Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010!

Because we once lived in a dark land, a time before the warming hope of Christ, but now we celebrate the Light of the World who now shines the Brilliance of Grace upon us! We wake to wonder! -"Beauty of Advent"

Merry Christmas, may you enjoy all the wonders of the season!

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Wesley in the Wintertime...

OK, let's be honest. It's probably not that pleasant to be stuffed into this snowsuit. But our sweet little blue-eyed boy found a reason to smile anyway. Cousin Andrew Hempel came by to take some pics of our kiddos for our Christmas card this year. After shots by the tree, we stepped outside to take a few in the backyard. The Bannister family sure is blessed with some good photographers!

Charlie looks like such a boy in this pic. I got him and Bob matching furry brown hoodies, they look so darn cute all matchy. They didn't have them in Wes' size ;(

Bearded Bob-o and his boy. I remember Charlie wearing that little wool airplane hat, love it. That's the great thing about having a second child of the same gender (or a third, Manda...Beth!), you get to relive all those wonderfully cute duds.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Christmas mouse and a good soup

The holiday season is here and, if you're anything like me, you are relishing in the pure delight of all December brings, from the taste of candy canes dipped in hot cocoa to the smell of a fresh-cut Christmas tree, to the oh-so-sweet sounds of holiday classics, the toe-warming crackle of a good fire, to the heart-warming good feeling of having family gathered close. Above all, I always cherish the aura of mystery and beauty that just sits above the earth at this time of year; I think that God makes everything just a little more special during Christmas because he too is celebrating his son's birth and the gift given to the world.
OK, back to reality. I had to post this pic because it illustrates so well the phenomenon of family photos (at least in our family). Someone is always grumpy. In my family, I was often this person and now, sweet Amelia is carrying on the tradition with her powerful pout.

Hmm, still pouting. She wasn't loving our search for the perfect Christmas tree. I think we made the best selection ever this year. We've found a farm that's close to us and not so busy for tree-fetching. We found this wonderful Tannenbaum (does that mean "tree" in German?) right away and got to work on the business of chopping. Charlie again brought his little plastic saw to help and I found myself regrettfully wondering if next year he will be too "mature" to bring his little saw along. I hope not. Anyway, Bob is cutting the tree down when I spot a little ball of fluff near the stem. I asked him if it might be a nest and back away to allow him to investigate. He pulled some of the fluff off and it blew away in the wind (like the 'down on a thistle'). Then he finished chopping and we went over to get it baled up for the drive home. We mentioned the 'nest' to the guy who was baling and he started poking and prodding the remaining fluff. Sure enough, out hopped a cute little field mouse and ran away through the field. The kids saw it too, so it made for a delighful Christmas memory! Of course, I did have the thought that if we had NOT mentioned the little ball of fluff to the baling guy, we might have had that little mouse jump out at home in our living room. I think secretly Bob may have thought it would be fun if that happened, you know how men kind of enjoy seeing women squirm and act all "girly"--accentuates their "toughness" I suppose.

Little Wesley's first Christmas this year. He was so cute playing with the lights and jingle bell on the tree. He probably would have enjoyed playing with the Christmas mouse too.
Since it is snowing beautifully outside and I have a quick and yummy tomato soup recipe handy from emailing it to a friend, I'll post it here. Buy some crusty bread, put on some Nat King Cole and enjoy!
Tomato Cheddar Soup
6-8 T butter
2 cloves garlic
8T flour
3C milk
1big can tomato juice
6-8 oz. sharp cheddar shredded
Saute garlic in butter and add flour and milk. Simmer until thick. Add tomato juice, tomato and cheese. I also like to add half a can of diced tomatos and green chilies for a kick.
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Chief Chews-on-Fist

Our very drooly, very happy baby with a growing appetite and two shiny new teeth is now 7-m0-old. The kids get a kick out of Wesley's tiny toothbrush! Such a wiggler, he can somehow manage to cross the room just by wiggling to and fro. He is ticklish, especially those chubby legs and is slowly learning to nap twice a day. Trying lots of new food, from baby spinach to lima beans-- there hasn't been anything he hasn't gobbled right up. Last night, he picked up and ate peas on his own and it was oh so cute to see him concentrating so hard only to lose the pea in his fist. We sure are thankful that you have joined our family, sweet Wes.
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Halloween in review!

Has to be said, "Happy Hail-o-ween!" Ugh, this at least kept our candy quanities under control. We did a handful of houses and headed home to warm up at Beth's cozy Hedgegarth hearth.

Yee haw. Another round up of preschoolers for the annual harvest party. Love my little (big) cowboy and cowgirl. Worked out rather nicely that Amelia wanted to be Jesse from Toy Story this year, costume fit both occasions. Amelia was quite the spirited cowgirl--happy to belt out a robust "Howdy!" and happily prancing around on her "horse". fun times.

