Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Winter Visit

Our good friends, Shenandoah (Doah) & Chrisy Lynd, came out to visit this past weekend. It was so nice to see them and we had a wonderful time showing them around Minnesota. When we get together with them, I feel as though we can just pick up where we left off. It feels like we never left. I love that! We took them to see the Holidazzle parade in downtown Minneapolis. It was a really cold & windy night, yet they both braved it like troopers. (My kids, however, now that was a different story altogether!) We went down to the Walker Art Center and experienced a Frida Kahlo exhibit. Her paintings are very unique and it was neat to see such an extensive collection. On Friday night some good friends here in Minnesota watched all 3 of our kids (plus their 4!) overnight so we could go to a B&B in Stillwater. What a great night! We enjoyed a great dinner out, had some good times playing games, but best of all had some wonderful conversations.

The next day we (Tony & I) got to visit our first Harley Davidson store with Doah & Chrisy. They have family back in California that really love Harley Davidsons, so we stopped to get some stuff for them. What an experience! It was like a whole Harley Davidson culture! Anyway, we also took them to the Mall of America so that they could really experience what it's like. After a long day, we spent the evening playing dominos and just relaxing. What a great end to a great day!

Now that they are gone, I really miss them again. Not that I don't miss them all the time, but now I REALLY miss them! It was so great to laugh and be real with one another. They are great friends and now I really know that distance won't keep our friendship from lasting forever. Thanks, Lynds, for a wonderful weekend!!!!!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Playing in the snow

Cameron, Chelsea, Madison and I went out to play in the snow today. It was a blast! I realize that I'm not that old, but after sledding for almost two hours, I'm beat and the kids are ready to go again! I would love to have their energy, but there's no way I can keep up with them. Anyway, it's fun to be able to go sledding in our backyard. The kids love it and we don't have to trek dirt and snow in the van. It's great.

Cameron & Madison kept sledding over and over. They were having a great time. Madison even flipped over Cameron one time when they were stopping and Madison got right back up and wanted to go again. She is definitely having more fun this year than last.

Chelsea had a fun time this year, too. Last year she didn't want to sled too much, but this year she kept going and going. Her & I went down the hill a lot together. I even managed to break part of the small fence that it's front of the pond. Oops! It was a fun day and I'm looking forward to sledding a lot more this winter. Last winter we weren't able to sled for the first time until January 1st. It looks to be a lot better this year with snow forecasted throughout the upcoming week! Yeah!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

We got snow! Yeah! Yesterday morning around 8:45 it started to snow and it didn't let up until around 8:00 last night. I think we ended up with a good 6 inches or so. It was so nice to sit inside my house and watch the snow fall. We even went outside and played a little, although it was crazy with the snow still falling and the wind blowing. I was freezing by the time we got back inside. Today will be a day of sledding, snowball fights and maybe even a snowman. It's definitely feeling a lot more like the holidays around here. Now hopefully this snow will stay on the ground and we can just keep adding to it so that I can have my white Christmas after all. I've heard that I'm not the only one who really wants a white Christmas. Tony's mom has already ordered one for when they are here and I'd hate to let her down. Bring on the snow!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas.....

I'm really getting excited about Christmas and everything about it. One thing that I've always wanted is a white Christmas. Last year (even living in MN), I still had to keep dreaming. We didn't have any decent snow until New Year's Eve. Now this year, I REALLY want a white Christmas! So, with that said, imagine my excitement when I looked at the weather forecast for this weekend:

Winter Storm Watch

Statement as of 2:05 PM CST on November 29, 2007

Expires 7:00 AM EST on December 02, 2007

... First winter storm of the season expected on Saturday... ... Winter Storm Watch in effect from Saturday morning through late Saturday night... The National Weather Service in Twin Cities/Chanhassen has issued a Winter Storm Watch... which is in effect from Saturday morning through late Saturday night. A powerful low pressure system will move across the upper Midwest this weekend... and likely bring significant wintry weather to much of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The snow is expected to begin on Saturday morning across the area... and become heavy across central and south central Minnesota and west central Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon and early evening. A period of sleet or freezing rain is possible on Saturday afternoon and evening... mainly along and south of a New Ulm to Red Wing line. By Saturday night... snow accumulations exceeding six inches appear possible across much of central and south central Minnesota and west central Wisconsin... including in the Alexandria... St cloud... Mankato... Twin Cities... and Eau Claire communities. Strong winds also appear likely with this storm... which will make travel even more dangerous. A Winter Storm Watch means there is a potential for significant snow... sleet... or ice accumulations that may impact travel. Continue to monitor the latest forecasts.

