Favorite Moments of 2009

30 12 2009

As another year draws to an end, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite moments of 2009.  Here they are in chronological order (sort of):

January: We had a huge snow fall that kept the girls home from school for an entire week. . .we took advantage of the extra time at home and did lots of fun activities.  Here we are getting ready to make snow ice cream!

Also in January, Bryn and Lydia started taking piano lessons.  Here’s Bryn:

and Lydia:

February:  Lydia and Bryn turned 7.  We celebrated with a Fancy Nancy birthday party, including a tea cup cake!

In March Ellie got even cuter and my husband got even hotter.  How is that possible?

April was the beginning of softball season.  We all loved it, but Bryn got tired of it half-way through and it was a fight to get her to finish out the season:

And Ellie got even cuter:

In May, Ellie turned 3 and got this tricycle for her birthday.  Life has never been the same since:

In June, I planted Gerbera Daisies.  I just love  Daisies, they’re such a friendly flower (name that movie):

Also in June, we headed to Florida for a week of vacation with Conrad’s whole family.  I could fill pages with the memories made that week. . .and look at Ellie’s cute pig tails!

In July, we headed to my dad’s in Michigan and caught a Tiger game in Detroit on our way up.  A definite highlight of the summer for us!

August:  Carla’s wedding.  It was lovely.  She was gorgeous.  I was exhausted.  24 hours later, I wanted to start  over and do it all again!  I just love weddings.

The morning after the wedding, we hosted the extended family at our home for brunch.  I loved every second of it and didn’t want it to end.

September:   Another wedding.  This time my childhood friend, Christa Keim, got married in a unique wedding that reflected her personality at every turn.  It was an absolute honor to be a part of it:

October:  We made applesauce.  I just love applesauce.

October:  I had to include this picture of my girls in their costumes.  It makes me laugh every time I see it!

November:  We went to Pennsylvania to spend Thanksgiving with Conrad’s family.  We also celebrated Christmas while we were there.  One of my favorite things about family get togethers is watching my girls interact with their cousins:

December:  The first big snow.  We woke up to a couple inches of the white stuff on the first Saturday of Christmas break.  The girls were outside as soon as they could get bundled up.

Can’t wait to see what 2010 will bring!  Happy New Year to you and yours~


Christmas Day in the Esh Home

29 12 2009

Very often we are traveling right over Christmas Eve and Day, but this year it worked out for us to be home.  I’m so thankful for the many happy moments we had this year. . .here are just a few:

We made monkey bread for breakfast.  I love this stuff, but I think it’s going to be a once a year treat, because I’m having a hard time justifying eating white bread smothered in butter and sugar on a regular basis.   It’s the kind of thing that is perfect for Christmas morning, the  only day all year when calories don’t count.  If you need a recipe, you can find it here.

While the monkey bread was baking, we let the girls dig into their stockings (or mittens, in our house)!

Then we sat down to a nutritious breakfast of monkey bread, omelets, and grapefruit

Breakfast was followed by reading The Christmas Story from the Gospel of Luke and also from a sweet children’s book.Next was the mass chaos of present opening.  The girls each got some books and games, nothing terribly exciting, to be honest, but they got so much stuff from grandparents that we didn’t buy much. (Did you notice Ellie’s footed pajamas?  I want her to wear footed pajamas forever. and ever.)

Bryn and Lydia were happy with their new VTech game system and a bunch of new games:

And Ellie loved her new Melissa and Doug toys:

We spent a lot of the day working on a puzzle.  So relaxing.  The girls helped with it for a little while, but mostly, Conrad and I got hooked on it until it was finished.

At some point in the day we did have a nice dinner: ham, potatoes, green beans, and salad, but I didn’t take any pictures of that stuff.  When it was all said and done, we were left with a house that looked like a tornado blew through.  But I’m very willing to look past that. . .we had a perfectly relaxing day together with just our girls and I tried to soak in every moment of it. I went to bed very happy and fulfilled. . .what more can I ask for?

Christmas Highlights (So Far)!

22 12 2009

I had no intention of waiting this long to update (sorry Aunt Linda), but, well, I have no excuse.

So, we’ve been busy, just like everyone else, but we’re also working really hard to keep life manageable and even fun during this season.  Last night we threw a rather spontaneous gift-wrapping party.  We called a bunch of friends and told them to bring the stuff they needed to wrap and a snack.  We extended the dining room table, put on some hot water for hot chocolate and tea, turned on a good football game and wrapped presents together!  So much fun!

I also spent a morning in the kitchen making lasagna and meatballs so that I have meals easily accessible for the next few days.  I refuse to spend Christmas day slaving away in the kitchen.  I have better things to do, such as snuggle with my kids, read lots of stories, play with their new toys, and drink coffee.

We woke up to snow on Saturday morning and the girls got up, ate breakfast, and immediately starting suiting up to head outside.  The older two got dressed all by themselves and Ellie only needed a little help.  We sent them outside then watched from the window as they worked together to build a snowman.  Conrad looked at me and said, “Wow, this is the first snow man they’ve ever built without me.”  And that made me cry.  Don’t ask.  And then Conrad looked at me real funny-like which made me laugh and the next thing I know I was a blubbering idiot right there in my living room.

