Wednesday, December 31, 2008

So Long '08

You know that old adage that says time just goes faster the older you get?'s true. I cannot believe how fast each year passes. It seems like it should be about April, not December. And especially not the last day of December, which means the last day of the year. Yikes.

Even though 2008 has been a fast year, it's been a good one. We celebrated 4 weddings and 6 births with family and friends. We took mini-vacations and day trips as a family. We worked on the house and property to get it even more how we like it. We spent lots of time with family and friends. We were mostly healthy and safe, with only minor injuries and illnesses (nothing even close to serious). We fixed vehicles and saved money. We made new friends. We didn't have to say good-bye to any close family or friends, the only close death being that of George, our horse. We had a lot of fun over the months. We each celebrated another birthday and many milestones. We added a new member to our family with Marley. We still have our home and our jobs. 2008 was a good year. Let's hope 2009 can only get better!

So from our family to yours, may you have a happy, healthy, safe and joyous 2009!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Today our baby girl turns 2. Mikayla has been such a huge blessing to our family! I remember when I found out I was pregnant with her and we were so excited and anxious to share our news and see her grow, first in my belly and then in the flesh. When she was born, it was a very easy, simple delivery. I know our parents and sisters were so frustrated because we asked the nurse and doctor not to use any pronouns and to continue to call her "baby" until everything was said and done. The ears at the door were going CRAZY trying to determine if the cry was feminine or masculine, if the "he" and "she" were about the baby or Andy and I. Once they met her, they all fell in love, just like we did.

The past two years have been great! Mikayla has grown up and now walks, runs, and talks. She tells people off in her own gibberish, brandishing her pointer finger like a ruler and emphasizing her "NO!" She makes the funniest faces and has the most contagious laugh. She looks up to her big sisters and tries to do whatever they do. She's always available to give a hug or kiss, or snuggle for at least a second or two. She's all we could have wanted in a child, and then some, just like her sisters.

Mikayla has so many interests right now. She loves to play with her babies, shushing them and singing them "Rock-a-baby in tee tops". She dances and sings all the time. She can say her ABCs and especially loves to sing them along with her Fridge Phonics. Her favorite movies are "Monsters, Ahhhhh!" (Monsters, Inc) and "Shek," though "Ginkerbell" is fast becoming a favorite, too. On tv, she likes "Jack Show" (Jack's Big Music Show), "Fankin" (Franklin), Diego and Dora, and "Boo Coos" (Blue's Clues) the best. As each day passes, we are reminded more and more that she's turning into a little girl and not so much a baby.

Happy Birthday, Mikayla! Mommy and Daddy love you very much and can't wait to celebrate many, many more birthdays with you!

My friend Karla and I 2 wks before Christmas 06 (she had Emma on Dec 26)
Please ignore my non-existent chin, I think I was laughing at something

In the hospital, only a few hours old

First smile caught on camera, about 2 months

Sleeping in the swing, about 7 months
First Birthday! This past summer, about 18 months
October 2008, about 21 months
December 2008, almost 2!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Welcome to the World, Lucy!

One of my very best friend's had another little girl yesterday, December 22. Karla and Dan welcomed Lucy Ellen shortly after 2:00 pm, weighing in at 8lbs 12oz and 19" long. She's just a doll and I wanted to eat her all up. Big sister Emma seemed as proud as any almost 2-year-old can be when it comes to a baby that will eventually take up Mommy and Daddy's time and attention. She showed us her baby, smiled big when we asked if she was happy, then ran off to play with Mikayla in the OB lobby.

Congrats Karla and Dan on Lucy's arrival! I cannot wait to get to know her and see her as she grows! (I would post pics, but that darn dog...)

Where Oh Where has the time gone?!

I cannot believe that tomorrow is Christmas Eve! I'm ready--the presents are wrapped, the cookies baked, the plans made. But I just can't believe that it all starts tomorrow! But before I get ahead of myself, I'll let you know what we've been up to since last week.

First off, I've been trying to upload the Sunday school program video. I watch it on the computer and it's just fine, but when I upload it here I get audio from the first 2 segments and video from the second 2 segments. Not quite right. I don't know why it's doing it, but I'm trying to figure it out.

We had a busy week of lots of snow and cold temps, school, work and normal things. Plus we also had to finish up the last of our shopping. I also needed to bake more sugar cookies because while I was sick, my husband and daughters ate them all. And they're my favorite. So I needed more.

