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December 30, 2009

Sucker for Swagbucks!

Ok, so normally I am skeptical of anything that pays you for doing almost nothing.  I mean, c'mon nothing is free these day (including healthcare, people)!  So I had to do a little research and do my usual perusal of various bloggers who have used "swagbucks" and earned money in the form of gift cards. The result?  I now have a toolbar at the top of my browser that I use whenever I can to earn me some bucks!

This is NOT a "get rich quick" scheme and, for those moms out there who use the bonus points from buying diapers can attest, it adds up slowly.  BUT I gleaned from my research that people who did this over the last year actually had enough gift cards for ALL of their Christmas shopping!   We are talking hundreds of dollars worth here!  After the lean Christmas this year, I have to say I am pumped about the idea.  So, if you are interested in checking it out, go to this link so I can get credit for referring you.  It's free to sign up and right away you get 3 swagbucks to start your stockpile.  I would recommend loading their toolbar onto your browser for all of your online searches so you start earning whenever you are online.  One caveat, it is not as thorough as Google sometimes, but if you search for Google to further your search, you get credit for that.  I'm willing to sacrifice some efficiency for my pocketbook this cause. :)

If you need further testimonies, read this blog post and see the subsequent comments (but if you choose to check SB out, come back to my page and use my link since I referred you).

Happy hunting...oh, and Happy New Year!!

December 26, 2009

Christmas w/ the Kids

C in his Christmas best.  (E was uncooperative)

Opening presents (E once again MIA)
See my new KitchenAid stand mixer in the background?  Yay! :)

Christmas meal...for the 4 of us!

Where there's food...there's E!

Hope you had a Merry Christmas too!

December 18, 2009

Christmas Letter 2009

Trying something new this year...instead of typing, printing, and sending out our annual Christmas letter, I have decided to post on my blog a recap of 2009 in the Recke household.  Of course, as a courtesy (and because I love getting them in the mail) I will also be mailing out the mandatory photo card to make sure relatives and close friends see how big the kids are getting! :)
By the way "C" and "E" represent the kids' names...we opted to protect their privacy since this is a public blog.

Ok to recap...
C is now a 5 (almost 6) year old little guy.  At the beginning of this year we enrolled him in preschool (opting to hold him back from kindergarten for another year to acclimate more to English & school structure) at Silver State Christian school.  He was off to a rocky start and got into various kinds of trouble nearly daily.  We did get him evaluated through the Colorado public school system and in the end determined that he needs some speech therapy to work on enunciation, but otherwise it's a wait-and-see approach to whether he has extreme hyper-activity.  We have experienced a dramatic turn in his behavior though.  We see him trying harder to "control his energy" and listen more to his teachers.  It's really encouraging to see his English get better and better and to be able to recognize certain letters and numbers.  Rewards like seeing movies and playing at an indoor amusement center called "Monkey Bizness" definitely keeps him motivated!  He also adores his little sister, E.  He is just so extremely kind and gentle with her, it makes me melt.  What a great kid we have! :)

E is now 1-1/2 years old.  Hard to comprehend, really.  She is growing like a weed and at 12 months we began buying only 24mos or 2T clothing.  She is off the chart in height, so she is definitely following in Daddy's footsteps in that department!  E stays home with me these days so it is fun to see her developing day to day.  Her favorite activities are talking on the phone (fake or otherwise), climbing furniture, chasing C around the house, babbling (another of Daddy's traits, hehe), and really just exploring with the natural curiosity of a toddler.  She is truly a bundle of joy and has really completed our family!

Tom is doing great with his Pillar To Post franchise.  He continues to grow his business even in the midst of a recession (amazing feat, really) and his dedication to his work is impressive.  We can only look forward to the future when (hopefully) the economy rebounds and his business explodes.

