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Monday, November 30, 2009

Making It.

Today is November 30th and I am super pleased to say that I made it.

I posted something every single day.


Let me tell you, it was not always easy. With sick kids, sick me, travel plans, holidays....there were many nights that I realized in the knick of time I needed to post and did.

But I am ever so glad I did it. While I will probably not commit to posting something every single day I do feel like I've gotten back in the groove of posting and have lots of thoughts and ideas to get started on this December.

Tomorrow morning, J, E and I are off to Children's to get Miss E's tubes in. It's a minor, very simple and common procedure but I wouldn't complain if you offered up a prayer or two on our behalf.

My goal is to update via my twitter/facebook as I'm able.

Finally, on this last day of November, this morning the littles and I went with some friends to the Macy's display downtown. As always a fun time with friends, albeit crazy at times. While leaving the Gavidae food court there were many businessmen/women watching in horror as we tried to load up the elevators, because we all make it look so seamless. (Kidding!)

Six moms, eleven kids (11 mos-almost 5 years), two single strollers, four double strollers.

Yes indeed we were a sight.

Here's H and some of his friends:

And with that I'll say, thanks for helping me making it through National Blog Posting Month!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Forgive me if I live a little bit in yesteryear this week. It's just my baby, definitely maybe my last, will turn a year this week and I had no idea I would feel this way.

I am happy and excited to see her grow and change. Yet sad and somber as I watch my babe move on to toddlerhood.

I hope that I am savoring every last drop of babyhood that I can with her and not wasting away the days by wishing for later.

Miss E's first bath. 12.21.08.
Today. 11.29.09.
And no, it's not typical that she still bathes in the kitchen sink, just today, just for fun.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


My mom's address book sits here on the dining room table. I'm helping my dad with a little project and while I have yet to get started on it, I've flipped the pages of the address book two or three times now.

It's not the people listed that I'm curious about, it's not who she sent cards to or who sent cards back that matters. It's the methodical shape of the letters.

As a child I saw her writing and viewed it as the epitome of "mom" writing. Never sloppy. Always perfect. Whether cursive or printing it always fell in a straight line, each letter exactly as it should be on the paper.

There was a never a rushed look or feeling to it even if I saw her scribble the words down quickly.

I page through the book and I see each and every name and address listed perfectly in it's space. White out to make the changes when friends have moved, or names added as family expanded.

In the back, twelve pages for dates to remember, one for each month, birthdays, anniversaries and then a few key notes to my dad. Things I know she wrote near the end but not near enough that her writing was blurred yet.

There are just a few spots where you can see in the shape of a letter or a number, her pen didn't hit the paper just right and the combination of the cancer and the treatment make it look looser and less together than she'd ever been.

But few and far between are those.

I think of her sitting two years ago now paging through making sure each and everyone of her loved ones receives one last Christmas card.

Just weeks. Days.

Before the end.

And on the last page, just before the cover, the last month of the year, December.

There on the page amidst all the other December birthdays and anniversaries is one addition in what one can only call my dad's best writing. Miss E.

Making what would maybe seem like something sad and full of reminders of a loss, a reason to smile.

Friday, November 27, 2009

For My Information.

Tell me, if you will.

Without using the powers of Google, have you ever heard of the Ted Foss Law?

And also, how is it that you learn of new laws that go into effect? Specifically I'm wondering about driving laws?

Thanks for your help.

Not trying to keep you in the dark but am working on something very interesting.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful Thursday. Week 4.

Right now, I am thankful for....

#1. Sleeping in. We try to trade off who gets up with the kids in the morning when it's the weekend or J's home from work. Today was his morning so I got to sleep in. Until almost 9. Heaven, it was. After the few crazy weeks we've had, I needed this.

#2. My husband, J. Who not only let me sleep in but took care of a majority of the chores and household projects I had saved for this morning. Thank you J, I love you!

#3. The sound of laughter and giggles I woke up to today. Do you sense a theme? I love when the kids are having a blast all together. And they sure were. I came out and walked downstairs to see them playing crazy fun games and M even holding and including E.

#4. Having family nearby. Being able to change our Thanksgiving day plans the week of Thanksgiving due to a few things falling through and knowing that no matter what there is always space for our family of six at Thanksgiving with my extended family.

#5. Health. I almost hesitate to note it since the last time I did we started a doozy of sickness. But we are all healthy and happy and have not much to complain about and I am truly thankful for that.

