Saturday, December 1, 2012


A little getaway is all you need.

Just a chance to set all the lists, both physically and mentally, aside and get refocused on what really needs to be accomplished.

And what is it exactly that needs to be accomplished?

Reconnecting on a whole new level to these people that I cherish most…


Arriving in Duluth.  They still had no idea what to expect.

Duluth is such an incredible part of Minnesota.  It is on the threshold of the wild wilderness of the northern part of this state.  It sits right on the coast of Lake Superior.  Large barges, ships, and factories dot it’s shoreline.  Steam billows across the skyline escaping from the smokestacks, and just seems to add to the ambience of this majestic city.  I just love it, and although it’s just two hours from our home, I feel like I am in a whole ‘nother state entirely. 

We arrived at the resort and Chris went in to get registered.  Ethan had to use the restroom in an urgent kind of way, so Chris took him quickly inside while I waited with the other two in the car.  Within seconds of entering the building Ethan said, “I smell water.  Where is the swimming?” Smart little stinker! Smile

We loaded our arms with bags and went to our room.  The kids were so excited running around claiming their spots and checking out all the sites!  The mid-week deal we reserved gave us a two bedroom suite so we were able to spread out and give the kids a bedroom all to themselves. This allowed Chris and I stay up a little bit past their bedtime and play some Phase 10 and have some adult conversation!

After we settled in to our room we explored the resort for a bit. Once we got out in to the hallway Grayson said to Ethan, “I wonder where the slides are.”  Those rascals thought they already had it all figured out!  Their eyes lit up though when they saw all the indoor waterpark had to offer!  I think their eyes may have been even larger when they saw the large arcade right next to it!  We promised them that the following day was going to be filled with water, water, and more water time – but that that night we had something else special planned.

We got all bundled up and headed back to the car. We headed down to an area of Duluth called Canal Park.  Chris and I had come across a website for a brewery earlier in the day that we thought looked interested and wanted to try out for dinner.  we parked the van by the light show and walked about half a mile to the restaurant.  By the time we reached the front doors our noses were a little red, our cheeks a little rosy, and our stomachs a little hungry! They seated us and then the waitress asked us if were V.I.P.  Ha! I had to chuckle.  I looked around at my three children and husband.  All of us wiping our noses and rubbing our hands together.  We didn’t exactly fit the bill for V.I.P.!  It turns out it was a special night at the brewery for it’s owners and managers. It hadn’t even been opened yet to the general public!  They didn’t boot us out though and let us be some of the first “regular” patrons to give it a test run!  It was delicious!  Chris and I both had fish tacos and the kids had a very unique delicacy called a hot dog. Smile  They didn’t complain!


Notice Grayson’s right eye?  He got whacked pretty good last weekend trying to give his Uncle Michael a hug.  He missed and fell face first in to a chair instead. Gave himself a pretty big gash that needed some butterflies to hold shut.

After dinner we walked back to the van and hopped inside to get all bundled up with snowpants, boots, and the whole nine yards. 


That’s a lot of Minnesota cuteness in one little pink package!

Next we went to the Christmas light show at Bentlyville.  It was really remarkable.  There was music playing, everything was lit up, and the first station we came to was a free hot chocolate and cookie stand.  After walking a bit further we came across a free popcorn stand.  Just around the bend from that was an area where they were handing out marshmallows on sticks and there were about ten fires burning in barrels where you could roast your own marshmallows. It was incredible! 


The last stop of the tour was to see Santa Claus. Being that it was a Wednesday evening there was barely any line so were able to get up close and personal with the jolly old man in no time flat.

Adelyn wasn’t a fan.

She was staring him down from a distance, but had no interest whatsoever in sitting on his lap when the time came.  She said, “I stay Mommy!”

Ethan and Grayson on the other hand climbed right up there.  When asked what they wanted for Christmas Grayson replied, “presents” and Ethan replied, “everything!”



Each child was then given a knit stocking cap and a bag of cookies.

I guess this was originally started by a local farmer who just wanted to offer some Christmas cheer to the community. It grew large enough that he wasn’t able to house it on his farm anymore so it has moved down along the waterway.  It is run completely by volunteers and is free to the public. Everyone was so kind and welcoming. It is certainly something I would love to do again!


