Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Chaos

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas. I intended to post these pictures days ago..but Christmas wore me out! It's taken me until now to recover! We had a crazy few days, but managed to see most everyone.

I had to work on Christmas Eve day, so it was almost 7:00 before we left town that night. Mott was our first stop...bless the Kerzmans for waiting for us to arrive before opening gifts! I still can't believe the kids waited that long! We watched the kids open their gifts (Lizzy LOVES her baby, blanket and crib Grandma and Grandpa Kerzman made!), then had an adult white elephant exchange (I am more than happy with my Starbucks liqueur, by the way!) It was fun hanging out with the family and watching the excitement on the kids' faces. Santa even made an appearance, and was nice enough to take photos with everyone, even Brad. Too bad Caleb was MIA during the visit.. I'm sure he would have loved to have had his picture taken with Santa.
In keeping with our tradition, we left the Kerzman farm late Christmas Eve night and drove to the Shea farm. Everyone was in bed when we arrived, so we crashed too. But, it was a short night! Lexi and Jenn's girls were up at 5:30, but managed to wait until 6:30 to wake the rest of us up. The next few hours are a blur.... the kids opened presents in record time. I think everyone got what they wanted... Jake and Tomas both got new Legos...the Star Wars "Imperial Star Destroyer"'s over 1,300 pieces and took Jake two and a half days to build! Lexi was happy with clothes, and Lizzy was happy with her new woof-woof backpack.
We did a kid swap on the way home... Lexi stayed at the Kerzman farm and we brought Nate home for a few days. He and Jake had a great time playing legos and flying his helicopter.
Now we are finally back to our normal routine. Brad and I both went to work today and the kids went to daycare. As fun as the Christmas chaos always is, I have to admit, I am kind of happy to be back to "normal". At least until Wednesday evening, when we ring in the new year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Making Memories

"This will be a memory."
That's what we told the kids as we sat outside the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis on Sunday, waiting for the Vikings game. We thought the game started at noon, so we left our hotel in Maple Grove at 9:30. There was not much traffic on the drive to downtown and we found a parking spot in the lot between the two one-way streets (the one where the cheerleaders park, Brad pointed out). It was all too good to be true. We paid $35 to park, got organized for the game (a family Christmas present, and the first-ever professional football game for the kids and me). We headed to the door where we had seen people going inside. The gates were closed. We walked to the next gate. That one was locked too. It was four degrees below zero, Lizzy was sleeping (wrapped safely inside a warm Vikings blanket) and Jake was pretty sure he was going to freeze to death. We were on the other side of the building before we ran into another person, who informed us that despite what our tickets said, the game was not at noon, but rather at 3:15. She sent us to the next gate, where a worker then sent us to the next door. No one could let us in the Dome..they were still doing security checks. The doors were set to open at 1:15. It was 10:15. So, we headed back to the van to regroup (after walking around the entire Metrodome, in subzero weather..we were not feeling like parents of the year!). We debated taking the light rail to the mall, but we weren't sure where to buy tickets. Nothing else was open. Thank goodness we had a full tank of gas, new DVD players, chocolate bars and sunflower seeds.
We spent the next two and a half hours in the van. Talk about family bonding. The big kids watched a movie. Lizzy climbed around the van, happy to be out of her carseat. Brad and I kicked ourselves for not double checking the game time.
Finally, at 12:45, we headed to the gates. Thirty minutes later, we were finally in the Dome. The looks on the kids' faces made the wait worth it. Jake was literally speechless when he first saw the field. We stood and soaked it all in for about ten minutes. A very nice grandfatherly usher told Jake all kinds of interesting facts about the building, the field, and the games he could someday play there.
The game did not end the way we had hoped (Vikings lost, 17-24) but it was so much fun! The kids loved every second of it. Jake watched most of the game through his binoculars. Lexi crossed her fingers, arms and toes, hoping the Vikes would squeak out a win. Lizzy made friends with the grandma beside us, stuck popcorn in her own nose, and then later sneezed it out. She fell asleep in the fourth quarter, and we waited for the crowds to thin before we left our seats.
Nearly a week later, the kids are still talking about the game, the wait, and the fun. Proving that this really *is* the stuff memories are made of.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Jake has caught the Christmas spirit. This morning he found a Santa hat, put it on his head, and told me..."this is what Santa looks like when he's surprised". Need I say more? Merry Christmas from Jake!
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Who needs toys?

As Christmas draws closer, I am reminded of just how materialistic we get this time of year. The stores are crazy, people are crabby, and walking across the Target parking lot is only a good idea if you've got a death wish. Yet, in the midst of all this holiday craziness, I am brought back to the true meaning of Christmas, thanks to my baby girl.

