Goodbye '09.....

As 2009 comes to an end, I thought I'd look back over the past 12 months and try to figure out what we all did that kept us so busy.....

Basketball - practice and games. Early games. We're talking every Saturday. At 8am. In January. When it's FREEZING! Colton continued with swimming lessons.
Brett transitioned into his big boy bed.

We celebrated Mike's Grandma's 80th birthday.

We spent a day at the Children's Museum. Next time we're going to shoot for a weekday.

We spent some time down in Missouri visiting Mike's Grandpa and Grandma and attended his cousin's wedding.

Colton turned 7 years old!

Fishing season began.
The baseball season was in full swing. Go #4!

Mike turned 33. I have no pictures to prove this as he was on a fishing trip. ;)
Grandma Sue came down for a couple days.

Brett started swimming lessons. Parent/Tot. The water was so cold!

Hit up Maple Grove days with some friends.

Spent the 4th of July up at the lake with Mike's parents.

Brett turned 3 years old!

The Ward's had a family reunion.
We took a family trip to Wisconsin Dells. I took all of two pictures as my goal was to enjoy the time with the kids and not worry about where my camera was and if it was getting wet. We had a great time!
We headed back down to Missouri sans children to celebrate Ambry (Mike's cousin) & Dave's wedding.
I headed up north to pick up the boys who had spent a week at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Colton started 2nd grade and became a fan of purple #4.
Halloween! Darth Vader and a "firefighter man."
Colton "got to" hang out with me and some college girlfriends as we took our annual trip to the apple orchard.
Took the boys to Underwater World.
Caught the boys actually sleeping like this:
We built forts. Honestly, this picture creeps me out! He's got a evil grin and a plastic gun like he knows what he's doing!

Made Christmas cookies with Great Grandma (using the word made quite loosely here. Brett was mainly the taste tester).
We got a new puppy - welcome to the family Stella!
We celebrated multiple Christmases.....
With my dad and step-mom:
With just the four of us:
With my mom and step-dad:
With Mike's side of the family:

2009 was a great year for us. I'm looking forward to 2010 to see what challenges it will bring!


Good People.....

I know a lot of good people that do great things for others. Today, I want to recognize Jenny for what she did for me. I didn't ask her to do this. She didn't have to do this - she wanted to do this.
She held a giving contest. All people had to do was leave a comment and note what they wanted for Christmas this year and in return, she would donate $1 to my fundraising efforts for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day event. Oh, and get this, as if donating money wasn't enough, she gave away a cookbook to a random commenter!
Word got out and she is now donating close to $100!!
Thank you Jenny it really means so much!


Merry Christmas!

I don't know how to rotate the video, but it's still adorable. He's wearing his sheep ears incase you can't tell.

Merry Christmas!


Weekend In Review, Photo Style.....

We had a busy, but fun weekend. On Friday night, my niece and nephew came over to spend the night. I had the kids make their own mini pizzas which was quite entertaining. They were so proud of their "masterpieces". Saturday night, the boys spent the night at Mike's sister's so we could go out for a bit in St. Paul with our friend's for a holiday party. We had a great time. I don't go to the bars much. So much as changed since my early 20's!
On Sunday the boys had their Christmas program at church. Poor Brett came down with a nasty cold Saturday night so he didn't get to participate.

Brett was so bummed that he had to stay home. He asked me if I would bring his sheep ears home so that he could still wear them.
After the program, my dad and Laura came over for some cajun fettuccine and a little Christmas celebration.

They boys donned their new Vikings gear in time for the game.
Brett got his own digital camera and was so busy snapping pictures. Wonder where he got that from?
The night ended with Brett having a cough attack. Poor little guy starting coughing so hard that he managed to cover the bathroom counter with orange juice. Gross!
I'm really looking forward to the short week at work. I decided to take some time off to enjoy the holidays and quality time with the kids over Christmas break. Three days this week and then I'm off until 2010!



The past two evenings I've been baking cinnamon rolls. From scratch I might add. I'm making them for Christmas gifts and they are freaking delicious. My kids cruised through a pan this morning (I may have provided a little help) and they were hovering around me tonight asking which ones were theirs for breakfast tomorrow.
I got the recipe from Pioneer Woman and they are much easier to make than I anticipated. Give them a whirl, but I will warn you, they are addicting!


Day One....

Yesterday the boys got their early Christmas present. I was 100% incorrect on what I thought each of their reactions would be.
Brett (who I thought would be totally stoked), was a little upset because his dog wasn't Griz and we wanted a Griz. Our response was that Griz is Grandpa's dog and Stella is your dog. He wasn't so sure about it, but after a couple of hours, he really warmed up to her and is already trying to "train" her.
Colton (who I thought wouldn't be totally stoked) was totally stoked. He's asked me no less than 3 times if this is really ours to keep and if we were playing some sort of joke on him. He's been hands on with the feeding and playing and snuggling and just so sweet to her. Mike worked overnights last night so I prepared for a million bathroom trips and soothing a sad pup. Again, I was wrong. She went to be at 10:30, I took her out at 3:30 and then we were up at 7 to eat. Not too shabby.
For me not really being a pet kind of gal, this little pup is really starting to grow on me.


