Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmases with the fams

We went back to Illinois for a whirlwind overnight trip last Wednesday to see our families and have a little bit of Christmas with them. On Wednesday morning, we threw the kids into the already packed car, still in their jammies (at 6:45am) and headed out to Decatur. The trip went quick, helped out by our favorite travel accessory, the DVD player. Our first stop in Decatur was Chris and Kim's house. Luckily, everyone was awake and ready to receive their cousins.
From Dec2009

Hmm, they don't look that awake in that photo. Or maybe they're tired of me always taking pictures of them eating together. It is the only time they are not all moving around...

That evening, we went to Jim and Courtney's, who were brave enough to let us and Bitsy and our kids come over to have a Spielman Christmas get together (makin' memories). Talk about a little bit different experience, since the oldes of this set of 7 cousins is 6 years old (Marcus). It was chaos, as you can imagine, opening presents with all these little ones, and I don't think my desire to keep the room organized was appreciated by some of the others :-)
From Dec2009

{Grammy Pammy with her grandkids (from L to R): Cale, Maddie, Abbie, Xander, Ewan, Marcus and Liam}

From Dec2009

Just throwing in a good photo of the 2 youngest Spielman cousins, Abbie (11 mos) and Liam ( 8 mos). It took a few hours and many photos to get one where they were not moving.

The next morning, was Christmas in Decatur with Grammy Linda and Grandpa Jerry and Chris and Kim and the girls. The kids had fun opening their presents and playing with their new games. After lunch, we packed up the car, Tetris style, and headed back to Indiana to get ready for Santa Claus. Linda and Jerry braved the weather to the south and headed for Dallas, and Chris, Kim and the girls trekked up north to see Kim's family. Any, holy cow, I can't believed it rained the entire trip. Wow! I was ready for some dry weather by the time we got home! Anyway, it was a great trip, too short, but fun to see everybody!

From Dec2009

From Dec2009

Angels? The 3 Madonnas? No, wait, it's just Kim, Linda and me in our new wearable blankets!

There are many more photos of this trip, if you click on any of the above they will take you to the rest.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Liam is 8 months old!

Our little man was 8 months old on Christmas Eve! He had a fun Christmas and got to see all his cousins. I managed to get a photo of Liam with Abbie, who is 3 months older than he is. As an 8th month old, Liam is an excellent crawler and is pulling himself up to stand with the help of furniture, fingers, etc. (And, actually today, I saw him STAND UP!!! on his own from a sitting position. It lasted all of one second and then he sat back down.) Liam is also working on feeding himself lots of cheerios. Don't worry, if he misses his mouth the first time, later he might find the ones on the floor I missed while sweeping. He loves his brothers and the boys like to "play" with him and try to get him to smile. What can I say-Andy and I say all the time how easy Liam is! It's true!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Preschool Christmas program 2009

The preschool Christmas program was last, last Thursday the 17th. I was able to leave Liam with our sitter and take the other boys (Andy had a basketball game). Cale and Ewan were willing to perform and had no problems being up on stage. Of course, most of the time, it was the teachers singing the songs while the kids kind of did some hand motions. It's all for the parents, I know. After the performance, the kids feasted on cookies, ran around the gym and got to meet Santa (again). The parents grabbed a cookie or two and got loaded up with all their children's projects the teachers had been hoarding, along with extra treats for the students for Christmas. My hands were full! The ride home consisted of eating some candy and threats from mommy to not eat any more candy! I recorded Cale and Ewan's classess performing on my camera. I don't know why, but Ewan's class video did not upload to picassa. It's still on my camera, so any grammy that wants to see it still can when they visit. I also took some pictures of the boys and Santa. Your guess is as good as mine as to where they are. I thought I uploaded those, I guess not. Happy viewing!

this link will take you to a video of Cale's class singing in the program. Cale was excited to see that I was filming him perform.

this link will take you to a video clip from the program of all the classes singing together at the end. Cale sang the songs and Ewan just seemed facinated by the kids around him.

Friday, December 18, 2009

what the Shaffers did last Saturday

Last Saturday, we took the boys to Conner Prairie to see the gingerbread house displays.  They have a contest every year and I thought it would be fun to go.  Plus, the fee to get in also gets you into their little indoor, educational play area that's decorated like the pioneer days.  The boys liked the exhibit, I think.  Cale and Ewan were the most excited, pointing at every cool thing on the gingerbread houses.  "Hands in your pockets"  was a frequent phrase out of my mouth.  Those two also had the best time playing in the play area.  Marcus is a little too old and Liam, too young.  Marcus did see some science experiement boxes in the gift shop he liked.  (I hope Santa remembers)

That's and funny lookin gingerbread man and what kind of plant is that?  Oh yeah, it's Ewan and Cale!

