Wednesday, December 31


We've made some special treats, delivered all the bread and treats to our neighbors and are getting ready to enjoy some family time. I think Maxwell will last until about 8:30pm and Payton about 9:30 or so. From then on it's just Matt and I to bring in 2009. Wow, it's weird to type that.

Have a happy and safe New Year's Eve and we'll see you on the other side. ;) Love you all.

Tuesday, December 30

Three Posts today...

well, four if you count this one.
I broke up the Christmas Summary into 3 parts for easier reading. Be sure to see all 3 posts below. :)

Christmas 2008 Summary: returning to normal life

After our crazy days of Christmas-ing with our families, we had planned to go to Columbus to visit my favorite Aunt & Uncle. However, with the craziness of the holidays, I failed to look forward and realize she didn't have a crib for Max. There's no way that kiddo can sleep un-contained. I don't trust him and he wouldn't have it anyway.

So we returned home, making plans for the Columbus trip in February. Matt and I returned home on Sunday night, tired and overwhelmed with presents. BOTH cars were packed full. We even left a few presents behind to retrieve on our next trips "home" to our parents. When we finally unloaded, our living room looked chaotic. We sorted some, at least getting all the presents to the proper bedroom. We got the boys to bed and Matt and I rocked out to Guitar Hero World Tour.

The last two days have been filled with organizing and removing all the Christmas stuff from the house. Payton's room is ready and organized and Maxwell's room is going to be tackled this afternoon and tomorrow. The Christmas tree is down and it looks like normal daily life around here. Kind of sad really. But I'm ready to start the new year.

OH! And an update:
After my post about only have a few Christmas cards, we got them in swarms! One day we got TEN!! Our total thus far (and I expect a couple of straglers yet) is 49! Thank you to all who sent a card. I love see your faces and kind words.


Christmas 2008 Summary: the travel days

Christmas never seems to be a time for us to relax. We just go, go, go. We did make a decision that from now on, if Matt is off work on Christmas Day, we'll not be traveling to Ohio except for Christmas Eve with the Kobylak family. It's too much to be away for too long and Matt misses a lot of the kids' Christmas. And we want our own traditions.

I digress. This year, we started on the 23rd with a present opening for just the four of us. The boys were THRILLED with their gifts and Matt got a "Dad" pen from Payton and I got a bubble bath from him. He loved picking out his own gifts for us this year. Maxwell's favorite gift (for this part anyway) was his guitar. Payton's was his long awaited Leapster 2.

Later that night, after some more shopping and playing in the snow, we made "Christmas Tree Pizza", our newest tradition that I'm sure will stick. Payton loved decorating it and we made it in "Food Network Challenge" style so it was a competition. And it was tasty!!

Christmas Eve Day, we traveled to Toledo to be with my inlaws for the HUGE Kobylak Family Wagilia that we have every year. It's something I really look forward to and enjoy. The boys had a great time with all their cousins and family around them. And the presents...oh the presents. They made our like bandits, as they do every year.

Christmas Day was spent with Matt's immediate family, with my mother-in-law's parents coming in the afternoon. More presents...

Then on the 26th, Matt joined us and after dealing with some car trouble and a lot of ice, we finally made it to Berea to join my family. Exhausted, we hung out on the couch eating lots of junk waiting for the festivities to begin. And they did. We let the boys go first. We've finally gotten smart. We ate, let the boys do their stockings...and put them to bed!!! Ahhh...a Christmas that I could see what everyone got! Finally! Finished our trip with Happy Birthday, Jesus cake.

WHEW!!! Are you exhausted yet?!?!?!

Christmas 2008 Summary: the wind up

Our Christmas events began on Sunday, December 21, 2008. Payton had the only speaking part in the 2 year-kindergarten kids' program at our church. I worked all day yesterday trying to get the video on the internet and can't do it. So here is what he said:

"Luke 2: 6-7 While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger because there was no room at the inn."
He said it perfectly at both services, at the mic, with no prompting or help. All his grandparents and a few of his cousins, an aunt and an uncle were all present to see his debut. We're so proud of him.

The next few days leading up to Christmas were filled with shopping, visiting, wrapping and baking. It was nice to just spend time together.

