Tuesday, December 25, 2007


We've had a wonderful Christmas here at our house. On Sunday my sisters, their families and our aunt all braved the winter weather to come to our house for a soup and chili lunch and then opened gifts. We had a horrible blizzard on Saturday but by Sunday roads were good enough for everyone to make it. It was wonderful to get to see two of my nephews that I haven't seen in a few years and meet their new little ones (yes, I'm a great aunt)! Emily's aunts spoiled her with some fun gifts and here are some photos to prove it. Benjamin got to meet his Aunt Lisa and cousins for the first time and saw his Aunt BB again. He didn't mind the attention and being held by a few new folks. Here's a photo of BB holding him while he sported his little Christmas outfit. Cousin Haileigh also got in on the action. Boy, this little guy sure gets a lot of attention from the ladies! He doesn't seem to mind a bit! :-)

Last night, we attended Christmas Eve services at our church. Here are a few photos of our family before church. After the service we drove around for a bit looking at Christmas lights then stopped off at our pastor's house for snacks before heading home. The kids were both up past their bedtimes so needless to say it didn't take long for them to get to sleep. AND...drumroll please...we had our own little Christmas miracle last night. Benjamin slept all night through! He finally woke up around 6:45 and Jeff and I looked at each other and asked, "Did YOU get up and feed him in the night?" We certainly aren't expecting this again, at least for a while. But apparently Benjamin was tired enough to make it through the night.

This morning, we got up and opened our gifts to each other. Santa was good enough to bring Emily a ball of yarn (see photo where she is hugging it), more chapstick AND a computer--all the things she asked for. Mommy and Daddy got her a digital camera and she spent the morning trying that out, too.

We will have our Christmas dinner of ham, sweet potatoes, corn and bread this evening before turning in the night. Until then, we will call our family in New Zealand (who celebrated their Christmas a day before us) on our computer and try out our new webcam so they can see live shots of us. I'm sure there will also be some television watching and of course, naps for the little ones and maybe the big ones, too.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Holiday baking

I'm not doing very much holiday baking at all. First, Jeff and I DON"T need all those sweets around our house. And second, I have a pretty small family and will just have them here for the day on Sunday. However, I did bake some pumpkin bread yesterday and of course, had my helper right there with me. She is pretty much attached to my side all the time anyway, but especially likes to do anything in the kitchen and gets so "exciting" (her word for excited). So here are a few photos of her helping. I tend to be a bit of a control freak so messes in the kitchen take lots of patience for me to accept. But I reminded myself it only has to be wiped up and then it's taken care of. :-)

Today Benjamin is 12 weeks old. Hard to believe how quickly the time is going. He is really working hard to hold his head up. He does pretty well most of the time but is still a bit like a bobblehead at times. He smiles and babbles a lot now which is so fun to watch. So here are a few photos of him to commemorate his 12 week birthday!

Yesterday Emily was in my bedroom getting dressed while I was in Benjamin's room changing him. I was telling Benjamin how Emily is such a big girl and can get dressed all by herself now. Emily then told Benjamin that "The tag goes in the back, Benjamin" and "Don't put it on backwards!" Benjamin is going to have lots of help when he starts learning to get dressed himself!

Also, good news on the potty training. Emily has been wearing her pull ups during the day and over the last week or so has taken herself to the potty and gone on her own. And yesterday she asked to wear her big girl Dora panties. So while there have been a few "accidents" during the day in her pull up, she is doing really well. Number 2 is a completely different story, but we'll take baby steps!

This Saturday Emily and Benjamin's BB (my sister Brenda) and family will be coming to visit. Then my other sister, her family and our aunt will be arriving here Sunday for the day to celebrate Christmas. On Christmas Eve and Christmas it will be just our little family of four so it should be a nice, quiet holiday. I'm sure I'll have a few photos to post after Christmas! Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 17, 2007

We're HOME!!!

We are finally home! We all got home as a family Sunday evening! Needless to say everyone, kitties, dog, kids, and Mommy and Daddy were glad to be together in our home again. Yesterday after church we stopped by the house so we could walk our dog. I saw footprints in our new 7 inches of snow that led to the backyard and around where the downed power line was located. Well, as we were pulling out of the driveway I saw a man with a hard hat walking down the sidewalk a few houses down. We stopped and hollered at him asking if he knew when they might be working on our house. He asked where we lived and when we told him he said we were next!!! Music to my ears. I actually had tears in my eyes I was so happy. I was sure the 7 inches of snow we got Friday night was going to slow progress down even more. We decided to go back to our hotel room for a while to let the house warm up. It was a chilly 38 degrees in there that morning. Besides, Emily wanted to go "swimming" in the hot tub. So while the kids and I had naps in the room, Jeff came home and cleaned, shoveled snow, and got everything ready for us to return home (what a wonderful husband). Then after a church dinner and program last night we got home. Needless to say, the cats and Zack, my dog, didn't venture far from us. And everyone had a great night's sleep. Benjamin even slept 7 straight hours!!

