Monday, December 13, 2010

A Sixth First

Here's an advanced warning for our two sets of grandparents in St. Louis. Prepare your homes now. Because...


And we couldn't be happier! You'd think after 5 kids, we wouldn't be as excited for number 6 to walk. But the first "anything" never gets old. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Visit from Saint Nick

We have celebrated Saint Nicholas Day for several years now. But this year we did things a little differently. Since Santa has been overworked for some years, we offered to ease his burden by letting him bring his gifts, and grandmas's and grandpas's too, on his birthday. So the evening before the kids put their shoes by the front door, with a plate of cookies and carrots for Santa and his reindeer.
David is learning to play with the camera and here is the tree after Santa's visit, but before the littles woke up.
This is our Advent Wreath, we just started it this year, and each Sunday we add something to our little garden in the center of it. Right now we have rocks and mini pinecones, next we will add tiny animals and then Mary and Joseph, all in preparation for the birth of Christ.
Santa even left little treats in the kids shoes as well as gifts under the tree.
Santa always leaves a lovely note to let us know if he liked the cookies and to let us know how good or bad we have all been throughout the year.

Since Daddy had an early morning dentist appt. and most of the country in which we live doesn't consider Saint Nick's day a really official holiday, we had to wait until Dad got home from work to open presents. Yes, for some it was a very long day:) However, it did eventually end and here they all are ready to dash for the presents.
Luke got a cool superman truck from Anya.
James got a Teddy Bear from Mark.
Mark is only a little excited about the Creationary game that Luke picked for him.
Eliza just loved the doll that James gave her.
They each received just fours gifts, but when there are six kids, it equals a lot of mess.
Anya showing off her new Granddaughter bracelet from Grandma and Grandpa Knutti.
Whatever Mark was opening certainly caught James' attention.
Peter just loved everything, he usually does.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Gigantigest Pile of Leaves

It's a long story. Really it is. But I'm going to tell it anyway. It begins on Sunday evening(last night) with a certain 10 year old boy was let's say, less than energetic in his responsibilities. There was a certain kitchen floor that needed to be swept, so a warning was given and then it was ignored. Needless to say, Mom swept said floor, which was waay nasty and Mark earned a major maintenance. I decided that he could rake a portion of the backyard to fulfill his consequence. Stop right there, I know what you are thinking and really, how could you? Of course I didn't make him rake the whole thing! However, realizing how much it needed to be raked, I went out with him to work on it while he worked on his appropriated section. I had made one full loop around the outer edge of the yard, separating our leaves from everyone else's, when it hit me. You see in the back of my mind I am almost always trying to think of ways to have fun and to do fun things with my kids. I do want them to be happy and enjoy life, despite what they may have told you. So I thought wouldn't it be so crazy fun to rake all the leaves from the front, bring them to the back and rake all the backyard leaves and put it all together in the most gigantigest pile of leaves in the history of the world? I proposed, they were overjoyed and we raked. It took about 3 1/2 hours total, but we did it. We really did it. I have the pictures to prove it.

Do you see how huge this pile is? It's higher than Mark's head and he is over four feet! Once all the leaves were raked, I let them at it.

They sat, fell, dove, swam, and Mark even tunneled through the pile. That was kinda cool. All the while we were popping in and out of the house to take turns taking care of Beans.
We did bring her out and sit her in the leaves and she screamed, a lot, so I put her back inside. As you can see, part of her still really wants to be out there with the rest of the crew, someday little one, someday.

Oh, yeah, in case you were wondering, my hands feel like they have been pulverized, I am sure full mobility will return in time and the muscle ached hasn't completely hit yet, but I am sure I will be feeling it tomorrow. With all that I gotta say, watching them play in the gigantigest pile of leaves ever, I would do it again. Probably not tomorrow, but it was worth it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Park Day

Last Saturday we had a family Cub Scout hike planned. So up we all got and out the door ready for a morning of exertion. When we got to the planned location we discovered that the wooded area we had intended to hike was being hunted that day and since we value our lives and those of our children, as well as other people's children, the hike had to be postponed for a time. To make up for it, we took the kids to the park before going home. Usually when we got to the park, it is me and the kids, but with Dad there, we could take pictures and have a little more fun.

Wait your turn doesn't mean much to a three year old.
Mark and Anya made friends with a boy who had a kickball and the three of them had a great time.
Snacking on pistachios.
More kickball.
James has learned to swing! He struggled for a time, but that day at the park really made a difference for him, By George, I think he's got it!
Guess who is learning to walk:)
How can something be so cute and yet so scary at the same time?
Peter is our monkey boy.
He wishes he was frightening instead of adorable.
This girl loves to swing, and she is awfully cute.