Liam just hanging out.  (pictures coutesty of Andy's cell phone, since my camera was not charged)

This one's dark, but can you make out Marcus sitting there?  He's trying to figure out the Lincoln Logs.

After this, we came home, ate and tried to get the boys to rest.  Then, that evening, Andy and I actually went out by ourselves (*gasp*) to a Christmas party hosted by a couple from our church.  Our favorite sitter came over to watch the boysso we could go.  There was a gift exchange and Andy got an awesome gift.  I don't have a photo, but I will say that it is black and includes the words "quilted snakeskin tote".  I'm pretty sure he won't be using it, but, I am wrapping up one of Ewan's gifts and placing it in the tote (which Ewan will love).  Andy was a good sport and I think the other guests appreciated his humor.  A good day with family and friends! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cale's BFF

Here is Cale with Mr. Orange, our big, bossy, "fat, bad cat", as we often call him.  He really is sweet most of the time and has seemed to taken to Cale.  Orange will climb up and sit next to him on the couch and climb up into Cale's bed and sleep next to him (usually next to his head, on the pillow) at nap time.

A picture of the BFFs from last July, right after we got Orange.

the warriors meet Santa

A few Saturdays ago was the annual Christmas parade.  It starts and ends at the library and Andy took the boys so they could watch the parade and meet Santa Claus.  They like that Santa makes a trip down from the North Pole to visit and talk to them.

Here are the warriors, ready for the Christmas parade at the library.  Andy took the older boys, while I stayed home with Liam since it was naptime.

Ewan meeting the big guy.

Cale with Santa.  I think he asked for more Bakugan. (He had just gotten a bunch for his birthday)

Marcus asked Santa for a Nintendo DS.  We explained to him that Santa will not be bringing him a DS for Christmas, but if he saves his money, we will match him and pay for half.  He seemed to be okay with that.

Friday, December 11, 2009

props part II

Marcus brought home a ornament they made in class for the Christmas tree today.  What was it?-a nativity scene.  I love it!  I love that school!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

props for Marcus's school

Marcus goes to the local public school.  Last week was their 1st grade Christmas concert.  It was everything you could imagine a 1st grade Christmas concert to be, with over 100 first graders singing mostly corny songs, playing bells, playing xylophones and telling "jokes".  Marcus spoke his lines great and I could at least see his lips moving to all the songs.  But, we didn't take any pictures and did not order the dvd of the concert.  (I mean, it is just a 1st grade Christmas concert) Anyway, what I want to say is that it's not every public school that would dress students up for a nativity scene at the end of the concert.  How awesome is that, that we live in a community where the school is okay with it and the community is okay with it.  Also, the library has a bunch of nativities on display.  I love it!  It's just nice to live in an area where we can celebrate Christmas for what it is.  I spoke my piece, now I'm done.  Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

a link to all the november pics

Here is a link to all the november pictures.  Mostly, this is for the grammies, but everyone else is welcome to look too :-)


pink glove dance

I really like this video that a coworker showed me.  Hope you get a kick out of watching it too!

Friday, December 4, 2009

cousins at the park


We are trying the allowance thing again (second attempt).  This time, we read up on kid allowances and decided how we were going to do things.  Here's the plan:  the boys each get $3 a week to be divided between there spend/save/give portions in their Giving Banks (see below), if they can't handle dividing the money-they don't get any (this clause was put in for Marcus who told us he didn't want to give money to church because they didn't give anything back-lovely!), they also have the opportunity to earn more money by doing chores, chore money can be divided however they want.  So far, so good.  We are not pushing the chores, but last night Marcus and Cale both asked to do some.  Hopefully this will teach some good money skills and they will learn to give some of their money and not to be greedy.  We shall see...  Here are Ewan and Cale with their new banks.

the cousins came for Thanksgiving

We stayed at home for Thanksgiving and made people come to visit us!  The bonus for them was that they did not have to bring any food and Andy and I cooked the meal.  Andy deep-fried the turkey and I panicked over how long it was taking my side dishes to cook.  But, Suzy Homemaker pulled it off and everyone enjoyed their meal.  For the boys, the best part was seeing their Shaffer cousins, who they haven't seen since August.  Fun was had, food was eaten-who could ask for more!