Sunday we had the first of several Christmas gatherings. Andy's dad's family all got together at Andy's cousin's house. It was a lot of fun, minus a stair incident for Mikayla. She was fine, just caused a minor heart-attack for me, Andy and his cousin Brandon. The girls had a lot of fun, as when all the family gets together there are 10 kids under the age of 12--7 girls and 3 boys. Lots of squealing, but lots of fun too.

So that's what we've been up to. My camera cord still isn't fixed, so I don't have pictures to share yet. Just be anticipating a huge post with tons of photos once it's all better.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cold Weather Rules Part 2

Remember this post about a very important cold weather rule? Well, today I've got a few more rules, or bits of advice, for you all when it comes to the cold.

1. This time of year, when you are sleeping soundly and wake up because of a loud banging sound...chances are someone is not shooting at, crashing into or breaking into your house or anything else. In my dream, it was someone crashing their lawn-mower into a garbage can. In reality, it was something much less tragic and humorous. Once I was awake enough to put 2 and 2 together, I came up with -10. As in the temperature. And that banging noise? The house shifting and groaning from the frigid temps (and our house is only 30 yrs old, you should hear a house like my parents' that's about 100 yrs old!). And just so you all can be really jealous, we're not supposed to make it above zero today and our wind-chills will be -30. Yippee.

2. Don't rely on just one tv station when it comes to checking for school delays and closures. I woke up this morning (see above) at 6am, 30 mins before my alarm is set to go off. I thought I'd be a nice Mommy and check for Alayna's school. I went through the "local" channels (we live over 70 miles from the nearest city, but our schools get called into them because that's where our local tv channels come from) and found the channel closest to our town name in the alphabet listing of schools. As I watched with half asleep eyes, I realized that it skipped over our town. I was a bit peeved that I had to send my child on a bus with -30 windchill and below zero actual temps. But then I thought, "Hmmm, maybe I should check another channel." So I found the next closest channel in the alphabet and sure enough, we're at least 2 hrs late. I sneak into Alayna's room and shut off her alarm, only to still have all 3 girls in bed with me by 6:30. Ugh.

3. Puppy's with short hair do not go off of the porch to "do their business" when it's this cold out. Enough said.

Coming soon...

The theatrical performances of our three girls, as soon as Andy can splice together my camera cord (thanks, Marley.)

The girls had their Sunday school Christmas program yesterday and it was adorable, from what I saw. See, I didn't get to go. I was home sick with a bizarre flu that left me feeling like I was on the verge of puking (or the other end) any moment, though I never did either. I had no energy and slept all day long. Now today I feel fine, just that blah-ness of The Day After.

So anyway, my wonderful husband got the girls up, ready and to church, took video of the program and got them all home--all in the beginning stages of a snow storm. My dad read the lessons I was supposed to read, and Andrea and my mom took over the program portions that I was supposed to be helping with. THANKS GUYS!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Picture Tag!

My friend LeeAnne tagged me in this different and fun game for the blogging world. It's been interesting to see what people have and what the explanations are! So here are the rules of this game:

1. Choose the 4th picture folder on your computer

2. Choose the 4th picture

3. Explain the picture

4. Choose 4 people to do the same

This picture is our church's Sunday School program from 2006. Alayna was a shepherd and is off to the right of the picture, but Lilly is the little black and white sheep on the very right. She was just over 2 years old. The "Wise Man" (I use that term loosely...just kidding, Dad!) on the right is, you guessed it, my dad!

Friends who I'm tagging:

1. Mom With 3 Monkeys
2. Carol
3. Kandace
4. Sarah

Monday, December 8, 2008

Puppy Love

Marley is the biggest snuggler I know of in the canine family. It's so cute and adorable now, when she's only 20 lbs. Won't necessarily be so great when she's 120 lbs. But for now, we're enjoying the cuddles and hoping that we aren't creating a monster. Wait, scratch that. I am trying not to encourage her to be on my lap or the furniture. Andy, on the other hand, loves to snuggle with her. And of course, Marley is more than happy to oblige and nap with Daddy.

Look! Sunny is getting used to the little whipper-snapper and doing more to help train her than just tolerate her. I got this cute moment on Sunday afternoon. Two weeks ago, Marley wasn't even allowed to be near Sunny's spot at the top of the stairs. (isn't that horrendous carpet?!)

