Friday, December 26, 2008


We had a very fun Christmas! The air seemed thick with excitement and closeness all day long. We spread the presents out throughout the day (they don't know any better yet), and this worked really well for us. They got to play with their gifts and enjoy them as they unwrapped them. We actually had to rush through some at the end of the day because we still had so many left!
Here is Caleb checking out the remote control train we had set up the night before.
Kellan and Ethan opening a gift together
All four unwrapping the 'big' present.
and Aidan checking out his new Transformer.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Too Cute Times Two

Icicles on our icicles,,,

It is REALLY cold today. The sign at church says -1, but with the wind chill factor it is -25 at least. I have never before experienced cold like that. And I hope never to again! (ha) Seriously, this is some kind of cold for a girl from So Cal. Have I mentioned I am SO SO thankful for my attached garage?

We had an ice storm a couple of days ago, leaving the most beautiful glistening ice everywhere. It looks incredibly spectacular to see ice formed over every branch of a tree like that. Gorgeous. Wish I had a better picture to do it credit. These were taken from inside the house. Brrr...

Oh yeah... a few mishaps in the last 24 hours... Our automatic van door stopped working, making it very difficult to load/buckle kids in, one of our front house windows cracked (because of the cold? That's all we can figure.), one of our bathroom faucets stopped working, and we encountered a bat (yes, eeks, a bat!) in our basement last night. Weston got it out (with a butterfly net), but the emotional damage was done. I'm not sure when I'll be able to go into the basement alone again. And that's where the laundry is. Gulp.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


How can you not love this time of year? (Okay, forget about the "how can I possible get everything done in time" feeling for just a moment.)
We, even Daddy who may occasionally roll his eyes at mommy's 'traditions', love our daily advent activities. Calendars, candles, songs, baking, lights, crafts, festivities, daily advent presents from Granny B and Grandpa Alan, and more. Here are a few pictures just to give you a glimpse.





My favorite moment so far? Last Sunday Caleb came to big church with us since we had nursery duty and had to be there for the full 4 hours that morning. When we sang "O Come O Come Emmanuel", Caleb's face lit up and he got so excited because he knew the words (at least the chorus, anyway). It'd been the song we'd been singing as a family the week prior. I LOVED hearing him sing his heart out as he stood next to me in the pew. (yes, you Californians, we have pews)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Just for fun...

Kellan (L) and Ethan are picking up more and more words.
-Lately, they love to call out to Caleb and Aidan, "Guys!" Must have heard mommy say that a lot, I'm afraid.
-In the Drive-Thru at Taco Bell, one of them requested, clear as a bell, "cheesy roll".
-Ethan recently confirmed that he wanted more "applesauce" with a loud clear pronunciation of the word.
-I was reading a chunky board book to Kellan yesterday, all about trucks. I would turn a page, read the technical name of a truck, such as "digger", and Kellan would say "truck". The next page was "Cement Mixer", and Kellan replied, "truck", and so on, all the way through the book. It was pretty cute.

And lastly, to further illustrate Aidan's "I always have to be right, or at least acquiesce on my own terms" personality... He and Caleb were chugging down their milk at dinner the other night (not a contest we encourage, mind you), and upon finishing, Caleb exclaimed, "I beat you!" to Aidan. Aidan, with his gruff little reply, brow furrowed and lower lip stuck out, responded vehemently, "NO, you beat ME!"

Monday, December 1, 2008

First Snow

We've had a few days with a few snowflakes falling here and there, but Sunday morning we woke up to a definite snow cover. And this AM it was even more beautiful. What is even more beautiful? The fact that we have an attached garage. This California girl is SO very thankful for that.

After a very lengthy process of digging out snow boots/clothes and seeing just what sizes I had, Caleb and Aidan were very excited to play outside, and even to shovel the sidewalk with their new snow shovels.

Side note on the snow clothes: I was thrilled to find that I had snow outfits for all the boys in just the right sizes. I'd picked up a pair here and there, at a yard sale, the thrift store, etc (even found brand new Stride Rite matching snow boots for the twins many months ago for a dollar each!), but I hadn't paid too much attention to my assortment of sizes. The only thing I was lacking was boots for Aidan. He should have had Caleb's from last year, but I bought Caleb's big so he could wear them for two years. Guess that's not such a smart strategy when you've got kids so close in age. But, I stopped by the Kids Consignment store today, and found some great ones for Aidan. Ironic too, that when I got home and looked at them more closely, I noticed that the previous owners name was written inside them; Aidan. Crazy, eh? God sure takes care of us, even in the smallest details!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A few things I love about this picture...

