April 20, 2013

William's 12th Birthday

Happy twelfth birthday to Joe's Saturday morning helper and my consistent helper in all things botanical. (William weeds a mean garden. If you know the weeds at our house, you'll appreciate this.) 

William is just one year away from teen-hood and already becoming such a little man. We love you, William, and we are so proud of all your accomplishments!

Reaction upon opening the uber-cool airplane model from Aunt Cathie and Uncle Jeff.
Big gift: A longboard
Delicious "dirt cake" made by Kathleen and complete with worms and dump trucks.

Thanking Our Teachers

Every year, we try to thank our teachers in some special way at Christmas time. I am so grateful to the wonderful teachers in our children's lives.

Problem is... We have lots o' teachers and lots o' kids, equalling a crazy number of gifts. It can be challenging to come up with a gift plan that is do-able and doesn't absolutely break the bank.

This year, I actually managed to direct the making of a gift from each of the kids to each of the teachers. Some years, it doesn't quite come off as planned, but this year it worked out pretty well!

For those who think we couldn't possibly have so many teachers, given our status as homeschoolers, let me quickly relieve you of that impression:

Kathleen's piano teacher
Andrew's piano teacher
Therese's piano teacher
Anna's band director
William's reading tutor
Anna's Latin teacher
Kathleen's Latin teacher
Andrew's gymnastics teacher
Anna's literature teacher (HFH homeschool co-op)
Kathleen's literature teacher (HFH homeschool co-op)
Anna's gym teacher (HFH homeschool co-op)
Kathleen's gym teacher (HFH homeschool co-op)
Anna's Schola teacher (HFH homeschool co-op)
Kathleen's Schola teacher (HFH homeschool co-op)
William's Science Lab teacher (HFH Homeschool co-op)
Andrew's Science Lab teacher (HFH Homeschool co-op)
Therese's Science Lab teacher (HFH Homeschool co-op)
William's Art teacher (HFH homeschool co-op)
Andrew's Art teacher (HFH homeschool co-op)
Therese's Art teacher (HFH homeschool co-op)
William's Schola teacher (HFH homeschool co-op)
Andrew's Choir teacher (HFH homeschool co-op)
Therese's Choir teacher (HFH homeschool co-op)

Next year, we will add a band teacher and a flute teacher for Kathleen who is planning on majoring in music and wants to expand her musical knowledge into new instruments.

This doesn't even count the cross country coaches, the football coaches, and the swimming teachers who teach our kids in other seasons, meaning they miss out on the thrill of those Leone Christmas gifts. ;)

In addition to giving these gifts to teachers, we also give them to grandparents and Godparents. So that's two more gifts per kid at a minimum, multiplied by five big kids, and that makes ten more gifts. So you can see how Christmas gift-giving gets a little zany around here. And we haven't even started gifts from the two little girls yet...

Somehow, we did manage to stay sane in the process of it all. "Sane," of course, is a relative term.

Marguerite's 3rd Birthday

It is stunning to realize that it was just three years ago that we made the frantic trip to Georgia, through the aftermath of a blizzard, to pick up our sweet Marguerite Jane. While time does fly, it is hard to remember a time before MJ.

Miss Marguerite fills our lives with such joy. We pray for her birthmother each night and are forever grateful that she chose for Marguerite and Lucia the gift of life.

We love you, Marguerite! Happy birthday!

Filling the Freezer, Part 2

And this is also how we fill the freezer...

Thanks, Sharp-Shooter, Kathleen! 

Joe shot pheasants as well, and William kept everyone company. (William has not yet taken hunter safety.)

Filling the Freezer

This is how we fill the freezer for the winter.

Thank you, Joe and John! 

Halloween 2012

The Leones bundle up for a spooky night of tricks and treats.

Rice krispie ghosts... and some very cool costumes.  Katness from Hunger Games, a bandit, Tin Tin, a princess, a kangaroo, and a tiger.