Thursday, December 11, 2014

Even though....

Even though Christmas is approximately 14 days away.....

Side note:
I'm not a day counter, nor is my husband or 2 of the 3 kiddos, but Smiley?  She is a counter.  Always has been.  When she was littler, the question was always, "how many more sleeps?"  Now that she is older (a whopping 6 years old), every morning she looks at our family calendar and counts the days until Christmas (or her birthday, or anyone's birthday, or a planned playdate or whatever else she can count down).  It is definitely an endearing annoyance :)

Anyway,

Even though Christmas is 14 days away, I still want to share with you the pictures I took of the kiddos this fall on our annual trip to the local falls.  Coming here makes me wish we still lived in our tiny city house, just blocks from this little gem of natural beauty.

Behold... some lovely fall colors (oh, and cute kids, don't forget the cute kids part ~ at least I think so!):
















Friday, November 14, 2014

Fall Events and Celebrations

Yesterday I told you about the sports and activities the kids were/are involved this fall.  Besides all of that fun, we kept busy with get-togethers and celebrations.  Ready?

Hunting ~

We always get together with Hubby's family and pheasant hunt (like years past, I made caramel rice krispie bars) over a long weekend.  This year was no exception.  The weather was beautiful, almost too hot one of the days and we had a great time.





Smiley's Birthday ~

Smiley turned 6 on the 21st of October.  I should really dedicate a post entirely to her since I missed doing that on her actual birthday.  But, for now let me just say that this little girl is a joy to call my daughter.  As I wrote on my Facebook page on her birthday: 

I cried when she turned 1, because that first year had gone so fast and now I am a little in shock as my baby turns 6! Slow down time, you are moving way too fast! Happy 6th birthday baby girl ~ you are talkative, amazing, creative, talkative, kind, caring and talkative (did I say that already?)

Smiley is into all things Frozen and that was the theme for her 6th birthday.  The night of her actual birthday, she had requested homemade pizza and jello ~ easy enough!  I also whipped up some cupcakes for dessert.  



The day of her party with friends came and with pinterest as a guide, I threw together this cute Frozen themed cake.  She invited 5 friends over and we spent 3 hours making crafts,  playing games, opening presents and of course eating cake and ice-cream.  I think she had a great party!

Hubby's and My 15th Anniversary ~

15 years of pure wedded bliss.......
Ok, so I might just be exaggerating a little here ;)  
Really though, marriage can be work ~ lots of give and take, compromise, selflessness, patience, love, forgiveness, respect and time.  If you want something to work well and flourish, you have to nurture it.  We've done just that in our marriage.  Yes, there are times either of us are frustrated with the other for things said, done or not done, but we talk it out.  We are a team ~ two person strong!

So, 15 years and life keeps getting better and better. Through all our ups and downs, laughter and tears, and everything in between we have had each other for all of it.  And I look forward to our future ~ together!

Halloween ~ 
Of course we had to carve a few pumpkins ~ one for each kiddo.  They were in charge of cleaning out their pumpkins, creating the design and helping to carve it (Smiley didn't carve hers ~ safety first!)


On Halloween night, Hubby and I dressed up like a couple of our favorite football players from our favorite team ~ The Pittsburgh Steelers


I dressed up as Troy Polamalu, Hubby dressed up like Brett Keisel aka "Da Beard".  Check out this picture of the two of them together.  I think we are a spitting image of the pair ~ well, maybe not, but we had fun! .  Oh and I totally should have been smiling in this picture! Troy ALWAYS smiles ~ I was too busy trying to act tough! 

The kids dressed up as well.  Smiley last minute (actually the day before halloween)  decided to be a pirate ~ she had been planning on dressing up like Elsa from the movie Frozen.  She even had a choice between two dresses the coronation gown or the ice castle gown, but decide a pirate was the way to go.

Action pulled out the green morph suit and afro wig he wore last year.  He just couldn't decide what he wanted to be and remembered all of the comments and reactions he received last year so he went with it again.

Sassy and a group of 6 friends decided to dress up as minions.  They painted the G symbol on their t-shirts, had white stocking hats spray painted yellow, a friend of hers made the goggles out of pvc pipe and with some jeans and black suspenders, they were set to go.  


The kids trick or treated at a couple of houses in our neighborhood before we went to meet up with friends. 


Unfortunately the night was called a bit early ~ 9:30 because Sassy wasn't feeling well and asked to go home.  The kids were able to attain a lot of candy and had fun with their friends!

