Saturday, December 11, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Dillards

We have been enjoying our Christmas season so far... Christmas with little kids is fun. They are learning so much about what Christmas means, and we are enjoying teaching them about Christ coming into the world. They are learning about traditions, and for kids who love routine, advent calendars and finding the "hiding elf" every morning are awesome! They are enjoying listening to and learning the words to some Christmas Carols. The other day Oliver told me, "Mom, I LOVE that baby Jesus song!" (aka, Away in a Manger).

Oliver is old enough now to remember past Christmases... he remembers the plate we used to set out Santa's cookies last year, was excited to see all the stockings, and play with his beloved Christmas toys and movies. He loves turning on the Christmas Tree lights and reading the name tags on the presents and telling us who each one is for.

Gabriella is still our little performer and will gladly recite Luke 2:11 for anyone who will listen. She is showing great self-restraint in leaving the wrapped presents untouched under the tree and can't WAIT until she can finally open them. She LOVES books and she daily piles up the Christmas books we got out of the attic and asks us to read them all to her.

Melia is still our smiley baby and her favorite thing is just to sit and watch her siblings. They bring a smile to her face faster than anyone else and are always up for playing with her. We look forward to celebrating her first Christmas this year! We got her a stocking to match the other kids' stockings and feel blessed to have the number of stockings on our mantel grow.

Matt and I love days we get to spend with our family. Today was just such a day. Leisurely morning at home, an outing to play miniature golf, lots of reading time, and watching Charlie Brown's Christmas as a family with popcorn and hot chocolate before bed. We are so thankful for our family and God's blessing and provision in our lives.

Here are some pictures of our fun day together:

Lazy morning...

Sweet kiddos

Pancakes for breakfast - this girls can eat her WEIGHT in pancakes! Maybe that's why she didn't eat any lunch...

Sweet thing hanging out by the Christmas tree. Excuse the runny nose. 'Tis the season...

Posing on the bench at the mini-golf place!

"I got really close, Mom"

Staying warm with Daddy

Our little boy

We are looking forward to celebrating Christmas with our extended family and remembering and being thankful for our Savior coming to earth.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Big Boy

We hit a big milestone this month... our boy turned 5 years old. I feel like 5 is WAY older than 4. I wanted to take a minute and reflect on the little man I see him becoming.

He is opening up and being more social of late which is just darling to witness. He loves recreational companionship (5 Love Languages anyone?) and is a whiz with electronics. He is a fan of order and completeness (wonder where he gets that) and is constantly sorting and lining up his toys. I love to come into a room and see the line of toys that just says to me "Oliver was here." He loves structure and days go much better for him when he has a schedule to adhere to. He can do so many things by himself which is a great help to this busy momma. We love him to pieces and appreciate his unique personality so much. He brings a smile to our faces everyday. We love you SO much Oliver and are so thankful to God for the wonderful gift that God gave us 5 years ago. You have changed our lives forever and we are so blessed to get to go through life with you as a precious accent to our days.

Oliver as a newborn

1 year old

2 years old

3 years old

4 years old

Our big 5 year old!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bible Verses... in their own words

My children have some funny ways that they have changed up some Bible verses we have been memorizing... so I thought I would document their cuteness.

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength." -Philippians 4:13

Oliver: "I can do everything that I want to do."

Not quite buddy, but nice try!

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour which is Christ the Lord." - Luke 2:11

Gabriella: "For unto you is born this day in the city of Goliath..."

David, Goliath... at least she was close :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We are Thankful...

Here are some pictures of what were most thankful for this Thanksgiving:

Our thanksgiving blessings (a little belated...)

We are thankful for... Family!! And health - we all ran a 2.4 mile "Dillard Family Turkey Trot" around the neighborhood that morning. It was definitely a brisk run!

We are thankful for... Gabriella!

...and for girls! Having little girls is so fun for a mommy who loves to dress them up!

We are thankful for... an awesome Thanksgiving cook and hostess - Matt's mom Annie!

We are thankful for... watching movies with our cousins, while holding a stick horse apparently.

We are thankful for... all of our Aunts and extended family!

We are thankful for... TURKEY!