One of the reindeer.  Donner? Blitzen? Comet?  Your guess is as good as mine. Adelyn didn’t like him either. At all.


The next morning after breakfast it was pool time!  The kids (and Chris) were wild with excitement!  I regret not having better pictures of the inside, but I was so busy doing that I didn’t take the time to stop and snap many pics around the water. 

The boys loved riding on the tube slide with their Daddy. They both claimed that as their highlight. Adelyn on the other hand couldn’t get enough of the hot tub. A girl after my own heart!  She loved to sit on the edge and just dangle her feet in the warm water while I sat next to her soaked up to my neck in the delicious warmth.  When I offered to take her on the slides or to the lazy river or anything else she would say, “No thank you. I stay in hot tub.” 



We were also given a voucher for a free 16'” cheese pizza.  We decided to have that for lunch poolside yesterday.  While we were drying off waiting for our pizza we were approached by one of the managers there.  She said that they were supposedly shooting a commercial in there and apologized to us for the interference.  We had barely even noticed anything going on and said it was no big deal.  She said that because of the nuisance to us she wanted us to have anything to drink with our pizza on the house, along with dip’n’dots ice cream for dessert!  She kept asking us what else we would like and really wanted to make our stay all that much more enjoyable!  We were amazed and truly did feel like V.I.P! Smile

We also had a bit of arcade time yesterday afternoon.  I think the kids and I had just as much fun as the kids! Especially after I discovered a Wheel of Fortune game!  Aside from doing a flash mob, another bucket list item of mine is playing on Wheel of Fortune! I love that game! I won over 60 tickets playing, which equated itself to a pencil or a set of plastic clapping hands. Smile


This girl is such a mess. She kept asking me, “I ride that cycle ‘gain Mommy please?”


Ethan tried his hand at a hunting game.  It wasn’t his favorite. He liked the whack-a-mole game the best!

There, as always, were a few minor hiccups along the way.  Like Adelyn screaming at the reindeer, a wet bed, and a tired little girl who desperately needed a nap after lunch…but overall it was a huge success!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

This Time of Year…

I love this time of year. The smells. The songs. The sights.  The memories. The meaning.  It is just so filled with family and friends and food. 

Yesterday afternoon I started doing some decorating during nap time.  Adelyn came downstairs in my arms afterwards and saw the stockings hanging by the fireplace. Her eyes lit up and she gently whispered, “Christmas!”  It is a beautiful thing to witness this time of year through the eyes of my small children. The wonder and excitement of it all. It just makes it all much richer to me.

This afternoon we are surprising the kids with a family get-a-way/early present.  Chris has some vacation time to burn before the end of the year, so we’re headed to Duluth to stay at an indoor water park and go to a Christmas lights show for a couple nights.  The kids have no clue about it, except knowing there is a surprise awaiting them today.  I am giddy with excitement and woke up at 5 unable to sleep!

In other news as my blogging has been so sporadic lately:

1. I’ve begun remodeling the bathrooms in our home. I am tackling the guest bath downstairs first.  I had to remove wallpaper, fill holes in the walls, sand, and then paint.  I chose this color.  It is bold and bright and I love it. I am obsessed with this color lately. Hopefully it won’t rub off too soon!  I will post some pics on here when it’s all done!

2. Chris is in deep with the boys loft bed building.  Our play room has been taken over and is now the building, painting, and prepping station. We are going to paint them navy blue. I found new bedding for them with red, blue, and gray stripes.  They are pretty excited about it!

3. It is getting cold here.  It’s true.  It takes me about three hours to get the kids dressed and out of the house to go anywhere. Smile  I still love it though.  I love how cozy our house is when it’s frigid outside. Just makes me want to drink hot chocolate, eat cookies and get fat!

