Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas at our house

Christmas has passed for another year. I have to say, that although in terms of material gifts this year may have been less in truly was the best Christmas ever in all the ways that really matter. Our oldest kids- Laci, Misti and Jordan all stayed the night Christmas Eve, so for the first time ever we had all 7 kids here in the morning when we woke up. It meant so much to us and made the day special. At one point, I had my back to the window and Craig said, turn around and look...It was snowing. It didn't snow long and didn't stick, but it just added a little something extra magical to the day. Christmas Eve we had most of the family over and a big spread of food and plenty of gifts. We are marching on towards 2008 counting our blessings!!

Here are some pictures from our festivities...

Christmas Eve
Ashlyne opening a gift from Uncle Jeff and Aunt Brooke, with the help of cousin Rhianne:
Brooke and I on the couch helping the little ones, Ashlyne, Rhianne, Laney and Jordanna opening gifts.
I tried to get a picture of Laney with her new Dora doll, but when I asked her to hold it up, this is what I

This is the moment that Jordanna and Cortney opened the gift they most wanted, Nintendo DS game systems from Uncle Jeff and Aunt Brooke. Priceless!
Christmas Day

The tree in the morning, surrounded by gifts...

Laney and Ashlyne opening gifts...

Cortney got a new pink Seahawks jersey..

And her autographed Sue Bird Storm jersey framed..

Ashlyne when she stopped jumping up and down and screaming over her new Barbie Jeep!

Laney lost in a sea of gifts...

Laney and Ash sitting in the Barbie Jeep when Dad finished putting it together.

And out riding in it in the backyard.
We hope that you had a magical Christmas and we wish you all the best that life may bring in 2008! Happy New Year!!

Our family :)

My friend Angela came over here the week before Christmas and we had a fun picture taking session...ok, not so fun as Laney was asleep when she got here, and if you know Laney, you know we don't wake her up, for good reason.
Not only did we have to wake her up, we had to change her clothes too. She was not a very happy camper! But since its so difficult to get all 9 of us together, we just went with it. Angela is an amateur photographer, and I think she did an amazing job and was so patient with us all.

We have had pictures of just the kids done before, but none since Laney has been born. And the last "family" picture was of just Craig, Me, Cortney and Jordanna after we first got together.
So... Here are our first ever FAMILY PICTURES!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours...

All my children..

Jordanna, Ashlyne and Cortney (Laney was not havin it at this point...)

Misti, Laci and Jordan

Me and Craig

The whole family...we bleed purple and gold! ;)


Laci- the last picture we had of her was from her Sophomore year of high school, she was overdue!

Jordanna, my first born, and I.

This is where this whole thing began...a girl met a boy..

Our creative shot:

The only time she wasn't crying or hiding her face...
Let me know what you think. :) And if you want some, let me know as well. Happy Holidays to all of you.

Long overdue Holiday pictures!

I will have a couple of posts probably to properly categorize these. Christmas is over (whew!) and New Years is tomorrow. It has been a blessed holiday for us so far. Our christmas was great, we had all the kids stay overnight Christmas eve which was incredible. Between Christmas Eve and Christmas day I believe just about everyone in our family was here at some point, with the exception of our family that is out of the area. We are counting our blessings, trying to find a home for all of the new gifts the kids received, and enjoying the time with family.
Here is a picture of Craig and I at his work Christmas dinner. It was a great time and a nice evening out.....
Here is a picture of our house with Christmas lights, and you can see our tree lit in the front window:

So with our vaulted ceilings in our front room, I was determined to get a big tree. I and the kids went one evening and came home with this 9.5 foot tree. It was a bit of a pain to get it in the house and up in the stand and straight. Then came the realization that we did not have enough lights for a tree this size. So Craig ran to the Rite Aid down the road and bought 4 more strands of lights. Every year, we get about a 6 ft douglas fir and we never use all of our ornaments. Well this year, we used every single ornament and the tree still looked bare. I was talking to Craig's Aunt Vivian and she said she had lots of extra ornaments. So at a family luncheon the following week, she brought us a bag of ornaments. Then the week before Christmas, a package arrived with instructions on the outside "open immediately". It was a package of ornaments from Craig's other aunt Gayle. :) So THANK YOU to Gayle and Vivian for helping to finish decorate our big tree. Now its so beautiful I don't want to take it down.
Here is a picture of Laney and Ashlyne next to the tree so you can sort of get an idea how huge it is!!!

