Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blog in a Book

I've known it was possible for a while--my friend, Kathy, told me about it--but I finally did it. And I am SO EXCITED!

There are services out there that will take your blog's entries and capture them in a hard cover book for you. My blog, which I've been posting on for a little over a year now, couldn't fit in just one. :) So my two books will be arriving in mid-January!

I love this concept! I scrapbook for my family on the computer through my blog. Through my posts, the pictures I choose and edit are labeled, dated and explained. I write the stories that go with them. My friends and family can see it in real time. Then, a couple of times a year, I just order one of these books. Viola! DONE! Organizing, scrapbooking, sharing...this really pleases my multi-tasking mom mind. Can you tell?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Gaining Ground

When I was a child, I always had a case of the blues once Christmas Day was past. Sure, there were lots of toys to play with, and a school break to be enjoyed, but there was always a slight let down after such a building of excitement and anticipation.

I still feel the same feeling of melancholy as an adult. (I'm sure I'm not alone in this.:) )However, weeks of preparation, countless late LATE nights, emotions running high, keeping up with the kids and housework adds sheer exhaustion to this feeling of let down. And then on top of that, I always feel so overwhelmed with the influx of toys, not knowing where to go with things.

Thank God there is a peacefulness to this time after Christmas too. Things do slow down, and even if the house is a crazy wreck with laundry and toys everywhere, there's more time to address it...after a nap, after putting together a few toys, after playing with the kids.

So that's what we've been doing the past few days. Resting and playing. Playing and resting. And today, I finally gathered enough energy to do laundry, to clean, and to find places for the new toys.

Having done that, I feel so much better tonight. We're catching up and putting our house back in order, and that just feels good. I now have hope that things will return to "normal" soon.

But now that we've done some work, we're exhausted. I'm curling up with the kids and watching a movie. :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Day After and the Attack of Broccoli Boy

The day after Christmas...we always spend it in our pajamas, putting together and playing with all of the new toys.

Caroline was so excited to use her new paper roll, paint and drop cloth from Santa.
She even let her brother try his hand at it.
Paparazzi followed us everywhere today, with the kids trying out new cameras.
Seth snuggled up in my new Snuggie.
Dave and Caroline put together her new Barbie dollhouse, complete with winding staircase and elevator.
We ate dinner, still in our pajamas. Scalloped potatoes (with the ham from Christmas dinner), applesauce and broccoli were on the menu tonight. Evan mainly passed on everything BUT the broccoli. When I was a little girl, my favorite food was broccoli (oddly enough), and Evan definitely takes after his mother. He ate his helping, then came over to my lap asking for mine.
He then moved on to Henry's plate...(WARNING: The kid is CRAZY in this clip!)

and then to Caroline's. We couldn't stop him. It was honestly too funny that a 3 year old would like broccoli THAT MUCH. The kids have now dubbed him...
"BROCCOLI BOY." Hey, he earned that one.

Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Here comes trouble...

Here's Evan and his buddy, Ryan, sledding down the hill behind our house. They did it the way they like it...ALL BY THEMSELVES!

Winter Wonderland!

It's a beautiful, snowy winter day. The kids and I agreed that it looks just like a snowglobe out there, with big, soft snowflake falling gently on everything. The kids (sans Caroline, who is doing much better today--NO FEVER, WAHOO!) have been outside enjoying this winter wonderland all morning!

Dave and the kids on the pond

Seth taking Evan and his friend, Ryan, down the hill
Climbing back up the hill
Evan and his good buddy, Ryan
Henry and Seth shouting, "Merry Christmas!"

Monday, December 21, 2009

It wouldn't be Christmas...

...without one of these, would it?! (One of these being a sick child.)
Poor Caroline came down with a headache last night, and by this morning she was running a fever. With the aid of Tylenol this morning, she was able to play a bit (far from her brothers as we have her quarantined) and run one car errand. However, when we got home, she didn't even take off her coat. She just curled up on the couch and went to sleep. Poor thing.

Please say some prayers that we can confine what she has only to her, that she feels better soon, and that we can be well and able to visit family for Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Treasures from Christmas 2009

Caroline and Sydney

Caroline met Sydney when they were just 3 years old. They were in the same preschool class, and became fast friends. Although they go to different schools now, the girls have remained close, and we are thankful for that.

