Thursday, December 31, 2009

Snow Bunnies

Here in Minnesota we got hit with a big storm before Christmas. I never heard final numbers, but between 12-15 inches ended up falling I think. When we came back after Christmas we were hoping some of the snow had disappeared, but nope. It's all still here.

The bulk of the snow fell Wednesday night into Thursday morning. Santa was able to get through it and visited us that night so we opened up our presents Thursday morning. One other present we didn't expect? One of our neighbors had snow blowed 8+ inches off our entire driveway and sidewalks before we woke up. We're having snow flurries today, and I just saw another neighbor shoveling our sidewalk. Those Christmas cookies I delivered last week must have been better than I thought.



Will was not happy that I thought his hat was cute.


John took Katie sledding in the back yard. Not much of a hill, but just right for her...even though the snow was up to her thighs and made it hard to walk.



John dug out a snow fort for the kids to crawl in. Will took it upon himself to fill it back in.
He also knocked over John's baby snowman. Brutal.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Almost forgot...

In all this Christmas hoopla, I almost forgot to tell you about Katie's birthday. Her birthday is actually in June, but that would mean her HALF birthday is in December. And as you know, when you are 5, half birthdays are almost as important. They seem to lose their luster around 15 or so.

Because the children with summer birthdays never get to celebrate them at school, their teachers encourage them to celebrate their half-birthdays. Instead of bringing candy or sugary treats to school they suggested donating books to the school library in honor of the child. They get a sticker with their name in the book. Thanks to the book sale at the library this past fall, I got a few new books that were in great condition. So Katie donated two books, and passed out stickers to her classmates.



Katie's teacher makes the awesome birthday crowns which they get to wear, and are almost as tall as the child. The silhouette picture in back is something that Katie made at school. Do you remember making those? I do. Glad the tradition is still alive. :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas haze

We are now in the haze of post Christmas. The kids are trying to remember what to play with, I'm trying to remember what I ate. At home we've been having jelly beans with breakfast...at both grandma's houses it's been open season on cookies and cheese curds.

So what did the kids get? To make a long story short, they got things they wanted. That's always a good thing. Katie and I just finished playing Monopoly again...in which she whipped my butt for the second time in a row. The cute twist is that she sincerely feels bad when I am broke and without a pot to piss in. I told her I'd kick her butt next time and it made her feel better.

Will is busy with tractors and trains. He makes them talk to each other and seems to really get involved with them. The funny thing is that Katie doesn't even try to play with them. They are of no interest to her.





The night before....anticipation...






Will dominated his authority over Gracie at Grandma Mary's.

Can you tell who had a long day?
Yes, he really fell asleep during this story. It was 7:15 pm.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Yes, Virginia There Is A Santa Claus

* copied from www.lettersofnote.com/2009/12/yes-virginia-there-is-santa-claus.html


In 1897, on the advice of her father, eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a short letter to the editor of New York's now-defunct newspaper The Sun in which she seeked confirmation of Santa Claus' existence. In response, Francis Pharcellus Church published an editorial - entitled 'Is There a Santa Claus' - which went on to become, and is still, the most reprinted English language editorial in history. Interestingly, in 1997 Virginia's great-grandson appeared with the letter on the Antiques Roadshow, where it was valued at $20,000 - $30,000.

Question:

Dear Editor,
I am eight years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says "If you see it in the Sun it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O'Hanlon.
115 W.95th St


Answer:

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank GOD! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What a week!

Where have I been? You may be asking. I haven't had a chance to get a post up this week. It's just that time of year, I guess. BUT, the good news is that I am almost done with my holiday to-do list. All the baking is done, the teacher, bus driver and neighbor goodie bags are all done. My Christmas cards are done, my shopping is done and ALMOST all of my holiday wrapping is done.

