Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Greetings!

As the holiday chaos is winding down I'm finally having a few moments of peace. We're home after most of our travels and everyone is in bed but me. I just finished up editing a magazine that I edit, and now I'm enjoying a cup of something warm and sweet that my hubby made for me before he hit the sack - perhaps it's a butterscotch or vanilla milk or something like that. Yum!

We've been mighty blessed with a great family and wonderful friends, so I really can't complain about much. I keep reminding myself that in the grand scheme, we are living in huge abundances. When I'm feeling stressed, though, I sometimes am tempted to let myself get into the "Why me?" syndrome that I so hate. Maybe if I just get it out there tonight, I can let it go and instead focus on how very blessed we are in so many bajillions of ways.

Amidst all the Christmas preparations, we learned that our twins didn't escape their TTTS and prematurity completely unscathed. After noticing some very beige molars as we brush their teeth with them each night, we took them into a pediatric dentist, who confirmed that that is not normal in 2 year olds who brush good every night and don't walk around sucking on sippy cups and lollipops.

They were diagnosed with hypoplastic teeth, which basically means that they did not form the top layer of enamel needed to protect teeth. Kids with this condition usually have big discolorations, very sensitive teeth, and extreme vulnerability to decay. Poor Lillian has it worse than Breanna, but both girls certainly have the condition. And wouldn't you know it, this is the first employer I've ever worked for who hasn't had a dental insurance option. Darn it anyway!

So, Miss Lillian is going in for surgery on January 8, where the doctors will give her at least one stainless steel crown, X-rays to find out how many cavities are there besides the four we can see with the naked eye, fill the cavities, and then seal every tooth surface of her mouth. I didn't get to be at Breanna's dentist visit and diagnosis due to a work thing, but it sounds like we will be able to get her mouth under control over the course of several dental visits, but no general anesthesia/surgery. Since their exams less than a month ago, I can see the visible difference in how much the discoloration is progressing on their back teeth. Thankfully, the front ones haven't been affected yet and we'll be able to stop it with the sealants.

I feel so bad for these kids. I just hope and pray they aren't uncomfortable or scarred for life. And I also really really hope that they aren't the in 60 percent of kids with the condition who have it in their permanent teeth, as well.

Luckily, they both loved their trips to the dentist, and often shine a flashlight into one another's mouth to count teeth and "tickle" them with floss. Cross your fingers it stays this way.

This all means that the next few weeks are going to be a flurry - medical checkups (all three kiddos go in to a new doctor whose name I can't even remember on the 5th), dental procedures, Lilllian's surgery, and my continued quest to find contacts that I can see in. (I found some finally that stay in my eyes while I'm on the computer, but I can't see so clearly in them. Grrr. I go back on Monday for another re-check.) DH and I are both overdue for our own dental exams/cleanings, but honestly, who has time?

I hope to have some more energy tomorrow so I can blog about some of our funnier phrases/pronounciations around our house. Like me-geek (music). Those can cheer me up in a snap. As expensive as they are, I just love living with a house full of kids.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Tree Hunting Photos

We went hunting for a Christmas tree on Thanksgiving weekend when Uncle Russ was visiting.

The girls each found their own tree to take home (Breanna's tumbleweed and Lillian's stick). What a fun way to kick off into holiday fun!

Monday, December 15, 2008

At Home At Last

As we're settling into having two parents back in one house again, I think we're all finally starting to feel at home. I've been able to fall in love with my dear husband again and again each day as I remember just how much I enjoy spending time with him. The girls are finally tall enough to turn the bathroom light on and off when they go in to potty, and Grant is creaping laps around the living room/kitchen like nobody's business.

Lillian is becoming more talkative, and her pronounciations are hilarious. Sometimes it takes us a while to figure her out, but she's the most patient little girl. When we take wild guesses, she calmly says no and then tries again. Like "loobooboo" = living room. "Ment tuck" is cement truck. And "ninnehbadbad" is gingerbread man. There are many more that I have jotted down in various notepads, hoping I never forget that squeeky little voice.

Breanna has not slowed her chattiness now that Lillian can keep pace. That makes for lots of nonstop noise in our house. But it's mighty fun. The other night in the tub, Breanna pointed at herself and declared, "I'm Lillian." DH then asked Lillian who she is and she smiled shyly and said, "Me Breanna." They clearly have their daddy's humor. Let the games begin.

And while these crazy girls are getting sillier, Grant continues to grow huger (more huge?) by the day. He's in 18-month onesies and size 4 snow boots. All boy, he grunts and growls and hollers (all in fun) and lets us know he's full of testosterone. He's so incredibly strong, I'm often afraid he'll leap right out of my arms. He's taking a few steps at a time now, so his forehead is looking mighty lumpy and purple. But as rough and tough boyish as he is, he's still the sweetest, funniest baby I've ever met.

In fact, I told my mom just this weekend about a thought that keeps coming to mind. I'll bet that when Jesus was a baby, he was just like Grant. Always happy. Always sweet. And with those big, friendly eyes that seem to look into your soul and smother you with yummy kisses. You just can't help but be drawn in and fall in love each time you catch his eyes.

I couldn't imagine a more fulfilling life.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I often think I'm married to a 14-year-old

The poop humor that comes from my dear hubby is ridiculous and I don't know how to deal with it besides rolling my eyes and shaking my head. His latest trick is to tell the twins that mommy's pooping stinky poop each time I leave the room - regardless of where I am or what I am doing. Each time I return, the girls ask me about my stinky poop.

Our daycare lady thinks it's hilarious. I would like to poop on my DH. The fun never ends in our household.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Feeling Blurry

There's no other way to describe it right now. I'm swamped at work, busy at home each night, and battling with trying to find some contacts that work for my eyes. Add in a little long-distance in-law drama and I'm blurry.

It's not helpful that since getting Bell's Palsy 2.5 years ago, my right eye is going down hill. It still doesn't fully close when I blink -only when I sleep in the dark. The eyeball is changing shape and so now I have some major astigmatism. As I'm experiementing with contacts to find some that I can see with, I'm blinking the right one out all over the place. And tackling headaches as the side effect of the changes.

I'm going to call tomorrow to see if Lasik might be an option to explore. I wonder if you need a good blink for it to work. We'll see. In the meantime, I'm switching out to glasses before I fold up these last two loads of laundry for the night.

Have a restful weekend ahead, my friends!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Too Cute Even Late

I just came across this photo of the twins on Halloween night. Even though technically we've entered the Christmas season, there's still no snow outside, so I'm justifying posting this pic in December.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

All They Want for Christmas

Wow - what a rush of the past couple weeks! Thanksgiving morning we learned that DH's sister in Idaho is expecting a baby. She'd been told she was infertile and her fiance had had the big V during his first marriage years ago, so needless to say, everyone is quite shocked, especially the parents. I'm excited to become an auntie again!

After Thanksgiving dinner down in the cities with my mom's sisters and their families, we headed up to my folks' house on Friday for the annual Lighting of the Luminaries Festival in Nisswa. Our girls loved it. Grant slept through the first hour and a half of it - cozy warm in the stroller. He was oblivious to his first horse-drawn carriage ride, but oh well.

When the girls met Santa for the first time, there were sparkles in their eyes as they gazed longingly at his basket of candy canes. He asked what they'd like for Christmas and they said, "Potty treats." Santa said, "What?" My mom whispered to the girls to just tell him they wanted baby dolls. It's clear what stage we're in at our house. Thankfully, our girls are great with the potty training - we even went into porta potties in the dark and they pottied like true champs.

We topped the evening with a couple pizzas outside and then back to my folks' place. The fellas sat in the hot tub while my mom and I bonded once the kids were all asleep.

Saturday we took DH's cousin, Uncle Russ from up north, out on a Christmas tree hunt. DH found a Christmas Tree Farm & Holiday Destination just 15 minutes out of town. The tree selection was fantastic, although the sand pickers were not the most appealing. It was so warm out we didn't wear our mittens and the girls had a great time playing peek-a-boo in the woods. Breanna found a tumbleweed for her tree and Lillian found an old stick. Merry Christmas!

The rest of the place was a theme full of settlers in full costume - we learned how to make rope, climbed hay bales, watched the guys throw tomahawks, ate real kettle corn, and enjoyed a big bonfire. When we returned home, my sister and her family arrived to help us put up the tree and decorate it. Uncle Russ's parents got a hotel room nearby (hooray for pools), so everyone went swimming after supper while I laid Grant down to sleep early after the long day outside. I then prepped for his baptism luncheon the next day.

Sunday morning we raced nonstop until we reached the church. DH called his sister, who we'd asked to be Grant's godmother. She was up in Wahpeton and had assumed we'd changed the date because we had only invited her once and not confirmed the date after that. So, she and her family hopped in the car in their blue jeans and raced to our church (a near-3-hour drive), arriving about 10 minutes after the baptism ended. Oh well, it worked out fine anyway. Uncle Russ was there as godfather and the service was really informal. We even sang "This Little Light of Mine." We had a big lunch of homemade pizzas and a nice afternoon of visiting, and then finally the evening was quiet.

DH and I relaxed in the recliner, shared a glass of wine, and marveled at how busy everything is still. Exhausted, we threw in a load of laundry and hit the sack by 10. Ahh, we made it. And now we're already in the heart of Christmas season. Hooray! Our girls are becoming dancing fools as we enjoy the holiday music. What fun!

