Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas 2015

Regan and I were out shopping when we saw our first Christmas tree in our city.  
When we got back we spent a couple hours in the afternoon watching a Christmas movie together as a family. Hudson is not big on movies, but he sat through this one.  It might have something to do with the fact that Charlie had him pinned down ;)
The kids had more fun opening more presents :)  this notebook was fitting...we just had to explain the "pie" part :)
Benjamin opening a washcloth
This gift has been sitting under the tree for a while and the kids have been begging to open it.  They were so happy that they finally got to open it.
Presents came from Mamaw and Papaw.  I was instructed to put them under the tree for at least 2 hours before they opened them :)  
So when you live overseas, most of the time Christmas presents are opened and then talked about and thank yous said via Skype at a later time, but every once in a while you get to open presents on Skype.  So the following pictures are from our Christmas with Mamaw and Papaw...
Hudson loved his shirt (very cute colors)
Katherine was more than happy about her science experiment book (more pictures to follow)
Lauren loved this shirt as well (very her)
Regan got Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea. (my girl who loves to read...a perfect gift)
Benjamin also got some books (he is looking forward to reading The Swiss Family Robinson because he said anything with a treehouse has to be cool)
I got a cute long sleeve cat shirt
Jonathan got a Monopoly card game

Benjamin made several Star Wars ships and hung them from his ceiling.  They really want to see the movie, but it doesn't come out here until January 13th!  I guess they have to wait. 
Ok....and here are the "pictures to follow" Katherine was all about the science experiments!
Every time I turned around she was reading a new one and saying, "Oooooo, I wander what will happen!"  I told her that I think the title was 365 experiments so that you could do one each day....she didn't believe me and just kept going :)
I love that she has a curious mind and wants to find out what things will do. (This one was by far the coolest of the ones she did that day...she did 5 of them in one day)
Hudson had his first go at finger painting.  He kept asking wear the brush was, but once he realized what he was supposed to do there was no holding him back (see below)

We finally made some Christmas cookies (on Christmas Eve) and again, this was Hudson's first time to make them.
He really didn't get the idea of using Christmas shapes at Christmas, but that's ok.  He did choose a tree finally.
These two always go a little heavy on the sprinkles.
Benjamin used icing after the fact this year.  Normally, we just do sprinkles, but I had icing leftover from the cakes.
Regan did a mix...some sprinkles and some with icing.  She is always very precise on where each sprinkle or dot of icing is placed.
Oh yes, he got to eat one cookie and this is what he looked like afterwards :)
Katherine wanted me to get a picture of her snowman before she ate it.
That night we exchanged family gifts.  We gave Ayi a panorama picture of me and the kids on top her her house in her village up in the mountains.
Christmas morning!!!  This was their big gift and not the reaction I was expecting.  I videoed the whole thing....They opened their presents and finally realized what the "paper" said.  They were so calm and reserved..."Really? We get to go to Disneyland?" Then Jonathan and I open our "tickets" and there is a second ticket that says we have hotel reservations....then they start screaming and jumping around "We get to stay in a hotel!!!"  Now that the shock has worn off, they talk about their Disney trip coming up all the time :)
Benjamin and all his many expressions
Hudson so happy...he wants Santa to come every day :)
Regan enjoying everything
Katherine beyond excited
Lauren in disbelief that she got the doll Molly (and the rest of us lost some hearing when she opened the box, too)
I tried out my new cookie cutter that I got.  It was fun.
Jonathan had a Monkey birthday from his 5 little monkeys!  They all made the cake.  I felt bad that his present got lost in the mail and his other present I hid a little too well (still haven't found where I hid it), but very thankful that family and friends sent him some gifts.  Happy 35th!
Some new dress shirts! (notice the thumbs up) :)
new music!
And stuff for cheese dip, Velveeta and Rotel!  (mmmm, I'm excited about this gift, too) :)
I believe these girls have more dolls than they need!  This is how I found them when I went to tuck them in one night.  I will say that most of these have been bought with their own money and they do play with them all ALL the time.  I was never a doll kind of girl, but I love watching them play with their dolls :)
We had another Christmas party.  All the kids got a gift.
Lauren doesn't want to take these off
This is one of Hudson's favorite girls....haha!
We then had another Christmas party at our house...complete with a gingerbread house!
We were so glad that many were able to hear the Christmas story and we have found that a candy cane version of spoons is very popular and very fun at a party :)  FYI- when people really get into the game the candy canes can be broken in half...hmmm.  I might have to rethink the game for next year ;)  Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Well, we are learning how to live life with Jonathan being down to one hand.  We are fortunate that he broke his right arm (since he is left handed) and that he broke his arm at the start of our family Christmas break.  While that has been helpful, it being our Christmas season is also one of our busier times, so as the title states, we've been a little exhausted. The kids have all been HUGE little helpers with everything, from helping in the kitchen, to opening bottles, helping with laundry, to cleaning house.  I cannot complain one bit!  Hudson and Lauren both got some Play-Dough for Christmas.  All the kids spent some time making little creations.  Lauren had an entire pan of food for us to choose from...candy, jiaozi, and ice cream.
 Benjamin made dinosaurs.  I kind of felt bad smushing it back into the container.
 The kids (minus Hudson because he couldn't do it) all enjoyed grossing Daddy out by bending their thumbs behind their hands.  It gave Jonathan too many flashbacks from his arm being broken and the kids thought it was really funny that they could all do it and J could not.
 The kids opened a few more presents.  This time from Grandmommy.  Benjamin got a dinosaur, which he enjoyed making crazy scenes with and playing with Hudson and making him laugh.
 Katherine got some mini cake tins that were in the shape of a bunny.  She thought it was absolutely hilarious that it had a bunny head and "bunny booty"  We haven't had time to make the cakes yet, but we will eventually :)
 I just love all the many expressions this girl has.  She also got a stuffed animal (Dori fish from Nemo)
 Regan was beyond excited about this 2,000 piece puzzle!  The biggest she has ever done is 1,000.  She is ready for the challenge!
 Hudson opened a really cool Lego helicopter.  He was so funny trying to hide what he got so that no one could see.  I wish I had video of all of them opening their gifts because they were all pretty funny.  I think they are just a LITTLE excited :)
 One of our good friends went into the hospital the same day that Jonathan broke his arm.  He was in ICU and we weren't sure he was going to make it.  He had a seizure, lost all ability to move any of his limbs, couldn't talk, or swallow.  Lots of prayers went up for this kid and he has improved drastically!  He still cannot swallow and has a feeding tube, but is regaining movement in his limbs. PTL!
 I was really impressed with Regan and Katherine in the hospital. Although he couldn't talk, it was obvious that he understood what we were saying.  Regan help his hand the entire time.
 Katherine was so concerned about all of his drooling and that his clothes would get wet.  She held a bag of tissues and made sure she wiped the drool every single time it came pouring out of his mouth. One time it got all over her hand and she said it was ok, she could just wipe it off.  The compassion that poured out of her heart was really moving.
 And then there is Gracie...at least she doesn't climb the tree.  She has, however, opened a few presents unintentionally (and she actually took one small one and put it under the couch)

