Dec 5, 2016

My Cinderella Weekend

What a whirlwind of a weekend...It went from having zero plans to being busy the whole weekend.  I tend to get a little cranky when our weekends are full, but this one was so worth it!  

Thursday morning brought Billy the elf back, and he brought breakfast!

Friday I was looking forward to coming home from work and chilling with the family, but then Brad called Friday afternoon to say that we had two free tickets to Holly Ball.  Holly Ball is a huge formal fundraising event for our local hospice care center.  Our friends Jim and Melissa had colleagues that couldn't go last minute so they asked us.  I was in full on freak out mode because I had less than 24 hours to be ready for a very formal event!
Thankfully Melissa had several dresses to try on, and I chose this one.  She wore it last year and I joked with her then that I was going to wear it for something, it's so beautiful!

I'd say we clean up pretty well!

We got there around 4:30 which was social hour, they had an acoustic band playing and everything was absolutely gorgeous!

After the dinner they had a band and a video dj, and we danced until I could hardly walk, my feet hurt so bad!  We had the BEST time and I'm so glad we had the chance to go.  Just at the dinner they raised over $110,000!!!  Amazing...

Melissa and I pausing our jam session!

Unfortunately Sunday came way to fast, and we had a super busy day.  Both girls had their activity banquets, Rachel's was at noon and Emma's at 3.  

Emma's swim banquet was at Coyote Moon and they did such a nice job!  The coach had each girl come up and said a few words, she said how impressed she was with how much Emma learned in a short amount of time with this being her first year.  She also said how good she is at breaststroke, I could tell it made Emma's day!  We are so proud of what she accomplished this year.  Can't wait for next year!

Rachel's volleyball banquet was at the high school and we had a potluck.  Her coach also got up and talked about each girl.  It was pretty cool when he brought up how her serving is one of her strongest skills.  She struggled SO much with serving back in 7th and 8th grade, but now kills it!  So proud of her and how hard she has worked to get to where she is!

And finally, if you're Catholic, then you know that tonight is St. Nick.  He stops by everyone's house and leaves a bag full of goodies.  Alayna's favorite thing are her elf jammies, they are SO freaking cute!

Emma got the book "The Cabin" and some slippers and Rachel got a journal and slippers.  St. Nick also brought us a new devotional Christmas book and some yummy candy.  He did well, haha!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are enjoying all the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas!!!

Dec 3, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

We had an AMAZING Thanksgiving!!  Seriously, it was exactly what I had hoped it was going to be.  The company I work for has just added a huge addition, and they needed to close the shop to work on the electrical.  So I actually had Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (we are always closed the Friday after, yay!!) off.  It.was.glorious.  I have really missed having a day off during the week, and this was such a treat!

Blessed, Energy, and Memes: At the end of the day,
 I am thankful
 that my blessings are
 bigger than my
Power of Positivity

Our weather here in MN has been CRAZY!  It's been so warm.  Alayna and I enjoyed many evening walks/bike rides before the time change!

Then last week this happened!  We got about 6 inches of snow the Friday before Thanksgiving.  It was nice to gt home from work and all hunker down.  We ate and played games!  Saturday the girls got out and made a giant snowman.

Apparently they've been having fun with snapchat filters, haha....

Wednesday Brad took off too and we got all of our Christmas stuff up.  We did our usual hot cider and appetizers while listening to Brad bitch about how the pre-lit tree is missing lights.  Remind you of something, dad????!!!  We always have Elf on while we decorate, I love, love, love this day!!  I love how cozy our house is this time of year...I will have a house tour next week!

Wednesday evening I made the mashed potatoes and homemade rolls, got all the ingredients prepped for stuffing and appetizers.  I was wiped!

Brad and I were up early Thanksgiving morning to start prepping the bird.  I made Mix and Match Mamas Cinnamon Monkey Bread Casserole.  It was good, but I don't think I mixed the eggs well enough.  I will try it again though!  Mousey loved it!

We had my mom, step dad, and my brothers family over.  We really had the best time eating, laughing and eating some more!