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Saturday without a Schedule

Tomorrow, DH and the twins are heading to my folks' house. DH will leave the girls with Gramma Pamma and then he's going to spend the day trimming out my cousin's nearby cabin. Baby Grant and I will have the whole day to ourselves to bond and visit while I unpack.

What will be unpacked is up for debate - my practical and whimsical selves are dueling right now. While I really should be looking for the rest of the missing baby bottles before Grant grows out of them completely, as well as Breanna's pretty winter coat and my own hats and mittens and ice scrapers and forks and pantyhose and all the other stuff I could really use right about now, what I really want to do is bring in the boxes of Christmas stuff and get a headstart while the girls are out of my hair.

I'll give the report after I've had the day to enjoy. You have no idea how excited I am to brew up some coffee, turn on the tunes, fold some laundry, and just hang out with Baby Grant. He's super fun still - now standing on his own and growing braver and stronger by the moment. His looks are changing as the teeth come in, but he's cute as ever and still the smiliest kid in the universe. He's started scrunching up his nose so high I think it goes straight into his forehead. Off to bed I go so I can have lots of energy to enjoy the day!

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

He's Heee-eeere

My dear darling husband has finally finished up all of his far-away projects and moved in with our family officially today. What timing, as we celebrate our wedding anniversary, too!

We enjoyed an overpriced dinner and a nice bottle of wine at a neighborhood wine bar tonight, hurrying to not make our sitter stay too long. As we reflected on the past few years we've been together, we both agreed that we're the busiest people we know. We also agreed that we hope that changes a little once we get settled in to a true family setting full time now.

I'm very excited to note that I love my husband more today than yesterday, and yesterday more than the prior day. The fireworks aren't always blasting in excitement, but the comfort and respect continue to grow. I am so very thankful to have found such a terrific spouse. And now we really get to "live" finally and find our version of normal. I can only imagine how much better things will be as we slow down a bit.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wanna hang out in Sabin on Saturday night?

My baby sister turns 30 on November 13, which means we have a great reason to celebrate. Her husband has lined up an old-time country band to come out to the Crow Bar in Sabin on Saturday night.

If you're looking for a reason to get out without having to get dressed up, swing by and say hello. DH and I will be there, and the kiddos will be at least for an hour or two until we whisk them off to the sitter. My mom will be there, too, as well as hopefully lots of other friends and family, and probably some hillbilly strangers, too. The beer will be flowing, along with most likely lots of laughs.

If you haven't been to the Crow Bar in a while, don't despair. You might be excited to know that it isn't nearly so gross now that smoking is not allowed. It's still not someplace where you'd opt for anything with an open toe, but at least you can see where you sit now (whether that's good or bad is still up for debate). So grab your favorite grubby jeans, remind yourself how yummy beer tastes, and come out for some fun.

We're in town one night only and are looking to live it up! (My cell phone number is still the same, so feel free to call, too.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Grant Stand

Just a quick post here tonight as it's after midnight and I need to work tomorrow morning. But I'm so blown away by young Master Grant that I just had to share. He's been pulling himself up on stuff like crazy, but this weekend, he's let go and actually stood on his own a few times.

The baby gate is officially in place now and his poor little noggin has a few purple spots, but he's still all smiles.

I pulled out a box from the garage labeled Dollies, and Lillian has become quite the little mommy ever since. We've named the lavendar baby Lilac and the pink one Polly. They each have nuks and when they cry, Lillian picks them up to rock them and then shoves those nuks in as hard as she can. We still have more dollies in boxes within the box, but I figure we don't need to pull them all out at once.

We watched our lone goot (goose) play peek-a-boo from the bank of our pond throughout the weekend. Each time the goot bent down to eat some grass, he would disappear from our view. And then pop up, peek-a-boo style. The girls roared with laughter. DH started talking about having a goot dinner, being the bow-hunting addict that he is.

This afternoon he turned a new leaf. He commented that he wouldn't be able to kill the goot because it had become like a pet to our kids. (Yes!) Plus, he kind of enjoyed watching how close up to the house the goot kept coming. Plus, he feels bad for the goot because he/she probably lost it's mate (they mate for life, after all, he explained).

There's hope yet for this man who grew up in a house with the philospophy that animals are meant to be eaten and not brought into the house unless dead. Not that I'm suggesting the goot come inside, but at least this is progress toward a mentality shift for our die-hard hunter. A new day has dawned.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Perfect Ending

Two awesome weekends in a row - how lucky are we? Halloween was super fun. My furry mouse and puppy went trick-or-treating with my hubby and my dad, along with the rest of our cul-de-sac kids and parents. My mom and Baby Grant and I stayed home, marvelling at Grant's good spirits, considering his 5 new teeth this past week. We only had two trick-or-treaters who
were non-cul-de-sac kids, so of course, we have waaaaay more candy than we'd figured we'd have. (Sneak in a suble hooray here!)

We stayed up for a while visiting, and then early Saturday morning, my mom and I road-tripped to Albertville to a giganto outlet mall. We shopped for 11 hours, with only one .5-hour deli break at around 2. I scored huge on career clothes and clothes for Grant. (We have no hand-me-downs for him, so I'm always scrounging, it seems). I also jump-started my holiday shopping. We wrapped up the night with an authentic Mexican meal, including a margarita. It was a relaxing, wonderful day to bond with my mamacita. We never seem to get time together without the kids, and this was a great time to just visit.

Sunday, we all went to church and enjoyed the service. My folks left town from there, and our family of five came home and played outside for quite some time. It was gorgeous out, and I think the kids and DH didn't come in for lunch until around 2. That's when my cousin, Unc'a Billy showed up. He and DH worked on some building project in the basement with the windows and door open, while the kids and I did our thing upstairs. Even though Lillian and Grant didn't nap in the afternoon, I still had some time to fold some laundry. I gave up on napping them and then took them to the grocery store, with Breanna still sound asleep in her crib. Lillian chatted non-stop, perhaps as much as my sister. It was shocking and wonderful all at once. Twin-free, Lilli is quite the talker!

We came home and I immediately began supper prep, and the meal turned out fantastic! We had pepper-jelly-and-dijon marinated chicken and red peppers on the grill, along with balsamic asparagus and garlic bread and the best dessert I've had in ages. Here's the recipe in case you'd like to try it. Everyone here went crazy for it.

Grilled Pineapple
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup cinnamon/sugar
1 fresh pineapple

Cut the pineapple into rings or wedges and then soak them in the coconut milk for a few minutes. Let some of the milk drip off and then dredge each piece through the cinnamon/sugar. Grill on low until tender.

So simple, but so delictable. Next time, I might try topping the slices with toasted coconut. I read a review of the recipe that said this is great served warm over vanilla ice cream. I might try that too.

I love ending a weekend with a highlight like this!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

As Fall Falls Into Place

I'm digging this season. Today's near-70s temps didn't hurt. We're still spending lots of time outside and still not worrying about whether anyone's feet are freezing.

On Saturday, we went to a marathon/parade in which almost everyone there was in costume. My kids included. We all had a blast at the festivities!

Here are sneak peeks to this year's Halloween costumes. Breanna is the mouse and Lilli is the puppy. Grant is the jack'o'lantern, which is quite appropriate, considering he grew four top teeth this week and another one below, for a grand total of 8 teeth now.

Have a great Halloween weekend!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Moons Everywhere

The moon reflects so beautifully off our pond. Our bedtime routine now includes turning off the lights for the last couple minutes and cuddling as the twins and I stare out our living room window.

While at the window, we talk about the moon, about vehicle lights that go by (calling them all garbage trucks), about the far-away stars, and about the airplanes. My kids have the most perceptive vision - they even notice satellites.

While we don't have the book, the girls head off to bed after saying, "Goodnight, Moon," and then blowing kisses toward it. Guess what will be my next purchase?

Now that we know the moon so well, we're seeing the moon appear in other areas of our life. Like in the egg carton. Or the little bottle inserts that keep Grant's milk from spilling when we take bottles to go. Or inside our Oreos. Lillian gently picks up her Oreo moon and cradles it in her hand for as long as I let her - I have to threaten to take it away if she doesn't eat it.

From moon-gazing, we then go to the cribs, where we now say the "Bless us, O Lord," meal prayer, followed by the "Now I lay me" prayer. It's the greatest thing in the world to be a part of. No matter how worn out I get.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Home Sweet Home

My DH is on his way home, and I think he remembered to bring a hammer with him. Since he's been working in Fargo, his tools all stay there. That means I still feel like a renter, with nothing on my walls and no drapes in my bedroom. I need to start settling in and get some pictures up on walls - with all the chaos, I need something that feels like home.

And he's coming home finally after being gone all week! I can't wait! Yay for getting my helper back. And my hugger back, too.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I win.

I win the un-popularity contest this week. I was the most-hated person in my office today. Most likely I'll retain that title for a while.

When Bishop offered me this job, one of the last questions he posed during the interview was how thick my skin is. I reassured him it's pretty tough, but not inpenetrable. He smiled gently and said I'd have some struggles to clean up before I could make any real progress. Over the past week, the clarity to that conversation has rung out loudly.

I've been struggling with sleep issues since last week, when I realized I need to be a tough boss for the good of my employer. It's so very draining.

I'm keeping everything as professional as possible, and am praying for peace , as well as some business solutions as we face continued belt tightening and higher expectations. I'm praying for guidance to find the most effective ways to serve in this communications ministry.