And while we were baking cookies on Saturday, Alicia brought over Ellie May, Marley's sister. After fighting and wrestling around, the girls were put into confinement so we could bake our cookies without having to watch them, too. Apparently, they wore themselves out.

Sugar Highs

Growing up, one of the things I looked forward to each year around Christmastime was the cookie baking. My mom would whip up a big double batch of sugar cookies and we'd cut them into trees, angels, santas, stars, snowmen. Then while they baked and cooled, we'd dip pretzels in melted almond bark. Once that was done, it was time to frost and decorate the sugar cookies until they were so beautiful, I could barely stand it. I LOVED doing that each year. Of course, as we got older we added more complicated goodies into the mix, but the sugar cookies and pretzels were always the staple.

Now that I have my own girls, I have continued the tradition of baking with them, especially at Christmas. I invite over my mom, sister, mother-in-law and sister-in-law, as well as a few friends who are available. We bake and chat and dip and create. This past Saturday was the day this year. We made SO many yummy goodies that it's crazy.

We did sugar cookies, like always...

...and spritzes and little elf hats (plain bugles filled with almond bark and an M&M)...

...peanut butter star cookies, peanut butter cup cookies, dipped pretzels, pretzel rings filled with a melted Hug and an M&M, and oreo truffles-some plain, some mint.

I love seeing what master-pieces of art the girls create with their cookie. They are all the most beautiful things, but taste even better. Yum.

And the funniest part of the day? When the "men-folk" showed up later for dinner and saw the HUGE spread over every inch of counter and table that I have. If eyes could drool, their eyes were doing it. They went into an instant sugar high and stupor looking at all the goodies before them. They were like kids in a toy store, not knowing where to start first!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas is almost here!

Did you all realize that it's less than 4 weeks until Christmas? Yup, that's right! So get your cards ordered, go to the store, heat up the oven for all those cookies...You are running out of time!

We have started getting ready for Christmas. As I mentioned in a post yesterday, we cut our trees and put them up, but they needed some decorations!

The girls love to help decorate the trees each year. This year, Mikayla was able to participate somewhat, though she couldn't hang all of the ornaments by herself. Since decorating, I don't know who I've had to yell at more about not touching the trees-Mikayla or Marley. To a puppy, it's like she's gone to heaven!

Sunday was our Christmas celebration for 4H. Every year, the kids sell wreaths, poinsettias, and trees as a fundraiser for the club. We turn in and collect the orders the Sunday after Thanksgiving, then the whole club goes bowling together. We also have another fun thing for that day...

Can you believe that Santa wasn't too busy to come see us all?! Lilly was so excited. She ran right up to him and was the first to sit on his lap, actually standing next to him, waiting patiently for him to take his seat. Alayna sat on his lap as well, but Mikayla didn't want to. The combination of minor stranger anxiety and being up past nap time--plus up late the night before--was not good for Santa-time. Oh well.

One funny, but sad, thing did occur. As we left 4H, Alayna seemed to be a little down. When I asked her what was wrong, she said, "I'm just thinking...Did Santa look and sound like Uncle Johnny to you?" Well, good question, considering that Santa was Uncle Johnny (my MIL's brother) I just told her that Uncle John has always kinda looked like Santa and she seemed happy with that answer. She'll be 8 in January, so we wonder if this year will be the last Santa year for her. We're playing it by ear, waiting to see what she hears at school and if she asks more questions. We won't lie to her, just as I didn't lie about Uncle John looking like Santa. I mean look at the guy--that's not a fake beard or belly or glasses. The man is Santa.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Conversations with an almost 2-year-old

I just had this conversation with Mikayla...

Mommy: Mikayla, are you done with your oatmeal?

Baby: Ummmmm, Nayna bus!

M: Yes, Alayna just got on the bus. Are you done with your oatmeal?

B: Ummmmmm, Nayna cool!

M: Yes, honey, Alayna went to school. Are you done?

B: Marney! Marney bone.

M: Marley's chewing her bone, yes. Are you done?

B: Yeeyee ni-ni

M: Yes, Lilly is still sleeping. Are you done with your oatmeal?

B: Daddy gone.

M: Daddy's at work. Mikayla...

Interrupting me B: All gone! No more o-mee.

It's December!

And since it's December, that means it's almost Christmas! I LOVE Christmas. The music is awesome, the weather is great, the decorations are beautiful and everyone is usually in a good mood and more willing to give to others. How can you not love this season that celebrates Christ's birth?!

