I had this idea to a "picture a day" theme for our 2014 blog. But as with many new ideas/resolutions, a few days in to the new year I changed my mind and decided to take a much less structured approach. I don't need one more thing on my daily to-do list, even if taking pictures is one of my favorite things to do. Instead, I decided it would be much more realistic for me to just focus on giving a "month in review" summary at the end of each month. So, Happy New Year, lets get this party started.:)
Here are the kids ringing in the New Year by sipping juice from goblets at the Otto's house.
Strawberries are usually outrageously priced during the winter, at $3-$4 a pound. Which is why my poor deprived children had to go two months without strawberry jam. It was hard, but somehow we made it through. The day strawberries came on sale (below $2 a pound) there were shouts of joy heard from our household. When Daddy came home from work that night, the kids ran up to him and exclaimed the exciting news that we could finally make strawberry jam. The kids literally made this jam themselves. I merely guided them in the process. I love their sweet, sticky little fingers.
We sure love hanging at the Paulos household.
Here Alyssa is trying Ramen Noodles for the first time. I hope she doesn't like them too much because I rarely make them.
The first day of each month, Home Depot has a free kids craft.The kids had so much fun making calendars at this event. Kennan has been faithfully keeping track of the date by changing his calendar daily. The kids can't wait to go back next month to make race cars.
Note to self: next month don't let Cambria wear her favorite shirt to paint in. R.I.P. cute yellow-striped shirt with a butterfly that Brynlee used to wear.
It's not often I can get Derrick to leave the house dressed so casually. But I had tricked him and told him we were going jogging. Well, actually we were until Rachel called on our way to the jogging trail and told us about this activity. Good thing he looks so handsome in a backwards hat. Rachel even agrees.
Now on to the jogging trail for a nice long jog/bike ride. Actually, it probably won't last very long since I forgot the helmet's and they have a very nervous father.
Next, we needed to refuel our bodies with hamburgers and frozen custard from Culvers. I had never been there before and am wishing I hadn't discovered it, because I loved it. I can't wait to be pregnant again so I have an excuse to crave it.
One night when I called the kids to come in for dinner, I had two stragglers. They wanted to eat too so I set them up a picnic in the backyard.
Grandma Betty is always so generous in sending us some Christmas money. I used it to buy the kids much needed Sunday clothes. They looked so cute in their new outfits all ready for church.
The start of a new year is the perfect time to get organized. So, for the first time in almost 10 years, I cleaned out our filing cabinet. This is what I threw out. Unfortunately we don't have a shredder, but I probably wouldn't take the time to shred it anyway. So I bagged it all up (it took a whole garbage sack) and we will be going to the hills soon to burn it while roasting marshmallows.
As the kids get older its fun to see their personalities sprouting. We are beginning to see that little Cami is quite sporty, and not as girly-girl as Brynlee. Almost every day while the kids are at school she begs me to play ball with her.
I love the look and feel of babies in pjs.
Kennan started piano lessons this month. His teacher is my wonderful friend Jan Francisco. He is doing great and learning a lot already. It is taking some adjusting getting used to having to practice everyday, but I know this is one investment that will play great dividends.
We love shopping at HEB...
Especially because they give us free cookies.
Kennan started playing soccor on a YMCA team.
Kennan had never played soccor before and kinda didn't want to, but I knew he would enjoy it. His second game he scored his first goal and sure enough, it is now his favorite sport.
Go Team Dynamite
One of the things we love most about San Antonio in the winter is that it isn't uncommon for the weather to be in the 70s in January.
While Dad was drilling with the Natioal Guard, we spent this beautiful Saturday on the trampoline reading books. The net provides the perfect playpin the contain the baby.
This month we started gymnastics. The kids absolutely love it, but it is just temporary because I bought a one-month Groupon for them to attend, and after it expires this month I refuse to pay full price. It's far too expensive. I have met three other LDS moms at gymnastics that I love to sit and chat with. They all have kids roughly the same ages as mine and they also are just attending on the Groupon deal.
The picture below is a bit blurry, but Kennan snapped it as I got Alyssa out of the tub. Nothing compares to the sweet smell of a baby fresh from the tub. She is growing up way too fast.