I can't believe it's only Wednesday. With DH in Fargo most of this week, I'm fried physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I can hardly wait til he returns tomorrow night and can hold me in a long, tight hug.

In the meantime, I guess I'll finish up documenting my HR meeting notes, then clean up the kids' mess from supper, clean up the bathroom after the splash-fest, get to my glass of wine that I poured three hours ago, and then hopefully just crash for a few hours in a row. If you have any extra energy vibes, please send them my way this week. I'm always happy to reciprocate when I have an abundance.

More B'oken

I tell ya, if it's not messing stuff, it's wrecking stuff.

Tonight, in only the few moments it took me to race into my bedroom, shut the door, strip, toss on jeans and a blouse, grab socks and earrings, and race back out the kitchen, my darling Lillian had climbed on top of the island, grabbed the near-full canister of Grant's formula, removed the lid, and dumped it all overboard. She then hopped down, barefooted, and played with the "snow." When I realized what she'd done, I kind of freaked out and yelled. Loudly!

She simply looked up, smiled, and said "b'oken milk." She then scooped some up and explored the feeling of it pouring through her fingers. As I stood her up and put her into the sink to wash her feet, in came Breanna. Into the sink she had to go, too.

Once they were cleaned up, I deposited them onto the couch, where they needed to sit until I'd finished sweeping and vacuuming all the powder. From the couch, that's where someone broke the lamp. Both blame each other.

I tell you. Some days. If only I. Grrr. I'm so frustrated I can't even write my frustration in full sentences any more.

Karma gods, if you're doing this as a payback for some of my childhood antics, ok, I call uncle. I get it. Now stop it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Never-ending Marathon

I can't stop yawning, and neither can the rest of my family. We traveled to my sweet sister's house on Friday, where the kids stayed up late and we grownups stayed up waaaay later. Early the next morning, we prepped to go to Papa Russ' funeral, where we spent several hours visiting with his family. Then we raced out of town, eating on the run, off to a family friend's wedding in my hometown on Little Falls.

Lillian refused to nap, but somehow was able to strategically remove her tights without being unbuckled. Breanna slept for about 45 minutes (thank goodness) and Grant slept most of the trip once I fed him over the back seat. All of us girls quickly changed clothes in the van and then we raced into the church. We arrived at the wedding about 10 seconds before the gorgeous bride went down the aisle.

These poor kids spent about 3 hours in churches and 3 hours in car seats all in one day. I can't believe they didn't kill themselves or us. Thankfully, after all the confinement, we went dancing. Breanna showed her moves at random moments, and I'm afraid she's a young Elaine. Cute as can be, though!

Once at the wedding dance, both girls wanted to be held - right next to the dance floor, so we could "go dancing." But what they called going dancing was actually just watching everyone else dance. I tried over and over to set them down (they are SO heavy!) and twirl them or something, but they just got peeved. If I danced with them in my arms and twirled myself, they hollered because I'd blocked their view. Their favorites to watch were the polka-ers. Especially the pretty grandma in the red satin shirt. She reminded me of a cartoon on speed - and indeed was great entertainment. She was strangely hopped up, but seriously, a very talented dancer.

The girls made it til about 10, when we finally put them out of their misery and went back to our hotel. We took our dear friend, Uncle Clif, with us, and he seemed to be in awe with how non-stop our family is. The next morning, up at 7:15, we enjoyed the hotel breakfast and were at the pool's door when it opened at 8. My mom joined us and had a blast with all of us. Even Grant swam floated around, and we all enjoyed the 2-hour swim, indulging in some hot tub (hob up) time. (Not to worry, Grant only poked his toes in the hob up.)

After we finally packed up and left the hotel, we went to Perkins, where I ran into my best friend from my senior year of high school after having not seen her since my college graduation day over a decade ago. She's expecting child number 7 and looked nearly the same. Wow! Talk about a flashback.

From there, we raced home and took the girls to a birthday party for our neighbor, Ellie, who turned 8. We were all so exhausted that we fed the kids at 5, skipped baths, and had them in bed by 6:30. And then I went to work, editing the little magazine that I work on each month for a few hours. When I climbed into bed at 11, I was beat. And then the night began. Every hour, one of the kids took their turn wailing. I blame myself for letting their schedules get so out of whack. But, oh, the exhaustion.

Will we ever slow down and just catch up on rest, now that Grant is usually sleeping through the night? Gaaaaah!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Finally Family Pictures

We finally went in for "real" family photos today. Grant had his baby photos done (at nearly 8 months - yes, I know I suck). The girls had their 2-year photos (5 months into their second birthday). And we took a real family photo. I still hate my face, and am reminded of it mostly whenever I see pictures. :( Thankfully, I don't often remember my minor disfigurement throughout the day until I speak with groups of 100+ (which is not all that often).

I'll scan in a proof or two tomorrow perhaps - the kids did great. We went in a few days later than we should have though, because now that Grant is crawling (since Monday!), he was hard to contain. It was fun and nearly as stressful as getting out of the house in the morning.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Anthropology Experiment

We separated the twins for the first time on Friday night. Lillian gleefully went home with Gramma Pamma for an overnight visit. Breanna stayed home and bawled, asking, "Where'd Lilli go?" every 15 minutes.

We did our best to give Breanna a great night with lots and lots of one-on-one attention. She got to eat at the big table in a big chair - no high chair. She got to eat whatever she wanted (which happened to be lots of gomatos - tomatoes and logurt - yogurt). And then we went to Bounce Depot and jumped on all the inflatable stuff for over an hour. We took turns with her, going up and down slides, climbing, jumping, and tossing balloons in a "jumpoline." It wore all of us out (even Grant - who took many trips down slides courtesy of Daddy and Mommy's laps).

When we came home, we sang "I'm a little tea-pot" a few hundred times and did "This little piggy" a few more hundred times before we called Lilli and the girls got to talk on the phone a little bit, which was pretty darned cute.

Bedtime seemed to be the hardest for poor Breanna, so she and Daddy laid down in the big bed in Breanna's room and snuggled until they both fell asleep. When I went in a couple hours later after I'd cleaned the house and finished three loads of laundry (!), Breanna was upside down, on top of the covers, near the foot of the bed. I gently delivered her to her bed and the shooed DH out so he'd get into our bed.

The next morning, we had special chocolate chip waffles and kiwi and sips of Mommy's creamy coffee, and then packed up for a daytrip to Moorhead, where Lilli would be waiting for us with Gramma Pamma and Papa 'tebe. My sister and brother-in-law baptized their daughter up there, and we enjoyed being a part of their special day. As soon as we arrived at the church, I kind of hoped our girls would race to each other and embrace in a big hug. But naah, instead, Lilli hopped into my arms and Breanna into Gramma's and that was that. They didn't even say hi to each other.

While we were in the church, our former daycare grandma, Becky, left a frantic message on my voicemail. She was calling to postpone our dinner plans because she'd just received a call from the ER - her husband had collapsed at Menards. He had the car there, so she was waiting for her sister to arrive to pick her up and take her to the hospital. It turned out Papa Russ had a massive stroke and then passed away yesterday morning. I am so incredibly sad for poor Grandma Becky.

We'd been getting the girls all geared up to see her and Papa on Saturday, so they have really been talking about the two of them. I told them that Grandma Becky is sad and crying and that we'd go see her in a few days. Lillian said we should bring her a tubba bear. Breanna blew kisses out the side kitchen window and told me we should hug and kiss Grandma Becky. Their sweetness brought on my own tears. Knowing that Grandma Becky and Papa Russ were truly best friends, I am grieving so very deeply for her. Just imagining her heartbreak makes my stomach ache.

Please keep the family in your prayers. They lost a sweetheart of a guy and the hardest worker I've ever known.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

As the Cashmere Coats

The temperature drops and the cashmere appears - today it's warming my arms and torso in the form of a beautiful gray coat. Soft, warm, smooth, and simply wonderful. I'm so happy the heat is gone!

Yesterday I drove with four other women to Arrowwood Resort near Alexandria, MN, to speak at a clergy conference. The trees could not have been more vibrant. The only thing missing was some spiced apple cider.

I surprised DH by arriving home before dinner time - and he seemed glad to have the respite. The kids, while adorable, are oh-so-exhausting. They've been chasing the "geet" (geese) off our lawn - those darn critters want to eat the grass seed that hasn't yet grown in green. I've heard that Breanna got quite close to actually catching one. : ) They love seeing them take off and land.

I hope to get in on some of that action when I return home after work today. I'll first gently remove my beloved blazer and throw on a sweatshirt so that as the girls climb up me, I can toss everything into the wash. When it comes to being around them, it's not about just the washability of their clothes, but mine as well.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Hula Loopin'

I'm not sure whether to brag or hide - while at the neighbors' across the street this afternoon, their three-year-old came up to me with her hula hoop and asked me to do it. Without a second thought, I grabbed it and hula-ed about 15 swivels. She jumped up and down with glee. Breanna yelled, "Good job, Mommy." Lilly squeeled and shouted, "Again, Mommy. More hula loop!" I was a rockstar!

Then the neighbor dad half chuckled / half snickered and asked where I get my moves. Goll - why do grownups always have to wreck my superhero moments? They're so few these days.

We played some more and chalked caterpillars on the asphalt and then finally came in for supper. Grant, whose appetite is bigger than mine, I think, ate chicken lo mein noodles and carrots and broccoli (not pureed), as well as sweet potatoes and oatmeal, three saltines, a whole fruit cup of mixed fruits, and then 6 ounces of formula. At this rate, by the time he hits junior high, our grocery bill will be higher than our house payment.

