Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Big Catch Up

I can't believe that I have fallen so behind. So here is an attempt to get caught up. Alison had a part in her school play. She had some speaking parts and got to sing a song with 3 other people. Performing is right up her alley. By the way I totally made this costume. It involved no sewing which is right up MY alley.
Alison before the performance

Alison center stage. Just as she likes it.


Our tree

Joe always decorates the tree. We are allowed to provide ornaments and bask in it's glory but never ever touch the tree. Joe wants a new tree which seems fair since we have had this one for about 10 years now. By the way that is a moose stocking holder behind the tree.


Santa Stitch . All ready for Christmas Eve


Jon's new Notre Dame Jersey. #13 his favorite number and GARRY on the back.



Joshua had a Clone Wars Christmas.


Kelsey in her new Team Edward shirt and holding her new watch.

Alison got a lot of things but this was her favorite. She has been asking for Guess Who and Twister for a while now. Her reaction kills me.

This was Kelsey the rest of the day. She is doing her French Word Coach. And Joe is ready to go back to bed.

The aftermath and my wicked cool Irishopoly game from my cooliest sister!

We had a very good Christmas. On Christmas Eve my dad read all the family the Christmas Story on conference call so we could say hi and Merry Christmas to everyone. We did our traditional Pizza and watched Christmas movies and... well... also the Notre Dame game...which was awesome! Christmas morning we got up at 6. Rather the kids got up at 6 and we were drug out of bed lol. After the official opening of gifts I made breakfast. That is actually my gift to my kids. I hate making breakfast so I don't very often. Then I went back to bed! I slept until 10 then we played games, ate junk and made our yummy dinner of ham. Love ham! Christmas night we went with our friends to see Bed Time Stories. It's really cute. Then to thier house to play games. We came home happy and tired from a really fun day. On a side note I always get a puzzle (or this year 11) so we worked and finished one at 1am. Good Times!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bolt

This is not a film review. We did enjoy the movie. The hampster and pigeons were my favorite. However this is about our need to pick on our dog Stitch. He's small and helpless to our bored desires.

December First


This is a fun day in our house. December first is advent calendar day. It didn't used to be anything special. Now it's the beginning of the yummy countdown to Christmas. When we lived in Germany we learned lots of things but our favorite was the vast amount of yumm that was everywhere. The kids grew accustomed to this new thing called advent calendars. Now some of you are saying yes we had those here in America too but I didn't. Neither did Joe. I remember the wooden ones but Germany introduced fun chocolate ones. Our sweet landlords brought them over our first Christmas and did every year following. My kids looked forward to this all year and got so excited every morning to see what their chocolate would be. The commissary here has some German candy, none of the really good stuff from Real or Lidl but still...and they have advent calendars so my kids don't have to suffer through the holidays candyless. So thank you Herr and Frau Epp for introducing advent calendars. Oh and don't judge Jon. It was early this morning and he hadn't done his hair yet.

Leaves


Alison raked up the leaves in the front so she could jump in them. But when I went out to see she was gone. Oh where could she be?


Oh there she is. Totally her fathers kid. Although one mention of spiders and she was out.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Just want everyone to know how thankful we are for you our family and friends. We hope everyone had a great day and yummy food.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Braces


BEFORE .....


....AND AFTER

By the way. Photos taken by Kelsey. It was not me taking up the nose shots lol.

Congratulations Kelsey We Love you !!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Primary Program

I love the Primary Program. I hate the prep but the end results are always a treat. The little little kids are always sooo cute with their loud singing or misspoken words. Everyone in the congregation is either laughing or crying because it's just so darn sweet! And lucky for Kelsey since Joe got released from Primary she didn't have to sit alone. The other 3 kids and I were all in it.
Josh had a speaking part and his class sang the verse of "Home" that says "Home is where there's father with strength and wisdom true. Home is where there's mother with all the children too. " Cute.
Alison had a line and then all the Activity Day girls plus us lady teachers sang Childs Prayer. That song makes me cry!
And then there was Jon's. He had 2 speaking parts. Then the Valiant Boys plus the missionaries got up and sang Called to Serve. It was neat to see these 11 yr old boys with the missionaries.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Miracle

Many of you know that Jennifer has Breast Cancer. Well it had spread and doctors found another lump in her left breast. Monday she went in for a lumpectomy. The doctors did a quick ultrasound to double check location. They found NOTHING on her left breast. The did the test several more times to check and it was all gone! AND the lump on her right side shrunk!!! Her doctors have her scheduled to come back in a month to remove the lump on the right side. This was amazing news! We are so thankful that her cancer was discovered early to begin with and her proactive doctors. I am always and forever thankful for the power of prayer and fasting.


