What's Going Down

Monday, December 17, 2012

New Family Pictures

Despite my past as a photographer, I just cannot bring myself to pay someone else to take our family pictures. **Hangs head in shame**

But we persist. We usually go one of two routes:
1. Self timer
2. Trade

The first is self-explanatory but the second just means that I take pictures for someone and they take pictures for me. This year we chose the latter.

Without further ado.
 This is the picture we sent out in our Christmas cards. We apologize if you didn't receive one or didn't receive one yet.
 Lucas. Skeptical as always.

 Libby. Need I say more?
 Thick as thieves, these two.
 *Sigh* Abbie is well on her way to being a sullen teenager. We still like her though.
 In truth, all Lucas wants is all of your attention all of the time. I'm not sure why this is a problem.
 Love this guy. Lots. P.S. Today is his 35th Birthday.
 An excellent shot of all the kids together. Gonna order this one larger.
 I really love their expressions in this one. Perfection.
 Um. Yah. Daddy's girl, much?
 Gah! I just can't take her cuteness!!!
 I will not admit that she is our favorite. I will not. I just won't.
 I have big hair.
 Such a handsome dude. I'm a little worried about the girls as he gets older, but then I remember that he's completely physically uncoordinated and I worry less.
And finally, besties! I hope they stay that way. So far, mostly very little fighting. And yes, we're in big trouble with such gorgeous ladies!

Saturday, November 24, 2012


We aren't big fans of kids getting a lot of screen time. I feel like my children would prefer to move from the TV to the computer to my Kindle (playing games) and back to the TV without ever actually moving. So, I spend a lot of my energy encouraging the kids to entertain themselves.
And success! For the record, I've never successfully managed to stack cards like this. I am fairly certain it has to do with my extreme lack of patience.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Anna's Turn

 During the summer, Anna joined the swim team at the YMCA. She's been having so much fun and getting quite strong.
 She recently-ish competed in her first swim meet. At first she was begging to not have to compete. She was so nervous. But she did great. She came in second in her heat for breaststroke and third in another. We're just so proud of our little fish.
 Even if it does mean that I spend a whole lot of time shuttling her back and forth to and from practices.
I think mostly we are hoping it gives her the confidence to try new things. She isn't exactly our most adventurous child. Love this girl.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Sporting Chance

The older girls have recently decided to try out some new sports. We encourage this because I only ever did gymnastics and my husband only ran track. We know very little about anything else.

Abbie played a season of YMCA Youth Volleyball. Come to find out, she's quite good! At the end of the season, her coach named her the MVP of the team. So proud. However, this season was probably the hardest thing I've ever had to endure watching.
Her team was 0-8. That's not a typo. They didn't win a single game. So absolutely heartbreaking. And yes, some of the girls on the team cried. But not Abbie. Not ever. Not once. I did though. So hard.

She was just so happy to be out there playing! I can't wait for next season. Maybe they'll actually win a game?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween: 2012

I realize it's not even THE DAY yet, but our costumes had to be finished early for a couple of events, so I took pictures while the costumes still looked "fresh".

We'll do this youngest to oldest. For no reason.
First up:
Libby is a girly girl. She likes all things pink and purple and sparkly.
 And so, she is a princess. I made the crown. The outfit was a gift from my mother... I believe she paid an awesome $3. She also has a necklace (which she lost). Mostly, she just wants candy. This look is "I can't believe you aren't giving me any candy right now."

Lucas. We had to beg. Plead. Bribe.
 But in the end, I got my Dobby. Inspired by a pin with no link on Pinterest. I fashioned the skull cap out of nude lycra type knit fabric and attached the ears my husband designed. The "dress" is just a pillowcase that was already stained. Nice, eh? I have to be honest. It is my hands-down favorite.
 You should have heard people "Squee" with glee when they saw him.
And yes, apparently Dobby likes to pick up chicks. Or whatever this expression is.
Miles is mildly obsessed right now.
And he makes a pretty convincing Harry, right? We borrowed the cloak and tie. I made him a sweet wand (which you can only see the end of) and the glasses are just one of those pairs that have the comically large nose attached...with the nose detached. Believe it or not, Miles won our congregation's costume contest. It probably helped that he was casting spells on people all night. Method actor and all.

If you recognize Anna's costume without me telling you what it is, you win big points. BIG NERDY POINTS.
Still no clue? How about this:
This is Rarity. She's a My Little Pony. And yes, I made Anna a wig. 
Basically, I created tufts of hair and soaked them in fabric stiffener. Then wound them around a bat (covered in saran wrap) and stuck them in front of a fan to dry. Hint: the more stiffener the better. I then attached them to a hat I crocheted just for this project. Yes, this was easily the most time consuming project. What was I thinking??? 
And Finally:
Abbie has wanted this costume for several years. I finally consented.
 She is Katara from Avatar the Last Airbender. As reference:
In all honesty, the costume wasn't that hard. The hair is my nemesis. We did get it to look much better for our church party, but come Wednesday, I should have it down pat.
I actually think this costume will get played with again. 

