Thursday, December 25

Merry Christmas!

After a year of silence here we are again. I'll post my belated Christmas letter to update on our year

December 2014

Dear Friends and Family,
I haven't sent out a Christmas letter for three years now; I think it's time to update everyone about our lives. We do really enjoy receiving letters and pictures from everyone, so perhaps it's time to reciprocate. And it's a good time to stop and reflect on the happenings of the past year.
The beginning of 2014 found us in the middle of a very cold and snowy winter. By March we had 2-3 feet of snow on the ground, meaning that two little boys were mostly indoors in our very small trailer house. This mom thought she was going to lose her mind some days.
But eventually the seasons went on and we welcomed spring! As tired as we can get of snow and cold after six to seven months, I do enjoy living where we have four distinct seasons. A northern summer is very gorgeous and makes up for our winters, I think.
A few highlights from our year...We took a trip to Nebraska in March to visit family. In June one of Clark's sisters was married, so we had all the fun and busyness of a family wedding. In August we went camping for a week with the Graber family, as another sister of Clark's and her family were here from overseas on furlough.
Clark continues to work for Tiry Engineering as a draftsman. He really enjoys his job and has great co-workers. I tease him that he doesn't know what to do with himself when he's not behind a computer. :) He does a good job at taking care of his family as well.
I keep busy house-keeping for all my men. Some days I feel like all I do is cooking, dishes and laundry. I do enjoy a good book or a sewing project to keep my brains on track.
Bendick, at the age of 4, has a lot of energy and a very inquisitive mind. I read somewhere that the average 4 year old asks over 400 questions a day, and some days I'm inclined to believe it! He enjoys all the typical boy play, cars,trucks, guns and Legos. It's been fun watching his imagination develop this last year. Everything is more exciting if there are a few crashes or explosions involved.
Asher, age 2, tries his best to keep up with big brother. They do play together very well for the most part, though there's the daily disagreements. For some reason we find it very amusing when Asher does manage to gain the upper hand. Asher enjoys books, play-dough, coloring and toy animals. He would live out of doors if he had anything to say in the matter.
As we look ahead to the year 2015, we anticipate several exciting changes for our family. The best one is the expected arrival in early March of a new family member. After spending most of July and August on the couch with “all day sickness”, I am grateful to be feeling well, and for a healthy, normal pregnancy so far.
Another change, a big one, is an anticipated move to another house. We've been wanting to move to larger quarters for awhile, as well as wanting to be closer to church, town and friends. As it looks now, we will be closing on a house the beginning of February. It's a small house, but there's a nice basement, which I like, and a garage and workshop, which Clark likes. The house was mostly thrown in our lap, and we're very grateful for the Lord's provision. It needs some work, the biggest part being getting rid of cigarette smoke, so it's doubtful how soon we'll be able to move into it. I'd love to be moved before the baby arrives, but that's going to take a miracle I think. One of the better perks about the location is going to be living three blocks from Clark's parents. I think we're all looking forward to that.
May you all have a blessed year of serving the Lord where ever you are.
Merry Christmas!
-from the Grabers

Friday, October 11

Dusting This Poor Blogspot Off.

   Well here I be. No, we didn't drop off the face of the earth. We just lived this summer, but I'm not sure what we did. Cleaned house and made meals and washed dishes and took care of babies. I suppose the least I can do is update pictures of the kiddos for faraway family.

This is the baby. Or rather, the toddler. He is walking all over the place at the tender age of 11 months. And he hasn't a tooth in his head. He loves the outdoors. And he loves food. Which makes me happy since my first born wasn't an eater. He's also just pretty sure he's part of the family, and that his opinion counts too, thank you very much!

This is the three year old. Three year-olds are a lot of fun, you should have them first. He also is quite sure he's part of the family. He never stops moving. He is starting to have an imagination, which is good until night time. He likes stories and coloring. He makes us laugh at stuff he comes up with.
Benny told me today that I need to hold "two, squishy, wittle boys." These two are very precious. Remind me of that on days that I christen them 'Bawl' and 'Chain'. Sometimes they play nicely together, and other times...They don't! They keep me on my toes, and sometimes at the end of a harrowing day, I look in the mirror expecting about a quarter inch of gray at the roots of my hair.
The Grabers, ed.2013

Sunday, June 16

Saturday Experiments

Here are a few Saturday experiments. 
A polyurethane tabletop. A good learning experince and I like it really well.
An artisan bread experiment. We'll see how it bakes up tomorrow. 
A lemon cake experiment. I want to get a lemon cake that tastes like a lemon bar.
 A man cave experiment. Clark was giddy and exclusive the rest of the afternoon. :P
A standing experiment.

Monday, May 20

Winter Is Past

What I've dreamed of for weeks, a vase of fresh flowers. Spring is here, there is GREEN everywhere!

