Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's that wonderful time of the year...

It's been a rough couple of months. We love our boys and we love living here... but lately it's been... well... rough. We have been counting down the days to Christmas break for weeks (all the guys will be spending time with family and friends until January 2nd). We're just a LITTLE bit excited. Probably the biggest thing I'm looking forward to is having the freedom to leave the house whenever we want (and only having to pick up after 2 kids instead of 6). We are so thankful for these times of getting to recharge and prepare for the next semester. I know we will look forward to the guys checking back in... especially looking back at this video from last week of Ty're coaching Carter on how to do flips on the couch...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I know it's not officially winter yet... but the entryway to our house sure looks like it is. Growing up in the part of Northern California that I did... I don't think I ever fully understood what cold was. I also did not understand salt outside of baking and seasoning. After almost 8 years in the midwest... I understand. During this time of the year... we have a daily battle with the white stuff. I am SO thankful that we don't have to worry about anyone falling on our front walk... but with at least 7 pairs (usually more) of shoes constantly in and out of the house it is a losing battle. I have a rug and blanket at the front door where everyone takes off their shoes... but it doesn't matter. Salt is everywhere... and it drives me CRAZY. Thankfully the floors were cleaned tonight (not that it will last long :)).

Dealing with the mess on our floors makes me glad this sweet girl isn't crawling yet. Here she is with two of her favorite guys yesterday...

One of the reasons I really love that picture is because it reminds me of this post from almost three years ago with Jude's older sister.

And... continuing with the winter theme... here is a picture of our living room. Pay close attention to the bottom, left side of the tree and to the cranberry topiary above the fireplace. The tree was decorated by Carter... and Carter only... and the topiary was my attempt at some creativity this year. BAD idea! One of our boys jokingly said that it took me like two weeks to make. It really didn't... but it sure felt like it... and the cranberries have already gone bad! Oh well... maybe next year I can try something with salt. :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ending on a good note...

It was a crummy roller coaster of a week. I actually wrote an entire post this morning that I could not bring myself to publish. Let's just say we are SO thankful Joe's Place exists for the kids in this school district!

Moving on... about a month ago we transitioned to a cash budget... which has made us drastically cut back on eating out... one of our favorite things to do (it's actually been a lot easier than we thought). Since it was such a rough week... we decided a visit to our favorite restaurant (Schlafly Bottleworks) was in order tonight. Those folks make us feel so loved! Carter always ends up with his favorite juice (fixed just for him by one of the awesome bartenders) filled to the top with cherries. And sometimes they even deliver a special fruit face on a plate to the table for him. It's just so nice to feel known when you walk into a place. So... after an awesome dinner there... and then spending some time in front of the fire with a sweet chubby baby... you can't help but feel a little better. :)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Staying at home...

When you have a baby and a 4 year old and it's like 10 degrees outside... there's really not any point in going anywhere if you don't have to. That is really hard for me... but today that's what we did. Actually that's what we've been doing a lot lately. I really don't even bother getting Carter dressed MWF... because he doesn't have school. I am so thankful that I get the chance to be home all day with my kids (although there are days I want to run screaming out the front door as soon as Dan gets home :)). I know there's a lot of parents that don't get to. Anyway... I figured I would put up a few pictures from our day at home...

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

And then there was one...

It was a sad day in the Reeve family yesterday. On Sunday Dan dropped his not so trusty truck off at our mechanic to have a few problems checked out. On Monday our mechanic called and said... "Not even a doctor can save her." We were more than a little shocked. We had the glass replaced in two different windows last week... and were planning to have her cleaned up since we've been needing a 2nd vehicle more lately (the truck is usually just parked in back of our house). So... we are back to being a one vehicle family. I always say we really could live without any vehicles... I just wouldn't want to (we are a block from Dan's work, 3 blocks from Carter's school, 6 blocks from church and just a few blocks from two different grocery stores). I've really had a love/hate relationship with that truck... but we do have some great memories with it. Just to name a few... it drove Dan down into the city for his first teaching job (where he had to walk through metal detectors to even get into the school building), Fred took his driving test in that truck and Carter spent hours sitting in the cab pretending he was driving. We had to go drop the title off with our mechanic yesterday and clean some stuff out of it... so we let Carter take a few minutes to say goodbye. He was trying so hard not to cry. We took him for a chocolate milkshake after we left the shop. Here's our goodbye picture (taken with my cell phone). We'll miss you old, dirty, white truck!

