Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas :)

Just a few shots of our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day festivities.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Butterfly Circus

I have to share the most amazing short film with you. Dan went to a discipleship training school in Kansas City with its writer/director, Joshua Weigel. This movie has already won the Clint Eastwood Filmmaker Award (among other 2010 film fest awards), and it is becoming a feature film. I'm sure it will be up for the Academy Award for best short film. It's really incredible! You can learn more about it at

Thank you, anonymous commenter, for the link to the official video on vimeo!

The Butterfly Circus - HD from The Butterfly Circus on Vimeo.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Santa, Baby

We visited the best Santa in the world on Saturday. (Mother Earth Gardens in South Minneapolis--take note for next year!) Jack was enthralled. Leah, not so much. Really quite beside herself, actually. But it made for some cute pictures!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

And it snowed....

Here in Minnesota, we've just survived what has been beautifully referred to as a "snownami." By the time it stopped last night, the Twin Cities had between 10 and 17 inches of snow. Pretty crazy. It even cause the roof of the Metrodome to collapse!

As it came down yesterday, I watched the depth on our deck continue to increase and got a great idea for a picture. It was literally as deep as Leah is tall, so I wanted to bundle her all up and plop her down in the snow. Unfortunately (well, for me anyway), she didn't sink down more than a couple of inches. So my awesome picture idea was out the window (since I didn't think she'd appreciate being pushed down forcefully), but we set her on top of the snow and still got a few cute pictures. :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

This is amazing

Seriously amazing. A friend on Facebook shared a link to this video. Please watch it and enjoy. :)

After watching it, I noticed another video on the right called "The Making of....." and I had to watch it. Well, it turns out there were four parts of "The Making of...." but it just made the original video that much more amazing! So please, sit back and enjoy. If for nothing else than to enjoy David Crowder's hair. Honestly. Love.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

WFD 11/21/10

Okay, this is actually going to be for dinner tomorrow night, but I'm excited about it. :) I made this like three years ago when I first found the recipe in an old Cooking Light magazine. It was good, so I don't know why I haven't made it since then. Enjoy! (I personally add a little more bacon and cheese than it calls for--it's a little less "cooking light," but tastes great). :)

Cheddar Chicken Chowder
2 bacon slices
1 pound chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup diced red bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
4½ cups chicken broth
1¾ cups diced, peeled red potatoes
2¼ cups frozen whole-kernel corn
½ cup flour
2 cups 2% milk
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Cook bacon in a dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove and crumble; set aside. Add the chicken, onion, red bell pepper, and garlic to drippings. Saute 5 minutes. Add broth and potato and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add corn; stir well.
View full recipe

Whisk flour and milk until blended. Add to soup. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 15 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Stir in the cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper. Top with crumbled bacon.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

WFD 10/12/10

Sorry, I've been quite absent. :)

Stir Fry
Stir Fry:
water chestnuts
pea pods

¼ cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

1 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1½ tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sesame oil
View full recipe

Mix marinade ingredients and add chicken.

Mix sauce ingredients and set aside.

Heat oil in a large pan and saute chicken until cooked through. Remove chicken and saute vegetables until cooked. Add chicken and sauce mixture to vegetables. Cook until sauce thickens.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pumpkin cookies

I got this recipe from my friend Amy and made them last night. They are delicious! They are also egg- and dairy-free, so they're great for people with those particular food allergies. :)

Pumpkin Cookies
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup oil
2 cups flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 t ginger
1 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Combine all ingredients and drop by spoonful onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Cool slightly before moving to cooling rack.
I frosted some with cream cheese frosting, which was really tasty. :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

WFD 9/24

Here you go, Lisa. ;)

Chicken Pot Pie! Easiest CPP recipe ever. Okay, it's the ONLY CPP I've ever made, but it IS really easy. And it's also not mine. It's from my friend Crissy. Thank you, Crissy. :) My favorite thing about this is that it's a classic one-dish meal. No need for any other side dish--everything is in there!

Chicken Pot Pie
1/3 cup melted butter
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup flour
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
Blend above ingredients in a saucepan and start cooking over medium heat. When it starts to bubble, add:
1 1/2 cups water mixed with 2 t chicken boullion
2/3 cup milk
Bring to a boil and add:
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 bag mixed veggies

Roll out one refrigerated pie crust in pie pan. Add mixture and roll another pie crust on top. Crimp edges and make a few cuts in the top. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

WFD 9/16

Well, I broke out my crock pot for the first time this season! I love using my crock pot--it's so easy to throw stuff into it in the morning, and I get to smell it all day long. :)

Tonight I made this beef stroganoff recipe. Really delicious! And oh, so easy.

Crock pot beef stroganoff
1-2 pounds beef stew meat
1 pound sliced fresh mushrooms (this might seem like a lot when you throw it all in, but they cook down quite a bit--and they're just delicious)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10.75oz) can cream of mushroom soup (the 98% fat free works great)
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1-2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 cup sour cream

Place everything except for sour cream into your crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir in the sour cream and cook on high for another 15-30 minutes. Serve over egg noodles.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

WFD 9/3

Yesterday was a freezing cold "summer" day, so I made soup. I bought a butternut squash at the farmers market last week, hoping there would be a nice blustery day to use it for soup, and I lucked out! So, here is the recipe for the first soup:

Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque
3 tablespoons butter
5 cups seeded, peeled, cubed butternut squash
1¼ cups chopped onion
½ cup chopped carrot
½ cup chopped celery
1 small granny smith apple, cored, peeled, and chopped
½ teaspoon ground allspice
3½ cups (or more) vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup apple cider
1 cup whipping creamView full recipe

Melt butter in a large pot. Add squash, onion, carrot, and celery. Saute for about 10 minutes. Mix in apple and allspice. Add broth and cider and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-low and simmer about 30 minutes. Puree in batches and return to pot. Add more broth if too thick. Add ½ cup cream and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Ladel, drizzle with cream, and sprinkle with parsley.

Unfortunately, my husband doesn't share my love of butternut squash, so I made him chicken noodle soup. It's a Tyler Florence recipe that I found a few years ago, and it's really good. And it's not especially time consuming, particularly if you use a store-bought rotisserie chicken!

Chicken Noodle Soup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
2 quarts chicken stock
8 ounces dried wide egg noodles
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes until tender. Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

Monday, August 23, 2010

WFD 8/22 and 8/23

At a friend's request, I am posting last night's dinner (even though it was pretty basic and didn't require actual recipes--I think he just wants to make it on my blog. Here you go, Matt!) and tonight's dinner.

Last night, we brought dinner to the Glatzels' new home in Edina. They just moved back from Milwaukee, and we're THRILLED to have them closer again. We brought barbecued chicken, corn on the cob, baked potatoes, and watermelon. Kind of a quintessential summer meal (especially since the corn and watermelon were from the farmers market!).

