Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas was here

Christmas was last week, in case you didn't know. We had a crazy busy few days, like normal, but it's always so fun and well worth the lack of sleep and minor temper tantrums that may appear.

It started off with our daycare Christmas party on Thursday. I had all my daycare kids here and we made ornaments, watched "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas", had a dance party and played freeze dance (both with Christmas music), baked some cookies for them to take home, had lunch, read a few stories and then opened up presents...all before 2:00 when they were all picked up so I could go to a funeral in the cities. Whew, it was a crazy day (and I didn't even tell you about having to pick up Lilly from school because she threw up. Twice.).

Christmas Eve started out with sleeping in until 8:00!! It felt like a Christmas miracle, I tell you. And everyone was healthy and feeling great! We had a few screaming sessions that resulted in children finally helping clean the house so that it was presentable when our company came around 9:15. Since the house was now clean, we could all be happy the rest of the day...which we honestly were. My parents, Andy's parents and Andy's sister all came over for brunch and the present presentation. Together we prepared eggs, fried potatoes, bacon, sausage and toast. It took about an hour and it was all gone in 4 minutes. Then we opened presents from my parents and the girls didn't catch on that there were only a few presents from one set of grandparents, but not the other. Or that all the presents had a theme...like princesses, Tinkerbell, Mickey Mouse...you see where I'm going here? They finally figured it out when a calendar with a countdown was opened.

We're going to Disney World. Yep, my parents and Andy's parents are taking us all to Disney World--all 11 of us (my 5, my parents, my sister, Andy's parents and Andy's sister) It should be crazy, stressful, and a whole lotta fun!

After presents, we got ready for church and headed out. I managed another Christmas miracle by getting a picture in front of the tree at church with my girls and my 2 close friends' 5 kids all looking at the camera, smiling, and looking great! One picture and they all scattered. It really was a miracle. Then we went to dinner at a family friend's house, where Mikayla chewed her turkey for so long she turned it into paste and gagged herself...all over my shirt. Greatness. Mikayla, of course, was just fine and played hard the rest of the night. After dinner, we went over to Andy's parents' house and opened up some presents there before heading home with 3 very sleepy girls.

Christmas morning was our third and final Christmas miracle--the girls slept in until 8:15! It was crazy to wake up and have the sun up already, especially on Christmas morning when the girls were chomping at the bit the night before and telling us they would be up at 6. We opened presents and then raced to my parents' house for our family gathering with all her siblings and family. Sunday was spent at Andy's cousin's house for that side of the family's gathering.

Very busy, very fun, very crazy. I would post pictures but for some reason, it's not working right now. *sigh*

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cards Schmards

So if you remember my earlier post about our Christmas card fiasco, here's Part 2.

They're still messed up. Yep, I did everything they told me to do and they assured me that the print preview is exactly how it prints. The print preview was perfect, so I printed them and then waited. 13 days. We got them in the mail on Saturday and we gained about 1/2 of a letter on the end of each line. I was so upset because now it's just too late to do new cards. They'll just have to make do. Ugh.

Oh, and my Christmas letter was being printed when my ink ran out. In the middle of Lilly's synopsis. So I need to find a way to e-mail the letter to someone, have them print it, then get them copied and sent all before this weekend.

If you're on my normal card list, don't count on it. You'll probably get them more around New Year's, but that's okay. I'll post it here after I've sent them in the mail. At this point, I'm about to say cards schmards.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Programs

This past Thursday, the girls had their program at the school. Lilly's class was up first and for Kindergartners, they did a great job! Usually, you can't really understand what they are singing but they are so darn cute you don't care. But this year we could understand every word! Lilly was the last person on the top left row.

The program progressed through 1-3 grades, then Alayna's 4th grade class came out to do a little play. Alayna was an elf and had 2 speaking lines. She did a great job saying her lines and dancing across stage.


This Sunday was our Sunday school program at church, despite the snow and cold. My mom wrote the program again this year and did a great job! The kids put on a news broadcast like what would have been seen on that first Christmas. There was a traffic report, saying how busy the roads were because of everyone coming into town for the census and even included funny tidbits like a "camel down on I-95" and a horse that "threw a shoe on the Bethlehem Bypass." We also had a weather report, which stated that the skies were unusually clear and one could see for miles. Then the anchor (Alayna) reported on the census before breaking news came in about a strange, star-like light high in the skies over Bethlehem. The roving reporter (Lilly) was on the scene to investigate. She interviewed several people in the crowd to see if anyone knew what the light was. Then our traffic reporter interviewed a shepherd who said angels appeared to her on the hills! After some further investigation and an interview with a local inn-keeper, reporter Lilly found the newborn Baby Jesus in the hay. It was such a cute program and my mom did a great job writing it! The only thing that would have been better is if our church had a few more kids so that each child didn't have multiple roles. But all in all, it was a great success!!



Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow My Goodness!

This past weekend we got socked with a good ol' fashioned snowstorm. We haven't had snow like this since the Halloween blizzard of 1991. I remember the blizzard fondly, as I was attempting to Trick-or-Treat with my friend Katie, even though we were getting almost too old to ToT. Instead, we just hit up her neighbors and then watched movies all night while eating the candy that her parents didn't get to hand out because no one came to their house.
Anyway, the meteorologists started out the week by saying there was a chance of snow Friday or Saturday. Then by Wednesday it progressed to a "snow event" on Saturday that could make travel difficult. By Friday it was forecasted that we were to get 10-16" of snow and then 35 mph winds immediately following the snow, causing white-out and blizzard-like conditions. Of course, we then had to run a child to Urgent Care (Lilly has strep throat) and stop at Wal-Mart for a few groceries. You know, both of those being things you just love to have to do the night before a huge snowstorm. Urgent Care wasn't too busy, but Wal-Mart was crazy busy and out of almost every thing.

