Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is such a very fun day in our home! The past few years, Grammy has come over to bake cookies for Santa with the girls (gingerbread and icing cut out cookies), and that is a tradition that I hope lasts until my girls are grown. Who knows? Maybe even longer! That evening, we head over to our friend and neighbors home for a Christmas Eve celebration. There is yummy food and lots of laughter. My favorite part of the evening is when all of the children (their are usually around thirty!) gather around the tree downstairs and Grumps leads them in a few Christmas carols before they are allowed to tear into their gifts. There is such excitement in the air and their eyes are all sparkling! To me, it is what Christmas should be in the eyes of a child. Pure joy, anticipation, and excitement. I love it! After a few hours we head home so that my children can open their Christmas Jammies. I have bought Christmas Jammies since Kate joined our family, and I don't ever plan on stopping! This year I was so excited to find coordinating jammies for all three of my children, despite their age gaps and differing genders! Our theme this year was turquoise and red penguin pajamas. Thank you, Target, for making my shopping so easy! Shortly after the "children in coordinating jammies in front of the tree" photo, I read aloud The Night Before Christmas, and then Kate and Jack crashed (as well as Boss). Emma, the big girls, and I watched Miracle on 34th Street before heading to bed, so that Santa could make his deliveries. Emma was so excited/nervous that she said she felt like she was going to throw up! Ha! She is so my daughter. Poor girl. Rashing is most definitely in her future. It was a magical, magical night. I love Christmas Eve!

Christmas Adam

For the past several years, our family has started a little tradition that I now like to call Christmas Adam. I have named this evening celebration, Christmas Adam, because we celebrate it on the night before Christmas Eve. Get it? Christmas Adam, because it comes before Christmas Eve? (Bwahaha. I am so clever. Moving on.) Anyway, on Christmas Adam, we (whoever from the family that is in town or is available) go over to Grammy and Da's house for a fettuccine dinner. Yum. We have also made it our tradition for the girls to write their letters to Santa on this night (we leave their letters for Sam the Elf to carry back to the Big Guy on his nightly trip to the North Pole, as this saves on postage, and I am cheap), and we always play a few exciting rounds of How the Grinch Stole Christmas Bingo. This year, Kate was our big winner, and she was super proud. As a special bonus on Christmas Adam 2010, this year Da wrote a witty and clever poem to read aloud to the children. His writings always make them smile. It was a great evening. I hope the tradition of celebrating Christmas Adam lasts in our family for years to come.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

From Our Family to Yours.

Love Ben, Kendra, Emma, Kate, and Jack

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nine Months

This little guy turned nine months old this week! We love him more than ever. He celebrated his nine month birthday with a trip to the ER, accompanied by Daddy, because of a nasty ear infection and head cold. Poor little boy. At the ER he weighed in at twenty pounds even. Jack Ryan is our biggest baby, by far! Emma did not reach twenty pounds until she was two, seriously, and it took Kate at least a year. Our boy has them beat! While we can tell that he is beginning to feel a bit better (his joyful smile is returning), he still seems to feel a bit yucky. We are making sure to snuggle him close and give him lots of kisses. His rosy, chubby cheeks were made for kissing. Hopefully he will start feeling better soon!

This has been a big month in Jack's world! The biggest month so far, I dare say. He is now a crawling man! And he can also pull himself up while holding on to furniture and the railing of his crib. He is making his mama and daddy quite tired as we chase him all over the house. When he learns to navigate the stairs, we are officially doomed :). Jack Ryan is still eating well, as evidenced by his large, squishy, delectable thighs, and loves just about anything that we put into his mouth. And because he has many "aunties" out here that love and spoil him, I dare say he has tried far more foods than your average nine month old! Let's just say that he is a super huge fan of pumpkin pie, courtesy of his Aunt Candy.

Sleep is going better. Not great, but better than the last few months. We get about nine hours out of him each night. I won't tell you that half of that sleep is spent in our bed, because that would make me two for three of raising bad sleepers. However, if I were to confess that we co-sleep, I would have to tell you that I blame all of my children's bad sleeping habits on their father. It's true. But since I won't tell you that we co-sleep, I don't have to publicly blame him. I love you Boss!

