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Showing posts from 2014

#DubyaDoesFL

Why yes, I did, indeed, just use a hashtag in the title of my blog post, but only because: Dubya Did FL!! (And yes, that was the Insta hashtag that I used to document our trip!)

Remember the fabulous 11th birthday tradition my parents have with their grandchildren? Well, guess who just turned 11? Yup...my sweet, big hearted, non-stop talking, thrill ride loving middle child turned the big ONE-ONE.

So, without further ado, let me bring you up to speed on the whirlwind trip that is our 11th birthday FL tradition...(oh, and I "get" to go along, but I pay my own way!)

First up...Dubya's first airplane ride.

Gosh dang is it cute to watch a first time airplane rider. At least...I think it was cute. Maybe it was cute? I dunno...I was chillin' with a little Valium coursing through my veins, so who knows, really, how "cute" his first plane ride was. :)

(Actually, I don't get that zonked from the drugs...it just leaves me a little chill...a little "meh"...a …

Baby, It's COLD Outside!

Actually, I digress, it's a bit warmer today. But anyway, back to regular scheduled programming...

Lemme tell you a little story.

Once upon a time, a young couple (that'd be me and Mr. Wonderful) and their little family (that'd be Pal, Belle, and Dubya) bought a house from a couple that had previously had a wood stove in aforementioned house and, hence, were eligible for "dual fuel", or "off peak" heat.

Quick factoid regarding "dual fuel" heat: you get a significant savings on your electric heat if you have a back up heat source and allow the electric company to turn off your heat (only for a couple of hours) during peak usage times. Another factoid: electric heat is SPENDY, so the inconvenience of the electric company shutting off your heat, temporarily, is well worth it.

Back to the story:

So, we also have fireplaces...more for looks, but they'd prob do in a pinch if we were in dire straights...so, we still qualify for the dual fuel thingamaj…

Why "Title 1" Isn't a Four Letter Word.

Last year, at about this time, during conferences, our Baby Girl's teacher told us that according to her standardized test results she was "borderline qualifying" for Title 1 service.

Those words made me catch my breath. "WHAT??? MY daughter? Qualifying for Title 1? Couldn't be." And so, Mr. Wonderful and I talked it over, I talked with a few of my teacher friends, I scratched my head in confusion...she seemed to be at (if not further) the same "place" as our other children. The difference? Her personality. Shy (especially with strangers), where they were more outgoing. Stubborn, where they were "go with the flow". 



We all agreed...we'd wait it out. Let her get more accustomed to school, tests, etc. Let her get more confidence. And so, we rode it out until winter when we were informed, via letter, "According to your child's test results, she qualifies for Title 1 services which will start...". And just like that, my world…

Christmas Kick-off!!

As we speak, my mom, SIL and myself are power shopping our way through the Mall of America! It's our annual Christmas shopping kick-off and man alive...was I due for a little "me" time!

After single-parenting it for the last two weekends (hubby was deer hunting), I was ready to have a night that I didn't need to worry about bedtime or supper or baths or laundry! Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE being a mom and very rarely "need" time away AND I have a husband that is "all in" when it comes to parenting, but sometimes? Sometimes a mama just needs a night away.
A dinner out, where she doesn't have to share even ONE bite of her salad. 
A bedtime where the ONLY person she needs to worry about brushing their teeth is HERSELF.
And that night was last night. At the Radison Blu...attached to the mall so we didn't even have to step foot outside and could haul bags to and from our room! Like a little slice of heaven, right here on earth. And BO…

Yes, I Did...And I'm Totally Not Ashamed.

Just finished up a fantastic weekend. Started with my least favorite holiday of the year and a bad attitude turned completely around...like when the Grinch's heart grew 3 sizes. 



For several years, I took our kids trick-or-treating in our town's business trick-or-treat event. And each year I grew more and more hateful toward Halloween until I realized it was the HORDES of people fighting in and out of small doorways for one small tootsie roll that were making me so stressed out!