What are YOU thankful for right now? Please post on your blog and link back in the comments or share your list here in the comments.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

51 Weeks.

The email in my inbox from Parenting, or Baby Center, or whatever parenting company it is, says that E is 51 weeks old today and I just can't wrap my head around it.

I scroll through the email and contemplate hitting unsubscribe so that they stop reminding me just how old she's getting and how quickly time is going by, but I don't. Cause a piece of me likes the reason to pause.

Yes, in one week (and a day) she'll be 1 and I feel as though I blinked.

I am feeling somber and bittersweet, yet excited and happy when I see that toothy grin.

I am still nursing and that should be a post in and of itself. I never planned on going this far but here we sit a week away from one and it just is what it is.

I realized a few days ago that when H was a babe the pictures of him were double and the videos, oh the videos. Of singing, dancing, talking, reading...everything. And poor E, why yes we have pictures (and I like to think just as many, just in different ways) but as far as videos go, they are few and far between. So this morning I took a video of her sitting in her high chair after breakfast. Hoping to show off some of her favorite words and skills, but you know how that goes.

Happy 51 weeks E!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Advent Boxes.

December is one week away and with that starts the big countdown to Christmas. I grew up with miscellaneous advent calendars with neatly wrapped chocolates tucked inside. Sometimes we had the ones with little pictures of the nativity hidden beneath the picture window.

How fun it was to have a little something to open each and every day.

Two Christmas's ago I stumbled upon a craft by Martha Stewart that I knew, even I, not the craftiest cat on this planet, could accomplish.

And the past two years we've filled the boxes with little surprises and awaited the countdown to Christmas.

The boxes have been hung, in a new spot this year. More accessible for little arms and legs. I'm working on filling them now. New ideas have struck me this year. Yes, there will be the little candies and coins (and sometimes even dollars). But I'm adding coupons for the kids to redeem and hoping to do a little grab bag for a few of the days as well.

All this to say, I'm giving you plenty of time if you'd like to make your own set of advent boxes to use this December. You can find information here. The boxes you can find anywhere from Michaels to JoAnn Fabrics to even some Targets. Paint the boxes the colors you want and need. Then place number stickers and tags on. In two-three hours you can have them done too. I used push pins to stick them into the wall.

One last thing, before starting painting it's best to number the boxes with a pencil so you know and don't have six green boxes in a row. This way you can plan format and space.


If you do have these boxes or plan to make them, what do YOU place inside?

Also....I am need of some computer/blog help. If you are really savvy or know someone who is, will you please contact me? I am having trouble with some two blogger features. Thanks in advance!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Being Crafty.

I would definitely not call myself the craftiest cat on this planet but sometimes I get going on an idea and really enjoy it.

Remember my incomplete wall with the Anthropologie glasses that could not be found:
Well after much deliberation, much scouring of stores, online, and even having one nice person make a similar looking glass, our wall now looks like this:
I can't take credit for coming up with the craft. I found out about it an Uppercase Living consultant I know and her idea on facebook to make block words for your home. I took it and ran with it and made these blocks with our initials.

So far, I'm really liking the new look though that spot on the wall near the P definitely needs some touch-up.

What do you think?

I just found out that any post written before my blog changed from blogspot to dot com has lost it's comments. Is there anyone technologically savvy that can help me get that squared away??? Please???

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Better Than Getting Things Done.

I promised her on Friday that at some point this weekend her and I could have some time just the two of us. At the mall, coffee, something, somewhere.

This morning after church I had attitude. It was dreary looking outside, I was tired.

Time hasn't been on my side it seems lately. The laundry is piled up, there's a stack of mail on my desk and just the daily tasks I've felt behind.

I was torn but knew the right thing to do was to slap a smile on my face and go.

I followed through, I kept my commitment and I've often prided myself with the fact that I keep the promises I make to any of the kids.

So to the outlet mall we went, scoping out good deals, talking about Christmas and people and weird looking shirts.

In one store. To the next. We'd walk and we'd talk.

"This is fun." She'd say more than once and smile at me.

"Yeah. It is." I'd agree and mean it.

The hour I thought we'd be away turned into two and then almost three. And in our last store we had a little too much fun being goofy and trying on hats and glasses and other accesories.

Thankful was I for breaking out of my attitude and away from home so that we could have this time her and I.

As we walked to the car, she said "Thanks Samara, I love when it's just me and you."

