Sunday, December 26, 2010


After church on Sunday, we invited the Hedges family over for lunch. We made Tortilla Soup with baked strips of taco shells. Pamela brought an awesome dessert.

The gang minus Pamela and me - we were making an awesome sauce to go over the cake dessert. Elyse is the photographer.

On Christmas Day, we gave Elyse a gingerbread house to make. She decided to wait until Emma Hedges got here on Sunday and they would build the house together.

They did an awesome job, don't you think?

I didn't get a picture of the finished project. You will either have to imagine it, or come see it for yourself. Too lazy, sorry!


They say we don't get lake effect snow because we are on the west side of the lake. Last night, they were wrong. The association shovels the streets and our driveway (providing there isn't a car in the way). Dad went out last night and shoveled our little sidewalk that goes from the house to the garage. But, alas, it was for nought. There is at least three more inches out there this morning.

This is out our back door.

It is beautiful. I wonder if my feet will stay dry in my church sandals. I doubt it.

Enjoy your day of worshiping the Lord.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Started and finished this today:

Thanks for the gift - I love puzzles.

Making Tortilla Soup for company tomorrow. The kids are excited to have Emma & Chatham coming over for dinner (the rest of the family is coming too).

Hope everyone had an amazing Christmas - we sure did!


Dad & I celebrated Christmas Day with Zachary & Elyse. First, Dad read the Christmas story from Luke 2.

Opening presents time:

Zachary got headphones, Lord of the Rings trilogy on DVD, and a subscription to a magazine.

Elyse got headphones, a box of girlie things (hair spray, hair clips, nail polish, and bubble bath), and "Legend of the Guardians" DVD.

Since Lacey taught us a new tradition for our Christmas meal, we had homemade cinnamon rolls, thick bacon, scrambled eggs, fruit salad and juice. It is so much easier to make brunch, than a full turkey dinner. Thanks for sharing that idea with us, Lacey. We all love it!

Now that the kids are watching their DVD's, I am going to take a nap (I was the only one up from 5:30 to 8:00 - I deserve a nap).

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Since my Christmas decorations are in Emily's basement, we decided to do the tree "Judy Lauson style." We brought in our wooden coat rack, threw a sheet over it, and made all the decorations. Isn't she bee-uuu-ti-ful?

The beginning:

The finished product:

Adding Mom to the finished product: I look kind of crabby - you KNOW I hate decorating the Christmas tree - pictures prove it!

Have a blessed Christmas with Christ in the center!

Thought I would add our fun activity today. The Morrow family invited us sledding with lunch to follow at their house. I bought boots last year so I could go sledding with the kids. On the way to the hill, we stopped at Starbucks (because we both had a gift card and wanted something to drink while sitting in the car watching the kids sled). When I finished my drink, I went to slide down the hill. Zachary walked up the hill with me because he wanted to show me the best spot to use to slide down the hill. Here I am going 100 mph. Notice the slicked hair do.

This is how I ended up. Serena was gracious enough to get it on film (or SD card).

It actually was fun and I wanted to go again, BUT, both Serena and I had to get rid of our coffee (if you know what I mean). That ended the sledding for the day. Maybe the kids and I will go again soon.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Tim, Zachary, Elyse and I drove to the Vernon Hills Metra Train Station to ride the train to Chicago. We found out that the train stops at O'Hare (wouldn't that have been smarter when I headed to Florida for Bristol's birth). I would have gotten to O'Hare in one hour instead of three. Learn something new every day.

Outside the VH train station:

Inside the train - we sat on the second floor - the kids thought that was cool.

Kids making goofy faces instead of smiling for the camera.

Proof that we had tickets for the train ride. Elyse was free, and Zachary was half price.

Our first stop would be Navy Pier. Google maps said it was 0.8 miles. They LIED! It was at least two miles. We were pretty tired when we got there. We walked from one end of the pier to the other (at least it was inside - most of it anyway).

Just outside of Navy Pier, we saw the biggest piece of macaroni and cheese - we were hungry, so it looked really good.

Dad included in this one.

Elyse being the clown that she is - trying to play with the children.

Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus were there for picture taking. The funny man on the left of the picture, sitting on the steps, was supposed to be an elf. He was about 6'5" - funny size for an elf. He was also so funny - maybe he missed his calling of being a clown.

The decorations were really neat.

"Crystal Garden" was pretty cool. Behind the kids was a fountain. It squirted water every few seconds. The first time it did that, we all jumped.

Here the water went from one display to the next, right over our heads.

