Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I have to admit that I'm loving living in a neighborhood that doesn't have mature trees yet.  Don't get me wrong.  I love trees.  They are beautiful, create shade and privacy and are needed for our environment.  But, I don't miss raking leaves.  Every year I would spend several hours raking and bagging, raking and bagging.  I would end up with double digits in bags full of leaves, sore, and sometimes allergy ridden.  I would do all of this just to have to do it again a week later when the yard would once more become littered with leaves.  One year I flat out refused to rake until all the leaves had fallen.  Then I ended up with a yucky, wet mess and dead grass since it had rained on top of the 4 inches of leaves I had accumulated on my lawn.  So I love the fact that this was something I didn't have to do this year.  Especially since our yard is constantly littered with dog poop.  Try raking leaves in those conditions.

While I didn't have to rake leaves, my in-laws did.  But they have a small yard and a leaf blower ,so it isn't so bad.  This year my father in-law had some helpers.  The job took twice as long, but it was also twice as fun.

 The conversation at the point consisted of, "Grandpa, can I do that? Grandpa, is it my turn yet?  Grandpa?  Grandpa?  I want to use that thing!"

 The pile didn't remain a pile for too long before kids would run through it or take handfuls of leaves and throw them.

I don't miss raking leaves, but I do miss watching the kids play in them.  The kids had a lot of fun and Grandpa actually did get most of the leaves out on the curb.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Birthday Celebration

A couple of weekends ago, the boys and I went to Indianapolis to visit with family.  While we were there, my sister in-law and my mother in-law planned a little party to celebrate my birthday and Anders' birthday.

Andrina picked up nuggets from Chick-fil-A.  That, in and of itself, made it the best party ever.

The birthday boy with an awesome party hat from Grandma.

 Christian even entertained us with his recital piece.

There was lots of laughing, dancing, jumping, and popping of balloons.  It was utter chaos.  But I loved every minute of it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Moment of Peace

I'm not really sure who tired out whom.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Favorite Children's Books

Alright everyone.  I want your help. Well, really I need your help.  I'm putting together book lists for the easy reader section of our library.  Lists like 'If you like Elephant and Piggie then try...' or 'Books about Princesses'.  I know the books I like and the books my kids like, but I'd like to know what books you and your kids like.  I'm always looking for new books, new authors, and new series.  I want to put together some totally awesome lists.  When I'm done with this project I'll gladly share my findings with all those interested.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


This room took a couple of days to complete.  I still have some big plans for this room, such as refacing the cabinets, changing out the floor and getting new counter tops.  I'm sure my husband is having a heart attack just thinking about all the work we've done and all I still want to do.


 There was some mold on the drywall behind the sink so all that had to be cut out and replaced.  This is also the first faucet I replaced...isn't it pretty?  I should have held off on replacing the faucet until we completed the painting and backsplash, but I just couldn't wait.

 Appliances had to be installed and the walls were prepped for a new tile backsplash.

 Kelsey jumped right in and became a pro with the wet saw.  If she hadn't come to visit, the kitchen would still look the same as the day we moved in.

 My fridge screams "There are kids living in this house!"  I probably should have spruced that up a bit.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Babe's Chicken Dinner House

I asked Hans what he wanted to do while we were in Texas and, of the three things he mentioned, two of them involved food.  It didn't take Hans long to get acclimated to the wonderful restaurants we have down in Texas.   A trip to Texas simply wouldn't be complete without a trip to Babe's.  This is the place where John had his first taste of mashed potatoes when he was 9 months old.

 They have stuff like this covering the walls.

The good stuff.  Not the good-for-you stuff but the good tasting stuff.

 John enjoyed his food.

 Anders really enjoyed his food.  The people at the table next to us had a great time watching Anders shovel it all in.

Gus just enjoyed sleeping on Grandpa.  He missed the whole chicken experience.

 John just had to wear his cowboys boots and John Deere shirt to Babes.

This little cowboy was tired after all that food...or maybe he just wanted Grandma to carry him.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Family Room

This was the first room we painted.  This was the only room I primed because I didn't know how well the Valspar paint covered.  The paint was the consistency of pudding.  It covered so well I decided not to prime anything else.


 We didn't have any fans in the house.  It gets pretty hot and sticky here and I really wanted a fan in this room and all of the bedrooms.  The problem was that there also weren't any overhead fixtures in these rooms.  This is where some nice, handy men from church came over and installed the fan for me.  I'm forever grateful.

Partially primed and ready to go!

 Kelsey and I painted the walls and trim in one day and then built the Ikea furniture the next day.  Yep, the Ikea stuff took almost a whole day to complete.  But, to be fair to ourselves and Ikea, it was several units worth of furniture and it is all bolted together and to wall.  This unit is not going anywhere.

