Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

The house is quiet, the van is packed and I am sitting in eager anticipation of the trip to my parents' house for Thanksgiving. :)
Thanksgiving and Easter are special holidays for my extended family. There are just six cousins on my mom's side and for forever we have gotten together at Thanksgiving and Easter. There are some years we have missed. We trade off holidays now that many of us are married, but the times when we are all able to be together are really special. Now our kids are "cousins!" We get the privilege of meeting a new "cousin" this weekend.. who is seven months old already!
I am excited.
I am ready. :)

I love road trips with my husband. OK, I like the kids there, too, but I can't tell you how many times we have commented that a used police car with the plastic "noise- barrier shield" would be a great road tripping vehicle with kids. We're kind of selfish like that. :)

Upon our return some of Jake's sisters will still be here. :) More cousins! More fun! More visiting! Oh, it's good for the soul.

We have so very much to be thankful for! For health! For plenty! For faithful friends and family! For a God who sees and knows our hearts and needs!
Happy Thanksgiving from the Dahls!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Two months in a nutshell

Hi. I am Molly and I formally took an interest in keeping you up-to-date on our family. :)

The apologies for not being a regular blogger are getting old. I have decided to release feeling guilty over not updating weekly, and instead aim for monthly. :) It's just the stage in life we are in.

I have a gem of a photo to share with you...

If you're ever here visiting, or live near us, visit Amber for photos! She's wonderfully talented and a pleasure to work with!
The other kids all took great school pics, but I was not willing to pay $20 a crack for the CD and legal right to post them for you. :) Come and visit- they're on the wall. :)

Noah and Dawson's highlight this fall has been the Morrie Miller youth tackle football league. They learned a lot about the game and had a blast while doing it. Dawson is right up front, #74 and Noah's to the right in the back row, #30.

Ellie has had a great fall... She loves second grade and her teacher. In the past two months she has gotten the opportunity to fulfill her latest dream...

That's right. Horseback riding lessons. She adores Sunny, the horse. She had a dream one night of buying Sunny and has schemes of how she can finagle her Grandpa into getting a horse. Hopefully she will continue riding Sunny when spring comes around.

Ellie's other fun week this fall came when she was cast as a chorus girl in the show "Sleeping Beauty." She loved her time on stage and we all had the chance to see her perform. I hope there are more shows in our future!

Landon's big day came on October 11th when he turned two! :) We are enjoying our days together with walks, storytime and even "school" on Friday mornings (a non-separation ECFE class). Life is good. :)

Jake's been busy running the community flag football program, getting ready to coach youth basketball and literally putting a (new) roof over our heads! He got the chance to roof with some wonderful friends who are home on furlough and gave us a full day of their time. Praise the Lord for safety... even when the two-yr-old decided to climb the ladder (with 5 adults in the near vicinity!!).

I'm staying busy with little projects in and around our home. We got to host some really good friends over a couple of different weekends this fall- that is always a treat! I got to talk an impromptu "girls weekend" away last weekend and thoroughly enjoyed the company of some good friends. We've been enjoying our little "Indian summer" the past couple of days. We're looking forward to a fun long weekend ahead (the kids have Friday off!) and a couple of mini-suprises we have up our sleeves. God Bless!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Getting back into the swing of things

For the first time in a LONG time I've had a blog post swirling in my head today. When I first started blogging four and a half years ago that happened all the time. I'd think in "blog." Post multiple times a day. In all fairness the past two years have been a roller coaster of relocating, baby, adjusting moving and settling. Not much time to "think blog" or even just "think" some days! I'm working on my inability to sit down and relax until all the work is done- cause the work is just never done. Don't worry- Mom knows it's her fault. :) (Kidding, Mom.)

The kids started school yesterday (photos to come soon!). They were as excited as can be- all three of them. They were up here BY 6:20 dressed and ready to go. Now we live three blocks from school and the younger two don't need to leave here until 8:15 for the 8:30 start. I'm sure it won't be long before we're wrestling them out of bed at seven. :)
Ironically? After waking between 6:00 and 6:15 for most of the summer, Landon has slept until 7:15 and 7:20 the past two days. With all of our commotion right outside his door! Isn't that bizarre?!

The little man was pretty sure the world had ended when he couldn't go with his siblings down the driveway. He wandered around a little pathetically for awhile. We watched Sesame Street (yes, more for me than him), played cars, took two walks and read a stack of books. At one point he curled up on the rug by the front door with his bubby as if to tell me where the real fun would reenter. :)We baked cookies together. Then he napped for THREE hours!

I am bound and determined to work my way through the house room by room and give each room a good deep clean. Wipe out and reorganize each cupboard and closet. Yesterday I got the laundry room and half of the kitchen done. Yeah! Today I got 8 more cupboards in the kitchen done. Slowly but surely. My goal is to be done with the main floor by Friday (remember we just moved into the basement in May. It hasn't had time to get TOO bad! The kids' rooms we did last week with them.)

We have fallen into that crazy season between summer and fall called "Canning Season." My mom and grandma both canned and I married into a canning family. I think Jake and I started the second year we were married with the help of our neighbors at the time. As with most things there are parts of it I love and others I don't.
I love the feeling of satisfaction when the jars are all wiped down, marked and lined up on their shelves. I love feeding my family healthy, homegrown foods! I love knowing exactly what went into each jar. What don't I like? Produce isn't very time-forgiving! When it's ready- it's ready and it doesn't matter what I had planned for the day. It takes lots of time- inside- and often I'd rather be outside on these beautiful days! (I'm striving for a long walk each day- Tomatoes can wait an hour!)

I'll keep you updated on what we've "put up:" (I feel like my grandma just saying that!)
21 Quarts of peaches (With 1/2 bushel on my counter for tomorrow...)
14 Quarts of green beans
4 peach pies (plus three from my Mother in Law-- Ready to be popped in the oven at a moment's notice!)
24 Quarts of corn in the freezer (GREAT sweet corn this year!!!)
5 quarts of pickles (trying these again after a long hiatus)
Strawberry freezer jam
Four bags of shredded zucchini
4 big bags of diced sweet onions
Sauerkraut from my Mother in Law (:)YUM!)
And the saga will continue as the tomatoes are just beginning to ripen up.

I'm off to read.
Despite everything that could still use doing.
Tomorrow will be another full day. :)

Monday, September 07, 2009

Max Lucado: Fearless

A couple of weeks ago I was offer the chance to review Max Lucado's most recent release.

I jumped at the chance.

To say the release of this book is timely given the state our country is in would be an understatement. I thank the Lord for the relative peace our family has experienced through it all- yet Mr. Lucado touches on many facets of fear people face despite the "economic times."

