Sunday, November 29, 2015

November 2015

As most people with children realize, the month of November started with day light savings time change.  No matter how many times we psyched the kids up that they get an extra hour of sleep, they were all still up at the crack of dawn.  Ha ha.  As November comes to an end, the girls are getting up closer to 8 on the weekends.  Jake on the other hand.... still the crack of dawn :)

Claire and Grace really took off with their Girl Scout troops and have each had a couple of events this month.  The first weekend in November, Pete and I took a road trip to a Casino in southern Indiana.  We stopped at Columbus outlet malls and started some holiday shopping.  We got home late Saturday and immediately got things ready for Grace's birthday party. Her birthday party was at a local YMCA where the kids swam and played for 90 minutes and then we had snacks, cupcakes, and presents in a room afterwards.

In the middle of November, I ended up in the ER with severe abdominal pain.  After multiple scans and bloodwork, I was diagnosed with an ulcer.  I took a week of triple antibiotics and seem to be all better.  There is occasional residual pain from time to time, but completely bearable.  

Claire celebrated the sacrament of Reconciliation on November 14th.  She was very nervous but when she was done speaking with the priest, she came over to Pete and I and said "Yay, now I have a clean heart!"  God bless her...

We decorated for Christmas this month which was really fun to do since our renovation this year.  It was exciting to see how it would all look when we were done and we love it.  We also hosted our 5th Annual Friendsgiving.  We had such a great time with some of our closest friends.  We laughed so hard throughout the night and it just always feels like a great way to kick off the holiday season.

Thanksgiving was quiet over here in Ohio.  We had the pleasure of celebrating with the Vandervaart family on Wednesday evening.  Due to family conflicts and travel plans, Thanksgiving day was our family of five, Tim, Kimmy and Kristen.  We enjoyed the weather outside, played games, and watched football.  It was a smaller Thanksgiving than we are used to, but we loved every minute of it.

For the first time since I can remember, I did not go out and shop on Black Friday.  There's something to be said about online shopping and the comfort of your own home.  On black Friday, we met up with a couple family friends and took the kids bowling.  The kids had a really good time and it was the first time that I saw my children bowl without the metal slide.  It was a slow process to watch the bowl slowly go down the lane, but I appreciated their efforts.

We ended the month with a rainy Saturday.  We went to a local breakfast joint and then went to see "The Good Dinosaur" with the kids.  It was a cute movie, but Claire cried a couple of times and at one point, Grace turned and asked me if we could go home.  It wasn't as fun-loving, free-spirited as the previews make it seem.

Here are some pictures from our month of November:

Family movie night

My mom came to visit and brought the usual multiple packs of donuts... :)

The following pictures are from Grace's birthday celebration

Claire's reconciliation

Aunt Beth and Uncle Matt bought Grace horseback riding lessons.  She is her usual shy self when it comes to shouting commands at the horse.  We practice throughout the week to have her say "Walk On, Sandy!" but she is silent come the next lesson.  She has had a really good time with the lessons!

Decorating for Christmas

5th Annual Friendsgiving

Grace's Daisy troop learned about honesty and fairness.  They toured a local police department and then we went to the library and read books about lying and being fair.



Family breakfast and movie

More from Grace's horseback riding lessons:

More from Christmas decorating:

Happy Holidays from the Vandervaart family!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

October 2015

My mom came to visit for a week at the beginning of October.  We had a great time watching football, talking, and she and Grace worked on reading a lot!  She read my mom "Cinderella" which was her library book that was 94 pages long!  She loves to read!

The first weekend we had two little girls spend the night for a big 5 person sleepover.  It went really well, but all 5 were extremely tired the next day.

The second weekend in October, Pete and I took a little getaway and went up to Cleveland for the weekend.  We went to see Garth Brooks on Friday night.  Saturday we went to the casino and played Texas Hold 'Em.  We had a nice dinner and really enjoyed relaxing.

We did many fall festivities this month.  We carved pumpkins, went a pumpkin patch, and planted pumpkin seeds in the back yard. 

Claire is an official Brownie.  She really enjoys her troop and the activities they do as well as lessons they learn.  This month, there were 2 meetings and we took the troop on a nature hike.  She continues to be very well-behaved at school.  She got on purple ("Star Student") 5 times so now she gets to eat lunch with the teacher.  We had a parent/teacher conference and the teachers only concerns were talking at appropriate time and controlling her emotions better.  Neither of these came as a shock to Pete or I.

Grace is an official Daisy.  We had the first troop meeting at the end of this month and she really likes her troop.  I'm really excited the girls are involved in Girl Scouts.  Grace is obsessed with reading and homework!  We had her parent/teacher conference and her teacher was very impressed.  She read her teacher a Level 8 book.  They want them to be reading Level 4 at the end of kindergarten.

Jake's behavior is starting to improve, but still day by day.  We are really enjoying watching him grow into a young man.  We signed him up for a class at the YMCA that meets on Saturdays for 45 minutes.  They go over different skill sets of different sports and its interactive.  He really enjoys it.

Here are some pictures from our month of October:

Pictures from the sleepover

Pete and I up in Cleveland at Garth Brooks concert

I took the kids to Fazoli's one Sunday and we had a great time goofing off!

Glow in the dark pumpkin wands from Grammy and Opa

The following are pictures from our visit to the pumpkin patch

The following are pictures from pumpkin carving.  None of the kids loved the feeling of the inside of the pumpkin but they had fun carving.

One Saturday, the Vandervaart family came over and we had dinner, played games and carved pumpkins.

Our three biggest blessings

Claire and her Brownie troop on the nature hike

Silly girls

Jake LOVES corn on the cob

Poor Jake was wrestling with a buddy and his head hit the end table just right.  He had to get three stitches in the back of his head.  He tolerated very well.  I was so proud of him.

Jake in his "Marshall" Halloween costume (Paw Patrol character)

We hired someone to trim our trees.  We had a different vision of "trim"

We met up with the Koutsis and Farnsworths for a fundraiser for the YMCA.  An evening with this bunch is always enjoyable.

(Claire was Evie, Grace was Mal (both characters from Disney movie "Descendants") and Jake was "Marshall" from Paw Patrol)

 We really enjoyed trick or treating with our neighbors.  The kids had a great time and it is always enjoyable to walk around with adults!