Monthly Archives: December 2007

Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you’re all having a lovely day; we certainly are. I thought I’d post our Christmas letter and some pictures . . .

Happy Christmas!!!!

This year has brought some changes to our family, as the years always seem to. Our favorite change is our newest little daughter, Alyssa Suzanne, who was born just a few months ago. Another little one definitely makes for a busier household, but she’s a lovely baby and a delight to us all!

We ladies are staying busy at home with our first *official* year of homeschooling. We pray and read, write letters, memorize Bible verses, learn phonics, play games, make some crafts, bake some cookies, and read some more.  I love reading aloud and thankfully the girls love to be read to!

Isabelle has become quite the little reader herself. She’s thrilled that she can take books to bed now, and actually read through them instead of just looking at the pictures! She’s a great “babysitter” for her little sisters, and a big help to mommy. I think her favorite accomplishment at the moment is being able to stand up while holding her baby sister.  She’s also thoroughly enjoying her first little ballet/Irish dance class  (mommy’s loving her own Irish dance class as well!)

Hannah brings us much joy and laughter with the goofy little things she says – we wonder how she thinks them up! She is a self-proclaimed “foodie”, meaning she loves food and drinks (as she will tell anyone she meets). She’s always the first to point out a picture of a cookie or candy in a book!  She’s looking like she wants to catch up with Isabelle in school, as she’s learning to write  letters and remember their sounds.  Her favorite thing to do (aside from have a cookie!) is to hold Alyssa.

Naomi has learned to speak so much more lately – we love being able to understand her words!  While she loves to hold baby sister, too, I think her very favorite thing of all is to be mommy’s “dinner helper”. She loves pretending to cook, helping me with dishes, and all such things! She’s become the sweetest mommy to her dolly lately and always loves a good snuggle.

Juliette is another little silly goose who keeps us chuckling. She is quite tiny, and doesn’t say too many words yet (even though she tries with all her might!), so she’s just extraordinarily cute (though we probably let her get away with a bit too much because of that!) She loves ducklings, riding around on mommy’s back in the baby backpack, and helping to “set the table” (we can end up with a million plates on the table when she’s dinner helper!) Most of all she loves to be snuggled while having a good book read aloud to her.

Miss Alyssa seems to have many opinions of her own for a little four month old baby – and she tries to squawk each one of them to us! She loves to chew on her “Sophie La Giraffe” toy, be entertained by her sisters, and ride around on mommy in a peanut shell baby carrier. Best of all she likes it when we look into her eyes and talk to her – tell her anything, she loves to listen!

Matt’s been busy painting and refinishing much of our furniture – and in so doing he’s made our home all the more beautiful! Though it’s not easy to stay up all night for his job, the hours at work give him some extra reading time when it’s not busy.  I’m enjoying the bicycle he bought me last summer – I had forgotten how lovely it is to ride a bike! And I love that we now live in a town small enough for me to run many of my errands via bicycle.  Matt and I are both so thankful for our new little home here in town (did I mention we moved?), being closer to church and good friends, and being able to enjoy the extra snow!

Hmm, the more babies God sends us, the longer these letters seem to get! Oh well, we wanted to share what we are up to, and we do so wish we could have you all into our home this season! We’d love to rejoice together with you in the celebration of the birth of the King! May you know His peace and joy this Christmas season, and may His blessings be upon you!

All Our Love, Matthew, Melissa, Isabelle, Hannah, Naomi, Juliette and Alyssa

 

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The *Joy* Of The Unknown

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Most people who know me know that I tend to be a very tidy person – both in my house and in my daily routines. Some people who know me say I’m like Monk, but I don’t think I’m that obsessive! However, I really enjoy my tidy house, and I enjoy knowing what’s coming next during the day. I’m not such a big fan of the unknown. But our God has such a sense of humor, and I think He’s making sure that I don’t make those nice, tidy routines an idol in any way.  Are you curious how He’s doing this? It’s quite simple – He gave me Alyssa! For the first three months of her life she seemed to be following in Juliette’s footsteps (ie: easiest newborn ever). She slept through the night at 6 weeks old, and was well on her way to sleeping for those nice long twelve hour nights the other girls grew into. Then something, and I have no idea what, changed. All of a sudden that girl became the most inconsistent, unpredictable little baby I’ve ever had! I tried keeping track of my foods, feeding her more often, and every other thing I could think of. She’s not overly fussy or colicky, she is just inconsistent. One day she’ll sleep for only twenty minutes at a nap where she usually sleeps for two hours – and trust me, there’ll be NO getting her back to sleep. She doesn’t cry herself to sleep, she only cries herself awake! Some nights she’ll randomly wake at four in the morning now, for no apparent reason, but she will not get back to sleep without eating (believe me, I’ve tried!). She has nap radar and school radar, meaning that she mysteriously wakes up anytime I try to start our school or take a nap – even if she just recently fell asleep! She seems to need so much less sleep than my other girls have at this age, as she’ll stay awake pretty happily for a couple of hours when I would have been convinced she needed to sleep. I’m no expert or anything, but I have fairly successfully had four other little ones in nice consistent routines. But I’ve decided that the more children I have, the less I feel like I know about little ones! I had to laugh yesterday as I realized I just need to not stress about any of this. My girls are so little and I want to remember enjoying these days with them, not stressing because I couldn’t fit everything in! But I know that I can fit in everything God has for me to do in a given day – rather, He can fit it in. Funny, isn’t it? The way God brings us to these points of realizing that for all our theories we truly are only doing any of this by His grace. Well, here’s to life lessons through little babies!

