Tuesday, December 28, 2010

19 years & counting

I feel so very blessed to have had the foresight to pick this man to date when I was a senior in high school and 18 years old. Today we are celebrating the 19th anniversary of our wedding and I love him more than ever. He is kind, generous, giving, loving, hilarious, insightful, strong, intelligent, comforting and so much more.
The first song we danced to on our wedding night was (Everything I do) I do it for you by Brian Adams and the lyrics still resonate with me.

Look into my eyes - you will see
What you mean to me
Search your heart - search your soul
And when you find me there you'll search no more

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for
You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for
You know it's true

Everything I do - I do it for you

Look into your heart - you will find
There's nothin' there to hide
Take me as I am - take my life
I would give it all - I would sacrifice

Don't tell me it's not worth fightin' for
I can't help it - there's nothin' I want more

Ya know it's true
Everything I do - I do it for you

There's no love - like your love
And no other - could give more love

There's nowhere - unless you're there

All the time - all the way
Oh - you can't tell me it's not worth tryin' for
I can't help it - there's nothin' I want more
I would fight for you - I'd lie for you
Walk the wire for you - ya I'd die for you

Ya know it's true Everything I do - I do it for you.

Happy Anniversary, Honey!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A very Merry Christmas indeed.

Christmas 2010 was celebrated in ND back at the farm. The 4 Lindgrens arrived before noon on Christmas Eve and the cousins were off and playing as soon as we got the van unloaded. Russ brought his snowmobile to the farm and that combined with Randy's snowmobile to create outdoor fun for the kids and for the brothers & brother-in-law. {Think extreme sledding & wildlife scouting}

In addition to outdoor activities, there were indoor projects as well. Abby had a zipper tragedy with her favorite purple high-tops which took up a bulk of Grandma's afternoon to remedy. Kristy put her sewing skills to use as she worked on Nixin's t-shirt quilt.

By late afternoon, the smell of traditional Christmas Eve oyster stew filled the house {which is viewed unfavorably by my own sniffer.} Near 4:00 PM, we were dressed up in Christmas finery to attend Christmas Eve Mass. Following Mass, we lined up for some family photos.
Rod & Rose beget Randy, Renae & Russ
Renae & Steve beget Abby & Angelique
Randy & Anna beget Makenzie, Kaleb & Logan
Russ & Kristy beget Noah & Nixin
And the grandparents with 7 smilin' grandkids.
After a hardy supper of oyster stew & potato soup, the elves passed out presents & one by one the gifts were revealed.
A surprise visit from Santa to make sure all the kiddo's were on their best behavior. Nixin was especially enamored with the jolly man.
Reviewing the annual 2011 family calendar which was created this year by Anna.
We thought we would help out the "chic-magnet" with this appropriate tee.
Kippy was especially excited with this Wii drawing gadget from her parents for Christmas.
Abby was totally surprised by the gift of cellular technology from her parents. The real trick will be if she can retain the privilege!!

So many wonderful memories from Christmas 2010:
  • Exchanging White Elephant Christmas gifts between the adults with the hilarious addition of Uncle Bob and Aunt Judy. Kristy was the unfortunate winner of the repeat elephant... the singing red-neck hunter. Anna was the lucky scratch-off lotto ticket recipient. Uncle Bob was jubilant over his MacGyver walking stick & the reason I nearly wet my pants laughing.
  • Nixin walking into the kitchen loudly asking, "Raise your hand if you want to play with me!" When Abby raised her hand, Nixin responded, "OH YEAH!" in a deep voice & a fist pump. Funny kid.
  • Watching the kids play Wii Mario Cart and hearing Logan taunt Uncle Russ, "You're going down!"
  • Hearing the kids tell of their respective adventures being pulled through deep snow on a sled behind Uncle Russ' snowmobile and brag about the number of times they DIDN'T fall off.
  • Helping Kristy tie her first t-shirt quilt using Grandma Nita's quilt frame.
  • Giving a very wiggly Nixin a haircut while he played some weird toilet paper game on Noah's ipod.
  • Learning a new card game at Randy & Anna's called "Oh, Hell" or rather "Oh, Sell's Win".
  • And the winning memory from Christmas 2010.... Randy stepped outside with the roaster with intentions to toss the turkey drippings outside and accidentally stepped too close to the foundation dug for their new addition and fell in. He ended up with one leg dangling in a hole and the other leg 90 degrees split on the ground, turkey drippings all over himself and unable to get out. He tried yelling over and over, but the rowdy group indoors couldn't hear his cries for help. He managed to reach his cellphone in the upper pocket of his ever-present bibs and was able to call Mak. He told her that he was stuck outside, but when she looked out the window she couldn't see him. It took some further explaining to understand that he had fallen half-way in a foundation hole and couldn't get out. To further add insult to injury, before helping Randy with his situation, pictures were taken {Anna has the evidence} and there was much laughter. When Steve bent down to pull Randy out he almost fell in himself, so Steve quickly let go of Randy. Gotta love the self-preservation instinct, right? Steve finally got better leverage and was able hoist Randy out of the hole before the hungry farm cats could begin feasting on all the tasty turkey drippings covering Randy.
I think that sums up Christmas 2010! Hope yours was memorable as well!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

O Christmas tree...

