Saturday, December 20, 2008

Voila! My cupcake masterpiece is complete! I will say though that this is a wonderful idea if you are making SIX...not 60. Sheesh - I spent HOURS on these little guys! I had a great time with the girls though - which made it all worthwhile. It is rare anymore that I have really good moments with Bailey. I know it is normal - the teen years (sigh) I relish any and all good memories during these tumultuous years as she finds her way to adulthood. She's a good kid - don't get me wrong....I am just having a VERY hard time letting go - becoming less-important in her life (or at least outwardly so). I know this sounds selfish - but it is a very hard adjustment for me. For so long it was just she and I...and even though she still needs me - I know this to be true - it feels like she doesn't....and I'm having a hard time finding my place - knowing what my Mom role is supposed to look like right now. Ok - sheesh - must have needed a little talk-therapy there for a sec - cuz I truly just meant to post my awesome Santa cupcakes and that's it. Oops.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Yea for snow days! Although the "storm" wasn't quite as awesome as super-dee-duper mega doppler-ologists was sufficient for keeping us all home today. (It is before Noon...I'm still happy about this...check back around 3 to see if I'm still glad the house is full).

I stayed in my flannel PJs until at least 10 a.m., drank lots of coffee, played around on Facebook awhile and finally decided to shower. While getting dressed I heard loud noises outside. What could it be? A plow? Construction equipment? No! Not one, but TWO of our new neighbors clearing our driveway AND sidewalks! AWESOME!!! I (heart) this new neighborhood and my neighbors!

So I thought I would show my gratitude with some holiday baking. Lauren was all set to "help" me and I was quite excited too. potty "accident" and several disobedient moments later...I'm baking alone. (Hey - hurts me more than her, right?). Now...on to the recipes. Turns out I have no butter, no frosting, no white cake mix (for the super-cool Santa cupcakes I was going to try), no appropriately-colored cupcake liners....totally unprepared (per usual).

So I'm going to venture outside to find the nearest grocery-type store so I can try to get this thank you gesture accomplished today. Why do I think my luck isn't going to improve. Stay tuned for pics of my baking genius later today.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I know I've posted Bailey singing this song once before - but is it me...or does it keep getting better? (sorry....Mom pride). Here she the ripe ole age of 13...singing her solo before the show choir concert (hence the sparkly dress). Also noteworthy - my Mom made Lauren a dress out of the same material because she was SOOOO jealous of Bailey's fancy dress. She wore it to the concert last night. So cute, right? Well...for about 15 minutes...and then NAUGHTY!!! I ended up giving her a tube of Mary Kay lip gloss since the pen/paper/snack/camera/etc. wasn't working to keep my little heathen quiet and in her seat for the rest of the concert. It shut her up for about 10-15 minutes....lip gloss on her cheeks, her eyebrows, her eyelids, eyelashes, nose, etc. I didn't care....she was quiet and not publicly disobedient for a few minutes. shwew. Ok - on to the video...then scroll down for pics of my sparkly dress girls.

Monday, December 08, 2008

I have "FOLLOWERS!" =-) Thanks, you TWO (you must be bored)...that's right...that's one more than a single person "following" me on here. ha! Does that mean I have a responsibility to write something intelligent? funny? entertaining? Probably - but I didn't gain two whoppin' "followers" by doing any of those things, so why start now, right?
Ok - now where was I....besides moving, unpacking, not blogging, blah, blah, blah. Oh, yes! Anniversary! Last week (12/4) Mark & I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary. Four years - wow. Sometimes it feels like so much more (in a good, familiar way) and sometimes I can hardly believe how fast that time has gone! I remember a lot about our wedding day...maybe because it was one of the greatest days of my life and maybe also because I spent 9+ months living and breathing every intricate detail of the day's events. Mostly the former.

In case you weren't aware, the 4th wedding anniversary is the fruit/flower anniversary. The modern version is appliance. When I read that I was worried Mark would too....and he'd think, "Appliance? Well we've certainly got THAT more than covered this year, now don't we?" And of course he DID see that...and of course he DID think that...but being the awesome husband he is, he skipped ahead to the flower part anyway.

