Tuesday, December 30, 2008

On the Mend (Thank the Lord!)

We were battling the stomach bug this past week, and I daresay we might be getting better! We tried to isolate ourselves so none of our friends got it, and we are hoping that maybe we can get out and about tomorrow! Hope you all are staying healthy!!
Michael coloring the really cool ABC coloring book that his cousin Lauren made for him. Thank you, Lauren!

Katie was the last one to get it, and is still a little clingy, but hasn't been sick all day. Thank God for blessings, both big and small!

Blue Bath Time

Aunt Deb gave us these really cool bath coloring tabs, so I dropped 2 blue ones into the tub and Michael promptly picked one up and ate it! I got it out rather quickly, then we had a lecture on not putting unknown things into our mouths! Silly boy! Thankfully, Crayola products are non-toxic (apparantly made so for crazy kids like mine!)

Larry the Cucumber

I have a bowl of beautiful beaded fruit on my table (which my husband adamantly says looks like moldy fruit), and Michael is convinced that the pears are actually Larry the Cucumber (from Veggie Tales) in disguise. Silly boy! Here is one of our favorite Larry Silly Songs- Larry talking to his therapist about his obsession with his lips:

Christmas in WV

Our Christmas journeys continued on to West Virginia, where my parents currently live. My siblings were able to come visit, except for Mel, whom we missed incredibly! I should have known something strange was up when we arrived, as Michael was being shy. Katie has shy tendencies, but my Michael doesn't have a shy bone in his body. He loves everyone, and has never met a stranger. Well, sure enough, we arrived on Christmas Day, and that night, Michael woke up with some...um... intestinal issues, and shortly thereafter, he vomited all over his bed. I was not feeling so great myself, so instead of cleaning his bed, I just let him in bed with us. Bad move! He promptly vomited all over OUR bed! So I was forced to strip both beds that were filled with vomit while Jon put Michael in the shower (no bath there!) Michael and I both spent the rest of the day sleeping and vomiting while Jon took care of Kate. What a good husband I have. It was most definitely a memorable Christmas!!

Arriving at my mom's house and getting ready to open presents. Michael was really cuddly, a precursor to what was to happen that night! Katie was fascinated with the tree, as always!

Opening presents! Brynn in her pretty Christmas dress.

Michael inspects the Christmas village...

...and of course, it wasn't long before he was arranging the pieces and lining them up, in a proper, organized (and slightly OCD) fashion!

Katie enjoys a cookie! She got the bug right after we arrived home on Saturday night. Poor girl!

Kate gives Uncle Mark a big hug.

My dad is a little unsure of what to do with a small person.

Katie and Jon spending some quality time together while Michael and I were downstairs in the pit of despair!

Jon was wonderful, and took great care of Kate while we were down and out! He deserves this much-needed nap! He even folded that necessary load of laundry for me! What a guy!

We left for home on Saturday after 10 days away, but beforehand, we decided to let the kids run some energy out in the West Virginia hills.

Michael and cousin Olivia explore the tiny creek bed.

Michael and cousin Erica check out the chickens hiding under the brush.

Needless to say, we didn't just jump right in the van and head home. This required some intense scrubbing beforehand.

Even Kate managed to find quite a few mud puddles to play in. Hey, they're kids, what do you expect? I have just gotten great at stain removal!
Wish we could have visited more with the family instead of spending time in our very uncomfortable vomit interlude! We hope you guys stay healthy! We love you!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas in Columbus

We were able to spend a few days in Columbus, OH visiting the Blakemore side of the family, and had a nice, enjoyable time!
The Blakemore grandkids (minus James, Ruthann, & Johnny, who couldn't make it!):
Josh, Zack, Wes, Chad, Lauren, Nathan, Michael, & Kate. Girls are the minority, so we were happy to contribute to the female cause with Katie and attempt to narrow the ratio!

Deb, Ann Marie, and Mom Blakemore. Despite this picture, I think this might be the one time they sat down and didn't work!

I had to add this picture, as it shows one of Katie's cutest new tricks. She plays peek-a-boo, but covers her ears instead of her eyes. Try it sometime- say "WHERE'S Kate?!" and see what she does!

Katie shows her favorite part of Christmas- wrapping paper!

Kate got a baby stroller for Christmas, and Michael decided it was the best toy ever! He still can be found "strolling" at high speeds across the hard wood on many occasions.

They guys playing Rook. I must take this opportunity to share that Dad went to bed and the teams were divided into Jon + Kevin and Karen + Steve. It must be hereafter and forever noted that the Karen + Steve team SPANKED the Jon + Kevin team! We even gave them the "Best out of 3" option, and still prevailed. It is recorded in the laws of Medes and Persians below:

WINNERS! Ah, the sweet, sweet savor of victory!

Dad helping out in the kitchen

A few games of Chinese checkers. (a game that I did NOT win!)

Katie was fascinated with the very large dog, Brinkley.

Michael loved the trampoline

A few intense games of Wii. We never lack for good friendly competition when we are with family! :-) What a lovely time we had!

Christmas Cookies With Aunt Deb

Debbie (Jon's sister) decorates nativity cookies every Christmas Eve with her kids, Lauren and Nathan. She brought along her cutters and decorations so we could join in on the fun. We voted at the end, but I think it was a 14 way tie!
Aunt Deb gives clear instructions to the kids!

