Thursday, December 31, 2009

Heidi the Beautician!

Mom thought this was a unique sight.  I'm combing David's hair.  He only brought a short comb and is used to using a long one, so he was having a harder time getting it to lay down nicely.  Actually, I used to comb David's hair all the time...when he was about Zach's age.  But then, Joe used to braid my hair all the time too...that's was a really long time ago!

Bible Quizzing

No, we didn't do it, but we got to watch it as it was a part of the service on Wednesday out at Friendship Baptist Church in Iowa.

Marquette hosts a Bible quizzing tournament every year, but most of us had never actually seen it take place before.  I had often wondered how this and that worked as I'd heard about it afterward, but it certainly helps to see it for oneself.

Anyway, that was something interesting to me at least.

There were three groups: the Rapid Reciters (teens), the Mighty Memorizers (elementary), and the Quick Quoters (adults).  Can you guess which team won?

The adults won, with the elementary kids close behind.  The teens...umm...well...they didn't do so hot....

I must admit that I would've guessed it wrong.  The adults were really on their toes and the elementary kids were doing extremely well at keeping focused in.  My automatic would have been that the teens should have had it easy, being a little quicker than the adults and more focused than the littler ones.  I totally guessed wrong - the teen group's final score was...umm...still  zero.  Ouch!

UPDATE ~ I stand corrected.  The teens did answer one correctly.  They ended up with 20 points.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pictures Anybody?

Guess what?!  We got some family pictures taken at Portrait Innovations (the same place Jared, Becca, and the boys go) while we were out in Iowa over the week of New Years.  I know, you are all so disappointed that I'm going to show you pictures instead of just talking a lot....

Well, I guess I'll stop jabbering and start the "scroll-show"!  :-)

Scroll down, please.

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Bill & Sandy Mueller
(We call them Dad & Mom)

These two people are rather an important part of our family tree, not to mention our daily lives.

The Mueller Family

(We'll let the ladies go first....)
The Mueller Ladies

(The gentlemen may come now....)
The Mueller Men

The Mueller & Barta Families

(Willie & Conner were fighting a losing battle against colds and not sleeping well so they were having a hard time with the pictures.)

The Original Mueller Clan in Order by Age

I especially like the age-order ones.

Well, there you have it - our photo shoot...and a post of lots of pictures!  :-)  I hope you've enjoyed it.

Oh, by the way, you might have noticed that we had matching outfits for the pictures.  The tops were Christmas gifts from Jared&Becca and the skirts and jeans were from Dad&Mom.  We got to open those the day before Christmas Eve (Christmas Adam - he came before Eve...that was David's joke.), when we swapped gifts with the Bartas.

Here's what the emblem thingy looks like.  It was designed by our wonderful brother, Joe.

P.S.  I know my humor with the "scroll-show" was pretty sad, but I'm afraid you only have two choices - either put up with it or quit checking our blog....  I won't ask you to let me know what you decided.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A New Experience

We headed to Iowa on Tuesday the 29th, and the Bartas (Tim & Julie) had us over for dinner and a wonderful evening.  While we were there, they had fun showing us how to use their Wii.  Now that was a new and interesting experience!  Personally, while it was fun, I thought it was really weird!  It's one of those things that you're trying to figure out "How does it know?"  "How does it do that?"

Mr. Tim Barta and Willie set up and show us how to do the Wii.

Daddy tries out the Wii.

Everybody was "tuned in", trying to figure out how to do it and how it works.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

So, was it a White Christmas?

Well, I guess that's up to you.  It's not a black or white decision this year.  I think it all depends on how you look at it.

There was snow on the ground all of Christmas Eve, though the rain was working all day at melting it.  We woke up Christmas morning to a bunch of greenish grass and a pond in the field that backs up to our lot.  Christmas morning was not white!  It snowed later in the day, however, and by the time we were heading back from the Mueller side of the family Christmas celebration, there was snow on the ground - not a ton, but enough to make things look white.

I believe it was the day after Christmas that we got a significant amount of snow.  It was a beautiful, snowglobe-like snow, huge flakes, and light and fluffy.  I believe the bit we have left to this day might still be remnants of the time.

Here are a few pictures, but somehow they don't really capture it all.

I took a few videos, which capture it a little bit better, but I don't have time to figure out how to upload them just now.

So, what's your opinion?  Was this Christmas a "White Christmas"?  I'd love to hear your take on it.

Christmas Day

Christmas morning arrives.  Some can't believe it's 7 already, while others can't believe how slowly the clocks have been ticking.  At 7 o'clock (the predetermined time for this year) we all go in and wake Mommy and Daddy up.  They never look quite as thrilled to learn the time as some of the younger ones do.  We work and work at convincing them to get up.  This year Dad says his heel is bothering him a bit, "Will somebody rub it for me?"  As we wait, a few line up and start rubbing each other's shoulders.  Somebody suggests that we pull out the video that our cousin made of us years ago to give to Mom and Dad for Christmas.  We had watched it every year for several in a row, but we hadn't seen in a few years.

It was pretty fun travelling down memory lane!  Lisa didn't even exist yet!  Zachary had no hair to talk about.  HB was the cutest little toddler.  David has grown up soo much, but is definitely still the same person.  Kimberly and Heidi have grown up a bit, but haven't changed all that much.  Joe's personality hasn't changed one bit!  Julie, Becca, and Valerie have changed a bit, but it is naturally less obvious as they were already older.

