Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Afermath

I'm sure we're not the only ones reveling in the Christmas aftermath. You know, the piles of new toys to play with and pick up and the new clothes to try on and wash. The fudge and Chex Mix to be eaten, the books to be read and Christmas money spent. Yes, it's always just as busy after Christmas as before!

Now that I have our photos off the camera (there were over 430 since we left Dallas!) and relatively weeded through and very briefly touched (David's work laptop has very limited photo editing capabilities) I thought I'd share a few.

Grace by Opa and Oma's tree

What Santa left for Grace and Ethan

Ethan just needed a plain box for Christmas

Grace wore her pink dress up dress ALL day!

The great grandkids watching Tinkerbell in matching jammies

Ethan rocking out on Great Oma's rocking chair

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Hospital-Free Christmas!

Just a quick after Christmas update to let you all know that my wonderful mother in law was released from the Hospital the afternoon of the 24th and we were able to celebrate as a family at HOME! She did have to bring along her oxygen machine but that hardly mattered to us. We had a delightful Christmas morning at home before heading to Grandpa and Grandma's house for an afternoon/evening of family and fun. The kids had so much fun playing with their cousins and new toys that they went to bed last night without a fuss and didn't wake up until 8:30am this morning. I think that's a new record and a testament to how much fun they had!

We are just so grateful that my mother in law is home but please still pray for her recovery as she is still sick with no real answers.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Prayer Request

My mother in law has been battling pneumonia and finished two weeks of antibiotics Sunday and went to the doctor yesterday only to discover the antibiotics didn't work and that she would need to be admitted to the hospital. They told her she would need to be there 2-4 days which means there's a good chance she'll be there for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We usually get together with all of my mother in law's family for Christmas Eve for a big Dutch Family get together (read: loud and really fun!) at Oma and Opa's house in Caldwell. Christmas Day we're supposed to be with my husband's grandparents which is a bigger turn out then usual this year with David's cousin Brian and his family driving up from Arizona (well they're trying to get here...they had to reroute and are still on the road) along with our family, David's brother and his girlfriend, and David's Aunt Diane and Uncle Ed who's patience at the Portland Airport eventually paid off and they arrived in Boise last night.

Please pray that the antibiotics they gave my mother in law will work and that she will be well enough to go home tomorrow. I know she hates to be in the hospital (who doesn't?) and it's even worse to have it happen during the holidays when family is visiting.

Monday, December 22, 2008

We beat the storm to Idaho

Some of you may be wondering if we've been stuck in a snowbank somewhere between Dallas, Oregon and Nampa, Idaho for the past few days but I'm happy to report that we did in fact arrive at our destination Saturday evening around 6:30pm our time. We spent Friday morning finishing our packing and loading up the van before skating through our neighborhood towards Salem. The roads cleared about 10 minutes before we hit Salem and the snow was all but gone by the time we got up to my Mom's house in Damascus. We had a delightful afternoon celebrating with my Mom and exchanged gifts and had dinner together. From watching the weather we knew that the next big storm was coming Saturday night and that we needed to get moving to stay ahead of it. So we woke up early Saturday morning and were on the road by 8:22am making our way through snowy Portland streets to the even more snowy Gorge.
I don't think I can describe the drive between Troutdale and The Dalles other then White and Scary. David thinks that since he grew up in Idaho and knows how to drive in the snow that he's prepared and can totally disregard the signs that say "Chains or Traction Tires REQUIRED from Milepost 29 through 82". So we inched along at a grand 20mph with no chains or traction tires for a little over two hours. We got to The Dalles at 11:30 and decided to stop for lunch at McDonalds so we could pick up some Red Box movies for the kids. While I let the kids run around the Play Area David finally installed our chains which were on our van for one exit before David pulled over to take them off. After The Dalles the roads were a lot better and by the time we reached Ontario we couldn't even see snow on the sides of the road. We pulled in David's parent's driveway at 6:30pm and were very happy to have that 10 hour trip safely behind us. I think our parents were pretty glad too.
Now that we're here we're hoping that David's Aunt Diane and Uncle Ed will be able to join us as they are stuck at the Portland Airport and have been since yesterday at noon. Everyone thought we were nuts to drive instead of fly but I'd much rather spend 10 hours in a car then who knows how long at an airport. Please pray they make it here by Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Making My List & Checking It Twice

