Christmas Eve / Morning – 2012

With Christmas 2012 behind us, we ultimately decided to blog a little bit of it, before we move on to wrapping up our year of projects for you, revealing a new one, and jumping into the new year with both feet, and some bigger projects than ever, that you are welcome to follow along with us. I cannot wait to get to all of that, and hopefully you all might have some great ideas and help for us along the way. It’s going to be too much fun!

But first, our little Christmas. We try to keep the entire season quite simple and stress-free.  (Not always an easy thing to do – right?). We celebrate Advent, we decorate, make some handmade gifts and shop a little, bake, drive around neighborhoods at night with cocoa to see people’s Christmas lights, and stuff like that.  We also try to not get too distracted from remembering that Jesus’ birth, and what the course of His earthly life would mean for us all, is the whole purpose of our own celebrations, personally. Some years Christmas Eve and Day is more simple than others, with a little more or less gifts or family/friends around. 

This year we went to Christmas Eve Mass, and had a quiet evening at home, with a little festive food spread.  While we had bought the kids a few gifts, Michael and I decided not to put them out the night before.  First because, one, two, or all of them tend to get up during the night to use the bathroom or get a drink of water, and I really didn’t want them to see anything.  Secondly, I was kind of curious what their reaction would be. There have been Christmas’ where the only gifts they received were from extended family and friends. But this year, since this year has progressively gone quite well, and we could afford more, I actually asked them all what they might want for Christmas. That’s something I’ve never actually done. Their requests were easy enough: certain books (Olivia and the Trio), a new basketball (Shane), a Pillow Pet (JackMichael), socks, (socks?), and Patriots or Tim Tebow calendar (Alexis).  So we got them those things, and a few more surprises.  But when they got up in the morning, there was nothing more under the tree than there had been all week: packages that had arrived for them from other family, and a large gift bag each from a sweet family friend. Still, they were bouncing around the house all happy-chatty and excited because well . . . it was Christmas Day.  And they love Christmas.

(After Mass on Christmas Eve.)

But Michael and I were pretty excited, to give them their gifts! So after breakfast and an hour or so of chilling in our pajamas, we asked the kids to go upstairs for a few minutes, until we called them.  After the 4 “Why?” ‘s, and our refusal to answer, they went up, and we got everything around the tree.  Despite the fact that there is a lot more to our simple Christmas than presents, that happens to be all I took photos of this year! lol.  Since I do intend to get back to some major scrapbooking some day, and I take photos of the kids through their childhood for their/our own memories, I always ponder if I should bother blogging these kinds of things. But our oldest (Alexis) and husband say yes – it’s our family blog in the end, and they want these memories a part of it too. Not just all of our projects and things we do. So I put together a small collection of some of my favorite photos of them opening their gifts. Note: I am TERRIBLE with on camera flash. Ugh-hate using it.  But the important thing for our family history is having these (any) family photos someday – perfect or not, they will be treasured more and more as time goes on. So I am embracing candid casual photography, to most enjoy these times with my family. There is a little description with each photo. But I’ll also say that aside from what they are sitting in, and a small gift each from us, they also got a few small things together, and one bigger item (which has not yet arrived), and will be part of another post (a major room revamp), coming soon.

If you look through the slideshow, you can use the arrows to go to the next one. Anytime you want to get out of the slideshow mode, simply click ON the photo, and it will close out.

However you and your family does Christmas, we hope it was beautiful, meaningful, peaceful, and you were surrounded by love and happiness.

A Day of Celebration Fun! – Our Triplets 10th Birthday: Part I

 

 We have yet another furniture refinish coming up, as well as more fun & easy crafty ideas to share with you all! However, for the sake of those who also like to follow our family’s more personal antics, for this post and a Part II coming up, we are giving a peek via (many) photos into the day of our triplet’s 10th birthday.  It was a day jam packed with fun for sure, from morning until bedtime!  As the Mama of these 3 babes, I just wanted to really enjoy watching them have fun all day, and casually get a lot of photos of them being 10!  Here just some of them from the first part of their day. We hope you enjoy them, if only to realize what a crazy family we are. : )

 

Michael, their Daddy, needed to run out in the morning for a bit.  He was sure he would not be home when they got up in the morning, so he left them a note.  (He’s a clever one, with a pen, too.)  This got the morning giggles on a roll, and the day’s chaos into 2nd gear, anyway.

