Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I'm sorry it's been so long since an update - but each day has been packed with baking cookies, making other Christmas goodies, packing tins of treats, Christmas shopping, wrapping gifts, attending Holiday parties, and spending some much needed time relaxing and having fun with my family.

I promise I will post pictures of all this fun this weekend - but for now, I'm off to get ready for 2 days jam packed with plans for Christmas fun. Today, we will be going to Family Day at my mom's office, then we will be headed out to my parents house for Kaitlyn to open her gifts since she will be with her mom tomorrow night when we usually exchange, then we are headed to Christmas Mass, then over to Aunt Sue's for Christmas Eve dinner and gift exchange!

Monday, December 15, 2008

More pictures from Chicago...

American Girl Store! I'm not kidding you when I tell you they had an actual hair salon for the dolls...

Us on Michigan Avenue...
Until next time, Chicago! :)

Weekend Get Away...

This weekend, we decided to take a short trip to Chicago - what a fabulous time we had! This trip has been a tradition for Kevin and Kaitlyn for quite awhile now, but I have been lucky enough to be added to this wonderful tradition! Despite the strange rain storm we had (in the middle of December), we had a great time strolling Michigan Avenue, playing at Winter Wonderland on Navy Pier, and of course going to the American Girl store THREE times! Kaitlyn brought Mia (her doll) with her, and she was able to get her picture taken with Mia, get Mia's hair done, and purchase a new outfit for Mia as well. All in all, it was an incredible weekend with my two favorite people. :)
Here are some pictures - enjoy!

Daddy & Kaitlyn swimming at the hotel

Kaitlyn & Mia, ready for a day in Chicago

Build-A-Bear Workshop

Kevin at Build-A-Bear... "Dad, can you hold these?"
Kaitlyn & I at the Imax!

Operation Christmas Tree

Four days after my surgery, I decided it was time for some holiday cheer in the condo! So, here goes...
I went to sleep tired and sore, but very proud of my festive Christmas tree :)

Let the Holidays Begin

Each year my parents host a wonderful get together during the busy Holiday season. It's a joyous time to spend with our family and friends...since we all live in the same city, but can never manage to get in the same room more than one or two times per year.

It has become tradition to exchange Christmas gifts with those we will not see on Christmas, and as the party has grown, so too has the gift exchange. My mom, in her true character, buys a gift for virtually each guest at the party and tries to find just the perfect thing for each person. This year, the women each got a beautiful Christmas ornament and the men each got a lottery ticket - a big hit! The kids also enjoy opening their gifts from good family friends of our's since they will not be with us at Christmas.

In addition to the gift-giving, my father always puts out a DELICIOUS spread of goodies ranging from ham to his famous garlic dip to the most scrumptious candies he can find. This year was a bit of a dissappointment for me, as I was battling my gallbladder and couldn't eat most of what was on this beautiful spread. I choose to look on the bright side, I saved myself quite a few calories! :)

My most favorite part of this get together is the opportunity to spend time with my dad's side of the family. My great aunt, aunts, and 2nd cousins who I don't get to spend much time with. They are side-splitting funny and I so enjoy my time to listen to their stories about our family's past or my grandparents. I pray that my children will someday come to cherish these times with our family too.

Here is the table downstairs at my parents house filled with our family laughing and talking

Here are some pictures of the kids opening their gifts

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Prayers please...

Well, I just got off the phone with the surgeon and I will be having my gall bladder out tomorrow (Monday) around noon.

Any prayers you might send up would be most appreciated. I will try to update as soon as I feel well enough to. I appreciate all your love and support and hopefully will be feeling better very soon! :)

Lots of love

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Does it ever end...?

Ok, so I figured I'd better post something before everyone got bored of looking at the same old postings!

To say this week hasn't been a great one, would probably be an understatement. First, on Sunday night I got the flu. Bad. On Tuesday morning, I was diagnosed with strep throat. Not good. And then on Thursday night I went to the emergency room with a terrible pain in my upper right stomach area. The doctors informed me I need to get my gall bladder out. Seriously not good.

I try hard to not get down on myself. But honestly, is this really happening to me? So, I will do my best to keep my chin up and get through it, knowing better things will be on the other side of this mountain.

For the time being, I'm going to nestle myself into a corner of my living room and wrap, wrap, wrap ~ I do love the holiday season! :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland...

What a perfect day to be "locked" in the condo trying desperately to get over strep throat and get ready to head back to work tomorrow. The first major snowfall of the year is always so beautiful ~ from inside. Driving in it, on the other hand, is less than beautiful. In fact, I detest it. Not so much because I can't drive in it...but because of the other drivers who can't seem to remember that we live in IOWA, and it snows for at least 3, usually 4 months of the year. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly some forget the strategies of driving on the snow covered roads safely. This is a topic for another, less beautiful day. For today, I will just cuddle up with my favorite lunch and watch the beautiful white blanket cover our home.


We had a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend getting to spend time with many family members. My cousin Kelly, her husband Dale, and their beautiful daughters Megan and Annie were here for a few days ~ they don't live near us, so it's a very special treat to spend time with them.

Kaitlyn had an extra great time with the girls ~ they have become "best friends". With Megan and Kaitlyn being close in age, they have really come to enjoy their time together. They especially enjoyed their time this past weekend playing with their American Girl Dolls. After arriving at Aunt Sue's house, the girls quickly dissappeared into the basement, not to return until they were forced upstairs!

While the girls were downstairs, I had a wonderful time catching up with Kelly and Dale. I remember as a small child, never being able to get enough time with Kelly. She was the cool, older cousin. She was 15 when I was born, but was never too busy to spend time with us ~ coloring with us, playing a game with us, playing softball in Oma's yard with a big beach ball and a broom...whatever we wanted, she did. When she met Dale, he just joined right in our fun...even allowing Kim and I to jump on his (very full) stomach like he was our trampoline! The two of them together are side-splitting funny...and I simply love the time I get to spend with them.

We adults decided we would (as is our tradition) go out early on Black Friday for some Christmas shopping. For the first time, we decided we would have the girls "shop" the ads to give us some ideas! The girls had a great time ~ and it was quite entertaining to listen to their commentary! :)

I feel very blessed to have such wonderful family, who are not just family but friends. It is wonderful to watch Kaitlyn and the girls develop into such great friends, and I pray that this new, sweet friendship will last for their entire lifetime.

Such an incredible blessing is our family. :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Where to begin...?

So, it's a little overwhelming to decide what to post first! I guess I will rewind our lives a month or so...Halloween. I have never been much of a fan of this day. I suppose when I was little, I would get excited about dressing up and (more importantly) getting candy. However, as I have grown up, the entire idea is really kind of strange. Children of all ages getting dressed up in various costumes, walking around asking strangers for candy. Honestly.

However, since the addition of a child to my immediate family - I have grown to enjoy watching her excitement over all the festivities, and so I will soften my heart a little and post some pictures of this (ridiculous) holiday. :)

My favorite Dorothy trick-or-treating (that bag later needed to be emptied to make more room...)
...and here she is with her Wicked Witch

Happy Halloween (...a month late) :)


I finally did it! After spending more than two years reading other people's blogs daily, I finally created my own! I must say, I'm pretty proud of myself!

My first goal in creating this blog is to keep in contact with dear family who live many miles from our family. It has become too difficult to email pictures to each family member individually and I desperately want to keep them involved in the wonderful things going on with our precious family.

I hope you'll visit again soon!