I have been hoarding gifts for the kids since about mid August. There were some great garage sale finds that I stuck away and I got some deals on eBay and Amazon months ago before the holiday prices set in. Our library also had a book sale in the early fall. I bought a BUNCH of children's books...probably 40. Which totaled $8.00. I've split them up between the kids, wrapped them in groups of 3-4 and BOOM...suddenly I have 10 presents for them to open.

I would say that I spent around $70-$80 per child. I don't think that's out of line, and they'll be opening about a dozen presents each. Hopefully it's an all day affair. And since I've been gathering things over the last 5 months it really doesn't feel like I've spent much at all. I wonder what the average family spends per child this time of year? (a.k.a. Who loves their child the most? :) )

Katie was in the church Christmas program this past Sunday. She was a sheep. Almost everyone was a sheep, but she's the only one who saw it fit to wear her sheep's hat for the whole show. And she got to sing. I got a lot of comments from members of the church about how fun it was to watch her and what a terrific job she did.


Also - I wanted to wish my sister, Janet, a speedy recovery after her surgery yesterday.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas cookies

Katie did such an AWESOME job helping with holiday cookies this year! We had to make 6 dozen Christmas cookies for church. They have a cookie walk where people bring a bunch of their own cookies, then get to take an assortment of OTHER cookies home.

Katie did almost ALL the rolling out of the dough...and pretty much ALL of the actual cookie cutting. It was messy, but it's supposed to be. We have plenty of cookie making ahead of us too...we need more for the neighbors and more for Katie's teachers and bus drivers. But we seem to be on schedule. :)



Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Some rejected holiday card shots

Here are some shots we decided not to use....although....they would have been really cute too.










Monday, December 7, 2009

Let the hoiday season begin...

We got our tree up last Friday along with all the other decorations around the house. Last year after Christmas I picked up 5 packages of pine garland for $1.00 a piece. Now that we have a wood railing I always wanted to decorate it with garland. We just did one side because the kids use the other side to go up and down the stairs.




Katie and I went through the ornaments this year while Will was taking a nap. This is the first year Katie has helped beginning to end. She remembered a lot of the ornaments and always likes hearing stories behind them. Here are some of my favorites too...

- Our seashell ornament from Key West bought the year before we got married there.
- Katie's First Christmas Ornament that she always insists on playing with.
- Will's First Christmas Ornament - a mini stocking from the $ store that I personalized with puffy paint.
- The 'parents-to-be' ornament that we bought before Katie was born.
- The ornaments that John and I bought together for our first Christmas (living in sin) :)
- My aunt Carol's cardinal ornament that will be on our tree for the first time this year.


I have a story for every ornament on our tree. Our tree may not be the biggest, the straightest or the fullest tree, but once we get our decorations on it, I wouldn't trade it for anything. (Although next year we may give a REAL tree a chance.)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Funny


Finally. Some good news.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The "Iowa" Santa

We were down in IA for the Thanksgiving holiday. We noticed a sign for a local farm supply store that advertised Santa being there on Sunday from 1-3. What luck! John and I thought it would be fun to try and take them.

I told Katie that we were going to try to see Santa while we were there. She looked thoughtful for a moment and then offered "I wonder what an IOWA Santa looks like?"

Well, he must have been good enough and passed the test because they both handed over their lists and Will was able to get closer to this Santa than the one we saw last year.

It may have helped that we were in Will's kind of store. They had tractors and cow toys and trucks and wagons....you name it, Will liked it.



Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wishy Washy

Now that the Thanksgiving holiday is over it's time to start getting into the posting routine again. We've been out of town for the past few days. Now that we are home (and I can't do laundry) I should post something.

Why can't I do laundry you may ask? Our washer took a turn for the worse last Tuesday. It won't drain or spin. The drain hose is not plugged - we checked. And that's all the manual suggested to check so now we are lost. I called a maintenance company yesterday and they'll be here tomorrow morning to look at it. It'll be nice to get some laundry done cuz the kids and I don't have a LOT of clothing options. :)

With no laundry to do, I have time for some other things at the moment. :) Katie's kindergarten collects box tops, soup labels and Kemps milk caps. Those companies send us money for the school based on how many we redeem. I volunteered to count the collection for November. I figured, how many could there be, right? Holy cow! I'll post a total when I am done, but geez - there has to be 10,000 at least. It's gonna take a few days.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lydia Kay Everson

From Lydia's CaringBridge Website...

