Monday, December 17, 2012

2012 Christmas Card

2012 has been a wonderful year for us!  We've had many highlights throughout the year.

First and foremost the arrival of our beautiful Sarah Caroline!  She is the sweetest little angel baby and we feel so blessed to have her in our family.

A close second would have to be the chance to celebrate my parent's 50th wedding anniversary in London with all of the Nattress siblings and spouses for the Summer Olympics!  (Definitely a memory we will treasure forever!)

We were also blessed to have several visits this year from several family members we love and miss so much.

We've had some great "adventures in parenting" this year.

Becky made her "stage debut" this year when she played the part of 'Jane' in her middle school production of "Peter Pan."  Becky is doing really well in school this year.  She is enrolled in several advanced classes and is learning to balance a busy schedule of school, homework, piano lessons, ballet, play practice, church activities, babysitting, and an increasingly busy social schedule.

Julianne is also doing well in school.  At the end of her 4th grade year she got a perfect score on her SOL (standard of learning) tests and is enjoying being part of the "600 club" an exclusive club only for those who achieve a perfect score.  She is also enjoying piano lessons, ballet, and church activities.

Emily is following in her sisters footsteps and is loving school as well.  She LOVES to read and enjoys reading on her own, and reading to her younger brothers and sister.  She started piano this fall and is in her second year of ballet.

Dallin goes to preschool a few hours each week. And he's had fun attending a few sports camps this year at the local recreational center.  He's a good big brother and (when he's not conspiring for world domination with Tommy) is a great "mommy's helper" during the day while his sisters are at school, but mostly Dallin lives for the weekends when his dad is home and can help Dad work on "projects" around the house.

Tommy has earned the nickname "Tommy the Tornado."  Despite my best efforts, he seems to leave a wake of destruction everywhere! He's definitely TWO and completely fearless to boot!  He is a sweet little boy though.  He gives the best hugs and kisses! He loves to wrestle with his brother and help Dad mow the lawn.  Tommy talks really well and will about talk your ear off if you let him.

Sarah has such a sweet disposition.  She is very social and loves attention.  She adores everyone of her big brothers and sisters and wants to be wherever they are.  Her favorite things to do are playing "patty cake" and dancing to music.  She babbles constantly and loves cruising around the furniture.

We feel so blessed and we are so grateful for the this wonderful season and the opportunity to reflect on those things that are most important.  We wish all our loved ones a Merry Christmas and hope you have a blessed year!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Two Weeks Old!!!

I can't believe it but Sarah is already two weeks old. My Mom went home early Sunday morning and Joe went back to work Monday morning, so this was our first week on our own. Thankfully we survived! It was a little crazy this week trying to fit in diaper changes and the unpredictable feeding schedule of a newborn in between running around to piano lessons, ballet lessons, play practice, church activities, school and preschool, and multiple Dr. appointments-(Sarah has thrush and I developed mastitis.) We made it, but I think we're all hoping for things to slow down this weekend. We'll see ;)
Sarah is such a sweet little angel baby though. The kids just adore her. She is definitely the most popular person in our house right now. So far she seems to have a sweet little disposition. She has great big eyes and is very alert. She loves it when people talk to her. She has already smiled a few times and she has the cutest little dimples in her cheeks. She's growing like a weed, already back to her birth weight plus a few ounces. She's a good eater and a pretty good sleeper, only waking up two or three times a night. We all love her so much. I don't know how we ever got along without her.
My good friend Denise came over this week to take a few pictures of Sarah. They all turned out adorable! She took 69 pictures and I love them all! It was hard choosing favorites because they're all my favorite! :)

Here are just a few:

Half way through the picture taking process we had to take a break because Sarah was hungry. While I fed Sarah Denise snapped a few pictures of the boys to pass the time. I didn't have a chance to dress them up or even comb their hair. (Dallin's hair is particularly crazy.) But their pictures turned out cute anyway.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

She's Here!!!!

