Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Quest for the Perfect Christmas Card Picture

This year I was determined to have a great Christmas card picture.  We've had decent ones in the past but nothing very special.  It’s pretty much the same picture every year, Mike and I in front of our Christmas tree. We did the same pose last year for E’s first Christmas.  I wanted something different this year, something fun!  I turned to Pinterest for inspiration and it did not disappoint.  I found some great ideas and was excited for a fresh take on the Gesellchen Christmas card.  Of course Mike could care less.  When I asked him his thoughts, he was fine posing in front of the Christmas tree…again.  I ignored him and continued on with my vision.  My creative, crafty mother would be needed because as much as I strive to be a crafter, the patience just isn't there.

My vision for our Christmas card picture was to be outside by a pine tree in my parents' yard.  The three of us would hold up letters spelling out JOY.  I attempted to help my mom cut out the letters and cover in paper but it was just easier to have her do it, again, no patience.  Unfortunately, picture day turned out to be rainy and I was feeling defeated that my Christmas card vision was not going to happen.  I turned to Pinterest for plan B and found some indoor ideas, but once again we’d be posing in front of the Christmas tree. 

I wasn't thrilled with these pictures but I would make them work if the weather didn't cooperate with my outdoor vision. 




The next day was cold but there was a beautiful dusting of snow on the ground.  Perfect for my original outdoor vision!  Mom finished the letters and my dad helped with the staging (I wanted more snow on the tree).  


Lavar, the barn cat decided to join the fun too.  We couldn't get him to leave so he ended up in all of our photos. 



The Christmas card picture turned out to be quite the event but I’m happy with how they turned out so it was well worth it..random barn cat and all.   

Friday, December 6, 2013

E's 18 Month Checkup and a Peak at Baby 2

This week, E had his 18 month checkup.  My little big boy weighed in at 29.6lbs and was 34 inches tall.  90th percentile for each.  This was one of the better appointments.  E usually screams the entire time but he was brave when the Dr. was checking him over, just a few "No's!"  We did have screams and tears when he got two shots but I would be screaming too if someone held me down and shoved a needle in my leg.

E still likes his bottle and the Dr. strongly suggested we work on getting rid of it.  I admitt it, the bottle is totally a comfort thing for E so this may be an uphill battle.  He's so content after his bottle and I love the snuggle time.  But, it probably is time.  My goal is to have E bottle free by the time Baby 2 arrives.  We have about 5 months to work on that.

We got a peak at Baby 2 this week as well.  I had my 20 week ultrasound where they take all the measurements and make sure all the organs are in the right place.  Baby 2 looked good and we did not find out the gender.  I was tempted, but Mike wants his moment during the delivery to announce boy or girl.  I think we're having a boy.  Ever since E was born, I knew I wanted more kids and I just pictured myself with boys.  Rowdy, stinky boys running through my house, I feel I'm a "Boy Mom."  Only time will tell and as long as Baby 2 is healthy, boy or girl really doesn't matter.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

'Tis the Season

Around this time of year there seems to be the debate that retailers push Christmas earlier and earlier each year and poor Thanksgiving gets looked over.  Especially over the past few years when retailers began opening on Thanksgiving Day.  At first stores opened at midnight, then 8pm, and now some retailers open at 5pm on Thanksgiving Day to push holiday sales.  Will Black Friday cease to exist in the near future?

I used to be a firm believer in “No Christmas until after Thanksgiving”.  I wanted to properly celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.  No decorations, no Christmas music, and certainly no Christmas tree until the Friday after.  This year is different.  My friend Carrie, who has had her Christmas tree up for weeks, inspired me by justifying that it’s more fun to celebrate the two holidays in one.  I truly enjoy the music, decorations and basically all things Christmas.  So why put it off?  Especially this year when there are only 3 weeks between the two holidays.  I've slowly started putting a few decorations up around the house and I've had Pandora playing a wonderful assortment of Christmas music.  I must admit, I’m thoroughly enjoying all the holiday cheer.  

We celebrated Thanksgiving with my parents a week early and because of my new approach to the holidays, we went all out.  We cooked a huge traditional Thanksgiving meal while listening to Christmas music.  We put up the tree and took our family Christmas card picture.  By embracing the holiday season as one, I honestly think I enjoyed myself more.  I also have found myself being more reflective on how blessed my life is and how thankful I am.  I don’t look at my new view as skipping Thanksgiving, but more as embracing the entire holiday season and enjoying it to the fullest.   

