2007 Wrap Up

Oh, Steph, you come up with the coolest things! I had to copycat. Here are the first sentences from the first post of my blog each month in 2007.

January: Today we are busy taking down Christmas decorations.

February: The US Department of Homeland Security provides information on how your family should establish a plan in the event of an emergency.

March: This was taken on Mother's Day, one month before Mark was born.

April: I am back after my week long break.

May: No more highchair!

June: I don't know what it is about summer, but my mood is enhanced.

July: Sunday on our way home from church we stopped at our local farmer's market.

August: First, let me begin this post by saying everyone deserves a blogging break!

September: Have you ever had a day that seemed like you are in a movie?

October: When I started this blog my life was faced with many challenges.

November: In the past few days many things proved to be true.

December: We had a good time stuffing our faces with more turkey Saturday.

Blessings to all of you in 2008!



This Month.....

The Thing I've Been Working On The Most: Preparing for all the holiday events, which have sadly come to an end. But I may need to make a menu up for our friends New Year's Eve. Think this will happen without an unwanted surprise, Steph? It better!

TV Show Worth Watching: Reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond. Makes me laugh every time.

The Christmas Present I'm Loving: Steve surprised me with an one-of-a-kind artist rendition of a favorite photo of my boys in pointillism. You'll see it as soon as I get it back from being framed. Very special.

My Favorite Blog Entry From This Month: Probably this one. I pray Matt is always this helpful!

Blog I Am Always Visiting: The Berger Buzz (Old high school pals, well, not OLD -- you catch my drift!)

Movie I’ve Seen (in or out of a theater): I finally got around to watching United 93. My emotions ran all over the place. One of the best I've seen in a looooong time.

What I'm Most Looking Forward To Next Month: Our family going to this!

Visit Adventures In Babywearing to share your's too!


Down From A Holiday High

Our Christmas celebrations went without a hitch. We enjoyed a service at church Sunday night. Time with families. Sang carols. ATE ATE & ATE!!! And I am still figuring out where to put all the new stuff given by everyone. So far Mark can't part with this garbage truck given by Nana and Papa H. Matt is hooked on his new Xbox 360 games and is practicing on becoming the next Stacker Champion. And my mind is already jumping to next week when this house will be de-greened and back to normal. But let us not forget throughout the year....


(Taken at our home with Matt's cousins during our 2nd annual PJ party.)


May You Be Blessed...I Know I Am!

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy 2008!


My Yuletide 12

So this meme, uh sorry, HOOPLA is going around asking bloggers to reveal 12 random things about yourself that relates to the Christmas season. Thanks, Sheryl, for tagging me! (And to those that have already done it, I've enjoyed reading yours.)

1. When I was young a Christmas Eve tradition for my family was eating at Pizza Hut before going to nighttime mass. The restaurant was always empty, so we never worried if our laughter or storytelling got a little too loud.

2. There is one holiday song I just do not understand: Dominick the Donkey (The Italian Christmas Donkey) My eyes are rolling just thinking about it. It's darn right obnoxious!

3. On the subject of Christmas music, my two favorites are O, Holy Night and Silent Night.

4. One Christmas season that wasn't so joyful was when my brother, Mike, had to have jaw reconstruction surgery during his college break. It was scheduled a few days before Christmas Day and we weren't sure if they would release him in time to come home and celebrate. His mouth was wired shut and looked like a chipmunk all swollen up -- not to mention he was on a liquid diet for 6 weeks. Christmas just wasn't the same that year.

5. We always celebrate with my side of the family Christmas Eve and Steve's side Christmas Day.

6. My mom started this one: when singing the 12 Days of Christmas we divide the "days" and each person has to act their phrase. Watching my father do "9 Ladies Dancing" one year was priceless!

7. We play poker with nickles and dimes with Steve's family. One year I ended up almost $4 richer. And that won't even pay for a venti coffee now -- Starbucks, you are overpriced!

8. I keep all the presents hidden in our basement until Christmas morning. My kids have no idea was to expect!

9. Every year my boys get new sets of PJs. This year Matt begged for Transformers and thankfully I found them online somewhere (Kohls, Target, Amazon, Walmart and even Penney's were out).

