Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Looking back on 2009; looking forward to 2010.

I think I'll make this an annual post- kind of like the idea of looking back on each year and looking forward...

Thankful for in 2009:

  • When the new year began, I was convinced I was dying.  I'm so thankful I found a Dr. that was willing to get to the bottom of most of my ailments.  AND one that I can converse with via email when he's just too busy to fit me in the office.
  • The boys had a healthy year.
  • A.'s tonsilectomy and adenoidectomy went well, and he's sleeping great!
  • C.'s vocabulary exploded this year- and he is free to hearing issues.
  • We moved our bedroom away from the mold infested old basement to the pretty new clean one.
  • There's a partially finished bathroom in the new basement so I can go potty at night.
  • We're still debt free!
  • Friends welcomed new babies into their lives...and ours- we are blessed!
  • My brother and his family came for a great visit.
  • A. started kindergarten at a Lutheran school- and we LOVE it.
  • I'm still working- in this economy.
  • Dave is still working- in this economy!
  • I'm serving as creative activities coordinator for MOPS and love it.
Looking forward to in 2010:

  • TONS of friends and family are pregnant- can't wait to meet the little ones!

  • more working, and hopefully more money

  • more MOPS

  • our first family vacation this summer

  • hopefully more progress on the addition

  • perhaps a new couch (NEED ONE!)

  • C. potty training and maybe starting preschool

  • Weight loss

  • Healthy living

  • Firm handle on hormones, thyroid and adrenal issues.

  • More time with my husband on dates

  • Staying debt free!

  • All the blessings God has in store for me that I am completely unaware of yet!
We hope you have a healthy, safe, and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Recap

We were driving home from festivities on Christmas Day, and I caught myself looking into people's houses.  (Not in a wierd way, mind you- just in a curious way...oh geez, now I'm creeping myself out) 

ANYWAY, I was wondering about other people's traditions.  I saw tons of families gathered around a tree or a dinner table. 

Lots of smiles. 

Lots of love.

It's amazing that sometimes we can create a tradition with our family without even consciously trying to do it.  My brother and I remember certain things about childhood Christmas' that my mom never really tried to make a memory of, but it happened anyway.  I'm already noticing that with A.- as this is his 6th Christmas- he's remembering so much more.  And he gets it.  I mean, he really gets it.

So, anyway, here's our Christmas recap for your viewing pleasure:

Christmas Eve: 

We head 25 minutes South East to my SIL's house.  This is Dave's family Christmas.  Usually a smorgasboard of stuff- each person bringing a dish or two to pass.  This year, I was humbled and ever so grateful that my SIL went out of her way to make me some g-free meatballs.  Thanks, Marianne!

This is a fun chance for A. and C. to get together with their cousins and see their aunts and uncles for an annual visit.  Dave's parents love having many grandchildren at ready-reach for cuddling or playing.  My beautiful niece:

Dave is the second of five siblings.  Only one was not in attandance, but joined us via speaker phone.

The boys went sledding.  A. had a close encounter with a tree.  When they returned, the boys chose to use the couch cover as a cuddling blanket.
Me and my "baby"

Christmas Day:
A. did not sleep well the night before.  I'm not sure he slept at all.  Dave put him back to bed after eldering the 11 pm candlelight service.  I put him back to bed at 4am.  When C. woke up at 6, A. was laying on the couch waiting "patiently" for us to wake up.  So, once we were all awake- he was very excited.  His cousin, B., game him the spiderman slippers the night before since B. outgrew them and A. LOVED them.  A. slept in them that night.  The best Christmas/non-Christmas present ever.

So, Santa comes during the night and fills stockings and leaves a toy for each boy.  This year Santa brought an easel for both, but a John Deere truck for each.  They love the chalk board side!
Then, we have a Breakfast Birthday Party for Jesus.  Usually I just buy a coffee cake the night before, but thanks to being g-free, I had to make it from scratch- at 6am.  (Note to self:  read the directions the night before and pre-measure whatever you can.  When directions say to separate the cinnamon, do it!)  We thought three candles was an appropriate amount.  :)
Then, presents with just the four of us.  Dave got a visit from Vanity-claus.  I think Vanity-claus is hinting ever-so-slightly that she wants the vanity in the downstairs bathroom completed...hmmm, maybe?

Then we get dressed and head an hour west to the lakeshore- to my parent's house.  This is my favorite dinner every year:  King Crab legs and prime rib.  YUM!

This is usually my favorite stop of the whole holiday season.  It reminds me of my childhood Christmas' when we would wait for my dad to get home from work.  The day of anticipation made Christmas last so much longer, but ooohhhhh, all those presents were daunting us!  It's fun to watch A.'s anticipation this year.  They even enjoyed getting their new sweatshirts- which are always a favorite of mine, but wasn't too sure how my boys would feel about getting clothing.  Judging by the way they stripped off the shirts they were wearing to change into the new ones, I'd say they were pretty excited.

I hope this post finds you all warm and cozy from your Christmas celebrations.

