December 7, 2008

happy holidays

I love Christmas time. It's so fun to relect upon the year and remember all the great times and count our blessings. Chris is finishing up dental school in May and our family will pass a great milestone--we will no longer be students!! Chris can't wait to have a profession and put studying behind him. We will be relocating with the Air Force once he graduates and we'll find out that location in January. As a whole, we are very excited and optimistic about the future.
We have loved watching our family grow and this year was marked by the arrival of Brady (aka: Brady pants, Dee-dee, Brady boy). We just LOVE having a cute, chubby baby in our midsts. It's so fun watching all of our kids grow, but we really enjoy the baby phase which seems to be passing by so quickly. Brady will be crawling any day now and seems to have a very mellow nature. His favorite activities include doing anything with his siblings. He is so entertained by them and we have loved watching their unique relationships develop.
Mia is a beauty. Maybe we're partial since we are her parents, but we can't help admiring her beauty. She talks very well, so we are getting to know her better each day. We get such a kick out of what she says. Our favorite phrases include: "Stop it Jonah!", "No way!", and "Love you". She's got to be the most polite little one-year old around. She is constantly saying "thank you" and "sorry" without any prompts. Her femine side is emerging more and more lately. She now insists on sleeping with not just one, but two of her baby dolls at night. She is rarely seen without them. We sure enjoy having a little girl in our home.
Jonah loves being the big boy at home. He is so sweet with his siblings....most of the time. We're starting to see his creative side as he develops elaborate scenarios for him and Mia to play. It's not uncommon to see he and Mia crawling around barking like dogs, building forts or racing cars. He's attending pre-school three days a week and loves it. We've seen so much growth in him already and he loves his friends and teachers at school.
Mandi is a busy mother, to say the least. Taking care of the three very young kids is demanding, but she seems to be adapting well. She enjoys a break a few days a month when Chris stays home with the kids and she goes to work as a dental hygienist for a local dentist. It's a great way to make some extra money and for Mandi to keep up her skills. Parenting is so rewarding in so many ways and we feel so blessed to have our children.
We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and that you get to enjoy your loved ones as we celebrate our Savior's birth. Merry Christmas!

November 1, 2008

happy halloween

We had a wonderful Halloween with our 3 little ones. I'm sure you'll agree they look adorable! Jonah was a pro at trick-or-treating, but this was Mia's first experience with it. Since she is terrified of strangers, we weren't sure what to expect, but once she realized the strangers were handing out candy, she didn't care who it was. Maybe we need to have a lesson on "stranger danger", what do you think? =) Chris and I have enjoyed a candy fest after we put to the kids to bed. We're just glad they're not old enough to notice that their candy is disappearing faster than they can eat it. We look forward to Brady being able to trick-or-treat next year.....that means more candy! We hope you all had a Happy Halloween!

October 19, 2008

pumpkin patch

We spent the day at Looper's Pumpkin Patch just north of Kansas City. It was a fabulous time together as a family. The best part was that it was FREE. You only had to pay for any pumpkins you wanted to buy. It was perfect for our young family. They provided Hay-rack rides, train rides, triclycles and wagons to play with, kittens to pet and dogs to play with. As we were driving away Jonah said, "That was SO much fun!" As parents, we consider that a successful family outing.

October 8, 2008

apple orchard

We had a blast when our playgroup went to Aldredge Apple Orchard here in Kansas City. My kids love apples anyway, but once they spotted trees with endless amounts of apples, they just couldn't get enough. They chased the chickens and ducks, fed the goats, took a hayrack ride, picked apples, pet the kittens, had a picnic and just enjoyed a beautiful day! Thanks to all my friends who helped me handle my three little ones on my own. We'll have to go back as a family with Chris so he can see first hand how much fun we had!

September 19, 2008

jonah's pre-school

Jonah started pre-school the first week of September. He attends 3 days a week for about 3 hours a day. I wasn't at all nervous or even sad about Jonah growing up, instead I found myself as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. Time seemed to drag as we waited for summer to end and school to start. Jonah couldn't have been more excited. He told everyone that because he was 3 years old, he got to go to school. As I dropped him off on the first day, there were several kids who were crying, but Jonah just gave me a high-five and was off. I was very anxious to hear about his first day of school as I picked him up, and the the first thing he said to me was, "Mommy, can I stay at school longer next time?" Apparantly he had a good time. =) He has a great group of friends that go to this pre-school, including two that drive in our carpool. I just have to drive one day a week, which is awesome! On the days that I don't drive, Jonah is gone for a solid 4 hours! I'm amazed at all I can get done with just 2 kids at home. It's nice to be able to dedicate some individual time to my babies while Jonah is gone. I love hearing about the activities he does, snacks he eats and who he plays with at recess, as well as seeing the pictures and worksheets that come home. When Jonah comes home each day, he seems to have missed me enough to appreciate the time we have together, and I've felt the same. It's been good for both of us. So far, we LOVE pre-school!!

August 16, 2008

connell family reunion

We had our annual reunion at Mandi's parent's home at the Lake of the Ozarks. All 6 of the Connell girls were there with their families including 14 grandkids. We were only missing Mandi's brother who is serving a mission in California. It was a blast! Activities included: 4-wheeling, swimming, boating, fishing, wake boarding, wake surfing, tubing, hiking, eating, playing games, scavenger hunts, bon fires, treasure hunts, bike riding, cliff jumping, hot tubbing, craft making, pinata hitting, playing the wii, and watching movies, and of course, a whole lot of talking! It's quite a ordeal to organize such a reunion, and it turned out great! Thanks to all who helped pull this together and especially to Mandi's parents who housed us all. Jonah is still begging to go back to Grandma's house. We had a little scare one morning when Jonah and his cousin Anna walked into the house after being outside (something they were not supposed to do without an adult). They were still in their pajamas and we thought they were playing inside. Jonah confessed that he and Anna were just sitting on the paddle boat! They had no life jackets on and had walked down the 45 stairs to the lake and climbed into Grandma's paddle boat! We know that they had guardian angels with them that morning. After that, we made sure that the doors leading to the dock were not only dead-bolted, but toddler proof and we had a very long talk with the two culprits.

Special thanks to my brother-in-law, Matt Kimball, for taking these great pictures. He's so talented!

July 7, 2008

brady's blessing day

We blessed Brady at Mandi's parents home in Lake of the Ozarks on Sunday, July 6th. Chris did a wonderful job and Jonah and Mia cooperated perfectly--only because they were sleeping =) Brady is growing pretty rapidly and we decided that we couldn't have waited much longer to bless him because he was about to grow out of his blessing outfit. Jonah wore it when he was blessed at 2 1/2 weeks, so it was fun to see another boy dressed in it. They definitley look similar, but there's a difference. Brady is so smily and brings lots of happiness to our home. Both kids just adore him and he giggles and smiles when he sees them. Mandi loves the baby stage, and even though she's not getting lots of sleep, she is enjoying her newborn.