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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

728 Days Old.

Today I laid E down after a book and a song and a prayer and just one more rock.*

"Rock" she says every. single. day. at naptime and bedtime even after she's had a rock.

And I oblige.

And I know I'm spoiling her and creating this {bad?} habit.

But it's pretty much the cutest request you could ever hear.

And today, wonder of all wonders, someone must have given her the memo that my to-do list was overflowing and that there was no time to spare.

Because she sang. And she talked. And she cried. More singing. More talking. More crying.

I quickly got through the things that had to be done and when I looked at the clock and knew that at that point I'd have to wake her in 40 minutes to get H from school, I might as well let naptime be over.

I captured her on camera.

It's 10pm now and some of that to-do list got crossed off by now, some didn't, but it's ok, most of that can wait. Today was a day that this girl couldn't.

*Rock means rock in the rocking chair.


If you missed my post from yesterday, please, please, please consider helping Rachel's upcoming trip to Haiti. I am going to keep bringing this up until the suitcases are packed full, paid for and there's enough money for shoes....

Monday, November 29, 2010

Advent Conspiracy.

First, watch the video.

Inspired, yet?

It is easy to get caught up in the commercialism and shopping and family drama of the holidays. {And believe me, I am not exempt from this.}

But especially as we are about to embark on the busiest month of the year, it's good to re-evaluate, prioritize our time, our resources and our values and perhaps make Christmas this year more than just a month long shopping spree of events and activities on high speed with a Christmas ham thrown in for good measure.

"The story of Christ's birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love.

So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists.

And when it's all over, many of us are left with presents to return, looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas?

What if Christmas became a world-changing event again?

Welcome to Advent Conspiracy."

Is there one gift you can give up buying this year and instead donate money to a charity, such as what the video suggests, for clean drinking water? Or perhaps your local food bank?

Could you buy one extra toy while out shopping and donate it to a family that is lacking this year?

My family is not perfect, we struggle with these lists of wants and Christmas to-do's, we are in no place of authority on this subject.

This year we're trying to be intentional with our shopping, we're donating to "Adopt-A-Family" at school and hosting a Toys for Tots Holiday Party. We're also looking to give up buying a gift or two so we can donate.

Rachel, who I mentioned the other day, is heading to an orphanage in Haiti in a couple weeks and I would love to help support her trip. Will you help me?

This is what you can do:

*Purchase small items like toothbrushes/toothpaste, gum, matchbox cars, small boxes of crayons, mini etch-a-sketchs, silly bands...small items as they don't have a lot of room. {They already have candy canes and stockings} As of December 2, this need has been met. THANK YOU.

*Help financially pay for the extra suitcases full of goodies going to Haiti. For two suitcases, this is a cost of $140.  As of December 4, the suitcases are paid for.

*There is a family in Haiti that Rachel and her traveling companion have adopted that allows their land to be used for a nursing school clinic. This family needs shoes for their children. Can you imagine your children running barefoot and not being able to buy them shoes? Will you consider donating money towards the purchase of shoes for this family? As of December 4, there is $60 donated towards shoes.
The paypal link has been hit or miss and is not working this morning (Dec. 4) if you would like to donate please email me or leave a comment and I can email you the paypal donate location.
All $$ donations MUST be received by Sunday December 5, 2010 if you are donating online or received by mail on Monday December 6, 2010.
Please think about if there is one less gift you can buy this Christmas or one less coffee you could drink and donate, whether it's $3 or $30, your money and gifts will be used and appreciated so very much.

 And thank you, in advance, for being part of our advent conspiracy!
*If paypal's not your thing, email me and we'll figure something out!*

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tis The Season.


Our tree and the house is decorated. It's officially Christmas time here now.

Tomorrow I'll be sharing some thoughts Christmas and how sometimes I think as a society we totally over-do it. {This is nothing unique to me, or new at all, just have my own thoughts and encouragements I want to share!}
The winner of the Frosted Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts/BlogHer $100 Visa Giftcard Giveaway is: #75 "BB".

No worries if you didn't win this time, there will be another $100 Visa Giftcard giveaway in December. M and I just made our second video today and let me tell you, we are turning into pros!

Happy Sunday!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

His Prize.

We never, ever, ever just randomly buy our kids toys {candy, movies, games...} at the store. {Just another way I am a mean mom, let me count the ways.} I love the fact that because the expectations have been set and clear forever they don't beg and ask for things when we're shopping. From time to time there will be requests, but the answer is no and that's the end of that. We usually remind the kids to put items they are requesting {ie toys, movies} on their Christmas or birthday list. And they do.

J lost his {very expensive, irreplaceable} cell phone the other day and I literally turned my house inside out looking for it. I had the kids staying in from playing with friends to help me offering rewards and prizes for whoever could find it. {Prizes such as a toy from Target, that's the one that stuck for H!} In the end, it was found, with J, in his work belongings. {Yes this made me want to scream just a teensy, tiny bit.}

T and M were happy with a smoothie prize the night it was found but H was in bed and the next morning he asked right away about finding dad's phone so we decided that since he had helped search for it, we would still take him to Target to choose a prize.

