Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Taste of December

December is one of my favorite months of the year.  I love everything about this magical time.
The sight of Christmas lights on my tree while the rest of the house is dark.

The smell of freshly baked cookies.

The sound of bell ringers outside of my favorite stores.  And the music!

The delicious taste of hot chocolate.

The feel of snowflakes gently falling on my face.

I mean, really.  What's there not to like?

Here is a taste of what it's like in the Steorts household this time of year.

We have a special visitor checking in on us this month.  Meet Pixie, our elf.  She's a sneaky little thing.  The girls love running around the house each morning to see where she'll pop up next.
For each of the 12 days leading up to Christmas, we have a special story and activity.  One day we made snow globes. 
Another day we hopped on the "Mini Van Express" and looked at Christmas lights around town. 
Can I just tell you how badly that backfired?  I thought the kids would LOVE doing that.  I have fond memories of looking at Christmas lights as a kid.  But they kept asking me things like, "Where are we going?" and "Why do I have a ticket?" and "Why didn't you punch my ticket?"  Then finally, "Can we go home now?"  WOW.

Each year I attend a cookie exchange at a friend's house.  Everyone brings 1 dozen cookies to sample plus 3 dozen to give away.  It's awesome because you munch on cookies all night while socializing with friends, plus you get to bring home 3 dozen different cookies.  Some people clearly did not take their 3 dozen cookies home because I somehow got stuck with a bunch extra.  I'll just have Josh take them to work or something.  (Except the Ghirardelli peppermint bark.  That is mine).
I generally like to stay inside during the freezing winter months, but there was one day when we just had to take advantage of the perfect packing snow.  This is Charly, our snowgirl.  Please ignore the fact that it looks like Pigpen built her :)  This is the first time the girls have ever built a snowman!
In other news...

I recently purchased this swing from a friend at a majorly discounted price.  Best. thing. ever.
I finally got around to hanging my command center.  It doesn't look like much, but I've got everything I need in one spot: a magazine rack for filing loose papers, a calendar, message board, and buckets to put things like keys, coupons, and receipts.  I can see my desk again!
And we pass this lovely temple on our way to church each week.  It won't be completed until sometime in 2015 but it's so fun to see the progress during construction.  I can't wait to have a temple 10 minutes away from me, as opposed to the one 2 1/2 hours away in Louisville.
 And in my spare time, I sneak pictures of this cutie pie.
I secretly love going out and about with him because A) he sleeps the whole time and B) everybody comments on his hair.  I'll be standing in the check-out line and the person behind me will say, "Oh my goodness, look at that hair!"  And before we know it, we've drawn a crowd.

He's growing WAY too fast.  With that head full of hair and a drawer full of 6 month sleepers, I often forget that I only have a 3-month-old.  I try to cherish every minute because it won't be long before December slips away and a new year is upon us.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Look What Jackson Found...

 
 And I'd say he's pleased as punch about that!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Christmas Party

Tonight was our Christmas party at church and I'm pretty sure the evening was planned with young families in mind.  It was PERFECT.  Rather than waiting in a long line to dish up multiple flimsy paper plates of non-kid friendly foods, we were seated to a table and served a 3-course meal.  The program was short (but fun) and the evening ended with a visit from Santa.  I wouldn't have changed a thing.

The kids sang a couple of fun songs.  Summer actually wasn't even supposed to be up there, but who cares?  Kylie was happy to help.
 Kylie asked Santa to "surprise her" because she doesn't know what gifts she wants...
 ...and Summer got hurried along because she had a rather long list :)
All in all, an excellent evening.  We're SO looking forward to Christmas when we'll travel to Washington to see Josh's family.  Until then, we're trying to stay healthy.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Snowy Thanksgiving

We made kind of a last-minute decision to go to Michigan for Thanksgiving.  Originally, we thought that traveling 4 hours with a 2-month-old would be too much of a challenge, but he's such an easy baby that we changed our minds.

Thank goodness he's easy because this is what we had to drive in.  Our 4-hour drive turned into a 6-hour drive because of whiteout conditions and slick roads.  Is that Michigan weather at its finest, or what?  But we made it safely!
 Some people weren't fazed by the snowy weather, though...

 
 I honestly kept forgetting what holiday we were visiting for!
We had such a wonderful time hanging out with family and friends.