Here are the group of cousins trying to sit still long enough for a photo

"We love pie!"

The grown up table.  Notice that I got to use my tableclothes, crystal, good silverware and good china (mostly because I did not have enough plates otherwise). The crystal and china had not seen the light of day since we opened the presents after our wedding-10 yrs ago!  Everything survived to get packed away for another use in the distant future.

Monday, November 30, 2009

what the boys are thankful for (or: I just figured out how to use the scanner)

How cool is this!?! I figured out how to work the scanner feature on our printer! (I by figured out how to work it, I mean, turned it on and pressed scan-it was actually really easy) I scanned these papers the boys did last Wednesday night at church. In case you wondered what small warriors are thankful for...

I just want to say that Ewan is also thankful for Insectasorus from the movie Monsters Vs. Aliens. In almost all his prayers, he mentions that.

How sweet of Cale! And, notice his coloring-we think it's really good!

Marcus spelled out his own words: family, friends, toys, food, good day. At school, Marcus also wrote that he was "thankful for food. It is good for me."

Sunday, November 29, 2009

7 months old!

too big and too cute! that about sums up how I feel about Liam turning 7 months old! time goes too fast!

Operation Christmas Child Box

This year, I decided to have the boys participate in Operation Christmas Child. This is a program, part of Samaritan's Purse, where you pack up a shoebox size box full of little gifts to send a child who otherwise might not get anything for Christmas. We got the idea from watching a music video called "Give This Christmas Away" (I love this song!) on the newest Veggietale video. The boys did great picking out gifts even after finding out that they would not be getting anything. Another neat part, is that we will be able to track where our box goes to see what country it gets sent to. Here they are, getting ready to drop the box off. At the drop-off location, the boys were able to see lots of shoeboxes getting packed up and then a room full of already packed boxes-very cool. Plus, they also got to have some cookies-a complete day!

invasion of the ninjas

The ninjas have invaded our house! They came to play the Wii and play with play-doh. Who knew that's what ninjas do?

This video is of one of the ninjas given a dramatic interpretation of a quote from the movie "The 300" (which he has never seen, the same quote is on a CD he listens to a lot). The words are "This is where we fight. This is where they die. Arm these shields boys!"

A few pictures from Cale's birthday

Here are some photos from Cale's 5th birthday. We had a birthday party for him at our church for his preschool class and then the next day, we celebrated his actual birthday at home. Cale loved all the attention, decorations, presents and cake!

with Mommy on his birthday

and with Daddy

with his ice cream cake!

we had a pinata for the party, the kids had fun trying to hit it, and then once everyone had a turn taking a wack at it, we just pulled out the ribbons until it opened up

play-doh time at the party-It gave the kids a chance to calm down before cupcakes. The kids also played "Duck, Duck, Turkey", Freeze Tag, Hit the Ball the Farthest, and ran races. It was nice to have the open space of the gym to let the kids run in.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cale is 5!

Happy birthday to Cale! He turned 5 years old today! I cannot believe that he is old enough to be 5. Time goes by too fast. While I will post pictures of his birthday festivities later, I wanted to take a minute to celebrate my new five year old. Cale is an very intellegent boy. His teachers say that he knows every answer and is always raising his hand first to answer questions. He is also an excellent sharer and is kind-hearted towards others. Cale loves attention. Right now he is the only child in his Sunday school class and he is relishing in the attention that Mrs. Peggy is giving just to him. Cale can also be very determined/stubborn/focused (call it what you will). We always say that Cale will probably be a defensive player in football because of this character trait. He also loves soccer and has an excellent swing off the tee for t-ball. When he gets excited, he hops up and down-he just can't stand still (so cute!). He is just a sweet, caring little boy. We love him so much!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

late night tv

I was up with Liam last night and thinking about being up with the other boys when they were little. Andy and I have decided that we can identify those late night times with each of the boys with certain television shows. I just wanted to list them for fun...
Marcus: repeats of Late Night with Conan O'Brian, I remember waking up Andy once to watch a skit that I thought was funny (it was 2am)
Cale: I watched a lot of "CBS Up to the Minute" (early, early morning news)with him
Ewan: this is when we discovered Scrubs reruns and Dharma & Greg (thank you WGN)
Liam: I'm watching a fair amount of crime shows-Cold Case, Without a Trace, old Law & Orders too