"Winter Wonderland" was going on. How would you like to get on this HUGE ferris wheel in 34 degree weather. Not me! Not any of us!

Dad & I under the fountains.

Zachary & Elyse hiding in the trees. It was a pretty cool display. Nice to see something green in the winter.

George, Titus, Rogue and Zelda - this one is for you!

All you Michiganders - Illinois is rooting for you, lol.

Tim and the kids ventured outside to see a HUGE sailboat. I stayed inside - sissy.

The clown in action again.

When we got to the end of the pier, there was a sign that said free trolley ride. I wanted a ride even if it went in circles. Come to find out, it took us most of the way to our next stop.

Three of us under the Macy's clock (remember this from a few years ago, girls?).

Macy's had their windows decorated with the theme about Virginia - Is there really a Santa Claus? Each window had part of the story painted on the glass. Inside the display was part of the story made completely out of paper. I always liked this part of winter in Chicago.

Elyse and I are very studios as we read the writing on the glass.

One of the windows...

Boy, I wish you could read part of the story, maybe if you click on it, you can read it better. I don't know.

A few blocks away was Christkindlemarket on Daley Plaza. It is pretty, but truly a tourist trap. I wanted to get a loaf of German bread, so I asked Tim if we could. He came over, looked at the price, and said, "No." I didn't realize that a loaf cost $22.00 - I hadn't read the sign, just wanted the bread.

When Hyo-Sun was living with us, she went to Christkindlemarket. That is where she bought us the little decorations for the tree that said, "Mom, Dad." The nativity scene was huge. At least they are allowed to put something of Christ in His birthday celebration.

We found a Corner Bakery (Chicago's remake of Panera Bread). We ate a late lunch there. It was quite crowded, but we did finally get a seat. I still wanted to go to Argo Tea, so we only ordered water to go with our meal.

Just for Betsey and myself, we walked to Argo Tea. The kids got hot chocolate and I got their Winter Spice special. I didn't think to put sugar in my drink, it would have been much better tasting.

We realized that the next train left in 40 minutes. We were extremely tired, but we tried to make that train. We walked pretty fast and made it with two minutes to spare. We ate a little snack on the train and made it back to VH around 4:00. It was a fun, cold day.

That's is a long post, hope you made it to the end. We are very tired, but a good tired. We enjoyed our day very much.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Thanks to the generosity of the Vastbinder family, we were able to celebrate Christmas with five of our six children and their families (Emily & Dan - you were missed terribly).

I only took pictures of the first gift opening. I was too tired to take anymore (sorry).

First we ate a scrumptious brunch (sausage links, homemade cinnamon rolls, homemade parfaits, orange juice, grape juice and apple juice.

The first gift opening was for Elyse's birthday because Betsey forgot to bring her present to our Thanksgiving celebration. Open it, Elyse, the suspense is killing us.

A purple sweater dress, we LOVE purple!

Christmas Eve gifts were next. The girls got the same color of pj's (we won't show you because Emily hasn't opened hers yet). All the girls liked them, they were so soft.

The boys laughed at theirs - you will laugh too Dan when you see them. Tobin said, "I hope it isn't a thong." I wouldn't go that far, but I think I might have gone a little over the edge. The suspense will kill you, Dan, I know.

Caleb & Jaden's pj's also matched. Their jammies came in a set of two. Lucky boys.

Grace & Ava had matching pj's, but I somehow missed getting a picture of them. Sorry. They had pink pants and matching shirts that had pictures of princesses on them - because they are two of our three princesses.

The HUGE gift exchange was next. Everyone was thrilled with their gifts. Everyone did a great job picking out perfect gifts for each person. It was fun to watch. No, I didn't take any pictures, you will have to use your imagination.

Luke loved holding Bristol:

The rest is random shots before opening our gifts. Enjoy, I won't label them!

Several times we caught "Santa" doing this:

We didn't mind, though, he was exhausted from driving us all over the world.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

SHE'S HERE!!!!! and SO AM I!!!!!

Bristol Aubrey, December 4, 2010, 8# 6 oz., 20+ inches long. Mom and baby are doing fine (even Tobin is doing great).

Her first outfit and no place to go...

Jacque, Tobin, Erin & Bristol...

A friend made her cute headband.

Proud papa...

Gma Rumley even got to hold her for a little while.

Tobin, Erin & Bristol are doing fine. Bristol has really LONG hair (it curls around her ears). Her hair is pretty dark. She is such a small bundle.

It took over 24 hours to get me here by plane. It would have been faster by car. But, I am finally here and ready to help wherever I am needed. Bristol is a good baby. Her little cry is so cute.