Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas Eve

This week has been a lot of fun for us. Of course we started off with Christmas Eve which consisted of something new that we hope will become a new tradition; sledding. Both of Ben’s brothers came, both were trying to get their minds off far away girlfriends…well Sam’s girlfriend was not quite gone yet but he was mourning her impending departure just the same. It was tons of fun seeing Joseph and Lillie get up their nerve and try bigger and steeper hills. Lillie quickly got the hang of things and was voted Bravest while Joseph took his time and earned Most Improved. At the last minute James hopped onto Sam who was sitting on a very flimsy sled and earned, well we aren’t sure what to call it but I’ll call it funniest moment while Sam’s solo head over feet 360 earns honorable mention. It was definitely a memorable morning. Later we went to lunch with most of Ben’s family so we could meet Hailey’s (Sam’s girl friend) family. It was fun to get to know her family a little bit. From there we went home to get ready for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We made cinnamon rolls and cookies for Santa. Then Sam joined us for dinner. Afterwards we opened our traditional Christmas PJ’s. It was a very fun day.

Christmas Day

Christmas ’07 started out like many Christmas’ past, early. Joseph came into out room at 6:28 after some stalling and then reading the Christmas story from the scriptures we finally woke Van up and headed to the Living room to see what Santa had brought.

After presents, we headed to Evanston to visit Ben’s sister Amanda. We had a fun time with all of Ben’s family opening presents, playing games and of course eating. However, the drive home was scary. For some reason our van would not defrost the windshield. There was a thin layer of ice on the inside of all of the windows including the windshield. I had to scrape the inside of the windshield with a credit card so Ben could see to drive. Finally, after some fiddling the air started to blow right and the windshield defrosted. But by that point we were almost to our final destination. Our last stop on Christmas was my uncle Donnie’s House to celebrate Christmas with my Dad and his family. We had a lot of fun seeing lots of family that we only see a couple times a year. Then we drove home with some very tired kids. Through it all they we quite good. They even had enough energy to call Meema and Grampy.

The rest of the week…

The rest of the week has been full of new toys and lazy days. It has been fun to have so much family time together. However, it will also be nice to get back to our normal schedules next week…I think I m the only one who feels this way though.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Another year full of Blessings

Well another year has come and gone. And with it many blessings for our family. The best blessing of the year came early and brought with it joy beyond measure. Van Anderson Neiswender was born February 20, 2007 after a tough and emotional pregnancy. The pregnancy was a surprise, and we like to call him our best surprise ever. He is an amazing baby. Everyone that has contact with him is amazed first by the piercing blue eyes and next by his sweet spirit. We are always getting comments about what a good baby he is or about how social he is, because he has a smile for everyone, an infectious laugh and loves to be the center of attention. He must be taking a page form the Lillie book! He is 10 months old now and is all over the place. Many of you have seen the "army crawl" a crawl that has become so efficient that even though he can crawl on all fours he would rather use old reliable. He loves following Joseph and Lillie around the house and it is obvious that he wants to be one of the big kids. We often wonder what we would do without him and are grateful that the Lord knew us better than we knew ourselves and saw fit to bless us with our "best surprise ever."

Lillie started school this year and as you might expect is loving it. She is doing very well and is making good improvements with her reading. She enjoys all school has to offer, especially the social scene. As unbelievable as it is she is more social and outgoing everyday. Lillie is a wonderful big sister. She loves Van very much. She is always willing to help and plays with him all the time.

Joseph just turned eight. He was baptized on December 1st which is also his birthday. He was so excited and loved the whole experience. It was a very special day for all of us. Joseph is a great big brother. He likes to plays with Lillie and now that Van is more mobile and more fun Joseph is really loving having a baby brother. Joseph is still a great reader and loves to learn. Now if only his class could keep up with him.

So I did something this year that I have been saying I would do for almost ten years. I finally went back to school. I started classes at Westminster in the fall. Although the timing seemed less than ideal, with three kids, a husband and a house to take care of going back to school seemed a lofty goal at best. I felt like for some reason this was the right time. So I took a leap of faith and had the best and the worst of times. I loved going to school. I felt in a lot of ways like I was in my element. But it also helped me to really appreciate many of the blessings that I already had. Namely Ben, he has been awesome. He has been supportive and understanding. He has picked up the considerable slack that I left with the house and kids. And done it all without complaining. He is an amazing husband and father and I feel very blessed to be his wife. It also helped me to realize how much I love being a stay at home mom and what a great blessing that truly is. I have a new appreciation not only for being able to stay home but for those who don't. It is hard to be away from home and have other responsibilities and find balance. I am grateful for the life I have, for the family that Ben and I have created and for the opportunity to become a more well rounded person and am looking forward to next semester.

Besides being Super Dad at home, he has also been busy at work. This year has been full of new and exciting opportunities at work. He was put on a team that is implementing a project based degree for Westminster College. A program which was recently approved. After months of hard work Ben's team was given the go ahead to move forward, complete with an invitation for dinner with the college president. Now, we all know that Ben does not love social situations, but even he realized how important this invitation was. Dinner was fun, but the real treat is seeing Ben enjoying his job and doing something he loves...besides being super dad.

So as you can see this year has been a good one for our family. That is not to say we have not had our difficult moments, but with the support of each other, family, friends and most importantly The Lord we have endured. We hope that for all who read this that you have had a great year as well. And may next year be even better.