Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

(Sorry no photographs! A picture of our family banner coming soon! Prepare to be impressed...)

This year we rang in the new year as a family. It was quiet, simple, and nice, much like our Christmas. Just time spent together. The more my children grow, the more I realize how much we need it. Time. Time to be together. Time to create memories. Time snuggling on the couch. We did all of the above tonight and it was awesome. Homemade pizza and nachos for supper, per Emma's request, followed by the making of a New Year's Eve banner to hang in our dining room. We colored, designed, and decorated a large piece of butcher paper for over an hour. It was a family masterpiece, and I do believe a new tradition. A bubble bath for all of the children was next. The girls kept shouting Happy New Year while throwing soap suds in the air! They thought it hilarious. I thought it precious. After everyone was clean and snug in jammies we popped some popcorn and poured some bubbly (sparkling grape juice), and settled in to watch Dolphin Tale. Beautiful story about not losing hope, reaching beyond yourself, and chasing after your dreams. A worthwhile film on the eve of this new year brimming with hope and possibility. We ended our night with traditional ice cream sundaes, a game of Disney trivial pursuit (I won if you care to know), and party hats and horns at midnight.

Those were the beautiful moments of our night. But lest you think our family is perfect, traditions, and sunshine every single moment, there were several 'real life' moments mixed in for good measure :)! While making our fabulous family banner, permanent marker bled through the paper and got all over my beautiful white dining table. Kate had a meltdown when asked to put on her jammies, and crashed as soon as the movie started. Poor thing. Five years old and has never seen the ball drop! Emma ate too much popcorn and suffered a belly ache the rest of the evening. Boss is the only one who had a sundae. After all of the horn blowing, sweet Jack awoke frazzled and needed to be rocked back to sleep. It is now after one in the morning (I am waiting for teenagers to get home) and he will probably be up for the day in four short hours.

But that's life. It's our life. And I really would not change it. Crazy, silly, difficult moments mixed in to parts of every day. Stretching us, growing us. And all the while I just keep spinning, praying I am creating beauty along the way. Beauty from the messes. Praying that God is creating beautiful things through me. And it is those things, the beautiful ones, that I choose to remember. Emma licking her plate clean with pizza sauce on her chin. Kate tracing her five year old hand onto our family banner. Jack beaming proudly when he was handed a crayon, too. Emma with her high water jammies, because she seems to grow a foot every night while she sleeps. Kate's jammies half zipped, always waiting for a back tickle. The way Jack's hair smells after his bath. These are the things I choose to remember. And I pray my children are filing these memories away, too. Because amidst the messes (and there are plenty of those), there is always God's goodness. All we have to do is look and see. Taste, and we will know that the Lord is good. This is my prayer for 2012. That I will spend more time seeing and tasting, all the while strengthening relationships with my Lord, my husband, my children, my family, my friends. It is going to be a wonderful year. I can feel it. And the best part? God is already there. Happy New Year!

Just Because He's Stinkin' Cute

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas 2011

Tonight, Boss and I packed away the last of the Christmas decorations and hauled them into storage for another year. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly time passes. Too quickly as my babies are growing. I simply cannot believe that another Christmas has come and gone! The joyous season never lasts long enough. We had a simple, fun, somewhat quiet holiday this year. It was nice. Memories were made. On Christmas Eve we went to a special service at our church. Afterwards, we celebrated the evening with our friends, before heading home to put the little ones to bed. I love tucking my two big girls into my bed on Christmas Eve. We let them fall asleep there on this special night, and I love to hear them dreaming, whispering, giggling of all they hope the next day will bring. Sweet, sweet sisters. Boss and I kissed their sweet cheeks, gave them strict orders not to leave the bed, and then we headed downstairs to work some Christmas magic! Somewhere after midnight we crawled into bed ourselves. Satisfied, content, and happy.

The next morning we were awoken by little hands and big smiles! The children waited anxiously at the top of the stairs until they were given the go ahead to see if Santa had visited. He did! This year he brought the girls bean bag chairs and tote bags filled with pajama goodness. He brought Jack a basketball hoop and a new ball. Never has there been a more excited little boy on the planet! Next we opened our stockings and then had a delicious Christmas breakfast with Grammy and Da. Homemade cinnamon rolls (made by yours truly), sausage, egg, and cheese casserole, and fruit salad. After that it was present time! We opened gifts, took pictures, and laughed for the next hour before cleaning up and getting ready for the day.

