Friday, January 30, 2009

Ice bones

The other day I took Nathan outside to "help" me shovel snow. We didn't shovel well after the last few snow days, so we had a layer of ice nearly 3 in thick on the driveway. After a bit of work, we got it to come up in these large sheets. I started to place in them in the snow piles on either side of our driveway, and Nathan and I thought they looked like plates on a dinosaurs' back. After that, Nathan began to hunt for dino bones while I excavated our driveway.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Christian's Big Change

In December, while Christian was talking with a co-worker who began running marathons to loose weight, he decided that he wanted to train for a half-marathon this Spring. I just wanted to praise him a little bit--This month he started spending his lunch hour (every day he isn't traveling) at the gym at his workplace. He also found a website ( that he likes and is using to track his calories and get goals. He even enters in some of our home-made recipies to figure out the calories-per-serving, and he's stuck to his calorie limit. Granted, his calorie limit (to hit his target weight by next December) is 3000 calories per day. Yeah, a little unfair. I think I could hit that, too. (While the nutritionist said 3000 calories, he's actually sticking to 2500) I just think he's pretty cool.
For the last three weeks, I've exercised 3-4 times per week (usually, 45 min or more), but I'm having a harder time sticking to my calorie limit (1600 per day). I'm going to try the website to see if it helps--can't let Christian have all the fun! The really cool thing is that he's got his brothers and their wives in on it, too, so we can check up on each other and help each other out.
Here's a photo of his awesome veggie rolls. He made them like we usually make our ham and cheese rolls (or cinnamon rolls), but added a cream cheese/herb filling with roasted peppers, garlic, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, and artichoke hearts on the inside. (about 200 cal. per roll) He made these for a potluck at work, and someone asked him if he got them from Panera.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I have a bunch of kid pictures that I haven't posted, so get set for a bunch of unrelated photos:
For Family Home Evening on Monday, we took the kids outside to go sledding in the dark--even Aaron! (He wasn't thrilled) After a few times down the hill, Christian came up the the brilliant idea of pitching the kids into the deep snow. He even did it to me!

Another shot of Rachel's new glasses:
Playtime with the kids... (notice how Aaron always finds a way into the picture)
When "time-out" becomes play-time....
Hannah made a blanket nest for Aaron, dressed him up in Rachel's clothes, and look how much he loves her for it!
And, finally...the other evening I spent at my friend Jennifer's home, where she taught us to make bows. Here are my first attempts--room for improvement, but the girls love them!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A year ago...

We've now lived in Michigan for one full year. Last year at this time, we were surrounded by boxes, trying to unpack and organize, putting kids in school, and trying to meet people. Last week, I took Hannah to her schools' roller skate night and loved that I knew lots of people, either from our neighborhood or from the ward we live in (but don't attend--we go to a "Deaf" ward). Given our history, its about time for us to be moving on...but thankfully, we aren't headed anywhere else for a while. Christian came today and told me his company had laid off 5% of the employees at his office in Galesburg, and more in their facilities across the country. We are so thankful that he still has his job. I really enjoy living here, and we're counting our blessings. Good ward, good job (cross our fingers, hope it lasts), and we're making good friends.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Three Ears, Four Eyes

Early in our marriage, Christian and I used to wonder what our kids would look like. His hands on my arms? His nose on my face? I mean, we were seriously worried that we'd create a monster. Of course, we all know now that my kids are adorable, so no worries. What actually happened is that Christian's bad eyesight combined with my genes for hearing trouble and we get....the three-eared, four-eyed Rachel!
Seriously, she loves her new glasses. She fell in love with these purple frames and wouldn't even try any other ones on.
So, is she headed for chronic nerd-hood in her adolescence, or what?

