Monday, December 29, 2008

Whew




Whew - it's been a whirlwind, fun loving, visited, visitee, cooking, cooked for, cleaning, gift giving, and receiving......GREAT CHRISTMAS.

Bring on the New Year. We have a lot to look forward to and a lot to be thankful for.

Happy New Year! Be safe, think smart.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cleaning House for Santa



This is how we clean the house, in our PJ's, sunglasses, and boots. Meanwhile, I wear a tiara while cleaning, but Isabella doesn't like the way it stays on her head, so this is her version. How do you clean the house?

Happy Christmas Eve. Be safe if you are traveling, keep warm if you are home.

We are tracking Santa, are you - click here? At this moment he is in Chongqing, China. That is where Isabella is from. Chongqing is the largest and most populous of the People's Republic of China's four provincial-level municipalities, and the only one in the less densely populated western region of China. Formerly (until 14 March 1997) a sub-provincial city within Sichuan Province, the municipality of Chongqing has a registered population of 31,442,300. The boundaries of Chongqing municipality reach much further into the city's hinterland than the boundaries of the other three provincial level municipalities (Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin), and much of the municipality, which spans over 80,000 km, is rural. The population of the urban area of Chongqing proper is about 5.09 million. WOW - Santa is busy in China.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bakapalooza 2008!

What you say - Baka who, palooza what?

Bakapalooza:
A hand full of friends
A dash of chaos
Cups and Cups of Sugar and Flour
Spoonfuls of stories and giggles
Little hands to help (optional)

It started in 1998. A few girlfriends wanted to do some holiday baking for neighbors, friends, co-workers and family. Well, I had the bright idea, if we all got together with our recipes, and our ingredients we could just bake the day away and swap our goods. Mean while we also attempt to wrap presents, write cards, and decorate cookies. The bakers have changed over the years and new recipes have come and gone, we laugh, we cry, we learn a lot about one another, we might add a little to much of this or that, or even have a complete flop, and sometimes something gets broke....but the end result is always the same, a huge success and more fun than you could ever imagine. I wouldn't trade the way the day goes for anything.

Thanks friends, I can't wait until next year.

Santa's Elves hard at work:


Looks Like we have been baking:


End Results:


Now they just need to be delivered. Where is Santa? Enjoy!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Chirstmas Card...



This is sort-of what our Christmas Card looked like this year, it also doubled as a change of address card. Made a few minor changes to post on our blog. We did manage to get a few sent out amongst all the boxes. If we missed you we are sorry and consider this is our effort in "Going Green". Our wishes to all of you are still the same.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

and the beat goes on...

Wooooooooooowwwwwwwwww Nellie - life is happening all around us and no unpacking is getting done. In fact, I am thinking maybe we turn the boxes into furniture and go with it. I think a nice bedside table out of that box sitting over there will look good. A wise man once told me, "make a plan and go with it, plans change and that's okay - because you just gotta have a plan to put your feet on the ground when you get out of bed each morning".

We had Uncle Luke over last weekend for some cookie making fun. Not sure why we didn't photograph Uncle Luke, but we didn't at all. Not one photo. Maybe it's the fact that is so darn handsome, I didn't want him to out shine my kids.





This past weekend, Isabella and I went to a 'tea' with the Sugar Plum Fairy on Sunday. We attended Brunch with some friends and met others at the event. It was a great time. For those of you who don't know....the Sugar Plum Fairy is from the Nut Cracker. She hosts a 'tea' each year at the studio where Isabella dances. It was a great time and all the little girls looked so pretty. A little background story, before the long of the short comes.....Isabella asked Santa for a 'princess dolly'. I have combed the isles at our local stores with her asking her to show me what it was that she told Santa she wanted. To no avail...we have not had any success on tracking down what she told Santa. Well.....back to the 'tea'...the curtain opens and 'Dew Drop' ballerina comes on stage and dances....she turns to me and says, 'that's it Mommy, that is what I want for Christmas'. After the show, we took photos and tried to get the little dancer to come home with us and sit nicely under our tree, but I just got one of those teenage eye rolls. So, still looking for Dew Drop Ballerina Dolly.



Below is the view from our front porch as of yesterday afternoon and...



then this afternoon, here is what the view from our front porch looked like.



