Saturday, December 27, 2008

Has Anyone Seen My Husband?

We had a great Christmas! We are so thankful for all of our family and friends that we got to see and spend time with over Christmas! We started a new tradition this Christmas by going over to Brandon's dad in Mannford on December 23. We stayed the night and had Christmas with them on the 24th. We were back home by 4:00 on Christmas Eve. We had planned on going to the Christmas Eve service at church, but the boys were completely worn out, so we stayed home and let them have some down time. Christmas day we opened gifts at our house and at 11 we went to Mom and Dad's. At 6 Brandon's mom and sister came over. It was a full day and the boys were having some major meltdowns by the time we put them to bed- but it was well worth it! Yesterday I never got out of my PJ's. I spent the day putting all of the toys away and cleaning up from the festivities.

I have not really seen my husband much since Christmas- you see he got a Wii and I don't think he has had so much fun since he was a kid! We played a little baseball on Christmas after we put the boys to bed and we are both sore! He has been playing ALOT of golf. He has not been able to golf since he got his shoulder operated on back in 02- so he really has enjoyed golfing.

Today is my birthday. I am really enjoying spending time with my family. As I reflect on beginning a new year of my life and a new calendar year I realize I am so blessed in so many ways. I have an unbelievable family, two amazing sons, a phenomenal husband, a lot of really great friends- some new and a few that that have been by my side through different ages and stages of my life, a job that I truly LOVE, co- workers and bosses that some would give anything to be able to work with , and so much more that I would be here all day listing. I have been asked if I dreaded getting older. As I though about that my answer is no. I love who I am today and would not want to change that. I look forward to growing old with my husband and seeing my kids grow up. I can't wait to see what this year will hold for me.

I do know a lot of people who are troubled by the state of our country right now, but I hope as others begin a New Year they can find peace in what they have, look forward to what is to come and trust that everything turns out for good.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

...and all through the house, not a creature was stirring except for the MAMA!

It is Christmas Eve and I am up late. Not because I have a lot left to do, but because I can not sleep. I am excited like I was when I was a child. I can not wait to see the boys faces in the morning and to see all the happiness in them! I have not been this happy on Christmas Eve in a while. Don't get me wrong- I have immensely enjoyed Christmas always. However, I am overjoyed about Christmas this year. I think there is a few reasons for that. One is that I have focused on simplifying my life over the last year and I was done with Christmas shopping much earlier this year. Another reason may be a special project that I have been working on for a gift for some of my family. It has caused me to reflect on the accomplishments of myself as a parent and the joy that it has brought to me. I will give more details of this project later after it has been revealed to the family members that it was made for. Well this post was definitely more about me than I would like, but I do want this to be something I or the boys or Brandon can go back and read years from now- so I guess it's OK. Merry Christmas!




Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Reason To Celebrate

I have not posted in a while, but we are all well- just busier than usual. I love Christmastime and all of the decorations, music, lights, and the yummy baked treats that come with Christmas. The boys are very excited about Christmas! We have had such a great time getting ready for the holidays. Brandon's Grandparents (Vic and Velma Bruski) made him and his sister an advent tree when they were young and we began using it last year for the boys. They enjoy counting down the days til Christmas and getting a little surprise too. As we were finishing dinner last night Koen said " There's a reason to celebrate. It's Jesus's birthday!" I thought that was so sweet. He has really been into the Christmas story and Baby Jesus. He thinks it's so neat that Jesus was a baby. We went to our church's Christmas programs over the weekend and the boys were mesmerized. Baby Jesus was a real baby and they both really thought that was so neat! We are currently iced in- nothing compared to last year's ice storm, but the roads are slick and school is closed. I am going to post some pics of our family getting the Christmas tree decorations up and also some pics of last years ice storm- just to remind myself that it could be worse! Next time I will write about our CRAZY experience putting up Christmas lights!






Koen LOVES Christmas!





Gannon was really concentrating on getting the tree just right!


FLUFFING THE BRANCHES ON THE TREE







One year ago....the ice storm was a mess but there was beauty in it- this leaf on our bush looked so pretty!





Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Koen turned four back in September and it was just before that before he began to show any interest in writing his name. I would try to work with him, but he didn't have the interest so I backed off and continued to try to show him and help him. One day right after the beginning of September he decided he wanted to learn and he learned his name quite easily. He is now writing most of his letters and he has taken up drawing. He really likes to draw pictures and tell a story about the pictures. It is so hard to realize or even really fathom how far a child progresses in four short years. They are born totally helpless and in such a short amount of time they learn so much. They learn more in their first few years of life than they are ever to likely learn for the rest of their life. The great thing is that most of the time they are more motivated to learn at this age too! Every new discovery is so amazing to children. I love watching his face as he sits and really concentrates on his "artwork".

