Thursday, December 29, 2011

Some Favorite Gifts

The kids have all been loving the gifts that they got this Christmas. For the most part, over the past few days, they have had a lot of time to play. I think they have been grateful for that. :)

One of Henry's favorite gifts was his ITouch. He has downloaded lots of free games already, as well as set up an email account and free texting. We have removed his internet icon so that he can't browse without adult supervision, but Dave is looking in to setting up access to favorite safe sites. I am not sure how that will work yet, but I am grateful that Dave is figuring it out, and that he is such a conscientious dad. Henry has loved being able to text. It's actually been pretty fun, and we've had some good laughs from it. So far he only texts me, but we'll be asking some friends and his cousins for their texting numbers so that he can share his 12 year old humor with them too. :)

Seth has LOVED his new Kirby DS game, as well as his Milennium Falcon Lego set. Seth and his dad have been working at putting it together, slowly but surely. And both Seth and Henry have loved their Beyblades game. Who am I kidding? We've ALL loved that.

Evan has been all about his Star Wars toys and pizza playdough set. Mmmmm...yummy!Caroline has been all about her BIG stuffed animals. She sleeps with them both, which makes it a very tight fit in her bed. :) She also has loved her Sleeping Queen card game. Caroline and I played that game tonight, and she's scheduled me for a game with her tomorrow morning ASAP. A third favorite has been her Magic Science kit because she's been able to make a wizard hat, magic wand, and disappearing ink. Here she is explaining what she did...

Untitled from Sarah Nosek on Vimeo.

Untitled from Sarah Nosek on Vimeo.

We had a big fun day with my sister and brother-in-law's house, but as I am falling asleep at the computer, maybe tomorrow I'll update about that. Night, all!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Guest Photographer

My brother-in-law, Mark, takes great pictures, and is always so good about sharing them. The following are a few that he sent to me tonight...

Opening presents at the lakehouse
Cousins hiking by the channel...Jamie, Charlie, Simon, Anabel, Henry and Iris
Dave's brother Mike, his wife Vika, and their son Dennis
Crowned cousins
The firetender, AKA my lovely niece, Anabel
Cousins by the Channel

Some of the football players

More football players! (I love Jake's football hat!)
The firestarters, Anabel and Henry

Christmas Day with the Ortons!

We stayed at the lakehouse pretty late, so that by the time we got home, it was time set cookies and milk out for Santa, and then tuck the kids in to bed.

And then...Santa came!
He polished off his cookies and milk, and then wrote a letter to the kids.
Caroline made a small stocking for the big stuffed dog she hoped she'd get!
Here's the tree and presents before the kids came downstairs in the morning.
Just before the kids woke up and came downstairs, my parents came. So they were able to see the kids' excitement Christmas morning!
Henry and Seth opened stockings with Grandpa.
Moxie got a stocking full of candy cane bones, a very strangely shaped ball and a Christmas lights tug-of-war toy.
Here's Caroline with her stocking.
I snapped this picture just before the kids opened their presents...grandparents and grandchildren!
Santa did not dissappoint! Caroline got the big stuffed dog she wanted!
Seth got a lego Millenium Falcon.
Henry got an IPod Touch and case.
Evan was so excited about all of the Star Wars stuff he got.
Caroline also got a big make up case, and has been having lots of fun doing make overs on herself and her mom!
Another big hit was Caroline's Password Journal...
and Evan's Operation game that he "always wanted"!
Oh, and how could Santa resist? A Moxie girl for a Moxie girl!
The kids and I gave their daddy some new football cleats, a Wii remote charger, and a special photo album book that their Uncle Mark designed on Shutterfly.
Dave and the kids gave me a new set of luggage, a super warm Sherpa blanket, and a heated car seat. They all know that Mom is ALWAYS cold!
Here's our family posing in all of our Christmas chaos!
Underneath the Christmas tree, Henry played games on his new ITouch and Evan did the same on my (or as he sometimes thinks, HIS) IPhone.
One of MANY Beyblades tournaments on Christmas Day between my brother, Bill, Seth, Caroline and Dave
Moxie got a special present under the tree too...a huge bone that is almost as long as she is!
My sister, Karen, her husband, Jim, and their son Robbie came to celebrate with us too. They always give the kids special ornaments to commemorate something from the year, a little scroll describing the reason for the ornament and a little faith lesson. This year Evan got a baseball ornament, Caroline got a funny fish to remind her of her trip to the aquarium, Seth got a spaceship because he is the expert on all things space in our family, and Henry got a rat in honor of his being on the River Rat swim team!
Uncle Jim also picks out special books for the kids, and then writes inscriptions to the kids on the inside cover. Caroline was thrilled to get her third Knuffle Bunny book. That series has always been a favorie for her!
Then our nephew, Robbie opened his gifts...legos from Grandma and Grandpa, and a Diego game from us. Silly Moxie...don't open Robbie's gift!
Then we sat down to our Christmas dinner. Thanks for the yummy food, Mom and Dad!
Another Beyblades tournament...
and yet another! The competition was fierce between my brother and me!
Although there was some question as to who won, we still love each other! ;)
We had a brief scare when Dave told us that Moxie had run away. My parents stayed with the kids while Dave searched the neighborhood on foot, and I searched in my car. I drove down the streets she usually goes to when she gets away. With my windows open, I kept yelling loudly "Moxie, do you want to go bye-bye in the car?" I'm sure all of my neighbors appreciated that!

