Monday, December 13, 2010

Rockstar Dad!

I am so blessed to be married to Matt....amazing husband, best friend, perfect partner for all that life throws our way, and Rockstar Dad!! When work gets busy for me, he is always there to pick up the slack and love and play with the kids. Today was one of those he made it a day of fun. Here are the pictures he sent me throughout the day...

A fort for King Cameron and Queen Emmy
A dry house creates a little static in our house...especially while in the fort with all the this one!Another fun part of daddy being home...Snowman Pancakes!!
Love you Matt!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree!

On Monday night we decorated our tree as a much fun! Funny how all of the ornaments were at the bottom of the trees!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Just A Taste...

We baked today.

As good as the Gingerbread cookies tasted, they couldn't be matched by the sprinkles!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Community Christmas

Today was fun for a lot of different reasons. Time spent with family and time spent with the kids really says it all.

Today I had the chance to go Christmas shopping with my sister Jessica and we had a blast! (we missed you Lindsay!!). We laughed, had great conversations, and spent quality time that doesn't happen often enough.

On the way home I picked the kids up from Colleen's and we headed to Wanamingo for their Christmas in the Community. We started at SEMA (John Deere dealership) where Santa and Mrs. Claus came riding in on their John Deere tractor. Jess, Joey and Peyton came too and the kids thought is was AWESOME! I'll admit that I have been on the fence about the Santa thing with the kids...I know it sounds humbug like but there is so much more to Christmas than Santa and presents!! Cameron and Emmy were more curious to see who Santa was than anything. It was very fun as they had the John Deere shop all decorated, had cookies, popcorn and juice boxes for the kids, and it was fun to visit with people from all over the surrounding area. Here were some of Cameron's thoughts and questions as he learned we pulled into the SEMA dealership:
  • Santa owns a lot of tractors and combines! (he was a bit confused with it being at the tractor dealership)
  • Santa has a forklift like my buddy Nate!! (there was one in the shop)
  • Does Santa have legs for me to sit on?
  • Who is the lady with that his sister?
Emmy was excited to see them too but not quite as sure when she actually got to sitting on the lap of Mrs. Claus!
Cameron couldn't decide what was better, the sleigh or the John Deere toy catalog that Santa gave him.
After we left SEMA we drove to down town Wanamingo and stop at a few of the local businesses to see some friends, have some treats, and celebrate the Christmas season. I loved this whole event and appreciate how everyone was out and about for the Christmas in Wanamingo celebration....really makes me appreciate the community we live in!

Tonight as we got ready for bed Emmy was serenading us so just had to add a link so you could listen...I made her sing again so I could record it. I never want to forget how precious she and her little voice are!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!

I'm a day late in my birthday wishes but just want my dad to know how much I love him!! Happy Birthday Dad!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Much To Be Thankful For

Our family has been richly blessed with our daily needs and a whole lot of extras! At the beginning of the month we started talking with the kids each day about what we are all thankful for. To capture this, we created a thankful tree. It has been so fun and eye-opening to recognize the big and little things that God has blessed our family with.

Every day the kids would ask about adding to the thankful tree. I think we'll make it an annual tradition for the month of November leading up to Thanksgiving...although, we could probably keep it going all year long! We hope anyone that reads this has a safe and blessed Thanksgiving! I'll end with the words from one of my favorite Thanksgiving hymns when I was growing up..

Now thank we all our God,
With heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom his world rejoices;
Who from our mother's arms
Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours to-day.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A WOW of a Weekend!

I didn't tell many people we were going on a trip this weekend. I'll be honest, when Matt first surprised me with it, I didn't believe it was true. It has been on my BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) wish list....Napa Valley! It was a bit of a splurge.......that I will never be sorry we took!! Matt starts basketball next Monday and I am so happy I had him all to myself for an amazingly fun weekend before the winter schedule hits!

About the trip...

