Monday, December 31, 2012

2012-A BLESSED Year

2012 has been such a FABULOUS year for our family!  We have made so many great memories this year, and our family on both sides has grown so much!  Here are some of the highlights of our year {sorry, I don't have pictures of all of them :( }

*Matthew and Lucas turned 9 and passed both their blue belt AND green belt tests in karate.
*Daniel and Tiffany were married in February, and added baby Remi to our family in December.
*We enjoyed all the major holidays with our extended families-and Easter was extra sweet with the announcement of baby Brody joining us in October.
*Many wedding and baby showers were given this  year-Lindsey, Sarah, Devon and Kristin were all the guests of honor!
*Lindsey and Ben were married in June-adding Wesley and Riley to our family.
*We traveled to Walt Disney World with Derrick's parents and youngest sister in June.  It was truly one of our best memories of 2012!  
*Darin and Sarah were married in September, and Devon and Christopher gave us baby Ellie in August.
*Natalie turned "3" in October, and Baby Brody was born just the very next day!  
*Natalie enjoyed playing in her first snow fall EVER.

It was such a wonderful year for us-God is GOOD!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Day 2012

Matthew, Natalie, and Lucas-Christmas 2012 
Our family Christmas this year was so much fun!  We started with Christmas Eve, and Derrick and the boys went to Omi and Opa's for lunch and gifts with Derrick's family.  I was home with Natalie, who had a yucky cough and a super high fever-come to find out a few days later, she had the croup.  Yuck! Nonetheless, we divided and conquered, making it to each family celebration with the boys so they wouldn't miss out on all the fun.  
Lucas, me and Matthew ready for Christmas Eve service.  
They went to Omi and Opa's, and each came home very excited about their Diary of A Wimpy Kid pjs and new Star Wars Jenga games.  After they got home, it was time to get them ready to participate in the Christmas Eve service at our new church-Living Word.  In case you hadn't heard, Derrick got a call to Living Word Lutheran Church in Galena, OH-about 35 minutes away.  We're super excited about it!  And as are the members-the music director had asked if the boys wanted to participate with the other kids in reading the Christmas story from Luke 2.  So, we practiced the night before and Monday night they were ready to go.  Derrick stayed home with Natalie while I took the boys-I REALLY didn't want to miss out on it!  The service was wonderful, and the boys did fantastic!
Love the owl hat!
Tuesday morning, Derrick and I were actually up well before the kids!  I put together a Cinnamon Roll French Toast Casserole, some cinnamon rolls, and some fruit Christmas trees.  We had coffee and chit chatted, waiting for them to wake up.  Lucas was up first-and what a bummer because he waited at least another half an hour for Matthew to join him!  We started with stockings, and they were "excited" to get the "usual"--toothpaste, deodarant, books, headphones, and other practical things in their stockings.  We took a slight break for breakfast-and by this time Natalie had woken up.  After her stocking was opened, we started handing out gifts to everyone-one at a time.  

Matthew and Lucas excited for their Kindle Fires.

The boys got a lot of clothes-which they desperately needed-and also some video games.  Their most "exciting" gift was a Kindle Fire, right next to their Skylanders Giants game for the XBox.  Both of these things were on their "wish list", and we delivered!  Natalie was kind of dragging behind, taking time between opening gifts to wipe her ever running nose!  The opening went on until around 1:00.  We stopped for lunch-homemade pizzas-and by now Natalie had fizzled for a nap.  The boys were busy enjoying their Kindle Fires and trying out all their new video games they got.  

My parents stopped by later that day to see what the kids had received.  Also, Natalie wasn't done opening-because she had been napping-so they got to watch her open her fun gifts.  She was very excited about her Cinderella dress, her Tinkerbell costume, and her magnetic dress up dolls.  Her big gift was a V-Tech Inno selfish hopefulness that I'll somehow regain my iPad back.  
Performing with their recorders in the talent show.  
Later that evening, I took the boys over to Aunt Nancy and Uncle Kevin's for Christmas with my extended family-and the talent show.  Matthew and Lucas performed their recorders and did a tremendous job.  Uncle Kevin even joined in on Hot Cross Buns, accompanying the boys with his guitar.  The crowning act was Mom and her sisters with a cute dance they had choreographed.  Nothing is ever dull with our family!  

