Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas card!!!

(Once again, we are not sending Christmas cards out in the traditional way - see the end of this post for more on that...We hope you enjoy this online version! If you regularly read my blog, some of these stories will sound familiar...)
As I looked over last year's Christmas letter, I was reminded of the struggles we believed we had faced. Then I went over the photos from this past year to remind me of any big happenings I could talk about in this year's letter. Amazingly, I found nothing. At first, I thought, "That can't be! There must be some huge earth shattering events I could write about...!" *scrolling, scrolling* Nope. Nothing. I was a little sad. I love writing about the fun stuff we do, which is why I blog, of course. Anyway - I realized that not having any major events over the year means one thing - nothing happened! YAY! Do you how happy it makes me to tell you that we had a wonderfully mellow year? Sure, we experienced some ups and downs, but nothing like the year before! I believe we persevered through the 2008 year and that this year was one filled with new growth!

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

As the year of 2009 began, our family was made up of Mom, Dad, Moses and foster son Pumpkin (obviously, this is his 'secret identity' for the purposes of this blog). Before the month of January was over, our family grew to include 17 year old foster daughter Pickles (again, her secret identity =)!) Remember how we want 12 kids? Having 3 under the same roof at the same time certainly gave us a taste of what it could be like! There were mornings when I taxied Dave and Pickles to school, while the younger boys were barely waking up in their car seats. Having more kids, I needed to get my act together a little more and organize meals and chores on a regular basis. Pickles was a great help w/the boys and it was a beautiful thing to watch her bond with them. I believe God knew what He was doing when he placed Pickles in our home with the 2 young boys. I can't remember if I talked about this before, but as it turned out, Pickles was in the early stages of pregnancy when she came to us, but we did not find out until March. I could write a book about that time in our lives, but I think I will simply say that I thank God for the opportunity to mentor to Pickles. I thank God that I had the chance to be pregnant at least once, so I could share my thoughts and knowledge. It hurt sometimes, and I cried because I really felt like God was 'showing off' that when we couldn't seem to get pregnant, He was placing a pregnant teen in our home. I am over all that now, and again, I feel like I could write a book! My feelings aside, spring was a fun time experiencing (even second-hand) the miracle of new life.

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:3-8)


That's not all we have to say about new life and babies - this past spring Dave

attempted to hatch chickens in his 4 year old classroom! He started out with over 60 eggs and approximately a dozen hatched (yeah, that's not many, but we have since learned from our mistakes - stay tuned for next spring's hatching attempt!). Oh what fun it was to go to his room every day and see little beaks poking out of cracked eggs, new chicks under a heat lamp, or a few of them running in the plastic kiddie pool! Those little buggers were such a mood uplifter! On a normal day, the promise of a pancake breakfast will work wonders to get me out of bed quickly, but I must say, I bounded out of bed to see the chicks quicker than that! As if

that wasn't enough to fulfill our urban farming dreams, Dave helped me

build garden boxes. Not just two or three, but 16!! Not everything I planted did well (my mint never got started! Weird...) but some things did better than I expected (yay! Basil!). One of my favorite parts about gardening was that the boxes were located at my best-friend-in-town Tracy's house. The other part I loved was the fact that all summer Mo came along and got to see

where some of our food was coming from. In our family this year we have been making some changes in what we eat. For instance, we've been buying more local foods, which makes me a little sad because it means less trips to one of my favorite places - the grocery store! But we've been getting to know some local farmers and finding other sources for our food. This shift is by no means complete. Believe it or not, I am learning to cook using foods like quinoa, fresh vegetables and pasture-fed meat!


The summer of 2009 was one of the big events we had been looking forward to...we celebrated 10 years of marriage with a party at Kohler Andrae State Park! We reserved the group camp and a shelter and invited most everyone we knew! It was a beautiful day by the lake and brought back memories of our wedding, another beautiful day by a much smaller lake. The summer also brought about a few changes in our house. For starters, Pumpkin moved out and joined his dad and family early in July. Don't even ask me if that was hard, because you know it was! But the good news is that we were at peace with it. It helped so much to be able to release him to a family...again, I could talk about this more, but I think you can imagine the gamut of emotions! Shortly after, Pickles moved out as well. We felt like empty nesters! I couldn't help but ask God where He was taking us next. Just when things in our house seemed to be really quiet...my mom had a seizure. There really isn't any answer as to why, other than the fact that people who have sustained a brain injury are more susceptible. Again, we felt it was a time to persevere and push through. Shortly after that, we were able to take 2 sisters for emergency foster care! Thankfully, Dave was home and willing to stay with the kids and his mom was able to come over and help out, as well...so I was able to be with my mom while she recovered and my dad was gone on business. If that wasn't enough, we got a follow-up call to bring a possible pre-adoptive foster daughter home from the hospital, all within the same week! Suddenly we were a family of six, four of whom were under 5!! Oh the milk we went through! Oh the giggles! Oh the little socks and the diapers and pullups and oh the HAIR! Since all the foster kids were girls at that time I had to go buy some new combs and hair doo-hickeys! I learned a lot about little girl hair! The sisters were in our house for about 3 weeks, which really gave us a taste of what it's like to have twins or something! We considered it a blessing to have them, but once they were gone we could really focus on Fabi (her secret identity) and her medical issues. Shortly after her arrival, all 4 of us were on our way to Delaware for a

much needed beach vacation!! We rented a house one block from the beach and spent every day there. For me (Mel), that was one of the best vacations. I was happy not to be criss-crossing all over the map. I loved having our own kitchen to prepare healthy meals, being so close to the beach and having enough space for everyone to get their own room. It was cool to see the ocean in the morning and at night, on a sunny day and on a really stormy day...we were there over the week of Moses' birthday too, so it was fun to decorate the house and celebrate by making sand castle cakes and riding waves!