The chicken was just the Gold 'n' Plump "best of fryer" (which I always thought was just a whole chicken cut into pieces, so I bought two packs; each pack, among the other chicken parts, had three breasts. Poor chickens...). I baked the chicken at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Then I slathered it with barbecue sauce and Dan grilled it over pretty low heat (otherwise the barbecue sauce burns and you have very black, crispy chicken) for about 20 minutes.

Tonight's dinner is penne a la vodka. Which reminds me, I need to buy some vodka. :)

1 pound penne
6 ounces prosciutto, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 can whole tomatoes (drain and reserve juice), chopped
1 cup half and half
½ cup vodka
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or 1 tablespoon dry)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup parmesan cheese

Cook pasta.
In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, saute prosciutto and garlic in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, ½ cup (or more) reserved juice, half and half, vodka, parsley, basil, and salt. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the parmesan.
Drain pasta and toss with sauce.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

WFD 8/17

Spicy Cajun Shrimp! This is one of Dan's favorite meals (and I really love it too), but I hardly ever make it! And of course, every time I do, I think, "Gosh, I should make this more often!" It's not difficult at all. It's just a matter of having all the right stuff around. :) I'm including a really easy recipe for a green bean side dish. It's just what we always have with this meal!

Spicy Cajun Shrimp
3 pounds shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon dry thyme
½ teaspoon dry basil
½ teaspoon dry oregano
⅓ cup butter
1½ teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce¼ cup beer, room temperature
1 cup tomatoes, dicedView full recipe

Combine seasonings in small bowl. Combine butter, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and seasonings in large skillet over high heat. When butter is melted, add tomatoes, then shrimp. Cook 2 minutes, stirring evenly. Add beer and cover; cook 1 minute longer. Remove from heat.

Serve with saffron rice.

Green Beans and Pine Nuts
2 quarts green beans
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup pine nuts, chopped

Boil beans in salted water for about 7 minutes. Rinse in cold water and drain. Mix with olive oil and pine nuts. Serve luke warm.
View full recipe

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

WFD 8/10

Last night was family dinner night, and we gathered here for pizza on the grill. It actually ended up being a disaster. But I want to try it again sometime. So I really have no great pointers when it comes to the grill, but here are some other tidbits:
  • You must buy your pizza dough at Trader Joe's. It is $.99 for a ball of dough. You can't beat that! They have white and wheat, and I know in the past they've also had an herb dough. The only problem is that the directions say to bake the crust/pizza at 350 degrees, and that was not NEARLY hot enough. Crank it to 400. Also, bake the crust for 5-7 minutes before adding toppings. Then continue baking to finish the crust and melt the cheese.
  • Our favorite combination was pesto instead of sauce, chicken, and mozzarella. (Mom also added eggplant, mushrooms, and caramelized onions to her end).
  • My personal favorite was (and always is, really) sausage, green peppers, and mushrooms. Mmmm.
We'll try this again someday! I think we learned a lot. :)

p.s. Leah is 13 months old today. But just like I did with Jack, I'm taking a break until 18 months. Then I'll probably write a letter every year. It did feel funny to write 8/11 today. I said, "Leah, you're 13 months today!" and Jack said, "Holy cow!" 13 months must sound really old. :)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

WFD 8/3

WFD=What's For Dinner ;)

Last night was National Night Out. Since my neighborhood doesn't do anything, and Dan is out of town for work, and my parents' neighborhood DOES do something, we headed over there for the festivities. To contribute to the potluck table, I brought one of my favorite things to make in the summer. It's a pasta salad with pesto, and it's the besto. (Hahaha).

This is the perfect time of year to make lots of pesto and throw it in your freezer because basil is SO STINKIN' CHEAP at the farmers market! A couple of weeks ago, I got three HUGE bunches (they pretty much filled a plastic Target bag) for $3.

So, here's a simple recipe for pesto:
1 garlic clove
1/4 toasted pine nuts (I've also used walnuts)
3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
Roughly chop garlic and add to food processor, along with pine nuts, basil, and about 1 T olive oil. Pulse until ingredients are finely chopped. With machine running, add remaining oil in a slow, steady stream. Add parmesan and pulse to combine. Season with salt and pepper. This makes about 1 1/2 cups of pesto.

Now, on to the rest of the salad:
1 lb bowtie pasta (Barilla is the only brand that I've found that sells bowtie pasta in a 1-pound box. Other brands sell 12 oz).
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
3/4 cup pesto
Cook pasta. Drain and run under cold water. Combine pasta and pesto and stir until pasta is well-coated. Add feta and tomatoes and mix. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What's for dinner?

So, blogging every day in March was fun, and it made me blog a little more regularly afterwards. For like a week, anyway. I decided I needed to come up with something else to blog more frequently. So at least once a week, I will post about something we had for dinner and include recipes. It will get me here at least once a week, and it will force me to make something "good" for dinner a little more often. :)

This week's entry was actually last Friday's dinner. Fajitas! And the recipe for the marinade is from Chili's--my mom had it in a cookbook full of restaurant secret recipes. We served them with corn salsa, which is a recipe that my aunt made up when she was visiting a few years ago. It's hard to stop eating it. :) Enjoy!

4 chicken breasts or one flank steak
3 bell peppers
1 onion
1/4 cup lime juice
1/3 cup water
2 T oil
1 garlic clove, pressed
3 T white vinegar
2 t soy sauce
1/2 t liquid smoke
1 t salt
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/4 t black pepper
dash onion powder

Mix all marinade ingredients and add chicken or steak. Let sit in fridge for at least a few hours. While meat grills, saute onion and peppers in a little oil. Serve with fajita fixings.

Corn Salsa
6 ears fresh sweet corn, cooked
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 red or orange bell pepper, finely chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
juice of 3 limes
salt and pepper
cumin, to taste
hot sauce or cayenne pepper, to taste

Toss all ingredients together and enjoy with tortilla chips!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

one year

My sweet baby girl,

As of 5:53 this morning, you have officially been alive in this world for one year. Good Lord, that went fast. This whole week has been a lot of, "Last year at this time...." It's been fun remembering last summer and how exciting it was to FINALLY start feeling contractions a week after my due date. And then how frustrating it was to have them stop. Twice. And then how great it was to finally go to the hospital and know we were so close to meeting you. And then how amazing it was to finally have you OUT of me and to see your sweet face and kiss you and hold you and say, "Thank you for being born!"

This year has been a lot of things. It has been overwhelming, getting used to life with two kids and all of the challenges and joys that come with it. It has been exciting, watching you grow before our very eyes and learn new things. It has been tiring, with many sleepless nights, early mornings, and skipped naps. But it has been awesome. I never knew my heart could feel like this!
It is so crazy to look at pictures from those first few days and think, "Were you really ever that tiny?" And really, since you were 9 lb 13 oz at birth, the answer to that question is, "No. You were never 'tiny'." :) But you did fit into my arms a little differently than you do now! And it's really wild to think about how tiny you felt in the Moby wrap. I can't imagine trying to get you into that again! I should try just for the fun of it.