Lizzy doesn't care about toys. I'll be honest..she doesn't have a lot of new toys (being the third child is tough) but she doesn't care. She is happiest when she is picking on her brother or sister, playing with the dogs, or even playing with a box.

The proof is in the pictures. I set an empty diaper box at the top of the stairs last night, hoping to remember to take it to the garbage before the garbage man came today. The box never made it outside.

Brad put Lizzy in the box, to keep her entertained while Lexi did her math homework. Lizzy thought she was the funniest kid in the world, and actually cried when I took her out of the box! Needless to say, I did not have the heart to throw the box, Lizzy's new favorite toy, out with the rest of the garbage this morning.
So I leave you with these thoughts: enjoy this Christmas with child-like enthusiasm. Don't get so wrapped up in what's inside the packages that you miss the true meaning of Christmas!

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Future Pop Stars

Whatever ideas you had about what my big kids might be when they grow up, you're about to change your mind. Yes, Lexi may appear to be the quiet, shy one, but once you watch this video, you will have a different idea. And yes, Jake is always a clown, and this video just reinforces that. And no, for the record, I do NOT approve of how my nine year old is shaking her hips! Keep in mind, this was shot on Friday night...the beginning of a very long weekend of being snowed in. So if you think they're goofy here, imagine what they were like by this morning!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Jake's Christmas Wishes

Being on tv is no big deal for my kids...they don't get excited anymore. Apparently the same is true when it comes to being on the radio. For the second year in a row, Jake was chosen to be on KidSpeak with Phil Parker. I should tell you that KFYR radio and KFYR-TV are completely separate now, so he is not chosen because he's my kid. Well, maybe he is. Phil said he got a kick out of Jake, and it was refreshing to hear a kid ask for something other than video games for Christmas. As we listened, Brad and I worried this converstation might go to a bad place, but Phil was in charge of the conversation, and suggested ears over another body part. Just listen..and it will make sense!

And for the record, we ARE going to a football game...we picked the Vikings and will be at the December 21st game in Minneapolis. We are so is our family Christmas present (sorry, no Wii or big screen tv this year!). And.. don't everyone run out and buy Jake books.. I got it covered!

Finally, thanks to Pauly for getting this clip to work! I've been trying for weeks... and it took him a few minutes. It's good to have smart friends!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fashion Diva

This is going to be embarassing for Lexi, but in a few years, it will be much more embarassing for I'm going to post these pictures for that reason. I hope Lexi will understand!

Lizzy's newest thing is dressing herself. She actually does amazing well, considering she's only 19 months old. You'll remember a few weeks ago she would wear only bikinis. Well, now we've gotten more in sync with the season, and these warm fuzzy pj's with feet are a new favorite. But a couple of nights ago, she took it one step further. Lizzy added a sock, and two pairs of panties. Now, I must tell you, the panties and the sock were all clean..they were sitting on top of Lexi's pile of laundry to put away. Lizzy absolutely loves to put on her sister's underwear, and apparently, the more the better. Lexi caught of glimpse of this outfit and quickly scolded her sister.."that's getting a little personal Lizzy". But she did not make her take them off. I think she knew that would just result in a fight, and she also knew eventually Lizzy would tire of the outfit and take it off.

She did eventually ditch the clothes..and went to bed in only a diaper. But it sure was fun capturing the moment! I love how she looks so proud of herself! Someone commented that it looks like a superhero outfit. Now THAT'S a scary thought... "Underwear Girl to the rescue!"

Finally, here's Lizzy's first attempts at shooting video (complete with Monday Night Football in the background!). I'm sure KFYR will be calling to hire her...

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Miss Basketball

I finally faced reality and retired from city league basketball this year. I'm glad I did. Lexi has caught basketball fever, and it is so fun watching her get excited about the game I love so much!
After six weeks of parks and rec ball she was asked to play on a traveling team. She and eight other fourth grade girls from three different Bismarck schools have formed the team called "Explosion". They've played in one tournament so far...and got blown away the first two games, but came back to win their third game by two points in the final seconds of the game! It was so exciting, and so nervewracking! I got a glimpse into what the future holds for me, as a nervous mom in the bleachers! Lexi is by far the tallest girl on the floor, and by the third game she was also one of the most agressive. No one scored on her.. she dominated the paint and got just about every rebound!

