Sunday, January 30, 2011

We do other stuff besides read.

It's been a while since I've written much besides the books we are reading, so it's time for something a little more interesting.
First off - remember my cousin in TX who adopted a baby recently?  Some good friends in TX were matched w/3 sisters for adoption!!  We are super excited and praying for them as they go through the initial visits and adjustment period.  We are also trying to fast forward the clock for when we can go and visit everyone in March!  God is so good and we feel extremely blessed to have relationships like these in our lives.  If you or someone you know is interested in foster care or adoption, Dave and I strongly encourage you to talk to us (you can email or leave a comment...) or someone in your area about it.  Many times we have talked w/friends who tell us they have the idea of it in their heads, but they are scared.  That's ok!!  But please don't be scared to ask questions or just listen as we share our story.  And most of all - PRAY ABOUT IT.  =)
Other cool stuff going on?  Well, we finally were able to clear out the extra room.  I feel like I'm nesting!  I'm not pregnant, but I'm certainly getting things ready for something.  I cleaned Colleen's room a bunch and found myself washing the walls.  Yeah.  I went that far!  You don't believe me and that's ok.  But I really did it and then Dave and the kids helped clean the other room and I sorted/put away baby clothes and I scrubbed cupboard doors and I cleaned out/tossed random stuff from a bunch of drawers and....yeah.  Why do I seem to have all this energy?  I think these are the times when I shine.  I rock at preparing.  When it comes to an actual event, I don't do so hot during it.  I can plan a fantabulous party but I fail when people start to arrive.  I can have the rooms ready and clean and set up but when more kids show up in my house, I am too focused on their emotional needs (and mine?) than cleaning the house...or something like that...We'll see if this time around it will be different.  I think we'll be 'open for business' in a week or two.  It feels good to be ready!  I can't wait to see what God has in store for us next!
We tried to make home made pop tarts.  Enh.  I was sort of winging it.  Pie crust and jam, right?  Can't be that hard...I rolled the store bought crust too thin.  I put too much jam on.  They weren't bad.  They just weren't all that exciting.  I had to fold the edges since the crimp thing doesn't work on really thin dough.  And they don't work in the toaster since they are thin.  They were good enough fresh out of the oven.  Good thing I didn't make too many this time around though!  Today we are doing pumpkin pie, home made ice cream and pumpkin muffins.  Remember all the pumpkins from our garden?  Yep - still eating them!  No complaints - who could complain about pie?  I'm starting to find ways to put pumpkin and squash in our dinners too.  If, however, you are local and want to make something pumpkin-y, call us and we'll share!
The only other news I can think of is that the Packers are going to the Super Bowl, so we've decorated our house in green and gold, of course.  I doubt we will go anywhere to watch the game.  We might see if some friends want to come over.  It's easier.  Then the kids can get to bed on time.  But Dave did mention that if they had a parade or something in Green Bay (an hour away) that it would be pretty sweet to go!  We'll see about that...but it is pretty exciting.  It reminded me of when we were first married and the Badgers' basketball team made it to the final four.  We got a call from Dave's brother in Madison about a 'gathering' at the football stadium, welcoming the team home.  The call came in around 9pm and by midnight or something we were there!  Cheering, yelling, dancing to the was a blast!  We're a little bit older I don't know about all that....hopefully if there is a parade it will be during the day and we can take the kids.
On that note...we return to your regularly scheduled reading list!

Friday, January 28, 2011

We read.

...continuing our list of 100 books...
19. Cats, Cats, Cats! by Leslea Newman (one of Colleen's books)
20. Kick, Pass and Run by Leonard Kessler
21. Caps For Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina (A CLASSIC!)
22. One by Kathryn Otoshi (a simple yet complex and beautiful book against bullying - it just takes one.)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Get them doggies reading!

...continuing our list of 100 books...(yesterday I numbered them incorrectly - I have fixed it!)
15. Willie's Wonderful Pet by Mel Cebulash
16. One of Each by Mary Ann Hoberman (Awwww!  This one was really sweet!)
17. Follow the Line Around the World by Laura Ljungkvist (a great geography book)
18. The World of Plant Life by Gerald Legg (pages 6-9, it's a long book!  Heavy stuff for a 5yo, but he already knew about the parts of the plant.  The talk of cells was new though...)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

We read 5 books today!

