Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Robot Has Hairy Armpits

We took a couple days at the end of January to venture down to Kansas City with the kiddos. 

The Great Wolf Lodge was our home for a couple nights. It was the perfect retreat for us. The kids loved it, every minute of it! 

The Lodge gives all of the kids these wolf ears. Trevin wore them all weekend. 

It was Myla's first time swimming. She giggled and splashed and didn't fuss once in the many hours we spent at the pool. 

Trevin went nonstop at the waterpark. The tube slides, splash gym, hot tubs, kiddie pool, lazy river, water hoops, and lily pads kept us pretty busy. 

We all shared a room at the Lodge. It went well for the most part. Since we were in the same room, James and I went to bed at 8:00 with the kids. That made for a long night of not sleeping. Myla woke up about 12 times the first night. But she smiled all day long, so I won't complain too much. 

Kansas City has a lot to offer. We were able to do some really fun things. There was a Fuddrucker's close to the lodge and we ended each night with a strawberry shake. Seriously, if you haven't had a Fuddrucker's strawberry shake, you're missing out. 

You need to take your kids to the T-Rex Cafe. It's so over-the-top and your kid's jaw will drop when they walk in. When we left, we were still trying to convince Trevin that the moving dinosaurs weren't real. 

We had a great weekend and look forward to going back again. 

Since we've returned, we've had all sorts of illness go through this place. Trevin started with a cold, and the rest of us quickly picked it up. It hung on for 2 weeks and then turned into an ear infection for James and Myla. Then Trevin got the flu. I think we're all finally healthy for the first time in a month. Just in time for winter to realize it's winter and give us a snow storm instead of the 70* days we've had. 

Celebrating Ashton's 21st Birthday! 
Ashton's birthday is the 1st of February and mine is the 11th. When I was a kid, that was the longest 10 days each year, waiting for my birthday after celebrating hers. I must be grown up now, because those 10 days flew by this year. 

We were down with colds, but decided to keep our reservations at the Odyssey in Hastings. Trevin got a tour of the kitchen from the owner. James spotted a bag of cough drops on the counter and asked our waitress for one. We've decided that, in the winter, they should hand out cough drops instead of mints. 

I'm thankful for the 24 years I've had. Year 23 will be one that I'll never forget. 


+9 months old! How? I don't know what happened. I've forgotten how much fun it is to have a baby in the house. I don't want this stage to ever end. 

+She's started doing all sorts of new tricks: clapping, waving, giving kisses, clucking with her tongue and copying. 

+I've tried taking her to the nursery at church a few times. It hasn't ended well. She cries, and cries, and cries, and then she cries. I think she's more attached than Trevin was. Hopefully this phase will be short-lived, but I'm not holding my breath. 

[Myla & Maverick. They're 5 months apart and friends for life.]

+She's had a rough couple of months. Since she started teething in December, it seems like it's been non-stop discomfort since then. She popped her second tooth this month. She battled a cold, like the rest of us, but then had an ear infection as a result. She's finally healthy and not teething and my baby is back to her happy self.  

+Her mobility has taken off. She crawls, bear crawls, pulls up, walks around furniture, loves to play with the dishwasher, and gets into everything. 

+People continually make comments about her bows. They're impressed that she leaves them in. (The trick is starting it as soon as they're born, then they just think it's part of life. It doesn't phase them.) She has started to play with them a little bit, but generally she forgets it's there after a few seconds. A couple weeks ago, during Sunday School, Myla grabbed her bow and pulled it as far as her arm would go. Then she let go. It snapped her in the face and made a loud smack. Everyone around us started laughing. She didn't seem to know what to think. She didn't cry, but looked a little surprised at what happened. She's learning cause and effect pretty quickly. 


+He's developed a love for card games. War is his favorite. He loves it so much that he's started referring to A's as aces in every context. 

February was so good to us! Flying kites in 70* weather in the middle of winter? Ok. 

+The long winter months have started to turn him into a screen junkie. He doesn't get to watch stuff often, maybe a couple time a week. But he is fully obsessed. He's been known to say, "school is playing video games, too, Mom." He loves Mario and asks at least a dozen times a day if he can play. When he's told to stop asking he says, "I know you don't want me to ask to play Mario, but can we at least talk about it?" We desperately need spring to come to zap this kid out of the virtual world. 