A couple of other funny moments of the day: while at Sam's Club (the only place with double carts so I can take all three kiddos), the girls saw a monster display for Halloween. It was a 6-foot monster whose face comes off as he talks all creepy. They called him a tubba bear and wanted to hug him.

And, they also saw the trampoline display hanging from the ceiling. Broken jump. Breanna told me that, "Uncle Kory pick (fix) the jumpoline." And then as we got into the frozen foods section, they saw an old man in a cowboy hat (probably around 70 years old) and Lillian said it was Uncle Kory. Apparently they miss my brother-in-law.

As we approached the flower display by the checkout, they talked about getting flowers for Grandma Becky, our past daycare lady. They remembered that we picked up a bouquet for her for her birthday in February. Talk about memories!

At bedtime, Lillian tried on a ladybug costume with antennas and quickly exclaimed, "wiggle wiggle." She loved the feeling of the bouncing antennas. The girls then climbed into Lilli's crib and Breanna grabbed the chinese jumprope and tried to hula loop with it. It was hilarious!

So obviously, I have such an exciting life that I feel compelled to share it with you. If you know my kids, perhaps it's entertaining to envision all this. If not, sorry to bore you. It's one of those things where I just need to write and I don't have anything profitable in the writing department this week (hooray!).

On an exciting note (not exciting for me, but perhaps for the fellas), my hubby shot an antelope with his bow on Friday and a deer on Thursday somewhere out in North Dakota. He'll return tomorrow with his "meat." Ick. But at least hunting is now done with and I get my helper back.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

On a Lighter Note

After my last post, I learned that DH's best friend just received divorce papers - that's another one on the list this week. We're just speechless and sad. My heart goes out to them all.

So in effort to distract my oft-too-serious nature, I'm uploading more recent photos of my cute and silly kids. Even though I'm pretty sure we've officially declared the twos to be terrible after the most recent week, I do get some big kicks from my smiley kiddos.

The one of the girls in their denim cowgirl outfits shows them in their most typical state - barefooted and eating go-matos like apples.

The pics of the girls in their jammies shows how I caught them sneaking into Grant's crib. And then miss Lillian - she's growing up so much and she looks so big in her silky nightie. Is it just me or do their eyes seem huge? Time is flying and we're having fun!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thanking a Spouse

I once heard that to make a marriage work well, each spouse should put forth 100% effort toward pleasing his/her mate above all else. At first when I heard that, I rolled my eyes. Someone would get gypped - what a sucker. As I discussed my pessimistic viewpoint with whomever started the conversation (sleep deprivation removed the sharpness of my memory long ago), I was asked to think about the grandness of both giving 100% for one another - always putting the other's needs first.

Sure, as soon as one begins to put himself first, the balance is upset and someone gets gypped. But how about making that your aim in your marriage - both agreeing to try it? My DH and I talked about this very topic tonight on the phone as we made some compromises due to our hectic scheduling these days. Neither of us is enjoying the constant running, but we're kind of stuck for right now. I'm relieved that we can openly talk (often on the phone, boo hoo) about why we're determined to support each other and not let circumstance damage our marriage. I'm so thankful to be married to the nicest guy I've ever known - he's even nicer than my dad, who's pretty darn sweet as he is.

All around us, marriages are in trouble - one after another. Family. Friends. Colleagues. Hunting buddies. Knitting sisters. This week alone, we've learned of two marriages on the rocks that are mighty close to home. I can only pray that they figure out how to get back on track before too much damage is done.

Talk about a reality check. I am so very thankful for my own great fortune in finding my Darling Husband/Awesome Daddy. I am also very prayerful right now. Our loved ones are hurting and it's not something DH or I can fix for them. Do me a favor and go kiss your spouse and tell him/her your favorite things about your marriage tonight. And then say a prayer in appreciation.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Plant Disasters

After an exhausting past few days of some special personal and work events, I brought the kids home from daycare tonight hoping for an easy evening. Grandma Barb, our daycare sweetheart, told me about the wonderful day everyone had, including the 3-hour naps. Silly me, I was an optimist.

During our 'toup (soup) dinner tonight, Breanna simply could not resist splashing in her bowl. No matter how many times I instructed her not to. And Lillian simply had to spoon broth onto her arms. Repeatedly. Both soon reverted to their earlier childhood and found it fun to drop food over the side of their highchairs. Mean Mommy took away the trays and left the girls to sit in strapped-in splendor while she rushed Baby Grant off to the tub. He was wearing more supper than he ate.

While I was bathing Grant, the girls had a screaming contest to see who was loudest and could hold their scream the longest. And then came the quiet. By the time I raced back to the kitchen, I saw that Breanna had scooted her highchair over to my favorite plant and pretty much demolished it. There are about three twigs left and perhaps a leaf or two. Dirt everywhere.

I yelled so loud my throat still hurts. I startled poor Grant, who joined in on the noise. When I asked Breanna why she ruined Mommy's plant, she said, "Breanna naughty. Funny naughty." And she laughed and laughed. For the first time, I actually considered a bare butt spank. Luckily, I'm too exhausted. Both girls went into the tub and then into bed. And they prayed so beautifully that I'm grateful I didn't spank her - the guilt would have killed me as I watched her fold her hands and say the entire "Now I lay me" prayer.

So, I've come downstairs to avoid the dirt and soup. It will suck to clean up because of the wetness and the noodles - they never sweep well. I suppose, enough procrastinating. Up I go to scrub, and then straight to bed. I'm single parenting tonight and I just need to crash. Sweet dreams.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Gramma Pamma

My girls are totally obsessed with my mother, a.k.a. Gramma Pamma. Each day, they ask where she is. They see cars they think are hers. They look for her outside the window. They tell me on the way to daycare each morning that we're going to Gramma Pamma's house.

This weekend, they were in their glory. We celebrated my grandmother's 88th birthday with some family and nurses and residents at the Memory Care home in Brainerd. Everyone was in great spirits and the children brought a lot of life into those walls.

From there, Gramma Pamma drove my van and let me drive her sports car to Unc'a Billy's house, where Daddy and Papa 'tebe were replacing windows. We spent the rest of the day and evening with Gramma Pamma, playing and laughing a lot. When we left at bedtime, all the kids crashed right away, and thankfully, I did not.

When we arrived at our house safe and sound near 10:00, Breanna woke up and immediately asked where Gramma Pamma went. When I said she was at her house, she asked why. Question after question, she finally asked if Gramma Pamma went night night at her house with her pillow and blanket and bunny, to which I replied yes indeed. She then showed me the baseball-sized stone she'd brought home from my folks' house. Gramma Pamma's rock.

Then she looked up and discovered the little lights in the night sky. It was the most beautiful night we've seen in ages and so we sat on the front step (Lilli and Grant were still in the van, sound asleep). We followed an airplane with our fingers and Breanna asked if it was Gramma Pamma's airplane. Then we just snuggled in and watched the stars. It was one of the most peaceful moments I've experienced in a while. I'm warm and smiley just remembering it. To make the night an ultimate, Grant didn't get up until 7:00 this morning, meaning he slept 11 hours straight. Yes!! Now let's see what tonight brings. It's midnight and he's been sleeping since about 8:15.

Motherhood rocks.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Last night I had an awesome networking opportunity - I rubbed elbows with about 500 of Mlps./St. Paul's richest Catholics. I went to the preview of the Vatican Splendors exhibit at the MN History Center, along with the top donors to the Archdiocese's Foundation. While I was extremely tempted to invite my husband as my "And Guest," I decided to be a little more politically savvy. I instead invited a fellow communications director at a nearby university. We were by far much younger and much poorer than nearly everyone else in attendence, but it still was neat.

The conversation there and back wasn't nearly as entertaining had I been with DH, but it was still nice. We compared baby notes - his first son was born this summer. And we discussed lots of ways our two entities can collaborate resources.

The exhibit was wonderful. It was multi-sensory, complete with just the right ancient sounds - you could even smell the age in some of the more porous materials. Seventy percent of the artifacts have never been shown outside this exhibit - not at the Vatican or anywhere. That alone made my heart pump a little faster.

The wine was mighty nice, as well, but nothing ever could top the apple crisp at the end of the line. It came with cinnamon whipped cream and was simply divine.

I look forward to taking DH to the museum when we can go at our own pace - in much more comfortable shoes, without the hobknobbing aspect. I also thought of several other folks who would really enjoy it - my folks, the Jeffreys, Uncle Cliffy...

If you get a chance to go, do it. It's not a stuffy musuem experience in the least and the emotion it stirs is pretty powerful. I'm so thankful to have had the break in my icky schedule to do it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Buckets of Giggles

As I gracefully single parented tonight, we had what some might call a disaster in our bathroom. I prefer to think of it as help with cleaning.

I was burping Grant in the hallway, where it was a little darker than the bright and giggly bathroom during bath time, where he'd been trying to fall asleep, exhausted from growing another tooth over the weekend. His tilly tisters were having fun pouring pishies (plastic fish) of bubble water over each other's head. All the sudden, the noise level went up about 20 decibles.

Huge splashes!

Uproarious laughter!

Little girl snorts!

Startled crying from Baby Grant!