Me too, Miss M, me too.

Thanks for reminding me that life is about much more than getting things done, sometimes it's about just being.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Family Pics.

As promised here are some more of our pictures.

Just a few of my favorites of all four kids.

I know, I know, I've totally dragged out the family picture thing.

I'm sorry.

Last post of our new family pics. But here's a little secret some have already figured out, if you visit Jes Lee Photos' site you can see ALL the photos Jes took of us. Even the ones I'd rather not show.

So, what do you think? Do you have a favorite? Do you have a most funny, silly, or not so good one you noticed on Jes's site?
Me, I'm pretty satisfied. It's not every day that you can get six people all healthy, injury free and mostly smiling on a crisp, fall day.
These pictures capture just where we're at right now.

Friday, November 20, 2009


We saw Dr. S, the ENT today for E's little ears and she will be getting tubes in on December 1.

Two days before she turns 1.

I can hardly believe it. A week ago I wouldn't have even thought this would be an option or something we needed to do or consider but after pouring over her medical chart and seeing the other ear infections circled in red and this past weekend's big one, we're at a total of five. Since July.

With winter right around the corner that number will only get higher.

Dr. S. was simply amazing. I am very, very impressed. Not only did he have great bedside manner and a way of easing and answering all my questions, he is a man of faith and repeatedly made comments about God as creator and him as his servant. If only every doctor or medical professional we ever saw had that kind of attitude.

After he checked out her ears and throat and confirmed that even after five days of Zithromax her ears are still very fluid filled he sent us to the audiologist to test E's hearing.

This was one of the neatest tests I have ever had one of the kids do and one I would have loved to tell my mom about because I know she'd have thought it was neat.

E sat on my lap in a acoustic and soundproof room. The audiologist sat outside the door and could see us through a window/mirror though we couldn't see her. She turned on various sounds at various volumes and would note E's reaction. She also would call her name and see how she would react.

After the test, Dr. S came to talk to me as the surgery for tubes was scheduled and said that E does have mild hearing loss, especially on her right hand side. E did not respond to anything quieter than 30 decibels.

However, this could be due to the infection she is just getting over and the fluid build up and could quite possibly be resolved once the tubes are in place. He was very upbeat and positive about that.

I have no reason to think that the loss is permanent and thankfully all of this is happening when she is young enough that it shouldn't affect her speech or hearing resulting in needing speech therapy.

Why she has ear issues and is so prone to ear infections is a mystery to us all? Dr. S repeatedly told me that E doesn't fall in the parameters or have the risk factors typically associated with ear problems.

But she does and hopefully she won't for much longer.

Every little thing is gonna be alright my little E. Photo credit: Jes Lee Photos.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday. Week 3.

Right now, I am thankful for...

#1. Getting to and from Chicago safely. I will spare you all the drama this time. But I am still in awe of how amazing everything just worked out. Some call that coincidence, I call that God.

#2. Miss E's cold/flu symptoms. Such a strange thing to be thankful for I know but without those signs I wouldn't have probably brought her in to the clinic in Chicago as typically her ear infections have been symptom free and we have found them mostly by my "got a feeling". Tuesday morning our pediatrician checked her ears and with one ear drum still bulging he told me with confidence that had we flown it would have certainly ruptured. Praise God that we didn't fly and it didn't. She sees a pediatric ENT tomorrow morning.

#3. My internet friend Kim. Let me explain that a little more. Kim contacted me two summers ago after seeing something I'd written on Cribsheet. There were amazingly several other similarities in our lives and we became in-real-life friends as well. We've been able to meet up for coffee two weeks in a row now and this past Monday she presented me with E's tu-tu for her first birthday. (Seriously, I've never seen something so cute.) Kim is one of the craftiest people I know. She made me an adorable diaper bag when E was born and is always dreaming up projects. Right now over on her blog she's giving away a handmade coffee sleeve and even though I'm pretty sure will pick me, you should still enter.

#4. Being on the mend. I'm wishing, hoping, praying, believing that this sick family of ours is on the mend and soon enough all these stuffy noses, coughs, sore throats and ear issues will be behind us.

#5. My family. Probably goes without saying but I love our family of six. I love that despite all the odds and our own circumstances and all the different judgments people have had or have, we are a family.

Yet another of our pics from Jes Lee Photos. And yes there are more and I'll try to share them soon.

