Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Going From…



st cloud

To This…


Chris is attending a conference in San Diego starting Monday morning. He asked me to tag along and we’re headed out a few days early, just the two of us, to make a mini-vacation out of it. 

I am one pretty excited girl!

A HUGE thank you to Ama and BaPa for taking care of our three to make this a reality for us!  The kids are just as excited as we are I think!

Monday, January 23, 2012


Adelyn’s words are starting to explode. I love to hear her little voice and wanted to capture it on film before it completely changes and becomes another one of those remember whens.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

365 Project

I am taking part in a 365 photo challenge. I have made it 19 days so far and going strong....but we'll see how it's going when it gets to day 97!

It's been fun and it's forcing me to take pictures of things I usually wouldn't.

Feel free to check it out. I'm by no means a professional photorgrapher (or photographer if you want to get all correct about it), but it's fun! I put a picture above showing where you can find a link on my blog.


A Minnesota Christmas

Sigh. I can not believe it is January 19th. It feels like Christmas was eons ago, but yet I am bound and determined that I am going to post about Christmas because I don't want it all gone and forgotten and not documented at all!
So here goes...
We headed out to my parents on Christmas eve. We attended a church service at a church in their hometown. It featured a live nativity, and my parents saved the very front row for all of us. The kids did really well, considering the fact that they had ridden in the car for four hours and skipped naps. They especially loved seeing the donkey and goats up in front of the church! Their eyes were huge!
After church we headed to a festive celebration at where else?? Pizza Hut! We had dinner together with my parents and my brother David and his girlfriend Sarah. We then headed to the farm.
There is nothing like pulling up to the home you grew up in, seeing all the lights both inside and outside of the home lit up and ready for your arrival.
My parents had it decorated so beautifully. They had gone to so much work to make it just perfect for all of us there.
On Christmas Day Chris's parents arrived and we started eating appetizers around 1 in the afternoon. Steamed shrimp, cheese and crackers, pickled herring (for Mom!)...yum. We then ate dinner at 5. After dinner everyone helped clean up and then we sang some songs around the piano. After that we read the Christmas story together and opened gifts.
We just enjoyed the evening and didn't rush anything at all. We like to have each person take turns opening gifts so we can all enjoy watching them open, and it also makes the time last a little longer.
The party finally ended at around 10:30 after the tuckered out kiddos were tucked in bed and the adults had a glass of wine.
The following day we had Christmas at my Grandma's house with my Mom's side of the family.
I love it.
The entire house is completely filled with people. People that I love and cherish most in this world. They just make me happy. They make me laugh. My jaws just ache after leaving time spent with them because golly gee they make me feel just so content!
We have started a yearly tradition of doing the white elephant gift exchange with all of them. You can imagine over 30 gifts piled in the middle of the living room floor and all of the stealing and laughter and drama that goes along with the opening! It is a blast.
Along with the gift exchange there is food and food and food. Everyone brings stuff from their homes and we have quite an assortment of everything you can imagine.
The saddest part of sharing all of that is that there were no pictures taken by moi to showcase it.
And last but not least...our own Christmas here at home...


A fellow amazing blogger, and may I even be so bold as to say blogging friend, is offering an awesome giveaway on her blog. I have heard so much about Thirty-One projects, but have yet to own any for myself, so I just had to enter!

I really want her to get lots and lots of hits and her blog and lots of lots of people buying her products and booking parties, but I also really want to win - so let's see if we can make that happen shall we? :)

While you're at it, check out her blog. She is an amazing writer, mother, and woman. You can read more about her story here.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Reality Check

How can it be that I can wear the same socks as my sons now? Sigh.
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Christmas Part 2, and Perhaps 3 Depending on How Long My Kids Nap

I wonder if I will get all of my 2011 Christmas posts published before Christmas 2012 rolls around. That is yet to be determined.

Let's just say we've hit a wild patch here lately. I seriously have no idea where the hours of the day go in our home. It is like we experience some sort of time warp and before my day even begins I feel like it is ending. I don't like it one bit. I am fighting against it and trying to find ways to combat it, short of shipping my kids off to winter camp (a.k.a. Ama and Bapa's), to find me a few minutes of solace in which I can even contemplate what I may possibly do with a few spare minutes of quiet for myself.

But in the same breath I am trying to soak in the complete chaos of it all. Just a few minutes ago one of my sons called to me from upstairs, "Mommy! I just had an accident!" I walked up the stairs to discover that indeed the stomach bug may have just hit my child and deposited itself all over our hallway rug and carpet. Lovely. What do you do in moments like that? I deposited said child in the bathtub and went to work cleaning. Not to mention that yesterday at the park my other son came running up to me and said, "Mommy, I have to go poop!" I said, "Okay! We'll find a bathroom!" "Too late Mommy!" he said. Lovely round two.

You do what you got to do though eh? You push through. You smile. You resist the urge to put your shirt over your nose. You tell your child that it was just an accident. You're not upset at them at all, but that these things happen. You internally shudder and try so hard to stifle your gag reflex and somehow you do it. I guess it's just a Mom thing.

Oh yeah....wasn't this supposed to be a Christmas post...

I digress...

