Wednesday, December 31, 2014

it's New Year's Eve ...

well here it is, 2014 is (literally) nearly over! 

the year is nearly over and yet I still have quite a few photos that haven't made it
onto the blog yet ... oh well, I don't think 46 posts (that's for the whole year, I might add that
in 2011 I had 317 posts, that year was my all time high as far as this blog goes)
merits me having a book printed this year ... so if I could schedule in time for me to blog
and manage to catch up in 2015 - I'd still have all my 2014 photos within one book!!!

what a year it has been.
another year of saying "see ya later" to my hubby ...
the past few months have been spent as temporary single mother status!
never easy, but having him away has given me the opportunity
to try to achieve some things that seem more a challenge when he's home.

(for example, the house is quite torn apart currently - as I go through boxes, bags, baskets, etc. in another attempt to get this place all organized ... my theory is the same as always, if everything had a place it wouldn't be such a disaster all the time ... we'll see how true that ends up being ... if, that is, I actually do make it through this slow process to the side of actual organization!  I've managed to that only once before in my married life - and that was three kids and far less stuff ago!  we shall see!)

it's also given me time.
time that I need to spend in prayer.
time that I need to study the word of God.
time to spend with my children.
time to learn more about myself.

I have this goal to really give a lot of effort toward working on, what I like to address as,
character issues.  whether within myself or within my children - there are
absolute things that I am trying to eliminate (ie: name calling, fighting, angry outbursts, etc.).
so far I don't feel I've made much head way ...
I believe the Lord can change me, first and foremost ...
and in turn, my hope is that I will be a positive role model for the children
and they will also incur some positive changes in behavior.

I know I can't do it. 
I also know that God can!!!
I believe.
I have faith.


I also have this goal to get all of this years "good camera" pics up on this darn blog!
whether that means there is little to no editing or not, I am getting 
more and more determined to get back to blogging!

so, shall we begin -and end- with Christmas morning?
here it is ...

 this was Christmas Eve ... I love a good "Santa's been here" pic!!

 this year "I" decided to really scale back ...
I did the "three gifts" idea: a want, a need, and something to read!
in addition to that, each child got a "Santa" gift
(which actually I ended up just putting a $30 limit on Santa - this worked well so that
I could give Zoey the "big" gift for her and also the boys their "big" joint gift ...
 but it all still added up to right at $30 per child!)
in addition to those four gifts, I assigned each child a sibling to buy for ...
this way instead of a bunch of dollar store junk (which is how you have to do it when you
have four kids all buying for each other) each child got another nice gift!
it also was meant to help foster some attention and care for siblings who tend to squawk!
so, right there each child got five nice gifts - or more if it was a multiple
piece/item type of gift!
bring in the grandparents, aunt, uncle, & cousins - and my kids were beyond spoiled!!!

 opening her Santa gift!

 despite the face, he was quite excited about his Minecraft tee shirt!

 so many presents!!!

 he loves Christmas morning!!

 we forgot about the stockings, usually it's tradition to open those first!
so we did them sort of in the middle, but toward the end of the gift opening!
(notice in the background I have mugs out, ready for hot cocoa - and I had cinnamon rolls
in the oven ... after all the unwrapping and fun they were excited for a fun breakfast!)

 Zoey, trying out her tricycle from Nana!
we are going to really be working on learning to pedal!!

 can you believe it?
I didn't take 1.1 million pics of Christmas morning!
it was a little hectic, I'll be honest, with daddy on skype - I had to prop
up my phone when the battery got real low and I had to plug it in!
at one point I was holding my phone, trying to video tape, and trying to take photos!!!
I really just wanted to enjoy it.
to watch my children's faces light up with each gift ...
to see their surprise and delight ...
to look at their newest priced possession ...
so that's what I tried to do!

Happy New Year!

2015 holds much for us, I am sure of it!!!