Sydney invited Caroline over for a sleepover a couple of nights ago. It was Sydney's first "friend sleepover," and as you might imagine, the girls packed a lot into their time together. Apparently, they also stayed up very late (11:00!) giggling and talking about Christmas. That didn't stop them from waking up at the crack of dawn. :)

Although we've hosted a number of sleepovers for the boys, we haven't for Caroline yet. However, Caroline has big plans. She wants all of her girlfriends to have a turn to sleepover, starting with Sydney. I think we've started something here...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Special Message from the BIG GUY!!!

WOW! Our kiddos received special video messages from Santa this morning! How cool is that! Caroline agreed to share her special message with you...
Just click here...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Boy's Night

Caroline went to a sleepover tonight at her friend Sydney's house, and from what I hear, they have a busy night planned: a dinner at Noodles and Co., making cookies and shrinky dinks :), topped off with a trip to see some Christmas lights.

When she left, I looked around and noticed that I was the only girl left in the house. The boys took over...making tents, crashing cars, and playing some kind of wrestling/war game.

I missed Caroline, but it was fun to hang out with the boys. CRAZY, but fun! ;)

Reindeer, Reindeer, Reindeer

There is no doubt. Caroline's teacher is AMAZING. I spent the afternoon in Caroline's class for her Christmas party observing a master in action. With the excitement of Christmas break looming, she kept 26 five and six year olds busy and happy with the sweetest reindeer activities, including reindeer bingo and puzzles, reindeer feed bags,

and reindeer sandwiches the kids made themselves.What a fun afternoon spent with my little girl!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's official...and the ATTACK OF THE CRAZY SANTA

It's official...I've filled up the hard drive on Dave's computer. I guess that's what happens when you download at least 42 pictures a day. (I may be exaggerating that slightly.)

So tonight, while I remedy this problem, I thought I'd share with you something that I downloaded a year ago today. The kids have dubbed it "Attack of the Crazy Santa." (Wow, are we lucky nobody lost an eye!)

Funny...these two were doing some Santa-hat-wearing-wrestling today too. Must be something that you do on December 17th.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What do I miss most?

A couple of days ago, I hit a pothole. Doing so did something to my car...we're without heat, the defroster, automatic locks and doors, and music.

We haven't missed the defroster as we haven't needed it.

We HAVE sorely missed the heat. On the way to swimming class this AM it was about 9 degrees outside. Caroline and Evan were bundled up in all of their winter stuff and blankets. Caroline even felt the need to wrap her feet in scarves.

I very much have taken automatic locks and doors for granted. I will forever be grateful for them whenever I go anywhere with the kids. It's simply easier.

But, MANNNN, have we missed the music this week. The kids and I are addicted to the Christmas music stations. On the way home from swimming lessons this morning, Evan wanted me to sing "Santa Claus is coming to town" about 343 times. (He was really listening to the words, telling me that HE wasn't naughty, and HE didn't cry.) On the plus side, he did learn the song pretty well, as evidenced by this clip...

On the other hand, I've pretty much had my fill of this song, and I am ready for the radio to do the singing for me.


Dave's Radio Debut

My famous husband, Dave, was interviewed today on WGN radio today. Our house is on their main homepage...Click here to see it...

Click on "play" below to hear the actual interview...
Gabcast! WGN interview Ditto House #1 - Dave's WGN radio interview--ditto house

Also, on a business trip to Florida, our neighbor turned on the TV to watch the morning news. What did she see but her house and ours!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Our first snowmen of the season

The kids went over to a friend's house the other day right after school. They were quite busy building snowmen together. My friend, Kathy, just sent these pictures, and I thought they were so dear!

Didn't they do a good job?!

Henry, Alex, Matthew and Seth's snowman

A close up

Ryan and Caroline built a snowman of their own.
Sweet, huh?! :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Trying to keep the Christmas Spirit

WARNING: I sound a little whiny in this post, so read at your own risk!

I've been fighting to keep my Christmas spirit today. The list of things to do is long: cards, final decisions on gifts (trying to make sure Dave's happy with what we're spending), wrapping, parties, baking, outings with the kids, everyday chores. As many of you know, balancing everyday life with fun Christmas activities while doing all of the behind the scenes work brings out the "BAH HUMBUG!" in many people. That was me today.

Our little family outing tonight helped bring back my Christmas cheer a little bit. We went to see a huge house/nursery that is all lit up with lights that are coordinated to music on a radio station. The kids were pretty overtired and squirrelly, but the display amazed all of us. (The audio on this clip makes me laugh a bit...WOW, were they squirrelly. Great combination with the remnants of a headache!)

