Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Pictures

One major tradition our family has is the Thanksgiving tablecloth. We ask everyone to write a thanksgiving message on the cloth. Now it is fun each year to pull it out and remember!

I took lots of pictures of this event and it was too hard not to post a bunch. :) Click on each picture to see a full-size version so you can see what they wrote.

{Malachi told Mitch what he is thankful for--after he tried to write it himself--and Mitch helped him write it so we can all read: Candy}

{Yes, Tirzah is like the hungry caterpillar}

{Malachi is a cool cat in Patrick's hat}

{Each of the grandkids has their own sign and tree at Grandma Marilyn & Papa's house. He said he chose a nice strong oak for Tirzah.}

{Malachi & I on the eve of my birthday. Don't I look the picture of 29?}

Yes, my birthday was yesterday, the 29th. Yes, I told everyone that I was 29. But I'm not really. :) I've been 29 a few years now. So I'm really 29 years 48 months and 1 day old. :) I had a wonderful, blessed birthday and enjoyed a meal out with Mitch at Mexican Village. That fundido sauce calls to me...ahhhhhhh.

I can't wait to share my birthday present with you. :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving and afterwards

We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration. I took lots of pictures, but they'll have to come later...I misplaced my camera. :) We celebrated at our house with Holly & Kyle, Hope & Selena, and the Emersons. Then later we went to Paul & Marilyn's. In addition to the standard holiday food (turkey, etc), I made a pumpkin pie, my yummy cheesecake, and wassail.

On Friday we had Grandma's funeral. We looked through the ads in the paper and decided getting up for the Black Friday sales was not worth it. So we "slept in" and spent our morning preparing for the funeral. The Emersons kept Malachi & Joshua for us for the day (soooo many thanks to them!). The funeral was in Shakopee, in the Catholic church in a little farming town where Grandma Gert and Grandpa Ray grew up. It was really neat to be there, even though it was a time for grieving. It was good to see so many extended family members. Tirzah bit her finger right in the middle of the service...and being a traditional, old {beautiful} church building, there was NO where for me to escape to with her as she wailed. :) Thankfully just walking to the back of the church calmed her down.

After we arrived back in St. Cloud on Friday night, Patrick & I did a little shopping for some deals. I think that there are some more things that some of us are going to go back out for today. Mostly there are lots of things on sale that we (or our kids) just don't need. There is this push by advertising to buy everything we want to gift to our family for Christmas. It's amazing how we start the countdown making sure we have bought something for everyone on our list. Buying and gift-giving end up being the focus of the season before it even starts! Yes, of course we will give gifts, because it is part of the celebration. It also makes sense to buy the good deals on things we actually need and use. But it is also very enlightening to look at our traditions and culture through a new set of eyes (Patrick's). I know we often say that in America we lose sight of the real meaning of Christmas...but it's even MORE obvious when I talk to Patrick about how his family celebrates the season.

One thing we did last year we will do again this year. Last year we read the book Jotham's Journey for Advent. This year we are reading another book in the series called Bartholomew's Passage. These books are very good...there is a reading for every day...and you can light the Advent candles as you read. Very fun and a good way to keep our minds focused appropriately during the season.

Here is a challenge to you as you head into the advent season. :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Grandma Theis

Mitch's grandma passed away this afternoon. It is beautiful to think about stepping from this world, into eternity. A second birth, a new beginning. In her honor, I wanted to share a video done a few years ago featuring Gert. I always smile when I watch it. This is exactly how I remember her. I was blessed to enter the Theis family almost 13 years ago. It is a fun, busy, full family. Grandma was full of love and devotion towards each of her family members, always welcoming each new addition. She prayed every day for every family member (and with 13 children of her own...that's a LOT). :) I look forward to gathering with family to celebrate her life and share in memories.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Slow Down, Please

Some days just drag by normal and boring. Days pile into weeks, and I have to make up things to blog about. Now everything is moving by at a lightening pace and I don't have time to blog!

Just now Josh literally kicked that loose tooth of Zeke's--the one barely hanging on and ready to come out weeks ago--right out of his mouth. It was a pretty exciting moment. Finally the fear of the unknown is over.

Two days ago Tirzah turned 7 months old. A post on that coming soon.

Mitch's grandma (dad's mom) is ready to pass...waiting almost breathlessly to step from this life into eternity. We gather to grieve and to celebrate, thankful for her life and devotion to God and her family.

Thanksgiving rapidly approaches, and aside from the turkey taken out to thaw, I feel unprepared. Lord, prepare our hearts to worship, to give thanks, to glorify You.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Is It Wednesday Yet???

Oh well, since it's not, I guess I'll chat. :)

Tirzah is {this} close to pulling herself up on things. She is definitely OUT of the bassinet. I put it off as long as I could (because I like having her within arm's reach). The kids claim that she HAS pulled herself up to a standing position, but I find that she needs just a teeny bit of help...seriously, only a teeny bit. Crazy, crazy, crazy!

I am keeping my camera close by and ready at all times. I'm going to catch her when she finally does!
This past weekend we were blessed with a hotel stay and tickets to a waterpark. It was a lot of fun. Patrick went to an overnight youth retreat at church, and it sounds like he had a lot of fun, too. We missed having him with was a little like I was missing an arm or something. Sending him home to Germany at the end of the school year is going to be soooooo hard. :)

We are going to another waterpark (Waterpark of America) on Christmas Eve. We got a fantastic deal on tickets for the whole family (Patrick will definitely be there with us, too). The kids are more excited than ever! I'm glad because now I know what to expect from my littlest family members.