So we get home about 8pm and are starting to think the meteorologists don't know anything because it's not snowing yet. Sure, we had seen the clouds coming in earlier...
but that didn't mean it was going to be as bad as they said it was.

We were wrong. By noon Saturday we had over 10" of new snow--on top of the 10" or so we already had on the ground--and the wind was whipping like crazy. At times, you couldn't tell if it was still snowing or just blowing. By the time it was said and done, Andy figured we got about 12" of new snow. However, there are parts of the yard with hardly any new snow, and other parts with 4' snow drifts. But we were good. We were hunkered down in the house with snacks, movies, hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps and whipped cream for Mom & Dad...all was good.

Until we had to go feed the animals. That wasn't very fun. Andy is about 7" taller than I am, so I had to remind him to take little steps so I could walk in his footprints. I immediately sank in the snow past the tops of my boots (brrr) so it didn't matter if I was in his prints or not. The dogs were dragging their bellies (even Marley!) and the cats wouldn't come out of the barn for fear of being lost. We haven't seen them out of the barn yet. It was crazy, but it was fun, too. Who doesn't love a good snowstorm like that?!



Our deep footprints


The 2 divots in the upper R and lower L corners are from Marley jumping. They are 10' apart! haha

Our long, cold walk to the barn (which isn't far from the house at all!)

The snow against the door from inside the barn.

So who wants to come visit? Things today are back to normal, the girls had school on time (even though it was -13 at bus-time) and the roads are open. Any takers? We have lots of hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Cards

I have gotten in the habit of making our own Christmas cards on PhotoShop. A friend taught me how to do it a few years ago and not only is it pretty easy, but then I can have them look just how I want it. I don't have to adjust anything to fit a template, or deal with wording that is okay but not quite what I wanted. I can do as I please.

Yesterday I got our cards in the mail. I set the size to 4x6 on PhotoShop and then print them as photo prints from an on-line site--it's cheaper that way and works great. Until this year. Apparently 4x6 isn't quite 4x6, but more like 3 15/16 x 5 7/8. Must be that "new math" everyone is talking about. So my cards came without the last letter on the last word in each line. Oh and the year for these cards is 201. Fun stuff. It's like a word puzzle (everyone who knows me know how much I like brain teasers and word/number puzzles) to figure out what it is I'm really trying to say. *sigh*

I spent almost an hour on chat this morning with Customer Service trying to figure this out. They said my digital photo size didn't match their digital photo size. I said, "I set the photo size to 4x6 when I created the file and I ordered 4x6 prints." But somehow that doesn't match. Thankfully, they worked with me and credited me not only for the prints, but also for new shipping. They gave me a few tips on how to correct it and it's supposedly all legit and good now. I guess I'll see in a few days when my new cards arrive.

So if you get a card in the mail and it's a fun word puzzle, there's a prize for those of you who can figure it all out! Okay, so there really isn't, but you can pretend there is cuz I'm nice like that.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Giving Thanks

I love Thanksgiving. I love the family atmosphere, the wonderful food, the start of the "Holiday Season". But most of all, I love how it's a day dedicated to being thankful for what we have. All too often, we (and I'm including myself in that we) tend to focus on the things we don't have instead of those that we do.

Every year during the month of November, I post a daily (except for weekends, since I'm seldom on the computer Sat/Sun) thankful post on my Facebook status. I thought it would be fun to list them all in one place this year. So below, you will find just a fraction of the things I'm thankful for.

Candy...

*is thankful for a healthy family, as I know many who are dealing with sickness and disease or even the loss of a loved one.
*is thankful that I live in the United States of America, where I can voice my thoughts and opinions without fear of persecution. How do I voice those thoughts and opinions? One way is to get out and VOTE.
*is thankful for music and the ability to hear and enjoy it.
*is thankful for my Carhart jacket on cold mornings when I have to feed the calves and horses at 7 am and 25 degrees (or colder).
*is thankful for a hard-working husband, even if that trait is one I simultaneously love and don't love about him. ♥
*is thankful for a beautiful day spontaneously spent at the zoo with my girls and a great friend!
*is thankful for the roof over my head and all the things I have under that roof--even if they need to be cleaned or washed or thrown away--because it reminds me I'm more fortunate than many...and to count my blessings.
*is thankful Andy was feeling well enough (he stayed home from work b/c he's sick) to monitor nap-time so I could go for a 1.5 hr horseback ride on this beautiful, sunny November day that is 62 degrees--which is 20 above average!
*is thankful that I finally got off my butt this spring and went to the optometrist. Seeing things clearly again is amazing!
*is thankful for the great library we visit--it's a beautiful building, staffed with wonderful employees and volunteers, filled with fantastic books and opportunity, and visited by some pretty great people!
*is thankful for all the men and women who have served, or are currently serving, our country (including their families who sacrifice so much!) A special shout-out and thank you to my cousins Matt and Reed, who are both active duty right now.
*is thankful for where we live--I love Wisconsin and all the seasons and changes.
*is thankful for a great family day--a little shopping; then basketball tournament for Alayna; 8+ inches of fresh, wet snow that was a lot of fun to play in; a great snowy day dinner and then a family viewing of Grumpy Old Men, one of the best movies ever!
*is thankful the power came back on after about 2 hrs--it was getting cold in here!
*is thankful that Andy and I have the same weird, warped sense of humor--we make each other laugh all the time and that's such a huge blessing!
*is thankful for my girls, who bring me such joy, love, confusion, anxiety...but I wouldn't trade them for the world!
*is thankful that not all socks are toe-socks. :-P
*is thankful for the ability to read--it allows me to learn, grow, dream and escape. (I'm also thankful for writers and authors who allow me to do the above mentioned things.)
*is thankful for new opportunities.
*is thankful that I don't have to be on the roads today, Day 2 of freezing rain and ice. Fun stuff.
*is thankful that Andy installed my new light above the kitchen sink. It hasn't even been quite a year since I bought it... ;-)
*is thankful that I found my Grampa's pocket-knife after 3 yrs!!!! My Gramma gave me one of his engraved knives after he passed away and I was certain I'd lost it for good. SO happy!
*is thankful for LIFE!
*is thankful it's time to decorate for Christmas!
*is thankful for the great 4H group that we belong to.
*is thankful for the likes of Mannheim Steamroller and TransSiberian Orchestra this time of year...and Sarah McLachlan's "Wintersong" cd...and all Christmas music, really.

