Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Cheer

What a joyous time of year! With no extended family in town, we had some pretty quiet, but still fun! days. We miss you grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins!!!! On Christmas Eve, we had some friends over for dinner. It was fun to light some floating candles, eat hot soup and homemade bread and go "seeking baby Jesus" together.
Christmas day, our oven/stovetop died! Argh! Forget about the gooey orange rolls and all-things-holiday that we were going to bake and make. Instead, we plugged in our electric skillet and Mike made "cheetsfata" a Hungarian breakfast dish he grew up eating on Christmas day. Christmas dinner was eggs and toast. Memorable. :)

Daddy gave Quinn a drill, flashlight and protective eyewear and he was so excited!! He kept asking me to watch him, he was going to "drill now". Look closely and you'll see the little "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" characters that Aunt Connie and Uncle Ty gave the twins this year. We had a good laugh when the wrapping paper came of these little blue-haired Dr. Suess wonders!

The Jump-O-Lene!! Mike worked the foot pump all morning to blow this baby up.

After naps on Christmas Day, we decided to go ice skating at a local outdoor rink. It was 19 degrees and a bit breezy, but we all really enojoyed our 50 minutes of outside winter time.

I couldn't find my ice skates (I think I left them in my parent's garage!), so we all practiced skating in our boots. When we get real ice skates, we're going to be amazing skaters. Quinn liked the idea of keeping our boots on because he told me the ice was "too slippery, Ma. That's going to be dangerous".

Here I am taking a break from kitchen work to model a few of my Christmas gifts. Nice hot pink dish gloves from Mike, a darling new handbag made by the very talented Lindsay, my new Sharpie Pen (I love pens!), a great necklace from my mother-in-law, and a very good read: 52 Weeks of Proven Recpies for Picky Kids, also from my in-laws. What a great year for me!

Mike and the kids made gingerbread cookies. The dough was made and rolled out when Mike went a'hunting for the gingerbread-man cookie cutter. Alas, we have no such cutter. So, they made gingerbread "snowballs" (lots of round cookies) and a few Christmas trees (the one holiday cookie cutter we own). As you can see in the photos, they loved this tasty project. Quinn was so focused, I couldn't even get him to look at the camera.

When I told Mae to smile.....................What a hoot!

Isn't she sweet?!

And the final photo---Max, playing with one of our new dress-up hats. YES! What a cool little dude!
I have to be mushy for one second and say how much I love my children and husband. Life is wonderful. It's a wonderful life. :)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Gingerbread House Party!

I have been looking forward to decorating gingerbread houses all month! My friend, Sarah Ann, invited us over on Saturday and the fun began. Yummy gingerbread, sweet, sweet frosting (my favorite part), oodles and oodles of candy, this should be done monthly, not just at Christmastime!

Check out Mike's awesome house with yard. We made one house to eat and one to give away. This prized-piece was the give away. It looks like this house might get a little chilly on a cold MN night, with the nice "breezeway" going through the middle/top of the house. All good gingerbread houses have LOTS of character. :)

A garden and a koi pond?? When can I move in?!

Can the holidays get better than this?
I submit that they cannot!

And one of the kids all dressed up for the Sunday before Christmas. I love these three! Too cute.

Hope your holiday is sweet!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

minus the photos

I am a picture blogger. I only post with pictures. I am not clever enough to capture ones attention with prose alone. But, we've had a little accident. Our beloved digital camera was found, on the kitchen counter, front panel popped off (obviously dropped onto the tile), 1/2 of a sticky kiwi fruit glued to the shutter, dripping sour green juices onto its lovely silver frame. I have high hopes for our dear camera. She's smart and snappy. :) She'll pull through. Until then, please envision us at our best; always clean and well-behaved, giggling and laughing all the while, the house spot-less, the Christmas tree glorious, and the husband home every evening, spending many precious and tender moments together as a family. Ahhh, that even warms my heart.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Give Thanks

We hosted Thanksgiving this year (stress! we're in charge of the turkey!). We had our dear friends, Ryan, Lindsay and their little ones, Kamrie and Tyler and a friend we met here in Rochester, Cami and her three cute kids. Cami's husband was on-call, bummer! Check out Lindsay's awesome jell-O salad! AMAZING!

Mike was our amazing in-house chef. He made the turkey moist, the gravy savory and the green beans edgy.
Way to go, Mike!

Here is Quinn chowing down with Cami's two daughters. I was brave and lit floating candles. I think the table was too crowded with food, none of the babies tried to take a plunge into the floating cranberries. Whew.