We returned home, ready for bed yet excited about our fun filled day!  

Monday, December 17, 2012

Carfrey Family Christmas-2012

 This year for Carfrey Family Christmas, we got together at Lindsey and Ben's house.  The Carfrey family consists of my Grandma Barb, Aunt Debbie, cousins Erin & Patrick, my parents, sisters, and their families.  This year, we also had David & Bailey {Erin's boyfriend and his daughter} with us.

Matthew, Grandma Barb, Brody, Riley, Natalie, Lucas, Wesley, Bailey  
Me and my buddy Brody

We went to Lindsey and Ben's for soups and sandwiches, and just to have a very nice time together.  It was sort of the Christmas of memories.  Why?  Because my Grandma had moved from a house to an apartment over the summer.  That meant that there were pictures and movies to be sorted through.  So, my mom had her old projector movies put onto a DVD-and we watched it while we were there.  It was so fun to watch these movies of my dad and his siblings when they were younger.  Of course, there was no sound, to which Natalie said, "I can't hear anything on this movie."

Also, my mom had taken some very old pictures from my grandma when she moved and asked me to make a scrapbook out of them for a gift.  To be honest-it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be.  I mean, sorting through pictures from the 1950s and beyond was really cool.  But, it was hard because I didn't really know the story behind them.  However, my grandma did!  And she was so excited to look through it and remember her times with my grandpa.

Ben, Lindsey, and Natalie watching Doc McStuffins

We ate, and visited, and of course had our traditional family picture.  After they left, Kristin, Joey, Brody, and my parents stayed behind with us to continue our Christmas together.  It was totally a Disney Christmas for Natalie-from her Minnie Mouse hat to her princess dolls, to her HUGE Cinderella crafting set.  The boys were super thrilled to get their Air Hogs Hover Assault RC vehicles they had wanted.  Couple that with some LEGO sets and clothes, and everyone was happy.

The whole Carfrey Family

Derrick:  OSU hoodie-Kristin and Joey, Drinking Glasses, T shirts, money-Mom and Dad
Me:  iTunes, Starbucks gift cards, phone case, BBW car scent port-Lindsey, Sweater, Necklace, money-mom and dad
Matthew:  LEGO Creator, Air Hogs Hover Assault, Shirts, Tonka Front End Loader Builder-Grandma and Grandpa; Crayola Glow Book-Lindsey and Ben; Toys R Us Gift card, WildLife book-Kristin and Joey, Target GC-Grandma Barb; Front End Loader Builder Set-Erin & David

Lucas:  LEGO Creator, Air Hogs Hover Assault, Walkie Talkies, Shirts, Tonka Front End Loader Builder-Grandma and Grandpa; Crayola Glow Book-Lindsey and Ben; Toys R Us Gift Card, Darth Paper Strikes Back-Kristin and Joey, Target GC-Grandma Barb
Natalie:  Pillow cases, Shirt-Grandma Barb; Minnie Mouse Backpack-Erin & David; LEGOS, clothes, shopping cart, Veggie Tales Away in a Manger book-Grandma and Grandpa; Cinderella craft set-Kristin and Joey; Tinkerbell, Sleeping Beauty & Sno White Dolls, Minnie Mouse Hat-Lindsey and Ben

It ended up being a great day.  We ended up home around dinner time, just in time to feed the kids a little something and tuck them in with new books and of course the Disney princess dolls had to be tucked in at the foot of Natalie's bed.

Matthew, Riley, Lucas, Wesley

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Magic Mountain {A Mommy/Son Date Day}

Disclaimer:  I had a Groupon.  Just FYI.

