Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Our 2008 Christmas Story

It all began with a couple of huge weekend snowstorms that left us with about 3 ft. of snow on the ground, which the kids loved!

The schools were closed both the Friday before Christmas and the Monday, so the kids had one day of school before Christmas with all of their Christmas parties on that day. We went to Lydia’s for her Christmas program and she was a Christmas tree representing how Germany celebrates Christmas, I thought that was fitting giving our family history and her grandfather Henry Herget.

Santa Clause came to visit her school and we were able to get the kids picture taken with Santa. Emily is not to sure about the situation.

Then on Christmas Eve we had a surprise visit from the Fire Department and guess what, they had Santa with them! Their fire engines came roaring down our street decked out in Christmas lights and Santa in the front seat. They stopped in front of our next door neighbors. And of course all of the kids on our street came out of the house. Santa gave them each a candy cane and a hot wheels car! We were lucky enough to get our picture with him.
Overall, this year was a little lonesome. John had quite a week at work, starting on Sunday leaving at 5:30am and not getting home until 7:00-9:00pm most nights and he finished out the week on-call on Saturday not getting home until 10:00am Sunday. He was exhausted.
Thankfully he was home for Christmas Eve. The kids and I had dinner at the Hulse’s and then we caught up with dad that night at 6:30pm. We had hot cocoa, listened to our family Christmas stories and let the kids open one gift. Their one gift is Christmas PJ’s and here they are:
Then Christmas day, Jack is at that age where 4:30am isn’t to early to see what Santa brought him. So he comes into our room to wake us up, our first reaction is to roll over and go back to sleep but we figured since dad had to leave at 5:30am and was going to miss Santa gifts we would do Santa gifts with him; so we all got up and went downstairs. They each got to open the gifts Santa brought and that took until about 5:00am. Then John went and got ready for work while I put the kids back to bed. And guess what they slept in until 8:45am, I couldn’t believe it. I think we are on to something here.

Christmas day the kids had to wait until dad got home to open the gifts under the tree, so to keep them occupied the sister missionaries dropped by and played battleship with Jack and helped me get ready for John to get home. It was a blessing to have them drop by!! John got home at 7:30pm, we ate our Christmas dinner of Ham, cheesy potatoes, homemade rolls, etc. and then we sat down and opened the rest of our Christmas gifts. The kids didn’t get to bed until close to 11:00pm!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Greeting!

In April of 2008 we welcomed Emily Kathryn West into our family. She has been such an easy baby and we feel so blessed to have her in our lives. She was a lot smaller than Jack and Lydia coming in at only 6 lbs. 1 oz. Her brother and sister have been a huge help taking care of her and she is now starting to coo and babble.
John is staying very busy in his residency by working long hours. I have enjoyed my calling on the Church Public Relations committee which has me recording a radio show that airs once per month. Jack is in 1st grade and I am continually impressed with the school system here. He is already doing story problems in math and reading chapter books. We are so proud of the progress he is making. Lydia is in Preschool five days per week and preparing to enter Kindergarten next year.
We miss all of you so much and hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

I am sorry for the informal Christmas card this year, I hope you can all forgive me. I know how much fun it is to receive Christmas cards each year and I love putting them up on my bulletin board for all to see. So I promise this will not always be the way you will get your Christmas greeting.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thanksgiving and a couple of other treasures.

I thought I would post this cute video of Emily… she has started doing this soft singing and then she turns up the volume… it is so cute.

John has been working 17 hour shifts starting at 4:30pm and ending at 9:00am the next day, that basically gives him 6-7 hours to sleep before he has to be up and back at the hospital, he is so tired… I caught him taking a cat nap with our daughter Emily.

On Thursday, Gantrie and Corey Boren invited us over to share Thanksgiving with them and it was wonderful. John got up at 2:00pm and we went over he ate and then he left for the Hospital, I stayed with the kids and we played a few games, it was a lot of fun and it was nice for me to be with friends on the holiday. Thanks Gantrie!