What are some of your traditions?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

christmas Letter 2009

Greetings family and friends!

If you're reading this you're either a regular reader of our blog, or you've received our Christmas card with our blogspot address on it.  Either way, welcome!  I know I usually send out a letter with the cards, but I thought I'd mix it up a bit this year.  Kind of our way of "going green" (read:  I'm just too lazy to run to the store, jump on Dave's old junk computer, type up a letter, copy it, fold it and stick it in the cards.)  If you're a first time visitor to our blog, we hope you'll come back and visit once in a while!

Ok, individual updates:

Dave is in his sixth year of owning his own construction business.  He's still the most talented carpenter I know (and I'm not just biased!).  In addition, he's maintained a steady stream of business since he started without any advertising.  The word of mouth he's received has been an awesome blessing, and I'm so grateful.  He's serving our church as an elder, and really enjoys interacting with people.  Dave is also really enjoying the boys a lot more.  When they're little, its all about mommy...but now, he's taking them fishing, sledding, riding in the plow truck, etc.  A. loves it when daddy includes him in his projects.

I am still working part time from home as an insurance auditor, working on the phone auditing smaller workman's compensation and general liability policies.  It's fun to use my business mind daily, and a great way to bring in a little additional income without sending the boys to a daycare.  It has been challenging to find a good balance between kids, work and home, but so far the challenge has been rewarding.  This year, we found out through the process of elimination that I need to be gluten free.  Since then (June 1), things are very different for me- both health wise and socially.  I feel tons better, but we don't eat out as much as we used to, and when we go to friend's houses I'm always bringing a back-up- just in case.  But, so worth it in the end.  Dave has been incredibly supportive as well.  He is enjoying (well, for the most part) trying all the new dishes my g-free cookbooks recommend.

A. just turned 6 last week, and is in kindergarten at the school attached to our church.  He loves, loves, loves school.  He loves learning new things, seeing his friends, and just having some time of this day that is just his- away from little brother.  Last summer we had his tonsils and adenoids removed due to sleep apnea issues, and his attention span has really lengthened since he's not so tired all the time.  It was a rough week, but in the end so worth it.  He's in the Lego club at school, and really loves using his imagination to construct new things.  It's so much fun to watch him grow up (but not too fast!).

C. is 2 1/2 and every minute of that age.  I wouldn't use the terrible 2's to describe him...just very very busy.  He has two speeds:  running and sleeping.  He's very inquisitive and socially minded.  He loves helping me stir and dump things in pans for dinner time.  He's a cute little dancer and has a zest for the little things in life that leave me envious to be a child again.  Really, both boys have blessed us beyond our imagination.  We are so thankful.

And...the love shack.  Wouldn't be a Family update with letting you know where we're at with the love shack!  Last Jan., Dave took two weeks off of work to finish off the basement (minus carpeting and bathroom vanity).  We moved our bedroom over there since the mold on the bottom side of the kitchen floor (essentially our bedroom ceiling) was making my allergies go bazerk.  I'm loving our new bedroom, and can't wait until we can move everything over into the new side!  When will that be?  Still the question of the century.  It all takes money and time...two things that are always in short supply.  Dave's hoping to take some time off again this winter, but the customers keep calling (and I'm NOT complaining about that!), so we'll see!

Well, that's about all we've got for this year's update.   

Grace, mercy, and peace to you and your family as we prepare to celebrate our Savior's birth!

Lots of love,


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The only difference between "zero" and "hero" is a little de-youper.

Me:  A., are you ready for your super-de-youper Super Hero Birthday Party today?

A.:  Mom, don't say sound like Barney.  He's not cool anymore.

Me:  (Standing there with my mouth hanging open)  Oh....ok.

 I was broken hearted.  Not because my son told me that I wasn't cool (let's face it, I'm not a cool parent, and I don't plan to be a cool parent...), but I was heartbroken because my boy is growing up.  He's outgrowing things (people and phases) and growing up.  I was watching him at his party, and I just wanted to bottle him up.  Just hit the "pause button" for a few minutes and try to remember everything about him at this age.  These past six years have gone by so quickly.  Honestly, I am grateful for each and every moment I get to be a mom to A.  He really has a good, sensitive heart, and I love that about him.

Ok, anyway...A.'s birthday party!  We had the party at the Love Shack because we have the wide open addition for all the kids to play...not to mention that any "destination" party spot STARTED at $12 per person.  Our budget for this party was $60- not likely going to only invite 4 kids to A.'s birthday.

So, anyway, the "blizzard" subsided, and we had the most perfect weather to start the party with sledding on the front hill.  In addition, I could stand up by the road and greet all the parents and kids when they arrived.
I certainly envy these kids their energy!  They ran up the hill so many times, it was awesome.  The adults had fun lining the kids up at the top of the hill and provided a gentle push to start the kids racing. 
Dave and C. even got in on the fun.
Then we went inside for the festivities.  A. wanted a Super Hero Birthday party this year.  So, we made all the kids super heros. 
I started the party by "hiding" super letters around the party zone.

