01 02 03 The Dayton Houghs: December 2009 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 24 21 24 21 24 21 24 21 24 25 26 27 28 29

The Dayton Houghs

30 31 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 37 38 The Dayton Houghs: December 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's 'snow' fun to play outside!!!

We finally had enough snow to make it worth while to drag out hats and mittens and snow pants and boots. I had managed to avoid the inevitable for a couple of days, but the natives were restless. I finally gave in and after a thorough search for all things snow gear and about 20 minutes of dressing and undressing and redressing Isaac, Hannah , Gianna and Noah were ready to head outside into the winter wonderland that was our front yard.

Once the kids were outside happily playing, I was running around the house getting dinner ready and picking up when I hear the kids screaming for me. I ran outside and this is what I saw...

Yep....a pony.
Welcome to Dayton Pennsylvania folks! Some people get their neighbors dogs in their yards, we get their horses and ponies. Too funny!

The girls were starting to make snow angels. Notice the pony in the background.

Gianna, my little snow bunny!

Hannah, the snow angel

Noah, our little devil, he was having some issues because someone threw a snowball at him.

Trying to catch some flakes

They were starting to get cold here, but still hanging on!

Noah was finally smiling!

Bubba was having a blast, although he wanted to go sledding. Too bad, no big kids = no sledding. Maybe next time.

Aiden was quite happy to stay snuggly and warm inside with Joey.

Fun was had by all, at least until mittens started falling off and hands started to freeze and noses started to run and all of that other fun stuff! They came in the house and got warm baths and put on snuggly jammies and we had a movie/dinner night in the living room.
I love winter!!!

Christmas with the Gagginis

Sunday was Christmas round #1. We braved the snow and coldness and headed to Ponderosa Heights to share a wonderful dinner with my family at Mom and Dad's house. We (thankfully!) made it up the driveway and hauled all of our stuff into the house to be greeted with the wonderful smells of Christmas!!! ham, potatoes, roast beast...I mean roast beef!...lazy susan salad, fried green beans, cookies and fudge...It was so very, very, very good! I practically had to roll out to the van. After dinner we opened presents! The kids were DYING to get to the part of the day.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care....A LOT of stockings!

Everyone was thrilled with their goodies. Mama and Pap-pap did it again!

What do you do with a scurvy pirate??? Arghh matey!

Isabella LOVED her makeup... maybe a little bit too much!

The boys trying out their new remote control cars.

Hannah and Gianna waiting patiently for the green light to unwrap!

Jake was focused on putting together his 3d dinosaur puzzle.

DJ was doodling on Gia's art desk.

Chris is more than meets the eye!!!! He was loving his new transformer jammies.

The best gift of all...the Steelers win!!! A true Christmas miracle!!

Jess and a wiggly Abby

Me and Mini-me

Pap-pap and his littlest granddaughter, Francesca

Daddy and Aiden

Our very own little Santa Baby

We had a lot of fun and good food, but most importantly precious time with our loved ones. All in all Christmas Round #1 was a huge success!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