Saturday, May 11

The May Snowstorm Of 2013

  I've been meaning to blog about our May snowstorm. Today, with temperatures in the upper 70's, it is hard to believe that six days ago it snowed.
   We of the Northland have been anxiously and impatiently waiting for weeks for Spring. Every time we got a snowstorm we would say, "Surely this is the last one." We watched as four inch snowstorms and seven inch snowstorms developed on the radar and dumped on us. And we kept hoping that THIS one was the last.
   Finally, finally, temperatures were warmer. We rejoiced as the thermometer reached 60 and 70 degrees. We worked outside, took walks, planned summer work, and had a cookout. We even "went outside with toes", Benny's definition of barefoot. And then, the last day of April, weather forecasts were talking about 4 inches of snow. By evening we were under a Winter Storm Watch, with amounts of 6-8 inches predicted. By the next morning there was a Warning, with 6-12 inches predicted, "with locally higher amounts possible, we just don't know where at this time." Huh? This was May, for crying out loud. It's not supposed to snow in May! A few flurries maybe, but not a full-blown snowstorm.
   On the evening of May 1, rain turned to snow.
   In the middle of the night, when I was up with the baby,  I heard a soft crack and a falling noise. Clark looked out the windows but didn't see anything. "With this snow, it's likely branches falling." At 5:30 am, there were bright flashing lights outside our window. "Do we still have electricity?" Clark asked. Yup we did. Right then, there was a bright flash and a loud popping sound, and no electric. Clark said he saw bright lights up the the tree before the electricity went out. Of course the lights and chainsaw noise woke both babies. Later we discovered that the branch they cut down was quite charred.  The electricity soon came back on, but went off twice more before the day was over.
  So we resigned ourselves to a snow day, again! If we could have forgotten about the calendar, it would have been easier to enjoy.  I tried to bake lemon cookies, but they were kind of a failure. We watched the snow fall, listened to branches break, and wondered what to do if the electric went of for a longer time then we could keep the house warm. And the snow piled higher. There were seven inches on the ground at 6 am. By 8:30 there were three more inches. 

The snow was about as deep as it had been all winter. At least it looked that way.

This was a huge limb that fell. 8-10 inches diameter.
Our poor pine trees. This picture doesn't do justice to the way it really looked. It was bad, trust me. The pine tree to the right is going to have to go some day. 
We measured the snow  throughout the day. Not sure how much we actually had here. For a time, a portion of roads in the area were labeled as "Impossible to Drive." It was a wet heavy snow that compacted like concrete.
   But by the end of the day it was over. And we had survived. It took a few days for it to melt off though. All the poor tourists that came for the first day of fishing season went wandering about town instead. 
   On the 30'th of May, if it should snow that day, everything at our local Salvation Army store will be priced 1/2 off, just so you know. If it does snow that day, believe you me, I'm gonna go shop there. 
    So I started the above several days ago and just got it finished tonight (two days later). I thought I would add pictures of storm clean up. 
 Clark logging the yard. He wanted make the cutting and clean up easier. He said this picture is for his mom, it brought back memories of clearing out the yard at the Stone House years ago. He had fun today. 
"It feels like logging"
Benny's vantage point. 
This is the total mess of storm damage. 
And this is the amount of wood we got from the storm damage. Clark thought this would be a short work project, but he discovered "there's a lot of wood there!" But we're looking forward to using this for summer campfires.

Branch mess to be hauled into the woods for decomposing. 
On another note, this kiddo is all sweet and happy. And crawling, much to big brothers dismay. Territorial disputes have begun. Asher can certainly let the world know when he's been wronged. 
AND just for the record....there were snow showers today.....

Friday, April 19

Why Hello

This blog has been silent for awhile. Mostly because of my busy life taking care of the babies. But also because I have switched my tech gadget to an Android tablet. Which is really cool, especially for a mom. Most of my life is on this silly gadget. Bible, lists, books, online stuff, music, you name it, I hold it in my hand most likely. But it wasn't very handy for blogging, until April told me about the BlogIt app. Which I am currently trying. So far so good. It is the 19'th of April. And this was the view outside of my kitchen window this morning.
Yeah, I can't believe it either. Four inches worth. We are absolutely going crazy for spring here. I told Clark the other day that he needs to invent walls that can change color. You know, like right now I would have woodsy green walls , or perhaps tropical colors. But this summer I could have tan or white walls. The boys have this annoying habit of waking up with the sun. Like if I get to sleep until 6:30 am, I feel like I had a good night. The other morning they were up at 5:30. Both of them. Seriously! This morning I did get to sleep until 7:30, thanks to Clark watching Benny, and Asher sleeping in. If they can wake at the crack of dawn now, they can do so when they are teenagers. Har har. Clark is back to work after a two month layoff. That is good, but the boys and I need to figure out how to do daily life by our selves again. The late spring is not helping. And now I shall go see what can be accomplished by me during naptime.

Monday, March 11

Pictures (Again)

For those near and far that want to see the kiddos again, here you are.