I am pretty sure I have never seen a child appreciate something as much as he does.

 He's so proud, so thankful and just so stinkin' cute rockin' his Optimus Prime costume set.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Cutting Down Our Christmas Tree: A Picture Story.

Blue skies. Lots of trees to choose from.

E has a really, really hard time walking in the snow.

H was full speed ahead searching for the perfect tree. {And bears. He said he saw lots of bears.}


While J and H methodically figured out how to cut the tree down, E and I stood cuddling up away from the wind.

Tree Down! So far so good.

The petting zoo at B&J Evergreen was great. Camels! Sheep! Pigs! Goats! We spent a good chunk of time here while J was busy doing this....


It's official we are having a REAL tree Christmas this year. By far the easiest part was going to the tree farm, cutting it down and getting it home. We even talked on the way home about making this our new tradition and how much fun we were having.

Then we got home and the real work began. We thought it'd be a 30 minute job to get the tree up. More like 3 hours.

But the tree is up. It's beautiful. And it's awaiting lights and decorations tomorrow night when T and M return.

We have only great things to say about our time at B&J Evergreen though. They were friendly, completely helpful and very kind. We had to buy a tree stand and the woman in the office demonstrated everything we needed to do to make ours work. {It was still a little tricky for us, but we're first timers!} The petting zoo exceeded our expectations and for any looking for a Santa opp, there was no line and a jolly old man in a red suit awaiting kids all afternoon long.

Pictures of our decorated tree at home to come.

In the meantime, if you're looking for a Minnesota Christmas Tree experience, check out B&J Evergreen. Don't miss the coupon here.

Disclosure: B&J Evergreen provided our family with a complimentary Christmas tree. These thoughts and opinions about the experience are mine.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful Thursday. Thanksgiving Edition.

Not only is it Thursday today, but it's Thanksgiving.

What are YOU thankful for today?

Here's my list....

1.Kindness of Others.

Last night, before J got home there was a knock on the door and it was a neighbor boy {a couple years older than T} asking if he could shovel my driveway. For free. Him and two friends shoveled my driveway and walkway.

2. My dad's safe return from Austrailia.

3. Rachel.

This girl started as our babysitter when H was ONE and she could easily just be a member of our family now. Our kids love her. We love her. She has a heart for Africa, children and teaching and we are blessed to know her and have her in our life. She joined us on our adventure to the Lost City yesterday for the Macy's display and I said to J last night; "How many babysitters do you know that would just hang out with a family just for fun like that?" And he said; "That's because she is way more than a babysitter."

This is so true. I could give you thirty thousand examples of how great she is. Another bonus of knowing her is our other babysitter Anna {who is also much more than a babysitter}. We have really been blessed with two great girls who love our kids and love us and that we all love just as much!

4. Today. Thanksgiving.

I am the first to admit that Thanksgiving hasn't been my most favorite holiday. I am not sure why but this year I'm feelin' it and I'm lovin' it. The tables are set. The food is cooking and we are celebrating a day of thanks with the ones we love.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours and thank you friends, family, readers  for visiting me here where I am able to share my perspective of life.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday.

I wasn't planning on being short on words but the day was busy. We spent the morning in the Lost City visiting the Macy's display where these three had a great time looking at all the beautiful pieces of the story and then devouring giant frosting and sprinkle covered cookies.

It was a good morning, indeed.

Tonight has been busy getting ready for tomorrow. The guest list has ebbed and flowed with changes of plans, weather issues and as it sits right now, just my dad will be here but we now have 3 maybes depending on the roads are come the morning. {J's parents and sister.}

My 12-pound bird awaiting a stay in my oven. Dessert is complete. Dips and breads are already being nibbled. The morning will be busy with potatoes mashing and green beans being made into casserole but I really enjoy being home and having people in my home.

Tomorrow's the last day to enter the Pop-Tarts and BlogHer $100 giveaway. So if you haven't done it yet, head over here to enter. {PS In case you missed my announcement on Facebook, Kelloggs Pop-Tarts liked the video M and I made so much they overnighted us gingerbread Pop-Tarts to do it again, so look for another video and giveaway coming soon!}

Also, if you're planning on doing some Christmas tree shopping this weekend, may I encourage you to check out my friends at BJ Trees/B&J Evergreen this weekend. For more information and a coupon, go here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

O' Christmas Tree.

Since J and I have been married, we've had an artificial Christmas tree. At the end of last year, knowing our Christmas tree was on it's last leg and also desiring something different we decided that this year we would get a real tree.

I am excited to be working with BJ Trees/B & J Evergreen this year where we'll be getting our very first REAL Christmas tree.

Since I know nothing, absolutely nothing, about real Christmas trees. How to pick one? How to care for one? And all the other details that go into it, I asked Trent to help me out and give me some basic information before we make the trek on Friday to pick out that "perfect" one for our house!

These were some of the important factors he shared with me:

Space/planning: It's important to look ahead of time at where we plan on having our tree. Know the height of the room. Also remember trees always look smaller outside.

