Thursday, February 28, 2013

Alice in Wonderland

I'm feeling very British tonight.  I've fallen in love with Matthew Crawley - er, I mean, Downton Abbey - this month, and today I've fallen in love with scones.

Yes, scones.

It started like this.
Sunday: Uncle D and J's wedding shower.
Monday: I FREAK out because now it's time to start planning Aunt L's wedding shower.  I'm her Matron of Honor, after all.
Tuesday: Pinterest.  Tea Party?  Yes, please.
Wednesday: pick up tea party books and assorted groceries
Thursday: Tea Party Practice

I spent this morning making
1. buttermilk scones
2. smoked salmon tea sandwiches
3. tiny little salami and PBJ's for the boys' lunch

Then I the picture below to Aunt L and Grandma A:

They replied that I should save some and they'll be over later.

That's when a screw kind of came loose.  I spent the rest of the afternoon making:
4. bacon and cheddar scones
5. cucumber tea sandwiches
6. chutney cheddar tea sandwiches
7. peanut butter jelly scones

Yeah.....Crazy.  But fun!  The boys helped by ripping the mint leaves off their stems and dumping the dry ingredients into the mix.  They left me alone as long as I played "Mighty Machines" on the Netflix for them. 

I set out the mismatched china - I had one sample set of my mother's (pictured) that we will use for the tea party, and a few random pieces I picked up from the Goodwill for 25 cents each, and I gave the boys my stoneware.  Because really, in 11 years I've never used the teacups and saucers.  And I set out the few teabags I had, all sleepytime herbal stuff, and we had a tea party!

Everyone loved it, I think M and N most of all!  Here are their favorites:
M: smoked salmon - he was INHALING them!  The most expensive item on the menu and my 3 year old was tearing through them.
N: PBJ, of course.  The only thing he ever asks for, all day, every day.
Hubs: Bacon and cheddar scones, which I made just for him.  He loves bacon.
Aunt L: buttermilk scones and cucumber sandwiches - she's a traditional bride!
Grandma A: salami and butter - I didn't know she liked them so much!
Me: They are all my children so I loved them all.  Haha!  I'm not posting my favorite. 

Now I have to teach myself how to brew a proper pot of tea, make clotted cream, buy a teapot, collect china, find myself a the venue.....

I feel like the Mad Hatter!

Guess that makes Aunt L Alice in Wonderland!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Wedding Shower Bliss

Last night after the kids went to bed, I told Hubs, "This is the best moment in Michigan yet," somewhat quizzically, he tilted his head. "Because we are here. In our house, going to sleep in our own bed tonight."

Yesterday was Uncle D and Aunt J to be's wedding shower. It was classy, beautiful, fun, busy, crazy, emotional, exhausting, exhilarating - all the things big milestone events like your brother's wedding should be. Even the boys partook briefly, for the cupcakes of course.

We would have moved heaven and earth to make it to that shower, and if you count moving our household to a new state, we did. Otherwise we would have flown the kids, packed the suitcases, rushed the gift-purchasing and making, crashed at Mom's, wrestled the kids to sleep there, repacked and done everything in reverse to get back to a weekend.

Instead, We bought lamps last week, because UD told us 12 years ago we couldn't get married because we didn't even have a lamp. He bought us our first lamp. We returned the favor yesterday. I made food for the party and even had some wonderful company to Assist. Then we all partied like it was breakfast at Tiffany's and at the end of the day, we all tucked into our cozy familiar beds.

No suitcases.
No standby flights.
No checking car seats.
No splitting up to fly separately (but we did drive 10 miles separately).
No anxiety (besides the egg bakes taking too long).

Just drive home and tuck them in and talk about how beautiful the bride was, how ebullient the groom was, how delicious the egg bakes and white chocolate Tiffany blue dyed pretzels were ;), instead of what we usually talk about: how we are going to fly 5 people home standby tomorrow?

Love. Life.

Me MCing a shower game
The girl cousins:Aunt L, Me, Bride J, L, E, J
N and M the thug eating gourmet cupcakes (right before Daddy whisked them away to play toys at Grandma's, lest the cuteness wear off)
UD opening one of our gifts: a handmade afghan From me ;)

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Always seems to have a negative connotation. But guess what? There are perks:

1. I like the eat in-kitchen! Since I spend most mealtimes retrieving items for the children (I need a spoon! May I have more milk?) and not actually sitting, I'm only 5 feet from the fridge, drawer, etc., rather than the 15 perhaps I used to be.