Now with this being said, you won’t find me out shopping on Thanksgiving Day to get an early start on my Christmas shopping.  I would much prefer to enjoy the day with my family and friends instead of random strangers looking for the best bargain.  But, I’m not opposed to the retailers being open on Thanksgiving either.  Working for a major retailer, I understand the impact holiday sales can have on a company.  Christmas time is the Super Bowl for retailers.  It’s a big deal!  If people want to shop on Thanksgiving Day, well the retailers will make that happen.  It’s simple supply and demand.  I commend the retailers that are taking a stand and refuse to be open on Thanksgiving, but I also don’t belittle those retailers that choose to be open.  Right or wrong, it’s what our society has transformed into and retailers and consumers both play parts in this ongoing debate.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Finding Indoor Fun

We are an outside family and most of our days in the summer were spent outside.  Mike and I were worried about keeping E busy as the weather turned colder.  So far we've been finding plenty of indoor activities to keep us busy and not get too stir crazy.  Here’s what we've been up to:

Wild Rumpus Bookstore – For any family living in the Twin Cities who have yet to visit this unique store, you must go now!  This place is so much fun for kids and parents.  Not only are there plenty of books to read, but you may find yourself sharing the floor with a chicken as you read your favorite story.  Yes, there is a chicken roaming around the store along with his friend the cat.  There are also two birdcages with parrots and doves, two chinchillas, and a ferret. 

A Creative Kidstuff is just around the corner from Wild Rumpus.  This store is so much bigger than the one by our house which means lots more toys to try out.  E loved "baking cookies in the kitchen." We spent an entire morning playing at Wild Rumpus and Creative Kidstuff. 

We are also fortunate that our community has Tot Time which runs November – March.  This is hosted at the rec center and basically they convert a banquet room into a giant playroom; bouncy house included.  It’s 3 days a week for 2 hours and costs $2 per session or you can buy a pass to save some money.  We've only gone once so far but will definitely be attending again.  E’s favorite activities at Tot Time are “mowing” with a plastic mower, playing basketball and of course playing with the trucks. 

I’m trying to do more arts and crafts with E.  I found a great homemade recipe for play-doh and he also likes coloring and “painting” with shaving cream.  I tried to introduce a glue stick to E but he likes to put the glue on his finger and then have Mom wipe it off.  He did this over and over one day, I finally put the glue stick up.  We’ll save that for a later day. 

Although I would much rather have the warm summer days of splash pads and playgrounds, I’m feeling better about keeping busy during the cold winter days ahead.  This has been an opportunity to try new things with E and go on different adventures.    

Monday, November 18, 2013

Baby 2 Makes 4


I love, love, love this picture!  It’s our first family picture of a family of 4.  I am so excited for this baby I can hardly wait.  April 28th is the official due date but with the complications I had with E, I will have a scheduled C-section most likely on April 21st.  I’m all for it.  I had an easy recovery from my C-section with E and being able to plan makes things so much easier with a toddler to take care of as well. The only bummer is that our good friends are getting married on April 26th in Duluth and I won’t be able to attend.  Mike is a groomsman so Grandma Sharon will be helping out while Mike is gone. 

We've been doing our best to prepare E for his little brother or sister but I’m not sure how much a 17 month old understands.  He’ll point or pat my tummy and say "baby".  We got one of my old cabbage patch dolls out and talk to him about how the baby needs it’s diaper changed and we need to be gentle with the baby.  Things were going fine until one day when Mike was holding the doll while reading E a story.  E didn't care to share his Daddy, and threw the doll on the floor.  I’m sure it will be an adjustment for all of us when Baby 2 arrives but I think of how much joy E has brought our family and Baby 2 will only add more.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Thrifty Momma

When I found out I was pregnant, I was so excited to shop, shop, shop!  I couldn't leave Target without at least buying one thing for baby.  I didn't know if E was a boy or girl so I had to buy gender neutral things.  That was probably a good thing.  If I knew the gender of the baby, I’m sure I would have went overboard with pinks or blues.  The thought never occurred to me to check out thrift stores or second hand places.  I never shopped at Goodwill or stopped by garage sales before, why would I start now?  Because kids are expensive, that’s why.  I also didn't realize how quickly babies grew.  E is only 16 months old and I already have four big totes full of clothes he’s outgrown.  I found I can find toys at garage sales and thrift stores so much cheaper as well.  We bought E a water table for his birthday that was on sale for $30.  As I've started to shop around for second hand items, I've found tons of water tables ranging from $8 - $12. 

