Catching Up!!

Man oh man do I have some catching up to do! I still have to blog about Christmas....sheesh! I have felt overwhelmed because there is SO much catching up to do! For those of you who love me dearly...and therefore check my blog regularly (even though I am a slacker), you will have seen that I keep changed my background and title picture. I am just trying to get one that I like...I haven't been successful. For now...this will do.

Christmas 2009

Merry Christmas!!! In April!!!
We took a fantastic trip in December to Atlanta, Georgia and then to Franklin, Tennessee. We had a great time! Here are some fun memories of the trip! John's brother James and his wife Jen live in Atlanta and my brother Kurt and his wife Leah live in Franklin! They live only four hours from each other and it's a beautiful and fun drive. It took us 8 hours to drive to Atlanta and 12 hours to drive home from Tennessee.
This is Christmas morning! They were so excited to go and see what Santa had brought them...they couldn't wait much longer! Noah and Hailey played really well together! They loved jumping on the trampoline and gliding on the zipline in the backyard. My favorite part was baking and cooking with Jen! I also loved the quiet evenings when all 6 of our children were sound asleep and we watched movies and played Wii. Fun times!
All six kiddos on Christmas Eve in their Christmas jammies!
This picture is significant because it is the last picture that I took before I dropped my brand new camera and BROKE it. If you remember...although you probably don't because it was 6 months ago (but my camera had just been stolen along with my purse...and this was the new camera that we COULDN'T afford)!! Christmas day was not so great after that. I was REALLY upset and had a hard time thinking about anything other than how I just wasted MORE of our money! I have no pictures of Christmas after this...except what Jen sent to me of what she had taken. I finally was able to let the frustration go but I fear I had already done the damage and ruined Christmas Day for myself! It takes me a lot to get GRUMPY...but I was grumpy!!! There had been a few BIG letdowns happen in our lives prior to Christmas and me DROPPING my own camera was more than my soul could take. There were some tears shed but I would like to announce that all has worked out fantastically and we have another new camera which I have been guarding with my life.
We had a great time driving around town looking at Christmas lights on the big, beautiful homes! We had a few kids in our car and James and Jen had a few kids in theirs.
Smile John!! Cause I am about to take your picture!
Sometimes I crack myself up...am I supposed to be pursing my lips like this??!!?? I don't know... I can't remember...it's been too long!
James works at a beautiful business park...we went and spent the afternoon there one sunny day. We had a great time feeding ducks...enjoying walked dogs...and basking in the warm sun!

It seems silly but I must say it...MERRY CHRISTMAS! As we have just celebrated Easter and have had a chance to reflect on our Savior again, we are so grateful for the love that we feel from Him and the love that we are able to have for Him.

The second half of our trip will be in a later blog! I promise I'll post it before next Christmas!!


January was a fun month for us! We started it off by adopting two rodents into our family. Meet  Rosie and Rutabaga! They were born on Christmas (or very close) and we are very thankful to our sweet friends who gave them too us. They have grown so much since this picture...I'm sure you are dying to see them. I'll get a recent picture posted soon :)! After a few escapes...eekkkekkkekkkeek...we have finally figured our how they were doing it and fixed that problem and they are now a sweet addition to the clan! They are noisy at night...that darn wheel...but we love them anyways!

The best part about January was that we had the best visitors EVER!!! GRANDMA AND GRANDPA!!! Not just one set...but BOTH!!
Grandma Hecker is so sweet to our babies. She lets them follow her everywhere and gives them all of the attention that they desire.
We can't have out of town visitors without going to the beach...but it was pretty cold. They brought us a great gift...one that was JUST perfect for a picnic at the beach....
It's called the Volcano and it is the most fun, portable grill! We ate a delicious lunch-chicken fajitas and a fabulously messy and tasty dessert-Smores!

That's me and Hailey. I am usually the photographer...so here is a picture of myself!

Next came Grandma and Grandpa Niepraschk. They came just in time for Isabella's 3rd birthday party and they were SO helpful. My dad is so great to run errands with us and sit in the car while the babies are napping. We were able to get so much done with them around. My mom is the best shopping partner so I was in heaven.

I love this picture of them reading to the girls. So sweet. I ended up getting really sick this week and I do not know what I would have done if they weren't around. I feel sad that we didn't get to do a lot of fun activities (of course they were happy to do whatever we were doing) but I was so glad that they were with me.


I have been blessed with amazing friends. I am thankful every second of every day for these special women in my life. Caroline (right of me) has been the best of friends the last 3 years and I love her dearly. She organized a surprise party for John and I to help us learn more and to get more comfortable with Erie, PA! She has never been there...but she did all of the research for us. It was so sweet and so fun. We learned a lot!
She found a yummy bakery in Erie and had them ship TONS of goodies for the party. She sent us home with all of the leftovers and I was in heaven. We had chocolates and scones and chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal cookies and wedding cookies and chocolate chip brownies (my favorite) and much more. It was even sweeter because my most beautiful girl Heidi drove 4 hours to surprise me and I was SO happy to be with her. She spent the night at our house and I was very glad to have her so close. The next day was GLORIOUS. It was a beautiful day filled with laughter, memories shared, and memories made. It was amazing to me at how the day didn't just slip away and fly fast as time seems to do...but it was slow and memorable. We had so much fun and I was so sad to watch her drive away...knowing it might be awhile before I can see her and her kids again.
We were pregnant at the same time...Khloe and Talon are only a month apart.
Izzie and Paige!
Yummy lunch!!!
She is an awesome mom and I love to learn from her. She is sweet and loving and so darn fun!!!! Her children and husband are so lucky to have her!

I love my sweet posers....they are always ready for the camera.
Hmmmm...I wonder who they get it from??
Leprechauns came into our house while we were sleeping and left a delicious trail of gold candy and green, messy stringly things.
The best part is that they lead us to this....
Gotta love holidays!! When we woke up the next morning...our cute/rotten little girls had the green, messy, stringy stuff ALL OVER THE HOUSE. I mean it was everywhere. They didn't have near as much fun cleaning it up as they did scattering it about.