Christmas Preparations

We were all very excited to celebrate our first Christmas in our new home. We went as all out as we could given our budget and having four little ones. The first task we tackled was the outdoor Christmas lights. I guess I should really say that Jonathan tackled this task. Though I helped by watching the kids! We invested in LED lights. What I like about these is that you can choose white lights or multicolored lights with the push of a button! Jonathan probably both loved and hated doing this job. Of course it was fun to put lights up, but it was a very cold and tedious job as well. This weekend (mid-January) he will finally take them down, to be stowed away until this coming December.



Jonathan installed our Christmas lights with a lovely coating of snow as a backdrop. During the afternoon we gave the kids a chance to play in it for a bit. This was Levi’s first experience with snow. He didn’t quite know what to make of it at first. But then I think he decided he didn’t like it. Lily and Sarah spent most of their time harvesting the snow for a little snack.









We ventured north to New Hampshire this year to pick out and cut down our own Christmas tree. Decorating the tree was a bit chaotic, but a memorable experience. As Christmas drew nearer and nearer the ornaments climbed higher and higher up the tree. The funny thing is though, Levi was not the primary offender. Lily was the one who just couldn’t keep from grabbing at the ornaments.












A Few Firsts

And these aren’t for Levi. I didn’t really think about all the “firsts” Abigail would experience this year-probably because of all the firsts Levi has had.

One first for Abigail was losing her first tooth. Her bottom tooth was quite wiggly a few weeks back. While watching America’s Funniest Videos Abigail saw a clip of a girl having her tooth yanked out with a piece of string. I convinced her to give it a try. I managed to tie a piece of dental floss around her tooth and proceeded to watch her s-l-o-w-l-y pull at her tooth. How could she be ok with this slow method? I suggested she let me yank it out. She agreed and a few squeals and 1-2-3 yank later it was out!




Three weeks later she went ahead and pulled her second bottom tooth out on her own while I wasn’t looking. On Sunday night her third came out with the help of a chewy lifesaver. We’re waiting for her fourth to probably come out within the week. And we can already see two of her grown-up teeth coming in!




Abigail’s second “first” was learning to ride her bike without training wheels. This was one of our summer bucket list items, but we didn’t get to it until September. Jonathan spent a little time with her one Sunday afternoon. She made progress but was hampered a bit as she was very discouraged each time she fell or lost balance.

A few days later though her determination got the best of her and she pressed on-on her own. First she tired out our neighbor’s smaller bike and then made several attempts on her own bike. Then BOOM! That was it. She can ride her bike all on her own without training wheels. What a girl!




And here are a few more pictures of the others having fun outside.






Apple Picking

We had our annual apple picking outing at Smolak Farms in late September. It was a beautiful warm and sunny day for it. The only problem was that the apples were pretty scarred (maybe from a rough winter?). We had to work extra hard to find apples with the fewest blemishes.

We were joined by Nonna, Papa, Auntie Laura, and Bridget. This made our outing that much more enjoyable! Before they all arrived we started off checking out the farm’s pumpkins.






Despite the poorer quality apples we still managed to fill our bag with plenty of fruit for apple pie, crisp, muffins, sauce, and just plain eating. Plus, the girls had a blast as always. This was Levi’s first apple picking experience. He slept through most of it, but once he woke up we were able to help him pick his own apple.















Papa’s Concert

Every summer for the past four years my Dad has performed with his bluegrass band during a local town’s concert on the common series. We missed last year due to illness and were very excited we could make it this year.

This was Levi’s first concert. He seemed to enjoy himself-and the grass.




The girls had a blast dancing, blowing bubbles, and running around.




Did you know that my Dad is the World’s Okayest Bassist? You do now!


We are already looking forward to next year’s concert!

Summer Bucket List – Camping!

We didn’t plan a “big” camping trip this summer. But with a nice back yard we could still have a stay at home camp out.