Now I’m all about the bargain hunting.  I love looking through Goodwill, Once Upon a Child, and stopping at random garage sales.  I've found some great things for just a few dollars.  I haven’t totally converted to only buying second hand stuff.  I still love looking at all the clothes when I go to Target and am still guilty of buying a cute shirt for E every now and then.  But at the rate E grows out of his clothes and out grows his toys, the more things used I can get, the better.   Some of my great finds are:

Jungle Gym with slide - $10 at garage sale

Nike and Stride Rite Shoes - $3 each at Goodwill

Winter coat - $15 at Once Upon a Child

Snow pants - $4 at Once Upon a Child

Books - $.25 to $.50 at garage sale

Pajamas - $3.50 each at Once Upon a Child

Friday, October 4, 2013

Life Lately

Wow, blogging has really taken a backseat lately.  I've got several half written posts but for some reason the gumption to finish them hasn't been there.  It will come, I know it will.  But for now, here's life lately with the Gesellchen Family:

Mike and Evan have been spending Sunday afternoons at our good friend O'Malley's man-cave for football.  It works out pretty well because I can catch up on sleep from working the night before and I don't feel guilty about not seeing E.  

We jumped on the Breaking Bad bandwagon, we just finished Season 1 (pretty late to the party, I know).  I'm cheap and borrow the DVDs from the library but I'm getting antsy waiting for Season 2 so I might just spring for it on Amazon Prime at $1.99 an episode.  Did I mention I was cheap?

We made one last trip up North for the summer to help Mike's family on the farm house and see E's great-grandma.  

E asserted his independence and decided he no longer needed a high-chair.  One day he just refused to go in there.  So we took the hint and got his booster seat ready to go.

Mike's been getting some fishing in.  Unfortunately, this picture is the one and only fish he caught on his last trip.

Mike's helping put a fence in at at his sister's house.  E stopped over to help too.

We're also starting a remodeling project at our house, we're finishing our basement.  I'm very excited to get this done because it will add so much more space to our house.  We're still in the early stages, we're hoping to actually get boards up in the next 2 weeks!

The pics below are some old ones from a late summer visit to my mom and dad's.  They were just too cute to not post. 
E decided to re-pot Grandma's flower.

Cooling off in the pool.

Picking zucchini.  

Helping Grandpa dig potatoes. 

Feeding the goats.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

So Long Summer

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer.  Sure, we still have some sunshiny days ahead of us, but we know they are nearing the end.  With Labor Day comes back to school and back to a routine.  I don’t have a school age child, but I can relate to having a looser schedule in the summer.  Bed times get pushed back because we want to get as much outside time as we can.  Dinners are a lot more low key and spur of the moment.  Cold sandwiches one night, a box of mac and cheese the next, and throwing whatever can be grilled on the grill.  The chore list that we so diligently stuck to during the winter has gone out the window.  Who has time to sweep when there are new playgrounds to discover? 

I consider myself a summer time girl so it’s always a little sad to see Labor Day come.  I think mostly because I know what’s ahead.  Months and months of cold, dark days.  Snow that comes up to my waist.  Driving on icy slick roads.  All things that I get so sick of by the time March rolls around.  That’s why it’s so important to me that I make the most out of summer.  I feel it goes by so quickly and I don’t want to look back and think “What the heck did we do this summer?”  Mike and I created a Summer Bucket List to make sure we got the most out of our summer and we accomplished almost everything before Labor Day…

1.Visit Como Zo
2. Splash Pad in St. Louis Park
3. Roast marshmallows in our backyard (When I wrote this, E was not yet mobile. Realized fire and a 1 year old, not a good idea.)
4. Sit in the driveway and drink a beer  (I think we can triple check this one.)
5. Grill as much as possible  (Every chance we get, sometimes for lunch and dinner!)
6. Plant a tomato and pepper plant  (I didn't plant a pepper plant but my tomato plant is going strong.)
7. Grow fresh cilantro (I'm crossing this one off because I attempted fresh cilantro, it died)
8. Drink morning coffee on our patio
9. Walk to Caribou with E and Josie for morning coffee
10. Take Evan to one of Minnesota's many lakes (Lake Superior)
11. Visit Itasca State Park
12. Go Fishing (Mike went but we didn't make it as a family)
13. Go to the Farmer's Market as much as possible (only made it once)
14. Golf
15. Eat at Sea Salt
16. Adele's for frozen custard 
17. Take E to a playground (This is pretty much a daily activity for us)
18. Take E to a parade (We went to the 4th of July Parade in Spicer)
19. Pull E with the bike
20. IA or MN State Fair

