Thursday, December 18, 2008

Lily and Santa

Today Lily and I were eating lunch together and she turns to me and asks, "Is Santa a girl or a boy?" I told her he was a boy and she just sat there. Then she says, "When I'm a mommy, I'm going to turn Santa into a girl." I replied with, "Oh really..." And she said, "Yes, but he'll have to hold still." It just really makes me wonder how Lily thinks this happens. The things that go through kids heads. What does she think of, that doesn't come out of her mouth?!

By the way, I asked her later how she would turn Santa into a girl and she replied, "With a magic wand!". (Why did I even need to ask!)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Programs

Sorry it has been so long since my last post! We have been so busy around here with all kinds of Christmas programs and just regular everyday life. Don leads the Kings Kids Choir (1st through 6th graders) at our church and they performed their Christmas program on Sunday morning. They did a fantastic job! Don and I are so proud of them and also so glad to have a small break before we start back up in January. This is a picture of the kids in the choir with Don. If you look closely you'll see Don's shirt. I bought it for him at the MOPS convention. It is great!! It says... "My Wife Rocks!". Don't you just love it?!?

The same day before the kids' choir performed, the Little Shepherd's Choir performed as well. This is the choir that Madison is in (4 years old to Kindergarten) and they sang 3 songs. They all dressed up like little shepherds and were so cute! It may be hard to tell which one Madison is, but she is the one in red (on the right) in these pictures.

And then the next night was Madison's very first Holiday program at school. All the kindergarten classes perform together and they did so great! Everyone was all dressed up and looking so cute. Again, I'm sure it's really hard to tell, but Madison is on the front row in a sleeveless dress (I know, I know, but she refused to where the cardigan I bought her!).

Here is a picture of her and her best friend, Faith. They are so funny together and so cute. They are waiting in line to see Santa after the program was over. The actual program lasts about 15 minutes, but then you stand around for another 45 minutes so that your child can see and talk to Santa for about 30 seconds or so! The things you do as parents!!
We had a few problems getting any good pictures of the school program. Personally, I think we just need a new, very good camera, but there's the whole problem of being able to afford it! Then, on top of that, someone (me) forgot to check and make sure there was enough room left on the tape for the camcorder so we ran out of that too! So, here is the last bit of the performance that we captured on our digital camera that was taking such horrible pictures. Enjoy!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Our new tradition and my house... the pit.

Last year on Thanksgiving our family started a new tradition. We decided we would put up our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving morning while we watched the Thanksgiving day parade. (Otherwise our tree doesn't get put up until the next weekend and it just seems so late.)

So this year on Thanksgiving we put our tree up. The kids love it and had a great time, but I kept thinking, how am I going to get this mess picked up. We all got ready and at 2:00 we had dinner with Don's side of the family and then came back home, packed up the kids and drove them over to Don's parents where they spent the night so Don and I could go shopping at 4:00 in the morning! So, we came home after dropping the kids off and did laundry, packed some, finished looking at the ads and went to bed early since we got up at 3:00! The next day we went shopping, picked the kids up, had breakfast with the rest of our early morning shoppers and then came back home and loaded the van to head to Carthage where my family lives. The next two days we spent with my family, having another dinner and did more shopping. Today we had to be here at noon to help prepare the church for the kids choir performance next week. So, we packed up and were at the church at noon, the kids and I went and ate with my in-laws and then drove back to church to pick up Don (he should have been done). Well, Don wasn't done and won't come home until after practice tonight (8:00), but the kids and I have to be back at church at 6:00. So... what does this mean... I got to unload the van by myself and add it to the mess that was already all over my house. Now, I know what you are thinking. Why is she telling me all of this? So I can show you the pit that is my house right now! It is horrible. Here are a few pictures...

My couch - you can't sit on it! This is where the laundry got folded and sorted. Obviously the laundry fairy did not visit my house while I was gone and put it away.

Another chair full of laundry and other bags we took to Carthage.

The rest of the Christmas decorations that need to be put up and the kids bags we took to Carthage. Oh, and notice the stairs. You can barely make it up them without tripping on... more laundry (and toys)!!

And then where do you put all the gifts and great finds from the early morning shopping Friday? Our bed. Now we have to keep the bedroom door closed at all times until I find places to hide all the kids gifts.

