Welcome to my blog! Here you will find out what my family and I are up to!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

School's out!

Yesterday David had his last day of school. It seems every year goes by even faster than the last. What a blessing his school, teacher and class has been. He has done very well with his peers and in his school work. We have seen him grow and mature so much this year. He's a pretty neat kid with a great caring heart. I snapped the traditional last day of school photo with his teacher as I came to pick him up. We will miss her, but thankfully she will be just down the hall next year!

In May we had the privilege of a visit from my cousin Crystal. She lives in California and we haven't seen her since our visit to San Francisco over a year ago. She was a frequent visitor when we lived in Colton as she lived only an hour away. She got to stay almost a week with us here and we had fun showing her around our unique area. We went to Shipshewana and learned more about the Amish and Mennonite people and their history. We ate lots of chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes and pie, pie, pie! She toured the RV Hall of Fame museum with Mark and Luke and she drove to Ohio to visit some of her friends that live there. We made her earn her keep by working her my mom's garden (ok, she wanted to. We tried to tell her she didn't have to do any work!). She sweated and huffed trying to break up the hard ground with the cultivator. Here she is taking break with the kids.

The garden is coming along nicely. The plants are almost all planted and there are already strawberries growing on the kids strawberry plants!

While Crystal was in Chicago, she picked up these t-shirts for the kids from the Field Museum. They absolutely love them and want to wear them all the time. Here are my little fierce dinosaurs and their new favorite shirts. Thanks Cyrstal! They had a great time with her and just loved having her here.

Hannah got a bonnet from Yoder's Department Store in Shipshewana. I think she looks like Holly Hobby! She loves it! No outfit is complete without a pink satin purse and some sparkly pink flip flops.

We are finally getting some warm, sunny weather. Perfect weather for sprinklers! The kids had a great time! If you can believe it, we had to come inside about 1/2 hour after I took these photos. The dark clouds rolled in fast and we had a thunderstorm that lasted all evening.

I haven't figured out where Hannah learned to pose like this. She did this the second before I snapped the picture!

Probably the biggest change we have had this month is that my mom moved out of our house on the 26th. I was so sad to see her move out, but love that she has a place of her own now. She needed the space. Her remodels are coming along slowly, but she is getting settled and unpacked. Can't wait till everything is finished. It's going to be beautiful!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Time for a quick update

Life has been busy around here lately. Spring has finally sprung with no sign of snow in the forecast. We've been busy watching our bulbs grow, planting new plants, weeding, and enjoying the wonderful weather. David has started his first year in Little League with his first game last Saturday. The kids have less than one month of school left till summer vacation.

We've been enjoying our first spring here in Bristol. It is so amazing to watch the woods come back to life. The trees are just now getting their leaves back and the underbrush is getting thick. I went out to the woods to plant a few baby trees yesterday and got thoroughly scraped up by the black raspberry branches. Luckily the poison ivy has not returned yet. Our pink magnolia is in full bloom and the trees are a flush with white and pink blooms all over town. I am continually amazed at the changing landscape. You truly haven't experienced spring until you've lived in the midwest. We went from a barren, snow covered landscape to an alive, flowering and green one. It is like in the Chronicles of Narnia movie when the snow starts melting and spring appears, except it is taking a lot longer!

Change is in the air all around us. My mom has bought a house here in our subdivision and is in the process of moving her things in. She is planning on doing some remodel changes to the house like re-carpeting, painting, and landscaping. She will be moved completely in a few weeks when the carpet gets done. I'm happy for her that she finally has a place of her own, but we miss her already. She has been living with us since September and it has worked out really well. She has become a seamless part of our household. The kids are always asking where Grandma is. "She's at her house" I say. Luckily her house is in walking distance and the kids get to go over frequently to "help" her.

We've hosted several family get-togethers since my last post. Our house seems the perfect place to be for the 20+ gatherings. Just this past weekend we had the family over plus some old friends from Marion, IN for a surprise party the celebrate the 70th birthday of Mark's dad. He was pretty surprised! He was delighted to see some of their good friends from his old church family. It was a beautiful and special day.

