Monday, December 16

A very merry Christmas to you all!

Well, here's a first.

My husband is going to blog.

Sort of.

He loves to write the annual Christmas letter, and in the interest of making life easier and not having additional paper to print and fold, I've asked him to write his letter here.

If you're visiting for the first time, I'm glad you're stopping by. Come back again soon!

Without further ado ...


The Annual Schumann Family Greetings!

by Scott Schumann, aka Dad, Hubby, Senor, Coach, and any other particular name you may call him

Hello all, and Merry Christmas to everyone!!  It's yet another time of reflection for a year's worth of fun, trials, and above all praise to God for everything. I was just reminded today that just because we don't get our prayers answered the way would answer them, God sees our entire life from beginning to end and thus his ways are often not ours. So we need to be patient and never lose faith. Over the course of the year we have seen the following:

Peyton: Is now in 3rd grade. He stopped karate and focused on basketball, baseball and his love, football. His dream is to be a n NFL quarterback. Obviously I've stopped contributing to any retirement fund, because by age 9 foreseeing him in the NFL is evident. :) We had a ton of fun this year including snow fort building, sledding, multiple fishing trips, family camping, man camping (no girly decorations nor utensils), fantasy football, etc ... He still loves wrestling with dad and playing football in our living room. His love for electronics is scary, although I'm honestly a fan of Minecraft. They should have it in the schools. He is continuing with basketball through early winter after a late fall season. He's very excited about this, and it has assured us some Culver's runs in the process. For that reason alone, I love basketball. :)

a glimpse at January through May
Samantha: Now in 5th grade. She changed from cheer to gymnastics. I LOVE what gymnastics does for her mind and body. She focuses well and her strength is amazing! I continue to hope that some day she'll gravitate towards volleyball, but she avoids it more than I do onions, tomatoes, peppers....never mind. She continues to love reading and writing. The creativity in her blows me away!  It's refreshing to read stories instead of some of the things high-schoolers write. Sam also loves crafts and is mastering the violin. She is growing at a fast rate and will most certainly pass Kathy up by by the end of this coming summer. She is such a strong, intelligent beautiful girl that I thank God everyday for.

Kathy:  Besides running our entire house, she has volunteered numerous hours to helping others.  She just finished up a program called Spirit of Giving, which collected and then gave out presents and food to over 400 families in the Sun Prairie school district. She is truly a blessing to me and others. God knew what he doing when he brought her into the world. She still continues to run, and, no, not from me. She completed a good number of races and even ran with me for the Crazy Legs run (although much faster).  She has many so many great friends, truly loves all of them. I have never seen a person so often make time to meet up with soooo many people. I think she gets more than 24 hrs a day to work with.

June through December
Me: Per usual, my life revolves around coaching volleyball and track and going to the kids' activities. I also took some students to Costa Rica again this year. Track was successful, getting 4 kids to state. Volleyball had their best season ever at 29-8. Now club volleyball starts and I'm blessed with good, positive kids. As stated earlier Peyton and Sam are in many things, especially in the summer( as I'm sure is common with many of you).  I've realized that smaller cars getting great MPG are essential at this stage in my life. I've also realized how soon I'll wake up and be celebrating my 70th birthday, with no idea how it went so fast.

It is soooo important to make sure we spend time with those who mean the most and have a job that we love doing.  God has blessed us tremendously and I pray that we stay grateful and never become expectant of his grace. I do wayyyy too many dumb things to live a life without Him and the blessing of such a wonderful wife and kids, not to mention such great friends and family!! We now hunker down for a 5 month period of sub-freezing temperatures, clothing that lets us get away with eating more than is necessary, and incessant shoveling ... ahh winter! We hope you get to celebrate these holidays with those you love and please don't hesitate to call us. We all know I don't know how to use my phone, so call Kathy instead :)

Sunday, December 8

Getting ready to give

Dropping in a for a quick update. More to come soon, but for now I am revving up for a big ole fun week of giving Christmas presents to roughly 1,200 kids (425 families) who were sponsored by their neighbors in Sun Prairie.

This is one of the best things I have ever been involved in. Seriously great, and only getting better. I am psyched for this week, and grateful to share the experience with so many other wonderful hearts. I love these people.

So it will be good, and there will be stories and pictures and all that other wonderfulness. But do pray for all to go well, as we're trying a new pick-up system this year. Always an adventure here.

This past week was chock-full of fun-ness, including a holiday party, Christmas at the in-laws, a state gymnastics meet, basketball game, hanging out with friends, a few reality-checks, and this little ditty:

never thought I would tote a sewing machine
around on a visit to a friend's place. we even made a real project!

Yep, this was another check-off on the 40-by-40 list.

8. Learning to sew

I have a good friend who dabbles in sewing, and despite her claims not to be an expert she helped get me and another friend off the ground running with our machines. Love it! Actually, my machine is Sam's, but she hasn't used it much because her momma didn't know how to thread the darned thing.

Until now.

I am looking for small projects to make that could be part of a charity giving effort - something easy Sam and I could do together. Anyone know of anything we could tackle?

The snow is falling, my laundry is calling, and I need to whip up a lasagna. Be back soon, enjoy the week!

Sunday, December 1

A spirited start to the holidays

I was planning to write this post last week. Along with another one that never got past the first few lines. Sometime between last Monday and today, my week zoomed into "epic" mode and I am only now in full recovery. And while I try to reserve Sunday nights for family time, I felt the need to escape to the blog and make sense of my thoughts.

So here we are. How are you?

It was a good, long weekend that started Wednesday when the school week ended. I don't even remember what I did that day, but I know it had something to do with Thanksgiving meal prep and attempting to organize a Christmas list so I could make some responsible decisions when it came time to shop later in the week.

Or not.

The weekend-and-then-some included some good old fashioned fun. Not pictured is family in town, Badger-game watching, movie-going (2 times in one week!), and a rousing game of Fauxcabulary that had us all, kids included, peeing our pants.

in line to get into target; the xmas village is up; fire truck parade-goers; a boy and his turkey leg; my first berbee

It was good, and I am incredibly thankful. Sitting deep in my thoughts is the post I meant to do last week, when I was inputting a number of families into the Spirit of Giving program database (Sun Prairie community activity where we sponsor local kids for Christmas). A number of the forms completed by the applicant families had handwritten notes of appreciation and reminders that their children would be happy just to get anything at all.

All I could think about was the stories behind these lives.

Did a spouse recently lose their job? Is that a new child this family is fostering? Are they asking for boots because they don't have any? Is this a single mom? Did they get Christmas presents last year? 

Are they feeling the warmth, excitement, and peace my kids are feeling right now as we decorate our home?

In my life, I've been judgmental and have lacked empathy. I have been quick to assume. I've been frustrated and have been less-than understanding. If running this annual program has taught me anything, it's that I never know the full story. Really, I don't need to. I just need to love and show kindness to kids who may struggle in their life situations. This much I can do.

And it feels good to do something.

Speaking of that, let me transition to the other post that was-to-be. I've gotten a little further on "doing something" in accomplishing items on my 40-by-40 list. I wanted to share because some of you have been busy coming up with ideas for me, of things you can do with me, and that totally makes my day.

So let me catch you up. I've been cruising right along, although at some point I might need to cruise faster.

4. Try a beer from each state.
This idea came from a dear friend who knows that I like to try different food and drinks. So far, we have sampled from six states and are forming recommendations. We hear that this will be hard to accomplish fully, as Hawaii doesn't import their beer. So, if anyone is going soon, we need to put in an order!

5. Switch up the Thanksgiving fare.
I know. This one isn't terribly creative but all of our holidays are going to be a little different between now and my birthday (more to come on this!) so I thought I would try a few new recipes this time around. Kids were surprisingly not fond of the homemade mac and cheese, leading me to the conclusion that there really is no pleasing the 11 and under crowd. A new try was a cranberry dip that I will definitely make again. It was also the first time I brined a turkey and it was de-lish.

6. The Berbee Derby!
For the first time ever, I ventured off in freezing cold temps for a Thanksgiving morning race. I am so, so glad I did it, although I hope for warmer temps in the future. I couldn't feel my toes for half the race and ended up with swollen feet. Only a runner can appreciate this and vow to do it again sometime. I know, so weird.

7. Yes, we finally now have smartphones.
For the first time ever. Let's not talk about how far behind the times we are. Let's just enjoy the fact that I can, perhaps, blog from my phone soon. Good times ahead.

Much more on the list coming soon! Thank you for sharing this with me. It means so much more to have you all involved. I like stretching and growing with you. 

Happy December.