Monthly Archives: December 2013

A New Year’s Eve Tradition!

Traditions!

When a couple gets married they have to either can all the traditions they grew up with and start their own. One spouse has to give up their traditions, or maybe just doesn’t care.  You take turns each holiday doing it one way then the other way.  Or you can try to cram yours, his, and new traditions all together.  Titus and I haven’t had too much trouble with traditions, the biggest one we actually butted heads about was whether or not the singing Christmas lights should go on the tree or on the wall (which is kind of a funny story you should ask me about some time). 

But as for New Years Eve, apparently we both grew up eating the same cookies! Score!!  Unbelievably I haven’t made them since we got married, but this New Year’s Eve I decided to break out the cooking stuff and make them.  Then I got on facebook and found out other people were making them too.  There is something very special, homey, and family oriented knowing that my mom (who is 790 miles away), my mother-in-law (who is 780 miles away), one of my favorite aunts (who is 1,120 miles away)  and another of my favorite aunts (who is 830 miles away) are all making the very same cookies for New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.  🙂

I had to call my mom before I even started to ask her about the recipe.  The recipe I have is from my grandma and it’s a bit old (I’ve never heard of cake yeast before!) After getting started I realized I’ve never made these on my own, and it’s been over 5 since I’ve made them!  I wasn’t sure they would even turn out!

It’s a pretty straight forward recipe: milk, eggs, yeast, flour, butter, and a bit of salt. You fry them up and coat them in sugar!

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I’m not sure why we all call these cookies since they are more like donuts.  I had some trouble at first with the middle not getting done, which probably means the dough was too thick.  But I figured it out.  Plus I got to use my new yellow pot!  Cooking on yellow cookware is sooooo much more fun then anything else!

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These are obviously not very healthy!  But very yummy!

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My boys are fans of the New Year’s Eve cookies! It special knowing that something both Titus and I grew up eating our children will too (as long as I keep making them every year!)

James:

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Gideon:

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I think next year I’ll make half a batch since it made a lot and I’ve already eaten far too many.

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The finished product:

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My mother-in-law’s finished cookies:

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Aunt Sylvia’s cookies:

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My Aunt Mimi’s cookies

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I’m kinda hoping my mom and aunts will post their cookie pictures on facebook too so I can add their pictures to this post! (update! Thanks to my aunts for their pictures!)

Happy New Year everyone!  What’s some of your favorite New Year’s Eve traditions?

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Christmas Day 2013

Despite my earlier post about a blue Christmas Titus and I did get it together and we had a fun morning.  Last year we started a tradition of getting our kids new (well new to us) jammies that they can open on Christmas Eve.  I started looking for jammies at second hand stores back in October.  We got some very cute ones this year!

Christmas Eve, James, Gideon and Faith in their new jammies:

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Gideon and I got up earlier then everyone else so we watched the end of A Very Monkey Christmas (Curious George) while we waited for everyone else to wake up.  First we opened stockings:

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Both boys got 3 little airplanes in their stockings.  I bought them very cheap at a second hand store way back in Oct.  They have had a lot of fun with them.

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And then I made breakfast, which no one ate but me.  Titus wasn’t feeling well (upset stomach among other things) so he didn’t eat and

the kids ate the stuff from their stockings.  I made so many cinnamon rolls I ate them for days!

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Opening presents:

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Daddy and his pull up bar:

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Our boys and their new cowboy boots!  They have worn them every day since!

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Mommy and her new yellow cast iron pot! (super super super happy!!!)

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New blue tractors from Grandparents Penner:

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And the best present for the boys, Hungry Hungry Hippos!  At the last minute on Christmas Eve I bought it for them at the second hand store for $2.  My poor boys, it only came with one marble!!!! 

But that didn’t stop them from having fun and they played with it all day! 

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I am very very proud of Titus for really getting in and having fun with the kids, even though he felt sick.  Way to go Babe! It was a very Merry Christmas!