4. We’ve been taking a parenting class called “Growing Kids God’s Way” through our church. It has been an incredible gift to Chris and I and has equipped us with so many new tools for parenting effectively.  One thing I realized that we were falling in to the trap of was catering to the kids with meals. I was starting to find myself making two meals at dinner time. Theirs would often resemble ours in some form, but it was still extra work for me.  During class last week we were talking about how many choices we prematurely give our children before they are equipped to handle them.  It dawned on me that meal time was one way we were giving them a choice to be picky and not have to eat our family meal.  I was nervous about changing those habits, but this past week has gone incredibly smooth!  They have eaten what I have prepared without much grumbling at all!  Now believe me, they don’t always scarf it down happily without any faces or protests, but for the most part they have not put up any fight!  It has made my life all that much easier!

5. I have gotten hooked at the gym.  Zumba is every Wednesday morning at 9.  My friend/neighbor Julie and I go together and position ourselves in the very front of the class.  Our instructor is named Rachel and man that girl is good.  It has become so fun because I know the songs and the moves now.  It is like taking part in my own little flash mob every week. (Which is so on my bucket list!).  I also have gotten in to a weight lifting class called Body Pump.  I do it three times a week for an hour each time.  It works every major muscle group of the body and it is paying off! I can see definition in my arms, feel it in my legs, and even have a small bit of definition in my stomach as long as I don’t bend over or slouch! Smile Haha.  It has also helped my back get stronger and I have found that I rarely have back pain anymore. 

Those are just a few things happening in our little end of the world.  Pictures to come in the next post!

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Cutest Little Potty Trainee



{Showing off her mad dancing skills}


We are in the beginning stages of potty training little Ms. A.  She was pretty excited about having her big girl panties on and wanted to use the potty constantly.  Then she proceeded to pee on the couch – so needless to say we still have a long way to go!

I am no where near as stressed or as rushed with this whole potty training adventure as I was with the boys.  Perhaps partly due to the fact that A. I know she’ll get it in time. or B. She’s most likely our last child and I don’t want to rush her too quickly and truly have to say goodbye to my last diaper wearing baby.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

First Family Vacation


A couple of weeks ago Chris and I snuck away with the kids for our first official family getaway.  We finally felt like we had reached a point where the kids were able to handle it and thought we could really enjoy a couple days away from it all.

We rented a rustic cabin at a state park here in Minnesota.  We went in the middle of the week and felt like we were almost the only ones at the park.  It was so secluded and quiet.  As quiet as it can get with these rascals at least! Smile

We brought our bikes and rode some trails. We chased up deer and all kinds of critters.  The kids were in heaven!

At night we slept in this small 14x16 one bedroom cabin. There were two bunk beds.  Of course both boys wanted to sleep in the top bunk!  They loved it and did great both nights. We set up Adelyn’s pack and play between the two beds.  It was slick!

We played board games, colored, read books, had fires and went on nature walks. 

We came upon this 100 foot tower while out walking.  Adelyn and I made it up about 20 feet before we decided to turn back around. The boys on the other hand wanted to keep climbing and asked their Daddy to go with them!  They made it all the way to the top! I was such a mess.  I couldn’t bring myself to look up at them as they were climbing.  I took pictures of Adelyn to keep myself occupied!  I was a proud Mother once their feet touched ground again!

Pumpkin Patch

It is so awesome to be at this point in our family where it isn’t all about newborns and night feedings and diapers.  I loved all those stages, but I am loving this time of our life when we can begin to experience new things as a family.  There is nothing like being with those four precious people.  They are my glue.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Thanks…I think

Adelyn is spending a couple days alone with her Ama and Bapa.  My parents have taken turns with each child to just give them a few days alone at the farm to spoil them rotten and just soak them in.  The boys loved it and keep asking when their turns are going to come again! 

Yesterday the boys and I were enjoying some time together, just the three of us.  At one point in the day Ethan grabbed my hand, looked up at me, and said, “You are the best Mommy ever!”  He has never spoken such tender words unprovoked to me before and I was so touched!  I thanked him and we continued on our adventures.

At lunch yesterday I thanked him again for the nice words he spoke to me.  Here is his response:

E: “Yeah.  But Daddy is bestest over Mommy.”

Me: “Oh really?”

E: “Yeah cuz he plays games with me.”

Upon examining my reaction for a couple minutes Ethan continues…

E: “Okay, okay. You and Daddy are both the bestest.”

