Thursday, December 24, 2009
The snow is fiercely blowing outside in our winter wonderland. We are all snuggled up in our warm house – playing games, eating snacks and reading by the fire. All of us are happy, content and healthy – truly a day to remind us of how blessed we really are. It is the kind of day to reflect on the year that is coming to an end and to remember the amazing family and friends that are such an important part of our lives.
Spencer celebrated his 8th birthday this summer at one of his favorite places on Earth – a water park in the Wisconsin Dells. He is in 2nd grade this year and doing great in school. He excels at reading and absorbs science facts and figures like a little sponge. He enjoys riding his scooter, playing outside with his friends and watching TV. Spencer’s dream came true in March when we adopted a kitten. His name is “Dickens” (he had a roll in Trent’s production of Oliver!) and he is the most mild-mannered, patient, little cat that we ever could have hoped for. Most days I am surprised he doesn’t run for his life with the love (i.e. torture) the kids bestow on him.
Evan is 5 ½ and started Kindergarten this fall. He rides the bus every morning with his big brother – I still wonder every day how my baby boy can be that old. Evan loves school and I have never seen a kid that looks forward to doing homework and begs to work on flashcards like he does. He is a natural helper and enjoys working on any kind of project. Evan played soccer again this year and has improved immensely. He even scored a hand full of goals this past fall.
Hailey will be 3 in January. She has grown up so much in the last year. She speaks very well (and often) now. She has been working on potty training and catching on pretty quickly with the lure of gymnastics classes or Polly Pockets to hasten the process. After the New Year, the crib will be coming down and she will move into a new big girl bed. Big stuff is happening around here for our baby girl! Hailey loves her big brothers and tries to emulate them all the time – though they don’t seem to find it as endearing as we do. She loves her baby dolls, books, playing dress-up and stealing sips of Diet Coke.
Jen is still “working” at home to keep everyone and everything on track. She has been volunteering in Evan’s classroom and loves being back at school to keep “tabs” on the kids. She was able to get out with her camera and do some photography jobs this year. It has been very gratifying to open up Christmas cards that we have received and see the smiling faces on the photos that she has taken. Thank you to those of you who have supported her “habit” and put your memories in her care.
Trent is as busy as ever with work, theatre, golf, Cub Scouts, church, Knights and anything else that comes along. He discovered a new hobby in geocaching this year and spends most of his free time walking around in the woods looking for “treasures”. It is a fun family hobby that gets us moving around and even keeps the kids interested (most of the time anyway).
We were shocked and saddened in February when Trent’s mom, Lyn, passed away unexpectedly. It has been a year of trying to find a new normal as we carry on in our lives without her. She is extremely missed and will be even more so at this time of year that she loved so much. On the other end of the circle of life, we were thrilled to find out that Jen’s sister Dana and her husband Mark will be welcoming a new baby into their family in March.
The most important thing we have learned this year is that each day is truly a gift and not a guarantee. Miracles happen and devastating things occur without any rhyme or reason. It forces us to trust in God, to believe and to have faith – which is what this holiday and this life is all about. We wish you all a holiday filled with peace, health, happiness and most of all love.
Trent, Jen, Spencer, Evan and Hailey
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Spencer did very well with his "part". Thankfully, he remembered to use the bathroom this year before the show, since last year he was in agony the whole time. I only noticed him attempting to bite his nails a couple times - a hard habit to break as I know from personal experience. I was extremely proud of him.
Each year they finish the program by singing "Let there be peace on Earth" and calling up the former multi-age "graduates" to the stage to sing along. They also sign the song while they sing. For some reason I find myself getting choked up every year during that part of the show. It is just so cool to see these big kids walking up to the stage, hugging their former teachers and singing and signing a song that they learned so many years ago. It was like I could see into the future with Hailey standing on the risers as her big brothers sat on the stage in front of her.
For the time that it takes them to sing the song, everything seems right with the world. You leave the auditorium thinking that maybe all of those sweet voices singing in unison really did make some sort of difference.
Friday, December 18, 2009
He was just a little bit excited about it! He walked around the house practicing his songs and "word parts" for weeks.
