Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye Christmas Tree

Happy Birthday Ryan

Ryan's birthday was spent driving home from my in-laws.  Emma crowned it all by throwing up all over herself, the blankets in the backseat, and Elizabeth.  It was pretty much amazing.  She has this incredible ability to spread it more than anyone would think possible.  We were extra glad to be home.  Between unpacking, cleaning out the van and everything, I was able to throw together an apple pie that was ready just before the girls had to go to bed.
Ryan got to open his birthday present on Christmas day from us (a R/C helicopter) since we were leaving, and then we celebrated with his family on the 26th.  It was pretty much a Ryan celebration all week, so hopefully he didn't feel too bad about his less-than-stellar actual birthday.

Love you, Ryan.  Happy Birthday.

Merry Christmas

We are back from visiting my in-laws, so I am trying to catch up on blogging.  We had a really nice trip, but it's always good to be home again.  Be sure to also check out the pictures from our kids' Nativity play further down the page.  It's new.

On Christmas Eve, we had lunch-dinner (what do you call a meal at 2 pm?) with a family from church.  Afterwards, we went to another family's house for cookies and hot chocolate, which was pretty much our dinner.  There was several other families there, so there was lots of talking and playing, and a game of Phase 10 for the moms.  We had crackers and cheese when we got home, before opening the pj gifts and settling in for a movie.  So did not calm down our children.

First up- a picture of our (very dry and very dead) Christmas tree before Ryan and I went to bed on Christmas Eve.
 Christmas morning- the girls were excited to see Santa had come.  Guess they must have been good this year. Not a single lump of coal. :)
 Secret Santa visited us twice this year.  On the 23rd, when we got home from church, there was a black trash bag with a huge bow and Santa stickers sitting on our front porch.  Then Christmas morning, when Ryan went out to check on the chickens, there was another package waiting for our family.  I am completely amazed, and really touched, to see our family on the receiving end of these acts of kindness.  We have some wonderful, giving people in our lives, and I'm a little sad that I can't thank these people personally.
 (I love that my kids get excited over books, even the younger ones.)
Elizabeth loves soft things.  
 Elizabeth and Annie drew each other's names for the sister gift exchange, and they gave each other $5 Barbie movies.
This picture of Elizabeth's face cracks me up.  She had this expression on her face almost every time she opened any of her gifts.  I was just trying to get a picture of Emma with her first CD player.
 Secret Santa brought the girls each an American Girl doll.  They all were so stoked!

After lunch, we went outside and played in the snow.  Hello white Christmas!  (Emma credits watching "White Christmas" before bed Christmas Eve for the weather pattern.)

 We are no longer the owners of a sled hill (I think that's the one thing we miss from our old house), so Ryan pulled the kids up and down the driveway.  What a nice dad!
 Then we made a snowman.  We had borrow snow from all around the house to get enough for our big snowman.
Christmas day dinner.  We invited several people for dinner, but ended up by ourselves anyway.  That's ok- it was a nice quiet Christmas, and I was able to get a lot of laundry done before our trip to see Ryan's family the next day.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Newsletter, 2012 edition

I don't consider myself an especially wordy person with a lot to say.  But trying to condense a family of six's adventures in one year onto one sheet of printer paper (and make it interesting) I find to be a challenge.

Here's this year's edition of the infamous Christmas Newsletter (and photo).

