Monday, January 26, 2015

She's Officially 8!

 January 26th...her official birthday.
She was happy with new cowgirl boots...with pink, of course!
She had a special friend spend the night, come to church with us, and celebrate!
 This morning, we went to the local bookstore for her birthday treat.  She picked the biggest chocolate chip cookie she could find!  And then shared it with the whole family. 
After Laura got home from school, we went out for an icecream treat.  The icecreams were so huge that even the big boys were "stuffed!"  That a rare occurrence!
We brought another special friend for icecream.  With all these boys, it's good to have girl time.
Happy 8th birthday, Jenna Mei!  We love you, princess!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Half of her life...

Jenna is getting ready to turn eight years old on Monday.  That means she has been with us now for half of her life.  The first four years were spent in an orphanage in China.  We were so happy to celebrate her fourth birthday with her in China, and now she's eight.  Crazy!
Some days, it feels like she has been with us for so much longer.  Those are usually the tough days when we realize she's still working through attitudes and behaviors that were hers for the first four years of her life.  Then there are the days, like today, when I realize that it has ONLY been four years...and she has made incredible strides.  She has such a kind heart and loves to help others.  She also is very strong-willed.  Directed properly, it will take her far. 
So, today we begin her birthday celebration with flowers from Daddy!

Monday, January 19, 2015

A day in the life...

 Gus hasn't been featured much.  Here he is, snuggled up to his girl.  Laura voluntarily put her arm around him; that rarely happens without us helping her.  She's usually too busy walking through the house or playing with Gus' mouth.
Jacob has been on a baking spree lately.  He made a nutmeg cake, and decided that he wanted a piece.  Out of the middle!  I guess the baker can do that??
 I was resting with a migraine, but thought for sure I was being watched.  I was right.  I guess Laura wanted to know if I fell asleep or not.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Catching up...again...

I'm behind again on the blog.  Life keeps moving faster and faster.  My computer can't keep up.  Or maybe it's my brain.  Either way, I'm here once again to update photos from the past month.  So much happened and I'm not even sure I caught it all on film.  But here goes...
We had our Christmas at home a few days early.  It gives the kids a chance to hang out before we travel to Michigan.  Lining up for the obligatory photo on the stairs...hurry up, Mom!!
 Sorry to wake you so early, Gus!
 Charlie and his microphone...sing it!
 Nice photo bomb, Char!
 Jacob was thrilled with his ammunition box.
Me?  I loved my new smoothie maker.  Most mornings, that's my breakfast!
 Let's move on to the Christmas concert at church.  These are the sound guys.  What a handsome crew!  We finally got Jamie in a bow tie!
 They let me sing.  It was so much fun! We sang the arrangement called God With Us.
 Daddy and the kids are in charge of baking sugar cookies.
Finally, it was time to travel to Michigan for Christmas...where no child is ever spoiled.

 Christmas morning arrived, warmer than normal, dry, and a bit sunny.  The view from our hotel was just beautiful.  We love the great lakes.  This was the Christmas tree in our hotel room...just big enough for Santa to see the stockings.


 Laura looked so sweet admiring the lights.
 Our big, crazy family.
 Grandma, Papa, and the grandkids...that just keep growing.
 Later that day, we celebrated again.  More grandkids and great-grandkids with the other Grandma and Papa.
The next day we headed home.  The weather stayed bright and dry all the way.  When we got home, we had another treat waiting for us!
 So, they ate dinner.  I know...but the sooner the sweets are gone, the sooner I'll stop munching them!
 Jamie was thrilled to organize his new selection of coffees,
but Char was not so thrilled to be down with a (thankfully) light case of the chicken pox.
I think that about sums up our Christmas adventures.  It was a great holiday with family and friends.  Now, already half-way through January, we are excited to see what 2015 will hold for us.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Getting ready!

 More Christmas memories being made this year!
The kids had friends over for a Christmas party.  They ate candy cane pancakes with syrup and sprinkles.  Then the sugar-filled children went home.  :)

Gus insists on "helping" Jacob during the school day.
 One afternoon, Gus napped with Charlie. When they came downstairs later, Gus was all handsome, wearing Charlie's Christmas tie.  What a gentleman!
 Jenna went shopping with Mom.  Best part?  Stopping at Strbx for a peppermint hot cocoa, of course!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Our School Psychologist

It looks like Gus is providing emotional support for Jacob as he "suffers" through grammar and algebra.  On the other hand, "Mr. I-refuse-to-stay-on-my-mat-and-apart-from-people may be putting on a good act here.  Good thing he's so cute!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Annual Tree Lighting

Last night was the 4th Annual Tree Lighting for our village.
Jacob and Amarin participated in the music and played a variety of Christmas music.
Amarin played his snare and the cymbal.
 Jacob played bass guitar.  This picture cracks me up.  Jacob is sitting on top of his amp.  The amp is so big that his feet don't even touch the floor!
 The piano and trumpet were also playing.  Sounded great!
Favorite song they played?  Charlie Brown's theme song!
Jenna and Laura sat on Santa's lap, but I was busy organizing the cookies and hot chocolate, and I didn't see them!  Charlie was not interested in Santa until later.  But as soon as he walked in the room to see Santa, he walked back out with a look of digust.  "Mom.  I am not going to see him.  That's not even Santa Claus!"

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Laptop

It's another first for Jacob.  His first laptop.
His schooling is at the point where this will come in handy,
and free mine from his clutches.
 He's just a little bit excited.
(and probably appreciative since he had to pay for 1/2 of it!)

Oh, Christmas Tree...

 The tree is up and decorated!  I love watching the kids place ornaments on the tree.  It would never win a beauty contest, but maybe the "most crammed ornaments possible" award!  Love it!
 Christmas excitement is in-the-air...just in case it's not obvious here.
 Or here.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Her Teeth

"All I want for Christmas is my two, front teeth, my two, front teeth, see my two, front teeth."
 Laura had a fused tooth extracted this past Tuesday.  She was really mad at the dentist, but was back to her happy self in no-time.  Apologies to the dental assistants who probably went home with a few bruises! But, hey!  She didn't bite anyone this time!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Countdown to Christmas!

It's December 1st. 
The kids are wearing their Santa hats to the breakfast table.
I'm sure they will be worn to the stores as soon as we decide to leave the house.
 And they decided to make their own countdown-to-Christmas candy chains again.
One piece of candy per day.  Last time we did this, Charlie ate all his candy in less than a week.  Bummer...Christmas didn't come any quicker!

They contemplated the reaction Dad might exhibit once he hits his head on these candy chains, but they still thought it was fun to hang them from the balcony.