It's really fun to watch you eat new things, now that you are allowed to eat almost everything. You still have your favorites--yogurt, avocados, bananas, cheese. And as of your party yesterday, cupcakes are climbing the list of favorites! Wow, you sure enjoyed that thing. You had frosting everywhere! Hair, ears, toes. What a treat! Cupcakes and potato chips. I'm a pretty awesome mom when it comes to nutrition. :)
It's interesting how birthday parties become increasingly more exciting with every year. Jackson is already planning a Batman party for next March. But you? Today was just any other day! You didn't care what everyone was here for. And you certainly didn't want to waste your time opening presents. It's a good thing people are understanding. :) You did get some lovely things. New toys are always exciting. And new clothes! Gotta love it.

Jack was sure that you'd start saying "Mama" by the time you turned one, but it's not happening. Everything is still "dada." Except that you never actually call Daddy "dada." "Dada" means "bye bye" and "thank you" and when it's yelled across the house it means "Jackson." :) It's crazy how we can totally tell what you're saying even though you're just repeating the same two syllables. Or maybe we're all just delusional and you're not actually saying anything. Nah, you're a genius!

When Jack was a baby, we got to the point where we couldn't remember what life was like without him. "What did we do before we had this amazing baby in our lives?" After you were born, it didn't take long for us to say, "What was life like with just one?" You so quickly made such an imprint on our lives and were clearly a vital part of our family. And even more now, I cannot even imagine what our family would be like without you in it! It certainly wouldn't be as exciting. You have added so much in your one year here. God sure knows how to bless a family.

I'm so thankful for you, sweetheart! I look forward to the next year and many more after that. It makes my heart happy to watch you grow!

Love you so much,

Friday, July 09, 2010

My girlie girl!!!!

Leah got her first birthday present in the mail today! It was from her cyber-buddy Jagger (whose mom I am friends with through a small group on Babycenter). Check out my girl! She LOVES this thing--she walked around the house like she was made to wear tutus. :)

So pretty!!!And a matching headband? Too much!

Lucy was very interested in the tutu. :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

eleven months


This is late. I'm sorry. If you could comprehend the craziness that has defined the last couple of weeks, you'd understand. But let's move on. :)

Being 11 (+) months means that my next letter will be your ONE YEAR letter. That's just impossible. Well, maybe it's not entirely impossible. I mean, sometimes it feels like FOREVER since you entered this world and turned our house upside down with sleepless nights and everything else that comes with a newborn. But on the other hand, it feels like just yesterday that we finally got to meet you and hold you and know that our family would never be the same.

So, you went from taking a few steps at a time to practically running around the house. Nothing is safe from you now! I can hardly turn around without noticing that you're halfway down the hallway, heading for the bathroom. Ah, yes. The bathroom. Pretty much your favorite room in the house. I mean, where else can you unroll the toilet paper (and eat it), dig through the garbage, empty the tub toys, and rifle through the cleaning products under the sink? Seriously, it's no wonder that door stays closed most of the day. And the toilet paper is usually on the counter instead of where it belongs. And the garbage is on the counter. Lovely. :)

The cutest thing you're doing right now (besides walking all over the darn house) is waving bye-bye. It's accompanied by "da da," which means, "bye bye." (Never mind what your daddy thinks it means). I'm officially calling "da da" (bye bye) your second word, after "Kkkk" for kitty. :) A recent third is "Hi," which has just made its debut in the last few days. And you have a word for Jack, but I haven't quite pinned it down yet. You're usually calling him from another room. It's pretty cute! You also sing--usually in the car. It cracks Jack up, which cracks ME up, and makes the car ride quite enjoyable.

I feel like I should leave this letter short and sweet to make sure I have lots of things to say in your 1-year letter, which will be here before we know it. I love you, babe. See you in the morning. :)


Saturday, May 22, 2010

The countdown begins!

Today is May 22nd, which means that in exactly one month I will turn 30.

One more month left in my 20s! Woo hoo!!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

ten months

Baby Leah,

Just how long will it be okay to call you that? Because everyone still does, you know. Even though you're quickly exiting this "baby" phase! Oh well. I think it's cute. And you're still my baby! Maybe you always will be my baby! You could be 35 years old and still be "baby Leah." So get used to it, chica.

This month has been characterized by ILLNESS! And it's not over. It all started with a diaper rash. At your 9-month appointment, Dr. Benson took a look and said, "Hmmm....that looks yeasty." So we used some cream left over from my misdiagnosis of thrush to get rid of your "yeasty" rash. And it worked wonderfully! But we had to be in disposable diapers for a while, lest the cream ruin your cloth. We were just about done treating your rash when we all ended up with an awful stomach bug. Jack started it. And like the wonderful mother that I am, I taught him to share, and he did! Dad got it next, then me, and unfortunately, then you. Needless to say, we continued with the disposable diapers for about another week. Your poor little tummy. Once that was all done, you started getting a runny nose. Then you had a fever. Then you developed a cough, which you are still dealing with. Luckily, it's not affecting your sleep much (other than the occasional "shorter than it should be" nap). So when this little cold is gone, I'd really like you to be all better for a while. Okay? And I think you'd enjoy being healthy too, so it's a win-win.

You weighed in at 20lb 10oz at your 9-month appointment. That means you're off the charts for length and in the 80th percentile for weight. It's the first time you haven't been at the top of the curve for weight, so it feels a little weird. But the doctor assured me that you're still growing just fine. It's just weird because Jack was this size at FOUR months. Yeah, your brother was a porker. :) You certainly aren't slowing down in the "eating" department. You still love food SO much. Particularly dairy--cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese--so it's a good thing that little stint with the milk protein intolerance didn't last!

How big is Leah? SO BIG!!! Yes, this is your new trick. :) Along with clapping and going night-night (tilting your head over like you're sleeping). Yup, you've got a slew of party tricks! It's fun. And you're so expressive. You talk all the time. Not with words anyone can understand, but it's still darn cute. And I'm sure you are trying to tell us something very important. So keep trying--we'll hear it one of these days.

Sunday was Mother's Day--my fourth, but my first with you! It was a lovely, relaxing day. I'm sure to you it just felt like any other Sunday. But SOMEDAY this day will be marked with you making me breakfast in bed and showering me with affection. ;)

Frankly dear, I'd love to write more, but you are crying at my feet. It's rather pathetic, actually. You don't need anything. You just want me. And that's just fine with me! That's what I'm here for. Happy 10 months. And don't even remind me that that means one year is only two months away. It's going too fast. :)

Love you, babe.

Monday, May 10, 2010

We're pretty sure he's gifted

Last night after dinner, we all went outside to let off some steam. I walked Leah around and Jack and Dan played baseball.

