Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Here's Sierra with her letter to Santa. She went and mailed it herself at the mailbox, but she didn't want to give it to him. She is too freaked out to see & talk to Santa, yet she wants to write him a letter and ask him for lots of toys. Yeah, I'm not thinking he wants to give to someone who is scared to see him in person, but hey that's ok. In the middle is our attempt at a gingerbread house. The frosting would not stick very well and was thick. Oh well, we did our best!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Our infamous trip to the light show:) We got off the freeway and waited in a line just to get in for 1 1/2 hours. Thankfully most of the kids were sleeping so it gave Monica and I perfect time to catch up. Poor Allen sat all the way in the back seat between car seats the whole time - thanks for your sacrafice!

We went to St. Louis this weekend. Steve was an usher in a wedding of a friend of his and Sierra & I tagged along to spend some time with Monica & her family. We went to the mall to try on his tux and they had a carousel & ESPN zone inside - smart marketers! Anything to appease the children and the men while the women shop :). We got on the carousel right before closing time and on her favorite animal too :)
We loved seeing Daddy all spiffed up. I think the lady thought we were a little crazy to be snapping endless pictures in the tux shop :).
Sierra is holding Monica's youngest Joseph. Hannah got up special just to say hello at our 10:30 p.m. arrival time.
I stole this picture from Monica's blog, but it was too cute to pass up. Emily, Sierra & Hannah.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

What a happy camper :)!
There's the little girl I know & love!
The beloved job of unwinding the tree lights and seeing if all of them work.

Well here I am! Yes a long hiatus. I guess this is the one time of year when I get really busy. We have been shivering, to say the least, with our 10 inch snowfall last Friday and a few more inches added on by tonight. I must say I am not a fan of an early snow covering. We normally don't get hit until January. I do like that Steve's work was closed too b/c of the snow, but I hate the trapped feeling you get when your driveway isn't plowed for quite some time. I tell you one thing though, it helped us get our house ready for Christmas! I've even been rearranging Sierra's room to help make room for some Christmas presents she's getting. Thankfully, she's clueless to why her room is getting a mass overhaul :). She is a trooper though - open to new things. This is the first year since we've been married that Steve hasn't had to work 2 jobs or work 6 day work weeks for one job. We are loving it! We are so thankful to have daddy home to spend time with. To add to the blessing, my niece is now old enough to babysit - woo hoo! More dates for us! Hope you are enjoying your Christmas season!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Sierra made sure to make it to as many princesses as possible. I remember last time I went about 7 years ago, they were all roaming the park. Now you have to go to a special location and wait in line to see them and when you get to the end (around 30 minutes later) it may be a different character. We missed getting Ariel, but her line seemed to never move. Thankfully she was in the parade at night, so we got to get a glimpse of her. Sierra had brought a gift for Cinderella - so precious!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Well we had a fabulous time in Orlando. The Lord gave us fantastic weather from upper 70's to low 80's. It was just enough to be warm enough to swim but comfortable enough when we were developing blisters treking(sp.) through the parks :). We went to Animal Kingdom, Epcot & Magic Kingdom. We only made it to 1 1/2 of the lands inside Magic Kingdom b/c the princesses got our utmost attention :) . I'll post more pictures later, but we were able to get this group shot while droves of people were filing into the park as it opened - like the wrong date on the picture too :).

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Well thankfully a week later I'm doing much better and tomorrow we embark on our FL journey. We are all getting excited and nervous at the same time. My nephew is flying with us, so he is coming to stay overnight tonight and then we leave in the morning. This is the first flight for all the kids (4). We have quite a layover in Ohio, but at least it allows for variances if the flights get delayed. The weather just recently dropped a little in temp. thankfully-from upper 80's to upper 70's and low 80's. But to us who just got a few snow flurries yesterday, it still will be a shock to the system! Hope you all have a good week - we sure plan to :).

