Thursday, December 25, 2008

We Celebrate the Day

Christmas Eve with the Schmidgall's
Every year the extended Schmidgall family gets together on Christmas eve to exchange gifts and have a light dinner. This year was our first experience with a child. It was pretty fun, despite the fact that Marissa did not get her afternoon nap and she was a little cranky by the time we started opening gifts. She ended up doing alright, but it was touch and go for a little while. We had a great time seeing family that we only see a few times a year. It never seems like there is enough time to get quality conversations in with everyone. Every year Dan and I leave saying we are glad that our extended family still takes the time and effort to continue to gather together.

Marissa's first present ever. She needed Dan to help her open it (she was pretty fussy before she got the gift :). The hat was made by cousin Emily...impressive, and it even matched with her outfit.

Her favorite gift were the blocks. Aunt Bev and Marilyn are so thoughtful. I read during college that children who play with blocks are smarter...she is starting early.

All gifts are toys, right?

Christmas Day
Dan and I decided this year to offer our home to entertain the Tim Schacher family on Christmas day. We thought it would be easier for Papa (not to have to worry about cleaning, decorating, making the entire meal, etc.) and Marissa (actually going down for naps during the day). Also, the Schacher family loves to stay up late and watch Christmas movies, so we would have missed out on that part of the holiday tradition in order to get Marissa home and asleep at a decent hour. I love decorating and making sure everything is perfect, while Dan loves to entertain and make sure that everything under the sun is available for guests. We make quite the pair, but to me it becomes slightly overwhelming trying to keep everything perfect. At some point in the evening, I gave up and just relaxed and enjoyed Christmas. We had a great sit down dinner and were entertained by Marissa most of the time. She was in the high chair next to the food table when after a few minutes we realized she could reach the table. Of course it was too late and she had crammed mashed potatoes in her mouth. Then we opened gifts and got the traditional family pj's from "Santa" (something Dan's mom used to do). The evening ended around 2:00am after watching "The Elf" and "Christmas with the Cranks". What a great Christmas.

"Mmmmm...mashed potatoes are good!"

The Schacher Family (minus Isaiah) in the traditional Christmas pj's.

Marissa loved climbing on Papa's gift.

Asiah, Dan, and Papa watching movies until 2:00am. What a great Christmas tradition!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Artic Blast 2008

Fun in the Snow
It has been so unusual in the Valley this December, we have had snow for almost 2 weeks. Many families would be excited for this type of weather to go away, but our family LOVES it. Dan lives for this kind of weather because it means he can get out the Jeep and have fun with his large toy. He has come up with all the reasons I can think of to leave the house and drive around. On Monday and Tuesday Marissa and I joined him and drove around town most of the day. We managed to tow a few people up hills and pull others out that were stuck. Dan just loves helping people out and would drive around all day looking for people he could "give a hand".

Dan and I's drive's turned into me yelling "stop, that might be a good picture" :)

The ground is so white, it was beautiful!

Fun with the Bennetts
On Monday we decided to go into Salem with Ryan and Tara Bennett. We were able to call up Grandma last minute and run into Target. We had a great time, even though it was just a quick drive to town. In the evening we ended up at the Bennetts for a little bit and the kids had a blast together.

Mya and Marissa enjoying the Dan and Tara show.

Dan and Tara fighting for attention of the "girls". I think Tara won.

More Fun in the Snow
Even though there has been snow on the ground for more than a week, Dan and I hadn't taken Marissa out to experience it for the first time. So on Tuesday we decided it was definitely time and ventured to Dan's dad's house where there was nice powdery snow. There Marissa got to sink into almost 8 inches of cold snow. One of her first reactions was to try and eat the snow, since Dan had brought some in for her to try on Monday.

First family snow picture.

Daddy and Daughter having a special moment.

Marissa and I had fun in the snow.

All Marissa wanted to do was eat the snow. It got a little cold after a while.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Weather Sometimes Changes Plans

Cold Weather Changes Plans (Sometimes)
The week began with crazy weather (as most of you probably already know). I love it, but when it gets cold in the Willamette Valley life is put on hold. So, first I was bummed to have to cancel a get together with two friends from college. We have tried 2 different times to get us and our kiddos together, but have had to cancel. Maybe we'll get to do it sometime soon. There was question on whether or not the YL Appreciation Dinner would continue, but with the catering plans and all the hard work people put in...on it went.