+He refers to his memory, dreams, and imagination as his "tv eyes". We'll be talking about something that we did a couple months ago and he'll say, "I can't remember, let me look it up on my tv eyes." Or he'll wake up in the morning and tell me all about what was playing on his tv eyes while he slept. 

Trevin drew that picture during church one Sunday. It's a robot. He claims that's not armpit hair, but it definitely is. I'm just hoping that I wasn't the inspiration for this... 

+Ever since we found out we were pregnant with Trevin, we've had a tough debate about schooling. James was homeschooled all the way through and I was in public school K-12. We went back and forth for years and years. Then we stopped talking about it, because we were getting no where. And then last year we realized that we needed to reopen the conversation. Trevin will start Kindergarten in the Fall; we knew our time was running out to figure out a plan. We visited a homeschool group, we talked ins and outs of public, considered two private schools (both at least a 30 min drive one way); but nothing seemed to fit us. Nothing felt quite right. Each choice had a huge negative attached to it; something we felt couldn't be reckoned with. And then someone suggested Hampton Lutheran. We knew about the small private K-6 school, but it was never really on our radar. Suddenly more and more people started suggesting it, and they raved about it. They adored the school, the people, the kids. We decided to give it a shot and set up a visit. I'm not going to lie, we had a lot riding on this visit. I felt the pressure. This was kind of our last resort. If this didn't work, we were back to square-one. We spent the entire morning sitting in and experiencing what school looks like at Hampton Lutheran. They have Chapel every Wednesday morning, so we were able to take part in that. There was a deep sense of community and family focus; that was obvious from the start. Sixth-graders taking Kindergarteners under their wing, prayer partners for each of the students, celebrations and exchange of gifts between mentors and students, and the list went on... The school has such a quaint and humble feel. It was so refreshing to us. It didn't have all the bells and whistles, but it did have one thing... Jesus. They're cultivating an incredible environment for these students and we left the day with so much clarity. It didn't take long for us to know this was exactly where God was calling us. Trevin loved the school and was sad when we had to leave. In the middle of the morning he came running up to me and whispered in my ear, "Mom, can we do school here every time?" He felt safe. He felt joy. He felt loved. I was teary-eyed a lot of that morning, realizing that would be the place where my son would grow up. Next week, we'll have Kindergarten Round-Up. My heart skips just typing that. Our lives will be so different once Trevin's in school. I hate to say good-bye to this chapter, because it has been so so good. I look forward to watching him thrive in the classroom, make new friends, and love Jesus more and more each day. Growing up is good but no one ever said it was easy. 

Wow, I've got to move on, because there seems to be water dripping off my face. Weird. 

Many of you will know that my husband is pretty incredible. His brain works in ways I didn't think was possible. He designs and builds flamers. (A flamer is used for organic weed control. You literally run fire over your crops, thus killing the weeds and the crop grows back. It's amazing and really cool.) He's sold many flamers over the years, always tweaking his design and making them more efficiently. But recently he's been contacted by farmers that we don't know personally. This made us concerned about liability issues in case of a malfunction or improper use. So Thermal Edge Ag LLC was born. (Shout out to his dad for the name. Our best choices were James' Flames, Ready Flame Fire, and Blame the Flame... All ideas from his buddies... So yeah, we were glad Paul had an idea.) He's started to hire out some of the production and painting, so that's saved him loads of time. We're so excited for this opportunity and look forward to growing TEA LLC. (James rolls his eyes when I call it that.) Proud of his hard work and determination. If any of you find yourself in need of a 8, 12, 16-row flamer... I know a guy. (Ladies, all of your men want one for Christmas, I just know it. It's like a flame-throwing trailer. There's not much cooler than that.)

We were able to make a quick trip to Vermillion, SD to visit Ashton and JT's house. JT has been living there for about a year and Ashton has had her hand in a lot of the remodeling. They've done a great job and James was able to help them finish up trim in their basement. It had snowed, so the kids and I made a snowman while the rest of them worked. Turns out, Myla hates SD snowmen. We're kicking off wedding festivities with a bridal shower this weekend for Ashton. It will be a crazy next couple of months preparing for the wedding, also celebrating Trevin's 5th bday, Myla's 1st bday and my dad's 60th! Hold on folks, it's going to get crazy. 

