Saturday, December 18, 2010

Happenings and Christmas Cookies

 We've been quite busy here since my last post. First the kids painted Christmas ornaments for the tree. They have so much fun with paint. However, since we only have primary colors and white for paint, this mommy had some work to do to create the plethora of requested colors. "This, " I told the kids, "is where knowing what colors make what, comes in handy." See if you can guess whose ornament is whose. :)

Our next exciting event was the massive snow storm that hit the Midwest. The kids, of course, thought it was the best thing ever. And, I might not have been quite so upset about it had I not had to drive in it. It was beautiful as it fell but I have never been so thankful for a four-wheel-drive vehicle as I was this past weekend! :)

Also this week, our friends the Reinarts, got a call from Missy's family that her mother had been admitted to the hospital in Green Bay for a pulmonary embolism, a potentially life threatening condition. So, we took in the kids for a couple days hoping to give them the opportunity to be with their family during this time. It sure was a busy place around here!

One of our projects for when the Reinart children were here was to make and decorate cut out cookies. So on Thursday we spent the morning cutting them out and baking them then on Friday before they left with their Grandparents we frosted them. It was a blast and there were sprinkles everywhere! But I think they turned out alright. :)



Yummy!! Have a great week!

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Night Out



Yay! A night out! We had been planning it for a while and even though I was a little sick it was so much fun! So, Friday night Mark and I, Jamie and Gina, and Scott and Missy headed up to the Buffalo Wild Wings in LaCrosse. Unfortunately, of course, the first snow storm of the year had to hit that night, but what did we care? We needed a night out and it did not stop us! We are thankful for the snow anyway. It sure adds to the spirit of Christmas!



Well, anyway, we had all been anticipating watching Scott take the Buffalo Wing Challenge: a basket of wings in their hottest sauce in roughly 5 minutes... something like that. Well, after requesting to first taste the sauce, he changed his mind. Lol! Never request to taste first! It will wear you down. However, we did get to watch the neighbor table as they rooted on one of their own as he flung chicken here and there and covered his face in sauce. That was the best part! Lol! Sauce face! Haha!



And, another thing. I decided NEVER to have a birthday at Buffalo Wild Wings. Yeah, they bring out a microphone and make the entire building sing to you. Embarrassing!! But the birthday girl was a sweet little thing... 22-years-old. How cute is that?! Ah, to be 22 again...



After we ate we headed to Shopko - SHOE DEPARTMENT. But none of us bought any shoes.



Mostly we just had fun and enjoyed each others company. Something we don't get to do nearly so often as adults.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

'Tis The Season!


Yay! The Christmas tree is up and the kids had a blast decorating their first full size tree! :) We used bits of garland and pieces of the paper chain they made last year as well as the homemade ornaments and purchased ones. The kids were allowed to decorate as they pleased and they did a wonderful job of it! :) Afterward we took them to Wal-Mart and allowed them to each pick out an ornament for the tree. You can definitely see their personalities in their choices!

First off is Alysabeth's. Not only does she love stars she loves the color green! :)

Naturally, Nathan chose an animal. :) 

And who would of guessed this last one. Lol! Yes, Katie, my shoe lover, chose - a shoe! :)

Ah, yes. I think I know my kids! Lol! The tree has brought so much excitement that Nathan thinks every day now is Christmas. Hard to explain this to him... :) Lol! Katie finds the ornaments almost irresistible and has already broken three small white balls. You know, she must examine them all! She will even bring in the step stool so she can reach more of them. And Alysabeth would like to move into the living room to sleep. I can relate. When I was a little girl I would sneak upstairs, turn on the tree lights and sleep by the tree. There is something comforting about the soft glow of those tiny bulbs.*Sigh* I love this time of year!

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, Awana!


This week the Awana group celebrated its 60th year! Amazing! As a result the children got to sing for church this past Sunday. They sang at all three services. I think the kids were ready to be done by the end there. Lol! I put on the video I took of my favorite song they sang. I think you will see why... :)

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Pictures and Updates!

Well, I try the best I can to get good photos of my kids. :) Alysabeth is wonderful. She sits or stands, smiles, whatever I ask her. Nathan is my goofy face maker and it is very difficult for me to get a natural looking picture unless I tell him not to smile. Now Katie... haha! "Take a picture of me jumping, Mom!" She wants me to capture her in motion. Constant motion. When she does say "cheese" for the picture she gives a silly grin and raises those pointy little eyebrows. Lol! Cute! :)

Well, the kids and I wanted to play around with photos on PhotoFunia so here are some of our creations. :) And a little update on each of them.