Introducing Sarah Caroline Walker
Born February 24, 2012 at 12:30pm.
8 lbs. 11 oz. and 21 inches long.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Dear Jennifer:

So.....7 days and counting until our new little baby girl will be here. Her clothes and blankets are washed, her bassinet is all set up, I think we're ready! (Except for her name. We have it narrowed down to Allison Charlotte or Sarah Caroline. I guess we still have a few days to decide ;)
Anyhoo...although we are soooo excited.....there is still a part of me that is still a little intimidated when I think of the next year or so with six little kids at home.
A friend of mine once wrote a post like this and I thought it was a good idea.
It's a letter to myself. Hopefully a letter I can look back and read on one of those unavoidable "no good, very bad, days" that happen once in a while.

Dear Jennifer:

Remember, this time in your life is just a phase. You won't always feel this way, you won't always look this way, it won't always be this hard.
Remember that trials and blessings often come wrapped up in the same package and you are so lucky to have 6 little "trials and blessings".

When you are feeling discouraged remember that there is renewing strength that can be found in the scriptures, in prayer, and in a kind and patient husband who loves you.

Although this is a difficult time for you, try to focus on the "rainbows" rather than the "rain". In a few years you will look at this time and wish you could have it all back. You will fondly look through pictures of this sweet little baby girl (and the other kids) and wish she was that small again. You will miss holding her, snuggling her, rocking her, smelling her, bathing her, feeding her, and wonder how it all went by so fast.

When you feel depressed that those pregnancy pounds aren't coming off as fast as you want them to, remember how blessed you are to have a healthy body, that although may not look exactly how you want it too, is strong enough to handle the rigors of caring for a home and a family of 8.

Remember that although sometimes time seems to stand still and some of those "tough moments" seem to never end.....time is actually flying by.....try to enjoy a moment or two along the way.

Do your best to be patient with the kids, even when you don't think you have an ounce of patience left.
Remember to be patient with yourself. The house won't always be clean, there won't always be a hot meal to serve your family at the end of the day. It's ok. Take a deep breath, tomorrow is another day.
Hang in there. This too shall pass. Enjoy this unique and special time in your life. It will all be over soon......much too soon.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy Birthday to Dallin!

Dallin is the big #4 today! It's kind of been birthday week for Dallin so far. We had a little family party for him on Sunday...

Grandma and Grandpa Nattress always send money for birthdays so on Monday we all went to Toys R Us to help Dallin pick out a present. He was so cute...he insisted on paying the cashier himself and he was very proud to tell her that he was spending his birthday money from Grandma and Grandpa.

Then today he got to take Spider Man cupcakes into his classroom. In his preschool class the teacher gives them a little birthday hat to wear for the day and he has been wearing it proudly ever since he got home.
Happy Birthday my little Man!!!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Christmas was so fun this year. Last night Padilla's came over and we had a great time. We started the night off snacking on food and hangin' out. Then we all collected into the family room to sing Christmas carols and play chimes. (A Walker/Padilla tradition.)

Next we read the Nativity story from the scriptures and the kids acted it out. My favorite costume was the one Josh came up with. (For those of you who can't quite figure out his creative vision... he's the donkey.)

Then the kids opened their new pajamas and headed to bed.

After which Me, Joe, Grammy, and Grandpa watched "It's a Wonderful Life" while we set up all the Christmas goodies for the kids. Here's what it looked like before we all headed up for a not-so-long winter's nap:

All the kids were up bright and early the next morning. (Like 5:30am bright and early.) We made them wait until 6:00 before we let them head down stairs. They were so excited. I was kind of frustrated because I couldn't get them to hold still long enough to take a picture of them while they walked down the stairs. This is the best one I got:
In hindsight I think it's pretty funny. And it definitely shows how excited they were.

Santa was good to everyone this year...
Tommy got a Slide. (Grandpa is hovering close by to make sure all goes well with his first try;)

Dallin asked Santa for a new "big boy bike". One of the neighbors broke his 3 wheeler a few months ago so Dallin has had to make due sharing Emmy's old pink bike the last little while.

