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Charlie Brown Museum

It's actually called the Charles M. Shulz Muesem but the boys were way more excited when we told them it was the Charlie Brown Museum.  Our family LOVES Charlie Brown.  We watch the Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween Charlie Brown's and they LOVE to play with the Charlie Brown toys we have.  Cason even got some for Christmas.  Their favorite socks are some Snoopy Halloween ones that they will choose any time they are clean.  So we thought that since the museum was only a few minutes from my granparents house that we could do both together.

On the way up, we stopped for a quick picture with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background for a project that Corbin's cousin, Sadie, asked him to help out with.


When we got there, I fed Kinsley while Connor took pictures outside the front with Charlie Brown.  The boys were beside themselves with everything Charlie Brown and Snoopy related.  Connor and I were really impressed with how good of a museum it was.  We learned a lot about Charles M. Shulz (also known as Sparky) and enjoyed all the exhibits.  It's not a huge museum but it was perfect size for our family.  They even had an "Education Room" with toys and coloring and movies playing. 


After the museum, we went to my granparents and had lunch with them.  They were nice enough to let our crazy kids come and spend time with them.  I didn't get any pictures with my grandparents, but I did get a picture of the boys with their dog, Rembrandt.  Corbin really likes Rembrandt even though he's super scared of dogs.  It took him a little while to warm up and stop freaking out but once he did, he was happy.  


We had such a great day!

Christmas Day

I was so looking forward to this Christmas with our three kids.  Unfortunately, Kinsley was sick and feeling miserable.  She was coughing pretty much non-stop and you could tell she just wasn't herself.  I tried to get as many pictures as possible and we even set up the video camrea to capture it all but it ran out of batteries before we even opened any presents.  Here are the pictures we did get.


Our Christmas Eve

Traditionally we go to my mom's house for Christmas Eve.  We always have a good time and this year seemed even better.  There are now 5 kids that we get to watch open presents so it just made it that more fun.  

Brayden was so completely excited to give Corbin his present because he picked it out himself.  And Corbin loved it. Who better to pick out a toy that a almost 5 year old boy would like than another almost 5 year old boy.  Brayden and Corbin are a little less than a month apart.  


Then when we got home, Connor read Luke 2 (on the iPad) and the kids got to open their Christmas Eve jammies and book.


Christmas Time is Here!

Decorating the House

Connor instituted our "decorating the house for Christmas" tradition and few years back and it has made it a lot more fun and less stressful.  Basically, we decorate the whole house on the day after Christmas and decorate the tree for FHE the Monday after.

Here is some of decoarting the day after Thanksgiving.


Here is decorating the tree.  As usual, Cason was excited to do it and Corbin became excited once he realzed exactly what we were going to do.  It was so cute to see how excited Cason was over each and every ornament.  


We love Christmas and have been excited for all the fun things we will get to do to celebrate the season!

Here are some of the things we hvae been doing:

Apple Holiday Party

It was at the Exploritorium in San Francisco and it was decorated beautifully.  It was pouring rain when we got there and I steeped in a puddle wakling there that went up to my mid calf so that was kind of a bummer but once we were there it was fun.  We ate and danced and watched a lot of people win a lot of prizes.  The biggest prize there was $10,000.  We didn't win anything though.


Curtis and Connor did the Gangnam style dance.  

They had a candy bar with bags as were leaving.  Perfect for Connor!


First Presidency Christmas Devotional

Every first Sunday in December our church leaders speak about Christmas.  It helps me get in the correct mood for the season.  


This year we started a new tradition of watching the devoational while drinking hot chocolate.  Our boys have really started LOVING hot cholcoate this year.


Annual Christmas Creche

We go to this every year and it's another one of my favorite things to do.  There are just so many beautiful nativities from all over the world.  I've never been to another one of these but I'm sure nothing can compare to this one.  This year they had a new display that was just amazing.  They don't allow pictures for some reason so you'll just have to take my word for it.

They boys colored in the kids room but didn't want to dress up.



After the sister missionaries were outside serving…HOT CHOCOLATE.  The boys again had their fill!  They wanted seconds but we had them ask the missionairies themselves.  



After the creche, we usually go to an nearby ice cream place.  Corbin and Cason were so excited to get hot chocolate AND ice cream.  


This was a bittersweet experience for me.  My dad has gone several times with us to the Creche plus it was also the 5 month anniversary of him being gone, so I had a little bit of a hard time.  Sometimes I honestly think I am "over" it, but then quickly realize how almost anything can trigger my sadness and I feel like I'm a mess all over again.  But from what I hear, the first holidays after the loss are always the hardest.

