When the weather outside is frightful!

In the past couple of weeks we have had some pretty nasty weather. It's either been extremely cold, windy, snowy, or slippery. It seemed like for awhile the weatherman was suggesting staying inside almost every day. And while I'd love to curl up with a book in a blanket, drink some hot cocoa, and watch the beautiful snow, the two little girls in this household have other thoughts. I'd love to send them out to play, but the -10 degree wind chill says otherwise. I'd love to take them to the mall, but the black ice makes me think not. So, in the mean time we had some pretty cooped up little girls that have been pulling at my pant legs wondering what to do. While I would have loved to play with them more, the preparations for Christmas trumped their needs. So we had to get creative.

Our back deck almost covered to the top railing with snow!


We did have a wonderful time decorating cookies one night. The girls loved frosting the cookies, and I loved watching their glittery creations take fruition.

Look at their intensity!


Surprisingly they (or maybe I should say Kyra) did a pretty good job helping me wrap presents. And they loved the idea that they were helping me. Kyra had so much fun that one day (unbeknownst to me) she cut paper, taped, and basically wrapped her own gift for her parents and put it under the tree. I was quite impressed by her ability (maybe next year I'll have to put her to work on more presents).


We did a couple crafts, involving pipe cleaners and pom poms too. I wish I had some pictures of those too, but Kyra is saving her picture for a present for her cousin (shh!)

But the indoor activity I loved most was the sleigh creation. We made a diaper box into a sleigh and both girls had oodles of fun trying to pull each other. They took turns being the reindeer and Santa Claus (although Katie wasn't very good at pulling her sister on the sleigh). They would put "presents" in the sleigh and deliver them from room to room. I was surprised at how many days was occupied by this simple activity. They even tried getting Rudy (aka: Rudolph the Red Nosed Doggy) to pull the sled, although he wasn't too pleased.


Rudolph the Red Nosed Vizsla!



I am thankful now that we have had a couple days reprieve from some of this confining weather, but am hopeful that we can weather the storm again if similar weather heads our way in the next few months (and I'm certain it will, for this is Michigan)!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from Our Family to Yours! I hope everyone had a wonderful day.


Tiny Talk Tuesday

In the past most of my funny quotes came from my oldest, Kyra. I tried to sneak in a few from Katie, but mostly they were just words she messed up. Lately, however that little girl has been cracking me up. Unfortunately, I haven't had my pen and paper at hand and have completely forgotten some of the things she's said. Here's a couple I remember....

While playing inside:
Katie: Where's Daddy?
Mom: He's at Uncle Mike's house.
Katie: I really want Daddy.
Mom: Sorry babe, he'll be back in a little while.
Katie: Can I have another Daddy?
(apparently only a daddy would do today, even if it meant any daddy!)

In the car after Christmas shopping:
Dad: Ho, Ho, H0 (he bellied out in a jovial voice)
Katie: Silly Daddy, you aren't Santa Claus! (long pause) I Santa Claus!
(well, she got one part right, but last I checked Santa wasn't a little blue eyed blond girl)

Top Ten of the Year

Well, Christmas is quickly approaching, and I am getting closer to being done with my shopping but I'm not there yet. My plan was to get up this morning, take Kyra to her last day of school (and happens to be her Christmas party), and then finish my shopping. Nnnnn....wrong answer. Because this is Michigan, it is snowing too hard to go anywhere and school was cancelled. Normally, I would be okay with that, but Kyra was deeply disappointed that she was going to miss her school party. We had wrapped a gift for a gift exchange, made gift baggies for every student, and bought gifts for her teachers. Our entry way is filled with an entourage of goodies prepared for school, and now it will never happen! Needless to say we were both disappointed. And I still have to shop a few days before Christmas! Oh well, could be a lot worse. So, with the extra indoor time I thought it would be good to blog.

Last year I listed the top 10 things that happened in my life over the year, so I thought I would do the same. So, here goes....

10. Going to Florida in February and having a wonderful time escaping the cold winter land for a week. We had fabulous weather and during our stay visited the manatees, a wonderful aquarium, fed the ducks, and visited with some good friends. I can almost taste the weather right now.

9. Grandpa passing away. Although his death isn't exactly a highlight, it was nice to see so many family members we haven't seen in ages and get reaquainted with some cousins. Hopefully we can visit them in Georgia again before it's been too long.

8. Having a surprise party for my hub's father, who turned 70! It was a great party, and turned out better than expected. He was surprised and overwhelmed by the turnout of people. I think it was the first time I ever saw him speechless!

7. Going to Hessel, where for the first time since children, I really enjoyed being there. It was nice to see the kids play in the sand and water, run back and forth to "Grandma's cabin", and not have to worry about where they were.

6. Spending time with my family at the "cottage" up north. We had such a great time boating, tubing, playing games, chatting, and enjoying each other's laughter. I think we are definitely going to have to try making this a yearly event.

5. Having a 4oth anniversary party for my parents. It was another party success, and I was able to become closer to my sister in-law because of the almost 2 straight weeks we spent together. Seeing the joy on my parent's faces, talents in my siblings, and friends laughing at the party made it all worth while.

4. Spending more time at Lake Michigan. We spent more time this year going to the beach then we ever have before. Although both of my girls are not big water fans, they so enjoyed jumping in the waves, building sand creations, and having picnics. I just love watching their faces light up with laughter.

3. Going camping for the first time with kids. I was a little nervous about camping with Katie. Seeing as how she is still not out of her crib, I didn't know how well she would stay put in the tent, but she did just fine. We had lots of good food, nice cool weather, a wagon ride, and plenty of fresh air. It is a definite must for the years to come.

2. Seeing my college roommate, whom I haven't seen in years. My old roommate moved closer in the area, and visited for the weekend. It was fun seeing her and her family again, and I look forward to more mini trips in the near future.

1. And the top highlight of the year.....is finding out that we are pregnant again! We are very excited for the arrival of a new one. And although we still haven't told our kids of their new sibling to be, I'm sure they will be excited too. I am almost 13 weeks along, and am due June 30th! Hopefully that will give us enough time to get in somewhat of a schedule before the busy school year sets in again in the fall. I already had my first ultrasound yesterday, and the little peanut was already kicking around, sucking it's thumb, and hiccuping.

So there you have it. I'm sure I could think of many more than just 10 things that have made our year this past 2008. There have been ups and downs, but we recognize that God has blessed us deeply. I hope you have been too.

Christmas Meme

My sister-in-law just did this meme, and I thought it was kind of a cute get-to-know-you-at-Christmas-time post. The fact that I haven't written anything in awhile might have something to do with it too! Hopefully you are all enjoying getting in the Christmas spirit!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. I do put some odd sized or large things in bags, simply because it can be too frustrating to tape things at odd angles. But I love the look of a wrapped present. It is also much more exciting to see a child tear open a gift instead of pulling it out.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Real. Although every year I seem to dread the task of putting the lights on the tree. It's all worth it in the end when you see the masterpiece. I also like having a tree that looks unique every year. This year 900 lights went on our tree and we chopped it from our back yard!

3. When do you put up the tree? Usually about a week after Thanksgiving (it used to be later since I am a procrastinator, but persistant kids keep you on task).

4. When do you take the tree down? Sometime mid-January. My favorite sight at Christmas is a glowing decorated tree. I have a hard time taking it down, especially since it seems to be up for such a short period of time.

5. Do you like eggnog? Normally yes, but I don't seem to have a taste for it this year.

6. Favorite gift received as a child or adult? As a child it would have to be my 10 speed bike. We had just finished opening all our gifts, and I was feeling a little slighted because my siblings seemed to get more than I (I think I was about 10). Then Dad told me to get some food item in the kitchen, and there in the center of the kitchen was a shiny new blue bike! I was elated. As an adult it was probably a toss between the TV/Entertainment Center from my hubby when we first newlyweds or the plane tickets to Florida a couple years later.

