Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Double Digit Birthday

My first baby is 10!  Our first child in double digits.  I'm going to blink and she's going to be in high school.  We love this grown up girl of ours.

Chloe's birthday celebrating started early this year with a small party and a gift from my parents over Thanksgiving in Idaho, and then more early presents when we stopped overnight in Pasco with Ben's parents.

Nana picked out some Greek mythology books for Chloe.  Chloe has been in a reading slump.  She is a great reader but has suddenly lost the desire to want to read this year.  Part of her nightly homework for 4th grade is to read at least 20 minutes and being assigned to have to read is what is getting to her.  We have tried all we can to get her passion back for reading and both of her grandmothers are trying to help by getting her fun books (my mom gave her two books as well).

Wearing her new scarf from Grandma Blakeslee a day before her birthday.

On Chloe's birthday (Tuesday, December 2nd), I dropped off treats at her classroom.  Chloe and I made cupcakes together the night before and she was so excited to help decorate them.  I was really hoping to be able to be there to help her pass them out in class, but her birthday was the day of our 20 week ultrasound and I knew it would be very hard for me to be done in time to get back to her school in time.  I didn't end up making it and I felt really bad, but the kids still got treats and Chloe seemed ok.  I got this picture of her with the treats when I dropped the cupcakes off before my appointment.

We started off the family party with the gender reveal.  I had Chloe open a file folder with the news.  IT'S A GIRL!  This picture depicts everyone's reactions to the news perfectly- Chloe and Lexi were thrilled and so excited.  Mitch is stunned and disappointed, all at the same time.  Leah doesn't really care one way or the other.

The folder held red lips (for It's a Girl) for the 4 girls (Livy tried to eat hers) and a sign for Mitch to hold (knowing he'd be certainly crushed) that read "I'd rather have a brother."  We didn't even have to tell him to looked completely bummed out- that came naturally. :)  

We are so thrilled with another girl.  You really can't complain when you've been told you have a healthy baby coming into your family.  It would have been so, so fun to tell Mitch he was getting a brother and we haven't had a baby boy in 7 years now, so having another boy would have been fantastic.  But luckily, the decision isn't ours to make and we know that gender is essential to our identity and that Heavenly Father knows exactly what our family needs.  April can't come fast enough and we can't wait to see how our family changes and grows with another sweet spirit in our home.

Livy got a quick picture with her BFF before heading off to bed.  I am completely smitten with how head over heels Olivia is with Chloe.  She adores her and prefers her over any of us.  If Chloe walks into a room after not having seen Olivia for a few hours and she doesn't pick Livy up for give her a hug, Olivia melts down and is so sad.  Chloe is so good with her, it amazes me everyday.  She acts well beyond her 10 years of age when it comes to caring for this little baby.  I love their sweet relationship and look forward to watching it grow in the future.

Chloe was thrilled to open a jean jacket from Ben and I.  She has been wanting one for quite awhile.

She was equally excited about a new pair of boots.  I want Chloe's sense of style and wish everything looked as good on me as it does on her.

A gift card to go shopping- wahoo!

After watching the rest of her siblings get one for their birthdays earlier this Fall, Chloe got her own headlamp from Cynde too.  Oh, and a giant bag of candy too.  We love Cynde!

Chloe's requested birthday cake- a chocolate cake from Costco.

I had the cake decorated put the pink baby booties on there too, to commemorate finding out the gender of the new baby on Chloe's birthday.  We told the kids we were pregnant on Mitch's birthday and the gender on Chloe's. 

Team Andros, minus sleeping Livy.

With all her new loot!

The new jacket and boots HAD to be worn to school the next day!

Oh, we love this big girl of ours.  She is our responsible, helpful girl.  She does so much for us and for all her siblings.  She can and is willing to do almost everything asked of her, and more.  She knows how to take care of Livy's every need.  She is fantastic to just come in the room and pick up a crying Livy and distract her while I make dinner or am busy.  She can put her to bed, get her up and feed her and do everything.  No wonder Livy loves her!

She is a fantastic student and is thriving at school.  She still loves to create and do anything with paper.  I find papers with stories, drawings or made up school papers for her siblings all over the house.  She loves to cook by herself or with someone and loves trying new recipes.  Her favorite thing to bake is muffins and she is always getting on Pinterest to look up new, fun muffin recipes.  She is a great entertainer for her younger siblings.  She loves making up new games (with lots of rules) and playing school with them (she being the teacher, of course). 

She enjoys sports, but decided to only play Fall soccer this year.  We were bummed to hear this, but after a lengthy discussion to make sure she had some valid reasons, we accepted her decision.  

She is really getting into wanting to be fashionable and is getting more and more opinionated about her clothing styles.  For the most part she has great taste, but can be very particular about certain styles that bother her or that she doesn't like.  While loving the latest styles, she is also my child as she loves a good pair of sweat pants to wear around the house (just like he mama). 

She does not take after her mom in the fact that she is a messy girl!  Her room is always a disaster area and it doesn't bother her one bit.  She told me that if we got her a bigger room that she could keep it clean, but that it's currently too small to keep neat.  She is also our child famous for leaving a "Trail of Chloe" around the house: her backpack in one corner, a pair of shoes here, a jacket there, her book on the couch, a pair of socks strewn on the kitchen floor, school papers on the table, and this and that all over.  For her 11th birthday, her mom wishes for a clean room for her and the "Trail of Chloe" to become a distant memory. :)

She loves music and always wants to be up on the latest songs.  She loves listening to music on her iPod by herself.  She is a good singer and I love to hear her sweet singing voice. 

Happy Birthday to our lovely Chloe girl!

Thanksgiving in Idaho

This year for Thanksgiving we trekked over to Idaho to spend it with my parents and siblings in Burley.

