Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Letter 2011

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

We hope the year has gone well for you.  It has been a very full year for us.  In February we started a class that was recommended to us called Financial Peace University. It was very eye opening and has made some big differences in our life.  We are now on a budget and no longer use any debt instruments (credit cards and the like) and pay for everything with cash, which means we don’t really worry about money anymore…very liberating!  We will be teaching this class at our church after the start of the new year.

In May we had some adjustments to make as Emmy again had to have surgery. It actually involved two surgeries at the same time to help with her peeing and stooling so that she can be continent.  While it has presented challenges, we have been very happy with the overall outcome.  (To keep up to date on Emmy’s journey, visit her Caring Bridge page: www.caringbridge.org/visit/emmareneearly.)

Sadly Jesse, our dog of 9 years, died in March.  We did not get a new dog right away and decided to try fostering dogs for a while.  In July we got a foster dog, Elmo, who was a very fun cute American bull dog.  Unfortunately we were unable to keep him as we found that Emmy was allergic to dogs. A couple of weeks after we got him Emmy suddenly had an allergic reaction with anaphylaxis.  We did not suspect dogs at first, but a couple of days later she had another allergic reaction with anaphylaxis, and then the allergy testing came back showing dogs as well as cows milk and egg whites, so we are no longer able to have a dog and our whole family’s diet has had to make some adjustments. 

Peder played t-ball and Soccer over the summer.  The girls are looking forward to playing soccer themselves next year. Peder then started K-Camp in late august and finally kindergarten. He had some adjustments to being at school all day.  He was really missing playing with his sisters. Emmy and Mari both started pre-k this fall and they are enjoying school.  We had originally planned on having them repeat pre-k since their birthday is in the summer, but after going to their first parent teacher conference, we were told by their teachers they are fully ready for kindergarten now and repeating would only result in their being bored.  So, in a few short months, all of our kids are going to be in school all day.  Where did the time go?

Melissa finished up with her schooling in June and can now do some amazing things with a computer.  Our holiday picture this year had some adjustments made to it.  Right before we took our picture, Jake managed to get a nice gash on his cheek.  Well, Melissa quickly and easily removed that little blemish. She has also designed her own website, Earlybirdcrafts.com to support her paper craft business and has plans for future websites to create a support network for the families of children with Emmy’s condition.  In August Melissa started working every other weekend in a group home and she will be having surgery in December to treat a chronic condition that causes severe pain.

Jake continues to play football.  His team has had some struggles this year.  They are all getting older and chronic injuries have resulted in a couple of people no longer playing. Jake has had lingering issues himself with plantar fasciitis.  It took him almost six months before he finally went to the Doctor at Melissa’s encouragement and finally started noticing improvement in his foot. He also continues with fantasy football, though decided to drop one of his leagues as he was having trouble finding the time to keep up with all of them.  He has also continued with his poker league once a month and was especially proud of one night when he managed to win every game he played, plus personally took out every person at the table one at a time.

We had a pretty good year and are looking forward to the new year!  We hope you have a wonderful Christmas and joyous New Year.

Friday, October 07, 2011

A Very Proud Mama

See that boy right there?  I love him.  He makes me SO proud.  That boy right there is my baby boy, the first of my children to venture out into the world beyond our home by himself.  That first day of kindergarten, I bawled....a lot.  I watched him walk up to school, a bit nervous, pause a moment and then take those steps into the big brick building where he would be spending his days, and my heart went with him.  He looked so little next to all the other kids, but I was SO proud of that little boy.

Then, I started volunteering in his classroom.  I help out with "centers" on Wednesday mornings....basically I help out with learning activities and the kids rotate centers and I get to help them out and spend some time with Peder.  I watch him and listen to him when he doesn't realize that anyone else is paying attention, and the things I hear him say make me even more proud of him.  He will walk past someone in his class and say something like, "I really like how you colored your monster." or "Your letter M looks really good."  He reaches out to his classmates and is extremely kind to them, and the fact that he does that when no one is watching, with no expectations, makes me SO proud.  It melts my heart and brings tears to my eyes because I can see the person he is becoming, and I love who he is becoming.

