Thursday, December 30, 2010

Good Morning Christmas!

Oh what fun! Christmas was even better this year than last - who woulda thought?!?!
Quin still did about 95% of the unwrapping, but I don't think she minded one bit!
The big difference this year? Gianna and Ellery were so excited to dig in to what Quin was unwrapping. (Last year, they just looked cute sitting in shiny wrapping paper).
Easton? Well... he didn't get into it for awhile. At first, he was mad that all of the boxes and wrapping paper and things were in the way. He just wanted to ride - he is such a boy! He was slowly drawn in by the toys as he saw what Quin was unveiling as she ripped the paper off of each package.
I couldn't get all four kiddos to look for even one quick second! Quin was obsessed with the dress up shoes that were peaking out between the papers, Ellery and Gianna loved ripping and wrinkling all of the paper, and Easton was finally excited by the toys!
Jason and I decided that the gift from us would be one big 'family' gift. The more I think about this idea, the more I like it. It amazed me how fast our budget exploded when buying for four kids - we will have to learn short cuts in the future!
The 'family gift' for this year was the relaunched ChooChoo Wagon! I couldn't believe how big it was when Jason brought it in the night before. If people didn't notice us before, they will surely notice us now. We will not be using this wagon when we want to go places and blend in with all of the other families ;)
The ChooChoo will be perfect for walks or for when I want to take the kids somewhere by myself! Each car has a seat belt - I love it!
Growing up, my brother, sister and I would spend forever combing through all of the goodies that Santa left in our stockings! We were allowed to look at only our stockings until our parents woke up. I hope my own children will get to that tradition in the coming years! For now though, we looked at the stockings after we opened all of the gifts!
Can you tell that Easton and Quin are ecstatic with the apples and bananas that Santa used to fill out the bottom of their stockings??? Personally, I think Santa was pretty smart - that banana really rounded the heel well! :) Their stockings were also stuffed with pretend things for their play kitchen. Quin was excited to put it all away.
There was about an hour to play before we had to get ready to go. All four kids were excited to dive into their new gear!
When asked what she wanted for Christmas, Quin has told them a changing table for her doll Betsy, and a dress-up doctor outfit.
Dr. Quin at your service:
She is all business when she is working! I love that she used her new changing table as her patient table. Good thing she was working that morning - she told us all 'Betsy needed rest, but she was going to be alright'. Whew!
Gianna loved her shiny new dress-up clothes!
And here is a picture for those of you who think my kids play so nicely together! Even on Christmas morning there is drama at our house! Ellery and Easton were fighting over Easton's new vacuum, and it broke - leaving them both in tears!
No worries though! Daddy fixed it, and Easton was back to vacuuming in no time! (Easton is obsessed with vaccuums - a little strange, but very endearing!)
Santa sure was good to our family! Now, we need to figure out where to put all of this stuff - yikes!

Dear Santa

Quin was very precise about what to do for Santa this year. Her attention to detail cracks me up! She must really pay attention to the pictures in our Christmas books, and to what she sees on TV.

After putting the babes to bed on Christmas Eve, we let her stay up for awhile to get Santa's plate ready. She went straight to work coloring him a picture. She decided that Mrs. Claus should be in the picture also - how sweet of her to think of the Mrs. ;) Santa is on the left, and Mrs. Claus is on the right. My favorite part about her picture is that they each have 'belly boos' (belly buttons). She added hats to both of them, and a lot of hair to Santa. There is also a reindeer and some presents near the bottom of the page. It will be fun to see how much her picture changes for next year!
She was also very particular about what to leave for Santa. Milk wouldn't do - no, he had to have Holly Nog. She also picked out each of the cookies herself (as well as a chocolate mouse that was brought over for us from our prior nanny - Quin thought the mice were the cutest, and yummiest things ever, so this was quite the sacrifice!). The plate wasn't complete until we also had carrots for Santa's reindeer.
She was so excited the next morning when all that was left were crumbs! Job well done Quin - Santa thought your treats were scrumptious, and the picture was unforgettable!

