Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!
This year, we decided to mix things up a bit. We invited both Chris' parents and Grandma along with my parents for Thanksgiving dinner. My cousin and Aunt were also invited but were unable to come in the end.

We got up, got the turkey in the over no problem. We had the jello fluff ready for Alivia, the many dozens of dinner rolls ready for Chris' Thanksgiving cheat, potatoes, stuffing (in which I still stuff into the bird), cupcakes to celebrate Asher's birthday a day early, relish tray, and more. YUMMY!

My parents arrived at 11:15 and I was still in my work out clothes. Ooops! Chris's parents arrived to a turkey smelling house around noon. The turkey was done on time (Thank Goodness). It was a yummy dinner as expected.

After dinner, we celebrated Asher birthday a day early with a few presents. That kept the kiddos occupied.

The day went fast. It was nice to have everyone together. It's a lot of work, but it is worth it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Addison's First Reconciliation

In our Catholic Church, the First Reconciliation, aka confession, is to be done in a group with all the other kiddos going through their first reconciliation followed by their first communion in the spring. I would be okay with this, but there are probably 200 kiddos going through this, so the day/night of their first confession is overwhelming to me, let alone a kid. Chris and I knew when Alivia was going through it, she would never go up in front of other kids and state her sins. It is a private matter. So, we scheduled a private first reconciliation for Alivia when she was 7, and we did the same for Addison this go around (and we will do the same for Asher, hopefully). Our program leaders are not very easy to get a hold of (as I am sure they are overwhelmed with so many kids), and never returned my request to schedule a private one. I emailed Father Vogel who quickly go back to me and scheduled it for Tuesday, yesterday, right after school. He did Alivia's too!.

 We arrived at 3:30 and Addison did not seem nervous at all. We had practiced at home and she had a practice card to get her through her first few confessions. She was in and out and was off to say her Hail Mary. Chris, Alivia and I also went through a confession. It was a special day for Addison.

As an extra special treat, we went to DQ for ice cream afterwards. :)

Congratulations Addison! Now onto preparing for First Communion in the spring!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Family Photo Shoot

Chris was out putting up the Christmas lights a couple weeks ago when our neighbor Holly from across the street, whom we had never met, came over and told us about an article she was working on for the Omaha World Herald. She was seeking a family to do a photo shoot with. She is a contributing editor and photographer (check out her blog/webpage or find her on facebook) with the Omaha World Herald. I had wanted to take family photos, but getting all dressed up to take a picture seemed like too much work. So, she gave us a reason!

She did an amazing job. We are more than pleased. If you need family photos taken, seek her out. She is fun, relaxed, has a good eye and is quite patient. Addison was so wild and by the end all of the kids were, and Holly never skipped a beat. Thank you Holly!

Click here to see the photos...Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Disguising Tom Turkey

Another weekend, another Kindergarten Family homework assignment. This time the assignment was to decorate a turkey so he does not get eaten for Thanksgiving. :)  Asher, being the Superhero lover that he is, wanted to make his a Superman Turkey.

Off to Hobby Lobby I went, to collect feathers, eye balls, a napkin for the cape and more. Daddy and Asher did this project together (I did the shopping :) ). Daddy even got a little sad as they decorated our last Turkey. All our turkeys are growing up!

Anyway, it turned out amazing! I can't wait to eat lunch with Asher on Friday and see all the other decorated Turkeys at school.

Here is Asher's Superman Turkey.

Did your kiddos do this project? What did you make? Come back and post a picture! We would love to see.

For more ideas, here are the girls' turkey projects, too.

Alivia's Clown Turkey
Addison's Spidergirl Turkey

Decorate a Turkey Feather

Asher had a family Thanksgiving project to do a couple weeks ago. The assignment: Decorate this naked feather as a family. Asher decided he wanted to draw pictures of the things he is thankful for, such as trips to the lake, mommy and daddy, grandma and grandpas, santa :), our home, church, friends, and our dog Pippa. Well, drawing seemed too difficult. So, Asher selected pictures, we printed them, added some feathers and here you have it...a decorated turkey feather! Stay tuned for Asher's decorated Turkey!

Christmas Shopping 2013

It is not a secret that I do not like winter (the cold, the wind, the snow...need I say more?!), crowds or shopping, so Christmas shopping does not come easy for me. Luckily, someone smart created online shopping!

