Wednesday, December 30, 2009

More pictures of the homecoming

My aunt, Kathy, was also able to greet Lynette, Rusty, and Olive last evening. She posted more pictures on her blog.

Yesterday, she also kept me informed throughout the day of their flight status. During the evening, she was texting me and sending me pictures which I really appreciated!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

They are home! :)

Mom updated her blog with pictures and more information about the arrival of Rusty, Lynette and Olive this evening. I'm so happy!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009

Because of my due date being January 6, we were unable to travel this year. Normally, the week before Christmas is a flurry of making lists, wrapping, packing, and all that's entailed in being away from home for a couple of weeks or so. Then, we set out as soon as I get out of work and drive, drive, drive to see family and friends in Illinois and several parts of Indiana.

This year has been decidedly different. I realized the week before break that my only concern was whether I had planned something special for our family so that Christmas didn't feel like just another day of the week. So far, the two weeks off from school feels much longer than normal. I've enjoyed the down time, with lots of time to relax.

The week before break, it was very cold. Tyler and Wayne enjoyed freezing water to make a big ice block that Tyler used as an ice hat.

Early last week, Tyler and I spent a couple of hours at the zoo. It was good to get some time outside while the weather was in the 50's. The next day, we spent an afternoon at Exploration Place (our local science museum for kids) with some of our closest friends. They boys loved the time at the water table.

Afterward, we took Tyler for his second H1N1 vaccination. It is putting it mildly to say that he was not a fan. This was his 4th separate vaccination appointment in a 2 month time span...I think that was the problem (as well as the fact that he had to have the injection of the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccine instead of the mist). Anyway, I'm glad he's done with vaccinations for awhile.
Christmas Eve, the weather changed decidedly. It was very cold, with winds around 50 miles per hour, and it snowed. (Though it was a measly amount of snow - around 1-2 inches, it's better than nothing). It has been very cold since that day too, so the snow has stayed around. I love that we had a white Christmas. The cold has meant that I don't feel like getting out too much.
That day, Tyler and I worked on a gingerbread house.

That evening, we opened our stockings. Then we watched a Christmas movie, Tyler put on his new pj's from Grandpa Miller's and we slept by the Christmas tree.

Christmas morning, we enjoyed brunch together, then Tyler opened his presents. Grandpa Ted came over to join us for Christmas day and Saturday, along with a large cooler of food and some things to do. Wayne and I enjoyed going to see a movie, Up in the Air, while Grandpa babysat and tried to teach Tyler chess. :) I hear that Tyler had a little trouble staying focused. Then Grandpa and Tyler went to see The Princess and the Frog.
During our two days together, we enjoyed yummy food, playing Blokus (a new game from Ted and Sue), and putting together Tyler's new Lego sets.

We'll see what the next week brings. Hopefully I'll get motivated to do something productive, like take down Christmas decorations. :) I hope that this Christmas found you with family and friends, and able to enjoy some time away from routine too.

Coming home...

Lynette, Rusty and Olive are preparing to make their flight home! They had resolved that they would be in Thailand for at least a few more months for Olive's shunt surgery and recovery, as they expected an evacuation would be too costly. However, just a few days ago, they learned that it was not only possible, but going to happen...on the 29th!

It all feels a bit surreal, since it has happened so quickly, and since last evacuation was canceled. She has been more stable, can now regulate her body temperature, can suck (which hopefully will help with relieving pressure) and is often off of oxygen. They should be arriving in South Bend tomorrow, the 29th, around 5 pm!!!!

We are praying for safety, comfort, and that it could all go smoothly. Lynette's blog update gave more specific prayer requests...and indicates her excitement about it all. "I have never felt so patriotic in my entire life in my love for home."

I wish I were there to greet them! :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Almond Toffee

Now that we are on winter break, I have been in the mood for Christmas baking and treat making. I enjoyed trying all new recipes (to me) this year - peppermint meltaways, surprise crinkles, peanut brittle, chocolate caramel pecan bars, butter pecan fudge, and almond toffee (like a Heath bar). Probably the simplest and my favorite is the almond toffee. I didn't intend to make it originally, but found I had enough leftover ingredients to make it. It's probably a good thing that I didn't know before now how easy this is to make!

Almond Toffee - From Women of Great Taste
1 cup butter (no substitute)
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds, toasted
1 bar (7 ounces) milk chocolate
1/2-3/4 cup finely chopped almonds, toasted

Generously spray or butter a half-sheet cake pan. In a heavy saucepan over medium high heat cook butter, sugar, salt, water and corn syrup to hard crack stage (290 degrees) stirring constantly (I stirred frequently, not constantly) with a wooden spoon. Immediately remove from heat and stir in almonds. Pour into prepared pan and spread mixture to the edges. Cool for at least a few minutes. Microwave chocolate until melted. Spread over toffee and sprinkle with remaining almonds. Chill for one hour. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Makes 2 1/2 pounds

Monday, December 14, 2009


When I was pregnant with Tyler, I felt pretty great. Granted, I had morning sickness, and had some food cravings. I needed naps. But, I remember feeling comfortable until I was about a week overdue. I really enjoyed the whole pregnancy experience. My favorite part, both times, has been feeling the baby move - it's the one part of the experience that I know I'll miss.

This time, things have been a little...harder. Morning/all day sickness, heartburn, congestion, sleeping, and contractions (and some other things) have all been more ... difficult or intensified this time around. She feels low, and heavy and I feel like it's harder to get around. I did find out that she is head-down.

My sister-in-law, Carrie, has told me that she had a similar experience (with her first being easier than her second) but that her third pregnancy was not as difficult again. Another Mother of 3 told me the same thing. It has made me curious whether this is more common, or whether I have just found a few moms with similar experiences.

I don't mean to complain - I mean, don't get me wrong, I feel like I have been doing plenty of that lately - but that's not what I'm getting at. But, I wonder whether anyone else has had a similar, or very different experience with their comfort level and the order of their pregnancies. (By the way, we are definitely not having a third).
As Tyler would say, I'm just so curious.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Program

I'm not sure anyone is interested in the entire preschool Christmas program, lasting a whole 9 1/2 minutes, but if you are, click on this link.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A clip from Tyler's Preschool Christmas Program

Tyler's Preschool Christmas Program was on Friday. It took lots of encouragement, and the promise of a new puzzle, for him to practice and perform the songs. He looked nervous, especially on the first song, Jingle Bells. He was a sheep in the Nativity, and didn't really do anything but stand on his hands and knees the whole time. This is the last song. We got a kick out of his subdued hand motions.

To show you how much he loves singing, here's the conversation we just finished...

I told Tyler that we should go Christmas caroling.

Tyler, "What's that?"

Me, "You go sing Christmas songs to people."

Tyler, "That sounds horrible!"