I am also thankful for the most obnoxious and stubborn sister ever who refuses to give in to anything! Love you Jen!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Our Surprise Visitor


....was Joe's sister Brandy! What is happening to the world when Joe's family comes to see us. I think it's one of the "signs" haha. It has been 4 years since I saw her. I had run into her at the park on one of our visits to WA. That sounds crazy to most of you I am sure but Joe does not keep in touch with his family. If they call he'll talk but you will never catch him calling or emailing them. The last time Joe and the kids saw her was probably 8 years ago. And when Joe and his sister got together last night... the stories they tell...you know why. His family was a mess. That compounded with distance leads to not many family reunions. It was fun to see her and have my kids meet her. She was Indiana visiting a friend (altogether another story) and she called Saturday to let us know she was there and I thought wow you are close (state wise) but how close? Turned out she was only about 2 hours away so Sunday after church she came over. She stayed all afternoon and the kids had fun with someone from dad's family being around. It happens soooooo rarely. All in all it was a great time. So Brandy if you get on here.... it was great having you and we should do it again soon.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

New President

I have to admit I was torn this election. Not whether to vote for McCain or Obama but if I should even vote for McCain. Not a big fan either way but with only two to choose from I picked McCain. I fear Obama's socialist ideas. I get tired of people justifying that it's ok that we work hard and loose more money as long as it goes to a good cause. What? We lived in Germany we saw their economy. We talked to the locals. We know how hard it is for them to pay ridiculously high gas and other taxes and work every day all day so that those who choose not to don't have to.

I have always been a procrastinator and the moving around in the military makes it hard to start let alone keep a good food storage. This election has been a huge wake up call for me. Even before Obama won I could see the need for me to get my butt in gear. I see that our country is so far to the left it's going to drag us all down. Pres Hinkley said that we are going to hell in a hand basket and it's true. I feel it's important for us to be diligent with our family to make sure good principles are reinforced daily... hourly...and that we have the provisions that we need to live when indeed it all falls apart. My mom used to worry about our generation. I worry about my kids. I fear that they will never enjoy the freedoms we obviously took for granted!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Rest of Halloween photos

I forgot to post pictures of the kids. I got the younger 3 before they headed out but Kelsey had gone to a friends after school so I didn't see her until we met up at the church and although I brought the camera I didn't get pictures. However she was a vampire... a pretty one lol.

I don't know why it looks like he has attitude. Jon was a prisoner. He even had the board with the prison number he just wasn't wearing it. He added the Napoleon Hair for fun.
This was the costume that almost wasn't. Alison was the Corpse Bride and it took forever to find the costume in her size and after paying extra for quick shipping it didn't show. It took lots of phone calls to DHL to get them to find it and get it to our house 2 hours before it was time to go. Good Times!
Joshua was a Clone Trooper. I told the kids to bring pillow cases to pack their candy (I'm old school) Josh grabbed his transformer pillow case and was not going to trade it out for a plain one. Oh well. It was dark and I am sure no one noticed.

After we took back in our body parts from the yard, Alison decided they needed to be dressed and put together. These are her clothes and display. She was actually trying to make it look like the evil two headed baby ate the guy but she couldn't get the doll to sit right for the photo. She makes her father proud!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween


This is Joe's FAVORITE holiday.

Monday, October 27, 2008

All about me

Well I did it. I got off my lazy (scared) butt and got me a job! What?? I know. I have been a stay at home mom for 13 years. It was the saddest looking job application I have ever seen. But luckily it's Christmas time and people need help. I have returned to my old stomping grounds of the mall. I got a job at Childrens Place. I am nervous since I have been out of the loop for so long but it should be fun. I start tomorrow. The silver lining to this job thing is having to buy new clothes. I do like new clothes!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Joe

Joe is in Florida for a week at a conference. Lucky dog! I figure since he's gone... and can't tell me not to.... I will spotlight him.

Joe was born in Spokane WA and spent the rest of his "Before Stephanie" life between Kennewick WA and Umatilla OR. After graduating in 91' he continued working and started college. That's where I come in!

