Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Life has been so relaxing and comfortable the last week. It has been a blessing to be on vacation and away from our usual troubles. It feels as if we have been gone for years instead of just days.

We enjoyed a few days in IL with my parents and even got to see a cousin and her family from CA and then visited my grandparents too. SO fun! Then the weather changed up our plans a bit--unfortunately! We had planned to spend a few days in our old stomping grounds in WI, but instead had to settle for a few hours so we could beat the bad snow storm coming in. I am so thankful we were able to enjoy even a few hours with old friends as it was SO wonderful to see them! We were able to see many people that we have dearly missed and found it incredibly hard to believe it had been a year and a half since we had last seen them. It truly felt as if we had never moved away and had just seen them the day before. It was so comfortable to be there again. The friendships we have there are true blessings from God!

We left WI around supper time and caravaned with Mike's sis and family on our way to MN. The weather was not too bad until we hit the Twin Cities. It had been snowing for awhile before we got there and the plows had not gone through so it was slow driving the last few hours of our trek, but God got us safely there! We were happy to have made it to Litchfield and now could spend the next few days with Mike's family. The snow continued to fall so church on Christmas Eve and Day was canceled. We had our own service and enjoyed making many memories. The cameras were always out to capture a moment with Mike's dad or between the cousins. Knowing it could possibly be the last Christmas we had with Mike's dad we wanted to remember everything we could. The kids loved playing in the snow and we even ventured out for some bowling! It was four days of being together as a family and was a very special time!

Now we are in MN spending time with my sis and her family. We had a chance to see my brother as well and he always is lots of fun. Today we had back to IL to see my parents for a little bit more before getting on the train back to AZ.

I think this may possibly be the best Christmas break we have ever had. It has been relaxing, refreshing, fun, restful, full of laughter, and meaningful. K got to play with all of cousins and spend time with all of his aunts, uncles and grandparents. I have had a major break from meal planning and preparation. Mike has escaped the stress of work (though he has been doing some school work on vacation) and been able to watch movies and play on the computer for fun. It has been a very good trip at a much needed time in our lives. We are so thankful we came up this way for Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snow is pretty, but cold

We made it to Illinois last night! It is SO good to be here!!!!!!

The continuation of our trip...

We had supper from the snack car. Cheeseburger, pizza, hot dog...nothing high quality, but it was edible. :) We sat in the lounge car for awhile after we ate and then got to breath in some fresh air at a stop somewhere very cold. (I can't remember where it was, but a puddle on the ground was frozen.) Then we settled back in our seats and watched Night at the Museum that movie! Bedtime was next and it didn't go exactly great for K, but it's not like it was a normal situation. He finally fell asleep in the seat and then I transferred him to a little "bed" on the floor. I didn't fall asleep until after 1 AM. It was hard to get comfortable and then there was the lady talking loudly on her cell phone at 11:30...seriously, lady! We all eventually got some sleep though.

On Sunday we had breakfast in the dining car just for K. It was yummy! We hung out in the lounge car and then I headed back to my to my seat for a little more sleep. We then found out we'd get rerouted for the last part of our trip because of a derailment the night before. I think that added on a little more to our trip and the last few hours we got a little restless. We finally made it to Union Station and then made it through the crazy, busy station. (I seriously need to rethink how I'll pack for the trip home--one less suitcase would be great!) :) We then boarded the double decker bus and headed to Rockford. My dad picked us up an hour later and our final leg of the trip took us to my parents new home. Hugs from my parents, brother and sis-in-law were a wonderful feeling!!!! (Though I did warn them they should wait until I showered.) :)

So, now we are relaxing on the couch waiting for breakfast. Today we are celebrating Christmas with a yummy meal and presents. Tomorrow we are having a birthday party for our niece who turned 2 last week. We are driving over to my grandparents house to have the birthday celebration with them. IT IS SO GOOD TO BE WITH FAMILY!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Choo choo!

The day has finally arrived! We are on the train heading up to IL/WI/MN for Christmas! We are only a few hours into our trip, but I think this is the way I want to head north from now on!

Checking in took about 5 minutes...we all checked a suitcase and then each had two carry-ons. After we checked our bags we walked out to the train, gave our tickets and went to our assigned seats. SO easy! No taking off our shoes, waiting in line to go through security, sitting around in a terminal...just simple and easy. Our seats are super roomy with a leg rest and reclining capabilites. K and I are seated together and Mike is just across the aisle. We have electrical outlets at our seats so the computers, iPODS and camera can all charge when needed. We are in the very last car of the train and it is so quiet! We spent a little time in the observation car and will eat our supper in there too. There are tables and benches and then seats lining the big windows so you can watch the scenery go by. We have a cooler of drinks and goodies along, but will get supper from the snack car. Probably a hot dog or piece of pizza. The ride hasn't been super bumpy, but actually pretty relaxing. I pray it continues to go well. :)

We are anxious to get home and see all of our families. Mike's dad had a scan on Thursday and they found some cancer in the brain again and swelling of the brain. He's on a another round of chemo the next few days and we are praying that it kills the cancer. It is much easier to deal with this setback knowing that we will be with Dan and the family in just a few short days.

So far, K is doing alright on the train. He did not get enough sleep last night AND does not do well with any type of change so he has been a little cranky at times. In fact, when we were boarding the train he was crabby at me when I asked him to stop for a picture. The lady taking our tickets told K that no one is allowed to talk like that on the train or they'd make him get off the train!!! Well, he got very serious after that and was very careful to listen to what I said. :) We, of course, told him he would not really be kicked off the train, but he should change his attitude. :) (We asked the lady if she could sit by us on the train!) :) K is going to sleep on the floor in front of our seats tonight. I brought a flannel sheet, pillow and comfy fleece blanket for him so he should be comfy. We'll see how it goes...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Reduced Sugar Cereal

MyBlogSpark and General Mills are working together to bring all of us a $1 off Kellogg's cereal good on certain Kellogg's cereals.