 We attempted a small photo shoot yesterday.
 Asher James, 4 months old.
 He hitched himself over the floor to me this morning. Seriously!
 Trying to get a good one of the brothers. Ha.
 Clark would say, " One, Two, Three!" and I would quickly pull my hands back. After we would snap a picture, Benny would have to get the wiggles out
 Outside cooling off one cold snowy day.
 I love this one. Why does it have to be impromptu?
Asher and his father as a baby years ago. Resemblance much?

    In other news, we are more then ready for spring at this house. Mom and toddler are going slightly crazy. Only a few more weeks, I tell myself. Clark is on temporary lay off from work, so he's been home the last few weeks. So we've had lots of good family times, but we're ready to get back to normal. There's lots of house projects that we would love to work on, but we can't exactly spend the money to do them. Very frustrating, not?

Wednesday, January 30

Winter Stuff

   We had a nice snow on Sunday, only the second real storm of the winter.  When we lived in PA the first six years of my life, snow always meant a snowman. I was quite puzzled the first winter we lived in WI and the first snow could not produce a snowman "because the snow is too dry," said my dad. Huh? Snow was wet, evidenced by the fact that it soaked your mittens.
   Yesterday the temperature was warm enough to make the snow perfect for creating a snowman. I figured we had better take advantage of the snow while it was the right consistency. We might not get another chance until March. Clark was working from home because the roads were slick. So I promised Benny that when Asher went down for a nap, he and I would go outside and make a snowman.
   And we did. It was lots of fun. I hardly ever get outside right now, with it being winter outside and a small baby inside. I haven't made a snowman in years. The funny part was that I was expecting the snowman to be about my height. I remember when snowmen used to be built over your head. It ended up rather smaller then I envisioned, but any bigger and I wouldn't have been able to lift the various sections. And it was way over Benny's head. The weird part was looking at Benny and suddenly realizing that I was building a snowman for my son. Son! When did this happen? I remember my mom playing in the snow with me, but she was, of course, lots older then I am now... Ha!
   It got cold last night, and so Mr. Snowman is likely going to be staring in my window most of the rest of the winter. I do hope I don't freak out some night when I'm walking through the house to mother hen my babies, as he turned out looking kind of creepy.
And here is a picture of the wee one. He's almost double his birth weight, which makes me super happy.
He's smart and intelligent and the greatest baby in the world of course. :)

Thursday, January 3

Picture Update

Here's a few pictures for those of you that are begging for some.
Asher at one month.

Brothers. Benny loves Asher to bits but it takes lots of diligence on my part to make sure Asher doesn't get annihilated.

"Oh makin' a cookie"
Eight weeks old
"Gwen and Benny. Singin' a song."  About 15 years from now they'll be really good.
With Grammy Graber
"Benny peek-a-boo"
   All captions in quotes are from Benny. Having two keeps me busy! We're finding a schedule I think finally. Asher has been a very good baby and sleeps well at night. And that's all from the Grabers!

Tuesday, December 25

Merry Christmas!

God Bless Us Everyone!

I've been busy with my two kiddos the last weeks, so no pictures going out in the mail this year. But here's The Grabers, edition 2012. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 15

In the Bag

               I love the way God works things out. We needed a new bigger vehicle, and we didn't want a van. Old people drive vans. Besides I wanted 4x4 and towing. Through my research I decided to go for a jeep. Jeeps are tough. I looked and looked. Worried, fretted, and looked. The faithful old Grand Prix is beginning to sigh with age and it has just rolled over 300,000 miles. The tires up front are beginning to wear really funny. It is beginning to run rough on cold mornings, and the power windows are dying one by one.Such is the state of affairs with it. Oh, and we just had a baby and needed something much more reliable and a little more roomy. I actually lost some sleep over it. I would find a deal only to have it taken away at the last minute. By the way why do we do this to ourselves? Anyway last night I found an older Jeep with only 126,000 miles on craiglist, and it felt right. Still I could not help myself but look at a newer one today before I finally went and got this one. (Stupid me)
       It was a young man and his wife just like us. They were church going people with three children. I looked at the vehicle for about 15 min and decided it would stupid to leave with out it. When I shook his hand and told him my prayers had been answered, he indicated he felt the same way. Lo and behold he had been laying awake at night wishing it would sell. In retrospect I realize why all those other deals fell through and the cool part is we have money left in savings. God knows what He is doing even if we don't. He not only answered my prayers but answered the prayers of another in the process. Isn't that cool?!?!

I haven't found any rust on the paint.
.... Or Scratches for that matter.
 Anyway till later



Thursday, November 8

Asher James Graber

For all of those who wanted to see pictures.

The Details
Sucking his thumb or picking his nose. Not sure which.
So Peaceful
Introducing Brothers.
Big yawn.
So Tiny.
I hope to get a better hands picture than this.
I think it is another yawn.
In mommy's lap.
Get that camera out of my face, I want to eat!!
That is all for now!!