Tomorrow is Luke's 5th birthday! I am bringing cupcakes to class today and Luke is so excited! As usual, I can't believe how old he is! I remember the day he was born. My tiny little peaceful baby with the white tipped blond hair. He is constantly talking and is nonstop action. He loves to play with David and Hannah and test all his boundaries with me. I can't wait to see what this next year with bring!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

David's 8!

Wow does time fly! I can hardly believe that my little tiny baby is now a big 8 year old boy. For some reason when you have a baby you are just not prepared for that day to come. This year David requested a "cousin party" because he was the only one that hadn't had one yet. Each of the previous years we celebrated his birthday with our friends and their kids, and some of my family members. Last year he had a classmates party. 

Thankfully the day of his party was a warm 60 degrees. We had a fun day with 2 of  Mark's sisters and their families, Mark's parents, my mom, and Mark's cousin from Ohio, his wife and 2 kids. We had 12 kids all together ranging from age 2 to 17. Most of the day was spent outside on the playground, the sandbox, playing badminton in the back yard and basketball on the driveway. Our official party activities included painting small wooden race cars and racing them down the track Mark and the kids built and painted. 

We did the usual present opening, pizza and cake eating, and general socializing. The kids had a blast playing together. The adults enjoyed conversation and a few great laughs. We really enjoyed the day and our extended family. Luke's observation at the end of the day kind of summed it all up. He said, "Mom, that was a great day, wasn't it?"

Monday, March 02, 2009

Long, cold winter

Welcome to March! It's almost spring and we are still way below freezing here. We woke up to -4 wind chills this morning and it's currently 17 degrees out there. You'd never know it for the sun is shining and it looks like you could just go for a walk without gloves, hats and winter coats. We spent the rest of January, and all of February (save a week of warm temps) playing in the snow, shoveling snow, driving on snow covered roads,  and generally freezing. We did take a short vacation over winter break to an indoor water park just north of Chicago. It was so nice to forget about the weather outside and swim, waterslide and have fun with the kids. We didn't leave the water resort for 2 1/2 days. It was a shocker when we left the last day and it had snowed the night before.

I took some more photos of our land and the surrounding on the 22nd of February, the last time we had significant snow. We got about 4-5 inches and it was gorgeous outside. 

I enhanced these in photoshop to bring out the color a bit and brighten them. 

I also got a shot of Luke helping us shovel the driveway. He's wearing the new "Igor" hat that my mom brought back from her trip to California.

The kids have been good. Hannah is almost 2 1/2 years old. We started potty training her last week. She's doing well, but we are still not completely there yet. She is growing up so fast and starting to look like a toddler and not a baby. Although she still has that innocence and softness that babies have. I wish she would stay this way forever sometimes. She is talking a lot now. She is speaking in sentences more and more and is even saying prayers with the boys at night. Her's go something like this "Waterpark, Jesus, Mommy, Daddy, David, Luke, Church, Amen".

David started playing basketball through the Upward program here. He is doing great and is learning a lot. I am enjoying his games. They are fun to watch and sometimes really entertaining. First and second grade boys are a hoot. We are so thankful for the program they run here. All of David's games are at his school and he gets to play with and against some kids in his class.

Here are the silly kids who would not pose for a photo yesterday before church. Try as I might, this is the best that I could do. 

Signs of spring are just around the corner despite the temps. Mom just bought a cold-frame to start her garden and the seeds got planted today in cell packs. Hannah was her little "helper". She took her job very seriously. Tomatoes, chili peppers and brussel sprouts were started. We should be able to transfer them to the ground in 6-8 weeks. Hopefully the frost will be gone by then!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lots of photos

Here are a few photos from this week. We have LOTS of snow. About a foot and a half on the ground and we are expecting more this week. We have been shoveling non-stop! Today was unbelievable. It was coming down so fast and thick. This is our back yard as of about 1/2 hour ago.