The fear of not protecting my kids. The fear of violence. The fear of overwhelming challenges. This is just a sampling of the chapters he covers with engaging relevance. Many times while reading the book I was struck by how accurately Mr. Lucado depicted fears that I thought were my own. Fear is real. We all feel it. Faith is real, too. Mr. Lucado invites us to allow "faith, and not fear, be our default reaction to threats." Over and over he points to the promises of Christ that dispel fear.

If you haven't yet read a book by Max Lucado, you are in for a treat. His writing style is completely engaging. He interweaves laugh-out-loud humor, fascinating stories and Biblical truth in a way that makes you yearn for more.

This book will stay on our coffee table for months to come.

Come on over. :)

Letter from a nearly-two-year-old:

Dear Mimi (and any other dear souls who are still checking this blog after a summer off),

It's me, Landon.

My mom has been terrible at blogging this summer. She's had a lot of fun with us in the meantime. We go places a lot. I like my car seat, so it's all good. One of the best places we went was to the zoo with you and Papa. I liked that a lot.

Mom says it was the zoo you used to take her to when she was a little girl.
She says you wouldn't buy her those awesome plastic molded animals either.
Here are my siblings and the picnic you packed for us. I was in the back of the van with Papa. Thanks, Mimi for a fun weekend!

Another fun time was when you and Papa came to visit and it rained, so we couldn't do the bike trip we planned, but you and Ellie and my mama went on a day trip. Ellie reads from her "Betsy Tacy" books to me, but I'd rather play with cars. She told me you had lots of fun together.

Mimi, I really liked camping with you. I liked the choo choos. We got to hear them every hour! My favorite part was running down the hill between our campsites. My brothers loved the Trivial Pursuit part the best and Ellie loved the swimming. Wasn't that a fun beach, Mimi? Mom and Dad sure made us leave in a hurry. I'm not sure what all the fuss was about- I loved running around getting soaked. They set all those tents up for a couple of days when we got home again anyway- something about them being drenched?
Here's a picture from our hike I loved it so much I passed right out! Thanks for waiting at the bottom of the bluff with me. :)

Well, Mimi, I'm off to bed. Seems like something's gonna happen here tomorrow. All the big kids are excited and have these bags lined up by the door. Mom says my little world's gonna be rocked- doesn't that sound like fun?!
I wuv you, Mimi. Thanks for checking in on us. My mom thinks she'll have time to write on here more now.
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Thomas Nelson Book Review : #2

Awhile back I told you I was going to post some reviews from time to time- Well, here (FiNAlLy) is #2!

I stepped it up a bit from my first review of a Children's DVD to a murder suspense novel by Lis Wiehl with April Henry entitled Face of Betrayal. The book centered around the disappearance of a seventeen-year-old girl, Katie Converse, who is home on break from her position as a Senate page. Three friends, who call themselves the "Triple Threat" unravel the case through three perspectives. Nicole, as an FBI special agent brings us to the scenes of the crime and frontlines of the investigation. Cassidy Shaw is a television reporter who is trying to make it big. Allison Pierce plays the role of a Fedral Prosecutor.

I enjoyed the book. I would definately say it had more appeal for a female audience and would recommend it as a good summer read. The descriptions of the characters were good, and left me with questions. I hope that each of the main characters will be further developed in future books. The plot was good- it kept me guessing as to the ending and when I thought I had it figured out there was one last twist.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A look back from the middle

(First off, I'm ditching the code names for the kids.)

Here we are smack dab in the middle of summer and I haven't blogged since the last day of school. Take that as a sign that we are enjoying life, busy as can be and not spending a whole lot of time in front of the computer. All good things. :)

That said, I will take five minutes to quick update you on the action at the Dahl house (Photos will have to wait as all photos since June 2nd are still on my camera.)...

June was a crazy month with a "hosting" theme! We had friends and family- all whom we love dearly- come and stay. What a treat to comfortably be able to do this with the added space the basement provided! We loved each visit, though it made the month fly by! We started with three dear friends of the kids who relocated to Colorado. They came for 3ish days as their parents hauled an enormous load to their new mountain home. :) We loved getting to spend a little time with them before the move.
Next came a dear friend and her kiddos. :) What sweet times. I put her to work, though, and we cracked out a garage sale by Friday. It was a success, and nice to have it done early in the summer.
Jake, Noah and Dawson got to take in a Twins game after Noah dedicated a year to safety patrol. Jake was happy to be the chaperon and when a ticket opened up even Daws got in on the fun. A Twins victory made it an even better day!

The third week of June brought Jake's brother, his wife and two kiddos from Wydaho. :) It was a great visit. We had a party to celebrate Jake's sisters 40th birthday and all six siblings were together. :) What a treat!

Swimming lessons, a three day Christian dance camp and Little League filled in the gaps of our June. Lots of outside pool-time at the aquatic center, a family bike trip on the trail with friends, campfires with friends... Ahh. This is the life.

On July 3rd we headed north for Liberty Fest in our old stompin' grounds of Chetek. We took in the weekend festivities, enjoyed time with friends and brought Noah and Dawson to Camp Chetek on Monday morning for their long-anticipated week of Bible camp. Jake and I took Ellie and Landon north further to our dear college friends home for a couple days of fun on the water. It's always fun to catch up with them and watch our girls- who are a year apart, but could be twins- play like best friends. Tuesday night brought us back to Chetek. We had the exciting opportunity to stay with yet another family of wonderful friends. What a treat. Six kids under the age of seven didn't exactly make it a "feet up and relaxing" time, but it was real, and it was good. :) We enjoyed time at the farmer's market- a rare gem in NW Wisconsin- a nice long walk and four-yes four- movies. We had a campfire, went to the beach and enjoyed a Friday night fish fry- completely done by our husbands. :)
Ahhh, the memories.

We picked up two dirty, but happy boys Saturday morning and came home to laundry and a garden in need of some love. It's been a wonderful week of settling back in to being home- but we're leaving again tonight on another fun adventure. :) This time we are headed east to see my family. :) Tomorrow holds a day at the Milwaukee Zoo. Saturday is a special trip to the movies for my boys and their aunt and uncle. :) A wedding reception for friends we haven't seen in years. Together time. :) I can hardly wait! :)
I'll be back. No promises as to when. :) Happy summer everyone.

Monday, June 01, 2009

End of an era...


In case you can't read what the kids are signing- it's L-A-S-T as in LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!!
Can you just feel the excitement?
Memories of trips to the Dairy Queen in celebration fill my mind. :)
As a Mom I think I am just as excited for the long summer on the horizon!

