Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I know that I have completely neglected my blog for over half the year...but I'm REALLY hoping to be better this next year. Anywho-here's our Christmas letter...

Dear Family and Friends,         
HI! It has been too long since I have sent out a Christmas card and newsletter for our family. I’m not even sure how I found the time to do it this year, but here it goes! 2011 has been quite an exciting year for us. Here’s just a taste of what we’ve been up to…

Emily turned 7 this year and is in 2nd grade. She is such a good student and always makes the A honor roll. This year Emily started Tae kwon Do and is LOVING it. She is already a 4th degree yellow belt. She practices her patterns all the time around the house. Emily loves to tell people that she weighs almost as much as her older brother Kaleb. She is still my baby and loves to snuggle with me-love it.

Sarah turned 9 this year and in 3rd grade. She is also a wonderful student and makes the A honor roll. This last year has been a year of surgeries for Sarah. She has suffered from migraines for several years now and the doctors have been trying to help her through medication and a few surgeries. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like these methods have worked yet and she may be looking at more surgery in the year to come. Recently Sarah took up knitting lessons and is a natural! She is still my princess in EVERY sense of the word.

Kayleah is 10 now, in 5th grade and growing up WAY TOO FAST. Kayleah is still singing and dancing in the school’s choirs. This year the school is having its first ever musical, Kayleah landed the lead role! She is also taking Tae Kwon Do and is a 4th degree yellow belt. She loves the patterns and receives compliments on how well her form is. With all she is doing outside of school she still keeps straight A’s and is one of the top students in her class.

Christopher is 10 and also in the 5th grade. I can’t believe how tall he has gotten this last year. He is also doing very well in school and on the A honor roll. Christopher is my 3rd Tae Kwon Do kid and is also a 4th degree yellow belt. It is so fun watching him, Kayleah and Emily doing their patterns in unison! I’m so proud of them. Christopher still loves to read and can usually be found at night in his room on Kaleb’s bed with him reading until it’s time for bed. He joined both choirs this year with Kayleah and Kaleb and recently was added as an extra in the musical.

Kaleb is 10 and in the 5th grade. This is the last year all my kids will be in the same school until the trips are seniors in high school and Emily is a freshman. I am SO sad! Kaleb is anxiously waiting for baseball season to begin. Instead of Tae Kwon Do or soccer this year he decided to try baseball. He is a wonderful straight A student and all his teachers love his sense of humor. We spend many dinners laughing at his jokes! Kaleb is doing choir again this year and after taking a year off from show choir is back in it! He is also an extra in the spring musical.

Now for me…I started attending the community college here and am working toward an associate’s degree in Radiology. After that I hope to obtain either another associates or a bachelor’s degree in Sonography- Specifically obstetrics. Fitting school into our already crazy schedule has been hard, but will be worth the sacrifices. So far I’ve been able to maintain a 4.0 grade point average. So basically, being a full-time mom, a part-time (and soon full-time) student, and working part-time, takes up all my energy and time! But we have had a great year.
I am amazed at how we are continually blessed. We love you all and feel so blessed to have you as a part of our lives. We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and have a happy new year!

With much love,                                                                                                                                                         Hannah, Kaleb, Christopher, Kayleah, Sarah and Emily

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mating Fireflies

So tonight we were catching fireflies at the Taylor's.  When it was time to go home I got in the van to find Kaleb very distraught with Sarah.  She still had two fireflies in her jar and had refused to let them go at their house.  She was bringing them home to let them go at our house.  I assured him it was fine for them to come live in our back yard.  To which he replied "Mom, they don't know anyone at our house all their friends  are here!" I had to laugh because he was SERIOUS! I again tried to tell him they would be ok, they weren't like turtles.  He said "but Mom they don't know any of the fireflies at our house and they only get to mate
once! Would you want to mate with someone you didn't know?! ROTFL!!! Again, he was DEAD serious!  The answer Kaleb, no. No, I wouldn't
want to mate with someone I didn't know *wink*.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Kayleah lock's of love

