Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010 Let it begin!

Well, it's now 12/30/2009 and only a few more hours left to 2009. I am looking forward to 2010 with anticipation of new habits, new attitudes and new adventures. The holidays always make me a little sentimental, a little sad from missing family that isn't close to us, and can really put me in a funk thinking that the funk I am in is how it always is. Not really the case after I did a quick review of 2009. The year was good to us and we to it! From reconnecting with old friends to family outings making memories for the kids and a once in a life time vacation out west. I must say it was filled.
Our last few months haven't been as exciting as the first 9 months with Ken working close to 60 hours a week and me not finding a job in my field but I am thinking that maybe it's time to venture out beyond the breakers of "safe" water and attack this new phase with extra ambition and wide eyes. I am challenging myself to create new lifelong habits with a positive-can-do attitude and look at life as an adventure not a walk in a dark, damp cave. So here's to 2010, LET THE ADVENTURE BEGIN!

christmas Pictures 2009

Christmas 2009

My heart wasn't in IT this Christmas at times and my camera wasn't either. Sorry! I took a few pictures of the kids opening gifts from the extended family. Ken dug out our old video camera and recorded "Santa" gifts so no camera for those! Oops! If I figure out how to upload from the camera l'll put it on here someday. I included some pics of just everyday stuff too since it's been soooooooo long since I've updated. Enjoy them! Gift opening in above post by itself.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Random Thoughts

I have been in a bit of "grinch-mode" for a long time now. Christmas as our society of greed makes it is not my favorite holiday. I always dreamed of having a Christmas of giving but not one of "monetary-store-bought-gota-have -the- latest-fad presents". I would like a Christmas that epitomizes what God did when he sent his Son to Earth to save us from most importantly ourselves! What does that Christmas look like? For me it would look like me emptying out my pockets, the car ash tray and the bottom of my purse of any change that has sat there for months never being touched to put it into the red bucket for those who need a hand up. It's looks like standing in a soup kitchen line serving food to anyone who is there because of whatever there circumstance is. It looks like me looking at my life and realizing that it's not about what I have or don't have, it's not about what someone did to me, it's not about being stressed over the ways of this world so much that I don't see the good in what I have at this very second. I want my Christmas to be different than the norm. Did I make it that way this year? Not really. Do I need to change that for next year? Yes, but I think really I need to change it so that every day is not about the "gotta-have-it" mentality. Here's to a new year and a new day to change the way it has been. Bring it on, please!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I am a little slow in posting and was informed of my slacking by my sister who will be learning in May 2010 what it's like to never get things started and finished in a normal timeframe! The boys costumes were not really on my radar screen since October blew by this house like the wind. The weekend before, Ken took Gavin and Brenden to get there scary attire! (Jackson was hanging out with the Swine- flu that is) Those of you who know Ken sending him to any store is not a safe thing on our checking account! But... he always makes sure the purchases are the best!
It was no surprise that Gavin came home with Boba Fett as Starwars is ranked 1 or 2 on his favorites list.
Jackson had asked for some sort of Zombie and of course Ken delivered!
Brenden, in my mind was going to be Alfalfa from the Little Rascals because his hair still sticks up but maybe next year. Brenden found a boxer costume that he loved and so it was! Brenden "sugar ray" Brewer.
We carved pumpkins again and Jackson did a great job carving his own this year. I handed out all of the candy I bought and the boys filled it right back up with all the candy the got! Now to try and get those Christmas lists figured out! UGGH!

Jackson as the skeleton zombie and his two friends the surgeon and the patient!

Boba and the Boxer

Friday, October 16, 2009

A moment of Zen

The boys were all having good days and playing together didn't seem to be a problem. (that's the Zen part) They were playing with all the stuffed animals we have and then they got my camera. A few poses, funny faces and what looks like a lot of laughs were had by all. (I found them on the camera later) And then... someone took someone else's animal. There went the moment.

