Monthly Archives: December 2010

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a new year


Thinking back over the year. Lots of good things. Making changes. Looking forward to what this new year will bring.

Happy New Year!

merry christmas


from our family to yours!

Going to take a little blogging break for the next week or so. At least that’s the plan. ;)
Have a wonderful Christmas!

almost christmas

Is it seriously only 5 days until Christmas? Looking back at this year, it seems like it went quickly, but there were also times when it went at the perfect speed if that makes any sense at all. 2010 was a good year for us. We have many things to be thankful for and I’m looking forward to what 2011 will bring.

Our month of December has been pretty busy. Here’s a little recap:

• Had a really fun day with Heidi at the beginning of the month. We did some family pictures and then spent the morning working on her Christmas cards. It’s become sort of a holiday tradition for us and I always love it!
• A little sickness hit me the second week, which wasn’t as bad as the cold/sore throat/cough I had in November, but it still messed up plans to get together with Beth. :(
• Zach made the A/B honor roll. He had all A’s and one B. Went to a little honor roll assembly. I’m so proud.
• Got a little snow storm last weekend and ended up having our first Snow Day of the year on Monday.
• Had some trouble with our pipes again. The sewer water was backing up into our basement. gross. This isn’t the first time we’ve had this problem, but Jake has snaked the pipe in the past and that’s been enough to make it better. Not this time. He rented a rooter and went at it for four hours. No luck, so he had to call someone and have them come in and do it for us. We used Advantage Drain here in Hastings and they were helpful, affordable, and very thorough.
• Zach’s school Christmas concert was very nice. It was the first time I had been in the newly remodeled high school. So nice. The new auditorium is a much better place for a concert than the gymnasium. The kids looked lovely up there on stage.

• “Christmas morning” was the theme for Chloe’s class party. All the kids wore pajamas and the moms prepared breakfast (pancakes, muffins, rolls, sausage, hot cocoa, etc.) It was very cute. The kids opened a letter and small gift from parents. We got her a couple small Hello Kitty notebooks and Disney Princess pencils from the $1 bin at Target. She immediately started writing a list of all her BFF’s. hehe! Games were played and then there was the sound of bells and a “Ho Ho Ho!” in the hall and there was a red bag left outside the door containing letters from Santa’s elves in response to ones they sent to Santa earlier this month.
• Zach’s party was a little simpler. Snacks and crafts. They also got into teams and attempted to build igloos from sugar cubes and frosting with various candies for decorating them. That was pretty funny to watch. Most of the igloos ended up collapsing, so they looked more like a pile of frosting, sugar cubes and candy blobbed on a plate. Lots of laughter during that one. Plus, the kids ate more of the sugar cubes than they used for the igloo. It was a room full of hyper 5th graders.
• Gave my blog a little makeover. Been loving all things green lately, so I changed the color. And for those of you who come here often, you may have noticed that my picture didn’t change, but the color of my shirt went from blue to green. Oh, the joys of photoshop. I’m such a geek. :)
• Finally sent out Christmas cards last Friday. I will share the card design here in a couple days.
• Went over to Jake’s mom’s this weekend. Jake and kids went over first while I worked on wrapping gifts, then I joined them all for a nice spaghetti dinner. It was exactly what I needed. I’ve been feeling the stress about gifts that still need to be bought in less than a week. I sat and knitted a dishcloth and watched Jake, the kids, and Dad O play video games. Then they spent the night there and I came home and had a nice quiet house to myself for Sunday. I actually slept in a little, which I so needed, then went to Battle Creek to the WalMart there looking for a few things that our store didn’t have. Found everything within 20 minutes. I felt much better after that! Still have a few more items to buy, but we’re mostly done.

Only a few more days and then we have our first Christmas celebration with my parents. I’m looking forward to relaxing and enjoying all the family gatherings that are coming up.

happy birthday mom

A couple weeks before my mom’s birthday, my dad told me he wanted to throw a little surprise party for her. So, I got in touch with her best friends and came up with a plan for cake and ice cream and snacks, invited people and borrowed some chairs to fill their little farm house. Dad planned to keep her there at home instead of taking her away from the house, which was going to be a challenge. He told her they were going out to eat, so she was all dressed up pretty, and he let her know that Zach and Chloe wanted to stop by before they went to dinner. So we got there about a half hour before people were supposed to arrive and gave mom birthday hugs and I told her that I had made some decorations for her and wanted her to leave the room until I was ready. She later told me that she thought us kids were decorating and maybe we brought pizza over for dinner or something. But instead, I decorated quickly and as friends arrived and hid in the mud room at the back of the house, I took their food and placed it on the table. Then when we were all ready, mom came in with just me in the room and saw the table all decorated and full of food and then suddenly everyone came in the back door. She was so surprised. She had no idea all her friends were waiting out there. It worked out great!

I spent an evening making all these little paper fan decorations and hung a bunch all over and also tossed some around on the table, too. They looked cute and they are actually now hanging in our house as Christmas decorations and I stuck all the loose ones from the table here and there in our tree. :)




Mom had a very nice time with everyone. I think it was a very special 60th (I mean 29th … hehe!) birthday for her.

