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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

So Many Posts So Little Time

I have so many things I want to post about.  But time is tight and here's what I have time to post:
"Cubs fan just like my Papa Mark!"

Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's Not About the Money

A few weeks after our return from Mexico I began the iMovie of our trip.  I did most of it late one night.  Then I got busy with the hustle and bustle of life.  Mark asked several times, "Is the movie done yet?"  After the third or thirtieth time he asked when I wanted to reply, "What?!  Do you think I'm hiding it from you?! I'm busy!!!"  Then I got the idea.  Hmmmm. . .it seems like he really wants it. . . I think I'll give it to him for Christmas.

That took pressure off to get it done and I knew he's love to have it.  Too bad I got up and was at the computer at 7am Christmas Eve morning adding music (the most time consuming part of the creation).  Thank goodness he slept in (this actually wasn't a true concern of mine:)  and thank goodness both kids played nicely and watched some of a Scooby Doo movie to stay out of the office and let me do my things.

After all of the festivities at Mama Jeanne's on Christmas Eve and all of the other 'magical' preparations that had to be tended to after the kids were peacefully sleeping I stuck the freshly burned disk in a box with a coffee cup and handed it to him.

"I want you to open this one tonight," I told him.  "Shake it," I said trying to throw him off.  He shook it and shrugged.  Then he saw it: Mexico 2010.  He almost knocked me over trying to get to the DVD player. We watched together and reminisced not once, not twice but three times.  The thing is 28 minutes long!  But we had a blast and it was the perfect way to spend a romantic Christmas Eve super late night together.

Crazy Christmas Crafts

I like doing crafts.  I LOVE guiding my children with crafts.  That is the explanation of the crafts of the Christmas season.  I really must love it too, because I did these crafts at school too.  Is it ever too much, you ask?  Yep, just about everytime. . .but I really really must love it because I continue to do it.

When we took Aunt Molly to tea a few weeks back I saw Chocolate Spoons at Goodthings for $2 a piece!  I decided I/we could make these on our own and they would be fun to make a cute little gifts.  I found a chocolate melter that is safe for the kids.  Bought several pounds of chocolate and 200 spoons.  Then got out the decorations.  Marshmallows and an assortment of holiday sprinkles. 

It is super fun and low key.

On December 10th we had our holiday party at school.  Each student made his/her own gingerbread house.  So what did we do at our house that night. . .made our own gingerbread houses.  As if making 21 houses and cleaning all of it up wasn't enough that day!This has got to be the kids' favorite Christmas craft. 

Now, doesn't that look fun?!?!?!  I love the happy little smiles on their little faces when the project is complete!

I learned a new craft this year.  It's from one of my favorite blogs:

Christmas Hugs

We bought Christmas pretzels and picked out all of the stars.  Then unwrapped a ton of Hershey Hugs. 

Then you watch them very carefully for about 7 minutes in the oven.

When the Hugs lose their tips it's time to take them out.  But not a minute too early!

Very close now!

Then you carefully put red and green M&Ms on them. 
Unfortunately Mommy accidentally bought red & green PEANUT M&Ms. 
Frantically I ran around the kitchen looking for M&Ms so our little project wouldn't be ruined.
I came across left over red and purple M&Ms from Abbey's shower back in August.
Nobody seemed to mind though.

They were delicious.  Sometimes our crafts turn out unedible.
That's ok.  Sometimes they pretty much go straight to the trash.
It's all about the experience.

These experiences were creative & wonderful.
I don't know if I love crafty things like this so I wanted to be a teacher.
Or is being a teacher brings out the crafty in me.
Either way,
I'm glad our kids get to experience the creativity
 and messiness and hands-on experiences of creating.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Outdoor Stadium

The roof of the Metrodome collapsed a couple weeks ago after a huge blizzard left us with a "Historic Snowstorm" the news called it.  We received 20 inches in 24 hours at our house.  We spent the weekend being snowed in.

