Friday, December 28, 2012

Ten Years

December 28, 2012

I guess you never can tell how quickly time will go. Sometimes moments last an eternity, and sometimes years fly past so fleetingly that if it weren't for a calendar, you'd never believe they even existed.

You waited years for me. I waited years for you, too. At the time, those years seemed so long that a life beyond was unimaginable. And now, the memories of that era are so long past that I can barely even remember a time when you weren't my friend.

It's been ten years since you got down on one knee and told me you'd love me forever. You've been carefully holding my heart since then, and perhaps it's not as fragile as it could be, or perhaps you've just been extra tender when it counts, but you've never broken it.

I like belonging to you. I like being so intricately part of your life, that it's my life too. I sure do love those kids we have. It's an amazing miracle to give life to another and be bonded forever in a relationship that can't be taken away. What is even more of a miracle, is that I choose you, every day. We're bonded in a relationship no less permanent and no less powerful. In fact, more-so, wouldn't you say? Those beautiful faces that are half yours-half mine have added to our life and our joy, but they didn't make it. We did that. We made the love we have and the life we live - just you and me. I'd say, those kids are pretty blessed to get to share that. But it's not about them. It's about us.

For your part - I have no doubt in my mind that you will pursue me, forever. I actually kind of really really like that fact. I also don't really know why-on-earth, because it doesn't make sense to me, but I guess that is my half of the mystery to ponder. Your half is: why I still don't put enough meat on your sandwiches;-)

Speaking of mysteries - I suppose that over the past ten years the great mystery - Christ and His church, and the marriage relationship, is becoming more obvious to me, and less mysterious. In an eyes-dimly-lit way, of course. I should never hope to be able to grasp the depths of the analogy - but as I live it out, I can see the word-pictures. And it all makes just a little more sense.

Time has knit our hearts together, incredibly. A time when we said "can you even imagine 10 years from now?!"...and that was only yesterday.

I can't even imagine what the next ten will hold. But I do know, that as long as we're living, it's you, and it's me. 


Wednesday, December 26, 2012


This years Christmas had a few funny moments...we'll get to those...:-)
Cousins exchange! We were very glad to be able to Skype with family far away. We've received a much-coveted Lalaloopsy Doll, and a Basketball

Cute kid in his cute new Peterbilt hat!
This might be known as the year that 7 Eleven saved Christmas! Christmas morning around 8:30, I started pulling things out of the cupboard in anticipation for all the cooking I would be doing that day. Only to discover...I forgot I gave ALL my canned green beans to the food bank. I mentally just *knew* I had them, and didn't buy more (or check the shelf, physically), until Christmas morning. ACK! What was I thinking? Cursing my luck, that I let the kids select the food to donate and...well...thank heaven for 7 Eleven!!! A quick trip to the corner 7/11, and 4 cans of Delmonte green beans later (for 1.99 per can! Yikes!) - I was just glad they were about the only place open, and that they had some in stock. They had exactly 4 cans, which is exactly what I needed. Crisis averted! We enjoyed a very delicious green bean casserole.
We also had a chocolate cheesecake and cannoli's!
We enjoyed delightful presents from our family and loved ones. The kids gave their own gifts this year too, and had so much fun being a giver!
Grey got the motherload - CARS & TRUCKS
I had a funny thing happen. I always give the same list to both people who have my name (on either side of the family) - just my general list of needs and wants to aid in shopping. Never had a problem before. This year, I included a "long shot" gift on there...a food processor, as my mini 10 year old one has recently broken. Well, wouldn't you know that BOTH people who had my name decided that was the gift to give! So now I have TWO big/normal sized food processors, lol! I will trade one out for another kitchenaid mixing bowl, I think. Haha!! Thank you to everyone for your generosity!!
We gave the kids this neat thing - make your own fort! This was the first design I came up with. More to follow, I think! (you put your own blanket over it:-)

Rainboots and hats!
It's not an American Girl doll, but a Madame Alexander doll, and it looks like Kenna! Kenna was delighted to see that she already owned red shoes, and similar clothes to the doll's. So she changed to match!