Kelsey also made me some great curtains and pillows to go in this room.  I just haven't been organized enough to put them up yet.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Farm Animals

Well, just like I predicted here when I talked about Grandpa's Farm, my parents made "animals with no faces" for the boys.

The boys were very excited to be pigs, cows and sheep.  John and Gus would stick their faces in the cow and say "milk me, milk me"  which is weird and cute all at the same time.  My mom did a great job painting the animals and the boys thoroughly enjoyed playing with them.  John and Gus even gave each animal a hug and a kiss goodbye before we left.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Halloween Costumes

This year John decided he wanted to be Mr. Bean.  I'm not sure there was a single kid who knew who he was even after he told them, but all the adults thought it was great.  Gus wanted to be Spiderman complete with Spiderman boots.  Don't even try to tell him they aren't Spiderman boots.  Anders didn't care about the festivities at all and was happy to be Captain America which was John's Halloween costume when he was 1.

 Anders actually rode in the wagon for trick or treating and made it a good ways before declaring he had enough.

 After Gus fell asleep, our neighbor drove him home.  I'm not sure when he woke up but he wasn't happy to be coming home.  Our poor neighbor is probably traumatized by all the screaming.  I had the baby gates up to keep Fritz from running out the door and Gus climbed over it to get out the door so he could find his dad and finish trick or treating.

I'm sure John would have stayed out the whole night.  John would say "trick or treat" in his Mr. Bean voice and after they had been to a majority of the houses, John asked Hans if he could just say "trick or treat" in his regular voice because it was hurting his throat.  Poor kid.  He loves to stay in character.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kuipers Family Farm

The first weekend in October we headed to Kuipers Family Farm with Debbie, Pam and Sophie to enjoy a day at the pumpkin patch.  This place is awesome.  It was a cool morning that turned into a perfect day.  We got there early so there weren't too many people and the kids enjoyed everything there was to offer.

 Sophie is just beautiful.  She is kind, patient and a joy to be around.

There were large boxes filled with corn.  Anders loved this...he tried to eat it.

 Anders loved being on the tractor.

Ducky water races.  I can't remember who won but they all had a good time.

 There was a mountain of tires and then a slide at the top to take you down the other side.  

 The bouncy pillow was a big hit for every kid in the joint but Gus.  He lasted all of a minute.

 John on the other hand couldn't get enough.

 Of course there were animals.  I love this picture...not sure what John was planning to do, but he looks like he is being sneaky.

 A good picture of these three.  They are talking to each other and not paying attention to anyone else.

We just had to try to get Anders in there.

It was a very fun day.  My boys also discovered caramel apples and apple donuts.  They could take or leave the caramel apples but they absolutely loved the apple donuts.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Trunk N' Treat

I'm not sure if Trunk N' Treat is a relatively new thing or if it's mostly a northerner thing or if my parents just kept me in the dark about this fun event to keep me from getting more candy.  If you don't know what Trunk N' Treat is, I'll tell you.  Because it is a great idea.  Members of our church park their cars in our parking lot, open their trunks and have games the kids can play for candy.  Hence the name Trunk N' Treat.  There are a few churches around here that do this and John's school also had this for their Halloween party.  The school didn't hand out candy though.  They handed out pencils, stickers, fake spiders and vampire teeth.  I have lots of vampire teeth sitting around if you ever find the need to wear them.

So, Hans was announcing the details of the festivities to the congregation and John decided to interrupt (he does that A LOT) and told everyone he wanted to see 100 cars in our parking lot.  Not sure why.  Maybe because he thought he could get more candy.  We did not have John's goal of 100 cars, but we had quite a few.  However, it was rainy and cold so we decided to take Trunk or Treat indoors for the evening.  We had two members decide to stay outside and I heard their games were so fun that people didn't mind getting a little wet just to play them.

The night was a big success.  We had lots of people walk through our doors.  AND I believe I was the only member that didn't wear a costume.  I don't wear costumes.

I didn't get a picture of everyone in their costumes, but here are a few...
Love, love, love this.  This is a husband and wife and they looked too cute together.  When Diane asked me where my costume was and I informed her I didn't have one, she said "Don't tell him.  Do you know how long it took me to convince him to wear that?"

Another husband and wife.  Their costumes brought back many fond memories of reenacting the Spartan cheers with my high school friends.

 Not only was Batgirl's costume a hit, her game was also popular.  Who knew kids would go crazy over marbles?

 These two are usually up to no good.

 I told Hans that, if all of the members were going to be in costume, it would be wrong if the pastor wasn't in costume.  So here is, as he labeled it, "30 Year Old Scott Howard."  Scott Howard was Michael J. Fox's character in Teen Wolf, for those of you who don't remember that name and aren't huge nerds like Hans.

Of course, the night just couldn't end without Captain America eating an orange cupcake.  I'm shocked Pam wasn't covered in orange frosting.

A great time was had by all.  John is already talking about what game he wants to be in charge of next year.