Due to the roof collapsing the Vikings were forced to a different city to play.  The following week (last Monday) they played at the University of MN's field.  It was 29 years to the day that the Vikings played a home game outside. 

I had spent the day at home shooting Tylenol into little mouths to bring down fevers.  I received a call at 3:30pm from Molly asking if we wanted to go to the game.  I was still in my pj's as were the kids.  The house was a disaster.  I was exhausted.  But yes, I wanted to go.  I said yes before I even asked Mark!  Grandma Jeanne came right over.  We bundled like I hadn't bundled since I played outside when I was a kid.  Molly and Brian picked us up.  We were off.  We caught a shuttle to the field.  It was an hour before kickoff.  We grabbed some free hand warmers, got frisked at security and we were in.  It was general admission.  We were amazed at the row 15 seats we got.  We spent the first hour eating.  The second hour cheering for our first touchdown! 
The third hour freezing.  Molly and I spent half time in the bathroom changing out our warmers.  Her's in her boots and mine in my back pockets.  We were getting creamed in the third quarter.  Then we headed out.  But not before we got some great pictures of us totally freezing!

Enjoying brawts.

Even though the Vikes lost and Favre's career is most likely ended
the game will go down in history and we were a part of it.

Thanks to Molly & Brian for bringing us on the adventures of the night!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Three Years Ago Today

Three years ago today, my good friend Amy called me at 7am crying.  She said, "Something has happened to Brent!  I'm following the ambulance right now!"  She told me his symptoms.  It was pretty clear he was having a stroke.  I stood in my kitchen on my cell phone eight months pregnant crying and frantically trying to figure out how I could help her.  I got right to school and began talking with our friends.  Then we got another call from her.  It was indeed a stroke.  So bad they've moved him, already, from St. John's to St. Joe's.  Our compassionate principal let Laura and me go and visit.  We drove down there talking about how Brent is so athletic.  How could this happen to him?  What would we do if Amy lost her husband.  How can we help her cope?  We arrived to see our friend like we've never seen her.  She's a very strong woman.  Physically and emotionally.  There she sat slumped over and crying.  Cheeks and eyes red and ready for hugs.  We sat there for hours.  We ended up staying the whole day. When the principal came to visit she saw how shaken we all were and had us stay the day.  As the hours ticked by they told Amy they were unable to get the clot out in his brain.  There would be damage. 

We wondered what the future would bring.  The next day.  The holidays.  The next year. 

It's literally hard to believe THREE years have passed.  Brent has gone through hundreds of hours of therapy and treatments. 

Amy has gone through so much emotionally I can't even imagine.  She's in charge of so much at her house sometimes I can't believe it.  A couple weeks ago she lifted her snowblower into her truck and went to get a new tire for it.  I've never touched a snowblower in my life, let along lifted one.  She is amazing.

Here we are three years later.  They're going out tonight to celebrate.  Life. Love. Courage. Strength.

Amy recently recorded a radio commercial for the Courage Center.  It will play on 107.9 & Cities 97.  I hope you get a chance to hear it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Our Christmas Card & Letter

I love to create our annual Christmas card.  I look forward to it from about September on.  I love the look through my pics to find the perfect ones.  To pick out outfits and plan photoshoots.  I love it.  It's a little piece of our family I mail out to over 100 addresses to say, "Hey!  Look at how happy/cute/fun/loving our family is!"  I love it!!  Here's 2010:
I love that we didn't do a Christmas shoot this year. 
This picture was taken on a very very hot August day.
It was a great family time.

Our Christmas letter this year:

We’ve been having fun decorating for Christmas and enjoying Christmas music. In the spirit of the song,

“My Favorite Things,” we’ve included a few of ours.
Christian’s favorite things: trains, Chuck E. Cheese, big boy underwear, running, balls, the beach, chocolate milk, dancing, building with blocks, fire trucks, jumping off of things, horses, the Children’s Museum, listening to stories & Old Country Buffet.

