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Christmas in Cove

January 24th, 2011 · a day in the life, family, siblings

This year, Christmas was at our house.
Most of my family was able to come, as were Dave’s cousin and his family. It was pretty chaotic, but lots of fun. We had a brunch and a dinner on Christmas Eve, then some family spent the night and we read Luke 2 that night and did stockings and such on Christmas morning. It was fun to have 14 stockings line our mantle Christmas morning. And just have everyone together.

Bridget at the kid table…

Autumn…

Francine…

Don and Holly…

Dave and Dan…

Dixie and Karla…

Food…

Stockings hung by the chimney with care… and HILARIOUS white elephant gifts (paintings)…

Bridget’s letter to Santa…

Karla, Abby, and Bridget…

Illyana…

Dave…

Spencer, Illyana, and Abby…

Grandpa had a ball pulling them around the house on the sled. They loved it too!

Bridget, Spencer, and Abby…

The kids in the first fort we built! (Santa brought Crazy Forts for Christmas)…

These pictures are only a fraction of the pictures I took that night. I didn’t get one with everyone in it, but there were about 25 different people at our house on Christmas Eve!!
In attendance… Dad, Mom, Tina, Dave, Bridget, Spencer, Abby, Livia, Teylor, Ethan, Kyler, Donald, Holly, Isaac, Karla, Brian, Alice, Chris, Illyana, Francine, Dixie, Dan, Emily, and Autumn. We missed Barry, Wyatt, and Grandma Harmer due to various illness.

On Christmas day, some of my family was able to spend the morning with us, and that afternoon Dave’s parents came up to visit.

It was altogether a fabulous Christmas!!!

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6 months

November 9th, 2010 · Abby

Out little Abby is 6 months now. Its hard to believe! It seems like yesterday that is was born, tiny, and fragile.

  • She is starting to really enjoy toys and her siblings.
  • She LOVES food. Baby food.. or little tastes of table food. I can’t shovel it in fast enough.
  • She likes to sit up to the table with the family at dinner.
  • And even though she doesn’t know how to use it yet, she likes holding onto a sippy cup.
  • She can sit up on her own and roll from side to side.
  • She likes to eat her feet – and basically anything she can get to her mouth.
  • She takes a pacifier (mostly just when she sleeps) and has occasionally been caught sucking her thumb.
  • She big brown eyes and a beautiful smile.
  • She is a mamas girl through and through.
  • She is generally easy going and happy.
  • To date, she is our worst sleeper.
  • She has the wildest hair!! We joke that she has a mullet, a comb over, and  a bowl cut all on one head. We’ve been able to put her hair is a little pony tail since she was 3 months old.
  • She recently decided that she hates bottles, especially ones that contain formula.
  • No teeth yet.
  • She has thoroughly enjoyed a graham cracker a couple of times now.
  • She loves to look around and be a part of whatever is going on.

Our little lady is growing up so fast… and it becomes increasingly more apparent every day that she wants to be big and do all the things that her brother and sister do.

At her 6 month appointment she weighed in at 16lbs 8oz. and measured 25 1/2″ in length.

We love you Abby Anne. Please stay little. :)

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“Helping” with the house

November 7th, 2010 · a day in the life, Abby, bridget, dave, family, spencer

Its been a few months since I’ve updated this blog…
Now that life is starting to return to something that can be somewhat considered normal, and since there are a couple of you out there lovingly reminding me of my less than frequent posts… I figure its about time to get back to business.

I didn’t know where to start. Catch up. Or recent. 10,000 words. So, I went with random.

This past August the kids and I decided that we would take an afternoon to come up and “help” Dave build the house. I use the term help very loosely because I don’t imagine we were all that much help – especially this particular day. But, it was good for the kids – and it was fun to be able to spend time all together as a family.

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Spencer loved to walk around with the blower attachment to the air compressor, but wasn’t so sure that he liked being attacked by the air.

Dave installing baseboards… Spencer watching very closely.

Bridget helped measure a couple walls for baseboard.

This was (and still is) one of their favorite things to do. The windows are the perfect height for little heads to see out.

The trailer was a great place to play. I mean… help. :)

They took a break from the hard work to entertain Abby for a minute.

