Friday, December 29, 2006

Santa Arrived!

Santa Came!

We had a wonderful Christmas and wished the same for all of you. The kids had kids to play with and the adults had adults to play with and no one got hurt. Plenty of fun, gifts, spirits, food, great conversations, making plans for more get togethers for the upcoming year, and entertainment.

No funny stories to think of right now, but thought I would post a couple of photos. I haven't really gone through them, but here are a couple of my favorites (stockings (our favorite), all the presents at Uncle Bill/Aunt Gwen's house, and the kiddos).

Today everyone has left who was leaving, everyone is back in their own beds, and we are just hanging out in our PJ's playing with new toys and on the computer.

Have a great weekend and ringing in the New Year. We wish you a safe journey and many new surprises for the upcoming year.

Robb, Ang, Jacob, and Isabella

Sunday, December 24, 2006



Ralphie talking to Santa:

“I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!”


Need we say more.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Bakapalooza 2006!

Bakapalooza 2006 – Was a hit – Two Thumbs Up! We can’t wait to book the date for next year. Chef Isabella and Chef Jacob both have staked their claim in Sugar Ville and are not leaving. WOWSA!

This two day event started off of course with being out of the correct ingredients, so we had to make a store run. Who wouldn’t have to? Day One, store, baking - Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies, Double Chocolate Cookies, Rice Crispy Treats (my personal favorite), Pecan Tarts, and Russian Tea Cakes, rolling out dough with lots of flour all over the kitchen. Day Two – (again my personal favorite), the house filled with tiny little hands with their sleeves rolled up, chef hats on, and knuckle deep in frosting. Sprinkles every where, and enough colored candy sugar to cover the North Pole.

Isabella was game for anything as long as she was put in her chair and sat up to the table. She takes the ‘less is more’ approach, bypasses the frosting and goodies and straight for the cookie in mouth. That is all she needed…chair at table, girl sitting at chair, tray of cookies = Happy little Isabella.

Jacob on the other hand thinks….’more is more and better’. He couldn’t get enough sprinkles or frosting on the cookie. He wanted his hands cleaned after each cookie as though he was individually making a masterpiece out of each single cookie. I obliged, we carried on. Then of course came time to eat one….it took him 5 minutes to decide on which cookie to eat, then pointed to the top of the refrigerator (where I thought I secretly stashed the extra’s) and asked if he could have one of those. Again, obliging, all while being explained that these particular cookies he decorated were all for Santa.

As you can see, we know who ranks high in this house, not MOM who has helped for two days baking….not DAD who is off working for his family….but the Big Guy – Santa Claus, who is still checking his list twice seeing who is naughty and nice and of course, brings TOYS! Ahhhhhhhhhh – to be three again.

Oh yea, one more thing….our “Secret Party”, not so secret. Jacob and I decorated his cookies today while Isabella was napping. He asked why Isabella wasn’t decorating cookies like he was. I said, she is napping and we decorated a few this morning. He then turns to me and said, ‘at her party with her friends’…..WHAT? Big ears little kids. Darn it…we were caught. Then being three, he turned to me and said, ‘did they play with my toys?’.

We here hope you get a chance to do a Bakapalooza of your own – It’s fun!

Until next time, enjoy the sunshine,


Sunday, December 17, 2006

All roads lead to Christmas...

Twas’ a plain ol’ early Sunday morning and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…..well actually it’s way to early to be up and blogging, but it’s so quite I had to get up to enjoy it. The silence doesn’t roar through this house very often, so taking advantage of it is priceless.

I thought I would share with you what we have been up to ‘the Events Leading to Christmas’. At this point in our house, all roads lead to Christmas. We are spreading cheer, calling Santa daily for an update on the North Pole happenings (1-800-972-6242), tracking him on NORAD -, and even doing some of our obligatory chores like school, cleaning, and work.

We started the holiday season off by attending Christmas in the Park, where we watched fireworks to music. I was a wonderful evening. The weather cooperated, so we enjoyed a picnic on the lawn just before the fireworks. We have been to lighting ceremonies all over the city that included fireworks as well. Always seems to be Jacob’s favorite part. We have had breakfast with Santa, Miss’s Claus has read to us, took a trolley to a puppet show, and made a bird feeder craft all in a mornings work. We went to visit Santa and sat on his lap for photos while telling him what we want the elves to make for us for Christmas. We have seen a marvelous train display and even rode a train. We have decorated our Christmas trees, the house, and made Christmas cards. You have seen the gingerbread party happenings and we are going to begin ‘Bakapalooza’ today (explain more later).

