Sunday, September 30, 2007


We let Alayna play hookey on Friday. No, she didn't wake up with a tummy bug or a sore throat or a headache. It was our idea. Bad parents, right? But no, we were actually being good parents in letting her skip school. See, Andy and I both got Friday off unexpectedly. Andy's job site was going to be slow for the day, so most people took the day off. My only daycare kid of the day was going to spend the day with his grandparents. It took us all of a minute or two to decide that we were going to take Friday as an unplanned family day since those types of things never happen.

So we all got to sleep in on Friday morning and then ate real breakfast that didn't come out of the cereal aisle. We went on a leaf walk and the girls picked so many beautiful leaves in all the bright, fall colors. After lunch we went shopping for some of those things that you just need, ya know? But the great thing was that since it was early afternoon on a weekday, the lines were short, the parking lots were empty and the time limit was endless. We had no schedule at all. It was a perfect family day of doing nothing, but doing lots.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I have been in a night-time bliss lately and no, it's not from what you may all think. Get your heads out of the gutter, this is a family blog. My bliss is coming from some good snuggles.

It all started on Monday night. Mikayla was not feeling well from her cold and she was also quite gassy. Great, a fussy baby at bedtime, right? But for me, this was fabulous because she wanted Mommy and she wanted to snuggle. She is at that delicate age where she's trying to do everything herself, therefore she no longer needs Mommy or Daddy to hold her while drinking her bottle or just cuddle her for no reason. Oh no, not Mikayla. And she doesn't even snuggle before bed, usually, because the advice that Tonya gave me works like a charm and I could put this little girl in her crib fully awake and she'd soon be sawing logs. So when she wasn't feeling well and actually wanted to be held, it was great! We both fell asleep in the rocking chair after her repeated checks to make sure that I was still holding her. Sure, my neck was a little stiff when I woke up at 10:30 and gently laid her back in her crib, but it was all worth it. I got some baby snuggles in.

Then last night, Andy and I were getting ready for bed and out of nowhere Lilly says, "I have room in my bed." We both looked at each other funny and then Lilly said, "Mommy, there's room in my bed for you!" Andy and I laughed and then he told me that I'd better take advantage of it, because Lilly NEVER wants us to sleep with her (I wrote about that here). So I went into her room and sure enough, she'd moved all the way over to the wall, making as much room as possible for me in her little twin bed with butterflies. I crawled under the blankets, expecting her to want me there for less than 2 seconds, but then she surprised me again. She snuggled right up, told me she loved me and then started to fall asleep. Again, I fell asleep and woke up about 11, carefully extracting her from my arms and going to my bigger, more comfortable bed.

I know that tonight I'll get that time with Alayna, too, because she heard Lilly invite me in last night. Then she asked when she'd get a turn. But that's not unusual. Alayna is the snuggler of our three girls. She's always looking for a lap to sit on or a person to cuddle up with on the couch. She is the main filler of my snuggle-quota. But to have had that opportunity with my youngest two girls, the non-snuggler Miss Independents, was so great!

I think that's one of the best things about being mom-getting to snuggle with your babies and hear them say "I love you, Mommy!" even if it's only in babble and repeated checks that you are, indeed, still holding them.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Is there such a thing... the Cleaning Fairy? Because I think I have been sprinkled with some serious clean-up pixie dust or something. For heaven's sake, if I didn't know any better I'd think I was 9 months pregnant and nesting. I just can't clean enough to satisfy my urges.

Now, my house is never dirty but it does get cluttered and messy, along with the dust bunnies that seem to accumulate 2 seconds after getting rid of them (they must multiply like their alive counterparts) We have 3 kids, lots of hair, animals, etc, and busy schedules. It just is a fact of life that our house get messy. But I wouldn't call it dirty.

Since Sunday night I have been a cleaning machine. I cleaned the kitchen and dining area, including a sweep and mop, and I folded 2 loads of clothes. Monday morning I tackled the living room, family room, entry way, downstairs bathroom and half of the upstairs bathroom (it's pretty big). I also did 2 loads of laundry yesterday, too. Today I have done 2 loads of clothes (does it ever end?!) and I totally cleaned the toy room-re-organized, swept, mopped, the whole works. That NEVER happens. And now I'm sitting here, looking at my computer desk and deciding where to start.

