Merry Christmas! Our Christmas was great this year, it was good to be home. It was a smaller Christmas than usual because of nasty weather, Drew and Julia and baby Kamila couldn't make it to Kearney. :( It was strange not to have them here and they were most definitely missed. Will really loved opening gifts this year. We've been telling him "no no no" every time he touched the gifts, so he was excited to get his hands on them and rip off the bows and paper...and once he realized there was something inside of the boxes he was even more excited. It was cute.

All the loot for Will...can we say spoiled?!


Veggie Tales Shows!!

MORE Veggie Tales Shows!! :)



Nebraska or bust...a not so tall tale.

By far the most significant event of 2009 came toward the end of the year. After considerable deliberation and prayer, the Rodehorst family made the difficult decision to return to Nebraska. Little did they know the biggest difficulties lay ahead.

True to form, Ryan set out to outwit the system. "Surely there is a better way to move cross-country, and I'll be darned if I don't find it," he thought to himself. What followed was a series of questionable decisions that resulted in a more stressful, costly, ineffective, and dangerous moving experience for all.

First, the truck the Rodehorsts bought turned out to need major repairs--repairs that cost more than the truck itself and that nearly weren't finished in time for their move. Next, the U-Haul trailer they rented was too small to hold all their possessions. Even with the newly-repaired truck and U-Haul piled high, they were still forced to leave a truckload of their things behind. Not to mention all the precious time lost loading, unloading, and rearranging to pack as much as possible! So it was that on the day they planned to leave 10423 Mary Lane, they instead found themselves packing and cleaning well into the night, feeling increasingly discouraged and hopeless about their situation. It was only with the help of their generous landlords and neighbors, Brian and Lura Anderson, that they finally were able to leave that fateful night. But for Ryan, who would make the seventeen-hundred mile drive to Nebraska alone, the adventure was only beginning.

Only a few hours into his drive, Ryan's battle with the elements began. High winds that started in Central Washington and accompanied Ryan the remainder of his trip made the slow-going drive all the more laborious; worse yet, they shredded his carefully secured tarp before he had even made it out of the state. Now the only thing between the outside elements and the Rodehorsts' belongings in the bed of the truck was Lady Fortune--and, as Ryan was soon to learn, she wasn't much for company.

Some time late that night Ryan pulled into a Wal-Mart in Spokane for his first prolonged stop of the trip. After struggling to make a few emergency repairs on the trap in the cold, dark, windy night, Ryan slept for an undetermined amount of time in the cab of the pickup. Several hours before sunrise, the journey resumed--only to come within only inches of disaster.

Just outside of Coeur d'Alene, ID, Ryan made one of many stops to refuel--but this was by for the most exciting. Following the commands of his not-so-trusty GPS back to I-90, Ryan found himself confronted by a one-way sign. So he turned onto the side-street to his right, thinking that it would take him back the way he came. Instead, he found himself on a dead-end street in the dead of night with only two choices: one, he could turn into the small parking lot to his right and try to turn around or, two, he could back up the way he had come somehow facing the right way on that one-way street. This being his first time driving with a trailer, Ryan went with the default choice: to do whatever did not involve driving in reverse. So he pulled the truck and trailer into the lot as far to the right as possible, then jerked the wheel as far to the left as it would go, and swung wide around the lot, skirting within inches of the cars parked on its edges. "I'm going to make it," he thought to himself as the truck neared the completion of its 180 degree path around the lot. But the last parked vehicle--a truck that stuck out a mere bumper's length farther than the rest--blocked the way. What was he to do now? Stopped three-quarters of the way through the turn, the truck and trailer were out of line, so the inexperienced drive couldn't very well back straight up without jackknifing. And the cars to his right were too close to allow him to turn the wheel much. But he had to do something. So he slowly backed up to reposition himself. Then he tried to pull forward. But it seemed that he was just as close, if not closer, to the parked truck as before. So he tried again, and again, and again. Still, it didn't seem he was getting anywhere. In fact, the only way he could tell he wasn't merely retracing his tracks back and forth was because the trailer kept getting farther and farther out of line, close and closer to jackknifing.