So, what are YOU thankful for? Please post on your own blog and link back in the comments or if you don't have a blog share your list in the comments.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Version of a Fairytale.

Another one of our great photos from Jes Lee Photos.

Seven years ago today my life changed for the better.

Who would have thought it'd have worked back then? Two strangers in a coffee shop?

Him, a 29 year old divorcee with two small children. Me, a 20 year old college student and nanny. T and M were 3 and 1.

Now, seven years later, we're a family of six.

I love our fairytale.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Minnesota Public Service Announcement.

Today, November 17 is Give to the Max day here in Minnesota. And all day long, from 8am today until 8am Wednesday any donations that are given through this site. GiveMN.ORG will be matched. (Up to $500,000!)

The end of the year is fast approaching and any donations made are tax deductible.

(Giving this way also helps these organizations because they do not have to pay fees for credit/debit card transactions.)

So now's the time to give to that favorite Minnesota organization of yours.

I'm curious whether you're in Minnesota or not, what organizations do YOU usually choose to support?

Our favorites and organizations we choose to support throughout the year include; A Breath Of Hope, our local church, our school district, Perspectives, Inc and Compassion International.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Crazy Trip that was Chicago.

Remember that the littles and I were headed to Chicago Friday night?

Well we made it.


And E's first flight and H's 10th (yes, I misspoke before, his 10th) went off pretty well.

This is the best I could do for an on flight picture of the two of them. From my cell phone.

H was excited and a perfect passenger and E fell asleep as soon as we boarded the plane and started nursing.
He even got Sprite!

We landed and as we taxied to the gate I looked over at H to see him sound asleep.

Wasn't quite in my plan for him to fall asleep. I sat thinking how I was possibly going to de-board the plane with two sleeping children. I figured E would be sleeping but my plan had been for H to walk. So I waited while all the other passengers deboarded thinking that the flight attendants would be helpful in getting my sleeping children off the plane with me.

No offense, American Airlines, but the flight attendants on my flight were anything BUT helpful on that note. (And another thing, where's the wings?)

H stayed sleeping from the plane to the stroller, the stroller to the car seat and the car seat to bed Friday night.


E on the other hand did wake up as I tried to fenangle her into the Baby Bjorn to carry her off board.

Saturday morning both woke up with runny noses and E had a cough.

Last Wednesday I had seriously contemplated NOT going to Chicago with fears that one or both of them would come down with something after having T sick 2 weeks ago, then M sick. I just figured that someone would get sick. After thinking about it and talking to friends and family I decided that I couldn't live life thinking someone would get sick but now wish I would have trusted my gut on it.

(With that said I am still glad I went and got to see some good friends!)

Saturday we got to spend time with my friend Anne and see her new house and her baby's room. Went to her shower and I also got to spend time with two other good friends having coffee and treats. Sadly I have very less than a handful of pictures from the days events.

E at the shower. She looks pretty good then doesn't she?

Mid-way through the shower E started getting cranky and just not seeming like her self. Thinking she was over tired from missing her nap I just tried to go with it. She was just plain miserable later on as I tried to get her changed and fed dinner before heading back to my friends Zach and Sarah's, where we were staying.

Once all the kids were sleeping I did get to spend some time with Sarah. One of my dear best friends. But honestly, E was in the back of my head all night long.

Sunday morning E woke up smiling but the look of her face and the sound of her breathing and just her demeanor told me something more was going on.

So we traipsed to an urgent care and had her checked out. Her O2 levels were checked, her lungs listened to, her ears checked (and doubly infected, with one bulging ear drum) and they did an H1N1 test.

I knew that home was where we needed to be.

Because God is faithful and always has all the little details worked out ahead of time, I realized on the way to urgent care that some friends of mine from Minnesota were also in Illinois. They had driven in for a wedding on Friday and were driving home Sunday.

I quickly texted them wondering when they were leaving.

While at the doctor we texted back and forth and figured out details and it worked perfectly for them to pick up my littles and I to drive (eight hours) home. They were in a suburb about 20 miles away from us.

I knew that with her ears the way they were trying to get an earlier flight or even trying to make it and hope the antibiotics kicked in enough for our flight Monday would have been miserable. Considering tonight she's running a fever, I know it would have been bad.

While I did feel bad that myself and my two children were crashing their kid free, alone drive home, they both were gracious and understanding and actually Mike commented that it was better that we were along for the company since he figured his wife Holly would have slept the drive home.