Jacob has told Santa this year he wants, a violin, a camera, and a piano (which is really an electronic key board that he saw while out shopping). He was then even nice enough to tell Santa that ‘she can’t talk’ (meaning Isabella who is 18 months and he can’t understand what she is saying) ‘wants a dollhouse’. Now, is that not Big Brother love at its best?

Isabella has decided since this is her first Christmas celebration, we haven’t quite done enough and the house isn’t waffling with the aroma of Christmas. Argot, ‘Bakapalooza 2006’. We are going to start baking cookies of any shape, flavor, and size today with Jacob’s expertise and help. Then tomorrow when Jacob is at school, Isabella is secretly throwing a ‘Cookie Decorating’ party. That’s right; I have lost my mind and started listening to my kids. Isabella has invited 7 of her friends over to decorate cookies (all of whom the oldest is 3), while Jacob is at school. This is the only way I thought I could do it, early in the morning, one kid, and a house full of people hyped up on sugar. You see the funny thing is Jacob literally thinks all we do is clean while he is at school. While some day’s it does fell that way, he starts the morning wondering if it’s a school day and then wondering what we do while he is at school. I made the mistake one time saying, ‘we are cleaning today’. Then when he gets off the school bus, he asks if we cleaned. I reply, ‘yes’. So, the thought of him missing a party may be just too much to bear, so Isabella is calling it a ‘secret’ party. However, like I stated above, we will have Jacob and his expertise all day today while rolling out dough and cutting cookies into fun little shapes.

For now, I just wanted to share some photos of the Holiday Happenings leading to the Big Day.

Enjoy this time and try sneaking some quite time alone in the wee hours of the morning. It really is nice. You get a chance to drink your beverage of choice while it’s still warm.

Will post photos on the Bakapalooza later,


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Do you have any Holdiay Traditions?

Happy Holidays,

I've been thinking a lot about Christmas traditions....thinking that it's important to have something for our children to look forward to and to hopefully someday pass along to their families.

Looking back, I don't really remember much about Christmas. I remember making the trips to each grandparent's, step grandparents and so on to eat, and I know that I got presents. But it wasn't until I married Robb that I actually saw how the atmospheres of Christmas could bring wonderful fond memories.

I have always loved the holidays; any and all of them, but Christmas is my favorite. As stated in another post, I love it all. So we have taken over the years what we have learned from Robb’s family and we have begun to make our very own traditions.

· We put the tree/decorations up the weekend of Thanksgiving and sadly take everything down the week of New Years.

· We open one present on Christmas Eve after mass and it’s ALWAYS new pajamas. Anyone staying at our house gets this same gift as well. We also leave milk and cookies for Santa and Oatmeal and carrots for the reindeer. We have to read The Night Before Christmas usually while watching A Christmas Story. You see, Robb looked like Ralphy when he was a kid and we think Jacob is reincarnated Ralphy. We love that show and watch it each year like it's the first time we have ever seen it.

· Our tree always has white lights and every ornament we own, goes on it. It’s fun to go through them and look at the years we didn’t have much money and we just had paper bows for the tree. It’s some of my favorite memories.

· An Angel is always on top of our tree looking over our family. Robb purchased that Angel for me our first Christmas. She isn’t the most beautiful one, but I love her just the same. I am sure it didn’t cost much and didn’t come from a fancy boutique, but lord only knows we had NO sense to us buying a tree, ornaments, and an Angel that year. She is always the very last thing to go on the tree.

· We exchange Christmas ornaments with each other every year. Robb has made it a tradition of selecting a beautiful Waterford Christmas ornament to adorn our tree each year. This year we counted and there are 14 on our tree. Sparkly! We also buy the kids an ornament each year in hopes they can dangle from their very own trees someday.

· I like to have ornaments with photos, so after Christmas each year, I print out a photo of the kids and go out to the sales looking for that one ornament that will hold the photo. It’s fun each year looking back at how much everyone has changed.

