S: A YEAR IN REVIEW 2011
BC: The End
FC: A YEAR IN REVIEW 2011
1: Well, where do I begin. Overall, the year 2011 had plenty of changes, but looking back, things went relatively smooth. Most of the big changes came later in the year with Ethan starting Kindergarten and Emily changing to a larger daycare. Otherwise, Jeff and I stayed pretty much the same. I am still working at Peet teaching 7th and 8th grade Science. We have had some changes at school and I have found myself working hard to make sure that I am differentiating for all of the kids. A lot more pretesting and independent study for the kids. I'm still coaching 8th grade volleyball and worked with one of the nicest groups of 8th graders I could ever ask for. They didn't win every game, but worked hard every day and wanted to come back after the season was over. Jeff is still working at the CEEE. He is working on grants doing energy benchmarking for schools and working for the Iowa Association for Energy Efficiency as their administrator. He decided to take a break from the Soccer Association and plans on getting involved again when Ethan is older. Outside of work, our lives pretty much revolve around the kids. Playing games, catch, wrestling, shoot the rabbit, or playing the Wii with Ethan take up most of our time. We did change realtors and have had a lot of showings, but come up second most of the time. That would be the other thing that we keep busy with. It seems like we turn around and have to clean all of the time, and it only takes two minutes to get it messed up again. | Jeff and Renae 2011
2: A picture tells a thousand words! This is our Ethan that often wants to be the clown! How about the knock knock jokes while we sit at the kitchen table. Most of the time we laugh, just because we have no idea where he'll go next. Ethan had some big changes this year as he ended the year at Naz with his best friend Leo and started Kindergarten at Edison. It was hard for mom the first couple days as well. He wanted to ride the bus so bad that he actually got on the first day when he wasn't supposed to. He loves to fly by the seat of his pants and is better at making friends than anyone I know. Sometimes he scares us because he's not scared of anyone. Now that he is riding the bus, he even has to give his bus driver a hug at the end of the day. Ethan's big love is playing the Wii. He would spend every minute of every day playing football, hockey, or Mario Cart. Dad even had a hard time beating him in hockey at first. Ethan had a little accident when he was bowling with the babysitter as he threw the remote into the new flat-screen TV downstairs. If not playing games, he would love to watch TV. It was quite traumatic for him when we got rid of cable and he couldn't watch Spongebob any more. He sat there watching the fuzzy screen and told us that we needed to call the TV guy back to fix it. He also loves his nerf guns and we have had many nights shooting bears or hiding from each other trying to raid the other person when their guard is down. Maybe the Wii has helped, but Ethan has also become more interested in sports. He loves to cheer for the Panthers and especially loves TC. I was shocked when we watched a Women's basketball game and he started yelling "Go defense". He knew more than I thought. But even more than cheering, he loves trying to get on the big screen to show everyone his moves. He loves to dance and he did make it on the big screen twice this year. Ethan still likes to play with others. He likes to play games like sorry and tic-tac-toe. He is getting better at writing and recognizing his words and we're looking forward to him being able to read his own books. We will continue to love his smiling face as he grows! | ETHAN OH ETHAN!
3: OH MY COW | Miss Emily Emily did a lot of growing this year, in many ways. She really got a lot taller, her vocabulary grew by a ton, and her attitude was too big for her britches!! She started talking and some days wouldn't stop. It was hilarious to hear some of the things she put together. Oh my cow was one of my favorite. A mix of oh my gosh and holy cow. On New Years Day, she was asking me questions as I put my bra on and she said. I have little ones and you have big ones. I told her some day she would get some and she said, "Do you buy them at the store?" Later on she started calling them "booboos" Too funny. It also made it more fun because she has some work to do on her pronunciations. Like Eshan and lemolade. Another funny thing that her and Ethan started was saying "Go Green, Go Green" at the stoplight thanks to the DeSeranos. At the end of the year, she came home with "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit." She was always paying attention when someone else wasn't following directions. Emily really loved having her independence during the summer and she was very proud when she learned to ride her bike with 2 wheels. She would spend every minute outside if she had a choice. She still loves cats and dogs, even though Grandma's kitties gave her quite a bout of ringworm this summer. One of the hardest things for Emily was switching to a large daycare. She spent the first days crying all day in the corner. It was just as hard on us to see her cry. By December, she had found her place and started showing her true colors. They said that she wants to be a teacher when she grows up. She loves to read her books to her babies and it is amazing all of the funny things she tells them. One of them was even in time out in "Kari's office" (in the bathroom). She can go upstairs and play for hours. She picks up everything we say, so we will have to be careful. How exciting all of year four will be!!