a rough patch

Oh boy, Ewan has been giving us a rough time with potty training. Really, he is potty trained. He knows when he has to go to the bathroom and he is dry at night. The catch is, he waits until the last minute to go to the bathroom and does not make is in time. This has resulted in many impromptu floor washings and extra laundry. He did it again last night and I was so frustrated I gave him a time-out on the toilet-I just told him to stay there for a while. Then, I collected my thoughts and went ahead with the planned bath he was going to get. I know that he knows when he has to go to the bathroom. I also think that he is just trying to control the situation (imagine that). I'm hoping this passing because I am growing weary of the constant vigilance of Ewan's "potty signals". The other thing that Ewan has decided he enjoys is peeing on the side of the road. If we do not force him to go to the bathroom before we leave the house, 99% of the time, Ewan will say he needs to go potty while we are driving. What to do? We don't want an accident and usually there is no place to stop (smart kid). What a boy, is all I have to say to that. I can't wait to tell these stories to him when he is older.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A state to hide in

The other day in Marcus's Bible class, the teacher asked, "Is there anywhere that God can't see you?" Marcus raised his hand and said, "Yes, Texas." "God can't see you in Texas?", the confused teacher replied, wondering what in the world Marcus's parents are teaching him. "God can't see you in Texas, but Jesus can.", was Marcus's response. "Why is that?" asked the teacher. "I can't remember", said Marcus, "It just is."

Now we know where Jonah should have gone.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Halloween 2009

Liam stayed home to help pass out candy

our pumpkins

Ewan rode around in the wagon all night. In fact, he had to get in the wagon between every house in our subdivision. By the end though, he was too tired to get out (even for candy!) and would only get candy if we could roll up in the wagon to the person handing out the candy.

the boys before we started out. no one wanted to wear their masks but everyone had on an extra layer of clothing to stay warm in the 40 degree weather. we went to the trunk or treat at the church in front of our subdivision first and then worked our way back to our house. the boys' bags were full of candy by the time we made it home.

spiders for the tea party

This year for the preschool's Miss Spider's Tea Party, Cale and Ewan were spiders. Their costumes were super easy to make since they made them one day @ the YMCA while they were in child care. All I had to do was pull out their black clothes (the shirts were a size to small, but they fit). These were probably the easiest costumes we've done and the boys were excited to wear something they had made.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

"little" Liam is 6 months old!

Liam was 6 months old as of October 24th! We love him so much! He is such a joy to have and a very good baby! He's a big boy-just look at the size of those hands! He's has 2 teeth now, the first one came out the day we took the boys to the Butler game and the 2nd one made it's appearance yesterday (Oct 31st). Liam is crawling around now, and has also mastered maneuvering his walker. And, he's sitting up great without support. (a mom just has to brag!) He's eating 3 meals a day-we've given him apples, bananas, pears, you know, the good stuff. He loves watching his brothers play and he definitely loves his daddy! Liam will turn to Andy's voice as soon as he hears it. He's still taking 2-3 naps a day, kind of depends on the day he is having. Liam also likes rhythms and likes having you do a "boom-chuck" beat. The doctor just loves him and thinks he's doing great! His recent height/weight were: 28 1/4 inches long (75th %) and 19 pounds 12.5 ounces (95th %). To compare....
Marcus: (at almost 7 mos) 27 1/2 inches, 19 pounds 5 ounces
Cale: (6 1/2 mos) 28 inches, 19 pounds
Ewan: (@ 6 mos) 28 1/2 inches, 18 pounds 9 ounces
right on schedule

carving pumpkins

Yea! for Aldis who had pumpkins on sale a week before Halloween! We got three big ones for the boys and an actual pumpkin carving kit (which Andy said made a big difference in the carving). The boys did some of the work. We made them help scoop out the insides. This was not a cool of an activity as you would think it would be for 3 boys-they don't like having sticky, dirty hands. But, we persevered and then Andy did some carving, and we had some great looking pumpkins to put outside on Halloween night!

Ewan's pumpkin

Marcus and Cale's pumpkins

making the kids do some of the work...

proud Marcus

Marcus got the "Principal''s Pride" award at his elementary school recently. He said that he got the award for "helping to get the class quiet". He got the award and a water bottle from the principal-very exciting! At home, Marcus wanted to hang up the award. I gave him the tape, and said "Hang it up where-ever you want". Marcus chose the front door :-). Here he is posing with his award. Marcus liked hanging his award on the front door so much, that he also hung up last week's spelling words on the front door too!