Monday, December 29, 2008

Test driving a new pet!

Meet Bella... Bella is 3-year-old Maltese/Bichon mix called a Maltichon. She is supposed to be hypo-allergenic, which is a necessity due to my dog allergies.
Our niece, Megan, is allowing us to have her for a week to find out if Bella would be a fit for our family. Megan has raised Bella; however, her current apartment doesn't allow pets, so she was looking for a new home for Bella. Angelique has desperately wanted a dog, but we didn't think it would ever work out. Both Steve & I grew up with dogs and we do want our kids to have the experience of a dog for a companion as well as for the responsibility.
Bella has been getting loads of attention today from all of us, but most especially, Angelique, who is Bella's biggest fan. Bella has been pretty sad today and we hope that she will be feeling better about her new home tomorrow. So far, Angelique & I haven't had any serious allergy reactions, so we are keeping our fingers crossed that Bella will become a permanent family member.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

"He was just seventeen...

and you know what I mean..." Steve was just 17 when I first met him on a wintry night in Edgeley, ND in 1986. Since it is our 17 year anniversary, I thought I would share the story of how I met Steve.

My best friend, Tami, had wanted me to go with her to the Edgeley Sr High vs. Alumni basketball exhibition game on December 26, 1986. She wanted to tell-off her ex-boyfriend, who was playing in the game. I think it was more of a situation where she wanted the "Ex" to realize what he was giving up. I went along for moral support, plus I was excited to be able to go some where different... Edgeley is about 45 miles from Oakes, where Tami and I were H.S. seniors at the time.

The game was in progress when we got there and we met some guys that Tami knew in the hallway. I hadn't met any of them before, but I definitely noticed the tall dark-haired guy. They (Paul, Kevin, Cory & Steve) asked if we wanted to go drive around with them. Being the rebels we were at the time, Tami and I said, "Sure."

I strategically positioned myself in the back seat between Steve and Cory, but made sure I was closer to Steve. I complained about being too cold and continued to snuggle closer and closer to Steve. Eventually, Steve got the hint and put his arm around me. JOY!! The driving-around-thing ended up in Nortonville at Steve's house. Of course, his mom wasn't home, so that made it the perfect place for a party of sorts. Um... is this the part where I confess to under-age drinking?? No? Ok, I won't say anything about that. I will admit to making-out with Steve and oh, how I liked his kisses. Sigh...

I called Steve the next day {'cause I was the pursuer} which initiated a relationship which blossomed into true love by the time we both graduated from High School. Steve recalls the night we first met a little differently than I do... He said he noticed me right away in the hallway, but since he saw I was wearing a letterman's jacket that said "Randy" on it, he thought I had a boyfriend. He said that was why he was reluctant to make the first move in the vehicle. The jacket I was wearing was my older brother, Randy's jacket. Ha!

We spent our first year of college apart because he went to NDSU and I went to NSU. Despite nervous parents, Steve transferred to NSU our sophomore year. Steve proposed on Christmas Eve 1990 and we got married on December 28, 1991.... that leads us to 17 happily married years! I am so lucky to be married to such a wonderful man. He is amazing in so many ways. I am so glad I snagged him on that wintry night on December 26, 1986!

I was 23 and Steve was 22 on our wedding day, December 28, 1991. The trees were frosted and so beautiful! We originally wanted to get married on the anniversary of the night we met, but since the 26th was a Thursday, we moved the wedding day to a Saturday to be a little more convenient to our families and friends. I always tell Steve, "I'm glad I picked you!" and that hasn't changed in the 23 years since we met.... Happy Anniversary, Honey!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The house is ready for Christmas!

