Friday, December 31, 2010

Babies' First Christmas

We had two nephews born in 2010 so it was thier first Christmas this year!  Of course, they had no idea what was going on but it was fun for the adults! 

This is Cayson.  He will turn 1 in January.  I hadn't seen him since summer so he had changed alot!  He took his first steps the week before Christmas so he was toddling all over! 

This is Jack.  He turned 8 months old on December 21.  I like to think of him as "Mr. Cheeks"!  Both of babies love chewing on their cardboard baby books, eating Gerber Graduates baby snacks (they look like Cheetos for babies!) and exploring. 

We tried to get a nice picture of all the kids and of course the babies were noncompliant.  I think it's cuter that way anyway!

Cayson got tired and snuggled up in a Vikings blanket! 

We had a lovely time at our 3rd Christmas celebration...and our third huge meal in 48 hours!  

I hung around until the evening of the 27th when Andrea and I left to go back to Fargo.  Jake, although he seemed exhausted and overstimulated from being at the farm for 5 days, didn't want to leave with us!  He stood in the doorway with my mom and wouldn't leave!   

Andrea finally lured him out with a pepperoni stick.  He, and most dogs, find those things irrisistible!

On a sad note, my sister in law and her family lost their cat, Smithers/Smitty recenty.  I only met him a few times but he was a very nice cat and I wish I could have petted him one last time!  They adopted him from the Humane Society last year.  He was two years old. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Celebrations

Wow, it's over (well, not really...the 12 days of Christmas have just started) but the main event has passed.  Ours was crazy, as usual.  I can't believe it.  Last year I had several blog posts about my favorite Christmas stories and songs and memories that were long and elaborate.  I didn't really rise to the occasion this year, mostly because I have a job and in December last year I didn't!  So I did my best, I guess! 

On Christmas Eve we spend the evening at Justin's aund and uncle's house.  It is a night of excessive eating.  There is always a traditional visit from Santa!   

That is nephew Dylan getting his present from Santa!  It's so funny watching the kids and how astounded they are! 

I made Justin pose for a Christmas photo!

We arrived back at my parents' house around 11, where my extended family was still opening gifts!  I was glad to make it back so my grandparents could see us open our gifts from them. 

On Christmas morning I woke up early, as I always do!  I admit I still love the idea of presents under the tree and in the stockings!  It is a remnant of childhood that I will always keep with me I think...

 Presents!  Haha.  I got some good ones, including a fancy sewing machine from Justin. 

I caught poor Jakey lurking outside the window.  I'm sure he could hear the commotion and wanted to be inside with us!

It didn't take long for the house to start resembling an episode of the TV show "Hoarders"!  Don't worry, those bags of trash were discarded in a timely manner!

Around lunch time more visitors came and we had another round of presents and festivities.  

 My aunt Kris gave me these very nice potholders!  I love them! 

My grandma surprised me with an ornament that has hung on her tree for about 26 is a framed baby picture of me!

It was around the time when darkess was descending when an unusual event happened.  We were sitting in the living room and Justin noticed that something strange was running by outside the window!  It was a horse...and another horse!  And then more horses!  Someone's horses were on the loose and roaming the countryside.  They explored the yard, checked out Dad's new shop (it doesn't have doors yet) and finally got down to business grazing in the pasture (yes, there is a pasture although it hasn't been used for grazing animals since the 1960's!).  My mom called our neighbor who lives down the road about 2 miles and owns horses but no one was home.  The horses, although gigantic, were calm and not hurting anything so we just went back to our festivities.

They spent the night and continued to mill around the yard until the neighbor showed up the next day, most likely after following the trail these huge animals blazed in the snow.  Justin and I were celebrating Christmas with his family in Grand Forks (pictures of this will come later...there were babies there so I thought I'd give that Christmas a separate post) so we missed the action. 

He had a bucket of food and called out to them and the gathered around!  Then he started to lead them down the driveway!

