Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Look at our Christmas

The kids opening their stockings.

Bella awoke to a new bed, a new rawhide bone and a new rope toy! She was in her element!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Dog from the North

Bella loves the snow! I thought she would be a princess and gingerly step into the snow to do her business. Nope! She thinks she's a snow plow. She heads straight into the snow nose down. She LOVES it!

She would stay outside for hours if I would let her.

At least her coat looks warm.

The only draw-back is what you find UNDERNEATH the snow dog when she comes back in. Unless I get the blow dryer after her or rinse her in warm water, she will melt all over the house. Silly dog!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Photos for Aunt Doris

Johnny's Aunt Doris asked for some pictures of our house at Christmas. I had taken some of the kids a few weeks ago while trying to get a picture for our Christmas cards. Here are a few that didn't make the cut!
Parker on the upstairs landing

Parker in front of our new tall, skinny tree.

Grayson in front of the back window revealing our winter wonderland!

Parker, Grayson and Halle hiding our skinny tree.

Me and my sweetie. We used this picture in our card. Don't ask....I mailed them should be coming!

Sweet Halle under the stockings that Nana made.

Grayson by his favorite Christmas things...the nutcrackers.

Halle Jane

Halle and cousin Chatlie at the American Girl store in Chicago. Nana treated us girls to a lovely Christmas dinner along with Alyssa and Molly (Halle and Chatlie's AG dolls.)

Sorry for the "posed" pictures Aunt Doris, but I hope this gives you an idea of what Christmas looks like at our house. I'll try to take some more candid shots and post them for you. Have a VERY Merry Christmas!


Jen, Helen & Wendy

Meet two of my very best Wheaton friends, Helen and Wendy. Our families have spent a lot time together over the last year, and the three of us have been meeting on Tuesday mornings to do Beth Moore Bible studies. I am thankful for good friends!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dangers of the Ice and Snow

You've probably noticed that I haven't been blogging lately. It's either because I haven't found much blog-worthy or I've been too busy to notice stuff that should go on the blog. At any rate, something blog-worth DID happen today and I have time to post it! And you'll be thrilled to know that it's about my very most FAVORITE topic-----the weather!

I should've known that it was going to be a bad day. When you wake up and the temperature gauge says -9 degrees nothing good can come from it. We had no business being out of the house, but of course we had to go to Grayson's first indoor soccer game of the season. We all loaded up in the van and were on the highway when all of a sudden there was a loud CRASH, a hard SMACK and I was cold and wet.

And there you have it. A very large sheet of ice came off of the roof of the van in front of us and went right through our windshield (and notice the lovely dents in the roof). At first I was just shocked at the ability of snow from a car to smash through our windshield, but we quickly assessed that no one was hurt and were so thankful that the ice hit where it did. A few inches to the left and it would have hit Johnny, and few inches to the right and it would have hit me. A few inches lower and it could've blown the whole windshield. I am feeling God's protection at this very moment!

The inside of our van is covered with ice and glass. Although a lot of the windshield remained in-tact, lots of tiny pieces of glass adhered to the ice particles from the snow ball and are now littered all throughout our van. You can't touch one without the other.

We were close enough to Gray's game that we continued our journey. The front desk provided us with a roll of duct tape, and it did the trick. (Is there NOTHING that duct tape can't fix?) Needless to say, it was a very chilly ride home, but we made it. The car is still a mess....who wants to vacuum up icy glass chips when it's still below zero? None of us. We headed for the fireplace to thaw out. I think we'll just stay home until it warms up to double digits. The high today was supposed to be 5, but I don't think it made it. Tomorrow will be better. It's supposed to get up to 9....positive 9....18 degrees warmer than today. Yippee.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Polar Express

All aboard! We took the kids on a trip to the North Pole via the Polar Express (aka the Metra Train.)

It was super cold outside but felt GREAT inside the train.

Nana and Granddaddy (and Bitty Baby) got to go with us, too!

The kids got sugar cookies and chocolate milk.

