Monday, December 31, 2012

The Celebrating

-the 22nd--
My mom's Swedish tomte--every year it makes me happy to see her collection out (her dad was born in Sweden).  Growing up our Christmases always had a lot of Swedish decor mixed in.
Girls awaiting the gifts
Addi finding the chocolate
-the 24th-
Owen's pile
Christmas Eve jam session with the big cousins--who knew Marissa could improvise harmonies on the spot to songs she did not know??!?  She had so much fun!
-the 25th-
a little pre-present coloring in matching jammies
and more Legos
a sweet hug
cinnamon rolls for breakfast (last time I mix those babies by hand!!) ;o)
my mother-in-law's Christmas Day table
(a small glimpse of what we were up to on our Christmas vacation)


Sunday, December 30, 2012

December 23-29

Before he left for church Sunday morning Jackson had finished his Lego lighthouse he received the day before from my parents.  This is such a neat kit!  Not only does the lighthouse open up, with a ladder to climb to the top, but it has a battery operated "light brick" so it lit up, and there is a crank to turn these little "mirrors" so the light can rotate.  Super cool!
Using the self-timer to get a picture of us all on Christmas Eve.  In hindsight I probably should have moved that pitcher, but at least we are all there, kind of blurry but accounted for. ;o)
 Oh happy day!!
Josh tried so hard to keep this a surprise, telling me repeatedly it was too expensive (maybe next year . . .), wrapping up a different gift and sticking it under the tree (a pillow).  But I just KNEW. ;o)  And I am thrilled!  Both his parents and my parents contributed to its purchase--a very good Christmas indeed.
 Movie night with my mom and friends!
I've seen Les Mis twice on stage and it is fabulous.  However, the movie was able to flesh out scenes in a way that a stage just can't do.  Anne Hathaway was stunning as Fantine.  That sewer scene--YIKES!  The musical could never portray that in a realistic way.  I will forever love all the music.  I haven't seen every musical out there, but this one still remains my favorite. I hope the movie makes its way to Arapahoe--I will definitely take advantage of those $1 tickets and see it again. ;o) 
Before heading home for Arapahoe we stopped by to cuddle some friends' 4 week old Lhasa Poo puppies.  Oh goodness were they adorable!  I have no idea how they will be able to sell them when the time comes!
 After a year of great health we brought back with us all sorts of "crud."  I spent most of the day in bed in abject misery (truly the worst I've felt since maybe brain surgery??).  Josh was able to feed the kids, but he wasn't feeling the greatest himself.  They kept themselves occupied though, as the living room will attest.
 Breaking out the nebulizer again.  A solid 5/7 have fallen (Marissa and Emmett are the last two standing).  We're cocooning up for the remainder of the year. (And seriously, if the amount of soreness in my abs and back from coughing is any indication, I should be considerably "ripped" by the time this sickness runs its course . . . who needs Jillian??). ;o)


Friday, December 28, 2012

My Rissy-girl . . .

On Tuesday, December 18th, after our big day of violin lessons, cookie decorating, etc. Marissa began limping.  Josh and I questioned her as to what she had done, but she could not think of anything.  I recalled the sibling "hurdling" the night before, and we figured she must have pulled something.  We did some warm baths, some ibuprofen, etc and assumed it would get better.  She kept telling me her leg was longer than the other one, and our thoughts were, "A leg just doesn't suddenly grow longer than the other!"

We traveled to Lincoln.  I mentioned it to my sister, and to my track coach brother (well, and pretty much anybody I came in contact with!).  We all thought the same, she must have pulled something.  So, we waited it out.  But by the evening of the 25th it still had not improved, and I had my sister-in-law (a nurse practitioner) look her over.  And yes, her leg did appear longer.  The next morning we had x-rays done of her hips.  Initially the doctor thought she had a slipped ephypsis, and if that diagnosis proved true she would be going in for hip surgery and a pin in her hip.  (world rocked a bit). 

But instead they called me the morning of the 27th to tell me she had scoliosis and needed a complete x-ray of her backbone.  At this point we have no idea--is it a bad case, is it a simple case?  I try not to go "there" in my head, because I have two weeks of waiting ahead of me.  And that my friends is an absolute eternity when you are awaiting to hear a diagnosis for your child. We will be heading back to Lincoln for a January 11th appointment with a pediatric orthopaedic.

I can't tell you how sad my heart is.  I hate seeing my very active daughter limping around.  I'm scared for what it means for her future.  And I just kind of beg inside, why couldn't it be me instead, I've already lived a lot, I would much rather it be me slowed down than her.  But at the same time I know how strong she is, I know she will take it all in stride, it's me who is the behind-doors-weepy-mess, not her.

So, as 2012 comes to a close and 2013 begins, I see our lives heading out into uncharted territory once again.  My sister reminded me that God is writing Marissa's story, just like He is writing each of ours.  We just have to run with it and know He is always doing His absolute best, working it out for our good.  That doesn't always take the hurt away, but I'm thankful for the "peace that surpasses all understanding" that He grants us when we need it.

