Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas 2007

Christmas has come and gone, and a new year is upon us. I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday, and are looking forward to new beginnings in 2008.

We had a lovely Christmas! After all the shopping and wrapping, and Christmas cards sent out (okay, I caved this year - I didn't have enough time to make our cards, and so we went with a photo greeting card from Walgreens! It was so easy, I may have to give up making cards altogether!), we made our annual trek to Wisconsin. On Saturday, we drove up to Prairie Du Chien and celebrated the holidays with John's (Jared's dad) family. When we woke up the next morning, we were greeted with a rather hefty snowfall! We had a door in our hotel room that opened up to the parking lot, and the snow was a good 2 feet tall when we opened that door (see pic below!)! We were unsure how the roads were going to be (we had a 2.5 hours ahead of us to Lake Mills, WI), and after the guys scraped snow off our cars and shoveled a decent pathway for the cars, we decided to brave the winter roads (we're no wimps!)!

(4 generation pic - Jane, Grandma Uecker, Joshua, & Jared)
We made it to Lake Mills in a little over 3 hours, and were able to celebrate with Jane's family (even though the Packers didn't deliver our Christmas present!). It was good to see both Jared's grandmothers and to catch up with the extended families. Late Sunday afternoon, we drove back to Illinois. It took longer than expected because of the weather and other unforseen circumstances, like a semi hanging over the bridge which caused traffic to detour and take a different route!! We were very glad to arrive home, and back in our own comfy beds after a weekend of traveling! However, more food and festivities await...
Christmas Eve was spent in Elmhurst with the family. We opened lots of presents (it seemed like the tree exploded this year!), and enjoyed a wonderful lunch together. Jane started a tradition last year by making a birthday cake for Jesus. We sang "Happy Birthday" and of course, Joshua's job was to blow out the candles (he made good attempts, but Jared had to help him a little!). Matt and Anne left soon after, and the rest of us did what was usual after a big, hearty meal!
For the first time, we spent Christmas Day by ourselves. It was such a special day (equally special because we got to stay in our pajamas all day!). I made a pork roast for lunch, and we watched the Nativity Story in the afternoon. What a powerful movie - true story, too!! Thank you God for your son, Jesus!
Even though I miss caroling at my students' homes every Christmas, God has blessed us this year with many other meaningful memories:
- our neighbors were able to come with us to the Christmas Service at Willow

- we had a great Moms' Group Christmas Party, and we finally got to meet each other's hubbies (here's a pic of us moms and our kiddies!)

- we are so blessed to have friends who care about us

- it's Joshua's 2nd Christmas, and he's 19 months!

- Joshua is now in his big boy bed. We got him a toddler bed for Christmas, and he's transitioning well. We rearranged his room, and after taking down the crib, there's definitely more room for play. Besides all the gifts he received (he loves all the trucks and cars, and the puzzles, too!), we pray that he will come to know the true meaning of Christmas!
Happy new year!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Joshua is 18 months

Joshua is 18 months! Instead of going to Kiddie Kandids or JC Penney's (actually, we're boycotting Penney's), we decided to use our Christmas tree as a backdrop and take Joshua's 18-month pictures at home with our trusty digital camera. After lots of jumping up and down on Jared's part, and basically, any attempt to amuse our child, we were able to capture some "smiley" moments!

Our little boy is so much fun! In his 18th month:
* he's more verbal - we notice him chatting away by himself as he plays
* his sign language repetoire has expanded to include "sorry" and "thank you"
* he's definitely into cars! Hot wheels, to be precise!
* he's running...boy, is he running!
* he has a temper...boy, does he have a temper! He tends to throw things when he's in rage - um, anger management, anyone?
* but he's compassionate - he empathizes with other kids when they cry, and often offers the crying babe something that he thinks may comfort them
* he is head-strong...hmmm, I wonder who he gets that from??
* he LOVES to have his teeth brushed (see pic below!) - he went to his first dentist appointment a couple of weeks ago...he wasn't very thrilled, but when he received a new toothbrush at the end of the session, it was all good!
* he loves piggy-back rides!
* he is definitely high energy! (can I put "babysitting time" on my Christmas list?)

Even though I run around after Joshua all day, either in play or panic, and literally collapse on the couch after we put him to bed at the end of the day, I wouldn't trade this season for anything in the world! How blessed am I to be able to share these precious, holy moments with my son! To love this little person so profoundly is but a glimpse of God's love for me, for us. What a priviledge it is to be able to experience that!

We're looking forward to this Christmas. We can't wait to see him "enjoy" this season!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

Thanksgiving has come and gone. Admist all the busyness of the festivities, we began a family tradition last year where we me made a list of people/events that we're thankful for this year. We keep this list in a journal, and we pray together as a family at the beginning of each Thanksgiving Day.
Included on our list are names of new friends, as well as friendships that have gone deeper and have become meaningful and important to us. We also take time to think about all the blessings that God has given us, including good health, a warm home, and the fact that we are not in want. We are thankful for new opportunities, adventures, and holy moments; we are thankful for each other.

Yesterday, we spent Thanksgiving at Jared's parents' home. Everyone was there, including Jared's Grandma Uecker and Aunt MaryAnn and Uncle Scott. We were all doned in our Packer gear as our beloved Green Bay Packers were playing the Detriot Lions in the first football game of the day. This die-hard Packer family (namely, John and Jane!) had 3 T.V.s going on at once - making sure no one missed a single moment or play as one transitioned from the basement to the kitchen to load up on more food! Three hours later, the Packers surged forward to hold a 10-1 record as they beat the Lions. Oh, Brett - you're so good to us!
Following the game, we began the feast to end all feasts! The turkey was exquisite, the sweet potatoes were divine, and all who ate were overwhelmingly satisfied. As I reflect on the abundance of good food and good company, I'm thankful that God has and continues to meet our needs in more ways than one. There are so many people out there who do not know where their next meal will be coming from, nor do they have family with whom they can experience intimacy. Our church's Client Care Center, a.k.a the Food Pantry, has a relationship with the Chicago Food Depository, so if you are reading this blog, and feel led to contribute to our Food Drive, you can log on to

This few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are often a blur as people get busy with decorating, buying gifts, attending countless parties, and...well, we're just busy! I pray that we will also take time to remember the reason for this season - Jesus Christ. "For from Him and through Him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen." (Romans 11:36)
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We are thankful for all of you, and we pray that this coming Christmas season will be filled with much love, joy, and peace!

Our son in GQ?

Okay, so our friend, Marshall, does photography as a hobby. So we thought we'd help him practice and build his portfolio by taking pictures of Joshua. For those of you who have been around our little boy, he has an aversion to smiling once a camera is thrust in front of his face. However, the moment the flash goes off and the picture is taken, he frustrates the photographer with a smile then!

We didn't know how many good shots we'd get from our photo shoot. But as we browsed through all 203 of them (and the majority were no-smiles, mind you), we found these poses. Don't you think they they are worthy of a Baby GQ Magazine?? Or am I just being a biased momma? His sultry look is pretty cute!

"Joshua Ahrens...modeling this year's Fall and Winter line by Gymboree. Dressed in a cream turtleneck with tan rugby-stripes on sleeves; accented by a zippered, brown suede, wool-line vest. Oh so chic!"

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Here they of our little lion on Halloween!!

Going for the biggest Snicker bar, of course!

The day before, we had a mini Halloween party at our neighborhood's Moms' Group. It was just too cute! We had 2 lions (Joshua and Nathan), a pumpkin (Grace Ann), a monkey (Talia), a puppy (Joel), and Jack. Try getting 6 one-year-olds to sit on a couch for a picture - a feat in itself!! Enjoy these adorable pics!

On Halloween, we braced ourselves for the after-school group of trick-or-treaters. We didn't actually go door-to-door, but let Joshua walk around outside for a little. His costume is just too cute! Check out this little behind!!

We carved our first pumpkin, which we got at The Royal Oak Farms. As you can tell, Joshua wasn't the biggest fan of Mr. Pumpkin!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Joshua is 17 months!

Our beautiful boy is 17 months today!

Back to health!

We are all better now!

After 2 weeks of being sick, we are thankful to be back in good health. Joshua's little friend, Grace Ann, was hospitalized for severe croup a couple of weeks ago. Because croup is contagious, we took Joshua to the doctor to have him checked out. Fortunately, he wasn't affected - he just had a congestion and a bad cough. Under our doctor's advisement, we picked up a humidifier that same day to put in Joshua's room while he slept. It really did wonders! Little did we know that the humidifier would serve to be a double-blessing! When Joshua got better, it was my turn to get sick with strep. I guess that's how things are! However, with antibiotics and the trusty humidifier, I was able to feel better after a week (and huge thanks to Jared, too, for taking care of all of us when I was banished to our bedroom during my "contagious" phase).

Back to the fun stuff...Joshua continues to grow in his exploration of things around the house. He loves anything with lights and buttons. Hence, the phone has been one of his favorites! As you can see, he knows exactly what to do with it! It's amazing how much this kid observes and mimicks us, even when we don't realize it! Oh, another funny thing...whenever our cell phone rings, and our predetermined tunes come on (mine's jazz, Jared's some funky rock sound), Joshua starts to bust a move! It's quite the sight!

Joshua sure loves Reggie...or Reggie's crate, rather! When in doubt of where Joshua is, the crate is one place to look. I don't know when or how he figured out that it's just the coolest place to hang out! As you can tell, Reggie lets Joshua right in his crib (we've never tried the other way around!). They have become quite the playmates - much to our delight and relief! They play well together, and it's been great to see how much fun Joshua has with Reggie. (Yes, we do keep our eyes on them, and we never leave them alone together! I know some of you are biting your tongues, so you can relax now.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

October 2 - Pumpkin Farm

It's October, and fall is here - our favorite season! This past weekend, we celebrated Fall by going to Goebbert's, which is a pumpkin farm just down the road from us. Joshua had a blast! There was a pretend fire truck, and he would not relinquish the driver seat to anyone!! Hence, a teaching moment of sharing, admist much angst and reluctance as we stood to the side and practiced our virtue of patience. But, the second the seat became vacant, Joshua bolted to it! He grasped the wheel with the biggest grin on his face, rang the bell, and all was well in Joshua Land.

Finally, we were able to tear him away from the fire truck (deceptively with the promise of food!) and continued our slow amble through the rest of the pumpkin farm. There was just so much to see and do! Joshua enjoyed a little snack of apple cider and apple donuts (did I already mention that food is a good way to lure our little snack-happy son?). Both he and his little friend, Grace Ann, also marvelled at the monstrosity of the camels, awed at the delicacy of the ponies, and feigned disgust at the repugnant scent coming from the petting zoo!

Nevertheless, it was a good first experience for Joshua and me (I've never been to a pumpkin farm before either!). We'll definitely go back. As Joshua gets older (and taller), there's a plethora of activities for children which he will enjoy!

This past weekend was undoubtedly a lot of fun (especially with the Packers being 4-0, and Brett making history)! We hope to be able to get out and enjoy more outdoor activities, enjoy the fall colors, and relish this season with thanksgiving.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

September 26

Joshua is 16 months today! This past month has definitely been a lot of fun, as we've watched him discover new things and grow in his personality and abilities to communicate with us. Some of his obvious developments are:

* his walking is taking off - he tries to run, but soon does a face-plant as his feet is not moving as fast as his will! He still walks in a "drunkard" stance - arms out, totting side-to-side. But, oh so cute!
* he's moved into size 5 shoes!!
* he's recently developed a smile that we call "the cheeky smile" - huge smile, showing off his pearly whites, eyes closed. He usually does this in a state of mischeviousness (is this a word?). He knows that he's not suppose to do something, but is going to try and get away with it anyway! It's hard to say "no" to him with a straight face when this happens!
* he's using more words now, like up, ball, dog, duck, "meow", and the most recent acquisition, "no" (we knew the day would come!).
* he likes to beat on Reggie with his plastic yellow baseball bat. Actually, they play pretty well together! Most of Joshua's toys have Reggie's teeth-marks on them!
* Speaking of teeth, have we told you that Joshua has a full mouth of teeth already!? We go to his first dentist appointment next week!

Joshua continues to delight us in so many ways. We are so thankful that he's healthy and transitioning nicely into Toddlerhood (although, I still relish his baby moments and wonder if there's a way I can stop him from growing up too fast. Suggestions anyone?)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

September 23

We were in Indiana this weekend visiting friends. It's amazing that in Joshua's short 15 months of life, he's already an international, as well as an interstate traveler! Singapore in March, Colorado in July, and Indiana in September (oh, and Wisconsin for the holidays, of course!).

As I type this, Jared is in Green Bay at a Packer Game! Joshua is napping, and I'm on the verge of slumber, too. These past few weeks have been busy, and it's nice to be able to lay on the couch and rest a little. I can't remember the last time I took a nap!

Anyway, part of our intention of starting a blog is to be able to document some of Joshua's milestones. Many times I've said to myself "I really need to write this down - he just said "dog" and he's starting to interact with Reggie!" And by the time I know it, time's flown right by and I didn't get to journal about it!

So, I hope I can post a blog once a week or so, just to give updates on Joshua, and what's going on in our lives. Really, it's for me to get better about journaling (so it's for selfish reasons!), but we welcome others reading it, and we hope you can laugh, love, cry, pray, experience life with us! May God's fingerprints be evident in the events of the life of the Ahrens Family!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

It took a while but...

we're here! We've finally joined the world-wide-web of blogging (we should have done this a long time ago!). Anyway, we hope this will allow family and friends to stay updated with the happenings in our family. We'll try our best to post a weekly entry - please feel free to send comments, as we'd love to hear from you!

We'll post some recent pics soon!