annual playgroup christmas party

Can it really be only 9 sleeps until Christmas?!

This weekend we went to our annual playgroup Christmas party.

My friend Melissa hosts each year and it is always a fabulous success.

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Her home is always beautifully decked for the holidays.

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The past few years we have included the daddies which always makes it more fun!

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As always, Santa makes a special stop at the party.

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This year we took a group photo of Santa with the kids.

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There were some tears…

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a few escape artists…

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but, we got *almost* all of the kids in the photo…without crying.

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I think there are SEVEN kids missing from this photo…

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and to think we started six years ago with one child each…

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and they weren’t even crawling!

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This last photo cracks me up beacuse the kids were told to raise their hand if they were good this year…notice the boy in the teal shirt (and his partner in playgroup crime) in the front row?! They are the ONLY kids NOT raising their hands!

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She even had an adorable craft for the kids, but they were so busy playing that nobody did it…

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Reece, however, knew there was a craft and wouldn’t leave until he had a chance to do it! So, we overstayed our welcome and did the craft. I love that my boy didn’t want to leave the party with out doing the craft!

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We each bring something to eat and there is always plenty of food!

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I neglected to get a good photo of my fruit plate garnish…a sprig of rosemary from our garden decorated with mini pom-poms and bakers twine! I was pretty happy with my last minute creativity!

I love this celebration every year.

home is…sharing traditions with friends.

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christmas unwrapped

I haven’t had the words to write lately.

I haven’t even taken as many photos as I would have liked, but I soaked up the holidays.

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christmas program

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Lorelai didn’t want to stand up on stage and sing with her classmates.

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Reece was an “old pro” as a kindergartner. He nailed his lines, kept his costume on, and even sang a little bit!

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santa at playgroup

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Reece brought a handwritten note…

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and necklaces that he made especially for Santa.

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Lorelai was brave and sat in his lap and told him she wanted a princess watch and a sleeping bag.

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After eating and drinking, we went caroling…a new favorite tradition!

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our home

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And, just like that, it’s over.

Bittersweet.

Ryan and I decided that we need to have something to do on Christmas Day after the presents are opened.

We’re thinking of heading up to the mountain for some fun in the snow next year!

What do you do on Christmas Day?

home is…Christmas wrapped up.

a kitchen full of friends

This morning I hosted our weekly Friday playgroup.

It was our first playgroup since all of our oldest (except for Reece…he starts on Monday) started Kindergarten.

There were only six mommies this morning, but it still felt so nice to have my friends in my house talking, laughing, and supporting (there may have even been a few tears).

There were stories of hectic first mornings, continued struggles after a couple of days, and some super scary bus stories (that make me glad my little ones may not be able to ride a bus until middle school).

In the future, I am sure there will be stories of success, happiness, and new skills learned…but this was the first week.

We’ve had to change our timing to accommodate  new school schedules, and are thinking of adding in a monthly Friday Afternoon Happy Hour so the older kids (and husbands) can join us!

Our playgroup is evolving, as it has ever since we met each other 5 years ago sitting on the floor of a conference room in a building across the street from where all of our babies were born in the summer of 2007.

And, it is as much for us, as mommies, as it is for our kids.

Maybe, even more.

photos from {m}iphone

*photos from {m}iphone were taken using the Instagram app and put together in a collage using Picasa

home is…a kitchen full of friends.

working on it

So, I said it in my about page…I’m a procrastinator.

Yep, still don’t have our summer list done.

Actually, the list is done, but the display is not…and I’ve got to have it all ready for a blog post, right?

We have already crossed two items off the list…

5th annual playgroup birthday celebration

The first year (when all of our oldest turned one), it was 30 adults and 15 kids.

This year we had 26 adults and 26 kids (with one more due this month)!

One of the families lives on 5 awesome acres near wine country, apple orchards, and berry farms.

They graciously hosted the crew and it was fabulous!

Lala found this jumprope…

…and wouldn’t let it go.

And, we lucked out with June weather here in the Pacific Northwest…sunny and in the 70’s!

Bobo had a great time playing with some of his buddies and ran all over the place until he got blisters from his Batman Crocs!

It’s always fun to get the dad’s together with all of the kids.

The dad’s play with the kids, and , after 5 years, I think they know everybody’s name!

They all looked relaxed.

She finally played with the other kids after following me around for almost 2 hours.

Isn’t this outhouse awesome?!

We did it all potluck…the kids love the homemade cupcakes!

We sang Happy Birthday.