As Jack was retrieving a ball he had hit, he found a stick in the shape of a lower-case "y." He said, "Mommy! This is the letter from in 'I love you'!" I said, "Yup, that's the letter 'y'!" And Dan looked at me like, "Who is this kid?"

They proceeded to play baseball and I went inside to feed Leah. Before I knew it, they were calling me back out because they had to show me how well Jack was hitting. He is insane! It's just a big wiffle ball and bat, but that thing SAILS! He was quite proud of himself. He's actually better at hitting what Dan pitches to him than he is at hitting the ball off the tee. Goofy kid. :)

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Jack says funny stuff

But this is nothing new, right? Two gems today:

1) I got home from Target and the TV was STILL on. I told Jack that the cartoon would be ending in five minutes and he would have to turn it off. The end came and I could tell it was on a commercial, so I told him it was time to turn off the TV. "No, the man said, 'Don't go away!' It's not over, Mom!" Gotta love a little subliminal messaging. :)

2) While Dan was running errands this afternoon, I sat down to nurse Leah. When she opened her mouth, I could see something on her tongue. I said, "What did you put in your mouth?" and tried to fish it out with my finger. The commotion got Jack's attention, and we finally got a tiny piece of paper off her tongue. Then Jack said, "Well, it's a good thing your booby was right there!" It made no sense to me, but I guess he thought it helped with the paper in Leah's mouth. So I continued nursing and he continued talking about my breasts. I was mostly not paying attention, until he ended with, "You have the biggest boobies I ever saw!" It cracked me up, but I didn't want him to think it was inappropriate to say because he was so innocent about it. I mean, when you have a 10-month-old sister who has been breastfed since birth, breasts are kind of normal around here. :)

Thursday, May 06, 2010

I was on such a roll....

.....and then life got in the way. Let's see....

We've all completely healed from the stomach bug. Although now Leah has a runny nose and little cough, and I seem to have a sore throat that I'm hoping ends there. But it probably won't.

Jack goes through at least a half ream of paper every day. Okay, that might be exaggerated, but not by much! This kid draws ALL DAY LONG. It cracks me up. He is SUCH a perfectionist (gee, where does he get that?) and kind of freaks out when he messes up. Which, in his opinion, he does quite frequently.

Leah is taking more and more steps these days. She is kind of hilarious when she does it. If she doesn't get her balance first, she looks completely drunk. Too funny. I love this early walker stage. :)

I'm sad that our lovely spring weather has turned chilly again. The high tomorrow is 48 degrees and it's supposed to rain all day. Yuck! Give me a NICE May day so I can take a nice walk with my kids!

It's time for bed. I can actually hear it calling my name. :) But I promise to write something more interesting this weekend!

Monday, April 26, 2010

No, Donald, YOU'RE fired.

I don't usually enjoy The Apprentice, but I tend to get into the celebrity version. This season is down to the final seven contestants, and it's actually getting quite fun. (I mean, if nothing else, it's just fun to listen to Sharon Osborne and Curtis Stone speak!) Plus, there's nothing else on TV on Sunday evenings, and it's just what I usually end up watching.

The weak link, in my opinion, is Donald Trump. But since he's kind of the reason the show exists, I just have to deal with him. Including when he makes a fool of himself and the English language.

Last night, in the boardroom, Cyndi Lauper said, "I feel bad," referring to her earlier criticism of the other team. Trump quickly corrected her and said, "You don't feel bad. You feel badly," at which point Cyndi apologized and said, "I feel badly."

Donald, I don't care if you're a gazillionaire--you just came across as quite uneducated in front of many, many viewers. For shame. You, sir, are fired.

Read about action verbs vs linking verbs here.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Warning: bodily fluid post ahead.

Last Tuesday night, just as I was finishing getting ready for bed, I heard Jack crying in his room. (Sometimes he wakes up and wanders around aimlessly because he's not totally awake). I went in and grabbed him and took him into the hallway so Leah wouldn't wake up. Well, he was covered in his own puke. Poor thing. Jack hates puking almost as much as I do. And I REALLY hate puking. I stripped him, washed him off, brushed his teeth, and got new jammies on. He was sure he was done throwing up, so I put him in our bed and Dan lay down with him while I went in and stripped his bed and started laundry.

Pretty soon I heard Dan call for me. He had puked again, all over himself and our bed. Lovely. I stripped him again, washed him off, stripped OUR bed, and returned to the laundry room while Dan got him in more clean jammies. I got laundry going and went back upstairs with clean sheets for our bed. We got them on, covered Jack's side with towels, and got him settled down again. We also found a bucket and begged him to try to make it to the bucket next time. :)

The rest of the night was uneventful, but he ended up throwing up twice the next morning. We laid pretty low all day Wednesday. He didn't eat much, but he also didn't puke anymore, so I figured we were out of the woods. He slept great in his own bed, but woke up Thursday morning and got sick AGAIN. Luckily, the rest of Thursday was pretty normal for him.

Friday afternoon, Dan called to say he was not feeling well and would be coming home early. He walked in the door at 4:30, made his way to the couch downstairs, and was there until the following morning, only leaving to use the bathroom (it seems the bug was giving him "other end" issues). By the time I got the kids in bed on Friday night, I didn't feel quite right. I decided that I better run to the grocery store for some necessities while I still felt human. When I got home, I also washed a pile of dishes so they wouldn't be sitting there all weekend.

By the time I climbed in bed, I was sure I would be up sick in a matter of hours. Well, I wasn't, but I slept terribly. When I woke up Saturday morning, I felt like I'd been hit by a truck. I nursed Leah, handed her off to Dan (who was already feeling much better) and went back to bed. I napped, nursed, napped, nursed. I got out of bed a couple of times, but quickly felt like I was going to fall over because I was so weak. I ate a couple pieces of toast in the afternoon and some soup for dinner. I tried to go to bed early, but the day of naps kept me up a little later than I wanted.

Sunday morning, I felt a lot better, Dan felt a lot better, and Leah had diarrhea. Shoot! She could not escape unscathed. She was a little more cuddly than normal, but didn't seem to be too uncomfortable. We decided to brave the outside world (maybe just so we could get out of the house) for lunch. As we sat down to eat at Noodles, Jack said, "My tummy hurts." Oh, great. I told him that if he felt like he was going to throw up, he had to tell Daddy really quick so they could go to the bathroom. Thirty seconds later, "Daddy, I need to go to the bathroom!" Sure enough, he was sick again.

Seriously! We just need a break! I feel the need to bleach everything in my house. I feel like my washing machine has been working non-stop since Tuesday night. Let's hope that this is the end for all of us!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The truth comes out....

Yesterday, I was tidying up the living room because Stephanie (breastmilk recipient) was coming over with her boys. Jack came over to show me what he was coloring, noticed I was cleaning, and said, "Who's coming?"

Yup. I only clean when people are coming over.