I am awesome. 
I feel like we should all get to say that more often. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

So, Then THAT Happened

 So, before the cruise we took in June, I had been working out with the end goal of:: I want to look hot in a swimsuit for the cruise! And I did! Or so the husband says. Admittedly, his point of view is skewed. So, when the cruise was over, so was my desire to workout. I knew I needed a new goal, ASAP. And so, the idea of a Triathlon was born. I know. It's crazy, right? I've never even run a 5k standalone race. Let alone Swimming and Biking before it. What kind of insane am I?
Just the right kind of insane, apparently. It was awesome! And I am hooked! There were times during training when I thought that there was no way I was going to be able to finish even the measly Sprint Triathlon (440 yard Swim, 10 mile bike, 3.1 mile run). For example: my first time in a pool when I couldn't swim more than 100 yds at a time. Fortunately, I picked that up pretty quickly and I now consider it my strongest leg. Or for example: after purchasing my bike with the clipless pedals and shoes, I quickly proceeded to crash with the bike (failure to unclip) four times in the first week. I was ready to give up. But I had an extremely encouraging husband and a good friend, Dave, who would also be doing the triathlon with me.  They kept me motivated. I not only finished the triathlon, but I came in 8th in my age group. 
Next up: train for an Olympic Distance Triathlon to be completed next spring. I just wish this sport were cheaper (anyone want to sponsor a mediocre mother of five?).

Sunday, October 7, 2012

And Finally: Where I'm All Caught Up

We received the amazing blessing of a free piano a couple of weeks ago. We've been wanting one for years but just don't have the money. Fortunately, we have an amazing friend who kept her ear to the ground for us. Having music fill my home is fantastic: the husband plays, I do not.

Maybe one of these days, Miles will put on a shirt for group pictures but I wouldn't count on it.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


 And then Miles turned 7! This doesn't seem possible. This means we've lived here in Florida for that long. Wow.
He requested donuts for breakfast, cheese sandwiches for lunch and  Lasagna for dinner. All easy requests. Make it so. (Yes, I am a Star Trek nerd sometimes.)
Miles got a new bike, some legos and a kick in the pants. Except not that last one, even though he deserves it sometimes. Happy Birthday, Buddy!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sad Filled With Happy

 On August 15, 2012 my paternal Grandmother, Lillian Beatrice Solter, passed away. She was 91 years old.  And while we were sad that we won't get to spend any more time with her in this life, we were so relieved that she was freed from her body. It was really weighing her spirit down! To show support for my father, I flew to Pennsylvania for her Memorial Service. It was a really nice service followed by an awesome family reunion. Granted not everyone could be there (my sister and I were the only two of my nine brothers and sisters present), but it was great to get to see my cousins that I've not seen in YEARS.
 This is my Grandfather (on the left) and my Dad (his shirt says, "Grandfather means Been there Done that.")
And admittedly, seeing my sister Jenny was the highlight of my trip!
 Dangit! I miss her!
This is one of Jenny's brood. Benny. Don't tell anyone but he's my favorite.
 And Tab. He and Miles are two peas in a pod. 
 I'm including this picture because I didn't get shots of Paisley or Hobbes (Jenny's other kids). Deal with it. 
 My grandfather with all four of his children. That handsome guy all the way on the right? That's my daddy. 
And my personal favorite. My grandfather with some of his 14 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren (and counting!). Oh Look! Just kidding, I did get a picture of Hobbes and Paisley! Not a total fail, Jenny!

We'll miss Grandma but as my grandfather said, "She's having a good laugh about this somewhere!"

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

In Which Mom Earns Her Freedom

 So, literally, we got back from the Disney vacation and the next morning sent the kids off to their first day of school. This year we have three in Elementary School (5th, 3rd and 1st grades), one in Preschool and one at home with Mom. 
 The truth is, folks. I haven't had just one kid at home during the day since before Anna was born. 
So, yeah. I'm more than just a little bit excited. And again, Abbie is too cool to actually make eye contact. 
 And yes, Anna is sporting some very bright shoes. I'm only a teensy bit jealous.
 And Miles. Man, what is up with that kid? He's officially reached space cadet status. I really think that he just thinks that the rest of us are mere mortals and whatever is going on in his head is MUCH more interesting. 
 Libby was a little sad when everyone left. I was not.
Because now I get to spend my morning with this one. Seriously spoiled. Her AND me.

And yes, I realize there's no picture of Lucas headed off to school. Parenting FAIL!

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