Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mommom and Poppop Have Arrived

Mommom and Poppop are finally in Chicago! Last night their plane was supposed to arrive at 7:30. It kept getting pushed back an hour and then we got a call from them saying they had Kansas City, MO! I looked that up and it was an 8 hour drive! I was prepared to hop in the car, because I want them here for a visit! We also looked up Amtrak, but realized Annie wouldn't be welcome because she is not a service dog. We kept checking on-line and that left us very confused because there were really no updates about what was going on . The American Airlines website didn't even say that they had been diverted, however, another online flight tracker did tell us that. We finally heard from them again about 10:20 and they were getting ready to take off for Chicago! They arrived about 11:30 and we are THRILLED that they are finally here!

Sewing Project Revealed

I had mentioned several times in posts that I was working on a sewing project; now that it is after Christmas, I can reveal what it was!

Back in August, I was shopping at Joann Fabric for fabric to make cloths for Relgious Ed class for the different liturgical seasons. While I was there, I found this ADORABLE farm fabric. I decided Adam and Amy needed matching farm pillows. I picked up the fabric and the piping and brought it home and forgot about it until the beginning of December!

I went over to Mom and Dad's house and mom helped me pin the fabric all together. Then I showed her that I bought piping too! Oops! So we had to unpin it all and then put the piping in. She showed me how to get the sewing machine all set-up and let me have at it.

Sometimes I was not too happy with the way it got jammed!

But I got them all done!
I'm pretty proud of how they turned out. I wouldn't want anyone looking too closely at the stitching though!

Adam holding his pillows.

Amy opened her pillows last night.

Vito-Atwell Christmas

Last night we had our annual Christmas celebration with the Vitos, our non blood related family. We had a yummy dinner and had lots of fun together as always.

During Vacation Bible School this year, Doug did a lot of filming of what was going on and he and Amy made a DVD for Erin so she could see how much we missed her at VBS. They brought it over yesterday for her and as you can see....she was very moved.

We had all of the crew leaders line up and say "Hi" to her and tell her that they miss her. At the end, we also had all 110 kids on the alter and they said, "Hi Miss Erin, we miss you!". That definitely brought tears to her eyes!

Doug opening his dagger from Morocco. He doesn't look TOO excited!

Uncle Joe and Doug

Erin and Amy with a book from Morocco

Adam and Dad

Mom and Aunt Judy

Us beautiful girls!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day

Christmas Day was a very busy day for Adam and me. It started off by going to Mom and Dad's at 8:30 to open presents with them, Erin, and Grandpa (we missed Mommom and Poppop!).

This is out of order, but I made a cake for Christmas Eve at Mom and Dad's and one for Adam's parents house.

Adam and me on Christmas morning (we are dressed up since we had many places to go!)

Mom, Erin, Grandpa, Dad

The midwife Erin worked with gave mom a gondura, which is traditional Moroccan clothing for women.

Adam gave me a plate I wanted that says "I am the way, the truth, and the life" which is from the Bible (John 14:6) and also part of our favorite Vacation Bible School song, John 3:16.

Here is the song on YouTube

Erin gave dad traditional shoes and Erin's host mom gave Mom traditional shoes.....they are called educan.

Erin gave Grandpa a traditional hat the men wear, called terbush.

We gave dad some fancy thing for his computer!

I gave Adam a GPS. Now he doesn't have to call me to mapquest things all the time!

Then at 11:00, we headed over to his brother's house to celebrate with his brothers, nieces, nephew, and aunt

Chase opening his presents before heading over to his mom's house

It is fun to be with a 4 year old on Christmas!

Tony and Jess opening the "Our First Christmas" ornament we gave them.

Adam got Barak Obama paper dolls. If he is missing them, I will have no idea where they are!

Everyone went in together to get Zowie a laptop. She was super excited!

Andy opening his gifts from Adam.

At 5:00, we all went over to Adam's dad and step-mom's house to celebrate Christmas.

Rodney and Luann

Everyone went in to get their dad and step mom a surround sound system.
They were very surprised!

Adam and his dad both ride bicycles and I saw this wine bottle holder and had to get it for his parents. Adam says it is not a bicycle because it has 3 wheels, but I still thought it was neat!

Aaron and Amanda

Me and Adam

Tony and Jess

I had a wonderful Christmas spent with friends and family. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful family to spend the holidays with. I hope everyone else had a fabulous Christmas as well!
P.S. All of the TashelHeet words I wrote are the phonetic spelling in English because TashelHeet does not have a written form. (Tash is the language Erin speaks in her region).

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve the family came over to Mom and Dad's house for a Christmas celebration. Grandpa, Uncle Jimmy, Bonnie, Christina, Christian, Aunt Mary, Uncle Richie, Emily and Elizabeth were all there!

Uncle Jimmy has been getting into wood working and he made these AMAZING candle holders for some people in the family. He made one for Erin too and worked on it carefully to make sure it was able to be brought back to Morocco! We had a lot of fun and of course one of the highlights (besides seeing family) was playing with baby Christian who is walking all over the place. Erin gave Emily and Elizabeth purses made and sold by women in her country and Christian received a traditional outfit for babies (djellaba). You can also see Christian in his new hooded towel made by my friend Kristin who sells homemade baby stuff (there is an earlier post somewhere about it so if you have any upcoming baby showers, she is your women for the BEST gifts!).

Enjoy our slideshow from Christmas Eve!

Erin Comes Home

First, I wanted to show you a picture of my Christmas tree with all of the presents underneath for other people because I LOVE Christmas and I LOVE giving people gifts!
And the MOST exciting news.....

Erin came home for a visit!
(Erin in the car after we picked her up)
She was scheduled to come in on Tuesday at 4:20. Mommom and Poppop were scheduled to come in at 7:30 from CA. On the way to the airport to pick up Erin, I checked Mommom and Poppop's flight status and it said canceled. Uncle Richie talked to them and they said it wasn't canceled because they were sitting on the plane in Palm Springs! However, a few minutes later the bad news was broken to them. At least they are scheduled to come in today now...cross your fingers for better weather!
Anyway....we finally got to the airport and Erin's flight arrived about an hour late...which was fine with us because they were letting very few flights land because of the bad weather! Mom and I stood there though the doors and down the hallway that Erin was supposed to come through and Dad was off to the side staring. Every tall blonde that came though, mom would say, "IT'S HER!" and then I got excited and then soon realized that mom needs glasses. But finally mom and I looked over and saw Erin hugging dad! She had somehow come out without us seeing! There were lots of tears and lots of hugs and we are so happy to have her home until January 5th. Erin decided that she wanted Chipotle for dinner and we stopped there on the way home from the airport. She has also been craving Starbucks and had that on the way home as well!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Fun Downtown

Every year I go downtown with Kailey (the little 3 yr old (who is now 14) who got me started in Deaf Ed), her sister, brother (who was working today and couldn't go) and Aunt Robin (my friend). We drive to Cumberland, take the EL to Washington, walk to Field's (Now Macy's) and eat in the Walnut Room. We have had some crazy years with 8 hour waits for the Walnut Room, but we had good luck this year! The only bad part was it was negative 21 when we left this morning. I took my scarf off my face for the picture, but really when we were outside you couldn't see anything but the whites of my eyes!

In front of the Big Tree by the Kris Kringle Market

Kailey, Linsey, and Robin in front of the tree

Me and Kailey in the Walnut Room. I had the yummy butternut squash tortellacci that I get every year. And Kailey and I split a Frango Mint Pie as always...delicious!

Busy Weekend

My weekend started with a call at 4:47 am on Friday saying school was canceled. I had a pretty good idea that school was going to be canceled because I woke up several times during the night hearing the ice coming down on my window. Usually I'm all for a snow day....but the day before we are about to have two weeks off anyway??? Come on! However, we were prepared for the chance of a snow day, so I sent home my Christmas gifts for my students and the gifts they made for their parents (see the handprint post below!) early.

After the phone call, I went back to sleep, woke up about 9:30 and did stuff around my house. At 12:00, I went downstairs again to get ready to leave to go to Mom and Dad's.

