Ever wonder what it's like...

...to have three energetic, amazing kids on Christmas day??

What you don't know is that Brooklyn is wearing eight pairs of underwear here. She liked her new undies so well that she put the whole package of seven on top of the pair she was already wearing. And yes, you heard it right. At the end, she says "it's like a whoopie cushion!". Only recently does she even know what a whoopie cushion is. She excitedly gave one to daddy for Christmas :-).

Savannah has been saying 'banana' (actually, "bleh-la-bleh-la-bleh-la") for a little while now. This is the first time we were able to get it on camera. What a little monkey. She loves bananas!


Merry Christmas from the Grahams

Christmas Eve 2010
Life is quite fast. With children at the ages of five, three, and one, life feels as if it moves at light speed for Jill and myself. That’s why today is such a wonderful day to relax and celebrate Jesus together. No responsibilities of work or otherwise, and no real agenda beyond spending time together as we praise our Lord for the most amazing gift of all time – salvation through Christ.
This morning, we enjoyed watching a new layer of Minnesota’s beautiful white fluffy snow fall onto our yard while it seemingly begged us to play in it. Today can officially be a pajama party as even after our morning showers we climbed right back into our “cozy” pajamas as the kids would say. We even made puppy chow while listening to Christmas music.
A little recap (written by Jill) on the wild year of 2010 for the members of the Graham Family:
Brooklyn has grown into such a beautiful little girl. She started preschool this year and enjoys it so much. She has a wonderful teacher and a classroom full of friends (one of which she has already asked to marry her). What a cutie. She lost two teeth this fall, can’t seem to stop writing her numbers and letters, and is taking large steps towards reading on her own. Oh how I wish I could sometimes freeze time, if only for a moment, to enjoy all these milestones for just a little longer. Her latest endeavor is quite the project. Completely infatuated with fairies, she is bound and determined to catch one. That’s right, she plans to catch a fairy of her own. In fact, she has been collecting very specific items that she will use to build a fairy house (complete with peppermints and graham crackers so as not to let that poor fairy go hungry). We adore watching her amazing imagination continue to grow.
Jeremiah is all boy. Who would have known that anything from straws or spoons to toy screwdrivers could be “pew-ers” (aka guns that he accompanies with the sound affect “pew pew”)? He has a love for “fido fightow twuts” (firefighter trucks) and pirates. He will point out a “ladder” in almost anything (typically mommy’s legs when she’s reading books on the floor with her feet up on the couch) which often turns him into a firefighter, climbing up and down the ‘ladder’. When he’s not a firefighter, he’s a pirate. Apparently, stems from artificial flowers make perfect swords! Our quiet little daydreamer has such a creative little mind.
Savannah is packed full of so much energy. She is strong-willed and very determined. She even knows how to throw a terrific tantrum. What a blessing she is. She’s running everywhere, learning more and more sounds each week, and utilizing her baby signs. Her favorite: “mo” (more). She loves dancing circles around the living room while listening to music, and will drop anything she’s doing to bring us “buh” (books) and snuggle in our lap for a good story.
Jill likes to have projects to work on in her “spare” time (though she’s not always sure she even remembers the meaning of “spare time”). From sock monkeys and curtains, to tutus and super hero capes, she has grown quite fond of her sewing machine. The better part of her days is spent having the best dance parties with her favorite little people, building forts, riding bikes, taking walks, and now playing in our backyard winter wonderland. God has truly blessed this family with three amazing children!
Mike – In 2010 I lived in three different states and at four different addresses. Change has been my only constant and I am learning and growing because of it. My adventures, mistakes, and experiences have taught me more than I can ask for – I only hope and pray that I use them as a stepping stone to mature from. I have been writing quite a bit this year and believe it has helped me grow from my experiences.
Today I am so happy to have my four favorite people in my life every single day. I praise you Lord Jesus for Jill, Brooklyn, Jeremiah, Savannah, and for everybody who reads this letter. God, please bless all who read this with the desire to know you more and with a delightful Christmas Holiday.
Merry Merry Christmas,
Michael, Jill, Brooklyn, Jeremiah, and Savannah Graham


Dear Snow: We missed You!!

