Friday, January 20, 2012

Dad's birthday gift

So I love my dad and it's his 75th birthday so I wanted to do something extra special for this special year. This is a phenomenal idea (not mine of course) for a birthday/anniversary gift. Definitely one that won't be forgotten and can be passed down.

For my dad's 75th birthday (tomorrow), I saw this idea that involved collecting people from his past to contribute a memory they had of him. I'd put each memory in an envelope--75 total, of course--and have him open them, one by one, on his birthday. That would be a lot of memories, but so much fun, right?
So I wrote and email. I sent it to family, friends, and everyone one in between. This is what I said:

Hello everyone!

If you're receiving this email, you probably know that my dad, John Koehler, is turning 75 in January next (much as he would hate us to be reminding everyone, I'm sure.) To celebrate his birthday, I'd like to put together a little surprise to let him know that his nearest and dearest are thinking of him. I"m going to try and create "75 Years of Memories" by filling 75 envelopes with a memory his friends and family have of him.

And this is where you come in!

If you have a spare moment in the next few weeks, I would be so grateful if you'd jot down a favorite memory you have of my dad and put it in the post. It doesn't have to be anything fancy -- you can just write it down on a piece of paper and sign your name. You can mention anything you like -- although the more nostalgic the better! Please absolutely feel free to send more than one memory (in fact, I welcome it -- I've got 75 envelopes to fill!), but make sure you write them on different pieces of paper (and sign your name to each) so I can split them up.

Thank you so, so, so much for participating -- I know everyone is busy with their own lives, and I do appreciate you taking a few minutes to do this; it will be so worth it when he reads all the memories people have of him! (Please don't forget to keep it a surprise until then, though!)

Thank you so much again.

So I sent the email and then I waited. I collected them for two months, my heart pinging with excitement each time a new one arrived. In a way, I'm sort of sad that this project is over because it was a huge amount of fun to collect and collate all of these memories, many of them occurring years before I was even born. I enjoyed reading and reminiscing about the each memory. I realized even more how blessed I am for a loving and highly involved dad and role model I have in my life. Grateful for all the lives he has touched including my own and my family. I could go on and on about him.

so much snow

We've had 88 inches of snow this season. Normally we have 44 inches at this time. This is just our area. There has been upwards of 300 inches+ in areas like valdez. This past week the snow has stopped and it's been clear and sunny, sounds pretty nice, right? Well, when it's clear and sunny, temperatures drop. For the past week, the high has been -6, at least any time I've had to be outside and drive around. The lowest temp I've seen was last sunday driving to and from church. It was -18. That is the coldest I have felt. I don't let the kids play outside at those temperatures and neither do the schools. Sydney has had indoor recess this week. At this point I'm looking forward to our Maui trip with my parents in March. The thought of walking around in shorts and flip flops sound very appealing. Also, in May Jeff and I are going to Kauai. Jeff won an award trip with his work and they are sending me and him to Kauai! We're so excited. A trip alone that's completely paid for. I still have to pinch myself because it sounds to good to be true. My parents are coming to watch the kids. The anticipation of those 2 trips will definitely help me get through this especially snowy and cold winter.
Our back deck before we shoveled it.

Some trees in our backyard
All the snow makes for some beautiful scenery. I love looking outside.

Christmas program

I was looking through my blog and realized I forgot to post about Sydney's Christmas program. It was a really enjoyable program. Sometime those things can be torturous. k-2 sang three or four songs together. At the very end, the whole school sang a few songs all together. Sydney had a little solo part at the end. Her solo part to sing was, "I sew the ears on teddy bears." She did a great job. During intermission a few parents we didn't know came up to us and said how good and animated she was. A few songs included some hand gestures. Many of the Kindergartners didn't do the hand gestures or sing, but Sydney was all over it. The video is pretty hilarious. I wish I could figure out how to put a clip on here.
She stood front and centered

Right before her "solo" that she volunteered to do.
Her friend Gabriella

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Christmas Day

Christmas was awesome. I loved that it fell on a Sunday too. It's nice too that our ward didn't start until 1pm. Perfect timing. Is it weird that I think we should always go to church on Christmas day no matter what day it falls on? Before we let the kids run down the stairs to look at the presents, we sing a few Christmas songs and say a prayer. Christmas Eve night before bed, we read Luke 2. This year we taped paper on the walls so 1. they couldn't sneak a peak and 2. I just thought it would be fun to run through. They ran through the paper and then as every kid does when they see a bunch of presents on Christmas got a huge grin and there were some squealing, "ahh"-ing, and "oh my goodness" repeated multiple times throughout the ripping apart of paper to reveal the toy Santa gave them. Sydney and Jordyn both wanted a Barbie house, which they got. Gammie and Grandpa got them an American Doll, Grandpa Levin got them pet puppies that make noise and walk, Grandpa Tim got them books, Grandma Karen-a doll and money, Great Grandma Marianne-Disney shirt, pen, and brush, and we gave them their yearly photo album, aprons, and blankets I made for them way back in June when I was at my mom's house. After presents we ate some breakfast, played with toys, talked to family, and watched the annual videos I make for each child. That's a tradition we do every year. At church I sang a duet! what?! Yeah, I was pretty nervous since I've never done that before, but the song was verily easy and me and Lindsey harmonized good together. We had a family over for Christmas dinner (Medina's) and played with our new family toy: XBOX kinect the rest of the night. We had a great Christmas.
Sydney's photo album in the background and stocking stuff. This was the first year that I refused to put candy in the stockings. It's my "bah humbug" moment during the holidays.
This is raw beauty. If you ever wanna know what I look like in the morning. It could be worse, right? Okay, maybe not. I think I was excited that Santa put a People magazine in my stocking: the simple and mindless things in life.
Levi's new toy. Well it's used, but new to him :) Thanks to the toy exchange some friends had the month before.
Sydney loved her new watch. Teaching her to tell time old-school style--by the arms of the clock. No digital.
Jordyn with her new apron I made (mom helped too). The best thing is that it's reversible and the other side is purple and green. The girls love it (and so does Levi-I should've made him a manly one).