Monday, March 31, 2008

Weekend Update

This week's version of the weekend update comes to you from snowy Wisconsin. That's right, it's the last day of March and by the end of today, we should have 6-8" of fresh, new, heavy snow. Ugh, will it NEVER end?! We wanted snow all winter and didn't get it, but now that we want spring the snow won't stop. Funny, cruel tricks. LOL

So this weekend was a little bit of a mixed bag. Alayna had a birthday party for a friend on Friday night and had a lot of fun. However, she was also dealing with a mysterious rash that showed up Friday morning and lasted until yesterday. No idea what it was from or why it was there, but with some hydro-cortisone cream and benadryl, we were at least able to keep her comfortable.

Saturday was a Mommy day! I went to meet some friends of mine from college for lunch. We all hadn't seen each other in almost 2 years, and each of them are expecting their first child. We spent 3 hrs at Applebee's catching up and talking about the past, present and future. They are both having boys, how fun! Then I met up with another friend and my sister for a quick run to the mall and an exchange of maternity clothes-yes, this other friend is pregnant, too! We had fun, but it was a bit crazy at the mall and we didn't accomplish much of anything. Oh well. After that I headed home and decided to swing through another town to see about the hours at the tattoo and piercing parlor where I've gotten my tattoos. They didn't have a wait for piercings, so I finally got my nose pierced! Some of you reading this know that I've always wanted to get just a small stud-no hoops or huge studs for me. So I did my nose and headed home with their hours for future reference (Andy and I each want to get a tattoo in honor of the girls) When I got home, my in-laws were here to play cards.

Sunday morning we were able to sleep in a bit because our church had a joint service with our sister church. We had a light breakfast before heading to church for the contemporary service. It's always a lot of fun and just something different to have the band instead of organ accompaniment. After church was a delicious brunch we have yearly-egg bakes, Swedish pancakes, Swedish meatballs, potato sausage, fruit compote, coffee breads, etc. It's so good and a big fundraiser for our church. Note to self: remember to pick up my glassware next Sunday after church!

After church we hung out at home and watched Enchanted with the girls. I don't know if Andy will appreciate me sharing this, but it was just too cute! At the end of the movie, Giselle does a spin in what looks like a basic sun-dress. When she spun, it twirled out like a dancing dress. Anyway, Andy--being the father of little girls--comments "Did you girls see her spin?" It was just too cute. Here he is, 6'3" and 200 lbs of almost solid muscle; big, tough carpenter and he's noticing how the character's dress twirls when she spins. He really is the Daddy of 3 little girls and if I'm being honest, it made me laugh a little and go "awwwww."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!

Today is my parents' 31st wedding anniversary. Wow, huh? Very few marriages last that long, or even a fraction of that time, and it's really such a shame. To make it 31 yrs is not only rare, it's something very special. Sure, their marriage hasn't been perfect, but no marriage ever is. The thing is, they've made a commitment and they have kept it. For better or for worse, for richer or poorer. And to be honest, they still have those moments that kids hate...where they gross me and my sister out with things we don't want to think about our parents doing, even though we know they do those things. You all know what I'm talking about.

So here's to Mom and Dad! May you have another 31 years or more to enjoy, irritate, and love one another. We love you both so much!

Here's a family picture taken almost a year ago at my Gramma's birthday party... Lilly, Andy, Me, Mikayla, Alayna, Mom, Dad and my sister


I posted earlier, too, so check below

She really is Andy...

Lilly has always been Andy's little clone. She is very proud of her brown eyes "just like Daddy" and she loves to help him in the garage, on projects or with the animals. The funny thing is, she'll do those things while insisting on wearing a dress. She is a girl, after all.

Lilly also has Andy's personality, right down to the same jokes and funny facial expressions. People who have never seen her, but know Andy, always comment that she's just like him upon first meeting her. It's really almost scary at times how similar they are.

Well, Lilly has found a new book that she likes to look at before bed. I couldn't believe it when I went into her room the other day and found her "reading" in bed with her little lamp on. I kissed her good night and told her Daddy would be in soon. Then I went into the bathroom where Andy was brushing his teeth and told him he would love Lilly's bedtime story. So he went into her room and found her reading...his DeWalt tool information pamphlet. She had so much fun looking at the tools, naming what she could and asking him what the other ones were. She even asked if she could keep the light on a little longer to keep reading. Andy obliged of course, then came into the bedroom and proclaimed her one of the coolest kids ever. She has since read that pamphlet before bed and nap the last 3 days. She calls it "Daddy's Tool Book."

Yes, the book looks upside down but it's a reversible one that splits in the middle

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Pictures!

It's what you've all been waiting for, right?! Fun Easter pics of our beautiful girls, from decorating eggs to dressed up for church...

Alayna and Lilly getting ready to dye the eggs. They could hardly wait and were so excited it was finally time!