4: The year began as the year before - with lots of snow. The kids loved it. They had fun building forts and snowmen.
5: S | L | E | D | D | I | N | G | We made it a couple of times to Ghost town park to sled. Ethan would have stayed all day. Trying to hit the ramp was the most fun!
6: We Great Grandma Collins
7: In February, we went to see Great Grandma Collins for her birthday. We also had a lot of fun with the two new babies of the Pett family, Baby Broden and Will. Ethan played with them more than Emily. Of course we also had fun with Diesel and Chewy the dogs!
8: (text) | For 6 weeks in February and March, Ethan and Emily went to Kindergym at UNI. They both loved it! They got to climb and play. They fished and swatted bugs. My favorite was when they flipped the frogs and caught them. Ethan's favorite part was the Interlude Dance. | KINDERGYM
10: In February, Emily had an ear infection. The doctor put her amoxycillin and we were excited because she actually liked it. She called it her medis. Too bad she broke out in hives on the fifth day of taking it! | Mom, I'm Allergic! | See all of my spots?
11: Life brings simple pleasures to us every day. It is up to us to make them wonderful memories. ~Cathy Allen
12: Wiggle | Wiggle | Its sooo loose! | And its Out!! | LOSING MY FIRST TOOTH! | March 12, 2011 | The Tooth Fairy brought a whole dollar for me!
13: In March we got to spend some time with Grandma Mae. It is always fun on the farm!
15: Going to Grandma Mae's is always fun, but it is even more fun with the cousins. The kids spent time at the Park in Decorah, and spent lots of time on the farm. It was all fun until Mikaela broke her ankle when she fell through the loft door.
16: Happy Birthday to Me! It just happened that I turned 40 this year. I knew something was up, because my principal couldn't keep a secret, but after Karen and Tara decorated my room, I thought it was over. Little did I know that they planned a party for me at Old Chicago. They surprised the heck out of me. Even Jeff was in on it. Surprising how well he lied to keep a secret!!
18: wimming in Style | Late in May, Ethan and Em took swimming lessons again. Ethan learned how to float on his back and turn to swim on his stomach. He wasn't much of a floater. The thing Emily learned the most was to keep her head above water when the instructor wasn't working with her. She loves the water. So Ethan will move on to level 3 and Emily to level 2. | S
19: Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson | Congratulations Tyler! | It was great to see our old teacher Mrs. Balk. She taught all of us girls and taught Tyler twice. It was also fun to see the cousins and of course Howard and Marie T, too! Uncle Ronnie above is just recovering from a fall where he knocked his teeth out
20: Front row: Ben, Ethan K,Fletcher, Fletcher, Noah, Cam, Mrs. W Up the stairs: Ethan B., Sara, , Avery, Leo, Riley, Lilly | My Self Portrait | Ethan's Preschool Blessed Beginnings Mrs. W (Weifenbach)
21: My Numbers | Fighting Fires | Ethan loves drawing all kinds of animals and had a whole book full of them. | You've got to love the hands and feet! | Ethan loved going to school every day, and one of the reasons was because of his best friend Leo Christiansen. The teachers said they were like two peas in a pod. | We were a little nervous about Ethan being in Preschool, but he did great. He really learned how to write all of his letters and numbers and could write all of the names of the kids in his class. He loved to play with the blocks and draw pictures. When asked what he liked best, he said everything! | This isn't just a butterfly as you can plainly see. I made it with my hand, which is part of me. It comes with lots of love, especially to say I hope you have a very Happy Mother's Day!
22: When Grandpa and Grandma Beneke moved to Waterloo, Brian and his girlfriend Katherine came to see them. So we took an annual trip to Hickory Hills. The kids were surprised this time because they were able to feed the elk and the deer. The elk loved the wild rhubarb. | Park | Hickory Hills
23: Daddy helping Emmy! | Just another photo op! | On the free fishing weekend, we took a trip to George Wyth State Park. We found a spot on Alice Lake and began to fish. It was fun for the kids because we did catch several fish, but they weren't very big. We kept catching 5 in ch bullheads. We weren't ready for this, so we had to use Em's hat to take the hooks out. | Can you see my HUGE fish? | Our First REAL fishing trip!
