Sunday, November 30, 2008

Josh and Jon have updated their blog...

They both posted about their parade experiences, and they've discovered the emoticons over at Homeschoolblogger, lol! I think they did use more actual words than smileys, but barely! :)

Spider-Man, Spider-Man, Does Whatever a Spider Can!

Joey loves to dress up, and his current favorite is Spider-Man. He puts on this costume almost every day, sometimes multiple times a day! He wanted to see pictures of himself in it tonight, so I got out the camera. I decided a video might be fun! Here is our superhero!! (Please excuse the pile of dress-up clothes on the floor and all our school papers/supplies on the freezer and filing cabinet...I'm in the process of organizing!)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

More Thanksgiving Pictures...

More pictures from Thanksgiving Day...

Here are Jeremy, Josiah, Jonathan, and Joshua talking to Granddaddy and Grandmommy on the's on speaker so they could all talk at the same time.

Our Thanksgiving meal...we had the basics--turkey, dressing, gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, cranberry jelly, and pumpkin dinner rolls. For a fun treat, I bought sparkling cider to drink. The boys enjoyed that, and also enjoyed that I let them drink out of our crystal glasses instead of plastic! They felt so grown up, and nothing got broken! :)

Wait! You can't eat yet, I still have to take a picture!

We gave Josiah a little bit of sweet potato to try...he isn't really interested in solid food yet, but he uh, finger painted with it while the rest of us ate!

Joshua was playing peek-a-boo with Josiah...

Jonathan enjoying his meal...

Joshua is still entertaining Josiah...

Here's what he REALLY thought about those sweet potatoes!!

We had a great meal, and a nice time talking about all we have to thank God for this year! I made a huge turkey, so we've been enjoying all the leftovers, and I've got lots to put away in the freezer for pot pies, etc. later. I also made about 2 gallons of stock with the bones and other bits, along with some veggies, so we'll be having some yummy soups over the next month or so. Yum!

Our Thanksgiving Week Adventures!

Well, we've had a super-busy week, and I haven't had much time for blogging! Monday was my birthday, and we left the older 4 boys with a babysitter and a friend and went out to dinner. We were going to go to a show as well, but most of the Broadway shows don't run on Mondays, and the others we looked into wouldn't let us bring Josiah. So Jeremy decided to take me shopping, instead! :) He gave me a birthday budget, and we went to Macy's and I, being the super-frugal girl I am, even with a birthday budget, shopped the 75% off racks. I bought a pair of jeans and a long cardigan, and didn't even come close to spending my budget...but alas, the store was closing, so we had to move on! We stopped outside for a bit and watched people rehearsing for the Thanksgiving Day parade, then headed towards home.

Tuesday morning, we took all the boys to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which ended up being a really fun show. The boys all LOVED it. I had been hoping we could go ever since I first started seeing ads for it months ago, but it was a bit pricey. About a month ago, we took the kids to McDonald's, and they had a promotion going on with a coupon code for 50% off up to 8 tickets if you went to a non-peak show time. I was very excited to take advantage of that offer!! It still ended up being a bit of a splurge, but at half-price it wasn't too bad. We took some pictures afterwards...I'll try to get those posted over the weekend. Afterwards, we headed back to Macy's (hey, we were pretty close!) so I could spend the rest of my birthday money. They must really be hurting right now, because even a lot of fall and winter clothing was 65% and 75% off already. Now I don't shop often, but it seems early to me for fall/winter to be marked down that low. We were blessed with (almost) free $$ as well...Jeremy was going down one of the ancient wooden escalators (they have modern ones in parts of the store, and these really OLD looking wooden ones in other parts) and it caught the bottom of his shoe and tore a chunk out of it. An employee saw him getting off the escalator and Jeremy just laughed it off, saying it was no big deal, he was just glad it didn't get his toes. But he was given a $50 gift certificate anyway! The funniest thing about it is that he was wearing his old sneakers that he bought at Walmart about a year ago for $25. Nothing like turning a 100% profit on year-old Walmart shoes! :)

Wednesday we stayed home. Josiah had a bit of a tummy bug and threw up all day, which was extremely worrisome to me, and of course created lots of dirty laundry. He, on the other hand, didn't seem bothered by it at all. He was a little more tired than usual, but still ready and willing to flash his trademark dimpled smile to anyone and everyone. Jeremy took the 4 older boys to see the parade floats being inflated, but the lines were atrocious so they looked from across the street a ways away for a few minutes then headed back home.