10. Moondance by Frank Asch
11. Thunderhoof by Syd Hoff
12. Creak!  Said the Bed by Phyllis Root
13. Score One For the Sloths by Helen Lester
14. Dinosaurs for Kids by Ken Ham pages 27 and 62-63 (it's a big book!)

We would like to tell you that the last 3 are some of our absolute favorites!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

...the list goes on...

...continuing our list of 100 books...
7. Iris and Walter and Baby Rose by Elissa Haden Guest
8. Joey and Jet by James Yang (*Moses read this whole book by himself!)
9. Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I Don't) by Barbara Bottner

Monday, January 24, 2011

We love to read

...continuing our list of 100 books...
4. Are You Going to Be Good?  by Cari Best
5. Do Not Open This Book!  by Michaela Muntean
6. Born to Read by Judy Sierra

Sunday, January 23, 2011

100 Books

Moses would like to read 100 books.  Mostly I am reading to him, but at times he will be reading to me.  We are going to keep a list of them here.  =)

1. Arturo's Baton by Syd Hoff
2. I Took My Frog to the Library by Eric A. Kimmel
3. The World of Dick and Jane and Friends (no author listed, but it's Scott Foresman and Co.) **Mo read a lot of this one on his own!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dear diary...I mean blog...

Dear blog -
I have so many things to tell you, I don't even know where to start!!  Lately, there has been this...TIDE of activity in our house.  In...out...up...down...all I know is that right now I am sorting everything out.

First of all - you read the adoption post?  Good.  Now you know the big news!

Second of all - Leah moved out.  Due to some circumstances not worth explaining, Ray had been taken into foster care custody a bit ago and not placed into our home.  Since Leah was about to turn 18, she already had plans to move out and again, due to certain circumstances, it happened early.  So...

...we now have ZERO foster kids in the house.

Weird.  I'm not used to that.  =)  Due to the adoption, I consider that a good thing, but hi, have we met?  I like having a house full of kids!  Now trust me, I don't exactly want the phone to ring off the hook.  We're hoping to take some time 'off'.  We think it will be good to focus on the 4 of us for a little while.

Third - Speaking of adoption...there was an adoption in our extended family recently!  My cousin and her husband had been matched w/a birth mom who delivered early.  They live in Texas, so within 24 hours the birth mom had to choose to give up her rights, which she did.  I cried when my cousin called me - their story is even longer and more heart-breaking than ours...but believe me when I say this - God had and continues to have His hand in the lives of these people!  We are beyond thrilled for them and pray for them often.  If you think of it, please take a moment to pray for my cousin A, her hubby M and baby A.  If any of you have had a newborn, you know how hard those first few months were/ imagine all of that if you hadn't been pregnant.   If, literally, you got a phone call and suddenly you were a parent.  If you brought your baby home and hadn't really bought anything b/c you were too scared to believe it to be true...if your heart couldn't trust so you just didn't.  If you would join me in prayer, I would greatly appreciate it!  You guys, if you are reading this, we love you so much!  Please know that if you want to talk it out or ask questions of any kind, at any hour, you should not hesitate to CALL US!

In other news...I earned another badge for my Mommy Scouts sash today!  I drove to and from an appointment at the Children's Hospital in a blizzard.  I did not fish tail once!  Ok, maybe it had something to do w/our average speed (especially on the way home!) being about 45mph.  It was super frustrating and annoying but I did it.  Don't worry Mom - I was safe the whole time.  The thing is, I feel really proud of myself.  Not only did we survive the Blizzard Drive, but I had managed to wash dishes and get chili in the crock pot before I left, so when I got home, Dave was plowing the driveway and dinner was already done!  I feel like SuperMom - oh wait!  I am!!!  (And I'm anything but humble!)

In the midst of all this, I have a mountain of laundry to do, thank you notes to write and some really fun future excursions to plan!  In February, we are having a late Christmas/family reunion of sorts w/Dave's siblings and Mom.  Mo is so excited to see his new baby cousins and to play w/the bigger boy cousins!  We can't wait to hug the babies too, not to mention to be with the siblings!  I know there will be lots of laughs and a large family photo, so I can't wait!  Then over Spring Break we're off to Texas to see the cousins (and newly adopted baby A!) and some really good friends!  We are so blessed to be able to do this all!!

