Monday, December 31, 2007

A last look back on 2007

As we are bringing in a new year tonight, I thought I would share my blog highlights from 2007

January: The year started off with illness. Yuck!

February: We celebrated Rara's birthday and surprised the kids with an overnight outing

March: We had a couple fires, a lesson on why to buckle up, and J-Bird had thoughts on his Grandpa being in the war

April: We got a new car and painted the living room

May: We saw the lake sturgeon running, so cool! Knight and I also went on an overnight date

June: Rara had surgery, then J-bird had to get in on the action too

July: The kids receive a threatening note and we had our first family kayaking trip

August: Our boy becomes a peddle pull champ and Desti turned 10

September: The month of the derby, corn, and the sale

October: J-Birds birthday and a trip to Duluth

November: We added to our family

December: Our newest family member had her babies

Now as we look forward to 2008, these things we will put behind us, and look forward to the future. Hoping that you have a great 2008

Friday, December 28, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen of the best memories from Christmas 2007.

1. J-Bell and Grandpa golfing 18 holes on the wii

2. J-Bird opening a pair of gloves from Grandma and getting very excited, exclaiming sincerely "this is EXACTLY what I needed!"

3. Mom deciding that this Christmas she will make ME her lasagna. What a wonderful treat, even if she did encourage me to share it with the rest of the family.

4. Uncle M, when trying the wii boxing nearly punched Aunt M, not knowing you punch toward the tv, not the person your boxing.

5. The kids playing the card game "pig" with Grandma in order to figure out who picks out what present.

6. Watching Rara play the new karaoke game, standing on a chair with a headset on. We couldn't hear the music so we just listened to her belt out "Shout to the Lord"

7. Finishing the Jesse Tree. I love doing new things to focus our minds on the meaning of Christmas.

8. Seeing people we don't normally see and talking to people we don't normally talk to. Family get togethers are fun.

9. Having Christmas morning at home. Normally we are staying with someone. We were home because of the puppies. A great way to spend Christmas morning playing with the new gifts from Knights side.

10. After spending time convincing Knight to let us bring the wii to his side of the family, it working out so well that now Grandpa wants one so he can golf in the winter. Hee Hee, I was right yet again!

11. Having an over-abundance of food. One member on my side brought 9 dozen buns and enough lunch meat to fill the buns...all for 24 people. Add that to ALL the other food and we can't say we are not blessed

12. Finding out about real need in our community and being able to bless others. Nothing is better than giving.

13. This year the focus seemed to be off the presents and onto the people. We didn't get a lot of "stuff". We are all happy and thankful with what we have received. We did not have to rearrange our house. And yet the kids have more memories of time spent with the family to cherish.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Frisco Christmas Lights - Wizards in Winter

I am always amazed at how people choose to use their talents. Merry Christmas to all. Enjoy the video

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Envisioning the Christmas story

Over the last week I have heard a lot of people telling what they envision when they think about certain aspects of the Christmas story. Some have been pretty neat to envision, others have been completely different from what I envision.

One I have heard is of the angles that brought the good news to the shepherds. This person is picturing the angles at the edge of heaven, peering down on the earth, then running back to God and asking "Is it time?" The angels understanding what is going on, so excited to be the chosen host to come and proclaim the messiah for the first time. Then the peer go peer down on the earth again, wait as long as they can stand it, then run back to God again and once again ask "Is it time yet?" Such a neat picture.

Another is of the innkeeper. This man being gruff, somewhat disheveled just peeking out the door and roughly saying "There are no rooms. Go away!" Mary and Joseph begging, pleading for somewhere and him motioning with his head "You can stay there, in the barn. Take your donkey and get out of here."

I don't see the innkeeper this way. I pictured more of someone who offered what little he had. Humbly saying "I'm sorry. All I have is the barn, but there is a corner that is pretty clean, and it is warm. That is the best I can possibly do."

I wonder how it all really went down.

Friday, December 21, 2007


For years, I have admired those I know who scrapbook. Their pages are beautiful, with love, thought, and energy poured into each layout they have created. I have actually shown up to crops just to watch those with the talent, and willingness to lovingly create a keepsake for themselves and their children work. I would think to myself....

Good for them!

Oh, did you think that I actually wanted to join them? Ha! Silly, silly person. If you thought that you don't know me well enough.

Yes, the pages are beautiful. Yes, they are creating a treasure with their own hands.