This ice storm will certainly go down in Hutchinson history. Our little town of maybe 40,000 was featured on the national news and the weather channel last week because of the devastation and the thousands without power. Please pray for the many in Kansans whose homes are still dark and cold that they will soon be able to return, too, because it is so very cold outside. Send thanks to all the power company lineman who brave this nasty weather (we had crews here from Colorado, Indiana, Arkansas to name a few). And count your blessings and enjoy your home, however modest it may be and be thankful for all you have. We forget how very blessed we are until something we have is gone, even temporarily.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Still Homeless

Today is Thursday and we still don't have power back on at our house (see previous blog). We had an electrician come to the house and put the electrical box back on our house (called a weather head, I think). But Westar energy hasn't gotten to us yet. Jeff called yesterday and actually reached a live person there, but the news wasn't good. She said it could be December 22 before they get our lines back up! Needless to say that bit of news was particularly discouraging. We are hosting Christmas for my family at our house on the 23rd so I certainly hope we have at least a few days to prepare.

We are still in our little hotel room and toughing it out. Jeff is back at work so the kids and I are here day and night. I did go to our house this morning to get a few more clothes and necessities, let my dog out, check on kitties, etc. Zack, our poor dog, doesn't understand what's going on. While we go over several times a day to let him out to potty, I still feel horrible for leaving him there in the cold and dark. I don't think it's all bad...I believe he's making himself comfortable in Jeff's new armchair! :-) I also stopped by the neighbor's house and invited them to take any and all the food out of our deep freeze in the garage as it was thawing out and would be ruined if not used soon. What's left in the fridge and freezer in the house is already a total loss.

Today after breakfast and dropping Daddy off at work, I decided to take the kids to the library for a change of scenery. Unfortunately the library was not open. So we went to our little mall and walked around in the stores. My dear daughter is at the age where she says the funniest things. We were walking past the lingerie department in a store when she spotted a bra hanging at her eye level. She stopped, grabbed it and said, "Look mom! Boobies!" Then she informed me she wanted a bra. Sure, Emily. When you grow into a 38C you can get one. HA! I just had to laugh at her comment. Kids do say the funniest things!

Here's hoping we can go home soon and that I can continue to look on the bright side of things.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I'm talking about our weather here the last 24 hours. I'm currently writing this post from a hotel room, if that gives you any indication of how the weather has affected us. I'm sure you all have heard about the big winter storm making its way through the midwest. Well, here in our hometown (which apparently has been featured on the Weather Channel) was slammed by an ice storm last night. Consequently our power lines are lying in our back yard and we have no electricity, heat, etc. Jeff and I both agreed that if we didn't have little ones, especially an 11 week old little one, we would have toughed it out and stayed with our dog and kitties. But it was just too cold for him. So after getting on a waiting list at one of our local hotels, praise God there was a cancellation and we got a room. Having no family within three hours, there really wasn't anywhere else for us to go. We've dealt today with a sick baby (he is doing better now), the electicity going out at the restaurant we were at for breakfast, part of the neighbor's tree falling on our car (no apparent damage), me falling on the ice (again, no apparent damage other than a bruised leg and backside) and a near miss as we almost slid into a pickup truck in front of us. BUT, I am so thankful we have a room for the next four nights and HEAT. Because we are on the power company's waiting list along with thousands of other people and the lines pulled the box off the side of the house which will require an electrician, we will likely not be home for another few days. I hope any of you in the path of this or other storms stay safe and warm!! Our little family is off to bed for the night. :-)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

What a Novelty!!

