Monday, December 31, 2007

This afternoon Mark & I dropped the kids with Grandma & Grandpa and headed out for some couple time. We started with lunch here. They sat us directly in front of the kitchen so we asked our server if we could be moved away from the kitchen (not a good idea - remember when I saw an IHOP waitress TASTE food on someone's plate before serving it! ick!) he said sure - and then moved us directly BEHIND the kitchen. Nice. Don't you just wonder sometimes if people are just that stupid....or if they are just that rude. Just to be safe, his tip reflected the former. I ordered the BBQ Ranch burger - yum!

From there we headed over here where we bought this (with our 20% off coupon of course) and this (I'll let you know if it actually works). I also picked up a cute Christmas basket with liner clearance for $5. I had been looking for something to put diapers and the box of wipes in for downstairs. We've been just throwing a pile of diapers on the couch...not a good look to the already cluttered area. This works perfectly! It fits the box of Pampers wipes along with about a dozen diapers and the tube of A&D. Woo-hoo! Love those Christmas clearance sales for items you can use all-year round! Speaking of which - gotta get me some more of Target tomorrow. A little birdie told me Christmas clearance over there is now at 75% off. (salivating). Last year I picked up Ziploc storage containers with snowmen on them for cheap. Of course I caught flack from people in July when I was storing food in them - but who cares? I hope to score some paper for next year, some tape and ziploc bags with holiday designs on them. Actually, anything like that - Kleenex, ziploc bags, storage containers - whatever we'd use all year anyway.

Ok - I digress. After BB&B we headed here where we took our sweet time flipping through sale books, children's books - all of it. All while sipping on a delicious peppermint mocha complete with whipped creme and red sprinkles. =-) (hey - resolutions don't begin until tomorrow, right?) I picked up a 3 for $9.99 deal - two gifts and one for me. I picked up another book Bailey wanted to gift to her friend and this book for my cousin, Krista. I hope she loans it back to me when she is done - it looks like a good one!

After that we headed back to pick up the kids...and none of them were crying. Woo-hoo! A great afternoon I'd say, wouldn't you? Now I'm tired - no way am I making it til Midnight.

I'll leave you with a recap of 2007:

* Lauren turned 2, Bailey turned 12
* Grant was born!
* We got our house ready to sell, put it on the market for 4 months and then took it off the market again - shwew!
* We painted three rooms of the house, moved Bailey to the basement, moved the toy room to another area of the basement and prepared a nursery for the baby.
* Lauren started "school" two days a week - more like a morning play group - but great for her.
* Saw dozens of family members throughout the year - sometimes we traveled to them - sometimes they came here but we always enjoyed the company!
* Watched approximately 10,000 episodes of both Dora and The Backyardigan's
* Gave our dog, Sadie to a nice family outside of Iowa City where she now enjoys another dog and an acreage!
* Joined a new church
* Had Grant baptized
* I turned 36 (moved from "in my 30's" to "pushing 40" status - boo)
* Celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary
* Mark turned 42 (sorry - had make myself feel better about two bullet points ago)
* Got a new HDTV and HD Dish (lovin' the HD!)
* Decided who I want to be our next president =-)
* Enjoyed another year in my book club - almost had time to read one whole book this year...but hey - still love the club.

I'm sure there is more - but that's all I can think of right now. The year was busy, filled with another year filled with changes, but 2007 was another year where we have been completely and totally blessed. I don't know what 2008 will hold for us - but I can tell you it WILL NOT be another one of these. =-) Done and DONE!

Happy New Year Everyone!
-- The Mom of 'Em

Sunday, December 30, 2007

My Caucus Decision:
After MUCH thought, I've decided to caucus for Bill Richardson. I favor his stance on diplomacy, his experience as Governor, his responsible approach to healthcare and national spending. I especially support his positions on innovation and technology and his ideas to reclaim this country's ability to compete globally through math, science and innovation initiatives. As a side note to the issues - I find him extremely likable.

