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Monday, December 31, 2007

Live, Laugh, Love

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

(an old Irish blessing)

Happy New Year from our family to yours

Musical Chairs

I feel like I'm running in circles trying to stay in the game. I've been busy assigning email addresses to blogs and blogs to email address - only to realize that I did it wrong and have a big mess to untangle. The New Year's ball will have dropped long before my new blog is ready to be unveiled. It is hard to keep anonymity in a family blog while getting your name out there in the form of a business blog. thepaulyspicsandprose.blogspot has served me well and it will be sad to say goodbye. But change is good and if you've read anything I've written in the past eleven months you already know our family has gone through many changes. A big thank you to everyone who gave me suggestions for a blog name. You'd be surprised how many people "take" a blog name and then never post anything or haven't posted since 2000.

4 now I'll wish you all a Happy and Blessed New Year! See ya in '08!

Friday, December 28, 2007

My first contest!

Following in the footsteps of fellow bloggers, I decided that this was as good a time as any to host my own contest. In fact, it's just in the nick of time. My blog is just about maxed out in the photo storage department (the downside of a 10.1 megapixel camera). I've decided that for the New Year I'd debut my new blog. I love my blog name that Brian gets all the credit for coming up with, but to be more internet-safe, we need to remove our last name from the title and address. So here's the deal: To participate simply leave me a comment with your suggestion for a new blog title and address. I will accept entries until noon on Sunday, December 30th.
* Did a photograph (or two) inspire your suggestion? Don't forget to mention that too!
* Multiple suggestions welcome.
*I reserve the right to tweak the winning title, but will give credit where credit is due - and of course because it wouldn't be a contest without a prize, the winner will receive:
"Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart" - a daily devotional and CD of ten praise and worship songs that are highlighted in the book:
Ancient of Days
Victory Chant
Why So Downcast?
Give Thanks
Trading My Sorrows
Jesus, What a Beautiful Name
Lift Him Up
Amazing Love
I Will Bless Thee, Oh Lord
Let There Be Glory and Honor and Praises

I'll pick my favorite title and post the new address on New Year's Day. So put those thinking caps on everyone!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The case of the missing cell phone

Whenever I lose my phone I just use Brian's phone to call mine and as long as it's not on vibrate I can usually find it in a matter of seconds (unless it is in the grass where I dropped it at this year's Halloween party). Tonight I was on the phone with my sister when we went upstairs to put the kids to bed so I was pretty sure it was up there somewhere. This fact made my normal search and rescue technique impossible without risking waking the kids. I debated aborting my search and hoping that nobody called us tonight, but it was only 7:30. I looked everywhere - including the rooms the kids are asleep in. Sam's a sound sleeper so I turned his light on to search, but didn't find it. I had no choice then but to take Brian's phone upstairs with me, open both doors, and hang up the second I heard something. Da da da. I heard the beginning of my ringer starting to sing it's catchy tune and quickly hit end. I turned the light on in Sam's room again, but could NOT find it. Knowing that it was for sure in there, I had to call one more time and find the stupid thing before Sam woke up. Da da da da... Oh my word. I had dropped it in Sam's bed when I leaned in to kiss him tonight. There it was all lit up, alerting me to the fact that I had missed two calls. Thankfully, Sam missed those calls too.

Once upon a time...

...there was a mom who had two children and a husband (who'd been leaving for work at midnight for two days straight). Both children had good sets of lungs that were often exercised while their daddy was trying to rest. The mom didn't want to fight that battle so she searched for something to do with her little ones for a few hours before nap-time.
After carefully weighing her options (cost, distance, tiredness of the children, time until naps, etc...), the mom decided that the local community center would offer the best outlet for the kid's energy and allow them a quick trip home if one (or two) should happen to meltdown and need a nap earlier than expected.

So off they went to do battle in the ball pit and conquer dragons lurking in the castle slide.
The children were famished after their adventures so they dined on hunks of meat(balls) before embarking on a quest into the Northwoods forest filled with creatures like moose, wolves, raccoons, deer, and bears.

Once the excitement wore off they were ready to embark on another conquest. A call had not been heard throughout the kingdom telling the mom that her husband had awoken from his slumber so the mom loaded up the coach and went in search of something else to entertain her children.