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I have a love/hate relationship with exercise. 'Tis the season for New Years' resolutions and all that, but I've never been very interested in that. There isn't anything special about the new year that makes it any easier to change. I do, however, have some goals that might be worth mentioning for the sake of accountability. I usually get to the YMCA 2-3 times a week, but I'm aiming to exercise at home or at the Y 4 times every week. I enjoy exercise. When I go to the Y, I usually spend 20-30 minutes on the elliptical (?) machine, 10-15 on the weight machines, then finish up on the treadmill for however much time I have left. Its just enough to feel healthy without actually helping me get any skinnier. The "Just-Enough" work-out plan. That's why even though, I enjoy exercise, I kind of hate it, also. So here's hoping this year I can do a little more and do a little better.
I'm also having a little bit of a dilemma with my kids. We just started a round of swim classes for the 3 oldest, and they also want to do dance, gymnastics, piano, and soccer. I'd love to put them in everything, but we don't have the time or money to do it all. Its probably not a unique challenge, but how do you decide what to participate in? I want to give my kids a chance to try new things and find out what they're good at, and I realize that there comes a point when it is socially difficult for kids to start new activities... but with 4 young kids, we simply can't do it all. I'm also a little worried that my kids will fall behind their peers as far as skills go (last summer Hannah refused to even try to ride her bike because she was embarrassed that she didn't know how to ride without training wheels already). Any thoughts?

Getting a life

One of my favorite things so far this year is that we've finally started to get a life...We really enjoy having friends over for dinner, and as long as we've lived here we've had a list of all the people we've wanted to get to know better. In the last few weeks, we've had several families over and really enjoyed it. I haven't taken very many pictures, but here are a few of our adventure last night--sledding after dark in our backyard with some friends (we had something like 2 feet of snow, and its still coming down).
And, just because I thought it was cute, here is a picture of Hannah reading to Nathan.In other news, Aaron has started to talk (somewhat). So far, we can understand him when he says thank you, uh-oh, please (and he'll sign it), Daddy, no, that, and amen. He is also learning to kneel and hold his arms for prayer, and is desperately trying to keep up with the big kids. He was a huge hit in YW today--kind of a distraction from the lesson, but a very cute distraction.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Yay, Michigan!

Thanks, DeAnn, for sending me this. I needed a good laugh.
January 09, 2009

Fleeing Michigan

Doug Powers
It’s about time my state got some recognition! Once again, we’re number one… on the list of states that people are fleeing:

Michigan saw the nation’s most outbound migration in 2008, with 67.1 percent of interstate moves heading out, according to a migration study released Wednesday.

It marked the third straight year that Michigan, hard hit by the economy and layoffs in the auto industry, has seen the highest percentage of outbound migration.

United Van Lines has been tracking this data since 1977, and it would appear that before too long, Michigan’s largest employer will be United Van Lines — so it’s not all bad news.

Is it any wonder that Michigan's Governor Granholm, who is one of the architects of an economy so bad that Detroit’s honorary economic sister-city of Bangladesh has disowned them, is on Obama’s Economic Advisory Board?

Granholm is also reportedly under consideration for a position as Commerce Secretary (that makes the most sense until they create a “Secretary of What Not to Do”).

In a political atmosphere where where the problem of government over-spending is being “solved” by increasing government spending, nothing is surprising anymore. On the plus side, if Granholm has Obama’s ear for the next few years, Michigan won’t be number one in outbound move rate, but instead tied with 49 other states who will be equally as lousy.

Once the genius behind Michigan’s economy is taken national, there will be nowhere more desirable to flee to, so nobody will move. At that point, United Van Lines will request and receive a huge bailout.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What to do?!

Nathan is three and a half, and is fairly well potty trained during the day. But--we still put him in pull-ups at night because every time we try to get rid of them, he wets the bed. He even wets sometimes during naps. Am I being wimpy to let him stay in pull-ups? I'd love to not buy them anymore--should I just be more firm? Or is he still young enough that he must might not be ready? I'm not sure. We have a similar issue with Rachel (and she'll be five in April), but I've kind of assumed it is one more of her many physical issues. Any ideas?