A Sunbeam to Warm you, A Moonbeam to Charm You, A Sheltering Angel, That Nothing May Harm You

Friday, December 31, 2010

High Hopes for 2011

At the end of every year I think about how great the next year will be. I usually make a list in some random note book of all the things I am going to do, then I promptly lose the list and forget all my plans. This year I have no choice, there are children depending on me to make life as great as possible and give them every opportunity for a wonderful year. It isn't fair to them for me to fail at anything. So here is my list for 2011, if I put it on the internet I can't ignore it :)

*Lose 60 pounds to be healthier, have more energy and like the way I look
*Give up soda, even diet isn't good for anyone
*Get to the gym 4 times a week, usually right after the kids go to bed
*Knit and create a stock, make a small profit off of my Etsy shop
*Pay off our debt!
*Start a workable budget!
*Start a saving account!
*Go back to school!
*Focus on reading to the kids and teaching them skills for school, Johnny may even start a preschool program at the Y.
*I will never forget it, but I want to add it, the most important thing we will ever do is to make sure our kids know how much they are loved! That is something I think about everyday, that is something I have no doubts of!

It seems like I have taken everything I should already be doing and put them on a list to do next year, but I feel as if this year things will finally come together. No moves or new babies, just life. Also most of these are already in progress, like the diet and school. We have a great life and everything we could ask for, so now it is time to grow up a little more and really take life by the horns!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Family Pictures

The last time the Dennison clan did pictures was 4 years ago and the only grandchild that we had was Ella...now look at us :)

We are a good looking family

I had been wanting a nice family picture and picture of our kids together since Lily was born. So I was so happy to get these!
"The girls" Ella 6 years, Samantha 18 moths, Piper 6 weeks, Lily 6 months

"The boys" Wyatt 2 years, Johnny "Jack" 2 years 9 months

Grams and Pops and their Sweeties

I cropped Johnny out of a picture of him and Wyatt becuase this angel face was just too funny.

Even though getting all 6 kids to sit and smile was a challenge I think the entire photo shoot went very well and the pictures turned out GREAT, we even had fun! Thanks Grams and Pops for organizing this and thanks to Thomas, Natalie, Charlie and Michele for bringing your families and looking so beautiful!

I wanted to note that you don't see a lot of Lily's trade mark huge smile in these pictures. Lily had not had a nap that day and she had been really off her schedule for 3 days straight, really not getting nearly enough sleep as she needs. Lily is an amazing baby and any other baby as off as she was would have been screaming, Lily just wasn't smiling as big...we are so lucky! I will always be thankful and proud when I see these pictures.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

All Night!

Just a quick extra post today. Lily slept ALL NIGHT! She went to bed at 7 pm without fussing at all and we did not need to go into her room until 6 am! (6 am was when Shawn came home from work and I woke up in a panic)

The past week was so chaotic, though wonderful, and Lily has been exhausted. Lets hope we can keep the momentum up and Mommy can keep getting the solid 8 hours she got last night, I feel great! I haven't sletp like that in a year!

Yesterday we pulled out Lily new tea set (thanks Grandma Sharon) and Johnny, Boris and Morris joined her for a tea party, though Johnny insisted it was coffee.

So happy!

One of Lily's new Christmas outfits. I can't help myself! Someone joked that Lily is Mommy's most expensive toy ever :) I love dressing her up!!!

Lily has decided to grow up! She hates to be in her swing for more then a few minutes, she also doesn't want to sit for long. She throws her self to the floor and starts to roll and scoot everywhere. She has always been a "wiggler" but now she is starting to get into everything and everything goes into her mouth!

One last fun thing...baby cupcake KNEE SOCKS!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Santa Came!

He was here!!!! We knew we made it on the nice list, but we must have been very very nice!

Johnny's stocking
Lily's special First Christmas stocking

Mommy and Daddy's stockings

Wow Santa must have been very hungry!

Ready for Santa

You can't forget to leave cookies for Santa, or carrots for the reindeer. But this year we started a new tradition, we made our own magical reindeer food to help the reindeer keep flying!

Lily really wanted one of Santa's cookies.

But Johnny made sure all the cookies and carrots stayed on the plate.

Here is our special yearly family ornament...the FOUR happy reindeer, complete with names.

The other extra special ornament we got this year was Lily's first Christmas ornament. I couldn't find one I liked, so we took this cute cupcake snow globe style and Grams wrote very nicely on it for us.

All ready for Santa to come! The kids went to bed quickly and quietly!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve, Tradtions Carried On

This Christmas we stayed in Maryland, which was very strange for us! Usually we head to Chicago or Ohio, or both. But this year we stayed home to have a calm Christmas with my parents and brothers. We where able to do more traditions and even start a few.