General Mills is further reducing the amount of sugar in popular kids cereals. This is great news for our home that already attempts to limit K's sugar intake as much as possible. He does not react well to high sugar products so we either go for the low sugar products or keep the sugary items out of the house all together!

**General Mills through MyBlogSpark provided the above information regarding reduced sugar cereals and also is sending me free cereal coupons!**

Monday, December 14, 2009

Getting ready

I've been busy checking things off my to-do list! The presents are all bought, presents made for grandparents, the mail is on hold, Mocha has a home for two weeks and the laundry is being washed. Soon we'll be on our way up north! I can hardly believe it's finally time to go. I haven't seen my parents since May so I'm especially looking forward to hugging them!!! :)

This past weekend I hosted a cookie exchange at my house. It was so much fun! I had seven ladies attend and share lots of yummy cookies and bars. We all got to know each other a little better and enjoyed lots of laughs. I'm hoping to make this an annual event!

I recently found out that a good friend from college will be moving to Tucson this summer! She and her family will be joining our church and living nearby. I am so thankful the Lord is providing for me as I have been feeling lonely lately. It will be a huge blessing to have a dear friend who has known me for so long living in the same town.

I'm able to take my boss's laptop on vacation so I can continue to work while I'm gone. It has broadband internet so I'm hoping I will internet access on the train. If I do, I'll try to update as we go along on our adventure! :)

Here are a few pictures from the past month or so...

K and Kasha shortly before we had to say goodbye to her

At the zoo to see the lights

K's very own Christmas tree

Saturday, December 5, 2009

How hard is it?

Why is it so hard for me to keep up with my blog?? I have friends that blog faithfully each day and share tidbits, big news, advice, etc... without fail. I guess I can never remember to take vitamins every day either. :) I'll just keep trying to do better with blogging.

Anyway, it's almost Christmas and that means lots of fun around here. Busy, yes, but fun too! In fact, we are celebrating Christmas in our home tonight!! We want to do our usual family traditions, but won't be home on Christmas this year, so tonight is the only free night we have. That means eating some Papa Murphy's pizza and watching Elf. We will also exchange gifts. I enjoy celebrating Christmas with my guys and am happy we are able to do it before heading out on vacation!

Speaking of vacation...we are officially taking the Amtrak up to the midwest for Christmas break! We'll head out of Albuquerque and spend 25 hours on board until we get to Chicago. We are all very excited to ride the train! I have slowly been gathering new books, activity books, games, and movies to keep K occupied on our long journey. We each have a new fleece blanket that will keep us warm as we sleep in our train seats. I plan to take a cooler with snacks and water so we don't have to buy food on the train. We'll probably have breakfast in the food car to experience that part of train travel as well. Once we get to Chicago our whirlwind vacation begins...visit my parents (one brother and family will be there too), head up to my best friend's house, then a few days in Neenah, over to Mike's parents/grandparents (both siblings will be there as well), over to visit my sis and other brother, and then back down to my parents. Somehow we want to see my cousins and grandparents too. It's going to be crazy, but so good to see so many loved ones!

Things haven't been great around troubles at school/church, we had to say goodbye to our mini schnauzer, Mike and K were sick, I had some type of stomach bug and Mike's dad continues to battle brain cancer. I've been down and really questioning why we have to live so far from all our family and friends. But the last few days I've been doing better and focusing on putting all my worries and troubles on God. I have never stopped praying or believing that God is in control and has a plan for everything, but I'm still a sinner and I've had doubts and worries I shouldn't have had. I'm so thankful for faithful family and friends who have reminded me of God's promises and told me they are praying for me and my family. I'm also trying to keep my eyes on the good and fun in my life right now...Christmas parties, traveling "home" for Christmas, Christmas music and decorations...all those things remind me of how good God has been to me and how he is always with me. Plus, K never fails to put a smile on my face! He says the wackiest things and is not stingy with his "I love you, Mom" many times each day!

K is loving school and doing so well! He is growing up to be a very happy, thoughtful and helpful boy. He is rarely without a smile and never stops asking questions. He loves to spell things and tries to read too. He loves to build things, crash things and knock things over. :) Oh, there are those days when I cannot wait until his bedtime and he is sassy and pushes all my buttons at once, but thankfully those days are rare and just remind me to appreciate the days when he is his sweet, lovable self. I am very proud of my Guatetot! :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Another Saturday

It's Saturday and Mike has a meeting. I've got to be honest, I'm not a fan of meetings on Saturdays. It's the one day of the week that should be free for us to be together as a family, but that's not the case every week. So, K and I will spend the morning at home and hopefully we'll do something fun as a family in the afternoon. K has the start of a yucky, nasty cold so he should probably lay low this AM anyway. K is looking forward to the juice, soup and honey that Mike will bring home later. :)

We've been researching ways to get up to IL/WI/MN this Christmas. We had not been planning to spend Xmas break up that way, but we would like to see Mike's parents again and that' s the next available time for Mike to be gone from work without having to pay a substitute teacher. So, we absolutely cannot afford the cost of the trip, but we're going anyway! You only live once, right? :) It will be wonderful to spend time with both our families and, God-willing, get up to our old "stomping grounds" and see friends that we haven't seen for over a year. We are currently leaning towards taking the Amtrak! It's cheaper, we can take tons of luggage for free, it'd be fun, we can move around and we have the time to "waste" a day on travel. We'd most likely drive to Albuquerque and leave from there. It's less time and money than going from Tucson. It's a 25 hour trip to Chicago. The sleeper car is OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive so we'll just do coach seats and sleep in the seats. We can even bring a cooler of food to save money on the trip. K is beyond excited to ride the train and, I've got to admit it, I am too! :)

If K is feeling better we are heading over the YMCA for trunk-or-treating this evening. It's FREE and there will be tons of kids' activities as well. K is going to be a pirate this year. I've yet to put the whole costume together so we'll see how it turns out! He'll be adorable, I'm sure. :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Well, it's been awhile...

I know! I just haven't felt like blogging. So many things have been happening and I just wasn't ready to put it all into words, I guess.