>As far as Iraq goes, I don't think any of the candidates have the magic answer to the disaster known as Iraq. They all have ideas - but it is unclear which plan will actually work. I support Richardson's plan to move some forces to bases in more welcoming parts of the region and amp up diplomacy in the region. His foreign relations experience as US ambassador to the UN and his appointment to Clinton's Cabinet as energy dept. secretary has him poised for the job.

>I feel if the media had not singled out the top three candidates MONTHS and MONTHS ago, Richardson would have more of a backing at this stage of the game. He has my vote for the best candidate - well-rounded in his experience and previous roles to make a successful leader for this country.

If it is apparent Richardson does not have enough support at my caucus site, my plan B will be between Hillary Clinton and Obama.


>I still have not made a final decision on which will be my second choice. Initially I was going to abandon Richardson because I didn't feel he was electable, however after feedback I received and careful consideration, I have decided that change begins with ME. A candidate will not be electable if I abandon them before the Caucuses.

So, I'll give it my caucus-all for Bill and then jump ship only if it is clear he does not have the support to sustain him at my caucus site. Now, back to researching Hillary and Obama....where they stand on the issues and how they might fair against the Republican nomination next November.

** The views expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone. They do not reflect the opinions of my other family members, friends or acquaintances, although I do hope to influence them. =-)

Friday, December 28, 2007

The boy loves his Daddy

The Adventures of BUMBO boy!


Grant was 3 months old yesterday. I don't wish the time away - but I'm SO glad we finally hit that milestone. Something happens at 3 months - a switch is flipped or something that says - ok - time to quit crying & waking a lot - you're 3 months old now - buck up and coo, smile and SLEEP. Yeah! He listened to his inner voice and he IS cooing more, smiling LOTS and sleeping a lot more. (cue choirs of angels).

He's wearing size 6 months clothing - at least in 1-piece outfits. He's one tall drink o'baby! He is seeing better - noticing what's going on around him and especially noticing when someone other than Mommy or Daddy is holding him. (he doesn't like it too much). That's ok though, can be a Momma's boy for awhile.

Under his belt he has his 1st Halloween, his 1st Christmas, his 1st immunizations, his 1st sleep through the night (Christmas Eve - how perfect!), and his first smiles & giggles and coos. Still to come? LOTS and lots.

He still hasn't found his thumb but continues to seek it desperately. He does NOT like the pacifier. This makes for some frustrating times for both Grant & us. Soon he'll find it and life will be GRAND.

I love you, Baby Grant!


Thursday, December 27, 2007

One week until the Iowa Caucus - who will Mommy support?

One thing is clear....

She's picking the donkey over the elephant!

But who will she back? Hillary? Obama? Richardson? Biden? Edwards? So many good candidates - but who can win the general election. hmmmm. Stay tuned!

Jesus Loves Me (and you!)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Barney song has never been cuter I tell ya...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Making Cookies

They're SANTA'S cookies!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas with a two-year-old is fun! She is really getting into the spirit this year and every night at bedtime she proclaims "It's Christmas Eve!" with a joy and excitement only a child can posess. With messages of presents and Santa bombarding her on TV and at every corner, we struggle with the best way to teach her about the REAL meaning of Christmas. We aren't anti-Santa, but we want her to know that Jesus is the real deal behind Christmas. So - how do you go about teaching that at a level she will understand?

We began by repeatedly telling her that Christmas is baby Jesus' birthday, that He was born to be her friend and that's why we have presents - because it is His birthday. (you have a better idea to get the ball rolling?) Anyway, tonight at bedtime we read her a Christmas story - The Little Drummer Boy. At the end of the story we recapped by telling her that the little boy didn't have money or expensive presents to give baby Jesus, so he played his drum for Him and that made Jesus happy. We asked Lauren what present SHE would give baby Jesus. She first said "I don't know." Then she leaned way down to the picture of a baby in a manger on the page and started to sing her ABC's. It was PRECIOUS! Mark & I fought back tears as she finished her song.

I think she understood - at least on some level. She sang for baby Jesus....and I'm sure that makes Him happy.

