Thursday, January 29, 2015

Happy New Year 2015

We were excited to host again the New Year Party for our college friends.  Unfortunately, due to sickness, pregnancy, and weather we did not have as many people as usual.  New Years Eve we decided at the last minute to invite some church friends over to "fill out" the party tables and had a great time (I'll have to find some of the pictures and videos of that night . .. so funny.  Then as more college friends came we enjoyed catching up and renewing friendships.  Little Lady and Andrew especially enjoyed having Emma around.  True to my word, I even got Andrew up so he could watch the ball drop at midnight!  As you can see he was just barely with us.  LOL


The kids had their own "New Year party" they planned and included a dance party    . . . . here they are doing the Marching Band . . . :-)  LOL  so much fun!


 Icing on the cake was Ohio State winning the Semifinal game in the Playoffs!


A little bowling to top it all off!!!



 
I count myself lucky to have such great friends!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

After Christmas Fun

So after all the Christmas events were over and before New Years we had a few days to just relax and spend time as a family.  Tim took the entire time between Christmas and New Years off so we had lots of time together to relax and get ready for New Years.  During that time we invited the oldest cousins over for the day.  Last year we had an overnight and promised the boys we would try that every year after Christmas but they were all fighting off colds, flu . . . so we thought just an all day play day might be better than swapping germs in the same room all night long.  The boys had a great day together.  They used Andrew's little oven to bake their own pizzas for lunch, played the Wii, built with Legos, played a VERY long game of basketball 2 on 2 with Tim . . .

 
Chunky Monkey could not STAND it that he was left inside with the girls . . . he just had to be a part of the action with the boys.  While the boys rode bikes, scooters, and drove remote control cars he insisted on going out too . .. Andrew's little mini me this boy is!!!
 
 
While the boys were having their fun, Little Lady and I had some time to paint her treasure box from Aunt Shannon and Uncle Tim . . . Thanks Aunt Shannon (I guess I didn't forget after all!!!)
 
 
 


The rest of the week was spent building this lego Titanic!!!  ...


 
Putting the finishing touches on Tim's office/guest room 
 
 
And welcoming the newest member to the family.  Bubbles Patrick . . .

Then it was NEW YEARS EVE PARTY!!!!

 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Christmas 2014

 
This Christmas was a unique one for us.  Our foster agency receives lots of donations from people who want to give gifts to foster children so that they have a good Christmas.  It's their way of helping encourage the foster families and also to help financially provide for the kids in their care.  Although we have been doing foster care for three years this is the first time we have benefited from anything like this, and it was so encouraging and humbling to see what the kids were given by donations.  This photo is just part of it.  I don't show you this to brag or make a big deal of WHAT they got but instead to just show that we were beyond blessed this year with gifts for the younger kids.  Because we were given MORE than enough for them to have under the tree, we decided to use the money we WOULD have spent on them to take them to Charleston for some new "experiences" (see last post).  Thanks again to Try Again Homes for in a round about way providing us with the opportunity to truly "spoil" these kids.
 
Christmas Morning at our house ...


 
 Then off to Grandma and Grandpa's house for this mountain of gifts . . . Uncle Zach is in the second picture reading the Christmas story before we open gifts.

 
Even my grandmother who is in a nursing home now was able to come for part of the day!  Andrew with his favorite gift . "lego" titanic!!!!  Then it was a day of fun playing with all the cousins and al their new toys.  The weather was beautiful so the boys were sent outside with their nurf weapons.  The other cousins made their way over for dinner and we had a true houseful of 25 for dinner!!  It was a fantastic day and remarkably stress/drama free!!  :-)  I love (and stole) that last picture with Zach and the three kids in it.  Cherith makes me LOL . . . taken at the Christmas Eve service.
 










The next morning it was off to Cleveland for Christmas with Tim's family.  It is always much quieter there. . . although I'll bet Tim's parents think we provide PLENTY of noise.  :-)  Beautiful weather again allowed for lots of time outside which was an unusual thing for Christmas in Cleveland. Extra special this year we reconnected with Tim's sister and her kids after several years of not being together.  Everyone is nearly grown and so different.  So fun to get this photo of all the "permanent" family members together. (had to kick the girlfriends and our two little ones out for this one).  The kids got a lot of books, toys, and fun stuff here too and spent some time reconnecting with people they had either not seen in a very long time or ever. 
 
I love this picture of Andrew with his great grandmother.  He is showing her how to play minecraft and she is genuinely asking questions and interested.  What an amazing, special woman to care enough about this boy to care about his gaming system.  :-) 

 
It was a whirlwind Christmas but a really great one.  After us being so sick last year at Christmas I think I really enjoyed this year that much more.  Taking the time to really cherish moments, enjoy the busyness, and realize all I have to be grateful for.  I have two amazing extended families, some pretty great people living in my house, and tremendous friends surrounding us all.  Thanks be to God for sending his Son so we can celebrate this time of year!
 
 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Charleston, WV

Tim was headed to Charleston, WV to help coach the girls basketball team in a tournament so we decided that after Andrew got out of school his last day the kids and I would meet him there for a little overnight trip.  We didn't tell the kids about it until the day before so it was a Christmas surprise for all of them.  We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to take this trip (more on that later) and wanted to give Little Lady and Chunky Monkey the Christmas experiences we had given Andrew a couple years ago in Charleston. 

We got a hotel room in an extremely nice hotel across the street from the Town Center Mall.  As soon as we checked in the hotel staff brought the kids milk and cookies in our hotel room (talk about an amazing first impression of what this trip would be like!)  Before the kids and I got there, Tim had them upgrade our room to a huge suite with dining table big enough to seat 8, two TV's, a huge sectional couch, Jack and Jill Bathroom . . . . it was PLENTY big enough for all of us and was such a blessing.  This hotel really does spoil us when we go there . . . free upgrades and perks! 

We got settled and ate our cookies and then took the kids over for all the amazing things I remember from the Town Center Mall and more.  Three story light shows, Build a Bear, Real snow falling from the ceiling during their (Santa Blizzard) . . . it was a lot of fun!  Little Lady kept saying "I LOVE the big city!!!"  :-)  No matter what the future holds for her I am glad we were able to provide this little experience for her.  It was fun for all of us . . . but I was especially glad we got to enjoy it with her . . . even with this little attitude we saw at the pool.  :-)


Three story light show.

 
Build a Bear-- Little Lady's first time.



 
Snowing inside!!!!!  I wish I could show you the adorable picture of the two little ones with their tongues out catching snowflakes . . . this "snow" was likely full of chemicals to make it snow inside . . . but cute none the less to see their little innocence catching snowflakes.  :-)

 
On the way home it was a trip to Chuck E Cheese (we don't have one of these within an hour of our house so this is indeed a treat).






This was a very fun overnight and well worth the time and money we spent to do it.  Memories for all of us from the "big city"  :-)