Monday, December 21, 2009

Natalie's 4th Birthday!

December 12 is Natalie's birthday. Hard to believe she's 4 already! Pizza for dinner (her request)-as well as eggs and cinnamon rolls for breakfast, macaroni and cheese and hot dogs for lunch. We let her choose all day. And the kids stayed in PJs all day (it was Saturday :)
She and Blake made their "party hats" Brian put the bag on her head so she wouldn't see her cake.
A snowman cake!!
The frosting was melting all over so I took a picture in the fridge earlier in case there were no decorations come birthday time. Lesson learned: use a thicker frosting!
No cake for you though.
4 dollars from Grandma and Grandpa Gration and a card from Grandma D. Thanks!!

A ring pop and some tic tacs.
Blake helping open this big one...
... it's a cradle for all those babies she has!
Brian bought a portable DVD player for the car for long trips. Can't wait to use for our Christmas trip!
And her new Dress-up Suitcase!
(If you have kids that love to dress up, this was so easy: I went to the 29 cent rack at the Goodwill and found lots of clothes, plus some hot pink high heels, a hat and scarf, and added one of my old purses. I also found a great suitcase to keep it all contained. It's provided hours of fun!)

We love you Miss Four Year Old! :)

Decking the Halls

To start the busy holiday season, I did one of my Cooking/Baking Days. I've been doing this every now and then and it's really making my life easier. I make a ton of things (dinners, sides, baked goods, etc) as well as get parts of things ready (cook and dice chicken, brown ground beef, etc). I make a huge mess of my kitchen and have the crockpot, bread machine, oven, and waffle iron going all day but I end up with so much at the end of it. When I know it's a busy day or when the kids are going crazy at 5:00, it's much less stress to have pulled something out of the freezer in the morning. I've been able to give meals to new moms from church and MOPS too. I also made a huge batch of whole wheat waffles that the kids love and I can heat up for breakfasts without having to make the big mess. (I do this with pancakes too.) Anyway, I love to cook so I usually don't mind making dinner but this has truly been a life saver for me. And it's fun. :) To read more about it check out these blogs here or here
Getting ready for Christmas! My mom collects Nativities from around the world. I've kind of started doing the same and I love setting them out every year. We have two that the kids are allowed to play with and it's neat to see them act out the story- even Blake talks about baby Jesus. It helps them remember the real reason for Christmas. This is our VeggieTales one. :)
I should take pictures of all of them... but here's our Willow Tree Nativity. Decorating the tree

Blake and our neighbor's snowy friend, just his size!

Nathan, Blake and Natalie holding hands while watching TV. :)

Buckeye Balls!
Evan still isn't crawling on all fours, but he can commando crawl wherever he wants to go and is pulling up on everything! 10 months old now!

My friend Leigh Anne was moving so we watched her two boys for the day. We made gingerbread cookies together.
Decorating (and eating most of the toppings! :)
Up next: Natalie's birthday!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I know I'm WAAAAY behind on the blog... it's been a busy couple of weeks with finals and papers and projects as well as activities, parties and shopping. Brian is finally finished with this semester and today we got lots of snow again so it makes it feel especially like Christmas is less than a week away! More tree trimming and gingerbread-house-making pictures later... but for now, travel back to last month's holiday: Thanksgiving! We went to Ohio to Brian's aunt and uncle's house. We drove up with his parents and sister. Stopped at McDonald's for lunch. Blake loved Poppa feeding him ice cream! :)

Cute cousins: Natalie and Allie
Grandma D made us yummy pot pie for dinner.
Evan loved it!
Matching PJs.... guess their mommies have good taste!
Adam, Natalie, Blake and Allie
Getting the tables ready for the big meal!

Most of Brian's mom's family live in the same area so a lot of people were able to come. I think it was around 25 and more stopped by at night so it was over 30 people total! :) It was good to spend time with relatives that we don't see too often. And Natalie and Allie got their own special table.
Ev devoured the squash!
Look at all those desserts!!
Relaxing after the big meal
Linda's mom, brother and sisters, minus two others that couldn't come.
Playing Catchphrase

Cousins eating PBJs....thought their faces were funny.

Michelle and I went to Walmart to print some pictures and I just had to get a picture of the horse and buggies. It's a very Amish area and they actually have hitches outside all the stores. Pretty neat.

Watching VeggieTales. Thanks Pete and Liz for letting our kids invade your house!
We had a great time with everyone and I'm very thankful for both of our families!