I would love to hear how you introduced your toddlers to the true meaning of Christmas. How you broke through the Santa and I want clutter to teach your kids about Jesus. Please leave a comment - tell me your stories!
Mommy wants a clean house for Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

A GREAT Children's book...

We usually go to the library once a week. I'm not sure if this is to fulfill MY love for children's literature or my daughter's love of books...but whatever the reason, we both get our fix each week. Occasionally I stumble upon a beautiful children's book that I want to share with everyone I know.

This week it was A Mother For Choco by Keiko Kasza.
It is a wonderful story about a little bird in search of a Mommy. He finds the perfect mother for him in an unlikely animal. Kids can learn that love doesn't have to look the same as you. A great adoption read - or just a great read about love in-general. Along the same realm of "Are You My Mother?" but WAY sweeter! Add it to your children's library or check it out next time you are at the library.
Today's to-do list (admitting I'll probably get to three of these things if I'm lucky):

* Laundry (duh)
* Make 3 dozen cookies for church
* Wrap my Mom's gifts
* Clean the "office" and area by the tree (in hopes of clutter-free Christmas morning pics)
* Invoices for the two freelance jobs I've done this month
* Vacuum (I will NOT tell you how long it has been since I've done this)
* Empty/fill dishwasher
* Empty trash
* Transfer photos to CD for my aunt
* Schedule Grant's 3-month pictures
* Shower (see where this lies on the list?!#$)
* Work on photobooks for January Christmas gatherings
* Sort old toys for Goodwill or freecycle
* Pack up kid clothes that they've outgrown for Goodwill, freecycle or consignment

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Stay AWAY from the Kiosks!

This morning I had to swing into the mall for a quick last-minute gift. 10 minutes later I was on my way back to the parking lot when I was suddenly lured in by the personalized ornament kiosk. Each year I try to pick out one ornament for each of my kids - something that signifies that year for them. I found a "Big Sister" ornament that I thought might be cute for Lauren. Of course the only blonde girl ornament was in the back of the row. So I carefully began removing each ornament to get to the back blonde girl...which turns out...was completely tangled up in two other ornaments. Suddenly it fell to the floor. Oh no! I quickly picked it up and apologized to the "clerk" who promptly said..."You have to buy it now, but we'll give you 10% off." (apparently this is a common occurence - probably how they make their money).

Ok, Mr. Grinchy McScroogester....I'll buy your stupid ornament, because it is Christmas and I"m already sad for you that you have to work at an ornament kiosk this Thursday morning....but I will let other people know about this...and you WILL be personalizing this...since I have to BUY it and all. But, as usual...I didn't even win that small victory...because Mr. Bah-Humbug had bad handwriting to boot. Ugh - Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I'm finally at peace with how quickly Christmas is coming. This, thanks to my Mom spending a good chunk of her day here yesterday wrapping gifts for me. It would have been one serious gift bag Christmas without her help this year. With gift-wrapping, Santa visits, music concerts, church programs and tree decorating out of the way, all that is left to do is a) teacher gifts; b) groceries; c) laundry (duh); and d) RELAX AND ENJOY THE HOLIDAY WITH FAMILY!!!!! I can feel it coming on...that relaxed feeling...that warm fuzzy feeling you only get at Christmas. I didn't think it was coming this year - but shwew - I'm finally feeling it.

Last night Grant slept like a big boy (yeah!) and I was able to make a couple cookie sheets worth of these. I'm going to include these along with the cocoa for two idea I posted here for Lauren's play group teachers and a few of Bailey's teachers. Do you think that will look like enough? Who doesn't like food at Christmas, right? And I know they get gallons of lotions from people - so I thought this. Thought that counts, right?

Ok, off to get groceries and return the frosting bags to Michael's. I bought the 12-inch size and they are HUGE! They must be measuring width when they say 12 inches. Anyway - once I get the new bags I can make the cocoa for two. Here's hoping the kids cooperate!