So last year, I said ENOUGH! No more downtown trick-or-treating. Mama needs her sanity. We did our annual Gram's Chili and then the hubby took the kids around to a few houses near my grandparents. Well, this year, I decided (begrudgingly) to go along with them and guess what????

I actually found myself enjoying it! Watching my bundled up Elsa, dress billowing out from under her winter coat, run door to door, seeing my kids being all shy and uncertain at the first couple of houses and then, near the en…

Something I Haven't Done for Awhile...

Used to be that I'd share a picture now and then when I did a photo shoot. While my shoots are few and far between these days, I do have some to show you!

But first up...how do y'all store your photos? I've discovered my picture taking has WAY slacked off since my laptop ran out of memory. And, I'm not a fan of my external hard drive because it just DUMPS the pictures in there and, for example, leaves me with 5+ photos with the same title (DSC_0043 or something like that). Can I move them into folders? Will it take me 87 years? Is there some online storage solution that I can pull my photos back from (not Shutterfly, for example)?

I've tried uploading to Google, but it never works. (What am I doing wrong?) Help!!

Anyway, here's a few of my faves from my most recent shoots...





Happy Monday!

In Love.

We had Dr. J and her awesome family over this weekend, and as we were getting ready for them, I decided to decorate my mantle for fall.

Dubya hauled up my Rubbermaid tote full of fall decor for me and we began to set things out, feeling content and happy as I sprinkled my house with hues of orange, red, and yellow.

Prior to our remodel project, our fireplace was something I tolerated. Put up with. The Mr. and I had spoken, now and then, about refacing it with stone or some other kind of brick but it was my dad that spoke these wise words, "Just wait until you're done with your project...you might change your mind about it.".

Never. I NEVER thought I'd change my mind about our fireplace being something other than an object that I just put up with. I never thought that I could actually APPRECIATE our fireplace...but then? Something magical happened.

As things came together with the remodel project, I began to realize that our fireplace was starting to shine. I was kind of …

They're BAAAAAAAACK!

Perfect timing for a spooky story, since it IS October and all, right?

Imagine this: you lose your way to contact loved ones, then right before your very eyes every appointment and party and get together vanishes into thin air.

DUH DUH DUH DUHNNNNNNN.

It happened to me Sunday morning. I slept peacefully through the night only to wake up and discover that all of my contacts had gone missing from my phone during the night. I thought maybe they all ran off together on some grand adventure, but I discovered them, hanging out together, right there in the cloud. So WHY weren't they on my phone?

Of course, I wanted a quick fix. A button to push. Something fast and easy. But everything I tried was unsuccessful. They remained, stubbornly, up there in the dang cloud.

Then I discovered my Calendar had been wiped clean. To some, this might sound like something from their wildest dreams, but to me? TERROR. That calendar is my LIFELINE, PEOPLE!! I panicked a little, wondering what important events, …

The Awesomeness

Kids, particularly your own, are the most amazing creatures on earth, no?

The love and adoration a mama feels is absolutely spectacular, no?

You hurt when they hurt and you share their excitement when they're excited, no?

So...lemme tell you a little story.

Remember when this sweet pumpkin was born? 


And I took her newborn pictures? 


And she didn't cooperate one little iota but GOOD GOLLY is she ever cute and I can't say that I minded getting to hold her and feed her and cuddle her to get her to TRY to cooperate? Yeah, her.
Anyway, when I was finished snapping photos of the little munchkin, my brother and sister-in-law were talking to me as I was (confession: half) listening as I looked through the photos on my camera. This is sort of what I was (half) hearing, "You know...and you...but we're thinking...for baby...that we were going to ask Belle to be her Godmother." SAY WHA?????

My head snapped up and I got a little teary because I knew. I just knew that nothing els…

What To Do, What To Do...

My Gram wanted to see updated pictures of our house, so she turned to my blog and GUESS WHAT????

No recent pictures...see, I'm struggling. We've reached the point where I could show you pictures of the almost finished project...BUT, the little things that are left are things that make me want to wait until it is ALL done. You know, "Look! Here's my beautiful kitchen without trim and backsplash and doors!"...and then, when those things are done, while they'll definitely make it "finished" there won't be a whole lot of "WOW!!" factor involved, it'd be more like "Here's our project BEFORE trim and LOOK! Here it is after." and y'all'd be like, "Huh?" cuz I'm not sure it'll make THAT MUCH of a difference in pictures. 