Kenna says, if she had a sister, it would look like this doll:-)

Remote control car!

Boxing Day! Enjoying Christmas Day leftovers, and reading Sherlock Holmes on our new family gift - a kindle!

Reading a story on the kindle with Auntie Meghan

Captain America shield from Uncle shoots darts too!! Here we have target practice:-)

We bought Kenna an Easy Bake and cupcake maker on Craigslist for $20. Yay!! Stay tuned for "yummy" treats
A nice day and meal was enjoyed by all! We were glad to talk to our families far away, and glad to spend Christmas also with Dale's parents. Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Letter 2012

Please click on the links to read the pdf letter(s), which can also be printed, if you really really want to:-) Merry Christmas to all! We are glad to know you, and are so happy you are taking the time to keep in touch with us, via the internet. We love our family and friends, both near and far!

In Other Words - A small peek into the life of our family

If you are not a regular follower of this blog, here is a more serious letter to catch you up on some details: Christmas 2012

For our recent "Christmas" pictures, click here

Here is a video summary of our year, to date.

Friday, December 21, 2012

46 Reasons

I thought this post was sooo funny, because it's oh-so-true. Surrounded by many MANY children who this applies to on a daily basis - I just have to laugh.
46 Reasons My 3 Year Old Might be Freaking Out

Some of these are total guesses. Educated guesses, but guesses nonetheless. Seems like it’s hard being a kid.

His sock is on wrong.
His lip tastes salty.
His shirt has a tag on it.
The car seat is weird.
He’s hungry, but can’t remember the word “hungry.”
Someone touched his knee.
He’s not allowed to get in the oven.
I picked out the wrong pants.
His brother looked at him.
His brother didn’t look at him.
His hair is heavy.
We don’t understand what he said.
He doesn’t want to get out of the car.
He wants to get out of the car by himself.
The iPad has a password.
His sleeve is touching his thumb.
He doesn’t understand how popsicles are made.
The inside of his nose stinks.
Chicken is gross.
A balloon he got six months ago is missing.
A puzzle piece won’t fit in upside down.
I gave him the wrong blue crayon.
The gummi vitamin is too firm.
Netflix is slow.
He jumped off the sofa and we weren’t watching.
He’s not allowed to touch fire.
Everything is wrong with his coat.
There’s a dog within a 70 mile radius.
A shoe should fit either foot.
I asked him a question.
His brother is talking.
He can’t lift a pumpkin.
He can’t have my keys.
The cat is in his way.
The cat won’t let him touch its eyeball.
The inside of his cheek feels rough.
Things take too long to cook.
He has too much food in his mouth.
He sneezed.
He doesn’t know how to type.
The DustBuster is going to eat him.
His mom is taking a shower.
Someone knocked over his tower.
He got powdered sugar on his pants.
The yogurt won’t stay on his spoon.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bird Watcher

We have been doing Apologia's science in school, and the study is on birds. Kenna has taken keenly to the idea that she could be a bird watcher. She watches birds, counts the flapping and gliding times, and draws them using the colours she can see. Yesterday I taught her how to use the camera and make sure it was strapped on to her tightly. This is a big deal for me - no it's not a magnificent camera, just a canon point and shoot, but it is my ONLY camera, so it's basically my prized possession.

This new skill has brought us...lots and lots of pictures containing no birds. She confessed that since they fly very fast, by the time the final click goes through on the camera, the bird is already out of sight. HAHAHA!

I have spared you by only posting a couple of the many many many pictures she took:-)

SHE GOT ONE! There is a bird flying in the picture below. Like a Raven or Blackbird of some type.
 Over & Out - Kenna. Her very first Selfie pic:-)
Well, lets just say she's not about to narrate a documentary any time soon;-)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Kenna's Tribute - Video

I tell you what. Kenna wins best daughter award of the decade in my books.