Monday, December 06, 2010

She may not be able to roll over...

But she can jump! :) I'm not a huge fan of video on the blog. I would usually rather put pictures up... but when you live so far from EVERYONE in your family... I figured a little video can be nice at times. :) Claire has been hilarious lately in the Johnny Jump Up. It's funny because she's not a big fan of trying to move once you put her on the floor... so it's nice to see her actually try to get somewhere. She tries to jump as far out from the door frame as possible and then finally gives up and swings back... it's pretty cute!

She goes nuts in the exersaucer too... but of course wouldn't do it once I had the camera out this morning. She just had lots of smiles (and a few coughs :))! Still kind of figuring out the video function on my camera... that's why she keeps jumping out of the frame.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Thanksgiving Week

We had an incredible Thanksgiving break. We missed being with family... but we did not miss the traveling. We actually stayed in our pajamas until 3pm on Thanksgiving day... it was great! Skype has made holidays so much easier since we've lived out here. It's so nice to chat face to face.

So... here's a little picture recap of our week...

Headed to gym with Daddy for an end of the school day basketball game...

With Ty before the high school team started practice. Just to show how awesome Ty is... the ENTIRE high school basketball team was standing right behind me while Ty played a little game with Carter.

Claire on her 7 month birthday. Totally forgot to do a picture earlier in the day! I don't have a flash on my camera... so I wore a head lamp. That's why the color is a little funny.

Ty with his uniform before his first basketball tournament of the season.

Our three oldest boys on Thanksgiving eve. They came for dinner and ended up staying for five hours hanging out, laughing, looking at pictures and talking about favorite memories from their time here. Really wish we could see these 3 more!

Our first "snow" of the season on Thanksgiving day!!

Our low key, but very delicious, Thanksgiving meal.

On Sunday... Dan, Carter and Ty went and got our tree.

Carter has spent the last 4 days decorating our entire tree by himself! I'll have to post pictures of that later. Some parts of the tree have a ton more ornaments than others... it's pretty awesome!

Such a relaxing week. Can't wait for Christmas! :)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Life's not always fair...

I think being a twin has ruined me. It is incredibly hard for me when things aren't exactly equal or fair. When I buy certain favorite foods for our boys... I'll buy 3 of everything and write their names on it so no one takes more than their fair share. So... right now I'm struggling because I'm posting more pictures of Claire than Carter. I know it's ok!! Anyway... I'm telling myself I'm going to be better about posting this month... and I'll have more pictures of Carter later... so here we go...

I always swore my sweet boy would NEVER play guns or shooting. I've heard that boys make guns out of everything and anything... but I knew that we weren't going to talk guns with Carter... so he wouldn't play them. I was SO wrong. Everything right now is about guns, shooting and dying. For example... today Carter wrapped himself in Christmas garland and told me he was being crucified. I had to ask him to repeat himself because I was sure I heard him wrong. A little later in the day (in the picture below) he was Goliath. At least we know he's paying attention during our nightly devotions. :)

And thankfully this sweet girl is ok with all the shooting... because she gets shot at A LOT during the day. She thinks it's really funny. She sure LOVES her big brother... and any and all types of food. Here she is feeding herself puffs while I'm feeding her peas...

You can just never enough of these kinds of shots! :) Happy 1st day of December!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

This pretty much sums it up...

