I LOVE countdowns.  It makes things just a bit more exciting.  Right now I have a few countdowns, which means right now my life is very exciting.

Since I now have a child in school I can countdown to the last day of school  (258 days).

This year we're going out to Colorado for Christmas and I'm very excited for that (94 days).

Then we have one of the biggest events for the year.  Reese!  It's 28 days until her scheduled c-section but only 21 days until her due date.

And the closest item on my countdown list...6 days until the SonScape Banquet!

What are you counting down to?


2012 Minnesota SonScape Banquet

This was originally posted on 09/13/2012 and somehow vanished.  I am reposting now for your reading pleasure.

Just over 4 years ago my parents were swept from Minnesota to Colorado. It was a sad day for me since my family is very close, but when they leave to support such a fantastic ministry its hard to be sad for too long.

SonScape Retreats is an absolutely fantastic ministry and you aren't likely to find another organization out there like them. It's more than just a retreat for those in ministry (and their spouses). Only by attending one of SonScape's retreats can you fully appreciate what they have to offer and why its so different from anything else out there.

I'm pretty well acquainted with about 70% of their staff so I can honestly say they really do just want to serve and they serve those in ministry with an amazing spirit and heart. The retreat leaders speak from experience to those at retreats since they have 68 years of combined ministry experience between them. Their words are not hollow and lacking experience. In addition, I have seen the walk of faith they have endured and they truly do seek to do the will of God. As if that wasn't enough, their location is pretty darn near close to heaven on earth as you'll get. Just check out Where You'll Stay. Imagine you (if you're in ministry) or your pastor sitting in that setting, staring at the majesty of Pike's Peak!

All that to be said, they are a fantastic non-profit ministry and growing. On Thursday, September 27th, 2012 , from 6:30 - 9:00 PM they are hosting a banquet at International Market Square. Since they are a non-profit they need support but more than that its an opportunity for you to see who and what SonScape is. There will be a silent auction with some excellent items up for bid, dinner, and I've heard rumor of music. I know all Minnesota people are dying to tap their toes to some good music (don't worry you might be able to hide that tapping toe under a table. No one has to know you were grooving.).

If you're looking for a great way to show your pastor you appreciate them (do you remember that October is Pastor Appreciation Month??), this is a great way to learn what SonScape is all about, support their ministry and take care of Pastor Appreciation Month all in one shot. Instead of just coming by yourself, bring your pastor and their spouse so they can see how amazing SonScape Retreats is as well!

Tickets for the event are $50 per person (includes cost of dinner and a small donation to SonScape Retreats). Visit the Events page on SonScape's website to register for the evening (and register your friends as well). Then, visit the Facebook page for the event and pass it along to anyone you think may be interested.

It may have been a loss on my part for my parents to move out to Colorado, but the work they are doing is so much greater!

I hope to see you at the banquet! What kind of daughter would I be if I didn't support it. In fact, you may even catch a glimpse of a 8 1/2 month pregnant woman running around since I'll be helping work the event. You wouldn't want to miss THAT would you?!?!


Smarty Pants

Yesterday Elle was goofing around and said she didn't need to go to kindergarten anymore because she's already been and she knows everything now.  I went along with it and here's how it played out...

Me: Well if you know everything what is 2 X 2?

Elle: 4.

Me: Okay then.  What's 4 X 4?

Elle:....that's 4 and 4 and 4 and 4...16.

Well played Elle, but you still have to go to school.  I didn't dare go higher, I was scared of the response.


One Week

That’s all I have left of my little girl. My (current) only girl, my firstborn, will start school in ONE WEEK! And I am so excited for her!

I’m not worried or sad or even hesitant about her starting. Elle feeds on structure and learning, something school will be able to provide that has likely been lacking for awhile. It helps that Elle is ready to jump in as well. When your child is excited to start the new adventure of school it sure makes it easier for you.

Elle has taken on a LOT and she enjoys it but she’s still only 5 ½. While I love that she is so responsible and capable I have to remember that she is still a kid. With her schedule changing so drastically this year I’m hoping Kyle and I can help teach her the importance of balance. She’ll be going to school all day and will have over 6 hours of dance during the course of the week. We’ve capped it at there. We’re probably insane for letting her do all the things she’ll be doing this year but we’ve talked a lot about it and tried to determine what the best thing for Elle would be.

She’s excited, for dance and for school. She gets tired, and we let her be tired. We’ve tried to teach her the difference between crying because you didn’t get your way and just needing to have a good cry sometimes. We’ve tried to teach her that she is incredibly blessed to be able to do all the things she is getting to do. We’ve tried to teach her that we love her unconditionally and we are extremely proud of her. We’ve tried to teach her to respect everyone and to make her own decisions. We’ve tried to teach her to follow as well as lead. We’ve tried to teach her a lot in these last 5 ½ years but now it’s her turn. Now she gets to learn from her teacher and her classmates. Now she will be taught from the world as well as her home.

I pray she keeps her spirit. I love my little girl’s spirit. She is naturally joyful and goofy but cautious and analytical. I pray her experiences help grow these characteristics appropriately instead of letting them grow like weeds or smothering them.

Our family is so excited to watch our oldest start this new adventure and to ride along with her.

Shine your light Elle Belle!


What's On Your Agenda

With the weekend all but here (just get through the next 8 hours), what are your plans for one of the last weekends of the summer?

I'm really excited for my weekend.  I get to spend Saturday, or at least a good portion of it with Wild Ruffle at the Retro Benefit for Urban Homeworks.

