Monday, December 29, 2008

Auld Lang Syne

Oh, what a year it has been. To think that this time last year I was still in a panic, trying to figure out if this whole "having a kid" gig was the biggest mistake ever. I was still having to be at Isaiah's beck and call every 2 hours, still getting up at 2:00 am for feedings, still worrying about gas bubbles in his belly, still having to make sure to support his head whenever I held him. Now, I can let the little buggar play with an amazing degree of independence, I can sleep through the night, I deal with super stinky diapers rather than painful gas bubbles, and we swing the stinker upside down to get him giggling! Amazing how much can change in a year. Some things, however, do not change. Every year I try to tune in to watch the ball drop in Times Square. It's always such an iconic symbol for me of the transition to the fresh start of a fresh calendar. So, in the true spirit of the new year, here's what I'm looking forward to in 2009:

  • Words! He busts out a "Mama," "Dada," and "Hi!" every now and again, but I can't wait to hear actual words. I'm so excited to hear him point to something and ask for it by name. I think I might just break down into hysterics the first time I hear him say "Thank You" or "I love you."

  • Personality. He is already such an individual, but I know that he is going to develop into such a little person in the next year. Toddlers develop a sense of self so quickly and it's going to be really cool to watch Isaiah grow into his personality.

Our Family:

  • We continue to pray that God will expand our family when he feels the time is right. I am hopeful that we will welcome a new baby in 2009 (or at least early in 2010!) and Isaiah can have a go at being a big brother. If all else fails, we'll probably get a puppy! :-)

  • 5 years! That's how long Evan and I will have been married come July of 2009. Hard to believe it has already been that long. Back when we were engaged and Evan was super-broke (he literally had less than $10 in his bank account), he got me a picture frame for a gift with a letter he had written that I wasn't allowed to read until our 5 year wedding anniversary. At the time, it seemed like it was so far away. Evan reminds me of that letter from time to time and admits that he has completely forgotten what it says! So, we'll both be looking forward to removing it from its home in the back of the picture frame that houses our wedding photo and reading what Evan wrote to me. He's such a softie underneath that sarcastic exterior, isn't he??

Our Home:

  • The Basement. We are desperately in need of a play room! This became painfully obvious when we unloaded all of Isaiah's birthday and Christmas gifts only to realize that we have nowhere to go with them. The living room is already stuffed with his favorite toys and I had to put many of his gifts into his closet to save until we have room for him to use them. Plus, he's becoming so active now that it is nearly impossible to keep him barricaded in the living room. He just needs more room to roam! That's why the basement really needs to be a priority in 2009. Our plan is to divide up the space into a play room, living area, office/scraproom, and a storage room. Before we get too far into the process, we still need to make sure that we've taken the neccessary steps to prevent any future flooding, like what we experienced this past summer. This will include installing a gutter & eavestrough system on the house. It is a very intimidating project to be sure, so you can imagine my excitement when I caught wind of the tax rebate program that we will be eligible for. We still need to look into more of the details, but we know that we can apply for a first time home buyers tax credit that will give us a $7500 tax rebate when we file our taxes this year. It is basically a no interest loan from the government that we have 15 years to repay and the payments come right off our taxes at the end of the year. Like I said, we have a few more questions to ask of our tax guy before we start doing cartwheels, but I am already thanking God for providing us a with a way to get the basement completed. That money couldn't have shown up at a better time!


  • What would a New Year's reflection be without turning the focus inward and pointing out all your flaws that you want to promise to fix in the coming year? Well, I'm not going to do that. I find myself doing that enough on a regular basis without giving myself an excuse to do so. Instead, I'm just going to say that I am going to make it my goal to be more positive in 2009.....about everything. Money. My weight. My job (or lack thereof). My relationships. It is my hope that this will have a trickle down effect on everything else. I have such a bad habit of finding the negative in things, so it is my prayer that God will help me to find the positive side of EVERYTHING in 2009. He will never do anything to purposefully harm me, so I need to trust that he is watching over me and helping me to grow closer to Him. My mom has this little card box in her bathroom that has been on the same saying for quite some time: "Sometimes God calms the raging seas. Other times, he lets the storm rage and calms his child."

Happy New Year everyone. May your 2009 be blessed.

A Week of "Vacation"

I am really looking forward to this week! I get to spend today being lazy with Isaiah at home while Evan is at work and then Evan is home on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before going back to work on Friday. It ended up being a good thing I was home today because Isaiah woke up with a chest full of phlegm (yuck!) this morning and has been a sick little snuggle-bug all morning. A couple girlfriends and I are going to try to get out to see "Marley and Me" tomorrow and I am determined to get a couple scrapbook pages done before Friday. Oh, and I have a LOT to work on for school too. That may seem like a busy, hectic week....but to me it sounds FABULOUS!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Photos Galore

I take way too many photos. I admit it. I have an addiction. After dumping more than 500 photos off my camera and into my computer (yes, that's just from Christmas), I have my work cut out for me as far as sorting through them and picking out the best ones to put up on Snapfish and such, so please be patient. I promise to try to get them up for your viewing pleasure ASAP. In the meantime, here's a small appetizer. Enjoy!!

Talent on a Jug

I just had to share the amazing gift my sister gave my mother yesterday at our Christmas. She hand painted this milk jug with beautiful birds and pinecones and even took the time to put snow on the branches of the trees. Seriously Erica, I want one for the basement!!!! Remember....think "vintage football." Ghostly portrait of Vince Lombardi is optional.

Friday, December 26, 2008

So tired...

Oh my goodness. I can't believe I ever thought Christmas was tiring BEFORE I had a 13 month old running all over the place. I am so incredibly beat after 3 days of Christmas with Isaiah followed by an immediate closing shift at the restaurant that I can hardly hold my eyelids open. Maybe Evan will be sweet enough to let me sleep in tomorrow so I don't have lovely dark circles under my eyes for the party at the Bresser's tomorrow night. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

P.S. For those of you who complain when I don't update the blog every day (you know who you are!!!), I promise I will try to stay on top of it better from now on. I can't promise every day, especially since I'm teaching fulltime now, but I will do my best. It's nice to know I'm popular though.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas

Merry Christmas! Here we are in Waupun on Day 3 of our Christmas festivities and it's only Christmas Day! Big day ahead of us - brunch at 10:30, big meal at Grandma's at noon, and then another big party at another Grandma's tonight! Gotta love it though. I'm not feeling incredibly well this morning, probably something to so with the copius amounts of my mother in law's amazing alfredo that I ate last night. Oh my was sinfully good. I'm always going to be a chubby girl if I keep eating food like that, but it will have been worth it!

Speaking of such things, if you haven't heard, my sister in law is quickly becoming a super skinny HOTTIE of epic proportions. That amazing woman has been busting her butt at the gym several mornings a week and has pretty much completely given up sugar. I don't know which of those items I would find more difficult, but they're both pretty incredible accomplishments. She's already such a beauty, but she's rapidly approaching bombshell status. Way to go!!!!

As for our family, Isaiah has already made a haul this Christmas, which has me a little worried because I have absolutely nowhere to go with any of the stuff. Our basement is still a disaster and not even close to being ready for play and only slightly conducive to storage at this point. So, I'll probably end up storing a bunch of his presents in his closet until we actually have the space for him to play with them.

Christmas is such a joyous time of year, but it is also difficult for my family, as it reminds us of when my Uncle Jack passed away in 2006. We vaccilate back and forth between laughing and pausing to think about him. You can always see it in my aunt's and my cousins' faces when they are taking a moment to remember him. Although it's sad to remember that it was over Christmas that we lost him, we take comfort in knowing that my uncle trusted in God and in the little baby that was born on Christmas so many years ago. Now, Evan's family is going through something similar as his Grandmother is in rapidly declining health and the family is using this time at the holidays to say their goodbye's. Grandma Koerner is an absolutely amazing woman who is, in her own words, "on speaking terms" with the Lord. I know the family will miss her very much after she goes home to be with God and that the holidays will be that much more difficult in years to come. But, like my family does at Christmas every year, they can take comfort that they will be together to remember her every year and recall their love for her as well as for one another.

From our family to yours, have a very Merry Christmas and travel safely!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Emma the Goat and the Kangaroo

Teaching is never without its excitement. I've only been back to fulltime teaching for three days and I already have some funny stories. Every day I meet during 8th hour with the group of teachers that I work with on our team. Yesterday Shawn* (the math teacher) and Bill* (the social studies teacher) all of a sudden asked Jennifer* (the science teacher), "What's going on with the goat?" I'm thoroughly confused already, but they continue this line of questioning, wondering if it was actually a llama and not a goat, did she decide to bring the goat, and is the kangaroo coming too??? At this point I demanded to be let in on the joke.

Apparantly, Jennifer has an uncle who is married to a woman who has a goat that she brings with her EVERYWHERE. She has a note from her doctor (a head doctor, that is) that allows her to bring Emma (that's the goat) with her placed. Emma has been to Perkins. This year, Jennifer is hosting Christmas at her house and the family was hoping to get as many of them together as possible, since Grandma is quite ill. So, the question was whether or not the aunt would arrive with the goat in tow. Jennifer said, "Absolutely not." There was no way she was going to allow the goat to attend Christmas at her house!! The aunt was very put off by this, understandably, and demanded to know why Emma wasn't welcome! And, for that matter, what about Roo??? Oh yes, there is also a kangaroo. Roo doesn't go quite as many places as Emma, but she gets around.

As you can imagine, I was laughing so hard I thought I might cry while being told this whole story. I made several jokes about this situation, about how one would be a bit surprised to see a goat in Perkins - imagine you're just trying to eat your breakfast and suddenly your fork is gone and you discover it being chewed on by Emma - and about how they'll bring the skunk and the emu to Easter.

Ah, family.

*Names have been changed

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick little note to send our warmest holiday greetings out there to you all. It's been a year with its ups and downs, but we are so thankful for all the blessings God has given us this year. Our family is really looking forward to going back to Waupun tomorrow to spend a few days taking in Christmas with those we hold dear. For those of you who we won't be seeing, have a very Merry Christmas!

Oh, and Maribeth (I know you're reading this).....Thank you SO much for the sweet gift you sent with the Christmas card. I can't even begin to explain how much it meant to me. Plus, I always relish in the moments where I can prove to Evan that his family likes me better than him!! :-)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Trusting God

You know, God has a real knack of speaking to you right when you really need it or sometimes when you least expect it. Those of you who know what has been troubling my heart will understand why reading this verse on the LPM blog this morning was like hearing the Lord whisper in my ear, "Trust me. It'll all work out according to my plan. I'm in control." I was crying within two seconds.

"Blessed is she who believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" Luke 1:45

Let it Snow...Let it Snow...Let it Snow!

Yowza, that's a lot of snow! Despite the fact that one of Evan's coworkers was nice enough to give us his old snowblower yesterday, it is looking like it won't stand a chance against the amount of snow we have out there this morning. So, Evan's still deciding whether to suck it up and bust out the shovel or to go ask a neighbor if we can pay to borrow their snowblower! Either way, I'm glad he was planning on a vacation day today because at least I don't have to worry about him going to work. Looks like they're saying it was about 8-10 inches of snow and now it's blowing and drifting all over the place. I'm not looking forward to driving to Sauk for work tonight!

School was cancelled, of course, so no teaching for me today. I met my students for the next three months yesterday when Trina went in to have her baby. I am pleased to announce the arrival of a perfect, beautiful baby GIRL. Her name is Seneca Sylvie and she weighed in at 8 pounds, 6 ounces and was 21 1/2 inches long. Trina totally had me fooled. I really thought it was a boy! We had to unwrap the gift I had for her so I could take out the blue blanket and Badger onsies I got her. Oops. Now I need to wait for a break in the weather so I can go to Walmart and exchange for something girly!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Perfect Day

I love days like today. It was WAY too cold to even tempt me to go out and do anything, so Isaiah and I spent a very lazy day at home, but it was absolutely perfect. He was so wonderful today. He ate his meals and didn't fuss. He took two 2 1/2 hour naps exactly on schedule....9:00 and 2:00 with no crying whatsoever. He played and ran and squealed and had a grand ole time in between his naps and even let me have some snuggle time. It was such a fabulous day and I'm so glad I got to have a day like this with him this week since I'll be starting my full time teaching gig within the next couple days. It's going to be hard to leave Isaiah, but it's only for three months and then I'll have my Mondays and Tuesdays with him again.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

New photos!

Oh, do I love those eyes!! My friend Jenn Van Wyk was kind enough to drive all the way out to Arena yesterday morning to take some photos of our family since we hadn't had a good photo of all of us taken since Isaiah was 7 months old. After we got in a couple shots inside the house, we bundled up Isaiah a bit (it was a pretty warm morning) and took him out to experience snow for the first time and he did not disappoint! He dove right in and got "dirty," so to speak, and it made for some really cute photos. Thank you again, Jenn, for taking such special photos for us!

If you would like to see all the photos from our session, go to and click on "CLIENTS" at the bottom of the page and go to Online Ordering. Click on the link for "The Kooiman Family" and the password is "Isaiah." Let me know what you think!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Silver Lining

This has been a very difficult week for our family. As many of you may or may not know, Evan and I have been looking forward to adding to our family for a while now. We love Isaiah so much and we can't wait to give him a little brother or sister! Earlier in the week, we were very excited because we found out we were pregnant. It's such a rush to see that word pop up on the test and we had even started arguing about names. Good arguing, though. We started making plans for how to go about telling our family and other things that would need to be taken care of before Baby #2 arrived. I was also pretty psyched to be due on August 17 since a new baby would be a pretty awesome birthday present for me!

But God had other plans for us. I had a early miscarriage. We found out yesterday for sure what exactly was going on and a miscarriage at this stage of pregnancy is commonly known as a "chemical pregnancy." What it basically means is that the mother was pregnant just long enough to get a few positive tests and start the initial planning for the baby: making appointments with the doctor, etc. At some point early in the process, typically during or right after implantation, something is found to be wrong with the embryo and the body terminates the pregnancy. So, Mom is suddenly confused because she gets her period out of nowhere and so, in a panic, takes another pregnancy test which turns up negative.

This has been a hard couple of days for me, but I'm quickly becoming more at peace with the whole situation and through the support of family and a lot of prayer, I've found my silver lining. We conceived a baby! How cool is that??!! The way I see it, this was God's way of letting us know that we're going about everything correctly and we're working just fine. He wanted me to know that he's watching out for us and for our baby and that he's going to take care of us. He's going to make sure that when the situation is just right, that baby's going to stick around and be perfect for us. He won't let us settle for anything less. I still feel the pain of losing a baby and mourn what I know was there, even if it was only for a short time, but I am also comforted to know that God understands my grief.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Three More!!!

No wonder Isaiah has been quite the cranky pants the last week or so. We found THREE new teeth last night!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Any Time Now

As many of you know, I have been "hired" to be a long term sub at our local middle school to teach 7th grade English while the regular teacher goes on maternity leave. Since her due date is December 16th, I'm really on call now....she could have the baby at any time. It's kind of scary to think that at any moment, my phone could ring and suddenly I will be working full time again, every day until Spring Break. I've gotten so used to having my couple days a week (at least) with Isaiah and I'm really starting to feel stressed out about being away from him so much for so long. I know it's only temporary, since I plan on going back down to 3 days a week after Spring Break, but it's going to be really hard.

I am also looking forward to working this job, for obvious reasons. We need the money really badly, I'm sure that goes without saying. I was so embarassed to actually have to call Alliant Energy to set up a payment plan for my heat bill, but the woman I talked to said it is happening a lot right now. It hardly made me feel better, but at least I know I'm not the only one struggling to keep things afloat. Work at the restaurant has been nothing short of dismal. So, it will really help to have that steady income for a while....even if it is only temporary.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Walking Wonder

After getting a lot of practice in over Thanksgiving, Isaiah has the whole walking thing down pat! Here are a couple videos I took today to show how good he is at it already!

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