Thursday, December 31, 2015


What a whirlwind of a month. It always is...for almost everyone I surprise there, right! The Christmas season is so wonderful though...I love the anticipation, excitement, extra effort to spend time with immediate and extended families, different activities and distractions for the kids. I always mourn at the end of it a bit...all the things I didn't do with the kids that I wanted to because I was too busy, the lights and decorations being put away makes the house feel so empty, the loss of excitement for what is to come. This year I had all those same feelings, but God gave me some perspective and made me question where I was putting all my hope and expectations...did I miss the "reason for the season"? As cliche as it is, if my life is truly centered on Christ, the excitement and expectation will not end until He comes again...I hope to not lose that as we settle back into routine, which also has its benefits to be sure!

Our neighbors shared some Santa cookies with the kids...needless to say, they were a hit!

Drew continues to do well at school, and with encouragement, is branching out and making more meaningful friendships with other kids! He doesn't want to be left out of ANYTHING, so any activity that is even remotely mentioned, he's all in, no matter the cost of course, cuz money just falls from the sky! He had a very special treat this month and was able to watch Star Wars IV with Daddy (the first one from the original trilogy) and of course loved it. Matthew said he asked questions the ENTIRE time, which is adorable and hilarious! He is doing a great job with his reading and is motivated most of the time to continue improving. He continues to love any screen time he can get - TV, video games, whatever, so we really have to watch that he doesn't abuse it, since he can work all the systems now without our help usually. His school had quite a few fun activities this month - book fair, Christmas shop, PJ day with watching Polar Express movie, and of course a Christmas party on the last day. He loved all of it. They also had a roller skating party that Drew and Mommy went to and he really struggled at first and wanted to give up, but with some rest and lots of encouragement, we lasted almost the entire time and he was so sad when it was time to go! It was a fun night just the two of us hanging out - a rare occurance - and what we need to do more of to build our good times instead of all the frustration we have with one another, butting heads all the time!

Drew missing his 2 front teeth this year for Christmas :)

Noah is also still doing really well at school! Hooray! It's still amazing and somewhat amusing/frustrating how differently he acts at school vs. home, but oh well. I'm glad he's not a problem at school. We have struggled big time with nightmares with him lately. He has them multiple times a week, and always expects to sleep with Mommy and Daddy once it's occurred. Well, Mommy gave in quite a bit because it was just so much easier, but he is an EXTREME the point of keeping Mommy awake for a large part of the night because he's essentially on top of me. Daddy doesn't seem to have any issue, but that's because Noah is so far from him, he barely even knows he's there. So, we've started bribing him to try to keep him in his bed. He did really well the first week or two, working up to getting a movie night where he got to snuggle with Mommy in Mommy's bed - but BEFORE bedtime! But he continues to struggle with it. Drew did the same thing, but never wanted to sleep with us, but Matthew ended up sleeping next to him alot. So it's just a different obstacle, same phase, we hope! All 3 kids had dentist appointments this month, but the only one worth noting is Noah - who has SEVEN cavities! Yeesh! 2 will need crowns, 2 will be pulled, and the other 3 will hopefully only need fillings. Oh my goodness! He did a bit better tolerating the appointment, but will most definitely need sedation for all of that work. So that will be fun in January! Oh goodness! He was also a bit sick this month one day, but it was over super quick. Cousin Julia swooped in for the rescue and stayed home with him so Mommy didn't have to cancel work. They had a GREAT day together! He does SO well when he's the only kid around, or even when he and Drew are apart. He can play and stay happy and content for hours (he was good for about 2-3 hours one day while I cleaned house, only checking in on him a few times!). I keep telling people - he was born knowing he would be a middle child, I swear! :)

Kate got to come along with Mommy to Noah's Christmas party at school...she naturally joined in as if she belonged there! I love Noah's laughter at Kate being part of his class. And I love that Kate thinks she's a big girl and can do whatever anyone else is doing!

Ms. Kate is something else. Boy, she LOVES the Christmas season! Between the lights and decorations and the singing toys, she is in heaven! It took her less than a week to say and learn her second word, "ites" (lights) once the trees were up. And the whole month, nothing else was done in the morning until she had directed us around to the 5 different spots in the house that had Christmas lights. (yes, 5!) She just absolutely loved it! She did pretty well not pulling everything off the tree, but she would get into it every now and then. We didn't put any presents out cuz we don't think we would have been as lucky with those. But all in all, she had a fun month with it all.

She was on the fussy/clingy side with Mommy alot this month. But she wasn't really sick but twice, and not for long and no new teeth, so who knows. But Mommy is exhausted from it. It's nice to be loved and needed, and I do love the concept of being the favorite, but other times, I'm just completely spent and at my last ounce of energy and patience with it all. She goes to her school teacher without any complaints, happily waving goodbye to me at dropoff. But with anyone else, it's a crying fit and disaster - ugh! It's just exhausting. I keep telling myself, this too shall pass...and I feel bad for Matthew, who dearly loves his daughter and while she eventually calms down, it's gotta get old for him too! She does well as long and Mommy isn't in sight or in the vicinity, so she's doing well being picked up from school by Grandma and has really warmed up to Papa - hooray! Over Christmas, she warmed up to Nana, and Andrea some, but was wary of Grandpa and even more so of Kevin!

She LOVES being outside, and when she's been super clingy, that's the one thing that usually will get her down to play and be happy. She been super hungry this month in general as well, sometimes out eating her brothers! Her naps are hit or miss...she only takes one nap, sometimes only for one hour, making for a very long day. Other days she can go up to 2.5 hours - those days are such a blessing and relief! She is starting to copy/imitate more and more sounds - Daddy is GREAT at this game, especially at dinner when they sit across from each other! She likes to wear bracelets, necklaces and shoes - often adamant about changing shoes several times a day. She even has started to 'ask' to wear barrettes in her hair - so funny!

