“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, And that enables you to laugh at life's realities.”
Dr. Seuss

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas 2013

This  blog has been on my mind a lot the last few months. I have always loved family history but until recently, I have just felt too overwhelmed with raising little ones to add one more big thing on my plate. Life hasn't slowed down any, in fact it has probably gotten busier, but as I was sitting in the Temple last week during an amazing sealing session, I had this incredible feeling that now was the time. As I have thought more about that experience, this little blog has come into my mind and made me realize (again) how important it is that I am documenting my own family history! So here I am, trying to get a head start on my resolutions this year…that and the fact that my computer goes into the Apple store tomorrow (Ainslee discovered the disc drive and I am pretty sure that my missing camera card is jammed into the depths of the computer) and who knows how long it is going to be taking a little vacation there…hopefully not long! Oh…I should mention that my keyboard is also being replaced this week…so if there is a comma or an apostrophe missing…I don't need to go back to school and I am not just being lazy…it is broken!  So onto our Christmas this year!
Livi and her teacher Mrs. Allen

Livs Rudolph hair!
Trey had to have a pic with all of his buddies!

Christmas the last two years has definatley been a new experience for our little family.  We are so used to being surrounded by everyone and it has taken some getting used to being way out here in Ohio. But we have created new traditions and of course kept our favorite old traditions! The kids had a blast last week with their school class parties! Livia is absolutely in love with her teachers this year and I am pretty sure that the feeling is mutual! And Trey, he is doing amazing at school and loves his teacher also! As soon as I get my computer back, the next post will be ones about each of the kiddos…a little about what is going on with each of them! Anyway, Trey and Livia had a Christmas singing program! Livia wanted to wear her new Christmas dress! The little girls saw sister getting all dressed up and they wanted to wear their new dresses too! The program was adorable! Trey and Liv have had a blast working on their songs and they loved being able to perform them! The little girls…lets just say that they were a hit! They got stopped about 7 times so that people could look at their dresses! They acted shy, but I think that they felt like little princesses! Their parties were pretty laid back and just a fun time to wish everyone Merry Christmas and eat LOTS of food! We gave their teachers this year a really cute reusable mason jar cup with a red and white straw filled with yummy cookies and hot cocoa mix. And then I rolled up socks from Tads work (they are heaven and will heat you through to the core in like five minutes!) and hooked them on top! It wasn't a lot but they turned out really cute and I think that they liked them!
at the Christmas program!

The couple of weeks leading up to Christmas have been filled with parties! Tads company has a huge Christmas party down in Athens at the University. There is a great dinner, dancing and awards! This was the first night that we left Aurianna for a real babysitting job! She did great! We had a fun night visiting with all of our work friends! Then came the Ward Christmas party! The ladies in charge did an AMAZING job! They completely transformed the gym and it was really a beautiful night! Tads work also has a children's Christmas Party! The kids had a blast last year so they were really excited this year! They got a bag full of fun goodies (a new sled, books and coloring stuff!). Then there was a balloon animal person and a full magic act! It was a fun morning!

