Life on Cottage Hill: PAGES

Sunday, December 27, 2015

...fa la la la

Our holiday cheer almost came to a pause on Christmas Eve when this mama became sick. Like, feeling more awful than I have in a LONG time. I finally made it to the DR yesterday and turns out I had strep. Today for the first time in four days I actually took a shower, got dressed and made it out of the house (to church)... and then quickly home for Sunday pancakes and a nap. I seem to have bursts of energy but then get totally worn out. This also meant I missed multiple Christmas parties, but still loved every moment with our babies... especially on Christmas Day which will forever be my favorite day of the year. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

happy birthday, Jesus!

Yesterday afternoon we had friends over to decorate birthday cakes for Jesus! It was a (messy, messy) sprinkle-full good time complete with LOTS of taste-testing woven throughout the decorating and topped off with christmas hot chocolates. So fun. What must we do to ensure they're still willing to decorate cakes with us when they're teenagers? 

the ballet.

Sunday night Audrey, Nanna and I went to the ballet to see The Nutcracker. My tiny dancer loved seeing all the ballerinas on stage... it was perfectly magical. After the show we had a late dinner at Nada. As Nanna and I said, "life is good for the peanut." 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

a walk downtown.

This morning the babies and I had an errand to run downtown so we took advantage of our time + the still amazing weather and walked around the city. We visited my office, saw the "big tree" on Fountain Square, watched the ice skaters and hit up my most favorite book store. We may not live in the biggest city, but it's become such a treasure the past few years as so much new life is being infused- new stores, restaurants and things to do. I love sharing little adventures with these sweet monsters of mine. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

{tales from the peanut}

Indulge me for a moment with a random Audrey conversation:

(while driving in the car)
Audrey: Mommy, God can see us all the time, but we cannot see him because he lives in our heart. 
Mommy: That's right Audrey (and thinking- oh, how sweet!)
Audrey: (mumbling to herself in the backseat) I guess I'll just have to cut my heart out if I ever want to see that guy!

I laughed so hard. 
It's seriously cute and funny and slightly morbid. But mostly funny. 

superheroes > princesses

On Friday night we finally- FINALLY- convinced Audrey at least for one evening that there does exist such a thing more exciting than princesses... superheroes! 

The kids and I go to quite a few shows throughout the year- mainly because I love the theater and I want them to love it too, but also to expose them to different things. For whatever reason, the shows tend to error on the side of girly more often than not. So, months ago I bought tickets to "Marvel Superheroes Live" to treat Jackson to a much MUCH more masculine show. I had no idea just how manly it would get. 

There were explosions, superheroes flying from the ceiling and lots of stunts. 

In short, Jackie was in heaven. 

And much to our surprise- so was Audrey! As Dan said, "she raved about the show" the entire next day. She, of course, still wore a tu-tu-like dress to the show which was pretty adorable paired with her Captain America mask. She definitely turned some heads with lots of comments of "how cute." She brings a little peanut-style everywhere she goes!

It was such a fun night for them! The next morning Dan took them to the library- a frequent Saturday morning stop- and they both came home with superhero books, obviously. 

christmas - round TWO!

This past Saturday we had our second major family Christmas. This time at our home with Nanna, Pop + Pooch. The babies were such great helpers all day- helping me prepare the dinner, working hard to earn all those presents. This is our first Christmas without "Grandma Nanny" so we dined with her crystal glasses and the candle holders she passed down to me a few years ago in her honor. I think I get some of my appreciation for fancy from her. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

the world is their stage.

This past week we had Audrey's preschool and Jackson's Kindergarten Christmas programs. Lets just say one was a liiiitle more excited to perform on stage. I'll let you guess who ;) They both did great and overall adorable evenings. We're thankful to have two sets of grandparents who both brave the crowds to cheer on their grandbabies. 

The peanut's preschool program where little people are equally adorable and hilarious.

Jonah watching his Audrey just as Audrey watcher her Jackson two years ago HERE.

Next up was Jackson's Kindergarten program at "the big school" also known as the high school where Dan and I first met! Funny how life comes full circle. Jackson did great, but our favorite part was watching him pre-show. All of the classes had assigned seats in the audience while all of the parents were seated. His seat was next to a little girl in his class who he talks about at home quite a bit. We were seated higher up from his class so could see him beforehand... he talked. her. ear. off for the entire 20 minutes until the show started. I didn't introduce the idea of a "crush" to him but I'm pretty sure he has one whether he knows it or not ;). 

christmas town.

Our "Christmas Activity" last Saturday was to go to Christmas Town. Apparently all of Cincinnati had this for their Advent calendar activity too ;). Despite the crowds it was pretty awesome. I loved the simplicity and pureness of it- all focused on Jesus. He was the true centerpiece surrounded by so many beautiful lights. I feel like every single place we go lately we're greeted by Santa Claus and it was so refreshing to not be distracted by all that. This will be an annual tradition for sure. 

(catching up) sweet, sweet saturday.

The weather lately has been anything but winter. It has felt almost spring-like many days which is perfect for letting little people get their energy out. Throughout the winter months the lake is lowered quite a bit to allow people to make repairs to their docks if they need to which meant we could play in the water on the shore where there would typically be quite a few feet of water, making for a lot of muddy fun. 

The bear always, always has a snack handy. 

A little later our friend Casey delivered some gravel to help fill in some holes in our parking spaces- a short-term winter-fix until we have them fixed properly (and in a prettier way) this spring. He had some big fans who watched his work and then Daddy has some big helpers in moving the gravel to where it needed to go. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

christmas, take ONE.