We had turkey, sausage and mushroom stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, sweet milk dinner rolls, corn, orange jello salad, cranberry fluff, raspberry bavarian jello salad and of course pies!!

We seriously stuffed ourselves silly, but it was so worth it!

We played games in the afternoon, our favorite was "Utter Nonsense".  SO.MUCH.FUN!!  We all laughed till we cried, it was a blast!

For supper I made a cheese board with assorted cheeses and crackers, and grapes.  And of course, leftovers if you wanted!  I think we were all half asleep by 9 and in bed by 9;30.  Eating and laughing is a lot of work!

Friday morning we (the girls) were up by 5 to head out for some Black Friday shopping.  We stopped at Starbucks first of course!  I forgot to take pics, dang it...We actually found some great deals, even though I had nothing really on my list.  It was just nice to all hang out together!

My brother and his family left early afternoon, it was so wonderful having them here!  I really cherish the time we get together as it doesn't happen often with how busy our lives get.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

Nov 28, 2016

Fall 2016

Oh blog, how I have missed you.  Seriously.  As grateful as I am to have a job that I love, I feel like I have given up everything I used to love to do.  I need to find that again, so here I am!

We had an amazing fall, truly!  It was CRAZY busy with the girls' activities, but we still made time to do all the fall things!  As much as I love summer, it's damn exhausting!  I love the cool evenings, especially when it gets darker earlier.  To me it's just so cozy, and I get to watch TV!!

So here are some of the things we love about fall...


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First off.....

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Need I say more?  I actually found a wonderful recipe for Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Iowa Girl Eats.  They were SO good and very easy to make!  And along with that was our favorite Pumpkin Scones from Damn Delicious.  I bet I made these 5 or 6 times, they are delicious!!

Second on our list is the pumpkin patch.  We have several around here that we like to visit.  They always have live music, vendors selling homemade items and lots of yummy stuff to buy.  I love that my girls still love to do this with me.

I love that they get just as excited about all the fall!!

September and October were INSANE.  Rachel started a new school this year and absolutely LOVES it!  It was the best (and most stressful) decision we made!  Her volleyball team played awesome, and they were so fun to watch.  We are so proud of this kid and how far she has come in volleyball!

Emma decided to try swimming this year and we are so glad she did!  Emma has amazed us both in how much she learned and how much she improved!  We LOVE watching her swim and I am so happy to see her be a part of a team and all the cool things they do!

Mousey joined orchestra this year and is really enjoying it!  She has graduated from plucking and is learning how to use the bow right now.  It's so fun to see how much better they get in such a short amount of time!  She is also loving 5th grade, I guess she's not such a baby anymore...

October brought Halloween...

I love that they still love to carve pumpkins!

Alayna dressed up as Meredith Grey from Grey's Anatomy and Emma dressed as a witch.  It was a gorgeous night to trick or treat!  We ordered pizzas with some friends and walked the neighborhood in town, so fun!

For the Halloween bus this year the guys dressed as Amish men and we were their hootchie mamas.  It was a ton of fun again!!

I woke up the girls super early one school morning to take them to The Local Blend for an early breakfast.  So much fun to get out of our routine and enjoy each other's company!

As crazy as fall was, we really enjoyed our time from evenings campfires to fall festivals to decorating and enjoying some of our favorite cool weather soups/stews.  
Some of our faves:

I would like to give a big shout out to all you mamas who work outside the home with littles at home.  I have NO idea how you do it!  My girls are extremely independent and older, but I still feel like a wreck most of the time trying to make that balance of working mom/mom/wife and an actual person, haha!!  I hate that I maybe don't do all the fun little crafts and things that I used to do when I was home with them.   However, I think they're growing up ok.  I hope.  

Oct 6, 2016

A Look Into My Crazy World

Me again!  Aren't you impressed??!!  I am.  It's only by chance that I actually have time to write this.  I know that everyone has their challenges,  I really do, but I swear I don't know how some of these blog moms work full time with 3 kids and still manage to write a post  

Here's a look into my week...