Don't get me wrong, we absolutely loved being spoiled by the sun while we were in Texas, but clearly we missed the snow. There is no doubt we are a Minnesota family. For some, these last couple of snow falls (blizzards!) were something to be avoided, but for a mommy who has no place she needs to be...this was a winter wonderland! Brooklyn loves to help me shovel, Jeremiah could spend hours tracing the paths he makes that lead to his homemade slides, and Savannah actually enjoys all the snow so much more than I thought a 1 yr old would. She does her best to keep up with her brother and sister, despite all the face plants in the snow that she gets along the way. It's so fun to see all three of them playing together. We are such fortunate parents in so many ways.


"Cuz I'm a boy and my name's Jeremiah"

Jeremiah has really been coming out of his shy shell lately. With that, we've been enjoying so many wonderful 'Miah-isms'. Recently, his reasoning for most anything is "cuz I'm a boy and my name's Jeremiah". Some examples...

ME: Jeremiah, should we go outside and play in the snow?
Jeremiah: YEA!! Cuz I'm a boy and my name's Jeremiah.

ME: Ooh, let's wear your alien shirt today. I like that one.
Jeremiah: Yeah I want to wear the alien shirt! Cuz I'm a boy and my name's Jeremiah.

ME: Hmm...What should we have for a snack? Applesauce or carrots?
JEREMIAH: Applesauce. Cuz I'm a boy and my name's Jeremiah.

ME: Did you have fun playing legos during your quiet time?
JEREMIAH: Yep, cuz I'm a boy and my name's Jeremiah.

We love you bubby! You and all your adorable stories ;-).


Buffalo Princess

Our beautiful little firstborn is now five years old. And good at it ;-). I told her that it was her special day and she could do whatever she wants (within reason, of course). She is her father's child. She chose to eat her birthday dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings. Apparently they have the best coloring books. I think every birthday gets more and more fun to celebrate. She is such a joy. She truly is. She has always done such a loving job at making a birthday person feel loved. She, more than anyone, completely deserved to have this day to do what she wanted and get showered with gifts. (And yes, I even gave her the option of not taking her vitamin that day. She loved that idea and even offered to eat two the next day to make up for it.). Brooklyn, I'm so thankful for you. You continue to amaze me day after day. The love you show toward your siblings, your artisitic abilities, and the maturity you carry make me so proud. Love you, Doodle XOXO.

As part of her birthday celebration, we let her pick out a movie to rent. So we all got to watch Tinkerbell together. She was already infatuated with fairies, but this movie really sparked her interest. After watching it, she decided that she should catch one. Yes, catch a fairy. She sprinkled herself with 'fairy dust' (ie sparkly powder-y make-up from Auntie Kiki)...

...and set goldfish crackers outside as bait. That's right, fairy bait.

We have yet to see that fairy, but when she does choose to arrive, Brooklyn has an adorable little fairy house set up (inside her dollhouse) with plenty of goldfish crackers :-).


Could a Child Possibly Have More Energy Than This??

Oh Savannah...sweet sweet Savannah. One year old and no time to stand still. I am convinced that Brooklyn and Jeremiah never had nearly this much energy at this age. This girl just does not sit still. How could you sit still when you have two fun, energetic siblings chasing/tickling/playing peek-a-boo with you? What a wild little cutie. She's getting really good at the beginning sounds of words, though most things to her are "ck, ck, ck" as she points to it. She is a wonderful little snuggler and really likes her new 'ah ooh ah ooh" (monkey) and knows exactly how to use the word "no" (with a great big head shake!). Happy birthday little texas baby!


Looks Like The Tooth Fairy Is On Her Way

Not just one, but TWO loose teeth! Can you believe it? Both of her bottom middle teeth are loose and we're pretty sure at least one of them will be out before her 5th birthday. It has sparked many fun conversations lately about the tooth fairy and how big she might be, how in the world she'd get into our house, how she knows that the tooth has fallen out and is waiting under the pillow, if we could visit the tooth fairy, where she lives. Brooklyn's giddy at the thought that a cute little fairy would come visit her at her house.

We've been able to enjoy some amazing weather lately. Living right by this beautiful trail has been perfect for us. We are on it (or the sidewalks surrounding) at least once each day. It's such a quiet neighborhood. We love it! I captured some fun moments out in the yard while Mike was grilling today.

And guess who took seven steps today (two different times!) without anyone's hand! All this practice pushing toys will bring her closer and closer to saying goodbye to crawling all together. *tear*


Yep, It's Official...