It was in the second village, that a kind sir took pity on them and let them cross the bridge without paying the toll. They crept in as to not alert anyone to their presence and cause an uproar. Slipping into open seats, they rested their tiring bodies while the drama unfolded in front of them. There were more battles, another dragon, and a prince charming to bestow true Love's kiss. The mom couldn't believe her good fortune when her youngest fell asleep and didn't wake until proclamation went out that her husband had awoken. The eldest child was mesmerised by the action and wasn't alarmed when three little rodents in front of us began helping themselves to food after the princess and her prince had left to live happily ever after. And so this mom and her little ones left too, to live out their own happily ever after.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry, meaningful, and memorable...

That pretty much sums up our Christmas this year, but you know I can't leave it at that, so here's the rundown:

Our holiday gatherings began on Sunday afternoon (23rd), but first we spent the morning at Church. Next year I'm bound and determined that we'll get our behinds to church for either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. We continue the long-standing tradition in Brian's family of reading the Christmas story and singing carols before we open gifts on Christmas Eve, but it feels like something is missing when we aren't worshiping with our church family as well.


The source of Sam and Julia's three day sugar high. (and mine too for that matter!)

Sunday afternoon we visited with family, ate, played Taboo, ate, watched the kids being silly, ate, and then braved the blizzard like conditions to get to Grandma and Grandpa's house for gift opening. The wind rattled windows, swirled into drifts, and made the snow fall sideways. That blessed wind kept Brian from having to work - no point in plowing snow that is going to blow right back where it was! Thank you Lord!


Sam helped Sharon hand out gifts. There were so many! Brian's family is very generous and gives us wonderful presents.

























Apparently, being spoiled is hard work, but before we could go home for the night the kids had one more gift to "open".



Without further ado, I'd like to introduce the two newest members of our family - Mary and Joseph.
















That was a looooong car ride home trying to keep the fish from being evicted from their home.

What I think I'll remember most from the morning of Christmas Eve this year is the fact that Sam didn't want to come downstairs to open gifts because Curious George wasn't over yet. Then when he did come downstairs, he wanted to eat first. I guess my attempt at making Christmas about more than gifts worked. Now I just need to work on his love of TV. :) Both kids loved ripping the wrapping paper and discovering the treasure inside, though the tool set and stroller from the night before were more interesting than the plate I made for Julia and Sam's new markers. Sam did get pretty excited about giving Daddy the ornaments he and Julia made
for him.


See what Brian got me? I finally have a grown-up coat! No more Columbia jacket on Sunday mornings! I asked for something sentimental this year and he didn't disappoint. It was eight years ago that he gave me a jacket for Christmas ( a white Columbia jacket that I returned cuz really, who can keep a white coat white?) Each time I slip into the satiny sweetness of my new jacket I'll be reminded of our first Christmas together.


















After a good nap we packed up the puppy, the kids, and the rest of the gear and headed to Grandpa and Grandpa's house again.
This time the house would be full of cousins for Sam and Julia to play
with. Can you tell how excited Julia was about that?


Brian's parent's have the perfect sledding hill right out their front door and Gene kept everyone warm with a fire at the top of the hill. Inside things were heating up between the youngest of the cousins.




















Jacob and Julia,
sitting in a chair,












K-I-S-S-I-N-G



Both kids shared their musical talents with our extended family - sometimes with clothes on, sometimes without. It was so sweet to hear Sam singing Silent Night, Away in the Manger, Joy to the World, Frosty the Snowman, and Up on the Housetop. He's knew Silent Night last year, but all the other's he learned this year. Julia's performance during Brian's reading of the Christmas story will be relived for years to come. She plopped herself down in the middle of the living room so her dress poofed up behind her. Then she fell over and grabbed her toes saying, "tooties, tooties" over and over again - all the while displaying zero modesty as her bum and belly were exposed for all to see.




