Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Weekend Surprise!

Another week come and was a fairly uneventful week for the most part. Work was work.....settling into the new job okay. And that's all I'm going to say about it publicly, if you catch my drift! The economy is too stinky for me to be complaining too loudly about my job. For now I'm just gonna keep my head down, do my job, and do my griping to my dear SIL Nicole! (lucky her, huh?)

Saturday was the beginning of swimming lessons again.....and this was the first time we signed Zach up for a class. And since it was a 'water babies' class, one of us had to get in the water with him....and since Karl's teaching a class on Saturday mornings had to be me. YAY! getting into a swimsuit in public....MY FAVORITE THING (oh, are you sensing the sarcasm there?), it was like 2 degrees outside......with wet hair. yay again. BAH! Is it spring yet?

So anyways, swimming lessons went fine. Zach's class started at 10, Matthew's started at 10:45, and Alaina's at 11:30. So our Saturdays for the next several weeks will be filled with several hours in and by the pool. Then we all came home and had a quick lunch....I sat down to finish up a layout I was working on and then went downstairs to update my iPod and the doorbell rang.

Assuming it was the Jehovah's Witness that'd come by a couple weeks ago and said she'd be back, I yelled up the stairs, "I'm not here!" (I know, I'm awful, but I just wasn't in the mood for it.) And then I heard Alaina yell "Nanny!" I knew that my parents had come to visit. And the house was a pigsty and a half.

So while I appreciate the surprise of Karl talking my parents into coming out for the weekend to visit......I hate having the house trashed for company....even if it is just my family! My parents wanted to drive around to look for eagles, so we went out and did that......then we drove to town to take Matthew to town for a swimming birthday party. Then we went out to dinner, and back home to just hang out. My mom had brought a big box of OLD family photos, so we went through those (since I'm the one that is "into this stuff", I've been designated family "historian" I guess), and I probably should've written stuff down....but I"ll probably be doing a lot of scanning of old pictures here one of these days.

Then today, we went to church, went out to lunch and then spent a fun afternoon at the St. Louis Science Center. And yay me.....Karl wanted to buy a membership (for the discounts and freebies, etc. etc. etc.), but I found it hilarious that as a science TEACHER he didn't get any kind of discount on a membership.....but as a Boeing employee, I got it for HALF OFF! hahahahahaha! So we're now members. Yay us. We went to see an Omnimax movie (which are always cool...this one was about the Great Lakes), and then went to see Sue, the T-Rex, and then to the childrens' play area until it was time to leave. It was a very fun afternoon!! I'll have to post pics later as I just haven't gotten around to downloading them off the camera yet, and it's getting late! :P

We called in for pizza on our way home and now here we are....just sitting around and talking again. They'll leave in the morning after we leave for work. The kids love having them around, and it really perks up my dad to be with them, so it was a good idea for them to come out. My mom helped pull out a loose tooth of Alaina's (I just can't do that....not sure WHY, I just can't pull teeth....eww!) They'll be out here again next weekend 'cuz we're taking dad to the St. Louis Auto Show, so that'll be something fun for the kids to look forward to.

So here's what I scrapped this week........a slow week for scrappin' really. First up, with Vicki's new kit, 'Down by the Lily Pond' is this one, of us seeing the eagle at the visitor's center in Alton last weekend. This are is the winter-time home of bald's a huge thing here. Lots of tourists with their cameras out and about all the we always take the kids to go see one up close and personal:

Next up, with Sya's new template pack, 'Room for Photos 2', I scrapped these:

This one is of the kids' Christmas program on our cruise....Alaina was picked to sing a solo and she (and definitely ME) were so proud of her for that! She sang it perfectly (having that pefect pitch that I will totally take credit for!) and had a blast:

This one is the night we ported in San Juan. Still bummed about being there only at night....WTH? :P I have no doubt we'll be back on another cruise someday, and I"ll pay more attention to the itenerary so I'll know in advance if we'll be there during the daylight hours when stuff is actually open!!! uhm, DUH! But I got a couple cute pics of the kids and Karl:

This one uses 'Room for Photos' as well as Sya's new kit, called "The Boys are Back"'s of Zach and our old dog, Keely.....Alaina and Matthew think it's hilarious that Zach will give Keely kisses and Keely will give doggie kisses right back.....ewwww! :P

And this last one with Sya's new template pack was from our UK trip.....I found this picture of Me/Karl when going through the pictures that one of the other chaperones had taken and given us copies of...and since there are so very few pictures with ME in them......I had to do something with it! The other pictures are just random shots taken on the same day.....