Watch out Bob and Mandy here come the Brewer Boys

The boys got bit by the building bug. They wanted to saw, hammer and/or screw something together in the worst way. Enter Daddy. He has more coffee cans full of screws and nails than Bob the Builder and Handy Mandy put together. So with safety instructions from Dad and ear plugs in mom's ears they started building away. Add a few neighbor kids to the mix and I can start promoting them as the next HGTV home improvement show.


Those are the words from Brenden these days. Hard to believe it's been three years since B was born. He's the only one that didn't wait to the day before his due date and he's been surprising us every since! It's so much fun to just watch him pick up new tricks and his vocabulary cracks me up. He definitely picks up all the bad things that people say in our house. Things like "whatever" and "What-the-heck" are cute coming from a 3 year old but I know soon (like tomorrow) those phrases will have to leave his vocabulary. Brenden is funny, lovable (mostly to his mommy) and loves his big brothers as long as they don't play with a toy he had, wants or just put down. He knows how to hold is own with them when he has too which will lead to many times for me to be the referee and break it up.
He got in his head that he wanted a T-Rex birthday cake so of course it had to be. He loved to tell anyone he could about the T-Rex monster. With claws up and teeth out he'd roar and pretend to be the monster. He didn't eat the cake with a T-Rex fight but the ice cream was gone in a second.
The most touching part was that the boys decided they wanted to give him a gift and since I didn't take them shopping they decided to give him something of their own that he would like. (Re-gifting what an original idea) Jackson wrapped up a dinosaur book and Gavin wrapped up two Transformer books, a big sacrifice. Brenden loved opening up the gifts from the boys!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lizards, Hawks and Fossils

A few pictures of what we've done lately. We all checked out the National Mississippi River Museum again over Labor Day. Jackson wasn't up for pictures but he was with us for all of the events. Herky visited our neighbor for his birthday so the kids got to hang out with "her" for awhile! Gavin has a homework project for the rock unit they are doing so we needed to go the the Fossil Gorge to check it off our list. We hadn't been there since before the Flood of 2008. They all had fun jumping and climbing on the rocks and even stopped for a few minutes to do some fossil rubbings!

Monday, August 24, 2009

School Days, School Days

It's back to the grind for the boys and for me! I am excited for the new school year and glad to have to be on a schedule again! I need structure! Gavin has the families favorite teacher this year- Mrs. Wilson! If he wouldn't have gotten her I think the world might have stopped turning! Jackson has a new teacher as well! We have team teaching at our school and usually he would have had the same teacher as the year before but with almost 680 kids they had to add a section on to the 3rd and 4th grade team so he got a new teacher. (Long explanation) I think she may be in the running for favorite teacher for Jackson! He loves all the funny things she says and now thinks everything is Wacko! I just can't believe I have a first grader and a fourth grader that I am the mom of! Where is the time going?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

...the rest of the story

You thought that there was no more pictures of our vacation, didn't you? Well here is the rest of the story. I really wanted to see the Grand Tetons which was just south of Yellowstone and on our way home so that was the route we took. After almost two weeks I finally got brave enough to drive Mona. I had driven her to many places in Iowa getting her ready for the trip but never on highways where I needed to drive at least 55 mph. So here I was all ready geared up for the adventure and we go through the Tetons and ROAD CONSTRUCTION! Not just a little lane closing but full fledged road construction. Have you ever seen the kind with nothing but gravel and piles of dirt on both sides, with heavy equipment driving right next to you as you follow a PILOT car through endless miles of gravel and bumps? I had not and now I was in a 24 foot, 25 year old Motor home named Mona! What the... after I had driven probably 20 miles at the racing speed on 15 mph, I took my white knuckles off the steering wheel and Ken took over! My idea (it might be a little risque) just close the darn road and re-route the traffic!

