Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Eve

It's New Years Eve! What do you have planned for tonight?

We started our day by heading out for some indoor ice skating! The rule is, you have to wear skates on the ice, not boots. Well, friends, I haven't been on skates in 9 years, because 8 winters ago I was pregnant with Nora. And pregnancy+skating=no no. And friends, my feet grew from being pregnant, so every second on the ice was excruciating. I could feel my poor toes smooshing against the toe box and it was not fun. It was fine if I was skating fast, but with two little girls who are unsure on the ice, I was going pretty, pretty slowly. I'll tell you what, though-my winter boots have never felt so heavenly in all my life. And it was so much fun that I am already plotting our next ice skating adventure.

Here is a little video of the girls skating:

Hahahaha! Isn't that fun? Yeah, I am not laughing either. For some reason my camera is only taking video in fast forward. Between not being able to post the holiday programs yesterday and getting this sideways, super fast, old-timey movie version of video today, I am clearly on a roll. But you get the point. Both girls started out using chairs for support, and by the end of the 90-minute session, neither needed a chair. Sweet!

Now we are off to bake chocolate chunk brownies to bring to my brother's house tonight. We are having a rip roaring get together that will include the 4 of us plus Sam, Liz, and their niece Taylor. I think I heard a rumor about cousins Brooke and Adrea coming, too, but that can't be verified at this time. At any rate, I am certain the festivities will be over long, long before midnight. Because already, Nora has asked to take a nap and if I didn't have to worry about Dana entertaining herself for an hour and a half, I would be snuggled up with her right now.

Here's to a safe and enjoyable New Years Eve, with the added fun of a blue moon!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas 2009

We started our Christmas early this year, because of the storm.

Kevin's mom called Wednesday night and said it was supposed to start snowing overnight and it wasn't supposed to let up until Saturday. Blizzard warning! She suggested we come out that night in case we couldn't get out the next morning. Since we all live in rural areas, it's pretty much guaranteed that we're on the bottom of the plowing list, so we took her advice. And it's a good thing, too, because when we woke up, there must have been almost a foot of snow on the ground!

And that's when the wrestling began. I guess no holiday is complete without it now. And probably I will be in trouble for posting this photo, but it's a risk I am willing to take.

I KNOW I will be in trouble for posting this, but he knows the risks by now. I can't even remember why Kevin had a bucket on his head in the first place, but it came in handy as a hands-free device when his phone rang.

The girls were so lucky to receive many wonderful gifts from kind, thoughtful and generous family and friends. They were both thrilled to open brand new ice skates from Grandma Bev and Grandpa Jerry! This is Nora's very first pair of real figure skates and you can see how much she loves them.

Dana got these super cute skates with snowflakes on them. Just look at that grin!

Grandma and Grandpa also got Nora a pedicure set, and Jan did her toes for her. I just love how flopped out she is here, relaxing while her toes dry.

We finally made it outside into the storm to put out reindeer food before heading inside to arrange cookies and milk for Santa and settling in for the night.

Nora woke up first. Around 6am. On school days, I have to force this girl out of bed at 8:15am. On Christmas morning, she tossed and turned and chatted with me in bed until I finally let her get up around 7:30.

She was really excited to find gifts under the tree and in her stocking. Among other things, Santa left her these fleece footie pajamas, which was pretty fun.

Dana got matching jammies! Yay!

My family went bowling Saturday night for our Christmas, but I was too busy setting an all-time record high score of 58 to take any photos.

I hope your holidays were as wonderful as ours were!

Holiday Programs

Oh, how I have tried to post video. Again and again I have tried, and it just isn't happening. So please enjoy these photos of holiday programs instead.

Dana's preschool program was absolutely adorable. These wee ones sang songs and did finger plays on stage in their classroom, and it was just so sweet! Dana loved being on stage, she loved hearing everyone clap for her (and her classmates), and she loved watching the audience watch her. We were so very proud of her! In this photo, she is doing a finger play about Santa popping out of a chimney-so cute!

Nora's holiday program was also amazing. Her class sang 3 songs. This song, as you can see, included snowflake props. See Nora there in the front row, way over on the right?

The other two songs included instruments and finger plays. It was all so lovely!

See those cute soldiers on the wall behind the stage? I helped hang those the night before. I was very happy none of them fell off the wall during the programs!

There is a morning program as well as an afternoon program, and the PTA provides treats for both. Between set-up and clean-up, I was there for the entire day, minus a 45-minute break for lunch. Dana took this photo of me, and it reflects perfectly how I felt by the end: blurry. But it was wonderful to be there and to be a part of it and I can't wait for next year's programs, when both of my girls will perform at the same school!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


My cousin Leah was killed on Friday when a semi crossed the median and hit her car. She was ten days shy of her 30th birthday.