On another note,we spent last weekend in Frankenmuth, Michigan with my dad and my siblings and their families.  My family is hilarious and every time we’re together I spend a good part of the time laughing so hard that I’m not really making any noise.  Good times.  We watched entirely too much “Larry the Cable Guy” and that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

While we were there, I gave my brother the best gift in gift-giving history.  And I didn’t even draw his name.  But you know how sometimes you come across a gift and it just speaks to you and you think, “You know, Christmas just wouldn’t be complete if this gift wasn’t unwrapped on Christmas morning.”  Well,I had that moment in the middle of Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago.  So, despite the fact that I hadn’t drawn his name, I decided to spend $10 in the spirit of true giving and all things selfless.  Here it is in all it’s hilarity:

Because everyone needs an Obama paper doll set.  I don’t care who you are, that right there is a funny gift.

Grandma’s Crumb Cake

10 12 2009

Today, in between loads of laundry, I decided to do a little baking.  I’ve been wanting to make my grandma’s crumb cake recipe for a while so I decided that today is the day.  And to make it taste extra special, I mixed it up in Grandma’s mixing bowls which were given to me after she passed away 7 years ago.

Here’s the recipe:

4 cups flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup oleo (does anyone else have recipes from their grandma that use the word “oleo” instead of butter?  I’ve only ever come across that word in her recipes)

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Blend with pastry blender (or just dig your fingers in and mix it all up, because even though the recipe says pastry blender, I’m pretty sure Grandma never owned a pastry blender in her life, and I can still see her arthritic fingers digging into that yellow bowl and mixing with the same efficiency as any new-fangled gadget on the market).

Keep out some of the crumbs for the top.

Add 2 cups buttermilk.  Mix together and pour into 2 round cake pans then put crumbs on top.  Bake at 350 degrees 20 t0 30 minutes. Don’t underbake. (That last line seems a little obvious, but it’s what Grandma wrote on the recipe card, so I had to include it).

Your crumb cake may be yummy, but it will never be as good as mine because I made mine in Grandma’s yellow mixing bowl while reading the original recipe in her handwriting.  Just wanted to give you the heads up on that.

While the cake is still warm, pour yourself a cup of hot tea (lemon zinger with a drop of honey, if you want the real deal), slice yourself a chunk of this crumb cake, and thank God for the generations before us.  I know Grandma would be honored.

I’m Freaking Out!

6 12 2009

Every now and then I just freak out about how fast time is moving.  Today is one of those days.

I feel this panic rise up within me and I start to think about the fact that my twins are almost 8 which means I only have 10 more years with them under my roof, and the idea of sending them off to college (or whatever God has for them) makes me want to throw up.  I realize that 10 years is a long time, but wasn’t it only yesterday that we celebrated Christmas 2008, and here we are gearing up for Christmas 2009, and as soon as that’s over, we’ll blink a few times and it will be Christmas 2010, and then I’ll panic again about how fast the years are going by and how tall the girls are, and how I want them to stay under our roof forever, and how high school graduation is just around the corner and I haven’t even taught them to do laundry yet.  But they can make coffee.  At least I have my priorities straight.

And then I look at Ellie.  She’s so sweet and funny and innocent and unaware of how tough life can be.  And I just want her to stay this way forever.  and ever.

But that’s not how it works, is it?  I can’t keep them under my wing forever (although I’m gonna give it a good shot).  Instead, I have to enjoy this moment, for the moments are fleeting ever so quickly, and they can never be retrieved.

So today, I strive to snuggle a little longer, read an extra story, listen more attentively, laugh more freely, and slow down my busy mind.  Time keeps ticking, whether I want it to or not, so it’s up to me to make the moments count.

Just in Case You’re Wondering

3 12 2009

I’m still alive, but it’s back to bullet points:

  • We were in Pennsylvania over Thanksgiving to spend some time with Conrad’s family.  We also celebrated Christmas while we were there.  GREAT time together.
  • I am up to my eyeballs in Usborne Books.
  • I am still taking two classes at the gym.  I hate jumping jacks.  When the instructor says anything about jumping jacks, I want to curl up into the fetal position and cry.  Right there on the gym floor.  Did you know that in addition to jumping jacks, there are super jacks, power jacks, and one-arm jacks?  Yup.  I hate them all.  And if your name is Jack, I don’t like you right now either.
  • I am watching my 13 month old nephew today while my sister spends her day as a substitute teacher.  I love  that little guy!
  • Christmas just keeps getting closer and I just keep chillin’ out because I’m done, done, done with my shopping!  I am still planning to do some baking but that’s the easy part.
  • I’ve got a hot date with my husband tonight.  Dinner and a movie and maybe we’ll look at a new video camera. . .that’s what we’re hoping to purchase for Christmas this year.  If you’ve got any great advice for us when it comes to cameras, we’ll take it!
  • B and L have been coming home from school with stories of girls not talking to them because somebody is mad at somebody else and so now they’re not talking and somebody isn’t friends with them anymore and on and on and on. . .It’s like I’ve always said:  If you get enough women together, there’s bound to be drama at some point.  I just didn’t think it started this early.
  • Off to chase down Conner.  Having a one year old around is a lot of work!  Can you imagine that I used to have two one-year olds to chase around??  I think I’ve blocked out most of that stage of my life. . .I just have general memories of utter exhaustion.