Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Winter Beauty

I wish I could have captured better the beauty of the snow yesterday.  This is driving down our alley; I stepped outside with the girls yesterday and was simply awed by the wonder of the snow on the trees against the backdrop of a blue sky, sun shining.  We received a light dusting Sunday afternoon/evening which added a very fluffy layer of snow on top of that which we had received last Friday.  This extra dusting was sparkling... little crystals... and it covered every limb and branch beautifully.  I took the girls to Des Moines yesterday and the drive was beyond gorgeous.
I received an email yesterday from my mother-in-law titled, "Snow Be Gone" and inside it said:
Thurs & Fri, 48* predicted for you.
That makes me sad.  I actually really love winter and one of my favorite things about it is snow.  What's the point in all of the cold if there isn't going to be the beauty of snow on the ground?  Knowing how testy our winters are here, it could be weeks and weeks and weeks before we see snow again.  So, I am going to enjoy it today and tomorrow and hope that we truly don't see it leave this weekend.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Hat Finished!

We had some friends over for dinner tonight, and after dinner, we played Dominion (Adam's new game that he got for Christmas)... yes... I actually learned a bit how to play... but, while playing, I put the finishing touches on this hat... kinda sad that I'll be seeing this one go to a new owner, but I really enjoyed it and looking forward to giving it away... and to eventually making one of my own!

Merry Christmas from the Pella Draegers!

Merry Christmas!
I hope that you all have a wonderful day and enjoy your family and your friends or... if you are alone, simply enjoy the peace and quiet of the day.
We've had a lovely day here so far... the girls have enjoyed their gifts... my first batch of doughnuts, while not stellar, taste good and will become a tradition (hopefully)... and, well, I'm ready for a nap.  Hee, hee.
Lots of love to you all, on this day, Jesus' birthday!  Despite all of the gifts and the tree and the cooking and the eating, I hope you are all able to take time and remember the reason for this holiday's existence...!


Here is a picture of our backyard from last night... to be honest, I was a little concerned that we wouldn't have snow for Christmas... by Thursday, most of our front yard had melted completely.  But, it started snowing early Friday morning and here is the result.  Yay!  Sure, not conducive to traveling, so we are thankful we didn't have to drive anywhere this weekend, but certainly beautiful!

So much fun!

The cabling is done... now just to finish the rest of the hat!  I was surprised by how quickly this worked up and I love how it is turning out... I may just have to make one for myself!  Yay!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas Eve!

I have these jammies for the girls from last year... as you might guess, Raven so didn't even remotely fit into hers last year... but, it was fun to put them in the same jammies tonight and try to get some pictures... yep, these were the best... ha!

Mile High Peanut Butter Brownie Pie

I think that I just made the most perfect sounding pie in the history of peanut butter and chocolate together... the Mile High Peanut Butter Brownie Pie... we haven't eaten any yet, but if the taste of the topping is any indication, it is going to be one good tasting pie...!
Kudos to Adam for the suggestion... I never would have thought of it!

Stockings Finished!

Here are the stockings finished.
Considering that they weren't meant to be a quality craft, I'm fairly happy with the outcome.  Originally I was going to hot glue it together, but that is pretty much sacrilege when one owns a sewing machine, so in a few minutes I was able to stitch the socks together and present them to the tree. 
Now I'm hankering to make some REAL stockings and were it not for the fact that I don't think the fabric store is open today, I'd be out like a flash to get Christmas fabric... hmm.......  :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010


This was my kitchen island today... it's hard for you to tell, but there are five different cookbooks in play here, all opening to different spots and being used for different purposes.

In the last week, I've found peace with my cookbooks and have fallen in love all over again with cooking.  Planning our Christmas dinner was just the start, but then I began planning what we could have for Christmas breakfast and Christmas Eve night and Christmas Eve morning and that morphed into, "Oh, Adam's home early today, what can I whip together for lunch?"  It's been a lot of fun digging through my cookbooks again, finding recipes I haven't yet tried and foods that tantalize the taste buds.