Comin up next.... our first entire family pictures :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sleepin Cutie...

This is just too cute to not share...Last Friday (Black Friday)Laney fell asleep about 8pm in the chair in her room watching a movie. She hadn't napped that day and we had visited Santa that day and watched the bridge lighting in Sumner. It was a full day and if you look close you can even spy some candy residue on her face. ;-)
She was OUT for the count.

Friday, November 16, 2007

My little soccer player

So soccer season has ended, with our final game last Saturday morning. (woohoo no more early Saturdays in the cold!). We had the team party on Wednesday. The girls got adorable bobble head trophies and certificates. Coach Scotty gave each girl a special award. Our Ashlyne earned the "Most Inspirational Player" award!! :) I couldn't be more proud of her. Here she is accepting her award.... WAY TO GO ASHY!!!!!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Home Improvement Project #1

When we bought the house the family room looked like this on the far wall...the "tv" shelf was neat architecturally, but wouldn't fit our big ole tv. And I wasn't too fond of the burnt copper color. So on to our first home improvement project. We had Frank come over and cut the opening to fit our television and then framed it in. I also chose a new paint color "plum shade", and Craig started the painting last night. So here is the after:

We aren't done painting to the right of the shelf and fireplace, and we are still going to drill a hole through the right of the tv shelf to run the wires for the cable box and dvd player. But its getting there...

Welcome to November..

Wow!! November already! Its amazing how fast time flies, and it seems to be going faster and faster all the time. I signed up for a neat little email newsletter from that will send daily helpful holiday hints. When the first one arrived on Friday, I almost passed out..ha came with a countdown for how many days left until the holidays!!
So today, days left until ...Thanksgiving-17 days, Christmas- 50 days, and New Years-57 days!! Do you feel my panic?! We are having our housewarming party on Sunday the 18th and 4 days later is Thanksgiving. Apparently, I didn't think that one through really.

I have the girls started on their holiday wish lists, and I myself need to continue to plug away at unpacking and settling us in. I also need to arrange for a family picture, and get started on our holiday newsletter.

How are your holiday preparations coming along?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween 2007

So last night my girls morphed into a monkey, a witch, a spa girl and a cheerleader...Ashlyne- the cheerleader (I know, shocker, huh?!)
Cortney- a spa girl (all her idea, and it was the cheapest and easiest costume ever!)

Jordanna- a witch (costume from the box, she wore it when she was like 7...)

Laney was a monkey. Apparently a very unhappy monkey. Ask her what she was wearing she said "a bunky". :)

Cortney went to a party at her friend's, one of the girls from Maplewood. We took the other girls around the old neighborhood. It was cold but not too cold and they got more candy than any kids need...Hope you all had a very happy Halloween.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Curve balls and home runs

Somethings are going very well. The girls have all 3 started school now, and so far so good. They all like their teachers, and have met some new friends, including quite a few kids in our development. Even riding the bus is going well. So for that I'm grateful.

We are beginning to settle into the new house. Still have tons of unpacking to do, and things to buy, but we are adjusting to where things are, and to the house. Craig is not liking his drive to and from work, though.

Last Thursday in the very early morning (3am) we were awoke by screams and yelling. My immediate thought was that there was some sort of fight, domestic disturbance. It continued, sounding like it was right outside our house. Then I heard "I can't breathe! I can't breathe!" I knew this was not any type of domestic disturbance. Craig and I both had been looking out our bedroom window and couldn't see anything, but it was coming from out front of our house.
So I ran downstairs and out the front door in my jammies, and bare feet. There was a woman standing in the driveway of the house next door, and she was yelling and there were screams coming from the window up above the garage. The front door was open and there was smoke coming from there. The house was on fire and there was a 14 yr old girl trapped in the upstairs bedroom. I attempted to go in the house, but I only got about 2 ft and the smoke was so thick that I couldn't breath, so I went right back out. The girl was able to get out onto the roof and then Craig and another neighbor helped her down from there.
A window in the back of the house shattered and flames were coming dangerously close to my new house. The house that was burning is directly next door to us. The firefighters had us get our kids out and we all stood outside in the cold and rain, watching this house just burn. It is appearing it is a complete loss, I'm pretty sure the house was gutted. Thankfully everyone got out safely and our house survived in tact and with no damage!