Dear Family and Friends,
I’m assuming since you have picked up this newsletter, you are looking for the K family Christmas update.  The short version is this- we went on a camping trip in the Olympic mountains during the summer, nothing tragic has happened since last Christmas, and we survived the adventure of house selling and purchasing (again).
For those of you with more stamina, here’s the in-depth version:  In February, we finished all those projects that we’d been meaning to for the last 5 years and put our house on the market.  We received an offer the beginning of June.  And by the very end of August, when it finally closed, we were ready to lynch the buyer’s mortgage company.  We were non-home owners for exactly 24 hours before we closed on our new house (all the paperwork was done and waiting, waiting, waiting…).  It was the kind of experience that has left us with the wish to never, ever, EVER buy or sell a house again.  Ryan thinks that we should just blow up our new house the day we die so the kids will be saved the trouble of trying to sell it.  That said, we LOVE our new house.  It is over twice the size of our last home, with three full bathrooms.  (Can anyone say four soon-to-be preteen and teen girls?)  We have just enough land for Ryan to pretend he’s a farmer in his spare time.  We own 3 chickens and several chicks now, and Ryan has laid out enough land for a garden that would very easily feed us for a year solely in tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, and zucchini.  He’s got his order to Johnny’s Seeds ready for next spring.
The twins continue to amaze us.  Their sayings and antics keep things lively around here.  We hear things like, “I can’t know” (Annie), “Come quick!  Annie dead!” (Maddie), “Can I have chocolate chips for lunch?” “I the princess and mommy the bad guy,” and, “I have nothing,” while both hands are behind, very obviously holding something.  Annie and Maddie are both very sensitive about their names.  Should anyone make the mistake of calling one “Sweetie,” “Monkey,” “Angel,” or heaven-forbid, a sister’s name, you are very quickly corrected.  They are less destructive than they used to be (we didn’t lose an appliance this year), but can still create a terrific mess in record breaking time.  They love their twice a week co-op preschool.  (As does their mom.)
Elizabeth is in 2nd grade this year.  She does well in math, and loves to DO things: color, cut, tape, tie, run, jump, climb, cook, stack, build, sing, and dance.  She has really grown up this year, and we find her, on occasion, sitting still.  Elizabeth loves almost everything.  When we go around the table at dinner telling about our favorite and least favorite parts of our day, her response to the “least favorite” is almost always- nothing.  Her life is good.  She did give us a bit of a scare in September.  With all of the forest fires burning (we think was the issue), she had a very scary episode with her breathing.  Thankfully we got it under control at the doctor’s office, and didn’t need to be admitted to the hospital.  They did send us home with a boat load of medicine and a nebulizer, which I got to use myself in November.  (It was a rough autumn for our family- Elizabeth’s episode, my walking pneumonia, and Ryan’s two trips for stitches.)
Emma is our big 4th grader.  She was less excited than Elizabeth about changing schools after the move.  The good news is that her new school also does the extra-curricular SEEK (science) program, and it goes twice a week instead of only once like at her previous school.  She does very well in school, which doesn’t surprise us at all.  Emma is a great helper to her mom, so long as you can distract her from the one of 4 or 5 books she is reading at a time.  Her current favorite series is the new Percy Jackson one, and is learning the agony of waiting all year for the next book to come out.  (Harry Potter, Fablehaven, Narnia, and the 1st Percy Jackson series were all about out by the time she picked the first book up.)
Ryan and I are still plugging along.  I now have crazy skills when it comes to quoting and discussing Barbie and Disney movies, and Ryan has acquired the ability to clean up vomit in the dark.  We are very blessed, and we are thankful that our lives are good.
A Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year to you all.                     The K family

Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Sheets

Back in August when we bought our new (queen-sized!!) bed, we obviously had to buy a larger set of sheets.  We've been making do with one set, but a second set of sheets was on my Christmas wish list.  One day at Costco, I found a nice set for a decent price and then wrapped them up and put them under our Christmas tree.

Ryan put them on our bed on Christmas day after we'd opened presents.  He thought the sheets felt really nice and we were excited to sleep on our pretty new sheets.

In the middle of the night and while I was asleep, my head jerked around and hit the bed pretty hard.  (Luckily the bed is soft.)  I opened my eyes to see Ryan using my pillow to get comfortable.  I'm not exactly sure of the words I said at the time, but it was something like, "Dude!  What was THAT for??!?!?!!?"  I am so articulate in the middle of the night.

Ryan sheepishly gave back my pillow.  He said that his pillow had slipped away while he was asleep and his hand had just grabbed the first pillow it felt with his eyes still closed.

