December 2005

'Let's get physical'
Emma loves "working out" on Troy's weight set… and inventing her own exercises.

Can Emma bench more than her dad? :-)

Who knew the bar also worked great for doing flips, too?

Emma works her legs

Jenna wants to get in on the action, too

"I think I'll just ride my Harley instead."

Christmas morning

Emma was the first one up Christmas morning, and then she got the rest of us up so the girls could open their presents from Santa. Jen, however, wasn't quite ready to get up yet.

All three "kids" in front of the tree Christmas morning

Jenna was content to just carry around the Elmo book Santa left in her stocking!

We left Santa two cookies and the last ring from our Christmas chain. Emma told us, "Santa must be getting full, because he couldn't finish all the cookies." She also thought it was pretty cool that he broke the last link in our Christmas chain... because that meant it was Christmas! We made reindeer food for Santa's reindeer, too, that we sprinkled out in the grass.

The girls and some of the presents they got from Santa

Santa brought the girls the Dora talking house and several play sets... which they'd wanted for over a year (or at least Emma had) :-)

Jenna loved the baby she got from Santa. When she opened it, she squealed, "BABY!"

Jenna also got some accessories for her baby: a pack-and-play, high chair, stroller, swing, diaper bag and more. She loves them, but on Christmas morning, she just kept walking around with the pack-and-play on her head.

Christmas greetings 2005

What a wonderful year it's been!

We spent a lot of this year getting settled into our new house. Lots of backaches later, we finished our landscaping. We also got seven trees planted this fall, ceiling fans installed, shelving put up… and finally got all our boxes unpacked and got everything put away. That was quite an accomplishment. :-)

Emma will be five in January and loves to color and draw, go to gymnastics class, and just play, sing and have fun. She tells us almost every day that she wants to be a teacher, a mom and a dairy farmer when she grows up, and even has her farm planned out in meticulous detail. Troy will drive the equipment, Emma will feed the animals and milk the cows "once in the morning and once in the evening," and there will be all kinds of animals "but NO GOATS" on her farm! Emma is starting to read and do math, and will start kindergarden in the fall (which her mom is not emotionally ready for AT ALL!). She took swim lessons this summer, too, and learned so much! Emma also loves to be Jenna's "mother hen" and play "house" with her; "We're playing house; Jenna's the baby and I'm the MOM," is a daily phrase around our house.

Jenna is our little ball of fire. She is 19 months old, and tries really hard to keep up with her big sister. She loves music and is starting to sing. Right now, she can sing parts of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "ABC's." She also loves Barney and Dora. She loves "Doh-a" so much, in fact, that Dora was one of her first words! She is learning more and more words by the day, and is also learning body parts. (Her favorite is her nose; when you ask her where her nose is, she always puts her finger UP her nose!) Jenna also loves "investigating" (aka, digging in the cupboards), pretending to talk on the phone (she's carried around a toy cell phone since she was about a year old) and playing with shoes, hats and anything sparkley… she's definitely a "girly girl."

We took a few fun trips this year. In May, we went to Florida. Emma loved it so much there that she cried when it was time to come home! We also visited Minneapolis and Omaha, plus lots of fun places in central Iowa.

Troy and I are, well... another year older, but pretty much otherwise the same. :-) There's been nothing new in the career fronts; Troy and I are still at our same jobs – Troy in server management and me in marketing. We've both taken on some new responsibilities this year in our jobs, which has been exciting and a challenge.

Be sure to check out all that the Maifelds have been up to this year.

We hope you have a great holiday season and a blessed 2006!

—Troy, Jami, Emma, Jenna and Joe

Emma's coloring contest
Emma won her age group in a coloring contest she entered in December. Over 200 kids entered, and we were really proud of her!

Christmas with Meem
We went to Mason City on Christmas Eve to celebrate Christmas with Grandma (Meem) Reed, Uncle Jake and Brooklyn.

Messy-faced Jenna at lunch at the restaurant... right before she dumped her entire plate of food on the floor and smearing mashed potatoes all over me. Even though everyone else found this very, VERY funny, our little "angel" about made Troy and I die of embarrassment.

Emma and Brooklyn visit "Santa" at lunch. By the way, Brooklyn told me she was all ready for Santa. What did she leave him? A Diet Coke and hot dog... of course! :-)

Jen got so excited when she opened her Dora stocking cap. She loves to wear stocking caps... and she loves Dora. So her new cap was a double bonus!

"A hat AND a make-shift purse? JACKPOT!"

Jenna loved the soft, new track suit Grandma Reed got her

Brooklyn shows off her new Harley hoodie. Grandma Reed got all three girls one; Emma and Jenna's were orange

Harley got tired of watching everyone open presents and took a little rest on Jenna's new track suit

Meem's "I just won Publisher Clearinghouse" face after opening the Michael Bennett autographed helmet Troy got her. ...And, for the record, Troy told her to make that face when she opened the present. :-)

Even Jenna got in on the action

Jen loved the hoodie on her new Harley sweatshirt, and her Dora sippie cup Meem got her. She carried it around forever!

Jen got pouty because I wouldn't let her keep climbing up the stairs at Grandma's

Jen loved the "Sah-tah" on Grandma's Christmas pin

Jen was a cool dude in these shades. She loved them!

She even got Meem's friend Jim to put them on... I'll bet he hopes none of his friends see him in them! :-)

Family presents
We opened our presents to each other on Dec. 23.

"Maybe if we put on some fake smiles, they'll take our picture... and then we can finally get to open our presents!"

Emma had been asking for the Little People house for months. She squealed when she opened the package.

Jenna loved her giant Pooh... and pretty much everything she (and her sister) got!

Jen's crazy hair
Jenna's hair gets out of control sometimes. Troy says she looks like Chip Foose from Overhaulin'. (You can be the judge of that, but I do have to agree that the guy has some seriously big hair.)

Girls night in
We had Emma's friends and their sisters over for pizza and fun one night the week of Christmas. It got a little crazy with NINE little girls in our house, but they had a blast, and it was really fun to watch them. ...Plus, it gave Troy a little glimpse into what slumber parties will be like in a few years! :-)

Maifeld Christmas
We went to Troy's family's Christmas in Humboldt on Dec. 18.

The girls on the way to Grandma and Grandpa Maifeld's in Humboldt. See all that snow out the window? We weren't used to that; all of ours had melted by then.

Emma and the soft Barbie doll she got from Grandma and Grandpa Maifeld

The Maifeld cousins (Jenna and Emma were getting tired and didn't feel like cooperating for photos by this point. Can you tell?)

The girls' cousin, Ben, loved the tractor he got

"Who needs toys when you can play with a big block of styrofoam?!?!"

Jenna on the new trike Grandma and Grandpa Maifeld got her

All of the Maifelds

Christmas program
The girls' Christmas program at school was Dec. 16. They both got all dressed up and looked beautiful.

Jenna checks out the tree at school

Jenna and her class (the nine- to 18-month-olds) handed out programs to everyone attending the program.

All of the kids in the center did an art project that made up the stage. Jenna and the toddlers made hand print Christmas trees; Emma and her class made the triangle Santas.

Emma's class is the Hot Rods. They sang "Here Comes Santa Claus," "Must Be Santa," "Reindeer, Reindeer," "Jolly Old St. Nicholas" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." The kids all worked really hard to learn the songs motions for the songs.

Emma and her class sing at the program

Emma actually SANG and did the motions to the songs this year. We were really proud of her!

Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa and Mrs. Claus came to visit the kids at the girls' school on Dec. 13.

No tears? …That's a good sign!

Jen and a friend hang out after taking a look at Santa

Santa makes Emma nervous, so she told us for weeks ahead of time, "I'm only going to sit on Mrs. Claus's lap!" She did have a breakthrough this year, though; for the first time ever, she actually TALKED to Santa when she saw him at Valley West Mall. (Sit on his lap? Nope. But it's major progress for Emma!)

Emma and her classmates and teachers with Santa and Mrs. Claus

Busy girls
Emma and her friends spent "Santa visit" morning doing what they usually do… coloring, and being silly!

Emma and her friends borrowed our digital camera and took a few photos while I was there, including this one that one of her friends shot

Fun at the mall
It was too cold to play outside on December 11, so we took the girls to Jordan Creek Town Center's indoor play area to burn off some energy.

Down the hill…
After Emma's friend, Grace's, birthday party on Dec. 10, a bunch of the kids – and parents – went sledding at a hill by Grace's house. It was a ton of fun! I don't know who had a better time, the kids… or the adults! Troy even got into a snowball fight with one of the dads. (Sorry, Jeff!)

Troy and Jenna get ready for a run down the hill

Jenna wasn't too sure about sledding the first few times down the hill… or the snow in general, for that matter

"What's this stuff?"

"Can somebody turn on the heat lamp?"

"Do I have to wear these goofy things?"

Emma loved sledding

Our little snow bunnies

Troy gives a push down the hill to Jenna and Emma's friend, Madisen, who is Jenna's "adopted" big sister. :-)

Jenna started to have a great time after a few runs down the hill

Madisen and Emma are all smiles

Troy pulled a tired Jenna back up the hill

Do you think Jenna has her daddy wrapped around her little finger? :-)

We took the girls on their first real bowling outing on Dec. 9 at Warrior Lanes in Waukee. They both had a great time, and Emma loved that she beat her mom! (See the scores below.) My low score was due, in part, to Jenna wanting to "help" me bowl… and then throwing a fit when we had to let go of the "ball-ball" down the lane! :-)

Troy gives Emma a lesson. (Maybe I should have listened, too, and my score wouldn't have been so low!)

Emma and her bowling ball

Mommy's little bowling "helper"

How did we get Emma turned around and smiling before her ball hit the pins? (Look in the photo; it's still heading for the pins.) Let's just say it took a little while for her ball to make it down the lane. :-) Thank goodness for the bumpers, too. This bowling alley is new and has programmable bumpers, meaning we programmed the bumpers to come up for just Emma. …No gutter balls for her! I wish I could have said the same for my game!

Emma shows off her bowling "form." When this didn't generate enough power, she just kicked the ball. …She definitely had a style all her own!

The final scores. Troy was D (Dad), Emma was E, and I was M (Mom). I don't think the Professional Bowlers Association will be knocking down our doors anytime soon! :-)

A pretty morning
Here are our little snowballs on a pretty morning in December.

Building Christmas traditions
We decided one Monday night in early December to build a gingerbread house. Troy and I had never done this before, and we thought it would be fun for Emma. Like every "project" we come up with, though, it ended up being a little more work — and a lot more complicated — than we'd planned.

Troy's just a "slight" perfectionist about projects like this… can you tell? :-)

We decided Troy was the construction foreman, and I was the interior designer of the house. Emma was the project manager and told us both what to do. :-)

Emma with the finished product

The house with the gingerbread men that came with it, which we also decorated

The best part of building a gingerbread house? …You get to eat your mistakes. :-)

Let it snow
Emma was so excited when, the first weekend in December, we finally got enough snow to play outside! She didn't let zero-degree temperatures stop her from playing and "helping" Troy snow blow. (She has her own shovel, you know.)

Emma was so excited about making a snow angel; she'd been asking for a long time when we'd finally get enough snow for her to make one

Shoveling in action

Do you think she'll be this happy about shoveling when she's 16? :-)

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