The three younger ones and I just returned from our Ash Wednesday service... Can I say how nice it is to take in church with the little ones in tow? For holy days and others like this, we head to a less formal church down the street that we can make in a timely manner after preschool pick-up. We sit in back in the corner, we sing and wiggle and take in the liturgy, but without the stresses and rigor of usual Sunday Mass. It is sweet.
Today MG toddled around, carrying the worship aid paper. J followed after her, giving her water and her "Na-na" pink elephant. T told me, "Jesus is coming again a second time" and I nodded and smiled at his enthusiasm. Later, when it was time for ashes, we all walked down the aisle. T hid behind me--"I believe in Jesus, but I don't want ashes"--until we reached the man and he ended up receiving some after all. I heard no complaints after, he seemed relieved and at peace, almost happy with his feat of ashes. Cute.
J's ashes showered down on his nose, so he looked like a black-nosed puppy before we wiped him clean. MG was very interested in rubbing my ashes with her finger and then staring at the black left behind.
It was all very sweet. A treasured beginning to what will hopefully be a treasured time of preparation for all of us. We welcome you, season of Lent. We open our home and hearts to you, Lord Jesus.
When snow hits Virginia, you'd better believe the G's celebrate...
Even if we only end up with 3 or so inches, it's still worth plenty of outdoor adventure!
T was the first out and the last in... true to his Indiana birthright.
His brothers followed suit. Mama was reveling in her October snow preparedness... I'm just glad we had the chance to use our updated snow pants!
We call him "gray steel".
Sister in tights did not venture outside this year.
Can you tell we're totally pushin' it? Thankfully we got the rest of the flakes overnight, so the boys had more to work with this morning. They awoke, had a quick breakfast, and then were back out "on the slopes". :)
What's cuter than brother and sister eating apples by the fire? The fact that brother fetched the apples for both of them. Lovin' these two lately!
And whenever anyone questions the # of children I have, I will point them to this. See, we're not totally crazy.
In the midst of our whirlwind weekend last week, we also made a BIG change for G-Ville, moving J and MG into a room together! This was much anticipated and had been in the works for a few weeks. You may remember my DIY Curtain post, which was an attempt to outfit the room with inexpensive drapes for the two little ones.
We made the move anticipating baby G's arrival in May (occupying the nursery) and realizing J needed some time to be a true 3yo, rather than always on the heels of his older brothers. Bedtimes were always too late (he would willingly crawl into bed in the midst) and stories were too advanced (we'd have a hard time getting him interested). It was time to make the change... MG moved out of the nursery and J moved out of the 3-boy room down the hall to our former playroom.
We bought the furniture back in December used from a friend of mine! What a great deal--crib and two dressers of quality hardwood furniture for $300. I was ecstatic! One caveat to completing the room was the purchase of J's Star Wars Sheets from PBK--a promised perk to him assuming a joint room with his sister. These were so nice, we decided to make the PBK investment. Thanks to a 20% off sale last week and a 10% off coupon, we got them for more of a bargain--woo hoo!! T, J, MG, and I scurried to the mall after preschool one day and J very proudly walked away carrying his bag of treasured sheets. We knew we had him!
Does this look like a happy boy or what?!
Saturday night was our first night and J and MG were in bed by 7:15pm--woot! This was over an hour earlier than usual for our little man, and boy did he take to it!! I sat in the room for 15 minutes to ensure MG didn't cry, but left when I knew J was asleep. She was quiet from then on... They both awoke the next day by 6:30am, a typical morning. Success!
Night two we did the bedtime routine, jammies, teeth, books, prayers, and bed with both J and MG very engaged in the whole process. Perfect!! They both enjoy sitting on one of mama's knees at story time and I can tell J is enjoying the more age-appropriate books. I can't tell you how wonderful it makes me feel knowing he's enjoying more regular story time again. It had been plaguing our consciences... I left the room immediately after prayers and heard a few words passed between the two, but no tears or complaints. Both were quiet and asleep by 7:30pm. Excellent!!
Our only hiccup was Monday and Tuesday mornings, the two were up at 5:30am and raring to go. lol. I think it was early excitement at waking in the same room... We are hoping things continue to settle and we get more 6:30am's in our future. The last few days have thankfully been much more normal!
Thanks be to God, this change has been a good one.
We hosted a grand 7th hurrah-of-a-birthday party here on Saturday...
I had 8 of these jpg images blown up at Kinkos for $1.98/ea. We are now keeping the 4 nicest ones to frame and hang in M and T's room. Party and room decor, to boot!
For posterity sake, here is a rundown of the OCD-mama/former teacher ninja party schedule. I knew if we were going to have almost 10 *boys* running around here, it required a strict timetable. In the end, our timing was perfect and we were glad to have some order amidst the (potential) chaos. Custer's dog bowl and spoon helped to "gong" the boys from one activity to another...
2-2:10 boys arrive/bounce house in garage
2:10-2:35ninja training (moved indoors due to rain)
2:35-2:40set-up with popcorn and lemonade for Ninjago
3:05-3:20Ninjago "pin the golden weapon" game
3:20-3:35Cake and ice cream
3:45-4Bounce House/Free play* **
*send boys home with candy in popcorn holders
**Mom and Dad need a drink! :)
All of our planning paid off and the party proceeded without a hitch... Most importantly, M had a great time, which obviously was the whole purpose!
Ninja brothers beforehand
The party begins...
Little ninjas get ready
The ninja master daddy--hilarious!
"Combination 1", led by tae-kwon-do ninjas M and C
Then it was time for Ninja Training Stations (props to GG): 1) "Ninja Stealth"--sneaking up the stairs, through a tunnel, down the other stairs, through a pop-up house, and back into the living room to pounce on pillow cushions
2) "Ninja Strike"--punching hanging bouncers with boxing gloves
3) "Ninja Kick"--practicing best kicks in the bounce house (and not on each other!)
After, it was time for a little ninja rest, complete with popcorn, and lemonade...
The "pin the golden weapon" game afterward went well and we were treated to a backdrop snowstorm in the process. The birthday boy won (no fair!) so all was well... Then it was cake time...
Cake made from scratch purchased at Costco for 17.99. I do my best.
The ninjas seemed to enjoy themselves And before we knew it, the party was over...
Thanks to our Mimi and Papa for their support and help throughout. Thanks to my GG for being the best daddy and creative teammate a girl could ask for! We did it! :)
Ahh, propping my feet but reveling in the goodness,
Pre-breakfast presents with an Angry Bird theme--Angry Bird stuffed toys and the Angry Bird App for our iPad. We had AB "Lite" for awhile and the boys were begging for the next version... Who knew what joys could come from $.99 spent at the Apple App Store?! :)
We ate breakfast and then went to Mass, followed by a trip to Kris.py Kreme for some birthday donuts. M downed three as his birthday treat. 7yo's apparently have large appetites, especially for donuts! :) Finally, the end of day approached and Daddy returned from a weekend meeting in WI! What a treat to open the day's final gifts as a family. M received some books, a parachuting soldier, Star Wars mini light sabre, and Ninjago Lego set. Cool, 7yo dude! We capped the night with a fancy dinner at... you guessed it, McDonalds! :) It was M's choice, what can we say.
It was a birthday fit for a king... or a special, wonderful 7yo boy! Love you, bud!