Monday, December 22, 2008

A Christmas Eve Invitation

Hi there, friends and family,

I know I sent most of you an e-mail earlier about Christmas Eve, but I don't have everyone's e-mail who reads this blog.

Just thought I'd let you know that my church, Springfield United Methodist, is having two Christmas Eve Services. 5 PM (a little more contemporary with the praise band) and 11 PM (a little more traditional with the chancel choir). There will be lots of music! (at the 5 o'clock service we'll be doing a few songs arranged by Third Day and also at both services we'll be performing "Mary, Did You Know?").

If you're in the area with not much to do Wednesday evening, we'd love to have you join us. (especially if you're an old college friend!) (I mean it! Come on out in the cold! It will be warm inside!)

Merry Christmas a little early!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Maggie in Stages

It's so hard to believe that we brought Maggie home from the hospital 2 years ago. Let's go down memory lane, shall we?

Owen the happy brother...although he was a little disappointed way back then that she didn't poke him back. Now he gets all that he dished out (and a little more!)

My contented little sleeper...I swear she slept the entire first 2months of her life...and finally woke up when I had to go back to work!

Here she is about 6months, smiling like a pro!

Scooting around...gaining some independence!

Her she is, one year old...(Olan Mills portrait)

Not sure what she's doing.

Last summer out at Owen Landing in the Platte River State Park. We really had to watch her to make sure she didn't dive for the ducks in the water!

Here she is just a few weeks ago!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Birthday Dance

How much cuter can a brother and sister be? (Owen totally picked out the orange shirt to go with his red sweater and gray "cozy" pants).
Here's our Christmas picture, courtesy of "Granny Spiehs." If you haven't guessed it, here are some pictures from our Maggie celebration! She officially turned the big 2 TODAY, Dec. 18th. She has officially graduated into the world of tantrums (only once in a while), screaming/crying when she wants something and doesn't want to talk, pestering her brother (although I think she mastered that about 18 months ago), and realizing the value of "my toys," and how hard it really is to share!

The beautiful birthday girl, note...the doll's dress matches Maggies. (For a girl who wore all of her brother's clothes the first year of her life, has 2 pairs of shoes, and didn't have her own doll until about 6 months ago, she's quite the girly-girl.)

Here's Maggie with part of her cousin, Hannah, and Aunt Mindy.

Overall, I think she had a good day. It took her a while to warm up to having 13 relatives in the house...I didn't put the pictures of her crying in my arms while we sang "Happy Birthday" to her! (Owen had to blow out the candles for her!)
Here's to another good year, Maggie!

Saturday, December 06, 2008


Last night I dreamt that their was a "warning message" on this blog. In red, it said: "Warning, due to financial difficulties of the internet and the stress of the economy, your previous long post will be published in sections."

Me? Long winded? Not really. Just really thankful for all my friends, family and the little things that make me happy.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Here's Maggie on her new big-girl bed. She loves it...hasn't had any problems transitioning to it from her crib. It was so nice to say "bye-bye" to the old crib.

Can you believe this little cutie-pa-tootie is almost 2?? We're celebrating her birthday this upcoming weekend, since the next 3 weekends are going to be crazy.

I had full intentions of updating the blog this last weekend. To say the least, it was a little crazy. After the excitement of Saturday night and the wee hours of Sunday morning, I decided to write more about what I’m thankful for. Tis the season for being thankful and all…

In random order:
1. Friends and family who are willing to come over and watch the kids, or take them for the weekend. It’s the little things that make me happy…like when Dave’s brother Darin was here for the weekend and I was able to shave my legs. Although, getting the big projects out of the way is nice, too. Dave and I have been up to our necks in projects and having a hiatus from parent duty frees us both up to finish up the loose ends and really get a tremendous amount of work done. As it is, when we are working on a project, one of us is with the kids; thereby freeing the other one to work without having to worry about a child poking themselves with a hot clothes iron or soldering iron, or a hundred other things that could go wrong. This weekend we were able to finish up the new sound system project and replace Maggie’s crib with a regular, big-girl, twin-size bed, clean out the kids’ closets in preparation for new toys, and deep cleaning of places that haven’t been touched since June.