Hope your day of Christmas prep is relaxing and enjoyable. I heard a quote on Clash of the Choirs the other night and I'm repeating it every day this season....and all year, really. "TOO BLESSED TO BE STRESSED!"

Have a good day!

Monday, December 17, 2007


Today is Santa day. I've put it off for awhile now because there is nothing I hate more than the mall this time of year...especially the mall while toting two kids. So today is the day I'm taking the little ones to see the Big Guy. Just in case Grant is sleeping during our trip - or worse -'s a preview of his outfit today. I know - I'm mean...but HOW CUTE?!@

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Today was the children's program at our new church. Bailey volunteered to perform "Silent Night" before the program began. That's her Dad accompanying her on guitar.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The 7th & 8th grade show choir made up of approximately 60 students. Bailey is on the right-hand side....she's toward the back but you get an occasional glimpse.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My friend Cheryl e-mailed this GREAT idea to me many great friends with fantastic crafting ideas... SO LITTLE TIME!!! Maybe one of you out there can make it.

She figured the cost of them didn’t even come to $1~ if you don't have time to make it yourself, you can buy something like it already made up at Target - they are ON SALE this week at Target for $4/ea! (cheaper to make it!!!) Good for teacher/secretary gifts, or just a “little something” you can also add crushed candy canes or peppermint candy instead of chocolate chips. Bags are frosting bags at Michael’s, pre-packed cocoa mix, mini choc chips, m.mallows and she just printed up the labels with some paper I had laying around! The tag reads: Cocoa For Two! Divide Contents into Two mugs, add 8 oz. hot water and enjoy!

And if THAT weren't enough to make me drool for more free time...look at what Heather made!

And then there are the dozens and dozens of hand-crafted Christmas cards showing up in my mailbox. Oh, man - this is definitely the year of inadequate for me. Someday.....someday....sigh.
Here it is - the full-version of her solo. Tomorrow's post will feature one of the show choir numbers - bet you just can't wait.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Last night was the big concert. Bailey's aunt Pam surprised her by driving all the way from the Chicago area to see her perform her solo as well as her chorus and show choir perform. She was so excited! I had intended to record her entire solo - but scrambling for bottles and toddler snacks got in the way of that. Grandma recorded it all - so the full video will follow later this week. For now, here are a few snippets of last night's event. We are so proud of you, Bailey! The confidence, poise and grace you display is beyond your years. I can't believe you are only 12 yrs. old. We love you!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Bailey has a solo at tomorrow night's chorus/show choir concert. She auditioned to be a "prelude player" - individual and group performances before the concert begins. Here is audio of her playing guitar while singing a Taylor Swift song...(hopefully - I've never actually posted JUST audio before) of her practicing of tomorrow's concert to can bet on it!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

File THIS under the category of proof that I love 'em:

Here's a little Christmas meme. I found it via Janna's blog. Enjoy! Please comment & play along if you like. C' know you want to...don't be a Scrooge. It could be the only fun thing you get to do today - just do it! If you participate on your own blog (please do), let me know and I'll come visit! :)

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper - absolutely! WAY more fun to open than a gift bag....and harder to peek into.

2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial. One year I got all wrapped up in the real-tree thing....until I had to take it down and clean up BILLIONS of those @#$%^ pine needles! I swear I was still cleaning them off of the carpet and out of the back of the car for YEARS. So artificial it is...pre-lit.

3. When do you put up the tree? Thanksgiving day...and I'd do it sooner if I were allowed. I LOVE Christmas and I can't WAIT to put up the tree and I HATE taking it down...and not just because it is a lot of time-consuming work to do so.

4. When do you take the tree down? Within a week after the first of the new year..but one year it was still up at the beginning of February (before I was married). Hey - why not hang on to what brings you joy? ha.

5. Do you like eggnog? No. Gross. I'll never drink anything with "egg" in the title.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I don't have one that really stands out - even as a kid...I just like Christmas and WHAT I receive really isn't what it is about for me. (well..mostly). I do remember a stuffed pig I got one year - the tag said it was from my Dad...and I remember being so in love with that idea...that HE picked it out for me. Of course, now that I"m older, I'm sure when I opened the present it was also his first glance at it. Thanks, Mom!