This Saturday (August 25th) from 2 - 7 PM you can check out the likes of Ashley Barlow, Circa Vintage, Urban Homeworks, Mercy Hill Church, The Orchard House, Wild Ruffle, and ekate Designs all to benefit Urban Homeworks, an excellent organization if you haven't heard about them.

And if THAT doesn't entice you enough, you can come check out my growing belly.

I'll see you there!


This & That

No, I have not fallen off the face of the earth.

Yes, I am still alive.

No, I have not yet had the baby.

Yes, I am ready to NOT be pregnant.

No, I am not ready to be a mother of THREE.

Yes, I do only have roughly 7 weeks to get over that.

No, I'm not fully back to posting.

Yes, I will try to be more consistent...

In the mean time, breath a sigh of relief that this is likely the shortest blog post you will have to read today.


"Big" Brother

This little boy is quite the big brother.

If you live in Minnesota or like to follow Minnesota weather (which is weird by the way), then you know we've been dealing with some pretty nasty thunderstorms.  Sunday night Kyle and I anticipated the children waking up at any moment but through the almost 2 hour of torrential downpour and constant lightning, they didn't wake.  Of course the hail was saved for last night and apparently hail is what does the trick.

Around 4:00 AM Kyle and I were awakened by the wind, rain, hail and lightning.  After checking the weather app for any serious weather alerts I passed some time to see if anyone else was suffering just as we were.  Sure enough, Gabe came wandering in to our room, almost sleep walking muttering something about Elle needing me.

Gabe is pretty good at making excuses to get something he wants but it was somewhat clear that he really had no idea what was going on this morning.  Since I was expecting this I was prepared to get my bum out of bed and spend some time with my rightfully frightened children.

I followed Gabe into their room, saw Elle sitting straight up and watched Gabe crawl back into his bed, roll over and go back to sleep.  It was hard not to laugh.  It appears poor Elle was too frightened to climb down from the top bunk and come get me herself so she woke Gabe to come get me instead.

What a brave big brother.  What on earth will Elle do when they  have their own rooms instead of sharing?



Yesterday was Elle's first day of dance Audition Prep Camp.  She is 5 and will be auditioning for competition dance for the first time this year.  Kyle and I discussed it for quite some time since she is only 5, that's a big commitment for a 5 year old, she'll be starting kindergarten this year and all the other reasons.

After discussing Elle's progress with her teachers, the studio owner and evaluating her passion for dance, it's insane, we decided an audition would be fine and we'll take it from there.  We are by no means holding our breath for our little one to be the next SYTYCD (So You Think You Can Dance) winner.  After all, did you see that 2 year old that was on!  The experience Elle will have at APC (Audition Prep Camp) will be good for her in any case.  Plus the child danced roughly 3 hours this last year as a 4/5 year old and still came home and danced around the whole house.

I think I was more nervous about it than Elle. I had been preparing her for a tough camp. 

"You can't talk unless the teacher asks you a question or you have a question specifically related to what the teacher is doing, do you understand Elle?"

"Yes Mom."

"You can't whine."

"Okay Mom."

"You can't complain."

"Okay Mom."

"You'll have to work VERY hard and it may hurt a little."

"Okay Mom."

"Do you think you can do it?"

She took a deep breath with her eyes closed.  Opened them back up and looked me square in the eye.  "I'll do my best Mom."

Ugh! Melt a mama's heart!

I don't know how hard she worked yesterday but I know when I saw her she said she wanted to go back and I'm happy with that.  The last thing I want is for me daughter to lose her passion for dance and I wasn't sure if after dancing for 4 hours in one day she'd still want to dance.  Well apparently I had nothing to worry about because even after dancing for 4 hours in one day, she still came home and danced around the living room.  Honestly kid.


Where Have I Gone?

Well, let me tell you. 

Two weeks ago was spent preparing Elle and Gabe for their dance recital(s).  With Elle dancing in 5 numbers and Gabe in three as well as teaching my own classes I felt a bit busy.  It all went off wonderfully and my growing belly was thankful for it to be over.  That whole weekend was filled with recital activities from Friday night to Sunday evening.  So that pretty much took care of that week.

Last week was spent recuperating from the weekend.  The kids were fantastic given the exhaustion they were dealing with and having Grandma and Grandpa around definitely helped.  Of course we were also resting up for the next weekend and week.

Joyful Noise Family Fest was Saturday and with the forecast reading 90's and no clouds we needed to figure something out.  Lost of water, sunscreen, and pre-resting as much as possible was the answer.  It was well worth it to sit in the heat.  The kids were phenomenal and aside from some minor pink shading we all walked away fairly unscorched.  It was a great day for a bunch of outdoor concerts and the weather really was beautiful.

Yesterday we slept it.  Yep, even the kids.  Since we didn't get home until after 12 Saturday night we thought it best that we all rest a little.  The kids slept until almost 10; Sunday miracle #1.  Both, I repeat BOTH children woke with smiles on their faces; miracle #2.  Then we rushed out the door to meet my parents, brother, and sister-on-law at Gabe's in St. Paul before the St. Paul Saints game.  Another hot day outside and perhaps the prize wasn't as tempting (St. Paul Saints vs. Toby Mac).  The Saints were ahead and the game was progressing so we left a little early. 

So, we are still recovery from the last two weeks.  Thank goodness this weekend has nothing on the docket.  Kyle will be done with class attendance after this week for awhile and Elle has Audition Prep Camp for dance Monday - Wednesday with auditions on Thursday (we'll see how that goes).  Just gotta get through Thursday.  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can....


