Welcome to the Scharrer family's real life story! Most of our story is written for, and about, our four kids and the spice they add to our lives. It's our story of happiness, craziness, and sometimes ridiculousness. We've journaled through childbirth, the terrible two's, private school (and our public school experience), an autism diagnosis, medical school, residency, and long-term mission work in Africa.

Now we're following a new adventure, which involves a 45 foot motorcoach, homeschool, and as many ski slopes as we can go down in one year.

For posts from while we were living in Zimbabwe and updates about our future plans in Zimbabwe, please see our mission blog...

www.ourzimbabwejourney.blogspot.com.

28 December 2008

Christmas 2008

We had an A W E S O M E Christmas! I was especially thankful for the time we got with our nieces and nephews, getting to know them better. They change and grow so quickly and when we only see them once a year, we can really see the changes. Our oldest is 25 and our youngest is six, so we have quite the age range, but that never matters when we play games or have good old family time.

There are a lot of things that go into making the Kinkel family Christmas so special , but here are a few of my favorites...
1. Sled Cam - this HAS to be the BEST thing about Christmas. Our entire family looks forward to sled cam every year. Sled cam is when we all go out to the sledding hill (that's right - everyone participates, even the "big kids"!). We make a human train, everyone piling on the sleds and tubes that we have, hooking together with arms and legs. The person in the front of the train (usually my nephew Darin) rides backwards with a video camera, videoing us as we go down the hill. The point of sled cam is to try to all make it, train in tack and all, all the way to the bottom of the hill, which is very hard to do. It's actually pretty brutal, we usually end up with a couple injuries, and the best part is watching the movies when we get back home, especially all the big crashes in slow motion! These videos are so hilarious. In fact, we usually take a good hour or two over Christmas break to watch all the old sled cam videos from years ago. It is so much fun! I was not able to participate on the hill this year, because of obvious reasons(!), but I really enjoyed watching the videos they made and laughing at all of them as they complained of their soreness and injuries all week long!
2. Mom's Christmas cookies - my mom always makes the BEST Christmas cookies! This year Erik was eating some of her frosted sugar cookies and said, "Why do I like these so much? Is it the cookie or the frosting that I like?" I have always wondered the same thing! Why are they so addicting?!!!
3. Christmas Eve (opening presents) - we always open presents from the family on Christmas Eve. I love how we go in order from youngest to oldest. No body seems to be in a hurry to open and we all watch everyone else open up the gifts, taking turns until everyone is out of presents. It's so fun to see what everyone else gets.
4. Christmas Day game night - on Christmas Day night when everyone is finished with their own family Christmases, we have always had my cousins and aunts and uncles over to play games. This is usually a very competitive night, always consisting of some sort of boys vs. girls game and it seems like I never want it to end. This year the Wii was a big hit, along with Balderdash, Cranium, Hand and Foot, and Catchphrase.
5. Punch - on Christmas Day my mom has always made punch in her big crystal punch bowl. This was the only day of the year that I ever got punch when I was a kid, and we still have it on Christmas! It's soooo yummy and goes great with all of the Christmas cookies.

It seems like each Holiday just keeps getting more fun and more fun with Maida. She really enjoyed opening presents this year and being with the family. I wish I could have had a video camera on 24/7 to capture her true spirit over the holidays. It was a very magical time. Erik and I look forward to many more years of Christmas with our children.

Here are the pictures from the week: http://scharrerfamily.shutterfly.com/
And here's a video of Maida looking for her presents from Santa on Christmas morning:

22 December 2008

Scharrer-side Christmas

We opened presents from Erik's family in Oklahoma yesterday morning. We woke Maida up early before church, so not only were we all in our pajamas and Maida's hair was the true definition of "bed head," but Maida was very crabby and groggy and really didn't appear to enjoy her presents until we got home from church later that day when she was more awake!
THANK YOU TO: Nana, Papa, Uncle B, Aunt Karlie, Deda, Mema, Aunt Lola, Uncle Ron, and Jacob for the nice presents.
Here's a little clip of our morning since you couldn't be here with us.

19 December 2008

We love Minnesota!!!


Today brought us another snow storm, adding more snow to our big piles that we already had! Erik took Maida outside to play for the second time (hoping no more injuries would occur!) and they had a blast! I stepped out just long enough to take some pictures and a video of them sledding on the hill in our front yard. It is supposed to snow and snow until Sunday night, so I'm sure that it will be over Maida's head by the time it's done. We feel so blessed to live in such a beautiful country.

... I'm not sure who had more fun playing outside, Erik or Maida?!!!