That afternoon we drove to Chillicothe and celebrated the holiday with Boss' family. Cousins are so much fun! And Papaw and Grandma are always too good to us at Christmas. We ended our day at Boss' aunt's house, where his entire extended family gathered together for a meal on this special day. I love that. I love adult siblings that still gather together. I pray it will be so for my own children! We drove home that night tired, but deeply satisfied. Happy children buckled into the back. Mama and Daddy holding hands. Another holiday came and went, but the memories will be held in our hearts for years to come. Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Adam

A few years ago, we started a tradition with my parents on the night before Christmas Eve. And because I find it too confusing to say Christmas Eve's, Eve, we entitled our night Christmas Adam. Because Adam came before Eve. Get it? Bwahahaha! Okay, it's corny I know, but my children love it and greatly look forward to Christmas Adam each year. My mom hosts us at her house and serves us a meal of home made fettuccine, salad, and garlic bread. Yum. After that the kids get to open their coordinating Christmas jammies (compliments of their dear Mama, that would be me, ahem). They are all super thrilled about their Christmas jammies each year. They jump up and down with joy and loudly exclaim with adoration that I am the best mama on the planet. Okay, not really, but I am sure that one day they will look back on this tradition that I forced upon them with fondness. And until then, it does my mama heart good to see all of my babies in coordinating jammies sitting under the sparkling Christmas tree. Sigh. Tonight, after the Christmas jammies were donned, we piled into Old Faithful (our very large white van) and perused the wealthy neighborhoods looking for beautiful Christmas light displays. We were not disappointed! When we had seen enough, we went back to Grammy's for treats and hot cocoa, followed by a few rounds of Christmas Bingo. I love my family, I love our traditions, and I love Christmas! Happy Christmas Adam!

Christmas Elving

On this very busy week before Christmas, my girls and I have spent lots of time elving! We (okay, I)wanted our giving to be a bit more thoughtful, personal, homemade this year. More "Z" family creations, less gift cards. And while we still have a super long way to go (as there are still a few gift cards hanging out under the tree), I do believe we made a good effort this year! A few examples of some home made gift ideas we came up with: family movie night buckets (including soda, candy, a cozy blanket to snuggle under, popcorn and cute tubs, a dollar bill to be redeemed for a movie from Red Box, etc.), sweet little jars filled with Christmas gum for the girl's little friends (idea taken from Pinterest), and tins filled with cookies and sweets for neighbors/friends. None of these ideas earth shattering, but my girls and I sure had fun creating, baking, and packaging! And we have more ideas up our sleeves for next year. So you had better watch out. The "Z" family is on a roll.

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Yay! It's finally the Christmas season, the very most wonderful time of the year! I love the parties, the decorations, the family friendly music, the treats and the gift giving, the jolly old man in the red suit. I love it all. But I love the way that my children's eyes sparkle and dance throughout the entire season the most. My three children are so beautiful and precious to me! My most favorite gifts of all time. Beautiful trees, sparkly presents, and all things merry and bright could never compare. They are my merry and bright! But seeing and celebrating the Christmas season through their eyes? Priceless! It doesn't get much better than this! I am making it a point to slow down and enjoy this season with my sweet little family!

A Day of Thanks in Pictures

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


This year we are planning on a nice, quiet, simple Thanksgiving at our home. Just the way that we like it. A few of the teenage girls will be enjoying the special meal with our family, as well as my parents. My little girls and I have been having such fun preparing our decorations for the big day! Pilgrim hat place cards, homemade place mats. My mom and I have also enjoyed planning our menu! Ham, turkey, sausage stuffing (my grandmother's recipe), cream cheese mashed potatoes, strawberry pretzel salad, and the list goes on. Yummy, comfort foods that warm both heart and belly. After lunch the boys will retire to the couches to watch some football, the girls will gather around the table and work on a fall puzzle. Pumpkin pie will be eaten, white pumpkin hot chocolate sipped. Family loved and enjoyed. That evening, after my parents have left, we will head over to our neighbors (really they are our second family) home for leftovers, cards, laughter, and the beginning makings of our Christmas lists! But not before we light up our home for the season with twinkling little lights before we go! My heart is so full just thinking about the wonderful day that is coming! I feel so blessed in this life that I have. Wonderful, amazing husband. Awesome, funny children. Supportive, loving extended family. Friends who treat us like family. I really do feel as though it is a wonderful life! And I thank God everyday for my many blessings. Happy Thanksgiving, from our family to yours!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween

As usual, the Z family Halloween festivities were quite frightful and fun this year! Okay, there was nothing frightful about our Halloween, but we certainly did have a lot of fun! This year we had a medieval princess (Emma), a ballerina kitty cat (Kate), and a golfer (Jack). The girls had such a great time dressing up for a campus party, Trunk-or-Treat at the church building, and trick-or-treating around campus. Anything that involves their besties (the Boverie sisters) and chocolate, and you pretty much have a winner event in the eyes of my daughters. Jack, however, did not love Halloween. He HATED his costume and wanted it off!! We, of course, found it hilarious and left his costume on for all of the events for our parental enjoyment. Jack also was not a fan of trick-or-treating. He did not want to walk around from house to house. He wanted to play basketball. The boy has a one track mind when it comes to sports (he gets that from his daddy). So, being the responsible adult that I am, I trick-or-treated on behalf of Jack. I did not want his candy to go to waste, so I ate it for him too! And when he wanted a bite? I said, "Sorry, son. Maybe next time you should put the ball down and get the candy yourself!". That'll show him! I think that about sums up Halloween 2011 for the Z family. Thanksgiving, here we come!

Fall Fun in Pictures

18 Months

Oh, my sweet son. Where has the time gone? How is it possible that in September you turned 18 months old? I cannot wrap my brain around it. Your entire life has been such a joy to me. I can't imagine the days that we used to spend without you. Without a doubt, you were meant to be a part of who we are. Do you want to know a secret? I was scared about having a little boy. I wanted a little boy, but after having both of your sisters before you, I was not sure what I would do with you. Now I am not sure what I would ever do without you. You are so happy! You love to smile and laugh. You are the most affectionate little boy. You give hugs and kisses generously, and you are always searching for a hand to hold. You love sports and balls, reading books, and putting on shoes (especially boots). You love your sisters, calling for them when you cannot see them. The best news is that they love you too. You call them 'Memma' (both of them), and they call you their best little buddy. You also adore Daddy and your favorite thing is to go on golf cart rides with him. But most of all, you are a Mama's boy. My boy. It is the best feeling in the world! You must always be near me, patting me, kissing me. Life is beautiful and filled with so much love since you are in it.

At 18 months old you are a decent sleeper, though you are rising earlier these days. You still want your bottle and your paci, and since you are our baby, we probably give both to you far too often. You love to eat (though you will not eat meat or drink milk), and your favorites are yogurt, bananas, and goldfish. You call everything a nack (snack). It makes us laugh! You are a growing boy! At your well child check you weighed in at 25 pounds, which put you in the 25th percentile for weight, as well as height. We won't discuss the size of your big noggin'! (Okay, I will confess. Your head size is in the 97th percentile! Wowsers. Mama thinks you have a really big brain.)You adore being outside and you are a very busy boy! A definite change of pace from your sisters. You keep us on our toes. Jack, Mama loves you. I am blessed to spend my days with you and I am excited to watch you grow, even if my Mama heart breaks a little bit in the process. Jack, in the words of your biggest sister, your family loves you so very much that there is not even a number for it!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Down to Destin

At our children's home annual auction/fundraiser this year, my dad and Boss bid on a week's vacation at a condo in Destin, Florida and won! A few weeks ago, we made the long trip down south and had such a wonderful time together as a family. What a beautiful city! White sand, sparkling water, dolphins. It was everything that you would hope a beach get-a-way to be (except for the jelly fish, but we did not let them ruin our fun!). Here are a few snapshots from our trip. Is it just me, or are my children beautiful?!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Back to School, Back to School

Another school year is under way, and this year our family has a second grader and a brand new Kindergartner! This year we plan to follow much of the same schedule that we kept last year. Three days of lessons, one day for hands on learning (baking and creating, etc.), and one day of co-op classes (this is new for our girls!), which we are super duper excited about! We kept much of Emma's curriculum the same from last year (Abeka, A Reason for Writing, Pathway Readers), only we advanced to the next grade level. She is so smart and likes to work independently, so this curriculum really suits her. With Kate we are simply focusing on math concepts, handwriting, and learning how to read. She is so excited to be joining big sister at the table for studies each week! Kate always has a great attitude and is excited about learning new things! Co-op is each Wednesday, and it has been such an awesome experience for us so far. The girls love getting dressed up and pulling around their backpacks like "real" students. Ha! They are both in an "Art Around the World" class, and Emma is also in Musical Theater Jr. This year they will be doing School House Rock. I LOVE the music and am so happy that it plays 24/7 in my car and and in my brain! Okay, that is a lie. The music makes me want to beat my head against the wall, but then I look in the rear view mirror and see my girl singing her heart out and my heart feels full once again. I feel so blessed that my children get to be a part of such a wonderful organization! I feel so blessed that we have the freedom to educate our children at home in the first place. Period. I get chills when I think about it. I can't imagine life any other way. Here's to the start of another wonderful school year!