This "last day" marks the last day of elementary school for our eldest.
He's a Middle Schooler.
How can that be?
Didn't we just bring him home from the hospital?
Wasn't our home just filled with the excitement of him learning to read?
Wasn't he just in the playroom surrounded by bins marked "weapons" and "guys," wearing a cape and goggles and not thinking a thing of it?
He'll always be that little boy to me.
The one we've practiced this role called "parenting" on.
(And sometimes failed miserably!)

Those days have flown by.
Now are the days of hair goop, deodorant and hard choices.
Having to stand up for what's right and sometimes swim against the flow.
And as he grows the memories will still be collected.
New firsts will come.
With tears on my cheeks, I'm learning to cherish these "lasts..."
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P.S. For you Moms that are up for a challenge along these lines, try to read this book without crying. I haven't done it yet.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

My lack of blog posts lately has been quite intentional. We are committed to getting our basement done ASAP, so every spare minute has been spent painting. Here is an exceptionally blurry photo of the boys' accent wall... Mind you, this was my compromise to their plea for neon splatter painting! (Classy style, eh? :) ) The rest of their walls are a calm soothing "Summer Lake."

And as long as I'm on, here is a glimpse of Bella and Jake before they left for the Daddy/Daughter dance on Sunday. :) My girly was in her glory! Dressing up and Daddy... her two very favorite things!

Suffice it to say Jake and I had a SpECtAcULaR trip to Charleston. We had a blast together and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. I hope to share more sometime soon. For now I am off to wake my boy and head out with two of my very best friends on our annual haunt. :) I can't WAIT.
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Monday, April 20, 2009

Whirlwind of a month!

Before this month was even upon us I knew it was going to be a busy one. Just flipping through my planner I would think- "Uff... That April's going to be BUSY!" And here we are! Three weeks of the month have flown by already. :)

This past weekend we got to spend a very fun weekend with very good friends in the Dells. Yes, I do have pictures. No, I don't have them ready to post. Sorry.

This week is muy exciting for the Madre and Padre of this household. :) We are headed on vacation-- Just us. :) The kids will be in the wonderful hands of all four grandparents who are tag-teaming while we are away. It's been a long time since we traveled together and I'm brimming with excitement! :) I'll share more next week.

I was hoping to have the basement all painted before we leave, and am realizing that just isn't going to happen. Lanman only naps up to 3 hours a day. I'm aiming to sneak down there tomorrow and finish the first coat in the hallway/kitchenette. That leaves the bathroom, the boys' room and a final coat in the family room/hall/kitchenette. Bella's room, the stairwell and first coat family room are DoNe. :) Slowly but surely we will conquer that space!

I'm off to bed. Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dear Little Schiester,

Lanman Jon Mason!
Get used to hearing that, my little man, because after the stunt you pulled today I have a feeling it's coming often!
Today, while mama was working on some stuff on the computer, you meandered off from the bedroom. I was not alarmed, as you had been toddling off to bring me books and toys. I actually thought perhaps you had found one lone interesting toy and were spending time with it. When I called you, I heard a mother's sure sign of trouble... SILENCE.
Knowing that you have mastered our door handles I jumped up and ran. I knew you couldn't be too far and I hadn't heard the front door's tell-tale "whooshing" sound. So I started calling you, "Lanman?"
I ran from our room to the laundry room, checked the doors, the kitchen, under the kitchen desk, back to our closet the big kids' room, all in about 10 seconds and you were gone. NOT a TRACE.

(Settle down, Mom, it ends good.)

I stopped. Took a deep breath and was about to head for the basement when I nearly jumped out of my skin, you stinker!

There you were, laying ON THE KITCHEN COUNTER!

(suspicious egg-shaped foil in shreds around you...)

So I did what every good mother would do.
I grabbed my camera and turned AWAY when I laughed at you.

Love always(you stink pot),
Your Mommy

P.S.In case anyone else is reading this besides Lanman... my patient Sister-in-Law helped me put this up in our basement FAMILY room last week.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Hugging my babies tight.

I follow a number of blogs regularly.
Most of them are those of family and friends.
After all, I started this blog to keep those we love up-to-date on stories and photos of the kids.

Some of the blogs I read belong to people I don't know, or didn't. After you read glimpses of a person's life for a number of years you feel as though you do know them.

Tonight I was reading the post of someone I don't "know," who shared the loss of two families.
Both lost a child unexpectedly in the past week.
Pictures of the child were posted.
Funeral arrangements.
I spent more time than I realized scrolling back and reading about the families. Posts just the day before were normal, everyday occurrences, much like I share on this site.
Not much to note- just life.

But what a gift it is.
These days that I get to see my babies smile and laugh and share stories of what happened on the playground.
I get to hear them tell me about what they had for lunch, how fast they biked home and the new kid in their class.
I get to hold them as they sleep, watch their little chests rise and hear their soft breath.
I get to remind then to eat their veggies, wipe up their spills and resweep the floor.

Most days I wouldn't look at these as blessed opportunities. And by Thursday I may not take the time to reflect on it all. But right now I am trying to imagine an unexpected loss like these two moms are living and it sucks the air right out of me.
I don't know what tomorrow will bring.
I don't hold my kids' futures.
I know the God who does, and I trust Him with it all.
And I'm off... to hug and hold my babies.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

My first review: Read and Share DVD Bible: Vol. 1

I recently agreed to join the Book Review Blogging Team for Thomas Nelson Publishers. I like that the reviews can be done on my own timetable and to start out I picked a product I knew I could get through rather easily... A Children's DVD. :)

I received the "Read and Share DVD Bible Volume 1" and first watched it with my 18-month-old. The DVD is made up of 13 Bible stories told in 3-minute segments. The animation is basic and moves slowly, which seemed to really help keep my toddler's attention. I thought we would just watch the first couple stories, but he was captivated for seven stories before he toddled away. The DVD incorporates lots of small animals which grabbed his attention and kept it. I know that at this point he doesn't follow the Bible stories being told, but he is hearing them and that is important.

The stories that are included on this DVD are:
1. The Beginning
2. Adam and Eve
3. The Flood
4. Abram
5. Isaac and Rebekah
6. Jacob and Esau
7. Rachel
8. Home Again
9. John the Baptist
10. Jesus is Born
11. Jesus Tempted by Satan
12. Jesus Loves Children
13. One Lost Sheep

After watching the DVD I think children ages 18 months to 5 or 6 years-old would most enjoy it. That being said, our older children, ages 7, 9, and 11 all watched the DVD the entire way through and really liked it. :)

Check out the entire Thomas Nelson site for books, DVDs, Bible studies and other tools to help you in your walk. I will share these reviews periodically. Feel free to share your feedback!