2. Dave. By now most of you know that Dave was involved in the 30 + accidents on I-80 Saturday night due to the black ice, caused by drizzling rain. The truck was totaled more than once. (The truck was hit 3 or 4 times). This is the second time (in 3 years) he’s been in an accident where the vehicle he was in was totaled out. The Mustang was repairable. The truck, however, is pretty much a sardine can. It probably can be used for something; scrap metal, most likely. Trucks and cars can be replaced; loved ones cannot be. I think once I got past the initial shock of what all happened, and what could have happened…I’m proud to say that we are handling the situation as best we can. I think a lot about one’s character shows up in times of duress. We could have freaked out. We didn’t. We could have thrown our hands up in the air cursing our bad luck. We didn’t. I think we’ve learned that life throws us all kinds of curve balls; and that it’s always going to be throwing us curve balls when we’re not ready for them. It’s how we respond that really matters. There is truth to the saying that you can find a silver lining in every dark cloud. Once the insurance settles, we will probably be able to get another vehicle that we can put car seats in…and hopefully the replacement will be better for us to drive in the winter than the Ranger was.

3. Pumpkin yogurt from Target, pumpkin tea, pumpkin beer, and pumpkin pie. I like pumpkin. If you’d like my secrets on how to make an incredibly scrumptious pumpkin pie, you may make the request via e-mail. It will cost you one item per each secret you desire. (I have 3 of them). Items that I will trade my secret for: new Cubby t-shirt (mine finally bit the dust and is now a pajama shirt), sheet music for the Beatles, sheet music for Tom Waits, CDs from the following artists: Todd Agnew, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Audio Adrenaline, Third Day, Bebo Norman, Mandisa, Point of Grace. You may also offer me a free car (it must run and be able to put car seats in)! (Do that soon, though, before the insurance adjustor finishes up the claim and we start looking for a replacement for the truck!)

4. My part-time job at the church. I’d love it if it were full-time with benefits. I never thought I’d be a choir director, but it’s working out quite well. The folks in the chancel choir appreciate having someone to direct them; and I’m delving into different parts of the bible, which the songs we’re working on are based from. I’m working hard on incorporating the themes Eldon’s talking about each week into our music. I know I’m not absolutely perfect for the job; but who is? I’m learning a lot along the way. I already know of several things that I will do differently next year for certain holiday sermons. I’m really looking forward to our Christmas music. I picked out some traditional-contemporary versions from Third Day; and we’re also (hopefully) going to be performing Breath of Heaven and Mary’s Song.

5. Our children. Although at times when both of them are in crisis over something trite; overall they’re wonderful blessings. It’s hard to remember that, though, when Maggie doesn’t want to use her words and screams instead. Or when Owen is being defiant, just because he’s 3 and he tests us on everything. But it’s all worth it when out of the blue they come up to you and tell you how much they love you and shower you with hugs and kisses. I suppose one day Maggie won’t want to rub noses and cheeks and pat my hair; but for right now I’ll take all I can get.

6. My job. I’m sure there are many blogs you can find written by someone being laid off, or already out of work. I was never sure what I wanted to be when I grew up (and honestly, I still don’t really know), but education has proven to be a good choice for me. I really enjoy teaching 4th grade. They don’t have that “attitude,” yet…and they still like playing little kid games every now and then. I also really like being able to walk to work. Switching to Springfield Elementary was a good choice given the situation with our lack of a vehicle right now. Being able to walk everywhere –church, the bank, grocery store, work- (as long as the weather holds!) has been a blessing.

7. My sniffer. One of my favorite things about the holiday season are the smells of pies baking and turkeys roasting and all of the wonderful aromas (cinnamon, vanilla beans, cloves, thyme, nutmeg, cedar and pine trees, wood stoves, etc) which fill a home. I think I had the worst cold ever beginning about 3 weeks ago and I’m finally beginning to get my sense of smell back. 4th graders don’t smell too bad, but I’ve been unable to detect dirty diapers. Sorry, Maggie.

Monday, November 24, 2008

holy garbanzo beans, it's almost turkey day...