Love this pic, appears Buzz was having an olfactory malfunction--must have been a Zurg-related injury. I think each kid in this photo has worn the pea pod costume at one point or another, this year was Wesley's turn. Aaron and Ryan as batman and Robin- sweetest little super heroes! Love those muscles...
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Our little pumpkin at 6 months

There is something so sweet and tender about you, Wes. You seem to be just waiting patiently wherever you are, waiting to catch someone's eye and spread joy with your smiles and sparkling eyes. I hope that tenderness is always a part of you. Wesley is a healthy 20.2 lbs and 27 inches long. He is so content and plays happily almost anywhere you put him. He still loves to snuggle with Mom and Dad and thinks his bro and sis are just so darn hilarious. You can really get him giggling if you tickle his sides! Oh, and he loves food--especially bananas and sweet potatoes!
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Amelia in Autumn

Ah, Amelia. What a character this girl is turning out to be. Back in my teenage years, I remember my mom saying to me (repeatedly as I looked at her insolently over some rebellious incident or another)--"I hope you have a daughter just like you someday." Well, back then, I probably just snapped back, "I hope so too and I'll treat her a lot better than you treat me!" or something along those lines...

Anyway, I have started to reconize the, how do I put it nicely, "spunk" in my daughter that oh-so-closely resembles my own. She has this awful growling sigh of frustration that she utters when she's asked to do something undesirable or when things aren't going quite her way. Bob so generously pointed out that I make the exact same noise! OK, so this behavior might be learned, but the lack of patience and the drama behind the behavior, I'm afraid, is my own little genetic gift to my daughter. This same "spunk" though, translates into so many wonderful things--like the excitement that flutters around in Amelia's eyes, her little dancing antics, and the gusto with which she dives headlong into everything she does. And she has a decidedly sweet side too. If your chair is close enough to her at the dinner table, she'll start sidling over and, before you know it, she'll be on your lap snuggling in and giggling. She's the one always trying to sneak extra books into the night time book pile so that the time that she's cuddled in close with mom or dad keeps going and going.

Recently, there's been a new development too. She is super into her little doll who she has named "Sonna". Amelia carries this doll everywhere she goes, except outside. When she goes outside to play, she'll bring Sonna to whatever adult is nearby and give her instructions. "Here is her bottle for when she cries. Here is her book for you to read to her. Here is her blanket so she can take a nap. This is her cracker if she gets hungry." It is very cute and thrills my heart since, up to this point, she has shown little to no interest in dolls and I had kind of given up on the whole deal. But, back to the spunkiness... One day, she wrote all over Sonna's head with a red pen and said that a cat had scratched her. So she's spunky, but loving and nurturing too. Hey, who am I to judge? I think it's a great combo. But, when she drops her cup at the dinner table and, when told to pick it up says boldly, "No, you pick it up Mom," I can clearly sense that the day is coming when that same comment will fly from my own mouth...."I hope you have a daughter just like you someday, Amelia!"
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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Farewell to summer

My pal Lora and I were chatting the other day about how, as a parent, you find yourself wanting to freeze your kids at a certain age. Then, they get a little older and you love that phase just as much and decide this is your favorite phase. I kept thinking thoughts around these lines over the summer--thinking that I just wanted the summer to last forever and that the kids were at such a wonderful spot. Charlie and Amelia are the best of friends. Of course, they fight bitterly at times, but mostly are buds. Wesley is sweet and cuddly and so deliciously dependent on his mama. I just wish we could always have a baby around. Since it was 94 degrees yesterday, I will use this opportunity to say a fond farewell to a wonderful summer of memories.




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Monday, September 20, 2010

Are you ready for these characters?

First day of preschool for the crazy kiddos. Love this pic since it is true to form--offering a glimpse of the oh-so-huge personalities that live inside these two. Charlie will go to preschool three mornings a week this year and Amelia for two mornings. She's already loving it. When I picked her up the first day, she greeted me exuberant, "Mom! I learned something today!" I asked her what she learned and she proceeded to strut around the house singing "Open, shut them. Open, shut them..." Ah, soon I will have double the macaroni masterpieces to display!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blue-eyed boy is 4 months old!

"4!" [4 months old and 4 arm rolls of fantastic baby chubbiness]

Do we have a baby genius on our hands?

"Calm down Mom, I was just deciding which page to eat."

"Do I have the coolest siblings or what?"

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Month 3

Wesley continues to be a chill baby -- with a couple exceptions: in the car or in the evening between the hours of 8pm-10pm. Seems like he should be hitting the earlier bedtime by now, but this week he has been a night owl. The timing could be better since I took on my first grant project on this month. Needless to say I've done a lot of one-handed typing while holding cranky baby with the other arm--not ideal (especially since our little chunk weighs in at a whoppin' 17 lbs.!) Daddy-o and Wes have done lots of bonding too and I think Bob definitely had his fill of the solo bedtime routine--but it sure felt great to be writing again!

A good illustration of just how happy Wesley is...whenever I look at him, he tries to smile no matter what. He smiles when he coughs so it makes a funny sound and, I'm assuming is not very efficient! He also tries to smile when spitting up which is quite messy since it comes out from a much wider area--eww, but cute in a grody kind of way.

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Monday, July 12, 2010