Friday, November 30, 2012

A Book A Day

Two of the things I have great affection for are coming together in our house tomorrow: Christmas and books. I saw a pin on Pinterest several months ago about giving children a book a day leading up to Christmas. While I never look twice at most of what I pin, this idea stuck and I have been determined that I would actually make it happen in our house this year. I love books and my kids love books so it seems like a wonderful way to share and learn more about the season together.

25 Christmas books waiting to be wrapped

Each child has 8 books that will be theirs to open and then they will open the last book together on Christmas Day. We will alternate who gets to open each day. There was no way I was buying 75 books so that they could each open one a day! But I'm hoping they will learn to take turns and get excited when it is there day to open a book. They will be able to choose any one of the books that is wrapped in their paper when it's their turn. 

The books are all wrapped and ready to go! 

The final book for day 25 is wrapped in a separate paper and tucked in the back of the box behind all of the others. I'm not sure yet about where I should keep the box to ensure that Maggie doesn't open them all. However, I am super excited that I pulled it all together to actually start on December 1st. Let the Christmas celebrating begin!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Finish Line Is In Sight

Remember this?

Well, it now looks like this:

And despite the fact that we currently have to live in the center of our rooms (oh yeah, because we added painting the living room to the plan for fun..)

The end is in sight! 
By the middle of next week we should be able to put everything back where it goes and actually decorate for Christmas. It's been two VERY long months, but we're almost there and for that I am incredibly grateful. The only thing that won't be done is the floor, but we'll get to that after the holidays.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

And the Fun Keeps Rolling

I keep telling myself that at some point I will go to bed early. Or sit and watch an entire tv show. Or not feel guilty for not doing SOMETHING every minute of every day. But no such luck. I can't even time find to blog and when I do, I'm so wiped that I can't put coherent thoughts together. I feel like I may have written this same post recently, but I'm too lazy to go back and look. And that is just the way it is around here right now. I'm pretty disappointed that I haven't kept up with all that has been going on around our house and in our lives. I'm afraid I'll forget things before I get around to writing them down. But tonight I am sitting still in my living room, which is currently a heap of furniture shoved to the middle so that the painter can work during the day, trying desperately to write something, anything really, that might be slightly meaningful in the future.
I would show pictures to prove the current condition of my house except that as would be totally expected right now, Google is telling me that I'm out of storage. Of course I am. Why would I expect anything else. I guess I"ll put figuring that out on my to-do list.

We had a low-key Thanksgiving which was perfect. I couldn't have handled more. While I love the Thanksgiving meal, the kids could care less and spend the whole day waiting for after dinner when their cousins come and sleep over. It's a highlight in their year for sure. We tell them all (except Maggie) that they can stay up as late as they want to watching movies. It's a challenge to see who can make it the longest. The night was very mellow, but not uneventful. Maggie and Evan were both asleep by 7 so we were two down very early. The four older boys watched Christmas Vacation (always the first movie) munching on popcorn and twizzlers. Somewhere near 9:00 Ethan fell asleep which is unusual but we figured he was tired and did our best to keep the other boys from waking him up while they took a Wii break in between movies. Then it was time for The Grinch. Amazingly Braeden didn't even attempt to fall asleep until just before 11:00. Right around the same time Ethan started to get restless. He snuggled right up close to Jason and then threw up on Jason's pillow. I must compliment Jason on his stealth getaway which kept him completely clean. After the clean up, Ethan was quickly back to sleep and not long after Braeden and Jacob were too. Jason was the only one to make midnight with me. We love every minute of the sleepover. From too much junk food to overtired kids, it's our way of kicking off the Christmas season.

Now I have a ridiculously long list of things that need to be done before Christmas. Braeden's birthday is next week and we'll have his party this Sunday. It should be great considering the fact that I'll have 35 people in my "almost finished, but completely not put back together" house. We're taking all of the kids bowling first and then we'll have a party with all of the kids plus relatives at home after. I have totally outsourced the party so I'm not worried about it at all, but it still takes plenty of planning and cleaning. Thank goodness for Evan's teacher who bakes on the side and is making us a wonderful Batman cake for the birthday boy. He is so excited!

When my house is finally back together, it will be time to decorate for Christmas. Yay!! This is my absolute most favorite time of the year and I look forward to all year long. Then the baking and the shopping and the wrapping. I refuse to complain about any of those because they are all things I love to do. I feel so behind already, but I'm sure it will all fall into place soon enough.

So one foot in front of the other and while I may not win the race, I expect to finish respectably. After all, it is the most wonderful time of the year!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

One Season Down

Yesterday was the last Craft Fair that we will participating in for this year. It's been quite an experience over the last few months. I haven't stopped moving in a very long time! The days of the events are long, but it's very encouraging when people come out and buy our items. We've learned how to set-up, various ways to best display our items, and what necessities you must always have with you. It's fun to see which other vendors will be at various events. All of the organizers were incredibly kind and always willing to accommodate our requests to be next to Quinn Bags which was a huge bonus.
Fitting into a very small space! Stacy and I got as much on those little tables as we possibly could.

This event was our easiest set-up because we only had signs.

 Tis the season!

Finishing with a flourish!!