Mommy took a bath tonight. Before the kids were in bed. This caused quite a stir in our little family. I shower at night now as it is more convenient to do while Jeff is at home and can take care of Benjamin. But I always shower after Emily is in bed. So it took a bit of convincing before I even went into the bathroom. As soon as I said I was going to take a bath, she wanted one, too. We live in a 70+ year old home with one bath and the tub certainly isn't big enough to share. After telling her Mommy wanted to take a bath ALONE, she reluctantly went into the living room with Daddy. Within minutes she was back and told me, "I want to watch you." No, Emmy. Go back out with Daddy. Then I heard the dog scratching at the back door wanting back in. Then Benjamin started to cry and I heard Emily tell him, "Mommy's taking a bath, Benjamin!" By her tone, I could have been climbing Mt. Everest. Mommy was doing something she hadn't done least for a very long time. A few minutes later I heard Emily ask to nobody in particular, "Where is Mommy?" I finished up in the bath, opened the bathroom door and Zack (our dog) was the first to come running in. Then I heard Emily running down the hall. She came in and asked with a smile, "You done, Mommy?" Yes, I suppose I was. My entire "retreat" lasted maybe 20 minutes. Surprisingly I was able to relax and enjoyed my few minutes of solitude. But I think next time I will wait until everyone is asleep. :-)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Visit with Santa

Our visit to Santa was this morning. I'll start by saying Emily has never before been to see Santa. Neither has Mommy for that matter. I never went as a child. Emily had already told me that she would not sit on his lap and that she was afraid of Santa. So on the way to see him this morning part of me thought, "This will be a waste of time." But I wanted to at least try. I really think sometimes these things are more for the parents than they are for the children. At any rate, we went, and she got to visit with Santa from a distance. She was sure he knew her name, age, the town we live in and what she wanted from him (a computer, a ball of yarn-see previous post-and she just this morning added chapstick to her list). She also wanted to know where he had parked his sleigh. He told her it was clear on the other side of campus where the reindeer were having a snack. When it was time for us to leave, she wanted to drive around a bit looking for the sleigh. When we couldn't find it anywhere she would say, "Hmmmmm." ;-)

We were able to get a photo of all of us (she insisted Mommy be in the photo, too) with Santa. She wasn't interested in smiling so this is the best we could do. Benjamin, on the other hand, wasn't afraid of Santa at all and liked looking at Santa's bright red suit. :-)

And so this concluded our first visit with Santa. I'm thinking Santa might be able to accomodate her request for a computer, ball of yarn and chapstick. I'm just glad she didn't ask for a pony!! We love you, Santa, and will have your chocolate chip cookies and milk waiting for you on December 24th!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

All I Want for Christmas

For a few months now, Emily has been asking for a "compooter" for Christmas. I told her she would have to be a good girl in order for Santa to bring it. Today she also said she would like a ball of yarn. Yes, you read that correctly. Emily wants a computer and a ball of yarn for Christmas! Lately she has been fascinated by unrolling spools of ribbon and rolls of tape (we've had it everywhere) so I wonder if a ball of yarn somehow ties in. I'm sure she wants it so that she can unroll it all over the house. Tomorrow we will actually be going to visit with Santa at the college where Daddy works. I told her she would get to sit on Santa's lap and tell him about the computer and ball of yarn. She said no, she wants to hide from Santa but she would sit on my lap and tell me what she wants. So Mommy might end up being the one to sit on Santa's lap with Emily sitting on my lap (hope Santa has a big lap to accomodate Mommy). :-) Whether or not she actually agrees to see Santa, we will find out tomorrow. But while other children are thinking about sugarplums and all the toys and gadgets they hope to receive from him, my little girl will dreaming of a ball of yarn!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Thanksgiving, First snow and Cooking up a Storm

We've done lots of fun things these last few weeks. Two days after Emily and I played in the leaves outside, we had our first snow. As soon as I told her it was snowing she said she wanted to get her gum boots on and go outside and play in it. At that point it was already dark so she had to wait until the next morning and Daddy took her out to play in the snow.

On Thanksgiving we traveled three hours to my sister, Brenda's, house for the day. Emily insisted she wear pantyhose (aka tights) so she wore her sparkly snowman tights with her dress. She proudly lifted up her dress too show my family her pantyhose. She was pretty proud of them!

The Saturday after Thaksgiving Emily and Daddy bought our Christmas tree and she and I decorated it that night. She sang "Jingle Bells" over and over again as we decorated. She told me "I'm exciting" which means she's excited. We had a good time and the tree looks beautiful although she wasn't that interested in getting her photo taken. I was able to steal one quick shot.

Emily got a play kitchen for her birthday and she really enjoys it. To be honest, Mommy enjoys playing with it with Emily. I always wanted a play kitchen when I was little. This morning she and I played with it for quite some time. The main course was soup made from cabbage, red bell pepper, carrots...and an orange. A little different but we both had a serving of it. :-)

Baby brother is doing great. Last Thursday he had his two month check up and is over 11lbs and 22 1/2 inches long. That's more than double his weight and three inches longer in just 9 weeks. AND...He's now smiling at me! Talk about wrapping me around his little finger! ;-)