Brooklyn is all grown up. She's now in preschool. Wow, preschool?! My goodness, where did the time go? Two days under our belt and she just LOVES it! She attends mondays, wednesdays, and fridays from 8-11am. Yes, that's an early start. So far so good. We've had a few sleepy-eyed kids this week, but Brooklyn's pure excitement trumps any sleepy's. Monday, after school, she said "Tomorrow I'm gonna be like 'tomorrow I get to go to school! Tomorrow I get to go to school!' and then the NEXT day I'm gonna be like 'Today I get to go to school! Today I get to go to school!'". When I picked her up today, she looked like she had been doing this for years. She was so comfortable. She loves her teacher, remembers and reiterates every part of each story they read, and explains to ME how to play Duck Duck Grey Duck. Cute!

When I picked her up monday, amongst the chaos of kids getting on the bus and parents picking them up, her teacher (Ms Abby) made sure to pull me aside and tell me how great Brooklyn was and how wonderful she is at raising her hand. She said she quickly realized that she had to continually scan the class "even during playtime because there was Brooklyn...quiet as can be (clear on the other side of the room)...with her hand straight up in the air waiting to be called on". Oh to be a fly on that wall. When we first met with Ms Abby during parent/teacher conferences, I'm pretty sure she thought Brooklyn would always be as shy as she was that day. And I'm pretty sure she threw that thought out the window today after she got to wait with Brooklyn for me to pick her up. Abby told me that Brooklyn just jumped up and sat right next to her and very enthusiastically said, "let's tell stories!".

So, mama wipes a tear as her baby Brooklyn embarks on this new adventure. Way to go, Brookie-do! We're so proud of you!


Nancy and Joe's Wedding Extravaganza

We had a really great weekend celebrating Nancy and Joe's wedding. The weather was beautiful for their outdoor ceremony and the afternoon at Duck Lake completely topped it off for the kids! Even though my in-laws live on a lake, it's not often that we get the kids right into the sand, making castles and squishing their cute little toes in it. They had a blast!

Brooklyn was begging me to let her swim further and further out, while it took a LOT of convincing to get Jeremiah this far. They had so much fun. They could have stayed for hours longer!

Jeremiah and his teeny tushy had a hard time keeping those swim trunks on. What a little peanut!


Jeremiah turns 3!!

Wasn't it just yesterday that little Jeremiah was learning to 'scoot'? What a sweet boy he's turned into. This year, his birthday fell right around the weekend that the Grahams had their annual get-together on the lake. It was a perfect way to celebrate him, running around with his cousins, hanging out on the pontoon, and many hours in the pool. I went completely outside of my culinary boundaries this year and baked/decorated a dinosaur cake for him. He LOVES dinosaurs, so I was so excited to give this a try. Considering that I once made a 2 year old throw up at Brooklyn's party from homemade frosting (if you could even call it frosting), to me this was a success.

I really wish I would have recorded Jeremiah's reaction when he opened up his Twins hat. Oh my word! He's typically a happy boy, but he sure was excited to see a hat just like daddy's that fit him! (Thank you Oma and Opa Steck!)

He's also made very good use out of his very own lawn mower. So cute!

It's so nice to have "the big boat" for us all to enjoy together (thanks Gordy and Carolyn!). Jeremiah often asks "Can we go on da big boat?". He even ventured into the lake this year. Boy, did he think that was fun!

It's always fun when the cousins get together. I love watching how much more they interact with eachother every time we get together. Each of them is becoming just a little more mobile and a their vocabulary is expanding so fast! I think Jeremiah was expecially enamored of Piper ("Pipey" to him). I'm so glad Stephanie had her camera on her while they were running around the backyard together.


8 Months Old

Her accomplishments are kind of old news since I'm a little behind on posting this, but I didn't want to leave out Savannah's 8 month pictures. :)

She has mastered "so big", is a great cheer leader (claps all the time!), and is just now starting to eat solids (her favorites are banana and black beans). She rocks on her hands and knees and is able to twist and turn to get what she needs is it's close by. It won't be long before she's crawling!


July 4th 2010

We spent the 4th of July holiday out at the lake this year. I found myself often thinking back a year ago from this weekend, remembering how we celebrated. How fast time flies! Last year, we were sweating it out at the neighborhood park in Carrollton. The kids' little cheeks were red, their hair dripping with sweat, letting them stay out way past their bedtime to take them to a Rangers game (which, by the way, proved to be the most spectacular show of fireworks I have ever seen!). This year, it was a lot of fun to be celebrating with family. The lake was perfect (as was the pool). Even better, we were able to be with Nathan and Heidi too. How crazy that we go from seeing them only a few times over the course of a couple years to seeing them as often as we want! We're so glad they are in town!