Saturday, December 16, 2017

Christmas Letter 2017

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!” 

Merry Christmas! 

I can hardly believe the end of December is upon us and we are quickly approaching 2018. It has been a blur of a year and I'm not quite sure where it all went! 

Our family continues to be happy and healthy this year and we realize what a blessing this is. Our days click on with a regular pulse and there is great comfort and joy in that. 

Michael turned eight in October and is enjoyed 2nd grade. He is improving so quickly in reading and it is fun to listen to him read some of his special books he picks out himself. His favorite series have been Diary of a Wimpy Kid (so funny and the movies are great, too!), A Series of Unfortunate Events (books are written cleverly, we also listened to some on audio which Michael loved and the Netflix series with NPH is hilarious), and of course Harry Potter. We are at the very tail end of the 5th Harry Potter Book, The Order of the Phoenix, with only two chapters to go before our goal of Christmas. 

Michael has been playing hockey this fall and winter and he is turning into a good little skater. He goes on Wednesday nights and Sunday afternoons and Scott has been helping him on the ice. I am happy it is something special they can do together. 

We also welcomed a new pet, Harry the hamster, into our family this summer. He is very cute and is warming up to me especially since I love to snuggle with him. Hamsters are great pets as they are fun to watch and a good for responsibility for Michael as we have to make sure and keep his cage clean and food bowl full. 

Michael has also been loving his Legos, playing minecraft, and playing his Nintendo switch. He also loves all kinds of bitty stuffed animals and all things fluffy! 

Anna and Brynn turned three in September and are keeping us on our toes as smart and sassy three year olds! They are busy figuring out how the world works and how to get what they want, all while having a sister right there to boss around, annoy, or love on. Great fun is had when they are together and it is really special to watch. They love all things Disney princess, animals, and babies. They love to sing and are quick to pick up new songs or make up their own. 

In case you are keeping track, the girls got fourth place this year at the twins contest at the fair. It was a really nice day spent with family and my mom and Scott's mom joined us this year. 

Work continues to go well for Scott and I. Scott recently was awarded entry into the Team Member Hall of Fame for State Farm and we got to spend a fun night in Omaha. I am proud of his hard work in protecting families and their lives. I am in year 13 of teaching band and year six at Boone Middle School. I started my masters of music education at the University of Northern Iowa this fall and it is going well. It is amazing how it is all done online via video conferencing and sharing files on google classroom. It has brought a renewed focus and passion to my career and I am hoping to have the program wrapped up by the time the girls go to kindergarten. 

Scott and I took a week-long trip to Vail, CO in March for spring break with friends. It was a fun four days of skiing and we felt pretty special flying out there instead of driving. I spent a lot of time doing easy greens and catwalks, enjoying the scenery, and listening to music. It was the perfect trip (mixed in with watching the Cyclones in the NCAA tourney) and we were thankful my mom watched the kids while we were away. 

My mom, sister and I spent a weekend in Chicago to celebrate my sister's 25th birthday where we did some sightseeing and saw Hamilton and Aladdin. Hamilton was so moving to see and something I still think about and reflect on. We are looking forward to seeing it again this summer when it comes to Des Moines!  

The Cyclones had a very fun football season with wins over OU and TCU for homecoming. It was truly the most fun I've had as a fan and it made games something to look forward to each week. I broke out of my comfort zone and marched with the alumni band for homecoming as they received the Sudler trophy for excellence in college marching bands. We are traveling to Memphis after Christmas to watch one more Cyclone game and are crossing our fingers for a victory! 

I am excited to host my family at my house this Christmas. The girls are all about Christmas and how special it is, and Michael too. The girls favorite thing to do is ask each other what they want for Christmas and then they list off a huge list (basically saying every word in their vocabulary) and they are confused when they ask me and I say, "for everyone to be safe and happy". It is the biggest blessing and one I do not take for granted. 

We do miss our angel Trace, especially at this time of year when he cannot be here on earth with us. We have faith in the promise that Christmas brings with the birth of baby Jesus and cling tightly to that hope. 

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:10-12

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Brenton Arboretum

I took my camera out today to delete my card before a family photoshoot and realized that I had quite a few photos that I hadn't shared yet! I have not been good about pulling it out this summer and that is a good reminder to myself to keep it handy especially on weekends now that we are getting busy with back to school things. 

We took an afternoon excursion over to Brenton Arboretum on a cool but sunny August day and it was so beautiful!

Anna is so funny- I asked her to smell the flowers and she is obviously smelling...a stick. Did it at least smell good?

The arboretum has this super fun natural playground for kids and is mostly sticks and sand but it is super fun. I think they would play here all day if I let them. I like going here but it is super sunny and so it can get warm on hot days. 

I hope to update a few more times before August gets the better of me! See you soon!

Monday, July 31, 2017

End of July

The rest of July flew by that I hardly even knew what we did! I feel like after the newness of summer wears off, we find ourselves settling into a good rhythm that involves a bit more at home time and just enjoying the fun part of being of family in summer. 

The girls have been so weird about their naps that often they will refuse to nap and then later I will find them passed out randomly while playing. They are still little girls that get tired even though they think they are already big. 

We did make it to the drive in for a double feature of Despicable ME 3 and Spiderman: Homecoming. We met up with our friends, the Crosses, and that helped pass the time before the movie started. It was a nice night and a fun tradition that does take a bit of effort to coordinate but makes for a great night out as a family. 

Also lots of playdoh and playtime...

My lilies bloomed and they made the house smell glorious for over a week! They are such a fun addition to the garden and remind me of my sweet Trace as the bulbs were a gift from my grandma after he died. 

The girls have good days and bad days where they can play together nicely or be terrible. When they are playing together nicely, it is so cute to hear their back and forth chatter and team work in creating their stories. It is so magical that I feel like I don't want to do anything to break the spell. Other times they are literally at each other's throats and....argh! 

Scott and Michael were gone to a family wedding in Oregon for a week at the end of July. I was excited that they got to go on an adventure together but it was a long week by myself with the girls. We did plan some outings like to Target which were mostly to walk around and get out of the house, but I did surprise the big girls with some new on clearance toys. We also checked on Harry and kept him company while Michael was away. The biggest thing was that we finally had a chunk of consistent time to get the girls going on the potty and wearing underwear all the time. It was a bit of hump to get over and I think the real reason it worked was that it was just me and the girls at home and no one else to interfere. We literally had nothing else on our schedule except to work on going in the potty. 

We also went on some walks at Jester which the girls really like! 

I finished my summer lesson program-9 weeks with 32 students! It was fun to hear how much some students improved and it was neat keeping up with them all summer. 

More refusing to nap and then later falling asleep from Anna. 

(and again)

At the end of July, we headed to NorthEast Iowa to visit my grandparents while Scott did a day of Ragbrai. It was a good excuse to visit and we had a really nice time. 

Northeast Iowa is so beautiful! 

It was nice to catch up with family and spend some time with my grandparents. It was a long drive but I'm glad we did it! 

I think that wraps up July! Thanks for stopping by! 

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