Yikes. I'm totally rambling.

All this to say...hang tight. "After" photos are coming!! We're finishing up my pantry shelving (yay!!!!!) and then we'll be staining …

Can We Talk for a Second?

Let's talk for a second. You and me.

I found something a few days ago that made me weak in the knees. Made my heart pound with excitement and my cheeks flush with the idea of the gloriousness that I just discovered.

Guys? I found the most AMAZING website. :)

I dunno, maybe I'm just late to the game...maybe everyone else on the entire planet has already discovered these guys...maybe...but I still hafta share. (Ain't no paid advertisement...)

Rustica Hardware.

OH. EM. GEE. Ohmigosh. I can't even. (That was for you, Julie.)

As I've mentioned before, we're planning on doing a "barn door" for the door to our mudroom. Enter in my idea of door opening widths, bullheadedness, and lack of proper research, however...and now we're looking at a custom door. UGH.

See...I INSISTED on having a 36" opening for the mudroom/diningroom entrance. IN. SISTED. Only thing is, standard doors don't come any larger than 36" and having a door that BARELY covers the o…

It's Friday!!

Whoa nelly. Week one of school down and OH. EM. GEE. The children. They are at each other's throats!!

For kids that usually get along pretty well, we have had way more than our normal amount of tears, raised voices, disagreements, hurt feelings...the list goes on and on! This first week of school business is tough stuff. 

Speaking of first week (day) of school...I'm a terrible mother. How could I NOT post the obligatory first day of school photos??? Let me remedy that quick:



Cracks me up that it looks like she's wearing shoulder pads!!






Please forgive Belle's "one of these things is not like the other" photo...she started the day after the other kiddos and I was already out of practice by then and forgot to have her pose inside. Oh well, at least I got a photo, right?!

Anyway, I'm super thankful for the reprieve of the weekend. A chance to regroup. To sleep in. To have mornings that are not ruled by pressure of the clock. 

I'll tell you what else I'm th…

Down to the Details

So...the kitchen? It's usable!!! I'd say we're 75% done with the kitchen...BUT the most exciting thing is that I CAN COOK AGAIN!!


AND I HAVE RUNNING WATER!!!
AND A FUNCTIONING DISHWASHER!!
Do you get a sense of my excitement? I'm giddy. Excited to cook. And not wash dishes by hand (although, I'll be totally honest...we contributed our fair share to the landfill in the form of paper plates. Sorry Mother Earth!) in a sink that was perched on the edge of our deck and where a person was likely to get eaten alive by mosquitos as they tried to wash the dishes. Classy class.
I am in love and in awe with our kitchen. It makes me so happy! And proud! And content!
We do still have a fair amount of work to do, however, until we can lay this beast to rest! Staining doors and trim, installing aforementioned doors and trim, finishing dining room, installing heat mats and flooring in mudroom, finishing up painting, tiling backsplash and (and here's where I need your help!) install…

Yesterday...and Tomorrow

Yesterday, I was honored and blessed to be at the birth of my sweet, beautiful, amazing niece. When my nephew was born, it just so happened that I was working and I captured some pretty precious first moments of him...this time, my brother and sister-in-law asked me if I would come to take photos of baby girl's birth.

Um, lemme think about that...YES!!

So, I showed up bright and early, tried not to be too intrusive, and was able to capture some pretty sweet moments! And you guys? That baby girl?

I die. She absolutely melts my heart!

And then tomorrow. Whoa nelly. TOMORROW.

Tomorrow I will drop my baby boy off at college. Did you hear that? COLLEGE. As in...grown up. Moving on. Going out into the big world.


I keep finding myself saying super cheesy things like, "Do you REALIZE that you are about to embark on the greatest adventure of your whole life????? Like, you're about to meet friends that you'll be friends with FOREVER. You're about to decide the fate of the rest of…