7. Hardest person to buy for? The hubs and my brother. I think guys in general are harder to buy for. My hubby ususally wants hunting or carpentry items that I have no clue about (or they cost an arm and a leg).

8. Easiest person to buy for? My mom or sister. You'd think it would be my kids, but I'm even having trouble with that this year (What are good toys at this age? Do they even need that many toys? We need to simplify.)

9. Do you have a nativity scene? My sister gave me one years ago from Guatemala (right?), and it's beautiful, put I'm afraid to display it for fear the kids might break it. I also have my eyes on the Willow Tree set or another one I saw at the Christain Book store (but they're a bit pricey).

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail.

11.Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Maybe a used air mattress, or was it the blue tinted light bulb with a puffy painted snow man on it. That would be thanks to my brother-in-law. Thank goodness he is married now and has a little help from his wife!

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? AChristmas Story. I have many fond memories of watching and laughing with my family at this one.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I normally like to start in November, but between our family being so sick and again my procrastination, I have hardly gotten started. Last year I think I was done at this point, but this year I have only bought for two people! That's alright, I still have a week and 1/2 right?

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, but I think it was only one of my brother in-law's gifts for a white elephant exchange!

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? It's a toss between...Mint M&M's (only out at this time of year), peanut butter chocolate kiss cookies, or my mom's frosted sugar cookies.

16. Lights on the tree? Yes, white only.

17. Favorite Christmas song? I don't have a particular favorite song, but we do love Selah's Christmas album, Michael W. Smith, and Amy Grant's Christmas CD's.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? We usually travel at some point around Christmas, simply because my family lives in the Chicago area, but I do love to have our own cozy family Christmas at home.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Uhhh, no.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? In the past it was an angel, but it was too heavy for the tree this year so we are using a giant metallic bow (my aunt Tam taught me that trick!). I am still looking for the perfect topper.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? It really depends when we can get everyone together, but usually Christmas morning (or New Year's Eve sometimes with my family).

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Trying to rush and get my rear in gear to get everything done before the big day (I seriously need to plan better. I haven't even made one single cookie yet this year!)

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Don't really have one. I love mauve and silver, but I would have to ditch all my ornaments from my childhood (which I'm not willing to do), in order to decorate the tree differently. Maybe I'll have 2 trees someday.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Ham.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? I'd really like a new computer (since I can't seem to download, see photos or videos on this one), a LCD TV, cable, high speed internet, and an IPOD (are you seeing a technical trend in my wants?). But I think I'll settle for time with family...eating, catching up, and spending time with one another since I seemed to miss out on Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was a little different this year to say the least. I'd love to say it was a great one, but I'd be lying. There was, however no shortage of things to be thankful for. I know that I am deeply blessed and am thankful for God's out pour of blessings. I digress though, because this story (probably condensed as I can put it) has to make it to the memory bank. It all began like this...

In our family we rotate holidays. One year is Thanksgiving with my family, Christmas with the hubs fam, and the next year is the opposite. This year happened to be Thanksgiving with my family. And it was going to be no small production by any means. My aunt and uncle have a beautiful home in Ohio and are generous enough to open it up to my Mom's side of the family. Of course every year the family keeps growing, so it was no small task this year to host 35 people at their home (for 4 days)! Some of my cousins I haven't seen in years, so we were excited to say the least. Kyra could hardly wait as we counted down the week before Thanksgiving (she was excited to stay in Molly's room fully equipped with a lovely dollhouse!)

So on Monday I began making my contributions to the holiday festivities. I made soup for our arrival day, a couple types of desserts, and prepared my ingredients for the Thanksgiving day jello. I even managed to get an appointment to get my hair highlighted and cut, and got new glasses just in time before we left (all of which needed to get done anyway, but just a bonus for getting done before we went).

Finally, Wednesday morning I began packing the car, as I waited for my hubs to come home from work early so we could hit the road. Unfortunately, just as I was putting the last things in the car, my hubby called. My mother in-law was sick and in the hospital. He told me to go ahead and continue to pack. We just might be delayed a bit, so he could visit her in the hospital and make sure she was stable. We went ahead and visited her and she seemed to be okay. She had low 02 stats, but they seemed to be getting it under control. So on the road we went. However, after an hour on the road, we received a call from his brother saying that her condition hadn't improved, and had a surmountable amount of carbon dioxide in her system and they were going to have to put her on a ventilator. After a few moments of indecision, we turned around.

It was a scary evening, spent with my hubs family, wondering if his mom was going to pull through or not. There were tears and fears, questions and confusion. We stayed close by the next day. And fortunately, Thanksgiving Day showed some progress. She seemed to be pulling through this scary time. So we talked again of going to Ohio. We could still make our actual Thanksgiving dinner (which we celebrate on Friday). Of course, while my hubs stayed by his mother's bedside, Katie developed the stomach flu. I spent all day with one vomiting daughter, and another who was bouncing off the walls wondering if we were still going on "vacation." All I could say, is "we'll just have to see Kyra, right now we just need to make sure Grandma and Katie are okay."

Friday morning arrived, and Katie seemed to be on the mend. Both girls looked good (I thanked God that Kyra didn't seem to get Katie's bug). My hubby went to visit his mom one more time, and praise the Lord, they took her off the ventilator. Her first words were even "What are you doing here, you are supposed to be with your family in Ohio? Scoot, I'll be just fine." So he got his approval. His mom was going to be okay, and we were now on the road! Five short hours later, we arrived at my aunt's home. We were greeted by a warm house full of people and glad to be with such a loving bunch. We headed to our places for dinner, prayed, and began to get the girls plates ready. Of course right in between two of the tables stood Kyra, vomiting on the floor! We had been there not even 1/2 hour and she had thrown up! We couldn't believe it, and we certainly didn't know what to do. We had made it so far, and yet knowing how contagious this bug must be, we didn't want to contaminate everyone. So after quarantining her for a couple hours longer, eating a quick dinner (for us), and 2 more times throwing up, we decided to turn around and go back home.

That was our Thanksgiving! It was crazy to say the least. But as I reflect back on it now, I am still thankful. I am thankful that the my mother in-law is still with us. I am thankful that even if it was just a few hours, I was able to visit with some family I haven't seen in a long time. I am thankful for such supportive family, who was praying for us. I am thankful for my girls, who are on the mend and graciously didn't have a fit for having to leave. I am thankful for a husband who did a lot of driving in a very short period of time. And I am thankful for a God who is faithful. Now, hopefully Christmas goes a little smoother!

Tiny Talk Tuesday

I don't exactly have any cute sayings to share this week, but I do have a funny scenario that's worth sharing. Here's how it goes...

Last Friday we decided to go out to eat with some good friends of ours. This couple has 3 kids, and their little girl is close to Kyra's age. They were having a great time hammin it up at the table and being able to sit together. Well, one of them finally had to go to the "little lady's room." And of course if one has to go, you know the other one spontaneously has to go also. So we took them to the bathroom. Kyra's friend went first. When it came to Kyra's turn, the only stall left was the small one. And although I still usually go in with her (in case she can't reach the toilet paper), I figured she would be fine on her own (after all, her friend just did it). Not even moments after she locked the door, she began to scream with all her might. I frantically asked her what was wrong, but I couldn't understand through her sobs. My guess was that she had fallen into the toilet! Of course since she locked the door, I couldn't open it to help her. And I certainly didn't think I could crawl under the stall. Quickly, her friend volunteered her services and whipped under the stall and unlocked the door. All this time, Kyra is still frantic and crying. I finally run in the stall only to find everything looks....normal. I attempted to ask her one more time what the problem was. And under her distressed voice, she whimpered that there was a spider on the floor! A spider! All this panic was over a spider. I found the spider, stomped on it, and we were on our way. Of course it took Kyra a good 5 minutes to recover after the incident, and us adults had a good chuckle at the other end of the table. I guess her friend saved the day!

