Wednesday, December 30, 2015

our Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS!  I know.  It's over.  But I just wanted to say it one more time.  This Christmas was so nice!

We decided to do the "Four Gift Christmas" where you give them:
- a give they want
- a gift they need
- clothing
- a book

Planning for their presents, I had each of the kids tell me 2-3 things that they wanted, then picked one from the list and bought them that.  Then we got them one book each,  some winter clothes each, and a group gift of items to help redecorate and organize their rooms.  I wanted to do a little something else to add to the fun, and we decided to do a surprise scavenger hunt for their Christmas presents.

The day came - I had all the presents wrapped, clues written, and locations planned out in the house.  We sent the kids outside for a few minutes (it was around 70 degrees) and set it up all in about 10-15 minutes.  Then I opened the backdoor, handed them their first clue, and off they went into the house to find their gifts.

They loved the mystery of it and it took present opening time from being 5-10 minutes to about 25 minutes long.  And, it was SO fun to watch them.  My mom had sent a couple Christmas packages, so that was included in the hunt, and the kids didn't even seem to notice they had fewer presents.  Instead, they seemed to really thoroughly enjoy everything they had gotten.  They voted it all become a new family tradition.

That was all on Christmas Eve, which is a family tradition to open family gifts that day.  (Took a video of it all, so no pics to post)

On Christmas Day, we opened gifts from Santa.  Santa fills their stockings and then brings them some fun group gifts to use through out the year, like family games and homeschooling projects.

Santa also brought them all a new pair of pjs, as seen below...when they were all dragging Violet off somewhere.  haha.

Emma's special gift was a doll.  She loves dolls still.  Not sure she'll outgrow it for a while.

Tyler2 just wanted some money so he could buy games and/or things on games that he wanted.  He plays some games with his best friend online, like Roblox.  I can often hear him laughing hysterically over whatever they are doing on there.

Violet no longer likes dolls and little kid toys much.  Is it just me or did she outgrow that quickly?  She's seven!  Anyway, she really wanted a guitar.  So, we got her a little guitar.  The look on her face when she saw it was awesome.  She likes to walk around playing it and singing to us.  Does it sound good?  Of course.

Then there are these two.  They both loves animals and love horses.  They had requested a few different kinds of animals.  In the end, we decided to get them these.  We had considered getting just one for them to share it, but we decided that would turn into a battle of UFC quality, and we thought they'd really like to get to go on horse rides together.  And they do.

Riding off into the sunset:

This holiday season was pretty awesome.  One of the best we've had in a while.  Not because of the gifts, but because of the time we got to spend together.  Pretty awesome!

Monday, December 28, 2015

these two...

Ella loves to beat Tyler2 up.  Since she's so little, he doesn't do much other than take it...and laugh and scream a lot.  It's so very funny and cute to watch the two of them:

Then there are these two - Rhys and Ella.  They are best little friends, often running around the house chasing butterflies and donkeys (oh, I really need to post about that, cause it's kinda funny).  They are 15 months apart, so their interests are pretty close to one another.

When they aren't best friends, they are sworn enemies.  Cause that's what happens when you are little and can apparently only carry one emotion in your body at a time.

(You probably won't see this, but thank you to the person that gave us this game!  The girls love it.)

Found Ella's expression to be amusing.

One day far too soon they're going to grow up and these will be just memories.  WHY HAS NO ONE FIGURED OUT HOW TO CONTROL TIME?!

Until then, I'll just take lots of photos and do better at journaling.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Ugly Faces

Emma had a post-transplant checkup yesterday.  Cincinnati (transplant hospital) runs things through the Dallas hem/onc team.

On the drive over, Emma's hearing aid battery died, and I had no more in my purse.  Oops!  So, she wasn't able to hear much.  Luckily she can read lips pretty well, so she didn't miss everything.  She does know some sign language, but she has no thumbs (due to FA) and it complicates sign language a bit.

Then I realized I had forgotten to put gel in my hair that morning.

See, our morning was really tragic.

Due to her non-functional immune system, she always has to wear a mask anywhere public until she is in a private room.  And, they always put her in a private room immediately and have her skip the waiting rooms.

So, that's where we were.  For a bit we twiddled our thumbs while we waited.

Then we decided to do a selfie:

Then we did a little stupid face together:


Or, more accurately for our case, the Synchronized Ugly Face game.

We sometimes resort to this in cases of much boredom.  It often includes my sisters and niece, who sometimes text in their Ugly Faces too, but we didn't think to include them this time.  (Sorry, gals!)

At first we start off work into it a bit.

So, we did funny lips:

Then weird eyes:

Rabbit teeth:


Emma's two favorites:

She was almost crying from laughing after this one:

I know.  We should be embarrassed, but.......we aren't.

Part of the game is to be able to switch back to a normal face when the doctors walk in.  Cause, like you want them to see you doing this.  They always have to gown and glove when they come in (since she's VRE positive), so once we heard the rustling outside the door, we knew it was time to act like normal people again.

They took her blood, and we'll have those results on Friday via My Chart (app on my phone).  Hoping to see her BK virus levels and EBV levels at ZERO cause that would mean that her immune system is finally kicking in.

Hopefully this will be the year where things start to move along and she'll end up with a fully functional immune system by the end of it.  Isolation might be making us a wee bit crazy...