One of the very first things we do to celebrate Christmas (after shopping on Black Friday) is get our Christmas trees. We always do this the weekend after Thanksgiving. So Saturday afternoon, we all piled in and went to cut down some trees. Mikayla had so much fun this year, riding on Daddy's shoulders as we walked through row after row of bright green trees. She would put her arms out and try to touch every one of them. Alayna and Lilly, on the other hand, were running ahead of us, pointing out trees they thought were either really good or completely not up to par. Eventually, we settled on 2 nice trees for our living room and family room. As Daddy cut them down, the three girls all giggled and laughed, jumping up and down in their excitement. It was quite the sight.

Once we got home and got everyone settled into bed (we had another Thanksgiving Sat night so we didn't get home until late) Andy and I unloaded the trees into the garage. He was just as excited as the girls and said, "I'm so glad that you love real trees. I don't think I could have married you if you were a fake girl." Aww, so sweet...Don't you love Christmas?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving. The meal is my favorite meal of all--turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, corn, broccoli, rolls, green bean casserole, yummy desserts (excluding pie, of course) Any other day of the year, that meal wouldn't taste as good. But on Thanksgiving, it's the best.

But Thanksgiving isn't about the food. It's about looking at our lives and seeing what it is that we are thankful for. This year, I am thankful for:

*my wonderful husband. He loves me when I'm at my worst and my best. He makes me laugh so hard at the simplest things, always lightening my mood. He is a wonderful father that loves his girls unconditionally. He works very hard every day to give the girls and I what we need and want.

*my 3 beautiful girls. They are all kind, loving souls. They are always willing to give me a hug or a kiss and aren't embarrassed by me...yet. They are good listeners and help out around the house so we can all enjoy time together.

*our family and friends. They are always there for us, no matter what. They are all such a great support group and source of fun, laughter, and love.

*our house. I know that all too many people don't have a place to call home, that they can decorate and take care of as much-or as little-as they please. In this time of so many foreclosures, I am especially thankful to have our home.

*our jobs. Andy's work is very much dependent on the economy and I am so thankful that he is still employed, when so many people are not. I am also thankful that I am able to stay home with my girls and bring in additional money by doing daycare.

*our health. So many people that I know have been struck with a medical emergency in the past year and I am incredibly thankful that none of those people have been very close to me.

*God. Without Him, none of the above would be possible.

Friday, November 21, 2008


George is the one on the left there, in the blue halter. We got him back on May 10, 2003, when Alayna was a a little over 2 years old. He came from a family that was moving and couldn't take all their horses with them, but wanted to make sure he went to a good home. The wife in the family worked with Andy's uncle John, who mentioned that we were looking for a good horse to start our daughter on. They exchanged numbers, we called, we went to look at him and he came home with us that day.

He was an absolute gem--completely bomb-proof, very calm and gentle, a wonderful horse for Alayna, and then Lilly, to learn on. He was always careful of them when they'd come into the pasture. He would alter his speeds based on who was on his back--he'd do a faster trot for me than for one of the girls. He was the perfect horse for them.

He was also old. When we got George, they estimated his age to be 22-24. Since we've had him for almost 6 years, that puts him near 30. For you non-horse people, that's like being 80 in human years. This past year he had lost a ton of weight and gained some back, but he never lost his wonderful attitude. Every night he'd trot into the barn for supper, when we'd yell hello to them in the pasture he and Cookie would both neigh back in response.

Today, we had to put him down after he fell and couldn't get back up. He leaves a HUGE void in our lives and will forever be remembered. Every horse will, from this day forward, be compared to our perfect, loving Georgie.

We love you and will miss you dearly, George!

Seeing in the Dark

Our power went out for some reason last night about 4:30 (I called the electric co and they didn't know what was up, it came back on after about 30 mins). Well, at that time of night it's already getting quite dark around here. I asked Alayna to run upstairs and grab me something and this is what transpired:

Alayna: But I can't see.

Mom: It's not that dark out yet. You can see to go up the stairs and into the hallway.

Alayna: Fine.

Lilly: Alayna, if you don't want to go, I can. I have dark brown eyes and because they are dark they can see better in the dark.

The Eve of Holy Week

All Christians know that Holy Week is the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, right? Well, here in Wisconsin there is a second 'Holy Week'. It's the week of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving? you say. Yep, Thanksgiving. Why?

