Friday, November 29, 2013

Family photo shoot

For so long I couldn't stand the idea of new family pictures without MaKayla in them. But after a few years I realized I had to get new pictures done and move on. So when a budding semi-professional friend offered to do our pictures for super cheap I jumped on that idea.

 Steve and I had fun getting our pictures taken too!
 The Boys


                         The Girls.

 Okay so tell me we are not the only weird strange crazy different family. My kids started doing this weird thing one night when we were praying for dinner. I think it started because one of the little ones already had messy hands from starting to eat to early. So one of the big kids said, earlobes and grabbed the earlobes of the siblings beside them. Next thing I know this is becoming a regular joke between them. It's really kinda cute to have funny moments like this in our large family.
                                                It's hard to believe that this guy was only 4                                    when I first met him. It's even harder to believe he
                                   will be graduating this year! But I can say how
                                   proud we are of him. He has already been accepted
                                   to the Culinary Institute of America in New York.
                                   James is a great student and has such an ambition
                                   for cooking! It is a joy to watch him grow and soon
                                   become an adult.
 Savanna is much more of the free spirit kinda girl. If the mood strikes her to get creative she will in a heart beat. She's been this way for as long as I have known her. Even as a little 3 year old when I met her, she was full of energy. She has really found a place she loves at our local joint vocational school and will be right on James' heels, graduating next year. Her goals currently are to join the navy after high school and see the world.

                                          Russell, my first born, has always been a laid
                              back kid. This summer he disappeared after church and                               when we found him it was to discover that he had
                              accepted Jesus into his heart. Oh how wonderful that
                              makes me feel to know my son knows Jesus as his                                     savior. Ever since then he has felt that he should                                         become a missionary or maybe even a pastor. This
                              little guy (who really isn't so little anymore) will be
                              starting high school next year. Where does the time go?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Katerina is Steve and my first child together. Now that she's 8 I think she wants to be a "big kid" more than ever. She is another kid that is full of energy and lots of creativeness. She is my oldest homeschooler and she is constantly keeping me coming back to the Lord for how best to help her learn. She is a natural leader to the younger two kids and such a helper to me.
                                  Natalia is my sweet little 5 year old. Although technically not old enough for public school kindergarten, she was racing through workbooks faster then I could believe and learning to read very easily, so this summer her dad and I decided she would do kindergarten in our homeschool. It has been such a joy to watch her learn. She picks up everything so fast! She's already doing 1st grade math! She is my little snuggle "kitten" (as she puts it) and whenever I sit down she hops into my lap.

 Hayden was my hardest pregnancy, delivery, and my most challenging baby and toddler. At 3 weeks old we discovered he had acid reflux. And although medicine and a diet change for me did help, he still had nights of screaming that seemed to last forever. Now that he is almost 2 I thought we would move on to words, but instead he gets by using baby sign language and grunts mostly. He has graced us with some words but refuses to use them regularly. Yet he is so smart he can grab each family members shoes without them asking! And his little smile is so contagious! It is exciting to watch his fascination with the world around him. And like a lot of boys he loves cars, trains, and construction vehicles!

So this is us, the whole family, including the dog, Winston. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

4th of July week camping

 Please forgive the weird placement of the photos. I had a hard time figuring out how to post them in a more ascetic manner. Oh well the fun part is seeing the pictures, right?
 So the first few days we were camping it rained pretty good. As you can see Russell fell in a puddle running from our popup to my dad's RV. It was so funny that I quickly got the camera and told him not to move. After one of the really good storms the little dip between campsites turned into a small creek. And of course the kids wanted to play in it. So I did what any mom does...I took pictures!

 You can see how deep the water got in the little creek. After a good day or so of clear weather all the water was gone and things cleared up for the rest of the week.

 So we went fishing. We have been going to this campground since I was a kid and we always joke that the bluegill that practically jump on your hook are "piranhas." Well as normal the kids were able to catch a lot of "piranhas" but the best catch was Katerina's catfish. She was allowed to help Grandpa take the bluegill off the hook but he insisted on taking the catfish off.

 Natalia wasn't as patient with fishing but true to the norm she was able to catch a few "piranhas" as well. I love that I have pictures of my dad and the kids! He is an awesome grandpa and I know they will have wonderful memories from these pictures just as I have of my grandfather at this campground.

