Wednesday, December 24, 2008

One: Christmas Photos

Don't you love getting Christmas photos in the mail? I do. I love putting up photos of all my friends and their families up on my fridge. This year I got more than I usually do, and so I got even more of a thrill than most Christmases. Just plain Christmas cards are great in my books, but when you throw in a family picture with a snazzy Christmas border... Bliss.

Here's ours. (Some of you have one of these still on the way. I'm a little slow.)
Merry Christmas from our family to yours. We ho ho hope that God will bless you with joyful hearts as you celebrate His gift of love this Christmas and always.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Two: Bubble Lights

Have you ever seen these before? I've only ever seen them in one place: My mom and dad's Christmas tree. I love them. You really have to see them in action to get how pretty they are bubbling away on a tree. So glittery and magical. Mom only set up her new "fancy" Christmas tree this year. All of the fun stuff, including the bubble lights, usually gets put up on the fun tree in the basement, but this year everything got a late start and the awesome tacky Christmas stuff that I love was still in boxes when we got here. So I got out my sister's little tree and took it to Gramma's and set it up with my favorite decorations, including the Angel and her goose and, of course, the bubble lights. It looks fab. I love it.

Here is a video of someone's bubble lights in action. If I get time I'll try to upload some video of the tree the boys and I set up, but I'm thinking I won't get time.)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Three: My New Dentist

My cousin Lisa is a dentist. (She's the Lisa who helped Ang and me write that thank-you note to my gramma.) I had my first appointment with her today. It was the most fun I've ever had at the dentist. It makes me giggle every time someone calls her "Dr. Braun", or whenever I get a message from "Dr. Braun's" office, or when she uses fancy dentist talk. I'm sure it has something to do with being able to picture her fighting with me over which outfit we would each wear when we played dress up.

Ben loves it there. They let him pick as many prizes as he likes. I didn't need prizes to convince me that having a dentist in the family is super. Maybe a visit with Lisa will be enough incentive to get me in the chair for check-ups more often than once every two or three years. That would be super-DUPER!

(I wanted to put up a picture of her giving Ben his first dental exam, but I don't have access to all my photos here at Mom and Dad's. Shucks.)

Four: Gramma

We're staying at my Gramma's house this Christmas. (She's on Vancouver Island over Christmas and she lives only a few blocks from Mom and Dad's. We usually stay at Mom and Dad's, but this is so nice for us especially with Dad frequently feeling sick and/or tired and the boys wanting to play with him CONSTANTLY when we're around. This way everyone gets a break and a little more space than we are used to at Christmas.)

Anyways. We're staying at Gramma's. And it's nice. Especially since staying at Gramma's almost feels like hanging around with her. There's a lot of great Gramma stuff there. All her pretty bells and dolls... And then the best stuff of all... All kinds of pictures of her family and lots of notes and things they've given her over the years. Here's something I found on her fridge that comes from a looooooooooong time ago:I'm not sure how long ago this was written, but I know she's had it up somewhere in her kitchen ever since we gave it to her. I'm guessing we were around ten when we came up with the thoughtful idea of writing a thank-you note after some family gathering. I think the funniest thing about it is that we didn't even bother re-writing it when we made a mistake. You can tell we put a lot of work into this masterpiece that Gramma has had proudly displayed for the last twenty years or so.

But isn't that what makes a gramma so great? She doesn't just treasure you for the amazing things you do, she cherishes even your lamest qualities and has the ability to be proud of everything about you. Staying at her house, surrounded by all that Gramma-love is almost as good as being with her... Almost.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Five: These Things (Again)

I wrote about these cookies last year. There was a difference though. Last year I had three or four boxes of them, this year I can't find them anywhere. If you Saskatoon people see them anywhere call me pronto because Christmas just isn't the same without them. I've got to stop looking at this picture. It's making me sad.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Six: Coming Home for the Holidays

Ahhhhhhhhh. It's good to be back.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Seven: Guest Bloggers

Wouldn't it be fun to see how Glen would answer the questions I posted yesterday? Wouldn't it be even more fun if he hadn't read my answers first? You don't have to answer that, because I've already decided (with the help from some prompting) that that's what I'm doing. (Part way from laziness and part way from idle curiosity.) Actually, I guess I should say: That's what Glen is doing. And so without further ado, I give you: Glenard.

