27 December 2012


We've been avoiding her for a month.

Only a few people actually knew what was going on.

After all, it's Christmas and surprises are to be expected, right?

Christmas morning we were 3 hours away picking my dad up at the airport.  My mom called my brother to wish him and his family a Merry Christmas.  Mom asked to talk to one of her grandbabies but my brother was out and about and the grandson was at home with his mom according to my brother. Like he commonly does recently, my brother quickly got off the phone.  

I'm sure it was a quiet day for my mom and Papa.  Much more quiet than our 3 hour car ride back from the airport.  Especially with an extra 5-year-old in the back seat!  Getting closer to home, I began texting my brother, asking him to call my mom and pretend to get my nephew on the phone.  After all, that Christmas surprise was one of four noisy kids in the back of my van.  Brother was in a movie theater and couldn't make the call.  

How am I going to pull this off?

Should we let my nephew walk in behind the rest of us and see if she notices?  No, then we won't get to see her face.  We should put him in front so we can all see her reaction.  No, she might see him before we get inside.

Then a light bulb finally clicked for me.  Since my nephew and my J-meister are the same size, we put J's coat and hat on my nephew.  I coached the very excited children to walk in the house, greet Grammy and ignore "J".  They knew not to point him out, to just ignore him.  My dad caught it all with his camera. 

B walked in and says Merry Christmas Grammy.  Grammy greets B but is busy finishing up supper.  Grammy half way acknowledges kids #2.  Right behind him, in walks my nephew who Grammy hardly glances at.  What she doesn't know is that J is hiding out in the van and the little boy in J's coat and hat is my nephew.  My nephew walks in and meekly says "Hi".  This catches Grammy's attention and the following video is PRICELESS:

Thanks Dad for having your camera ready!  Thanks to my brother and his wife for letting my sweet little nephew come to see his Iowa family for Christmas.

23 December 2012

Winter Wonderland

It may have only been nine degrees outside but we were warm and having fun.

I think the kids made it their goal to wipe each other out:

Bracing for the ramp:

J and I catch some air, his face is awesome!

This is just one of the reasons I'm so sore today: 
 Other reasons might include: I'm not 18 anymore but play like a kid, I caught my left leg in the brambles and really stretched my hips out (think wish bone), while my back side has grown over the years, I apparently need a cushioned seat if I'm going to be catching air.

Isn't this little boy just precious!  He's mine.

This is my little princess who was adamant that she didn't need her hair put up out of her face.

I didn't get a close up of a certain child who never stopped moving long enough to grab a non-action pic.

By time I got the camera, the light wasn't as good.  The other picture I got before giving up was a close up of weeds and the boys on the other side.  Not my day for the camera I suppose.

The best shot of the day was a missed video.  We parents rode the long sled with J in the front.  When we ran into the snow bank at the bottom, J was COVERED in snow.  It was a good gut laugh!

Honey, thanks for laying in the snow bank, getting plowed over by all of us so you could get some good shots!

11 December 2012

Triple-Golden Birthday

'Round here, they celebrate Golden Birthdays.  What's a Golden Birthday you ask?  A golden birthday is when you're age matches the day of the month you were born on.  Take me for example, my birthday falls on the 20th so my golden birthday was when I turned 20.  The way the calendar fell that year, I thought it was a pretty special day.  At that time I was in college and had never heard of Golden Birthdays.  

Twelve years ago, this little boy was born in Texas where his daddy was stationed in the Air Force.  My parents drove out for his birth.  About a month later, I got to fly out to meet my first nephew.  I wish I could find the picture of me laying on the couch and him laying on my chest.  It was so fun to love on him.  This picture will have to do.  It must have been taken around the 7th month mark.

Twelve years later, I have a handsome nephew that I don't get to see nearly enough.  Here he is with his mom about a year ago.

It's not just any old Golden Birthday.  It's not just that he's turning 12 on the 12th.  Oh, it's way cooler than that and way cooler than my 20th birthday.  Kaleb is turning 12 on 12-12-12!  Happy Triple-golden birthday Kaleb.  It will be quite a while before any sees a repeating birthday like this!  What a special day for a special nephew of mine.  I love you Kaleb!

05 December 2012

Made My Day

Today I read an email that Rob is considering joining our Ethiopia travel team in March.  This made my day.

Today my friend K let me know that they chose to sponsor Konjit and another child.  This made my day and warmed my heart.

Today I got to spend some time with my friend Amy.  This made my day.

Today, my dad sent me pictures of my friend Scott's memorial.  This made my day.  Scott would have been 33 at Thanksgiving.  He died shortly after turning 16.

And if the above four things couldn't make my day amazing.  This man was the icing on the cake, the cream in my coffee, and the love of my life:

I'm sure you want to know what makes him so amazing, right?  I'll tell you just one thing tonight... he had plans to surprise me with a kitchen make-over (more on that later).  Last night we began removing cabinets and some of the backsplash when he realized that it was ruining the dry wall and he would have to patch in new drywall there.  That was NOT in his plans.  Or in our budget.  There is back splash on 3 walls in our kitchen.  We both knew I wanted it all gone.  When I asked Ryan what I could do to be helpful, he replied "choose to leave the other backsplash tiles on".  I want to respect my husband.  I want to respect his wishes and appreciate his hard work.  But I really wanted that tile off the wall so I could eventually paint it.  Often I pray and ask God to put Ryan on the same page, even if that means changing my mind.  I'm not sure I did that at all today.  But when I came home, I was amazed to see this:

Yes, I get that you don't really know what that picture is.  But it means so much. It's the third wall where he removed the tile covered wall.  What you're seeing is the history of our home - drywall over plaster over lath and a hole.  I came home to cabinets and back splash removed on the remaining two walls.  Without my nagging.  No need for a little battle today friends.  We were on the same page and the tile is GONE even if that means more drywall and another few really late nights ahead.

Thank you honey for how you love me.  That tile dissapearing means as much to me as the whole kitchen make-over.

Now, let's pray that the flooring under the linoleum is just beautiful.  More on the kitchen make-over another day.  For now I'm busy spending 20 minutes putting light switches and outlets back in the wall (I'm not electrician) and thanking God for how my husband loves me!

01 December 2012

Lazy Day

We used to have this:

It became Harley Dog's chew toy.  It is no more.

We used to have this: 
He was another of Harley's chew toys.  He is no more.

But that's not why I wanted to post today.  I just randomly saw those pictures on my computer and I like them both.  Mostly these pictures are proof that I'm wasting a perfectly good working opportunity.  After all, it's 1130am.  I've been out of bed for approximately two hours.  I have company come in approximately two hours and I haven't showered or picked up a single thing in my house.  Shoot, I can't even take credit for making breakfast for my kids - one is still asleep, one fixed herself a bowl of cereal, and the other had a granola bar.  I've started a load of laundry and began thawing some all beef hot dogs.  My goal is to make cute little personal sized corn dogs in the muffin pan.  But it is 1130am and I need a shower and need to clean house...