24: A Visit To
25: COMO ZOO! | When we went to Minneapolis in June for David Pett's son's baptism, we took a trip to Como Zoo. It rained for most of our trip so we went to anything indoor that we could, and ran through most of the outdoor exhibits. The new polar bear exhibit was very neat. The bears were closer than in the pictures. The kids really like all of the animals, and really liked the rainforest part, where they could see the turtles and the snakes.
26: While in the cities, we have to stop and see Grandma Mabel. Ethan loves to read her books and use her walker. It is also fun to see uncle Brian. We stayed at the Best Western in White Bear Lake and the kids had a ton of fun swimming in the pool.
27: It was a lot of fun to go up for Brody's baptism.Emily and Ethan both love the babies. We didn't make it to Will's baptism.
28: Blast off! | to VBS at Naz! | Wow! That is all that Ethan and Em could say! Organized chaos is what I would call it. Ethan loved the hype and singing. We weren't sure Em would go back after the first night. She said, "I not like the music, it too loud!" | Bailey and Emma, my students helped with Em. | ROCKIN ROCKETSHIP 2011
29: Watch out World, Here She Comes! Emily's training wheels were starting to break apart, so I decided to have her try the two wheeler. She jumped on Ethan's little bike and never looked back. I helped her for the first few times and after that she didn't need me. She was even able to get started by herself. She was pretty proud of herself as she smiled her little grin as she rode by. | Look at me! I'm riding on 2 wheels!
31: For our summer vacation we started in Northeast Iowa at Osborne Nature Center. The kids loved the bear, the wolf, the turtles and frogs inside, but the best show was put on by the baby fawn as he raced through the pen to show us his speed. All of the big trees remind us how tiny we are in this big world. | Osborne Nature Center
32: SPOOK CAVE | Our next stop was Spook Cave. Ethan thought it was just that - spooky. He really didn't like the part about Mr. Jones' bones. You can see him pointing at them below. To the right you can see the stalactite that they warn you about. If it drips on your head, you'll go bald within a week. And of course don't forget about the three alligators. Ethan made it through with the help of Emily's reassurance. I just didn't remember having to bend over so much to get through.
34: The Don Q Inn was quite a treat. It had fantasuites to stay in, but we had a regular room. It had mirrors everywhere, and Gary and Karen even had one over their bed. The lobby had old barber chairs all around a huge fire pit. It had a huge cribbage board, bumper pool, table tennis and all kinds of FREE fun things to do, not to mention the pool. It had an underground tunnel to get to the restaurant, which was a bit scary. Needless to say, it was unique!
35: The part of the hotel that Ethan especially liked was the airplane out front. The man who created the hotel originally wanted it to have a restaurant attached to it. It had all of the equipment still in it, so the kids could see what it was like for the army men. Ethan had a blast pretending to be the pilot. He didn't want to give it up. The kids also had fun playing dead on the cots. Farah Faucett's signature is on the side of the plane. You will notice how strong Jeff is holding up the whole plane!!
36: The Upper Dells | Boat Tour | The Upper Dells tour was a nice and easy trip up the Wisconsin River. After having to be bussed to the site because of high water, we finally got up and decided to sit on the bottom level because it was so hot. The first stop the tour took was at the Witches Gultch. It was a winding walk through the sandstone bluffs. There was a very neat crick that ran through. You can see the kid's faces after eating their ice cream treat. The second stop was to see the dog jump to chimney rock. They retell the story of the man who first invented the automatic camera who made his son jump over and over until he took the perfect picture to prove it to the world. The trip was a lot of fun. Next time, I would like to be able to walk through the Witches Gultch without a tour. Ten minutes isn't enough.
37: The Tommy Bartlett Ski Show | After a much needed nap for Emily, we took in the Tommy Bartlett Show. Ethan really liked the first part with all of the skiing. He even loved when the monkey got loose and came running down the stairs to spill someone's popcorn. They liked the tricks of the clown, too. Em liked the second part of the show where there was more circus-like tricks. They had a family that flipped on the dad's feet and a couple that walked on a spinning wheel. It is amazing to see the guys ski barefoot.