We wasted no time this year to start Christmas'ing. 

With grandbaby #11 due any day we decided to have our first get together last weekend... the surprise came when Dan's brother who lives in Denver showed up as a surprise with our sister-in-law and niece. We weren't expecting them to be able to make it home this year for Christmas so it was a perfect surprise that almost killed my mother-in-law I'm sure to keep a secret from the rest of us. 

So for a fleeting moment 10/10 babies were all together until this spring when we'll have 11/11 together on the beach in Virginia for summer vacation. 

These two.
Out of the 10 grandbabies they are the closest in age.
And they are rotten.
We found them sitting on their own at this little table in the kitchen "talking" like little old men. Adrian discovered that they could reach the cookies on their own and told Jonah "cookies IN DERE!" and from that point on I'm not sure either of them were without a cookie for the rest of the night.
They thought they were hilarious.
And they were. 

Little bear exploring the woods where his Daddy spent many, many hours growing up. And PS- this weather in December?! Crazy, but we'll take it. 

Learning early from Uncle D. 

life lately.

I have neglected this space- this online space to curate our memories- for nearly a month. I don't think I've ever done that and yet I don't think we have ever had weeks so intense as those recently. I don't want to say "busy" because I know everyone is "busy" and quite frankly we're as "busy" as we allow ourselves to be, but the reality is that we have been. Busy that is. I could not be MORE excited for a break from that. Five more work days (and school days) stand between us and a glorious two week break. Well, at least for four of us. Dan will be working through the holidays for the most part unfortunately, but hey, 4/5 isn't bad-  we'll take it! I'm ready to recharge, to pull a "peanut" and stay in my PJs as long as possible for as many days as possible. In the meantime I'll attempt to play a little catch-up on here :) More to come...

Thursday, November 12, 2015

an interview with a peanut (Audrey at FOUR).

Audrey's annual birthday interview. 
A couple things to note :) -
1) she was bummed out at the start because "Jackie" wouldn't draw her a mermaid when she asked. The ultimate offense in Audrey's world.
2) she was also a tad bit bitter with daddy still since he sent her to bed early the night before for not finishing her dinner when asked. 

Interview from age THREE here

mommy audrey day.

As goes with tradition I took off work on Audrey's birthday for a Mommy-Audrey day. 
These days- full of adventure one on one with my sweet babies- will absolutely be some of my favorite memories to look back on... and I hope they feel the same.

This year we somewhat unintentionally "upped the ante" a bit on birthday adventures since we'll be at Disney World during both Jackson and Jonah's birthdays. So, I wanted Audrey to have a special experience on her birthday too. 
This is where the mecca of all little girls' hearts comes into play: The American Girl store. Or as Audrey calls it, "the baby doll palace!"

It. was. awesome. (and seriously expensive) but mainly just awesome. 

It was nice to go on week day morning because the store wasn't busy at all so I followed Audrey around for a long time inspecting each baby doll before choosing her favorite. 
We then took "Julie" to lunch in the store's restaurant where they of course catered to Audrey the birthday girl AND her best friend Julie, complete with bows, tea cups and saucers for all. We did visit the baby doll hair salon too but Audrey is a liiiiitle particular about hair styles and so she decided she wanted to keep Julie's hair the way it was for now. 

After maxing out the American Girl experience we did a little shopping and then went to see a movie together before driving back to Indiana. It's always been this way with Audrey, but she seems to attract attention wherever she goes. I don't mean that in a showy way but I think little girls at that age are especially adorable and she takes it a little over the top with her "flair" if you will. Anyway, while shopping this was no different and so a lot of people would stop her and ask her about her baby doll and such. In one store an older woman was asking her about her name, her baby doll, etc and she said, "Oh, I bet your baby doll will just follow you wherever you go!" to which Audrey responded, "oh, that is CRAZY. She is just a baby doll. She can't even walk because SHE IS NOT REAL!" She then turned around to me to reinforce just how "crazy that lady is, she thinks my baby doll can WALK!" 

It was hilarious and somewhat embarrassing at the same time. The older woman just laughed and laughed. Oh, Audrey... 

Age 3 Mommy-Audrey Day here
Age 2 Mommy-Audrey Day here

Audrey Danielle: FOUR years!

My sweet, sweet Audrey is FOUR years old!

I remember the night she was born like it was yesterday- I had been in labor ALL morning, day, evening and night... and finally, FINALLY early the next morning she made her appearance. Fashionably late, of course. 

She was a tiny little thing (seven pounds is TINY when your first born was over 9!) and so she was our peanut from that day forward. But now our tiny peanut has turned into our tiny dancer- twirling and skipping everywhere she goes. She has the biggest imagination of anyone I know, is the sweetest big sister to Jonah and adores her "Jackie" more than words can explain. 

We've moved away from the drama that were her 2s and first part of her 3s and she's now simply entertaining... bringing a flair and something of an Audrey-style to all she says and does. It's pretty adorable and also hard to explain. In this season of life I would argue that she is actually the easiest to parent. She could easily keep herself entertained and busy all day long... doing puzzles (over and over again), taking care of her babies, coloring and drawing in her (many, many) notebooks. 

I'm so thankful to be your mom, Audrey. You bring a joy to our life that cannot be matched by anything or anyone else. You entertain us, you love on us and you make us laugh more than you probably mean to. You are our sweet peanut who puts on a show wherever she goes... whether she means to or not and we are your absolute biggest, BIGGEST fans. 

Audrey at ZERO here
Audrey at ONE here and here and here
Audrey at TWO here and here
Audrey at THREE here