For Sarah... :)

Yes, I am blogging two days in a row.
And I am outside!! Love it!
This will be a really quick photo update as BL will start momentarily, but...

Here is Noodle last Friday night at the 4th, 5th and 6th grade Honors Music Night... He was a little expressionless, but his Mama loved every minute of the show!

Here is Lanman during his "De da Puppy?" antics...

Here is Bella's soon-to-be room! My SIL and I painted it today--- All but the ceiling. :) Weird shot, I know, but I wanted to get all of the colors in... It's aqua, pink and green.

And here is a bad cluttered shot of the stairwell/family room... Green and tan! I love colors!

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Monday, April 06, 2009

In which I update you on sweetness, cuteness and my randomness...

Well, spring might NOT be here. It's been awful cold since I last posted, but we did NOT get the 6-12 inches of snow they threatened we would. A few flakes in the sky is all it turned out to be, and a happy girl am I.

Most know (via the facebook world) I celebrated my birthday last Friday and I just have to share the sweetness of my kids. Noodle made me a CD of all my favorite songs. Jake explained the process he went through to choose them... "No, I don't hear her sing that one very much... YEAH-- She loves that one!" Oh, my heart was a puddle. :) Doodle (bless his sweet little heart) had a package on my bedside table for three days before- But it was strictly labeled.. "DO NOT OPEN UNTIL THE THIRD!" The night before he told me I should open it as soon as I opened my eyes "'cause it might come in handy in the morning." He spent his own money on a bag of fresh ground coffee! :) Sweet boy!! I make a huge deal of how delicious it is every morning. :) Bella went to the local Kwik Trip and bought not one, but TWO chapsticks for me. And one for her. How cute is that?
I love 'em (the kids. the chapsticks, too, I guess).
What a treasure!

Jaker and Noodle are off on a three day field trip together.
Well, them and the rest of the fifth grade class.
It's at an environmental learning center about 30 minutes away. They spend two nights and three days there. It's a neat experience! Today they "worked" at a rebuilt Indian village... Grinding wheat and a couple other tasks and learning about the first inhabitants of our area. Tomorrow morning they do a high ropes course. :) The rest of us are doing great. I know some who hate being home alone with the kiddos, but I really don't mind it one bit. Somehow it's more relaxed. I'm not sure why as Jake brings no demands for schedule or big meals... It's just the change of pace, I guess. We got homework done really quickly, Dawson ran two errands (big boy!), Jake's grandma stopped in to love on the kids a bit and we got to invite her for supper tomorrow night. We played Countdown and Apples to Apples (Both wonderful Dahl favorite games from a wise game-picker-outer )
Then off to bed and down-time for this mama. :) Loved our night, kiddos!

I have to share a new Lanman antic. This kiddo is personality plus. He came running into the dining area when Grandma was here and showed us a little puppy he had in his hand.
Suddenly whoop--- both little hands tucked together behind his back and he rattled off, "De Da Puppy?"
I just looked at him at first, not quite sure what he was doing, but before I said anything,
POP! His hands came out from behind him with the puppy, "DE DA PUPPY!!"
He did this over and over as Grandma and I shook with laughter...
"Where's the puppy?"
"There's the puppy!"
The funniest part were his short little arms both tucked so properly behind his little back. :)
Maybe you will all have to see it to understand the cuteness.
Of course he wouldn't do it for the camera!
I'm glad laughter is good for the soul. :)

In other news, the painting has begun! I've started a lot of places, actually and hope to reign it in. The basement is mostly primed. One of Ellie's walls is mostly done. The stairwell area needs one more coat. I painted a four foot section of the tan in the living room...
It makes you sick, doesn't it! I am a great starter and am working on getting a bit more organized in it all. The color-lover in me loves to see it all. Now tomorrow I'm going to finish priming and finish the two "almost done walls."
Scouts Honor.
But for now I'm off to that big ol' bed. :) I'll sleep... like a king.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring is here!

I'm playing catch-up today on the blog!
It is with great joy that I proclaim spring! :) Yay!
It was a drizzly day here today and I was once again thankful for my job as a mom that didn't force me to venture out. :)

Though I adore spring and the rising temps, I have to admit that it stresses me out a bit.
See, with it comes mud.
And three outfits a day for the big kids. :)
And a yard that now also needs attention.
And laundry and meals that don't stop needing attention.
And regular bath nights.
And that landscaping project we abandoned with the snow.
And the pull to enjoy the weather and be outside!
Which isn't bad... just "more" somehow.

I do try to throw the "more" aside.
And enjoy the laughter.
And the time the kids spend outdoors in the fresh air.
And the walks I can take with a toddler who is still content in the stroller.
And the birds that are back with their songs.
And the quiet hum of movement in a small town.

I look forward to green as the trees bud out and the lawn perks up!
And the many fun trips in store for our April and May!
And friendships that are budding!
And our basement's full usage-- "You can paint by the weekend!" I was told this morning! Praise the Lord!
And organizing, dejunking and containerizing. MMmmmm!
And Garage. Sales.

Ahh... Life IS good.
Bring on the mud.

The end of the season...

Jake had the privilege of coaching a great group of boys this year as the R-P Trojans head coach. The season has ended and he now hands the reigns back to HIS coach, a Minnesota Hall of Fame coach whom he respects greatly. My husband loves basketball, and he loved the young men he got to work with. They had a GREAT victory in their second to last game. The team they faced had an amazing season. They beat the Trojans during the holiday tournament by over 30 points and were ranked number one in our sub-section. To me, one who admittedly knows little to nothing about the game, that meant defeat.
But not to my husband.
He told me they could win.
He's a "half-full" kind of guy through and through.
He loved his team.
In his eyes they could do it.
And they did.
They won by ten in overtime.

Though their record wasn't flawless they had many victories along the way and I can say with confidence that Jake enjoyed the season. And the opportunity. And the team.

And I'm proud of him.
And thankful I'm his.

A Travelin' we did go!

The first week of March brought an eagerly anticipated arrival to our family! Ryker Allyn was born to Jake's brother Jon and his wife Cori. They live in the Tetons, so March 10th Lanman and I accompanied a proud Grandma out west to meet our newest nephew/cousin. Lanman was giddy!