38: Now that was a BLAST!!! | The Jet Boat Tour was the best part of the trip. Since it was chilly and 6:00 pm, we were the only people on the boat. We snuck Emily on even though she was too young, but she loved it! The first time the water came over the top, and covered us, her face was a combination of shock and awe, but after one minute, she smiled and said, woo-hoo!! Ethan said, "This is AWESOME!" We all left soaking wet and totally satisfied!!
39: Tommy Bartlett Exploratory | What were you thinking? | The Exploratory was a lot of fun. Ethan thought it was great because he could bounce from one thing to the next for several hours. I liked watching the kids come up with their own ways to solve things. The shadow imaging room was cool along with the huge Vandegraffe generator. I remembered playing the ball game that Ethan is above at the hog buying station. The story of the day was "How did Ethan get his shoe stuck under the revolving mirror? No- one will ever know!
40: The Moose Jaw | We finished our vacation with an annual trip to the Moose Jaw. It has great food and even has an arcade in the basement. The best part is always wearing the antlers. It was a great trip to the Dells with Grandpa and Grandma. As you can see, it definitely wore out the little ones!
41: The best part of the summer other than visiting our family is swimming in Vern and Connie's pool. They are so gracious to let us swim. The summer was super hot and we used their pool quite a bit. We thanked them by trimming their lawn and getting them sweet corn. During the week in July where it was so hot the water actually reached 96 degrees. Ethan and Emily truly turned into fish. Emily could dive to the bottom of any pool. Ethan could too as long as he could plug his nose!
42: “I see my path, but I don't know where it leads. Not knowing where I'm going is what inspires me to travel it.”~Rosalia de Castro | My cousin Jason's son Connor was so cute. He loved to talk and was very outgoing. | Emily loved the water balloon fight! | Ready, Set, Throw!! My cousin Peggy did a great job planning activities for the kids. Along with the water balloons, Ethan loved the Minute to Win It games! | Dad had no chance. Ethan and Emily both ganged up on him! He defended himself and made sure the kids got wet, too! | BERGAN FAMILY REUNION | Two Peas in a pod!
43: Lois and Laverne | Roger and Jane | Carl and Charlene and families | Colleen and the Hovey family | Jim and Jean and the Morris Family | Mom and the few of us | Ethel and the Tietje's | The families | Janet and Joe couldn't make it because Jill was home
46: Over the fourth of July, Mike, Monica, and the kids came home for the first time in two years. It was great to see them. Of course we had to take the canoeing trip down the Upper Iowa. We went North of Kendalville down to Mom and Don's spot. The weather was great for once. Ethan, Emily, Kate, and Joy swam or floated most of the way. Everything was good to go until we hit a tree that was down. Jeff and I made it through fine, but Grandma and Grandpa had the three little girls in the canoe. They all leaned to one side and the next thing we knew we were chasing Cheetos down the river. Everyone was okay, just a little shaken up. After canoeing, we all went back to Grandma's for a graduation party for Justin. It was good to see all of the neighbors! | Paddles Ready! | Joy and AVery | The whole Gang! | Ethan posing! | Chris, Cary, Grandpa and Grandma | Justin and Tyler | Joy, Cate, Emily, Avery, Ethan | Troy, Avery, Michelle, and Elaine | Ethan in his hat!
47: Ethan and Cassie | Sisterly Love! | Jessica, Danielle, Courtney, Morgen | Avery, Joy, and Ethan | Melinda and Charlene | The "outlaws" | Ethan found a frog! | Avery, Mikaela, and Jordan Buchheit | Sparklers! | Avery, Cate, and | Avery and Joy | Molly and her twins Layten and Laney | Aaron (Fang) and Michael | Melinda, Mae, Mary T., Howie, Mike, Aaron, Bergie Michelle, Chris, Me, Maria, Susan, Molly | Justin's Graduation Party at Grandmas
48: Making a SPLASH
49: at BIG ROCK
50: N | i | a | r | g | a | C | a | v | e
51: When we were home, we thought it would be fun to visit Niagra Cave. I didn't remember the story about the pigs getting lost and that is how they found the cave. The kids enjoyed it, especially how big it was. It was definitely cold and wet down there, and very dark when the lights went out. It was all fun until we had to walk up the 100 stairs on the way back out. You basically go straight down at the beginning and straight up at the end. The kids also had fun playing in the park when we finished our tour.