As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. James 5:11

(The first day of school pic by the apple tree!)
Fall began another season in our lives. Moses started Creative Play preschool, three days a week for half days. It was nice to see him take to that really well and it gave me a chance to spend time with Fabi one-on-one. At the time, she had a feeding tube in her nose and just about every week we drove down to Children's Hospital for an appointment of some kind. I got kind of sick of doing that but on the days I felt really crabby, I was reminded of all the people that were helping us make that possible! My aunt lives a few miles north of us and is a reliable and loving babysitter and taxi for Moses! Friends helped pick up Mo and once even dropped him off in the morning. None of what we do in this family would be possible if it weren't for the support structure we have in place. There are so many people helping in physical ways but the number of people praying is astounding! Most likely, if you are reading this, you are one of those people, so thank you! It means so much to us! Before Thanksgiving, Fabi had surgery to move the tube from her nose to her stomach. Dave and I celebrated his birthday at the hospital that night...again, not the ideal way to celebrate, while our family was split up and one was recovering from surgery, but we tried to laugh a little. If it wasn't for the perseverance in our hearts, we might have felt a lot worse!

This past few weeks we have been finding things to celebrate each day. It was our first round of Christmas programs as parents, and oh my, did our sweet son put on a show! If you are interested in seeing the video, let me know! We laughed so hard and many people at church said it wouldn't have been the same without him! We had a video camera, a digital camera and eyes full of pride. Moments like those remind us that whatever may come our way, we have each other. More importantly, we have Jesus. While we may have been scurrying around finding presents to show family and friends how much they mean to us, God has sent His Son to save us all from our sin. There is no greater gift.

...and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3


Merry Christmas to all of you! We pray that this letter finds you in good health and spirits, or maybe you're persevering through some things of your own. We'd love to hear from you - please keep in touch! If you don't know how to get a hold of us already, leave a comment and we'll get you our info...if possible, it would be great to get together in the new year!


Love,
Mel & Dave, Moses, & Fabi

We hope you enjoyed this green version of our Christmas card! (If you still wish to receive a paper copy, leave a comment.) There are lots of reasons we decided to do things differently this year (again!)...here's a few:
1) Save postage. We love you, but we're cheap!
2) Save paper. You just recycle those cards after you read them...you do recycle them, don't you??
3) Save printing costs. See reason #1!
4) Save stress. Nothing to print, sign, stuff, address...
5) Expand our options! Now you can see a practically limitless amount of photos.
6) Our greeting to you is saved in cyber-space for posterity! Yes, we can be that vain sometimes!
7) It went so well last year...we heard a lot of positive responses, and even some people who said they'd try it themselves. Welcome to the dark (green) side! (Sorry that was a goofy Star Wars joke...)

Moxie, because words w/X's are cool!

I do not like the word resolution! This is the entry I found on thesaurus.com...
Main Entry:resolution
Part of Speech:noun
Definition:determination, strong will

Synonyms:

aim, boldness, constancy, courage, dauntlessness, decidedness, decision,declaration, dedication, doggedness, earnestness, energy, firmness, fixed purpose,fortitude, guts*, heart*, immovability, intent,intention, judgment, mettle, moxie*, obstinacy,perseverance, pluck, purpose, purposefulness, purposiveness, relentlessness, resoluteness,resolve, settlement, sincerity, spirit, spunk, staunchness, staying power, steadfastness, stubbornness, tenacity, verdict, willpower
As our Christmas letter points out, perseverance was the theme for us in 2009, but I think we need a new word for 2010. There are so many things I always say I am going to start doing in a new year, but this year I plan to be bold, undaunted, dedicated, earnest, purposeful and steadfast! At the beginning of the month I started a list (me? A list? HA - I know you're shocked!) but it's not quite what you're thinking. I've been reading other people's 'life lists', if you call them that, and wanted to put down a few things of my own. So here it is! It's sort of a work in progress...I really felt like I wanted to get to 50 things, so some of them are a little weak...while others are quite strong!
Do you have ideas of things you'd like to accomplish like this?
1) visit Europe (Spain, Portugal, Poland, Germany, England, Italy, Greece...to name a few!)
2) visit Australia
3) Have a lot of kids (12, if possible, but I guess I could settle for 7...)
4) Use my Grandma's wringer washing machine for a summer
5) Hike the Appalachian Trail
6) Missions trip to an orphanage
7) Camp/Hike/Bike every state park
8) Visit every National Park in the US
9) Have professional pics done of Dave and myself every 10 yrs of marriage
10) Sew a garment that looks decent
11) Get my Masters' Degree in Spanish
12) Bike 100 miles in one year
13) Eat a meal totally grown/harvested and prepared by me
14) Finish Mo's baby book - well, at least til age 5
15) Volunteer regularly at an abortion alternative type place
16) See a Komodo dragon in the wild
17) Write my life story (more or less) for my kids
18) Try one new recipe every week for a year
19) Go on a women's retreat - spiritual or otherwise
20) Have the upstairs of our house re-done, complete w/a master suite
21) Actually learn all the positions that make up a football team and what they do (I've got baseball down, but that's easy!)
22) Adopt more Amish ways of life - cook large quantities w/other ladies, live simply, do it yourself, etc
23) Encourage my son to be a voracious reader, like I was
24) See a moose in the wild
25) Sponsor a child through Compassion International
26) Help my grandfather label and organize all his old pictures, while recording some cool stories he loves to tell
27) Build a nest egg (what exactly is that? I just mean have some savings stocked up)
28) Keep up my piano/flute skills - take lessons?
29) Act in a local theater production or get the drama team going at church again
30) Make all the curtains for my house
31) Run a 5K in less than 30 minutes
32) Pass the citizenship test
33) Write/mail at least one letter a month
34) Go to a spring training game for the Milwaukee Brewers
35) Enter something in the county fair
36) Go down the Mississippi River in a house boat
37) Go to a Duke vs. UNC basketball game (bonus points if it's during March Madness!)
38) Visit Duke University (bonus points if it's during March Madness!)
39) Hang pics in my house again!
40) Start a photo book of the foster kids
41) Make a prayer board, to display pics of people we are praying for
42) Meet Aaron Kampman in person
43) Take dance classes again (bonus points if it's w/Dave!)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The days of Christmas!

You know how you celebrate more than once? Isn't that awesome?!
Weds (12/23) started some craft projects...for gifts...nothing like waiting 'til the last minute, right??
Thurs (12/24) we opened our (nuclear) family presents! Moses was so excited to wake up to presents! For me, the best was my new exercise mat that Mo and Dave decorated for me =) We also celebrated at church - I was in the drama, for the first time in a long time...I was so nervous but it felt so good to be doing something up there again! After church we hit the road (in the rain =( !) for 'home' to celebrate w/my extended family at my Grandpa's house. I loved hearing Mo make my uncles laugh, seeing the great grandkids crowd around my Grandpa and eating the good food!!
Sat (12/25) We had stayed overnight at my parents so we woke up and opened presents from them - we laughed b/c Fabi was so fast at ripping the paper off but then would shove the box away from her! She got right into the tearing and even opened one of my presents! Then we watched the Disney Christmas parade and taught Mo some more of the characters...or at least the ones we knew! Then we came home and just lounged around...ah yes, a good way to celebrate our Savior's birth!
Sun (12/26) Church again! No complaints, it was all worship today! We also got to see a Packer win (and Giants loss), which means they are in the playoffs! Mo and I played outside in the snow, which you know makes me happy!
Hard to believe this month of celebration is almost over...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Imagine that...one week behind...

Well, I made it half way through December before really falling behind in the celebration posts! I took some pics over the past week, fully intending to post them, but didn't. So! Here's the week in review!
Tues (12/16) I don't remember doing anything to elaborate, but I know we ate smiley faces!
Weds (12/17) We went to see Donald Driver at the Piggly Wiggly again! We had gotten his new book as a Christmas present but just gave it to Mo early so DD could sign it.

Thurs (12/18) and Fri (12/19) Again, nothing too elaborate but I took a pic of the kids b/c Moses was sharing his legos so amazingly well! We also went on a nature walk, complete w/boots, snowpants, hats and mittens, much to Fabi's delight! The girl is obsessed w/mittens I tell ya!

Sat (12/20) One of the best celebrations yet...Nana was visiting the cousins in another city and we both connected through iChat. It was awesome to see all the cousins! For those of you that don't know, iChat is like a video-phone, but it's free if you have a Mac, the software and internet connection. The kids kept putting on different hats and making faces at each other, Dave was hanging Mo upside down in front of the camera and one of the cousins brought a pet chicken in the house! We laughed so hard when it tried to fly away and then settled on the back of a chair!! I kept remembering that ride at Epcot Center - does anyone else remember this? - where you go through the various forms of communication over time. At the end there is this part labeled 'The Future' and they use video phones to call each other...the future is here my friends! LOL!
Sun (12/21) Bake sale at church!!! We haven't baked any cookies this year (I hardly ever do at Christmas) so it was really neat to get a wide variety of desserts there.
Mon (12/22) Wrote notes and cards to the great grandparents and attended a swimming
birthday party! The boys had fun - Dave tossed Mo in a bunch and Mo jumped in and swam on his own a lot. There was a slide too - when Dave took Fabi down, she wasn't exactly pleased, but hopefully we can get her in a swim class soon.
So there you have it! Fast forwarding through the week...speeding our way to the end of the year...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas program take 2