Moving rebar… very helpful.

All that helping makes little boys very tired. He needed a little break to rehydrate. (I love the pink cheeks)

Speaking of rehydrating…. Dave had an idea to setup the kids pool amid the chaos. We didn’t have swimwear with us, but I did have a change of clothes for the kids in the car. They had a ball!!

And that’s that. Loads of help, we were!! More posts/pictures to come. Soon.

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Baby Abby

June 16th, 2010 · Abby, bridget, dave, family, spencer, tina


This post comes a few weeks later then I was hoping, but better late then not at all – right?!

On April 22nd we welcomed the newest little addition to our family!
Abigail Anne was born at 12:49 pm weighing in at 7 lbs 1 oz and was 19″ long. She had a gorgeous head of dark hair as was very healthy!

Now for some pictures of our little lady!!

At the hospital…












8 days old…








Nearly one month old…

She has been a great baby! She sleeps and eats (when I don’t consume dairy) well, and the kids adore her. She’s just starting to have good control of her head and lately she likes to be awake more and interact more… I’ve even seen a couple of smiles sneak out from time to time. She will be two months old this coming week, so I guess I’m still behind on the blog posts. :)

Anyway, we love our new little Abby!!

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Building Our House

April 5th, 2010 · a day in the life, dave, family, random


(Click here for larger image)

As I’m sure many of you know, we moved into an apartment last June with the plan to sell our existing home, find a good piece of land, and build ourselves a house. It took a little longer to get started than we’d hoped, but we finally got our hole dug on December 7th, and are currently waist-deep in the construction process.

Take a look at the images at the top of this post. The one on the left is a 3D rendering of the house we are aiming to build, and the one on the right is our house as it looks now. I think we’re on the right track. :)

If it looks different from what some of you were expecting to see, its because the house plans have changed from what we were looking at last June, and rather than using a builder (as we had previously planned), Dave has taken on the role of General Contractor for the build. Although a pretty overwhelming responsibility, its been nice for him to be able to call all the shots and nice to know that in the end we will have saved a lot of money. As will every other project we seem to take on, this is no small thing. The hours are crazy, and self-imposed deadlines are fast approaching – Dave is still working full time hours at DuPont, but we figure he also puts in a good 30 hours/week at the house.

The house process has been underway for approx. 4 months now… The following photos are a sampling of our progress thus far. There is still plenty to do, but I am impressed with the amount that’s already been accomplished. We are looking to be done about mid-summer.

December 7th, 2009 – Let the games begin!! Digging commenced

December 14, 2009 – Cement forms for basement

December 23, 2009 – Ground Plumbing

December 24, 2009 – Pouring the basement floor

January 2, 2010 – Basement Framing

January 14, 2010 – Begin first floor walls

January 29, 2010 – Second floor walls begin

February 3, 2010 – Roof Trusses & framework for stairs

March 10, 2010 – Covered porch

April 3, 2o10 – Wiring and plumbing (in progress)

Forgive the gaps in the time line… somewhere in there is also included (in no particular order): waterproofing the foundation, pouring the porch cap, framing built-in desks and bookcases, excessive snow removal, excavation of the walk out basement, septic tank installation, power trunk installation, delivery of appliances, heating and air, building of staircases, additional plumbing and wiring, installation of doors, sheeting on the roof, floor trusses, etc…

As you can see we (Dave) have done a lot so far… but we aren’t ready to move in yet. :)
At this point, we are hoping to get done with the 4 way inspection before this new baby joins our family. Wish us luck!

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The evolution of man (in art)

March 3rd, 2010 · bridget

Its been awhile since I’ve posted pictures of Bridget’s drawings… but I must say, her people drawing skills have evolved quite a bit over the last year or two.
I noticed the detail she was putting into some birthday cards she was making a couple of weeks ago, and decided it was time to show off her work again.

But first… a brief history if you will…

May 2008: Homestar Runner-esque drawings… (See http://blog.ernstrom.net/?p=157 for more)

July 2008: We have hair! And noses! (See http://blog.ernstrom.net/?p=233 for more)

August 2008: Family Portrait (See http://blog.ernstrom.net/?p=236 for more)

And now… Jan/Feb 2010…

Skin color, pig tails, shirts, finger/toes/shoes, birthday hats, and balloons. The girl in the first drawing even has whites to her eyes.



