Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pregnancy Update: 9 weeks

Notice the new addition to the blog on the right...a pregnancy counter.

Not quite sure if knowing that I have 218 days to go is such a great idea at this point, because I'm feeling pretty sick these days. Still not as bad as the other pregnancies, where I literally spent the entire day in the bathroom. But, the constant nausea is wearing.

I just keep thinking of the blessing that comes from the nausea, and it helps get through the days. And after all, I knew what would most likely be in store for me after three morning sickness plagued pregnancies, so how much can I complain, right?!?

I thought I'd share baby's development at 9 weeks. When I look at the week-by-week development of the little life growing inside me, I can only think of how awesome our God is. Babies truly are little miracles.

{By the way, my first doctor's appointment is tomorrow. Kind of a bittersweet feeling...I dislike going to the doctor and tomorrow's visit starts a regular 9-month doctor visit trend. But, I like hearing about the baby, so I'll survive.}

At 9 weeks:
Cartilage and bones begin to form. The basic structure of the eye is well underway and the tongue begins to develop. The intestines start to move out of the umbilical cord and into the abdomen as the body grows and makes room. The fingers and thumb have appeared but are short and webbed.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Present Reviews

I thought I'd give a review of some of the Christmas presents the kids received from under our tree this year.
Certain Christmas presents have been big hits thus far.

For Chloe, it's her play phone.
It's constantly with her, and she's constantly 'talking' on it.
I guess she's got a lot to say!

Another of Chloe's beloved gifts is her new dog stroller. It came with twin little Scottie dogs for her to take care of. She loves to put those little doggies in the stroller and push them around.

And she loves to groom the dogs, and give them lots of kisses. What a little mommy :)

This year for Christmas, Aunt Fern introduced our family to the world of gaming.
Yes, we made the leap onto the Wii bandwagon, and it's been a time-consuming ride.
The boys want to play Wii all the time.
At least they're actually up and moving around as they play, right?

One of their favorite games is bowling.
It's a game they can both play and don't have too much trouble mastering, that is, after Cooper got over the fact that you throw the ball forward, not backwards.

And here's Jason looking quite dapper in his new AE sweater, from moi of course!
Sitting by the fire in his new mock turtleneck...all he needs is a pipe hanging out of his mouth to complete the look. Lol.
If I didn't buy him clothes, that boy would be naked...
{Jas HATES to go shopping. Lucky for him, I love it!}

Besides clothes, I also got Jason 24: Season 5.
There's nothing like spending your nights watching Jack Bauer save the world from terrorism.
With all these gifts, who needs to leave the house?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

True Meaning of Christmas

As we unwrap the presents from under the tree, it's easy to let the day go by without really pausing to think about what Christmas is all about. And what a travesty that is, to not give glory to the Lord for what He gave us on Christmas day.

So what is the true meaning of Christmas?

You could say it is love.

John 3:16-17 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

The true meaning of Christmas is the celebration of this incredible act of love.

The real Christmas story is the story of God becoming a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ. Why did God do such a thing? Because He loves us! Why was Christmas necessary? Because we needed a Savior! Why does God love us so much? Because He is love itself {1 John 4:8.}

The true meaning of Christmas is love. God loved His own and provided a way—the only Way—for us to spend eternity with Him. He gave His only Son to take our punishment for our sins. He paid the price in full, and we are free from condemnation when we accept that free gift of love. "But God demonstrated His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." {Romans 5:8.}

So on this day, out of gratitude for what God did for us, we celebrate the birth of His son Jesus, born in a lowly manger to be the Savior of the world.

Now that's a love story!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Special Christmas Gift

We kicked off the unwrapping of many Christmas presents last night at Jason's parents' home.

Understandably, the kids were super excited.
But we did manage to get them to pose for a quick photo in front of the Christmas tree.

Then came the presents.

Many were unwrapped...
{please excuse the photo quality. My camera flash was being testy last night!}

But one gift definitely stood out among the rest.

Grandma helped Chloe unwrap a very special box containing a new shirt for Chloe to wear...

And then she wore it.

Grandma was shocked.
Grandpa didn't understand at first, but got it eventually.
How about you?
Do you get the shirt's message?

That's right...

we're pregnant again!

I am 9 weeks pregnant,
and the baby's due date as of now is August 5.

How's that for a Christmas present!

