Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Against better judgement I helped Vance start his own blog tonight. It took us 1 1/2 to finish his play list! Go check it out and leave him a he doesn't feel like the new kid on the block. It's "My Heros Have Always Been Cowboys"...I helped with the title:)
Tonight ~ pictures....pray for me:)
Seriously....we have an appt. with the appraiser at noon...pray for us. It's a huge deciding factor with our credit union.
Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

To the Moon and Back....

Grandma Cindy has a pretty special saying...."I love you to the moon and back!" She says it to both of my kids, but you know Emma...she adopted it with a vengeance. At a shop in the mall, I saw this sign and bought it, but Mom wanted to give it to Emma. Can't say that I blame her.
Now, you all know prep work, no being careful, I just dive right in! Not this time, I actually made a template...GOT A LADDER, and used a measuring tape. The finally product....

A BIG, BROWN circle....

With the most precious sign in it....
With the most precious angel sitting beside it.
No, the circle is not perfect, but who is? Not me!

New purchases

On Sunday, Vance, I, and the kids went to the movies. We saw Bedtime was really cute. I would recommend it for a good laugh, not too much brain power. We also picked up a few non essentials while we were out!
New ornaments for our tree next year....and 27 feet of garland!

Emma's new coat....super cute and warm.

My new coat. I haven't had a new one since the first year Vance and I were married, that was 9 years ago. So, my zipper broke and I did not feel guilty getting a new one. I used my Christmas money from my grandparents and my in-laws. Thanks guys!


Hey guys...just gotta know!
How do you clean?
I'm one of those....ewwwwww gross look at that dust and then I dust. May it be 10 p.m., midnight, or make me late for church (which I usually am)....I am an impulse cleaner.
Now, I am faced with a bigger house and constant ewwwws. Do you guys have a day that you clean this or that, a schedule, or just impulse. Do you do you windows every month, 6 months, never?:) How often do you dust, mop, vacuum? I am finding myself overwhelmed, especially with this hardwood floor business. I am shocked by all the dust! I know some of it's b/c we are still working on the house and have saws going, but come on! I am thankful that our bedrooms have carpet. I know the dust is in there too, but at least it doesn't float around begging me to look at it.
So, let me have it....I need a plan!
P.S. I am so thankful for a porch that my kids can run back and forth on! The find great fun in it and I find great fun in the fact that they are outside!

Friday, December 26, 2008


After a very late night at Christmas Eve services, we didn't get up until 8:30. Vance and I had just put up curtains and so it was still dark in our room, and needless to one stirred, not even a mouse! I heard little footsteps and got up to see what the reactions were. Colby was on the couch and had not even seen that Santa had been there. I had to point out the present he had walked right by and then he got excited. Emma walked down the stairs and also didn't realize that Santa had been there. You can see how close the stairs are to her stove. Not their best in the morning...truly my children!
Santa brought the stove...the rest are from mom and dad.

She got a new coat that I took back b/c it barely fit her. My goal was something she can wear next winter too. She also got a mixer and pie making set for her stove and some toy puppies and sleeping beauty.
At my mom and dad's she opened a lot of treasured items. The slippers above are fashioned after Fancy Nancy. She loves them.
Probably her favorite gift is her MP3 player. She listens to her "earpluggers" all the time! She also got an alarm clock that the player will hook into.

Another hit was a microphone. She was very adamant that she wanted one and even knew what it was before she opened up the package. Needless to say, she got all she wanted and more. One very special gift warrants it's own post. Coming soon.....
Colby standing beside marbleworks. I was very excited for him to get this gift and so far he has played with it every day. Hurray for a toy Colby will actually play with!

He also got binoculars that he was so excited about he had to try them out. Even though he was getting ready to get dressed!

The much talked about bulls. He had his eye on these! From us he also got dart guns, a laser sword, and a new dog lead.
At grandma's he got the most obnoxious, but fun claw machine. It's filled with candy and you grab the candy in it's claw. The annoying part?.... the music! He also got a MP3 player, a camo sweatshirt that I have washed everyday and an alarm clock.

Vance and I did not buy each other much b/c of the house, but I did feel the need to get him this wrench set. Don't know what he'll use them for, but he'll look manly when he does!

I had Lauren's name this year. I got her a scarf and mittens to match her ball less hat! Also, I got her a gift card and photo albums for wallets to hold all of her classmate's senior pictures.
Scroll down to the bottom of my screen and you will see a similar picture taken last year. Can't believe how my "babies" have changed. Soon to be the mom of a 5 and 6 year old!
Hope you had a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

What fun!