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. We picked the set out on our honeymoon but didn't want to travel with each year on our anniversary (Dec. 4), my husband buys me a new piece to add to the set. I LOVE it. It is the Willow Tree nativity.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My Mom.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Lauren. She's 2...and toys excite her - EASY!

10. Worst Christmas gift you've ever received? I'll never tell.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? I mailed them the last couple years - but I'm not sure I'm going to get around to it this year. =-(

12. Favorite Christmas movie? Elf, Christmas Vacation and The Ref (does that one count?)

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? All year long! I love Christmas!! I always feel it hurts less if you spread the cost out throught the year. However, this year I am a total wreck - I have SO much left to do...and today is the 8th already!

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Probably - but I can't remember specifically.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? The problem I have here is - pretty much everything. Cookies, bars, cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning - the whole season from Thanksgiving to New Year's is pretty much a dieter's nightmare.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Doesn't matter to me. Currently I have clear lights with a slight coloring at the tips of the branches (fiber-optic). I have had colored lights in the past too and love those...but they have to be multi-colored. I would never do all-blue or all-red...multi-colored or clear.

17. Favorite Christmas song? All of them. But I've always loved The Little Drummer Boy. I also like Silent Night - at my Grandma's house we always used to sing that as a family, while they lit candles on the tree (holy old-fashioned fire hazard!)...but it brings back a warm fuzzy for me.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? This truly has been one the hardest things for me as an adult...realizing that it is virtually impossible to gather everyone together at Christmas...I want to be with ALL of them - my family, my husband's family, my grandmas my grandpas, cousins, etc. But you know how it is. husband and I have decided we will ALWAYS be home for Christmas - so our kids wake up at their house, in their pj's, to their own tree/presents.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? I'm not sure! Challenge of the day.

20. Angel on the tree top or star? Angel.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Some on both days. We usually go to my Mom's house on Christmas Eve and open gifts there...and usually I get the kids new pj's to open Christmas Eve too.

22. Most annoying thing this time of year? CROWDS of unthoughtful self-absorbed people!

23. What I love most about Christmas? I'm going to steal Janna's answer here because I feel the same way. Something about Christmas songs - unless I'm at the mall - puts me in a reflective, sentimental mood, reminding me of all the blessings God has given me. I also love to see the excitement and joy on my children's faces Christmas morning....and it is so fun to watch people open the gifts you picked for them. And, of course...the cookies.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

SWEET! Check THIS out! I would love to get this for my brother & my sister.
Here's a witty yet useful blog I ran across recently - go read it...I'm trying to win that necklace. =-)
SNOW AGAIN! But this time it stopped after about 3-4 inches and the temperatures weren't too bad and there wasn't a wicked wind with it. SOOOO...that meant SNOW MAN! Ok - well it doesn't actually look like a snowman (we named him "Chet") - but hey - the snow was light-weight and didn't stick we did the best we could, including the leaf hat and the leaf nose...and those are landscaping rocks for eyes. Lauren wanted to give the snowman knees...?!@# Anyway - it was fun - and Lauren's first big romp in the snow, complete with hot chocolate when she came inside.
I read Heather's blog yesterday where she posted what she was buying her kids for Christmas. She has kids roughly the same age as mine (a couple of them anyway). I don't plan to buy the same things, but it sure was fun to have a sneak peek under their tree, so I thought I'd do the same for you. I can't post what I'm getting the 12-yr-old, because she sometimes reads the blog - but the little ones - they'll never know. So here goes - here's what I have so far.

Pinkie Pie - WalMart for under $15

Disney Princess Slippers (Black Friday deal - $5.99)

A Dora robe - only $8.99!

A Little People book

Backyardigans Memory Game that I picked up at Target on Black Friday for $3.99

Thomas the Tank Engine AquaDoodle Mat (she'd rather have Dora I'm sure - but this was a deal at Costco - w/instant rebate it was $21...others are selling for almost $40!)