10. My mom made Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus out of glass bottles and paper mache 30+ years ago. To this day someone brings in baby Jesus to his crib of hay while everyone sings "Happy Birthday" to our Savior.

11. One of our pre-lit garland strands that wrap around our porch is out. Our local Walmarts does not have any in stock and Steve hasn't had the time to perform the dreaded task of pulling each light out to find the culprit. You should see how this situation is making me feel. You know, Mrs. Everything-Has-To-Be-Balanced-And-Right!!!!!!!!

12. Every year I pray everyone is healthy so we can celebrate Christmas fully. So far this week I've battled a stomach bug (or possibly food poisoning thanks to McD's Southwest Chicken Salad), which also decided to hit me on the way home from our church's candlelight service Wednesday night. I had to pull over twice to, well, you know, and I'll leave it at that. And Matt has Fifth Disease. His cheeks look rosy red as Santa's!!! As long as it's before the 24th, I'm ok.

Now I tag Sunny Side of the Street. Have a great weekend everyone! I will be staying away from all retail stores if possible.



"Falliss Mighty Ducks"

Matt's interpretation for "Feliz Navidad".


"Please, come in!"

I hope you feel welcome as you view areas of our home that make our family's Christmas season special.

Our living room's tree and family room's mantle with more goodies. Perfect to sit by and read my favorite magazine or plan a holiday party.

Matt makes sure to put up the day's "star" every morning. And what I love to gaze upon is our photo wreath. Can some of you spot yours? It will be full by the 25th and my challenge is to arrange the photos so they all fit.

Visit BooMama for more tours and thanks for stopping by!!


Time To Wipe the Dust Off

I am doing better. My guilt is slowly leaving. I guess all moms go through moments of could of, should of and would of. Time to move on....

Right now Steve and I are battling colds. Mark is over his (I think) and Matt remains healthy as a lark. Let me take this time to say a special thanks to chicken soup, Pad Thai (a favorite spicy dish to clear my sinuses), Shower Soothers and coffee. You are wonderful to me!

I am off to rest and recuperate. Ah, sweet sleep.


I Can't Turn Back the Clock

I am suffering from guilt. For those of you that read I was frantically looking for the mini-DV with Mark's birth on it, rest assure -- it was found!

The other day Mark was interested in seeing home movies. I grabbed our not-so-organized stack of DVs in our computer desk's cabinet and started one up. All I did was open up a can of worms! I ended up playing each one to finally label and put them in a basket. Let me also admit that these videos were from 2003. I know! If any major disaster happened yesterday, I missed it.

To watch Matt turn three and witness my pregnant belly holding Mark was special. But as I also watched it hit me that we had much more of Matt's life than Mark's. I started to feel, well, bad.

Honestly, there are some areas of Mark's first year I would like to forget. Maybe it was this or this. Or quite possibly I was preoccupied with this. Like I posted in My Purpose, this specific time in my life was rough and maybe I just wanted to bury it. But now I am regretting I didn't capture enough. Even though that time seemed low and hopeless, I can still grab certain moments that filled me with happiness and contentment.

So I will work through these feelings and know I can grab our digital video camera and make new memories last.

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas 2005

Please accept my apology in advance if I do not get to your page. I am frantically searching for our mini-DV which has Mark's birth on it. Talk about dealing with major guilt!


Promos A-Go-Go

Last night Steve and I decided to wrap the boys Christmas presents. No TV on, just us. It was a time to talk and share. To be honest, we rarely do this after the kids are in bed. Usually we fall down on a couch and start our DVR. So this was a special treat and one that needs to be done more often then not.

While hard at work chatting and wrapping I commented that majority of the gifts were purchased online. Thanks to companies like Amazon and Target, who offer free shipping, it made our gift buying much easier. I also found other sites like All Aboard Toys and The Toy Hunt which had active promotional coupons that saved me more money than if I drove out to our local Walmart. (HINT: Google the site and "promotional code" before checking out. You are bound to find something!) Oh the feeling when you open your front door and find a box in your PJs -- talk about convenience!

