Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Camping Kick-off 2011

This past weekend was our first camping weekend of 2011, and our first camping weekend with our new camper!  We were all so excited to get out there and play, relax, hang out...just have fun.  I was especially excited to be able to pack as the week went, slowing bringing things out to the camper and putting them in their place vs the huge pile that would sit in my living room, then be crammed around people, pets and lawnmowers to get to where we were going.

This Memorial Day weekend, we didn't go to our normal spot because Andy's cousin Bob had to work.  So all the usuals headed to his other cousin Chris's land to camp.  We laughed, we ate, we played, we rode mowers, we got rained on, we missed Bob and Shannon, we rode the zip-line...it was a great weekend.  And that camper lived up to it's promise!  I loved having a place for everything and plenty of room for us and our stuff.

The only time I remembered to take my camera out of the camper?  When we all were taking turns on the zip-line that Chris, Will, Andy and Kurt put up in the woods.  The kids had so much fun playing on it and flying from one end to the other (and maybe us adults did, too...)


Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a day set aside to honor the men and women who have sacrificed their time and their lives to keep all of America safe.  I know I couldn't do it, so I am every thankful to those who do--not only the soldiers, but their family and friends, who sacrifice their time with their loved one in order for us to be safe.

To everyone out there who has given of their time, talents, family, friends for our freedom....

THANK YOU!  From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Day All About ME! (and all the other Moms out there)

I had a wonderful Mother's Day this year!  I've been meaning to post these pics for awhile, but honestly I forgot until my friend Lexey posted on her blog (thanks Lex!).  I posted earlier about how I was woken to Sunny and her run-in with some fishing lures, but nothing about my great gifts and love!  Alayna was trying to surprise me with breakfast in bed, but we didn't have enough milk for pancakes and only 1 egg (yeah...I needed to grocery shop)  Instead, we all had toast with peanut butter and raspberry jelly or cereal, and I opened my wonderful, thoughtful gifts from the girls.  They are truly the best kids I could have asked for to make me a Mommy.  Every day I am so thankful for having them in my life!

This first series of photos is from a book Lilly made for me at school.  She also made the handprint plaque.  Then it's a card that Alayna made, with coupons for me to redeem.  I didn't take a pic of my other gift, but it's the entire series of Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman on DVD, including the 2 movies they made.  I have loved that show since it was on TV and watch re-runs on GMC all the time.  The girls have really gotten into watching it with me, so we're going to start from episode 1 and watch in sequence all the way to the end.




(Anyone want to teach me how to do those cool collages that I see on other blogs?  I didn't want to do them all in a row because that would be forever long...)

Lilly's Book reads: Happy Mother's Day.  My mom is the most wonderful mom in the word!  Her name is Candy.  She's pretty as a prinses.  She is 29 years old.  She weighs 90 pounds and is 30 tall.  She has blue eyes and brown hair.  Her favorite food is guockamoly.  In the good old days when she was little, she used to rid hoersis.  I think Mom is funny when she goes cross eyed.  But I know she's really angry when I don't lisin.  I wouldn't trade my Mom for lots of candy.  I love my Mom because I love her and she loves me.  Happy Mother's Day, Mom!  Love, Lilly.  (She also made me a card that says To: Mommy from: Lilly.  I love you a lot!  Happy Mothers Day!  And you are the best mom in the world!  But it won't post pics of that for some reason)

Alayna's card reads: Happy Mother's Day.  You are the best mom in the world.  Love: Alayna  This flower coupon is good for: cleaning the living room, a daughter/mom movie night, and breakfast in bed.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

It's finally here!

