Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year in Review

Life has been going 100 mph to say the least...but isn't it always for us? Jason sat down and looked at this past year's calendar and he concluded that he was out of town for 10 weeks.  Gees that's alot. Needless to say we make our shedule fit us...there are some major perks to owning your own business! I will post more about our Christmas travels when time allows, so for now I'm posting our Christmas letter. Many of you already received it in the mail, but it's still fun to read!

 

 

Dear Family & Friends,                            

 

Christmas time is upon us again, it seems like I just wrote last year’s letter not that long ago! I enjoy looking back in December and remembering the year. We have not changed too much in what we do, where we live or our family this year, but have been plenty active!

 

January

Sooter Companies, Inc was off to a great start in the new year,

As it continues to grow, we give up a cheer!

Jason took up welding and racquetball in his “spare” time…

Please bear with me as I rhyme!

 

February

Jason and his dad replaced my car’s timing belt,

“Will this bolt ever come off?” is how they felt!

I attended my first Beth Moore Bible study Tuesday mornings at church,

She sure makes you do a lot of research!

 

March

We bought a grain mill to begin making our own flour,

For the homemade bread I now make for Jason to devour!

My friend, Marilyn, taught me how to make a quilt for RFKC,

And I am still a member of the Women’s Board at church, Tapestry.

 

April

We house-sat for a family of three boys~ soccer, talent shows, and baseball,

They were amazed at how big Jason is and that I am so small!

The first of three weddings in seven weeks we attended,

Plans, bridal showers and parties sure were splendid!

 

May

At wedding number two we showed off our finesse,

We sure looked mighty fine in our tux and bridesmaid dress!

We enjoy our new married friends~ cooking, going to ball games and riding bikes,

We are blessed to have such similar likes!

 

June

To Texas we traveled for wedding number three,

And a weekend with my extended family!

Our friends took in a 6 week old foster baby in June,

Some days I give her a break from morning till afternoon!

 

 

July

Jason chaperoned the youth group to Mexico to build a house,

I decided 10 days was too long to be away from my spouse!

Our fourth year at Royal Family Kid’s Camp brought a change from years past,

Jason was a counselor for just two boys, he had a blast!

 

August

Jason went backpacking in Pecos, New Mexico again with my uncle and cousin,

He quickly discovered his pack was pounds too heavy, by more than a dozen!

We picked apples way high up in a tree, down the ladder I would toss,

We juiced them and made great applesauce!

 

September

Jason’s great-aunt passed away, so another trip we made,

I received her box of hand written recipes, so her legacy won’t fade.

In September I started a blog: http://ourtraditionalhome.blogspot.com

It keeps everyone updated on the Sooter home, even my mom!

 

October

We went camping for our 2nd anniversary at White Rock Mountain in Arkansas,

We love each other very much~ that would be the conclusion one would draw!

Jason started “the shower that never ends,” it was made of 1100 3”x6” tiles,

At the rate it took, the wall seemed to go on for miles and miles!

 

November

On the twenty-second, my sister became Mrs. Collin J. Campbell,

She was a gorgeous bride! On and on about the wedding to Jason I would ramble!

We drove out of town to buy two free-range turkeys from a farm,

We left smiling, each with one under our arm!

 

December

Off to Camp Dry Gulch we went,

To ride the Christmas Train with Jason’s brother and parents.

At church, we became d-group leaders for the tenth grade,

Recently we took them to see the Rhema lights, we were quite the brigade!

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Love, Jason and Andrea

Friday, December 26, 2008

We are "The Cousins"

I'm sitting in my Aunt & Uncle's living room in Canyon, TX all by myself right now. A rare occurance  in this household for sure! Christmas Eve there were twenty-one of us gathered in here! 

Vanessa is taking a nap in a back bedroom.
Cousin Michael just left for a date...he is kind enough to share his new Mac Book with all of us who have to check our email and facebook daily!!
Cousin Lee is applying for jobs today.
Jason, Collin and cousins David & Andrew are at a friend's farm doing some landscaping.
Cousin Stephen, his wife Kennah and daughter Charlee are at Kennah's mom's house.
Cousin Robert and wife Sarah are headed to Taos to go skiing (jealous of them!)
Uncle Eric is at work.
Aunt Chris is in Hereford, TX with my parents, and both sets of my grandparents. 