Because that's Rifle Deer Hunting! Up nort' here in Wisconsin, almost everyone hunts. If you don't hunt, you can almost guarantee that your husband or wife, child, sibling or parent does. It's a big part of life. Everyone wears their blaze orange, you see bright spots in the woods and fields, you hear the echo of gunfire from sun up to sun down. It's BIG.

I'll keep you all posted on the harvest from our household...I know, I know, you can barely stand the anticipation!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lap Dogs

I think I may be creating a monster! Marley is a great puppy-she hardly ever has accidents, she's sleeping better at night, she hasn't been super chewy or rambunctious. But she loves to snuggle! That's a wonderful thing, right? Of course, except that in a few short months she won't be able to snuggle without squishing me or one of the girls.

This puppy loves to be held. I love to hold puppies. Well, in the 4 days we've had her I have managed to turn her into a lap dog. Right now, she is whining and scratching at my feet because I don't have her in my lap. She looks at me with those big, sad, puppy dog eyes and I just want to pick her up and snuggle. But I can't. I have to stop doing that so much. When she's 130 lbs, I can't have her trying to crawl into everyone's lap for a nap. That won't do. That won't do at all.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Andy is the coolest husband EVER!

It's not often that my husband can surprise me with a gift--I handle the checkbook and am super anal about checking it every day. Because of that, I see all transactions and know, to some degree, what's going on.

Well, yesterday he came home with a Great Dane puppy for me! I was SOOOO excited! I have wanted a Dane for years, probably since I was in my very early teens. I have done research on them and planned and plotted when would be the best time for one. Andy, of course, has known about this all along.

A few weeks ago Lynn and Alicia (my MIL & SIL) took the girls to "Wal-Mart" with them, but they really went to pick out 2 puppies, one for me and one for Alicia! I can't believe the girls kept it a secret for almost 3 weeks! Andy picked her up last night on his way home from work. Meet Marley:

I chose that name for her because I originally wanted to name Mikayla 'Marley.' I loved the name and thought it would be just adorable on a little girl. Andy liked the name, but said it sounded more like a pet to him than a daughter. Of course, I jumped on that and compromised with the promise that our next female pet could be Marley. And so she is.

Marley is 7 weeks old today. She's still a little timid, considering that she left behind her parents and several siblings less than 24 hrs ago. But just this morning she's come along and been a little more playful and interactive. Of course, the rest of us are a bit tired due to some whining all night long, but we survived.

One thing the girls keep commenting on is how tiny she is, and how big she'll get. They can't believe that in a matter of months, she'll be as big as they are and outweigh them by 50+lbs. While the girls took a puppy break (enforced by Mom and Dad) Andy got the idea that we should take her picture with her food bowl at various stages to show how much she's really grown. She's got a long way to go and eventually, this bowl will be tiny compared to her. Right now....not so much.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Them Darn Kids

With three little girls, you'd think that our house would be polite and proper and all ribbons and bows, right? Wrong. If any of you know Andy or I just one bit, you know that the previous sentence just couldn't be the case. Sure, I like girly things, but I also do plenty of things that most women would shudder at. Combine that with my husband, and we've got 3 not-so-girly girls (though they have their moments) They play with tractors and trucks, love to go "farming" with Dad and fart with wild abandon. Yes, they fart, and then they tell us all they did it and laugh about it, too. They don't understand why I don't fart like they do, but love when I let out a big belch. (Yup, now you all know my deep, dark secret!) Sometimes I wonder if they really aren't boys stuck in girl bodies. I hope not, that could cost some serious money later in therapy.

Anyway, yesterday Lilly and I were sharing a Sierra Mist while Alayna was at school and Mikayla napped. After taking a big swallow, Lilly looks at me with a big smile on her face and says, "Mommy, let's drink this pop and then we can burp REALLY loud when we're done!"

That's my girl!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Have you Thanked a Veteran Today?

Today is Veterans Day. I don't feel that I need to write some huge post waxing all sentimental about all the things that Veterans have done for us as a country. The post would just be too large and probably exceed some limits here on Blogger. Besides, most veterans I know would wave that off and say it was all part of the job. So, all I'll say is a very simple and completely heartfelt...


Monday, November 10, 2008

Dear Animal Food Makers

Dear Animal Food Makers:

Thank you for changing the packaging that holds your animal food. You have finally realized that paper does not hold 50 lbs of dog, cat or horse food long enough to make it into the cart at the store, let alone into your car, then across the yard/driveway, into the house and into whatever container it will stay in until consumption. I am glad that you have finally figured that out.