Making Christms Trees

Last year I found (on Pinterest, of course) and idea to make Christmas trees out of sugar cones, green frosting, and candy.  It's easier and faster than a full on gingerbread house and perfect for the age my kids are at.  The boys loved it because they got to eat a lot of candy.  And it was fun to do together.


Corbin's Christmas Program

I always look forward to Corbin's school performances.  Here's the video of parts of the performance:

Bethlehem Walk Through Christmas Story

We have done this the last several years and I always love it.  This year was a little trickier since Kinsley is still small and likes to eat and go to sleep at 7pm but we only had to leave a little early.  The boys thought seeing the real live camel was pretty cool.  And getting to feel the Spirit as we watch the reenactment of the Savior's birth always brings tears to my eyes.  But, I think the highlight was Cason LOVED the soldiers.  Every time we passed one, he would wave and say "Hi!"  Sometimes the soldiers would say hi or wave back to him but most of the time they were trying to stay in character.  I thought it was so cute and funny that this tiny little 2 year old had no fear of these big strong soldiers.  Oh, that Csaon makes me laugh so much!


Making Fudge

We try to make fudge every year for Connor's coworkers and our neighbors.  This year we got the boys involved.  I showed them how to throw a chocolate chip up in the air and catch it in their mouth.  They thought that was coolest part of making the fudge.  That and tasting it when we were done.


Fantasy of Lights 

Before we went to see the lights, we went to Powell's Sweet Shop so we could get some treats for the car while we watched the lights.  Here's Connor and the kids in front of the Charlie Brown Christmas pcitures in the window.  


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We had to wait in a 30 minute line in the car to get in.  Kinsley started getting really fussy and then it turned to crying and screaming.  I realized that she had a poopy diaper but if we pulled over to change her, we would lose our spot in line.  So I crawled over all the seats and changed her in the back.  Thank goodness we have a van now.  Well, when I put her back in her seat she started crying again.  So I just held her on my lap.  We were only going 5 mph or less so I wasn't that worried about her not being buckled in.  Plus she was so much happier to actually get to see the lights instead of facing backwards in her carseat.

Family Christmas Pictures

We got the boys new suits and Kinsley a new dress for church the Sunday before Christmas and so I wanted to get family pictures.  I made sure that Connor and I worked out the camrera timer and setting it all up the night before because I knew we would be in a rush on Sunday morning.  I think that helped a lot because we were all ready and not stressed to make it on time and we got some really great pictures.  We probably got about 8 with the timer and in 7 of them all of us are looking at the camera.  And that 8th picture, Connor is the only one NOT looking.  Pretty funny!  Then we took some of just the kids and then of each of the kids.  I know Kinsley isn't really smiling in any of the pictures but we can't blame her because she was miserably sick.  Oh, how I love my family!


Seeing Santa Claus

Our normal tradition is to go visit Santa on Christmas Eve morning.  The boys were so incredibly excited.  So, a funny story about when we first got to the mall.  I pulled Kinsley out of her carseat to put her in the stroller and could smell that she had pooped.  So I told Connor that I was going to change her first so he needed to keep an eye on the boys. Well, then Connor keeps telling the boys to come stand by me and they were pulling on me and it was really difficult to change Kinsley so I told them to go to Connor as he was telling me that "someone" drove up in their truck and not in their clothes they would normally be in.  So we were trying to keep the boys from seeing this "someone" so that Christmas wouldn't be ruined.  (I'm not sure the boys are old enough to make the connection yet, but we didn't want to take the chance.)  

We got in line and Santa finally walked by giving the kids high fives as he went to his seat.  I think the boys thought that was it for seeing him but then they were excited that they actually got to sit with him.  Here they are waiting in line.


And the final Santa picture.  Santa pulled Corbin and Cason on his lap at first, but we had to move Corbin so Kinsley could get in the picture.  No one freaked out or cried, but after Corbin was taken off Santa's lap, he wouldn't scoot closer to him.  And then we couldn't really get them all to smile.  But at least there was no crying this year!

Santa 2012

So we weren't able to do two of our normal traditions and they both had to do with chuch.  That stinks!  We weren't able to go to our Ward Christmas party.  3 out of 5 of us were sick so we decided to stay home.  At least we watched Home Alone to make up for it.  And we couldn't make it for the Oakland Temple Christmas lights.  We actually planned two Sundays and both Sundays, someone being sick prevented us.  Oh well.  There is always next year.

We hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!

Kinsley is 6 Months!


Half a year has passed since Kinsley was born.  It doesn't seem possible.  By the third kid I should be used to how fast they grow, but I'm not.

Kinsley is our beautiful, sweet, precious angel.  We all love her to pieces.  One thing that is forever frustrating me, though, is that the boys cannot keep their hands off of her.  She is constantly being touched, patted, kissed, hugged and just generally fussed over by those two sweet, adoring brothers.  I would say there couldn't be a more loved little girl.  I think (and hope) she will feel blessed to have Corbin and Cason as brothers forever!

Here are some of Kinsley's new achievements:

-She got two teeth this past month.  They are about half way in.  It has been the cause of some pain for this baby girl but we are all trying to get through it.
-She can roll, but mostly chooses not to.  She'd rather just roll onto her side and then roll onto her other side and not bother with going all the way over.
-She is this close to sitting on her own.  She can sit for awhile (I think the most has been 15 minutes without falling over) but I can't just sit her down and walk away.  I LOVE the (just) sitting stage.  That is when my babies seem to be most content by themselves.  Unfortunately, that stage doesn't seem to last too long before they start crawling.
-For some reason this girl just isn't getting as chunky as her brothers.  But since she is a girl, maybe petite is better.  Her head is 16 1/4 inches.  She's 25 1/4 inches tall (30th percentile) and 14 lbs 8.3 oz (20th percentile).  I still can't believe she is taller than she is heavier.  But the doctor says that she is fine with her being this way.  She told me she seems really healthy and happy and that I'm doing a good job as a mother.  It's nice to hear that from a "professional".  Kinsley is in size 3 diapers and 3-6 month clothing.  She is starting to outgrown them lengthwise but can still fit in them with room to spare width wise.  Again, this is so different than my boys where I had to roll up their pants because they were too long but they fit perfectly on their chunky bodies.
-She isn't the most talkative baby, but when she does have something to say it's LOUD.  
-What is it about doctors and the pediatrics associations that say NEVER to put stuff in a baby crib?  All my kids have liked to have something next to their face as they are falling asleep.  Kinsley NEEDS something next to her face to fall asleep.  Either a blanket or her snuggly animal.  (And I'm pretty sure a lot of kids are the same way.)
-We started her on solid foods a couple days before she turned 6 months.  She has had rice cereal and peas!  She seemed to like the rice ceral at first but then not so much.  But after I gave her peas, she decided she liked the rice cereal.  She gags when she gets a straight bite of the peas, but it's okay if I mix it with the cereal.  She also has tried water in a sippy cup.  We use the straw ones because they are easier.  Kinsley at first just chewed the straw, then after a couple minutes figured it out.  She took several drinks and then decided she was done.  I guess that's not the kind of drink she likes.  
-She LOVES her bouncer.  She just jumps and bounces like crazy.  It's funny to watch this petitie little baby bounce like she does.  I love it. 

Her schedule:

What schedule?  The third baby who is getting old enough not to sleep as well in her carseat makes it pretty impossible to have a schedule.  But here's kind of what we somewhat try to stick to.

6:30/7:00am (and the rare occasion 7:30am):  She wake up and plays for a little bit then eats.  Gets dressed, etc.
8:30/9:00am-10:00am: Nap 
10:00am:  Wakes up and eats.  They play time or errand time.
11:30am-1:00pm:  Sometimes there's a nap during this time, maybe about half the time.
1:00pm:  Eats and goes down for a nap unless she took a second nap already.
3:00pm:  Wakes up or goes down for a third nap if she took a second nap.
4:00pm: Eats and play time.  
7:00pm:  Bedtime routine, eats, and then sleep.
Night wakings:  She never needs to eat during the night anymore.  She still will wake up at night, though.  Sometimes it's only once, sometimes it's 5 times.  Rarely, she sleeps the whole night.  I have no idea why and I'm done trying to guess what I did just perfectly to get her to sleep through the night.  I figure there are reasons beyond my control.  Luckily, though she will generally go back to sleep fairly quickly once she gets her binky and her snugglies up next to her face.

I don't know if there are words to descrbe her and what she has brought to our family.  It definitely feels more chaotic, but also it feels as if there is more love.  We LOVE this baby girl!

© The Duke Fam 2014