I'll share more details later,
after you've gotten over the shock of this big announcement :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rub a Dub Dub, Three Kids in a Tub

So this doesn't happen very often. I usually bathe the boys together and bathe Chloe by herself. But it was past their bedtimes and I was in a hurry, so a community bath was the answer to my dilemma.
This did make for some memorable photos...we all have at least one bathtub photo from our childhood, right?!? Well, maybe except for me, the forgotten fourth child whose family apparently never had a camera in the house past her older brother's glory days. {I'm pretty sure this explains my obsession with taking photos of the kids.}
Anyway, moving past my bitterness,
Chloe looked so happy to be bathing with her brothers...

Until Cooper started doing this...

She didn't like having water poured over her head over and over again. Go figure?!?
I think she'll opt for her own bath time from now on.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Chloe's Pretend Play

Chloe has been sick again this week. I know...what's the deal with my family and being sick lately? This week, Chloe had a double ear infection and had trouble sleeping most every night, which translates into not only a very tired toddler, but also a very tired mom.
But this morning, she finally showed some signs of feeling better because she actually felt like playing!
Having a girl has really opened up my eyes to how different a girl plays than a boy. Chloe is starting to pretend a lot. Now the boys pretend play some, but nothing like Chloe. She makes fun out of the most ordinary objects.
Take this exercise equipment for example...

It looks like an ordinary eliptical to you, right?
But to Chloe...

It's a bed for her kitty.
She had that kitty all tucked into that eliptical step with her blanket, looked at me and said, "Kitty night night." Then she got some books from her room and was 'reading' to the kitty. But not just reading, she was reading very softly, almost whispering in the kitty's ear. It was so cute!

After that, she took her books and did this...

Yes, Chloe turns an ordinary sofa table into a reading nook.
She really cracks me up. It's something new everyday!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Letter to Santa

Gabe's class wrote letters to Santa and the teacher sent the letters home for the parents to keep. I thought I'd share Gabe's Santa letter. Gabe's letter is so indicative of him, always curious and asking a lot of questions.
So here it is...

Dear Santa,
Are the elves working for you this year? Are they making toys for everybody? Can your reindeer really fly? Can your sleigh really fly? Can the elves really make toys? I want some for me.
I know that Mrs. Claus makes cookies. Who does she make them for?
I want you to bring me a life saver like in Star Wars. I want some blocks and a train.
Merry Christmas!

Besides the many, many questions Gabe asks in his letter, I love that he asks for a life saver instead of a light saber. Ha ha. And I have to say, where did my boy's manners go when composing this letter? What's up with the demands? Not once is there a please or thank you! Oops. We'll have to have a talk about that :) I'm pretty sure Santa likes good manners.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Random Thoughts by Cooper

Cooper says some pretty silly things sometimes. And often these silly statements are completely random and out of the blue. There's no rhyme or reason, he just says whatever comes to mind.

Today, it was about Grandpa...

Cooper: Hey Mom. What if I'd be Grandpa and I didn't have any hair. That would be funny, wouldn't it! {The fact that he was laughing hysterically made it memorable. He was really cracking himself up!}
Me: Yup, funny Coop.
Cooper: Can I be Grandpa for Halloween then?

Hmmm...That's definitely an unusual Halloween costume request, and a whole year early too! We'll see if he remembers this come Halloween.

Later, we were watching Jon & Kate Plus Eight, one of my favorite shows. If you don't know about them, where have you been? But to fill you in, they are a couple who have one set of twins and one set of sextuplets, hence the 'plus eight.'

Coop likes to watch the show too, and turned to me in the middle of the show and said,
"Mom. Can we have eight kids too?"
I said, "Ummm, I don't think so Coop."
He said, "Maybe just three then, and we can name them Gabe, Cooper and Chloe."

Wouldn't that be a bit confusing?
Silly Coop.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I need four-wheel drive

School was let out early today due to the snow storm.
This is what I see at the door after Gabe gets off the bus...

All smiles.
Like most kids, Gabe loves to play in the snow.
While watching him out of the window from the warm house, I notice Gabe definitely finds some very unconventional kinds of snow play like trying to ride his bike.
That didn't work too well, so then he tried riding the trike. I need to explain that this isn't any ordinary trike. No, this trike has monster size heavy duty wheels, a present from farm grandpa & grandma for Gabe's birthday a few years back.
Since moving onto his bike, the trike has become Cooper's, but Gabe still rides it every now and then.
But, even with those monster tires, the trike got stuck.
What's a boy to do, you may ask?
This of course...

