Sunday, December 5, 2010

Taking Back Christmas

I've "written" this post in my head so many times over the past month. It always sounds good until I sit down and then I'm speechless. But I feel it so much in my heart, I've got to write about it.

I haven't enjoyed Christmas the past few years. Yes, I said it. I've been a Grinch. I've stressed and stressed, tried to cram too much in, tried too hard to find all the "perfect" gifts, and probably made Christmas less fun for my family. This year I was bound and determined to take Christmas back. Take it back to the time where it was magical to me, where I could enjoy it, revel in it, find meaning in it.

I remember Christmas Eve at my Grandparents house, sitting on the landing at the top of the stairs with my cousins. We'd be looking out the windows just watching for a glimpse of Santa's sleigh. THAT was magic!

Sleeping in my brothers' bunk beds with him so we could talk about Christmas morning and wake up together the next day to peek out in the living room before waking mom and dad. Magic.

Going downtown to the old JCPenney store building to see Santa, Christmas programs at school, live nativities, Christmas carols, making handmade ornaments, giving to others, baking cookies, the list goes on. I want my kids to grow up and look back at their childhood Christmases with fondness and love.

I've made some changes this year. I hope everyone is ok with them. I'm spending less, buying less and focusing on things more important than gifts. Honestly sometimes I wish gifts weren't even in the equation. We do not want for much, our kids have too much, our house is full in every aspect of the word. My kids aren't even asking for much this year, they don't want anything. The focus is on the other aspects of the season.

Do you know what? It's working. With the exception of a few things breaking down around the house, I've been calm, relaxed, and loving this Christmas season. My family is too. We are slowing down and savoring time together. Christmas movies, hot chocolate, game nights, decorating, family and friends, GIVING, taking time to appreciate the beauty of it all. Amazingly my Christmas shopping is almost done, cards are in the mail. The rest will get done in due time, I will NOT stress over it. I'm going to enjoy all of the fun things we have planned this month. It will all fly by as it always does but this time I will be taking it all in and not be stressing over all the non-important stuff. We are so incredibly blessed. Todd and I have seen things this year that reiterate that over and over to us. We try so hard not to take what we have for granted. We have love, laughter, and health in our lives. What more do we need? There are too many people out there lacking in all 3 of those things. I want my kids to know and appreciate what they have. I want them to see the true meaning of Christmas.....Jesus' birth, giving to those less fortunate, and of course Santa. I know the Santa days are dwindling for us. I want to keep that alive as long as possible also.

I hope everyone else can enjoy this Christmas season also. Find the beauty, find the magic, spend time with family and friends, go to Church, focus on others, listen to Christmas music, watch the classic movies of the season, enjoy the lights, anything that puts you in the Spirit.

What makes Christmas "magical" for you?

Friday, December 3, 2010

It Was Just A Matter Of Time.......

Really, do you expect anything less from our house?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Drews' Photo Shoot

Drew has been having fun with my camera lately, just enjoying taking pictures of everything. I loved some of his shots and just had to share. I did NOT edit, crop, or do anything to his photos, they are straight from the camera so I was impressed with his skills.

This is from Geography night----just had to show his project that he did with 2 friends.
He spent 2 days doing photo shoots of Jack. He didn't mind as it meant getting to spend alot of time outside, which is his favorite thing.

I kept looking at these photos thinking how cool that he got a shot of a squirrel up there, but now I'm thinking it's just the tree. I'll have to ask him. What do you think?

I just love this one. I don't know what it is, but I think it is so cool.

This one just makes me laugh.