Colby's first tooth fairy visit is Christmas Eve! Bree gave me the idea of a letter. Thought I would share:
Dear Colby
Thank you for the teeth. I was really excited to come to your house tonight. I hope I was not too noisy.You were so brave at the dentist Monday. Everybody was so proud of you. You did wonderfully. I bet you are very proud. I know that it was a little scary.
You were very brave. Great Job!!!!
I am leaving you a little something in exchange for your teeth. Thank you very much. Remember keep brushing!!!!
Love,The Tooth Fairy
P.S. I ran into Santa leaving your present. You must have been a good boy this year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

This morning dawned very snowy! I had a light case of the flu all evening, so I slept late. It was weird to get up and get only myself ready to go. No kids!
We got to Vance's parents house and had a wonderful Christmas. We enjoyed a yummy lunch with Vance's much loved ham balls. Then kids opened presents. I'm not sure they have been this good!

Here is Emma with all of her loot!
She got Hannah Montana make-up! This is her first Hannah Montana item ever...let the craze begin. She also got a swimming barbie for her pool, a HUGE coloring book that came with paints, other books, and a dress and outfit.
Applying the makeup!
Colby and his pile!
Imagine his surprise when that odd shaped package was a sled. He also got a semi that you can see in the background in the next picture, an awesome shirt, a couple of puzzles, and his first buck knife (to skin and gut deer). Mom's a little nervous about that one.
Did I mention that Emma got fence? I told Grandma Joyce that she is constantly going to Colby's room to play with his fence, so maybe she would like some of her own. So Grandma got her 3 different kinds. What did she do? Promptly went to Colby's room! Oh kids...they've been down there playing for the last 3 hours!
Vance and I spent the last few hours addressing and stuffing over 100 Christmas/New Year's cards. No fun, but I know they're appreciated. Tomorrow, we go to my mom and dads to spend Christmas. That is after Santa comes and we appreciate his generosity in the morning.
Tonight, we are all going to the Christmas Eve service at 11:15. I am reading a scripture. I'm excited to see what the atmosphere is like this late into the night.
Merry Christmas Everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Feliz Navidad!

Tomorrow starts our Christmas whirlwind. We go get our kids and celebrate with Vance's family.
Merry Christmas Everyone.
Be Safe and Blessed!

If only....

If only I got bonus points from Santa.....

The 10 page directions.
The nuts and bolts...

All the pieces...

An empty package!

The finished product!
It was actually very easy to put together...just time consuming. It took 1 hour and 1/2. It seems durable and made of good material. I was afraid it would be made of basically plywood, but it's strong and has lots of plastic mixed in. She'll love it!

No ball on top, two on the sides!

Aunt Lorn Lorn's 18th birthday was celebrated on Sunday. Mom forgot the candles so she got one HUGE candle...and a little help!
Her favorite gift from us was a hat with no ball on top and two on the sides! We searched all over Ottumwa looking for the perfect hat. We finally found it in the sporting goods section of Target. She's very excited.
We also got her very ugly shoes, that she's thrilled with and two movies. Happy Birthday Aunt Lorn Lorn...we love you!

Monday, December 22, 2008


Oh. My. Goodness!
Off to Quincy this morning....the getting there part went well. I had never driven to Quincy myself and have only been there a handful of times, but I managed to get there in one piece. We waited an hour in the waiting room and got to see a prisoner brought in in shackles to have his teeth worked on. Talk about awkward moment. Anyway, they call Colby back and start prepping him. He's doing great, listening to the nurse...she's trying to tell him EVERYTHING that is going to happen. She told him too much! When she got to the "bee sting" she lost him. He was in tears. Luckily the laughing gas helped matters:) Emma is RIGHT there, checking things out. I can see nursing in her future!...right now she wants to be a vet. The actual procedure took maybe 10 mins. and then we were in recovery. He came out of anesthesia really well and off we went. Getting to the stores...that's another story. Finally I find Broadway (yes, I know it's not hard...if only I'd paid attention the other times). We went to K-Mart first and took something back for my mom. Then GET THIS...I ask where the Target is. Yes! I did! Can you hear the laughter? Cause that's what I got! Anyway, I make my way to Wal-Mart or my own personal Hell. We get in, get out, and on our way.
The plan is to drop the kids off in Bible Grove...the plan was not to go in the ditch. I couldn't make it up the last hill to my in-laws. So I slid back down and spun to the other direction. Colby said, "Just let me out, I'll walk to Grandma's and you can go on home!" Sensitive young thing he is. Thank goodness for patient, knowledgeable, and helpful brother-in-law! Stanley helped me drive out, drove my van up the hill, pointed it in the right direction, took us all to the house, and then took me back to the van. I was a nervous wreck. I've always told Vance I didn't want to live on gravel, I'm glad I stuck to my guns!
Now, I'm home...nice and toasty. No kids! Yay for sleeping in!
Stay warm

