Thursday, December 31, 2009

What were you doing 10 years ago tonight?

This morning I was browsing through the blogs of note when I came across the blog Yes and Yes. The author posed the question of "What were you doing 10 years ago tonight?". As I was reading what she was doing 10 years ago, it made me remember my New Year's Eve 10 years ago. Remember 10 years ago when people thought the world would come to an end and computers would cease to function because we were moving from the 1900's into the 2000's.

I remember this evening because my husband had to work. In fact, practically everyone that works for the power company had to be in a substation that evening working, just in case the equipment and computers failed to handle moving into the year 2000. I hung out that evening with a group of power company wives. We ate, drank and were merry without our husbands. Later we all laughed at how the media had hyped up this moving to the year 2000 because of the stress and worry that it caused people.

So fellow bloggers, I pose the question to you, " What were you doing 10 years ago tonight?"?

Have a safe and happy New Year!

1st Day of Christmas Vacation

Our poor little Justin is growing up in a household of girls. As the youngest, he wants to do whatever his sisters do. Well, the thing to do on the 1st day of Christmas vacation was dance. The girls love to watch old dance recital videos and dance along. Everyone has to wear a costume. Poor Justin got stuck wearing one of Cara's tank tops as a dress. I couldn't believe it and I cringed at what he is going to say in a few years when he sees these pictures, but he was having so much fun.

Justin trying to ballet walk for the girls.

Trying to imitate what the dancers on the video are doing.

Pointing his toe just like the other dancers.

Justin is little boy at heart though. He loves to play with his fire truck, dump truck, trains, building blocks and especially his tools. He loves it when Keith is fixing something and it involves tools.

Take care,

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Snow Blizzard 2009

The Christmas Snow Blizzard of 2009 that hit the Midwest spoiled many family gatherings. But, many people have expressed how it was nice just to stay home for the holiday with just their family while being snowed in. Most roads, highways, and interstates were all closed because of the ice and snow and then the awful wind gusts that caused many high drifts. In Norfolk during the Christmas Snow Blizzard of 2009, we received 19.1 inches of snow and wind gusts up to 40 mph. The kids and I did not leave the house from Tuesday afternoon, December 22nd, until Sunday morning, December 27th. It didn't even bother me to not leave the house. Keith left on Wednesday and Thursday to go to work, but then he didn't leave again until Sunday morning. Following are a few pictures of the blizzard.

Keith standing next to the small side garage door on Christmas morning.

On Saturday morning, this is what the girls saw when my garage door was lifted.
They thought this was so funny that the snow drift was so high.

Cara, Erica and Justin standing by the small side garage door on Saturday morning.

As you can see the wind really made a high snow drift on my side of the garage.

The front of our house.

A picture looking down the street to the south.

The Christmas Snow Blizzard 2009 was the final push Keith needed to get a new snow blower.
Keith has wanted a new snow blower for awhile, but he hadn't gone and bought one. After using his old snow blower for hours, he decided it was time for a new and bigger snow blower to cut down on his time blowing snow outside. He sold his old snow blower to a co-worker and bought a new one on Monday night. Yesterday when Keith got home from work he headed outside to get rid of the snow drift on the south side of the garage.
This Christmas will be remembered for years to come as the year everyone had to stay home for Christmas because of the snow blizzard.
Take care,

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Day 2009

We always wake up in our own beds on Christmas morning. Usually, the day is spent in pajamas, opening presents and playing with our new toys. We generally do not go anywhere on Christmas Day because that day is just for our family.

This year the kids all woke up around 7 o'clock and one by one they all tiptoe into our bedroom to tell us that Santa did come and that there are lots of presents. Keith and I tell them that we'll be out in a while. They all go back to the living room to count presents, shake presents, and speculate what could possibly be in some of them. They all know that they cannot open any presents until everyone is in the living room. Keith and I held them off of opening presents until about 8 o'clock and then the flying of wrapping paper could be seen.

Then Keith made a big breakfast with waffles, biscuits and gravy, and eggs and sausage. Snacks were had throughout the day and then we had a big supper with ham, potatoes and corn. We played games throughout the day and just relaxed. We had no intention of going anywhere and the snow blizzard just confirmed that as the day went on.

Erica and Ashlin patiently waiting for presents.

Justin waiting for someone to say that it is his turn to unwrap.

Ashlin with her new marker color book.

Santa came through and brought us a Wii. With all of the snow this came in handy for entertainment.

