Wednesday, December 21, 2011

year in review - Christmas Letter supplement

There's so much I missed in our Christmas letter like my mother-in-law finding her birth-family, meeting them AND they like each other.


Before Meeting New Family

I don't think I ever posted about what happened.  So, they never wrote back, I never put in the letter when in the summer Sher was coming, so they had plenty of time.  The brother that received the letter believed it right away.  He shared with another brother, who did not.  They took it to their father (their mother had already died), their father is the man their mother married after Sher was born.  He confirmed it.  All this happened before Sher knocked on the brother's door.

So, Sher knocks on the door, brother, Paul answers and knows immediately who she is because she looks just like their mother.  Tears flowed, hugs were given and an impromptu reunion happened the next weekend where Sher met one sister and three brothers (the mother and one other sister had passed away).  Sher couldn't have been happier.

Her sister Maryanne came out for a visit last fall.  She's wonderful, and confirms that humor must be hereditary.  Two of Sher's brothers are coming out in January and we're looking forward to meeting them.  During the investigation of family, Sher found out she has cousins in Wyoming and she and her sister (who also had never met these cousins) went up to visit them.

The boys babysitter got married this past summer.  Nothing makes you feel old like attending the wedding of your kids' babysitter.  She was a beautiful bride and it was great to see her marry such a wonderful man.  Unfortunately, we have to find a new babysitter. They asked Jake to be a ring bearer and he got to wear a tux.  He loved that.
Kate getting married

Jason's cousin also got married this year.  We're so happy she chose Hawaii because not only was it wonderful to see the beautiful and talented Emily get married, it was great to have a family vacation in one of the more beautiful places on earth!
Emily Getting Married

Fort lots of pictures of Hawaii, just click on to January on the side tab....

Kid stuff:
lego qualifying tourney
Karate tourney #2
baseball and swimming, same day
karate tourney #1
championship game
Jake pitching

My friends are so funny:
One of the best pranks ever was played on me this still makes me laugh thinking about it

my funny friends

Enjoy the year in review...and hope to hear from you all in the coming year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2011 Christmas Letter

2011 has been quite the year.  It was so hard to choose only a couple of pictures to represent what we've done.  I'll start with what the kids have been doing, because, frankly, they are what have been keeping us busy!

Jacob Michael (Jake)
He's 12 and half now, and in his first year of middle school. He's 5'6, 98 lbs and wears a size 11 shoe.  He's going to take after his name-sake, my dad, and will be a tall one.  He's very much into sports, we're not sure where that comes from and seems to have some talent at it.  He started a program called Sea Cadets which is a young-navy kind of thing.  And....yup, girls seem to be in the picture, but he plays his cards close to his chest.  I hear about it from the girl's little brother who visits the school nurse (at the school where I work).....gotta love working for the same school district your kids go to.

 Here's Jake doing an 'exercise'.  Not only do Sea Cadets help the boys get prepared for military service later, they also do community service.  This time they helped put the Easter Seals camp to sleep for the winter.  He's loving it and moving up in the ranks quickly.  He's seriously thinking about joining the Navy when he grows up.  We're stressing that he needs to go to college first and join as an officer, like his Uncle, Jose.
 Basketball, kind of an obvious choice for such a tall kiddo.  He really likes it.

 He joined track at school and had a good time.  Those long legs were ideal for hurdles...although the little guy next to him, beat him (he's on Jake's baseball team too and that kid gets to first base before his ball gets to outfield, he's quick)
 Jake's baseball team made it to the championship game this summer.  They won every game during the play-offs, but lost the championship game so came in second for the league.  They did great. Jake's favorite position is third base, and he like to pitch once in awhile too.

He's our funny, well-liked, easy-going kid.  He'll still give us hugs and kisses when none of his friends are around and once in awhile will even choose to spend time with us over his friends (but not often).

Isaac Gabriel (Isaac)
He's also going to be a tall one, he's 9 and 3 months, he's the youngest in his class and about a head taller then most of the kiddos.  He's 5 ft tall and 120 pounds (mostly muscle, you should see the thighs and chest on this kid) and wears a 6 1/2 shoe.  He's good at sports too, but enjoys solo sports over team sports.

 One of Isaac's favorite sports is Karate.  He's quickly moved up to a purple belt this year.  He's been able to compete in two tournaments and brought home first place in his "Kata" and second in sparring both times.
 During the summer he swims.  He's been doing this a couple of years and that upper body strength helps him get to the other end pretty quickly.  He's working on getting his dive and strokes down and is hoping to grow some gills....
They started a club at his school for lego Robots.  The kids program the robots to do certain tasks.  They also had to come up with a solution to keep food safe.  Then they compete with other teams.  They actually qualified during the first competition and went to state where they were in the running for rookie team of the year.  This is right up Isaac's alley and it's something he and dad can do together too.  (Isaac is very much his father's child).

Isaac is also a funny boy who makes us laugh all the time.  His conversations run from discussing splitting atoms and pulling his finger kind of jokes.  He's super smart, moves up a grade in math and argues with us all the the point where he now starts an argument with, "Mom, I'm not arguing with you, I just want to discuss why I think it should be....."

This year
besides going to a myriad of sporting events we had a chance to go to Hawaii for Jason's cousin's wedding.  One of our best vacations ever!

And, in case you were wondering, Jason and I also have a life...well sort of.  Jason's working at Perficient, and has been there eleven years.  

I quit my job as a dialysis nurse (being on call, beepers going off at 2 in the morning, driving to Denver Health during a blizzard and working 20+ hours a day -- all too hard on a family) and took a job as a school nurse.  The job itself is interesting and the hours are perfect to help raise our two active boys.  It's the best of both worlds (although I do have a soft spot for dialysis, it was a lot of fun and really interesting!).  I'm almost done with my Master's in Nursing (next April!). Not sure yet what I'll do with that, but I know for sure I'm going to take time off before deciding.

All in all we've been very blessed, we have two such great boys, live in a great neighborhood, everyone is happy and healthy.

Our prayer for you all is that you too find yourselves in good health and are happy.
Have a wonderful and blessed holiday!


The Zimmers
Jason, Tracey, Jake and Isaac

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Scrabble Tile Wall Art (my mother's day gift 6 months later)

I so ripped this idea off from Remodelaholic, a ridiculously cool blog all about crafts and decorating.  I emailed the link to Jason, last April with a note that said, "possible mother's day gift". In November, Jason asked what I would like for Christmas and I said, "my mother's day gift".  He looked sheepish.  The instructions on the Remodelaholic blog were pretty simple.  But I'm married to an engineer.

Do I need to say more?

 After four or five visits to various hardware and lumber (not lumbar, like I originally typed - thanks Martha for picking up where spell check is weak), places, he settled on some douglas fir posts around 4x4.  Did you know that 4x4's are not actually 4x4?  He then meticulously sawed a bunch of tiles out of that and sanded them.
 Hannah wondering what we're doing in 'her' back yard.
 After sanding he tried out a couple different stains and decided to just go with a clear polycrylic coat.  Look how cute he was balancing each tile on styrofoam cups so that they dry nicely.

 We went to a bunch of craft stores to find vinyl stickers or stencils.  He even called some area vinyl lettering companies. We either couldn't find any with the right font or the right size to get the correct scrabble tile dimensions.  I would have been fine with them not being 'perfect', but, have I mentioned I'm married to an engineer?  He found the font online, sized them to the correct size and then printed them on freezer paper in a mirror image and transferred them to the tiles.

 Then went over them with a sharpie.  Below is what it looked like when he printed them out.
 I can't find pictures of the next steps.  The remodelaholic website hung each individual tile with hooks. Jason wasn't sure that would work that well, especially in the high traffic area of the front hall (I actually think that's the only hall we have on the first floor, but doesn't it just sound more grand, front hall).  Anyhow, he glued then drilled them to strips of thin wood, leaving a couple of the end letters off.  He attached it to the wall by drilling the empty spots then glued those tiles on.  It's so up there.

 Need I point out from first paragraph that there was the first email to Jason in April about what I wanted for Mother's day and then my next mention was in November.  I do believe I showed tremendous restraint in not nagging, cajoling, guilting or strong arming to get what I wanted.
Good things come to those who wait -- I love my mother's day present.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Home Made Christmas Ornaments

Every year I throw an ornament exchange party and as a party favor give my guests a home-made ornament.  I can't say that every year it is a success, but sometimes the ornaments turn out great.  This was one of those years.  These were super easy but seriously time consuming.  The original idea came from here which I of course found on Pinterest

 The original directions said to use 4" balls, because I was making so many, I went with 1.5" balls.  Because the balls were so much smaller, I couldn't add the extra bow at the top.


  • 1.5" styrofoam balls
  • Cardstock
  • Pearl head pins
  • Ribbon: 1/4" 

 I ended up emptying out all the local craft stores of these guys and had to make an emergency online order, but could only find red ones, not pearlized ones, they were still cute.

 Forget about the 1/2 inch ribbon in this picture, I took this picture when I thought I could still do the bow.
 Punch a lot of daisies.....Ended up going through two whole punches.

 Double up on the daisies and position the two to have more petals, place on the styrofoam ball and anchor with the pin.
 Take your ribbon, cut and loop (I used a velvety ribbon, because I liked it, not for any other needed reason)
 Anchor ribbon to ball with a pin and a daisy.
 Then just start pinning daisies all of the ball until completely covered.
et viola.  I made about 30, thankfully a couple people who RSVP'd didn't make it and my mother-in-law doesn't do a tree because I had just enough.  I need to make a couple more this week for Christmas Eve (and for myself).  It was the easiest ornament I have ever made, but amazingly time consuming.  It took about 1/2 an hour for each one. And...I may have a touch of carpel tunnel from the whole punch.

