Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year 2009!

Happy New Year!
It is the time of year that we, in the Austin household, create goals that will make us better in the upcoming year (or at least that is the "goal." I tried to explain to Alivia and Addison the concept of making goals. We helped Addison make a goal of only sleeping with her Taggie Blankets and going #2 in the potty! Alivia said her goal was to play. Yeah, me too! Chris encouraged her to make a goal to pray every night with us (although she knows Hail Mary really well) and try and wear less than 4 outfits a day!

First, let's review how we did on last year's goals. We organized, saved, became more active, bought the bear minimum and purchased a mini van! However, on the updated goals in July, I have some work to do. I am STILL not finished with Addison's 1 year scrapbook, but I am 3/4 finished with Asher's!

Goals for 2009:
1. Continue to buy only bear minimum: I think this should be an ongoing goal regardless of how much or how little money one has.
2. Save more, more, and invest. The money does little good just sitting we need to invest our savings a little more.
3. Move by the 4th of July? This is a goal that is a little out of our control. There a number of factors playing into the decision, the market being a major one. We also want to move living on one income, so that plays a big role as well. The 4th of July? Well, last year, after sitting in our yard narrowly being missed by fireworks, Chris and I hoped to be in a New Home by 4th of July of 2009. We will see.
4. Limit computer time. I will always blog, do online banking, and work with our pictures online. However, some of the other things (facebook) are just a waste of time!
5. If we do not move: Get a deck. :)
6. Take a family trip and book a 10 year anniversary trip for Chris and I for next winter (our 10 year anniversary is this upcoming August).
7. Visit the Grandparents at least once a month.

8. I want to run a 1/2 marathon. Okay, I have said it. Now, if we move, that may throw a problem into the mix. This goal has been on my list for years. Now, I think I will try and achieve it. I ran nearly 1/2 of a 1/2 marathon this can I pull off a real one this year? Um, the jury is still out. Having to run at either 4 AM or 9 PM makes it rather difficult to throw a 12 mile run in, too. As my Dad always says, you have to have goals.  

 Let the new year begin...ready or not!

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December in Review

Happy New Year! Hope you all had a Merry Christmas! We began the month of December getting ready for the Holidays and ended it by started off 2009! We kept busy as usual, going to the zoo, Omaha and Lincoln Children Museums, seeing Santa 3 times!, Alivia's Sunday School Program...etc. It was a fun filled month, that is for sure. Wishing you all Health and Happiness in 2009! Please keep in touch!
The Austin Five

December Photos

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Morning at the LCM


Alivia milking a cow?Shopping timeDaddy & AsherIn the play Pizza ParlorGet ready for take off!

We are trying to have as much fun as we can while Daddy is on vacation. Last Tuesday, we went to the Omaha Children's Museum for our monthly visit and were able to see their Christmas Light Show. So, today, we invited Grandma, Cousins Lucas and Henry to go with us to the Lincoln Children's Museum. The museum is packed full of fun activities for the kids to enjoy. Alivia's favorite parts were the Prairie Dog Town where the kids were able to crawl in little "prairie dog tunnels," (Oh, and that was fun to chase little Asher through! He loved them!), playing in the real airplane, the Doctor clinic, and the stage area where she played a long time with Cousin Lucas. Addison liked the tunnels, too, as well as the grocery store. Asher, if he could say, liked the tunnels and big truck area. It is probably safe to say, we all had fun!

Snack TimeAsher outside of the tunnelsAddi & Henry Watching the Puppet Shows

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Day at the Movies...

Daddy took the girls to see Bolt. This was Addison's first official movie. Daddy thought the movie was a little old for her and perhaps a little long (she got a little squirmy). Alivia had fun, and they all enjoyed the treats!

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Monday, December 29, 2008

The Last Christmas

Tonight marked the last Christmas celebration of 2008. We went to Chris' parents to celebrate Christmas with his Brother & family and Chris' parents. The food, fun, presents were all wonderful. The kids have so much fun together, too. Alivia liked her new lunch box and cupcake watch, Addison liked her new books and Janie and Jack outfit. Chris and I will enjoy our night out at a hotel alone (although that may go against Chris' 2009 goal). :). Many nice and wonderful things to enjoy all year around. And, to top it off, Asher ended the day of turning 13 months old by really walking around!! He was choosing to walk from A to B instead of crawl. Yeah for Asher!