One of my goals is to try a number of new recipes before Adam leaves for Siebel.  I think we can have a lot of fun with different meals in the month or so before he leaves, before it's just me and the kids and before we're on a skinny grocery budget.

One recipe I found today that sounded promising was for poori.  From the description of the recipe, it reminded me of Indian (Native American) fry bread, but upon further research, I found that poori is Indian (from India) fry bread... the main difference between the two being the use of sugar in the Native American version.

Regardless, I whipped these puppies (see below) up in a short amount of time and between the four of us, we tried all sorts of concoctions... horseradish, cheese, jam... and Adam and I turned a number of them into tacos.  (If you have ever had Tasty Tacos fried tacos in Des Moines... well, have I got a treat for YOU.  Heh.)

So... what's on the menu for the next few days?

Breakfast tomorrow (Christmas Eve) morning... Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake.  (I taught myself how to make "pie filling" from a few glaze recipes I found and was able to use some frozen fruit that I had instead of buying a can of pie filling.)  I'm very excited to see how this turns out... I've been wanting to make a coffee cake for some time.

Tomorrow night... ha, well, I still don't know.  I have some ideas.  We'll see.

Saturday (Christmas) morning... fried donuts.  Yum!  Tomorrow I will be preparing the dough... Adam and I have discussed turning this into a Christmas tradition.

Saturday evening we are having some friends over for dinner, and the menu that night includes...
Turkey (made the Alton Brown way, and bought from our friends Ryan and Janice of Wild Rose Pastures)
A Corn Casserole (provided by our friends Derek & Ann)
Mashed Potatoes (again, another Alton Brown specialty)
Gravy (no idea on the recipe yet... I'll just pick one out)
Stuffing (the only way to go is Stove Top... ha!)
Cheesecake (again, thanks to Derek & Ann)
Mile High Peanut Butter Brownie Pie (requested by my hub; I'll make this tomorrow)

We also are having slush (a Draeger family tradition that we've brought to Iowa) and homemade Irish cream.  The slush still isn't... slushy frozen yet... so that could be interesting.  I don't have room in the freezer for it, so I've had to set it out on the deck hoping that the temp drops enough in the next 48 hours to turn it semi-solid.  The Irish cream... I'm looking forward to making that tomorrow... I found it in a recipe magazine at my Grandpa John's over Thanksgiving.

I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas holiday and enjoy any food you might have as well!


Cutting Up

Julia is finally the owner of a pair of her very own safety scissors... she's been attempting to cut things here and there with adult scissors, and after some thought, I decided it would be best if she had her own pair that we monitored but yet still made her feel like she had some control over her life when it came to scissors.  We laid some ground rules today regarding where the scissors go (UP HIGH) and what to cut (PAPER ONLY) and when (WITH MOM OR DAD).

Yes.  I know.  One of my kids is going to be missing some hair.  Sooner than I would like.  Heh.


Feeling the Holiday Spirit

It took long enough, but I finally got into the holiday spirit today... or rather, finally dedicated the time to it. 

We started our day with Cut-out Sugar Cookies.  My mom gave me her recipe a few years ago, and while mine still aren't as puffy and moist as hers, but they still taste great!  (I will say that my frosting is pretty much right on the money, though!)

I let Julia help me decorate... she tried very hard to frost the cookies with the small knife I gave her, but quickly she went from frosting cookies to licking... as you can see in the blue teeth and lips.  (We made some blue frosting in memory of Grandma Muriel Rischette... big inside family joke.)

I also wanted to glaze the tree cookies with a glaze recipe I found on the web yesterday... I am drooling for a poinsettia cookie cutter now.

This afternoon we did a few craft projects... started a few, anyway... they aren't complete yet, but I'll show you what we've done so far.

First... felt stockings... these stockings have two purposes... for one, my children are three- and one-year-old and I still haven't made stockings for my kids.  For two, each year since Julia was born, I've done something to show the size of the girls' hands or feet or something... this year I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone by putting their hand prints on felt stockings.  I still want to make the girls some "real" stockings, but these will suffice for this year.

(As you can seen in Raven's, we had to do a second print... Raven was really good at opening her hand when I asked her to, however, as soon as she put her hand on the felt, she balled it all up into a fist... pretty funny, actually.)