Then we spent about 20 minutes getting all dressed for this white stuff....and probably only spent 10 minutes outside. All of which Isabella spent in the garage crying, I was shoveling snow, and Jacob was doing snow angels all over the yard.



One last thing....I had this conversation with Jacob this morning:

Jacob: Hey mom.....

Me: What?

Jacob: Remember, not last Christmas but the one in our old house?

Me: Yea buddy, why?

Jacob: In the apartment at Christmas there weren't a lot of presents. But at our old house there were a lot of presents under our tree.

Me: Yea - that was a good year.

Jacob: Well, I was thinking......that our tree this year is looking like the apartment.

Me: But Santa hasn't been here yet and we are pretty lucky this year to be in our new home, fed, and warm.

Jacob: Well, tell Santa.....I want it to look like our old house on Christmas morning, not the apartment. We have more room now.

Me: I will get right on that buddy.

Jacob: Hey Mom, if you text him or email him he will get the message in time.

We have come a long way baby! Enjoy!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Happening at our house...



A friend of mine reminded me, 'it's not moved in, it's moving in'. So, I going to think of it this way. We are slowing 'moving' into our new home. And I do mean SLOWLY in every sense of the word.

We do love it. It's nice to have the extra room, our own rooms, and a wonderful kitchen to cook in. However, there are still a ton of boxes. This weekend our favorite accomplishments were, getting both cars into the garage (all Robb, I had nothing to do with this one) and actually hanging a couple things on the wall. So, I would say....some success has happened with our 'moving in' status.



We have been busy doing 'kid' activities. Jacob and Isabella spent yesterday morning visiting with Santa and friends. Jacob told Santa that he wanted, 'some cars - you know like Hot Wheels' and then Isabella asked him for, 'a princess dolly'. Robb and I wiped our brows as we have been hearing things like a puppy, gas power four wheeler, new kitchen set, and we think we even heard a new swimming pool. Hey, kids can dream, right?



Then last night, Isabella had her first ever dance recital. OMG - it was so cute. I missed it as I was filming it and she was only up there for about 3 minutes. But once we got home we saw the video (which I would post but don't want to as their are other children on this video that aren't mine), we laughed so hard I bet milk would have come out our noses. You see we walked into the studio and she went into a big room with her other dancer friends and teacher. While we went to sit in the audience. Well, let me just say, when she went into the room, her skirt was not falling down, the waste band was not flipped up, and her sweater fit her just fine. After further review of the video the entire performance her skirt was falling down, the waste band was flipped up and her sweater crept up so high, all we saw was belly button from Bella. She thinks it is so funny and just keeps asking to see the video again and again. It was a great night and I can't not wait until the next performance, which I think maybe we will get her suspenders to wear.



We did decide to decorate a bit for Christmas, but went mild this year. The stockings are hung, the tree is up, and very, very little shopping has been done. But everyone here in our house is in the spirit. We hope you are to!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!



Happy Turkey Day from our family to yours.

We enjoyed a great day with family and friends and feast fit for a King. Our Pilgrim and Native American were very happy.

Enjoy!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Farewell Shangri-la!

Hello - We left Shangri-la and are in our Home Sweet Home.

Sorry - no photos. Can't even begin to think of where the camera is located. Not to mention, you just don't want a bunch of photos of boxes.

We love it the kids are happy and we have our own beds in our own rooms. But other than that, we can't find anything.

I will leave you with this......every time I put something away, organize it, and figure out a spot for it......all I think is, 'I am never moving again, and once it's away it's the kids problem. Once they roll me out of this house to my resting place they can deal with it.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving......we have so much to be thankful for.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Final Countdown!

No updated photos - sorry! We are so busy, we just keep forgetting to get photos of the progress. So, I guess you are just going to have to stop by and check it out for yourself. Please note, if you do, you are required to grab a box and unpack it.

This is a drawing (really rough draft)that Robb and I drew up on an airplane in January of this year on our way to vacation. It all started here.



They still have a lot to do to finish the house this week, but I have confidence it will all get done. Our builder and his 'worker guys' have been a dream to work with. We have been very happy with the entire process.

So, hmmmmmmmmmmmmm...............I have my list for the week to 'to do's'. We have a 10:00 AM appointment with the bank on Friday, November 14 to sign our lives away once again and live amongst the land of mortgage payments. Then hopefully all is clear for us to start moving some items before school ends that day. The window treatment guy is so wonderful, he is bound and determined to install all our blinds before we go to bed that night. We are planning on staying at the house that night on the floor because everyone is so excited.