Explosion will play in a tournament in Mandan this weekend, three games in two days. When Lexi realized her games might interfere with Girl Scouts, she quickly decided to skip Scouts, not basketball. I was so proud! Then, on Sunday I offered to fix her hair for church and she informed me she could do it herself, because she "doesn't really care" what she looks like. I asked what happened to my little girl who used to love dresses, hair pretties and everything girly. She looked at me, and bluntly said "I'd rather be playing basketball." Now, I know she could just be kissing up because Christmas is coming, but if she keeps it up..she might just get everything on her Christmas list!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Feeling Thankful

As I prepare myself for the new week, I am sorting through pictures of this weekend and Thanksgiving day (I've posted a few of my favorites). While I look at the pictures, I realize how much I have to be thankful for. Yes, it was a busy, stressful weekend (I made three trips to Mott, one to Bison and got up at 3am to shop on Friday), but I realize now, it was all worth it.

I got to see my parents, my brother, my grandparents and my uncle and his friend. I am so grateful that my kids have the chance to get to know my grandparents. They are awesome people and I've always admired them. I know my kids think they're pretty cool too.
In my many trips to Mott I also got to see most of my in-laws. Everyone except for Mat and Kileigh was home, so you can imagine the house was hopping! There was never a dull moment! That's what makes the Kerzman home so special...there's always something going on and something to do. I only wish I would have had more time to visit with each of my brothers and sisters in law. Mary rode to the farm with me on Saturday, so we had three hours of visiting, which was so fun! And, when we got back from Mott on Saturday, the girls and I got to spend time with Chrissy and Rory, Sheena and Jesse, and Ed and Madonna.
And, believe it or not, I am also thankful for my early morning shopping trip. Yes, it was crazy to get up at 3:00 in the morning. I was standing in line outside Kohl's with my friends at 3:40am. The doors opened at 4:00 am and by 5:45, I was out of that store (I didn't shop that whole time.. I stood in line to pay for over an hour!) and onto the next store. I hit four stores by 7:00 am. By 7:30, I was treating myself to a Starbucks coffee and heading home. I got the majority of our shopping done, which means instead of stressing out about shopping, this year I will enjoy this time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We will get our tree and other decorations up (hopefully) in the next few days and maybe the kids and I will even bake cookies this year!
So, I ask you this...what are you thankful for? Here's my list:
1. My family..that includes my kids, my husband, my parents, my grandparents, my brother, my sister and her family, Mary, Madonna, and my in-laws...even my dogs.
2. My home.
3. My job.. even though I complain and it stresses me out, it really is my dream job, and I enjoy it. I am also thankful to have a job so I can provide for my family.
4. My friends.... I couldn't get through a day without them (you know who you are!) and they remind me all the stuff I have to be thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the Christmas season!

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Another Day, Another Bikini

Lizzy apparently has no need for pajamas anymore. She once again wore a bikini to bed last night. Don't worry... the other once went in the dirty laundry, and she found a clean swim suit to wear to bed! She also found a pacifier.... she looked so funny wearing a bikini and sucking on a pacifier, we went a little crazy taking pictures! She hasn't used a pacifier since she was about six months old. Of course...she also used to wear pajamas to bed...

Anyway, despite it all.. Lizzy is not just another beach bimbo in a bikini. She's very smart..and I've posted the video to prove it.. now if I could just get her to put on some "real" clothes so we can go outside in the snow...

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'll do it myself!

In case you didn't know, Lizzy is no longer a baby. She is very much a big girl, and reminds us in a not so gentle way every single day.

In recent weeks, she has discovered the joys of dressing herself. She loves to empty her dresser drawers and throw clothes all over the house. I'm pretty sure most of the clothes I wash are not actually dirty, but at some point, I quit caring. It's easier just to wash them all rather than try to remember what she wore that week.

In her quest to do it herself, she has pulled her dresser over on top of herself once. I remember before she was born when Brad put that cheap K-Mart dresser together, and we both laughed at the instructions that recommended anchoring it to the wall. We've never anchored any furniture to the wall, other than the gun cabinet. We're currently looking for the pieces to anchor Lizzy's dresser to the wall!

Last night was a crazy busy night.. Jake had Cub Scouts, Lexi had basketball practice, Brad had Knights of Columbus and basketball. Lizzy and I spent much of the evening driving. When we finally got home, she refused to take a bath. I didn't have the energy to fight with her, so I let her skip. I told her to go find some pajamas and we'd go nigh-nigh. She returned guessed it.. a bikini. Again, lacking the strength to argue about it, I let her wear it. I really didn't expect her to wear it all night. She has worn different swim suits around the house for a few hours, but never all night. But, she once again proved me wrong. Lizzy's new favorite pj's...her itsy-bitsy blue polka-dot bikini!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

From the Archives: Jake at the Fair

We had so much fun watching the story of Lexi getting lost at K-Mart, that I figured I better post one of Jake too! This was in July of 2006. I had to go to the State Fair in Minot for work. Jake went with us, but Lexi wouldn't skip swimming lessons! Once we got there and saw how interested Jake was in everything, Dwayne and I decided to do a story on the state fair through the eyes of a five year old. There was so much fun stuff I didn't even put into this story! After we shot the story, I went to the station to edit, and Dwayne and Jake checked out the rest of the fair... even the rides. Dwayne is one cool adopted grandpa!