It was a busy week leading up to the anniversary - what - with the MOVE and all...and I almost I knew for sure he almost (read: he did) forget. Ok...he didn't forget (whatever)...But the great thing about forgetting....making up for that fact is always a bonus. =-) I ordered a chocolate-covered fruit bouquet to be delivered to Mark at work. (photo note - he'd already eaten some of it doesn't look as full as it did upon delivery)A little on the cheesy side....a lot on the totally over-priced, what a rip-off side....but hey...I got the fruit part in there...AND it was I almost made a reservation for dinner for us...but thought I'd leave that one up to Mark.

So....after work, Mark arranged for my Mom to come watch the kids and off we went to dinner HERE. And waiting on our table for me...was THIS:

WOW! Talk about AWESOME! 5 red for each year of our marriage and one for the year ahead. LOTS of "Dude, you rock" looks from other men in the restaurant and several actual comments, including this one on our way out..."You're the MAN!" ha! I didn't mind the envious stares from the ladies in the restaurant either, I must say.

I honestly don't need a fancy dinner or even the flowers (but hey - LOVE that..just said I don't NEED it). I was just happy for time alone with my husband (NO KIDS!!! NO INTERRUPTIONS except someone asking me if I'd like more wine).....time to have an actual adult conversation and time to celebrate our marriage. I am sooooo blessed to be married to this man. I really need to show him that more throughout the year - and not just on our anniversary. He changed my life. I can't wait to celebrate many more years together.

Monday, December 01, 2008

We are all moved in to our new home! I promise I will take pictures soon...but I'd rather you come and visit us! If I show you on the blog - then you might not come.....

Anyway, we still have many, MANY more boxes to unpack, but we're in. We've successfully closed on the old house and have begun to settle in to our new address. We still feel like we're on vacation and might have to leave soon....or that the real owners will find us here and tell us to get out - ha. It is just such a dream - I take that back - I couldn't have even DREAMED of this house.

Lauren and Bailey are THRILLED with their new rooms and Grant is enjoying walking all over the place - exploring new cupboards to empty, new stairs to climb (and it seems he's even faster at it here). I'm figuring out all of our new appliances and working like a mad woman to get the garage organized enough so we can fit our vehicles inside it!

We enjoyed our first Thanksgiving in the new house (I have a picture - but it is on another camera - and I'm lazy - so I'll add it later - check back!). Despite my declaration that the kitchen would be closed during move-in week, I had a weak moment and bought a Turkey. The meal was simple - but the smell of turkey filled our home Thanksgiving day and we enjoyed a nice meal together in our formal dining room (who'd a-thunk?!)

Well - everyone but Lauren enjoyed the meal...she only ate a croissant and declared the rest "not her favorite." Ugh - that girl.

I skipped Black Friday - too tired. But I did try to get a nice picture of the kids for Christmas cards. They were dressed in browns and I had them sit in front of the fireplace under their stockings. But do you think....for one second I could get all 3 of them to look at the camera with their eyes OPEN and a decent expression on their face at the same time? 40+ pictures...and not ONE! And then Lauren started squirming and acting goofy and Grant started fussing because he wanted down....all the boy wants in life is down or up....and maybe food....that's it! Ugh - a do-over this weekend.
Saturday we ventured out to a tree farm to choose our first real Christmas tree. The weather was perfect - a little brisk - but great Christmas tree shopping weather. Lauren and Grant were surprised to see that Santa had made a special visit there. Lauren was VERY excited to see the jolly old soul, but Grant...not so much. Lauren told him that she'd be getting lots of toys....from HIM! (hate to break it to her about the "lots" part - ha). She said she wanted a guitar....just like Daddy. SWEET!

We settled on an 8-ft. Scotch Pine...and I LOVE IT! It is a beautiful tree...and you honestly have to touch it to know that it is's that good! Pictures of it lit-up and decorated coming soon.