52: A much needed repreive ! | Oh How Good It Feels! | The month of July brought several weeks of 90 degree weather with around 80 percent humidity. It was almost unbearable. Thank goodness that Vern and Connie let us use their pool. One morning it rained and cooled off to 70. The kids ran out in their underwear and played in the water. It was more fun than the swimming pool!
53: The cats left more than tracks!! | After staying at Grandma's for a week, the kids brought home ringworm. Em had it all over her chest and back and even on her face. Ethan had it all over his stomach. Needless to say, no more playing with the cats when we go to Grandma's | One of our favorite things to do is to find cicada shells and the real insect on the trees. Ethan collected at least 50. | What would we do without Cody's four wheeler? We'll see how long the gears last!!
54: Maggie and Alex, July 23, 2011
55: There is nothing more fun than a wedding dance! | The face says it all! | Alex was so much fun to dance with! Ethan even got in the middle of the circle to show his moves! | Ethan and Em had waited so long to dance, and even though it was over 90 degreees, it didn't stop them from dancing the night away. | After the rain, they were able to get pictures in and the rest of teh day was fabulus. The ceremony was short, but beautiful. | Emily and Bella were like two peas in a pod. They danced and ran all night. I just worried Em would pass on her ringworm
56: Looking back, it was such a great experience. We were a bit sad that we missed rehearsal dinner because of the ringworm , but it allowed Emily to get a good night's sleep. During the wedding Ethan wanted to stay up in front with the other boys, but did a great job coming and sitting with Maddie and Zach. It was a wonderful day for Maggie and her family. It was wonderful to see Rick walk Maggie down the isle, knowing that he is battling cancer. Grandpa Beneke would have been proud!
57: One of our last outings before school started was going to Lost Island Water Park with Michelle, Danielle, Courtney, Hannah and Avery. The kids would have swam all day. Their favorite part was the new roller coaster, which we went on four times in a row at the end of the day. | LOST ISLAND
58: Emily wins best catch with her 12" bass | Grandpa Eldon would be proud of all of the fishing we did this summer. Our favorite place was Prairie Lakes. We caught a lot of small bluegills and perch. While we were out, we also saw geese, swallows and one day we got to watch the men flying their remote control airplanes.
59: Our Last Day At Kathy's | For the last four years, Kathy Barnes helped watch Ethan and Emily. She is a very loving and caring person and it was like going to Grandmas for the kids. Emily greatly misses her best friend Mia and Ethan also misses Jacob. Whenever we saw them at the UNI ball games, they never wanted to let each other go. We will miss Kathy and we thank her for all she has done for the kids.
60: making | Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breaths away. | I thought it would be nice to have one more set of pictures of my "little kids" before Ethan went off to Kindergarten. I can't believe how big they both are and how cute, too!!
61: Emily Begins at Blessed Beginnings | Emily made the big transition to the large daycare in the fall. We thought it would be easier if we decided to put her into preschool. We also knew that if we didn't take this opportunity, it may not arise again. It was very tough for Emily. She cried every day, and we don't mean just for a few minutes. She cried all day. Jeff even went and sat in the parking lot to see what they were doing for her. We had to do sticker charts to try and get her not to cry. She finally made a connection with her teacher Michelle and after a month or so, she was able to go in and not cry. But as you can see by the pictures, they got to do a lot of fun things!
62: ETHAN'S FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN | On August 18, Ethan started off on his first day at Edison Elementary. It was a little emotional for me, as I didn't get to see him off, but Dad said he did fine. I think he looked cute in his uniform that he had to wear. The day went well until Jeff went to pick him up and he wasn't there. He wanted to ride the bus, so he went to get on. Good thing they hadn't left yet and they were able to get him off of the bus. Lets just say the bus thing was a fiasco!
63: Ethan's first school picture. He is a minority in his class, but he loves everyone. One of his best friends is Jesus. Ethan wants to grow his hair out like him. Mrs. Powell is his teacher.
