Sunday, January 31, 2010

Girl's Weekend...

Early in December Steve traveled with Hunter to Arizona for the wedding of one of his high school friends. Hunter still flies for free and since Steve's parents were going to be in Arizona the same time, I figured we were due for a girl's weekend...

First task: Paint the basement. Steve was completely against the idea- seeing as though it had only been a year. I argue that it was never the right color, and I hated the original color. So I figured by doing it while Steve was out of town I would get less complaint from Steve. I was right. I love the new color, just love it. And Steve is happy as well.

Next we planned a night out with the girls. Hallie (who dressed up in her fancy party dress), Kaytlin and myself went with my friend and her daughter out to dinner at Cheesecake Factory and then off to "Princess on the Frog". Hallie and her friend loved the attention and the movie and we had so much fun. (I'm still waiting for my sister to send the pictures from the night's festivities...hopefully by publicly posting this, she'll send them a little faster! Thanks Kate!)
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The next day we went to the children's museum for a fun afternoon.

By the end of our fun filled weekend, I started thinking of all the places we could ship Steve and Hunter off to every six months so we could do it again. I loved the one on one time with Hallie. She's a funny girl, and she is full of personality. She has me laughing a lot.
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Friday, January 29, 2010

Funny comment...

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Hallie just came up to me:

"Mom, you forgot to tell daddy that I yelled at you the other day before the other one. Remember you were going to tell him."

Why yes I did forgot, but I won't now!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cancelled...

I am an active person. Always have been, hopefully always will be.

I remember during my senior year in high school when I was in basketball practice just days before the district tournament. A teacher/athletic director was walking through the gym and came up to me, rested his hand on my shoulder and said, "Oxnam, isn't it depressing to know that this is the best shape that you will probably be in for the rest of your life."

Dagger to the heart.

Although I continue to be active in a variety of ways, I'm not so much a fan of running or working out. In fact, I would consider myself lucky if I could run a mile...a single mile, without stopping. My friends are constantly talking about the 3K, 5K, half marathon and marathons they're training for and I sit quietly thinking how boring this conversation has become! :)

I try to work out, I really do. When I was in college I participated in every intramural team I could think of; flag football, bowling, basketball and dodgeball. But struggled to drag myself to the gym.

A marriage and two kids later I find even less motivation to workout. We have a treadmill which I use a lot when I'm pregnant and sporadically when I'm not. But I don't run. I walk. A mile and a half. Pat myself on the shoulder and go about my day.

But as most are aware the winters can be cold, long and drawn out in Milwaukee. So I clung to the idea that working out would be just the thing I would need to fight the winter blues. Steve so kindly bought a gym membership for us last year for Christmas.

We used it here and there. Nothing more than a day or two a week. A day or two turned to once every other week and then three weeks. Finally I put the membership on hold. Summer was fast approaching and I was spending a lot of time outside. So we started up again in November. The whole month came and went without a visit. And December came and went as well. January we've used it on Saturdays. But not enough to make it worth it.

I should use it. I understand that. But the thought of getting the kids ready, driving to the gym, getting the kids settled in kids care just makes me exhausted and that doesn't even count the workout. It's official, I'm just not a gym girl. I can say I tried. I just don't have it in me. So we canceled the gym.

To further my explanation, when Steve and I were toying with the idea of getting an iphone I was 100% okay with canceling the gym membership to pay for the monthly iphone bill. And that is where my loyalty lies. I would rather have a cool gadget than a healthy body. 

At least in my 20's.
I have high hopes for being a powerful runner in my 30's.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

So long my friend...

In a not so distant past, my husband and I packed up all our belongings and moved to the midwest. Upon our arrival we purchased our home and started some serious renovations. In an effort to also furnish the home we scoured craigslist to fill our home with mismatched furniture. However, there was one piece of furniture I wanted to purchase. I wanted this desk:


Before Hallie was born I found one section for a great deal and used it in our nursery. I knew the day that I bought that piece, that I would one day buy the rest to make a desk.  So when we got our home situated I couldn't stop thinking about the desk. However, there was one thing I didn't like about it - it was so expensive, especially on the little money that we made. I consider myself to be quite advanced in working around obstacles to get my way, but I knew with every fiber of my being that Steve would reject the idea of buying this desk. So plan B: get a job with Pottery Barn. I'm sure Steve was also against this idea, but knew how much I wanted this. So I applied for a seasonal position.