We are thankful for... cooler weather!

We are thankful for... cousins who are great friends and fun to play with!

We are thankful for... healthy, growing babies - here Melia is tasting her first rice cereal!

We are thankful for... cousins who love on us!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The 5 stages of grief

This morning I experienced something traumatic that sent me into the 5 stages of grief process that people go through when dealing with a loss. Don't worry - nothing serious has happened. This is a very minor thing in the grand scheme of things. I just want to laugh at myself because I am such a textbook case for this grief model. I could be their spokesperson. Don't judge me.

If you are not familiar with the
K├╝bler-Ross model, here is a basic summary:
  1. Denial – "This can't be happening, not to me."
  2. Anger – "Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"
  3. Bargaining – "If only..."
  4. Depression – "I'm so sad..."
  5. Acceptance – "It's going to be okay."
So let me set up the scene. I was so happy to have a morning off with my kids after a very busy, but fun, Thanksgiving weekend. No where to be, not much to get done, just fun times. Since things were so open, I decided to take them with me to the local grocery store that has kid-sized shopping carts to do our grocery shopping. I didn't have a ton to get and they LOVE helping me because I make them each a pictorial grocery list and print it in color from my computer before we leave. Then they each get their cart and we make a nice, curvy, loud, ankle-bumping train as we make our way though the store. Fun times. I try to go when the store is not too crowded so as to inconvenience as few other shoppers as possible. But they really have a lot of fun, feel so proud for checking things off of their lists, and I get a chore done at the same time. Win, win!

This was my big shopping trip for the week; I made my list before I went containing everything our family would need until next Monday. Before I left I looked through my coupon file because this store has a lot of "free with $10 purchase" coupons that I get in the mail frequently. I only found one non-expired coupon which I was bummed about, but off we went. We made it through the store and back home in about an hour without any major meltdowns, no potty trips, and getting almost everything on my list. Success.

But then, tragedy strikes. After lunch, I finally take the time to go through the pile of mail on my desk that has been sitting there growing taller and taller through the holiday weekend when I was too busy visiting family to get it all sorted. And there I find them - 4 AWESOME coupons that I totally could have used today... for FREE items. Free Ice Cream (that I would have used for Oliver's birthday this weekend), free bananas (which I paid full price for this morning), free ground beef (which I would have used for this week's meals), and free orange juice (which I could have used for when my family is in town this weekend).

Now for most normal people, this would not seem like a tragedy. But for someone who loves to use coupons, prides themselves on being organized, can only make so many trips out of the house with 3 kids each week to sustain her sanity, and is her biggest critic... this is bad folks.

The dollar signs started flashing in my mind, as well as the missed opportunity cost of already being at the store and missing the chance to grab those items.
I quickly spiraled into the 5 stages of grief:
  • Denial (NO! - which I did yell out loud prompting my daughter to ask in a concerned voice, "Why did you say that, mommy?")
  • Anger (Are you kidding me! I made such a great list and even made cute lists for the kids to use and I forgot those coupons! Perfect shopping trip ruined!)
  • Bargaining (Maybe I can take my receipt up there tonight without the kids after Matt gets home and get the money... even though the coupons say must be presented at time of purchase.)
  • Depression (Enough said. Although I think I went back to anger again at this point too for a few minutes.)
  • Acceptance... I think I'm just about there. And it only took about an hour.
The more you are attached to something, the longer each stage takes. One hour for coupons, much longer for people. But the stages are definitely the same. I went through the same thing when I broke a lamp a few years ago. Matt and I laughed because you could so clearly see each stage!! I guess I'm a textbook case.

Now, I could always go back and use them you might say. But most of these coupons are such that you can use one with each $10 purchased. So I would have to spend $30 more dollars to get these items for free. So not really worth an additional $30, but I did spend well over $30 on my original trip. Sad. Sad. I'm still tempted to do it though... just buying meat or some staple that I could freeze. But that would mean another trip to the store. We'll see which side of my brain wins that battle... the money saving side or the get-over-it-and-move-on side. Sigh.

