Image by Laura Ketteman

Image by Laura Ketteman

Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day 333. Trash Day!!!

I suppose most family's trash piles are a little larger than usual the week after Christmas.  What I do NOT suppose, is that most people decide to overhaul the junk pile in their home, and add even MORE to their after-Christmas garbage.  My guess is that our friendly, neighborhood trash collectors were saying some not-so-kind comments, directed right to our house number this morning.  But, let me just say, it's a good feeling to purge the unecessary stuff, so I'm okay with it!  Yay!  :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day 332. Gingerville.

It started a few years ago, to decorate a gingerbread house for Christmas.  I found a little kit at WalMart, that made it quite fool-proof.  I figured the boys would enjoy it.  It has since become a necessity at just about every holiday.  Christmas.  Easter.  Halloween.  Who knew they made so many ginger-versions???  Anyway, this year, KS3 spotted this entire, little town.  It was a bit more complex than I'd anticipated, in that the pieces were smaller, so they were harder to work with.  BUT, we made it happen.  We are certainly no masters of the art, but the kids really enjoy putting them together and showing off their creativity.... and eating the candy while they're decorating.  Sheesh.  I let them have free reign with most of it.  I think it's a great way to occupy an afternoon during Christmas break, and let their imaginations flow.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day 331. More Gifts.

Along with my box full of socks, my parents surprised me on Christmas with this adorable hat and scarf set.  They KNEW I would love it.  I suppose there are some things a parent just knows.  :)

(Picture courtesy of KS2.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Day 330. Kid Creations.

My husband was so inspired the day after Christmas, that he talked (forced) me into helping him declutter one of the more "cluttered" areas of our home.  We have this corner of our basement that was in DESPERATE need of help.  And I don't understand why, but these impulsive acts NEVER seem to hit us at the same time.  WHY is that???  Regardless, I'm glad he coerced me.  We got to work, and we've gotten quite a bit accomplished.  These things tend to spiral.  But it's a GOOD THING, indeed.  :)

In our process, I'm always likely to find treasures with which it is time to say goodbye.  I'm like most doting mommies, I suppose, but I have a hard time getting rid of my kids' creations... especially something made specifically for me, or something I know they've put a lot of time and effort into.  HOWEVER, all good things must come to an end.  We keep for awhile, and when the phase has passed... OUT with the old, and IN with the new!

I have found that taking photos of their beloved crafts tends to ease the pain, for them AND for me.  :)  For example, this hand-created guitar by KS2 was a fave.  It has a nice story.  KS1 already had his own real guitar, so KS2 "made" his own, so that they could play together.  :)  KS2's birthday came around, and it just so happened that my neighbor was selling his old smaller-sized, REAL guitar, and KS1 snatched it up in a heartbeat, to surprise his brother on his birthday... hence, we are no longer in need of the cardboard-box guitar.  :)  (May I mention, incidentally, that we have several "toy" guitars... but KS2 just has to be creative.  It's part of who he is!)

Here's a glimpse of his talent:

These were gifts for Mommy.  Again, created by KS2.  He's just so patient with his crafting.  He is detailed and thoughtful.  He loves to surprise people he loves with his little gifts.  It's really quite endearing.  I just love him to pieces.  These little handmade treasures have rested on my bedroom dresser for several months.  And now I have pictures to remember them forever.  :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day 329. Growing Up.

Once upon a time, when all we had were TWO little boys, their grandma bought them the cutest Christmas sweaters.  KS2 was just a baby, and KS1 had to be about 3 years old, or so.  They were just darling.  She bought them with KS1 in mind, because he just LOVED trains at the time.  Fortunately, Grandma bought them with some room to grow, so the boys were able to wear them for a couple of years.  And the bigger one of the set, has been passed down for several years now.  I've handled and laundered them with care, so even now that KS3 has worn both of them, they still look practically new!

Well, the time has come.  Our lives with the sweet little, choo-choo train Christmas sweater have come to an end.  No more boys small enough to wear even the larger one!  So, I had to capture the last Christmas KS3 would wear it.  Now, my sweet nephew will be able to carry on the tradition.  :)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Day 328. Christmas Day.

There was a day that we hustled around during the Christmas holiday, making sure to stop everywhere at some point.  When our children got a little older, my husband and I decided it was important to make our own traditions in our own home.  Every year, we spend Christmas Day at home.  Family is welcome to join us!  But we're not going anywhere.  :)  The boys wake up at home on Christmas morning, to their own gifts under their own tree.  We've really enjoyed that decision.  The boys do, too.  They don't change out of their jammies, and they play all day long.  It's a great time.