Times sure have changed since we were all kids...four of us are married now only the youngest cousin Andrew isn't old enough to drive. I find it neat though that even through all the different path our lives are taking, we still make time to all get together. We were talking the other day how when we refer to "the cousins" everyone knows who we are talking about...my dad's two girls or his sister Chris' six boys. 

We live six hours apart, yet I know very few people who ~some who even live in the same town together~ are as close to their cousins as we are! I was commenting on that to my Aunt Chris at Vanessa's wedding and Vanessa popped into the conversation and said, "It's because we were raised in similar homes with similar values." So true.  We are also close in age. Steve & I are 4 months apart, Vanessa & Robert are six weeks apart. We never had a brother, so going to "the cousins" house was as close as we got! I was really glad that Jason fit right in when he came along! He says, "Your cousin's family is my ideal family. Six boys! And they are all active guys, not much video gaming going on there!" He and David worked on fixing David's table saw this morning! 

I don't really know where I was going with this blog. Thinking aloud I guess. Grateful for my wonderful extended family. I love spending time down here in TX. The past two years Jason has gone camping with Uncle Eric and several of the boys. I've had a wonderful time connecting with my Aunt Chris, my Granny, and cousin's wives Kennah & Sarah. I am blessed. It is something I really want for me & Vanessa's children to share someday. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!


Happy 26th Birthday, Jason!!

(these pics are from his birthday last year)

I LOVE YOU!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

On Our Own


We spent Saturday with Jason's family- at his brother's basketball game and celebrating Christmas with them. At the end of the evening we watched my all time favorite "Feature Films for Families" movie - On Our Own.  I don't know what happened to all of mine: Rigaletto, Split Infinity, The Butter Cream Gang I&II....but I've told my mother-in-law she is never allowed to get rid of her copies! They are such great movies and I want my kids to get to watch them at Grandma's some day! I had not seen On Our Own in many years! 

On Our Own is about four kids whose parents have been divorced for several years and then their mother who they live with dies.  The kids are placed in a children's home until they can be placed in foster homes- meaning they will be separated.  They run away to find "Uncle Jack" so they don't have to go into foster care. Meanwhile they steal a car and a bus and food to make it there. 

Jason and I were talking on the way home how it was totally different watching that movie now that we have helped with Royal Family Kids Camp at our church- a camp we do specifically for Tulsa area foster children each summer. Some of the kids who come to camp only get to see their siblings at camp as they do not live together. They are always trying to do everything with their siblings while they are there!  I've heard some of the same lines from the movie said at RFKC. Both of us said we got choked up at different points in the movie, the situation was so real. It was just one more thing that encourages us to foster to adopt- something we both feel a very strong calling towards in our lives together. 

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Glimpse

Yesterady I had a glimpse of motherhood.

As I begged an pleaded with a 7 month old baby to go to sleep again at 2:30 in the morning, I thought to myself, "I am SO not ready for this." Honestly though, would anybody say they would be ready to give up sleep at odd hours every night? Probably not. But anyways...

Tuesday night my dear friend who is fostering "little guy" that I babysit from time to time called me in desperation. Her husband was out of town and she was not feeling well at all. It was about 5pm, I was on the way to the bank, so I just told her I would head over to her house after that. I called Jason and told him what was up, he suggested I just go ahead and spend the night at their house since the roads would just be getting icier as the night got colder. She went to bed as soon as I got there, I told her to get a good night's sleep since I would be spending the night. The baby went to sleep at 8 and did really well until 12:30am...then he was WIDE awake until 2:30am. I gave him a bottle, rocked him, sang to him...nothing. Finally I put him in bed with me and hummed to him for probably 30 minutes and he was asleep....meanwhile I had to wake up at 4am and check on Tanya. Her husband told me if I knew by 4am how she was doing he could catch a 6am flight home if needed...she told me she was feeling alot better. Her husband still decided to come on home. Good thing, she was not fine this morning, even after sleeping 15 hours (6pm-9am!) I came home and took a nice long nap....after telling Jason I am not ready  for motherhood just yet!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bragging

I like to brag on my husband, who doesn't? 

Here is the bed Vanessa picked out of the Pottery Barn catalog.

Here is the one Jason built for she and Collin


I am so proud of his skills :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cookie Extravaganza


Today I went over to Jason's grandma Yvonne's house and we had a cookie baking day! Her family has a lot of Norwegian heritage, so most of the cookies we made were Norwegian.