Monday, November 22, 2010

*Knock Knock* Hello?!

Is anyone still out there? I know, I know...It's been a long time since I updated. Over a month and a half. Ouch. We have been busy and while that's not an excuse, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

But I've been informed that people have missed our little family. And I've missed blogging. So I'm going to make a bigger effort to keep this thing caught up again. But in doing so, I'm going to do one update post right now, with some pics, and then we'll be off again on the daily what-nots.

So what's been happening since Lilly turned 6? Well, she had her friends over for a friend party. And she was able to officially join 4H as a Cloverbud. Alayna started basketball, which has kept us running at least 3x a week for after school practices and 5 Saturdays in a row for tournaments. We celebrated Halloween, where we dressed up as the 3 Blind Mice, the farmer and the farmer's wife (complete with a cardboard and aluminum foil carving knife) Mid-November brought us our first snowfall of the year--10" worth--and a great day in the snow. The snow is still around and today we are dealing with freezing rain on top of it. I started watching a new little girl for daycare and last week interviewed a new little boy who will start after Thanksgiving. I also found out one of my families has a brother who will need childcare for his son come January--so I feel very blessed to be keeping busy. Andy shot a very nice buck on opening day of deer season, and the head is in my freezer. Yes, I'm told it will get mounted. I can't really fight him much because he lets me do just about anything when it comes to decorating the house...

That's the last month in a nut-shell. Now here are some pics and we'll hopefully see you soon, same place and whatever time is convenient for you.




Alayna zooming by with the ball

Lilly wanted a big brownie instead of cake for her party

Halloween 2010


Snow!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

They Say it's your Birthday


Six years ago today, we welcomed this brown-eyed beauty into our lives. She made quite the statement as soon as she was born, and she's been doing so ever since. I cannot imagine our lives without our fun-loving, beautiful, creative, smart, sweet and loving Lilly-kins. She's one of a kind, and I'm so glad she's ours!
Happy Birthday Lilly! We love you as big as the universe!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Arm Yourselves

So Miss Lilly has officially been cast free for a week now. She had it removed last Tuesday, after 4 weeks in the offending Vikings-purple-colored cast. She was so excited to be done with it and able to go about her life. But honestly, the cast didn't stop her. She still went on the monkey-bars (but only once, until our friend caught her and gently told her it wasn't a good idea!) and climbed trees and played just as she always does. In a way, I was glad she was going about life and not feeling sorry for herself. But I'm also a mom, so I was trying not to hover while she was playing and climbing, praying for her to not re-injure her arm.

Last Tuesday while at the clinic, our doctor was examining her newly exposed arm. When he declared Lilly fit and fine, she asked, "So I can climb trees and go on monkey bars all I want now?"

The doctor looked at me, now totally understanding why at 2 wks, when he said we could take the cast off and she could wear a brace but he was concerned about re-injury, we didn't bat an at leaving it on longer. "Well, maybe give it a day or two to get used to being an arm again, how about that?"

Lilly held up two fingers and counted off, "Today is Tuesday, so then on Thursday I can go on the monkey bars again?"

I love our doctor. He smiled and nodded, you could tell he was holding back a laugh. "Yes, on Thursday you can go on the monkey bars." Then he turned to me and said, "No offense, but hopefully we don't see you sooner than later!"

That Lilly girl of ours is so much fun. She told me just yesterday how much more fun she's having at recess now that she can climb and play like normal. She's also been working hard on her biking, being able to go about 20-30 feet with two-wheels before gently crashing. I'm sure that will be the next Lilly post--riding a 2-wheeler!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Painting


I've been spending a lot of time looking at this painting lately. That's my horse, Cookie, in the corner, and she's been gone a little over a year now. A long time ago (okay, in 1996) a good friend of mine painted this picture for me and it's hung in my house ever since. It was a wonderful surprise that I cherish now that she's gone.

I had worked in a small store that was part of a small resort near my house all through my teens. Every summer, I was in that store for several days a week. If I wasn't in the store working, I was riding my horse or other horses for the trail-riding business my aunt ran as part of the resort. It was a dream summer job, let me tell you!

The resort catered mostly to people who had seasonal campers, and Bob was one of those campers. He was an older, retired man who loved to fish. His wife would leave him at the camper for the week, then come up on the weekend. He would get up each day at dawn to go fishing, then come in and have nothing to do the rest of the day until it was time to go back out fishing around supper time. Bob would visit me in the store every day, sometimes for hours, just to talk and visit. He told me about his family, his old job as a mail carrier, the best fishing spots...I would tell him about my boyfriend, my horse, my plans for after high school. We would just talk.

One thing I knew about Bob was that he was an amazing artist. When he wasn't talking or fishing, he was painting. On my last day of work at the resort for the summer of 1996, Bob presented me with the painting above. He had worked on it throughout the summer, having taken pictures of Cookie while I worked (I would ride her the 2 miles to and from work each day) He knew I loved rivers, autumn and old buildings, so the combination of the picture was perfect. The thought was amazing and so touched my heart.