Soon they started walking on their own toward their home!  I love how they got in a single file line!  They seemed like nice animals and made a very idyllic scene when they were calmly grazing surrounded by the frosted trees!  I'm glad their owner found them so they could get home!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!

I hope everyone had a lovely christmas weekend. Mine was hectic and full but also wonderful. I just got home about an hour ago and I don't feel like recapping the whole weekend right now but I have to mention that today is my dad's 53rd birthday!

I always thought it would be unfortunate to have a birthday right near Christmas...we always observe the day so it doesn't get overlooked in the chaos.  This year we gave him a Craftsman shop stool with adjustable height for use in the new shop he is building.  I stole the idea from Justin's parents who gave him one for Christmas.  We got the last one in Sears! 

Here are a few pictures of Tim through the years...

 This looks like he was probably somewhere between 1 and 2...Very cute. 

He said he wanted me to use a picture when he was young and skinny so I thought this one would work!  This was taken in the early 80's, definitely before I was born so probably 1981 or 1982. 

Happy Birthday! 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel

It is almost Christmas!  Once the 20th arrives I really start to feel the anticipation.  It is such a festive time and also such a mysterious time.  I used to love the advent candles in church and how each week brought us closer to Christmas. When I was younger I could barely contain my excitement for the arrival of Christmas.  I loved the idea of getting presents but I also could feel deeper meaning.  The last week of school before break was always full of fun activities such as our school concert (yes, I thought that was fun although I know many people didn't!).  In elementary school one year we did a watered down version of the Nutcracker where the older students got to wear costumes and do little dances on stage while the rest of the school sang in the background.  I was a "Candy Flute"  and I really wish I had a scanned photo of that!  We wore these big cardboard tubes with candy cane stripes and it was pretty silly.  I think everyone's parents just laughed at the whole production.  In high school I was usually a bit more nervous because I was the piano accompanist for at least one song each concert.  The Christmas songs were easy though! 

In addition to the concerts there was usually a "fun day" where the whole school spent an afternoon playing trivia and other games in the gym.  This day was special becaues we could eat candy and drink soda during school!  There was also a boys basketball game with a larger, rowdier crowd than usual because the college students were home visiting.  These activities made the time pass by faster, although my brother and sister and I were not too busy to dig around in the wrapped presents my mom placed under the tree ahead of time and do obnoxious things like count who had more boxes addressed to them. 

I was home this weekend and saw Allan, shopped, wrapped presents and went to a Christmas party.  I forgot my camera so I don't have any new pictures.  I have this one that I took a few weeks ago of our nativity scene.  My mom gave it to me as a shower gift.  I like the bright colors. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I just spent all day shopping with my mom and sister.  We have a huge capacity and tolerance for shopping.  My feet feel like I had a rough basketball practice in new shoes.  It is definitely Christmas!  When I got home and turned on the TV the Charlie Brown Christmas special was on!  That is such a cute Christmas special.  

My favorite part, and I'm sure many people agree with me, is the part where he tries to salvage the dignity of little sad Christmas tree.   I am the same way...when I buy plants at a greenhouse I always feel bad for the ones that look kind of wilted or that have a broken stems because I want to bring them back to health! 

Charlie Brown is not my favorite Christmas cartoon special, although my favorites have not been shown on TV in years.  The winner is the Garfield special.  I looked it up just a few minutes ago and learned that it has not been shown on TV since 2000.  I can't imagine why!  In the story, Garfield, Jon and Odie go to the farm where Jon grew up for Christmas.

As a young child, I remember watching this before we ever moved to ND and even after we did I have never really thought about how Jon's family Christmas and background is similar to my own!  In my reasearch, I learned that Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield, grew up on a farm in Indiana (where he had many pet outdoor cats).
The farmhouse he depicts even looks kind of like ours, although we don't have a windmill!  Also, Jon and his brother revert to acting like silly kids on Christmas and wake each other up very early in the morning because they are so excited.  My brother still does that!  Haha. 
I love the scene where they light the tree and they all ooh and aaahhh with exhaggerated facial expressions! 

