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Friday, July 31, 2009

Christmas In July.

Well, kind of.

E got a new little something this week that I just knew she would love.

A taggie blanket.

She loves all the tags on toys and cloth books and blankets so I knew that shortly after she got it, the little tags would find ways to her mouth.
And who made this pretty little thing?

None other than an old high school (graphic arts, wasn't it?) classmate of mine from oh, ten years ago now. Annie has a blog and a really cute etsy shop where she sells burp cloths and blankets and all sorts of goodies.

I was originally thinking I'd save it for her birthday or Christmas this December, but four whole months would be just too long. Maybe she'll need another by then.
*****

Another fun, Christmas-like, treat we had this past week was a visit from my Aunt Laurie.
Aunt Laurie, in her element at Boppa's, with our bigs and littles.

Though we only got a day with her before sending her on her way to see more family, we had a great time.
We can't wait to go visit her and all of our Virginia Beach friends next summer.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Our Cast of Characters.

Every once in awhile a photo seems to catch the personalities just right in our cast of characters.
Such was the case Monday night when we celebrated J's birthday.


H: Our wild one with his eye on a prize.
M: Hamming it up with her tatooed self.
T: Handsome as ever.

And don't forget little E. Even with food all over her face, she's the sweetest little thing.

Monday, July 27, 2009

36.


"It's giving life that counts. Until you're ready for it, all the rest is just a big fraud. All the crazy haircuts in the world won't keep it turning. Life isn't a love in, it's the dishes and the orthodontist and the shoe repairman and... ground round instead of roast beef. And I'll tell you something else: it isn't going to a bed with a man that proves you're in love with him; it's getting up in the morning and facing the drab, miserable, wonderful everyday world with him that counts."~Henry Fonda in "Your's, Mine and Ours"
To my husband. My love. My knight. My best friend and the father of my children:
Happy Birthday!
Thanks for living our mostly wonderful everyday life with me.
I Love You!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Comment #11.

Bree.

Send me an email with your mailing address and your prize will go out in Monday's mail.

Thanks to all who left a comment or sent me a note!

In other good news, we're at 31 33 35registered runners/walkers for the Breath of Hope 5K this fall. It's not too late.

Please join us.

I don't have it in me tonight to write anymore than this. Lots to get ready for a day at the pool tomorrow and celebrating J's birthday!

Hope your weekend weather was as beautiful as ours.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Something.

Something is better than nothing, right?

Well, here's something.

You would think that considering I have only had the littles this past week I would have had a little bit extra time. We didn't have any baseball or soccer games in the evenings. I wasn't carting the bigs to and from friends or even monitoring the 'dialing for dollars'.

But time was not on my side this week.

We stayed pretty busy playing outside, riding bikes, a gigantic birthday party, a great big parade, baking...and visiting the doctor.

We brought E into urgent care Sunday morning since she was off and not as happy as normal. Turned out she had an ear infection. They put her on amoxicillin. If you've been reading here since H was E's age you'll remember that he is severely allergic to amoxicillin.

Guess what?

So's E.

No her face didn't swell to double the size and the hives almost immediately calmed down after switching meds. But two doctors visits and two prescriptions later I think we've nipped the bug in the tail.

Just in time for T and M's return this evening. (And H can't wait!)

Guess what else?

E sits up by herself now.

Today's the last day to leave a comment on my maintenance post to be entered in my contest.


Humor me and leave me a comment there.
Or send me an email.
Sometime this weekend I'll pick a winner. (Or random.org will at least.)

I've loved reading some of the notes people have sent my way this week. My favorite one so far is Maria, a journalist from Spain who was originally drawn in because of our stepfamily but now reads here to keep up with her English.

And with that, we are off to the great outdoors again.
Happy Friday!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Reason #5,391....

....that I love my husband.

No matter how tired he is or how long of a day he's had, he'll always make time for being with the kids.