Almost 2 months after Spring's official arrival, I think it's finally here.  We had snow and cold all through April and even into May.  Today, May 19, is only our 3rd or 4th 70 of the year.  Last year, my flowering crab tree was completely bloomed on May 2 (and I have pics to prove it)  Today it is budding, and it should be bloomed this weekend.  If we're lucky.  But there are other signs that spring is finally here.  For one, the grass is green and has already been mowed once.  Our pear and apple trees we planted last year are starting to bloom.  The birds, frogs and coyotes are singing us songs all hours of the day.  Tractors are out in the fields, though most need duals to not sink into the still wet earth.  We have slept with the bedroom window open the last few nights.  Our first thunderstorms have come and gone, leaving some hail damage that we need to take care of.  The wood/deer ticks are out like crazy.  Softball season has begun (and the team is 3-0!).  We grilled and ate dinner on our screen porch the other night.  Bears, eagles, swans, and other critters have been sighted.  The trees are about 40% green.  Our lawn is filled with "daddy-lions," and "mommy lions" (simple May flowers) have been found in the woods.  A hummingbird has been seen buzzing our azalea bush.  I have 2 tiny blooms on my lilac bush.  My peonies are starting to peek out of the ground.

It must truly be spring.  Finally.  Welcome, Spring!  We have waited a long time for you!

 Pear blossoms

Mr. Toad (whom Marley took quite an interest in!)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It's 4H Time!

Sunday was the first 4H horse project clinic that Alayna attended this year.  It was a safety clinic and also a clinic for beginning or intermediate riders.  She and Chloe did fantastic!  Last year, there were some issues with Chloe's behavior, which we eventually discovered were due to her feet having some problems.  This year, though, Chloe was on her best behavior.  Of course, Alayna is also doing so much better with her commands.  She is more confident in her abilities and what she needs to do, so she is giving clear commands that Chloe cannot confuse.  Together with strong feet and therefore no pain and a better attitude, Chloe and Alayna did amazing!  We are so proud of how far they've both come!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Shaun & Anna

This weekend, Andy and I spent 2 nights away from home and the girls--he was in a wedding for our friend Shaun.  It was a great time.  Of course, whenever we are away from the girls, it's hard.  We enjoy our time to just hang out and not have to watch and worry over them as much.  But we're still parents.  We still wonder what they are doing, how things are going, call to wish them goodnight, feel guilty about enjoying our time away from them...We know we have to get away every so often, but it's still hard. 

Anyway, back to the wedding.  Andy and Shaun have been friends since toddlerhood, maybe even sooner.   Shaun was in our wedding and we try to get together whenever we can, but it's hard with kids and families.  His wife, Anna, is such a fun, great person.  I can't wish them anything less than all the happiness in the world!

Monday, May 9, 2011


When we woke up yesterday, we were informed that Sunny had fishhooks stuck to her.  Andy and I were obviously tired and just waking, so we thought we heard Alayna wrong.  Then Lilly came running into our room and said, "Sunny has a huge fish hook on her side!"

Yes, our dog somehow got caught in some fishing lures overnight.  When we looked at her, it was quite a pathetic sight.  Two large rapalla-style lures were stuck to her side near her back leg and a lone treble hook was stuck in her lip.  How?  We have no idea.  Nor do we know where they came from.  If only dogs could talk.

We laid Sunny down in the yard and went at her with a pair of pliers.  Luckily, the smaller lure was only tangled in her hair and stuck on the larger lure.  And of the 3 hooks (actually nine) on the larger lure, only one was stuck through her skin.  Andy was able to cut the hook and since it was just barely piercing the skin with the barb out, he was able to pull it through with no problem.  The hook in her lip, however, was harder to remove.  Only one "hook" of the 3 was poking her, but that one wasn't poking through the skin.  Since the hooks are barbed, you do more damage trying to pull them back out then push them through.  So I was laying across Sunny, petting and talking to her, while Andy tried to force it through her lip as carefully as possible.  Finally, after about 20 mins he was able to poke it through and pull it out. 

Sunny was such a trooper!  She laid so nice and still while we worked on her, never trying to get up or even move.  She only whimpered a little when Andy was working on her lip (I was trying not to cry, too) and when we were done she jumped up and covered us with kisses, like she was thanking us for our help.  I'm sure she was glad to be free!