Dora The Explorer Magnetic "Paper" Dolls in Tin

Jell-O Lip Smackers (stocking stuffer)


Classic Pooh Fake Robeez from Target

and a couple stroller toys - I'd like to get him a truck or something even though he's too little...but he won't be in a few months - so might as well get it as a Christmas gift, right?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Apparently the feeling is mutual.

To my husband,

Three years ago today I walked down the aisle, reached for the hand of my best friend and promised to love and honor you. I pledged my faithfulness to you for all of our days. It is easy to gush with joy and love on your wedding day...but where are we three years out?

Still happy! Sure, our marriage isn't perfect - I don't believe there is such a thing. But you still make me happy. I still look forward to when you come home from work, to an unexpected embrace or an "I Love You" message during the day. There is such joy in watching the determination with which you take care of your family - whether it is while clearing off the driveway in a snow storm or spending hours balancing the checkbook - I know you do these things not just "because they need to be done," but because you care for me. Although we share family responsibilities, I know - without a doubt - how you aim to be my protector, my cheerleader, my provider, my friend and more. So even when life throws us curve balls - during the times when we just can't protect, cheer, provide....I know how much you want to - and during those times - that's enough.

I never imagined three years ago that we'd go from a family of three to a family of five in such a short amount of time - but look how magnificant it is! Although it is hard to find US sometimes through the chaos of diapers, sleep deprivation, tantrums and busy schedules - it is all worth it. I never love you more than when I see you with our children. Maybe you are patiently helping with math homework or teaching a guitar chord....perhaps it is the simple act of giving our toddler a bath, or seeing a tear in your eye while you are holding the is beautiful and it makes my heart swell to know that you are mine.

With each anniversary, as I'm reminded of all of the reasons I said yes to you... it motivates me to be a better wife. I fall short of this - a lot....and so I thank you for loving me despite my MANY shortcomings.

The third anniversary is the "leather anniversary" - spicy! ha. Rather than trying to come up with a good "leather" gift for you...I thought a better gift would be kids! So tonight...after work...I've arranged for someone to watch the kids...and we will have dinner....just the two of us!

I'd also like to remember - this anniversary and all those to come - the wisdom God gives us for our marriage - the same Scripture used at our wedding ceremony.

Ephes. 3:14-19 (NLT)
When I think of the wisdom and scope of God's plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Eccles. 4:9-12 (NLT)
Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble. And on a cold night, two under the same blanket can gain warmth from each other. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

I love you, Mark!


Monday, December 03, 2007

Daily Musing...

Library books should come with GPS tracking....she said as she frantically searched for D.W. Is All Wet!


Sunday, December 02, 2007

We discovered tonight - quite by accident - that Lauren can identify her letters - almost ALL 26 of them for that matter...and not in order - just randomly! This goes beyond parental pride to absolute FEAR! She is 27 months old for crying out loud. This outrageous smart (this is ridiculous smart, isn't it? or am I just in the dark on developmental milestones these days?) is scary! Anyway - she was trying to hang her "drawing" on the fridge and she kept telling Mark "I can't reach it!" "I can't reach it!" Mark asked her what it was she couldn't reach and she replied, "The 'P'" - ?!@# Sure enough - she was pointing to the letter P. We thought this was a we started asking her other letters...and she knew them all...except L...which was on the fridge sideways, so she answered "c". We then lined up some letters randomly and she took her little pencil and started pointing to each one and naming it. CRAZY! Here's a short video clip to prove it. I think I'm calling Ellen or Oprah or something. Maybe I could get a new washer/dryer or a new car or something - ha...just kidding.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Lauren made snowman cookies tonight - too bad no one combed her hair today.

