Blessings of Advent

Submitted by Sara on Sun, 12/01/2013 - 7:39pm

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. I know we did. We had two Thanksgivings. First we celebrated with my side at my grandma's and my parents' houses. Then, on Friday, we were able to host a meal for Darren's side of the family, our first opportunity to host a holiday in our new home.

Hosting was a lot of fun. The kids and dads got to go out skating on our pond for a while after dinner. Darren took some really cute pictures of his sister's family for their Christmas card. And we all played pass-the-baby with the newest member of the family, Selah Prayse. She is a sweetie and it seems all she does is sleep despite what her parents say. She actually tried to wake up enough to smile on Thanksgiving, which was a treat.

Babysitting Selah
Babysitting Selah

Saturday we got to go to my brother's house in Minneapolis to celebrate his daughter's 3rd birthday. The kids were able to have more fun with aunts, uncles and cousins. And on the way home we stopped to visit more grandparents! When counting up grandparents, we realized how blessed our kids are with a multitude of grandparents.

We were thankful to get to spend time so much quality time with family this holiday weekend.

Life goes on

Submitted by Sara on Mon, 11/11/2013 - 4:46pm

We are still unpacking and will finally be done with the old house tomorrow, but life goes on.

We were able to trick-or-treat in our new neighborhood. There were a ton of people out, but only one family was willing to make the lonely two-block trek out to our house. It was one of the neighbors in the new section of the 'hood who also get very few trick-or-treaters. We made sure to stop at the two that had lights on so we could introduce ourselves.

Minecraft costumes
Minecraft costumes

Eliana got to ride the bus to school for the first time this past Friday! Then on Saturday she got her hair cut. She had mentioned that she wanted short hair and didn't change her mind in over 24 hours, so we didn't waste any time. Grandma Lanz gave her a really cute shoulder length do. I told Ellie that I liked her "sassy new hair-do." She did not appreciate that compliment.

Before and after haircut
Before and after haircut

William and I were able to take a field trip to the U of M last week. He got to take part in a face recognition study which earned him a Target gift card. Then we visited the Bell Natural History Museum on campus, which now holds the top spot as his "favorite museum ever." Why? Because they have giant cockroaches, of course!


Darren has been enjoying his new workshop and is hoping to be able to park his car in the garage before the winter is out. Work has keeping him busy with two trips, one to Pennsylvania and another to Chicago, just since school started.

I'm enjoying being able to make ourselves at home in the new house. We can make messes, leave dishes on the counter, and host company without having to worry about being called for a showing. The new owner will take possession of the old house tomorrow (God willing :)).

My apologies

Submitted by Sara on Tue, 10/15/2013 - 10:59pm

To our faithful readers,
I must apologize for our neglect. We have been a bit busy lately. We've been: selling our house (and selling it, and selling it... hopefully one of these sales will go through to completion), building our house, moving our stuff, schooling, teaching, working, and doing all the other business that goes into every day living. We are all extremely antsy to get settled into our new home and be done with our old house. The new house is feeling like home and the old house feels like the place we have to go to sleep. If all goes well, the next blog entry will be sent from the new house.

I'm going to try to update a few pictures here... whew, that's a lot of pictures. An entire September album and the start of October.

The 4 Types of Paragraphs: Persuasive, Expository, Narrative and Descriptive.

Submitted by William on Mon, 09/09/2013 - 4:44pm

I wrote 2 paragraphs. Here is my expository one:
This is an expository paragraph about expository paragraphs. Expository paragraphs explain about someone or something, for instance, this one is about expository paragraphs. Expository and other types of paragraphs can be fun to write once you have an idea for one!

My persuasive one:
Please keep caterpillars! I know caterpillars are hard work to have, but if you find them on a plant, pick some. They probably eat it! Caterpillars are fun to watch eat or go in and out of their chrysalis or cocoon. But the best part is... letting the butterfly or moth go!

Happy Labor Day!

Submitted by Sara on Mon, 09/02/2013 - 10:25am

Labor Day... a day of relaxation, the end of summer, the heralding of all things fall, especially school.

Eliana started kindergarten last week. She LOVED it! I was nervous. I was afraid the long day would be too much for her. I was prepared for her to come home tired and crabby. I didn't need to worry. She came home very happy and hungry! Bedtime was a breeze for the first time in a long time. I had to wake her in the morning, but she was ready to go!

First day of kindergarten

It was a steaming hot week, which made me feel sorry for the sheetrockers in our new house. Today is wonderfully cool weather and it's a day off! Plus all the insulation is in, so our house is staying cooler. They had to work through the worst of it, but I'm thankful. We are still on track to move in early in October!

As a culmination to summer, Eliana learned to ride her bike on two wheels.

William turned nine! He had a sleepover with friends to celebrate and we went out to dinner on his birthday. I made a cake, per tradition. He thought it was the best cake I ever made and his opinion is most important. He is into Lego Chima this year, so I made a character cake.

William is starting his co-op tomorrow. We are going to be attending a co-op weekly, since it's going to be considerably quieter around here without Eliana. We will also be volunteering at the library at Prince of Peace, taking weekly piano lessons, weekly swimming lessons and have to set up some regular play dates with our friends. We will certainly be busy!

