Thursday, December 25, 2008

And the answer is...

A guitar hanger :-) We have three of them up on the walls of our home.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Did you know...?

A while back I was tagged to come up with some things that most people don't know about me. I apologize because I forgot why or how it all worked, I just remember that Jawan started it (and I remember that I didn't know she was a "clogger" :-)

So...did you know:

I was the State Grand Champion in Horseless Horse Showmanship (in Wisconsin) in 1992.

If I could, I would become a professional Dressage competitor.

I convinced my roommate my senior year in college to go home on the weekends to see her boyfriend so that I could have the room to myself more often.

I took a small engine repair class when I was in Illinois. I repaired a chainsaw for a friend of mine.

my nickname as a young child was Peabody. (Did I really just put that out there?!)

I almost went to graduate school for Equine Biomechanics, but became a Lactation Physiologist instead.

I got to travel around Europe for three weeks by myself the summer of 2000 and the University of Maryland paid every cent. All I had to do was present my Master's research and ask intelligent questions :-)

I tried to raise a puppy for the seeing eye dog program in Wisconsin. I wanted to name the puppy "Vision" but had to change it to Kasey. (He never became a seeing eye dog. He had an unfortunate incident with a car and passed away at an early age.) I would love to try again but Loran wouldn't be able to part with the dog after raising it for a year :-)

Just a few random facts about me!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Makin' pie for Daddy (the video version)

My favorite people

My little princess...she has started dressing up again, thanks to a gift from her friend from church :-)

This is what happens when you spend too much time on the phone with your sister in a room on the other end of the house...a basket of dirty laundry spread out on the kitchen floor with little girls sprinkled in the middle.

Apparently Ankica didn't understand the word "cheese" and Lillian thought it was funny. Julia just goes with the flow and tries to smile the whole time I have the camera out.

The cat was in the cupboard right before this but saw me coming. I have just this one cupboard that isn't baby proofed so they can play on occasion. This was a moment of peace between them when they weren't wanting to play with the same thing.

Makin' some "pie" for Daddy. When do children this age ever want to wear clothes?

Early morning curls and smiles...

Late afternoon snoring...

Loran and Ankica watching the Monday night Panthers game in full regalia.

Sharing a meal...I can't wait until they get their kitchen for Christmas...

I'm not sure what Loran is doing, but the girls are reading to each other :-)

Lillian's first up-do...

They love to play together. In fact, I think they have the cat in that box they are sitting on. They work well together when trying to accomplish a common goal :-)

I might actually have a lefty! Like most kids, the girls love to color and draw, everywhere...

Lillian loves to have her picture taken, and she loves to wear that hat :-) Maybe she'll be a golf pro! Her grandpa would be so proud :-)

Ankica will not look at the camera to save her life some days...she got distracted by the dog when I asked him to move out of the way. She is happy because Lillian gave her the hat to wear...for about two seconds.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A bug...


I woke up this morning to a tickling sensation on my ear that I thought was just my hair or maybe the cat.

When it wouldn't go away I sort of sat up and suddenly it was IN my ear. I could hear it moving around and then after a few minutes it stopped.

I was freaked out so I went to the doctor to make sure it hadn't died in there (I didn't need an infection or anything). It must have flown out or something because the PA said I have a very clean ear :-)

For future reference, use light to guide the bug out of your ear...according to many www articles, it works! EWWWW!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And the answer is...

My crystal chess set.

I LOVE playing chess. Unfortunately, Loran is less enthusiastic about it. I played a lot while I was in Illinois, which is where I received this set.

I can't wait until my girls get old enough to teach. They may not like it, but I'll teach it anyway.

Oooh, I know. They can earn allowance for playing with me! Oh yeah, that's the ticket. It will help them out in so many ways :-)

I can dream, can't I?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Traditions: Past and Present

This post is prompted by Laura. I didn't want to overwhelm her comment box so I thought I would put it in a post on my blog.

Christmas traditions that stand out in my mind from when I was younger are getting our Christmas trees as a family with my Mom's side of the family right after Thanksgiving, making Christmas cookies, cut out sugar cookies in particular, where Mom would make them by the hundreds and Daddy would ice them while me and my three sisters would sit around the table and decorate them. I am trying to implement both of those traditions with my far so good :-)

On Christmas Eve, we would go to church for the Christmas Eve service where we would sing a few Christmas carols, hear a short Christmas sermon, and light candles in a dark church (I love that part too Laura). After the service we would go to Lakeside Park (Fond du Lac, WI) and drive around to see the lights. When we were younger we would stop to see Santa but as we got older we wisely went the other direction around the park to avoid the crazy line of cars that never seemed to move. We would then hurry home. Although Loran and I won't be doing Santa for our kids, my parents did Santa for us.