· Robb and I have been talking lately and this is a family tradition that came from his dad Walt and we have decided it’s our favorite of all….. For the longest time in my husband’s family there were no young children (the youngest was about 16 when I entered the family). Stockings were always a big deal in his family. So the year we were married, we were instructed that stockings were changing. Everyone was puzzled by this, but went along with it anyway. The new changes were - we were all to buy/make/take/have an individual item for each person at Christmas that year wrapped, labeled, and ready to drop in the stockings. We all obliged. As it turns out, come Christmas morning, our stocking were hung by the fire place filled with goodies from everyone in the family. It was so much fun unwrapping all the items we had received. Some things were the freebies people had gotten through out the year, lottery tickets, funny little jokes of something that may have happened though out the year and so on. There are even a couple of items that have been passed to one another through the years. Since then, he has kept this tradition (this will be its 17th year) at his house and has the same lady make the same exact stocking with our names on them for every new person who has entered the family. Since I entered the family there were probably 8 or so that hung over the fireplace and for 2006 we will have 19 stockings hung on the fireplace. It’s fun to take photos each year and see all the stockings and how much our family has been blessed with the growth we have had. So, our tradition is…no matter what your plans are for Christmas, who is in town, or where you are going, you must drop off your stocking stuff at my Father in Laws house by Christmas Morning.

I would love to hear your favorite traditions? Do you have any?

Until then, stay warm, enjoy the spirit, and do a random act of kindness, you will be amazed at how good you will of the rest of the day.


Monday, December 04, 2006



What do you get when you have a table full of Gingerbread, Candies, Frosting, and 4 helpers who are 3 1/2, 3, almost 2, and 18 months.

It was so much fun, and we all really enjoyed it. The dogs enjoyed it as well, as a lot of what started on the table ended on the floor.

Robb, Angela, Jacob, and Isabella

Friday, December 01, 2006

Marshmellow Smarshmellow

Campfire, Silly, Smores, Sticky, Sweet, Scrumptious, S-U-C-E-S-S!

As Jacob would say, 'this is very tasty'!

We highly recommend staging one for your family tonight.


Robb, Angela, Jacob, and Isabella

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Let it snow...Let it snow...Let it snow!

Today was the first snow for Winter 2006/2007. It started with temperatures falling from about 60 to the lower 30’s. The sleet/ice combo came down leaving our city with about an inch of ice. Schools were closed and the kids were going a little crazy, then this afternoon, snow started falling. We have only received about an inch so far, but it’s cold and white.

When Jacob laid down for his nap, I told him it was going to be snowing when awoke. At least that is what my local weather man told me. So, when he woke up and saw it was snowing, he asked, 'how did you do that?'. If we could only remain this amazing our entire lives.

We can only assume that this is Isabella’s first snow. So for a brief moment, Jacob and I opened the back door and let her walk out to see, touch, and taste it. The photos explain her reaction.

I must admit, Jacob and I had a great laugh. The only word that came out of her was a shrill of a scream we have never heard before, followed by a great big belly laugh making her fall right on her tush.

Tonight, we are having are first of what I can only assume many, indoor campfires. We will be dining on pizza on our picnic carpet table, followed by roasting marshmallows by the fire. All of which, were Jacob’s idea. He has been dying to go camping so that he could roast marshmallows. We told him the first snow we had we could do it inside by the fire. Not knowing our first snow would be November 30. So, Robb is on his way home from work picking up the necessities for an indoor campfire.

I will keep you posted. Until then, I might suggest a Snow Angel or two.

Robb, Angela, Jacob, and Isabella

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Happy Turkey Day!

It’s true, it’s true…for me it’s true… I love Thanksgiving and Christmas. Absolutely love it. Everything about the holiday’s makes me happy…the over eating, over spending, finding the true meaning, random acts of kindness, the bargains, the early morning shopping rush, the lines, the long to do lists, the decorating, the smell of cookies in the over, and so on…and as stated before on this blog…’it just keeps getting better and better having kids’. I love it, absolutely love it all.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It was the first time we hosted dinner at our house in about 6 years. We had all the trimmings and wonderful family to share it with and a winning football game from our hometown team to top it all off. Woooooooo Whhooooooooo!

Even though Isabella is over a year old, this is her first Thanksgiving Holiday. So, we dressed her up and showed her how our family does it. She loved being in a dress and wouldn’t take her hat off all day. I think maybe we have a girly girl on our hands. When it came to eating, she out ate us all. She loved everything on the table…turkey being her favorite.

Jacob on the other hand, didn’t care much for the dinner. He was more interested in the pie and how long he gets to play with his cousins. You see, two of Jacob and Isabella’s cousins have recently moved back to our area and Jacob is in heaven. He has a built in playmate anytime he wants to go see them, which is everyday. He wakes up asking when he gets to see his cousins next. It’s been fun.