She's learned how to use my camera for her bird watching adventures (more on that later), and today, while uploading some of her bird pictures to the computer, I came across the following video she recorded of herself. It is so sweet and thoughtful, it literally made me cry. I love that girl.

It's not only adorable, but hilarious too. What else would you expect from my kids? ;-)
I'd say, watch out world, she's "armed and dangerous" now. I'm sure there will be unending streams of pics and videos from now on;-)

*I didn't edit it at all, other than to stick the 3 individual videos together

Pinterest Successes

We did this idea with our little homeschool co-op. One of the Mom's found it on Pinterest, and it's a wonderful twist on a gingerbread house - A nativity scene!

Our pics...
Here's our version! The kids made it themselves with no help from me! (Cresh and manger were premade the day before by me - using royale icing, so it was nice and sturdy. Each family made one to share)

Somehow we made it home without a mini-candy cane staff for our orange shepherd

Super, super cute. I really love it, and it's a wonderful way to get the candy fun stuff in there while still giving the holiday a little more meaning. Gingerbread houses are...because of Hansel & Gretel? lol? I really have no idea...
I saw an idea on Pinterest a few months ago, and I thought it could be cute. I started hoarding newpapers.

When I started wrapping Brian was like, seriously, you are not using that. As if we were too poor to afford real paper or something, haha. I assured him I had a vision. In the end, he agreed with me that it looks nice:-)
using stencils I already owned, ribbon I already owned, and other crafting supplies (glitter etc) I already have...this years wrapping cost me NOTHING! And it turned out really really cute I think. Seeing all the black & white under the tree, the bold stenciled names, and a little glitter here and's really, really pretty. In a shabby chic way, I guess. But I love it!!

Everyone gets one of their gifts with a big glittery letter on it! This one is for...Lauren!

Christmas Party

Last night was a Christmas Party for Brian's company. We had a wonderful time with everyone. As it is a small company everyone gets along well, and so the "awkward Christmas party" thing is not really the case, as they are a tight knit group.

One of his co-workers, Gerry, presented each family with a gift he made. A birdhouse, built entirely out of materials he salvaged from the various jobsites over the past year. He told the story of each part but "in code" like..."this OSB was from Julian's job out in Suffolk, and the plexiglass is either from Eddie's airport or Mark's blah blah blah..." So this doesn't mean much to me, since I have no idea what Julian was doing in Suffolk 8 months ago. But all the guys knew and laughed about the stories they recalled. Brian says they are all lucky to be alive after the demo/tear out of a certain job at Janaf Mall, which provided Gerry with all that rumply rusty stuff for the birdhouse's exterior:-) I had not previously heard about the near death experience of about 10 people, and I don't think I want to know;-)

So I don't really know what parts are from where, but they were all on jobs that Brian was a part of, and that makes it special. A very nice Christmas gift, and a wonderful idea for him to collect things over the year to make them. Sentimental gifts are the best ones!

The kids are excited! Now we need to buy birdseed!
The Woodard Group, 2012 (only 1 employee is missing/unable to attend last night)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bouncy Day

The day is gorgeous, the front door is open wide, letting the fresh air in, and hopefully ushering out all our cough and cold germs! The weather has been very mild so far, it's been crazy really! But there have been a few cold days in there (cold to us, I should say), and I think the ups and downs is whats affecting us and giving us colds!

We were given a small bounce house a few years ago...I only set it up on rare occasions. Today struck me as one of those:-)
Sonny loved it!