2. The playroom is truly its own room now, rather than the bonus area type room it was before. So I can theoretically close the door! That leaves me just the kitchen and (1) living room to have to clean after bedtime and can be done rather quickly. Don't get me wrong, I didn't clean the playroom much before, either,but now I can't even see the stuff.

3. After the first few nights, the boys settled into a new bedtime routine and they are going to bed well and falling asleep quickly. Since the move, they seem to have reset themselves when it comes to bedtime behavior. In two months, we have removed naps entirely, moved 800 miles, and started pre-school, so it's hard to say exactly what caused the change, but I am ever so grateful to God for the miracle of mostly smooth, easy bedtimes. They were difficult for a LONG LONG LONG time.

4. I have the biggest utility/mud-room ever! Everything that I don't want to look at but need to have close goes there: washer/dryer, broom, coats, boots, recycling, plastic bag holder, it's great. You know how you (and by you I mean me) come in carrying a baby, a diaper bag, purse, two kids and their backpacks and coats and boots, and everything just gets dumped in a huge pile? well, now we have room for little shortie coat hooks and the kids have learned to hang up all their stuff and put the boots in the boot tray. no kidding! I even have plans to organize and decorate. (We will have to see about that one)

5. We have a huge garage that is currently storing a bunch of our junk (with room to park of course) but it's not quite as swanky as our last one, and I feel comfortable spray painting all my shabby chic Pinterest projects in there...could be the lovely graffiti in there that makes it so homey;) but seriously, once that gets organized (read, WARM outside) it's going to be a very useful might be surprised how few rentals have two car garages!

6. We are within walking distance of a state of the art library! I know it has nothing to do with downsizing, but because of our location, we will be able to walk there and spend lots of time in the children's area. (I already like it better than our old one.) Except the kids won't have the self checkout machines anymore. Small price to pay.

7. We have lost our beautiful view of the woods in the backyard (but that means we've lost the mosquitoes, too, praise The Lord!) but the view out my kitchen window receives the morning sunrise (I've never had that) and two big bushes (I hope they are lilac) filled with sparrows all day long. They tweet and sing and there is a cardinal couple who often joins them (how appropriate, Hubs and I were SVSU cardinals) and their red red feathers stand out against the white of the neighbor's house.

8. We have one bathroom. Okay, it's not a perk. But it's worth mentioning because God has a sense of humor. He knows how much I hate cleaning bathrooms, and He must think I need a lesson on appreciating them because you don't know what you've got till 3 of your bathrooms are gone! So now I'm Clorox wiping and Lysol spraying every day because I have to use it, too! One of the first things Hubs did was install a new toilet seat...and he's always thinking of me, friends. He bought one that removes easily for cleaning. Did you know they existed? They do. Kohler. Guess what? It works like a charm and now I know why I couldn't get the boys bathroom to smell clean before! Thanks, honey!

One bathroom is bringing us closer together, too, literally. Oh, so literally! On Tuesday, there was a moment when C was in the tub, I was using the commode, and N was sitting on his little potty. I'm pretty sure M was in there, too.

Tonight it happened again, me and all 3 kids in there...but maybe I'll write that story tomorrow. I think it deserves its own post! far, so good.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


I just spent an hour watching a documentary on Netflix titled "Happy" for 2 reasons.

One, I had to take a night off of Downton Abbey. I'm in the middle of season 2, but watched the season 3 finale on PBS Sunday night. Too many people are dying on me this week!

Two, almost all the documentaries are in some way negative: food is killing you (a half dozen of those!), 2 about prostitutes/porn, war, meth, a clan family, 9/11 footage...or animals- several dinosaur documentaries (where do they get THAT footage?), turtles, and feeding time at a zoo.

There ya go...that's how I choose Netfix! "Happy" was an easy choice.

Here's what I learned.

-50% of a person's "happiness" is genetically disposed.
10% is accorded to circumstances
40% is up to us

-Physical activity produces dopamine, the "happy hormone," which we all know, right?