Monday was the Christmas program at Moses' preschool. We started by doing some crafts together and the kids sang some adorable songs! I had never heard some and I wrote a few down for next Christmas. I liked this one..."Oh I took a lick of my peppermint stick, it was yummy! It used to be on my Christmas tree, but now it's in my tummy!" We celebrated with his class afterwards by eating cookies and drinking cold milk =)

Christmas program take 1

Sunday was the church Christmas program and Moses sang on stage w/the other preschool kids! Super funny to see how they all acted up there and only confirmed our thoughts that our son was born a performer. He picked out his orange and blue rugby shirt to wear, and even though it didn't seem Christmas-y to me, I was thankful for the bright color later! It was easy to find the kid in orange when the rest were wearing typical holiday colors! He really wanted to wear a tie, but alas, there was no button down shirt that fits. I think he still looked handsome and we were very proud of the way he sang.

At one point Moses figured out that they were taping and projecting the program on the big screen...which was cute, until he started hamming it up and basically turned to the screen to watch himself! I mean it was still cute, but he quit facing the audience and started making faces and such...everyone was laughing of course and the video we took is hysterical! I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate a Sunday in December!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Quintessential All American Saturday

Today Moses went to his 2nd McDonald's birthday party. Someone from his class invited him and we were excited! Mo celebrated by stamping his own wrapping paper!
The adults got to enjoy the party too - Dave met some of the parents I have gotten to know over the months of dropping off and picking up the kids. We had a few laughs when the birthday boy came out of the play structure DRIPPING w/sweat! The employee who was assigned to the party was a former student of mine, so that was a special treat. She did a great job talking to the kids and managing a large order. Before I left I got to talk to another former student I hadn't seen in 8 years! It's so weird when you see them all grown up...I am proud of both of those kids! I feel so blessed to see them as adults and to know that they have stayed true to themselves and their beliefs. Ah, December...you are too good to me!

Mustard?

FINALLY FRIDAY! We all went to the arcade! We didn't even get in the door and Mo found the ride he wanted to go on!
See? He still has his hat and coat on!
This one was cool, though, b/c there's another seat and then Fabi could join him. I don't think she really wanted to, but since he was there, she was willing to try it. Honestly, I don't know who had more fun...I love trying to beat Dave in the basketball game and playing Nok Hockey (but he calls it Air Hockey - weird!). I even passed all the levels of the dance game! Mom, we should get one of those that hooks into the TV - it is such a good workout! Later, we all squeezed into the dinosaur game, which of course, the boys liked - guns were involved! (And yes, I didn't bother to comb my hair before going out...it was just the arcade people!)

I think my favorite thing about the arcade is that we can spend around an hour there and $8 buys a fun family date! Do you have any inexpensive family date ideas?


Ketchup!

(**oops, I'm falling behind! Sorry! But here's 3 new posts in a row =)!)

Today we celebrated by having some good friends' kids over! When they arrived, Mo and Fabi were asleep, so it was kind of boring...so boring that Sofia fell asleep! (Aww, isn't she cute!)
Later, all 4 kids got to play together in Mo's room! Mo was so happy to see Samuelito! He tolerated the girls, I guess =)!

Every time we get our families together I am reminded how blessed we are to know them and to share so many passages of life together. When we met, none of us had kids. Now we have boys that can play cars together and girls that can tag along behind them! We have seen job changes and prayed for each other when we had struggles. It's a beautiful thing when you can call friends family!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

No this is not the weather channel!

I know it seems like all I talk about lately is the weather! But - here we go again...today we got a bunch of snow!!!! So much that they called it a snow day and Dave didn't have school =) It wasn't nearly as much as they were predicting, which I guess is another thing we have the lake to thank for. Or not! I would have loved more fluffy white stuff! This stuff was pretty heavy and wet. At any rate, we celebrated by going sledding! It was the best. Fabi wasn't totally into it, but the rest of us were enjoying it! I didn't get to take pics of sledding b/c the battery was dead by that time, but I do have pics from around the yard - Enjoy the slideshow!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Two spikes!


Tonight we are having a spike in the amount of snow (YES!) so we celebrated
w/a different kind of spike!
We went out to play this afternoon but stayed in tonight since it was dark and snowing even more! But we're excited and ready to go sledding tomorrow!

Monday, December 7, 2009

So many things to celebrate...so little time!

We woke up to SNOW!!! Only about 2"-3", but enough to go out and play!! That is how we celebrated of course =) And there were so many photos, I found it hard to narrow it down to just 12...ENJOY!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I'm going to make you wait another day!

I'm still learning how to use my camera, so no pic of the tree yet! But I do have some of my favorite ornaments! But first, let me tell you that we celebrated in an extra special way today...Dave's Mom/Nana came over today! And she brought presents! Lucky Moses got to open one before his nap. We even had dinner together at a Chinese buffet - Fa ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra, anyone? I am most definitely enjoying this month of celebration! I can't wait to see what next week brings =)
On to the ornaments...This one is a picture from the first Christmas card after we bought the house. We dressed in holiday colors WISCONSIN STYLE! Moses tells me this is his favorite ornament!