Whether it's reading before bed, baths, playing a board game or in this case, playing baseball with H.

video

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Splish, Splash, They Were Taking A Bath...

...Long about a Saturday night.
A rub, dub, just relaxin' in the tub.
Thinking everything was alright. -Splish Splash Bobby Darin


Before:
During:
After:
I just love my littles.
Especially when they're clean.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Blog Maintenance.

Time for me to do a little high maintenance check in.

*****
I did some changing and updating a few weeks back and since then have heard that some see my blog with a white background and some see it with grey.

I've tried to do some more tweaking and am hoping the issues have been resolved.

I see it with white and all the fonts are visible.

If you are seeing it in grey and having trouble seeing any of the fonts would you please do me a favor and let me know?

I am thinking it's a Mac vs PC issue.

*****
I joined twitter this past weekend.

I'm not sure why I felt I needed yet another social networking device in my life, but it's over now.

I think it had something to do with an outdated news story I read a couple weeks ago at the dentist.

Twitter is all the rage, right?

I do have to admit that I'm really liking it so far. I love that I can text an update from my phone and it updates both my twitter and my facebook. Fun to say something when we're out and about.

If you're on twitter, you can follow me and my updates by clicking here. (And even get my updates texted to your cell phone, which might be a little excessive, if you ask me.)

If you're not on twitter, you can see my updates either on the right hand column or also on facebook.

What do you think of the updates on the side column?
Is it too much?
Do people really care what we're doing?

*****
Sometimes companies send me a free sample of their product or book to review.

With that said, I will only review something honestly.

If I don't like the product or book, chances are a review will not appear here. (And this has happened several times.) If I do like it and feel that somehow someone else reading could benefit from it (be it a book, a product...) I will share.

I am not a paid-reviewer. Meaning, I am not compensated to say nice things about whatever it is that needs reviewing. Some companies are now offering bloggers compensation in return for reviews. I would rather keep my readers and review things I like and believe in than be paid for reviews I don't necessarily agree with.

Just wanted to clear that up.

*****

Can we please play another round of "Who's Reading"?

When I started blogging as a quit-my-corporate-job-not-sure-what-I'm-going-to-do-anymore stepmom back in 2005, I had maybe five people checking in. On a good day.

Now I'm a stepmom/mommy blogger with traffic hitting close to 500 daily.
(By the way for some of those big, famous blogs, 500 hits is nothing. Some bloggers get 500 comments daily.)

I just want to know who's 'out there' reading.
How you landed here?
If you'll stay?

And I've got a great prize to send out to one lucky commenter.
Winner to be chosen by random.org.

So leave me a comment between now and next Friday, or if you don't know how or that kind of freaks you out, why not send me an email and say hey, I'm here.

*****

Finally, a picture.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Middles.

I have often joked that H would make a great case study on birth order.

Only I'm really not joking.

He was a youngest for nearly three years. Half the week that is.

An only child the other half of the week.

Now he's an oldest half of the week when it's just him and E and then he's stuck smack dab in the middle the rest of the week.

Such is the life of a blended family.

I've written before of T and H's brotherly relationship but it seems as time goes on H and M also have developed quite the bond and have become quite the playmates and friends.

Our middles.

The middles, you ask?

Well T is the oldest, E is the baby, that leaves H and M sharing the not-so-coveted spot in the middle.

I've got quite the soft spot for middles since I am one myself.


Faces painted at the Children's Museum this week. M is a cat and H is a 'scary guy'.

Our middles stick together like peanut butter and jelly.

M has always been very inclusive with H and makes sure he's never left out. She includes him with her neighborhood friends (even when she gets a tad bit jealous when they seem a little too interested in him than her). Helps him with things like getting dressed or picking up.

She's been excited with him (and us, as his parents) for every milestone he's accomplished. Cheering him on each and every step of the way.

H is her favorite student and the first one she goes to when she decides to play school.