Grab a shovel and get to work.
{He may be odd, but he's also quite resourceful.}
While outside with him taking these photos, Gabe was explaining to me what a pain it is to have to shovel out his trike. So, we started talking about his predicament.
'Of course you're stuck. You're trying to ride a trike through the snow,' I said.
Gabe replied, "Well, I wouldn't be stuck if I had four-wheel-drive!"
How do you argue with that?

Back online!

I woke up on Sunday morning to a house without internet or cable television. It's sad, but the past three days have been a long three days...no blogging for me...no favorite shows for the kids. You really don't realize how reliant you are on technology until it is taken away.
But we've had fun anyway...playing board games, coloring, reading books, making cookies...all things that can get pushed aside when the internet and cable are working.
So, now that you know why I've been absent from blogging, let me tell you that you've missed a lot. Gabe's first wrestling tournament was on Sunday for starters. And then there's my fireplace mishap where I could have easily burned down the house. Oops.
But I'll have to blog about those things later, as I actually have some work to catch up on now that the internet is working {the only downfall to its return.}
So, stay tuned!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Countdown

Can you believe Christmas is officially two weeks away?
I sure can't. And I don't know if I want to.
I have a lot of gift shopping yet to do, and we all know how easy it is to shop with three little ones.
And then there's shopping for them, which you can't do with them.
We've already finished our shopping for Chloe, but still have to buy gifts for the boys.

Gabe wants this...

And this...

And all I can think is Yikes! {And ouch!}
That looks like a dangerous combination.

Cooper told me yesterday he wants this...

Seriously Cooper?!? What a goof!

No worries though. I will get the Christmas shopping done, as I do every year, and it will be a Merry Christmas.
Not because of the gifts, but because of the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ, born on Christmas day.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Crazy Tired

What else do I call this post but crazy tired. Chloe cried most of the night last night, instead of sleeping, which means I was up most of the night too. She was running a fever, so I took her to the doctor this morning thinking it must be her ears.
But, no, her ears looked fine. The doctor said it must just be a virus. Isn't it sad when you just wish it was something like an ear infection so that you can give your child medicine and know it's going to make them feel better.
After the doctor, we came home and I tried to read my Bible and fell asleep. Then I thought I'd better try something more active, like doing the dishes. But, I almost fell asleep doing that too!
Needless to say, I'm crazy tired, Chloe's crazy tired, and I think Coop is tired too from being woken up so early by Chloe's crying. I think naptime is going to be for everyone today!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pink Eye Chloe

I think there's been at least one person sick in our household every single day since school started.
That's going on four months!
Not good.
Right now it's Chloe.
She woke up on Saturday with pink eye her right eye. I had eye drops left over from Cooper, who had pink eye two weeks ago. So, I started using the drops on Chloe. By Monday her left eye was better, but now the right eye was infected. She had her 18 month check-up Monday morning, so I was able to take her in to the doctor and confirm the pink eye. We got more drops and it's already much better today. But this is what her eye looked like yesterday:
{Click on the photos to see them closer...ewwww.}

These photos were taken after I washed her eye with a warm cloth so that it would at least open.
Pink eye, but still as happy as can be.
Putting eye drops in is a different story. I didn't know such a little girl could scream so hard and so LOUD! It seriously takes two of us to hold her little body down and pry her eyes open to get the drops administered. She squeezes her eyes shut so tight, that you need two hand just to pry them open. Then there's her flailing body, desperately trying to get away. What a job.
And the doctor doesn't think she got pink eye from Cooper because she would have gotten it much sooner.
Leave it to our kids I guess!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Hat-Obsessed Chloe

Chloe loves hats. And being that I love to shop for clothes, she of course has lots of hats.
She'll go to her hat basket where I keep all of her hats and she puts them on herself. Then, she'll take a model walk around the room before going back to the basket and trying on another one.
I was looking through my photos and it really was amazing just how many photos I have of Chloe with a hat on. Thought I'd share a few to document her love of this accessory.