1. He's sitting in front of the television, what is on the screen?

Whatever Becky is watching -- usually something dull like "What Not to Wear" or "Grey's Anatomy". ( :P ) If there's something on that I want to watch, I tape it and watch it after the kids are asleep ... Otherwise I'd be interrupted for 3/4 of the episode. (Although lately I've taken to watching Doctor Who online.)

2. You're out to eat what kind of dressing does he get on his salad?

Some sort of House dressing, maybe Greek. Sometimes Creamy Cucumber.

3. What's one food he doesn't like?


4. You go out to a bar, what does he order?

Hmm ... There are so many good choices ... Ceasar, Vodka, Whiskey ... I think I'll have a Pepsi.

5. Where did he go to high school?

North Battleford Comprehensive and Evan Hardy Collegiate.

6. What shoe size does he wear?


7. If he was to collect anything what would it be?
Strategy Board Games.

8. What is his favorite type of sandwich?


9. What would he eat every day if he could?

Mashed potatoes and Chili with a little cheese sprinkled on top.

10. What is his favorite cereal?
Honey nut corn flakes.

11. What would he never wear?

A Jock Strap.

12. What is his favorite sports team?

The Riders. Duh.

13. Who did he vote for?
Stephen Harper of the Conservative Party of Canada. (Universal Day Care! W00t!)

14. Who is his best friend?

15. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn't do?

Puts caps on bottles, but doesn't screw them shut. I've spilled more things than I care to name from this vicious deception ...

16. How many provinces has he lived in?

One. The Chosen One.

17. What is his heritage?

German/Russian(Ukraine) Mennonite

18. You bake him a cake for his birthday what would it be?

A Star Destroyer. (I could eat that baby for a month!)

19. Did he play sports in high school?


20. What could he spend hours doing?
Runescape, Starcraft, or staring at a map of the Ancient Mediterranean / Middle East planning my next 5 moves for Galen's email game of Civilization: The Expansion Project.

21. What's something cool about him?

My incredibly awesome hair and super stylish accouterments ... I'm so suave!

22. What's something not cool about him?
My incredibly boring hair and super 80's accouterments ... I'm so nerdy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Eight: Glenard

Some of you said a while back that you would like to hear some stuff about Glen, since I never seem to talk about him on here. Lucky for me, I came across this quiz on Christy's site yesterday:

1. He's sitting in front of the television, what is on the screen?

Battlestar Gallactica or Dr. Who or some other nerdy science fiction show that most people haven't even heard of.
(Either that or Survivor or Project Runway or some show that he's not interested in, but has to watch because I usually get to pick. Although, that's not entirely accurate either because he usually takes care of the boys while I watch my shows, so even more likely would be WALL-E or Mighty Machines or Backyardigans.)

2. You're out to eat what kind of dressing does he get on his salad?

Tricky... He'll probably let me pick, since if he were to order a salad it would usually be to share with me.

3. What's one food he doesn't like?

Eggs. And "doesn't like" doesn't even begin to encompass it.

4. You go out to a bar, what does he order?

Pizza, because he is at home with the kids. Glen doesn't drink, and I am much more likely to end up in a bar with friends than he is. (Have you ever been in a bar Glen? And Boston Pizza lounge does not count.)

5. Where did he go to high school?

Um... Some school in Saskatoon... Evan Hardy?

6. What shoe size does he wear?

I think?

7. If he was to collect anything what would it be?
Star Wars Lego.

8. What is his favorite type of sandwich?

I'll pick a club sandwich since he orders a lot of them, but Glen loves pretty much all sandwiches equally I think.

9. What would he eat every day if he could?

Ground beef. If it's got ground beef in it, it's probably one of Glen's favorite meals.

10. What is his favorite cereal?
Tricky... I'm going to go with... Fruit Loops? (He likes most sugary cereals.) (These food ones are hard since Glen likes practically everything and really only hates eggs. Really.)

11. What would he never wear?

A turtleneck. Anything trendy. Pink. Pointed shoes. A Speedo.