Picking the right one: In general pick-your-own trees are FRESH. It's important to pay attention to the tone of the color and also know what species of tree we want. Fraser Fir trees are the best trees as they have the best needle retention. Brent actually called them the Cadillac of Christmas trees. Balsam Fir trees have average to good needle retention but have a lot more fragrance than the Fraser Fir. Spruce trees {this is what I think of when I think of real Christmas trees} are prikkly.

A fresh cut is very important for a healthy tree. It's recommended to get your tree into water within an hour of being cut. If it's bought from a tree lot, the tree lot workers would cut a fresh cut on the bottom and the same rule applies.

How do I take care of this tree {ie how do I make sure it stays healthy and looking good through the holidays!?!}: Trent recommended observing the water intake the first 5-7 days. The tree will be replenishing a lot during that time. The water will have to be refilled a couple times right away. After that check the tree stand daily and make sure that the water never runs out or goes below the trunk.

Decorating: I asked Trent if there was anything I needed to be more careful about as we decorate our tree and was surprise when he said that if anything with a real tree we can be less careful, especially with the Fraser Fir trees.

What does one need to bring when cutting down their own tree? WARM CLOTHES! They provide the saw and the twine. Could it be any simpler?

I was surprised to learn that there are a lot of eco/green benefits to having a real tree versus an artificial one as well. For starters, most artificial trees are manufactured in China. Christmas trees actually serve a greater purpose for years (10-12!) before they actually become a Christmas tree. And at BJ Trees/B&J Evergreen, for every tree cut down they plant three the following spring. For more information on the green effects of having a real Christmas tree, visit here.

We plan on going first thing Friday morning to cut down our very first REAL Christmas tree. I'm really looking forward to it. Not only will it be an experience picking out and cutting down our tree but they also have sleigh rides, a petting zoo and for those that are into Santa {we're not}, Santa's there. Sounds like such a fun day, doesn't it?

In addition to the Choose and Cut location, they have four metro area locations. Maplewood, St. Louis Park, Richfield and Eden Prairie.

For more details on locations/hours and for a $3 off coupon only for my readers, head over here!!

Do you usually get a real tree? Or do you have an artificial?
What are some tips and tricks and info that you could share?

Disclosure: We are receiving a complimentary Christmas tree from B&J Evergreen in exchange for sharing/reviewing our experience of having our own REAL Christmas tree this year. These words and thoughts are mine {though many are answers to questions I asked Trent}.

On Why The Ex-In-Laws Get Our Christmas Card.


Our Christmas cards are stuffed, addressed, sealed and ready to hit the mail tomorrow. {Our cards actually include a Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years greeting, hence the early delivery!}

Our Christmas card recipients are lots and lots of family, friends from then, friends from now, neighbors and J's ex-in-laws.

Yep, we send Christmas cards to my husbands ex-wife {T and M's mom}. And family. {And some of them send them to us too.}

Let me be clear. We are not a poster-child family of perfect blended family life.

We could be the poster-child family of a work-in-progress blended family that goes up and down and up again.

It has always been my goal to get along with everyone in our family situation. {Get along=be able to carry a conversation, smile, be polite.}

I'm being honest when I say there are days we're just not feeling it. Over the years, feelings sometimes get hurt. Things are said in haste or emails read in the wrong tone. None of us are ever quick to apologize. It's complicated and confusing sometimes when there are so many people involved.

This blended family co-parenting is a deep, intricate relationship. For all of us.

But here's the deal. These people, these ex-in-laws of J's, these loved ones of T and M's are just that; loved one's of T and M.

They love T and M and T and M love them.

And because we love T and M, we care about the people that are in their life too.

These people aren't just friends passing through life. They are part of their forever people. When I think about the fact that these family members of T and M's are going to be a part of my life forever, I WANT to get along with them, I WANT to feel comfortable with them, I WANT to know them better for we have a lifetime of life left to live yet.

And these people, they are T and M's people.

This means a lot to T and M especially as they get older. The other day M helped me put stamps on the envelopes and came across her grandparents on her mom's side and her mom and stepdad's cards and she smiled and got excited. Some years she'll tuck a special note in for them. Some years she's drawn pictures on the envelope. This year she didn't do either but she noticed.

She noticed that we care about her people.

And I can't think of many better ways that we can show her how much we love her than loving her people.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sleeping Beauty.

Naptime today.


Have you ever seen anything sweeter?

I haven't.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Curious George Live.

This afternoon we surprised our littles with a trip to the Lost City for Curious George Live.


We loved it.

Really, my kids LOVE that crazy, curious monkey and the man with the yellow hat, so I figured they would but it kept their attention, was musical the whole way through and just a fun show. I wasn't sure how long the show would be and it ended up being about 90 minutes and our kids did great.

All the kids in the audience got chef hats like H's! A fun little perk.

I loved hearing my kids laugh and sing along with George and just enjoy something they really enjoy with them today! It was a fun Saturday!

When we left, instead of buying the miscellaneous light up toys and balloons that are sold we had a new Curious George book and George stuffed animal awaiting in their car seats and H said; "I don't think Curious George or the Man in the Yellow Hat gave anyone else in the audience a fun surprise like us!"