Here We Go

The festivities begin tomorrow!

Elle and Gabe have their dance recitals this weekend. Yes, multiple.  It all begins tomorrow.  Actually it started last night.  Since Elle inherited my hair which holds curl for a whole 5 minutes I wanted to try something that would hold the curl for as long as possible without a hug hassle.  We've done sock curls which last about 1/2 the day without hairspray or gel.  Last night we tried actual rag curls.

I think she looks pretty cute like that.  I slathered the gel on the hair, twisted and tied it up.  Here's hoping its not a rat's nest this morning and lasts until at least 2.

Tonight is a run through of her make up.  I realized in her pictures that my blond beauty just blends in to things which you'd think I would have known since I had to deal with it my whole childhood.  So a bit of make up it is.

We also flipped her costumes with fluffy tutus up-side down so they would be nice and fluffy.  It helps to take them out of the air-tight bag and let them breath.  Tee-hee.  I ironed Gabe's pants which will make no difference at all but more Gabe was getting neglected and it's his recital as well.

Like I said, the festivities start for us at 3:30 tomorrow afternoon with rehearsal.  Then bright and early for a Saturday at 9:30 to help set up and whatnot.  The first (yes, first) recital starts at 11 and both Elle and Gabe get to perform.  They get the afternoon off with Grandma and Grandpa after that while Kyle and I work the second recital on Saturday. 

Sunday we get to do it again but slightly later and with Elle only.  Gabe will of course me there to cheer her on though just like last year when he yelled out, "Look! It's my Elle Belle!"  Love it!

Surely after that we will all collapse but it will be great practice for parenting a competition dancer next year hopefully.  That's right.  This summer Elle will be auditioning for the first time for The DanceXchange Competition program.  Kyle and I debating signing her up for auditioning even since she's only 5, will be starting school this year and a number of other reasons.  Ultimately, when we realized that even Angelina Ballerina stopped dancing at home when she was in classes, clearly Elle was still not satisified in how much dance instruction she was getting 3 days a week since she was still dancing all around the house.

We have been with The DanceXchange for YEARS!  I'm thinking its been about 6 or 7 years and I LOVE the owner and the instructors dearly.  Not only do they know what they are doing but they are making huge investments in to these kids and they know it.  While they take what they do seriously they also know how to have fun and help the kids enjoy themselves.  Choreography is age appropriate and so are the costumes and that's hard to find now.

If you'd like to take a look at this amazing studio let me know, I'd be happy to give you a tour.  I've had kids in lessons with them and I've taught.  Or you can come check out the recital and see how all the hard work, for the students, staff and parents, pays off.  Go to the Recital Information Page and buy your tickets there or at the door. 

Not only would Elle and Gabe love to see you but so would I!



I may have gone a bit crazy last night.

Kyle and I have given some things to a newly married friend of ours.  I should specify; young and newly married.  We've all been there in life.  Maybe not both at the same time but in a place where some one giving you a dining room table or a couch is exactly what you needed.

Last night we unloaded on to her a couch, a dining room table and a coffee table.  They have all served us well but it is time for them to move on to their next home and I'm afraid this massive purge only swept me up into an even larger one.

I threw away a good portion of "stuff", assembled a bassinet that is on loan to us for Baby #3, completely decluttered my desk (even though its only purpose right now is holding on the "stuff" since I'm on hiatus from school), moved what baby girl clothes we have to the changing table we were blessed to acquire, moved the changing table to the kids' room, moved the couch that was in the kids' room to the living room so the changing table could go in the kids' room, moved our spectacular keyboard upstairs so an inspiring pianist can have weighted keys to practice and a full keyboard, and vacuumed.

Don't worry, the heaviest thing I lifted was the keyboard.  Muscle showed up to move the furniture for the friend and my dear friend caught me in the midst of moving the other couch and stepped in immediately.  THANK YOU!!!

The kids were a bit confused at first wanting to make sure we weren't getting rid of some of their prized possessions (i.e. Gabe's drums, their toys, etc.).  After some of the furniture had been moved the kids seemed rather excited to stand in a space they hadn't been able to before, and I'm not speaking metaphorically.  Interesting concept though huh; when something has been over a certain place in our lives for so long, how eager are we to just stand in that new unoccupied space and enjoy.

Anyway, all that to say, at about 8:45 when my oh-my-word-I'm-surely-going-to-fall-down-dead-right-here moment arrived I was amazed at all the nesting I've already done and only in my 4th month.  So maybe, just maybe, despite the insanities this pregnancy has brought early on I'll be rather productive after all.


I Did It

I stayed awake during the whole concert Friday night.  Although it probably would have been fine if I had fallen asleep since the majority if those in attendance were over the age of 70 and a good portion fell asleep themselves.  Oh well.

After the concert we headed over to Sabastian Joe's for some ice cream and I had to get some coffee.  I may have made it through the concert but it was just barely.  We got home around 11:30. Whew!

When I woke up Saturday morning, I felt like I was hung over.  Kyle said the ice cream was laced.  As much as I would like to believe that instead of the fact that I just shouldn't stay up that late in my current state I think we all know the truth.

After teaching my last dance class for the year, and Gabe taking what will probably be his last dance class ever, we headed home, made a Target run, and enjoyed a rainy day instead.  I needed to recuperate after my "late" night.

