Search This Blog

Pageviews past week

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My BLING tree

My BLING tree, originally uploaded by Jenniferschwalm.

This is our 13 foot Christmas tree in our sunroom. I refer to this as my "bling" tree or my "grammie" tree because it is all glittery and sparkly and shiny - not done in traditional Christmas colors. It has 100 + blue ornaments and dozens of silver snowflakes. It also has 100 feet of ribbon wrapped around it and 7 strands of various sized LED lights. It took me forever to decorate it.

I may leave it up until all of the needles fall off.

Our living room

Our living room, originally uploaded by Jenniferschwalm.

Here is our living room - minus a LOT of furniture and decorated for Christmas. I still have some work to do on the day bed, but it's looking snazzy, I think.

My kids with my "kids"

My kids with my "kids", originally uploaded by Jenniferschwalm.

I nannied for these two "boys" many many moons ago when they were the sizes of my children now. Alex, in the white T, is a senior in High School, is brilliant (really, he is) and his first choice for college is MIT! A few months ago, when his mother forwarded me a newspaper article heralding his academic accomplishments, I emailed her back regarding the importance of the teachings and guidance children receive the first 5 years of life and that obviously Alex had developed his lust for knowledge from his old Nanny that tirelessly devoted hours to reading him books and stimulating his mind!

The boy in the blue - that is Drew Bear. He was just a little older than Will when I met him. He was always my buddy. When he was little, he had a lisp and called me "Miss Den." When he got older, he inherited a bit of a southern accent from his Dad and called me "Gin." Drew is now a talented athlete and was awarded an MVP plaque.

So how did we end up with these two guys? Well, let me tell you the adventure. We had been invited to drive 6 hours to the Cincinatti area for the annual Christmas party. , I decided NOT to RSVP for the party - part to surprise our friends, but partly because as is typical for the Schwalm house, I knew if I called to say we were coming, we'd get 5 inches of snow and have to cancel our plans. Erik said he would be game for the adventure and we decided to leave Sunday morning, arrive for the party, visit, get a hotel and leave Monday. As fate would have it, that same week, I decided that there was nothing I could get Erik for Christmas that he needed or wanted - unless . . . I got him a new Billy Goat. I spent a good two hours online looking for classified ads for a billy goat for sale. Forces were on my side and 3 of the goats that interested me were located just outside the Cinci area. I knew we were being called to visit!

It was looking good. Erik got up early Sunday morning to salt his properties. He made arrangements with his brother to do any other salting that day if needed. We got the truck loaded, the kids in and were on the road.

38 miles outside of our destination, Erik says, "Uh-oh. The battery light came on and the levels are decreasing. I just replaced the battery so it has to be the alternator." Not knowing what to do, we approach an exit that has HUGE strip malls and shopping plaza on each side of the highway. We figure we will find a car parts store or something to help address our problem. NOPE!! Not only could we not find a car parts store - we couldn't even find a local to tell us where to find one. We chance it and get back in the truck and I tell the kids, "Start praying." My prayer was, "Please, get us to the party or get us somewhere we can get help." My biggest fear was breaking down on the highway with a truck full of kids and having to call our friends and say, "Surprise! We're 30 miles away and stranded. Can you leave your party and come get us??"

Not even 2 miles later, the battery level is down to nothing. Erik exits on what seems like an isolated exit and I start praying, "Please, Lord, let there at least be a hotel we can check into at the bottom of this ramp." Well, my prayers weren't answered. Instead of a hotel, there was a Jiffy Lube and 3 AWESOME guys were there. It was 10 minutes to 5 - closing time. As Erik pulled into a parking spot, the truck DIED. Erik ran into the store, explained our problem and before I knew it, two guys were at work pulling the old alternator out of the truck and Erik was in the car of the third guy on his way to Pep Boys to get a new alternator. Those guys and Erik worked until 6:30 to fix our truck and they did it! The truck was fixed and we were on our way again!

We arrived at the home of our friends, totally surprised them and were even able to spend the night at their home. The best part was that the boys had no school on Monday, so my kids were able to spend a few hours that morning playing with them. It was totally worth the trip! We left around noon Monday afternoon and headed toward a goat farm to check out a new billy, who was extremely impressive and my husband was very grateful for me and my foresight to combine our mini vacation with a farm oriented task. We now have a beautiful new Billy to add to our breeding program - we named him Manchester after the town we bought him in. We call him Manny - as in "Handy Manny" as my children say.

So that was our eventful trip to Kentucky.

And those big boys there were the first loves of my life. Being a mother now, I know how privileged I was to be allowed to love them and help them grow. How their parents could stand to share them with me and allow me to love them like I did/do amazes me still. It is a testament to their generosity of spirit. To this day, I still feel such honor to be a part of that family. I think God knew that I was going to have boys of my own someday and sent me Alex and Drew so I could have experience with boys. They taught me a lot and I'm so grateful to have learned from them. I could tell countless embarrassing stories, but I won't . . . I know how fragile teen spirits can be - and how merciless teen boys can be!

If you read this, guys, I love you and am so proud of you! Thank you for being so nice to my kids while we were visiting. They are still talking about playing "King Kong" in the basement.

Drew & Willie J

Drew & Willie J, originally uploaded by Jenniferschwalm.

My dad watches too much UFC

I think Erik is allowing the boys to watch UFC secretly.

Eyes of my children 2

Eyes of my children 2, originally uploaded by Jenniferschwalm.

This crack looks so dramatic in black and white. I think Maggie took this picture.

Maggie loves hats

Maggie loves hats, originally uploaded by Jenniferschwalm.

Maggie was trying to get dressed to go outside. I had to snap a picture because I thought she really looked like "Darby" from Tigger and Pooh - just as my sister, Lara, says. Maggie wanted a picture with her baby brother too.

Alex, Willie & Drew

Alex, Willie & Drew, originally uploaded by Jenniferschwalm.

Maggie, Kodi, and Drew

Maggie, Kodi, and Drew, originally uploaded by Jenniferschwalm.

Maggie was very impressed that Drew would lay on this big dog, a Lancier Newfie - her name is Kodiak - but Kodi is short. Also, Drew's phone is a TV so Maggie is watching Disney on that TV while Drew is sleeping on Kodi.

Funny story - our friends also have a dog named Thunder. He is a husky and looks like a Coyote - Maggie, in her logic, misunderstood what we were saying and took to calling the Black and White dog, Ko-yodi, mixing the words up in reference to the dog. Ok, so you had to hear her say it to appreciate how cute and adorable it sounded. Ok, so maybe you have to be her mother too. Trust me - it is super cute and adorable.

Maggie & Alex

Maggie & Alex, originally uploaded by Jenniferschwalm.

Maggie May took right away to "my boys" and snuggled right in to watch TV with Alex. Alex even let Maggie watch Disney channel. Talk about the flashbacks there? It just melted my heart to see him with my children like that.

Hey, Drew, what you doin?

I love chowder!

I love chowder!, originally uploaded by Jenniferschwalm.

I gave Will clam chowder and a spoon at lunch the other day and he went CRAZY!!! He loved it.

Poor will is getting 8 teeth - 4 top, 4 bottom!

Poor Willie J is getting a bunch of teeth right now and is suffering nasally. His nose is all gross. I know that it is not proven that getting teeth causes nasal issues, but with all of my children, runny/stuffy noses & diarrhea go hand in hand with teeth. TMI??

Friday, December 12, 2008

Maggie May

Maggie May, originally uploaded by Jenniferschwalm.

Just another cute pic of Ms. Maggie.