Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Thankful Christmas


What a year 2011 has been and it's even harder to believe it's almost over!  The Speidel family has so much to be thankful for this year (including a professional family photo session with our friend Robyn....it only took 8 years! See awesome photo above) With life's ups and downs and in betweens, thanks for sharing parts of it with us.

Some highlights from this year include:

* Getting to travel to Arkansas with my family and fish for a week!
* Traveling on a bus with the track team to Atlanta and Florida. The boys will always remember this trip (and Brody now wants to be a bus driver because of it)
* Lonnie got to walk his little sister down the isle at her wedding
* We welcomed another boy cousin (on the Koser side) to the family....baby Colby!
*Baylor started Kindergarten and Brody started preschool at Lisbon.
* We had a 10 ft snowman in front of our house that mysteriously appeared one morning.
* We've watched the boys grow up before our eyes (where does the time go!?)
* My artwork is taking off (woo hoo)


I asked the boys to give me five things they were thankful for this year....obviously, since Christmas just happens to be tomorrow, it took top spots on their lists.

Baylor: 
1. Our Family
2. The Christmas Tree
3. Presents under the tree
4. The Wii
5. Our hearts (this boy has such a sweet loving heart!)

Brody:
1. Christmas
2. Christmas tree with presents and the ornaments on the tree....and Santa...and baby Jesus.
3. God
4. Mom (yessss!) and Dad......(what about Baylor?) Oh yea, and Baylor too.
5. Dogs, cause I love them.


Lonnie: 
1. Health
2. New job opportunities for my wife
3. My family and their health
4. Eight years of marriage to my wonderful wife (I swear that is exactly what he said)
5. My new t.v (You're welcome)


Me:
1. Of course my family! I'm thankful for each and every one of them (extended and so on and so forth) I am so thankful that I will get to see most of the in heaven for eternity.  They may be far away and we may not see each other regularly, but we pray for them daily.

2.New furnace and insulation in this old house(I can keep the heat above 62 and our bill is actually lower!) This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but it's HUGE for me.

3. That my artwork is taking off and for my new job!  The transition has been a little rough (can I just say how much more I admire working mothers! It's like working 4 full time jobs!)but it's getting better.  I am blessed to be able to work in education again.

4. That Lonnie and I got to go to the Weekend to Remember marriage conference this fall.  It was a great refresher and has made us stronger as a couple.  Being stronger as a couple only makes us stronger as a family. We work together as a team.

5. My relationship with Christ....not my "religion"  It's not about reciting words back to a man standing on a pulpit or waving your arms or eating bread or drinking wine or doing good things or simply saying you're a Christian.  You must live it. Like any good relationship, it has to be mutual  and you have to work at it.  Can't be afraid of what others may think.....it never works out.    You have to share it. Shout it.



We pray that this year brings you not only peace and happiness but maybe a life changing relationship.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!



Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sunday, December 4, 2011

You do what you can.....

Baylor has reached the stage in life where getting him to do school work has become quite the challenge.  He can read, but he'd rather play.  He likes doing school work.....at school, not at home.  So as a parent you have to get creative.  I have been trying to come up with new ways to get Baylor to practice his reading.  


I found that humor works the best.  I wrote these and he had to read them to me, and since used words like booger and rock star, he thought it was funny AND he was reading. Bonus!  

You do what you can.  



Sunday, November 27, 2011

A new chapter

Happy Thanksgiving! I am so thankful for these these sweet boys.  All three cousins are together for the first time.  We probably took 234 photos and of course there isn't a single one where all three of them are looking at the camera.  It was fun though!  It was so great to see baby Colby and get me some baby snuggles.  It was also great to hand him back to his mama when he started to cry.
 Here are the matching jammies that Granny K got for the boys.  Obviously Colby wasn't too keen on them yet.
 I said kiss your brother.....
 ...not make out with your brother!! 
 There's my boys.  We have to get at least one photo where someone is picking their nose.  At least their picking their own noses and not each others.
 I have so much to be thankful for this year (and always) and these three little boys top my list!
We we so glad to get to hang out with Uncle Kort and Aunt Bri and of course baby Colby.  They endured thunderstorms, long car rides and a plane trip from Louisiana just to be with us for Thanksgiving.  Bri also did some of her famous baking.....which was awesome.....good thing I wore stretchy pants.

And now for something completely different....


Well, our lives are about to change a little bit.  It's been six years since I made the decision to stay home with  my babies and take a little break from the educational realm.  I can't explain to you how blessed I was to be able to see my children grow up, teach them and train them up. So many memories were made and so many things were learned.  There were good days and also some bad days, but I cherish every second I get to spend with them.  God shut the door on a few job opportunities this spring and summer, but His timing proved to be perfect.  I received a phone call last week asking me to consider a position at a local alternative school.  I won't be teaching art per say, but I'll get to help them creatively and I'll find ways to work some artwork into their lessons.  The hours are perfect and I have Friday's off to spend with Brody, so I decided to go for it.  I really felt like this is the place that I was supposed to be.  I am super excited to get back into teaching and working with students, but I am also very sad to leave Brody man in the mornings.  He will only be with a sitter (who by the way is pretty awesome...and calm.....which is another bonus) three hours in the morning and then he has preschool in the afternoon. I'll be able to pick him up a lunch, drop him off at school and then pick both kids up at the end of the day.  Major bonus.  It's good to get my feet wet again and my foot in the door with the local schools. Someday I hope to be working in one of the two local school districts full time in an art classroom!