He was a trooper on the plane! It was his first flight, and though he's a pretty easy-going fellow, I was a bit nervous. He likes to just be laid down for his nap, and I could just picture a full-out fit being thrown from a tired tot. We were afforded an extra seat between us on the long flight both ways, so he had room to boogie and did really well. He was very social, so every around us was greeted with a "Hi!" and he reported on every nap-taker within sight-- "Nigh, Nigh," "Nigh, Nigh," He would shout and point. :)

Once out there we got to love on the baby and whip up some meals. Lanman got to play with his older cousin. Well, invade her space anyway! :) They'll play together better when they're a bit older. :) The weather was sunny and warm for the most part, so we brought the kids out in the snow a couple of times. Lanman wasn't sure WHAT to think about that!

We loved getting the chance to meet you, little Ryker! Thank you so much for letting us invade, Wydaho Dahls! Here's a glimpse of sweet baby...

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

The cuteness oozes. And other randomness.

This morning Lanman took Bella's hand held mirror and toddled around with it. He looked into it lovingly and pronounced, "My ME!" He then showed each one of us "my ME!"
His "him."
We oohed and ahhed at his cuteness and inflated his baby ego just a bit.
So much for not spoiling the baby.
Jaker brought out the big guns and let me in on a secret trip he's put together for JUST US... to Charleston, SC at the end of April. Telling me I get to travel is like telling a dog he gets to have a dino's femur. I CAN'T WAIT!!! Details are still being worked out, but I am brimming with excitement and wish it was tomorrow. I suppose we have to finish basketball season before we celebrate making it through. :) I can't wait to spend hours and hours alone with Jake, to relax together and explore a city we've never been to. :) A foretaste of our empty-nesting years-- Lord-willing! :)
In basketball news, the regular season is done and the Trojans are slated to play Houston ( a team they beat earlier this season) on Friday night in Sub-sectional action. At this point when they lose they are done. They'll actually practice four times this week. That's just a couple days less than in the entire month of February with three games a week and a snow day! :)

Well, I best start heading the kids toward bed. They're all reading. Oh, what joy (Also what a contrast to the wrestle-a-thon that took place moments ago...).
A happy first week of March to you all. :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Catching up...

Well, here we are. Two weeks have flown by since I last wrote and in usual form, we've been a busy crew.

Jake has coached six games since then and has just one remaining in the regular season. Who knows what tournament time will bring!? It's truly gone well and he's loved working with the team. For the most part it's going very well on the home front, too. That being said, I think it's fair to say we're all ready for it to be done as four months is a long haul. :)

Lanman recently sat through his fourth, but most major haircut. His eyes look even bigger and the resemblance to Noodle is startling. Bella also got a three-inch cut. Big news there is that from here on out she is going to a salon. :) It went OK, but I will never attempt a trim again, no matter HOW simple it looks to be! I am fine with being a barber to boys alone.

We enjoyed a weekend visit to Grandma and Papa K's over Bella's birthday weekend (known as Valentine's Day to the rest of the world). We celebrated with a GoRGeoUS princess castle cake and big ol' fashioned family canasta party. The cards were good (for some) and the food abounded, as usual! :) We took advantage of the long weekend and didn't come home until Monday. It was SO nice to get away.

Friday the 20th brought on the 5th grade musical, which Jaker helped direct and Noodle had a role in as Abraham Lincoln, and the MC... interviewing some of history's great leaders. He also had an Emmy-winning vocal solo. :) Here he is LIVE with Betsy Ross:

He had a big cheering section as Mom and Dad made the long trek over- just for the DAY- and Grandma Joyce, Great-Grandma Esther and Uncle Josh also came to watch him perform.

Our little lady celebrated turning SeVeN with her friends at a fun-filled Friday evening birthday party. We decorated cookies, Bedazzled tote bags and made mini pizzas. (Here she is with the top of the castle cake which we saved for the party, and Yes, she is wearing her Laura Ingalls Wilder dress. Every girls gotta have a party dress!) It was a fun evening that resulted in one pooped Mama!

Progress has begun again in the basement- WHOO HOO! We have friends staying with us as they do construction in town and in return for staying here they have finished wiring and insulating... and dare I say SHEETROCK is going up as I type! Our garage has been busting at the seams storing all the things that basement will soon hold! Our kiddos, Lord willing, will be in their own rooms by summer! Organization will once again have domain in the Dahl House! A garage sale will be had like none other in Rushford history! (And this chick will be rejoicing!)

Our most recent news is a sick Lanman. He started with a temperature Friday that stayed very high throughout the weekend. A Monday morning trip to the pediatrician diagnosed a very yucky looking throat. Not strep, thankfully. He's on the mend now, for which we are all thankful. Healthy Lanman = Much better sleep!

Well, I am being summoned by the little man. Naptime flies so quickly. Wishing you all a sunny day!
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dear Lanman,

I tend to talk about you a lot on here. When you look back I want you to know I love your siblings just as much as you... It's just that I spend my days with you and you are changing so much that there is so much to share.

Have I told you that you've stolen my heart? You are precious from head to toe and I wouldn't trade places with anyone in this world to give up my days with you.

Today when I was getting you changed and dressed (which you still throw fits about) you pointed at my shirt and with those precious brown eyebrows lifted asked, "A dat?"

Which I totally knew meant, "Mother dear, what is that drawing upon your shirt?"

I told you it was a daisy.

Which you repeated back to me like a little mockingbird.

Since we started making animal noises you have always insisted a dog says, "Ahhh, Ahh, " a tongue hanging-out panting sound. Which I think is fascinating, because to you they do-- They don't bark at you, they lick and pant at you. Today when we read you changed it for the first time and shook your head "no" when I made your panting noise. Then you "yipped." And seemed to age a year before my eyes. Like the first time Noodle said "Elmo" instead of "Elmy."
Yesterday I got out Bella's doll stroller for you to play with while we were in the garage. When the phone rang I whisked you and the stroller in with me. I talked and before I knew it you were coming out of the bedroom with a doll saying, "baby," and putting her in the stroller. How do you know that? We've never had this out before! You walked all three blocks to school to meet Daddy and your siblings with both hands pushing that little pink stroller. Through puddles, through mud as if it were your mission to get that baby to school. I picked you up to cross the first street. When we got to the next intersection you stopped and lifted your arms. How did you figure that out? When your baby slid down in her seat you said, "Oh oh! Oh oh!" (your favorite phrase) until she was righted.
I want to remember every little stage you pass through. I want to bottle you up and keep you forever right where you are at today. The other kids, too. I am so thankful for you all.

I love you, my sweet Lanman.
Your Mama.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

A Week of Firsts

Lanman had a landmark week of firsts. Yes, some were long overdue, but here are the highlights in photos:

A good cupboard climb! He hasn't really gotten into cupboards much, but had this one emptied out and enjoyed his little cubby.