But don't worry! This is the tree. The reason my house looks the way it does. I'm not sure it is worth it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Key to Lily's Heart

Tonight was the last night for Little Lights at our church. For those that don't know, Little Lights is a program for 1-4 year olds where the kids sing, dance, do crafts and learn about Jesus. My kids love it and look forward to it every time. Tonight, I was out getting the food craft ready and had just come into the room when I heard Miss Kathy (our children's pastor) ask the boys and girls "who lives in your heart?" No one answered, so she asked Lily, "Lily, who lives in your heart?", "who holds the key to your heart?" Lily looked right at her and answered as honestly as I've ever heard her... "Brennen". Needless to say, that wasn't the answer Miss Kathy was looking for, but I thought it was so sweet and so Lily. I don't know what she would do without her Brennen. From day one he was her "beebee" and now they are each others best friend - so cute!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fun Time at MOPS

This year I am the creative activities coordinator for our MOPS group. At our retreat in June the steering team decided we would make photo coasters. We did that tonight and I was so impressed with how they all turned out. Some women wrote scriptures on their coasters and then added pictures, some had stickers and pictures, and most just did pictures. No matter what, they all turned out looking so cute! It was a lot of fun and I highly recommend it to anyone as a great gift idea. (Plus they are cheap!) Here are some pictures of my finished coasters.

I think they should look great in our house and I'm thinking about making a couple other sets for Christmas presents.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Halloween Pictures (just a little late)!

We really did dress our kids up this year at Halloween, but I'm just behind on posting any pictures. So, here we go. We went to Madison's parade earlier in the day at Indian Hills and then I helped out at her class party (that was interesting)! That night we dressed all 3 kids up and went trick-or-treating around in Sherwood Park and then in our neighborhood. The girls had a blast and during the time Taegan was awake, he looked like he was having fun!!

Madison and her friends at school!

We bought each of the girls Princess dresses for our trip to DisneyWorld in January. Don decided then that with as much as they cost, the girls were wearing them for Halloween. (Then he says we're framing them and putting them on display... we'll see).

Madison was Sleeping Beauty. Lily was Cinderella. Such pretty princesses!

And our little bundle of joy... Taegan, dressed up as our little monkey! That has been his nickname since he was born and we discovered he had such long monkey toes!

Our 2 princesses and little monkey!

Here is the "gang" that went trick-or-treating around Sherwood Park together. Caden, Josh, Maddox, Brennen, Madison, Lily and Lauren... so cute!!

KU Latenight

Ever since I met Don, he always went (or wanted to go) to KU's Latenight at the Phog. It is actually where we went on our second date. The last couple of years he went and took our girls with him, but this year we decided to make it a family affair. We got there early and had to stand in line outside and then once inside had to sit for a long time before the festivities even began. But, just as Don said they would, the girls did great. Taegan even took a nap! We all had a great time and it was one more occasion where we could all where our KU championship shirts!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It was 2 years ago today...

It shouldn't be, but Halloween is always a sad day to me now. Two years ago, we went in for a normal 17 week check-up and they couldn't find the baby's heartbeat. We sat anxiously in the waiting room for a sonogram and when it was our turn, they immediately found the heartbeat. I laid there crying tears of relief as they continued to check our baby over and looking at her on the monitor. Then came the words that changed my life forever... there was something wrong with my baby. The technician starting pointing out all these problems and I just laid there thinking it was all a dream, a really bad dream. I immediately looked over at my two perfect little girls who were so confused by everything going on around them. I remember leaving the doctor's office and going back to our car. Don and I got the girls in and I just sat in the front seat bawling. The next thing I knew, Madison was there with her arm around my shoulder, singing to me. It was the sweetest sound on such a horrible day. And it was then I realized I had to pull myself up off the floor and go back to being a mom. Today was Halloween and our girls deserved a happy Halloween even if our world was crumbling around us.

Two years later, I still remember that day like it was yesterday. I sit here crying as I type this because I miss my beautiful baby girl so much. It has been over 19 months since I got to hold Reese and kiss her and tell her I love her. She will forever be my angel. My perfect little baby that in the one hour and nine minutes she was with us, taught me more about life and love and family than I will ever learn any place else. I know she watches over our family and one day I will be able to hold her again... she will be waiting for me in Heaven and I will get to spend the rest of eternity with my baby girl that had a much greater purpose than staying here could ever fulfill. I know God has a reason for everything, and I may not know why Reese couldn't stay here with us, why He didn't choose to heal her, but I trust that He knows what is best for me and my family.