It was 10:30 before we went downstairs to crawl into our sleeping bags and after 11:30 before Sam fell asleep. There were about 20 tense minutes where we didn't know if anyone in the house was going to get any sleep, but then Julia fell asleep in my arms and turned into a limp noodle so I could transfer her to the pack-n-play. Sam watched Rudolf on our mini DVD player twice and then gave up and went to sleep (tucked warmly in his new sleeping bag). In the morning we enjoyed watching the kids discover their toys from Santa. Sam had asked for a toy train earlier in December and then sent him a second letter when his helicopter broke. Simple, handmade toys will bring hours of fun for years to come. I still have my wooden trucks my Uncle Mark made me when I was a kid. There were stockings to look in upstairs as well before gorging
ourselves on cinnamon rolls, tangerines, and juice. It took Brian at least ten trips to get things loaded in the van before we could leave. All Brian and I wanted for Christmas Day were long winter naps and eventually our overtired children gave in. We woke to the most beautiful snow I've ever seen. It looked like we were in the center of a snow globe the way the flakes floated to the ground. The wind from Sunday was long gone and for the first time in 55 years the Twin Cities saw 4+ inches of Christmas snow. Sam caught his first flakes on his tongue.
A quiet sled ride through the woods on Christmas Day and warm hot chocolate when we came inside was the perfect end to a merry, meaningful, and very memorable Christmas.













We didn't have much money to put towards Christmas this year, but the important things don't come from a store anyway. I pray that Sam and Julia will look back someday at all these pictures (and the 240 I didn't post) and see that too. Do you think the grin on my face can get any bigger?

It is better to give than receive

Here's the final result of that gift we gave to Brian's cousin. Didn't Jennifer do a fabulous job on the lettering? Thank you Jennifer! Marla loved it!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Wrapping up

What a wonderful Christmas this has been! No pictures to share yet because Brian has has to plow at midnight and I can't be on the computer while he's trying to sleep. The kids are already sleeping soundly in their beds after a three day sugar high and as soon as Brian is done chatting with his brother who lives in Alaska, I'm off to bed myself. The idea of sleeping over at Grandma and Grandpa's house was a great one, but we didn't exactly sleep.

Safe travels everyone!

JMom shared this video and I couldn't help but do the same. Merry Christmas!

I also wanted to extend a prayer request for little Maisie. Jennifer has all the details posted on her blog. Thanks!

Monday, December 24, 2007

What child is this?

who laid to rest,
On Mary's lap is sleeping









Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
while shepherds watch are keeping?









This, this is Christ the King,





Whom shepherds guard and angels sing.











Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The babe, the Son of Mary.

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Our bags are packed


Now we just need Daddy to get home. Oh...and for Christmas Eve to get here. Can you tell we're just a little excited to sleep over at Grandma and Grandpa's house? They only live 20 minutes away, but there's just something about not having to pack up and drive home at the end of the night. Instead, we're going to snuggle by the fire, sing Christmas songs, read the Christmas story, and listen for the sound of reindeer on the roof.


I've had these suitcases (swiped from one of my mom's garage sales) stored down in the basement for years - waiting for a chance to use them. How fitting that the first time is for Christmas, seeing that they're red and green. :)

He takes after his mother

Winter Wonderland

Looks like we are in store for a white Christmas this year. Not that there was much doubt. Until a couple days ago we haven't been above freezing since before Thanksgiving. The slush created by yesterday's upper 30's is now covered with a fresh layer of pure white
snow.




Brian is off plowing again, but hopefully not for long.

The kids and I are enjoying The Polar Express, breaking the "no eating in the living room" rule, and I'm about to make a pot of coffee just for me- something I never ever do unless we have company.

It's not the same as having Daddy home, but it's fun to look at pictures of him from last night's skating adventure.


(These were my sister's skates from ages ago.)
This was Sammy's first time on skates and it felt like mine too. I haven't skated since college and it's been at least 5 years since Brian laced up his skates.



I can guarantee that if it weren't for Sam on the ice to help me balance, I would be nursing a pretty sore bum this morning.

It was Skate with Santa Night and Sam was doing his best to keep his distance. Julia, on the other hand, kept shouting "Santa! Santa!" I can only juggle so many things at once so there's only video of her giving him a high five as he skating past after a break in the penalty box.

Time to hit the publish button before squirmy wormy Julia erases everything. :) Have a wonderful weekend everyone!
















Thursday, December 20, 2007

Standing room only


Nobody was going to be left out in the cold on Sam's watch. Just think how toasty warm the stable will be when baby Jesus arrives Monday night!

Canoe camping with kids

I've been sharing highlights from our recent trip to the BWCA on Instagram . The spot we go is perfect for families with young kids beca...