Now that Cookie is no longer alive, I love this picture even more. I see it and I think of her and how so many people misjudged her. We were a perfect pair for almost 20 years. I miss her every time I look into the pasture and see the other horses, but not her. Then I look at the painting that hangs above my couch and it makes me feel better.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Happy Anniversary to me...oh, and Andy too!

Today is our anniversary. We've been together forever, but it was on this date that we made it official and became man and wife. There are lots of obvious ways that Andy lets me know he loves me--he provides for our family, he doesn't cheat and lie, he simply tells me that he loves me. But there are other ways he tells me, too, without using words.



So, happy anniversary to the man who:





*gets my toothbrush ready, sets out a vitamin, and fills a cup of water for me every so often when he goes to bed before me. They are all lined up on the counter, one little way to make my night run smoother.



*sometimes brings me home an extra treat if he stops at the store.



*kills spiders that are climbing on the ceiling since I can't reach them.



*has just as crazy and stupid a sense of humor as I do.



*will watch football, baseball, Grey's Anatomy or The Bachelor with me in bed.



*lets me snuggle up to him and warm my cold feet on his legs.



*always makes sure my fun mower is running in tip-top shape so I don't have to worry about breakdowns while camping.



*usually makes sure to shut off his alarm clock right away and moves about the house like a little mouse in the mornings, since he's awake 2.5 hrs before me.



*will try anything I make, but isn't scared to tell me if it's bad, or needs more salt, or is too spicy. And when he loves it, he makes sure to let me know, too!



*shares my random taste in music and appreciates that you can skip around from classic country to 90s hip-hop to hard rock and back again.

*thinks just like me and will finish my sentences.

*calls me during the day just to talk while he's on break from work.


*is honest if something I'm wearing doesn't look right, but when it does look right, he tells me I'm hot.



*is an amazing husband and father!




I love you, Andy!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ode to Fall

If you know me, you know that I LOVE fall. It's my favorite time of year by far. Since I'm feeling silly, I thought I'd write a little song about it. Enjoy!

(to the tune of "My Favorite Things")

Apples and pumpkins and yummy fall goodies
Having to put on your jeans, socks and hoodies
Hayrides, bon-fires, trail-rides snake like a string
These are a few of my favorite things.

Football's in session and we love the Packers
Chili and "hot-dish", homemade soup with crackers
Watching the birds fly south on tired wings
These are a few of my favorite things

When it's 90, or below 3, or I'm feeling "S.A.D." (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don't feel so bad!

Leaves turning yellow and orange and red,
Having to put more covers on the bed,
Smoke from the wood-stove and temps are cooling
These are a few of my favorite things.

Kids dressed in costumes and looking for treats,
Scarecrows and corn bundles line all the streets,
Hunting and scouting and Thanksgiving,
These are a few of my favorite things.

When it's 90, or below 3, or I'm feeling "S.A.D."
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel... so... bad!

Friday, September 3, 2010

No More 4K, but 4 & K!

The girls started school this week, Alayna in 4th grade and Lilly in Kindergarten. They were both very ready to go back, and honestly, so was I. By the end of the summer, it's been a little too much time with everyone together and the bickering is more often and louder and everything not good. We were all ready for it to be back to school time!



Alayna has had quite the change over the summer! Her teeth have moved considerably with her braces. They are not only straight, but almost lined up and touching like 2 front teeth should be. She also had quite a growth spurt and grew about 2.5" since the end of school. It made for a huge wardrobe change, but we made it work. She's now 4'9" and quickly creeping up on her Gramma for height!



Lilly also had a huge summer and she's more than ready for Kindergarten! She's 4 foot even now and continues to color and do art whenever she can. Her lost tooth and broken arm add lots of fun questions for people to ask when we meet them in the store or at the school for Open House. Her most anticipated part of starting school is getting to go every day!









Mikayla looks a little upset in this picture, but she's not. She's actually in the middle of making a silly face at me (go figure, right?)


She was quite fine with sending the girls off, only needing her "bap-cack" for the picture. As soon as the big girls were on the bus, she clapped her hands and said, "Mommy, let's go eat some brefast, just us two! Then we can play a game!"


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fair-ly Late Post

Finally! I have some fair pictures! This year, Alayna was an Explorer, which is kind of like being in 4H Junior High. She was able to bring more projects, including 1 animal besides Little Britches, and had to fill out a record book, but she still had some limitations on what she could do. Next year, she's a full-fledged 4H'er and can do what she wants. This year, she brought a plate of 3 cookies that she baked herself (she was so proud!), a sequence of 3 pictures of our crab apple tree in various stages of bloom, a birdhouse she built with my dad's help, and an informational book about Manatees. I neglected to get a picture of her with her items, but she did a great job. This is the first year she also gets ribbons for placing, instead of just participating and she got all Blues! Great job, Alayna!


Alayna also was able to show her horse, Chloe, for the first time. She showed in Showmanship, Equitation, Western Pleasure and Horse Judging. Chloe was a little anxious with all the horses and not listening too well, but they did a great job. She got one red, 2 white and 1 pink ribbon. Alayna was very pleased with her first year showing horse, and we were so proud of her!






Both Lilly & Alayna showed a calf for Little Britches on Sunday morning. They worked with their calves over the summer and spent a lot of time getting them to lead, being used to getting handled and washed, etc. Lilly's calf was Crash and Alayna's was Eddie, both named after the crazy possum duo from Ice Age 2 & 3, which are favorite movies in our household.



Lilly in the show-ring
Alayna in the show-ring


Next year, we'll be even busier because Lilly will be a Cloverbud and able to bring some projects to the fair, and Alayna will be a regular 4H participant. She's already thinking about things she wants to bring! As for me, I usually bring a photo or two for the Open class, not because I want to win but because an exhibitor's pass is cheaper than a traditional season pass. Scandalous, I know. But, this year I actually got third place with this photo!



Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sorry to Break it to You

I know, I still owe pictures from the fair, but I'm still going through them and making them suitable for this public forum (ie: taking out last names on things, county name, etc. Can't be too careful) But I wanted to put this on here in the meantime, since poor Bloggy has been ignored.

About a week and a half ago, I went on a scrapbooking weekend with some friends. It was so nice to get away for a few days and relax, work on my books and just rejuvenate. I talked with Andy and the girls each day (I was gone Thurs night to Sun) and they all assured me everything was fine. Then I got home. Andy didn't want to worry me with small details, so he didn't mention a few things until I came home.

1) Alayna had a mishap with a screw driver and had a small hole in the palm of her hand. He assured me that antibacterial cream and a band-aid were immediately applied. She looked fine and said it was fine, so I was good with that.

2) Mikayla had a bloody nose just a few hours before I arrived home, the result of her face and the carseat that was being removed from the car crashing together. Again, she seemed fine and all was good.

3) Lilly fell on her arm at an odd angle Saturday night while at a wedding dance. She cried and didn't use it for awhile, but Andy and a chiropractor at the dance took a look at her arm and she seemed fine. Then she fell on the arm again right before I got home, but again, besides some swelling she was fine.

Yeah, well, then Lilly fell on her arm again the next Wednesday, causing it to swell again. It started to worry me then, but she continued to use her arm and not complain about any pain or soreness. The week passed and she continued to seem fine, besides some slight swelling in her arm. The older girls had appointments scheduled yesterday for their school physicals, so I asked the doctor to take a look. He called for x-rays and brought Lilly in to take a look.

"Well, I don't know if it happened the first, second or third time she fell," the doctor said when he came back in, "but it's broken." He said the pain wasn't too bad because the bones were in-line and not misaligned, which causes more pain. We felt awful, but he said it was nothing to worry about and she'd be fine after a few weeks in a cast. The only color they had?


Yes, purple. She was bummed there wasn't orange, and then she was really bummed that people may think she's a MN Vikings fan! She said we'll have to get a Green Bay sticker to show how she really feels. That's our girl--a klutz and a Packer fan!

Monday, August 16, 2010

She's such a loser!!

Lilly has had two loose teeth for a few weeks now. One of them became VERY loose last weekend when she was eating corn on the cob at our friends' cabin. Her eyes flew open and she exclaimed that she broke her teeth! In reality, one of those teeth just became much more loose.

Since that night, she's gone back and forth between nervous and excited for that tooth to be gone. She'd want us to wiggle it, then twist it, then run away in fear, then come back for more. Finally, last night, she decided she wanted Daddy to pull it when we realized her big tooth was already about 1/3 of the way in behind the baby tooth.


Daddy innocently wiggled the tooth a few times, and when she wasn't expecting it, he just yanked and out it came! It was so quick that Lilly didn't do anything for about 10 seconds--we think she was too shocked that it was out. Then she got a huge smile and ran to look in the mirror. After examining her new look, she had to call her Grammas and Grampas and Aunties. She was so excited! The tooth went under her pillow and this morning she reported that she got $2 in quarters from the Tooth Fairy.


She has another loose tooth, the one next to her gap. She's already planning on when and how that one will come out. She says she wants to pull it out this time, unless Daddy wants to. We'll see.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Drama Drama Don't Need a Llama

While I'm still going through pictures and getting things put back in order from our crazy few weeks, I thought you'd all appreciate this story. I did not appreciate it while it was happening just a few moments ago.

Anyone who knows Mikayla, knows that she's quite a spit-fire. We always say that she has every bit of attitude, stubbornness and spunk that Lilly and Alayna didn't get. While the older two girls are usually quite calm and level-headed, even as small children, Mikayla has always been high-maintenance.

Today is one of those hot, nasty, disgusting summer days all sane people hate. The summers here in WI are usually nice and pleasant, but we always get a few days of heat and humidity. Well, today is 90 with dew points in the 70s, or "oppressive" as the weathermen call it. Yummy. My house smells like sweaty kids (you know that smell) and a hint of last night's Chinese take-out. Appetizing, I tell you.

So anyway, the kids are sticky messes and their hair is smashed into their faces. I asked Mikayla if she wanted a pony-tail to help her cool down. She said yes and turned around for me to put it in. I combed her hair and put the pony-tail in, just like she agreed to. Then she Flipped. Out.

"I don't want a pony! I want my hair down!" she wailed while pulling the pony-tail partially out of her hair. I told her that the pony looked pretty and would keep her from getting so hot. Well, that was the wrong thing to say, apparently. She went into full melt-down mode and threw herself onto the floor. Now, remember how I said I've been either super busy or gone for the last 2 weeks, including the last 5 days staying at the county fair? Our floor hasn't been vacuumed since we came home and dumped all of our stuff all over. The crying and sweating child got off the floor with dirt and dog hair stuck all over her face and a ponytail only holding half of her hair. She marched into the bathroom, looked in the mirror and came right back out with a horrified look on her face. I wanted to laugh and cry.

"Mommy," she sobbed, "I sorry I tooked my pony out. Please put it back in so it's pretty!"

I washed up her face, re-combed her hair and put the ponytail back in. Then she went into the bathroom, still hiccuping a little from her fit, and proclaimed herself pretty after gazing into the mirror for 5 minutes. She's now happily playing ponies, with an adorable ponytail sticking out of her head that kind of looks like a horn...interesting.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Falling Behind

The last 2 weeks have been super busy. We had the big county fair, so our time was spent getting ready for it and then participating in it. I have some pics to share, but right now I'm tired and can't find the camera. Just wanted to let you all know I haven't forgotten about you!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I love my clothesline!

Yes, I love my clothesline.

She's a real work-horse around here from May-October, if I can squeeze that much time out of her.

