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Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Christmas Memory

In the summer 1983 we were stationed in Fulda, Germany. By Christmas we were settled in and enjoying living in a farmhouse "on the economy". Sharing a wall with some cows and our attic with their grain. Our landlords lived across the street and spoke about as much English as we did German. They would even come to take the boys out to the pasture with them, once even bringing us all down to the barn to see what appeared to be something very exciting. In reality it was to witness the butchering of a pig and the promise of some fresh blood sausage. I digress . . .
The story I wanted to tell was of that first Christmas in Germany, before Jennifer was born. By the way I designed, sewed and appliqued these outfits on my trusty Kenmore plugged into a transformer (like a 220 converter). Tom wasn't a fan but I think they came out cute.

I digress again . . .
The house we were living in had ONE oil burning stove for heat (we were cold!) and like in most of Europe 220 volt electricity compared to our 110 volts.

Our Christmas decorations were accidentally left behind (never to be seen again) in Kansas where we were first stationed. We made most of the decorations for that tree deciding to forgo electric lights, even going out to cut it down. We were pretty proud of how it came out. Imagine our surprise when two days before Christmas our almost four year old innocent told Santa all he wanted was lights for our tree.

Of course he woke up Christmas morning to lights on the tree.

Back then life was so much simpler.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Say it aint so! but it is

Jen was at our house this morning like every other Tuesday and Thursday morning when Shawn called the house phone. Not a good sign. Then I heard her crying hysterically. Not a good sign. So it appears when Shawn got to work he was informed that orders were pending, superseding their orders to Georgia. No longer headed to the sunny beaches of Georgia. Instead Shawn will be leaving his wife and two small children in Maryland and heading to Texas in a couple of months to join a unit being deployed for nine months. We all got complacent with them living so close. Life was 'normal' for three years. Somehow those day to day parenting, money, neighbor, work, school issues seem like nothing. This will be his third deployment, totaling 2 years so far. Jennifer pulled herself together quickly as she always does and they are adjusting to a whole new set of plans.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Six Kids at a Photo Session? YES

I wanted a picture for our Christmas card and it didn't seem like an outlandish idea at the time. Then Jen and I started brain storming about what they would wear. We ended up designing a dress and buying material to make for all four girls and tried to get the boys matching outfits. Long story short they wore the outfits Jen made them all for Father's Day.

Jen figured as long as we were there she would get Lily's 18 month pictures taken.

Yes! she is 18 months already.This is what we ended up with at the last second and I couldn't be happierElla 7, Jack 3 1/2, Wyatt 3, Sami 2 1/2, Lily 1 1/2 & Piper 1Tom and I jumped in to try to wrangle them and it came out pretty good too.
You can't mess them up when they are so gee golly cute!about done"Jack, get your sister"Jennifer also wanted to get a card shot. This one means alot because Lily is wearing a dress that I made for Jennifer's second Christmas and the vest is one my sister made for Thomas both in the mis 80'sWe threw Wyatt and Piper out there too to get a brother/sister shot.

They are adorable!Of course our two redheads were in the action. Natalie was so worried about Sami acting up since she has the last couple of times but she loved posing and she kept telling us all she was a princess.All this and we only spent about $150I am so thankful for all of our sweeties

I love my family!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Army Says It's Time to Go

Home is where the Army sends you

and as of February 20012 Jennifer and crew will be calling

Fort Stewart, Georgia home.
In the transition they will be staying with us for a few weeks

as they did three years ago

Three years ago this month this little sweetie took some of his first steps in our living room at the age of nine months. We were surprised to learn just one month earlier that they would be stationed just 20 minutes from our house. We feel so lucky to have been able to share these three years with them and are excited for them to be able to move to such a great post.

Here he is now. Where has the time gone?

There were many things that we were able to share with Jen and Shawn while they were here but none as spectacular as the birth of our Lily Bean.We are so blessed

As I shed a few tears posting this we want you to know how grateful we are for you and how much we will miss your presence in our every day lives. Enjoy the journey.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Two Birthdays & Halloween

Two of my favorite girls celebrate their birthdays 3 days apart with Halloween in between.

We celebrated Natalie's first.

The kids thought it was great.LilyElla & Uncle ShawnLily sure does love her Aunt NatalieWyatt loves being back in MarylandThose Russian stacking dolls againThey don't seem to mind the chaosLilySamiThe basic toys are always a hit.

Piperand Lily just runsI'm not sure what those boys are up toThe birthday girl and the Sensational Six. Wait where's Ella?Look she's sitting still!ok Ella's here but there goes LilyHappy 31st Natalie. Glad you joined our family.Happy Halloween from Brutus our

Super DogWould he scare you away?

He's such a big baby and so good with the kids.Jennifer made Power Puff Girl costumes for three of our girls. Natalie took half a day off work to set up a party in the front yard.
The neighbors loved it

Our other two Power Puff GirlsLily was a black haired Power Puff girls so Jennifer knit her a hat that looked like hair!Minnie Mouse was a dinosaurTake the picture alreadyJennifer embroidered Tom & I each a sweatshirt and made us capes to make us Super Grams and Super Papaand they're off . . .Sami cracks me up, we are so lucky to spend our days with her.

We brought the high chair outside to stop Lily for a few minutes.

Shawn kept an eye on the food

ohhhh SamiTaking a break inside with some brownies.LilyThen our little lady bug showed up. Her mommy made her costumeMichele and the kids.

Then it was time for Jen's birthday.I opted for a sit down dinner this timebut the men wouldn't sit "down" with usJennifer brought over her 1980's keepsake high chair from my parents house (I know she has a keepsake for everything LOL) Charlie & Michele weren't so sure it was safeJen wanted a cheesecake but we also had cupcakes for the kids to decorate.

WyattSamiJackEllaPiper ate hers withour decorationsElla and Jen have such a special relationship.Mommy & Daddy even get surprised at how beautiful Piper isWyattUncle Shawn can always make them laughUncle Chuckles is pretty funny tooHappy Birthday Aunt Nenni, Love You!