I think May likes it best of all!
Grey would not go in, he doesn't like bounce houses, he says. I don't think that's true, but he's in a bit of a mood and says he only wants to watch Cars:-) Brooks has been in and out...he's never liked them. It doesn't help that Kenna terrorizes him in there by doing "scary things" like going near the edge - which lets out more air and the side starts to collapse. While he is always proclaiming his braveness and super-heroism, in reality, he's annoyingly whiny and unnecessarily timid in these situations. Can't wait for those super hero genes to kick for real, haha;-)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gingerbread House

We had some fun this afternoon - while Daddy napped on the couch ;-) Perfect Sunday family activity. We made our own "gingerbread" house this year...I think next year I'll make 3 small ones, and they can each do their own. Kenna was getting upset at the boys lack of concern for symmetry and colour patterning:-)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Blast from the Past

At my epic 18th birthday party. How do you fill a house with 50+ people for a surprise party WHILE the birthday girl is in the house...and still have her shocked beyond belief? Ask my Mom. Don't wonder why they call me "blonde":-)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Random Pics

Nothing too big going on around here. Normal Christmas prep - I think we pretty much have all the gifts we need for people, now it's on to wrapping and stuff. Fun. The kids have been having so much fun opening the advent calendar and building their nativity scene, piece by piece. As soon as they wake up they come into my room (since of course I'm still in bed;-) and beg for today's envelope. It's been a surprisingly relaxing Christmas season, and we're so grateful for that!

You'll never guess what this's basketball practice. Disadvantage #1, you need a sister to hold the net up for you. Disadvantage #2, sister risks getting hit in the face with every single shot. And yes, the boy is still playing basketball with a soccer ball...Christmas is coming!
I clothes-napped this sweatshirt from my brother Brent...about 13 years ago. It's still my comfiest go-to. It's full of holes/threadbare in places now and the zipper doesn't work. But I'm keeping it:-)
Catching up on the Sports News is very male-bonding. They all love to do it together
Ardyn brought her Princess Minnie hat over...and we just happened to have a paper crown ready to go for the Prince. These two Honey's are a force to be reckoned with. Notice how they're holding hands:-)
Best Buds
I'm making some albums to hold fam pics from this year. The purple one will hold the summer pics, and the blue one the winter pics. Can't wait to show the finished product! I "invented" these on my own, based on online inspiration, but it was really fun!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Top Ten - Movie Quotes

A few of my favourite movie quotes, in no particular order:-) What are some of your faves?
Jane Aubrey: What if my face was all scraped off and I was totally disfigured and had no arms and legs and I was completely paralyzed. Would you still love me?
Billy Chapel: No. But we could still be friends.
For The Love Of The Game 

Downey: What did we do wrong? We did nothing wrong.
Dawson: Yeah, we did. We were supposed to fight for the people who couldn't fight for themselves. We were supposed to fight for Willie
A Few Good Men

Katie: I want to go to Chow Funs
Ben: I thought we agreed we couldn't really talk at Chow Funs
Katie: I know
Ben: Are you saying Chow Funs because you can't face telling the kids? Because if that's why you're saying Chow Funs, don't say Chow Funs
Katie: That's not why I'm saying Chow Funs. I'm saying Chow Funs because we're an us. There's a history here, and histories don't happen overnight. In Mesopotamia or Ancient Troy there are cities built on top of other cities, but I don't want another city, I like this city. I know what kind of mood you're in when you wake up by which eyebrow is higher, and you know I'm a little quiet in the morning and compensate accordingly, that's a dance you perfect over time. And it's hard, it's much harder than I thought it would be, but there's more good than bad and you don't just give up! And it's not for the sake of the children, but gosh they're great kids aren't they? And we made them, I mean think about that! It's like there were no people there, and then there were people! And they grew, and an an an I won't be able to say to some stranger Josh has your hands or remember how Erin threw up at the Lincoln Memorial. And I'll try to relax, let's face it, anybody is going to have traits that get on your nerves, I mean, why shouldn't it be your annoying traits, and I know I'm no day at the beach, but I do have a good sense of direction so I can at least find the beach, which isn't a weakness of yours, it's just a strength of mine. And gosh, you're a good friend and good friends are hard to find. Charlotte said that in Charlottes Web. And I love how you read that to Erin and you take on the voice of Wilber the Pig with such dedication even when you're bone tired. That speaks volumes about character! And ultimately, isn't that what it comes down too? What a person is made of? That girl in the pin helmet is still here 'bee boo bee boo' I didn't even know she existed until you and I'm afraid if you leave I may never see her again, even though I said at times you beat her out of me, isn't that the paradox? Haven't we hit the essential paradox? Give and take, push and pull, the ying the yang. The best of times, the worst of times! I think Dickens said it best, 'He could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean', but, doesn't really apply here does it? What I'm trying to say is, I'm saying Chow Funs because, I love you
The Story Of Us 