He was stuck. "Alone and stranded in a back alley of Idaho in the middle of the night, what else could go wrong?" Ryan thought to himself. His mind raced for a way out. "Maybe I could detach the trailer, reposition the truck separately, and reattach the trailer," he thought, frantically looking around for some sort of board to use with the jack. "I can only imagine what someone would think if they saw me snooping around here in the dark." As the hopelessness of his situation began to dawn on him--there wasn't a decent board in sight and, besides, it wasn't like he could so much as budge the overloaded trailer by himself--a man emerged from a nearby building. At well past two in the morning, this was nothing short of a miracle. With the Good Samaritan's guidance, Ryan carefully repositioned his truck, pulled forward, and oh so narrowly cleared the parked truck. With the parking lot, his dignity, an hour of wasted time, and a mere 350 miles of his 2,200 mile trip behind him, Ryan finally hit the road again.

Except for the ever-present wind, he had smooth sailing for a while. He reveled in the sun rise over the Rocky Mountains of Montana, even as his truck struggled up and down the steep roads with its heavy load. This was his first time in Montana, and he could see why they called it God's Country. Then the weather hit. Montana's Big Sky opened and it started to rain. And as the rain fell harder, the holes in the tarp seemed to grow larger. "I hope it's doing at least some good," Ryan thought hopefully, "because there isn't much I can do about it now." So he drove. And it rained. At least he could be glad it wasn't snow...for now. The weather forecast called for snow, and lots of it. A front was moving in from the west; his only hope was to stay ahead of it.

More than 24 hours after his initial departure, Ryan crossed into Wyoming, a state in which he had had bad experiences with weather before. Yet he was hopeful. If he could make it as far as Casper before the front hit, it sounded like he just might miss the worst of it. And he almost did. Sheridan was his first stop in Wyoming, and it would be be his last before continuing to Casper. Although it was getting dark and the temperature was falling, he didn't want to stay in Sheridan and find himself stranded there the next morning. Besides, Casper was only 150 miles away. So he set off.

Unfortunately, the snow was even closer than Casper. Less than 40 miles outside of Sheridan it started to come down. Then it started to fall thicker and faster. With 50 miles left to Casper, Ryan found himself in a veritable whiteout. The snow reflected his headlights and covered the road, making it nearly impossible for him to see where he was going. The presence of tracks in the snow and tail lights ahead were all that indicated where the road might be. The few cars he came across had slowed considerably, and one or two had even spun out into the median or ditch. Ryan would probably have pulled over if there had been anywhere to do so. But there wasn't much of anything between Sheridan and Casper. Or maybe there was and he just couldn't see it in the dark through the snow. Heck, he could barely see ten feet ahead of his truck. In any case, he kept plugging along toward Casper. But the going was slow and treacherous. It took him almost two hours to cover those last 50 miles, and there were times when he didn't think he would make it, but he did.

Exhausted, Ryan parked under the awning of what used to be a gas station and slept for the night. Early the next morning he awoke, stiff and sore from the cramped quarters. His next destination was Ft. Collins, CO to visit his good friend Kyle George. Just a few days before, Kyle's wife wife Jessie had given birth to their firstborn, a baby boy they named Landon. It would be good to see them--indeed, to see anyone after such a long and lonely drive.

That morning's weather was the best of Ryan's trip. But there was talk of yet another front moving through the area later that afternoon. And he still had a half day's drive to go. He couldn't stay long before hitting the road again.

With the skyline no longer obstructed by mountains and tress, Ryan could watch the front move in. The dark clouds were just to the south of I-80 but moving his way. Ryan made it into Nebraska before the clouds eventually overcame him--yet, thankfully, they did not produce any rain or snow. That is, until Ryan made it just outside of North Platte, less than 100 miles from his final destination. Then, as if they had only been building up to this point, the clouds burst forth with a torrent of rain. "Well, there's no way the tarp can possibly keep this rain out," worried Ryan. It was coming down so hard that, just like the night before, Ryan could scarcely see the road. It was torture to be so close to the end and have to slow down. Ryan had already spent more than two days in the cab of his truck, the last thing he wanted to do was spend a minute more in it than he had to. But the trials of his trip made him all the more happy--not to mention relieved--to finally arrive at his parents new home just west of Kearney, where he, Rutheah, and Will would live happily temporarily after. And the lessons they learned during this move would come in handy for their next one...To be continued. :)



IT'S A GIRL!!!!!!