Jake loves to watch this story.. and make fun of himself, and the way he talks! Seems speech class has actually done some good! Enjoy!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

From the Archives: "Losing Lexi"

This is a story I did on December 13, 2002. I stumbled upon it at work the other day, so I burned it to a DVD and we've had fun watching it over and over again. Lexi was so cute! She is still cute, but she's a young lady now... in this story she is just a little girl! She was three years old... and the night before she, Jake and I had been shopping at K-Mart when she got lost. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was one of the scariest moments I've experienced as a mom. I hope that this story was a good reminder to other parents to keep a close eye on their kids while shopping. I think about this everytime I take Lizzy to a store..she's ten times braver and wilder than Lexi ever was. I remember when Jake and Lexi were little I always thought Jake would be the one I would lose in a store. I never dreamed it would be Lexi!

Enjoy the video... I just love it! And look for more videos like this.. I have used my kids a lot in stories over the years!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Snow Much Fun

A week ago I couldn't get her to even look at these snow, I can't get her to take them off! Lizzy spent much of the morning wearing her pj top, a diaper and her snow boots. She may have looked silly, but she was happy.. and in my book, that's all that matters!

Once she finally got dressed for the day, I took her outside. She didn't really know what to think. She did not want to walk in the snow...she pretty much stuck to the shoveled sidewalk.

The big kids, however, were a different story. They LOVE the snow! They dug a tunnel, started working on a fort and a snowman..and thought the snowbank the plow created on our boulevard was the coolest thing ever. I decided not to teach them how to play King of the Mountain.. I really didn't have time to take them to the emergency room today. I suppose they will play that game for the rest of the winter at school!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Snow Day!

I never thought it would happen. In fact, last night Jake and I talked about how they never call off school in Bismarck because of snow. I told him that maybe the farm kids or the Lincoln kids would be excused, or get to be an hour late, but the town kids would still have school. I was wrong.

For the first time since 1997, Bismarck Public Schools called off school today because of the blizzard! I had no idea! I didn't watch the news this morning, and Brad is gone hunting so he didn't either. The kids and I got up at 7:00 and started getting ready for the day. At about 7:30, my next door neighbor called and asked if I needed a ride to work, what I was going to do with the kids, and if I needed her daughter to watch Lizzy. I had no idea what she was talking about. When she told me school was cancelled I didn't believe her! I thought she was pulling some kind of mean practical joke on me! She couldn't believe that I, the news lady on the block, didn't know! I hung up with her, checked our station website, and called my aunt, who also knew already. Boy did I feel stupid!

After I got over the shock, I went about making arrangements. Of course, this storm (we got over nine inches of snow and lots of wind!) happened on opening deer weekend, which means Brad is not home. He and his buddies left Bismarck for Mott at 3:30 yesterday afternoon. They finally made it to the farm at 9:00 last night! It took five and a half hours to go 90 miles! I should have known then it was a bad storm! At any rate, while he was trying to get to the farm, I was left with a giant snow drift in my driveway. So after the kids went to bed, I called Paul to come over and sit in the house in case Lizzy woke up while I went outside to shovel. Paul brought Curt and a shovel over. Together, we cleared my side of the driveway and the walkway to the front door in good time. I was concerned about the sidewalk because the milkman comes on Friday mornings and I did not want him to have to climb through the massive drifts to deliver my milk and bread. He had to anyway. The wind came up after I went to bed, and it snowed even more...and my path was completely covered with snow!

Times like these I am very grateful for good neighbors. My next door neighbor came over with his snowblower this morning and cleared the whole driveway. Then he gave me a ride to work in his four-wheel drive pickup. While I worked (and he went hunting) his 12 year old daughter watched my kids. I think her mom was home much of the day too, because she sent the big kids and a few other neighbor kids to my driveway to shovel the rest of the snow. It was all caught on camera too... we had a crew doing a story on kids enjoying this extra day off from school... they just happened to get video of the kids on Laredo Drive! Check back soon for the story, and the unedited video!