Brad left last Saturday for Canada goose hunting.  It's funny how organized and scheduled I am when he's gone.  I'm guessing because I know I don't have the extra help, haha!

Alayna and I were able to get outside Sunday and Monday nights for a walk/bike ride.  It was nice to have her to myself.

Rachel had homecoming last week, love this pic of her and Taylor.  They've been besties since 5th grade.

So let's see, what else is going on...
I have been getting up at 4:45 everyday to get a quick workout in on the treadmill. Prep supper so it's ready tp go when I get home   Make the girls breakfast, get them to school and work from 8-4:30.  Pick up Alayna at Grandmas, pick Rachel and Taylor up from practice, bring Taylor home.
I have been driving kids from practice/to games every night this week.  On top of that, Emma came down with a virus and thankfully mom (love you!!!) was able to take her to the doctor to make sure it wasn't strep.  Our dog Jasmine has something going on, she isn't eating and can hardly get up.  I have to take her to the vet and am not sure how I am going to try and lug an 80 pound lab.  Today I got a call from school that Rachel was having an allergic reaction to something, her eye was almost completely swollen shut.  

Seriously, why does this stuff only happen when Brad's gone???  I'm exhausted.

Alayna needed me to print out pics for a project at school.  I looked on my phone's camera and damn near died when I saw this snapchat pic she did!!

I love this life, don't get me wrong.  We're just at a super busy stage, makes me appreciate the evening like tonight that I am home.

Rachel has a game in Brainerd and I didn't go.  I felt bad, but it just wasn't happening with single parenting this week.  Emma had a meet but didn't swim because I want her to get better.  So it was just mouse and I.  We ordered food for delivery, put up our Halloween decorations and played rummy.  Exactly the kind of night I needed!!

Sep 20, 2016

Well Hello There!

Long time no hear, huh?  Yowsa, I can't believe the 4th of July was my last post.  Sad.
This summer was absolute CRAZY!!!  I'm not kidding.  It was great, we did a lot of fun stuff, but, I was seriously ready for fall by the end of July!  This summer was just a lot of planning on how to get to kids to activities and such.  Honestly, if it wasn't for my mom and Brad's mom, our kids would have been home bound all summer.  THANK YOU!!!

So here's a recap of our summer...

Alayna played softball again this year and had such a great season... They ended up coming in 2nd in house and won the championship!  She struggled the first half hitting, but found her groove!

My BFF's and I did a painting party at a brewery in our town and had such a blast!  And I clearly forgot to take a picture of our paintings, haha!  This is also the same day that I had a second interview for a different job and was offered the job!  I started in August and absolutely LOVE it!  It's 10 minutes from our house (compared to 30) and love the variety and the people I work with!

Some more fun evenings with friends...

We were able to take the boat out a couple times for some fishing.

Mousey did a Blazer volleyball camp and had a blast and made her big sister proud!

We had a weekend up at my dads with all the siblings and cousins and had a ton of fun!

Of course the best part was seeing this sweet little nugget!  Love him so much!

Lots and lots of evenings sitting on the porch watching these two bump the volleyball.

These two really enjoyed watching them, haha!

August started school sports.  This year Rachel transferred to a different school, and I am SO glad we made the change!  She absolutely loves it and has made some great friends already.

Emma has decided this year to try swimming, and we are SO proud of this girl!  She has learned so much in a short amount of time and has really enjoyed it!

We celebrated Brad's oldest brother Mike's 50th birthday over Labor Day weekend.  We had a lot of fun and lots of laughs!  

I love this picture of Rachel and her cousin Madalyn, and especially because of the two yahoos on the hay bales behind them!!

Mousey and William, two peas in a pod!

So I completely failed in the 1st day of school pics.  Rachel started the day before the other two, so I was able to get one of her, but have yet to take one of all three.  Oops!

This is probably my all time favorite picture.  Our group of friends went to a local winery for their fall festival.  It was a gorgeous day and was so fun to hang with some of our favorite peeps!