We were able to get up to MN for my father-in-law's surgery in September. It was so wonderful to be together with all of Mike's family. My sister and brother-in-law housed us and borrowed a car for us to use. They also helped with K a great deal. We were so blessed by all their help! The surgery was successful and the tumor was removed. It was very hard to leave and head back to AZ, but we knew we had to. A few days after the surgery the pathology report came back and we found out that the tumor was cancerous. We experienced more tears and more fears, but turned to God again for comfort and guidance. Mike's dad was told he'd be treated with radiation and chemotherapy, but when a blood clot was found in his brain the chemo was put on hold. He started radiation and it really wipes him out. He's also been moved to the rehab part of the hospital and is working very, very hard each day. Tomorrow they will start chemo. It has been difficult to be so far away during all of this, but we are comforted knowing God is with Mike's parents and he has everything under control. We continue to pray for healing and strength. We are also praying that we are able to get up there during Christmas break and spend more time with Mike's family. (Can't wait to see my family too!!!!)

Here in Tucson we've been keeping really busy. K absolutely LOVES preschool. He missed a few days while we were in MN and then one day when we thought he might have chicken pox (Turned out to be bug bites...grrr...wasted dr visit!) and he was so upset to miss any time at school. :) He is doing very well and is learning so much! He does a great job of telling us all about the books they read, or naming the parts of the eye (or whatever Science lesson they had that day), or what Bible story he heard that morning. He loves playing with all his new friends and is already talking about how excited he is for Kindergarten next year. :) (It's mostly because he really wants to eat lunch at school.)

I've slowly been getting our new place to feel like home. It's taken me longer than I expected it to, but I'm starting to get things arranged the way I like it and slowly getting things organized. Now that we are officially in a house and have unpacked things that were stored for a year, it's kind of hit me that we live in Tucson. I know, delayed reaction since we've been here just over a year, but last year was like a "honeymoon" period and the last few months have been a little bit of a struggle for me. I guess it all seems real now and I've been homesick and lonely for friends and family I haven't seen for a long time. It's getting better though and getting my house "just right" has helped too. Now if we could just get some more visitors from up "north"...

Now that the weather has been cooling down we are excited to get back outside and get hiking again. We love visiting Sombrero Peak and Saguaro National Park. Today we went to the Desert Museum and had a really nice time! Tucson really is beautiful and there is so much to do...when it's cool outside! :)

Hopefully I can get out of my "funk" and start blogging again. I still would love to do another blog with recipes, deals, coupons, etc... It's funny how little time I have left each day, though, after running Mike and K all over, cleaning, making meals and then doing my transcribing. And, I just discovered a scrapbook store not too far from my house...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Trusting in God

Life can change in a moment! It has been a whirlwind few days as things drastically changed on Friday evening. We received a phone call from Mike's mom that his dad had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Dan (Mike's dad) woke up dizzy on Friday morning and it was bad enough to go to the ER. Apparently they did not like what they found there and sent him to Minneapolis for more tests. That afternoon they discovered the brain tumor. Soon after Mike and his siblings were notified and the praying began! Surgery is schedule for Thursday morning to remove the tumor and to do a biopsy on it. Soon after we heard the news and sat on the couch crying, K asked us what was wrong. We explained that Grandpa P is very sick. K's reaction..."We need to pray to Jesus." What beautiful words from a 4 yr old. And we did indeed pray!

Mike's sister from WI drove over on Saturday. His sister from TX flew up with her family yesterday. We are flying up to MN tomorrow. It feels like weeks have gone by since we found out, but it's only been days as we make travel arrangements, cover all our "duties" here in Tucson and Mike gets things ready for a sub to cover his classroom. There has been an immense outpouring of love, prayers and encouragement from friends, family and church members. It brings tears to my eyes as I write this just thinking of how people have been so quick to show their Christian love in what is a scary time for our family.

We are going to stay with my sister while in MN and she has been so wonderful. She is borrowing a car seat and toys from a friend so we don't need to bring ours along. Her husband is borrowing a car from his parents for us to use while in town. They are housing us and feeding us as well. And, watching K on Thursday while we are at the hospital for the surgery. They are blessings!

We were unsure of how we could possibly afford for all three us to fly up to MN, but we all wanted to be together. I said we just couldn't worry about it and that God would provide because he ALWAYS does and this was something important for us to do. Well, later that afternoon we found out that one of the school parents had been calling people about Dan and our traveling to be with him and people started to donate money to cover our expenses!! More tears here as I think about our awesome, awesome God and wonderful Christian brothers and sisters. Our friend who is subbing in Mike's classroom is doing so with a request for us to not pay her. And yet another blessing!

Mike and I are exhausted and easily brought to tears, but we are so confident in our Lord as we head to be with family in MN and Mike's dad goes into surgery. We are confident that the Lord will be guiding the surgeon's hands, providing comfort to us all, watching over Dan in surgery and ultimately doing what is best for Dan. As Romans 8:28 tell us, "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him." There is nothing to fear! God is in control, he is on our side and he will make all of this work for our good. I have already seen so many good things come from this sad and difficult situation and I am sure we will see many more things. God is good! Of that there is NO doubt!

Friday, September 11, 2009


I'm so excited because I've been chosen to host another party from This time I'll be asking my friends to bring over any gently worn kids' clothes and we'll have a clothing swap! Clorox, Brita and Burts' Bees will send free products for everyone who attends the party! It sounds like so much fun and I LOVE free stuff!!! :) Check out the website b/c there might be a party you'd like to host...just apply and wait! Super easy and fun!!

Just waiting for Mike to call and then we're heading out for his birthday dinner a few days late. :)

Friday, August 28, 2009

"......", said K.

I love listening to K when he's playing and using his imagination. Right now he is sitting next to me with blocks. His most recent statement was..."Alright folks! Let's get ready for the competition!" He cracks me up! Where does he get this stuff? Folks? He then went on to tell me he's building the United States of America and he has to go very fast because he is running out of time! Yikes, what kind of schedule is he on?