I’ll take what I can get I guess!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Where They Belong

My big babes are tucked snug in to their beds, right back where they belong.  They have spent the past few nights at Ama and Bapa’s house while Chris and I had a chance to tackle a load of yard work and even sneak in a lunch and movie date out Sunday afternoon.  Then Monday and Tuesday I was able to have some alone time while Chris traveled for work.  I organized closets, switched over clothing for the entire family, brought bags and bags of goodies to the goodwill, worked out for an extended time at the gym, got a haircut, grabbed a cup of coffee and pumpkin muffin at Starbucks at 2 in the afternoon and read my book, made salsa, went grocery shopping, slept in until 7:30 (crazy rebel that I am!), took a super long bath, stayed up way too late, ate out, chatted with friends, and of course found a wee bit of time to shop!  It was a marvelous mini – vacation!

But I tell ya what. This house is quiet when four bodies aren’t in it.  I would wake in the morning and listen for the sounds of shuffling feet, quiet conversation between brothers, or a snoring husband.  And then I would remember that I was alone.  So by the time this evening rolled around and I met my parents to get my kiddos back I was more than ready. 

These kids are blessed beyond words to have such awesome grandparents in their lives.  When they were first born their MawMaw and Pop were there for them every stop along the way. Dropping everything to help care for and help raise them.  Now my parents live just a couple hours away and take such incredibly good care of them and just love them to pieces when they’re away from me.  We have two sets of parents who truly want to spend time with my children!  Do you know what a gift that is to Chris and I?  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your love and devotion to these children MawMaw, Pop, Ama, and Bapa! We love you!

The kids were full of stories and conversation tonight.  The boys wanted to share their highs and lows from their time with Grandpa and Grandma.

Both of them said their high was playing the Bop It game and watching Bapa do the strawberry muffin dance. (We need to get that on video Dad!)

Grayson’s low was when Bapa got upset with him and made him sit in time out. Smile

Ethan’s low was when Grayson had a temper tantrum and threw the cards all over.

Adelyn’s low was falling down at Ama and Bapa’s.  Her high was just simply “I go Ama and Bapa’s!”

In other news – my camera battery is dead.  This wouldn’t typically be a problem because I would just pull out my handy dandy charger and get it going again – but here’s the catch…

I put my charger in some super special spot when I cleaned a few weeks ago and now I have no idea for the life of me where that special little spot was.  So sorry, no pics to share today!

A few blurbs of other news that I feel you precious readers will really want to know about:

1. I got my eyebrows waxed today and my eyelid on my right eye is super red.  I think whatever chemical she used afterwards is making my face freak out in a major way.  My Mom gave me that concerned look tonight and asked me what was wrong with my face. Not quiet in those words as she is so tactful, but kinda like that.

2. I have been eating a lot of junk food recently. I don’t know what gets in to me.  I have been working out frequently at the gym and then blow it all on all this pumpkin goodness (and everything else in sight) that surrounds me. I think it’s something about cold weather that just makes me want to get fat.

3. We are planning a bedroom make-over for the boys for Christmas.  They have nearly outgrown their toddler beds so we are in the hunt for some bunk beds for them.  We are also finally going to put their dressers in to their room, hang up new curtains, and (gasp!) put a light bulb in their ceiling light.  The boys are SO excited about it!  They asked tonight for one red wall, one green wall, one blue wall and one yellow wall.  I’ll let them talk to their Daddy about that one.

4. I spilled wine on the carpet the other night.  I scrubbed and scrubbed it but there is definitely a red stain.  Chris still hasn’t spotted it.  Anyone want to place a guess on how long it might take him and how pleased he might be when he finds it?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Brain Spew

You've always wanted a demonstration of what exactly goes on between these two ears of mine?  Well hold on, you're in for a ride...or perhaps I should write a read.

Shew. Life.  As I sit here and ponder where to even begin my mind is whirling with a million different thoughts, all of them completely random and not tied to the other.

Life is good.

Life is beautiful.

What an incredible gift.

My little hands are full in this thirty-three year old life of mine.

