Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Advent/Christmas Disaster!

_MG_9710.jpgWe had a crazy, fun time decorating cookies, and then the next morning I think I caught a 4 hour flu or something like that. I was scheduled to take Rebecca to see The Mockingjay that evening, so I loaded myself up on what is considered to be an outrageous amount of Vitamin C (17,0000 mg or so) and fell asleep in front of the fireplace for about 3 hours. Then it was off to the movie. I survived and the movie was awesome. The next day I was fine. It was pretty strange, but then my children started dropping like flies getting high fevers and little coughs. Their fevers slowed them down, but didn't totally knock them down. We ended up having a two day movie marathon. They recovered quickly,  and then frantically had a ton of schoolwork to finish or miss seeing The Hobbit. (We set goals and give rewards as motivators when the kids are in a slump with school. It works fabulously.) Anyways, they made it to the movie and all was well.
_MG_9705.jpgWe didn't end up getting the Christmas tree up until December 23. The crazy in our home kept us from getting things done. The arrival of the the cute snowmen ornaments from Mimi and Papa were big motivators though, so eventually we got the tree up. Early Sunday morning, December 21, while I was still asleep, I heard a child yell, "Mom, mom!" I walked out of my bedroom only to see David downstairs laying on the couch. He said, " I just threw up." No! Apparently, he had already thrown up just before my Lutheran Stud left for church at 5am. I went downstairs and asked if he needed anything: water, puke bucket, blanket, etc. He said, "No, I just wanted to tell you." I stayed with him, encouraged him to drink some water, but nothing stayed down. We all stayed home from church that morning and had a pretty mellow day. He never threw up again that day after 8am. It was a random illness and no other children seemed to be affected.
_MG_9728.jpgMaking raviolis with our dear friends, on Christmas eve, has become a new tradition, and this year we invited all of our foster children's siblings to join us.
_MG_9727.jpgEven though we have a Kitchenaid mixer it's always fun to mix the dough by hand.
_MG_9731.jpgAll of the kids really got into helping with the whole process, and Gina was VERY patient with them. I just stayed out of the way while they made my dinner.
_MG_9743.jpgThe magic comes with this awesome attachment that makes it so much easier and faster.
_MG_9747.jpgOnce the dough is flattened out we needed to add the filling, which in this case was ricotta.
_MG_9774.jpgOnce the ricotta was added the raviolis were cut and sealed.
IMG_0783We made so much ravioli that it became  an all day process. We ate it for dinner and then I froze a ton of it for later. This isn't even half of all the ravioli we made. Most of this is in my freezer right now, so come on over!
_MG_9757.jpgSome kids would rather play games than make ravioli. Battleship has become a favorite game with the boys.
_MG_9803.jpgSo, after an early dinner we frantically all got dressed for church and headed out the door. As we were approaching the church I heard this weird sound. Then, all of the sudden Anna was screaming. When I asked what is wrong all I heard was, "Rachel just puked on Anna." What? No! This can't be happening. We already missed church Sunday. We arrived at church and I ended up leaving five of my children there because they wanted to stay. I came home, Rachel showered, and went to bed, and I cleaned out my van. Silly me, I thought all was well once everyone else came home and went to bed. They all felt fine. In the middle of the night the kids began puking one by one again. 3 went down along with Rachel who was already down. At that point I realized that we wouldn't make it to church for Christmas day, so all the hope I had was gone.
_MG_9810.jpgChristmas morning arrived and most of my children slept all morning. Anna was the only one who came downstairs and was super excited that it was Christmas. These kids were the only ones that felt welll enough to pose for me.
_MG_9813.jpgWhile they were excited to get new gifts they were not quite as enthusiastic as they normally are on Christmas day, so it was a pretty mellow, low key day for us. We didn't even have the ham I was going to cook since there would be no one to eat it.
_MG_9816.jpgNeedless to say we've all been sick this winter except for Anna and one foster child. This will go down as the worst Advent/Christmas season ever!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Cookie Decorating

_MG_9307.jpgLately we've had our foster children's siblings over to hang out after church on Sundays. I thought it would be fun to decorate cookies with them since it's something they've never done before.
_MG_9334.jpg _MG_9328.jpg
A few weeks before Christmas they all went to town on a ton of cookies that I baked for them.
_MG_9327.jpgThey had a great time decorating and eating.
_MG_9340.jpgCheck out these masterpieces.
_MG_9339.jpgSome of the cookies lost their limbs and the children decorated them quite appropriately, don't you think? After that day things just started going downhill for us. Stay tuned. . .