Sunday Mother Nature decided it was time for a dose of winter - and the snow fell. Before the wind picked up, Lauren & I played outside and built a snowman. Well, I built it while she wandered around in the snow, made snow angels and "shoveled."

Already we are making wonderful new memories in our new home. We are so thankful for this gift....and remember every day what a blessing it is.

All of this is dampered though by bad news in our family. We are praying for Nancy & Bill....because sometimes all you can do is pray. God knows what they are going through - and He knows exactly what they need. I'm praying He brings that to them quickly....and I'm praying they know how very much they are loved. I hate cancer.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My friend found me THE PERFECT shower curtain for the master bath on it is "out of stock." Hmmm....the irony.
Four more days until we start moving! Yesterday and today the wood floors were being sanded and sealed. Then the carpet is laid and the half-bath plumbing is completed. Then the fridge and stove are delivered. Then we have an inspection. THEN our family room furniture arrives Saturday (Happy Birthday to me...for the next 10 anniversaries).

I just can't believe we are this close! I'm making headway at our current home too. Selling small things right and left on Craig'slist, packing boxes...and still managing a load of laundry or two. We donated our washing machine and it will be gone on I'm trying to get as much laundry done as possible!

Lauren is excited to move to the new house - but man-alive has she been having a had time with the busy schedule/less attention! (or else that's not the reason and sh'es just naughty!). She's been getting into things - dumping shampoo bottles when no one is looking, wetting her pants (no way is this an "accident."), sassing - just being VERY difficult! She's also a little jealous of Grant lately too. He has started walking. Of course we make a big deal out of that....and she is clearly jealous. She wants us to watch HER walk...and then she proceeds to imitate Grant's toddles. We play along...."Great job, Lauren!"

I really think all of this has to do with how chaotic it has been lately - getting ready to move, etc. Plus she's fighting a cold - and that never helps. I'm trying to stop what I'm doing and spend time with her - coloring, dancing - whatever....but it doesn't seem to be helping. Let's pray this is a phase that passes SOON!

Today I'm off to Bed, Bath & Beyond to return a shower curtain....and then to Target to return a shower curtain. (of all of the decisions I've made in the last month - how ridiculous that the one I'm struggling with is a SHOWER CURTAIN?! ha).

Ok - better get crackin'

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Well, our back-up digital camera (Bailey's) is also now BUSTED! AAAAGH! Life without digital photography = hell for the blogging Mommy! AND....Grant just started walking! WALKING! And I have no way to document this on my blog via still photography! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

AND....we now have wood flooring, countertops, bathroom vanity tops, more paint colors to discuss, new appliances.....and I can't show you! I can't document this to put in a scrapbook I will someday (ha) create!

I'm so sad about this!!!!!!

Ok - back to packing....and sulking.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Yesterday I went to Wal-Mart (and you KNOW how I hate that) to pick up new bedding for Lauren. When we move she is switching from her Toddler bed to a twin bed...and Bailey will be switching to a full or queen. Here's what she picked after I talked her out of the Disney princess one (gack). I also picked up a full/queen sized plain white down (or down-like..not sure) comforter to go inside the Ikea duvet cover Bailey picked for her new room.

Later that day I headed over to the new house to check out the hard wood installation...but guess what? They didn't show up! (grrrrr). They ARE there today though...and even though it will still need to be sanded and looks GREAT even now! YEAH! Things are finally coming together! Appliances arrive Tuesday (or is it Wednesday?)

This weekend we are installing ceiling fans, painting, installing the over-the-range (no range yet...but...) microwave, running cables, etc. I WAS going to plant the 100 tulip bulbs and 60 hyacinth bulbs I bought...but since it is currently in the 30's and SNOW FLURRIES (so not funny)...I guess I'll wait a week until it gets the 40's. (woo - balmy).