Family PhotoChris' Brother's family...Brent, Lucas, Henry & BridgetHenry & Uncle Brent taking picturesHenry's new ride from Chris.Present TimeLittle CaboosesRest time with GrandmaRest time with Boppa

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Asher At 13 Months

 Normally, I do not do monthly updates after a year. But, this month is special for Asher. One year ago was when he was hospitalized with RSV. Asher will always be our child with 9 lives, or at least 2 of them!

A lot has changed in the last month. Asher is now walking, unofficially. He can take 15 or so steps and stand alone. But, is still crawling as his primary mode of movement. It is so fun to watch him walk and then look to us for cheers. He likes walking to Alivia, too! He still likes walking holding onto my hand, too, but is now down to one hand. He appears to be getting taller and becoming more of a little boy than a baby. He is talking a lot (especially when compared to his sisters at this age). He says "cocoa" for cocoa puffs!, Piper (our cat), Boppa (for Grandpa), car, Dadda, Mamma, Ball, uh-oh, ugh-uh (for no while shaking his head), hi, bye-bye,and sock just to name a few things.  He is really good about repeating words I say. I tell him to say, "ball" and point to a ball, and he will repeat it not just that time, but a day or 2 later will still remember. I seem to understand Asher more than Addison, probably because he talks to me without his thumb in his mouth! He also loves to tell us yes and no by shaking his head. Asher still loves to eat, and a lot. Although officially weaned last week from nursing, he is having problems with thinking breakfast should be at 5 AM! Today, for example, he ate breakfast twice! He likes table foods, but is choking a lot! So, we still give him a serving of baby food at every meal and supplement with table food. He is sleeping 7:45-5 or 6 AM (but sometimes 7:30...since weaning he is all over the place). He naps from 12:30-4 or 4:30! However, we are considering a room exchange with Alivia because he is such a light sleeper. Since he is right over the entryway with shutters closing his room off, he hears every noise and wakes up. He typically goes back to sleep, but it just makes it difficult to get anything done while he is in bed since we pretty much have to stay in the basement. We will see. Asher continues to like to be close to Mommy's side, crying if I am out of sight for even a moment!
It is amazing how much Asher has changed in the last month! By the end of today...he is walking a lot!! We look forward to seeing him grow in the months to come.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

I Do Nothing, Eh?

It has come to my attention that I do nothing. When I was a working Mom, I heard a lot of negative comments from people about that I was "still working" and the kids were "still going to daycare." Now that I am a stay at home mom, now I hear comments reflecting that I do nothing. It is funny, for not doing anything, I sure do a lot. And, I do not have very many people volunteering to watch the kids for an extended period of time (and none of the people that make the "Do nothing" comments have volunteered.)

So, I do nothing, eh? I first and foremost am a mommy and take care of our 3 little kids (which includes play, teach, clean up after them, take them to fun places, crawl around on the floor acting like an animal...ya know, all that hard stuff. In addition, I mow, sometimes shovel, stain fences, paint, cook, bake, clean (even though it may look dirty…I am constantly cleaning. We have 3 messy kiddos!! So the cleaning is never done), do laundry, run errands, go to the grocery store at 10pm when most people asleep, keep up on family photos and diaries, buy all gifts that need to be purchased, am the family account manager (money Nazi), update our home with furnishings, do some of the household repairs (like caulking around sinks, clean drains, or I call someone to fix major things like windows), blah blah blah. You get the picture. I don't just sit around here DOING NOTHING. That so annoys me. And, even though I do not work, I still celebrate Holidays (I just do not get them off from my "DO Nothingness"). Every day is not a Holiday to me. And, while the normal population gets paid with money, I get paid with kisses and hugs and a happy husband, most of the time.

So, you see, there is a lot to this DOING NOTHING business.  

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Auntie Marsha's Peanut Butter Snack Mix

Mmmmm! Auntie Marsha made these for us when we were in great need of comfort food. It is such a heart healthy snack for kids and for us. Enjoy!!

3 TBSP honey

2 TBSP Margarine

3 TBSP peanut butter

4 cups chex cereal (assorted wheat, rice and corn)
2 cups pretzels

1/3 cup dry-roasted peanuts (we omitted this ingredient because our family is picky).


1.       Preheat over to 175F

2.       Combine honey, marg, PB in microwave save bowl. Heat until smooth. Combine cereal, pretzels and nuts. Pour PB mix over cereal and toss to coat. Spread on baking sheet and bake 1 ½ hours. Makes 6 cups. Yummy!


