Saturday, December 31, 2011

Out with the old and in with the new

As we say goodbye to 2011 and hello to 2012 like everyone I have been looking back on the year. I have to say 2011 wasn't a bad year for us. Of course the birth of Alyssa made it extra special, but we had a lot of change in our family.

Adding a 4th child to the mix was of course the biggest change. But having three kids in three different schools. CJ started riding the school bus this year. Natalie got into the Avid program. Kaitlyn thrived in school. It was a great year and I'm a little sad to see it go.

I am looking forward to 2012 though. Alyssa's 1st birthday to start the year. Then after Natalie, Kaitlyn, and CJ make it through this school year they will start some important school year milestones. Natalie will begin her final year of middle school, Kaitlyn will start her final year of elementary school, and CJ will start his first truly official year of school with Kindergarten. This time next year I figure I'll be looking into different options for what we'll do for Kaitlyn for middle school. At this point in time I'm not entirely convinced that public middle school is the place for her and she might be better suited in a Montessori school for middle school. The last half of this school year for her is going to be crucial.

We hope to take a trip to Florida this year too to see family we haven't seen in way too long. So it's going to be an exciting year in 2012. We're sorry to see you go 2011, but looking forward to seeing what 2012 will bring The Barnes Bunch!

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Barnes Bunch Very Merry Christmas

All of the planning and anticipation for the big day and it flies by in a flash. But I can say it was a great one this year. We were together and we were happy and we were loving which is all I can ever ask for on Christmas. Our gift opening began at about 9 a.m. after everyone had used the bathroom. And there was plenty of happiness in the day...

Kaitlyn bringing the gifts she got for everyone into the living room.

Kaitlyn realizes that it's a desk and it's all hers!

Natalie opening her first gift

Kaitlyn is excited that she got crayons!

CJ got Perry

Oooh flying monkies!

"Yay, a new one book"

Oooh, a crystal growing kit.

A slinky!

CJ opening a puzzle

A new book

Connect 4, now she has all of them

Yay, markers!


Natalie got a Kindle

He got Handy Manny

What could it be?

The big truck he wanted!

A vibrating ball


A plate and fork and spoon set

Alyssa got some blocks

What's in here?

She wanted her vibrating ball back

Okay you can open this now

CJ has a lot of fun with this one, so far Alyssa has had little interest in it

After all of the dust settled and everyone was happily playing with the toy of the hour I started breakfast. Pancakes, omelettes, scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage. Tons of food. Then we checked out the movie schedule while the kids played some more. We went to see Alvin and the Chipmunks. Alyssa's first movie, but she hadn't napped much. So half way through the movie I couldn't get her to settle so I spent the rest of the movie out in the lobby walking her around. I popped in every once in a while, but I missed the last half. The kids had a good time though so that's all that matters. We came home and spent the rest of the evening playing with our new stuff. Alyssa got really cranky and wouldn't go to sleep. She was so out of her routine. All in all it was a great Christmas though.

Barnes Bunch Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve, like has been the tradition for the past 3 years, was spent at my Aunt and Uncle's house with my parents, my cousin, her husband, and my Aunt's brother. Joe had to work later than usual on Christmas Eve this year so we arrived late. Which of course left me with the huge task of helping 4 children get dressed, do their hair, get baths and showers, as well as get myself ready. This way we could mostly just run out the door as soon as Joe got home from work. It of course didn't work quite that well, but we were out the door by the time I had planned to be which is a good thing.

We arrived at my aunt and uncle's house and were quickly served some delicious food. It might have been a good thing that we were late since everyone had already eaten, I actually got to enjoy a hot meal because my mom sat and fed Alyssa. She ate everything too.

After eating we opened gifts. Everyone got just what they wanted. So we ended up with some very happy children.

Alyssa's a happy baby

CJ goofing around

Pretty Kaitlyn

Pretty Natalie

Alyssa's big blue eyes

Alyssa's starting to stand on her own

Tried getting a shot of Alyssa's whole outfit, including the special diaper cover I had made to go with her dress

We left my Aunt and Uncle's house way later than we would have liked and didn't get home until about 11. The kids were exhausted though and went right off to bed with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads. And Joe and I settle in to start the arduous chore of wrapping everything. Yes, we leave it all to Christmas Eve. We were done by 1 a.m. though and here was what we were left with...

The stockings hung by the door with care (since we have no chimney)

Joe and I went to bed and got to sleep until about 8:30. Well, unfortunately that wasn't uninterrupted sleep since Alyssa still gets up, but it wasn't too bad. Check back later for our Christmas morning pictures...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Putting up our Christmas tree

Yesterday we were busy busy busy. We started the day by rearranging the living room in preparation for putting up the tree. Joe went and got the tree out of the basement and all the other holiday decorations. We got the tree up and lights on before we had to leave to go to a friend's birthday party. We came home, had dinner, and got right to work on the actual tree decorating.