The next one is a corn husk angel. I have no idea where I got her, but she is so delicate...I usually hang her towards the top of the tree, under the cross.

Again, I don't remember where I got this angel, but I love the colors and the mini nativity scene that is carved into the front. As I said before, I'm still figuring out the settings on the camera
and I think this one is a little too blurry, but you get the idea.


This ornament is from my mom. It says, "A daughter is a little girl who grows up to be your friend." I don't think I need to explain why this one is very special! I love you Mom!



This little house is from Sam and Maria - Maria said all the houses in Venezuela are painted in bright colors. This ornament is special to us b/c their family is...FAMILY. We are so blessed to have them in our lives!



Isn't this one cute? I know it's hard to see, but that's a picture of Dave and his siblings from when he was 8 or so...? There may be a date on it,
but I'm too comfortable to get up and check! Moses likes this one too b/c it has his uncles and auntie on it!










This next one is from one of our trips - I thought it was from when we went to Washington state, but Dave thought it was from the Washington Island (WI) ferry! So now we are thinking of looking it up...but either way, it was a trip and a boat ride and it just reminds me of all the adventures we go on!

The next one is an outhouse - yep, it's blurry but you are seeing correctly! The sign says 'buffalo chips'! I got this one in Montana. We were on the VW Van trip - we were on the road for 3 weeks or so and covered a lot of the western states! When we were in Yellowstone, we came across a random parking lot that had been overtaken by some bison - we drove the van in and got pretty close. One kept snorting at us and I was a little scared he wanted to ram the van! But we laughed a lot b/c they mostly belched
really loud, snorted and just stared at us. When we left, they didn't want to move so we had to maneuver around them a little...that was the trip I think I remember the most. So many states - so many parks - so many laughs!!!

This last one is also from a trip...to Florida! Some good friends (Hi Stephanie and John!) lived down there for a while and were so sweet to host us even when they were living in a motorhome! We drove all the way down to the Keys for a night of camping...I will never forget that trip either! Definitely a lot of good laughs and beautiful scenes.
Well, that's about it...there are so many more that I could talk about! Do you have any favorite ornaments?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Baited breath!

We put up our Christmas tree today! We haven't had one in at least a year, maybe two, for various reasons, but today it was fun to have Mo's help! He wanted to hang every ornament, right where he could reach, front and center! It was cool to tell him the stories behind a bunch of them. I know you are expecting to see a pic of it here, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow. We were camera shopping and left the old one at the store! Don't worry, they are holding it for us. So tomorrow will be the big reveal but today I pulled something from the archives again. It has nothing to do w/a Christmas tree or the holiday, but everything to do w/one of my core beliefs.
Dave and I visited the Marquette University campus a few years ago and each one of the crosses represented a certain number of lives lost to abortion. There were various signs but this is the one that still speaks to me. And now I've shared it w/you =)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Find the camera!


Today we got to celebrate w/my parents by going to see a light display at the county fairgrounds! It was pretty cool - my uncle helped set it up and he was working in "Santa's workshop" w/my aunt. The entrance to the workshop was either a slide for kids or a door...guess which Mo picked? =) I left my camera in the van so all the pics of him sitting on Santa's lap are on my parents' camera. After the light display, we swung by to visit my grandpa. It is always awesome to see him and especially to see him and Moses together. He makes Mo laugh and Mo makes him laugh too. Tonight he took Mo's cap and put it on his head - he looked so funny!! Then Mo noticed he wasn't wearing shoes and tried to tickle his feet! It probably doesn't sound all that funny to you, but to hear both of them laughing is the best way to forget about everything not so fun that has happened in your day =) Since I don't have any fresh pictures, I'll dig into the archives....
This is my grandpa holding Moses shortly after he was born. I'm typing this through my tears, so forgive me if it sounds weird...I remember that day. I remember how my grandpa just sat there staring at him. I remember how he talked to him and how he didn't seem uncomfortable or anything. He didn't try to pass him off real quick or anything. He made it seem like this was a regular occurrence, holding newborns...=)! Anyway, I hope there are many more chances for us to take pictures of Moses and Great-Grandpa together!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

snowsnowsnowsnowsnowsnowsnow


Guess what we woke up to today?! (Ok, it's not a lot but just that fact that it shows up in the picture means more is on the way!!) What an awesome day! We finally got to see some of what we were waiting for all season!!! Today has been a day full of celebrations!! We cranked up the worship music this morning and Fabi learned a new song! She can sing part of the chorus to Hillsong's Take It All! (If you don't know it, go here and listen.) I was laughing so hard! She was singing, bopping her head and raising her arms, trying to dance by stomping one foot!
Once everyone got themselves ready...
(a belt is the required accessory for a certain 4yo these
days...and apparently, putting horns on yourself in
pictures is cool!),
...we went outside in the SNOW!!!