Monday we were up bright an early for church which was easy to do, okay easier than normal to do since the sun was shining away.  The rest of Sunday was spent in the sun, then a break inside for cooling off, then back in the sun, then inside for dinner.  The kids had a blast.  Days like Sunday make me miss the pool we had in our backyard growing up.  Though I don't envy the work my parents had to put in to it.  Days like Sunday also make me realize what big babies my kids are around water.  Swimming lessons may be in their near future.

Thank goodness for Monday off.  It wasn't as if the weekend was so exhausting that I needed an additional day to recover but more that I have grown in my marriage and parental duties and would really rather spend my time with my family than my co-workers.  Nothing against my co-workers since they are great sports and provide some outstanding laughs throughout the week; I just love investing in my family more.

Anyway, Monday was spectacular.  Kyle and I slept late and while the kids ate breakfast and watch too many shows.  Since that wonderful sun was shining again it got us outside.  We left the house with no plan but knew the day couldn't be wasted.  Kyle had a brilliant plan to go to The Malt Shop for lunch and ice cream.  Overwhelmed by the size of the salad the server placed before me it didn't take long for it to vanish; thank goodness.  I think I even surprised Kyle with how much and how quickly I ate it.

Once our ice cream was delivered when headed outside for a short walk through the neighborhood (no way will I let me 5 year old and 3 year old eat chocolate ice cream cones in our new van).  It was lovely and Elle and I had fun looking at the pretty houses, a moment I remember sharing many times with my mom.  Once all signs of the ice cream were gone, well not all signs since Elle spilled all down her front and Gabe's ice cream ended up a dried mess all over his face, we headed back to the car.

We took a nice drive around Lake Harriet then headed to Patrick's Bakery in Edina.  Yum!

We then headed home for some chalk on the driveway and almost got blown away.  After awhile outside with the winds convincing us to head in, we obliged and decided to pop in a movie.  Elle is wildly aware of my love for English classics.  She has sat through 6 hours of Price and Prejudice many times and knows parts of Sense and Sensibility.  I may have even let her watch some of Downton Abbey.  I feel I may be setting her up for disaster when it comes to her own relationships as show grows older.  If these are her princesses, so be it.

Gabe on the other hand has shown no acknowledgement of these movies.  While he is typically in the room while Elle and I drown ourselves in these other worlds, he's playing with his super hero action figures or trucks.  Yesterday, however, when we were selecting a movie Gabe of all people says, "you wanna watch sense and invisibility mom?"  Now all Kyle and I heard was "invisibility" and didn't give it much though but he kept saying it.  After about the 5th time we figured it out and when your 3 1/2 year old son asks you if you want to watch Sense and Sensibility how do you say no?  Well you don't.  I will warn you though, while your 5 year old daughter eats it up your 3 1/2 year old son will continue to drive his mackin carica (Captain America) motorcycle over your head and face until you tickle him incessantly.  While this may be a riot for your and your 3 1/2 year old boy whose laugh could actually bring the sun out, your 5 year old daughter who is being jolted out of her wonderland will not appreciate it as much and will scold you and your son until you calm down.

Did I mention how much I laughed this weekend and how much I love my family?

Oh little Baby # 3 you have no idea the insanity you are getting in to.


I'm Still Here

Don't worry I am still alive.

I've forgotten how exhausting pregnancy is.  Okay maybe not pregnancy alone but pregnancy, a full-time job, a 5 year old and 3 year old, no husband Monday - Thursday, and all the other things life throws at us.

Last week was spent preparing for the neighborhood garage sale.  I probably could have contributed more but all the proceeds were split.  Half went to friends of ours who are adopting from Africa.  The other half was given to the organization Love 146.  Love 146 fights against human trafficking and provides aftercare for those they are able to help.  It's an incredible organization.  After the preparation for the garage sale this week has been a lay low kind of week.

Not much has happened.  When he sun was out, so were we.  When it rained, we enjoyed some movies and games.

Tonight, Kyle is home and we are going to see the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.  We haven't had a date night in awhile.  Mainly because I'm the walking dead after 8:30.  I don't make for very good company.  I'm so excited for some time with just the two of us. 

As a family we laugh a lot.  Kyle and I laugh even more.  When Kyle and I get to just be the two of us, it's pretty silly.  I love laughing with my husband.  I may be falling asleep while we're there, listening to Mozart, but sometimes that's just a recipe for more silliness.

I'll have to let you know how it goes.

What do you have planned for this long weekend?


Looking Back

Saturday was the 6th Mother's Day I have celebrated and while I have determined what the ideal Mother's Day for me would look like (sleeping in, breakfast in bed watching some English classic, some time at the spa and shopping with friends, coffees/teas in hand, and of course lunch or dinner somewhere along there.  Some one to come and clean my house and dinner to be made) I was given an excellent Mother's Day gift by my own mom this year.  A text that simply read, "I'm thinking of you all day long! Live in the blessings God has surrounded you with."

Mother's Day is kind of a cruel trick for my family since I'm not a huge lover of flowers or boxes of chocolate.  So what's a family to do?

This Mother's Day morning I rolled out of bed around 7:30/8:00 my usual groggy, nauseated self and started getting the kids breakfast.  If your house is anything like mine, once those breakfast requests start flowing they don't stop.  Cereal, toast, English muffin, milk, juice, yogurt...You'd think we didn't feed the kids, ever.  This time was peaceful though.  No, or at least minimal arguing from the kids about who would sit in which chair, etc.  They were happy.

After about 45 minutes of getting the kids set up with breakfast and popping on a TV show (I thought this would distract them from me for 10 minutes), I started in on my own tasks.  No big deal, usual prepping and primping before church with the frequent, "what cha doing mama? Can I watch?"

