Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hey Jude

You gotta love the Korean toddler singing "Hey Jude!" This just goes to show that the Beatles ARE the best band ever!! (as if there was every any doubt...) Katie, this one is for you!! :)

*Rememeber to pause my playlist at the bottom of the blog before you hit play on the video!

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Christmas 2008











I realized that I never blogged about our Christmas! Those pictures will be coming as well, but here are the highlights!

Christmas Eve-day was spent at my grandmother's house, with a lot of people in a tiny house. It's always fun times!

We then headed off to church (after a special delivery!) and Caleb did pretty well at the family service. He got a little tired of listening to Daddy speak, and decided that singing "Frosty the Snowman" quite loudly during his prayer would be more entertaining! :) Nothing like the pastor's kid causing a disturbance!!

Matt had to stay for the late service, so we got our Slurpies in between. I also cashed the $10 I won on a scratch-off ticket given to me by one of my kids! We also did our other special delivery during that time. I headed home and played Santa setting up the toys, which was really fun!

Christmas morning, Caleb actually slept in a bit and we went downstairs around 8 a.m. As he descended the stairs and saw all of the toys, he said, "Wow!" I got it all on video! :) He enjoyed all of his toys, but his favorite was the rock quarry that has a crain and can even "blow up" some boulders! It's pretty cool, and Owen and Sara have enjoyed it as well!

We headed to my parents' house after eating a yummy breakfast of cinnamon rolls and monkey bread (very healthy, I know!). Caleb got lots of great presents from them as well. He especially loved all of the musical instruments...recorders, shakers made from gords, and let's not forget the bells!! (They are actually Owen's, but Caleb played with them the entire day!!)

We headed home after dinner time and spent some time putting toys away and packing for NC.

The next morning, my sister and I went shopping and got some great deals! I got 10 decorative boxes (the kind you don't have to wrap) for $1.50, which was exciting! I also picked up some cute wrapping paper. I always look for gifts for my volunteers and the people in Matt's office and was able to get a bunch for crazy cheap. I even found several games that were on clearance 50% off for some reason!

I have to say that the highlight of the day was the Plasma Car that I got for just $30 on clearance at Target! It was definitely a really great find. I'm going to save it for Easter.

Alright, now we are caught up to where I started with our NC trip! Sorry that these last few posts were out of order! :)

We're Home!
















We got back from NC last night, and it is nice to be back into a routine again. I spent most of today doing laundry, putting toys and presents away, and hanging out with Caleb.

Matt is out with the youth group tonight, so Caleb and I decided to make our own New Year's party! We popped some popcorn and watched the original Frosty the Snowman and Frosty Returns. I'll tell you, there is nothing better than having a two year old snuggle up next to you giggling as he sneaks popcorn when he thinks you aren't looking! He's a funny guy, that Caleb Boy!

Okay, back to NC happenings!

We got to Charlotte late Friday evening, so there wasn't really anything too interesting about that! The trip was rather uneventful, with the exception of Caleb reading ONE book for an hour and 15 minutes!!

Saturday, we got together with Erin, Scott, and Emma, Susanne, Isaac, and Ezra and opened presents. Caleb had already gotten a great play kitchen from Grammy and Pop that he opened Christmas morning.

The other highlight of the day was the upright piano that Grammy and Pop got him! It lit up and even came with a stool! Unfortunately, after just 20 minutes of playing it, the computer in the piano shorted out and made the batteries explode! :( Caleb was beside himself with grief for his beloved piano, but he seemed to understand that it was broken and that Pop was going to fix it. Unfortunately, it was unfixable and we had to return it. Caleb was okay with the piano being taken back, but he just did not understand why the stool had to go with it! When we returned it to KB Toys, we found out that they are going out of business and don't have anymore of that piano (or any other piano, for that matter!) So...we are on a quest for another upright piano with a stool, and we had to listen to Caleb say "My piano is broken. Can I get another one?" most of the way home! :(

Caleb also got a very cool art bag from Aunt Susanne, complete with soy crayons in star shapes! He is definitely enjoying the art materials. She also knitted us all wool caps...very cute!