I was going to post a bunch of pictures of life the last week and a half (I'll eventually get to those)... but after taking these of Claire tonight... I figured this pretty much sums up Thanksgiving break for us. :) Can't believe real life starts again tomorrow!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Our Sweet Seniors

Kaylon and Roy... seriously two of the sweetest guys you will ever meet. They had their yearbook pictures taken yesterday. I insisted that they wear nice shirts and ties. :) I'm going to do their "official" senior portraits on Monday... but I couldn't resist a picture of the two of them dressed up!

The Swaddle

I don't think our kids fall under "normal" in the swaddle category. I actually don't really know... I've just not met many people who are still swaddling their kids at 7 months. Yep... you read that right... 7 months. Both Carter and Claire LOVED to be swaddled tight! We would actually swaddle them and then put them inside a sleep sack. Here is Claire last night right before bed... swaddled for the last time (because you know... we document everything with pictures :))!

And here is dinner from a couple weeks ago... also "swaddled"...

I can't tell you how hard I laughed when I opened the fridge and saw what looks like an ENTIRE roll of plastic wrap covering two plates of leftovers. I won't tell you which 18 year old put away dinner that night... but it sure looks like the whole swaddling thing rubbed off on our teenagers. :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Same vacuum, different brother...

Tuesday night is floors on the chore chart in our house. We really should clean the floors more than once a week... but really we're lucky they get cleaned as much as they do. So... it was Ty're's turn to vacuum this week (the chores rotate each week). He actually ended up sweeping more than vacuuming (so his phone call would not be interrupted :))... it's amazing what these guys can accomplish while talking on the phone. Anyway... as I was watching him (finally) vacuum the carpet in the living room I was reminded of this picture that I took 3 1/2 years ago...

I actually think that's the first picture I ever took of Fred. He would probably laugh if he saw this picture now... because that's not really how 2nd year college students dress! :) And here is Ty're last night...

He gave me a weird look for taking his picture while he was vacuuming (after I gave him a weird look for wearing his backpack) until I told him why. I said... "I have a picture of your brother vacuuming in exactly the same place so I wanted one of you too." He said... "Oh, really?" and gave me a huge smile. I really can't believe we've been here almost 4 years!

Monday, November 15, 2010

When it rains it pours...

I feel like every few months we have days here at Joe's Place where it just it just feels like we're dealing with one hard thing after another. Today was one of those days. One of those days where I actually felt like yelling at people to stop staring at me when I walked through a store with one of our boys. I know we don't look like your "typical" family... but that doesn't mean you need to look at me like I have 3 eyes! Anyway... it was a hard and emotionally draining day. Our sweet Carter just goes with the flow. So... when he spread dirt from some pots across our cabinet in our dining room for his matchbox cars... I just let him go for it. In the grand scheme of things... what's a little dirt in our dining room?

Is it Friday yet?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Can't think of a title for this one...

Dan and I are still trying to come up with an appropriate title for this picture. All I know is... it makes me want to laugh and cry every time I look at it! They are just so darn cute (I know you're not supposed to say that about your own kids :))... and in this picture... really cold! We were trying to do our own Christmas portraits on Saturday before all the leaves were gone... but the temps just kept dropping. We did get a few good ones... but this is my favorite!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

He loves to share with his little sister...

And thanks to that sharing... this sweet little girl is battling her first cold. :( It's so sad... but I'm not minding all the extra cuddles. Hopefully we'll be back soon...