Yes, I'm bragging.  I'm proud.  SO PROUD!  And let's just add another thing on there to be proud.  Today when I picked him up from school he had a sucker in his hand.  I asked him why he got the sucker and he told me that he got it for counting to 100 with the principal.  The principal, Mr. Bretoi, goes to the classrooms and sits with the kids and does things with them to track progress and see where kids are in their skills.  Today Peder was one of only 2 students in his class that was able to count to 100.  Another thing to make this Mama proud.

I am SO happy and excited about the boy Peder is turning into.  I just had to share this with all of you....I'm just so proud of him.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The proof is in the dancing

Here is a video of one of the happenings in our house this morning.  If you listen closely you'll hear her singing....and a bit of my singing too.  :)  The reason you hear me telling her to keep going is because I stopped dancing because the camera was starting to shake.  And she wouldn't take a bow because another song came on and she proceeded to dance to that one too.

The video is wider then my screen on my blog, so if you want to see the full width and Emmy actually centered in it, click on the video and the youtube page will open up.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Oh the Hilarity....

Some of the funny, hilarious, whatever tidbits happening in our life right now:

- Mari had her new glasses for less than 3 hours before she got hit in the face with a whiffle bat and had to have them adjusted. 2 days later she got hit in the face again while wrestling with Peder.

- Any time we are in the car, all 3 kids sing along to the radio.....every song. It amazes me that after hearing the song once the kids know half the words to a song.

- Our house is full of giggles lately. Our kids are all developing their senses of humor and OH MY GOODNESS, do they find each other hilarious. Sometimes they are a lot like their mom, dad or Grandpa Warren, and they find themselves hilarious when no one else does.

- All three kids had blood draws today for their allergies....no tears whatsoever. They all were VERY brave and did a wonderful job.

- Peder starts kindergarten a week from Thursday and the girls start Pre-K two weeks from today. How did this happen?

- On the slightly crude side....Emmy was sitting on the toilet this morning before her flush and she farted.  I said, "Did you tooter?" And her response was, "No, my butt coughed."  I seriously could not stop laughing.

- We're doing a lot of singing and dancing around the house and while driving around on our errands. I will leave you with the one song that gets us ALL (yes, Jake too) dancing and singing along to the radio...(YES, we have WAY too much fun in our life! :) )

Friday, July 08, 2011

Babies, Dogs and Engagements.....Oh MY!

It's been awhile since I've updated, and we've had a lot going on since then.  All 3 kids finished up with preschool and Peder is getting all prepared for Kindergarten this fall.  Peder is playing both soccer and t-ball this summer and the girls and I spend Monday and Wednesday mornings hanging out with one of their preschool friends and watching Peder play soccer.

In addition to our regularly scheduled summer activities, the following things are going on:

- I have decided to take the summer off of school.  It was all becoming too much and I was missing my family.  We'll be reassessing in the fall to decide whether it's better to start again in the fall or wait until all 3 kids are in school all day and talk about it again then.

- My cousin Chelsea and her husband Josh had their first little boy last month.  That's Great-Grandbaby number 5 on that side of the family, and baby number 3 for our families this year.  I said in January that 2011 was going to be the year of the baby, and it's definitely shaping up that way.  Any baby fever is placated by snuggling with all these little ones joining our family and the families of our friends.

- Jake's brother Nick got engaged earlier this week.  WA-HOO!  Dana really is the perfect fit for him and we can't wait to have her in the family.  Welcome to the family "Auntie Dana!"

- After Jesse's death we really struggled with whether to get another dog.  We just didn't know about getting another dog, especially at this time in our life with the financial responsibility of it.  I hemmed and hawed for quite awhile and then took the plunge and applied to be a foster parent for dogs through Midwest Animal Rescue and Services.  We got our first dog last Friday.  His name is Elmo.  He is an American Bulldog (think Chance from Homeward Bound) and is about a year old.  He was extremely lethargic the first couple of days here, but now he fits right in.  He is very much a puppy still and we're working on teaching him his manners.  I'm actually amazed at how easy he is to train and how well he is doing, especially after how sad he was those first few days.  Here's a picture of the cutie:


I think that's all for now.  We're gearing up for a couple of family get-togethers this weekend with Jake's family and the girls turn FOUR tomorrow.  WHAT?  How did this happen?  I'm in disbelief....