The hook on the left was in her lip, the center hook of the larger lure was in her side,
and the bottom lure was just tangled with her hair and the other lure
When we came in the house, the girls were all concerned about Sunny and how she was doing.  They ran out to give her hugs and kisses, and tell her not to do that again.  Then Mikayla asked me, "Mommy, why did the fishes attack Sunny in the night?!"  We don't know how or what happened, so maybe she's on to something.  But Lilly had another idea.  "I don't think the fish attacked Sunny, but we should attack them and go fishing!"  Maybe we will.  I just hope these lures don't catch another Dogfish.

*I posted a few times this weekend, so be sure to check them out below!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there!  I wanted to take a moment to tell you all about the mothers in my life...

First, my mom Paula.  She's an amazing woman who is always there for us, no matter what it is we need.  She's kind of crazy like me, and that's why we work so well together.  She has taught me how to be a better mom with everything she has done for me in the past and the present.  When I need advice about something, she's the first person I call.  She never judges me (or at least makes me feel judged).  And when I don't need advice or just want to vent, she understands and lets me figure things out on my own or just get it off my chest.   

My Gramma C is another mother in my life who has always been there for me.  She has always made sure to have time for her grandkids, whether we were 4, 14 or 24.  When I was finishing college and had baby Alayna to find daytime care for, she was the first to volunteer her time to me.  It was such a blessing to know that our little girl was being cared for by someone we loved and who loved her as well (and her fee of "bring me to breakfast every so often" was perfect for a college student and her hubby who worked barely above minimum wage at the time!)

My Gramma L is no longer here on earth, but I know she helped shape me in my own journey as a mother.   When I was younger, we spent a lot of time at her house and she was always patient with us when we helped make cookies or dinner.  On New Year's Eve, she'd let us cut up page after page of newspaper into tiny pieces and throw them as confetti, telling us a mess can easily be cleaned up after having some fun.  She was also a tiny woman with a huge giggle who could surprise you with things like a homemade meal from seemingly nowhere, or her abilities to shoot a woodchuck in one shot from quite a distance--through the open bathroom window.  My only regret is that she passed away when Alayna was only 8 months old, so none of my girls got to know her.

My mother-in-law Lynn is not the typical "monster-in-law."  She is my husband's mother, but she's also like a second mother to me.  She and I get along great and though we have differences in some ways, we never let that come between us.  I feel just as comfortable spending a day with her as I do my own mom.  She is always there when we need her, for a recipe or advice or help with the girls.  She lets me be me in all my quirkiness and just laughs when my crazy ideas come flowing out.  I am so thankful for all she did to raise her son, who is the perfect man for me.

I have a huge network of aunts and friends who are amazing moms.  They have all taught me something about motherhood--from craft ideas to tips for medicine taking to discipline plans and everything in between.  Each person brings something new, important and different to the table.

My life is infinitely better for all the moms in it.  I love and thank you all!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

American Cancer Society Walk

This morning, our family participated in the American Cancer Society Walk/Run in our community.  We woke up early, donned our matching shirts, grabbed the dogs and drove to the school.  We have done so for the past few years, but this year it was closer to my heart.

I have been blessed with incredibly healthy people in my life.  At almost 30, I haven't had a lot of personal connections to cancer.  There has been the other parent I kinda-sorta know, the friend of a friend, or the person I know of but don't know personally.  Not many people I love had been touched by it, and I am ever so thankful for that.  But in the past 2 years, that has changed.  Andy's cousin's little girl was diagnosed with Leukemia in June of 2009 at almost 3 years old.  We are very close with them, and that was so hard to watch what they all went though.  Karli is now doing well and being a typical 4-year-old, but she still has a long way to go.  My mom's dear cousin Anna Mae battled breast cancer recently.  She's also doing well and living life to it's fullest, staying healthy and active.  And this winter, my Grampa was diagnosed with bladder cancer.  After surgery, he's doing remarkably well and everyone has commented on how great he looks, how much energy he has, etc.  We're so hopeful for everyone's recovery and that they all continue to feel and do well.