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas littles ...

be still my heart (I know, I say that a lot - I can't think of a better way to describe
the feeling I get when viewing certain photographs of my sweet little ones) look at these two!
I wanted to title this post "Christmas babies" ... but given that the "baby"
is nearly five, I decided to go ahead and give them my second favorite title of "littles"!
did I mention Zoey Grace is nearly five?
did I mention how crazy that is?
did I mention that I miss having a baby?

anyway, I caught a couple photos of these little ones of mine before church tonight ...
looking all cute and fancy (pretty nice dress Zoey has there, huh - $4.50 at Once Upon A Child)!!
and this one, this photo, when I saw it - awwwwwwww ...
the sweetness of little sister adoringly smiling at big brother, it is just too much!!!

and big brother, looking even more like his daddy now that he has
a big boy hair cut (we went and got that fixed this week at the barber shop, fyi) with
that grin - he is definitely daddy's little clone!!!

can't really tell Zoey to say "cheese" ...
or we get all sorts of variation of faces such as this!
and look at that impish grin on the boy - my my!

*after I typed that, I decided I really should look up the exact definition of impish
before posting: 

inclined to do slightly naughty things for fun; mischievous.


yep, that about covers that sweet, baby faced, boy!!!




everyone with me now, awwwwwwwwwww!!!

 and because it's still sooo stinkin adorable, we'll revisit this one with a different photo effect!!

we are trying to make the most of these days ...
ok, I am trying to make the most of these days!

it's Christmas break now!
time to clean house and enjoy each others company, I say!

Merry Christmas season to all!!!

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Friday, December 12, 2014

transformations ...

so last week, I took my shaggy haired boys in for haircuts!!!

I have a real love/hate relationships with hair cuts ...
I love how refreshing it is to see my beautiful sons' faces and eyes!
but I sort of end up missing their shaggy locks, too!

here's Jericho - before:

and Jericho - after:
I really like how it looks when it's styled, when it's just washed and dries-
and he doesn't want to stop long enough for me to style it - it's just ok!
what a smile, what a boy!!!

and here's Liam - before:

and Liam - after:

what a silly face - that boy is just like his daddy!!!
so, yes, I finally did it - finally had the courage to get him an actually "short"
haircut!  I thought it looked adorable all slicked to the side ...
however, the lady cut it so that it HAS to be like that - or it's all long
on one side and short on the other ... hmmm!
so I'm gonna have to have that all fixed!
he is perfectly happy with it, I'm sad a little bit about it - 
but I think only because daddy didn't like it,
so now I feel bad!
oh well, can't put it back now ... and he is nearly 7, after all ...
he needs to look like a little boy!!!
(but I do miss that long hair, it's always been his look, so 
I totally understand what daddy is saying)

he's so funny!!!

in other news, I think I finally finished up the Christmas shopping!
(aside from "teacher" gifts, it's weird that there's still so many -
even though I'm homeschooling two kids - but they have their enrichment
classes teachers and their ES, so that's five right there!  then Zoey
has her lead teacher and "helper" and speech therapist,
as well as two bus drivers!  I'm not even doing anything for
Annicka's teachers and I still have 10 "teacher" gifts - lol)

I'm not gonna lie - the last two days were a bit stressful with all my looking
online and figuring out just what to get!  it's super fun that the kids'
grandparents and aunt and uncle send me money to do some shopping ...
but they didn't have hardly anything on their wish lists,
so I had to really get creative in deciding on gifts!

in the end, though, I stuck to my plan and did the "three gifts" 
from us (mom & dad): a want, a need, and something to read!

then a "Santa" gift!
 (which was set by a per child budget - so for the boys it's an individual gift as well as a shared gift) 

and a sibling gift 
(this year I assigned each child a sibling to buy for, so everyone still has cool stuff and not just dollar store junk)

then all sorts of goodies from Grandma, Nana & Grandaddy, Auntie Layla,
Uncle Kris, and cousins Dominic, Katie, and Willow!
I may have decided to pull way back this year,
 but they are certainly still plenty spoiled by family!!!  :)

so, that's the update for us ...
I hope & pray everyone is having a wonderful Christmas season ...
making lots of memories and spending time with loved ones!!