In the car the other day he was playing with an airplane and Transformer. He was pretending with them and is always talking with his toys. His playing went something like this...the plane was flying through the air and K says "Wahoo! said Jon. Wahoo! said K." Mike then said to me, "Do you think he likes to read books?" :) That was the first time I've heard him use dialogue like that when playing. Maybe he'll be a writer someday!

He has a very vivid imagination and it is so fun to hear and see what he comes up with next. Next weekend we are going to Las Vegas. I cannot wait to see what he comes up with all the lights and sounds there. There could be some interesting stories and statements coming from him! :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009


That is how much I saved at the grocery store today! Every few months my favorite grocery store has a Mega-Sale. You get $5 off your total bill for every 10 items you buy that are part of the mega-sale. This is when I do my major stockpiling of cereal and granola bars among other things. I search deal sites and find printable coupons and look through my coupon organizer to match up with items included in the mega-sale. So, I was able to get $20 off my bill and then had a coupon for almost every mega-sale item I bought. (I also bought things not included in the mega-sale.) For example, Cinnamon Toast Crunch was only $1.39 with the mega-sale and then I had a coupon for $1/2. Therefore, I got each box for $.89. So I bought a lot of cereal, granola bars, and yogurt.

THEN, I found a spot near the frozen chicken that said $1...I looked and there Bertolli frozen meals that normally cost over $8.00 on clearance for $1. There were two so I grabbed the ravioli meals and then found a $1 off coupon on my organizer! Yep, TWO meals for $1!! I'm pretty sure that's the best deal I've ever gotten! :)

I'm going to stop at Safeway on my way to get K from preschool and get some more cereal and the new granola clusters b/c with their sale I'll pay about $2.50 for three boxes of cereal and two bags of granola clusters. All three of us eat cereal every morning and Mike loves granola bars to keep at school.


Now I need to reorganize my cupboards (thankfully I have TONS of cupboard space) and get all my groceries put away.

Monday, August 24, 2009


I enjoy Mondays! It's the only day of the week I absolutely do not have to drive anywhere or go anywhere. I have gotten quite a bit accomplished already today and hope to get even more done later this afternoon. K has been busy playing with cars and cutting things out. He has been helping me with the laundry too. He is having a very good day of making good choices and I'm praying it lasts!

I am still thinking about starting another blog to share recipes, deals, coupon ideas, etc... I need a fun name though! Any ideas???

Tomorrow is my first day helping in the school library. I am looking forward to helping and getting to know the school kids even more. Our weekday mornings are falling into a routine now and it's been great!

Mondays...home and getting stuff done
Tuesdays...K has school/me in the library
Wednesdays....K has gymnastics
Thursdays...K has school/I run errands
Fridays...Bible class for me/K plays at friend's house

We are counting down the days until my brother's visit!!!! Road trip to Las Vegas!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Nice day!

Today was Day 3 of preschool for K! He is LOVING it so much! Though the other night he did say he wanted to be done with preschool so he could be home with me all day. Oh yeah, my heart melted. :) I sure do love my little guy!

I am having a pretty nice day...
Great deals at Walmart this morning...$1 Thomas DVD and various CDs as well. Gotta love a good clearance!
Then I FINALLY got my hair cut. It looks great and feels wonderful! I just stopped at the first place I saw today (Cost Cutters) and the hairdresser did such a good job! I will be going back to her again!!
I have a new recipe cooking in the crock pot and it's smelling pretty yummy! It's Cheesy Potato-and-Ham Casserole!
I was asked to sub for two days in October so I'm looking forward to some extra moola! (I want to get up to IL to see my parents' new place!!)
My computer is working great again thanks to my wonderful husband!
The humidity is way down again so it has been much more bearable to live here! Our AC has been working really well with the lower humidity.
Two weeks from today my brother will be here! I am beyond excited to have him visit--this will be his second trip to see us. K has sooooooooooooooooo much fun with Uncle Kory!!

I have so much to be thankful for! :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

And more changes...

I'm toying with the idea of starting another that I would devote to sharing my coupon fun, online/in-store deals I've found, weekly menu ideas and recipes. There are quite a few blogs out there just like that so I don't know that another one is needed, but I think it'd be fun to share money saving ideas as many friends have asked me how I use my coupons or I get great deals. And, hopefully my friends and family would read it and be able to get in on some great deals as well.

Right now I'm "doing research" by reading lots and lots of other blogs and gathering ideas. I'm also asking myself questions...I haven't been all that great at keeping this blog updated regularly so would I be any better at another one? Do people want to know what my good deals are or what recipes I love? Do I have the time to do this? And do it well?

Stay tuned... (and feel free to comment!)

Monday, August 10, 2009


Things are changing in our home...we are settling into a new home, K is starting school, I have cut back on some commitments outside the home, and Mike has a smaller class this year (which hopefully means less correcting and a teeny bit more family time!). These changes, I think, have inspired me to make even more changes in our home:

I'm working on monthly menus. I have always done a weekly menu and shopped for those weekly ingredients. I am now trying a monthly menu with a rotating choice of foods to make life simpler and keep us eating at home more. I enjoy menu planning and am having fun putting together all my recipes too. My goal is to try a new recipe every week! We'll see if I can do it!! (I have lots of recipes I want to try.)

I am trying to make more things from scratch...both as a money saver and to make our meals more healthy. I love reading blogs and have found many, many great ones that share homemade recipes for pizza crust, pizza sauce, etc... It will be fun to try!

The budget! Ah, the dreaded budget! We have the usual debt and bills that all people do, but we also want to save up for various things...a new AC next summer, our Disney trip in 2011, summer family vacations, home improvement projects, etc... So, I'm working on a new budget to make bill paying easier and saving up for big things manageable as well. I'm looking forward to have more structure with our money. I'm hoping it makes things a little less stressful.

I've been a coupon gal and stockpiler for a long time, so this isn't really a change but I'm trying to be even better at it. I used to get the deals at Walgreens and CVS along with the grocery store, but then stopped making the rounds. I am determined to get back into since I'm going to have a free morning while K is in school (the other morning I'm volunteering at school). It's really a game, finding the best deals and matching up the coupons to make it an even better deal. I'm going to start devoting more time to finding those deals and getting our stockpiles up again.