Thursday morning we woke up at 5:30 to get everyone ready for the parade. We ended up leaving the apartment at about 6:45 and getting to the subway station a few minutes later, and were surprised that the subway was already as crowded as it was. We ended up getting to the corner of 71st and Central Park West by about 7:15, and had a decently close-to-the-street spot.
We were next to a family from Long Island who had two girls about Josh and Jon's ages, and they struck up a friendship right away. We had taken Jeremy's computer along and bought Wall-E for the occasion, so the boys and their new friends watched the movie while we waited for the parade to start at 9:00.

Here's Joey checking out the crowd...

Watching Wall-E with their new friends...

Poor Josiah was about buried in the stroller...we were so afraid he wouldn't be warm enough. He ended up sleeping until the parade started, and then stayed content during the parade, which was convenient!

Well, we HAD a good spot, but what we didn't anticipate was that the second the parade started, people came out of the woodwork and pushed and shoved around us to get to the front. It was insane! Jeremy had run into a nearby Starbucks since Jordan was about to wet his pants, so I had to defend our turf on my own, which is definitely not my forte. I was very relieved when Jeremy came back a few minutes later! I joked with him after the parade that next year, we shouldn't go 2 hours early--we should just show up 5 minutes before it starts then get ready to shove past everyone else!! Of course I wouldn't really do that, but I was certainly irritated by all the people who did!!

I ended up holding Joey up, kind of hugging his legs so that he was practically sitting on my shoulder so he could see. Jeremy held Jordan, and the older boys stood on some step stools that the family we met from Long Island had brought (they had extras) so the children did get to see fairly well. I didn't take pictures at the beginning of the parade, since it took me a while to figure out how to balance Joey and keep from being trampled at the same time. One of the first floats was Bolt the dog from the movie by the same name, and Miley Cyrus (aka Hannah Montana) was on that float. Now we let the boys watch a little bit of Disney Channel occasionally, so they've seen the show, but I had no idea they were fans. Jon was practically jumping up and down on his stool, waving and shouting "You rock, Miley, you rock!" over and over again. She waved at him (and, of course, the million or so people standing around us, lol) and he spent practically the rest of the day telling anyone who would listen that Miley Cyrus waved at HIM! It was funny. I wish I had taken a picture, but like I said, I hadn't figured out how to be that coordinated yet! I did finally get some though, so here they are...

A fish balloon...


The Energizer Bunny...

The boys aren't big Sesame Street fans, but I enjoyed this float. What was most amazing to me was that the people on the float (and no, I'm not referring to the muppet characters) were the same people who were on Sesame Street when I was a little girl. Does time stand still on Sesame Street or something? I mean, they didn't look THAT old!

A castle float with little girls dressed up as princesses at the bottom and a Disney girl band at the top. I don't remember who they are, but the boys could tell you. They and the little girls standing with us knew exactly who they were. Maybe I should be restricting their TV viewing more...

Even Joey recognized this guy!

Again, no clue who these people are but I thought the float was cool.

Pikachu! Apparently I do successfully censor our TV at least to some extent, because none of my children had a single clue who this was.

Here comes Buzz Lightyear! He, of course, is a favorite in our family...especially among the younger set!

To infinity...and beyond!!


Kermit the frog...

I passed the camera back to Jeremy, who, by virtue of being at the back of our group was able to get some photos that actually have some of us in them!


