Travel Woes

So I've been travelling a bit more than I have in the past.  With my new role, my territory has expanded which means I need to go out and visit the different offices within my area of responsibility.  The kids are having to go though a bit of an adjustment, and I'm not sure they fully understand what is going on. 

Kaley, who typically is a Mama's girl, latches onto me whenever she sees me.  This makes leaving for work in the morning very difficult.

Nic and Anna too are asking questions.  During my last trip to Grand Rapids Anna asked, "What language do they speak in Michigan". 

On my way out the door this morning nicoloas asked, "What country are you going to today, Daddy?"

Though all of this, it makes me value my time with them even more.


Adam & Eve

As I was tucking the kids into bed this evening, Anna was reiterating a Bible lesson we had gone over a few nights ago.  She stated confidently that Adam was the first man, and that he was made of clay.  She then tuned to her little brother Nicolas and let him know that God made Eve from Adam's rib.  Upon hearing this, Nicolas exclaimed, "Ribs!  I love ribs!  I like girls too!  Maybe that's why I like ribs!  That's awesome!"  I couldn't help but smile, and then wonder what the good Lord has in store for me with this little guy.

The Kids Point of View

Had the kids to myself this evening and thought I'd try something fun.  I wrote down a series of questions about myself and asked each of them to give me their best answer.  Below are their answers.

Question 1: What does Daddy do at work?
Nicolas: Sign Contracts
Anna: Fix Cable

Question 2: What is Daddy good at?
Nicolas: Fixing Cars
Anna: Shooting Pigs

Question 3: What makes Daddy happy?
Nicolas: Cuddling with us
Anna: Getting Drawings from us

Question 4: What makes Daddy sad?
Nicolas: When we get lost
Anna: When we lie

Question 5: What is Daddy's favorite thing to do?
Nicolas: Spending time with us
Anna: Fix things

Question 6: How do you think Daddy met Mommy?
Nicolas: You met on a Friday
Anna: You knew each other since you were children

Question 7: What is Daddy's favorite food?
Nicolas: Everything you make
Anna: Ribs

Question 8: How old do you think Daddy is?
Nicolas: 27
Anna: Somewhere in your 60's

At this point I figured it was best that I stop... :)

Summer Time Fun

What a summer we have had already!  It is hard for me to believe that in less than another month Anna and Nicolas will start school again.  Sometimes I like this year round schooling and sometimes I don't.  Anna completed her year of K with much success.  She is ready for 1st grade!  Nicolas completed his last year of preschool and we are so proud of all the improvements he has made in preschool.  We are definately going to miss his teacher, Miss Dee, so much!  She was a wonderful teacher for him and over the past 2 years he has come to love her and often says to me now, "Mommy, I miss Miss Dee".  So sweet!  He is ready for K though, and it seems that they are ready for him.  :) 

The weekend before the kids got out of school, we went camping with our great friends The Vagues.  We had so much fun.  We camped at Mark Twain Lake which is about an 1hr and a half away from here.  We actually tent camped and the weather was pretty nice except for the down pour of rain we received early (like 4am) Saturday morning.  When I say down pour, it was crazy...thunder, lightening, rain coming down heavily.  We stayed dry in the tent and surprisingly, none of the kids woke up during the storm.  Luckily, that was the only rain we received and the rest of the camping trip was nice and dry.  We didn't do too much, but just enjoy hanging out with our friends.

The day after the kids got out of school we left for the annual Gagliano/Yamnitz/Brown camping trip.  This is the camping trip where my family (my parents, my sister's family, my brother's family, and us) all meet up somewhere and camp for 4-5 nights.  This year it was my choice, and we decided to camp at Table Rock Lake in a campsite called Watersedge.  I recommend this place.  It was very nice and we really enjoyed ourselves.  Everyone stayed in a camper except for us, and we stayed in one of their cabins.  Again, it was very nice and cozy, and most importantly, it had air conditioning!!  The area that we stayed in was right across the street from the swimming area, so that was very handy.  The water was a bit cold for the adults, but the kids thoroughly enjoyed swimming in the water.  Our favorite day was the day we rented a wave runner and enjoyed it out on the lake.  The kids had a blast riding the wave runner and couldn't get enough of it!  Another fun thing that the men got to do was go trout fishing on Lake Tanneycomb.  They came home with quite a few trout, so we had a fish fry one night and I was so shocked that my kids couldn't get enough fish to eat.  They really liked trout!