I'm excited about the changes the occurring in our household. Hopefully, they bring down the stress level and increase our health and family time.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

New recipes

Today I tried a new banana bread recipe and made black bean burgers for the first time.

The banana simple and quite tasty! K had fun helping me and we both agree it turned out rather well. I was so happy to have all the ingredients on hand!

The black bean burgers...very simple to make and pretty filling. I didn't hate them, but I didn't love them either. K thought they were hamburgers. Mike wants to use a little ground beef in them next time to give them a better texture. They are super cheap to make and I had all the ingredients on hand so those are definitely positives! I will most likely try them again and play around with ingredients a bit to change 'em up.

OH, supposedly the monsoon season has ended early and we will be seeing dry weather from now on! (BTW, it has been a super lame monsoon season!) The last two days have been dry and cooler so I'm hoping the weathermen are right b/c it has been great! Still in the triple digits, but much more bearable!!! Only a couple of months until cooler weather and summer can be a distant memory! :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009


So, K must be going through a growth spurt b/c he just can't get enough to eat! :) He's a little guy...only 30-1/2 lbs and 37" tall. This is what he's had to eat so far today:

Breakfast @ 7 AM:

He wanted some oatmeal too, but I told him to wait until 8 and see if he was still hungry

8 AM:
yep, he wanted oatmeal, but didn't eat it all (there was mention of playing in the sandbox and food was no longer interesting)

11 AM (lunch):
finished oatmeal (about 1/2 a bowl)
mandarin oranges
full bowl of cereal & milk (rice krispies, cheerios & kix all mixed up)
piece of turkey (from my sandwich)

Normally he'll do a bowl of cereal for breakfast and half a PB sandwich with some fruit for lunch. So, that's quite a bit of food for him. Plus, yesterday during lunch he said he was tired and wanted to go to bed (at a much earlier time than normal). He had a great nap and fell asleep rather early for bedtime too. Growing boy!! :)

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

A relaxing Saturday

We are trying to cut monthly costs if we can, so are trying out Magic Jack for our phone service. It works through our computer's USB port and only costs $20 a YEAR! We've only had it for one day, but so far it works great and the calls are clear! The only things that are annoying about it is that we had to pick out a new phone number and must dial the area code for local calls. BUT, I can live with that for $20 a year! :)

We saw the new Veggie Tales movie "Minnesota Cuke and the Search for Noah's Umbrella" at our local theater this morning. The Christian radio station sponsored the movie so it was only $2 a person to get in. It was a funny movie with a good message. We enjoyed it! We then had lunch at one of our favorite spots--Cici's. YUMMY! Now the guys are napping and I'm about to read some more. A family at church just had a baby so we are taking supper over tonight. I'm making chicken enchiladas so I'll need to get those started soon. Supposedly the monsoons are coming back again this next week so we'll hopefully be getting some rain and cooler temps...the storms are always exciting as long as they are quick and not too destructive! :)

Friday, July 31, 2009

The last day of July

Well I have now have a 4 yr old! K had a super fun day turning 4 last Saturday. We had a small Outer Space party, saw G-Force and had supper at Sonic. K enjoyed getting lots of fun presents and really liked the Sea Monkeys. He checks on them often during the day and was telling us the names of all of them...except there are 100s of them and he can't remember the names he's come up with. :)

K had his yearly check up yesterday and he is growing quite well! He's in the 25th percentile for weight and 50th for height! Pretty good for a kid who wasn't even ON the charts the first year or so of his life! :) We are going to try some allergy meds when he starts with a runny nose and see if that can lessen the use of the inhaler. I really hope so! It's so funny how many people move to Tucson to help with their allergies and others have worse allergies than before.

Mike has been busy getting ready for school. Only a week and a half left! I'm looking forward to a new routine to start. Our weeks will be pretty full with errands, gymnastics, preschool and Bible classes. There is no choir for Mike to be in this year and I am no longer going to be in handbells b/c of my arms (undiagnosed carpal tunnel syndrome) so our nights will be a little more open. That will be a welcome change!!

I used to be really good about doing lots of online surveys to get extra cash or gift cards, but then I slacked off a bit. Well, I'm back into it again and highly recommend a few sites...

mypoints (They send you emails, you click and check out the website or info, get points and save up points for gift cards.)
mysurvey (Surveys and some times they send you products in the mail to try and then complete surveys about.)
vocalpoint (For women to give feedback on products...I often get coupons in the mail from them, usually to get a product for free!)

If you would like to try these sites, please let me know so I can refer you and get credit! I have gotten quite a few free products, gift cards and cash from these sites over the years!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Summer is almost over

I can't believe that school (and gymnastics class for K) starts in only three weeks! We still want to get to the Children's Museum and Kartchner Caves before that. We'll see if we can squeeze it in!

We found the Sea Monkeys at Toys R Us. I can't wait to see K's face when he finally has a "pet" that is all his own. :)

The house is slowly coming together. I DO NOT have enough storage so I'm still trying to figure out what to do with everything in the "extra room". It's supposed to be the guest room, but right now it's full of boxes and a foosball table. I love this house, but the closets could definitely be bigger!! If only the garage didn't get soooo hot in the summer I'd put more stuff out there. (It's actually pretty full though, too.)

Today I am going to Michael's and will hopefully find some sort of outer space stencil that I can paint on a plain shirt for K to wear on his birthday. I always make sure he has a shirt that fits with the theme of his party. :) I think it's fun!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My Stick Family from

Sea Monkeys

Right now I'm searching the net for where to buy Sea Monkeys. K wants a pet, so that's what he's getting for his bday. :) He asked me today when I was going to get him a cat and we told him when he is 18 he can buy one. He said that he would buy one when he turns 4! Well, that's next week and it's not happening!! He is not happy about it, but that's life! :) Anyway, back to the sea best friend just got some for her kids and they love them. They are easy to take care of and Mike thinks they are cool. I think K will be happy to have a "pet" he can call his own!