Fa La La

We celbrated Christmas here with Chris's parents on Friday, December 23. We had a nice breakfast together, read the Christmas story, and then exchaned gifts with them. It was a nice quiet day spent together here at home.
Adelyn got a new baby doll, cradle, and high chair. A tad excited wouldn't you say?
We then headed to my brother Mike's house the following morning. Mike and Hayley decided not to travel to my parents house this Christmas due to Gabrielle being so tiny and not wanting to take her that far quite yet. We completely understood their decision, but still wanted to celebrate Christmas together. Another party? Ahh shucks.
We had a Christmas brunch with different breakfast dishes and fruit, along with some mimosas.
Hayley and her Mother also introduced a fun South African tradition called Crackers. It is a cardboard tube with some type of card strip inside wrapped in wrapping paper. Two people pull it on opposite ends and the tube splits apart, with a loud pop. Whoever has the longest piece is the winner of the prize inside, just some little type of trinket. There is also a colored crown inside that then must be worn. It was a blast!
We also always do the Dirty Santa gift exchange with my family each year. We spend about 10-15 bucks on something. You just never know what you're going to end up with. That crazy clown in the picture is what Michael got from Chris. He was pretty excited about it!

Next up - Christmas at the farm!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas Part 1

Chris's parents arrived on the 16th of December and stayed with us until the 27th. It was an amazing visit. Chris was off nearly that entire time as well, so we enjoyed a lot of quality time together here at home, excursioning (is that a word?), and visiting my family.

As the pictures above show we took one day and went to the Minnesota Children's Museum. It was four floors chalk full of fun. A pretend grocery store, bus, doctor's office, restaurant, and rock video. A room dedicated to having the experience of walking through a children's book, such as "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom", "A Snowy Day" and "The Tale of Peter Rabbit." There was also a room where the kids could see what the world would be like from the view of an ant as they crawled through tunnels. It was a lot of fun.
The nice thing about St. Paul is that much of the city is connected by Skyway, so there is no need to walk outside in the cold. We found a food court near the museum and grabbed some lunch before returning to the museum. We wore the kids out good and had a quiet ride home!
I love days like that. Days where we are all together, as a family, experiencing something new together. I also love to see everyone having such a great time.
My heart was so full that evening as I drifted off to sleep.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Things They Say

That I don't want to forget!

I shared this one on Facebook - but want to share it again. The other day Grayson ripped up a book just for the heck of it (there have been three others since, but that is an entirely different post!). Chris was downstairs talking with him when Ethan comes walking over, spreads his legs apart, puts his hands on his hips and with this serious scowl on his face says, "I'm not very happy about this!"



This morning we were talking about what the boys wanted to be when they grew up. Ethan responded that he would like to be a cowboy. Grayson would like to be a race car driver, just like Lightning McQueen. When I asked Adelyn what she wanted to be when she grew up Ethan said that she wanted to be a bug. Grayson said that she would be a dolly, because she loves dollies.



Last night before dinner Grayson was running around the kitchen in circles. I commented on what a fast runner he was and wanted to know where he ever learned to run so fast. He stopped dead in his tracks, looked at me, and said, "Thanks guys. It's just cuz I growed up!"



Yesterday I sent Ethan and Adelyn downstairs to play while Grayson and I worked on making lunch. They played down there so nicely together and I praised Ethan for playing so nice with his sister and being so kind to her. He bent down and hugged Adie and said, "Thanks for playing so nice with me and for not wrecking all my toys."



Last night Grayson came in to the living room where Chris and I were sitting and announced that there would be a show in the hallway. Chris and I were instructed to sit down on the hallway rug. Ethan and Grayson then did a little song routine while Adelyn held a glowing stick and danced for them. After they were done Ethan announced that now it was Mommy and Daddy's turn to put on a show. Chris and I got up and sang ABC's and Away in A Manger. They then asked us to sing it using only the words "GaGaGa", and so we did of course. It was truly one of my best moments of parenthood ever yet. So simple, yet so magical. (Not the ga-ga-ga- part...but you catch my drift).



Monday, January 2, 2012

525,600 Minutes...

Plus a leap year thrown in there, as my cousin on Facebook reminded me, so that brings us to 527,040 minutes in 2012.

What will you do with yours?

What will I do with mine?

I am feeling personally challenged this year. I am usually not one to make resolutions, as I mentioned here last year - but this year I am feeling challenged to choose a word for my year ahead. One word. Not a list a mile long of major changes in my life that I would like to see made, but instead to seek God and ask Him what one area in my life we should tackle this year.

I did this last year too. I came across this website and loved the idea of setting a word to define your year ahead. Last year the word I chose for myself was authentic. I longed to be a more real person, to my core. While I feel I made some ground in this area, it is always something I will continue to work on. There are certain people you meet, and after you walk away from them you say 'Wow, he/she is so real!' I want for people to remember me for that. Not for putting on a show, trying to convey something that I'm not, not trying to keep up with everyone else around me, but instead to just be a truly authentic person - the good and the bad.

The word I have chosen for 2012 is indelible. To really focus on the way I am living my life. The way I spend my time. The motivation that is driving my days and actions. What is the legacy I am creating that I will one day be leaving behind? For my family, my children, my friends, my neighbors, my world? This is an extremely challenging word for me, and truly kind of scary...but a good challenge all the same!

If you'd like to join me I'd love to hear your word for the upcoming year. What is one word that captures a change you would like to see this year?

*I must note - Christmas posts are hopefully to come. There is so much I'd like to say and share about the previous two weeks. For now I will just say that it was a time of family. I just feel like we had some really relaxing, quality family time. This morning is our first morning without Chris for nearly the past two weeks. We are all a bit meloncholy this morning, but also ready to get on with the year ahead. Today the kids and I are planning on starting to de-Christmas our home. We'll see how that goes with six extra helping hands!



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