If there's snow where you are, happy shoveling. If there isn't, you're missing out! This blizzard reminded me of the good stuff in life. It's easy to complain about the snow, the shoveling, the headaches. But watching my kids play in the snow (they were outside by 7:30 this morning!) and enjoy their first-ever snow day helped me put it all in perspective. I'm just sad I had to work and I couldn't be home to make a snowman with them! Maybe the next blizzard will hit on a weekend and we can all enjoy being snowbound together!

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat!

After much drama, everyone finally found a costume to wear trick or treating. Jake was Darth Vader (left over from last year), Lexi was a cat (had to call a friend to borrow black pants...who would have thought to check for pants before Halloween night?) and Lizzy was a Vikings cheerleader (I figured the woof-woof ears wouldn't last past one house!)

Brad took the kids around the block. Lizzy caught on right away and even tried her best to say "trick or treat" and "thank you". Jake was the first to tucker out... he wanted to come home, sort his candy, and help me hand out candy. Lizzy was the second to quit, leaving just Dad and Lexi to make one more lap, which has become thier tradition the past few years. While they did that, Jake, Lizzy and I went to visit Sheena and Madonna. All three kids got a haul of candy...we'll still be eating it at Christmas! Click at the bottom of the page to hear Jake talk about trick or treating...
Still on a sugar high, the big kids invited themselves over to Sheena and Jesse's to play video games. Brad went to a party at the McCloud's house. Lizzy crashed, and I am about to do the same. But are the much anticipated pumpkin pictures...

Happy Halloween!

What a week it's been at our house! Lizzy picked up some weird virus at daycare last week, and has had some nasty strain of the stomach flu since Saturday. I won't gross you out with all the details, but I will say it's been a truly disgusting week at our house. She managed to pass it on to Brad, Lexi and me...we all missed a day of work/school. So far, Jake hasn't shown any signs of being sick. We are all crossing our fingers that he doesn't get it today and miss trick or treating. He had the stomach flu last year for Halloween, and still hasn't forgiven himself for being sick on the best night of the year!

Despite our sickness, Brad was determined to carve pumpkins from our garden last night. So, we let the big kids stay up way past their bedtimes to help. They actually look really good (thanks to the McClouds for teaching us how to carve cool pumpkins, and giving us the proper tools!) I will post pictures of them all lit up tomorrow! You'll notice in the pictures that Lexi has a costume on..that's because her friend had a Halloween party last night. Since when is my daughter old enough to go to Halloween parties? Why do they grow up so fast?!?!?

The big kids are so excited to go trick or treating! And, unlike when I was a kid, the weather is supposed to be beautiful. No need to cover up their cool costumes with heavy winter coats and snow boots!

Happy Halloween to you all! Have a fun night, and get lots of candy!

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Identity Crisis

What will you be for Halloween?

The kids have been thinking about that question for months. Jake begged to be Indiana Jones, but I convinced him since he was sick with the flu last Halloween, Darth Vader is still good for one more year (I paid $20 for that costume...and he hardly wore it last year!). Lexi decided to be a cat..against my better judgement (I'm not a cat person). But she found a cute cat mask and tail at the store, so at least she'll be a cute cat. Plus I was thinking her costume would still work even with a warm winter coat on.

Lizzy has been much more difficult to find a costume for. She likes to "borrow" Jake's costume (he's been trying it on a lot lately! He even wore the cape to Mary's one night). But, as cute as a baby Darth Vader is, I really wanted her to be a woof woof. She is absolutely crazy about dogs, so I thought it would be perfect, and there are so many cute puppy costumes, it should be easy, right? Wrong.

I stumbled upon a super-cute woof woof costume at Target one day when I wasn't even looking for costumes. I debated for several minutes over buying it..I just wasn't sure if it would fit. I finally decided it would. That night, I attempted to try the costume on Lizzy. She would have none of that. She thought it was a lovey, and just wanted to carry it around and cuddle it, like a lovey. When Brad got home I had him hold her down (no kidding) and I got the outfit on her the best I could. It didn't fit! In fact, it was way too small!

A few nights later, I took the big kids to faith formation and Lizzy and I headed to the party store. I found another puppy outfit (still cute, but not nearly as cute as the pug dog from Target). Problem is, all Halloween purchases at this store were non-returnable. So I fought with her in the store to try it on. She screamed... loudly... and this costume didn't fit. Now, since my neighbors own this store, I felt sure they could help me out. Nope. That was the biggest and only woof woof costume they had.

So, we went back to Target...where we found nothing. We picked up the big kids, and went back to the party store. That's when Lexi found her costume, and when we settled on the woof woof ears and nose for Lizzy. Not exactly what I had in mind, but good enough. She actually wore them to the Cub Scouts party..for about five minutes. So, I guess she'll just have to put on her puppy dog eyes on Halloween night, and hope that people give her candy for being cute!
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