Saturday, November 29, 2008

Counting Down the Days

As a child Amy, Tim and I always made an advent chain, 25 links in all, and we would cut one off for each day in December as a way to count down to Christmas. Abby, Nate, Christian and I worked on ours last week because December starts on Monday!!!!Each link gets decorated with pictures that remind us of the season; snowmen, baby Jesus, stars, Christmas trees, Candles, snowflakes, ornaments, packages, etc. I was quite impressed with both Christian and Abby this year. Abby learned to write "ho, ho, ho" and Christian really knows how to make a decent snowman, including buttons and arms.

Abby really wanted to write her name on all of her links so no one else would cut hers off, but that's not quite how it works. We each take turns cutting links off and it doesn't really matter who's link you're cutting. Leave it to the middle child to try to make everything fair :)

Nate and I worked together, I would draw a tree and he would decorate it. It was an amazing sight to see three little people all engaged in a project for over 30mins.

Tada...there it is!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from our little turkey!

May each of you have a day filled with the blessings of family and friends and some yummy food too! We're in Illinois right now enjoying our time with the Chattertons. Get ready, we'll have tons of stories and pictures to share when we get back!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Little Reader

McKenna loves touch and feel books. They really are her favorite "toy."
You can sit her on the couch with one of her books and she's happy for the next half an hour. No other toy can entertain her for such a period of time. It's rather amazing. She turns the pages by herself and touches the different textures she sees on the page! I love seeing her pre-reading skills develop at such an early age. Doesn't she look so grown up?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A sneak peek...

...of things to come!

These pictures were taken by me, but Lori was taking the real pictures. The ones I CAN'T WAIT to see! Check out her blog and website and you just might get to see them before I do.
You see we're outta here, until next Monday that is! We're heading to Illinois to celebrate Thanksgiving with Ryan's family and to introduce McKenna to the Chatterton clan! I'm looking forward to our visit and I'm dreading the trip. I wish I could just somehow zap us to Illinois and back, but instead we'll be in the car for at least 14 hours. So pray that we have a safe and non-fussy trip. We've had so much going on that I've actually been doing a lot of blogging that I have scheduled to post while we're gone! So keep checking in, even though I won't be able to and have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with many blessings!

Trimming the Tree

" Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree. How lovely are your branches!"

Our tree is up!! Based on the voting that took place to the left side of this blog, I know that I am in the extreme minority of people who put their tree up before Thanksgiving. Growing up we always put our tree up the day after Thanksgiving and I would carry on that tradition but we've got a new tradition now of going to Illinois every Thanksgiving to spend time with the Chatterton side of the family. And since I'm always exhausted and have tons of laundry to do after that trip, it's nice to get the decorating done before Thanksgiving. I'm still not done decorating, but at least the tree is up.This little three year old took this project quite seriously this year. He would examine an ornament and then search the tree for just the right spot to hang it. He usually went with the same three branches that ended up with about 8 ornaments a piece.
Looking for just the right spot. Poor guy, he still doesn't realize that I rearrange the ornaments once he's done. Please tell me that the rest of you do that too?

McKenna was enjoying the tree trimming action once Christian gave her a jingle bell. I think she has a new favorite toy.

My little reader checking out a Christmas book. I also must add that she is wearing a 12-18 month outfit in this picture. My word, I can't believe it!

I remember rediscovering the joy and magic of Christmas when I started teaching. Kids definitely fill the air with excitement this time of year and I can easily find something to cherish in just about every moment. I got home from the grocery store last night and saw the some of our neighbors had Christmas lights up on their house. I went inside and told Christian we were going to go on an adventure. I took him out to the already warm car with no coat or shoes and (can't believe I'm confessing this) let him sit in the front seat of the car while we slowly drove down our street. We discovered about five of our neighbors with Christmas lights already blinking. He would point and squeal and study each display, rambling on and on about what he was seeing. So fun! I love this time of year!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Way to Go Emma!!!!!!!!!!

Emma has been working on this since the first day of school. It's been a little frustrating for her at times!! She's never been very happy about my extra practice sessions. She knew she could do it and today was the day! 40 math problems in one minute!!! WooHoo! We're so proud of you Em!

Tree Lighting

Friday evening was the start of the official Christmas season for us. We went to our town's annual tree lighting! This is SUCH and exciting event! We went a little early this year to check out some of the downtown shops we never seem to go to.

(Christian and Ellie doing a little Christmas window shopping)

It was sooo cold. I mean really cold. Christian didn't seem to notice at first. Especially since he was enjoying a Christmas cookie.

And his first candy cane of the season!