Not really, but it made me laugh really hard!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Jack LOVES croutons. And he calls them "croupons," which is just cute. Whenever we have Caesar salad, he jumps up on the dining room table and steals the croutons out of it. And since those bags of Caesar salads don't put enough croutons in it to begin with, we had to buy Jack his own back of croutons so he could have a few when we had our salad.

Last night, we had pasta and a Caesar salad. Jack started crawling onto the table to steal croutons, and I told him to get down. He asked for his own, but they are gone. He got mad and REALLY wanted some croupons! So I told him that he could have some croutons if he ate some salad. He seemed okay with this idea, so I put some in a bowl for him with some croutons, and he totally ate it!

The best part was this morning when he brought it up again. "Mommy, were you really surprised when I ate salad last night?" Yup, I was. :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

He thinks he's hilarious

Jack: Knock, knock

Me: Who's there?

Jack: Leah

Me: Leah who?

Jack: Leah wants you to open the door and give me grapes! (Followed by uncontrollable fake laughs)

Jack: Knock, knock

Me: Who's there?

Jack: Daddy

Me: Daddy who?

Jack: Daddy wants you to open the door and give me apples! (More fake laughing)

I'm not sure who taught him about jokes (not me!), but something tells me he doesn't quite get it yet. :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

He melts my heart!

My friend Rebecca was helping out in Jack's Sunday school room yesterday and passed along this gem of a story. :)

"I have to tell you something precious Jackson said. One of the little girls came in and her name sounded like Erin. Jack said, 'Erin is my mom's name!' Then he said, 'Well, I call her Mommy, but my Dad calls her Erin...(pause, smile)...or honey!'"

Honestly made my day. :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

nine months

Dear Leah,

I think nine months is kind of a special age because it means you have now been outside my belly as long as you were inside it! That's kind of weird, actually. I feel like I was pregnant for a year and a half, but I'm pretty sure you were just born like last week. Why does time go so quickly when you want it to go a little more slowly so you can enjoy it? Not that I'm not enjoying this, because I am LOVING every moment. But I look at pictures from just a few months ago and think, "Who is this baby?"

Right now you are sitting in the high chair as I type this. You're being quite a little piggy, actually. Lately you've been a little more difficult to feed. You just aren't as interested and you constantly turn your head away like you're done after just a couple bites. But today's lunch was a different story! You had a bowl of applesauce, a piece of toast, and finished off your peaches and yogurt from breakfast. Hungry girl!

Okay, now it's four hours later and you're with me again--crawling around on the floor and I try to finish this. Actually, I'm a little frustrated. The computer has lost the internet multiple times and even though Blogger SAID it was auto-saving, it wasn't. And darned if I can remember what I wrote about four hours ago! Oh well. You're being cute again--what's new? You found a piece of Jack's apple from his lunch and have been sucking away on it under the dining room table. That's your new thing--eating bigger pieces of food by taking bites of it yourself. Your favorite is toast, but we might have to add apple slices to the list! You also keep coming across your blanket (which is normally in your crib for naps and bedtime) and lying down with it. So adorable. Then you motor over to Lucy and scream at her. And you find a toy you forgot you had and spend a whole 20 seconds playing with it. You're a busy little girl!
I am very much looking forward to this summer with you! It's bound to be more exciting than last summer. :) Maybe we can leave the house for more than 15 minutes at a time! I already know you loving the stroller, so walks will be a blast. But it will be really fun to try swimming and stuff too. We have to take advantage of nice weather, because before you know it, we'll see snow on the ground again! :(

Oh, you're clapping! It's just the best. We're working on "so big," but you're MUCH more into clapping. And you totally know you're doing it right too. Maybe it's all the encouragement you get from us because you're so darn cute when you do it. :) And then you flash that toothy grin and it gets even cuter!

It blows me away how much you change in just a month, but it's so much fun. You're simply delightful! It also blows me away that we're only three months from your first birthday. Insane. But man, with one year under our belts, there's not much we can't do, so bring it on!
Love you, dear.
Mom :)

And now, for your viewing pleasure, Leah through the months!

One month

Two months

Three months

Four months

Five months

Six months

Seven months

Eight months

Nine months

Friday, April 09, 2010

This is what happens when I clean!

I come across really random stuff. Like the time I cleaned out the bathroom closet and found three full boxes of Q-tips and my positive pregnancy tests from both Jack and Leah (ick!).

In a junk drawer in our bedroom, I found a piece of note paper that had been used as a bookmark when I read Grace Eventually by Anne Lamott a couple years ago. I wrote a couple small quotes on it that made me want to pick up the book again. So I think I might. I'm between book club books right now and just finished another rather dull novel, so I could use something a little more inspiring. :)

"Jesus is saying that we could be aware of, filled with, and saved by the presence of holy beauty, rather than worship golden calves."

"You want to know how big God's love is? The answer is: It's very big. It's bigger than you're comfortable with."

I love Anne.

Monday, April 05, 2010

The Hills are Alive.....

Every Easter, you can find The Sound of Music somewhere on television. And even though we own the DVD and could pop it in anytime we want, it's somehow more exciting to catch it on TV and watch the whole thing. :) Last night, we finished dinner and were getting cleaned up when I remembered that it was going to be on. So I found it and started watching about an hour into it.

The Sound of Music is, hands down, my favorite movie. Ever. I can sing every line from every song. I'm sure I can recite much of it too. To this day, I simply ADORE Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. I watched it SO many times as a child that I lost count. But it was funny as I watched it last night. I remembered that the wedding was pretty much the end of the movie for me. Until I could appreciate the backdrop of the war and Nazi influence in Austria, the rest of the movie was just kind of boring for me. I thought, "Why wouldn't they just end with the wedding? It so pretty and happy!" :)

Also, I used to fast forward through the scene where Maria is in the Reverend Mother's chambers after she has run away from the Von Trapp's. I distinctly remember thinking the scene was really dark and depressing. The Reverend Mother sings "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," which was just the most horrible song in the movie. But now, of course, it's one of my favorites! That nun could sing! I also wasn't crazy about the scene where Captain Von Trapp finds Maria in the garden and professes his love for her. Really? Maybe it was just lost on my 8-year-old self who was simply waiting for the wedding. But now, I can't imagine not watching that part. I mean, sure, it's kind of corny when Maria starts singing "Perhaps I had a wicked childhood...." right after they kiss, but that's what makes musicals so amazing.

My favorite part was watching Jack watch it. He didn't last long, but he LOVED the puppet show scene. :)

Friday, April 02, 2010

Good Friday

I have had this song in my head today, and when I searched for it, I couldn't find the same version I'd first heard. It's Nichole Nordeman, and the version I know is of a live, hidden track on one of her albums. But I did find a video of the song put to clips from The Passion of the Christ, so I'm sharing it with you. Never mind the stuff at the end--this was obviously a project for service recruiting. :)

I am thankful for the events of Good Friday, but I'm even more thankful that we know this isn't the end. We have Easter Sunday to celebrate in two days. Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

C'est fini!