For now we wish you well and enjoy this season with friends, family, or even a stranger. You can make a difference.

So remember while December brings the only Christmas Day.
In the year let there be Christmas in the things you do and say.
Wouldn't life be worth the living…wouldn't dreams be coming true,
if we kept the Christmas spirit all the year through?

Blessings to you and yours,

Robb, Angela, Jacob, and Isabella

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Halloween Greetings!

Hello to Friends and Family,

Long overdue, I know. We had a wonderful Halloween. We had some friends over for dinner, and then everyone got all dressed up for photos. You can imagine that photo session, didn’t last long at all. Once the doorbell rang with Trick or Treaters, Jacob was out the door.

This year, and most likely this is the last year…the kids dressed together. Isabella was Tinker Bell and Jacob dressed as Captain Hook.

I might say he was a stunning Captain Hook. You will notice the painted on fake mustache….not my idea. I totally forgot that ‘Hook’ had a mustache, but Jacob reminded me that he did and we had to come up with one pretty darn quick. He really enjoyed this holiday this year. He had a lot of fun; he cleaned out the block and walked as far as he could, then asked to come home. Of course we let him sort through his treats, count them, and play with them for a bit. Then we told him since he was three, he could pick out three pieces for the night. He bought it…yeah! So, you’re wondering, what did he pick….three packages of Smarties? I know, I know….not my kid…. No chocolate in site. However, when we unwrapped them, dumped them out and put them all in a bowl you would have thought this pirate found gold. He was in Halloween Heaven.

Isabella was a trooper this year. She knew she was pretty and I think she felt pretty. She just pranced around like the bell of the ball. As we walked up towards the doors we would put her down in front of the door. She would knock on the doors like all the other kids, and then once the door was opened, she would try to squeeze in. It was really cute. She didn’t care about the treat, just wanted to come in for a chat. Now, that’s my daughter.

We had a wonderful October and enjoy the holiday’s even more having kids with us. I never needed an excuse to have fun with the holidays, but this just keeps getting better having kids.

We wish you all well and until next time, forget raking the leaves they will blow away, instead…go do something that makes you smile.

Robb, Ang, Jacob, and Isabella

Monday, October 16, 2006

So, what do you do on a cold wet rainy day in the Midwest with a three year old who is climbing the walls and potty training? Answer below.

Well today was such a day here and for those of you, who know me, know I have a love/hate relationship with the television. Love to watch really good movies/shows, but hate for my kids to be in front of it all day long. Don’t get me started about Robb, when it’s on…there isn’t another thing in the world, but the television. Therefore, in our house if you are a child, TV time is limited and mom is most likely running around turning them off and hiding remote controls.

It’s no secret that potty training is about to send me over the edge and this weekend was no exception. Robb was out of town again this weekend, so we were looking at about day 14 of no breaks for mom. Therefore, we spent as much time at home and if you are potty training in this house you were in your underwear all weekend. We were doing pretty well, so I decided to up the ante a bit and allow some TV time with the next ‘potty duty’. IT WORKED!

So, it came time to pick what we were going to watch…Jacob chose a Garth Brooks DVD that we got last Christmas. For some reason to Jacob this particular DVD can only be played in the kitchen because that is where he thinks he has a ‘better stage’. So we gathered the drum, the guitar, kid in underwear and off we went to play Garth Brooks on the ‘better stage’. It’s a DVD of him talking about his songs, and then he plays the songs. Some of the songs are videos and others are actual concert footage. Jacob talks to the crowds, while playing the guitar, and runs around just like Garth Brooks. Meanwhile, my job is to keep Isabella off the stage and explaining to him that Garth Brooks has a lot of money so he can throw down his guitar and smash it and we can not.

It was a normal ‘pretend’ play day at our house. This is usual routine when we play Garth Brooks DVD. However, today, Jacob noticed that Garth didn’t have a microphone that he sings in or holds in his hands; he had an ear piece microphone. Oh no, I knew I was in trouble when he asked about it. There go all our potty efforts of the day. He also asked if he could have a fiddle (violin) for Christmas and what could he use now to play one. That’s what they do after all on the Garth Brooks DVD. So, as I was keeping Isabella off the stage, I was also scurrying around the house finding an ear piece micro phone and a fiddle, aluminum foil – NO – Plastic wrap – NO – how about the broom – NO WAY!