These are some of our friends that live in the same town that we do and it's been a tradition for all of us to go together to the tree lighting for years. I was disappointed that Ryan couldn't join us. His leg is really, really bothering him. But it was probably good that he stayed home with McKenna because it was FREEZING!

More sweet friends. (Anessa, Carter and Christian)

Isn't this the cutest picture? (Kate with her daddy!)

We all stood in the town square and sang Christmas carols. It was quite a picturesque moment until Christian started crying that his "toes itched." Really his feet were just so cold that his toes got the cold burning feeling. So I sat on the freezing cold pavement with him in my lap rubbing his cold toes. Thankfully he recovered when he realized that everyone was ringing their jingle bells and the countdown to light the tree begun.

I love this picture of Christian's face looking up at the huge Christmas tree all lit up!

And there it is! Not the best picture and of course my camera batteries died right after this picture :(
I got much better pictures last year. Click here to check out last years post.

Any Guesses?

Can anyone guess what we're going to attempt to do today?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Turkey Time

Just a few of the Thanksgiving crafts Christian and I have been working on! Check out my blogging friends Jenn's blog to find a million more cute ideas! Christian made one of these turkey puppets for Emma on Friday when she got her tubes in her ears. He was so excited to give it to her.

Our Gratitude Book

Christian and I worked on our Gratitude book this weekend! Ryan and I started this the year Christian was born. I bought a hardbound book filled with blank pages. I made a title page for our family and every year around Thanksgiving (I used to be insistent that we actually wrote in it on Thanksgiving, but I got over that quickly) we write in this book. Ryan and I each write several pages about what we're thankful for and the first few years I wrote down what I thought Christian was thankful for. This year was the first time he did his own page.

Christian wrote two pages in the Gratitude book this year. Please forgive the lame picture of Thomas the Tank Engine. It was a collaborative effort between Christian and I. Anyway, he came up with a rather amusing list of things he's thankful for. It includes dinosaurs which are apparently something very important in our lives.


This is just a snippet of what I wrote back in 2005 when Christian wasn't quite 6 months old: "This morning Christian woke me up at 5:45am with his precious squeals of joy. As soon as I heard his voice I was reminded of how thankful I am to have him in my life..."


This has been a very sweet tradition in our family and I know I'm going to love looking back at Christian and eventually McKenna's words of thankgiving over the years!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Emma's Big Day! UPDATED with Pictures

Emma before surgery!And Emma after surgery! She looks pretty comfy with her Popsicle doesn't she?

Emma is getting tubes put in her ears right now! She is also having her adenoids removed. I talked to her this morning and she didn't sound nervous at all! Her mom and dad are both with her. So pray for Emma if you think of it. Pray that these tubes are the answer for her. That they result in healing for her little ears! I'll give you another update tonight to let you know how things went!


Emma's surgery was a success. She was nervous, but the nurses quickly got her relaxed and she was giggling and joking around with them in no time. Amy was able to stay with her until she fell asleep. Em woke up in the recovery room by herself, but Amy said that didn't seem to bother her. Emma is home now resting with her daddy and Amy went back to work. So far Emma hasn't been sick at all, which is a huge answer to prayer! She's eaten a few soft things and will be heading to her dad's house this weekend! So thanks for praying. Emma is quite the little patient! Now lets just hope this is the end of the ear infections!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful for...

Cheaper Gas


Hand-me-downs (seriously, is that outfit cute or what?)

Afternoons with Emma

Memories (Christmas 2 years ago)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


That's how long my husband has been gone! He headed to Alabama to his company's headquarters last Wednesday and we are counting down the hours until he gets home tomorrow. Christian has done a great job of talking to him on the phone, which is a big deal because he hates to talk on the phone. Christian mainly wants to talk to him to tell him what a good boy he has been (even though that's not the whole truth) in the hopes of scoring a surprise when Daddy gets home. So it's been a long week, but we've kept ourselves busy with just a little Christmas decorating (I know, I know it's so early!)
Thank you to those of you who have asked how Ryan is doing post bone marrow harvest. Unfortunately, Ryan has had a complication. Something is just not right with his left leg. When Ryan originally woke up from surgery his left leg was in a horrible cramp. The entire leg from butt to heel. And that cramp has never really gone away. It was horrible and he was in tremendous pain for about two hours following the surgery. Prescription pain medications have helped, but it seems like something was injured during the procedure. The doctors at Georgetown Univ. Hospital are aware of it and Ryan might go back to have it checked out. Right now Ryan is trying to wait it out to see if it improves on it's own. He's been stretching and walking and those things seem to help. Taking some anti-imflamatory medication would probably help, but he can't take them because they interfere with how your blood clots and that's important for him right now. We think it's a muscular problem and it could be related to a previous hamstring injury. This is not a complication that is common. In fact I'm not sure anyone else has ever had it, so it really could be related to Ryan's previous injury. So keep praying for him. This has certainly been unexpected, but something we feel like we can straighten out with time.
We haven't heard anything about the patient and we don't expect to hear anything for about six more weeks. Not to worry - I'll let you know when we know something!


