Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas comes but once a year...

Christmas Eve was spent with our little family of 6 (although most people wouldn't describe my family as little, but I do ;) )
Ryan was sick.  He almost didn't make it to church but he medicated himself enough to feel up to it!  Church was crazy with 4 kids in an hour long service.  But they did pretty good.  After every song Vincent would ask, "is it fire time yet?!" as he held up his candle.  Cruz was the hardest to keep contained.  He was so antsy and just wanted to be put down. (We don't have any pictures of us nicely dressed for Christmas eve service but we did look presentable)

We came home and ate a quick dinner and then got right into opening our gifts.  First present of the night was their matching pajamas (probably a tradition I will keep up, but I'm not saying that officially because I don't want to put pressure on myself! haha.) 

We tried to get pictures....

We succeeded in getting one where none of them are looking...

And then Ryan hit me on the head with something and that caught their attention!..

So I guess it's fun laughing at mom getting beat up while holding the camera....

I'm willing to make the sacrifice if it means capturing all those cute smiles.

The boys opened their stockings first.  Those were the gifts from "Santa"

I would say 90% of the gifts they unwrapped were things I bought used from the JBF sale or people selling things online.  At this age, they can't tell if things are new when they open it.  I don't know how long I will be able to get away with that but I knew this year it would fly under the radar.

Cruz's only gift from us! (besides his pajamas)

Pre-owned activity table....He has no clue that it's not new! haha

Of course the boys helped Ryan and I open our gifts too.

And you know what their FAVORITE gift was!? The set of 4 cars they got in their stocking (that I bought for $2 a set at the JBF sale)  And they know exactly which 4 came in their stocking, no switches, no trades!

Christmas morning we headed to my parents for breakfast.  It was delicious.  Monkey favorite!  My mom played a cute game with the boys and had them find their gifts by giving them a square sample of the wrapping paper they were wrapped in and they had to match the paper.  They had a blast looking under the tree.

They of course helped Grammie and Grandpa open their gifts too.

Cruz acts like he know what's he's doing.

Yup! This is what I got!
My parents bought Vincent and Landen new lovies.  They received their current blue dog and brown bear lovies from my Aunt when they were newborns.

They have been WELL LOVED in the last 3 years!! Now they look disgusting and all ratted up.  I could wash them everyday and they would still stink from being chewed on.  This is their current state...

My parents couldn't find the exact same ones but they found a bear and a dog.

The boys love them!! The old ones are still hanging around though.  They want to sleep with both.  I'm thinking one day in the near future the old ones might "get lost"  We are going to have to see how this transition goes.

After gifts we took a nice walk, then the boys napped and the adults played games.  When the kids woke up we headed to Ryan's parents house for Christmas dinner. Tamales, rice and beans. Delish!  It was cold out but that didn't stop the boys from playing outside and that included the big boys. Ryan and his brother were playing football while "watching the kids".

Ryan's parents bought the boys this awesome Cars race track and my Father-in-law spent countless hours setting it up and screwing everything down.

I only have a couple pictures of gift time! Presents were flying! haha.  The boys were spoiled!

We had a great day!

These two cousins have always been two peas in a pod.  Ethan and Landen.  They look tired after a long fun filled day!

We got home and the boys took their bath and got in their matching pajamas! (one of a few sets they got for Christmas)  And they spent the rest of what little evening they had left playing on their new cars race track.

Cruz thinks he's one of the big boys.

These are some great Christmas memories!

On to 2015!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Shout out to all the single parents!....It really does take a village

My week always consists of being a "single mom" for 3 straight days while Ryan is at work.  No biggie.  I have my routine.  We survive.  3 days at home I can do, no problem.  3 days out of town....without Ryan....with 4 kids...(under the age of 4), now THAT is a different ball game.

Ryan worked this past weekend.  The weekend of our annual trip to southern California for Christmas parties on my Mom's side and my Dad's side.  My sister, my WONDERFUL sister, was able to take the day off on Friday and travel down with me so if the kids needed some assistance I didn't need to pull over. (although we did need to do that once for Jacob to go pee on the side of the road....pee in the pants accident averted!)