 

He was home before we knew it, and the birthday trio were able to have their traditional birthday number pancakes.

Speaking of 10, I think that’s about how many they each usually eat.  I don’t know where it goes.

We decided a great water balloon fight was in order!  So we filled 180 balloons, tied them off, and collected them all in a big plastic bin.

As excited as they all were, we suddenly had a whole knew idea for the water balloons:

We wondered which would be more fun:  Having the water balloon fight that we planned?…..

or……..

Putting our hedgehog, Pixel, in the bin their on top of all of the water balloons, and watch her freak out as every move she made popped another balloon, with her razor sharp quills!  We got laughing pretty hysterically, just imagining the sight of witnessing that. But, we decided that was probably too mean to do to our beloved little pet, and stuck with our original idea.

Our yard is simply not the best area for a balloon fight of this manner, in terms of open wide space. So we hit the great grassy green park, just down the street.  Had the whole place to ourselves too!

LET THE WATER BALLOON FIGHT BEGIN!

Alexis hit her target, alright!

But pay-back, was IMMEDIATE!

Run, O!!

JackMichael tried to re-arm himself quickly, without getting hit. But he wasn’t quite fast enough.

This last photo cracks me up, when I look at Shane, on the far right. He often gets laughing so hysterically, he becomes unable to fully function.  I am just like he is. I’ve almost drowned more than once, laughing too hard out in deep water. I just sink! Seeing my kids laugh makes my heart so happy. (As long as their not in deep water, of course.)

There was a lot more fun on the agenda this day, including the trio’s big surprise!  We hope you enjoyed this post, and look forward to coming back again for Part II!

Have you or your kids had a good water balloon fight this summer?  What are your favorite childhood memory activities? Share with us your stories. We’d love to read about them!

A Surprise, That Was a Piece of Cake!

Our biggest girl, Alexis, had a birthday on July 5th.  She turned 15! There is so much I could tell you, about how special this girl is. Especially given her age. But I’ll save that brag for another time.  For now, I’ll just share 2 things that I want to say about her turning 15:  1) The teen-years horror stories I have been repeatedly been told to expect?  They haven’t hit yet.  2) In many ways, she seems so much older, than just 15. And not just because she is way taller and bigger than her Mama.

Her birthday held one tradition that all of her others have . . . . . .

She had her ‘birthday number pancakes’.  Except she had them in the afternoon, instead of breakfast.  And then quite honestly, the rest of the day went quickly downhill from there. Complete with tears.  From ME; not Alexis.  Because I felt so bad, her day was going all kinds of wrong. The car even broke down on the way to bowling, which was something she wanted to do with her family on her birthday. It’s a little thing, to go bowling, but it’s what she wanted. (And hey, I’m all for beating the pants off anyone, any day! I don’t even care if it’s your birthday!)  So after Michael tried fixing the car for an hour or so, and he made a phone call to have his auto-place friends bring him a part, the kids and I ended up walking in the horrific heat and humidity, for a mile or so, to our nearest home base; our church!  At least it was cool and peaceful inside. And really, I was needing to feel near to God, by then. I was so sad, about the awful memories we were making, for our girl’s 15th birthday.  So we hung out with Jesus, until Michael came to get us.

 I then demanded a re-do-birthday for Alexis for 2 days later, on Saturday.

THAT day went MUCH better.

(Isn’t she beautiful? Her braces are coming off soon, and I can’t wait to take her real 15-year birthday photos.)

I was excited for re-birthday, because I knew I had a surprise, that was going to knock her flip-flops off!

You see, weeks earlier, I had shown her this cake online, that I had seen on Facebook, that a friend had made, and then I started seeing all over Pinterest.  I thought of Alexis the second I first saw it, because it was made with her 2 very favorite candies: M&M’s, and KitKats. When I showed her, she was like, “Oh-my-GOSH! I wish I could have th-aaaaat!