12. What is his favorite sports team?
Glen doesn't really watch sports, but when he does it's the Riders.

13. Who did he vote for?
Take a wild and crazy guess.

14. Who is his best friend?
I'd like to say me, but I'm not very much fun anymore, so I'll go with his brothers.

15. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn't do?

Leave my wallet places and doors unlocked.

16. How many provinces has he lived in?


17. What is his heritage?

18. You bake him a cake for his birthday what would it be?

I'd probably bake him cream cheese cupcakes with cherry pie filling.

19. Did he play sports in high school?

Nope. Nada. Unless you count floor hockey.

20. What could he spend hours doing?
Thinking about his turn while we're playing a board game.

21. What's something cool about him?

"Cool" is not usually a word I'd use to describe Glen, but he's a pretty rad dad.

22. What's something not cool about him?
Ha ha! Where to start...? How about the fact that he can tell within seconds which Star Trek episode is on just from the audio? Or the fact than he could probably then continue to directly quote the episode if you put it on mute? (Don't get me wrong people. I love nerds and his nerdy traits are what first attracted me to him... Plus how he looks in a bunny hug with the sleeves pushed up. Mmmmmm.)

So there you have it. A whole bunch of stuff just about my guy Glen... My favorite nerd, and my children's hero. (Now we just need to know how he'd answer these questions.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nine: Christmas Lights

Don't you just love Christmas lights? I do. I especially like the multicolored ones. They look like candy to me. I'm totally not into the white ones, or the icicle ones, and absolutely not blue. Those ones are way too classy for me. If I can't have multicolored then I'll take alternating red and green, but definitely not on their own. Somehow just choosing one color doesn't seem as fun and friendly looking to me. This is why poor Ben didn't get his choice of plain red lights for our house when we bought our first set this year. He's pretty happy with these ones though. His daddy is our hero for climbing up and down a ladder three frigid days in a row to put some Christmas cheer up onto our house. Aren't they pretty? They make winter seem so much warmer and happier to me... Not warm enough to stop wishing it would go away, but what could? Nothing.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ten: Pink Stuff

You have NO IDEA how much this pile of pink THRILLS me.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Eleven: A Post About Probst

Last year, I told you I love Survivor. It's one of my favorite things. Since I can't tell you I love it again, because that would be boring, I'll tell you one of the reasons I love it. (Yeah, yeah. I see that this could possibly be seen as just as boring... Possibly even more boring, but it was the finale tonight and so I've got Survivor on the brain.)I was discussing it with Glen just now, and I honestly don't know if I could watch the show without Jeff. I don't watch the show just to see him, but it wouldn't be Survivor without him saying "Survivors ready!" at the beginning of every challenge and quizzing the players at tribal council with those dimples flashing and that amused look in his eyes. I quit watching The Mole when Anderson Cooper stopped hosting it. I'm not sure what would happen to one of my favorite Thursday night traditions without Jeff there.

All right, I'm even starting to bore myself now. Really, it's just late and I need a favorite thing and while Jeff really is one of my favorite things, I'm sure I could come up with something better if it wasn't already bedtime. (Sorry Mom, I know I promised a video of the Christmas concert, but it takes really long to upload them from the camera and then onto YouTube. I'll do it tomorrow.)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Twelve: The Twelve Days of Christmas

It's that time of year again. It's the time when I count down some of my favorite things on each of the twelve days leading up to Christmas. This year I'm going to start the count with a few of my favorite posts from years gone by.

I really do like dumb stuff. I don't have any dumb stuff to put on my list so far, but I'm really hoping that something will come up. I don't think a Twelve Days of Christmas list would be complete without a new dumb stuff post. Here's the dumb stuff I liked last year and the year before:
Actually, now that I'm looking through my lists of favorite things I'm having a hard time picking a few of my favorite posts from years gone by other than these dumb stuff posts. It's hard to pick my favorite favorites. I guess I'll just have to leave it at the dumb stuff, and hope my Christmas wish will come true and I'll find some new dumb thing to post about this year.

I guess that just shows how much I like my Twelve Days of Christmas lists, I can't even narrow down what bits of it I like the most, I just like them all. Sort of like Dairy Queen icecream cake...
Fudge: The best part.

