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Entries in life together (68)


Continuing to Count the Blessings

When we are in Florida we spend almost all of our time playing.  The kids play inside and outside; they play with the big cousins and the little cousins; they play at Grandma's and at Aunt Wendy's.  And the grownups play, too.  Our play looks a little different, but it's fun all the same.  It usually involves some kind of chocolate and a lot of talking.  (I'm speaking mainly about Wendy and myself.  The other grownups do things like watch football.  Or take a walk in between the Thanksgiving dinners-you'll get that in a minute.  There has been plenty of fun, all kinds, these last few days.)

Thanksgiving Day we have two dinners, one with Mike's dad and his wife Susie, and one with Mike's mom and her husband Bob. 

Let's just say it is a day for eating.

But while there is a lot of eating, the kids always find time for running and playing.

The cousins, big and little (and by little I mean the 6-8 year-olds) split up and played kickball, the boys against the girls.

They had a blast.

Here is someone I could learn a lot from...Bobby knows what he's doing with a camera. 

After some time outside we sat down to a lovely meal midday.

We ended up back at Mike's mom's house for the evening meal.  By the end of the day we were happy and full...of food and of thanks. 

I am so sad that I didn't get any pictures from the second half of the day.  I set the camera aside and helped (a little) with food prep and with getting the kids their food, and then Bobby set up his camera (on a tripod!  I told you he was fancy.) and we tried to get a family photo, with all 19 of us. 

You can imagine the success we had.  And these two were only half of the trouble.

But if that's the kind of trouble we have to deal with on any given day, then I'd say we're pretty blessed...


Together Again

This fall we've been looking forward to our time in Florida for Thanksgiving.  The day we arrived the kids focused on one thing. 


Mike's mom has a pretty big yard, and the boys and Michaela were outside playing while I was taking a little nap with Eliana (we had to get up very early to make our flight).  Two cousins went for a haircut and then returned for a bit so they, too, could swing on the new swings Grandma got.

In order for the kids to swing Mike and his mom cleared away a bunch of overgrown plants that were threatening to eat the swingset.  The kids took all the leaves that were cut and made a fort, of course.

They used a bush to support their structure.

It's in their genes.  (Mike's dad owns a construction company.)

Next, they did what you might expect good builders to do...they swang.

That was yesterday.  Today was rainy.  All day.  The kids had to stay in, and we all were feeling a little crazy.  But, there was a sleepover at the end of the day, and, really, that makes for a bit of happy...

and a lot of sweet.


More of the Same...Why Not?

Christian was bummed yesterday that he didn't get to rake leaves like Michaela did.  So today I took him out front so he could rake those leaves.

By "rake the leaves" we know what he really meant.

He made a small pile and then "accidentally" fell in them.  He worked really hard out there; he had his work cut out for him, too, since the leaves were a bit scarce after what his dad and sister did yesterday.

We could see that our neighbor was also busy with the same project in his own yard.

He was taking a different route, but getting to the same leaves-in-a-pile place.

Christian kept working diligently in order to get his pile big enough to leap into...

It must have been harder on his muscles than I thought because suddenly he said,"Take a picture of me stretching!"

Of course, I obliged.

Our kind neighbor noticed Christian tumbling into the fifteen or twenty leaves that he had managed to scrape together and offered Christian their leaf pile for jumping.

He didn't have to say it twice!

And it wasn't long before two more joined him in his leaf pile...

Eliana had never had the experience of jumping in leaves, and at first she was content merely to touch them.

She gave them a little pat, and then stood back up grinning.  Soon, however, she sat down in the leaves and then lay backwards.  She thought it was fun...

Then she realized that this was kind of odd...

I'm sorry, but I'm addicted to taking pictures of my baby girl. 

See?  I can't help it.

I like taking pictures of all of them, but she is the most readily available.

The happiness of a moment like this is indescribable for me.  Watching all of them get along together makes my heart so glad.

I can't help but smile when I see them like that.

Until the ornery kicks in...and it always does.  But I'll keep holding on to these other moments.

Soon Mike came out to cut the grass.  Look at her face-she loves her daddy!  In fact, last night she was lying in her bed and had been quiet for quite some time; out of the blue she said,"I love daddy!"  It was so sweet.

Michaela took it upon herself to rake up the rest of the neighbors' leaves.  She was one busy girl.  I hope her arms aren't really sore tomorrow!

She gave her muscles a workout!

Eliana decided to take a turn pulling...

Not sure how to get it moving...let's try this...

Not too successful there, so she headed back to the leaves.