"Lydia Kay died this afternoon a little after she was taken off of ECMO. She was held close by her mom and died in her father's arms. She was a fighter and all of the prayers and love that was sent her way sustained her and her parents. Please continue to pray for Julie and Russ, who love and will miss their beautiful daughter."

For those of you that don't know, Lydia's mom, Julie and I were roommates in college. I copied the above text because I didn't want to write anything myself. What the hell do you say?

Yesterday was Lydia's one month birthday.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Funny





Sad, but I'm always up for a good math joke.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Family Fun Fair

Friday night we went to the local elementary school that Katie is set to attend next year. It was your typical elementary school - had that smell that seems to infest every school. The school was having a Family Fun Fair to raise money for their PTO. There were a LOT of kids everywhere, but Katie (and Will) got to play some games and win some prizes. I assume Katie will be riding the bus again next year.

The funny thing is that there is an elementary school MUCH closer to our house, and THAT'S the one I always thought she'd be going to. But, because of boundary lines that are drawn she'll be going to this one instead.

On Saturday I went to visit my friend, Julie and her baby who is still in the hospital. The doctors have found a problem with her lungs and the arteries that connect to the heart. So far they haven't been able to offer much in the way of a solution so everyone is playing the waiting game and praying for a miracle. She also had to have another surgery Monday night to stop some bleeding in her abdomen. She's such a beautiful baby girl! I've put a link on the right of our blog. Feel free to check in on her status, and leave any words of encouragement.

I seem to only have pictures of Will at the moment, so...


Will and his football. He's all boy...


Ok, well maybe not ALL boy...

"I said I'm pretty dang it!"

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Funny

Here is a link to a little Christmas dance. Click here. I know it isn't Christmas yet, but bear with me. I promise - it's worth it.

There may be more of these coming up...be careful or you may just star in one yourself.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A quick link...

Please note that I have placed a new link on the right hand side of the blog. My friend Julie who had her baby a few weeks ago still needs lots of thoughts and prayers. Things are frustrating right now for the family. This link will take you to a website devoted to their little girl, Lydia and will keep you posted on how they are doing.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday to me....

Today's shout out goes to myself. :)

Katie has been talking about my birthday for the past 3 weeks - almost every day. So this morning John announces that it's my birthday and both kids were like, "whatever." :)

John's mom, Mary sent me a card yesterday. I read it at the dinner table. It said, "Have a good day - make sure John does something nice for you."

Katie piped up. "Like paint your fingernails?"

After we got done laughing it was decided that I should probably take care of my own fingernails.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Funny


This would have made a lot more sense to post last week....but I forgot, OK!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Football in Dallas

John was gone this past weekend. His friend, Scot, had gotten Dallas Cowboy tickets and wanted John to go with him. He just didn't get enough of Texas when we were down there last month.

So, EARLY Saturday morning John left for the airport. Katie was VERY upset that he didn't wake her up to say good-bye, but she talked to him on the phone and that made it better. The Cowboys won the game, and John was back in Minnesota around noon on Monday. They seemed to have had a good time. :)

The new Cowboy's stadium - first season here.


As you can see - the seats were pretty good!




The stadium's giant tv screen - showing, of course, the cheerleaders.
I asked John about the cheerleaders - did he like them?
He said they were creepy. (Good answer) They all had GIANT smiles on their face that never changed.



Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A quick shout out...

Happy Birthday today to my big brother, Jeff!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Girl's Night Out

Last Thursday night Katie and I went to see Miley Cyrus in concert. I had bought tickets back in the spring and got incredible seats. We were in the FRONT ROW, on the side of the arena. Basically we were about 8-9 rows back from the actual stage.