I completely forgot to take a picture of the gift us kids got for mom. There was chaos and that distracted me. But we got her THIS only with our names on it. :)

charlton park field trip


A couple weeks ago, I tagged along with Chloe’s class on a field trip to Charlton Park. I had not been there since I was young when our class went there for the day, so it was fun to see it again along with my daughter and her friends.

Some history on Charlton Park can be found on their website HERE, but the gist of it is that Mr. Charlton collected thousands and thousands of things throughout his life and he donated the land the park sits on to Barry County to be used for the community. Eventually, a museum was built there in his honor and several historical buildings from the area were moved there and filled up with his vast collections to recreate what a small town would have been like in the 1800’s/early 1900’s. It’s pretty interesting and fun for kids to see what things were like and how things were done without electricity and all the other conveniences that we have today.

The class split up into groups and I helped with Chloe’s group. Our first stop on the tour was the Inn, which would have been a stagecoach stop back in the day. The kids helped in the kitchen first by chopping veggies for some soup, which they were served later for lunch, and churning butter.

We got a little tour of the inn, too, which really makes me thankful that we live in 2010 and not 1910. The main bedroom upstairs (the parents’ room) had a vent that ran through it so that the heat from the kitchen oven below could come up through and warm the room. The kids got to sleep in the room with the parents when they were babies, but when they reached a certain age, they moved into the big kids room, where there was no heat except for hot water bottles at the foot of their beds. Brrrrrr! We were also shown the way the beds were made then (bottom right picture below). The guide said there were two mattresses – one on the bottom for support, which was filled with things like hay, straw, leaves, etc. and the top one, which would have had things like cotton and fabric and anything else soft. They had to be cleaned regularly so they wouldn’t get bed bugs. The ropes that supported the mattresses had to be pulled tight often so they didn’t sag. This is where the saying “Sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” comes from. Very interesting.

After the Inn, we headed over to the old one-room school house. Girls sat on the right and boys sat on the left. The kids all got to pull out their slates and do a little math and spelling and write their names. It was cute.

Then we went out for “recess” and everybody got to try out some toys that the kids in those days would have played with. Chloe had fun trying to get the big ring rolling down the road. It was tricky, but she had it going several times.

After the teacher rang the bell, we headed over to another building where a man taught us how to make candles. That was interesting trying to get all the kids to dip their string in the wax then in the cool water then back in the wax again until there was enough wax on their string to make it a candle. We marched around and around the table dipping in the wax then in the water and around again. I got to make one, too. Chloe’s looks more like a fat carrot, but she was pretty proud of it.

After lunch, we got to wander around the town and check out all the buildings. It was a lot of fun. The other mom helping with the group played “I spy” with the kids and they had a blast with that. So many cool things in every building. Such a huge collection, Mr. Charlton had.

It was a really fun day and I had a great time getting to know some of the kids in Chloe’s class, too. They are all calling me “Mom” now, which is so sweet. My friends all used to call my mom that, too.

thanksgiving night


Had a nice, yet too short, visit on Thanksgiving evening with Dad and Mom Noorman, Heather and Scarlett. I had not seen Scarlett since August, so I was having withdrawals. :) She is growing so fast and learning new things all the time. She had just learned to roll herself over and that was so cool to see.

Poor Zach was sick on Thanksgiving day with a terrible sore throat/cough/etc., so he wasn’t able to hold or play with Scarlett and he was so sad. At one point, he sort of reached his arm out to her and I stopped him because I really did not want him to get her sick. He looked so heartbroken. He just loves that little girl so much.

The rest of us took turns holding her and then we put her on the floor to play.

Poor Scarlett. Uncle Jake scared her.


Such a sweetie pie. Can’t wait to see her (and her parents, too) ;) at Christmas.

thanksgiving day


Our Thanksgiving day was spent at my parents’ farm. We had a yummy lunch then took the annual family pictures. It was nice to make use of the stairs this year with the pretty tree and banister we decorated a couple nights before. The afternoon was spent playing games and nibbling on pumpkin pie and cheesecake. The boys played this strange Lego game that I still have no clue how to play.

I kept pointing the camera at Jake and taking several pictures in a row. He said “Hey! Stop that,” but that only made me take more and that made him laugh and act silly.


No family picture session is complete without the “crazy face” pictures. :)

Next up, we headed to Dad + Mom Noorman’s house to visit with Heather and sweet Scarlett. Pictures coming soon.

decorating grandma’s tree

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. The past week has been very crazy and busy around here. It started with sick kids home from school and ended with a surprise party for my mom’s birthday (the big 6-0 … I mean 29. haha!). It was a nice loooooong weekend. I will share pictures a little at a time since I’ve taken more pictures in the past week than I have all the rest of the month.

On Tuesday, Chloe was feeling better, so we went over to my parents’ and helped Mom decorate their tree. The kids usually help her each year, but Zach wasn’t up to it, so I took Chloe and it was a girls night filled with decorating, listening to Christmas music (mom’s new Olivia Newton John Christmas CD), and dancing around the living room.



The finished product. We even wound some garland and lights around the banister. I love it! A perfect little farmhouse Christmas tree.

AJAXed with AWP