As I step back and look at the years that I got to spend with my boys, I wouldn't have changed a thing.  I will still have plenty of time with them and the extra income will help us out greatly. I will still continue to do artwork (which is also doing really well, Praise God!)  I could use your prayers this week as I drop off my baby and head out the door. I'm a big wussie.

I hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving with your families!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Smoke in my eyes

 This was the view from our front porch as a house down the street caught on fire.  There was smoke everywhere.  Unfortunately, a lot of the firemen were at the UNI dome ready to cheer the Lisbon Lions on to state championship victory! (Woo hoo, go Lions!) The fire was contained but a lot of the house was ruined.  The boys sat in awe at the fire trucks rushing down the street to help save the house.  We're lucky to have a great volunteer fire department here in Lisbon.

 We decided to head to the UNI Dome too, to cheer on our home town! This is the outfit Brody chose (he said the life jacket was his safety jacket) It was great to watch the boys cheer for their home town football team.  I was secretly counting down the years until they can be on the field!  (weather it be marching or tackling)
Baylor got in the spirit with his red and black complete with a mo-hawk (all the football boys were sporting them) He was pumped.

Life has been crazy busy and we are thankful to get a few days rest here at Thanksgiving. We get to meet our new nephew Colby and see my brother and sister-in-law!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mom....also known as the fun hater

While I was away this weekend in Chicago for a brass band competition, upon return I was quickly informed that, "Dad let us do fun things!" 

Here are some things that the boys did while I was away....I interviewed them at dinner.  


Me: Baylor, what did you and Dad do while I was gone? 
Baylor: We went to Puss and Boots in the big movie theater AND we ate at McDonald's AND Dad let us play in the play place (insert groans from mom here) 
Me: What else did you do? 
Baylor: We stayed up late....oh yea, really late.  We also played the Wii all day long.  
Me: Hmmmmm Did you brush your teeth and wash your hands? 
Baylor: I can't remember
Me: Should I go away more often? 
Baylor: No....can we make my Christmas list now? 

Me: Brody, what did you do while I was gone? 
Brody: Ummm, I took pictures and played with these bungee thingies. We went to Kirtley's game (our babysitter) We saw our friends and heard poop talk. 
Me: Poop talk? What did you eat for food? 
Brody: Waffles! 
Me: And?
Brody: Waffles! 
Me: Waffles again? 
Brody: Yes! And we got chocolate milk! 



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Boo!

 We had a rockin good time at Halloween! It was perfect weather and people were handing out chocolate...win win.  
 Here is my ninja warrior and my little dragon.  
 I jumped at the chance to wear my hair in a mohawk. I kind of like it. I may wear it that way again! 
 The forced hug. 



Speaking of cuteness. We were blessed enough to have our family photos taken professionally....for the first time ever. I am so excited. Here is a sneak peek: https://www.facebook.com/RobynPhoto

She does awesome work AND she lives down the street from us.  The photos of the boys made both Lonnie and I tear up....yes, I know......you just might too!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Piss-a-pippi River Mussem

 First off, we are HUGE Cardinals fans in this house, even our dogs get in on the action.  The boys were decked out in their Cardinals gear today in preparation for tonight's big game! GO Cards!
 The boys didn't have school today so as promised we headed up to Dubuque to the Piss-a-pippi River Mussem (also known as the Mississippi River Museum) We spent the greater part of today exploring and learning about the mighty Mississippi.


 The highlight of the trip was the 3D Dinosaur movie. Baylor was in heaven and said it was one of the best days of his life.  Brody was scared out of his drawers. He kept taking his glasses off and then putting them on again...off...on...off...on....He wasn't a fan of three dimensional pterydachtals flying at him.



 Baylor and I playing with shadows :)



I shot this photo right before the sun went down today, there was some beautiful clouds.  I love Iowa in the fall! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pinball








(Checking out the scary clown haunted barn at Bloomsbury) 

This kid never stops. Never slows down. Never tires. He is like a human pinball, bouncing from one activity to the next.

 I saw a shirt the other day that Brody needs to wear that read, "My parents are exhausted."

Amen.

Parent teacher conferences were this week and both boys are doing great.  Brody loves preschool and is right on target, knows all his letters and most of his numbers, along with writing his name and drawing stick figures with boobies.  He needs to work on colors (anyone know of a simple test to see if your kid is colorblind, I really think Brody might be!) and his birthday/address.  We got to go on a field trip yesterday to Bloomsbury Farm with his preschool class....I was more exhausted than he was!

