Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wish List

This week Ethan asked Santa for an Xbox 360 with Kinect. I gave him a head's up that Santa wasn't going to bring an Xbox this year, but maybe he'd bring some new games for the wii. Ethan decided if Santa couldn't produce, maybe someone else could. As he was saying his prayers before bed he made his final plea, "please bless that I'll get an Xbox 360 for Christmas".

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ethan is Front Page News

Making gingerbread houses in Ethan's kindergarten class was front page news this week (clearly, our sleepy little suburbian town doesn't have a lot of news to report :-). Needless to say, Ethan was delighted to see his name and his cute mug in the paper. Gotta love those milk carton and graham cracker gingerbread houses.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's Become Comical

I'm not usually one to dwell on the occasional lemons in life, and I especially don't care to keep an ongoing chronicle of such things. But, recently we've had such an onslaught of broken stuff, it really has become downright comical. Forgive me as I make a list of the things that have broken in the past ten days:
  1. My Car - $1500 repair to pass emissions, ouch! ...and it still needs brakes.
  2. DVR - Just quit recording, total hard drive failure. New one arrives tomorrow.
  3. Telephone - After 1-1/2 hours with tech support we have dial tone again.
  4. Treadmill - Mat started jerking. New $140 part on its way--let's hope it works.
  5. Garbage Disposer - It's making weird noises and frequently needs to be reset.
  6. Dryer - Sensor isn't working--dried one load all night long.

Brent's just happy that his finicky lights above the kitchen island are working well!

Thankfully our bodies are healthy and for that we are very grateful!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Wish I Had...

Last week Ethan's kindergarten class celebrated the 50th day of school. In honor of that exciting day, my darling, sweet, little 5-year-old (the one who constantly gives me hugs and kisses and says he just wants to snuggle with me) drew the picture above captioned, "I wish I had 50 machine guns". WHAT?!? Not 50 pieces of candy, 50 Chuck E. Cheese tokens or 50 dollars? Nope. 50 machine guns. Oh boy!

Friday, November 12, 2010


My good friend and next door neighbor nominated her niece, Stephanie, to win a new VW Bug through a contest at a local dealership. Stephanie made it as a finalist and is currently in the lead with the most votes for her story! In order to maintain her lead, she's making a plea to friends of friends to help out. She's hoping to get votes from all 50 states (and specifically asked if I could round up some voters in Utah and Cali). So, I'm asking you now--I know you have a million other things to do today, but could you take a minute to click through and vote for Steph?

Stephanie has made it through four re-occurrences of brain cancer and is currently doing great. She just graduated from college and is hoping for a new car to get her to work (hopefully in PR at Children's Hospital in Chicago where she's spent a lot of time over the past 10 years). She's a sweet girl from a very sweet and humble family. This would be huge for her! THANKS!
The LOVEbug LOVEbug 2 Contest… Presented by Fox Valley Volkswagen

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Carving, Costumes and Candy

The Carving
Every year we pick our own pumpkins at Thompson's farm in Wisconsin (only about 30 minutes from home). You can fill a whole car with pumpkins for $60. We usually split the load with two other families and end up with more than enough pumpkins to decorate our porch for the month and carve for Halloween.
The Costumes
Oscar the Grouch, Captain Cody the Clone Trooper, and a Rubik's cubeThe Candy
The neighbor friends always get together to sort and trade after the first round of trick-or-treating. The "junk" or "free" pile was full of Charleston Chews...who hands out Charleston Chews?
The Compilation Collage

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Our Cousin Charlie

It's been over a year since we've had cousins come to visit (hint, hint...anyone want to come visit :-) so we were excited to get a call from Charlie's mom saying she had last minute tickets to Oprah and was bringing Charlie along for a visit. We loved hanging out with Charlie on our turf. When he showed the boys how to make trampoline snowboards out of duct tape and cardboard boxes we knew they were kindred spirits. They constructed a blanket fort in the basement, visited the Kohl children's museum, and had lunch at McDonald's on the tollway oasis bridge (it's always a novelty to eat a Happy Meal while watching cars race by below). I'm surprised how much the boys look alike in these photos--there is definitely a family resemblance.

Friday, October 15, 2010

My New Favorite Photographer

Love, love, love this photographer, Brittany Cascio! She is so talented I just can't stand it. She came out to Chicagoland to snap photos of several families here, but she resides in the greater SLC area (Logan-ish to be exact--but she travels to the whole greater SLC area and beyond). So if you need photos call her, she is amazing. You won't be sorry. I am so excited that she'll be doing my sister, Rachel's, wedding next July and can't wait to see what kind of magic Brittany works with a beautiful subject like Rach.

