Friday, December 25, 2009

A Christmas letter

As a mother of four small children, I've always longed for a day when my kids could finally do something for themselves. A day when we could take them out in public and they don't always make a scene. I longed for a day when we could make gingerbread houses and I didn't have to be the only person who is able to actually understand the concept of making a gingerbread house without destroying it. A day where we could go to a Christmas eve candlelight service as a family and actually enjoy it. This is the first year where I've had glimpses of life outside of small children land. It's a very overwhelming feeling when you realize that your children REALLY will not be small for long. I've been looking at pictures of the girls from last Christmas. They have grown so much in the last year. I'm overwhelmed with pride, nostalgia, love, and longing. Josh and I are so blessed to be their parents. Suddenly, I don't want to let them grow up. I want four kids in diapers again.

Addison: The only child we have in diapers right now. She's playing the "I'm the baby" card for as long as she can. We are loving every minute of her being two. She's a mamma's girl and I love her for it. She is by far the easiest two year old we have ever had. She warms everyone she meets with her big brown eyes and tiny voice. Her sisters have finally welcomed her into the big girl club and she couldn't be happier. We love you Addy Mae.

Savanna: She is definitely our most unique child. I mean that in a very loving, motherly way. Sometimes, it's hard for me to explain her personality. Have you ever seen the movie "The Family Stone"? The character that Rachel McAdam's plays is how I see Savanna when she's older. She loves her family. She is very loyal. Once you pass her test, she will love you for life. She's just one of those kids who's a very good judge of character and is choosy about who she lets in her life. The characteristic trait that she shares with her Daddy. She's very loving and sweet. She's a Daddy's girl. Sharing has been her biggest challenge this year. We are certain she will master it by next Christmas. We love you so much Savanna Grace.
Olivia: This picture of her is very true to life. She is our sweet girly girl. That's saying a lot when you have three sisters. She loves to wear dresses. She tells me I look pretty. She's the most affectionate and would never hold back a kiss or a hug. She wants to get married and kiss boys. (I know, I know. Poor Josh.) She loves to dance and looks like a ballerina. As soon as we possibly can, we are going to put her in ballet. She is very musical, loves to sing and plays her imaginary musical instruments. Olivia Claire, we love your fairy, imaginary, girly ways. xoxo

Laney: She is the coolest kid. Seriously. She started Kindergarten this year. And as much as I miss her at home, she is doing really well and loves school. I could tell that math was her thing. Her teacher confirmed that fact at our parent teacher conference. Her teacher also said she is the nicest most genuine child in the class and is consistently wanting to help others. Wow! The best compliment ever. As most parents know, Josh and I cannot take credit for it. She has a heart of gold. She remains an avid Star Wars fan. She turns 6 in four days. By far the most responsible sister. Laney Rose, we are so proud to be your parents. Love you to the moon and back. (P.S. If it's not too much trouble, could you please stop growing up so fast.)

Merry Christmas from the Staples family. December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Our four little angels, would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas! Enjoy our festivities, from throughout the month, through these photos!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas card outakes

Taking a Christmas card photo of four children ages 5-2 is no easy task. Usually I'm lucky to get one good photo and the rest are outtakes. I took the time to take them so I'm gonna post 'em.
Excuse me! Excuse me miss two-year-old-who-has-way-more-important-things-to-do-than-listen-to-her-mother. Can I have your attention please?

Now webkinz are very reasonable photo subjects. They sit perfectly still and listen to instruction. The reason there is a webkinz photo is because Laney made me promise to take it or she wouldn't let me take her picture. I'm a wonderful mother who never bribes her children and they know who's BOSS!

Laney is the most photogenic. I think.

There's just one little problem. She doesn't like to have her picture taken.
(Do you like her Christmas dress? I got it on clearance last year at Target for $7!)

I almost used this picture of Savanna for our Christmas card. It's so..................her.

As the resident two and three year olds of this house, we would like to take a moment to say......

we are really cute.

Olivia either uses her head shot pose or this one.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I heart faces-Pet catagory

There is this wonderful place down the road that sells pumpkins and Christmas trees for the holidays. Galloping Grace Youth Ranch does an amazing job running it. We take the girls there to pick pumpkins and to get our Christmas tree. I'm amazed how they turn a boring corner on a busy intersection into the best place on earth during the holidays. Aside from selling pumpkins and Christmas trees, they have all this super fun FREE stuff for kids to do. Including a horseback ride for the kids. We went on Sunday and the horses had these adorable reindeer hats on. Just in time for the I heart faces pet week!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Windy cold day = Hot Chocolate!

Laney had a 2 hour school delay. No snow, but very icy roads.

We stood at the bus stop to wait for Lane. The wind was very, very cold.

The perfect after school snack on a cold and windy day.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Beard.