Brate E Cel part 2

I forgot to include 2 things in last night's post! We celebrated by eating Turkey Tetrazzini, which is one of my favorite things to eat =) Thank you Maria for the turkey! We made bowtie pasta and put the turkey through the food processor. The turkey was so moist, it didn't crumble, like I expected. It turned out to be more of a paste - maybe our processor is just too powerful! At any rate, we combined the noodles, the turkey, some white sauce and peas. TASTY!
Another photo I wanted to add...I have been talking about/looking for a kid friendly nativity set. My friend Margaret gave me one she had used =) Thank you! It's great! The kids like moving the pieces around and I'm trying not to care if they are not in the right spots when they are done. So far Mo has not gotten too rough w/them! You know how boys are right? You'll notice in the pic that one thing is missing! Baby Jesus will be added at Christmas...(and that way He won't get lost!)
Consider yesterday's post a 2 for 1 =)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Brate E Cel

(I'm feeling backwards today!)
Today I got to celebrate by having lunch w/my parents and my kids at one of my favorite restaurants! And today's photos are fresh...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

This is the month to celebrate...

For some reason today I decided that we need to spend the month celebrating! And I've always wanted to post a photo each day...so here goes!
We celebrated the first day of December by eating pie for breakfast. Not just any pie - a Dutch apple pie from the Gibbsville apple orchard. That's ok, right? I mean, it's not cereal! HA! There's fruit and flour and um...yeah. So that's how we celebrated.

And now for the photo of the day...Moses' Uncle Steve and Aunt Liz gave the kids their Christmas presents early. After unwrapping some Spiderman pajamas, Moses announced, "I've been looking for these!" Despite being a size 6, they fit quite well! He hammed it up for a few photos when we got home =)
I think that's a wink! He's so cute...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

La madre de todas las noticias

Loosely translated - the mother of all updates!
First and foremost, Fabi had surgery yesterday. They put in a G tube, or PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrointestinal) tube. Did I get that right, medical people?! It's a long story of how it all came to this, but basically, she is making such small progress that this is where we are at. It's a little nerve-wracking since she had heart surgery at 4 months and the whole anesthesia thing made me nervous, but overall it is so nice to get rid of that nG tube in her face! Now hopefully we can focus on eating even more and there will be no tears over having to replace the tape or the tube a bunch. This poor girl has been making so much progress otherwise and we can't wait to see what happens next!
In other news...I keep meaning to post things for Make It Mondays and I forget!! There have been 2 food things we made lately that I wanted to share. We hauled home a load of apples from up north and are enjoying home made applesauce alot! I love experimenting with throwing it in the crock pot. The first time I used a recipe that called for juice and sugar. I have since tinkered w/it and haven't ruined a batch yet! The next thing I wanted to share was how I roasted some veggies the other night. This is not something no-cook-Mel has ever done before people!
You see this lovely squash? I wanted to use it in a recipe and found one online. They recommended cutting it along the ribs! It was all new for me so I just went for it. They said peeling it would be difficult, but once I cut the ribs, it wasn't.
After cubing the squash, I tossed it in a ziploc w/some peppers, onions and oil. TASTY! We cooked up some bowtie noodles and I stirred the veggies. I can't even begin to tell you how good it was! There was supposed to be gouda cheese melted in it, but we didn't have any. It didn't matter, but maybe we'll try that next time? The other fun thing we made were squid-dogs! We had some special kids w/us for the weekend and I wanted to do something different. I saw this online somewhere and even Dave laughed! He thought it was pretty cool =) It was funny to see the kids' reactions!

The theme of the past month has been GET OUTSIDE! The weather is unbelievable! Just this past weekend, November 22nd, we were out w/no jackets on. We've been to our back yard, Parnell Tower and Kohler Andrae State Park. I took so many photos that at one point Dave said we'd have photographic evidence of each step! Yeah, I slugged him for that one! Anyway, I managed to choose a few of my favorites and put them into a rather medium-length slideshow. ENJOY!
I have many more things to write about, but I think I'll save them for some other posts! I have started and saved this one so many times...I just want to hit publish and come back...

Surprise! It's gone!

7) I had gathered a bag of clothes for a friend who runs a casual clothing drive for people in need. Then at church she told me she could no longer do it b/c she had finally gotten not one, but two jobs! That bag of clothes was so lonely by the back door...then our church hosted a Compassion Clinic and I kicked myself for not bringing the clothes there. I said it out loud and another friend told me someone in her bible study might be able to use them! So they are gone and it was reported back to me that most things fit! Cool =) One of the main points I was hoping to 'hit' was that people could actually use this stuff and I didn't want it to just be tossed out or sold. So far so good, just not fast...I did finish my online classwork (that was always an easy excuse) so now I should be able to tackle things a little more vigorously!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Two things that bug me - you can change though!

When I took Dave to work yesterday, it really bothered me to see everyone's trash. So many people had paper bags in their trash, or plastic bottles...does no one recycle?? Also, I try to tell Dave and others all the time that our city only takes numbers 1 and 2! If you put in a 5 or something they will just throw the WHOLE bag away. This morning I was reading another blog and the woman talked about what types of things recycled materials turn into. It was pretty interesting, but there were a few things in there that bolstered what I've been saying...only 1% of all plastic bottles are recycled!! Anyway - please please recycle! I'm not this big save the Earth girl or anything, but honestly, I don't think it's that hard. I would also encourage you to find out what #s your community accepts so that you are not tossing random things in your bin. Thank you! Sorry for the soap box, I just felt that was something I needed to say. Most people I know recycle, but like I said, if you don't, you should =)!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Faster than a tortoise who has already had a hip replacement...

