Saturday, December 31, 2011

365 Project COMPLETED!

Today marked the 365th day of my photo project or taking one picture a day for 365 days. I know, whatever right?! Sounds easy. Well, it would be easy if I took a picture of my dinner, the laundry, or just any old thing. But, I really tried, at least most days, to be creative.

365 / 365 100% complete!
I have learned a lot in the last year. I have learned to appreciate the beauty that is around me. Before starting this project, I would go on my runs and overlook the blue herons and the beautiful sunrises. Now, I am always observing pretty things in nature (and good photo opportunities). I am also having fun taking fun pictures of my family. Since our kiddos were born, I have always taken a lot of pictures of them. I have found, now, more creative ways to capture those cute moments of childhood. We have had a busy, fun year, and look forward to what 2012 will bring.

In 2012, Chris and I will be doing a 365 project TOGETHER! So, yeah I'm done and Yeah to a new beginning. Maybe this year I will purchase a zoom lens to go with the box lens we have now. And maybe, just maybe, I will learn what all these setting are on the camera. Chris will show a little of his creativity and artistry, too! I can't wait to see that.

Until then, Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2012!

Wow...really? 2012?! They say time goes fast as you age. So, that just assures me that I am so old!

Let's look at last years goals...

2011 Goals

1. Finish the 2010 photo album and finally finish Addison's baby scrapbook (before she turns 5!).

So, I suck. I did not finish it or even look at it this year. Maybe next year?

2. Save, save, save: We really want to save and invest more this year now that this home will hopefully suck less out of us this year.
Always a work in progress. This home still is sucking the life, I mean money, right out of us one way or another ($10,000 in taxes tends to do that).

3. Finish painting the interior of our home. We have the entryway, master bed/bath and basement left.
Well, we painted everything but the master bedroom and dining room. Guess onto 2012 goal list.

4. Recarpet basement post kitty.
Nope. Our carpenter thought we should wait until we put the 5th bedroom in. So, it is on hold until the basement redo. Anyway, we will wait for our kids to trash it good first.

5. Surround ourselves with less drama, with friends and family who love us as we are. I am going to try less, meaning if I have to try too hard to make relationships work, I am going to let them go.
I can say we were successful letting go of the family and friend drama for the most part. It still seems to find us. I have a small circle of friends now that we have more common interests in. Now, if we can just find couple friends...that would be ideal.

6. Plan 1-2 family vacations for 2011.
7. Take one trip with just Chris and I (my parents have already agreed to help with the kids!).
Check! We went to the lake together (thanks Mom and Dad for watching the kids and letting us use your home!).

8. Keep up with exercise, and get the kids involved daily.
Insanity, yoga, running, zumba, weights...I think we can say CHECK

9. Play more and worry less. Easier said than done.
Easier said than done

10. Become more involved in our "new" church.

Now for 2012 Goals

1. Finish 2011 Album
2. Finish Addison's baby book (3rd year's a charm).
3. "fluff" the master bedroom. I can't wait for this one!!
4. Celebrate Chris' BIG birthday in style somehow (no secret what he wants!).
5. Family Exercise
6. Invest more
7. Dual 365 Photo project - Chris and I are doing one TOGETHER this year! Scary, right?!

Hard to believe that our little Asher will be turning 5 years old during 2012 (albeit in late November, but still!). Alivia will be going through her first reconciliation in January followed by her first communion in April. Addison will be finishing Kindergarten in 2012, and I have not even gotten used to her being in Kindergarten to begin with! Topher will be celebrating a big birthday this year and wants to ride in style. You know, his last BIG birthday he got his motorcycle. So, this time he wants to upgrade to 4 wheels. So, we will see. And, to end the year, we want to take a Disney trip next December once all the kids are at good ages to get around the Disney Parks a little easier.

So, cheers to 2012! Let's get started! We have a lot of fun memories to make!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Insanity Completed

That's right, Chris completed Insanity last week and I partially completed it.

The results.

I gained 11 pounds, outgrew a couple pairs of pants and feel like a blob. 

Not sure those were the results I was looking for.