Ahh the joys of seeing life through my kids eyes!

There are still tickets available for Curious George Live in Minneapolis on SUNDAY. For ticket information and a discount code, go here. Sesame Street Live is coming in January too, for ticket information and a pre-sale code, go here.

Disclosure: My family was given complimentary tickets to Curious George Live from Vee Corporation. These thoughts and opinions expressed here are mine.

Comments are closed today.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Every marriage is a work in progress, whether you've been married a year or thirty. And we are no exception. We have bad days and even mess up some days but no matter, we are committed to each other forever.

Yesterday (November 18) marked eight years since two strangers met in a coffee shop and we are still learning as we go.

But these are a few things that work for us, so take this as my marriage advice...

Never stop dating your spouse. {We love date nights!}

Always go to bed together. {We do every. single. night. I think there have maybe been less than a handful of nights we haven't gone to bed together and I think those are when one of us has been sick!}

And sometimes, just sometimes, come up with a grand surprise for your spouse that knocks their socks off.

We're going on a cruise.
In January.
To the Bahamas.

Just me and him.


Happy 8 years of living life together, J! {Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary too! We don't usually do gifts between us up this big!}


November 2009: My Version of a Fairytale.

November 2008: Me and Him.

November 2007: The Not So Traditional Cinderella Story.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful Thursday.

What are you thankful for this week?

1. Coffee.


And I love me some good deals on coffee at Starbucks.

2. My husband. Today's a special day for us {& really, Starbucks too}. Many know why. Don't worry if you don't. I'll come back to it. Promise.

He is the best and he loves me like no other and he knows me like no other. I am thankful that I am married to him. (Sometimes because I am me, I don't appreciate him or show this enough. And I am working on this.)

3. Joy. I am thankful for joy. And that I have been given the gift of joy. And that we are living a joyful life in this crazy house.

What are YOU thankful for RIGHT NOW?

*Just in case you're wondering I was NOT compensated in any way, shape or form for sharing the Starbucks deal. They just know I love them. But I would definitely not turn down an ad contract from them.*

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Someday Dreams.

Did I ever tell you that I used to dream about being a morning show host? Like on TV?

I have often said that would be my dream job. Drinking coffee. Talking life.

In a funny, round about way, while child-rearing, errand-running, homework helping is a big part of my job I get to drink coffee and talk life every day. With mom friends. With college friends. With new friends. Old friends. At playdates. At home. On email. In letter. And on this blog.

M and I had the opportunity to make a "video-blog" and hello, world. This is our big break, friends. You will be able to say you knew us when....when you see us famous someday.

Take a wander over here to see what we did. {PS Enter to win $100 from BlogHer while you're there too. Who couldn't use an extra $100?!?}

Comments closed here tonight.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010



These are my kids.
This is my life.
I am blessed. Very, very blessed.

This morning we ran a gazillion errands, all the things that make up life, by the end of it when I dropped H off at school, I admit that my patience with him and his sillyness was gone. I'm pretty sure I even snapped at him at one point while on the phone. But this afternoon, after preschool, after talking about the giving tree at school and why it's important for us to buy Christmas gifts for some of the kids on the tree, H told me, in complete seriousness:

"Mama, you are the best thing that ever happened to me."

Did I mention that I am blessed? I am.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Our Diva.

As I was clearing my memory card on the camera the other day I saw this one and had no recollection of ever taking it.

"Oh you didn't." M told me.

And then she informed me that when I left her, T and E home when I went to pick H up from a friends she and E were playing "House, House" and E, was the mom.

Gave me a good laugh. Though I'd probably say she's looking more diva than mom, maybe I'm just hanging out with different kinds of moms.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Today's my mom's birthday.


The last birthday my mom celebrated she turned fifty-one and we celebrated with chocolate on chocolate cupcakes at her house. And I remember we had fun and it was late and dark and cold that night but we had fun celebrating what would be her last birthday.

Earlier in the week I had a moment where I decided that we would make today's visit a celebratory one with chocolate on chocolate cupcakes. Establishing a tradition of sorts to remember this day and to help our kids {especially our littles} remember this day.


Three cupcakes. One for grandma Nan, one for God and one for Jesus. {According to H.}
Auntie Adrianne was there too.

It would not be hard to find reasons to be sad today. Sad my mom never turned fifty-four. Sad my mom never got to meet miss E. Sad that almost a month to the day after she turned fifty-one, she passed away and here we are struggling to explain heaven and death and life to kids that shouldn't even know these things yet.

But you know what? We are not sad today because I firmly believe that my mom's life is worth celebration!

And I want my kids to grow up remembering grandma Nan and hearing stories and laughing and eating cupcakes, not just visiting and seeing sadness around those dates that are stuck in all of our adult minds.

They deserve to remember my mom the way she deserves to be remembered; a remarkably, wonderful woman who lived a life full of love in so many ways.
They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Well friends, we made cupcakes instead.

Happy Birthday Mumsy! You are loved, missed and so appreciated today for who you were and the life you lived.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Well, Hello Winter.

It was my favorite kind of morning.