Let me just say, I don't have very many pictures from the weekend but I do have bags under my eyes!  I didn't get very much sleep, everything seems like a blur, the kids did fairly well behavior wise, and they did excellent in the car! But this trip made me 1) appreciate my sister (and the rest of my family, a.k.a the village) for helping me out so much! 2) it gave me an increased love for Ryan, because now I truly see everything that he does for me and the kids, life without him would be hard! and 3) I have a new respect for all the parents who do this alone day in and day out.  Kudos to you!

For a trip with kids you have to be able to think ahead!  After a long day in the car, before even attempting to go to my Grandmas house with 3 full of energy kiddos, we found a park and let them loose for a good 45 minutes or so.  Boy did they need it! Thank you to the Maps App and the search for "nearby parks" we found this perfect park for some energy release.

We slept at my Grandma's house both Friday night and Saturday night.
Cruz has gotten into this HORRIBLE habit of waking up at 5:45.  His internal clock is on the dot every morning!  Sometimes a pacifier and a pat on his back will  get him back to sleep and sometimes it is a no go.  Well Saturday morning was one of those no go mornings.  So in my attempts to keep him quiet I took him out of his pack and play and into the bed that I was sharing with the crazy 2 year old Jacob (who fell out of the bed a total of 3 times over the weekend)  Anyway, I have Cruz laying next to me which of course wakes up Jacob and he is loving that he is both sharing a bed with mommy and now Cruz is there too!  He keeps kissing Cruz and then he does the cutest thing ever.  I think my favorite memory of the weekend.  He leans over on top of Cruz and whispers "do you want to build a snowman?" ugh so cute! Made me smile even though it was barely 6 o' clock in the morning!

My Grandma Greta hosted Christmas on Saturday (my mom's side)

To keep the boys occupied until it was time to get ready for the party we went on a walk.  My Grandma lives in a neighborhood built on hills.  When we were going up the boys whined and complained and begged me to carry them.  But when we were going down they were all for making it a long walk.  It's hard to explain to little ones that making your way down a hill only means when you turn around you have to make your way back up!  Lessons to be learned.

All ready for the party...I managed to get a picture of all 4 of them!

Cruz loved having a new house to explore

And Lexi loved having a baby around (he is huge...he pretty much covered her up!)

Kids opening their presents

My cousins and brother-in-law took the kids on a second walk (well they called it an adventure, makes it sound more enticing) right before dinner.   All I heard was "mommy break!" haha

Thank you G.G. for hosting such a wonderful family Christmas

Sunday morning we traveled about 45 minutes, to the city my Aunt and Uncle live, for a Christmas party on my Dad's side.  I have hardly any pictures from that day! The tiring weekend was catching up to me!  I don't think I even did my hair. Pulled back in a messy bun was as good as it was going to get.

We again, attempted to burn some energy by taking a nice walk to a park. (my kids love parks, what kids don't?)

We had a wonderful surprise that my cousin was home for the holidays from his service in the Marines.  It was great seeing him and all of my other cousins.

We did a gift exchange amongst the kids and the adults, had lunch, played some outside games and managed to get a group shot!

We headed out on the road around 4:30/5ish.  Took a little over an hour break for dinner.  Lights out and movie off in the van at 9:00 so the kids could sleep.  We were home at 11:00, I was in bed at 12:00 and up Monday morning for work! What a busy but memorable weekend.  I'm glad I made the trek but I'm even more grateful my family was there to help me!  I'm so thankful for my village!!

And so thankful for my Mom (a.k.a Santa's cleaning elf) who came over Monday while I was at work and did the kids laundry, some unpacking, and some cleaning for me!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

All I Want For Christmas....

All I want for Christmas some baby teeth.....okay not really. Cruz has been drooling like crazy but still no teeth for the gummy smile.  And I am OKAY with that!! He isn't super cranky and he is still sleeping solid through the night so teething isn't affecting him too much.  I will enjoy this toothless smile for as long as it will stick around!

but having zero teeth is not holding him back from eating! He is almost completely done with baby food!  I'm only giving him some now to finish up what little we have left in the pantry! I think the more children you have the sooner they pass through milestones.  Maybe we will introduce cows milk tomorrow!...I kid, I kid.

All I want for Christmas to establish traditions...  