The message at church was on rest.  Within the first 5 minutes I wanted to cry.  Of course it had absolutely nothing to do with my current state of pregnancy (emotional, exhausted, nauseated, I'll stop there).  During worship I got to watch Gabe play with a friend and they very nicely shared the iPhone between them, taking turns, Gabe showed his buddy how the game worked.  It was adorable.

The whole family then headed to St. Paul for lunch with Kyle's family.  Kyle was brave enough to go through the buffet line for me and try to figure out what I could possibly want that day.  He did a great job, aside from the cheesy hash browns.  I ate everything on my plate and had a full tummy.  The kids ate wonderfully and were amazingly well behaved.

I left lunch slightly early to meet my dear sister-in-law for some shopping.  Baby #3 took this opportunity to remind me that she is around and knew it was Mother's Day.  I waddled like a pregnant lady ready to pop the entire time.  Poor Tasha had to deal with a slow, fat woman all afternoon.  And I like to walk fast.  It was fun all the same.

I headed home after that and the kids had the most pathetic dinner I have ever seen but it was all in honor of the Sabbath and they seemed satisfied so there you have it.

All day the kids made me smile and laugh.  They were so well behaved it made me wonder if God placed little angels on their shoulders to remind them every second of what they should and should not do.  All day, I lived in the blessings God surrounded me with and they were precious.

Don't get me wrong, some day I would still like my ideal Mother's Day and maybe that will happen but having extremely well behaved, hilarious children is definitely a decent trade-off in the mean time.


I Lied

I thought I could wait.

It turns out my inpatient, need-to-know personality won in the end.

My best friend was brave enough to plan a "reveal" for us and she was insane enough to do it tonight.  Thanks Amy!

We had another amazing friend who was silly enough to capture it on video and laugh along with us.  Thanks Noemi!


Today Is The Day

Today is the day of the "Big" ultrasound.

Please pray for no complications!

Will report back tomorrow.


What Will You Be Doing

Sunday is Mother's Day.

While this isn't my favorite day of the year yet, I look forward to how it will evolve over the years.

What is your favorite way to spend Mother's Day?

What was your favorite Mother's Day gift?  Either to give or receive?

If you had zero restrictions on your Mother's Day, what would you do?

To all the moms out there, with or without children, Happy Mother's Day.  You are amazing women and I can say that with honesty because I know you.


Work In Progress

My heart has been stirred.

I'm working on something but its not ready yet.  At this point its about a million things running through my mind but its a topic that is dear to us all: Love.

What was your first thought?  I'm curious.  Maybe it'll help me straighten out mine.


The Start Of Summer

Growing up many things signaled the start of summer.  The end of school, warmer weather, VBS, etc.  The one I love looking back on the most is our trips up to the cabin.

Our cabin has been in the family for generations and I have grown up hearing stories about how the cabin and the lake have changed over the years.  Kyle and I were married at the cabin and our kids enjoy the time they get to spend there as well.  Unfortunately we don't get up there as much as I would like.

This year we started off right.  The last few years we haven't made it up until quite late in the season.  This year we started with the first weekend in May.  It was a bit dreary but I'll take it.

When I was a kid we would head out right when Dad got home from work on Fridays.  I remember that drive seeming so much longer than 2 hours.  As we got older Dad always made a special stop one a certain Dairy Queen on the way up.  I don't remember a lot of rainy days at the cabin but I remember a lot of family and fun, delicious meals, resting and pure enjoyment.  We hardly ever left before dark on Sunday nights to head back home.  I always feel asleep to the sound of a Twins game on the radio.  This is the only sentiment I have for the Twins, sorry guys.

I'm more than happy to pass that along to my kids.  Since they had dance Saturday mornings we had to delay our departure until mid-day Saturday.  We stopped for lunch on the way up of course providing plenty of time for our tummies to settle down for Dairy Queen on the way.

Be prepared for picture overload...

Throwing rocks into the lake.

Everyone has to have a walking stick.

I am completely realistic about how long the cabin will be able to stay with our family.  There are few of us left in the state of Minnesota.  I will do what I can to make sure we can keep it for as long as possible so as many generations as possible can know this joy.

Thanks all the generations that have gone before and worked so hard to keep the cabin, and thanks to generations current that continue to work so hard to preserve the cabin.  I'm so grateful this cabin is a part of my history.


Conflict of Interests

This weekend while up at the cabin we made a cookie I have been craving for weeks.  Kingla.  We made two batches of it since I knew I would go through it too fast, we usually do.  Course I usually give away most of it.  This time I was determined to keep it all.

This time I can't share, but I also can't say no.  So it provides an entertaining conflict of interests.

Mistake #1 - I carried one of the bags containing 1/3 of the cookies in to the house visibly.  My dear friend's eyes zeroed in on them, almost as much as mine do.  I'm sure she asked but she didn't even have to.  Seeing the look on her face I couldn't deny her.  With only a little reluctance I handed over the bag.  Her friendship means THAT much to me, and the fact that she is an AMAZING cook and if she likes something I have made then by all means have at it.

Mistake #2 - The bag containing the majority of the cookies came to work with me yesterday which itself it not a mistake but leaving the bag out where coworkers can see, that's an issue.  I have made these cookies for my coworkers before so they know what they're missing.  One of my coworkers asked for some and since I can't say no she helped herself. ::sigh::  I wasn't there to monitor how many she took but I think it was only one so I can't be too upset.