Sunday, December 28

Home Safe

Well, I survived another Christmas holiday season. Whew!! It's exhausting. We're home and I think we're going to lock ourselves in for the next 48 hours. My house seriously looks like Toys R' Us threw up. We have a lot to go through and organize. Yuck.

I'll post pictures and updates from the last week in CliffNote form over the next few days. I hope you all had amazing holidays and enjoyed the time with your loved ones.

Friday, December 19


Just as predicted, we have received about 6.5 inches of snow so far since early this morning. The weatherman was right this time! They canceled school around 5am. But I didn't find out until 7:15am. I went right back to bed. Payton played on the computer (I love the independent age!) and Max slept until 8:30am!!! Matt got up with the boys and I slept another hour. nice having him home.

When I finally rolled out of bed, Matt and Payton went out to shovel. I got Max snowgeared up and we went out, taking Missy with us on the leash. She LOVES the snow!!I'd love to let her run and romp in the front yard with us, but she'd take off.

We shoveled and played for about 30 minutes then came inside. Matt's gone to work now and the boys and I are just hanging out. I think we'll work on some more pumpkin bread loaves for our neighbors. And some sugar cookies. And maybe P's gingerbread house while Max takes his nap.

Here are some pictures from this morning. Enjoy the snow!! If you can. Especially you Aunt B! I'm sure this in a big change from Texas. ;)

Thursday, December 18

My baby's coming home!!! and weekend plans

Matt's been gone since Sunday. Not very long, but it feels like FOREVER. I've been really missing him around the house and keeping me company. I find it harder to sleep soundly, and I'm not used to caring for both boys at 7am. It's been hard on me. And with so much Christmas stuff to do adding in, didn't help.

But, he's coming home! Today!! I'm so excited to have him home. To be here. To help. To "babysit". But to just be with mostly.

This weekend, we'll also be entertaining quite a few guests. My parents are coming up, Matt's parents are coming up and a few members of my father-in-law's family are coming up as well. The occasion? Payton's big debut! He has a speaking part in the children's performance at church. He'll be reciting Luke 2:6-7

"While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in the manger because there was no room at the inn."

He practiced tonight with the group on stage and did perfect! I'm so proud of my lil' big guy.

Wednesday, December 17

PANIC!! Need prayers!! UPDATED

I'm in need of urgent prayers for a minor thing. I don't use ask for prayer for such trivial things, but I need 'em.

I was in charge of gathering money for Payton's teacher's gift card. I went today to purchase the $80 gift I can't find it. I'm 90% sure I brought it home and I remember looking at it...but I'm not sure if that was at the store or here at home.

I'm terrified that I won't find it by Friday and I'll have to go buy another one. It's just not something that Matt and I can afford to do right now.

PLEASE say a prayer that I'll find it ASAP so I can stop panicking.

Update: 12:30am I found the card!! I sat at the table, said a prayer and the next thing I picked up, the card was stuck to the back. Whew!!!! So glad I found it. Thank you for the prayers. Especially, Dot, Matt & Mom, who I know were really concerned for the card, but also my mental state. (I was going crazy and getting sick about the whole thing.) God is good. All the time.

Monday, December 15

Kobylak Pierogi & Cookie Day

Wow, what a blast!! I had such a great time on Saturday with Matt's aunts and cousins. Eleven of us total got together to make way too many cookies and pierogis...all from scratch.

I've really been wanting to learn the art of pierogi making for years. And this year, when I heard that the family was doing a day of it, I couldn't NOT go! And I'm so glad I did. I put on my apron and jumped right in and learned the dough, the filling and the folding of them. If I had a tabletop mixer at home, I'd be making them right now! Oh yum. They were so good too! I'd invite you over to have some, but there are only 3 left...and they're MINE! (Actually, saving them for Matt.)

And then we make cookies. A LOT of cookies. I think 13 types! GEEZ. I have way too many cookies in my house.

It was crazy. But oh so much fun. There were rolling pins broken, wine drank, jokes told and great stories shared. I loved learning the process and all the new cookies. But really, I loved hanging out with Matt's family. We had such a amazing time we'll be doing it again next year!

Thursday, December 11

Go ElfYourself!!!

And it doesn't cost you a thing!