 Next we went to a local baseball field and caught a game. Because it wasn't major league there are so many more things for the kids to do. The older kids enjoyed the game and I took the youngers to do face painting, run across the field, see an owl up close, and watch a clown make balloon animals for them. Oh and of course eat hotdogs because you have to have a hotdog at the game.

 On the night before 4th of July we went to Blossom. It's an outdoor/indoor stage music arena. The outdoor portion is on a really big hill. We took a picnic dinner and after another quick rainstorm it dried up and we had a blast. I loved the patriotic music and you can see the kids loved it too! You can see Katerina pretending to be the director.
 You can see that we had a lot of down time and this is one of my favorite pictures, Steve with Hayden and Natalia swinging on this old swing which over looks the lake.

 We also got to go to the Holden Arborium. We hiked and then checked out the kids zone. The kids loved the miniature zipline.

This is Natalia playing her little "guitar." I love when she does this because it is just so cute!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

California in May

 This is pretty much how we traveled as we went through the airport and whenever we were out and about sight seeing. The umbrella stoller helped too for the airport but I think it is so much easier if you know you are going to be encountering steps or crowded situations to be able to put your little one in a carrier. I was able to stick diapers and wipes in the little pouch I made on this carrier and his sippy cup in my pocket. I love babywearing!

 This is my little guy watching the planes before we took off on our first flight. He was such a good traveler! Hayden had never been on a plane before so I didn't know how he would do. I packed so much into my diaper bag that it barely zipped closed but during our layover on the way there he had a diaper blowout. I quickly changed him and we moved to get in line for our next flight. As I stand there I realize that something still smells. Then I looked down and realized it was my shirt! Boy was I glad I had packed a spare t-shirt for myself too!

See I told you he was a good traveler!
 One of the neat things we were able to do was for the rehersal dinner we went to a bocce ball resturant. It was a lot of fun! As you can see Hayden wanted to keep throwing the balls. James loved it too, although he played with the grownups.

This is a picture of beautiful Napa Valley. We went and visited a winery there and enjoyed driving around. What a gorgeous country the Lord has made!

 These pictures of us looking awesome are from the wedding. What a beautiful wedding! And my cousin was an absolutely stunning bride! James was in charge of Hayden during the ceremony so that I could enjoy it but really Hayden was a good kid and sat nicely most of the time.

 Another one of the cool things we did was go and visit San Francisco. My uncle is a retired police officer from there and knows all the best places to visit. We rode the cable car, saw fisherman's wharf and had dinner at a delicious Chinese restaurant. Hayden again rode in the carrier and as you can see here he enjoys it! James loved the food and we all ate so much! It was such an awesome trip and I know I will treasure the memories with these boys!

Monday, November 18, 2013


We made it through a very busy summer and I will try to sit and work on posting pictures of all our exciting events but I wanted to update on all the exciting things we did this summer and early fall.

For Memorial Day weekend I was able to travel to California with James, Hayden, my Dad and stepmom for my cousins wedding. We had a great time and really enjoyed the sights of the San Francisco area. It was fun to be able to spend some quality time with the boys and my family out west.

In late June through the 4th of July we did camping in upper Ohio. It was very laid back and relaxing. We took the kids fishing and to an Arborium. The little girls participated in the campground 4th of July parade and of course we had campfires!

Also in July we finally got new family pictures done! It only took me forever! LOL. The last family picture we had I was pregnant with Natalia! The pictures turned out amazing and we all enjoyed laughing and playing as we got them done.

Then in September Steve and I renewed our wedding vows on our 12th wedding anniversary in our backyard. Although I was worried about rain, it turned out to be a beautiful day spent showing our love for each other and celebrating with our family and friends.

Later in September we again went on vacation, this time with Steve's Mom and stepdad, to Hilton Head, SC. It was such a blast to be in a house right on the beach!

Oh and how can I forget about a week after renewing our wedding vows we found out we are expecting #7! I am due May 20, 2014.

Thankful October and November have been a little quieter around here and that has helped me get through that difficult first trimester. Now I pray the morning sickness will ease soon and my energy will return quickly! And of course we look forward to late December when we can find out if we will be having a girl or a boy.