Well, that pretty much wraps up the events and celebrations portion of fall thus far ~ next week, I'll show you some of the fun fall pics I took on another one of our annual "field trips" as well as more details on Smiley's Frozen birthday party.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

And just like that fall is over......

Well, technically it is not over.  The last day of fall this year is actually December 20th, but when I look out my window and see the approximately 5 inches of snow that fell just the other day, I would never guess it was still early November.

Obviously I haven't blogged in a little while, so for the next few blog posts, I will walk you through our fall.

Let's start with sports:

I'll start with the oldest ~ Sassy:

She played a short season of fall softball.  While their team didn't always play to the best of their abilities, Sassy had a great time playing.  She loves to play and constantly strives to be better.  Even in her last tournament, she asked me to record her at-bat as she wasn't making contact with the ball like she wanted to and wanted to see for herself what she was doing wrong.  I love her determination.


While softball was going on, she was also playing volleyball for the high school she will attend next year.  The day the teams were picked was a rough one.  After a few days of tryouts, the results were in and before she even opened her letter to see which team she made, the varsity coach pulled her aside to talk.  Unfortunately she didn't make the team she wanted to, the team many of her teammates from last year and from last winter's club volleyball team made.  She was upset and frustrated.  The varsity coach explained to her that she didn't "make" the team because of lack of ability, but because the position he wants her to play was already filled with a couple of girls who were older than her.  Instead of her sitting on the bench watching her team play, he wanted her on a team where she could play every, single point and get lots of touches.  While it was hard to wrap her head around it in the beginning, especially seeing her friends playing together on the other side of the court, this decision was a good one.  Sassy played every game and was probably on the bench 10 minutes the entire season.  She got a lot of touches and opportunities to serve.  She was a great, positive leader on the court and was really fun to watch.


She has tried out for club volleyball once again.  She made a team with most of the girls she played with last year and she is excited for practices to start up in December.

Next up ~ Action:

Football was Action's sport of choice once again this year.  This was his 4th year playing and I enjoy watching him year after year.  His understanding of the game and ability to play has improved so much since that first year when the kids were just a bunch of 2nd graders running around ~ some trying to tackle each other, some trying to avoid all contact for fear of getting hurt.  This year, Action's favorite position was Safety.  I have to say, even thought they didn't win a game this year, the improvement in the boys was amazing.  They went from losing games by 20+ points to losing their final game 19-18 in overtime.  These boys had great sportsmanship, held their heads high and gave their all every single game.




And Finally ~ Smiley:

While Smiley is not playing any "sports" right now, she is in dance.  She has class once a week (which is closed to parents) and will have a recital in May.  I do know they are dancing ballet to "Lets go fly a kite" and tapping to "76 Trombones".  She seems to be enjoying it and can be found dancing around the house quite regularly.  She had a friend over last weekend and I thing they put on at least 10 "shows" for me!



That wraps it up for fall sports.   Come back tomorrow for more of my fall wrap-up.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Art for Kids

I like to get my kids to think creatively.  Thy don't always agree with me, but they will typically entertain my ideas without too much complaint.

A year or so ago, I pinned an idea where you cut an object or part of a picture out of a magazine, glue that little cutout to a piece of paper  and have your kids, yourself or whomever finish the drawing (here is a link to the blog I found it on).

Then, last spring on the blog Under the Sycamore, Ashley posted about how she had her kids take different types of pictures ~ one outside, one up close, and one with a background.  Then, she cut the pictures in half and had her kids finish the other side (link to her project here).

I loved that idea!  I had my kids gather up 3 of their favorite "things".
Sassy brought me a Hershey's chocolate bar, her copy of the book Divergent, and a softball.
Action brought me a lego, a football and a glass Coke bottle.
Smiley gathered up her Elsa doll, favorite stuffed puppy (she's had him since she was a baby) and her stuffed giraffe, named Pinkie Pie ~ but not to be confused with the little pony named Pinkie Pie.....

I took pictures of each of their objects, enlarged them to the sizes I wanted and printed them, using our printer at home.

Here are some of the finished products:


Smiley's frozen scene using a cutout of her Elsa doll:


Action's Coke bottle:


Sassy's Divergent book:


Smiley's puppy:


Action's football


Sassy's softball:


Smiley's Giraffe:

These little masterpieces kept the kids busy using their minds and fostered their creativity and I think they turned out really cute!