They're partners in crime, always ready to team up and tattle together. No kidding around. Their favorite victim just happens to be their big brother. Poor T!
And there are those days where H is driving M crazy. In her things. In her way. Just the way a little brother should be.

But I have just started to notice the way that the two of them gravitate towards each other when we're out and about from M helping and protecting H to playing with him.

I will always be thankful for our bigs and our littles and the relationships that they all share. Each one special in it's own way. But there is something about the middles right now. Though a five year age difference would seem leap years apart, some days it doesn't mean anything.

I am so glad that they have each other.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Please.

Sixty days from today, I am hoping to have sixty (or MORE) people walking (or running, your choice!) in honor and memory of my mom, who lost her battle with lung cancer 18 months ago.

This is YOUR personal invitation. Yes, YOU. Anyone reading this.

This is something important to me. To us. To my family.

And it would mean the world to us to have you walking (or running) with us in September.

If I could do it six months pregnant, you can. If T and M could do it at age 7 and 9, you can.

3.2 miles!

For those that did it last year, new this year is it is around Lake Harriet.

And if weather prevails plan on making a day of it. Details will come closer to the date, but I'd like to do a picnic of some sort following the event.

If you live from out of town and want to do it, you can even come stay here! (If you dare!)

The sign up will be much easier than last year.

Simply sign up at the Breath of Hope website, note that you are walking in memory of Nanette Tilkens (and anyone else you know who has fought this battle) and then email me so that I know you're in.

Please do this.

Not for me.

But with me.

Please.

Some facts about Lung Cancer:
Approximately 175,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the US each year. Killing more than 160,000 people annually, more than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined.

An estimated 347,000 Americans are currently living with lung cancer. It is estimated that there will be 215,020 new cases and 161,840 deaths from lung cancer in the United States in 2008. (Both non-small cell and small cell combined).

Over 60% of new cases are never smokers or former smokers, many of whom quit decades ago. One in five women and one in twelve men diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Things Atop Her Pretty Little Head.

I started with one on Wednesday.

Her first ponytail.

Then Thursday, H thought she needed a hat.

(A Batman Easter bucket that we picked up on the clearance shelves at Target awhile back.)

And later that day, I decided if I could get one ponytail in, I could certainly do two.

She seems to love her new 'do.


And I've decided this little girl with that pretty little head and those chubby little arms and legs, pretty much leaves me speechless.

Need I say more?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Look Ma, No Cavities!

H had his first official dentist appointment last week and oh, did he ever love it!

Waiting in the waiting room.
I remember playing on tables like this as a kid at the dentist and doctor.

Waiting in the big exam chair.

The hygeniest cleaning his teeth with chocolate chip cookie dough toothpaste. (YUK!) He picked it!

After she cleaned and flossed his teeth she had him pick out a new toothbrush, toothpaste and flossers. She showed him his options which were Dora, Disney Princesses, Winnie the Pooh or SpongeBob. He stood staring for a long while and finally she said; "How about SpongeBob?"

He looked at her with a crazy look on his face and said; "No, I don't like SpongeBob. He's not for kids and we don't watch him."

I was so impressed with him. (And yes, I'm not a SpongeBob fan so he doesn't watch him.)

So he came home with a Winnie the Pooh toothbrush and SpongeBob toothpaste. (They only had SpongeBob toothpaste.)
Dr. B taking a look at all twenty of H's teeth.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What Is A Home?

A couple weeks back, I was a 'mom on a mission'.

Getting my house in order for a wedding shower I was throwing.

It was not a fun week. It was a crazy week. Errands that needed to be run, deep cleaning that needed to happen. While I like to think we typically keep a fairly clean and organized home (I said, fairly) I was going to do my darndest to make sure it was in tip-top shape.

As close to perfection as I could come.

I love hosting parties (or I did until that week) and rarely worry about so many little pieces of the puzzle, but for some reason I could not let it go. I had been in some of the invited's immaculate homes where not a handprint was seen on the wall. And there was the itty bitty, teeny weeny voice telling me that I couldn't compare.