If you want to read more tiny talk, just visit Marys.

Christmas Lists


One of my favorite things to do as a child at Christmas time was to go through the S*ears or JC*Penny catalogue and find all the new and great toys of the year that I wanted to put on my Christmas list. My sister and I would scour through the catalogue trying to find the greatest and latest things. Then we would start numbering our papers. Of course my sister would always be the winner. I think one year she came up with 102 items on her list! Needless to say, I don't think she was ever a trouble to shop for. Perhaps it was one of my Mom's way to keep us occupied for awhile so we wouldn't say those dreaded words..."I'm bored Mom, what can I do?" In fact I'm sure that's one of the main reasons she had us write out our lists, because know I'm in the same spot she was in oh so many years ago.

So, when Kyra asked me what she could do the other day, I thought why not make a list? I know she isn't quite old enough to write everything down, but she could cut and paste. So I showed her what to do, and she was hooked. I thought she would make one list, but not her... she made six lists! Of course to her defense, two of them she made for "Katie's list," but I'm not sure she even consulted Katie on that one. I think she would have pasted the whole catalogue if she could have. Of course I think the true attraction was just cutting and pasting (a new favorite since pre-school). So if you come over to our house in the near future, you will see list galore on the fridge (let's just say the fridge is covered in a lot of pink!).




Zoo Adventures

Now that we have had snow flurries for the last 4 consecutive days, I thought it a good time to share some pics we took a couple weeks ago when we were having record 70 degree weather (here it is only two weeks into "winter" and I am already longing for the warmer temps...this is going to be a long winter). The first week of November was simply put a beautiful week. The fall colors were still vibrant and yet it was warm enough to go outside without a coat. My sister in-law and I decided to take advantage of the weather and take the kids to the zoo. I only wish I had planned ahead more, because when we arrived there, the trees were so colorful and mesmerizing, it would have been nice to have the kids in coordinating outfits so I could have taken their picture (for Christmas cards?). Oh well. It was truly lovely though watching the leaves slowly trickle down to the ground, as they lay to rest for the season.

What a great day to go to the zoo! Because it was off-peak season, we paid half price and the crowds were minimal. Even the animals seemed to be a little more active. Kyra's main goal was to see the lions. The whole trip, she kept asking when we were going to see the lions. I think she must have asked me at least 20 times. I didn't even know if the zoo had lions! Fortunately, she finally got her request. We reached the end of the zoo, climbed 3 flights of stairs, and saw 1 lion, and 2 lioness'. At first they did nothing but lay there and sleep, but just as we were about to leave, the 2 females got up and began to play. They even went as far as to splash in the little ravine that was in there home. After nearly 15 minutes of watching, I literally had to drag my girls away from the plexiglass. I'm not sure what the sudden fascination in those animals were, but both girls loved them. I only wish I got some pictures of their playful activity. I had left my camera at the bottom of the stairs and wasn't about to drag 2 little girls down and up again to retrieve it. Now, nearly two weeks later Kyra is still playing "lion" and running after Katie while roaring in her loudest roar. It was truly a nice outing.

Pizza Lovers


I thought I would join the bandwagon and add my picture to the 5 Minutes for Mom Fun with Food Photo Contest. This was a picture taken when Kyra was just over 2 years old. She has always loved helping her Dad and me in the kitchen. Here she had the opportunity of fixing a pizza with Grandma. She was so careful too, to do it just right (still is). What a great duo.


Here is another picture just for fun on a Friday (but not for the contest). As long as we're on the subject of food, I thought I would add a picture of Katie with taco salad. She was 1 1/2 in this picture. And sadly enough she's still about as messy as she was then! Oh well, makes life interesting.

November Giveaways

I just learned that the women at 5 Minutes for Mom is doing a MONTH of Christmas giveaways during November (thanks Jenni)! They will be having tons of giveaways over the next three weeks. I know I certainly love giveaways. They also have information about a great program called Under the Tree. So go on over and take a peek!

Tiny Talk Tuesday

I only captured one of my kid's captions for the week, but it was worth sharing. Here's what Kyra had to say:

While watching daddy try to get the combine unstuck from all the mud:
Me: Well, we've got to get going. I hope you and your brother can get it out.
Daddy: If you didn't have the girls with you, I'd ask you to just drive the tractor and you could try pulling me out.
Me: Unfortunately, I don't know HOW to drive a tractor, remember?
Daddy: Right.
Kyra: Mommy, in the morning when it's light outside I could show you how to drive a tractor. I know how. My daddy showed me how to drive the combine and the tractor. Don't worry, I'll teach ya!
(Love the confidence of that girl. Unfortuately she doesn't know Daddy just taught her how to steer....driving is well...a little different!)

If you'd like to read any other cute kid talk, just visit Mary's.

Halloween

This year we certainly got our use out of the Halloween costumes. Not wanting to buy new costumes (although I suppose I could have put something together from things around the house, which so many resourceful people seem to be doing these days), I borrowed the girls costumes this year. I asked Kyra what she wanted to be, and she answered "a princess." Of course, I should have known. Fortunately a friend of hers let her borrow one of her dress ups. Then another friend said she had a ladybug costume she thought would fit Katie (and another for Kyra just in case she changed her mind). Perfect! Everything was set. We picked up the two costumes and prepared for the special day.

Well, wouldn't you know, when we went to visit my parents in Chicago, Kyra changed her mind. She now wanted to be the Lion. That was fine, because at least I had the costume in tow. They looked cute together, and that was that. Then, came Kyra's Halloween party at school. I thought she wanted to be the Lion again, but she said this time she wanted to be something different. I got out the princess costume, but in the end she decided to be an M&M (which is what she was last year). She said it's perfect, "I was the lion last week, I'll be an M&M today, and for Halloween I'll be a princess!" This is what happens when you give a girl too many choices....they want to be it all. Oh well. I was just glad we had everything. She came back from her party that afternoon and couldn't chat enough over the party. She said all the kids were chasing her, yelling they were going to eat her because she looked so yummy! I thought that maybe it scared her, but in turn she liked it (and I think liked the attention too).


Finally, it came time to head to some good friend's house to go trick or treating. I told her to grab the Princess costume and let's go. "But I am an M&M today mom!" I know, but you said you wanted to wear the Princess costume for Halloween. "For another Halloween Mom, I can only be one thing a day" she said. What logic! Whatever girl, let's go.


So, we went trick or treating on one of the nicest evenings I've ever trick or treated on. The kids didn't have to wear jackets, and because of daylight saving time being so late this year, we were able to go while it was still light out. And the funny thing was that at every door Katie said "twick or tweating!" every time. We couldn't get her to just say trick or treat. Too cute. After finally seeming to get enough candy went home, sat down and traded their loot, while making fun little spider cracker treats after all the excitement. Yes, this Halloween was a lot better than last year!

October Highlights

As I wrote in my previous post (3 weeks ago!!), I haven't been in the writing mode. However, tomorrow is a new month and I plan on jumping into blogging again (of course that's just a goal not absolute).

We did have a wonderful month though filled with many outings and visits with friends and family. I won't go in total detail of everything we did (since I'm summing up our month in one blog entry), but for memory sake will include the synopsis.