Koen seems so smart and Gannon wants to follow in his footsteps so closely. I really like the way they drive each other. I just hope that I can instill values in both of them that will give them the desire to be good people- as strongly as they have a desire to learn and do new things.



Friday, November 7, 2008

Crazy Calm

Most days Koen is wild...he has LOTS of energy! Today he was surprisingly calm. I took this pic of him laying with one of our Boxers Roxie. I love this pic because I don't get very many of him laying still and looking so calm and peaceful!




Both of our boxers are so sweet to the boys and tolerate so much. I just thought this was so sweet and had to share!

Dog Iron Ranch

We have had another busy week- as usual! The kids enjoyed Halloween last Friday. Last Saturday we all drove to Oologah (about 15 minutes North of Owasso) to Dog Iron Ranch &Will Rogers Birth Place. Will Rogers who was an actor on Broadway, starred in Hollywood movies as well as a radio commentator and he was very well known for his lasso skills was born there in Oologah in 1879 in a beautiful house (built in 1870) that still stands today. The Ranch and home are situated on a bluff overlooking Oologah Lake. We were hoping that more of the trees would have been turned, however very few were- it was still a pretty site. When we got there it was mid morning and we were surprised to find that it was so foggy we could not even see the lake. The boys weren't quite sure what to think about the house and the "odd" looking kitchen and bed- as it does not look anything like our modern day appliances and furnishings. We then went out to the barn, which Koen was quick to point out looked very much like the barn on the new Charlotte's Web, which it really did- if I didn't know better I might have thought that it was filmed there. We also went around behind the barn where there were some chickens running around along with a horse. As we approached the fence bordering the property we saw what I first thought was a cat. As it stood up to look at us and then quickly get away into the brush I realized it was not a typical cat but a bobcat. We think by the way it was hunkered down in the grass that it was thinking of having a chicken for a mid-morning snack! We finished by visiting the animals that were wandering around in the front- some donkeys, a horse and two baby goats and their mother. Will Rogers is famous for his quote-






"I never met a man I didn't like."
As we were reading the historical marker with this inscribed on it I realized this describes Koen very well- he makes friends so easily and is not shy at all. As we walked down to look at and pet the animals I thought to myself... we could change that quote for Gannon and it would say:
"I never met an animal I didn't like."
He is so gentle with animals, doesn't seem to have a fear of any animal and animals seem to sense this. Maybe one day he will be a vet- who knows.

We enjoyed our time there. It was Will Rogers Day- or so it was supposed to be and that is why we went out there. It was kind of strange though because we did not see a single soul until we were about to leave and then one car with a couple of people were there. It was nice and quiet and peaceful though. We may go back after some of the trees change more- if they don't lose all of their leaves first. So many of the trees were damaged by the ice storms and I am noticing that again now that I am looking for fall foliage.
I'll end by writing about the ladybugs. In the bathroom building and the barn as well as by the doors and windows of the house there were TONS of ladybugs- I wished I would have taken pics. Most were not alive but a few were still moving around a bit. It was the weirdest thing I had ever seen- as far as ladybugs go. I would love to know why there were so many and what happened to them- if anyone knows of an explanation for this leave me a comment and let me know!
I hope you enjoy these pics from our trip to Will Rogers Birth Place.






Looking out past the split rail fence that borders the property at the lake covered by the fog.



Koen looking out at the fog- and of course little brother is not far behind.



Maybe Charlotte was there afterall!





One of the trees that had begun to change out to the side of the house.



This was the prettiest tree- but you can see the damage from the ice storm.

Standing under the tree looking up at it.






Gannon gave the donkey a kiss on the nose!






Look Mommy- goats!











Gannon was looking out at the fog.





Cute baby goat!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Preview

The boys are getting so excited about Halloween. We had our Fall Party at school today...it was called Pumpkins, Pajamas and Pizza. As you guessed we wore PJ's, ate pizza and did Pumpkin activities. It was fun. Tonight we will be going to HalloZooween- a fun safe event our local zoo puts on. The boys are both going to be pirates. We went to a really great pumpkin patch a few weeks back and met one of our friends and her girls there. I dressed the boys in their costumes and took some pics. I am going to post some of the pics from the pumpkin patch as I am not sure I will get very many tomorrow night. Hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween tomorrow!






Pirate Koen


Pirate Gannon
My Pirates climbing on the pumpkins.



