Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2 minute break

We love the Muppets around here. We loved them as kids and now we're spreading the joy to our children. We introduced Dylan to them when he was about 2 years old and they started releasing The Muppet Show in DVD - he referred to it as the froggy show. We've been watching them on YouTube lately, and we've discovered Ella does a mean Beaker impression. Anyway, take a break and enjoy.

Monday, December 29, 2008

a Michigan kid trying to enjoy his Christmas present


Here is the obligatory Christmas post...I'll keep it brief since it was probably a much more fascinating event to me than to you. We had a wonderful Christmas the year. The kids are at fun ages. We're beginning to start family traditions, and the kids are able to grasp the real meaning behind Christmas. We are blessed to have all of our family close by, but that also means lots of parties - six this year plus our own Christmas morning "party". Highlights include Dylan shouting "Jackpot!" when Matt's grandparents gave him a remote control Nascar car and watching the joy on Ella's face as she helped various Nana's hand out Christmas presents (she is our little "giver" - usually very happy to share and help someone else out). Oh, and the best Christmas gift ever: the kids and I gave Matt a weasel ball.

This past weekend, we de-Christmas-ed the house...only 361 days until Christmas 2009!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

snowed in

If you live in Michigan, you probably spent your Sunday snowed in like we did. We did venture out to church this morning, but we've been home ever since. Here's how we spent our day.

Watching Curious George...
Making Christmas cookies...
Snuggling in our PJ's...
How'd you spend your snow day?

Christmas party #2

Our kids, and Ella in particular, have a sort of love/hate relationship with dogs. Since we don't have pets, they are both fascinated and terrified of them at the same time. At the Austin Christmas party last night, Ella got pretty brave with Gracie (Aunt Yesenia's doggy). Of course, Ella made sure Daddy stuck close by.
Here are a couple more shots from the night. Matt and Dylan after snowmobiling at Uncle Brian and Aunt Janet's. That was Dylan's first time and pretty brave of him to try it too - I'm sure riding with Daddy helped with that :)Uncle Chad, Ella & Tiger.

new camera

Sooo...I got a new camera. I told Matt that was all I wanted for Christmas and he was more than happy to get his Christmas shopping done just like that. It took me a couple of weeks to work up the nerve to go and actually buy the camera and then a couple of days to work up the nerve to take it out of the box. I've been using it for about 24 hours so far and we're getting along pretty well so far. I ended up with a Canon Powershot SX10 IS. Nothing too fancy (I'm not going pro or anything) but I wanted a step up from my little point and shoot. It is a slightly bigger camera which everyone tells me I won't like, but I think I'm ready for the change. Anyway...Merry Christmas to me, I guess :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Currently Watching: Friday Night Lights

If you have talked to me in the past week, you know I have a new obsessesion: Friday Night Lights. Kyle and Michelle have been telling us about this show for a while and we finally got around to borrowing their Seasons 1 & 2 DVD's. I watched a couple of episodes when it first came out but then I lost track of it on TV and forgot about it. We got the DVD's a week ago and since then Matt and I have watched 2-3 episodes every night. The first four nights we were up until almost 1am each night which was a little crazy so now we are trying to be more reasonable and only staying up until midnight (Matt has been nodding off lately though which makes me question if he's cut out for this kind of serious TV watching).

Anyway, a show that makes us act this crazy must be good. Here's the secret to what makes this show great: Matt says to me the other night, "I don't know why you like this show so much...it's about football." And I said "This show isn't about football...it's about relationships." Brilliant. Something for everyone.

We have watched 14 of the 22 episodes in the first season. 15 episodes in Season 2. We are trying to completely catch up before Season 3 starts on NBC on January 16. I know...we really should look into getting a life. We'll get on that as soon as we are done watching Friday Night Lights.

friends, fun & animal parts

Last night we had our small group Christmas party. We have been together for six years now and every year we do a white elephant exchange. I think last night's was the most hilarious yet - we seem to be getting real good at picking out awful gifts. Two years ago a new sort of tradition started when the Chapman's brought a deer leg lamp as one of their gifts. I was the lucky one who got to open it, and I'm not sure if the picture does it enough justice. It was quite literally a deer leg that had been cut off of Bambi and turned into a lamp - wired and ready for a lightbulb and everything. It was the most amazing/disgusting white elephant gift ever (and no, I didn't keep it to re-gift. It was really that disgusting).
So then last year Curt thought it would be hilarious to bring an alligator head (again, just a sawed off animal part) and rig it up so I got to open the dead animal thing. Anyway, I knew this year that I needed to find some sort of animal part to bring (it's getting pretty strange, isn't it?) I was talking about this with my parents one night and my dad said "Hey, I have two dried piranhas" (you know...because you can't just have one, you've got to have two). He very generously gave one to me and I had the pleasure of watching Charissa (the girl who brought you the deer lamp) open it last night and then her husband ended up with it at the end of the night. Finally...justice (or maybe that's revenge??)There were many other strange, strange things that showed up last night. It reminds me of how very weird these people are but also how much I love them all. They have become like family to us and I can't imagine going through life without them.

kids in a tub

The other night I was working on the computer and Matt was downstairs playing with the kids when I heard giggling coming my way. I looked up and found that Matt had carried both kids upstairs in the big toy tub we keep downstairs. These pictures just crack me up. Dylan and Ella found the whole experience to be pretty hysterical. And apparently, my husband is also very strong :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

my (almost) encounter with a (kind of) celebrity

Tonight Kate Gosselin from Jon & Kate + Eight was at Barne's & Noble signing books. I convinced Katie to head out with me (really, we will do just about anything for a girls' night out). The line was incredibly long - we heard three hours just to get your book signed - so we were happy staring through the window, taking a picture "with" Kate, and then heading down to Panera for coffee. Poor lady signing books for three hours and being stared at like she's a monkey but I'm sure she's getting filthy rich in the process!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Our two year old in all her two year old glory. First, she put herself in time-out. Then she yelled "nooooo!!!" at me while I took her picture. Complete with a talk-to-the-hand pose. LOVE her.

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree!

We finally got our Christmas tree up yesterday. We went all crazy and put it up in a different room this year. It's a tad smaller than usual because Matt and Dylan picked it out earlier this week and they claim it looked much bigger in the dark. Either way, we are officially Christmas-y around here now.

Monday, December 1, 2008


This past weekend, we celebrated my Grandma's 80th birthday. To honor this milestone, I helped put a photo book together for her filled with pictures of her with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Everyone supplied me with photos, and I stayed up late for about a week straight putting it together (while thinking, why did I volunteer for this?! :) ) The photo below that my brother Kyle makes me glad I put in those late book-making sessions:
My grandparents were born in Shanghai, China in the 1920's. They left China in 1949 so my Grandpa could attend seminary in the US and soon after the communists took over China and they were unable to return to their homeland until the late 1970's. My Grandma had four kids in five years while in the States and then left for Taiwan where my grandparents were missionaries with the Christian Reformed Church. In 1974, my Grandpa began broadcasting the Gospel (via radio) into mainland China. They eventually returned to the States, and my Grandpa pastored a Chinese speaking church in Chicago until he passed in 1988.

My Grandma's legacy is not only the lives she touched with my Grandpa as missionaries, but it's also all of us. In addition to her four children and spouses, she also has 11 grandchildren (7 of us are married), and 10 great-grandchildren (with 3 more on the way!)

Happy Birthday, Grandma! We love you!

building a snowman with my little man

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