What has gotten into me? Trust me, I'm not really complaining, but it's just so unlike me. I am one of those people that gets into a cleaning spree once every few weeks and then I clean like mad because I know it won't last for more than an hour or two. Three days? I feel like Lynette on Desperate Housewives when she took her kid's Ritalin (for the record, there is no Ritalin in my system or household) I also don't know whether to get excited about this or not. I've been meaning to be more organized and neat, so is this my subconscious helping me out? Will it be a lasting habit? Or am I just cleaning like mad because my body knows that I'm going to get really lazy for some reason and not want to touch a cleaning supply for the next 2 years? I don't know. But I'm going to take full advantage of it and go find something else to clean. One never knows when the urge will stop.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Day Without Kids

I think the title says it all. My parents took the girls overnight on Friday night so that Andy and I could have a belated Anniversary celebration and a day without the girls! We were both so excited, though I think I was a little more so than Andy.

Friday night we went to the yummiest steakhouse in the area and had a fabulous dinner. I'm telling you, this place is heaven. Every meal comes with a salad the size of my entire head, the best main course including warm bread, potato or rice, and the meat of your choice, and then they top it all off with complimentary chocolate chip cookies! Can it get any better (well, without becoming an Olive Garden)?

Saturday morning we got to sleep in until 7:45 and then we started our day. We headed up to the Duluth area and started out at Gooseberry Falls, which is just north of Duluth. I was disappointed that the leaves weren't changing up there yet, because they are here, but I guess they've been getting less rain than we have and the drought is affecting the leaves. Oh well. It was still gorgeous. We hiked around the falls for awhile and got some great pics...

Then we went back down to Duluth and did the grounds tour of Glensheen Mansion. It is such a beautiful estate, but if you ask me, it's all made even better by the history of it all, especially the murders committed by Marjorie Congdon. I've read a few books about her and she', let's say. You'll all have to check some out. Anyway, here are some more pics...

Once we left Glensheen, we went down to Canal Park and ate lunch. We got some fabulous chocolate treats at the Rocky Mtn. Chocolate Factory and started to head back to the car. On the way, we saw a ship out on the lake that looked like it was lining up to come into port. Being the inexperienced ship-watchers that we are, we figured it was still over an hour out. So we decided it was too late and we couldn't wait for it. We got into our car, drove to the end of Park Point and back only to get stuck as car #16 or so in a huge line waiting for the lift bridge to go back down. Sure enough, that big ship that was over an hour our? Nope, it was apparently only 15 mins and we had to wait for it to go under the bridge. I was so disappointed. In all the times I've been to Duluth, I've never seen a ship actually come into port while standing at the pier. Oh well. I got a pic of the ship once we were past.

Thanks again to Mom and Dad for keeping the girls! Andy and I had a great time. And for those of you from far, far away (Opals...) you should certainly come over to Wisconsin and we'll take you to see these things in person!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mikayla's Army Crawl

Mikayla has been doing her little army crawl for a week or so now and I finally got it on video. It's not the best, as she really goes much faster at times, but it's the only one I've been able to catch on video. Oh, and when you watch it, like how she literally starts to crawl out of her pants? Gotta love it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Future American Idol?

So we're thinking that Lilly may be ready for the next American Idol. What do you think?

Busy Weekend

We had such a great, but busy, weekend that I was actually looking forward to my normally hectic weekdays! Of course, Mondays are the least hectic of those weekdays, so that helps.

Friday was our anniversary, as you probably saw on my previous post. We didn't get a chance to go out, but it was because of a great cause. We have been putting together a benefit for little Clara for the last 5 or 6 weeks and it was this past weekend. So Friday during the day I was running to the bank, picking up donations, and gathering the food. That night we were busy getting ready, setting up the park, organizing all of the donations, etc. I was so tired that I fell asleep in about 2 seconds once my head hit the pillow.

Saturday morning was gorgeous, if a bit cold. But seriously, who doesn't want to play an 8am game when there's still frost on the ground and it's below 30? The day ended up being beautiful and such a great out-pouring of support! So many people showed up with generous hearts and wallets, all in the name of Clara and her health and well-being. It was a long day, but the tiredness was so worth it. I was so glad to be able to help our good friends in their time of need. And THANK YOU to everyone out there who donated or came to the benefit or played ball. Here is the team that one first place, along with Nick, Andrea & Clara.

Yesterday we finished up the last of the benefit dealings, like cleaning up the park and sorting all the left-overs and bar pans. Then we took the horses out and went for a nice ride before bed. It was just too nice out. Both Alayna and Lilly got a turn on the horses, which made them more than happy to comply when it came time for bed.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Up for interpretation

I was checking my e-mail and Lilly kept asking me to play Elmo or play ABC's. To be honest, I was getting a little irritated because I had told her, at least 4 times, that when Mommy was done she could have her turn at the computer. Well, she asked me one last time and me, being the sarcastic person that I am, said, "Just hang onto your panties for a second!" As I continued to read that one last e-mail, I looked over and saw Lilly had her hands in her pants, hanging onto her panties. Ahhhh, to be so innocent that you take everything literally...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Congrats Heather & Eric!