Last night I performed the Great Gift Wrapping of 2008. That's right, I buckled down and as soon as Grace was safely tucked into her bed I began a wrapping frenzy that lasted until midnight. I wrapped every gift that I could and will have more to wrap in Idaho once we get there since I didn't think everyone left on my list wanted a gift from Walmart. Good thing Amazon Super Saver Shipping was still on early this week! It feels good to have it done (mostly) and Grace is loving it. She keeps making her "oh" face every time we look at the presents which is pretty hilarious. I love how excited she gets! Makes all that wrapping worth it!

When we got the kids' gifts out I realized that Ethan is only getting one toy from us for Christmas this year. Everything else is practical stuff he needs which made me feel a little bad. But then I remembered that he's probably going to get a mountain of toys from everyone else and then I felt better! Good thing the one toy he's getting is the Little People Farm, he loves to play with the one at Indoor Park and Little People toys are always played with a lot here. Grace isn't getting too many big gifts from us either, though I'm pretty sure that the "pink dress ups" she told Santa she wanted will be waiting for her under the tree.

Yesterday we made sugar cookies and I frosted them while Grace sprinkled them. I also made a double batch of Chex Mix which I promptly hid as soon as it was cooled off since David would most likely eat the entire thing before we even packed the car to leave. As a peace offering I made a Ziplock bag full that I plan to put in the car to snack on while we make the long drive to Nampa on Saturday. I also made some other secret goodies, and this morning I baked the dikke speculaas just for David. The last time I made it was seven years ago when we were first married and David said it wasn't very good. He made a pretty big point of saying it was good this time around in hopes that I won't wait another seven years to make it again! Amazing what we've learned in seven years of marriage isn't it?

Today I'm finishing up all the laundry and starting the packing process. Packing all the supplies for Christmas on top of the pile of stuff a family of four requires for a week is a full day's work. I'm sure we'll forget something critical but I always remember that they have stores in Idaho so if I forget the package of diapers we can always buy some more. We also have Grace's Ballet Recital tonight provided the snow doesn't cancel it. Since the Dallas schools are open today I'm hoping it's still on!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Are we going to Idaho yet?

I have heard "Are we going to Idaho yet?" about 3,028,873,998 times today. Or at least it seems like it. Grace knows we are going to Idaho soon and that we will be there when Christmas comes which all results in her asking if we're going to Idaho yet. Let's just hope the weather improves some before Saturday when we're scheduled to make the long trek.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More Snow = More Fun!

The snow is still here and roads are still white. It's actually a lot scarier driving today then yesterday because the snow is all packed down and it's getting icy. I slid a little bit in my short jaunt to Red Box to return Horton Hears a Who and Walmart. I had grand plans this week to go into Salem and finish my Christmas shopping which doesn't look like it's meant to happen. I just don't feel like chancing an icy drive into town so I apologize to everyone who receives a gift from Walmart but that's the only shopping there is around here. Oh, except for the Dollar Store and Rite Aid. I bet you all can't wait to see what you got from us!

Grace is still enjoying the white stuff and had a ball playing outside with Zoe in the snow before lunch. She ran around after Zoe and kept making snowballs and throwing them in the air. I had to bribe her with hot chocolate to get her to come back inside and warm up! And since it's so rare to get nice photos of Grace I hope you enjoy these snowy pics. There's a ton more in our Snapfish album!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ethan's first taste of snow

It did indeed snow last night so that when Grace woke up this morning the first thing she wanted was breakfast followed closely by going outside to play in the snow. Once everyone had been fed and I had some hot coffee to fortify myself we piled on as many layers of clothing as we could (note to self...start looking for cheap snow pants for the kids!). Poor Ethan looked like the Michelin Man because I made him wear a onesie, two piece flannel pajamas, two sweaters, jeans, socks, rubber boots, mittens, and a hat. Grace got off a little better only wearing long pajamas under some jeans, a lined sweater, a coat, hat, and mittens.

