Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Ari inside and outside

This little person is rapidly approaching 15 months old!  I wanted to share a few recent pics that capture a little bit of her personality.  She is such a clown--definitely takes after her big sister in that way--and loves to ham it up for the camera!!  I made her an Angry Birds "Stella" hat because each of her older siblings has a hat in that theme as well, and sometimes she wants me to put it on so she can wear it around inside the house.  Sorry these pics are a bit fuzzy, but you can see how she likes to be silly!

 She also has recently starting loving the outdoors.  Today when the big kids went to put their snow clothes on, she brought me her snowpants too, so I bundled her up and had them take her outside for a while.  Jim got home soon after, so he went out to play with them too, and got a few pics while Sam was pushing her around in a toy dump truck. :)

Such a happy girl!!

I'll try to do a better update post about Ari soon, with milestones and such, but for now I just wanted to put up a few pics to remember these fun moments with her. :)

December at Our House

Okay, yes, I realize it's been well over a month since I last blogged, and that it's now the end of January, and I am JUST NOW putting up a post entitled "December at Our House."  It feels a little out of season already, but since I didn't want to miss recording our holiday memories, I'm putting it up anyway. :)  Finally!!  This post will be mostly pictures with a few captions...come along with me as I go back down memory lane!

We decided to buy a real tree this year--our first in probably at least 5-6 years!  Jim wanted to get a BIG one and take advantage of our high ceilings. :)  I think it was around 9 ft. tall.  The kids get more into the decorating every year, and lots of fun was had by all!

A silly Julia tried to catch Sam under the "mistletoe."  On the ladder!
Our beautiful tree...we compromise on the lights. The kids like colors and I prefer white, so we have some of both!  Having such a ginormous tree really made our living room feel a bit small, but that was okay!
My attempt at doing a Christmas/winter themed book advent calendar.  I only got about half of the books wrapped ahead of time, after that we just read a book a day without the trouble of wrapping or unwrapping.  Next year I want to have these ready well before the end of November.  It's such a special tradition for the kids (me, too!).  
We also did our Jesse Tree/Jesus Storybook Bible advent calendar.  This is possibly one of my all-time favorite parts of the holiday season.
Somebody got into the icicles!!  Look at that guilty face. ;)
She also learned to climb ladders...boy, were we in trouble!  After that we had to watch her VERY carefully and keep the bottom of the ladder blocked off when the older kids were using it to bring things up and down from the storage space.
She still naps in the swing on occasion...all that climbing and activity wears a girl out!
One day Ari got her very own box from UPS!  A belated birthday gift from Uncle Joe.  She was apparently quite excited!
Family photo after church, a couple weeks before Christmas (after our church vespers program)
The kiddos in their Christmas finery.  Josiah is wearing the same clothes Sam wore at Christmas for the past few years.  The girls' dresses were a happy serendipitous coordinating look...Ari's was from the thrift store for a dollar, and Julia's was passed on to us in a bag of clothes from a friend.  (I bought the sparkly red sweater at Walmart.)  I loved how they looked so nice together!
Our sweet pastor's wife Patty made Ari this adorable little tutu.  Soooo cute!
Snuggles with Daddy.  One of her (and his!) favorite things. :)
She also loves to snuggle with her siblings, especially Sam.  
Brother-sister love :)
We finally baked our traditional sugar cookies a few days before Christmas.  Ari didn't really help, but she had fun watching!  I'm sure next year she will be in the thick of things.
Happy bakers!
And a silly little observer :)
The sweet moments that memories are made of.
Finished cookies
Christmas Eve...everything's ready!
I had made the kids each a pair of pajama pants, and we let them open them on Christmas Eve.  Ari's aren't in the pic, but they match Julia's.
Bright and early Christmas morning!  Ari was still sleeping at this point.
A box of Legos for all three big kids to share.  
This picture is out of order, but I'll just leave it here...Ari with Great-Grampa when he and my parents came over sometime after Christmas.  She really warmed up to him and he seemed to have lots of fun playing with her, too. :)
Back to Christmas...the kids have been enjoying these historical graphic novels and Sam was happy to receive a new one for Christmas!
Hotwheels cars are a popular stocking gift around here!
Julia with a new Lego Friends set
The kids received several Star Wars books to share--this encyclopedia was a big hit (and continues to be a popular book around here!)
I was thrilled to receive some books and coloring books--here are a couple of them.  
Ari got a sweet Peter Rabbit board book.  She LOVES books!
Here she is later, in a new outfit from Grandma and Papa, sitting on a pillow quilt made by Grammy.  She had a great Christmas too! :)
A few days after Christmas, we finally got some snow.  
Snow baby!!
Julia snowboarding.  The snowboards we found at the dump continue to be popular around here!
Getting ready to slide with Daddy
Later that day, some of our neighbor friends skied down the road to play with us.  How cool is that?  (The road hadn't been sanded yet.)  Here you can see Nicholas, Sam and Madeline getting ready to slide down the driveway.
Ella, Julia and Josiah.  Julia is wearing Sam's coat from last year, and I still keep thinking she is Sam till I look closely at the height and her face!
Kiddos trudging back up the hill.  There are times I don't love our driveway, BUT having a perfect sledding hill makes it worthwhile. :)  

So that is a peek into our holiday season.  Now, of course, we are back into the middle of school and normal life, but it sure was nice to have a few weeks off to celebrate and play.  I've been struggling again to find time for blogging, but I hope to set aside at least a little time once a week to post something, because I sure do miss it.  It's a relaxing outlet for me, but I have trouble letting myself take the time to sit down at the computer when I feel like I "should" be doing all kinds of other things.  I think I need to get over that! ;)  

I am still working on thinking through goals for 2016 and I hope to blog about that, later.  Well, little sweetie just woke up from her nap, so it's time for me to be done here.  Till next time...

Monday, November 30, 2015

30 Days of Thankfulness, Day 30

Tonight it's late and I wanted to wrap up these "30 days" (although I missed MOST of those 30, but hey...at least I blogged more than I had in quite some time!! ;)) before we jump into a new season and new themes to blog about tomorrow.  We had a lovely, quiet Thanksgiving and some sweet time as a family over the weekend.  Friday and Saturday were busier, but we spent so much time together, which was wonderful, especially as Jim has been very busy with work lately (which is a GOOD thing, but we still miss him!).

Even though I didn't get as many posts or pictures up as I'd hoped to, the simple process of thinking through my blessings and the different topics helped me focus on thankfulness this month, and I am grateful.  It's a habit I want to continue to work toward...counting those daily blessings.

Thanks to all of you who chimed in with comments, too.  It's always such fun to hear from you all, and to know that someone is reading my little ramblings here. :)

Stay tuned, as I hope to post more in December!  I'm not setting myself a daily goal (because I know my limitations!), but I hope to update at least once or twice a week.