Please send thoughts and prayers to her husband, her three little ones, her sisters and their families, and my aunt and uncle.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Adventures in the Freezer

Look what I found in the freezer when I got home from the grocery store yesterday:

Cryogenics in my very home. Who knew?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bring on the Festivities!

I got a little sleep last night and am feeling a bit more like myself today. And so we...

...strung popcorn and cranberries onto yarn to make garland! Actually, popcorn is impossible to string. We broke like 15 pieces of popcorn with our darning needles before I finally had the brilliant idea to use packing peanuts instead. They worked much better, and I figured it was a good way to recycle a few of those crazy things. Plus the girls were thrilled that they got to eat that giant bowl of popcorn.

While the girls worked on their garlands, Kevin and I cut out this garland. Isn't is cute?

While I was hanging all of the new garland, the girls abandoned ship and went upstairs to play something elaborate with dress up clothes, stuffed animals, library books and Barbies.

Kevin was kind enough to clean up the mess a
bove, plus the insane mess the girls made on the floor snipping paper to make sweet ornaments for the tree.

And then, since the mess was all cleaned up by someone else, I made the girls come back downstairs to make clove oranges.

We have made these every year at ECFE, and the kids have always needed help getting the cloves into the oranges. This is the first year since we became parents that everyone is too old for ECFE, but I wanted to continue the tradition. And it was fun! The girls made faces with the cloves! So creative!

That's all the time we had for crafts this evening.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas is right around the corner!

"Christmas is right around the corner!"
Dana likes to share this fact with anyone who will listen. Doesn't matter if it's a friend, family member, or a complete stranger. She is incredibly excited and wants to spread the joy.

We always put up our tree the day after Thanksgiving. This year, Kevin put the tree up and I helped him string lights, and then we just let the kids have at it.

That's right-we didn't hang a single ornament. Nora, Dana and Keenan took care of that job, and they took it pretty seriously.

At first it looked sort of funny, since there were no ornaments on the top 1/4 of the tree. Then, someone had the idea to stand on a chair, and everything got a bit more evened out.

We always bring out the Christmas CDs (this year we listened to the Louis Armstrong and Friends Christmas Collection) and sip hot cocoa with marshmallows, whipped cream, colored sugar and candy canes. Bring on the sugar!

I keep meaning to decorate the rest of the house, but it's been iffy around here. I have a quadruple ear infection and it has really run me down. It's not that I suddenly have 4 ears, friends. No, I just have outer and middle infections in both ears. It's especially fun because there is so much fluid built up behind my eardrums that I can't hear at all out of my right ear. I think I heard Dana call Nora and Keenan a really bad name today but I can't be even 50% certain because I am that congested.

I am going to bed now. It IS 8:42 on a Saturday night, after all.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New Glasses

We switched Nora over to the pediatric eye specialist last week. He gave her a new prescription and she got to pick new frames.

She has been eying up these Bratz Girl frames for 3 months! She thinks she really slid one past me because I take a strong stance AGAINST Bratz Girls. But these glasses are fully clothed with nothing inappropriate exposed, and they don't have freakishly large heads, eyes or mouths. And their feet don't snap off to allow skin-tight clothing to go on easier.

The photos do not do these frames justice. They're a shiny plum purple metal with tiny rhinestone accents. They are truly adorable and she was over the moon when I picked her up at school yesterday and brought her to pick them up and have them fitted. She's been all dimples since last night.

Her old frames have really long bows that hang way below her ears, and she was self-conscious about wearing a ponytail because people would see them sticking out and she thought that looked weird. The new purple frames have normal bows that don't peek below her ears. So in addition to slipping the Bratz name past Mom, she can also go back to wearing ponytails whenever she wants. This is important to her.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Our Thanksgiving started out with a really cute turkey...

Actually, it started the night before, with the pie baking activities. I like to make things as complicated as possible, so we started by roasting a sugar pumpkin. And then we had a marathon of apple peeling, which the girls absolutely loved. We have one of those apple peeler/corer/slicer things, and they love turning the crank and grabbing the spiraled apples off the end when they're done. Fun times.

I tried a new recipe this year: maple pumpkin pie. It sounded divine, but in reality was awfully sweet.

And a new apple pie recipe, too, in which you cook a caramel sauce on the stove and then pour it over the lattice top so it soaks into the top crust and goes into the filling as well. This one was pretty nice.

Nora made placemats for everyone and proceeded to re-set the table at Grandma and Grandpa's house when we arrived.

Nora thought basting the turkey was really fun, and she helped Grandma with this task.

And then some wrestling ensued. Notice the pizza paddle. I am not sure what Kevin said or did, but his parents team tackled him. Ah, the holidays.