Young Life Leader Appreciation Night
Well, it finally came to a close on Monday night. All the hard work I put into the YL dinner helped things flow very well. Dan was able to get off work early (the BOSS let him off) and help me set up a few last minute things for the "Humor Mystery Dinner". We put lights up in the Young Life office, set up tables and chairs, set a "crime scene" on the stage, decorated a Christmas Tree, and practiced the program (some of this happened Sunday evening also). The leaders arrived dressed in their best, and expecting to do a progressive dinner. I think they were pretty surprised when the committee members served them hor' d'oeuvres while they were waiting outside. Once we let them in, Dan and some of the high school kids put on Act 1 of their skit. The leaders had clues to read for 3 different rounds and started playing along with the "game" by the end of the evening. We had a great dinner of chicken, mashed potatoes, and mixed vegetables. Every ounce of work that was put into this evening was worth it while we were watching the leaders laugh and enjoy being served and appreciated. God has given them a gift of time and talent that they choose to use to change the lives of high school and middle school kids. It was a pleasure to put on a special evening for them. Here are some fun pictures from the evening.

Dan (aka Old Man River) and a group of YL kids putting on the "HVU: Humor Victims Unit" skit.

The beautifully set tables thanks to Krystina and Teresa (the master decorators).

The amazing group of Young Life and WyldLife leaders (minus 3) posing in the crime scene.

Stuck at Home
Most of the week Marissa and I just stayed home and tried to keep ourselves busy. There were days that I thought about venturing into Salem, but that thought passed and we continued to play at home. I remained at home and actually very unproductive pretty much all week. On Friday, we took an adventure as a family (I begged Dan to get out with Marissa and I) to the grocery store. It was quite the adventure :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Not Quite Routine

Getting into a Routine
Monday was a good day, knowing that Dan was actually coming home in the evening, instead of being on countdown untill the weekend. Marissa went to her 9 month check-up and we found out that she is a healthy, normal 9 month old baby. She is in the 46th percentile for her weight and the 68th percentile for her height. She is a little tall, but right on for her age. Other than Marissa deciding that she only wanted to take 20 minute naps we had a great day.

One Thing Leads to Another
So a few weeks ago, I agreed to take on a Leader Appreciation dinner that Young Life does annually around Christmas for about 20 leaders. At first it was supposed to be a simple progressive dinner where I was calling people asking them to do a portion of the meal at their home. Well, it has turned into much more than that. I started thinking about how the same thing has happened for the last 5 years and that something else needed to be done. My mother and I were talking and decided that we should do a catered dinner at the Young Life Office. Then I kept adding stuff to is how it went: ...we should decorate the office...the leaders should dress semi-formal...I should make invitations...we should do some sort of a program...I'll make the program...we should do a murder mystery should be a "humor mystery dinner"...I'll have to create this "humor mystery" script...there should be some special music...I need to find a good song...I'll put a slide show together to go with the special music...the leaders should get cool gifts...they should get sweatshirts...I'll design the how am I EVER going to do this all myself and in 2 weeks.

This was just a little of how it got way out of hand in a very short time (this thought process happened at like 2am over two nights of sleeplessness). So most of Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday were spent putting together the program for the evening, writing a script, finding a special song, and making a slide show of the leaders and their time with kids.

The invitation I made with my cool new scrapbooking program (I also made programs, inserts, and a slide show).

Some Time Away
For the most part of the week, Marissa and I were able to stay in and get laundry done and the house cleaned (oh, and not to mention all the Young Life stuff). On Thursday we were able to get into Salem and get our Christmas Cards printed. It might be a little bit until you see them in the mail, because they have to be re-printed (oh, well)...hopefully they make it out before Christmas. On Friday, Marissa and I got to go to story time again at the library.She is getting more brave each time and ventures off my lap to try and "play" with the older kids. It doesn't take long for her to realize she is not within reach of mom and turns around to come and cuddle (such sweet moments). In the evening, Tara Bennett and I were able to get away from our children and get some stuff done at a MOPS get together. I was able to finish making all my "tags" for my Christmas presents and chat with Tara a little.

Saturday Dan and I spent the day with the Bennetts celebrating Tara's birthday on a wine tour. We were able to take a limo to 5 different wineries. Dan and I found our new favorite type of wine (I don't know that we will ever give up on Riesling) and had a great time with everyone. I am sure there will be pictures of the exciting event (away from Marissa from the entire day, for the first time).

After church on Sunday, we went shopping as a family. Yes, we did venture to church even though there was snow on the ground. If you don't know my husband, this is even more of a reason to go somewhere and "play" in the snow. By the time we left the house the roads were pretty clear. In the evening we went down to the Young Life office for a few (ok, many) hours, to plan the wonderful event for the Young Life Leaders tomorrow night (please let the roads be clear so they can enjoy my hard work). I am excited and can't wait to see how all my planning will turn out.

*Since our week was so routine (except Saturday), we don't have many pictures for you all to look at. I am sure you will see many next week of Monday nights event.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

It's Begining to Look Alot Like Christmas Around the Schacher's

Yay, For Flying Southwest For the Winter
I absolutely love it when the birds fly south for the winter...ok this is not really about the birds, it's about my husband coming home. He officially gets to work from home for the first time in 7 months. He has been working in northern Idaho and eastern Washington with his company (10 out of the 16 months they have been in operation) and finally the work is done over there for the winter. We are not sure what next winter will bring (actually we are never sure what even next month will bring with directional drilling), but are soooo excited to be together each night and sleep in the same bed EVERY night of the week. Dan is more than looking forward to putting his daughter down to bed each night and giving her a kiss on the forehead. He has been gone during the week for 7 of the 8 1/2 months she has been alive and cannot wait to be home with her.