Halle enjoyed cuddling on Daddy's lap while listening to the Polar Express story.

We took several family pictures, but Halle and I looked the best in this one! It's hard to get 5 people looking great in one photo!

When we arrived at the North Pole, guess who we picked up? Who knew??

After our train ride, Santa met us at Starbuck's for coffee.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Halle's First Ever Angel Party

Ten little angels joined Halle for her first Angel Party--a tradition that my sister, Andrea, started when her girls were little. When Andrea moved to Houston, she mailed me her Angel Party box and urged me to get started with Halle. How could I refuse? The girls were all so cute dressed up in their wings and halos!

Each Angel brought and angel ornament for the gift exchange. It was fun to see all the unique ornaments--no two were alike.

After decorating pizza angels with sauce, pepperoni and cheese, the girls decorated angel-shaped sugar cookies. Here are Halle, Kelly and Kelsey in the various stages of decorating (and tasting!)

The girls also made several angel crafts--they decorated their wings, made an angel ornament and also an angel bracelet. Craft-time was very busy, and I was so blessed that my bonus parents were here (John and Jane Harris) to help me accomplish this! They were such a HUGE help!
I can't wait for Halle's Angel Party next year! What fun!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Vicious Cycle

It all started during the 2008 Summer Olympics. A small thin line across the bottom of our TV screen. It wasn't that bothersome....and it would come and go.

Fast forward to November 5. I turned on the TV for Halle at lunchtime and our screen had been reduced to a very small box in the middle. And it was sort of slanted. And you couldn't really see the whole picture. I turned the TV off and back on thinking that it would heal itself like it had done with the small thin line. Nope. Not this time. So I waited a day. Then two. Evidently there was to be no self-healing. And I was beginning to miss my TV. I was amused that I NEVER wanted to watch TV during the day....until I COULDN'T. Then I missed it. And Johnny was out of town.

By November 7 we were the proud owners of a brand new high definition (HD) 40" flat screen TV. Nice! But wait a minute. You can't actually USE the HD feature unless you have a HD receiver. I guess we'd better upgrade that. Thanks DirecTV! But now our movies don't look good through our old DVD player. Hmmmm. Better get a Blu Ray player. That'll fix it! And the Blu Ray player is so cool that it can streamline Netflix movies and play lots of them on demand.....but you have to have an internet connection. When our house was built 13 years ago, they didn't think to put a phone jack or a internet connector by the cable jack. Better call the phone company. Oh, and all of the DVD's we own? They look better but not nearly as cool as the Blu Ray DVD's! I guess we will have to replace our movie collection.

As the dust settles on our new purchases I feel like I've been had by a very sophisticated marketing scheme. Or did we do this just to satisfy our want for electronics? Either way, pull up a chair and bring some popcorn....I think we have a new theater.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Parker dressed up like......
.....a pre-teen!

Grayson dressed up like.....
... Indiana Jones!

Halle dressed up like.....
....a little teapot!

We attended our second annual trick-or-treating party at the Larson's joined by the other Harris'. A good time was had by all!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Pumpkin Patch

We had a tradition when we lived in Texas to hit the Flower Mound pumpkin patch at some point in October. I'm not sure how it happened, but our first fall in Wheaton did not result in a trip to the patch. My sentence for not making it happen was to endure questions ALL YEAR long about why we didn't go to the pumpkin patch and could we be sure to go this year?

Since we have such beautiful falls, there was no shortage of pumpkin patches. Only, I learned that a lot of the pumpkin farms are also apple orchards. Unfortunately, by the time we had a free weekend to hit the patch (soccer eats up most of our October weekends), the apple-pickin' time was over. So, we settled for the pumpkins only and have decided to go earlier next year so we could pick apples.

I remember complaining that in Texas it was always too warm on pumpkin patch day. I would dress the kids all up in their fall sweaters and they would be sweltering by the time we were finished. They were also always "squinty" because the sun was so bright! What I've learned about Illinois pumpkin patch days is that you don't have to worry about the squinty eyes, but since you have to wear heavy jackets to keep warm, you can't see the fall sweaters. I think I need to create a simulated indoor pumpkin patch for the picture taking!

