Saturday, December 19, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Well, the year is coming to a close - (can you believe it!) Its been a great year for us. We have really grown to love Kansas and our new home, friends, and neighbors. For those of you first time blog readers - thanks for taking a peek. On the right hand side you can click on any month to read the posts during that time. Be sure to peek at July to see our trip to Idaho for the fourth- always a blast! A few other highlights includes Brock 5th birthday, no longer needing training wheels, playing 3 different sports, and losing 2 teeth! Allie turned three this year and has been in tumbling class, pre-school, and loves to ride her big wheel! Little Jenna will be two on the 28th of Dec. and she keeps us busy with all her exploring and mess making. She loves to push her baby in the stroller, climb on everthing including the kitchen counter, and follow Brock and Allie everywhere, trying to do as they do.

Having kids so close in age can be exhausting, but to watch them play together and grow so close is the very reason we had in mind, its warms our hearts to see them become the very best of friends.

Jake will soon be transferring from the fertilizer sales division of Koch Ind. to become a barge trader. He is excited for the new opportunities and challenges ahead. (Nancy is excited that it means less travel!)

Nancy is so happy to have a nice new YMCA so close because there are tons of activities for the kids, plus a play zone for the kids so she can have an hour to herself and her ipod! As a kid, she struggled to write those "When I grow up I want to be a..." class assignments because all she could ever think of was being a mother able to stay at home with her children. Time sure flies, with one child in school already, soon there will be no more reason to stay home (unless they improve daytime tv and bon bons - haha!) So with these fleeting moments of small children, Nancy tries to relish every moment - and take a picture of everything!

We hope all is well in your families. And please enjoy our make shift Nativity...

Luke 2:7 "And she brought forth her first born son,and wrapped him in swaddling clothes,

and laid him in a manager; because there was no room for him in the inn." I hope we all have room in our hearts now and in the new year for the Savior. Love to all and Merry Christmas, from the Niederers.


(Jenna is suppose to be a sheppard...the candy can is her staff. Be sure to notice the cattle that are "lowing". ;)

Friday, December 11, 2009

4 Steps of Gingerbread Houses :

Step One: Smear frosting on little gingerbread house and cover with candy...



Step Two: Add even more candy.


Step three: Tragically describe to your mother how the candy fell off the house during the bus ride home.


Step four: Take mother's advice and just eat the candy that has fallen off...all is well again! Hooray for gingerbread houses!


Monday, December 7, 2009

Its Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas...

We got a great tree this year, Jake always like the get the biggest one available, and this year's tree is huge with no bare spots - what a find! We had fun getting the house all decorated for Christmas...This (Santa on the right) is my new decoration of the year...you move the blocks to count down to Christmas day. The green sign that you can't read in this photo says "Days 'Til Christmas." The kids have yet to forget to change the blocks. I also got a great advent calender for 25cents at a garage sale this summer. I'll have to post a picture of that when I post the outside decor pictures. Anyway, its a fabric calender that has little stuffed Christmas items (star, candy cane, gingerbread man, toys, gift box etc) that you take from the top and place in a numbered pocket until you reach 25. Another hit with the kids - not bad for a quarter!I let the kids do a lot of the trimming of the tree. They had a blast, Allie liked to put all the Care Bear ornaments in a cluster..."so they can not be lonely". How sweet.
I put my nativity up on the mantle this year surrounded by lighted greenery, I think it turned out very nice.
Jake and I stumbled upon a huge lights display in Wichita one night while we were out on a date, so we took the kids the following night. It was awesome!
My picture quality is pretty poor, since I took them from the car.
Woohoo! Ridin' in style!We discovered that at the end of the drive, Santa was waiting (along with watered down cocoa and dry cookies) so of course we got out of the car so the kids could get a few things off their chest -haha!Allie didn't want to sit on his lap - no surprise there, but she was willing to talk with him as long as Jake was close by. Jenna sat next to him, but wouldn't look at him. I have misplaced the photo they took, but I'll post it soon. Its funny. Even as a child I found Santa creepy and bizarre. I never found the appeal of sitting on a strange man's lap while asking him for stuff... Jake says that is why I am such a scrooge. Maybe so.

The kids really enjoyed the "Lights on the Lake" display, and we plan on making it a new family tradition, sans the really icky hot chocolate.

