Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Joelle's 4th birthday (sniff, cough)

Amazing how time is zipping by and we are almost at 2010. Hal? (Sorry sci-fi slip). I blame FB for the lack of posting. The evolution of communication in cyberspace is fast paced and lacking in forgiveness.

(click here for the flickr set)

For starters yesterday was Joelle's 4th birthday and we have all contracted the flu!!! Well almost everyone, Joshua is still unscathed. Everyone else has a temperature over 100 degrees. We have gotten to the point now were we smirk at the ones with less that 100.4 degrees and say things like "you call that a temperature?" Fortunately she received several phone calls with song and well wishes. Thank you! We had to skip the customary birthday donut, no cake but we did have a heart shaped pizza and lots of pink decorations. As you can see from the picture she enjoyed the salon treatment provided by her mom.

(click here for the set on flickr)

I never posted the kid's first day of school pictures and thought it would be a good idea to do it now before we went so far in to the holiday season that the new smell is gone. If you did not already know we have THREE children in school now. THREE! Nathaniel (2nd grade), Benjamin (kindergarten) and Joelle (preschool). They were soooo excited on their first day and have been excited about school ever since. Here is a great pic of Joelle sporting her first day of school outfit.

I will do my best to keep up with the holidays and everything else that is going on in our life. Right now I am going to try to get everyone to rest.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Nathaniel turns 7!!!! WHAT!!??

(click here for the Nathaniel's birthday set of pictures)

Yeah, where did this come from? Nathaniel turned 7 in August. I am not really sure how that happened. He was just born a few days ago right? Wait...that was Joshua...maybe that is where I am getting confused...

Joshua looks like Nathaniel, who looks like Ben, who looks like Joelle, who looks like Evelyn, who looks like.... Oh good grief. You have found us out. Yes, we are actually cloning our children and our 1st successful clone celebrated his 7th year in August. He enjoyed multiple birthday parties.

We celebrated at COTW

We celebrated at home

And we celebrated at Jeepers.

It will always amaze me at how quickly time flies. Now he is 7 and in 7 more years he will be starting high school. Sigh. He had a great time and I will leave it to the pictures to tell the story. Needless to say we had a sugar filled party crazed couple of weeks.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Doing the dog paddle...

It has been a while since I posted anything on the family. The schedule has been crazy and winning lottery tickets have been more plentiful than sleep. Babies do that to life. It is like being in a cove at high tide they cover the land with a slow even paces filling in all the open spaces until you are surrounded. You either sink or swim at that point. Needless to say we are all a bit water logged. A number of things have passed unannounced so again I will have to use pictures as my voice.

Evelyn turned 2 (pic on the left - click here for set). I have no idea how this happened. I mean really. Where did the time go? One day she was born and now she is two. As far as I am concerned that is how it happened. So just to make sure I started digging through the more than 100K pictures we have stored away. Janice assured me, but I needed proof. I found them and also found out I was a little older than I thought too. Anyway, there she is at age one ( picture on the right - click here for set). She has grown a lot and I really believe she thinks Joshua was an early birthday present. She checks on him constantly loudly reporting all his needs to Janice. Given the opportunity she smothers him in Evelyn style loving which consists of a either a full body hug while he is in the swing or wedging herself in with him in his bassinet.

Janice had another birthday too. (pic on left - click here for set) She, on the other hand, knows that Joshua was an early birthday gift. She is doing well and keeping up with the new schedule nicely. In searching for Evelyn's pictures I found her birthday pictures from last year. She ages nicely (pic on right - click here for the set). And, as stated by her shirt, she is definitely "super mom" with 5 kids at home.

The kids have been really enjoying our newest addition. Nathaniel asked when he would be walking. I think he was hoping for this summer. He enjoys being the senior-most brother and holding Joshua without any assistance is his badge of authority. He also prides himself on being able to make Joshua smile. Benjamin has been a protector to Joshua making sure that Evelyn does not over load his circuits with an excess of loving as well as keeping him entertained with new toys. Joelle has been the proper little mommy. She will sit in front of his swing and rock him back and forth while holding his pacifier in his mouth when needed. She also keeps Janice informed on Joshua's present and potential needs. As always it is a family effort. (see more kid pictures here)


So life is crazy but we are all pretty good swimmers. Our family, friends and our church has jumped in the water with us too which has made life even better than before. The L-rd has truly blessed our family. Come on over and enjoy the fun. Just make sure to bring your bathing suit.

P.S. Another post and more pictures very soon...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Nathaniel's Directorial Debut....