Katie and I enjoyed a hot dog before the show, and had a good time people watching as thousands of little girls strutted by in their best rockstar outfit. (Katie and I were pretty low-key. She wore her Hannah Montana t-shirt and jeans...but some of the little girls were ALL glitzed out.)


Miley's brother's band, Metro Station opened for her. I had only heard one song of theirs, and it seemed harmless enough. WRONG! What a HORRIBLE choice for her opening act. They were completely inappropriate. Their lyrics went on about 'taking girls' clothes off' and 'getting high' and 'smoking cigarette after cigarette' and on and on. And that brother of hers was THE most annoying front man I've ever seen. After a few songs Katie and I started to make our way out to the hallways to walk around for a bit, but by then, they were done. In the bathroom after their show all the moms had PLENTY to say about what a horrible band they were.



Soon enough Miley came out and all was better. Katie had a great time dancing and singing along. We wished she would have played more of her 'old' songs, but I think she was kind of over them. Once the first song started Katie and I stood up and got all excited. Then I felt a tap on my shoulder, "Could you sit down please, my daughter can't see." I kind of stared at this mother who felt she needed me to sit down 30 seconds into the first song. As I started to sit, the mother next to me said "You shouldn't have to sit if you don't want to. The concert just started!" Then she turned back to the woman behind us and said "Honey, if you wanted your kids to see, you should have bought them better seats!" SOOOO, not wanting a rumble to break out...I sat down for part of the show...and stood up for some pictures and like 1 song. That's ok - I had a better view of Katie that way. The price you pay for front row seats.... :)




There was a lot of hair flying...it was hard to get a picture.





Originally, this is where I thought our seats were (which was fine), but then an usher moved us to the correct seats about 15 feet closer.



And for those of you interested...here are some quick videos.



P.S. Sarah - they even did a Michael Jackson tribute with Thriller...I thought of you. :)






video

This is a video of Katie dancing - she got even more into it at times than it shows here, but it's cute to see her dancing. Hope it isn't too dark...



video

Saturday, October 31, 2009

BOO!

Happy Halloween!!


Please note Cinderella's sparkley shoes and the cow's tail...each of their favorite traits.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Funny

Our Friday Funny isn't a picture this week - but a statement.

Last night Katie and I went to the Miley Cyrus concert.

Are you laughing yet? Stay tuned for pictures and 1-2 videos. We were ridiculously close...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Good News

One of my roommates from college, Julie, had her first baby last week. She delivered a baby girl via c-section, Lydia Kay. And she is gorgeous!

Unfortunately a few minutes after birth they realized something was not right with her color. PICU nurses ended up taking her upstairs to see if they could help her. It was discovered that there was a problem with her heart. They thought that the pulmonary veins were not connecting to her heart and therefor not supplying it with any oxygen. The decision was made to transport little Lydia to Mayo for immediate surgery.

She was taken via ambulance across the state line and was in surgery for about 5 hours. The doctors discovered that the pulmonary veins looked ok. Instead, the problem was that there were some holes in her heart that needed to be repaired. Lydia was a trooper and did fine during surgery. She was then put on a heart/lung machine to give her little body a break and be allowed to heal. Julie was allowed to leave to hospital the next day - a little bit more than 24 hours after her c-section. Her and her husband traveled to Rochester to be with their daughter.

The updates I have been getting everyday have been good. Lydia is passing her neurological tests. My friends Jamie, Laurel and I visited Julie and her husband Russ last night. Lydia was taken off her heart/lung machine and she seemed to be doing well. The doctors and nurses were working to try to find a balance in her drugs and medications because she didn't seem to be tolerating some too well.

They are hoping to close up Lydia's chest today. That means that hopefully by tomorrow or Saturday Julie and Russ will be able to hold their precious little girl for the first time. They still need lots of prayers and good vibes, so send some their way.