So unfortunately this post is going to end on a down note.  The last 6 weeks has been very hard on our community.  The end of August a sweet, beautiful little 6 year old girl, Alayna was kidnapped and murdered by a family friend of her parents.  It has shaken us all to the core.  Roughly 2 weeks later Jacob Wetterlings body was found 27 years after he was kidnapped.  He was kidnapped from the sweet little town we live in now, and his body was found in the town I graduated from high school.  
It has honestly been surreal that after all these years, we now know what happened.
My hometown has been shaken to the core.  When I was in middle school, we all knew that you
didn't stay out past 9 at night because "Chester the Molester" might come and get you.  I had no idea this was actually a real person that had been terrorizing young boys in my town.  This monster is the one who kidnapped and murdered Jacob.

Last week my brother in laws sweet little 8 year old nephew passed away suddenly from a blood clot to the brain.  His parents have not just buried one child, but three, as they had two stillborn daughters.  Friends of ours also lost their 20 year old nephew a few days later from a motorcycle accident.  Where is the fairness in any of these deaths?  I will never know that answer.

Last Friday our local mall was terrorized by a young man with a knife, stabbing people.  This is the mall that I have  dropped my girls off to shop with their friends.  No more.  I hate to live in a bubble, but I could not be ok with them being alone there anymore. 

I'm not gonna lie.  I am SO ANGRY with all these horrific tragedies happening way too often around us.  Why so much horror in the deaths of these sweet children?  I could keep asking why until I'm blue in the face, but it is not for me to know why.  I will say that my faith has become SO much stronger lately.  I have had daily reminders of God's love for me and my family.  Are we immune to these horrors?  Nope, but I know my faith and relationship with God will always be there no matter what.

Hug your sweet babies tonight and every night.  Give in a little, say yes more.  We are not guaranteed tomorrow...

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Jul 6, 2016

4th of July

We had an absolutely amazing 4th of July weekend!  if you know anything about me, then you know that Christmas is my favorite holiday, but the 4th comes in a very close second.  I love the colors, looks, foods, everything!  I especially love decorating our home...

 Our church has always had their festival over the 4th and it has now grown into a 20,000+ people festival!
And of course the 4th is extra special to me because Brad proposed to me at the parade 19 years ago!  My how time flies....
When we lived in town, we had our group of 4 couples and their kids come over for a big fish fry on the 3rd and then we would walk up to the grounds.  Everyone would spend the night and we would make a huge breakfast the next morning and then walk up for the parade.  Sometimes I wonder how we did it with small kids, haha!

I came home on Friday and Rachel and Emma had made their cakes to take down to the church for the cake stand.  They have tons of food, beer tents, kids games and concerts.

Saturday we (and by "we" I mean Brad:) finished up the landscaping around the pool.  Brad laid down landscape timbers and pea rock.  I forgot the after picture..
Saturday we were all exhausted and in bed by 10.  Sunday morning I was busy in the kitchen.  I made corn and black bean salsa, cut up a big watermelon, made a hotdish, and cinnamon rolls.

Sunday after lunch we all got in the pool, it was glorious!!  I think we were in for about 3 hours.  Definitely got some sun!

We all got showered up and ready and headed into our sister and brother-in-law's to eat some supper and hang out for a bit before heading uptown.

There were a TON of people up there, holy cow.  We enjoyed some mini donuts and the girls played some games and we listened to the band they had.  At 10:00 they have fireworks.  Love our little town!

Monday morning I was up by 4:30 (we get a random call about once a month at 4:30 in the morning) and couldn't fall back asleep, so I figured I might as well get up and get some stuff done!

We decided on Sunday that we were going to have a pool party after the parade with Brad's family.  I was so glad I had made some appetizers on Sunday.  Emma and I also made some rice krispy treats and pretzel rods.

The parade is always fun, I love that my girls still like to dress up for the 4th!

These two are best friends!

People started coming around 1:30 and it was a great afternoon!  Although the sun went away completely, it didn't stop the kiddos from having fun in the pool!

After everyone left we headed over to the farm for a bonfire and fireworks.  It's so nice because even though we are about 10-15 miles from where they shoot off the fireworks, we can still see them!  We were exhausted by the end of the night, and all crashed hard.

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!