H and E, my good little traveling babes, did great. H ate and slept and colored and sang songs and stayed mostly entertained and E had some fussy times, but honestly wouldn't you if both of your ears were bugging you?

Poor E! (Another cell phone picture.)

The entire experience was a learning experience and also a blessing.

I learned that I really do need to trust my gut and that's something my mom told me over and over and over.

And I also learned how blessed I am. How blessed I am to have people in my life who love us enough to let us stay with them and not worry about my kids getting colds and being fussy around their kids. How blessed I am to have friends that are understanding when E started fussing at the shower and beyond. And how blessed that God had worked out all the details for us. What are the odds that people we knew would be close enough and on their way home just when we needed to go?

It was wonderful, though short to see friends. To see my glowing friend during her pregnancy and hear about all the excitement surrounding the baby's upcoming birth. To see other kindred friends who I love connecting with and feel such deep connection even when our visits are few and far between. To spend time, albeit short, with our hosts, who we love and who love us and know that they understand.

But just in case you're wondering, I think that this was my last trip with two kids alone for a long while.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Girls and Boys.

J and the Girls.

S and the Boys.

Just sharing a little teaser of our recent family photo shoot. We had them done by Jes Lee Photos, who is actually a girl I went to middle school with. Thanks to the glory of the internet (blogs, facebook, twitter) we've been reconnected.

We had a great time with her a few Sundays back and I am loving digging through all the pictures she captured.

Thanks again Jes, we love the pictures and are having a heck of a time deciding our Christmas card.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Today would have been my mom's 53rd birthday, instead she'll be forever 51 to all of us.

If there is anything you've ever taken away from the things I've written and said about my mom, I truly hope you know just how exceptional of a person she was.


My mom.

My mom and I on her 49th birthday.

Happy Birthday Mumsy! I won't ever stop missing you that's for sure.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane.

Because there is this glorious thing called scheduling a post, I can still complete my NaBloPoMo challenge even while I'm out of town and without internet access. Though I had been hoping to send email picture updates and blog that way while away, while testing it out tonight I was having nothing but trouble and have since decided it's not worth having to deal with all the layout and html issues that seem to be popping up because of it.

So, if you are reading this my littles and I will be either sitting on a plane en route to Chicago. Or in Chicago.

That means we made it through the week.
We're healthy and excited.

H is excited as this will be the first time he can actually remember being on a plane (and have his own seat).

Flights on both ends are around bedtime, conveniently enough so my littles will be pajama clad and ready for bed.

I'll be updating my twitter/facebook from my cell phone if you're interested in how the events of the weekend play out.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday. Week 2.

Right now, I am thankful for...

1. Getting a lot of Christmas shopping out of the way. I am feeling on top of it all in that regard right now. J and I sat down awhile back, made lists and have really worked as a team coming up with ideas this year and I'm really excited about it and also feeling not so overwhelmed.

2. Blogging. That may seem like such an odd thing to be thankful for but I am so very thankful for the outlet that blogging has given me. The opportunities that have come my way. The people I have met. The people I have reconnected with. I am really thankful for all of that and those who choose to pay me a visit here.

3. Visit to Chicago. Friday, my littles and I will be boarding a plane (E's first, H's eighth) to Chicago to visit good, good friends. The purpose behind the trip in itself is a dear friend's baby shower. I haven't been to Chicago in over a year, so I'm excited.

4. The weather again this week. It has been gorgeous and what fall should really be like. I won't complain one second that we get to play outside in sweatshirts, in Minnesota, in November.

5. Pictures. I got a sneak peak at our family pictures this week and they are great. I can't wait until I get the CD and can show them off here. I also took E in for some belated nine-month photos (ok more like 11 1/2 months, but had to do it before she turns 1) and they also turned out great. I love pictures and I love that we can capture our moments that way. Something special about the technology around that now and how we can do so many different things.

So, what are you waiting for? What are YOU thankful for this week?

Please share in the comments if you don't have a blog and if you do please link back to your Thankful Thursday post here.

Thank you God for all these things (and more) this week.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Million Dollar Smile.

That's my girl with the million dollar smile. I just love her.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sick of Sick.

Miss M.
Fall 2006.
Remember last Thankful Thursday that I was thankful for our health?

As I typed it last week I honestly thought I shouldn't be so quick to say that because you just never know.

Miss M, who stayed home yesterday with what we thought was just a headache, was home again today. And her fever went through the roof.