A Blue Christmas

We are struggling with Christmas a little bit this year.  I was asking Titus yesterday morning why that is.  I love Christmas!  I love everything about it!  And I married a man who loves it just as much as I do.  He even called me a Grinch one year about something, which is just ridiculous because of how much I get into all the decorating and planning. 🙂

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But this year we seem to be lacking enthusiasm for the holiday. Maybe it’s because of having a new baby, or sleep depravity, or the fact that this is the fourth house we’ve had Christmas in (we’ve never had two Christmases in one house), or lack of extra cash lying around wanting to be spent ;), or not having any extra family Christmases (we normally have 3 other ones!).  What ever it is Titus and I are struggling a bit.  On one hand it’s a good thing that our kids are still so little and don’t have expectations.  But on the other hand I want them to have a happy and exciting Christmas morning.

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Yesterday, two days before Christmas we left the house for the first time since Faith was born and went and bought a tree.  We spent more than I wanted to, but did get a nice little tree.

(Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree!!)

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It actually fits in that little corner pretty well.   To add to our already blue Christmas when we got the lights out we found that none of them work except half of two strands.  Titus was pretty grumpy last night, I think he isn’t getting enough sleep.  It amazes me how much sleep men need.  So the lights weren’t a very good way to start, and Titus didn’t want to try to fix all of them.  For some reason we have a whole bunch of lights but the strand is white, not green. We’ve never used them before (because they are white!), but they work!  So we put white lights on the tree.  There is a reason they make green stranded lights, in case anyone is wondering.  I tried to stuff them to the middle of the tree so the white isn’t as noticeable.

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Then Titus put the star on the tree.  I really really don’t like the star we have…in fact we have had it for 4 years and I’ve gotten out of using it every year so far! But not this year, AND we couldn’t find the plastic thingy it sits on so the blasted star is zip tied to the tree.  No, I’m not joking!

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I love doing ginger bread houses and have done one every year since high school. I have been so sad that I haven’t done one this year.  But yesterday I found a kit at Sam’s greatly on sale and James and I decorated it last night!  It’s made me a little less blue!  And it’s a huge house, I’ve never done one this big before!

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The frosting wasn’t gluing very well so I got the hot glue gun out to put the house together. I’ve never done that before! That worked remarkable well!  I highly recommend using one if you are frustrated with your frosting.

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Another good thing that happened was that I found my long lost Ecuadorian manger scene that my Aunt Sylvia gave me as a bridal shower gift!  We’ve never gotten to use it because I couldn’t find it any where!

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AND our stockings are done!  More on that later, but they look fabulous!

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Today I’m going to go to the store and buy pre-made treats and cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast.  There are two presents for the boys that I really really want to still get them, that I actually ordered and never picked up at the store so the order was canceled. I have a feeling that the store might just have them in stock though, so I might drive over there and see what I can find.  That probably won’t happen though. 😉

And finally, the results of mommy getting out of the house: a new outfit for Faith, one that actually fits!  I was so sure it would be too small, it looked so small on the hanger.  It fits just right!

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All this to say even though our Christmas might be a hot glued, zip tied, not home made Christmas, we do have so much to be thankful for.  We have three beautiful, healthy children.  We have a warm house, and good food.  The very first Christmas was less than ideal.  Comparing my Christmas with having a baby in a barn doesn’t look so bad after all.  Christmas isn’t about the tree, or the presents, or the food, or the decorations…it’s about Jesus birth.  The start of his life, that He gave for us.  So maybe by having a blue Christmas, in the end it’s really a good thing because our focus is more on Christ.  The only reason we even have Christmas.

James & Gideon meet their Sister

James and Gideon were gone for a whole week when I had Faith.  I still can’t believe they were gone that long, especially since we had never left Gideon over night.  From all the reports I got from both grandmas and numerous aunts they did just fine.  When they got home it was very very late and were already asleep, so they didn’t get to meet Faith until the morning.  James was sleeping in our bed when Faith woke up crying.  When I went into the room James had the most confused look on his face.  He pointed to the co-sleeper and said, “Baby?”

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Gideon likes her

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Daddy, Gideon and baby Faith

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Titus, daddy of 3!!

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Gideon really likes to hold Faith.  Not sure Faith really likes to be held by him….

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Looking back 4 years

Last week marked four years ago I married the love of my life.  As I look back on our four years together I can see how much we have been blessed together, and how God has taken such good care of us.  Our first year was in Hawaii, which was amazing.  We lived in this beautiful little one bedroom apartment on the second floor. I loved it!