Then Saturday we celebrated a second Thanksgiving because John wanted to wake up to the smell of Turkey in the oven. It was quite nice. It was our first Thanksgiving dinner with just our immediate family without friends and family and it was great. Here’s a picture of the table with all the fixins! I made homemade wheat rolls, turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, banana cream pie, etc.

Another fun thing I thought I would add. In Buffalo it is not unusual to find someone building an ice skating rink in their yard for the winter. And my neighbor did just that, here is a picture of the ice rink before the snow and ice. Twin girls live here, they are Jack’s age in fact they were born the same day as Jack. One of the girls plays ice hockey and the other one a figure skater. It will be so fun to watch them out there this winter!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lydia was Glowing on her Birthday!

Lydia turned 4-years-old Saturday and so we threw a “Glow-in-the-dark” party for her. We had the girls make beaded necklaces, with glow-in-the-dark beads, complete with their names. Then we painted their nails with glow-in-the-dark nail polish, painted their faces with glow-in-the-dark paint, gave them tattoos that glow-in-the-dark and when they were all finished I handed them each glow necklaces and glow bracelets. Then we went to our basement for some glow-in- the-dark fun, complete with a black-light which made their clothes glow as well. The girls had so much fun!
Here are all the girls that came to the party.
Here they are glowing…

Jack got creative with the necklace and bracelet and made a shoe out of them.

And here is one more video of the fun they had!

That evening after John had gotten some sleep from being on-call the night before, we went to Red Robbin to get Lydia's birthday burger. Just after we placed our order, the lights went out. Apparently a transformer at a nearby Lowe's caught fire and caused a power outage to local businesses. We joked that it was continueing Lydia's glow-in-the-dark theme. They were still able to serve the kids macaroni and cheese and bring us some salads but because of the power outage the kitchen was shut down, so no burgers for us - oh well :(. I have to say though, that the staff there was fabulous and helped to make it fun for all of us despite the circumstances, can't wait to go back!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Halloween and an Update on our House Projects!

A couple of weeks ago my husband finished the walls in our basement (the ceiling will be finished next year). Here are some before and after pictures:

You can't really tell what color the walls are but we painted them a very light lavender and then we had carpet put in the Wednesday before Halloween.

So, we decided to have a Halloween party at our house. We had about 10 families join us for some warm soup before heading out to trick-or-treat.

This is Jack and Lydia at the Great Pumpkin Farm, the pumpkins are as big as they are and there are pumpkins there that are 4 times as big as they are as well.

Lydia made a beautiful Cinderella.
Here is Lydia and 2 of her friends from the party.
Emily was a fabulous Jester.

And Jack a Power Ranger, of course.
Here we are right after we all went trick-or-treating and the party had come to an end.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Georgia on my mind...

This past weekend we changed our plans from flying to SLC to driving the 13 1/2 hour trip to Georgia. We went to see my mother and my cousins. My mother recently moved out there to be closer to her sisters and to be back in Augusta, GA where she grew up. It was a very pleasant trip and my mother was doing better than I expected.
On our way down we stayed in Charlotte, NC with my cousin Tiffany and her kids. Here is Kade, Jack, Lydia, and Serrin…

This is me and my cousin Tiffany and our two babies that were born 2 weeks apart.

Then on Thursday we headed for Augusta, Ga and it was busy from the moment we arrived until the day we left. We moved my mother into a nicer apartment than the one she was in and she seems very happy right now. And yes, my mother is that small...

On Saturday, we finished up moving the last of the items over and got her settled so that she was functional. Then later that day, we met up with my other cousin Jaime and her family just outside of Atlanta. We met them at a restaurant called The Blue Willow Inn Restaurant. Formerly known as the Bertha Upshaw House. While the Upshaw’s lived in their grand home, Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With The Wind, was a frequent visitor during courtship with Redd Upshaw, her first husband. Redd Upshaw, of Walton County Upshaws, was the character basis for Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind. Knowing that bit of history made it that much more interesting to eat there. It was beautiful and the food was fabulous!! Good ol’ southern cookin’!

