Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Heading to the Great White North!

Hey Y'all!

Our flight leaves in about 3.5 hours so I'm running around vacuuming and sweeping and packing like mad so I can come home to a clean house! Jon has a ton to finish up at work before he can leave on vakay so he's been super busy. I think we got 5 hours of sleep last night, possibly! But I wanted to pop on here and share the latest video Jon created for The Met. It's the continuation of Samuel's story (and it's kind of long, so grab a snack and sit a while). Hopefully we're seeing a lot of your smiling faces soon!

Mylius Family Story from The MET Church on Vimeo.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Our Little Christmas



On Saturday morning, we celebrated Christmas just the three of us. I wanted to do it on a morning when Jon didn't have to rush off to work. To be honest, Jon and I were so excited to give Brennan his wooden train set that we didn't even sleep that well. We set it all up the night before so when he came out into the living room he'd see it. It was awesome, he loooves it! The kid loves his milk, so when he played with the trains all morning without one sip of milk, we knew we had a winner.



Jon and I weren't going to exchange gifts, just like last year. However, my sweet husband called me up last week and said, "Guess what? I bought you a Christmas present. And I got a really good deal on it, it was only $100.00".

Are you kidding me? So although I love his heart for giving (this guy has the most generous spirit out of anyone I know), I felt really scrambled and rushed trying to find him a gift. Thankfully, my friend, Cherish called with an awesome idea to have Brennan paint a picture for Jon's office at work. Brennan had a blast "colowing" and Jon loved the gift, whew.


Working on his masterpiece.

After opening presents, Jon made us a yummy breakfast, I'm convinced guys are innately better at cooking breakfast than girls. At least that's been my experience.



We fly to Detroit on Wednesday for Christmas with our families, so excited! It's supposed to be 75 degrees here tomorrow so I'm pretty sure our bodies will go into shock once we land, ha!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's The Little Things


I had been wanting to get Brennan a particular toy for a while and even put it on his wishpot. Wishpot is awesome, by the way. So his birthday came and went in February and we never bought the toy, mainly because we don't really spend money on toys for him. He gets toys from garage sales or his wonderful Grandparents or hand me downs so really, he has plenty.

Fast forward to Saturday and we're driving through our neighborhood and see that exact same toy I wanted for him sitting in front of someone's house waiting to be picked up by the trash man. So we grabbed, I cleaned it off, and here it is! Brennan loves it!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Randomness, really.


-I'm not a very good "stay at home" mom. What I mean is, I'm not good at staying at home with Brennan. I get antsy if we stay home even one day. I neeeed to get out, NEEED! Even if it's just to Target or the park. Anyways, I took Brennan to the doctor last Thursday because he was a walking disaster and I figured something must be wrong. He rarely gets fevers or pulls at his ears, so the only way I know he's sick is when he just has meltdowns for every little thing. He had an ear infection. So Thursday and Friday we stayed home and tried to lay low. Ugh. Hated it. Anyone else feel me on this?

-Thankfully he's feeling better this week so we can do our usual routine of playgroups, bible study, MOPS, walking with friends, etc. Did I tell you I'm the new playgroup coordinator for our Lifegroup? We meet once a week at various places, people's houses, the mall, parks, splash pads, etc. It's fun for me to find new areas to meet at and it helps me get to know Houston better.

-This morning, our MOPS table had a Christmas cookie exchange and my husband is officially in sugar heaven. Last year, we had the exchange the day before we flew to Michigan for Christmas, so I gave them all away. This year, they're all ours, ha!!! :)

-Last week, our Bible study (we studied this book) finished up for the year and we all went out to lunch at the Bake Shoppe It's awesome! I snapped a few photos on my cell phone:



Kind of "Texas" in design but I really like it. (see, told you, random post). Is anybody still reading this? Helllo? Hello?

Can you believe Christmas is NEXT week? Holy guacamole. It was 78 degrees here on Saturday, I can't believe Christmas is next Saturday, it's not computing. That's all I have for today. Maybe I'll post some more randomness tomorrow, that is, if anyone is still reading by this point. . .

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas- Texas Style


Last night, Jon and I were planning on going out on a date (sushi for him, Charming Charlies for me, it's all about the compromise in this relationship, ha!). But Brennan has an ear infection, so we had to cancel. Instead, we decided to drive around the Prestonwood Neighborhood which is known for their Christmas light displays.

It was pretty neat, each road within the neighborhood had a theme, such as Frosty the Snowman, the 12 Days of Christmas, etc. Then, we came across the "Texas Christmas" street. Check it out:







Oh Texas, you kill me sometimes.