Well, blog, as you can see, I really should write more often.  Funny thing, when I was younger, I didn't write in my diary much.  Then when I was older, I had 'slam' notebooks.  You know, the kind you slam shut when someone comes along and you don't want them to read it?  But yet you write a bunch of personal stuff in it to share w/the other people that are 'in' your slam group...And now I have you, blog.  For some reason I find it easier to write type here.  Which is good.  So I write.  See you soon, blog...



Our adoption was finalized last week!!

In this photo you will see me, Moses, the judge, (Fabi) Colleen, and Dave.

Yes, now I can call our sweet girl by her real name - Fabi will now and forever be known as Colleen!  The actual court proceeding for the adoption was pretty much 10 minutes or less, so it was almost surreal.  When we arrived home, there were strings of balloons from the house to the apple trees, balloons on the porch and in the trees.  It was an awesome sight!!

We are so very blessed to have good friends who understand the magnitude of the event and what it means to us!  They took the time to go out in the snow and decorate for us, which was so very special - it was a good way to take the court ceremony up a notch and start the celebrating!!  The next day we had a huge party w/friends, family and teachers and their kids.  We needed that.  It still doesn't feel real.  She was always our daughter, from the beginning, now it's just official, legal, whatever you want to call it.  Having so many people surround us and come to celebrate with us was absolutely amazing, I don't know if we can ever thank them enough.  Many of those people have been in our lives since we were married or since we have set down our roots here.  We know they have prayed for and with us, they have talked and cried for us and with us, they have modeled what parents should be, they have modeled healthy Christ-centered marriages and we are still basking in the love everyone has showed us.  THANK YOU!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Trying something new today - I found a few writing prompts that were interesting and thought I'd jump in...

  • Something you’re looking forward to this year - a trip to Texas in spring!  But also basking in the security of knowing we are officially a family of 4.  I also look forward to a summer of Rv'ing, boating and biking.
  • Something you regret not having done last year - hmmm...maybe picking up a part time job?  Biking more?  Going on more dates w/my hubby?  There's a bunch of things, mostly small things, so I guess that is a hard one.  Nothing too big stands out.
  • Something with which you struggle - time management!  (If you know me, this is not news...)
  • Something that is part of your routine that you enjoy - Daily routine?  Eating breakfast.  Weekly?  Hanging wash.  In general?  Making lists!
  • Something in life that gives you balance - the Bible.  There are days when I just feel my attitude swinging in a foul direction, but then I crack that book open and find something 'just right'.  The other day I was pretty frustrated and disappointed in someone and when I read my chapters in Isaiah, I found this verse: "Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils.  Why hold them in esteem?"  (Isaiah 2:22)
I know that each of us have a few things we regret or look forward to each year, and I'm sure if I took more time on this I'd come up w/more.  But honestly, this reflection has reminded me that I will probably same the same thing in January of 2012!  I always avoid putting something about time management in my goals since I know I've never been successful...but maybe it's time to buck up and get better at it?  (...she typed as she spent some free time on her blog...)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Falling short

'Tis the season to make resolutions...set goals...reach decisions...

...and 'tis the season to fall short, too!

(If you click the link, you'll be directed to an article that says we can blame our brain!!)

Despite my distaste for making New Year's resolutions, I am still going to 'publish' some goals here.  I appreciate being able to look back at these types of blog posts to see how far I've come (or how far short I've fallen, as the case may be).  This time I will be setting goals in 3 categories, some I will post here, others will just be private.  

-DRINK MORE WATER!  5 mugs a day.  I've been working on this for 2 months and it's getting easier.  I am embarrassed to say that I am no where near the 8 glasses a day rule, but I never have been and right now this is a manageable goal.  I will bump it up to 6 soon!
-Get 8 hours of sleep each night.  
-Complete a 5K in under 30 minutes before the snow flies at the end of 2011.  (I know - not hard for most people, but I haven't really run since college.  It's been a while!  I figured I had better set the bar low.  I think I can walk a 10 minute mile, so if I poop out and walk, I may still meet my goal.)