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The View from Here: Beaver Dam State Park ~ Plainview, IL

I'll never forget the day we picked up our camping trailer in Ohio. One... because we were so excited and two... because we were stuck in it for 5 hours with 2 kids and nothing to do. The trailer was parked in the back of the car lot behind a cement block building. I remember looking out the windows of the trailer at the ugly wall in front of us and thinking about all the beautiful views we'll have as we drive west next summer. I decided then that I should take a picture out our kitchen window at each place we camp. It's going to be fun to be standing at the same sink... but to have so many different views. Our first view at our church retreat last month was not so great... but it will be fun to look back on since it was our first time taking it out. Last weekend's view in Illinois (just northeast of STL) was so much better. I LOVE Fall in this part of the country!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Dinner on the Grill and Dessert in the Fire

First... we heard back from Claire's doctor today... and the results from Friday's x-ray are completely normal! We are so thankful! I was really hoping we would hear back on Friday before our annual camping trip with our good friends... but we didn't. Thankfully we were so relaxed and full from all the amazing food we ate this weekend... that we didn't end up thinking about it too much. :) I think I'm going to end up doing an entire post just on the food we ate! Here is part of Saturday's meal...

Smoked Pork Chops and Cake Filled Oranges

And here is the entire group. We are so thankful for the friends out here that have become our family!

More pictures coming soon!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I can't believe we'll be turning our calendar page over to November next week. It's partly because the temperatures here have been so warm up until the last couple days... but also because we have been so busy. Having a baby in the house again has made me slow down a little... and that's been great. We don't miss naps unless it's absolutely necessary. Claire has learned to start sleeping through the noise in the house just like her big brother. I am so glad! Yesterday, I asked one of our boys to please not slam the door (Claire was napping) as he walked out of the house (it had been slammed like 15 times already since school had ended). 10 seconds later we heard the door slam. He immediately poked his head back in the door with a huge smile on his face and apologized. I think teen boys just don't know how to be quiet. :) We do love this part of life... living here with these guys can have it's hard moments... but also be pretty darn amazing. Lately we've been encouraging each of them to put a little of everything on their plate during dinner. Not one of them likes veggies. A couple days ago one of the boys was dumping his portion of peas into the trash after dinner when he looked at us with a surprised look on his face and said... "I just accidentally ate two peas!" Dan and I were laughing so hard... and let me tell you... two peas is a HUGE accomplishment in this house!

Claire had her 6 month check up this week and weighed in at a little over 18 pounds. I'll have to look back and see when Carter finally got to that weight... I'm guessing he was a year and a half. Also at Claire's check up... our pediatrician noticed a "clicking" in her hip during the exam. We'll take her down to Children's Hospital for an x-ray tomorrow morning to see if it's hip dysplasia. We are praying it is nothing. If it is something... that could possibly mean surgery and a cast. We have noticed her favoring her right leg over her left (which is the leg the doctor noticed the clicking in).

Anyway... since I can't do a post without a picture... I'll include this one to continue with the randomness of this post. What are you gonna do when the only place to hang the johnny jump up is the bathroom door?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Happy half birthday to our sweet Claire!

Dan and I were talking the other night about how it feels like Claire has always been with us... even though it's only been 6 months. The time really has flown by. I had the chance to hold a 3 day old baby this morning... it's already hard to remember Claire that tiny. We celebrated her half birthday tonight with her first vegetable... sweet potatoes. She loved them just like her big brother always has! And... since she has photographer parents who document every little thing... we have about 50 pictures of her first few bites. That's seriously how I keep track of everything... my photo library. Here she is taking her first bite...

And here is her 6 month portrait (drool and all :))...

Monday, October 18, 2010

News cameras, field trips and vacuums...

I have no idea where the last 7 days went! I actually just had to look at my calendar to remember what we even did last week (the title sums up the week... kind of). Our church retreat was amazing. So relaxing and such a great time with old and new friends. We are officially in love with our trailer. We're going to take it out again in 2 weeks on our annual camping trip with some good friends. That will be the real test since we'll be doing our own cooking.

We've had a ton going on with Joe's Place... which seems to always be the case. CBS news was here again last week for the 3rd time in the last few months. We're going to be part of a half hour segment airing next week. I'm always kind of nervous when we're on TV... especially this time since I was filmed in my pajamas without MAKE-UP! Still... pretty excited Joe's Place is getting some more attention in the news! The other highlight of last week was watching our vacuum repairman pull all kinds of stuff out of our central vacuum system. It works like new now! I love that thing... except for when highschoolers vacuum up stuff that you can't get out without calling someone.