My Santa Babies

If you haven't noticed yet... I love to get individual pictures of my kids in holiday head gear. I used to do it to Jinx and Miya too. They look sooo cute! My kids are getting smart though! They avoided me, the camera and the Santa hat as long as they could - stinkers! Instead, they thought it would be great fun to race on their riding toys around the house.
I finally caught them, or they tired themselves out.
Gianna thought she was hilarious playing peek-a-boo with the hat! Okay, she was pretty cute :) {I can read her mind already}
"What Mom? This hat? This is the one you want me to keep on my head?"
I was happy that Ellery cooperated well!
Easton on the other hand... wouldn't stay still to save his life (nothing new there). I still love this picture... Oh, those eye lashes!
And then there is Quin... fake Aquino smile and all :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

3 Days of Baking

About a week before Christmas Quin became worried that we wouldn't have any cookies to leave for Santa - what a fear to have! So the three days before Christmas we... baked! Quin loves to help me in the kitchen, and what better place to make memories (and I have a feeling, a tradition was created too).
The plan was to use the time that the babes were napping each afternoon, to bake. It worked out well, for the most part.
On the first day we actually did not bake. We made two different types of dough and left them overnight in the refrigerator. We also dipped pretzels into white chocolate. YUM!
Quin is better at cracking eggs than I am!
The first day we had two of the cutest nappers wake up and wonder what we had been up to :)
We did most of the baking on the second day. Quin's favorite part... using the rolling pin and flour. We rolled out and baked sour cream sugar cookies and topped them with different kisses, and rolled some in crumbled candy canes - Quin LOVES candy canes! We also made cinnamon roll cookies - so worth all of the work!
Good thing Gigi gave her an early Christmas present - an adorable apron! Quin thought she could make a bigger mess with the flour because she had the apron on :)
On the third day we made caramel bars, and 'frosted' the cinnamon roll cookies. She loved squeezing the frosting out of the bag. There were a few cookies with big 'ol globs of frosting on them, but she got the hang of it after awhile.
She was so proud of her platter! It looked so fancy.
Unfortunately, we forgot the platter on our second day of Christmas when visiting Jason's side of the family. I was so bummed! I now have a ton of cookies in the freezer and hope they thaw out well later!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

May your Christmas be filled with Love, Joy and Peace!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day with Quin {Santa!}

I was so happy to spend my official first day of Christmas break with this smiling face: Quin and I started out our special day by going to watch a special production of the Nutcracker. My fabulous friend Meagon's daughter, Ainsley, had a part in the local ballet. I wasn't sure how Quin would do, but she loved it! She asked questions about what was happening through the entire show, and only tuckered out the last 15 minutes or so. Although Quin acted shy when she went back stage afterwards, she loved seeing the dancers up close. She talked about it the entire way back to Holland! Way to go Ainsley - you did great!

We headed back to Holland where we met up with Jason for our second annual 'Wild Chef and Santa Day'. Quin loved revisiting the hibachi restaurant. She was interested in everything that our chef was doing, and laughed along with all of his 'tricks'. She hated the fire though. Her favorite part... using the chopsticks! She did well for a first timer :)
She also loved that she could sit next to BOTH of us :)

After lunch we went to the Holland Mall to visit with Santa! What a gift - we were the only ones there ;) Quin wasn't nearly as afraid of him this year, and walked right up to tell him exactly what she wants (a changing table for her doll, Betsy). We had to rewind a little and do some small talk before she could ask for her present (what a stinker!). This is as close as she would sit to him:
She didn't stay long, but did a good job! When we left she wouldn't give him a high five. He tried to get her to do a fist bump (which made me laugh!), but she would not go for that either. A simple wave would do for her.
As we walked away, she wanted to hear him 'ho, ho, ho' again. So... since no one was there, we went back up for a second chat. He was a good sport!

Our 'Hand'some Tree

The latest and greatest front door decoration is a tree made from the kiddos hand prints. Quin opted for an outdoor Christmas tree - I think she just wanted to use the white glitter and cotton balls! :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Our Final Decision

Most Wonderful Year Christmas 5x7 folded card
Make a statement with custom Christmas cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.
Just in case you were wondering what I decided on... :) I didn't realize when I originally posted about this card that I could add one more pic inside - so cute!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fall Family Pictures

When I contacted Tammi, of More Than Words Photography {by Tammi}, last summer and she was booked into the fall I was a little freaked! I booked our November pictures right away - and I wasn't disappointed.

