Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Whew!

     I'm surprised it's been almost a week since I've posted.  I'm more surprised I have time to write tonight.   In a nutshell, Stomach Bug 2012 has hit and it hasn't been pretty.  Lars was home last Thursday & Friday, made a somewhat miraculous recovery on Saturday - only after we'd cancelled our hotel and weekend get-away plans.  It's a good thing he's so cute.  He's passed his sickness along to his big sisters and is doing pretty good these days.




We managed to take a completely spur-of-the-moment day trip "Up North" on Saturday.  I got in the car thinking we'd head up to Target after Brandt stopped at a customers house, and we ended up heading to Brainerd for the day.  The kids napped for a good part of the 2 hour drive there, and were super on the way home too!  They LOVED Poncho & Leftys mexican restaurant, and it was the first time we did something without planning in YEARS. 







     Abby has been home sick all day today, I worked all day and all evening yesterday so I feel at least a little caught up.  I threw together a huge pan of lasagna this afternoon, made an extra small one for Brandt's Grandparents, took Elle & Em to swim lessons while Grandpa & Meg stayed home with Abby & Lars, dropped off my lasagna present, ran to Target to get more Gatorade and came home. 

     Swimming was a little more interesting this year.  Elle started Level I tonight, and was a hit with the kids:  she taught them all how to blow air boobs into their swimsuits... her instructors caught me after class to thank me for the laugh and suggest that I put her in Level II.  Wasn't sure if I should be a proud Momma, or if she was a little too mature for the other 5 year olds.  ;) 

     She had a BLAST, and I'm looking forward to Thursday nights class!






     Tonight has been quiet - Brandt is working with a couple of new sales reps, Abby is settled onto the couch and seemingly feeling better.  Elle has made a floor bed for her and Lars and they are quiet.  Quiet in that "My back is gonna kill me carrying these big kids up to bed" sorta way.  The big girls rode their bikes to their friends house and are having a sleepover until tomorrow morning.  Grandpa Jim is enjoying his final night of snacking before he starts his "cleanse" for his upcoming colonoscopy on Thursday.  Fun times :) 



      Best way to dry off after swim lessons is to bike yourself dry!






 Dads wildflower bed.  We were afraid it was just going to be white... but lots of other flowers are blooming the last couple of days!





 She's sick.  If it makes her feel better to ride her bike in just her undies and flip-flops and not fasten her helmet, then I'm just gonna roll with it.  
I'm that Mom.   





      After begging to have Em's old bike, and after falling off it several times because it really is too big even if she really really wants it, she decided to write to Santa to ask for a new one.  

Yes, I see the tacky bottle of Budweiser on the porch.  No, it's not mine, so it's really not that tacky.  It has, however been there for a few days, so we're back to being tacky again.  





    
     Killer "skeeto's" this year.  He ate PLENTY of Oreo's tonight, so I'm guessing he tastes pretty darn sweet. 


Goodnight Everyone!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Garden Update

Things are looking pretty darn good.  Now... if all the bugs would just go away.


     Cabbage




Onions



 



Peas.  I had 5 of them today.  I'm hoping for more, like 11 or 13 tomorrow!!




Salsa  Tomatoes




Broccoli




More broccoli.  We like broccoli.  A lot.  




Lots and Lots of corn.  I have visions of fresh sweet corn on the cob sometime in January.  So if anyone knows of a way to preserve it in a way that it doesn't turn to mush, I'd LOVE to hear it.




Within the month, we should be having LOTS of fresh veggies!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Growing


     One apple.

Hundreds of beautiful apple blossoms, and we got one apple. 

     I know it's only the 2nd year with the apple trees, and I understand that these things take time... but just a few months ago, these two trees were planning for a couple hundred apples.  I thought there would be enough for making some pies and some to just eat right from the tree.  I told Brandt we'd have to bob for apples during our fall party this year and had even looked up some recipes on how to make & can applesauce. 

 I had plans for these apples. 

     I sat down and did a little research to find out what I did wrong.  I figured I had planted the trees too far apart, or even purchased the wrong trees.  By "I" I mean Brandt... because he bought and planted them both :) Before I found anything I was searching for, I found a forum on apple growing and within a few minutes learned that it's actually beneficial to not grow apples early on in the trees life.  Growing fruit takes away from growing roots.  Several experienced growers had talked about their new(er) trees having the same issue, and believed it was because we are supposed to have a hard upcoming winter.  

