Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My niece, Mallory, who I consider my third daughter, made this video for my 60th birthday.
I love it.
Thank you  Mallory.
I hope if  you take the 14 minutes it takes to watch it,  you like it, too.
I know it is all about me, so it may be a bit boring for you.
The 4 musical selections are some of my favorite, too,.

So, today I turn 60.
I like to think that maybe 60 is the new 40.
I do not feel as old as 60 sounds.

This weekend Courtney and her little family, Alissa, Nathan, Mallory, my mom, my brother and Vikki will help  me celebrate.
I am excited to spend time with all of them.

So, Happy Birthday to me!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Overhauling the kitchen and other tidbits from the weekend

I am winding down from a very nice productive weekend.
On Friday night we met Karen and Rick Olsher at Elias.
Karen and Rick were the managers at our first apartment on Dewey Ave .
I had their daughter in my first kindergarten class.
It was fun to reconnect and share stories of our lives over the years.
I am so glad that Karen and I reconnected over FB.

I woke up on Saturday ready to challenge the wallpaper in our kitchen.
My ex sister in law put this paper up and as far I can tell, it wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.  She had that stuff glued up there good!
I googled how to remove wallpaper and came up with some helpful hits.
We used lots of hot water and finally resorted to a product called Dif which really did the trick.
 This is just one wall partially stripped
 These two walls still needed to be done.
I am not very good at this putsy type of work, I prefer immediate results, but I kept plugging along.  John was purchasing our new laminate flooring from Menard's, so I could not ask for his help.
 Luckily Mallory came over  for a visit and went right to work on the walls.
She, unlike me, enjoys the challenge of such a task and she says her mom can put it up and she can take it down.
In record time she had her wall done.

 John did the clean up and then returned to Menard's to buy some paint because now these white empty walls were begging for some color.
 He painted on Sunday while I hosted an open house at St. John's.
The color is a nice tan and I am liking it.
After our wallpaper removal success on Saturday night, Mallory made a u tube video for my birthday.  I love it and will share it here when I turn 60 on Wed.

Today my kids and the K, 1st, and 2nd grades sang in church.
They did a great job as usual.
They sang Servants of God.

It was a very nice weekend, now on to my birthday week.
Leaving the 50's behind.

Monday, January 21, 2013

 We justt had a great weekend in Bloomington celebrating John and Alissa's birthdays.
Courtney, Paul, and girls came to our house on Friday night.
We laughed a lot, just look at little Soli and you will get a taste of what the night was like for all of us.
We left for Bloomington on Saturday morning about nine.
Tiz rode in our car with us, the maiden voyage for our new Buick Rendezvous while Courtney, Paul, and Soli followed behind.
We had a nice lunch at Wendy's' in Rochelle and then arrived at our motel, the Baymont around one.
Alissa met us at the motel and took Courtney and Paul with her to do some shopping and sightseeing.
John and I took Soli and Tiz to the Children's Museum in Bloomington.
We all had a great time.
 There is a great climbing structure for the older kids.  Tiz loved this area and was able to climb way to the top which is three stories high.
 The girls enjoyed some down time reading a few books in these cool chairs.
 Tiz loved all the hands on exhibits like the computers.
 Tiz also got to try out a child sized pair of crutches in the medical area.
 Here she is being Dr. Tizita checking out her patient.
 John and I really had to tag team in order to keep both girls happy and in our sight.
I was usually with Soli while John spent his time with Tiz.
Here Soli is driving me around in the pizza delivery truck.
 There was also a small climbing area for the little kids.  Soli enjoyed her time in there.
 After the museum, we all headed back to the motel and enjoyed birthday cake and cupcakes before going to dinner.
 Birthday boy, John 

  1.  and birthday girl, Alissa both enjoyed their dinners as did all of us.

 The maid came in and did our mirrors for us.
 Nathan brought over some legos that he had when he was little and he and Tiz had so much fun creating with them.
 Movie Star Soli kept us all laughing.  
We had our lunch at Steak and Shake, perfect way to end the weekend.
We took a scenic route home which ended up with a tour of Elkhorn.
Courtney, Paul, and the girls stayed overnight until Monday because we all had Monday off, so our weekend was even longer.
It was another memorable, fun weekend.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Remembering our little angel

One year ago today our precious grandson, Natnael passed away unexpectedly in Ethiopia just four days after meeting his mama Courtney and his papa Paul.
We never got to meet him this side of heaven, but we look forward to seeing this smiling face as we enter heaven.
We may have never met him, but we were waiting for him to join our family.
We had bought fire truck for him, we had bought him his first Packer jersey and Packer cap, we had bought him books that a little boy would enjoy.
We were excited to have a little boy in our family for the first time.