So, do you think they could be twins? It’s a little crazy how alike Natalia, Jaime's daughter, and Lydia look. Lydia is just a few months older than her and they both are having trouble growing out their hair – it must be genetic!

Here are Jaime's kids and Lydia and Jack sitting on a bench at the Blue Willow Inn.

The drive home was beautiful... especially at this time of year. This was taken in Virginia.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Jack’s workbench becomes a reality!

This is the workbench before he and his dad made it a reality with nails. He stacked wood for his seat.
Daddy and Jack built his workbench together, this is so great for Jack. Thanks, John for being such a great dad! Here is the workbench complete with his own chair.

Here is a small video of their project together.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Missing My Dad Today...

This is my favorite picture of my dad and how it demonstrates his love for his grandchildren. One year before he passed away, I took Lydia and Jack to SLC to visit family and this picture was taken as we were saying goodbye to fly back to Cincinnati. My dad was a good man and he was such an example of strength and perserverance as he battled Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM) and other trials in his life.
This is me, Lydia and my dad; Lydia was about 7 months old and this picture was taken in that same trip. He passed away in July of 2006. Lydia was named after his mother Lydia Jane Tracy.
You know missing someone after they pass away never goes away, sure you go on with your life but then something happens or you see something that reminds you of them and all of the feelings just flood back. I am greatful for those times because it helps to keep their memory alive for us. My trials may not be as great as his were, but I hope I can handle them as well as he did.
Thanks dad for your example!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Like Father, like son

I was cleaning Jack's room this morning and came upon this... and had a little chuckle. Jack had drawn up plans on how to make a work bench, complete with 5 steps. He's only 6-years-old, I don't know where he learns this stuff. But he definitely takes after his dad, I love it!

Friday, September 5, 2008

School, solid food, and the red coats...

The kids had their first day of school on Wednesday, here they are getting ready to go to school. Lydia is attending a Preschool here in buffalo that runs 5 days a week 2 ½ hours a day. She seems to love it, although she would prefer to ride the bus with her brother Jack. Jack started first grade, he loves it and says that his teacher is really nice.

Emily has started solid foods. Here is a video of one of her first bites, she laughs at the very end it is very cute. We love having Emily, she wakes up with a smile on her face that lasts all day long. She is cooing and laughing and rolled over for the first time a few days ago.

Lydia is now riding a bike, well with training wheels that is. Here is a picture of her on her new bike that we found on Craigslist for $5.00, it’s great and is perfect for her. I included a small video of her riding her bike.
The weekend before school started, we went to Fort Niagara. It is the oldest continually occupied military site in North America, it’s history goes back to 1679. The fort played an important role in the struggles of France, Great Britain, and the United States to control the Great Lakes region of North America. While we were there we met some military men dressed up in the old outfits that they wore back then and they did some cannon demonstrations for us, which Jack absolutely loved! I loved the history and the view of Lake Ontario, someone once said “if there is beauty in this world, in water it is.”
Jack found a large frog in our yard and we wanted to get a picture of him with it. When spring rolls around here in Buffalo that's when we find tons of baby frogs hopping around our yard and they are so very cute.
Here we are at the Naval shipyard, we took a quick trip out to show Jack the boats and submarine. We didn't go in them, but hope to take him on the tour soon.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Frequent Visitors

Ok, I just had to post this. Throughout the year we have some frequent visitors to our yard. On this particular day, three gentlmen (or gobblers to toms as male turkey's are called) trot into our yard trying to impress a couple of young female turkeys or hens as they are called (The girls are the ones with their feathers flat in the bottom picture). It was quite funny to see them walk around slowly and proudly with their feathers and chests all puffed out trying to impress and get the girl, and as if they were saying "my chest is bigger than your chest". We have seen some baby turkey's around sooo I guess it worked!