I would consider it a huge blessing if you would pray for her.  Pray that it is a simple and easy fix.  Pray for acceptance in our hearts if it is not.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Last Friday afternoon we made our way over to Holmes Lake on some borrowed sleds.  We had hoped to make it out to the sledding hill at Pioneers Park too, but as the weather has been so bitterly cold the kids really haven't ventured outside since (plus there have been enough new Legos and books to keep us busy indoors). ;o)
This was Owen's first "real"attempt at sledding.  Josh and I were making him ride with us, but after one accidental run down the hill on a saucer sled by himself (which Josh and I watched holding our collective breath . . .) he decided he could do it himself.  And he did, over and over, with not a single wipe out.  Now coming back up the hill, that was a bit trickier. ;o)

I love this picture of the boys at the top, I think commiserating, and the sisters at the bottom, possibly in the path of "danger squared" . . . Jackson seemed to have a hard time taking stock of what was in front of him before heading down.  Thankfully he didn't take anybody out.
You can't see this really well, but Owen was struggling to carry his sled back up, so Jackson walked over to him and held his hand to help him along.  My heart was a puddle of mushiness (Jackson kind of struggles to think of others ahead of himself, so whenever he does it totally melts me).
Definitely the "snow much fun" I hoped to have this month. ;o)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

December 16-22

I'm calling this week "Visions of Sugar Plums" because mostly it was a week devoted to creating tasty things in the kitchen. ;o)
We made Peanut Butter Snowballs.  I think I last made these in high school, and after making them this year I have wondered why it took me so long to pull out the recipe again--so yummy (and easy!!).
Peppermint Day!  There was the reading of The Legend of the Candy Cane, peppermint play dough, and the most awesome Candy Cane Milkshakes.  You make a simple syrup out of candy canes and water, which then gets blended with ice cream, a bit of milk, and some extra peppermint extract. They were really good and definitely going to need to be a tradition (on perhaps a weekly basis . . . I've been craving another one something fierce). ;o)  (Let me know if anyone wants the actual recipe and I'll hunt down that link).
Crazy Cookie Decorating Day!
We spent the morning in Kearney, getting home about 2:00.  And then I quickly mixed up frosting and the kids got to work.  In the meantime I am readying the house and prepping food for a group of wrestlers set to arrive at 6:00 for a little Christmas party and viewing of Rocky IV.  It was so busy, but we pulled it off (and then I collapsed into bed . . .).
First true snow and a blizzard moving in--perfect weather for the girls to begin knitting their first scarves.  They let school out early and we debated throwing everything in the van and heading to Lincoln in an attempt to outrun the storm.  We decided against it so I got to spend the day packing in a more leisurely manner. 
Lincoln bound for a Christmas vacation--had to pull out a topper for all the snow gear!
We waited until afternoon, but the interstate was just awful.  I'm so thankful we arrived without mishap.
We spent the morning at my sister's house playing and decorating sugar cone trees and having a tasty lunch.  Later that day we went sledding (those pictures to come--they're on Bella's camera).
Celebrating a happy 3rd for my little Owen-boy and having a Hansmeyer Christmas out at my parents' home--a fabulous day!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy 3rd Owen!!!

 I know people always joke about how awful it is to have a birthday right by Christmas . . . there is that possibility of getting slighted on the present front I guess.  But from my perspective as the Mommy of an almost-Christmas-baby, my Christmas has been extra special ever since you arrived.
When I think of Mary and traveling and being heavy with child, I remember that December I eagerly awaited you.  I love that my last and freshest memories of birth coincide with a time we are thinking of another miraculous birth.  I love that verse about Mary pondering in her heart, because I remember those early morning hours after your birth when I should have been sleeping but couldn't--I was just filled with joy.  I couldn't believe that God had blessed me with five healthy babies. How incredibly special it was to bring home a tiny baby brother--the perfect gift for four older siblings who loved you to pieces.  Those memories are forever treasures to me.
It's hard to believe we're three years past that. 
My "baby" isn't so much a baby anymore.
You're a big boy on a constant quest for new things to do and learn.
There isn't much that slips past you.
You are a happy-go-lucky-free-spirited little fellow with a keen eye for observing.
I love that you sing "Jingle Bells" and "Joy to the World" on nearly every grocery shopping trip.
I love that you have two volumes--loud and very loud.
I love that you are convinced every single "O" you see is for Owen.
I love that you are particular and have a certain way you want things done (even though it sometimes makes me crazy . . .)
I love that you are a helper-boy and always want to assist in some way.
I love your imagination and how a piece of wood can become a guitar jam session.
I love when you talk to your "Little People."
I love being your mommy.
I love that you still cuddle and snuggle and need to be held.
It helps this mommy's heart and she learns to let go of baby years and face forward to watching all of her little people get bigger and bigger.
But Daddy keeps saying you are the perfect finale--you were just meant to be the youngest.
And I have to agree, you do "fifth of five" well.
Happy birthday Owen--we are so happy to celebrate you today!
And we pray that the stories you are learning right now--of angels, and Joseph, and Mary, and a special baby being born--are taking root in your heart.  I pray you grow up to be man with a heart for Him.  Love you bunches littlest man!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December 9-15