I almost sent her to school thinking that she was dramatizing her ailments. Finally, staring at her sitting in the entry waiting to go to the bus stop I pulled out the thermometer and took her temp.


That's not drama, that's sick!

Poor M! I felt awful! Back in her pj's she went with a dose of Motrin to follow. Within an hour she was back to herself again. But as soon as six hours went by she was back with a raging fever and looking more and more sick. At one point this afternoon the Motrin and the alternating dose of Tylenol I gave her still wasn't cutting it.

Our pediatrician said it was most likely H1N1 and wanted her seen and then offered to get her started on Tamiflu but once J brought her into be seen they quickly withdrew the idea and instead are saying it's more of a croup sort of thing.

I hope so at least.

Once again tonight she's back to her normal, bubbly self. The fever version of herself that is.

We're hoping that she's on the up and up because we just hate seeing her (or any of our small village) sick.

I, on the other hand, am exhausted. Completely spent and I feel like I haven't done anything. I've got just a couple days to get life in order before the littles and I head to Chicago and I'm overcome with worry about the two of them picking up what M's got or even worse.

Trying to remember that God's in control and that everything's going to be just fine. In the meantime counting our blessings that even amidst some seasonal sickness, we've got it pretty darn good.

M and I. Fall 2005.

Get better soon Miss M!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Normal Day.

I had many plans that fell to the wayside today. Errands and organizing and maybe a nice long walk to the park.

M awoke with a headache and a slight fever. She stayed home and slept and watched a movie and just rested up. Her headache and fever is gone now, she's back to her smiley, bubbly self and I, well I, got nothing done today.

I am not kidding when I tell you our days are outlined fairly well.

We never stay home all day. We run, we play, we shop, we visit friends and family, we play outside but we never stay home all day.

So today we had a seemingly normal empty day.

Though H didn't want to comply at first, he never got dressed today. This is my boy who from the day he was born eats breakfast, gets dressed and is typically ready to leave the house with me first thing.

Not getting dressed for him is a big deal.

And if I'm honest, the only reason I showered and dressed at, ahem 3pm, was because I am meeting a friend for coffee tonight.

We tried Fun Dip. Have you ever shown a child the fun of Fun Dip? Such a simple little candy but the excitement over this made his day quite bright.

I admit that I wasn't thrilled that my to-do list sat untouched for most of the day.

I am a go-er and a do-er and like things just so.

But there will always be time to get things done and there won't always be time to hang out in our pajamas and eat Fun Dip.

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. -Mary Jean Iron

Sunday, November 8, 2009

In The Press.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press contacted me last week and asked me some questions about why I blog and permission to use one of my posts and pictures from this past month.

I happily obliged and was slightly disappointed today to see that they only featured my blog in the online edition. And didn't feature anything I actually said in response to the questions.

You can see the online story here.

If you're coming here via the Pioneer Press, welcome. A short introduction might help, I'm a 27 year old Christian mom and stepmom living in suburban Minnesota with my husband J, 10 year old stepson T, 8 year old stepdaughter M, 3 year old son H and 11 month old daughter E. (Wow is that ever a run-on sentence if I've ever seen one!)

Here, meaning here on this blog, I write about our daily events, big, small, mundane. My feelings and thoughts on life. Being a stepmom. Losing my mom. Loving my husband and my kids.

I've never been in or done anything with the Pioneer Press before but have both written for and been written about by the Star Tribune.

Take a trip through my archives. I used to have a list of greatest hits or the more popular things I've written but replaced it awhile back with things I'd written about my mom.

Thanks for stopping in, I do hope you'll stay awhile.

Friends who've been reading here for years, or maybe months or maybe even weeks and days, or maybe you just check in every couple weeks or so, how would you introduce me to someone just stopping in on my blog?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Saturday Evening Blog Post.

On the first Saturday of the month there is a little thing called The Saturday Evening Blog Post .

It's where you're supposed to choose your favorite post you've written from the past month and link up to it.

My favorite post from this past month would be Three...And a Half. For no other reason than I love celebrating H's little life and I loved compiling the pictures and writing about all his sillyness.

If you have a blog, did you have a favorite post this past month?

Or if you don't have a blog (or even if you do and want to play this way) is there a post of mine from this past month that you really enjoyed or that you would call your favorite?

Do share.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Self Portrait.