One of the last living roses on Noah's rosebush.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Oh, to be a cat, especially my cat.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Boys' School Pictures

Alternately titled..."Cutest Boys Ever".
Wow, I was blown away by their school pictures this year. I usually get the cheapest package, mostly to get the class picture for a keepsake for them. I hate ordering pictures before you see them and let's face it, school pictures aren't always the best. I'm kind of regretting it this year though. They turned out super adorable of all 3 boys. They just look too grown up. I know, I know, I say that every year. I'm just finally coming to terms with the fact that my boys aren't so little anymore. But they are definitely turning into handsome young men!
Aiden Pre-K 4

Noah 3rd Grade

Drew 6th Grade

Love these boys. They just melt my heart every day.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Why There's No Place Like Home

Life gets crazy sometimes and you get so caught up in your kids' schedules, your family, housework, school, etc that sometimes you forget to make time for yourself. I need that time, even if it's an hour here or there. Having that time to be "me" helps me to be a more patient mom and wife. Us girls took an overnighter to St Louis this past weekend and I think everyone agreed it was much needed. (although poor Johnna had a migraine all day fun for her!) We ate a lot of yummy food (Chipotle and PF Changs to name a couple), laughed a lot, shopped a lot and loved that extra hour of sleep from Daylight Savings Time. As much as I look forward to these special times with my girlfriends and as much fun as I always have, it always feels good to get back home.
Sometimes you don't know how much you are loved and appreciated until you leave. I got a lot of hugs and kisses from Todd and my boys last night and enjoyed hearing about their busy weekend. Right before bedtime, Aiden cuddled up with me on the couch and told me he missed me. Then he whispered in my ear "My heart belongs to you." Oh my goodness, I thought I'd cry. I know that kid is head over heels in love with me and hearing his sweet voice whisper that in my ear made me melt.
Today the boys didn't have any school so I was looking forward to a relaxing morning with them before I went to work. I woke up to a sweet little face (Aiden's) peering down at me on the bed saying "Hi Princess". Drew then made me coffee in bed and cooked me and the boys pancakes for breakfast! And if that wasn't enough he went out back and swept all of the leaves off of the deck and rake all of the one side of the backyard. He is so incredibly sweet and thoughtful. I have 3 amazing boys and an amazing hubby. While it was good to get a break from them and have some much needed girl time, there's no place like home. My boys, Todd, our comfy bed, our cat, our home. It's good to be home.
After raking leaves the boys had a blast playing in them. They also had "leaf tag" so some of the raking needs to be redone. I also had to vacuum leaf fragments off of the carpet. But it was worth it. It's a gorgeous day, we're home relaxing, and I caught the joy on their faces. I love being home.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Weekend

Our Halloween weekend was a busy one! Friday night we met Matt, Beth, and kiddos at the mall for some trick or treating. I also took Drew, Noah and Aiden through the Haunted House. That was pretty funny. Let's just say we know who the real chickens in the family are (and it's not me!) After that we all came back to our house to hang out.

Saturday night we headed to a party given by one of the familys at school. They have one every year and it's a blast. They have a haunted trail, hay rides, bonfire, games for the kids, etc. The boys love being able to run around with their school friends and we enjoy hanging out with the parents.

Before the party, we bought this.....................
We've been saving money for years to replace our van. We know we can't afford car payments so we've had to save for the last couple of trade ins. I'm proud to say we havent had a car payment since 1997! It can be done. Anyway, we knew we wanted a KIA and have kept in touch with the dealership waiting for the time to be right financially and the right deal to come along. We were going to start looking hard next week after we flipped our house that we had bought with Todd's brother. That was going to be the boost we needed to finally trade. Saturday though, the dealership called, said they had what we wanted and it was the last day of the month, they were trying to beat Chevy in sales for the month and they could make us a deal. By golly, they did. We got a 2009 Kia Sorento with only 16,000 miles on it for an affordable price. So we did it!

After church Sunday we came home and carved these......... Aiden wanted to paint his white to be a ghost pumpkin--pretty creative I must say! Noahs' is the one above that (those are pumpkin tears!) and Drew's is to the left. He liked that he was big enough to carve on his own this year.

Daddys' the man when it comes to carving. Aiden helped scoop seeds.

Drew drew his face on before he started carving. Drew drew sounds funny doesn't it?

Hey, even mom got in the picture for once (thanks Drew) I spent what felt like days pulling pulp off of seeds to roast them. I was craving them. They were taking too long to roast so Todd turned up the stove to 400 degrees and they got a little burnt darn it! All that work. Oh well, I'm still eating them.....I read about all of the health benefits and I need all the help I can get!