-Have a weekly planning time.
-Go out on a date w/Dave every other week.  It won't happen unless it's in the plan!  This also means finding reliable local babysitters...which may be hard, but we need to do it!
-Two hours of scrapbooking, sewing or crafting each week.
-Go on a women's retreat before 2011 is over.  If you know me, you know I am not really into 'girlie' stuff and I don't really hang out w/women much.  I am, quite frankly, a little scared of large groups of women!  But I love the Yada Yada Prayer Group books, I want to attend a women's conference and I actually do have some good Christian women friends in my life who might go w/me!  (I think this one counts for both personal and spiritual!)

-Track my Bible reading.  (I'm not setting a goal or limit on this one, but I would like to be more purposeful about my reading.  If I notice I'm slacking, I need to make more time.  I spend waste plenty of time on 'bookface' or other blogs reading, I certainly can read the Bible as much!)
-Family Devotion once a week.  Hoping we can read the Bible, do an activity and talk about it as the week goes on...this one is a little vague.  I'm still working on what I would like this to be.
-Go on a missions trip???  I have been knocking this one around in my brain a lot lately!!  

Something new that I am doing this year is praying about my goals.  Why didn't I think about that before??  I am going to ask Dave to pray, and now you too!  For nothing is impossible with God!  Luke 1:37.  If you have any goals or resolutions you would like me to pray for, you can leave a comment, email me, or if you know me in real life, feel free to call or talk to me in person.  

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Merry Christmas 2010

(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...)

How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me?
Psalm 116:12

When I tried to come up with some sort of neat-o theme for this year, I was stumped.  But one thing I wanted to point out was how our summary of this year includes new stuff, but also updates on stories from past years...which also made me think of a tree.  (Sometimes ya can't cedar wood for the trees!  Sorry, I'm in a punny tree mood!)  Back to the tree - there's the trunk, which has been there all along, but then new branches grow out of it!  This year we've enjoyed many new things and people, as well as those that have been a part of our lives for a while.  So without further adieu - I give you our year in review...

2010 Branching Out

We started the year by getting new carpet upstairs!  That was a big deal for us since we haven't done much home improvement lately.  It was fun for Mo to see what was under the old carpet as we tore it out, not to mention following the carpet guy around, talking tools and superheroes!  

In late January we received into our home 2 new foster children.  For blogging purposes we are using the names Leah and Ray.  Leah is a 17 year old mom to Ray, who is now a year old.  It's been amazing to see how these 2 have grown into our family!  Fabi (who is almost 3 and a half now!) LOVES having both a big sister AND a baby in the house!

Can't believe this is on MY blog...yuck!
That's more like it!!
If you know us (or at least read about us here), you know we do plenty of 'branching out' in the travel department each year.  This year was no different - to begin, we spent Spring Break in North Carolina.   We visited with one of my high school friends, bantered about college basketball as we visited Duke University and UNC (in the middle of March madness!  Dave is a Heel fan, while I have been a Duke fan since Christian Laettner), hit the beach and saw lighthouses.

While in North Carolina, my grandfather passed away...I ached - it was so difficult to be gone when it happened, difficult to come home to a funeral, but that feeling of fullness I get from all the branches of my big family being together dulled the pain.  During this time, I was reminded of some verses from Luke chaper 12, about how much we are worth in God's eyes.  If you have a moment, please go read the first 12 verses...

The official park sign
Creation Museum
 In late spring, we hitched Dave's mom's camper to the back of the van and all 6 of us hit the road for Ohio and Kentucky.  We drove through Indianapolis, camped at Mammoth Cave National Park and visited the Creation Museum with my best friend from college and his family.  At the time we didn't know it was going to be our last visit to see them in Ohio!  We have prayed for him to get a job back in our home state of WI and as of November, they are here and settled!  We are looking forward making many more memories together now that we live closer to each other.

