Our Family

Our Family

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Holiday Tradition

Tomorrow is Abby's day to share a holiday tradition with her class at school.  We had fun talking and thinking about the fun things we do every year as a family during this special Christmas season.

The tradition Abby decided to talk about tomorrow is baking goodies and delivering them to friends and others who might be lonely during the holidays.  During our brainstorming of our own traditions, we had fun remembering how Abby sang everyone a solo of "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" last year.  We also found these photos from some of our visits in December of 2010.     
Sister Wheeler always loves visiting with the little ones.   

This picture melts my heart.  I just recently saw this picture for the first time.  It was one of those treasures on Coley's phone that I didn't even know existed.  As we were leaving the assisted living facility after our visit with the Wheelers, we were called into a room by several elderly women who were visiting by a beautiful Christmas tree.  They saw Abby and Michael and wanted to admire the little ones.  Abby was only three years old at the time, but as you can see, was not shy at all.  She walked right over to this woman and started visiting with her.  Abby touching her face was a very sweet and tender moment.  This picture is an emotional reminder of the happiness a simple visit can bring to others.  I know that the sweet women in that room felt that happiness, but we were also blessed with a wonderful feeling of peace and love.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Honorary Grandpa

Coley's father passed away before we were married, and my father passed away almost three years ago.  Knowing how important my grandfathers were to me while growing up, it pains me that my children won't have that connection.  Seeing Abby with Mr. Petrucci last Sunday night helped that pain a little.  While they won't have their grandpas, I'm grateful that my children can have someone in their lives that helps fill that void.

P.S.  I had to be very sneaky to take this picture!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cookies and Caroling

Wednesday night, December 5, we went to the Strong Museum for "Cookies and Caroling."  The highlight of the event was meeting Santa.  From our experience in previous years, we knew we needed to arrive early and head straight for the line to meet Santa.  We had a fun time!

 Dressed in her pretty red Christmas dress and coat, Abby is ready for a fun and busy evening at the museum.   

 Michael and Abigail play while Mommy and Daddy stand in line to meet Santa.  They had lots of fun.

 Tara and Emma hold our place in the Santa line.

 Abigail and Emma had matching red Christmas dresses while Michael wore his little suit.  The plan was to get a picture of the three of them with Santa, but Michael made it clear that he didn't want to be near him.  So... we had an impromptu family picture.

 Abigail wasn't scared of Santa.  In fact, she wanted to make sure Santa knows that she really wants a bike for Christmas.

 Michael wasn't sure about Santa, but he gave Frosty the Snowman a hug!  

 Abigail had a blast playing in the "Dora, the Explorer" exhibit.

 Michael also had a great time in the exhibit.

 Coley and Michael on the carousel.

The carousel has been Abby's favorite part of the museum since she was barely able to walk.

It was pretty late by the time we got Abby and Michael in bed.  In fact, they both slept until almost 10:00 a.m. the next morning!  Even Emma slept for an extra couple of hours!  It's a good thing Abby has afternoon Kindergarten!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Time to Decorate

Last week, we began decorating for Christmas.  It was a rather comical experience with all the help we received from Abigail and Michael.  We did have a good time though!
 Check out Michael's approach with the garland.  He took the whole strand, rolled it in a ball, and threw it in the tree.

 Abigail helped put ornaments on the tree while wearing reindeer antlers.

And this is how baby Emma helped.

We are excited about the Christmas season.  It is a beautiful time of year!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Our handsome little guy

Michael turned two in October (about a week after Emma was born).  With the craziness of a newborn followed by Michael getting sick, it took a little while to get Michael to the portrait studio for his birthday pictures.  A couple of weeks ago, we finally made it there.

The decision of what to have Michael wear was not difficult.  He LOVES wearing his suit because he has a "tie like Daddy."  I can't believe how grown up he looks in these pictures.

Here is our handsome little guy.
We love you, Michael!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Abigail and Emma

Abigail loves her little sister.  Emma smiles and coos for Abigail to show her she loves her too!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Bye-bye Braces!

The picture is a little blurry, but you get the idea.  Last Friday was a happy day.  My braces are off!

While I was in labor with Emma, my nurse (who had just recently had her braces taken off) and I talked about all the foods I wanted to eat once my braces came off.  We talked and Coley took notes! :)  Now I get to eat things like carrots, apples, and corn on the cob.  Of course, there will be English toffee at Christmas! 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

"I am 5 years old. I'm a whole hand!"

Abby just announced, "I am 5 years old.  I'm a whole hand!"  We got her picture holding up her hand showing all 5 fingers.  Michael could not be left out so we got his picture holding up 2 fingers.

Our 2012 Halloween Costumes

Abigail was anticipating the arrival of Halloween by the end of August.  She was ready to get costumes  and decorations all ready.  I told her that we wouldn't be able to figure out costumes until after Emma was born.  Once I was home with our new baby, Halloween costumes became a number one priority (as far as Abby was concerned).  

Here are the Duncan costumes for 2012...

 Abigail was an Egyptian princess. (She borrowed the costume from a friend.  Yeah!)

 Michael was a cute little penguin.