Monday, July 6, 2009


Summer is here and it's HOT! It's really hot in our house since we recently discovered that the central AC unit is too small for the size of our house! Lovely!! We came home from a weekend away--leaving the thermostat set at 87--and tried to cool it down, but it just keeps running and running and running... Thankfully it's only hot and humid about 4 months of the year, right?! :) We have closed off the addition on the house with a big blanket and it seems to be we'll see...

We had a great weekend in Albuquerque visiting friends. We did so much...4th of July fun outside, visit to the zoo, Old Town and Science Museum, lunch at Taco Cabana, made homemade ice cream and hemmed curtains. The boys had tons of fun playing together! K was SUCH a good boy! He shared and took turns like a champ! I was very proud of him!!!

This week we need to get some more unpacked and the house needs major cleaning. It's hard to accomplish much when it's so hot and humid in the house, but we bought 3 new fans so that should help. I'm eager to get all the boxes unpacked and out of sight!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

It's hot here

We are 99% moved into our new house! (Not unpacked--just moved into!) Tomorrow we will venture on over the old house and load up the last few things and then clean the whole place. I'm not looking forward to it, but I'm excited to be done and completely in ONE house!

We absolutely love our new house! It's big, has a great layout, there is mostly a spot for's awesome! Of course, we are finding things here and there that need to be fixed or looked at. The faucet in the guest bathroom shower needs to be replaced since only a trickle of water comes out. The AC seems to have some issues too. It's only a year old so we think it's because of the location of the AC unit and the thermostat. During the hottest, sunniest time of the day the AC runs constantly!! I'm a tad bit nervous to get the bill for all that running!! It' has been triple digits the last few weeks, but in our old house the AC would run a bit and then stay off for a good amount of time. Any thoughts? :)

Mike is finally on vacation so we are going to have some fun during the next three weeks!! We are going to head to Albuquerque to visit friends for a long weekend, go to the $1 movies each week, visit the Desert Museum one evening, play at the water park and head up to Scottsdale for four days of sightseeing, lounging by the pool and relaxing! We are all looking forward to some stress free days!!!!!

One of the things we got when we moved is a DVR! We got it free with our move and I am LOVING it! :) I don't know how I lived without it! My evenings have always consisted of TV time since that's how I relax and unwind from my day. Now, it's even easier to watch my favorite shows. Yeah, we are so spoiled!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


How is it possible that it is already the end of May??

K and I spent the first week of May in IL with my parents. It was cool weather and good company! The rest of May has been spent packing, sorting things to sell, doing stuff at school and trying to stay cool. It was in the 100s for a couple of weeks!! We finally have had some relief the last few days, but the temps are going back up again.

We are waiting to close on our "new" house! In AZ the buyers sign documents a few days before the actual "closing" (the day we get the keys!). We were supposed to sign yesterday, but there is a delay! (surprise, surprise!) The sellers are replacing the roof and it has been raining so the work isn't going according to schedule. So, we wait and hopefully sign papers next week. It's not really a huge deal that there is a delay, it's just so funny b/c our house closing in Neenah was so delayed and now we encounter it again with the "new" house. We are not diving into real estate again anytime soon! :) About the house...

*built in the 80s
*4 bed, 2 bath, with an extra room in the back of the house
*fireplace in living area
*breakfast bar in kitchen and room for kitchen table
*new carpet, updated light fixtures
*nice sized backyard that backs to a wash
*a bit further from work than originally planned, but we'll make it work
*move in ready--just needs paint to liven the place up!

We have all of June to move slowly into the new place so that's good! We hope to move room by room with one BIG day of moving the end of June.

School ended for Mike yesterday, but he was still working there last night until 10pm. He will continue to work through June with meetings, summer school and VBS. (And move boxes each night when he gets home.)

Here's a peek at our summer:

June...paint, pack, move, Mike work at school (HIGHLIGHT--trip to visit friends in El Paso!)
July...short family trip??, visit from my sister (HIGHLIGHT), enjoy our new house starts August 12 (HIGHLIGHT--K starts preschool)

K with Grandma and Grandpa H.

Splash pad fun!

New house (minus the swing and vehicle)

Living area

Kitchen table area

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Lots going on!

We are going house hunting today! In fact, we may be offering on a house already today b/c the houses in our price range are going FAST! YIKES and YIPPEE!

We had a very nice Easter Sunday here in Tucson. Mike sang for all three services and I played hand bells for one. We relaxed at home while K napped, did an egg hunt for K and then had a feast at a friend's house for supper. It was a beautiful sunny day!

This past week two of my college friends came for a visit. We slept very little, laughed A LOT, explored Tucson, and then drove up to the Grand Canyon with Mike and K. It was so strange to be further north in AZ b/c it looked a lot like WI with trees all over and cooler temperatures. In fact, it snowed a few times the two days we were up there and K had a BLAST playing with it. The Grand Canyon was beautiful. We saw just a tiny portion in the 4 hours we were there. Mike really wants to hike down into it. Not me! :) We stayed overnight in Flagstaff and had a nice morning there on Friday. I am blessed with some very wonderful friends!

The next two weeks will be life as usual and then K and I are flying to the Midwest to visit my parents! We are both very excited!!! My sister and my sis-in-law and niece are going to be there too! I am very much NOT a fan of flying so I get nervous about that part, but I know it will all be fine. Grandpa promised K a visit to Chuck E. Cheese while we're there so he's looking forward to that! :)

Easter Sunday


My first glimpse of the Grand Canyon

Yep--it has snowed for every Spring Break we can remember!

Loving the snow!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Day 99

Bunny puppet! (A little difficult to see since it's white...)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Homeless and loving it!

Well, we have finally sold our house in Neenah! It was all supposed to have been done on March 26, but there were many crazy things that occurred causing many delays. It's all over now and we can happily move on to buying a house down here now! :) We have a wonderful realtor who is going to start showing us houses next week.