Goodbye Breese Hall!
I know this may sound odd, but I was sad to hear they were tearing down the residence hall in which I had lived for 2 years while in college.  The university was interested in building a certified green, sustainable type of dormitory, which is commendable, but found it necessary to tear down 3 of the current dorms.  So Dave humored me and we went back for a little 'res hall alumni' reunion of sorts.  It was funny to show Moses the small rooms and the paintings on the walls...I have so many memories there!!  Most of them good, but a few that were just plain nasty.  Either way, it was refreshing to hug some of my former neighbors and friends, not to mention thinking about how far I've come from that time period in my life.  Breese Hall will always be the place in my mind where I was blessed to know and be a part of a huge family-like community of friends, as well as the place I first accepted Jesus and entered into a whole new sense of family-like community.  It was just bricks and cheap carpet, but it was an epic castle to me.

In May, Moses 'graduated' from preschool!  Grandma got to come and celebrate with us =)  He had an awesome teacher who loved music almost as much as he does!  There was a really nice program and I couldn't help but feel like we are just beginning to see this kid grow.

With summer looming, we were feeling the need to stretch into new territory...w/more kids in our house, we knew longer trips would not be possible in our van.  Between the kids and all the camping equipment, we needed something bigger.  So Dave didn't need to say much to convince me to buy a Recreational Vehicle!

Our home on wheels

The Most Fun Ever Under a Tent!

  On the first few trips we felt like we had added another kid to the family - we were so proud to show it off!  It is so convenient to put the kids to bed and keep driving, not to set up anything when we arrive and to be able to sleep on actual mattresses w/sheets and such.  (Dave says it doesn't really feel like camping at all!)  Being our first year, we didn't go too far, but just rambled around WI.  We visited the Circus Museum, The International Crane Foundation, Wisconsin Dells, Door County and the Waupaca Chain of Lakes.

On the lake again...
What would a visit to the Chain of Lakes be like without a boat?  In previous years we have rented one, but not this year!  Dave saved up all his money from teaching piano lessons and bought a boat this year too.  (The neighbors thought we won the lottery!)  Dave has some really special memories from boating with his dad, so this year he really enjoyed sharing his love for boating with Mo and anyone who was willing to come along.  Fabi and I are not as keen on boating, but we are growing used to it as the year goes on.

Since we are on the topic of vehicles, I should mention that we were able to experience a local thrill at the Road America race track.  It was Toyota Sienna day, which meant anyone arriving in a Sienna (like us) was granted FREE entrance!  The usual admission price is over $50 per person, so this was an awesome savings!!!  The cars were fast, loud and colorful!  Mo kept yelling that it was awesome!  We saw a crash, got to sit in a race car and walked all over to see different turns.  If you own a Sienna or want to join us next year, I highly recommend it!!

This year we were able to celebrate a foster sibling's birthday!  Since our first foster child's birthday was 2 days from Mo's, he had been looking forward to celebrating together.  As it turned out, the little guy moved on before his birthday.  Ever since then, Mo has been anticipating ANY foster sibling's birthday!  It happened this year =)  There was cake, presents and a lakeside party.  We are so blessed to have an extended family who treats our foster children well and is willing to share in celebrations like that with us!

Back in the day, Pickles was the first teenager we had in the house.  She was pregnant and 17, and unbeknownst to us, friends with Leah.  Now Pickles is moved out to a nearby big city and we all miss her very much.  She has since had her baby (he needs a blog name!  I shall call him Alfredo!) and we have tried to stay in touch.  It helps that the girls are friends and use their cell phones or facebook to keep up with each other.  In the early fall of this year, we were able to meet up with Pickles and Alfredo.  It felt like a full circle moment, being there with them and Leah and Ray.  The babies are less than a month apart so it's cool to see them together too!  This is one proud foster momma/grandma!

The arrival of fall meant the beginning of school for Leah, Moses and Fabi, as it does for most kids.  Leah went off to high school, Moses and Fabi to pre-kindergarten and preschool respectively.  Ray and I spent a few mornings together, him sleeping and me cleaning.  After a while, Ray's father assumed primary placement of him so now I spend my mornings catching up on a few years of unorganized living!  I also host a women's fellowship and prayer group at church.  Each day I am grateful for the chance to be there when they all come home, making lunches and dinners so we can share meals together.  I am amazed how everyone is growing, learning and how our family is becoming rooted in the community.  The kids have friends at school, go on field trips, and we have met a few more families with kids our age.