So here we are on Halloween again. Madison will be the beautiful Sleeping Beauty today. Lily will transform into Cinderella. Taegan will be my little monkey (his nickname since he was born). And then Reese, I will remember her all day and be so thankful that she will always be my angel. Our family of six complete.

Pumpkin Carving with the Engels

Tonight after church we decided to carve pumpkins. Lily wanted to make a princess pumpkin with the Mr. Potato Head like princess pumpkin parts. After she was done, she was NOT happy that she didn't need to draw, cut or clean-out on her pumpkin - and was especially upset when she didn't get a candle in hers! (Next year Lily will not use these pieces!) Madison told me step by step what she wanted hers to look like. And Don, who had never carved a pumpkin until we got married (how is that even possible?) made a very interesting pumpkin, as always. Mine and Taegan's pumpkins were not carved. We decided Taegan's baby pumpkin is too small and I just like leaving mine uncarved so I can use it to decorate until Thanksgiving. We all had a blast, especially me when I was watching the girls' reaction when they put their hands in the pumpkins to pull out the "guts". So much fun... something we will all remember years from now and a great end to our day!

Our Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Today after Lily got home from school, Don, Lily, Taegan and I went to the pumpkin patch to pick out our pumpkins. (Madison had already been there with her class.) Lily had lots of fun on the hay bales and then we went to work. Lily picked one out (with our help) for Don, Taegan, herself and me. We then tried to take some pictures to remember the trip, but Lily was constantly asking if she could go jump in the bouncers. So, we told her she could as long as she would cooperate with the pictures. Here are the results...

Madison's Birthday Party - otherwise known as "Complete Chaos"

Madison wanted a gymnastics birthday party this year for her 6th birthday. We had been to a couple and she had such a great time. Don and I decided that we could do that, but then came the decision of who to invite. The rule for school (as it should be) is that if you are sending the invites to school to be handed out, you either invite the entire class or no one. This wouldn't be that big of a deal, except we haven't received the school directory yet (so we have no addresses for anyone!) and Madison REALLY wanted to invite some friends from school. Don and I talked about it and just did it - we invited the entire class. So, last Sunday we had 22 kids at her party. You only have 1 1/2 hours without having to pay extra. One hour is for the kids to play on all the equipment and do fun stuff with the instructors. The next half hour you are supposed to serve cake, eat cake and open all the gifts. This is virtually impossible! We just had cupcakes for all the kids - so no serving and we flew through the gifts so fast I hardly knew what she opened, let alone who each gift was from. BUT, the important thing is that she had a blast! Here are a few pictures from the party...

Just some of the kids...

Madison in the big foam pit...

Madison doing a flip on the bar - she was so proud of this!

Madison right before blowing out her candles - notice the beautiful Barbie cake Grandma made!

Happy Birthday Madison!! Mommy can't believe my baby girl is 6 years old.

Taegan is not a fan of cereal!!

After Taegan turned four months old, we did what we always do with our children - start them on cereal and baby food. Now, Madison was not the fondest of it at first, but eventually warmed up. Lily - she loved it from the start. And then there's Taegan. He hates it! The first couple bites he just had a look of "what is this stuff" on his face.

And instead of progressively getting used to it and starting to like it, this is what we got.

I really thought by now he would have warmed up to it, but no. I still can't get him to eat any. He doesn't like it warm, cold, thick, runny, with formula, without, mixed with baby food or by itself. I think he's heard his mommy say I want him to stay a baby one too many times!

Lily's Favorite Birthday Party Ever!

And no, it wasn't her own party over Labor Day weekend! Instead, it was a "Wizard of Oz" party for a little girl at our church. Madison and Lily had just watched the "Wizard of Oz" for the first time a few weeks earlier (it was known around our house as "The Tiger Movie"). But this was no ordinary party, this party had the "real" characters walking around and meeting the guests! Lily was so excited - she got to meet the "real" Dorothy, Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion. Here she is with the whole crew.

The funniest part of the day for us was when Lily convinced Dorothy, Tin Man and Scarecrow to let her show them their picture (which was actually a cutout figure that you can put your own face in). She took Dorothy over first and then went through the rest of the crew, but refused to take the Lion, because he was scary. By the way, the next day, she was almost in tears because she was so sad she didn't show the Lion his picture - she just kept saying "He's not scary, the Lion is nice". It was really pathetic!