01 January 2016

A Few Words About Christmas and Our Future

Merry Christmas, Jonas; you get your own Lola!  We're thankful to Ikea for continuing to make these stuffed golden labs so that all our kids have been able to collect one over the years.

We did terrible with pictures of the kids this year, one of the main reasons I let go of sending out Christmas cards.  Next year we'll just run with it.  If Christian is covering his face, Daphne is wearing a My Little Pony crown, and Jonas is holding a wind-up radio, so be it. Set the expectations low now. 

our family Christmas on Dec 27

This is J trying to escape Christmas Eve dinner.

And this is "Daphne" enjoying "her" new microscope on Christmas Day.

I guess I did end up with one photo of all three kids on Christmas Day! 1/3 smiling, 1/3 looking at the camera, 3/3 blurry...photography magic right there. 
excuse me...I also need to be in that box

We got one little house project finished just in time for Christmas: finally figuring out what to do with our wood stove nook. We would love a mantle, but wood stove standards call for very high clearance above the stove, something like 58 inches.  So instead David made the corbels from extra spindles from the front porch, and attached Amish-made iron hooks to some matching boards for our stockings.  When we moved in this spot was just a gaping hole with light blue tiles, the old wood stove gone because it didn't meet current stove standards. Now it's cozy and cute with no blue tiles in sight. 

All the kids' stockings look very happy in their new home.

Next year's Christmas photos should be a breeze. 

18 December 2015

Cheerful Christmas Photos

First of all, our house is looking lovely right now. Don't be dismayed at my vanity over its beauty.  (Outside beauty, at least.  On the inside...why doesn't anyone ever want to clean up after themselves?!)
colorful lights on the playhouse, too

When we started painting so many months ago I told David I was afraid we would leave the front undone for months at a time and it would be sooo embarrassing.  So yes, we still have to put shutters on upstairs, and I kind of want to put a sign on the front yard that says, "YES, WE ARE MISSING SHUTTERS. COMING SOON.  SORRY." Maybe if it would stop raining for five minutes so that hanging shutters could be safe.

This next cheerful picture is when I tried to get a nice Christmas picture of the kids.  I'm not kidding, this was the best one.

Jonas got Llama Llama Jingle Bells for his Christmas book this year.  So far I've read it 9,345 times.  I thought it would be a good idea to show Jonas that reading with Daphne is just as fun as reading with mom.  At least Daphne was happy about that plan. 
"don't take away my mama/book time!"

But carols on the trumpet with Dad is always a good time.  Jonas's favorite was singing/yelling along and sticking his hand up the bell. 

Gingerbread houses.  How do you feel?  I hate that they fall apart so easily, so for the past few years we've just flipped ice cream cones upside down and decorated those like Christmas trees.  Simple and kid friendly.  But this year Daphne had been talking about gingerbread houses and how she would really like one, and then Ikea had them for $4.99, so I guess it was time to man up and let the kids do a house.  I've heard several people say they hot glue theirs together, and ever the follower, that's what I did.

PROS: the house did not break while the kids decorated.  The roof has since collapsed, but that would be from the piles of jujubes frosted onto the roof; the seams that I glued held fast.  CONS: It was hard to glue because I had to hold the thing together for forever until the glue was totally set.  It slid apart quite a few times while I was gluing.  But since it held together so well the next day when the kids decorated, I would still hot glue if/when we do this in the future.
we did trees, too

I bought frosting for this project.  Daphne exclaimed, "the frosting is ALREADY MADE?  That is SO AMAZING!"  Oh, the wonders of the modern world.

Nerds were one of the decorating candies.
Daphne: "Oh, Nerds! I love these! Do you, Christian?"
Christian: "I don't know, I've never eaten nerves before."
he's eaten them now and approves. on the nerds, at least

You're really good at decorating, Jonas

Also fun: Christmas trivia.  FYI: Daphne is an expert in the Christmas song category.  Out of the blue the other day she said, "You know what's an even prettier sight to see than holly on your own front door?  Smiles on people's faces."  Ha.  What a little Christmassy nerd she is.

