Today, I need to share some sad news with you. Yesterday afternoon, my grandfather passed away, he was 95. He spent the last couple weeks in the hospital with his health declining. Although I am very sadden by his passing, I know that it was time for him to go. These last few months have been a challenging, he has become frustrated with simple things like his Tv. We went to visit him on Monday, and he was incredibly weak. He responded to my voice, but he was to weak to open his eyes. We stayed with him for about 20 mins. I made this scrapbook page in August after a recent visit. I am sharing it again,

On another sad note, Ethan broke his collar bone yesterday. He went sledding with a friend, flew off the tube and landed right on his shoulder. He slept upright last night because he was quite a bit of pain. He seemed better today. I think the saddest part for him, is that he will be missing at least 6 weeks of hockey. He was looking forward to playing goalie next week. Hopefully he can play the last few weeks of February and a Tournament in March.

The presents!

Our family tradition mandates that we open presents on Christmas even. I argued that is was bedtime and presents would wait until Christmas morning. I was out voted 4-1. So, we stayed up and opened every last present and headed to bed at 11pm, on 3 hours past bedtime. I was surprised that everyone maintained a joyous spirit up until the very end. Every family member was very happy with their gifts this year.
Nadia's favorites: a baby and cradle, a robe, littlest pet shop and a Zu-Zu pet.

Ethan's favorites: 2 castle lego sets, a marble game, and Bakugan (little alien creatures that ball up)

Ben's favorite is his Nerf dart tag game, the castle lego and his disc golf disc.

Andrew finally got a new case for his guitar. He also received a Garmin GPS to find the many hockey arenas and hotels.

I bought a new camera several weeks ago which was my major Christmas gift. I also got a stoneware pie plate, a DMACC sweatshirt and a new digital scrapbook class.

Overall we had a very blessed Christmas.

Christmas Celebrations

We had our Christmas celebrations on the 24th. My family came to Ames for lunch. We had 6 adults and 9 Children. We all agreed this child to adult ratio was probably the best, we discussed ways to maintain it in the future. :) We missed Rachel, Tito, Sienna, Mom and Dad. I guess Panama City is a little far to travel for lunch. Jason and Sarah could not make it either, they were a little worried that the weather would turn nasty. They needed to stay close to the farm to head off any power emergencies. We had a really nice lunch and very riveting conversations. I will not post the details here, I suggest you ask one of us sometime. I will say that Michael was very poorly behaved :) I am sure that most of my family will agree. By early evening, everyone had left and we went to church for the Christmas eve service.

Preparing for Christmas

The kids and I have been spending the last few days preparing for Christmas. We painted Christmas ornaments. It was lots of fun until the paint started to migrate from little fingers to their clothes and the table, kitchen counter, etc... I quickly halted the activity, much to the kid's disappointment. Although, the results were quite nice.

The kids sang in Church on Sunday. Nadia was asked to be the Angel. She had to walk up the stage with her friend Rowan (the Shepherd) and sit by Baby Jesus' cradle. She was very proud of her job. The kids sang very well.
I am not someone who spends days baking for Christmas. But, I did make a big batch of caramel corn and Andrew requested Boterkoeken.

Kids helped with some of the wrapping. Ben cleaned the bathrooms (he complained alot, but did a really good job). We dusted and vacuumed. We are excited for Christmas!

Good winter fun!

The snow last week pushed several of my exams at DMACC back a week. I was hoping to spend this week cleaning and scrapping, but instead I spent the week correcting exams and papers. Grades were due today and I finished them this morning.

Andrew has been home sick for the past 3 days. He has not been this sick in years. We suspect that he has H1N1. He received the vaccine on Friday; he had a headache on Tuesday. He has done nothing but sleep and take tylenol. He is starting to feel a little better tonight.

The boys were excited to have their last day of school for 2009. They are really looking forward to vacation and Christmas presents.

During the snow day last Thursday, we went sledding. It was pretty cold, so we only stayed for about 45 mins. I took my new camera and was pretty happy with the photos. Snow pictures are often difficult. I now need a class to learn how to use all the settings.

Winter has arrived...

November's weather did not prepare us for winter. We definitely were not prepared for today.

The snow started to arrive yesterday and continued to fall over night. We woke up this morning with over 12 inches of snow and blizzard like winds. School got out early yesterday and we don't have school today.

Yesterday, before the wind picked-up, the kids played outside for about 1 1/2 hour. Even Nadia was excited about the arrival of snow. Today the wind is making outside play a little less pleasant. making snow balls & throwing snow balls & Creating snow angels & lots of shoveling

Andrew and I went outside early to shovel the driveway. Our driveway and front sidewalk had a 2-3 foot snow drift across them. We shoveled for over an hour and then gave-up. Andrew realized that even if he got out of the driveway, he would not get through the drifts in our street. Snow drifts on the roof of our house.