Waiting for the next presents.

Cara had a hooded puffy vest on her list of items.

Erica holding up a new fleece hoodie.

The three girls unwrapping their new razor scooters.

Justin was a terror unwrapping presents.
It was a good, but different Christmas with all of the snow. The kids and I did not leave the house from Tuesday afternoon until Sunday morning. Everyone stayed busy playing with new toys, trying on new clothes and just relaxing.
Take care,

Monday, December 28, 2009

School Christmas Parties

Last Tuesday was the last day of school before the Christmas vacation. The whole day is just one big party at school. In the morning the whole elementary school gathers in the Commons Area and sings Christmas carols. Ashlin's preschool class had their class party at 10 o'clock and Justin and I went down to help. Ashlin's class did an ornament craft, then ate a snack and drink and then sang some songs for the parents and grandparent at the party. Justin just does loves to play in the preschool room because everywhere there are toys to attract his attention. There was no hot lunch served on Tuesday, so each class was on its own. Erica's class had to bring a cold lunch with a drink from home. Cara's class ordered personal pan pizza's from Pizza Hut and she had to take a drink from home. Justin, Ashlin and I ate our lunch at home and then we went back to school to do the games for Cara's third grade class. We played Christmas Carol Pictionary and a Christmas word unscramble in teams.

Justin kept trying to escape Cara's classroom because there aren't any toys in 3rd Grade.

Ashlin eating oranges in Cara's classroom.

Chase, Ethan and Cara hanging out eating their party snacks.

Justin playing in the preschool room.

Ashlin's teacher Mrs. Nedrow was all decked out for the party.

Mrs. Nedrow's children are all grown and she said that this outfit embarrasses them each year, but the outfit is perfect for preschool.

Ashlin working on her Christmas ornament craft.

One group working on their craft.

Signing the big card for the teachers.

After being at the school most of the day, this Mom did not get much done at home. Oh well, the girls are always excited that I'm one of the Moms that gets to come to the class parties and helps out in the classrooms.

Take care,


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

This was our Christmas Card 2009. Donna at Digital Dreams did an awesome job of capturing the smiles of our four children.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!!!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Leader Christmas

Last Sunday was Christmas at Keith's parents' home in Bloomfield. So, everyone gathered at noon for another one of Grandma Leader's fabulous dinners. Grandma serves buffet style and there is never a lack of food. After the dishes are all cleared away, the fun commences with gift opening and B-I-N-G-O. Plus, let us not forget about the buffet of goodies that appears (cookies, candy, chex mix, etc.)

Playing Bingo.

Waiting patiently for their name to be drawn so that they can get a gift.

Ashlin and Kamree had each other's names in the gift exchange.
They sat next to each other and giggled.

Cousin Holly was covered in the wrapping paper by Uncle Cory.

You would think that Zac would scoot over to make more room.

We went home that night tired, but everyone was smiling because of all the fun that was had. It always amazes me that there is no fighting at Grandpa and Grandma's house. The cousins all get along and play together the whole day. There are no naps taken, yet they keep on playing. The excitement just keeps them going.
Take care,

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy 30th Birthday Holly!!!

Today is my sister Holly's 30th birthday!!! In honor of this big day, I decided to do a post all about her. In my family there are three children and Holly is the youngest. Therefore, I have a few memories to share.

1. I remember the day that Holly was born. Shortly after getting home from school Mom called Dad and said that it was time. Holly was born that night shortly after 6:00 p.m.

2. I remember that Dad wanted to name her Rebecca. Mom did not like the name at all and asked if he would settle for Becky and then he said no. In the end, our brother Joel picked out the name Holly.

3. I remember how she counted when she was going to run a race. Most kids say 1, 2, 3, GO. But, Holly said 8, 9, GO.

4. I remember how wild and crazy her hair was as a baby and how she always had chapped fat cheeks.

5. I remember being in college and having her school picture hang on the wall by my desk in the dorm. Holly would also send me pictures she had colored or drew. Everyone would ask me if she was my niece and I would say, "No, that's my sister".

6. I remember that we all called her "B" (short for baby) and she would answer. Joel and I can still call her that and she will answer. I guess some things you never out grow.

7. I remember how the three of us would lay on the living room floor and watch TV and Holly always had to be in the middle. No matter how close Joel and I would be, she always found a way to squeeze in between us.