In the beginning of the month we headed to Zeeland's Pumpkin Fest. We've gone for the past 4 years and loved it. They have a chili cook off, barn yard animals to pet, pie eating contest, and a bunch of games for the kids to play. The best part is that it's primarily free! Next we had my old college roomate and her family visit for the weekend. This was a true treat since we haven't seen each other in over 2 years. We had no problems catching up as if it were just yesterday. The weekend was complete with painting pumpkins, getting in a game of golf (for the guys), and having a bonfire. Their little girl, Ella, fit right in and seemed to become friends quickly with our girls. At times they played so nicely together, we didn't even remember we had children in the house! We tried sneaking my hubby's birthday in amidst the company too, unfortunately other than a cake it was sadly under celebrated.

Katie, painting her orange pumpkin....orange!

Kyra put the candy corn on herself!



The following weekend we had another college roomate and her family come to visit. We headed to the apple orchard and picked apples. Of course we went on one of the 80 degree days, so it didn't quite give us that fall festival type of feel. Of course at least we didn't have to worry about jackets either! And with those apples (along with many my father in-law has given us...he loves to give us seconds from a local farm), we have made apple pie, applesauce, apple dumplings, and apple compote for pancakes. I guess you could say we haven't exactly been shrinking by our consumption of desserts.

The girls at the apple orchard

Finally, the girls and I went for a visit to Chicago to visit my family. Unfortunately they didn't get a whole lot of time to visit their cousins since our family seemed to get stuck with some kind of diahrrea bug, but we still had a good time. The girls dressed up early in their Halloween costumes and were able to take part in the town's Batfest parade. They enjoyed playing more games, watching all the other kids galavant in their costumes, and listen to Halloween stories at the library.

Yes, it was a good month, full of family activities. And as the upcoming holidays approach quickly, I'm sure there will be many more fun times. The quickly descending chill in the air and husband fervantly working to harvest the corn before the frost sets in, tells me that I need to be starting on my Christmas lists, cookies baking ideas, and cards. November, here we come!

Bloggy Woes

I have definitely been writing less and less the past few months. And I'd like to say that I've been so busy and haven't had time to blog, or that I am putting my time into new projects or spending more time with family. But, unfortunately that's not it. There have been so many thoughts stirring in my head that I could write down and share, but I haven't felt like sharing. Part of me is reserved, thinking those thoughts are too deep to share with the world or that I want to keep those memories of certain things we've done selfishly to myself. Part of me is lazy, thinking I would rather sit on the couch and watch L*aw and Order. And yet another part of me is stumped, simply thinking I don't know how to describe the thoughts and events that have been occurring these last few months.

And yet another part of me feels guilty for not writing. Not because I haven't been keeping my few readers updated on my life, but because I had set out to keep a record of the joyous things that happen on a daily routine. I want my children to look back at some of the the entries I have written and laughed at the things they said or bloopers that I did, or places we visited. I also want an outlet or a time set aside so that I can reflect on the tiny blessings that occur on a daily basis. God has given me so many things to be thankful for, and yet there are so many days that I get down in the dumps wondering why He gave me life. What is my purpose here on Earth (okay, don't answer that...because I know every Christian's purpose is to serve God and be a light unto others so that we may lead others to Christ....but I was thinking beyond that)? Anyway, I am getting way off course here. My point is, God has set so many great things in my life (even if it is a small thing in my daily routine, like the fact that I didn't forget all the items on my grocery list...which sadly, seems to happen a lot), and I need to focus on those things. After all hasn't it been said that how your day goes depends on 90% of your attitude? I hope I haven't created a grim picture either. I haven't been depressed or had a poor attitude for all of 3 months, but I have gotten away from focusing on the reason I began this blog in the first place. And that was to embrace the person God made me to be, to focus on the small blessings in my daily life, and to make small positive changes in my life that makes me a better person. After all, that's why I am a rose in the making.

Wordless Wednesday

Just a few pics of some cutie pies to brighten this gray day!

This is the first time I've ever curled Kyra's hair (it was picture day today).

Hammin it up for the cam.

It took about 10 tries to get her to sit this still!

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Not much to add for the week. Either my kids aren't that funny anymore or I'm forgetting the funny things they say (pretty sure it's the latter). I had to chuckle at this one conversation though that demonstrates a difference in the girls' personalities.

In the car going down the highway:
Kyra: Are we going fast?
Mom: Yes, we're going faster, but you can go faster on the highway.
Kyra: Are you being careful not to hit the other drivers?
Mom: Yes Kyra, I'm being careful (that's my cautious girl for ya).
Kyra: You also have to be careful not to hit the bigger puddles. You know that right?
Mom: Yes Kyra, I know.
Katie: GO Mommy, GO.....GO Mommy, GO!
(I guess I know which one to be worried about during drivers training)

If you want to read more Tiny Talk just visit Mary's.

Look, Smell, Taste

This weekend we had the kick off to our Bible Study group. We were new to the group last year and only had a couple of meetings before the year ended, so I was anticipating spending an afternoon with the group to get to know them better. When asked if I had the weekend free, I said sure! Then there was a pause in the conversation. What are we going to do to kick off the year I asked. She said, "ahh, what do you think about going on a wine tour? Would you be offended?" Offended? Oh, goodness. Is that what the lull in the conversation was for? Now I knew I was in the right group. What a fun way to kick off the year! And before any of you who don't know me well get the wrong picture, I am in no way a lush, but do enjoy the occasional evening of relaxing with a glass of wine.

Anyway, we had simply a wonderful day. The weather was sunny and warm, the leaves were starting to fall, and the group was full of laughs. We went to a place called Fenn Valley Winery. I was surprised to find out that the tour was free. We took a wagon ride out into the vineyard, tasted several types of grapes they use to make various wine. I have to say though, there was so much information, I didn't retain a lot of what the guide discussed (or was that just the wine?) I'll just say, making wine is quite the process. The sulfides, oxidization, what it takes to get the acidity out...the list goes on. It was very interesting though and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

After we left the winery, we went to Crane Orchards for some of their homemade food. They have delicious food. I had the chili and apple butter bread. Hmmmm...tastes of fall. Then we bought a pie to go and ate it at one of the couple's home. We got to know the people in our group quite a bit better (I think the wine helped!), so I was very glad for the opportunity to spend the afternoon with them. I think we are going to enjoy the year becoming closer to couples in our church. And of course it's nice to know that we have some common interests (shiraz anyone)!

Potty Talk

Okay, close to a month ago we took away Katie's binki. Which, gladly she has finally gotten to the point where she doesn't ask for everyday and does fall asleep without it. And with that being accomplished, I knew the next task would be to start potty training, I just had no idea how soon.

Kyra was potty trained pretty close to her 3rd birthday, and even at that I was the one nagging her about it all the time. She was never interested in learning, thus the several months we tried were a struggle (along with many unnecessary accidents on the floor....because I was bound and determined to have her in underwear even though she wasn't ready). So, with all that struggle I vowed I would wait for Katie to show interest before I pushed her (as long as her interest didn't spike until age 4!). And up until this point she has shown no interest. We've put her on the potty chair a few times just for kicks, but she's such a wiggle worm that she wouldn't sit still (kicking her legs every which way and bending her knees so she could put her feet on the rim of the potty). I was beginning to think when we started the training, we would have to call her the whiz kid for fear the potty wouldn't make it in the toilet! I have also been concerned to start training with her because of constipation issues, wondering if that would make her more scared to go.

Nevertheless, something in her brain triggered today. It was the funniest conversation really. Her speech has never been too clear, so unless your her mama or daddy it's often hard to understand some of the things she's saying (even I can't understand some of the time). Here's how the afternoon went.