But never in a million years would she EVER expect to have one for her birthday cake, nor would she even agree to have one. And do you know why? Because her little brother has a severe peanut allergy, and she doesn’t believe either of those candies to be peanut-safe-enough.  She’s become a real self-taught-expert, on products and companies, and their manufacturing practices. Now, none of the kids eat much candy at all. Not only because not much of it is safe, but because we try to make as healthy choices with what we eat, as we can. But, treats are allowed now and then.  Still, Alexis is adamant about not taking chances, and is a real advocate for protecting her brother.  I’ll tell you more about that in a moment but first, I have to show you these photos:

She knew a cake was coming, but just look at the surprise on her face when she IT . . . . . .

She was SO SURPRISED.  She LIT UP when she saw it – brighter than the birthday candle on her cake.  She went on, and on, and just could not get over, that I had made that cake for her, that she only dreamed of.  My face hurt from smiling so much, watching her with this cake, the whole time. 

She was concerned of course having her little brother there at the table with her. Or even having the cake in the house!  But really, we took the necessary precautions, all the way. To start, the candies are not made with any peanut products. But they are just manufactured with peanut products.  So there is no way, we would ever let Shane, our peanut-allergy-boy, have any of it.  But . . . . . cake itself was just the inner circle of the cake . . . . . . about 4 inches in diameter.  We kept the ring, and frosted that separately, for the rest of us.

So this cake really was her very own individual cake.  Decorated with the M&M’s, and KitKats. 

(I wish, that her wish, comes true.)

So let me tell you just how much of an advocate she has always been for her brother. 
Aside from being an expert about what brands are safe and which aren’t, and aside from the sacrifices of her favorite things she has made for her brother, she did something else when she was only 10 years old, that I think, was pretty impressive.
With Plain M&M’s always having been her favorite candy since she was a little girl, she felt strongly that everyone should be able to enjoy them too. When we discovered (when he was 1 year old) that our little boy had such a severe peanut allergy Alexis soon realized that there were billions of people all over the world with the same common allergy, who would not be safe eating even Plain M&M’s, because the Mars Company manufactured both peanut M&M’s, as well as the plain ones, on the same machinery.  And at the very least, in the same factory. There is such risk of contamination. And in fact, the chance that peanut fragments, or even a peanut M&M, could be in a Plain M&M bag. It’s happened.

This mix of manufacturing the 2 together,  really upset her, for chocolate lovers all over the world. For a long time. So when she was 10-years old, she decided to do something about it.  She wrote a petition-letter to the Mars Corporation.  In it, she introduced herself with her name and age, and then wrote them the story of her brother.  She then went on to urge them to please consider manufacturing their peanut M&M’s, and all peanut products, in a separate facility.  She even explained, in her own words, how she believed their profit was probably suffering, due to the billions of peanut-allergy-people, who could not purchase and eat their plain M&M’s.  And so creating a separate facility to keep plain M&M’s safe, would increase their sales.
And then . . . . . . she approached people she knew everywhere she could, and explained to them what she was doing.  She told them why she was writing the Mars Corporation, and she collected over 60 signatures!  People happily signed it, and were always asking her if she heard back yet. They agreed with her mission, and supported her, after she had educated them on the manufacturing situation.

She addressed an envelope herself too, and mailed her petition-letter to the Mars Corporation.  She fully expected to hear back from them, and was hopeful they would see that she had a great idea, and that they would indeed make the changes needed, to bring billions of peanut-allergy sufferers the joy, of being able to eat plain M&M’s, safely. And frankly, so did I.  She checked the mail every day, and kept asking for a long time, if there was any mail for her, from the Mars Corporation.

But she never did hear from them. At all.

I was really sad for her, and really as disappointed with the Mars Corporation, as she was.  As her mother, it broke my heart to see nothing come of her determined and brave efforts . But that aside, you’d think that they would have been considerate enough to at least reply.  Especially upon receiving such a heartfelt letter, complete with signatures she advocated for herself, from a 10 year old little girl!  You know? It’s just kind of….heartless.  Not to mention, unprofessional, in my opinion.

But nothing. Still. And as you know . . . . . .

She’s  15 now!

Still no word, from the Mars Corporation.

So now, you may understand what a big deal this cake was. It really knocked her flip-flops off, just as I thought it would.  She loved every single bite. She said so, most ever single bite.

And I had to remind her not to talk, with food in her mouth. ;)

She ate a good-sized piece herself every day. 