{Besides the hats, I'm also seeing a thumb-sucking trend going on in these photos! Uh oh!}

And when she does not have her own hat on,
apparently she's trying to steal another 'person's' hat.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Alive and Well

Jason was gone last night.
He took the youth group to a conference in Minneapolis, which translated into me and the kids being home alone.
For those of you who don't know, I am super paranoid about being home alone, especially now that we're living in the country. Every sound alerts me of someone trying to break into the house, in my mind anyway. I go and lock the door, and relock the door, making sure the house is secure. I have not only the home phone, but my cell phone in bed with me, just in case some bad guys cut the phone lines.
I know...paranoid!
And the fact that Gabe came home from school and proudly told me that he informed everyone at school and on the bus that Dad was gone doesn't help matters at all. I take precautions when I'm home alone, like not blogging about it until after the fact, but I guess Gabe wasn't aware of this 'rule.' He's seen Home Alone a billion times and should know there are burglars out there just waiting for their opportunity to strike! What was he thinking?
So, after a long, LONG night, we survived with no altercations other than a tired mom.
The kids, of course, slept great.
I just hate it when my hubby leaves me.
But he's back tonight, woohoo!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Check this out...

One of my favorite actors is Edward Norton. There's just something about him I love. No, not in a weird, 'but you're married Angie,' kind of way. I just think he's an incredible actor and I enjoy most of his movies.
There's this movie he's in with Richard Gere called 'Primal Fear.' In the movie, Norton's character blacks out and wakes up minutes or hours later with no recollection of what just happened. {There's actually more to it than that, but I don't want to ruin the movie for you if you haven't seen it.} He calls these blackout episodes 'losing time.' 'I lost time,' he says.
Sometimes when I get on the computer to check blogs for 'just a minute,' that minute turns into many, many minutes. Then, 45 minutes later I wonder, did I lose time?
That's a long introduction for what I want to share with you today...
While losing time this morning, I came across this great video Christmas card that a family did. Amazing! If only The Sanders Family had the cinematography skills {and acting skills for that matter} to accomplish such a project, I may just trade in my Christmas card design tradition for a creative video like this.
Check it out here.
You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Tree

We got our Christmas tree tonight. This annual event has come a little later than usual because we've been so busy. Keeping in mind my obsession with Christmas, I would have liked to have had the tree up and decorated right after Thanksgiving, if not before. I had all my other Christmas decor out about 3 weeks before Thanksgiving.
But I digress.
As I was saying, we got our Christmas tree tonight, since the snow caused school to be let out two hours early. We went over to Jason's parents' house, where we get our tree every year. I took photos, as I always do, and they are hilarious.
It could have something to do with the 15 degree temperature and the crazy cold wind, but everyone's faces look pained. Humorously pained.
Then there's Chloe. She had her full snow gear on...snow pants, heavy coat, snow boots, mittens, hat and hood. So, needless to say, she couldn't move. Jason put her down to walk through the snow and she just stood there. Got some funny pics of her, probably thinking, 'do you people actually expect me to walk with all these clothes on?'
And then there was Gabe, who was dancing around, saying he had to go pee. Classic, right?!?
Cooper was the only one that wasn't complaining, and he's usually the one who gets really cold...go figure.
But memories are memories, right?!?
It was also getting quite dark...almost 5 p.m. by the time we got our tree picked out, so please excuse the dark photos.
Here's Chloe right after Jason put her down to walk.
{Seriously, doesn't she just look incredibly freaked out?!?}

That girl wasn't going anywhere!

Then came the tears...

And sweet Cooper to comfort her...

I got a photo of Gabe and Coop with the tree saw. I know, very safe giving a five and two-year-old a saw, right?!? You can see a bit of the pretty sunset sky colors in the background. I did say it was almost dark!

And the photo of dad with the kids after the tree was cut down. It was completely dark by then!

Now comes the fun part of decorating the tree.
But that will have to wait til' tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Winter Forecast

We just watched the news and the weather forecast calls for
2 to 5 inches of snow tomorrow.
I guess my wish is granted!
But not just my wish...the kids' too!
Gabe was so excited. He asked me to show him with my hands how much snow we're going to get. I did, and he replied, "That's a lot of snowmen!'"
Cooper is running around the house singing 'I'm dreaming of a white Christmas,' courtesy of Christmas music-obsessed mom.
And Chloe's just yelling 'snow' over and over again, thanks to her brothers' encouragement.
So, sorry for all of you who dislike the winter weather,
but we're loving the snow at the Sanders household!