·          Recipe by Holly Ciegg – Auntie Marsha got this from a magazine.


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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008


 Christmas Morning at the Austins...

...Alivia woke up at 6:30 and I sent her back to bed. We all got up with Asher about 7:15. The girls were beyond excited. We opened the stockings and Alivia was shocked to see that Santa left a piece of cookie, but drank all the milk. Then, it was donut time...yummy Christmas decorated donuts and cocoa. The kids ate quickly before Grandma Bet and Grandpa Bill arrived for the gifts. Aunt Nikki came shortly thereafter. Alivia would open a present, not even look at it, and say, "are there any more for me to open up?" She did not even care what was inside. I guess we should have just wrapped boxes. Addison opened a few gifts, falling in love with her new jewelry box from Grandma and Grandpa, Madeline Book, and Grandpa's lap. She was not overly interested in anything. Asher liked the toys, sitting on his gifts and climbing on the gift boxes. Chris and I quickly opened out gifts hardly looking at them before a child would climb on laps. But, it was so much fun!

Favorite gift breakdown
Alivia and Addison shared: Disney dress up box, American girl dolls (Addi really likes hers).

BIG GIFT FOR ALL: Train table, many Thomas wooden trains

Alivia: Clothes, pink computer, walkie talkies (that she shares with Addison), jewelry box with jewelry.

Addison: Light bright, finger paints, Madeline book, and jewelry box.

Asher (who cared less about anything but where Mommy was): little noisy boy toys, little motorcycle. 

Chris: IPOD Touch and itunes.

Krista: Socks, Garman pedometer, running pants (I think Topher thinks I am out of shape or something) and a lot of clothes (some still wrapped in the box).

After our dinner, Chris and Alivia left me to host my family and put the babies to bed while he went to his parents for a bit. It was a quiet afternoon without Alivia at home to show Grandma Marci all of her toys.

When they got home, we enjoyed our traditional, Angel Cake, sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and Alivia blew out the candle. Mmm, Aunt Nikki makes a mean Angel Cake!

By the time it was bedtime, the kiddos were more than tired. Alivia and Addison are now asleep with their new toys, in bed with them.

All the thought, planning, shopping, wrapping, and it is all over in a flash. Sure reminds me a lot of our wedding day! :) Enjoy every moment, every year, in slow motion, because Christmas goes by too fast! 

Merry Christmas!


Opening timeLittle Jewelry boxAmerican girl babiesAsher SITTING ON his presentPrincess Alivia?Asher's new suit!Grandma reading Madeline to AddiVrrooommm!Grandpa trying to undo one more toy3 little conductors! (or 4 with Auntie KK)2008 "Angel" cake



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Christmas Eve with the Bigas


We celebrated Christmas Eve at the Biga's this year. We arrived just before 4, and the fun began soon after. There are many cousins to play with, as well as toys, so the kids have a blast! We went to the 8pm Mass like we did last year. But, this year, we decided we will never, and I mean never, do that again. (We found out that there is a negative to having kiddos on a strict nighttime schedule. 8PM is bedtime - any day of the year.) Alivia, Addison and Asher were ready for bed, making Mass less than enjoyable. Next year, we will have to miss family time to go to Mass. We came home, got the cookies and milk ready for Santa, read our traditional Christmas stories, and go the kids to bed about 10! Yikes! We still had to get the presents ready and the house picked up for family the next day. Needless to say, I can not remember walking to bed (I think I was asleep before I walked upstairs).

Now, onto having a Merry Chrismtas to ALL!!


Yeee Haaa!Alivia and CoraKiddy TableRudoff AliviaAsher playingKiddos at Mass

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Being Free

Being Free sounds good doesn't it. This time I not ready to be all excited about it. Asher is officially weaned. I weaned him from his morning feeding on Sunday when he slept in (until 7) and just fed him breakfast. He has been fussy in the mornings, I think because of being weaned and because he was going back to bed after nursing. We may have to reintroduce a morning nap. He gives me these puppy dog eyes like he is wondering why I am doing this to him? It is so sad. It makes me sad that for me, this officially ends BABY Asher and moves him up to a big boy. I miss the time we had in the mornings, too.