I offered some to two other coworkers because they are two of my favorites (tee hee).  They should know there was quite an internal struggle to share.  They no doubt saw it on my face which is why they opposed the required 3 times according to Minnesota decorum before accepting.

Mistake #3 - Talking about them now.  What have I done!  Now you all know and will surely hold me hostage until I hand them over.  Let me just remind you that I am 17 weeks pregnant and kringla appears to be the base for my food pyramid at the moment so, you know, bring it on and all that.

Or, I could just give you the recipe and you could give it a go yourself.  I think that sounds much better for everyone.

2/3 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Shorting
2/3 teaspoon baking soda
a pinch of salt
1 can evaporated milk (12 oz can) (sour with vinegar)
3 1/2 cups Flour

When I make them, I throw everything in one bowl and mix away.  Of course you want to add the flour slowly because it gets really doughy.  Nearer the end its almost easier to just use your hands to mix it but be sure you have lots of flour on your hands or you will get covered and become one with the dough.

Once its good and mixed, take a small bit and roll it into what my kids refer to as a "long worm."  Make sure your rolling area has flour and your hands are covered in flour (hint: counter tops need less flour, cutting boards need more. I prefer cutting boards).  Roll into a pretzel shape (pictured below) and place on baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes until they just start to golden.  They don't need to bake long at all and can be devoured immediately.

Obviously I love these cookies but my love for them grows when I know there are no eggs so my kids can nibble at the dough a bit and I'm not super worried.  These cookies aren't extremely sweet either which is another reason I love them so much and I've found many others that appreciate them for this quality as well.  Lastly, my kids don't even like them.  They love making them but once they're made they are ALL mine!  Well, unless I share with my friends and coworkers.

So, go make your own batch and enjoy with your favorite cup of coffe.  They make for a great breakfast.

Now you have no reason to steal mine!


A Glimpse of Parenting 3

This weekend we went up to our family cabin.  After the week I had last week I was hoping for more of a relaxing weekend; instead I was given a glimpse of parenting three children.

Our dear Elle Belle suffered with a runny nose all weekend.  We were given fair warning on this so I brought Benadryl up to the cabin.

Baby #3 has already shown us its a punk what with migraines and nausea.  They have settle a bit but just when I think I can count on feeling well this little one has a super surprise in store.

Gabe's issues came out of no where, like they typically do.  On the way up to the cabin he started in coughing.  Gabe loves croup.  So much so that he takes every opportunity to catch it.  Had I know this weekend was to be one of those weekends I would have brought some medicine for him as well. 

The coughing on the way up to the cabin and the remainder of the day Saturday was not the worst cough we've heard from Gabe.  So I didn't think too much of it when they went to bed.  I didn't even think much of it 1 1/2 hours after we put the kids to bed and they were still goofing around.  Note to self: The kids are use to sharing a room; they are not use to sharing a bed.  In the future provide separate beds or supervision.

After about 40 minutes of goofiness, I decided my supervision, shucks a forced early bedtime for me, would calm them down.  About another 40 minutes of gentle reminders and all three (four) of us were asleep. 

Around 12, Gabe started to stir with intense coughing.  The next hour consisted of an inconsolable Gabe, coughing, and trying to get back to sleep.  One of the things I love about Gabe is that he's a huge cuddler, but when he's usually done about the time I am.  I do not like spending the night in the same bed as my children and Gabe does not like spending the night in bed with anything but the stuffed animals he has chosen and he can kick them out of bed at any time.  After about 15 minutes of providing comfort to him so he could get back to sleep, I was only in the way and was dismissed to my own bed (YES!).

Then baby #3 started in.  Thank goodness Elle was knocked out with Benadryl.

For another hour or so I struggled with nausea.  After that hour, the nausea turned to hunger.  I snuck upstairs and grabbed and apple and banana.  Not the wisest of choices considering Gabe just got back to sleep and the child is ALWAYS hungry, unless its dinner time that is.  I don't think I have ever attempted to eat an apple so quietly before.  Every bite seemed to stir Gabe just a bit more.  At one point I even tried eating under the covers.  As if that would silence the apple crunching.  The good news; I advances my status in Bejeweled. 

Finally around 3/3:30 I was able to get back to sleep.

Normally the kids will sleep until about 7:30 or 8.  Sunday morning they let us sleep in until 6! So kind of them.  We were able to side track them with books and the iPad until about 8.  We're such good parents.

The remainder of the day was fairly similar.  Once two children were settled, another started acting up.  You'd think they were tagging each other in or something.  To their credit, the "acting up" was not extreme or unruly.  There was a small spill of milk, a tipped over bowl of cereal, more coughing and runny noses, etc.  Thank goodness Kyle is such an amazing husband and father. 

The kids pay have tag each other in, but Kyle and I are a pretty good tag team ourselves.  Watch out baby #3.


What Are You Doing Tomorrow

If you live south of the river you'll be at the coolest event this spring.  The Wild Ruffle Spring Pop Up Shop!

I can't even do it justice but take a look at some of the vendors and I'm sure you'll want to be there.

                        Camille en Rouge                   Edan Works              Edelweiss Bakery

                                Elphia Designs            Little Harvest              Love Letters

                            McKenzie Beiler       Necksessories by Sue       Perfectly Posh

                                Rerun Designs         Statement Design Co.      Floral Studio
                                                  Urban Halo                   Via Patina

You can't miss it right?  Right?!  Good, I'll see you there.


I Have Shoes Like Dorothy

Mine don't take my to Kansas though.  Mine magically transport me to London.