I want to Remember to do special Christmas traditions with my kids.  This year we got them a tree for them to decorate all by themselves.  I think their ability to spread the ornaments out might improve over the years.  We have also been doing an advent calendar which for whatever reason they call "our project" On the 24th we will put the gold star on top of the christmas tree on the advent calendar.  The boys know that when the star is on the tree then we can open presents!!  We are also working on learning about baby Jesus and his birthday.

All I want for Christmas
is for 4 boys to look at the camera and smile!
...and for them to all do that at the same time!  That probably won't happen for a while so I will have to take what I can get.  The wonderful Becca at Beccaandhercamera took our family pictures this year at the same time as Cruz's 6 month pictures.  I was so bummed we forgot Landen's glasses, he just doesn't look himself without them.  Oh well.  We captured how our family is at this time, 2014. 

Vincent 3.5 yrs

Landen 3.5 yrs

Jacob 2 yrs

Cruz - 6 months old

They are CRAZY!

Looking for alligators in the water below

My baby and me
All I want for Christmas to try and do more arts and crafts with the boys...
My mom and dad had Vincent and Landen over to her house during Thanksgiving break and they made these cute little turkeys while they were at their house.  My mom used their handprints and footprints.  So I made them something for Christmas using the boys' handprints as well!  I can't post a picture of it because it's not quite finished so I haven't given it to them yet. (and I know they read my blog)

All I want for Christmas to crawl into a little ball under my seat in church...
I signed Vincent and Landen up for children's choir at church.  They practiced for a few Sundays and then did a performance the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  My boys didn't like going to choir.  They cried on their way every time.  But whenever we were driving in the van, the choir song CD was the first and only thing requested for us to listen to.  Go figure.

Here they are waiting and ready to go onto the stage. 

Then they stood their looking around while we waited for them to start.  At one point Landen got tired of standing so he sat down.

And then.....! Vincent sat down.  The song started and they are both still sitting. Then Landen decided to play "puppy" and he licked Vincent's face.  Vincent of course thought this was funny so he laughed. Which made Landen want to do it again! I'm sitting in my chair mortified!

 At one point the choir director took Landen and put him on her lap. She later told me that the whole time Landen was on her lap he was saying "save me brother! save me!"  I was so embarrassed.  I took the boys home after first service to avoid them ruining the second service performance as well.  They both had very long time outs and we talked about what it was that they did that was making mommy so very sad.
Everyone I talked to about it said it was hilarious, and yes, if they were not my kids I probably would have thought it comical as well.  But in reality, they were not listening, they were not singing, and they were not on task.  We will try again next time kids choir starts up again....but for now, I'm going to try and pretend that little incident did not happen in front of the entire church!

All I want for Christmas
...Is for time to slow down!...

If you received our Christmas card,  you read that Cruz was not crawling yet.  Ya, I think the day I sent our cards off to be printed he decided to start crawling.  He is now mobile and on the loose.

 He even made it all the way down the entryway to come find me.  Look at that cute face!  Like "I did it! I found you mom!"

Now I have to keep all toys Cruz friendly.... I'm paranoid he's going to choke on something!

All I want for Christmas to keep the memory of Karissa alive

I am starting to tell the boys a little bit more about her.  They don't quite understand but someday they will.  I have a K on the tree and a pink stocking on the tree for her.  Ryan and I attend a tree lighting ceremony for her every December put on by the Angel Babies organization in Fresno.  It's something that is so near and dear to our hearts during this busy holiday season.

All I want for Christmas to be with family and make wonderful memories....
I decorated our mantel this year.  I wanted it to feel "christmas-y".  The boys love pointing to their letter on their stocking.  I hope they feel the Christmas spirit and warmth in our home.
I can't wait until Christmas Eve and Christmas day are here.  When we get to sit down with our kids and make some family memories together. We are starting to develop our own traditions with our little family of 6 and I hope they stay apart of their little brains and hearts for the rest of their lives.  I pray our children feel loved and feel special.  I pray they understand the true meaning of Christmas and that Jesus really does love them.  I pray they enjoy giving even more then they enjoy receiving.  I pray they understand contentment.  I pray they feel the love we have for them that day and everyday.

 Oh come let us adore him...Christ the Lord!