Mikayla with a plastic egg while she watched the big girls color the real eggs.



Mikayla showing Mommy one of the real eggs, which she then tried to eat


Ta-dah!
Mikayla found a bag of jelly-beans the Easter Bunny had left and she wanted to hide them before anyone else could get some. See the sly look on her face?! She's looking at Daddy!


Trying to get a picture of all 3 girls in their pretty dresses. They LOVE to match and we were fortunate enough to find the same dress in all their sizes. So this was the first attempt at getting a nice pic of all 3 in their dresses. Lilly wasn't looking...

Take 2: Alayna's eyes were closed...

YEAH! Take 3 worked!






Mikayla says "Deee!" (cheese!) when you point the camera at her. I honestly don't know where she got it from, because I seldom tell the girls to say it. But now Mikayla does and you get this adorable, cheeky smile when she says it. It's too cute!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Easter Funnies

I received these funny Easter-themed cartoons in several different e-mails (including others I haven't used here) These were my favorites-especially the last two, so I thought I'd share them all with you. Enjoy!






Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today is St Patrick's Day, though it has been widely celebrated already this year due to Holy Week. I was doing a little reading on-line about St Patrick's Day and thought I'd share some information, some of which is new to me, too!
  • St Patrick is believed to have driven the snakes from Ireland, but there were really no snakes on the island. The snakes were a metaphor for eradicating Ireland of pagan ideology.
  • St Patrick himself was believed to be a pagan before becoming a Christian.
  • The shamrock is the day's symbol because St Patrick used the 3-leafed shamrock to describe the Holy Trinity to non-Christians.
  • St Patrick's Day will not fall during Holy Week again until 2160.
  • The first St Patrick's Day parade was held not in Ireland, but in the USA! It was held on March 17, 1762 in New York City. Irish soldiers in the British army marched through the streets of the city, playing music.
  • Leprechauns are a part of Celtic folklore and originally had nothing to do with St Patrick's Day. They were seen in the Celtic tales as cranky little people who were responsible for mending the soles of fairy shoes, and they used their trickery and magic to protect their fortune. The positive spin on leprechauns--cheery, happy little men--came from a 1959 Walt Disney movie called "Darby O'Gill and the Little People." Since then, leprechauns have been associated with St Patrick's Day and Ireland in general.

So now that you all have a little more information about the day, you can go impress your friends at the local pub while drinking a green beer and eating corned beef and cabbage. Ha! Or you can just hang out at home and have green-colored, shamrock shaped pancakes like we're going to do!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Words

I am constantly amazed at the new words all 3 of my daughters are picking up each and every day. Alayna is working with her teacher on hard words to sound out in her reading, since she's already tested out of the year's Dolche words. She brought home flash cards the other night with words like personification, onomatopoeia, simile, etc, that her teacher had made her for a challenge. And she not only could read those words correctly, but she knew their meanings, too. Onomatopoeia is her new favorite word. I'm telling you, this girl is going places.

Mikayla is also picking up new words every day, mostly from my own teachings. In the last few days she's added book, up and poop (great, I know) to her vocabulary, bringing the number of words she knows and properly uses to about 20. And while she doesn't say many more words than that, her understand is exploding and she fully understand most commands we give.

Now Lilly, on the other hand...I was on the phone while in the kitchen a few minutes ago. Our kitchen overlooks the living room, so I could hear what the kids where doing. I wrote down some information and then hung up, but I could hear Mikayla doing her "I'm getting angry" squeal. As I came downstairs, I saw Lilly had a jump-rope loosely looped around Mikayla's belly, and she was holding one of my daycare kids' hands.

"Lilly, what are you doing?" I asked, never knowing what to expect in response.

"What? Oh, I'm trying to play house with these wild creatures. They won't cooperate though, so I think I'll go camping instead!"

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

For Tricia...

Several moms who read Nate, Tricia and Gwyneth's blog have put lists on their own blogs of things they can't wait for Tricia to experience as a mother. I thought this was a great idea, so here's my list. (There may be some repeats as I haven't read the other hundreds of lists.)

Tricia, I can't wait until you can experience...
  • The joy of snuggling your child close, skin to skin, without gloves and masks and sterile gowns.
  • Open-mouthed, slobbery baby kisses.
  • That first real smile, when it's all because she sees Mommy.
  • Having her sneeze right after a full mouth of peas, and having those peas spray across yourself, the kitchen, the dog and anything else within 20'.
  • The giggle that will come after those peas shoot across the room.
  • Seeing the pride Gwyneth has in herself when she first rolls over, sits up, pulls up, takes a step...
  • Feeling the pride you also have when she does all of the above things.
  • Being at Wal-Mart or Target and having her do a complete blow-out, then realize that you forgot the diaper bag or you forgot to put a clean outfit in the diaper bag.
  • Seeing your "baby" get up and sing in front of the entire congregation for the first time.
  • Getting Gwyneth all dressed up in a cute little outfit, then the next time you go to put it on her she's already outgrown it.
  • Putting her on the school bus for the first time, or walking her to that first classroom and having to leave her there.
  • When she repeats something that you shouldn't have said, or says something completely embarrassing, at just the "right" time.