-After a person's basic needs are met (food, shelter, clothing) there is little difference in happiness levels no matter their income level.

-In Japan, people are dying of over-work. They have a name for it; "karoshi." They interviewed a widow whose husband died working at Toyota.

-Conversely, the Japanese on Okinawa are the happiest longest living community on earth. (It kind of made me want to live on a Japanese farm. Maybe I would finally learn how to prepare kohlrabi.)

Why am I telling you all this? Because the scientists found that the happiest people are those who have a strong network of family and friends.

The Bible says that the joy of the Lord is my strength. Science tells me that happiness is found in an active life full of family and friends.

Today I chased three little ones all day and prepared a meal of stuffed peppers and roasted white asparagus (the kids did not buy them as French fries and ate bologna instead but I tried!) for some family and talked to the love of my life who is in the city of love this evening. Je t'aime mon ami!

Am I happy?


Below: my view this afternoon, Hubs' view this afternoon. We both wish we were together in one of them, but I'm happy he's mine no matter where.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Few Good Things...

Since we moved to MI two weeks ago...
1. C seems to have outgrown the clogged left eye duct. I have not wiped a single eye goober. And learned how to crawl. And cut a tooth. Three more are on the way.
2. N keeps himself completely dry all day long. (Number two is another story but progress is progress). And stays in bed without a bed rail.
3. My stress level is Greatly reduced. Having my parents, my Sister, MIL, SIL and fiancé, BIL's all nearby and ready to's nearly indescribable. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my chest and I can breathe again...and I'm already seeing glimpses of my old self, smiling and spontaneously hugging people and baking pie for crying out loud! Who is this girl and where has she been? (Okay, I do think I did those things before, but not quite so often and not so quickly.)
4. When we told M last night to go get his coat because the big boys were going to spend the night at Grandma's, M ran to N and exclaimed, "we're going to Grandma's, isn't that awesome?!" Yes, my three year old used the word awesome.
5. Hubs is still traveling, but leaves smiling now, no longer worried about me and the kids because we are well cared for in his absence.
6. Even the birds are more chirpy. I think I'm falling in love with Hubs all over again. Being here has already given us a bit of child-free time together. I think we are on the road to recovering from almost 4 years of 24/7/365 infant/toddler/preschool twins/infant again child care. All because he moved heaven and earth for me. Yeah, toss in Valentine's day and couple of upcoming weddings and I'm pretty schmoopy for him again;)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Easy, Boring Job?

I think not.

Recently I had conversations with new acquaintances in which the women inferred that being a stay-at-home-mom was easy or boring.

I don't really think the women were accusing ME of having an easy, boring job. I'm trying to see it as though they thought THEIR time at home with the children was "chill" as one put it, or boring, as the other inferred.

Because let me tell you, if you don't already know, staying at home with my children has been the HARDEST and BUSIEST job I have ever done in my life!

If I'd had the time to process a thoughtful reply, but I didn't because I was juggling baby C and assisting the twins with assembling their Valentine's party candy crafts/card distribution/etc, I might have become offended and given those women an earful. I'm glad I didn't because I might be spending a lot of time with them at school functions in the future. I hope I was kind and sweet to them. Or at least polite.

I know it's the old working vs stay at home debate that every mom fights and doubts no matter what she chooses.

But if you think staying at home is easy or boring....

Then you need to come spend a few days at MY house!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

1. Three boys in red shirts on a red chair holding "happy" "<3" "day!" I only make it LOOK easy. My boys are my little loves and had a ball today! It's so fun that they are getting old enough to understand and enjoy holidays. I cut strawberries and bologna sandwiches into hearts for their lunch and they gobbled them up. I love it because they are really GETTING stuff like that!

2. Then the chaos of my first preschool Valentine's party- yikes! I'm pretty sure I was the only one a wee but overwhelmed trying to juggle a baby and help make TWO twizzler/Froot Loop bracelets, TWO play dough-thumbprint ornaments, TWO conversation candy hearts bingo, 34 Valentine bag get the picture. The other moms were all calm cool and collected taking care of their one 3 Year old! i was also meeting AACS and WHS classmates whose children are in the boys' class. That was fun, and the women look just like they did in high school - hope they can say the same about me ;)

3. Baking a pie for our Valentine's dessert. M chose the raspberry filling and the boys helped mix the dough out. It was pretty good for my first home made pie!