Our dear friend Darv from Albert Lea turned 60 over the weekend. His wish was to spend the weekend with friends and family in Napa Valley. Darv, his wife Marcia, and their family have had a very special place in our hearts since living in Albert Lea. A little over a months ago he asked Matt about it and little did I know Matt booked the trip (he is very, very good at surprises!!)

Thanks to our good friends the Schwankes, G'ma Carol and G'pa Gary, and G'ma Deb and G'pa Don the kids were well cared for and we were off and running on Friday night. We arrived in Sacramento in the dark and drove our Mustang Convertible through an amazing landscape that we did not see until the next morning. Our accommodations for the first two nights were at the Yountville Inn in Napa Valley....WOW!! If you check the website you'll get an idea of the room we stayed in! Here is a view down the road from the hotel.

Saturday morning we met the group for breakfast and to catch up on the activities from the night before. Friday was Darv's actual birthday so the party was in full swing by the time we got there. Darv's kids surprised him with a 1965 Mustang for a gift...we missed seeing them give it to him but it sounds as though he was completely surprised and overwhelmed with excitement!

Saturday morning and early afternoon we piled into a van and Expedition and headed for a tour of vineyards and wineries....WOW!! The landscape was incredible and with all the grapevine leaves changing color, it was absolutely a beautiful drive. I was so impressed at the vineyards...they are so well managed and cared for. I think it is just one of the many agricultural wonders in California!

Two of the wineries we stopped at were Duckhorn Vineyards and V. Sattui Winery. The two were extremely different from each other. Duckhorn was very relaxed with a big wrap around porch to sit on and do a tasting. V. Sattui was crazy busy with people lined up for tastings. They had a deli, gift shop, and were grilling various goodies outside for the hundreds of people that were visiting. Two very different atmospheres but both very fun.

After our stops at these locations we headed back to the Inn to relax and get ready for the evening birthday bash. At 5:00pm we were picked up in limos and taken to Bell Wine Cellars for our evening activities. We were greeted with wine (who'd of thunk!) and walked into the facility to see this...WOW!!
Oak Barrels aging wine that is to be bottled
Our tables for our dinner were set up among the wine barrels...dancing (for some!) followed our dinner
The picture is a bit blurry but these are Darv's three kids and spouse/fiance/girlfriend! Love all of them!!
Meanwhile Back in MN....

The snow was flying and the kids were having a blast making snowmen, swimming, playing and watching movies with the Schwankes, G'ma Carol and G'pa Gary, and G'ma Deb and G'pa Don.

Sunday morning we woke up early and started the day with breakfast with the Habben's before they headed back to MN. We had a wide open schedule and decided to just go for a drive! We headed over the mountains crossed into Mendocino County and into the Sonoma Valley. We had to make a bit of a detour as Matt realized his camera batteries were completely dead! He told me he didn't come all the way to California to have his camera die so off we went to find a camera shop. Back on track we stopped at Goldeneye Anderson Valley which was actually part of the Duckhorn winery we had stopped at on Saturday. We had a great time sitting in their backyard sipping wine and looking at the beautiful vineyard. We decided this was our favorite vineyard/winery and Matt got some great photos...including some cheesy photos of us!!
We headed toward the coast after this stop and saw some absolutely beautiful scenery going through the Redwood Forests.

After some winding roads the forest opened up to Hwy 1 and this view of the coast....WOW!!
We drove for a few hours along the coast and went back into the woods on some very curvy roads (thought I might get car sick actually!). We eventually got to the town of Ukiah to stay for the night. We ask for recommendations on a place to eat and ended up at a little place called Cafe Walter...I laugh thinking about it. It was crazy decor with everything from Chinese wall hangings, porcelain dolls, a brass elephant head and horse posters. You'd think that the way it was decorated that it might be a bit shady on the food end. The menu was pretty crazy too...sushi, steaks, seafood, pizza, pasta, and on and on. When we got our food...WOW...we were so surprised and satisfied with how great it all was! This picture is a bit crazy but is a plate of sushi we had...very well prepared I might say!