Bye bye Santa!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Where's Wuzzy?

So one of Jenna's nick names is Wuzzy, I am not really sure why. It must have started when Jake would spin her around and around while saying "wuzzy wuzzy wuzzy!" Some how it stuck, anyway, one morning I called the kids upstairs to eat breakfast, and when Jenna wasn't in toe, I inquired of her whereabouts, since I already noticed she was no longer in bed. Brock and Allie were positive Jenna had not been downstairs playing with them...so I hurried and checked the garage and backyard...still no Wuzzy. Eventually, I found her...
Look closely...
Spot her yet?

There's Wuzzy!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

So Thankful


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, we sure hope you did, too!


Brock's class had a little Indian and Pilgrim Thanksgiving feast. I planned on attending, but Jake said he would like to go, so I said as long as he would take a picture, I would be willing to send him - haha. So here is Brock in his Indian garb, looking so adorable. The little girl next to him is the little one he informs me that he is "so in love with"...ug, it begins.

Jenna and my brother James were best buds during his visit. She insisted on calling him "guy" not James, but we thought it was cute and just went with it. Here is a shot of her checking out his lap top. When we were at the grocery store grabbing a few last minute feast items, she kept pushing at my hands on the grocery cart and saying, "Guy! Guy!" So I had to let James push the cart to appease her. It was so nice to have my brother stay for a few days, I hadn't seen him for over a year!



Brock with Gramma and Grampa Mulnix (aka Froofroo and Pa) Nothing like an invigorating game of Mitten Memory after thanksgiving dinner.


Cousin snack time! Little Lily (in the white chair) is such a joy to have around. She just keeps busy with toys, books, and following Brock around. Brock kept declaring "I am Lily's favorite!" Its nice to have a cousin close by again!
Jake and Jenna washed the dishes after our feast...yes...Jenna is soaking wet. What a helper.

Somehow, Jenna took a picture of herself. Too cute to delete!

On a non-Thanksgiving note, Brock has lost his second tooth. Not to be confused with his gap on top, he lost his other bottom front tooth. The tooth fairy forgot all about it until morning, but luckily Brock slept in, and Mr. Tooth fairy had cash after Black Friday shopping.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Moments...

Its seems like we (humans in general) are always in a hurry. In too much of a hurry to enjoy the little things. We want to hurry up and clean, quickly inhale our meals, hurry and get our baby to crawl, then walk and talk, feed themselves, hurry to shop for Christmas gifts, hurry and mail the Christmas cards...but do you enjoy any of it, or are we all so stressed out we don't enjoy our babies, our toddlers, our preschoolers....shopping for gifts, enjoy mailing greetings to all of our friends? Take a minute to breathe and really enjoy what is happening. Don't get so caught up in what we "have" to do, and focus on what we "get" to do this time of year. Anyway, I have some photos of little moments I am glad to be a part of. In lieu of Thanksgiving, I have been trying to slow down and truly, be thankful...

Here is my dolly Jenna, look at her hair - its getting so long! Its fun to have girls and try different things with their hair, I have found that if you need a toddler girl to hold still, giver her a toothbrush with a tiny bit of paste, and let them brush away on their teeth, while you brush their hair...its a good distraction. In fact, I was daring enough to cut Allie's hair myself the other day. The only think I wish I had done differently was go shorter. I was so paranoid about going too short, that I still think I could go another inch shorter. We'll see if I dare attempting that again.

I volunteer in Brock's classroom once a month, and this month, I noticed his picture up by the office on a bill board. I remember several weeks ago, he brought home a pencil that said "Principal's Positive Kid." I assumed everyone got one, and he didn't have much to say about it. So imagine my surprise when I see his face on the wall. I thought it was like "Student of the Week" from my elementary school, but this picture has now been up for like 2 months. I love the annoyed look on his face in the picture, like he's rather be in PE then having his photo taken and receiving an award. Too funny. One day after basketball practice, Brock informed me that he was "starving and about to die!" (which I hear quite often, he is my eating machine) so I said he could have a Pb&j or cereal, and he said proudly , " I would like a smiley face sandwich!" He loves to challenge my ability to make his food look like whatever he requests...so here is his happy sandwich. He was thrilled.
Here is my Japanses Allie. She loves to just squat and look at books. (oh, this is pre hair cut, its just below her shoulders now, I need to get a picture taken.) I thought it was quite brave to squat while up on the kitchen counter...her little bum was just hovering over the edge - yikes!
mmm...Dandelion juice. Today shortly after returning from a walk around the neighborhood, I went to get a drink from my water cup, and after my first swallow, I noticed a yellow intruder floating around. Allie and Jenna like to gather leaves and flowers when we go walking, and apparently Allie wanted to give her flower a drink...of my water! Yummy.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Zoology.