Then we began making popsicle stick snowflakes with buttons... an idea I found on the web... Julia had a lot of fun picking out which buttons would go on the sticks... after a few times of getting glue on her fingers, she would pick out the buttons and ask me to place them in a certain spot... so cute!

Tomorrow we have a few more projects... and we'll finish up those from today.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Draeger Family Christmas... Trying Something New

This is the second year that we made the decision to stay in Pella for Christmas.  We spent nine days in Wisconsin over Thanksgiving visiting family, but of course we will still miss the family gatherings over the winter holidays.
However, this last Saturday, we tried something new with our Draeger Family Christmas... Adam and I still participated in the exchange, and we had Christmas with our Spencer family over Google Video Chat.  How fun!  As you can see, we even got a family picture (between our TV and my camera, it's not the best picture, but it's better than none at all!).
The girls enjoyed seeing their family on the TV and being able to talk to them.  In lieu of being with them in person, this was a wonderful alternative. 
Love you, Draegers!



Another Cousins Couch Picture... this time, the Draeger cousins... Adam's sister's son, Dex, and our two girls.  :)  This was taken over Thanksgiving weekend.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ariel Birthday

Weeks and weeks before Julia turned three, she announced that she wanted an "Ariel Birthday" and here we are, weeks and weeks later, and she still talks about her wonderful "Ariel Birthday" as if it were yesterday.

We celebrated Julia's 3rd birthday in Wisconsin this year... also experiencing our first snow of the season which prevented a number of people from being able to journey to Grandpa and Buscha's house for Julia's party.  But, we all had a great time, and everyone listened when I told them they all had to eat four bowls of soup... ha, some people did!
Julia and Raven enjoyed playing with their cousin Dex before the party, and Julia LOVED her cake (Thank you, Festival Foods!), being sung to, blowing out the candles.  It was fun to watch her experience her birthday this year, as she was able to participate instead of just being a participant... she enjoyed every part of it... being with family... opening presents.
We're so thankful for those who were able to be there with us, those who we partied with the day before (my family), and those who were able to join The Girls out for Julia's Birthday Movie to see Tangled (Buscha, GreatAuntie T, Great Auntie Dix).  All around we had a great time celebrating Julia's birthday this year!  (And let me just say that for it being her first movie, Julia did FABULOUSLY watching the movie!  Yay!)

Raven's First Haircut!

It's been a few weeks now, but Raven had her first haircut on Julia's birthday (November 24th).  She wasn't particular excited about having her haircut... anything that involves being held down is pretty much a big fat NO WAY in our house these days, but Daddy did the necessary head holding while Buscha (Adam's mom) chopped off a few locks in the front that were constantly in Raven's eyes.  Mommy's job?  Catch the hair in an envelope and take pictures.  Her hair definitely looked better after that!

Friday, December 17, 2010

I am cabling!!!

Ha, ha!  I'm so excited!
So Stacey said it was easy and to just do it so finally I just did it and she is so right, it is SO easy.  I love it!  YAY!
This project is another gift... fun, fun!  I have all of my Christmas gifts done, so this is a "whenever" gift, and that means no deadline and no stress.  Pure fun!  Yay!  I'm about one-third of the way done, so that is a good feeling... the more you knit, the faster you get!
Thanks, Stacey, for continuing to tempt me with cabling and convincing me to give it a shot! 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hooked on Nook