One day I was spending time in the kitchen and thought a fort might keep Lanman occupied and happy. He loves to find little spots to hang out in. Though it took a little food to bribe him in it at first, he thought it was pretty funny and giggled each time he got settled in. (Notice the blur... wiggles of excitement!)

His first beater-licking! Mmmm...
He thought this was most delightful and wanted "Mo? Mo? Mo?"

And my very favorite, his first "play-in-the-snow-time" with Bella. He LOVES to be outside and the warmer temps this weekend have given us all spring fever. :)

Monday, February 02, 2009

Ahhh... a busy Monday is behind us.
I cleaned like a crazy woman today. I apologized to Lanman, assuring him that tomorrow would be play day. I had him "help" as much as a 15-mo-old can. He caught up on sleep with a couple good naps and tonight the house is feeling much better.
The laundry is finished and ready to be put away in the morning.

Jaker had his fourth victory in a row tonight and is hopeful for tomorrow night's game. Due to weather postponements there are 12 games in 25 days during February. Talk about a race to the finish! :)

Knowing this was ahead I snuck him away for his birthday Friday night (Thanks to his mom taking the kiddos- Thank You, Joyce!) to a whirlpool suite. I really wanted to have a hot tub installed in our back yard, but instead he got to relax in the whirlpool and the hot tub, he got to watch a movie in its entirety and sleep in in the morning. Ahhh... A little R&R for a well deserving coach, husband and daddy. :)

We got to spend Sunday with great friends at the same hotel (actually the room next door!)-- Swimming, EATING, watching the BOWL and catching up. We love the Poppes. :)

Our evenings are full lately with games, of course, but also with homework, reading, practicing of instruments (piano for Bella and Doodle, percussion for Noodle), football tossing (Doodle), and the chore list I come up with during the day! :) (It's usually pretty minimal- There's no time for a long list!)
The big kids love to read with their headlamps before bed, so we leave time for that and before I know it there's our evening! We make a habit of a family game night or two throughout the week (Mama's orders). :)
I'm off to bed.
Have a great week, one and all!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

We're halfway there!

To the end of basketball season, I mean.
Tonight the Trojans beat a conference foe, Kingsland, for the second time. Yeah, Trojans!
The kids and I stayed home as it's hard to do away games on a school night. Let me back up a bit... It's hard to do games with a wiggly 15-mo-old. Period.
Tonight we got to listen to it on the radio. I felt like we were gathering for a "Fireside Chat." Though I'm sure FDR's addresses didn't cause his listeners to break out in a sweat like I did during that game.
A "good game" to me is when Jaker's team is winning by 20. It's good! I can sit back and enjoy it. I smile. I like it. *(see below)

Lead changes, being behind with 5 seconds to go, one point victory margins?
That is not good. It is tense, nerve-racking and blood-pressure altering.

Tomorrow is my favorite coach's big day. 36! I distinctly remember celebrating 26 with him in our rental house in Sand Creek. Ahh, the memories. I've got a surprise under my hat and will share it after the fact so nothing sneaks back to him. :)
Have a wonderful weekend.

*When my heart is not involved, I admit I like a close game, but when my husband is coaching or the Packers are involved... please see the above definition of "good game."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Our little man's newest obsession is hiding. He is hilarious.
He climbs into small spaces and waits, wiggling with excitement until you acknowledge that you have found him.
Then he shouts, "He-Yo!" (hello) and giggles.
OH, he giggles.

These are my very favorite parts of the day. :)
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Monday, January 26, 2009

The Reason We Are Here

Sometimes it's still hard being in a new community. We visited Chetek this past weekend and it still feels like home. It's comfortable. We know most everyone we ran into on a "big hug" level. :)

Today I was reminded in a tangible way of why we are here. For family. For relationships. To brighten the day of a great-grandma with a short drop-in visit. I hope he remembers the love in her eyes. I know I always will.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Promised Photos

Tonight I am finally dumping photos onto the computer that I took prior to Christmas! Aye yi yi!! No excuses. Just haven't done it. So here is my wonderful family- like a month ago. :)

There is a reason Jaker is hiding behind the little man in this photo. He has led three of our four kids astray and soon after I took this for HIS sake, I threw the camera at him and stripped my baby of that purple filth. :) Go Pack.

Noodle's ELEVENTH birthday party. The sledding crew! Yes, my 63-yr-old dad was one of the sledders (With Bella in the back left).

Lanman and one of his very favorite toys thanks to Auntie Cori and Uncle Jonathan! The kids (OK, and Jake and I) put him in the bed of the truck and zoom him to and fro. He squeals with delight and says, "Mo, Mo, Mo."

One of my top five "heart-warmers" as a mom is watching my kids read. When they are reading to a younger sibling I turn to mush. I caught Doodle reading his assigned story to Lanman during homework time one day. Melts a mama's heart!!

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Trembling with excitement!

The Dahls are headed north early tomorrow morning to spend a weekend with dear friends. It looks to be a busy two days, filled with visits here, there and everywhere and we are giddy over each stop. Our food contributions are prepared, and packed in a cooler in the van. The kids' clothes are packed tight. The camera and books, diaper bag and doughnuts from grandpa are ready to go by the back door. I even loosened the laces of the kids' shoes and have them lined up and ready to go!

The coach is at a far away game and left hopeful for a victory. I'm eagerly watching the ten o'clock news to see the score. Our departure time is set for 6:15 (In hopes we actually roll out at 6:30...) and I set out THREE coffee mugs- My usual two and one for Jaker as 5:30 will come quickly for him I'm afraid. *** They WON!!! Just saw the score!! ***

I know I am terribly behind on photo updates. I aim to post pictures early next week. The pics of Lanman are sure to just be a blur as he is in turbo tornado mode lately. Digging in plants he never blinked an eye at before. Unloading the DVD tower. Reaching above his head for handfuls of pencils to poke his eyes out with... (I jest.) Who needs to work out? My gym membership has huge brown eyes and a devilish grin.

The big kiddos brought home perfect report cards today. All three of em'! There was a lot of hugging and happy dancing at the Dahl house. What a great privledge I have to be their mama. Then reality set back in and I yelled out task after task until they begged to go to bed. But hey, they're going to play all weekend and see paragraph one... We're almost ready to go!

Which reminds me that I need to pack up to head out. Have a fabulously freezing weekend, Midwest friends. Californians? Alabamans? I don't even want to hear about it! :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Books that we love...