Even in tough times, his business ethic and hard work has enabled me to be a stay-at-home mom.  I quit my job at Wm Ohs in February and have been enduring enjoying commute-less work ever since.  There have been days when I question my decision as it seemed so much easier to design kitchens than to herd children all day.  But then...I see my daughter take her first steps or see C's joyful face when I pick him up from school, and it is so worth it.  It reminds me of the song "You're Gonna Miss This" by Trace Adkins.  It just passes by so fast!

Some other 2009 highlights worth noting:
  • We took our first family vacation to Yellowstone & Jackson Hole in August
  • C played in both soccer & T-ball leagues.  Surprisingly, he liked t-ball the best!
  • C lost four teeth!  He truly wants "two front teeth" for Christmas. ;)
  • Auntie Erin visited and took Csaab up in her plane where was a "hero" for flying it.
  • We had nice visits from Nana & Papa Fedraw for E's 1st b-day and their yearly pilgrimage west for a break from the B&B world.
It was also a year of some sadness.  I lost my beloved 13yo Golden Retriever, Toby, in October (you can see my tribute to him HERE).  He had been ill and was diagnosed with tumors on his spleen that was causing some internal bleeding.  It's typically remedied by surgically removing the spleen, but for such an old dog, it just seemed cruel to put him through it...with no guarantees.  So, the very difficult decision to put him down was made and I cried for days.  I still miss him terribly and am realizing that this is the first Christmas in 13 years that I won't be seeing him tear open the wrapping on his gifts.  Bitter-sweetness.

Anyway, that's our year in a nutshell.  I pray that this holiday season finds you surrounded by your loved ones and filled with lasting memories.  Have a blessed Christmas and happy New Year!

With Love,

December 11, 2009

My Cup Runneth Over...

So, you know how God chooses the most amazing ways to communicate when we need it most and, like me, we sometimes often forget to run to His Word for reassurance?  Well, lately I've been struggling with my decision to be a stay-at-home mom.  It's HARD!  It's a 24/7 job that seriously lacks in accolades.  Today I was online doing my typical stress-reducing blog hunt when I came across this blog.  One of her posts just spoke to me in a song she references.  Read these lyrics, and take heart all you moms out there!

These are the lyrics to "Sacred" by Caedmon's Call on their new album titled Overdressed.

This house is a good mess
it’s the proof of life
no way would I trade jobs
but it don’t pay overtime

I’ll get to the laundry
I don’t know when
I’m saying a prayer tonight
cause tomorrow it starts again

could it be that everything is sacred?
and all this time
everything I’ve dreamed of
has been right before my eyes

the children are sleeping
but they’re running through my mind
the sun makes them happy
and the music makes them unwind

my cup runneth over
and I worry about the stain
teach me to run to You
like they run to me for every little thing

when I forget to drink from you
I can feel the banks harden
Lord, make me like a stream
to feed the garden

wake up, little sleeper
the Lord, God Almighty
made your Mama keeper
so rise and shine, rise and shine
rise and shine cause

everything is sacred
and all this time
everything I’ve dreamed of
has been right before my eyes

December 10, 2009

These are a few of my (kids) favorite things...

  • Counting the days until "santa comes"
  • Weekly dinners with Tio & Tia (our next door neighbors)
  • Singing (he is pumped for his preschool Christmas program!)
  • Bedtime stories
  • Swimming
  • Formulating a list of invitees to his birthday party
  • Iron man, Spiderman...essentially any superhero
  • Learning vowels & consonants (actually, not really a "favorite" per se, but I have hope!)
  • Kisses
  • Story books
  • Horses
  • Playing chase with big brother
  • Baths
  • Chocolate (inherited from mommy, I'm afraid)
  • Stuffed animals...anything fuzzy or furry really.
  • Leaves...has to have one in hand whenever she is outside.
My favorite things?  These kids who amaze me daily.

December 6, 2009

What I want for Christmas...

Honestly, how can you have a bad day with a face like this around?


Saw this on another blog and had to copy it...funny and sad at the same time.
Of course I am not a fan of this whole "Twilight" phenomenon anyway and this just proves my point of how silly it all is (sweet mercy, when will it end?!).

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