It's A Girl......

Have I lost my mind? We pick up the kids' Christmas present on Saturday. Shhhhhh - it's a surprise. They have no clue. She's a puggle (Pug/Beagle mix) and is 12 weeks old.



Sorry, I don't have time to dig up old blasts from the past so I'll leave you with a visual.

Picture it - a three year-old boy that has been fighting a cold for about 4 days. You know, the nice snotty, boogery nose kind of cold. Got that in your head?

Now, picture yourself walking down into your family room and seeing said three year-old on the couch laying on his back.

Now, picture big brother sticking his finger up the three-year old's nose trying to "clean things out so that he can breathe."

I guess they do love each other.


The Christmas Letter.....

Can I just say that I'm stoked that this NaBloPoMo is almost over?!! This is killing me.

This is the time of year when I start to stress about the annual Christmas Letter/Photo. I love receiving them - hate writing them. The last two years I haven't written a letter. We did a family photo in 2007 then in 2008 it was just a picture of the boys. I have no idea what this year will entail.

Do you (or your significant other) write a Christmas letter?
Do you do a family photo or just one of the kids (if you have them)?


Fake or Real?

Get your mind out of the gutter - I'm talking Christmas trees here people.

Growing up, our tree was always real. I remember a few times going out as a family and finding the perfect tree. As I got older and too cool to hang out with my family, I'm guessing my dad would go and cut it down as there weren't tree lots that I can remember. Especially in northern Minnesota.

Now that I have my own family, we have the debate every year. Mike prefers fake while I prefer real. Mike's won out for the past 7 years. I really haven't put up much of a fight though. This year I'm putting my foot down. We are getting a real tree.

Well, we put up our fake tree today. And we're getting a real one tomorrow. I get the real tree upstairs to decorate as Martha Stewarty as I possibly can. The tree downstairs is decorated ala Colton. He picked out the light combo - white lights, then colored than white than colored. I let go of my control issues and let him put the decorations wherever he wanted and didn't move one when he wasn't looking. The only thing I did was put the breakable glass decorations up at the top.

What kind of tree to you have?


The Day After.....

We were in the mall parking lot at 5:24am, got the third parking spot from the front. That's pretty much how our day went - very lucky. We scored some great deals and the lines were not bad at all. Eleven hours of shopping. There was no more room in the car so we had no choice but to stop. Wow - I'm exhausted and pretty sure I'm going to pass out by 7:00.

I picked up a movie for the boys tonight because I knew that I'd have no energy for playing. Got them all set up with popcorn mixed with M&Ms. They're in heaven and momma's happy too!

Tomorrow it's time to haul out the Christmas decorations.



I hope everybody is having a wonderful Thanksgiving. Mine was fantastic. We had a delicious lunch with great company. I had hoped to get a family picture, but right after dinner Colton was in his play clothes begging his uncle E to go outside and play football. Oh well, guess there's always next year.

Right now I'm flipping through the ads coming up with a plan of attack for shopping tomorrow.

I had a hot topic for my Thoughts for Thursday, but all save that for tomorrow....

As Brett says, "Thank you for Happy Thanksgiving."


Almost Ready.....

I've got less than 24 hours before I host Thanksgiving. I think I'm ready. I'm putting my turkey in the brine tonight. I'm making Pioneer Woman's mashed potatoes this evening and then all I have left is the stuffing as my guests are bringing all the other fixings.

If I can just keep my house clean between now and 1:00 tomorrow......



I picked up Brett from daycare today and as we were driving to get his brother, he was checking out the Christmas lights that people already have up and turned on. From the backseat I heard
  • ooohhhhh pretty
  • cool
  • sweet, look at that one mom

Obviously the kid has an older brother.

About a month or so ago, Colton went through bout of forgetting his planner that is supposed to be signed every night. We told him there were consequences if this continues. Well, last night he forgot his planner. Tonight he had to write sentences. As he was sitting at the table, I heard him ask his brother to come over. Here's what I overheard.

"Here, what you're going to do, is write this letters."

"ok bra-bra."

"oh, man, you don't even know how to write."


Spring Break '97 Baby.....

It was April of 1997, three months before graduation and five girls left small town Minnesota for spring break in Cancun. Keep in mind, this was way before all those spring break specials that now put the fear of God into every parent and have made me already decide that my children will never travel without me until they are at least 37.
Here's a picture of two of us at the very first store we went to once we checked into our hotel. Priorities.
We planned our days out well. We'd be up pretty early, eat breakfast at the hotel because it was free and then claim our spots on the beach and just slather on the baby oil and bake in the sun until lunch. In an effort to save our money for more important things like entry fees to the clubs, we'd go buy some snacks and a couple big bottles of water for lunch.
We did venture off the beach for one day of snorkeling on the jet skies with a couple other gals we met that day.

Here's what some hometown girls look like when the drinking age is 18 versus 21.

We apparently got a little comfortable behind the bar one night.

We had such a good time and perhaps should have made a pact that what happens in Cancun stays in Cancun.