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The three older kids were included in the magic show!
Tad has the entire week off (ahhhhh!). I will have to explain the ahhhh in a later post…I will call it the good and the bad from moving to Ohio post!  Do you all know how much I love Christmas? Well I LOVE Christmas! I love everything about it. But mostly I love the little things about Christmas. I love the traditions from Christmas past. I love it when my kids want to do things just like we did them that one time! I love the lights on the tree and how my nativity set looks up on the fire place mantel. I love that I was able to find a place for my poinsettia this year ( in the old house they went on top of the cupboards in the kitchen but this kitchen has them going all the way up to the ceiling). I love snuggling and watching Christmas movies. I love listening to Christmas music (preferably the Frank Sinatra Holiday Pandora station!). This list would go on and on so I will stop! Tad doesn't know it yet, but we started a new tradition this year. I told Tad that I have always wanted to watch A White Christmas, but I never get around to it every year. So this year, the night before Christmas Eve while I was wrapping presents, Tad came in and turned it on and wrapped with me! He usually is not a big fan of musicals (yikes, I know right!), but he really liked the movie! I of course loved it! (I know…you are seeing a lot of LIKE and LOVE words in this post…I should have made that a warning too!) In some ways I love Christmas Eve more than Christmas day! We delivered pineapples to our neighbors this year and the mail lady ( I love our mail lady!!!)…I love pineapples!  When we got home, we made gingerbread houses! Audreys was just more of a pile up of all the candy on top of a single graham cracker that had frosting on it! After,   Tad and the kids watched a movie while I put out the food! This is a tradition that Tads mom does every Christmas Eve! I laid out sandwich stuff, chips, dip, veggies, fruit, crackers and cheese balls. Then it was time for Jammies!!!  After we ate, we skyped with the cousins and uncles and aunts and grandparents in Utah! The kids had so much fun talking with their cousins! While they talked, I got fondue  ready! Chocolate, bananas, pretzels, mandarin oranges, marshmallows and pineapple….yum! Everyone dove right in, even the little girls! It was so yummy! At about six Trey and Livia started asking if it was time for bed! They were counting down! So when I said that it was 8 and it was time, they literally ran to their beds! I was tucking Trey in and singing to him and he said to me …Mom, this isn't going to work. Santa is never going to come to our house. I asked him Why and he said, because Livia is as high as a kite and the little girls aren't going to ever go to bed.  After reassuring him that they would eventually go to sleep, he was out within 10 minutes!

Christmas Day was truly  magical! Santa usually puts together all of the toys that need to be put together and then each child has an area where all of their other goodies are laid out. It is fun, but everyone is freaking out at their stuff and Tad and I are trying to whip our heads around in five different directions to see their expressions…it is a little chaotic and is over in a flash. So this year Santa wrapped EVERYTHING! We went in order and watched everyone unwrap each of their gifts! It was awesome! It took forever which was also awesome! I loved it! When we first sat down in front of the tree, the first thing that the older kids asked was if they could open up the gifts that they got for each other. It was really cute. Aurianna also made  gifts for each one of us. She made homemade envelopes with coupons inside! They were adorable!   Oh, I forgot…Liv and Trey were up at 4:45.  I sent them back to bed until 6…I think that they recruited Ainslee at about 5:30…and they never did go back to bed. They just went in their rooms and talked about Christmas and how excited they were!  Oh, to be a kid again! Aurianna got a rip board (so did Trey and Liv), Disney Infinity for the Xbox, a ton of art stuff and a ton of Under Armour stuff. Trey got Skylanders swap force, this gigantic Trio castle, art stuff and a karaoke machine. Livia got a washi  tape fashion design kit, a karaoke machine, a cake pop maker, art stuff and new kinect games. The little girls got a lot of the same things…in fact everything was bought in double . The klick clack princess castle, new scooters, doctor kits, baby strollers, beds and swings and new babies and art and play doh stuff! I think that Santa pretty much rocked it this year! The kids played while I made crepes and bacon and eggs (another tradition!). Breakfast was scarfed down so that they could Skype with Grandma and Grandpa Ashby!  They opened up their presents from them (such a blessing to be able to do 1700 miles away!!!) and loved talking to them and sharing all their fun things! Tad and I were so excited for the next part of our day! We got to work transforming Treys room into a quiet Skype  room for the missionaries to be able to talk to their families! One of the blessing from living here is that we have had a huge opportunity to work with the missionaries a lot! Since we have lived here, we have watched our area grow so much that it has gone from having just two sister Missionaries to now having two Sister Missionaries and four Elders! We love having them in our home and we were so excited when two of the Elders asked if they could talk to their families from our home on Christmas! They were so excited when they got here because it is the first time that they have been allowed to Skype! They were up there for a little over an hour, but they were all business when  they came downstairs…straight back to work having to go to the church to fill up the baptismal font for a baptism later that day!!! The kids spent the rest of the day playing and then sky ping! We skyped with their twin cousins and uncle and aunts from my side! They had a blast (or I should say I had a blast!!!) trying to make them smile! I just want to reach through the screen and squeeze them! Then they opened up their presents with Grandma and Grandpa Tatum on Skype! Then they talked to Granpa Thornton! Wow What a day!!!! We had so much fun talking to everyone and playing! When we finally got everyone to bed, the house looked like a bomb had gone off…but I was too numb too care!