During lunch at the table:
Katie: I poopy mommy.
Mom: Okay, just a minute and I'll change your diaper.
Katie: No, I POOPY mommy!
Mom: I know Katie, I'll be there in one minute.
Katie: MOMMY, I AM P O O P I N G! (with accentuation on the "ing")
Mom: Oh, do you need to go potty?
Katie: Yes.
Mom: (rather surprised that she was able to distinguish between tenses, I swooped her up and put her on the potty chair).
Katie: Go away mommy.
Mom: Are you sure?
Katie: Yes.
Mom: (I came back 10 minutes later, of course checking on her periodically making sure she didn't walk away or have her legs wiggling all about leaving a mess). Are you all done?
Katie: Yes.
Mom: (I check the chair, half expecting nothing, and yet found she had pooped and peed in the potty chair!) Yay Katie! Good job. I'm so proud of you. We'll have to go get a treat (she was going to have a brownie for lunch anyway).

I know that conversation was maybe a bit graphic and disgusting for some, but I couldn't have been prouder. I don't know if this will keep up, but I was so impressed she figured to do this all on her own, and was so persistent to ignore my lack of understanding her comment. She's a character that one and a keeper too.

Tiny Talk Tuesday

The short ones are chattin away this week. Here are some of the cute things they said (or have been saying):

While in the car:
Kyra: What does that sign mean?
Mom: What sign?
Kyra: The one with the deer on it.
Mom: It just means to be careful and watch out for deer crossing the street. There are lots of deer in this area and we wouldn't want to hit one would we?
Kyra: We eat them anyway (she said nonchalantly).

(Spoken by a true hunter's daughter. Forget the tender side here, we're focused on slappin some meat on the table!)

While in the car:
Kyra: Mom, look! That car is waving to me?
Mom: What car?
Kyra: That one! Hey those two cars are waving to me too!
Mom: (looking around to see what in the world she meant)
Kyra: Mom, almost all the cars are waving at me!!
Mom: (Then a light bulb struck. Ahhh...She was talking about windshield wipers.)

While looking for a parking spot:
Mom: Shoot, I can't find a single spot.
Kyra: Girl! Grab that one!
(You'd have thought she was just another girlfriend in the car. She's got my back.)

Katydidms:
"Cue me" - Excuse me
"I bootiful mommy!" - I'm beautiful mommy
"Look, a quail!" - Look, a squirrel

For more Tiny Talk just visit Marys.

First Day of School

Well, she did it! Kyra began her first day of school. The past couple weeks I have been processing in my head how this day might go. I didn't think I would get all emotional, simply because I am typically not a very sentimental person (which sometimes leaves me with feelings of guilt because I think maybe I should feel more of a sense of loss for my first born to be leaving the egg nest and spreading her wings...alas more on that another day). I have been excited for her to meet new friends, learn new things, and gain more independence. But to be honest, I think my biggest worry has been getting everyone out the door in time for the 9:00 am class. I know to many that may not seem that early, but my girls are rather late risers and it is a struggle to even get to church on time (and that's with my hubby's help!) So, I laid out Kyra's clothes, set out her backpack and shoes, put the girls to bed on time, and set the alarm clock extra early.

Unfortunately, for what seemed like good planning to me, was still not enough. I was the last parent to drop off her child (and 2 minutes late at that). I don't know what happened! I used to be a very punctual person (before I had kids that is). I got up this morning at 6 am, worked out, dropped a quick email, took a shower, got the girls up 15 minutes early, fed them breakfast, got us dressed, brushed everyone's teeth, did all our hair, took a picture, let the dog out, and was late. I guess next time I'll have to eliminate the email (and of course I won't be taking a picture every morning too). It didn't help that the dog ran away or that Katie refused to eat her breakfast since I didn't let her wake up on her own either. So, we have a few kinks to work out, but all in all we made it.

And Kyra loved her first day. I knew she would. She made a crayon crown, made a new friend (the one with the green jacket...because she couldn't remember her name), read a book, and played on the playground. Because I was there a little early to pick her up, I was able to listen in on their closing time too. I had to chuckle because after their prayer time, the teacher asked if any of the kids had any questions. Kyra was the first to interject. "HEY teacher!" she yelled (that's my girl, such etiquette). "Are we going to the fire department tomorrow?" To which her teacher replied, "No Kyra, that's next month, and tomorrow we don't have school. We will meet again on Wednesday and then Friday." "Is today Friday?" said Kyra. "No, today is Monday, Friday is after Wednesday." "Oh." I love it. I had to chuckle out in the hallway. It's going to be a great year.

The terrible, no good, very good day

The hubs began the week by taking a class for a certain certification for work. That meant he would be gone from 5am to 10pm just about every day. And seeing as the girls and I are very blessed to see him every day, Kyra started going through a little withdrawal this week. Fortunately, he was able to do a double shift and take Friday off (yeah, a 3 day weekend in addition to the fact that the class was cancelled and he is done with that for the time being). Nevertheless we were looking forward to some good quality daddy time. Unfortunately that didn't happen. He ended up having to help his Dad with a project that has spilled over into 2 days of the 3 day weekend. To his defense, he has spent quite a bit of time with family lately and needed a break (not that this was really a break).

When I found out today that he had to spend part of the day helping his dad, and then later found out it was going to be more like the whole day....I pouted. Yep, I pouted like a little girl. I know, very adult of me. Maybe it was my attitude, but the day seemed to get worse and worse.

It started like this:
7:30am Got on the scale after eliminating desserts from my diet this week, and exercising 4 days this week only to not lose a single pound.
8:30 am Made healthy apple oatmeal muffins, ate one, and then the dog jumped on the counter and dropped them all over the floor.
9:30 am Tried to entertain two crabby girls who wanted to see their daddy or play outside, neither of which they could do because it has been raining cats and dogs.
10:30 am Realized one of the reasons Katie was cranky was because she had 102 degree fever.
11:30 am Took the laundry out of the wash only to find I had put a dark color in with the lights and had dyed half the load.
12:30 pm Found out the hubs wouldn't be back until close to midnight.
1:30 pm My recovering sciatica spasmed out again.
5:00 pm Made homemade pizza with a special request from Kyra to add no sausage. Then at 6pm neither of the girls felt like pizza and ate cereal instead while I ate pizza by myself (didn't feel like arguing with them).
6:30 pm Had a moment to fold laundry and thought about my day.

Then all of a sudden, God laid on my heart:
Sarah look how you've been blessed!
-You didn't GAIN weight this week
-You got to eat one of the muffins you made
-You have a warm home, that is dry, and shelter from the outside elements (unlike so many that have been displaced from their homes, families, and surroundings because of Hurricane Ike).
-Your daughter has a cold that will last a couple days, unlike so many families that have children in the hospital with cancer for months on end
-You have a husband that is normally home every day to talk to and share memories with. You have a friend and companion that is faithful and loves you very much
-You have two beautiful girls that normally try everything you give to them, and what's so bad about having a pizza to yourself!

I truly have been blessed. And when I think about so many people out there that are in crowded shelters waying out the storm and not knowing the condition of their home, I know that I have been blessed. I think of the general health of our family, when so many are deeply sick, and I know we are blessed. So, Lord thank you for putting my bad day in perspective.

Camping 101

This past weekend we decided to give camping a trial run. The hubs and I both grew up camping (him, in a trailer/me, in a tent), but neither of us have ventured out since we have had children. And seeing as how both our girls are at a tolerable age (aka: sleeping through the night, not grabbing everything in sight, able to follow basic rules), I thought it would go fairly well. Nevertheless, we did a trial run in our back yard. The girls did great too. Katie was a little excited, so it took about a half an hour before she actually settled down enough to stay in her sleeping bag, but she did sleep. So with that success it was off to a campground we would go!