Kayleah has beautiful long hair.  She gets compliments on it wherever we go.  I've been talking to her for sometime now about doing "locks of love".  Most people know that is where you donate your hair to children with cancer and they make wigs out of it for them.  There are lots of salon's that will cut and style your hair for free if you donate your hair to this great program.  Well, we got even luckier.  A friend that attends church with us is a hair dresser and she participates in locks of love.  She came to our house and cut Kayleah's hair.  It's so beautiful and healthy now. And SO MUCH more easier to wash and brush!! LOL



The after pictures were taken about a week after the cutting occurred. I'm not going to lie to you...there was some crying.  Some shedding of tears DID happen.  After a couple people complimented her on how great her hair looked she started to come around to liking it.  And now...some confident after pictures!

 Beautiful Kayleah

Friday, April 1, 2011

Flashback Friday (catching up)...

So I've decided to get caught up on my blog.  I have SEVERAL posts that I start to "remind" myself to finish them later...and then they sit, waiting for me to get around to them.  SO today I'm going to finish one.  They might seem a bit sketchy but I figure having SOMETHING down to mark an event is better than having NOTHING down. :)

End of Fall soccer and it went out with a BANG! (Fall 2010)

Soccer season really did go out with a bang!  The last two games Christopher stepped in a played on Kaleb's team.  It was so fun to see the boys play together again.  Christopher really surprised us all since it's been so long since he played.  He proved to be a SUPER forward.  He assisted Kaleb in several goals. It was so fun to see Van Orden pass to Van Orden *wink*

*these are the notes that I made on this post that was waiting for me to put up here so this is all I've got.  Emily played well too and I was so proud of both my kids, and friends kids*

Christopher and Kaleb playing against Gabriel-then the kids playing again Sat to end...both won Isaac scored his first goal of the season...whole team scored.  Kaleb scored the only point in the last game and they won by one. awesome head shots by topher

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sarah's tonsilectomy

Several months ago Sarah had a sleep study done because she had GIGANTIC tonsils.  She also snored louder than a truck driver!  She was too funny at the study.  She got to watch tv until she fell asleep and kept laughing at the lady behind the microphone.  That almost made up for the yucky sticky pads all over her reading the results. Well, her sleep study concluded that she had sleep apnea.
 Getting all hooked up to the wires.

These things were itchy!
She's thrilled to be sleeping with all this extra stuff, can't you tell? *wink*

So just days after Christmas (I know crappy timing right?!) Sarah had her tonsils and adenoids out.
The morning of She and I headed into Nashville.  She had her princess hair braided and her new trusty unicorn pillow pet by her side *smile*
It was REALLY early in the morning so she fell back asleep pretty quickly during the hour long drive in to Nashville.

She wanted everything documented *wink* so she could show people later "what she went through".  LOL! So here she is checking in-

As soon as she was changed into her gown she said "come on, get it over with, get your camera out and get a picture." Bossy little thing huh?!

It's hard to say if she was nervous or not because she was talking up a storm to the doctors and nurses and they say when you're nervous you talk a lot...but then again this is SARAH we're talking about! She ALWAYS talks up a storm.  Don't know where she could have gotten that trait from...hmm? lol Before her surgery the surgeon came in and talked with her.  He asked her if she had any questions for him.  She did.  She wanted to keep her tonsils in a jar.  LOL He said no.  She didn't give up easily though.  She asked a couple of times in a couple of ways.  He still said no.  Where's the heart?!

Sarah's surgery went well...but her recovery did not.  Most kids are up, eating their popsicle or drinking their juice and gone within an hour tops of being out of surgery.  Sarah was there for more than four hours.  She didn't respond well to the anesthesia.  As soon as she woke up she was crying and very disoriented.  It took more drugs and almost an hour to calm her down.  After that another hour to get her to start to drink.  It took about an hour and a half to get her to drink a cup of juice.
There's lots of cups here because first they gave her apple juice.  Then she asked for sprite. Then she asked for water. And I had a coke.  She ended up going with the juice. I know...first one they gave her.