So... Erin got a small giftie from her company for Christmas, and after approximately 48 hours of trying to decide what to do with the money, she decided to by herself something... and this is what she bought...
The Nook!
Okay, I will stop talking about myself in the 3rd person now.
I have been considering an e-reader for about nine months now and have done some research on them in the last six months.  About a week ago, I proclaimed to Adam that next year for Christmas, that was what I wanted - an e-reader.  This summer I had decided that were I to buy one, I would purchase a Nook.  Well, Christmas 2011 came a little early when I received a monetary gift that was completely unexpected.  I hemmed and hawed over it this week, but I knew what I really wanted.  I did some more research and discussion with fellow e-reader owners this week and determined that I truly did want a Nook.
I was planning to purchase it online, however, I was at Knit Night in Coralville tonight and drove right by a Barnes & Noble.  Because I was having a hard time determining exactly what came with the Nook online (i.e., did it have a charger?  I didn't know.), I decided to pop in on my way home.  Fifteen minutes later I was leaving with my purchase.  I'm so excited!  It even comes loaded with five books... that is fun!
I will let you know how I like it... I am a big "real book" person, so this will be a change for me, but I'm looking forward to it, as I'm having a harder and harder time holding up those big, huge books in bed without my hands falling asleep... and it seems I'm reading longer and longer books these days.

Some Explaining To Do

Bear with me... I feel that this will be a hard post to write, but one that I feel is necessary.  It's been a long time (seemingly) since I've wrote about anything here that is about me, and I've only been thinking about this for about 12 hours, so it might be a bumpy ride.
I think this blog post centers around who I am as a person and how that plays into the recent decisions that we've made as a family unit.  In the past few weeks, I've been asked a number of questions and presented with a number of comments which, combined with allowing all of the recent decisions in our lives to overwhelm me yesterday, resulted in a meltdown of epic proportions... yesterday was a very painful day in that respect.
This post doesn't poke at any one person... and to be honest, I don't have a beef with anyone either.  I feel like I've adequately talked through all of this with those who question, but what that made me realize, and why I'm posting here, is that if that many people are actually saying something, how many people aren't?  And, if you aren't, do I really want you thinking what you're thinking?  Heh.
So... to give you a sampling of the questions/comments that may be running through your own head...