Next week two of my college friends are coming to spend a week with us. Mike has spring break too! We are going to get manicures and check out downtown Tucson. Then all of us (Mike and K too) are going to drive up to Grand Canyon and spend some time up there! We are in desperate need of a break so I'm looking forward to a commitment free week!

K continues to be an ever constant source of entertainment for us. He questions us about everything that is said on the radio, TV or in conversation. He is really into writing letters and saying random letters and asking us what he just spelled. Of course, the cars and monster trucks still hold his interest too. He and I are going to visit my parents in IL the first week of May so he is looking forward to another airplane ride.

Tomorrow we are taking K to a easter egg hunt at the park. Hopefully the wind is gone by then or the eggs are going to be blowing around instead of sitting on the ground. It has been incredibly windy here for quite some time now. I hope it doesn't last much longer! The cacti are starting to bloom as well and it is a beautiful sight!

We pray everyone has a blessed Easter! He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Friday, March 20, 2009


It's been awhile--again! Our friends from Albuquerque are visiting right now and we are having a great time! K and D, their 1 yr old, are inseparable. We have gone to the zoo, Little Lambs at church and the Wildlife Museum. Tomorrow we are going to hang out at home, maybe walk to the park. K and I are sick AGAIN! Dumb colds--maybe it's allergies-who knows! But my friend, A, who is visiting has a sore throat now too. UGH!

Next week is the closing for our house in WI! Things are looking great so we are hopeful it will all go as planned! We are starting the house hunt here. It's fun!

The flowers are blooming here and it's so pretty. Each day more and more cacti are blooming and it's such an awesome sight! I will post pictures as they get more colorful. It's been warm though--high 80s. I'm not too excited about that, but it's better than snow and 30s! :)

Here are a few pictures of the past few weeks...

Planting flowers


First mini golf experience

In the ferret house at the Wildlife Museum

Friday, February 20, 2009

What a blessing!

On Wed we got a call from our realtor letting us know we had an offer on the house. A low offer from a really interested couple who really liked our house! On Thursday we submitted a counter-offer and heard by that afternoon that they had accepted it! YAHOO! We are cautiously excited as we wait for the closing date of March 26th. We've had a sale fall through on closing day so we know this isn't a sure thing, BUT we are praying that God would allow the sale to happen! We (okay, I) have been looking at houses online since buying a house this summer is becoming more of a reality now! Our lease on our current residence is up in early July so we'd love to be able to purchase a home by then and stop throwing money away on a rental home. So, we are asking for many prayers...
*prayers that our house sale goes through
*prayers that God would lead us to a good realtor and loan officer
*prayers that we are able to find a new home by June (if that is the Lord's will!)

On another note...K has been sick with another cold that has turned into breathing problems. I took him to urgent care on Sunday. They gave him a nebulizer treatment and found an ear infection in his right ear. He never complains when he has an ear infection so of course we didn't know he had one. On Monday I made an appointment with a pediatrician to talk about asthma. He doesn't want to do any testing on K until he's at least 5, but the Dr. said it sounds like K has mild intermittent asthma. He only gets the breathing issues when he has a cold. So, we are to continue using his inhaler when he gets a cold. I figured that was what the Dr. was going to tell us, but I wanted to know we were doing the right things. I'll probably still have some sleepless nights when K experiences his breathing issues, but at least I know that we are doing all we can for him at this point!

Things have been crazy and hectic around here as usual. Thankfully, Mike will get a little break next week. There is no school on Thurs or Fri because of Rodeo Days in Tucson. Now, no one actually goes to the rodeo, but it's two days off so who's going to complain? :) Mike's parents will be coming in next week to spend a week with us. It'll be fun to show them around Tucson and share our favorite spots with them! It's supposed to be in the 80s!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Serious.Life Magazine

(I found out about this magazine b/c of Abby--a little girl who was adopted from Guatemala who is battling Leukemia.) Read on...

I wanted you to know about this publication I’m a part of called Serious.Life Magazine. They just published the February issue today, and I am in their Featured Blog Directory. It’s a very high quality magazine… you’ll really like it.

The magazine includes a lot of great content from bloggers you’ll appreciate, as well as great features, photos and other content. The magazine is owned and published by a family who have seven kids, three adopted and one who has Leukemia ( The magazine gives away a bunch of ads to charities and ministries. Besides great articles on interesting people, there is a lot about family, adoption, personal finance, spiritual life, humor… all sorts of “life” topics.

Serious.Life Magazine

Saturday, January 31, 2009


You have to see this movie! It was really good--funny, encouraging, warm, religious, hopeful...
Mike and I both enjoyed it. We want to get the book "The Love Dare" that is used in the movie. They used the book to save their marriage. Our marriage is strong and secure since we are united in Christ, but I think every marriage can be made even stronger and love can grow even more. I think it'd be fun to have a "daily assignment"! :)

Rent the movie!!

Friday, January 30, 2009


What can I say? I'm addicted. I am on the 3rd book and will most likely be up all night reading it. I NEVER thought I'd enjoy this type of series, but I'm hooked.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

This 'n That

Not much is going on around here. I have been pretty busy with transcribing which is awesome! There has been extra work the last few weeks and I am so appreciative of it! Tomorrow I get to sub in the 4 yr old room so K is excited to go to school with me. I really enjoy working with that class.

Mike and K's latest fun is making a K'Nex creation after supper most every night. They have made the Taj Mahal, bridges, helicopters and lots of other fun things. It's a nice quiet activity for K and it gives them quality time together.

Since last May, when we decided to make the move to Tucson, K has been struggling with bed/nap times. We figured it was due to all the chaos in our lives and things would settle down. Well, things were still pretty awful even after living here for 5 months. We had tried EVERYTHING, but nothing was working. Then I decided to make a chart of all the things he needs to do at nap/bed time. If he did them well, without sassing, he would get an X. Once a whole row was filled with X's he'd get a sticker. 3 stickers=surprise! Well, FINALLY we found a way to get bed/nap times back to happy times! It only took a few days and he was going down without incident. After a few weeks he was so into routine again (which, BTW, has never changed!) that we don't even need the chart anymore. OH, the other thing we do is have "quiet time" from 6-7pm each night. He only does calm activities the hour before bedtime. That really helps too! Of course, there are still the occasional moments of sassing or whining or tantrums, but he gets a time-out and then we go on. I am SO THANKFUL that bed/nap time is peaceful once again!

