If there is one holiday I do, it is Christmas! I become completely consumed by it. I dream about their faces, I worry about their disappointment, I plan, I decorate, I buy and then I buy some more and I give thanks for the gift. I LOVE Christmas!
I love surprising Max. It is a problem really. I never stick to our agreed amount to spend on each other and I search and search until I feel I found a gift that will knock his socks off! This year it was pretty clear what the gift would be. He has wanted, more lusted after an iphone since they came out. But Max is very pragmatic. iphones are expensive and we have not completed our contract with T-mobile. Enter Katie. The not so pragmatic, loves a surprise and wants nothing more than to make Max smile. So he got an iphone and Hailey will have his old cell phone for emergencies. He couldn't be happier. I on the other hand am having a bit of buyer remorse. Yesterday I had to ground him from his phone. I put my foot down and said, "there will be no iphones at the table."

He is in love. I am sure in time his infatuation with her will diminish but currently it is an all out affair. She just has things I can't offer. She has endless applications. Her glass like face is so enticing to caress. She is so tiny and easy to hold. She can take him anywhere. She keeps him connected and empowers him. She is not just pretty, she is smart. He can dictate to her and she listens to his every word. The iphone is truly a life changing device. Hopefully not a marriage changing device! :0)
Ah, but she can't give him kids, the true key to his heart.

It was a good Christmas at our house.
Karlie's big present was a set of golf clubs. She loves to play Wii golf with Max and really wants to go with him golfing. Santa took a swing. We will see this spring if it was a hole in one or a bogey.
Kaitlin's big present was a new bike. The hand-me down from Hailey to Karlie and then to Kaitlin had lost it's training wheels. Kaitlin is very into her Bitty Baby so Santa was kind enough to find a bike with a spot for Bitty to ride along. Kaitlin was thrilled and rode her bike around and around in the house.
Hank thought Christmas was pretty cool.
He got lots of trucks and tools.
Hailey wanted more matching outfits for her and her twin doll, Abbey. She also asked for a puppy and a bike. She got the bike and the clothes but Santa brought a stuffed Weimaraner. She was a tad disappointed but understood Santa couldn't deliver live animals.

Karlie also got a hair salon set so she can get started on her cosmetology license. She loves doing hair and make-up.
This was the most romantic gift I gave Max. Ours has been broken for months so what a good opportunity for a new one.
This is a typical fashion for disposing of toasters in Max's family.
I was a little sad on Christmas night when it was all over. I know most normal people are relieved, but I was a little blue. All the festivities, all the cheery faces, all the Merry Christmas', all the parties, all the eating, and joy of the season is done for another year.
We hope you will join us for another round of MKHKKH in 2010 and that it is a happy and healthy year for all.

It's Beginning To Look A LOT like Christmas...

It has been a busy time getting ready for the big day! Cookies to be made for Santa.

Snowball fights and Snowmen to be made.

Four thousand calories to eat... Prime Rib, crab, artichokes and pasta. All served with a healthy dose of butter. Don't forget the Yorkshire pudding! Oh, man. Do I really have to make creamed eggs for breakfast?
Every Christmas Eve I give the kids matching PJs and this year Max and I got a pair too!
Now all the kids are tucked in bed and it is time for Santa's elves to get to work. We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Boys and Their Toys

Boys are just hard wired differently than girls. I am fairly certain Hank has never seen me groan and nearly lose my breath at the sight of a large truck or digger. Well, maybe if I am trying to pass one on the freeway. But if he sees any type of truck or large machinery he is instantly enthralled and begins squealing with delight. This big "digger" as we call it, is near our house and he flips out every time we pass by it. Over the weekend Max decided to take him for a closer look. Hank (I think Max too) was beside himself. As Max parked, he started screaming "shoes! shoes"! He wanted to get his shoes on so he could get out and inspect it. I think from the look on his face, his expectations were met.

Pheasant Nuggets

Recently Max had an opportunity to go hunting for pheasant with our neighbor. Of the 11 birds they flushed, they brought home 9! So we ended up with 5 pheasant in our freezer.

I had never eaten pheasant and was a little worried it would be "gamy". However our neighbor passed along this recipe to make them like chicken nuggets and they were delicious! You can eat almost anything if it is deep fried. I just hope his success doesn't transfer over to Bambi one day. I can do pheasant nuggets, but I am not sure I could swallow Bambi nuggets! :0)
Pheasant Nuggets

1cup flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp parsley
1 cup ice water
1 egg yolk, beaten
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1/2 tsp salt

Make herb batter by stirring together flour, cornstarch, cheese, parsley and salt. Make a well in center of dry ingredients.

Beat ice water, egg yolk and egg whites together add add all at once to dry ingredients.

Cut one pheasant breast into 1 inch chunks and dip into batter and deep fry until done.

We mixed ranch and wing sauce 6:1 parts for dipping.

Questions From Karlie

Karlie asked, "Mom, can Hank eat chicken?" "Yes,"I replied. "How come he can eat chicken but not eggs?" Err, that took some explaining but only after I had time to really think about it. :)

There have been many questions concerning Santa. Karlie is critically thinking more about Santa at 5 than Hailey is at 8.