Anyway, many moons ago I had purchased a Groupon for Magic Mountain.  My intent was to take the boys for a fun day out, sans the little sister.  Well, school started, things got busy with my sister having Brody, and before I knew it, I was getting emails telling me that my Groupons were about to expire.  So, I scheduled my sweet, super awesome parents to watch Natalie while the boys and I headed out for a mommy/son date day.
Matthew and Lucas on the NASCAR arcade game.
Ready for their race.

Lucas looks very serious about his motorcycle course.  
Matthew riding the motorcycle.
My parents came to get Natalie and went to Kristin and Joey's to baby sit for Brody for a little bit. Then, it was off to the poultry show at the fairgrounds. So while we were having a great time at Magic Mountain, Natalie was hanging with grandma and papa looking at chickens.  She loved it.  
Matthew belting up for his fast ride.
We started our day with a quick trip to Kohls' to grab the boys some long sleeve shirts to hold them over until Christmas.  Then, a run to Target for a few essentials, like LEGOS.  They each had about $35 to spend from picking up pinecones in my parents' yard over the summer. Five cents a pinecone....and they obviously picked up a ton!  So, after MUCH deliberation, they each decided on a new LEGO set, and off to lunch at Olive Garden-per their request.  
Lucas enjoying his ride around the go kart track
Then, it was off to Magic Mountain.  If you don't know what Magic Mountain is, it's an indoor arcade with laser tag, a kids gym/playset area, and then outside they have mini golf and go carts.  Good times.  The boys were so super excited.  I got them attraction wrist bands, 30 tokens each for games, and they were off.  Totally in their happy place.  
Maybe if Lucas pushed his glasses up, he could see better.  Just sayin'.
We played arcade games for awhile, and then headed outdoors for the go karts.  While they were waiting in line, they were able to scope out the "fastest" car.  That would be the one Matthew scrambled to get, of course.  But Lucas was happy with his, and they were off.  I had to explain to them that they were NOT like the ones at Disney-no track guide, they were actually driving these cars and needed to keep from running into something.  They had a blast.  We went back inside to do the laser tag.  Another first experience for them.  But, it must have been great because they requested a laser tag birthday party.
Finally, we finished up their arcade tokens, gathered our tickets and headed to the counter of kid utopia-aka, the cheap toys and candy that only are worth some paper tickets.  We cashed them in, and got some golf balls.  Let me say, if this round of mini golf is anything to go by, our family beach vacation next summer is going to be darn interesting.  Mini golf is not for the impatient, fast paced, over stimulated by video games and LEGOS nine year olds.  If Lucas wasn't hitting the ball too hard and pouting when it bounced off the green, he was guiding it to the hold with his club.  Matthew started off a bit gently, but when he saw small molehills, you'd think the mini golf course had transformed into a driving range.  
All in all, we had a super great day together. I love my boys!

Halloween 2012

Halloween 2012 was well.....cold, snowy, was more like a nasty winter day in October.  The costumes had been bought, tried on, and the boys especially were dying to wear them.  So, I tried my best to seek out an indoor Halloween experience and I was successful.  Thank God.  I wanted the kids to have the opportunity to Trick or Treat, and get the wear out of their costumes.  On Monday night of Halloween week, we found a church, via my friend on FB, who had moved their Trunk or Treat indoors.  

Trunk or Treat is basically when cars circle up, decorate their trunks, and hand out candy in a safe, family friendly environment usually in a church parking lot.  Northwest Bible Church had moved theirs indoors, SCORE!  Yes, on a school night I bundled up the kids in costume, and drove 30 minutes to do trick or treat.  I know, mom of the year right here.  I figured my bases were covered-they got to wear their costumes, get candy, popcorn, glow sticks, and get tired out-just in case Wednesday didn't present itself as an optimal trick or treat night.  
Well, as it turns out, Wednesday did turn out to be okay.  I had invited my in laws over to trick or treat with us, hand out candy, and hang out.  Love know I REALLY adore these people.  Normally my parents come over as well, but they were at my sister's house, snuggling with their new grandson Brody.  They really had the good end of the deal!
Darin stationed himself on the porch with ear muffs on and candy basket by his side.  Patty and the boys were off, and so Natalie and I started out, and Keith was hanging out with Christopher and Elly.  There was no way Natalie and I were going to catch up with the boys and Patty, so we just did our own thing for a few houses, until we had to go home to clean up owl poo...yea, the potty training thing isn't always working out.  Anyway, after she got cleaned up and ready to go again, it was dark.  So, we hit about eight more houses, which took a good 45 minutes because three year olds don't walk very fast....and then she was asking to go home.  Gladly. It was cold, windy, and I was more than ready to go inside.  