Well, Alysabeth is doing very well in school. We are still struggling a little with reading but she is more receptive to it and we have started to rent books from the library for her to work on. We are trying to get her comfortable with reading level 2 books. In math she is doing excellent! Her next lesson starts her working with triple digit addition and subtraction. On Wednesday nights she attends Awana at church as a Spark. She goes and learns Bible stories and memorizes verses. She has lots of fun! Other small bits... Alysabeth has decided to grow her hair out again, but she brushes it and takes care of it by herself. She is also very proud because she now takes showers instead of baths. :) Haha! And she has decided on a new future career choice. She wants to work in Animal Rehabilitation.






Nathan, my little funny guy! Lol! He is also doing very well in school! I have been so pleased this year with his progress. He is reading very well. He is working on addition in math and also really enjoys it but his favorite class is "healthy class". Lol! He LOVES health! He is also in Sparks on Wednesday nights. It is a fun night! Nathan also finally has a best friend. His name is Mark. They get to play almost every Friday together. They enjoy all the same things, games, GI Joes, Batman, and they have so much fun together. Mark is a year older than him. Nathan, like Alysabeth, also wants to have longer hair and I am trying to accommodate him but I sure am missing the clipper cut. :) He also has decided something regarding his future, that should change by the pre-teen to teen years at least, is that he wants to marry me. I think it is so sweet. Daddy, not so much. Lol! Nathan informed Mark last night that as soon as he grows up Dad was going to have to give me up. Haha!






Katie is my little spit fire. Lol! I am still trying to figure her out. :) She is so sweet and cuddly and then very stubborn and trying at the same time. She has a lot of preferences and she wants to be her own boss. She informed me the other day that she will no longer be eating anything but peanut butter and jelly, and cheese. Lol! She has begun to talk up a storm and I wish I had a recorder to catch every funny thing she says. Her favorite things right now are her Jessie doll, dress up things, and littlest pet shops. Her most favorite of course is Jessie and she LOVES to dress up like her, boots, hat, and braid. She will come up to me and say, "Mom, can I have a Jessie hair style?" Too cute! Haha! She also goes to Awana, but nights are not the best time for her and it is a struggle for us to get through the night without issues. So please pray!! Also once the coloring stuff comes out during the night she does NOT want to move on to anything else!

Well, last thing, the kids will all be singing at church on Sunday with their Awana groups so I am going to do my best to remember my camera and get some pics!

Well, that's it for the updates. Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Amevaco, Jamemaco.... Gnewikow!

Gnewikow has always been such a difficult name, to read and pronounce. So, tonight after discussing the cute attempts our children have made we decided to put it on video. :)

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Michigan!!



Mark and I celebrated our 10th anniversary on Thursday the 21st. Ten years! It does not feel like it has been that long already. We have been very blessed with the relationship we have had in our marriage.

In celebration we planned on a weekend away. My amazing husband offered to take me to Michigan to meet Sharlene MacLaren, a Christian fiction author who's books I absolutely LOVE! :) And of course I wouldn't turn that offer down!! So, as it turned out she had a book signing that very weekend so off we went!

My dear friend Missy opened up her home to my children for the weekend, and after a prayer for her strength and sanity we took off.

The trip was good until we entered Chicago. Three hours later we left it. Who knew that in some places going 16 miles would take an hour and a half. I am a very happily spoiled country girl!! Anyway, the rest of the trip went well and we arrived at our hotel at roughly 11:00pm, an hour earlier than we expected since we had completely forgot about the time change. :) It was a nice surprise!

We stayed at the Country Inn in Holland, MI. It was a lovely hotel and was rather remote as it was neatly tucked away from traffic. It also had a convenient location as we were smack in the middle between the book signing and downtown Holland.

After eating our delicious continental breakfast Saturday morning we headed downtown to stop at a music store. Downtown Holland is beautiful! A must see for anyone who visits the area. Beautiful shops and brick sidewalks dotted with quaint little cafés.We also learned from Sharlene that the sidewalks and streets are heated during the winter so the snow melts as it hits the 70 degree pavement. Amazing! I need this installed in my drive way and all around my house. Honestly, an always 70 degree floor inside my house wouldn't be bad either!



We decided to stop at a neat little corner café/restaurant called the AlpenRose. It was beautiful inside! Everything was made of wood and carved so beautiful. The ceilings were carved wood, the decorations were carved wood, and all of it very elegant. We both ordered lunch and received some amazing food in double portion! So, two meals for the price of one is not bad! :) And for the quality of food it was already an amazing price!


