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.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Today is my In-Laws' wedding anniversary. We surprised them back on Sept 27th with a big party here at our house. The ruse? We were taking them out to dinner and that night was the only one that would work because we had so much going on in Oct (actually, that part wasn't a lie!) People starting arriving at 5:15 or so and Bill & Lynn were to be here at 6:00. As we got closer to 6 o'clock, everyone walked to the end of the driveway to surprise them as they drove onto our road. And boy, were they surprised. They had NO clue, which made it all the better. The night was a great success. We had TONS of food, music, lots of people (we counted about 60) and a great time.

Gramma Lynn getting a hug from Mikayla after arriving
Bill & Lynn with their cake
Andy and his sister Alicia doing their dance to "Cotton-Eyed Joe"
Andy and I

I meant to get a family picture that night with all of us, but didn't think about it again until after the girls were in bed. Oh well, there will be other times. All in all, I think it was a great party and a lot of fun.
Happy Anniversary Bill & Lynn!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Lilly!

Four years ago today was a very big and important day for our family. The day started out with a trip to the hospital to have our second child. We arrived at 8 am, got settled in, and they started my induction. Around 10:15 we got some great news--no, the baby wasn't born...our realtor called Andy's cell to say the offer we'd placed on a house was accepted! We were soon to be home-owners and we were so excited to have our own house to raise our kids. And what a day to get that great news!

The rest of the day was pretty basic and low-key, until Lilly's delivery. It was probably one of the scariest moments of our lives, as well as our parents' and sisters'. I had gotten an interthecal, which is like s step down from an epidural. We don't know what happened, but instead of just taking away the pain it left me completely unable to feel anything from my belly down. That wasn't such a bad thing until Lilly's heart-rate started taking dives and slowing down. I felt completely helpless because I couldn't feel what was going on to be able to contribute anything to the nurse. Long story short, I delivered her without even knowing it, that's how numb I was. We don't know how long she was out until I mentioned that I was getting feeling back and the nurse checked me. It was so terrifying to see her lying there, not breathing, and have the nurse tell Andy to go get any doctor NOW. Our doctor (loved him and miss him dearly now that he's no longer at our hospital) just happened to be coming to check on me and walked in right then. He got Lilly breathing and all checked out, and she was fine.

Lilly Irene was born at 5:36 (that's when we found her) and weighed in at 7lbs 1oz. She had the darkest blue eyes, which quickly turned brown, and dark brown hair. She was just a peanut and loved to snuggle in with whomever was holding her.

Later in the evening, once things had calmed down, our doctor came back in and apologized for the lack of attention paid to our desires (we had asked the nurse repeatedly to call him when she started having the decels in her heart rate) He explained that the decels were tell-tale signs of the baby moving into the birthing canal and that the nurse had completely dropped the ball. He also said that she was no longer employed by the hospital after this "incident."

Though she made such a fuss when she entered this world, she's been the calmest and easiest-going little person around. Sure, she is a whirlwind and full of energy, but she also is the sweetest, most loving little big girl around.

And today she turns 4. Four is the year that I can no longer pretend that she's my baby. At 3, they are still toddlers and still learning so much in the language and physical development departments. But at 4, they know how to communicate and run and jump and ride bike and do puzzles and so many other things. She's a big girl now.

We celebrated her birthday with family and friends this past Saturday, on one of the most beautiful days you could ask for in Wisconsin in October. The sun was shining and it was upper 60s, so we were able to be outside much of the day. This year was the first time that she asked for a themed party, so we did pumpkins like she requested. We had a pumpkin cake, pumpkin candles, pumpkin decorations, the whole family wore orange. For her present from us, we went as a family to see Laurie Berkner in concert. She's Lilly's favorite singer and WOW, was it a good show. It was so fun to see how excited all 3 girls were and the cool factor was only upped when we got free seat up-grades to the second row! It was a great birthday weekend.

So now that I've written a novel, I'll leave you with a picture overload...

My uncle Brian and I comparing bellies when I was 8 months

Newborn Lilly

Lilly at 11 months

Lilly's 2nd Birthday

Lilly's 3rd birthday

Cake from this year

My big 4 year old (well, almost in this picture)

Riding her new bike!

Lighting the candles

The whole congregation sang to her at church on Sunday

Lilly had volunteered a couple of weeks ago for a solo and sang it Sunday

Two anxious girls waiting for Laurie Berkner

Happy family in the new seats

Daddy & a tired Mikayla before the show started

Laurie Berkner!

Laurie & Adam Bernstein, her bassist
Lilly was so intent on the action the whole time

Suzy Lampert, Laurie, Adam

Lilly dancing

Mikayla and Alayna dancing