Monday, December 29, 2008

2 week countdown

2 weeks from now I will have already worked a 9 hour day as an engineer. That's right, I am headed back to work in just 2 short weeks. Uh oh, what was all that stuff I learned so long ago? I finished college 7 years ago and my masters 4 years ago. Where did all that knowledge go? I am hoping that the stuff that I forgot is the useless stuff and that the useful stuff remains but we will see. I am sure I have a lot of learning to do.

I am going back to work for ATK as an aerospace systems engineer in Plymouth, MN. I will be working 3 days a week. Nine hours a day for a total of 27 hours a week. I really think I will love part-time work there. I am going to try my best to stick to working Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays but the job is very flexible so if we end up going out of town for vacation then my days may change. I also have great benefits through my job which is amazing for just being part-time. Some of the benefits are scaled back but I am just happy to have any benefits at all.

I will have to fill you in on the work once I start. For now, I know that I will be working on an artillery project in the early design stages.

We signed the kids up for Sunrise International Montessori School in Minnetonka, MN. It is about halfway between our house and my work. We are really looking forward to having both boys in preschool together. We are hoping that the montessori education stimulates their minds, gives them a love for learning, makes them more independent kids, helps them sustain a peaceful environment (not yelling and running all the time) and helps them get along well with other kids too. I know that we have high hopes for this school but I am sure that it will improve them in some noticeable ways. We were very impressed at the kids we observed and how the whole school functioned. We can't wait for it to rub off on our boys. It helps that Jaden and Clay are very much looking forward to this new preschool too.

Jaden has had a lot of questions lately about the transition. The conversation has been entertaining for me.
"Mom, why do you work?"
"Who will watch me?"
"What will I do?"
"What will you do?"
"Why do you work on satellites?"
and somehow this line of questioning led to, "Why is the sky blue?"
I knew that question would come someday so it was fun to talk about with Jaden.

Friday, December 26, 2008

christmas extravaganza

Our house is quiet now and everyone should be asleep but I am up wanting to blog and Bryan is working overnight.

My family all left our place by Tuesday and Bryan's mom got out of the hospital in Fargo on Tuesday also.

We have had a quiet holiday the last two days. Lots of time relaxing around the house.

Here are a few highlights from the last week.

Jaden (top left) singing one of many songs at his preschool Christmas program (9 Little Reindeer). There were lots of hand motions that got him to see at least part of the time. This was his last day at this preschool, so sad. A new school will come soon.
The kids playing in the snow. Clay did not enjoy the sled rides when the snow got kicked up in his face or when any snow got on his mittens.
Jaden and Kira loved the sled rides. Kira just loved eating snow.
The 5 cousins actually sat still for this photo shoot. No one left the couch for a good minute. Amazing! Left to right: nephew Gregory (my sister, Roxanne's son here from Colorado Springs), Clay, Jaden, niece Kira, and niece Brinley.
The gifts. Here is a rare picture of me getting my boys ready to see the big present.
The tool/workbench made by my dad, Grandpa Oscar. The boys love it and will get lots of play time out of it.
Our big meal together on Saturday. All my favorites: ham, mashed potatoes, ham gravy, fresh bread (forgot frozen rolls till later), pomegranate salad, strawberry pretzel salad/dessert, green bean casserole, Paula Dean's corn casserole and Paula Dean's pumpkin gooey butter cake.
Our own family Christmas. The boys chose the dessert for Jesus' birthday, a big chocolate chip cookie. It sure was yummy fresh out of the oven and a little gooey, topped with vanilla ice cream. They blew out the candle and we had fun singing Happy Birthday Jesus.
We spent 45 minutes reading numerous renditions of the Christmas story while everyone took turns acting out the scenes with the Little People Nativity. Love those Little People. They actually kept the boys attention and I think Jaden could retell the Christmas story, well, maybe part of it. I was surprised that Jaden knew Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

Heading to bed now. I am hoping to get in some shopping on Friday. Gotta pick up ornaments for my boys at Hallmark. I am addicted to their ornaments.

Friday, December 19, 2008

change of plans

Monday we decided that we needed to make a trip up to Fargo, ND to see Bryan's mom in the hospital. She had a hysterectomy last Thursday (over a week ago) and was having complications from surgery. Bryan was off work and we decided to rearrange our plans to go. We knew we had to be back by Thursday to get my sister from the airport so we had some rearranging of planned events to do before leaving and I was sick on top of it. On top of that Bryan had just worked an all night shift Sunday night.

Well, the last few days have been very crazy with lots of time spent at the hospital. Lots of meals eaten at restaurants and very little sleep. My mother-in-law, Vicki, had another surgery. My sister-in-law's car broke down with only me available to help her.

Vicki is now recovering. We are back in Bloomington and now have a house full of people, 11 to be exact; 4 more when my brother's family is here. It is fun. I had no time to prepare but then there was no time to stress either.

There is so much that has happened and is happening that it is hard to process it all and it is too much to write. I am just happy to have great family. Such a blessing during the holiday season.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

fun weekend

So far, we have had a great weekend.

Friday night I surprised Bryan with tickets to the Guthrie Theater to see Shadowlands. It was a great, broadway quality play about author C. S. Lewis and the woman that he fell in love with, Joy. It is a romantic tragedy based on his real life. It deals with lots of thought-provoking questions about death and suffering. We left with lots to talk about and wanting to read more written by Lewis.

Saturday we hung around the house most of the day but then in the late afternoon we met my brother (Kirk) and his family at the Light Rail at the Mall of America. We rode it downtown to see the Hollidazzle Parade and see the Christmas Elves display at Macy's. We also grabbed some dinner in the state fair themed food court downtown. We had a blast and the best part was watching how excited the kids got looking at the lit up floats and watching the moving figurines/elves at Macy's.