Here's a picture of her little face from the ultrasound...isn't she so sweet!? I'm still due May 16th and everything looks great! We are SO excited to start thinking of names...and I am especially excited for getting girly stuff; little dresses, barrettes, plus I can finally buy pink and purple! :)

Marriage Retreat

The tiniest plane I've ever taken...flown from Kearney to Denver

One of the pretty nooks at the hotel

Ryan and I got a super special treat...a weekend away at a marriage retreat! Will stayed with Grandma and Grandpa Rodehorst and Ryan and I got to fly to Wisconsin for the weekend. The Army has a great program for soldiers and their families called "Strong Bonds." The particular one we attended was a marriage retreat in "The Dells" Wisconsin. They give the soldiers and their spouses an all inclusive weekend at a very nice hotel and provide them with a marriage enriching workshop. So we enjoyed the classes with about 35 other couples from around the US. "The Kalahari" was the name of the hotel, or should I say resort, we stayed at and it was super amazing. The whole thing was themed off of African culture with beautiful animals, art, and artifacts all over the place. They even had baby tigers there that you could pet and get a picture with!! This place was full of exciting restaurants, caf├ęs, beautiful jungle decor, a luxury spa, a HUGE indoor waterpark, bowling alley, ropes course, rock climbing wall, movie theaters, and even a theme park! Seriously, you could live at this resort and never even have to go outside. And don't even get me started on the food...oh man, it was SO delicious and beautifully presented. I've never been to anything quite like it, and to think, this was in the middle of Wisconsin in December!

Friday night we were there we went to try out the water park. This place is one of the biggest indoor water parks in the nation, so you can only imagine all the slides, pools and fun stuff they had! Ryan even tried SURFING...yes, they had indoor surfing. I was bummed that I couldn't do much since I'm pregnant. But it was fun watching Ryan try out the slides and the surfing. Saturday we had several classes and then that night we were free to do what we wanted. We went to an awesome outlet mall and scored some good deals and then spent most of that night relaxing and enjoying our "us" time. Sunday we had a wonderful breakfast and a couple more classes and then we flew home! So it was a quick getaway, but a fantastic retreat for the two of us.

One of the 15 week old tigers you could pet!

This was HILARIOUS...if you could catch a lobster,
they'd cook it and you'd get to eat it free! LOL!!!

Big Snow

First blizzard of the year!!! We got about 10-12 inches of snow and everything was shut down for a day. I was super excited about this storm. We got all prepared and planned out a few meals: potato soup, enchiladas, and lasagna. Being snowed in is so much fun!!!!! Will had his little coat and snow pants and his snow boots all ready to go explore in the snow. We thought we'd try out his new "baby sled." So we got him all bundled up and he had all of his layers on and we went outside. He didn't quite know what to think of all the snow blowing around. He didn't care for it too much.

Little sled ride

Will's not liking it too much


Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving was pretty low-key this year. It was just Tom, Brenda and Ryan, Will and I. We had already done the big traditional dinner the week before with Ryan's grandmas, so on Thanksgiving Day we decided to make snacks and play some games. Tom and Ryan woke up early and went hunting for birds. They didn't see much though and came home empty handed. We had mini turkey BLTs on croissants, veggie bars, pigs-in-a-blanket, and cheesy salsa dip. And puppy chow for dessert. It was a gorgeous day, like 60 degrees. So Ryan set up horse shoes and ladderball and we played a few rounds of those. Later that evening Ryan, Will and I watched Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving and Will really liked it. It was a pretty lazy day but we shared some quality family time and it was wonderful to reflect on the things we are truly thankful for.

Horseshoe Battle

This was our only attempt at a family pic...no comment
Nebraska Boy

The grubb

First Haircut

Will got a new look for winter. As much as it saddened me and as much as I LOVED his little ringlets...something had to be done. You see, whenever we went anywhere Will would get called my daughter by strangers. He could have been wearing blue head-to-toe, and people would still say: "Ohhh, she's so cute!" or "I love your daughter's curls!" Ughhhh. Boys can have curls too, people!

The other day I realized after Will had woken up and half of his head looked like a little matted bird's nest and the other half had curls nearing his shoulders, that it was time to lose the locks. I didn't take him to a haircut place; I just decided that to do it just right, I'd be doing it myself. I can only imagine the horrible bull-cut he could have come out with. Gross. So I just trimmed up the back and took a little off the top. Part of me was worried that if I cut off the curls, they wouldn't come back. But they did! :) So here's a few before and afters.