Then Sunday morning, Craig's Mom had a massive stroke. When we got to the hospital, she was on life support and the damage was far too great and unrepairable. His Dad was waiting for the family to all get to the hospital and then he was going to have her taken off the life support. So that is what we did. She was gone within an hour of being removed from the life support machines. This was a horrible, painful thing to watch, and just so sudden. She passed surrounded by her husband, kids, a few of her grandkids, some of her foster kids, and other extended family. She did not suffer, and she went quickly. I guess that is the most any of us can hope for.

R.I.P. Patricia Smith...may you know PEACE now. I thank you for the son that you gave to me that is an amazing husband and a tremendous father.

Yes, life is full of ups and downs. Continually. Just when you get a home run, it throws you a curve ball and you struggle. I am so thankful for my family and for the blessings that He has given us. I'm thankful for the extended family I have that I know I can count on and lean on, who support us in our joy and in our struggles. We are blessed and for that I'm thankful.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

and my heart breaks...

Yesterday was the hardest day I've had (we've all had) in a very long time. The end of an era at Maplewood Elementary.
We arrive at school and I am watching Ashlyne get in line with her friends. She has an umbrella (its not currently raining), so that was the cool thing and all the kids wanted to stand under her umbrella (ay ay I turn my head in the direction of the older girls, and I see Cortney embraced in a hug with a mother of fellow Maplewood student. I knew she was crying and I thought, "oh no..already?" I knew in that instant what I had tried to deny....this was going to be a very very hard day.
I came back to the school to pick them up about 20 minutes early. As I stood on the blacktop on the playground, I could see Cortney in her classroom. There was a line of classmates lined up to hug her, and I could see her wiping her eyes. When the doors opened, a few girls came out with tear streaked faces, that I knew were in her class.
The kindergarten teacher opened the door and motioned to me that we had tears today. Then when Ashlyne appeared in the doorway, tears pouring down, I just buckled. I couldn't contatin it myself, as much as I wanted to be strong for my girls so that maybe it would make them feel better. I knew that her heart was hurting and that killed me. She ran to me and I pulled her into my arms and we just cried for a few minutes. Then I tried to pull it together and told her it was ok, that it was going to be ok. She will still see her friends at soccer, and we will still come down for PTA events. (carnival, bingo, etc.) She said her friend Gillyan was so sad too, and wouldn't let go of her. (literally, was hugging her and wouldn't let her go.. )
I looked to the kindergarten door, and there was Gillyan standing with the teacher and she was crying, clutching a little wad of kleenex. I hugged her too and told her she would see Ashlyne at soccer tomorrow and we would get them together to play.
I finally get Ashlyne gathered to go find the other two. We walk over to the the other side of the school. Cortney finally emerges and she is sobbing, and she is flanked by like 5 other girls who are all sobbing. I hug her and I tell her and them that we aren't going that far away, we will still see them!
This is repeated when I find Jordanna. I feel just awful, not only are my girls heartbroken but so are their friends. And I feel completely responsible. My heart is so heavy. We make our way to our car and by this time, I'm crying again. The four of us cried all the way home. Cortney says to me, "This is the hardest thing I've ever had to do, leave my friends..." I acknowledge her pain, and I say I understand and I'm sorry that this is so hard for them. I am sad too, and so is Dad. BUT...we are all going to be ok and I promise you are going to make new friends..I promise.
There were sooo many tears yesterday here. One of the worst things as a parent is when your child is hurting. It tears your heart out.
Yesterday our house closed. The deal is done, we are officially new homeowners. I was a bit miffed last night, I said to Craig, um, shouldn't we be celebrating and be happy? Where's my steak dinner and champagne?
Instead I was nursing broken hearts with fishsticks and tater tots and hot fudge sundaes from McDonalds...
It is going to be ok. We are going to love the new house and we will all make new friends. Its going to be ok.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

We are buying a new house!!!