Victoria’s favorite things: art projects, Ms. Joy at pre-school, macaroni & cheese, the mall, Red Lobster, absolutely anything that has to do with Scooby Doo, stuffed animals, Underwater World, writing letters, movie night, being a flower girl, Grandmas and Grandpas, surprises, Girls’ Night Out & stickers.

Kelly’s favorite things: our backyard, supportive friends, Victoria’s questions and handwriting, Christian’s cuddles, smile & giggles, Skinny Girl, second graders, digital scrapbooking, family days (Saturday & Sunday), our godchild Walker, photography, Playa del Carmen, Mexico, Kris our daycare mom, our kids’ amazing grandparents, craigslist & summers off.

Mark’s favorite things: hot summer nights, hugs, my wife, my children, Coors Lite, my new snow blower, the beach/ocean, ribs, mountains of Colorado, Mexico, my boat, the way my kids look at me while I work, Walker, Christmas (music, lights, etc.) & Quad Caulk.

These are a few of our favorite things.

Wishing you time to enjoy your favorite things in 2011.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Mark, Kelly, Victoria & Christian

Only ten days until Christmas.  The magic is in the air!  We've seen Santa several times.  The tree has been decorated (twice).  Most gifts are purchased (but not wrapped).  We've been enjoying a holiday story or two or three before bed each night.  I picked up a new copy of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas at the mall last night.  That was a pleasant surprise for them tonight. 

I love this time of year.  I can feel the memories being made.  It is the most wonderful time of the year.


As I previously blogged I loved Thanksgiving this year.  It was three days of family fun.

Do you think Christian likes pumpkin pie??

Victoria loves it too, she's just not quite so dramatic:)

Watching football.  Christian didn't stay put too long. 
However, he did want to feel like one of the big boys!

Getting ready to leave Grandma Jeanne & Papa Mark's.
Victoria will try to tie her shoes as long as you'll let her. 
Here she actually let Papa give her a lesson.

The grandchildren + Unlce Wayne

Will anyone look at the camera please??!!

Hangin' with Uncle Wayne. 
I think my brother loves rough housing with his only nephew.

Coloring and stickering with Mama Deb.

Boys having fun racing cars.
Christian looks like he's having the time of his life!!

It really was a terrific Thanksgiving!

Mini Van Drama

Yesterday I received a text from my husband asking me if I could stop by the Toyota dealership on my way home to look at a slightly used mini van that was just traded in. I needed to be there by 5.  Which I was.  I had to wait 20 minutes to see the mini van.  Then the back door was totally frozen shut.  I've been to the dealership before and have driven several mini vans with Vic telling me which route to take.  I hopped in and waited for him.  Then he comes back and says, "Take your time and enjoy!"  What?  All by myself in the dark and on icy roads??  He had to move 50 more cars before closing to get them plowed around.  Ok, I was off.  I decided I would drive it home for Mark to take a look.  The dealership is about a mile from our house.  I crossed the street and thought, "Wow, this handles really well in the. . .what is happening?  What is wrong?!?!?"  I RAN OUT OF GAS!  In the dark.  In ZERO degree weather.  Thankfully Vic gave me his card on the way out of the lot.  I called and he said he's on his way.  I could literally see the dealership in the rearview mirror.  It took Vic a whopping 22 minutes to bring gas.  An hour after I arrived at the dealership I finally made it home.  Neither Mark nor I were very impressed. As I was backing out of our driveway Mark came back out so I rolled down the window.  That sucker wouldn't go back up.  My patience were worn out.  Mark got in and drove it back to the dealership. 

I began eating dinner as the kids were finishing up.  Then they started playing a new game I've never seen before, "Hair Shop."  This is where Christian uses his little hands to flip around Victoria's hair like a little madman.  She says she likes it.  I told him to stop so he doesn't tangle her hair. 

Fast forward half an hour.  Mark was giving the kids a bath and called me to get him a comb for her hair.  He worked on it for a while.  Then I got her out and realized, the knot will never ever come out.  I secretly went to get the scissors and cut quite a large chunk of hair out of the back of her hair very slowly so she wouldn't hear the clipping.