I was not impressed by this information, and turned away from Ryan to get comfortable.  Ryan said the next day that he decided it was best to not cuddle up to me right then.  He thought he felt angry vibes emanating from my side of the bed.

And he would have been right.

Monday, December 24, 2012

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas
When all through the house
Every creature was stirring
And it's already 9:30 pm!
The kids got to open their new pajamas after dinner.  They were into them in about 2 minutes.  We spent the evening watching White Christmas and put the kids to bed about 9 pm.

The kids are still going strong.

Hopefully Santa will get to drop off presents sometime before dawn.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Clothes

Ah, I love this time of year.  Ryan wears his Christmas sweater on the last day of school for 2012.
 (The twins and I went to the high school for lunch.  We ate in the cafeteria with all the high school students, and got to watch all the kids admire the sweater.)

And today was the Sunday before Christmas, so it was the official Wear Your Christmas Dress day.  I had to practically threaten the kids into smiling.  ("Come on guys.  I'm going to make you stand there until you put a decent smile on your face!")

Ryan wore the sweater again.  But he wore it under his suit jacket and would surreptitiously show individuals of his choosing the infamous sweater.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

the Nativity

We spent the evening with our friends for Christmas party.  We went caroling at an assisted living center, then went to James and Tiffany's for tamales, beans and rice.  (It was good!)  

Then we got the kids ready to act out the First Christmas story.
 Ryan, Annie, Elizabeth and Noah
 L-R with parts: Elijah (Shepherd), Maddie (Shepherd), Keziah (Wise Woman), Noah (Wise Man), Patrick (Wise Man), Kennedy (Mary), Jaxon (Joseph), Savannah (Angel), Emma, Annie and Elizabeth (all Angels)  We thought it would be best to get a cast picture before the play, and before the costumes got messed up.  Maddie looked kind of "granola" for an ancient shepherd from Bethlehem.  Ah well, you do what you can with the props you have available.
 I have some cute "angels."
Afterwards, we had a White Elephant exchange.  We explained ahead of time to the kids, and they did really well when their gifts were stolen.  We came home with some "fuzzoodles," the biggest bar of soap ever, Cracker Jacks, a chocolate orange, and other exciting things.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Letter To Santa

In our town, all the 2nd grade children attending public school write a letter to Santa, and it gets published in a special section of the newspaper.  Here was Elizabeth's letter.
"Dear Santa,
School is fun scool is my favorite.  I learn stuff.  I have been good this year.  I want for a christmas 3 pencils and a zoozoo pet and a toy hamster.
Your friend, Elizabeth"

(I am fairly sure the Zhu Zhu Pet and toy hamster are one and the same.  At least that's Santa's view on things.)

After reading through a bazillion letters asking for iPods, Nintendo DS, Wii, Playstation, and many other high ticket items, I thought Elizabeth's letter was sweet.  I actually had one of Elizabeth's friend's mom compliment me on her letter.  She was glad her daughter had a friend like Elizabeth.  (Awww.)

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Annie and Maddie had a play date with their friend Jane today after lunch.  I may have clapped my hands for joy at the thought of going to do errands alone.  While at the infamous Walmart, I remembered how annoyed  I've been with my reflection in the mirror of grown out highlights.  So, I swung through the hair dye aisle and tried to find a color similar to my own.  I didn't find any light browns in the semi-permanent, but I found a medium brown that I thought might work.  

Fast forward- I rinsed the dye from my hair and looked at the mirror.  Whoa.  

That. Is. Red.  
I looked at the clock.  Annie and Maddie had no specified time that they were due home, but it could be anytime.  I needed to wash my hair.  Several times.  So I called Ryan and asked him when he'd be home.  He estimated that he would leave "soon."  I said I really needed him.  His interest was piqued and he got home sooner than I expected.

Ryan told me it wasn't as bad as I thought it was.

Ha.  If Gilbert Blythe was around, he would have pulled my braid and called me, "Carrots."  It was every bit as bright as I thought it was.

I washed my hair three times.  It's marginally better.  I'm hoping by church on Sunday, I won't be mistaken for Anne Shirley anymore.