The "specials" teachers at Payton's school did this and showed it at the assembly yesterday. SO funny. Everyone was laughing so loud you couldn't hear anything!

I loved it so much I came home and found it. I made one for a friend (hope you liked it, Marissa) and then made my own kiddos! Here is their elf-debut!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

If you want to make your own elf dance, click on the boys' dance show. If you make one, email it to me so I can show the boys their friends dancing. ENJOY!!

ADDED: Because Matt accused me of exploiting our children, I decided to be fair...
Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Wednesday, December 10

One of those days....

It was all fine and dandy until 4pm. It seems the be the hour everyone goes into overload. Including me!

We got home from work and Payton started his homework. before long, he was complaining of a splinter in his foot. I told him I needed to look at it. That alone sent him over the edge. We spent 25 minutes arguing about how I needed to get it out because it was already looking red and inflamed. It's now 5:30pm and the thing is still in his foot. I'm sick of arguing with him.

And Maxwell is in true Maxwell form. He's been sent to time out twice in the last hour. Once for kicking me repeatedly while I was changing his diaper. The other time for coloring on the dining room table.

I was contemplating not taking them to church tonight just so we could be home and in bed at our normal bedtimes. But now I'm thinking that maybe putting them in someone else's care for an hour and a half while I talk to grownups might be good for all of us...

Tuesday, December 9

Christmas Cards

I'm feeling a bit unloved over here in Roseville, Michigan!

I always look forward to Christmas cards...seeing how people have changed over a year, hearing about how families celebrate, and just being reminded of all the people that think of us. By this time in December, I usually have over a dozen cards on my wall with at least one or two coming in daily.

This year, we have 5. JUST FIVE!! I'm wondering if the economy is stopping people from investing 100 in paper and they just aren't sending cards.

Or maybe people are just running me. Our cards are in the process of being printed. I promise you that they are coming! And hopefully you'll have them before 2009! ;)

Monday, December 8

The build up

We're nearing the final stretch here. Christmas is just 17 days away!!!

I have more than half our shopping done...and I've run out of money from this paycheck. I guess we should pay bills instead. Hopefully we'll get it finished before Christmas. It helps that my family decided not to buy for one another this year. And Matt and I don't buy for each other either.

And while we left our kids' names in, Matt and I pulled our names out of the Kobylak Family gift exchange for the second year in a row. I don't need a $25 gift to know that they love me or think of me. I don't feel slighted, or embarrassed. I'm not there for the gifts. I'm there for the family, the memories...and the perogies!

The house is as decorated as it's going to get. I'd like to get a new tree stand because our tree is currently leaning...against the wall. Yeah. Maxwell. Need I say more?

I haven't wrapped a thing. I save it all for one night. I like to light candles, put in a Christmas movie and do it all at once.

So, really, this Christmas season hasn't been "bad" for me at all. I've enjoyed it. I've attended a few Christmas events, including a production at our church. Payton's children's performance at church is in 2 weeks and then just a few days until the travel begins. I will be driving about 14 hours in a period of 7 days this year. Just me and the boys!

That's the part I'm NOT looking forward to!!

Saturday, December 6

Christmas Music

I have such an emotional connection to music anyway, but Christmas music really puts me over the edge.

When I was young, I loved the silly songs like Chipmunks Christmas and "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells". But I always loved the song Away in a Manger. My childhood church sings a song "Jesus, the Morning Star" from a children's program we did a long time ago. It still grabs me.

I cry when I hear "Mary, did you know?" Oh man. Gets me every time. I love the version currently on my myspace page by Kutless. And "Mary's Song" by Amy Grant gets me too. (I've signed that a few times at a few different churches and it leaves me emotional.) I guess because I'm a mom, I can't imagine birthing a child I knew was the son of God and that I wouldn't be able to protect him from his future and fate.

There is just such a pulling for me with lyrics and how people express themselves, happy or sad. So if you see me crying while I'm singing in my car, don't be surprised. Just check the radio stations to see which song it is making me cry this time.

Friday, December 5

Special Weekend

Matt just left for Ohio for military weekend. He took Max with him to hang out with Papa and Grandma.

That leaves Payton and I home alone. Tomorrow he has an event at Rachel's church for the Advent season. Then we'll be spending the weekend doing things just the two of us. We'll play some games, do some crafts, play the Wii, practice some spelling words and math (yeah, homework on the weekends), watch a movie...