And that leaves me with my blessing for the week.......and since I went to the trouble to write an article for the paper on it......and broke company rules by watching the inauguration from work......and am just so darned excited about it in general.....I chose my blessing for this week to be our new President:

the journaling is just excerpts from the letter I wrote on Tuesday, and you can scroll to the previous post for that!

So that's it for me...another weekend gone and another work-week awaits! It actually snowed today, so the kids were excited (this is only our 2nd snowfall of the year....did you hear that up there in Chicago?).....they're assuming they'll get a snow day, but I don't think so!!!! Now it's off to bed! Take care everyone and perhaps I'll be back tomorrow to post those pictures from today! :P


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My opinion on a historic day!!!!

Just a quick post, 'cuz I'm exhausted and it's way past bedtime! I was totally psyched today for the Inauguration of the President...and I watched as much as I could get away with at work (and until the network crashed!), then I came home and had an email waiting for me that really surprised me. The editor of the local paper asked me and 2 other people to write our opinions of the day for the next issue of the paper (which will be Saturday). I wrote an op-ed piece for the paper over a year ago, so I'm shocked that he even remembered me and asked, but hey! You want my opinion? You're gonna get it! And since I just finished writing it and our local paper isn't's my letter:

How did I feel watching the inauguration? Mostly, I felt proud. Not just proud of Barack Obama and of the undeniably historic moment it was for him to even be standing there on that stage…..but for the hope and unity that has been instilled in the majority of this country as a whole. People, in the midst of everything that’s going on, are hopeful. They’re hopeful that better days lie ahead, and I am one of them.

I watched the inauguration via at work, against company policy. Obviously I wasn’t the only one doing it as the network crashed near the end of the new President’s speech. But as I sat there in my cubicle and watched the coverage of the crowds gathered, I couldn’t help but be in absolute awe.

The election and inauguration of the first African-American President couldn’t possibly be expected to not have some hoopla surrounding it. But as I listened to Barack Obama during the debates last fall, and as I listened to him in his inaugural address today, I again felt a twinge of pride. He stands as a symbol that if you take your education seriously when you’re young and work hard in your career, there isn’t a door anywhere that cannot be opened to you. He wasn’t born into a politically well-connected family. He didn’t marry money or inherit it. He’s gotten to the big game on his own accord. I was proud of President Obama for that. I was proud of him for realizing the momentousness of the occasion, yet not dwelling on it. He only referred to his color briefly in his address, and I thought that spoke volumes. It said to me that while he acknowledges the fact that 60 years ago his father wouldn’t have been able to get a meal in a local restaurant and here he was becoming the President…….it also said to me that he recognizes that the color of his skin isn’t ALL he is, nor does he want to be defined that way. He may be the first African American President of the United States of America, but first and foremost, he’s EVERY American’s president now, not just those of color. He wasn’t elected just by those of color, and he knows that and fully embraces it. That makes me proud.

As I watched the President speak and watched the crowd’s reactions to his words, I felt for the first time in my adult life that I had a leader that could really understand ME and MY life in this day and age. He’s been there, and he’s done that, perhaps not on the same scale as the rest of us, but closer to my reality than presidents of recent memory. He was raised by a working mother, his wife works outside the home, and he faces the same issues all of us parents face raising our kids. He understands the needs, the hopes, and the dreams of the texting, blogging, Facebook-ing generation that is out there. He’s not completely out of touch, and that’s very refreshing to see. For what it's worth, I think they should let him keep his Blackberry!