8. I remember getting a phone call from Mom telling me that I had to come home from college for the weekend because it was Holly's music recital. Mom told us that Holly had sat through so many of our activities, concerts, recitals, etc. that it was the least we could do for Holly.

9. I remember Joel and I teasing Holly that she was the "oops" in the family. Although to this day, Mom still swears that she was planned.

10. I remember sitting at Holly's high school graduation and cheering when her name was announced. Later, Dad, Mom, Joel and I were all crying because Holly had graduated.

11. I remember sitting in the sun at Wayne State College when Holly graduated from college with a double teaching degree in elementary education and special education.

12. I remember Holly always complaining how she had to get her picture taken on holidays with the nieces and nephews because she wasn't married. We all would just laugh at her.

13. I remember how Aunt Holly taught my oldest daughter to skip. Cara wasn't old enough to know how to skip, but Aunt Holly tried to teach her anyway.

14. I remember how Holly worked eight summers at a daycare. This is probably how she developed such patience for children.

15. I remember the day that Holly was baking her 4-H entries for the Pierce County Fair and her white bread flopped. She started over that night instead of going to bed and I stayed up with her.

16. I remember how Mom would never wrap Holly's birthday presents in Christmas wrapping paper even if her birthday is so close to Christmas.

17. I remember the day that Holly got married and how Joel and I had our picture taken with her and as usual, Holly got to stand in the middle.

18. I remember the day that Holly gave birth to Jack. Just like Mom and me, Holly also has fast labors.

19. I remember Holly calling me and asking me Mom questions about babies, breastfeeding and the like.

20. I know that today my sister, Holly, is 30 years old. I will always remember all of these things and lots more about Holly. I also know that as her big sister I will always stay at 25 years old. I will never age past 25 years and no matter what she says to the contrary, I will deny everything.

Happy Birthday Holly!

Take care,

Friday, December 18, 2009

Burn Fat Burn Update

Back on November 17th, I did a post about how I was going to lose weight and get more in shape. After having four children, it was high time to lose all the baby weight and get back to the thin me. I knew this task was NOT going to be easy, but that it was going to take hard work and a lot of sweat for the pounds to come off.

Well after one month of the mantra, "Burn Fat Burn", I weighed myself this morning at the YMCA after my workout and I am down 10 pounds. I am VERY proud of myself, but I cannot take all of the credit for the weight coming off. I give 50% of the credit to Kristi, the Zumba instructor, who inspires me twice a week to work harder and not give up when I feel like dying in class. I give 25% of the credit to the elliptical machine that I am on about three times a week. Then I give myself 25% for being stubborn and not giving up on losing the weight.

Along the way, my husband has also decided to get more in shape. Keith started taking his lunch to work and he tries to get to the YMCA every two days for a workout. Some days to get his workout in, he leaves work early on vacation time. Keith is down 12 pounds to date. A few days ago I told him I didn't want to hear about his weight loss because I have been stuck with no weight loss the last few weeks and I was feeling sorry for myself. But, he just told me that I am gaining muscle and to just keep at it.

They always say that the first 10 pounds come off the easiest, so I am already dreading how much more sweat and pain it will be to get another 10 pounds off. But, I will not give up. I am in this for the long haul.

Take care,

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tis the Season of Giving

Every year at about Thanksgiving time each of the girls bring home a note from their teachers what the class service project is for Christmas. Most of the classes do the same project every year so you become familiar with what is going to be expected. With three girls in school this year we are into the season of giving.

The preschool project this year is Good Neighbors. The children are asked to bring a donation to school to be put in a jar and then a donation will be made from the entire preschool class to the Good Neighbors Program in Norfolk. Good Neighbors is a group that provides for the needy. The group provides assistance to individuals and families the entire year, but the main fundraiser is always at Christmas time. Good Neighbors may assist a family by providing gifts, providing food, paying the rent and utilities, etc. This group is highlighted in the local paper each day with the story of a family in need and then a list of new donors.

Erica's first grade class is providing toys for the Bright Horizons. This non-profit group provides an escape for abused women and their children. The teachers sent a note home asking that each child do extra chores around the house to earn the money to buy a toy that they would really like and then donate the toy to these children at Bright Horizons. Erica bought a Princess Memory Game to be donated.

Cara's third grade class is providing Christmas presents for a needy family whose children attend the girls' school. Cara provided a new sweater for the mother and a pampering hand lotion kit and then also a game for one of the children.