Baylor is doing well too, he is finally adjusting to being at school all day and is making some new friends.  His drawings included dinosaurs, bloody battle scenes, hunting scenes and attack scenes.  All boy, all the time. We're going to work on punctuation and sentence structure at home, along with simple math patterns.  Unlike his mother, he said he loves math and is pretty good at it.  I love hearing about what he learns at school, but think it is so very important to work with your kids at home.  Learning is constant and it involves lots of time, patience and energy.  You have to be willing to get a little dirty (and let them get dirty) in the process.  This makes the teacher's job easier! It helps that we have great teachers and that we stay in communication with them about anything and everything.  Too often, I hear of parents complaining about this and that, when really all they need to do is GO TALK TO THE TEACHER.  Don't expect the teachers to do everything for you.

On a completely different note, our brass band will be competing at the US Open Brass Band Championships in St.Charles, Illinois the first weekend of November.  We're very excited, but along with excitement comes hours of practice.  I am very blessed to be part of a group of very talented musicians.  Most of them are so dedicated by their love for music that they bring their horns to work with them to practice over their lunch hour.  You may call it nerdy, we call it devotion.  They come from all walks of life and all professions......from band directors to IT people to engineers to teachers to sales to garbage men to stay at home mamas.  We don't get paid, we don't get instruments....the only perk we get is being part of one big dysfunctional family that comes together to make beautiful music.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  So if you're in the Chicago area and want to see us perform, you can go here: http://usopenbrass.org/ or visit our other website: easterniowabrassband.com.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Parent like you mean it.


Being a parent means you give up most of your rights, freedoms and privacy when that slimy little of screaming flesh is plopped on to your chest.  There are no give backs or do-overs. There are no instructional cds to watch or YouTube videos on how to properly raise your child. You are thrust into a world that is no longer about you, into a world of trying to hang on for dear life hoping that your kid won't end up needing therapy.  You aren't allowed to pee alone anymore and you get less and less sleep, but it's all worth it.

Having six years of parenting under my belt, I consider myself to be quite the professional (I kid) One of the most important lessons that I have learned in those six years that have flown by at the speed of light is being intentional with your kids.  Parenting with a purpose.

Treating each day as a new experience to learn and taking every moment to show them how much you love them.  Oh, and there is this little thing called talking.....or communication! You can't get by in life by assuming they will learn life lessons somewhere else.  We love our teachers dearly,  but they are not raising your kids.  YOU are raising your kids.  That means you are going to have to be responsible.  I know it can be a hard thing to do sometimes, but it's worth it.  I want my kids to feel like they can talk to me about anything at any time, and being open, honest and intentional is part of that comfort.

Want your kids not to have sex until marriage? Here's a thought. You talk to them about it.  Want them to learn who created the heavens and the earth and is responsible for the awesomeness that we live in? Yup, you're going to have to speak here too.  Want them to stop punching Johnny in the face and being disrespectful to adults? Get out of the chair and discipline like you mean it.....with intention and consistency! You want them to date someone who loves the Lord and treats them with respect and yet you say it's "none of your business." Oh...it's your business alright.  Parent like you mean it.

It breaks my heart when I get to work at the school and see kids treating each other and teachers with disrespect.  It also breaks my heart that they are so needy for attention, just to get anyone to listen to them or to hug them.  Every child deserves to be loved.  Every child also deserves to be parented and taught and disciplined, but unfortunately it doesn't always work out that way.

I was lucky enough to be raised my some pretty awesome people who made it their job to be the best parents.  They didn't always make the grade but I knew that they loved me even when they had to ground me for a month. I seriously think I was grounded for half of my childhood.....just for opening my big mouth.  The told me the rules, told me what they expected and helped me realize that it wasn't about ME.  They were intentional and purposeful in their parenting.  I can't thank them enough.

I don't want anyone to misread what I'm saying or take it the wrong way (I am far from a parenting expert!) I just want to encourage you (whether you're a parent or not) to live your life with intent and purpose.  It's not about YOU.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

It's that time of year.....

 The boys and I visited the local pumpkin patch and picked out our pumpkins for the season.  Mine is the awesome green one.


 Love these boys! Don't love that they shared their lovely germies with me.  Cough-a-palooza at our house!
 Nothing says fall like leaves and the occasional hand creeping out of it......



 Brody needed some help getting his shoes down from the porch......our friend James, who happens to be almost 7 feet, helped them get up there and his roomie Chad helped them get down.
I know, I know....if it looks like I took a picture of a picture....you're right. I'm so redneck. My scanner is broken and I wanted to show off this cute photo of Baylor with his awesome coach :)


We've still been super busy with activities and shuttling kiddos around.  I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't get any better.  Sorry for the lack of blogging, I'm sure you have all been on pins and needles for the next spectacular literary work from yours truly. Sorry to keep you waiting.