They may not look like much but I wore these in my dear friend's wedding as one of her bridesmaids while we were there last September; one of the best trips of my life.  All four bridesmaids had them and while I didn't know two of the bridesmaids very well when I first arrived, they are dear friends to me now. 

So when I put on my magical shoes I'm brought back to London with my lovely friends and man do we laugh a lot.  I drink too much tea; they drink too much wine but it's okay because we're all silly drunk anyway.

I made a decision that for my 30th birthday I will go back.  I have to.  I love my friends in London (and London) far too much not to visit them as much as my pocketbook will allow.  Of course anyone that can fund their own trip is welcome to come since I love so many people here in the states as well and everyone should get to see London.  So I'm saving up, one penny at a time.

In the mean time, if you see a strange smile on my face, check my shoes.  If you catch these on my feet, you'll know I'm walking through London with my friends, at least in my head I am.


Today We're Being Very Quiet

Today was a business casual day at work.

Guess who didn't remember until I was half way up the stairs to their desk this morning?

To top it off, my hair has remnants of bonfire smell.  I am so winning the best employee award today, I don't care what anyone says.


The Link

Don't worry.  I haven't fallen off the earth.  I was however, busy finding the connection between my sleep patterns and the level of my morning sickness.  According to recent studies, my recent studies, I need to get between 10 - 12 hours of sleep each night in order to feel well the next day.  If this were baby #1 you can see how this would be less of a problem.  This is in fact baby #3 so I am faced with the other motherly tasks that I must complete.

First pregnancies are so wonderful aren't they.  Aside from all the joyous pregnancy "symptoms".  Most of the time in your first pregnancy you can combat them when you need to.  If you don't feel well or are exhausted you can take a nap.  If you need to vomit you can cozy up to the toilet or your favorite bowl.  You can have whatever you want for breakfast, lunch or dinner and who cares what anyone thinks if you eat pizza 5 days in a row.  You can be active when you want to be and you can lay low when you want to.

After that sweet and precious baby #1 we don't really get that option anymore do we?  Of course we wouldn't trade that sweet darling for anything, except maybe a nap (I'm kidding!).

I remember being pregnant with my second, Elle was about 1 1/2 and a friend of mine was pregnant with her first.  We were swapping stories and I remember talking about how I just wanted to break down and cry one day or maybe my friend was sharing how she did and I had said I didn't have that option.  Well that's not entirely true I suppose.  I could become a mess of tears but my 1 1/2 year old would only join me.  Then I'd have 2 crying babies to deal with.

It is helpful that Elle and Gabe are older this time around.  Elle is 5 and Gabe is 3 1/2.  The understand most of the things I tell them.  Elle is a huge help and sometimes I only have to say things once to Gabe.  He came up behind me one morning getting ready for dance and threw his arms around my neck, one of those hug wrestle things boys do.  I'm not sure if I detached him before I ran to the toilet or after I got there.  We had a small talk about not putting pressure on, or breathing near, my neck or I will, as Gabe says, "grow up."  It's so sweet.  Elle was behind me, Gabe was in front and Elle put her hands on my shoulders and Gabe got all defensive.  Such a punkin'.

Like moms before me, I have motherly duties and household duties I must complete.  I have a job I must go to and expectations I must meet.  So, as you can clearly see I have two options before me; 1) become a hermit and see people again in 6-8 months after I have an opportunity to adjust, or 2) power through!

You know what's going to be really fun?  When Kyle starts classes in 2 weeks again he's gone Monday - Thursday nights.  If anyone wants to bring meals or take my children for a short period of time there will be a sign up sheet.  More and more I'm thinking the napping house is a good idea, except for that pesky fly.


The Best Part of Waking Up...

Is having coffee in my cup again.

For too long I have ignored my magical Keurig and the lonely K-cups sitting in their tree.  I have not been able to partake of the delicious first sip that wakes me up in the morning and warms my insides.

Oh coffee, how I have missed you.  Thank you for not turning your back on me.  You are a true friend dear coffee.


A Fresh Do

Elle has beautiful long bright blond hair.

Beautiful right.

Somehow I have managed to trim her hair for 5 years and avoid the horrible curious-toddler-with-scissors predicament.  At least until now I had.

Elle has taken to cutting paper and accidentally cut a bit of her hair in the process.  About 5 inches off the left side sort of in the front.  Groan.  This I could not save.  To the salon we go.  Her first time.

I was positive she would walk out with a bob and this was sad to me for many reasons; 1)Her hair is so beautiful and long I just don't want to have it chopped; 2)Her dance recital is in just over a month and a half and I'd really appreciate it if her hair would fit in a pony tail; 3)Family pictures the end of June; and 4)I didn't want to walk out of the salon with matching hair cuts as much as I love the movie Hairspray I just didn't want to live that scene.

Yesterday I left work early and picked up Elle to end to the LifeSpa at Lifetime Fitness is Savage thanks to a great referral!  They were so nice and accommodating.  I was mortified when I walked up to the front desk, looked at my daughters beautiful hair and saw what looked like a raisin smashed at the crown of her head.  It wasn't just smashed, it was IN her hair like some one rubbed this gooy thing into her head.  We still have no idea what it was.  I felt so bad thank goodness I can blame it on Kyle (love you honey!).  So Elle got a nice little shampoo as well as a hair cut yesterday.

I spoke with Tammi, the lovely woman who cut Elle's hair and explained that if we can we'd really like to keep the length but if not I understand. 

So, Elle sat in her chair with Tammi treating her like a princess and I sat in my chair with Emilie treating me every so nicely as well.  It was very fun.  Too bad I didn't schedule some manicures for us as well.