I should clarify... I mean the gingerbread house is ready for Christmas! Our real house is NOT ready for Christmas. It needs some serious TLC... there are some gifts that aren't wrapped yet... we have one more party to go to... {BIG SIGH}... I am giving myself an anxiety attack by just thinking of my to-do list. But at least the gingerbread house is DONE!!
We make it from a kit, so one would think it would be easy-NOT. The frosting is always so difficult to work with and there is the inevitable bickering between my two children as we spend several couple hours getting it assembled. I wasn't really looking forward to doing the house this year, but the girls would not let this tradition go.
The treat this year was that Grandma Rose got to help us put it together! My parents stopped by on their way back from their 7-day Caribbean cruise. Having mom with us calmed down the usual bickering about who-gets-to-add-X to the house. Plus, Grandma Rose had some very clever ideas which saved the day... microwaving the frosting when it was too difficult to squeeze totally saved my hands!
Over the years, we have gotten a little more creative with the decorating of the house. Initially, Abby would insist that it had to be decorated EXACTLY like the box. Talk about impossible - I can never get the frosting to cooperate! Now to inspire more creativity, I try to pick up additional candies to go with the kit. I am happy to say that we branched out a little more this year and included some new features. {Or as my friend Kathy would say, "We got out of our Strawberry jam."}
New this year... decorated candy-cane tree.,, which almost was a disaster when Abby discovered after she decorated it that it wouldn't fit on the cake plate next to the house. Steve saved the day and quickly grabbed a glass mug and inverted it. It became the perfect pedestal for the beautiful tree and avoided an Abby-meltdown.
Another new feature... a snowman on a toboggan (Steve's invention) was created with some candy canes, marshmallows & a graham cracker. The girls were so clever figuring out how to make a nose by trimming a gumdrop and adding pretzel arms and mini-chocolate chip buttons.

There was a big argument about what side was the front-door and what was the back-door, but eventually we decided that the imaginary "people" could use whatever door they wanted. Isn't it amazing what can cause arguments? {This reminds me of our dear friend, Denise, and the discussions about what is the front of the cabin and the back of the cabin...}

All in all, it ended up being a very fun family tradition... even if I initially felt Grinch-ey about it.

So which door would you use as the front door... the door flanked by the candy canes?
Or the door flanked by the gingerbread tree and snowman?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lots o' cookies!

Today was our Christmas cookie baking day. Our house smells so darn delicious! It just doesn't seem like Christmas unless I make Gingerbread cookies. Sigh... I love those guys!
Kippy is trying to "look" like her gingerbread man...
Of course, after 3 hours, I am pretty tired of it, but there is some satisfaction in getting the job done. Plus we love snacking on the tasty treats.
Now if I can just keep everyone's little mitties (including mine) off the ones I need for the cookie exchange on Tuesday afternoon. I may have to lock 'em up!
What is your favorite Christmas cookie?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Final OLV Christmas program...

"final" for Abby anyway. Since Abby is a 6th grader, last night was her final OLV Christmas program. Next year she will be in 7th grade at the public school and I am pretty sure there won't be any Christmas programs celebrating the birth of Jesus.

Thank goodness I have 4 more years to go to Christmas programs with Kippy, so I didn't have to bawl my eyes out. Actually, I have found that taking lots of pictures requires me to NOT be a crying mess, or I wouldn't be able to see! For the record, achieving curly hair for my kids is not easy - we have what I call "Stubbornly Straight" hair.
Tuesday afternoon was the "dress rehearsal" of the program, while last night was the real deal. Since I was able to go to both performances, I have to say, the kids really upped their game for their final performance. Of course, the fact that there was no school on Monday due to the storm and then a funeral which prevented the kids from rehearsing in the church worked against them.

Abby got to be the angel "Gabriella" in the play put on by the 6th grade class. Since Abby's class is made up of only 7 girls, they had to create a little play that would work for her all-girl class. Needless to say, it was a bit non-traditional. I witnessed my first Angel Chorus-line as part of a Nativity play!
Angelique volunteered to play "Jingle Bells" during the transition between one class leaving the stage and the next class entering. I'll let you in on a little secret... I staged this photo after the performance, because we missed Angelique playing during the actual program. The reason is that she played during a different time than she had on Tuesday afternoon and we were too far back to actually see her!

