The Best of 2007

Right now, there are several magazine's out with the best/worst dressed, events, books, etc. of 2007. It happens every year. It's a time to reflect on our mistakes and good memories, and an opportunity to glance through the past year with hopes to improve the future. Anyway, I thought I would take a look back to our family's past year and pick out the top 10 moments (starting from the beginning of the year to present).

#1 Katie turned 1 year old!

#2 After a grueling week of Katie being severly sick over her birthday, the doctor diagnosed her with Kowasacki Disease (you'd think that was a worst moment -which it just about was). But...because it was detected early, she was treated and now free of any danger. (Kowasacki Disease is a disease that attacks that arteries, which if left untreated can be fatal.)

#3 Kyra had her first snowmobile ride, and surprising loved it (she's not usually that adventurous). Maybe this is a sign for things to come!

#4 Together, my hubby and I lost over 20lbs each. It really helps when you try eating healthy together. We were a great team. Although, I hate to add that we also gained over 10lbs each back together too. I guess we are as good of an eating badly team as we are healthy :( The good thing is that we are still down over 10lbs (gotta look at the bright side).

#5 We bought a tube for the boat, and had the opportunity to try out our skills in water sports. Again, Kyra tried her hand at something new, and as long as we didn't punch it, did pretty well. What fun that was. I have a feeling we will be spending more time out on the water next year.

#6 The Hubby went water skiing for the first time, and didn't do too bad either!

#7 We had our 7th anniversary, and went to a wonderful little Italian Restaurant.

#8 Kyra turned 3, and became potty trained in the same week (thank the Lord!!) Now that really is a blessing.

#9 My Hubby turned 30, and to celebrate we went to Traverse City alone without the kiddos! It was a fabulous weekend filled with beautiful scenery, wine touring, and good dining.

#10 My husband unselfishly let me go to Georgia by myself to spend some good quality time with both extended sides of my family. All the while, he shot a 10 point buck the same weekend (one of his largest yet!) It was truly a great weekend and one we'll both probably remember for years to come.

All is Quiet

Can you believe that Christmas has come and gone! We spend months with a flurry of activity from what seems to be Halloween to Christmas. The months are filled with holiday festivities from dress up, to eating, to decorating, to shopping. The list goes on and on, and then suddenly it comes to a haulting stop (okay, maybe there's a New Year's Party in there, but other than that things drastically slow down). We have a long winter ahead with nothing but our creativity, some snow, and our imaginations (which of course can be a very good thing).

I asked my husband at the end of Christmas Day, if he had fun with his family. He said yes, but that it was all over too fast. I guess, I for one am looking forward to the rest and the slowness of the next few months (despite the cold weather), but I can see where it can be kind of a let down. You spend months of preparation for all these holidays, and then suddenly there are no projects at hand, no planned activities with the family.

I hope everyone takes advantage of these next few quiet months taking up a new hobby, reading a book they've been meaning to read, or start planning family gatherings outside of the holidays. These quiet months are an opportunity for us to catch up on the things we've been neglecting for the past few months, while it was too busy for us to do the "norm." I know none of my thoughts are new thoughts, after all that's why so many people make New Year resolutions (to take advantage of the next few months to do those things). I guess I was just thinking in the quietness of my house, after the flurry of activity, that I should take advantage of those "boring" months to stay in touch with people, play more with my children, organize a few things, read the Bible more, appreciate the stillness. I hope you do too.

Christmas Aftermath

Well, it was a great day. I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas. I think the hubby and I were a little more excited than the kids. We were waiting at least 1/2 hour in bed, listening for signs of Kyra scampering about the house and see all the gifts under the tree, or notice her stocking filled with goodies. Of course, we proved to be the children with ants in our pants in this scenario because Kyra didn't wake up until 8:20am (she almost never sleeps in). Then when she did wake up, she simply sat on the couch and gazed at the tree (she didn't even notice all the presents, I guess she was admiring the finer things). Oh well, that didn't last long. After pointing out the filled stockings, she was pretty much on a high for the rest of the day. It was a joy to see her excited for the holiday, and watch the never ending energy till late at night.

Katie on the otherhand was a different story. On Christmas Eve we found out she had Croup and hence slept very little the night before Christmas (as did her parents). However, I was hopeful that she would take a good long nap before the rest of family arrived. That would be a negative. Whatever the reason, she refused to take a nap, and was a sluggish creature the rest of the evening. She just sat listless in her father's lap, while everyone opened their gifts, without the energy to open her own. I felt so bad for her. I just hope she perks up a bit before we celebrate the next family Christmas.

Despite the one sick child, we had a great time with family. There was lots of laughing, eating, and joy spent in one another's company. I hope everyone else enjoyed the holiday and spent time remembering the little baby king who came to save us from our sins. Merry Christmas.