Then Saturday is true moving day. The moving truck arrives at our storage unit at 9:00 AM. We are blessed to have some wonderful family and friends help us out that day and the kids are going to their cousins house for 24 hours (We owe you big Aunt Gwen and Uncle Bill). Our local weather is calling for cold, but please, please everyone do your 'no rain dance' for us. That would make for a miserable move.

Other than that, just getting ready to get ourselves knee deep in boxes, get our organizing hats on, meanwhile trying to attempt to keep things as normal as possible.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Success!

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAA - WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Yes we CAN and DID!


"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America."
Said by your 44th President Elect.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

T - 10!

Photos, as promised. Sorry they aren't the best. Remembered to bring camera this time, but didn't take many pictures as we were to excited walking around looking at everything that had been done.

T MINUS 10 and COUNTING!

View of breakfast room from front door as you walk in. It's yellow, in fact, I would say about one third of the house is yellow.


My office and yes, that is green. It took me a bit to get used to, but now I love it. Lot's of creative things are going to get done in this room and NO sleeping.


One more coat of stain to make it shiny and new looking.


CAN'T WAIT!

Oh yea, GET OUT AND ROCK YOUR VOTE TODAY! Your vote can and does make a difference.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloween Update!

Happy Be-Lated Halloween!

We had a great time on Halloween Day. The weather was beautiful and the kids walked forever collecting more candy than we know what to do with. Actually, I think maybe I talked them into packaging it up and sending to the troops along with hand made cards we are going to make this week. SUCCESS!

Jacob went as a member of a SWAT team this year. He was very into his character and everyone kept getting arrested. He even decided to direct traffic on Halloween night. He was in charge of the kids and making sure they didn't go in the street when there were cars coming. You wouldn't have known he was 5 with the exception of his size. He was in full-on character the entire night. In fact, he has taken the vest off, but everything still is in his pocket, attached to him some how, or hanging off his belt loop. When he comes in from being out, he takes it all off and lays it on the table as if he had been out in the field working all day long and was exhausted. It's really cute.

Isabella went as a Kitty Kat. She kept changing her name and would often be arrested. She had a full on growl for the night rather than a meow or purrrrrr. She kept telling us she was a 'wild cat'. Now her "kitty kat' costume has been retired and is a 'princess dress' and matches all her pretend play things.







As for the house - LOOKING GOOD! Halloween was the absolute last holiday we have to spend here. Look over there - ONLY 12 Days! OMG - we absolutely can't wait. I don't think the kids really understand that we are leaving Shangri-la to go to our house and won't just be over there to look at it anymore, but Robb and I do. HOLY COW - I wished you could see the excitement and joy. I would pack us up now and sleep on the floor and eat microwave meals for the next 12 days if I thought Robb would go along with it. But I don't think that will work for everyone, so I will begin packing next week (maybe secretly packing things this week when no one is looking). Will post photos of the house later. We are going over later today to look at the floors as they spent all last week staining them. This week, appliances, plumping hardware, door hardware, mirror hanging, landscaping, carpet, and possibly the beginning of the end of construction. It's starting to look like "Home Sweet Home".

Monday, October 27, 2008

Gettin' closer to the finish line.....

A photo pictorial of what's been going on here:


Tile is done.



Stairs and cabinets are stained. Floor stain starts this week.



Lights are in. So now we don't have to rush over and get a look at the day's progress before it gets dark.


Started the rock and painting of the exterior on Saturday. These guys are fast. I bet they are done today. WOW!


This is just a small not finished version of what Robb refer's to as his 'Man Cave' (aka the Dog House by me). We are finishing the basement on this house, so Robb has had to put on his Interior Design Hat and has designed most of this area himself. Looking good honey.

One last thing.....interior painting - DONE - and friends, let's just say....if you don't like color...you won't like it. In paint alone, there are 7 different colors and let's just say, some came out brighter than expected (if you know me, I sampled them all and then some (I think about 14 - gotta love the sample quarts), but I sampled flat paint in small areas, not eggshell in larger ares). We had to visit it a couple times and vision our things in the house - but WE LOVE IT! Jacob's loves his NEON green room so much he asked for his closet to be repainted from white to green. We kept it white. Isabella, loves her pink room so much that if you stop by the house, she will grab your finger and take you to her room and tell you, 'look, it's pink - my favorite'.