I was glad to hear him be upfront and candid that the road ahead isn’t paved in gold and lollipops aren’t going to fall from the sky the minute he sits down in the oval office. He’s never promised us an easy-out, and for that he has my respect. We’re all grownups here and I like being given respect enough to have the truth told to me, even if it is painful to hear. I consider myself a logical person, and anyone looking logically at the current state of the economy or the military conflict overseas can tell you that there is no quick solution to either. We didn't get into either mess overnight, nor will we get out overnight. He didn't gloss over details or promise things he knows he can't deliver just to score an 'atta-boy'. I appreciate the honesty.

My favorite line of his speech was when he was talking about our enemies abroad and said this: “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” I applauded silently as this is completely in line with my own views. I’d rather have a president that is willing to work with enemies and come up with peaceful solutions than one that shoots first and asks questions later. That’s just more my style, and I look forward to seeing loved ones return home where they belong.

Lastly, I felt excitement and nervousness as I watched this historic inauguration. I’m excited about what lies ahead, but reality makes me nervous. Just in the last few months I’ve had 3 friends lose their jobs, and where I work I know layoffs are coming too. My parents couldn’t pay their property taxes this past year, for the first time in 45 years. People I know personally are facing foreclosure and bankruptcy. The crisis we’re facing is real, and it’s going to be a long, hard road getting out of it. But I’m pretty confident that we’ve got a guy at the helm that is intelligent enough to know what to do…and smart enough to surround himself with the right people to ask advice of when he doesn’t know what to do. And I trust him to tell us the truth about it, even if we don’t want to hear it. That’s the guy I voted for back in November. I am hopeful that things will get better.

So Congratulations, President Obama. May your history-making inauguration be only the beginning of you making history as our President. God bless you, your family, and our country.

Diana Herman

Sunday, January 18, 2009

New job has begun!

Ah, greetings from Herman-land! This week was bittersweet, tiring, interesting, and FREEZING COLD! :P

It was my last week in my current position in Phantom Works. *sigh*.....I already miss the prestige of saying I work there! But since I wasn't doing any actual work, I had a lot of fun just hanging out with my coworkers and chatting. Then on my last day in the office (I kept my last work-at-home-day on Thursday), I just HAD to play some sort of going-away prank.....because that's just how I roll. :P

So what did I do? Be thankful you don't sit next to me, I'll say that to begin with. Thankfully, Erik has a good sense of humor and played along with my prank flawlessly. Like he had a choice? Anyhoo, I decorated his cubicle with about 15 posters of the Jonas Brothers (who he HATES of course) everyone that walked by got a good chuckle out of that obviously. Then, I kidnapped his prairie dog. He has this stuffed prairie dog sitting on his desk and dressed it up for Christmas, etc....and I always warned him I was going to kidnap the thing. Not only did I kidnap it, I dressed it up like a cheerleader (complete with pom-poms, courtesy of my daughter's American Girl doll...thankfully she doesn't know or she'd probably be pretty p*ssed!)....I snapped a quick picture of it with my phone (we're not allowed to have cameras in our building) and then hid it in a locked cabinet. Then I sent Erik a ransom email. :P Not just a regular email either, 'cuz what would be the fun in that? It was a scavenger hunt....10 items he had to find and return to me in exchange for his prairie dog. Can ya tell I had fun with this? uhm, yeah!

When he walked into the office and saw his cube, he just laughed....when I showed him the picture of his prairie dog and he checked his email, he was really laughing. And he played along with the scavenger hunt......finding things like stickers of non-company products....a used fast food cup....candy (for me!)....something that was over 10 years old (some parts manual he swiped from another coworker's desk) was SO funny seeing him run around looking for all this junk. Our OA came by and wanted to know why Erik was looking around in people's cubes! Oh, it was SO much fun! :P He was a good sport though, I gotta give him credit for that. And after he got done with my scavenger hunt, I returned the 'dog' to him.....and he loved the cheerleader getup. And part of my 'ransom' was that he couldn't tell anybody what was going on....but afterwards, the entire office got a good laugh out of it. :P So yay for me for flawlessly executing an awesome last-day prank!