Nathaniel is making his Directorial Debut today with an action packed Batman movie. He positioned and sometimes even held the camera as he directed his cast. Nathaniel and I worked together on the editing and the addition of a budget busting special effect. As we played and edited the video he talked me through his vision for the movie. He planned each second of the 90 second movie down to Batman walking successfully off camera as the screen goes black. Watch out Steven Spielberg here comes Nathaniel Stewart! Grab some popcorn and enjoy.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Extreme CUTENESS!!!

click here to go to the flickr set and
click here to see the video if you cannot see it in your email.

This is a 90 second video about our 2 week old Joshua smiling. Which is very high on the cute scale. High enough that you might want to get dental x-rays after watching this video. The sweetness quotient is a bit intense and it has been know to cause spontaneous cavities. I will try to balance this video out later with sports or some type of random violence.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Joshua comes home...

(click here to see the flicker set of pictures which includes
the video clip above if it does not come in through the email)

There you have it, the entire Stewart clan stuffed in a 2004 Toyota Sienna. I have a bunch morre pictures here if you want to see them. What a joy this has been! It was a long journey with an extraordinary gift at the end. Now we are off on a new adventure. The Stewart Seven starts now!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Newspaper needed!

One of our traditions is having a few major newspapers from the day our child was born. If any of you have the ability could you grab a newspaper from 6/20/2009 and let me know? I will work with you on sending it to us or picking it up from you.

We want to make sure to get a New York Times and it would be great to get some others too. Just reply to this email or send an email to craigthedad@gmail.com


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Janice and Joshua


A nice shot of Janice and Joshua!!!

We proudly introduce...


We proudly introduce

Joshua Douglas Stewart

He was born today, June 20th at 5:37pm. He weighed in at 9 pounds 2.8 ounces and about 20 inches long (no "official" length measurement yet). Janice and Joshua are doing well. Woooo-hoooooo!!!!

Thank you for all your prayers!!!! More pictures to come soon!

Brief breather... Still working on it!!!

We are at 7 cm now, 100 percent effaced. Baby is down and ready. The time is close now. So anyone have any guesses on what we are having? Boy or Girl? You make the call! Name suggestions are fun too!! Let us know!!!

It has begun!!

When the grandparents arrived I had a plan: date night. Baby misinterpreted the plan and heard: birth date.

Fortunately we were a step ahead of baby. We made it through a nice dinner and we saw Star Trek. WHOOO-HOOOOO! Okay enough of that. Well one more time. WHHOOOO-HOOOO!!! Yeah, date nights are rare now on to the really big news.

Right now I am writting from the hospital and we have begun!!! Irregular contractions started last night around 7:45 pm (20-30 mins apart) but really kicked in at 5am this morning. We arrived a Saint Pete's around 9 am and at 10 am were officially at 5 cm, 90 percent and bulging. We are excited. Our newest addition is arriving today for baby's very first birth date. Okay, one more time: WHOOO-HOOOOOO!

I will keep you posted.

Monday, June 08, 2009

celebrating an un-birthday...

Ready and waiting...(so were we!)

Janice, Nathaniel and Evelyn all have summer birthdays. Nathaniel has for the last 2 years celebrated an "un-birthday" at his school. As a matter of fact we all have at least 364 un-birthdays. Of course with the exception of a good friend's mom who was born on Feb 29th meaning that she has 1459 un-birthdays between each calendar birthday.

Un-birthdays are everyday, every minute and every second. We actually celebrated our first 2009 un-birthday this last weekend. It started when I was at work Friday morning about 9:30ish when I got a nervous phone call. It was the call that says "Honey, I think it's time". Janice called to tell me that at 5:30am some solid contractions had begun. They were erratic but very different from the Braxton Hicks she had been experiencing for the last several weeks. It is always interesting talking to Janice while she has contractions. There is a focused pause every few minutes. She has a rather high pain tolerance and you would never really know she is having a contraction other than the pause. When Joelle was on her way my parents were in town. They came to the house and were perplexed by my most beautiful and vivacious Janice. Sounding a lot like a commercial for phone service my mom would say "are you having one now?" We get the same response in the hospital. The monitor is ripping up the page and Janice is casually asking the nurse about the ages of her children all the while commenting on the joy of having kids. (and remember this is without pain medication)

Yeah, I know. It's no wonder why we have five kids. I married super mommy! :)

After I hung up the phone with Janice I checked the train schedule. Amtrak had a 12:20 and I was in SoHo and it takes about 20 minutes to get uptown to the office on 33rd and then a 5 minute walk to Penn Station. The 12:20 puts me in Hudson at 2:20 and home at 3. I packed up my stuff and caught the R train (Broadway local). I thought for a brief moment I would make it to Penn by 10:20 until the speakers squawked something indistinct about waiting. I think MTA purposely garbles their announcements to render the crowds complacent. We stood for a minute or two expressionless and without chagrin clanked forward. After a brief stop at the office on 33rd I caught the 12:20 and took a bobble-headed ride up the Hudson. I could hardly stay awake or asleep. Never had the gift of instant repose.