4. Having some family members over for Valentine's BBQ pork sandwiches and pie. Valentine's Day is about spending time with those you love, not all the trapping our society tries to sell us. I think today's low key family day has been my best V Day of all.

5. It occurred to me as our guests perused our unearthed wedding photos that every day is Valentine's Day for me. All those Valentine's Days before 2002, I was dreaming for this one. When I'm home with a husband who loves me, kids who love me (but are mad BC I cut off the Halloween-sized candy haul they got at school), surrounded by family who us, too.

5. And I finished Downton Abbey Season 1. Holy smokes, I'm hooked!

Thank you Lord, for a really fantastic day!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Text Convo

UA: Do the boys want to play in the snow today?
Me: Yes, if you come here. I can't get out (of the driveway) yet.
UA: I'll be there after my oil change.
Me: There are sleds and snow brick makers in the garage. Do you like chili and cornbread!
UA: Perfect! Yes!

Then my dad brought his snowblower to clear the driveway, I made chili for dinner, and UA and UK arrived to build Snow tunnels all afternoon! The boys even ate chili because their uncles did....and the brownie dessert bribe helped, too.

My grandma doesn't text, but she does have a cell phone, otherwise it might have been:
GG: K, we want to come see your new house.
Me: Come Saturday after mass.
GG: love you sweetie, see you then!
Me: Love you Grandma!

I tossed a pork roast and root veggies in the crock pot this morning for dinner and convinced them to stay. They were thrilled to eat a meal again at their old dining table - a wedding gift from GG's parents 60 years ago this fall! I'm thinking I ought to decorate with a retro 50's theme in here now!

What a special time we are already having here in MI. I told Hubs I hope we both live long enough to celebrate 60 years together and see 8 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.

Below: the fellas shoveling before PaPa blew our drive out (Hubs was traveling, he would have shoveled!) then digging snow tunnels with the uncles.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

4 Bed, 1 Bath, Great Location

We just moved back to the small town where I was raised. Not born, of course, because it's too small for a hospital. They did have babies in hospitals 35 years ago, even in small town MI.

What's that old saying, you can take a girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl? Something like that. I've grown accustomed to Minnesota suburbia and being close to every big box store imaginable, then, "small town" Minnesota, population 20,000. Now I'm living within the city limits, population 2000, so I'm not technically in the country.

And I love it.

"Look at the sunrise!" M cried this morning. A gold and pink sunrise was visible out one kitchen window, lighting the bean and grain silos with a pink reflection a few blocks away, visible through the other. I smiled, happy that my Keurig coffee maker is located between the views.

A high school classmate and Facebook friend commented on my post about dropping the boys off at preschool yesterday: her daughter is in their class.

My mom came over last night to help with bedtime crazies because Hubs is on the road again.

My MIL has tomorrow off and is coming over to take the boys to their second day of preschool.

My nephew's birthday party has been planned for a Monday night this month- and we will be in attendance for the first time ever.

Our library is within walking distance, and I can't wait to take the kids. My Girl Scout meetings were held there.

Today I received the very last garbage can the city had in storage. Whew, that was close!

Except M told me to go use my own bathroom when he found me in there today. Going to keep working on those manners, and sharing a bathroom, too.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

First day of Preschool!

It went off without a hitch! We DID take pictures on the Nikon to ensure quality photos for the day my desktop Dino is Re-assembled for uploading/Shutterfly-print-ordering purposes, but in the inevitable chaos of new-house-where-is-my-stuff?-kids-slept-in-on-the-first-day-of-school business, I don't have a pic for you. Not sure how I forgot to snap an iPhone pic, but I did!

The fellas nearly RAN down the hall toward their lockers and showed us (bc Hubs and C came too) how to hang their coats and backpacks in their lockers and barely said goodbye before joining the ranks to say the Pledge of Allegiance (are you kidding me?! The Pledge!!!) with the 4th and 5th graders. Unbelievable!

I got my first taste of being a mom of school aged kids today, too, after picking them up and asking what they did. I suppose I should know better! All I got out of them was that they had cupcakes for snack. Such men.