So I worked hard. Long days. Late nights.

Our babysitter spent several hours here one day helping with the kids so I could just keep on keeping on.

J reminded me over and over and over again that really as long as the house is picked up and clean the rest would be fine but I couldn't let it go.

My couches with spit up stains and spilt water marks glared at me. As did my light colored carpet with dark colored stains. The ledge in our kitchen with paint chipped off from too many cars racing on it.

It wouldn't be perfect.

Saturday came and the guests all arrived. And the sweat was a drippin' in my black dress.

But no one seemed to notice the cobwebs outside the front door that I noticed five minutes before go-time. And not a soul said a word about my other insecurities; the carpet, the couch and the ledge.

Instead, the guests drank coffee and visited and ate the delicious food. Watched the guest of honor open gifts and celebrated with cake.

The shower started at 11 and the last guest left at ten minutes after 3.

Four hours.

Let me inform you that the actual shower was over by about 1:30. The eating, the drinking, the gifts and the games. After that guests mulled around, visited, looked around my house.

For four hours, these guests felt welcome in my home. Welcome to stay as long as they'd like. Welcome to visit and eat and drink and laugh and talk and that it's really ok if they spill because this is not a perfect, immaculate house.

This house isn't just a house, this is our home. Our lived in, trusty, worn in home.

Where there are crumbs and love squished into the carpets and faint handprints never to be removed from the walls.

I have always said that I want my home to be a welcome place where people can gather and visit and be.

And hosting that shower reminded me of exactly what our home is.

A long way away from perfect, but our home.

The bride-to-be and E.
Documenting E's first wedding shower.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fourth of July Weekend.

What a weekend. It flew by, like always.

My cousins were here visiting, which, like always, was super fun. (Though I hope that they think so. I'm beginning to worry that we're getting boring. Is that possible?)

We spent Saturday at the cabin playing bean bags and chatting and sitting in the sun. That night we met up with friends of ours for fireworks. We got home at midnight and H was still wide-awake. That's a first for him!

Sunday, I was a tad bit crabby, probably because I'm more of a 10pm bedtime sort of girl these days. We spent some time shopping and relaxed and enjoyed a delicious steak dinner and of course, some Wii time.

Today, though J was back at work, my cousins, my small village and I went to the zoo and sweated our tails off. I'm not sure we could have picked a hotter, more busy day for the zoo. But we made it, with mostly smiles on our faces. And then we wished Samantha and Josh farewell and hope they'll come back again soon!
My littles on the 4th.

We met up with friends for fireworks and J had grabbed short sleeve/short pajamas for H. I had wanted him in long sleeves and pants since we'd be outside and in the great state of MN there are these things called mosquitos. Long story short, H and his friend Will decided it'd be fun to wear some of friend Kate's pajamas. And we of course, much to their father's dismay, had to document it.


Kate's little brother Charlie is just six weeks older than E. And though the picture doesn't show it, he's about five pounds (or more) bigger than E.

First fireworks.
While H looked like he was enjoying the show when it began, he quickly jumped into J's lap and soon wanted his eyes and ears covered. We certainly weren't expecting that.


Sunday, E really got into Wii with J. She's got quite the little grip.

Today was E's first trip to the zoo and she loved it. She sat in the stroller and kicked and cooed all afternoon.
Josh and the kids resting in the shade.

Sweatin' our tails off at the zoo.
So, how was your weekend?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Seven Months Old.

This is what seven months old looks like.

swinging.
chewing and sucking on anything she can get those hands on.

sitting pretty in strollers and enjoying life outside.

So much more to say about Miss E, what she's doing, how she makes us feel and even her adventurous entrance to the world. (Just realized I've yet to share E's birth story. Someday.) That old saying that a picture says a thousand words is going to be my motto today.
Happy Seven Months, Miss E.