Mommy and Joseph, with Jon off to the side. My arms were turning to rubber by this point, so I was having a hard time holding Joey up!

The old holding-the-camera-away-from-your-face-and-snapping-a-picture trick. Jeremy and Jordan...


Joey and I again...

Jonathan, with Shrek coming up in the background...

Horton from Horton Hears a Who!, who is apparently Macy's mascot this Christmas...

Jonathan about to get kicked in the head by Horton...don't worry, it was a near-miss, lol! :)

Joey again...

Joey, Joshua, and I...

Finally, the Big Guy in Red himself!!

Santa Claus has come to town!!

The parade ended up being enjoyable after all, in spite of it's rocky beginning for us! While I'd be perfectly content to let it be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, Jeremy and the boys are already making plans for next year. We took one look at the entrance to the subway at 72nd and Broadway, which was absolutely packed and had a long line trailing out to the street, and decided we'd just walk back home. Nothing like some good exercise before a big Thanksgiving feast, lol! We walked about 50 blocks, or 2 1/2 miles. We had a delicious, but late, Thanksgiving dinner, since I couldn't get started until we got back from the parade. But I'll have to save that, and the accompanying pictures (of course!) for's late, I'm tired, and I'm going to bed!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Our Thankfulness Tree

Remember the tree trunk and branches I posted a few days ago? No, it wasn't my pitiful attempt at a Christmas tree (very funny, Stefanie!), it is our thankfulness tree! I had heard of doing this before, but had never gotten around to actually doing it. I traced the boys' hands on fall-colored construction paper, then cut them out. I had Joshua and Jonathan cut out their own. Today we sat at the table with steamy cups of spiced cider and talked about what we were thankful for. I wrote their answers on their handprints and we taped them to the tree. It was fun to do, and it was really fun for me to hear what they were thankful for...many of the answers I was expecting, such as different family members, friends, toys, etc. But we also had a couple of doormen make it onto the tree, as well as the president and the subway system. Gotta love how kids think! Anyway, here is a picture of our tree:

It's on the wall behind our dining table. I think it will make a nice backdrop to our Thanksgiving meal on Thursday! :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Kids Say the Funniest Things...

Tonight after dinner I really wanted something chocolate. Okay, if I'm honest just about all the time I want something chocolate, but tonight I decided to actually make something chocolate. Usually I would just beg Jeremy to go get me something, but since we finally got a TV stand and bookshelf that we've been needing delivered today, and they needed to be assembled, I decided that I'd better let him do that instead. :) So, I pulled out a recipe for a great, super quick and easy standby that I actually haven't made in quite a while: no-bake chocolate cookies. These are yummy, and if you're a really creative thinker you can convince yourself that the 2 cups of sugar and stick of butter don't really count against you, because hey! they also contain whole grain!!! I realize I'm getting way off topic here (check the title to see what I'm supposed to be blogging about) but I'm thinking someone out there probably wants this recipe:

No-bake Chocolate Cookies (with Whole Grain!! *grin*)

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
3 Tbsp. cocoa
1 stick butter

2 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter

Mix 1st 4 ingredients & bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add oatmeal, peanut butter, and vanilla. Mix well, then drop on foil and let cool.

Really, I let them cool just enough to not burn my tongue (too badly) when eating them. I also scoop out a little before adding the PB so my Jonathan, who is allergic, can have some, too. The kiddos loooove these.

So, back to the title. After serving the boys, I went back into the kitchen to clean up. Joshua, my 9-year-old, came in a few minutes later and we had this conversation:

Joshua: "Mommy, I love those cookies. They are my favorite!"

Me: "I'm glad you liked them. I guess I should make them more often."

Joshua: "When I grow up, will you give me the recipe?"

Awww, I'm thinking, he wants to make my cookies! I'll give him the recipe NOW! We'll make them together some time! How sweet!

Then he adds...

"I want to give it to my wife so she can make them for me, too!"