Sunday, we went to church with Grammy and Pop and then it was home for lunch and naps all around! Matt and I took a trip down to Concord Mills to check out the deals there. I got some great presents at the Christian Book Wearhouse (Veggie Tales were on sale!) and we were able to use Caleb's Build-a-Bear gift card to make him a very cute monkey he affectionately named George the Third (all of his monkeys are named George). He picked out the outfit too--a football uniform complete with a little football! We went over to Erin and Scott's house for dinner and the kids played together. It was a pretty laid-back day all in all.

Monday, the men all played golf while the ladies had the kids. We took them to the main Bank of America building in downtown Charlotte where they have this huge orchestra/vocal ensemble of lifesized bears!! They apparently set this up every year and the kids loved it! Caleb enjoyed the music, but he wasn't sure that he wanted to be up close and personal with the bears. He hung close to me most of the time, but is still talking about the singing bears! After lunch at the BOA building, we headed back to Erin's house to put the kids down for a nap. Barbara stayed with the kids while Erin, Susanne, and I went to Concord Mills and did a little more shopping. We had Chinese at Erin and Scott's again and said our goodbyes to them, since we were leaving the next morning.

Caleb had some play time with Grammy before we left, and then we were on our way home. Caleb took a pretty good nap during the first leg of the trip, but wasn't quite as cooperative the second half of the trip. If we were tired of being in the car, wouldn't he be too?!

Pictures will be coming in the next few days, as soon as I get them put onto a CD at Walmart! :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

These are a Few of My Favorite Things....the Christmas Edition!

Movie - Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (the original!!)

Sweet - fudge, Muddy Buddies, peanut brittle

Song - It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Tradition - Adopt-a-Family, Christmas lights awards, and Christmas Slurpies!

Gift Received - Caleb (a few days late!) and my double rocker from Cracker Barrel (this was my birthday-Christmas present combined this year)

Gift Given - The Wii I gave to Matt for Christmas last year--I pulled off the surprise!

Meal - Our Christmas Eve potluck we have at my grandmother's every year. I like pot lucks because I get to choose what I want to eat. I am not a fan of lasagne!

12 Days of Christmas

Anyone who sings can appreciate the musical talent of these guys! This is pretty darn good if you ask me! :)

The 12 Days of Christmas

Christmas Eve Traditions

Every year, we go to my grandmother's house on Christmas Eve. Her house is small, especially for 20+ adults and a bunch of kids, but we all manage to fit. We don't exchange gifts anymore with the adults, but the kids get gifts...and everyone gives Mommom something!

We'll be leaving around 4:00, which is when I will be spreading a little Christmas cheer. As I've said before, we "adopt" a family every year. This could be a family that is a little down on their luck, or one who just needs to be shown a little love during the holidays. This year, we have two families. One has three boys and just moved into a new house, and the other is a mother/daughter whose husband/dad is in Iraq for the holidays. Both are friends of ours, so it was really fun to go shopping for them! We drop the items off on the front porch in secret so that they hopefully not know who it is. (Don't worry, neither of them have my blog address!) Matt and I feel strongly that it is important that Caleb learn empathy and caring toward others at an early age. He even helped pick out some of the toys this year!

We'll head to church after the deliveries, and Caleb and I will be going to the family service. I'm not sure he could handle an 8:00 candlelight service with no childcare!! Matt is preaching at the family service and O and S are singing. It is always an interesting service, to say the least! You never know what will happen with a bunch of kids in the program!

Matt obviously needs to be at the candlelight service, but we will have a few hours in between to head to 7-11 for our Christmas Slurpie! This tradition started when I was (very) pregnant with Caleb and craving Slurpies! Although Matt thought I was a little crazy to want a Slurpie in 30 degree weather, a tradition was born! This year, Caleb will get his own!! :) It's especially entertaining to watch the face of the clerk when we walk up with our Slurpies in hand. We're changing the tradition a bit this year to accommodate Matt's schedule, and we'll now be visiting our friend's 7-11 from now on because it is the closest to the church. I told him about our tradition, (to which he chuckled heartily) but I doubt if he will be there....the owner tries to take off on Christmas Eve!