I do, however, feel like it was a good workout and I could see more well defined abs. I can do push ups like no other where I could not do one before. I can run in place until my heart skips a beat, run high knees, jump like Michael Jordan and I have found a work out that actually makes me sweat and wish that I did not care. But, it did nothing for me as far as making me feel fit (and look it!). Go figure. However, I miss running. Running is what I do. Running is, however, easy when compared to Insanity. Seriously.

The plan is to start back up Insanity in 2012 following the Insanity diet, plus I will be running. I would say I will be running with a little Insanity thrown in there someplace. Of course I will not miss my Zumba classes for fun.

Maybe that will help.

Either that or I am going to have to buy more clothes and stop looking in the mirror.


Chris doing the POGO!

Christmas 2011

Christmas arrived early in our home this year, 3:18 am to be exact. I gave Alivia an old alarm clock to use so she would be sure not to wake us before 7. What was I thinking? At 3:18am, the half awake Alivia, the girl that can tell time during the day, awoke me from my sleepy sick stupor to inform me that something was wrong with the clock because it said it was 18 o'clock. Oh come on! Seriously! Of course it was THREE 18. I sent her back to bed where she stayed for 3 hours, probably awake because she did not want to mess up her bed and have to make it again. She woke up Addison and Asher just after 6am.

At 7:07am, the gifts were opened and done with. Seriously?! You shop, wrap, help Santa, and it lasts all but how long?!
They all started with their stockings and soon went to the prized gifts under the tree. Alivia tore open each present, quickly throwing it aside. Chris could tell she was getting mad because she was not opening the iPod she had asked for. Finally, Chris pulled out the iPod he had hidden for her to open. She was quite the little Diva. I do believe Santa should have just given her the iPod and the iHome speakers and called it good, since she can really care less about the other things.
Addison was a bit slower opening her presents, appreciating them more. She opened Cookie, the little dog she wanted, first. She could care less about the other things after that as Cookie and a few clothes was all she wanted from Santa. She also got speakers for her iPod shuffle, and she loves how it changes colors. She made a special spot in her room, like Alivia did, with her new big pillow from Aunt Marsha and her new speakers, and she just sits and chills to her music. Very cute.
Asher, meanwhile, was more interested and overwhelmed with all the noise from the girls. He did open, and was the last one to finish. He got a lot of building toys, taking a liking to his build a road set and his drill set. Santa seemed to hit the nail on the head this year (Thank you very much Santa!!). Asher still has toys he has yet to explore.
Chris and I had already given each other iPads, but filled our stockings with little things. Chris bought me some bling for my ears and a few gift cards. I bought him more pilot t-shirts as he never seems to have enough of them. And no, a kayak did not fit in his stocking. Amazingly, neither did the jeep or the airplane he has been begging for. I do believe Chris thinks he is married to someone else, someone wealthy. I must remind him that I hardly work, at least where I get paid. :)

I thought it was funny how Asher stacked and organized his toys as he opened them.
iPod Touch, at last!
Pippa, Chillin on the new pillow for Alivia from Aunt Marsha!

The kids with Grandma Bet and Boppa Bill

Meanwhile, Grandma Bet and Boppa Bill arrived dropping off their annual mother load of gifts under the tree before going to pick up Grandma Marci. The kids were so excited to tell Grandma and Grandpa about their new things from Santa.

Grandma Marci arrived, followed by a nice dinner in our hardly used dining room. It was nice to have our small little family together. We missed those that are in Heaven now and those that could not be there, but we were glad to be together. And, I feel lucky to have 99 year old Grandma Marci there to share Christmas with!

After dinner clean up, the kids could hardly wait to tear open more gifts. Grandma and Grandpa spoiled them with more clothes and toys. Addison had picked out a HUGE dog in the Sam's catalog for Grandma Bet. I had not heard anything about this. Grandma knew Santa would not get it as Santa does not go to Sam's and typically does not like HUGE things (although this HUGE dog is something even Santa likes!). Anyway, Grandma and Grandpa kept it in the garage since it was so big. Alivia thought that Addison then got more than she did since Addi got a gift after she and Asher were done opening. Sleepy Alivia turned into this crushed little girl sobbing in her room. I felt bad, but she was mostly tired and not being very nice to Grandma. Alivia is one that has no idea really what she wants until she does not get it. In other words, you can never win. She will really frustrate her future husband some day. Anyway, we solved this little problem with a diversion.