Over the course of the week, she did share some with her father, and her Uncle B (twice).  I declined. But it was nice of her to offer.

And although I am sure the cake was enough to make her completely content, we did give her another gift . . . . . .

Which was just what she wanted. (Because she told me, when I pressed her about what she’d like for her birthday.)  Which I know is really not for her, but for us. See, she figured we’d feel like we got her a birthday present, by getting her this Dick’s Sporting Goods Gift Card. But it’s so she can buy her own sport gear and attire she’ll need this year herself, instead of us having to buy it for her.  Because she always wants to pay for her own things, knowing we’re strapped sometimes. She can’t fool us. ; ) 

Or maybe we’re fooling her, since we bought the card. Hmmmm. 

Not sure who won that mind game, come to think of it.

Her trio-siblings also had their own surprises for her, including a pack of sports cards from her sister.  Which, actually had a sports card in it that is worth some money! That surprised everyone, since O bought the pack at the Dollar Tree Store!

All-in-all, or should I say after-all, she did have a Happy Birthday.

She had her cake, and ate it too.  And that was something, she never thought she’d do.
 Now if you’d like to sound off below, about how disappointed you are in the powers that be, at the Mars Corporation too, go right ahead! I sure won’t stop you.  Cursing is even allowed this time.

(Just kidding about that last part. The kids like to read the blog too, and we must be a good example! ; )  

Oh who am I kidding. They live with me have heard those words before. ; )


Last Minute May Day (Baskets & Delivery) Tips & Ideas!

 

May Day is less than a week away.  But if you really want to touch some hearts and make some older folks in your life feel so unforgotten, this is a wonderful thing to do with your children!  It not only has the potential to teach them a bit of History, but it teaches them about kindness and compassion, as well.  What’s more, it couldn’t be more fun and exciting!  

 

PLANNING YOUR MAY DAY CONTAINERS

    Planning, putting together, and secretly delivering  May Day Baskets, is something we have done with our kids for the past 4 consecutive years, from 2008 – 2011.  Every year, the number of our recipients has grown. It can be done as simply or as involved as you choose, depending on the time or expense you’d like to put into it. While the traditional May baskets years ago were simply filled with wild flowers, picked special just for the recipient, we have really tended to get into the ideas for our basket contents! (Cheap affordable baskets can be found at any low budget department stores, such as Wal*Mart, as well as places like the Christmas Tree Shoppes.)  But you don’t need to.  The thought and fun behind it is not more or less, no matter what you give in the basket. It’s what you give from your heart, to their’s, that matters most.  

    So if just delivering a beautiful bunch of flowers is more the way you’d like to go, here are a couple of other simple container ideas I found on Pinterest: 

7eaf7d53e132e11af4a20b3596c1188c

Most everyone has some cans in the house!  Wash them out, get rid of any sharp edges, punch some holes in the side and thread with some lovely ribbon or rope for a handle, and fill with flowers!  If you really want to dress it up, create a label of your own.  Consider having your kids make some drawings, and glue them on!

FinishedTussieMussie_225x312.ashx

Another idea is the traditional way…..making a simply paper cone.  There are beautiful scrap booking papers in any craft store that you can use.  Add some pretty trim, a handle, and the flowers, and you have a beautiful May Day surprise!

 

    Today, as we share photos from our baskets over the years throughout this post, we’d also like to share some other tips and ideas, in the hopes that you will be inspired to really make some older folks day!  You must know how much the little things mean to them, and this big surprise they find on their doorstep or door handle will be something that talk about for a long time to come.

WHO WILL RECEIVE YOUR MAY DAY BASKETS?

May Day baskets were typically delivered to older folks years ago (on May Day of course), so this is a tradition they will well remember and appreciate.  Think of what older folks are in your life, who your children might want to deliver to.   Once you determine how many recipients you’ll have, you’ll know how many baskets (or other forms of containers) you’ll need. Some people to consider:

  • Grandparents
  • Older Neighbors
  • Older Folks you know from Church
  • Other Friendly Aquaintences

Naturally, for doorstep delivery, you’ll need to know where these folks live! Normally, the idea is for the children to sneak up to the door, hang the basket on the doorknob (or place on the porch where the recipient will see it when they open the door), ring the doorbell, and run like the dickens!! With any luck, they’ll get away without being seen, and the recipient will only find a lovely basket of flowers and/or goodies.