Being silly at Flagg Ranch, Grand Tetons

We finally made it through the mess and Ken decided he would really like to see Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse. We were out west after all. Since I begged to see the construction of the Tetons I thought it only fair to head back North of our route to check out the monuments. The boys had been getting a little too close for comfort so we made all of the them lay down to nap while we drove north. By the time we got to Crazy Horse they were out. We donated our $27 to the organization that is now trying to finish Crazy Horse and I snapped one picture of it from the parking lot before we turned around to exit 5 minutes later. I am sure that the visitor center and Indian museum they have there would have been interesting but I was more interested in having a few hours of peace and quiet while the boys were sleeping. Then just a little down the road was Mt Rushmore. Same situation with the boys. So Ken and I ventured toward the viewing level to snap some quick pics and off we went. I got closer while Ken went back to the boys and I must say it was rather impressive that they were able to sculpt 4 different faces with such detail and at such a grand scale.

This part of the post is for my brother-in-law; the Harley Rider! It was Sturgis Bike Week during the time we were in South Dakota so motorcycles were everywhere. I was a little uneasy about getting that close to Sturgis with the boys and what they might be exposed to but for the most part it was unremarkable. The only thing we saw was this poor woman who could only put together enough money to buy some black undies to go with her black leather chaps! I hope she didn't get to cold at night!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My Tribute

Please scroll down to turn off the background music already on the blog. I was playing with black and white shots on my camera and different settings of focus. Some of the pictures I took just for the texture differences.

The Awe of Yellowstone

It was finally time to get to the place that started this vacation idea: Yellowstone National Park.

The scenery is breathtaking as you drive from Cody to the East Entrance of the Park. (Bill Cody paid for some of that road himself) I took so many pictures of nature while we were there that I need to do a video of some of my favorites. We spent the longest stretch of time here and the campsite was perfect. Jackson got to improve his fire making skills, Brenden and I walked around finding mushrooms, flowers, big sticks and even a wooden clothes pin and Gavin could ride his bike and practice whittling with his new pocket knife! (doesn't every boy need to know how to do that?) Ken even got his much deserved rest time for an entire day by the campfire. We checked out the Canyon, hiked down and up 119 steps and some trails to see a beautiful view of the waterfall, smelled the sulfur springs, watched mud pots boil, waited for Old Faithful to erupt, headed into Montana for some diapers, drove around looking for some bears, watched an elk walk through the parking lot near our campground, played in the freezing cold water near Yellowstone Lake, got caught in the rain, sat around the campfire sharing what were some of our favorite things so far on the trip, and most importantly for me was watching the boys play and enjoy the wide open space of nature. I think I will remember this vacation for a long time to come.

Yeehaaw! Cody, Wyoming!

We arrived in Cody around dinner time and food was first on the list so what should we see but a Pizza Hut right at the end of our campground street. Let me just say the campgrounds we stayed at were not like the campgrounds Ken and I remember as kids. It's seems that they too have turned camping into a lucrative business. We remember sites with open fire pits and at least 20 yards between sites where you could roast your marshmallows, laugh and get a little loud out in the outdoors without disturbing the neighbors too much. Up to this point we stayed in campgrounds that were similar to the packed subdivisions in our town in Iowa. Anyway... we needed food and Pizza Hut fit the bill.
The next day while Ken and Jackson took Mona to get her souvenir (a new brake master cylinder) Gavin, Brenden and I went to check out the "Buffalo Bill" Cody Museum (5 museums under one roof)! I didn't know who he really was until we went there and learned more about him. The boys got to "meet" Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley. We checked out the gun museum, which is fairly new there and Gavin was very excited about it all though I think he wanted to handle every one of them. They had a really great computer program that explained the difference between and revolver and a semi-automatic. Don't ask why I was so intrigued by it but I thought it was really neat to be able to see the inside of a gun without actually handling the gun. From there we took a trolley ride around the city to learn more about Buffalo Bill Cody's city. Great for the history buff and for Brenden to take a nap! We met Ken and Jackson back at the camp ground to get ready for the nightly gunfight and the Cody Night Rodeo! The boys had the best time playing with the clowns prior to the rodeo more than anything. Gavin even got to go down on the arena floor to try to touch a calf that they release as he tries to run away from the kids. He got a pocket full of dirt after following the directions from the clown and some on his shoes to share as well! (Gavin really is the adventurous one of the three) After a fun packed day it was time for bed and the boys were asleep before we drove Mona back to the campground. Thanks to the house on wheels.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dinosaurs, Buffalos and Hot Springs