Abby played a Christmas song as well. Unknown to us, there was a bit of drama before she played when the music director asked Abby where her music was. Abby said, "I thought you had it." The director figured Abby would pass on playing but Abby said, "I think I know it." Although it wasn't perfect, Abby felt the "show must go on" and played the song from memory. Personally, I would never have been brave enough to do that! Definitely a trait she gets from her dad.

The girls were excited that Auntie Maribeth (Steve's sister), Uncle Dano and cousin Megan were able to come to the performance. It is always nice to have your own fan club!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


In the small town where I went to school (Oakes, ND) there was an annual dance where the girls asked the guys. It was held in the dead of winter and was called "Snowball".

Now look at this impossibly young couple. Check out the amazing hairdos and formal wear. Is that an enormous corsage or what? He must really like her! The tuxedo snowmen are amazing!

I thought I would offer a pop quiz... Can you name the year this photo was taken in?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wow - it's really cold!

Negative 16 degrees? Oh how I wish there was a plus sign in front of that number! I hear it is going to get even colder by tomorrow morning. At least we can brag about having a white Christmas 'cause at these temps there is no chance it will melt in the next 10 days!

Sunday morning, Steve shoveled and shoveled so we could get to church. While we were at church, the snow kept piling up and the winds kept blowing at 40 MPH. We almost got the van stuck trying to get home from church, but Steve was able to back up a 1/2 a block and take a different route. Once we got home, we could no longer get into our driveway! The wind had blown in the driveway, plus a snowplow had gone by and completed the job. The girls and I stumbled through the drifts, while Steve got warmer clothes on and cleared enough snow to get the van back in the garage. In retrospect... leaving the house was probably not our best idea.

Due to the storm, today was a no school day for Steve and the girls. Of course, I didn't think that was fair since my office window was so drifted in that it felt like I was working in a cave. I whined a lot about it throughout the day of course!

Yup - I strictly stay inside where it isn't even close to negative degrees and watch my Knight in Shining Armor dig us out from the storm!

Let your light shine!

On Saturday morning, Angelique received the sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time. There was a group of 22 second graders who were gathered with their parents to receive this special Grace from God.

Angelique did a wonderful job and showed a grateful heart for God's loving mercy. All this growing up is tough on me and I had to choke back tears throughout the morning!

The Letter of James says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful” (5:16). It was so uplifting to have this time to reflect and prepare our hearts for the Joyful day of Christ's birth.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my mom's 64th birthday! Happy birthday, Mom! I wish you a wonderful day filled with family, friends and love.

I thought I would share some fun facts about my mom...

Here is her one-year old picture... Uncle Bob says Abbigail looks just like her Grandma "Rosey"
  • Rose Marie German was born at home on a farm on December 11, 1944. Her parents are George and Bernita German. She was their 6th child... already had 5 siblings, 1 big sister, Joan (who got to choose "Rose" as the name for her baby-sister) and 4 older brothers: Jerry, Tony, Chuck & Jim. Another brother joined the family later, baby-brother Bob.
Mom & Dad on their 43rd anniversary... January 16, 2008
  • Mom graduated from Guelph High School and attended North Dakota State School of Science in Wahpeton, ND and trained for a one year secretary's certificate. Mom married Dad (Rodney C. Sell) on January 16, 1965. They lived in Grand Forks, ND for a year or so while Dad attended the University of North Dakota and then moved back to the family farm outside of Guelph, where they have lived ever since.
October 1968, my 23 year old mom with her baby daughter... Me!
  • Mom had 3 children and continued the tradition of naming us all with "R's"... Randy, Renae and Russell. Mom is an excellent self-taught seamstress and probably made 75% of our clothes. Once all three of us were in school, mom worked several different jobs... church secretary, administrative secretary to the High School principal... but the job that she still continues and has had the longest is Weight Watcher's Leader. In fact, she was just honored for her 25th year with Weight Watchers last month.
Accepting her 25 year award from Weight Watchers...