By this time I was spent for the night.  We put them to bed early, 7:10 and I headed off to the grocery store.
Then I went to Michael's.  Then I still wasn't ready to go home.  I headed to the mall.  Mark called and said, "I don't want to bother you.  I just want to make sure you're ok." I replied, "I'm at the mall."  "Ooooh, you're fine.  See you later," was his response.  He knows shopping does a girl good.  Which it did.

Will I ever get a mini van?!  That is the question.

Monday, December 13, 2010

When Asked to Pose

The other day the kids looked so cute.  It may have been Thanksgiving.  I don't know, I just know they looked so darn cute I asked them to pose.  Literally.  I don't think I've ever used that term before.  Here's what I got:

This is the "I'm the big sister and I know what I'm doing here!!" shot.
Can you tell he's actually smiling?
He has already leanred her to push her buttons, I should have listed
that as one of his favorite things!

That's the awkward, "I'm two and I'm trying to fake smile" smile.

That's the, "Is this better??" shot.

This is the, "My mom reads US Weekly and
clearly leaves is lying around way too much." shot.

A little more natural. .  .

This is the,
"I've gotten my picture professionally
 taken nearly once a month for the last 4.5 years.  This is the way it's done" shot.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Time for Tea

My good friend Molly's birthday is just a week before mine.  She's been 32 for more than a month now.  But it took that long for us to get together.  Since she's our kids' Godmother I try to do something special for her.  Instead of a gift, I wanted to take her somewhere.  I racked and racked my brain.  I wanted to include Victoria.  She's the perfect age to really appreaciate how lucky she is to have such a present Godmother.  It took me two weeks (& Amanda giving me the idea).  Tea.  We would go out for tea.  It sounded like a girlie thing to do.  Both Victoria and Molly are quite girlie.  It's much more difficult to get in for tea anywhere during December.  Apparently, Christmas Tea is all the rage.  I finally got us in, in between Christmas Teas, right in the middle of nap, at 1:00 on Saturday.  Victoria and I have been talking about it for two weeks.  Counting down the days for our special birthday tea with Aunt Molly.  Molly arrived at our house and we were off to Downtown White Bear Lake, The Avalon Tea Room.

I had no idea what to expect.  I was better than my wildest dream.

It was quaint and perfect for the occasion.  We each got our own pot of tea and then sampled each other's.  Victoria by far, loved tea the most.  She pounded down three cups before she finished her sandwich and chips.

Leave it to Aunt Molly to bring us a gift on her birthday!  It was a gorgeous book that is 3-D and hanging in our kitchen.

Stirring ice-cubes into her first glass of tea. 

After our lunch we headed across the street for dessert at Grandma's Bakery.

Even though she ate a ton at lunch and three teacups of  tea, she chose the largest
cinnamon roll ever.

After dessert we did a bit of shopping.  Victoria touched every little thing she saw.  Everything!  If you were in downtown WBL that day you would have heard me saying, "Look wiht your eyes, not with your fingers," hundreds of times.  I eventually gave it.  She dropped a couple things but nothing broke and then I ended up having a lot more fun.  Then she saw a little tray of snacks.  It was low enough for her to see and it had mini cups of goldfish and pretzels.  Not exactly an adult treat.  She ate again!  I found an Advent calendar in the form of a line of 25 stockings.  It's been fun revealing the fun contents each day. 

Aunt Molly came back to our house and was treated to being introduced to all 101 stuffed animals that Victoria owns.  Then Mark and Christian came home with a Santa for our front yard.  Since Molly was there we all headed out for a family shot.

I love this picture!  It looks like Santa is towering over our house. 
He's quite large, but this angle makes him seem even larger! 

Next Molly and I headed off for some adult time shopping at Charming Charlie's.  
When I got home I was exhausted.
It was a day filled with memories!