Gotta love it!! (I think!) :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008


These are two new things that arrived at our home today...well, one of them arrived, and the other was made:

(You're not supposed to be able to see the tape, lol, but we did the best we could!)

These came in the mail...the jars, not the flowers. I just had to get my pretty flowers into the picture as well!

Stay tuned... :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Family Traditions

Last night I had the opportunity not only to relive one of my fondest childhood memories, but also to share it with my children. We had gone out to eat with guests, and while they and Jeremy were heading out from the restaurant to go to a meeting at Columbia, I was waiting for the boys to finish thier trips to the restroom so that we could head out as well. I looked up at the television hanging from the ceiling near the bathroom door, and instead of the usual televised sporting event, they had it tuned to TBS, which was just about to show The Wizard of Oz. In a moment I was taken back to my own childhood, my sister Stefanie and I in our jammies cuddled on the couch with blankets and possibly even a snack, giddy with anticipation of the one night each year that we were allowed to stay up way past bedtime and watch a special movie. Now looking back, I'm sure that wasn't the only time we got to stay up late and do something fun as small children, but that memory has always really stood out to me. So once that split-second vision flashed through my mind, I quickly gathered the children and ushered them off towards home, promising them a fun family night once we got there. The boys enjoyed the movie, and I enjoyed not so much the movie, but watching them enjoy the movie and realizing that I was witnessing something that had been a special part of my childhood being passed on to the next generation.

With the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays just around the corner, I have been thinking a lot lately about family traditions. When Joshua, our oldest, was 8 months old, we celebrated our first family Christmas that included a child of our own. We celebrated with my extended family at my sister and brother-in-law's home, with their infant son and my parents and brother. We had a wonderful time, extending to our new family many of the traditions of my "old" family. We realized, though, that we wanted to create our own family holiday traditions, taking what we loved from our own childhoods, changing and adding to those activities to create special memories that would be our little family's "own." For the next several years, we spent Christmas and some Thanksgivings at home, just with our own family, so we could focus on creating traditions that were important or special to us.

Over the years as our family has grown, we've tried many different family holiday activities. Some are turning into traditions that we find ourselves repeating each year, others have been enjoyable but for whatever reason we haven't decided to do them consistently. Our primary criteria are that our holiday traditions center on honoring God...reflecting on being grateful for the many, many blessings we've been given at Thanksgiving, and celebrating God's ultimate gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ, at Christmas. While we do enjoy some of the more "commercial" aspects of the holidays, we want more than anything else for our children to grow up understanding the real meaning of the season.

For Thanksgiving, some of our traditions include watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in the morning and, of course, a big Thanksgiving meal with turkey and the works in the afternoon, with everyone at the table sharing what they are thankful for before we enjoy our meal. As our older children have grown old enough to understand, we've also started reading stories about the history of Thanksgiving to them in the days leading up to the big day. This year, we're planning on taking time off from our regular school schedule the whole week of Thanksgiving and just focusing on stories and activities to both remind us and celebrate how richly God has blessed us. I'll be sure to post next week some of the things we do! And since this is our first Thanksgiving in New York City, Jeremy has promised the boys that we will get up insanely early Thanksgiving morning and go watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in person. I'm not so sure about the getting up early part or the crowds, but hopefully it will end up being a treasured memory for the boys!

Some of our favorite Christmas activities have been making and decorating ornaments together, making and decorating cookies together, cuddling up on the couch and reading the Christmas story, choosing a child or children in need from the Angel Tree at the mall and then shopping for those children together, watching classic Christmas time movies together, and driving around looking at all the neighborhood light displays together. We've also hosted neighborhood Christmas parties (well, our little section of our neighborhood, anyway) to get to know our neighbors and be able to share with them why we celebrate Christmas. I don't know if we'll do something like that this year in our new apartment or not. I think at least the boys and I will make cookies and other treats to take to some of the neighbors we have met so far. This year, I want to have Joshua and Jonathan memorize the Christmas story in Luke 2. I also want to find something we can do along the lines of the Angel Tree we used to participate in while in Austin, so that the boys can focus on blessing someone else instead of being focused on the "gimmies" that seem to surface amidst all the commercial trappings of the holidays.