I remember one year when my grandfather dressed as Santa and I didn't realize it until much later. That memory sticks out so well. I was running around the house being chased by my uncles and I ran smack into Santa! In OUR house! That was really neat. I miss my grandpa...

Anyway, my parents would always "forget" something in the house before we would leave for church and bring out the presents. They did that for a while even after we learned there was no Santa, just for the fun of not knowing the size and number of presents until that night.

Once we got home from seeing the lights, we would get out the tray of cheese and sausage and the cookie and candy trays as well as the slushy punch (I am addicted to this stuff but I reserve it for Christmas time...sooo good!). Then we would go, one by one, opening our presents. We always savored every gift and were polite as we could be while the others were opening their gifts. I thank my parents for a Christmas eve tradition that we still follow when we are home.

Christmas morning was leisurely and we would go to either my mom's or dad's side of the family for Christmas dinner around noon or 1pm. Because my extended family all lives so close together we would spend some time with both sides of the family at some point during the day. I treasure those experiences to this day. When we were home last year for my sister Heidi's wedding and Christmas, we spent some time with Mom's side and then took the girls to see Dad's side of the family and then back to Mom and Dad's house for time with the "immediate" family.

This is the first year that we are at our house for Christmas. We went out and cut our own tree. We will be doing tons of cookies and candy to share with friends in the area. We will go to the Christmas Eve service at St. Andrew's, come home and make homemade pizza, enjoy some cookies and candy and slushy punch and watch White Christmas. Sometime during the holiday we will watch the Christmas cartoons and Little Women (those movies are also past traditions from my family). We won't open presents on Christmas Eve because the girls are so young, but some day we probably will.

One Christmas Day, we will get up and have a nice breakfast, read the Christmas story from the Bible (a tradition that Loran brings to the family) and then open gifts, one gift at a time. We will have a wonderful Christmas feast in the early afternoon and then...well, I haven't gotten that far yet :-)

My family really did establish alot of traditions. I don't know why, maybe it was because me and my sisters thrived on the sameness of it, the predictability of what we would look forward to every year so that now, at 34, 33, 31, and 27 years old, my sisters and I still look forward to those things when we get to my parents' house. I read in some parenting magazine that traditions are important to establish with your children. Not just for Christmas but other times throughout the year especially, things that would be special to just your family. By examining my past and present Christmas traditions, I can see where the author of that article was coming from.

Thanks, Laura, for causing me to examine some of my most beloved memories and allowing me to reaffirm my desire to create traditions with my girls.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Windy morning

There is a tree next to the house that dropped a branch over the summer. The big branch hit the deck and thankfully did no damage. We started thinking that maybe we should have the tree taken down because it was dead and dangerous. This morning there was a loud boom and the house shook. The top half of the tree came down in the wind. We think that a smaller branch actually hit the house and not this part of the tree. THANK THE LORD FOR THAT! It took out the neighbor's birdhouse but otherwise didn't appear to cause any damage.

And the answer is...

That picture would be Loran and the band "Rock Johnson" playing at the Vault in downtown Columbus a few weeks after Ankica was born (6/6/06 actually). The video at the bottom is Loran singing although the camera I was using didn't pick up the sound well because it was loud in there and I was sitting close to the stage (their one groupie!).

I remember that night very clearly and I don't think I ever thanked Jawan enough for watching Ankica for me! I really wanted to see Loran at his first "gig" because I had been going to most of the rehearsals ever since they had started. I didn't know too many people in Columbus at the time, but the McGinnis family had been our neighbors at the apartment complex and even though she had a little one of her own (Luke was about 6 months old I would guess) Jawan was wonderful enough to give me a few hours out of the house to see Rock Johnson's one and only gig.

I remember being very surprised that Jawan seemed so wide awake so late at I know!!! :-)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Where does it come from?

I was painting my Christmas letter and I wondered: Where did this desire and ability come from?

Once upon a time I used to draw my Christmas cards but then with my new family and us growing so fast, I wanted to include a family photo as our Christmas card. Some friends and family were missing the personal touch and so last year I drew a little scene at the bottom of my Christmas letter and this year I am painting some things on it. I will revise again next year I am sure.