Emmy asked for a new bike as well.

Last year Julianne got "Julie" the American Girl doll for Christmas and she has been wanting "Julie's Bed" ever since. So that's what Santa brought for JJ.

Becky has been asking for a pair of Roller Blades for a while now and Santa was happy to help out.

After church a few of the "Maryland Padilla's" and our friends the Harper's came over and we enjoyed a delicious dinner of Prime Rib Roast, Spiral cut Ham, twice baked potatoes, green salad, steamed green beans with bacon and onions, homemade rolls, and hot fudge cake!

We have the special privilege of having Joe's parents in town to spend Christmas break with us and we are treasuring every minute.
I tried getting a picture with every one but I couldn't get one where every one is looking (or has their eyes open:) at the same time. These two are the best I could do: ( I need to learn how to cut and paste so I can combine a few pictures into one!)

Happy Birthday to Becky!!!!

How did my precious baby girl turn into this beautiful Young Woman?!?!?

The big #12 has brought a lot of exciting changes.
Becky has been so excited all year because we told her she could get her ears pierced when she turned twelve. Her Grammy and Grandpa Walker flew in Friday night to spend Christmas with us, and first thing yesterday morning we got up, went to breakfast, (normally a Christmas morning tradition but since this year Christmas is on Sunday we went on Christmas Eve) and headed straight over to the mall to get Becky's ears pierced. She was very nervous but she did great. I think it helped having Grammy there to hold her hand. :) Then we came home and opened presents. She got some make up, some earrings she can wear when her studs come out, some new clothes, and a remote control car. (A yellow Camero like Bumblebee from "Transformers".) Her gift from Grammy and Grandpa was some money to start a savings account. She's excited to start saving her babysitting money. Yes, I said babysitting. Becky has actually been babysitting for us and a neighbor of ours for a few months, but now that she's officially twelve she's excited to be able to babysit for neighbors and ward members. I think my favorite gift to give Becky was her own laundry basket. In our house when you turn twelve you are responsible for your own laundry!
I have to admit I was feeling a little nostalgic this morning during sacrament meeting when the Bishop called Becky up to give her her Primary graduation certificate. Can Becky really be old enough for Young Women?! I swear she grew up overnight!

I'm so proud of Becky and the Young Women she has become.

Here are 12 things I love about Becky:

-Her smile. Ever since she was a baby Becky could light up a room just with her smile.
2-Her laugh. Becky has a giggly little laugh that is very contagious.
3-How much she loves little children. Not only is she an amazing big sister, but she has always been drawn to little kids, and they love her too. Whether it's at church, the grocery store, or just around the neighborhood, Becky loves spending time and making friends with little children.
4-Her funny sense of humor.
5-Her graceful demeanor.
6-Her desire to excel. When Becky has the opportunity to try something new she will work at it until she has mastered it.
7-Her little OCD tendencies.
8-Her gift for music.
9-Her "quiet riot" personality. Becky is pretty quiet and shy in social situations like church or school, but at home she is just as loud and silly as any other 12 yr. old girl.
10-Her "black and white" opinions. There's not a whole lot of "gray area" when it comes to Becky. It's either right or wrong, up or down, in or out. And she has a very logical thinking process when it comes to forming her opinions.
11-Becky is VERY STUBBORN. And although it can cause an issue from time to time I actually love this side of her. When Becky makes up her mind it is almost impossible to change it. I used to worry a little about it when she was small but I remember my mom once telling me that having a stubborn child is a wonderful thing, as long as you teach them to be stubborn in the right situations. ( No pressure right? ;) But I think my mom is right, and that leads me to one of the things I love most about Becky.....
12-Somehow, despite my imperfections as a parent, Becky has developed a sincere desire to do what is right. She's not perfect. And she doesn't always do what's right. But she tries hard to make good choices because it's important to her and I love that about her. In that way, and in many other ways she is a great example to me and I feel so blessed to be her mother.

Happy Birthday Sweetie!!!!!