Cole, Alex, & Anna Grace

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Broken Hearts and Busted Lips

             Yesterday was a really hard day for our family.  We have had a sweet little puff-ball of a dog for several years and yesterday, our little Harley had to move to a new home.  Harley is a Shih Tzu and he is loved by the whole family.  He loved to tuck the boys in each night and follow Anna Grace around the house all day.  There were many days when Harley would be in the middle of a tea party or would be dressed up in a tutu.  However, in the last several months, he has become more and more aggressive with Anna Grace.  I would see him get agitated with her and tell her to give him some space, but he would just follow her to the next room constantly under her feet.  He started growling at her from time to time and has been giving her what I think are warning bites- nothing hard, but the bites have been on the face.  It is impossible to keep the two of them separated without keeping Harley locked up all of the time and that is not fair to him.  We tried several weeks of increasing his exercise, but that did not help either.  He bit Anna Grace twice in the last week- once on the hand and once on the face.  I was so scared that he was going to finally bite her with more than a warning.  He went to a really loving home with no kids, but our family is crushed.  The boys and I were in tears for most of the day yesterday knowing that Harley was going to be leaving. 
          Cole and Alex decided that they did not want to be home when Harley's new family came to get him, so we agreed that Mike would stay home and I would take the kids out for supper- which leads me up to the "busted lip" part of the title of today's blog post. We were getting ready to leave, and I was helping Anna Grace with her tights after she went potty when her feet slipped out from under her on the tile floor of our bathroom.  She fell flat on her face, and there was an instant pool of blood.  I have never seen so much blood come out of a child.  Anna Grace is typically very tough, but she was crying hysterically and for a while we could not even tell where the blood was coming from.  It took about 15 minutes for the bleeding to stop and none of our neighbors who are nurses were home to help us figure out what to do.  We knew that Harley's new family was going to arrive at any minute, the boys were waiting to leave for supper, and Anna Grace needed to get to a doctor.  Thankfully, the neighbors who live behind us took the boys while I took Anna Grace to the Immediate First Care to see if she needed stitches. 
         Anna Grace did not need stitches, but her mouth is very swollen and bruised inside and out.  The tooth that had been pushed back a bit has shifted back into place this morning, and I think in a few days she will be better.  She just finished a big homemade smoothie for her breakfast.  We have reports that Harley is happy, but the boys and I are still feeling heartbroken.  We know that it was the right thing to do- for Anna Grace and for Harley, but we feel like a part of our family is missing.  Cole and I were talking last night as I was tucking him in bed about how sometimes doing the right thing to do is the hardest.  Please pray for us that in the coming days our hearts will start to mend and Anna Grace's mouth heals. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Merry Christmas

It has taken me a few days to get myself organized enough to think about doing a blog post about Christmas.  Mike was joking Christmas night after all of the presents had been opened and said, "Close the blinds on the front of our house.  We look like an episode from the show Hoarders!"  We did not go overboard with our gifts for the kids, but when you pile in all of the gifts from 2 sets of grandparents and other relatives, the house becomes a little crazy! 

All kidding aside, we really had a great Christmas.  Following our normal tradition, we spent the evening of Christmas Eve at my mom's house with my brothers and their families.  The little kids played Candy Land while waiting for everyone to get ready to eat and open presents.
I caught Anna Grace sneaking a treat before we were ready to eat (she insisted on wearing a Santa hat since my niece and nephew were wearing their Santa hats)
We started taking a picture of my oldest nephew each year with this snowman when he was just a little baby. The snowman was huge compared to my nephew's size back then. It is fun to see how much the kids have grown (in size and in number!!)
After Christmas Eve at my mom's house, it was time to go home to get ready for Santa.  Anna Grace seemed to be on overload from the sugar and excitement of Christmas because she talked and sang songs the entire way home...the entire hour and 15 minutes...I had dressed her in her new Christmas pjs before we left my mom's house in hopes that she would fall asleep on the way home, but she kept looking out the window to see if she could find Santa in the sky.  Santa did finally come after all of the kids were nestled snug in their beds.  He brought a new bike for Cole, a kayak for Alex, and for Anna Grace, a little bike, art easel, and the Lala Loopsy that she has been talking about for a month. 

The kids were really excited Christmas morning when they saw what Santa had brought.

After Christmas morning presents and breakfast, Mike's parents joined us for church.  It was nice to take a break from all of the presents and enjoy the true meaning of Christmas. 

Finally, it was time to head to Mike's parents for Christmas with his side of our family.  His parent's house is the gathering place for all of the cousins, aunts, uncles, and other extended family so we always have a big crowd when we go there.