November 1993

Joe and I met while we were both working at JCPenny. I was a credit catalog girl and Joe did display. I'd seen him before but I was too busy flirting with the stock hands to pay much attention. One day at work the phone rang and one of my coworkers said it was for me.

He said "Hi this is Joe and I work in display. Do you like kids?"

haha I didn't know who this guy on the phone was but I was so sure I was going to have to break his heart right there with a nice version of I am way too cool for you so don't ever call me again.

I said sure with the question of why in my head. He said that he was putting on a haunted house and needed volunteers. He asked if we could get together after work to tell me more about it. My arrogance faded.

We met that night and after telling me the details and what he wanted my part to be we spent the rest of the night talking and talking. He made me laugh and I loved that. He was ambitious. Even though he didn't have the best life he made every opportunity count. I admired that about him.

That was October 14 1993. We have been inseparable since. We got married in May of 94. Kelsey was born in May of 95. Joe joined the Air Force and left 2 weeks later for Basic Training.

Joe at Basic Training Graduation July 1994

Since then the boy who had never left the Northwest never gets to go back. We have lived in Washington DC, Maryland, Texas, Germany and now Illinois. He has been a writer for the base paper then editor. He cross trained into computers but even that's not what he's doing now. It's top secret. He'd tell you but he'd have to kill you.

Things you may not know about Joe:

  1. He decorates our house not me
  2. He colors my hair (I like changing colors)
  3. He can draw very well
  4. He is artsy craftsy
  5. He makes really good lasagna
  6. After these next set of classes are finished he is going to start his doctorate so we have to call him Doctor... Dr Joe. Kelsey says it has a nice ring.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

New Calling

Joe has been the 11 yr old Scout leader and taught the Valiant Boys in Primary. I have been the Wolves and Bears Cub Leader, CTR 7 teacher, and a Visiting Teaching Supervisor. I say this because I have been frustrated lately with our busy schedule and the fact the Joe and I have to be in the same places at the same times and there is no one left to run kids to and from or to be at home when one of the kids is sick.
Saturday night Joe got a phone call from a guy in the High Council wanting to meet with both of us on Sunday. Joe got called to be the 2nd Counselor in Elders Quorum. I was so excited. Joe too. He's happy to be out of Primary lol. I am happy to have our callings seperated so we don't overlap so much.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Update

We are still here. Just really busy. Jonothon tried out and made the 6th grade basketball team. Being the good mom I am I was sort of hoping he wouldn't make it. Kidding! But it is one more thing to do lol. So currently Jonothon is doing soccer (a practice and a game every week), basketball (practice 3 times a week), scouts and he signed up for a chorus group at school. He does chorus during lunch twice a week and one early morning practice. So maybe Jon is busy and I just drive alot!
This week has also been sick week. First Josh got the stomach bug then Kelsey then Alison. But on the plus side...all the bedding has been washed.... several times..... and I am only down to 3 more people to get sick.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Smooth Talker

The phone just rang and it was a girl for Jon. He answers the phone with hello. oh hey. what do you want. uh huh. what? I don't know. ok. bye.
Yeah my son is a smooth talker lol.

A Great Day

It's only 7:30 in the morning and already I know it's going to be a great day! First of all it's sun shiny! Always a great start. Plus after volunteering first thing this morning I will have nothing NOTHING for the rest of the day! Finally after a week of non stop sports and appointments and school I have absolutely nothing to do. I think Joe and I will go out tonight. Yes! An evening out of the house with my hubby. It will be a nice break before the chaos starts again. Saturday is soccer, football, festival at the park, and General Relief Society Conference with a dinner before. It's fun but I like to not be busy.

But the best part...
the reason I just KNOW it's going to be a great day
is that ....
USC LOST!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you Oregon State!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Michelle

I just wanted to blog about Michelle and let her know how grateful I am to her for being Tyler's wife and therefore being apart of our crazy family. Also for making such cute little people for me to love so!

Oh one more thing...

I want to show you all just how crafty she is. She can do things with crochet needles that my grandma would be proud of! She makes the CUTEST baby hats.


A little plug (because she's family and my blog) Michelle sells these on Etsy. So if you are in the market for a baby gift please think of her. http://cuddlybug.etsy.com/

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Spotlight

So not much is going on here and I thought if I don't post soon people will lose interest in me and I won't be cool anymore haha. I decided that I would spotlight people from my blog list. Today I will do my sweet beautiful smart clever sister Jennifer!