Off in the garage, Grandma and Grandpa had another surprise. You see, for Asher's birthday, he asked for golf cart. Grandma Bet and Grandpa Bill have Great Grandpa George's old golf cart and drive around the farm with it. I know, crazy, but fun. Asher (and the girls) love it! So Grandpa thought he would get the kids an ATV. Come on! They are 7, 5, and 4, way too young for that. And, above all else, it is not necessary, we do not have room and where the h-e-l-l would they drive an ATV around here! So, Grandpa decided on this big jeep. It is bigger than the smaller versions as he did not think Alivia would fit in them. He also decided he would give it to all of them to be fair.

Well, it has been a big hit. Daddy is feeling a little jealous that the kids got a jeep before him, but he will live. He is already researching ways to give this power wheels toy more power. Oh boy, watch out for the 4 year old on the Jeep in Shadow Lake!

The kids also got a Wii from Grandma Bet and Boppa Bill, the last known kids their age without one. Grandma Kathy and Grandpa Bob lined them up with a couple games to get started. So far, Alivia likes the Just Dance game and can't get enough of it. But, she is awful about not winning. We have to work on that one.

After the kids opened, Chris and I had a few things to open, too. Grandma always lines me up with some updates to my ever deteriorating wardrobe, while she helped Chris get ready for this kayak he keeps thinking he is getting in the spring to go on top of the jeep that he keeps thinking his is getting. :) You should have seen Chris playing with his new toys after the kids went to bed!

After presents, we then sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and shared a little "Angel" food cake. Yummy! That BC really makes some awesome cake! Grandma Marci was wiped (and so was I!), so the day soon came to a close.

It was a beautiful day. The weather was mild, which is a shocker for Christmas in Nebraska. We were so lucky to have such fair weather. We spent time together as a family, a loving family (after last year, I have to add the loving part). We could not have asked for more.

Merry Christmas!!
Addi opening the GIANT dog!

Grandpa and his Scotch!

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Grandpa Marci and I

Finally, a picture of my parents together

Hugs to Grandma Marci

All sacked out (with GIANT doggie overtaking the bed).

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve Day and evening was a busy one. In the morning, Chris took the kids to Grandma Pat's to visit her and her beloved dog Bailey.

At home, we got cleaned up and ready to go to Christmas Even Mass at 5 with Grandma Kathy an Grandpa Bob. It was a beautiful Mass. Then, we walked right across the street to their home for dinner and presents. The kids were so excited they hardly allowed us to chew our food!

Alivia excitedly opened art supplies, Addison got a smelly dog from scentcy, and Asher received a new helicopter. I received the option to Sam's Club or Costco (hum, what shall I do?). And Chris got some much needed accessories for his kayak, you know, the one he does not have but dreams about often. Addison was so tired she begged us to go home.

Once at home, we read the kids the last of the What God Wants for Christmas" story and tucked them in for the night. We scrambled to prepare for Santa. I lost 2 gifts and a case for Alivia's iPod. Seriously, where does this stuff disappear to?

We are ready for Santa...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Visit to Grandma and Grandpa's

So it has become our tradition the last few years to visit the Great Grandparents on Christmas Eve. Well, Christmas Eve is becoming busy, so we started early by visiting Grandma and Grandpa Austin today. The kids opened presents from them, and we visited a little bit.

As you can see, Asher got pretend guns. No, I am not a fan of guns. I do not believe a 4 year old can tell the difference between toy guns and real guns, so I do not think they should be toys. However, with that said, Chris' Grandpa shopped all over looking for these specific guns with the holster. So, I could not tell him no! Asher has had fun playing with them, too, as well as the girls! The girls got new things for their hair and teddy bears. And, as an added surprise, we saw deer in Grandma's back yard!

It was nice to see Grandma and Grandpa and  be able to see and wish them a Merry Christmas in person! Merry Christmas! Now, onto the rest of the festivities!

Visit to the Lincoln Children's Museum

It is now our tradition to make our annual visit to the Lincoln Children's Museum on the first day of winter break. It was quiet, with few kiddos running around. We went with friends, too, making it even more special. Addison loved the vet area, Asher loved the fire truck and Alivia loved the art area. What a fun morning!

Our future vet

Future vet!

For the love of pizza, real and pretend.

Shopping time!

Sydney and Alivia making lovely art.