Ryan keeps saying- It's not that bad.  It's a good color on you. etc.  The kids, on the other hand, tell me I look like [a lady with unnaturally red hair] and, "Your hair looks funny."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Emma's Christmas Concert

Last night we got to enjoy Emma's Christmas concert, put on by the 4th and 5th graders at the elementary school.  Emma was supposed to arrived a half hour early, so I took her and then scouted out some seats for the rest of the family.  They arrived with about 3 minutes to spare, while I was getting looks for taking so many seats.  By the time Ryan and the girls arrived, there was standing room only and I was worried I was going to have to arm wrestle for the 4 chairs covered with coats.

Emma had a speaking part, and has been attending rehearsals during lunch recess once or twice a week for the last month.  Emma was "Dog #9."  She did very well, enunciating unlike the 5th grader Santa.
 At the end, I wanted to get some pictures of Emma and her friends Kendra and Kaylie.
 They are some goofy girls....

Below is the Dog Song, taped by Ryan on our camera.  I'll warn you, Miss Emma is a ham.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Cookies

We went a little crazy baking.  Sunday after church we made 3 batches of Christmas treats.  Monday the twins  and I made more cookies while Emma, Elizabeth and Daddy were away.
 These were supposed to be wanna-be turtles.  Sadly, I was unable to find regular sized Rolos, so we tried caramel filled Hershey kisses.  I'm pretty sure Rolos would have been better.  The caramel in the kisses was very soft, and it oozed everywhere.  They were tasty though.  We have enough pecans to try again.

Once all the cookies and treats were made, I made up 16 plates of cookies.  Yes- SIXTEEN.  For Family Home Evening we took the cookie plates and some Christmas cards to people we know.  It took us a little over 2 hours.  Since we were in the car so long, we made sure to enjoy the Christmas lights too.  Plenty of "Oooh" and "Aaaah"s came from the back seats.  Grandpa would be so proud.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Twins' Version of Clean

Today Annie and Maddie wanted to play with play dough.  They had been coloring and cutting paper, so I told them they needed to clean off the table first.  A minute or two later, they said they were done.  I told them to go ahead and get out the play doh.  When I came to see how they were doing, I noticed where the paper had been moved to:  
Off the table it was.

It was now on the chairs and floor.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Choo Choo

Yesterday at preschool, Annie and Maddie got to play with a toy train.  When I came to pick them up, Annie refused to leave without it.  Luckily we have nice friends who are good at sharing, so we brought the box of trains and train tracks home.  It's about all we played with for the rest of the day, and all day today.  The tracks have been assembled, reassembled and changed again.
Hopefully we'll be able to take it back tomorrow without too much fuss.

You Might Be A Mother If....

You might be a mother if....

...your idea of alone time includes showering with the bathroom door locked. walk into your bathroom to see your daughter using your wash-your-face-only washcloth to clean her bum. can't remember the last time you got a nap. sneak around, trying to quickly assemble some ingredients into a batch of cookies/dinner/etc. quietly so as to not attract all the miniature sous chefs.'ve lost it over something like- it's taken your child 5 minutes to zip and button a coat, and you are pretty sure that could be done in the car while you are driving to whatever-it-is you are already late for. randomly shout things like, "Wash your hands!" or, "Stop pestering your sister!" or, "No more scissors until you pick up that mess you've already made!"'ve left the house with stickers on your bum, and a crown on your head you didn't remember was still there. realize if you pick up all those toys on the floor tonight, they will end up back right back where they are in 12 hours.  So you kick them over to the side of the room.'ve washed enough laundry to clothe the entire school district (staff and all) in the last month.  (Stupid stomach flu.)