This morning, I really wanted/needed to get out of the house. After being home with Brennan for a few days, I get antsy. So we went to some Tomball Festival we stumbled upon and walked around. Today is gorrrrgeous outside so we wanted to be outside and enjoy the weather (high of 78 today). The market was a perfect place to do that! There were all sorts of vendors, rides, food, etc. We even got to see this gem:



video

"Swingin' Home for Christmas"

This state is awesome.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Stuff

So the Christmas craziness has begun in the Ackerman household and I love it! It seems like there is something going on every single night with Christmas parties and get togethers. It's kind of weird because it doesn't SEEM like Christmas, it's not that cold and there's no snow on the ground. But it is the Christmas season and my favorite time of year!!


Our FPU Class

Wednesday night was our last FPU class and we ended it with a little party. Let the Christmas eating begin, right? :) The last session was about giving. Be responsible with your money, live below your means, so you can give! Not so you can hoard. It was my favorite lesson of the entire session.

Thursday night we had dinner with some other staff families. Friday night was our Life Group's Christmas party, thank you Jesus for Parents Night Out! Saturday, Jon and I went to the shooting range with some friends of ours. The husband is a police officer and had all sorts of guns to shoot with. If I do say so myself, I'm a pretty good shot. :)



Jon at the range. We are totally Texans now.

Saturday night, our friends Ashley and Daniel had us over for dinner. Ashley's been a blessing in my life, she has a son almost the exact same age as Brennan and they are little buddies. I met Ashley at a StrollerFit class I went to once. She came up to me in our Life Group and said, "you look familiar". Turns out a few weeks after that class, her and her hubby decided to join our class. They grilled steak on Saturday night with this amazing sauce and it was soooo delicious.

This year, I decided to make these cinnamon rolls for some Christmas presents (neighbors, co-workers, etc.). Lord have mercy. They are amazing (and calorie free, in case you were wondering). I've mentioned Pioneer Women several times before on this blog because she's awesome and everything I've made from her recipes has been good! Here's the final results:

See? Totally calorie free!

Yesterday afternoon was The Met's Staff Christmas Party. They had a pretty-darn-close-to-real-looking Santa Clause there. B was not a fan.


Classic.



Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving.


He was so excited when we put the small tree up, I couldn't wait to see how he reacted to the big tree. Christmas is like 14,000 times more fun when you have a toddler!



It's Saturday morning and B and I are hanging out at the house. Jon is at breakfast with a friend. B is ooohing and ahhing over the Christmas tree and decorations. He loooves the lights! Now, if we can get him to stay away from the ornaments, life would be good. :)

We went to a friends house for Thanksgiving and had a great time cooking, eating, and playing the wii. I made a sweet potato casserole, toffee and these rolls. I had a slight mishap while making the sweet potato casserole (I accidentally dropped the hot pad in the oven and didn't realize it, while the potatoes were cooking which resulted in a lot of smoke and a flame engulfed hot pad, whoops). I made Jon taste test the potatoes to see if they tasted like burnt fabric but he claims they were okay, whew! It was a bummer not to see our families on Thanksgiving but it helps to know that we fly out in three weeks for Christmas! We were able to skype with The Zuberts and my parents in Buffalo so that was so nice.


Looking at the Black Friday ads (how we spent Thanksgiving morning)


I was totally not expecting to go out shopping yesterday during Black Friday. But Jon and I decided last minute at about 10:30 to go to Kohl's. And it was actually not too crazy! We found some good deals we didn't even know we were looking for (ha!). I also did a lot of shopping online which is my favorite way to shop, especially since a lot of stores give free shipping and we can have items shipped directly to our parents house in Michigan. We also put up the Christmas tree and decorations yesterday. I've got a great video of us putting the tree up which I'll put up later today, we're off to explore downtown, adios!!

Edit. . . here's our video of us putting up the tree (Meggie, like the music??).

Merry Christmas 2010 from Jonathan Ackerman on Vimeo.



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mama Video

This video was on our Met MOPS facebook page and I loved it. All you mamas or mamas to be, check it out!! The makers of the video asked moms if they could go back to before their first baby, what would they tell themselves. All the women in the video are moms.





Sunday, November 21, 2010



The Groobs shoe drop in downtown Houston went great on Friday night! Here's Jon multi-tasking the night away:

I'm glad we brought Brennan, some of the homeless never see little kiddos so they loved him.

