Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

As we get ready for a new year I wanted to take some time to reflect on the past year.  2014 has been a pretty great year for all of us and I am looking forward to 2015 to see what it brings us.
Starting the beginning of the year, Asher still wasn't sleeping through the night and beginning in the spring he had multiple ear infections.  Enough where our doctor referred him to a specialist and he had surgery for tubes in July.  Two days later he was sleeping all night!  The year also saw Asher become his own person and oh man what a person he is!  He is in the middle of his terrible twos, he bites when frustrated, and loves to say no.  That being said, he is a sweet boy who loves to snuggle, loves to play with his sister, and loves to watch Frozen.  He is smart, fearless, and he brings laughter to our day everyday!  
This year we have seen Annika move from a toddler to a little girl.  She is stubborn and absolutely knows what she wants.  But she is kind, sweet, and sensitive.  She loves to play with her baby dolls, princesses, and dress up clothes, but she also loves superheroes, playing swords with her dad, Peter Pan (still),  and Star Wars.  She is thriving at her daycare and learning so much.  She is more than ready for kindergarten and would start now if she could.  She is hilarious and being around her is the most fun ever.
Derek had a great year with his boys swim team.  They won state, making this the second time in his 7 years at BVN.  His girls team did great as well and I think he enjoyed that season more than others. Once again he coached the summer team and again it was a great experience for him.  He loves getting to coach and it's a nice fun environment to do so.  
My year was pretty good as well.  School was the same as usual and I taught summer school for a few weeks.  This fall I started tutoring and teaching math once a week after school, and while I hate being away from the kids, I love getting to work with different students and teach math in a fun way.  
Derek and I also got a chance to go away for our 10 year anniversary.  We had a great friend loan us her families cabin for a week in Colorado and it was perfect.  We spent the week sleeping in, reading,  hiking, and just enjoying being around each other.
This year has been a good year for us all.  As I sit here typing this, the kids are in bed, Derek and I are catching up on some shows on our DVR and just enjoying being in each others company.  What a wonderful life we have.  We are so blessed.

Gingerbread Village

We found a gingerbread house kit.  We've never tried one, so we went ahead and bought a village!  It was fun times in the Berg house, as the kids iced and decorated the buildings.  Monica and I didn't have to help much, the kids did a good job putting the buildings together.  Not sure how much candy ended up on the houses and how much in the little architects, but it was a lot of fun and that's what counts.

Showing off their creations!

Date Night #12

For December's Date Night, I planned an evening at the Oscars.  Or I guess Golden Globes.  There is a theater in town that offers what they call Fork and Screen theaters.  The tickets are a little bit more expensive but the seats are larger, with tables and servers, allowing us to have dinner and drinks during the movie.  We went to see Into the Woods, which is based on a musical that is based on a mash up of Fairy Tales.  It was good, and we had some good food.
Now that we have finished this year of dates, I have to say how much I have loved being a part of it.  A year ago, I planned six dates.  Said like that, it doesn't seem so significant, almost trivial, but having a dated planned ahead of time, intentional time with one another away from the kids, often doing things we haven't done before or finding new ways to experience things we had in the past.  This experience has brought me closer to Monica in a way that I never could have predicted.  I mean, it was 12 dates.  We've been on hundreds of dates throughout the years.  But spending that time together, the anticipation of seeing what Monica came up with for the months that she had, to see what her reaction would be when she saw what I had planned.  I loved all of it.  I love spending time with her.   I love being her husband.  I love that woman.  I love exploring the world with her.  These last 12 months have been exciting, fun, and enlightening.  I can't wait to see what we plan for each other in the next 12.

Crown Center

Every year Crown Center puts sets up a play area with large wooden 'toys' for kids to play with.  It was pretty cold out when we went this year, but now that both are old enough to run, drive, climb, jump, and play on all of the equipment it was both a lot of fun, and a lot of work, often with one of us chasing one kid in one direction with the other going in the opposite.  When things got to be too cold, then we went outside for ice cream, because that's what you do.  The kids got to sit on Santa's sleigh, and even posed for a couple of pictures by the countdown. 
The Nutcracker!

Asher was less than cooperative for pictures.

Sitting on Santa's Sleigh.