She didn't have a nap today (her choice, not mine!) and it was getting later in the afternoon; she got a little weird.

I tried to take pictures of her being so strange, but she ran away saying,"Don't take my picture, Mommy!"  I went after her saying,"Show me your eyes!"  So she did...


And pretty soon after that we all went inside and got cleaned up!

Can you imagine why?!


By the way, please excuse all crazy was Saturday and the fashion police have the day off.


Costumes, Cupcakes, and Cranky

I am recovering from a night of sugar-induced whiney, fussy, short-temperedness...the kids are feeling the same way.

Just's they who were so out of sorts as the evening went on.  Things began on a decent note, although I had started the night off by pooping on their party, or for the more classy of you out there, raining on their parade.  I told them that we were not going to go trick-or-treating after the Fall Fun Fest, due to the Swine Flu.  Think of all those hands in all that candy, digging and leaving all manner of germs behind.  Can you believe I never had this thought until someone else mentioned it yesterday?!  I can't believe it myself.  Sometimes I just don't make any sense at all. 

What's kind of weird and funny is that Mike agreed with me when I voiced my concerns this afternoon.  I told him that I might not take them out after the church party and mentioned the reason and he was like,"Yeah, that's probably not good."  This from the one I was expecting to tell me to take a deep breath and stop overanalyzing these things!  That pretty much sealed the deal for me.

Of course, the sadness that ensued once everyone else was headed out into the neighborhood, plus talking to a couple of other moms (who said,"They're just as likely to get something here as walking around out there...") led me to change my mind.  And so we went. 

I can't say that it was all that fun.  Eliana wanted to eat M&M's constantly and hollered in my ear if I said no, plus I couldn't find the stroller so I had to carry her (oh, no!  I also never got to go look for the stroller...I think I must have left it in the street where Michaela played soccer this morning.  I can't think of anywhere else it might be.); we started off with one set of friends, which was an accident, and then when we went to catch up with the original crowd Christian lost it; Michaela complained when it was all said and done and we were headed home, because some of the other families that live outside of this immediate area were headed to other neighborhood parties.  And because I wouldn't let her have ice cream once we got home, showered, and ready for bed. 

I'll spare you the rest of the unpleasant details of our time before bed.  I will say that once everyone was down, they were out pretty quickly.  I don't know if this will be bad news in the end, since the clock goes back an hour tonight.

How about some nice and happy?

Here are the kids in their outfits just before heading to the Fall Fun Fest.





I know it's a lot, but the grandparents need to see!!  (I love Christian's outfit from the back!)

Eliana was delighted to find that there were copious amounts of chocolate at the Fall Fun Fest...chocolate and green icing.  I even took all of the icing off of her cupcake that I could by quickly swiping it on a plate before I gave it to her.  Can you imagine what she would have looked like if she had actually had the icing on it?

And looking at Christian at the end of the evening just cracked me up.  His costume was a little disheveled!  One of his moccasins was coming apart and check out his pants.  If you read the previous post, I had laid out the pants on the floor so the stripes were showing in the front.  I then said that the stripes were really for the sides, but so that I could show them off they were facing out like that...just for the picture.  Well, look how they ended up!  Totally turned so that they are running down the front! 

And yet again I managed to catch him without a limb!  This time it's the arm, though.  My timing needs some work. 

If I can get past the memory of the stinkpot moments, then I can say that they all had a really good time.  And now I'm off to divvy up the candy into equal shares and then eat the rest hide the rest.



It has been raining here again, all day.  I really don't mind the rain, but it is hard on the kids.  So today I decided to let them go outside in the afternoon and play anyway.  It wasn't pouring, just sprinkling at that point, and they had so much fun.  It still wasn't enough time outside, was something.

Aside from today the weather in the last week or so has been nice.  Sunny, cool days.  Just right for taking walks.

I don't really want to take pictures in the rain, but on a sunny day I love to do it!

Guess who has been my most cooperative subject lately?

I can get pictures of Michaela, but she has taken to making faces at me when I have the camera out. 

I don't know where she gets this from...ideas anyone?

I love her fleece, and I looked for one like it in my size but there was nothing.  Grown-ups can only buy trendy, stupid-looking, frumpy, colorless clothes right now.  Well, unless they want to spend a lot of money, which I do not.  I love the stripes.  I'm Christina and I am a stripe addict.

They stay so busy when we are outside...they don't stop moving.  They dance, and jump, and wiggle.

We've been to a couple of different parks and the kids always love to watch the ducks.

Add climbing and some more jumping...


I enjoy watching's much more fun than staring at the five loads of laundry in my living room that won't put themselves away.