Monday, December 31, 2012

Top Ten Favorite Moments of 2012

(In no particular order)

1.  Daddy Date-night at Chick-Fil- with a limo ride
2.  Roasting marshmallows in our fire pit and playing "flash" with glowsticks in the backyard
3.  Karis learning to read well and watching her read to her sisters
4.  Strawberry Picking
5.  Royal Princess Ball Daddy Date at the Library
6.  Beach with the Joneses
7.  Gatlinburg with the DeLongs
8.  Finding out about Baby D4
9.  Finding out we are really moving back to VA
10.  First day of Classical Conversations

Favorite picture of the month for 2012

I did this last year and it was really neat to see a picture from each month and see how the girls have grown and changed.  I had a really hard time forcing myself to only choose one picture, but I finally narrowed it down :)  I sure do love these girls!

January:

February:

March:

April:


May:

June:

July:

August:

September:

October:

November:

December:


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Big Changes Coming!!!! And FAST!!!

Ever since Mark graduated from seminary, we have wanted to move back home closer to our family and friends.  But God has provided for us here in NC in amazing ways and so far, each door back to VA has been clearly shut.  In the meantime, God has blessed us with 4 precious babies, a wonderful loving church family, a fun and fulfilling job for Mark where the girls can visit and play with him and learn sports, a perfect little starter house for us, a great homeschool co-op for my girls, and much, much more.  We have learned so much in the past 7 years here and are ever so thankful for all God has done in our lives since leaving VA in 2005.

However, we are ever so excited to share that God has finally opened up a door for us to return home!  Mark's best friend from high school is starting a business very similar to the one Mark has been managing here in NC and he wants Mark to come and run it for him.  The details have taken a long time to work out, but we finally accepted the offer and are planning to move in less than 2 weeks!!  It is a crazy-fast move and very stressful but it does seem like the right timing and we are quite excited!

Please pray that so many details will work out quickly.  Most importantly, pray that we will figure out a housing situation.  We plan to put our house on the market as soon as we move out and our realtor is very optimistic because houses in our area have sold very quickly.  We would like to rent somewhere for just a few months until our house sells and we can buy another one, but it seems that all houses for rent require a year-long lease and we really do not want to be locked into that.  For now, we plan to initially move in with Mark's parents because they have plenty of space and it will be a great help with the transition.  But we are hoping to find other housing within a few weeks because his parents actually live in the country about 30 minutes away from where Mark will be working and the girls will be going to school and most of our friends live.  So we hope to move closer to town as soon as possible.  For now, though, we will enjoy spending so much time with the grandparents!  (How many date-nights can we fit in a couple a weeks?  :)

We will keep you informed as plans progress.  We are sad about leaving our loving church family and newly-found school friends, but super excited about what God has in store for us back home!  Please rejoice with us and pray for us as we go through this transition!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Day!

This Christmas seemed a lot different from others in the past.  For one thing, family all around us had been sick and we didn't even know if we would make it to VA to be with our family!  So we were ever so thankful when Christmas Eve found us all happy and healthy and spending the night at my parents' house.

Secondly, for some reason this seemed to be the first Christmas that Karis and Karlie really remembered all our traditions and were incredibly excited about everything.  They had been talking about opening a present on Christmas Eve, making cookies, doing the gingerbread house, and especially the stockings that Grandma and Papa fill each Christmas.  We were informed that Papa does a better job with stockings than we do because he leaves things sticking out of the top so they can peek and because he gives more candy :)  So they were super excited about Christmas morning, more than ever before.

Christmas day dawned bright and early for us...  At 5am, we heard the big girls trying to go downstairs to see if Papa was up.  Mark quickly intercepted them and instructed them to stay in their room til we opened their door.  We didn't hear them again until about 7:45, which we deemed a much more acceptable time.  We went downstairs and waited for the excitement but it seemed that they had forgotten about stockings and went straight for the kitchen table where they knew Grandma always (regardless of whether it is a holiday or not) leaves a fun sticker page for them to do while Papa cooks breakfast.  They began excitedly doing their sticker page and we had to actually call them into the living room to see what their grandparents had left out for them!