Arf arf! Will was his favorite animal this year...a puppy. :) Ry and I didn't dress up this year...we just didn't get things together quick enough! Someday we'll do something cute and creative. Anyways, Will's not really old enough to Trick or Treat so we just took him around to see friends and family. We also made a very brief stop at New Life Church's "Light in the Night" Halloween festival. Next year I think Will will get a lot more out of Halloween. I already bought costumes for the kids for next year!! (And can I just say that it is SO weird to say KIDS.) So Will is going to be Superman and the baby is going to be a lion.

Ryan and Will with Kelly (Ry's cousin) and Owen

Will eating Laffy Taffy on Great GREAT Grandma Mimi's lap

Will updates

Will had his 15 month check-up yesterday. This checkup was a month overdue, but better late than never!
Stats: Height: 34" - 95th percentile
Weight: 30 3/4 lbs - 96th percentile
Head: 19" - 97th percentile
He's very proportionate. The nurses were joking that he's a future Husker player. :) He also had to get 3 shots and handled them like a little champ. While he was waiting for the doctor to come in, he was just standing around with just his diaper on. Then he very deliberately removed his diaper and peed on the floor. It was so intentional. We couldn't stop laughing. So after we were finished at the clinic we went to Target and got Will a potty chair and pull-ups. It seems a little early for this, we'll see how he handles it. This morning after breakfast, he sat on the toilet and managed to "pop a little gas" and poo a bit...YIPPIEEEE!!!! My goal is to get him fully trained by the time the baby is born. It may be too ambitious, only time will tell!

On the potty! (sad little band-aids from the shots.)
Will is also quite the chatterbox...every day he jibber jabbers more and more and gestures as he's "talking." Some words in his vocabulary: baby, mommy, daddy, banana -"nana," ball - "baaaa," cat - "caaaa," all done - "ah daaaa," more - "maaa," blue - "booo," yellow "yaya," and sometimes he can manage "I love you" and "Grandma and Grandpa." He has his moments where he'll repeat just about anything you ask him to say.

Other cute things:

When I ask him "Where's the baby?" he points to his tummy, but if I say "Where's Mommy's baby?" he lifts my shirt and pokes my bellybutton.

If he wants to watch a cartoon (almost always the Veggie Tales) he marches over to the TV and turns it on and says "Vaa vaaa vaaa." I guess that's Veggie Tales in baby speak.

He's getting very good at following instructions and will put away toys if we ask him. He's also good at the instruction, "Take this _____ to Daddy." And he'll march over and give him whatever he was supposed to.

He can identify his nose, hair, ears, mouth, eyes, hair, tummy and feet. We're also working on identifying red, blue, green and yellow. Blue and yellow seem to be his favorite.


First SNOW!

We woke up this morning to a very light dusting of snow on the ground. I was excited. Will was excited too...so he got all geared up to go "play" in it. (All he really did was listen to it crunch beneath his boots.) He just marched around on Grandma and Grandpa's deck crunch crunching. It won't be long before the snow on the ground sticks around through March but tomorrow it's supposed to be 60 degrees. Ahhhh, the glorious weather of Nebraska.

Nebraskans Again

We flew into Omaha on Oct. 23rd and spent that weekend with good friends, Abby and Zack. It was fun to be back in NE and be re-united as a family after 3 long weeks apart. We sort of went to the Pumpkin Patch...I say sort of because we got there 10 minutes before they were closing, so we couldn't play games or do the corn maze or anything cool. So we just took pictures with some pumpkins. That's all you really take away from the pumpkin patch anyways, right? :)

Last Weeks in WA

Will and I spent 3 weeks in Kirkland before we jumped the plane back to NE for good. It was a fun 3 weeks full of some great family time with Symeon & Merve one week and Aunt Kay and April the next week. Will had a blast being around Parker and Clark every day. Hanna and Arden were also super sweet to their cousin, they kept kissing on him and hugging him. It was super cute.

Cute Sisters and their cute winter accessories

We desperately tried to get a serious picture...it didn't happen.

Modeling?....okay fine, just being silly.

Watching Wall-E

Azra and Will enjoying breakfast together.

Parker lovin' on Will

youngest to oldest the Fab Five. :)

The belly at 9 weeks...yes NINE weeks

Watching cartoons all snuggled up


Big Announcements

Here's our big news!

In other big news:
We'll be moving back to Nebraska in a few weeks...we're super exicted to live "The Good Life."