After we camped, we headed down to TX to spend a few nights with my parents since we were already about half way there.  My parents subdivision has a pool, so we spent quite a few hours at the pool while we were there.  We also got to spend some time with my sister and her family while we were there.  The night we went to have dinner with them, a horrible thunderstorm came through the area.  It was a really bad TX storm, so we had to huddle up in the closet until it passed...that was fun with 5 kids!  The kids also got to go and ride Grandma's horse which is always a treat for them.  Needless to say, when it was time to go home, we were happy to get back to our normal routine, but I do really miss living by my family.

Since we have been home, Anna has gone to a week of Summer School and both Anna and Nicolas are in VBS this week.  We are starting to prepare for Kaley's first birthday party on July 3rd.  Can you believe that she is going to 1 year old??!  I can't!  That went by way to quickly!  She is not walking yet, but she is almost there.  She wants to so bad, but she just doesn't trust herself to do it.  She is such a delight to be around and has to be the happiest baby around.

Other than all of that, we are just trying to stay cool on these hot summer days!

Oops! Been a while.... it isn't like we haven't been busy around here.  It has been a while since we last blogged, my apologies.  I have posted some pictures of Kaley taken at Portrait Innovations in the Photo Gallery.  I only posted the ones we purchased, and I think they turned out so cute!  She has started to make this really funny face, which I had to buy at least one of her making the face.  She did it quite a bit while they were taking her picture. 

I have decided to paint the inside walls of the house.  We have been talking about doing it for quite a while, and Jason is just way too busy for me to add painting to his list of honey do's.  So, I took the task on myself.  The main room that I wanted to change was the kitchen.  I have really disliked the apples I stenciled up on the wall for at least 2 years.  So, I just decided one day to paint it and I did.  I have painted the kitchen and the foyer hallway.  My next task is to do the downstairs half bathroom, then the laundry room, and then the main TV room and the stairwell coming up from the basement.  I have found that I do like painting and it gives me something to do while I am at home.  I guess it gives me a sense of accomplishment.  My hope is that by summertime, the downstairs is done and we can move on to the upstairs.  We will see.

Kaley is now 9 months old and is such a tiny little girl!  I love it!  She is such a good little baby and we are enjoying her so much!  Anna is almost done with K, and I can hardly believe it.  She has grown up so much this past year.  She is starting to write sentences all by herself and is starting to read by herself.  So proud of her!  Nicolas is getting so tall this year.  He is outgrowing all his pants, so summer time can't come any quicker.  He has FINALLY mastered potty training (did I say FINALLY!!!!!).  We are all so happy about this.  He is totally entertaining all of us with his imagination lately.  He talks about a spaceship that only comes at night for him and the things that go on when he is on it.  If I didn't know better, I would believe him.  :)

Everything is going great and we are just waiting for summer to get here.  We are all ready to start getting outside more.

Man of the House

 I had to go out of town for the week last week for work.  It is one of those necessary evils that I must do from time to time.  I used to enjoy these trips, but being married and having 3 kids it takes a bit of fun out of the whole idea.  The day before I left, I made certain to spend as much time with the family as I could.  As I tucked the kids in and said their prayers with them, I explained to each of them that I was going to be gone for a few days and that they should listen to their Mommy while Daddy was out.  As I spoke with Nicolas, I went on to say that when I was out, he was the Man of the House.  His eyes got real big as I told him this, and he listened to me intently. I further explained that he had to be a big boy and not only listen to his Mommy, but he had to help her and protect her from danger as Man of the House

Nicolas, upon hearing these instructions stared at me seriously and agreed to accept the monumental responsibility.  After acknowledging his acceptance, I reached over and kissed him on his forehead and proceeded to walk towards the door leaving his room.  It was at that moment I heard him whisper to himself, “I‘m a Man!”  I just about died of laughter as I walked to my bedroom to tell Ang.  Given his reaction, He may now want to send me out of town more often.