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wow- has this been a crazy week. I was experiencing chest pain on my left side for a week, along with left shoulder and back pain. Well is started to get worse, so I went to Urgent care on Sunday. He pretty much said it probably isn't my heart it is muscle/bone related. So I went to the chiropractor the next day and he said my upper and middle back were pretty messed up. He told me to come in the next day too. I went in yesterday and he adjusted mostly my neck and middle back. All day yesterday it hurt when I breathe and I was getting significant heartburn from other issues I have too. Today it has calmed down significantly but my shoulders and mid left side of my back still hurt. I've been kind of freaking out since we leave for our trip a week from today. Thankfully the dr. gave me muscle relaxers to help keep my back from going into spasms, but I'm trying not to take any medication. To top it all off, my chiropractor is out for the rest of the week. I don't mean to ask for sympathy or to give a sob story, but in order to update my blog - this is all that's on my mind. My family and friends have helped significantly by taking Sierra for a couple of hours in order to give me some breaks to rest. Thank you! Well hopefully by my next post, I'll be better.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Happy Birthday today, Jordan! Here's the gift we gave him for his 10th b'day - Legos :).
Right after this, we told all the kids that we are all going on a vacation to Disney World in a couple of weeks. Brooke & Sierra were going crazy. They both want to see Cinderella. Sierra even took a bracelet she has and put it in a fancy bag to give Cinderella when we get there. It is part of a 2 bracelet set with one saying "best" and the other "friends". Too funny! Boy oh boy, do I hope we actually see her, or it could get interesting.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

We had a fun time in Chicago this weekend. We needed a day to get away and it was so gorgeous outside. We went to the American Girl store and picked up a present for my mom to give to someone. Sierra was in shock and awe at all the dolls and accessories. They even have a salon where workers do the doll's hair in whatever style - ha ha! We almost gave in to maybe get her one, but thankful we didn't. (With the price of $87 without tax per doll - you would really have to save up your money.) For as soon as we left the place, her fascination was with taking the trolley and totally forgot about the dolls. We parked several blocks from the doll store and missed the free trolley to Navy Pier. So we got our share of walking in. We were exhausted by the time we got to the Pier. We ate at the infamous "Bubba Gump" restaurant - delicious coconut shrimp. Sierra wanted to ride the rides but was scared of the ferris wheel, so we just went on the carousel. After that, we waited for the Free Trolley. We were one of the last to get on, so we were in the aisle hanging on for dear life. Sierra didn't get the concept why we weren't sitting down, but she loved being able to ride one. Thankfully the trolley took us right to our parking garage - hallelujah!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Don't you just love the spitup on my pants? Little Joseph nailed me on both shoulders earlier in the day too- nice picture Monica :) Our neighbor gave popsicles to all the girls when they were swimming in the little pool on our patio. Monica a very smart mommy setting a timer on her phone every 2 minutes so that the girls would share the cars and switch. Saved us a lot of headaches :)
Emily just loved the girls ramming into her while she was in the car like "Demolition Derby".
Monica just sent me these pictures from when they came to visit at the beginning of September. It was so nice to have a chunk of time together so the kids could play and we could catch up. Wish you lived closer!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Visit to the zoo continued: I love the new cat house. They let you get right up to the animals. I think this is the Jaguar and one of the Polar Bears swimming.

We headed off to the zoo this past week while the weather was still nice. We went with Trinity, Ethan, & Abel. We ended up spending 2 1/2 hrs. at the zoo. It was a good time getting exercise and seeing animals all at the same time. They even put in a playground in the farm animals area, so the kids can work off the rest of their energy. Each time we go we tend to see zookeepers who explain the names and various things about the animals. It makes it more special for the kids when they know the baby penguin's name "Tiki" and "Popei" the red panda. Sierra always wants to see the Tiger who lost his mommy this last summer. We went when he was literally crying/moaning 1 month after his mom died. I think we might have to invest in a zoo pass come spring. She is so excited every time she goes. Thankfully in the winter they have a free day 1 x a month, and it normally has been at least sunny when they've had them-maybe 35-40 degrees, not warm, but sunny :).