Tonight, while all of the kids are in bed, I am staying up late to wrap. Hopefully, if I can cross off something else from my list, I'll feel better. Tired, but better. :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

My Celebrity Husband

I am married to someone who's been in People magazine. Ok, so it was just his name and our house in the article, but I'm still impressed. ;) (Click on the picture to read the article that's in the December 21st issue just released today.)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Is this not the sweetest...

...personalization of a snowblock maker that you've ever seen?!
Dave told the kids that on the first day of snow this year he would give them a present. A couple of days ago, when it snowed, the kids reminded him of his promise. With great fanfare, Dave handed out snowblock makers to each of the kids. The kids were so excited, but quickly noticed that they were all purple. To tell whose was whose, they personalized their snowblock maker with permanent marker. The boys simply wrote their initials. Caroline, on the other hand, decided to sign her full name. I LOVE how she wrote Elizabeth!

The kids have loved having our Elf on a Shelf...He's a scout elf for Santa, here at our house to keep an eye on our kiddos. He reports back to Santa each night about their behavior. Every morning he hides in the strangest places, and the kids all try to be the first to find him.

The kids (in birth order) each gave him a name, and so his full name is fabulously unique. Our Elf's name is Buddy (after Will Ferrell's ELF) Kranslin Fred Zart. Love it!

Two last things:
Happy birthday, Karen! I love you, my sister!
Our article in People should be on newstands tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Crazy

The kids in this picture (our's and some friends) have had more than their fair share of playing outside in the snow for the past couple of days. When the kids get home from school, they don't even take their snow clothes off, not even for a snack. They just stay outside.

After coming inside, we warmed them up with hot chocolate, and then pizza.

Guess what their plans are for tomorrow? I almost didn't have the heart to tell them that they have swimming lessons. (Doesn't that sound like a GREAT activity for December?!)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

And so it begins...

Snowpants, boots, coats, hats, mittens, scarves, throwing them in the dryer all the time...
Rosy cheeks, snow forts, snow ball fights, sledding, skating, gargantuan snowmen...

Hot chocolate, marshmallows, whipped cream, chili and hot soups...Happy kids! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Woo Hoo!

I just finished creating and ordering our Christmas cards online tonight! There's nothing like putting things off until the last minute.

It feels like it was just yesterday that I was ordering this Christmas card!

I took Henry to get his allergy booster shot tonight. REALLY, it's such fun to bring all four kids to a doctor's office and wait in the waiting room FOREVER. To add to the fun, a woman from People magazine called to interview me for the article about our neighbor's and our Christmas lights. I still can't get over the craziness of this. They are publishing it on FRIDAY! :) So, there I was, trying to keep 4 kids content (especially the three year old) while trying to sound coherent for the interview. I am praying that they only use quotes from Dave and our neighbor, Chet!

I'm off to bed early tonight...Good night all!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What do you want for Christmas?

Henry wants a camera and an IPOD Shuffle.

Seth wants Legos, Legos, and more Legos.

Caroline is requesting a Fur Real Puppy, a Barbie dollhouse, a PURPLE camera,


Evan requested only one thing from Santa.
He really, really wants BUZZ LIGHTYEAR.

And one last picture from today...Here's our 2009 gingerbread house!


We went on a scout trip to Legoland yesterday. What a fun day!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Santa Success and More News

We went to visit Santa at our town's Christmas Stroll last night. I prepared Evan by telling him that he could sit on Santa's lap to tell him what he wanted for Christmas (Buzz Lightyear, by the way). He seemed OK with it, that is until we got close to our turn. Evan informed me that he was not going to sit on Santa's lap, he was just going to stand by him. Then, a little boy who went just before us started crying just as he was placed on Santa's lap. Evan told me, "That baby is crying. I am not going to cry. I am a BIG BOY." Last year, our youngest spent .000000001 second on Santa's lap. This year Evan sat on the big guy's lap for as long as we wanted. That is PROGRESS!

The 4 Nosek kiddos (hat-heads and all) with Santa--Wow, was it a cold night!
Seth, Evan and Caroline with our library mascot, Watson
Firefighter Evan

This is why we always turn off our Christmas tree lights. Our firefighters did a controlled Christmas tree burn that made quite an impression.

A local bank set up a life-sized Candy Land game. What a fun night!
Finally, if you are following our Christmas lights news story...MSNBC ran it, as well as the Daily Mail over in the UK! Click here, or more specifically here, for a link to their article. picked it up too...How funny to open my email and find this...(Click for a close up.)