...the words, "Do I have to eat that?" after you've spent the last hour cooking, makes you wish it was ok to feed your children Kraft macaroni and cheese every night. can quote Disney and Barbie movies from memory.  And explain in great detail all about Tinkerbell's fairy friends to someone without female grandchildren, who didn't recognize your daughter's Rosetta Halloween costume.  And explain to an unmarried sister-in-law the difference between Barbie Mermaidia and A Mermaid's Tale.  And afterwards realize how absolutely lame you sounded.'ve covered the spilled cereal mess on your couch with a blanket when someone dropped by.  (Hey, the baby twins were sleeping and there was NO WAY I was getting the vacuum out until they woke up.) can read certain favorite children's books without looking at the pages.

...your children have exclaimed over your guests "bad words" consisting of: stupid, dumb, shut up, and fart.'ve lost your pillow, only to discover a little someone with a budding sense of humor has hidden it under your bed.  Or your book.  Or your shoes. can correctly assess what might have been forgotten in the bedroom cleaning without actually going into the bedroom.

...your house has nothing breakable out anymore. find yourself not owning a purse for several years, but instead haul the hospital-issued diaper bag everywhere. are beautiful, talented, awesome at your job, and still not paid enough. (Ryan's submission) are surrounded by tiny people who wipe snot on your clothes, pull out your hair (aka "brush"), whine sporadically, and you can still love them and laugh at your crazy life.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Christening of the Kitchen

It seems to be a tradition in our household for Ryan to christen the kitchen.  Over the years our kitchens has been sprayed by all kinds of things.  Baking soda and vinegar, enchilada sauce, and hot fudge sauce have been amongst the most memorable.  Now hot chocolate has christened our new home's kitchen.

Annie was less than amused.  
(I may or may not have said something like, "Don't wipe your face before I get the camera!")

Ryan was trying to melt mint chocolate chips into the hot chocolate in the blender.  I guess once the liquid hits the boiling point, it sprays out of the blender, lid or no.  We learn something new every day
 After we thought we'd cleaned up the mess, we found spray on the other side of the kitchen.  Note, the arrow is several feet from where Ryan was standing- on the other side of the rug.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Church Christmas Party

Last night was our church Christmas party.  The high priests were in charge (they delegated heavily, I believe).  There was food, Christmas music, stories (see picture below), and of course a visit from Santa.
We had to sing several rounds of "Here Comes Santa Claus" good and loud before Santa came in.  Although this year's Santa was a bit more Father Christmas than Santa.
The funny thing was, when put on the spot, I had two children who claimed all they wanted for Christmas was bouncy balls.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Vomit and Poo and No Sleep, Oh My!

There is nothing quite the the quiet shuffling of little feet into your bedroom to wake you up.  Unless it's a little voice screaming, "Mom!  Dad!"  That is pretty effective at waking me up as well.  The shuffling of feet was Annie in the wee hours of Tuesday morning and the yelling was Maddie well before the sun coming up today.  We rolled out a make-shift bed on the floor of our bedroom (next to the bathroom) so we could help the kids.  Annie and Maddie both were sick last night.  And were still at it today, from both ends.  Let me tell you, it's tricky to get the timing right between bouts in the bathroom to take Emma and Elizabeth to school.

I had to take a step back and laugh a little at my life this afternoon.  I had brought all the remaining clean underwear to the downstairs bathroom (as we've been going through many a pair today).  So between the panties and the Lysol wipes- this is my day in a nutshell.
I think we've turned a corner finally, and might be starting to get better.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Lighted Implement Parade

Yesterday night was our local Lighted Implement Parade.  Ryan went down early, and we joined him at about 6 pm.  The parade officially started at 6:30, and we were almost at the very end, so it was about 7 pm before we started moving.  But before the parade started, we took a tour of the parade floats.

Ryan's FFA float.
 The kids in front of the truck (which pulls the float).
The kids receiving the 5th candy cane of the day....

 Santa driving a... tractor?
If only this hearse was decked out in white lights.  They should totally get a smoke machine and have speakers with a mysterious voice saying, "Scrooooooooge."  hehehe
We all piled into the truck and got ready to go.  And eat.  It was a good thing I packed snacks.  We had a long wait.

Our view of the parade.  The weather was really nice, and I think it more people came to watch because of it.