In other exciting news: Brynlee got glasses this month. It all started one surprising day when the school nurse called and said Bryn failed the eye exam. I had no idea her vision wasn't perfect as she has never shown any signs of difficulty seeing. But the school nurse informed me of this awesome new program which they just started. She said they would bus her and some other students with teacher supervisors down to the medical center where they would have some optometry students (under the direction of a doctor) do an eye exam on her and if she needed glasses they would provide a pair for her free of charge. I felt nervous about my tiny five year old being bussed across town without me, but this was too good of a program to pass up, so I immediaely signed her up for it. I was a bit worried when I went to pick her up from the school and the nurse said she did infact need glasses and that they let her pick out a pair of frames. But when they came in a few weeks later I was happy to discover they are super cute. When I looked through her lenses I was shocked to discover how bad her vision really is. Her perscription is a +4 (mine is only a -1.75). She liked her glasses but didn't act like they were making a world of difference for her so I decided to take her in to our eye doctor just to double check and make sure her prescription was correct. It was confirmed that her perscription was correct and the doctor said she has never seen 20/20, and was born with 20/50 and 20/70 vision. The doctor said she HAS TO wear her glasses every day. She said it would take a while for her eyes to adjust to her new glasses before she was seeing perfectly out of them. However, she said most likely her vision would only improve as she gets older. Derrick had glasses as a kid but now doesn't need them, so we'll see....but as for now, she is adorable in them.
I took Brynlee on a date and let her choose where we went out to eat lunch. So of course we ended up at McDonalds.
This is Alyssa trying her first hamburger, because every 10 month old that has four teeth deserves to eat a hamburger.
Kennan says Brynlee looks like a "Tiny Teacher" in her glasses.
Page and I were excited to discover that we could jog from our homes to the Leon Creek jogging trail and a short distance is a park. In order to do it, we have to go "the back way" through a rough rocky patch, which is kinda tricky with bikes and strollers but once we get to the nice paved trail it is an easy jog to the park. Well, as easy as a two mile jog gets with these nine children in tote. I love having an adventurous friend nearby who also has a resident husband that works long hours.
For Kennan's birthday, his friend Carlos gave him a gift card to Academy Sports, which sure came in handy when it came time to buy him soccor gear.
Kennan finally outgrew his bike that Grandma and Grandpa Allred gave him for Christmas three years ago. We told him he had so save up to buy a new bike. He doesn't get allowance, but he does get $1 every time he gets 100% on a spelling test. And he had some money saved up from past birthday's, and that Grandpa Willie had given him last July, and last Sinterclaus. With all this his whole life savings was just a few dollars shy of his needed $50 to buy a bike. Then he sold his old bike at a Garage sale for $5 and a couple other small toys which gave him enough (with $4 to spare). We are so proud of him for saving and working so hard to buy his very own bike. He takes a lot of pride in it.
In other Garage Sale news: I was so excited to find this table Page was selling at her garage sale. I plan to paint it black. It totally looks so much better in my living room than the metal stand the keyboard was previously on.
We have made good use this month of the pile of games that Grandma and Granpa Allred gave us for Christmas. This is one of the kid's favorites called Headbands.
In other NOT-SO-EXCITING-NEWS: I finally cancelled my gym membership. Partially because I have lost motivation, but mostly because Alyssa was not so fond of the daycare. They had been having to come get me out of almost every class because she was crying. I thought I could just start exercising at home, but it has been less than sucessful. I do still try to go jogging when I can with this awesome jogging stroller Derrick bought for my last birthday.
I can never get them all to smile or at least look decent in the same picture, that's why doubles are often necessary. :)
But she is pretty tough and was soon back to her beautiful self, wanting a picture of her new $0.25 garage sale shirt. :)
The kids spend a lot of time playing in the cul-de-sac with these neighbor kids: Carlos, Doodi, Lamar, and Haylee.
As a kid, Grandma Cahill always read us the "Frog and Toad" books. I was estatic when I found one of these books at a garage sale. It was so nostalgic to hear Kennan read it. He is becoming a great reader and is two levels ahead in his reading.
Look who learned to pull herself up. This picture was take right before she fell into the drawer.
For the first time since moving here we had a snow day and school was cancelled. It actually didn't snow at all, it was just cold and some precipitation caused ice on the roads. Kennan jumped on the frozen ice on the tramp. A couple of days later it was back up to 70 degrees. Silly weather.
An entire King-Sized bed and this is where she insists on sleeping. I don't blame her, I prefer that spot as well.