Finding the campground was the tricky part. I remember my mom spending many hours looking through books from the library of different campgrounds. When she finally found what seemed to be the perfect one, she would call to make a reservation (and hope that all her siblings would be happy with her pick). Now of course, the internet makes it easy to take virtual tours and place a reservation online. However, I found with that convenience comes a price. Because everyone shops online, there are many people who make reservations 6 months in advance and race the hundreds of others who are in their pj's doing the same exact thing. With in minutes, popular weekends are booked. Needless to say, my lack of experience was evident. I had to call several campgrounds only to find they had been booked months ago.

Fortunately, we were flexible in our times and just picked a close private campground on a weekend after school started. We went to Hungry Horse campground. It was a 90 acre campground, that had themes for kids, trails, 3 playgrounds, and 2 pools. The lots were all wooded and the bath houses were very clean. We were very impressed. I would have liked to have been closer to a beach, but it was nice to have such a kid friendly campground when the girls are this young. And the girls couldn't have done better. They simply had a great time and didn't want to leave. They enjoyed being able to ride their bikes in the "street," and living next door to their cousin (oh wait we do live next door to their cousins! Okay, we lived even closer). Katie got her baby fix with her cousin being in the adjacent trailer. The girls loved playing with the flashlight in the tent. We enjoyed a hayride and fed horses. And of course had smores and hobo pies (not to mention the warm cup of coffee in the brisk morning breeze). The experience brought back many fond memories along with creating a few new. I loved watching the girls have fun with so many of the things I loved as a child while we camped.

This will definitely have to be more than a one time occasion. I forgot a few items, but now I know what we need for next year. Now, if I can just remember to make my reservations a little more advance next time.

Top Ten of the Summer

Well, summer (although still warm, with our scorching 90 some degrees out right now) is coming to an end. It seems that many fellow bloggers are getting back in routine mode and returning to that disciplined life style that is so imperative for the school year. Although Kyra hasn't begun school yet (and even when she does it will only be for 2 1/2 hours, 3 days a week), I am reluctantly accepting that summer is coming to an end and that I need to get my rear in gear and get my life in order. We have had such a wonderful summer, but bad habits have certainly set in. We have been eating ice cream almost every day, going to bed entirely too late (I don't think the girls ever went to bed before 9pm this whole summer), and staying in pj's till close to 10am on many days. So, while I have enjoyed the relaxed lifestyle, it is time to put it to bed and shape up. I want to get back to exercise, regular bed times, and a schedule of sorts (for cleaning, getting kids going on time, etc.) It's not going to be easy, but change is good, and I'm determined for it to happen.....tomorrow!

For now though, I would like to reflect on our top moments of summer.

1. Eating fresh veggies (corn being the best) from the garden
2. Relaxing at the beach with family/friends in the UP
3. Kyra catching her first fish
4. Vacationing with my family at the cottage
5. Eating at various ice cream shops in MI (my there are a ton)
6. Jumpin in the waves of Lake Michigan with my daughters
7. Picnics at the beach
8. Bike rides with the family
9. Party for my parent's 40th wedding anniversary
10. Bonfires at Tracie's house, with feet in the sand, and a wine glass in hand

We have truly been blessed to have had the opportunity to go on a couple of wonderful vacations, and be so close to so many wonderful beaches that the kids can enjoy. The girls have come to like the beach and lake more than ever. And the best part of summer has truly been to watch them laugh in the company of their little friends and cousins. It is a joy to watch them take in the essence of summer and love the gift of creation that God gave to us to enjoy.

Happy Birthday Kyra

Kyra is 4 years old today! We actually celebrated her birthday over the weekend so family could join in on the festivities, but today is her day. I remember last year she was so disappointed her birthday was over that she began planning her next birthday and kept asking when it would be. Thankfully those little ones have short term memory, and she soon forgot to ask me on a daily basis, but now the day arrived. We had a small party with the hub's side of the family and celebrated with her choice of dinner....CORN! When I asked her what she would like with the corn, she replied "nothing else, just corn." She is my husband's daughter! So we had corn, of course we did elaborate a little. I didn't think the rest of the family would be satisfied with a single item for dinner. For dessert we had a Hello K.itty cake (that seems to be her favorite character these days). And of course she had her gifts. I think her favorite gift was a little glass beaded bracelet. The hardest part of the evening was consoling Katie who didn't understand why she didn't receive any presents. She went as far to even try and take her sister's birthday cards away. I had to resurrect Katie's old birthday cards just to appease her for the moment.
All in all it was a great evening filled with smiles and laughter. And tonight we will celebrate again by taking her out sans sister to dinner and a movie (her first!).

Happy Birthday Kyra,

You are a beautiful little girl, whom we love so much. Every day you make us smile with your creativity and joy for life. You are so excited for school to start in a couple of weeks and have been practicing by filling your backpack and pretending what it will be like in the classroom. You are great with other kids, and love to make friends with other children at the playground. You are social, yet cautious. You love to color and paint, and stay in the lines of a coloring book using only the colors the objects are supposed to be (have been for some time). You love to dress up and play princess with your sister. You make up creative names during role play and love to dance and twirl in your dresses. You are growing up so quickly and at times I can already get a glimpse of the adult in you. We love you and hope this year is full of many more firsts and great discoveries.

Love, Mom

TTT - Olympic Version

The short ones have been chattin it up this week, here's a couple of the things they said:

While turning on the TV:
Kyra: Mom, I don't want to watch Sesame Stre*et.
Mom: What do you want to watch?
Kyra: The Olympids.
Mom: Wow. You liked it that much, huh? Well, I don't think they are on right now. What did you want to watch? The swimming or diving?
Kyra: No, I want to watch the gymnadics.
(I just loved how she pronounced those. And was very impressed that she would want to watch anything other than cartoons.)

While watching the olympics:
Mom: Isn't that stadium amazing (looking at the bird's nest)?
Katie: (she catches view of the torch) Mommy, let's woast mashmellows!
(I think that marshmellow would be a little toasty!)

If you'd like to read more Tiny Talk just visit Mary's.

Backpack Backpack

Several people have asked me if I've gotten a backpack for Kyra for preschool. I honestly hadn't thought much about it. I mean I know it will be her first year of school, but it's not like she'll have any homework (right? they don't give homework to 4 year olds do they?). So, I kind of dismissed the idea. However, a few days ago I received a note from her teacher with a list of things she will need on the first day of school...one of them being a backpack (the other thing was tissue paper, big list I know). They really only need it to put dry clothes in (for emergencies), but need one nonetheless. Thus, the search for a backpack began.

We started at Wal*mart, simply because that's where I was shopping for a few choice items. I browsed along the mile long aisle of book bags, only to surmise that they were either the whole length of her body, or were covered in commercialization. Now, I don't mind if she has a pair of Arie*le underwear or H*ello Kitty slippers, but a backpack? I don't want to have to feed into that more than she already extracts on her own. So, I dragged Kyra out of the store and told her we would keep looking.

The thing is, we went to K*ohl's, Me*ijer, Targ*et...and guess what? Every single store has backpacks covered in TV show paraphernalia. It was disgusting. And of course, every time she found one that she liked, I said no. I know Kyra was getting a little frustrated, because heaven knows she would love to have a bag with the three Disn*ey princesses on it, but they are so gaudy! And I don't mean to offend anyone, if they do happen to let their children pick out their own backpack, but I just can't let myself do it. I want my daughter to be excited about her first day of school, but there is a limit to how far I'll go.