We're slowly making progress on getting things out of here!
5) Took a load to Goodwill. Random stuff. Nothing really useful to friends we know!
6) I know you won't believe this but we still had quite the tape collection...Duct tape? No. Masking tape? No. Scotch tape? No. Medical tape? Yeah, we've got a lot of that lately, but nope. VHS tapes? That too, but again, NO....

(insert sound of crickets here b/c I know you can't think of any other kind of tape!)

CASSETTE TAPES people! Now, can you guess which one of us had more? I'll give you a clue - his name starts w/a D and ends w/AVE!!! Yeah. He had LOTS. Had. I convinced him (yeah, he tried to pull the sentimental card on me) to get them out of the house. It was such a big collection that I decided it counts as a separate entry from the rest of the Goodwill stuff.

So that's it. No more cassette tapes in our house. How will we survive?? Stay tuned for next week when we get really crazy and start offering up the walkmans or the cameras that use film or something!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Movin' it on Monday

Got some more stuff out of the house today!
3) Kids' plastic bowl and plate to my friend from high school! She saw my pic on FB and asked if I could send it. Hope he likes it =)
4) A large batch of bowls, plates, etc for a friend from church who runs an in home daycare. So nice to clear off a whole entire shelf of plastic stuff we are not using!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My poor blog is turning brown!

If this blog were a plant, it would look a lot like my houseplants right now! But here I am w/an update...so what do you want to know?? Let's start w/me. I have been trucking along, doing the housework, having fun w/Fabi while Mo is at school, being my usually adventurous self! I've tried some new recipes, a few other things that cut down on waste, and started a journey to get 50 things out of the house. Just this week I was offered the chance to sub while a Spanish teacher goes on maternity leave - I'm still working on the child care details for that one, not sure if it will happen. I am helping hand out hygiene supplies at our church's Compassion Clinic next weekend and I already got the seed catalog for next year! Dave is enjoying school, it's been busy but he has a job! He is playing piano for our church's Traditions Service (translation: 8am - mostly attended by older people and they play more traditional music) and he loves it! Most weeks, Moses goes along and sits in the front row by himself. From what I hear he is extremely well behaved and has learned so many of the songs =) What else? He's getting used to combing girl hair, as I am, and figuring out how to layer dresses w/turtlenecks, tights and bloomers! Moses LOVES Creative Play school! His teacher sings almost everything! She teaches music in the afternoons and it's like a match that only God could make. I was able to take some pics after the Halloween party and he was so proud to tell me who all his friends were and what their costume was! He is starting to show signs that he can read things like "I see the bat, You see the mat, We see the cat", etc...which absolutely knocks my socks off! He draws big circles w/faces and stick legs/arms to make family portraits. I have been amazed by the way he has adopted the big brother role. He is so very helpful and compassionate towards Fabi...he has really grown and seems to be handling having foster kids much better now. Fabi is getting stronger and making small gains in eating. At the last appointment, it was noted that she is more than likely going to be getting a G tube in her stomach since the progress has been slow. I'm confident that will be a good thing - we can forget about taping the Ng tube every day, fussing over it when it comes out, and just having the thing as a physical reminder literally in her face of the troubles she's been having. One thing I said to Dave lately was that I feel like she's a lot of fun to hang out w/, and for me, it's weird since she's a girl! But she's been talking a lot lately, singing and spinning in the kitchen while I cook, playing dollies, asking for ponytails and hair clips, etc...it is a whole new world compared to my boy! Anyway - I hope to get some pics up soon, so we have that to look forward to! There have been a lot of changes around here and some days I feel like we're hanging on for the ride, but mostly, I'm just enjoying my favorite season of the year!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

G to the O to the N to the E!


This was actually gone last week already, but I am terrible about posting right now!

2) Fan bike! Yeah, we haven't used this since the treadmill quit last year. It has sat in the horrible ucky basement for that long! I posted a pic on facebook and one of my former students (I am lucky to call him friend now!) came and picked it up. There are a few other things that were claimed off the facebook picture listing and I hope to get them out of the house TOMORROW NIGHT! You hear that? So expect #3, #4, #5 and hopefully #6 to be posted SOON!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Trying not to be a pusher!

Got the second thing on our list of 50 out of the house today!
2) Tupperware - I had some old Tupperware that I wasn't using stored in the basement. This batch consisted of 3 rectangular cubes, maybe about the size of a loaf of bread. They stand upright. I just sent Moses to school w/a huge thing of Goldfish crackers for school snack, but I realized that once they are opened, they get stale pretty fast. Then BING - I saw an opportunity to give the Tupperware to the teacher! DW took Mo to school so I have no idea if she found them useful or anything, but hey, I thought it was a nice gesture! Maybe I'll get a rap for being THAT mom but whatever...I'm already different than all the other moms!
So that's progress. Slow, but it still counts!