Time for a change...

I am so ready for winter to be over with and the warmer weather to take over!  Today it looked absolutley beautiful outside, but it was so cold.  I am looking forward to getting the kids outside to play and have fun. 

I believe that everyone who reads our blog can see the struggles we have with our WONDERFUL son Nicolas.  He is such a joy to have as a son, but challenging at times.  A lot of that is just being a boy, but some of it is his quirky self.  Over his short 4 1/2 years of life we have noticed that his consumption of sugar may be causing some of his behavior issues.  I have started to limit his intake of refined sugar...completely taking it away is literally impossible.  Amazingly, he really is a much more agreeable little boy.  It has only been a couple of days, but seriously there has been a difference.  I told him that he was allergic to sugar and I was really concerned that when he was not in my presence, he would eat whatever.  Much to my surprise, he told his teacher that he was allergic to sugar when she tried to give him Teddy Grahams.  GO NIC!  He actually listens to me!  I know some of you may be saying, DUH, but believe me when I tell you that Nic really didn't get that much sugar and taking it pretty much out of his diet has been the best thing we could do for him and us as a family.  I'll keep you posted on if this great behavior continues...

Kaley has been babbling up a storm lately.  She has been saying mamamama quite a bit, but I believe today she truly meant her mama to call me.  She did it a couple of times today to get my attention, so we will see if she keeps doing it.  :)


All about Anna BeBe Yamnitz

Anna is now 6 years old!  6 years ago on January 28th, Anna BeBe came into this world at 3:34 PM a whooping 8 lbs and 21 3/4 inches long.  She was supposed to be born on the 21st, but true to Anna's style she had to be evicted on the 28th.  To this day, Anna does everything at her own pace.  Anna is the most caring, sweet child I have ever been around, and I'm not just saying that because I am her Mom.  Anna is more thoughtful at the age of 6 than I am at my age of...well, we don't have to go there.  :)  As I have blogged before, Anna is in K and life has completely changed for her this past year.  She went from being home most of the time to being at school most of the time.  She has lost 5 teeth in the past 5 months and amazingly enough, she has already gotten 3 of her big teeth grown in.  She looks so different and so grown up!

Since Anna was born, she has harbored a love of dogs.  I had thought that she would outgrow this, but she hasn't.  She has, and I am not joking, about 75 stuffed animal dogs in her room.  It is insane, and she keeps getting more!  It is very difficult to buy her anything unless it is something related to a dog, because that is what she enjoys playing with.  It is pretty funny because if you ask her if she wants something princessy, she says, "NO WAY...I AM NOT A GIRLY GIRL!".  It is so funny!  She doesn't even like to wear a dress on Sunday mornings to church.  I have just given up because I got so tired of the crying.  I did actually buy her a dress today and she liked it!  Yeah!  She has a Father/Daughter dance on Friday, and I'm hoping that we can also use the dress for Easter.

That's about it right now-We just absolutely LOVE Anna and can't wait to see what this next year will bring for her!

The Superhero Family

Nicolas once again has amazed us with his imaginative genius.  As we sat at the dinner table this evening, he stated out of the blue, "We are a Superhero Family".  I was interested by this comment and was wondering where he was going with this.  I immediately thought about the Incredibles and thought that he was referring to that family.  There were 5 of them, just as there are of us.  I decided to probe him a little more and I asked him what he meant by that, and he proceeded to identify each family member and their superhero name and power.

There was:

Fast Man  (a.k.a Nicolas) - Has the ability to run super fast, and he showed us that ability as he ran through the house.  Now I was thinking, "Oh yes, just like Dash, right?"  But as he started going down the line, I knew his assessments were quite a bit more creative  

Super Dog (a.k.a. Anna) - His sister can turn into a dog and flies in the air and scratches bad guys.  Now Anna loves dogs and often pretends to be a dog, so this was not a far stretch.  

Poopy Girl (a.k.a. Kaley) - Poopy Girl has the unique ability of pooping in a diaper and throwing it at bad guys.  All villains that crossed her were sorry to be at the end of her wrath!  