"I hope your husband appreciates you."
"I'm just asking what you really want for you.  Not what Adam wants."
"Are you sacrificing some of your happiness so Adam can be happy?"
"That's not how the story in Gen. 2:18 was supposed to go."
"You [Erin] are a saint."
And, in all of these comments and questions, I realized that in explaining what is going on, I never explained how this affects me or pertains to me or how much of a hand I have had in these decisions.  Or why I am on board.  Or anything.
So... let's back up a few years.  When we moved to Pella six years ago, there was obvious potential here.  Both of us were awarded good jobs with Pella Corp.  Neither of us was bad at our jobs; Adam is actually pretty good (I think).  Upon realizing that manufacturing was not where my heart lay, I went back to Rockwell Collins, but in order to do that the way I needed it to work, I went back as a contractor.  However, contracting opened up a whole host of new possibilities for me, so even though quickly the housing industry was beginning to affect Adam's potential at Pella Corp, I was able to adjust my own work schedule so that we could be comfortable whilst having children and staying home part-time.
Which brings me to another point to discuss.  My motives were questioned.  Didn't I originally want to stay home full-time?  Whatever happened to that dream and why does it seem suddenly like what is happening is an exact 180 degree shift of that?  Well, to be honest, unless we wanted to move into a smaller house and make a number of sacrifices we're not willing to make, I could not currently stay home part-time.  We already don't have cable.  Sure, we have cell phones, but we don't have the biggest plans.  I have fast internet so that I can work more effectively, but even if we reduced the speed, the bill would still be there.  We feel that savings and tithing is important.  Because of all of these things, we chose as a family for me to be part-time.  And I have enjoyed it.  Truly, I have.  My kids LOVE their daycare lady, and she offers them so much that I have found I don't have the patience for.  Does that make me a bad mom?  Of course not.  Does that mean that I would suck at being a full-time stay at home mom?  I have no idea.  But, I have enjoyed getting to have my cake (work part-time) and eat it too (stay home part-time).
So that leads to me continuing down that path and deciding to go full-time in January...
Back in October, we were presented with an opportunity for Adam to take the separation from Pella Corp.  The original plan was for Adam to find a new job, hopefully in Colorado.  I feel that I am not at liberty to discuss a lot of what is centered around my own job right now, but suffice it to say, we were simply planning for the easiest route at the time that would get us to Colorado.  Yes, we were trusting that God would tell us what to do and how to get there and where to go, but it all began very simply.  I even figured I would stay part-time.  Instead, we have learned to roll with whatever is thrown our way.
Soon after taking the separation, we discussed Siebel.  If you know Adam at all, you know how passionate he is about brewing.  This passion has led to us discussing different ways over the last three years or so that we could figure out how to send him to Siebel so that he could decide whether or not he wanted to be a brewer.  See?  My husband is very sensible... logical... whatever labels you want to apply to him.  Instead of jumping ship and screaming from the roof that he wants to be a brewer and running head-long into it, he decided long ago that he couldn't truly make that leap without first investigating.  Siebel is the perfect way for him to investigate while continuing to learn about his craft.  Yes, it's expensive.  But really?  In the scheme of things?  It's inexpensive when going can determine whether a dream you have is something that can be made reality or not.  And to have a dream like that... to be that passionate about it... and to know it is within reach?  That is awesome.  So truly awesome.  I wish I was that passionate about something in my life... but wait, I am.
And again, we didn't go into the decision to send Adam to Siebel without it being a family decision.  We discussed how it would affect us financially, relationally... we have discussed it up and down and inside out.  Part of making Siebel work is for me to go full-time in order to support our family while Adam is away.  The house isn't selling, and possibly not anytime soon.  The mortgage and bills and everything else still needs to be paid.  This needs to be done whether Adam is at Siebel or not.  And to be honest, it was not a difficult decision for me at all to request to go to work full-time for the foreseeable future.
So, that begs the question, am I giving up my dreams so that Adam can pursue his?  Am I giving up my happiness so he can find his?  The answer is, in short, no.  For starters, Adam isn't unhappy. 
I have never met another person in my life who could make lemonade out of lemons every single time.  Everything going on with the economy and Adam's work?  Upsets me more than it does him.  As said in a past post, he enjoys his work, likes the people he works with... there is no worldly reason as to why he would leave his job.  We just knew that was what he was supposed to do.
Am I giving up my dreams and my happiness?  In short, no.  And, after a lot of discussion yesterday and reflection last night, I came to realize that my ultimate goal... my ultimate reason.... that which I am passionate about...?... for doing what I do and doing things how I do them... is for safety... for knowing my family is taken care of... I make decisions based on us as a family... not based on me and what I want.  Because what I want... what I want is for the whole of us to be a content, joy-filled, and safe family.  So, one might pin a concrete statement on that by saying, "In order to achieve that, I need to be a full-time stay at home mom."  At one point, that is what I thought my goal should be.  But, my goal is bigger than that.  Wider... broader... it is more encompassing than that.  And I change... I shape and mold myself to reach that ultimate goal... that familial goal... that what I want is to take care of my family.  To be the best that I can be and to do the best that I can do such that I can achieve that.  And that means rolling with change and morphing myself to be who I need to be... and ultimately, that is where my heart's desire lies.
And frankly, I love it.  I thrive on change, I thrive on expectation, I thrive on finding order in chaos.  Have you ever talked to me about my work and what I'm doing there?  I'm often more stressed when I don't have much to do than when I'm seemingly overwhelmed by the amount in front of me.  I'm often more stressed by feeling stagnant and like we aren't going anywhere than I am when we are planning a massive change in life such as this.  I don't have much stress right now because I'm trusting and believe that we are doing what we're supposed to be doing.  Yes, sometimes, the uncertainty of it all comes crashing down around my shoulder (i.e., yesterday) and I have to reflect and reset, but I feel more content today amidst the chaos than I have for months of complacency.
So... again, I apologize for how choppy this post might seem... I hope you have gotten a sense by now that I don't feel as though I'm sacrificing anything in all of this in order for us to achieve our goals.  And maybe that brings me back around to Adam.  It seems from the outside that I'm sacrificing a lot in order for Adam to go off and have fun.  But, have you thought about it from the other side of it?  Adam is not going to see his family for twelve weeks (minus a few weekends).  Adam is going to be going to school full-time which includes tests.  He's not going to be living in comfort, and sure, while he will be enjoying all of this, he also knows that by the end of this class, he has to hope that he has made a decision about whether he wants to pursue a brewing profession.  To be honest, I feel like I have it a lot easier than he does.  There is much expectation on him in all of this (some by himself, some by me), and we don't know what that will mean for our future.  My goal?  My heart's desire?  To support us and take care of us and know that we are going to be okay at the end of this bumpy ride.
Does my husband appreciate me?  How does one even begin to answer that question?  The only answer I can give you is yes, he does.  I don't know how to explain it... I know it.  And that is enough, I feel.  To know is more important than needing to be able to explain.  I wish there were words to express and explain to people how much I know my husband respects me and appreciates me and loves me and honors me.  I simply know he does, and that is enough.
And... well, I feel that I do need to tie God into all of this as well, as He has definitely been The Force in our lives through all of this.  And, overwhelmingly I feel that I need to quote some scripture that I feel ties up nicely how I can rest in my family as my hope and dreams, how I can love and believe in my husband and what he is doing, and find my own happiness in all of that.
Ephesians 5:21 - 33: 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

