A place to share our story.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


As you probably already know by now (I think I have mentioned it a few times on this blog), Peter and I purchased a timeshare back in 2011.

Our timeshare is located in Kissimmee, FL, but with it, we have the opportunity to travel anywhere in the world--meaning that we don't only have go to FL to use it. As you also know, we have recently used our timeshare to travel to Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach, and our home site in Kissimmee (twice now). With the recent loss of Peter's job, we are uncertain of our travel plans for this year, but are hoping to get back to our favorite state in the country again this fall :).

The reason for my post about our timeshare is that I wanted to share with you that we receive lots of discounts for our friends and family throughout the year.
I wanted to share a little about what those opportunities look like, in case anyone might be interested or know someone who is.

When our "friends and family" deals come up (about 4 times a year), this is generally what you can expect to see:
- Trips to either Las Vegas (with $100 or more for dining/gaming) or Kissimmee, FL (with 2 free Disney tickets or $100 or more for dining).
- 3-4 night stays, sometimes with the option of adding a night for an extra $100.
- In Las Vegas, you would typically get a 1 bedroom suite and in FL you would get a 2 bedroom suite.
- Both resorts are very updated, with full kitchens and washer/dryers. Both resorts also have pools and kids activities.
- The cost of this is generally right around $199 +tax (which is quite a great deal at these awesome resorts).
- I also wanted to mention that you can book your trips out 6 months in advance.
-The only "catch" is that you must attend a 90-minute sales presentation (with on site childcare provided for free).

2 years ago when we went down to FL with Uncle Mark, he used this deal and it worked out great for all of us (since we got to tag along, under his name). He attended the sales presentation early in the morning and was back quickly.

I just wanted to share this information with you, in case anyone is ever interested. Peter and I don't gain anything by having our friends and family take advantage of these deals, they just simply go to waste if they are not used--it's not a big deal.

Please, please let us know if this sounds interesting to you or anyone you know, as we would love to be able to share with you!

Florida sounds great on a cold day like today for sure (except I just heard even they got a little snow recently).

Cold Winter Days

As you all know, school has been canceled a lot lately. So far, the boys have been off school 7 days this month (5 for cold, 1 for New Year's, and 1 for MLK day).

I LOVE it when all of my boys are at home with me, but it can be challenging to come up with fun, indoor activities to keep them all busy.

It would be too easy to just let them watch TV or play on the computer all day, plus that's just not good for them. It would also be easy to take them to an indoor park or gym, but that's too expensive.

I like to give my boys time to play together, without me. They seem to be so much more creative when I am not around :). But, I also like to be included in the fun!

So, on our days off of school this month (and on weekend days as well), this is what we've been doing....
Reading (lots of reading), play doh, playing in the snow (when it is warm enough), singing along with Go Fish constantly, playing TONS of board games (we particularly like 7 Wonders, Ticket to Ride, Mickey Yahtzee, Monopoly, and Dwarven Miner), driving cars, doing puzzles, making crafts, and baking a cake.
We also had a chance to get a good start on Brady's school science fair project, and do some science experiments with Logan's new science kit.

We've played with Legos, finger lights, our indoor basketball hoop, and hot wheels. Brady and Logan wrote letters this week, and also put together an amusement park in the basement that they call "Wondersland". They even made tickets to get in and prices for their rides.

When the boys get worn out from all of the playing, we usually find a fun snack and sit down to watch Power Rangers, Peter Rabbit, or Mickey Mouse on TV.

It's been great having so much relaxed time with my boys, but I do agree that it is time to get back to a schedule and back to learning (with lots of play mixed in, of course).

Here are some of our "cold day" pictures:


Working on his science fair experiment.

Sledding in the backyard 1-19-14

Eating blue "ocean" cake.

Testing to see which are acids and which are bases.
 Working on Logan's science kit.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The View From Here

The view from my dining room window this morning.
Yes, there was a person bold enough to drag their ice fishing tent out onto our frozen lake today.
It was snowing with extremely cold winds at the time.
Minnesotans are crazy!!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Good and The Bad

As with all seasons of life, there are good times and bad times, happy moments and sad moments.
Since I haven't given many updates lately, I thought I would lay it out this way: the good and the bad.