SERIOUS cuteness going on here this morning...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Make your own Advent Calendar! Thanks to Teresa for the step-by-step instructions.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Last night was book club - SOOOO good to get out and be with friends sans children for once! Here's what we're reading this time: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

To my son - 2 months old - 11/27/07


First of all, this isn't your real smile - this is actually a cute expression in-between cries. I just couldn't get you to crack your million-dollar smile for a photo today - so we had to settle for a phony. Yesterday marked 8 weeks since you were born. I can't explain how it seems both that I've known you for so much longer and also that it was just yesterday that you swam in newborn clothing and the velcro straps on your diaper overlapped. For sure though it is hard to imagine my world without you in it. How quickly - instantly, really - I fell in love with you. You make it easy though - such a good baby! You usually only cry when there is something wrong - MUCH less drama than the girls...even at this age I can tell you are more mellow than that. You are so snuggly - burrow your head into my neck or chest - and this is why I get nothing done. How can I not hold you when you cuddle up with me so perfectly - as if to communicate how much you love me and need me.

This month you've found other ways to communicate too! You smile now and it absolutely melts my heart. In addition to smiling, you've let out an occasional chuckle and have begun experimenting with different vocals. SO CUTE! Your Dad and sisters love you a whole bunch too.

You received your first immunizations yesterday - and you just haven't felt well since. I believe you are even running a small temp...poor baby. Your 2-month check was perfect though. You have gained about 4 pounds since birth ( you now weigh 12 lbs, 10 ounces - 75th percentile) and you've grown almost 4 inches (24 inches long now! 90th percentile).

I am trying to soak up each and every day with you - to try to bottle your scent in my memory, to forever capture the undescribable softness of your skin, to remember each milestone and each heartwarming moment....because I know they go too fast...and you are my last run at this Mommy thing...and I want to make it last as long as possible. I love you, little man!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Turkey again...

Here's what's for dinner tonight:

Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe
1 (8 ounce) package cooked egg noodles
2 tablespoons butter
1 (6 ounce) can sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups chopped cooked turkey
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).Melt butter in a large heavy skillet. Saute mushrooms for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in turkey, condensed soup, and sour cream. Place cooked noodles in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Pour sauce mixture evenly over the top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling.
MORE Thanksgiving pictures:

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Thanksgiving Day, 2007 brought to us MANY reasons to give thanks. This year we saw good health, good times and the addition of Grant to our home. Blessings abound our family and this day was no exception. Mom & Ron brought lunch to us - ham (because I was making Turkey on Saturday), mashed potatoes, turkey cookies and I made corn casserole. We followed up the meal with a birthday cake they brought over for me. I woke up on black Friday, my birthday, and headed out to Penney's and Target - the two stores that had the most items on my gifts to-buy list on sale. I waited until after 6:30 to go...and I think that was a wise decision. I was able to find almost everything I wanted still available...with no waiting in line!

On Friday I received a call from my sister asking if she, her boyfriend, Robert and my Grandma could arrive that night instead of Sat. morning - YEAH! But that meant a fast cleaning needed to happen. Here are my girls pitching in...
After the cleaning, I put up the tree - LOVE IT!
So Thursday and Friday were enjoyable - a great birthday, complete with the gift of a pink bluetooth thingy to match my new pink Razr! love it! Thank you Mark and kids!
Saturday began with dinner preparations....which took ALL.DAY. LONG! Man was that a lot of work - and virtually IMPOSSIBLE to get everything ready to serve at the same time. I much prefer the childhood Thanksgivings where all you did was show up to eat at the kid's table and then run off to play. No all-day preparations and no clean-up! (which Mark did most of, by the way - look at him here doing dishes!)

I will say that the turkey turned out fabulous though. Here are a few pics of the spread, as well as a lame version of a centerpiece from Family Fun magazine. Jami, Robert and Bailey had fun making him though - SNOOD & all. ha.:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Could he be any cuter than when he's sleeping soundly?

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Bachelor....

WHAT in THE HECK?!@# Un.Be.LEEEEEEEEEvable! This is the first time in Bachelor history where I've ended up rooting for both women and wanting to hurl my remote at the TV to knock the guy square between the......eyes (what did you think I was going to say?). Can't WAIT for the "After the rose" special tomorrow night, cuz Brad? You got some 'splainin to do.
Grandma Niedermeier with her newest great grandson