For those of you who know me, (and I am assuming that you all do or you wouldn't be reading this!!) you are aware that I can be a bit sarcastic... Ok, I can be a lot sarcastic. Just ask my kids! You know it's pretty bad when you say, "Good job guys!" and they look at you kind of confused and ask, "For real or are you being sarcastic?" Hey, I know that I'm not perfect. I'm working on it, but in the mean time, being the mother in a "mega-family" gives me plenty of opportunities to flex my mouth muscles. If you have more than 3 kids, you probably know where I'm going with this. You unload the smallest kids from the van directly into a grocery cart. Then you order those not small enough to actually fit in the cart to grab onto the side of the cart and hang on or they will get lost or a "yuck guy " will steal them and we will never see them again. ( Fear works wonders when you are significantly outnumbered!) You then grab another grocery cart for groceries and somehow, perhaps through the grace of God, manage to maneuver both carts and 5 little kids into the store. You might be wondering where the 3 older kids are at this point. Pick an activity, it could be basketball, youth group, at a friends house...whatever. The point is that they aren't with me so I have no help. I start filling up cart #2 with various household items as well as a little treat specifically purchased for bribery for good behavior! ( Bribery also works wonders when you are outnumbered!) The kids are being pretty good and then it happens. You notice the open mouth gawking or maybe the actual counting aloud..."One, two, three, four, FIVE kids!!!" I just smirk thinking "HA HA I have three more that aren't here right now! You think that five is a lot, how about EIGHT!!?"And then comes the inevitable question, "Umm, excuse me, but are they all yours?" Wellllll, duh! Like I would voluntarily take five kids that belong to someone else to the grocery store?! Usually I just smile and nod and we continue on our way, but sometimes we are pursued. "Do they all have the same dad?" or "Don't you have cable?" or there is always my favorite, "Are you CRAZY!?" Seriously?! " Yes." This is usually said through gritted teeth. "Wow! That's a lot of kids! Better you than me!" This is when I get to be a little bit of a smarty-pants. " Yes! You are right, better me than you!" We have also been asked if we knew what caused "it." By "it" I assume that they mean more kids. I have been known to wink and say , "Yes and obviously we are pretty good at it too! huh?!" One time I was at the hair salon. I was pregnant with Noah at the time. He is number 7. The stylist asked me if I was going to get fixed after I had him!!! I just looked at her and said, "I'm not a cat and I'm not broken. I have nothing that needs to be fixed. "

For some reason people feel the need to apologize for only having 1 or 2 kids. For the record, I firmly in my heart of hearts believe that God will give you the number of children that will bring you the closest to him. For some that is 1 child. For some 2 or 3 children. For some 8 or 10. And some people might not have any. I just know that for some reason Brian and I have been entrusted with the job of raising these 8 little souls to grow strong in their faith and love of God. This is the number that God has given us, at least for now. We are definitely drawn closer to God daily. We are always praying and talking to God. It could be something as profound as "Please God help my children to know what vocation you are calling them to when they grow up. " or something as simple as "Please God help me to not kill Noah because he has ripped the wallpaper off of the wall in the hallway for the 7th time this week." It could even just be "Help Me GOD!" All that I know is that if having the gift of each one of my little blessings means that people will make their snotty little comments at us or just stare in awe at the shear size of our family, I will happily deal with it. My response when someone says, "WOW! You sure have your hands full!" I just smile and say, "Rather full than empty!"

My 8 little blessings

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It was all around us. It was affecting everyone around us, but we managed to remain unscathed...that is until two weeks ago. It started with a sniffle here, a cough there and then the fevers set in. From Hannah on down, none of the little ones were spared. Gianna was the first to go down. She was in denial. Her little eyes were all red and watery, sick eyes, we call them. She ran a fever off and on for about 4 four days. She was miserable, but wouldn't talk about it. If I would ask her how she was feeling, she would say, "I'm fine Mom!!!" and glare at me. Then Hannah started last Thursday with a fever and a cough. She couldn't shake that fever. It was up to almost 105 at one point. I woke Brian up because Aiden was really fussy too. I told him that I needed him to sit with Hannah in the bathroom while she soaked in the tub to try to bring it down, or nurse the baby. Obviously he needed to sit in the bathroom with Han. I got the baby calmed down and I put him in his crib and went into the bathroom and Brian is sitting there with his shirt up over his face. I started to laugh at him. As if that was going to keep him from getting sick. I have been spit on, slobbered on, coughed on, sneezed on and thrown up on. Thankfully I am still healthy. God seems to have a certain blessing of mercy that he gives to mothers of sick ones.. I have my fingers crossed and hands folded that I stay healthy at least through Christmas. (Please God!) All of a sudden we hear a noise in Noah and Aiden's room. I ran in and sure enough, Noah had thrown up all over his bed. Another one bites the dust. He was pretty miserable for a few days, but my Tuesday he and Gia were much better. Hannah on the other hand was still fighting a fever of over 103. She was so pale that even her freckles looked pasty. I was also still concerned about Aiden. He was still running a fever and his nose was like a fountain! He was so sick that he wouldn't smile. You might be thinking, "Duh! If he was sick he wouldn't feel like smiling. " Well, this baby ALWAYS smiles. All that you have to do is look at him and he grins. He is pure joy in a chubby little body. At least he was until he got sick. He wouldn't even jump in his jumperoo. I called the doctors office on Wednesday and took them both in. Sure enough bronchitis for Hannah as well as a sinus infection for both of them. After 2 days worth of antibiotics the smiles and giggles are back. Hannah finally has some color and is eating again! Aiden is a smiley happy boy again with one more tooth! On top of feeling like crap he was teething too! No wonder he was miserable!