Tricia, someday you WILL get to experience all of those things and so many more! Good luck with everything and we continue to keep you all in our prayers!

**Keep reading, I've done a few updates in the last 2 days**

Bedtime Story

As we were all brushing our teeth last night, I could hear Mikayla chatting away in her crib, where Andy had placed her just moments before to keep her contained. I peeked around the corner of the door into the girls' room and there was Mikayla, reading herself a bedtime story. It was the cutest thing and she was so engrossed in her book that she didn't even notice me! So of course, I had Andy run down and grab the camera so I could catch it on video. You may need to turn up the volume a bit so you can hear her.

Please disregard the pile of clothes at the end of Lilly's bed. It's atrocious, I know, but I've been slowly going through outgrown clothes and need to find time to actually put them all in the right totes, put those totes away, etc. I'm sure most of you know how it goes with little ones and how quickly they outgrow clothing!

video

Monday, March 10, 2008

No Cavity Club!

Alayna and Lilly each had their first dental check-up today and it went great! They both did a fantastic job of letting the hygienist and dentist work with them, opening their mouths real wide (or like a lion, if you ask Lilly) Both girls got rave reviews on their brushing and the best part...they are both members of the No Cavity Club! Woohoo! Now they just need to keep up the good work and continue to brush as well as they have been.







Saturday, March 8, 2008

This is the life

Most of you who read this know that Andy and I can be quite goofy at times. We both have similarly odd senses of humor, which can be a blessing and a curse all at once, if you know what I mean. We also have a large variety of musical tastes, so I have uploaded many of our cd's to the computer for specialized play lists. So last night was a normal Friday night, meaning it was a family night. I was getting supper ready, the girls were playing in the family room, music was playing on the computer and Andy was looking at trucks/SUVs on the internet (his vice for when he's bored) So here's how the early evening panned out...

The old song "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" starts playing on the computer as I come downstairs from the kitchen. Supper is in the oven for the next 25 minutes, so I playfully pull Andy out of the computer chair for a dance. We exaggerate our slow dance in the living room, laughing and listening to the nice slow song, when....A child bounces off of my butt and goes careening across the room, laughing hysterically. You would have thought she bounced off a trampoline. Then her older sister sees what happened, and runs into Andy's behind, following suit and ricocheting across the family room, bouncing off the couch when she lands. They both laugh like it's the funniest thing ever. Andy and I try to remain our composure, still trying to "slow dance" as the kids periodically bounce off our lower bodies. Then I feel a little hand hitting my leg. We look down and Mikayla is standing there, looking up at us with big eyes and saying "Up, up, up" in her sweet little voice. So we scoop her up and she dances with us, while her sister's continue to run chaos around us.

Ruined romantic moment? Sure, maybe a little bit. But we wouldn't trade that moment, or the thousand others like it, for anything. It's part of our life and where we are right now. And that's worth every second.

Just wanted to share...

One of my top 3 favorite commercials of all time. It's for Blue Cross Blue Shield and their Do campaign, which prompts people to just "do" something-juggle, walk, ride bike, dance...Unfortunately, I can't find it on YouTube, so I can't upload the video so you can see it here. But here's the link to watch it on their website. It's worth it, trust me. It's nothing particularly inspiring, but it's so funny and totally up my weird sense-of-humor alley.

http://do-groove.com/dance.htm

Friday, March 7, 2008

Enough with Winter!

I apologize to all of you who will read this mini-rant of mine. Seriously, no one needs to read it, I just need to get it out.

I AM DONE WITH WINTER!!

This winter has been one that I will readily pack away into the "Forget about it for the most part" files. Anyone who knows me knows that I love the snow. I was so excited when December started out with plenty of snowfall and a promising outlook for the rest of the winter. Then came the rest of the winter and...no more snow. Our last significant snowfall (meaning more than 3") fell the day after Christmas. Yup, 2.5 months ago. We've been told numerous times that we were supposed to get lots of snow, only to have those storms head further south and pound southern WI.