Fourth grader

My school starts next week. I had workshops last week, which is always the busiest week of my year. Darren was in Chicago at a conference, so we depended a lot on grandparents that week. Thank you, again! I will have a meeting or two this week to make sure we are on track to start the first class. It is shaping up to be a great school year!

That was this week?

Submitted by Sara on Mon, 08/12/2013 - 12:00am

Our first full week in August was certainly full! It brought us:
- to Warroad and back for a 70th wedding anniversary celebration for Darren's grandparents
- a new nephew/cousin. My brother and his wife welcomed Elliot August into their family the morning of August 3rd
- a Minneapolis trip to pick up Darren, to go meet the baby, and to visit the Mill City Museum a few blocks from his office
- a day at the county fair! We had friends available at the last minute to join us for rides, junk food, and exploring
- more work building our house, laying out cabinets and electricity (we are ahead of schedule for the October 3rd deadline).
- two showings and two offers on our current house, hopefully one will result in an actual buyer
- time spent visiting Darren's sister's family from Arkansas
- getting ready for my 20-year class reunion (barely... I managed to buy a new dress in 30 minutes flat and grabbed a watermelon and cantaloupe for the pot luck at the park. Go me!)
- looking back at the calendar I realized I also got the cat to the vet, the kids to the library, and we bought a few more school supplies - most notably super-fast gym shoes. No wonder I'm tired!

Last week felt like a month with all that we accomplished. When looking back at pictures from the week, it was hard to believe. William was heard saying, "That was this week?" Time certainly does fly when you're having fun.

Hopefully the next two weeks will be a quiet transition into the school year. We are taking another round of swimming lessons to get into the routine of getting out of the house in the morning. Eliana starts kindergarten the week before Labor Day! Routine will be a welcome change after the fun chaos of summer.

Check out the August photo album for a few pictures (34) from our adventures. Darren has MUCH more from the anniversary party that you can see here.

Busy days!

Submitted by Sara on Sun, 07/28/2013 - 12:00am

I added some new pictures to the July photo album. I just realized I don't have pictures of the art the kids made during art camp last week, so there are more to come. It's been so busy lately that it feels like the last few weeks have lasted for years.

The kids had art camp at the Paramount last week. William's was geared toward decorating their room. They did stained glass, clay, tapestry, a light switch cover and other decorating projects for his new room! Ellie had Monstrously Messy once again. They did lots of fun projects with paint, glitter, clay and markers. She came home with a different color on her face every day, so I could tell she had fun.

The week before that they had theater camp. Eliana had Princes and Princesses and they put on a little performance with songs, poems and a skit. I'm trying to put together some video clips. William was Rama, a wolf and king of the jungle in the Jungle Book. It was amazing the difference between this year and last year. He was able to move up a level and work with some older kids and they did a marvelous job! The costumes were his favorite part. I wish I would have recorded their play!

We've been busy with the house. Meeting with the builder, designer, cabinet maker, etc. And having showings, trying to work through an offer, and going back on the market. But it's all good! Off to do bath time and get ready for another big week!

My new art method

Submitted by William on Sun, 07/14/2013 - 12:00am
A new art method - Shape art by William
A new art method - Shape art by William

My new (at least I think it’s new) type of drawing is called “shape art.”
How to draw:
1. Pick a new shape. ex. circle
2. Pick a new color. ex. red
3. Pick a thing. ex. dog
4. Draw your thing using your shape in your color. ex. a red dog made of circles
5. Repeat steps 1, 2 and 4. ex. a blue dog made of squares
6. Do this as many times as you like. ex. 10
Date and place I made this up: Date, 7/7/2013, place, Grandma Barbs.
have fun drawing!
The End. That is a true art method

Summer sun and fun!

Submitted by Sara on Sun, 07/07/2013 - 2:42pm
Getting face paint
Getting face paint

The night after the big storm that blew down our trees, we had another big storm. That storm drove the Okee Dokee Brothers concert indoors instead of on Watab Island as planned. It also drove all in attendance down into the Johnnie locker rooms, which garnered this quote from William, "Best concert ever!" Concertgoers who stuck out the storm evacuation were rewarded with a double encore. The first encore had William onstage playing the maracas.
Click here for the video:

How low can you go?
How low can you go?
Tippy Toes
Tippy Toes

The second encore was Tippy Toes, which was hilarious! It really got the kids moving.

We bought a CD and got it signed by the band. All in all, a great evening. We hope we get to see these local boys turned Grammy winners again soon!

The next morning we cleaned up all the storm damage to be ready for a whole mess of showings the following week. By Friday we badly needed a vacation from our house, so we joined some friends for a camping trip. It was the perfect weather for camping and a much needed break from preparing for showings.

This week was exceptionally quiet on the real estate front - not a single showing over the week of the 4th. This was a treat for all of us. Many messes were made in our home!

The spider show
The spider show

We sat on the bridge and watched fireworks go off over the river on the 4th, but mostly we watched three fat spiders spin webs, catch and eat mayflies! What great entertainment!

We already have a showing scheduled for next week and are expecting more to come. Framing will start on the new house. We got a complete timeline last week. Things should wrap up there in early OCTOBER when we can finally move in. That's what you get when you are in the ground as soon as possible in the spring this year. Sheesh! This process has been a long one, but it should be well worth it.