How can I express to you what this Scripture really means?  If you've read it before... if you know it, you know how this Scripture pertains to our lives.  This Scriptures is why I think in terms of us instead of in terms of me.  Adam and I were two very independent people who came together as a couple and who were still living very independent lives.  Even as we have had children, we had to deal with how to be a family unit without losing ourselves in all of it.  And, we have found that for us being a family unit involves making decisions as a couple... as a family... while still enjoying who and what we are as separate people.  We have grown so much in love for each other, dare I say, even more since having children, and we have come to learn what it means to support and respect and love each other.  And in doing so, we are able to make decisions such as these (i.e., the mass of life which we're currently in) without feeling as though one or the other is profiting more, sacrificing more, etc.  We are able to make decisions such as these, without letting it upset the whole apple cart and allowing it to be the downfall of our family... our children are doing great, they are unaware of all that is going on around them, and I know full well they will be okay.  In the end, we are doing what we are doing for our family, having made these decisions together, knowing full well that as long as we keep our bond tight, no matter what happens, we will be stronger and better for it in the end.  And much of that is attributed to this Scripture.  To God.  Because, as I said, he is The Force.
I hope that this post has shed some light on the subject of who I am not just as a person, but as the wife of my husband, and as a follower of Christ.  I also hope that this hasn't opened any healed wounds with anyone I've discussed this with in the last couple of weeks, because truly, honestly, I can see why the questions and comments came about and were asked of/directed at me.  Hardly ever have I taken time to open up myself to you about what is going on inside my heart; so often I share with you what is going on around me.  So, I hope that this answers some questions and puts to bed any concerns people might have.
with love,

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pella Love: Proximity

proximity, n., The state, quality, sense, or fact of being near or next; closeness
One of the things that we love about Pella, and especially about where we live, is how close we are to things.  In this post I'll attempt to tell you just how close we are to a variety of places and things in town...
Within a block:
- The Royal Amsterdam Hotel
- Monarch's Restaurant
- The Molengracht
- The Hospice Comfort House
- A couple of churches
Within two blocks:
- A multitude of businesses, including our insurance agent, chiropractor, and a nail salon
- The Windmill and Historic Village
- The Library
- The Police Station
- Our church
- A ball field
- A theater
- More restaurants
Within three blocks:
- Many more businesses, including Smokey Row
And... the list goes on... after that, we have Central Park, the bakery, parks, daycare, the post office, our bank...
All within walking distance.
Adam walks to work every day; sometimes he bikes.  About the only time he drives is when it is raining.  Pella Corp is within a mile for him.
The hospital where I gave birth to my two children... seven blocks.  The clinic?  Eight.  A college?  Six blocks.  Grocery stores and Wal-Mart within two miles...
It's hard to deny that we live in a really great location.  (You hear that, house buyers?  Buy our house!)  We realize that moving to a bigger city means things are further and further away.  We have always remarked on our fortune in regards to our location, and hopefully we will find that we did not take it for granted.  And, maybe... just maybe, we'll find something else just as great.  :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Program