The Boys and Samantha
Jessie and I with the Kiddos




video

The boys love the Veggie Tales movie called "The Pirates That Don't Do Anything" and this is their rendition of the theme song.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fall, Family, Falls

Fall Break was this last week and boy was it a much needed BREAK! We were out of school Thursday through Monday. On Thursday we headed over to Natural Falls State Park in West Siloam Springs, OK. It is about an hour and a half from Owasso. It is beautiful! We went once before when Koen was about 10 months old- but it was pouring rain and we did not get to see much. There is a big water fall that you can hike down to as well as a very serene small lake that we hiked down to as well. The boys and I headed over on Thursday around noon- and I forgot to mention we met my parents there and they were in their RV. The first day there the boys played at the park, rode their motorcycle trikes around and just enjoyed being outdoors- although it was a little cool! That evening we grilled steak- it was a yummy dinner. We did have to make a quick trip into Siloam Springs to Wal-Mart as I forgot underwear for Koen- oops! After we got back Dad had the campfire going strong and we roasted marshmallows and sat around the fire a bit.

On Friday we went on our first hike right after breakfast. Mom, Dad, Koen, Gannon and I all went. We hiked down to the lake and then hiked back up on the bear trail. It was a little challenging for the boys- but they did it! We took a short break and then walked the 88 steps down to the falls. The morning sun was shining on it and it was breathtaking. I kept thinking "I can't believe this is only an hour from home and so beautiful!" After that we had lunch and Gannon had his nap. *While Gannon was napping Mom, Koen and I went and explored the trails a little more. We had another yummy grilled dinner thanks to Dad and I got the boys ready for bed a little earlier than Thursday- they were exhausted. Brandon joined us around 8- he drove up after work. The boys were excited to see him- we had only been gone one day- but you know the old saying- Distance makes the heart grow fonder.
On Saturday after we all got around and had breakfast Brandon and I took the boys over to Gentry, AK to a place called Wilderness Safari. It was a drive through "safari" and it also had a feeding and petting zoo area. The boys loved it! We saw camels, buffaloes, wildabeasts, zebra, baboons, pigs, and monkeys just to mane a few. After we went through the drive through portion we got out and let the kids feed the animals. Some of the highlights from this adventure has to be the camels that would not get out of the middle of the road, the boys thought it was so neat that they got to be unbuckled while we drove through, the monkey that could clap faster than any human or animal we have ever seen, the monkey that jumped on Gannon's head and Koen picked up a baby pig- it was so cute until he abruptly decided he was done holding it and dropped it. After we got back to the campground Gannon took a nap while Koen and I showed Brandon what we had hiked the day before. Brandon and Koen found some caveish rock features to explore while I looked on.

We did have to go home Saturday evening, but we were all tired and it was nice to sleep in our own bed! It was such a nice family outing and for those of you who live around here you really should check it out! I am adding a few pics- I took so many so I had to share some.
(I have had camera malfunction so this post was written on 10-21-08, I really wanted to wait until I could post pics also.)

Our first visit to the park-Koen was doing his favorite thing- climbing.







Gannon learning how to "balance".

Roasting marshmallows by the fire.


The first hike that we went on was to this small lake. I thought this "reflection" pic was neat because it contained one of the only trees we saw that had fully changed color.



The Falls


A cute little bridge over the water.


Brandon is still a child at heart. He went off the path to explore- of course Koen was not far behind!

Koen's Little Piggy!

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Few Peaceful Moments

Brandon and I spent the weekend alone. This is a rarity for us. We missed the kids- I know it seems like a weekend without them would be great, and don't get me wrong- it was. We did however miss the two little balls of fire! We used the time to run errands, catch up on household chores and to spend some quiet time together. We began by going to our favorite Italian restaurant here in Owasso- Il Vecchio- and had a quiet dinner- it was delish! It was a big treat for me because I am on Weight Watchers, so I got to splurge a bit. I have been doing weight watchers for two weeks now- I have lost ten pounds! I already feel better. We went and saw some friends after dinner and then came home and tried to sleep in on Saturday morning. I was successful and was able to sleep until almost nine, Brandon was up at 6:30 though! It's funny how you get so used to something that you can't break the cycle only for a day. On Saturday evening we went to a get together with our Sunday School class. We watched the first two quarters of the OSU -Mizzou game and then headed home for the rest. WOW- Go Pokes! What a great game. We picked the kids up on our way to church on Sunday. As we were checking the kids into their Sunday School classes I was talking to another mom who asked me how our weekend was and after telling her that we were sans- kids she said- A few moments of peace go a long way. She is so right. We are recharged and better parents after being away from our kids, but so ready to be together as a family again.