't worry, John won't read this before tomorrow!). It was really fun to help them choose gifts, and also to help them wrap all their goodies - choosing the right paper for the recipient, choosing a ribbon, card or sticky gift label?

I'm in the middle of preparing cinnamon rolls for tomorrow morning, and our traditional Christmas Eve meal of albondigas (Mexican meatball soup), ensalada de Noche Buena and sopapillas (kind of like fried dough).

Church is at 6:30, Lessons and Carols. This year Walter will be one of the readers.

I've been listening to what I think is my favorite Christmas carol, "All my heart this night rejoices". We sang it in college, but I've rarely heart it sung since then. I didn't even have it on any of our Christmas CDs, so I bought it on iTunes this year.

I'll leave you with its lyric. Merry Christmas! May you enjoy the wonder of God's condescension to us, Emmanuel, God with us!

All my heart this night rejoices as I hear,
far and near, sweetest angel voices.
"Christ is born!" their choirs are singing
Til the air everywhere now with joy is ringing.

Hark! A voice from yonder manger
Soft and sweet doth entreat, "Flee from woe and danger.
Brethren, come from all doth grieve you.
You are freed; all you need I will surely give you."

Come, then let us hasten yonder.
Here let all, great and small, kneel in awe and wonder.
Love Him who with love is yearning.
Hail the star that from far bright with love is burning!

Thee, dear Lord, with heed I'll cherish,
Live to Thee, and with Thee, dying shall not perish;
But shall dwell with Thee forever
Far on high in the joy that shall alter never.

17 December 2008

Conspiracy theory

SOMETHING or SOMEONE is conspiring against me. Really, I'm pretty sure I'm going crazy. Here's what I've done in the past week that leads me to this conclusion:

1. One week ago today, I lost my keys in Kohl's. I have a clear recollection of my keys being on the seat of the cart I was using. Then, after I checked out, they were gone. Not in purse, not in cart. I retraced my steps at least three times, looked under displays, asked the cashiers. No keys. They were in the store, then they weren't. John had to rent a Zipcar and bring me keys so I could pick up the kids...oh, and also so I could leave Kohl's and not have to live there. The keys have NEVER turned up.

2. Two days ago, I received a check in the mail. I was sitting in my car when I opened the envelope, removed the check, put it in my purse, went to the bank. No check. Not in purse, card, stack of mail, bank, driveway. As Lucy says when I ask her where something is, it's NOWHERE!

3. Last night I put some towels and jackets in the wash, including my orange parka. When I went to the dungeon to move items from wash to dryer, I heard a strange, suspicious clunking sound when I put my parka in the dryer. Hmmm. Open pocket, remove cell phone. It's really clean now. Also, it doesn't work.

I beg of you, do not entrust me with anything valuable. I fear for my children while they are in my care. I may lose them or break them, with this streak I'm on.

What in the name of all that is holy is happening?!?

P.S. Hey, I think I'll use that check I got in the mail to pay for the new cell...Never mind.

10 December 2008

Boys growing up


Over the past few days, we've seen all three boys showing signs of growing up. We're thankful for the privilege of watching these boys, shepherding them and pointing them to the Lover of their souls.

On Saturday, five of us went ice skating (Walter went to a Lego workshop with a neighbor!). The first graders from the school were getting together to skate, so we headed to the North End, ready for adventure. Clayton and Theo were both very excited to get on the ice, though they have very limited experience. They both ambled out, wobbly, tippy and soon very discouraged.

Clayton would try to rev up speed, only to have his feet fly out from under him. Theo saw his classmates gliding past him, and felt embarrassed that he didn't have the same skills. We were able to obtain stacked crates for each one, so they slowly, slowly, slowly began to make their way around the ice. One time...two times...until Theo was keeping up with his buddy (still with his crates). Clayton and I practiced without crates a few times, but then he went back to them so he could go faster! (With boys, it's all about the speed.)

John and I were so proud of their perseverance and great attitudes. They kept at it, fought through the difficulty to get to the fun. I can't tell you how many times Clayton would wipe out and immediately say, "I know, I'm okay. It's okay," even while he grimaced with the bumps and bruises. It was such a fun afternoon, and now we know we need to get them back on the ice soon, before they forget that they can do it!

Note: We debated about putting Lucy in skates, not knowing if they even came in her tiny size. But they did, so we set her up with teeny tiny skates and a little PVC pipe supporter for her to lean on. To our surprise, Lucy took right to the ice. She skated around for over an hour, and outlasted her brothers. Several people on the ice commented on the fact that she must have skated many times before. Someone called her a natural. Note to self: look into skating lessons. I'll be a figure skating mom before you know it. :) WISH we had our camera with us!