Next up was my most highly anticipated event of the trip! Meeting Sharlene MacLaren! We had such a wonderful time with her! What a wonderful person! I'm thinking we will definitely make this trip again! We talked for a couple hours and I hated to go but I didn't want to take up her whole book signing time, especially since we stole her away from her table. Okay, maybe I did want to, but I was afraid I would wear out my welcome... Lol! Too much of Mark and Sarah might not be a good thing? Haha! Anyway, it was so easy to talk and we enjoyed ourselves so much! I am so grateful that God allowed everything to work the way it did so that our paths would cross! God is amazing, isn't He?!?


We did a few things more that day, nothing quite as fun of course. :) We stopped on the way back to the Hotel at an antique and collectibles shop. From the outside (it was in a strip mall) It looked small, but from the inside it looked as big as Wal-Mart. Huge! It took us the rest of the afternoon to walk through every isle. If you were to really look at everything and dig through every pile and bookshelf it would take several days, at least!

Back at the Hotel we ate our supper and watched a movie then turned in to prepare for our journey back. Thankfully, Chicago was much calmer at 10:00 in the morning on Sunday then it was during Friday rush hour. We passed through easily.

We had such a wonderful trip!! I am so thankful for Scott and Missy who were willing to take in my kids for the weekend. What a blessing they have been! And thanks also to Mom and Richard in Texas for helping make it possible! Love you all!

It was a great experience for us and it has been a long time since we have had time for just us. Though, I did miss my kids and was very happy to snuggle them again. :) What an amazing weekend!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Cranfest 2010

Cranfest this year fell on Alysabeth's birthday. The air was cool and the forecaster threatened us with rain but it remained dry and was overall a very nice day.

Both Alysabeth and Nathan were a part of this year's Crantastic Singers. I think I enjoyed watching them sing and dance as much as they enjoyed doing it! They both did so well, and of course, made me extremely proud!!

Alysabeth had a solo this year! Her first one, and I think she was one of the best singers there! Tell me what you think!

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They had four performances in all. Three were during the day, two outside and one inside, and one at night at the Gospel Sing. They both did an amazing job!

Here's Nathan... notice how everyone else is looking and pointing down? Well, it was the final move at the end of the song. Nathan would do it and then make an immediate exit of the stage while everyone else held their pose. Funny!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Another Belated Birthday Post



Well, my Alysabeth is now eight. Eight!! I can't hardly believe it!!  She has grown up so much, not only physically but in maturity. Listening to her talk and watching her at school makes me realize how short the time is that I really get to "have" them. She is already halfway to sixteen and it feels like only a year or two has passed since she graced our lives with her own. Tomorrow she'll be driving and the day after that, getting married and having her own babies! Ahhh!!! :)

Alysabeth's birthday was a busy one. Earlier in the week we took her to the restaurant of choice since we would not be able to on her actual birthday. She chose Perkins. A girl after my own heart! :) The funny thing about my children is no matter where we go (except for Subway) my children will almost always choose one of three things: chicken nuggets, cheeseburger, or pizza. They get so excited when we go different places, but they eat the exact same things! Funny!!

Saturday 9/25, Beth's b-day, was spent at Cranfest, so the previous day we made white cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting to take with us. It was really a nice day and after the afternoon performances I took Nathan and Alysabeth for snow cones and then we shopped around for Alysabeth's b-day. She chose to have money to spend at Cranfest for her present from us and with her money bought two beanie baby kitties, one beanie baby dog, and two real-fur animals. After that we headed back to Grandpa and Grandma Collins' house for cupcakes.

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Alysabeth had a wonderful birthday!! :)

Birthday Party at Knuckleheads!

Well, it has been three years since our last birthday bash at Knuckleheads, so we decided it was time to do it again! :)

My mom and dad (Kim and Cliff), Dave and Laura, Jamie and Gina, and Great-Grandmother all came along to celebrate!


Alysabeth, being my little daredevil, started her day on a version of the giant drop. And rode it again, and again, and again, smiling all the while. Even when others joined her on the ride screaming the entire time! That's my girl!! :) Or more like, Mark's girl! Haha! Yeah, I woulda been screaming to! :p


After playing on the ginormous kid play set, and dragging Katie out kicking and screaming, we sat down for some hot pizza!


The kids went on so many rides: Airplanes, The Hurricane, the roller coaster, go-karts, etc. They plumb wore us all out!! But it was worth it!! And after all the games the grown-ups played they were able to cash in tickets for candy.

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They also received many gifts!
And on the way home the girls fell asleep, but not Nathan, he was way to busy playing with his new Toy Story toys. What a lot of fun we had!!