Soon it was time to dress up and do some trick or treating. First stop, Grandma and Grandpa Klausers house. Too bad Darth wouldn't wear his mask. He's too cute to be a bad guy.
Six of my favorite people in the world.....soon to be seven with another nephew set to arrive at the end of March!! Seriously the cutest Ariel ever. Pikachu almost looks like an extra grandkid
My boys.

We hit some of the familys' houses and then came home for supper. We then walked around our neighborhood with the boys. There were tons of kids out that night. Funny thing is, most of them don't even live in our neighborhood. People come and park to go through our neighborhood. That's just funny to me but it sure does make it more fun.

When the boys were tired of trick or treating, we headed home to put warm PJ's on an watch some TV cuddled on the couch. Aiden had a blast sitting by the front door waiting to hand out candy to the kids.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Catching Up

I was looking at my most recent post and decided it needed to be replaced by a new one, I was just getting too sad. So much has happened since then, it's been a whirlwind of highs and lows. I keep hoping life will slow down a bit....hopefully November will be that time before the craziness of the holidays hits (Although I have a plan for a much simpler, less crazy Christmas this year. More on that later.)

Well we lost the battle with our cat, Grayson. Just uploading these pictures today made me sick to my stomach and brought tears to my eyes. I miss him so much and I know our other kitty does too as well as the boys. I took these pictures of the boys saying goodbye to him. I tried not to get their faces in them because they were so upset but I knew someday they'd appreciate having these last pictures with their furry friend. As many of you know, we'd been battling health issues for months with him. First a blocked urethra, then a bladder infection that we couldn't clear up for anything, then the stones in his bladder. He was scheduled for surgery on the 22nd but a few days before he woke up in really bad shape. I took him into the vet to find out he had a blocked urethra again. He would have to have 3 different surgeries to be well again. I asked the dreaded question that I had an awful feeling I knew the answer to. Then what?? I so appreciate the vet being honest with me. He told me Grayson's prognosis was poor. Since he was having such extreme problems at such a young age (he was 3) then the chances were great that we would continue this cycle again and again. Considering the money we had spent over 2 1/2 months ($3000) and how miserable Grayson has been and would continue to be, we made the horrible decision to put him down. I NEVER want that decision again. The only thing that helped was that the vets and the techs all came in and told me I was doing the right thing. I felt like such a dork. I was there by myself for 2 hours and probably owed them a box of Kleenex by the time I left. I also thought we'd have more time to say goodbye but because of the blockage, we had no time. They were able to take a syringe to his bladder and remove some of the urine to buy us time until the boys got home to tell him goodbye. It just all happened so fast and was such a blur. NOT what I had been planning my day to be like. To break the news to my boys.....heartwrenching. I made the choice to stay with Grayson during the process. I was completely freaked out at the thought of it but wanted him to know he was loved through it all. We actually got to be in a beautiful and peaceful room. They gave him a shot to put him to sleep and I got to hold him through it all. When we were ready, they came back in to give him the shot to stop his heart. God forbid anything should ever happen to my family because I about lost it when the vet listened to his heart and there was no longer a beat. I sat and held him for a long time after that (sorry if that's morbid to you all, I just couldn't let go, this was my furry baby) I finally allowed Todd to pick him up and put him in the box they provided for us. That about did me in too. He now is buried safe and sound with other previous pets of the family out at my dad's cabin, where we have so many beautiful memories.

Sweet sweet Grayson

Between a sick cat, two different sick kids, a car AND a van all in the shop, a crappy new teachers' contract, and some bad news for some people that I love, we actually did have some good happen too. I haven't taken too many pics lately but thought I'd throw just a few in.

My brother Matt and sis in law Beth had their awesome annual Fall Harvest party. The best part is everyone brings canned goods to donate to a local food pantry and this year we had over 400 items. They have so much fun planned for the kids they sat waiting to start hitting the pinata!
Drew got to go on a 2 night campout with the Boys Scouts. That same weekend, Todd and Noah camped out with the cub scouts. Aiden and I went along for all of the festivities but came home at bedtime and "camped" in my warm, cozy bed. Todd caught this picture of Noah after he'd fallen asleep.