Why, hello, last day of March! Looks like I was successful at blogging every day. I have to say, I'm a little surprised with myself. I kind of assumed I would forget at least once or just get sick of it and quit halfway through.

But I didn't!

I'm rather relieved that this everyday business is over. But I am fairly certain that getting in the habit of being here every day and writing at least SOMETHING will help in posting a little more frequently.

So, Happy March 31st. Now I need to devote the rest of today to thinking of a fun April Fool's joke for tomorrow. ;)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Heavy heart

Becky Foreman went to be with Jesus at 3:30 this morning.

I can't imagine the numbness, shock, grief, and pain the family is feeling. So please be in prayer for her husband Doug, her daughters Alissa, Tanya, and Klava, and her sons Tyler and Ted.

Bless you, dear friends. As Peggy Lang said, may God's peace-that-doesn't-make-sense be with you.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I think I can.... I think I can....

March is almost over. So far, so good! I think it's time for another "Random Thoughts Monday."

1) This week, spring will once again grace Minnesota with its presence. Hopefully this time it's for good! It will also mean that this is the first snowless March in, well, ever. At least since they started keeping track of such things, according to Belinda Jensen. That makes me happy. It also makes me a little nervous for April. Let's not have two record-breaking months in a row. First snowless March! Coldest April ever! Unless it's followed by "Summer begins in May and will last through October!"

2) Apparently, snowless isn't a word. spell check wants to make it "slowness" or "snow-less," neither of which I want.

3) Dan went to an open house at the new Target Stadium on Saturday. He got some AWESOME pictures (which will hopefully be up on his blog soon). We're very excited to go to a game sometime this year. But I think part of me will miss the dome!

4) I took a three-hour nap yesterday, and it was glorious. Dan really wanted to bless me with something and suggested that I go shopping or get a massage. After I asked where he found money for me to do those things, I told him all I really wanted was a nap. So we got home from church and I fed Leah and put her to bed. I laid down at about 11:30 and woke up at 2:30. I could hardly believe it. I felt like a new person!

5) For Jack's birthday party this weekend, we grilled out. It made me very excited for summer food. Summer has the best food. (Although, when I am making the season's first pot of wild rice soup in September, I might think differently).

6) 24 is on tonight. Dan and I thoroughly enjoy having "our shows" to watch during the week, and 24 is one of them. Unfortunately, 24 has been canceled and will not be returning after this year unless another network picks it up. :(

7) Jack's 4-year well-check visit is on Wednesday. I reminded him of it this morning and he said, "Do I have to get shots?" I answered honestly and said, "I don't know," but I'm pretty sure he does. :(

8) :) Just because the last two ended with a sad face.

9) I think that's all I've got for now. And I'm feeding Leah peas and carrots, so typing is getting difficult.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The rest of the festivities!

So, we haven't even had a chance to touch these up, but I wanted to share some more pictures from last night. Jack had such a blast (after waiting patiently over a week to really celebrate!).

My crabby girl with Gigi. She had the most needy, clingy afternoon and just kind of fell apart at Jack's party.

Checking out a new superhero shirt, which he proudly wore to church today. :)

Super hero Chutes and Ladders! The best of both worlds!

Jack's best friend, the adorable Eli.

A noisy helicopter. :)

The next few pictures crack me up. He was just SO ready to blow out these candles and eat cake, but we made him pose. And he did.
Goofy boy. :)

And my silly girl, before she officially turned into a pumpkin. :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

the cake

Well, Jack's "official" birthday party was this evening, and I have many stories and pictures to share, but for now I will just give you one of the cake.

A couple months ago, when Christmas was over and Jack needed something else to look forward to, we started talking about his birthday. He, of course, decided on a Spiderman birthday theme. So we looked around at what the grocery store bakeries had to offer in the way of Spiderman cakes. Unfortunately, they didn't have MUCH to offer. All of them incorporated this lame-o Spiderman toy that was supposed to be crawling up a wall, but instead it was crawling across the cake. Dumb.
Well then Jack decided that he wanted a Spiderman, Batman, Superman birthday. Awesome, kid. This should be MUCH easier! I called a local bakery that a friend had used last year for her son's garbage truck cake (because we all know how popular those are), and the best they could do was a sheet cake with both Spiderman and Batman figurines on it. Sorry, nope. Not when you're going to charge me $40!
Plan C. Make it myself. I had wanted to avoid this, but I decided that it could be really fun. So I looked online for some ideas. Of course the best ones were super detailed and way too ambitious for me to attempt. Lots of fondant. I don't do well with fondant. I have a friend who took the Wilton cake decorating classes a few years ago and has LOTS of awesome equipment, so I borrowed some stuff from her. I looked at some more ideas online and finally decided what I was going to do. I baked the cakes yesterday morning, layered and filled them around lunchtime, and put them in the fridge. I figured I would start decorating when the kids went to bed and finish putting it together today. Well, I just got in a groove last night and wanted to finish it, so I did. (And maybe God just knew that I would not have ONE extra minute to work on a cake today). :) So, at 11:00 last night, I ended up with a pretty cool finished product. And here is a really enthusiastic Jackson enjoying it:

He really did enjoy it much more than the picture portrays. This morning when he woke up, I said, "Hey Jack, do you want to see your cake?" and all throughout the day, he had to check on it in the fridge. :)

I was quite pleased with myself. The spiders and bats are totally edible, and the Superman "S" was actually the easiest part of the decorating.

I believe I have accidentally worked myself into a corner, though. I can't just buy a cake anymore. I should have thought this through a little more. :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

I have no words

I found out yesterday that my dear friend's mother was given a month to live.

What do you even say to that? I thought about this all day yesterday and still didn't come up with anything. Of course I want to be able to say it's all going to be okay. I want to tell her that the doctors are wrong. I want to tell her that there's a leukemia specialist somewhere who wants to fix her mom.

But I can't. And I hate that.

My dear, sweet Alissa. You are so very loved. And even though I don't know what to say or do, God knows exactly what you need. So I will simply ask Him to do what He does and meet you where you are. Bless you all.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

From Henri Nouwen

"Dear God,
I am so afraid to open my clenched fists!
Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?
Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?
Please help me to gradually open my hands
and to discover that I am not what I own,
but what you want to give me.
And what you want to give me is love,
unconditional, everlasting love.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shameless plug

In October, I went to the park with my friend Amy. I forgot my camera in the car, so she took a few adorable pictures of my adorable children. When I got home and saw the pictures compared to those produced by my measly point-and-shoot, I decided that a new camera was something that I really wanted to invest in. And the fun part is that Dan agreed with me!

