Tuesday, December 20, 2016

2016 Christmas Letter

Another year has gone by and once again I reflect back to the beginning of the year and think to myself...that was 10 months ago?  It seems like yesterday.

5th Birthday in March
Miss Ava Ann turned 5 in March.  She has had a big year!  This past summer she got to play T-Ball which was her first experience in organized sports.  She did better than I expected and seemed to enjoy it.  It was a pretty relaxed atmosphere.  She started Kindergarten this fall and the first few weeks were pretty rough on her.  The all day everyday thing definitely interfered with her previous daily nap schedule.  However she has adjusted and is doing quite well in school and makes us proud. She played soccer this fall.  This was a little more rigorous than T-Ball and at times we had to convince her to go and participate however once there she did fine.  Her team ended up getting third place and were awarded medals, so then of course at that point soccer was the best thing ever!
At her Uncle James & Aunt Kelsey's wedding in April.
Before her first soccer game!

Band-aide over the 2nd set of stitches.
William gave this year some highlights.  He is ALL boy and loves to be outside and is happiest with a glove, bat, or ball in hand.  The worst thing you can do for this child is not give him an outlet for his abundance of energy.  He is a daredevil, not scared easily, and goes 100mph at all times.  Unfortunately this combination gave us our first trip to the doctor for stitches in late May.  Ava and Will were spending a few days at Grandma Drag's and Will decided it was okay to jump off the furniture and the upper corner of his right eye met the corner of the coffee table.  He got a decent sized gash and so Grandma loaded him up and took him into the Washington Clinic to see none other than Dr. Sherlock (MD not DVM) I am not sure who suffered more Will, Grandma, or Kellen but all three made it through and Will's scar is pretty minimal considering the gash he gave himself.  Fast forward a few months to August and I get a call from daycare that I need to go pick Will up because he fell into the corner wall and had a cut on the corner of his right eye that needed more than a band aide.  That's right...back to the doctor for a couple more stitches and he's definitely got a good side and rocking the tough guy look once again.  In September he started at Teddy Bear Daycare.  They have a very structured schedule throughout the week and Will has been doing well with this atmosphere.  He is learning new things everyday and we have been very happy with his is progress.  He is as ornery as the come but has a smile and a hug that will melt your heart.

Valentines Day 2016 - spiked hair for the ladies
Uncles James & Aunt Kelsey's Wedding

Overall both kids are healthy and happy and I thank God every day for the gift of motherhood.  I often find myself at times looking at them and assessing how much they've grown asking myself "Where have my babies gone?"  They bring me so much joy and I love watching them both thrive in this crazy World.

Super Hero & Firefighter for Halloween
4th of July 2016

James & Kelsey's Wedding April 2016
Jeremy continues to work for J-Six Enterprises in the Fairview Mills division.  He currently has the roll of Quality Control manager at the Seneca mill location.  He enjoys his job and likes the variety of tasks the position offers.  He coached Legion Baseball again this past summer.  They had another successful year and played a grueling schedule for their Zone Tournament and missed the State bid by a small margin.  It was a disappointing end to the season but still a fun summer of watching good baseball.  He is coaching junior high basketball again this year for Sts. Peter and Paul School.  He is the head coach after being the assistant the past two years.   They have had a great start to the season and he is enjoying the time in the gym.  Jeremy also has a year on the Seneca Fire Department complete.  They just voted a new member on in November so he officially has lost his "Rookie" status.  It is a great group of men and Jeremy and I both have enjoyed the friendships that come along with being on the department.

Seneca Firemen's Ball

I am still working at Eisenbarth Plumbing Heating and Air.  I was given some flexibility in my schedule this past year that allows me an afternoon every other week to be home and catch up on housework.  This has helped me out tremendously and helps keep me sane.  We are hoping to get some traveling done in 2017.  We owe my mom a trip to celebrate her 60th birthday...the idea of Boston has been tossed around but no definite plans have been made yet.  In March, Jeremy and I are planning a trip with 4 other couples to Nashville.  We are looking forward to this and there should be some good memories made.

We hope all our family and friends have a very blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

2015 Christmas Letter

Oh my where to begin!  Two thousand and fifteen flew by and for us, it's looking to end the way it started:  Jeremy taking a new job.  In February, Jeremy took a position at the Nemaha County Training Center (NCTC) as the Director of Development.  The position was responsible for all events, both promotional and fundraising, associated with NCTC.  Jeremy really enjoyed this opportunity and his time at NCTC but after much deliberation along with prayer and spending a long time on the fence he decided to leave NCTC and take a new position with J-Six Enterprises.  As I am writing this letter he is still a week away from starting his new job so I can't really tell you much about it yet.  For everyone who is reading this that is from my side of the family, J-Six is the same company my dad has been working with for the past couple years.  So...now you are asking yourself, "How can an old vet and an almost 30 year old with not much of a farming background work for the same company?"  The answer it's a big farm with lots of different operations and they will be doing two totally different things.  Jeremy will be working the in the Seneca Corn Mill office.  As long as we are on the subject of Jeremy I will keep going.  He coached his first year of Seneca Post 21 Legion Baseball.  They had a very respectable season and I think he had a lot of fun teaching the "older" boys which he wasn't sure about at first.  He also got to spend a lot of quality time with his childhood friend Phil who was his assistant.  The kids and I spent many of those summer nights at the ball field cheering them on, which we all three enjoy doing!  Jeremy is also assistant coaching JH basketball again this year for Saints Peter and Paul boys team.  They ended the season last year 14-0 with the "A Team" winning the league championship.  So far they are having another undefeated season and with some hard work might be able to pull off another "perfect season".  FINAL news on Jeremy is that this past September he was recruited to be on the Seneca Volunteer Fire Department.  The best way for me to describe the Seneca Fire Department is by telling you that it's like a Fraternity that has a limit of 28 active members.  These members have monthly meetings, functions, parties, and also carry pagers that occasionally go off and call them to a burning structure.
Jeremy on far left.  They did the no hair cuts and beard shaving until they lost...

2015 OTL Champions (Jeremy on far right)

2015 Seneca Fireman's Ball

Ava is doing very well.  Just ask her.  She loves to converse and is very observant when it comes to people.  She does well in school and enjoys going places and socializing.  You never know what she is going to say and keeps up laughing.  She lives for weekends at Grandma Drag's and loves to put on a show.  In October, a couple of other mom's and I took our daughters to Frozen on Ice in Kansas City.  We had a wonderful time and Ava keeps asking to go back!
Piper, Ava, & Jaci getting ready to go see Frozen on Ice!

Ava & I on 4th of July

Will is on the go.  Constantly.  The kid doesn't sit down for much, except to eat.  He also loves to eat. Much to his father's dismay (sarcasm) he has already shown a keen interest in sports at his young age.  He lives for going to the diamond to watch the baseball boys and threw an absolute fit when we went up to the school for the soup supper and we didn't go into the gym.  We ended up having to take our meal to go so we didn't ruin the entire event for everyone!  His favorite toy right now his is his Fisher Price basketball goal.  He loves to "get his shots up" as his father would tell you.  He has finally come around to verbal communication and using more and more words everyday.  It's not so much of struggle to figure out what he's wanting anymore.  He is ornery as all hell will get out but he's got a smile that will melt your heart and quickly makes you forget how frustrated and angry you are with him!

Will's "typical" appearance. 
Put me in coach!
July was the highlight of our year as we got to travel to the beautiful state of Colorado to celebrate my grandmother's 80th birthday.  We had a wonderful time and almost all of my mom's side of the family made the trip.  This was our first real "road trip" as a family and it was perfect.  We really enjoyed our time together and I hope we can find time to do more things like that in our future.

Family photo in the mountains.  The kids were both disappointed to leave!

Great-Grandma Ann, Ava Ann, and Grandma Denise Ann riding the Gondola.
I am still working for Eisenbarth Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning and enjoy going to work.  My evenings are mainly full of trying to figure out how to get everything done.  My house is never clean anymore but I have learned that sometimes you have to put the mop down and instead read a book, pretend to be a horse, or just sit and rock.  God shows me my blessings on a daily basis and I am very thankful for everything I have in life.  I wish everyone a loving and peaceful 2016!  God Bless!

Brooke Ann

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Letter 2014

I am trying something new this year.  Instead of including my annual Christmas letter with the family picture in our Christmas card I decided to just post it on our blog.  I am doing this for a couple of reasons.  Number one reason being our printer doesn't have much ink and every time I get to the store I forget to buy more ink.  The second reason is because every year I think to myself "I wish I could go back and find every letter I've ever sent out and our picture" so I hope that if I include it on our blog every year I'll be able to find them easily in future years.  I realize this is not the traditional approach and I love receiving everyone's Christmas cards so I will continue to do the picture but I also hope that this way I can reach more of our friends without sending 200 Christmas cards because when we include all our brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins we are near 150 so throw some friends in there and we are pushing 200.  Thanks for reading!

Merry Christmas from the Stallbaumer's

Once again the Stallbaumer’s had an eventful year.  Two-thousand and fourteen showed us many
positive changes that we can feel grateful for.  The biggest news of our year was we bought a house in April.  We are officially Seneca residents and loving our new home.  House shopping in Seneca proved to be very challenging but in the end we couldn’t have been happier with what we got and are looking forward to many years in our new home.

Ava started preschool in the fall.  She attends Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School and goes two days a week in the morning.  She is thriving in school and we get all glowing reports from her teacher.  Jeremy and I only wish she behaved as well at home for us as she does in school but are grateful for her school behavior.  The girl is a talker.  I have no idea where she gets that from!  Ava is a true people person she loves everyone and knows no stranger.  She also doesn’t forget anyone so if she’s met you before the next time she sees you she going to great you with a BIG smile and hug.

Will is growing like a weed which is not surprising because the kid can eat.  He’s also not picky and will eat about anything you put in front of him.  The last several months he has gotten good on two feet and has become quite the speed demon.  He is not a cuddler and likes to be on the move so we spend most of our time chasing him around and making sure he’s not getting into anything he shouldn’t be.  He also can throw a good fit and this usually entails him slamming his head on the floor.  Rarely do you see Will without a goose egg on his head.  He barrels through anything in his way and doesn’t really care what he destroys to get to it.  He’s gotten himself stuck a couple times because he doesn’t really understand the concept of going around something, he just goes through it!

Jeremy continues to work from home for GTM Sportwear as their Clinic Coordinator.  He still enjoys the work and is grateful for the perks of working from home.  With the Royals historic season he enjoyed being around a TV during the day to enjoy every moment while being productive for work.  He took on a new role this winter and is the Assistant Coach for the Saints Peter and Paul junior high boys basketball team.  They have already had seven games and are 7-0!  It’s a good group of young men and he’s enjoying the experience.

I still have my job as the Accounts Payable Clerk at Eisenbarth Plumbing.  I have learned more this past year about plumbing and heating than I ever dreamed I could know and I still have a lot to learn.  I enjoy the work and enjoy the people so not many complaints from me.  I feel like our weeks just fly by but I guess that just confirms we are loving life and having fun.  Jeremy and I did get away for one trip this year in May.  We went to Philadelphia, PA in May for a friend's wedding.  We had a very nice time and enjoyed seeing Philly and enjoyed a true Philly Cheese Steak!  Most of our fall was occupied with K-State football.  It was an adjustment for us this year not being in Manhattan but we enjoyed it all the same.  We will be cheering them on in January from Seneca but plan to do it with plenty of our Wildcat-Loving friends!  We have lots to look forward to in 2015 and thank God every day for all the blessings he has bestowed upon us.

We hope all our family and friends have a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful 2015!


Brooke Ann

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Alaskan Adventure

Jeremy and I just got home from a family vacation to Alaska.  We went on cruise with my parents, brother, and sister-in-law.  This was our first vacation just the six of us and I think we set a pretty high standard.  We were on the Holland-America ship ms Westerdam.  We flew from KC to Seattle on Friday evening and ate our first meal at Duke's Chowder House and had some AMAZING food.  Duke's is a local franchise in Washington and I highly recommend trying it out if you make it to the area and getting the Award Winning Chowder.  After dinner we went to the liquor store that was right next to our hotel.  Our ship allowed us to carry on our own wine so we stocked up and found that liquor prices in a Seattle are good compared to Kansas.  That is about all we did in Seattle however we all decided it would be a place we'd like to spend more time in some day.

We boarded our ship around 11:30 a.m. Saturday.  This all went smoothly (after we retrieved the documents I left in our shuttle...oops) and was a breeze compared to the ship boarding experience our group had in October.  

The cruise was a week at this is the breakdown of each day:
Saturday June 1st:  Vessel Undocked @ 4:10pm
Sunday June 2nd:  At Sea
Monday June 3rd:  Juneau, Alaska
Tuesday June 4th:  Glacier Bay Scenic Cruising
Wednesday June 5th:  Sitka, Alaska
Thursday June 6th:  Ketchikan, Alaska
Friday June 7th:  Victoria, British Columbia
Saturday June 8th:  Seattle, Washington Vessel docked approx. 6:30am
Emily, Justin, & Mom at dinner the first night on the ship.

My Dad and I at dinner.

Jeremy & I at dinner.

Mom & Dad at dinner.
First formal night - 2nd Day on the ship - Day at Sea
Our day in Juneau was one of my favorites.  We did our one and only excursion and went on the Mendenhall Glacier Hike.  The hike was approximately 4.5 miles (round trip) on a mountain and the end result was a view of the Mendenhall Glacier.  This really gave us a feel for the Alaska landscape.  They were having a very nice day weather wise in Juneau.  It was in the lower sixties and our two guides said it was a "hot" day for Juneau.  It did sprinkle on us a bit but it didn't start until a little way into our hike therefore we had already worked up a sweat and welcomed the coolness.
The trail was beautiful.
Jeremy and I posing on one of our first breaks along the trail.

Group picture of the whole family.

Mountain view along the trail, we also saw several waterfalls.

The Mendenhall Glacier.  Totally worth the hike the picture does not due it justice.

The crew who made it to the top.  The last 20 feet was pretty rocky so dad opted to stay behind.  You could still see the glacier from where he stopped but only the beginning of it.

Group picture at the end of the hike in front of the lake which had icebergs floating in it.  We were pretty wet by this point and the camera lens had several rain drops therefore the picture is a little blurry.
Day 4 was another day at sea however unlike the first day at sea we had lots of scenery.  Jeremy and I were up early that time (still on KS time) and we went up to the observation deck.  They had two park rangers on the ship at this point who got on the boat by a rope ladder (YIKES) and they "narrated" our trip through Glacier Bay National Park.  

"Margerie Glacier" was breath taking.  Again pictures don't do it justice.  The ship was anchored in front of it for approximately an hour.  During this time we witnessed the glacier "caving" or breaking off and falling into the ocean.  I would describe it as small avalanches that created a noise that sounds like thunder.  This happened several times within the hour.

My mom & dad's room had a balcony so we spent most of the day sitting out there enjoying the scenery.

Seagulls were flying all around our ship while we were parked at 
 Day 5 we were in Sitka, AK.  Sitka is home to St. Michael's Cathedral which was built while Alaska was still under control of Russia.  We visited the cathedral along with a museum that displayed some of the local Russian culture and history.  We also walked across town to see Sitka National Historical Park that feature the culture and history of the Tlingit Indians.  On the way back through town we passed a grocery store so we went in just to compare prices.  We purchased a bag of Peanut Butter M&M's, Pretzel's, & Munchies and spent over $17.00 (OUCH).  Made us really appreciate our grocery store prices.
Two bald eagles were perched on the top of the cross at St. Michael's Cathedral.

One of the totem polls modeled from the Tlingit Indians.

Group photo in Sitka.

ms Westerdam - We had to take tender boats from the ship to the dock in Sitka.
 Day six was in Ketchikan, AK.  We were only docked in the morning and had to be back on the ship this day by 12:30 p.m.  We didn't do much in Ketchikan because it was pretty cold and rainy that day.  However that night on the ship was the second formal night.
Emily, Mom, and I after dinner.

Justin & Emily

Jeremy & I

Mom & Dad - 36 years of marriage!

Family Photo
We failed to get any pictures on Day 7 in Victoria, BC.  We didn't arrive until after 6:00 pm and all-aboard was mid-night.  Victoria was a very pretty city.  We took a shuttle bus downtown and went into a few stops.  We stopped at a gelato shop and Jeremy and I each got one small scoop of ice cream and paid over $12.00 for it.  It was good but I can't say it was worth that much.  We had no idea it was that expensive and I think the look on my face said too much the cashier however by the time she rang it up it was half gone so there was no turning back!

The entertainment on the ship was very good.  They of course had a casino and several bars which each had their own style of music.  The musicians  singers, and dancers on the ship were all good and truly seemed to love their jobs.  They had a main show every night which usually feature the Westerdam signers & and dancers however one night they had a comedian who was very funny.  The ship also had a free movie rental program so we did rent a couple movies to fill some ship time.  The ship also had a library.  I never checked out a book because I had brought my own but it was a nice feature.  The boat also had a salon & spa and a fitness center. I never really embraced the fitness center however I think everyone else in my family at least visited once.  I think Justin and Emily went everyday.  I did however take advantage of the spa on Friday and received a facial, foot massage, and a scalp/neck/shoulder massage.  It was a wonderful way to end the vacation!