H came in our room, excited to start a day and I could faintly see below the blinds that there was snow a-blowing. He couldn't see it quite yet, didn't remember from last night.

E was jumpin' and singin' in her crib, pretty much the way she starts every day.

Our eyes were heavy and we were cozy. J got up and got E and I snuck to the kitchen to get cereal and sippy cups.

It's my favorite kind of morning where we four lay in bed and watch cartoons {or in the case this morning, Marmaduke!} and the kids nibble on dry cereal and drink their milk and we slowly start the day. I consider it a treat.

The week is full of alarm clocks and routines where we await bus times and morning plans.

All of a sudden, something clicked with H and he remembered the snow. {He also remembered to report to J that I gave E some macaroni that had milk in it yesterday by accident! Guilty as charged!}

And once he caught sight of it, we were up and gathering hats and mittens, trying on old boots.

My littles were in their outdoor garb around 8am and H dug right in on the deck, throwing snowballs and pulling the sled around.

E, wasn't quite so sure about this white, fluffy COLD stuff. So her time outside was short lived. She did spend quite a bit of time looking  at the outside though. Admiring the bright, white snow.

H, on the other hand, would live outside if we let him. He's played on the deck. He's been sledding on the back hill and just now at 7:30pm, I had to pull him inside from building a snow fort with T and M.

We're just enjoying and living up that "first snow" honeymoon. If you live in Minnesota, you know what I'm talking about.

Hello, winter.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Night.

I addressed all of our Christmas card envelopes today. And then after bringing in the mail and getting my weekly letter from a friend far away, I sat down and wrote her a note.

Do you ever do that? Write a real, handwritten note and send it in the mail with a stamp?

We, friends that had seemingly lost touch, are writing each other each week and while it's just begun in the last few weeks, I look forward to it. And today when I saw the letter in the mailbox amidst the bills, Christmas catalogs and an ad for a local church, I ripped open the envelope and devoured the words as I walked in the house.

E was still napping and H had finished a movie and was coloring so I took advantage of the quiet time to write her, right then.

Her letter inspired me. Encouraged me. Made me want to reach for goals I've had for years and years that I sometimes forget I've said aloud.

Do you have people like that in your life? Write them a letter. Right now.

Thanks, L.W.

After realizing that J would be working late, late tonight, I invited some dinner guests. {Though they mean more to me than this the simplest explanation is our two babysitters, R and A.}They'll be here in an hour and we're having buffalo chicken sandwiches, one of my favorites. Hopefully they like it too because I didn't really ask if they did. I am wondering if they mind if pumpkin bread is the side tonight because I didn't really plan that part yet.

Both littles are bathed and pajama clad awaiting their macaroni {and cheese for H}. They'll eat a quick dinner, we'll read a few books, sing a song or two, say our prayer and off to dreamland they'll go. H is quite excited for the morning as they tell us we have snow coming.

And I'll sit and chat and share life with my dinner guests. Two girls I think are just great!

What are you up to tonight?

Also, I know that there are many things that we are thankful for that weren't shared yesterday, not too late.

Finally, I'm hosting a giveaway for BlogHer and Kelloggs Pop-Tarts over here. Enter for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card!

And happy Friday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful Thursday.

It's Thursday and you know what that means.

What are you thankful for right now? Here's mine:

1. Technology. Two days after E was born (almost two years ago now) my dad said goodbye and headed to sunny San Diego for eight weeks. Saying goodbye to my dad was so hard {not only were we just coming up on a year without my mom, but I also had all those 'just had a baby' hormones} but I knew it was something he needed to do.

It worked out just fine in the end because of cell phones and webcams. We talked nearly every day and webcammed when we could. Technology was a lifesaver then and now, again.

My dad is on vacation now in Austrailia (!). While we can't talk on the phone {way too expensive!} we do get to talk online and while it's been a big adjustment for E {who likes to call her Boppa each and every morning!} I love that he is just an email or text away.

2. Mom's Night Out. Ok, so we usually call it a girls night, but we're all moms and somehow, someway all the schedules align and we're able to go out and tonight is that night! We get away from our houses and to-do lists, our children's interruptions and constant needs and we actually finish conversations we've started weeks ago. We leave our diaper bags and mom duds at home and just go and laugh. We enjoy dinner {without sharing with spouses or children!} and what feels like an hour turns into four.

3. My bigs. I always am trying to find reasons I am thankful for all four kids but this week my bigs have made me especially thankful. So many times when people here the ages of all the kids they have their own two cents to add about how crazy life must be. And it is. I won't lie to you for one second, there are many days that take a lot of juggling and running from one direction to the other and figuring out of schedules. It is crazy.

But T and M can be so helpful and this week they were just what I needed multiple times. It is so nice to be able to leave T home with E so I can take M to basketball or leave all three while I pick H up at a friends. Yesterday M helped H go through all of the puzzles that we own that somehow got dumped into one box. {It took the two of them over an hour to sort through eight puzzles!}

While I made dinner, T not only folded some laundry {maybe not how I would have folded but that's ok, I am NOT refolding it!} and then he played with H and after dinner, just before bed while J and I were talking about the day, T and M and H all played and laughed in the basement. It was hard to break it up to send H to bed.