Its amazing how much more detail goes into her art when she really wants to. This girl of mine really loves to write and draw and spell. She is seriously a sponge for learning.
Incidentally, she told me the other day that she really wants to be an artist, but that she doesn’t know how. I told her that I think that she is already an artist.

Anyway, thanks for humoring me as I show off on my daughters behalf.

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28 weeks

February 18th, 2010 · a day in the life, family

For those of you that may not already know, we found out in November that I am pregnant again. I called and setup an appointment for early December and it was then that I found out that I was already nearly 18 weeks along…

Yes, it was a bit of a surprise. (The good kind of surprise though).

But I have to admit that it was kind of nice to have basically skipped the first third of my pregnancy, and to be able to find out gender at my first appointment. Its a girl, by the way!!

I had a quick unofficial ultrasound then, at my first appointment, and came back a couple of weeks later for the official 20-week thing. It was still a girl then… :)

She didn’t seem to want to show us her face, the little brat, but here are a couple of pictures anyway…

I am currently 28 weeks pregnant – officially in my final trimester. The baby is due on May 10th – which also happens to be my sister’s birthday. We are currently thinking Brooklyn for a name… its the name that’s stuck the best so far, so we’ll see what happens, I guess.

Anyway, we are (as I’m sure you can imagine) getting pretty anxious to get our house finished so we can get settled in there. As it is, the house isn’t slated to be finished until the end of June at the earliest… so we are anticipating a couple months of chaos right after this baby is born! 3 kids in a 2 bedroom apartment should be interesting too… ha.

ADVENTURE, JAMIE, ADVENTURE!!! (Name that movie)

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November

January 24th, 2010 · a day in the life, bridget, dave, family, food, siblings, spencer, tina

The highlights from November include Bridget’s 4th birthday and Thanksgiving.

For months, Dave had been teasing Bridget that we would be skipping her birthday and that she would have to stay 3 years old for another year. Her reactions varied from day to day. Either she knew he was kidding, or she was sincerely devastated. The night before her birthday he finally gave in and told her that she could have a birthday as long as she promised that she would continue to love him and give him hugs and kisses. She agreed.

On the morning of her birthday we (Dave and I) surprised her with a collection of Wizard of Oz stuff. She’s border line obsessed with the movie.

My sister (and super seamstress) sewed this dress for her. It turned out amazing! The outfit was completed with a pair of “ruby slippers” from Wal-Mart. Bridget wore this outfit for every possible second for the first couple of weeks. She still wears it often. She wore it so much in fact that within the first week she’d already ripped a seam – that my mom helped us repair over Thanksgiving.

She also got a set of 8 Wizard of Oz Pez Dispensers and the Wizard of Oz DVD. (Yes, she still collects PEZ).
She likes to watch the movie, while wearing her dress, and holding the pez dispensers. Sometimes she’ll fill them with Candy and eat one when she sees the respective character on the screen.

I made this princess castle cake for the princess-themed surprise birthday party we were planning later that afternoon.
Not my favorite cake… I wish I’d taken the time to use fondant on the castle.

While I setup for the surprise party, Dave took Bridget on a daddy-daughter date to the bowling alley.

When they got back, a bunch of her friends were there ready to yell, “SURPRISE” – Okay, actually, most of them had never been to a surprise party and stood there utterly confused. It was pretty funny!

A new princess dress awaited her arrival. She was thrilled.

The kids made tiaras…

and beaded necklaces…

There were princess party favors.

And cake, of course. The castle cones were by far the favorite.

And gifts.

She hugged most of her friends, but then she did this…

I had to include this kissing picture because of another kissing picture, this one, from August 2007 (yes, its the same boy).

Well, that about sums up her Birthday. I think she had a great time – and I think she was adequately surprised by the party.
The only problem now is that she’s already trying to make plans and ask for things for her “5 year old birthday” – funny kid! Love her though.

THANKSGIVING

We spent Thanksgiving at my parents’ house. It was a small bit of chaos with my six siblings, their spouses and children. But we had a fun time enjoying each others company and gorging on super yummy food. Here are a few glimpses of that day…

7 grand kids…
As I took this picture I was imagining when there’s 10 – we could do some sort of ‘bears in the bed’ themed picture. Ha. I’m crazy, I know.

Every year, the day after Thanksgiving, we have a tradition of helping Grandma Harmer setup her Christmas village. She has over 60 houses! This year, however, she’s been in pretty poor health and didn’t want us to set it up. We convinced her to let us just setup a sampling – figuring she’d be sad to not see it setup at all this year. This is what the final result looked like. Its a fraction of the size of her typical village, but it was good to see it setup, and I think she was glad to see it happen too.

And there you have it… November 2009.

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Michelle Test Image

January 23rd, 2010 · Uncategorized

Testing a new button for my friend Michelle…

Burlap Party

If you click on the image (button) above it should take you to her craft blog…

Text changing test…
(have to change the text size on this one too)

Valentines Day Party


So far so good!

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October

January 18th, 2010 · a day in the life, bridget, dave, family, random, spencer, tina

In the spirit of catching up…

This past October (2009) we decided, nearly on a whim, to pack up and take a trip to California/Disneyland.
Disneyland is always a fun place, and it seemed like good timing where we were out from under our mortgage payment, and hadn’t starting building the house yet.

We went the week before Halloween – and had a ball!

Spencer was just a tiny bit nervous about the characters (and some of the rides). He never cried, but he sure clung to us a lot.

This was “The REAL Snow White” – She was an awesome actress and completely wonderful with Bridget. We were incredibly impressed. Bridget still (almost 3 months later) talks about the real snow white and how she lives in a castle in the sky.

Believe it or not, Bridget’s favorite ride was the Tower of Terror. She was tall enough to ride this year – and did at LEAST 14 times during our trip.

At the princess’ dinner. Cinderella was in second place for most impressive princess.

She loved Splash Mountain too… the kid is fearless, I tell you!

Dumbo…

Aunt Jenna came and hug out with us out there for a couple of days!! We had a great time with her!

At the blue bayou with Aunt Jenna!

At Halloween time Disneyland does this trick or treat thing at night. It was pretty fun to see all the characters dressed up and wander around collecting candy – which was handed out by the handful, by the way. Here we all are with Mickey and Minnie.

The witch from Snow White did an awesome job staying in character. She just kept this sour mean face on the whole time – I don’t think Bridget knew what to think.

We also bet the Bowler Hat Man (Goob) – Very cool!

We spent a lot of time at Disneyland, some times later into the evening too. It was not uncommon for one (or both) of the kids to just crash mid festivities. Here are some cute sleeping pictures of our tired little troopers!

While in California, we also went to a beach in La Jolla. It was a bit chilly, but still tons of fun!

One of Spencer’s favorite activities was chasing Seagulls. He couldn’t ever catch one though – and actually sat and cried a couple of times because of it.

Dave buried Bridget in the sand – she thought that was great!

Spencer also loved playing with the seaweed. Weird kid.

We (mostly Dave) made this cool looking crater out of sand. It was a challenge to build it quick enough that water didn’t pour in when the tide came up. The little girl in the pink came over to ‘help’ toward the end, and laid claim on our masterpiece as we were leaving.

We also went to the San Diego zoo…

The Pandas were the coolest thing there.

And we got to stop in and see my grandmother and my uncle Carl in Long Beach. The kids took an immediate liking to Carl.


It sure was fun to see them. Love you guys!!!!

THEN THERE WAS HALLOWEEN…
We made it back from California the day before Halloween. Just  in time to dawn our outlandish costumes and trick or treat in my parents’ neighborhood.

You may remember the chaos surrounding our costumes last year…
If not, let me refresh your memory. Look here, here, here and here.

We decided to use the same costumes again, figuring that Bridget may not be big enough to fit into hers again next year. But we didn’t have one for Spencer, so we decided to turn the stroller into a cart of scream canisters. It proved to be nearly as lengthy process as any of the costumes from last year… but that seems to be just how it goes around here!

I’ll spare you the ‘making of’ pictures this time – but here are some pictures of the finished scream canisters:


And here we all are, ready to roam the neighborhood.



I would have to say that we had a pretty fun October!
Happy Halloween (in January) everyone!

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