BAM! What now! I think this photo is GREAT!!! She makes me look so good hahaha!

I have obviously known Jennifer a very long time. We have been close since we were very small. I always thought she was so cute and fun. I think my mom has a photo somewhere where I am trying to rip her arms off. Also a classic.

When we were teenagers we took turns with our brothers getting our own rooms and it used to drive me nuts to share with Jennifer! That girl was MESSY!!! You wouldn't know it now since she is OCD about cleanliness. But when were were younger she didn't clean so one day I threw all of her stuff outside the front door. Good Times!

What's with the socks?

Jennifer is the best. She has always been there for me. Even taking my cute baby Kelsey to let me sleep or run errands when Joe was at Basic Training and Tech school. It was hard having Joe gone but Jennifer really helped me out. She still does. We haven't lived anywhere near each other in 13 years but we spend hours on the phone laughing so hard I cry. We have some memories for sure. Many are not for public knowledge, some are not for mom knowledge. Ask her and you might get something good. Jen is a great story teller but if it's about me.... she is a liar!

Love you Jen!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Holy Gas Prices!

I was holding off buying gas in hopes it would go down but it didn't. In fact it went from $3.69 to $3.89 in a day. I thought wow I need gas soon. Next day I was at the school and a teacher said it was $3.99. Crap! So I sent Joe to put gas in the car while he was running Jon around to Scout campout/soccer. He told me it was $4.19 WHAT!! So then he hears that it's supposed to top $5 and they are going to limit it. He goes to get gas for his truck and it's $4.80!!!!!!!!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wanted to add a little follow up. As of today Tuesday the 16th gas is at $4.09 so hopefully things will get better soon. I was really enjoying gas being lower after this summer and traveling!

Friday, September 12, 2008

90 and Skinny

So I am volunteering at the elementary school for Library and Computers. Yesterday I had the 1st graders in Library. So cute! They were all staring at me and commenting how tall I was to each other. Granted I was standing and I was wearing a boot with a heel. So I was taller. Then when I sat down to read this was the conversations:

little boy: "Wow you must be 90!"
me: "90? Years old?"
little boy: "Yes because you are so big!"
little girl: " Yes but she is so skinny!"
As you can see the little girl was clearly my favorite. Thinking about having her follow me around making such incredibly accurate comments lol.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Cardinals Baseball and Dancing

Alison had the chance to dance before the Cardinals game on Saturday. She was so excited and not the least bit nervous! The only downside was the crappy seats they gave the parents. It was like hey pay a ton of money and sit no where near your kid to take pictures ha ha. We were spoiled all season with excellent seats a friend hooked us up with. Jon didn't mind and Josh and Alison had never been before so they thought the whole experience was cool. Kelsey was too cool for school so she stayed home and Jon brought his friend Trevor as our replacement kid. Over all it was fun to hang out as a family and Alison had a blast. Plus the cherry on top was that the Cards won! I'll post better pictures of Alison later.


Alison is blue shorts hands on head. Before the dance started.

Nose bleeds

Alison and Jon

Josh and Joe

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Birthday


I am the big 33! I actually like being in my 30's. I don't feel "old". In fact I feel pretty darn good. Thanks to all my well wishers. I really appreciated the cards, emails, phone calls etc. I had a great day!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Just Because

I just adore them!

Bye, Bye Bejing! Next Stop London

Well I for one will miss the Olympics. I live for the stories. The underdog coming through in the last minute. The countries who have never medaled finally bringing one home (like the taekwondo athlete from Afghanistan). Of course I want the US to have the most medals and jump and cheer when we win.



Michael Phelps was too fun. We would gather around the tv to watch him swim. Cheering him or his team on. I always like the swimming events but this year we really got into them all. Women and men's. We look forward to seeing him and all the other athletes in 2012.