Aiden is counting Noah's push ups while Dad cheers him on. The kids all took a fitness test that day.

We attended our 2nd annual Trunk or Treat at school last friday night.
Aiden was an adorable Darth Vader, minus the mask.
Drew dressed in his hockey gear to go as player. Bet you didn't see that coming did you??
Noah was Ash, the cutest Pokemon trainer you will ever find.
My genius husband borrowed an overhead projector and along with our DVD player, set up a "theatre" in the back of the van. He even pulled the bench seat out of the back and set it and some chairs up for seating. We showed the movie Monsters vs. Aliens. The kids got a kick out of it and were running in and out all night. We won 3rd prize for most creative trunk.
This has by far been the most beautiful fall weather we've had in years. We had a gorgeous field trip to the pumpkin patch with the 6th grade class, trips to the apple orchard with my family, other fun field trips with the two older boys, trips to the cabin and fun class Halloween parties. This weekend I look forward to a fun Halloween party with families from school and trick or treating with the boys.
After all the events of the past weeks, both bad and good, I'm plain exhausted and am soooooo looking forward to a girls weekend away to St Louis next weekend. We're going to Christmas shop, eat good food, relax, go out, and sleep in. We won't have to worry about anyone but ourselves (a rare occurrance) but will also inevitably spend a large amount of time talking about and shopping for the same people we are escaping from ! LOL

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Man's Best Friend......

Is Not Always A Dog

This is why we spent a couple grand to make this cat healthy again. A certain little someone, who is head over heels in love with this cat, would have been crushed. Problem is, Grayson is having issues again. I'm just sick over this. We can't continue to drain our savings account yet we can't speak of the alternative. There is no clear cut answer here. All I know is something has to be done before our house is ruined and before he gets any worse off. Technically Grayson is my cat, it was love at first sight with him. But everyone here knows his heart belongs to Noah and Noah thinks the sun rises and sets on Grayson. First thing when he gets home or wakes up in the morning, guess who he searches for? The vets are kind of stumped as to what his whole problem is. Last urine text showed abnormal cells in it that they had never seen before. What do we do with that??? I feel either decision I make will be the wrong one. It's tearing us up. But we have to do something. To start, it's time to call the vet again and discuss options. He has an ultrasound Friday and then we should have answers, I hope.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy 9th Birthday Noah!

Today is my sweet Noahs' 9th birthday. So hard to believe he's getting so close to the double digits. We started off celebrating a day early (on 10-10-10!) with a swim party at Sheridan with his classmates and family.
It was such a gorgeous day, we decided to do cake, ice cream, and gifts outside on the deck!

He opted for one candle over nine so it didn't tax his lungs too much to blow that out! :)

Noah picked a sea animal theme since we were swimming.

He was spoiled with so many wonderful gifts.

Drew giving 2 thumbs up before going off of the dive.

I know Noah enjoyed his party and for his birthday today, he's also lucky to only have a half day of school because of teacher inservices. So we are picking up Subway and meeting Beth and kids at the park to enjoy some more wonderful fall weather.

Oh, Mr. Noah, there are some things I never tire of. One is your sweet smile, your big green eyes, and your cuddles. You have one of the kindest, gentlest hearts of anyone I have ever met and even though we jokingly refer to you as The Cat Whisperer, there is definitely a special connection between you and animals. You will make an amazing veterinarian someday. You're goofy, you're imaginative, you're super smart (who gets all A+'s on midterms anyway?!), generous, and the slowest. eater. ever.! :) We love you for everything you are and so very proud of you. Love you my Little Porkchop.

Another picture I will never tire of. He had the Cutest. Cheeks. Ever.
Seriously, there has never been a more adorable Dumbo!!! 12 months old and toddled around amazingly well in that costume!

Happy 9th Birthday to my Noah!