     BUT, another very thoughtful idea is to deliver them in person, to random folks in a nursing home.  Many older folks feel quite forgotten at such homes, with few visitors.  Just seeing your children’s faces will feel like such a blessing to them.  Getting flowers and/or other goodies will do their hearts so good. (And yours too!).  This is a great alternative if May Day turns out to be rainy too.   Consider calling a home to let them know you are coming ahead of time, and ask them to put together (your number) of recipients who do not have loved ones to visit them.

 

MAY DAY BASKET CONTENTS

If you’ve decided to fill your baskets with goodies beyond wild flowers, here are some content ideas we have used over the years:

  • A Tea Bag Variety
  • Hard Candy (Consider sugar-free for possible diabetics)
  • Baked Goods from your own kitchen (Mini loves, muffins, cookies, cupcakes)
  • Pocket Tissue Packets
  • Prayer Cards
  • Small Short & Uplifting Story Books
  • Cross Word Puzzle Books
  • Tea Biscuits
  • Flowers
  • A scroll explaining the tradition of May Day Basket Delivery (A great time to educate the kids about this tradition)

Basically, anything that fits in the basket!  What creative ideas can you and your kids come up with?

Lining your baskets before filling, is another option.  You can use tissue paper, an open napkin, a cloth napkin, or even a new kitchen dish towel, which is a gift in itself!

 

BASKET TAGS

It’s nice to have a tag attached, that wishes them HAPPY MAY DAY!  That tends to remove any confusion of why the basket was left. They will realize it is May 1st soon enough, and put it all together. (And them SMILE, no doubt!)   Whether you sign your tag or not is up to you. Sometimes there is concern that the recipients will be frightened, or be afraid to eat the contents.  So if that is a real concern, you can sign them.  But the real fun is to let it be a mystery!  It’s also a wonderful lesson for your children, that we can do kind things for others, and not need to get credit.

    Here is a free printable tag I made one year, that I am happy to share with you:   MAY DAY BASKET TAGS

 

 

PLANNING DELIVERIES

This year (2012), May Day falls on a (this) Tuesday.  Since we homeschool, we have always rearranged our school work for the day, and made our deliveries in the morning, usually between 9:00-11:00 a.m.  But if your kids are in school, evening delivery is just as acceptable!

    Before leaving home, plan out your delivery route, according to where your recipients live.  Knowing the order of stops ahead of time makes for smoother deliveries. 

   Also important is to plan ahead WHO will be running up to which doors, and running.  We have 4 kids.  So rather than they all go up to each door, risking injury and getting caught, by tripping over each other, they decided among themselves who would do which homes.  This saved any arguing about the matter in the vehicle too, which could really suck the fun out of it all!

 

I especially loved one idea we had last year:  Making little flowering window sill tea cup plants.  Along with some perfect size Chicken Soup for the Soul books!  The above photo is all of the basket contents, pre-assembly.  The photo below is them all together.

Naturally, every year around May Day, I have taken lots of photos, from basket assembling, to the secret deliveries themselves.  Going through those posts always make me smile.  Especially when the kids were so little! So if you care to, you are free to visit the previous years blog post links, and hopefully dig up some more inspiration, to deliver some love, yourselves.

  • 2011 – Did not blog deliveries, but last year’s basket photos are shown above.

     Following May Day last year, we decided it was likely our last year of planning and delivering May Day Baskets.  Reason being, 1) the kids are getting a little too old (and big! for this particular serving in secret, and 2) after 4 years, we’re not such a secret anymore! When you start getting thank you cards in the mail, you know they’ve finally figured you out! ; )  But, the lessons have been good for our children, and there is nothing better than the feel-good-feeling, of giving in secret! Our hearts are always open to new ideas and ways in which we can serve others, as God calls us all to do.  The possibilities are endless, and there are always daily opportunities in our lives, and yours.