A few weekends ago Jonathan and the girls pitched our tent for a night out under the stars. We went all out and cooked dinner over a charcoal fire and had s’mores for dessert.










I wouldn’t have minded joining everyone in the tent that night, but we figured Levi would be better off inside. I was looking forward to a quiet evening of school planning, snacking, and watching a little Netflix. The icing on my cake? Sleeping in the middle of the bed all by myself.

I need to learn that things often don’t go as “planned”.

Things started out amazingly, giving me a false sense that this would be one of Levi’s best nights in his short 7+ months of life. He fell asleep on his own. He didn’t cry at all. He just “talked” himself to sleep. It was awesome!

Well, he woke up maybe an hour and a half later. No biggie. I’ll just feed him and put him back down. Wait, why isn’t he sleeping? Oh, I see why he didn’t cry when I put him down for the night. He had a nice bowel movement before falling to sleep. I’ll just change him, feed him, and put him back down.  He slept for an hour before waking again. Between the hours of 1:00 AM and 5:15 AM he had a 30 minute and 15 minute cat nap. At least I got to nearly finish watching Breaking Bad on Netflix.

In the meantime, I could hear some rustling in the tent outside my bedroom window. Jonathan emerged with Lily. She wanted to sleep in her bed. She quickly changed her mind though once she saw what I was dealing with inside. She wanted to go back to the tent.

I finally got Levi back down at 5:15 and he slept for another hour (just an hour?!?!?). I got him back to sleep and we woke up right before 8. How do I know all this by the way? There’s an app for that.

It was a horribly long night for me, but the girls were happy to spend the night with their Dad in their tent ( both Abigail and Sarah slept through the night). So if I had to do it all over again I would (maybe?).

Fourth of July Fireworks

Local fireworks displays in New Jersey were postponed due to the possibility of nasty weather passing through. So instead of Hamilton having their show on Friday, they had it on Saturday. July 4th was never a big to do growing up. I remember seeing fireworks, but it wasn’t one of those things we made sure to do every year (at least I don’t remember it being that way). Fast forward to July 4, 2002. Jonathan and I were dating long-distance and I flew from Boston to DC to spend the Fourth of July weekend with him and his family. Their tradition was to make the trek from their home in Northern Virginia to DC to watch the fireworks on the National Mall. This quickly became one of my favorite July 4th traditions.

We haven’t been to the National Mall for July 4th since Sarah was nine months old-so Lily and Levi had never experienced fireworks. I really wanted to see fireworks this year. Even though it meant branching off from the rest of the family it was worth it. I had such a sweet time with my little family.

We drove to the location of the show and it was quickly apparent that wherever we parked we would need to do quite a bit of walking to find a patch of grass where the crowds were congregating. We were losing daylight, kept driving, and took our next right in the hopes of finding a parking spot. We noticed small groups of people parking right on this street and setting up lawn chairs. We figured these people knew what they were doing and so we did the same. It was perfect! We were right near our parked car and found a quiet spot of grass where the girls could run around while they waited for the show to begin. Sarah got to practice her newly acquired firefly catching skills.











We kept wondering if we had made the right decision to stop and sit where we were. Once the show started though we knew we had struck fireworks gold.







I am so glad we did this. I was just so content watching the girls run and play. Plus I loved watching/hearing them ooh and aah at the fireworks. I will remember these moments for a long time.

Big Wheels

We’ve been getting out much more now that the weather is warmer and we’re done with school. Honestly, if I had it my way I would just stay home all the time. However, my girls would not be very happy with that arrangement! Thanks to a Mom’s group I am a part of at our church we’ve had a reason to get out almost every Friday to hang out and have fun.

At the end of June we joined other moms at play group to check out a touch-a-truck type of event at a local library. It was hard to stick with our group and catch up with the other moms, but the kids had a blast regardless. This activity boosted my confidence as I was able to keep all of my kids together and relatively happy-even during a 15 minute wait in line to check out the firetruck!