We'll have to see what else we decide to do, but no matter what we decide, I'm sure we'll have a great time just the two of us. Since he started school, we rarely get time just the two of us and I miss it. I am SO excited!!

Tuesday, December 2

Perfectionist Disappointed

Before I start this post I need to say;
Yes, it is my fault.

I'm the one in our family who Payton has picked up his perfectionist tendencies from. I accept that. And I love him for it. Even if it's disappointing when you don't live up to what goals you believe you can achieve.

The week before Thanksgiving, Payton's school sent home notes telling the parents if their child was going to receive an award for the grading period at an assembly the following week. I knew he would be getting a "perfect attendance" award, but I didn't know about the other two. The other awards were for "moral focus" (basically well behaved, courteous, responsible children) and the "Principal's award" for the most "well rounded" child from each class. Only one would be given per class. I figured he may be getting one of those as well and maybe both...but I wasn't 100% sure. None the less, I didn't mention to him that he would be getting ANY award.

So the time of the award ceremony comes and Payton is called for the Perfect Attendance award and then the Moral Focus award! I was so happy!!

And I knew he was one of two in contention for the Principal's Award. So at the end, when the time came, I got close to the front to take a picture regardless of who won. Payton's name wasn't called, but the little girl who did get the award is a friend of his, so he was first.

But by the end of the ceremony, I could tell from the bleachers that he wasn't happy about something. Sure enough, I got down there and found him sobbing. He was "very, very, very sad" that he didn't get the Principal's Award. I told him there were more turns and he may get it next time. His teacher, Mrs. McCoy, came over and realized what was going on and she told him that she was sure he would get it one of these times soon. I told him that we'd just have to keep trying.

That's when he about killed me with what he said. Warning: This comment will break your heart!

"But Mommy, I don't think I can trying any harder. I'm trying as hard as I can!!!"

Ohhh. My heart breaks again just typing that. We were able to appease him after school with some ice cream from Baskin Robbins. But I'm praying he gets that Principal's Award next time. I can't handle that again!!!

Monday, December 1

Thanksgiving Weekend Highlights

Fun. Busy. Exhausting. But fun.

The boys and I arrived in Ohio on Tuesday night. Wednesday we hung around with my parents and my oldest brother, Loren. He spent most of the afternoon slowed down because he was helping Payton learn to cook. It was so cute. Payton stood on a stool with his uncle to the side and did everything he was told. I wish I had gotten some pictures of it. :(

Thursday, the boys and I spent time with my father-in-law's side of the family. It was a nice dinner and it was great to catch up with them all. In the last few years, a lot of the cousins have become adults and don't get together as often because we all have our own plans for the holidays. It was great to see a few I don't get to see all that often. And Payton had a GREAT time helping his great aunts rake leaves in the yard and jumping in them.

Friday, Max and I went to Target around 9am and picked up a few things then went back to my parents house. Matt came in to spend a few days with us. It felt like I hadn't seen him in weeks and I was so happy he was there with us. We went letterboxing with my dad while Max napped and Payton was very proud to find two boxes that my father had planted. When we made it back to my parents, we enjoyed a great dinner with my brothers, my sister-in-law, my uncle, my parents, and one girlfriend. It was great to have a full table....MINUS children!! I put the boys to bed early and we had a NICE grownup dinner. Ahhh...what a JOY that was!!

BUT, the highlight of the weekend...going to Tower City Center in Cleveland. It was a great memory place for me as a child...the lights, the stores, the decorations, the characters, the parade, the decorated window fronts, Twigbee store...I wanted my children to have those memories too. Payton had a GREAT time and Maxwell was mesmerized by the Toy Solider. It's impossible to capture the magic of the moment on film, but here is my attempt.

We had such an amazing time. The parade was a disappointment and we won't stay for that next year, but overall, it was an great memory relived for me.

Sunday, we went to church with my parents where I was able to sign a Christmas song for the church. These are all the people that watched me grow up and it was nice to share something with them.

We're home. Settling in and catching up on laundry. It's exhausting being gone for so long. But it was well worth it to see all our family and friends and to spend to so much time with loved ones. We have so much to be thankful for.