Friday, December 31, 2010

Merry Christmas

Eric and I spent Christmas weekend in Indianapolis with Eric's parents.  After Christmas Eve service we headed home to exchange gifts.  I think Max was most excited about opening gifts.  After gifts we all went to bed and dreamed of gum drops and sugar fairies.  My Christmas morning started with preparations for the guest coming for lunch.  I served Ham, potato casserole, creamed spinach, green bean casserole, deviled eggs, cranberry salad, and rolls.  After the food prep I started with the table.  I used Nancy's fine china from her wedding.  I wanted to add a personal touch to each setting.  I decided to make personalized Christmas ornaments.  I bought plain glass bulbs and put basket filler on the inside and wrote each guests name on one side with a paint pen and the year on the other side.  Everyone knew where to sit and had a memento to take home after the celebration. 

                                                                Max could smell the treats
                                            Eric set up the TV and DVD player we bought for Dan and Nancy
                                                         I could not fit one more dish in the oven!
                                                                      Dinner for 9

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Eve

Eric and I spent our Christmas Eve at Saint Andrews Lutheran Church with Eric's parents. We were joined by 110 fellow Christians at the 10 pm candle lite service.  We made serving the Lord on the Eve of his birth a family affair.  Eric and I served as communion assistants, Nancy read a lesson from Genesis, and Dan delivered an uplifting sermon.   The sanctuary was filled with beautiful decorations, the grace of God, and many believers.  We all shared in Holy Communion together and sang Silent Night holding candles!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Jonny Jr.

Congrats to Jon and Candis! May God Bless your new bundle of joy Jonny Jr. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What a Year

Wow I can’t believe we are about to start a New Year. 2010 was an exciting year with lots of changes for Eric and me. I started the year off trying to finish my last semester before graduation. Along with being a student and intern at Hope House I worked part time at Pathfinder Services and Fredrick’s Photography. While I was working hard at being a student and part time worker, Eric was working even harder to provide for our family. Not only did Eric hold down a full time job, he organized our lives, and tried to keep me sane. He is the rock of our family. I am thankful for his calm demeanor and work ethic.
The New Year brought great joy for the Strobel family. Ron graduated with his Masters Degree in Divinity and was Ordained as an ELCA Lutheran Reverend. The whole family gathered in Indianapolis to celebrate Ron’s accomplishments and enjoyed his ordination service and reception. After the celebration Ron and Mary headed to Chassell in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan which is 12 hours from Eric and I. We have all learned to communicate through phone and Facebook to stay connected.
January was a time of worry for the Sparks family. Last January my Mother was diagnosed with oral cancer. After lots of tears and prayers she was healed by the grace of God. She just had her second surgery two weeks ago and continues to recover. The Doctor is optimistic that he has removed all the cancer.
Eric and I survived the cold Indiana weather by thinking of fun activities. Eric wanted to teach me how to ice skate, so we hit the rink. I still do not know how to ice skate but I gave it a shot and Eric was able to show me his smooth moves on the ice. We also went to a couple hockey games which is Eric’s favorite sport. I also enjoy watching hockey games (especially when they fight). Eric’s winter activities included ice mine included more indoor activities. I tried to teach Eric how to shop and cook but he was not really interested. Shopping cost him too much money and he married me so I would cook. Can’t blame me for trying…right?

After we got through the cold winter, graduation was finally upon us. I am not sure who was more excited about me graduating me or Eric? Throughout our whole marriage I worked second shift and went to school and Eric worked first shift and held down the fort. Needless to say we did not see each other much and living on one income is not ideal for any couple. Graduation was a milestone for us we finally could try to have a more normal schedule and spend time together as a couple and maybe even have two incomes.
After graduation we headed to Mexico for an 8 day much needed vacation. Mexico was my graduation present from Eric but I saw it as more than that. I saw it as us closing one chapter of our lives and starting a new. We closed the chapter of college life and open the door to being career minded and marriage focused.

Early June I was hired at the Drug and Alcohol Consortium of Allen County. I work under the Access to Recovery grant which is a federal government grant. I work with adults addicted to drugs and alcohol. Again I think Eric was more grateful for my new employment than I was. He was excited to have two incomes.
Eric spent him summer working hard for Lorillard. Eric was invited in the management program again but he declined due to the locations offered. I think someday he will take advantage of the program but this year we had a lot going on and we were not ready to pack up and move away. This summer Eric coached our Niece Kinsey’s tee ball team and played on the local church league softball team. We had a fun but very busy summer.
This year also brought more family members, which are always welcome. Early September Eric’s cousin Brandy got married to Wes Cullen. We had a fun family weekend in St. Charles Missouri. On September 11th my sister Jennifer got married to Drew Clark. September 11th we also celebrated our grandparents 60th wedding anniversary.Drew has joined the Sparks family and fits in well. The trick to fitting in our family is being able to deal with loud large groups of people and having a sense of humor. Mid November we found out that Ron and Mary are expecting their first baby. We already have 4 nieces and 1 nephew on the Sparks side but that does not prevent our excitement. We could never have enough nieces or nephews. Baby Strobel will join us in late April.

After the summer was over and I felt settled in my new job we decided to take the next step in life. We decided to start hunting for a house. We thought we found the perfect house and then the deal fell through at the last minute, but that detour did not stop us. We hit the Internet and found a new realtor and a new house.  After offers and counter offers and countering....the counters we finally have an accepted offer.  We are proceeding with cautious due to our last experience but we are excited about the house. 

This year I have so much to be thankful for. I am thankful for everything I have… my job, friends, family and Max. I am mostly thankful for my husband and God. Eric and God are both so patient with me and give me the time and grace I need in life. This year has come and gone but a New Year brings new adventures and we are ready to continue this ride called life.

Monday, December 20, 2010

DAC Christmas Party

Last week DAC had it's annual Christmas open house.  The theme of the party was: wear a tacky Christmas sweater.  In my opinion any sweater that has Christmas stuff on it is tacky!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sparks CHRISTmas 2010

Saturday we had the Sparks Christmas celebration.  We had a traditional Christmas meal with all the trimmings no one left hungry! It is crazy to think that in just the last 7 years our family has more than doubled in size!  We truly believe in  the motto  (The More The Merrier)!  The best thing about the last 7 years is that I have been an Aunt.  I love watching my nieces and nephew get so excited about Christmas.  
                           I bought all the kids matching sweater..I just can't help it they are so cute
                                                                    They Could Not Wait
                                                                Max Showing His Christmas Spirit

Merry Christmas From Our Family To Yours
-Drew is missing because he decided to cut the tip of his pinkie finger and spent his morning in the emergency room.  Drew's finger is reattached and he is doing okay. Grandpa Phil was missing because he was not feeling well. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Couples Night

Saturday evening we headed to the Brouwers for a night of fun.  We started the night off  by watching the IU game and Bowen opening his Christmas gift.  Bowen held our attention with all his energy.  Within the first hour of our arrival Bowen must have ran over 2 miles.  He ran circles and back and forth giggling the whole time.  Once Bowen ran himself tired, we sat down for dinner and drinks.   After dinner we played Boxers or Briefs and Catch Phrase.   We all shared lots of funny stories and created great new memories.  I think couples night should be a monthly event! Needless to say the night was a success.

                                                                             Fajitas for Dinner
                                                                            Adam and Kristi
                                                                         Ryan and Jessica

                                                                         What a Fun Game
                                                                          The Guys in Their IU Gear

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bundle Up

                                 Winter has arrived and Max is prepared with his warm winter coat!