     It reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend the other day.  We talked about how life changes on a dime.  We often don't know how or why or when it will even turn and start heading in a totally different direction ~ but it happens all the time and we don't ever really notice until we're down that road a little ways. 

     Look back to the day you met your husband/wife... as you crawled out of bed that morning you likely had no idea what the day held in store for you.   God did.  

     Remember several months before you learned you were expecting a baby.  Did you see that in your plans?  Even if you had, did it turn out exactly as you had planned?  God already knew.  

     One year ago, my best friend had just started to reconcile with her ex-husband.  They still lived apart (in different towns), shared a 6 year old little girl, worked at their jobs.  Today, they live in a new town, together, have new jobs, a new home, and are expecting a baby boy any day now.  

     7 days before I met Brandt I had just had my pre-surgical appointment for getting my tubes tied.  I lived in a town an hour from here, worked for the same company I'd been with for 10+ years, and had decided to remain single for at least the next couple of years while I made the transition to single motherhood a bit easier.  Today, He and I have our own business, I made the move to our current town, we have three more children (he managed to talk me out of my surgery during the first 7 days I knew him...), and my life is as different today from what it was back then as it possibly could be.  

     And I never saw it coming.  

But God did.  


     Just like with the apple trees, he grows our roots before our fruit.

    And just like with the apple trees ~ we can't see what his plan is, or why we don't have what we want at the time, but it's how it's meant to be... with reason.  

     So while we only have one apple to share this fall, we'll really appreciate the taste we do get to have (unless the damn deer get to it before we do) and wait to do some more growing until next year.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bedrooms are for sleeping...

IN attempting to keep somewhat in line with Kellys Bedroom post today, I did find some pictures of our bedroom.  It's not clean (nor has it been "photo-clean" in years... and likely won't be until we no longer have little children who LOOOOOOVE our bedroom :)

Since I've always been told "Bedrooms are for sleeping"...  I'm doing a picture post today of some places of sleep throughout the kids.  Makes me realize there certainly are many places I've laid my head to rest over the years.  The kids all have a good start to their bedtime places lists too!



 





Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Christmas To Remember....

     I'm sharing this mostly because it's a story I find funnier and funnier each time I recall it - and I want to be able to remember it 30 years down the road.  Also because I think most moms out there will get a good laugh as well.

     Brandt and I have our bedroom upstairs across the back of the house.  We mostly keep our bedroom door locked when we're not in it because it's our private space and after the lotion incident of 2010 and the nail polish incident of 2011, I'm not sure the carpet could take much more.  Our bedroom is attached to the master bath via a short hallway and the linen closet in the bathroom is sort of a pass-through to the hallway linen closet as well.  Our 5 year old, Elle figured out that if she moved the towels, she could crawl through into our bathroom and have herself some care-free spa time complete with pedicure & manicure.  Unfortunately she managed to smuggle some polish into the kitchen where she stealthily painted her own name onto the bottom shelf of the cupboard we keep the glasses in.  She was smart enough to cover it up with 2 sippy-cups once it had dried.  Gotta love 5 year old logic... 

     Anyways - She knew how to get into our bedroom.   She also apparently knew how to find my vibrator.  I knew someone had found it because at one point, I found it laying outside of my locked bedroom door.  I certainly hadn't left it there, and was fairly certain that Brandt hadn't left it there either.  Last time he had seen it, there was some joking about it being equipped with a pull-start engine and some other horrible teasing.  Well - I showed him.  Actually, I didn't.  Which was his punishment.  Moving right along... I knew someone else knew.  

     I did what any other good Mom would do.  I picked it up, put it back in it's drawer and never spoke of the matter for fear of how uncomfortable I might be.

     A month or so goes by and one night as I'm changing sheets on the bed, Elle strolls through my bedroom to use our bathroom (because of the 4 bathrooms, ours is HER favorite).  On her way back out, she stops by my dresser, opens my drawer, finds what she's looking for, pulls it out, and innocently asks "What's this?".  I was relieved to know she had been the culprit, and caught totally off guard.  In sticking with the Perfect Mommy role, I told her it was a back massager.  I panicked, and it was the first logical thing that came to mind. 

     After changing the sheets, I decide to re-arrange the hall linen closet and moved all the big stuff to the bottom shelf hindering her attempts to break into our room.   Case closed.  At least for a few months.

     Fast forward to Christmas Day.  We've been lucky enough to have it at our house the past few years.  I secretly think it's because nobody wants three little kids tearing up their homes - but whatever the reason, I get to have it.   We invite Grandpas, Grandmas, Great Grandparents too.  Aunts, Uncles, and lots of friends.  It's a full house and I wouldn't want it any other way.