(I still think Marc photography who did our summer pictures did a fabulous job too - I love how the two photographers captured our family so differently, but so perfectly). It is fun to see, through pictures, how much the kids have grown since the summer - amazing!

I am always impressed when photographers capture great pictures of the six of us! I love this beautiful couch, with the rustic setting. Kuddos to Tammi!

This one is one of my favorites. Who really cares about us - it is all about the kids!!!

L to R: Quin, Easton, Ellery and Gianna
This one reminds me of those pictures that comes in a frame when you buy it ;) Quin
Ellery - seriously... where did those eyes come from?!?!?
Gianna - I love how her fun, giggly side comes through in this picture.
Easton - He was freezing, and wasn't overly happy. I love how Tammi captured his cute serious side!
After some tickling, we got a few smiles out of him. I just love his smile and those big dark eyes!
This picture makes me laugh every time I see it! Tammi brought some empty wooden spools that the kids kept stacking and Easton thought it was hillarious to knock them down. I can still hear his laugh - he had so much fun!
Tammi captured some beautiful pictures of Quin!!! There is a whole series of her blowing this dandilion. Gorgeous!
I also love this one of Quin. Her eyes are normally more brown, but the green in them really comes out here.
A HUGE thank you to Tammi!!! She does such beautiful work, and is so easy to work with. I caught Quin arranging her toys the other day and taking pictures of them. When I asked her what she was doing, she told me she wanted to be like Tammi :) Love it!

The Search for the Perfect Tree

Before we had kids, Jason and I used to go to a local tree farm and cut down our Christmas tree. We would search and search for the perfect tree - some year's results were better than others. One of my favorite memories was of our first Christmas tree hunt. We found the perfect tree, but it didn't fit very well into my little Mazda MX6. We ended up stuffing it in from the trunk, past the back seat and out the passenger side window - I mean a good two feet out the window. The memory of the tip whipping through the wind and brushing mailboxes still makes me laugh. Needless to say, the tree was not so perfect by the time we got it home! :)

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it!) our last three Christmas' have been slightly bogged down with a baby, then bedrest and then many babies. Feeling the need for a good hunt, Jason and I decided to resurrect our tree hunt tradition.

We waited for a sunny and chilly (not freezing) day, and went after the babes afternoon naps. The babes started out in good moods. Gianna was happy - just a little squished in the picture :)
I love Easton and Gianna's expressions. About ten minutes into the trip, I think they wondered what in the world we were doing!
After about fifteen minutes, Easton had had enough! He kept whipping his mittens on the ground. His teeth were chattering and he wouldn't stop whining/crying.
Gianna lasted a little bit longer. She had fun chasing the wagon through the trees and would hop back in when she would get tired.
And then there's Elle... she was in heaven. The girl loves to be outside, and she thought we were there purely for the game of hide and go seek - she had a blast!
As soon as Jason started to cut down the tree, all three babes stopped what they were doing and watched. Quin could not figure out how in the world we were going to put the tree 'back together' once we got it home. :)
It was so cute watching Quin chase the tree as Jason pulled it away.
I was very disappointed! Almost all of the trees looked as if they were already dried out, and all had big 'holes' or were lopsided. I finally found one the I could live with. Unfortunately, as we approached the machine that shakes and wraps the trees, we noticed all of the their pre-cut, perfect trees leaning against the building... ugh! Ours is really perfect after all though - it is ours!

To top our trip off - the building where we had to pay, had a small area of chicks that we were able to hold/pet. All three girls fell in love with the little chirpers.
Gianna kept trying to give them kisses.
Quin loved that she could hold them all by herself!
I love looking at our half decorated (I'm not sure how much the babes and Quin will really let us decorate this year), but perfect tree. What a great way to start our Christmas season! Another tradition that I can't wait to continue on with!