But I wondered, Where did my "crafty" come from? I know that I learn some drawing and painting techniques in high school art classes. I learned to knit when I was in Illinois. I learned to cross-stitch from my mom. My sisters all learned to sew while I was out playing with the animals and such but my New Year's resolution will be to pull out my sewing machine and learn how to sew a bit.

So I know where I learned alot of what I can do, but why did I want to learn it in the first place? Where did the desire come from?

My mom bakes and sews and quilts and knows how to crochet and knit and cross-stitch and embroider. Jodi has done alot of different kinds of crafts (painting, etching, sewing), Heidi sews and quilts and Cheri is a wonderful cook and she sews in her "free-time" too.

I suppose my desire came from the environment I grew up in. My mom stayed at home with us for many years while we were little and I remember her canning and baking and working on the farm. I remember her working hard and that me and my sisters had alot of fun.

These desires are in contrast to the other desire I that comes from my education and training on a professional level. The two sides have been warring with each other since before Lillian was born and I got a flattering phone call from the University of Maryland and I realized I can't really have it all, not all at once anyway.

I think this is all coming from a decision that I have made. That decision has the potential to bring about a lot of decisions in the future (like staying at home with my kids or not) and I am already struggling with those future decisions. I really need to just focus on the present and worry about that future if it ever presents itself.

Completely confused? Me too.

(You smart ones can probably see where this is going...eventually all will be revealed...)

"What is it?" Wednesday

Be specific :-) Bonus points for "Who is it Wednesday?"

Monday, December 8, 2008

I love Christmas time

I love Christmas time. I love the smell of the tree that is right next to the computer here. The girls are sitting on couch right next to each other and they are watching one of the Disney Christmas movies. The music and the story lines just make me feel all Christmassy!

I was in the middle of making a list of all of the ingredients that I need to make all of the cookies and candies that I want to this year and I just started to get all warm and fuzzy about it all! It isn't cold out and it won't likely snow, but inside it looks and sounds like Christmas.

I can't wait until Julia gets here and we will watch White Christmas and Little Women (I just love that movie and I like to include Julia in a yearly viewing of it if I can).

We will make Christmas cookies and the girls and Loran will help decorate them. I have almost all of the shopping done and have kept up on the wrapping. I listen to Christmas music every day and we are rearranging some rooms to prepare for the little girls' Christmas present (I am so glad for a rather large master bedroom to fit the other furniture!)

There are presents in the stockings but not under the tree (2 dogs, a cat, a 2 year old and a 1 year old don't lend themselves to leaving presents lying around), although the presents are on a shelf and visible for curious little eyes (like Loran's and Julia's).

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with a group of people on Saturday who really understand winter! There was reminiscing that made me feel like home! Thank you for that my friend!!!

I had a few crafts that I wanted to do with Ankica and Lillian around the holidays but often I just sit on the floor and play with them. There is time for the stress of crafting with toddlers when their big sister gets here :-)

Does Christmas make me think of Christ? Oh yes, certainly. More than half of the songs I listen to are about Jesus and all of the wonder that His birth brought. I have a little Nativity scene up on the mantel that I see every time I walk past it (I am hoping for a bigger one with separate pieces for a future Christmas). I talk to my girls' about the Nativity story and Loran will read it from the Bible on Christmas. These are traditions that run deep.

It is funny to me how Christmas makes me feel truly thankful. I think that Thanksgiving is just a warm up for me, because every day between Thanksgiving and New Year's I feel more and more thankful and grateful, for the family I have now, for the traditions that have been passed down, and for the future I treasure thanks to the love and sacrifice of our Lord and Savior.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Getting our tree

For as far back as I can remember, my family on my mom's side has been going out the weekend after Thanksgiving to hunt down the perfect tree in the woods.

This year because of an article I wrote for Associated Content, I discovered a place in Phenix City were you can cut your own trees. It wasn't quite like it is up north but we had alot of fun!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

And the answer is...

Yup, I red light on the Christmas tree. A bit easy, but the tree is sitting right next to the computer and I wanted to try some new things with the camera :-)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Photos

Thanksgiving was a full day for the girls. They played and played while the ladies prepared the meal. Then they fell fast asleep driving to see Mike and Kacie's new house. Then they played and played at the new house :-) Ankica doesn't really like sweets, but as you can see, Lillian LOVES sweet stuff! Chocolate brownies and turtle pumpkin pie ALL over :-)