Friday, August 15, 2008

First Days of School

They have been a little bit rocky. Last year we moved in 3 weeks after school started. All the kinks had been worked out. Schedules established bus routes honed to perfection. This year has been a nightmare! Buses don't come, they pick up late, they drop off late and in the wrong places. Or my new favorite was yesterday Kelsey wanted off the bus and the bus driver said it wasn't her stop so she couldn't get off. Kelsey told her she was going to a friends and apparently that was ok. It's been very frustrating. But all through these last 3 days I am so thankful for cell phones. The kids and I have used them a lot lately.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Six Flags



Joe took Monday off and we went to Six Flags all day. It was a nice little break and a fun way to kick off school which starts Wednesday. Joe and the kids (minus Kelsey) love rides. They could go all day and they did. Kelsey and I are more stay on the ground don't die sort of people. Kelsey went on a few rides with Josh and did Go Carts with Joe. We all did the water rapids. So funny. We got soaked! I sucked at taking photos sorry!



Kelsey and Joe driving



video


The video is of the Superman. Joe and the kids were on the far right so I couldn't get a good shot of their faces but they said it was pretty freaky.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Under Arrest

Well not quite. A policeman did show up at my door this evening though. I went to the school after church to check who the kids' teachers were going to be. When we got all done with the who's in my class excitement I peaked into the recycling bin to see if there were any coupons on top. Yes I like coupons. I didn't dive I didn't even dig but I did look. I saw nothing and left. I guess someone saw got my licence plate and called the police. Apparently it's illegal. Lesson learned. Good times. Sorry no pictures with this one but at least the cop was nice. Plus everytime there is a story involving me and the law Jennifer gets a good laugh.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Zoo

My mom was here for a few days and I wanted to do something fun. We went swimming a couple times but mostly the kids just played games with grandma. It's their favorite thing to do when she comes. Anyway, we wanted to go to the Zoo and fiigured if we got out of the house early enough we could miss the heat. WRONG!!! Oh man was it hot. As we pulled out of the driveway the dj on the radio announced that there was a heat warning for the day and with humidity it would feel like 110. Nice. So armed with lots of water we headed to the zoo.
These are some ways we stayed cool



We made sure we found places in the shade.



We saw the Sealion Show. Afterward the staff turned the hoses on and sprayed guests as they left.



We spent time inside the Primate House. (Alison's hair shows the hosed down look)


And lastly we spent a long while visiting with the penguins and the puffins. Their habitat was freezing and it felt sooo good!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Mini Vacation


We made it to WA. It was a last minute decision. Gas prices were so high and I had decided that I was going to take the kids to TX to see Tyler's family. Joe changed his, mine and the kids' minds and we decided what the heck. We had to bring our dogs (kennels were full) and for the most part we spent it at Jen's because she's Jennifer and she's bossy. Kidding. For those of you who didn't know, Jen had a hystorectomy and she has Breast Cancer and it was just nice to be there and let the cousins play. We were only around 2 weeks and 5 of those days were driving to and from. Yuck! The last day we were in town went and had pictures taken of the grandkids. It took a while but everyone had their eye's open and Kai wasn't screaming lol. I am thankful Jen let us take over her house. We are glad we went "home" and got to see even the few people we did! Below are some of the other things we did.



First we saw Heidi. I love Heidi and she made the first part of the trip (when Jen was in Vegas) bearable. We played with Nyssa who is adorable. We went swimming and to the park and just chatted at her house. We even went to church in her brother's (Shawn Sant) ward (also Aaron Kellers ward but they were out of town).



Jen got back from Vegas so we met up at Taco Bell in Pasco. I know... big spenders high class!


The kids spent the time playing war with the playing cards Jen bought for each of them and trying to convice us to let them go back to Jennifers. They won.

The next day was July 4th. And Jon and Alison were still at Jen's so I only had Kelsey and Josh at Columbia Park.


When we go home we always go there for Fireworks. Joe's family goes early and everyone comes and brings food. I love being by the river! Kelsey and I hung out most of the day. We did some shopping at the booths and some people watching. There were some bands playing so we checked those out too. It was fun until the fireworks actually started. They launched them not from the barge they have had since I was small but from the boat launch at the side of the park so no one could see the fireworks. LAME. We gave up and walked back to the car where magically you could see them clearly. Not funny.



We went to Howard Amon in Richland to meet up with some of Joe's friends/family and they rented a segway and Jon stole most of the time. He had a blast. The rest of the kids hung out in the river. By the way the photos are supposed to be side by side. I still struggle haha.

The last week was all Jennifers. I loved it. The dogs loved it and the kids I never saw. Alison and Jonothon went with Maycie and Isaac all week to their dance camp. We would go swimming or play games. There was shopping at one point. It was just nice to sit and veg.