Shirts off for decorating with food-colored icing!

Uncle Kevin gets in on the decorating action.

Busy decorating

Having fun!

I guess the guys (Jon & his father, namely!) didn't get the memo that these were NATIVITY cookies, as we had a beach ball (above left), Rudolph and Santa, too. :-)

Nathan's caravan

Aunt Deb, the overachiever! She made Mary, thought I think Mary ended up wearing a pair of green Keds. Hey, walking all that way while pregnant- you might as well wear comfy shoes!

Katie enjoyed snacking on sprinkles while we worked.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Hello, Ohio

We left on Thursday morning for our annual Christmas trip. We just finished the first of our 3-part travels- the first being a visit with our very good friends, The Seekins.
Ready to leave VA! The kids did GREAT on the trip out! We traveled 9 1/2 hours (about 550 miles) and only made 2.5 stops. Our first mini-stop was not officially a full stop (thus the .5), as Katie just got car sick and needed her clothes changed, so we just pulled over to the side of the road and changed her. Our second stop was lunch and gas, and the last was a potty break and fuel stop. I'm so proud of the kids! They were so good!

Since I usually end up climbing in the back seat to entertain the kids, to pass out snacks, to wipe runny noses, etc (not to mention taking an occasional nap myself), I decided to just start in the back and put our luggage in the front. WHY didn't I think if this before?!

This was in western MD as we traveled. They just got some snow, and the mountains & valleys were simply beautiful!

At lunch time, we stopped at a McDonalds to get dollar menu burgers and to stretch our legs. Of course, this one particular McDonalds did NOT have a play land to let the kids run some energy out, so we bundled them up let them play in the snow. (Can you see Katie squirming to get down again?) Fun!

More beautiful scenery.

We got to the Seekins and we sure did have a wonderful time with them! Of course, since we were in Ohio, we had to make Buckeyes (in progress above). Michael and Noah had such fun playing together, and we got to meet sweet Benjamin for the first time (he's about 2 1/2 months). What great friends the Seekins are! We're glad we got to visit! I do, however, think we all gained about 5lbs each with all of Cynetta's great cooking!

The adorably chubby and cuddly baby Benjamin.
Joel and Jon were across the hall from each other in the college dorms, and were cohorts in mischief on many occasions. Joel and I met and became good friends while working in the Dining Common in college. Cynetta and I were both nursing majors & on the same dishwash crew. All 4 of us were great friends who hung out, studied (some!), laughed, played, and worked together throughout the college years. It has been 10 years since we all became friends, and though we live 550 miles apart, what a blessing it is to have you guys as wonderful, close, Christian friends! Thanks for everything, Joel & Cynetta!

Another shot of adorable Benjamin!

Notice the cat peeping up from the stairs at Kate! Boston the dog & Ducky the cat were kind enough to share their home with us while we were at the Seekins. The kids were really confused with a cat named Ducky. Katie kept calling her "Duck." and I finally got her to say "cat." Of course, then she got confused because she thought I was calling the dog "duck."(they do sound alike) Now it is all clear to her, just in time for us to leave!

We got a little snow on Saturday night, and went to church for the Christmas cantata on Sunday morning with snow on the ground. It was beautiful! My kids really liked it, though they were not crazy about the extreme cold. Speaking of cold, it is C-O-L-D out here in Ohio! The temperature when we went to bed last night was -6 degrees with a wind chill of -32! THAT is freezing! (literally AND figuratively!) I guess I'm not used to the really, really cold, and my native Chicago-an husband laughs at my intolerance for cold weather. Well, even HE was frigid! Brrrr!
We left today (Monday) to head for Columbus to visit Jon's family, then will head to WV to visit my family. We are enjoying a wonderful time, and are enjoying spending our Christmas celebrating Christ's birth with those we love.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Day, 2008 (Sort of...!)

Since we will be visiting family and friends over the next 2 weeks, we decided that we would officially celebrate our Christmas Day at home today. Last night (our "Christmas Eve"), we read the Christmas story and sang Christmas songs, then today we opened our presents, and had a fancy Christmas dinner of pepperoni pizza!
Michael eagerly waits as we prepare to open presents! I love this excited smile of childish anticipation!

Daddy helps Michael open a present. Michael is not too good at ripping yet.

Katie preferred playing with the ribbons and bows, and making noise with the wrapping paper.

This is Katie opening her gift from Michael. He picked this gift out himself (with a little help). He knows how much Katie loves ducks, so he got her a set of 3 bath duckies. He wrapped the gift, and was so excited to give it to her. Of course, he told her a dozen times that he got her a present of ducks, but luckily, she has a bad short-term memory!

I adore this look of glee on Michael's face. He got a Thomas the train carrier filled with Thomas trains, and he was really in 7th heaven!

He was SO excited, even before he found out that the train he is carrying was actually filled with little Thomas trains! YAY!

Katie got a little cell phone, which she has been carrying around and holding up to her ear and saying "O." I thought that would wait until the teen years!

Katie opens her present- a book.

Then she lost interest and went to look at the tree. She LOVES that tree!

And our fancy Christmas dinner of pizza! We enjoyed it (plus, no leftovers since we leave tomorrow!)