Thursday, December 22, 2011

Our Christmas Card and Letter

So just in case you aren't one of the 120 people who get our Christmas card and letter each year... here you go!

Another year come and gone—can’t believe it’s time to write the Christmas letter once again!

Clara will be 18 months old on Christmas. She grows so much everyday, both physically and developmentally. It’s so much fun when she learns something new. It’s also funny when she does something you didn’t teach her and you wonder, “where did she learn THAT!” I’m sure there will be plenty more of that in the future as well! Her blonde hair is getting longer, but she won’t let me do a thing with it… no barrettes or bows! She loves playing with her baby, tractors, cars, pushing her shopping cart, and reading books. She is also quite the fish and LOVES being in the water. She talks up a storm, and some of it is actually understandable! She loves being outside, whether it is to do chores with daddy or help Grandpa Henderson in the shop.

Paul continues in his role as the Retail Manager of the Pepin Heights Store. I am thankful that once the snow flies we get to see more of him, as he spends most of his days and all of his weekends at the store during the busy apple season. New products and marketing strategies keep him on his toes, and he really loves his job. In the spring he worked for Sargent’s Gardens, and also worked in the orchards at Pepin Heights. Volunteering as Vice President of the Fairboard continues to be one of his favorite activities, and took us to many county fairs across the state again this year. The garden, chickens, and being an amazing dad keep him from any “down time”!

I will celebrate 6 years as the County 4-H Program Coordinator in January. One would think with 7 fairs under my belt, that it would get easier, but I still manage to find ways to make it a challenge! I am enjoying my role as the State 4-H Lamb Lead Co-Coordinator, and actually helped write some new statewide curriculum for the event. I graduated with my Master of Education Degree from the University of Minnesota in May - I am SO glad to be done! Not much time for being crafty these days, but I still enjoy playing in the bell choir at church, and teaching cloth diaper classes to new moms.

Our flock of chickens, known as Clara’s Cluckers, had grown to around 75 laying hens this summer, but a pesky raccoon has left us with about 40. We get several dozen eggs a day, which we have been selling to local fresh egg fanatics. At $2 a dozen, we will only have to sell 95,000 dozen to save for Clara’s college education! Get busy laying ladies! :)

Paul and I continue to work with the Luther League Youth Group at church. The kids love having Clara at events as well, and you can’t beat having 15 eager babysitters! They are so much fun, and we enjoy working with our co-leader Carmen.

You can check up on us throughout the year by following our blog:

We hope this letter finds your family happy and healthy this holiday season as we celebrate God’s most precious gift, His only Son, Jesus. May God continue to shower His blessings on you throughout the new year!

Mamie, Paul, & Clara

Josie & Lucy too

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Clara's bangs were getting long... they were kinda shaggy and hanging in her eyes. So being the frugal and very capable mother that I am, I figured I could give them a trim. So the other night while she was in the tub, I grabbed the scissors and took a whack at it. I wanted them a little "feathery"... not just straight across. Well... they look.... bad. They look like she went after them with one of those clown kids scissors and hacked a chunk out the day before school pictures. (What? You didn't have clown scissors growing up? You didn't cut your own hair before school pictures?) Oh well... maybe people will think she did do it... of course, then I'm still a bad mom for letting my 18-month-old play with scissors...

And I will have the pictures from Christmas to remember it by for the rest of my (and her)life!

Here's a fun series of photos from last night... showing the bangs!

This is her "I'm so excited" face - she makes a little gasp noise too

I realize I am also a bad mom for letting her put a pen in her mouth...

This is her, "Are you done yet mom" face

That Can't Happen Here...

This blog was originally started as a way for us to keep track of the life and times of my pregnancy and then the childhood of Clara. While it has morphed to include more than that, we do still use it for that purpose. That is why I think it is important to include a post about something that has happened in our community during the past week. Even though Clara won’t remember it, it is something that will affect her as she grows up in this community and I think it’s important to document it.

I think it’s easy to have a false sense of security when you live in a small town. Just the other day I ran into the post office with my car running and unlocked and my wallet sitting on the front seat in plain view. But isn’t that why people love living in small towns? That sense of, “Those things don’t happen here” in regards to violent crime, school shootings, serial killers… But they do. And on Monday, in Lake City Minnesota, it did.

In case you have been living under a rock, or just don’t watch the news (or facebook, or the radio, or the newspaper), a police officer was shot and a stand-off between the gunman and the SWAT team ensued for the next 10 hours in our little of town of just over 5000 people. The situation ended with the gunman taking his own life. The officer is still holding his own in critical condition.

Life was pretty much on stand-still on Monday. No matter where you went, it’s all people were talking about. The schools, and several manufacturing plants in the area were on lock-down. A 12 block area of the neighborhood was secured. Helicopters hovered overhead and there was the constant sound of sirens.

I have several friends with spouses who are law enforcement officers. They never take for granted each day when their loved one comes home after a shift safe and sound. For them, their fears of, “this could happen to us” were once again renewed.

Just because our address isn’t Lake City doesn’t mean I don’t consider our family a part of that community. Paul went to school there, and now works there. He is a chamber member and we shop there. In fact, the house where all this went down is one I had wanted to buy about a year ago.

The community is truly rallying around the fallen officer and his family. There is a facebook page set up in his honor, a fund at the bank to defray costs for the family, candle-light vigils, and everyone is leaving their porch lights on to show their support. Even our little house in the country has its porch light on.

May we all hug our children a little tighter, tell our spouse “I love you” one more time before they walk out the door, and say “thank you” to the public servants who give so selflessly to protect us all.

Tonight I ask that you say 2 prayers:

One for Officer Schneider and his family, that God would grant healing as is His Will, and that his family find strength and peace in the days and weeks that lie ahead. That God would keep all public servants safe from harm.

And one for the family of the gunman, because when it’s all said and done, they lost a loved one. The gunman was a son, brother, friend… His mother once rocked him to sleep and cradled him in her arms. I didn’t know him; I had never uttered his name until Monday, but he was a person. May God grant peace and healing to his family and friends as well, and give them the strength they need to move on.

One life lost and another changed forever.

It CAN and DOES happen here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Getting to Know You - Christmas Style!

I'm not sure which blog I pulled this off of... I started working on it awhile ago and then just remembered it again today.

1. Do you send Christmas cards? If so about how many will you send this year? How do you display the cards you receive? Or don't you? (gasp!)
We seriously send out 120 Christmas Cards each year… between relatives, high school friends, FFA friends, 4-H friends, college friends, co-worker friends, and long-lost friends, it’s a pretty lengthy list. I LOVE Christmas cards though – it’s one of my favorite parts of the season. I used to be able to get them out shortly after Thanksgiving, but last year (…and this year…) I’m a little slow. Mine just went in the mail today!
We display them on the wall in our living room, and then after New Year’s I take them down and put them in a book that I have with the picture cards from every year.

2. What is your favorite kind of Christmas cookie?
I have so many that I remember from my childhood, but will fully admit to the fact that I don’t bake for the holidays. My family doesn’t do the whole “Christmas Baking Day” when we roll out hundreds of thousands of holiday goodies! I’m a big fan of date cookies 

3. What is one gift from your childhood that you vividly remember getting?
My grandpa made us dollhouses when we were young. I remember him backing the truck up to the door of the house so we wouldn’t have to go out in the cold to see them. I have no idea where the dollhouse is now… Mom – do you have it?

4. What's something you like to eat that might cause another person to turn up their nose?
Beets – can’t wait for them each summer. I like the little ones that you can cook and each whole – yum! I am a pretty picky eater – although I am better now than I was as a child. I still turn up my nose at hamburgers, hot dogs, condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayo, salad dressing, etc), shrimp, eggs…

5. Gloves or mittens?

6. What's the longest queue you've ever been in? Was it worth it? Queue=line but doesn't queue sound nicer?
I have no idea – somewhere at the State Fair maybe?

7. What is your favorite Christmas Carol?
I don’t know that I have a favorite… Away in a Manger maybe?!?

8. If you could choose to be anywhere on Christmas where would it be?
At my parent’s, surrounded by my family.

9. When did you stop believing in Santa?
I don’t know that I ever believed in Santa… my parents might tell me differently, but I don’t really ever remember Santa being a big thing with my family. I don’t think we will push it with our kids either, I would rather they knew the story of Christ’s birth.

10. Insert your own random though here:
I’m OK with the fact that we most likely won’t have a white Christmas here in MN. I hate driving in snow!

If you write a blog, feel free to use this with your own answers! You can link back to me in your post, and leave a comment on this post with the link to your blog.

Happy Holidays!

ETA: My friend Beth did a post about this - you can check it out (and all her cool ideas) at her blog, Design Your Dwelling!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Long time... No Bloggy...

Hey all! Sorry for the bloggity-blog hiatus - our household was hit by the flu! OK, so not the "real" influenza, but the stomach bug. While it hits fast and moves on quickly, we are still dealing with the repercussions a week later. Child care has been interesting the last few days, as we have shared it with our daycare "siblings", as well as both sets of grandparents. We are thankful that my parents were able to watch her yesterday when both of our regular daycare options were out sick.

This past weekend we had a blast caroling with our church youth group to elderly members of our congregation. The kids really make it fun and do a great job singing and talking with those we visit.

Afterward we met at one of the familie's homes and had a little Christmas party with food, a fun gift exchange, and a candle-light reading of the Christmas story. Clara loves hanging with the teens and even set down to play piano with Ben!

Ok - back to work. Just didn't want you all to think we fell of the earth or something! I hope the sickies stay away from your homes!

PS - I have a pork roast in the crock pot at home. YAY for supper being DONE!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Y3W - Create A Favicon!

Last week I created my very own little favicon.

For those that don't know, a favicon is a little icon that appears next to the web address at the top of your browser. Favicon is actually short for Favorite Icon. If you look to the right, you will see that some of the blogs I follow and have listed on my blog have a little orange box next to them… that’s the Blogger Favicon.

Basically it helps your website stand out in a list of websites. But, I just think it's really cute! So I created one of my very own last week. I used the same little owl that “bullets” each of my posts as my favicon.

It was quite easy actually, and I wanted to share how to do it in case others want to create favicons for their blogs too!

Step 1. I figured out what image I wanted to use. Obviously you want it to be something that ties to your blog, so I selected the little owl on my blog. (I also chose this because I am infatuated with owls, as if you haven't already figured that out!)

Step 2. To get my little owl as a jpg image, I did a “print screen” of my blog into Microsoft Publisher, then cropped the picture until only the owl was left.

Step 3. I made sure the owl picture was square (it must be perfectly square for this to work), then saved it as a jpg image.

Step 4. I signed into Blogger and clicked on the “Design” tab. On the Design page, the Favicon option is on the upper left part of the main screen.

Step 5. I clicked “edit” in the Favicon box, uploaded my pic, and hit save.

That's it! That's all you have to do! You should now have a cute little favicon!

When You're Feeling Crummy...

Cuddling with daddy does the trick!