Michelle, me & Aunt Karla icing sugar cookies

Grandma Yvonne & Michelle making rosettes

a finished rosette

pinwheel sprits

Jason's mom, Diane, making sundbakkel dough

Me trying out my new cookie press! What fun that was!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Things that go BUMP in the Night

Not necessarily the sound you want to be woken up by! One night last week we awoke to the sound of a huge crash....Jason woke right up and said, "What was that!" I managed to get the lamp turned on, saw it was this
A laundry basket full of duffel bags had fallen off the top shelf in the closet!

I fell right back asleep, but apparently he laid in bed for a 1/2 hour figuring out what he would do if someone was breaking in...that's what he thought was happening! I'm glad to know I'm safe with him! He is the hardest sleeper ever, so I was surprised he woke right up! I'm usually the one who wakes up multiple times every night (preparing for motherhood maybe?), but it didn't even phase me!

So the next day I came home to find ALL the contents of the top shelves on my bed and the shelves gone! Jason couldn't handle those cheap sagging shelves anymore and just had to fix them! So I am now the proud renter of some extra sturdy shelves in my apartment closet! You're an amazing husband, Jason!!

I think the best part of this whole project...I've had to go through everything on those shelves and re-evaluate its necessity! Yay for de-cluttering, flylady would be proud of me!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Catch up

Once again I don't know where last week went...it was very full and busy.

Monday I babysat little guy. My friend had just bought him a little Bumbo chair to sit in! He was so cute in it! I need to figure...if I'm there in the morning to babysit...I might as well plan on being there all day! She and I just get to talking....

Tuesday I don't even remember what I did. I think I stayed home and worked on projects?? My buddy Jessica was supposed to come over in the evening, but whatever she had to go to beforehand went an hour long...so we re-scheduled for this Tuesday.

Wednesday I tried to stay home, but I ended up running errands all day....got most of my Christmas shopping done!! And wrapped!!!! Then I went to Alpha in the evening at church.

Thursday we tried something new. We have a helper now part time so he serviced pop machines with me on Thursday and Friday while Jason continued remodeling work. I have to say, I'm very spoiled that I get to work with my husband often...I missed having that time with him.

On to our helper.

His name is Bryan, he is 17 and an answer to prayer!! Jason has been swamped for a while now, both the remodeling and vending businesses have been busy as ever! That's great! But then I get stuck being the "extra set of hands" and am away from home more than I'd like to be. So we have needed a helper for a while, but really only part time...so where do you find someone who doesn't need to work full time during the day?? Well I've been praying about this situation since September probably. Last week at church Jason sat down after the meet and greet time and was asking me how to spell so and so's last name, he was saving their number in his phone. I just said, "Oh do they need some work done at their house?" "No" he responded, "He wants his son to come work for me, he's back from Montana and needs a job during the day to keep him busy and out of trouble."

Rewind a while back. Bryan was headed down the wrong path last year...so he ended up being sent to a program in March of this year. He's been there for 8 months, he just came home. While he was there he earned his GED. Now he is home, doesn't have to go to school but is only 17 (he will start community college in the spring part time) and needs to stay occupied. Enter Jason and Andrea Enterprises (that's what our pastor thinks we should rename our company to)...we now have part time help! Yipee!! The first week went well, I'm SO excited about this opportunity we have!!

Thursday night we wrapped up work early and drove an hour over to Pryor, OK to the Christmas Train. We met up with Jason's parent's and brother for the evening. It was a lot of fun. If you live in Tulsa and ever do this, I highly recommend going early in the month of December on a Thursday, it wasn't crowded at all! We rode the train, and the horse drawn wagon, ate beef stew and had hot chocolate, looked at the decorating in a cute candy shop (I think I was the only one who really enjoyed that part...me and decorating!), listened to a country western trio sing Christmas carols, we had fun!!


Friday night we finally had dinner with Jef and Laurie....that was like 8 months coming. We've been meaning to get together with them since they got married in April! We went to their cute, cute little house in Broken Arrow and made tacos and fajitas. I made the tortillas of course! We had a lot of fun hanging out with them and getting to know them better as a couple.


Saturday was the annual ladies Christmas brunch at church. It is probably my favorite ladies event all year, I love looking at the different tables that ladies decorate with their Christmas dishes. Mom and I have each done a table the past two years, but I was so worn out by Saturday morning I was very thankful I didn't do one this year!