They don't always make the pictures or the headlines here because their older and their busier and sometimes I just want to give them that privacy, but they're still here and this week I am so thankful for them.

4. This song. {The one that's playing when you open the page!} Seriously, how can you listen to it and NOT want to dance around thinking about what a good life you've got.

Your turn....

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Making Progress.

A year ago, H had a "Thanksgiving" activity to do for preschool where we had to make a poster of what he was thankful for.

I kid you not, but the only thing my dear, sweet boy wanted to put on his poster was Batman.


And when we turned in the poster all decorated with only Batman written on it, I did contemplate throwing on a few extras like family, friends, food, a house, but didn't because it wouldn't have been his.

{Though I will say it was a tad bit embarrassing standing in the preschool pick up line seeing all these posters that said such great things to be thankful for and then seeing my son's with just Batman listed.}
Fast forward to this year, this afternoon we sat at the table. M, doing her math. H, doing his "I" homework and me, awaiting what things he'd say he's thankful for this year for his items on the class Thanksgiving wreath.

"Getting to be in the best class at my school...."
"My nice teachers...."
"My brother and my sisters...."

Long pause.

I was totally thinking Batman or some other superhero was about to come out of his mouth. {Which would have been ok cause we'd already made great improvements since last year!}

M, looks at H and taps on the window.

"Oh mom. This house we live in. It's such a good one. I am thanksgiving for this great home."

This is what I call making progress, friends.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On Doctors Appointments and Life Changes.

Today I had my annual physical at the doctors office. You know, the appointment where they weigh you, ask you a bazillion questions about your health, go over your history, remind you to take your vitamins and exercise and then try to pressure you into the flu shot.

It was nothing short of a miracle that I figured out how the afternoon logistics would work. I scheduled the appointment so long ago that when I scheduled it I didn't really think about how the timing would work with preschool pick up and M's bus, but in the end, thanks to the kindness of three, yes three, friends, it worked out.

It's no secret that one of my least favorite activities on this planet is blood draws. I had a sneaking suspicion that today they'd tell me they needed blood, I'd prepared myself and even knew that if they did, I would be ok.

So when my doctor told me today was the day for my diabetes and cholesterol screenings, I was brave.

{Brave is very relative here.}

When the lab tech came to get me first I requested to lay down while having the blood draw done.

{Dramatic? Not me. To my credit, my normal blood pressure is 90/60. The nurses always joke that if it were any lower, I'd be dead.}

Then, I instructed her that because my veins often start collapsing that she needed to use a small, butterfly needle.

{To which she smiled, said thanks and left the room. Surely to make a snide remark about me bossing her around.}

Finally, when she took only one vial of blood, I said; "Don't you need two?"

No. She said. I only need one.

{But I really think she wanted to jam another needle in me to make me stop telling her how to do her job.}

I am that patient.

Perhaps the best part of the appointment was while talking with my doctor. After she filled me in on the birth of her twins and asked about my year and my general health, she pulled out the health questionnaire I had filled out prior to the appointment.

"Before we go any further I just wanted to clarify something that has changed on your paperwork from the past."

Ok. Sure.

"Did you mean to check the box that your current partner is female?"

Umm, no.

Oops. {I am guessing that I was thinking the question was am I male or female? Right?}

We laughed and she told me that many things change after one has children so she wanted to make sure.

Things may have changed since I've had kids, but not that much.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Wild Child.

Gotta be honest. I am totally not feelin' it tonight.

Got done checking emails, talked to my dad online and really could have just switched the laundry and headed to bed.

I even thought about not continuing on with the daily posting challenge.

But then I uploaded some pictures from my camera, and oh man, this one, it's a doozy.


E did this all by herself.

Swimsuit over her clothes, headband over her head as if she's an 80's aerobics instructor.

That's our girl.

Winner of the Shutterfly giveaway is comment #3: Gina.

Thanks for all the book suggestions and ideas...I may take some of you up on your offers of book club.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Do You Read?


I have always loved reading. Since I was little, little and even now I love sitting down with a good book and am usually immersed in one or two different ones.

I took this picture awhile back when I noticed how diverse my nightstand was getting, some of them I've finished now and lately there have just been a couple books there.

I'm still working on New Kid By Friday by Kevin Leman. I'm reading it with my mom's Bible study group at church so I've been trying to stay on schedule with the group and not read ahead. (Anyone looking for a Christian parenting book that tells it like it is, this is a good one.)

I'm also mid-way through The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It's a very thought provoking and inspiring read so far.
I don't mind reading fiction but lately have found myself devouring non-fiction books.

Besides a "blog book club" I participated in a couple years back I have never been in a book club and I've always wanted to. Lately I've been thinking I should ask a friend or two that likes to read but I know how so many are so busy and it's that putting oneself out there thing.

Are you in a book club? Do you like to read? What are some of your favorite reads these days?

I am always looking for books to add to my library request list.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Above The Kitchen Window.

kitchen window
Amazing what a valance can add to the kitchen window!

It's the same fabric that J used for the bench sewn by an old high school friend of mine who blogs {and has her own cute little etsy shop} over here.

