Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Just in the nick of time...

Well...we started this gingerbread house about a week and a half ago, and amidst Christmas and toy-playing, we hadn't gotten back to it yet. So, we decided we needed to finish it THIS YEAR (2008), so tonight was the night to do it! The three older kids each got to decorate one side and one gingerbread person, and I helped with the frosting. The kids were wondering when they could eat it, and I was wondering if it might be just a tad bit stale...
HAPPY NEW YEAR'S EVE!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Trains with Grandma and Grandpa Orton

We went to the local arboretum today with my parents and saw an amazing holiday train display. Then we were off for a walk together and dinner at our favorite hamburger place, where Uncle Bill joined us! What a great time--Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!

More pics from our Cousin Christmas

Pat and Mary

Tom and Diana

Callie, the photographer

Will, the guitarist

Evan, the snuggler

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Cousin Christmas

Our cousins, Pat and Mary Kennedy, had us over to their beautiful house for our annual Christmas party last night. My mom and dad, our cousins, Tom and Diana, my sisters and brother-in-laws, and their kids all joined in a wonderful night full of yummy food (love those Goody Potatoes, Mary!), good company, beautiful music (thanks for the guitar accompaniment, Patrick!), and special memories made. Love you all!

Some COUSIN CUDDLING, by Annie, Caroline and Callie

Of course, besides the cuddling, there was a little bit of COUSIN CAVORTING going on (by Henry, Will, Callie and Evie)...

And, of course, Evan had to join in (with Seth, Callie and Will)...

And from the youngest cousin (Robbie), a little COUSIN CRAWLING...
(Photographer: Callie Goetz)

And to top it all off, we had a bit of COUSIN CAROLING...

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Here they are in action, with the two crazy dancing elves (aka my brother-in-law, Jim and my cousin, Tom)...just click the arrow to play...

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...and here's Annie, Will and Caroline in a rousing rendition of "We wish you a merry Christmas" for the grand finale!

Oh, and there was a little COUSIN (AND AUNT) CRYING going on too...my cousin, Mary, gave my mom a "Betsy Wetsy" doll. When she was a child, my mom had lost one just like her. Mary bid on several Betsy Wetsies on Ebay, and was able to get this one for my mom. Of course, this very thoughtful gift set off a fountain of tears!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

After Christmas Observations

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There are several things that I find amusing about this clip:
1. Yes, my children are in their pajamas with fine cases of bed head. And I took this picture after lunch. Obviously we had a lot of toy-playing to do after Christmas and could not take the time.
2. Caroline's pajama combination was her own fashion styling...I can not take credit.
3. Caroline can do an excellent job of Wii boxing even when not looking.
4. Caroline and Seth are both among the better Wii boxers in the household. (And for those of you that were with us on Christmas Day, I am still bowling champion in this house, despite my husband's best efforts to steal my title. Wait, he says that those were not his best efforts. Hmmm...riiiight, Dave.)

Wii time for Daddy and Evan

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Here's Daddy and Evan playing Wii together...Evan likes to hold the wiimote and copy exactly what Dave does...Just click on the arrow to play the clip.

Girl's Night + Bill


I got a call from my sister, Lisa, this morning, and she asked if we could have a little girls' night gathering with my mom. I wish that my sister, Karen, could have come, but we couldn't reach her. Next time! It was such fun...we spent a few hours over some wine and delicious appetizers just talking and sharing funny stories. Then we gave my brother, Bill a call on the chance he could join us, and he did! He was incredibly patient with us, as we were grilling him on many topics. We love you, Bill!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas the night before Christmas

Caroline checking to see how Santa gets in...