Once in the living room, they had hilarious tunnel vision.  All they noticed at first was the fancy Belle doll, then the cat hiding under the table, and then they saw their pink art tables and had to immediately race them to the dining room table to do them!  They did not even notice their beloved stockings that they had been talking about for weeks or the humongous stuffed purple unicorn under the tree!  It was so funny.  We let them play with their art sets for while and then asked if they had forgotten about their stockings. Then the fun chaos really began! (And Abbi slept through the whole thing... we did her stocking later.)

Giving Papa a well-deserved hug.  Grandparents are ever so generous!

Christmas morning family photo... please excuse my lack of make-up and Abbi's confused scowl.  She was barely awake and couldn't figure out what all the excitement was about.

Daddy had to curl up in th sleeping bag and show them how it worked...

Al the girls got poofy clips for their hair and were very excited about it:



They ere super excited about Daddy's humongous present (a very cool wheelbarrow).
 Let the chaos begin!

Karis was excited about some shiny boots (and I was, too, because she had been wanting to wear her rainboots all winter!)

Helping Grandma open her present:

Abbi opened some books and immediately crawled up in a chair and started reading them to Grandma:

Abbi LOVED her Hello Kitty pillow/ bokbag

Annual ChristmasTree photo after finally getting dressed...



Then we headed up to Nina and Papa's house!  Unfortunately, we didn't take as many pictures there, but these will have to do:

Abbi having fun with Jack!

An exciting surprise for Mark?  Never happened before... (my husband is really hard to surprise)

But I did it!  An original paining from a favorite friend.  He was so surprised :)

Eating dinner with the other big girls

Uncle Jay made them a huge fort in Nina and Papa's basement!  Yes, it goes all the way back...  We didn't see much of the big girls for the rest of the day because they were so excited about their fort!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas from the DeLongs!

Our Christmas cards are going out a bit late this year due to some crazy happenings in our life, so I thought I'd go ahead and share it with you now:

Our Family Name Christmas Card
Design your Christmas cards at Shutterfly.com.
View the entire collection of cards.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas fun...

On Saturday night, we let the girls open their presents from us because we planned to hit the road in the morning for the grandparent's house.

The picture cracks me up.  Karis is super excited about opening presents, Karlie doesn't want a picture because she wants to get on with the show, and we couldn't talk Abbi into joining us in opening presents because she was utterly engrossed in a whatever book she was reading.  

  We finally had to take her present to Abbi and let the girls show her how to start opening it before she caught on to the fun...  The big girls could hardly stand it!  :)


We ended up having to wait an extra day before heading to see our family because on both sides, our brothers' families had brought sickness that we needed to stay away from.  It was very disappointing, but we made good use of the time (a big post coming soon on why our life is crazy right now) and hit the road on Christmas Eve.

It did not take the girls any time at all to dive right into Christmas fun at Grandma and Papa's house!

This picture does not in any way show how incredibly excited Abbi was to have her own purple doll baby.  Her sisters play babies all the time and she has hand-me-down dolls, but not one of her own and especially not a purple one!  (Abbi is unbelievably obsessed with purple right now.)  She was pretty amazed when she opened the gift.

Karlie was beside herself to finally get her own "dance-with-me" doll.  Karis found one at a consignment store last summer and Karlie has wanted one ever since.  The doll has little loops on the bottom of its feet that attach to Karlie's feet so she can actually really dance with it.   It is really the coolest doll ever.

 Karis was very excited to finally have a "big-girl"breakable doll.  She carried this doll around all night long and we had trouble getting her to put it down away from the table for dinner.

Grandma was so excited to get such special dolls for her girls!


Right after opening a few presents, the girls rushed to decorate their gingerbread house.  They have been talking about doing it for weeks now and were very serious about their job.  They both chose a peppermint to be their special treat while decorating.
 THey each had a side to decorate and worked together on the front.  I was very happy and amazed that there was not one disagreement about how to decorate the front!

The side that Karis decorated:

The side that Karlie decorated:

Getting ready to open a present from Grandama's kitties.  Seriously, folks, that was more exciting (and produced more hilarious discussion) than Santa ever could.


And finally, after Abbi went to bed, the big girls made sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies!  You can see Karis giving instructions in this picture.  She always has a plan for everyone :)



Whew!  We didn't get to Grandma and Papa's house until almost 3 in the afternoon but still managed to squeeze in presents, gingerbread house, cookies, and lots of kitty chasing.  What a fun day!