We love it. Thanks Annie.


Winner of the CSN Stores credit goes to: Comment #6: Samantha!

Don't forget to change your clocks tonight!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Funny Story.

Can I just say, I am so glad it's Friday?
J has been out of town most of this week and is on his way home today and while the week was mostly smooth without him, it's always better when he's home.

This past Wednesday I lost my drivers license. At the public library. I'm about 99% sure it's there, though they claim they handed it to me. I have searched my books. My pockets. My car. Even our trash can at home. So a trip to the DMV is in my future to get a duplicate. In the meantime, here's hoping some 17 year old doesn't find my ID and decide it would make a great "fake" for them.

Last night, a friend of mine invited a few friends over for dessert, drinks and a dip in the hot tub. So our babysitter, R came over and I left her after a very full day and just ready to be out. I had a fun time with my friends, we chatted and laughed, swapped stories and before we knew it, it was 10! {I know! 10! Who knew I would someday say 10! is late!}

We all scurried out and grabbed our things and I was so hot from the hot tub I decided I would just drive home in my suit and coverup. Then I could just jump in the shower and my pj's when I got home.

So as I'm driving the, maybe, 3 miles home, I find myself at a stoplight. Next to a cop.

A cop who is staring directly into my van at me. Probably wondering why on earth I have no clothes on when it's 38 degrees outside.

I was panicked. Of all the times in my life to get pulled over this would not be a good one.

A. I have no drivers license.
B. Though I'd be far below the legal limit, I'd had a drink earlier in the night.
C. I'm in my stinkin' swim suit!

Finally, after what felt like many, many minutes, the light changed and I went straight and he turned.

Ah! I came home and laughed about it with R and her best friend A for a good while and now I have laughed about it about 30 times today! Now you can too.

Happy Friday!

Last chance to enter the CSN Stores giveaway here.

New giveaway is up over here today, Shutterfly is giving one lucky reader 50 FREE photo cards.

And for those that are bummed about not winning Curious George Live tickets, I have posted a discount code HERE so that you can buy tickets.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thankful Thursday.

Thankful Thursday is here again. (To stay!)

So, put your thinking caps on and share what YOU'RE thankful for this week. Nothing is too big and nothing is too small.

Here's mine:

1. The gorgeous fall we've been having. I can't complain one iota about this kind of weather, I hope it stays awhile longer.

2. Good friends to live life with. Both that live nearby and far away. I love sharing life with so many friends. Friends who are in the same place in life and others who are on a completely different journey.

3. My cleaning lady. There's a teeny tiny part of me that's embarrassed to even post this but we have a cleaning lady. And it's really and truly one of the best things we spend money on every month. And I used to make fun of stay at home moms with cleaning ladies. I still have to do the basic household duties to maintain it but she comes and does my floors and my bathrooms and my windows {they look awesome!} and honestly, I am so thankful that we can do it {she's super reasonable!} and also that my husband supports having her come. We decided it was totally worth it to have her come. I get more time with my kids living life instead of stressing out about cleaning chores and lists that are endless.

4. My kids. I don't take them for granted. Some struggle to have children. Some lose children. I get to spend every single day with my kids and it's crazy and busy and some days I feel ready to lose my mind but I love them and I wouldn't trade one second of the craziness. It's all a stage or a phase and then you're on to the next thing and friends, it goes much too quickly.

M, used to be little. Look! She's practically GROWN!

5. My husband. I should really thank him more. He works really, really hard. He's got his own crazy-busy business in addition to non-profit work and still takes time off to go on T's 6th grade OVERNIGHT field trip, changes plans to get home for pumpkin carving, never rushes through the bedtime routine with the kids like I sometimes can be guilty of. He finds ways to tell me he appreciates me when I am really not appreciative of all he does for me. I've got a good one, friends.

There's so many MORE things I could list and I'm sure you could too. But today these are the things I'm focusing on.

Your turn....what is it today on your mind that you are thankful for?

Winner of the Curious George Live tickets is: #19 Jen.
Not too late to enter to win $30 at CSN Stores over here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

23 Months.

Time is fleeting, they say. And I have never been more sure.

We are 30 days away from age 2. Which means little girl, not babe.

Two years ago this week was when the countdown really began. I was sent to the hospital for the first time on election day being told I may be having a baby today. And they told me that three more times before the real deal.

Apparently sometimes even doctors have a hard time knowing when it's time. But E held strong. She still does, really.

Two. She says and holds up one finger.
So her brother, her BFF and partner in crime most days tries showing her the way.

In more ways than this, really.

H is my joyful, lover of life and E, she's a little love. She knows how to love mightily.

With all her little might.

Whether it's her cheezy, crazy smile and the ragamuffin pigtails or the hugs and kisses she gives. The way she says I love you and the way she makes people feel when she sees them. She loves people.

Charlie's 2
And she really loves babies.

I am pretty sure that we could get away without buying her any presents for her birthday if we would just get her one of those real babies!

{Not in the plans right now, my friends. Maybe someday.}
Happy month 23, my little E.

You are a gem, a sparkly, most beautiful gem full of love that we just love.