64: In late August, Ethan had the day off because of parent input conference, he got to go mini golfing, go-cart riding, and jumping with Em, Dad, Grandpa Gary and Grandma Karen. | I got to drive myself | Mini Golf
65: Jumping fun! | My money's on Grandpa! | What was even more amazing was the Blue Angels that were doing their practice run for the Waterloo Air Show. They were flying so low, we didn't notice them until they were right on top of us.
66: Happy 4th Birthday to Emily
67: We love Grandpa and Grandma | Two Peas in a Pod!! | For Em's bday, all of her cousins came and it was so beautiful out that they played all day. Even the big kids got in on the riding fun! Cary helped fix Ethan's bike and Mikaela took her turn on the hot wheel! Em really liked her new baby pillow pet and her barbie car!
68: GO PANTHERS | UNI Panther Volleyball is one of our favorite things to do in the fall! The Panthers had another great season. They went undefeated in the regular season and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The final game against Florida was intense and it was a lot of fun to have Mikaela, Melinda, and Grandma Mae there.
69: The beginning sparkles bring it down low the robot and the end | The Interlude takes over the McLoed Center!! | We LOVE T.C. (and his wife) | Waiting to shake hands with the players!
70: Happy Birthday Ethan and Daddy
71: Ethan and Daddy's birthday started out just like we had planned. We went to church, and got ready for Grandpa and Grandma to come over. While we were waiting, we got a call from the realtor that someone wanted to look at the house. So just after lunch, we went to Grandpa and Grandma's for cake and ice cream. It wasn't what we wanted to do, but it worked. Ethan got just what he wanted. A BIG nerf gun and a Darth Vader costume. His gun even had two missiles that light up. He went outside to see if he could "start the car" like in the commercial, but little did he know, Dad pushed the panic button so he got the same reaction as the kid on the commercial - shocked. Daddy got a new TV in the living room since Ethan just happened to throw the Wii remote through the TV downstairs.
72: Fall leaves on the Riverside Trail Oct. 9
73: Lots of Leaves Lots of Friends There seemed to be more leaves than ever this year. Even the pine tree lost many of its needles. We took three truck loads to the yardwaste site, but before we did. The kids had too much fun jumping in the leaves. It seemed to bring the neighbors out, also. Brenden and Chloe came from down the street, Vanessa also rode her bike over. An of course, our neighbor Vern, who is the voice of the neighborhood came out to see what was happening. One day Ethan helped mow up his leaves.
74: Its always good to have a little down time. One of Ethan and Emily's favorite thing to do at Grandpa and Grandma Beneke's is to build the legos all the way to the ceiling. One favorite thing to do at Grandma Mae's is to play with the balloons and of course Cody. And finally, one day when Grandma Mae came down, she brought some funny glasses that the kids had a lot of fun with.
75: Swimming Lessons | Fall swimming lessons went pretty well. Em was in level 2 and Ethan in level 3. Em had a kid in her class that shouldn't have been there, they had to jump in and save her. We thought Emily passed, but she didn't. Ethan learned his different strokes. They learned the elementary backstroke by doing soldier, chicken, airplane. He passed on to level 3.
77: The fall weather was great this year and we played in the leaves many evenings. Ethan and Em had a great time with their neighbors, Zach, Jada, and Maci. They rode bikes and scooters and jumped in the leaves every night
78: Trick or Treat | We had a lot of fun with Darth Vader and the baker. Emily wanted to be a princess, but once she got her dress on, decided princess dresses were too scratchy. Emily figured out the saying "Trick or treat smell my feet or give me something good to eat. If you don't I don't care, I'll pull down your underwear!!
79: We went around the block, with the house on the corner being the best. They even had people on the roof. They spent a month setting it up, so we thought it better be good. Then we went to Karen's and Grandpa and Grandmas. We had more candy than we could eat!
80: THANKSGIVING IN THE CITIES Emily couldn't wait until we got to MaryAnn and Rich's house. She knew there were going to be two babies and a puppy there. We got to see little William and Brody and of course got to take Sam on a walk and give him about 50 treats. We also had fun reading books with Great Grandma Collins and Ethan read his first full book with Grandma Karen. It is a book called I am a Bunny. While we were there, Rich told us that there was a zip line in the neighbors yard that we could ride on. The kids didn't want to stop.
81: Thanksgiving at Grandma Mae's We celebrated Thanksgiving and birthdays the weekend after Thanksgiving. The kids had a lot of fun with the pinata and going down to the pasture to feed the calves. Ethan even got to ride in the combine with Darryl!