This is the snow bank on the side of our driveway by our garage door. It's higher now that Mark just shoveled off 2 more inches about 10 minutes ago.

This is the woods behind our house. We have cut a path through to the meadow and there is a bird feeder on the right side.

Here is a shot of our patio table on our deck. 

On Sunday we went sledding in our front yard with the boys. David has mastered the snow board sled pretty good!

Luke can snowboard as well, but loves the tube sled too.

Hannah comes out to sled too, but she was napping during this sledding session. Here she is sporting her pig tails. She only allows them to stay in for a few minutes before she rips them out. 

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Back into the swing of things

December always seems to fly by so fast. Those 2 weeks vacation were wonderful, but over too fast. We had lots of activity this year in our house. We had good friends from Chicago, David and Tekla Moller, come stay with us the weekend before Christmas. We had a great time sledding, playing with the kids and catching up. We hadn't spent significant time with them in years and we had never met their 3 year old daughter. We are planning a get together with them in Chicago the end of this month.

Mark's sister Julie and her family also came for a visit from Iowa and stayed at our house for a few days, just after the Moller's left. They have 3 daughters and a infant son. It was so good to host them and to meet Isaac for the first time. He is the spitting image of his father Pat. It was uncanny. He is a happy, alert, and delightful 5 month old baby. 

For Christmas day we had Mark's parents and grandmother over for the day. We had a quiet morning (after the wrapping paper melee of course) with the kids to enjoy their presents and then we had a relaxed afternoon visiting with our guests. I cooked a 20 lb. turkey that day for dinner and to prepare for the 27 people I needed to feed on Saturday. It turned out perfect thanks to my mom who suggested that we cut off the dark meat when the breast was done to perfection. We popped the dark meat back in the oven to cook some more while the white meat rested in on the counter. Thanks mom or doing all that carving.

The entire family came over on Saturday to do our group Christmas get together and present sharing. We usually do a name draw and each cousin gets one present. Now there are 14 cousins so that event is quite chaotic. At first we went from youngest to oldest for the present opening order and by the time we got to David all order had gone out the window. We shared 2 meals together, played with toys, ran around the house (it was raining that day, unfortunately), and the Paffs brought their Wii to play on our large theater screen. My boys are in love and have been begging for a Wii ever since. I just tell them that they can play it with the Paffs, but we are not a video game family so we can't get one. "Awe Mom! Why can't we be a video game family???"

School has started up again and the boys are back into a routine. David started Upwards basketball last night as well. 

I cast on for a new sweater yesterday made with Cascade 220 heathers wool (excited about it :), I've stepped down from my design team position with Coordinates Collections (ending 3 years with this wonderful company), I'm fighting a sinus infection (blah), and I can't wait to see what 2009 will bring!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Crazy beautiful weather

Since my last post we have had snow on the ground almost every day. Most of the time it covers the lawn completely or partially and only a few days it has melted completely. A few days ago we got about 4-5 inches of snow and then we had an ice storm. It wasn't particularly bad. We got about 1/4 inch of ice and we didn't lose power thankfully. No tree branches broke either. We just got a beautiful layer of sparkling ice on everything. I spent about 1/2 hour yesterday taking photos with my macro lense.

This is the Japanese maple by our front door. I think this is my favorite photo.

I got some great photos in the woods too.

and here is one of my mom's bird feeders.

Today we got a strong wind storm from the arctic and our temps are down around 0 degrees F. The wind chill temp is -24! We went sledding yesterday, but today we are spending the day in our warm house. Hoping again that our power stays on. The lights have been flickering all day.

Mark has Christmas day off this year, but has to work the day after. We are getting together with all of his family at our house on the 27th. We are going to meet our newest nephew this week as well. Mark's sister Julie and her family are driving from Iowa to spend Christmas here and we get to meet Isaac for the first time. He is about 5 months old and we can't wait to see him!