Everything about you girl, we love it.

Last chance to enter Curious George Live giveaway, here and don't miss out on the CSN Stores giveaway, here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Simple Little Things That Bring Me Joy.

The sun is shining, my house is clean, 3 kids are at school, 1 is napping {or singing in her crib, you decide} and I've got my coffee in hand. It is a beautiful day and there are so many little things I'm enjoying.

1. Over the weekend, we did a little furniture re-arranging and removing and adding and now what used to just have room for our excess dining chairs, a dining room table and china cabinet, sits this:
The china cabinet is still there on a side wall and the table with the leaves removed is still there too for us to sit and work on projects or homework or just talk about the calendar but we've removed all the chairs but two and it looks pretty lovely.

2. Candy. I love candy. Last month while out with some friends from high school, one reminded me that there was a time where I lived on candy and cereal. Seriously, if I could still maintain a diet like that I would. Yesterday half my head was numb for way too long and I got kind of impatient and decided it was time for a kit kat. Let me tell you that eating a kit kat with half of your mouth while the other side is numb is NOT enjoyable.

3. Glasses. This is the part where I once again admit just how dorky I have become. M has these fashion glasses from the teeny bopper store, Justice and she wears them here and there but last week she left them laying on the kitchen counter and left for school. What better opportunity for me to try them than that! So I wore them to ECFE and then to H's Halloween party at school {though one of the other mom's who helped was totally on to my hearts on the frames fake glasses}. I did wear real glasses once upon an awkward time in my life where I had braces and thick bangs and round glasses but outgrew the need for them so I am loving wearing fake glasses. Please tell me I am not the only one who does silly things like this just to have fun?

4. Sweaters. I made myself wait until November 1 to pull out the sweaters. Isn't it fun to pull out the clothes you've had tucked away for months and months and remember how much you love them?

5. Henry. Can I just say that I have never, ever known a child who loves life like he does? {And I am not the least bit biased!}

This boy bounces up out of bed most every day with an exuberance for life that some of us spend years searching for in self-help books and support groups. He knows how to live a life full of joy. I will say it again and again and again.

Friday morning he woke up and while we were eating breakfast without much knowledge of what our day was going to hold H out of the blue said; "Today's going to be the best day of my life." He lives it like he means it and he makes every day the best day of his life. He is a gift.

H with the sharing bag at preschool today. Not only wearing a sweater, but STRIPES too!

6. Just read a great book that I would recommend to anyone and this quote stood out to me and is definitely the kind of life I want to live:
I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don't want to get to the end, or to tomorrow and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and read books so good they make me jump up and down. And I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift. - Shauna Niequist: Cold Tangerines
Are you loving the gift?

So tell me what simple little things are bringing YOU joy today, this week, this month?

Every comment (with valid email) is an entry into a $30 gift code giveaway from CSN Stores. {One comment per person, please!}

Contest ends Friday November 5 at 6pm. CSN Stores is hosting this giveaway and will give the winner a discount code valid for $30. The code must be used in one transaction.  No change will be given. Can not be combined with other codes on the site. Winner to be chosen by

Happy day to you!
{PS. Minneapolis friends, you have until Wednesday to enter the Curious George Live giveaway over here. Don't miss the chance to win FOUR tickets to the show. Win them for your family, your nieces and nephews, your friends. Don't miss out!}

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Happenings.

Halloween is certainly not my most favorite holiday but the kids always love it. This year it seems we celebrated. And celebrated. And celebrated some more.

This is the first time, maybe ever, that I officially feel we got our money's worth out of their costumes.

{Though we still buy the cheap costumes. Both H and E's were $12 each. Compared to the $40 Scooby Doo I saw, I'd say we got a bargain!}

T and M celebrated Halloween with their mom this year. Each year Halloween is one of those holidays we alternate. In the past we've still seen them on Halloween to take pictures and things but this year we didn't. Partially because they are getting so old. And also partially because they'd been here when we went to a Halloween party at a friends and also the Zoo Boo.

Also in the past we've done pumpkins together regardless of where they celebrate Halloween and this year it just didn't work out. The days flew by and before we knew it it was time to carve and they were at their moms.

It all works out in the end but sometimes these little holiday things and planning and making it all fair and all work can be tricky. Change is good. And inevitable as people get older, traditions are started or ended.

So because I know that no one is going to want to talk about Halloween three days from now, I'll get it all out of the way now.

First Halloween Party with friends:
Then there was the Zoo Boo.

Then E got to wear her costume to ECFE and H to preschool.


Then there was a trick or treat at Byerly's. {Despite their faces they were having a good time!}


Then there was our annual neighborhood Halloween party.
And then trick or treating. J took H and E out around the development, then dropped E off, dumped out H's first bucket of candy and went back out. We had over 100 trick or treaters at our house as well! Crazy!

Now we've got candy coming out of our eyeballs {which is great because I love candy} however today I had a dentist appointment and my mouth is NUMB so I can't enjoy it yet! Who in their right mind schedules a dentist appointment the morning after Halloween??!?? AHH!

Hope your festivities were just as fun and candy filled!