Saturday, January 31, 2009

and then ava turns two!

The morning after our last Christmas party was Ava's birthday!

This girl. What a delight she is to us. She is cherished deeply by each one of us. Her "boe-eez" as she calls her brothers, especially when she is beckoning them to entertain her latest whim, think she is the princess of the world. Her daddy is smitten ending each day with a comment about how hard it is to believe she could be so cute. And her momma, is just so thankful to have this amazing girl for a daughter.

Ava is really different at home than she is out in public. When we go someplace, Ava stays quietly right by my side. She acts like she is shy. I am still not used to this because this is so different than how she acts at home with the family. At home Ava is in command, loud, and boisterous. It is fun to observe the complexity of her personality.

Ava is really good at loving those around her. She helps her momma, wrestles with her daddy, plays soldiers with Ethan, allows Luke to take care of her, and kisses Aidan's owies. She notices other people and what they are interested in, what they are doing, wearing and saying. She is an attentive sister.

Her birthday this year was very low key. It was Sunday so we worshiped in the morning and in the evening and napped in between. This left dinner time to say "Happy Birthday" and share some cake. Actually, at every meal we put a candle in her food and sang to her. She loves the birthday song and enjoyed that part of it very much. However, she hated the candle. I think we have done too well of a job explaining the dangers of "fire" and "hot" because she wanted nothing to do with the candle while it. So at breakfast Aidan blew out, at lunch Luke helped and at dinner when two candles were on her cake Ethan was happy to do the job. Funny girl.

We did not get super pictures of Ava on her big day. But we did take this (really poor quality) video which serves to record the occasion. It's kind of amazing that we (for once) have no good pics of the biggest picture magnate in the family.

Since this post is about a month late, there have been some new developments. About 1 year ahead of our traditional timing, Ava has decided to become potty-trained. The process was so very different than with the boys. Aside from being a year early, she takes particular joy in doing it ALL by her self (as in the video: "Ava do it.") For us it's a little unbelievable how easy it's been, but she just seems to get it and care about it a little more than the boys, who I honestly think would sometimes still prefer diapers so as not to disrupt a particularly intense time of fighting bad guys, slaying dragons or whatever.

We're so blessed to get to share in the experience of raising up this little lady.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

our last Christmas tradition of the year

The next Saturday we were finally (our family's stomach flu & the weather got in the way a lot) able to have our annual Christmas get together with these dear friends.
Every year we order take out (in lieu of an adult gift exchange), exchange gifts with the kids, put them to bed and then play games as adults. Everyone always enjoys this get together immensely.
This year we choose Greek food for the adults and pizza for the kids. Here were are getting ready to eat (not yet Ava!).
And here we all are gathered around the table. I am amazed that we got this shot! We have Aidan (8), Ella (7), Luke (6), Isaac (5), Ethan (4), Isaias (3), Ava (2), Adelia (11 months), Stacy's baby (due Feb. 19), my baby (due June 29th), and the four adults. What a fun group!
Mike had just bought a new gadget for his camera that allows him to set the camera on the tri-pod and take pictures with a remote. We were able to get some fun ones this way. Here we are exchanging gifts. Ava is walking over to thank Stacy for the super cute crayon pouch that Stacy made.
Isn't Stacy's home so warm and inviting! Here are Isaac and I being silly with the camera, I like how we are transparent.
Ella, Luke, Ethan, and Isaias.
These kids have been around each other their entire lives. Such rich history and community (of course everyone knows Stacy & I have been friends since 6th grade, I was there when Mark met Stacy & we both were a part of one anothers weddings).
After exchanging and enjoying gifts & dessert, everyone got into jammies (just the kids) and Stacy read a story to all the non-babies.
I love that I have a million pictures like this from over the years. The kids enthrawled while Stacy reads a story.
After stories, we set the kids up with a video (they choose Old Yeller) and we (well Mike) made margaritas.
It was virgin drinks for the pregnant ladies this time. We ate yummy snacks and played a rousing game which Mark won (of course).
I wish I would have taken a picture of the kids sleeping downstairs, they were so cute. The only complaint I heard was the next morning when the kids were upset to find out we had taken them home in the "middle" of the night.
Next year it will only be more fun with two more babies!

Friday, January 16, 2009

new year's eve

We spent New Year's Eve with these dear friends. Due to illness on our part, this was our first opportunity to have a Christmas celebration with them. We shared a delicious dinner and then got the party started.
We "counted down" the new year (at 8 pm) and let off some noise makers, the kids loved it.
After the fun of letting off the noise, we all got up and had a impromptu dance party. To the tune of "Ol' Bamboo" from "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."
Once we all calmed down from this, we put the kids to bed and the adults enjoyed dessert while playing games together. Here are some cute pictures of Steele and Adia "sleeping" in our room.
These two are so cute. They giggled for a while with Adia calling out "good night Mr. H" (only she said the full name) it was so cute. Soon after, they slept soundly. We love these times when we get together.

Monday, January 12, 2009

and look what aunt helen did!

We brag about our Aunt Helen a lot, but with good reason. This year she outdid herself once again blessing us with her skillfull talent. She knit each of the boys a sweater vest and for Ava a dress and a hat! They are all amazing and pictures do not give her the credit she deserves. Here are a series of pictures we took of the kids wearing their knitted gifts to church Sunday morning. The sun was shining brightly so the lighting isn't the best to show off the work, but you can get the idea of how amazing these gifts are.

I actually like seeing the progression and movement in these pictures. It shows how much can change with these four in the short span of shutter speed.
Here is a picture of Ava and her dress and hat. I love it so much, thank you Aunt Helen!

(not a good shot of me I know)