"Mom, does Santa cross the state border?" Karlie asked as we drove to school. "Yes, he flies all around the world," I answered. "Wow, he must get tired of sitting for so long."

"Why doesn't Santa want you to see him?" "What do you mean?" I evaded. Why does he send helper Santas to the mall instead of coming himself and why doesn't he want you to see him? Why do you have to be sleeping?"

I was able to answer the mall one easily, but she stumped me on the later. I am not sure how long we are going to be able to continue the magic with this one!

Girls Getaway

This last weekend I was fortunate enough to have a girls getaway with some "old friends." :) Courtney flew in from Montana, Lacey from Texas, and Jessica from Kentucky. We stayed at the Omni resort and acted like a bunch of teenage girls on a sleepover. We gabbed until the wee hours of the morning. We spent time catching up and talking about our kids and our sweet husbands that took on the kids for the entire weekend. We were able to do nearly every girly thing a mom would want to do.

On Friday we shopped leisurely and enjoyed getting to sit and eat as long as we wanted instead of rushing. We had great conversations and we learned even more about each other. We spent Saturday at the spa and got to be pampered with a massage and lounge by the pool and hot tub. Then we headed downtown for dinner and Girls Only comedy. After playing some pool at the hotel, we continued to laugh and talk until late in the night. I fell asleep laughing. It was a really fun day. My only regret is that it went by so fast.

Sunday everyone departed back to reality. It was amazing how good friends can pick up right where they left off. These girls have seen me through good and bad times, have had open hearts and and an ear to listen when ever I needed. They are amazing moms and wives and are the ones I know I can truly call a friend. I can't wait until our next trip when I can see them again! Love you girls and thank you for coming.

Welcome Baby Corrin!

My sister Melanie and her husband Colin welcomed their first child into the world last night at 11:55 p.m. Baby Corrin weighed 8lbs and was 20 inches long. Both mom and baby are doing great (not sure on Dad's status:)! We are thrilled to add #9 to my side of the family!


What a busy and wonderful Thanksgiving break we had. I am still trying to recover and fit into my jeans from it! Max's parents were visiting and they seem to just inspire a spirit of celebration. Every time we visit with them, the word moderation ceases to exist. There is always feasts that encourage over eating, there are ample glasses of wine, (and headaches the next morning) and we always try to pack in as much fun as possible.

For Thanksgiving we had a 13 adults and 8 kids. Snork was sick at home and dearly missed and little Miss Corrin decided she was not yet ready to have Thanksgiving and would just keep cooking in mommy's belly. So with all my sisters and their families, Max's parents and Max's boss and his wife, I wasn't feeling any pressure. Especially since the last large Thanksgiving I hosted was when Hailey was a new baby and Jeanette had bought me a fancy roaster. I didn't know that you were not suppose to use the lid and ended up sort of parboiling the turkey in its own juices. While it was one of the juiciest turkeys I have had, its grey anemic color left me bright red. Not to mention I had it upside down and when we realized it and tired to turn it over, I flung meat half way across the room. Food Network here I come. Maybe that is why I haven't hosted one in 8 years! But, really no pressure or worries at all. :)
I had a lot of fun creating the center pieces and setting the table. I told Max it was just like playing house! The tea candles in the miniature pumpkins turned out beautiful. They emitted a soft glow and felt festive.
I found many napkin rings I liked but decided on these from Cost Plus because I figured I could use them more often. I bought some leaves from Micheal's and twisted them around. For Christmas I think I will use some Holly berries and do the same.
The kids got baby food jars filled with fall jelly beans and little Indians and pilgrims.
We ended up almost eating one 24lb and one 17lb turkey! Thank goodness for moms. My mom thought better to cook a whole other turkey and brought it. I guess she has done this just a few times in her life or maybe she was worried I would parboil the turkey again. :0)

Since a whole Thanksgiving feast wasn't enough of a painful lessons on gluttony, Monty and Max were adamant that we have Paella on Friday night. Jeanette and I were trying to persuade them to do left overs but they wouldn't have it. So round two of indulgence came! I must admit, it was terrific.
Then the nightly post dinner rumble began to try and help us make room for dessert.
These two are really such a bad influence. I mean naked babies on the table, that never happens at my house!
On Saturday we went up to the mountains for our annual tree cutting. We encountered the volunteer horse unit. That was a delightful surprise for all of us to get to pet the three horses.
The kids love climbing on the rocks and playing with the snow.
Hank started to get the hang of the incline terrain after about an hour, but we ended up carrying him most of the time. We forgot the backpack carrier. I got to work off some of that Paella.
This was the first tree Karlie picked out, but of course we had to romp around the forest for a while and then go back and get the original tree. Karlie helped Max carry it back to the truck.
Mountain men.

The kids sure love their "Pops and Grandma Nette" and we had a wonderful break with them. Hopefully I can fit in my jeans before their next visit.