Once home I was attacked greeted by Batman, an elegant blue fairy and a just home from school Nathaniel. Evelyn was sleeping and Tanta Willow was there with Saba (Uncle Doug) dropping off Nathaniel. Hoping to speed things up Janice decided walking the half mile to the mail box would be helpful - it was (we always get to the hospital and everything stops). She was VERY ready to go to the hospital upon her return. She started packing. While she was stuffing things in a suitcase Nathaniel asked "How do you know you are going to have the baby?" Janice replied "Because of a pain in my belly. The pain tells me that the baby is ready to come out." Nathaniel quickly replied "How do you know that's not just because you are old?" Janice smiled. I will have to work with Nathaniel on "Words men do not use around women - EVER".

We continued and packed up our suitcases, paused, packed the car, paused, hugged and kissed good bye, paused and started to St Peter's in Albany.

My most beautiful Janice in a "pause pose".

I thought this was funny considering our family will soon total 7

Upon arrival everything went as expected: the contractions were good and about 2 minutes apart eventually getting down to 1 minute. As usual Janice confounded the nurses with her clear and calm demeanor between pauses. Then we got tired, very tired. It was that moment when the adrenaline dries up and your brain wonders how you ended up at the hospital in the first place. It was late. I tried to sleep toppled over on a table with my bum flatly against my wooden chair and my head buried in my duffel bag. Half my body immediately lost contact with it's allotment of blood and fell to numbness. Fortunately our nurse had pity on me and found a recline-able and slightly more comfortable vinyl chair. The Doctor checked Janice finding her at 2 cm, the baby was head down but had not dropped. We all decided to wait it out. So Janice worked her way through rapid contractions and drifted through off and on sleep until the next morning.

With daylight came the realization that contractions had nearly stopped. Not to be deterred we pulled on the sneakers and walked around the hospital to see if we could get things moving again. We, well Janice, even ran around the hospital at times (I have video). Even with all our efforts baby decided that it was finished celebrating its un-birthday. The midwife and nurse sent us home with a kindly lecture on how to avoid un-birthdays and the alarming advice that Janice should call 911 with detailed instructions of what to do should her water break at home. We left thinking about how we really should clean the bath tub again.

So in the truest sense of the word we celebrated our first REAL un-birthday last weekend. Next time I am bringing cake and a real recliner.

Friday, May 15, 2009

living large is the new skinny...


Since we have had a lot of requests for pictures of Janice and we have been soooo slack about it;  I thought it would be nice to create a small (very small) flickr album of Janice with her babybelly.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Play Ball!


I do not remember playing t-ball as a child although it apparently had a world series in 1970. I do remember playing baseball where a fledgling post-pampers pitcher would inspire the use of football gear before stepping up bat in hand to home plate. It was a dangerous sport. I even pitched for a short time of course for all I know it could have been a rotating position. According to first hand accounts I was a little "strike zone challenged". The Emergency room probably had a mounted picture with my name under it and the number of victims notched in the base of the frame.

T-ball seems much safer. Well mostly safer unless you assist the coach in teaching the boys how to swing an aluminum bat. Their approximate height puts certain tender regions at risk. Having six children may not be an option if I help out again.

[ Let's pause for a moment while my mom revives my dad with some smelling salts... the mere mention of additional children can send the grandparents in to various forms of collapse. ]

Number of children aside, our first practice was a challenge. Mainly due to the fact that neither Janice nor I are "sports people". The Superbowl, NBA Finals, and World Series are always a surprise (is that THIS weekend? who's playing?) Although we played sports in school we never lived sports. The equivalent being when all you non-art people say "I took basic drawing in college" and follow it with "I needed it to fill my art credit". Nonetheless we are slowly growing in to the "sports phase" of raising children. There are two basic issues that every non-sports person has to overcome: equipment and understanding. We experienced both when we took the boys to their first practice. Nathaniel is the thorough sort that wants to make sure he has covered all his bases (you saw that coming). We assured him we did not need to dress up for the practice but he asked if we could bring the shoes, pants and wanted to know if they would have shirts. He searched the whole house and found both boy's equipment. Benjamin and Nathaniel are on the same team and Ben was just happy to go and do something with his brother. We all piled in to the van and rushed off to the practice.

When we arrived the practice was in progress and we saw a line of boys watching the coach. He was holding a ball in one hand and a baseball mitt in the other demonstrating how to stop a ground ball. I had a sudden vision of a lone baseball mitt next to the couch at home 30 minutes away. We had the pants, shoes, water bottles, sippy cups, 6 folding chairs, 2 cameras, and 20 children's books but no baseball mitts. Sigh. Fortunately the coach had a couple to spare.