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July 4th 2010

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God knew we really needed time together as newly weds without any friends or family around.  We had plenty of money, and Titus didn’t work much.  We just went on lots of dates the first half of living there.  God blessed us with a son in September that first year.

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Since James cried all the time it slightly changed our newly wed date life we had going on. 😉  But you can’t stay newly weds forever!

We went to Maui as the first family vacation ever!

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Titus and I went to the Marine Corp ball.  I think it was our first date after having James. (Which I think got cut short because he started crying at the baby-sitter’s house ha ha!)

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Our first year anniversary.  We didn’t do much (it was just too hard to leave James), but we did borrow a friend’s motorcycle and took a ride up through the island.  I don’t ride motorcycles when I’m pregnant and it was something Titus wanted to do.  I don’t think we even went out to eat or anything.  It was just a quick ride.

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Our second year we moved back to Minnesota into this little house:

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Titus’ grandma had moved to Kansas and she let us live here rent free for our second year of marriage.  It was a huge blessing since it helped us make ends meet that first year out of the military.  Our second year we didn’t do much, but reconnected with family and friends.

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We went to Texas and Kansas that year for vacations.  For our second anniversary we went out to eat at Bergen Bar.  I think we might have gone back home and watched a movie together too, before getting James. I can’t remember.

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Our third year involved another baby and yet another move.

God blessed us with a second son, Gideon.

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A month later we moved to this beautiful house:

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We had a happy third year with our two little boys.

The 4th of July

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For vacation we went up to northern Minnesota.  It turned out to be a horrible trip with the two little boys, but at least we spent some time with family. This picture sums it up nicely:

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On our 3rd anniversary I forgot. Completely forgot! In my defense, I was under large amounts of stress, and incredibly sleep deprived!  Titus how ever went all out, dozens of flowers all over the house, chocolate every where, and a beautiful pink set of jewelry.  He is truly a wonderful man. Maybe he knew I needed some extra love that year!

That brings us to this last year.  Last summer I think was one of our best ones.  The boys were a bit older and loved going to the barn.  We spent lots of time there since we decided to move yet again!

Half way through our 4th year we moved to Denver, CO.

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And God blessed us with a little girl two days before our 4th year ended:

Faith Natalie

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In our four years of marriage:

we have lived in four different houses,

in three different states,

been blessed with three healthy and beautiful children,

Titus has had three different jobs plus going to school,

and I can truly see God’s hand in all of it.  From providing the money for our home births, to all our moves, and Titus’ different jobs.

And one of the biggest and best blessings of our four years together is the fact that other than when he worked at Mountain Power (for about two months) Titus has not worked a normal 8-5 job.  He has been home during the day a ton and we get to see him a lot.  There have been times that he has been busy (like when they bale hay or during harvest time), but for the majority of the time he spends a lot of it at home.  This has been an amazing blessing, one that I am very very thankful for!

I love you honey, here’s to another wonderful 4 years together, with hopefully more babies, and hopefully not as many moves. 😉

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Faith Natalie’s Birth Story

Pretty sure I have to write this post in pink, in honor of my beautiful daughter. 🙂  We have finally decided on a name.  I know it has taken us a really long time.  I have found out that Titus and I have very different tastes in girl names.  It might be a good idea to know a head of time if we are having a girl next time around.  With that said, we have gone through lists of names, books of names, and websites of names.  I had several names written out, most of them complete with a middle name as well. Titus didn’t like any of them.  Titus’ two favorite names I wasn’t crazy about, so we had to keep looking.  One name that was thought of but turned down was Cutie Patootie Penner.  We decided she would out grow this name pretty fast and then hate us for the rest of her life. 🙂  So we have come to Faith Natalie Penner.  And it’s just perfect for her! I’m so glad we took our time and waited until we found a name that we both like.

