Saturday, December 31, 2011

Growing Up

Oh, my baby girl, Michal Kate! She has sucked her fingers since she was born. Almost a year ago Aunt Tracy promised her a trip to the American Girl store to get the doll of her choice if she would stop sucking them. It took the better part of a year but she did it. (still catching her every now and then at night and if she is really exhausted, but other than that, she has quit) She spent the year researching exactly which doll she would choose and Emily it is! So on Friday, December 23 MK, Eme, Aunt Tracy, Gram and I went to the American Girl store in Dallas at the Galleria. When we got to the store she even took a minute to pick exactly which Emily was hers.

MK and Emily

Aunt Tracy with MK and Emily
I really wish I could describe the moment in words, but there aren't any. She was so excited and had PURE JOY! Her reaction made Christmas in and of itself.

MK with Emily out of the box for the 1st time.
Aunt Tracy let Emorie pick a bitty baby for her Christmas present from her and Uncle Jeff.
We also had a reservation at the American Girl Bistro for lunch. We had so much fun and ate way to much.
To top off the day, Granny Betty surprised MK with a new gigi which was complete with instructions that this was a big girl gigi for girls who don't suck their fingers.
Gram bought MK and Emily matching pj's also.
This was so fun and a day we won't forget. We are so proud of you MK!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Extreme Eagles & Reflections Contest

Over the past month both boys have been named Extreme Eagle for their classes for the week. Noah was the first week in November and Jack was yesterday! We are so proud of both boys and their behavior at school. They are eager learners and are trying to be good friends to everyone. It makes a mama proud.
Good job boys, we love you!

Noah with Woody the Woodlands Eagle
And Jack with Woody

Back in September or October Michal Kate entered a school wide contest that has many different types of entries. The theme this year was Diversity means... This contest is put on by the PTA and is a state contest. Michal Kate chose to write a story and her story won Best Over All Primary Grade Literature entry and is being sent off to OKC for the state competition! We are so proud of her and her creativity. I admire her gumption and lack of fear to try anything! She is our dreamer and it pays off for her! Way to go baby!

Here is MK with her Reflections medal!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

We were blessed this year to be able to have family at our house for Thanksgiving. Even though it is a lot to cook, my mother in law is a great help and source of knowledge, especially in the kitchen. Richard's parents got to us late Monday and we had a great time having them here. Richard's sister and her family came on Wednesday. We had not seen them since the holidays last year and it was a long overdue visit. The kids loved having Collin and Cade here to play with them and a believe a fun time was had by all. Just looking around you could feel how blessed we were just to be together.
The cousins
Gran Gran and Gramma with the kids just before lunch

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Monkey Around

We waited a little late to have Elijah's birthday party so my parents and some of our friends would be able to come. So November 19 was the big day! It was my first time to purchase a printable party from Etsy, but I loved it. It did take a little time to cut everything out, but it was very personal and everything turned out so cute.
I have been collecting sock monkey things for months, to be decorations as well as gifts, including the blanket on the table that my mom and I made.

On his actual birthday I ran by the store that morning and picked up some balloons for him to enjoy that day, and after being a little skittish at first, they are some of his favorite things now.
Did I mention this boy loves to eat? You wouldn't know it by his small size ( only 20 lbs and 25" at his 1 year check up) but he does, especially sweets! He tore into his cupcake and barely left a crumb!
We are so blessed by this little guy and thankful for his life!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Elijah Richard

I know I say this every time, but I really can not believe that he is a year old already. The memory of his birth is still so vivid to me, and the year has gone by so fast. I think this is the hardest 1st birthday of my 5 kids knowing it is the last 1st birthday we will have. He is my baby. I have cherished this first year, and even tried to cherish the times when he and I were up in the middle of the night. Elijah just started sleeping through the night about 2 months ago, and that is just because I have put him in a room all by himself. He wakes up once during the night, moans for a minute or two, then rolls over and goes back to sleep. We just stopped nursing a week ago and I am really okay with that, he is taking a milk cup like a champ. He loves table food and won't take any baby food anymore at all. He is my earliest walker. He has been walking for about 2 1/2 weeks and is getting faster every day. He says 4 words..."dada", "hi", "bye", and "yay". The "hi" and "bye" come along with a full arm wave and the "yay" with clapping! He is either happy or mad there isn't an in between with him, so you just hope you catch him happy. He is a momma's boy for the most part but he enjoys his daddy too.

Elijah, you are a blessing. You were a surprise from the beginning and a cherished one every day since. I love you!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Trick or Treat

The older I get the more I am enjoying Halloween. It has always been one of Richard's favorite holidays and I more and more can see why. I love walking with the kids while they Trick or Treat and seeing all the cute costumes, especially on the little ones. The kids are so excited and I am sure every kid does this, but my kids get into their role once the costume is on. They want to be called the name of whoever they are, etc... For the first time ever, I chose not to try to coordinate the 5 of them and just let them pick who they wanted to be. So here we have it...
The boys
Sock Monkey Elijah, Harry Potter Noah, and Bumblebee Jack
The Girls
Ladybug (for my mom) Emorie, and Laura Ingalls Michal Kate

The Castleman Crew ( I am beginning to think it is impossible to get a picture with all of them looking at me)
Hope your day was filled with blessings and smiles like ours!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Baby

Just for fun! I saw this on Pinterest and just had to try it! Then a little color play on Picnik and here ya go! Such a happy baby boy!