 Jonathan opened this pancake skillet....5 little monkey pancakes coming up for our 5 little monkeys :)
 This has got to be one of my favorite Christmas photos so far this year.  It is so them!  Regan has her hat perfectly placed, Katherine looks like she should be in a Dr. Seuss book, Benjamin paling it cool, Lauren standing just like her biggest sister but not paying attention to her hat, and Hudson just being as cute as he can be.
 These two love each other so much!  This was their non smiling picture ;)
 One of Lauren's friends at our Christmas party.
 Playing games and having all kinds of fun together at the party.  My kids thought it was absolutely hilarious that one of the girls decided to try the cat food to see what it tasted like.
 We played a gift wrapping game where each team had to hold hands and work together to wrap a gift in 4 minutes.  That may seem like plenty of time, but since most of them don't know how to wrap a gift with both hands, they were all trying to steal my kids to be on their team :)
 Here are the treats I managed to make before the party.  The cake was fun.  It was a red velvet cake with green icing...very festive
 A picture that one of my friends took at the party

 On top of all of that craziness, we had our 14th anniversary and Hudson's social worker came to visit to see how he was doing after being adopted.
 She needed to take a couple pictures while she was visiting our home.  I thought this one turned out pretty good.
 We also had Regan's 12th Birthday party!!!  Yes, these are two of her friends and yes, she really is that much taller than they are.
 Pizza is a birthday party tradition that all of our friends have come to expect.  It was a bit harder this year to make the dough one handed plus our mixer died on us :(  So, 3 homemade pizzas by Jonathan and the rest were Kelly style...bread cut in half with sauce, cheese, and pepperoni.
 I think there is a better group shot, but the thumbnails were so small when I was choosing and I don't really want to go searching again right now.  I may switch it out later :)
 Opening presents
 Regan's Taekwondo cake....she is currently a blue belt hence the blue belt.  I told her I was glad that she hasn't tested yet for the red and blue because that belt would have been much harder to make :)
 This is one of my favorites of the birthday girl!
 This picture shows the cookies that Benjamin helped me make for the party.  They were taekwondo guys kicking and punching made out of tie-dyed sugar cookie dough.

 I caught this glimpse of a sweet friend reading a book to Lauren.
 We (minus Jonathan and Benjamin who stayed home to rest) went to a park with some friends.  These fish were HUGE!  I think they eat better than we do ;)
 Katherine thought this tree looked like the Pixie Dust tree in Tinker Bell.
 WE are helping make the fish even fatter.
 my little monkey...she is ALWAYS finding a tree to climb!
 Leave it to my kids to teach all the local kids to roll down grassy hills :)
 Katherine found a little twinkie
 Our city had a marathon race....Emily? 2017? ;) That's a lot of people!
 Hudson carrying Charlie around...
I guess Charlie was comfortable...crazy cat!