Our Family

Our Family
"These are the children God has graciously given to me. (us)" - Genesis 33:5

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy First Birthday Rebekah!

Happy Birthday Rebekah!

My baby girl is now a big one year old! You are just so beautiful! What a blessing you are. Your smile is infectious, and your laugh makes the world a much happier place. Everyone...family, friends and strangers alike find themselves captured by your fun loving spirit. You make even the murkiest days so much brighter.

I could never have imagined how wonderful my life would be with a daughter like you. All of your snuggles, nuzzles, smiles, hugs, kisses, and pure love are gifts I will treasure always. You are my baby girl and I love you.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of our friends and family!

Friday, December 21, 2007

And now for your listening pleasure...

Christmas Music....Ouellette Style
(for those of you who don't recognize it, "One Foot in Front of the Other" from the children's classic movie...Santa Claus is Coming to Town)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Snow Time

On Sunday, as those of you who live in New Hampshire are well aware, we had an awesome snow storm. Mike and I are BIG fans of winter time. When I say fans, I don't mean that we enjoy the dirty, salty mess on the roads that mucks up the kids boots, or the bitter winds that go through the 20 layers of clothes you have to wear just to get to the car. (okay a bit of an exaggeration, I usually just put on a sweatshirt, gloves and ear muffs, coats are bothersome in the car!) What I mean by BIG fans is that we enjoy the fun a snow storm can bring; building snowmen, sledding, and snowballs. It's also about the beauty of that white fluffy stuff as it falls and lands on everything covering it in a blanket that seems to muffle all the usual outdoor sounds. It's so quiet and peaceful directly after the storm...before everyone fires up the snow blowers and plows to dig out.

Knowing all this, we want our kiddos to enjoy the Winter Wonderland as well, so what better way to introduce them to it than chucking them outside into the snow!

Needless to say, Josh was not pleased. He hates being dressed in his regular clothes, never mind putting other layers over that. He hates socks and slippers, never mind snow boots. AND he hates having goop smeared onto his face. The snowsuit is size 24 months and it is absolutely huge on my 29 month old. (It was his cousin Ian's snowsuit and it was always huge on him as well!) The goop is Aquafore, it does a great job at protecting the face from not only windburn, but it also makes any snow that may come in contact with said face (say Ethan throwing snow into his face!) to bead up and wipe right off.

I would have posted some outside shots, but the camera I used for those pictures was my husbands and he had it on some special setting which made all of the pictures come out very dark. Yes, I could photo shop them, but I hardly have the time to do these posts most days, never mind spend time photo shopping the pictures!! :)

Anyway, after about 30 minutes, Mike brought the boys back in because it was incredibly cold out, and they had very red cheeks. Plus, Josh wasn't having any fun because (much like Randy from The Christmas Story..."I can't put my arms down"...) he couldn't really move well in his suit. So, he was just yelling from wherever Mike put him.

So, in true Mommy style...(yes I remained inside...someone had to stay with Rebekah even if she was sleeping quite soundly upstairs) I made hot cocoa with Pumpkin Soy Eggnog and a little Nestle mix which the kids just LOVED! I even put in a Pure Fun candy cane that Josh used as a way to "drink" is cocoa until it was a little cooler to really drink.
Now they are asking every day when the next storm is coming so they can go back outside, play with daddy, "help" clear the snow, and then come back inside for more yummy hot cocoa. With the way this Autumn is shaping up with all of the snow fall, it's hard to imagine how much more snow we can expect once Winter actually arrives!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Something New...Real or Toy

First of all the title...Real or Toy is a game that is played on the John Deere videos that Ethan and Joshua both love. They go through and show pictures of tractors and your supposed to guess whether it is a real tractor or one of their toy tractors...it's actually quite tricky. Their toy tractors are exact replicas...just smaller.

As for the "Something New" part, well...
From the time we were married, Mike convinced me, (it wasn't too hard) to have a real Christmas Tree since he'd always had one growing up. As for my family, we tried the real one, once...and only once. It was far too much work for three teenage girls to keep up with...all that watering, and cleaning up of the pine needles...whew! :) But as an adult, I thought it would be a nice tradition to start for our own family. So, for the past 6 years we did. Every weekend following Thanksgiving we'd go and pick out our tree. Sometimes we went with Mike's family up to the Lakes Region, to have one cut down. Other times, we'd just go to one of the many "tree stores" close by and pick one out instead.