Hope to take a pic of hardwood tonight. stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

5 Things Meme
I was "tagged" by my friend and fellow blogger
Amy to participate in "5 Things Meme."

10 Years Ago I:
Was a single-mom of a 3-year-old
Weighed considerably less
Drove a red Chevy Corsica

Was taking a few classes at Drake
Lived in a rental house

5 Things on Today's "To-Do" List:
Call phone company to move service to new house
Call Internet company to move service to new house

Call Direct TV to move service
Call Masterlock to figure out how to get our busted wall-mount lock off of the wall!

5 Snacks I Enjoy:
Chocolate Chip Cookies


5 Things I Would Do If I Were a Millionaire:
Hire a cleaning service!!!
Pay off our mortgage

Pay off student loans (current and future)
Vacation, vacation, vacation
Help young, single mothers

5 Places I Have Lived:
Freeport, Illinois

Sheridan, Illinois
Norway, Illinois
Des Moines, Iowa
Van Meter, Iowa

5 Jobs I Have Had:
OWI education coordinator
Marketing coordinator
PR manager

PR freelancer

The rules say I have to tag 5 people.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I'm getting Excited!

Today the tile guy was back finishing the tile installation. After the grout goes on tomorrow the tile will be done! Then on Thursday the hardwood floors go down (just step one in the hardwood process though). Tomorrow the irrigation is supposed to be installed and then sod follows shortly after (weather permitting).

There's been a slight delay on the countertops/bath vanity tops, which unfortunately throws lots of other things off-course...but it's all good. Although we won't be moving in as quickly as we had hoped, it is still looking like we'll be in before Thanksgiving.

I took some pictures tonight so I could show you! Some of them are kind of idea why. (I miss my camera!!! Wear that dumb little wrist strap people - don't say I didn't warn ya!)

I'm a little worried about the master bath vanity tops I chose now. After seeing the tile down (and I truly LOVE IT!)...i'm wondering if I should have went a little more boring/bland with the sink/counters. Oh well...if I screwed up...the master bath is a good place to do that I suppose.

The kitchen, eat-in-kitchen area and Bailey's bedroom are now painted. The family room is taped off and paint purchased and Grandma mentioned she'd like to paint Lauren's room. I'd like to get Grant's room painted before-hand too. Although he won't know the difference, I can paint the other rooms in the house while the kids nap...I can't paint the kid's rooms while they nap. make sense?

I SHOULD be spending more time getting my current house ready to move...but I'm too excited and can't help working at the new house. I can't wait to get everything finished so I can LIVE THERE!
Here are a few pictures:

Fireplace tile (remember - not grouted yet and spacers are still in-between the tiles) and a close-up... This is a slate tile.

Then for the mud room, kid's bath and laundry room I just went with a low-cost neutral. Mud room: Kid's bath: Laundry room:

Master bath tile (same kind of tile on around tub and on the floor): This is not grouted yet and still has spacers in-between. I LOVED this around the tub!
The painted kitchen: (Sherwin-Williams "Sierra Redwood")

Bailey's bedroom, which she painted match the duvet cover she chose from Ikea.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween!!

For some reason, kids in Iowa (or is it just central Iowa?) trick-or-treat the night BEFORE Halloween. They call it "Beggar's Night." Also wierd? They make kids tell jokes to get their candy. (What-Ev!) Tonight we decided to take the kids out to our new neighborhood to trick-or-treat. We thought it would be a good opportunity to meet some of our soon-to-be neighbors and a chance for Bailey to hand out candy to lots of kids. (Our current neighborhood doesn't have many trick-or-treaters). She met a friend from school who lives around the corner and they tried to dress up like "nerds."

It was FABULOUS! First of all, the weather - AWESOME! Definitely still in the 60's after-dark. Amazing! And lots of kids - and not just Lauren & Grant's age, either! At one point there were about 5 middle schoolers on the front porch with Bailey....awesome!

And the parents were great too. So friendly! Everyone was very welcoming to us - I even received a couple informal invites to neighborhood Bunco (never played....but don't care...I'll go!).