Luckily Julie and Russ got into the Ronald McDonald house today. It's such a wonderful service that they provide people. Hotels are SO expensive and don't offer the comforts of home. Hopefully they will be more comfortable now. We're thinking of you!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkin Carving

After John carved our wall, we thought he was on a roll. After supper he set to work on the pumpkins.

Katie got into it this year, actually happy about sticking her hand in the pumpkin to pull out the insides. Will...not so much.


In the beginning, Will was all set to join in.

And then when he saw what Katie was pulling out...not so much.

John carved a 'happy' face and a 'scary' face - one of our traditions. We also roasted the pumpkin seeds - another of our traditions. A little oil, salt and mmmm...yummy.








video

Speaking of traditions, I think I'm gonna start a new one this year. Underwear and socks for Christmas presents. When I was little I got underwear every year til I was like 15. I swear it was SO embarrassing! It's time to pass that warm fuzzy feeling on. I was thinking it would be good timing to give Will his first pair and see what he thinks. I don't think we'll give Santa Claus credit for these gifts. Who wants some creepy old white haired guy giving you underwear?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Another Brick in The Wall

Ok, ok - it's the only 'wall' title I could think of right now.
This weekend John got so mad he put a hole in the wall. Well...not really. He wasn't angry at all - this is a project we have been meaning to do for a long time. There was a solid wall separating our kitchen and living room on the main floor. We always thought it would be nice to have either a low wall there or a type of 'peek-a-boo' window. So yesterday John sketched an outline on the wall and voila! Suddenly it was gone! (Ok, maybe not that quick, but it really didn't take him too long.)

There was a slight hiccup in the project...wires. We weren't expecting to find any, so of course they were there. There's two outlets near the floor and those wires run straight up and over. So John will have to get some more wire and re-run them around our new window. Eventually we'll re-paint next spring and be officially done...with that project anyway.





Before...







After...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Frog in my throat

Katie got involved in a new program at school. It's called Information Investigators. It's run by accelerated learning teacher and offers an opportunity for some kindergartners to take home kits on all kinds of topics. They are bags filled with books, videos, projects, worksheets and more on a variety of topics like China, Sign Language, Art, Music, The Ocean, Spanish, Cooking, Architecture and more.

So about every 3-4 weeks Katie will get to bring home an Investigator Bag. We'll keep it for a week and check out all the fun things inside. Tuesday she brought home her first one...Frogs! We have videos, books, puzzles, worksheets and more. It offers a chance to really study a specific topic, and gives Katie a sense of "homework". Will likes the fact that they included a Kermit the Frog video.

So if any of you had any burning frog questions that you never seemed to get answered...ask now because we are all experts on the subject.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Funny


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Spicing it up

This summer during my garage sale-ing adventures I had found a sweatshirt for Katie for $.50. It was dark blue, and yes, probably intended for a boy...at least that's what she was convinced of.


I had tried to get her to wear it a couple times and it was a struggle. She made it clear that she would NOT be wearing it to school. I suggested trying to decorate it, and she seemed open to that.


So I bought $2 worth of iron on transfers and had Katie help me in deciding where to put them on her shirt. Those transfers were WAY easier than I expected, and while they may not last forever...they only need to last long enough for Katie to start liking the sweatshirt.




The front...


...and because I had extra - the back.


There may be more projects like this in our future...it was fun and easy.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Will's dresser

This weekend we made a trip to Ikea - our second trip in 5 years.

Will needed a new dresser. His old one had once been mine, then Katie's, then Will's. I bought it used after college for $20. It's a pressed particle board type material and couldn't handle being opened and shut so much. Out of 4 drawers we had two that we could use, and that just wasn't cutting it.

Ikea has some good deals - the only draw back being that you have to assemble everything yourself. I thought I would get started putting it together while John ran some errands, but then I read the instructions and had to wait.


See? I needed a happy helper.


Will jumped right in and wanted to help.



Katie dressed to help, but chose to do her own thing...big surprise.




The finished product....almost
The bottom drawer is missing a piece...but it'll get there.