  Acts 20:35
“In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”

Matthew 25:40
“And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

 


 

Our Trio Turned 9 / Their Birthday(s) Celebrations

This birthday post is a bit late just about every year.  But considering the trio’s birthday is the last day of August, and then we hit a new busy school year, a belated post is like a tradition with valid excuse, in my mind. I don’t think anyone is really waiting for it anyway.   It’s not a report as much as a record of our celebrations for ourselves, and anyone interested.I hope to scrapbook it all someday too.

Sp here are tons of photos from over the course of a couple of days, and a little story-telling here and there too, if you’d like to hear all about it.

We go to the fair every year, but this year we made it part of their birthday celebrating.  The first thing we did when we got there was go see the arts crafts in the Agricultural Hall. It’s more of a judged show, of quilts, kid’s artwork, etc. And then we got Fried Dough!  We could hardly wait for that. So we didn’t.  ; )  (Well, Alexis waited to get hers right before we left later that night.)

Tobar the Robot is always around, and it’s hilarious to see him scare the dickens out of fair-goers, when he suddenly moves.  We sat and watched that for awhile, and laughed out loud with food in our mouths. (That would be the Friend Dough.)  The Trio always love going down Super-Slides, every chance they get. I think I’d feel the burn, climbing those stairs over and over.

 

Feeding the animals is always a must with them too.  I thought the little nursing goat was the sweetest little thing. I have no idea what plant that tee-pee is, but I have a feeling puts off big blooms at some point? Any guesses or knowledge? You can go inside too. There’ a sitting bench in there.

 

They still love the Carousel, and always ask to find that. Then they go several times on some of the smaller rides.

 

Oh my word…..do not let this girl near Foxwoods Casinos! lol.  {A} saw this game, where you can win cash, and it was all she played! She was darn near-tormented by the thing, and was having a hard time walking away. She was playing the window in the top left there, so you can see how much money was right on the ledge there! She was smart with her money, only putting back in what quarters she won, but she was going for those bills, and this guy knew how to joke with you and keep you playing.  He was funny! Look at how he was talking on his cell phone, so he didn’t have to hold it. Anyway, I would have discouraged {A}, as it did feel a bit like gambling, except that I knew she’d do well by any money she won.  Probably something charitable, and then put the rest towards her campaigning funds, or something. ; )

Like most fairs, there was food everywhere!  Oh the aromas in the air!  So many choices one doesn’t get very often, that Michael and I found it hard to decide what we wanted, come dinner time.  But our kids knew just what they wanted, and I could not even believe it!  SALAD! I was like….“Really?  At the fair, you want salad for dinner?” Yes, really, they did.  Alrighty then. We finally found the place they had seen earlier.  HUGE salads, and the scoffed every bit up.  I was so torn over what to have myself, that I ended up just having a a few bites of their salads. It WAS very good. I think it’ll be on my mind next year. lol

They had a really great time, and it was dark before we finally left.

 

This is their special birthday breakfast, that I made, and already shared in the Vittles section.  A little twist on our traditional birthday number pancakes. and the whole fam loved it! Fried French Toast, made as healthily as I could manage. (This shot is pre- butter, confectionery sugar and syrup, of course.)

 

We gave each of them 9 surprise gems for their Gem Jars on their birthday morning.  They were thrilled about that!

 

A few packages always start arriving the week leading to their birthday, and this one from their Aunt in Arizona, sat on the floor in the sun room in front of the wood stove, waiting….and it intrigued them to no end.  They went over to it every day, wondering if maybe there was a Scorpion in there!  And guess what?  There kind of was! lol.  They each got a bunch of Arizona souvenirs and such, and one of the things was a scorpion encased in acrylic, like a paper-weight.  They loved it all.


They get just as much of a kick, out of their birthday cards.

 

Arizona stuff from their Aunt.  The scorpion is in the red thing.


Also a big package from Grandma.

 

Big sister had a gift for each of them, and they also all had one for each other.

 

All of the photos are not in this blog post.  That would have been ridiculous. But suffice it to say they were very grateful for everyone’s thoughtfulness.  They treasure everything they get, always.

Of course, we had a gift for them too…..

Wii.