Packing for 7 people exhausts and overwhelms me!  It is my least favorite part of vacations.

The twins loved showing me that they could fit in my suitcase.

If only packing were that easy!

We left the Friday evening before Thanksgiving to head to Eastern Washington that evening.  That required us to hit Snoqualmie Pass in the dark.  As we approached the pass, we discovered that the pass was closed because of an accident due to bad weather.  We were worried that we would get up to the closed part and sit there for hours, which we did not want in the freezing weather with 5 tired kids.  We also heard that chains were required, which we did not have.  We were pretty sure that we would be turning around and just going home and trying again the next day, but decided first to go buy some chains and go from there.

We backtracked a mile or two to North Bend and bought a set of chains for our tires.  By the time we bought them and learned how to put them on, the pass was back open.  We decided to give it a try.  We chained up, which then required us to only travel 25-30 MPH.  

The roads were very slushy and icy and it was snowing.  It was a very slow, tedious trip.  We had to keep our chains on for about 40 miles.  With the stop/delays, bad weather and slow going, it took us 7 hours to get to Ben's parent's house when it normally takes us no more than 3.5 hours.  We arrived at 11:00 p.m. and we were exhausted.

Saturday morning we were worried that we would encounter more bad weather.  After a very long trip the night before, we were not anxious for another trip with bad weather and extra time.  Luckily, the weather was good and we made it to my parent's house in the normal time.  
We had a wonderful week of visiting and spending time with siblings and cousins.

Battle ship was the game of the week with the kids.

The most hilarious players were 3 year old Jackson and 5 year old Lexi, neither of which knew how to play the correct way.  The dialogue between the two of them went something like this: "Do you have an E?  Do you know what an E looks like?"  "Yes, I have an E!"  And then they'd put a peg in a random place.  They loved it and it was adorable.

My parents took my kids and Amanda's kids to Twin Falls one afternoon for a day out.

All the kids (minus Olivia) fit in our van.

They stopped at the Twin Falls temple first to get a picture.  We love to see the temple!

Afterwards, my parents treated all of them to the movie at the theater.  They loved it!

The kids played lots of Wii together.  It was very intense.

Kids sleep all over the house at my parents'.  Lexi and Chloe slept together one night and we found them all snuggled together.  It was cute until they both came in at 2:00 a.m. and woke us up to tell us they both had woken each other up and were kicking one another.

Livy loved this little plastic chair of my mom's.  She loved climbing up on it.

She also thought the Wii remotes were her own personal cell phone.

My mom organized a puzzle contest one evening.  Each kid had an adult helper and it was a race to see who could get done first.

It was a hit!

Everyone loves a bedtime story from Grandma.

The first half of the week was FREEZING cold with some intense, freezing wind.  The kids had to bundle up in snow gear to even step out the door.  The second half of the week it was in the high 50's, low 60's and the kids spent lots of time outdoors.

Thanksgiving Day!

Livy warmed up to Uncle George while I helped with dinner.

Before we ate, we attempted a grandkid/grandparent picture.  It turned out pretty well!  11 grandkids with 2 on the way!

Ben slicing the ham

Dad slicing the turkey

These two cute cousins, just a few weeks apart in age, had fun playing together.  They loved looking out the window, watching the big kids play and seeing Grandma's dog and kitty.

Catherine made these adorable Thanksgiving cutout signs.

The kids kept busy while dinner was being made by playing outside in the 60 degree weather.

The kid dinner table

Livy loved all the food- her first Thanksgiving dinner!

These two cousins- I love them!  They love being together and only had one small argument the whole week.

Dishing up!

Eating for two! :)

Dinner was fabulous!  

After dinner, we sat the kids down to play a Thanksgiving Bingo that I had made and brought (thanks to my sis-in-law Megan for the idea).

The kids loved it and we played until everyone had won at least twice.

Winning meant you got to pick a prize from the prize table. 

Me and Livy called the numbers. 

Next was dessert and Olivia loved the pumpkin pie.  She loved it so much that she ate at least a full adult sized slice (if not more) and rubbed it all over her face and smeared it in her hair.

Friday was our last full day with cousins.

Leah played a hearty game of football with Tristan and Carter.  I love that she loves to play hard and get dirty and have fun.

Recovering a fumble!

Lexi and Paige were good buddies and spent lots of time together throughout the week.  They made masks one day for a talent show.

They made and passed out invites to their show.

It was a trampoline show and they were cute.

Leah was obsessed with my mom's kitty.  If we couldn't find her, we could count on her being outside hauling that kitty around.

She and Tristan loved the wiggle cars.

Friday night, Grandma had a party for the two December birthday buddies whose birthdays are a day apart.

My Grandma Dewnsup just recently moved to Burley and we are so glad that is close now so that we can see her more when we are in town.

After moving, my Grandma went through all of her stuff trying to get rid of some of her things that she didn't have room for anymore.  She came across these 4 pillowcases that she had hand crocheted and hand stitched and wanted to give them to the 4 oldest granddaughters. 

They are beautiful and I love them!

My mom had a gift for Chloe for her birthday that she wanted her to open.

It was the perfect Chloe type of gift- a treasure box with a few treasures inside.  It was so fun.

My mom even put pictures of Chloe as a baby and a toddler in the front slots.  It was so cute!

These two have such a special bond.  Chloe adores my mom.

We took off to go home Saturday morning.  We hit bad weather over Meacham pass and it was slow going for awhile.  And "Deadman's Pass" is a terrible name for a snowy, dangerous pass.  Not much of a comfort as you drive through it. :)

We stopped for the night in Tri-Cities and finished our trek back home Sunday.

We were welcomed by the gorgeous, snow covered trees and mountains over Snoqualmie pass.  We were glad that the snow was on the trees and not on the road this time.  We truly live in a beautiful place!