My husband is very creative in his gift-giving.  This year was no exception.  I thought I'd share the background to this gift, because I thought it was a really special idea.  He bought me a pair of pajamas that are made by an organization called International Princess Project.  It's an organization in India, that provides an opportunity for women who have been sold into prostitution, to learn a trade and have a job and make a new start for their lives.  They are taught to sew these pajamas, and all of the profits go back into the organization to provide for these women.  Cool, huh?  These are my new jammies:

Check out their website for more information:  International Princess Project

Friday, December 24, 2010

Day 327. Christmas Eve.

Traditionally, we spend Christmas Eve with my side of the family.  This year was the same.  Making lots of memories.  Lots of laughter.  Lots of FOOD.  :)  Lots of COOKIES!!!!!!  :)  And every year, I force my siblings into a picture of the five of us.  They LOVE it!  :)  Yeah, that's it!

My nephew had to help everyone open their gifts.  He doesn't care if they're for him.  He just REALLY wants to rip off all of that paper.  :)

Dad and Mom didn't let me down.... lots of new, fuzzy socks!  YAY!!!

Home sweet home, where I grew up...  AND a white Christmas.  :)

And that night, when we got home, the stockings were filled and placed near the fireplace, awaiting three little boys for the next morning.  :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 326. Christmas Break.

This break has been a pretty relaxed one.  We haven't had a lot scheduled on the calendar, and it has been really nice.  The boys have stayed home and played and destroyed the house.  :)  Oh, who cares.  They're making memories, right?  There will be time to clean later.  Today, KS1 and KS2 got out their Legos.  I just love Legos.  There's nothing better for a little boy's imagination than a box of Legos.  :)

After the boys went to bed, I decided it was surely time to get some wrapping done.  No, I hadn't even begun.  Yikes.  This would be the loot.  My wonderful husband came downstairs and joined me.  We got it all wrapped and put under the tree.  Everything was finished except the stockings (which wait, because Santa fills those for Christmas morning.)Whew!  Nothing like the last minute.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 325. More Christmas Cookies.

I took the boys to visit my parents' house tonight.  My sister was finishing up her annual cookie-bake.  Every year, she goes WAY overboard and makes dozens and dozens of cookies.  We always tease her, but she specifically makes so many, so that the rest of us can bring home plates-full after Christmas.  We don't complain about that part.  :)  She saved the sugar cookies for when the boys could come over and help.  They always enjoy doing that.  :)  The end result may not always be the most "professional" looking cookies, but they are certainly made with love and creativity!  :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Remember THESE BOOTS from yesterday?  I have to brag on my awesome husband.  Today, when he came home from work, he had a Kohl's bag in hand.  :)  Can you guess what was in it?  :)

Day 324. Christmas Program.

I just love kids' Christmas programs.  We went to my nephew's today, and I had such a great time.  He did a GREAT job, singing all of his words and doing the motions.  We were so proud of him.  There's just something so precious about hearing the voices of children singing about Baby Jesus.  LOVE IT!

Santa made an appearance toward the end, so the kids were all pretty excited about that.

Then, my sister and I took all the boys out for lunch and BreadCo.  YUM!  :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 323. Boots.

Saw these at Kohl's today.  I was there to get my dad's Christmas gift.  WHY do I even go in the shoe department?  I WANT THESE!  But I refrained.  :(

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 322. Twinkies.

Wondering how much longer they'll let me get away with doing this to them... I just can't help myself. 

Not sure what's so interesting in the snow, but whatever.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 321. Girls' Day.

I love last minute plans.  It's fun to drop what you're doing and do something fun, even though you should probably do something else at the time.  But I suppose that depends on your definition of "should."

I knew my sisters had plans to do some shopping today.  I had already decided it was best that I didn't join them.  I had things around the house that needed to be done.  KS1's basketball game was that morning.  My husband typically likes to spend a couple of hours at the gym on Saturdays.  And I didn't dare drag all 3 of the kiddos along for such an adventure.  It would have been pure torture for them.

But upon mentioning that I would like to have joined them, my husband hurried me out the door, assuring me he would take care of the day, and be just fine if I spent a few hours away.  He's kind of wonderful that way.  (May I also mention that when I returned, he had done the dishes, fixed the furnace, and had the boys help him clean up a bit around the house AS well as in their bedrooms!)