Those crazy twins had grabbed the hair-rinsing bucket and were pouring bathwater onto the floor faster than you can imagine. All over the clean jammies I had laid out for them. And the dry diapers for the night. And the hoodie towels. And my pretty new slippers. In the few seconds it took for me lay Grant down in his crib, turn on his mobile, and race back in to the waterworks, every inch of bathroom floor was puddled. And the girls were laughing so hard they were out of breath and crying.

How can you yell when they're having so much fun? I tried really hard to have a stern face, but my goodness, their laughter was infectious! I thought about spankings, but honestly, they'd have been too slippery anyway. I just had to shake my head and herd the dripping girls into their bedroom to prepare for bedtime.

All I have to say is that at least it wasn't toilet water.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Breanna the Italian?

Our little multicultural family is keeping the laughter alive. Breanna has added an "eeuh" sound after all her nouns.

"Hi, Mommia."

"Big lellow school bus truckia."

"Silly green froggia (pronounced poggia)."

Now if the twins start crossing speech patterns, we might get really comical. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

le French Lilli & her Tilly Tister

My little Lillian has begun speaking with a French accent this week. Everything starts with le or la, and then has the accent. It's adorable, although I have no idea where it's coming from.

She and her silly sister (pronounced tilly tister in our house) are really getting into jokes, now, so we sure have a lot of laughter and eye rolls. When the underground sprinkler guys were setting up this morning and we were loading into the van, Breanna called out with purpose, "Good night, girls," to the installers (three men). Then she giggled and said, "Noooo, good morning, guys." It's non stop!

Baby Grant has been just as smiley as ever, and he tasted his first honey teriyaki pork chop last night. I think he fell in love with it. He's getting bigger each day and eating more than I imagine can fit into his strong little body - and he's even sleeping for 6-7 hours in a row from time to time. But when he wakes up from a long stretch like that, look out - he's absolutely famished and very loud about it.

We've all had the luxury of having Daddy home a whole bunch lately and it's been fantastic. I'd forgotten how much I love being flirted with, and now that we actually have a little time to breathe, our flirtation is back. He's promised to only have one overnight trip to Fargo each week from now on, and that, I can handle. Plus, he's on the ball with vacuuming. Way more than I am. And I so greatly appreciate it.

I still haven't unpacked any boxes at all in September and all three garage stalls are still full and I still haven't found half my suits, but oh well. We'll get there. I only have two more weeks of heavy-duty wrap-up of my large freelance committment, which happens from 8 - midnight after the kiddos are in bed each night. Come October, I don't know what I'll do with all that free time.

Oh yeah. The garage. Perhaps I'll find my missing pots and pans.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Those Calls

Don't you just love those phone calls that take you out of your chaotic life and calm you? I had a voicemail from a dear friend in California yesterday morning that really made me smile. Then last night, I heard from another dear friend, this one in Wisconsin. We traded stories of potty training, work, money, spouses, faith, etc. After months of no contact, we picked right up and talk about refreshing!

I reflected this morning on my way in to work about all the places I have these kinds of friends. I think the furthest is California, or perhaps Florida. And then a smattering all across the middle.

Cheers to the technology that enables us to stay in touch - even in unconventional ways. Hooray for emails! Blogs, too! Simple as they are, text messages are great, as well. Thank you nerd pioneers. And thank you, my pals, for keeping in touch. You help me feel much less lonely as I continue to parent solo in a new community. Please come visit in person when you can. I do have a spare bed set up (although sheets and a mattress pad might be a challenge).

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Jump Hoppers

What a fun evening of chasing jump hoppers across our driveway! Breanna followed them with each jump, which was a delight until she landed on one. She picked up the smushed grasshopper and looked at it quizzically, questioning, "No jump?" She then handed it to me and asked me to fix it. Good thing I could distract her with a poggie (frog) that came hopping to the rescue, landing right on Lillian's shoe. Thankfully, the giggles were gleeful and no one screamed.

Now that the weather has finally given us a break, I've been much more apt to get outside with the kiddos. We ate our supper on the front porch this evening in 66-degree sunshine. The start of the sunset was just too beautiful to watch from the dining room.
Here are a couple recent photos from a morning visit to a local rose garden. My kiddos were subjects in a photo shoot for the upcoming Respect Life campaign. The silly photographer (who is actually a reporter and not a photographer), tried to get the kids to pose, with comments such as, "Now hold the flower in your right hand and turn to look over your shoulder," or "Put your hand on her shoulder and then give her a kiss on the cheek." Silly gal obviously doesn't have kids, or any experience photographing two-year-olds, anyway. We still came up with some cute shots, though. The girls particularly enjoy the granite fountains that had a smooth, wet edge at the perfect splash height.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Still Whirling, But Smiling

I found the trick to travel sanity, thanks for some forced creativity for a weekend roadtrip to close up the cabin. My cousin and her 1-year-old daughter joined my kiddos and me for the smashed-into-one-little-green-van trip, so we put Breanna in the back back with Baby Grant and Lillian and Baby Chloe in the middle, with us big girls in the front to hop back to pop in nuks and dole out snacks and toys.

I didn't even consider suicide once. For real. We had a great weekend with lots of close conversation and plenty of bonding. The kiddos all were good, and even those who were teething were really fun to be around. My sister and her new baby were there, too, so we enjoyed a lot of mommy talk. It's hard to believe that I have the big kids - and they're only 2!

After we returned home Sunday night, I got the kids off to bed and then realized that I had a couple hours of free time until DH returned from his fruitless antelope-hunting trip. I got laundry going and then curled up with a cookbook. Aah, the glory. For 15 minutes anyway, until Grant woke up and insisted on being held the rest of the night while his new teeth tried to work their way out.

Labor Day was spent just hanging out and doing the 10 million loads of laundry we'd all created. The girls are getting into joining us for praying, so we practiced the sign of the cross quite a bit, along with the "Now I lay me" prayer. We also worked on colors and counting (got up to 10 - holy crap!) and we did our animal noises, too. We all know now that antelopes say "wee wee." Breanna has become close friends with Grant's "tubba bear," which sounds sometimes like "taco bar." Both girls continue to talk about all the "lucky" things, such as poop and buggies and snot bubbles. Lucky indeed.

Although DH technically moved in with us full time for real, he's leaving tomorrow morning to go back and work in Fargo for a few days. He still hasn't lined up a place to stay - brave man thinks he can just "crash" somewhere. I wonder if he realizes everyone he knows now has families and isn't really into the bachelor lifestyle any more. These jobs are dragging out forever, it seems. One day when we're all together all week long, I'll finally get in to get my highlights done again. Until then, I'll continue my progression toward looking like Brittany Spears. Yikes. Trailer city, here I come.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

In Case of Memory Failure

I just have to write down some of my favorite silly pronounciations I hear from the twins in case I ever forget. With this overworked brain, I have to wonder what kind of shape it will be in a decade from now.

Sounds like...Translates to

gee gee gock...where's your sock?
Papa Teeb...Grandpa Steve
boda beans... green beans
amawna...what Breanna calls herself
Baby Dot...Baby Grant (Breanna's version)
Baby Dant...Baby Grant (Lillian's version)
Daddy tuck...Daddy's truck
timming tuit...swimming suit
hah hah hands...wash my hands

We had a really good night tonight - a nice way to end the workweek of single parenting. All the kiddos enjoyed the community tub and we all laid on the floor and read books for the last half hour of awake time. The girls even let me go into their mouths to scrub after their attempts at good teethbrushing. And then Breanna dunked her toothbrush into the toilet. Good thing the dishwasher sanitizes toothbrushes along with everything else.

Have a great rest of the week and weekend, too. I'll be celebrating the birthdays my mom and my cousin Billy, as well as myself this weekend at the lake. If you're in the neighborhood, please stop by.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Great Day to Sneeze Away!

I'm beat, and while I realize it's nearly midnight and I should just go hit the sack, I am invigorated to see that I suddenly have a wireless connection in my dining room. Our cable company won't be here to hook us up for real until Friday between 10 and 12.

This weather is sucking the life right out of me, and yet, I think I'm stuck with it. Thankfully my DH and my DD (Daddy Do) hooked up our central air on Friday. The amount of my sneezing and eye scratching has signficantly lightened up, and I'm much more comfortable. I'm still not enthused about having to walk outside to get to my van and then unload at daycare and then walk across the giganto parking lot at work. Fresh air smesh air - I want a steady 72-74-degree environment with no allergens. The way I see it, if I have to be outside in the summer, I should at least be in a lake. If I have to wear clothes and pretend to like the weather, it just feels wrong in so many ways.

We're heading to the cabin for birthday weekend on Friday and I am so excited to get in the water (first time all summer!). Now about finding my swimsuit- that might be a mighty big challenge. Thankfully it's clearance season already. Not only do I need to find a swimsuit, but I also still haven't come up with "the perfect gift" for my mom and my cousin, Unc'a Billy. Ideas, anyone who knows both or either of them?

I had a pretty nice workday today. In my evenings after everyone has gone off to bed, I've been preparing for my first real presentation for my new job. I pitched a technology task force to the Bishop and the rest of our executive board today. Complete with website/email/scheduling software/intranets/online newspaper/tools for communicating with parishes and schools, I gave a pretty in-depth talk about all the things we need to fix in the immediate future. I thought it was going to be much more challenging - I'm many decades younger than all other other directors, and this is the church, after all. But all my prep work and note jotting paid off and everyone is not only on board, but down-right excited to get this going. Some have even offered some of their staff to get it done - some of the self-proclaimed nerds. It's great to have some enthusiasm behind this, and at the end of the meeting, Bishop made a comment that perhaps we can shift some budget dollars so that I get a whole bunch more to work with in order to really do this right.