Havest Hootenanny

Last Wednesday we had a great time just celebrating fall with our Agape' family. We had a bonfire where we roasted hot dogs and of course had s'mores for dessert, had a pumpkin carving and decorating contest, craft time for the kids, and bobbing for apples. It was pretty chilly that night so we did bring coats and hang close to the fire.

The kids roasting marshmallows
Jack telling me he wants to go home because it is too cold, but hanging on to his apple he bobbed for!

MK finally got one after several attempts

Emorie and her "bff" Kaylie
And my carving attempts...I used a stencil but still I impressed myself!
for my daughter and my sister...Snoopy! Sorry it is a little blurry
Happy Harvest!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fire Trucks

My little Eme is very much into 2 things right now and they are opposite ends of the "girlie" spectrum. She loves tutu's/skirts and firetrucks. I know, crazy, right? She is not going to "school" this year so last Friday I decided a good thing for she and I (with Eli in tow) would be to bake some cookies and take them to our neighborhood fire department. She clammed up and somehow became shy, which is very unlike Emorie but she couldn't stop talking about it afterwards.
Walking her cookies to the door at the Fire Station.
The fireman couldn't have been nicer. He tried to talk to her, which she wasn't responding. He let her go see the truck and was going to let her get up in it if she hadn't have been so shy. So we settled for our mild, calm little girl (HA) having her picture taken by the truck!

Noah's 1st tooth

No, he didn't just get his first tooth at the age of 6, but he just lost his first tooth. Well on September 9th anyway. In fact, as I am writing this, he lost another one last night! Loosing the baby teeth is hard on a mom, they aren't my little baby anymore!


Well, after 10 years I got to go to my first OU game with Richard. And check out these seats! I will give you that it was against Ball State, whoever that is, but it was awesome. By far one of the coolest dates we have been on. We enjoyed some football, and a night without kiddos.

Richard and I at the game.I know some of you might be wondering, why does Dana care about Oklahoma. But I learned early on with Richard that if OU wins he is a very happy man and if they loose, not so much. It is a lot easier to cheer for OU when that is what makes him happy, and, lets face it, they are AWESOME! I still love my Aggies, but they have never had the team that OU has. Not to mention, they dislike t.u. just about as much as A&M does and I can't stand the "shorthorns". I will always yell "Farmer's Fight" against ou so don't you fellow Aggies worry! But for now, put your finger in the air and yell, "OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOU"


For the first time since last April or May the kids and I went to Dallas for a long weekend towards the end of September. They were so excited to see their cousins and the rest of the family. While we were there "Poppy" aka "Big Al" aka "Al", a dear friend of our family, blessed us with passes to the Dallas Arboretum to enjoy their fall pumpkins. The kids were so excited, it truly is wonderful to see. We all had a blast, even though it was almost October and in the 90's! There are pumpkin houses everywhere. Of course I had to stop and take a couple of pictures.

Gram and my kiddos
Elijah's first trip to a pumpkin patch!

10 and 11 months

I know I am behind, but again I had some computer technical difficulties. In the last couple of months Elijah has done so much. He is still the toothless wonder, but now is walking everywhere, still saying "dada" and "hi", he has learned to wave coming and going but no other words as of yet. He sleeps in a room to himself at night so mommy is finally getting a little bit more rested. Elijah is an extreme baby, meaning, he is either really happy or really mad! There is not an in between with him. So for now, enjoy the pictures.

Elijah Richard 10 months
11 months

Monday, August 22, 2011

Extreme Eagle Award

On Friday we were notified by Michal Kate's teacher that she would be receiving the Extreme Eagle of the week award for her class. This is a citizenship award that is award to one child in each classroom each week. They get a button to wear and their picture taken and put on the website! I am so proud of Michal Kate for showing good citizenship at her new school and making a great attempt to make new friends. Her teacher said she is smart and has a great imagination. She said that they were proud to have her at Woodlands and that she was a "keeper". Makes mom and dad proud!

Extreme Eagles
Our friend Lindsay was an Extreme Eagle this week as well!

First Swim

I know, summer is almost over and I am just now getting Elijah into a pool, but hey, we've been busy! He loved it, which I totally expected being that he loves water. Here are just a few shots of his first experience.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Move In Night and 1st Day

Today was Michal Kate, Noah, and Jack's first day of school and first day at Woodlands Elementary. I must say it has been hard not to show them how nervous I have been. Something about the complete unknown...I wasn't even the one going.

Monday night they had the Woodlands Move in night/Meet the teacher. This is when you take all your supplies up and that way your hands are free on the first day. On of my favorite parts is that Jack and Michal Kate's classrooms are diagonal from each other on the same hall, and Noah is just around the corner. Makes a mommy feel good knowing that they can look out for each other. It went smoothly at the beginning until the power went out towards the end. Little did we know this would be the beginning of an 18 hour power outage over a good portion on the state. they are with their teachers.

Jack with Mrs. Lively entering Pre-K

Jack on the 1st dayNoah with Mrs. James entering 1st grade (hmmm, notice Noah is not too thrilled)

1st day of schoolMichal Kate with Mrs. Greenhagen entering 2nd grade

1st day

Mom likes to have a picture of all the kids from the 1st day, and since Eme and Eli aren't going this year I took one as we were going to pick up the other kids from school.
Yep...this is Elijah at 9 1/2 months standing on his own. He can pull up and let go or you can put him down standing and he will balance for 30 to 45 seconds! Pretty proud of himself too!