After the Slurpie, Caleb and I will head on home. After Caleb goes to bed, Mrs. Claus will get all of the presents out and set up! (Mr. Claus will get home too late to do it with her!)

I'm curious--does Santa wrap his presents to your kids? As a kid, Santa never wrapped his presents because "he was too busy." Made total sense to me! As a mom, I totally see why my parents did that....who wants to try to keep track of Santa vs Mommy and Daddy wrapping paper!?! Not me! Santa doesn't wrap presents at our house either...but he does wrap stocking gifts because those don't take so long. Coincidentally, Santa always gives the biggest and oddest shaped presents too...is that because they are the hardest to wrap??? :)

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! I'll write another blog after we get back from NC to tell tales of our trip and Christmas in general. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

New Blog!

I just got my new blog up and running to advertise my Scrabble pendants. My sister was wearing one today at the dentist and someone commented about it. Amy told them that I made them to sell at craft fairs, and the woman asked if I had a website because she'd like to buy some. DARN! So...at least this has a bunch of pictures and my contact information so that I can give people this address if that ever happens again! :) Right now, it's a lot of the same pictures that I have on this blog, but I will upload a bunch of new pictures on there as I get them.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Scrabble Let-Down

I went to deliver a humongous order today...this involved two things I don't normally do: 1) deliver and 2) take the order without payment. These are two things I will never do again!

The woman, who knew I was coming, said that she lost her check card yesterday so she couldn't get any cash...yesterday! She had my phone number and could have EASILY called me, but she didn't. So I drove 40 minutes out of my way (yes, I was already up there, but still!) to deliver pendants that she couldn't pay for. Grrrrrrr....so then I was like, well, I'm not going to be up here again tomorrow. She didn't even apologize for the inconvenience! I'm either going to meet her in PF or have her pick them up from Matt at the church on Tuesday. Either way, she's not getting anything without paying me what she owes me!!!

So from now on, you must pay before you order....and you will get any special orders mailed to you!

*sigh* live and learn!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Disclaimer

Some of the pictures below of pendants have pictures of pendants on my floor. The linoleum in my kitchen is kind of marbled and is supposed to look kind of brownish gray...it's not dirt! My house has been neglected, but I'm not THAT bad!!! :)

Scrabble Pendants Updates











My Scrabble pendants have been selling incredibly well!! To date, I have sold almost 100 pendants! That is amazing to me, considering that I have only been making them for a month and 1/2 and do not consider myself very crafty in general. I love doing it, and it makes me happy that people like what I make!

I took them to school and set up a display in the teachers' lounge. I sold 21 in two days! It was very exciting! I had a couple of special orders that I am finishing up from that.

My biggest sale was from a craft show. I had a special order for 13 pendants and 15 necklaces! Every time I talk to her, she adds more too! It is very, very exciting.

Who knows? Maybe I'll be able to stay home after all...:P I don't think my house would stand for a full-time job making pendants. It has been feeling rather neglected recently!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Welcome, New Blog Stalkers!

Don't worry, it's a term of endearment! I shamelessly put the address of my blog on all of our Christmas letters to try to increase my following to a whopping 10!! (Let's not go crazy now...) :) No, seriously, I thought that this might be a good way for some of our not-so-near-by family and friends to see what we are up to throughout the year rather than waiting until Christmas to get the yearly review! So, if you're new to my blog, welcome! I hope you stick around and read about all of the exciting news of our family...stay tuned for my fantastic account of my bout with a nasty virus...are you on the edge of your seat??? :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Minnie Mouse

I got a pretty large Minnie Mouse in excellent condition from my treasure box at school. My intent was to give it to my Sara Bear, but Amy said that she already had 3. Let's just say it's a good thing I didn't!

Caleb promptly started dancing with Minnie and singing Jingle Bells to her. Then, he put her in a chair and started getting her comfy. He even covered her up with my scarf as a blanket! He asked her if she wanted any dinner, and continued to play cheerfully with Miss Minnie until dinner.

