Thursday, December 31, 2009

Our Home: Before

I thought I would finally post some before pictures of our home before we do anything too drastic. Before what? Before the Austin touches. Our plans for 2010:

* Shutters to the windows half at a time (they are expensive!).

* Build a closet in our laundry room

* Build a linen closet in the master suite

* Purchase new bedding in the master suite

* Paint throughout. The home has flat paint which is hardly child friendly.

* Maybe a fence. With that said, we have to purchase vinyl or iron in our neighborhood, which could cost $10-15,000 for our large lot. Ugh! We may think again after seeing the estimate.

* Knick Knacks for the Family room. I have the selected, just need to get Chris' approval.

* Replace some of the extremely ugly fans in the home.

* Hang our artwork (after the walls are painted).

Humm, that seems like a lot. I thought we purchased this home so we would have less to do? Oops! We will see what we actually get done. But, her are the interior before pircures of the basement and the main level. More to come...


Going downstairsBasement view (bath off to the left)The office area (off to the right of the hoop)More basementBasementBasement view from the treadmillDining RoomLiving RoomFamily Room (with the world's UGLIEST fan!)View of the Kitchen from Family roomPantryTable

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Winter Break Playdate #2

Alivia had her second playdate of winter break today. Her friend, Hailey, was quite quiet. Alivia was quieter with Hailey, too. Hailey seemed older than Alivia, and she was! It is amazing how much being 6 changes a little girl! They had a lot of fun running around, playing hide and seek, baking, and watching a Netflex movie. I did learn one thing, Alivia needs to play more board games and lose so she can get used to that.

We hope to have one more of Alivia's friends over before break ends. Oh, we do not want it to end, though!

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Morning at the Movies

Today we went to the movies as a family! What a fun thing to do during Winter Break! We visited the Twin Creek Theater (my first time there) to a crowded movie, "Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Squeakquel." It was cute show. To our amazement, Asher sat on Daddy's lap, Addison on my lap, and Alivia on a chair by herself throughout the nearly 90 minute show. They seemd to like it, too! It was a cute movie and a good family show. I think we will make this an annual tradition, movies during winter break!

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Winter Wonderland

It is STILL snowing. We went out and shoveled this morning, and now Chris and I are exhausted. The car of the person that got stuck yesterday remains in our driveway (lovely). I must get out hopefully the snow will stop soon. Now, back to sipping cocoa and eating almond M&Ms...

Snowblowing the driveway (We need a bigger one!)Sidewalk to the front doorDigging outLook! I can touch the roof!Finally...a sidewalk is found

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Friday, December 25, 2009

White CHRISTmas


working boyWelcome to our Front Door...if you can find itStuck again...what part of Just stay home is misunderstood? :)Small DriftAnother small drift2009 Angel CakeChris digging another car out

We had a wonderful, fully white, Christmas this year that we celebrated together as a family. I have to say, I liked being "shut in." It was nice not having to get ready to go anywhere (although we were never planning on going anywhere today anyway).

The kids played with their new toys all morning until lunchtime. We had a light lunch after just finishing our cinnamon rolls, and then Asher went to bed. Just as Chris and I were about to sit down, a young man in a civic got stuck on our street. How he made it as far as he did was beyond us! So, Chris and I along with the girls went out to help dig him out. Boy, we did not know what that included! We shoveled, pushed the car and snowblowed the street so the young man could park on our driveway. There was NO WAY he was getting out of Shadow Lake! He works at UP and HAD to get to work at midnight (and was leaving at 1PM?). Anyway, his car remains in our driveway. Many other crazy people ventured out to test their cars today and ended up stuck on Ponderosa. Seriously, do they think we want to be outside all day? Chris helped dig one more person out while the others were able to push backwards back home. About 7PM when Chris and I were so sore from shoveling that we could hardly move, the big front loading snow tractor came through the entire neighborhood! Yeah for Papillion!

Asher found he likes his new workbench and tool kit quite well. Alivia and Addi played with their babies most of the day. We had our nice dinner in the evening of chicken (what else?) and Angel Birthday Cake for Jesus for dessert. It was cute to see Asher participating in the singing to Jesus. We also remembered Wade's birthday, too, which would have been today (Wade was my cousin who Asher Wade is named after. His birthday was on Christmas, too).

The kiddos were quite tired come bedtime, after Chris introduced Asher (and the girls) to parts of the movie Ironman.

It is always sad to have the day end, but we had a Merry Christmas celebrated as a family. And, it definitely was a white Christmas!

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Merry CHRISTmas 2009!