I love reading to the kids, but as Jaker has stolen the boys away for the past couple of years with the Redwall series (Praise the Lord they are caught up! I am so glad they love these books, but am up to my ears listening to the names of woodland warriors!), I have been busy reading to Miss Bella.

The summer of 2005 as we spent our days in the Jackson area for a month we read The Moffats books (There are 4 or five directly about the Moffat family and a couple more by Eleanor Estes that are similar-- Ginger Pye and Pinky Pye). They were wonderful family stories of a simpler time. Innocent, funny, adventure-filled and endearing. :)

Bella and I then read the Little House series and topped it off with a trip to Walnut Grove and the Wilder Pageant with my mom and sister last summer. A classic series that I knew I would love reading with my daughter. (My mother firmly instilled this in me!)

I toyed with starting Anne of Green Gables with her, but my mom gave her Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace for Christmas. We fell in love after the first chapter. Very reminiscent of the Moffats this series is full of imagination and innocence. We can't wait to read the next book (which rumor has it will appear round about a certain little girl's birthday...). If your looking for a good read-aloud book, see if your library has these wonderful books! :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Grrrr... Frustrations!

So why is it that every Tuesday night our digital signal for NBC is gone. Zero. Ziltch.
I e-mailed the station last week about it on Wednesday morning and the station engineer wrote right back and told me to call him... except everything seemed fine then. I was convinced it was the cold weather.

Tonight? Nada. I rescanned and the channel doesn't even come in well enough to come up on the auto scan. This was the first and strongest channel we ever got... and suddenly. Nothing.

Cable isn't a necessity in our lives. We watch little more than football (and lots of it), 24 and Biggest Loser. Oh, and Sesame Street.

Tonight? Grr.
I'm tempted to call for hook-up in the morning.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

We will praise You in the cold!

Well, like most of the Midwest the weather outside is frightful and I am thankful to be cozied up inside with my entire family. Having a husband that teaches has many perks. One is snow days or "freezing" days as the case may be. These days are like a weekend, only better because they are unexpected and unscheduled. Just lots of down time and relaxing. :)

Noodle is officially eleven. He is growing up before our very eyes. We are so blessed to be his parents and excited to watch him morph into a young man. :) He recently found out he is to be Abraham Lincoln in the upcoming fifth grade musical, "American Dream." He needs to quote the Gettysburg Address and has a vocal solo. You can be sure to see photos here soon. (Any tips on fashioning a beard?)

Doodle is counting the days until he plays basketball at halftime of Jake's game. Only one day to go! When we got word that school was cancelled today I suggested baking cookies.
Doodle said, "No. I can't eat cookies today. I've got a game tomorrow." :) He takes his playing seriously. Doodle and I made foccacia bread instead. He's a great sous chef.

Bella and I have King's Corners and Crazy 8's under our belt and are now in the midst of "Kit Kittredge" the movie . She helped make white chili for lunch and is a huge helper in the kitchen, as long as I hold the reigns. :)

Lanman took a tumble into a corner last night and nearly split his forehead open. He was terribly sad. I would ask him every now and again, "Lanman, are you OK?" To which he would shake his head "no" and look up at me with those big ol' browns. Poor little fella.

I am thankful for the sun today. Thankful for the unexpected together-time the cold weather afforded us. Thankful for the warm home we have and the for the food in the pantry and freezer.
I'm off to finish the movie with my girlie now. Stay warm, one and all!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Weekend highlights

What a great weekend!

I know it's not over yet. With the Season Premiere of "24" on tonight, there is still a lot that could happen. :) Jake and I were introduced to "24" right before the last season that aired, season 6. My sis gave Jake the first couple seasons for Christmas that year on DVD and by the end of break we had finished them. His birthday is at the end of January, and we got and watched seasons 3 and 4 within the next few weeks. Season 5 also was gobbled up and we finished season 6 (DVRed) just in time to watch season 7... which didn't happen. Until tonight!! In the whole "Three kids/Four kids" debate one of my pleas was... If you'd let me name it Bauer if it's a boy, then I think we could have a fourth. :) We REALLY like the show.

Mom and Dad came this direction Friday night and met us at Jake's game. WHICH THEY WON! Whoo Hoo! Against a very good and long-running conference rival. Ahh, it was wonderful! We are headed into another three-game week.

Saturday brought basketball practice for both of the boys and Noodle's friend birthday party. He had nine boys over after practice for sledding, a big taco lunch and a little Madden football. He really enjoyed it. We had plans for the evening that Mom and Dad were planning to keep the kids for, but they got postponed, so we got to relax as a Fam with Creamery pizza. Yum. A little canasta, which I could hardly keep my eyes open for, closed the evening.

Which brings us to today. Church, a trip to LC to do just a smidge of shopping and lunch with Mom and Dad before they headed east- that was our day in a nutshell. A little football (wouldn't be the Dahl house without it!) and now Jake is off to school to make sub plans for tomorrow.
We get to spend the day together (with the little Man) as we head to Rochester for a routine check-up. I love spending my days with my man. :)

Bella would like me to report that she has a new digital camera and will post photos soon. Which is more than her mother can say lately. I'm going to get on that soon, though. Really.
Have a fabulous week!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Quirky's greatest moment

When the older three kids were a bit younger, I kept a journal of all the funny little things they said.
Like the time Noodle was three and her ran up to me, abruptly stopped and prodded a chubby little finger into the skin under his tongue. Poking there he said, "This feels like chicken." Then turned and left as quickly as he flew in. :)

Those are memories I want forever.

As the kids have gotten older, however, the number of entries has waned. I still try to write them down, but they say fewer and fewer funny things. Or maybe it's that now they KNOW (or THINK) they're funny... Which makes them not as funny. :)

Doodle, the one we can count on most to still not realize how funny he is, brought down the house last night. At nine he is as funny and quirky with his mannerisms as when he was 3 and I just shake my head. Only my Doodle.

Over Christmas break I mentioned that I was thinking of giving him a trim-- Just the back and sides. His hair is coarse and the top seems to grow slower than the rest, so he looks shaggy pretty quickly. He quickly said, "NO! You can cut the sides, but I like the back long." Though I don't remember the details I must have outlined that this was NOT going to happen as No trim was better than a Mullet.

So last night- More than a week removed from our convo-- He walks in, plops his bag down and pronounces, " I love Mullets."

Throughout the evening he was heard singing, "I love bananas, coconuts and mullets!"

Oh, Doodle, say it ain't so.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Personality Emerging

Our little Lanman has a funny side to him-- he's a little tease and he KNOWS when he's being funny.
Yesterday I was laboring over bills at the laptop on the couch and there was a bowl with peanuts and M & M's in the coffee table ahead of me. He toddled over, looked in the bowl, snagged a couple and popped them in his mouth as quick as could be. I saw this all out of the corner of my eye, but looked up at him and asked, " Lanman, did you sneak a treat?"