My dad and uncle with their grandsons
My dad's cousin, Lisa, and her family
My friend from high school and her husband.  We make it a point to see them every single time we're in town.
 And, of course, people were excited to see us, too.  Well, one of us anyway :)


I'm so grateful for this time of year when we're able to remember just how fortunate we are.  We have been so very blessed this year.  Josh is employed and he loves his job.  I made it through a very difficult pregnancy and am now feeling fantastic-- good health is such a blessing!  Kylie is thriving in school and Summer amazes me every day with her knowledge and curiosity. 

And, perhaps, the biggest blessing of all is this sweet little boy.  He fills our lives with such joy.
"I have learned that if you have something to eat, a roof overhead and clean water, you should be most grateful-- you number among the world's most blessed." ~Richard Paul Evans, Lost December

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Update

It's been a super long time since my last post so here's an update.
*Sorry most of the pictures are blurry.  Many were taken by my cell phone in dim lighting.

Halloween happened.  Kylie was a ninja; Summer was a rock star; and Jackson was Clark Kent sleeping on the job.

Because we had severe weather on Halloween, trick-or-treating got pushed back a day.  That was fine by me because it gave us a chance to finally carve our pumpkin.
Our former neighbor dropped by before trick-or-treating to bring the kids gifts.  Gifts.  What kind of neighbor does that?  Ours :)
We moved into a townhouse a few weeks ago and we're still working on getting settled.  I often have Kylie take pictures of me while I hang things on the walls to ensure that they're straight.  It pays to have a 5-year-old I tell ya.
 If you ask my kids what they like about the new house, they'll tell you "the stairs."
 
 I'm kind of loving my new kitchen.
What are the kids up to, you ask?

Kylie is loving school.  Now that we're in our new place, she takes the bus everyday.  Big girl!
 
 
Not only has she mastered the bus, but she is also reading and has been placed in an advanced math program.  She loves to practice spelling words on her own.  The other day she created a makeshift restaurant, complete with hand-drawn menus.  The menus mostly consisted of pictures, but she attempted to sound out a few words.  I admire her creativity and her efforts to practice what she's learning in school.
 
I'm finding that there are drawbacks to the reading, though.  Like the time she read my hairspray bottle (Big Sexy Hair) and asked me what sex was....

Summer has surprised me.  She has really blossomed as a big sister and is always ready to help out when needed.  She's always pleased as punch to fetch a diaper, pop the binky back in, or entertain Jackson. 


But Jackson isn't the only one she entertains.  She cracks me up every. single. day.  Lately she's been very complimentary and they don't always make the most sense.  The other night she asked me if the moon was a boy or a girl.  I told her she could choose.  Then after a few minutes she said, "Mommy.  The moon is SOOOO handsome!"  She also told me today that she likes my face.  Bless her.

Jackson is 2 months old already!  Here are the stats from his appointment today:
  • Height: 22 3/4 inches (50th percentile)
  • Weight: 13 pounds, 9 ounces (75th percentile)
  • Head: 39cm (25th percentile) 

He is hands down the easiest baby we've ever had.  He's incredibly mellow, rarely cries, and can sleep through just about anything.  Unfortunately, I'm not able to nurse anymore but he seems OK with his 4oz bottles every 3 hours.  At night, he typically sleeps from 12:00-5:00 straight, then will give us another 2 hours after we pop his pacifier back in.  Even at this age he's still sleeping in his car seat because he's been struggling with reflux.  I'm sure breaking that habit will be super fun....
Here are a few more fun facts about Jack:
  • He snores.  And let's just say he doesn't get that from me.
  • When he does cry, his entire body turns beat red.
  • He often gets mistaken for a girl because of his full head of hair.
  • He has blue eyes, which he clearly doesn't get from me either.
  • His roots are blond and I can't wait to see what will happen over time!
Josh is very busy at work but still manages to be a family man.  Like most men in America, he's soaking up football season right now.  Just don't mention U of M's last couple games :)
And I'm staying busy organizing my house, adjusting to a new calling at church, managing 3 kids, and reading, reading, reading in my spare time.  Every once in a while a bunch of books appeal to me all at once.  Now is one of those times.  I finished this book last week.
 I'm currently reading this one because some serious adjustments need to me made around here.
And I have 5 more books on hold for me at the library.  And a bag of Dove chocolates in my pantry.  What can I say?  Life is good.