Saturday afternoon Vanessa and I stained the bed Jason built for she and Collin. I think it is just about all put together in their apartment now. :)


Sunday we had a big family lunch with my family. Dad wanted to get us all together one last time before Nessa and Collin leave for their honeymoon and Grandma and Grandpa go to Florida for the remainder of the winter. Grandma Ross made the best roast and potatoes ever!

Sunday evening Jason and I took our 10th grade D-Group to look at Christmas lights at Rhema...


After d-groups I finished up the baby shower invitations I was making for my cousin's wife, Kennah. Her sister is having her first baby, it will be a big shower as I made 90 invites!! They turned out very cute !!

This morning I went up to church to take the staff Christmas photo...very photogenic bunch!

Jessica came over tonight and we hung out while our husbands played racquetball, it was great to catch up with her! I made a pumpkin pie and sent 1/2 home with her...neither she or Jason like pumpkin pie and I didn't want to make a whole one for me, so I sent the other half with her for Matthew.

The rest of this week should be slow, I am so thankful!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

a picture is worth a thousand words

If you haven't noticed by now....I LOVE pictures~ taking them or being in them!

I started taking a lot of pictures when I was 13. I started because my parents had hardly any photos from their teenage years~ I didn't know what they looked like when they were my age, what they were into, who their friends were or anything. About that time my parents 35mm camera broke and they quit taking pictures. I started out buying disposable cameras all the time, my friends soon caught on that "Andrea is always taking pictures!" I don't know how, but I funded all the cameras and the development...and my blossoming scrapbooking habit. I must have babysat a lot! I bought my first "real" camera at K-mart when it was going out of business, my mom went with me the night before my Jr. Prom to buy it. I had a 35 mm camera until New Years 2005. I held off for a while on getting a digital camera until they had gotten a little better in mega-pixels and come down in price. When I had known Jason about a week he went to Best Buy with me to pick out my first digital camera~ a Sony Cybershot 5.1 megapixel. It was a wonderful camera for me, I was in picture taking heaven! About 10 months later my pictures started getting fuzzy (I figured I'd taken 6,000 pictures by then!)...so I took it back to Best Buy and they replaced it! They have a fantastic return policy if you buy the "service plan"! I am now on my 4th digital camera, I think I've had this one the longest! Anywho all that said...I've been itching for a digital SLR camera...they're just a *little* pricey...so it might be a while still...but this is why I want a nicer camera:
I think this one is going to get blown up for our bedroom wall!





Kim has a Canon EOS 40D...I might be just a tad jealous...that's all :)...I might add she is also very good with Photoshop!

I have been the photographer for our church's Royal Family Kid's Camp the last 4 years...oh how I would love to have a better camera! However, if I might brag for a moment, I've had 3 photo's in their national publications....all with my little Sony Cybershot! So I really can't complain, but as Jason would say, "At some point you have to graduate from Black & Decker tools to Dewalt." :)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Our Family Photos

We spent a wonderful day together yesterday.
We drove 2 hours over to Arkansas where Jason is from and had our pictures taken by Kim Durham. Kim has an amazing gift from God when it comes to photography! She just started taking pictures for other people sometime this year- the early spring maybe? And she has learned SO much in such a short amount of time. She sends out regular emails with photo's she's taken that week and I've had a lot of fun watching her just get better and better! Her sweet husband is even in on the fun now! They both came yesterday and took our pics, Justin thought we were crazy to drive 2 hours just for pictures though! Well the reason we drove 2 hours was two fold. One to take pictures with Kim and...

Back in October when we'd shown ourselves around Jason's grandparents old farm we re-discovered a whole bunch of glass canning jars- many still with food in them (8 or so years later- yuck!) and we wanted to gather up those glass jars for our future. Every time we've been by in the past we were in my car and it was pretty full already, so we purposely took the truck and several large storage tubs this trip. The farm is getting pretty deteriorated and will probably be bulldozed at some point for a subdivision- a group of investors from CA owns it right now. The neighbors came over to see who was on the property, they are supposed to be keeping an eye on things. They were SO excited to see Jason! And they helped us load all the canning jars up, they thought it was great we wanted them! Leon helped Jason load everything up and I sat in the cab of their truck to keep warm with his wife, Peggy. She talked my ear off about Jason's grandparents, she had known them since she was born until they passed away! I listened intently- it makes Jason very sad that I never got to meet those grandparents- so I ate up every word of their family history! She had many memories of Jason too! She said, "I never knew much about his younger sister and brother, but Jason was always here at his grandparents farm! I remember looking out the window and seeing Jason out on the tractor in the fields, he was just a young kid!"