At the end of my seasonal position- I owned my desk (and a whole lot more) and I couldn't be happier about it. But for Steve it was time to be done. It took every Saturday and another night during the week and Hallie was young so as much as I wanted to stay on I was through.

A couple months later I was wanting to purchase a table and chairs for Hallie at Pottery Barn kids. Realizing their prices are more than ridiculous, I decided to get a seasonal job so I could purchase the table. Once again with a slight argument from Steve, I got a job. I worked much less and got the same discount. I was in heaven. The seasonal position came and went and they kept me on...So I worked Saturdays. Some day shifts, some night shifts. nothing more than 4 hours. I loved it but it got a little old for Steve.

two years went by, we had Hunter and I was on a three month maternity leave. Steve once again reluctant for me to go back, but I worked it out with the manager to work only the second and fourth Saturday from 6-9:30. I couldn't have asked for a better gig. So I worked those shifts for the last year.

However, some good things must come to an end. We were told our store was closing due to lease issues at the beginning of December. Our doors shut on January 17. Admittedly this was really hard for me. I didn't think it would be that big of a deal, but it was.

I was sad to lose my friendships with co-workers.
I would miss working with customers and spending their money.
I would miss working. I really enjoyed the work there. I believe in the product and use it.
I would definitely miss the discount. We all know they're overpriced!
I would miss the relationship I had with my boss. My kids adored her and loved going in to see her.
I would miss taking the kids to storytime.

Funny to say, that store became a large part of our lives, and I wasn't quite ready to be done. Of course I've taken full advantage of the discount and have more than enough to show for my time with the company. I love the furniture we have from them, the decorations, the holiday stuff. Everything.

I worked the night before the store closed and it was hard to see the store so empty and lifeless.


And so I must close this chapter of my life. I'm done. Good bye good deals...I will actually go as far as to call them fantastic deals. One advantage of working there was so crazy good deals right before they closed. I went out in style! I've got Christmas for a couple years in the storage room! :)

Goodbye Pottery Barn Kids...
until I need another piece of furniture! (Steve would kill me at the thought of me getting another job at Pottery Barn to get a good deal on a piece of furniture. The amount we spend on everything else because they're such "good deals" we could pay for the furniture at full price!!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Funny comment...

We've been struggling just a bit with Hallie's sassy/bossy/mean personality. We see it with her friends, her brother and even us. So we had a special family home evening the other night to discuss the importance of kindness and being nice. We recounted the days events and listed what were kind things and what were mean things. We talked of how we can be nice and some different solutions to problems that might arise.

Hallie looked at me and let out an over exaggerated sigh. I asked her what was wrong.

"You're just really talking a lot, can't you let dad talk now."

I think the lesson is already helping...

A little sasy...a little pink...

Last fall I took Hallie out with a friend of hers and we took some fun pictures on a cool fall night. I love fall. And seeing these pictures makes me long for warmer weather.
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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Christmas...

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When I was in college I roomed with a girl who's family shared a Christmas tradition of making gifts for one another.  At the time I thought that was the coolest idea, but couldn't come up with a single thing I would be able to make a member in my family that they would actually like. Flash forward a couple years when Steve and I were married and didn't have a lot of disposable income for Christmas.

Thinking of my roommate, I resorted to the idea of making something, and racked my brain for something I could do for Steve, and then the perfect idea hit me,  I typed up his missionary journal and digitized his mission pictures and made a movie out of them. We then had Hallie right before that same Christmas and I wanted to make her something as well...and so the tradition started. For the first years I guess it was coincidence I made something, but after four years I will unofficially call it a tradition, and I love the idea of making gifts. It doesn't have to be anything big, or magnificent, but just to spend a little love on a project for someone that means the world to me.

