Friday, January 1, 2010

Goodbye 2009.... Hello Neglected Blog!

2009 (like just about every other year) was a rather eventful year for our family. It is funny because I can remember talking to Dave this time last year asking him what we would do for excitement this year. After all, how could we possibly have a year that could compare to any of the previous years of our married life, each which seemed to include many life-changing events. It was bound to be a pretty boring year. Dave was settled in his job. We were done transitioning between different homes in different states. Ella was finished with all of her hospital stays. We were excited to just have a year of settling in and exhaling.

The year was still pretty new when the first exciting event took place. After much more time had gone by than we had had anticipated, we were shocked as we discovered that baby #2 was on the way. I will never forget that feeling of joy I felt at that moment, and how long those minutes of waiting for Dave to finish snowblowing the driveway and sidewalks and come inside so that I could share the news with him seemed. Yes, the year started on a very good note. And my theory of a "boring" year ahead was already proven wrong. :)

With the spring came the first thoughts of how looking for a home to purchase was actually something that we could and should do. We communicated with our landlord and with our selling agent and the ball was rolling. Weeks were spent getting our house ready for multiple showings at a moment's notice (not fun), and going on many showings of our own (kinda fun) to find that perfect home for our family. We finally found a home that fit most of our criteria and became homeowners in the middle of May.

Since we had to pack and move ourselves (we had professional movers the last time) and I was five-months pregnant, this move was a bit more difficult than the last. Having so many wonderful people from church help us, and the thought that this was a FINAL (for a looooong time anyway) move made everything much more pleasant though. Of course, with home-ownership there comes a never-ending list of work that can and should be done. So every spare moment before moving and since then (well, until September 9 anyway) has been filled with painting, tearing apart, installing, and repairing, various parts of our home.

September was by far the most exiting month of anticipated events. September 6 was the Giants/Brewers game at Miller park. Giants lost. Boo. But the Brewers won, so we could still be happy for Dave. And we saw a very rare triple-play. Too bad it was the Brewers' fielders that could brag about it though. September 8 was Ella's first day of school. Kindergarten, here we come! And she went without looking back. Baby listened well and stayed put until after both of these moments had passed. But not for long....

On the afternoon of September 8 I went to a routine doctor's appointment, and ended up being admitted in anticipation of being induced. I had mixed feelings about this, but was filled with nothing but love and joy as we met our new little girl, Lauren Rose at 10:26 am on September 9.

So another move, a new home, a new schedule, and a new baby. I would say that all adds up to another eventful year. I find myself now thinking that 2010 will be rather calm in comparison. Dare I say that?

God is Good and we have been blessed more than we could have imagined. I wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year. May God bless each of you in 2010 more than YOU could ever imagine. :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Our NEW (permanent?) Window!

Well, to say that we have a LOT to catch up on since Easter is an understatement, I think. Since then there has been quite a bit of change going on with the VB family. We have spent the past couple of months hunting for a home to call OURS for the first time. After seeing about 40 or so places, we finally submitted an offer on one that we really liked - it had just about everything on our wish list. The excitement and whirlwind came during the next few weeks after the offer was accepted. To say that Dave was stressed in dealing with everything needed to close - financing complications, down payment, inspections, securing homeowners insurance, and many other details to figure out - is probably an understatement.

But on June 15, after all was said and done, we became official homeowners! Here is our new place, front and back:

The first couple of weeks were spent trying to both pack all of our (tons and tons of) stuff and complete some of the painting we wanted to do before moving in. I now vow to never ever put wallpaper up anywhere at anytime. Removing it is NOT fun - or easy. We painted most of the basement and then wanted to do Ella's room upstairs as well. Then new carpet was installed into all of these areas just before we moved in. Ella was a great little helper as you can tell!

Here she is painting and then showing off her family portrait artwork:

Here are a couple of pictures of how the rooms looked when most of the painting was done -

The basement main living area: the baseboards and trim still need to be put back up and carpet has since been installed. What a difference!

The basement bedroom AKA "the red carpet room" as named by my sister Annette. Sorry Annette, the red carpet is no longer. I'm sure you are sad. I'm not. :)

And finally, Ella's room: We were pretty thrilled when this carpet came up to see that there was some pretty nice hardwood floors underneath. That gives us a lot of options for what we might do in the future in some of the other areas of the house.

So after all of that work was done, it was time for our big move. HUGE thanks to a wonderful group of people from church, we had everything moved into our new home on Friday, June 26. It was a long and tiring day, but don't know how we could have done it without so many people giving their time and energy to help us.

So now we are slowly but surely getting all of the boxes unpacked and putting a few things into place. We have quite a ways to go yet until we are really settled in, but hopefully we'll get there soon. For now, we are enjoying our new windows and slowly but surely are feeling at "home." I'm still not sure if I can really believe that we actually might finally be settled somewhere. If I can remember and count correctly, I think we have lived in seven different homes in our 8 years of marriage. This is number eight. Ella has lived in three in her five years. This would be her fourth. So this is definitely a first for us. And I think I can admit that it feels pretty darned good. Everyone is invited to our box burning party. :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy Easter!