Ok, Mark's breathing treatment is almost done. Yes, he started another cold yesterday and like always I have to be on top of any asthma reaction because of it. Thanks a zillion, Caillou, for making breathing treatments sooooo easy! Do you think we can go two weeks without another illness hitting a member of this family? I sure hope so!



Just arrived back from our weekend in Terre Haute, IN. We had a great time -- thanks Uncle Jeff and Aunt Erin for your hospitality. Matt couldn't ask for anything more but to see you guys on his birthday and swim in a hotel pool!

I have tons of unpacking/laundry to do. Photos to download. Suitcases to store. Schedules to get back on. Dinner to create. Blogs to visit. Christmas cards to address. And most of all, looking forward to a good night's sleep in our own beds. (Please forgive me if I don't get to your blog these next coming days -- thanks.)

I will get started on the above while Mark naps and Matt plays on his new Xbox 360 (birthday/Christmas gift). Also, I leave you with a great snapshot my friend took of Mark and I when we attended our school's Winter Fest a week ago.


First Snow Fall

This morning at 6am I woke up to Matt tapping my side.

"Mom, can I go out and help Dad shovel snow?"

"Sure, if it's ok with him," I replied half awake and also thinking he was half nuts to want to go out that early. Off he went anxious to help out and earn a few dollars, not to mention spending time with Daddy out before Steve headed to work. As for me, I rolled over and slept a little more.

I have never understood my son's sleeping habits. Out of the womb he was an early bird and to this day he still wakes around 6am. Even if we tuck the boys in well past 10pm, Matt is still up at his usual time while Mark catches up on ZZZZ's. Other moms say this will change. I'll believe it when I see it!

But I had to rethink this morning. I was proud that my boy was so willing to help his dad out. Talk about early signs of showing a good work ethic!!! And when he came in to get ready for school he found $3 on the table. Trust me, I looked out the window and witnessed Matt shoveling a quarter of the driveway by himself and then some. JOB WELL DONE, SON!

And to celebrate this first snow fall of the year, I started laundry, lit my favorite holiday candle, listened to Mark belly laugh while tickling his feet and now during Mark's nap I will fold clothes while watching "Scrooge". Oh, and I almost forgot, make a cup of coffee!

Wordless Wednesday: 7 Years

Guess who turns 7 Saturday? We celebrated early with Papas and Nana since our family will be out of town visiting Uncle Jeff and Aunt Erin this weekend. Someone is excited! Like my Lego Brick cake? Turned out pretty well with the help of real Lego bricks hiding the faults. I can bake and cook most items with ease, but decorating cakes makes me nervous to the core.


A Little Bit Country?

At first I was flattered to be compared to the likes of Carrie Underwood, but when Steve said his turned into Calista Flockhart, my flattery turned to skepticism.

Thanks, Steph, or should I say Kelly Clarkson?

Go to Adventures In Babywearing to participate!


More Turkey Sandwiches Anyone?

We had a good time stuffing our faces with more turkey Saturday. It felt good to drag Thanksgiving out a little longer. And my contributions were well accepted and, oh, so good.

Matt sure looks scary, but it's hard to get anything serious outta him when Uncle Jeff is around. A good turkey and all the trimmings does a family good -- as you can see! (And thanks to Matt, who took majority of the snapshots you see here....and SOOOO much more.)

When we left we were surprised with a major ice storm. With the help of a sledgehammer and large ice scraper, Steve managed to get our minivan up our steep driveway. Talk about slick!


Turkey Times Two

Tomorrow is our second Thanksgiving dinner with my family. I have a full plate of kitchen duties ahead:
  • Make gluten free brownies and pumpkin bread. (I made this pumpkin bread last week and it was a big hit. So moist and delicious -- every gluten free dieter must try it!)
  • Bake gluten free bread for a stuffing casserole.
  • Put together a new recipe for candied sweet potatoes to pop in the oven tomorrow before we leave.

And in between all this tackle some laundry, play with a toddler and possibly shower. Enjoy your weekend and I'll post photos of our weekend Monday.


Check Your Local Listings!

I remember when I was a child my dad would get out his stash of Orville Redenbacher popcorn, warm up the kettle's oil and get ready to pop a batch of fresh popcorn -- never that microwave stuff, trust me, there is a difference! My mom would get out the reused yellow butter tubs and my brothers and I would pop-a-squat in front of our family room's TV and watch numerous Christmas specials like The Grinch, Rudolph and The Peanuts Gang. How many of you cried when Frosty melted away? I know I was traumatized for days!