When we heard Luke "reading" we had to capture and share it. Enjoy!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pretty Girls

We have been blessed with two very pretty daughters. And sometimes daughters just need to be highlighted. Why every pre-toddler has a deep desire to unload things I will never know, but they do and then afterwards they are intensely proud of themselves for doing it. Beans is no exception to this mysterious behavior.
Ok, so this is a little bit about a boy as well as a girl, but it was so sweet I wanted to share. Earlier this month I turned the life altering age of 30. Mostly we tried not to talk about because for some reason I have yet to discover I really don't like my birthday. However in an effort to be the sweet and loving child that sometimes hides under video games and snotty attitudes, Mark made me a birthday crown just like the ones at Burger King and I let him take a picture of me wearing it.
Um, me again, but only because my hair really looked good and since it was still styled from the hair stylist who cut it the day before it's a good idea to document because I have no feminine skills whatsoever with hairdryers and it will never look like this again. And David thought it was really picturesque, with the whole settee and book and everything.
Now to the really pretty girls! Our little Anya got her very poor eyesight from her father and as a result needs new glasses every year, so she just got her new ones and they are so prim and cute. They are a light blue with flowers on the stems.
Our quasi-twins. Anya was desperate to be dressed identically to someone smaller than her and since I refuse to spend 100 on a doll . . . we used the next best thing: her sister. We found nearly identical dresses at Old Navy for them to wear to church on Sundays, plus matching shoes, tights and sweaters. So, here is Eliza:
and Anya,
And both together, so cute!
Lastly, Eliza Rosa Bean is a ham beyond words. Anytime the camera comes out she pulls out the gaping teeth and dimples. We tried to trick her, she was not getting her way and as any good drama queen would, she cried. Hard. Dad grabbed the camera cause a crying baby (who isn't hurt) is super cute and he didn't even get one shot in before she pulled this out:
She then proceeded to attack the camera which greatly improved her overall mood, seeing as it distracted her from whatever in the world had previously caused her such angst.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pictures of Peter

As we blog, I realize how many traditions we have accumulated over the years. One of them is pictures. For whatever reason, Karen and I decided to have professional pictures taken at ages 2, 5, 8, 12, 16, and 18/19. It's been amazing to see the difference in their faces between the ages of 2 and 5.

Peter turned 5 a couple weeks back and we had his professional pictures taken today. So we're posting newborn, 2, and 5 year pictures for your viewing pleasure.Peter was our tiniest baby at 6 pounds 8 ounces. Tiny tiny...and so fragile. And yet, he had a cute old man face at the same time. His blackened eyes were still recovering from a traumatic birthing procedure. It's amazing any of us survived! :)
Here he is at 2 years old:
And then Peter at 5:
They grow up so fast. It's a good reminder to enjoy each moment of this experience called life.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

We don't have much in the way of Halloween decorations. Usually it consists only of the carved pumpkins at the front door. We mixed it up a bit by getting a white pumpkin. It made an especially cute ghost.Karen and I are becoming a little better with experience each year. She still does the harder carvings. This year, the wolf was a new addition so she tackled that one with ease. James asked for the spider in the moon. He was very complimentary the whole time Karen and I were carving. I think he recognized how hard it was to carve and it was cute that he was doing his best to be supportive.
Karen went to the attic and dug up this spider to spice things up a little more.
We hosted our first-ever Halloween party. We let the three older kids invite a family of their choice. Karen did a great job at planning the whole event. Lots of games and lots of good food. The donut eating contest always brings a few laughs. No hands allowed as you try to eat a donut tied to a string.
Steven (the baseball player) was a pro and had clean techniques. Ethan (the pirate) thought he could just intimidate the donut into non-existence. Aargh!!!
Luke (Raggedy Andy) decided not to play by the rules and enjoyed his donut like any normal 3-year old would.
This was a family event, so the teenagers and adults who were brave enough took a stab at it. It couldn't be that hard, right?!?!? Hehehe
Another game was a walnut boat race. We stuck little candles in half of an empty walnut shell. The objective was to blow your boat to the other side without blowing out the candle. James (Dracula) won in the kids round.
The Ashby's are a competitive bunch. They almost started a water fight. :)
And Tim (the engineer) knew exactly how do get the job done right.
This year, we decided to recycle through the years of accumulated costumes. So no theme. But the kids didn't care. Anya chose to be a witch (same costume she wore when Luke was born 3 years ago). It still fit...but the dress was now a knee-length skirt. It showed off her black, orange and purple striped socks very well.
Eliza was Raggedy Ann. This was Anya's costume when she was Eliza's age.
And what's Raggedy Ann without Raggedy Andy? Luke was super cute. This is what Mark wore 6 years ago.
This was the only new and original costume this year. Mark was....can you guess? It's a capital E with the universal sign for male. Mark was E male....e-mail. :) He loved it!
James was Dracula. I think this was Mark's costume from a couple years ago. (The teeth were not recycled.)
And Woody! Peter was excited to be Woody this year. This was James' costume from several years ago.

No group shot this year. Just a bunch of mismatched characters who look really cute dressed up. From the pumpkin carving to the party to the dressing up...we had a fun Halloween this year.