Flying Ice Cream (a.k.a. Mommy) - Flying Ice Cream zips through the air and zaps evil bad guys with her freezing beam, rendering the perpetrator motionless.   

Chicken Man (a.k.a. Daddy) - As for me, it appears as though I have super-human strength.  I also have the cross-gender ability of laying eggs that become bombs and explode.  I asked him what kind of bombs, and he affirmed that they were "Stinky Bombs" I'm not exactly sure where he came up with this idea from... 

In any case, we were thoroughly amused by this creativity, the sheer brilliance of this 4 year-old.  I think I my do what I can do to encourage this.  Who knows, he may become the next Stan Lee.  Anyway, I gotta run.  I'm off to buy matching spandex leotards...

Powder Puff Derby 2009

Anna Derby

So today was the big Powder Puff Derby day.  The day where each Girl Scout between the ages of 5 and 18 in the Greater St. Charles area gather to see who is the best aerodynamics and physics engineer.  In all seriousness, this event was geared towards allowing the girl and her parents a time to bond while building the car together.  Anna and I tried as much as possible to adhere to this ideal.  She drew the design for how she wanted it to look, picked out the accessories and colors, and even sanded before and after painting.  I did the little things like determining the best weight distribution to achieve the ideal momentum, minimizing the friction in the wheels, and ensuring the aerodynamic drag was kept to a minimum.  You know the little stuff.

Now when we arrived at the race location, I had no idea as to what to expect.  This being our first race, I was a little nervous as we entered the door.  After we walked in we were directed to a table where we could put the final touches on our car and check the weight.  

As I approached the table, I noticed 3 men working intensely on their cars.  I mean these guys were pouring graphite on their wheels and axels and buffing their paint jobs.  It was kind of funny to see their concentration, their focus; these guys were definitely in it to win!  I was slightly put off by their example and took this opportunity to explain to Anna that it wasn't about winning, it was about having fun.  Anna and I walked up gently placed her car on the scale.  5.0 ounces exactly.  It looked like our professional-grade scale at home was a good buy after all.

We then proceeded to have the car inspected.  They checked the height, the width, the clearance, and the axel placement.  I knew I had nothing to worry about, as I checked all these measurements with a fully calibrated caliper hours before.  Then the 9 year-old kid proceeded to tell me that not all 4 wheels were touching.  Needless to say, I was surprised.  I went back to the table of men and began working intensely to make our car legal in the remaining 15 minutes we had left.  I whipped out my cordless drill, drill bit set, scalpel, and super glue and went to work.  With only minutes left, I was able to make my changes, pass the inspection, and make the final weigh in.

Anna and I then took our seats and waited for the races to begin.  I sat in sweet anticipation, hoping that we would not walk away embarrassed.  There were 8 races total, with 4 cars in each race.  I was very happy to see that we came in first for all but 3 races.  The overall winner was determined by averaging the time for all of the races.  In the end, we placed 5th overall. 

We did, however, win the "Most Detailed Car" trophy.  I don't think I've seen my little girl more proud.  I could see the excitement in her eyes as she posed for pictures in the Winner's Circle.  On the way home she could stop saying "I can't believe I won!"  It was this moment that I cherished, the moment where she felt a sense of accomplishment, a sense of triumph.  She had taken on a challenge and succeeded.  It is for this reason I am determined to place 1st overall next year.  It is, after all, for the kids...       

The Joy of Raising a Boy

It's been a while since I've blogged on  Angela has done a great job of keeping everyone posted on the everyday goings on, that I find my need to blog minimal in light of this.  I do, however, want to note an observation I made recently.  If you have followed my blogs over the past year or so, you know the struggles I have encountered in the proper upbringing of my dear and only son, Nicolas.  When it comes to parenting, Anna and Kaley are a dream compared to Nicky.  Not that he is a bad kid, he's just a little different.  As I sat and thought about it, I believe that the struggle lies within the sheer difference between boys and girls.  I began to take note and realized that due to his nature of being a boy, there are things I must instruct him and say to him that I do not to his sisters.  As an adult I believe a code of conduct that we live by seems simple enough, yet I must set these instructions to guide him down this path.  Where his sister is able to discern right versus wrong, he is seemingly incapable of doing so.  Below is just a small collection of instructions that I continuously find myself exclaming to my son, that I never have to to my daughter:

1. Don't pee there
2. Don't eat that
3. Don't play with that, or else it will fall off
4. Stop licking the sugar shaker
5. Stop using that as a sword
6. That's not a pinata
7. Don't scream like a girl
8. You did what to the dog?
9. Take that out of your nose
10. I don't care how high the cat jumped, that was not funny

Upon reflecting on this, I realize that his perceived behavior is not entirely his fault.  He is merely a victim of his own wiring or make up.  With this insight, I hope to develop the patience needed to guide him down the right path and mold him into an upstanding member of society.  That's about it for now.  I gotta run anyway, I think Nicky is trying to use his bedsheet as a parachute...


Kaley is 6 months!

Kaley had her 6 month check up today, and she looks great!  She is 14 lbs 5 1/2 oz which puts her in the 18th percentile, and she is 25 inches which puts her in the 23%.  I FINALLY have a child that appears to be taking after me.  I'm not saying that is a good thing, but Anna and Nicolas both were in the 75% and above, so they are going to be like their Daddy-Tall.  Poor Kaley will be short like her Mommy, but it's not that bad.  Smile

Surprisingly, I just had to discipline my oldest for lying.  I really didn't expect her to do what she did.  I was upstairs and Anna asked if she could go and get a snack.  I said, "Of course".  She was gone a couple minutes when I heard her start to wimper and then say, "Mommy, I hurt myself".  She came upstairs and I saw that she had a small cut on her finger.  I asked her how that happened, and she told me that she fell on the tile floor.  I told her to come downstairs so that I could clean it and put a bandaid on it.  When I got downstairs I saw that there was a half peeled carrot in the sink with the peeler and a knife.  I asked Anna again, how she got cut and she said that she fell on the floor and proceeded to show me how she fell.  Interesting I does one get a cut on a finger from falling on the floor...hmmmm....knife in the sink with carrot not completely peeled...hmmm...mommy wasn't born yesterday!!  I told Anna to look me in the eyes and tell me EXACTLY what happened.  She folded and told me that she cut herself with the knife.  I cleaned her cut while explaining to her that lying was not a good thing to do.  The tears started and she told me that she didn't want to get into trouble.  AND told me that I said she could have a snack.  Interesting that she is blaming me for her's only 5.  I told her I didn't give her permission to come down and use a knife and for lying, she had to go to her room.  She is still there now while I am blogging this.  WOW!

Year 2008 At A Glance

A lot of people send out letters in the their Christmas cards to let everyone know what was occuring in their lives over the year, so I decided to do that here.  We had a VERY busy 2008, so here goes...

Anna started Kindergarten this year at Independence Elementary.  She goes everyday getting on the bus at 8:45 AM and coming home on the bus at 4:30 PM.  These are very long days for her, but she loves it.  I have only been able to volunteer in the classroom once, and really enjoyed it.  I would love to volunteer more, but the time isn't right for now.  She is learning all kinds of new things.  She is working very hard on learning her 'sight' words, and we go through them everyday.  Sometimes it is a struggle, but she is taking them day by day.  The sight words are a list of 52 words that she has to be able to read.  Some examples are 'they, like, come, are, and, the'.  Other than Kindergarten, Anna joined Girl Scouts and is really enjoying that.  She has meetings every 2 weeks and there seems to be an event every month.  Right now her Daddy and her are working on a Derby Car race that is in January. 

Nicolas is finishish his last year in Pre-School, and is such a big boy now in class.  We just love his teacher, Miss Dee, and will miss her influence on him when he goes to Independence.  Nicolas's speech has improved so much over this year and he is doing so much better with his behavioral issues.  We are so proud of him.  He has started to ask us 'why' on everything, which sometimes drives us crazy!  I love to turn it on him and ask him 'why HE thinks so'.  It is fun to hear his response.  Smile  Nicolas started ice skating lessons a couple of months ago, and he is doing quite well.  We signed him up for another round of lessons starting again in January.  He seems to enjoy it.  At first, he liked to pretend to fall and be goof ball until we explained to him how dangerous it was to just throw yourself around on the ice with those skate.  Not sure he understood everything we said to him, but he did straighten up and that's all you can ask for.