Then we all went out for Thai....which has always been our group "thing". Any special occasion (or for no reason at all other than a "thai craving"), we'd go to this Thai place in town. The owners know us quite well by now! So I chose that as my last lunch.....and my boss picked up the tab for me. Only thing better than a Thai lunch is a FREE thai lunch! :P When it was finally time for me to leave that cube for the last time, I had a hard time not crying. I gave hugs and said my goodbyes and made them promise to keep including me in the thai lunches since i have a feeling i'll need the escape from the new dept. :P So that was my last day on the old job. And here it is, all scrapped with Vicki's new kit, Bring on Spring:

Friday I started my new job. I'm doing data management for the Apache Trainers. Uhm, yeah. I'm not sure what that means just yet either. :P I know what an Apache is.....and I know what the trainers are (and no, they haven't let me fly one yet, but I'm TOTALLY working on that one 'cuz I want to try it SO BAD!)...and that's about all I know about the new job so far. Friday I spent unpacking my stuff, which actually got delivered on the day it was supposed to! Went to a couple meetings, got a tour of the new building, etc. Got set up on all kinds of servers/websites that I'll be needing access to. Hung up all my kids' artwork and family pictures (very necessary to decorate a dull cubicle with kindergarten artwork!), and that was about it. Tomorrow will be the first really productive day. And how was it? okay. I'm not that excited about the work, as it's not 'engineering'...and I'm kind of a snob in that respect.......because I didn't go to school and work so hard to become an engineer to do stuff anybody could do. So I'm already anxious to get back into more engineering stuff again. But times were desperate and I had to get a job fast, so this is what I got. So until I can find something else to move to, I'm going to make the best of the situation I'm in. I know there are so many people out there that're in worse situations, getting laid off and such, so I'm not about to start complaining, kwim? I'm just hoping this is a temporary position......I'll say that much. :)

The rest of the week was typical.....The kids didn't have school on Thursday or Friday because of the weather.....-20 degree windchills is dangerous and practically unheard of here, so they shut all the schools down. Fine by me! So the kids are getting a 5-day weekend out of this with tomorrow being a holiday......lucky little things! :P Karl was miffed because his district never shut down, and GOSH was it NOT fun to get out on those uber-cold mornings to go to work! I haven't had to drive into the office on a Friday in almost 3 years, darnit! And this week will be my first full 5-days-in-the-office-week in I don't know how long. BLAH!

I can't really think of anything else that happened here this week aside from my job stuff and the ridiculous weather......some soda cans we had out in the garage (and forgot about obviously) froze and exploded....which was kinda funny at first.....but then now we're wondering when and how we're gonna clean up THAT mess! Oh wait, yesterday we took the kids to see the bald eagle at the visitor's center in Alton. This area of the country is the wintering home for bald eagles, so every winter, they are everywhere by the river, building these huge nests up on the clifs and then flying around looking for food, etc. We always see them as we drive up and down the River Road, but you don't get an appreciation for just how BIG the things are until you see one up close:

With a wingspan of over 6-feet, we told the kids that's like "two Matthews".....THEN they realized how big it is! :P

I did manage to get SOME scrapping done......and shockingly enough, I dragged out my rolling totes and actually PAPER-SCRAPPED this week. I know! I can't believe it either! And as I was sorting through all that paper-schmaper mess, I reaffirmed my love for digital scrapbooking! That paper mess is for the birds! And just WHY was I paper scrapping you ask?

For our upcoming Disney World trip in March (for Alaina's 8th bday), I'm making all the kids some autograph albums. The boys won't care, but I can't exactly do something really cool for Alaina and not them, ya know? So anyways.....I made a compromise with myself.....I'd use up all the Disney paper scrapping stash I had and then do everything else digially. Gosh scrapping with paper is time consuming! :P I'm going to get a regular 4x6 photo album and on each page, I'll have a card that i've made for the character's signatures....and the other side will be the picture that we take of them with that character. And I think I counted that I'm going to need somewhere between 30-40 of these pages......times 3 I figured I'd better get started! :) I think I did about 12 sets of paper you can see here.....nothing fancy....just using up my sticker stash!