Thanks the good lord this three year old has an active imagination because my efforts paid off. We used a pipe cleaner for the microphone on his ear, a wooden spoon as the fiddle, and a chop stick as the bow. All was right again in our concert world and the show went on.

This should explain the photo above. So, lesson for today…be careful what you bribe your children with and the TV is a monster sucking you into their world.

We had a fun day and hope you have one as well.


Robb, Angela, Jacob, and Isabella

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friends and Family,

Whew! The life and times at our house is busy, crazy, and some would say chaotic, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Since our last post, we have visited the pumpkin patch twice, started swim lessons, Jacob began a new school, celebrated the Moon Festival -, attended the American Royal BBQ where Robb’s team that he help bring together placed 340 out of 486, and still potty training (my least favorite parenting thing thus far). Wow, it’s been a fun, hair pulling month.

Jacob is doing fantastic. He has jumped off the diving board two separate occasions during swim lessons and even helped a little boy who was too scared to make the jump. Success! He has begun pre-school and rides the bus each day. He doesn’t talk too much about it (kind of like his dad), but tells me the Strawberry milk is ‘very tasty’.

Jacob has now begun to ask questions that I can no longer answer in five words or less and ‘because’ is something I swear I would never use, but find myself wanting to say it. He is not a genius, just a normal three year old who is a thinker and started asking everything that comes to mind. For instance, why can we feed the ducks at the pumpkin patch that are in the cage, but can’t feed the one’s running around…why does the sun and/or moon follow us where ever we go, and my favorite, why do our eyes have to be closed when we sleep? He also has an unbelievable imagination and is a sponge (watch out, things come back to haunt you). We play pretend all the time; lately it’s been ‘traffic director police guy’. He has a whistle and runs around the house using his hands, blowing the whistle, directing the pretend traffic. It’s fun, unless you have to stop because it’s not your turn, kind of puts a damper when your arms are full of laundry.

Speaking of pretend, did you know that even playing pretend ‘construction’ you can hand the worker the wrong kind of nails and have to go to ‘pretend’ Home Depot for the correct ones? Who knew?

Isabella has taken her first steps. She is like a drunken sailor trying to walk; it’s very cute and funny. Jacob has taught her to copy the faces that he is making, and to giggle when anyone belches and so forth. She is happiest when eating, it seems to be the time you can get the most smiles from her and she eats more than her three year old brother. I have forgotten how much I love this stage. She also has learned that when you empty the toy box drawers she will fit inside them nicely. It’s one of her favorite things to do right now.

As for Robb and I, we are doing well. Robb continues to work hard at his job and enjoys drinking wine, watching and attending football games and of course sharing his time with us. He has turned our son into a Bronco’s fan. YUCK! They run around the house yelling, ‘First Down – Bronco’s!’
I am not up to anything new but keeping our family in order and trying to sneak a free moment or two for myself every now and then. I also am spending time taking Robb around to houses, trying to convince him we need to move. No reason really, just ready for a change and growing a bit out of our current digs. Therefore, if you no anyone who is looking for a cute/charming three bedroom home in the burbs in the Midwest, please contact us. Oh, I guess the cute and charming will be moving with us, but none the less, it’s a very nice home and I would love to sell it. So, for now, I spend time making lists, trying to finish projects on the house in order to sell it, and dream about our dream home. Ironically, it’s less than a mile away from our current home.

We would love to hear from you, so please let us know how you are doing.

Enjoy the fall, take time to view the color changes, and go to your local store pick up a pumpkin and carve it. It’s fun!

Robb, Angela, Jacob, and Isabella

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Dear Friends, Family, and Lurkers alike,

Welcome - to our family blog!

This is a way to update friends and family the crazy happenings of our family as well as help us out with sleepless nights. It will most likely be used as forum of what bugs us, yet is probably a reflection of ourselves, yet be all the things that wash over us and one giant melting pot of ideas, thoughts, and feelings. We call it our 'sleeping pill'.

Most of you know reading this that we have two beautiful children. A son named Jacob who is almost 3 and half. Then this past spring our family grew by two feet... we adopted our daughter Isabella from Chongqing, China. She is 15 months and has been a wonderful addition to our family.

So, for now, we welcome you and will post often as we find the need for sleep or have some news and photos to share about our family.

Thanks for visiting,

Robb, Ang, Jacob, and Isabella