Catching up Take Three: A Christmas Tree, Santa and Three More Birthdays

Now don't pass out! I know you are thinking THREE posts in one day!!! Is she crazy!? Well, yes, yes I am. Actually, I was just lucky enough to finally have some spare time. Ok, let's get busy. We always get our Christmas tree on the Saturday after Thanksgiving so that we have it up for the December kids' birthdays. DJ, Coley and Noah all have birthdays in December, so we consolidate them into one party. We always have it at the beginning of the month because the Rose grandparents always come in then. It works out well and it forces me not to procrastinate and get the decorations out early. Although, I must admit, Christmas is one thing that I DON"T put off. I love Christmas! Everything about Christmas, from the decorating, tothe cookies, to the music, to the beautiful Mass. So anyway, Brian and DJ, Jake and Bubba headed to the Christmas tree farm with the mission to return home with a tall, but thin beautiful Frasier Fir. A few hours later the men returned home victorious! The general rule of thumb is that if the tree fits in our giant 12 passenger van, it will fit in the designated spot in the living room. Sure enough that bad boy was wrapped and packed in the van. They leaned it up against the house until we were ready to bring it in.

You might be wondering, "How tall is that beast tree?"
Why, it's four Houghs tall, of course!

Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,

How lovely are you branches!

Mission accomplished men! Great Job!!

We took the youngest five of our crew and went to have breakfast with Santa. My brother brought his little boy, Dylan and my sister came with her three girls. We got there and the kids ate their breakfast. They had some coloring sheets for the kids to color while we were waiting. Good move on their part!

Noah is intensely coloring. He was sitting still...a minor Christmas miracle? I'm just throwing it out there!

They also had some face painting. That had mixed reviews from our crowd. None of them were super thrilled about someone that they didn't know touching them.

The girls opted for festive poinsettias.

Dylan chose a star(?).

Bubba went the sports route. Go Pitt!

Abby won the door prize, a big Santa doll. This was highly entertaining because the doll was almost as big as she was! So funny!

It was finally our turn for our picture with Santa. We tried to get one picture with all of the kids. Yeah...ummm not so successful. Abby was doing a strip tease. Noah was there under duress. Aiden kept trying to unbeard the big guy. It was a comedy of errors! As my husband so eloquently put it, "It is what it is."

I didn't manage to get a shot of my kids alone with Santa, because I was trying to keep them all on the stage, but I did manage to get a couple of Dylan and the girls.

Little Francesca slept through the entire thing. Gotta love a sling!

AD-Joe in his Santa baby shirt!

Santa was a success and I think that the kids enjoyed it. Next time I'm going to prep them a little bit more so that the pictures turn out better.

The final subject of this particular post is the December birthday party. My twins are now 14...that is really old. Not only are the getting to be so old, but they are now as tall as I am. What the heck?!? No major feat as I am only 5'4'', but still... I am truly blessed that they are healthy, kind funny kids with alot of smarts! (they were both on distinguished honor roll!! Oh yeah, my kids are smart!!!) Noah was kind of confused. He didn't get it that it was his party too since his birthday isn't until the 27th. Although it didn't take too long for him to get used to the idea when everyone was throwing presents at him! Coley decided that she did not want a cake. She is a rebel, my little red head is! She wanted blueberry glazed doughnuts instead. Good old Dimaio's came through with totally yummy glazed blueberry doughnuts. She was thrilled!!!

Coley and her "cake"

DJ wanted a West Shamokin basketball cake. Joan's cake lady, Judy came through in her usual beautiful- cake way.

Noah was not thrilled about all of the attention, but he loved his Spiderman cake.

Make a wish and blow out the candles!

Miss Abby chomping on an apple.

Aiden and Isabella, hanging out.

All in all, a very successful party!

Happy Birthday my beautiful kids!