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Happy 2018!

Happy New Year!! I hope everyone had a great time celebrating last night! Every year we ring in the new year with our church friends. It’s always a bit of work with kids getting sleepy/crabby long before midnight…especially since Don has always been working or sleeping while I’m on my own with all the kids. But I have always loved it!

This year, however, looked a little different for us. And a little spoiler alert–it didn’t look anything like these pictures 😉 Desmond was diagnosed with pneumonia in both lungs on Saturday and everyone else has been coughing all week and taking turns running fevers, so I thought it was best for us to stay home. I was a bit disappointed to miss out but I was also slightly relieved.

Don worked until 11 last night so the thought of hauling 6 kids all by my pregnant self to a party (when the temperatures were in the negatives) just didn’t sound very appealing. I told the kids we’d have our own party for anyone who could manage to stay awake.

We loaded up on homemade pizza and snacks and I told the kids that we’d play games after Desmond and Clementine went to bed. But then they went to bed and I was out of energy. Remember–pregnancy + sickness. I suggested a movie, which they gladly agreed to, and then I crafted with the 3 boys until Don got home. So we never got around to playing any games but I think they actually had more fun crafting with me instead. And the best part is that I got to do it all in my pajamas haha.

When the clock struck midnightish (Don’s countdown app conveniently stopped working at 11:59) we toasted with sparkling grape juice, watched the fireworks from our living room windows, and went to bed. And it was in that moment that I was so very thankful that I was not loading up 6 kids to drive home and shuffle to bed.

And now we’re spending New Year’s Day the same way I think we do every year. Sitting at home while my kids have limitless energy and I’m over here, extremely exhausted. Don is working all day again so we’ll be surviving on Netflix and leftover snacks. Not the most exciting start to 2018 but I know it’s only going to get better.

And that’s because this is the year we’re having baby #7! I’m officially only 6 weeks away from my due date–which seems so crazy to me! I slightly panicked the other night when I realized how close that is. We don’t have a name for our baby girl yet and it’s still hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that we’re about to add another family member. But even though I don’t feel completely ready yet, we are so excited to meet this baby girl! She has a whole houseful of people ready to love on her.

And while “have a baby” may be my only official resolution, I do also have a few other things I’d like to work on over the year. Of course there’s the stereotypical “lose weight” resolution–but that’ll wait until after I have the baby, obviously. I also hope to improve my photography/editing. And there’s always room to work on being more patient with my children and being more hands on/intentional with them. Especially with giving them more one on one attention and encouraging their individual interests.

2017 was a great year for us! I really look forward to seeing what 2018 holds!

Thank you so much to everyone who has followed along on our family’s journey this past year! I’m looking forward to sharing this next year with you all! Happy 2018!

(the above picture is my top 9 instagram posts from 2017. You can find yours by going to this website HERE.)

Blog, christmas, holidays

Christmas Leftovers

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Before everyone completely moves on from Christmas, I just wanted to share a few photos from the Christmas season and Christmas morning! I’ve also had a few people ask how we do gifts in our family so I’ll share about that as well! But first, matching jammies! I promise, we’ll back off the jammies a bit now that the Christmas season is over. But I can’t promise that you’re completely done seeing them because I love them so much.

Also, our virtual family Christmas card! Because for the past couple of years, I haven’t gotten my act together early enough to have cards made and mailed in time! For these pictures, we just set up a tripod and use our remote to take a billion pictures. We misplaced our remote somehow while taking some of the Clem on the Shelf pictures so we ordered another one because I love this thing so much (and it’s such a good price!) This is how we take all of our family photos…unless otherwise credited. There’s no way this pregnant body is going to run back and forth for a self timed photo.

The last sleeping picture of Clementine in our room! That’s right..after nearly 15 months in our room, Clementine has moved up to Evangeline’s room! We struggled to find a way to fit a bed and a crib in that room but I think we found at least a temporary situation until Clementine is big enough to move out of the crib! I’m going to miss walking by her bed daily during naptime and bedtime to see her sweet sleeping self. But it’ll be nice to have our own room for the next 6.5 weeks haha.

I had been so excited to put Clementine in her Christmas dress for Christmas Eve church. It’s one of my favorite dresses that I bought when Evangeline was a baby! But that’s about the time that sickness started creeping into our house so I had Don stay home with a few kids, including Clementine, instead of sharing our germs with everyone at church. However, that didn’t stop me from getting a picture of the girls in their coordinating outfits! The boys weren’t interested in getting a picture so I didn’t include them 😉

Christmas morning!! Like I mentioned in my last post, this was the first Christmas morning that Don had gotten to spend awake with us so we were all so excited to start new traditions. I grew up eating biscuits and gravy on Christmas morning so we continued that tradition this year..along with some cinnamon rolls. Next year we may try something else but for this year, it was perfect!