Our Christmas began at 7:15 with both Addison and Alivia waking and seeing that Santa had indeed arrived and brought some presents! They ran downstairs before I could even get Asher up and tore open their stockings (note for self next year: make them wait UPstairs!). Inside their stockings, the girls got strawberry shortcake dolls, spongebob, coloring books, hello kitty socks and more! Asher got a dump truck, airplane and a spongebob square pants. Then came tearing up the gifts under the tree. Alivia tore open her presents, thanking Santa for each one, before moving on the the next present. Addison would open a gift, ask me to untangle it from all the wires inside the box (seriously, is that necessary?), and play with it a while before she was ready to open another present. Asher opened his presents when he was told to. He, too, wanted the toy out of the box and away from the wires, would play with it until someone told him to open another one. Alivia likes her new cash register (that she asked for in July!) and her fur real kitty best, Addison also liked her fur real cat and her new baby bunk beds, while Asher liked the almond M&Ms in my stocking, his dump truck and his tools best. What a fun morning!

Chris and I kept are Christmas low key. The move took too much out of us. Luckily, Mrs. Claus had done all of the shopping for everyone except Chris before we moved in October. Then, Mrs. Claus got tired. Chris' favorite gift was a whilly pop popcorn popper and supplies to make movie theatre popcorn! Mmmm! My favorite present, other than my M&Ms was a new sweater (that I bought myself!) and giftcards for some much needed shopping to make myself look a little better (seems to be the Holiday trend for me. I think I need to be a little higher maintenance and less Mommy looking). 

Usually, we would be welcoming Grandma Bet, Grandpa Bill and Grandma Marci, but this year we are all snowed in. We have many drifts, some that are about 5 foot tall! Makes a huge difference when there are no trees or houses to block the snow! The fan on our patio blew down as well, blade by blade. Luckily, we thought it was ugly and looked odd out there anyway and had plans to take it down. The wind just made it easier. And, luckily, it did not blow threw the window! Grandma and Grandpa Graybill are stuck at their home, snowed in, without electricity in their 50 degree home! It does not look like they will be getting electricity anytime soon, either. We hope to sneak in a Christmas celebration by New Years! Until then, we will just snuggle in our snowed in home watching the blizzard outside while sipping cocoa!

Merry CHRISTmas!


What did Santa eat? What did Santa leave?Opening StockingsFur Real Cats & BabiesAsher with his Dump TruckAsher with the HULKBig MessCinnamon roll timeNice Snow Drift behind AddiAddison's baby bunk bedsMmm...Pretend Icecream!

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas From the Austin Family

Merry Christmas from the Austin Family! 2009 was another eventful year and brought a new address for us!

Our busy year started on January 1 with our New Year’s Resolution to move. We loved our home but we needed a little more space and something with a better view out our backyard. We put our home For Sale by Owner the first of May. Now that was a lot of work that we would not recommend! After a couple months of less than serious lookers, it got old quickly. Chris and I pulled the sign and decided to stay. However, our view out back did not change, and we just thought it would be better to move before the kids were all set in school. So, Chris and I ended up listing our home with Michael and Michelle Jenkins of NP Dodge, who we would highly recommend, on our 10th wedding Anniversary in August. 3 weeks later, our home was sold with a close date set for 4 weeks after that! We were happy with that since homes in our neighborhood were averaging 3-4 months to sell. The house buying did not go any easier, but we did find something and were to move in just before the bitter cold of winter set in. Days before closing on the home, the home’s builder shut his doors and liens were piled on the home we were to buy (which had been purchased by a family and lived in it for just 6 weeks). We were then forced to box up our home and move it into the 4 car garage of the home we hoped to buy and waited out the lien mess to be cleared in a small apartment on air mattresses. Five long weeks of drama later, we closed on our new home in a shotgun closing at 6pm the night before Thanksgiving. We are in the Shadow Lake neighborhood in Papillion (right behind the Shadow Lake shopping area), just minutes from Chris’ work. Bell Elementary is right up the street, walking trails and geese are all around us, and shopping is close by. We are adjusting to our new home and trying to make it our own. Come and see us when you are in the area!

Alivia started Kindergarten at Standing Bear Elementary near our old home in August, and will transfer to Bell Elementary in Papillion in January. She has done really well in school. She likes to learn and has become a little social butterfly. At home, Alivia likes to play with Addison and Asher, draw and color, and watch movies. Her biggest accomplishments this year are learning to swim underwater, riding her bike without training wheels, and now learning to read! Alivia is also our little helper and likes to take care of her brother and sister.

Addison, who turned 3 in July, remains the loudest child (but Asher is a close second). Addison started preschool in the fall at the Gingerbread House two mornings a week and has done well. She was not as shy as we thought she was! Addison had a difficult time with Alivia going to school, but she has become better playmates with Asher in the process. Addison likes to play her with dolls and go on monthly visits to the Omaha Children’s Museum.