Still worth it

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Lego qualifying tournament

Isaac belongs to a school club where they program lego robots. There's a bunch of other stuff that goes into it too.  This year the theme is safe food. The boys decided that they would speak about keeping flies off of food.  They recently had a qualifying round.  They were kind of the underdogs, they're the youngest team, they've only met one year, and have very little funding.  
 At the practice table.
 The team showed their team spirit by spray painting their hair blue.  Isaac's hair is pretty dark and it was hard to see.
 In this group challenge the team members had to figure out how to get a huge rubber band into a small circle on the floor, they had to stretch it out and all let go at the same time.  There actually isn't a right answer, it was just for the judges to see how well they work together and how they problem solve.  It was pretty interesting to watch.
 Here they are telling the judges what their solutions to removing flies (a mechanical fly trap).  They won an award because they did a lot of community outreach with Children's hospital, and retirement homes to share their findings and their robots.
 The actual robot tournament, they came in fifth here.  The top eight, overall got to go to the district 'meet' in December.  The programming portion was only part of the scoring.  And because tech-ten did well in the other categories, as well as the programming they got to go on.
Yay, Tech Ten!
The 'passport' for the district meet.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

my funny husband.....again

So I didn't get our Halloween skeleton, who we've named Jack, back into the crawl space quickly enough.  One night I was super tired and crashed like at 8pm and crashed hard!  So Jason thought it would funny to pose Jack next to me and take pictures.  I was so tired I didn't even wake up.
I did wake up later, however, after Jason put Jack away, came to bed, and did that laughing so hard he was crying thing.....He told me why he was laughing....and of course I laughed too.  I'm just happy I didn't wake up next to Jack.

Friday, November 18, 2011

finally organized my desk and thirty-one party

Organizing my desk
It took me awhile but my desk is finally organized.  It feels so good to have all that clutter off and only the things that have meaning are left.

 When we were designing our kitchen I thought these little cubbies were so cute to have.  Now I've realized that they are pretty useless.  Instead of using them for mail I decorated them.
 These are some antique nursing textbooks my mother-in-law gave me for my graduation from nursing school.
 I bought this camera in Jr High....years and years ago when Jr. High was Jr. High and not Middle School.  I saved up allowence, birthday money and babysitting money for almost a year.  I used it all through high school and college.  Loved that camera.
 We got this little computer witch in Spain.  They had little 'brujas' for everything.  This one was for technology. It was supposed to be for Jason but I think I need it for school more then he does.
 It doesn't look great but the clutter from my desk is appropriately stashed in here.  Also stole the idea off of Pinterest of using cork board inside the cabinet doors for extra space for that stuff you need access to.
 The family...the dragon fly in back is a project Jake did in school.  In this picture Isaac has a bad black eye that he was strangely proud of.  My friend Martha took a picture of him and put in in a frame that says, Live, Love, makes me laugh and love when I see this.  Jason donned this silly hat at a birthday dinner at The Fort, he's a goof ball and he looks so young here (pre-children).  And Jake's baby picture, he looks so sweet.
 More photos of family and friends.
 I love what this says, "I have always been jealous of those whose path appears clear.  Mine has a tendency to keep changing"  So my life!
 This was one of those pictures I grew up with and I loved.  My mom was de-cluttering and gave it to me.  I still like looking at it.  Have no idea why, but that's the wonderful thing about art, even though there's 'good art' (and I can't really tell what's 'good' or 'bad') there's also art that speaks to you and this does.
 Just makes me laugh....the kids always remind their dad of this too.
 Stocking stuffer from a few years back...I'm pretty sure the 'candy' gel inside is as gross as blood right now, but thought it was so cute it became a decoration instead of a snack.

 Ahhhh, my little nephew Max.  As well as a thank you letter from Isaac.  And a funny card with canisters saying flour, sugar coffee and prozac, prozac's the biggest.

Thirty-One Party
I have a friend who is starting her own business, selling Thirty-One bags.  If you haven't heard or seen this stuff, check out her website at Thirty One.
 Mostly it's an excuse to get together....and eat....and talk...and laugh.
 and to try out recipes I found on Pinterest (yes, it's a sickness, I know)  This was some yummy crab dip, so going to make this again.  You can find the recipe on this blog
 Oh and the easy and soooo yummy.
 chocolate rolo cookies were so easy to ridiculously easy!  You can find recipe here
Little mini fruit pizzas  aren't these so cute.  The picture on the flickr website is so much cuter, but they were yummy and well, cute!

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