Sunday, December 21, 2008


We've been busy. A recap...
Thursday...out of school early b/c of the ice storm
Enjoyed the afternoon school.
I had a very small party for Laurie as a "breather" for her to get away from the boxes and boys! We had fun chatting and eating...the two best things in life:)
Saturday...we went to the BIG Frederick Christmas! Over 20 great-grand kids. Mostly 7 and under! Whew! Emma got a spin and splash that involves glitter, sand, and paint. She's in seventh heaven! Colby got a john deere tractor and 4 wheeler (toys) and a bionicles kit. Does anyone know about bionicles? If you do...please clue me in!
Saturday night...we got home just as it was getting nasty. I helped Vance do the chores and then we hunkered down for the night. What else was there to do?
Sunday....we went to church after a bit of a delay with a dead battery parked slightly behind a good battery:) we made it! then we had a wonderful dinner to send the ulrich's off in style! there was a HUGE turn out. Good for them!
Sunday afternoon....after we got home from church, Vance went up to Emma's room. We've been having trouble with her heat. It was set on 73 and it was 65! Uh oh...we started investigating...and to make a long story short-some of the insulation and fallen down. The ceilings are really steep and it must have been knocked loose. We did the insulating ourselves, so we know we did a good job of filling every nook and cranny....if only it would have stayed up there! So Vance fixed that and I vacuumed behind him cleaning up the mess:)
Then we went to Braxton's 10th birthday party and Vance went to "quickly" do the chores. Wrong...the water fountain was froze (imagine that) so he had to borrow a blow dryer to that it out!
Sunday evening...we went to Lauren's delayed birthday party. Had lots of good food and fun! and then off to try to stay warm.
Tomorrow, I'm taking Colby to the oral surgeon and then dropping him and Emma off in Bible Grove until Christmas EVE! Whoo Hooo....two nights to kick back and relax.
So, please keep us in your thoughts tomorrow as I travel to Quincy in subzero temps. with two kids and have two teeth pulled!

P.S. To all of you out there building a house, thinking about it, or just did....don't think just b/c it's new that everything will be hunky dory! We have had cold rooms, stinky smells, and now a garbage disposal on the fritz. My dad always told me that a used car is better than a new one b/c all the kinks have been worked out by some else. I'm starting to believe that. I thought we would move in and our first winter would be toasty warm with no problems. Nope, one morning we woke up and our house was 63! All it took was a visit from Peters and a small adjustment, but it was still annoying. Plus, you've read about Emma's room. Now the garbage disposal and smell...we're still working on that! OH WAIT...Vance just made it work again! YAY! It helps to have a handy husband....
Off to safe and warm!

Friday, December 19, 2008

It happened!

My kids opened a present early! You all know that I have a's opening presents early. My belief is: they open them slowly throughout a couple of weeks and then they can truly enjoy each present instead of ripping through a stack on Christmas morning. So, last night we talked daddy into opening just 1!

Colby opened the much anticipated fighter jet. He really does love it...not sure what the look on his face is all about in this picture.

Emma opened the coveted potty baby a.k.a baby alive! She thinks babies are a lot of work and I think that baby alive is a joke! You are supposed to buy special juice and diapers! Yeah right! We are using a potty chair from a different dolly and diapers that Cindy made Emma last year and good old H2O. What a money pit!

I'm trying to get a video to load, but it's been "uploading for an hour" so you'll have to settle for the pics!

Do you let your kids open presents early?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Just so ya'll know, I cannot comment on your blogs. My computer is being, I am not being a blog snob. I've read them all, but can't give you my two cents! So here it goes!

Bree: I whole heartedly agree!

Erin: I hope Trenton finds some peace, and I'm still not done shopping either!

Corin: Way to go! I love those Brownie cookies you made Jenn! I had to type our schedule for the next two weeks and email it to Vance. That's how crazy we are!

Jenn: Love the videos....yesterday was the first day I haven't seen Natalee since she was born! It was bound to happen!

Be careful tomorrow guys...

Love you!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Miracles...God's handiwork!

The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assignedto their first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn , arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve. They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc, and on December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On December 19 a terrible tempest - a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days.
On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high. The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home.
On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the frontwall. He bought it and headed back to the church.
By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus.. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later. She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area. Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet.. 'Pastor,'she asked, 'where did you get that tablecloth? 'The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria.
The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten the Tablecloth. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria .When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave.Her husband was going to follow her the next week. He was captured, sent to prison and never saw her husband or her home again. The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the church.
The pastor insisted on driving her home, that was the least he could do. She lived on the otherside of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a house cleaning job.
What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return.
One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn't leaving. The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike.
He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison.. He never saw his wife or his homeagain all the 35 years in between.
The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman's apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.
True Story - submitted by Pastor Rob Reid Who says God does not work in mysterious ways? I asked the Lord to bless you as I prayed for you today, to guide you and protect you as you go along your way. His love is always with you, His promises are true, and when we give Him all our cares you know He will see us through.
So when the road you're traveling on seems difficult at best.. Just remember I'm here praying and God will do the rest. Pass this onto those you want God to bless and don't forget to send it back to the one who asked God to bless you first.
When there is nothing left but God, that is when you find out that God is all you need. Take 60 seconds and give this a shot! All you do is simply say the following small prayer for the person who sent you this.
Father, God, bless all my friends and family in whatever it is that You know they may be needing this day! May their life be full of your peace, prosperity and power as he/she seeks to have a closer relationship with you. Amen