Thursday was picture day at H's preschool and the kids had a chance to draw themselves while waiting to go have their pictures taken. (Of course this resulted in H giving his hands blue/green stripes, but that's just H. And thankfully the portion of his body that was in pictures remained marker free.)

H came home with a stack of his own self portraits, the one above included.

Being the proud mom I am I asked about it, wondering if those blue lines happened to be arms and hands and fingers.

"No," H told me, "this is me when I used to be in jail."


Only H!

And just in case you're wondering where he may have even learned of jail since it's not typically a three year old conversation, he's got a couple Batman books and loves hearing about Batman putting the villians away.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thankful Thursday. Week 1.

Right now, I am thankful for....

1. The sun shining outside and the seemingly slowed down process of the changing of the seasons.

2. Family. Of course J and the kids. My dad, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandma....

But today, especially my dad. He really is the best. And he has had so much these last two years. So, so much. Today, for the first time in two years I heard something in his voice that reminded me of him before my mom was sick.

3. Friends. Near and far.

My friends Zach and Sarah were here with their boys this past week and spending time with them on Monday was wonderful. It was so great to sit and talk and drink coffee and eat lunch and let our kids play.

And friends near too. Friends that come over and feel so comfortable in my house I don't feel the need to clean up or try for perfection. They dig in the fridge for string cheese for their kids or the cupboards for snacks. My hope has always been that my home be a welcoming place for all, and having friends that feel welcome here makes me happy.

4. Health.

There is sickness all around us and I feel blessed and very thankful that for the most part our family has stayed healthy. T was home a couple days this week with a cold and a very lowgrade fever but is back up and running now.

5. Where we are at.

Though sometimes I complain or wish J didn't have to work late when he has to or could take an extra day off here and there, he has work that pays him well to afford us our bills and our lifestyle. We have healthcare. I am able to stay home and do freelance things and run our household.

There is always enough food in the cupboards and the fridge. Our kids can be in activities and preschool and swim lessons. We don't have to think twice about taking anyone to the doctor.

Not only am I thankful for all of that but I'm also thankful that J works as hard as he does to provide what is needed (and more) for us. And he never complains about it, he just does it.

Have you shared what you're thankful for right now?

Thank you God for all these things (and more) this week!

Thankful Thursday.

Introducing, Thankful Thursday.

Gloria left the idea in the comments a few days back and the response from others was pretty convincing that Thankful Thursday would be a great time to count our blessings and mention what we are especially thankful for this week.

I think that we all go through periods of being grateful and thankful but what Gloria said in her comment hit the nail on the head for me; "It is good to have a reason to intentionally think about what we are grateful for all the time."

So if you're participating, what are five things you're thankful for right now?

I'll be back later today to share what I'm especially thankful for this week.

If you participate, leave a comment on this post linking back to your post so that others can come and visit and see what you're thankful for. And if you don't have a blog, you can still participate, feel free to share your list in the comments.

Also, if you've got other ideas or thoughts on some posting ideas for November (and beyond)please leave some more ideas or comments on others ideas here. I also like the idea about sharing Christmas ideas (beyond the gimme) and Flashback Friday.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Grandma T.

Last Friday, my littles and I made a little pitstop at my grandma T's house on our way to the Children's Museum. Why we don't stop more often, I'm not sure, as it's right on the way and we really should.

It's not that we don't see her cause we do. At my dad's or family events and sometimes she even comes here.

I have only one grandparent left and it's amazing to think that just six years ago I had four plus my great grandmother. These last several years have gone quickly and with it, my grandfathers and maternal grandmother and my great grandmother.

I've got great memories with each of my grandparents. Appleton visits with my great grandma. Ice cream and stories about Jesus with Grandpa T. My Grandpa B's RV. Sleepovers at Grandma B's and a very, scary coconut monkey head.

My grandma T is no exception and one of the things I think I notice most about her when I see her and am with her is the way she makes me feel. Probably the way most grandparents do or did (including mine that are gone) and that is to just make you feel special and loved.

When we stopped by to visit on Friday, she was ready and waiting with a smile. Open armed for hugs and kisses on the cheek. An overwhelming scent of her. However one describes their grandma's scent, she is it.

"Oh you look beautiful." She says.

Each and every time I see her. But not in the way where you question if she means it. Because she does. She wholeheartedly means it and says it.

She sees only the good in my children and I. While I sit on edge with my heart ready to explode with anxiety watching H swing his arms around as only three year old boys do around her living room chock full of breakables. And E crawling toward the end table full of glass globes.

