Sunday, February 15, 2015

Merry Christmas 2014 aka Merry Valentines-mas 2015

(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...)
AWAY.  That word can have a lot of connotations in English!  There's gone away, put away, laid away, away game, far away, carried away, do away with something, get away, eating away at something, pass away, run away, right see what I mean?  I bet you can think of a few more!  The theme of our past year was AWAY...keep reading to see if you can spot the various versions of AWAY in all our activities!
January - we wanted to GET AWAY from the bitter bitter cold!!  There were record low temps coupled with record wind chills...We found it ironic that the movie Frozen came out during this time!  On the coldest day of the year we bundled up, covered up and manned up to get to the theater to see the movie!  And of course, like many of your kids, we still get CARRIED AWAY and cannot stop singing the songs =)
February - we didn't do much, it was still so cold! - so maybe we were HIDING AWAY?
March - Momma and Colleen's hair was SWEPT AWAY!  Short haircuts for everyone!  We are so much happier in the mornings these days - no more snarls, Charles!  Also some of our savings DRAINED AWAY as we purchased a new camper.  We had been saving for a long time to make that big of a purchase and it felt so good to reach that goal!  We took the new camper on an inaugural journey over spring break to KY and TN, our first of many times AWAY FROM HOME during 2014.  The weather SCARED OTHERS AWAY from camping but not us!  It was almost 60* most days but since we were in the mountains there were flurries one day!  There are so many cool things out there, we hope to get back.  Upon returning from break, the theater group I was a part of had a number of performances.  Some special memories were made those nights!
April - We ROLLED AWAY - we had the opportunity to go to a roller rink and go skating!  Each year the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation's local chapter hosts some fundraisers...this was the kids' first time roller skating (they've had rollerblading units at school) and it had been a long time for Dave and me!
May - All 4 of us RAN AWAY from the starting line in a family fun run to raise money for Bookworm Gardens, a really special place that combines books and plants - 2 of our family's favorite things!  If you ever get the chance, I strongly encourage you to go check it out.  You don't have to be a kid to enjoy it and if you'd like company, please call us!  We love to go!  May was an eventful month - we were WHISKED AWAY to a medical room when Moses needed his first stitches on his hand.
June - Dave and Mo shouted "BOMBS AWAY" as they did cannonballs off the board at a pool party celebrating the baptism of some dear friends' daughters.
July - July - August - This family was AWAY FROM HOME many more days than they were actually at home!!  The end of June was filled with things like football camp, camping and boating and eating ice cream every day in Waupaca, camping at Plymouth Rock with some of the best friends who have MOVED AWAY and then at Kohler Andrae State Park with some friends who don't live FAR AWAY at all!  In July we headed to Door County and Harrington Beach.  Somewhere in there we squeezed in a 15 year anniversary celebration...I am so glad that tall skinny curly haired boy I had a crush on did not SHY AWAY from this talkative goofy nerdy girl...!  And as if that wasn't enough to pack into a summer vacation, on one of the last days of July we shoved off for what was FAR AND AWAY one of the best parts of 2014!  For 24 days, we were AWAY FROM HOME again...we headed west to see Dave's brother and family in WA, stopping along the way to see Sioux Falls, ND (again!), Yellowstone National Park and Seattle, just to mention a few.  We camped in our HOME AWAY FROM HOME and praised God for each and every blessing- the camper, the family who let us steal their daughter for a beach GET-AWAY and for many traveling mercies along the way.  It was so hard to leave and DRIVING AWAY I cried.   I/We miss them a lot and I hope we can repeat the trip again soon.  But first we have to go visit the CA branch of the family!!  We miss them a ton too!!
September - I SNUCK AWAY for a girls' weekend in Door County!  Much fun was had - friendships were strengthened and laughter/tears shared.  Moses practiced his FADE AWAY jumper at his first basketball camp.  It was really cool to find out his gym teacher was one of the camp coaches!
October - Fall camping in the Kettle Moraine Forest TOOK OUR BREATH brought up a lot of memories for me since that's where my grandparents and my family did a lot of camping as I was growing up.  We really have a lot of treasures here in WI in our parks, forests and recreational areas!  By the end of the month we were BLOWN AWAY by a house/property we was BY FAR AND AWAY one of the best we have seen over the years.  We began to crunch numbers, determined to keep the house from being THE (other) ONE THAT GOT AWAY...
November - We watched some of our money get CARTED AWAY as we bought the house!!  We HAMMERED AWAY at the packing and paperwork, set aside some things to GIVE AWAY and had some work done on the new house.  We were sort of in the clouds that month - not sure if it was a dream or reality that one of our (ok, mostly my!) goals was getting crossed off the list!
December - Where did December go?  I know we didn't WASTE THE DAYS AWAY...we were so busy running loads between the two houses and such that I didn't even get a Christmas 'letter'/blog post up!  Among other things!  However, we did get the new house in shape and unpacked a few boxes.  It is beginning to feel like home and we are realizing truly how blessed we are that the Lord kept this house TUCKED AWAY in the woods for us.  For so long I had been searching for houses/acreage using the map search feature.  I was mostly looking west of the city in which we had been living, not finding much.  There were a lot of old farmhouses in disrepair we had visited, or nicer houses but w/smaller properties or locations not suitable for what we dreamed of doing.  Our poor realtor had been dragged out to some remote locations while we scoped out woods, drafty houses and farmland...!  When talking to one of her co-workers about our quest, our realtor was surprised to hear that there was a property just south of us that might be suitable!  The funny thing was that it did not show up on map search due to an address change 7 years ago.  (Google is a bit behind, I guess!)  It's like this house was on hold, SQUIRRELED AWAY, just waiting for us...the house hunt taught me patience, that's for sure.  Is this place perfect?  Of course not.  But there are so many things about it that I could not have planned!  We are less than a mile from the lake, which I said I could never leave, we are in the midst of our own 10 acres, there is a fireplace and some special nooks and unique features, the long driveway is rustic - not even paved!  I could go on...=) but I won't.
Now you know I couldn't write this whole post w/o adding some photos...since it's been such a full year, it was so hard to choose just a few to include!  So I made a huge slideshow!!  It's just under 11 minutes long, so please get comfortable =)  And the song that is below (just hit play) is sort of our end of 2014/beginning of 2015 theme song!  We are trying new things and entering new territory, literally and figuratively!...more on all of that in the next post, which I promise is not months away but should be posted soon!  Finally, it seems weird saying it in February, but MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!  We hope and pray you enjoyed the holiday season and were able to spend Valentine's Day w/some loved ones!  Remember, God loves you and so do we!

We hope you enjoyed this green version of our Christmas card!  There are lots of reasons we decided to do things differently a couple of years'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...)