Wednesday, December 31, 2008


We have been enjoying an awesome vacation from school, work, everything! We had a wonderful Christmas here in Tucson with just the 3 of us. It was super, super relaxing! It was really nice to stay in one place and just enjoy each other's company. Mike and I both commented that we can't ever see leaving AZ at Christmas time--it's just so nice here! :)

On the 26th we headed over to Albuquerque to stay with our friends for a few days. Wow was it cold there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! However, we had a blast playing games, playing wii, talking, eating, visiting Albuquerque hot spots and relaxing! Lots of relaxing!!! Albuquerque is a beautiful city and our friends were wonderful hosts.

Today we went to Old Tucson Studios. Mike's class gave us tickets as part of his Christmas present. Many movies and TV shows have been made in Tucson at the studios. Little House on the Prairie, The Three Amigos and Arizona are the only three I can remember right now. They have all the sets, some rides, some western shows and historic buildings to see. It was a really fun day! I recommend a visit to Old Tucson Studios for sure!

Tonight Mike went to church by himself while I stayed home with K. He needed to go to bed early since he only napped for 15 minutes during the car ride home today. When Mike gets home we'll play some wii games we rented and eat some guacamole I made earlier today. Pretty low key New Year's Eve in this house! :)

I am so thankful for vacations. We get to spend time together as a family and escape "reality" for a bit. Not that our reality is bad, but it's fun to just live in the moment and play games all day long too! :) Reality will slowly come trickling back now as I clean K's room tomorrow (It looks like a toy store exploded in there!) and Mike heads to school to work for a bit. I should probably pay some bills and wash some laundry too. Spring Break isn't that far away, right? :)

I pray that 2009 brings a buyer for our WI house, continued health for my family, a safe move to IL for my parents, and many more additions to God's family of believers!

God's blessing to you in 2009!!!

(I'll try to post pictures from vacation soon--so check back!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Zoo, Bike, Dog

Last weekend we went to see Reid Park Zoo all lit up for Christmas. We got in free by bringing Toys for Tots. I want K to know that not every child in America has 5 million toys like he does! It was great to see bags and bags of toys!!!! The zoo was beautiful! The best part was the snow machine!! You should have seen how giddy everyone (including me!) got when it started to make snow! Everyone was trying to catch it. K risked his life in the crowd to try to get in on the fun! The best part was when he started sticking out his tongue to catch some in his mouth! :) (A picture I didn't get b/c people kept walking in front of me.)

K is the proud owner of a new "big boy" bike!! He won it in a drawing. He needs to grow like an 1/8 of inch to be able to really use the pedals, but he loves it anyway. It will get a lot of use down here in warm Arizona!

I am including a picture of my dog today. I made her dress up in a reindeer costume. :) What can I say? I really get into the Christmas spirit! :)

I've been a little stressed with everything that has been going on this holiday time. God sent me some great reminders last night--reminders to look to Him and to relax and focus on what is important: His Son! I'm trying--I really am--to let the stress go and focus on the cross. I'm also a little emotional because my parents are moving from the home I've known since I was 12. It's the place where the whole family gathers and has so many memories for me. I guess it's also hard because being so far away from family wasn't so bad because I could always go home to my familiar "home" in MN and know that my sis (and family) and brothers would come "home" too and we would all be together. I just can't help feeling like that might not happen again for a really long time. Of course, I'll visit my parents in IL, but will my brothers and sister be able to visit at the same time now that it's further away for everyone?!?!? Will it feel like "home"? Change takes time to adjust to and I feel like it's even harder when I'm sooo far away. I didn't think I'd be affected by their moving, but it's been difficult to think about. I'd appreciate your prayers for my parents as they make this big change in their lives. (You can say a prayer for me too, if you want!) :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


K and I had a fun time making gingerbread cookies this morning. He really got into and caught on quickly. Of course, he wanted to eat ALL of them when they came out of the oven. I talked him down to just one decorated one. :) It's so fun that he's at the age where he can do stuff like that with me. I loved watching him jam out to Mannheim Steamroller in-between rolling the dough. My heart is just so full of love for my little guy. :)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Busy Day

I got so much done today! It feels great!!! My house is all Christmasy, I checked lots of things off my "to do" list, and my dog is clean. Life is good! :) Mike is grooming Kasha right now--she is going to look so nice! He worked at school all day getting tons done too. If I only I could accomplish this much everyday! :)

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's that time of year!!

I am so excited that it's time to start putting up the Christmas decorations! I LOVE this time of year!! Our extra room closet is full of boxes loaded with Christmas related things! I think I might put out just about everything this year...we'll see!
December is always such a busy month. My to-do list is quite long--Christmas shopping, Christmas cards, wrapping presents, decorating, planning a Christmas party, celebrating Las Posadas ( and doing our regular daily activities too. However, I LOVE doing all of those things so it's a fun time of year for me. :) In all the chaos it's easy to forget the true reason we are celebrating Christmas. K loves to tell me the story of Jesus' birth--that's what it is all about!!
Tonight we are kicking off the holidays with a visit to Tohono Chul Park. Listed as one of the "Ten Great Botanical Gardens in the World", the park is decorated with 500,000 lights and luminaries! We are going to walk through and enjoy the beauty and then eat some cookies. :) Frosty the Snowman is supposed to be there too! It does not get anymore exciting than that!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008


We have come to "know" many people through adopting from Guatemala. I recently started to follow a blog of someone who adopted her daughter from Guatemala. She in turn, posted about a beautiful little girl named Abby who was also adopted. Abby needs prayers--lots of prayers. Please check out her blog and add her to your prayer list. I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like to watch my 3 yr old battle cancer.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


There were a few firsts for Halloween 2008...