Once we made it outside Grace wanted to walk around in the snow for a good while and Ethan just stood in the spot I left him the entire time. I'm not sure if he couldn't figure out how to walk in rubber boots or the snow, but either way having a captive photo subject was rather enjoyable for a change.

After Grace had satisfied her snow lust we began trying to make a snowman which turned out to be harder then I anticipated. The snow was just so powdery it wouldn't stick to a snowball that we tried to roll around. So we opted for Plan B and piled snow into a heap and shaped a snowman out of that. Then we found some sticks for arms, some barkdust for eyes, and a baby carrot for a nose. He's rather cute.

I gave Ethan the snowball I couldn't make into a snowman and he was pretty excited. At first he thought it was a ball and threw it.

Then he decided to taste it.

The cold snow on his nose kind of startled him!

Apparently it didn't taste so good but that didn't stop him from giving it a taste a few more times!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's Winter!

This morning when I came to let Grace out of her bedroom when she woke up I opened the blinds and told her to look outside. She saw the snow and immediately exclaimed,

"It's winter!"

followed closely by

"I can make a snowman!"

Alas, the snowman didn't happen this morning since we had to hurry and get ready and be at church early for the Christmas Pageant rehearsal. David played the part of King Herod and did a smashing job as the villain. Grace played the part of cutest sheep ever and while she didn't do much singing she did follow along with the hand motions of Away in the Manger and managed to baaaa with all the other little sheep. Since David was in the play I chose to leave Ethan in the nursery since the thought of keeping him still and quiet for the entire play was just too much to think about by myself. Turns out that when I don't have an occupied lap I get tasked with lots of things. One of which was taking photos of the play which I didn't mind doing, though I wish I had brought my camera since I know how to work it and would probably have gotten some better pictures. Hopefully I get a few emailed back to me so I can share them here!

Oh, and while the snow did briefly melt this afternoon it's back to white outside with more coming down as I write this. Hopefully there's enough out there tomorrow morning for Grace and I to build a snowman!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Annual Toe Freezing....errrr.....Holiday Lights Parade!

It's that time of year again...our fifth year attending the Salem Holiday Lights Parade! Each year we've attended we gain a little more insight on how to make the experience even better. Over time we've added blankets, hot chocolate, cookies, the red wagon, mittens, sweaters over multiple layers, pajamas as long underwear and so forth. So far we've got the whole thing down pretty well other then I cannot seem to find a way to keep my toes from going numb no matter how many pairs of socks I put on. I'm thinking I may have to suck it up and find my old snow boots somewhere in the garage for next year and wear them no matter how unfashionable they may be. Hopefully my cute red hat will offset the ugly snow boots!

This year we were joined by our friends James and Jessi, my brother Brian, our friends Matt and Lauren, and our pastor Jeremy and his daughter Miriam. The girls had lots of fun watching the parade together and Ethan was remarkably easy. He sat for the entire parade and watched it all go by, only crying once when some motorcycles revved up a little too loud for his poor little ears. I was pretty surprised he sat so still and was so happy in one spot. Grace at this age would have been all over the place!