Awwww...although they pester each other they really love each other!
In a very touching scene Jon's grandma was sitting quietly and reflecting on Christmases past and told Garfield about how she still misses Grandpa, especially around Christmas. 

When I was thinking about Garfield I remembered the even more rare "Claymation Christmas".  It was not a specific story but instead a medly of music videos featuring clay characters such as the California Raisins. 

I had completely blanked the "Carol of the Bells" video until I was searching Google images for screen shots from the special and saw this picture! 
On another subject, I have been meaning to get a picture of Andrea and Kirk's Christmas light display for a few weeks now and finally did so tonight.  We got several inches of snow last night so they were all frosty and snow covered. 

 The pillar looks very nice!  There are some lights on the other side of the house too but I didn't want to make the neigbors wonder what was going on so I didn't get a shot of those!

I mentioned my tree in Bismarck before but I also brought this mini tree for my room here.  My mom bought me this little one when I was living my dorm room my freshmen year of college.  I used it all through college and law school until we got the bigger tree. Roommate and I used to put our presents for each other under it! I still put lights on it every year because I think it's cute. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Cards

Last week I ordered some Christmas cards from  For the past three years I have tangled with Wal-Mart for this service and thought it was time for a change.  Wal-Mart around Christmas is not my favorite place to be!  The shipment was waiting for me when I got home from work this afternoon.  It was strange because there were two boxes instead of one and andrea and recieved hers last week and hers only required one box. 

I ripped open one of the boxes and my heart instantly started racing...I could see a green background with a candycane in the envelope window and I had ordered a snowflake themed card.  Uh-oh...the cards intended for a family I don't know with a little blond daughter and announced a new baby on the way.  Definitely not ours!  Haha.  I quickly ripped open the other box and was thrilled to find my own order, with every card accounted for. 

I was excited to see my cards and thought of the mom excitedly waiting for her cards to arrive and went online to see what to do about order mix ups.  I couln't find anything on the website about recieving the wrong order.  It only covered returning orders with mistakes.  I called the 800 number and waited on hold for about 15 minutes (not so unlike Wal-Mart after all!)  When I finally spoke to a rep. and explained what happened he told me to throw the cards away for the other customer's privacy.  I said I would and asked if he wanted the names of the people on the card so they could be contacted.  He said no and that they would call on thier own when their order didn't come!  That kind of upset me because I felt bad knowing that they would be waiting.  Christmas is only 11 days away! 

So...I did something that might or might not be strange to some people...I looked up the mom's name on Facebook and sent her a message telling her what happened so she could contact Shutterfly as soon as possible.  Nice or creepy?  What do you think?  I think I would like to know if I were her. 

Who knows when our cards will be sent out...hopefully within the next week!  I know everyone is so excited!  Haha I bet. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Tree

A few weeks ago, before Thanksgiving, I set up out Christmas tree in Bismarck.  I was sad while I did it because I knew I wouldn't get to enjoy it very much.  Here it is, all finished! 

 The skirt is kind of a mess.  Allan likes to burrow under it and it is a slippery velour type fabric so it slides around on the wood floor alot.  It needs some presents to hold it in place! 
I tried my different camera settings to try to make the lights look more twinkly.  This is one of the better ones.  I mix traditional lights with a few strands of larger bulbs.  This is the 4th year that I have used these lights and the inevitable finally happened this year.  A few strands of lights were non-functional so I had to go buy some new ones.  Those things are so irritating. 

Between Justin and I we have quite a few ornaments already at this early stage in our adult lives!  There are almost too many to fit on the tree!  I have a few favorites that I have taken from my mom's stash over the past few years.  My all time favorite is this one. 

I don't know why I have always like this little felt Christmas tree.  I think it is so cute!  It has been around for years and I have a vague childhood memory of being at some kind of craft fair or store and my aunt Kris helping me pick it out.  Kris, do you remember this happening or is it my imagination?!

I found two new ornaments that we had recieved last year that I had forgotten about. 

The little snowman has the name "Al" on it.  My mom gave one to me and one to Andrea (hers says "Jake").  The other one is a "New Home" ornament!  Very cute.