Asher, who just turned 2 on November 29, keeps us busy. He is a very curious little boy who likes to play ball, run around outside, escape from his crib, or play with his cars, trains or dinosaurs. He also likes to keep really close to Mommy and loves to cuddle before going to bed at night. Asher is a big help, too, and likes to clean up the toys, “fold” laundry, and unload the dishwasher! Asher has quite the vocabulary, but his favorite words are “No” and "Why?"

Chris is into his 11th year at Northrop Grumman. Chris has done a little more web design on the side as well as done some graphic design for Northrop Grumman. For fun, Chris goes riding on his motorcycle, goes flying, or listens to music on his IPOD. Usually, you will find Chris in his “office” doing “something” on the computer.

I have continued to be the full time Austin Home Manager and Mommy of our 3 kiddos. The kids and I stay busy going on our monthly visits to the zoo, Children’s Museum, and Fontenelle Forest as well as swimming, visiting playgrounds, story time, daily walks around our neighborhood, play dates, etc. We were gone all the time this summer soaking up all of the time we could with Alivia at home. We have hit all the major hotspots in and around town and like the Safari and Pedestrian Bridge best. Last spring I started working at UNMC as a nurse a couple times a month from 11PM-7:30 AM. It helps me to keep my nursing license current without missing the kids’ activities since they are asleep. do, however, miss
a night of sleep! In May, I ran and completed my first ½ Marathon in Lincoln in 1h 40m 44sec with a 7m 42s pace (but who’s counting!). It was a killer with getting our home ready for market at the same time, but I still hope to complete a full marathon “someday.” In my free time I run, scrapbook, and update our family blog online (

Now that the challenging 2009 is behind us, we look forward to a dull 2010 and the many blessings the year will bring. From our family to yours…Merry Christmas and God bless you in 2010! We look forward to hearing from all of you!

Love, Chris, Krista, Alivia, Addison & Asher

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Christmas Eve 2009

Brrr...Driving to GrandmasDriving to Grandmas HouseWhat God Wants for Christmas...Waiting for Santa

Christmas Eve is finally here! We began our day with snow! It was icy and a bit snowy, but that did not stop us from going out and visiting our Grandparents and wishing them a Merry Christmas! First, we made chocolate chip cookies since Santa told us that was his favorite. Then, we made our way to Grandma Pat's House and then Grandma Marci's. They were both excited to see us, we think. We wanted to drop in and make it a Christmas surprise, but decided next year we will call first.

After arriving home, I finished making the cookies, then onto making an "Angel" cake for Jesus' Birthday tomorrow. We skipped naps today just because time got away from us. The kids played downstairs before getting ready for the 5PM Mass at Saint Columbkille in Papillion.

We arrived at about 3:50 through thick snow, parking close to the door, and finding a suitable seat. It filled in quickly after we arrived, so we were glad we arrived so early. The kids were amazing, watching the people and listening to stories that I read them. The Mass was wonderful, too. After Mass, it was quite cold and snowy. We made it up and quickly changed into warm jammies.

We finished our 7 days of WHAT GOD WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS (which I highly recommend). The kids have really gotten excited about the Christmas story this year thanks to this books and gifts that go along with the book. It is a great learning tool for kids.

The kiddos then got their cookies ready for Santa, listened to "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and were tucked into bed. Everyone was quite tired and ready for bed (myself included). wait for Santa! Merry Christmas!!

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mommy Before & After

Before: Pony tail, need of a highlight and cut hair. Yuck! (This picture is taken in front of our old home).




After - FABULOUS! I love it!! Thanks Mom for my wonderful present (and to my hair dresser for my wax!). Now, I just need to fix the rest of my slumpy Mommy self!


Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Big Austin Christmas


Austin Family Christmas 09The kiddos with Grandma Kathy & Boppa BobChris' Brother & FamThe Austin KidsPresent TimeAddi & her baby dollAddi & Henry hug & then giggle about itGrandma & Alivia

Last night we went over to Chris' parents for the Austin Family Christmas (Chris' Parents, His brother and his family, and us). It was loud, mostly our kids, and fun. The kids enjoyed diving into their first presents of this season. Alivia's favorite is the Leapfrog Tag and her headbands, Addison loves her new baby doll (shocker) and her new socks (another shocker - Addison loves new socks!), and Asher's favorite toy is his batman car. Chris' Parents were very generous, as usual, and prepared a nice meal, too. It may be our only outing for a while due to the big storm coming in, so we were glad to catch up with everyone just in time for Christmas. Now...bring on some snow for more of a white Christmas!


Addison with her new headbandsAlivia with her new shirt/headbandsAsher & Batman

Read and post comments | Send to a friend