82: TIS THE | season | The day after Thanksgiving is the annual "Santa Holiday Parade" in Cresco. We got to see Lightning McQueen and Mater. We even got to see Grandpa Don singing on one of the floats. But of course the best part is when the kids got to see Santa for the first time this season. The weather was so nice that we walked to Melinda's afterwards, singing Christmas carols all the way.
83: UNI FIGHT!! | UNI FIGHT!! | Its always a good time when the RA's come into town. We made the last game of the season, and it was a good one. Ethan had tons of fun with Caleb. After the game, they wrestled and tackled all over the field. Emily attached with Megan, but had fun with all of the girls. Even little Raygan tackled her daddy (Pat) after the game. Ethan made it on the big screen when he was pretending to direct the band.
84: Emily's Artwork | Emily really started to enjoy school. She had the opportunity to go to the pumpkin patch and to Texas Roadhouse to make rolls. They also had the dentist and the and the firemen come to school. When they asked her what she wanted to do when she grew up, she said "a teacher". She started to draw and color a lot, and I really like all the things they made with her handprints. .
85: My Bus #8 | Student of the Week | Ethan has started doing some fun things in Kindergarten. He was student of the Week in October and Dad got to bring him Subway. He really loves his bus #8 and his driver Nancy. He has collected a lot of Eagle feathers. | Ethan has done well in math, but has really liked art and music, too. But if you ask him his favorite thing is to play with his friends | My Grandpa and Grandma | Counting in Math | My Spider | Ethan at Edison
86: Getting ready for Christmas is always so much fun! We baked cookies at Chris's house and then came home and did a few more. Ethan really did a nice job helping. He also helped a lot with decorating the tree. Emily helped too, of course she was dressed like usual when she is in the house, only in her underwear!
87: SANTA | Letters to. . . | Visiting Santa Downtown CF was neat. Holiday Hoopla is always decorated in a fun way. Ethan sat nicely and asked for his DS and cowboy hat and boots. Emily wanted nothing to do with sitting on his lap, but said she wanted a Snow White doll from afar. We did get to mail our letters, though and it was pretty neat when each of the kids received a letter back from the North Pole.
88: Christmas on the Parkade. After visiting with Santa, we took a trip up to UNI and took some pictures by the lights. It was the coldest day so far this year. Little did we know that the rest of December would be much warmer.
90: Christmas at Grandma Mae's
91: The newer tradition continues with Prime Rib and Presents. Can't forget fighting time with Cody and Bergie singing Christmas carols. Ethan got his gun and cowboy hat. Bergie got a dancing Santa hat, but the kids had more fun with it than him. | Cassy and Emily had a blast, as usual. Even Troy brought in a fun fill in the blank game. But most of all, it is just fun to get together with everyone.
92: First thing in the morning, Emily had to get up and feed the kitties. Lord knows she would spend every minute with them if it was possible. One handful in every dish, so they can all eat! Along the way I had to snap a few photos to remind us how beautiful and peaceful the farm is. | Making Memories with Grandma
93: Goodbye to Edison | Ethan got into a great routine of how he was dropped off in the morning. You had to drive a certain way, drop him off and let him walk up and stand with his friends. Come January that will change as they move to the new Becker building. He is ready though, he even came home one night and started chanting, "We are Becker, Nobody's better!"
95: It is so nice to have Grandpa and Grandma close, so we can celebrate Christmas at home. It is even better when Santa comes to both places. Emily loved her Snow White doll and Ethan loved his remote control car, but they both loved their Stompeez slippers that pop up when they step!
96: Beware, they may steal all of your gifts. Good thing Santa is watching!! | WANTED: The Holiday Bandits
97: Christmas in Winona with Auntie Ann, Maggie, and Zach. Lord knows we can't go anywhere without wrestling!! We did have fun playing Farkle with everyone!
98: hanging out | While in Winona, we got to stay at a hotel. The kids loved the opportunity to swim. We have two little fish!!
99: After putting together his razor hot wheel, Ethan had to try it out. It has casters on the back, so when you turn, it can do 360s. He figured it out pretty quickly, of course. Even Emily liked being able to spin around! | There may not be snow, but I'm STILL MAKING TRACKS!