Monday, October 19, 2009

BeaNut Butter

A quick Make It Monday post...just finished some hummus! We call it BeaNut Butter at our house b/c I don't think anyone gets what it is. Since it resembles PeaNut Butter, why not call it BeaNut butter? I have a lot of errands to do today so I don't know if I will get anything else made...besides a mess of course!

And so it begins...

1) Baby gym - a friend was looking for one and we had 2 in the basement! I didn't think we had any but upon cleaning, there they were. (10/18/09)
That's all I have for now. A few people sounded interested in our 'stuff' so I'm planning to post a few pics on FB and see if there are any takers. I also plan to take a load to a thrift store. We decided that each load would count as one. So much of the stuff is not likely to be useful to our crowd of friends, like mix tapes from grade school, cheap plastic hangers, VHS tapes like Abs of Steel (!! You can tell we never use those!!) and knicknacks. Can't wait to continue the decluttering!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Not my typical type of list!

I was reading a blog post about a 50 Things List. I've been writing a bucket list of sorts - more like a list of things I hope to do before I get to old to do them! I imagined this 50 Things List to be more of the same...BUT! It wasn't! The list is actually comprised of things you get rid of, as in OUT OF YOUR HOUSE, which is something I really need to do. I took this as a challenge! Kate, who wrote the blog post, said she didn't know where she first heard the idea from, but it seems there is a book by about the concept. At any rate, consider this to be my first post about things I am getting out of the house. Here is a quick summary: Get rid of stuff. It could be things that either have some value to someone else, or things that are simply taking up space because you haven't gone through them yet . It doesn't matter whether you donate it, sell it, give it to a friend, freecycle or craigslist it, repurpose it, or recycle it. Get rid of stuff! I like it...if you know me, you know how badly I/we need to do this. The other side of this that was not mentioned was that if we get 50 things out of here, we really need to be careful not to bring any other useless things in. Feel free to hold me accountable to that! So give me the weekend and I will get cracking on the list!

Monday, October 12, 2009

It's Time!!!

Do you think it's time for a new camera?

I do!!!
Ugh...!!

Well, thanks to some friends we have a new camera and I'm taking lots of pictures!!! Here's just a sample of the late summer/early fall shots...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Things you did not expect upon turning 32...

Zits. Being happy it was a low key celebration. Being happy to wash dishes (cold in the shack - love the hot water!). Being loved so fiercely it makes you want to cry. Having 301 facebook friends wish you a happy birthday - LOL! Seeing your favorite QB in the enemy's jersey. Eating all kinds of veggies and healthy foods and liking it. Being in charge of someone else's medical needs and asserting yourself when it comes to their care - like an adult. Finding joy in wearing 2 pairs of socks. Honestly wishing for less stuff. Wanting to get married again to get a 2nd honeymoon =). Having 3 out of 4 grandparents still alive. Feeling weird when you go somewhere alone. The urge to be a better wife, mom, daughter, friend, Christian...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Not just in the big cities!

(I know I owe you a real blog post, but I couldn't resist sharing this one...)
I've heard of people/businesses doing non-motorized moves before, but it was always in big cities like Seattle, NYC, etc. Guess what? One of the local coffee shops in our 'burg' did it too! Read the story here... We had really wanted to attend, but we were busy for the first part and then it was dinner and shortly bedtime for the kids. It would have been cool for them to experience that, but that's life. I'm hoping this story inspires other people and small businesses though!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday is now renamed ZucchinDay (Zoo Kin Day)!

I have been so busy in the kitchen! I made zuke/choco chip muffins, zuke brownies and broccoli cheese soup (w/zuke!). Here's a pic of the soup - I hadn't added the cheese yet.
I also cut some fabric squares for another project I've been working on...soft flannel =) Don't get too excited, it's not for you, it's for me! Let's see, what else? I have so many plans of things to make on Mondays! There will be more to come!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Handmade

Buy Hand for the Holidays Challenge - 2009
Last year I attempted to make a bunch of Christmas gifts and I will admit to not finishing them all! I hope to get them completed for this year (and those that didn't get some will get extra =)!) but I also hope to shop around for a few things that are handmade by others. I'm spreading the word - I found the 'button' to promote this idea on CrunchyChicken's blog. Are you going to be making any gifts this year? Any ideas of what you are going to make? Any thoughts about where you could find handmade goods to buy? (Besides etsy.com of course...) I'm always looking for ideas!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Consider this...

I just read an inspiring blog post from Tree Hugging Family's Jenny. Please take a moment and go read it...go on...I'll wait...

To me, the best part was the last number. So many people think they shouldn't bother doing anything 'green' b/c it isn't worth their effort. I disagree. I could give the whole, "If everyone did one small thing..." speech but that's old, right? Honestly, I think if you actually read what Jenny wrote, it should motivate you to do something, anything, to take action. Even if you just recycle your toilet paper tubes or give up the store bought bottled water. Me? I'm cooking up (sort of literally and sort of not literally!) all sorts of new ways to cut down on disposables and reduce waste in general. I'm feeling ready for a few new challenges! I am always grateful for people who are willing to talk about this topic and not judge. Our reasons for doing things like this might be different but inspiration can come from anywhere! I'll put the soapbox away now, I promise =)