I have carried this tradition on to my family, but I admit using microwave popcorn this time around. Come on, it's just easier! And what an inexpensive way to celebrate the holiday season and make lasting memories. Here are some of ours already:

For more inexpensive ideas on how we make our Christmas season fun CLICK HERE!

Wordless Wednesday: What Am I Thinking?

Stephanie and I at our recent bloggers tea party.


Poker Alice

After reading my last couple posts, I completely forgot to mention how much fun we had with Steve's family Thanksgiving Day. (We will celebrate Thanksgiving again with my side of the family this Saturday.)

Every holiday with my in-laws requires a game or two of some type of casino card game -- like Texas Hold'em or regular poker. Here's a glimpse of one in action. It's as if we are speaking a different language! See if you can follow......


2 + 2 + 6 = 10

In between catching up on House and Heroes there is one show that I love to watch: Jon & Kate Plus 8

Does anyone else love this family as much as I do? (And if we had eight children, Steve and I would bicker a whole lot too.) If they can get through a day, then so can I!


A Cup of Tea

Saturday morning was too much fun! Sheryl @ Peanut Butter & Jelly Boats was in town for Thanksgiving and Steph decided to hold a surprise blogging friends baby shower for her. After having 3 boys Sheryl is due with her first girl in April. YAY! Girl time mixed with yummy breakfast eats is nice, but better than that, witnessing Sheryl being drenched in love. It felt great! Here is the line up and make sure to visit each blog to read more about our time together:

(Top pic is of Steph and Sheryl. The bottom is of Happi and I -- we've been friends since high school.)


Busy As an Elf

Signing off until the stockings are hung, our Nativity is set and the pine needles are vacuumed. Plus, I felt adventurous and conquered some Day-After-Thanksgiving sales. YIPPEE!!

UPDATE: We are set for the holidays! Photo to come....


Wordless Wednesday: I Give Thanks

Today I am thankful for my family. Enjoy your Thanksgiving Day and be grateful for all of your blessings!


Oprah, You Let Us Down!

At this very moment I am chatting with my gal pal about Oprah's "Favorite Things" special. Bottom line: we need to refocus, people!

Are things nice to have? Sure. I enjoy having my DVR and HD TV. The internet is a wonderful tool as well as an iPod. But these are temporal. You can't die and take them with you. To witness an audience going all gangbusters over so much stuff was almost sickening. Haven't we said over and over again that Christmas isn't about things, but rejoicing about Jesus being born and being with families? What message are we sending out here? I guess we are getting off to a rough start this holiday season, huh?

What did you think? Sound off!

Oh, and I almost forgot, today I am thankful that I can choose life over stuff and I hope my boys are getting that message too.


Tooth #4

Matt's other front tooth was hanging down and it started interfering with apple biting and waffle chomping. Friday night he requested Mommy Dentist to pull it. It was loose enough, so I felt comfortable.

Today I am thankful for Matt's bravery. (Mark's is a different story.)


MOPS @ 9am

Today I am thankful for my community of believers that surround me and keep me on target. You know who you are. Thank you!


He Was Born In A Small Town

Most of you have listened to John Cougar's song "Small Town", right? Well, that describes Steve's childhood neighborhood to a T. There isn't a 10 minute drive to Target or ample choices of where to eat out -- like Chilis or even a McDonalds. Steve and I were married a year when the town got a Burger King (attached to a gas station) and a few years later they were blessed with Subway.

The hustle and bustle of the holidays are coming soon. Traffic will get frustrating where we live. Shops are crowded. Parking lots become a boxing ring as individuals fight for that premium parking spot. It's enough to drive any person crazy and I realize this time is getting closer and closer. Ugh. I am already trying to remind myself to put on the character of Christ, but it gets difficult.

Thanksgiving Day we spend our time in Steve's hometown with his family and relatives. I absorb the quiet drive out there in the middle of corn fields and farms. I appreciate the courtesy most drivers give at a 4-way stop. For me it's a time to rest before our holiday schedule makes our whole family tired.