Now, as sad as I am to see summer go, I must admit, the weeks following Labor Day do bring some excitement.  So, in order to put a positive spin on the unofficial end of summer, I've created my Fall Top 10 List (in no particular order).

1.       College football season kicks off
2.       No more summer reruns and the anticipation of new shows for the fall season 
3.       Peanuts and candy corn (If you’ve never tried this delicious mix, you must try it!)
4.       Chili and corn bread, this is a fall favorite of mine
5.       Carving pumpkins
6.       The leaves changing colors
7.       Sleeping with the windows open on a crisp fall night
8.       Apple season…apple cider, apple crisp, carmel apples
9.       Daylight Savings, fall back to get an extra hour of sleep.
10.    Oktoberfest beer

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Great Minnesota Get Together

Despite the 90 degree weather and 100% humidity, we ventured out to the Minnesota State Fair.  I love the fair!  Of course I’m partial to the Iowa State Fair, but the Minnesota State Fair is a pretty close second (never mind I've only been to two state fairs).  I mostly go for the food, but I also enjoy looking at the award winning vegetables.  My sister-in-law, Andrea, had an exhibit this year showcasing old postcards, so I had to check that out.  She took home 3rd place in her category and won $2! 

This was E’s first fair experience and seeing his reaction to all the sights and sounds was the highlight of this year’s trip.  Just getting there was an adventure for him.  E’s really into trucks, cars, planes; basically anything that has a motor and moves.  We took the park-n-ride which meant he got to ride on a bus.  He thought that was pretty cool and now “bus” is in his vocabulary. 

When we arrived at the fair, our first stop was the Miracle of Birth Barn to check out all the baby animals born at the fair.  When E saw the goats he was screaming “Baa Baa” and I thought he was going to jump out of his stroller with excitement.  I’m sure he was confused, at Grandpa’s house he can walk right in with the goats, but I think they would frown upon that at the fair.   Another big hit for E were the misting stations.  There were water misters set up throughout the fair to cool off fair goers. E loves anything with water.  All the live music at the various stages caught E’s attention as well.  He busted out some great dance moves. 

And of course there was E’s first experience with fair food, which is my personal favorite.  He sampled corn dogs and cheese curds, chicken tenders and a turkey sandwich.  He took advantage of the all you can drink milk and ended his trip to the fair with a stop at the Dairy Barn where he helped Grandma, Mom and Dad eat their malts.  When we boarded the bus to get back home, he wiggled around between Mom and Dad for a while and then as soon as we took off he passed out on Dad’s lap and woke up barely enough to get a new diaper on and PJs and then was back to sleep.

I loved watching E’s reaction to everything, it made this fair experience so much better.  I was proud with how well he behaved.  He went with the flow and didn't fuss once even though we were out past his bedtime.   I know E won’t remember his first fair, but I’m hoping that somewhere in that little mind of his he’s developing sense of a happy childhood. 

Evan in the misters

Checking out the chickens.
Loving the Fair.

Mike with his pork chop on a stick.

Ice Cream!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Coming Full Circle

I haven't read a book in a while that I really connected with.  I just finished reading So Much Sky by Karen Weir-Jimerson.  The book is a collection of short stories about living in the country in Iowa.  This book brought me full circle.  It reminded me of how I grew up.  I could relate to so many of her stories; shearing sheep in the spring time, bottle feeding lambs, being able to go out to the garden and pick our food for that night’s dinner and all the splendor of the Iowa State Fair.  

The book also made me realize how much plans and dreams can change as we grow up.  I couldn't wait to get out of the country and out of a small town when I was in high school.  I was determined to be a city girl.  In fact, I actually remember telling my parents that I wanted to live in a city that had a traffic report.  When my best friend got a job offer in Minneapolis and asked if I would move with her, I jumped at the opportunity to move to a big city.  