On Thanksgiving, Jason's parents dug out some old family videos to find a specific shot of Jason on the farm. It was Jason giving his mom a tour of several places on the farm- the junk pile and the chicken houses. He was all of maybe 10 or 11 years old and he was in his coveralls- the ones I have now that kinda fit me! He was jumping around on top of the junk pile, showing off his hideout fort and telling us "You can find just about anything in this here junk pile, even antiques! Look here at this antique bottle (holds up a glass jar)!" It was soooo cute! On top of that, he had the most country hick accent! We all got a big laugh out of it!

Jason and I are thinking we need a video camera now. Home movies can be so much fun to watch later!

So after we collected all the jars we could carry (there are still more to be gotten!) We drove back towards Tulsa to Jason's other grandparents for a traditional Mexican meal. Jason's grandpa Lyle from Pennsylvania was here for Thanksgiving, so in addition to Thursday's big meal we got together again so he could have Mexican food like Jason's grandma Yvonne used to make. (Jason's like me, he has 3 sets of grandparents) I made my homemade tortillas with my tortilla press- they were a big hit! I made 4x a normal batch for 17 people and all but two tortillas were gone by the end of the night! We had enchiladas, rice, beans and rice pudding too. It was delicious!

We both really treasured the time spent together yesterday.

Here are some of the pics Kim took of us- I cannot wait to see the rest! She was so kind to just post a couple (ok 17, what a "sneak peek"!) on Facebook last night for me! I was so anxious to see what she did with us! Oh I forgot to mention she took a bunch of our photos at the family farm! One more thing. We found Kim, we'll she found me on myspace a couple of years ago- She and Jason rode the bus together when they were kids! So that's how come someone 2 hours away took our pics! She is going to come to Tulsa in the spring for a whole day...so all my Tulsa friends get your families ready!!

Thanks, Kim & Justin!!! You did an awesome job
with our little "two of us family"!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.
Psalm105:1 (KJV)


Jason & I have participated in a certain Sunday School class at our church for several semesters....the leader always starts with this verse and we have a time of thanksgiving. Today it is your turn, what is your testimony in the deeds He has done for you?

Friday, November 21, 2008

WEDDING TOMORROW

Vanessa's wedding is almost here!!!!!!

We are counting down hours now! I can't believe it's tomorrow! My little sister will be a wife!! I'm off to go finish gluing fake leaves to sticks!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How To: Acorn Squash

Apparently acorn squash is not very popular, at least amongst the people I come in contact with. I LOVE acorn squash. It is one of those foods, like chili, that is sooo good in the winter! I had one girlfriend ask me "What is that green thing on your table?" So here is your cooking lesson for the day :)

1. Start with an acorn squash, preferably organic. Click here for the nutrition facts.

Here is the whole thing. They keep for a long time. Sometime this fall I didn't get around to eating one for a while, like a month maybe since I'd bought it at the grocery store. It had turned completely orange (like the spot on this one) but I went ahead and prepared it like normal and it was just fine! I leave mine out on the kitchen table when I bring them home, not refrigerated or anything special.

2. Cut it open lengthwise..careful! Very hard to cut!
3. Split it open and scoop out the seeds and fibrous middle. I set my seeds aside in a bowl of water to start washing them off.

4. Place them open side down in a pan with 1/2 inch of water. Next take your knife and poke several slits in the outside of each one (helps release the steam while cooking)
5. Bake for 40 minutes at 350-400F (I'm not the most accurate cook...)
6. Ttransfer to a bowl...careful, very hot...turning open side up before placing in bowl. I eat it right out of the skin most times, other times I just scoop the soft yellow part out into a bowl. Add a little butter, honey and walnuts. When I was a kid we always ate them with butter and brown sugar like a sweet potato. Jason just eats them with butter and says it tastes like his Grandma's creamed corn.
7. I like homemade baked pumpkin seeds and recently I thought I'd try baking the seeds out of an acorn squash...they look just alike! So I wash them off, put them on a slightly greased pizza sheet and sprinkle with salt. I think the little holes in the botton of my pizza pan helps cook the seeds. Bake at 200-250F for 40 minutes until crisp. Great snack!

The end. :)