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

it's that time of year!!!

 Buddy the elf has arrived and the kids are finding that fun (mostly Liam, Jericho enjoys being a part of "helping") ... he's doing things a bit different this year!  if you're interested, check out this blog - that's what we're going off of!!!

the tree is up and so are lights and inflatables in the front yard!  that's as far as we've gotten so far!!

the other day Zoey happily posed for these pics ... I think the "new" camera (as in, the expensive nice one that she has probably forgotten about - therefore, it's new to her) was acceptable in her eyes, since she's so used to my phone being the camera - lol!!!

and boy is she growing - looking at these pics makes me realize just how big she is getting!  I can't believe she's nearly five!  it makes me sad.  it also makes me miss having a baby or little one around here ... she keeps me plenty busy, as do all of the children, but honestly I've got some baby fever in a big way!  hahaha!!!

anyway, I keep the hope that I will get better about blogging again ... at the current time I just rely on the fact that I still have preserved memories via instagram!!!  it's not the same, though!

more pics to come soon, we've done some fun stuff for the season!

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Monday, November 24, 2014

for daddy ...

 because I can't seem to fit blogging into my schedule ... but I know daddy really wants to see an update!  this one's for you, husband!!!

Annicka on her 14th birthday!!! 

 Jericho a week or two ago, very proud to be building drawers with me!!!
(Liam started with us, but fizzled out and watched Frozen while we finished up)

Liam with his newest stuffie, Olaf, as well as "Elephanty" - an older fave!!!
side note:  this kid is so much like his big sister!  he is obsessed with stuffies, as he calls them!!

and there's our Zoey - be still my heart look at that beautiful face!
this was today - she was making it snow in the garage (with a cotton ball)!
she misses her daddy greatly, I think she said "I want my daddy" daily this past week ...
sometimes several times in a day ... now that is hard!  poor baby!!

we are doing well, however!
we have our ups and downs.  a certain child is prone to giving me a run for my money -
but I am hanging in, and doing a lot of praying!  right now I have a huge focus on
the Lord and what he wants for our lives ... and how we can put Him back in the center
of all we do!  it's a challenge, for sure!  but, the Lord is faithful and full of grace!!

so there's the update for any and all, but especially for daddy!
hope you enjoy the pics!
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Friday, November 7, 2014

Liam quote!!!

it's been forever,blah blah blah!

and I don't even have any pics to share!  but I had to keep this one for the books!!

we went to Hobby Lobby and Liam didn't want to get out of the van - he does this.  I don't know why he does this.  it's annoying.  it's aggravating.  sometimes it takes every bit of anything 
in me to keep from getting angry.  often I fail at that.  

anyway, he's fussing and isn't budging.

Jericho says to him "if they have a quarter machine, I'll buy you something"

Liam, with a smile, replies "well played" as he starts getting out of his seat and getting his shoes on!

that, my friends, is my life.

they keep me smiling, even when I try not to!!!

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Monday, August 18, 2014

guess what day it is?

it's the first day of (home) school ... and this pic cracks me up!!! 

so, today our adventure has begun ... 
despite the fact that we are still waiting on a lot of our curriculum, 
we've managed to accomplish a decent amount this morning!

we definitely need to have a few conversations of expectation and "rules" ...
but I'd say the boys are doing quite well, overall, today!!

let the year continue ...