It's like taking a bull into a china shop, visiting her.

But my grandma sits back in her chair, relaxed as ever, smiling and forgiving their movements. She doesn't think twice if H doesn't immediately thank her for the treat as I silently will him to.

She sits and tells me what a good mom I am and a good dad J is and I bask in the glory of a grandparents love.

I don't know that I grew up with a traditional grandparent relationship. We lived near one set of grandparents then moved away near another. One spent a lot of time traveling out west.

They were not all present at my birthdays and holidays and each and every special thing I ever did. And maybe they didn't need to be. Because when I think of my grandparents I think of nothing but good, great things. Of memories and laughter and silly times hearing about my parents as kids.

And I think of the way they made me feel about me.
Grandma T reading with H at brunch this past weekend.
I just love E and grandma's smiles at each other here. My dad, H, M, E and grandma.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Eleven Months Old.

It's the third and we all know what that means, Miss E is one month older.

Eleven months old today.

Didn't I just say last month that the month between nine to ten was the fastest?

Well I lied because this month was the fastest.
Her mobility has aged her a lot. She is on the prowl and always looking and taking notice of what is around her to play with. Like most babies, she is into anything that isn't meant to be a toy.

She isn't super speedy and definitely not destructive like another baby I once knew. A-hem.

But she is pretty stinkin' smart.

This past weekend she learned how to open the baby gate at the top of the steps. In three years, H has never once even attempted to open the gate and she not only tried but succeeded. We've since remedied the situation by tightening the bolts so that it is much tougher to open. However, I think if we let her keep trying long enough she'd still get it open.

Yesterday J and I laughed and watched her crawl to my diaper bag, pull it off the chair, pull out the large ziploc inside and pull out a pack of fruit snacks. She then opened the package of fruit snacks. If that's not ambition I don't know what is.
We are in love with her adorable, ever ready smile and giggles.

And even her serious side, which doesn't come out too often, is adorable too.

She's saying things in her own way that perhaps only I can decipher but yet I understand. Ma-Ma and Da-Da and Bye Bye and Baby are her greatest hits. She loves giving kisses (even if they're open mouthed) and has certain people she'll only blow kisses to, go figure.

She's eating more and more "regular" food along with her baby food and still nurses three times a day. I'm realizing that in about a month our year of nursing will be coming to an end and she'll be moving on to cows milk. I think.

I'm anxious to know how big she is and wear she falls on the charts as she seems to be growing a lot. She's still seems to be small especially compared to friends who are weeks apart from her. She's pretty much exclusively in 9 month and 6-12 month clothes now.

I think every parent must have those moments where they see their child in the crib and wonder how on earth they grew so big. It's amazing to remember how small she once was laying in there.

And yes, in case you're wondering that is an old cell phone tucked under her arm. You just never know who you might need to call while you're napping.
Like I've said before, I absolutely love her and everything about her.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Like I mentioned a few posts back, this month I'm planning on posting every single day. I definitely think there are going to be tough days where I'm short on time and ideas but I am hopeful that this will help me keep up with it and also continue journalling our days here.

A few have said they're joining me.

Does anyone have any special ideas for certain posting days?
IE Wordless Wednesday? Quality Friday? NaBloPoMo Mondays? Just throwing some thoughts out there.

If you are joining in on this adventure what are some ideas you have when some of us are drawing a blank and needing something to share about to continue on with the challenge?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Both Inevitable and Obligatory.

Here are our bigs and littles dressed for Halloween.

Can you guess what they are?

E is a chicken. H is Batman. M is a boy named Tyler and T is a girl named Maddy.

Aren't our bigs clever? They came up with those all on their own but mostly based on M's suggestions.
Batman tackles the super-villian daddy who is attacking the chicken with kisses.

Me and my chicken.

H, M and two neighbor girls after round one of trick or treating with J. Had to stop home to dump H's bucket.

T is MIA as when you are 10 it is not that cool to go trick or treating with your little siblings and their friends. He waited and waited and waited for a friend and eventually J took T on his own after the others were done. J deserves many kudos for going out three different times.

Can we say, dad of the year?

And our four again.

Not quite satisfied with either of the pictures I captured of all four but perhaps that's the beauty of it, capturing us perfectly imperfect and just how they were yesterday.

Excitedly impatient.

Happy Halloween!