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Gingerbread "Houses"

Well, we did it.  We made gingerbread houses!

We kept seeing friends post photos of their adorably cute little gingerbread houses, and after we made the ninjabread men, we thought, WHY NOT?!

So, we did.

Super cute, isn't it?  Looks just like what you see on the commercials.

That's cause it is.  I may or may not have stolen this photo from Amazon.  Here's the link.  (There, now I think that means I didn't steal it.) Isn't it so cute?  I've never tried it, but it looks like a good one.

Anyway, so with that in mind, this is what we did:

Drumroll please....

Here are our gingerbread houses:

Contrary to how it might seem, we really didn't throw graham crackers and blobs of frosting together with some candy.  But, now that you mention it, that would have been just as effective...and probably faster...

Maybe I should rewind to the beginning.

It was a cloudy, overcast day.  I was wearing my ninja garb and sneakily snuck into the kitchen while the children played happily in their rooms.  My hope was to get five little spots at the table supplied with all that they would need for gingerbread houses: 5 bowls of cream cheese frosting to use as the "glue", then 5 sandwich baggies of decorative frosting, and 5 sets of graham crackers to build their little houses.  I sat additional candy decorations in a bag on the table to surprise them, once they got started.  

I knew they were going to be so excited when they saw it all.  And they were.

This is what the goal was:

And this was the process:

As promised, it was time to look through the bag of surprise candy decorations.  They were super giddy and excited over it.  There were little candy canes, Christmas trees, and snowmen, plus some other little treats:

Once the surprise candy was made known, Ella got a little distracted from decorating and had to taste some of these new little treasures:

And, then it started happening...

THEY WERE FALLING APART...Tyler2's, Rhys', and Ella's.

*dramatic gasp*

Then Violet's fell apart too...

Emma's was the last surviving gingerbread house and was feeling bad for Violet:

Meanwhile, Ella was oblivious to most of it.  Part of her house had fallen apart, but did you know that this snowman treat is really, really tasty?  You didn't?  Well, now you do:

Nooooo!  The last one was falling!

Pretty sure Ella was drunk on sugar by this point, and if she was speaking, her speech was undoubtedly slurred:

After working on trying to put back together Tyler, Rhys, and Ella's, and seeing that the glue wasn't very glue-like, we realized it was time to change the narrative of our story...

Turns out these poor gingerbread houses were built on a fault line.

Yeah, I know.  Tragic.

One day the little gingerbread children were out building their snowmen, when suddenly an earthquake hit, and their houses collapsed.  There were broken candy canes and rivers of hot tamales everywhere...





(Tyler2's was posted at the beginning of the blog entry.)

I almost feel like the rating of this blog entry just changed from rated G to rated PG.

Once we changed the narrative, the kids embraced it, and there was much hysterical laughter.  They did most of their decorating AFTER their houses had fallen down, and it was the cause of much enjoyment.

Maybe next year we'll try the hot glue like my friend chose to use on her's (cause they're smart and all).  But, I must say, I quite like how ours turned out this year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

ninja attack...

Forgot to include this pic in last blog post's photos.  Rhys was snuggling Ella, while I got ready to take her to the ER and Tyler1 was off doing something else for a minute (washing the bedding, maybe?).  I thought they looked sweet.  Violet was dancing around trying to make her laugh.  And, it worked.  So cute!  It was sweet to see how hard they tried to make her feel better.

I also forgot to say that Ella came home and pinky-promised Daddy (which is like the FO 'REAL type of promise) that she would never put anything but food in her mouth again.  

Now, on to Christmas activities!  We've done a few that I'll be posting (hopefully). 

We made NINJABREAD MEN this year.  *karate chop* 

Thank you to the person that sent the kit to us a year or two ago.  They are our favorites.  

*Begin slideshow*

Here we have Emma decorating her little ninja.  

It appears he only has one arm, which makes him even more awesome.

Then Violet took a turn at it and decorated her own little dude:

We had these little circle candy things that they used for eyes and buttons...and for eating...

Then Rhys (her hair was still damp from a bath, not greasy)...

And a very excited Tyler2...

Ella patiently watched everyone until it was her turn.
(I'd like to draw your attention to the upside down person in the background.  That would be Violet.  BECAUSE SHE DOES 900 MILLION HANDSTANDS A DAY AND MAKES ME WATCH ALL OF THEM.  Luckily I have nothing else to do...)

It was cute cause Ella worked at it for a pretty long time and never really ended up with very much frosting on her ninja.

She looked at it for a bit but didn't ever ask for help:

Can't forget it's eyeballs...

Here's some of the finished products:

This poor unfortunate fella had a ninja fight that he lost.  We know he lost because he has no head.

Then it was time to eat.  She was counting the candy on it, I think.  (Do you like her blush?)

You can see how much they enjoyed them:

I would point out that I caught them mid-pose, but I didn't.  They were holding these poses on purpose (Emma and Violet were, not Tyler2).

And, our one normal child, who looks happy eating it like normal children do:

Just kidding.  She's not normal.  That would be boring.  She was just too excited to eat her candy-filled ninja to make a face.  

Upon finishing this project, and after talking to a friend about gingerbread houses, I realized...and then remembered that I did know this...that I could have given each of them their own little sandwich bag of frosting.  ugh...  Bet I won't forget that next year.  And, luckily that is what we did when we did those gingerbread houses...which will likely be the next post.