This is the first time in over 3 years that I have not been physically attached to one of our kids (actually almost 5 if you consider I only had a few months off between nursing Alivia and becoming pregnant with Addison). You think I would be liberated or something. Instead, I am sad. The kids are growing up so fast...too fast. Makes me stop and appreciate the moments more, give more kisses, and give longer hugs.

So, here's to being Free, whether I am ready or not!

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Monday, December 22, 2008

It's in the bag?

Every night is much like the last. We eat dinner, I clean up. While I clean up, the girls go into their rooms and play while Asher plays cars or something with Daddy in the family room. Keep in mind, we have a 2 story house (3 levels including the basement), so we can only hear the girls upstairs - not see them. My clean up takes 10 to 15 minutes depending upon how messy dinner was.
Anyway, 2 nights ago started off the same. We ate dinner, I started the clean up while the girls raced to play in their rooms until bath time. However, this night was different. Alivia yelled downstairs to me, "Mommy, Addison's making a mess." Oh, great! I have not even got this mess cleaned up. So, I raced upstairs to see what she was up to. Well, Alivia had opened the soap for her and she was rubbing soap all over their bathroom that I had just cleaned that morning. Alivia had also gotten the Pledge bottle down and they had sprayed that all over the floor making it extremely slippery. I sent Alivia and Addison to their rooms while I tried to start cleaning it up.
"But wait..." Alivia said.
But wait what? I asked.
"Piper...she is in the hamper." Okay, I have seen this before. Alviia takes out the clothes and puts Piper, our cat, in there (now can you see why I thought Piper would be better off in a better home?). I told Alivia to repeat that to Daddy as he got upstairs to see what was going on.
"Piper is in the pink bag in the hamper."
Pink bag? What pink bag. My mind raced as I quickly opened the hamper to find Piper shoved into an extremely small zip up dolly bag, her eyes bugging out of her tiny head in fear! UGH! I quickly opened the bag to save our cat from an early entry to the other world for pets. I have never seen that cat run away so fast!
Needless to say, we have a couple new rules now.
1. Alivia and Addison (and Asher too but that is obvious) can now only play right in front of us! They can not go to their rooms or to another level in our home without Mommy or Daddy with them.
2. LEAVE PIPER ALONE! We are allowing them to pet the cat when she is on our laps. Other than that, Piper is off limits!
3. No more dolly bags or any bags. The nice clothes bags for their babies have been tossed and replaced with toy bins.

Needless to say, our after dinner routine looks much different now." Let's color while Mommy cleans up," or "Play hide and seek with Daddy while Mommy cleans up." is now the new routine.

Still waiting...and waiting...for a dull moment. :)

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Austin Family!



Merry Christmas from the Austin Family! We had a blessed year with few dull moments (or quiet ones!).

Alivia, who turned 4 years old in May, is in her second year of preschool at the Gingerbread House. She attends 3 days a week in the afternoons while the little ones take their naps. She also started Sunday School at St. Vincent de Paul. She is extremely shy, but has done well in school. She likes to ride her bike, go to new parks, go swimming, and play dolls with Addison. In August, Alivia gave donated her hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, cutting off her long, long hair. She took swimming lessons this summer, and she plans on doing that again soon. She wants to start gymnastics again after the first of the year. Alivia is a big help around the house with her little sister and brother. Alivia plans on going to kindergarten in the fall.

Addison, who turned 2 in July, is the most vocal child in the house. She also is a very cuddling little girl and is rarely seen without her taggie blankets. Her most recent big achievement is to be potty trained (yeah, down to one in diapers!). Addison loves her many dolls and taking them on stroller rides. Addison and Alivia play well together, but Addison is still working on being gentle with Asher. Addison and Asher are almost the same size, so Addison better watch out! “Addi” will most likely start preschool in the fall.

Asher, who just celebrated his 1st birthday on November 29, likes to keep us on our toes. He ended 2007 by scaring us with a serious case of RSV that landed him in the hospital on oxygen for a few days. We were so lucky to have him home just in time for the New Year. Asher also climbed out of his crib at 7 months old, got his first black eye during story time at the library at 10 months old (I’m serious!), and was insisting on swimming under water at the pool at 11 months. In other words, Asher is all boy! Having taken his first steps, Asher will probably be walking before Christmas. So, we will soon have 3 kiddos to chase after!