After work today, I picked up the kiddos, who were particularly silly. The girls are developing joking mannerisms like their dad already. They've picked up on how it's funny to talk about Daddy's van and Mommy's t'uck. As soon as they say it, they halt and wait, eyebrows perched, to hear you correct them. Lillian is enjoying saying that every animal says "moo," and then giggling like crazy when you correct her. Breanna is talking about 1, 2, 4, 5, leaving out the 3 just to be silly. They're learning up a storm, with talk of colors, moon and stars, animals, neighbor kids' names, and more. It's so fun to see stuff click in their busy little minds.

Grant is growing like crazy, too. We had him in at the clinic on Friday morning to get his new cold checked out and he weighed in at 17 pounds, 4.5 ounces at just under 6 months. Holy cow. Literally. He is rolling all over, sitting up, and even starting to push himself across the room as he lies on his back. He's so strong for being such a young guy! And of course, his dimple is adorable as ever. I have a hard time figuring out his eyes still - greenish/brownish, I guess. I hope it figures itself out before he needs his drivers license. He's still getting up to eat at least once each night (which is probably why he's so big, in my opinion), so we've started the weaning process just a little bit. Oh, how I miss sleeping for hours in a row.

That said, my bed is calling my name more and more loudly. I don't want it to wake up the kiddos, who are momentarily all quiet. Goodnight moon, stars, water, ducks, and Mommy's hot owie no no (a.k.a. my computer - as in don't touch it because it is hot and you'll get an owie).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Holy Hooray

It's a Holy Day tomorrow. That means that instead of working, I'll spend an hour at mass and then have the rest of the day for vacation. Not that I'll be vacationing, by any means. But I will be able to unpack in peace (translate: kids will be in daycare). Yayyyyyyy!

We've been in the Pretty House for nearly a week now and are starting to enjoy it. My DH went back to Fargo on Tuesday and will return tonight. He's going to continue with the Tuesday - Thursday commute at least through the end of the month.

The kitchen is mostly unpacked, although most of the condiments are still in the fridge in Fargo. That it makes it tough for the Condiment Queen to rule. The girls are missing their "dunk," so we've been using a jar of spaghetti sauce to satisfy the obsession.

Our makeshift shades are up in the girls' rooms (i.e. cardboard) and I've hung a shower curtain in my bathroom with a string of random peach satin ribbon. In other words, we're living a bit like hillbillies, but no one would know unless I invited them in (which I won't be doing until after this weekend).

The long weekend looks promising for some fun. My folks are coming tomorrow to help unpack - all day. We're bound to accomplish something. Our cul-de-sac is having a block party on Saturday. And on Sunday, the Greek Orthodox church in Saint Cloud is having its parish festival, complete with dolmades and baklava, music and dancing. I'm crossing my fingers that my dear cousin, Unc'a Billy, will be able to join us. He's half-Greek and loves the culture.

I'm sure the kiddos will enjoy it, too. Lillian loves dancing to "nu-nick" and Breanna loves to try new food. Grant (Baby Dot, Lilli still says), well, he just likes to smile at everyone - especially since his second tooth arrived yesterday.

We're still swirling in the toilet bowl of chaos, but at least we're having fun.

P.S. We still don't have internet at home - thus the lack of blog entries. It looks like our new neighborhood doesn't have much for service options yet. Maybe our neighbors can offer some insight at the block party. Right in town - no Qwest high-speed. Grrrr. High-speed cable starts at $80/month. Double grrrr.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Closing Day

It's finally here - closing day on The Pretty House.

Before that, though, I will have put in a full, big day already. I have my first real meeting with the Bishop (he's been on vacation since I started, but is back now), during which I will advise him on all the steps we should take to handle an icky situation. Thankfully, it's a situation in which the church isn't in the wrong, but one that we need to address publicly nonetheless.

From there, I'll go to the new house. DH and the girls should be there by then, and my folks will be coming, too. The girls are going to spend the weekend at Gramma Pamma and Papa's house. We'll likely unload for a couple hours, then go pick up Grant and head to the title company to close. And then unload some more, and then go out to dinner with our realtor... our darling realtor who has worked his tail off for us.

Thank goodness today has finally arrived. DH and I both have been getting crabbier and crabbier with one another over the phone, trying to figure out logistics. He's had the twins with him all week, along with the responsibility for packing up a trailer of storage-unit items and collecting VIN numbers and other paperwork-related stuff that I don't have access to here.

I've been doing my full-time work, doing insurance/mortgage/signatures kind of junk galore, as well as tying up some freelance commitments that I still have. Like they say, when it rains, it pours. I'm soaked and exhausted. Seriously, I am so very thankful for good makeup.

My insurance agent from Fargo literally yelled at me this week when I called to cancel our policies. I've given him all my business since 1998 (even when I moved away) and so instead of thanking me, he yelled. Nice.

Oh, and in between all the chaos, Grant's first tooth popped out last Saturday, so he's been showing it off to everybody he sees. Those types of things are what keep me in check. I still love being a mom and a wife above all else that goes on.

P.S. To my loving friends who have been sending emails/voicemails to say hi and check on my corner of chaos, thank you. I apologize for not remaining in touch. Soon things will slow down a little, I'll catch my breath, and then will catch up with you. Thanks again for your kindnesses!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Surviving Nicely

After a very rocky start to the week, all has settled down and we're settling in. Everyone seems to be well rested (except me) and adjusting well. The girls have already started calling their new daycare lady Grandma Barb. She said she tried to explain that she's just Barb, but they don't get it. I asked if she minds, and thankfully she said she's flattered.

We had a picnic supper at the park on Monday night and a pizza party at my cousin's house last night. She has a one-year-old daughter who graciously shared her toys and her mommy's attention.

I'm not sure what tonight will bring, but I bought teddy bear harnesses (gasp! the inhumanity!) to put on the girls so that we can be more mobile without me panicking in fear that they will pull their favorite trick of running in different directions. We'll try out our new "backpacks" and see where that takes us.

We're closing on The Pretty House next week some time, and DH is coming down here this weekend to deliver a trailer full of our storage unit contents. We'll be able to get into the garage. Yay! And then he can see where we're holed up. Things are definitely looking up!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hell Night

Last night sucked. Big time. Thank God it's over with and today is a new day (and going much better).

After loading up all the kids and all of our stuff to last us all week (including 3 pack and plays!), we drove to DL. My folks are staying at the cabin, so we decided to meet at the Speak Easy for dinner and a travel break for the kiddos. As I pulled into the parking lot, DH called and told me he'd found my office keys and apartment keys for MN in his pocket. He drove up with them just as we finished our meal. It was nice to see him again, but what a waste of gas.

On the road, the girls whined, screamed, yelled, cried, shouted, and pouted. All right, I get it. I'm an awful mom for confining them in the car. I know - they hate car rides. But what could I do?

Once we pulled into the parking garage, after 10:00, with everyone awake, we proceeded to unload the van. Breanna walked around, hands on her belly, saying, "Tummy owie." I thought she was complaining after several long, but failed escape attempts from the car seat. Once everything/everyone was in the elevator, we started up. The girls went crazy. Bloody screams of death and torture! Finally the doors opened onto second floor. We proceeded to unload everything into the foyer. And then walk it down to the door. And then up three stairs and to our door. And finally inside.

Breanna still crying and holding her tummy, she cried louder. True wails. I gave her a TUMs, but she didn't like it at all. I then tried some of Grant's gas drops. Still crying. Grant was hungry, so I nursed him on one side and had Breanna in my arm on the other side. All the while, cute little Lillian walked up and offered Breanna a shoe. And then a sticker. And then my keys. She continued to cry.

We hauled into the bathroom and I put her on the toilet, thinking maybe she was constipated. Nope. By this time, I'd put Grant into a bouncy seat, given Lillian a bottle of water, which she spilled all down the front of herself, and was walking and rocking poor Breanna. DH called Ask-A-Nurse while I wondered how crazy it would be if I had to take all three to the ER.

Finally, Breanna threw up. Relief! But she'd whipped her head back and forth, so she spewed all over the sink, cupboard, and floor. And onto Lillian, who of course, was right at my heals, still trying to help. Into the shower they went. (I don't have a tub there.) Of course, this didn't help the mood. Lillian smiled about the tickle of the spray, but Breanna just sobbed. My heart broke as she continued to say owie and hold her belly.

In the meantime, Grant needed to be burped some more, but since I was covered in puke, I really didn't want to pick him up, too, so I draped a towel over myself and picked him up to burp. Thankfully, that's all he needed.

So, I jammied the girls, brushed their teeth, and then remembered that I still needed to set up their pack and plays. Just after midnight, all the kids were finally in bed and I was able to scrub the bathroom and get in the shower. I climbed in at 1:03. At 1:23, Breanna woke up, crying some more. I took her to the living room and rocked her to sleep. Then at 10 after 2, Grant woke up to eat. Breanna woke up once more before my alarm went off at 6:30.

It's going to be a long week ahead. But at least last night is no longer. The kids seemed to like their new daycare lady and Breanna was back to herself this morning. I called to check on them all at lunchtime and was reassured that everything was going quite well. Thank goodness! Wish me lots of luck in surviving.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Who's in the Hospital?