I am falling more in love with Minneapolis all the time. There is so much to do here. I am so happy to be in a city again.

Friday, December 12, 2008

cute kids

Yesterday the kids spent some time playing with their cousins, Kira and Brinley, at my brother's house. Bryan and I had some time away to volunteer at our church and at Feed my Starving Children. We all had dinner together and my sister-in-law, Chrystine, made some yummy lasagna for us.

While we were hanging out together, Kira kept repeating loudly, "We need shepherds."

She was walking around the living room repeating it while no one was really paying any attention and the dads were busy talking about golf.

Eventually Kira made her way into the kitchen where Chrystine asked ,"Kira, why do you need shepherds?"

Kira replied, "Because I am Mary and Jaden is Joseph. And....Clay is baby Jesus (he was crawling on the floor). We need shepherds."

Too cute. I love my niece's big imagination. I hope more of that carries over into my boys. This memory will have to be shared with Kira, Jaden and Clay when they are older.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

losing streak

Lately, Bryan and I have been going through a losing streak.

It started at Thanksgiving when Bryan lost his keys somewhere in a field when he was hunting. That was a very expensive mistake considering he had two programmable keys, one for each of our vehicles on there. We are still in the process of replacing them and getting a new key to work in our doorknobs to our house. This would cost around $400 to replace the keys but Bryan did some research online and bought his own keys to save us $150. Still an expensive thing to lose.

Then a few days later Bryan lost the only key to his car. We searched around the house for a half hour and found it in the garbage, oops. Bryan accidentally through it out with some garbage from his car.

Then yesterday, I lost our cell phone, that we share. It fell off my lap while getting out of the van at the Minnesota Zoo. A very nice lady found the phone later that day in the snow of the parking lot. Very lucky break! She called me and turned it in to the zoo. There still are nice people out there.

Hopefully our losing streak is over.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

hurting body

I have lots of aches and pains right now. Tonight I shoveled the 4 inches of snow that we got last night. It would have been smarter to shovel while the snow was falling and just do it twice but I wasn't that on top of things. Anyway, now I am paying for it in the strain I placed on my body. This was the third time I shoveled snow so far this winter/fall. I keep telling myself and Bryan that it is a good workout and I enjoy it but this time may have pushed me a little too far.

It doesn't help that last night I fell climbing up our wooden basement stairs and hurt almost every part of me that I could hurt. I had bloody knuckles. I now have bruised ribs and two bruised thighs.

On top of that my right ankle is still recovering from rolling it as I missed a step 2 weeks ago. I fell to the floor hard. I have never injured an ankle that bad. The swelling is just about gone.

Those three combined sets of injuries put me in the mood to workout. I am already sore and stiff so why not keep it going and get on the elliptical in my basement or stick in one of my pilates DVDs? Well, I might just do that. I have been wanting to get back into working out and it has been awhile. I last worked out on the elliptical about 3 years ago, when I was pregnant with Clay. Wow, that seems like a long time ago. I don't plan on getting up early tomorrow to workout but maybe one day soon. For now I will continue to look for practical ways to stay active during my day, like shoveling snow. Any other active ideas out there for a mom with two young boys to get more excercise throughout the day?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

wonderful Christmas suprise

My loving husband planned a surprise for me last night. He got a babysitter and arranged the evening for us. Once the babysitter arrived we were off to dinner and I found out that we were going to the Michael W Smith Christmas concert in St. Paul. We first had dinner at Snuffy's Malt Shop which is a local favorite. I had never been there before and the burgers were really good but the best part of the meal was the brownie shake that we shared, mmmmm good. Wish I had some more now.

The concert was fun and the music was great. There was a full orchestra which was probably the best part of the concert. They sounded so amazing. Some binoculars would have been helpful from our seats but the sound was still good. MWS also had two american idol singers with him, George Huff sang back-up and Melinda Doolittle sang a few amazing songs on her own. She has a powerful voice.

We enjoyed the evening and even got some hot chocolate together. The night was very worth it just to get some time together without the kids. The conversation was great and reminded us more of why we love each other. It is just too easy to get distracted by all of the kid stuff in our lives and then we lose touch with each other as a couple.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

snowy bloomington

Here is Bryan with two of the many pheasants that he shot over Thanksgiving weekend. He is hoping to get some yummy pepper sticks or jerky made of the meat. Bryan's uncle is in charge of the meat processing. Jaden was afraid to touch the pheasants and I don't blame him. I don't like touching dead animals either.Here is our beautiful snow-covered house before the boys and I shoveled the driveway.
We had a blast playing in the snow. We even built this snow castle. Who says you need to put away sand toys for the winter? The boys were very eager to destroy the castle. That is much better than showing their masterpiece to their dad.
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

happy thanksgiving

We had a great Thanksgiving in Wolsey, SD with Bryan's family. We hungout for 4 days in small town America. There isn't much to do so we did a lot of sitting around, just kidding, really we were constantly busy chasing and catching our misbehaving kids. Not sure where all of the whining came from the last few days but it wore Bryan and me out. Bryan's mom, Vicki, usually does a great job of entertaining the boys but this time, she was in a lot of pain due to a kidney stone so that left a lot more work for me. We are hoping she feels better soon. This was probably not her favorite Thanksgiving to remember.

Bryan got to go pheasant hunting again and I got to scrapbook some too. Bryan's family played lots of cards and I got to do some cooking for the family to help chef Eileen (Bryan's grandma) out. We watched lots of movies too. We also got Bryan's sister, Kim, to take some family pictures of us. Hopefully one of them will be used for our Christmas letter/card.

I need to get some sleep now but hopefully I will get some pictures up tomorrow.