The morning of Christmas eve we filled the house with the sounds and smells of Christmas. We watched every Christmas movie we could find. Johnny finally started to like The Grinch (cartoon), he got worked up when the sleigh full of toys almost feel down the cliff, "he drop the toys, no one get toys." And was very shocked when the Grinch was able to pull up the sleigh again.

We also made some cookies! Can you guess my favorite Christmas movie?

The "fart cookies" are a family specialty! Santa loves them.

One of my favorite memories from my childhood is our Christmas Eve parties at my Grandparents house. All of my Aunts and Uncles and Cousins would get together to eat some pizza, chicken, and jojos and exchange gifts. My parents took over this tradition so that we can share it with our kids. Grams and Pops have a stocking for each Grand kid (that is 6 now) and they filled it to the top with toys and gifts that they took a lot of time and thought to pick out just for them! Each stocking comes with a special big gift for each kid as well and an envelope for Mommy and Daddy.

There is nothing more important to Grams and Pops then these kids. They would do anything for them and treasure each moment they get to spend with them.

Another special tradition from my childhood was the new and really nice outfits we would have for this Christmas Eve party and church. My mother would often make mine with matching ruffle socks and hair accessories. So this year I tried my hand at making Lily's bows so that they would go exaclty with her dress. This is as far as it lasted, she yanked it off of her head and ripped it apart...next time more hot glue.

After a quick hello to Grams and Pops and making sure that all 6 kids where in the house (not an easy feat these days) everyone headed downstairs to dig into their gifts.

Johnny's first was this little triceratops that moved its head and growled, he carried it around like a baby. Here is Johnny's special outfit, he loved the reindeer this year so we got him a funny reindeer tie and some nice Levi jeans, I am not allowed to put bows in his hair.

And the wonderful chaos began! 6 kids opening 6 sets of presents and playing with tons of new toys.
Wyatt was just so cute! He got new tools, and this saw and goggles where the best! We where all surprised that he kept the goggles on, but he wanted them on and they stayed that way for most of the night.
Johnny's big gift was Boris the Tyrannosaurus from Dinosaur Train. He is the main dino is a set that Johnny asked for this year. All of the dinosaurs talk to and with each other when they sense the others are near. It is very cool! I remember that my Gramma Nancy had 13 grand kids and every year she would get each kid a gift for $25, she always knew the perfect gift! You always felt special when you opened that gift, like she knew you and you of all the grand kids best, but everyone felt like that!

Johnny also got his first Hot Wheels! He (and Daddy) are very excited!

I am not the only one who loves taking pictures of our families.

See the apron Grams is wearing? Each adult girl got one this year with our Aunt name on it (none of us are called by our real name, I am Aunt Nenni, then there is Aunt Natnie and Aunt Shell.) This is another tradition my mother is carrying on. Her mother, Gramma Nancy, would always get each daughter and daughter-in-law a matching gift.

Lily's stocking was filled with Little Button toys. Little Button is this round faced, pink checked teddy bear that reminds Papa of Lily. There is an entire line of toys that go along with this teddy bear and Lily got them ALL. She also got some great cupcake cloths and pink bedding.

Lily is such an amazing baby. In the busyness of the day she only got one short nap and was completely thrown off her routine. But she did not cry at all or become fussy, she just became cuddly and sweet.

Lily got this great little pink car as her big gift! She is such a big girl sitting in it and turning the wheel.

As the evening began to wind down my camera battery died and the two boys dug into the plate of homemade buckeyes (thank you Natalie!) They are so sneaky and sweet!

I really treasure these days. I got a chance to sit around and talk to my brother Thomas about school and my sister in law Michele about our famlies. Natalie made some very delicious food and Charlie played with kids. I am lucky to have the family I do and be able to have friendships with my brothers and their wives.

It was a wonderful family filled start to the week end Christmas extravaganza.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

So Many Gifts

I was just 6 weeks old at my first Christmas. Small, cute and new, and yet hitting a stride as a family. The song "The Best Gift" by Barbra Streisand has always meant a lot to my mom, me and my brothers being that best gift.

Since that first Christmas in 1984 life has changed and many new gifts have come around. I could never understand how much this song meant to my mother until I was blessed as well.

2008 saw Johnny and Wyatt both celebrate their First Christmas, and 2009 was Samantha's, this year Lily and Piper are here, wrapped with bows and ready! These are my favorite gifts and nothing will ever compare!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

John Robert Update

I finally got around to putting Johnny's wall together! All of his milestone pictures organized so we can how he has grown, sometimes that baby 2 years ago was a different child altogether and sometimes I see that little bundle in my big boys eyes.