     This past Christmas was just as crowded and we had all just sat down to eat when Brandts sister commented on how her back was still hurting her (she had some back surgery the year before and it hadn't fixed the problem).   NOW... I know you're all seeing this wonderful foreshadowing here.  I wish we had!  We were both out of the dining room and didn't have a CLUE any of this was transpiring.  I think I was out in the garage getting a soda from our second fridge and Brandt was in the family room or something.   Luckily he caught a glimpse of Elle as she turned the corner and walked into the dining room and noticed she had something in her hand that looked vaguely familiar.   Brandt's Dad was in the kitchen (just through a door from the formal dining room) and was watching this whole thing happen. 

     Elle walked her little self into the dining room, approached her Aunt as she sat eating her Christmas dinner, and said "Here Auntie - I'll help your back feel better"... then turned this REALLY REALLY loud bright pink vibrator on and proceeded to rub her back with it. 

     And EVERYONE saw.   

     While they were eating their Christmas Dinner, everyone got to watch Elle massage her aunts back with my pink vibrator.  

     According to Brandts Dad, he's never seen Brandt move that quickly.  Brandt flew through the kitchen, into the dining room, and stole Elle's back massager like a thief in the night.  He wasn't quick enough by any means because the laughter I heard when as I walked back into the hallway was enormous.  I about died as I was filled in on what had just happened and had a hard time walking back into that room full of people. 

     Thank God everyone had a good sense of humor about it, and in hindsight, it's a memory nobody will forget anytime soon.  It's truly my funniest Christmas story, and I know it has been for others.   I think I may have laughed even harder to hear the story had been repeated amongst the Aunts & Uncles at another Christmas get-together later that day... and would have loved to hear one of them say to her husband "It was a DILDO!"... 

     I'm sorry for any emotional trauma this brought to Brandt's sister - but the laughter was worth every buzz!

Friendship...

     Friendship is an art and therefore beautiful.  It requires effort although with true friendship it always seems effortless.  It's full of humor which often makes it a comedy show, and if it's really a true friendship, it lasts through anything and everything and fills you with lots of memories.


     Friendship has been on my mind these past few weeks because my small-ish, constant, never-changing group of girlfriends looks like it will in fact, be changing a bit.  And it's strange to me because I've been pretty closed-minded about adding any new friends for years.  I've had the three best girlfriends a girl could ask for and there wasn't a desire or the time to want anything more.


     I think a lot of us Moms get into this routine of family & friends, and we get all nice and comfortable.  We have certain people who truly know us - and just love us as we are (this is a HUGE accomplishment for my friends because I'm a total piece of work!).  Being a friend to another Mom means you have to understand that sometimes, it will be three days (or in some cases, three weeks or three months) between conversations.  It means LOTS of broken lunch dates because yes my kids happened to pass the stomach bug back and forth for the whole winter.  I know it seems far fetched, and ridiculously impossible - but trust me... you'll likely see us listed in Guinness sometime soon for that world record.  Friends of moms understand a bathtub full of toys when they come to stay for the weekend and clean my main floor bathroom - the one that gets used by EVERYONE... ALL THE TIME... without being asked - and they even know where all my cleaning stuff is.  Friends of this Mom don't even complain when I serve them hotdogs three meals in a row.  


     My friends quietly let themselves out if I fall asleep when I put the little kids down to bed for the night.  They don't mind if I go to bed earlier than them.  They deal nicely with their kids being fed donuts for breakfast (as opposed to Kashi with almond milk) and only complain mildly after being bathroom bound for a whole day once they've returned to their own homes.  While they insist it's because they've indulged themselves in too many goodies during their stay, I'm left to wonder if we ever really did get rid of that intestinal bug or if we finally just became immune.  


     My point is that each of us Moms have our own little worlds we live in, and our friends have to accept us as we are.  Live and let live is the simplest way I can describe our "Motto"... and within this group, we do just that.  We laugh & we love.  We have talks that last for hours, and then 20 second chats.  We have history, and stories, and memories of watching each others children grow up - even if from a distance.  We all fit into that missing piece in one another's puzzles as though we were molded to fit into that exact spot.  And maybe we were.  


