Friday, December 21, 2012

Trimming the tree

This year we bought a real tree at CostCo again, and it was quite the deal for a beautiful 7-8 ft full tree! We weren't ready to fork out the moo-lah for a nice fake tree quite yet... so this seemed like a great idea.

Never-mind now that it is dead.  I mean, crispy-crunchy don't-touch-it-or-the-floor-will-fill-with-needles dead!  Not sure if it was my fault of not watering it well, our crazy back and forth weather, or just my black thumb rearing its ugly head -- but our tree no longer makes the house smell, and it's not very pretty to look at.  This was one of the last ones CostCo had, and they wouldn't have gotten more - so we had no real choice in the matter (other than maybe buying it somewhere else, but that thought isn't helping matters).  So I NEED to post these pictures to remember that we HAD a beautiful tree!

I hope your tree still smells like pine!  ;o)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Build-A-Bear for Paige

We had a hard time getting a party together for Paige. It is a crazy time of year around her birthday, so I suspect it might be this way many birthdays in the future, as well. But, we explained to her that not many people were able to come if we had a party, and so we planned a special surprise for her. She didn't know what we were doing until we arrived at the store! We chose this because she is truly our stuffed animal kid, and loves to play with them! We considered going to a crazy kid place where they play, and while she would have fun there, Justin pointed out that she keeps to herself mostly at places like that. So we picked something that could be all about her.

She had a great time, and is still over the moon about her choice, "Freckles" the Calico cat. He goes everywhere with us now! These pictures were taken with my iPhone in terrible light, so I apologize for the quality.

Funny thing about these moments, it only really matters that it was captured - not if the pictures are beautiful or not. Use the camera that is with you! :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Paige turns FIVE!

As soon as Daddy got home from work he was ready to give her the "big present".  

Jaelyn will probably get a bow at age three, at the rate we are going!  ;)

My happy birthday girl!

She is so beautiful, inside and out!  

 She requested shrimp for dinner and the "Biiiiiiiig chocolate cake that Lauren had - but with My Little Pony."

Someone did not exactly understand that there were no presents for her.

Oh well.

My Paigey still absolutely adores her big sister, as you can see here.

And there is no way in the world she can hide her emotions from you.  Her face always tells the whole story!

Love that girl so.very.much!

We took her to Build-A-Bear in lieu of a birthday party, which she told me was better than a party, "except there was no piƱata."  Ha!  But, that will be a separate post!

Happiest of Happy Birthday's, Paige Mackenzie!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

1. Firstly, my prayers and thoughts go out to the families that lost children and loved ones last week.  When I pray for them, God lays on my heart to pray for the parents with regret in their hearts.  They sent their children off to school, and perhaps it was a bad morning... we had so.very.many fights in the mornings before school! I also pray we all pause a little more, be thankful for those we love, and remember more vividly that no one is guaranteed a tomorrow. Loss happens every day to many, many people - the most we can do is be utterly thankful for all the people still in our lives at this moment!

2.  For me, I am snuggling longer, listening closer, and affirming my children purposefully this week.  And I pray the Lord will remind me to do all those things more often as the doldrums of regular life return next month.  We have been on our "big break" from school last month and this month, firstly because it is my busy season for photography, and secondly to enjoy the holiday time without the added stress of homeschool.  I still haven't figured the whole thing out - but we will begin again in January with a new pattern, a new approach, a new "type" of school (which I am still putting together in my head)!

3.  We are doing advent activities again this year, something every day.  We wrote them on the inside of these paper rings for the girls to tear off as our countdown.  But, I have tried much harder this year not to be "ruled" by the activities... we have switched them, changed them, and omitted some in order to do a different activity that presented itself.  It has felt a lot less annoying this year.  =)

4.  You know what is NOT less annoying?!?  The Elf on the Shelf.  Why did I ever do this to myself?!?

5.  I will go back and do a post about Paige;s birthday, promise!  I have not forgotten her!!!

6.  I am done with sessions until after Christmas!  That is a great feeling!  Time to relax a little and enjoy the festivities this week!  I do have a couple family-members who would probably like their pictures sometime THIS YEAR, so I will try to get those done on this week "off"!

7.  Justin playing "Hungry, Hungry, Hippos" with his girls!  Though I have nostalgic feelings about this game, 25 years later it seems a lot less fun because of how LOUD it is!  Four people banging plastic on plastic as fast and hard as possible... great invention.

8.  I thought I was done Christmas shopping three times, and I continue to remember something else that needs to get done.  I used to be a rather organized, list-making person.  What happened to her? 

9. We got to play n the snow on Sunday!  It was really great - and the girls all had a blast!  That is, until the snowball fight on the way to the car... our oldest is just not tough enough for those types of games.

10.  Anyone care to share their favorite holiday recipes?  I want to make some serious food this week!  =)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

Sorry about the hiatus I've been on.  It's funny, I really thought when I started homeschooling that I would blog MORE because I would have a lot to talk about.  And while I do have a lot to talk about in regards to homeschool... I'm not really ready to.  In all honesty, homeschooling has been HARD.  And we are working through it, but it is going to take some time.  So, my life has pretty much been chaos for two months, and now that we are entering busy season for photography - I anticipate the chaos increasing through to Christmas!  Ack!

But, a couple weeks ago we took a little break and headed to a local pumpkin patch.  We had thought we were going up to Sedona for a fall leaves hike, but the kibosh was put on that when the weather indicated ridiculous winds and flash flooding.  So, off we went to a new pumpkin place we had never been to before.

The kids liked it... so that's all that really matters!  

The first thing they got to do was a little horseback ride around a ring.  Paige was thrilled and the first one to eagerly climb on that saddle!  

A little more apprehensive, but much better than the last time, Lauren was next!

And then Jaelyn was hollering, "My turn!"  So Lauren helped her get her helmet on and off she went!

Then we hit the petting zoo, always a favorite.

I think this is Jaelyn's "quit running away from me, goat!" face.  Grumpy-gus!

And the hay-bale maze...

There were a ridiculous amount of these photo-ops:

Then we headed out on the hay-ride.

Awww... I love my little family!  They make me smile.

What did not make me smile?  The "pumpkin patch" being hay-bales in the desert with pumpkins piled around them.  Or the tiniest pumpkins being $4.  Take your pick.  

But, Lauren found a bug.  She loves bugs, so all was not lost!  =)

Paige did not seem to understand that we were not paying that much for pumpkins.  

At least we had a nice cloudy day to wear long-sleeves and pants!

Then, Justin announced that he was going to try the roping.  After the first dud he claimed he just needed to find his rhythm. 

Riiiiiight.  Honestly, no disrespect - but I was thinking that the last time he did anything even remotely cowboy-ish was at least 15 years ago, since we've been together for 14.  And roping seemed... complicated.

Apparently I was very, very wrong.

After snagging the bull (steer? calf?  I am so not a cowgirl...) he took to roping our children!  I was amazed.  He knew what he was doing and successfully roped them every time.  They thought it was hysterical!

Jaelyn thought this was a ride.  =)

Then my hubby said he needed a rope of his own.  I said we needed lunch!

But before lunch we had a little potato-sack race.

"Race" meaning that Justin carried the younger two over the finish line because the entire concept was too much for their little legs!  

All in all a fabulous fall day! 

But, I am still really holding out for that hike in the leaves.