We're really settling into life with 2 kids. Myla seems to fit seamlessly into our crew. We've found that they are never happy at the same time. Just a lot of crying and screaming and whining and sickness. We've found this to be the one truth of parenting multiple children... "If it's not one, it's both." 

 Starting new ventures, growing on the farm...


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Buns Before Guns

We continued our Christmas brunch tradition this year. We usually make ebelskivers but this year we decided to make donuts. They were a success. We made regular yeast donuts with vanilla, peanut butter, and coffee glaze. Totally worth the extra work. If you've never had a homemade donut, believe me when I say, they are so much better than any donut you've ever had. 

Of course, it makes the process much easier when I have help. I don't know what I'll do next year when I'm flying solo. Trevin will be 5 by then, so he'll probably be old enough to be frying in hot oil. Actually, I don't think I'm old enough to fry in hot oil. I can prove it by the number of self-inflicted burns I've experienced. 

Our Christmas celebration at home is one of my favorite days of the year. Such sweet memories with my babes. 

One of the boys got army men for Christmas. They all spent an equal amount of time playing with it, so it was hard to remember who received it. At the end of the day, we remembered it was Trevin's. 

James got his Christmas present a little early. A bow for deer hunting. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to get a kill this winter and was a little bummed that we won't have summer sausage and deer sticks this year. He made me a beautiful table for the basement for Christmas and also let me get a new camera lens. 

Huenefeld Christmas:

The large Huenefeld Christmas is always filled with fun activities: the annual Christmas pageant, games for the kids, the birthday candle, and a scavenger hunt. 

Myla pulled up for the first time at Huenefeld Christmas. I watched it happen and tried to keep my composure as my baby girl grew up in an instant. 

Nuss Christmas:

We got iced out on the first go-around, so a January Christmas celebration was planned. Our extended family gatherings are all too large to meet in anyone's home. So we meet at churches, community centers and CRC instead. 

Those poor girls only have big brothers, so they're used to playing with trucks, trailers, and anything machine. Myla was able to score a couple dolls and girly toys this Christmas to help even things out. 

Looks like trouble to me... 

Myla is a mama's girl and doesn't tolerate other people very often, but I think she started to warm up to people at Christmas.

My family Christmas:

We always make soup and elephant ears (fried bread); with this many hands, the work goes quickly! You'll also notice that I was in charge of the salt shaker because I'm not capable of dealing with hot oil. Brooke has scars to prove it. (Have we talked about this already? This feels familiar...) 

My nephews got a virtual reality headset for Christmas. It brought hours of entertainment. James gets motion sick, so the rollercoaster about did him in. Even though it's animated, it's crazy how real it feels. The rollercoaster was about all I could handle, no scary videos or creepy things for this girl. I don't want to have nightmares for a decade from that. No, sir. 

Leave it to aunts and uncles to get him the loudest toy gun in existence. (Literally, as I'm typing this, Trevin came over and saw the picture and said, "Mom, thank you for my gun! I love it!") He does love it. And I try to not hate it. 

Myla loves to snuggle, so she adores the teddy bear and lights up every time she sees it. 

James' family Christmas:

In perfect Huenefeld fashion, we celebrated Christmas with brick oven pizza. Apparently pizza throwing is in the genes, because James picked it up quickly. (I've attempted, many times, to throw the dough, but have found better luck with a rolling pin.)

+Eating like a champ. I can't believe my eyes when he's eating spinach plain without a single complaint. Some days he still puts up a fight, but it seems to be more of a power trip than anything. We've noticed he is more willing to eat individual foods before he will eat foods made in combination, such as casseroles, soups, or salads. 

+Trevin has started to feed Myla. He loves having jobs and feeling needed. And it's super entertaining for everyone to watch a 4-year-old try to feed a baby. 

+Part of his dinnertime entertainment is making a millennium falcon out of quesadillas, cookies, or anything that could resemble a spaceship. 

+Paul and Dori gave the grandsons suckers with real bugs inside. Trevin got a cricket and was a little uneasy about the whole thing. Eventually he took a couple licks, but wrapped it back up several times with a look of disgust. It took him a few days, but he got to the bug and worked up the courage to take a lick of the cricket. Immediately, he wrapped it back up and it's been sitting ever since. 

Ruthie and Trevin are best buds.