Alright, alright I am sure you can tell how excited we are...I'll stop writing about it.
Christmas Things
Dan and I decided before we traveled to California that we were going to decorate and get our Christmas lights up before we left on vacation. I got the inside decorated last Sunday and Dan was able to put up almost all the lights. He had a slight problem when the roof got slick...a near tumble off the roof (good thing he caught onto the gutters, I always knew there was a reason for them). After the near "falling off the roof" experience we both decided he needed to finish the lights later. Once Dan got HOME on Wednesday night (yes I said "Dan got home" on a Wednesday night) he was able to finish up the lights without breaking anything.

On Sunday, we were able to get our Christmas tree with Ryan and Tara. We headed up to Reinharts Tree Farm and took the normal hour looking for the right tree. Dan ended up cutting down the first tree that he spotted and it looks great in our living room. This year he didn't choose one that took up the entire room, I guess his taste in trees has shrunk. Dan and I always enjoy the Bennett Family of 5 and were glad we could go as a group to find the perfect tree.

Marissa and I walking through the forest of trees.

Dan and Ryan showing off their trees.

Bennett and Schacher clan after picking out their trees.

Look at that sunset in the pickup...and the two greatest things in the world standing next to it.

Winter Means Colds and Flu Bugs
On Tuesday Marissa woke up in a great mood. I would have never known there was anything wrong with her...until I fed her the usual morning bottle. About 5 minutes after eating, everything came right back up. That is when I knew that my plans for the day were about to change. Instead of going to Bible Study Fellowship and then getting together with my group for "Fellowship", I was going to be home all day with a puking little girl. We did many loads of laundry and didn't do too much throughout the day. I must say, Marissa is a pretty good sick baby. Besides the throwing up it would have been hard to tell she was not feeling well...she has such a happy demeanor.

Christmas Shopping
Shopping this year is going to be pretty easy. We get the Schacher family the same thing every year and it has to be ordered online, and so the only thing left is the extended Schmidgall gift exchange. I was able to get almost all my shopping done on Thursday afternoon. I even got Dan's gift...he has no clue what it is I am so excited about...I CAN'T WAIT!

Marissa has started doing a little dance this week. It is so funny...what a character. You can't tell at all who her dad is. She has this little "radio" that we bought for the plane and it plays various alphabet songs. There is this one song called "Annie-oooo" that was playing the other day and Marissa started bobbing up and down while it was playing. I only slightly noticed it but didn't pay much attention. Then while shopping the other day, there was Christmas music playing in the store (as always) and Marissa started doing the same thing. I eventually realized that she was rockin' out to the music. It is so funny because now whenever there is music on the TV or when her toys play music she starts to "dance". Must have been those times when she was younger that Dan and I would turn music up, act like goofballs, and dance around the room. She's only 9 months and has so much character. :)

Marissa dancing to the tunes on her radio.

Tree Lighting
Every year at about this time, Silverton hosts a tree lighting ceremony with hot chocolate and various activities. Dan and I are always driving through (of course the traffic is terrible) and comment on how we would like to actually attend at some point. This year a friend reminded me on Thursday night and so talked Dan into getting off work before 6:30pm. He actually made it home by 5:15 for the first time in a long time and well, like one of my paragraphs before said "Winter means colds and flu bugs", I bet you can guess where he was all night. Poor guy. I ended up bundling up Marissa and I and walking down to the tree lighting to meet a friend. It was pretty crazy down there and almost impossible to find anyone. Marissa loved the lights...mostly just the fire truck lights...and enjoyed watching all the kids. Finally after the tree was lit I found Summer, her husband, and baby boy and we all walked down to the coffee shop. We sat there and talked for a little while (until Marissa got too antsy) and then stopped at the new chocolate shop where they were handing out free samples.

Marissa and I bundled up to go to the tree lighting. It was sure cold.

You can even see the "dust" that Santa sprinkled on the tree in order for it to light.

Once I got home I found a very sick man and acted as his nurse the rest of the night. I tried my hardest, but don't think I would make the best nurse. Dan ended up sleeping most of the Saturday away, but feeling better later in the evening.

Deck the Tree...Finally
We were finally able to decorate our Christmas tree (after having it almost a week), and finish with the lights on Sunday (they have been half up for 2 weeks). Now our tree is decorated with presents under it (only 2 more presents left to buy). I have NEVER shopped this early, but have enjoyed seeing presents under the tree for more than a few days before they are opened. We had a relaxing day on Sunday with Dan still recovering from his sick day on Saturday.