So, it was a nice day.  And I picked up a couple of items for myself, although I didn't need them... but it was fun to enjoy the day with my sisters and play with my neice and nephew and eat lunch at the Olive Garden... even though it was crowded and the traffic was horrific and the people are just plain grumpy.  All in all, who cares.  They must not realize that we're supposed to be celebrating Jesus' birthday, and that should be enough to bring a smile to anyone's face, if you ask me.

Once again, I've gone off on a rant... My picture for today was taken while we waited for a table for lunch.  My little neice is growing up fast.  All babies are miracles, but she is even moreso for our family.  I've told stories of her before...
First Birthday

I love to watch her grow.  I love to hear her say new words, and to watch her waddle around on her short, little legs.  Her hair is growing longer!!!  She has that fine, whispy baby hair.  It's so soft, and she loves to let you rub her sweet head... Seriously, she's sweeter than sugar...  Rest assured, there's plenty of SPICE there, too!  :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 320. Errands.

I have never been one of those moms who has to get a babysitter to go to the grocery store.  Not to say that running errands with little ones is a simple task... nope, I did not say that at all.  But, I never had much of a choice.  I had three little ones, age 4 and under, all at home with me.  When one became ill and had to go to the doctor, they ALL went to the doctor.  When Daddy and I had praise team rehearsal at church, they all tagged along and even joined us for dinner with our friends afterwards.  We actually liked it that way.  The fact is, I prefer to live life WITH my children.  We've had to slow down in some of our social activity throughout the years, but our boys have grown up, tagging along.  They are part of us... a package deal, if you will. 

All of that being said, as they grow, just like everything else, certain tasks have changed.  Running errands is certainly one of those things.  There was a day, that my shopping cart was as full with little boys as it was with items.  KS2 sat in the big part, KS3 was in the little basket, and KS1 was under strict orders to walk alongside the cart, hand never leaving the edge.  So, I'll admit, my current lifestage, having the freedom to run my errands through the day while they're at school has spoiled me a little.  :)  However, that luxury is not always the case.  Going to WalMart, the weekend BEFORE Christmas, WITH all three of my boys, no matter their age... Well, that's a little much for any mommy. 

Honestly, they were all good as gold.  It wasn't them.  It's all the craziness around us.  KS3 still fits in the cart.  And he was happy to be there, all of our shopping items piled up on top of him.  He sat at the bottom, while the other two helped me check off my list.  Wrapping paper, check.  Tape, check.  Milk, check.  Laundry soap, check.  Lunch meat, check.  Paper towels, check.  And the list continued.  KS3 just sat in the midst of it all, happy to have his big brother drive him around up and down the aisles as we attempted to weave through the crowd to retrieve our every-day items.  Even in the midst of Christmas shoppers, our every-day life must go on!

The biggest issue is simply that my spoiled children HATE running errands now.  They have to put on their happy faces and deal.  Some days, they handle that task better than others.

None of that really has anything to do with my picture... other than this was taken AFTER the errands were completed, and I had to giggle as KS1 was fumbling into the family room, helping carry in the supplies.  He's at a gangly, clumsy age... all arms and legs.  He's a pretty good sport about it, really.  We often have a good laugh about his lack of grace.  I've reminded him that he may never outgrow it.... Here I am, case in point.

Enough of my rambling.  Here's today's pic:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 319. Snowy Days.

It's been an icy, cold week.  The sun came out and I thought it might be fun to capture some moments in the back yard with the boys.  We were going to run some errands later, so it was supposed to be a quick "snapshot" moment.  Once again, giving the camera to the boys proved to capture Mommy in all of her glory...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 318. Christmas Cookies!

There were "kinda" homemade.  My sister would be so disappointed in me.  But we had fun, and they tasted yummy.  So, that's what counts.  ;)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Days 316 and 317.

It occurs to me that I'm nearing the end of my 365 challenge.  I was browsing back through my beginning entries, and since I didn't start until January 31st, I still have a little ways to go.  Should I do it again next year?  I didn't exactly follow rules very well.  Maybe I'll just freestyle it.  That's a little more according to my personality.

As I was going through the old entries, I was also browsing through recent session files.  I thought I'd include a few just for fun... maybe I've added them before, but most of them are collections that were made after the fact.  So, I thought I'd share.

My photo
ilLaurastrations Photography began in Spring of 2009.