I just got word that my friend Heather and her husband, Eric, welcomed their second little boy into the world last night. Little Hudson joined his older brother Evan and his great parents. Congrats, guys! I hope and pray that everything went well and I can't wait for more details and some pics!

Happy Anniversary, Andy!

Wow, today is mine and Andy's 5th wedding anniversary. It seems much longer than that because we have been together for 10 years, but yet it seems like just yesterday that we started dating, too. WAAAAY back in High School. Who would have thought that all these years later, we'd still be together, happy, and the parents of three beautiful, wonderful ladies. There have been times when it seemed the odds were stacked against us, but we always come through together, stronger than ever.

Here are some pics from that day, 5 years ago. It was a gorgeous, sunny day with a light sprinkle in the morning. I think the high hit about 70 and for those of you who know me, you know that's my favorite type of day! Here's a pic of me before the wedding, outside of the church.

And this was right after we walked down the aisle after our ceremony. Our 2nd kiss as Mr & Mrs.

And being as young as we were, we didn't have any idea how we would narrow down our friends to include in the wedding party. Now, I know for a fact the 3-4 people I would have stand up for me, and I think Andy does, too. But we're also at a totally different time in our lives and a lot has changed. So, here is our wedding party, from L to R: Andy B, Theresa, Brent, Jenica, Chris R, Tiffany, Jerome, Chandra, Kelly, Me, Andy, Alayna, Amanda, Jason, Karla, Chris B, Alicia, Cheyenne, Ruth and Darren. I know...

Happy Anniversary, Andy! I love you and I can't wait to experience another 5...15...50 years with you!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Total Mom Brag...

I am so proud of Alayna! She's a great kid and such a good helper around the house; that in itself is enough to be proud of. But yesterday, she upped the pride meter in her parents.

Alayna is in First grade. She is a very smart little lady and she LOVES to read. Now, we knew that her reading abilities were above her age level, but we didn't know to what extent. Apparently Mrs. L, the Title 1 teacher at school, was testing Alayna and her classmates yesterday to see where they were at with their reading. When Alayna told me about it, she said that she had read into the 6th grade reading list! To be honest, I thought that maybe she was a bit mistaken, because that seemed very high. But I knew she was a great reader, so I told her how proud I was and that she was doing so well, etc. Then at my monthly Bunco night last night, my girlfriend, who also teaches at the school, said that she ran into Mrs. L in the hallway right after Alayna's test. She saw her scores and Alayna did, indeed, read into the Sixth grade list! She said it was the highest that Mrs. L has seen for a First grader in a long, long time.

Alayna, we are so proud of you! I know we told you that yesterday, and say it often, but it's true! We love you, honey! Keep up the great work.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Welcome to the world, Brett!

We have a new member in our extended family and we couldn't be happier! Andy's cousin Chris and his wife, Beth, welcomed Brett William into the world yesterday afternoon. Poor Beth was so uncomfortable that little Brett couldn't have come soon enough. Thankfully, everything went well and both mom and baby are doing fine.

And yes, he's really a boy. Why do I say that? Because people in our "circle" just don't have boys. Seriously. There are 6 or 7 of us girls that always hang out together to scrapbook, have girls' nights, go holiday shopping, etc. In our group, 4 of us have a total of 8 girls, no boys. So the big joke when Beth was told she was having a boy this time (after 2 girls) was that no one would believe her until we saw that...ahem..."part" that made him a boy. And I still have a hard time believing it. But I'll get to see for myself tonight when we go visit. And those of you who know me know that I'll check, too. I can't wait.

So Congratulations Chris, Beth, Kaitlin & Karli on the addition of little Brett to your family! I can't wait to meet him. And I REALLY can't wait to see how he holds his own at our parties in a few years with 8 older girls to play with.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Defiance Already?!

If you've read my previous post about Mikayla saying Dada and refusing to say Momma, I now have proof for you all. Of course, the whole video is darn cute-she babbles, she waves, she's freakin' adorable. But then, the defiance. And honestly, do you want to know what got her saying Dada in the first place just then? I had the tv on to A Baby Show and they said Daddy. Grrrrrr...

Is she practicing?