Well, as we looked at cameras, we realized that a new one probably wasn't in the cards for us quite yet. However, Dan found out that he was going to be getting some "points" at work for doing his job well. Okay, there is REALLY way more to all of that, but the short version is that Dan truly does his job very well and gets rewarded for it! He used to have to redeem his points on a reward website--and we got some cool stuff! Lost Season 1, an Elmo doll for Jackson, my iPod Shuffle, etc. But they changed the system, allowing you to be able to basically buy whatever you want and get reimbursed. When Dan found out he'd be getting a pretty decent amount of money, he decided he wanted to use it toward a new camera!

So, in December, we became the proud owners of a Nikon D90 DSLR. It's beautiful. And even better, it takes stunning pictures. And I haven't even learned everything there is to learn about it. But DAN has taken it upon himself to research this camera like crazy and learn all sorts of awesome stuff about photography. And he's pretty good! I mean, I can take a nice picture, but Dan clearly has an eye for this.

To showcase some of his stuff and share some photography information, he has started a blog. So please check it out sometime! You can also become a friend on facebook if you're there. That would be awesome. :) His blog is (Patzer is a term that refers to a amateurish chess player). I'm also adding it to my blog links to the left.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

the dentist :(

So, Jack has four cavities. We got this unfortunate information at his first dentist appointment last month. Today was the first appointment to start the cavity-filling process. Last time we were at the dentist, Jack got scared and cried for Dan. So we were proactive this time and Dan took the day off to accompany Jack.

I sent them off at 9:00, hoping not to hear anything again until they returned home. No such luck. Dan called about an hour later to tell me that it hadn't gone well. Bummer! My poor kid has the worst (or best?) gag reflex. I really feel terrible for him because he got it from me. This is why the last dentist appointment wasn't awesome either--they started with x-rays, Jack gagged on the film, and wouldn't open his mouth again for the hygienist. So, during the drilling today, the doctor would drill and the hygienist would squirt water and suck it back up. Unfortunately, not before Jack would gag on the water and the sucky thing.

So, here's my dilemma. The doctor said to just make another appointment for a month from now. But honestly, I really don't see this getting easier. He's not scared anymore, he wasn't in pain, he just has a gag reflex that he can't control. Do I look in to taking him to a pediatric dentist? Do I look into sedation dentistry? I'm one lost mama. :(

Monday, March 22, 2010

"Random Thoughts" Monday

1) The Twins finally signed Joe Mauer. We've got him until at least 2018, and it only cost us $184 million. :)

2) I went out with some friends last night. Some of them really know how to have a good time. And I love them for it. You know who you are!

3) If you're on facebook, you've already heard this, but it's worth repeating. Yesterday, I was ironing a few things. I must have gotten frustrated with Leah or Jackson, because while I was ironing, Jack asked me, "Mommy, are you having kind of a hard day?" I said that I kind of was and he asked why. I said, "I don't know. I just think I'm kind of crabby." He said, "Are you crabby because you're tired?" I told him that yes, I was probably tired. He said, "Do you want me to finish this (ironing) for you so you can go take a nap?" Love that boy! Don't worry, I didn't let him iron. But I did make him give me a hug. :)

4) No more big upsets in basketball. And a break in games until Thursday. Which is good because we have other things to watch on TV during the week. 24 tonight, Lost tomorrow night. It's important stuff.

5) I listed a few things on ebay this weekend, and found out this morning that I sold something! Someone chose the "buy it now" option for a maternity swimsuit, and I'm $25 richer for it!

6) The kids and I are picking up my mom at the airport this afternoon. (My dad is driving back). She'll be super tan and we'll all look super white, but it will be great to see her again. And I have a feeling that she kind of misses her grandkids.

7) I could fall asleep on command RIGHT now. See #2. It got late.

8) Jack is going to the dentist tomorrow to hopefully get at least one of his four cavities filled. Dan is taking him and I'm just praying everything goes well. I think these four fillings could take a really long time. Poor kid. :(

9) My daughter is eating Jack's nerf darts, so I have to go now.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

March Madness indeed!

I'm like my mom in a lot of ways. Well, maybe not a LOT of ways, but definitely at least a few ways. One of those ways is that I can sit down and watch pretty much any sport, no matter who is playing. Football isn't my favorite, but I'll watch it. Baseball is probably my favorite sport to watch, followed closely by college basketball. The pros just don't do it for me--NCAA is where it's at. And I really only get into it at this time of year--tournament time. :)

Games for this year's tournament started this past week and have been playing on our television all weekend. Of course it was exciting that the Minnesota Gophers made it to the tournament--unfortunately they lost in the first round. But what's been really fun is that there have been some upsets. In the first round, #14 seed Ohio beat #3 seed Georgetown and #13 seed Murray State beat #4 seed Vanderbilt. In the second round, #11 seed Washington beat #3 seed New Mexico and #10 seed St. Mary's beat #2 seed Villanova.

But the MOST EXCITING game in the second round was last night with #1 Kansas against #9 Northern Iowa University. Kansas wasn't just ranked #1 in its bracket--it was ranked #1 in the whole tournament and favored by many to win the whole thing. But Northern Iowa brought their A game and were out in front for most of the game. NIU's lead was around 10 points for much of the second half. Kansas started coming back pretty close with a couple minutes to go, and thanks to a 3-point shot by Kansas in the last few seconds, the final score was only a difference of two points: 69 to 67. Incredible! There were so many times in the last three minutes that I screamed--for a second, it seemed like Kansas could really do it, then NIU would do something amazing. It was insane! And SO fun to watch. And seriously, who doesn't love a great underdog story?

I was telling Dan, it would have been so fun to hear what the coach of NIU told his team before the game. Like, "Okay, guys. We're playing Kansas. So, do your best and we'll see what happens, but they're pretty good." :) Then when it was over, I would have loved to hear them talking. I actually said that it would be crazy to hear what they were talking about in the Kansas locker room, and Dan assured me they weren't talking at all. :)

Happy March Madness!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The birthday boy :)

And last night wasn't even the "real" party! It was rather impromptu, actually, when we had to move our dinner night with Sean and Andrea. Added some cupcakes for dessert and this is what we got. :) Stay tuned for the actual party next weekend when certain grandparents get back from Florida. ;)

Friday, March 19, 2010

four years

Dear sweet Jackson,

Happy birthday, big boy! You are FOUR years old! Or you is four years old. Last night, I was up with Leah around 12:30. You woke up, sat up in bed, looked at me and asked, "Is I'm four now?" I said, "You are! Happy Birthday!" and I'm surprised you could even fall asleep again--you were SO excited. :) You've continued to remind me today that you're four now, that you're a really big kid, and that it's your birthday. Of course I already know this, but I do appreciate the reminders. :)

Four years ago today, I was holding my brand new baby boy, dealing with severe sleep deprivation after 30+ hours of labor ending at 1:36 in the morning. You were so precious--I remember I couldn't believe you had finally joined us on the outside! You and I were just in the bathroom (you wanted to shave and I was about to dry my hair). You went potty and then said, "Mom, I love you." I told you I love you too and said, "Can you believe you're FOUR?" You giggled and I talked about what was happening four years ago (without getting into the gory details) and you were very curious. "Why were you at a hospital?" "Was I in your tummy like Leah?" I told you I was holding you because you were a tiny baby (tiny is relative) and you said, "And feeding me?" You're very smart. :)

What a YEAR this has been! I was thinking today about your birthday last year. The day you turned three, we went to the Children's Museum with Eli and Corinne. You were such a different kid back then! You have grown so much this year--physically of course, but also just in who you are. You are getting so smart, you are very funny, and you are the best big brother ever.