The kids shared their cupcakes with me.

This hammock was a hit with all the kids…Lala even wanted me to change her diaper on it!

I gave it a try and decided we need to get one for our backyard!

pool

Today we “officially” went to the pool.

Bobo had gone in a couple of times before his swim lessons, but today we packed a lunch, brought our beach towels, and all had our swimsuits on!

The kids has a blast!

So did I!

Actually, I didn’t sit around.

I got in the pool, went down the water slide multiple times, and left feeling like I had been on a mini vacation.

Sometimes, the easiest way to take care of kids is to act like one yourself!

colton+cadence

I made a fun graduation gift inspired by the theme of the graduation party we went to over the weekend.

I’m thinking about making more to put in the shop…so check it out later this week!

home is…working on our summer list.

backfire

Have you ever said something to some one, trying to help them out, and all it does is make the situation worse?

Yeah.

I did that this morning.

Now my stomach is churning and I feel bad because I was just trying to make this person feel better, have less stress, and maybe have a better day than they might have had.

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I have been thinking a lot lately.

A lot about how I communicate with people, or don’t communicate with people, or fail at communicating with people, and how it has affected relationships over the years.

I feel like I am really good at messing things up.

Not really sure how I can fix it.

Maybe you can help me once I figure out how to get my thoughts on paper…or in this case, keyboard and computer screen.

Or, maybe, I am imagining things?

Well, for now, I am off to get ready for Friday Playgroup…should be some good fun in the sun with the kiddos!

home is…sometimes things backfire.

{summer in snapshots} week one

Like I told you all last week, I will be taking part in the Starfish Blog’s linky party every Wednesday this summer for her Summer in Snapshots series.

So, here it goes…

Monday, June 13th: No photos…not even sure what we did that day, but since I didn’t even know about the Summer in Snapshots series I guess it’s OK!

Tuesday, June 14th:  We played outside most of the day, and had to take a quick trip to Urgent Care after baby girl got hit in the face with a shovel.

Wednesday, June 15th:  We went to Cook Park to take photos for Ryan’s Father’s Day gift.

Thursday, June 16th:  I didn’t take any photos…our babysitter came over and I ran errands to get ready for the weekend and playgroup.

Friday, June 17th:  We opened presents in the morning to celebrate my 36th birthday…

and enjoyed a morning at the park with our friends from Friday Playgroup.

While baby girl napped, I relaxed and watched the little guy wash his cars.

After dinner we had ice cream cake!

Saturday, June 18th:  Ryan and I had a date night…dinner and shopping!

Sunday, June 19th:  We celebrated Father’s Day as a family. Baby girl and I met the boys down at the river for some fishing!

I am so excited to take part in this series! This will make me be more deliberate with my blog posts, and be sure that we are taking photos as we cross things off of our own summer list! I will probably have more than one photo a day as I find it hard to just pick one when I take so many photos…hope you don’t mind!

Finally, Emily at Jones Design Company also linked up today…she has a great tutorial on how to make photo collages using Picasa. I’m going to have to give it a try!

home is…crossing things off of our summer list and having FUN!

The Mommies of Friday Playgroup

Just about 2-1/2 years ago I walked into a large room in the corner of an office building for the first time.  I put a blanket on the floor, took off my shoes, filled out a name tent, and sat quietly waiting for the meeting to start.  Oh yeah, I also took my 6-week old baby boy out of his carseat and placed him on the blanket in front of me…like all of the other new moms in the room. 

For a little more than 4 months we met in this room once a week and discussed the realities of having a new baby.  At 6-months old, our babies graduated and we were on our own.  Little did I know that I would meet 14 very special women and their children through this group.  We had been split up into smaller playgroups to meet on our own schedule.  Our group decided that Friday Playgroup would work for us.  There are 15 of us.  Some of us stay home full-time, some of us work full-time, some of us do a little of both, but we meet every Friday.  We have been meeting every Friday for over 2 years.  We started out with 15 babies…now there are 15 2-1/2 year olds, 8 additional babies, and 3 more on the way…including our 1st set of twins!

The Mommies of Friday Playgroup

We weren’t able to celebrate our first pregnancies together, but we have celebrated all of our babies 1st and 2nd birthdays together and have had baby showers for the new babies that keep expanding this playgroup!  I love our Friday Playgroups, but I cherish the times that we have Mom’s Night Out to laugh and talk and not be mommies (although most of our conversations still revolve around the kiddos)!

I am so thankful for the Mommies of Friday Playgroup!