We stayed overnight in the hotel for the first time in a loooooong time. I can't even remember the last time we stayed with our whole family in a hotel. It was probably when Caleb was just a toddler (2002?). We had two rooms that were joined by doors. What an amazing blessing for our large family! My little supermen slept well ALL night long. Tirzah surprised me by only waking up once. It was a great night.

A couple weekends ago we hung Christmas lights. I need to post more pictures and the story (yes, I know it's waaaaayyy too early, but the weather was SO warm). But I couldn't resist this funny picture of Caleb. :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tirzah and Other News

Tirzah is definitely teething. On Sunday I caught a glimpse inside her mouth to see her upper gums swollen with a little bubble of a new tooth peeking through. To say I am surprised is an understatement. I NEVER in my life imagined she would get more teeth so soon. I have heard many times that the emergence of teeth is genetically linked...children *tend* to get their teeth around the same age that a parent also got his/her teeth. Since Tirzah has SIX other siblings to compare, well, getting her top teeth at barely 6.5 months was far from my mind. Normally we don't see those until around 9-10 months. =P

She is still not sucking her thumb, but she has been chewing on her fingers more. I am still giving her reflux meds again, and she is sleeping better at night. I am also using baby orajel whenever I guess she needs it. The first tooth on top has cut all the way through, but the second one doesn't look like it's coming until next week.

As Tirzah is getting her first teeth, our kindergartner is on the verge of losing his first tooth. What a milestone! Here he is a few years ago with two bottom teeth, and only a few days before his first top tooth came 9 months old:
Now that little tooth is barely hanging in there:
These pictures were too sweet not to share. I love to take pictures using natural light wherever I can find it. These days that seems to be on the kitchen table.

{Zeke had a little chain that he was showing to Tirzah.}

{Malachi is practicing his German}

Well, he's not really...but this is a paper where we were learning to count and he somehow got a hold of it and was using it to draw on.

Uh-oh...Mitch got my camera.

{Some days homeschooling is hard for the teachers too.}

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Got some pictures finally!!

It's amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it!

{Yes, the daycare kids love him. Naturally.}

Friday, November 06, 2009

I know what it is...

I know why I struggle to write...I haven't taken any good pictures lately! This happens every year. Once the weather turns cooler, I don't get outside as much...and there is less natural light...therefore I take fewer pictures. (Indoors with the flash is SO not good on my camera).

Yeah. That's it.

Anyways...last night Mitch took me to a concert to see Mark Schultz and Point of Grace. It was so much fun. Other news headlines here:

  • I haven't been sewing. At all. But I sure do need to.
  • I baked more bread...white this was good, but my loaves were too big. Going to try again soon.
  • I hope we hang Christmas lights outside this weekend while the weather is nice (59F tomorrow hopefully).
  • Tirzah still refuses to suck her thumb.
  • Malachi is doing terrible at potty training, but we keep trying. So far we have trained 5+ other children...I think he'll get it eventually.
  • Daycare is nearly full and very busy.
  • Mitch is coaching 7th-8th grade boys' basketball at St. Cloud Christian School for the next 6 weeks.
  • Mitch's foot/leg is feeling a lot better. He is now walking with just regular shoes, and no crutch. His ankle is really stiff and he walks with a limp, but says it feels much better.
  • After being derailed from our homeschooling schedule when Mitch first went off his foot, we are finally back on track and into a rhythm again--4 lessons of math per week, 5 of everything else, spelling tests on Friday, and 4 lessons per week for Zeke.
  • Micah, Eden, and Caleb babysat Zeke, Josh, and Malachi last night while we were at the concert. We spent a lot of time coaching them ahead of time, and then called several times while we were away. I'm proud of them for doing a good job...and grateful to be moving into a new stage of life with them. (Tirzah went to the Gewecke's and Patrick was out with a friend).

Alright, since it's a beautiful, sunny day out, perhaps I should go find some good photo opportunities!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

I struggle

Last week I was on a roll for sure, and this week I struggle to write.

Tirzah has decided to stop self-soothing and refuses to suck her thumb. These were the good ole days for sure:

That picture was taken on October 23rd, and she had already started to not put herself to sleep...but she automatically put her thumb in her mouth after she was already asleep and in the bassinet. I grabbed the camera to take a picture, because I knew it was fading fast. I haven't seen her do it since then.

Since then:
Someone has always held her to sleep (unless she fell asleep in the car),
She now wakes up nearly every hour at night beginning sometime around midnight,
Naps during the day are shorter,
She is generally more crabby overall.

We have no explanation why she won't suck her thumb, but she won't suck a pacifier either. She won't even suck on my finger. She will bite my knuckle, however.

I am hoping that she figures out how to put herself to sleep again soon. We saw the doctor yesterday and she said she'd never heard of a 6 month old just stop sucking their thumb. Go figure. I had stopped giving her reflux meds earlier in October, so I am going to try giving her those again for the next week to see if that helps improve anything. Ugh...

I have had her sleeping in a bassinet beside my bed since she was born. Technically I should have stopped using it when she got to about 3 months, but it is so nice to have her right within arm's reach for middle of the night feedings. But it's clear at this point that she's outgrown it (she can nearly crawl out of it and onto the bed), so I need to transition her to a crib. Or something. I'm not really sure what to do yet. It won't solve the issue of getting her to fall asleep on her own or stay asleep, at least *I* don't think so. But it will keep her from waking up and falling! :)

It's not all bad...I may be exhausted (I stayed up late, and was up with her MANY times last night--including a 1-1/2 hour stretch), but I am determined to enjoy my day. It's FINALLY sunny here (over a week of clouds and rain) and tonight I get to go to a Mark Schultz and Point of Grace concert with Mitch. Hurray!