Decorating the Christmas tree is something that the girls and I look forward to doing to kick off the Holiday season. We love getting out all the ornaments and remembering the stories behind them. Some are new, some are old, some are homemade, some are boughten, and all are a treasure beyond compare.
Kathy & I made this cinnamon ornament together which is a tracing of Abby's tiny little 2 1/2 year old hand-print 11 years ago. It was a bright spot in a very dark year for me & reminds me that things always get better.
This ornament makes me smile to remember the story behind it. Abby's godparents are the BEST ever!
This beautiful flying fairy melts my heart. It is the last ornament I received from my Grandpa Rudy and always makes me think of both of my grandparents.

Nephew Nixin, was so excited to give this Santa key to his Uncle Steve last year. I still remember the joy and excitement on his face as Steve opened the ornament.

Another beautiful creation from one of my besties in an annual ornament exchange. So many ornaments, so many wonderful memories... our Christmas tree is priceless.

Cruising the lights

We like to spend at least one evening driving around looking at Christmas lights within our home town. We like to go to the neighborhoods with the most lights. There is some judging that occurs, while we sip our hot chocolate & listen to Christmas tunes. The backseat critics give letter grades A-F.
This house got an A+... it had the perfect balance of lights and such a very warm glow.

This was the most beautiful Nativity set, so warm & inviting.
Our neighbors transform their house into a giant gingerbread house, which puts our house to shame.
This house just cracked us up. It is a Griswold-wanna-be.

My favorite part was the sign out front "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakabl Gift." Guess spelling wasn't a strong point.

Have to give them a shout-out for the most unique Nativity Creche... a doggie kennel.
I have to say I am not fan of the red candles in the windows. It really makes a house look spooky or something to me. {Perhaps I shouldn't have watched Amityville Horror as a kid.}
Here is our house at night. The back-seat critics gave it a C+. I give it an A+ because Steve didn't have to make a trip to the emergency room to complete it!

Monday, December 20, 2010

My favorite Christmas cookie.

If I could only pick one cookie to bake at Christmas-time, it would be Gingerbread cookies. I love them! I love rolling them out; I love the smell as they are baking; I love the red-hot buttons; I love dunking them in my coffee in the morning; I cannot go a Christmas season without making up a batch.

I use an old recipe I got 18 years ago from my mom. It is stained and scuffed, but I promise, it makes the best darn gingerbread EVER. So soft and delicious, I crave them every year. Apparently, it was a converted Weight Watchers recipe because my mom has written some equivalents on the back that I can't even begin to understand.
Just trust me on this one thing... these gingerbread cookies are fab-u-lous!
The best part is the creativity the girls exhibit in accessorizing the gingerbread men/women. The elves don't even bicker because they get to each do their own thing. There is much laughing and giggling and it is SO much better than the gingerbread-house experience.
Here are a few of the clever little gingerbread people the girls made.
Apparently, with a few decorative sprinkles, the possibilities are endless.
A little warning is in order... there are some very scary gingerbread men on the loose!

This vampire gingerbread is going to SUCK.YOUR.BLOOD!!! EEEEKKKKK!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Gingerbread house.

The making of the gingerbread house is one Christmas tradition that quite frankly... is a pain. I first tried to talk the elves out of making the gingerbread house this year, but they were not on board. Next, I thought I had solved the problem of the bickering elves by purchasing a kit with three gingerbread houses, so each elf could have their own to decorate. Turned out, it was just a great marketing ploy and I fell for it. The kit only had ONE house, but showed THREE different ways to decorate the houses. Apparently, in my glee over solving the inevitable arguments between the elves, who have rather strong decorating opinions, I didn't read the label carefully enough.

So it was with a rather rocky start and several discussions about "attitude" that we began the making of the annual gingerbread house. We mixed the frosting a tad-bit too thick, which made it very uncooperative and darn near impossible to work with. It set up so fast that the elves had to quickly press the candies in or they just fell off the house.The first born elf created this side of the gingerbread house.

Complete with shutters and a flower bed.

The second born elf designed this side of the gingerbread house. She incorporated a wreath and two windows.
The second born elf also made this little marshmallow snowman with candy-skis.

In the end, the elves were actually pretty cooperative and proud of their creation. I might even be talked into helping them again next year. {maybe}

Friday, December 17, 2010

The elves bake.

Saturday morning, I recruited my two elves to get some Holiday baking done. Kippy wanted peanut butter kiss cookies, which are a family favorite. { So much a favorite, that I only make them once a year because I can't keep my little mitties out of them.}
As the saying goes, many hands make light work and the elves are more than willing to help so they can snitch tastes of dough & steal Kisses. The elves work on the cookies in an assembly-line type process. One elf unwraps the Kisses, another elf rolls the doughballs in sugar, then the mom-elf pops them in the oven, when the hot pan emerges, the elves work double-time pressing the Kisses into the warm cookies...then the mom-elf calls the head-elf to stop and pick up more Kisses because we have run out. Just in case you have the impression that our baking always goes smoothly.
Eight dozen peanut-butter Kiss cookies later, the house smelled amazing and the elves were in a sugar induced coma. More baking to come...