This is what I saw at the bottom of my stairs.
On my new floors!
I stared at the water for about 30 seconds trying to figure out if I had somehow spilled something. Then I spent another 5 minutes trying to figure out where it was coming from. It wasn't coming from the window or the ceiling. There was a little itty bit that may have been touching the baseboard. I talked to Dad and Adam and they figured it had to be coming from an ice buildup outside.
So I went outside with my scraper from my car (because I don't have a shovel) and pulled the snow away to find this. I couldn't break it. So I called Dad and he told me to use a hammer. I'm sure I looked quite comical out there and I'm not sad no one get any pictures of me. I finally did break up all of the ice (that had water underneath) and pulled it away from the wall of my house. Thank goodness, no more water has shown up.
So about 45 minutes after I planned to, I headed out to Mom and Dad's house. I backed about 25 feet out of my driveway...and got stuck. It was 12:45 and my association still hadn't plowed. After saying a few choice words and kicking the snow away from my tires, I was on my way. On the way there, my gas light came on, so I stopped at the gas station by Mom and Dad's house. They were out of gas. So I continued on and when I started to pull into mom and dad's driveway, I GOT STUCK AGAIN! There were several more choice words said, and mom came out with a shovel. After about 10 more minutes and a lot of forward and reverse and shoveling...we finally got it out and parked on the street. That is when mom noticed my tires were bald. Of course! Who knew you had to check for things like that??
So I went inside and worked on my secret sewing project some more and then mom let me take her car since I had places to go and was going to be busy all day Saturday. Saturday afternoon mom and dad took it to get new tires, but luckily I only had to get one since I have a full sized tire on the back of my car and they could rotate the others! My parents rock.
Friday night, I went to my friend Kristina's house to work on my friend Bridget's wedding invitations. Bridget is getting married in April and I am in her wedding. We had a lot of fun and the invitations are beautiful!
Saturday morning I had religious ed and then at 12:00 I went to another church for a QuinceaƱera Mass (Although it was all in Spanish, I just said what I would say at that point in Mass!). That evening I went to the "reception" and it was fancier than any wedding I have ever been to! Head table, dress (from a bridal shop), chair covers, open bar...the whole kit and kaboodle!
It was a lot of fun, but I can't imagine being 15 and being the center of attention like that! She was beautiful!
Mom, Dad, and Adam picked me up there to go to Chicago for Mom's cousin's annual Christmas Party. After a lot of fun there, we finally came home and I got to drive my car with nice new tires!
Sunday...ALL DAY...for about 6 hours...Adam and I went shopping. In the almost negative 30 degrees (with the wind chill) weather and white out conditions some of the way driving...we got pretty much everything crossed off our Christmas lists. Well...most of my shopping was done already, but I helped him finish his!
What did you do this weekend? Did you go out in the crazy weather? California relatives...I don't even want to hear about your weather!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Crazy Handprints

It's that time of the year!
Every preschool student is making a gift for his/her parent in school. It is something that every preschool teacher has on her mind this time of the year. I think about it throughout the year. But then around November, I really put my nose to the grindstone to finalize my plan. I did adorable handprint calendars last year, but they took up WAY too much time with 6 kids; there was no way was doing it with 27 kids. I decided on making handprints out of dough because I had heard several people mention how their parents still had theirs from preschool and parents mention how they still had their kids' (who are now all grown). It was supposed to be an easy mix of salt, flour, and water. Being extremely messy and drying my hands out and making my nails peel wasn't the hard part. The cooking them for 2-3 hours was the hard part! When I wasn't filling the motor room with smoke because the wax paper touched the side of the oven, I was trying to remember to check on them after school and burning some and not letting some cook long enough. Even today I would have forgotten about them if my assistant hadn't called from home and left me a message at 4:30 reminding me to take them out! But the fun didn't stop there! Then we got to paint them all! And then 3 of them cracked. So then we got to make, cook, and paint 3 new ones. Then a student came back who was off a week and we noticed we forgot one student's, so we got to make, cook, and paint 2 more! But that still isn't it, I went out to the store to find a thick silver paint marker that would write on this surface to write the kids' names and the year on them. We also tied silver ribbon through the holes in each one. The last 2 were baked I am crossing my fingers that they will be fine and we can paint and wrap tomorrow. But...aren't they adorable! I love looking at them and I am so happy we did them!
(P. S. The picture is off center to hide the kids' names on the side)

A Night in Bethlehem

On Sunday night, we had our annual A Night in Bethlehem program at church. This was the second year we did the program and it was a huge success. Last year we had 24 kids and this year we had 40! Although I was ready to kick myself about a week ago for coming up with this idea and volunteering to direct it, we had a great time and seeing the kids so enthusastic made it all worth it!

Adam was the census taker (not a monk) and I was also dressed in my Bible garb.

My mom and dad ran the carpentry shop!

Amy ran the jewelry shop!

The kids got to meet Mary and Joseph and hear about their journey and their new baby. Austin and Heidi brought Chase and Chase had a great time!