We had a great day after Christmas clean up day today! The kids cleaned their rooms spot less and then we cleaned up from yesterday! It all happened right in time because Audreys cold turned into both eyes turning bright red  and her crying that her ear hurt. As I was getting her  ready   to head to urgent care, Ainslee said that she wanted to come with us so that she could take care of her little sissy. They really are so close it is crazy sometimes! The urgent care was crazy busy, Audrey fell asleep in my arms, and Ainslee colored while we waited.  The kind  nurse moved us up to the front of the line so we didn't have to wait too terribly long. She has a middle ear infection and pink eye. He also told me that it would go through all of my kids and that of course I had to bring them each back in.   We are all washing our hands like mad and I am bleaching everything. It will probably happen any way…but it is worth a try.

What an amazing few days! Such wonderful memories made and just some wonderful family time! I am so blessed to be surrounded by such incredible people! Thank you for making our holidays so

Auriannas homemade letters!

Sunday before Christmas

Christmas Eve!

Tads gift from Aaron!

Breakfast Yum!

Skyping with Grandma and Grandpa!

Skyping with cousins and everyone!

Rock stars!

The missionaries!!!

Cutest Nephew ever!!! And she is just a doll baby! Ohh how I can't wait for July!!!

Yucky ear infection…not a good day after christmas feeling.
lovely! I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas!

sorry that all the pictures were at the end. It is way too late (early) and I am struggling getting them in the right spot…besides this post is forever long, so if you made it this far…bravo!!!!

Love ,

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Last Week of School!!!

Just a little warning before you start to read this...a lot of the pictures are from my phone. Long story, but I am camera less right now (never thought those words would come out of my mouth:)) Tad, my mom and my mother in law gave me a new one for my birthday, but it isn't here yet...so for the time being all pics come through the iPhone. That would be great, if there hadn't been a small incident with my phone going into the toilet a month or so ago. Thank heavens for a bag of rice, the phone still works until I am eligible for my upgrade, but the camera is not really working so wonderfully...so, the pics...not great, just to warn ya!

Onto our last week of school! This is one of my FAVORITE weeks! I really should stop saying that because in all honesty, I have a lot of favorite weeks! But who doesn't love the last week of school? Cleaning out the desks, the anticipation of summer right around the corner, class parties, autographs and exchanging numbers...so many things to love! 

We planned a fun trip to the Great Wolf Lodge in Cincinnati a couple of months ago! We left on Monday morning! It was perfect because it was only an hour and half from where we live and even though our room wasn't ready when we arrived, we were able to go right into the water park! It is all indoor and the three older kids could go on every slide in the park! They had a little kid area with slides  and shallow pools perfect for Ainslee and Audrey! They also had a wave pool and a lazy river and a few other pools with activities in them! Everyone had a blast! We played ALL day! At 4, Tad realized that we hadn't even stopped for lunch! There are restaurants right in the lodge so we just dried off and put clothes on and ran into the grill upstairs to have dinner! The three older kids chowed down excited to get back to the park. The younger two slowly ate their food until Audrey suddenly fell asleep mid mac'n cheese bite! Tad went back to the park with the older kids and I went to the room with the younger two! 

It was six and she was OUT! She was even snoring!!!