She saves me money, she saves energy and she gets my clothes smelling much better than the artificial dryer sheets.

I don't know what I'd do without her.

And yes, she's a she.

The End.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Not So Happy Birthday

Andy ended up having a not-so-happy Birthday weekend. It all started with a light stomachache on Friday, more of a blah feeling than anything. By Friday night he was up all night with a fever, sweats, horrible headache and stomachache. But on Saturday morning, his birthday, he was feeling better. We had a breakfast of eggs and bacon, his request, and then sat around the house for a bit. That's when he started to feel nasty again. He slept off and on most of the day, his main problem being a headache. He pumped the water and Gatorade into his body, and felt much better by late afternoon.

We went to the rodeo and had a lot of fun. He felt fine the whole time and when we left, he even commented that he felt the best he had since Friday morning. We were both so relieved that he was feeling better. He slept great on Saturday night, woke up feeling fine on Sunday but with a slight headache and back ache, which he always gets if he lays around too much. He headed to his parents to help hay before it rained, and I went to church. We no more than got home from church and settled for a nap when the phone rang.

Andy was miserable, not even able to get up from the couch comfortably. He said he needed to go to the doctor, which for him means he's BAD. So my mom came and watched the girls, I picked him up at his parents' house and down we went to Urgent Care. His entire head was beat red, he was sweating like crazy and covered head-to-toe in a blanket because he felt like he was freezing.

At Urgent Care, the first thing they asked was when we pulled the tick off of him. When we informed the nurse--and later the doctor--that we'd never found a tick or rash, they were both surprised but said he's showing classic symptoms for either Lyme's Disease or Ehrlichiosis. His blood pressure was super high, his temp was over 102, and his head was pounding. They sent him home with 2 wks of antibiotics and strict instructions to come back if he wasn't feeling better in 2 days or if new symptoms showed up.

Poor guy is absolutely miserable. He can't eat anything without upsetting his stomach, he goes from feverish to fine and back in minutes, his head pounds to the point that I can see his pulse at his temple...he's not good. And everyone says that's exactly how they were, or their brother, or their aunt. So let's hope these meds work and he's feeling better soon. We all need that.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Daddy!


Today is Andy's birthday. There aren't many days that are all about him. He's the type of guy who is always working, always doing something to help someone else. He seldom sits still or rests his brain. He's always on the go doing things for others.

But today is his day. We got him a present, we made him some breakfast, the girls made him cards and tonight, he and I are going to the rodeo while the girls go to Camp Gramma. Should be a good day and a good way to show Daddy that we're glad he's ours.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Do you Twilight?

I do. I resisted for a long time, I really did. My cousin would bring them up to me, knowing how I love to read.

Cousin: You should read them, Candy! They are so good.

Me: I'm not going to read them.

C: Why not? You read Harry Potter right?

Me: Yes, and I loved Harry Potter. But that's different.

C: How do you know?

Me: I am NOT reading a teenage vampire love story!

That would end the conversation until the next time I saw her, and she'd start back in. I love her to death, or I probably would have strangled her. After a few months, she backed down and we both forgot about it. I would see and hear people talking about "Eclipse" and "Breaking Dawn" but I had no idea that it all meant Twilight and would still ignore it.

Fast forward to last summer. One of my daycare moms and I always talk books. I mentioned one day when she picked up her kids that I was between books. The next morning, there was a large, hard cover book in the diaper bag with a Post-It note on the front.

"Candy, Read this. Honestly, just give it a try and if you don't like it after a few chapters, give it back to me."

I looked under the Post-It and saw it was Twilight. *sigh* Another person trying to convert me. That book sat on my desk for 4 days before I finally gave in and read some of it. I told myself I'd read 2 chapters that day and see how I felt. I read 200+ pages. Yes, in one day. With 6 kids around me. Lets say nap times and movies were my dear friends for 7 days. That's how long it took me to read all 4 books, totalling over 1700 pages. I couldn't get enough of them and I felt so lost when I finished the last book! No more Edward or Bella or Jacob! What?!

I rented the movie and LOVED it. Andy watched it with me and said that it was much better than he thought it would be, considering how I went on about it before I read them, how I acted while reading them (absent, basically) and how I went on after reading them. He admitted that he actually liked it and would probably see the other movies, too.

New Moon came out last November and while I didn't see the midnight show, I did see a special fund-raising screening that our library did only a day after it opened. It was for women only and had prizes, gift bags, etc with the whole theater open just for us. I went with my two girlfriends and we were giddy, I tell you. We couldn't contain ourselves. The screening was at 10:00 and afterwards we went to Subway. While at Subway, we decided to see the 1:00 show as well! (Honestly, it was opening deer season and all our husbands were hunting and the kids were with sitters. What else was there to do?) I even talked Andy into seeing it with me the night before Thanksgiving. So yep, I saw New Moon 3 times in the theater. LOVED it.

Eclipse, the third part, opens tomorrow. I have my ticket for tonight (or tomorrow morning, however you want to look at it) at midnight. I cannot wait. I've been listening to the soundtrack, trying to see if I can pinpoint parts of the book with certain songs for the corresponding movie scenes. I've been watching the trailers on-line and I stop everything when I see one on tv. I am obsessed I tell you. I need an intervention. But it's soooo good!

Now I'm the one that says, "Really, you should just read them. They're excellent." I converted a few people, and my copies of Eclipse and Breaking Dawn are both out on loan right now. If you haven't read them, you should. Really truly. They are amazing.

Only a few hours to go...counting...counting...getting closer...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Camping Etiquette 101

We went camping with our very good friends this weekend. It was a lot of fun, even with the storms at night and incredibly annoying neighbors. We spent our time eating, hiking, riding bike, swimming, playing cards and super-heroes, and complaining about our camp neighbors. It was a good time that prompted this post in my head. I give you...Camping Etiquette 101

1) When park quiet hours start at 11 pm, please don't drive in at 1 am with your radio blaring rap-crap, windows open, talking above the radio. I'll just say that it's a good thing it only woke me, not the kids.