Meanwhile, Darragh {aka Wonder Woman} and Brandt {aka ELF....yea, looked JUST like Wil Ferrell}, had met up with the boys and had disappeared into the trick or treating abyss of Mill Valley.  They returned, a long time later, with way more candy than we gave out, red cheeked, and no coats on.  Nice.  All in all, it ended up being a great Halloween!

Jacquemin Farms with the Larsons

Lucas, Eliana, Matthew, Noah, & Natalie
It was a super beautiful, sunny fall day, so the kids and  I decided to go to Jacquemin Farms to meet up with some friends.  Brian and Sarah Larson are Natalie's god parents, but all of our kids get along so great together.  They have a first grader and a third grader, and they all play so nicely together.  Jacquemin Farms is a small pumpkin farm, about 15 minutes from our house.  They have a small straw maze, a corn box {in lieu of a sandbox}, some bouncy play things, and of course pumpkins.  

But, our kids don't go there for the pumpkins.....we go for the pumpkin donuts.  We came home with two dozen of the BEST homemade pumpkin donuts ever.  We only got one dozen last year, so this year we for sure needed more.
Natalie watching for the tractor and wagon to pick us up.

We went on the straw ride out to the pumpkin patch, just for the experience.  We didn't need to pick pumpkins because my parents had grown some in their garden this year and we were well stocked.  So Sarah and I chatted for a LONG time while Natalie was playing in the corn.  She was happy while Noah, Eliana, Matthew, and Lucas scrambled around the bouncy things, the straw maze, and begging for drinks and snacks.  It was a good time.  It ended up being an extremely warm and nice day, and we had a ton of fun!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Natalie Turns Three

We celebrated Natalie's third birthday on October 21 at our house, with both sides of our family.  We opted for an after church, late afternoon party in hopes that she would have a nap....not so much.  Oh well!  

Her theme was a black/hot pink Minnie Mouse theme.  Such fun!  Although, as she was opening her presents and getting one Disney princess gift after another, I kinda thought maybe we should've gone the Princess route :).  Oh well, there's always next year!  Of course I had to make her a tutu, and I also had ordered her a shirt from at Etsy shop that turned out absolutely adorable!  Loved it!  She sweetly asked me to read each card as she was opening her gifts.  She even has the hang of holding new clothes up for a picture!
We served appetizers, cupcakes, and ice cream.  Natalie is such a sweetie at three years old.  We're just starting the potty training thing, and it's going okay.  She loves playing with her baby dolls, and checking their diapers to see if they need changed.  In fact, sometimes the babies even need to try on the potty!  At least she's learning something.  I love how she is recognizing the forgiveness idea.  When we have a bedtime struggle or she doesn't want to cooperate, she'll come to me later and tell me she's sorry for what she's done.  Then we have a hug and say "I forgive you."  It's so sweet.
She could sit and watch Disney Junior all day.  She knows all the words to Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Doc McStuffins, and Little Einsteins theme songs.  She's all about going to Sunday School with Ms. Robbie, and comes barreling through the door of the office, to the living room, to show off her Sunday School papers.  She's in a twin size bed, and doing wonderfully in it.  She'll eat just about anything we give her, but is starting to gain quite the affection for snacky foods and candy.  Natalie always makes sure to ask for a sucker when we go to the bank :).