Walter has taken a much greater interest and responsibility in the kitchen in the last several weeks. He wants to be my special kitchen helper many nights, and is now a great salad maker. He even gets to use "Papa's shiny knife" (dubbed by Lucy) and is very careful with slicing peppers, removing the seeds, peeling and slicing cukes, adding tasty extras, like nuts and feta cheese.

Last night, John was at a meeting, so I decided we would have breakfast for dinner. I cooked the bacon in the oven, because while I love bacon's yummy taste, I hate it's messy cooking and clean-up. Meanwhile, Walter measured and mixed the buttermilk pancake batter on his own. Once I had the stove-top griddle set up for him, he cooked and flipped each pancake into PERFECTION. I'm not kidding, the kid burned maybe one pancake - much better than my record. He is now officially my new pancake flipper. I really love working with him in the kitchen, and seeing him grow into new privileges and responsibilities.

06 December 2008

Three

Our little girl turned three a few weeks ago, and in her honor, I will write this post in pink, her "favorite kind of color".

It's hard to believe that our littlest one is moving out of babyhood. She is completely potty-trained, becomes more and more independent every day. And yet, she still sleeps in her crib (she doesn't know she could climb out if she tried!) and is in love with her two pink "bitties" (blankies). She is a very girly girl who loves clothes, shoes, ballerinas, pink and purple, fixing her hair and singing.

As she lives in this house full of testosterone, she loves spending time with other girls. When my brother's girlfriend was here over Thanksgiving, she played ballet with Lucy and taught her some ballet moves. Lucy was in heaven! At church, we have lots of attentive female friends who shower Lucy with love. Our Lulu revels in all the girliness.

From a mother's view, it has been such a joy to have a girl. After having three wonderful boys, I did not realize what a different experience it would be to have a girl in the family. For John and me, we enjoy so much seeing her natural feminity come out and flourish. Of course, this does not mean she doesn't think it's fun to join with her brothers in the ubiquitous poop jokes. The girl can throw around the word "poop" like no one's business! But she'll do it with a giggle and a flounce in her step.

This year was Lucy's first really birthday party. We had three of Lucy's friends, in addition to their parents and brothers. I'm pretty sure it was the loudest birthday party to date. Oh my word, the shrieking and running. Our downstairs neighbor must have wondered what we were up to.

It was a very pink party. Here are the pictures to prove it. We're so glad you're three, Lucy!



Lucy and the "You are Special Today" plate


The Hello Kitty birthday cake made by me


That's a happy birthday smile! Lucy and her friend, Lucy A.


Opening presents

Lucy's fancy dress-up dress and dolly from her grandparents

05 December 2008

Go back, my friend

Click here to read my latest post about my shopping exploits.

I started the post on November 15, so when I just completed and published it, Blogger put it back in its correct chronological place. I'm not sure how to fix it. If you know how I can make it post on the day it's finished and not on the day it was started, let me know.

The hollow weenie


Halloween was especially fun this year because it was on a Friday, and we could stay up late eating candy to our hearts' content without having to be vigilant about getting up for school the next day.

This year we had two secret agents, an army guy and a fairy. All the boys were very into their weapons this time around. It was all about the weapons, as you can see from the picture.

This year we invited our neighbors to come around after trick-or-treating. A few people did make it by and it was really nice to get to know some people better. I hope we can host something like that again soon. And I'd love to make the Halloween night party a tradition, as John and I seek to love our neighbors and our neighborhood.


P.S. I want you to notice that Clayton's expression never changes in these pictures. He remains completely in character. And his 'stache is so sweet...black eyeliner.




P.P.S. I know, the title of this post is SOOO immature. That's why it makes me laugh.

Alphabet Redux

And now, for your viewing pleasure, Lucy will rap the ABCs. She is quite amazing. I like John's help in the background. And be sure to notice her bow at the end(s).


video

03 December 2008

Apple Picking 2008


Apple picking is one of my favorite fall activities. This year, we had to squeeze it in, so we didn't all go as a family. I took the children on a weekday after school as a surprise. We had a wonderful time, though many of the apples had suffered hail damage earlier in the season. It took us longer than usual to fill our bag. When we were done, we looked at the farm animals, played on the old tractor, ate TONS of cider doughnuts and did the hedge maze.
It was a great day, though we did miss our Papa!







Fall's over...here's the update

I'm a bit behind on updating with fall events...apple picking, Halloween, birthdays, Thanksgiving, what-not.
So here are a few posts to keep you up to date. And then hopefully I'll stay up to date as we move into Advent, one of my favorite seasons of the year!
Enjoy the pictures! I wish my camera was better...someday we'll get an SLR, but until then these will have to do!
Happy December!