I had envisioned everyone wearing their Christmas jammies to bed on Christmas Eve and wearing them as we opened gifts on Christmas morning. But half my kids ended up sleeping in the clothes they wore the night before and I just didn’t care at that point. Oh well. Maybe next year!

I have gotten some comments and messages on Instagram from people asking how we do gifts at our house. The simple answer is that we haven’t quite figured it out yet. I know a lot of people have different systems (budgets, number of gifts, etc) but we really don’t have much of a system at all. We had considered doing the 4 gift method–something they need, want, wear, and to read. But when I was thinking through, I realized that didn’t work out as much for us.

Clothes are something we pretty constantly need. So on Black Friday, I stocked up on some sales at Old Navy and just wrapped them up as gifts. These are the types of things that they needed anyway, but I just used it as a gift opportunity. Of course that wouldn’t be a very exciting Christmas if that was all they got. But we also don’t want to be bogged down with more stuff. So the rest of their gifts, even though they may have been addressed to a specific kid, were more like group gifts.

The boys got some games and crafts that we can do as a family. Liam was really excited about the games we got him because those were pretty much the only things he asked for for Christmas this year.

The younger kids got a bunch of kitchen items that we had gotten for their play kitchen (that they will be getting from their Grandpa next week!) These kids steal my kitchen stuff all the time so I thought this would be perfect. And I was so right! All 6 of them have been obsessed with it all. I got them some play pots and pans from Ikea. I also bought some of the real utensils there because they were actually cheaper than the play ones. And I have been picking up some wooden/felt foods from the Target dollar spot when I see them.

They have no idea why we now have a basket full of kitchen items (they got more from their other grandparents) but they haven’t even questioned it. I’m so excited for them to get the kitchen next week!


Also, clearance costumes after Halloween! I picked up a costume for each of them when Target had their Halloween items clearanced at 90% off! Those ended up being between $1-3 each. They love to dress up throughout the year and they were all so excited to add to our collection. This picture of Desmond with his new llama costume is my favorite thing ever. I’m pretty sure he thought it was just a giant stuffed animal haha. But he has loved running around in it!

And Kai’s obsession with pigs continues. All he asked for this year was books so this book was perfect and his reaction is priceless!

We decided when Liam (our oldest) was a baby that we were not going to do the whole Santa thing. We treat him as a fun fictional character that comes around at Christmas time. But he doesn’t bring gifts for the kids and they know he is not a real person. Although, after watching the “Santa Clause” movies, I’m pretty sure a couple of the kids are thoroughly confused haha. I know it’s a personal decision for every family so we try to make sure our kids don’t ruin it for other families. But for us, this is how we wanted to do things. (And don’t worry, they still think Christmas is plenty magical 😉 )

While we don’t really keep track of what we’re spending (I know, that’s horrible!) we do try to be wise with the amount we’re spending. I shop sales and clearance and end up saving a lot of money. And we try to be mindful of what we’re bringing into the house. Meaning that I really try to think of things that will remain an interest long term and that will get a lot of use. I also like to find things for them to play/do together.

In the future, I think I would like to develop a better system. But so far this has worked pretty well for us and I don’t feel like it has been a financial strain. They kind of each get one or two “bigger” items (in the $10-20 range) and then some smaller things that I was able to pick up at a very low cost.

After we got done opening presents, the kids put on some of their new clothes (minus Kai, who didn’t end up getting any new shirts) and we went to my Dad’s house to spend the day while Don was working. I’m dreaming of next year and HOPING that Don will get to spend the entire holiday with us. I’m so thankful that he got to spend the morning with us this year but I have to admit that it was hard to have to send him away for the rest of the day.

And the next day is when everyone started to get hit with fevers. Coughs have now spread to everyone except Don. So we’re looking at the possibility of spending New Years at home this year. Don works until 11pm on New Years Eve so even though I would be a little let down to miss out on the party we go to every year (with our church friends,) I am starting to think that it sounds nice to put the little ones to bed and just stay up with the big kids, playing games and making crafts until the clock strikes midnight. But we’ll see how everyone is doing tomorrow.

How about you guys? Does anyone have a system for gifting in your family? I’m thinking about doing a gift exchange between the kids next year and letting each kid pick out a gift (with a price limit) for one of their siblings. I still have a while to think about that 😉 But I’d love to hear how other families do it!

Have a great weekend and Happy New Year!!