So, now my hopes are more alive than ever. I just hope that I don't have to go anywhere on Saturday!! :-)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Being Thankful

Throughout this past week and through the Thanksgiving weekend, I've really been trying to focus on being truly thankful for all that God has blessed me with. I know that it seems a little cliche to talk about being thankful at Thanksgiving, but I truly am thankful for so many things.

First off, God has blessed me with a magnificent husband. Tony is one in a million and is so wonderful in so many ways. He works hard so that I can stay home to raise the kids and he loves and supports me in everything I do. He truly is a gift from God. My kids are also at the top of my list. They light up my life and show me so much about the world around me. They are constantly inquisitive and make me think about things that I've never or seldom think about. I treasure everything about them. They are unique and special in lots of ways, but I love to see their hearts and their love of God and people around them. I am thankful for my friends, both near and far. I have been so blessed by such wonderful friends who both love and challenge me to be a better friend, better mom, better wife, better Christian, etc. I'm thankful for where I live and that I live in a place that so often shows me God's beauty.

I'm also very thankful for all of my extended family. I've had the great opportunity to have so much of my family come out and visit this past year and we've really had some really wonderful times. Their have been a lot of terrific conversations and great healing that has come from that. I am so incredibly grateful for all these experiences and am so happy to have such a remarkable family.

So, my prayer over this Thanksgiving weekend is that I can remember to be thankful for all the blessings in my life not just now, but throughout the days, weeks, months, years to come. Happy Thanksgiving to you all.
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1

Monday, November 12, 2007

Halloween 2007

This year for Halloween, my mom came out to join us. We spent Halloween day making cupcakes with a couple of Madison's friends. For dinner we purchased, Jack-o-Lantern shaped pizzas from our favorite pizza place. Once it started to get dark, we headed out to go trick-or-treating. We had a fun time, but it was pretty cold out (in the low 40's). It wasn't as cold as last year, but the wind was pretty strong making it hard to stay out too long. Madison was miserable and only made it through about 6 houses before I had to take her back home. As soon as we got home, she was happy and wanted to dive right into her candy. For only going to those few houses, she still had quite a bit of candy and was happy as a clam. The other kids, Tony and Dash made it for about 15 minutes longer before they were too cold and came home as well.

Cameron dressed up as his favorite book character, Harry Potter. Chelsea was a cowgirl. Madison had 2 costumes, a princess and Zowie from Rolie Polie Olie (a show on the Disney Channel). Dash also got into the Halloween spirit and dressed up as Batman. We had a fun time and after trick-or-treating, came home to watch the best Halloween program of all, "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." Another Halloween has come and gone, but the candy still remains. Oh, what to do with all the candy......

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

American Gothic House

We recently went down to Ottumwa, Iowa to visit Tony's birthplace and to meet some of his family on his Dad's side. It's about a 5 hour drive down there and, thanks to the DVD player in our van, was a relatively pleasant drive. Tony and I borrowed the Harry Potter 6 book on CD and listened to a bit of that on the way there and back. We also had a chance to talk and catch up on things. It was nice. We were only down there for a couple of days and we mainly spent it meeting family and spending time with them. We also got to make a trip over to the "American Gothic" house which is about a half hour from Ottumwa in Eldon, IA. They have a really cool visitor's center there and they even let you put on costumes (as you can see above) to reenact that famous painting. It was pretty fun. All-in-all it was a pretty decent trip. Someone did hit our parked car while we were down there, so that's a bummer having to get that fixed, but at least no one was hurt. One thing I can say about Iowa, if you haven't been there, don't worry about it. :-)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Visiting Minnesota

This summer we had a lot of family come out to visit. It was a lot of fun to show everyone around Minnesota. Everyone seems to come to Minnesota with so many misconceptions about what it's really like here and it's fun to see a lot of those myths shattered by the time they leave. Minnesota has a ton of things to do. You aren't really far from anything. We can go to downtown Minneapolis or St Paul to see a concert, live theatre and museums (about a half hour from our house). You can go to a beach (okay, I know they're lake beaches, but still!), go camping (in nature where you feel like you are miles away but only 20 minutes really), you can see tons of historical sites, ride a boat down the Mississippi or visit one of the 10,000+ lakes. Almost any kind of activity you want to do, you can do here.

I really had a great time with my family. Being so far from them makes the time we have together so much more precious to me. I feel as though I really took for granted living so close to my family and friends and I really look forward to talking to and spending time with them when they come out here, or I go out to visit. That's one thing I've really learned after moving away: Appreciate and cherish the time with your family and friends. Treasure it and don't ever take it for granted. In some ways, I've grown closer to people through learning this. I spend time talking to my family and friends in ways I never did before. I don't take things for granted anymore and I spend a lot more time with my family here than I ever did before. I've slowed down and I love it.