Every month, I wonder where did our time fly? Well was spent changing diapers, calming tantrumy children (both at work and at home) and making every day worth saying that it was a good day.

I've been talking a lot about being thankful to my students the last few weeks. One of the "fluff" activities we're doing in our spare time is making a "Thankful Book." A colorful turkey adorns the front cover, and the feathers have the name of the person or object they are thankful for. On the inside, each page is devoted to a poem or lengthy description of why that person or object deserves an extra "thanks" this time of year. It's really nice to see that my 4th graders love and respect their families. They have a lot of thankful items they're writing about. (As do I, since I made one ahead of time to show them).

One feather of mine has the words "wisdom" written on it. (Not that I have a whole lot of it to tout, but more of searching and acquiring the good stuff). I was sitting in a meeting for a "behavior disorder" student about a week ago..most of you who know me well, know that I often have music playing in my head most of the time. The song that popped in that afternoon (after an already very long day) was the Beatles, "Let It Be." I think I was thinking at the time, that I can do all the teacher things I know to do for this child. But really, it's going to be up to this child to make his own choices. I can totally be a great person while he's in my classroom, talking about how to make good choices and what the consequences are going to be for each decision; but ultimately I have to eventually let go and let him make those choices for himself. And of course, being a teacher I have to wonder why that song came in my does today relate to my life at home, and I have to remember that those same thoughts apply to raising my kids and being a good wife and mom. Some things I just have to "Let It Be."

So does one have to be old to have wisdom? :)

And where does one find it? I haven't had to go far, I've been reading a bit of the book of Proverbs every night. The ultimate book of Wisdom. Probably the key is to not just read it, but then put what I learn into action...that's the test.

A very happy Thanksgiving to each and everyone of you. Thanks so much for reading our blog and keeping up on our lives. Every one of you is a blessing; I think I have a few more feathers to add to my turkey tomorrow morning!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween really isn't over...

Halloween really isn't over....until all the candy is gone. How long can two youngsters go without being able to dig through their pumpkins? Let's time it....6.8 seconds. Pumpkins are now going up on the fridge until Easter! (We still have Easter candy up on the fridge...) I think Owen and Maggie woke up this morning still hyper from all the sugar they ingested yesterday.
After a very long day of keeping my 4th graders in line (which was difficult, because my school has a HALLOWEEN PARADE! This is my first school district that I've taught in that actually encourages dressing up and then parading down the main street sidewalk, collecting candy from all the businesses. Then when we get back, the room moms have a party and games waiting for us), I got the kids from daycare, and we headed up to the big O to Dave's new office for their big Halloween party. They got tons of candy, pizza, games, prizes, etc. Then back home. I think Maggie could have gone to bed at that point, but she didn't want Owen to have all the I took both of them out trick-or-treating. Dave stayed home this year to pass out candy. I think he said about half of the school showed up....pretty much all of my students came by....luckily we don't have too much candy left over.
I still have a headache from yesterday.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Where did our weekend go?

As with the closing of almost every weekend, by the time it reaches 9:oo PM...I'm struck with amazement that it's SUNDAY night already....and it's almost time to go to bed. Where in the world does our time fly off to? Must have been the haircuts and grocery trip Saturday morning. Or the all afternoon trip to the mountains that afternoon. (Owen knows about 2 sets of mountains; the Rockies and Appalacian. If we want to go to the Rockies, we head west on the sidewalk in front of our house. Me and Maggie walking, Owen on his hot rod (3 wheeler). Or, if he's full of energy we try to make it to the Appalacians...we get as far as Buffalo park, and become distracted with the swings and slides.
The above pictures were taken just a few hours ago at our our friends Mike and Emily's house. They just recently had a beautiful little boy, Quinton Donovan. I think on Friday we told the kids that we were going to visit "Baby Quinton" this weekend. They were so excited to go see the baby. Owen immediately raced into his room to find him a toy to play with. (I think he was expecting Quinton to be a little bigger).
If you didn't notice, I am in the picture. That is just for my good friend down in KC who said, "Your kids are great and all...but where are you in this blog?" Enjoy.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Pumpkin Patch...