We ended the night with some salon time. Dana soaked my entire head with detangler and then brushed it. Nora brushed out Jan's hair and put on some lipstick.

Hope your holiday was as fun-filled as ours was!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tower and Painting

Hi! Remember us?

Sure can't wait for life to simmer down a little.

Here are a couple of photos of slower days.

Dana built this fantastic block tower. She had to stand on a stool to built it this high. These girls are still obsessed with Duplos.

My dad is building a playroom downstairs for the kids. He wanted to do something really special, and Dana suggested he build a playhouse. Perfect!

So he did. And then he invited them over to help paint the floor. He put a 2-sided chalk board on one of the walls. It's awesome!

My dad was working out of town and living in a hotel from July until November. We are SO HAPPY to have him home again. We missed him!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009

Here are some Halloween photos.

Dana and I picked out pumpkins on Wednesday afternoon, and we carved them that evening.

Dana was really proud that she could pick her pumpkin up. It's pretty big!

Both girls helped scoop the innards out of their pumpkins, and then they worked on separating the seeds from the pulp while Kevin and I carved the intricate designs they had selected.

I carved Dana's pumpkin. If you look carefully on the left side of the mouth, you can see a bit of toothpick surgery.

Kevin carved Nora's pumpkin. She thought Dracula was pretty swell.

Two years ago, we carved our pumpkins and displayed them on a hay bale near our front door. One night when we got home, there were deer under our porch roof, munching on our pumpkins! The girls were furious, and they have NOT forgotten. They insisted on keeping our pumpkins inside this year so the deer couldn't get them.

And this is what we found this morning. The deer didn't get them, but the in-floor heat did. Gross! I made Kevin bring them out to the woods so I wouldn't gag. I washed the floor where they had oozed, which was bad enough.

Nora went as Dorothy, which was so cute. I found a pattern and sewed her a costume, but shoes were a problem. I ended up making her ruby slippers. The only sequins I could find were in a bag with 14 different colors, and it took about an hour to sort all the red ones out from the mixture. It took another 90 minutes for me to glue them to her shoes with rhinestone glue.

Now, before you get all crazy and start lecturing me on the fact that Target sells red glitter shoes and has for years, let me tell you that story.

About 2 weeks ago, we went to Target to buy the aforementioned shoes. Unfortunately, they didn't have any red ones in Nora's size. So we tried on the black glittery ones until we determined her size.

On Tuesday, I went to Target and found the right size in red: 12 1/2. When Nora got home, I proudly took them out to show her. She tried them on and proclaimed them much too big. So on Wednesday I exchanged them for a size 12. When Nora got home, I proudly took them out to show her. She tried them on and proclaimed them much too small. So we had a little chat and determined that the 12 1/2 was the best choice. So on Thursday I attempted to exchange them, and, of course, they were gone. None in 12 1/2. And that's when I headed to Michael's for sequins and glue.

Here she is in the Halloween parade at school. There were many other Dorothys, and I even recognized the few that had been sewn by moms using the same pattern I used. Ha! I am glad to not be the only nut.

And here are the girls last night before leaving to go trick or treating. Nora as Dorothy, Taylor as Super Girl and Dana as Lavagirl. I sewed the 3 trick or treat bags, too, because clearly I have much too much time on my hands. Or something.

Anyhow, I am glad Halloween is over so I can move on to Christmas sewing and knitting.

Monday, October 26, 2009


I just uploaded photos from the camera and found a few cute everyday photos.

Here's Nora waiting for the bus on Hat Day at school. Slipper Day is coming soon...

So much time is spent coloring lately. Usually, Nora staples a bunch of paper together and they make books. This day, they dug out coloring books to shake things up a bit.

And Duplos. They never seem to lose their charm. This day they were building mazes, which was pretty fun to watch.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Adventures in the City (Cities)

We got up early on Saturday and drove to Minneapolis/St. Paul for the day.

We visited the Science Museum of Minnesota:

Daddy is helping Dana move the dinosaur's jaw. It's hard work!

Then we went to the Minnesota Children's Museum:

We made our way to the Mall of America to visit Nickelodeon Universe:

The whole family enjoyed the Dora ferris wheel.

We also visited the American Girl store at the MoA, and walked out only $16 lighter. Not bad! Nora got glasses for her doll, Elizabeth, and Dana got a bath set for her Bitty Baby, Dizzy. Let me point out that Dana named her doll herself.

We ended our fun with dinner at Chuck E. Cheese's. The food was...well, if you can't say something nice... The girls had so much fun in the arcade though. SO much fun! They are still talking about it! Of course, the memory card was full and the batteries dead by then, so no photos.

It sure was a fun day!