And the rest I've done digitally.......which is why I haven't scrapped as many regular layouts this week....I've been working on these little gems. I'm trying to keep them fairly plain so that the autograph is the main focus...

Here are the regular digital layouts I did this week......a couple more from our UK trip.....all of Oxford:

Now, onto all the little digital autograph cards I made for the Disney trip...
Here's one I made for Woody, from Toy Story:

One for Buzz Lightyear:

And this one is for Mike from Monster's Inc (Sully doesn't sign autographs....or at least he didn't the last time we were there):

This one I made for Pluto....didn't have much 'dog'-ish stuff, so I went disney-generic instead:

And this nice, woodsy-one is for Pocahontas:

This one is for Mulan:

This one's for Minnie Mouse:

This one's for Lilo and Stitch:

And for Goofy:

For Donald Duck:

And Daisy Duck:

And that's all I have done so far......lots more to do, but I'm pretty happy with how many I already have done. yay me! :P

So, last up is my blessing for the week.....I picked my church congregation....we're like a big family and they're such a big part of my life!

Journaling reads: Our congregation is small. On a typical Sunday morning, our family of 5 is almost half of the congregation! We started attending the Wood River congregation when we moved out to this area 10 years ago. We considered going to other, larger, congregations, but in the end, the people and the fellowship we found here kept us where I know we belong. Our church family is like an extension of our blood family. We share our joys and sorrows and are always there to support each other, just like any other family would. We host study groups at our house and it’s so fun to have all these people come over to our house each month to study and discuss different topics. And it’s kinda funny to realize that our entire congregation can sometimes go out to lunch together and sit at the same table! It would be nice sometimes to have more people in our congregation, but for now, we are happy and content with the group we have now. They are a huge part of my life and they are a great blessing to me.

And that's it for now......Karl's got the day off tomorrow, so he'll get to hang out with the kids all day while I"m at work....blah! So until next time, have a great week!! Be grateful to be employed and all that jazz (this is my mantra from now on!).......catch ya later!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Back to "Normalcy"

Well, we survived our first full week back at work/school/life after the holidays. Yay us! Karl and the kids actually had a snow day on Tuesday thanks to the famous St. Louis ice! We don’t get a lot of snow here in St. Louis, but JEEZ! We get the ice, which is SO much worse to drive on if you ask me. So since I still had the telecommuting privilege available to me, I stayed home as well. I’m really going to miss working from home in the comfort of my sweats and fleece-lined Crocs!

Tuesday night, after the ice melted, we took the kids into town for their gymnastics classes and went out to dinner. The rest of the week wasn’t too exciting really. We finally got all our Christmas decorations down and back out into the garage, so that was the highlight of the week. I’m slowly packing up my stuff at work getting ready to move to my new job that I start on this coming Friday. I’m still not excited about it and am anticipating it kind of like a walk to the guillotine. Okay, MAYBE that’s a little melodramatic!!!! But I’m really not looking forward to it. :D

And this weekend, we’ve been visiting the parental in Fairfield since Friday night. I’ve spent most of the weekend catching up on some “reading” (meaning my magazines: People, Us Weekly, and Cosmo!) and doing a little scrapping, but not much. It was nice to just visit with my parents. The kids always like to see their grandma and grandpa. Karl fixed a leaky faucet at my brother’s house….I got to have a Sancho from Taco Tierra for lunch, so it was a pretty good weekend! I’d wanted to take some pictures around town of my old hangouts, but it was so overcast and dreary, I decided to do it on another visit instead. I think the rest of the time I was on my Facebook page. I chatted with a girl I haven’t seen since high school… was so neat to catch up with her! And now we’re back home…..laundry awaits, and that’ll be the end of another weekend. Gosh they go by fast!

let’s get to the layouts now, shall we?
First up, with Sya’s new template pack, “Kristin-spriation”, (on sale for a DOLLAR! can you believe that?)......I scrapped these 2:

Hyde Park in London:

and our The Hanging of the Green service at church from back in November, which finishes up my 2008 layouts, woohoo!And here’s my first layout for ’09, of the boys playing with the train set that Zach got for Christmas:
Our road trip to Miami:

Here’s the Tower of London from our UK trip, which didn't turn out the way I wanted it since I wanted to do this gigantic picture across 2 pages but I couldn't get the 3 pictures I'd taken to match up well this is what I did instead. I still like it though! :P

And here's our lunch at a pub when we were in London, eating "Smash" was actually pretty good! :P

St. Paul’s Cathedral in London:

Our bus tour of London:
And with Vicki’s new kit, “Winter Warmer”….I scrapped this one, of our formal night on the cruise, using Sya’s new templates:
So now for my blessing this week.....I THINK we've been doing this for 22 or 23 weeks now (I haven't been counting, but I think my SIL knows! I would probably be smart of me to do that, but I've never been accused of being that clever!).......I was kinda stumped for an idea, but then I saw this picture and the rest just came together after that. This is Alaina and her cousin, Becca, and this picture of them just made me laugh out loud, I love it!

Journaling reads: Alaina has always had a close bond with her cousin Becca. They’re only a year apart in age, but to see the two of them together, you’d think they were twins. They have always been very like-minded, sometimes to the chagrin of their mothers! They both love to be total girly-girls with their clothes and shoes, and are both very strong-willed…which sometimes ends up in some tears when they argue. But even through the squabbles and diva-like behavior, I’m glad that Alaina has a cousin like Becca that can not only be a relative as she grows up, but can also be her friend. I hope that as they get older, they still want to spend time together and look forward to the times they get to see each other like they do now. Since Alaina doesn’t have a sister, I hope that Becca will be the next best thing! The love these two little girls have for each other is a rare gift that I hope lingers a very long time.

So I guess that’s it for now. This post is early today since I typed it up on the way home in the car (I'm a multi-tasker!), and I've got laundry to do and dinner to think about making....and I'm currently the only one in the house awake! The "Sunday nap" has taken over the rest of the family, but since I'm not much of a "napper" (I prefer to sleep 'till noon! If only I COULD!) it's just me and the laptop at present.....and now I'm off! Have a great week everybody!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Layouts Galore!!!

Okay, this is gonna be a quick post (words-wise), mostly for the benefit of my sister-in-law, just so she knows that I DID manage to catch up on our blessings project. YAY me!

The last blessing I posted was for the week of 12/7. SOOO.....I'm a bit behind. :P

So here's the one for 12/14, in honor of his birthday that was that week, my older brother, Deron. oh, almost forgot my plug! This is with Sya's 'The chosen One, set 2' templates.

Journaling reads:Deron is my eldest brother, and growing up we rarely saw eye-to-eye on anything. But now that we’re older, I have a new appreciation for him. He has an uncanny memory, especially for music, so there have been lots of laughs as we remember old songs and old TV shows. The best thing thats happened is that Zach has latched onto his Uncle Deron in a very sweet way. Zach runs to him the instant he walks into a room and will be content to sit on his lap for hours onend. He may not have any children of his own, but Deron’s definitely got a soft spot in his heart for Zach. They’re buddies! And seeing this interaction makes me appreciate my older brother a lot more now than I used to. He really is a blessing to my family.

Next up, for the week of 12/21, in honor of Christmas, my blessing was the Birth of Christ.....and since I didn't even set up my nativity scene this year (we totally slacked on the decorating around the house since we were gone for so long), I snagged this picture of what my nativity scene looks like off the internet. Gotta love Flickr! Template is from Sya's 'Chosen One, set 3'.

journaling reads:As a Christian, there isn’t any story or event that is more precious than that of the birth of Christ. He was a king, but wasn’t born that way, and that beginning set a precedent for his life and his works here on Earth. His birth meant a huge change for life as it was known at the time, and for those of us that live after him, it’s hard to imagine what our lives would have been like had that night in the manger never happened. Each year at this time of year, we make sure to read the story of the birth of Jesus to our kids so that the real meaning of the holidays doesn’t get completely lost in Santa and his reindeer. I want my kids to know how important this little story is to me, to them, and to the world. The birth of Christ started a whole new life for the world, and for that, we are all forever blessed.