Speaking of Allan, he was interested in climbing up in the tree right away so I left it up without decorations for most of the day so he could explore it and get bored with it before I put on the decorations.  He likes to take ornaments off the bottom so I put the plastic unbreakable ones and the more generic, less sentimental ones (such as ones I purchased at Old Navy on clearance) so he can satisfy his urge to tamper with them without hurting anything!

He was very interested in the tree skirt!  I think he thinks it is a blanket!  That's OK with me because it lead to many cute photo opportunities! cute!

Speaking of cute, I couldn't help resurrecting this photo I took last year when he was just a little guy and climbing in the tree for the first time.  I tried to catch another cute moment similar to this one as I was putting the tree up this year but failed. 

I love the soft, whimsical look of it! 

As far as my weekend, I spent all day yesterday drinking and watching NDSU sports.  It was a really fun day except for the unfortunate football loss :(  At least the basketball team beat UND by quite a bit!  Justin was hunting (it's muzzle loader season.  For those unfamiliar that is a different kind of hunting gun.  I just had to look up how to spell muzzle.  I don't know if I've every typed that word before!) but didn't have any success. I can't was so freezing all weekend!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It's a Baby!

My roommate from college, Ashley, who I always call Roommate, had a baby on November 7.  His name is Theodore Robert and until yesterday I had only seen pictures.  I finally met the little guy, my Jr. Roommate, and he is a very cute little baby! 

 He seemed reasonably comfortable with me.  Many babies squirm around in my arms and seem like they want to escape but Theo hung out for quite awhile.  It was fun.  Who doesn't like to hold a snuggly little baby?

Oh, hello!

It is hard to believe how far we have come.   Well, how far she has come, I guess.  I'm not a whole lot different than I was in college but she has grown up quite a bit!  Haha.

Here we are in my room our senior year of college.  I think it was KD parents day because we usually wouldn't be wearing dresses around the house.  Although, we usually had to have our rooms clean for KD parents day and that obviously isn't the case judging by the overflowing garbage on my right and the miscelaneous debris piled up on my left. 

Awww chili!  For three years we were the Chili Feed Chairs together.  It was the worst event ever.  It was messy, a hassle, and a huge relief when it was over.  Also, that much chili is kind of gross.  But whatever, it was all for charity!

Here we are at our friends' apartment on Superbowl Sunday with some Jello shots.  Classy!  I loved the all girl superbowl parties we used to have in college!

Congrats Roommate!  (And dad Ben, of course!)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bozeman Bound!

Justin and I went to Bozeman, MT, this weekend to see the Bison play the Montana State Bobcats in the playoffs.  We went with a group of friends who included my cousin Katie!  I was very excited to go because I love going to the Mountains of Montana!  The only drawback was that there wasn't time to ski.  It seemed absurd to drive all the way to Western Montana and not ski! 

We drove with our friends Aaron and Andy in Andy's SUV. It is a family vehicle that has a DVD player in the back seat! While Justin took his turn driving Andy and I watched a movie like little kids! Haha. It was a great way to travel. I say that when I have kids I won't let them spend every trip staring at a tv screen and that they will instead learn to entertain themselves as I did, by reading, listening to music, and doing crossword puzzles. There is no denying, however, the power of a screen to entertain a kid for hours. We took our nephew Dylan to Minneapolis last year and the dvd player was like magic. Anyway...

 Here we are with our headphones on! 