Four of my loved ones are the hospital right now - some for good, exciting reasons, others for assistance.

My sister gave birth to a beautiful little girl yesterday afternoon. Mom and baby are healthy and doing well.

Our dear family friend, Vivian, had open heart surgery earlier this week. She's had some complications, but appears to be recovering well. Please say a prayer for a continued good recovery and for peace for her family.

Our sweet Grandma Becky, who has lovingly cared for our children for the past couple years, is going in for surgery today to remove a fast-growing, painful lump on her neck. Please pray for wisdom for the doctors, healing for Becky, and patience for her family.

A close family member on DH's side is battling alcoholism and intense depression. The intensity of the disease is escalating quickly and destructively - with the sufferer not acknowledging the problem, and the family all acting in panic mode. As a result, everyone is constantly on the phone (thankfully we're communicating) and taking crash courses in how to handle this most effectively. I pray most intently that he gets into the hospital so that professionals can begin treating him.

It also means that I've lost my backup daycare for the kids while GB is unable to care for the girls. My other two backups (my sister and parents) are busy with new baby excitement and C-section recovery, so now I'm four deep into backups. Meaning: I'm next on the list.

I'm heading back home this afternoon, with plans to stop at MeritCare Hospital to meet my new niece and congratulate my sister and brother-in-law, and then go to the hospital on the other end of town to wish Grandma Becky well. And then try to figure out logistics from there. My folks are going to take the kids tonight while we attend DH's class reunion, and I'm pretty sure they'll all be staying at the lake cabin. I suspect we'll be traveling to the cabin tonight after the reunion, too.

Because Grandma Becky (GB) is out of commission for an undetermined amount of time, I'm planning to bring the twins back to my new place for the work week. Three kids, two and under, along with a frazzled mom, packed into a one-bedroom apartment with an industrial-sized (yet empty) kitchen two floors down - should be interesting. I think I need to buy another pack-and-play this week so everyone can at least have a place to sleep. And then figure out meal logistics. I suspect Papa Murphy's is going to become a close family friend. Whew!

My incredible husband has really stepped up - with GB suddenly going through health ickiness - he's needed to spend several days at home with our girls instead of going to work. He's had them out and about all over the place, including a trip to see his aunt and jump on her trampoline. He's very far in the hole in terms of work to do, so next week, he'll be hitting it hard, trying to play catch-up day and night.

I hate to say it, but the idea of hiring movers is growing more and more tempting. I've always thought of it as a luxury for rich people, but I just can't imagine how else we'll squeeze time in for getting out of the Fargo apartment and settling in down here. If I have to give up lattes for the rest of the year in order to justify the expense, I may just have to do that. Whew!

On a little bit more of a fun note, I'm looking for books on tape/CD. With all my car time, this type of listening has helped a ton. Have any you want to lend me? Or any recommendations that I can search for at the library? I just listened to one that had a lot of recipes added into the story, which wasn't very fun to listen to as I drove. I found myself frustrated as I fast-forwarded through them, and then stopped at the nearest drive-thru.

Happy weekending, my friends! I hope you can enjoy a slow pace and some hospital-free peace. That way perhaps I can live vicariously through you.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

We Decided on a House

Finally, after going in and out of what seems like 10 million houses, we decided on one. It's a little more than I'd originally wanted to spend, but both my DH and my dad agree that we're getting a lot of house for the price and it's a darn good investment. I hadn't realized what a cheap-ass I've been until I've heard it from my husband, our mortgage broker, and now my Dad. I guess I'm just kind of chicken in this economy - I've seen enough layoffs affect friends and family (myself included), that I just want to save as much as possible.

Anyway, back to our future home. It's a new rambler - the builder had too many spec homes on the market and had to give some back to the bank. So, we're buying it from the bank. We've been working on getting the price down - we've got it down $80k from it's appraisal price - hopefully Monday will result in still a little more reduced. It still needs gutters, a central air unit, appliances, and a yard. But the main floor is finished with 3 bedrooms/2 bathrooms and nice-sized rooms all around. All the hardware is oil-rubbed bronze, which we also put in the house we built and sold this spring. The woodwork is beautiful and the home has slate tile. Plus, there's a full walk-out basement for DH to finish, so we won't have to worry about him getting bored too quickly.

We've been nicknaming homes as we've been remembering them. There was Clean as a Whistle. The Sinkless Foreclosure. The Victory Home. Terra Bronze. 420. The House with the Sliding Hill. The one we're buying is The Pretty House. It has a pond with geese in the backyard and is in a great location. The neighborhood is great - lots of other pretty homes with beautiful yards - and supposedly lots of families.

My only drawbacks are goose poop and a new neighborhood - which means trees are few and far between. I guess that just means we have some planting to do this fall.

I had my third oil change in 6 weeks on Thursday as I prepared for another trip home to Fargo for the weekend. I'm here, the kids are in bed, and DH went out to pick up a movie. I can't even fathom the last time we sat down a watched a movie. I'm really looking forward to it. I have about 4 loads of laundry to fold, so I won't be a total waste of space. When I suggested we consider packing tonight instead of lounging, DH quickly talked me into some much-needed and much-missed R&R.

Now that my evenings won't consist of drive-through dinners while perusing neighborhoods, desperately looking for FSBO signs (our Realtor has been taking care of monitoring the MLS changes), I will finally get some down time. What a relief! I look forward to the weeks ahead - lots happening, but at least the one biggie is out of the way. Finally.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Hello from Central Minnesota!

I will be starting day 2 on the new job this morning. My first day was fun and exciting - my new colleagues are wonderful. The demands of my position will keep me hopping. I've already had two conversations with reporters and have been called in to consult on a few hot issues. There is so much to do and so many immediate ways we can make improvements - it's certainly energizing to look ahead.

My employer is housing me in a beautiful furnished apartment in Sauk Rapids. The building is new construction that's connected to an old church. I have underground parking and lots of privacy (because the building is brand new, only two people live in it and they are on floors beneath me in a different wing). I can't believe how quiet it is - I sleep like a rock! And so does Grant!

One secret perk to being here is that I don't have chores to do at night. No dishes. No laundry. No bills. No anything. Just enjoying Grant and going to bed. Tonight, I'm finally going to finish up baby announcements. (Am I just the worst or what? Four months later!) And there's no TV, so I'm not even tempted to zone out with a show before bed. Last night was the first night I've been to bed by 11:30 in ages. I'm going to aim for 11:00 tonight.

Grant is going to a wonderful daycare grandma who came highly recommended from some of my colleagues. When I picked him up yesterday afternoon, he was smiling and laughing like crazy. His caregiver had created a page for a booklet she's starting, which had a photo of him smiling with her granddaughter, and then a little story written in his voice that told about his day. It said when he ate, slept, played, and took a stroller ride to the neighborhood park, and even had a checkmark for each wet diaper. What a relief to know he's in good hands!

DH and girls are doing fine back home. DH made pheasant nuggets from scratch their first night alone, and apparently the girls loved them. (Blech!) He also sent me a text picture of the twins covered in bubbles from head to toe in the tub lat night. They've been going for evening walks and basically just hanging out. I miss them, but it helps to know they're having fun at Grandma Becky's by day and with Daddy by night.

We're in the counter-offering stage on a house - so we'll see how that pans out. I do have a couple backup plans, just in case it doesn't work out. That said, I'm looking forward to getting settled in. Grant and I will head back home tomorrow afternoon for a weekend with the rest of the family. I wish you all a happy short week!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My Last Wednesday

It's my last Wednesday in this apartment. Hooray and boo hoo at the same time. Still no house to live in - still no daycare - still no packed boxes. What is wrong with this picture? It's weird to think about being away from DH and the girls evenings in a row. I wonder what kind of aftermath I'll return to each Friday.

But I am caught up on freelance and consulting work - and laundry. It's tough to pack up when more than half of the family will be staying here. Grant doesn't have much to pack - all of his clothes are already in containers/drawers. As for me and my skinny clothes - I still haven't found all of them after hours of searching. I guess this means I'll have a somewhat limited wardrobe for the next month or so. Hopefully not any longer than that. Maybe I'll have to do some shopping during my weeknights in the new town.

I'll be back home each weekend to help DH and the girls prepare for their week ahead and to get packed up, too. Why don't we ever wait to move until winter, when we're sick of being at the lake?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Guess how many boxes I've packed?

Not a single one. Honest. It's so unlike me. I'm still trying to wrap up my freelance work, and not having daycare for 6 business days has thrown me off. Lucky for me, the girls go to Grandma Becky's tomorrow for the rest of the week.

Add to that that house hunting from afar is awful. We spent yet another weekend scouting neighborhoods - we've had to get two oil changes in less than four weeks. We did end up putting in two offers yesterday, so hopefully one of them takes. In such a depressed market, it takes forever to weed through all the garbage out there. There have been a few gems, but they're very few and far between. You truly never know until you walk in the door. And most prices are similar, regardless of how much gutting would need to be done. Gah!

The one that put me over the edge yesterday was a beautiful 2-year-old rambler. Lovely landscaping. Friendly neighborhood. Classy stonework around the whole thing. Picket fence. Good windows. And then we walked inside. We could have filled buckets of mold for hours. Seriously, it was around every window and door and along the baseboard of every outside wall. And that was on the main level. The basement was apparently a lot worse - I took DH's word. I'd seen enough and wanted to get my precious lungs out of there before I breathed in any more. Unreal. Of course, DH is curious beyond belief - he's convinced it was a shoddy construction issue. So he wants to figure it out and I just want to forget that whole experience. He keeps bringing it up - different theories about how so much mold could accumulate so quickly. And I keep getting the willies.