I'm not sure that my children completely understand the concept of being needy or not being able to go to the store and buy food. I just hope that one day they understand to show compassion to others and that they learn from the example that Keith and I set forth about giving to others.

Take care,

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

KISS Concert

Last Friday night the youngest three Leader brothers attended a KISS concert together in Council Bluffs. Jodee was the designated driver and I road along to have fun. On the way to the concert, Keith and Cory relived in detail the KISS concert that they attended together about 15 years ago together. It was so funny to hear the three of them go on. By listening to them tease and bicker with each other, you would have thought that they were teenagers again. Jodee dropped the three of them off as close to the front door of the concert as possible, and we told them that we would pick them up after the concert across the street in a restaurant parking lot. Jodee and I then proceeded to eat a late supper and do a little shopping to kill time until the concert let out. After the concert let out and we were waiting for the three brothers to show up at the agreed meeting spot, Jodee and I were surprised when Gene Simmons tour bus pulled into the restaurant parking lot. Naturally this was quite the photo opportunity for us, but also for other concert goers as well.

The three brothers (Keith, David & Cory) had a GREAT time and I'm sure there will be other concerts in their future (especially since my husband loves concerts)!

Take care,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Breakfast with Santa

This Leader family invaded Lincoln on Friday evening and spent the night at another Leader household. These six cousins had so much fun together Friday evening and then Saturday morning they were all up bright and early ready to go eat breakfast, decorate sugar cookies, and meet Santa. We all attended a fundraiser brunch for the Nebraska Foster Care Foundation. Two other cousins, Nick and Jake, also attended the Santa Brunch gathering.

The crew decorating cookies.

Ashlin shyly telling Santa what she wants for Christmas.

There was no way Ashlin was going to sit on Santa's lap.

Justin was all ready to sit on Ho Ho's lap.

My crew posing with Santa.

Three of the Leader families posing with Santa.

Yes, Ashlin was mad about something, therefore, she was pouting.

We had a great time in Lincoln. Tune in tomorrow for the fun that was enjoyed by the Leader brothers on their night out.

Take care,


Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Concert

Sunday afternoon was the girls' Christmas Concert at school. They all three put on their Christmas dresses and were excited to show off all their hard work of practicing Christmas songs. Keith and I actually got to enjoy the Christmas concert by ourselves. The high school kids provided free daycare for the younger siblings, so, Justin went to daycare to play instead of having to sit still and be quiet for 1 1/2 hours. Keith got to video tape and I got to take pictures without having a child crawling all over our laps. Each of the girls had to sit with their classes for the concert.

First up for the concert was the preschool classes. Ashlin stood in the front row in her black and red dress. Keith and I were proud of her. She actually participated by singing and doing the actions to the songs.

Then the other grades presented the ABC's of Christmas for the crowd. We got to listen to each grade perform, the 5th & 6th Grade bands, the Sacred Heart Singers and the elementary staff even sang a song. The staff has not participated before in the concert, but I thought it was a great addition to the concert.

Ashlin in the front row middle with her hands clasped.

Cara in the front row with the black dress on singing with the Sacred Heart Singers.

Before we left for the concert and then again when we got home from the concert we tried to take a decent family picture. Keith's aunt is giving Keith's grandmother a 100-picture frame for Christmas. Keith's aunt was asking for family pictures of everyone to include in the picture frame. Keith's grandmother is 97 years old and lives in an assisted living facility. Grandma Pauline is very sharp and she loves to show everyone family pictures. Grandma Pauline is very good at remembering everyone's names, which is amazing considering the size of Keith's extended family.

Take care,

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Candy Making Class

Thursday night I attended a candy making class with my small MOPS group. I had no clue what we were going to learn how to make, but it sounded like fun so I was in. First we learned how to make candy that was more than more color in molds. We learned how to paint the molds with colored chocolate to achieve the following results. After each color you have to let the mold set and dry. Therefore, this class lasted way longer that anyone had anticipated.

These were the first four candies that we made.

These are molds that have the shells of the candy drying and waiting for the next step of filling.

These are my finished candies from a night of learning and fun.

We learned how to dip various candies, pretzels, and cookies into chocolate. We learned how to make filled candies. We made eight filled candies such as: chocolate covered cherries, candies filled with caramel, raspberry filling, a nut filling, peanut butter cups, etc. I learned quite a bit about candy making. Now I have to buy supplies and get to work on making candies.
Take care,