Speaking of which, that's probably the biggest event of the year. Leah joined us in July and flipped our world upside down! In a good way, obviously. I remember when we had you--pretty soon, Dad and I couldn't even remember what life was like without you! The same thing happened when Leah came. After a few weeks, it was hard to imagine what life with JUST you was like. And I think you'd agree. I'm pretty sure it was love at first sight. And your first sight of Leah was on the computer at Mimi and Poppa's house! Ah, technology. (Of course, you'll read this in 20 years and say, "That was high technology?"). You soon came down to the hospital and saw her in person. You also asked if I still had a baby in my tummy. :) As Leah has grown, you also have grown into a loving, helpful sibling. You're a gem. And now that Leah is more aware of things, she is completely enamored with her big brother!

I'm not sure exactly when it started, but you've become completely enthralled with all superheroes. I'm fairly certain your first love is Spiderman, but you've recently added Batman and Superman to the mix. And, of course, all of the "Super Friends" like Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg, Hawkman, and Captain America. You have a Spiderman costume (from Halloween) that you wear at least a couple of times a week and a cape that is Spiderman on one side (nevermind that Spiderman doesn't wear a cape) and Batman on the other side. You also have a number of things that you have deemed "super hero stuff" and made into bat tools and other imaginary items. You are quite good at shooting imaginary webs out of your hands and pretending to fly like Superman. I love it--it's very "boy" of you. Not that you do other stuff that's girly or anything. :)

Jack, if you could pick any food to eat for lunch or dinner for the rest of your life, you'd pick "Daddy's noodles." Daddy introduced you to Ramen noodles about a year ago and you LOVE them (much to your mother's dismay). Every time I ask what you want for lunch you answer, "Um, like Daddy's noodles." I do enjoy the extra "Um, like" in there. Unfortunately for you, I only allow them once or twice a week.

My darling boy, I love you SO much. Our family is so blessed to have you in it! Bless you this year as you continue to grow into everything that God has for you. And I know that the bigger you get, the less cool it is to hug and kiss your mom. But promise me that once in a while, we can still snuggle up and take an impromptu nap on a Saturday afternoon!

You're my favorite boy. ;)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Well, that was a disaster

In January, both Jackson and Leah got their first of two H1N1 vaccinations. After 30 days, they had to get a second one (just like the regular flu shot--the first year you get it, you need two doses). Well, I finally got around to making the appointment this week and went in for both of them today. I wasn't set on getting an appointment at our regular clinic (Park Nicollet in Minnetonka) because it was just for shots. So the schedule person got me in at Park Nicollet in Plymouth.

All day, Jackson has been reminding me how much he hates shots and that he doesn't want to get one and that it will hurt and he wants to get it in his nose instead (I called and they were all out of the FluMist H1N1 vaccines) and so on. I told him that he would be really brave and everything would be okay. I even said we could get an ice cream cone when we were all done. And I had Dan call this morning to give Jack a little pep talk.

We got to the clinic and I had to wait to check in. It was just the right amount of time for Jack to get distracted by the turtles in the fish tank. Perfect! As soon as I was done at the front desk and sat down to take off Leah's jacket, the nurse came out and got us. Jack sat down and said he was staying in the waiting room. Sorry dude, you're coming with me. So I awkwardly tried to wrangle both kids out of the waiting area as the nurse watched. Strike one. She said, "Okay, we're just around the corner here" and disappeared. Strike two. We went around the corner and there was no nurse to be found. I peeked my head in a couple of doors and she came out of one hallway and led us into a room. Jack immediately started crying and said, "I don't want any shots!" to which the awesome nurse answered matter-of-factly, "Well, you're just getting one." Strike three, and orders for her to take a mandatory class called "How to deal with kids who are scared of shots." She sat and watched (rather impatiently) as I put Leah on the floor and wrestled Jack onto the exam table. I got pants down just enough to expose the perfect spot on his thigh and he escaped my hold and slipped onto the floor. I grabbed him again (feeling like a REALLY awesome mother right about now) and got him on the table. The nurse laid him down and I held his hand so he wouldn't grab the needle. And to tell you the truth, he was screaming so hard about being scared that I couldn't even tell when she did the needle. So we got Jack down, pants back up and turned to get Leah off the floor. When I turned my back, I heard the nurse say, "Ooh, where are you goin'??" and saw Jack trying to escape. Well, it's a little late for that, buddy. We got him back in, got Leah done (with a tiny little cry) and left the exam room. Oh, but not before catching the nurse on her way out the door to give her the pile of papers that I'd brought in from the waiting room. "I think you need these," I said. "Oh. Yup, thanks." Dude, strike four.

We made our way to the waiting room, got our jackets back on and headed out to the car. Jack continued to tell me how much he didn't like shots and that he doesn't want to get any more shots. Ever. We got everyone into the car and I reminded Jack that we could go get ice cream if he wanted. He did, so we drove across the freeway to McDonalds. Once there, Jack said he wanted chocolate. I told him they only had vanilla. He pouted but agreed to a vanilla cone. As we're driving away, ice cream cone in hand, I looked back to see if he was enjoying it. He hadn't even tried it and was just sitting there pouting at it, so I asked what was wrong. He completely broke down and cried, "I WANTED CHOCOLATE!" at which point Leah FREAKED out at Jack's break-down and proceeded to scream also.

So there I am, listening to two out-of-control children in the backseat of my van, holding Jack's melting ice cream, trying to merge onto 494. Jack finally agreed to eat his vanilla cone if I licked the melting sides. Done. Leah, on the other hand, never did settle down, which is actually probably a good thing. If she had, she would have fallen asleep in the car, ruining the nap waiting for her at home.

We survived. Just barely, it seemed. And how I have the awesome job of deciding whether or not to prep Jack for the shots he's likely to get at his four-year well check in a couple of weeks. I'm not sure the prepping did any good--he just worried about it all day. Oh, I don't know. I'll decide the day before, I'm sure. :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Welcome, Spring!

Today was too gorgeous not to take a walk. We even stopped at the park, giving Leah her first experience with the swings. So perfect!

Leah is ready!

Jack is ready!

Happy girl!

LOVING the swings!

Jack too. :)

She was mad when she had to get out.

Doing the "big boy stuff."


Contemplating life.
My beautiful boy.