     And then one day, comes along someone new.  They don't know the rules (the rule is: There aren't any!)  or that it's ok to rummage through my fridge to find the maraschino cherries.  They even bring their own bottle of gin to a pool party and are entirely too formal in a really nice  "I like you, but this is new to me" sort of way.   They don't know it's ok for me to buy their daughter a swimsuit and goggles (that I got a great deal on) because 6 months from now they'll have taken my kids to the beach for a day and we'll totally be even.  Or not.  Because there isn't really any "even", or counting, or keeping track of this stuff.  It is how it is and we deal.  There aren't things such as imposition, or too much or too little.


     Someone just shows up to a bonfire with a box of ice cream cones for the kids and man... they were a hit.  The littles loved them and the bigs have begged for replacement boxes a few times.  We all sat around and laughed and talked and shared Mom stories - and found some common ground.  It's what Moms do.  Then it got dark, everyone left and went back to their own homes with their own lives and their own puzzles.  Also what Moms do.  One month, 2 more bonfires, a pool party, and some short chats while dropping off and picking up kids - and Voila!  Friendship.  New friendship - but friendship nonetheless.


     It turns out, there was room for another.  Thankfully someone who doesn't live 2 hours away (at least not yet).   It reminds me that we never really know what tomorrow will bring.  Thankfully, it also reminds me of how to interact with people who don't know me (or know my horrible habit of hanging up the phone before saying "Goodbye" - yes... I know I do it).


     SO - for anyone out there who's becoming a new friend to someone else I offer you these words of advice...  be patient, be accepting, be understanding, and if you're MY new friend - be prepared.  You might just find yourself sitting at the dinner table for Christmas Dinner and end up watching a 5 year old massage her aunts back with my pink vibrator.  True story (for another time!).

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Some short thoughts...


     Sometimes the best ideas come from WAY out in left field.  
I love that my kids think outside the box!





   

  Cat nap anyone?  
It's best to rest whenever and wherever the opportunity arises.
This is especially pertinent to anyone expecting a baby anytime soon.  
Ahem... maybe you Nic? 






Puffy Chocolate Chip cookies are the best.
Brandt swears by the thin chewy ones...  but not me.
I recently spent a great deal of time (and eggs, flour, sugar, etc) to get puffy cookies and found a really great recipe on Pinterest that uses vanilla instant pudding mix.  Whodathunkit??






Eating outside is awesome.
The food tastes better.
The kitchen stays cleaner.
The Mom stays happier.








It's best to send a card whenever, for no reason. 
I love getting cards like this.
On a weekday.
Just because. 







THIS.  Is summertime.  
And man could I go for a s'more.  
Or two. 




HAPPY TUESDAY!  Only 3 more days until the weekend is upon us!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer Portraits

     I totally justify the purchase of my camera by reminding myself I've never had to pay anyone else to take pictures of our children.  My stomach still hurts sometimes when I think about buying it, but I'm dealing with it.  Wine therapy sometimes helps :)





     She likes to have fun with the whole picture taking thing.  I'm happy she made it through the hair washing, blow-drying, flat ironing process... not to mention the putting on a dress ordeal.  She's 3 - why not have some fun, right? 


    

     She also refused to stand for most of her pictures.  I went with it.  It turned out ok.  



    

     This is truly Abby.  Mischievous, sparking, & silly!


    

     It's so hard to believe she's JUST five.  In so many ways, she's older.  This summer has brought her the privilege to swim sans life jacket, ride her bike without training-wheels, and she no longer has to take a nap each afternoon.  It's somewhat sad to remember her as a newborn - seeing her Daddy hold his first baby - bringing her home and surprising his parents with a visit from their first granddaughter (they thought she was still in the NICU) - and reading (and re-reading and re-reading the letter her Dad wrote to me the night she was born)...  it truly seems like yesterday. 



    
     Truth be told, it's nice this way too.  Independence brings more fun to her days.  Like coming with me to the office each day... being her Grandpas side-kick... having an incredibly close relationship with him is something that will be special to her for her entire life.  And, when I think about it, she's an awfully good "excuse" for me to be five again too!

     Now - off to do some work so I can play all weekend again!


Sunday Snapshot...

     I'm participating in NiHaoYa'll's Sunday Snapshot once again!!




     The last 2 weeks Abby has been my main model - which is not normal for her.  She typically HATES seeing the camera come out, so this is a welcome change!!!  The hat is courtesy of an amazing boutique!!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Derby Day at Daycare???



    Being Three...

I know what I want and I know what I like.

I pick my own clothes out each day.

I'll ask for a braid or a pony or two, 

And I'll pout when I don't get my way.


My mom sometimes grins as I walk through her door

when she sees what I've worn with my dress.

I might just be three, but I know what I want

My style is still quite a mess!