But everything is, what's the word?

Picture perfect.

That just aint me.

I would love to say that I have my house beautifully decorated, ready for company at a moments notice. I would also love to say that I have faithfully recorded the important things that have happened in their lives for them to go back and reminisce.

Yeah, they'll have to read my blog for that. Most big things make it to the blog at least.

But last weekend we had Knight's extended family Christmas get together. Everyone was able to make it. Knights Grandma and Grandpa are still around to bless us with their love and we are so glad that our kids have been able to get to know most of their great grandparents. I had decided that I wanted to get prints of some of the pictures that were taken. They had taken a shot with everyone, and then each of grandma and grandpas' boys' families as they are in 2007. Then I decided that I should try to put them in a nice book.
As I was looking at photo albums and scrapbooks today at the store, I came across a digital scrapbook set. Remembering that I had purchased Photoshop Elements this fall, but never took the time to figure it out, I sat down on the computer today and figure it out.
And I did. Yeah me!
So here is my first real attempt at digiscraping. I think maybe this type of scrapbooking I can handle.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thursday Thirteen--Christmas Favorites

My top 13 things about Christmas(no particular order):

1. My Bethlehem village

2. Buying for my kids

3. Having all the family together

4. All the lights everywhere especially Irvine Park

5. A month focused on Christ

6. Christmas carols

7. Christmas cards

8. The letters updating us on friends near and afar

9. Cookie Decorating with the cousins

10. Eggnog-ice cold, hold the liquor please

11. Pie-pumpkin and apple, thank you

12. Stockings hanging on the mantle

13. Giving to those we love

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Works for me Wednesday-Christmas gift giving

Years ago, when our kids were little, we had decided that we were going to be somewhat methodical about Christmas with our family. We would have so many new items after spending Christmas with the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins that we would practically have to rearrange our house. Our goal was to teach them the real meaning of Christmas, along with the blessing that they have so much family to love on. It was hard to get the focus where it should be. On this note, we decided that each of our children would receive 3 gifts from us, none from Santa(yeah, we're mean like that). We let them know that Jesus received 3 gifts from the wise men, we will give them 3. We do not say anything about what they may get from the extended family.

I have heard some families take the 3 gifts and look at the symbolization of the 3 gifts from the magi. Gold (a gift for a King) something the child really wants, frankincense (a gift for a priest) something for the child's faith, and myrrh (a burial ointment) something for the child to share as Christ gave to us as he died and rose again. This is neat, we just don't go that far.

Our kids have been very aware of the 3 gifts. We tell them it's 3. No more, no less. In years past when money was tighter, the gifts were smaller, if we had the money for larger gifts, we were happy to get them. This year, the three gift thing was especially helpful. We became aware of some need in our community and Knight and I wanted to help, but we also wanted to give the kids the option of helping. We sat them down and let them know of the need and gave them an option of giving up one or two of their gifts they would get from us, in order to help others. All of my kids opted to give up two of their gifts and have the money normally spent on them, spent on others.

I have been asked by a couple people this year if I get stressed out making everything fair or even when getting gifts for the kids. Honestly, it is never a concern. Everything is fair. They know what to expect, and when given the option to give, they know it will be a sacrifice. Their lack of those other gifts were really not noticed. They had helped pick out those gifts for the ones we helped, and they knew it was coming.

We have already opened our family gifts from each other. With Christmas eve and Christmas day given to our extended families we have made our own family tradition of not focusing on "the" day. We celebrate Christmas all month, the presents are just one small part of it.

Works for me Wednesday is hosted by Rocks in My Dryer. For some really great tips, go there.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Here are the puppies at two weeks. We have Farve (a boy) that is J-Birds puppy for now.

We have Mint (boy) the J-Bell has claimed.

There is Desti's puppy Present (girl)

Ciara has named hers Pickle (boy).

They are SO cute, and the price is right. Ok, who's first????

Homeschool Family

Friday, December 14, 2007

My Christmas Soapbox

If you ask anyone over the age of probably 25 they will tell you that they really don't like the commercialization of Christmas. I hear this a lot this time of year. Normally I overhear it talked about by two ladies sitting in the mall with all their packages at their feet as they are sipping starbucks.