The Good:

- Health has returned to our family--Hooray!
- We are back to BSF and Wednesday night church this week.
- We have fresh snow on the ground for the kids to play in.
- January is already 1/2 over (my least favorite month).
- Brady is playing basketball. He has practice on Thursdays and games on Saturdays, if you ever       wanted to come down and watch.
- Brady, Logan, and Marshall are all taking swimming lessons on Saturday mornings.
- Brady is in his final class for swimming lessons and will hopefully pass the first time.
- Brady will be participating in his school's Science Fair next month.
- Our van finally took a trip through the car wash!
- There are some small signs that Brady may finally be getting a front tooth.
- Logan can read Berenstain Bears books all by himself now.
- There was a bald eagle in our backyard on Christmas (everyone that was here got to see it).
- I am finally wearing my new purple sweater and it's super awesome!
- Marshall is 2 letters away from completing his lower case letters. We'll soon be starting math.

The Bad:

- The deer haven't been visiting our backyard much this year.
- It's the middle of winter.
- Our public library is undergoing renovations and is currently located on the second floor of the Farmington City Hall (it's not fun to haul a huge bag of books up and down 2 flights of stairs).
- I am still wearing 2 pairs of socks to keep my feet warm.
- Chocolate is still not an acceptable lunch.
- I signed up to work an extra shift this month.
- I hardly ever see my neighbors, since we're always hiding out in our houses this time of year.
- Peter was laid off at work on January 6.

Since the loss of Peter's job is obviously the biggest thing on either of my lists, I wanted to expand on it a tiny bit more.
Peter found out back in November that there were going to be some major layoffs at his company, but he was confident at the time that his job was secure. A few weeks after that, and many rumors later, he began to feel less sure of the security of his job.
By the time December came, he felt certain that his position would be eliminated and transferred to the new company, from India, who was taking over. At this time, many of Peter's dearest coworkers were quickly leaving the company to find new jobs elsewhere. During the second week of December, the rumors were verified and Peter knew for certain that he would be losing his job soon.
On January 6, the official letters were sent out--"this is really happening".
This is what we know:
Peter will continue to have a job with Thomson Reuters until March 7, if he chooses to stay.
He is eligible to receive severance pay until July.
Peter has already spoken with one company about potential job opportunities, and he has been given many leads as to where to apply and who is hiring from close friends and past coworkers.
I feel confident that this is a part of God's plan for our family and I am certain that He will lead Peter to the right job at the right time---BUT, it's still a little stressful.

Peter has done an amazing job of supporting our family financially and I have no doubts that he will continue to do so.
We'd love some prayers or words of encouragement, if you'd like to pass them along.
These next few months will be challenging and possibly life changing for our family.
I'll keep you posted as we head down this path.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Holidays

Our family had a fantastic holiday season this year!
We were able to spend time with all of our family over Christmas, and still have lots of time to ourselves as well.
We ate lots of wonderful food and yummy cookies, and the boys received lots of new toys and crafts. Logan is my typical little boy who hoped and dreamed of what he would get for Christmas. When the time came to open gifts, he was delighted as he unwrapped those dreamed of gifts. I think it is so important for children to have hopes and dreams and then to see them come true, in order to keep their innocent faith alive :).

Logan's new book

Cousins with Nana and Papa
After Christmas was over, we spent a day bowling with the boys and Uncle Mark and then visiting an indoor water park in St. Paul. I have grown to love St. Paul's pools in the past 6 months--they are such a fabulous deal! All 6 of us were able to get into the water park for under $20! There was a full pool, a kiddie area, and 2 huge water slides that actually go outside--we all had a blast on those (except Marshall, who was too short and also too scared).

Then, for New Year's, Peter and I got very sick for 7 days--yuck! We are fairly certain that what we had was either walking pneumonia or the respiratory flu--either way it was NOT fun. I am glad that the boys managed to stay relatively healthy through it all, but boy is it tough to have both mom and dad sick with 3 little, energetic, healthy boys around :)

Then, with the extended break from school due to the cold weather we've been having, Brady and Logan had even more time to work on their new crafts and puzzles and books.
I was lucky enough to have my entire family at home with me for 16 of the past 18 days, ending yesterday.
It's going to be tough to get back on a normal schedule after all of that fun!

 Brady working on his rock mining kit.

Logan painting his new wooden train.
Logan with the completed wooden train.

Brady painting his wooden car (it looks messy, but that's because the pieces pop out after you paint them)
That's all I have for now, but I am hoping that soon I can blog about other things like:
Brady's basketball, swimming lessons, snow forts, the upcoming science fair, Brady's surgery, and the loss of Peter's job,,,,,