We had such a wonderful time celebrating her with our families.  She's our special princess!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Disney's Hollywood Studios

This trip, we had timed it so we would be at Disney for Star Wars Weekends.  Basically, this is when Disney has special events at Hollywood Studios involving Star Wars.  There are celebrities to sign autographs, a special parade, and people {like tourists} walking around in Star Wars get ups.  It's kinda creepy to be honest, but the boys thoroughly enjoy it.  Storm troopers guard the entrance, Darth Vader, Chewbacca,  Annakin, and Obi Wan are in meet and greet spots for autographs, and Minnie and Mickey are dressed in their Star Wars costumes, too.

Anyway, we hit this park on Sunday, knowing it was Star Wars Weekend.  We didn't make it in time to sign up for the Jedi Training Academy, much to the boys' disappointment.  However, we did get to see the first Indian Jones show of the day.  After this, we made our way onto Star Tours.  
I have to say, not my favorite ride. Simulation rides usually don't bother me, but I always feel like I'm gonna lose my breakfast after riding this one.  Alas, the things we do for our kids.  So, Derrick stayed back with Natalie, and Keith, Patty, Darragh, and I rode with the boys.  Next it was on to Toy Story of our favorite rides in all of Disney World.  Natalie even got into it and was shooting at the games.  She had a lot of fun on this one.  We did lunch at ABC Commissary, which was rather good.  This park was super crowded this day, because of SWW, so we decided to divide and conquer.

We did the Disney Junior Live on Stage, again something Natalie thoroughly enjoyed.  All her favorite characters from Disney, Jr. were right in front of her eyes.  Jake and the Pirates, Little Einsteins, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse all did numbers from their shows.  She was clapping her hands, having a great time!  While we were in the show, Keith, Patty and Darragh stood in line for the Little Mermaid Show.  We were trying to do as much for Natalie as we could while she was still awake.  We all loved this one, too.  The shows at Disney are definitely awesome...short Broadway versions.  By this time, Natalie was ready for a nap.  

It started to rain and storm, so we got on the Great Movie Ride.  Granted, not the most exhilarating attraction at Disney, but I have to say I love it.  It's so fun to ride through the scenes of the classic movies, and the Wizard of Oz one is my favorite.  Alien.....not my favorite.  We exited this attraction in time to hit the Lights, Motor Action Stunt show.  

Disney really needs to run this show more times-it only performs three times a day.  So, we made it to the last one....and just as it started, it began to thunder and lightning.  Yea, that was  GREAT experience packed in with freaking out people, most who weren't speaking English, on aluminum bleachers.  But, we survived.  Since the show was cancelled, we started to make our way toward Tower of Terror.

 Now, the boys have NEVER ridden this ride, and refuse {loudly} to do so each time we visit Disney.  But, Grandma Patty can get them to do anything, and the promise of a pin for their lanyards was an added bonus.  We hopped on, getting a rider switch pass for Derrick to go with them next time.  They were fine in line while we adults chit chatted.  Then, as we got closer to the ride entrance...they started to freak out a little.  It's a free fall "elevator" that drops, stops, goes up, drops a little further, drops again, and then finally drops again to the bottom.  Lucas was hilarious....the picture says it all.  But, I think they'll ride it again, or at least I hope so.  

Since we were right there, we did the Beauty and the Beast show.  Loved it!  Natalie was VERY into it, and captivated the whole time.  I love shows like that.  They're so well done, and the music is awesome.  

Rockin' Rollercoaster was next.  Love this one!!!  Disney only has a handful of rollercoasters, but this is my favorite.  The boys were NOT getting on, because they were chickens.  So, Derrick got them a snack while I rode with my in laws.  Oh my gosh.  Hilarious doesn't even describe it.  Keith was my seat mate.  And he {I'm laughing as I type this now because it was so funny}, was absolutely hilarious. As soon as it took off, all I heard the whole ride was, "Oh  my God!"  "Oh mother!".  "Holy crap!", and on and on.  When we finally stopped, he looked at me and said, "I think I peed myself.".  Oh my.  If you know my father in law, you know how hilarious he can be.  It was soooo funny!  I was laughing so hard I was crying and couldn't stop.  
We decided to call it a night, because it was starting to storm again.  So, it was back to the resort for some dinner and relaxing before our next Magic Kingdom day.