2) I know I'm going to sound like an old fuddy-duddy when I say this BUT...quiet hours start at 11 pm. That does not mean that you can still party and swear--loudly--as long as you stay at your campsite. That means that the radio is turned down, the voices stay at a talk or quieter, and you try to keep noise to a minimum. I do not care to know that your friend is a "#$@#(*& idiot for taking back her boyfriend."

3) When you are leaving the park at 5 am (we're assuming to sneak out before the ranger finds out you stayed with friends without paying--maybe the car that came in so late perhaps?) please know how to drive a manual transmission if that is your vehicle of choice. Revving the engine to the point of waking myself, my husband (which is like waking the dead!) and our middle daughter, then killing it, then revving again and taking off in the wrong direction on a one-way street is not cool or funny or quiet.

We are pretty sure 1-3 apply to a group of college-aged kids a few sites down from us. I know, I sound like such a prude but honestly. The next few pointers are for the people directly behind us. Here is a little map for your viewing pleasure. It's crude, but gets the point across. We are in site X, they are in site Y, restrooms are R, TT means some trees, and __ is the street, which looped around in a 1-lane, 1-way circle.

__ Y TT X __ R

4) If you have to go to the bathroom and it's across another site that does not belong to you for the weekend, please at least walk to the edge of the site to get to the restrooms. It is not appropriate to walk directly through the middle of someone else's site, when 10' to the right will take you only 1 second longer and around the edge of our site and behind our vehicles. The invisible tripping rope almost got erected for the weekend.

4 (b) Pertaining to #4, when your child has to go to the restroom at 5:30 am...take them. Do not come halfway into another site (ours) and then stand a few feet from the tent door to watch your child walk across the street, then yell at her to not have an accident and to hurry up because she's hesitating going to pit toilets by herself in the semi-darkness at 4 years old. I'm 29 years old and I don't like going by myself to pit toilets in the semi-darkness.

5) If you have a small child that does nothing but cry (and by that, I mean scream) you may want to consider a sound-proof camper vs a tent, or not camping until the child is older and able to properly vent and relate his frustrations. Trust me, it's better for everyone.

6) If said small child needs a nap, please don't just throw him in the pack-n-play in the tent and walk away. I understand that sometimes they just need to cry it out. I get it, I've been there. But never in a million years would I subject an entire campground of mostly tents to my child's blood-curdling screams for 10-15 mins each at every nap (2 a day) and a good 30 min at bedtime. At least sit in the tent with him or something. And if you can't do that, maybe wait until baby has gotten the hang of going to sleep on his own before you go camping. Just saying.

7) Please be considerate of general situations around you. If your entire family is awake at 6:00 am but you see no one else in the campground moving about, please do what you can to keep quiet. I understand with kids it's sometimes hard. But honestly, besides Baby Screamy McScreamerson, the person I heard the most all weekend was Mommy Talks with a Bullhorn. She either has a severe hearing problem or has been struck with the spell from Harry Potter to amplify your voice for Quidditch matches.

I am very proud of myself that I didn't make a scene or even say something to this family. I probably should have, but I knew if I started I wouldn't have stopped until the rangers were called and people were crying and we were all banned from the State Park system for a few years. So I kept quiet. But, if you ever find yourself camping next to a family with a blue Caravan and three children named Kenzie, Ben and Adam...RUN!!! Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Just get the heck out of Dodge.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Horse Camp

Last week, my mom watched the girls and did daycare for me while Alayna and I went to Horse Camp. It was through the 4H and such a great experience for Alayna! She was able to ride for several hours a day, with sessions including Trail Class (getting your horse familiar with various "scary" things they may encounter on a trail-ride) showmanship, games, etc. Mixed in with the riding sessions were horseless sessions about caring for your horse, judging horses, general veterinary care, etc. She had a blast. While she was doing all that, I was relaxing in our borrowed camper, helping prepare meals for 100+ people and watching what I could of her riding sessions. We both had a great time and are ready for next year!

Alayna and her horse, Chloe
Trying to get Chloe to walk over a tarp. They circled several times before she finally did it!
Coming off the bridge in the trail class
Alayna during Horse Bowl (quiz bowl with horsey questions)
Alayna got 2nd place and a silver medal for her age group (23 kids) in horse judging!
**I have posted more today in a bit of blog-keeping, so look below for more of what's been happening!

Look What Mikayla learned!

video

She doesn't have the legs down yet, but she gets the job done with her arms! She'll be our little body-builder if she keeps it up and soon pass Daddy up in the guns (bicep) department! Mikayla is so happy to be able to swing on her own, and we are so happy to not have to push her constantly.

Brace-Face

Alayna got two brackets put on her front teeth a few weeks ago. This picture is even old compared to how she looks now. It's amazing how quickly things can change. Her expander (the pink things you see on her molars) was turned nightly for a month, slowly expanding her upper jaw to make room for all her teeth. The expander is now just holding space for a little while longer, to make sure that her jaw doesn't move right back. She has the two front brackets to pull her front teeth together in order to allow room for her missing tooth to finally move in. Well, it has and is now peeking through her gum...9+ months after she lost it.

She's no longer our Snaggle Tooth! The snaggleness is gone and she's really looking great with her teeth in some semblance of order. Like I've mentioned before, I know what she's going through and how much better it feels in the long run to have nice, straight teeth. And I keep reminding her of that when she complains of not being able to eat caramels, or chew gum, or have chewy candy. I can't wait to show the completion pics!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dog Lovers, Read Up

I don't know how many of you pay attention to the links list on my side-bar, but I just added a new book that I read while camping over Memorial Weekend. My mom had read it for her book club and immediately told me I had to read it. She knew I'd love it, and I did.