I bought my “single girl in the city house” just outside of Minneapolis and thought I was set.  Then I fell in love and got married and eventually had a baby.  Now that “single girl in the city house” just isn't cutting it.   I long for the privacy of the country and want to have space for my child and dog to run free.  I want to have chickens scratching in the yard and pick their fresh eggs.  And I want to be able to use the phrase, "Go into town."   

It's amazing how this book really got me thinking. What I ended up wanting in life in the long run, I had the entire time.  It made me sad the more I thought about this.  But then I realized if I hadn't  pursued my dreams of being a city girl, I probably wouldn't have appreciated what I had growing up and realized that my heart is in the country.  I also wouldn't have met my amazing husband and had the best kid a mom could ask for.   

I know that eventually my family will end up living in the country because that's where we're meant to be.  Whether it's in the country I know so well in Iowa or I discover country living in Minnesota, that's still up in the air.   For now visits to the country keep me satisfied and help keep my dreams alive.   One day, I will be able to look out my kitchen window and see a sea of corn fields and look up from my yard and see so much sky.  

Friday, August 16, 2013

Feeling Like a Mom

As much as a I hate to admit this, there are times when I don’t feel like a Mom.  I think part of it is being a working Mom with an at home Dad for a husband.  Since E and Mike are together pretty much 24/7, it’s only natural that E would gravitate to him more.  It's not that I doubt E's love for me.  He greets me at the door when I come home from work, usually with a book or toy to show me and always with a smile.  But it’s clear that Mike is the primary care giver.  He knows E’s likes and dislikes better than I do and knows E's daily routine inside and out.  

When we’re all together, I find myself asking Mike questions.  Like what E should eat or when he needs his nap.  It’s those moments when I don’t always feel like a Mom.  He’s my child too, I should know these things.  But the reality is, I work outside the home and Mike is an at home Dad.  Sure, I wish it were me that got to stay at home and be a full-time Mom.  But for now I’m just grateful that we even have the option to have one of us be an at home parent.

I've learned that if I do things with E on my own, I feel a stronger bond with him and have that "Mom" feeling.  I realized this a couple of weeks ago.  A friend asked if E and I wanted to meet her and her niece at an indoor play area. We went and had a blast.  I actually felt like a Mom.  I can’t explain it, but it was a feeling that just hit me.  It had been a while since E and I had done anything just the two of us and it’s just want I needed to reaffirm my feelings as a Mom. 

I love doing things as a family but it’s important that I have my own time with E.  Mike has plenty of 1-on-1 time with him and I want E to experience that with me as well.  It also gives Mike a break from being in Dad mode 24/7.  There will be many more Mommy and E dates in our future.  Well, at least until he hits the teenage years, then I'll give him a break.  

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Settling into the Toddler Stage

Expressing that he doesn't want the banana.  
We've reached the toddler stage and from what I've read and heard, the toddler stage lasts quite a while.  The Terrible Two's are also just around the corner.  E is only 14 months, but I think we're rounding that corner.  E isn't throwing tantrums or anything like that, he's just becoming more of his own person each day and learning to express his thoughts and opinions. He is also very curious about his world and with that comes testing boundaries. He knows when something is naughty because once I tell him "No", he'll turn and slyly smile at me and try to do it again.

Being a toddler also means not sitting for more than a minute at one time.  Mike and I used go to a restaurant and E would be content sitting in his carrier watching the world go by.  Now we bring plenty of toys and crayons to keep him occupied but we usually end up taking turns walking him around the restaurant.  We're getting more and more take out on those days when we don't feel like cooking.    

Mike and I are trying to figure this discipline thing out.  It's hard with a 14 month old.  I don't want to squash his curiosity or his spirited opinions, but at the same time I want him to learn manners and the proper way to behave.  Not to mention some of the "No's" are for his own safety.  I also don't want to be the mother that's constantly harping on her child chasing after him yelling "No, no!.  That's not fun for either us.  Mike actually saw one of those at the library the other day, he said it wasn't pretty.

We do our best to redirect E when he's in the "naughty zone" and remove anything that could possible hurt him.  I've learned that childproofing is an ongoing process.  We've got some time to figure it out though. Mike and I are settling into this phase because we'll be here for a while and the fun is only beginning.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Our First Family Vacation

Life has been busy lately and I haven't been writing as much as I would like.  But then again, when isn't life busy?  Let me rephrase, blogging hasn't been a priority lately.  I love writing and I have all these topics I want to write about, I just need to make time to do it.  When I started this blog, it was for me, meaning when I have the time and desire to write, I write and when I don't, I don't write.