Unfortunately, your current choice of packaging has it's issues as well. I love that you have reinforced the bags so cats, dogs, mice, whatever cannot get into them. However, you seem to have forgotten that us humans DO need to get into them. The rip/pull tags that you put need to come off of the bag in bigger than 1" sections in order for the bag to actually open. When that pull tag is no longer a viable option to open the bag, one normally goes to ripping a hole in the bag itself. I discovered tonight that what you say is true! The bag will not rip open and is now sturdier than ever! It won't ever rip open when you take a screwdriver to it, or a pitch fork. When you do that, it only leaves minuscule holes that you cannot rip to make a bigger hole. Bravo! As a matter of fact, the only thing I could find that worked was to pound and rip at the bag with the jagged edge of a lawn-mower fender. It worked, but just barely. Thank goodness my husband has jagged lawn-mower fenders laying around for just such purposes!

Lastly, I'd like you to write a letter of apology to our neighbors, who were in their driveway. They live far enough away, but I think they may have heard the ruckus of tonight and could possibly think that some foul play was involved. After all, I had the privilege of opening up a cat, dog and horse food bag tonight (let's all run out of food at the same time, shall we?), all by myself, in the barn, with cats meowing, a dog barking, 2 horses neighing at me, and one of those horses pawing at the ground as well. They were getting a bit impatient. So was I. When all the animals quieted down (after I yelled at them to shut it) all the neighbors could hear was the dull thwack and thump of my fender, my curses, and the now silent animals. I fear they may think I did something to them. So please, write them a simple note explaining the cause of my frustration. I'd really appreciate it.

Oh, and make the bags a little easier to open. Please?


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Remember this post, asking for help? Well, you all gave me some pretty spectacular ideas. I had so many wonderful quotes and scriptures to choose from, but something about the one I did choose just stuck in my head.

When people see the quote (it's been up for a few days) they either nod their head, smiling at the concept, or they ask what it means. Well, to do something with abandon means to do something with "unrestrained freedom of action or emotion" So if you do that wildly, you get wild abandon. And who couldn't use some cookin' or lovin' with wild, unrestrained freedom of action or emotion?! I'm just sayin'...

And while I'm just sayin' things, I have something else. If any of you are looking to get some of these great wall vinyls (which were super easy to put up) I highly recommend Fruitful Vines Creations. Tonya, the owner, is a super sweet lady who went completely above and beyond, answering all my silly questions and helping me out tremendously. I am thinking about getting some more of these and if I do, she is most certainly the person I will buy them from. I hope you all consider the same!

Please disregard the rest of the kitchen...I am in the process of peeling that awful wall-paper off between the cupboards and the counter-tops. And don't get me started on the counter-tops. If I get my way, they'll be on their way!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The End of an Era

We looked at dozens of cribs, way back in the fall of 2000, before we found one that we liked. It was perfect--beautiful wood and solid construction, it converted to a toddler bed for future use and had built in drawers to hold extra sheets and blankets. We were so happy to have found the perfect bed for the little one we were expecting and any future siblings he or she may have.

Now here it is, November of 2008. That beautiful piece of furniture above has been in our house for over eight years-the most consistent furniture we've had except for the dressers Andy and I have for our clothes. We have gotten new beds, new couches, new tables. We have changed the sheets and blankets hundreds of times, laid down three different princesses to sleep for thousands of naps and bedtimes. All those years, it's been that crib that has stood in our house. And now we no longer need it.

Yesterday I took the crib over to my friend's house. She is due with #2 in 7 weeks and her oldest (who will be 2 in December) is showing no signs of giving up her crib yet. Like most parents, they aren't pushing her. So the new baby needed a crib and we had one that was no longer in use. The timing was perfect, so we lent them the crib. It is no longer in our home.

It is a very bittersweet thing, indeed. I am so happy and grateful to have three beautiful girls who are thriving, growing and healthy. They are moving into new stages in life and leaving behind the old. Each new stage is wonderful and fun and a learning experience for us all. But now, a very big stage is no longer a part of our lives. The crib is no longer needed, the baby stage is over. There will be no more babies of our own that will sleep in that crib. Our girls all sleep in big-girl beds. They talk and walk and communicate and so many wonderful things. But there's something about that crib...

Monday, November 3, 2008

We Went to See the Wizard

But all we found were some family and friends, lots of candy, a few belly-aches and some tired kids. Don't you just love Halloween?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Vampires, June Bugs and Cotton Balls, oh my!