Bozeman has enchanged me for years, since my family started going to ski trips when I was in elementary school.  After hours of driving across the quite empty Western North Dakota and Eastern Montana, Billings is where the mountains finally start and Bozeman is right in them.  It is the point that you leave the Interstate to go to my favorite resort, Big Sky!  Being in Bozeman meant being almost there!  I had  never spent more than a few hours there, so it was fun to be there for a whole weekend.  It is a pretty small town (well, compared to the small towns in my life it is a metropolis, but for a town with a state university and a Walmart it is small, with a population of about 28,000).  Right before we arrived quite a bit of snow had fallen, so the whole place looked like a Christmas village.  It was almost too beautiful!  The streets are lined with historical houses surrounded by pine trees and the main street is old-timey and pedestrian friendly.  The national chain businesses and restaurants are built to fit in with log cabin motifs.  The city Christmas decorations were very nice.  Oh, and to top it all off, everywhere you go smells like a fireplace burning pine logs.  It's a real winter wonderland.  On Saturday night there was a annual Christmas street fair so people were walking outside and pulling kids around in sleds!  Too perfect...

Enough gushing...we went to see a football game.  The stadium is outdoors so that was a change from what we are used to here!  I know many people are nostalgic about outdoor football but I'm glad I only have to watch it occasionally.  It was freezing and the metal bleachers became treacherously icy from people walking on them with wet shoes.  It would be really fun if it were earlier in the season.  

Here are some of the guys getting into their warm clothes!  I wore my ski outfit and thought it might look kind of prissy because it is matching and the pants are white.  But it was either the white ski outfit or my "Carhart" style coveralls, which I inherited from Justin (they were his in middle school) and which I only wear once a year, if even that often, when I go hunting for opening weekend.  They have rips in the crotch from occasions when I tried to climb over barbed wire fences.  So...I went with the ski outfit and I didn't stand out at all because there was quite an assortment of apparel at the game.   

There was a tailgating lot for NDSU fans which was fun.  It was a considerably smaller crowd than the crowd at a home game, but it was alot of fun.  Everyone shared with everyone else and it was like one big party.  Check out the lovely snow covered trees in the background!   

How do you like the new Bison hat I bought for this occasion?  I had to have something to identify my allegiance!

Brrrr...outdoor football!  Those bleachers can get so cold!  I remember it from high school football and baseball games!  The Montana fans were all prepared and many people had seat cushions and blankets to sit on (not that we did very much sitting!).  Fortunately, my cousin Katie and her mother-in-law Mary Beth rememberd to bring several blankets so I got to have their benefit! 

It was worth it to look at this during the whole game!

Here I am with Katie during the game.  As you can see, there were Montana fans behind us.  We were in a small group of about 15 NDSU fans and we were surrounded!  It was kind of challenging for me because, although I know the basics, I don't know the technicalities of football and also my attention can stray.  Often I end up cheering when everyone else does.  It works out fine except when everyone else is your opponent!  I had to pay better attention during this game! 

Another view of the stadium. 

We won!  It was apparent from the dismay of the fans and the newspaper reports the following day that this team did not expect to lose, let alone lose to NDSU.  Hahahaha we showed them!  The game was close for the first three quarters and NDSU was even behind for a short time but in the end we pulled ahead and won big!  The local newspaper the next day gave credit to the offensive line which is awesome because I think line players deserve some attention every once and a while.  Montana has a stud quarterback who is a freshman named Denarius McGhee.  The quarterbacks for Montana stood out because NDSU is kind of lacking in that area.  McGhee's family was staying at our hotel!  They were very nice.  If Denarius ends up in the NFL I will be his fan. 
The final score was 42-17!  I love this picture...I lifted it from facebook!  It had been awhile since Montana had lost a home game.  Later that evening NDSU beat SDSU in basketball!  It was a great weekend all around.  Bozeman is a really fun town with a great atmosphere, an enjoyable bar scene, and great scenery.  The people we were with were a blast and I don't remember when I've heard so much male giggling or laughed so much myself!  The only dissapointment was that NDSU had a chance to have their next playoff game in Fargo but the other games around the USA didn't play out the right way so the game will be in Eastern Washington.  Who knows what will happen...the football field looks like this! 

I think turf like that might throw me off but who knows...Montana thought the outdoor aspect would throw NDSU off and it didn't matter! 

Oh, while this was all going on my crazy parents were in Las Vegas running a 1/2 marathong...I know...YAWN...nothing new there!  Haha!  They said it went fine.  Here is where you can look up results if you want...

Good job, you crazies!