Mikayla loves to play with her big sister's baby dolls. She really likes to talk to them, kiss them, play with them...But with this montage, do you think that maybe she's practicing for the future, when she'll be able to take on her older sisters? But at least when it's all done, she ends with a hug.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Confessions for the Mommy Files

  • I sometimes let my girls eat cold cereal for supper when I don't feel like cooking, or don't have anything in the house to cook.
  • I have been known to watch kid movies without them home, like Shrek.
  • After saying that, I just sang the entire Shrek Karaoke party (end of movie 1) to my girls. And I knew every word.
  • We tend to follow the 3-second rule in our house when it comes to food and the floors.
  • My room is usually semi-messy, but I expect my girls to keep their rooms decently clean.
  • I am one of those moms that just licks off the baby's nuk when it's dropped on the ground or the floor before giving it back.
  • I often tell my kids that toys I don't like are broken, even if we've just taken out the batteries.
  • I will not allow my girls to watch Yo Gabba Gabba, Boh-Bahs or Teletubbies because they are very creepy shows. I also don't let them watch Maisy because it drives me insane. My kids love all 4 shows.
  • I have "not smelled" a really stinky diaper right before handing the baby off to Andy, then fained innocence when he asked if I knew.
  • I don't vacuum my floors as often as I should, many times finding huge hairs in Mikayla's hands (between me and the 2 older girls, we have a LOT of hair. Andy & Mikayla, not so much...)
  • I often tell my girls when they get owwies that I should just cut off their injured leg/arm/ear.
  • If they don't let me clean those owwies, I tell them that said leg/arm/ear might fall off.
  • I have used "bribery" and it has worked quite successfully, though I don't make a habit out of it.
  • I am a very sarcastic person and I don't hide that from my children.

Well, I feel much better now. Whoever said confession is good for your soul was soooo right. Now, I'm going to go beat my children....just kidding. Gee, take a peak at my last bullet point. I'm not going to actually beat them, just knock their heads together a little bit. That's good for the soul, too. ;-)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Clothes, Clothes, and More Clothes

I'm beginning to think that my girls all have WAAAAAY too many clothes. But they are girls, after all, and everyone knows that a girl needs an outfit for every possible occasion, right? Right. But this is getting ridiculous.

A few weeks ago I went through everything in Alayna's closet and dresser, making her try on things that were iffy in size, storing away the things that didn't fit, organizing the closet and dresser drawers. She was the easy one. Or so I thought. Then we went camping this weekend and Shannon gave me a HUGE bag of clothes from Brianna and Bailey. Everything was so stinkin' cute, in great shape and, of course, will fit Alayna perfectly for this fall and winter. So now where am I supposed to put all of these clothes (and why didn't I get these before going school shopping? LOL) We folded and sorted and hung and stuffed, and finally everything fit. Alayna was set to start school.

Then I realized that while Alayna was done and ready for the upcoming seasons, Lilly and Mikayla were not. I set last night as my night to tackle the mountain, and thankfully my sister-in-law Alicia volunteered her assistance. I don't think she realized that task at hand when I gratefully accepted her offer, in exchange for a homemade meal of beef stroganoff and cheesy broccoli. When we finished dinner and we climbed the stairs to the bedrooms, I swear I heard the death march song going off in my head. You know what one I'm talking about. I believe Alicia's exact reaction when she saw the huge totes and baskets of clothes that didn't have a tote to call a home, was "Holy $%@#" Yup, it was that bad. It took us 2.5 hrs, but we finally got too little clothes out of the dressers and closet, next sizes in their vacant places, and the totes all organized by size. Oh, and there's 2 laundry baskets full of clothes that I need to buy a tote for. And I'm not talking the ave sized tote. Oh, no. Between all 3 girls we have 6 totes that are each probably 4' long, 2' deep and 2' wide. These suckers are huge. And we need another one.

But alas, my girls are ready for fall and winter. They have the appropriate clothing in the appropriate places, just waiting for the cool temps to come. And the closet floors are stacked with neatly organized totes, just waiting for another temp or size change. And my checkbook is just waiting for the day that I can start selling all of those clothes on a garage sale. I'm telling you, I'll be an instant millionaire.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Time for School

Today Alayna started First Grade. That just doesn't seem possible, but that's what she and the school both tell me. She was so excited to go today and see her friends, the teachers, learn more cool stuff...She really loves school and learning. A girl after my own heart.

Alayna jumped out of bed after her alarm only sounded for half a second, was dressed in 5 seconds and ready to start waiting for the bus within 2 minutes, though it wasn't scheduled for another 30. She was quite impatient, but a note left for her from Daddy, wishing her a good day and giving her some last minute advice, helped to pass some of the time.

I had issues with Alayna going to Kindergarten last year, but for some reason First Grade is much harder for me to swallow. I don't know what it is. But I know that I already miss having her home, and Lilly just doesn't know what to do with herself. Mommy is only fun for so long. Mikayla even seems to notice the absence, as Alayna plays with her so much during the day. So we all sit here, passing the time, waiting for 4:05 and the bus to pull up to the end of the driveway.