Alyssa's excited to get this tree decorated

CJ putting an ornament on the tree

Kaitlyn putting an ornament on the tree

Alyssa pulling herself to a stand

CJ wanted to show me his ornament

Angel Celeste Alia is always a part of us

CJ making a funny face

Looking at the tree from the inside out

The final product

I love our tree. It's so pretty! Alyssa is fascinated with the ornaments and has been batting around the ones on the bottom and pulling them off. We keep distracting her from the tree and showing her that we just look at how pretty it is. I'm sure we'll be doing this everyday until the tree comes down, but I refuse to have a tree that isn't fully decorated or a gated tree. She has to learn sometime. Nothing breakable is on the bottom that she can get and there are enough of us to keep a close eye on her.

And of course with the putting up of the Christmas tree comes lots of discussion about why we celebrate Christmas and stories about each of the special ornaments that go on the tree. They all have some sort of special meaning and history for our family.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Alyssa is 10 months old

So I am over a week late with this post, but Alyssa is 10 months and 1 week old. It's so hard to believe we are so close to her first birthday. This has gone so fast.

You may recall at her 9 month check up there was some concern about her weight gain. We went back yesterday for a weight check and she gained over a pound. She is now 15 pounds 13.6 ounces. Oddly enough she still is not on the growth chart, but the doctor was pleased enough with that amount of weight gain that she said to just keep doing whatever we're doing and we'll see her for her one year. So I'll take that.

Alyssa these days has been doing her cute little scoot crawl and getting herself around very well now. She's also pulling herself to a stand and tentatively starting to cruise. Sometimes she actually looks like she's going to just stand up in the middle of the floor without holding onto anyone. She finally got some teeth. Her first one came in the day after Thanksgiving on the bottom right and then shortly after the one next to it started to come in.

She loves to eat whatever we're eating. She gets upset if she doesn't have what's on our plate. Some of her favorites are chicken, turkey, mashed potatoes, and carrots.

She loves to play peek a boo. She still hates when she's left alone in a room. If she doesn't follow you, then she'll cry. She is very stand offish with people she doesn't know or see regularly and gets a death grip on me if someone talks to her and she plays shy. She gets a huge kick out of CJ. When he's home she loves to follow him around and play with him. He makes her laugh all the time. She likes Natalie and Kaitlyn too, but they are more the other people who hold her than someone to play with I think.

Here are some pictures of her that were taken tonight:

Did you see that penguin diaper? Isn't that the cutest thing ever? I won that for her. And Natalie, who loves penguins, was so ecstatic. She actually thanked me for cloth diapering. Really, this is one of the things I just love about cloth. So cute!

So that's what's going on with Alyssa. Soon we'll be planning her first birthday.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Remembering 3 years later

Dear Celeste,
No, Mommy did not forget. I could never forget the day I met your beautiful little face for the first time and had to say goodbye. December 6, 2008 will forever be etched in my soul.

I miss you my little Angel everyday. I cry less now when I think of you though. Don't mistake that as me not missing you because I do. I can't help but wonder when I see other 2 year old children what you would be like. I wonder which one of your siblings you would be looking most like these days. I wonder if you would be shy or outgoing. I wonder if you would be a daddy's girl or a mommy's girl.

I have come to terms with you not being with us, at least physically. So Celeste, I thank you for being our little Guardian Angel for the past three years. Thank you for giving us all a little perspective into how precious life is. Thank you for the time we did have even though it was so very short and only I got to feel your movements. Mommy and Daddy love you now and always. RIP sweet Angel Celeste Alia.

Love always,

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

She's really off

Alyssa has been crawling around for a while. I have been trying to catch it on video for a while now, but haven't been able to. I finally got it today. She has a unique crawling style. She has been finding ways to get around for some time, but now she is everywhere. If you put her down on the floor she usually takes off to go see what her big brother is up to. That is her favorite place to go, his room. But have a look see for yourself how this little girl gets around.

I thought by now she would have stopped doing this, but she hasn't. She just gets faster and faster. She always has her left foot on the floor too and her right knee under her.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fifty Nifty United States

On Friday Kaitlyn came home from school and begged us to come to her schools Stafford Showcase Monday afternoon. And all weekend long she kept talking about it and talking about it. It actually got to the point where we were like Kaitlyn if you don't stop we're not going. Of course we were going. Joe had the day off from work thankfully. So we were able to go. It was on the calendar. So yesterday afternoon we arrived at her school a little before 1:30 when the performance was scheduled to start. We waited outside with the other parents who were invited until we could go in. We went in and sat and all of the children began filing in. The principal kicked things off with a little music. "Celebration" to be exact. The kids danced around and then we sat through kids reading stories and poems and a little guess that number stuff. Finally it was the 4th grades turn. They went up there and sang a song called Fifty Nifty United States. I am going to warn you this song gets stuck in your heads. Kaitlyn should never forget how to say all 50 of her states in alphabetical order from this tune...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day 2011

Thank you to all of the past, present, and future Veteran's who have fought for what we have.