Lauren loved the kids - and REALLY loved the candy (which is safely hidden away - WAY up high).
Here's Mark taking our little Tigger around the Cul-de-Sac.
(umm..yeah...that's our dirt yard there....SOD ENVY!)
3-4 weeks to go...and we're more excited than ever.
Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Help me choose a paint color for the kitchen! I honestly don't have time to paint before we move....but it will be more difficult to do once counters and appliances are in there, so I better do it now. Here's the kitchen cabinet colors:

And here's the short-list of colors:

(SW - Fired Brick) (don't worry - this isn't really grey in-person - it is green. "Meadow Trail") actually it looks more like this:

That's all I have so far - just a brick red and a sage-ish green. Other suggestions? And then how far do I take that color? Do I paint the eat-in-kitchen area the same as the family room....or the same as the kitchen? Here's a picture showing how the eat-in-kitchen area is sort of connected to the kitchen area. And then a picture of how it morphs into the family room.

and here's the family room color I'm thinking about, (looks more goldish-tan in real-life), which I think will tie-in well whether I pick the reddish color OR the greenish color.

HELP! Tell me what you think.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Well, we're making progress on the new house! Yesterday the garage door opener was installed, the furnace was hooked up, the fireplace is working, the lights are on, the plumb work is well under way and the grading and haul-away has begun on the yard. The floors have been screwed down and the mail box will be framed up soon. We've put deposits down/ordered the wood flooring, the countertops, the sinks, the carpeting and tile. Shwew! Soon it will really begin to take shape and I can't wait!

I'd post pictures of these things - but I dropped my camera (lesson in always using the wrist strap) and broke it. =-( PAINFUL! I can borrow Bailey's camera - but just haven't yet. Soon I'll take pictures of the progress being made.

On the current home front - I continue to pack, sort, donate, etc. On today's list to pack is half of our towels and framed pictures/art. Slowly....but surely.

Kids are all doing well. Tonight Lauren will go to dance class in her Halloween costume (Tigger). She is excited to bounce on her tail. hmmm....hate to break it to her, but....

Grant is in need of a winter coat, but I just haven't had time to go shop for one. he also needs a hat/mittens. In the meantime, he does at least have a fairly hefty fall coat that we're making do with.

Bailey is busy with school work and show choir stuff. Mark studied science with her last night for an hour & a half. We'll see how that went, since today is the test. She's taking a H.S. science class and isn't doing her best so far. This is the first year she's really had to try....and it is an adjustment for her.

On the funny-front. Lauren said that something was really "Meat" the other day. ha! She meant "neat" "cool"....too funny.

More later...with pics! I still have to open up the CD of Grant's 1-year pictures to show you! I just haven't had time - crazy, crazy times here.

Monday, October 20, 2008


So I'm cleaning out the food storage container cupboard in preparation of our hopefully someday pending move.....and I see that several of my Tupperware containers are either stained (and I've tried everything to get the discoloration out) or corroded (probably from the microwave?). I remembered that Tupperware is a good ole-fashioned USA company....with a lifetime warranty on their products. I remembered that I had a couple containers crack in the past and they were awesome about sending me new ones - no charge.

So, I thought I'd call Tupperware about these 5 bowls. I mean - you pay a premium for Tupperware - you sort of expect good service, right? Because if it weren't a good product/company then we'd just buy all Ziploc or Glad, right?

Well, I was told that Tupperware only covers chipping, breaking, cracking or something else - melting? Anyway - I'm outta luck, basically. Here that, Glad & Ziploc? I'm comin' your way...cuz it feels a lot easier throwing away a $1 container than it does a $15 container! Oh well, that's five bowls/lids that I don't have to pack and move.

So Tupper-BEWARE! A lifetime warranty is not what you think it is. Here's their policy in case you are wondering.

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's been two weeks since I've posted. I'm sure by now I've lost the one or two readers I had. =-( Life has been so crazy around here. We entered a purchase agreement on a new house, began picking out new flooring, countertops, bath fixtures, appliances, etc. (which all took time), collected quotes from installers....and then waited....and waited...and waited to close. First we waited on the title search. Finally that came back last Friday. We thought closing would be any day after that. We were wrong. Then we thought the latest it could be was the deadline for close in our contract...which was Wednesday. Wrong again.