Christian is not so good at Christmas trivia.  His answers are usually Jesus or Santa.  We would just cheer and say "Yes! The reindeer who's name starts with 'B' is definitely Jesus! And also Blitzen."

Oh, this picture is nice of all three snuggled together for a Christmas movie.  (Do not be too emotional over the sweetness in this picture.  This is the same night Christian secretly put shampoo on Daphne's toothbrush.)

Happy Advent to you.

06 December 2015

Slices of Life, Vol XIX

Our first little slice can be the kids in their Halloween costumes.  Better late than never.  Although never would probably be fine.

They decided on being Octonauts, characters from their favorite Netflix cartoon.  It was creative and fun and so unique that no one knew who they were.  Like the guy at Krispy Kreme who asked if Daphne was a nurse.

Dashi Dog, Kwasii Kitten, & a Vegimal

For some more slices...here are a few Recent Conversations with Daphne:

(She was playing with my calculator.)
D: "Where did you get this?"
M: "I've had it since I was in school."
D: "Oh, so it's an antique?"
D: "Well, I thought antiques were things that were old!"

D: "Will we be in the history books someday?"
M: "Maybe if you do something amazing, like become president of the United States."
D: "Or invent a corn station?"
M: "What's a corn station?"
D: "A place where everyone can get a corn sandwich."

(Days later)
D: "So if I become president does that mean I get to make all the rules?"

We had just completed a unit on the medieval times for history.  As we were doing the review questions, one question asked "what do you call a person who works for someone else in order to learn their trade?"
D: "A gangster?"
The answer is apprentice.  

Overheard Between Daphne and Christian:

(While playing with David's walkie talkies)
D: "Do you copy?"
C: "Yes, I want coffee."

C: "I got to watch Octonauts with Mommy!"
D: "I got to go to Bible study and see Papa and eat chocolate!"
C: "Then I'm not going to play with you until you're seven!"
back when they were still playing together

Jonas has a lot to say these days, too, especially when it comes to food.  And cheering for food.  He'll say "More apple? Yay!" Or, "More crackers? Yay!"  Sometimes he just cheers for himself:  "Yay Joe!" 
Lola! Yay!

A few weeks ago we couldn't find Jonas anywhere in the house.  He was straight up totally lost.  Finally David went into the dark big kids' bedroom and there he was, sitting on the top bunk, silent and happy.  We didn't know he could climb the ladder, nor did we know he liked playing in dark rooms by himself.

Now we know both of those things. 

25 October 2015

Oh, Hi

Obviously blogging is not a top priority these days.  I don't really feel like doing it, but I like having the record of everything...maybe I should let Daphne take over.  We would hear about allll sorts of things if that were the case. 

It's October so we've been doing all the October things:
thanks for cooperating so well, guys

Is anyone else disappointed with the new trend of straw bales being made into huge, 5 million ton things these days?  Not the cute little ones you can sort of drag by yourself onto your front porch, but monster sized bales that only machines can pick up.  Anyone with me on being upset over that?  BUT.  I've had a tiny change of heart, because those big bales work really, really well for straw pyramids.  They are very sturdy. 
new kind...strong

old kind...droopy

Jonas LOVES pumpkins this year. 
content face, folded hands, snuggled with his pumpkin

I have a 1000s of pictures of him being super cute with pumpkins.  And 1000s of him stealing pumpkins from their styled positions on the front porch.
those had been stacked like a little pumpkin snowman

There could be a 1000s of him rolling pumpkins down the stairs, too, but I'm usually trying to chase the pumpkins before they crash into bits and not worrying about photographs. 