Last night as Daddy and Johnny were getting ready for nite nite I heard Johnny from the other room counting the letters on his collection box.."1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, and 9!" I ran in from the other room, and picked him up hugging him. All of a sudden my baby boy was a kid!

I thought it was time to take a minute and do a developmental blog for Johnny, he changes so much everyday.

He is about 40 pounds and 40 inches.
He wears a 4T or a 5/6 and a size 9 or 10 shoe.

His appetite still changes a lot on a daily bases, but he LOVES oatmeal, chewies, noodles, granola bars (which he calls hash browns), frozen GoGurt (which he thinks is ice cream) and apple juice. About 2 weeks ago he became so constipated that he had blood in his poop. His pediatrician put him on miralax for 30 days to loosen him up and regulate him again. After a week it gave him diarrhea that had become uncontrollable for him. Since then we have taken him off of it and adjusted the amount and are still messing around with the entire thing. Mostly now we are focusing on making sure he has a very balance diet and a lot of fiber. I have also started to keep him away from too much dairy since I have noticed a correlation between him drinking milk and him getting sick.

Getting rid of the constipation (which had been alternating with diarrhea for months) has really helped with his potty training! Apparently getting his bowels cleaned out and the pressure off of his bladder makes him able to control his pee a lot more. We also started to give him a piece of candy when he goes on the potty. He is still having accidents every once in a while and wearing a diaper at night, but I have been so proud of him!

Daddy recently took the time to teach Johnny the proper way to eat an Oreo. Twisting the cookie apart licking out the icing and then dipping the cookie in milk.

Johnny got a letter from Santa, it was one of those surprises that really took him off guard.

He LOVED it! He also got a certificate that says he made it on the nice list!

Papa has been coming over in the morning to play or go for walks when it isn't too cold. Johnny has started to expect it and asks for Papa when he wakes up.

And what does Johnny do on these walks? He gathers rocks for his collection! Today he has been going through his rocks and telling me what certain rocks look like (a moose, or a long neck.) He got the bag of "shiny" rocks from Winter Wonderland this past week end, he didn't want candy or a toy, he wanted rocks! Uncle Tommy is already talking about getting him a rock polisher one day. I can really see him becoming a paleontologist when he grows up (though I will be proud no matter what he does as long as he is happy)

He loves to organize them, taking them in and out of the special box that he helped Mommy paint.

He has been watching less TV lately, but mostly Christmas movies. This year he loves Frosty and Rudolf...and does not like any Christmas Carol movies or the Grinch. He still loves Dinosaur Train and Sesame Street, but also The Wonder Pets and Backyardigans. He has started the favorite game by making sure everyone knows that Ming Ming (the duck) is his favorite Wonder Pet and Tyrone (the moose) is his favorite Backyardigan. As a special treat or when he doesn't feel well he gets to watch a Land Before Time movie or Shrek.

I have been trying to figure out what he should know or how to state what he does know. He still struggles with his colors, but knows his shapes and can count to 10. He can also recognize many letters and certain names. Wooden peg puzzles have become far to easy and he can do other wooden puzzles with about 10 pieces very easily. He also can easily master matching games and will organize things by color or size. He loves to color, he doesn't stay in the lines but no longer just scribbles on the pages, he focuses certain colors to parts of the pictures of the page. He forms full sentences and can understand reasoning. He will say "Momma I want a hug" or "Please I have ice cream." We have full conversations now and I can see his mind working through my reasoning when I tell him why he can't have an ice cream. He can tell anyone who asks "I Johnny" (or "I Jack" when he is with Grams and Pops) and he can tell them "this my sister, this Lily." Most of the time he listens well to instruction and can do small chores for me, like going down stairs to get a binky.

Mostly he has an amazing imagination. He has never been a fan of the toys that talk or make noise, he doesn't need it. He will take his stuffed Frosty and play hide and seek with it, or make it have a conversation with the T-Rex. All of his toys will line up or get in to his school bus and travel around the house, usually ending at his dragon house which they then guard. He also loves to pretend to be a dinosaur and crawl around the house growling and roaring, he also likes to pretend to a dog and crawl around panting.

But the most perfect way I have ever heard him described was by Grams, she said
"If he isn't falling down he is jumping off of something." He is not fearless, but he has a lot of energy and his play is often physical getting his heart rate up even when we are just in the house.

I think I could write forever! He is just so amazing in every way. He is happy, sweet, smart, hansom, strong and loving! He will cuddle and give kisses no matter what and he always wants a hug and will tell you he loves you at every chance!