 +Trevin has learned a few manipulation tactics when dealing with James and I. Unfortunately, he hasn't learned how to make them effective.  His honesty is his weakness, (I consider it a strength, but in his efforts to deceive, it's a weakness).  One day he told me, "I'll just cry and then you'll let me." That may work every once and a while, but it really doesn't work when I know his game plan. Seriously, his honesty is something that I adore. 


+Oh this little lady. I've said for months that I didn't want her crawling before Christmas, because I know the struggle of keeping a crawler out of the tree. She started crawling 3 days before Christmas. Of course, she was into the tree constantly. On a positive note, this year was the earliest I've ever taken my tree down. No Valentine's Day tree for me this year. 

+She's a sneak. She's really quiet when she's crawling around so I've got to pay extra attention to her. The house has been baby-proofed, and Trevin is learning the new rules for his Legos. 

+We moved her crib mattress down last month; the very next morning she pulled herself up to stand. In the night, we often find her standing and crying in her crib. We really think that she pulls up in her sleep, because when we get her she seems to not actually be awake. 

+She's pulling up to everything and starting to slowly walk around furniture while holding on. She's also mastered the stairs. Going up, anyway. When Trevin was little, we never used our basement, so that's something that we never dealt with. But Myla is very familiar with the stairs and scoots her way over to them every chance she gets. 

+Myla is waving! She gets both arms flailing and is so excited when someone waves to her. For a while, she was doing this weird "hail Hilter" wave. She'd turn her head and salute. It was hilarious.

+I don't want to talk about her sleep. So I'm not going to. Because it's rough.  

+She's been saying "dada" for a while now, still no luck with "mama". But I know she adores me, so my pride is still in tact. 

+She loves to snuggle, (which is a nice change from Trevin when he was a baby. If a baby could give you the cold shoulder, it would have been him. Thankfully, he's much more affectionate now.)  Myla will give me a hug almost every time I pick her up. But she's only given a few other people hugs, and it's very rare. Yes, I'm aware she adores me. Sometimes I'll be working in the kitchen and I'll sense someone watching me. I'll look down and she'll be staring at me. And she continues to just watch me. I hope she always loves me this much. 

+Myla helped us discover all of the stickers that are on the bottom of our dining room chairs. She spends a lot of her time under the chairs, picking off the stickers. That might be her favorite thing to do, except to staring at me, of course. 

Trevin helps keep Myla entertained at the shop. 

We spent New Year's Eve with some friends and the men got a little too aggressive playing Heads Up. These people have been so great to us this year. Love doing life with them.

It's been so fun having James around a little more this winter. Without fail, when I hop in the truck with him, there's a rifle sitting in the front seat, (typical country boy). I've voiced my complaints about having to share my seat with a firearm, but this last time I told him, "Buns before guns, babe. It goes in the back." So now that's our catchphrase. Buns before guns. 

The flooring in the multipurpose room is finished! Trim is currently in the works and we'll be picking up some furniture this weekend. It's really exciting to have a new room with so much potential. James has done a great job; I think I'll keep him around. 

Last week was a tough week for us and both sides of our family. I don't have the emotional strength to write about it today, so I'll just add a few of my thoughts that I shared on Instagram:
"Tuesday night I stood in a packed hospital room and saw my uncle in the last moments of his life. We've lost a great man; someone that cared deeply for his family and was a faithful, steady hand in the life of those around him.
And Friday I sat in a packed courtroom as a man was sentenced to many years behind bars. I didn't know what I was supposed to feel. My friend, Rick, put it best when he said it was like "bad medicine". It needed to happen for our protection, healing, and future, but it tastes terrible, and right now, feels agonizing. 
The spectrum of emotions that I've experienced this week have been extreme. Today I mourn the loss of two men. I mourn the loss of a great man, one that stood by his family. But I also mourn the loss of a family member that turned our life upside down. I mourn the loss of a father for our nephews, a husband for our sister, and an uncle for our children. 
I long for Christ's completion of His creation, because these days are leaving such a sharp sting. But even so, there is hope. Death has been defeated, justice has been served, and protection has been provided. To God be the glory."

Thank you all for the prayers, kind words, and support in the most difficult year of our lives. Some day soon I will be able to put words to everything that's happened, but until then, please know you've had such an impact in our lives. 

Donuts by the dozen, growing on the farm...