  • Mom has done so much for me that I would have to write a book to tell it all. She bought me my first sewing machine when I was in 2nd grade and taught me to sew. I was in sewing competitions throughout grade school, high school and even into college. Mom made my first Communion dress, my wedding dress, my daughter's Baptism gown and my daughter's first Communion dress.
  • Abby's middle name is Rose, in honor of Mom.
  • She was in the delivery room for the birth of Angelique, which was so amazing for both of us. She now has 7 grandchildren to spoil and love on!
My favorite picture with Mom taken by Heather in June 2006.

My mom is awesome! She is very loving, generous, beautiful, funny and honest. She once gave me a banner that reads... "A Daughter is a little girl who grew up to be a friend." I couldn't ask for anything more than to have a mother who is also my BFF! Love you, Mom!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oops, he did it again...

Remember this image of Steve's Christmas Catastrophe from a little over a week ago? Well, Steve is at it again only this time he didn't have to go to the ER.

Last Saturday Steve was shoveling snow at our rental property (aka "the vine house"). He put the shovel down and was trying to remove the "For Rent" sign because at the time, we thought we had a renter lined up. The sign was very stubborn and frozen into the ground (maybe that was a little foreshadowing 'cause we still don't have a renter). Steve repositioned himself to try to get better leverage to pull the sign out, when he accidentally stepped on the scoop of the shovel with his left boot. Said shovel, quickly responded and whacked him above his left eye.

So although his right eye is still healing from his previous injury, he is now sporting a new black eye on the other side. Poor guy! I wonder if the people he works with at the community college are thinking he is moonlighting as a boxer or something?

This commercial began running at Thanksgiving time and several people have said they think of Steve whenever they see it... what do you think?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Christmas Confession....

I did something today I have never done before.... I watched "Miracle on 34th Street"!! I know it makes me sound like a freak of nature, but seriously, I have never seen this movie. Let me give a little set up on the challenges I had just to see it... This weekend, I had planned to have our family watch a Christmas Classic together. I picked "Miracle on 34th Street" because it is supposed to be a classic, right?? I had told Steve and the girls about the plans and the girls were very excited - (probably because I told them we would be wearing our Santa hats and eating popcorn and treats). Steve, not so much, 'cause he told me he had already seen the movie (he is more cultured than I am, ya know).

Back to the planning... I thought I would be able to get the movie using the OnDemand service from Charter Communication, but yesterday as I searched and searched, I found out that it wasn't available through OnDemand. What the heck? I did find that one of the regular network channels would be showing it on Saturday, December 13th; however, I needed it for Sunday afternoon! I thought about renting the movie, but then thought "what if we want to make this an annual family tradition?" So end result... we now own the DVD! So, if you also have waiting and waiting to see "Miracle on 34th Street", you can borrow it from me.

As long as I am confessing... I also have never watched "A Christmas Story" or "It's a Wonderful Life". Are those really classics? Be honest. Now, before you think that I am a Christmas scrooge or something... I have seen "A Charlie Brown Christmas", "A Christmas Carol", "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" & "Polar Express" to name a few.

One more confession... I only have 4 Christmas music CD's... Is that wrong? Please feel free to add any Christmas Confession that you have been secretly harboring.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Another addiction of mine...

I confess... I am obsessed with snowmen - or is it snowwomen?
Maybe,I should go with the politically correct term of snowperson?
Hmmm... regardless, I love all kinds of snowpeople...
Happy ones...

Princess ones...

Spike-y ones...

Melting ones...

Funny ones...

Whether they are made from real snow or from something else...
I have one requirement... They must have a CARROT nose!
There once was a snowman with a carrot nose.

Along came a bunny, and what do you suppose?

That hungry little bunny, was looking for some lunch.

He ate that snowman's carrot nose...

This year, I am so excited because I went ahead and did something I always wanted to do... I have two Christmas trees! The tree upstairs is completely decorated with snowpeople! I love how it turned out and it makes me so happy, I just want to squish them all up!!
Now that you know another of my addictions, share with me your addictions!