We hope you all had a WONDERFUL Easter Weekend! We had a great time spent celebrating Jesus' death and resurrection. What made it even more special was that we were able to spend it with some out-of-state friends that we had not seen for a while.

On Thursday morning my good friend Sarah was able to come for a short visit since she was in the area - well, a little ways away visiting her family in a Chicago suburb. She came with her two little girls and Ella had an absolute blast spending time playing with them. I had an equally good time talking and catching up. And it was fun to see her pregnant belly too! :)

Thursday night our church had a Maundy Thursday service. It was led by the choir and was a service of shadows. Ella thought it was pretty cool how all of the lights went out a little at a time. And she really paid close attention to the Christ candle, which was the last light at the end, and was carried out to end the service. It was a wonderful opportunity to talk with Ella about all of the symbolism involved and how it related to the death of Jesus and how we felt about that. And a great build-up for what we would be celebrating come Easter morning!

Late Thursday night our friends Gerrit and Michelle and their two kids arrived after making the 6-hour drive from Pella, Iowa. We were very excited to have them here and looking forward to spending Easter with their family. And to the many rounds of Settlers and Euchre that we could manage to fit in during our time together. :)

On Saturday morning the dads took the girls to the local easter egg hunt. They had a lot of fun, but we didn't get any pictures since I forgot to give Dave the camera. According to him, Ella had more fun running around and couldn't be too bothered to take the time to stop and pick up many of the colorful eggs abundantly scattered around her. So she came home with a much lighter haul than she could have had. But that was just fine as far as I was concerned.

Later that day we dyed and decorated eggs with the girls. This was the first time Ella has done this, so she was pretty excited. Here are a few pictures of the process and the results:

Getting the different color dyes ready:

Ella carefully decorates one of her colored eggs with stickers:

Showing off her work:

Admiring her four works of art - two glittery eggs and two sticker-decorated eggs:

Tessa and her beautifully decorated eggs:

Later on Saturday the dads hid a few plastic eggs and other little items in our backyard for the three kids to find. They did a great job hiding and the kids did a great job seeking (with just a little helpful hints from us when needed). Ella was pretty excited at how full her basket was at the end.

On the hunt:

Look what we found!

The girls and their loot:

On Easter Sunday we enjoyed a beautiful Easter church service. Ella was not too happy that we chose a lily to take home from the front of church instead of one of the tulips. We tried to explain that we picked the lily to honor her grandma that died since that was her favorite flower. She told me that next time we can order a tulip too for my dog Ginger that died. :)

After a very yummy ham dinner we had to say goodbye to our friends. That's never fun but we were happy to have had such a great time with them and will hopefully see them again soon.

Oh, I almost forgot what happened at the very beginning of our weekend - our 18-week ultrasound on Thursay morning. We know what we're having! It's a....

... GIRL!! :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hi Everyone!

Well, Hello to my mom anyway! It's been a looooooong time since I've posted anything, so I thought I'd better get something on here. So this one's for you mom - finally! (:

We've done quite a bit since December. There's been Ella's fifth birthday, a trip to the Milwaukee museum, kindergarten registration & readiness testing, getting ready for and beginning the hunt for our new home, and last, and most exciting - finding out about the new little brother or sister that Ella will be getting!

Ella is VERY excited about starting school next year. She is definitely done with being at home with me, and ready to move on to more exciting things. I know she would have really enjoyed it if she had been able to go to pre-school but, circumstances being what they have been the past couple of years, she missed out on that. So I know she will begin her first year of school next year with an extreme amount of gusto.

On February 17 Ella turned 5 years old. I still can't believe that my "baby" is growing up so fast! I took Ella and her friend Emily (who is just a few days older than Ella) to lunch and a movie. Then it was home to play for a bit, then have a special birthday dinner, cake, and open presents. Here are a couple of picture of Ella on her big day - one with her friend Emily and one with her princess cake.

She's also very excited about becoming a big sister. It's such a joy to hear some of the comments and suggestions she comes up with. She pretty much took over all of the pregnancy books I have, had to discuss each of the diagrams and pictures, and now claims to know everything about babies. I guess we'll see how she really feels about it all sometime around September 12.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Things to Do In December

Decorate the Tree!

Run Through the Snow!

Take a Little (okay, maybe a BIG) Taste Of the Snow!

Make a "Car Bus" out of one of the many boxes that have been coming in the mail the past couple of weeks!

Wear Rudolf Clothing! It's especially fun if the nose on your shirt blinks and you have socks with reindeer on them as well!

Enjoy what Ella calls our "Beeee-yoooo-ti-ful" Pointsettia that Pake and Beppe sent to us!

So those are the fun things we have been up to lately. Hope you are having a great December as well! (:

Friday, December 19, 2008

Who Wants To Come Over?

Good luck getting here if you do! We have about 11 inches of snow on the ground right now. It's still going - but looks like it will end soon. Here is a picture I took around 10am. I don't think the guy across the street got too far this morning, hee hee.

All of the schools, government offices, and even some malls are closed right now. People are getting their cars stuck all over the place - after spending an hour or two burying them out of the snow. It's a good thing Dave has today off. He worked this past Sunday, so could pick a flex day this week to make up for it. I think he made a great choice!

There's no question that WE are gonna have a White Christmas!