The men serving up dessert.
Mike and Ryan, wielding the creme brule torch and a wicked sharp spatula.
My favorite things about Thanksgiving; Lindsay's food. All of it. Especially the home made rolls and super tasty sweet potatoes (OK, and the walnut pie and her sassy cranberry sauce). Mike's at-ease personality, especially when I was sure the turkey wouldn't be done on time. Cami's 7-year old daughter reading to the younger kids. How cute is that?! My "Give Thanks" sign, it turned out cuter than I expected. :) All the yummy left-overs for today, tomorrow and as long as they shall last! We loved having you all over and wish you could have stayed even longer. We didn't get to do our craft, or lounge on the couch and do nothing while we feel oh-so full! It's such a blessing to be surrounded by great friends.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Say Cheese!

Quinn took a picture of Daddy, Max & Mae while at a nature preserve on Saturday. After this picture was snapped, the twins went nuts because they wanted a turn behind the camera.

This is how Mae felt when Max got the camera first. Nice shot, Max!

And here is Max when Mae got her paws on the
digital camera.

Funny sequence of pictures. :) A shout out to Mike who took the kids to Quarry Hill while I was at a stake relief society training meeting. You are one great dad!

Oh, and I got new glasses. I'm pretty excited because I've been wearing the same pair of glasses for 10 years now. In truth, for the past 6 years I have only worn my "Harry Potter" glasses (they have this great nose piece that looks like a caterpillar crawling across my nose) around the home for fear of being seen in my un-stylish frames.

How thrilling to not have to deal with slippery contacts and messy, squirty solution every single day! Not to mention that my prescription changed in 10 years. All the things I've been missing those mornings I have been wearing my ancient glasses!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quirks? Embrace 'em!

I saw this on a friend’s blog and thought I would give it a go.
Here are (drum roll please)…..

6 Quirky Things about Me:

1) My taste buds are delinquent. Seriously, who talks about their taste buds being below average?? But mine are. I don’t need to buy the expensive brand of ice cream, I can’t tell the difference between generic or name brand. Cold? Check. Sweet? Check. Satisfied? Check.

2) Banks scare me. Maybe “intimidate me” is a better way to put it. I think everyone who works at a bank is a genius. Wouldn’t they have to be to care for all that money??!

3) I make faces while I cook. I truly can’t imagine how people on the Food Network can remain so composed while preparing a dish. Don’t they feel the need to squint their eyes and bare their teeth while beating their cake batter?? Am I alone here?!!

4) I wear a sleeping mask to bed every single night. It’s navy with silver stars and moons on it. I started wearing it to bed while I was having a migraine a few years ago and I found that it protected me from the blaring light peeking through my window in the early a.m. which was so annoying and painful. So I started wearing it every evening just in case I was seized by a migraine in the night (for those of you who suffer from migraines, you’ll agree that you live in fear of when the next migraine will hit). Another bonus: I feel like a rock star when I wear it.

5) When I’m scrubbing pots and pans, I like to leave one dish un-done in the sink. It makes me feel in control. “Yeah, I could wash that last pot, but hey, these dirty dishes aren’t the boss of me! I’m no slave to the kitchen! I’m outta here. Ha!”. Oooh, I’m bad. I’m sooooooo bad. :)

6) I love to groom my children. If I see a smudge on their cheek or heaven-forbid a boogie in their nose, I rush to their aide. I am totally one of those mothers who licks her thumb and rubs their kid’s face clean before they’re allowed to play on the jungle gym. They’re so much cuter when they’re clean!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Look! It's Glinda!

WICKED. So WICKED. So incredibly WICKED.

I was dying. SO EXCITED to be there. As we left Rochester, I shouted, really loud, to the bus driver, "Take us there, Chuck!". I was experiencing a natural high for sure.

Our bus dropped us off at the theater at 7pm and the show started at 8pm, so we thought we would snag some dessert at Rock Bottom. Rock Bottom Brewery was one of our favorite places to eat in Milwaukee (we only went there like 2 times, but it was amazing both times!) so when I saw this restaurant across the street, Mike and I had to stop in. But, I ended up chickening out because I didn't want to wait for food and miss the hyper-pre-show atmosphere at the theater, so we just snapped this picture and left. Seeing Rock Bottom makes me miss Milwaukee!!!

Me, feeling Witch-y after the show. I should remember that No One Mourns the Wicked!