Tonight was our annual Christmas program at church for the 3-and-4-year-old through 2nd grade classes in Sunday School (known here as Discovery Time).  Wouldn't you know, Julia is OLD ENOUGH now to be in the class (she has been in the class since September) and was in the Christmas program this year.
Our program was titled "A Bunch of Gifts", and the kids sang about seven songs interspersed with narration and acting of the 2nd graders.  It was a lot of fun!
I was very proud of Julia... we started out Sunday School rough this year... she didn't want to go/stay in class... but she has blossomed and did beautifully during both practices, and also did great tonight!  YAY!  (Extra big surprise as mommy was involved this year too and I was sure she would want to come down and be by me... guess my girlie is growing up!)
Hopefully you can find Julia in the group shot... then I tried to get a close of up her during "Jingle for Joy"... then a shot of Julia with her pal Lucas, and then a few shots of the girls at home tonight.  Hard to believe Christmas is only 13 days away... and it was so fun to dress the girls up (well, Adam got to do THAT part) for the program tonight.  (I enjoyed SEEING them dressed up!)

More Reading

Have you figured out it is picture night? 
The girls enjoyed hanging out Thursday morning and reading books together on the little couch... I had dressed them both in the "rooster" (owl) jammies... I had bought these jammies last Christmas but of course Raven was too tiny... Julia was wearing Raven's jammies last Christmas and now Julia fits in the bigger size and Raven fits in the smaller.  Fun!


Raven finally loves books.  She wants to read books all the time now.  It is so fabulous!  She even enjoys looking at them by herself.  My guess is that we weren't diligent enough to read to her when she was younger like we did with Julia... *whine whine* two kids is harder than one.  Ha.  But she's really into it now and it is a joy to behold!


I have been a post slacker the last few days... I have been much busier the last couple of weeks than I would have guessed, and the news of Siebel combined with a few other things have left me less time than I would have expected.  But, here's hoping things settle out a bit?  How many times have I said that over the last... years?

As mentioned in a previous post, Raven can go up AND down the stairs now, and she likes to do it BY HERSELF.  Here is a picture of a regular occurrence in our house... Raven standing at the top of the basement stairs, readying to come down... yes, my heart often leaps into my throat.  Heh.

Friday, December 10, 2010


I'm pooped tonight so this will be a short post.
How coincidental...
Exactly 52 weeks ago last night, Julia had a 105.5 fever and I took her to the emergency room because I could not get it to go down.  (Mainly because I could not get my child to take any medicine... completely listless one second, but shove that dropper in her mouth and she was a writhing fool.)  She ended up staying home with Daddy the next day so that I could go to my Donatech Holiday Lunch.  According to Adam, she was fine by about 9:30 AM that morning and bouncing off the walls the rest of the day.  We also ended missing going to Springfield, IL, to meet up with my friend Wanda because I didn't know if Julia had the Llama Flu or not or what the deal was.
Around 11:30 pm last night, I heard irregular breathing through the baby monitor, and I found Julia struggling to breathe regularly (she was breathing, but it was obviously labored) and pretty much she freaked me out.  I took her temperature and it was something like 103.5.  I asked her if she would take some medicine for Mommy, and she said yes.  (!!!)  I gave her some Tylenol and brought her to my bed so I could keep an eye on her for the night.  Thankfully she was feeling much better this morning, but since she had a slight fever this morning, we stayed home.  This year I did miss my holiday party (oh, well).  And, sure enough, by 9:00 am, her fever was gone.  She has been doing great the rest of the day!
Thanks to Wanda for reminding me it was exactly a year ago last night... heh.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Back to School

