Friday, December 31, 2010


I have a new niece!  Asena Ellene came early this morning.  She was 20 inches long and weighed 7lb 6oz. 
Congratulations Marissa and Tevita! 

She is adorable!  Click here for more pictures!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas day...

Last night we read the Christmas story in Luke 2.  We talked about the birth of Christ and imagined what it was like.  We said our family prayer and turned out the lights.  I know it was hard for the girls to go to sleep.  Ruby and June kept sneaking out of bed.

It was after 8am when they all woke up.  Alli, Ruby and June were so excited as they waited on the steps for the go-ahead.

First we emptied our stockings.  Santa brought new toothbrushes for everyone and a box of special band-aids for each girl.  June found a boo-boo post haste and applied a Dora bandage.
Then came the presents under the tree!

Oh, the excitement!

Can you spot Alli's new dictionary (she asked for it), my new shoes (magenta sneakers!), a little plumber smile, and a homemade book Alli made for Andy and I.

June just knew this little trike was hers.  She spent the entire morning cruising around our house and trying all kinds of tricks on her trike.

Ruby got the pillow pet she "wanted her WHOLE LIFE!"  She was all smiles.  Except for this one moment...

I think she was pouting because "Toy Story" is a "movie for boys!"  Then she watched it and changed her mind.
We had a delicious breakfast... with toys by our side.

And now I breathe a sigh of relief.  Sure, there are bit of wrapping paper in our great room, but the busy part of Christmas is done. 
The kids are playing with their new things.  Andy is in his shop making something awesome (I can't wait to show you!).  Most of us are still in jammies at 3:30pm.
And that is why I am finally catching up on the blog.
Today I feel the peaceful part of Christmas. 

I am thankful for Jesus Christ.  I know the peace I feel is from HIM.  I am thankful for all the little miracles and tender mercies and blessings in my life.

Christmas Eve with Santa...

Yesterday was Christmas Eve.  We drove up to visit my parents.  We had a big ol' get-together with my family.  It was fun catching up with siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles.
Of course, Santa came for a visit.

And Great-grandma T. made cookies and caramel corn!

And Ruby collected a pocket full of candy canes.

Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

O Christmas Tree

Here is our evergreen.  Truly evergreen... because it is fake.

Our tree is decorated like this...
Kid-friendly and indestructible ornaments from the bottom to about 3 feet high.
Semi-breakable ornaments from 3 feet to 5 feet up.
Delicate ornaments and candy canes above 5 feet.

But still, there is only one candy cane left (out of 12 to start)... way up high.  I can't even reach it.
Somehow Ruby got to these ones...

And there has been a steady stream of ornament repairs.  There are five waiting to be glued/put back together right now.  Not kidding.

I am glad to have a great big tree this year.  Last year we used our skinny-Chicago-apartment-tree.  It was adorable... but we have passed it along.  And thanks to a Craigslist deal, we have a big ol' tree that will work for us for many, many years.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

all I want for Christmas...

nine front teeth.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

thank goodness for digital

Downloading the pictures from our pocket camera is always a treat.  The kids like to swipe the camera and snap pictures of all sorts of things.

And sometimes it is very easy to tell who took the pictures.

Yes, Alli is missing five teeth!
The girls really get in on the action.

As you can see, there has been lots of excitement at our house.  We put up a Christmas tree.  We installed a patio with help from Mars Irrigation and Landscape (my brother).  We have had grandparents and cousins and an aunt and uncle stay with us.  We are counting down to Christmas...

But for some reason (see above) I have to keep refilling our advent calendar.

And now the camera memory card is downloaded and cleared and the battery is charging.  Stay tuned for more exciting pictures from Alli, Ruby and June!

'tis the season

... for Christmas concerts!

Alli and Ruby helped June set up her stage and piano.  Then they called us down to the playroom for a special concert.  June played the pink piano and sang songs.
I love the songbook on top of the piano.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I think we got it!

Last night it rained.  Poured!  I was worried because this morning we were taking a family picture. 
The kids woke up grumpy and uncooperative.   I had to offer a bribe breakfast... hot oatmeal with a scoop of ice cream.  That helped to get them moving.  I picked out clothes for the girls, and Alli put on sweatpants and a t-shirt (that I
did not pick)... Grandma helped convince her to change.  She put
together a cute ensemble.  I was worried that no one would smile.
We were blessed with great lighting and no rain, though the ground was quite soft.  Andy's sister Betsy is in town, and she is a very talented photographer.  She was kind enough to snap a few pictures of us this morning before Andy had to dash off to work... and before she left to drive back to New York.
We had to set up quickly, the kids were very interested in the swollen stream just a few feet away.  Everything was more interesting than getting pictures taken.  100 clicks of the camera later, and we were done.  It didn't take longer than 10 minutes.
And that was that.
Betsy left the files for me to play with...
Ta da!
I love Alli's toothless grin (5 teeth are missing!).  Ruby's legs are crossed in every picture.  Sweet June gave us her best.  All eyes are open.  Everyone is smiling.  This one is golden!