There is so much that we can do to help those with cancer.  We can pray, bring meals, do laundry, transport to appointments, and other things that directly affect the person or family of those who are battling this horrible disease.  But we can also do things like participate in walks, runs, fundraisers...things to bring attention and money to the cause, to help find a cure, pinpoint a cause or develop new screening tests.  There is so much that can still be done to help everyone affected by cancer!  Please, consider donating your time or money to the effort to stop cancer and celebrate more birthdays.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Call me Gramma

With three daughters, this post is something that surprises me greatly and will probably surprise many of you, as well.  I am just now becoming a Gramma.  Alayna and Lilly never really had a desire for children when they were younger, but Mikayla already has 3--their names are Toni and Brianna (they are twins but about 20 yrs apart and one with blue, one with green eyes) and their baby brother Chip.  Yes, Mikayla is the only one of our girls to really get into playing with dolls.

It probably started about a year ago at my parents' house.  The girls were there overnight and Mikayla needed a toy to snuggle.  Mom brought out my old Cabbage Patch Doll, Toni Roni Macaroni, and it was love.  Since that day, Toni has gone along on several day trips, outings, overnights and playdates, and she's even received birthday and Christmas presents.  Then this fall, Mikayla found a Cabbage Patch Doll that Alayna had received as a toddler that was identical to Toni, but with blue eyes and about 20 yrs newer.  She was buried on the top shelf of Alayna's closet and forgotten (I told you, she and Lilly never got into dolls for more than occasional play)  Well, Brianna soon became Toni's twin sister and together, they went everywhere.  Even more recently, Mikayla has become attached to another Cabbage Patch Doll, this one an itty bitty baby, whom she calls Chip after the little boy/cup in Beauty and the Beast.

The imaginative play she enacts with these dolls is adorable!  I must watch them every now and then so that she can go to work, or on a date with her husband.  Sometimes they just want Gramma, too, and cry for me even when Mommy Mikayla is right there.  And the other day, Mikayla came to me just exhausted and sad because the girls were throwing up all over their clothes and blankets, and she had to tell me she just couldn't make it to my wedding with Daddy.  Then I heard them "puking" while Mikayla shushed and rocked them, telling them they were okay but asking them to please stop puking so she could wash laundry.  She's a pretty good Momma.

Brianna, Mikayla, Chip and Toni
(Mikayla said her husband was at work, so he couldn't get in the picture)

Monday, May 2, 2011

It's a big day in history

Today is a very big day in history.  Late last night, it was announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed by US forces conducting a raid on his compound in Pakistan.  President Obama broke into coverage with a live announcement, though for many people, the news didn't become apparent until this morning.  I know I was shocked when I woke up and turned on the tv to watch the weather, but instead heard bin Laden was dead.

My feelings about this news?  Shock, relief, disbelief, fear and sadness.  That's right, no joy.  Don't get me wrong, I am relieved that bin Laden no longer is a threat to the American people, or any others in the world, who felt and believed differently than him.  I am relieved that he is no longer spreading evil across this world.  I am glad that none of the American troops were killed during the firefight that broke out. But I am also realistic.  Bin Laden had many, many followers and while he was the head of al Qaeda, he wasn't the only person in the regime.  There are others who are also powerful and may now seek revenge for his death.  I am scared that his death may cause more unrest and turmoil.  And there's part of me that is also doubtful--for years we've heard that he's been sighted or captured or found, only to be told later that it was a look alike, or we were moments too late, or it was planted evidence or information to mislead us.  I have a hard time believing that he's really gone, and I probably will feel this way until they get the DNA testing back to prove that it was, in fact, bin Laden who was killed.

Part of me also feels sad.  As evil and horrible of a person as bin Laden was, I still feel some sadness at his passing.  He was human.  He was some one's son, husband, brother, father.  I cannot rejoice at the death of any human, no matter how evil his actions.  He still has people who love and mourn him now that he's gone.  He was still someone who his parents dreamed would be a good person, make the right choices, have a good life.  As a mother, I cannot imagine how I would feel if people were rejoicing the death of my child, no matter what she did.