Horse apples...?  Osage Oranges!
An arch in an arch!
During fall break we loaded up the van and headed out for St. Louis.  They have a super awesome museum that was a huge hit with us!  We also spent a beautiful sunny (almost hot!) fall day at the Missouri Botanical Garden.  Since it was the last day the Children's Garden would be open, there were some nature themed fall activities and free gifts.  Overall the trip was a sweet little vacation, just what we needed!

Our year wasn't all play and no work...Fabi and I were scheduled for feeding team therapy in late summer, but it was postponed until mid-fall.  For a whole week we ate every meal at the Children's Hospital.  (I was planning to write a whole post about it and it hasn't happened yet.)  During the week, Fabi worked really hard and seems to have made some significant progress.  We are looking forward to the next step...both in feeding and in her life in general.  Shortly after the therapy week, Fabi's parents' rights were terminated, meaning she is available for adoption.  We have begun the process and due to some state budget cuts, our original caseworker will no longer be working with us after the first of the new year - which is why she would like to finish this adoption as soon as possible.  Our court date is January 14, 2011 and you better believe we will be dancing for joy on that day!!!

In other news...Dave continues to attend the men's prayer breakfast and play piano at our church's traditional (early morning!) service each week.  You might not believe me, but due to Mo's good behavior, he has become a regular attender to both the practices and the early services.  Everyone on the worship team loves having him there and he has learned many of the hymns they sing!  On the weeks when Fabi and I are able to make it out the door early enough, we attend that service.  All the sweet 'ladies-with-more-wisdom-than-I' seek me out each week to tell me how it is a joy to have Mo come and how well-behaved he is.

Moses and Fabi are both enjoying school...Fabi knocks our socks off as her verbal skills are going through the roof!  That girl can talk your ear off!  She has gained a few pounds for the first time in a year, which shows we are on the right track for this feeding business.  I am still practicing girly hair styles - honestly, I am all thumbs when it comes to my own, I don't know how I manage to send her out the door looking decent every day!  She has started to identify colors, like pink and orange, which of course means she must wear a pink something every day!!  She's like a headband dictator - if I get it wrong, I hear about it!  She is very patient with me as I slowly attempt side pony tails, pig tails and crooked braids.  After our week at feeding therapy, I noticed her bond to me has become much stronger. She freely hugs and kisses me now and even calls for me when she wakes up sad.  She has learned a new trick though - when I don't pick her up or let her get out of something she doesn't like, she looks at me and says, "Pwease?  I wove you...Pwease?"  I try not to giggle or collapse in silly mommy-hood guilt, but I will admit that it is difficult!

You know you are a piano mom when you have heard the same halting melody over and over and over again...that's right - Mo started piano lessons!  At first he told us he didn't need them since he already knew how to play.  I'm biased of course, but he is doing well.  He just wants to play with both hands right now, so he is trying to get to the more advanced stuff =)  Another first for him is that he is reading.  My aunt sent him a post card from Maui and he read the whole thing by himself!!  He reads signs, easy to read books from the library and cereal boxes at the breakfast table.  I am constantly amazed by how he sounds things out.  As English language teachers, Dave and I were content to let him get to it whenever it happened.  Well, it happened!  We didn't do too much...a little Hooked on Phonics here, a few pronunciation pointers there...and BAM!  Reading.  It is cool to hear him auto-correct, which is something English language learners struggle with.  Mo knows when the words are wrong...I'm sorry - I'm a language/reading nerd...I digress...

As for me, I had a garden again this year, did a little biking, and hit a deer with the van.  (More on that in a future post - we're all ok, but the van is not!)  Nothing else really exciting happened in my corner...there was plenty of action to be had with everyone else!

On that note, I will leaf you with this...(yes, another tree joke!)

Merry Christmas!
May God bless you in the New Year!
Love, Mel, Dave, Moses, Fabi, Leah and Ray

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!)'s a few:

1) Save postage. We love you, but we're cheap!
2) Save paper. You just recycle those cards after you read do recycle them eventually, 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 the past years...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...)