I think they were shocked!  I am not a fan at all, of video-games for my kids, personally. This may explain why they are likely the last ones on earth, to get Wii!  And believe it or not, it was my idea.  They are older now though, and it comes with serious rules and strict time limits, which they are all totally fine with.  It’s not an every day thing, but more once a week.  They have never even asked for Wii, or anything like it, even after they played some a time or two at others home, and had a good time.  It’s just not the kind of thing we ever do much.   But, with the rules and limits we have in place, it’ll be a fun thing when it’s still raining after a week, or the bitter-temp days that come all in a row, come winters, to get some energy out – because it is pretty physical.  They only got the sports related games. Believe you me…..this is not connected to the internet (hell to the no…), and there are certain games/sports that are off limits.

Call me a poor sport. Mama don’t care. ; )

 

Normally we don’t invest in such high-ticket items–especially for birthdays or holidays. But, Alexis did get that camera for her 13th.  And this gift is split 3 ways. Of course the whole family can use it.

Also, Grandma generously pitched in and helped pay for it. <3

 

Creating their Mii’s alone, had them laughing hysterically trying the different features. I think they came out really quite resembling them!!

Their cake request……

It was a unanimous decision, and they wanted one cake:  White cake with chocolate chips, white frosting and coconut flakes.     We were thankful not to be up baking 3 different requests all night. We’ve done that when they have 3 different requests, without complaint. We feel they deserve the kind of cake they each want, like any birthday kid, and shouldn’t have to compromise. But sometimes we luck out.  Buying store bought cake is not an option, with {S}’s peanut allergy. Home made is always better anyway.

 

(May all of your wishes come true.)

Here’s a really fun thing we also did:  On the night of their birthday, some family friends of ours were gathering down on the waterfont, for Plymouth Idol, because…..their son was competing!  We were invited, and we wanted to be there to cheer him on.  (You all know I can make some noise! As can our kids. lol)

His name is Mark.  I think 100’s auditioned prior to the event, and he made it into the top 10, which was the public Plymouth Idol we went to watch.

Don’t mind his scrubs, but he barely got to the competition in time!  He’s a nurse, and came from work.  The judge panel was kind enough to wait for him, and he got there just in time to go on stage 10th!

Mark has an amazing voice!!  Not only is his singing beautiful, but it is filled with such emotion.   He’s the kind of performer that when you watch and listen, you get so sucked in, you forget where you are.

Here’s how the competition went: There were 10 contestants who sang, the judging panel cut it down to 5, those 5 sang a song, they cut it down to 3, and then those 3 sang again.  The judges commentated after each performance, just like American Idol.  Mark had a little tough competition.  There was a young opera singer who was certainly gifted. But Mark was the best, and non of us felt were biased. lol.  He had 3 songs picked to sing, should he make it through each round:  1 from Les Miserables, and 2 by Josh Grobin.

And HE WON!!!  We were all so excited!!

The Trio had a really good time, because their little friends were there too.  I did not seek permission to share their photos on the internet, so I just blurred their identity. But they were so cute all together, having a ball. They were upfront and cheered Mark on like crazy. Despite how it appears in this photo, there was a big crowd there for this event.  It was a beautiful night too, right on the waterfront, with the ocean breeze.  We were really happy for Mark and his family.  What a great evening.

To end our day of celebrating, we went out to dinner to somewhere the kids have always wanted to go:

The food was great, as was the company. I have another story from there that was pretty amusing, but it could get lengthy, and this post is probably long enough. (You think? ; )  You can ask me for it separately if you’d like. But anyway, the servers were really good to the kids.

What I really love about their birthday every year, is how they really celebrate having each other. They’ve said many times, in different ways in various conversations, that they are so happy they were born together, and get to celebrate their birthdays together.  I’ve asked them, “Don’t you think it would be nice to have a birthday all of your own, too?”, and they said “No!”.  lol.  They’ve never known anything different, so they probably cannot imagine it.

One thing is for sure; While we did feel like we hit the Baby Jackpot (once we got through all of the fears and worries), we are so thankful, that they came along, regardless.  Whether together, or one at a time, each one of them is a blessing all their own to us, and it’s a beautiful life, to watch them grow up(Alexis too!), and become who God uniquely made them to be. I do wish it would slow down a bit.

Dear God, thank you, for entrusting them to us.

And to JackMichael, Olivia Faith and Shane Jacob:

Happy Birthday to You, and You, and You!

XOXOXO

* * * * * *