18 December 2008

Potty Training Update #2

Maida is officially potty trained! She has gone four days in big girl panties - even out Christmas shopping, and other fun adventures - and no accidents! We are so proud of her. She still wears a diaper at night, but she has been dry for the past two nights, so maybe we won't have to do that anymore after a while. This is a huge blessing, not only to save money on diapers, but to have her all potty trained before Skogen comes. Yay Maida! We won't have two in diapers after all.

15 December 2008

It's all fun and games...

until someone gets hurt...

Yesterday we got a good foot of snow. It was snowing and blowing like crazy and Erik and Maida decided that it would be a great time to play in the snow! I stayed inside because I don't have snow pants that go over the baby bump, but also because I had so much fun watching these two out the window! They were laughing and laughing, having the best time. Erik buried Maida in a snow bank and she loved it, all the while eating as much snow as she could stuff in her face! Then Erik decided that she would have fun flying through the air and landing in a snowbank. So he was throwing her up in the air and into a big bank in our backyard - which she LOVED -when Barkley! caught a glimpse of Maida flying through the air our of the corner of his eye and thought she was a toy, apparently, because he then proceeded to pounce on her. He landed right on her face, scratching my beautiful, little baby's skin apart!!! We immediately brought her inside, along with a bowl of snow for her to eat to help make her lip and tongue (yes, Barkley! even cut her tongue open!) feel better. Some Tylenol and a good nap made everything okay.

Last night Barkley! was still quite upset that this happened and he wouldn't even eat his dinner! He paced all night long outside her door and kept waking me up too, worried about her. I'm so glad that she didn't get an eye poked out or her nose ripped off. I'm also glad that Barkley! felt bad and knows that what he did was wrong.


The fun and games...



The hurt...
A few hours later...

14 December 2008

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Straightening out the branches... Crawling behind the tree...
Hanging the lights...
Putting on the ornaments...
The finished product...
Our stockings...

And a cute story...

As we were hanging the stockings, I was explaining to Maida that we only had one for mommy, one for daddy, and one for Maida, but that we'd have to get one for Skogen soon, too. About an hour later while going through other Christmas decorations, Maida found an old stocking that I had in college and came running to me with it. She was holding it out to me and yelling, "Skogo, sock! Skogo, sock!" It was so cute that she remembered that we needed a stocking for Skogen and that she was so proud of herself for finding one!

12 December 2008

Christmas Break is Almost Here!

Today seems like much of a transition point for us. Erik is currently taking his final and when he gets home (***update, he just got home and he did well on his final!), Christmas vacation officially starts. YAY!!! We plan to spend the day putting up a Christmas tree! I have been telling Maida all about how we put up the tree and hang lights and bulbs and she jumps up and down, points to herself and says, "Me, tree, yeah!" I think she's pretty excited.

Our plans for the break are pretty low-key. Erik will probably do a lot of skiing, in between studying, and may even take Maida out for her first time on skies. I hope they make ski boots fat enough to fit her fluffy feet! I will more than likely be watching from the chalet and taking pictures, however, I would give anything to be able to be out skiing with Maida for her first time. I know that it will be a very special moment for Erik, though, as he begins a new chapter in his life, teaching his first child his favorite sport. My presence as a the photographer may be more important than my actual presence on skies! Erik also plans to go winter camping and ice climbing with some friends this weekend. While he is gone, I hope to get our Christmas presents wrapped and shipped out to family, along with get some baby stuff ready! They always say to pack your bags for the hospital at 35 weeks, which is an exciting thing to do... I can see the end in site!

We have two doctor appointments scheduled over break. One of which is an ultrasound next Friday. Our doctor is still concerned that Skogen is breech, so we will determine that at the ultrasound. The appointment the following week will be to determine if we need to flip him or not (via "version"). If we choose to flip him, that will fall within the following week sometime. I am praying that he flips on his own!

We plan to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Park Rapids with my family. My sister Kim and her family are coming up from Arizona, so I'm sure that we'll have a great time! Yesterday I mailed out our 170 Christmas cards that we send every year, which made me happy, but I really get excited every time we get one in the mail too! I love to hang the pictures up and compare them with other years at how everyone is changing (yes, I'm a dork and I save all the Christmas cards and letters we get!!).

I will end with two different websites. They are both websites profiling Skogen Sprang, the famous skier that we got Skogen's name from (for those of you who think we made it up!). I love the website with the video (the second one) because you can actually hear the name spoken and it just makes it more real to me... AH! WE'RE HAVING A BABY!!! AND HIS NAME IS SKOGEN!!!!!! Enjoy...
http://expn.go.com/athletes/bios/SPRANG_SKOGEN.html
http://www.tetongravity.com/profiles/Athlete_Skogen_Sprang.aspx

08 December 2008

Catch Up on Little Miss

Little Miss has been up to a lot lately, but I have had no computer to post with, so I thought I'd catch you all up in one big post...

Maida moved into a toddler bed!!!