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

We had our first accumulation of snow this season over the weekend, and as expected, the kids were excited!
And mom was excited too!
Unlike a lot of adults, I am more like a kid when it comes to snow. I don't care that it needs shoveled, or can cause us to be stuck in our house for a few days. I just love the joy it brings to the kids and the way it makes the trees and fields look, so pristine and beautiful.
And to me, it makes Christmastime a little more real, and as I've mentioned before, I love Christmas!
Gabe got home off the school bus this afternoon with his snow pants already on, so I got Cooper dressed too and they went out to play. I got this photo of them with their giant snowball. {It was getting dark and my camera battery was getting low, please excuse the lack of crisp focus.}
I say, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Marathon Shoppers

My mom and I could qualify for some sort of marathon shopping award after yesterday.
I used to think people who got up in the middle of the night to stand in long shopping lines are crazy. But one year about 5 years ago we decided to try Black Friday shopping and it's been our tradition ever since.
Yesterday was perhaps our longest day of shopping yet.
We left my house at 3:30 a.m. and didn't return home until 7:30 p.m.
Crazy, I know.
Especially crazy considering that my mom didn't get any sleep before we began our shopping excursion. She had laid down to bed around 10 p.m. on Thursday night, but the anticipation of shopping and knowing she had to get up early caused her to toss & turn all night. I don't even know how she did it, but she was a shopping machine as usual.
I did buy her a Peppermint Mocha Twist from Starbucks to help fuel her with caffeine.
We always go to Younkers first, and this year was no different. We were there at 4 a.m., when the doors opened, and it was worth it. I got Jason some much needed gifts {which I can't divulge here because he actually reads the blog sometimes.}
And, I got two pairs of knee high boots and a pair of dressy black flats for under $90!
Awesome, I know!
We also went to Gap, where they were having a 'buy one get one free' sweater sale.
And many, many, many other stores...American Eagle, Bath & Body Works, Maurices, Dress Barn, Gordmans, Staples, Target, Kohls, Old Navy, Pier One, and Toys R Us, just to name a few.
I did make one purchase I didn't set out to buy. And since I was suppose to be Christmas shopping for other people, I feel a tad guilty about it. But, since Jason likes the new home addition, and likes the price I paid, it makes up for the guilt.
Here it is...

A sofa table from Pier One, regularly $400 marked down to $98 {it has a small nick on the top, so I got it cheaper!} Now I have more space to display photos, since I'm running out of wall space. I was so excited, I already have it all decorated!
Anyway, great shopping day for us!
Not so great for some people.
Jason ran across a news story of a deadly shopping encounter at Walmart in Long Island, New York. One Walmart employee was killed and another pregnant employee was injured when shoppers broke down the doors to get inside the store. Check out the New York Post story, complete with video footage, here.
But what do you expect at Walmart, right?!? {Yes, we are snobs and don't go to dirty gross Walmart unless we absolutely have to, maybe once a year.}
Hope your Black Friday was as merry as ours!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

Every Thanksgiving we head over to Jason's parents' home and have to eat dinner.
Then everyone heads outside to put up all those Christmas lights that families enjoy driving by every Christmas.
Hey, it's a great way to work off some of those calories!
And it's a fun way to kick-off the Christmas season.
Although I've had my Christmas decorations up for two weeks, causing my children to say things like, 'Thanksgiving? I thought it was Christmas?'
I know, a little ridiculous.

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Nap Time

To a mom of young children,
isn't nap time sometimes the greatest time of the day?
It's a break in the busy day when there's finally
some peace and quiet.
It's a time to get things done,
or to do nothing at all.
It's a time when you get some time to yourself.
Nap time is wonderful!
Can I get an amen?!?
{And apparently it's a time to do some random thinking,
and here mine is recorded.}

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Marshmallow Pilgrim Hat Treats

Gabe brought treats for his Kindergarten class Thanksgiving party today. These Marshmallow Pilgrim Hat treats are super cute, super fun to make, and super easy {always a great combination.}

All you need is...

milk chocolate chocolate chips

chocolate-striped shortbread cookies

and yellow decorators frosting.

1. Set the chocolate-striped cookies stripes down on a wax-paper-covered tray, spacing them well apart.

2. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave.
3. One at a time, stick a wooden toothpick into a marshmallow.

4. Dip the marshmallow into the melted chocolate, swirling it around to completely cover the marshmallow.

4. Promptly center it atop a cookie. Using a second toothpick to lightly hold down the marshmallow, carefully pull out the first toothpick.
5. Chill the hats until the chocolate sets, then pipe a yellow decorators' frosting buckle on the front of each hat.

And Voila....

A happy kid with Marshmallow Pilgrim Hat Treats. Seriously, what's better to a kid than chocolate and marshmallows?