The first time Mike and I made K's costume!

The first time we didn't go house to house, but trunk to trunk at "Trunk or Treating" at school!

The first time I wore SHORTS and a t-shirt on Halloween night!

Click to play Halloween 2008
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Monday, October 27, 2008

Our crazy weekend

We had so much fun this past weekend! It was jam packed!! Here's what we did:

Friday: impromptu faculty party--so fun to spend time getting to know people even more


AM-- Marana Heritage Festival--there were things for K to play on, a train ride, craft vendors, a hayride, people practicing to perform the "Thriller" at the same time as other people across the country (maybe you saw it on your news!), a fun playground and a tour of a firetruck

Mike took K to his first football game at UA (University of Arizona). It was homecoming so they tailgated a bit and then had a great time at the game. They stayed until halftime and K apparently was quite the cheerleader! :) "U of A" "U of A" I went out with some friends for drinks and supper. We went to the Native New Yorker which was so yummy!! It was good to get out and it was especially nice to get to know my friends even better.


AM--I went on a 3.2 mile walk for Breast Cancer awareness. It was such a good time! I went with a bunch of people from church. Mike and K headed to Redeemer so Mike could teach the H.S. bible class. (We all went to church on Thursday night--in case you were wondering!) :)

PM--after long naps we headed to a park for Oktoberfest hosted by Shepherd of the Hills. Our friends, the Schmugges, invited us to come. K had a blast playing games and jumping in the castle. We had delicious food too!

I somehow managed to get some laundry done in there too. Unfortunately the rest of the house looks like a tornado went through it. K woke up at midnight on Saturday with a super stuffed nose so he is now sick. We are just relaxing at home today and hopefully his cold will go by quickly. Mike arrived at school today to find lime (used to mark the soccer field) all over the sidewalk/hallway by his classroom and down to the library. (Some kids must have gotten into the supply.) I helped him clean it up as much as possible, but it was quite a mess. So, another week begins... :)

We are thankful for a weekend where God gave us so many opportunities for family fun and fellowship with friends!

God's blessings on your week!!

Ring toss at Oktober Fest

Fishing at Oktoberfest

My walking buddies for the Cancer Walk

He was not prompted to do this pose!

Daddy and K having fun at the game

My little fireman

A barrel train at the Heritage Festival

K jumping at the festival

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I love coupons! I cannot wait to get the Sunday paper and see what coupons are in there. I spend a good amount of time cutting them out, sorting them and searching the ads to see how I can use them. It is really fun! I have been able to get some amazing deals with coupons. Today I was able to get all of the following at Fry's because they had an awesome sale and I had coupons:

4 boxes of Life Cereal
2 boxes of Quaker instant oatmeal
2 boxes of Celestial Seasonings tea
1 Air Wick Luminair Candle

All for the grand total of:


What a rush! :) Walgreens and CVS are great places to get amazing deals because they both offer register rewards or extra care bucks--both are "money" to be used on the next shopping trip. I am making a trip to Walgreens later today where I will get some Theraflu practically free with coupons, a rebate and register rewards. If you don't use coupons, you should give it a try OR better yet--send them to me! :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Zoo

Zoos are a big deal in our house. A BIG deal! I have lost count as to how many K has been to since we took him to his first zoo in Guatemala at 5 months old. I worked at the Como Zoo gift shop through H.S. and college so I guess my love for zoos started then. I got Mike hooked after we got married. K has no choice--he has to come along. :) Whenever we vacation a trip to the zoo is a must! In fact, we drove out to Niagara Falls two years ago and stopped at zoos along the way. We have a zoo membership to "our zoo" in WI that gets us in free or half-price at hundreds of zoos across the country. It's awesome! (We will definitely be getting a membership to the zoo in Tucson when our other membership expires!!
Our favorite zoo BY FAR is the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE! We went there with my brother, his wife and my parents a few summers ago. We were all impressed! The worst zoo we visited was somewhere in Montana. It was expensive and had like 10 animals. We were on vacation with my parents and sister and I was only allowed one zoo stop on the trip. Unfortunately, the zoo I chose was not good.
A tradition we started with K is to buy a PVC animal at the zoo gift shop after each zoo visit. K picks out his favorite animal from that zoo and adds to his collection at home. It's a fun way to remember our day!
So, yesterday we ventured out to our zoo here in Tucson--Reid Park Zoo. It is located in the big and beautiful Reid Park. The park has tons of playground equipment, ponds and walking trails. There is a train that you can ride around the pond. The zoo was so much fun! It isn't very big, but has a good variety of animals. There are lots of shaded walkways and a chance to view the animals pretty closely. We really enjoyed our 2 hour visit and will definitely be making many trips back.
I've posted a few pictures of our visits to zoos across the country (& Guatemala!). OH, I forgot to mention that there are two exhibits I always look for in a zoo--the prairie dogs and goats!! I'm pretty sure K has fed more goats than the average 3 yr old. :) I just love the prairie dogs and goats and am so disappointed when a zoo does not have them on display. They are just so cute!