The practice is what you would expect of squirrely 5 and 6 year old boys: constant squirming, laying on the ground, pulling up grass, and noticing every movement in the general vicinity. The coach (ironically named Art) is amazing and has been given all the patience that was forfeited by all those cranky people you know. Our boys absorbed every word. One day later Nathaniel provided Tanta Willow with detailed instructions on catching with a mitt, throwing using the "T" then "4" positions, running the bases and swinging a bat. The kids acted out every motion with a fare amount of accuracy. Nathaniel’s favorite part was running the bases and responding to the “stop” and “go, go, go!!!” signals (At the time I was the first base coach which made it even more fun). Benjamin liked throwing. Throwing hard. Both boys had a lot of fun.

Stay tuned for soccer in the summer. Do you think they will still need a mitt?

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Benjamin's 5th Birthday Party at McDonalds


So do you remember the birthday parties back in the 100 billion served days of McDonald's? They came with McDonald's party props, a new offering called "Happy Meal" and the joy of being at McDonald's all wrapped in various shades of lime and orange. Things have changed and truthfully I never thought we would do a McDonald's birthday party but that changed too. It was much more affordable than imagined. In October Benjamin went to a McDonald's birthday party for a friend and decided it was the gold standard for birthday parties. It was nice for Janice and me because there was no time consuming clean up, game or goodie preparation. The party was scheduled for April 4th the Saturday before Benjamin's actual birthday (April 9th). We arrived to find 15 balloons were attached to 15 chairs at which sat 15 party place-mats, and 15 McDonald's party crowns. A lovely McDonaldette greeted us, took notes on what we the party parents would be having for lunch (the parents received a "free" lunch) and gave us the complete party schedule. Everything happened like clockwork, play time, happy meal, play time, cake, play time, presents, play time, and rush to the car so the next party group could jump on the McDonald's party ride. Benjamin's 5th birthday was a joy! We came home to a clean house, sat down and played with toys.

A few days later Benjamin's actual birthday started off with our customary birthday donut just before an extra special field trip to Nathaniel's school where he is to attend Kindergarten. He had been talking about this day for weeks. It was "WOW Day". Parents and child were given a fun filled introduction to the world of a Kindergardener. Benjamin took it as "everyone wants to celebrate Benjamin's birthday at Nathaniel's school" day which was great. Benjamin wore a "Happy Birthday Benjamin" shirt all day and was indeed celebrated all day. Once home again, the boys made a big wheel ride to the mail box and finished off the day with a "Janice made" Transformer birthday cake and presents to be opened.

What a great day! Happy Birthday Benjamin!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

This just in: Green Beans and Ice Cream are GREAT!

Saturday night is dessert night and Evelyn had a GREAT new idea for incorporating vegetables in to every aspect of her diet. Although I think I will stick with vanilla beans or cocoa beans or occasionally a jelly bean.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Great Car Wash Adventure

The Great Car Wash Adventure from Craig Stewart on Vimeo.

After our minivan was mistaken for a salt lick we decided it was time to try out the new car wash here in Greenville. The boys were thoroughly excited while the girls were thoroughly alarmed. I would enjoy writing about this but I think the video really says it all (rather loudly at times too).

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

deciding to walk

Evelyn has decided to walk. Our boys started walking at 14 months and our girls took their first steps at 18 months. In almost every case they built up to it. Clinging to the couch, the table, chairs and testing quick sets of stumbling steps between islands of furniture ever slowly moving towards walking. In every case but Evelyn. Now she did flirt with the idea once or twice but generally found crawling and climbing most convenient. Then about 2 weeks ago, she stood up and walked from the kitchen to the playroom, a good 20 feet. Not a sailor walk, just off the ship stumbling this way and that, but a solid foot thumping walk.

Each of our children is so very different. It is amazing how genes from the same two people can be mixed in such diverse ways. Soon we will have another unique addition to the family. Who knows maybe they will decide to get up and run. Of course with four other siblings to chase after me I might run too!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year! Baby!

It is a Happy New Year because there will be another Stewart baby!
We are expecting our 5th child the third week of June (possibly Father's Day).


If you look closely there is a bit of a give away in our family Christmas picture for this year. Just take a minute and stare deeply in to the photo. Do you see it? It is written all over Evelyn's face. Frustration! How upset she is at the loss of her tiny throne. Or maybe you can see the smug satisfaction in Joelle's smile that Evelyn will be loosing her baby status. I mean really. It is all right there painted on the canvas of our family's expressions. Can you see it? No!? You could also just count the number of stockings behind us. Seven stockings for six people is either an indication that we should consider using a service for our taxes or that we are making a subtle statement.

Yes, 2009 will be another baby year for the Stewart's. We are extremely excited and all seven of us wish all of you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR too!