How did I get to be thirty-three anyhow?  The other day I called my Mother to ask her how old I was.  I was driving and couldn't do the math, and for some reason I could not for the life of me remember if I was thirty-three or thirty-four.  She helped me out, and I was relieved to find that I am the younger of the two.

But seriously.  Who put me in charge?  How am I not still a high school girl going in for my shift at the grocery store where I typically owed money at the end of the month after charging so much to my account during my shifts. (True story.  You can not turn this girl loose in a grocery store filled with delicious food, ask me to work a ten hour shift,and not expect me to want to try all kinds of delicacies that my mother would never purchase. Temptation overload.Smile)

How am I not a late teen-something college girl eating nachos at 3 a.m. with my girlfriends and flirting with boys instead of passing my classes?

How am I not a twenty year old youngin' smitten and completely in love with a boy from Virginia, covered in salmon guts, working my tail off in Alaska? (I have to laugh at that intended pun – because the building Chris worked in was actually referred to as “tail off’)

Thirty-three, a mother of three, two of which are now in preschool?

Written in the words of a true Minnesotan - Uff Da!


And so I’ve discovered that life doesn’t stop being lived just because it’s not being blogged about on here. I don’t know how days, weeks, and even a month passes before I get on here again.  Sometimes though it’s just too formulate words around the life that is being lived within these walls.

That’s why I like pictures to do the talking instead.  So here we go…


The boys are loving school.  On Tuesday and Thursday mornings when I wake them up extra early they literally leap out of bed exclaiming, “It’s a school day!”  I’m not sure how I should interpret their excitement to get away from me for a few hours, but I choose to just be thankful that they are loving it as much as they are!  I have already seen a lot of growth in them in all kinds of areas.  Socially, emotionally, and of course academically.  They are writing their names, reading a bit, and teaching me all kinds of tidbits and new songs along the way.

I am incredibly proud of them and have had tears in my eyes numerous times as they continue to amaze me with how they are growing up.






My little girl turned two. I had to capture her a bit in this season of life, so the other day after dropping the boys off at school her and I visited a local park to get a few shots. To say she loved the alone time and attention is an understatement! She was a complete and total ham!  I am cherishing my alone time with her.  She talks non-stop when her brothers are away, but sure is ready to see them again when we go and pick them up!


Fall has arrived, so along with that comes a visit to the pumpkin patch of course!


We tagged along with some friends and enjoyed an 85 degree afternoon doing wagon rides, a petting zoo, and hunting for that perfect pumpkin!











And for now, that’s a wrap-up of our lives here.  I am going to try, earnestly try, to do better about keeping up on here.  For my own sake, for memories sake.  We’ll see how that goes!

Until next time…

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Preschool Eve


How is it that we’ve gone from this…

g and e

double time


to this…


My sons -

Tonight, as you are snuggled in to your beds, surrounded by bookies and teddy bears, my mind can’t seem to help but drift back to the days that have flashed by us these past years with both of you.  The surprise of knowing you were coming, 11 weeks of bed rest, NICU, chubby babies, savoring your milestones, relishing in the gift of being called “Mommy” by you.



I have loved having you all to myself these past few years.  Not having to share you with anybody else.  Not wanting to share you with anybody else.  You were mine to mold. Mine to shape. Mine to kiss. Mine to love. Mine to grow.

And now you have.  There’s no stopping it I suppose.  And even though part of me wishes time could just be frozen in this place – when you both still call a hood a hook, and when you still want to hold my hand as we walk in to a store – part of me also loves watching your wings spread – even just a little bit.



You’re ready for this.  Even if it’s just two mornings a week, which is plenty for me, you are ready.


Grayson, you told me that you are most excited for doing alphabet stamping.

You are most fearful of falling on the playground and “bledding” and them not having any band aids to patch you up.


Ethan, you are most excited for puppet shows.

You are most nervous about accidentally hanging your back pack up on the wrong hook.


I am so, so proud of you my sons.  Your Dad and I wish you all the best this world has to give you.  As you take your first tiny, size toddler 11, steps away from us tomorrow – we will be cheering you on.  Wiping a tear or two as you walk away, but bursting with excitement about what lies ahead.

We love you fiercely and are truly your biggest fans.

Go get’m boys.


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