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Here's some b'day pictures from Steve's birthday party at my parents. Upper - Brooke & Sierra "help" Steve open his presents. Lower - Sierra & Daddy blow out the candles.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear hubby, happy birthday to you. Ok I don't normally call him hubby, but I wanted to wish him a wonderful birthday today. I think he specially ordered the sunshine and warm temperatures today. Steve is 31 and still going strong, despite most people reading this blog and thinking 30 is ancient :). I am so thankful for him and all he does for the booch and me. He truly is a helpmeet in every way, a leader, friend, and wonderful rough-housing daddy for our daughter. He's been very spoiled this year with a trip to the Packers, movie tickets, dvds, tools, candy, casting crowns cd, etc. And we can't forget the stepping stone Sierra made for him out of concrete and jeweled stones. (Very messy, but nice finishing product :) Even tonight my mom is watching Sierra so I can take him out to dinner. We just found out about a Brazilian restaurant that is in the area, so that is one of the options on the docket or maybe The Cheesecake Factory or Texas Roadhouse. Wherever we go, it will be so nice to have a date and celebrate who he is. Happy Birthday sweetheart ! Love, Jen & Sierra

Friday, September 22, 2006

My dresser broke last week, so I went on a quest to find one. I must confess the original model was a trash to treasure find minus the treasure. :) My husband suggested going to rummage sales to find one. Well I have kind of steered clear of such sales in the past since it was a nightmare taking my little toddler to an area of cool toys everywhere and pulling her away crying afterwards. Well I saw in the paper a whole condo complex having a sale - right up my alley - a number of sales all within walking distance. It was totally of the Lord. As soon as we pulled in we saw 2 dressers at the first house. Guess how much they were - $5 a piece ! I said I'll take them! They were white with paint chipped all around it, but I figured I'd try to make them work. WOOHOO - they did! They are so deep and finally house our sweatshirts and sweaters along with our regular clothes too. I just painted them black to hide all the gashes and gouges and they seem to work really well. These were a literal trash to treasure!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Can I say awesome?! My parents gave Steve Packers tickets for his birthday. We went this last Sunday, and of any time of year to go this was it. It was in the 70's. We had seats in a personal box. My mom didn't know whose box it was b/c she was given the seats by a supplier from work. I was a little freaked out that we didn't know who we would be by the whole game in a little room, but the thought of awesome tickets soon abated my fears. We got right up to the field 2hrs. Before game time and were able to find parking on the street for free-unheard of! We then made our way to the field-incredible! It is all closed in the hall just to get in. We made it up to the 5th floor which looked like offices. We entered into our box# and no one was there. There was quite the spread of brats, hamburgers, drinks, chicken wings, etc. There were 12 seats overlooking the field with 2 TV's on the top corners for viewing replays. I had to laugh. What would it be like to own one of these-expensive! We left and waited til someone came and then realized the box was owned by Russ Darrow. He owns 22 car dealerships in the are. He was there with his wife, friends, kids, grandkids, and some employees. It kind of felt like we were intruding on a family reunion:) There were 20-25 people in the box. Thankfully they were very friendly and always asking if we needed anything. We of course were in our Packer regalia while they were in their designer clothes-awkward! Oh well! To the game- so roller coasterish, but kept us on the edge of our seats the whole game. I couldn't believe how well you could see the whole field clearly from so high up. I loved getting a glimpse of Reggie Bush too. He seemed unstoppable. It truly was a once in a lifetime experience. Steve was so thrilled to go!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Here's some pictures from our trip to MI. All the ladies at the dinner table (l-r) - Grandma, Aunt Pat, Me & Sierra, & Nancy - Steve's mom. Steve & Grandpa at his party looking at who signed the guestbook.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

