Wednesday, January 25, 2017

January Chitter Chatter

Hi, everyone! Who can believe we're already wrapping up the month of January?!? January is typically a pretty relaxed month for us (which is good because February is always on the busier side with all the kids' birthdays), so I don't have any "big" events to write about from this month. However, I do want to share a few random, smaller things and changes that have been going on around here. 

There is a local Mexican restaurant that we eat at about once a week, and have for over ten years. The owners know us, the wait staff knows us, and we pretty much make ourselves at home when we go there. As you know, the twins were sick with pneumonia around New Years Day, so we hadn't been out of the house as a family in over a week. As soon as they were feeling better, we took a little outing to our Mexican restaurant where we had a new waiter who didn't bring us high chairs (We're very accustomed to not having to ask for anything there . . . including our drinks. The regular wait staff knows what we need.) We sat the twins in normal chairs, and they were doing so well that we decided to just let them eat on their knees in the regular chairs. They thought they were BIG stuff!!!



We've been back twice since then, but have put them in high chairs. It's SO much easier when they are confined, but it was good practice for the future!

The weather this month has been pretty wonky. We've had super cold days, super mild days, rain, ice, thunderstorms, etc. On one of the days when the temps were in the 20s, I had to run some errands (including going to the post office . . . yuck!), so I just bundled the kiddos up and away we went. They were less than thrilled with all the winter gear, but I thought they looked awfully cute :-).

We are still enjoying the incredible sunrises that appear right out our living room windows. One morning at the beginning of the month in particular was stunning!

On Sunday mornings, Chris typically does breakfast with the kids and starts getting them dressed while I get myself ready. It's sooooo nice for me because it means I get to sleep in a little later, and I am extremely appreciative of him doing it! A few weeks ago, Chris picked out Bren's clothes while I was getting dressed, and we realized later that we coordinated. It was a photo opportunity that I didn't want to miss!

When Brianna saw that I was taking pics with Brenson, she wasn't going to miss out on an opportunity to take some pics with me, too. Of course, photos with Brianna tend to be a bit more on the adventurous side :-). 

Since all four of our kids' birthdays are in February, I always spend some time in January making plans for birthday celebrations. I hit up the dollar store and found some fun plates, napkins, and little banners to make each of their days a little more festive.

A few weekends ago, our local weathermen predicted that a major ice storm would hit our area during a Friday/Saturday. Many local schools didn't hold classes that Friday, but Brianna's school was in session. Some areas did get hit pretty hard, but it didn't end up being severe where we live. There was ice on the trees and grass - so it was really beautiful - but nothing really accumulated on the roads. Kind of the perfect ice storm if you ask me!

Chloe Jo spent the night with us that Friday since the roads were okay, and the kids had a great time. We let the three older ones sleep upstairs in tents. Brianna and CJ shared the tent in the picture, and Bren had his own. 

That Sunday morning, Chris and I were exhausted (the story on that is below), but we were able to get everyone ready for church with about five minutes to spare. That means that Momma gets to take pictures! I'm always thrilled when I capture a photo that includes eight eyes on the camera and even a few smiles :-).
Brooke, Brianna, Brenson, Brecklyn

The Saturday night before the above photo was taken, Chris and I had gotten in bed around our usual time of 11;00pm. We were both getting ready to go to sleep when we heard what we initially thought was one of the children coming toward our bedroom. Chris even said, "Who is it? Identify yourself!", haha. We quickly figured out that the noise was not one of the children, but then we heard it again. And again. And again. It was raining outside, so we were hearing several unusual sounds, but this one was definitely coming from inside the house. We decided it must be some sort of critter, but the sound was coming from the same place over and over again . . . like the critter was stuck. We turned on the lights, searched all around our bedroom and house, Chris went into the attic and searched around, and he even looked in the duct work from the return air vent (which is in our bedroom). There was NO evidence of anything, yet the noise continued! It was so frustrating, and by this time it was about 2:00am. We finally fell asleep for a bit, only to be awakened by the noise over and over throughout the night until we finally got up for the day just before 6:00am. I was seriously dragging the next morning, and I told Chris that the last thing I needed was one more living creature interfering with my sleep!

After we got home from church that afternoon, we all laid down for naps (our Sunday afternoon ritual). Not long into my nap, I heard the noise again. By this time, the rain and wind had stopped so I could hear the sound much clearer than before. It was definitely coming from inside our bedroom wall, over in the corner. Chris and I both agreed that it sounded like a giant rat chewing through our wall. Eeeeeep! He decided to cut a hole in the wall of the book nook (which is the other side of our bedroom wall), and capture this creature. He ended up cutting two holes, but he found the culprit!

It was a mouse! I couldn't believe such a small creature could make so much noise, but he was in the process of chewing through our wall. Somehow, he got into the wall from outside, worked his way into the corner, and got stuck. 

It's incredibly frustrating to cut holes in the walls of your brand new house, but there was no other way for us to get to him. And even more frustrating? We had just painted the book nook 24 hours before this! ARGH!!!

As a precautionary measure, Chris put several sticky mouse traps around the house. We didn't want to take any chances on a mouse infestation. It took about a week, but Brooke somehow found one (they were all hidden really well), and made a giant mess of it. This girl has a knack for finding mischief!
I love that I caught Brecklyn's little profile in the above photo. She was like, "Sister . . . what in the world have you gotten yourself into?" Hahaha. For the record, if anyone else has a child get into this mega messy, super sticky, stringy gunk, vegetable oil will help get it off of skin. 

Aside from the mouse visitor, we've had several other good visits this month. Our LeFlore friends came over for a play date, and that's always a fun and crazy time!

Two adults and eight kiddos having lunch

Brianna is the oldest of the group at six years old. Brenson, Caroline, and Julia are all four, Brooke and Brecklyn are 21 months, Jack is 18 months, and Annie is three months. It's definitely crazy, but we love it! 

Brenson, Caroline, Julia, Brecklyn, Brooke, Jack, Brianna, and Annie

I just love seeing how the friendship between these little ones has developed through the years, as well as how our families have grown. God has richly blessed us!!!

Another day, I took my three youngest kiddos to my college town to see the campus and visit with my friend, Lena. For five years while I was pursuing my bachelor's and master's degrees, I worked as a student worker for Student Support Services on campus. At the time, Lena was the secretary for the program, and she and I developed a close friendship. She had never met the twins, so I thought it was high time for a visit! It was so wonderful to see her and her daughter (who is now a college student herself!), and especially to see her in her new role as DIRECTOR of the program!

Meme and Papa also paid us a visit this month. This was extra special because this was the first time for Papa to see our new house (Meme had been here once before). They came for the afternoon, and I invited them to stay for dinner.

Meme with Brooke and Brecklyn

Meme with Brooke and Papa with Brecklyn

It took her several hours, but Brecklyn finally warmed up to Papa enough to sit on his lap. 

And finally, potty training the twins has been in full force this week! I feel like I'm really behind the curve on this because Brianna was trained at 21 months old and Brenson was trained at 18 months old. The twins will be two in two weeks, and we're just now starting the process. They were showing signs of readiness toward the end of the summer, but I didn't want to take that on right before moving. Then, for several months after we moved, I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water without adding potty training to the mix. I had decided I would do it right after the first of the year, but the twins ended up with pneumonia. So FINALLY, I feel like we're in a good place to make it happen! I'm reluctant to say anything, but so far it's going really well. If nothing else, the girls look adorable in their little undies :-).

I hope your January has been as good as ours!

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