Santa came!!!!
...while the children were nestled all snug in their beds, with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Here's Evan...signing off for the night

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Unfortunately, most of today was just a lot of housework...shopping for the food I'm making for Christmas Eve and Day, kitchen cleanup, and conquering a pile of laundry the likes of which I haven't seen in this house yet. (This is what happens when you have various Christmas festivities to attend, 4 kids home from school, weather that is not very conducive to outside play, and therefore a need to keep said kids busy with projects and inside fun. Laundry just doesn't seem to get done.) I almost took a picture of the towering pile to document its awesomeness, and would have shared it with you, had Evan not been as cute as he was when he was going to bed tonight...You'll have to thank him for sparing you. Just click on the arrow to play the clip.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Christmas Duet and a Dual Meaning

We went to my brother-in-law's (Jim) family Christmas party last night. Fun time had by all...Caroline especially enjoyed hanging out with Grandma Orton last night. She was definitely her Grandma's shadow. Here they are snuggling and singing a Christmas tune for you...
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We drove there in a car that we just bought from Dave's brother and sister-in-law (Mark and Nacibe, thanks, you two!), and the kids were all excited about our "new to us" car. They were excited about funny little things like, "Oh, look...my seat has a light by it...look, it has a hook so I can hang my toys...and I can sit next to Evan without him grabbing my books (bucket seats)!"

Henry, in particular, noticed that we now have a compass and thermometer in our car. While we were driving, he said, "Mom and Dad, its -4 degrees outside!" It was a terribly cold night, with windchills, I believe, in the -30s. Ugh! Henry then asked this question, "There's a 'NW' right by the temperature. What does that mean, Nasty Weather?" Yup, that AND North West, Henry, hee-hee!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Our kids do love each other...sometimes...

With their occasional (ok, maybe more than occasional) squabbles, quarrels and sometimes even tackles (Evan!), its reassuring to watch the kids love on each other. They can be very sweet. Perfect timing, kids; Santa loves this stuff!
Think Seth could concentrate on his game?

Henry and Caroline informed me that they were going into the homemade pot holder business. Apparently, when weaving you should wear protective eye gear. (Henry had just finished a "Grow Your Own Crystal Kit" which required the goggles.)

Watching Tom and Jerry together, snuggled on the couch

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Matching Cousins

Today we had Christmas with Dave's side of the family, and it was a wonderful time. One of the gifts that Grandma Nosek gave to the kids was sweaters that she hand-knitted. They turned out beautifully, and I think the cousins were pretty happy that they were matching! Caroline was so impressed with this whole idea that she wanted to sleep in her sweater tonight. Dave convinced her to put on her pajamas, but she only agreed after Dave let her lay the sweater out on the end of the bed...so she could look at it if she woke up at night!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Breakfast with Santa

I'm doing a lot of reflecting this year...its fun to see how the kids have grown and changed over the past 12 months. Last year when we took the kids to visit Santa, we just had the older kids visit first, and then it was Evan's turn. He was not as happy about meeting up with Santa as the older kids were. (He seems to be thinking, "If I don't look at him, maybe he'll go away..." But I do believe he lasted more than a quarter of a second, which is all he lasted this year. :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gingerbread Houses!

Last year we made graham cracker gingerbread houses at the library. It was such a good time! This year, however, we missed the sign up.:( My friend Shannon and I were going to get the kids together to make gingerbread houses, but then I got sick. We are not going to let these roadblocks get in our way of good Christmas fun. Hopefully we'll unveil the gingerbread house we are making soon, but until then, here's some cute pics from last year...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Crazy Santa steals the show!

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This little video clip was supposed to be all about Caroline explaining the Christmas present that she made for her daddy and me at her preschool. (She apparently got a little stage fright, and didn't say anything for the camera!) HOWEVER, Evan had other plans. His latest favorite game is pretending he's a bear, or in this case, a crazy Santa, and attacking/tackling his sister. So as she is sweetly showing off her project, Evan jumps from the couch, shouting, "Santa! Santa!" She was not to be deterred from showcasing her artwork, so he proceeds to take her down. Good thing his sister had a sense of humor about it. And good thing no one got hurt with that wooden dowel!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Card-palooza and Country Elves

Dave just informed me that this is the busiest day of the entire year at the post office. I just made it by a few minutes! The cards are stuffed, addressed, stamped...now I just have to lick them...and its only 11:57... On second thought, remembering George Costanza's girlfriend's fate, I'll use the wet washcloth technique.