Jake parents came for a visit, and after a fun snow adventure in Wyoming, they made to our house so we decided to show them the fabulous zoo in our area. I did a poor job of actually taking photos of Granny and Pop, I am not sure what I was thinking. But I have a few from the zoo, so enjoy!


Jenna at the lion exhibit.
We really enjoyed the "rain forest" this trip, we saw some pretty neat creatures. I have no idea what this little guy is called, but I thought he was cute.
River rays.

Can you find what I was photographing? Jayne and I didn't linger since we didn't want guano in our hair.

Making a wish with Pop at the waterfall.

Smile!

Allie said this bird had "a pretty hair-do!" I agree.

This elephant was too funny. Larry pointed out that he was taking a trunk full of hay, and dipping it in the water before eating it. Doesn't sound quite as cook as dunking an Oreo in milk, but I guess if you had to eat hay, you'd try anything to get it down. You can see his trunk is in the water right now, he would let it linger for a moment before eating the soggy hay. Yum!


video

Woohoo! Its basketball season! Brock has really liked it so far. His coach lives near by, and we just happened to trick or treat at his house, and Brock was like "HEY! You are my coach!" He was pretty excited. Plus a lot of his new friends from football are on a basketball team as well, although some are int he 1st grade league. Its nice to see him remember faces and names. Seems like he see someone he knows where ever we go....reminds me of his father. Anyway, I didn't film the whole game, but here is a little clip of him driving the lane!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween '09

We had a fun Halloween again this year. I suppose its hard to not have fun on Halloween as a kid. We went to the ward party Friday night and saw some great costumes. I forgot my camera, but one of our favorites was "H1N1" (a guy wore a black shirt with H1N1 on it and pig snout, he said it was the scariest thing he could think of.) Earlier this month, Brock and Allie thought it would be a good idea to try on costumes from past Halloweens...

look how they've grown! Too funny. Oh! Remember Jake's toothless pumpkin from my previous post? It won a prize in the pumpkin contest at the church party! I was so proud... Jake was just surprised.

Brock made this at his classroom Halloween party. I thought it was so clever! They took a picture of him about a week ago, then had the photo already in a frame ready to decorate. I was impressed by Brock's desire to have some sort of pattern and order to his decorating. He used to just sort of mish-mosh hap-hazerdly slap a craft together with no rhyme or reason, but I guess those days are gone, he sure tries hard to do a good job these days.

Our little "monka." Jenna loves monkeys, and is constantly climbing on everything, so we figured the costume was fitting.


Iron Man, Wonder Woman, and a cute furry monkey!



Getting ready to head out!

Woohoo! They got a lot of little prizes besides candy, like the puzzle on the right hand size in Brock's hand, plus some pencils, play dough, erasers, rings, and little creepy rubbery animals. Kind of a nice change, plus one of our neighbors made popcorn balls! No one does that anymore since kids aren't suppose to eat anything homemade because of all the wackos out there, but since I know and trust her, we ate them and they were fantastic. And not poison...I think. On to Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkins + Knives =

Good times! We carved our pumpkins last night...always a good time. (except I broke one of my favorite Emeril knives, d'oh!)
Allie wanted a Princess Pumpkin...of course. So I made a face with big luscious lips and eye lashes. It doesn't look like a princess, but Allie likes it and she added a few princess stickers.

Brock and Jenna kept Dad busy with pumpkin face requests.


The master.Left to Right: Allie's pumpkin (princess) Jenna's pumpkin (happy "pumpa", I just drew her pumpkin's face, he was too little too carve.) Jake's pumpkin is next, its an old toothless man, and I think the best one this year. Mine is next, and looks the same every year. Brock wanted an Iron Man pumpkin, but decided at the last minute he wanted a scary one....but it ended up looking just like mine, even though Jake carved it.

We were so proud of our work!

Ooooo! Happy Halloween!