It will be nice to have the weekends back for a little while. For the most part anyway. We have Braeden's birthday coming up and then three weekends in a row of Christmas parties. But that's all fun stuff and doesn't require packing and unpacking the car at least twice. Now we move on to concentrating on our special orders. I couldn't be more thrilled with how many people are letting us create special and unique presents for their holiday giving. Now maybe with a little more time on my hands, I'll be able to have the energy to blog again. Thanks Jen for going on this adventure with me. I'm looking forward to seeing where this crazy idea takes us!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Turning the Camera Around

Today I am thankful for having an amazing cousin who is also an incredible photographer. She can make my kids smile even when they are absolutely determined not to. She is a special part of all of our lives and someone Roman and I, along with our kiddos, cherish very much. "Our Jean" as Braeden refers to her is always there to help out when we need her. She takes care of our kids and gives them lots of love and hugs. We are so lucky to have Jean play so many different roles in our lives.

She celebrates birthday's with us

Introduced the boys to Vacation Bible School (which they love)

And she gladly hangs out with us which is the best gift of all! Yesterday I turned the camera around on her while she was playing with the kids. While I am not quite a photographer like she is, I think I captured this moment pretty well. 

We are all very thankful for "Our Jean".

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Love Them

I can't think of anything that I am more thankful for than family. Mine has seen me through some wonderful times as well as some very difficult situations. Through it all, they are always there. The biggest bonus of being close to family is the kids. I am beyond blessed to have three healthy, amazing kids of my own along with my three nephews. When we found out we were pregnant the first time we knew it was time to move home (at least for me, Roman's home was where we already were). It was a decision we had made already without talking about it. Our children would grow up close to their grandparents, aunt and uncle and cousins. It has been amazing and worked out just the way we had hoped. The kids spend time together and enjoy each other's company as much as any group of kids at varying age levels can. I am so thankful that they will grow up together, navigating the elementary and then the high school years watching each other's backs. Poor Maggie may never date with all of those older brothers and cousins!

I am incredibly grateful for these five lively boys..

...and this one crazy girl!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day 2012

Today I am thankful that I have the right to

I hope you are all getting out there and exercising your right to vote. No matter what you believe, let your vote be counted.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Ninja and a Monkey but the Doctor was Sick

Today our town celebrated Halloween. Unfortunately Evan started spiking a fever midday so he didn't get to go trick or treating. But Roman did take the other two out with some friends in our neighborhood and they had a great time.
A Monkey..

and a Ninja. 

I wish I had a picture of Evan in his doctor costume but he doesn't like costumes so I didn't want to ask him to put it on just for pictures when he didn't feel well. He was looking better before bed and hopefully a good night's sleep will help him to feel much better tomorrow. 

Now our house is filled with candy and the kids like approximately a quarter of what they brought home. That leaves an awful lot for Roman and I to eat. Maybe I'll find some creative way to use it up. Or maybe we'll eat it. Only time will tell. 

Today I am thankful for:
  1. Evan looking and feeling a little better before bed. 
  2. A safe Halloween for my children and their friends.
  3. Braeden and I discussed his birthday and I think we have a plan. Woohoo! 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Beth Moore and Two Days of Thankful

I just got home from an amazing overnight stay in Maine to attend Beth Moore's Living Proof Live with three incredible women. We talked, laughed, shopped, learned and spent some quality time in the company of other women. The conference was incredible and Beth Moore is a truly fantastic speaker. She is inspiring, encouraging, funny and most importantly real. It was a lot for me to take in during a whirlwind time frame, but it was worth it in many ways. After last night's session we took a late night trip to L.L. Bean to do some browsing. Yay for being open 24 hours. This morning we had to get up way too early to make the one hour drive back to the venue for 8:30am, but Beth's energy is so contagious that we were all wide awake shortly after arriving.

Her main message was simple and clear; be willing to be different in a positive way. She didn't suggest that we go out and act so differently that we stood out and bothered people, but more along the lines of leading by example. Show our children that giving up is not an option. Teach them to fight for what they deserve. Treat people kindly and act without jealousy. It sounds easy in words, but have you ever tried to be yourself without worrying about the way that other people see you? Do you have enough confidence to carry yourself and present yourself in a way that you are comfortable with yourself without the approval of others? Do you lead others simply by example and not by compelling them to do what you want? Not an easy task, but a challenge I will try to accept.

Yesterday I was thankful for:

  1. A safe trip to Maine in the company of wonderful women whom I treasure.
  2. A husband who willingly stayed home with our children so that I could get an overnight away.
Today I am thankful for:
  1. The love, support and encouragement of Jean, Prudy and Abbie who carried me along with them this weekend and shared themselves and listened while I tried to make sense of all that I was learning.
  2. Happy children when I returned home.
  3. Joel installing my kitchen faucet while I was gone so that I can once again use the kitchen sink. 
Tomorrow we celebrate Halloween in our town. I don't know our exact plan yet, but I am sure that the kids will have fun no matter what we do. Bring on the sugar high! 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November - The Month to Celebrate All For Which We Are Thankful

I am thankful for so much in my life. All the usual's come to family, my friends, our home, safety. I could go on and on. This month I've decided to follow the example of so many other bloggers and try to blog every day about the many wonderful reasons I have to be thankful each and every day.

Today I am thankful for:

  1. My sister-in-law who lives in New York being safe. She isn't able to go back to her apartment yet but she and her dog are staying with her boyfriend and weathering the aftermath of Sandy as best as they can. 
  2. Electricity! How can any of us watch the coverage of Sandy on TV and not be thankful for the power that gives us light, heat and a hot shower. We had no power for 4 days last year thanks to the crazy snowstorm we got before Halloween and I am good to not have to experience that again anytime soon. 
  3. The fact that I'm not a countertop installer. Random I know, but after watching those poor guys lug my new countertop into my house today and then spend 2 hours getting it just right, I think I can safely say that is a career path I will never choose.