Anyway, so last week we went on our first official family vacation.  And what I mean by official is that we actually went somewhere and stayed in a hotel (well a condo in our case) for the pure sake of taking a vacation.  Not visiting friends or family or going to a wedding, just a good old fashion family vacation.  We invited my parents to come along because I enjoy my parents and also to help with E so Mike and I could spend time just the two of us.  My Dad couldn't make the trip, something about too much work at home...blah blah blah.  I just said "Whatever Dad.", but my Mom came and it was great having her along.

We went to Bayfield, WI which is about 4 hours away and right on Lake Superior.  We rented a condo in Port Superior Marina.  A condo was the way to go.  Especially with E, things were just easier.  We had plenty of room for him to play, a full kitchen to cook meals and a deck right on the water.  The only bad thing was the deck had limited railings so we didn't spend too much time out there.  My fearless child would be jumping in the water within a matter of seconds.

We spent 4 glorious days at different beaches, checking out different playgrounds, eating ice cream and Ruffles with French Onion Dip (a vacation must have!).  We took the ferry over to Madeline Island and spent the day at the beach there and checking out the quaint beach town.  We had perfect weather, little rain and plenty of sunshine.

On the way back from Bayfield, we stopped in Duluth for lunch and to walk around the lake shore.  It was a great first family vacation and we all agreed we'd go back.  I think E enjoyed the water the most.  I loved seeing him playing in the waves and sand at the beach.

It was a simple vacation, we didn't visit anything historic or particularly famous or eat in any great restaurants. It was just time spent together doing things we love and a chance to get away.  It was pretty much perfect.

Our view for the week.

Day at the beach.

Mom and Grandma having fun at the playground.

Ferry ride to Madeline Island.  E was ready to jump in!

One of several ice cream stops.

Stop in Duluth on the way home.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer Bucket List Check In - And Other Fun Summer Things

In my mind, the 4th of July marks the middle of summer.  So that means summer is already half over! Summer is my favorite season and it always seems too short, especially in Minnesota.  A while back Mike and I created a Summer Bucket List in order to get the most out of summer.  Here's how we're doing so far.

1.Visit Como Zo
2. Splash Pad in St. Louis Park
3. Roast marshmallows in our backyard
4. Sit in the driveway and drink a beer  (I think we can triple check this one.)
5. Grill as much as possible  (Every chance we get, sometimes for lunch and dinner!)
6. Plant a tomato and pepper plant  (I didn't plant a pepper plant but my tomato plant is going strong.)
7. Grow fresh cilantro (I'm crossing this one off because I attempted fresh cilantro, it died)
8. Drink morning coffee on our patio
9. Walk to Caribou with E and Josie for morning coffee
10. Take Evan to one of Minnesota's many lakes
11. Visit Itasca State Park
12. Go Fishing
13. Go to the Farmer's Market as much as possible
14. Golf
15. Eat at Sea Salt
16. Adele's for frozen custard 
17. Take E to a playground (This is pretty much a daily activity for us)
18. Take E to a parade (We went to the 4th of July Parade in Spicer)
19. Pull E with the bike
20. IA or MN State Fair

As you can see, we've crossed off quite a few things on our list but still have many things left to do. Thankfully we still have some summertime left.  Even though we've still got things to check off our Summer Bucket List, I think we're having an awesome summer spending as much time outside as we can.  This may mean my floors have a few more dust bunnies and little less laundry gets folded, but it's worth it.  

Evan's First Scratch cupcake.

Bubbles on the Farm.

Checking out Grandpa's goats.

Loving the swings at the park.

It looks like we're at a lodge up North...we're really just at Famous Dave's for lunch.

Splash Pad Fun!

You could say I'm having a pretty great summer!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

"Goose Needs a Hug"

I'm writing this post simply so I will have this memory documented.  My heart absolutely melted tonight while reading E this book.  We are big fans of Duck and Goose books so we read a lot of them.  In this book, Goose is sad and needs a hug.  His friends are trying to find out what's wrong and cheer him up.  In the end, Goose finally says he needs A HUG!  When I read the last page, E will lean in and give me a hug.  It is the sweetest thing ever!  I kept reading the book over and over tonight and each time we got to the last page I got a hug.  Did I mention my heart melted?   


Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Josie is our very naughty terrier mutt we rescued 3 years ago.  I don’t really write about her much but she is a very big part of our family.  You see, before E came along, Josie was our baby.  Mike and I rescued her the summer after we got married and she ran the household from Day 1.  That was our first mistake!  We would take pictures of her like we do now with E and send them back and forth to each other.  She slept in the bed with us and she always cuddled up on the couch with me.  Mike and I only have ourselves to blame for her naughtiness, we treated her like a princess.  When we found out I was pregnant, I reassuringly told Josie that “She would always be my first baby.”  I knew my relationship with Josie would change once I had the baby, but I didn't think it would change as drastically as it did.  She became more of a nuisance than my little puppy I once adored.  Her naughty behavior got worse and instead of dealing with it I just got more mad and resentful towards her.  In fact, Mike and I considered getting rid of her but neither one of us was willing to make that call.  I kept thinking of all the happiness she has brought me over the years.  When I was on bed rest with E, she knew something was not right.  She stayed with me on the couch and kept me company.  Those memories made it so hard to consider surrendering her.  And through all of this change, she has been so good with E. 

For the past 2 weeks, Josie has been out at Mike’s parents’ house.  They offered to keep her since we've been gone so much.  They live out in the country where she can run free.  She is a different dog out there.  She doesn't bark as much, she will lie nicely on the floor at our feet and she actually listens.  I hadn't seen Josie for a while and I really wasn't missing her too much but as soon as I saw her all those feelings of resentment went out the window.  I didn't realize how much I did miss her until I saw her cute little face with her tongue sticking out ready to give me kisses. 

We brought Josie back home and I’m hoping some of her good behavior sticks.  I need to be a better dog owner too.  I need to make sure she gets the exercise she needs and deserves.  I’m going to get her a permit for the dog park so she can continue to run free.  I’m going to make sure she knows she is loved just as much as before because she is a part of our family and we love her.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Taking Back My House

I can't believe we're in July already.  The month of June flew by and was a whirlwind for my family.  I looked at the calendar and counted the days we were actually home in June.  16 days.  And some of those days we were just home on weekends because I had to work and then we headed right back out.

It's been fun vacationing out East with friends, spending time in Iowa with my family, having friends in town and spending time out at Mike's family, but I'm ready to be home for a while.  I mean seriously, I'm still storing my makeup and face lotion in my travel case!

In my old age I've become a bit of a homebody and I enjoy being at home and puttering around.  I love to spend time in my yard and cook in my kitchen.  I haven't had the chance to enjoy being a homebody and my house shows it!  There are piles of laundry everywhere, some clean some dirty.  The lawn is turning into a prairie, my flower beds are overgrown with weeds and my cilantro and basil didn't survive.  I can't remember the last time I cooked a meal in my kitchen and my Pinterest boards are feeling neglected.

We are out of town for the 4th of July then it's a week of nothing so I'm declaring next week "Take Back My House Week!". I have a hefty list of things I want to get done but I'm also excited to cook meals, spend time in the backyard with E and catch up on my shows...I have not been Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

The month of June was a blast but I'm ready for some downtime.  So once the 4th is over,  I'm putting up the suitcases and going to finally unpack my makeup until the next trip....which looking at my calendar, is exactly 2 weeks from today.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Our Night with Jen

Tonight my sister-in-law, Andrea, and I went to a book signing of one of our favorite authors, Jen Lancaster. She's on tour for her new book, The TAO of MARTHA.

This is a must read!  If you haven't read of one of Jen Lancaster's books, you are missing out.  She is hilarious!  Her newest book summarizes the ups and downs of spending a year trying to live life according to Martha Stewart.  Again, hilarious!  I've read all of her books and this is definitely one of my favorites.  It was great to see her in person tonight.  She's exactly what I expected; real, sarcastic and quite entertaining.  I've never been to a book signing and discussion before and it was great to hear her talk about her journey writing this book.

I'm such a fan of Jen Lancaster and I was so excited to meet her tonight.  I want to be her friend, so when it was my turn to get my book signed, I wanted to be prepared with something clever to say, something so she would remember me and want to be my friend too.  When it was my turn, I froze.  All I could muster up was a "Hi" and "I'm excited to be here."  So Jen and I won't be becoming Besties anytime soon.  But at least I got a signed copy of the book and a photo with her.