Our relaxing ride. We didn't leave Minneapolis until after 11pm, so we were pretty zapped on our way home. When Mike fell asleep, I leaned my head back on the head rest, closed my eyes and replayed every scene on this awesome Broadway Musical in my mind. I've got a migraine today, but it was worth it. :)

So, a little rundown of my favorite things about Wicked---Elphaba singing "Defying Gravity" at the end of Act 1. WOW. My heart was racing, tears were running down my face because I was so into it! It was incredible. Another favorite was Galinda (no, I didn't mis-spell her name :) singing "Popular". Hilarious!!! Oh, she was so funny. Again, tears were running down my cheeks. Have I mentioned that we were 10 rows from the stage??!! Thank you Mayo for the spectacular seats! I kept telling Mike, if the actors are in the lobby when we leave, I will seriously faint (or start crying) because I am such a fan!!! Oh and I can't forget the great winged monkeys, they had the coolest moves. All the dancers were fantastic. My favorite character? Glinda (still spelled right :). She was so peppy and funny. The way she flipped her hair all the time, "Toss, toss!". All the glittery shoes in her closet. The tantrums she threw when she didn't get her way. Her cute little leg kick she did whenever she was trying to be cute. She was so clever. Loved her.

See my $8 Wicked fridge magnet?? Forever to be remembered..... Don't be frightened by our "shrunken head" that's perched next to the Witches of Oz. A friend carved us this head for Halloween and we are watching it blacken and shrink as the air dries it out.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Smooth Ride

In August we bought a van, and I've never looked back.

(These pictures were taken November 3rd--it was 75 degrees! We broke the high temperature record of 73 degrees, set 30 years ago.
It's been SO nice.)

Our 2004 Honda Odyssey. Let's hit the road!

I tried to find a picture of our Toyota Echo that I've been driving for 9 years now. I couldn't (there's a pic in our archives somewhere, but I don't have the patience to find where it's hiding tonight). Our Toyota has been our sole family vehicle until we got the Odyssey. I love my Echo. It's the most flexible, stylish, versatile car (I'm being totally serious!). We fit three kids in the back seat until the twins were 17 months, not every car could stand up to that challenge. People would ask if we had to spray the children with PAM before we loaded up. :) Often I felt like a clown car, pulling child after child after child out of this tiny machine.
But times change and we really needed something bigger (I had a HARD time fitting Quinn's BigWheel into the front seat of the Echo, on our way to playgroup, since our trunk was full of strollers and Mae & Max's little bikes). I'm happy to say there's been no adjustment period. It's like we were meant to drive a Honda Odyssey with its leather interior, removable captain seats and life-saver automatic sliding doors. Is it appropriate to steal a line from H-D and say that we, "Live to ride, ride to live!"?? No one should be afraid of a minivan.

Halloween Night

Quinn is pumped to go trick-or-treating!! Kind of a spooky face, for a spooky night!

The doggies on the trail....they were always a few steps (quite a few) behind the dog bone, so I'm sure that some folks thought we had one random child dressed as some sort of skeleton bone and a few scraggly puppy babies.

This picture shows their natures: Max, a little mischievous (who can I poke with this long blade of grass I've just picked?), and Mae, sweet and kind (here you can use my jack-o-lantern, Max!).

We made some awesome vanilla cookies for our neighbor kids. We forgot to photograph the other Halloween edible we created; white jell-o ghosts. You know that super tasty middle layer of the three tiered jell-o that consists of cream cheese, sugar and evaporated milk? Imagine eating that smooth layer all by itself.

The whole gang. Ryan was working, but Lindsay, Kamrie and Tyler came for dindin and some trick-or-treating. We consider these guys family. Lookin' forward to the next holiday we get to spend together---Thanksgiving!

One tired bone.

The kids and I playing our Halloween penny toss. Try for the haunted house!!!

Let's get started on the candy already!!!
We had such a fun Friday Halloween night. I would re-live that day over and over again if I could. The kids were just so cute. Extra cute.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Tired? Maybe just a bit......

It was 4:15pm. Max & Mae had refused the afternoon nap I offered them. Baby Einstein was downstairs whistling a happy Mozart-y tune to entertain them while I finished dinner. I walked down the stairs and found the twins like this. How awesome is this picture??!

New stuffed animals!!

I felt like the kids needed new animals. Most of our stash are Quinn's, so he is the only one that can hold favorite playmates such as Snoopy, Neigh and Mr. Monkey. Max has shed many tears over this.