Anyway, here are some of the highlights of the trip when my mom, stepdad, sister and nephews came out in July. It was great to spend time with everyone. It did get a little crazy at times (there were 10 of us under the same roof!), but overall it was a wonderful time. I truly enjoyed having them here and really look forward to seeing them all again soon.
This picture was taken on a boat that takes you down the Mississippi and through Lock & Dam #1. It's a beautiful trip down the river. You also get views of the many flour mills and St. Anthony Falls which helped to start the flour mill industry.

This picture is of Chelsea and her "Aunt Shell." Chelsea wanted Michele to take her to Build-a-Bear Workshop more than anything and they had a great time making a cute little bear together.
We went to visit Fort Snelling with Anthony & Zachary. It's a really neat fort that is positioned right where the Minnesota River flows into the Mississippi. It has breathtaking views and a lot of fun things for the kids to experience.

Michele and her boys, Anthony & Zachary, at Fort Snelling overlooking one of the many views that the fort offers. As you can tell, Minnesota has lots of green trees and blue sky - not just white snow and grey skies!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Visit with my Dad

My dad came to visit us from California and we all had a great time! It was so nice to spend some extended time with him and get to know him better. We did some sight-seeing, but most of the time he just lived life with me for a week. The kids had doctor appointments, orthodontist appointments, den meetings, etc. and he just went right along with me. I think it was good for everyone. The kids got to spend some good quality time with their grandpa and I got some great time just talking with my dad.

We went to the State Capital in St. Paul, the History Center (also in St. Paul), we ate Italian food at Cossetta's Italian Restaurant and went to see the Stone Arch Bridge along the Mississippi in Minneapolis. We also were able to go inside the Guthrie Theatre and get a birds-eye view of the Mississippi River and St. Anthony Falls. It was a beautiful sight, but also a little subdued since it also overlooks the sight of the 35-W Bridge Collapse.

During the week, we had plenty on good conversations and time to reminisce about lots of different things. We took Madison to an apple orchard and I had my dad try his first Honeycrisp apple. If you've never tried one, I highly recommend them, although I think you can only get them in Minnesota. We also got to meet the illustrator from the Harry Potter books and that was quite neat, especially for Cameron who absolutely loves the entire series.

We also took my dad to the Mall of America and walked about 1/3 of the mall. We were able to do some shopping and enjoy a cup of coffee together. On Friday night we were all able to take a ride on the light rail and take in a Twins baseball game. Unfortunately the Twins lost, but it was still a lot of fun! On Saturday morning, before taking dad to the airport, we took him to see Minnehaha Falls. It was a wonderful time and we are all looking forward to seeing him again sometime soon!

Thanks, Dad, for a great week!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Preschool Time!

Madison had her first day of preschool today. She couldn't wait to go!! She kept saying, "Is it time to go, mommy?" all morning and was smiling from ear-to-ear when I finally said, "Yes, Madison!" I took a couple of pictures of her before we left home and, as you can tell, she was all grins. When we pulled up to the house where preschool was being held today, she couldn't wait to get out of the car. She grabbed her backpack and scooted up the driveway before I could even shut the door.

Once inside, she started playing with all the other kids and seemed to be having a great time. When it was time to sit down for "circle time" she hurried to her spot and sat down. It was fun to see. The mommies stayed for a little while to introduce their kids and for them to get comfortable with being there. Then about a half an hour later, the mommies were to leave. This was a hard time for most of the preschoolers. Madison, though, just looked at me and said, "Bye, mom." So, my little Madison is now a preschooler and I am left with a couple of extra hours a week to myself. She has fun and learns, I have a little bit of quiet. I can't wait to go pick her up and see how see liked her first day of preschool. Hopefully all will be well and she'll be just as happy to go again next week!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

First Day of School

Well, today is the first day of school and I have to admit that it was a little harder to see them off than any other year before. I can't believe that Chelsea is in first grade and is going to be gone all day. It was very heartwarming, however, to see both Cameron and Chelsea get on the bus and for them to sit together. How sweet is that! I started to get tears in my eyes as the bus pulled away, knowing that my days of having my two girls home with me all day are no more. It was a bittersweet moment for I know that Chelsea is more than ready for first grade and that she will have a great school year. I also can't believe that Cameron is in fifth grade! That one kind of blows my mind. Where did the time go? I distinctly remember my fifth grade teacher and everything about that year. I'm really excited for him and I'm praying that he meets a lot of great people this year.

