03 December 2013

Christmas Advent Calendar

I made these little cards to put into an advent calendar for the kids. We are getting started a little late this year so we might have to do a few at a time, but I think the activities on the cards will be a start to some good traditions. 
Here's the link to the Google Docs page with the file. You can download it in your favorite word processor program and edit the font (when you open it in Word the font looks a lot better), and even edit some of the activities to fit your own family situation.
The Homeschool Classroom are some ideas for homemade gifts kids can make, and Courtney DeFeo has some great ideas for service activities you can do with your family during the holidays. 
Happy Holidays!

17 September 2013

Back to Blogging

I came to the old blog to find a picture of Samantha's birth day. (I can't believe she's already SIX!!) As I read through some of the old posts, I realized how much I miss writing, and how spotty my family record has been for the last few years. The kids are hilarious! And life is good. We are blessed. So I decided I need to get back into record keeping. A paper journal for some reason seems improbable (not impossible like I can't do it, but more like I probably won't and don't really like to).
I don't want to spend an entire post playing catch-up, so I'll give a quick overview:
David still works at the railroad. He still hates it (because of the schedule), and he's still waiting for me to get a job so he can get a new one, or at least work regular hours at the railroad.
I finally finished college. I am still waiting for the graduation application to go through, but I am done with classes. It was a pretty rough two years, being in school at the same time that Drew and Owen were just starting school. But we made it through, and hopefully I'll be able to find something in my field soon.
Drew and Owen are in second grade. Drew loves sharks, dinosaurs, bears--pretty much anything that has huge teeth and/or growls. He is a fantastic reader, and has a quirky sense of humor. He is our passionate child and seems to be either really excited or really upset.
Owen started skateborading this summer. He is picking it up really well. He's really brave and outgoing and will try almost anything once. He does really well in school, and he makes friends easily. He loves sports. He is our easy-going child.
Samantha is six years old (today!). She started kindergarten this year and seems to really enjoy it. She is a fun little girl; full of energy and spunk. She's also really smart and loves to have math competitions with her brothers because she's just as good as they are.
So now that I've gotten the "Family Christmas Letter" post out of the way, I'll start posting more regular updates and try to keep a better record of our fun little family.

22 July 2010

What would I do without a cell phone? I’m sure I would find some way to manage, but I certainly wouldn’t have any proof that we did anything fun this summer since every time we went somewhere I left my camera home. And since I’m way behind on updating my blog, here is my entire summer, as told by my 2 megapixel cell phone camera (unedited and untouched; I figured if I spent a bunch of time editing photos, I’d never actually get around to posting them on the blog).
We've been going to the high school track quite a bit. David can run as fast as he wants, I can run slow (or walk, which has been my preference), and the kids can do whatever. And we still feel like we're doing something together. I love this pic because Samantha looks like a real runner, and not just a two year old (which also makes me kinda sad). She was trying to keep up with David, even though he was on Lap 3 and she was just finishing Lap 1. But she ran the entire lap by herself.
We've spent lots of time at the park, though less time at local parks since we've also been travelling a lot. Climbing this rock was lots of fun for the kids until one of them slipped on the way down and landed in some mud at the bottom. Then we had to tell them no more climbing.
David and I went to Vegas for our anniversary (we had gone there on our honeymoon and wanted to go back to see what was new). My brother and his wife came with us, which ended up being so much fun, because I got to know my sister in law a little better, and she is one cool lady.
This is the crappiest picture ever, but that right there, ladies and gentlemen, is the one--the only--Brian Regan! David and I went to see him live, and it was so great! I actually love his older material more than his new, but I was still laughing my abs off. For real. They hurt like crazy after the show.

I should probably turn the following into an entire other post, but I've already uploaded the picture to this post, and don't want to do it again. So here goes:
(This sounds alarming, but it isn't because the Railroad is a crazy place to work:) David was fired at the beginning of June which, long story short, means he has two months of paid time off. At the Railroad, fired means suspended, and terminated means fired. So he was just basically suspended. And he gets paid from the Union, since he has been paying for job insurance since he got hired five years ago.
I think I just made a short story long. Anyway. We decided to take advantage of the time off and hit the road, going to see various friends and relatives that we don't see in person nearly often enough.
So we headed North; first to Coeur d'Alene, then to Moscow (where U of I is), then to Cheney, WA, then back up to Sandpoint, ID. It was a long, fun week.  
Around the city center in Coeur d'Alene are four moose statues, each representing a different part of this moose's story. Here, for example, he's resting at the park. I don't think he gets much rest, because kids are always climbing on him.

Next stop on our tour was to visit David's sister. We had a blast hanging out with her and her husband and their cute little girl. We walked around downtown, where all the local, non-Walmart shops are. There is an amazing toy store there, that the kids loved. I loved it too, honestly. I could have happily spent all day and a lot of money there.
There is also an arboretum run by the University. It was a hot, hot day, and the path through the arboretum got pretty hilly in some spots, but it was definitely worth it. So gorgeous!

The kids were so excited to see a "lake!" Really it was a small pond, but they didn't care. And there were goose droppings everywhere, but that didn't bother them either. In fact, Drew picked one up and threw it in the water. And a fish ate it! We were thoroughly grossed out, but Drew and Owen thought it was hilarious once we told them what it actually was.
I was smitten with the Arboretum from the entry to the exit. Definitely a fun way to spend an hour or two, and if it hadn't been so hot, I could have easily spent an entire afternoon there.