K made us laugh so hard the other day when we realized that he thinks he'll be driving himself to preschool in August!! :) We have been talking about how he'll be going to preschool alone when he's 4. (Right now he just goes with me when I sub.) So, he somehow thought that "alone" meant driving himself! Too funny!

The weather has been cool the last few days--only getting into the high 60s and low 70s. I enjoy that weather, but the mornings are rough. It's been in the high 30s so we've been cold. We don't know where our winter coats are so we just wear a sweatshirt and turn up the heat in the car. We refuse to turn on the heat in the house (it's about 58-60 degrees in the morning) since we are paying a large heat bill in WI. I know I sound like a wus, but if I'm cold, I'm cold.

We're going to a big Super Bowl party on Sunday! Should be fun!! GO CARDINALS!! :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Two songs...

I love Christian contemporary music! It's pretty much all we listen to these days. There are two songs that I just love! The first one, "Happy", I don't hear as much anymore, but it makes me smile EVERY TIME I hear it! It reminds me that I have no reason for sadness, worry, etc...when I've got God! :)

A new song I've been hearing on the radio a lot is "Free to Be Me" sung by Francesca Battistelli. I need the reminder from this song that my life is in God's hands--he's got it all worked out for me! I love it!

Take a listen--I guarantee you'll be smiling! :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Colossal Cave

Yesterday, we spent a fun day at Colossal Cave Mountain Park in Vail--which is just outside Tucson. We enjoyed a cave tour and picnic. Then we headed to the ranch in the park. There was a Butterfly Garden, a few museums, gift shop and ice cream place. K had a "Discovery Tour" sheet which had him visit sites all over the park and then mark that he'd been there. Once the sheet was full he could go to the gift shop for a treasure! He had lots of fun doing the tour and got some beautiful gems for his treasure!
The weather was sunny and very warm so we had a wonderful time in the sun! This was the second place we have been able to visit because of Mike's class! They gave us money to visit all the fun places in Tucson! We are loving this gift!! On Monday we are going to the Air & Space Museum! That should be fun too!

Here we are! (We actually took the photo on the way out.)

A big stalactite in the cave

K and the cowboy

Marking K's Discovery Tour sheet

Enjoying some ice cream

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Weather

My entire life I have spent winter in snow, cold blowing winds, ice, mittens and a warm jacket. I can remember building forts at recess and keeping ice chunks as "gold". There are memories of snow banks taller than I was when I was in grade school! I have built snowmen, gone sledding and tubing, made snow angels and caught snowflakes on my tongue. My back has ached from shoveling wet, heavy snow from our long driveway in Wisconsin. I have driven in snow storms with my hands clutching the steering wheel in a death grip. I have some good and bad memories of snow. Now, in my 34th year of life, I am not spending winter in snow, but in sunny, 70 degree weather. I thought it would feel weird and I would be sad because snow is what I've always known. But, I actually love this weather and feel so happy and uplifted by it. I am thankful that K got to enjoy a few winters of snow. I have so many fun pictures of him playing and building all bundled up in his warm, winter clothes. I have my happy memories too, but now we are here and can enjoy winter with short sleeves and sunscreen. It's where God has put us and I'm thankful for that. I love getting K in the car without spending 20 minutes getting the coat, mittens, hat and boots on. I love all the sunshine and cloud-free days! Now, summer is a different story around here, but I'll save that for another day! :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009


We spent an awesome day in Phoenix with friends Robin and Dan. They were in town from SC visiting family. We have not seen each for over 5 years!!! It was so much fun going to the zoo, having a picnic, riding the train, disc golfing and eating ice cream. K had a blast getting to know his new friends and Mike and I enjoyed catching up with our "old" friends! (Robin is the one who taught me drive many years ago AND she got me into scrapbooking!) The weather was beautiful (in the 60s) and the conversation was non-stop. It was a perfect day with good friends! (BTW, the Phoenix Zoo is amazing! I highly recommend a visit if you are ever in that area!)

Robin, K and Dan on the train
Talking turkey
Dan and K playing at the children's farm
A saguaro cactus slide--now how cool is that???

K and the wallabies
K and me on elephants
Robin, Dan, K and Mike
Robin and me (Robin, you made it onto my blog!!) :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Fun at the park

It is a beautiful sunny day so we got out to enjoy the weather! Kaleb and I found a little park in our development that was empty. It was all ours!! We had fun running around, playing in sand, climbing on play structures and enjoying the sun. I don't know why we don't go everyday!

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Three years ago today we flew to Guatemala to finally meet our little baby in person! We got to the hotel, tired and a little disheveled from the trip. We were supposed to check-in and have time to get the gifts ready for K's foster parents and freshen up a bit before they brought K to the hotel. Well as we were checking-in we heard a voice say "Family Peek?". It was someone from our agency--there already!--with K and his foster parents! We turned around and there was our beautiful baby boy! I will NEVER forget that moment!! I took K in my arms and hugged and kissed him--crying tears of joy at finally holding my baby! I had looked at his pictures for 5 months, spent hours in prayer for him, cried many times because I just wanted to hold him and it was finally happening!!!!! And what a bittersweet moment for K's wonderful foster parents--they had to say goodbye to a little boy they had loved for 5 months, but at the same time were so happy that he was going home to be with his parents. There were so many tears that day and so many laughs and new discoveries. God blessed us with the most wonderful baby. What an awesome journey God took us on!
And now three years later we are still thanking God for bringing K into our lives. I can't imagine becoming a family in any other way. We are so thankful for God's goodness!!

Our first family picture
New Mama
New Daddy
One happy baby
Fun in Antigua, Guatemala (we'll definitely go there again!!)

Saturday, January 3, 2009