Yesterday Jon watched B so I could meet a friend for coffee. After Brennan's nap, a sweet friend of ours snapped some quick photos of us for our Christmas cards. Then we headed out for a going away party for some friends that are moving to Argentina. I spent the rest of the night watching Gilmore Girls in bed. I'm addicted.

Anyone had experience painting in a rental house/apartment? We/I want to paint a wall in our living room but we have to paint it back white before we move out. I think it's worth the effort even though it's not a long term thing because I really want to warm that room up. But we're also worried that we wont get it back to the same white as the other walls and will get charged some of our security money. We know what color paint is on these walls but each batch of paint comes up a tiny bit different. Any advice?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Groobs dudes




Every fall at The Met we have a series called, "The Big Give". Different ministires are highlighted and money is raised to help different organizations out, etc. (side note, why do I have this blog? I am THEE worst at explaining things, especially when I write it out. So sorry if you hardly have a clue what I'm talking about). Anyways, last year (year before that? not sure. . .) during the Big Give, a guy saw a video about kids who had no shoes. At all. And he decided to do something about it. Tom's Shoes is an organization whereby you buy a pair of shoes and they give one away. This man decided to do one better and started his own shoe company, Groobs. Through Groobs, you buy a pair of shoes, he gives one away AND gives 50% of the profits away to the charity of your choice. Check it out here (perhaps add one to your Christmas list, hmmm?).

All that to say, tonight Jon is heading downtown Houston where some college students will be giving away 250 Groobs to the homeless of Houston. He's going to be shooting some footage and photographs to get some b roll (how do you like that, honey?). We decided to go as a family and take Brennan as well so it'll be interesting! I think Jon's putting B in a backpack while shooting with his video camera, we'll see! I am so proud of my husband and what he does for a living. Statistics show that people remember 10% of the spoken word and 85% of what they see. Videos are so impactful! He's a rockstar and I'm grateful to be along for the ride. I haven't been able to be with him during his shoots since we've had the little man so I'm excited for tonight.

Pssst, if you want to see more videos from The Met, click on this vimeo link.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Holiday Dinner, Garage Sale, Samuel.




This past Friday night was the Women's Holiday Dinner at The Met at the Berry Center. I sat at the Ruth table with my Bible study girls. Here's our table decorated as a threshing floor:


I wasn't very much in the Holiday spirit until this dinner, now I'm totally ready for Christmas to be here! As long as I don't hear that horrid Christmas Shoes song on the radio. That song makes me want to vomit every time I hear it. Is anybody with me on that? Horrible song.

Saturday we woke up bright and early for the Coles Crossing garage sale. We had a garage sale with some of Jon's co-workers and I also did some shopping of my own. We didn't sell as much as we hoped but I did find some super cute clothes for B that I'm so excited about! We went home for a few hours and then headed to a friends house for dinner. The food was so good, Jon had to roll me home. Just kidding, kind of. We had bacon wrapped chicken, twice baked potatoes, smoked sausage and all sorts of yumminess.

But Sunday, Sunday was the best day of all because we got to meet Samuel!!! He was at church with his new family. He says he remembers Jon but we're not sure if he recognizes him with his new beard (thank you to No-shave November). You can read about Samuel here. Jon met Samuel while filming in Uganda last year. They brought his story back to The Met during last year's Big Give series. A family was so taken by Samuel and his story they decided to start the adoption process. He's now in Houston and living with his new adopted family. I met his mom yesterday and she 100% reminded me of Leanne Tuohy from The Blind Side.

Today is filled with playgroup at the mall and grocery shopping and laundry. I must run, take care!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

This is the time of year when it gets hard for me to not see our families. It's a long time between August and December, people!! Especially because Brennan is at that age (the first few years of life) where he is just CONSTANTLY changing. In the last few months, it seems like he's become a little boy and no longer a baby. He's hilarious and sweet and afraid of new experiences and awesome all in one.

A couple days ago, I gave him a slice of apple to eat. He was walking around the house whining and pointing at his mouth, but I just kind of ignored it (ha!). A few minutes into this and I decided to open his mouth and just take the apple out since it was bothering him. Well, much to my surprise, there was an ENORMOUS ball of gum and gum wrapper in his mouth. And then I saw the empty gum box in his hand. He had gone into my purse, pulled out the gum, and stuck every single piece, including the wrappers, in his mouth. Haha! No wonder he was whining, the massive wad was just not going away no matter how much he chewed! oh kids, they are hilarious. . .

This past Friday night was Parents Night Out at the church, I love Parents Night Out!! It's from 6-10:00 and it's super cheap for us since Jon's on staff. We went out to dinner and bowling with the other tech arts guys and their wives. We had so much fun!


Saturday was a mostly chill day since Jon ended up going into work for a few hours for the stage reset. Some friends had us over for dinner and they have a son the same age as Brennan. It was fun to see the two of them play together.

The weekend went far too quick and now it's the middle of the week already. Where does time go??

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Moving . . .


Jon and B greeting our movers with coffee (no shame in schmoozing them to take good care of our stuff, ha!)

Jon keeps encouraging me to write a blog about moving. Moving tips, what we wished we did, how to manage the transition, what it's like to move cross country, something along those lines. But see, I'm not a moving guru. Ask a military wife, not me!! But after thinking a little bit about it, I did come up with some tips/thoughts on moving based on our experiences.

1. Moving is hard whether your moving 2 hours away or 27. When we moved from Grand Rapids to Lansing in 2004, we were totally unprepared for how HARD it was going to be. It was only one hour away, but life was totally different. The hardest part was how unprepared we were to start our life without any friends nearby. We didn't think it'd be a big deal, but it was. Short or long distance, moving is hard.

2.Give yourself time. Prepare your self mentally, spiritually, and emotionally to go through a time of loneliness. Even if you meet friends right away, it takes time to build a relationship and to truly get to know one another deep down.

3. If it sucks (we speak from experience here), don't turn around and run back. Again, give it some time. Maybe things wont turn around and you'll move again soon. But maybe they will. And just maybe, God needs to soften up your heart a little bit so He can use you more in this new season of life.

4. Jump in with both feet. We didn't do everything the right way when we moved to Houston last year. But the one thing I think we did pretty well was engaging ourselves in activities and people. I joined MOPS and a women's bible study the second week we were here. We later joined a small group which has been a life saver to us. I also started volunteering in the baby nursery at The Met. We met our neighbors, explored the city and volunteered. Don't hesitate to start your new life where you are. I still find myself trying to push the thoughts of "we aren't going to be here forever and I don't want to get invested" away.

5. Don't live in the past. Do your best to not idealize the past but to live for today.

6. Put your stake in the ground. I'm not sure if this one is going to make sense. But this is where we went awry. Once you (and your spouse if applicable) have made the decision to move, mark that down in your hearts and when you face times of doubt, remember that moment in time when you made that decision. Be at peace knowing you made it with clear minds and full hearts (Friday Night Lights, anyone??). If things truly are horrible, then humble yourselves and perhaps you need to move again or make new decisions or whatever. But make sure there is a point when both of you 100% agree to the move and take full responsibility in the decision. If one of you is still wavering a bit, don't (I repeat, don't) make the decision yet. The job, house, school, etc. will still be there if it's the right one once you are both on the same page 100%.

7. Buy a GPS. Seriously, life saver.




Ok, that's all I got. I thought I could make it all the way to 10 but apparently not. Maybe one of you dear, faithful readers are facing a move and maybe this will help?

Enjoy!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

MOPS

Today was MOPS day. My favorite day of the week. Who would've thought I would have said that two years ago? (right, Mariam?) Anywho, today was a craft day and we made these:

It can be used to hold a photo or a recipe or whatever you want. And as I was walking through our house, I realized how many MOPS crafts I have around. I think our MOPS at The Met is AWESOME. And the crafts they have are so cool! I even found myself writing an email last year to the craft coordinators telling them how great the crafts were. I had super duper low expectations for all things MOPS and really was happily surprised at how well our MOPS is done. Check out some of the crafts we've done:



A Mod Podge picture frame with rhinestones.


Decorative tile

A memo board (which I use to hold necklaces)



Coasters

I've also got a necklace, apron and bag in my closet that I made at MOPS. I'm thankful when things are done well and I'm thankful for the leadership of MOPS and the leadership at The Met that support us. It's such a great ministry to mom's who work part time or stay at home and need a time to relax without kiddos and hang out with other moms.

(Shout out to Mariam Perrault, Erin Zubert and everyone else who encouraged me to join it!!)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Samuel update

Hey guys!!

A quick update. . . I'm not sure if any of you remember Samuel? He was a boy Jon met in Uganda, click here to read the story. We raised enough money for him to attend school for the first time in his life, and he has for the past year of his life. The AMAZING news is that someone from The Met recently finalized paperwork to ADOPT Samuel!! We heard he flew into Houston last week and Jon is so looking forward to checking in on him to see how he's doing. Thank you to everyone who gave to put him in school. Isn't our God awesome?

We're blessed SO we can bless others.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Weekend and Stuff

This past Friday, some friends and I took our kiddos to the pumpkin patch, mainly to get photos of our babies with pumpkins. Instead, Brennan ended up doing this most of the time:


I tried to get some quality photos of him and I but the sun was either in our eyes or he was moving.


Oh well, what can ya do? Saturday, we decided to get up and go straight to Starbucks in our pj's. Brennan was too cool for school on our drive to Starbucks:

Like a mentioned earlier, we're doing the envelope system of cash for some of our areas of spending. Since Saturday was October 30th we didn't have much cash left for entertainment so we decided to try and spend the day at home. We went for a bike ride, washed both cars, watched college football and hung out.

Now I must go. Brennan is banging on the office door to be let in. Adios!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween- Texas Style!


Lord have mercy. It was hot down here for Halloween! I remember last year wearing a fleece and being really comfortable. This year, not so much. See exhibit A:




We went to a Fall Festival put on by the YMCA and a local church. It was pretty neat, they had train rides and about 10 different inflatable jumping thingys and lots of little games for the kiddos to play. We lasted about an hour and a half before Brennan starting melting, I think he was hot and hungry. Before we left, the sun started to go down and it cooled off enough for him to put on his entire costume. He was enthralled with the firetrucks:


Please note his adorable little monster costume made by my awesome Mother in law! Westin wore it last year and Erin passed it on to us. Loved it!



On the train ride. Thanks for the picture, Fietka!

Brennan and his good friend, Barrett. We could NOT get a photo of both of them looking at the camera!

Afterwards, we went Trick or Treating with him around our neighborhood street. He was ADORABLE. He said, "tick or teeet" and "tnk you".

It's possible Jon and I ate 90% of the candy in Brennan's bag last night and now I feel I need to detox and eat a salad for lunch. Adios!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Family Photos


When we were in Michigan for summer vacation in August, the Ackerman clan had family photos taken. Do you know how difficult it is to get 6 adults + 3 kids smiling and looking at the camera all at the same time? :) Ben Pancoast was our photographer and he did a stand-up job with the craziness he was given. Thank you, Ben!




In other news, we went to our first Texas High School Football game last night and it was a BLAST! Our neighbor (and babysitter) is on the drill team for Tomball High School. Her family invited us to watch the game and see her do her thing. Football in Texas is kind of a culture shock. But Jon and I were prepared because we love Friday Night Lights, ha!! We hadn't been to a high school football game in a few years and it was so much fun! Tomball won and is now in the playoffs which is awesome.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hermann Park

Yesterday was the first Saturday in a while in which we were all three home together. We decided to celebrate by going downtown to Hermann Park for the evening. We had such a good time! The weather is beeaautiful right now.

We rode the train around the park which the B man loved since he's a little obsessed with Thomas the Train. When we were leaving the gift shop he said, "bye bye, Thomas". So cute!



We walked around, fed the ducks, watched the helicopters and enjoyed the night.




Why would he play with the dozens of fountains or playgrounds when he can play with our stroller?


We ate a quick dinner at Bodegas Taco Shop and my burrito was twice the side of my head, it was HUGE. But I ate it all. Can you believe it? YESss. I'm thankful for these days. How was your weekend?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happenings

I recently Netflixed Gilmore Girls and am totally loving that show. Now I'm super tired because I stayed up too late watching it, ha! Here's a few photos of what we've been up to lately.

We took Brennan to McDonald's after church a few Sundays back and bought him his first Happy Meal. And guess what? He hated it. He eats a pretty healthy diet so I wasn't surprised. Funny kid!


This spring during our neighborhood wide garage sale, we bought this bike trailer. It was missing a small part that we had to buy online and we just never got around to it until last weekend.
Brennan looved it!


Last Friday night (two Friday nights ago, I can't remember. . . ) we went to Vintage Park to hang out for the evening. We love Vintage Park! It has a fun little square with fountains and restaurants and there's always a live band playing on Friday nights. Brennan loves to run and play in the fountains and make a spectacle of himself.

Lastly, I've been wanting to take some Kyrlon Oil Rubbed Bronze and spray paint some wood items I have to black. Unfortunately, I went to Lowe's and they don't carry Krylon so I had to settle for another paint and it turned out too glossy. But here's the before and after:


Before. . . brown antiquey looking mirror I picked up at a garage sale for $2.00.

After. Much better (but still too glossy for my taste). I love all things black!!

Wider shot