Now this next part will not surprise you if you know me. This tragedy will not be in vain. In the wake of this disaster (and since sadly this is not the first time something like this has happened), I have instituted a NEW COUPON SYSTEM! I will now keep track of all the coupons I have in a list on my computer desktop so that I can just pull up the document and do a quick scan of what I have on hand before I head out to the store. I plan to quickly type them into this document as soon as I get them so that no matter where they physically land, I know they exist and can remember to hunt them down before I start shopping. You see, I had looked at these coupons the day they came in the mail, but promptly forgot about them when they went in to the aforementioned "pile." I am convinced that with each child you have, a portion of your memory goes away. Now I wouldn't trade any of my kids to have those portions of my memory back, so I am just going to have to find a way to work around it.

And that is a little peek into my brain... crazy as it is.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A fun morning at home with my kids

Most mornings these days we have somewhere to be. I'm not complaining - all of the activities we are involved in my kids love and are beneficial to us all. However, it does take quite a bit of effort by Matt and I to get us all ready to go in the mornings. So on days that we don't have anywhere we need to be, I enjoy just staying home with my kids and following their lead as to what they would like to do. No rushing to get dressed and ready for the day... just living life at a slower, easier pace. I know it won't be too long until we will have school every day for Oliver and soon after that for the other kids as well. So I am soaking up these sweet mornings with just me and my kids while I can. Here are our very arduous tasks for the morning:

Playing ballerina with Gabby

Smiling a lot at baby girl... her hair has started laying down from it's usual mow-hawk state the last few days. I think I'm kind of sad about that, but it is still cute!

And making silly faces with boy!

I even let Oliver get behind the camera!

We read books, finger painted, had lunch at home, and listened to Pandora on the TiVo (Oliver's new favorite past time)

Fun times with some sweet kiddos! I am blessed.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It was finally time...

It was finally time to do something with "All that hair!"

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Melia Rose

I wanted to post an update on our newest bundle of joy, because that is just what she brings to our family. Joy. She is such a content, easy little girl and truly brings so much happiness into my life daily. I miss her when I think about our life before she was here, because I can't imagine now living life without her and the smiles, cuddles, and cooing she gives me every day that just makes this momma's heart so full.

She laughs, she rolls, she's discovered her hands, she loves bath time, and she reaches for toys. She's growing - she's at about 14.5 pounds right now. Soon now she will be eating baby cereal - she's showing an interest in what we are eating. She can sit up well when somewhat supported and LOVES to watch her brother and sister. They make her laugh more than we adults ever could.

The big kids making Melia laugh

Melia also got to go on her first camping trip last weekend. We took all the kids and joined some folks from our Sunday School class for an overnight, tent camping trip. The kids had a blast and really did well considering it was a little bit cold and they were sleeping somewhere new. We saw quite a bit of wildlife too: a deer, a tarantula, a daddy long legs, and some vultures or some sort of birds of prey. They got to have s'mores... but didn't like the messy chocolate all over their hands. We'll have to fix that. We plan to take them again sometime in the spring after learning just a few things that would make camping with 3 even better. Here are some pictures from our trip.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Fall!

We have been doing some of our traditional fall outings here lately, and loving it! What a wonderful respite from the hot summer the cooler temperatures have been. It's so nice not to sweat just getting the kids in and out of the car. It's the little things...

We made our semi-annual trip to the Dallas Arboretum and it was perfect weather for us! It is fun to compare this year's picture to years past here... and here! We got to go with some good friends - making the day even more fun!

This pretty 3 year-old got to go to see the pumpkins on her 3rd birthday!

Melia's first trip to the Arboretum... happy in the stroller

Sweet 4 year old!

Fun with the Zutavern boys

We also hosted our 3rd Annual Halloween Party at our house last night. We had a bunch of cute dressed up kids and their parents as usual. Here are some fun pictures from our night:

The gang

Peter Pan, Snow White and Tinkerbell

This is the only way to go trick-or-treating!

After going up to the first door, she came back to me saying (excitedly): "Mom, CANDY!"

Oliver was keeping close track of his candy. Here he is counting his 4 pieces :)

Trick-or-treating is always more fun while holding hands with a sweet friend

Super cute Snow White on her first Halloween!

Lovin' these cuties!

Happy Fall Y'all!