We were shocked and oh, so sad when we got the sad, sad news about his death.
It was so hard to grasp, how could this happen?
But we held tight to one another and to our faith.  We knew God doesn't give us more than we can handle and we know His plan is the best, so we put it all in his hands.
Now, a year later, we have renewed joy in sweet Soliana , who would not have been a part of our family if Natnael had not died.
Not that it makes it any easier, but I can see God's plan unfolding in a wonderful way for Courtney's little family and for all of us.
Natnael touched our lives in a very special way and I am so thankful for  the fact that I have that smiling picture of my grandson to look at and remember a little boy who was loved by so many.
So Natnael, we will never forget you and we will see you again.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

One Year Ago Tomorrow

One year ago tomorrow, Jan. 11, 2012
we were at the Milwaukee Airport waiting for Courtney and Paul to return from Ethiopia where they had met their son, Natnael for the first time.
As a side note, little did we know that would be the last time they ever saw him.
We had just spent ten wonderful days with Tizita and it was time to hand her back off to her parents.
Boy, were we ever going to miss her. 
 She was so excited to see her mama and papa and apparently they were pretty happy to see her, too.
She had made each of them some pictures and I am guessing she made that lei for her mama, too.
As I was reading through the blog from that time last year, I was filled with bittersweet memories.
We has so much fun with Tizita and we were so happy that we could function in our working worlds with a five year old in tow.
Of course, all these happy times were cut short with the news of Natnael's unexpected passing just a few short days later, but that deserves its own post in a few days.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Recap of a near perfect weekend

 This past weekend, John and I took the girls to the Appleton Children's Museum.
It was Soli's first trip to this magical place.
I remember the first time that John and I took Tizita when she was just over two years old.
We started our adventure with lunch at Burger King which appears to have been enjoyed by all.
 Soli was so happy the entire day.  We saw this smile all the time.
 We started in the kwik trip at the museum.
Tiz immediately found a friend who helped her run the pizza area of the store.
It seemed that no matter which area we went to, Tiz managed to find a friend to hang out with.
 Here is Tiz flying the plane.
She and her co pilot, a friend she had just made, said we were going to South Korea and Antarctica.
 The art studio is also a popular spot.
Both Tiz and Soli enjoyed painting at the easel.
 Soli is a double fisted painter.
 Being creative at another painting table.
 Soli really liked the water area.
Tizita has never been a fan of the water, but she played in here for a little bit to show Tiz a few of the ropes.
 Firefighter Soli racing to the fire.
 Just before we left the museum after a very fun day.
The Packers played and won their first play off game on Sat night.
Tizita sat with grandpa and watched the game.
Good thing the Packers did so well so there wasn't much frustration on grandpa's part or I am not sure Tiz would have sat there on his lap the whole game.
 After church on Sunday, we took the girls out to enjoy the near perfect winter day.
Both John and I got quite a workout as we pulled them through deep snow.
 We made our way to the sledding hill.  
Both girls went down together a few times although Soli was not a fan.
 Tiz and I made a few runs down the hill.
 We took a few minutes to do some swinging at the park before heading home.
It was a great weekend full of happy times and lots of laughs.
I can't wait until our next adventure will be a road trip to Bloomington in two weeks.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy Birthday to my Baby

Thirty three years ago on January 7 at 6:50 AM I had my second and last baby,
Alissa Marie Damman
made her entry into our very snowy, cold world.
She was three weeks late and then when she finally decided to make her entry, she couldn't even wait for a doctor to deliver her.
She was delivered by a nurse
She weighed in at just over 8 lbs and had a full head of hair.
This was Alissa on her baptism day.
And here she is on her first birthday.

Alissa has been a bright spot in our lives since the day she was born.
She has a great sense of humor, an overabundance of sarcasm, and just the right amount of an "I don't care" attitude.
She has been a great daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, wife, and aunt.
She has been a blessing to so many.
I wish she lived closer to us so I could spend more time with her, but I know she is very happy in Bloomington and we always enjoy a road trip to the south.
Today I wish Alissa a very happy day and a year full of dreams come true.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy Birthday John!

Happy Birthday to my husband and best friend, John.
Looks like the girls decorated this cake by themselves many years ago.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What doesn't kill us just makes us stronger, right?

Take a moment to reread my posts from January of last year.
I did that this morning and it was so bittersweet.
I loved having Tizita with us for 10 days, what a great way to start out our year.
She was here for John's birthday and then we took our road trip to visit Alissa and Nathan.
Then the sad news and life did not stop.
So, I guess whoever said, "what doesn't kills you only makes you stronger."
Natnael's death did not kill us, but I am not so sure it made us all that much stronger either.
I am thankful that I have a record of the events in this blog because I really don't want to forget any of the emotion connected to any of that sad time.
Now on to a different subject.
I wanted to document what we (the six adults) bought the person whose name we had for the gift exchange.
 John gave Alissa a beautiful handmade bracelet, two vintage beer glasses, and a pretty flower pin to wear in her hair or on her coat.
John is sporting his shirt from our "ugly" Christmas last year while Alissa is wearing her homemade headband from the same event.
 Paul had my name and gave me a beautiful scarf and a marguarita candle that smells heavenly.  I am wearing my homemade peter pan christmas collar under the scarf and Paul has on his Christmas jingle boxers, but you can't see them on this photo.
 Caped super hero Nathan gave Paul a cribbage board shaped like a guitar.
 I gave Nathan a heather gray polo that he wanted.
He said it was his best cape ever.
 Courtney got this cute skirt and a babysitter club game from her sister.
Courtney, wearing her Santa ear muffs from last year gave her father a vintage liquor case, an expensive cigar, and a homemade moustache mug and coozie.
It was another great fun gift exchange.
It is the third year that we have done this and we all agree it is a fun, meaningful way to do the gifting.
we all put lots of thought into the gift we buy for our recipient.
So, this is the last post about our Christmas.
Tomorrow I go back to school after two weeks off.
I miss my kids,
I am ready to go back.
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