Dan was busy with field trips, meetings and fighting a cold... that's still hanging on. Can't wait until he's feeling better!

Other than that... a great week with our 3 boys... and of course these 2...

Friday, October 08, 2010

Testing out the trailer...

We're taking our "summer home" out for the first time this weekend. Our church is having its Fall retreat at a place that has trailer hook-ups... so we decided it would be the perfect place to test it out. It's also only costing us $12 a night (for lodging) because we're bringing it. Carter talked Ty're into eating dinner out back in it with him last night while Dan was working on cleaning out the water tanks.

My view from the kitchen window upstairs...

Carter is just a TINY bit excited about sleeping in it for the first time tonight. He made sure his bed was all ready last night... complete with stuffed animals and his new birthday sleeping bag from Aunt Cari. I'm just excited that our beds are already made and all we have to do is park it and plug it in when we get there!! :)

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

A little stranger anxiety...

Claire has shown some stranger anxiety for a while now. It feels early to me... and for sure earlier than Carter... although I'm not sure he really had any stranger anxiety. We're working to instill a little in him as he gets older. He goes nuts whenever someone he doesn't know comes to the door (which is often multiple times a day). You would think they've come to throw him his own personal party. Drives me nuts!! Lately I've tried to arrange donation drop offs and that sort of thing during his rest time. It's been working out a little better that way. Hopefully Claire's anxiety will continue (in a healthy way). It has been fun to see how she's recognizing our 3 guys. Every now and then one of them will ask if they can hold her. It's super sweet... and she hasn't been crying when I pass her off to one of them. Here she is with Kaylon before dinner tonight (she looks SO much like Carter at 5.5 months in this picture!)...

Monday, October 04, 2010

Dressing Claire...

It's just so much fun!! I had no idea! :) It's crazy how red her hair looks in so many of the pictures we take!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Picture Day!

Really... all days are picture day at our house. I probably have pictures of our kids almost every single day of their lives. I know most parents probably don't take pictures of their kids dressed up for picture day at school... but I tend to document everything with pictures... and Carter just looked so cute in his sweater vest this morning (Dan's not going to be happy about the vest! :)).

And I can't leave out this little girl. We get so many comments on those legs!! She's not been sleeping so great during the day... but last night she went from 7:00pm to 6:15am (with just a little visit from daddy at 11:30pm to re-swaddle)!!! Too bad her big brother woke us up at around 5am this morning... otherwise it probably would have been the best night's sleep I've had in almost a year!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Still can't believe he's a freshman...

That means senior year for Ty're is right around the corner! I'm serious! The high school years go by way too fast. Our first group of graduates are in their 2nd year of college this year! Two of those graduates moved into Joe's Place when they were sophomores!!

Anyway... all three of our boys got to go shopping with a group last night that does a TON for Joe's Place. They have done this "back to school" shopping trip since we first started. First they go to a shoe store where they each pick out a pair of shoes... and then from there they head to the mall where the guys can shop in any store they want. It's pretty awesome! The looks on their faces are always priceless. One of our boys came home and said..."Wow! I've never gotten to do something like that before!" Since I didn't get to go this year... the guys spent about an hour after dinner showing me the different outfits they got. I have to say it makes me feel pretty darn good when a high schooler asks my opinion about how something looks! Here is Ty sporting one of his new outfits before school this morning... he is getting so tall!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dan said he's seen this look one too many times in his life...

It's funny when you don't even know the faces you make. We weren't exactly agreeing on where to take a quick family portrait. Too bad I wasn't smiling. It could have been a nice picture. :)

Here's what we ended up with. Not bad for the end of a long morning/afternoon. Poor Claire was so tired and hungry. Thank goodness for that paci!