I did find a few that were relatively safe. There was the pink camouflage, and the one with a turtle on it. Of course she didn't like any of those. Thankfully, she didn't like the ones with H*annah Mont*ana on it either, because she seems to be on the face of just about everything. But she did like the Br*atz one and we certainly weren't going to go there. Seriously, why do these stores make it so difficult for a parent to say "no" to their children? I certainly didn't want to search anymore, so we finally compromised on a pink polka dotted cupcake backpack with a cherry on top. Not my top pick, but acceptable. And she bore a smile as we left the store. Of course as we were leaving Katie wanted one too. I just had to say, "that's enough for one day Katie, you still have 2 more years before we have to go through this again!"

Tiny Talk Tuesday

The small ones in the house keep us laughing. Here's a few of the things they said this week:

While getting ready to go to the beach:
Kyra: Daddy, I want to wear a zucchini.
Dad: Do you mean a bikini?
Kyra: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.
(a bikini isn't much, but wearing a zucchini would be even less!)

In the car:
Kyra: Mom, Josh lost his tooth right?
Mom: Yes, he sure did.
Kyra: Did he get a grown up tooth then?
Mom: Yep.
Kyra: Does that mean he's a grown up?
(I bet his mom is glad that loosing a tooth doesn't entail that turning point!)

Going down the stairs:
(Kyra steps on Katie's dress on purpose to keep her from going further down the stairs)
Katie: (turns around) Don't Keewa. That hurts me.
(Okay, maybe that wasn't that funny, but the way she said it was so cute and the fact she didn't turn around and scream at her sister and instead used her words, was monumental -considering most of the time she whines to get her way.)

If you want to read more tiny talk, just visit Mary's

Friday Foto's

Black Eyed Susan Vine

Reseeding Snapdragons
Salvia

Sick Day




Maybe the end isn't near, but the head pressure and antsy kids jumpin on this momma while on the couch sure feels like it!

Binki Blues

Now that vacations are done, and we have the month of August relatively free any responsibilities (before school starts that is), I thought I should work on Katie a bit. Being now that she is 2 1/2 and still uses a pacifier to go to bed, sleeps in a crib, and hasn't started potty training, I thought I should work on one of those things. Although Kyra was in an adult sized bed when she was only 18 months, I still like the control of having the crazy one enclosed in her own quarters for the time being. And potty training, although feasible, seems like a bigger task then I'm willing to tackle (not to mention she has the con*stipation issues that might make the whole process harder - that's a whole other story). So, taking away the pacifier won the final verdict.

Taking away the binki with Kyra was a relatively easy task. She was exactly 2 years old, and we simply snipped a hole in it while she wasn't looking. She took one look at it, said it's broken, and wanted nothing more to do with it. She never cried over it or asked for another one. Easy peasy!

I've known from the start it wouldn't be that easy with Katie. For one, history is a good indicator. She had a difficult time transitioning from a bottle to a cup, and an even harder time from warm milk to cold (let's just say she boycotted fluids for 36 hours to the point of being limp!) This is a strong willed child, who doesn't give up without a fight. Anyway, unless I am willing to let her bring a binki to her first day of class, the time to take it away is now.

So, I took the same approach I took with Kyra. I cut a fine hole in the binki then put it back in her bed. When naptime arrived, she grabbed her binki and shoved it in her mouth. Of course something didn't feel right, so she looked at it strangely and gave it to me. "Oh sorry honey, it must be broken, do you want to throw it away?" Oddly, she said yes (aha my plan was going better than expected). Of course after she herself threw the binki away, she wanted "anoder." When I told her there wasn't any more, she wanted her's back from the trash. We battled back and forth, until she weepinly agreed to sleep with a stuffed piggy. Ten minutes later I heard screaming from her room, in which I came back to find all of her stuffed animals thrown out of her crib, and a red faced girl, screaming "NO PIGGY! BINKY!" After close to an hour, she finally went to bed.

I was so close to buying another binki, thinking I can't go through with this. My only hope was knowing this too shall pass. Of course today is day 4 of the journey, and she still went to bed crying. The crying is lessoning with each day, but I do hate to see a child cry to sleep. Thankfully Kyra was kind enough to share her favorite stuffed animal "doggy" (I know, we certainly are creative with names) to help her get to sleep. So, hopefully by the end of the week, she should be a pro at falling asleep on her own. And with that mastered, potty training should be a breeze!

Tiny Talk Tuesday

The short ones are chattin away, here's some of the comments they've made recently:

While on vacation:
(Kyra sees her cousin walk up the steps in a nightgown)
Kyra: Mom!! Mom, look what Ellie is wearing. She has on a PJ dress. I didn't even know they made such a thing. Can I get one of those?
(If Kyra likes anything, it's dresses and pj's. The two of them combined together, what could be better?)

While at the store looking for a nightgown:
Kyra: Do you see any pj dresses?
Mom: Not yet, but did you know those were called nightgown's?
Kyra: Well, I call them pj dresses (she said rather emphatically).

While playing in the living room:
Katie: No, no baby! Go to time out (she was holding a baby in her lap).
Kyra: Why is she in time out?
Katie: Uhh, beeecaause....I no no? (interpretation- I don't know)
(I was just impressed that she used the word because. Her vocabulary has been soaring lately.)

While on Uncle's boat going for a joy ride:
Uncle: (honk honk, he had just honked the horn on the boat for kicks)
Auntie: Katie, what was that?
Katie: Ooo, Ooo! A choo choo train! (she then proceeds to whip her head all around to search for the train, while everyone on the boat giggled as she continued to search).
Uncle: (honk honk)
Katie: Ooo, Ooo! Anoder train! (she looks again for a train)
(this drill went on a couple of times, until it soon was a game. She had caught on that it wasn't a train, but of course did her dramatics for show. She doesn't like the attention of course, nooo sir!)

If you'd like to read more tiny talk, just visit Mary's

Happy Anniversary

After our lovely time at the cottage, our plans for my parent's 40th wedding anniversary party took to fruition. My SIL and I had been planning the events for months, and it was finally show time. I have to say, that I had my doubts at times that certain dishes we made or parts of the evening that were planned would work out, but with my SIL's organizational skills and knack for party planning, everything went better than imagined.

The party took place at the new ministry center belonging to my parent's church. It was the first time it had been used for a big event. And it was the perfect place for such an occasion. There was a stone fireplace that gave it a warm touch, beautiful hard wood couches, and the perfect amount of tables and chairs for the number of people who were attending. We began the evening with punch and soft dinner music (compliments of my brother, who is always talented in making the perfect music medly's). During that time, my brother and the hubs were outside cooking the main entree - chicken and beef kabobs, on just about the largest grill I have ever seen (I think the testosterone level shot up just a bit). We then had dinner. The kabobs were complimented with spinach and strawberry salad, red potato and green bean salad, and rolls. I wasn't sure if that was going to be enough food, but it was just right. After that, was a tasteful game of "Who knows Paul and Carol the best!" Turns out everyone did, because amongst my parent's friends are a few cheaters! They were a rowdy bunch to say the least (Dad included). It was fun to see them laugh and have a good time. Finally, came dessert and a slide show. My SIL has a friend that made a bunch of mini desserts that were simply fabulous. There were chocolate chip type scones that we sliced in half to put strawberries and whip cream, coconut covered lime balls, and mini blueberry and chocolate turtle cheesecakes. Hmmm. The slideshow was put together by my brother, who again has a talent for putting the perfect music with pictures. He had a gospel tune put in the movie that had my Dad clappin.

It was truly a joyous time to be had be all. There were memories shared from several friends and family. I was certainly touched by some of the stories shared by close friends. And was glad that my grandparents and aunt were able to travel aways to share in the special day. It was only too bad that my sister and BIL couldn't be there, as my sister's warm comments and brother's humor always add much to a gathering. Nevertheless, it was a very special and fun party that I will cherish for time to come.