We headed out early the next morning to start our drive back toward Sacramento for our flight home. Again, an amazing drive through mountains, into California lake country, and back into a more agricultural area. We saw fields of almond trees, cotton, vegetables, rice, and again more vineyards. The landscape of California is amazing and I was continually impressed throughout the weekend. It was a late night by the time we got home (12:30am) and we were very ready to see the kids!

We were so blessed to be able to take this trip and have the time together. It will be one of my happiest memories of our married life I believe. I took a lot of pictures with my phone but Matt got some incredible images with his camera as well....check out his blog to see them!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cameron's Adventures

Today was Cameron's first field trip with his pre-school class. They went to the nursing home! They went there to sing songs and visit with the older people. He even got to sing a solo for the people...his favorite "We're Gonna Win Twins!" We asked him about his day and about his field trip. He noted that the people seemed sad and that their legs don't work so they needed wheel chairs.

I love his age and the things that he is curious about. He has had a lot of questions lately about God, heaven and life in general. A few of our favorite conversations/questions have included:

- Does God have bones?
- Does heaven have bathrooms?
- How could God get a cow up to heaven? (We had one of our neighbors cows die over the weekend)
- Do Sogn and God play together?

It makes me smile big when we can have these conversations and although we don't always know how to answer, it is so fun to talk and pray with him.

Today was such a great day to play outside and Cameron was in his glory pretending to be "Super Cameron"...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Don't Turn You Back!

Lately, I can't turn my back on Little Miss Emmy Em...

Because if I do, this is what happens!!!

Where are her pants?
How did her shirt sleeve come off?
How did she get the iPad that was suppose to be charging?

Two is quite the adventure with this little girl!

We love our little miss little Em!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Book Review

At this point in my life, I don't have a ton of time to read books other than the daily book times with the kiddos. I love to read when I can so last week when I went to Indy I had time on the plane and in the evenings to read.

I have been a huge fan of Steven Curtis Chapman's music for some time. A few years ago, the Chapman family went through a horrible tragedy losing their youngest adopted daughter who was hit by their son's car as he pulled into their driveway. Since that time, Mary Beth Chapman (SCC's wife) has written a book called "Choosing to See".

The book begins with Mary Beth telling of her youth and how she came to meet and marry Steven Curtis Chapman. She gives some really great insight on marriage and how even long and strong marriages can be attacked by Satan. She goes on to tell about having her three biological children and the building of Steven's music career. She is really funny as she tells about the ups and downs of her life at that point. Mary Beth also shares about their journey through adopting their three little girls from China. It is so intriguing how through the pleading, praying and nudging of their 13 year-old daughter Emily, Mary Beth realized that it was part of God's plan for them to adopt. Through this process they learned of many families that wanted children badly but were struggling financially to make it happen...thus they formed Show Hope. Show Hope (named after their daughter Shaohannah Hope) is an organization that helps care for orphans and gives grants to families to help them in the adoption process.

The last part of the book tells of the details of Maria Sue's accident, death, and memorial. Grab lots of kleenix for this part. It is extremely sad but the best part is that the Chapman Family members are strong in their faith and their hope. They realize the big picture and are choosing to see that Maria is in heaven with Jesus and that they will see her again soon.

I love love love this book!! I love that Mary Beth is so real. She admits her faults and that she isn't perfect...even being married to someone that is in the spotlight. She over and over reminds readers that we can't walk this journey alone and that God is with us all the way through it. Each of the chapters begins with Steven Curtis Chapman song lyrics and relates with each of the chapters....absolutely beautiful!

I could go on and on about this book but would most definitely recommend reading it for yourself. I will read it again as there is so much insight. I could only hope to be as strong as this woman going through the things that they have gone through.

If you are looking to borrow a copy of the book, let me know!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Friends, Fun and Fondue!

Tonight Matt and I met some very dear friends to celebrate our anniversaries. Last year we began a yearly tradition to get together with Aimee and Jason Bakke to celebrate our October anniversaries! Last year the guys picked Fogo de Chao. This year it was the girls pick and we decided on the Melting Pot....what a great choice!