Elle got to keep her hair, well most of it anyway.  I can still tell where the chop is but one of my friends assures me its really not noticeable.  I hope she's not just trying to make me feel better.

Still beautiful.

Thanks LifeSpa.



Oh its for real.  Maybe I don't have to seek psychiatric help for my fear but it is completely irrational and at times apparently hilarious to my husband.

Every winter and spring I experience a rude awaking to my fear.  I'm completely aware of the statistic that there is always a spider within 3 feet of you and my goodness that is disgusting but I'm also very childlike and if I can't see it, it doesn't exist, or at least doesn't pose a threat.

If I'm alone or its just me and the kids, a very heavy shoe is my weapon of choice.  I can't use a plain old tissue because then I can feel the crunch and that's just nasty.  Plus I want to make sure I've gotten it.  What if my tissue missed it then I've just upset the spider?! Surely he will race after me in an attempt to devour me!  Then what will become of my children!  After confirmation of death, the poor thing gets scooped up and flushed.  I don't want to run the risk of it coming back to life.  If it did, the aforementioned race and devouring would surely take place.

My husband takes a much different approach.  He grabs a cup or container of some sort, a note pad, and traps the thing.  He carefully slides the note pad under the container and carries the creature outside for a peaceful release.  Usually my response is, "He'll be back tomorrow and he's going to be made I kicked him out."  I'm pretty sure Kyle has rolled his eyes at this most times, and rightfully so.

I spent hours one night before bed tracking the slow and steady progress of a very small, I confess, spider on its way from our ceiling, down to the desk, on to the desk chair, to the floor, and creepy crawly closer to my bed.  It was clear anytime he would stop moving for more than 5 minutes that he was re-planning his attack since he saw I was watching.  By the time he got within 3 feet of me the order was given to have him removed.  Thanks Kyle!  I didn't see him return the next day.

I remember my mom trying to "appreciate" spiders so I wouldn't develop a fear as well.  I'm not sure if her feelings are quite as strong as mine against spiders but she did try.  I'm not sure if I've even tried to express appreciation for spiders with Elle and Gabe.  I think I have squished far less when they are around, of course I keep my eye on the spider to make sure it doesn't draw a sword and charge.  They do that you know.

Twice in the last month I have apparently barged in on a garden spider making use of our bathroom.  How rude of me.  The first one was immediately squished and disposed of (toilet).  The second, just this last week, was a bit more challenging.  He took up residence in our sink.  The porcelain doesn't allow them to climb quite as well, but that does give them a creepier crawlier look.  Having been educated by my husband and the song Itsy Bitsy Spider, I knew the spider wouldn't drown in my sink but the angle was too awkward for a direct attack.  I regret that I hurt the planet twice that day; I ran the water for quite some time to ensure he at least wouldn't return while I was doing my business and its possible the spider was disposed of in the mean time.  Okay I don't regret it because I just can't stand them but I do apologize to my "green" friends.

Do you have an irrational fear you attempt to hide from you children in hopes of breaking the cycle?  Just remember how intuitive most kids are.  Just saying. :)


Do You Want To Know

In just less than a month Kyle and I will have our mid-way ultrasound for baby #3.  YAY!

When we were pregnant with Elle we were sure it was a girl so the ultrasound was almost pointless.  Okay, it wasn't pointless since we got to see our little baby.

With Gabe, I won't lie, I shed a little tear of fear having a boy.  Love him SO much now.

With #3, we're not finding out. Tee hee.

I have friends that have found out and friends that have been surprised.  Kyle and I love our girl and we love our boy.  We figure with one of each, we're good either way at this point.

What would you do?  Would you want to know?


Cracker Barrel

A few weeks ago I took my first trip to The Cracker Barrel.  My husband has assured me I am odd for living in Minnesota my entire life and not having visited this magical place.  I didn't really see what the big deal was.  Until I went inside and discovered the shop!

I love giant mugs!  If only it said tea.

A giant Mr. Goodbar?!?  Heaven on earth!

I remember eating this as a kid. 
The taste was not good but man were the commercials excellent.

Add your own kid-in-a-candy-store comments. 

I will definitely be back, more for the shop then the food but to each his own.  I'll stick with my chocolate and candy and you can have your meat and gravy.


In Full Swing

I am in full swing preparing for the baby shower of a dear friend.  If you've read my blog before you know I LOVE this.  You know I LOVE planning parties and I LOVE investing the time in all the details that will make my friends smile.  The details that they may not even notice but would miss if they weren't there.

If you know me, you also know I can't stand messes and disorganized, cluttered areas.  So when you combine my love for party planning and my love for organization, it can get a little interesting.

My small desk is currently maxed out with...

 paint; tubes and small cans...

and odd clothes pin/popsicle contraptions.

My printer is doubling as a shelf holding other goodies for the party...

and yet to be panted clothes pins and popsicle sticks are waiting.

Unmanned scissors beckon to my 3 and 5 year old, "it'll be fun to try cutting your hair."

 My lame attempt at presorting only brings bags of items instead of piles.

Stamps have been recovered from the pit of my scrap booking bin and are anxious to be used.

The only thing resembling sanity on my desk is the chicken scratched list of party to-do's.  Some items even have a check mark next to them if not a full on line through them.

The other day I was trying to work at my desk and informed my husband I need a bigger desk.  From the bedroom he mockingly replied, "Honey, you need a workstation."  It's sad, but it's true.  Maybe planning my workstation will be my next project.

How do you stay organized among all the insanity?