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Foster Care Christmas Party

_MG_9210.jpgIf you follow the news you have probably heard the hundreds of horror stories about children in foster care or stories about parents who have caused their children to be part of the system. What you hardly ever hear about are the awesome things that the counties actually do for these hurting and scared children. This was our second year attending a Christmas party for all of the children in the foster care system, and their foster families, in our county.
_MG_9202.jpgThey go all out to make sure that the children are well fed with kid friendly food like corndogs and chicken strips. They don't skimp on the cake either.
_MG_9226.jpgClowns come and paint faces and they create some pretty cool designs at the children's requests.
_MG_9227.jpg _MG_9222.jpg
There are even more clowns that take requests for awesome balloon shapes, animals, or just about anything that the kids can think of. _MG_9246.jpgNot only are these children spoiled rotten with a visit from Santa, a hot meal, face painting, balloons, and crafts, they also get Christmas gifts according to their age.
_MG_9243.jpg _MG_9236.jpg
The county caseworkers do an amazing job shopping, wrapping, and personalizing gifts for children of all ages from babies to teenagers.
Annual foster care Christmas party! #Santa #clowns #crafts #BestPartyForKidsWe parents had a great time seeing the smiles on all the children's faces. This year's party was even better than last year's because we were able to get all of our foster children's siblings to join us. Currently, they live in four different homes that are quite far from each other, so arranging times to get together can be challenging. It was so fun to have them join their siblings.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Parade of Lights

_MG_9188.jpgJust after Thanksgiving came the Parade of Lights which, around here, means the kickoff to the holiday season.

Waiting for the parade of lights to begin! #9news #paradeoflights

_MG_9122.jpgWe headed downtown with what seemed like the rest of the city, since the weather was quite warm for the beginning of December. To begin the parade the Colorado State University marching band puts on a little show. The trombonists wear blind folds while they play, and do a little dance routine. If their moves aren't perfect there is potential to get knocked in the head with a trombone. Scary! Can you see the guy bending over as the other guys swings his trombone right over the guy's head? Yep. That's how it works.
_MG_9130.jpgBeing able to sit in the grandstands, rather than standing on the street, was a welcomed gift that evening since we had already been walking for what seemed like miles from where we parked.

_MG_9132.jpgThe little kids were able to join in the fun this year since the weather was warm and they were able to keep up walking with us.
_MG_9135.jpgThey all oohed and ahhed over almost every float that went by.
_MG_9136.jpgCultures from all over the wold were represented.
_MG_9137.jpgExcel Energy sure knows how to light a float. I wonder how much energy that float used. It was quite bright and pretty!

_MG_9140.jpgNew this year was this massive tiger balloon. It was the largest balloon in the parade.
_MG_9146.jpgA good friend of ours works for Autonation, which is a huge sponsor for the parade, meaning all of the trucks pulling the floats were from Autonation.
imageHis daughter along with her friends, Rebecca, and our foster children's older siblings got to walk in the parade full of face paint and costumes. _MG_9148.jpgOur kids saw the big Autonation float coming and went to the rail to look for their friends! They thought it was so cool to see Rebecca and our friends in the parade.
_MG_9153.jpgAlong the 16th Street Mall are random, painted pianos for the public to play at their leisure. A few of these pianos were jazzed up for the parade that evening.


_MG_9159.jpg9News was also a big sponsor for the the parade. In fact, if you watch the parade the MCs are from 9News and every so often you can see my husband's face on one of the lady's shoulders.
_MG_9172.jpgMr. Waddles is the penguin mascot of the parade. When he arrives you know that it isn't much longer until you-know-who arrives.
_MG_9175.jpgDenver International Aiport houses some of the biggest snow plows that I've ever seen and they look really pretty all lit up.
_MG_9179.jpgA parade of lights just wouldn't be a great parade if there wasn't a live nativity, right?
_MG_9184.jpgOf course, after Jesus comes Santa to end the parade.
_MG_9187.jpgBefore the parade begins they light up the city and county building which stays lit all season long. Isn't it beautiful?