That's what you will find at Thermopolis, Wyoming! This town was the one thing that really surprised me. I was ready for checking out the Wyoming Dinosaur Center but I didn't know that the town had all these other things. We stayed at a really nice campground outside of the little city for two nights. The first full day we spent at the Dinosaur Center checking out the dinos they found right there in the town. We were going to go on the dig tour but they have had too much rain in the previous days so we couldn't go. The center was fun and interesting. Then we drove through Hot Springs State Park to check out a herd of Buffalo that roam the back hills. We drove through there a few times and finally on the last time through they were right outside of Mona and crossing the road. The day that we left we went to the World's Largest Hot Mineral Spring. Gavin wasn't a fan of the very strong Sulfur smell but the water was so warm and relaxing we all wanted to stay for another day. We went down water slides and relaxed in the hot tubs and Gavin jumped off the 11 foot high diving board and swam to the side all by himself! He was so proud and so were we. Then it was off to Cody, Wyoming for some Cowboy fun!

Cheyenne, Wyoming

Just a few pictures of what happened in Cheyenne! The boys posed for some pictures on the boot in Cheyenne. Just like many cities that have themed statues that they auction off, Cheyenne has boots around town and this is one we saw first. The kids also enjoyed buying their first souvenirs at the KOA we stayed in: GUNS fake of course! They spent some time hanging out eating suckers too. Brenden has been pretty good at taking naps and this first nap was taken in the back of Mona over the cushions. Hey, whatever works. The picture of the landscape is from the back of the campground in Cheyenne.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

And we're off...

Schedule! I always have a schedule in my mind when it's time to go somewhere and this vacation was no different. I don't ever tell anyone else that I have a time slotted in my head for when we should leave which causes an issue ( you can imagine) but my thought was get on the road no later than 10 am and then we can hang out at the first campground after driving 6 hours. The actual event: leave at 1pm drive for awhile get food, drive some more, stop to eat dinner in Mona, drive some more missing the first campsite all together so we can make up for lost time, kids sleep, mom sleeps, dad drives until 3 hours outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming, park at a Walmart ( we are now official Good Sam members and can park over night free) sleep a few hours, breakfast of bagels and cream cheese, drive to Cheyenne and stop! Whew! Are you tired? We were a little bit. We had a great time in Cheyenne! Swam in a heated pool (good thing 'cause its about 60 degrees outside), played mini golf, the kids road bikes, met some other kids from Lake Tahoe who were coming back from a cross country trek, and checked out the downtown area a little. We're having a great time and I can't believe I finally made it west of Des Moines, Iowa! I'll attach pictures soon!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Struggling to be...

Disclaimer: This is straight from my mind, fresh from my head with a filter that's not filtering today.

My attitude sucks! My stress level has reach the point of boiling and its overflowing the side of the kettle and sticking to the stove top and my reaction is to just watch it flow and see how long it will take to stop boiling. Not very mature of me is what my rational side of my head is saying. I can tell that summer vacation from school has me spent. I am not a good stay at home mom when all 3 of them stay at home. Structure is the key to success in our house but I am not structuring them very well. I long for them to find friends to play with or for them to take a nap and if it all happens at the same time that is a huge gift. Please pray that our vacation will make this better somehow! I pray that it's the "monetary things" that make my children constantly need stimulation and that without all those things coming with us on vacation they will see the beauty in simpler things. Does it have to take 30 years for them to get that? This is raw and I am feeling very vulnerable to even put this out there but I am asking (and I don't do that often) if whomever reads this would pray for peace and good quality family time for the next 14 days for all of us. Thanks in advance! Time to referee a Nerf shoot out!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Oh What a Night

Gavin's 6th birthday party was packed with a ton on fun. Nine boys total to entertain for 2 1/2 hours! We went to the Rec Center to eat pizza and cake, open presents, wrap each other so they could be toilet paper mummies, went swimming and played in the gym. I don't know who was more exhausted me or them. It was a great time and I am glad I don't have thant many boys of my own.