Every year is different. One year I decided to buy the kids 10 gifts each. What was I thinking?! This year we created a budget. MY CHRISTMAS BUDGET tuned out to be a great tool! I plugged in each person we had to buy for and a budget, plugging in the real values in once purchased. LOVE this tool!

I started by taking the kids to the toy departments and stores and had them look through catalogs to select toys. They were beyond thrilled to get to do this. Asher kept his list short while the girls selected everything. Between the catalogs and the stores, I had a good list to start with. I took their dreams to online shopping to find the best deal, which turned out to be Amazon with free shipping and no up front sales tax.

At 9, Alivia is very selective. She asked for soft pillows and a bean bag chair, Lego friends things, soft PJs and, believe it or not, Alivia and Addison asked for a Barbie Dream House. Never too old for the big dream I guess. She already has the best gift ever, her ipad Mini. I would totally recommend the mini, too. It gets the most use of anything we have purchased for her (aside from her ipod touch that she had first).

Addison, At 7, also asked for a bean bag chair, Lego friends things but also asked for a Pet Shop and a Rainbow in my room. Addison had a difficult time narrowing down all the things she had to have. :) She would be overjoyed with an ipad mini, but with her history of breaking her ipod touch within 3 months, it just is not going to happen, says Santa Claus.

Asher, at almost 6 years old, was more specific on his wishes for Christmas. He selected Lego's (way beyond his developmental age, like 8 and older legos!), Nerf guns, and a dragon set. He also asked for a green machine! Boys will be boys, right?

Chris even provided a nice list this year. On the top, a new ipad air with stylus. Really? Where does he think I work?! :) Otherwise, his list was exercise related asking for weights, after workout drink, jeans, and the north face fleeces. Most days are casual at his work with jeans, so he loves being able to ask for and be able to wear jeans!

I made a list this year. After getting the napkin holder for my birthday, I decided I needed to make a list. I'm not sure why now. As I was shopping, I spotted things I liked. I called Chris to see about sizes for his family and he told me, "Just go ahead and buy your things, too." So, I did as I was told. :) So far, I am getting some really nice things. Ha! I also want an apple macbook air. It would be my first mac (OMG!). I wish to have one for photo editing and keep up my bookkeeping. Yes, I still keep track of where every penny goes. I think it is a lost art. I actually think Chris may get my the macbook because he wants an new ipad so bad so he can draw on it for work. :) Good thing we have Apple stock.

We found some cool things to give our parents this year and the great grandparents will get the annual picture calender.

We are most certainly not buying what is on everyone's dream list, but we want them to dream, right? Santa has something big to go under the tree this year for the kids to enjoy this winter that he may be sharing to give with the Great Santas this year, something I told the kids they for sure would not be getting. It will come as a big surprise.

Feels good to have it done just as the Christmas trees and ads start on TV. No offense, but I do not get into the commercialism of the day at all. I like the quiet day at home with family opening presents giving thanks to God, without commercials. Now, we can sit back and enjoy the season, completely stress free, right?!

The Austin Life in 2013

This year is quickly getting ahead of me. What happened? First it was January, then all of a sudden it was August and all our babies were in school, and now November?!?!?! Really, SLOW DOWN!

The kids are each busy in their own ways. Alivia, who is almost 9 1/2 now, keeps busy after school with her math homework, reading and playing with her friend and neighbor, Elizabeth. Alivia loves her ipad mini and likes face timing her friends. Really, I don't like to see my face and don't want anyone else to see it. It is so funny to me how kids communicate now. Addison tends to keep more to herself after school. She started taking piano lessons in September and is slowly catching on. The bad memories of practicing came rushing back to me. But, Addison is hanging in there and LOVES her teacher, which helps a lot. Addison also got into making rainbow loom bracelets and can still be found playing babies or with her many dogs. Alivia just kindly gave Addison her old ipod touch, giving Addison that to play with. Addison likes to have a playdate usually once a week, too. Now Asher keeps busy following and pestering his sisters. When not doing that, Asher likes to color (usually staying up late at night coloring in his room), play cars, or play with his sisters. Asher has playdates maybe 1-2 times a month. His friends are a little more tricky to meet up with, I guess.

Chris is getting into things at his work. He is essentially the only one in his field at the new job, so the tasks keep coming in, which is good. He joined Crossfit Omaha mid September and has been kicking it. He is one lean guy I'm telling you. It is good for him to have found something to make his mind and body feel better. When not at work or the gym, he is still cooking paleo for the most part and tries to keep up with all the homelife activities.