 Ainslee had a blast being the only kid in our room and loved exploring everything there was to see! We were chilly from being in the water all day so we turned on the fireplace, enjoyed the view of the outdoor pool from our balcony and of course had a blast in the kids cabin!
 She also enjoyed a very relaxing bath all by herself...that never happens!!!
 We eventually woke Audrey up and got jammies on! It was time for the lodge story time! The girls thought this was fun...until this wolf came out...then Audrey was ready to get the heck out of there!

 I swam with the little girls for a couple hours Tuesday morning, but then we took off for Ikea up the road while Tad and the other kids played at the park! We had to head home early in the afternoon to make it back for soccer tryouts...but it was time. The second we got in the car they all fell asleep!
 Wednesday was designated for laundry, until I saw Tonya Crisers call out to friends to go to this fun splash pad in Circleville! It was a bit of a drive, but the girls had a blast!
Ainslee had a blast! 

 Audrey wasn't too sure at first and she was just enjoying the goodies and snuggling with mom! But by the end,  I couldn't get her out of the water!

 This last month almost every weeknight has left Tad and I going in different directions! Sometimes even three different directions (yes it is possible!)! This Wednesday night wasn't any different! Aurianna had an end of season soccer party with her team! It was at her friend Gina's house and it was a blast...literally! They had pizza, a gigantic soccer game, good company and lots of candy! The hit of the night was the Stuckey's gigantic candy shooter! Tad and Livia were at her soccer game. They showed up right in time for the candy! It was such a great way to end an awesome season! I am so proud of Aurianna and the girls on her team! They work so well together and they get along so well on and off the field!

 The kids had a fun week at school too! Livia's class has been celebrating for the entire month by doing something fun everyday! This week they went on a walk with a buddy, wore yellow in hopes of sunny summer days, and exceptional student awards! Livia won the Super Hero award for always being so helpful! We feel so blessed that each one of the kids had wonderful teachers this year to make our transition that much smoother. Livia and Mrs. Palmer had an instant connection. Livia says that it is because her teachers first name is Debbie and that is the name of her grandma who is also a teacher, but whatever it is, Livia has adored her! When my mom came to visit in October the two teachers arranged for their classes to be pen pals! Livia gets excited every time they get to exchange letters! This week Livia was able to stand in front of the school at the Celebration of Success assembly and tell them all about her experience with being a pen pal! Livia has made so many great friends this year and she has really had a great year! She was on the Student Council and received an award for that. She also received an Academic Excellence award for receiving all A's for the year!

Trey also loved his teacher and class! This last week of school they had a camp week! On Thursday they had to wear T-shirts that had some sort of a phrase on it. They also went on a walk that day! They had a movie day and a proud to be an American day. I think Trey's favorite day was bring a sleeping bag day. They brought their favorite book and flashlight and had campfire stories! Trey's teacher, Mrs. VanbusKirk, told us every time we saw her and wrote on every report card what a sweet boy Trey was. He was always trying to include the other kids and helping his teacher. He has always been a little shy and not as outspoken as his big sister Livia, but this year has helped him to come out of his shell a little bit and speak up for himself!

Aurianna had a fun last couple of weeks too! She has really enjoyed her teacher, probably because Mrs. Kitsmiller loves nature, creepy crawly, flying in the sky, getting your hands dirty stuff as much as Aurianna does! Aurianna has spent the last couple weeks learning and studying all about the different birds in the area! She  had a group from Alley Park come to her class and bring Owl pellets which they got to pick apart and find the bones in it and a ton of other stuff...stuff that made me want to lose my lunch, but Aurianna looked forward to it for days before they came! She had pizza parties out her ears this week...one for Safety Patrol, one for Library helper and one for her class! She also had, well I am not sure what it is called, but they run down the hall and everyone lines the hallway and claps their hands! She has had a wonderful last year in Elementary School. I can't believe that she is moving onto Middle School already, but she is excited and that makes me happy!

This was on the last day of class at the end of the day! The little girls were excited for summer too!!!