I spent about 5-10 minutes driving around, and it seemed like forever. I was near tears thinking of how awful it would be to lose our beloved pet on Christmas Day, and the immense pain that would cause our family. You can imagine my HUGE relief when I saw a flash of white running across a yard. The tears came when Moxie turned to see my car, and I could tell she recognized it. She came dashing across an intersection towards my car, excited to "go bye-bye". (It's crazy how we talk to her, I know.) I pulled into the intersection to ensure that she wouldn't get hit by another car, and then she leaped through the car door and into my arms. THANK GOD!

We ended the night by snuggling up to watch a movie together. The kids all fell asleep on their bean bags...
dreaming happy Christmas dreams...
and, in Caroline's case, snuggling with her favorite Christmas toys!
who even had breakfast with her the following morning!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Christmas Eve's Eve and Christmas Eve with the Noseks!

This Christmas we were blessed to be able to celebrate with all of Dave's brothers and families. This is the whole family!

Dave's brother, Mark, set up a little studio in his parents living room so that we could take all kinds of group shots. Here's our family with Dave's parents. I thought it was so nice that Jean suggested we have Moxie in the picture because, as she said, Moxie is part of the family!I think that this picture of our family turned out well too!
Besides Christmas, we had another big reason to celebrate! My sister-in-law, Vika (Mike's wife), passed her test and became an American citizen. Congratulations, Vika!!!

This is the kids' table for our Christmas Eve's Eve :) dinner.

And this is the adults' table!
This is Dave, his younger brother, Andrew, and Andrew's son, Truman.

Opening presents!

Evan was in heaven when he got his Angry Birds game from his aunt and uncle.
At my sister-in-law's suggestion, Dave and I gave our niece, Nadia, the DS game, Kirby Mass Attack. That same game happened to be what our Seth wanted. Nadia opened up her game right before Seth did, so when it was his turn, he was one happy and relieved boy that he got the game too!
We stayed at my in-law's house kind of late because we wanted to watch the 20/20 episode that we were supposed to be on. Sadly, we weren't. :( Our picture must have wound up on the editing room floor. Oh well.

Then we traveled to the lakehouse and spent the night there. The next morning Dave and I made chili for the main meal of the day, which had to feed 19 adults and 12 kids. (We're a big group!) Dave cousin, Jude, Dave's brother, Mark, and their kids got to the lake early, so all together we were able to bring in the Christmas tree, deck the halls, and light a fire.

By the time Great Grandma and Aunt Debby arrived, the decorations, warm fire and yummy smells made the atmosphere at the lakehouse very Christmas-y. Great-Grandma walked into the family room, took it all in, and said, "I just love you all!" That moment brought tears to my eyes, and I will always remember it.

In the afternoon Dave, his brothers and cousins took their kids out for a hike and a football game. There was no snow on the ground this Christmas, but that made for excellent conditions for football!
Aunt Debby brought "present poppers" for the kids. The kids pulled strings on little presents, and they popped open to show little crowns and gifts inside. Here's our group of kiddos, minus little Truman who was napping.
Here's some second cousins gathered around the fire.
We then gathered in the family room to open presents...
as well as to listen to a little Christmas flute performance by Nadia.
Amazingly enough, in the midst of all of the Christmas revelry, cousin Jude fell sound asleep!

Great Grandma's grandchildren and great-grandchildren gave her a photo collage, including picture from all of her years at the lake!
I think she liked it! :)

After opening presents, Henry and some cousins played with his new set of Beyblades. We played A LOT of that game the past few days!
At the lakehouse, Moxie is only allowed in the kitchen. She does push her boundaries a little bit, though, by inching in on the family room carpet.
Grandpa Nosek and sweet baby Truman...I love this picture!
We gave Aunt Debby a half a case of wine and some yummy cocktail goodies. She decided to pose passed out by her gifts! I love her sense of humor!
Great Grandma and Aunt Debby...I love these two women!
It was a very merry Christmas Eve!