1. My sweet twin boys look kind of like thugs.
2. It is not a great picture, but it reflects a normal moment of a typical day. (they are tired, and watching "Praise Baby")
3. Their shoes. They are not even theirs. They both have on a pair of Aidan's. Let me explain a bit. Kellan(R) has developed a fascination for shoes recently. (Sound like anyone else? Aidan.) He wants to be wearing some pretty much at all times. Most of the time they are not even his. He just heads over to the shoe basket, or the closet, selects some, and puts them on. He has actually gotten pretty good at putting them on, which is a definite perk. It only gets frustrating when he trips over some big clonkers (daddy's or mine) or whines when one falls off every few minutes. Anyway, he's convinced Ethan to conform lately, and this picture shows that.
4. Ethan's handheld game. It belongs to Caleb, but Ethan latched onto it this particular hour. Had to have it 'on' and kept pretending to play. Love how they mimic their big brothers, even when C and A are not around.
5. Kellan's hat. Yep, like Aidan, he also loves to wear hats.
6. Kellan's thumb in his mouth. Haven't really thought about how/when I will ever attempt to break that habit, but it sure is sweet for now. And it sure pacifies them when they are sleepy.
7. The adorable way they are leaning into each other, absolutely comfortable invading each other's space, because hey, they shared a womb for 9 months.

And one thing I don't like about this picture... My babies are barely even babies anymore! I can't believe they are 20 months old!!!!! And huge!!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

So Thankful

God has richly blessed us beyond what we could ever imagine. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey Cookies

I started making these cookies with Caleb when he was tiny. It was fun to have Aidan really be able to participate this year.

Of course eating them was their favorite part!

Hope your Thanksgiving preparations are going smoothly!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Halloween Heroics

Weston here, finally writing to pass on a story from Halloween.

After trick-or-treating with all four, we dropped the twins off at home and I took the two older boys for a few additional houses. On one porch we ran into some neighbors who have boys the same age as ours. As I chatted, the boy about Caleb's age asked to see his "Jango Fett" gun, and Caleb being the sweet natured kid, which will come back to haunt (Halloween pun fully intended) him here in a minute. The courteous young boy looked over the gun in admiration until another, slightly less courteous child, somewhere in between Caleb and Aidan's age, entered the fray. He too wanted to see the coveted gun and Caleb was glad to give him a turn.

I told Caleb and Aidan it was time to head back and Caleb politely asked for the gun back several times with no success, and the final inquiry soliciting a response of "I like it so it's mine!" from the increasingly unruly child. I was trying to encourage Caleb to continue the polite approach, as I didn't feel totally comfortable stepping in, not knowing this kid, and his mother having just ran a couple houses down to make sure their door was locked.

Enter Aidan. Aidan, having no fear of the older, though not necessarily that much bigger, boy marched right up to him and said "You need to give it back, that's Caleb's!" After a few more exchanges of stubborn phrases from both, Aidan seemed to see he was getting no where, even with the more forceful approach and just grabbed the gun. A tugging match ensued as Aidan continued to yell dictums as Caleb's advocate.

Of course, I stood there, motionless, telling myself I still didn't want to intervene because I didn't know the kid, but it was more like the way we tend to get sucked into a good car chase on tv, you know the outcome, you know it's going to end badly, and yet, you watch.

The older boy managed to yank the gun out of Aidan's hand. At this point, our neighbors, friends with the boy's parents, felt obligated to step in and tried to resolve the situation. The boy dodged them both and headed around behind the large porch bench. As the closed in on him, Caleb went in as well, accidentally kicking a power cord that was attached to a large, plastic light-up pumpkin up on the porch wall. Noticing the falling decor, the mom of our courteous neighbor boys (who had been in hot pursuit of the ruffian) dove to the floor in attempt to save the bright orange pumpkin. Sadly, despite sacrificing herself, the pumpkin hit and the light went out. Fortunately, the distraction gave her husband a chance to snag the gun and return it to Caleb.

I snapped out of my coma and apologized profusely as we made an exit that was apparently a few minutes too late. I did take Caleb back with a replacement bulb for the pumpkin and hopefully all is well there. What still sits so well with me though is Aidan. It's one thing to stand up to others and stand up for yourself, but to see him stand up so strongly and passionately for his older brother was exciting. Just goes to show they're never to young to encourage them to enact justice on behalf of others, especially family.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Caught the Geocaching Bug

We just recently discovered Geocaching and are completely hooked! When Joy was here we attempted our first cache, but we didn't even have a GPS system, and we didn't do so hot. In fact, we even got snowed on. However, a friend loaned us a handheld GPS, and we logged our first find last Friday. Today, we found 4, but still got stumped on one (it was really cold and we had to make it back in time for Caleb to catch his bus).