Oh well. We did put in offers on two non-molded homes, so something's bound to happen. We're all healthy and doing fine except for the stress of how last minute it's all becoming. Grant has become quite a talker and a squealer - and a giggler. The girls are singing and conversing more than ever. They ran through sprinklers at the lake this past weekend with my folks. And DH and I still haven't killed each other after all this time in the car. He's a pretty good driver and I think I'm a pretty good navigator, so we team up well. And we don't get sick of rhyming back and forth, so that's a plus.

That's all that's new. Still no place to call home. Still haven't begun looking for daycare. Still haven't found my summer-colored suits. And still haven't found my good dress pants. Oh boy.

P.S. While I was spellchecking at the end of writing this post, I heard a lot of commotion from the girls' bedroom. I went in to find Breanna in Lilli's crib with her. It looked like a WWF ring in there. Only with giggles instead of boos. My suspicions of crib climbing are now confirmed. Look out.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I often wonder

I often wonder how things received their names. Who decided to call a box a box? Or cheese cheese? Some are obvious- orange. (Aah, but then who decided to name the color? Or did the fruit have its name first?) I could go on for hours. But I won't until we get into the car for another road trip to go house hunting tonight.

The girls make me wonder more than ever. They have a Daddy Bunny. Not sure why it's named that, but it very clearly is. They have lots of different bunnies in different sizes, colors and textures. And the Daddy Bunny looks just like another one we have, only Daddy Bunny has aqua overalls and the unnamed one has lavender overalls. They kiss Daddy Bunny and then hold it up for others to kiss. The unnamed one just sits on the shelf, always ignored.

The twins also are very hung up on socks and shoes. Especially now that sandal season is here. If they see someone without socks, they immediately notice and ask, "Gee gee gock?" (Where's your sock?) They'll ask at least a dozen times - until someone tells them that that person isn't wearing socks. Same goes for shoes, except you can understand "shoes."

Someday when I have time (insert uproarious laughter here), I'm going to take Latin classes so I can learn more about root words. But until then, I'll just have to ponder. And drive DH crazy with my car conversation topics.

Happy weekend! Enjoy the sunshine if you get a glimpse of any!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


It seems like the more you don't or can't have of something, the more you crave it. That's always the case when I reach the bottom of a can of black olives. Or when the alarm clock goes off.

Today, I crave the free time to bake. Something almondy with some cherry or chocolate. But, alas, instead I must be strict with my freetime. I'll have to settle for a Bliss dark chocolate square with my coffee. I brewed a half pot of decaf this morning instead of my usual single cup. It's just that kind of day.

Master Grant is recovering from the longest-lasting cold of all time (at least it seems so). He also is recovering from an ear infection. And yet, he's still the smileyest baby I've ever known. The girls are recovering from a long weekend and what appears to be an out-of-routine sleep schedule.

And I'm still just trying to find a place to live come just a few short weeks from now.
Now back to the grind I go. Happy bake day!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Why I Like Central MN

As we drove all over all day long Saturday and Sunday, seriously only stopping to get out and examine a few properties and take a few potty breaks, we saw lots of beautiful things. Besides the trees, lakes, deer, birds, cocks, bald eagles, etc., we also were welcomed by some of the friendliest people around. Even at the restaurant where we stopped after all our searching was done for the day, the boy behind the counter asked us all kinds of friendly small talk questions.

We laughed yesterday as we admired all the "unique" things there. I hadn't realized what a chained society we've become. It was like driving around a pretty version of Fargo's 13th Avenue. Same restaurants. Same carpet stores. Same auto body shops. Same mall stores. Same realty companies. Same lots of stuff.

The housing market is in quite a different state, though. We were shocked at how unkept many of the homes were. Not only were many folks living like pigs, but they didn't even bother to remotely tidy up the places. And a lot of homes were already empty. Yikes. The ones who did clean (and even stage) their homes really stood out. And it's not like we were looking at poverty-level homes.

We did find some wonderful neighborhoods and several homes on our short list. The one we'd planned to make an offer on today accepted a purchase agreement first thing this morning, before we even had time to check out the place at the courthouse. Now on to Plan B.

The more we got to know the area, the more our list of must-haves has changed. We no longer need a huge yard/acreage. The lots are plenty big in pretty much every neighborhood. We no longer need a rambler. They are super hard to find, and the ones we found that were below our budget were way below the budget and disgusting. But now we do need a 3-stall garage or an option to build an additional garage. And we do need a 4th bedroom for office space. Three just won't cut it. Our poor realtor. He's really earning this commission. But what a cheerful fella! Thank goodness!

I've found a few more places to check online today, so we'll see what we can set up for this weekend. I'm ready to get the show on the road - and get everything taken care of before I need to look for couches to crash on come July 1.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Before I forget

Finally, I'm taking a breather to post a few pictures and sip a coffee - it's even still hot! Grant is as adorable as ever - the smiliest baby I've ever known.

And then here is DH's dad with the twins. He bailed me out this week after I'd arrived at daycare Wednesday morning to find the lights off and the doors locked. Grandma Becky had the throw-ups, as she called it. After we got all loaded back up into the van, I called DH, frantic because I knew I had work to catch up on still after being on the road all day Monday. Before I even pulled into the garage, my father-in-law called to say he'd like to pick up the girls and take them to their house for a long weekend. Thank the Lord!

GB also let us know that she's taking a Monday - Monday vacation starting June 16. Less than 2 weeks notice in the middle of a move. Oh boy.

So, with the girls at the in-laws, DH, Grant and I are heading down to our new community to shop for a house. The market down there is in really bad shape compared to up here. I heard about one home that was appraised at $179,000, sat on the market for 7 months, and ended up selling for $119,000. I'm so thankful to be on the buying end and not the selling end right now.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

For the Love of Organic

Before we learned we'd be moving, we purchased a 1/4 share of a CSA. In case you're unfamiliar, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It's a farm that people buy shares of, and then the farmers grow organic produce and deliver a box or more of fresh food each week to you - whatever is prime for picking that week.

There are drop-off sites in different cities, including Fargo. Each Thursday afternoon from mid-June to mid-October or so, one of the farmers delivers the boxes to a drop-off site (a home with a porch in North Fargo).

I've bought this before and found that a half share was too much veggie for just DH and me because we're on the go so much. So I went in on a half share with my chiropractor this season, each of us getting a quarter share. When I did the math my first year of share ownership, the cost for CSA veggies was slightly less than grocery store rates for standard (non-organic) veggies. Grocery store veggies are up quite a bit since then, but the CSA rate is the same.

The variety of what you get is fantastic! And if something grows in abundance, you automatically get more of it. (I love picking up my box to find a plastic grocery sack filled with fresh basil on top!)

The farmer's wife sends out a weekly email with an explanation of what's in that week's box, along with storage and preparation tips, and even some recipes. It's an awesome resource, which is why I continue to buy shares. Unfortunately, because of the move, I won't be around to pick up or enjoy the produce.

I already paid my $200 for the share. Are any readers willing to buy my share? Please let me know - either through a comment, email, or phone call. The first shipment has not yet arrived.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Storm Before the Calm

It's official. I'm a glutton. But a glutton with a plan.

I met with Bishop Kinney of the Saint Cloud Diocese and accepted his job offer to be the Director of Communications for the Diocese. I plan to start on July 1. I am very excited about this for many reasons (including a steady salary, a tree-ful locale, a nice benefits package, and a quick jaunt to see my pals in the Twin Cities or my folks, among many other perks), but I'm also a little sad.

I'll be leaving behind my only sister, who is expecting her first baby in July. And though I'll still be just a few hours drive away, it won't be nearly so convenient to lunch together on her days off or to visit on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I'm committed to making sure she doesn't feel like we've left her, and I'm committed to making sure I don't cry every time I see her during this last month of living nearby. (She's one of the most beautiful pregnant women I've ever seen, by the way.)

I'll also be leaving behind some very dear friends. Although I don't see a lot of them in great big doses, I choose quality over quantity any day. Friends from church, my mothers of multiples family, the ad agencies I've worked with, the gals from Microsoft, the folks from Bank of the West, and friends from long ago - I value them all.

Thanks, folks, for the memories. And thanks for your love and support, especially with all the craziness that knowing me sometimes entails. If I have anything of yours that you've graciously lent me, please remind me so that I am sure to get it back to you before we move. (e.g. Shyla - thanks for the cute boy clothes - I must return them to you.) (Or if you have stuff to return to me, please let me know before moving day so we can plan appropriately for space.)

We have a lot to do in the coming weeks - a lot - including finding a new house, a new daycare, a new church, and new work for my DH in our new region. (He's so on the ball. I called him with my good news at 3 this afternoon and he already has a month worth of contracting work lined up down there. Wow!) And then we have to physically move. Oy.

I'd like to have a TTFN social (ta ta for now - for those who aren't big Pooh readers) some evening before we leave. Maybe we'll grill dogs at a park or something simple. I'll let you know once we've set a date.

Please join me in a little happy dance as we enter another chaotic month, but one with some sanity (true sanity) to follow in the not-so distant future. Hooray for me leaving self employment - finally! And hooray for the promise of 40-hour work weeks and paid vacations! BIG yay!