At the Salem Light Parade

Friday, December 12, 2008

Laptop Ladies

Last night we met my Dad for dinner and to exchange Christmas gifts. Grace was pretty excited to receive a pink "laptop" and immediately set to "working". This morning when she woke up she made a beeline for her "puter" and sat next to me as we worked on the couch. I'm hoping she leaves our real laptop alone now that she has her own!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Recap of my afternoon:

107 pieces of divinity
51 gingerbread boys
4 blisters on my hands from said divinity

At least I have something to show for all my work today! I made two batches of divinity for the candy exchange at the party I'm going to on Friday evening. I'm supposed to bring 11 plates of candy which seems like an awful lot. Luckily I had several egg whites in the fridge waiting for a purpose and with a little sugar and corn syrup and a LOT of elbow grease I think I have enough candy to fill the Santa plates I picked up at the Dollar Store. By the way, if you try to make divinity and live in a humid climate it's going to take a lot of hand mixing and you're liable to get some rather tasty blisters. My poor hands!

As if making two batches of divinity wasn't crazy enough I also did our gingerbread boys this afternoon. I made the batter right after lunch and it had to chill for three hours which is about how long it took me to make the divinity. I put the icing on the cookies and Grace decorated with the red hots and did a lovely job. She rather enjoyed the task and kept sneaking red hots to eat!

I rewarded myself for my busy afternoon in the kitchen by giving myself a free pass for dinner. The kids and I headed for McDonalds with the free Happy Meal coupon we got in the mail and enjoyed ourselves some cheeseburgers and fries. Ethan ate over half the cheeseburger and Grace ate about 3 bites after I scraped the onion off and removed the pickle. I forgot she's in such an anti-onion phase. She was ecstatic to get a tiny My Little Pony in the Happy Meal which was her motivation to eat the three bits of cheeseburger that she managed to get down.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A fun little tour

Our family Christmas tree is full of fun, unusual, and beautiful ornaments. David and I both brought some ornaments into our marriage (his vastly outnumbered mine!) and we buy more every year in June when we're in Sisters for the Sisters Rodeo. We have slightly different tastes which explains why wrestling Santa shares space on our tree with my dainty tea cups. I believe that a tree is not complete without shiny ornaments. David believes a tree is not complete without Lemieux and Yoda. Somehow it just works.

Enjoy your tour!

Our shoes lined up under the tree in order of David, Kellie, Grace, and Ethan (borrowing a pair of David's from when he was a little boy)

David's favorite ornament slides up to reveal a nativity

One of my shiny ornaments...this one dates back to my days of scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins

The painted gourd ornament on the right is from the Salem Art Fair

I have always loved the ice skates! These were made by my great grandmother.

Check out the crafty skills on this beauty. I made this cork horse when I was 8 and it still hangs proudly on my tree.

I know I'm not the only woman out there with sports figures displayed on their tree. Mario is next to the Margaret Furlong sea star ornament we bought on our honeymoon visit to Cannon Beach.

Yoda is hiding behind one of Grace's ornaments that Oma made for her. And another one of my sparkly ornaments sneaks on the tree!

Our pretty star tree topper and wooden cranberry bead garland are goodies I snagged while working at Macy's Christmas Store one year.

The snowman in the canoe is from our first year of marriage when we decided to canoe Lake Couer d'Alene. It's a testament to our love for each other that we're still married after that experience! The nifty mask is from when we saw Lion King the musical.

The red drum set is my new ornament for the year (I rock the drums on Rock Band!) and the gorgeous handpainted ball ornament depicts a scene from the University of Idaho campus.

Ah here he is. The famed wrestling Santa. And you thouht I was kidding.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

How Uncle B made Grace's Day

My brother Brian came over this afternoon and helped David put up our Christmas lights. By help I mean he was the one that got on the roof and put the lights up. David managed the process from the safety of the lawn much to the entertainment of our neighbor's who gave him all kinds of grief, especially when he had him start cleaning out gutters and caulking under the eaves! Grace was so excited and lit up like a Christmas tree when we plugged the lights in and she saw our house brightly decorated for the season. Uncle B is Grace's new hero!

Ethan watching the hullaballoo on the front lawn from the safety and warmth of the living room window

David wrapping the lights on the porch columns

Grace reveling in the beauty of Christmas lights...her favorites are the pink lights. Are you surprised?

The end result!