I'm boring. I have started working A TON, but on my own terms. I got offered a job at the NICU where I work but it required 5 months!! of daytime orientation. I did not know how to pull off 9-12 hour days without daycare, so I had to turn it down. If the orientation was part time nights as I applied or, I would have taken it. In the meantime, I have been picking up about 4 eight hour shifts every 2 weeks, working 3 in a row one week and 1 shift the next week. I try to work Sunday-Tuesday nights or Monday-Wednesday nights and then pick up Sunday or Monday on the short week. When working, I sleep most of the day or lay in bed hoping to be sleeping. I am working a lot between now and when the kids take winter break from school, when I will take vacation (and am totally excited about it!). When not working, I keep busy running errands, cleaning, etc. My latest task was to do the Christmas Shopping, which I completed for the most part on Sunday. I just have to buy Chris a pair of jeans, which I hope to do this week. My time off seems to fly by as it gets filled up with Doctors appointments, carpet cleaning, etc, and before long I am back to work. I'm not sure I like the fast pace of being a working Mom. The extra money, I have to say, is really nice, but it comes at a high cost.

Meanwhile, we just put in a ton of money into our van. Chris and I do not do car payments, electing to pay cash for our vehicles. So, writing a $30,000 check is not something we want to do, like ever. The van is doing okay at the moment, still needing about $500 in tires. So, Chris hangs at home until I get home when I work so he does not have to drive the van to work. Not sure how much longer it will make it.

That's it in a nutshell. Thinking January should be a time to slow down a bit. Oh, I am hoping.

October in Review

And...I'm caught up (well, kind of, but not really) on pictures. Really, I am never caught up! Anyway, October was yet another busy month. Asher finished up soccer just as it got too cold to watch, we started to enjoy the weekends we now all have off work and school, Alivia ran another 5K with the family and, we can't forget, Halloween!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

September in Review, Finally

Catching up...onto September. Splashed in the last of the summer heat, ate paleo, Asher kicked the soccer ball around a bit, hiking into fall. Enjoy!

September Pictures

August in Review, FINALLY!

Finally, August Pictures, even if they are still mostly unedited!
We had a wild month! We tried to squeeze in the last of summer fun at the zoo, splash pad, the forest, the safari, the zoo, a baseball game and more. All 3 kiddos were off to school for the first time, Asher in Kindergarten, Addison in 2nd grade and Alivia in the 4th grade! Chris and I then took a small weekend trip to Estes Park to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary while the kids stayed behind with Grandma Bet and Grandpa Bill. I'm not sure who had more fun?!?! It was a wild month...with many memories.


Monday, November 04, 2013

Happy Belated Halloween!
Halloween is always so much fun. The costumes, the smiles, the running from house to house, the candy. This year was no exception.

We left our house at 6 pm after a couple brief pictures. We have to get out early because it gets cold so quick. The kids ran from house to house. Asher was usually in the lead, with Alivia right behind him, followed by Addison and then Alivia's friend Elizabeth who came along with us this year. Unlike last year when Asher would look at the candy and decide whether he liked it or not, this year he was less selective. Addison and Alivia are not selective up front but are quite selective when it comes to eating it.

The favorite houses: The ones who handed out BIG candy bars, the lady who gives out $1 bills with candy, the houses that give out treat BAGS filled with candy, and the guy who hands out beer to the parents. him. The kids, of course, love hitting up the grandparents house. The temps turned out to be okay, maybe in the upper 40s, but were fine with winter gear.

We arrived home about 7:45. Superman, aka Asher, ate a HUGE Nestle Crunch bar in no time and was ready for bed. The girls picked out a few smaller things. Alivia loves peanut butter cups and nerds and Addison likes twizzler pull and peels and tootsie roll pops (oh, and Daddy likes his share of snickers! He is so skinny he has room to eat some, too!).

The kids were showered and tucked into bed by 8:45. Chris had all the Halloween stuff down outside by 10. Pretty impressive!

Happy Halloween. May you all enjoy your candy without cavities. :) (Oh and P.S., we came back from trick or treating to find no big candy bars and about 25 granola bars! I'm thinking the granola bars were less than a hit. :) ).

Superman, Veterinarian Zombie and a cat. :)