Wallace: Farming is hard work, but that will all change when my sons arrive.
Murron: Oh, so you have children?
Wallace: No, but I was hoping you could help me with that.
Murron: Ah, so I'm to marry you now?
Wallace: Well, it's a bit sudden, but alright.
Murron: Do you call that a proposal?
Wallace: I love you. Always have.

Darcy: You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire, and love you
Pride and Prejudice

Tevye: As Abraham said, "I am a stranger in a strange land... "
Mendel: Moses said that.
Tevye: Ah. Well, as King David said, "I am slow of speech, and slow of tongue."
Mendel: That was also Moses.
Tevye: For a man who was slow of tongue, he talked a lot
Fiddler On The Roof

Sean Tuohy: You really expect Michael to lay down on a couch and talk about his childhood like he's Woody Allen or something? I mean, Michael's gift is his ability to forget. He's mad at no one and he really doesn't care what happened in the past.
Leigh Anne Tuohy: You're right
Sean Tuohy: Excuse me? 'You're right'? How'd those words taste coming out of your mouth?
Leigh Anne Tuohy: Like vinegar.
The Blind Side

Allison: I've felt loved, and that's all that matters. So, never mind favorites. You're allowed to have one. The point is, you've been mine.
Meet Joe Black

Harry: The fact that you're not answering leads me to believe that (a) You're not home, (b) You're home but you don't want to talk to me, or (c) You're home, desperately want to talk to me, but you're trapped under something heavy. If it's either (a) or (c), please give me a call
When Harry Met Sally

Aibileen Clark: You is kind. You is smart. You is important.
The Help

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bread, Burn, Math

A case can seriously be made for the statement, "you haven't lived until you've had homemade sourdough bread". It is sooo amazingly wonderful! Not hard to make, although, the rising/resting parts take pretty much all day. I use the recipe from Pinch My Salt. Turns out every time! Yesterday, I went a little crazy. Brian and I couldn't resist eating some half a loaf warm from the oven.

Baking is a dangerous thing! I just might get a scar from this 12th degree burn, suffered at the hands of the hot cookie sheet used for the bread. Totally worth it, though, for this bread!!

Brooks is working on his "fair shares" in math. When allowed to manipulate the piles, he can do it no problem. When he has to just look at them and divide them without moving things around (like he has to do on paper), he struggles. So I gave him some practice. He is currently halfway through 1st grade BJU math...and he won't be in 1st grade until Sept 2013. Needless to say, we're not stressing over it:-)
4 kids get _____ each

Monday, December 10, 2012


Buds."I call her Honey", Grey says, semi embarrassed with a little laugh. But he still does it, and nobody is making him;-) These two seem to get each other. Even though they aren't that close in age (Ardyn will be 2 Dec 31st), they make the best playmates. Sonny is only 2 months older than Grey, but has a very sensitive disposition. He (poor thing) gets put through the wringer, emotionally, with Grey & Ardyn around. They have bolder personalities and seem to take over every situation together. Perhaps not unlike those "Ghost & the Darkness" lions, minus the eating of humans;-) I am personally grateful for Sonny, who gives a calm, peaceful (and kind) touch to our days. Hopefully he's rubbing off on these little Honey's.
Grey & Ardyn - best buddies
These two pals are a force to be reckoned with!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Peace on Earth

Making a little merry over here, in the crafting department:-) I don't do it very often anymore, but when I do...I soooo love it;-) I wish I had more room to make a big mess all the time! I'm posting a few tutorials to my stampin' blog tonight...