Other than that, we are just busy living life, attending school, working, thinking of moving and the logistics, making plans for Halloween, and taking a bit of time to play. Have a great Halloween and I will post photos this weekend of the kids and their costumes. We have been invited to some old neighbors of ours that moved to trick or treat, then onto a small gathering at some other friends, to sort through the goods and eat until we pass out. Halloween on a Friday this year, is a lot of fun. Not to mention, it's also a NO school day. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Countin' the days away.....

Notice to the right of your screen......it's a count down until we are out of here and F-I-N-A-L-L-Y moved into our new house. We can't wait. We talk about it daily, are over there constantly, and even talk about our first meal we are going to cook (changes with each conversation). So, last week, the kids and Robb made a 'count down chain' and each night they pull off a link as we get closer and closer to our move. It's fun for all of us, but I think Robb and I like seeing that chain get shorter and shorter each night more than the kids do.



House Update - going great. We have a driveway, sidewalk, and they are currently working on the posts outside. As for the inside....they start staining and painting next week. We picked out some color for this house (7 to be exact and a stain color and this is just the interior), so it might scare most of you off - but I can't wait to see it come to life. Hip, hip, hooray!







We also took some time today to enjoy the weekend and fall. We went to the Pumpkin Patch and met up with some friends we havne't seen since this summer. It was so much fun. Kind of warm for this time of year, but it wasn't raining and cold, so the kids got to play and run around until they were ready to drop.







From our house to yours.....Happy Fall!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Enjoying some Fall Weather here.....

Well - when dad is away the rest of the house will PLAY!

Robb has been away at the American Royal BBQ since Thursday, so we ditched our responsibilities for the weekend and decided to play. Made not one house decision, didn't clean, cook, or bathe (just kidding)all weekend.

Actually, we took some time out to enjoy the weekend and the fall here. It's just gorgeous. So Friday night Isabella had a sleepover. We ordered Chinese food,
Tye-died some shirts for Halloween, and watched a movie. The kids were up late and up early, so I was tired all day yesterday.

Then yesterday we went to a local apple orchard and picked apples and played. It was so much fun. We met a friend, and cousins up there and we all enjoyed ourselves. We played, picked apples from a 'real tree' with a 'bucket that had a metal handle', had a picnic lunch, and apples desserts from the bakery. Made for a good nap in the afternoon.

The reason some of the above are in quotes, is something funny Jacob asked. You see, Jacob is a lot like me, we get so excited about the anticipation of an event and plan it just so in our heads, that most often once the event happens we are disappointed and fail to enjoy ourselves or we just exhausted from building our excitement up in our heads of said event. So, we have learned to prepare Jacob for the event but not to early. Therefore, I didn't tell him about going to the apple orchard until late Friday night (I am sure it was something like, if you don't go to sleep we won't pick apples tomorrow). Once I told the kids we were going, Jacob's first words were...."do we get to actually pick them from a real tree?", followed with, 'can I take my gloves, worker guys (that is anyone he is pretending to be at the time) have gloves when they work?', and 'will we use buckets with metal handles like in the books we read?'.

So, as you can imagine we had a tall order to fill in this little guys head. Therefore, never having been to this place, I was praying and keeping my fingers crossed on the drive up that they had real trees and buckets with metal handles...we supplied the gloves. Whew - Success - they had everything Jacob had imagined. It was perfect. In fact, I didn't get many photos of him because he was so busy running around with his cousin having so much fun.







Then to make the last day of our 'taking the weekend off' fun, we are going Halloween shopping. You see, I am a planner, so I have costumes for the kids already, but Isabella's is way, way to long and Jacob's - well, it's just not what he wants and who am I to get in the way of pretend playing. So, we are off to look for the greatest, least expensive police officer, soldier, or pilot costume for Jacob and the greatest, least expensive police officer, kitty cat, or witch costume for Isabella. Wish me luck, I am going to shopping with two children 5 and under alone for costumes on a budget. Crazy mom, I know - but at least I am not home cooking, cleaning, or doing laundry.

Enjoy! I am sure I will keep you posted on the shopping adventures.