Thank you so much, Russ, for doing that!  I think it might become some sort of family heirloom.  I really enjoy it.

At about 7:30 (when we told Granddad, Grandma, and Aunt Margie we'd be downstairs to start stuff), we finally went downstairs.  We then proceeded with our usual Christmas morning.  We ate some muffins while everybody gathered.  Dad read us the Christmas story out of Luke 2.  We opened/poured out our stockings.  Then, in a very organized manner (as usual), we opened our presents.  Valerie fished out 2, 3, or 4 gifts from under the tree and gave them to some of the younger ones to deliver them to their recipients who opened them in all sorts of different manners.  After presents we had a delightful brunch.

The rest of our morning and afternoon was basically spent checking out/trying out our new things, and finding new homes for them.

Later in the afternoon we headed for the Mueller Christmas celebration.

Christmas Morning at our house

Granddad brought out his arm extender thingy so David wouldn't have to be everywhere all at once trying to pick up the wrapping paper.  He had a lot of fun with that.  He just relaxed and stayed put as we threw our paper toward him and it almost always landed within the reach of his extended arm tool.

Kim made this hat for Lisa to play dress-up.

Our dog is content just about anywhere.  She just loves to be a part of the family!

Here's Granddad sporting the new hat he got for Christmas!

Christmas Celebration with the Mueller side at Aunt Kathleen & Uncle Paul's house.

Uncle Tim and Great Auntie Rose

Uncle Ray always does an excellent job leading our Christmas caroling.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve Celebration

...with the Carter side of the family.  We host this and were glad that a few of our cousins that can't normally make it were able to this year.  It was good to see them again.

We had planned to go caroling through the neighborhood, but the freezing rain prevented us so we just sang carols together around the fireplace instead.  Throughout the evening we enjoyed chatting, playing games, taking a quiz on how well we knew the Christmas story, eating of course, and singing through an old cantata together.

A couple pictures.  (The cameras weren't very active that night.)

Singing carols together

The Paul Carter Family

Freezing Rain

It can make for a real mess, especially when driving in, through, on, or after it, but it can make for some real beauty too.

Here are a few pictures taken in the morning of Christmas Eve.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

About the letter...

I've heard from some that I e-mailed the letter to, that it went directly to their spam folder.  I apologize for that.  It's probably because I sent it to soooo many all at once, but I don't know how else I could've done it other than individually, and that would've taken forever.  :-(  The attachment may have played a part in it too.

Any suggestions that I might consider for next year's mass e-mailing so it's not taken as spam would be appreciated.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's Out!

If you haven't already received it on paper or by e-mail, I am glad that I still have this final way of reaching you! Along the side of the blog is a link to our 2009 Mueller Family Update Letter that we have tried to send out every year (which, by the way, didn't happen the last two years). You are welcome to print it out and share it with your family if they would be interested.

Please enjoy!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Noelle's Special Day

For a little while now, we've been thinking we really should get around to some of Noelle's grooming needs:
  • giving her a bath (preferably not on a really cold day so she won't freeze when she has to go out)
  • taking the time (lots of time) to comb/brush her ears that are so matted up
  • probably trim the hair on her ears so it is neater and less likely to get all matted (none of us are trained pet barbers, but we can do the basic ear trimming relatively well...provided the dog is cooperative)
  • trimming her nails (we almost always cut at least one just a little too short and don't always notice immediately, which means we have to clean up the carpet wherever she's been since it started bleeding....)
Different ones of us specialize in the different areas of her grooming, but we keep not having the time or patience to do it just now, or we're sick and just not up to it, and all that.  We're basically capable of doing what needs done, but the short version is simply that we keep putting it off.

Anyway, today we decided to take her in and get her groomed.  It was time.  After all, she is five years old and had never had the experience.  (The poor, deprived dog....)

I'm sorry, but I don't seem to really have a good "Before" picture for you with the long hair on her ears and them all tangled and matted up.

Here, however, are some "After" pictures.  This is what she looked like when she got home.  She came home wearing a bow and a bandanna.  (She was not being very cooperative with the camera tonight.)

No, I wouldn't call this a wonderful picture, but I think it was the one that best displayed her bandanna.

This one sort of does look posed.  It wasn't.

A little bit blurry....

HollyBeth was so kind as to help hold her relatively still.  I guess the photograph also shows her petite size.

I used the flash so the lighting is a bit interesting on this one.  (I really don't know why I'm posting all of these pictures of my dog...but I am....Well, you do keep asking for more pictures....Do pictures of the dog count?)  :-)

I'm not sure whether this is her royal pose, or a pose displaying her stubbornness....   :-)

This picture is from the evening that we got her, nearly five years ago.
She weighed about 3.5 pounds!

Now, all at once - "Oh, she's soooo cute!" 
Of course she is!  Didn't we already know that?!  After all, I think that's how she won her way so thoroughly into Mom's heart 5 years ago.  :-)

....5 people years or more than 30 dog years later....
(her birthday, for those wondering, is October 1st, 2004)

She's now reached a whopping 10 pounds, and her majesty is still quite the lap dog.