Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

We normally gather with friends, our Saudi family, for Thanksgiving but this year we decided to do something a little different. The kids and I were leaving for Washington the very next day for several weeks before John joined us and we wanted that extra time as a family. It was a lot of work preparing a Thanksgiving meal with the traditional elements John and I wanted and making some dishes both regular and then a second gluten free version for the kids but it was nice day as a family, cooking, relaxing, watching the Macy's Day Parade and soaking up some time as a family before we spent time apart. 

We brined our turkey and tried a new recipe and loved the way it turned out! So yummy!

I had spent many nights prior working on desserts and trying to prep as much as possible so we didn't have too much to do on the day of and it worked out really well and wasn't too much on our Thanksgiving! 

Shiloh woke up at the end and enjoyed some mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes! 

A wonderful, relaxing day and so much to be thankful for this year (as it is every year)! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

First Swim Team Ribbon

Swim team season has been busy and well under way since September and it was a hug time commitment for everyone! Peyton was practicing three times a week and then we easily had a meet every other weekend and sometimes every weekend. 

After the first swim meet, the next practice the head coach handed out ribbons that kids received from the meet. Peyton did not get a ribbon and it devastated her, she just didn't understand and it was a really hard lesson to learn that day. We tried to explain the concept of getting a personal best, working to improve times and that swimming was about competiting against yourself but to a six year old…all she wanted was a ribbon. We had several more meets since that hard lesson and she was getting a personal best every single time in both events and improving by leaps and bounds! We started a reward system of receiving money (which she is highly motivated by) every time she got a personal best and she was robbing us! Finally after several meets she placed and got her first ribbon! We were so excited for her!

The first part of the swim season was long but flew by and we were amazed at how much she improved. By the end of the fall season she had taken off 15.5 seconds off of her backstroke time and 7 seconds off her freestyle time and was starting to learn a third stroke, butterfly!

She has such a joy and excitement when she swims and always has a smile!

Peyton is the second from the bottom
What impressed us more than her accomplishments during the fall season was her determination, hard work and positive attitude towards everything. She worked hard every practice, listened, applied what she was told and had such a great work ethic. She was such an encourager towards her teammates when they swam and consistently impressed us with her maturity! Looking forward to the spring swim season and all to come!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Shiloh - 6 months old

And in a blink of an eye….this sweet girl is now six months old! What an amazing six months it has been with Shiloh here! I cannot even imagine not having her in our family and how much she completes our family! These past six months have been a transition for sure but it has gone so much easier and better than I ever could have imagines and I think that her incredibly happy personality combined with her being baby number three has made these six months a relatively easy time for our family!

This little nugget is constantly rolling from her back to front and front to back! You are rolling everywhere! She has figured out how to roll on the tile floor without hitting her head and keeps her head raised off the ground….it is really funny to watch! You can roll across a room in minutes! 

She is also rolling and moving everywhere in her crib and getting out of her swaddles! She is such a wiggle worm and can escape from the miracle blanket, the swaddle sack…everything! Just after your six month birthday you are starting to sleep without the swaddle after a couple of difficult nights falling asleep you got the hang of it and did great. 

Really you are such a happy and joyful baby who loves people and places! Your personality certainly helps with our crazy schedule and having to go everywhere for your older siblings. As much as I try not to, I can't even begin to count how many naps you have had to be woken up from to pick someone up or drop someone off and each time you wake up with a smile and just go with the flow. 

Other big things going on with Shiloh….

  • She weighs around 19.6 lbs….I have no idea what her percentages are but she is a big girl and growing wonderfully!
  • She is starting to do this fake cough and gasping for air to get your attention and finds it hilarious
  • She loves her doorway jumper and jumps all over the place. She is the first baby that we had a doorway jumper for and I love watching her in it
  • She is starting to lean in to give you kisses
  • She started eating sweet potatoes and loves them. She was not impressed with the rice cereal and cried but loves the sweet potatoes
  • You are starting to sit up for brief moments by yourself and can sit up pretty well with the support of the boppy pillow
  • You are starting to associate the word and sign for milk with nursing and get really excited when you hear milk or see the sign
  • You love your Sophie the Giraffe and it is constantly in your mouth
  • You are super ticklish and laugh uncontrollably 

We are so excited to continue to see your personality come out and watch you explore the world! 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Halloween 2014

Halloween this year was so much fun! I had asked Peyton a long time ago what she wanted to be and she was in a 101 Dalmation fascination and wanted to be Cruella DeVille. My mom was here at the time and helped make her costume and then everything took off from there. Graham wanted to be a firefighter and then Shiloh became a dalmation to tie everyone together. I am sure this is the first and probably last year I can pull off a sibling themed Halloween costumes but I am glad I did and I loved all of their costumes!

For Shiloh I made her tutu and used black felt dots on it and on her onesie for the spots and then the ears were two felt ears with clips to add onto a black headband. I brought baby leg warmers in white with black dots for her legs. Her costume was absolutely adorable! I loved it and loved that she kept everything on all night!

Peyton's costume was amazing! My mom made her cape and dress and it was so perfect for Peyton and her personality. We bought the wig while we were home over the summer and it her costume was a hit!

And Graham was my adorable fireman! It was a pretty awesome costume with real clasps and buttons and nicely made but it was hot! Thankfully he was just so proud of it that he wore it and didn't complain!

The kids had a Halloween parade at the school earlier in the day and Halloween parties which thankfully John was able to leave work early and so we would split our time between the classes and then switch halfway through. Then that night we had a great night trick or treating around camp and finishing up with dinner at a friend's house! Lots of fun!

The next week was our turn to dress up and have some fun at our annual Murder Mystery party that I throw each year with my two best friends here. This year's theme was a circus and I was the tightrope walker who hurt her ankle and John was the tattoo man. So much fun and although tons of work to put together it is a nice change of pace and a fun night! Always fun answering the door for your babysitter all dressed up like this….

My best friends here in Saudi!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Peyton's Spook-tacular Sixth Birthday

About a week after school started, Peyton had her sixth birthday! I think this birthday snuck up on me in so many ways and I was not ready to throw a party or even acknowledge that my first baby was already six years old! 

Her teacher said that if we had the time we could make an "All About Peyton," poster to bring in and share with the class in celebration of her day. She was so excited and proud of her poster!

Then it was birthday party time! For months I have been asking Peyton what kind of party she wanted and she kept saying a "ghost" birthday. I kept trying to give her other suggestions and finally just embraced her idea and went with it. So, we had a spook-tacular birthday for Peyton!

We played egg/spoon race and the eggs were decorated with black ghost eyes and mouths done with black marker! 

And we had a ghost wrapping contest which was hilarious and ended up in a toilet paper fight/madness!

We also had a pop the ghost with candy and confetti inside each balloon which was fun for the kids!

Peyton had a wonderful birthday! She loved her party and had a great time celebrating with friends! Mommy and daddy were exhausted and pretty impressed that we were able to pull together the birthday only a few weeks after coming back to Saudi and with a little baby in the house! 

Happy Birthday Peyton!