"The Art of Racing in the Rain" is a book that I think everyone should read and will enjoy, but especially animal and dog lovers. It's the typical book review of "I laughed, I cried, I rejoiced..." it's all true.

Seriously, you need to read this book. It's told from a dog's point of view, as he looks over his life while he's in the process of dying. Not only will you never look at your pets the same way, but you will also stop at least once and marvel at the intelligence and depth of some of the dog's statements. Honestly, you forget that it's really a person writing from the dog's point of view. Fab.U.Lous. It's in my top 10 of favorite books ever read, I think. And I've read a LOT of books. So if you're looking for an easy read that will touch your heart and make you think, this is it. For realz.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

We have a graduate on our hands!

Lilly flashing us the "I Love You" sign

Lilly graduated from her 4K program last week. It was so cute to see her up there with her class, performing their little program and accepting their diplomas. She is so sad to not see her friends for the summer, but she Can. Not. Wait. to start kindergarten! Congrats Lilly!

Mountains of Pics

Or should that be pics of mountains? Either way, it's applicable. I have a mountain of pictures to share in this post, so sit back and enjoy. I also have a legitimate excuse for not blogging for almost 2 wks. First we went camping Memorial Weekend. I forgot my camera, but it was a great time. We came home late Monday afternoon, scrambled to do laundry and mow the lawn and put things away. Tuesday was a regular day. Wednesday Andy and I...

...went on vacation! We bought a truck down in Phoenix, AZ, so we flew out and drove it home. It was Andy's first time on a plane, his first time seeing the mountains, first time seeing a lot of things. It was only my second time with most everything on the trip, with a few firsts for me as well. We had a great time.

We started in Phoenix, landing early Wednesday morning. We got checked into our hotel, which was right by the University of Phoenix Stadium where the Arizona Cardinals play. We walked to a local outdoor mall, did some shopping and ate some fabulous scones. Then we hung out at the hotel, took a nap and went back to the shopping center for a late lunch/early dinner. That night we met with some friends of mine for drinks and some wonderful garlic french fries!

Thursday morning we hung out at the hotel's outdoor pool, and basically marvelled at the 87 degree temp at 9 am. The truck was delivered to us shortly before noon, so we headed to Sam's Club to buy some groceries and a cooler for the drive home. Then we were on the road. We went northeast out of Phoenix, towards Holbrook AZ, where we hooked up with I-40. We took I-40 to Gallup, NM, then headed north to Durango, CO. We saw so many beautiful sites, with some pretty funny ones sprinkled in (like the people who were pulling a U-Haul with a Ford Ranger and looked completely perplexed that they jack-knifed on the winding roads!) We decided to stay in Durango for Thursday night.

Friday morning we were up with the sun, so we headed out early. We drove through the mountains, which were amazing. At times we were on very steep grades or super sharp corners, there was still snow in the higher elevations, and the traffic was very limited. We loved it all! We met up with I-25 in Colorado Springs, then took that north through Denver and exited onto Hwy 85 just north of Cheyenne, WY. Hwy 85 was quite the road, with very limited gas stations and towns, almost costing us an empty fuel tank! Thankfully we made it to a station and eventually to Custer State Park in South Dakota, where we had a campsite for Friday night.

Saturday morning we were again up quite early, so we packed things up and headed off on the wildlife loop through the southern part of the park. We saw buffalo, pronghorns, "wild" burros (they were once domesticated, then released into the park) and lots of turkeys. Both Andy and I were hoping for an elk or mountain sheep sighting throughout the entire trip, but between Custer and the mountains, all we saw were signs warning to be cautious for each. After the wildlife loop, we did Needles Highway and continued on to Mount Rushmore. We got to Mount Rushmore shortly before 8 am, so we had the entire place to just Andy and I and another couple in their mid-50s. By the time we left 20 mins later, there were probably 100 people milling around! In Rapid City we got onto I-90 until Wall, SD. Of course, we had to stop at Wall Drug, then drove through the Badlands before again getting on I-90 to head east into Minnesota. We made it as far as Andy's cousin's house in the southern Metro, where we stayed the night. We debated heading home, but from that point on we would have been in different vehicles (Andy's car stayed there when we came down for the flight) and not able to keep one another awake.

Sunday morning we were up about 8 and left to meet my mom and the girls after church. It was so nice to be with the girls and see how excited they were to see us! They loved the truck and immediately began asking when they could ride in it. So we loaded them up and headed home. When we got home, the dogs didn't know what to do! They saw Andy's car, with me driving, following that unfamiliar truck into the driveway, so they kept looking back and forth, not knowing it they should bark or not. They decided not to bark, until Andy opened the truck door. Then both started barking wildly, until they realized it was Andy. They tucked their tails, dropped their heads and looked incredibly sheepish for barking at their dad! It was too cute. As soon as we said hello to them, they started jumping up and down, and Marley did 3 hot-laps around the house. I think they were excited to see us, too.

All in all, we had a great trip. It was our first vacation away from the girls, so it was different and nice, but we were very glad to be home, too. We're already planning when we can do it again...this time with 3 girls in the backseat.


View from the plane
Heading north out of Phoenix

Cactus-we've never seen them before!

Sunset in New Mexico

Mountains outside of Durango, CO

Somewhere near Silverton, CO

Awww, this was so amazing

The view and the road

The view, with a sign saying how steep it was

Storms over Eastern WY

Burros in Custer State Park

Momma & Baby Pronghorn

Oh give me a home, where the Buffalo roam!

Tatanka

Andy and the truck on Needles Highway

One of the tunnels on Needles, 8'4" wide

Suck it in!!

Mount Rushmore, in case you didn't know

Badlands

The Badlands were near the top of the trip for Andy