During dinner, he started to lean over with his sippy cup toward her chair. It took me a minute to figure out what he was doing, until I realized that he was offering Minnie a drink of his milk! I started laughing even more when he held out a piece of quesadilla to her! It only got worse when Becky snapped it right out of Caleb's hand! He burst into tears, yelling, "No! No! For Minnie!!" He was pretty upset, but all I could do was laugh!

Ahhhh....to be 2 again! I absolutely love this age...even with the tantrums! (Remind me of how much I love it the next time he's jumping up and down screaming!)

PS: I am currently looking forward to Saturday night when we are going to the Melting Pot for my birthday...I plan to fast for the entire day in preparation for the delectable dinner I will be sure to enjoy that evening!! Oh, I do so love the Melting Pot!!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Letter

Here is the e-version of the Christmas letter we WILL be sending out this week (We WILL! We WILL!!!) I love Christmas!!

December 2008

Dear Family and Friends,

What a busy year it has been! It is overwhelming to think about all that has happened in the last year. We have enjoyed a lot of time together as a little family, worked really hard, and taken on some new challenges!

Shortly after last year’s Christmas letter was written, we received some very exciting news! After several months of interviews and anxious waiting, Matt accepted a position as Pastor to Youth at Grace Brethren Church of Calvert County on January 10th. This is the church where we both grew up and where were married, so we were thrilled to be “home.” Leaving Grace Chapel was not easy for us, however. We’d really come to love the people there and still keep in touch with many of them on a regular basis. We were not looking to go anywhere, but this position rather “fell in our laps,” if you will. We truly believe that God orchestrated all of this and that we are in His will. It is exciting to look back and see how this was all part of His plan!

Since January, Matt has been extremely busy! He is usually gone several nights a week either at youth group, ministry team, or counsel meetings. He has also spent quite a bit of time away on retreats, both with the youth and with district pastors. Julie’s brother-in-law jokes that he wants to be a pastor when he retires so that that he can go on these retreats all of the time! This summer, Matt traveled to Colorado, Virginia, and Ohio with the youth on various trips. Since Caleb is too little to go at this point and Julie is unwilling to leave him for that long, her involvement in these summer activities is pretty limited. She looks forward to when they will be able to go as a family on youth events.

Julie is in her sixth year of teaching at St. Leonard Elementary School, and is definitely facing some new challenges this year! While this group is particularly exhausting, she is enjoying teaching Honors Reading. Recently, her students performed several short plays for the parents, complete with costumes and props. Although Julie isn’t sure why she thought having 27 students and their parents in her classroom would be a good idea, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves! There were many faces of parents beaming with pride behind their camcorders and cameras, and even several administrators and board supervisors came out for the event!

Caleb, the littlest Leach, is a bundle of energy and joy! At nearly two, he is learning new words by the minute and is continuing to amaze us with how he can string words together and remember new vocabulary. Some of Caleb’s favorite things include his Matchbox cars, construction vehicles, and balls. He has a very good arm on him, and Matt has high hopes of him being a pitcher one day! Caleb also really enjoys being outside, and we spent quite a bit of time this summer drawing with chalk on the driveway, playing on the slide, riding his scooter down the street, and playing catch in the back yard. Our next door neighbor, Wally, adores Caleb and often brings his two dogs over to play when he sees us outside. We are really enjoying our neighborhood!

Caleb was a turtle this year for Halloween. Julie tried the costume on him quite a bit early and Caleb asked to put it on just about every night after that! Whenever anyone asked what he would be for Halloween, Caleb gleefully replied, “A turtle!” At our community fun fest, Caleb won the award for scariest costume. We still aren’t quite sure what’s so scary about a turtle, but Matt started chanting, “Fear the Turtle!” anyway! On Halloween night, Caleb and I did a little bit of trick-or-treating in our neighborhood before heading to our church’s Fall Festival. Caleb’s favorite prize of the night was his beloved monkey he named George! It is fun to see him become excited about special events and holidays. Both Julie and Matt are really looking forward to Christmas this year and seeing the excitement written all over Caleb’s face!