My parents are wonderful people of whom I couldn't be prouder. They are caring and supportive to say the least. We love you very much and thank you for all the love you have shown to us and our loved ones.
The centerpieces and cards at each table telling of events/prices of the year.
Look at those master grillers!
The spread
Surrounded by loved ones.

The couple of the hour and their family!

Vacation at the Cottage

My sister, who lives in South Korea, recently made the decision to go back to school and begin her masters degree. For the most part she can do all of it online, but for two weeks out of the year she has to come back to the states for her studies. How fortunate for us that her studies took place right here in Michigan! She asked us long ago if she could stay at our house while she went to school. We were certainly glad to oblige. However, my parents wanted to optimize their time with their daughter too, so what better way than to rent a nearby cottage and create a retreat for the whole family! She could go to class and then come back and chat with the rest of the family, while sitting on the deck overlooking the lake sparkling in the rays of the setting sun. And we could bring our boat and catch fish, or go tubing, and put the kids to bed early while we drank mamosa's, laughed, and took joy in reconnecting with each other. Well....it didn't go quite that way. It was close though. My sister had a little more homework than we imagined (probably even way more than she imagined). So she didn't have a lot of time to sit around and chat. In fact it was probably harder to try and study around kids racing around her chair playing tag or swords with the water noodles (just a tad distracting). While, it would have been nice to visit with her more, we were just glad that she was in our company and we were able to see her for a short bit before going back to a far off land for 6 more months.

We did have a wonderful time together. We went fishing, paddle boating, jumped off the inflatable island in the water, tubed, skiied, sat on the deck of the cottage eating wonderful food, and certainly had plentiful laughter too. My sister in-law and I decided to leave a little early both because we had a little work to do on a party we were planning (more on that to come), and to give Mom and Dad a break from having 5 crazy kids race and sometimes scream around the close quarters. My brother had already left to go home to make the bacon, and my hubs was doing the same (whom we can't thank enough for supporting our vacation habit!) It was a great time with cousins and family. I just love seeing our little ones bond together and play like there is no tomorrow. Thank you Mom and Dad for providing a wonderful environment for us to play and stay!

Melted Goodness

A few weeks ago my hubs and I celebrated our 8th year anniversary. When we were newlyweds, I was a little idealic in thinking maybe we could celebrate each year by going on a mini trip! And we did for the first couple years. We went to Door County one year, Traverse City another year. However, soon commitments at church, my hubs growing corn obsession, and finally having children, happened. It just wasn't a very realistic goal. Nevertheless, we have always gone out for at least a nice dinner. Sometimes it's a rush decision, as in we are in the car literally deciding at the last minute (hopefully we don't have to turn around too much to get to our final destination - did I ever mention we aren't the best of planners?)

Anyway, this year I thought would be much of the same. After just getting done with one vacation, and beginning to prepare for company on and off for two more weeks, I hadn't thought much of where I'd like to go for dinner. We pretty much got a babysitter a day before, and while I got my makeup on that night, I asked the hubs where he wanted to go. "Oh, I have it all planned out" he said (which is what he always says - his way of bluffing his way through it). We then got in the car and I said we should figure out where we were going before we headed out the driveway. He said, no he really had it figured out this time and he wasn't going to tell me where we were going! Now I love surprises, but to be honest, many of my hubs surprises are flops, so I wasn't sure if we were going to a Steak House or Ste*ak and Shake. Sorry honey.
I should have never doubted though, because he brought me to a restaurant I've been wanting to try for quite some time....The Melting Pot. It's a fondue restaurant. I haven't had too much experience with fondue, but we have cheese fondue about once a year with my family and it's always so much fun.

I just have to say, not only was this experience fun (even though there were no fondue stick wars), but it was just about the best meal I have ever had! We had a four course meal, beginning with cheese fondue and dippers (veggies, bread, and apples). Then we had a delicious salad. Followed, was the meat broth where we cooked a plethora of meats (shrimp, jerk pork, chicken, fillet mignon, and butternut squash ravioli), and wonderful sauces to dip them in. The meat practically melted in our mouths. I don't think I have ever had such tender meat. There was so much food too, that we had to take some home or we wouldn't have had room for dessert (which we had to save room for, because that was the best part!). For dessert, we had a banana's foster fondue - fresh bananas, with melted white chocolate, and caramel. Mmmmmm. My mouth is watering now just remembering it. And you wouldn't believe all the dippers they gave us to dip in that wonderful goodness. Although bite size, we had brownies, strawberries, pound cake, coconut crusted marshmellows, rice crispie treats, bananas, and even cheesecake! It was seriously giving me the shivers as I ate!

Okay, now that I have my own mouth watering (and probably your's too), I'll come down from my high. It was a wonderful meal and a wonderful year. As with many marriages, we have had our ups and downs. But this year has truly been a blessing. I am blessed to have him as my husband. He is both caring and hard working. And although this was one great meal we had together, his love for me is sweeter than any banana's foster I could ever eat. Thank you for 8 years of companionship honey!

Tiny Talk Tuesday

It's been a long time since I have had anything to write about kiddo chat. Perhaps it's the fact that summer is flying by, or maybe their comments keep slipping my brain, whatever the reason I haven't been able to catch those bloggable quotes. However, the other day we were sitting at the dinner table when Kyra said something. Immediately, my hubby and I looked at each other and said, "that's blogging material!" So, here goes:

At the dinner table:
(Katie's giggling somethin fierce!)
Aunt Aub: Katie, you are so cute, I think I'll take you to my class.
Kyra: Hey! You can't take her, she's ours!
(so glad she doesn't want to give her sister away.)

While getting dressed:
(Kyra starts pulling up some itchy pants)
Kyra: These pants are making me nervous.
(then later that day while I'm making some dinner...)
Kyra: Mom?
Mom: Yes?
Kyra: I think you're making me nervous!
(Evidently I use that phrase frequently, oops. Note to self, don't let her see what a worry wort I am!)

While reading a book:
Mom: What color are these flowers?
Katie: Flowers
Mom: Yes, they are flowers, but what color are the flowers?
Katie: Mmmm....maaaybeee ORANGE?
(It was just cute to see that she was saying maybe for every color we looked at. Guess you had to be there)

Katydidms:
"poon" - spoon
"I pilled!" - I spilled

If you'd like to read more tiny talk, just visit Mary's

Playing Catch Up

I've always been one of those people that thinks, if you haven't had the opportunity/time/desire to write in your blog, don't worry about it. There's no need to apologize to people or feel guilty for not writing a certain quota for the week, after all life happens! Yet, here I am looking at my blog and feeling compelled to write something because the page has been stuck on Katie's swollen eye for two weeks (just what every one wants to stare at)! Oh well, so much for living by your own advice.

Summer certainly has been going by quickly though, as I'm sure many of you can attest to. We've had our 8th anniversary, family vacation again, party planning, my sister visiting from South Korea to catch up with, children to keep up with (does the energy ever end?). The list goes on. I'm sure I'm not as busy as many, but we certainly haven't had ice cold tea in our hands, watching the sunset go down (well, maybe some of the time). And while I would have loved to write about some of the wonderful memories we have made, or cute comments said by kids in the past two weeks, I think the stories will have to wait another week or so, or just go unsaid and live in our brain bank for the time being. I hope you all are having as wonderful a summer as we have been having, or at least had time to enjoy the beautiful weather from time to time.
Summertime

See the shining sun.
See us play and run.
Summertime, oh, summertime,
We are having fun.
Watch us as we play.
We play and run all day.
Summertime, oh, summertime,
Please don’t run away.

~Author Unknown~