House front - coming along nicely. We have a side walk, a driveway, and a patio this week. The cabinets are coming in nicely and all the trim work, stair work, and closets are looking great. No photos, sorry didn't have camera. Still no exterior house color, but narrowed it down to two...so we are closer.

Oh yes, I forgot....on our way home from the orchard, Jacob spotted a helicopter hovering around in the air. We went and looked for it and it was so cool. There were some 'worker guys' working on some electrical towers and they were using the chopper to bring them the large material needed to work. We snapped a quick photo just in time before it moved.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Catching Up!


First Day of school photo - Finally!


She loves her back pack!


Garage view of house....!


Kitchen Cabinets Installation.....aren't they great!

Where does the time go? Fall is here. WOW!

Catching UP!
Kids - School, going well. Jacob is doing better and better each and every day. He still asks every morning if he can stay home, but doesn't fight me on it when I say, 'no'. It's just amazaing how fast and how much he has learned in 6 short weeks. He empresses me more and more each day. Isabella is loving school this year. She asks everyday if it's her school day.

House - It's going great and looking like a house. I am getting more and more excited. Best part, we turned in our notice at Shangri-la so we are seeing and end to this journey. This week they put in the wood floors, worked on cabinets, trim work, and doors. I am having so much fun watch it come together.

US - We are busy just trying to keep up with kids, house, school, work, election information, and our economy. We are doing well and just livin' life.

Happy Fall!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

What is your favorite exterior house color?

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm, where do we start, it’s been a while. What’s going on?

School, work, travel, colds, flu, dance, karate, gymnastics, house, and just living life is what’s going on in our little piece of the world.

I think right now, I just want to state…..I LIKED SUMMER BETTER!

Well, school has started as you know; day one was a success…..not day two and so forth. Apparently, I was a bit over confident. We have received no less than three phone calls from the teacher, a personal phone call from the counselor at school, and about half a dozen email exchanges or so. You see, we get up in the mornings and start the moaning and groaning right off….’I don’t want to go to school’, and it just keeps going. However, somehow, we do manage to get out of bed, get dressed, eat breakfast and out the door. Then the tears begin all over again at the actual bus stop. In fact, most everyday we put Jacob on the bus in tears or whining. Then he gets to school and tears up for a couple of minutes and then it stops and the day gets better. I guess it’s just getting used to a routine, something new, and a lot of tough learning along the way. So, as for the first three weeks of kindergarten for Jacob….I am chalking it up as….WE SURVIVED! WE are looking for a better attitude in hopes of not looking for ‘survival’ the entire school year. I have faith and IT WILL get better if it kills me. BTW, did you know in Kindergarten there is homework….., which btw again, Jacob loves that part of the day.

Isabella has not started school yet. It started this week, but with out us. I have had the stomach flu for almost three days now. She had it for about 24 hours, but can’t seem to shake the fever. Therefore, I opted to keep her home until she is better and not to get anyone else sick. So, we are hoping to start school next week. She is very much looking forward to it, as she has a friend in class that she just loves.

Gymnastics and Karate did start this week. Both the kids are taking gymnastics this fall, Isabella is enrolled in dance (which starts next week), and Jacob is enrolled in Karate also. Robb did the car pooling this week, since I was sick, so no photos – just one exhausted dad from taking on both rolls.

Isabella did take a dance class over the summer at our local community center. She loved it. She had another friend in there that she loves and they had fun. They had a small recital last week in their last class, but unfortunately Isabella wouldn’t stand still long enough to get a good photo.



House update, it’s coming along nicely. Our move in date has been pushed back a bit, but we kind of expected it. We are looking at the end of November of so….therefore, we will be spending a bit more time in Shangri-La. The house is up, framed, front porch poured, garage doors on, and temporary front door locked. The rough electrical, plumbing, insulation and drywall are in. In fact, Friday when we were there, it was framed, by Sunday it’s all sheet rocked. So, it should start looking like a house inside real soon. We have been busy picking out the interior items for the house. I love this part. We have finalized our cabinets, doors, pulls, and knobs, door knobs, counter tops, exterior paint colors, stain colors, and more that I can’t think of right now. We still have a lot to do, but it’s coming along nicely. Will keep you posted as it changes.

Other than that, we are enjoying the heated evenings of political information, doing homework, and preparing for the next day. So, for now, we hope all is well with you and Thanks for stopping by.

FRONT DOOR:




KITCHEN:




GREAT ROOM: