Friday, December 31, 2010

Dear 2010

(I got this idea from Mel...I LOVE it and thought I'd give it a try this year.)

Dear 2010,

What a year you have been!
You have brought both stress and joy.
You have brought some restful times, but mostly...craziness!
You have brought both death and new life.
Though there have been many exciting times this past year, you have been quite difficult, therefor I am not sad to see you go.

Let's take a look at the moments we shared!
We started the year off with an amazing baby shower thrown for me by Heidi and the girls.
Though I was expecting my third baby, it was my first girl. So we had lots of fun preparing with pink!

Jeff and I also got away for a weekend on a Marriage Retreat in Pacific Grove. It was so nice to have time dedicated to one another and to reconnect. We truly felt blessed and ready for anything...little did we know that we would come home to find the next 5 months trying to help Dominic overcome some serious coughing attacks which were accompanied by many emergency room visits and 911 calls...all while toting around a newborn and 3 year old.


We celebrated 2 birthdays- Dominic turned 14 in the beginning of the month and Emma Katherine Schwab joined our family on February 27th. What a blessing to our family!


Jeff headed up a huge Steam Fest at the railroad where he volunteers. It took him a way from the family for several days, but was a HUGE success!

We also celebrated my....32nd birthday. Nothing big this year, but we did get out to dinner with my mom and dad and Scott and Shawna. Dinner out is not like it used to be before 3 children!


We celebrated Easter as we always do...with all the family. We also attended the annual Easter Egg Hunt in the park next to Bunga and Papa's house.


I threw a bridal shower for my then-sister-in-law-to-be, Shawna. We invited all the special ladies in her life. It was a complete success and a lot of fun. I should have recognized that she wasn't drinking the margaritas or Coronitas...

because a week later on Mother's Day, she and my brother took my kids in the bedroom at my parents house for a little bit, and came out with this announcement...!!


Scott and Shawna got married and I finally have a sister! I love that girl and so look forward to the many times ahead. All 3 of my boys and I were in the wedding. It was an amazing day!

We also celebrated Dominic graduating from 8th grade with a 4.0 GPA! We are so proud of him and all of his accomplishments! This also marked the month of his last coughing attack.

The very next day we sent our "baby" off to New York and Washington D.C. with a bunch of his peers from school for a week-long trip. So hard to believe he is old enough for a trip like this!


Connor turned 4 and we threw him a train party in the park next to Bunga and Papa's's a great park! Hard to believe it's been 4 years since we first fell in love with this little guy.


Emma Kate was dedicated to the Lord this month. We had a nice ceremony at church, followed by brunch at the house.

Colossians 1:10

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.

Dominic also performed in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" and started High School!


Connor started his second year of pre-school. He loves it and also met his first girlfriend...Tessa!


On October 17 we threw a baby shower for Shawna at my mom's house. Two hours before the shower began, we got news that my grandfather had passed. He had been sick all year and we were expecting it. He died peacefully in his home a couple of miles away from us. He lived a full life, fathered 5 sons and 1 daughter. He also had 11 grandchildren and 6 great-granchildren. We will miss him.


This is always a busy month for us...several family birthdays and of course....Thanksgiving. Jeff also worked nights all month long, so I felt like a single mom of 3 most of the time. Thank God that's over with! One benefit to him being home during the day is that we both were able to attend Connor's singing performance at school. Those pre-schoolers are so cute!

This month we had 2 more births...L. gave birth to Anna! And Elisa had her second son, Ethan! L. and I have been friends since pre-school and it is so exciting to be now having daughters of our own! And Elisa is a friend I have just in the past year or so grown close with from church. I LOVE these new babies!


Jeff's mom turned 60 this month and she decided that instead of her usual fancy dinner out with the family, she wanted to celebrate in Maui! We were happy to oblige! So we spent the first week of December in Hawaii with Jeff's parents, sister, husband, and kids. We had an amazing time!

We celebrated Christmas with the many blessings that this season offers.

And finished the year off with a bang when Baby Harley was born. Scott and Shawna were very ambitious as they braved taking a 2-day-old-baby out to come over for New Year's!

As I look back, I thank the Lord for blessing my family with a lot of love, grace, and strength this past year. He has certainly taught me to trust in Him no matter what is going on in my life.

I love this time of year...reflecting on the past...and looking forward to what the next year has in store for us.

As my kids and husband like to say (from the rides at Disneyland)...

"Hold on to your hats and glasses folks, cause this here is the WILDEST RIDE IN THE WEST!"


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Introducing...Harley William!!

My sister-in-law, Shawna, was due with her and my brother's first baby Jan when I spoke with her yesterday (Dec 28) at 10 am and she said she was having some regular contractions, I told her, "Maybe...but it very well could be some false labor."
I was thinking, "No way, it's too early and it's her first!" So needless to say I was quite surprised at 3pm when I stopped by with the kids to see that she was still having regular contractions and they were getting stronger! I no sooner got home, called my boss to tell him I probably would not be in to work the next day, when I got a text saying, "Water broke...headed to the hospital."

Yeah!!! My nephew is on the way!!! I eagerly called Jeff, made dinner, packed up the essentials...
Foot Cream
Phone charger
Camera charger
...said goodbye to the fam, and off I went.
Things started off quickly. She was dilated to 7 when she got to the hospital, got the magic Epidural right away...and then we waited.
and waited.
and waited.

Ahhh, I LOVED this button when I was in labor!

Scott had the full Giants ensemble ready to roll. He was one excited soon-to-be-daddy!

After many long hours and 1 trip at 12:30 am home to do some damage control (Emma Kate and Connor have been pretty sick and Jeff had to work the next morning) I experienced one of the most beautiful acts of nephew coming into the world.

I cannot tell you how much I love my brother. For several years now we have had many conversations about his desire to find a wife and have children. For several years now I have watched him with my own children, thinking what an amazing dad he is going to be some day.

Today was the day! And I am so blessed to have been there to share it with them.

Harley William was born at 5:03 am

Weighing in at 10 lb 8oz and 23 1/2 in long!

I love this and am so excited that he is finally a part of the family!

I am also excited that when I am up at 2 am with Emma, I could

probably give Shawna a call!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Yarn Wreath

Usually at this time of year I have NO time to be creative. I get the basic decorating and the baking and the shopping done...all of the usual stuff. Since I have been getting into this "blogging thing" and reading about others' creativity and great ideas, I came across the yarn wreath. I saw it on Etsy as well. I thought, "I could make problem!"

So I ventured to the store, bought my supplies, and began. About 1/4 of the way through my first wrapping of yarn, I thought, "What was I thinking?!?! This thing is going to look like crap!"
But nonetheless, I had spent the money and was going to finish what I had started.

This was the end result. A little lumpy, but not too bad if you don't look at the back!
It's good enough in my opinion to display on the front door!

Enough creativity for me this season...on to the baking!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Meet Storage

Last year on December 1st this little elf showed up at The Schwab House. He came to watch the children and see how "good" they were during the day and then he would head up to the North Pole at night to report back to Santa. Every morning the elf came back to the house, but was sitting in a different place, high overhead so the kids couldn't touch him. Connor named him "Storage." Don't ask me why!!! But that's his name.
Last year Connor was scared of him and would walk in the room in which Storage was in, very gingerly, glancing up once in a while to make sure he hadn't moved. This year Connor LOVES getting up in the morning and searching for the little elf. (Connor's cousin, Cale, has an elf who comes to their house as well...his name is "Shelf." The boys like to compare stories about their elves.

This year Storage even showed up in Hawaii. (Post on our trip is coming soon!)

Connor thought that was pretty cool!

Here are a couple of places where we found him...

I LOVE Storage! When I can't get Connor to do what I want him last resort is to say, "Storage is watching!" (We also mention that God is always watching, but somehow Storage gets the point across!) I try it with Dominic...but for some reason it doesn't work as well.

And Emma Kate is next...I can't wait for her to ask, "Why is his name 'Storage?'"

Thank God for Jeff and Dominic...many nights Storage doesn't get moved to a new spot...oops.

Do you have an "Elf on the Shelf?" What is his name?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Is This My Dad?

For a couple of years now this man has been coming into the bank. Every time he walks in, he catches me off guard, making me think for a second that my dad has come to visit. I even call him "Dad." I have been asking for almost as long, if I could take his picture to prove to my family that what I say is true...Dad has a twin! I wish the picture did him justice as to how much he actually looks like my dad!
The other day the moment was perfect...I had my camera handy, he walked in, and there weren't many customers in the bank...he was a good sport as "stalker Laura" took his pic!
I reassured him it wouldn't end up on the internet...oops!

My "Real Dad!"


Friday, December 3, 2010


The first weekend of every December the downtown area of where I work puts on a "kickoff" to the season, complete with snow! And it felt cold enough out there to actually snow. All morning long we watched out the big windows of the bank as workers fed blocks of ice through a huge "snow cone maker" blowing snow on the ground for children to sled down. The scene did NOT look like this tonight when I left! It was littered with adults and children alike very excited to play in the "snow!"

I think tomorrow I'll head out to look for some warmer weather...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

We Made It!!!

We made it to a tree farm! Not our usual outing, but still fun. There is one particular tree farm we normally go to, but they still don't have trees, so we went to one by Home Depot. I missed hiking all around looking for a tree to cut down, only to buy a pre-cut tree after all. I missed the annual Starbucks trip on the way home...
This trip was get in, take a picture, and get out! But we did spend 1/2 the price of what we normally spend!
And I could not believe I got a cute picture of all 3!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gingerbread Houses

About 5 years ago Jeff's mom started the Gingerbread-House-Making Tradition.
We started as just the women decorating (and Dom,) and it now has developed into a family affair! I LOVE the way we do this because Mary buys the kits, makes the frosting and puts them together. We show up with some added candy and have fun!
The 4-year-olds were REALLY into it this year!

Dominic still loves getting in touch with his creative side also.

Connor's final project... We did really small houses this year. Connor decided he wanted his to be a train station.

Aunt Becki's was very cute!

Did I mention I love Christmas time?!?!

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Day After

Typically we head out the morning after Thanksgiving to go to the Christmas Tree Farm for our tree. I LOVE the smell of the tree in the house and want to savor it for as long as possible! This also commences the rest of the decorating, inside and out. This year I really battled with the idea of getting our tree at much cheaper! But what kind of tradition is that to pass along? I can just hear Dominic in 20 years..."I remember the good old days...we would drive on down to Costco and randomly pick up a netted tree..."
OK maybe that's ok for some...I decided I couldn't do it...not only that...but in these times I like to support the family-owned-businesses when I can.

So we headed out in Jeff's pick-up. Ummm...we don't fit in it like we used to! It's a 4-door, but there are 5 of us now, 3 of us being adult size and 2 car seats. I wish I got a picture of Jeff shoved in between the 2 car seats in the back with his feet up on the center console! It was awesome! He was so nice to let me drive...for once I was glad too!

We got to the tree farm only to find that their fresh cut trees weren't going to be there until Sunday:( So back home we went and decided to do the outside lights today instead.

My hubby is a good sport!

Jeff wouldn't let Dominic up on the roof, but this was the first year he got to be the one up on the ladder hanging the lights! Oh, having a teenage son DOES have some advantages!

Connor can't wait to join in on the ladder action!

(Though he insists he's going to be an engineer when he grows up, I think he's headed for the

Fire Station!)

Later Jeff and Dominic took off to see a movie and have some guy time. So Connor and I had movie date night in, accompanied by Emma Kate. We pulled out The Polar Express...surprise! Connor's Favorite!

Emma Kate was more interested in the ads! She must have known it was party night...she

stayed up late!

Late tonight when Dom got home, he took a picture of the lights. He was very proud!

Yeah Christmas time! I love EVERYTHING about this time of year!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


For a few years I have been trying to think of a way for the kids to really appreciate the meaning of Thanksgiving, not just on that day...but to make it last a little longer.

I found some old paper at work last week and decided to make a tree out of it. The boys helped me cut leaves out. Every day each of us wrote something we are thankful for on a leaf and taped it to the tree. I think I'm going to save the leaves from each year, so we wrote our names and the year on the back of each one. Next year we'll start November 1st and continue through the whole month. I can't wait to see what the tree looks like next year with all the leaves! It worked...the boys got really in to it. Dominic was thankful for things like technology and Facebook. Connor was thankful for firetrucks and his toys.
The tree is about 4 feet tall. I put it up in our entry.

Thanksgiving 2010

Is it REALLY possible that it is Thanksgiving again already?!?!
Every year we alternate between Jeff's family and my family for Thanksgiving.
When we spend the holiday with Jeff's family, it is always held at his Uncle Chuck and Aunt Linda's house, which is about an hour and a half drive from home. We started trading off between the families even before we were married. At first it felt strange...nothing like spending Thanksgiving with my own family. But now as time has gone by and we have the kids...they ARE all my family, and I have such a good time there. I also LOVE the idea that we are making memories for the kids to hold on to forever.
This year "Bunga" and "Papa" took Connor and his cousin Cale with them in the car for some 4-year-old time with the grandparents. So they arrived before we did. When we drove up Connor and Cale had already hit the sandbox.

It was SO cold so we went inside to the playroom for a while...

Connor and Cale got wind of tractor rides outside and that was about it for inside-play!

They have a beautiful HUGE oak tree with a swing...Connor couldn't get enough of it!

Jeff and Dominic took turns pushing.

Dominic decided to give it a try. He asked Uncle Chuck if it was strong enough and was assured that it was. This picture was before the chain snapped...
It didn't take long and not too much ice to have the swing...and Dominic up and running again!

Emma Kate loved watching all of the excitement!!

And of course the yearly Thanksgiving Family Photo...complete with Emma Kate this year, but without Libby (she had Thanksgiving dinner @ Bunga and Papa's house with Allie and Bailey.)
Jeff's Uncle Chuck has an old Model A. Most Thanksgiving's since
Jeff was little his uncle brings out the truck and anyone who wants to gets to ride in the back
through the neighborhood. (Jeff likes to drive, but the rest of us ride in the back.) It also makes for some fun photo ops!

The time came that we had to figure out how we were going to get Emma Kate her afternoon nap...let's take a walk!

She may or may not be sleepy!

We met some friends along the way.

That was right before Connor had a complete meltdown. Usually about this time of day he has an hour of quiet time in his room. He clearly needed this today! At least the meltdown occurred out on our walk and not back at the house. So he and I walked back to the house to have a little quiet/punishment in the van while Jeff and Emma finished their walk. It didn't take long before Connor had a "change of heart."

Surprise! We have naptime! My husband is awesome!

While Emma slept and the boys were busy, a few of us "young adults" took a short trip up to the new casino. Nick, Becki, Jeff, and I hadn't seen it yet, and of course we had to check it out. As remote as Uncle Chuck and Aunt Linda's house is, a few years ago, sadly, a casino was built in clear vision from their house. There is no access to it from their neighborhood, however you look out from their front yard toward the sky...and there it is...this big gray building.

We drove over, hit the bar for a drink, and Nick and I played a couple of hands of BlackJack. Oh, it was a good Thanksgiving!!!

Why did this lady think the turkey hat was ok?!?!

We got back to find that Connor and Cale had become great friends with their 2nd cousins!

They had brought their little quad over to the house...

Time for rides with Uncle Nick!

And a little time with Papa Bob before we headed for home.

Yeah, Connor was pretty much DONE on the way home.

We had such an amazing time that as we left I told Jeff that we should do this every year.

He looked at me with the look that says, "That'll never fly with your family." And he's right. Besides I would miss that too. It just goes to show how much things change. I am so thankful that I have married into a wonderful family. I am thankful for an amazing, action packed day with them, and am so thankful to Uncle Chuck and Aunt Linda for opening their home...and their us!

We were so tired that I flaked on a certain shopping trip with Heidi...sorry Heidi...

this mom can only do so much in one day!