Jack Ryan Huston Zickafoose is the sweetest bundle of baby boy that ever did live. He is joyful, and happy, and silly. We thank God for blessing our lives with him each and every day. Happy nine months, buddy.

Seeing Santa 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Memory Making

While I will be the first to admit that things are not always hot cocoa and candy canes in this home of ours, things have seemed exceptionally wonderful lately! We are definitely making the most of this holiday season! I don't know why this Christmas seems more merry and bright than years past, but it does. Perhaps it is because my children are growing up, and are really able to fully grasp and participate in all of the festivities this year. Perhaps it is because we have an amazing group of teenage girls that are currently living with us who make everything more delightful, and certainly more fun. Perhaps it is because Boss (who we lovingly sometimes referred to as Scrooge, after his long stint in retail, which developed in him a small disdain for holidays) is trying his best to enjoy this season with our family, and I see a little twinkle in his eyes. Or perhaps it is because I am growing and changing, getting better at weeding out worldly distractions, and focusing on what truly matters. I don't know. But it sure feels good. Some things we have been up to?

* Decorating! Emma was definitely my little helper this year, organizing things and telling me where everything needed to go. The girls had a lot of fun getting out and looking at all of the ornaments that they have collected in their short little lives, and played for hours with their nutcrackers and Mrs. Claus. Simple, old fashioned fun.

* We have also been enjoying homemade hot chocolate and whipped cream! I wanted to find a recipe that my family would love, and I did. I won't tell you that it is made out of dark chocolate candy bars and caramel sauce, because then you would know how bad it was for you, and it would take away some of the enjoyment of drinking it.My family asks for a mug of mama's hot chocolate many times a week! It makes my heart happy.

* Parties! One of the more fun aspects of living at the children's home are the holiday parties. So. Much. Fun! P.S. I heard the guy in the big red suit is coming tonight to bring gifts for the children. Shh. Don't tell.

* Enjoying our first snow day! The white stuff is finally coming down. This is the first year since I have lived here that it has waited until December to snow (usually it starts in November), and we are loving it! The children have already gone sledding on the little hill behind Grammy and Da's house, and yesterday we made snow ice cream. Yummy.

* Watching Christmas movies! This has turned in to quite the tradition for us this year. Every night that we don't have a party, relief, or church, Emma, the big girls, and I pile on the couches and watch a Christmas movie. We have already watched Elf, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, all three Santa Claus movies, both Home Alones, The Christmas Shoes trilogy, The Holiday, The Family Man, and several other Hallmark specials. Love, love, love Christmas movies.

* Shopping! I am finally done with all of our gift buying. All that I have left to do is to help Santa with filling the stockings, and make some homemade goodies for friends and family. I am excited about the gifts we are giving this year!

Our lives are truly full and blessed. I hope you are enjoying this season with those you love, as well! Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Santa's Little Helpers

Santa's little helpers have been hard at work this past week, getting all of the decorations up for this Christmas season. The "Z" family home was completed last night, as we decorated our last tree, so today they offered their expert assistance to Grammy and Da. When Santa's little helpers were not busy decorating, they enjoyed the first real snow of the season! Today they went sledding and had fun throwing snowballs. Winter has finally arrived! Good job, little helpers. Santa is so very thankful for all of the hard work that you do, year after year!

Friday, December 3, 2010

O' Christmas Tree

I have personally waited 28 years for this day to come. Let the "Z" family tree cutting adventure begin!

On the hunt for the perfect one. So many trees. So little time.

Kate falls and cries while we are scoping out all of the trees. She is our little drama queen. No "z" family adventure would be complete without her tears. Just keeping it real, yall.

We found the perfect tree! Well, except for that big hole in the back of it, but we did tell the girls they could choose. Everyone is smiling and happy again.

Um. Stud. No more words are necessary.

Hard at work.

Hooray! Daddy is almost done sawing that tree trunk!

Hauling that big sucker back to the van.

Whew! Poor tree. She's tired from all of this work. She thinks she will just take a little rest before we head home and the decorating party begins.

Mission accomplished. The "Z" family officially cuts down their Christmas tree for the very first time, and everyone is happy. Especially Boss. Family Adventures are his favorite! Hehe.

The End.