BIG NEWS!!! We are buying a new house!! We began our search around the beginning of September and we found a house we fell in love with. We put an offer in, and it was accepted! Just Tuesday we had the home inspection and when that went well, we signed off on that, and our agent put up the sold sign!!
We are scheduled to close on October 12, taking posession by the 15th. So we are packing and making all the necessary arrangements. This is going to be a huge move for us, as the girls will be switching schools and that is a first for our family! They've been at the same school since they started kindergarten. So its a new neighborhood, new school district, and a new school. BIG CHANGES!
So here is the new house! Its in a gated community (not a huge community, but nice size). There is a park with a full basketball court about 3 blks away, in our community.
This is part of the backyard and our patio.

This is the pond and waterfall in the far corner of the yard.

Sunken tub in the master bath. :-)

Backyard- completely fenced!!! All it needs is a big playtoy! (ok, and some fertilizer, but I trust that Craig will be on that!)

Family room, gas fireplace

My gorgeous new kitchen!

We are all really excited! We are sad to be leaving Puyallup and Maplewood though. The girls are apprehensive about starting a new school and meeting lots of new people, and wearing a uniform everyday (new school has a uniform dress code). But they are excited about a new house, a yard to play in again, and a neighborhood that they can go play in!
Other than that, things remain crazy busy around here. Soccer is going well for Ashlyne, she still isn't liking all the running, but she is enjoying it and seems to be learning a lot.
Volleyball signups were this week, and Cortney and Jordanna are both playing. Their first practice is this Saturday. At the same time as Ashlyne's soccer game of course! lol...
Craig is very busy at work and I am trying to do the mom thing, and pack up our house and make all the arrangements... :)
Have a great week everyone!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

And a new year begins..

I apologize for my lack of posts. Its been busy here, as usual, and with a few extra things thrown into the mix. We are in the midst of house shopping and hope to soon have chosen something. Some big changes are in store for our family, stay tuned!!

Here are pictures from the first day of school. Ashlyne started kindergarten, Jordanna began 5th grade and Cortney is a big 6th grader this year! So far so good, they all like their teachers and are excited about a new year.

Ashlyne began soccer today as well. Today was her first practice and they have their first game on Saturday already! We got to go shopping for new cleats, shin guards, soccer socks, and shorts! I wish this shot has turned out a litle more clear, but its a good action shot none the less! She looks pretty intent on getting that ball eh??

This weekend kicks off football season for us! Tomorrow night our family will be at the HS Football game and Saturday is a big UW vs. Boise game that Craig and I are going to! WELCOME FALL!!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

big girl :)

So last week brought some exciting changes for Laney (and all of us really). On Monday we took down her crib and put up her "big girl" toddler bed. And the next day, we took away her binky for good, and her bottle at bed time that she still had. Yep, cold turkey. It was over due.
It has actually gone so much better than I expected and it could have been so much worse. She had never even tried to get out of her crib, which is odd because she is a monkey everywhere else.
It was an adjustment, but she has done really well with it. I tell her it is time for bed and she whines a bit, but I just pick her up, put her in her bed and say goodnight. Some nights she whines a little bit, but within a few minutes she is quiet and we don't hear another peep out of her! That is amazing!! And she hasn't even mentioned her binky or bottle since the first day or two. So obviously she was ready- it was just a matter of me bucking up and doing it. :)
Now if I could just get her to check out the potty...

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Boat Races 2007

This past weekend was Boat Race Weekend in the Tri-Cities. This has become an annual trip for Craig and I. Last year and this year we have stayed with our friends GR & Jenn that live in Kennewick. Its been a nice time to catch up, hang out and see some hydros! This year was especially nice as we were able to meet the 2 new additions to their family- a new puppy Lola and their son Ace. :) I was a big time slacker with pictures this weekend, I am pretty sure I was just preoccupied enjoying my kid free adult time! So there are only a few pictures....
Craig and I enjoying "Rum Barrels" at the Cedar restaurant on the Columbia River.The sun setting over the Columbia. Taken from the patio at the Cedar.
We were closer to the boats this year than we have ever been! It was almost scary how close we were...

Laci, GR and Tyler enjoying the sun and boats...

I'm burnt and hot...ha ha
and so is Craig...