Maida helping Daddy take down the crib...

Mommy showing Maida her new bed for the first time. Maida jumped up and down and clapped her hands and kept saying "Yay! Yay! Yay!"...

Maida sitting in her bed for the first time..

Jumping on her bed! She was just so excited!...

First nap in the new bed...
Maida talked Mommy into laying down with her while she fell asleep...

Maida has also been getting into lots of trouble in Daddy's office lately! She thinks that she's Daddy's secretary and would talk on the phone and take messages all day if she could!!!

Maida got to go see Santa Claus and he gave her her very first candy cane! She thoroughly enjoyed it!
It has been so cold here, and we finally got snow, so we had to pull out Maida's heavy duty winter hat. She LOVES it and wants to wear it all time time. It's just perfect for Duluth temperatures.


More pictures and posts to come!

Second MC Treatment

Maida had her second treatment last Friday. This time around she seems to be a little feeling worse than before, but maybe that's because the dermatologist treated more of the MC at a time than he did before. Her next treatment is on Friday, the 19th (and every two weeks after until the MC is gone). Here are some pictures of just the beginning of our road to recovery...

Day of Treatment: the dermatologist put some liquid "acid" on the bumps (it's not really acid, but that's what I call it!) and then he put some tape on top. The "acid" and tape stay on for two-three hours and then she soaks in the bath. Here's Maida with the tape on:


Maida soaking in the bath before we had to rip off the tape:

Day One of Recovery:
Day Two of Recovery:
Day Three of Recovery:
All of the yellow ones were the ones that were treated. Some more on her arm and back were treated at the same time, so you can imagine the pain she's in when someone tries to pick her up!!!
Day Four of Recovery:
On Friday the dermatologist said that the ones he initially treated were looking good and that they didn't look like they would scar!!! Keep praying for Maida. She is such a trooper and I know that she's in a lot of pain. I would take this pain from her in a heartbeat, if I could. It's so hard to see your child suffer!

02 December 2008

Thanksgiving

After attending the Thanksgiving celebration at my parents' house last week, I have begun to realize that my family is even cooler than I thought! I could not believe the work and effort that went into the cooking of all the food, the decorations, the costumes, the talent show, the competitions, and everything else which makes our family Thanksgivings the best ever!


My mom's side of the family has a big family Thanksgiving every two years. When I say "big" I mean B-I-G. We always have a theme and everyone comes in costume. We also always have a talent show, in which almost everyone (of all ages) participates. Added to the celebration are little games and fun competitions. Our Thanksgiving parties usually last two or three days (since almost everyone drives about 1,000 miles or more to get there!) and are really enjoyed by everyone.

This year the theme was the 50's and we were supposed to come in costume, which consisted of poodle skirts, saddle shoes, and scarves for the girls. And letter sweaters or letter jackets, rolled up jeans, and slicked back hair with sideburns for the guys. Some of us even wore our old high school colors and my aunt Becky got really creative and instead of having a poodle skirt, she had a "panther skirt" which had a panther on it (her high school mascot) instead of a poodle. We had a hula hoop contest, best costume contest, jitter bug contest, best talent contest, and the annual North verses the South soccer tournament in the snow. Special to this year was also the lighting of the tree ceremony down town Park Rapids and a geocache treasure hunt all over town!

We have about 400 pictures from the weekend, but I tried to narrow it down to a hundred or so which I've put here. Enjoy!

29 November 2008

Chicago Trip

Last weekend we traveled to Chicago for a wedding and were excited to stop and see some relatives on the way home!


Mike and Megan's wedding was just beautiful, taking place in Lake Forest (a very wealthy suburb of Chicago), where Erik also got us a room at the Hilton! The reception was held in a mansion at a country club and was the perfect spot for old friends to mix and mingle. Maida really enjoyed dancing and was the last one on the dance floor! She was pooped when we got back to the hotel... and did I mention that Erik got us a room at the Hilton??!!! It was a great vacation for all three (or four!) of us.


On the way home from Chicago, we stopped at Erik's cousin Hilary and husband David's house to meet the newest member of the family, Kaitlin, and have a great home-cooked breakfast. Kaitlin was born a month ago and is the second great-grandchild in the Scharrer family. Maida was pretty crazy the entire time we were there, but enjoyed meeting Kaitlin (and playing with all of her baby stuff!). Hilary and David gave Maida some presents and even had some for Skogen too! After stopping at Hilary's house we then stopped and Erik's Aunt Ranee and Uncle Hugh's house. They treated us to some ice cream and cookies, and even had some more presents for Maida and Skogen!

We were so thankful for the time we had with all of our friends and family in the Chicago area and for the safe trip we had over and back.

We write to taste life twice, once in the moment and in retrospection.”
~Anais Nin