This morning I was laying in bed and watching the news, trying to think of something scary to put on my blog today. I had all sorts of ideas running through my head--vampires, june bugs, cotton balls...Okay, so some of those things are only scary to me, but still. This is my blog. Then I got up to get ready and I was met with my answer:

There you go, the scariest thing I could think of to post on my blog for Halloween. I shudder looking at that hideous beast. In case you don't recognize that thing, it's *gulp* Me. That's what I look like every morning when I wake up. No make-up, hair not done, all tired and crabby. But at least I'd managed to put some clothes on, or else it would be REALLY scary, people.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

It counts as exercise in my book

I go to the gym pretty regularly, but this past week has been rough. I've been sidelined by a head cold that is playing games with me, acting like it's going to let up one day and then knocking me out the next. It's great. I'll send it to anyone who wants to try a sampling. Just let me know...

So last night was supposed to be my gym night and I just didn't have it in me to go. I mean seriously, I could barely make it up all 1,845 stairs when we went up to get ready for bed. And that's when I realized that Lilly's bed wasn't made from washing her sheets. No big deal, right?

Wrong. Lilly sleeps on the top bunk and let me tell you, putting sheets and blankets on that mattress are far from "no big deal." It sucks. You have to lift the mattress to put on the fitted and flat sheets. But you also have to be sitting on said mattress because it's as tall as your head. And factor in the custom railing Andy built so Miss Lilly wouldn't fall out...I got in my workout. I didn't go to the gym, but I got in my workout. Yes indeedy I did.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Every night when it's time to feed the animals, it looks like calling the starving to a bowl of soup. We simply step outside and whistle, prompting 3 cats, 1 dog and 2 horses to come running, each making the sounds of their native tongue. It's quite humorous.

Well, the other day as I followed everyone to the barn, something yellow caught my eye in what we call the "calf pasture" (we had 2 calves here last summer and separated a section of the horse pasture for them) Upon closer inspection, here is what I found:

Some volunteer pumpkins growing under and on top of a huge stump. Yes, this is where we threw out our pumpkins last year, but why would they just start growing now? Why weren't they ready over a month ago like normal pumpkins? Who knows. But I do know that we have 2 that are already yellowy-orange, one that's half orange-half green and 2 more that are still green. I doubt they'll do anything more, as we've been in the low-20s the past few nights. Vegetables don't normally like that. Anyway, there are 5 pumpkins out there. I say that's almost a harvest. Can I claim that I successfully grew a garden this year?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cold Weather Rules

Now that it's getting colder out, I thought it necessary to remind or inform some of you of basic cold weather rules. This rule is not #1 or even #2, but it's a very important one to remember.

No matter how cold your hands are, NEVER go up the porch steps (or any others, for that matter) with your hands in your coat pockets.

With that HUGE fat lip, poor Lilly reminds me a little of Donatella Versace...or that one muppet that's orange and has long blonde hair, I think her name is Janice?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I need some help...

Remember a few months ago when I told you all about the Nester and how awesome she is? Well, she is still totally awesome and has wonderful ideas for your home. Right now she is promoting hand-made and Mommy businesses with several give-aways and guess who won one?!

ME! Moi! Candy!

I hardly ever win anything! I am so excited, especially since I thought this prize would be a wonderful addition to our home. I won wall lettering from Fruitful Vine Creations! The thing is, I'm not sure what to get! Egads, what will I do? I'm thinking of a few ideas, but I was wondering if any of you had any ideas (if they include our names, please don't post our last name) Please comment if you have thoughts and I'll throw them around with my ideas and see what we can come up with.

Thanks again, Nester! You ROCK!

Fall in Love With Fall

I was looking out our front window this morning, noticing how bare the trees have gotten and how colorful our yard now is. The leaves have fallen into a nice blanket on the grass, most of them have turned brown, and the frost is present almost every morning now. And then I realized...I had promised some pics of the beauty of our area this time of year. I took those pictures, but I never posted them! So here you go. All of these pictures were taken within 4 miles of our house, some of them right in our yard!

For our anniversary last year, Andy bought me an apple tree. We were told it wouldn't produce apples for at least a year, if not two, but this fall it produced 2 apples! The first blew off the tree awhile ago, but this one lasted. We ate it shortly after taking this picture and it was so good!