We went to Barnes & Noble and watched the kids pull every stuffed animal off the shelf. After just a few moments, Quinn made his choice. A cute, simple black and white puppy. He could not be swayed. OK, one down, 2 to go.

Mae was holding a very rigid Minnie Mouse (you know the stuffed animals that aren't soft?!) when Daddy spotted the sparkly clown fish. "Memo!" she cried. It was decided.
Mae + "Memo" = BFF.

Now, Max. It wasn't love at first sight. He held many, many animals before seeming to settle on two; a tan guinea pig and a gray wolf. He wanted them both. One for each hand! As we neared the check out counter, it was clear that a crying fit was about to happen when one of the animals was returned to the shelf. Mike decided to take him back to the area full of animals and managed to help him pick a whole new animal. So, with a panda bear under his arm, we got into line. Quinn had just thrown his dog onto the check-out counter, when we realized that Quinn's dog and Max's panda were the same colors. That simply would not do! Daddy and Max headed back to the stuffed animals to search one last time for the perfectly colored, perfectly shaped, perfectly perfect new animal. Could they do it? I was biting my nails. When father and son came into view, a darling red fox with black tipped ears was riding in Max's arms. Yes, that was it. The One. It was magic. And so finally, three smiling children and two beaming parents scanned our B & N gift-card and headed to the van.
Ahhhh, to buy the children new toys! That morning, I felt like an A+ Mama.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Good Morning

Ever wonder what it feels like to sit in the cafe portion of Barnes & Noble, order a tall double chocolate chip beverage, lazily pick at your $4.75 piece of pumpkin cheesecake and your tasty apple purse while gabbing with your best friend about nothing??
I wanted to find out......

Ahhhhh, bliss!

My friend (thank you Jean!!) volunteered to watch my children and Mike happened to be off work that morning! He's been in the ER this month, so every day is a different shift. We enjoyed two hours of sitting and sipping, reading and relaxing. A fun, different date. We've got an awesome date planned for November......WICKED! Only a week and a half until the coach bus escorts us to the theatre in The Cities. I love time away from real life. :)

Trick or Treat!

2 Doggies and a Dog Bone!

We had our church "Trunk or Treat" this past Saturday. Everybody and their van drove to the church parking lot and passed out Halloween treats to the kiddies. It was at 2pm, right during nap time, so I feared that Max would spent the entire time moaning and clinging to Mike's shoulder, but once he figured out that candy was dropped into his jack-o-lantern every time he got close to an adult, he got into the spirit of things. :)

I'll take some better pics of Quinn, Max & Mae in their costumes as it gets closer to Halloween. I was only able to snap a few at the Trunk or Treat.
Happy Halloween!!!

p.s. We had amazing weather for the Trunk or Treat yesterday. Breezy, but 60 degrees! I am thrilled that the ward had the party early this year, because today, just one day later, it's 32 and snowing!! Brrrrrr!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sunday, October 5th

GENERAL CONFERENCE SUNDAY! I love this weekend when the general authorities of the church are broadcast to the world and we stay home and soak in all that goodness on our computer via the internet. Here in Minnesota the sessions were at 11am and 3pm, so Mike had time to catch a little nap before conference began on Sunday.

I had been battling a nasty cold all week, so when the kids got our attention around 7am, Mike was good enough to go on solo duty. When I got up a while later, Quinn and Mae were running around doin' their thang, and Max was curled up by Daddy. Wide awake, just laying there. He never does that. Sits still I mean. What child does?? It was priceless. I kept going into the living room to see if he was still lying there. So cute.

This year we really tried to get the kids to pay some attention to the computer screen while our prophet was speaking to us, so we pulled out crayons, markers and best of all....scissors. With Mike and I directing them quietly, they were creative at the table for almost all the morning session. Pretty good for two 18-month olds and a 3.5-er. You can see the well-loved picture of President Monson taped to the wall by the computer (that pic stays on our frige and we try to notice it a lot)? Quinn got so excited every time Pres. Monson got up to speak in conference, "Look Ma! It's him! The same as our picture!".

Here are some outdoor shots of our walks in-between and after the sessions of conference. Quinn loves to go fast on his Big Wheel. There's a spot on the bike path where he starts building some speed and then hits a tight curve and he's on 2 of those three wheels! He always stops after he's just done his death-defying trick and we look at each other and start laughing. You know that no-way-that's-too-cool-I-can't-believe-you-just-did-that kindof laugh? That's what you hear comin' out of the boy and his Ma.

Check out the great fall colors on our street! I like to dress the twins in the same color. I figure, hey they're twins, let's do something about it!