Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas Part II

Merry Christmas again!  It's still Christmas, so we're still celebrating and hope you are too.  The stomach flu and a cold virus are trying their best to interrupt our festivities but we are carrying on.  We arrived in Michigan on Saturday and the extended Shunkwiler family was well enough to exchange gifts together right away. Such fun!  Here's a few clips:

I wish I had a few more with the fam all together but things went downhill quickly then in terms of sickness.  It was especially sweet to watch Julia open "Pat the Bunny" have her cousins read to it to her over the next few days. We are all excited to give Grandpa's new record player/CD player/MP3 player some use in the basement too very soon. So far, Brinnly's American Girl Doll CD is the only thing that's been played.
We also enjoyed an extended Shunkwiler post-Chrismas celebration at the Hinchman church including my Great-Grandma Ruth's recipe for raisin cookies.  We had big plans for a NYE date night out, but the stomach flu interferred so we delayed our plans a bit. Times like this make us especially grateful for family closer-by where even when we are sick and we stick together, cheer on our Wisconsin Badgers, and eat Christmas cookies. And thank goodness it is still Christmas--keep celebrating!  Christ is born!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christ is born! Rejoice!

A most blessed Christmas from Jonathan, Kaethe, Amalia, Brinnly, Carrigan, Delaney Ward (and the twins as well!)


Christmas Part I

We started out the Christmas season with hosting the Ward side of the family for Christmas Eve and then some.  As people arrived into town we celebrated with appetizers before the candelight service at church. (The change in schedule of different activities through Mali off all day/night long!). The next day was gift-exchanging, a meal of roast beef and stuffed shells, and playing with new toys  We topped the evening off with a fire in our fireplace--with roasted Christmas peeps!
(Christmas morning with my loves)
Brinnly's new sleep mask from her Grandma Deni.  She LOVES it!

The girls each opened one gift from us that morning--Mali's was Snap Circuits like her buddy Jack has.  It was SUCH a hit.  (Brinn's pink leopard scarf, Carrigan's game of HeadBandz, and Delaney's dollhouse dolls were hits too)

 We filled up Friday with fun too including a trip to Miller Brewery for some of the crew, ice skating for a few more, and recognition of December birthdays complete with potato soup and brownies ala mode. The whole weekend was full of sweet moments and silly laughter (Elf Yourself!  "Herbal" Cheese!).  Thanks to all of my dear in-laws for making the trek to Wisconsin for us!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Carrigan's big news

So, this blond girl had begged and begged and her parents have agreed.  It is official that she now attends Kindergarten every day, all day.  Our school allows families to choose the best option for them and we saw many benefits in the older girls only attending half-days, in the mornings. But Carrigan was the only one of the eight students in her class to do so and really felt that she was missing out. She is also blending letter sounds together so well and working so hard on the rest of her reading skills that we hate for her to miss out on any opportunity to practice that. We hear her practicing that long after we have put her to bed.  So, we decided to let her spend her afternoons with her wonderful teacher and sweet Kinder-friends and it has been a good transition for all of us. (Especially for Delaney and her mommy who can now nap uninterrupted!)

Scenes from a December birthday


Three years ago we were given the gift of a fourth daughter--a gift we had hoped and prayed for quite some time.  Our precious little "D" baby we thought would complete our family perfectly. Well, she was indeed precious (and silly and feisty and lovable) but she has brightened our family in more ways than we ever could have expected.
Laney is not one to miss out on any action.  She is often described as "keeping up with her sisters" by others and that is the truth.  But yet she is always her own person.  She plays so well by herself and often her toys of choice are trains and cars. She dreams of being a "tractor girl" someday and can spot a Bobcat a mile away. She sings and plays her guitar often but then suddenly demands "just quiet" in the car.
She and I are together a lot these days while her sisters are in school.  I cherish our time together and am impressed how well she does being toted around to dr's appointments, school pick-ups and other errands. Of course, days that Daddy joins us at home are her most favorite treats ever as he is still and will likely always be her main hero. Although Cailou and Arthur from PBS are up there too. She loves pizza, tacos, playgrounds, snail books, library story times, and Eeyore.  Somehow she has determined though that potatoes, corn, pizza toppings, and chocolate are not worth her time.  She is clear to remind us of her preferences daily.
Delaney Fay, you are such a joy. Your humor and easy-going (at times) personality daily reminds us that two more babies in the house will be blessings as well. And that change will even be easier with your help! After all, you are such a good caretaker of your Daddy, we know you are an expert already. Your hugs, kisses, and sweet words make us smile even during tough moments. Never grow up too big to snuggle up for a nap between Mommy and Daddy. We love you so incredibly much and thank God every day for you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A few belly shots

Sixteen weeks (babies are avacado-sized here). This was back in the days when I was starving ALL of the time and would wake up in the middle of night to eat.  I had no idea the amount of calories twins would require.
Twenty weeks and just finishing my (probably) last 10K run.  I am so thankful that I've been in good health during this pregnancy and even able to exercise.  I'm much slower than my usual non-record-setting pace and need plenty of walk/stretch breaks, but it feels so good to move outside in the fresh air. That distance was getting a bit too much for this size though so I'll be scaling it way back from now until March. At least I'll have a good reason to tell the babies someday when they asked what took up so much of my time during pregnancy that prevented me from taking more pictures of them in -utero. :)

Pumpkins (Belated, but fun anyway!)

 Grandma Deni was under the weather during our normally scheduled pumpkin time, but managed to scoot around the lake so we could fit it in during November.  Carrigan was by far the bravest about pumpkin "guts" and everyone had their own unique ideas about what the pumpkins should display. We remembered Mali's first pumpkin carving experience SO many years ago (not really, but it seems like it to us sometimes).  Such a fun tradition--and look how they turned out: