Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Archive for December, 2007

Snowy bike ride

30th December 2007

We met Kristine’s Godparents, Kathy and Jerry Schultz, and their daughter Sarah for lunch at the Tower House in Cumberland, WI yesterday. We had a great time although the kids melted down pretty bad at the end of lunch. I brought my mountain bike and got these pictures on my bike ride home:

snowy road
County Road H just past the Timberland Hills West cross country ski trails

after the ride
The ride was beautiful with big snowflakes the entire ride — but I think it was also the coldest ride yet.
My hands stayed pretty warm, but my left foot got really cold towards the end. I tried kicking it
against the pedals to keep the blood flowing, but when I got home I found out what the problem
was — there was a layer of snow that had made it inside my shoe cover which was open at the back!

icy roads
Portions of County Road H in Burnett County were not plowed or salted well so there was
hard packed snow and ice that I had to dodge on some of the steeper hills.

river otter pond
This pond last year had a river otter hole in the ice and tracks. This year it was completely snowed over
with many other interesting animal tracks in the snow. The consensus looking at the pictures when I
got back to the house was that most of these were probably rabbit tracks, several of
which I have seen hopping around in the snow during other rides.

frosty trees
Two birch trees completed frosted.

tracks in the winter scene
You can see my mountain bike track in the road in the middle of a snowy winter scene.

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Dinner Train (Adventure)

29th December 2007

Kristine’s parents treated us to a ride on the dinner train in Spooner, WI, and it was awesome! It was also an adventure because the train got stuck in the snow and ice at one of the road crossings. The total trip ended up being 3 hours from 6 until 9 which started to stretch the kids by the end — but they were troopers. See the pictures below from our adventure.

Josiah and Analise in the window after the ride.
After we made it back to the station at the end of the ride, I ran outside to start the car to warm it up for the ride home.

the dining car
Here is the dining car after we got back. Note the long icicles and the snow in the air.

watching a movie
Our kids made it back, although they were VERY tired especially after all the dancing (see below).

sucking on an icicle
Analise enjoys sucking on an icicle pulled from the train window.

dancing with a new friend
Analise dancing with one of her new friends.

dancing with a different friend
Analise dancing with a different friend.

dancing with yet another friend
Analise dancing with yet another friend!

dancing with her daddy
Analise enjoyed dancing with me, too!

josiah and me josiah and me, dancing
Josiah wasn’t going to miss out on any of the dancing.

the great northern railroad
Here’s a picture of the train engine of the Great Northern Railroad.

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Northern snowy winter adventure, Part II

29th December 2007

There’s snow everywhere up here. I can’t believe how many different beautiful scenes we have seen — from snow covered barns, snow covered trees, to snow covered frozen lakes, animal tracks, icicles several feet long, etc… Here’s a few pictures from our trip in the frozen Northwoods of Northern Wisconsin.

a snowy farm house 
A snowy farm scene I came across on a bike ride.

a snow mountain
A snow mountain of plowed snow in a parking lot in Madison, WI. Note that it’s taller than the car.

long icicles at our favorite coffee shop in spooner, wi
Long icicles at our favorite coffee shop in Spooner, WI

Icicles at the Cardwell house in Shell Lake, WI

snow in the frontyard
Snow in the front yard of the Cardwell house.

The Cardwell house with our car in the driveway.

snow depth with Shell Lake, WI annotated
There’s more than 22 inches of snow on the ground. Check out this snow depth map with Shell Lake next to the arrow.

Opening Presents
We had a fun time opening Christmas presents. Analise helped organize all the presents into piles before we got started. Then she helped open everybody’s presents. Lots of fun!

Analise with her Dora doll dressed up in a new dress made in Nicaragua!
Analise with her Dora doll dressed up in a new dress made in Nicaragua that
Grandma Sandy and Poppa Dale found at a craft fair at the local high school. Nicaragua
is a sister country for the state of Wisconsin and this dress was made by women in Nicaragua.

