Thursday, December 31, 2009

The End of 2009!

While we are happy to see this year come to an end and a new year begin, we have to be thankful for 2009. Of course this year brought us our precious son Tanner. While our life has changed dramatically, we couldn't imagine it any other way! Izabel and Tanner make everyday an adventure and make us a little more thankful for the time we have together.

Kids: Tanner Wayne Ketchledge was born April 8, 2009. We thought Izabel was such an easy baby so we were really worried about getting a difficult second child. Little did we know that Tanner would be the easiest baby i have ever seen. He is pretty much always happy and perfectly content to just sit back and relax! He smiles at everything and we are completely in love with him. He is sitting up, crawling and cruising now. We get "dada" every once in a while but not a lot of talking. Izabel turned two in October and the terrible twos are here! She can be as sweet as can be one minute and the next minute she is screaming and running to her room. She is playing a whole lot more and loves to pretend. She also likes to play with Tanner although he's not really into it as much. She is eating a little better but still pretty picky and very little! She'll grow eventually. Her favorite movie is Finding Nemo and she would sit and watch it over and over if we would let her. Both of our kids are fabulous and they couldn't be more loved!

Work: My job changed quite a bit this year. My best friend at work moved away and I was forced to find some new people to socialize with. We also got a new principal and he has proved himself in many ways. I have always enjoyed my job but this year seems to be a little more fun! Noah has had a very rough year at work. He spent almost 7 months working in the warehouse and is finally back on a truck. He is only making an hourly wage right now which has been tough on all of us. Combined I think we made less this year than we have since I graduated college! The recession has affected us all and hopefully 2010 will bring a little more financial stability.

School: I started working on my master's degree this fall. I am attending Virginia Tech and getting my degree in Career and Technical Education. I will do almost all of my classes online, but a few will be through inter-video conferencing and I will also take some electives at ODU. Noah applied and registered for classes at Strayer University. He will hopefully be able to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill which has some great perks and will pay for 3 years. Strayer uses the quarter system and taking 3 classes a quarter he should be able to finish in just under 3 years. Right now he is looking at a business degree but he is still undecided. I don't care what he gets the degree in I am just incredibly proud of him for finally getting started on this and doing such a great thing for himself and our family! It's certainly going to be tough with both of us working full time and in school but we can do it and everyone will benefit when we're done.

Family: We are fortunate enough to live close to most of my family and we see them all the time. Family gatherings are always fun and we do them quite frequently. Noah's family lives in Vermont but they were able to visit a lot this year with holidays and Tanner's birth as motivation! It's always great to have them around and we wish they lived closer so we could see them more. Due to Tanner being born right at the beginning of the summer we didn't do a lot of traveling this year. A couple weekends up in Atlantic City and our normal week in Massanutten was about it for us. This year we are looking forward to spending spring break in Massanutten and then a week in Vermont this summer. I'm sure we'll manage to make it to Atlantic City some too! We will also be traveling for my job. Noah will be joining me and my students in Orlando this February. I will then take students to New York in March and hopefully Kentucky in April. It makes for a lot of weekends away but it is my favorite part of my job!

Resolutions: I always make resolutions and until this year I have never been able to keep them. This year my resolution was to never go to bed with dishes in the sink. I managed to do it every night except 1, which was just recently. It's been really nice to wake up to clean dishes and a clean kitchen every day. This year my resolutions are to give up soda and coffee. This is a tough one for me that I've tried before but I'm determined this year. I feel better when I'm just drinking water so that is the goal. I want to lose 20 lbs by the end of the year so the water will help with that too. I also want to plan our meals for the week every weekend. This way I will not come home from work and school and have to figure out what's for dinner! My goal is to plan the meals and buy the groceries every weekend and then actually make each meal that week. Of course I'll have to be flexible due to our crazy schedule but hopefully it will make dinnertime a lot easier! Noah's resolution is of course to do well in school and get all of his assignments done. It's been a long time since he was in school so he has quite a bit of adjusting to do. He also said he would try to pick up all his clothes off the floor every night! He has gotten into a terrible habit of just throwing his clothes on his side of the bed. I try to leave them there but eventually I can't take it anymore so I pick them up. I think him picking them up sounds fantastic since I have enough people to pick up after already :) As a family we want to focus on paying off credit cards and getting Izabel in preschool. Hopefully we'll have good things to report as we make it through 2010.

This decade has been very eventful for us and I am a little sad to see it go. I remember what a big deal Y2K was. Since then we have graduated high school, I graduated college, we got married, bought a house, had two kids and are now back in school. It's crazy how fast time flies! At the end of this new decade we will have a 10 year old and a 12 year old. Talk about something that's crazy to think about! As drastically as our lives have changed in the past 10 years I expect them to change just as much in the coming 10. I hope you all had a great 2009 and an even better 2010 and we hope you are as blessed as we are!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Town!

Last night we took the kids to Christmas Town at Busch Gardens. It was the final night of the event and I had been wanting to go so badly. Luckily Auntie Ann called and said she was going with the Michaels and they had two extra tickets! We put a ton of layers on the kids and headed out. We picked up Jackie on the way since she was going to come visit us and we got there right as it started getting dark.

It wasn't very crowded at all and we parked right in the front. As soon as we started walking toward the park Izabel started yelling "dights, dights!" She has been loving all the Christmas lights this year so the park was heaven for her. We walked through the penguin exhibit and saw real penguins. Then we went to watch a show a warm up in Germany. I fed both of the kids and then we went out to walk around some more. Izabel actually rode the kiddie swings and the carousel. They were her first amusement park rides! I thought she was going to freak out but she did pretty well and said she liked it. We visited the Clydesdales and then headed out. It was pretty cold but we had a great time and it was really nice to spend the evening with Jackie!

Jackie and Tanner
Izzy and Daddy
Checking out all the lights
Izzy on the swings
The three of us on the carousel
Tanner was there too but he stayed bundled up!
Izzy petting the horsey
Family pic
Izzy wanted a picture of "just me!"
Just the girls

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We had a very nice relaxing Christmas this year. It was Tanner's first Christmas and he was actually old enough to enjoy it a little bit (unlike Izabel's 1st!)

On Wednesday I took the kids to the mall to finish up a few last minute gifts. While we were there I let the kids play for a little bit. Then we came home and finished wrapping and started baking.

Tanner loved that he could actually play this time!

Christmas Eve Izabel and I baked all day! Then we got dressed up and headed out to Christmas Eve service at church. It was great to see some of our friends and listen to the beautiful music. We came home and had dinner and Izabel got to open her first gift...Christmas PJs! Then she put out milk and cookies for Santa. We told her she had to go to sleep so Santa could come so she climbed in the chair beside the tree and pretended to sleep! If I thought she would sleep all night I would have left her there!

Helping Mommy bake with her new baking supplies!
Family Pic in front of the tree
"What Santa doesn't bring me Grandma will"
This was definitely the case!
Pouring milk for Santa
Leaving some yummy cookies (thanks Aunt Joyce!)
Christmas morning she ran out and started yelling
"Ho, ho, ho ate the cookies!"
The calm before the storm!
Christmas morning Tanner woke up first so we brought him in bed with us like normal. Then I hopped in the shower and Izabel was up when I got out. We all got dressed and made breakfast. Aunt Theresa and Peter came over and we all sat down to eat (we realize we won't be able to move this slowly in the years to come!) Then we finally got to presents. We started with stockings which is our tradition and then moved on to the gifts. We all got lots of great gifts! Noah got a new HP laptop (so he can stop stealing my work one) and I got a Wii, wii fit and wii resort, and some new PJs. Izabel and Tanner got tons of toys including fridge phonics and farm, a leapfrog tag jr, giant towels and bath mits, a baseball toy, puzzles, books and lots of clothes. After opening presents we got everything together and headed over to my mom's house for round two. Both kids got new ride on toys. Izabel got a tea set, lots of blocks, more puzzles and books, slippers, and so much more! Tanner got some laugh and learn and little people toys, a stackable toy set, slippers and clothes. We got some free babysitting along with some other great gifts! My siblings and our spouses all did a chinese auction for Christmas this year since money is tight for everyone. I got the Monopoly City game and Noah got $25 worth of lottery tickets (he only won $8). We had a great dinner with everyone and then headed home since we were completely exhausted. Noah and I stayed up playing games after the kids went to bed. We had a great day and we hope everyone did too!

The stockings were too full to hang!
Izabel loved her fruit snacks and new cups the most
Helping Tanner with his stocking
Tanner had no problem ripping into his gifts
Izabel showed Tanner how everything worked
Tanner and Granddaddy
Izzy with her new tea set...we've already had some tea parties
Another family picIzzy rode her "car" all over the house and the neighborhood
My family with their gifts

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Our Life in Ornaments

Since we got married we started collecting Keepsake Ornaments from Hallmark every year. We always go together and pick one to represent something that was important or meant a lot to us that year (some years have more than one for obvious reasons). It's always fun to pull them out and think back so I thought I'd do that on here. I look forward to many more years of memories and ornaments!

"Our First Christmas Together"
This was our first Christmas as a married couple
and also our first keepsake ornament!
"Class of 2006"
I became a proud ODU grad!
"Our First Home"
This was our first Christmas in our first home together.
"Baby's First Christmas"
I can't even remember her being this small!
"Special Delivery"
"Dancing with Daddy"
I used to come home many afternoons to
blasting music and Izabel dancing with Noah.
She still loves to dance!
"Baby's First Christmas"
Tanner's first Christmas this
is not his picture. I'm working on it!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Double Weekend Update

Due to the craziness of the season and everything we have going on I have obviously been slacking a little bit on the blog! Below are weekend updates for the past two weeks. It's a long one but it explains why we've been so busy! Enjoy and have a Merry Christmas!!!

December 10-13

We had a great weekend with Humaira (the kid's Godmother) in town! We started our weekend with a visit to Santa on Thursday. Tanner did a great job sitting on his lap and taking a picture but Izabel didn't want to have anything to do with him. She started saying "No, No" and then when we picked her up and walked over there she started saying "Please No, Please No." Of course we didn't force her but we were sad not to get our picture!

Friday after work we headed to the Admiral's hockey game. Noah got the whole box from work so we got to sit right on the ice. We're kind of spoiled from all the times we've gotten to sit down there so we don't really like to sit anywhere else! We brought along Humaira, my friend Candace from work, her boyfriend Matt, and a handful of Noah's friends. We had a great time and the Admirals won! Afterward I went back to the house with Humaira and Noah went to his friends house to hang out for a while.

Pictures from of the game we went to

Saturday morning we got up and Humaira, Izabel and I all headed out to do some shopping. Since I had only purchased one Christmas present I had a lot of work to do! We headed to Toys R Us first and then over to Landstown Commons. We went to Carters and then had lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings. Izabel ate a whole basket of corn dog bites and fries and drank the whole cup of milk! She must be hitting a growth spurt because she is eating like crazy! If you know Izabel then you know how unusual that is! Then we went to Kohls where we did a lot of damage. Izabel fell asleep in the stroller so it was pretty easy to take our time and check a lot of people off my list. I even bought presents for Izabel right in front of her! I probably won't be able to do that next year :) After Kohls we were exhausted so we headed over to Skinny Dip for some yummy frozen yogurt and to recharge. They have 8 different flavors and TONS of toppings. Izabel has only had ice cream one other time I think so she LOVED it. I put gummy bears and a ton of fruit on some strawberry yogurt and she kept saying "More peas, more peas!" It was so cute.

Just some of the many toppings offered at The Skinny Dip!

After Skinny Dip we went home to a beautiful house! Noah and Tanner had cleaned up, vacuumed, done laundry and even put the lights on the Christmas tree! It was a great present for me :) Tanner was napping so Humaira and I started wrapping presents. When he got up we opened presents with Humaira. Both of the kids got tons of clothes. Izabel got a Snow White doll (she's getting the DVD for Christmas) and Tanner got the laugh and learn bunny. We also got a fluted cake pan from pampered chef! We laid around for a while and then went to Friday's for dinner. We planned on having game night and ordering the fight but we were exhausted so we just went to bed.

Izabel helped Daddy finish the lights
by putting the angel on top of the tree
Humaira always goes overboard with the presents
Izabel can really tear through presents now
Tanner just wanted to eat the paper!
Sunday morning we planned on finishing up some shopping while Noah played football but it was pouring by the time we were ready to head out so we decided to wait. Izabel kept saying "I ready Mommy, I ready Mommy!" She was so upset that we weren't leaving and she made sure we knew it. She threw quite the temper tantrum when I tried to put her back in regular underwear to stay home. We ordered pizza and she didn't even want that! Noah came home and Humaira and I headed back to Kohls to make some returns/exchanges and use our Kohls cash. When we got home both kids were napping and Humaira hit the road to go home. Noah and I had a nice hour together playing games before the kids got up. Izabel woke up and threw another temper tantrum! How long do the terrible twos last??? It doesn't happen often, but every once in a while she has days where we just look at her and try to figure out who's kid she is! After we got her calmed down we went out to Greenbrier mall for a few more gifts. We went to JcPenny and Sears and successfully finished most of our shopping. I have one more person to pick up a gift for! It's so exciting to be done but I'm not looking forward to all the wrapping I have to do in the next few days!

Izzy and Tanner with their drinks and blankies

December 16-21

On Wednesday of this week I stayed after school for the DECA Christmas party. After the party I had dinner with some friends and then met my mom back at school to watch the drama club's production of "A Christmas Carol." The kids did a great job and it was really nice to watch a few of my students perform.

Thursday I rushed home from work to make cookies for the Zeta Alumni meeting. I was so excited to actually be able to go this month. We did a cookie exchange and an ornament chinese auction. It was great to see some of my old Zeta friends and meet a few new ones. I'm definetly looking forward to next month!

Friday I rushed home again to make gingerbread and pigs in a blanket for the Michael's Christmas party. We look forward for this party every year. A lot of our friends from camping come and it's always nice to catch up. The kids had a great time getting lots of attention and there was lots of great food.

Tanner had a great time!
Izabel playing dolls with the older girls
Tanner and Mrs. Sherri

Saturday we worked on getting the house cleaned up. Around 2 we started getting ready to head to Hampton for my faculty Christmas party when I got a phone call that the rode to our site was flooded from the storm. We discussed options and our principal tried to find another site but eventually we decided we would have to cancel the party. After speaking with the principal and all the vendors we decided to move the party to January 29th. Even though it won't be Christmas anymore we'll still have a Christmas themed party and we'll all have a great time. I've already started receiving RSVPs and it looks like we will have more people for the January party than we would have had at the December one so everything worked out for the best! Since we didn't have to go to Hampton but my mom was already here to babysit she let us go see a movie and have dinner. We saw The Blind Side and it was fantastic. If you haven't seen it yet you should go as soon as possible! After we got home Noah's mom and stepdad (Mimi and Papa) got in from Vermont. They came over with Auntie Ann and Theresa and we all had dinner and visited for a while. It is always great to see them!

While the whole upper east coast got pounded...
this was our blizzard!

Sunday morning Izabel slept until 9:00am! We were late to church because we use her as our alarm. We haven't been in a while so she had moved to a new class. She cried when I left her which is never fun but she is going to have to get used to it since preschool is coming soon! It was a great service with great music. While I was gone with the kids Noah met Barry at Home Depot for materials to work on our deck. This was our Christmas present from them and it looks beautiful! It's not quite finished so pictures will have to wait until next weekend. Throughout the day people stopped by to visit. I managed to get the tree decorated and all the presents wrapped. We did Christmas with Noah's family and we all got amazing gifts. Izabel and Tanner got lots of toys and clothes, I got a purse full of goodies and Noah and I both got season passes to Ocean Breeze. We also of course had the deck repairs and we got a gift certificate to Home Depot to start working on our fence. Soon we'll have this place looking exactly like we want it to! After presents we all had lasagna and the Michael's family came to visit as well. We had such a great time with everyone and it was tough when it came time to say goodnight!

We have four stockings now!!!
The tree, mantle and all the presents!
Izzy and Auntie Tree
Izabel loves her new doll stroller
Papa gave Tanner a Harley hat...
he smiles every time we put it on him!

We had a little more time with Mimi and Papa on Monday. They came over to work on the deck some more and play with the kids. They stayed while Noah and I went to Strayer University to meet with admissions. Noah is officially enrolled in their BBA program and will start January 11th. He should get full benefits from the post 9/11 GI bill which will be amazing during his three years of school. Everything looks good but we're still keeping our fingers crossed that it all turns out the way they say it will. I'm so proud of him for finally doing this. I know it will be tough while we're both in school but in the end it will be such a great thing for our family! We came home and said goodbye to Mimi and Papa. They headed down to Florida to have Christmas with Gigi but they will be back next weekend! Now it's time to enjoy a few weeks at home as a family!