I didn't use to like it when my husband grew out his beard. I know that's weird, but now I'm in love with his beard. He's so handsome with a beard. When people see me with the girls and I'm without my husband, they ask me if he has red hair! Picturing my husband with red hair makes me laugh. He does have red hair in his beard, though!

The other night I looked over at my husband and thought, " Wow! Have I really been married to this man for 7 and a half years?" "Did we really have four girls together?" I didn't ask myself those questions in a "who is this person I'm married to" way. But in a "time flies and I'm such a lucky girl" kind of way.

I like the beard.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I love Thanksgiving. I love the food, making and eating it. I love family togetherness. And this year I'm a little more thankful for Thanksgiving itself. I think lately I've been noticing how selfish society and the human race has become. Just think about how our culture is starting to view marriage. When did marriage get so selfish? Society suggests that if we don't get what's ours than we need to get out. We've stopped being thankful and we've stopped giving of ourselves to others. God has been reminding me that I have more to give to others. I don't have to be snappy to customer service people at the store or the drive-thru window operators. I'm also reminded this year of all the families that have to eat Thanksgiving at their church or soup kitchen, because they can't find a job and put food on their own table. Hard working families that are trying to make ends meet and simply can't. Families that might lose their homes. Those same families are probably more thankful for the blessings that they do have instead of complaining about what that don't have. Here is my list, in no particular order, of what I'm thankful for:

1. My husband, for loving me unconditionally and showing me what true love really is. That man has been my rock in so many hard times.
2. My loving and faithful God, who will turn my tables of sorrow and grief into tables of joy and rejoicing. If I let go and let him.
3. My children who have taught me so much about myself. I'm thankful for the love I feel for them. That love has blessed me beyond measure.
4. My home, even though sometimes I think it's too small, because at least we have a safe and happy home.
5. Our extended family who also loves our family unconditionally. I have to say I am so blessed with awesome parents and awesome in-laws.
6. My MOPS friends and MOPS itself. I've meet true friends there that don't judge me or the way I mother.
7. The few pounds I've gained the past month, because it means that my family has food and our pantry is full.
8. We have really nice neighbors. Neighbors that we could rely on if there was an emergency.
9. I'm thankful we have one car because at least we have a car that fits our whole family. A car that has been good to us and hasn't needed any repairs. (So far.)
10. I'm thankful for my family's health.
11. I'm thankful for my husband's job even though I sometimes complain that my husband gets home late, because what would we do if he lost his job like so many others have. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Lord for his job.
12. I'm thankful that God has been leading me places that are out of my comfort zone, even though it's very uncomfortable and scary, so I can someday fulfill the plan he has for me.
13. Thank you Lord for giving me a gift of photography. I want to use it to bless others. Let it be a blessing to my family.

Dear Lord, I pray for those families that are struggling to put food on their tables this year. I pray that you bless them. Please show us what we can do to bless someone else this year. Don't let us ignore that little voice that tells us that the person we sit next to in bible study can use a gift that we may have. Even if it's someone we know who can't pay their electric bill and are too ashamed to say it. Let us be Thankful for the things and blessings that we have and to complain less. Amen.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

I ♥ Faces

This weeks category over at I heart faces is sun flare. I had to enter this picture. It's my header picture and one that I took of the girls to resemble fall. And to me nothing resembles fall more than the way the sun shines differently. And actually it's more like sun wash.

Sweet Potato Casserole

My favorite Mom makes this recipe every Thanksgiving and it's very, very yummy. It's almost like desert. Please make this for Thanksgiving this year. It's one of those dishes that makes my food loving husband, a very happy man.

3 large yams, peeled and cut (You can substitute 2 large cans of yams and make life easier. But fresh yams are best.)
1 cup of sugar
1 stick of butter, softened (Did you hear me? ONE WHOLE stick of butter!)
1 egg
1 tsp of vanilla
1 tsp allspice

Topping ingredients:
3/4 cup of flour
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of softened butter
3/4 cup of chopped pecans

1. Boil yams on medium high heat until softened. Then smash them.
2. While yams are boiling, make the topping. Mix flour, brown sugar, and pecans. Cut in butter. (Mom says to mix it with your fingers.) Set aside.
3. Mix the smashed yams, butter, sugar. Mix well, then add egg, vanilla and allspice.
4. Pour into casserole dish. Spread it our evenly. Then spread topping over the top.
5. Bake for 30 minutes or so in a 350 degree oven.

Decorating, five year old style

My five year old watched me put up the Christmas decorations. She decided to put some up of her own. Her Hello Kitty was not only on these pictures in the hallway, but on every wall in our home.

She even decorated her tree in the room she shares with her sister.

She decorated it with pink toys! The Tinkertoy tree topper is an especially nice touch.