So what have we been getting if we haven't been getting snow? Cold. Bone-chilling, Arctic cold. We have been below zero more times that I can count this winter, including right now as I write this. It is 8am on March 7th and we currently sit at -6, and that's actual air temp, without the windchill. Our average high for today, as the meteorologist so kindly (or not) pointed out, is 35. Hmmm, notice a bit of a difference? As a gauge for just how cold it's been, our lowest temps that we've actually seen on our thermometer this winter--meaning in the very early morning hours before we woke up it was probably a bit colder--was -18 actual air temp. And we've lived in this house for 4 winters now and never had to fill our propane tank more than once a year (it fuels only the furnace). Usually we fill it in Nov or Dec and it lasts us all winter until the next Nov or Dec. This year, we filled it in early Dec like normal and we're already down to 18%. That's ridiculous, as we normally have at least 25% sitting in our tank all summer long. And no, the house hasn't been kept any warmer than normal.

But probably the most annoying thing of all this winter has been the sickness. Our family is usually pretty healthy and we'll each only get one cold a season. This year we've been struck with multiple flu's, several colds, and a few cases of the "don't know how to classify it"s. Grrrrr. And it seems that's the case all over, though. No matter who I talk to, whether they are in Oregon or Colorado or California or Tennessee, everyone has been sick. I even have two people close to me-a friend and my mother-in-law-who each started out with Strep throat and had it turn to pneumonia. My friend was even hospitalized because her infection when into her bloodstream and she was very ill for quite some time. Thankfully my MIL hasn't had to be hospitalized...yet. So when you get a chance, say a prayer for them, okay?

Anyway, this is my official decree that I am DONE with winter. It can warm up and be pleasant outside, please. I need some sun, I need some warmth, I need some healthy friends and family. I just need something other than this blasted winter.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Thanks, Wonder Pets!

Yesterday morning I could hear an odd sound coming from the kitchen about 9:30. At first, I thought it was the tv, but then I saw the kids were watching The Wonder Pets, who were all waiting patiently for their next adventure. Then I thought, "Maybe it's one of the kids' toys." So I looked around, trying to find the alien noise. But it just didn't sound like a familiar toy sound, either. And it was getting louder.

"The phone, the phone is ringing!" sang the Wonder Pets. Then the light bulb came on...Andy and I recently upgraded our cell phones and I'm not used to the new ringtone yet. Yup, the Wonder Pets were right. The phone, the phone was ringing!

I got to it in time and it was Andy, calling from break. I was cracking up, telling him how The Wonder Pets had helped me answer the phone, but he just didn't see the same humor as I did. Hmmmm, maybe it's a home-with-the-kids-all-the-time thing. Regardless, I thought it was hilarious and I know my Mommy friends with small kids will understand.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

It's a sad day for Packer fans


But it's really about time. Brett Favre has announced his retirement from the NFL. I know that a lot of people have mixed feelings about him-my husband included-but there is no denying the fact that he is an incredible athlete and one of the best NFL quarterbacks of all time. But he's getting old-ancient in football terms-and it's time for him to hang up the cleats. Thanks for all the memories, Brett! And now I'm sure there are tons of Packer fans anxiously awaiting the start of the new season to see how Aaron Rodgers will do as the Leader of the Pack.

To read the article about Brett's retirement, visit http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/23464140/site/21683474/
Here is a picture of Favre on the field at Lambeau before a game we went to in November 2006. And it's quite funny because though it looks like a beautiful fall day, it was cold and windy! Don't let the pictures fool you, it was November in WI after all.

Monday, March 3, 2008

11 years ago today...

...I finally acknowledged that I reciprocated Andy's feelings towards me and allowed him to "drive" me to work from school. The thing is, it was on his snowmobile and I had to hang on tightly to him so that I didn't fall off. Oh darn.

Andy had made it quite clear for some time that he liked me, but I was apparently playing hard to get. I liked him, but I didn't want to seem too eager. You know, high school stuff. So that day when he asked if I had anything going on after school, I was truly sad to inform him that I had to work at the local grocery store at 4:00. He said he could give me a ride there on his snowmobile and what did I say? "Sure, that would work." After work, he met me at the grocery store again and we went back to the school for a basketball game. Of course, my heart was pounding and I couldn't believe that I had just agreed to ride with him, again, on his snowmobile, where I had to practically hug him to hang on. And I hung on tight, barely letting him go since.

Here we are, 11 years, 3 kids, a house, a few jobs and a handful of animals later. I still remember that day like it was yesterday, and today Andy shocked me by remembering, too (those of you who know Andy personally know that he doesn't usually remember such things). When he called from his lunch break, the first words out of his mouth were, "Happy Dating Anniversary!" He just had to beat me to it since he knew that I'd be surprised he remembered.

Over these past 11 years there have been a lot of ups and downs. What relationship doesn't have them, especially when it starts in high school? But we have been strong and stayed on the path that has brought us to where we are now-married, boring partners and parents. And we couldn't be any happier.

I love you, Andy! Let's make it another 11, 22, 33 or 44+ years since our "Dating Anniversary!"



For another trip down memory lane, here's our prom picture from 1997, when we'd been dating for only 2.5 months. Ugh, what a picture! LOL