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So I started having contractions around 8 in the evening on the 9th. I did notice them because I was really uncomfortable on the floor playing with Gideon. But I didn’t think much of them because I’d had similar contractions for weeks and had gotten kinda used to them.  I went to bed around 10 or 11 and slept until maybe 3:00 a.m.  I’m surprised I was able to sleep since I’ve never slept through pre-labor before.  I got up because I was hungry, and decided to time them and see what’s up.  I called Maren around 4 or 4:30 and told her I was pretty sure I was in labor.  My sisters were getting up by then to leave for MN.  I cuddled with Gideon for a bit and then they left.  I did some cleaning, and watched some netflix, and I think I read a book or something. By 6:30 I was feeling tired and the contractions had  slowed down a bit so I decided to try to sleep.  I have never been able to take naps in pre-labor before, but I did this time.  At 7:30 I talked to Maren again and she decided to come and set everything up.  So I woke up Titus and the two of them moved some stuff around in the livingroom to make room for the birth tub.  Maren hung around for a while, but things were pretty slow and I was thinking about another nap so she said she’d stay close by and do some Christmas shopping.  Titus was already back in bed (he had stayed up late working on home work).  At noon I woke Titus up and had him call Maren.  The contractions were still far apart, but when I had them they were really really strong.  So she came back and they started filling the tub.  I was sitting on the ball, which I’ve done for all my other labors, but it seemed the contractions would slow when I sat on it.  If I was up walking around then they got stronger.  My back was really starting to hurt at this point, really all my muscles, so I decided to sit in the tub. Oh. my. goodness!!  If you have not labored in a tub do it next time! If your doctor won’t let you then find another doctor!!  I literally sat in the tub and all the pain went away. I still had pain with each contraction, but in between I was completely pain-free.  So I sat there for about 3 hours, and Titus sat on the ball next to me.  I’d squeeze his hand through each contraction, but other wise he just sat next to me.  Normally he’s rubbing my back, or squeezing my hips or helping me stand or sit or what ever.  I think he liked the tub as much as I did. 😉  (And as a side note, after my other births my muscles hurt so much. All of them, my back, legs, neck, shoulders.  But this time I have had no sore muscles at all! none! I think it was sitting in the hot water for all of my active labor) Around 3 I kinda got tired of the tub.  It’s a big tub and I had to prop myself up with my feet and my legs were getting tired.  I tried different ways to sit but it wasn’t feeling very good anymore.  The only negative about the tub is if you want to get suddenly you weigh a whole lot more than you do floating in the water.  I kept saying I didn’t think I could get out because my body felt sooooo heavy!  I did not, however, die in the tub, and I did some how get out.  I sat on the toilet and felt a small urge to push.  So everyone was asking me if I wanted to get back in the tub or if I wanted to lie on the bed.  All I said was I wanted to lie down some where soft….so it was to the bed I went.  It felt so good to lie down.  But goodness those contractions are mean!!  No rest!  And if my blasted water would just break earlier then I think I would have an easier time pushing.  I did push for a few pushes with the water intact and there was so.much.pressure!!  The same thing happened with Gideon and I remember the same problem.  When my water broke I felt so much release and so much of the pain went away!  But not for long, one more huge, long push and my baby was next to me!  I don’t remember feeling so emotional or so much relief after my other births.  I didn’t care if it was a girl or a boy, I was so happy to just hold the baby.  I kept telling Titus, it’s all over, it’s all over! 

Right after the birth. We don’t know if it’s a girl or boy yet I don’t think.

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The midwife really encouraged me to see if it was a girl or boy though, and low and be hold it was a girl.  I really think I was expecting another boy!  The midwives were in no hurry, they even left the bedroom for a while and it was just Titus me and the baby.  After awhile (maybe an hour??) Maren came in and had Titus cut the cord, then both baby and I took a herb bath in the birth tub.

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I have never seen a baby relax so fast in a tub before.  It was really really neat to see her totally calm in the warm water.  She cried when we took her out. 🙂

First bath:

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Time has kind of just stopped for us.  We have had no one come see us, and because James and Gideon are still in MN we don’t have anything to do but tell each other how cute Faith is, and how small she is!  I try my best to stay in bed for the first three days after having a baby.  So we’ve just been camping out in my bedroom:

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The midwives said they do not think Faith is late.  She doesn’t look late at all (late babies have very dry skin and a lack of vernex.  She doesn’t have either), and when they examined the placenta they said it looks like a 40 week placenta, not a 42 week.  So I guess Faith knew exactly when she should be born!  I was expecting a huge baby because of going so late.  She is a small 7 pounds 5 ounces, the smallest baby I’ve had!  She is just beautiful!

Faith Natalie Penner

Born December 10th, 2013 at 3:40 p.m.

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We give thanks to God for another beautiful healthy baby.  We are so blessed, and so thankful!