Apparently the seller has a bit of a situation that needs to be resolved first. We have an agreement that it will be resolved promptly so we can close. We thought maybe it would be as soon as yesterday - nope. Maybe today? Nope...banker out of town today. (thanks for telling us in advance). Guess next week?

So - we are behind schedule before we've even begun. nice. We've already had to reschedule Mid-American twice....had to reschedule the sod/grading guy....the plumber....ugh.

So in the meantime I'm trying to pack the things we don't HAVE to use in the next month or so....but it would sure be a lot more motivating to do so if we had the closing behind us.

I'll try to blog more often now - I've missed my blog-therapy. I NEED my blog-therapy!

I also have to take pictures of the things I need to sell before we move (an oak armoir/dresser, a scanner, a micro-fiber chair, etc.). I also have several car-loads for Goodwill. So glad they moved it 800 miles from my home. So convenient now. NOT.

If anyone is reading this - thanks for sticking with me. I'm sorry I have been MIA. I'll do better.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Grant....The First Year

Twelve months. Seems like a long time, right? But with each baby the months fly by at a faster speed than before. When he was born, September 27, 2007 via a scheduled c-section, I remember thinking he'd be my last baby. I told myself that I would slow down and enjoy each and every moment because I knew how fast it passed with my girls. But here we are....a year after his birth....and I'm stunned at how it slipped right through my fingers. Sure, I tried to enjoy it all - the way he'd smile up at me while he fed, or the first smiles through a face covered with rice cereal. The first recognition that his limbs actually belonged to him and that he might be able to control them someday, or the sleepy head rested quietly, peacefully between my neck and my shoulder. Hmmmm - such sweet memories of my smallest baby.

I've blinked and a year has passed. He turned ONE last Saturday. He doesn't sit still to snuggle with his Mommy nearly as often. He feeds himself. He pushes away so he can get DOWN and do whatever it is HE wants to do. He has an opinion now! (The nerve!). Twelve little months and so many changes. Of course it is exciting to watch him reach each new milestone....but all of the "firsts" he's already achieved and left behind - will I remember them? That's my big fear I guess. I don't want to forget a single minute of it! (Ok - maybe the gas pains that had him screaming for HOURS when he was just a couple months old...but that's it).

And perhaps because he is my last child - my last crack at getting this Mommy thing right...maybe that's why I want to hang on to it just a little bit longer. Now, don't worry - I'm not unhealthy about this. I've switched him to a sippy cup and whole milk, switched his car seat to forward-facing and everything else I'm supposed to do. I'm not still squeezing him into blanket sleepers or anything. I'm normal....I'm just a little sad that it flew by so quickly.

He's an amazing little guy, that Grant. SO smiley! And doesn't that smile just light up the room? Melt your heart? Expose a devious plan? I love ALL my kids - I do! They are all so special to me - so smart, so fun, so CUTE....But there's just something about that little man of mine that just melts my heart! I never thought I'd understand that dynamic - but all it took was the nurses lying him in my arms for the first time - looking down into his brand-new face - and I was hooked. H-O-O-K-E-D, I tell ya! And 12 months later I still am.

Here's what he's doing at ONE:

Today he is crawling at LIGHTNING speed, feeding himself, drinking from a sippy cup, playing peek-a-boo, dancing (bouncing to music), clapping, shaking his head "no," patty-cake, "so-big," playing with cars/trucks and making a "VVVVVVVV" sound as he pushes them across the room, throwing a pretty good hissy-fit, blowing kisses, hugging, throwing his arms up when we say "Touchdown!" and saying "Bye-bye," "Hi," "Ma-Ma," "Da-Da," Whasat" and walking behind push-toys and along furniture.

(Birthday cake-eating pics/movie/post coming soon)