 By time we were finished, we were all exhausted!  Our living room looked like it had been taken over by pink Disney princesses and you could not see the dining room table or floor.  The day after Christmas was spent organizing the house back to some degree of normalcy and playing with all of the new toys and presents.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Cheer

School is finally out, so it was time to start some Christmas baking. I enjoy making some goodies for a few of our neighbors each year, and this year the boys were a big help. Cole picked out a recipe for cookies & cream fudge, and we all thought it would be fun to make pretzels dipped in chocolate and sprinkles. Cole and Alex each made a batch of the fudge (with my help of course).
Anna Grace helped by crushing the Oreo cookies.
While the fudge chilled in the refrigerator, Alex and Anna Grace assembled the gift boxes for the fudge. Then it was time to make the pretzels. We thought that it would be something simple and fun, but we quickly learned that it was not as easy as it seemed!
Our first batch of the pretzels ended up dripping gloppy goops of sprinkles everywhere before we finally learned to let the chocolate cool a little before adding the sprinkles. As you can see, we made quite a mess.
I think I will be sweeping up sprinkles for a week!
Then, it was time to deliver some of our goodies. Cole was in charge of delivering the fudge, Alex delivered the pretzels, and Anna Grace delivered a card to each doorstep.
The kids are getting really excited about Christmas, but Anna Grace is worried about the rainy weather.  She is concerned that Santa is going to make a mess in the house because he will be so wet!!  Hopefully we will have dry weather for Christmas Eve! 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Day with Cinderella & Sleeping Beauty

Anna Grace has two close friends turning 4 this week, so she was invited to two birthday parties the same place but at different times.

There is a children's boutique in our town that does beautiful dress-up birthday parties. All of the little girls get to dress up as princesses and accessorize their outfits with shoes, scarves, and hats. Then a favorite Disney princess walks into the room to host the party. The first party this morning had Anna Grace's favorite, Cinderella, and this afternoon's party was hosted by Sleeping Beauty.

The little girls enjoyed letting the princesses apply make-up and then serve them pink tea (pink lemonade) out of real China cups. The princesses also played dancing games with the little girls and taught them everything they needed to know about how to be a princess- including how to curtsy, twirl their dresses, and use princess manners. Anna Grace had a great time today, although I think the only things she ate all day were ice cream and the icing off her cupcakes!

Tomorrow we will have a reality check when she does not have a Disney Princess to make her eyelids sparkly and serve her finger sandwiches with tales of Tinkerbell!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Two Thanksgivings and a Tree Farm

We have had a busy week celebrating Thanksgiving and making our annual trip to a tree farm.

We started by celebrating Thanksgiving with Mike's side of the family last weekend. We always have a big family meal with lots of extended family the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The weather was nice, so we were able to eat outside and enjoy the fall afternoon with lots of cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

The boys played football and Anna Grace loved "helping" to feed the newest baby cousin.

Then on Thursday, we celebrated Thanksgiving again with my side of the family.

Even though we did not have a lot of extended family come to my mom's house, we still had a huge spread of food. This is my mom doing her "Paula Dean" pose with all of the food that she prepared.

After we ate, my mom and I took a walk with the littlest grand kids before we tackled the dishes.

I stayed at my moms while Mike took the kids home so that she and I could brave the after-Thanksgiving sales. We woke up at 2:45 in the morning to start our shopping. My goal was to get to Toys R Us before the items that I needed would go on sale at 5:00 am, but neither of my brothers believed that my mom would actually get out of bed and get ready in time for us to make it. She surprised everyone by getting up even before my alarm went off! I had a lot of fun pretending to do stretches and planning our strategy while she finished getting ready to go.

Today we made our annual trip to the tree farm to get our Christmas tree. We have so many fun family memories and stories from our tree farm trips. One year it was frigidly cold and snowing and the wind was blowing so hard that we jumped out the car and just pointed to a tree without really even looking to see if it was good tree or not. Another year, someone stole our tree after the tractor dropped it off by the cars and the tree we ended up with had a nest of baby spiders that crawled all over our ceilings!

This year, our trip was not quite as eventful and we brought home a beautiful tree.

We spent the evening putting on the lights and decorations.

As usual, most of the ornaments ended up on one or two branches on the bottom of the tree (thanks to little helpers) so I had to redecorate while the kids ate their supper.

We have lots of parties and other events planned for the coming weeks, so I am going to have to make it a priority to enjoy the Christmas season and take the time to remember the true meaning of Christmas. It is so easy to let these days rush by without taking the time to stop and reflect on God's blessings and appreciate the life that He has given us.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Three Little Turkeys

I did a post a few weeks ago about the pumpkins that Cole & Alex planted back in July. They hoed the garden, planted the seeds, and watered the plants throughout the end of summer and beginning of fall in hopes of having big pumpkins for Halloween. However, their big pumpkins never really grew very much. Finally, yesterday we decided that it was time to pick the only two little pumpkins that had turned orange. We were happy to have one pumpkin for each boy.

We decided to turn the little pumpkins into turkeys to use as center pieces on our Thanksgiving table. Anna Grace had a tiny pumpkin left over from Halloween so she had one to decorate too. Tonight the kitchen table was completely covered in construction paper, wooden sticks, and googly eyes, but the kids had a lot of fun creating their turkeys.

The boys worked late into the evening putting finishing touches onto their feathers, long after Anna Grace had gone to bed.

The turkeys will travel with us to Mike's parents for an early Thanksgiving tomorrow and then to my mom's house on Thursday.

We have so much to be thankful for...a roof over our heads, food on our table, and our three precious turkeys.