Pardon Me?

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Lately Matt and I have enjoyed trying out different accents while we read aloud to the girls. Depending on the book, we’ve tried Mexican accents, Irish brogue and most recently a British accent (with Narnia and the Beatrix Potter books). It’s great fun, and Isabelle especially loves when we do this. The last few days, after reading some Beatrix Potter together, she’s begged me to continue to talk in my "British" accent throughout the day. Even when I haven’t complied, she’s been talking in her own version of an English accent. It’s not really any "accent" at all, more of a deepening of her voice and a slurring of her words – but for her it’s grand fun! At dinner, when Matt was trying to figure out why she was talking the way she was, I mentioned her "British accent," for his benefit. I then turned to Matt and spelled out in a cheerful voice that "I know, it’s T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E". I can only get away with spelling longer words like this one quickly, or Isabelle sounds them out. Well, in her state of glee over her fabulous accent, she looked at me with a huge grin and said (to Matt’s and my abundant laughter) "did you just spell "cool"?

Things We're Loving . . .

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Well, busy as ever, the Christmas season is upon us. Acutally, it’s the advent season, and if I’ve never mentioned this before, advent is my FAVORITE season of the year. In honor of my favorite season I’m posting some of my (and my girls’)  favorite things right now:

Advent Family Worship, of course- the girls have definitely inherited my over-excitement for advent. Somehow the additions to family worship of turning off the lights, lighting candles (the girls love to take turns blowing them out), singing Christmas hymns and reading through our many different little editions of the Christmas story makes it so very exciting! I remember loving advent when I was a little girl, and I’m so glad my girls love it now.

TATRAS – I don’t know how much is attributible to the program and how much is just the capacity of a little five-year-old mind for learning things, but it’s been such a joy watching Isabelle learn to read. It’s really amazing to me that a few weeks ago she was slowly sounding out her words and now she can read through so many books fluently! Actually, school in general is going well. The girls are enjoying getting stickers on their "Treasures in the Heart Charts" for memory verses learned, and we’re keeping up with our little reading schedule pretty well. The only thing I’m not keeping up on is math, but being a Bluedorn fan I don’t find formal math too necessary at this age! Isbelle is learning a tiny bit of "kindergarten french", and since Hannah likes to "do school" too, she walks around the house saying ""blubba dee booboo gaa" – do you know what I said? That’s French!"

Arnold Lobel books – random, I know, but that man has written some funny books that are just delightful to read aloud! Our current favorite is probably The Great Blueness And Other Predicaments – it’s just goofy and creative and it makes read aloud time so much fun.

Dinner Helper Nights – for years I’ve read these child training magazines that make me feel guilty for not having my kids help me in the kitchen more. But I have a little kitchen, I get easily flustered when cooking and I have a bunch of tiny toddlers, so it just didn’t happen often. Recently I gave all the girls one day each week to be their special dinner helper day. They pick their favorite apron, love to help make dinner, and I don’t get overwhelmed. And we’ve added a bonus: since we rarely get alone time with our daughters otherwise, the Dinner Helper gets to stay up fifteen minutes later than her sisters for special time with mom and dad. She gets to pick if she wants to read books, talk, play, sing or just snuggle. The girls LOVE it – all day on their day they walk about the house singing, "I’m dinner helper and I get to stay up late!"

Advent Sunday Parties – we’ve been trying to figure out the happy balance in having company whereby we don’t relegate our children to the status of "should be seen and not heard", but we are also able to have some adult conversation without being constantly interrupted. To this end we’re having little parties for each advent Sunday – inviting two couples each week from church whom we’ve been wanting to get to know better but sticking to mostly adults for a few weeks. They join us for a simple, yet lovely, dinner then we all gather in the living room for advent family worship and reading. We adults take turns reading aloud to the girls for a bit, so they are as much a part of it all as the rest of us, and get to enjoy the party. Later it’s off to bed for them and the adults can enjoy some creme brulee together (the girls have yet to develop a taste for it, so their special dessert is frosted animal cookies!)

April Cornell – I have to give them a little plug because they carry lovely little dresses, gifts and home products and have shown such wonderful and kind customer service to me lately! They are fairly pricey, but have great sales and coupons with free shipping, and have some quite inexpensive but adorable gifts too. My favorites are their handmade rag dollies  (two of our girls are getting one for Christmas)  and little gift tags – we got one for each of the girls so we could write their special Christmas letter on it! They’re even cuter than they look on the computer!

And lastly, are you ready for this? Sticky Notes! Yes, sticky notes. No joke at all – my mom found some apple sticky notes to send the girls and they were happily entertained all together for about thirty minutes "decorating" our tea room!

Ok, I’m done being long winded about goofy things. Here are some pictures of our week (I think I actually got one of each of the girls this time!):

The aforementioned sticky notes:

Lovely snow!

Cooking and getting ready for our first advent party:

Naomi’s always the first to offer to help mommy with the dishes!

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!

Bundled Bunny:

My little Christmas elf in the cutest sweater ever!

More baby bunny: