Saturday, December 29, 2007

Let it Be Christmas!

Well, here we are at the close of another year. It's hard to believe. I just wanted to post a few of my favorite pics from Christmas. Our family had a wonderful holiday and I personally enjoyed every minute. The kids were so much fun! Zeke is at that perfect age...everything is exciting and magical to him. He brought us all many laughs. Elijah is at that independant age. I don't like it so much. He disappears to play video games of watch movies on his new DVD player. Wish we could keep him small forever. Emmy...well, she's just hillarious and sweet and ornery all rolled into one. She's my pal, and I just love her to pieces! Below are pictures taken at our 3 Christmases. Enjoy!

We're a Buckeye Family!
Andrea and Jon on Christmas Eve.

Mom and Dad on Christmas Eve.

Zeke with his new Ohio State hat!

Elijah is a Buckeye from head to toe!

One pretty little Buckeye!

Sandy and I were in the Christmas spirit!
Dad and his sisters, Marla and Margo sang at our annual Grate Christmas.
Not much I can say here except, "Oh my goodness! Cutest kids on earth! "
Jason's family on Christmas Eve.
The 3 kiddos with Uncle Ed and Aunt Linda on Christmas Eve.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

December Birthdays!

Well, our big family weekend came and went, but it sure was a good one. I have to say, it ranks up there as one of my favorite. It was just a good time! We started off on Friday night with just Jon and Andrea and the kids. J and Holly stayed in Ft. Wayne with friends to celebrate Christmas while mom and dad couldn't come till Sat. Friday night we had pizza and a movie night. It was a fun, relaxing evening. (As you can see)

Zeke was in an extra, loving mood and I wasn't complaining.

Time for Bed. Jon uncovered a sleepingEmmy to take her to the bed and this is how we found her under the covers. It was too funny not to take a picture.

Sat. Jason and Holly joined us at 1:00 for the IWU lady Wildcat basketball game. It was a special one as they announced the championship team of last year and revealed the National Championship banner.

After the game it was home to party and celebrate the December birthdays of Sue, Holly and Elijah! Mom and Dad arrived around 4:00 as well as Bob and Janet, Sue's partents. We celebrated those we love.
Below you have Mom and Dad with Andrea. Mom can't seem to keep her hands off Andrea's growing belly.

This is Bob and Janet Jackson, Sue's parents.
After eating, we opened the presents before cake and ice cream. We made Elijah read all his cards out loud before he could open the present. (Good practice, you know.)
Since Elijah's party (cake) was an Ohio State theme, Grandma Grate thought his present should follow suit. These are just a few of the treasures in his goody bag.
Jason liked them too. Elijah may have trouble holding on to his belongings on game day!

Elijah, 9 years old, with his Ohio State Cake!
All 3 birthdays blow their candles out together!
Sorry, these pictures are backward. Before they blew the candles.
Holly opens one of her gifts....
AS does Sue...

The weekend was so great. Sat. evening, the "siblings" stayed up late talking which was really nice. We don't get the opportunity to do that much anymore. We're all spread out and quiet talk time is at a premium with all the kids. I enjoyed it immensely.

I hope all the Dec. birthdays enjoyed their special day and know that we love you!

Just a side note, today is Sat. the 15th and we are expecting up to 10 inches of snow in the next 24 hours. I am hunkered down in my house (in my pajamas which is how I plan to stay the rest of the day) for a day of wrapping presents, reading, watching Christmas movies, basically whatever hits me. But it doesn't involve me getting gussied up and going anywhere!
How sweet is that?!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Happy 30th Birthday, Andrea!!!

Well, to my secret commenter, who is missing my writing...Here you go! To tell you the truth, I have been so busy, since Thanksgiving that I have felt like I am meeting myself coming and going. My Thanksgiving holiday was wonderful, just like I knew it would be. The shopping day was especially fun since I kept finding things for myself! So much for others! Sat. evening we had a "semi" surprise party for Andrea's birthday. I say "Semi" because she totally knew something was going on. But, her best friend, Nicole, was there and that was a surprise, so I guess that should count for something. Below I have included some pictures from her party.

Above you have Andrea with her very cool Ohio State serving platter, that is upside down if you look close enough to see the script Ohio on the field.

Andrea's best friend, Nicole who only beat her to 30 by 6 weeks.
They've been friends since birth!

I love my sister!

Since Thanksgiving, I've baked approximately 35 dozen cookies, and gone home to help host 2 big Christmas open houses that my parents hosted. That was a busy week and weekend! But let me tell you, my mom, sister and I make a great team. We had the best time and put on a spread that was Paula Dean worthy, if I do say so myself! Andrea and I would love to do that kind of thing for a living. Maybe someday....

This week, I am busy cleaning and preparing for my whole family to be at my house. We are celebrating December birthdays! Elijah turns 9 and we're also celebrating Holly and my best friend, Sue. The Holly and Sue part is a surprise, so sshhh..don't tell. Hopefully neither will read this before Sat. So, I will have pictures to post next week of this big weekend!

Then...I rest.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Emmy and Aunt Kelley

What a Weekend!

I had such a fun weekend! I had my niece, Emmy come for the weekend to help me with my Christmas decorating and some cooking. We also spent about 2 1/2 hours in the beauty shop while I got my hair done. She was a real trooper! I worked her to death and she seemed to enjoy every minute of it. The work was enjoyable because we sang, talked and cheered on our OHIO STATE BUCKEYES while we worked! Once the decorating was complete, we started cooking for Sunday's SS harvest dinner. Emmy helped me make cheesy potatoes, taco salad, turtle pumpkin pie and pumpkin pie squares. When it was all complete, I took her down to drive through the walk-way of lights. I thought this was a good idea because it is early in the season and nobody would be there. WRONG! I got in the middle of some parade that I didn't even know was happening. We sat for close to 45 min. at a dead stop. I was not amused, but Emmy kept insisting that it would be worth the wait. Well, I'm not sure it was for me, but she loved it so I guess it was. She was sound asleep by the time I got her home.

The weekend only continued to get better with our first service in the new church on Sunday. It was incredible! The building is amazing and so beautiful. It was such a special day. Emmy loved the church and the kids wing, especially. She was so excited to go to the kids church. After church our SS had a Thanksgiving dinner to thank the pastoral staff for all they do. The food was wonderful and the fellowship was even sweeter. It was a blessed day, indeed!

With only 2 days to work this week, it's looking to be a good one. I love Thanksgiving! I can't wait for the food, decorating, Christmas music, movies, shopping, but most of all time with my family. We're going to miss Jason, Holly and the kids this year, but we'll have them for Christmas. Well, I should wrap this up. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!


Monday, November 05, 2007

What's New?

What's new? Well, my Dad told me that he keeps checking the blog for a new post and I need to get on it. So, here I am doing as I was told.

I spent this last weekend at Andrea and Jon's painting with my Dad. We got the master bedroom and bathroom done. May not sound like a lot for two days of work, but you should see the size of this room. It was a chore. Dad also did a few other things, but painting was my only contribution. It was fun. We always have fun together. Andrea couldn't paint because of the baby, but she cooked up a storm and kept us all well fed. Jon also helped on Friday night, but had drill on Sat. (I didn't want anyone to think he was a slacker!)

Sunday we had a SS carry-in dinner at the Rowley's. It was excellent! Tons of great food and great company. I enjoyed it immensly. We also met for SS in the new church with our new teachers which I thought was wonderful. I really liked their spirit and felt like they are going to be a good fit for our class.

The Colts lost to New England last night which was a major bummer. We did get in some nice hard hits on Tom Brady which made me happy. I know we will meet them again in the playoffs and I suppose I'd rather lose to them now rather than then, but it still was no fun! My Buckeyes are still on top and undefeated. The Michigan game looms in the near future though. Makes me nervous just to think about it. IWU women's basketball open their season this Wed. night at 7:00pm so I'm excited about that. It may be the season where I prove that I'm a true fan not just a National Champ bandwagon fan. Losing 5 seniors will definitly show, but I think they will be better than most expect them to be.

As I look at my calendar, I am overwhelmed with all I have going on between now and Christmas. My weeks are full and the weekends are even more full. Christmas will be here before I know it. I'm excited about it though. Now through Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love being busy and having lots to do. I seem to be more productive.

Well, I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the fall weather like I am! Have a super week!


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

IWU Homecoming 2007- What a DUD!

Well, last weekend was IWU's Homecoming weekend. To say I was disappointed, would be an understatement. Actually, I have to say that the Point of Grace/IWU Chorale concert on Friday night was excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed myself (especially the part where Prof Guy asked all Chorale alumni to come up and join the chorale for their final number and I got to pretend to still know the words and alto part to A Mighty Fortress 17 years later)! Yikes!! Am I that old? Anywho...On Sat. we made our way to the athletic fields where this year's Homecoming festivities were to take place. Much to my dismay, there was nothing there except inflatable toys for the kids I don't have, and a tent for the meal that I was not going to eat. There was a booth where I got to write down my name and throw it in a basket. What did I win, you might wonder? Nothing. Just a card to let them know I came. I was hunting for the boothes that used to sell things like carmel apples, t-shirts, etc... but found nothing. I was looking for the stage where the music groups sing and entertain was nowhere to be found. I guess I could forgive all that because it's really about coming to see all my old friends from college, right?Where were the people that I came to see? Well, I saw Anon, Deb W., Doug P., Jim and Jaena, Shelli from a distance, so that sounds great, right? It would be except they are all in my Sunday school class and I see them every week. ( Not that I don't always enjoy seeing them! ) Sue and I watched a few innings of the softball game, but in the 90 degree heat, it just wasn't worth it. So, we were out of there by 12:00. I was very discouraged by the obvious decline in the Homecoming festivities. I hear there has been a marked improvement in the torch run and bonfire that kicks off the weekend with the current students, but to me HOMECOMING implies the act of coming home by the ALUMNI. I would like to see a little more focus put into making the weekend special for those who are coming back. How about an ALUMNI tent where we have drawings with those cards for small give aways? Just a thought. It's not like our money didn't help build the mighty fortress known as IWU. Well, I could go on and on. The sarcasm is dripping from me today if you couldn't tell. Must be the changing weather...Was anyone else disappointed, or was it just me?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Catching Up!

The last couple of weeks have been crazy! People at church probably think I've dropped off the planet. I really haven't. The following will explain where I've been hiding lately. Besides this update, life has been pretty normal and steady. School It's okay. That's about the best I can say. Based on today's test scores, I either need to rewind and start this year over, or find another profession. I seem to be losing my educator's touch. Those things are hard on a teacher. We take the test scores personally as it is a reflection of our teaching. You might pray for me and this year's students. We have a long road looming ahead of us. Okay...on with the update!

Andrea and Jon are in their new house!

Two weekends ago, we moved Andrea and Jon into their new house. This is Andrea organizing her cupboards. Are you supposed to climb on step stools when you're expecting?

The house is awesome and we're so excited about the baby on the way!

Another Grate Family Reunion was held!

Sat. the 28th, we gathered at mom and dad's in Marion, Ohio for another Grate Family Reunion. There were 67 people there! It was so much fun to visit and spend time with family that live so far away. The Grate's are special people!

This is Zeke in his "tunnel." What a cutie!

Kelley and Bev forgot to take their annual picture, so I pulled this one from the archives. It was taken in July at my Dad's 60th B-day party. We always have a blast together. The laughter is non-stop!

Here is Uncle George and Aunt Violet with their children and grandchildren that were able to come.

Aunt Violet and Aunt Eva played us some old time gospel music.

This isn't even the whole group. I couldn't get back far enough to get them all, but it gives you the idea. We had a full house!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Colts Game

This picture of the banner is supposed to be farther down, but I accidently deleted it and can't get it back where it goes. So, when you read that the banner was revealed, this is it! ;)
Well, where do I begin? Oh my goodness this was so much fun!! First I'd like to start by saying, "Thank You, Thank You, THANK YOU" to Deb Wuertly for suggesting Sue and I to her Dad as possible buyers for their extra two tickets! This was an incredible experience! For those reading who don't know what I'm talking about, Thursday night was the Indianapolis Colts season opener against the New Orleans Saints. They had a free NFL Kickoff concert at Monument Circle in Downtown Indy from 5:00-7:45 featuring Hinder (should be named Hideous), Kelly Clarkson (A fav of mine) and Faith Hill (probably my all time favorite female country singer). So, Sue and I flew out of school and hit the road to Indy about 3:45. We were parked in the Conseco Parking Garage by 5:15. Traffic wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. We made our way over towards Monument Circle where there were 50,000-100,000 people milling the blocked off streets and crowded like sardines a few city blocks deep to see the concert. The first picture is the screen I could see of Kelly Clarkson and the next picture is Faith Hill. As crazy as it sounds, it was really a fun atmosphere. We enjoyed listening and watching via screen two of our favorite artists.

Around 7:30, we started heading toward the RCA Dome. The ceremony presenting the 2006 superbowl banner and a performance by John Mellancamp was to begin at 8:00. This next picture is the scene in front of me going into the Dome.

Once I was in the gates, I took pictures looking down at the crowds of people waiting to get in and the people streaming from all over the city towards the Dome. The seas of blue and white was so cool to see.

Our view of the stadium. The Porters seats are excellent. Back row of the bottom section. You have a wall at your back so the drunk who goes for his 35th beer won't spill it down your back when he returns to his seat. You also have the replay TV's right above you so you can watch the replay up close. Below they are setting up the stage for the pregame ceremony. The replica Superbowl ring was for the players to run through as they took the field. It was amazing. ( I feel like I'm running out of adjectives!)

Sue and I decked out in our Colts gear!

The people are going wild as they are getting ready to start. The white towels are a waving!

Here you have the Colts cheerleaders and below is John Mellancamp on the big screen. I couldn't get the pictures while he was performing to come out. It was too dark. He introduced Jim Irsay to the stage at the beginning of the ceremony.

Here come the Colts!

The 2006 Superbowl Banner was revealed!
Ready to score! The game was so exciting! First
half was a little slow, but Peyton and crew really put on a clinic in the second half. The drunk guy in front of us, who was really a very nice guy, was into high fives for every good play, so we felt like a real part of the group! There is nothing like being there when that long pass into the endzone hits it's receiver perfectly for a touchdown. The crowd goes wild and it's so exhillerating! (sp?) (Trying to find a new word.) Well, I guess that's it. The game was awesome and we won big! Sue and I looked at each other on our way to the car and agreed that it was worth every penny! Go Colts!