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 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!