Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Maya!

Maya is 4 years old!

We're celebrating by having a cooking party with her friends today. Should be lots of fun, planned chaos and mess!

In honor of Maya's 4 years of life I created a slide show of pictures to play on our computer screen-saver during her birthday week. The kids have been loving it. I think it will be a new family tradition. Maya's loving being the center of attention and Alice and Hayley are looking forward to having a slide show all about them!

We feel so blessed to have Maya in our family. She's been my "pause" between intense and energetic kids and I am truly grateful for her calming spirit in my life! Here are a few things we love about our Maya:

-Her "squeezy-hugs"
-The way her little foot kicks up every time she gives a hug or kiss (I thought that was just a movie thing but it came as a built in trade mark of Maya!)
-Her laid-back personality--she's fun to hang out with--low maintenance and great conversations!
-The way she says "I understand" to signal that she gets it and you need to quickly stop explaining or lecturing.
-Her pretty dancing
-Her enthusiastic singing (belting it out for all to hear!)
-Watching her slowly and cautiously come out of her shell
-The way she "flits" around--she's a constantly twirling and leaping little fairy
-Her eclectic clothing style--this kid can pull of the most amazing outfits and look truly adorable
-How she has always loved accessories--shoes, hats, necklaces, etc.
-Anytime she gets a present she says in the most sincere tone "Oh, thank you, it's what I've always wanted my whole life!!!"
-Watching her teach herself how to read!
-Watching her master whatever she puts her mind to when she is ready.

I love you Maya-girl!

Friday, January 8, 2010

1000 Pictures...better than 1000 words???

Here's my attempt to do a quick catch up of December. With any luck I can do this with less than 1000 words (or 1000 pictures!)

(3 kids + 2 cousins) x 10 days =chaos, fun & memories!
My sister-in-law's father-in-law passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, so we whisked a few kids out of the trauma while they dealt with the enormity of such an event. Thankfully my mother-in-law flew in to help out!

(L-R) Maya, Avery Jackson, Alice

Alice & Avery

24 days of family fun and traditions
Thanks to a fabulous little house with 24 doors (kind of like the one above) we did all the small and simple activities that we had wanted to during our busy December. I think this is our second year doing this and I love how it spreads out all the small things that I always want to do but seem too busy to make time for. We have a list of ideas but decide each day what we have time for then put a paper in the door and the girls love to open it and see what the activity is. Here a list of ideas in case you ever want to try something similar!

Temple lights & performance
Shopping for sisters
Shopping with Mom for Dad & with Dad for Mom
Read Christmas story books
Wrap package for Uncle Joseph
Make Gingerbread houses
Make snowflakes
Make a Christmas craft
Make cards/letters/gifts for Grandparents
Strawberry shortcake Christmas Movie
Take pencils & a treat to a friend
Deliver neighbor & friend gifts
Mount Vernon Christmas event
Make gingerbread men
Elderly home visit
Read a Christmas book
Sing Carols
Candy Canes
Chocolates & a scripture
Write a letter to Santa
Wrap presents
Barbie: a Christmas Carol movie
Make G'pa's Carmel Corn & Fudge
Christmas Eve Soup & Nativity

A yummy gingerbread house!

Lights at the DC Mormon Temple
Always a sight to behold. The kids had fun watching their cousins perform in the nightly concert and picking out their favorite Christmas trees!

A Huge Snowstorm
So much fun!

Uncle Paul visited

...need I say more?

Christmas Eve Traditions
Soup + fancy cheeses & crackers
Dressing up and acting out the nativity
Opening 1 present--new PJs sewed by G'ma Messick!
Putting out cookies, milk & a carrot for Santa & Rudolf
To bed to bed before Santa comes!!!

Hayley with baby Jesus


Ryan's sister, Tammy & her boyfriend, Hugh

New PJs!

Christmas Day
First to wake up: Hayley, 5:45am (we made her do math problems in our bed to keep her busy until 6:30!)
Stockings on Dad & Mom's bed: 6:30am (start that sugar infusion early!)
Presents, playing and pjs all day...hurray!!!

Hayley was excited about her 3 musketeer Barbie & movie!
Maya was so happy to finally get her dreamed of Littlest Pet Shop animals.
Alice just couldn't believe she finally has her own more stealing her sisters!

Christmas dinner: Ham & potatoes...Plus those silly hats from our traditional British Crackers that we pull! Another wonderful Christmas. We are blessed and spoiled and just so happy and thankful to be alive and have such wonderful family & friends!

Fun times with Dean & Kristen +5
The day after Christmas D&K's family came over to play and eat leftovers! Fun cousins. Who knew 10 years ago that we'd make such a crowd! (Dean is JaNae's brother...9 1/2 years ago we had a double wedding!)

Chloe, Alice & Nicole (Alice just thinks she's Nicole's little momma!)

Uncle Dean with Chloe & Alice (+ Jonathan)

Christmas is over!
I'm always surprised that I am ready to take down Christmas decorations the day after Christmas...I like getting all the space back! This year Maya definitely wasn't ready when I suggested it. So I lasted until 2 days after Christmas when I suggested that she be the "supervisor of the ornament removal". Amazingly--it worked. She asked me what a supervisor was and then immediately assumed her position in a chair telling Hayley exactly which ornament to remove next. I hadn't thought it would really work but I was on board really fast! A couple hours later...ta da! Clean and spacious house again!

New Year's Eve 2009
The traditional Messick "Big Fat Mess" was hosted at our home (translation: gorge yourself on all of our favorite tex-Mex dishes before you start shedding all those pounds on January 1st!)

Dean & Kristen's family arrived in style!

Tammy and Hugh got caught kissing in the kitchen by our mini-spy!

Funny story: Alice is obsessed with our camera! As soon as she sees it she has to have it and it's a really hard battle to fight! So she walks around the house snapping pictures...maybe someday I'll share the world from her's the majority of our pictures these days. This night Tammy & Hugh were in the kitchen "prepping food" while Ryan was wrestling with the girls and waiting for all to arrive. Alice had grabbed the camera from me. Suddenly we heard silence in the kitchen and then a burst of giggles and I said "she caught them!" They never denied it...and we have the proof. Good job Alice!!!
My little brothers are remembered for "spying on" and teasing Ryan and I relentlessly when we were dating--I couldn't be happier that my own offspring can provide some revenge on the younger generation! Sorry it was you Tammy and not Adam...but his day will come!

The kids played so good...

...we even got some adult game-time!

This was our Fake Midnight celebration at about 9pm.
Those horn things are soooo loud when you get 10 kids blowing them--Yikes!!!

After most everyone left we had our own version of a dance in the dark. Hayley and Maya thought it was so romantic (it was Ryan & I and Hugh & Tammy dancing). They were happy to be a part of it before we rushed them off to bed!

Welcome 2010!!!

Thanksgiving 2009

My cousin Darrin, his wife, Monica and 4 kids invited our family and 2 other families of cousins in the area to their home for Thanksgiving. It was so fun to be with lots of family!

I love that being family means that there is a bond and a history there even when it's been years between meetings!

Hayley was in heaven with her new-found "cousin" and "big sister" Katelyn! I love that she has such a great example to look up to. And with her encouragement we've managed to see Katelyn twice since thanksgiving!!!

[Sidenote: Hayley & Katelyn are becoming masters at the card game "Blink"? So much know it's a winner game when mom and dad like playing it as much as the kids. And it's educational to boot! Run on out and grab a pack!]

All in all--fabulous food, fun company, chaotic fun for the kids--thanks Darrin & Monica for all your work!