So, we have all these stuffed animals that sing and move at Christmas time and Kate LOVED them! She would play all of them at the same time (which is alot!) and without anyone showing or telling her, she would dance and play to the music. But the funniest part was that is was almost instinctive that she held one hand over her head and then spun around - like a ballerina - not kidding! Crazy, cute, hilarious, and a little worrisome for me! HA! But as the weeks went on, her dancing style changed frequently, to stomping, waving her hands around or wiggling her bottom side to side - all adorable! As for Christmas - she liked opening her presents! Though often she would just be so happy tearing off the first part of the paper and would walk away playing with that. But she started to get it some and did really well all in all with it. It was fun watching her to be sure!

We got to visit Santa at Drew's school, which was such a blessing! This was the first year they have done it apparently, but it was fantastic! We get to hang out in the cafeteria, so the kids can play around and color some while we wait instead of a long line in the mall ("Stand still, come here, etc!") and it's super close and cheap and still supports the school - win all around! Kate hated it as expected, and as you can see! Drew wanted to ask for a drone (of course he would, why not?!) but we talked him down to 6 year old toys and asked for a red light saber. Noah, the most content kid ever, asked for Pokemon cards. I love the huge monetary discrepency these boys have in their desires/wishes. Noah has always asked for the simplest of items for any gift ideas and Drew's are always huge, a mile long list, and expects to get everything he asks for. Kate just wanted to get as far away from Santa as possible!

At the beginning of the month, we got alot of toys down from the attic that the boys had grown out of, but were now appropriate for Kate. Well, it was as if Christmas had already come...for all 3 of them. The boys spent the entire weekend playing with the 'baby' toys and Kate just ran around all the chaos have a grand old time! :)

Both boys had Christmas programs this month. Drew was in our church's Sunday School program and was part of singing 3 songs and did a great job! He was so proud, as were we! Noah had one with his school and he also did well, though once he spotted Mommy and Kate in the crowd he turned a little silly and put on his own little side show for everyone - which anyone that knows Noah, wasn't all the surprised! But he knew the songs, and there were ALOT, and maybe one or two were ones that would be recognizable, so it was pretty impressive. Drew was a stinker about going, but then loved being able to see his old friends from when he was at Redeemer. And Kate had a grand time running around looking at all the lights and decorations.

The weather was really pretty nice this month still, and we spent as much time outside enjoying it as we could. The kids are just happier out there, it wears them out, making bed time easier usually, and in general, makes for happier kids and parents because of it. The downside is Kate's new favorite game is to just run into the street, so we end up guarding the end of the driveway most of the time. The boys run crazy, going as fast as they can on whatever wheeled vehicle they can find. Noah did enjoy one afternoon, 'chasing' after the UPS truck, loitering at every house it stopped for deliveries, which of course, this time of year, there were several...that was pretty funny!

So, the boys had 2 whole weeks off from school, and no day care options, so I was off too. And to be honest, I wasn't really looking forward to it. I thought it was going to be crazy with them fighting and them getting on my nerves without getting a break. But all in all, it was pretty good. The first day was a little rough, with my attitude and expectations not helping. But also Kate was home too and was SUPER clingy, so all my energy went to her and I had none left for the boys. The next 2 days Kate went to school (and was super fine and happy with them of course!) and the boys and I had a really good time. We played some different games and were able to relax and have more flexibility since we didn't have to worry about Kate destroying Legos or messing up the game, or whatever - it's just what toddlers do.

Matthew had Christmas Eve until after New Year's off, so then I wasn't quite so outnumbered and the big fun times were just around the corner! We were able to drive around our neighborhood as well as go to the YMCA Christmas display for the kids to enjoy the lights...Kate just exclaiming "ites!" the whole time! :)

Christmas Eve, we held our tradition of the family church service, that we were late to, and so naturally the only seat left was the VERY first row - oh my! The boys were in rare form and had to be separated before we even put our bags down. Somehow, we made it to the very last prayer before I left with Kate and Noah - it was truly a Christmas miracle! We ate dinner at Pappa's burgers, found Rudolph flying in the sky on our way home, watched Elf as a family and set out goodies for Santa. Christmas morning Drew was up at 6:30, but amazingly waited, as we told him either Kate or Noah had to also wake up before we would wake the other, so by 7 we were opening presents, and finished by 8 when Nana and Grandpa arrived! So the fun just jumped several notches by then! We had so much fun playing all day and Kevin and Andrea arrived around 4, bringing more fun and more presents. We had a WONDERFUL weekend with everyone here! Nana and Grandpa even let Mommy and Daddy have a date night with Kevin and Andrea, which was exactly what everyone wanted and needed - so much fun! Kevin and Andrea headed back to Austin Sunday afternoon and the boys and Nana had some good crafting time before we headed over for the Palmer Christmas that evening. Another wonderful evening with family! Nana and Grandpa left Monday morning after breakfast and playing in the little bit of snow that fell the night before! We spent the rest of the week playing with all the new toys and trying to get the house back in order. Which really didn't happen until the Monday before everyone went back to school! We rung in the New Year with a cousin swap...Luke came to our house and Noah went to Jacob's for a sleepover. The big boys played Pokemon, video games, spy, basketball and football. The younger boys played cars, games, karaoke and were just funny 3-4 year olds together! Love that these boys love each other so much and have such fun together!

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