This past weekend we celebrated Grandpa Schuyler's 90th birthday. We made the trek over to MI early Sat. a.m. Normally it takes 4 1/2 hrs. but it took us 8 hours this time around. There was a truck fire on 294 right at the IL/Indiana border. We were stopped. It was hilarious. People kept running down to port a potties on the side of the road used for construction crews. Thankfully we figured out a detour and got off to fill up the tank and empty the others :). We didn't even know if we were going to make it to Grandpa's party from 2-5 est. Well after our detour through Dyer, IN and up I65 in Indiana we made it back on 94 up to MI. Thankfully there were no more delays with road construction or the accident. With my swift driving husband we arrived at his party with 1 hour left to go. By that time most of the people had left, but at least Grandpa knew we did our very best to get there. Sierra went right up to her uncle Kevin and got all her pent up energy out - sorry Kevin :). It was so good to see Grandpa so happy and Grandma thankful that everything went so well. We ended up going back to their house and had pizza with all of Steve's dad's other brothers and sister. It was good to sit around the table and chat and catch up. Grandpa has dementia, so it is hard for him to remember various things. When we woke up the next morning, he came out to the living room where Steve was. He asked Grandpa if he could take a shower in the basement and Grandpa went about looking for a towel for him to use. 2 seconds later Grandpa goes in his bedroom and said to Grandma, " Who's that guy in the living room?" Grandma proceeded to tell him that was his grandson. We all laughed. Surprisingly he was so cordial to Steve without knowing who he was. I'm thankful he didn't think he was an intruder or anything trying to take a shower :). He has hard mornings, but tends to get better as the day goes along. I think that's why he stayed up so late the night of his party b/c he didn't want to start all over again the next day. We sure love them! Sierra keeps wanting to go back and celebrate with Grandpa again, his "little sweetie".

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

What a crazy day! Well en route to the ringing cell phone I crashed my foot into a chair trying to avoid the pillow maze on the floor (courtesy of Sierra). It soon began to throb in pain and I couldn't walk on it. Oh! was I frustrated! Well I kind of figured out it was the 2 far right toes on my right foot, so I put some ice on it. I couldn't even get up and move around without pain, so I set up a dr. appt. and asked my dad to take me. Sierra was pumped Mommy was going to the dr. and not her for once :). Well thankfully the kids are now in school, so the dr's office wasn't busy. I got right in and got an x-ray. All that to say it wasn't broken, just badly sprained. Truly I am grateful! You never know if you should wait it out and try to keep moving it or baby it and keep it up so you don't do more damage. Thankfully it should back to normal within a week and I can just hobble on my left side of my foot until it gets better. Are any of you accident prone like my precious daughter and I? I have a feeling we will meet our deductible every year - yikes!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Yesterday was really a praise day for the three of us. Sierra was sooo helpful! She picked up clothes and put them in the washer, took letters upstairs to be mailed, and gave me hope. She brought out about 10 pieces of construction paper and started telling me what color each of them are. Most kids know their colors earlier, but she has struggled with colors. I didn't prompt her or anything. She just started saying, "Green, blue, red, pink, white, black, orange, purple, etc." How cool! Thank you Lord for the encouragment! Well for me, I have been working at keeping the utility bill at our budget amount-turning off lights, unplugging stuff, etc. They reassess it every 6 months and change it after a year according to more or less. Well I thought for sure it would go up after using the air conditioner sooo much in July & August, but we got the bill yesterday and it stayed the same - woohoo- for a whole more year! For Steve, he has been kicking bootay and taking names in selling garages. Yesterday he had to drive 1 1/2 hrs. north to bid a garage. He sold it the first time out! Most times people want to have them come back another time before they decide. We are still hoping he is the top seller for the month which would be amazing being the new kid on the block. I guess it is just good to set goals for himself. Anyways we all celebrated by going out to Charoal Grill for dinner last night. We need these kind of days once in a while. Thank you Lord for the blessings!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Here's pictures of Dave & Esther with Sadie & Reghan at their home. Two pictures are of the Mall of America and Steve & Sierra riding the balloon ride. We had such a great time seeing Dave & Esther and the girls. It was so nice to reconnect before we don't see them for a while. We will miss them! Sierra ran out and gave Reghan a hug as soon as we got there - how precious! The girls really hit it off and played well together. We stayed up late and talked and the guys went and checked out weird chainsaw noises and lights down the road. It freaked us out a little, but the "big burly men" :) went to check it out. Someone went off the road and they had to cut out a stump to get the car out - at midnight. I mentioned "chainsaw massacre" when I heard the noises so late at night - ok maybe my mind does run off at times :). We had fun--it was nice to just pick up where we left off.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