Happy Thanksgiving From Our Family to Yours

Hailey's Piano Recital

Last weekend Hailey had her first piano recital.  She played Can-Can for an audience of nearly 300.  She started playing this year with an amazing teacher.  Hailey really enjoys learning to play and practiced very hard for her recital.
We were a little nervous because she almost always had trouble in one spot and the morning of the recital she made several errors.  But when it was show time, she waltzed on the stage, sat down and played her piece perfectly.  We were so proud of our little lady.
The recital show cased her instructors students (44) from 5 years old to college aged kids.  As the pieces progressed it was fascinating to see the difference music made in some of these kids' lives.  The final student was one that had graduated and he played Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us by Bradbury and then played an original composition that I felt competed with the some of the classics.

If I had seen this kid on the street, I would have judged him by the cover.  He had dyed jet black hair the fell in a swoop in his face.  He had skinny jeans, a skater sweater, and black fingernails.  He may have even had a lip piercing.  To watch this young man play completely transformed the opinion I would have had of him.  You would have never guessed what appeared to be a wayward teen was composing original works that were so beautiful.

As further evidence that I was born in the wrong generation, watching music be created in front of me was more entertaining than any TV program I can think of.  While listening to well crafted songs on the radio is nice, it is completely different being entertained by the creation of live music.  Even the simple songs of Chimes or Can-Can coming from little fingers was so enjoyable.  Then to watch the older kids play Minuet in G and Beethoven's 5th Symphony was really a thrill.  I think part of it is that I have zero understanding of music and can't even read a single note of music.  I remind Hailey often that she is already smarter and knows far more than I do in music.  To watch the kids' fingers dance along the piano keys in sequence that produces notes that are so pleasing, was truly a delight.  I would love it if one day the kids could entertain us with the piano, just like they did in the olden days. :0)

Thursday 13 ~ Thankful

Ti's the season for giving thanks, so I thought I would list just 13 of the things I am most thankful for. My blessings are really too numerous to count.

1. God. I am so thankful to have a loving God that forgives me for all my imperfections.  A God who has blessed me over and over.  A God who sought me out.  A God who is just.  A God who becomes more awesome the more I learn.  

2. Max.  He is the most steady, reliable, and loving man.  I think he loves me more today than he did the day he married me.  The highlight of my day is when the garage goes up and he comes home.  If there ever was a soul mate or destiny, he encompasses it.

3. Hailey.  She is such a beautiful child inside out.  She is caring and grounded.  She makes parenting a joy and lets you think for just a minute maybe you are doing it right.

4. Karlie.  She is the life of the party and the leader of the pack.  The world better watch out for this one!  She is full of life and joy and brings out the fun side of me.

5. Kaitlin.  My delicate flower who has the biggest heart.  She is so nurturing and loves to help in every way.  I can't help but hug her all the time.
6. Hank. Little boys are just different.  I am so thankful that I get to experience raising both sexes.  It is really fun to watch a little boy grow.  I am totally smitten with my little man.  He delights and scares me daily.

7.  Health.  Thankful that today when were at the Children's Hospital getting Hank's lip sewn back together that I was not the mommy of the child next to us that had been flight for lifed in.  I am thankful that we have just minor bumps in our lives and not life long illnesses.

8.  I am thankful God knew to give me three girls and one boy.  After the stitches and my first injury related ER experience, I see I am not boy mom material.  When Hank split his lip I started crying because it was so deep and I hurt for him.  Hailey later asked me if I was ok because "I've never seen you cry before."  Leave it to the boy to break his mommy.

9. The Resort.  Not only because it is a house beyond my wildest dreams but because of the very basic things such a shelter, heat, plumbing, and comfort.  So often I take these blessings for granted.  In parts of Africa women spend 8 hours a day collecting and purifying water while I leave the water running to do dishes or brush my teeth.

10. Our neighborhood.  I have never lived in one of those neighborhoods where everyone knows each other and are friends.  The kind where the neighbors bring you pies and cakes to welcome you.  The kind where all the kids play with each other and neighbors do nice things like put your trash cans away, edge your yard, or help you shovel the snow.  The kind that evokes the "like a good neighbor" feeling.

11.  Colorado.  Very few places can rival this as a place to call home.  The climate is great.  If it snows two feet by the end of the week it is usually melted and sunny.  My drive to the kids' school is a gorgeous mountain range.  It is a beautiful place to live.

12.  America.  Sure she has her problems (Nancy Pelosi to name one) but I feel blessed to be born in the greatest country in the world and to have all the freedoms and opportunities that she affords to her citizens.  While our health care system is not perfect and I paid $200 with insurance to have Hank's lip fixed, it is far superior to any other system currently available in the world.  If you have an emergency you will be treated regardless of ability to pay.  Not so in much of the world.

13. Family.  Family is everything to me.  I have a very loving, happy, funny, and supportive family.  Everything I am is because of them.  My mom and sisters are my best friends and I am privileged to have Snork for a dad.  I am lucky that I have loving and caring in-laws that I consider my second family.  I usually have more fun hanging out with family rather it be nuclear or extended.  Friends come and go but family is forever.