Aunt Anna with her new book
Anna with her new book. Kat checks it out, and Analise has already moved onto the next present.

Kristine with her new winter plate
Kristine with her new winter plate.

Analise wraps Hal as a Christmas present for Anna

Analise gets wrapped up as a present for everybody!
Analise gets wrapped up as a present for everybody!

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Northern snowy winter adventure, Part I

29th December 2007

Well, since I’m posting the pics, I get to post my biking pics first! There’s way too much snow to ride on the lakes this year. There’s no way to get traction through the deep snow. Instead, I’ve been riding the plowed and/or hard packed roads and it has been just as fun and challenging. I’ve gone down hard once and slide quite a bit on the snow. Check out these pics!

biking down a snowy road
Biking down the "Lake Road", which is a ten mile loop that goes around Shell Lake 
(which itself is about 3 miles diagonally across the lake)

snowy dirty bike
Can you believe the gears still work in this mess???

the ice man cometh
Yes, those are icicles hanging from my goatee, which does a great job
of keeping my face and lips warm despite temps in the teens and don’t even
try to guess the wind chill when riding a mountain bike 15mph into a headwind!

Aunt Kat took Analise and I sledding down the steep hill right next to Kristine’s parents house. We had a fun time. Molly the dog had fun chasing Analise and all the other kids sledding down the hill. This was our first extended time in the snow and we were only outside for 30 minutes and by the end Analise and I were both freezing. Analise told us "I’m freezing" and "I’m ss-soo cc-cold" when it was time to go home.

molly chasing
Molly chased everyone down the hill as Aunt Kat pulled her down fast.

pulling down the hill
With all the snow, you either had to go down the steep hill to pick up speed
or as we opted, run down the smaller hill in front of Analise pulling her behind us.

cross-training running up the hill pulling Analise
Here I am pulling Analise up the steep hill as fast as I could getting a little crosstraining in!

Analise went skiing for the first time, and she was a natural! I couldn’t believe how well she did. We got some great videos and pictures too. She was smiling practically the entire HOUR we were outside in the 14 degree temperature. I can’t believe how well everyone did!

getting ready to go
Here Analise is carrying her "baby skis" on the way to the trail head.

Aunt Anna and Analise heading to the start.

Our expanding ski family (compare to a picture in a blog from early 2004 before Analise was born)

josiah hanging out with Kristine
Kristine carried Josiah in her backpack the whole time. Josiah was quiet except for when somebody would
ski past him and then he would get excited and kick a bit and try to say something but we’re not sure what.

Uncle Hal and Aunt Anna pose for a picture near the end of our ski adventure.

Everyone made a ski train and skiied together for a little bit with Analise "the little engine that could"!

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Christmas 2007 Videos, Part II

25th December 2007

One more video from Christmas morning

Analise finds her dollhouse by the Christmas tree
Analise finds her dollhouse by the Christmas tree on Christmas morning.

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Christmas 2007 Videos, Part I

25th December 2007

Not necessarily in chronological order — but here are the videos!

the making of the ginger bread train
The making of the ginger bread train.

santa comes into town on a firetruck
Santa comes into town riding on a firetruck

the 2007 zoo light safari train ride
The 2007 Birmingham Zoolight Safari train ride.

The 2007 Lakeside Mothers Day Out Christmas Program
Analise was the line leader (and she did great!) in the
2007 Lakeside Mothers Days Out Christmas Program.

arriving home in the garage post Christmas eve candelight service
This is what we turned around to find after arriving home in the garage after our Christmas Eve candelight service.
Can you tell who needed more candy to make it through the service?

Christmas dinnertime advent celebration and Bible reading
Analise recites quite a bit of the Christmas story during dinner.

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The Santa Ordeal

24th December 2007

Whew, being Santa is HARD WORK!  Brian and I just finished up putting out the exciting presents for the kids… Josiah’s got a cute LeapFrog shopping cart with little food items that it scans and counts.  Analise is getting a HUGE bookshelf-style dollhouse that I’ve had for months from a consignment sale.  I set up all her Dora figures and play pieces inside it.  It’s pretty exciting to walk into the living room and find all this! 

We also finished a couple presents we’ve been working on for other family members and stuffed the stockings.  I’m tired but excited to enjoy the morning with my little ones! 

But this Santa thing has been quite an ordeal for Analise.  She’s scared of Santa, and she cried when he visited a neighborhood near our church on a fire truck (which she’s also scared of).  So we have not played the Santa-card much.  She knew he was bringing presents at Christmas.  But today, she started asking if he was coming. 

This afternoon, our neighborhood firetruck drove down the street with Santa waving to all (and, um, a Fox News truck following behind with a cameraman right below Santa on the firetruck getting a close shot).  Josiah stared wide-eyed out the window, while Analise burst into tears.  And when she realized he was coming tonight, while she was sleeping, she got very upset.  She wanted Brian to call him and tell him to leave the presents on the porch.  So Brian called a very long-distance number with lots of digits, and talked to Santa.  He was ok with that, and Brian told her we’d bring the presents in before she woke up so they wouldn’t be too cold in the morning.  Then she wanted us to write him a note to remind him to leave them outside and not to come in.  So Brian wrote the note, and left it on the front door (got a picture of it, but we’re too tired from all the Santa-work to get it off the camera and upload it). 

As I was tucking her in, she started crying again, telling me she didn’t want Santa to come.  Imagine that!  So I told her that I had a secret… Santa had actually already come while we were at church and dropped the presents off, but I was supposed to keep them hidden until the morning.  She sat straight up and got really excited.  Of course, she wanted to see them, but I convinced her she needed to wait.  I think that consoled her enough so she could go to sleep, except that her overactive imagination kept hearing things, resulting in a couple more bouts of tears before she finally fell asleep.  Whew! 

We had a nice Christmas dinner this afternoon with Brian’s family on my treasured antique china.  Analise was so excited because we got to light all the Advent candles, including the pretty white Christ candle.  Josiah, of course, blew and blew all through dinner.  Then we enjoyed a candlelight service at our church, Clearwater.  Again, Josiah blew, even when he saw the big screen with a picture of a bunch of candles.  So funny!  We wrapped up the evening with a great Christmas book, Santa’s Favorite Story.  Santa falls asleep in the woods on Christmas eve morning, and the animals get worried that there will be no Christmas if he doesn’t get back to the North Pole soon.  Santa tells them not to worry, that even if he’s not there, Christmas will still happen, and he shared the story of the first Christmas with the animals.  So sweet. 

Tomorrow we’re opening gifts here, having lunch at Brian’s parents, napping and packing in the afternoon, and then heading for Wisconsin sometime around 7pm to drive all night.  Not sure when you’ll hear from us again, but hope you’re having as wonderful a Christmas as we are! 

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Merry Christmas from the Toones!

24th December 2007

Wish we could be giving you these Christmas wishes in person!  But here are a couple photos and a video of our Advent celebration last night

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My handsome little 18-month-old

23rd December 2007

Eighteen months ago, I was 2 weeks into adjusting to the crazy juggling life of parenting 2 kids. Josiah was eating and sleeping and snuggling on our chests, tiny as can be. Where has the time gone?

Today he’s a busy boy, pushing trucks around the house, climbing on stools to see what he can get into on the counters, romping on the couch, dancing in circles, chattering with a growing vocabulary of recognizable words, charming me all the time with his strawberry blond curls, chubby cheeks and blue eyes. He seriously melts me.

Yes, he drives me crazy, too, making messes all the time, finding the bin of sprinkles no matter where I put them, splashing in my lukewarm coffee when I’m not looking. But his sweetest word is "Mama", which he says with such meaning, such desire, determination, because he knows that I’m the one to come to. He’ll come try to crawl in my lap while I’m at the computer, wanting to watch a little video, a photo card from Poppa Dale, or The Slurps. His little giggle every time the doggy slurps at him is so cute. He’ll bring me books, tugging me down to the floor to read with him. He loves his big books about vehicles and anything with animals.  When he wants something, he’ll come find me, with "Mama", and grab my hand and tug me to wherever he needs me… usually the kitchen 🙂

He loves noises, especially sneezes or blowing noses, and they make him break into a little belly laugh that is so contagious. He’s finally decided that English is worth diving into, and he’s starting to say most anything you ask him to, but his commonly used words – mostly food! – are "cake-cake" for cupcake, "chee" for cheese, "cookie", "boo" for book, "ca" for car, "ou-si" for outside, "go", "no" which is so cute – very short, and when he’s done with things or he doesn’t want them, he’ll hand them back to you, gently but firmly, pushing your hand away, saying "no". Much better than pushing them off his tray or tossing them, as he used to do! He also loves to say "Poppa" for Grandpa.

He’s still waking at night, most nights, and though I’m weary of it when morning comes too quickly, I know it won’t last forever. I snuggle him close in our bed for a few minutes, before taking him back to his bed. He snuggles into my shoulder when I carry him back, and I get extra nuzzles in his soft neck. I love my sleeping babies… In his bed, he’s so cute, sleeping all curled up on his belly, with his knees under him and his butt up in the air. Most of the time, he’s amazing about going to sleep on his own. He likes his bedtime routine, right about 7pm, and he’s happy to head into his quiet, dark room to curl up with his Glo-worm telling him a story and maybe the water sounds on his crib-side aquarium soothing him to sleep. He still uses his pacifier at night, preferably 2 of them, but he’ll toss them out in the morning and after his nap, the "clink" on the hardwood floor signaling us he’ll start making more noise soon if we don’t come quick! Just in the last couple weeks, we’ve dropped to one solid long afternoon nap, and though I thought it would be miserable to lose my quiet morning time with just Analise, we’ve settled into the new routine nicely. EVERYONE naps from 1:30 to 3:30 or 4, including Mommy for a short time 🙂

He has loved watching our evening Advent celebrations. As soon as we dim the lights in the dining room to light the candles, his eyes get all wide and he starts blowing for the candles. He’ll listen as Analise chimes in with Brian’s reading of the Christmas story, sing songs with us, and of course, he’ll blow when we blow the candles out together.

He likes to ride on his little push vehicles outside, and he’s pretty good about avoiding Analise’s crazy riding on her bike.  He’s quite good at entertaining himself when he’s home with just one of us, but when he and Analise are together, watch out! Territory wars! He wants to be in on anything she is doing.  He’s learning the dramatics of his sister, and though he’s mostly sweet, he’s definitely got a quick red-headed temper. When he wants something, he makes it known. Whew. We’ve got our hands full with these two!

But I love my little man. I love mothering a little boy, and I’m so very blessed.  I love seeing his personality develop more and more each day, and I’m praying that each day his heart grows more into the character of his namesake, the young king Josiah, who loved the Lord and turned the people’s hearts to God’s word.

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Perfect Play-Doh!

23rd December 2007

My first attempt at homemade play-doh was a great success this week. I had picked up holiday cookie cutters to package with some dough for Analise’s classmates. Here’s the recipe I used:

Jello Playdough (Nonedible)

• 1 cup flour
• ½ cup salt
• 2 tsp cream of tartar
• 1 cup water
• 1 Tbsp cooking oil
• 1-3,1/2 oz. pkg unsweetened jello

Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized saucepan and cook over medium heat. Stir constantly until consistency of mashed potatoes. Let cool and knead with floured hands until dry. Allow the dough to cool completely before storing it in an airtight container or plastic bag.

Additional tips: The consistency of "mashed potatoes" is REALLY THICK. The thicker the better, actually, as it requires less kneading later. But I was afraid of burning it, so I undercooked it at first, then returned it to heat. It took some serious kneading and probably an additional 1/2 c. of flour to get it really smooth. But this is a wonderfully soft, smooth dough, colored and scented from the jello. Very pleased!

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