Well, for a couple of reasons, we now have an artificial tree. As I've posted in the past, Joshua as well as myself, have asthma. It never occurred to me that the "fresh" tree may add to any breathing difficulties until I came upon an article regarding mold spores, asthma and your tree. Come to find out, having the tree could trigger and asthmatic episode! Well, we have been nebulizer free for over 3 weeks...and don't want to go back. So, if that means no real tree...

Mike and I talked about it and started looking into the purchase of an artificial tree. Oh my goodness!! They aren't cheap, AND most of the best looking ones come prelit. We have our own lights, and are a little, itty, bitty bit short on funds. So, we decided not to do a tree this year, and look at just buying one after Christmas to take advantage of the huge discounts. Besides the homily at our church on the first Sunday of Advent talked about how we shouldn't over decorate prior to the celebration of Christs birth, but that we should save it, and show all that splendor for the twelve days following Christmas up to the Epiphany. Hun. Never thought of it that way.

Well, my Aunt Dianne who lives in Maine had heard from my mom that we weren't going to do a tree this year, and dug out her artificial one to give to us. She has been doing a real tree now for several years, but just didn't have the heart to throw out this gorgeous tree. Well, thank God she didn't, because we are now the gracious owners of this beautiful tree. We can't thank her enough as it is exactly what we wanted and more.

The picture shows that it is simply decorated in lights with an angel at the top, and one angel for each of us on the tree. On either Christmas Eve or morning, we haven't decided yet, we will decorate this magnificent tree in celebration of Christs birth. Now that it's artificial we can leave it up until Epiphany without fear of it being too dry or brittle. And so begins a new tradition in the Ouellette family. We look forward to many years with our new addition and hope that, much like last night when we put it up, our children will continue to sit quietly in amazement at it's beauty as a reminder of the splendor of the Christmas season.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Happy 5th Birthday Ethan!

Happy Birthday Ethan!

You are smart, charming, handsome, and witty. You are an incredibly active little boy with a passion for almost everything, (except clean up time!). You have a way with people, and very few ever leave your presence without a smile on their face. You have an amazing amount of love for not only us, but your brother, sister, and friends. You have no problem showing it either. Almost everyone gets a hug, kiss, and/or a high five from you.

You are truly an amazing little guy, and we are thankful everyday to be blessed with you! We are amazed at how much you've grown over the last five years, and are looking forward to how much you will continue to grow during the next five. We love you very much!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

It's official...

...Joshua is not only gluten free but casein free and dairy free! Well, at least for now. Here's why...

As I had mentioned in a previous post, we noticed that Josh didn't need to be nebulized after his last cold. In trying to figure it out I realized that HE had stopped eating and drinking all of his usual dairy. In the morning he would typically have a 9 oz cup of milk with his vitamins and medicine. Then at some point in the day he would have a Yoplait yogurt and eat the whole thing. He would also have either a cheese stick, a grilled cheese sandwich, or mac and cheese for lunch. He didn't have any of those things. It was only after our trip to Maine to visit friends that we confirmed Josh indeed has a problem with dairy. The only dairy he had while we were visiting was cheese. The night we came home as well as the following night, he had terrible coughing fits and we were back to nebulizing him every 4 hours over the course of the next 3 days!

Fortunately, going casein/dairy free is too difficult for a gluten free family. Most of the prepacked gluten free products and mixes happen to be casein/dairy free already. It's the day-to-day stuff that we're having a hard time with...cheese, and yogurt. After experimenting with several alternative milks, Josh prefers soy milk. So, that works fairly well in most of our mixes and just as a drink for him. As for butter, we've been using coconut oil for quite some time now, and it works really well in just about every instance that you would use butter. Plus, it's healthier! We just haven't found a cheese that he likes though. The trick with that is finding one that is also gluten free. For some reason not as easy. The one we did find, he's not too keen on. And yogurt...forget it.

So, why wasn't this diagnosed through his doctor...??? We DID run some blood tests for every kind of food allergy back at his last check up, because I insisted they be run. Unfortunately, (but not surprisingly) the tests all came back normal. Before I get attacked for saying "unfortunately", let me clarify it by saying that I'm NOT upset that my son is healthy, according to their testing. It's just that in my experience with Ethan, I find it hard to trust the data when it comes back normal. Without getting into the whole can of worms I just opened up, Mike and I just find that if we trust in our gut, (our much healthier gut mind you) we usually end up on the right path to making our kids happier and healthier.

Besides, wouldn't you trust your gut if you were faced with either having to hold down a screaming, writhing, incredibly agitated child while nebulizing him, OR limiting if not eliminating his dairy intake...hmmm...we choose the latter!