Derek and I decided to create our date nights for each other again this year.  We also bought each other new watches.  Derek also gave me a wonderful new charm for my bracelet.  I got some great gift cards, some books, some decorations for my house and some money.  But hands down, the gifts in this picture are my favorite.  Not just because the kids took the time to wrap them themselves.  But because they picked them out, then took the time to wrap them.  Asher got me a very cute Anna doll, from his favorite movie Frozen.  Annika got me a Princess Pet, which is ale very cute.  I also got an iTunes card and some new socks, but my favorite are the toys.  

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Early Christmas

This year, Jacque and Matt decided to take the boys skiing in Colorado for Christmas this year, so we went down to Carthage a couple of weeks before to have our family Christmas before they went on their trip.  We started the weekend off by watching Zeke wrestle (he won all 4 matches) on Saturday.  Then we packed in and went to Springfield to watch Glenda's choir perform their Christmas show.  The kids loved to watch Grandma sing, but the show was too close to their bed times, so we had to bail out early and headed back to Grandma's house.  We woke up on Sunday, opened presents, and enjoyed a good brunch.  Asher got a scooter, some Batman toys, and a Little People set.  Annika got a sewing machine (she made a pillow), some dress up accessories, and a dog guitar (it's exactly as annoying as it sounds).  It was great to spend time with family.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Morning!

Asher is not known for his sleeping qualities, often arising before the sun, usually around 5:30 or so.  We were preparing to be up early on Christmas morning.  Fortunately for my parents and us, they slept in until almost 6:30.  Mom, Dad, and Kristen got to our house just as the kids were getting up, and got to experience the kids running out of their bedroom to discover what Santa had left in the night.  We opened all of the presents, Santa and family gifts, enjoyed coffee and breakfast, and then relaxed as the kids played with EVERYTHING!  They were so excited, they couldn't decide which one to play with, so they played with it all, bouncing from one toy to another every few minutes.  It made for a chaotic and messy, but altogether lovely day.
The Joy of Christmas!

Thanking mom!

Star Wars!  (his third favorite thing)
Getting Papa to to help open toys...
Defending the earth with Captain America's shield!

Showing her Pirate face while wearing her new Cap'n Hook costume!  Now someone can be Peter, and the other can be Hook!  Very exciting...

The Grinch & Santa!

When we got home from church, we had to prepare the house for Santa! This year, however, my mom found some Grinch Dust at the grocery store, so the kids had to sprinkle it around the house to protect the presents from the Grinch.  A great idea, well received at first, but soon proved to backfire on us, as it caused our smart, sensitive daughter to start worrying, if we needed to sprinkle the dust, then the Grinch must be coming, and the tears began to flow.  We had to promise that Mom, Dad, Grandma Glenda, and finally Chippy Peter Curtis (our Elf on a Shelf) standing guard to calm her down and get her to bed so Santa could deliver.  
And deliver Santa did.  A train table, a kid sized table and chairs, wooden kitchen set, and extra trains for the table.  Plus, the stockings.  I'm pretty sure that whatever my mom didn't get from Annika's wish list, Santa did this year :)  The labor was a little more intensive this year than most, but well worth the effort, as the kids got everything they asked for and more, and loved every minute of it.

Spreading the Grinch Dust!
Reading Twas a Night Before Christmas...only Asher would sit still (irony)...
Leaving Santa a treat, cookies, milk, and beer!
Tables, chairs, and other presents all set up under the tree, waiting for the kids to wake.
Chippy Peter Curtis, our Elf on a Shelf, staying one more night, keeping watch for the Grinch!

Christmas Eve

For Christmas Eve, we went over to mom and dad's house. The kids got open some presents, getting many things on their list.  Annika got the Dr Mcstuffins ambulance and magic sand.  Asher got two of his three favorite things, Superheroes (Hulk Smash!) and Frozen.  He's taken to carrying Thor in one hand and Elsa in the other. After having the Berg family traditional Christmas Eve lunch, wild rice soup and home made buns, we packed up to go to church. Or I should say, attempt church, as CE service starts around their bed times.  We made it for about 20 min and then made our way home.  After enjoying some Christmas lights, we finally put the children to bed and settled in for a relaxing evening with some egg nog, a crackling fire, and It's a Wonderful Life.  In reality, after calming down a weepy child(more on that in the next post), and finally getting them to sleep, we proceeded to spend the next 2 1/2 hours putting together their Santa gifts.