Theme for the week--
Comfort and Joy!!!
(you can decide for yourself how to apply said theme, like you know, the "joy of painting") ;o) 
Poinsettia Sponge Paintings--idea found here.
Emmett bucked the style and added stems and a rather rotund hummingbird.
Created some homemade Christmas cards to mail to Great-Granny out in Massachusetts.
It was "Kearney Day" and it just so happens we've become acquainted with a mama who had some premature twins this summer (and lives in Kearney).  We made a special delivery for her--some frozen meals and baked goods.  A picture of the kids with the babies would have been cute, but I don't know her well enough to haul my big camera into her house and ask if I can take pictures of her babies to put on my blog.  So this picture will have to suffice--heading up to the house to drop off the goods. I worried a bit how a "service project" would go over, but the kids really enjoyed it.  Even Jackson (who expects every day to be a "gingerbread house making kind of day" was okay with it. ;o)
Pompom Ball Ornaments--idea found here
Note to self--four bags of sparkly pompoms will not cut it, you probably need six to complete five ornaments.  Hence the reason the kids looks less-than-thrilled with the finished product.  (This will be remedied upon the next trip to Kearney). ;o)
Nativity Silhouette Paintings--idea found here.
They all turned out so pretty (even the kids who didn't really get the whole blending idea).
We've hung all our finished artwork in the laundry room this year--definitely a bright and cheerful place to be right now!
 Cookies, Cocoa, and Movie Night
We watched "The Nativity Story" again, made some Peanut Butter Blossom cookies, and had the most awesome cocoa EVER (recipe here).
An aside . . . after a year and a half without any "real" tv (no antennae, no satellite, no cable), we had cable hooked up today.  We turned it on for the first time to discover the live coverage of the school shooting in CT. I realized we have not been missing anything.
It was definitely a comfort kind of day . . . so thankful for a Savior in control even when such terrible things happen.
The Long-Awaited-Much-Anticipated Gingerbread House Day
First off, the Walmart kit that is supposed to come with five wee little houses only had four in it.
I made a quick run to the Arapahoe grocery store for some Shur-fine Grahams and whittled myself another house.  And moment of sheer brilliance--
I HOT-GLUED the houses this year!
Oh, was that wonderful! The kids happily piled on the candy and frosting with nary a collapse.
I HIGHLY recommend the hot glue if you are doing this kind of activity with kids. ;o)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Tree Contest

Last week I saw Country Living magazine was having a Christmas tree contest on Pinterest--upload a picture of your tree, they pin it on a board on Pinterest and the person with the most "likes" wins a Kindle Fire.  The contest ends on the 19th.  I've been hanging out in 2nd place (out of 300 trees now!) and I'd REALLY like that Kindle. ;o)  So, if you happen to have a Pinterest account, head over to this link and "like" me (and umm, telling all your friends, and your friends' friends wouldn't hurt either . . ). ;o)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

December 2-8

***SnOw MuCh FuN***
(I'm combining our daily December activities with my 365 project because multi-tasking is the name of the game). ;o)
Our theme for the week was snow.  Of course the weather was crazy warm--60's for much of the week!  In December! In Nebraska!  Although we lacked in the cold, white stuff we still got our snowman making on.  Up first, "Snowman Lanterns" out of milk jugs.  Inspiration for idea found here.
On Monday we drew our own snow globe scenes.  Marissa's (top left) cracked me up--it is a self-portrait of herself bracing for the "shake" inside the snow globe.  Isabella and Jackson have cute little winter scenes.  Emmett, exploding airplanes (does he know how to draw anything else?), and Owen claims there is a Christmas tree in his . . . 
Play-dough snowman!  These were fun and cute.  We used toothpicks for the snowman arms, I cut orange craft foam triangles for the carrot noses, and we used whole cloves for the eyes, mouth, and buttons (the cloves worked magnificently for this!).  (Play dough was my own concoction with vanilla extract and white glitter add-ins).  The vanilla and cloves smelled quite lovely.
"Snowman Skiers" made from pine cones we painted white and a mish-mash of other items.  I like the personalization my oldest three did (front row)--Marissa's is blonde with glasses, Isabella's has freckles, and Jackson's is clothed entirely in red (his favorite color).
Snowman drawings in oil pastel.

 Snowman "pops" (made by dipping oreos in white almond bark.  In retrospect we should have used mini chips, but the kids loved making these, and more importantly eating them. ;o)
We had two different things going on today.  The girls were busy on one end of the table creating lovely snowflakes while on the other end the boys were busy finger painting snowmen with a mixture of shaving cream and glue.   The pictures dry all puffy and textured.  And then I turned them loose in the bathtub with the leftover shaving cream--why have I not done this before??  They had so much fun turning themselves into snowmen and it got my bathtub extra clean.   I'm definitely going to keep an emergency stock of shaving cream on hand for those "hairy" days. *giggle*