So those are some of the things we will be doing over the next several weeks to celebrate the holidays. What holiday traditions do YOU, my wonderful readers, enjoy and hold dear? I would love to hear everyone else's traditions as well...both to see all the creative ways everyone celebrates, and possibly to find some new things for us to try as well!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The J Boys Have a Blog!

Joshua and Jonathan love to read all the posts I write about them, and have been asking for a blog of their own. A while back, I created a blog for them on my old homeschoolblogger account, and they are finally ready to use it! Joshua named their blog "The J Boy Chronicles" and it will be updated regularly by Josh and Jon, with a little bit of help from Mommy. Jordan is moving right along with his reading skills, and hopefully will be able to add to their blog as well before long! I'm excited about using this to slowly help build writing and communication skills for the boys. And, of course, we've started typing lessons this week as well, so before long they hopefully won't have to use the tedious "hunt and peck" method. Here's a link for ya...

Please check it out! I hope you enjoy it! And please leave the boys a comment if you visit...they've both asked if people will comment on their blog, too, and I'm sure that will be great encouragement for them to keep it up! :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Sunday Afternoon Walk in the Park

This past Sunday after church and lunch, we decided to go for a walk. The weather was beautiful--cool but sunny. It was a perfect day for getting out for some fresh air and exercise! The boys wanted to show Daddy the cool playscape over at Morningside Park, so we headed over there.

I really like this old building that we pass whenever we walk to either Central Park or Morningside's part of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. I just had to look it up to get the name, and found that they have several tours/activities with great field trip potential...I'm always looking for fun and educational field trip ideas!

A different angle with more of the cathedral.

Jordan with a collection of fall leaves...

More leaves...

In Morningside Park...this is a little lake/pond area with a waterfall flowing into it. It's inhabited by some pretty tame geese and many turtles, although the turtles were no where to be seen this time around.

The pond and the geese...

The geese let me get really close. You can see the waterfall in the distance here.

A sleepy goose let me get almost on top of it, but watched me closely the whole time.

Jonathan, Joshua, and Jordan...

Another little critter...this one was definitely nervous as I crept up with the camera!

Jonathan on the slide at the playscape...

Joey climbing up into the playscape...

More often than not, this is what I get when I ask Joey to look at me and smile for the camera...his back as he runs away! The little stinker!!

Jordan loves to climb!


Joshua is such a good big brother! Here he helps/encourages Joey as he climbs to the top of this structure.

Look at Jordan!

Is it Jonathan, or is it Spiderman?


Josiah all snuggled up in his stroller...

Joshua on the rock-climbing part of the structure...

The boys took turns on this spinning made me dizzy just to watch them!

Jonathan just hangin' around...

Joey was disappointed that this drinking fountain wasn't working. For that matter, he was also disappointed that the sprinklers (for playing in during the summer) weren't working, either. He kept asking different adults standing nearby to turn them on...boy, would THAT have been cold!!

In the summer this is a waterfall above and behind the sprinklers. Now, it's apparently a great climbing place.

Josiah finally got tired of being confined to the stroller so I put him in a swing. He loved it! He laughed every time I pushed him, but unfortunately the pictures I managed to get were quite blurry because he was moving.

Mommy and her boys! We decided to cut back through the park instead of going back the way we had come...but since the park is on the lower side of a cliff, that meant lots and LOTS of stairs! I carried Josiah while Jeremy carried the stroller.

Joshua and Jonathan found a huge hollow stump to climb on...

We had a great time and got lots of fresh air and exercise! We are enjoying exploring the many parks and playscapes nearby. I hope the weather stays nice a little longer so we can enjoy more of them!
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