Today I am thankful for small towns (especially Steve's) and the simplicity they bring. I look forward to next Thursday. What are your plans?


Wordless Wednesday: Sunday Morning Breakfast

Today I am thankful for gluten free blueberry pancakes and the joy it brings my boys before heading to church.


Parents' Party @ 8pm

I have said over and over again that my boys' early bedtime saves this mommy's sanity and I know my marriage benefits from it as well. In our home that time is 8 o'clock, which leaves a few hours to watch TV/movie, make a late night DQ run (shhh, don't tell our boys) or read some magazines while Steve is engrossed with "American Chopper". Peace and quiet -- a really good thing!

Today I am thankful for my boys' bedtime......and the humor they put into it!


Make a Loop & Pull

Yes, Matt conquered tying his own shoes this weekend. Gee wiz, our family is full of firsts lately! He was dead set on getting these new Sketchers shoes like his daddy, but our one request was if you want them you must tie them yourself.

Today I am thankful for Matt's willingness to learn new things.


We Have Lift Off

Mark said, "Pee pee," while running around naked after his bath last night. I asked him to go to the potty and he grabbed the toddler seat, put it on the toilet and sat. This coming from the boy who hasn't desired to go on the commode at all.

We heard the wonderful sounds of urine hitting the toilet water. YEAH! Praises rang throughout our home.

Today I am thankful that soon we will be diaper free and Mark isn't petrified of the john anymore.

UPDATE: Ditto for Saturday night. Twice in fact!


Smarty Pants

Parent-teacher conferences were Thursday. No surprises really, except we found out Matt tested above average in reading and was placed in an accelerated reading group. My heart swelled with pride and I am sure his teacher caught me holding back a gleeming grin. This sure made my day!

Today I am thankful that my son absorbs education like a sponge and I pray Mark follows in his big brother's footsteps.


Days of Thanks

One thing I have come to appreciate about blogging is when I am having a bad day I can look up a time when I posted about a previous life battle and know that God worked everything out. In the midst of any rotten situation it is hard to look for the light at the end of the tunnel, but it is there....eventually you find it.

Thanksgiving is approaching. It is a time to be, you guessed it, thankful. From now until Thanksgiving Day, I promise to post something that I am grateful for -- little or big. And during a future trial I will look upon these days of thanks as a promise that our "God is good and His mercies endure forever."

As I type Steve is at a PTO meeting and will be home long after the boys are in bed. In fact there are many nights Steve works late and I am left home holding up the fort and sometimes dealing with not so happy children. However, I am thankful that Steve has a stable job. It allows me to have a choice to stay home and raise our kids without worrying about monthly expenses. This truly is a blessing.


Wordless Wednesday: Cyclops


Absent Minded Morning

When I asked Matt what he wanted to drink with his breakfast, he replies, "Orange juice." I pour him a glass of milk. "Mom, what are you doing?" I don't know.

I headed downstairs to grab a bag of chips for Matt's lunch, then stood in front of the basement's pantry wondering why I was there in the first place.

Then I approach the refrigerator. Open it. I gaze at the unorganized Rubbermaid containers scattered everywhere. Then realize I needed a coffee filter and I wasn't going to find it there.

If this describes today's morning I fear the afternoon.......


Family Weekend

My Aunt Rani and Uncle Bob from KC were in town. Matt and Mark played with their cousins and Uncle Jeff was Mr. Cool with the kids as usual.

Sunday Steve and I had a night out with his co-workers at this place along with yummy eats -- that's if you're a seafood lover like me. Now Steve wants a turkey fryer and I found out I can't aim at anything!

I will get to my blogroll sometime today, but I can't make any promises since this house lacked attention all weekend. And speaking of blogrolls, our pastor is dipping his feet into the Cyberspace river now. Check it out!


"William Tell" Mom


A New Day

In the past few days many things proved to be true:

  • You can't plan everything accordingly.

  • Worrying can really make you sick.

  • My parents are the best ever.

  • Sleep is healing.

I never mentioned that last week on Friday night Matt came down with the horrible stomach flu. To me that is the worst sickness ever. It spreads and breeds and is so messy to clean up when it happens in a child's bed. Days passed and I thought all of us were in the clear.