Okay, okay.  There was a really, really, really good reason for me missing my second blog post yesterday that I promised.
See, right around 10:30 am, Adam received a phone call from Siebel Institute of Technology.  And, that created a bit of a vortex in my brain for the remainder of the day.  Maybe a black hole.  I'm not brushed up on my theoretical physics.
Back story... when Adam separated from Pella Corp, we discussed whether he should sign up for the WBA International Diploma Program (a 12-week brewing technology course) through Siebel since he'd be without a job... perfect time to go back to school, right?  However, when he contacted Siebel for the readiness assessment, he was told that he could certainly apply for the waiting list, however, typically people did not get into the class once they were on the waiting list.
So to receive the phone call but no know why... it was a test in patience yesterday.  Early afternoon, Adam finally made contact with Siebel and found that a spot had opened and that he was accepted into the program.  (Hence, my "black hole"... I was vacillating between being excited for Adam and having panic attacks... ha!)
Suddenly yesterday became a whirlwind of "can we still make this work?", "do I still want to do this?", and "why wouldn't he do this?"  After much discussion, Adam responded that he would take the spot.
The WBA IDP program begins February 7 and runs through April 29, 2011.  For the first seven weeks of the program, Adam will be taking brewing and brewing technology classes in Chicago.  From there, he will fly to Munich, GERMANY, and spend five weeks in Munich taking classes and touring Europe.
We are both very excited for him for this opportunity, of course, but as with anything big like this, there is much to take care of.  For instance, Adam will be gone for 12 weeks, but out of the country for 5 of those weeks.  We have discussed how often we can visit each other while we he is in Chicago, and have also discussed Skype-ing so that he is able to see me and his two beautiful girls.  We are also responsible for his lodging and food expenses while he is in both Chicago and Munich, so there are a number of "pre" things that need to be taken care of in the next two months.  And, beyond that, I will need to learn how to be a "single parent" while also trying to work as many hours as are available to me so that I'm able to support our family.
I would ask that you be excited for Adam... this is truly one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for him and I'm so glad that he'll be able to do this.  I also would ask that you pray for our family... so that we can stay a cohesive unit even though we will be missing our hub, and pray for me and the girls so that we are able to survive the 12 weeks together without Adam.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I completely forgot a post yesterday.  It was intentional.  I worked on our Christmas letter yesterday, and in doing so, I somehow had convinced my brain that I had written a blog post... especially since my blog address is at the top of the letter!  Whoops!

So a note on Christmas cards... ours obviously aren't out yet... but hardly any one's are!  It is December 8th and we have yet to receive a Christmas card from anyone we know.  (We have received Christmas cards from Adam's chiropractor and our Sunday paper carrier.)  I am a little surprised... I mean, I can't say much, as mine aren't out yet, but it is for good reason (I wanted to order them AFTER our family pictures, which were November 26th, and hopefully the cards will be here this week yet.)  How about you?  Have you received a bunch or does it seem that Christmas card sending is less and less of a priority for people?  Or, maybe we aren't on people's lists this year... hmm.  Food for thought.

I love a good Christmas card.  There are some I absolutely look forward to receiving every year... it's a little added spice to our holiday season.  I also love sending them, and I seem to send more and more each year, but it's a fun and endearing way to let people know what has happened in our lives.  I recently heard of a great tradition from a good friend of mine that I hope to start carrying out... ever since her children were small, she has placed a letter and photo in an album, and the kids are able to look back and see pictures of their family as it has grown over the years, and also reread the letter about what they've done that year.  What a great idea!
Do you have any Christmas card traditions?  I hope you all are having a beautiful holiday season!

ps.  I'll be back with another "make-up" post later!

Monday, December 6, 2010


The famous Schroeder and Rischette family COUCH PICTURES!!!  This year, instead of all of the cousins, we had Grandma and (for the first time together ever) ALL of her GREAT-grandchildren!  And, the Rischette side picture... all the cousins.  Love you all!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Happy Girl

Have you seen a happier girl?

We went to Wisconsin... "home"... for a long Thanksgiving the 20th through 28th of November.  We were excited to spend time with both my and Adam's family while we were there. 
The first day we arrived we spent with my parents, sister, and nieces.  What a great time it was!  We had seen Laila and Hannah in September, but it was fun to have the whole family together.
We had "Christmas" for the girls as we knew we wouldn't be coming back to Wisconsin at Christmas.  Above is the gift Julia received from her cousins... she was so excited.  Ariel has been loved pretty well over the last two weeks, and she is already missing a shoe and needs a good hair combing.  But, it is glorious fun to see Julia love on her doll so much.  The girl loves her dollies. 

(I need to go to bed.  Heh.)