Icecream: The best part.
Icing: The best part.
Cookie Crumbles: The best part.

I can't remember what I was talking about now, all I'm thinking about is whether it's too late to send Glen to Dairy Queen to get me some cake... And wishing I hadn't mentioned it at all since I could have put it on the list of favorite things and written a whole post about it. I could backspace I suppose, but then I'd have to think some more and I need to get to bed so I'm ready for the Willems' Family Christmas Day O' Fun tomorrow... Err... Today. (More about that tomorrow... Which feels like it should be Saturday, because it still feels like Friday because I haven't gone to bed yet, but it will actually be Sunday.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Braun's Are Back in Town

On their way home from Seattle, Mom and Dad surprised us with a visit last night. It felt really good to be together again. I can't think of anything that makes me happier right now than just having some normal-feeling fun. I can hardly wait for Christmas. Please pray that everyone stays healthy. I think we all really need this time together in a big way, but we have to be careful to keep sickness away from Dad.

Also, Dad has a doctor appointment tomorrow. Please pray that it goes well and that the treatment he will be having will bring his cancer levels right back down to where they should be really quickly so that his transplant can go ahead. We're all pretty stressed over all of this, so we could all also use some prayer for peace and hope at a time when it's pretty hard to grab hold of either of them.

Friday, December 05, 2008


Mom and Dad are leaving Seattle. Yes people, you heard me right. Because Dad's stupid (I'm pretty grumpy right now, and this sort of name-calling is really quite mild compared to what I'd like to say) Saskatoon doctors couldn't be bothered to do the usual three-month follow up bone marrow biopsies, Mom and Dad (and the rest of us) were quite shocked to learn that there is 30% cancer cells in his bone marrow. This means that he needs more chemo (probably two or three more rounds) before he is ready for his stem cell transplant. And that means that all the fundraising, all the stress, all the work to get ready to go, all the driving, all the money spent was completely wasted.

And now it will all have to be done all over again once Dad's cancer cell levels are brought down to where they are supposed to be. Mom and Dad will have to get their finances together, re-organize their lives, and say a painful goodbye to all of us all over again.

Of course, this could possibly have been avoided if Dad's dumb doctors were on the ball even a little. It might have been avoided if he had been sent for his second transplant within the recommended six months instead of almost a whole year later. It could have been avoided if the doctors dealing with life-threatening illnesses acted less like (I can't help it) pompous, assuming, asses and more like how they would act if it was their family member in danger. But they don't.

I can tell you one thing. If those (apologies again) jerks in Saskatoon think they are going to continue to do a half-assed job of treating Dad's cancer for even one more day, they are going to have to deal with a whole lot of rage coming their way.

If you can't tell, I am just a little upset. On the upside, Ben is really happy that Grampa is coming home to play cars with him.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Candle Advent

Ahhhh... It feels good to be able to decide whether I want to blog or not. We've been pretty busy over here the last few days, plus I'm still getting over my dumb cold, so it's been nice to have one less thing to do. I'm missing reading all the blogs that were also doing NaBloPoMo though, so I figured if I was missing them, maybe they were missing me, and maybe I should write a post.

This is mostly just a copy-cat of one of my favorite daily reads, so the person I'm copying probably won't be as entertained as the rest of you. (And neither will my mom since she reads this blog too.) Jen always has fabulous ideas for crafts, and baking, and kids stuff. (She's pretty much super-mom. If you don't believe me, check out her blog.) Here's one of her ideas that I really loved and am shamelessly stealing:It's our candle advent calendar. The boys each have one of those cheap chocolate ones (with the little doors) that they open first thing every morning. (I don't even make them wait till after breakfast.) This candle one is for the evening. We light the candles (three tonight) and then read stories by the light of the candles and the Christmas tree. It's a lovely way to end the day and the boys love choosing which candles to light (they have to save the pillar for Christmas day though) and then listening to their stories and finally blowing out their candles before bed. I can't wait to see how it looks all lit up!

Thanks so much for the idea Jen! (I think we're going to have to try your reindeer craft tomorrow. Too cute!) You make me want to be a better mom.