Guatemala Zoo

Leopard in Guatemala

K's 1st bday--Milwaukee Zoo (2006)

Feeding the goats--Madison Zoo

K with the Lorikeet at Erie Zoo (2007)

Giraffe close-up at Erie Zoo

K and the sting ray

My prairie dogs

Feeding goats at the Great Plains Zoo in SD(2008)

K and the flamingos--Reid Park Zoo (2008)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Monster Trucks

I don't know how it happened, but K is a HUGE monster truck fan. His collection of Monster Jam monster trucks has grown to 8 and I have a feeling with Christmas coming, the collection will continue to grow. He loves to race them, smash them, drive them and crash them. He can name all of them and is fascinated in anything relating to monster trucks. We are going to feed his addiction and take him to an actual Monster Jam monster truck show this winter. (I love to make him happy.) He cannot wait!! We are not thrilled that the main Monster Jam truck is called Grave Digger. K is NOT allowed to own that truck. In fact, we are pretty selective about the ones he can own. Some are not very "preschooler friendly". I guess I'd prefer he was more interested in something that required less crashing and smashing, but what can I do? He's all boy. :) I taped him telling me about his monster trucks the other day. He's got such funny facial expressions and mannerisms. I hope they come through for you on the video. I may be slightly biased, but I think my little guy has such a fun personality! :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Beautiful weather!

Wow! I now understand why people move to AZ! Today it was 79 degrees with a nice breeze and sunny. It was the perfect day! I have my windows and doors open and I get to smell some fresh air! It's not supposed to be this nice until November so I don't know how long it will last, but I'm enjoying it while I can!!

We didn't do much today, which I guess is okay. K and Mike made a race car from boxes, plates and paper towel tubes. I napped, finally got a hair cut and read a magazine. It's nice to have lazy days. The coming week is crazy again so I should appreciate this non-scheduled day!

It's been almost 3 months that we've lived in AZ. I just keep thinking about how much it feels like this is where we belong. It's really crazy. I never ever thought that I would be living so far from my family and friends and be this happy! :) We were not unhappy in WI at all and thought we'd be there for a long time. I couldn't imagine leaving my closest friends and packing again and selling a house, etc... So, when God led us to take the Call to Tucson I felt like Abraham moving to Canaan because I had no idea why he'd want us to move alllllllllllllll the way down there!! :) BUT, now that we are here it is just so right. I can't really explain it, but I am just so content. I really feel like I've changed--in good ways--since moving here. Everyday when I'm driving to or from school for like the billionth time I just look at the mountains around me and smile. Don't get me wrong--life is far from perfect. We still own our house in WI and it's a struggle to have a mortgage and rent. I battle loneliness some days b/c I miss my Neenah friends so much. Some days I just want to jump in the car and drive to see my family, but they aren't 5 hours away anymore. Sometimes I'm so overwhelmed with all that I've agreed to take on that I wonder what in the world I am doing. Despite all of that, I can smile and be assured that God has got it all under control. He brought us to this place and he's going to take care of us and provide for us. I just so thankful that I am loved and cherished by a God who will never leave me or forsake me.

Well, I guess that's enough philosophical thinking for one day. :) I just wanted to share my happiness with others. I hope you will take a look at where God has placed you and see all the opportunities he's given you. He has you there for a reason!!

Ok, off to color a race car with K...don't worry--I'll post pics of it later!! :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Tucson Fun!

The weather was nice enough today that we were excited to get outside and see some more of Tucson. We chose the Tucson Botanical Gardens because we had an Entertainment coupon to use. :) We saw so many cool cacti, flowers and plants from other countries, herbs, statues and butterflies. It was so fun to walk in cooler weather and and enjoy some fresh air! K smelled just about every plant and was trying to so hard to get a butterfly to land on his arm. It was a bit difficult for him to actually stand still long enough for a butterfly to come near him!
After the gardens we experienced a restaurant new to us...Whataburger! And wow! what a burger we had!! They were so big! Not the best burgers in the world, but now we can say we've eaten at Whataburger! Lucky, aren't we?

Saguaro Cactus
K and the cactus
Hibiscus Georgia's Pearl
"Come and sit on me, butterfly!"

Friday, September 26, 2008

I'm officially a blogger now!

I guess I've been blogging a bit on the website I set up for family, but now I can officially say, "I blog"! :)

I love to type and share what's happening in my family so this should be fun! There is just so much going on here in AZ that I always have things I want to tell people. I figured this would be the easiest way. I typically emailed people to keep them up-to-date on the happenings in my life, but now everyone can just check back here for the latest on our life! :)

So, welcome to my blog! Be sure to visit often!