So, my older two are off to school and now it's just Madison and me. It will make going to the grocery store much easier, but I know I'm definitely going to miss the noise and laughter of Cameron and Chelsea. It's funny how you think that it's going to be great when they go off to sch
ool. You will have more time to get things done, it won't be so chaotic in the house, etc. But once they're gone, it's rather quiet and lonely. I'll tell you one thing, I can't wait until they get home and I can once again hear their happy voices and see their smiling faces. When I see that bus turn the corner toward home, I will jump for joy and bug them for every detail of their school day.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Somewhat Subdued Chelsea

A week ago today, Chelsea broke her left collarbone. She has been a little more subdued than her normal crazy self. For the first two days, I felt like Chelsea's spirit had left her. She was in so much pain that she didn't feel like doing anything except to lay on the couch and rest. She was on pain medicine most of the time and seemed pretty lifeless. It was hard to see her like that. She seems to be doing much better now, although it's still hard for her to do simple things like getting dressed, taking a shower, etc. She is coping very well and, hopefully, in a couple of weeks will be "sling-free."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Our dog, Dash

Okay, so Cameron told me that I need to post a blog about our dog, Dash. So, here it is. I don't quite know what to say about him. So, here are the stats on him: Dash is a golden labrador and weighs about 65 pounds. He will be two the end of September.

He really is a great dog and is wonderful with the kids. He is very friendly with most other dogs, although he seems to get very protective around some dogs. When we went camping, he acted like he was the some kind of "police dog" and seemed very jealous of another male dog when the dog showed attention to Dash's "girlfriend" (a black lab named Onyx). However, he is a very atypical dog in that he doesn't like to go to the bathroom on walks, he hates getting wet, he seldom will go to the bathroom anywhere but home and, unlike other labs, doesn't always fetch a ball when it's thrown. He is one-of-a-kind, and we love him.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My Little Fireball

Madison is such a lovable little girl, yet can be so hard to please. She is VERY stubborn and determined to do things only on her terms. She doesn't put up with very much, which is good and bad, having 2 older siblings. She doesn't hesitate to let you know exactly how she's feeling at any given time. Madison does give me a run for my money, but she also never fails to make me feel loved. She is a wonderful, inquisitive little girl who comes up with the most amazing things to say. I never know what's going to come out of her mouth. With an older brother and sister, she says things sometimes that I would rather not hear come out of here mouth. :-)

I love this little 3 year old and I'm looking forward to her starting preschool this fall. A group of eight women, that I met through MOPS, are starting a kind of co-op preschool. The preschool will be held at 4 different homes, every Thursday morning for a couple of hours. A pair of moms will teach every week, so this means I only have to teach once a month! We will also do a field trip once a month that will be related to our themes. I think it will be a great experience for her. Even if she doesn't learn her whole entire alphabet backward and forward, or doesn't learn to write her name, she will learn how to interact with kids her own age and will make memories that will last a lifetime.

Monday, August 20, 2007

My Chelsea Girl......

Chelsea has really grown and blossomed in the past year. She has gone from bring a shy kindergartner, to a beautiful first grade little girl. She has done many things this past year. She took her first school bus ride to school, she met some new friends (at school, at MOPS and in Daisy Scouts), she learned how to read, and developed a real love and passion for all animals.

Chelsea can be a real fireball. She is always full of emotional. She can go from hot to cold instantly (I wonder where she gets that from!?). I love her spirit, though, and how she can turn a simple moment into an everlasting memory. She shows a real love of life. Chelsea never wants to spend time alone and she cherishes one-on-one time more than any kid I know. I'm very proud of the young girl Chelsea is becoming and look forward to seeing her accomplish many, many things.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

My Favorite Cub Scout

I've been so proud of my son, Cameron, and all that he has accomplished in the year that he's been a cub scout. He actually didn't join scouting until last September and has already earned 12 pins, 24 belt loops and numerous patches! It hasn't been all about the awards, but about the new things he has learned and the many adventures he has had. Cameron has tried things that I never even imagined him trying and he's putting his heart into it. It's been an amazing thing for me to watch. He's really grown in the past year and I think scouts has a lot to do with it.

He has been fishing, canoeing, paint-balling, learned archery, how to tie knots, how to make fire, set up tents, and the list goes on and on. Scouting has not only taught him many, many skills, but it has also taught him how to be a good friend, a loyal citizen and a trustworthy young man. The experiences he has had in the past year will last him a lifetime and this is only the beginning of the scouting adventure. He will continue on to Boy Scouts in February and then it's up to Cameron to decide what he wants to do with scouting. Hopefully he will stick it out to become an Eagle Scout, but even if he doesn't, I'm very proud of the things I've seen him accomplish and the young man he is becoming.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Blogging and our Trip to Lake Itasca

Well, I've decided to start blogging since my husband, Tony (see doesn't feel like he needs to post anything about the family anymore. So, I'm going to use this to post happenings in our family and anything I feel like blogging about.

This picture is from our trip up to Lake Itasca where we got to walk across the headwaters of the Mississippi. We went with my mom and stepdad, Bob, and my nephews, Anthony and Zachary. We had a good time (although we should have stayed longer!). What a beautiful place!

Well, I will be posting more later. I just wanted to get something started!