When they found a super letter, they each child got a cape with their initial on it.
 and for a craft, they decorated masks with foam stickers. 
A. was Super Q.

Here's all the kids lined up on our addition stairs all Super Heroed up in masks and capes.
C. appreciated being one of the big kids.

Then, cake - the cake matches the invitations exactly!  (thanks, Becky!)  Sorry, can't show you the invitations, though.  Our address is on you'll just have to take my word for it.  :)

Then, presents...
A. was so funny.  For every present, he'd say, "OH THANKS!  THIS IS ALL I'VE EVER WANTED!"
Yes, for.each.present.
Then, the balloon guy came!  (He's actually our youth pastor, but to the kids, he was the balloon guy!)  The children had him tieing, twisting, and taking orders for balloon stuff the entire time he was there.  AND- all proceeds from his work go to our youth awesome is that?!?!?

My personal favorite was A.'s birthday crown.

Which he wore for more time that I had anticipated him wearing it.

Then, C. tried it on...

Poor kid- the crown was taller than he was!

By the end of the day, I ended up wearing it outside...(sorry, no pics of that..ha!)  I never knew that balloons were good insulation from the cold.  My head was perfectly warm.


Once all the balloons were done, I had 30 minutes to burn and 7 completely sugared kindergarteners on my hands.  Back out to the sleds we went.

The kids all told me that they had a great time. 

A. said it was "AWESOME!"

 I'm so glad he enjoyed his birthday.
By the end of the party, Dave and I were pretty tired out...

But, judging from the snoring on the kitchen floor, I'd say someone else was even more tired.

Poor Molly-girl didn't even flinch when I threw a cracker at her nose.  It bounced off and landed on the floor almost under her nose. 

She just kept right on snoring.

When I tucked A. into bed that night, I asked him how his 6th birthday was.  He replied, "It was Super, mom.  Just super."

Special thanks goes to my mom for helping me out during the party and cutting the masks for me on a machine, St. John's for letting her use their machine, Tom Chester (the balloon guy), Gina Kaye (the super letter creator), Becky Bakker (the cake maker), Bob and Sandy (the folding table owners), and the cricut machine (for actually cutting fabric letters!).  Thanks to you guys for helping me make Adam's birthday super.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pleased to meet your aquaintance...

I'd like to introduce you to my...

construction site making,



corn box loving,

tool "borrowing", mechanically inclining, wheel turning,

Two wheel riding,
Tooth loosing,
BAckpack toting,
Kindergarten LOVING,

Grandparent loving,
Papa Ken buddying,

Cousin playing (and missing),

Trolley riding,
Funny face making,

Daddy helping,
Life loving, happy, sensitive, smiling, laughing, playing, full of energy six year old.
As always, I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoy him.

Six years ago, today, God trusted me to raise His child.  We have been so blessed by him.
Happy Birthday, A!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tan Lines

Pardon the "out of season-ness" of this post. It's been in my draft list for some time. I just think...since we're under a "blizzard warning" and all, I'd post about the ...ahem...lazy days of summer.

Dave and I are creatures of habit. We're also fiercely brand loyal- but only when we find something that works well for us and is within the budget.

I've been wearing the same brand of sandals for the past 4 years now. I have extremely flat feet, and really need some good arch support. I am now finding that I have a permanent tan on my feet. It fades during the winter, but never really goes away. And as soon as I pull out the sandals of summer, the lines just darken right up.

Ok...brain stumper of the day....

...based on my tan lines (try not to let my scary looking toes distract you from the task at hand), which brand of sandals do I wear all summer?

And bonus question:

What brand of Dave wear all summer to cause the tan line sported below?

The winner? Well, I don't know what the winner will get...perhaps an awesome giveaway in disguise...or not. :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Day today

Today, it looks like this outside. 
Snowy, blowing, freezing rain, sleet....
We're actually under a blizzard warning
yep- school is cancelled.
Not that it would have mattered much for A. anyway...he wasn't going regardless.
The poor kid is sick as a dog.  He actually got sick in the car on the way home from school yesterday, and proceeded to get violently ill for the next few hours.
He seems to be on the mend now- asking for drinks and hasn't gotten sick for 6 hours now.
But, he sure is tuckered out.
I hate it when my kids are sick...makes one nervous and tired mommy.
His birthday is on Saturday, and we're planning on having about 10 of his classmates over here for his first-ever friend birthday party.  I've been dousing the house with Lysol...and will a few more times between now and then.  Please pray for healing for A. and health for the rest of us.

In the meantime, the toddler....
well, he's wearing his Elmo swim trunks and a sweatshirt (that I made him put on) and making himself breakfast.

Please pardon my crazy messy work station in the background.  It's been neglected for a few days - organizationally.  Hopefully I'll have time to straighten up the house today- its driving me nuts!

Extra credit:  Any guesses as to whose blog I was reading before I snapped a picture of my little one? 
Hint:  It's on the right monitor.  :)