Kaley is now almost 6 months old and is so much fun to watch and be around.  She is starting to really interact with us and play with things.  We are waiting for her to start sitting up on her own, and she is almost there!  She is so sweet and all of us just love her to pieces!

Jason is still working at Charter and taking care of the household.  He still finds time to play his video games and do some things for himself from time to time.  I quit my job when Kaley was born, and I haven't looked back since.  I love being a stay at home mom, and kind of wish I would have done it sooner.  Besides taking care of the children day to day, I attend MOPS twice a month and I go to the YMCA.  I have started taking classes at the YMCA and are currently taking a PiYo class and a Step Aerobics class.  They are GREAT!

As a family we took two vacations this year.  We went on a Disney Cruise in March before Kaley came.  We had so much fun!  It was great!  Jason and I both love to cruise, so we would recommend this to anyone who has kids and wants to go on a cruise.  We also went to Branson in October after Kaley came.  We had fun going to Silver Dollar City and just hanging out in Branson.  Branson is no Disney Cruise, but we enjoy it as well!  Wink 

My family from TX came up to visit quite a bit this year.  My mom and dad came up when Kaley was born and then again when Reagan (my niece) was born.  Tina and Kevin came as well after Reagan was born.  We went to TX in April and in November, so I was able to see my family a lot this year which of course I LOVED. 

I think that is about it.  We wish everyone who takes the time to read our blog a MERRY CHRISTMAS!  We love you all!  Don't forget why we celebrate Christmas and spend time worshiping our Lord a Savior during this time (as well as everyday).  Read about the birth of Jesus in Luke 2 and talk about it with your family.  Merry Christmas everyone!

Christmas Time is Here!

As the day that we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, I can't help but get excited giving the gifts I so thoughtfully picked out for my dear friends and family. 

Spoiler Alert!  If you are expecting a gift from me, now is the time to stop reading.  Unless, of course you are keen on ruining your Christmas from me, at which point I insist you read on...

When it comes to choosing gifts, I'm a huge fan of practicality.  I'm not big into the fancy perfumes or clothing tht will go out of style in a few months.  I like to choose items that will last and that people can use every day.  That is a huge reason why I am a frequent QVC and As Seen on TV Store shopper.  I can't say that there is a single gift from either place that people cannot use.

Take for instance the Banana Bunker.  Though at first glance it appears to be an item you would find at an adult book store, this handy device will allow you to store and travel with your banana safely, without bruising.  No one likes a bruised banana.  I bought a dozen of these for a few of my coworkers.  I did get called into HR for a quick meeting due to a slight misunderstanding when one of my team members opened theirs.  But in the end, even my HR representative rushed out to buy a few agreeing that they make excellent stocking stuffers.                                            


Tater Mitts is another brilliant invention and perfect for any spud lover on your shopping list.  Unlike your standard latex kitchen glove, you can actually peal your potato simply by rubbing the spud while wearing your Tater Mitts.  Absolutely Amazing!  I bought all of the women on my shopping list at least one pair!  Aunt Vera, I think I accidently shipped you 2.                                                       

Have callous feet?  Well you won’t anymore if you're one of the lucky ones getting the Ped Egg!  With the Ped Egg, you can easily remove calluses and dead skin simply by running this bad boy across the soles of you feet a few times.  Cheaper than a pedicure!  And who doesn't want soft smooth feet?  I got a great deal on these, so I was able to buy for the aunts, uncles, and distant cousins.  Working on bulk shipping pricing, so our family members in Texas may receive their's a little after Christmas.








All in all, I'm pretty excited about Christmas.  And as you can see, I definitely love being on the giving end.

Boys vs. Girls

Over the past few weeks, I have become rather impressed with Nicolas' observation skills.  As I tucked him into bed tonight, he said matter of factly, "Boys talk good, Girls just talk too much."  And what does a father say to that?  Exactly what I said, nothing...

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