We got just a little bit of snow this morning. Just a dusting, but Christian, Nathan and Abby were glued to the window for almost an hour watching it come down. There was lots of squealing and dancing around. Oh the excitment!!

If you look carefully you can see a few flakes coming down and two excited Marshall kids peeking out the window. That's Abby on the left lifting up the blinds.

And so in honor of the first snow we read one of my favorite books. I love tradition and this one has become a "first snow" tradition. It's about a sweet little hedgehog who give his hat, mittens and scarf to his other animal friends in need, even though his house was blown away by a storm. His little animal friends end up giving him an "extreme home make-over" of sorts. It's a very sweet story. I thought Abby was going to cry. Even McKenna liked it because it also has "touch and feel" aspect to it! Great book!
He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. Psalm 147:16

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bits and Pieces of our Day

This post is going to be all over the place! You might get dizzy just reading it :)
1. I'm starting to figure out how to handle this sick little girl of mine. I thought I would share a few things that I've recently learned. Since McKenna has basically been on an antibiotic since August her digestive system is a mess. She has horrible diarrhea all the time. But this time I seem to have it relatively under control because of the two products above. I had no idea Yo Baby made a drinkable yogurt, but I give McKenna four oz of this in her bottle once a day and she literally cries when it's gone. She LOVES it and the active cultures in it help to maintain the good bacterial in her intestinal track. If you've got a baby under a year I would ask your doctor before giving them dairy. I never gave Christian dairy until he was a year old, but it's necessary with McKenna right now. I also nursed Christian for a year and McKenna isn't getting that benefit anymore because of all my asthma issues and the medicine I have to be on.
The other product is something I had never heard of called Culturelle. It is little capsules of active cultures (same thing that's in yogurt) in a powder form. I mix it in with her baby food and it really seems to be making a difference. They make this for adults too. So if you hate yogurt and are on an antibiotic this might be a great over the counter product for you!

2. I always get our prescriptions filled at our local pharmacy with a drive thru. (Don't you just love drive thrus?) But I went to Target for this latest antibiotic and look what they have!! I'm so excited! No more trying to get the last of the medication out of the bottom of the bottle. You just put the syringe in, turn the bottle upside down and wa la! Oh how the little things in life bring me such delight! Target just got a new pharmacy customer!

3. Don't hate me for this one...but look what I've been doing!! I'm almost done my Christmas shopping (I started last March :) and I was starting to forget what I had and who I still needed to shop for. So I started wrapping and I even broke my "no Christmas music before Thanksgiving" rule. Christian has learned to read his name because he examined the name tag on each present to see if it was for him. It's so cute, he identifies his name by the "c" in the beginning and the two "i's" in it.

4. Bless his heart, Christian really does try to do the right thing. This is our basement couch. The couch that the cushions are off of more than they are on. I never ever sit on this couch because the cushions are usually a house, a boat, a fort, you get the idea. So this has become a little frustrating to me and so the new rule is you must put them back at the end of the day. Christian thinks it's like doing a puzzle because the cushions have to fit a certain way. He's finally starting to figure it out! Not perfect but getting there.
The other thing that Christian is getting better about is clearing the table after he's done eating. He has to put his plate and cup in the sink. A few days ago I noticed that his plate and cup were ending up in the sink but there were no utensils in there. After a little questioning Christian told me that he just puts them back in the drawer after he licks them clean. Oh dear! He does try to do the right thing. Please don't be scared to come eat at my house. I think we've got this situation resolved.
5. One of Christian's newest activities is to pack boxes for Operation Christmas Child. We already turned in our boxes at church but he is really worried about "the kids with no toys" and he is constantly finding some container to fill with toys for these kids.

6. And of course I couldn't wrap up this post with out including a picture of at least one of my sweeties! This is "nice doggy!"

7. This is "ferocious doggy!"
8. Hope you're having a great weekend! Make sure you vote (only once) in the poll I put on the sidebar. I'm so curious to see what everyone does. I must say I was a little shocked when I read that one of my friends on facebook already has her tree up! Oh my word!