So this year with three people to make for, I started early. Although I've done it for Steve each year, it's getting harder and harder to think of "home-made/gifts made with love" that I can give him. He just might get axed in years to come! :) But this year...Photobucket
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He got a 140 page book of all our pictures from Peru. (Of course this was also I wonderful gift for me as well!)

I made Hallie a fun little diaper bag, a changing pad and cloth wipes to go in a little case.
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I also reprinted a book that I had previously made for Hallie which gets a lot of wear and tear, perhaps something we reprint every two years!
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Hunter's gift was my favorite this year, and also the most time consuming. I wanted to buy him some large foam blocks to build with and knock down. Of course they were far more expensive than any one year old should receive for Christmas, so I set out to make a set instead, and I love them.
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This is from set of 15 blocks. What's fun is Hallie plays with them as well.
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Hunter also received a blanket, and a face blanket. He is such a blanket man.
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He carries these things around all the time. Which consequently means I'm always washing blankets!

As for as our Christmas morning went, it was great. We love being in our home on Christmas morning. There is something quite magical about it. We had Kaytlin with us to share in the memories which was even better. Photobucket
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Hallie's main gift was a huge hit. I found a playhouse on craigslist and it was just perfect for her, and surprisingly Hunter as well. A gift that weeks later she uses daily.
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Steve so kindly purchased an iphone for me and surprised me with it on our anniversary in Chicago. He knows me so well. We had talked about it for awhile, and just hadn't done anything about it. I love it. Love, love, love it. It makes my life easier, it really does. I love him for understanding me so well!

After all the hard work of preparing for Christmas, within 2.5 hours, it's all done. And it's evident by huge piles of trash around the living room and toys and pieces of toys scattered everywhere. And at the end of the morning madness. I sat on the couch somewhat saddened. I wasn't ready for it to be over, and that's when it hit me that not once during the season did I sit by the light of the tree and marvel at the glory of it. I was bummed. I vowed to start and finish all projects by Dec 1 next year so I can enjoy the month a little more.
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We had a wonderful morning feeling so blessed with health, love, family and friends. We had an amazing ham dinner with friends that night and late that night picked my dad up from the airport...and then the bathroom remodel began...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Santa...

Annual Santa picture at the mall...Hunter wasn't too excited. And regardless of Hunter's fit throwing, Hallie sits there like a champ and poses for the camera! The story of our life.
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Christmas Eve...

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Last year we spent our first Christmas on our own. Hunter had been born just three months earlier and we were tired of holiday travel, packing and unpacking gifts, but more importantly we were ready for our own family traditions. So we started out by writing down all of the crazy ideas we thought would be fun and in the end chose a few and ran with them!Photobucket

So this year we hosted our second annual Christmas eve extravaganza, joined by many of our best friends here in Wisconsin (30 people to be exact, and no our home is not very large). We had a nice traditional turkey dinner with more food than we could handle followed by a kids gift exchange.
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We saved room for a little dessert and the presentation of the nativity and reading of the Christmas story.

In my family growing up, we always read the story, but never dressed up. But Steve's family dressed up, so we took that as one of our traditions. After hosting last year and trying to outfit a cast for the nativity, I asked my mom if she would make some costumes for me for Christmas. She started working on them early in the year and much to my delight I opened them on Christmas Eve morning and was so excited to dress the kids up. They were perfect. I couldn't have asked for a better gift. I just wished I could've got a picture of all the kids together in the costumes. This is as close as we got. There's always next year...
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After our friends returned to their homes for their own traditions, we had Hallie open her Christmas pajamas and we read "Twas the night before Christmas" (Don't think we left Hunter out...he was not feeling well and he was in bed just minutes after our first guests arrived, but don't you worry, he too was sleeping in wonderful Christmas pajamas!)Photobucket

With Hallie in bed and Steve on his way to bed (he was a little tired and not feeling well) I went to work with my duties as Santa and spent time wrapping last minutes gifts, stuffing stockings, and building Hallie's gift...

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Hallie and Steve spent the morning of Christmas Eve shoveling the walks and playing in the snow.
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