Monday, January 18, 2010

Christmas on the Farm (part 2, finally!!)

After a fun-filled Christmas at home, we headed down to the farm the day after for Christmas, part 2!!  We are quickly accumulating quite the assortment of traditions we take in over the couple days we celebrate on the farm.  First up is always a FABULOUS Christmas dinner put on by Nora...

Next up... the gifts...

& 2009 marked the year the farm took a huge leap into technology...

as this year Nora surprised Ed with a laptop & internet service on the farm!

Another tradition (snow / weather permitting) is getting out for some sledding fun.  This year we tried something different & we loaded up the hay wagon with wood & took a hayride back into the valley...

Grandpa even had a co-pilot helping him drive the tractor!

Some chose to ride & others chose to walk or snowshoe, as in my case...

We found the perfect spot for a bonfire with some sledding nearby...

Brandon on his "silver bullet"

Melanie loved the taboggan & "squealed" all the way as she zipped down all on her own... & then would say "Daddy, I want to go again... but higher this time."  By the end of it, she was sledding all the way up the hill where we were starting!

We enjoyed hot cider & Christmas goodies by the bonfire!
It was a perfect sledding day!

Next up was heading to LaCrosse to take in the lights the Rotary puts up in Lakefront Park.

We had the 3 monkeys in our car!

The next morning Grandma put on her annual Christmas tea for the grandkids... this year it was a breakfast tea.

On the menu were ham crescent roll ups, gingerbread pancakes, fresh fruit, apple cider tea...

& of course, a few goodies at the end!

On our last day, Mike & I headed out for some snowshoeing around the hills & Chris & Ed went for a little walk.

Chris, Ed & Mike

It was a wonderful Christmas on the Farm!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wrapping up Christmas (part 1)...

Well... it seems once again that Christmas has come & gone in a flash.  I wonder if the kids would agree?  Is it like when we were kids & the countdown to Christmas seemed to move at a snail's pace or has it really sped up for all, young & old alike?  I'm hoping for their sake that the excitement & anticipation of it all still makes the time go slow... & it is only those of us who are busy with other things & trying to "create" the magic of it all that find it whizzing by. I can barely make Christmas happen with a month (or more) of preparation so I have a new found awe of being able to create a whole world in just 6 days!

Our kids are truly at a fun age for it all... Brandon (6) as a full grasp on all aspects of Christmas & is very eager to share this wealth of information with Melanie (3.5), who takes it all in & shares her own theories & facts on it all.  After a fun month of taking in all sorts of holiday fun & finally we were in the home stretch.  We got our pre-Christmas snow storm, to guarantee a white Christmas & some outdoor fun!

Snowshoes on... ready to go...

After the drive is done... Mike moved to the backyard to start on our snow hill

... & I had the cutest helper in the kitchen getting the lamb marinating, the Christmas Grasshopper pie made & the carmel rolls ready for Christmas morning!

Finally it was Christmas Eve... our tradition is to do our little family celebration that night where we open our gifts under the tree & have a special lamb dinner, then we head to the farm for a few days on Christmas morning after doing our Santa stuff & breakfast.  Even though the weather was going to delay our farm gathering (i.e. we would be spending Christmas Day at home), we decided kept with our normal tradition & then just get to enjoy our bonus Christmas day at home!

Christmas Eve

Mmmm... lamb chops

This year Brandon got lots of Star Wars stuff... legos, books, movies & Melanie was all about girl stuff... Strawberry Shortcake, pink legos & princess stuff...

Scooters from Nana & Papa...
oh what fun!

Finally it was time to get (new) jammies on & get the goodies ready for Santa (with a ziploc for Mrs. Claus, in case he wanted to take a few back for her).

Due to the winter storm, we ended up having Christmas day to ourselves at home...

... but first up was getting ready to see if Santa came!

Melanie was hoping for a baby with hair & Brandon wanted a bike with gears!  Good thing they are on the "good" list!

It was a beautiful Christmas morning. Snow had fallen overnight & big, white flakes were still falling... it was a Norman Rockwell kind of morning!

Thanks to our change of plans, we had a relaxing morning playing with toys, having homemade carmel rolls & enjoying being at home.

Melanie had fun feeding 'Honey' in her new high chair while Brandon worked on building his TIE fighter LEGO..

We even got outside for a while to play in all our snow...

The kids had fun on their snowhill... & I snowshoed around the yard...

... & even made a little snowman!

We had a wonderful prime rib Christmas dinner... & fantastic Christmas Day.

Next up... Christmas on the Farm!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

More than a New Year!

Wow... 2010.  How did that happen?  Seems like Y2K wasn't that long ago & yet, numbers don't lie... 10 years & now we are into a new decade as well.  I wrote my first check & it was weird not writing 0-something, so much so that I almost wrote 010!  I've never been much of a New Year's resolutions person... but for some reason this year I feel like I really need to challenge myself to do more than 'try'.  We all have room for improvement on things so I'm sure most of us could easily make a list of MANY things that could use attention in the coming year.  I tend to eat fairly healthy, get exercise & get in good quality family time, so although I need to keep at those things, they really don't count as resolutions on my list.  I'm not sure if it is age getting to me or the fact that I look at my kids, who are now 6 & 3.5 but lately I feel the time with them just going in fast forward & I'm really struck with the fact that time is fleeting.  Maybe this year, that is why I'm feeling the need to do more than 'try'... but to really make a resolution about being the best mom to them that I can be.  I have to admit, most days I think I fall horribly short of that.  I'm a good mom & certainly I can find plenty of ways in which I do well, but I have found as they get older, it is has actually gotten harder.  As babies, I felt it was simple... they need food, sleep, a clean diaper, a little play time & to be cuddled... pretty easy!  It is harder the older they get as the needs become more subtle... & although they do so much for themselves they somehow manage to thoroughly exhaust me by the end of the day.  I still know that I am capable of so much more & that certainly they deserve all that I have to offer.  So for 2010, I am resolving to find ways to feel that I'm better than just good to them.  On the top of my list is patience, patience, PATIENCE... I need to find some reservoir of patience that dwells somewhere within me or figure out where I can beg, borrow or steal it!!   Generally it is more patience with myself that translates into more patience for them but it is also just outright patience with them.  I have to say that this is something that surprised me a bit as patience isn't something I thought I would struggle with, so I haven't quite figured out how to remedy this yet... but I'm a problem solver at heart, so the trial & error begins!  In the meantime, I'll focus on the little ways I can be a better mom that hopefully together will bridge some of that gap while I work on my patience problem!

My other big resolution this year is to try & find some ways to expand myself as a cook.  I have always enjoyed cooking & since having kids, I don't feel like I've been inspired to nurture that creative outlet... so hopefully if I can find more patience with my kids, I'll also find more energy for being creative in the kitchen!

I hope the year has started out well for all... and I've got a Christmas post in the works, so stay tuned for that.
Cheers & Happy New Year!!