And now, because you'd probably rather see cute kids rather than just Christmas cards...
here's the latest video from the Nosek Elves...
Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Sunday, December 14, 2008

An Old-Fashioned Hi-Tech Slideshow

My brother-in-law, Mark, took all of Great-Grandma Nosek's slides and had them copied onto a DVD. These slides encompassed all of her married life, dating from 1944 on. We all gathered at our cousins' house (Pat and Carrie) today to watch the slides projected on a screen, just as they used to do. However, now the memories are better preserved. Hats off to Mark for such a thoughtful gift to Grandma, his technical know-how, and his dedication to preserving family history!

In the picture, you can see Great-Grandma in the chair, and her great-grandchildren lounging on pillows on the floor, watching pictures of their grandparents and parents when they were kids.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sledding, Birds and a Light Show

Those would be the highlights of today. Somehow, despite really sloppy weather conditions, our kids and some of their friends convinced Dave to take them sledding at the local sledding hill. They came back a couple of hours later very wet, craving hot chocolate and with some excellent sledding stories to tell.We then cleaned up, got dressed in Christmas-ey outfits, and headed to a neighbor's house for a Christmas party. These neighbors own three cockatiels, and much to the kids' delight, they were able to hold these birds. There were lots of giggles, much excited chatter from Evan, and even a few pirate poses. Wish I would have brought my camera!

We topped it off with a drive over to a local nursery that does an amazing Christmas light show. They actually broadcast music on the radio that coordinates with what the lights are doing. We were all very impressed, and probably stayed there at least an hour watching it, and would have even wanted to stay longer if it weren't getting so late! Here's a short clip...it was AMAZING!!!
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On the very short drive home, the three older kids all fell asleep, so tired from their busy day. Evan, although he looks relatively bright eyed in this picture, joined his siblings in their slumber moments later :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

It is nice to be loved

Tonight I went to my friend Shannon's house for a girls' night out, and that meant that Dave was home with all four kids, responsible for getting them all to bed. Whenever I come home after being out, I usually ask right away how things went. This time, Dave answered, "Well, Caroline did well." I asked him to expand, and he told me that Evan was fussy, and asked for me for a while, but he did settle eventually.

That left our oldest sons. Wondering what they did, I asked Dave if they were naughty. He said, "Not really. They were just upset that they didn't get to say goodnight to you." I immediately started feeling guilty...I didn't say goodnight to them before I left because Evan was so on edge. I didn't want him to be upset, and thereby giving Dave a hard time. They asked when I would be home. Dave said that I would be at least a couple of hours and that they would not be able to stay up that long. They said they wanted to wait up. Thinking that they would fall asleep soon enough, Dave left the room only to hear what he thought was fighting coming from their room a few minutes later. When he went to check on them, it turns out that they had been exercising... Seth informed Dave that he had already done 100 jumping jacks, and Henry was doing push-ups in his bed! They reasoned that exercising would help them stay awake until I got home. Dave put the kibosh (?) on their late-night calisthenics, and promised them I would come in to kiss them when they were sleeping.

I love my boys (and, of course, my girl). :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Caroline the Red-Nosed Preschooler

Yesterday, which would be the day after I posted the picture of our family with the reindeer, Caroline came home from school looking like one! Dave picked her up from preschool, and apparently Caroline's teacher had the kids crawl out of the classroom looking like this, pretending they were reindeer. Too cute!

HOWEVER, Caroline does have a rather long-lasting red nose that no amount of soaking is taking completely off. I'm sure it'll be gone in a couple of days, but for the time being, if she is going to have a red nose, 'tis the season to do it. We watched one of Caroline's friends from preschool today, and their noses matched, so I guess she's not alone. At least none of her reindeer friends will make fun of her!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

We've been Elfed...

Send your own ElfYourself eCards
To play the clip, click on the arrow. To replay it, move your cursor to the bottom of the clip screen. A "play" arrow will pop up so that you can click on that to watch again (and again and again, as we have in this house, per the request of our elves).

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KAREN ANNIE!!!