Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family.
Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows,
for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness.
Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives.
Thank you for friends, for health and for grace.
May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us.

From "The Catholic Prayer Book," compiled by Msgr. Michael Buckley

Monday, November 23, 2009

A fabulous fall season

Fall 2009

Fall has always been my favorite season. I enjoy the colors of the leaves and the crisp air. Doug, Collin and I have enjoyed a lot about the autumn season every year, and fall 2009 has been no exception.

Ironically it felt as though we skipped fall all together and moved straight to winter when we built the first snowman of the year long before Halloween. Although the afternoon of snowball fights, snow angels and snowmen was fun, we were perfectly content when it melted the following day and fall was here after all!

Once fall was back, we celebrated at a festival held by the church attended by Collin's godparents, Katie and Darin Bartsch. Pumpkin painting, face painting, pumpkin basketball and of course pumpkin golf were enjoyed by everyone, despite the soggy/windy day.
In Collin's world (and Doug's) any day with golf is a good day....

To prepare for Halloween, we took a family field trip to a local pumpkin farm in Andover. Complete with hayrides, a corn maze, a potbelly pig that greets you, and the largest pumpkin patches I've ever seen, it was a great afternoon. We were able to leave with a large pumpkin that later decorated our front step. Collin also had his first taste of homemade pumpkin seeds baked in the oven, made from the "pumpkin guts" that he helped to scoop.

Don't let the picture fool you, this was a very big 25lbs pumpkin!

The weekend before Halloween, Doug was in Ohio. So, Collin and I spent some time with the Butcher cousins Riley, Kalie and Avrie Butcher at "Zoo Boo,"an evening event held at Como Zoo in St. Paul where the employees wear costumes and hand out candy to kids as they stroll through the grounds of the zoo.

"Trick or Treat"...Collin, Riley and Kalie hiding in Charlie Brown's pumpkin patch at Como...

Then, of course, it actually was Halloween. This year we took advantage of some of the props we already had at home and Collin trick-or-treated as a "doctor". Thanks to Doug's Aunt Shirley Dummer who is a fabulous seamstress, we were able to avoid the scratchy and thin Doctor's scrubs that came with the white lab coat in favor of these hand crafted comfy, soft and thick blue ones just right for a brisk Halloween night.
Dr. Collin inspecting his gear before a grueling night of trick or treating.

We hit the town at dusk and collected a lot of candy, also stopping at the community Halloween party hosted by the church associated with Collin's daycare, Elim Christian Learning Center. Each year they hold a "warm up" station and free hotdogs, cocoa and games for the kids.

November has been spent enjoying the unseasonably warm fall weather. With not a snowflake in sight, we enjoyed time at Grandpa Don's new house just outside of Hector, MN. The tire swing is a favorite.
And, of course, Daddy had to check out the 10-point buck that Grandpa Don brought home after a hunting trip. Never a fan of hunting myself, this appears to be one of those things that Collin has gotten from Daddy's gene pool. He was not a bit scared of the buck and happy to help out where he could!

And, despite all the fun we had enjoying the fall weather, there is one thing that the autumn season is not known for...good swimming weather. So, this past weekend we were able to spend some time at an indoor swimming pool at the Mystic Lake hotel for the weekend with Grandma Nola. Collin made ample use of the pool and took advantage of the time to practice the skills he learned in swimming lessons this summer. It takes a lot to wear out a 3 year old and by the end of the weekend this mission was accomplished!
Time to relax!

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, just one of the many things we are thankful for is the wonderful time spent with family and friends this fall!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Honey, will you....

I am going out on a limb and assuming that most married couples have at some time or another been introduced to a variation of the "Honey, do..." list.

You know, the little (or long) list of tasks that you are hoping your spouse can accomplish for the benefit of your family or home...and, admit it, to make your to do list smaller.

Those of you that know me well know that I really appreciate a good list. It is such a nice, concrete way to organize your thoughts and ensure that you are making progress toward your end goal. As I have been blessed with a pretty handy husband, I have really learned to appreciate a good "Honey, do...." list.

Typically Doug is pretty laid back about humoring my requests. He too likes things pretty clean, organized and in good repair at home so, although sometimes my style is more concrete than his, he can at least see my point and is willing to accommodate. I do try to not get too ridiculous with the requests either, and there are plenty of things assigned for me to do on those lists as well.

To make lemons out of lemonade we've strung together a pretty great "Honey, do..." list for his official period of unemployment. The job market is tough these days, and it is important to be realistic.

Now, imagine my surprise when he called me on Tuesday afternoon to tell me that he would be starting his new job on Wednesday!

Timing could not have been better. We were told about the closing of his previous company, Exel, in mid September and were expecting his last day to be early October. That position was extended until mid-October as it took longer to tie up loose ends than expected. He was then immediately offered a temporary opportunity by Exel (who knew they were loosing a good employee, if I dare to brag a little about my guy!) in Ohio to fill an executive position for the last two weeks of October. He was gone from October 19 to October 30. After enjoying Halloween weekend as a reunited family, Doug had 2 official days of unemployment-- Monday 11/2 and Tuesday 11/3, then had his first day at his new job today, 11/4.

We are excited and grateful for this job. Doug is now the Logistics Manager at US Water Services in Cambridge, MN. The commute is 30 minutes with no traffic to speak of, the pay and benefits are good, the hours are typical business hours, and so far the job description seems like a very good fit for his interests and skills.

Guess that "Honey, do..." list will have to wait after all!