Then we got in the car and drove to the edge of the parking lot.  And then she threw up.  And threw up.  And threw up.  She couldn't stop.  Sarah has abdominal migraines and when she starts throwing up she can't stop.  I immediately called the surgery center and told them we were in the parking lot and she was vomiting.  We got her back in a bed and they let her rest for a while until she was ready to try going home again.  They tapped her out on all the anti-nassau meds they had.  Poor thing.
Finally, on our way home.

Was that the end of her pain and suffering? NO.  After I got her home she continued to throw up.  By 9pm I was calling her Pediatrician.  He told me to get her to the ER ASAP.  My friend Jenn and I took her while my parents stayed with the other kids.  When we got to the ER the Triage nurse took us to a room right away because Sarah was visibly dehydrated.  Only problem was she LOST HER CHART and after Jenn started pacing the halls and basically demanding that someone come look at her someone FINALLY did.  An HOUR after we got there! Once they started treating her though we go the royal treatment.  They knew they had screwed up. That part was kind of funny.

Thankfully she recovered and was doing MUCH better by the next day.  It took her almost a week to start eating normal foods though. *wink* I am happy to report that she is back to being my happy Princess Sarah, eating normal and sleeping SOUNDLY now! Yay.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dinnertime Drama...I thought we had moved past this?

Mom: This is what we're having for dinner.
Sarah: (getting out of seat and very dramatically shoving her chair under the table) FINE! Then I choose bed! (huffing and puffing, lifting shoulders up and down and flaring nostrils-waiting for mom's reaction)
Mom: Young lady, sit back down in your chair right now.  I don't recall giving you a bedtime option.

A couple of years ago shortly after we moved to TN, Sarah had a hard time with our meals at dinnertime.  There was literally weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth! After a routine physical with the pediatrician he gave me some advice on how to nip a stubborn picky eater in the bud. He suggested that I give her two options.

Option one: be civil at the table, at least TRY her dinner and graduate within a week to eating at least half of the portion on her plate and her reward was to stay around the family and not be hungry because she ate food. (no substituting the food or supplementing i.e. no eating anything but what's for dinner period.) That was a hard one for me...that meant lots of standing my ground.  LOTS. And if later she complained she was hungry or asked for food  her option was to finish dinner/have more...or option two.

Option two: choose not to eat dinner, either by stating so by her own free will OR by her actions (the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth part I mentioned above) The consequence for this option...bed.  We eat dinner at 5pm.  That meant bed at 5pm.  This one was REALLY hard for me because the thought of sending my daughter to bed hungry was NOT fun for me.  The doctor assured me she wouldn't starve.  She ate enough food during the day to sustain her BUT the side effect would still be hunger...and that would drive her to eat. And to eat...dinner.

Well, I stuck to the plan and it was HARD. PAINFUL. EXHAUSTING. But SO worth the end result.  Yes, there were a few nights that she went to bed without dinner. And it was hard to stick to the rules of the "end Sarah's painful dinnertime behavior" but it only took about 2 weeks to see HUGE results and after a few months our house was pleasant and even optimistic at dinnertime...YAY success!
I'm happy to say that it has been more than a year if not MORE since I've had to even OFFER option one or option two...until...back to our story

*after several attempts at deal making, if I eat this then I get that...blah blah blah*
Mom: I said SIT DOWN.  I am not negotiating with you.
Sarah: Why can't I choose the option to go to bed?! I DON'T want to eat this, so I will just go to bed.
Mom: Well for one it's bath night and you need a bath.  Two you need to finish your homework and three, again I DIDN'T give those options. Now, sit down!
Sarah: FINE I'll sit down but you CAN'T MAKE ME EAT IT!! 
Mom: You're right. But I CAN make you sit there until you at least try it. I'll be up late tonight doing school work of my own so go ahead a test me on this. hour later
Sarah: I'm done eating mom. It actually wasn't that bad...can I have some more please?

