Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Good Friends

Uncle Tim and Aunt Amy came to visit this weekend! It was even more excited this trip because it's the first time we got to hug them since they announced they were expecting!

There is just something special about friends you can see every few months but pick up like it was yesterday. It's even more special when you don't have to do anything special. We did go out to eat a couple of times, but mostly we cooked and played board games and talked.

This will be one of those special weekends, though. Often, we find ourselves nostalgic when we are together--and there was certainly some of that. This time, though, we spent more time talking about the future. I feel like we actually watched the baby grow; they stopped for maternity clothes on the way home. And the kids were old enough to hang out with us more. They help their own in games, and I love to watch them chat.

I can't wait to see what the next visit holds!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Look What I Found

I volunteer at Issa's school every Wednesday morning, and I usually see her at her locker on my way out. I say a little prayer of gratitude every Wednesday because so far she has waved me over to talk with her. I really try to stay out of her lane, but I am always so grateful when she invites me in. 

Yesterday, she mentioned that I should check out the display case beside the library on my way out. That was it. No explanation. Look what I found:
 That is Issa's work in the top right:
She is loving art class, and her project was selected to be on display. I'd say she makes a darn good Egyptian queen.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Back to Normal

We are finally back to the normal routine at our place! Last week, the kids had a grand total of one normal day of school. Tuesday, they were delayed for cold temperatures, and Thursday and Friday we were closed for snow. It wasn't the fun snow, though. It was too cold to go outside for very long and not enough snow to do much of anything. We did manage snow cream, though!

Yesterday, the kids had one more snow day because of the rural roads, but we had nothing at our house! I came in to work just for my meetings and then rushed home to spell Brad. I hate those kinds of snow days.

Today, we managed to make it to school on time! We had almost forgotten how, but we made it!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Another Season Begins

This Sunday we had Issa's dance dress rehearsal:
We are very excited about the new company hair do! I'll take a low pony any day!

I loved watching Issa dance. I can't believe how much she has grown in a year:

And I love watching her with her dance friends:
I can't wait to see them on stage at the end of this month!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


I officially packed up Christmas yesterday. The snowmen are still smiling around the house, but the tree is out and the Santa hats have been packed away until next year.

The whole family helps with the decorating, but I undecorate alone--by choice. Every decoration we have is a memory, and I love reliving those with the kiddos every year. They love unboxing their collections of Nana ornaments and finding just the right spot for the little kitten from Aunt Beth. We remember family vacations as we hang the ornaments on the tree, and I tell stories of students who have given me decorations knowing how much I love the season.

When I pack up, though, I enjoy a quieter nostalgia. I chuckle at Evan's baseball ornament from the year he was so excited to finally be old enough to play only to discover he really doesn't like baseball. I smile at the tiny faces smiling back at me in daycare ornaments, covered in glitter and tiny fingerprints. I hold ornaments that belonged to my grandmothers a little longer, picturing their trees and holidays in their homes. I wonder where some of those students are now. Inevitibly I cry, but it's not from grief or sadness. Somehow packing up inspires an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the life I've been gifted. So many memories and so much love is captured in the season's decorations, and I never, ever want to take that for granted.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A Very Merry Christmas

Today, we are slowly returning to reality after a truly lovely Christmas. 

Since it was the first Christmas since Nana moved down here, we started our celebrations a bit before Christmas. Aunt Shannon and Uncle Jeff flew down, and the kids could not have been more thrilled. They are always excited to see them, but this Christmas they started a new tradition: the girls go shopping and the boys go jumping. Issa loved the one-on-one time with Aunt Shannon, and I don't think she's taken her new boots off unless it's to sleep! Evan loved going to the trampoline park with Jeff, and I think they have almost recovered. 

Issa had to do a wardrobe change for Christmas at Nana's:

 We had a lovely evening together, and then we all drove to Napoleon on the 23rd! We spent Christmas Eve eating appetizers and just enjoying being together before all the crazy of Christmas day.

Santa still came to 440 since Tyler was kind enough to let us stay there:
 We loved hanging out at his house. He's made some really gorgeous updates, and it was humorous to cook in a kitchen I used to know so well. The whole family had an ugly sweater Christmas, and the kids were very proud of their selections:
 The stockings were opened and Santa had delivered Evan's Chromebook with a subscription to Tynker:
 And Issa's Polaroid:
 After enjoying their gifts for a bit, we headed across the street to the Slights. It was probably the most fun Christmas morning we've had in a while. Shannon and Becca set up a photo booth to catch all the ugly sweater goodness, and the littles were happy to try it out:
 And we managed to get a picture of the whole crew:
 The traditional trio picture:

 My crazy boys:
 Please note Brad won the ugly sweater contest!

Our happy family:
 And the man of my dreams:
And all of those pictures are courtesy of my sister, because I fail at pictures! I took none the rest of the week, which is sad.

On the 26th, we drove to Grandma Pat's. We spent the day shopping and baking cookies. We also got to see all the cousins, and I realized my nephew is grown. He is planning on becoming a teacher, and he is just amazing.

The 27th, we drove on to Papa Don's, where we spent the day resting and cooking. We colored and generally just enjoyed being together.

We drove home on the 28th, and spent the rest of vacation settling back in! The kids rooms are reorganized, and we are ready to take on 2018!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

So Cozy

Brad and I rearranged our bedroom. We hadn't moved any furniture for a couple of months, so it was clearly time!

The real impettus was our new mattress! We used some Christmas money and some of our own and finally bought a new mattress--the first since we were married. We thought 15 years was about long enough to wait.

As part of the move, we broke down and put a tv in our room. With the kids having more friends over, Brad and I often find ourselves trying to stay awake until everyone is asleep, and the tv is always claimed by the children. We also bought it largely for this little feature:
I love falling asleep to the glow and crackle of the fire. It's just so cozy.