And now, I've got to make the Christmas card!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

four little pumpkins sitting on a bench...

Um, I know this is late.  Embarrassingly late. 
But here are our Jack o' lanterns!

The Veteran's Day concert

Alli's performed in a school concert on Veteran's Day.  The show was great, but I barely saw Alli.  I had to lean way over on the kind Veteran seated next to me to get this picture. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The weekend from...

Earlier this week, Andy was showing me some funny YouTube videos.  He
showed me one of this girl riding a roller coaster and throwing up (it
is one of the most viewed videos).  Normally I wouldn't laugh at such a
thing, but she was like a fountain and it just kept coming out.  (And I
was really tired.  Lots of things are extra funny if you are tired.)  We laughed and laughed at that. 

Bad karma.

Saturday night was horrible.  Andy had to go in to work all day Saturday.  I put the kids to bed after a long day of Halloween festivities. 
Alli and Ruby had just been tucked into their beds for the night, when suddenly I heard the sound that every parent fears...



Both girls threw up in their beds... all over their beds.  Poor things.
Usually I have an iron stomach and I can clean up disasters like that without any trouble.  But Halloween party vomit is especially heinous.  Neon-frosted cupcakes should be outlawed.
I was having great difficulty dealing with the mess, when Andy walked in the door!  Normally he is the one who gags over dirty diapers.  But there was some sort of miracle, and he took the soiled bedding outside and hosed it all off.  I didn't even hear him gag once.
I put clean sheets and blankets on the beds, and then they barfed again. On the beds.
By the third round, they were hitting the bucket/toilet... if you are a parent you know what a huge milestone it is when a kid can make it to the toilet!
We finally got the girls settled down with buckets next to their pillows.  We put June to bed.  I was feeling queasy, so we went to bed, but not for long.

I barfed like that girl on the roller coaster.  It just kept coming like a foul fountain.  Andy was in bed, but he could hear everything... and I could hear him.  And I heard a giggle.  Heave.  Laughter.  Double heave.  More laughter.  And I kept on heaving.  Finally an "Are you okay?" came from Andy.  Heave.

Andy felt bad for laughing.  I wasn't at all mad at him.  I know how it is.  The same night when Andy showed me the barf video, he also shared the double rainbow video.  And the double rainbow autotune video.  And then the sprinkler rainbow conspiracy video.  We laughed and laughed at that.  Then the next afternoon there was a rainbow.  Almost a double rainbow.  I called Andy; I was laughing so hard I was almost in tears.  We had another good laugh.  Back to the Nicoll barf night, sometimes you just have to laugh at life... and so Andy laughed.  I would have laughed too if I wasn't barfing so hard.

June got sick around 2am.  I spent the night on her floor.  I took her to the potty every time she started to heave.
There was continual puke through the night.  My empty stomach churned angrily.  I don't think I slept at all.
And Sunday (Halloween!) morning there was peace.  And much tiredness.  And mountains of nasty laundry.  We stayed home from church.  We watched movies all day.  The kids bounced back to nearly normal by afternoon.  I was still wiped out, and Andy started his sick.  Everyone took naps.

As you can see, June was well enough for some candy.  Andy and I weren't well enough to fight it.

Monday, I was better.  Not 100%, but much improved.  Andy stayed home from work.  I did laundry all day.  Seriously, ALL DAY.  The house is a mess.  But we are nearly well again.

PS- All of our Halloween celebrations were before Halloween, so our illness didn't keep us from any of it... trick-or-treating, school parties, church party, the Celebrity Ghost 5k (where I got my best time ever 23:17!)

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Alli is at the age of losing teeth... often.  Her first grad class keeps track of how many teeth are lost each month.  There were ten lost in October so far.
On Wednesday, Alli came home from school like this...

I will spare you the close-up, but take my word for it, the tooth is backwards!!!!

Wiggly teeth gross me out... especially when the loose tooth is hanging all crooked and  backwards.  I told her to yank it out.  She didn't want to.  She wanted to wait until school the next day.  If you lose a tooth at school you get a special necklace.  And she wanted that necklace.

Half an hour later, the tooth fell out.  Bummer.

Alli is managing fine without the front teeth.  She can munch on Halloween candy without difficulty.
And that is the important thing right now.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


On Monday we went back to the apple orchard.  We finished off the 20 pounds of apples we picked a few weeks ago, and we needed more!
My sister Janis and her two youngest daughters met us at the orchard.  It didn't take long to fill our bags with apples... but the kids didn't want to go. 

Then they spotted a giant pile of leaves.

Oh what fun!
The girls built a fort and pathways.

June has never played in leaves before.  The girls nearly buried her in the crisp leaves.

June had the best time grabbing bunches of leaves and tossing them in the air.  And swishing and kicking at the crunchy leaves.

It was all lovely and fun until it really was time to go...

Alli lamented the fact that we don't have leaves in our yard.  Our trees are too scrawny this year.

So sad.