I kid you not.  This is how dinner went.  And MOST of the time, a few YEARS ago when she tortured us all with her dinner fits, it wasn't much different.  The main difference is that then, instead of just asking for more she usually declared it was her new favorite dish.  OY VE!

p.s. for anyone wondering we had Chicken Chimmi's, spanish rice and tortilla chips. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sing my song!

Cute story:
The other day I was giving Sarah and Emily a bath and started singing the starship song "Sarah".  They asked me if I made it up and I said no, it was a real song.  Then Emily said "Sing MY song mom!".  I had to laugh!  I explained to her that to my knowledge there wasn't an "Emily" song from the radio.  Later that night I looked up the song on youtube and let Emily watch it, Sarah wasn't interested I guess (can't remember) she wasn't very impressed with the video and neither was I!  Soooooo 80's! LOL

As a side note, I use to sing the chorus of that song (Sarah) to Sarah Mohr all the time when we were in college. She hated it.  I still sang it to her *wink* I'm pretty sure she still loves me anyway.  Especially since I named one of my daughters after her.  Love ya woman!

...Sarah, Sarah stars are movin' in your eyes...Sarah, Sarah no time is a good time for goodbye!
*wink* LOVE IT!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Beautiful Snow Days

Ok, so it's been over a month later and I still haven't posted more...I know, I'm horrible.  LOTS has been going on though!  I started school...YAY! I'm actually really enjoying it.  And the kids have quit going to school it seems all together.  They have had ONE full week of school since the middle of December and that's it.  This week they let out half day on Monday and didn't go back.  In the meantime I have had a fun time taking beautiful snow pictures.  And yes some of the kids too *wink* Hopefully I'll get more posts up since I have a snow day as well!

our backyard with the swing

this tree 

This one is my FAVORITE! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Weeping willow trees.

our back yard

Our poor van *wink*

I just love it when you can see the snow sitting on the tree all the way down the trunk

again, our mailbox is just sad

love the sky in this picture

And for those of you that made it all the way down to the end of this post-YAY for you and you will be rewarded with a couple of cute kid pictures now!  During all the snow days the kids spent lots of time working on building forts and such but the coolest thing they built was with the Taylors... an Igloo! It actually fit ALL 8 kids and Adam, we were very impressed.  Unfortunately I couldn't get all the kids to pose for pictures.  So here's what I did get-

The top of the igloo is just about to Kayleah's head (far left in the back).  I do NOT know why these are small and when I try and get them on here right it just won't.  I don't know what the deal is...I've been working on it for HOURS now.  I'm not kidding.  This is ridiculous.  

All 8 kiddos making their way up the hill at the church

Emily got plowed with snow! ...she's not too happy about it here.

There's a happy face though! Sledding is SO much fun!

Gabriel liked eating the snow, even though it doesn't look like it here-that's what he was doing. :)

I had to include this one because of Gabriel's face-too funny!

yes, Liah was going to "push" them down the hill.

Christopher has sledding down!  He can FLY down any hill!

Isaac was another sledding maniac! He loved racing anyone that would.

Kaleb and Isaac spent as much time as they possibly could racing.

Kaleb also spent lots of time working on the perfect snowball.  Not too bad!

Kayleah, Kaleb, Emily

Liah eating snow

Liah laying in the snow.  I asked her what she was doing and in this picture she's answering me...I can't remember what she said though.

Kayleah is my little mother.  She is so sweet and so helpful.

Everytime Liah sled down the hill she lost a shoe or a glove or her hat or SOMETHING!  Kayleah always helped her get herself back together. *wink*

Sarah loved the red sled.

It was fun watching her trek up the hill with it!

I think here she just kind of froze for a min trying to get feeling back in her body or something! It was so cold.

Liah, Kayleah, Sarah and Gabriel
Topher LOVED that sled!

Emily is getting so tall

Sarah havin' a snack

Wipe out! 
Christopher and Isaac getting ready to race...
We had SO much fun sledding!