Chris is into his 10th year at Northrop Grumman. Chris started the year off getting a nice promotion, which was a long time coming. This year Chris entered the ethics poster contest at work again and won 1st prize nationally! He does a lot of web development and logo work on the side, continuing to update Toglias Salon website, developed Luethge Homes’ website, developed a website and ad card for someone running in November’s election, and developed a few logos in and outside of work. Chris rode his motorcycle to work a lot this year since we had only the Camry to drive until July (when we broke down and bought a Honda Odyssey. Yes, a minivan!). Chris continues to keep his pilot’s license up, too.  In his free time, Chris escapes to music on his IPod, chats with friends on Facebook, and orders pizza late at night so he does not have to share.

I officially ended my job at Dey the first on March. Oh, what a feeling! It is a huge change of pace from working alone from my car to being at home full time. It is so much more work at home…the cooking, cleaning, laundry, playing, taking the kids places, changing diapers, and did I mention the laundry?! J I have loved every minute. The kids and I stay busy going to the zoo, Children’s Museum, Fontenelle Forest, swimming, water parks, visiting new parks around town, story time, daily walks around our neighborhood, play dates, etc. I am trying to take advantage of this time I have with all 3 kids at home at once before Alivia starts school! I did just start working at Janie and Jack a few hours a week. It helps me to get some adult interaction so I don’t start speaking in whine. I still try to find time to run, scrapbook, sell/buy on EBay, and update our family blog online (  

Another year brought more home updates. We had our new furnace and air conditioner installed in the spring. Chris updated the landscaping in the front yard and planted 40 tulips for me this fall! Then, after the high winds and hail, we had our roof replaced. Now that we have new carpet, new roof, new furnace/air conditioner, newer fence (and freshly stained AGAIN), newly finished basement…we think we may want to move! Chris would really like to be closer to his work, like in La Vista or Papillion. We have looked (and Chris almost bought!), so we know homes that we like do exist! I have been busying myself updating hardware, lighting, cleaning out and up our home to get it ready for the market maybe in the spring. So, maybe next year the return address will be different! 

From our family to yours…Merry Christmas and God bless you in 2009! We look forward to hearing from all of you!


Chris, Krista, Alivia, Addison & Asher

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Light Before Christmas

The kids and I decided to go out and enjoy the calm before this potential winter storm by going to the zoo. We visited the desert (and were the only ones there), the aquarium, and visited one other little building before going to the noon IMAX movie, "The Light Before Christmas." What a wonderful movie! I would highly recommend it! I went alone with the 3 kids and they did fine. This was Alivia's second movie, Addison's 1st, and Asher's 1st. Although it was REALLY LOUD, Asher liked it and was kicking his feet like I was going to feed him when the movie popped up on the 6 story screen. It was an adorable, short 37 minute movie. Although expensive, it was a fun little treat to get more into the Christmas Spirit.


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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Let it snow!

It may be cold, but at least now it is pretty. As you can see, the kids, Daddy and I had to go out and play a bit. What fun!

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Story Time with Santa

Addi and SantaAlivia & SantaAddison with RudoffStory timeAlivia and Santa

Today, the kids, Aunt Nikki, & I went to Village Point Janie and Jack for story time with Santa. It was so adorable! Santa, Mrs. Clause, Rudoff and an Elf were all there. There were only 3 other kids other than our 3, so it was rather intimate (but the weather was pretty snowy). Each child was able to sit on Santa's lap and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. Alivia asked for an airplane, again, Addison a dolly, and Asher...well, I did not even go there this time. He cried just a bit when Santa walked in! Next, they sang songs, then read the story of Rudoff the Rednosed Reindeer. It was the best Santa event we have ever gone to. It was nice to be able to spend so much time with Santa and the gang. Addison even sat on Santa's lap during story time! They left with a treat of a lolly pop, a little stocking of crayons, and memories of Santa that will last forever.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday School Christmas

Today was Alivia's Sunday School program. How adorable! The teacher's read the story the birth of Jesus, while the kids came out in costume, acting out the role. Alivia was one of the angels. She sang and it looked like she had fun. After the program, Santa visited. So, the kids sat and talked to Santa again. Alivia and Addison (who was quite eager) asked for dolls while Asher cried. :( We finished the morning with yummy cookies and candy canes. What a great way to show the kids the true meaning of Christmas.

Here comes Santa!Alivia, our little AngelSanta & AddisonSanta & AliviaAsher - not a Santa fan

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