Here's the whole crew.  Since Coley was a cockroach, he figured I needed some sort of insect costume also.  My choice was a ladybug, of course!  Emma wore a cute little Halloween outfit that said "Mommy's Little Treat."  Isn't that the truth!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Trick-or-Treating in the Village

The Saturday before Halloween, we participated in Trick-or-Treating in the Village of Webster.  It is always a well-attended event in our little community.  The businesses provide the candy and everyone comes out to trick-or-treat.  The kids (big and small) have a great time, and the businesses get some great advertising! We've discovered several places we like due to this event.  To make it even more entertaining, we usually meet up with some friends and trick-or-treat together.  This year, Coley's mom and my mom were both here to enjoy the afternoon with us.  Not even the rain could dampen the fun or the determination of the children in our group to acquire more candy!

Coley was dressed as a cockroach.  The restaurants weren't so welcoming to him! 

 Michael, our little penguin, walked with Nana.  He walked the entire time we trick-or-treated!

Abigail was an Egyptian princess.

What a great day filled with lots of fun!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Emma's Baby Blessing

Sunday, October 28, Emma received her baby blessing.  The blessing was given by her father.  Coley's mom and my mom were both able to be here, so it was a pretty special day.  Emma's beautiful dress and blanket were made by my mom.  (The dress is very similar to Abigail's, but I wanted them each to have their own dress to keep.)

Here's our little doll! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Preparing for Sandy

We are in the "red zone" for Hurricane Sandy.  We are all home and ready to weather the storm together tonight.  All three little ones are sleeping, and as of this moment, we still have power.  Abigail took the storm preparation very seriously tonight.  When I asked her to get ready for bed, this was the result....
She walked in and said, "I'm all ready for the storm!"

I love that silly little girl!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Story of Michael's Birthday Cake

As most of you know, Michael has a long list of severe food allergies.  This year, I wanted to bake a birthday cake for Michael that was safe for him to eat and tasted good enough to serve to everyone else at the same time.  As soon as I returned home from the hospital with our new baby, I was determined to find and bake the perfect cake.  When Michael's birthday occurred a week later, I was STILL looking for the solution.  (At least it wasn't as bad as his first birthday... when in addition to his allergies to milk, egg, peanuts, and tree nuts, we were dealing with a gluten allergy!)  

I have learned from this experience that it isn't too bad to substitute different things to achieve a milk-free cake, but finding a decent egg substitute is a nightmare!

The first two attempts at baking a cake went directly in the trash can.  I didn't even take pictures.  I'm not even sure you could have called them cake.  I was horrified when I caught Michael digging a handful out of the trash and eating it!  It was gross, but it was allergen free!  So, while I was disgusted that Michael was eating something from the garbage can, at least I didn't have to run for the Benadryl or the Epi-Pen.

Attempt number three
This is a milk, egg, and nut free white cake.  It actually didn't taste too bad, but it was a little too sweet. Michael loved it.

Attempt number four
This is a milk, egg, and nut free chocolate cake.  It was very moist and had a good flavor, but as you can see, it fell apart when we tried to get it out of the pan.  I was a little disappointed, but Michael was enjoying the job of tasting all these different cakes!

Final Attempt..... It would have to do because it was now a week AFTER Michael's birthday!

So... we settled on the chocolate cake and tried again to bake it AND get it out of the pan.  At least the cake held the general shape when we turned it over on the cake board this time.  However, lots of it stuck to the pan.  As Coley said, "It looks like Blue had his face chewed off."  I tried to mold it together the best I could and froze the cake before decorating it.  The cake is definitely a far cry from perfect, but considering what it looked like BEFORE the frosting, it actually turned out all right.

I'm not sure how much of my sleep deprivation was actually due to having a newborn in the house and how much was due to staying up too late trying to solve the birthday cake problem!

Happy birthday, Michael!  
Hopefully next year, we can eliminate something else from your allergy list and make things a bit easier!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tummy Time

Here is our little Emma Jane at three weeks.  What a beautiful, sweet baby she is!

Happy Birthday, Michael!

Michael turned two years old on October 6.  Our "little" guy had a great day.  He had lots of fun opening presents.  He loved his new stacking train from Mom and Dad.  He also loved the garbage truck and car carrier from Grandma Perry.

We didn't really celebrate with cake on Michael's actual birthday.  That is a long story that requires a separate post.  Michael didn't mind at all because he had a great big "Happy birthday" balloon.  Balloons are one of Michael's favorite things in this world!

On Sunday, October 14, we finally celebrated Michael's birthday with cake.  We spent the evening with the Petrucci family for dinner and then ate some allergen free cake.  

I'll post the entire story about the birthday cake later, but here is a picture of the final attempt at making a birthday cake that was allergy-free for Michael and decent enough for the rest of us to eat too.  That is quite a challenge when dealing with Michael's long list of allergies!  Michael loves "Blue's Clues," so he was absolutely thrilled with his cake.

 Michael opens his present from Lori.

Michael loves listening to everyone sing "Happy birthday" to him. 

 Michael is ready to eat his dairy and egg free chocolate cake.

Alessandra helps Michael with his presents.

Happy birthday, Michael!  We love you!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Loving Baby Emma

As you can see, we are all in love with the new addition to our family.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Emma Jane is Here!

Emma Jane was born Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 4:50 p.m.  She weighed 8 pounds and is 20 1/2 inches long.  She has a  full head of very dark hair.

Mom and baby are both doing well!

 Abigail and Michael came to the hospital to meet their baby sister the next morning. 

Here's our little Emma the day we brought her home from the hospital.

We are all in love with this sweet little bundle!