Steve was out of town at a school saftey workshop and on his way back Tuesday that dreaded virus hit him. He was able to hold off until he walked in the door. Then Mark complained about his tummy that afternoon. He never threw up, but I was changing lots of diapers if you catch my drift.

So while everyone was dropping like flies in my home, I started to worry about myself. I had to bake brownies for Matt's class party. I was the room mother for Wednesday. Matt was so excited to have him mommy in class and I feared I wouldn't be there. And since my parents' nieghborhood lacks small children, they usually come over Halloween day for a meal and help pass out candy. I had all these plans and my tummy was sick with anxiety that all wasn't going to work out.

I was up all night before Halloween worrying about Steve. Worrying about Mark. Worrying that I could possibly be knocked down sick. Mark slept all night and Steve was fine. I was in knots for no reason! I think I slept a couple hours and woke up with a headache.

My parents arrived so I could leave for Matt's party. That was medicine for my soul. I helped with costumes, organized games and passed out gluten free frosted brownies which the class all agreed were the "best brownies ever." That compliment totally made my day. I needed that! And Matt was prouder than ever to introduce me as his mom.

I arrived back home and in a couple hours it was trick or treating time. Since a few people in this home weren't ready for my menu of meatloaf and tator tot casserole, everyone made their own sandwich. While Steve relaxed with my parents handing out candy, I took the boys out and Mark caught on quickly. You don't have to train a child to take candy, right? After walking around our main street I met up with some neighborhood friends and Matt was off with his buddies while I took Mark home. This mommy was ready to crash herself!

In a nutshell: Matt came back home, the boys took their baths, went to bed at their usual time of 8pm and Steve and I did the same. This morning I feel refreshed and normal again. Mark is eating French toast and I had my morning coffee. It's a new day and all is well again. Throughout this ordeal God reminded me:

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34

By the way Matt was Anakin Skywalker with the wise counsel of Yoda on the side.


Wordless Wednesday: 3rd Annual Pumpkin Painting

Stay tune Thursday for my boys in costumes. And scroll down for some scary faces too. Have a great day!


No Masks Required

So Halloween is tomorrow. Our family isn't too keen on this grave-loving holiday. Steve detests it really. Houses decorated with zombies, skeletons, ghosts and coffins is just too morbid if you really think about it enough. All the horror movie promos give me the chills and I just don't like that. So here is our way of saying Happy Halloween without spooky masks or Dracula fangs. Just our goofy faces!


A Yoda Mark Will Be

Today at our library's storytime they had a Halloween celebration. All the kids came in costume and as you can see this year Mark is Yoda. (Hum....I wonder what Matt will be? Any guesses?)

He had so much fun. They read stories, sang songs and marched around the library waving "hello" to all the visitors. Afterwards they made a craft and on the way out were given a treat. Mark decided to shove the whole chocolate coin he received in his mouth -- typical Mark! I think it took 10 minutes to finally melt down and chew. To finish our special day I asked Mark where he wanted to go for lunch. "B sicks," he hollered. (Breadsticks) Soooooo.......

We headed for Target to eat at the food court where they serve one of Mark's favorite eats: Pizza Hut's breadsticks! And after lunch we used the extra time to shop for last minute items I need to prepare for Matt's class party this Wednesday. It's my first attempt being a room mom this year and I can't wait!


What Fall Slump?

Ok. Anyone that read about my autumn funk needs to scratch it from your memory. What was I thinking? Why was I such a basketcase about decorations and fall festivities? Why was I assuming my kids were being deprived of orchard fun? I splashed some cool water on my face and got over it. It's a new day!

Matt started fall break Thursday, so we traveled out to visit Papa T (Steve's dad). For those that don't know, he lives on 30+ acres of open farmed land and the crop was just harvested, which means "let's use the area as best we can." We had a blast! We took turns riding on Papa T's ATV, played frisbee, talked, ate and absorbed every moment being a family. Who says you have to go to special events and organized festivities to enjoy this colorful season? I guess I did at first, but these photos changed my mind. And Steve wanted to leave you all with a little something at the end, which shows his love for speed.