Okay, I know some of you are way confused about now. You can check out for more info. But basically, "Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment." When I first looked it up and saw that there were over 230 caches hidden within 20 miles of here, I knew we'd stumbled upon a great (free) family activity. Too bad we are heading into winter though...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Peoria Zoo

We had a lot of fun visiting the Peoria Zoo last week while Grandma Joy was here. It was small, but nice, and the vibrant fall colors were unbelievable. It was the perfect day to visit also, because it was the last of our "warm" fall days. We went on Wednesday, and didn't even need a sweatshirt. On Friday it actually snowed a bit.

The one the best finds of the day however, was this INCREDIBLE playground outside the zoo. It was like a child's dream playground deluxe. Heck, even I was dying to play in it! Awesome!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

30 years old today!

Happy Birthday Weston!
We celebrated a bit while Weston's mom was here, including a fun family dinner at "Coconuts", a cookie bar cake, and Dollar Tree self-selected gifts from C and A. Then last Saturday night, he was "kidnapped" by a bunch of the guys and they grabbed dinner at Red Robin and saw a movie in the Quad Cities. He got to work to find his office "tin-foiled" this morning, and then enjoyed Pizza Hut with us for lunch. Guess what is his choice for dinner? Yep, you guessed it, more pizza! We'll open cards, and one last gift, and enjoy brownies tonight at small group. I love how birthdays cause us to take the time to celebrate those who mean so much to us!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Adorable Pray-ers

I just ADORE how Kellan and Ethan hold their hands when they pray. To give credit, it was Ethan who started it, but Kellan quickly followed suit. Had to take a picture to share the sweetness. Kellan's PJ's have the green trim.

Monday, November 10, 2008

More Caleb Moments

Weston said that the other day as he and Caleb were outside waiting for the bus, Caleb looked up at the sky, and yelled as loud as he could, "Hi God!"

Last week,in Sunday School, Caleb was learning about being a servant. I was so impressed at his application of the lesson that night. We were getting out of the van, and we had a student staying the night with us, and Caleb spoke up all excited, "Mommy, can I please carry Ali's bag to house? I want to serve her." Then he said to Aidan (as he pushed past him in his haste to get out), "excuse me, I have work to do." It was very, very sweet, and totally unprompted by me. He has been so enthusiastic lately about learning his verses, and taking to heart and mind the stories he is learning. His Sunday School teacher even sought us out recently to tell us how great he's been doing!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Caleb's "Good Manners"

Had to record this for posterity, as it cracked me up.

Last week I was sitting in the van with all 4 boys in front of the church. I was debating (out loud) whether to go around back to wait for Weston or stay where I was. Caleb spoke up in a rather demanding tone, "I wanna pull around back", and proceeded to repeat it several times, increasing his annoying whine each time. I responded, "Caleb, you are not being very polite." (Hey, I don't know exactly why those are the words that chose to come out, but they were.) He got a little quiet, and then piped up in a sweet voice, "Mommy, I like your shirt.". Now that was polite!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween 2008 Slideshow

Because I just couldn't narrow it down to 5 pictures.

Halloween 2008

Can I just reiterate how much I love living in a small town? We first went to our church's 'Trunk or Treat' (which was very crowded), and then enjoyed trick-or-treating on our amazing street. Tons of kids, almost every house with a porch light on, many adults even in costume handing out goodies, neighbors being so neighborly... Our neighbor on our south even brought the boys huge Halloween cookies since he was not going to be home to hand out treats. It was tons of fun, and if you live in CA, you probably can't even imagine the quaintness.

Ethan was the star of the night. He LOVED trick-or-treating! He was SO enthusiastic, and wanted to walk by himself, and climb all the stairs alone, and he did great. Kellan, on the other hand, was having a bit of an attitude problem. Although, to his credit, he might have been overheating, because once we took off his hood, he did much better. Caleb was pretty tired (because he was so excited he didn't nap that afternoon, and he really needed it), but he was super polite and still had a great time. Aidan was pretty enthusiastic and charming as well.

Enjoy the pics of our Star Wars Halloween! Kellan as an Ewok
Ethan as Yoda
Aidan as Darth Vader Caleb as Jengo-Fett (I realize that if you are not into SW you probably won't even realize who this is!)

Okay, I will have to add a slide show. I have just too many cute pictures to post.