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Well, I haven't been on the eight ball very much when it comes to Tiny Talk (or any blogging this month for that matter), but here's just a couple of the things I can remember from this week:

During prayer time:
Kyra: Mom, can I pray?
Mom: Sure.
Kyra: Dear God, thank you for the Lord (something she says every day), thank you for my Grandpa named Grandpa Paul, thank you for Grandpa Wise (same Grandpa), thank you for the Grandpa that lives in Illinois (still same Grandpa), thank you for keep my parents safe and sound (awwww), thank you for my Strawberry Shortcake Birthday cake (wait? wasn't that like 4 months ago?), and thank you for all the trips we get to go to the mall. Give us of our fins (do we have fins?). Amen. (yes, we've sure been having a difficult time keeping a straight face during these sincere prayers lately)

During cookie baking time:
Girls: (screaming)
Mom: What is going on? You two need to stop arguing and be nice to each other! Why don't you color while Mom finishes up these cookies! (they proceed to get out the crayons)
Mom: (I peek over) KATIE, don't eat the crayon! (I proceed to give her color wonder markers, thinking at least she won't mark anything or eat the marker....she ate the marker. She actually bit off the end of the marker!)
Mom: Katie why don't you go find some dolly to play with? (all is quiet for some time, and I am finally able to devote my time to the cookies. I suddenly realize maybe quiet isn't a good thing. I run around to find Katie. Yes, she had found a doll alright, but she was giving it a bath in the toilet-along with the rest of the bathroom. Needless to say, my cookies never did turn out.)

Kitchen Talk:
Mom: Do you know how santa gets in the house to deliver the presents?
Kyra: Through the front door?
Mom: But we lock the front door.
Kyra: (wheels are a turnin) Oh, well maybe he comes in through the basement?
Mom: But we lock the basement door.
Kyra: (changing the subject) Does Santa drive a car?

If you want to see more kute kid talk go to

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things...

1. Decorating the Tree. I always dread it at first, because it seems like such a daunting task, but as I get going I really get into it and love listening to Christmas music as I go. This year was especially exciting because Kyra helped put up the decorations and seemed to get more excited with every ornament. It is such a joy to see their face light up as they experience something new.
2. Looking at the tree. We only have one tree (at the moment anyway), but I could look at it every night with my cup of hot cocoa (something I only seem to have during this season). I am mezmerized every day with it's beauty.

3. Cookie Exchanges. What could be better than gathering with friends and eating a variety of cookies? It's really the best of both worlds. This year we had it at my house along with Cheddar Brocolli soup and sourdough bread. MMmmm.... warm comfort foods.

4. Listening to Christmas music. Sad to say, I am probably one of those annoying people that could listen to Christmas music every day beginning with the day after Thanksgiving (and to be honest, I could probably listen to it long after Christmas Day). Gotta love the radio stations that play it 24/7!

5. Decorating the house. Growing up, we never had lights on the house. I always secretly coveted the houses that were tastefully (that's key, because I don't care for gaudy) lit up with lights. I now have a wonderful hubby that is willing to face the brisk weather and climb on his ladder to put lights on the roof. It is done simply, but just enough to bring a smile to your face.

6. Snow on Christmas morning. I know this doesn't always happen, but I love fresh snow on Christmas morning. A perfect setting for a wonderful day.

7. Advent Calendar. This is a new favorite for me. I bought a simple advent calendar to count down the days till Christmas. I enjoy watching Kyra run to it first thing every morning to take down another day. ***Sarah-I tried taking your idea to talk about a family member a day, but Kyra's memory every day was that she liked to play toys with that person. Evidently her memory is not broad enough yet. Great idea though.****

8. Opening Christmas Stockings. This was always a favorite memory growing up. My parents always put creative things in our stockings (excluding the orange and apple!), and I almost enjoyed finding the stocking as well as all the other presents. This will be the first year I do it with our kids, so we'll see how it goes.

9. Gathering with Family. Last year we went to Florida for Christmas to spend the holiday with some friends. Although we had a great time, it felt quite awkward to spend it without family. I love my family very much and love even more watching it grow and watching the new generations play and laugh together. This year my family will be at our house over the holidays for 4 days, and I am counting down the days. I am thankful God has blessed me with such a wonderful family.

10. Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. I am not always faithful about reading my Bible or praying. But during this particular season I am thankful of all the reminders of God's love and His gentle nudge to love one another. The acts of kindness are always more evident around this season, which makes us see how important it is to love one another. I am thankful for such a forgiving, graceful, passionate, and loving God.

10 Questions I Asked Myself Today

Here are some of the questions that pondered in my head today, as I got up late for Bible Study, made a bazillion calls, headed for the blood bank, attempted to print Christmas Cards, bundled up the kids for several car rides, finally bought our Christmas tree, gave the kids a bath, and finally sat to watch a movie (I was too tired to decorate the tree).

1. Will I be late for Bible Study again?
2. Why do I always insist on MAKING my own Christmas Cards?
3. How many cookies have I inadvertantly slipped into my mouth?
4. Will they (kids) ever stop whining?
5. When was the last time I blogged?
6. Is Christmas really only 3 weeks away?
7. How many times can I go to the grocery store in one day?
8. Will I ever be organized over the holidays?
9. What does the budget look like today?
10. How did I become so blessed as to have such a wonderful family?

It was a bit of a stressful day today. It amazes me how each year during this season I am shocked at how little time there is left to accomplish everything, vowing of course to start earlier the next year (and of course never doing it). I ask for no sympathy, because being the procrastinator that I am, I bring this on myself. Yet, I can't help but wonder how I could simplify some of these things. Because, although many of the traditions we hold add stress to our lives, they also add joy, and I would hate to give up that joy. And I love to see the newfound joy in my girls eyes as they experience for the first time (or at least remember for the first time)many of these treasured Christmas traditions -putting up a tree, making holiday cookies, making cards, decorating the house, reading the Christmas Story.