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

keeping my word ...

the title sort of says it all! 
and yet, it tells one nothing!!

well, here it is:
Annicka has decided to return to public school!

yes, this is the girl who has told me for two years that she was "never going back to school"!
funny how things can change - and knock the socks off of mamas!!
and as much as I was looking forward to having my three oldest home with me,
and for that matter Zoey in the mornings before preschool - and as much as I was excited
to have less schedules trying to mesh up ... I always told Annicka that the
school thing was her decision!  she is the one that begged to homeschool ... and I was
thrilled to have her home!  and now, she is the one saying she wants to
go back, and so she shall.  I really can't blame her either - I told her I wanted her to
start thinking about returning for high school (honestly, at this point, all the
demands of homeschooling through high school just sort of terrify me) and she said she'd
rather go back this year, so she'll at least know people for high school.

good call.
I agree.

but I'm gonna miss her!!

these photos are from our Oregon trip!  
but they were taken in Washington - lol - at my friend's house!
(as you can see, my friend was also snapping a pic)
I had my friend fix up Annicka's hair for the photo shoot we were doing,
I love it when I can see her beautiful face - usually her hair is hanging all over it!

so, now it's looking like it will be me and the boys!
Zoey will be with us in the mornings and then go to preschool!
it's sure to be a busy year!!!

in order to ever get all these (literally hundreds) of photos to the blog I may have
to do as I've done here and just plop them on - with zero editing!
not sure I can quite stand that ... but with everything there is to do these days,
the blog may get pretty quiet!  we shall see!!
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Friday, July 18, 2014

home, sweet, home ...

we are home!  we had such a great time on our Oregon trip!  it was amazing to get to see my parents, my friends, and a couple family members too!!!  on my drive home I really reminisced over the good times and laughs I shared while there!  it is truly bittersweet to be home ... I sort of got in a groove at my parents house and now I had to re-adjust and figure out what life at home looks like now!  after all, we've been home a mere four days since summer break truly began ... and there's so much change in store with keeping three of them home this coming school year!  I am overwhelmed with all I need to do, perhaps that's also why I didn't particularly want to return - lol!  anyway, our travels were awesome (funnily enough, our timing was nearly exact both going and coming home - basically 9:10am to 6:50pm ... on the way there we stopped for picnic lunch & potty, gas, and one "emergency" potty - on the side of the freeway, haha; on the way home we got gas then ate at a McDonalds across the street - and that was our ONLY stop!!  yah - my kids must be amazing!!!) and our time was precious!  I have over 800 pics between my camera and my phone (many of which were shared on instagram/facebook) ... so now the blogging begins ... well, we hope - haha - we'll see!

just so I don't leave ya with nothing ...
so here it is!  this is the one that will be going on my wall!

I attempted a photo shoot -again- while at my friend's house ... 
she was an awesome helper and got my kids to smile!

it was still somewhat chaotic - her sprinklers kept coming on randomly ...
the kids would scream and get up, running off -
then we'd have to get them all re-situated, it was sort of comical though
and we all got many laughs from that!

in the end, perhaps it's really more an issue of my own photography skills ...
but for now it is what it is and this is a pretty good pic!

good enough for now, anyway ...
and good enough as a current photo of all four of my kids for my living room!!!
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Monday, June 30, 2014

here for a second (basically) ...

so yes, we're home from our trip!

 we left around 6pm on monday, the 9th (Zoey's last day of school) ...
we stopped for dinner and then hit the road!!

we saw lots of family!!!

 we saw lots of animals at the zoo, the aquarium, and grandma's house -
Zoey loved all the dogs and cats there!!!

there was swimming ...


playing ...

hanging out at the house ...


visiting ...


food, fun, family ...
one last sunset ...


 then we were back on the road, headed home!

we were away from home for 17 days!
we spent a total of 46 hours "on the road" (including stops).

we got two kids through being sick,
a teenager through a mope fest while out to lunch,
our big group through the zoo and the aquarium/botanical gardens,
the hubby got to shop games stores with his brother,
I got to have a shopping day with my sis in law (it's tradition),
many quick runs to walmart,
lots of yummy food,
tons of fun, smiles, and laughter,
over 1500 photos taken,
video of cousins playing together and enjoying each other,
and on the way home we stopped to see friends!!!

it was a great trip!!
we're home now, but the kids and I are about to hit the road again -
Oregon bound!!!

so, the blog will continue to be quiet ...

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