This summer, our family traveled to Cooperstown, New York to celebrate Matt’s 30th birthday with a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Although our trip started off a little rough and we found ourselves questioning whether it was a good idea to travel that far and that long with an 18-month-old, we actually truly enjoyed ourselves! Some of the highlights of our trip (besides the obvious visit to the museum) included going to a butterfly conservatory, a safari-ranch that had both exotic and domestic animals, and a petrified creatures’ museum. Caleb’s favorite was watching the butterflies in the conservatory land on his head!

We hope that this letter finds you well and that you have enjoyed catching up on the events of our family. Have a wonderful Christmas!

Love,
Matt, Julie, and Caleb Leach

P.S. To keep updated on our family throughout the year, visit our family blog at: www.lifeasaleach.blogspot.com.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Burn Victim



Wednesday was my mom's birthday. Because my grandmother really can't go anywhere, we brought dinner to their house. Everything was fine, the kids were having a grand old time playing, and I was standing in the kitchen talking to my mom. Caleb was in the living room playing with my dad.

All of the sudden, I heard a scream and then he just started wailing. I knew immediately what it was...Caleb had touched the pellet stove.

I was a little nervous about it being on, but when we got there I took him over to it and had a long talk about how it was hot and that he couldn't touch it. There was a bench in front kind of blocking it. He repeated "hot" and is usually good about listening with things like that.

Apparently, he went around to the side to get the little Boxer statue that he loves so much. As he bent down to get it, he put a hand out to steady himself...ouch!

My dad rushed him into the kitchen and we started to run his hand under lukewarm water. He was just an absolute mess of tears! My mom then found a burn gel that we attempted to put on it, but he wouldn't let us. We tried to wrap it with gauze, but that wasn't happening either.

I thought that maybe all of the attention was overstimulating him and that's why he was so hysterical, so I took him into the spare bedroom with the lights off and just rocked and sang to him. After doing that for five minutes with no changes, I took him back into where the activity was.

For some reason, Caleb wouldn't straighten his pinky finger. When we did try, he absolutely lost it. I started to get really concerned about that and everybody began to say that we should take him to Urgent Care. My mom and I went together---happy birthday, Mom!

We thought that perhaps the hysterical crying might make the waiting process a little faster...it didn't. I asked if they had any burn spray or anything to help the pain, but the receptionist said he couldn't have anything until he saw the doctor. She did give him some Thomas the Tank Engine stickers, which caused a momentary lapse in the crying just long enough for him to say, "Thomas! Stickers!"

Caleb did somewhat calm down while we were waiting. Mom had a pad of paper that he drew on and she let him look at her pictures. Several times she tried to get him to sit with her while I filled out forms, but he was having none of it. When he is hurt, no one else will do! (That's just fine with me!) :)

I finally got back to see the doctor after almost an hour, and Caleb did have a second degree burn. By this point it had begun to bubble the length of his palm and was looking pretty bad. She gave me a prescription for Sulfadine (which we already had from Matt's burn over the summer!), and said to try to get him to hold a cold sippy cup full of ice, since he won't let us put anything on it.

The ladies there absolutely loved him (once he calmed down at least!), and the boy left with 10 different stickers! Even when he is in pain, he's cute!

Now, it is a humongous blister that looks like it will pop pretty soon. Once it does, we'll start putting the Sulfadine on it. Of course, that's a Sulfa drug and I'm allergic to Sulfa, so either Matt has to do it or I have to wear gloves!!

Poor little guy...:( I did take some pictures of it, and I'll try to get them on here whenever I can get to Walmart to get a disc made.

*Sigh* Never a dull moment!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Leaf Eater

On Friday, we were over at the Livingston's house for a bonfire (as mentioned in a previous post.) Devin's dog, Rosco, is really friendly and Caleb is quite the dog lover. Rosco was eating up all of the attention he was getting from his little friend, and Caleb was happy to give it!

I was watching in amusement as Caleb had a lengthy conversation with Rosco when he found a cool leaf on the ground. He picked it up and showed to the dog for him to admire. Rosco loved it so much that he decided it might be tasty---so he ate it!

Well, poor Caleb stared in shock at him for a minute before bursting into tears and screaming, "No, No, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!" The crisis was somewhat averted when I found Caleb an equally amazing leaf...but he sure didn't show this one to Rosco! :)