Their teacher just handed me a stack of papers to fill out and sign (should have seen that coming) and said, "they did great." My first grade teacher sister assures me that it means they did great. Whew!

Looking forward to Thursday morning, when I drop them off again and take C to the Mecca:Meijer! (For my non-Michigan friends, it's like Super Target or Super Wal-Mart on steroids. They sell everything, including hunting equipment. I know because I was with someone who shall remain nameless and bought my brother camouflage hunting bibs for Christmas there. It's HUGE.)

In case you are wondering what I did with my "free" time this morning, Aunt M and I unpacked like crazy ladies for two hours, getting the boys' bedroom and laundry/mud room/entrance in working order. Thanks, M! I'll post pics soon, I promise!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Sunday

- c started army crawling first thing this morning! Guess he was waiting for a special occasion: first morning in his new Michigan house.
- we found his 3rd tooth popped through this morning, too! Finally!
- it took all morning to find everything we needed for a cereal breakfast and clothes for church, but we made it better late than never. Such a warm welcome from our CCC church family :)
- much of our crew materialized again this afternoon for more unpacking and relocating furniture to my folks' house, but wouldn't you know it, that blankety-blank Budget truck refused to start?! At least mom and and I got the soup-Er bowls unpacked and my kitchen functioning.
- N's a bit under the weather. Not surprised that all the the activity is catching up with him. He and I and C stayed home from the Superbowl party. I hope he can shake this so he doesn't have to miss his first day of preschool Tuesday!
-tired but happy. It's been a super Sunday for me.
- c is SO proud of himself. He instinctively Beelines straight to the big boys' toys!
-n sleeping now. Notice there are no bedrails? No one fell out last night, so far so good!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Groundhog Day 3

-hubs and FIL had the truck serviced, but the "fix" didn't hold and they had no heat in the cab.
-they bought a little heater you plug into the lighter but it died
-they tried to drive through the night but eventually the windshield washer fluid froze up so they couldn't see and had to stop.
-they slept 6 hours and hit the road only to find the clipper system they had been ahead of caught them. They drive in snow, but daylight, most of the day.
-even the dumb horn quit working when they tried honking at someone who cut them off.
-they pulled in at 4:00 EST and our crew, who had been waiting all day, sprang to action.
-by 8:00, the crib, the twins' beds, and our bed was assembled.
-now I'm supervising my kids because they ate an undetermined amount of M&M's and cookies (but not the party sub, of course) that were for the crew. Also, their twin beds are about two feet closer, making the jump between beds a nightly gymnastics meet.
- we are beat, but happy to have had our new house full of our families tonight unpacking and laughing about how FIL and Hubs were a living embodiment of " Groundhog Day" today!
-P.S. don't use this company for moving trucks.
-some of our happy crew: FIL driving, Hubs, Uncle K to be, Uncle D, Uncle A (who brought his sweet girlfriend who helped watch the boys!) not pictured, Grandma and Papa K, Aunt M, Aunt L, myself. Grandma A and the kids were hanging at her house while the truck unloaded.
Lots of fun ahead tomorrow: church, unpack more, Superbowl Party...never a dull moment here, never.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Crazy Move Day 2

•serious delay in MN with moving trucks not working. Third was delivered and guys packed all night
•hit the road only to have the heat go out. As of this writing they are getting the truck serviced in WI. Please pray it's fixed very quickly.
•got the keys and food so there are groceries, our Christmas gifts, a washing machine and a table from my mom's house there now.
•visited preschool and met new teacher, definitely the highlight of our day! The boys found they each have a locker waiting for them with their name on it! We went after the 4 year old class had dismissed so they made themselves at home exploring the classroom. There is even a little bathroom built right in the room for them (huge sigh of relief)! I was happy to see it had all the same activity centers as their ECFE class room did: circle rug, painting easel, sensory table, kitchen...they knew just what to do. I am very certain Tuesday morning will go smoothly. P.S. the class is in my old 8th grade classroom! I don't remember my locker number, but theirs could have been mine;)
•took the boys to see the new house with the groceries. They were ecstatic tearing through it, chasing each other, and flicking every switch, pulling every blind cord, testing every doorknob, and christening the toilet repeatedly. They are in love with it and were spazzy over it all afternoon!