From David's sister's place we headed to his aunt and uncles. They live on a lake near Cheney, WA.
 I loved waking up to the sun sparkling on the water. It was so beautiful. The kids had a blast "fishing"--basically they were just holding the pole.
David and I took the kids out on the paddle boat, which they loved, once Owen and Samantha got over their initial nervousness (or, in Owen's case, terror). David tried his hand at fishing too, but even though we saw fish jumping everywhere, none of them wanted what we had to offer. We did get to see an osprey catch a fish--they don't offer bait; they just dive down and snatch. We took note of where it landed, so we could get out the telescope and watch it eat the fish. Drew was fascinated by that. So was I, truth be told.
I also loved how still the water got in the evenings. The sun reflecting off the water was gorgeous, but in a totally different way than it was in the morning. It felt more peaceful, less cheery, completely, calmly happy...

Following our stay at one lake, we headed North again to visit friends in Sandpoint. They live quite close to beautiful Lake Pend Oreille, so we got to spend an afternoon there, playing in the water and taking a lake cruise on a little boat. We always have such a fun time with these friends, and I left wishing we'd had more time there. I also left a bag of dirty laundry. Sorry, Abs!

They were selling these cute little pirate hat and eye patch sets on the boat for a dollar! Can't beat that.

This was taken on our way home, at one of the scenic view pullouts. There were several different openings in the trees where the view of the lake was spectacular. I had been trying to rest, but David kept saying, "Grab the camera!" every two minutes, so I didn't get much sleep until we got to Montana. Then we hit a Canadian goose, and I couldn't sleep after that. Sadly, the goose had no chance of survival, but at least it provided food for a coyote or something. And luckily it didn't damage our car at all.

Such a fun week it was. Still I was glad to be home, to get back into the routine of things, if only for a day--we went to Lagoon the following Monday. I actually remembered my camera for that trip, so as soon as I get pictures uploaded I'll post them. I promise to do it soon, at least before we head to Colorado again to visit my brother's family. After our time in Colorado, David's suspension will be over and life will resume as normal. I'm almost looking forward to it. But not as much as I'm looking forward to seeing my bro and his family--and my new niece!

03 May 2010

An Update on Grama

About an hour after I finished my previous post, my mom called to let me know that my Grama had passed away at around 6 o'clock this evening. Looks like we'll be heading to Colorado in the very near future.
It's strange to me that although I do feel sad, I also feel very peaceful and a little relieved. I think because I've been spending the last couple weeks sort of expecting this I feel like it's okay, and it's for the best, and Grama is better off now than she's been the last few months. 
I also feel really blessed to have such great family. It'll take me a while to rustle up some pictures, at which point I'll do a little memorial post about Grama. In the meantime, I'm feeling really grateful for my wonderful aunts who have kept constant vigil at Grama's bedside for the last month or so. And I appreciate their families who have been supportive while they've taken care of Grama. 
I'm grateful for David, who held down the fort when I went to visit a few weeks ago. He really stepped up and took care of the kids and the pets and his own job, and the house was even clean when I got home. 
I'm grateful for my kids who have been very sympathetic, even if they don't entirely understand what is happening. They understood that my Grama was sick and that I needed to go visit her. And I think Drew and Owen sort of understand that she has now passed away, and that she went to be with Heavenly Father and Jesus. Samantha doesn't understand much except that, as she says, "Mom's Grama died. And Jesus loves us." Which, I think, sums it up about perfectly. No matter what happens, Jesus loves us.

April Showers

I have come to the conclusion that I need to get back into blogging, since it's the only record I've got of what has been going on with my family. I was feeling overwhelmed with it, thinking that there's so much to record, and I don't have a ton of time to do it (well, I've got plenty of time, I'd just rather be doing something else). I decided that rather than playing catch up, I'd just brush over a few things and then resume regular posts. And this will be a picture post so I don't have to write as much.
April is the month of the annual Spaghetti Dinner/Cake Auction at church. All the proceeds go to the Boy Scouts' summer camp, so people are generally pretty generous with their cake donations and purchases. This year I made a chocolate chip cheesecake covered in caramel and chocolate, and with an Oreo crust. It sold for $50, which was pretty good. (Better than my previous entry a few years ago.) Drew and Owen saw this Construction cake that they just had to have, so I told them they could bid on it up to $25. We ended up paying $27 because Drew kept raising his hand. He was so pleased with himself for "winning" the cake!

This beautiful tree is in front of my aunt and uncle's house in Colorado. I love magnolias, but even though the map in the gardening catalog says they will work in my zone, I kind of doubt one would flourish in windy ol' Pocatello. 

The purpose of my trip to Colorado in April was mainly to say goodbye to my maternal grandmother, who is nearing 90 years old, and has been having some pretty serious health problems. I had heard that she was looking like she might pass away at any time, so I wanted to go give her one last hug and kiss before it was too late. It was a good visit; she was awake for a few minutes for me to chat with her, and she recognized me as a grandkid, though I don't think she knew exactly which one I was. She still has the same strong, throaty voice I've always loved. And she still appreciates a good pun. So far Grama is still hanging on, though from what I hear she still doesn't eat much--like, a bite of food a day and a couple sips of water. So we'll probably be making another trip out to Colorado in the not too distant future.
Also while I was in Colorado, I got to see my brother Jeremy and his family. They recently moved into a great house (and a neighboring house is for sale, so I've been trying to convince David that we should buy it), so while we visited I helped unpack some boxes and put books on shelves (I added some great titles to my reading list!) and helped set up the nursery for the new baby girl that will be joining their family real soon.

We've had a lot of rainy days the last few weeks, but we've also had plenty of sunshine. The kids will spend entire afternoons on the sunny days out of doors, playing with the neighbor kids and riding bikes,

and playing with swords and generally having a great time. 
I love these days too because my friend and I can just sit on the lawn, soak up the sun and chat while all the kids run amok.
On rainy days, we stay inside and drive each other crazy. But we have a lot of fun, too.

And a lot of weirdness.