These pictures are not edited at all. I shouldn't even be taking time to do this post. We are having around fifty people at our house tomorrow night for a party. We are also helping with a children's party tomorrow morning at the Viking's club. One week from today we are having another thirty people over for a family Christmas party. Throw in all the school activities and shopping and food prep and wrapping....bite off more than you can chew much?
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
That kid of mine just cracks me up! As far as the storm...they did have a snow day today but it was sort of a bummer. We couldn't just hang out and chill. We had to have all three kids to the doctor for flu shot boosters at 8:30 and Evan had a dentist appointment at 1:00. The forecasters are predicting that round two is going to hit tonight and most likely school will be closed tomorrow as well. I am really hoping so because I have a lot to get done around here that is much more doable if I have another person to help with entertainment of the masses.
Friday, December 4, 2009
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower
who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly
i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid
look the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,
put up your little arms
and i'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy
then when you're quite dressed
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they'll stare!
oh but you'll be very proud
and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
I haven't done a blog hop in a while, but when I stopped by the Kelly's Korner blog today and she was hosting a "Show us your Life: Christmas Trees", that poem was all I could think of. I knew all of my former English major poetry books with the pages dog eared to my favorite verses would come in handy someday. And how much do I love the fact that I could google and copy and paste the whole poem. Technology is amazing!
Anyway...the first photo is of our main tree. It is real. It is huge. Every year we bring home a twelve to thirteen footer and it still looks tiny in relation to the nineteen foot ceiling. I love that the kids are old enough to be excited about decorating the tree and are actually able to help. Granted there are a lot of branches with six ornaments hanging in a bunch, but they are on there none the less. We get each of the kids a Hallmark ornament every year that symbolizes something about them or that happened over the course of the year. All of those ornaments are so fun to get out and reminisce about why we picked those and the things they did when they were younger.
This tree is on our stairway landing. It is my "Gone With the Wind" tree. All of the ornaments are from the Hallmark GWTW collections. I love this tree, and I love that movie. Obviously.
The kids each have a mini tree in their rooms. Evan's is the tree I used to have in my office at work. It has seen better days. His is decorated with mini dinosaur and truck ornaments.
Hailey's tree is pink and has some pink glitter ornaments on it. As she gets older she will probably want to pick out her own ornaments to hang, but for now she is pretty happy with these.
I don't have a photo of Spencer's tree because he has no ornaments. He didn't have a tree in his room last year so we need to find some for him this year.
I also have a little tree in our room for the first time. I bought a new tree for the basement and the former basement tree went to the GWTW tree and the former GWTW tree is now empty. I was thinking it might be cool to get some little frames and make a photo tree.
This is the new six foot tree I bought for the basement. Trent's MSU Spartan tree. All of the ornaments are from MSU or at least Spartan themed. I also hung some green and silver balls on it because it is a pretty big tree. Our neighbor usually buys Trent the Franklin Mint MSU ornament every year so those are on there as well. I need to think of a clever tree topper. I tried to put the Spartan Santa hat up there, but it just didn't look right. I was realizing that the tree needed a tree skirt and was thinking of all the MSU fabric at Joann's - as if I need another project right now.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I think I am finally finished putting up all of the Christmas decor. I don't know what it is this year. I feel like I am so behind already. I think it has to do with Thanksgiving falling so late in the month. We usually have everything all festive around here after that long weekend. I changed some stuff around, so that is taking a lot of time. Things that I usually plop in the same spot year after year are getting a new home for the first time. I like how it is turning out, it just takes a lot more thinking and figuring.
I have been on the computer most of the day doing some Christmas shopping. I feel like I am way behind on that too. I don't know why. I don't think I am. In fact, we had our "Christmas" with my sister and her family over the holiday weekend since they won't be coming to town for "real Christmas" (as my kid's say). I am kind of at a loss as to what to get the kids this year. They are not really asking for anything much (which is good!), I would love to find something to WOW them, but am not finding anything that ignites that in me at all. Plus I need to watch our money so that Trent can buy me the new camera that I really want for Christmas this year! Ha! (I feel like I am cheating on my camera by writing that last sentence - seriously - I love you, you do a terrific job - I am really just jonesin' for an upgrade. I will still keep you around for the day to day fun stuff around here...I promise!)