It was very relaxing with four different courses (cheese fondue, salad, main entree fondue, and dessert fondue). It was so fun to catch up with great friends and have a night out. Can't wait for next year's night out with the Bakke's!

A couple of pictures from the fun of our evening. You can see the two fondue pots in front of us and the wonderful food that we got to cook...I would highly recommend this place!

Can you see Aimee and Jason through the steam?!

Meat, veggies, bread, fruit and cake...just a few of the things you can put into the fundue pot (with different toppings of course!!)
Happy Anniversary Aimee and Jason...we are blessed to have your friendship!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Bit Behind on Blogging...

We've been busy...

I attended the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis last week

I'm so proud of our officers and MN FFA members on all their accomplishments.
I love my job!!

While I was away, Matt (aka Rockstar Daddy!) had some fun with the kids...

They played
They went for rides on the Ranger
They went to the farm
G'ma Carol came to visit so daddy could hunt a bit

Emmy had a little fun with the markers or in other words gave herself some tattoos!

Since being home we are enjoying some family time...

Taking naps
Eating as a family
Going to church on Sunday
Family photo session on Monday
Life is good and blessed!

Here are a few photos from the other day...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Harvest Home

The LORD will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest.
Psalm 85:12

It is by far one of my favorite times of year....fall and harvest. It is the time of year when farmers are busy working all day every day in the fields to get the crops in before the weather turns bad. Growing up on the farm I always remember my mom and dad being on their toes constantly from early morning to late at night! They would go from the barn milking cows, to the field, back to the barn, and then many times back out to the field until it was dark and I was in bed. Thinking about my parents and so many other farmers makes me so proud to be a part of the agricultural industry. Hard-working people, strong values, and pride in their land and animals.

Today the kids and I headed to the farm to play, ride in the combine, and just be a part of this fun time of year. Beans were finished up last night so today was all about cleaning up and switching gears to prepare for corn harvest. I don't know what it is about the combine but it is by far one of my favorite pieces of machinery :).....very powerful and amazing what it can do! After lunch, Cameron and I just sat in the combine and watched as my dad worked on cleaning and tuning up various parts of the combine bean head.

Although they didn't do any actual combining while we were at the farm, Cameron and Wyatt got to ride along with G'pa Don as he drove out to switch from the bean head to the corn head. G'ma Deb, Emmy and I followed on the Gator and were able to spend some time picking up corn cobs that hadn't been picked up during corn silage chopping. It was another glorious sunny day! We've had so many great days in a row (praise God!) Its been perfect for the farmers!

Here are a couple of snapshots I took on my phone today...

G'pa Don and his little helpers in the combine
G'ma Deb with the corn picking crew

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Emmy's 2nd Birthday Party

We were blessed to celebrate Emmy's 2nd birthday today with our family. Hard to believe she is two but life is more precious and fun every day at this age. All week when asked how old she was, Emmy would announce "I'm three!" I'm glad she isn't three yet as the next year is sure to be full of fun and adventure!

I remember when I was young being very in love with Care Bears, Barbies and My Little Ponies. Emmy's favorite things right now are drawing/coloring and Dora The Explorer! She loves to watch Dora, wear Dora and gets excited with anything that has Dora on it. Therefore, we had a sort of Dora theme going for the day. At least her cake was Dora but many of the wonderful gifts to her were also Dora types of goodies!

It was a beautiful day so the kids got to play outside a lot and had Georgia out of her cage to run around. It was so fun to have everyone here and at times maybe a little crazy as we had seven kiddos all three and under running around! Check out some of the pictures from the day...

Thank you all for the gifts now on to the cake!!

Matt and I partnered up to make the Dora cake!
Emmy dug in like a was like her 1st b-day all overWe all had blue lips from the bright blue frosting - little miss Harper was especially sweet with her blue lips
We also had fun playing with cousins (Wyatt, Harper, Brynn, Molly, and Peyton) and our bunny Georgia

Many more birthdays Emmy!!

More from tonight....a few of Emmy's favorite things right now!