It's been a rainy couple of days here. We attempted to go to the concert in the park on Thursday night with my mom and aunts, but got rained out. It was the start to our Irish Fest weekend with the an Irish group playing at the park. Luckily we were able to purchase a cd for half-off to hear what they really sounded like. Last night we headed downtown for the festival. We came in our ponchos and raincoats and met up with Trinity and Jeremiah to watch the Irish dancers. Sierra of course wants to be one and wanted to go to all the stages with little kids dancing :). We ended up seeing my parents and friends from Illinois up for the weekend. We saw a harp player, Scottish bagpipes and dancers and heard a couple of the Irish groups before Sierra joined a group of kids at the fountain. The fountain is right at the front gate and kids tend to go wild with the different timings of the little fountains. We had a good time other than for the fact we missed the free cutoff time by 10 min. Oh well! We look forward to going every year, so it was worth it. We ended up buying another cd from Gaelic Storm. Well we are off for a weekend near Minneapolis visiting Dave and Esther before they head off to balmy California to take an associate pastor position near San Jose. We will sure miss them being close, but now I guess we'll have to save up for a trip out west. No problem with me:)! (I may be on hiatus for a while, b/c we are going to have to get new internet access.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ok a praise jam for my husband, Steve. He set the alarm last night to wake up early. When I woke up this morning, he had already fed the lizard & crab, set out breakfast for Sierra, took a shower and was dressed for work. He then took my car in and dropped it off to get looked at b/c it's been making lots of noises when backing up, etc. Not including, he vacuumed my car out last night and went to the auto parts store to change some fuses on the car even though he knew it wouldn't probably fix anything in order to calm down his wife. Today he has a very busy day with 3 garage leads and has to run to get permits for another one. He is amazing! Thank you Lord for a husband who goes out of his way for me and is SOOO helpful. He truly has been fantastic. He asked me how he could help me more and I said to get Sierra ready to go in the morning. This whole week he's gotten her dressed and her breakfast ready. What a giving husband for whom I am truly grateful. I have seen him grow so much in our marriage - what a true testament to his dependence upon God. Thank you sweetheart!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Well I'm pet sitting for this week. I have a bearded dragon and a hermit crab. My sister is on vacation and my dad is watching her dog, 2 cats, turtles and fish, so she thought she'd split up the crew to not overwhelm my dad :). The lizard looks like a foot long iguana whose food (crickets) is chirping in the background as I write. The hermit crab eats dried worms and dried fruit with purified water and the lizard eats crickets, lettuce and grapes. I don't know how my sister does it with all of these guys. I think the lizard is still trying to get comfortable. Half of him is white and half is his normal grey. (white - scared, I think?) We are trying to get Sierra used to having a pet since we found out we can have cats in our condo. She has to save up $100 before she can get one. She is already halfway there! I'm still debating between a kitty and a cat with all of its shots and litter trained. We shall see. The earliest is probably Christmas, so we can hit 2 birds with one stone. We may wait until she can take care of it all by herself, so it doesn't become another duty for mom :).

Friday, August 11, 2006

Here are some more pictures from Sierra's birthday. Opening her baby swing, wearing her Barbie "Mermaidia" outfit, and of course blowing out her candles at my parent's house for her party. She still has that shock and awe excited look when she opens gifts. I hope she keeps that for a couple more years before the,"But, Mom I asked for the other thing other than what you got me look."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lots of blogging going on the last couple of days, but this is the busiest part of our year. This blog is dedicated to our life one year ago today in which Sierra broke her leg. Because of her age and the location of the break, she had to be put in a body cast for 6 weeks. We thought our world was going to end. I couldn't lift her, so Steve had to take off for 4 of those weeks and 2 more after she got it off for recovery. We stayed at his parent' s house for 2 weeks, so his mom and grandma could help me lift her and move her around. She was in a wheelchair, but had to be reclined down, b/c she couldn't sit up. It was overwhelming! She only had a small area open on the bottom that we stuffed a diaper into. We had to put a large one on the outside to protect her cast. She got such bad rashes inside the cast where her skin was raw. I never thought we would make it through. Thank the Lord we did! He helped her heal amazingly fast after she got her cast off. Within 6 weeks after her cast was off, there was no limp at all. All that to say, I tried to help Sierra realize what a blessing her being able to run, ride her bike and even walk is. We tend to always take the everyday things for granted, but today we prayed together and thanked the Lord for all He's done. It truly is a miracle!