I think this cartoon pretty much says it all!

Go check out my other blog, Monica's Mom Musings. Natalie is guest blogging for me over there today. You can read her letter to the Veterans on Veteran's Day!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Princess Alyssa has her 9 month checkup

Hello everyone, it's me Alyssa and it's time for another update from me. It is November. If you remember back in August I was not looking forward to November. Well, I didn't remember that. Yesterday Mommy and Daddy took me to the doctor. Where strange people looked at me and made me cry. Then we went into this room and another stranger was touching me. I was stripped down to just my diaper and put on the scale which said I weighed 14 pounds 6 ounces. Oh yeah and I'm 26 1/4 inches tall now.

I got to play with some new toys for a little while and then that doctor lady came in. She seemed to be in a panic about something to do with my weight because Daddy took me out to the scale. This time I was 14 pounds 12 ounces, but that still did not make the doctor happy. I don't know why. They say I'm doing everything I'm supposed to be. Starting to pull to a stand, motoring around, laughing, smiling, babbling, feeding myself, and afraid of strangers. All totally normal for my age. I've been going along this growth curve I guess that the doctor was happy with right up until now. So now I get to eat more. Good thing I love to eat.

Then after the doctor did all this talking with Mom and Dad she started touching me. I was okay with it for the most part because she gave me this cool wood stick. That thing was really interesting and it sure tasted good too. I guess the doctor was okay with everything because she had my mommy get me dressed.

But then I had to get one of those sharp needles stuck in my leg. I heard something about a flu shot. Let me tell you all the bubble blowing and dancing toys in the world cannot make the sting of those needles hurt any less. Lets just say I was happy to get out of there. But there was some talk of me needing to get another flu shot in a month and a weight check. At least that time my big sister gets to get tortured with me though. I think my mommy scheduled us to go in together. I had a hard time sleeping last night though after that shot so I'm not looking forward to feeling like that again in a month. But I get to eat eat eat for the next month. I love that!

So until December...

Friday, November 4, 2011

CJ's 4th Birthday

I was just sitting here and thinking uh oh I haven't shared how CJ's birthday went this year. So the fact that we didn't have Halloween this year because of no power sure made it hard to wrap my head around the fact that it was my son's birthday.

He got up Tuesday morning and came into my room where I promptly wished him a happy birthday. He spent the rest of the day reminding everyone that it was his day. It wasn't easy giving him everything he wanted either. We had to go find some place that was open to get him a cake because I couldn't bake him one and while we still had one from his party it had been in a fridge that had no power for 3 days. So that was kind of out of the question. Not that he minds not having mom bake him a cake though. He just doesn't like my baking.

So we got him a cake and tried to figure out something that we could cook on the stove top for dinner that he would like. We convinced him to go with chicken alfredo. So we got everything for that and picked him up a little gift of cars and a launcher. The perfect thing for any 4 year old boy, right?

Then we came home hoping for power, but no such luck. Still cold and still without power, but CJ had his new cars and launchers so he was set. We had some lunch and the kids played some games while Joe, Alyssa, and I laid down for a nap. When we got up we started making dinner and the girls headed down to our neighbor's apartment to see if she was looking for some company tonight. She was. The girls stayed down there and we finished making dinner. When that was done we gathered the food, cake, lighter, candle, and headed downstairs to share CJ's birthday with our neighbor. She at least was able to keep her kitchen warm by being able to turn her oven on. Ours wouldn't light for us. We could only get the stove top to work on ours. So it was nice to at least get to warm up. We had dinner, cake, sang happy birthday, and played games by candlelight for most of the night. CJ was wiped pretty quickly after all the excitement and ended up falling asleep in Daddy's lap. After completing our game we gathered our stuff and headed back up to our cold apartment. And that was CJ's 4th birthday. One to remember for sure. Here are some pictures of his cake...

Thank you to our neighbor for helping us keep warm and give CJ a good time on his birthday. I am relieved that CJ has never been upset by anything he didn't get to have when we were without power. It was a tough time for a child having the power go out during his party, having to not go out trick or treating, and then finally spending his birthday without power. But he seemed to enjoy it all none the less even though he didn't get exactly what he would have wanted if things were working the way they should have been. So I'm very proud of my boy for keeping positive through everything and embracing the power outage. The kids all did great considering.