That's pretty good as far as pumpkin patches for 2015.   I wish we could squeeze in another trip before the season is over, but I have to use every spare minute this week to sew detailed Trick or Treat costumes.  ("There has to be one white button, Mom, and I have to have one pink hair clip and one blue one.  My skirt can't be too flippy, it needs to be straighter.  And we need blue boots.  Christian's clothes needs to be orange, not yellow like he says.  I need brown mittens." Etc, etc, etc.)

25 September 2015

Apple Day

Last night our dear Joe was up many more times than necessary and then wouldn't go back to sleep at all after 3:45AM.  Really, he is a delight of a child right now.
old picture not depicting the attitude of today

Speaking of delight, our apple trees did quite nicely this year.  Before all the apples fell for the dogs and deer to get (so much wildlife here), we shook the trees empty and made applesauce and three quarts of apple cider vinegar.  
christian trying to shoot apples down with a nerf gun

a more effective harvesting technique

somebody needs the hard job of taste testing every single apple

yes, we always pose our food beautifully on the front porch

For school that day, Daphne wrote a step-by-step tutorial on how to make applesauce.  My favorite of her details: "add cinnamon, then smell it."  If you don't smell the applesauce, it will not turn out as good.  FYI.

Our pear trees did not fare as well as the apples.  We had loads of beautiful pears this spring, and then one day I noticed most of them were gone.  Last year we had one ripe pear, this year none.  As least the trees are pretty when in bloom in the spring, although hopefully lovely spring aesthetics are not the only benefit we will receive from these trees over the years.

Alright.  Time to leave the quiet internet world and get back to crazy town.  Wish me luck.
that face.  scary. 

23 September 2015

September is Wild

Daphne said yesterday, "Can we please stop going so many places? I am tired of being in the car."

That's how we're feeling right now, because September is a beast.  So is Jonas, because he threw my brand new iPhone into the toilet the other day and now I am phoneless and sad.
beastly but still pretty lovable

when boys choose their accessories

David is changing his days off soon, partly because he was going to get bumped anyway in a few months, and partly to try to help calm our schedule down a bit.  He'll be working Sundays again, never something we love, but it is what it is and we're finding good things to look forward to despite that obstacle.  Like him getting Christmas off this year.  It's been a few years, so we are excited.  Which leads me to my next problem...where do I hang stocking this year?  And will Santa come early and sew Jonas's for me?  He didn't get a stocking last year, poor baby.  Even if his will only have coal in it because MY PHONE.

Oh, happy first day of fall!  Don't call me to talk about it, though. 

18 September 2015

Oh Hey, Christian Turned 4

We were at church Sunday morning when Christian leaned over and whispered to me, "Hey Mom, I found a money in my money bank that has a picture of you and me dancing outside.  See?"

Then he handed me this Iowa quarter.
You know I will be keeping that quarter forever and ever. 

This boy is as stubborn as all get out and leaves me at my wit's end some days, but buried beneath the fire he is sensitive and thoughtful and kind.  A few weeks ago he followed me as I went outside because he wanted "to make sure you are never by yourself, Mom."  (Thank you?)

He wants to sit on my lap every day (he's sitting on my lap as I type this), loves rocking with me on the front porch and talking about important stuff, gets mad at me if I don't leave him something to stir when I am cooking, and has the best dimple in his right cheek.  He has to be smiling a big and genuine smile to be able to see it, so glimpses if it can be rare since most of the time when I ask him to smile he does this instead:

Because at his core he is a major goofball.  If you want to get him laughing uncontrollably, just mention any type of bodily function. That's one sure-fire way to catch a glimpse of the dimple.

He asked me recently, ""Where did I come from? Did you get me at the kid store? I was sad when you got me."

"Why? Weren't you happy to be picked up by our family?" I asked him.

"No, I wanted to be picked up by Daphne Anne's* family."

*our friends who moved to Montana earlier this summer.

We may be his second-choice family, but I tell you, that moment on his birth day when I realized I got to be a boy mom, his mom; that was a great day.  I'd pick him from the kid store any time.  

same birthday banner from his 1st birthday!