Wednesday, December 30, 2009

another goodbye...

My Aunt Donna lost her battle with cancer and passed away yesterday. She was only in her mid-50's, and has been part of our family since she married Uncle David almost 11 years ago. I'm glad that she is no longer ill or in pain, but her absence leaves a hole in our family.

This photo was taken by my sister just last year, Christmas Day 2008, of Grandma and all her children and their spouses. (Donna is in the middle, in blue.) It's hard to believe that two of our loved ones who were there that day are now gone....
Uncle Chuck, Aunt Jeanette, Uncle Ron
Aunt Gin, Grandma, Aunt Bernice, Uncle John, Aunt Donna, Uncle David, Dad, Mom

I found this poem online, author unknown:

You can shed tears that she is gone,
Or you can smile because she lived,
You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see her
Or you can be full of the love that you shared,
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her and only that she is gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on,
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back,
Or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

Goodbye, Aunt Donna. You are missed....

Sunday, December 27, 2009

a merry little christmas

I hope that everyone who reads this had a wonderful Christmas! We did, despite some bad weather and illnesses.

I finally remembered to take a picture of our newest Christmas tree, the one in the dining room. (I bought the tree after Christmas last year, for 75% off!) Now we finally have one in every room! :) Nick was sick with the stomach flu on the 20th. He was feeling better by the 21st, but we waited until the 22nd to make cookies. All of the kids helped make the dough for our snowball cookies and eggnog cookies:

About an hour later, however, Emmalie didn't feel very good, so she went and curled up on her bed for the rest of the day. When it had chilled, the boys helped me roll the snowball cookie dough into balls, and then rolled out the eggnog cookie dough:
They also helped cut out shapes and then "painted" them with egg yolk paint:
And then Ben helped me put powdered sugar on the baked snowball cookies:
I put him down for a nap after that, and about an hour later, Ben got sick with the stomach flu! :(
Emmalie felt better the next day, but Ben was still sick. We got some really nasty weather that day, wind, freezing rain, and lots of ice. It was a good thing the kids and I didn't have to go anywhere!
We'd scheduled an early Christmas with Santa, so on the evening of the 23rd, the kids put out cookies and eggnog for him: On the morning of the 24th, we woke up around 8 for presents! :) Santa left lots of gifts for all 3 kids:

When they'd finished looking through all their presents from Santa, we opened the other gifts under the tree:
Emmalie made this adorable Santa for me, to add to my collection:
Emm had a very Harry Christmas! She received all kinds of Harry Potter gifts ~ the Scene It game, 2 DVDs, a Gryffindor hat, 2 t-shirts, and a Flourish & Blotts tote bag, among other non-HP gifts:
As usual, Nick had a wild(life) Christmas! :) Animal books, DVD's, toys, bird feeders and food... even a zebra-patterned Snuggie and a frog-shaped travel pillow!
Ben received Ka-Chow (Cars) toys and books, animals, games, and some wooden blocks that George made him:
Ben still wasn't feeling very good that day, so we ended up not going to church for the Christmas Eve service, as planned. Poor Ben was so disappointed ~ he'd been looking forward to singing with his preschool choir!
It rained most of the day, and we were worried we would get more ice. We didn't, though, and on Christmas morning, the roads were clear and Ben was feeling much better! That meant we were able to travel to Grandma's, yay! (Unfortunately, Mom, Dad, and Christine weren't so lucky. Bad weather in Iowa kept them home....)
We had a "small" group at Grandma's this year, only 23 people. (We normally have closer to 40.) We still had a really nice time, though, visiting with those who were there. My cousin Katrina's 9-month-old son Ayden stole the show! :) He is so cute, and I ended up taking more pictures of him than of anyone else, LOL. Here he is with his grandma, Aunt Ginny:
Ben and Uncle Chuck:
Steve, Aunt Bernice, Grandma, and Aunt Jeanette... oohing and ahhing over one of Grandma's many gifts:
Ryan, Uncle Ron, Jared, Karen, Terri, and Drew during the Men's Grab Bag game:
Keith, Drew, Aunt Bernice, Steve, Grandma, Aunt Jeanette, and Uncle Ron during the Women's Grab Bag:
Beth and her nephew Ayden (again!):
Nick, Ben, and Isaiah had fun playing down in the basement:
Drew, Ayden, and Aunt Ginny:
My 3 kiddos:
and the 5 of us:
Of course, you can never have a Fischer Family Christmas without some card games and gambling, LOL! Here are Keith, Aunt Jeanette, Grandma, Uncle Ron, Steve, and Uncle Chuck:
By the time we left for home that night, it had started snowing and the roads were slippery. There also was a lot of blowing and drifting snow, so it was a tense drive home. It was really snowing pretty hard by the time we got back. It snowed all night long, and we woke up to a ton of snow! (The weatherman had predicted an inch of snow... we ended up with at least a foot by the time it was done!)

Of course we had to go play in it! :) Emm went to a friend's house, but the boys and I went sledding on the hill of snow the snowplow made in our yard:

"Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes...":
The boys made snow angels, too, in the deep snow:

It snowed like this all day long!:

In the evening, the big flakes turned into tiny flakes, but they are still coming down! It's been snowing continuously for over 40 hours now.... Good thing we like snow, LOL!

Friday, December 18, 2009

merry and bright

The holiday preparations continue.... :)

On the 12th, all 5 of us went to church for an Advent Event. We made a Ninja Bread House, as Ben calls it, LOL, complete with a wood pile made out of Tootsie Rolls and a mailbox with a tiny bit of a Twizzler for a flag. We also enjoyed cookies and hot chocolate (and also leftover candy from our gingerbread house), and then watched the nativity play.

On Monday we had our annual Christmas card photo shoot. This is the one I chose to put in our cards:
I also got this one of Ben and Emm under the mistletoe:
and this one of Nick and Rudolph:
On the 15th, we all went to the Winter Music Festival at Emm's school. The choir, band, and orchestra all performed songs for us. The best part was the finale, when the choir sang a Christmas medley, accompanied by both the band and the orchestra ~ the kids all did a wonderful job! Emmalie is in the middle of the choir in this picture:
Emm and her friend Tori after the show:
On the 16th, Nick's class decorated cookies, and they each got to bring home a trayful, yum:
Later that evening, I took the kids to North School Park to see the lights before heading to church:

At the Advent service that night, Nick and the drama team performed a Christmas rap. He was one of the wise men:
When we got back home that night, Emmalie and I altered some clipboards for gifts. I made them for the boys' teachers, and Emm made them for hers:
Yesterday George and I went to Ben's preschool Christmas concert. It was so cute!! Here they are singing "Up on the Housetop":
I took several short videos of their songs, but this one of my enthusiastic little boy is the funniest! :) The preschoolers had already sung Jingle Bells once through, and then the teachers asked the audience to sing the chorus with them, and maybe if we were loud enough, a special someone might hear and stop by for a visit:

Santa heard us! The kids each took a turn sitting on Santa's lap, and he gave them a present. (The boys each received a toy bulldozer ~ Ben was thrilled!)
Afterwards, I took this shot of Ben with his two best friends in preschool, Alexander and Kassy:
Winter Break will start today after school ~ Emm and Nick can't wait!