The above two pictures are a little out of order...they were taken after the trip to Vala's. Owen has been interested in the camera the last few weeks. He wanted his pictue taken with Maggie, and he put his arm around her all on his own. He also took the picture of Maggie snarfing an apple slice. He took several...this one was the most respectable...

So last weekend, I did what every working parent in the metro area does during October. Took the kids to Valas. I have to say, the kids had a blast. It was cold. It was expensive. Once you promise your kids a horsey ride, though, you can't go back on your word. Thank goodness for Visa. The price itself, I didn't think was too bad. $11. Preschoolers, I thought should have had a much reduced price...Owen and I were the same price. Maggie was free, though! $4 bucks per kid for a 5 minute horse ride. I think the hayrack ride you also had to pay for....we didn't wander down that way, though. Of course I couldn't leave without buying homemade kettle corn and pumpkin fudge. (Which by the way, don't bother with the pumpkin fudge. It's way to sweet. You can barely taste the pumpkin).
To give you an idea of how large this place was, think the farm in Phillips...from the driveway all the way out to the hogshed and from the railroad tracks to half-way down the cornfield south of the house. That's probably about how big the place was. I'm just really glad I didn't lose one of them. The only minor scare I had, was when we used the family restroom and Maggie kept running out while Owen and I used the facilities. Thankfully, she would run out and then run right back inside.
Thank goodness there's an entire year inbetween now and the next time I'll take the kids. I'm going to start saving my pennies!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Owen Rockin Out

Owen's favorite Saturday morning activity....rockin out with his guitar on his little stage. The videographer forgot that you can't rotate a video clip. Sorry that you have to turn head 90 degrees. Pumpkin Patch pictures to be uploaded later.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Fall Flowers

A bunch of happy zinnias from my front planter. The bees just are happy to bumble around them all day long.

New Room for Owen

Here's Owen...pretty happy with his new room. He was very impressed with all the work Dave and I did to his room. I don't think we'll be ready for another project like that, until, oh...Maggie turns 3!

Here are some "before" pictures of Owen's room. You can see how cruddy the carpet is. When we moved in, it was pretty clean....but spots kept appearing...we're pretty clean...Owen doesn't eat in his room and he's pretty good about taking his shoes off....somehow those spots kept magically surfacing, so it was great to get rid of it.
All I can say is, "Yuck!" I'm not even going to tell you what "might" be in those stains. blech.
The floor before I scrubbed it clean and then polished it with lemon oil.

The "after" picture. It took Dave about 2 weeks to put the rocket bookshelves together. He made it from scratch. It was Owen's "big boy" present for when he got potty-trained.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Happy 3rd Birthday, Owen!

Maggie's new favorite toy...the balloon. It's amazing how easy they pop outside in the heat!
Me and Owen.
My sister-in-law Mindy, and her daughter (my first niece) Hannah and Owen.
Owen. Don't you just love his tie? He told us when he was getting dressed for his birthday party that he wanted to wear a tie, just like his Daddy.

Saturday was a great day to celebrate Owen's 3rd Birthday. He had his cousins Hannah and Jack (along with Aunt Mindy...I'm sure Uncle Jeff was thinking of us...I took him to the airport that morning around 5 AM.) Uncle Darin made it out, Owen's "best friend," Kjell and his lovely wife, Lisa came out, and of course the grandparents....Grandma and Grandpa Hudson and Granny and Grandpa Spiehs all came out to celebrate with us. He is in love with all his "new stuff." We're just trying to find a spot for everything....

Monday, September 01, 2008

Summer is Over...

Here's Maggie enjoying the sprinkler.
Owen, the tinkerer.
Here's part of our church praise group. We played for the County Fair in July. "Soul Force" from Louisville joined us. It was hot and fun!

So it's been forever and a few days since I've posted any news....

It was a busy summer. School is back in session.

Owen turned 3 last weekend. The kids continue to amaze us.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I Lowered My Cholesterol!

Just thought I'd share some good news about myself.....
July Cholesterol Reading: 224
January Cholesterol: 188

July Triglycerides: 307
January Triglycerides: 110

Still need to raise my "good" cholesterol a little bit.

All that with no prescription drugs. Fish oil, running around after a 2nd child, and kind of watching what I eat.