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.