A bush in our front yard

Looking out our driveway from the house
End of the driveway, in the front yard
Tree in our horse pasture
Lake near our house
Road about 2 miles away from our house
Another lake near our house

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Frosty Mornings

Poor Lilly was so excited this morning. She woke up, took one look outside and got super excited. "It snowed! I can't wait for Daddy to get home so we can play in it!"

It almost broke my heart to tell her that it wasn't snow, just a heavy frost. She didn't understand, so I explained to her that it was cold and like snow, but it wouldn't be sticking around. Talk about bursting her balloon. She is so looking forward to snow and going sledding, building snowmen, etc.

But in reality, it won't be long. And you can bet that she'll be ready when the snow does come! Until then, the snow pants and boots and mittens are all patiently waiting in the closet.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Duluth 08

This past week has been a very, very busy one. I feel like it's been go-go-go since Tuesday afternoon, with not much of a break but lots of fun. So here's what's been going on:

Tuesday was Lilly's birthday, of course, and that night we also had Alayna's first parent-teacher conference for the year. Andy and I met with her teacher and had a great conversation about Alayna and her schooling. She's doing very well and her teacher had no complaints, except that she's maybe a little too chatty sometimes. Imagine that...

Wednesday was Alayna's first day of the next three that she didn't have school! We hung out at home a bit, then went to the dentist for check-ups for Alayna and Lilly. Both girls were yet again members of the No Cavity Club! Then we headed to the library before coming home to rest up. While the girls rested, I got ready to host our monthly Bunco group. I cleaned up the house and made this:

Nice, huh? I actually adapted this from an idea I had seen at Wal-Mart. It turned out uber-cute and tasted so good. Just a simple french vanilla cake mix baked in 2 - 8" square pans, but it was really moist and yummy.

Thursday was supposed to be a normal day, but it wasn't at all. First off, Alayna didn't have school. That in itself is difference enough, but then when it came time for my daycare kids to arrive, I found out that my one daycare mom was in labor! I was so excited and anxious all day to hear how things were going. So while I waited to hear, I entertained myself with my own kids, my one extra daycare kid and packing. Why? Because as soon as Andy got home from work we were headed to Duluth for the rest of the weekend. So needless to say, I kept pretty busy. I don't know how many times I was asked "Is it time for Daddy to be home from work yet?!"

Once Daddy got home, away we went! We went to Duluth and stayed at the Edgewater Resort and Waterpark with our friends Nick and Andrea, and their 2 girls Roz and Clara. The girls had so much fun playing in the water and swimming, sliding and having general water fun. Alayna finally mastered her swimming and not only figured out a good doggy paddle, but also learned how to dead-man float and swim underwater! We were so proud of her! She also lost a tooth on Thursday afternoon, so the tooth-fairy made her 5th visit while we were in Duluth!

I also got the call I'd been waiting for all day. My friend Missy, whose son Alex comes here for daycare, had her baby. Their little girl, Katherine, was born Thursday afternoon about 5:00. I was so excited to hear that she was here safe and sound and that she was a GIRL! We were all thinking another boy was in store for them. Congrats Missy, Dale and Alex!

Friday afternoon the older girls, Nick, Andy and I went to Canal Park so the girls could see all there is to take in down there. We walked the pier, went to the lighthouse, and visited the Lake Superior Marine Museum. We also were there in time to see a ship, the Canadian Navigator, come into port. In the words of Lilly, it was "huuuuuuuuuge!" The girls thought that was so neat to see. They couldn't believe the size of the ship, but they were also enthralled with the lift bridge and how high it went to accommodate the huge ships.

Saturday morning, after a beautiful sunrise out of our motel window...

...we packed up and left the motel. We drove through Duluth, up the hill and to Enger Tower. Enger Tower is an old watch tower that sits way up on the hill overlooking Duluth and Lake Superior. The view from the tower is breath-taking, especially with the beautiful fall colors.

See the ship coming into port?

On our way home, we stopped at Pattison State Park and did some hiking with the girls. Pattison is home to Wisconsin's highest waterfall, Big Manitou Falls. The girls were so excited to see the waterfall and the leaves were just gorgeous for a hike through the woods. It was also a lot warmer at Pattison than it was at Enger, being a lower elevation and further away from the lake.

It was a great weekend and so much fun on many accounts. We love Duluth and though Andy and I have been there many times, this was the first time for the girls. We plan to go back many times as a family, as there were still lots of things we didn't get to do or see. But we have lots of time and hopefully we can get up there every year from now on out.