Then for the week of 12/28, since I previously did a blessing on the Mother/Daughter bond, I thought I'd better keep things even and do the Father/son bond for Karl, Matthew, and Zach.

Journaling reads: These are my boys. Karl has his twinny-twin Matthew, and his ‘second twin' in Zach and they just love to wrestle and play together as only boys can do. They like to chase each other and watch silly ‘boy shows’ and have all kinds of fun together. I’m so glad they get along so well and are as close as they are. I love my boys very much!

And now for this week, 1/4, I chose to showcase some of my priceless gifts...template is from Sya's 'Stripped, set 4' journaling reads:I’m not really a materialistic person. Sure, I enjoy a box of Godiva chocolates just as much as the next gal, but the gifts that I truly look forward to each year are the ones made by my children in their classes. One of my most treasured ornaments for the tree isn’t one that I got from Hallmark,it’s the little gold ornament that has a handprint of Alaina’s when she was in Pre-K and the teacher made each ‘finger’ into a snowman. That ornament is so special because of what it represents. Alaina and Matthew both made molds of their hands in Kindergarten, so now I have their two handprints, preserved forever when they were five years old. In Pre-K, Matthew cut a bell out of dough and painted it himself and was so proud of it! And the cinnamon christmas tree is one that Matthew and I made together at a parents’night. Then this year Matthew made me a Christmas card and Alaina made a stocking ornament for me. As my collection of these little treasures grows each year, I am completely overwhelmed by the joy that the kids have in making and giving them to me, and I will always cherish each and every one. These are by far the best Christmas gifts a mom like me could ask for.

So there! All caught up with the, onto all the other stuff I've scrapped, and after being trapped for almost 40 hours in a vehicle, I've got LOTS of layouts to share! :P Are you ready? Here we go!

Alaina's Thanksgiving program at school:

Alaina's brownie troop at the bounce houses:

my Mom's family Christmas get-together:

Alaina and her 3rd (I think) cousin, Lindsay at the family get-together:

opening presents at my parents' house:

Alaina using her new cupcake maker she got from my parents:
The ginerbread house we made this year:
Our family portrait:
The kids' formal portrait:

Zach and Matthew enjoying some Christmas cookies:
Matthew's class Christmas party:

Alaina's class Christmas party:

Christmas morning at our house (on New Year's Eve technically):

New Year's Eve '09 at the Rainforest Cafe (which I can't really take credit for since I just changed some of the pictures and redid the SIL Nicole did the actual layout)

British Ice Creams (which DO taste wasn't just the kids), using Sya's kit, 'Learning Curve':

An Irish Carriage Ride in Galway:

The Dublin Cross:

The Menai Bridge (or as we like to remember it: The bridge that we couldn't cross because the TomTom didn't know the bus was too wide to get through! LOL!)

Our cruise opening page, using Sya's 'Stripped Set 4' template:

Our cabin decorations, using Sya's 'Stripped Set 4' template:

Karl's surprise welcome gift of a cooler/mug/hat and Bud!, again using Sya's 'Stripped Set 4' template:
The towel animals on our cruise:

And last, but not least, to plug Vicki's new kit she's releasing tomorrow, called "Fall Memories", a layout from our UK trip of the Globe Theatre:

I THINK thats it! Told ya there was a lot! :P And now that catches you up on all my scrapping endeavours. I'm sure you're stoked!

That's enough scrolling down the page for now, don't ya think? This has been a fairly uneventful weekend...the only exciting thing was that Alaina started her pre-baptismal classes today....I cannot BELIEVE she's old enough for that already! Where has the time gone, seriously?? the rest of the weekend we've just doing laundry and starting to reclaim the house from that post-vacation mess that always happens. Why is it that we manage to walk into a clean house after having been gone for 2 weeks, and in a matter of minutes, it looks like a nuclear weapon was detonated?? It's a talent I guess. BUT, all laundry is put away for the moment (since laundry never really ENDS, that's only a temporary gloat), the kids are bathed, and lunches are made for tomorrow. I feel like I'm almost ahead of the game right now!

and tomorrow it's back to work/school for all of us...BLAH! So until next update.....later!