Yeah, I think there are aspects of Christmas that are too comercialized. Actually probably most of it. I am sure their are studies proving that having Santa on a Coke can sells more Coke this time of year, but seriously, I have a hard time believing it. I often wonder if our grandparents felt that Christmas was too commercialized.

Seriously, who is the culprit for making it commercialized? The kids? I.don'! Now, I know I have not come in contact with all the stingy little brats precious children who think they need a room remodel for Christmas, but even if they do, there is a reason for that. Isn't there? If they weren't overindulged in previous years, they wouldn't be expecting bigger and better each year.

Don't get me wrong, my kids love the presents part too. They love getting. They love giving. And it's probably their favorite part. But they also love the other stuff too.

One of my favorite parts are cards. I love reading the letters, getting the pictures, writing the letter, and looking at my card list. And when we get a card in the mail, you would think that each card held money as the kids all get excited to see the new pictures, read the letters, and read the card. Each person on my card list is on there for a reason. They have touched our life in one way or another throughout the years and for that we want to take the time to remember them as we spend the last of the year remembering our blessings.

This year, don't b*tch about how Christmas is way over commercialized and then guilt yourself into spending a bunch of money you don't have on cr*p you don't need and either does the people you are blessing by getting them this stuff. If you hate the commercialization, then change your own pattern by making it something of meaning.

Ok, I'm done. Merry Christmas, and bah humbug!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Hanukkah ham, anyone?

This made me laugh. For those who may not know..."Chanukah" is just an alternative spelling to Hanukkah. Gotta love that delicious Hanukkah ham!

This is a real picture by the way. If you want the original blog post written by the one who spotted it, go here.
Happy Hanukkah to any readers that happen to be Jewish!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen things I hope will happen in 2008 (no matter how far-fetched they really are)

1. Get down to a good "hundred and plenty" number on the scale instead of the REALLY good hundred and plenty I am now.

2. Be better at keeping house

3. Be better at our school schedule

4. Be kinder to everyone

5. Give to others more often

6. Take more energy keeping and developing friendships

7. Play more with my kids

8. Say "yes" more often

9. Eat less cr*p and more healthful

10. Be more faithful in what I start

11. Be more transparent (yeah right!! I'm SO funny!)

12. Look on the positive side more often

13. Be at peace no matter the circumstances

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Christmas preparations

Christmas season is in full swing around here. The tree is up (thanks to the kids). I pulled out the Bethlehem village the other day and have that on display. We have been doing the Jesse tree and really enjoying that as well. The stockings are hung up on the mantle, the presents are neatly wrapped under the tree in my closet waiting to be wrapped. The Christmas letter just needs to be printed, the cards still need to be addressed, and I finally got the kids picture taken and are waiting to get them back from being printed. I still need to get a family picture taken for Grandma, but you would not believe how hard it is to get all of us together with someone else around to take the picture. After all, it IS the Christmas season.

This year I actually planned ahead for the Christmas picture. In previous years, it has been one of those "Hey, everyone get near the tree. I need a Christmas picture!" kinda moments. Whatever they were wearing at the time. We take a couple of shots, pick the one where the kids look fairly normal, and be done. This year I found coordinating sweaters, cute little hats for everyone (Yes, J-Bird had one. We will find it now that the picture has been taken), and we waited for the puppies to come so we could get them in it too. Well, don't tell a momma dog to just relax in front of a bunch of kids for a Christmas shot when she has 3 day old pups. Doesn't' work. So, we took shots of each of the kids kids holding "their" pup, and a group shot to go in the Christmas cards. We actually got some cute shots, but it looked better in my head. For one thing, we didn't have snow until 3 days ago, and I was thinking an outside shot may be possible. That was before we had a foot of the white stuff dumped in our lap. Second, I have hams, not children. They are continuously flashing a gansta sign (even if they have no clue what a gansta is), making faces, coming up with different facial expressions, and poses. This is the one time of year that I want to prove that my kids are sweet, normal, little angels. Instead, they prove that they really are a product of me.

Poor kids.

Monday, December 03, 2007


The puppies have finally arrived. They came on Sat night in the middle of the night. I woke the girls up so they could watch these little ones enter into the world. Allie is a good mom who knew exactly what to do when the time came. (Our last dog did not and we needed to break open the sacs for her)

All of the dogs hang out in the pool all the time. Allie is gracious enough to let us hold her pups for a little. What a blessing to be a witness to such a cute miracle of life. Now we can take our Christmas picture.