The kids had a great time wandering through the corn maze.

Although at times, they were stumped on which way to go!

Amber requested some fall foliage picks. Amber this one's for you!

They each picked out the perfect pumpkin....

.....and even got to wash it at the pumpkin washing station.
...To be continued next year. Look for apple pickin' pics!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Marathon

Autumn, Janda and I--contemplating the map of the course on October 18. Wow! That's a lot of miles!

On October 20 we stood in front of the same map VICTORIOUS!

Can you say 26.2 AND bust? Bust is what Autumn and I did to our knees as we both ran on injured IT bands. Stinkin' IT bands. You can't run with 'em and you can't run without 'em! After the marathon we were reduced to not moving and icing! It is weird that just hours before we were on our feet running a marathon and by that evening we couldn't have even run around the block!

All in all the marathon was a success. Since I entered the race injured, my goal was to finish. I am happy to report that I achieved my goal. Unfortunately the competitor in me wants a re-do because I'm not happy with my time. In August, uninjured, I ran a 2:06 half-marathon. My time for the full marathon was over 6 hours! I don't know how we endured SIX hours out there, but we did it! But I would love to run the same course healthy and see how I could do.
If I can get my IT bands to cooperate, I think I might run Chicago in 2009 and attempt to beat my pitiful PR (personal record) in 2010. That shouldn't be too hard! And to think I thought that I'd run only ONE marathon......

Friday, October 17, 2008


Janda, Autumn and I arrived in sunny San Francisco today!

Niketown has the name of EVERY runner on their window! Here I am by mine!

Looks like we have a challenge in front of us, but WE WILL CONQUER!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Side Effects of Kindergarten

This is what happens in the afternoon after a busy morning at Kindergarten. You might just want to curl up with your favorite blanket and take a nap.....most days.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Time to Build an Ark

It started raining on Friday. Just a light sprinkle. I actually went for a little run after dropping the kids off at school. It was nice and refreshing. After I got home it started raining a bit harder, and harder and then it was pouring. It rained and rained and rained. When we woke up on Saturday morning the ground had already had enough. Even though the rain wasn't coming down hard anymore there still was no place for the new moisture to go. And thus the problems began. We noticed that water was beginning to pool in our backyard. We checked out our front yard and realized we had a situation! The water was completely covering our cul-de-sac and came up in our yard well past the sidewalk. AND IT WAS STILL RAINING!

Parker decided to rescue his soccer goal before it floated down-stream.

This is the view from our house up to the main street. It looked like a lake!

This is the view from our neighbors yard.

While we were fortunate enough not to have water leaking into our basement, that was not the case for everyone on our street. Our neighbors had an issue with rain water filling up their basement window wells causing water to leak into their basement. We spent about an hour and a half dipping buckets of water out of the window wells and depositing the water onto their lawn. It kept the situation at bay, but if you stopped it filled right back up. At one point I feared that we might be doing this all day, and then Reid showed up with a PUMP! He stuck it in the well and voila! all the water was pumped out in a matter of minutes. I'm glad he showed up but was secretly wishing he had made an appearance an hour earlier!

Here were are, looking like drowned rats! But, the basements stayed DRY!

After the boys got the window wells under control, our attention shifted to that of our children. Here you will see water running into our neighbors side yard looking for the french drain. Too bad it didn't realize that the drain had no where to drain to. Everything was so saturated and full that there was no place for the water to go. So what did it do? It created a swimming pool!

The kids got on their swimming suits and blew up the rafts! They had a great time!

Luckily the water levels went down by the end of the day. We had quite a parade of city vehicles on our street working to get this situation under control. Hopefully they will find the root of the problem and can fix it so that this doesn't happen the next time we get a big rain. Although the kids are likely to be disappointed, our basements will appreciate it!