To which he pursed his lips tight, smiled and shook his head "no."

I said, "Lanman, show me your mouth. Say AHHH!"

Again, "no." Grinning.

"Lanman Jon. Show Mommy what's in your mouth. "

Two shuffles backward. AWAY from mommy's reach.
Quickest mouth-opening in the west.
Mouth clamped shut again and grin remains in place.
Turns and toddles away fast.
(Rest assured, the M &M and peanut both went down safely. All is well.)

For the love of garage sales **UPDATED**

I must start this post with a confession: I love garage sales. The thrill of the hunt, the bargains to be found, and quite frankly the money that is saved! Two dear, dear friends and I have made a annual trip to a nearby suburb to bring home vans-ful of treasures, most of which is like new. Most of what my kids wear is from these jaunts. To them "Woodbury" is some fine, far-off boutique that 75% of their clothes magically appears from each May. :) One year I figured out the savings of Old Navy ticket prices to what I bought each item for- like I said- practically brand new! It was HUNDREDS of dollars.

All that being said, I have posted a banner on the side over there to the right that describes a measure the federal government would like to take- in the interest of keeping our children safe- to stop the resale of children's toys and clothing. I understand that the lead in toys can be very dangerous to kids and don't want to belittle what families have gone through who have faced tragedy as a result of lead.

I DO, however, see buying used clothing as a very cost effective and earth-friendly way of caring for my family! This is generations old! Who hasn't worn hand-me-downs? We are a one income family, and I, for one, can attest that going out to buy brand new clothing would rock us financially.

Read this link (More detailed and garage sale-specific) or click on the banner for an overview and let me know what you think. :)

A friend e-mailed me this after a little reseach online. She didn't tell me where she found it, but I'm posting it because it gives me hope. :)

I'm bored at work, so I went to the actual government website (http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/cpsia.html) and started combing through it to see if I could find anything about this. From what I found, it looks as though the rule only applies to toys *manufactured* after Feb 10, so I don't see how this would affect yard sales or consignment sales at all since if you're selling something after the date this goes into effect, then it will already be labelled. And I didn't see anything about clothing (except a few things that could contain lead, like jewelry) included in this at all. This is from the FAQ:If you have a “children’s product” with possible lead content, do you have to have a certificate on November 12, 2008, even though the lead rule is not effective?No. The lead content limits for children’s products do not go into effect until February 10, 2009. As stated above, children’s products manufactured after February 10, 2009 (600 ppm), will need a general conformity certification based on a test of the product or a reasonable testing program for products and children’s products manufactured after August 14, 2009 (300 ppm), will have to be certified based on third-party testing of the product by accredited third party laboratories.Q: Will infants’ crib bedding, blankets, bath textiles, and apparel fall under the heading of “durable product”?A: No. Congress did not define the term “durable,” but it is commonly understood to mean able to exist for a long time without significant deterioration. Cloth/textile items are generally not considered to be durable goods. None of the items Congress specified in section 104 as examples of durable products are items made entirely of cloth, rather they are primarily made from rigid materials (e.g., cribs, toddler beds, high chairs, strollers, bath seats).

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Rejoicing with a Recap

Ahhh... What a wonderful Christmas season it has been. Let me give you a bulleted recap... (photos will have to wait as I am not on my own computer...)

~We celebrated "First Christmas" with my family in Madison at my sister and brother-in-law's house. We intended to leave late on Friday the 19th after Jaker's game. As the weather would have it, a bucketload of snow dumped upon us and both school and the game were cancelled. The roads were clear by mid-morning and we drove to Madison in the sunshine. We had a WoNdErFuL time! Sledding, A huge appetizer buffet, Trivial Pursuit, Canasta... and together time. The kids would interject- AND PRESENTS!!! Auntie Lottie is known to be the "fun present lady" and she did not disappoint. A Ripstick and Fishing Pole were the boys' favorites and Bella and Lanman enjoyed their "Baby Alive" and rocking chair from Grandma and Grandpa .

~ The last day and a half of school flew by! Jaker and the Trojans had a great b-ball game Tuesday the 23rd and went into Christmas break 2-1.

~ Christmas Eve was a wonderful day of together time. We went to the 3:00 church service and came home for a candlelit lasagna dinner and reading of "The Christmas Box." We watched it's a Wonderful Life" and tucked four excited kids into bed.

~ Christmas morning was magically memorable. :) I love the kids' excitement! We got to spend the middle of the day at Jake's Grandma's house. That was a treat. :) We came home, played games, highlighted hair (All three big kids) and relished being home as a family.

~ The 26th brought Jake's sister Janel and two of our nieces to town. We got to go to Rochester and pick them up and later in the day got to see Jamie and her family as well! The kids got to spend a full night and day with their cousins and had a grand ol' time. :) The boys loved playing with their soft-air guns in the hay barn. :) Bella relished in "girl-cousin-time." We enjoyed a wonderful meatball dinner at Grandma and Grandpa's house and more gift exchanging. Grandma Joyce's pj pants were a instant hit.

~ We packed up the van and left right from church Sunday the 28th to meet some friends from Chetek in Eau Claire for an afternoon of swimming, games and visiting. Oh, what fun the kids had-- and Jake and I , as well! Despite the distance, our friendships remain strong and we relish every chance we get to have together. We always leave our times together with the next date PENNED into our planners and anticipation building for that next visit.

~Monday the 29th brought a whirlwind of cleaning to the Dahl house! The tree came down, the bathrooms were scrubbed, the floors, kitchen, bedrooms and every other nook and crannie got a much-needed scrubbing. Ahh, the dust flew and it felt good (to this Mama, anyway!)

~ For many years now we have celebrated the New Year with our very good friends. Tuesday brought them to our house for a few days of fun. :) The kids (all eight of them) have played well in our tight quarters (We look forward to next year when we will have all of the basement to spread out in!), and we've enjoyed food, games, food, shopping (Buddy and Jake), weight lifting (Marti and I)... oh, I may have switched that around. Oh, and more food. They are still here now, in fact, and I type away as we watch "The Dark Knight." It may be the first movie we have watched together that I have stayed entirely awake for! Thanks to the good ol' blog. :)

So there is a synopsis of our holiday. We forge ahead into 2009 as a family who wants to grow in grace, know the Lord and make Him known. We aim to take time to enjoy the simple things in life and appreciate each day we are given.

We wish you a happy, healthy 2009.