Click here... photos see the whole session Brittany recently did with our little family at the beautiful Illinois Beach State Park along the shores of Lake Michigan (a few favs are below). My ONLY regret is that she couldn't take 20 pounds off me and add it to Brent. But I suppose that is outside of the scope of her job. How to make an uncooperative 5-year-old smile.
One for the 3rd grade ladies...he's dreamy, isn't he :-) My girl! You'd never guess this precious little guy was being so silly and uncooperative. Somehow Brittany magically captured beautiful photos of him.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Rate My Space - My Bedroom Revealed

My poor bedroom was neglected and in much need of an update. I had intended to repaint for years (I never liked the green I painted) but somehow the bedroom was never top on the priority list. So, when Brent went to Europe for work this week I decided to do my own HGTV inspired "surprise design". Seven days later Brent came home to a repainted, redecorated, and revitalized bedroom.

Notice the attractive forest green and burgundy matted cherry frames. Yup, artwork from our first apartment. We bought the maps on our honeymoon and had them matted to match our forest green and burgundy decorated apartment--fashionable home decorating in 1994. I'm not really sure why I thought it was a good idea to hang the maps in our bedroom 16 years later. Yes, we really had two nightstands stuck next to each other on one side of the room. An HGTV nightmare. Since they were hidden on the far side of the room I told myself you couldn't really see them and it wasn't too bad. But now that I see it in a photo--argh, what was I thinking?! What a cluttered mess!

Drum roll please... prepare for the big reveal...

AFTER... I dusted off the sewing machine and made the black pillows myself!
Notice the vintage photography from 1994 :-)...a little throw back to the wedding.

This was my grandma Regan's dresser. She found it in the garage of a house her family once rented--left behind by the previous tenant. All the years she lived with us, this dresser was always in her room. I have fond memories of rummaging through these drawers as a child. They were jam packed with all sorts of treasures--boxes of cards, a baby food jar of polished rocks, a blue plastic container of buttons, and sometimes (if you were really fortunate) a piece of Brach's candy.
Oh, and I also whipped up this cool little upholstered board for my necklaces (we have a weird duct that runs up the wall in 1/2 of one of the closets, so this was a great way to put that wasted space to good use)...

So the reveal wasn't quite like HGTV, Brent didn't burst into tears overwhelmed by the beauty of his new bedroom. But, he was caught off guard and he did like it a lot. I was just happy to have the deadline of his homecoming so I could get the whole thing completely 100% finished with no lingering half finished details.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Don't Worry Mom

While Ethan was sitting on the toilet recently we had the following conversation:

Ethan: "Mom, I don't want you to worry, I'm just going #2 right now."

Me: "Oh, um, okay, that's great." I was perplexed as to why I should be worried and didn't really know how to respond.

Ethan: "No mom, it's not great, IT'S AMAZING."

I'm still not sure why #2 is so amazing, but Ethan seems to find joy in many things. And I find joy in his hilarious commentary.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

20 Years Later

I loved this article in today's Sunday paper -- Return of the Class of '80 The author perfectly summed up my thoughts about my 20-year High School reunion last month. Everyone seemed so genuine, so normal and down to earth. I'll admit I had a fair amount of anxiety over going to the reunion to reveal my aged and expanded self. Somehow I assumed I was the only one who no longer looked like she did at seventeen. Miraculously, everyone else had changed a bit too (go figure). While the girls were all beautiful, no one looked just as they did before. What's more, no one cared. We were a bunch of old friends genuinely happy to reconnect and reminisce. Go Titans!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It's For the Ladies

A few days before school started Isaac got a new "Justin Bieber"-like haircut. We were joking around that his new haircut was, "for the ladies". After the first day of school I asked Isaac if "the ladies" liked his new haircut. He responded, "No one really said anything about it...but a few girls did keep staring at me during class." Can't say that I blame the girls, I think he's pretty dreamy myself.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sister Love

My friend, Jennifer, just lost her sister to cancer this morning. Her sister had five kids ranging in age from 5 to 14--not too dissimilar from two of my sisters. I can't stop crying as I think about how painful it would feel to loose one of my sisters. I see my sisters twice a year at best, and I'm not a great phone person, but just knowing they are a phone call, email, or plane ride away means everything. My heart aches thinking of my nieces and nephews and how seemingly alone in the world they would be if their mom was no longer on earth to love them. So today while I am sad for Jennifer, I am also grateful. Grateful for health. Grateful for sisters. Grateful to love my sisters so much that my heart aches and tears flow just thinking of one of them missing from the world. Grateful to be a mom and know what it feels like to be the center of someones universe. Grateful for kids who can come home from school today into the eager and anxious awaiting arms of their mom.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Roadtrip to Utah - August 2010

We spent an uber long vacation (2-1/2 weeks) in Utah this summer. It kicked off with my sister Rachel's engagement party followed by boating at Bear Lake and a weekend of camping at the Tony Grove campground near Logan with my family. My uncle Ron brought my grandma Adair to visit, we haven't seen her in a few years so I was so happy the kids got to spend a little time with her (you can tell by the photos that Ethan was a little wary of her wrinkles). We spent the rest of the week with the Shaeffer cousins slip-and-sliding on the lawn, going to the drive-in theatre, playing Ms. Pac Man and just enjoying being together with cousins and sisters. Then we switched to the Paul cousins for fun at Snowbird, rafting down the Provo River, golf (Brent), and the Provo River Half Marathon (Brent & I). The kids spent hours outside at night playing a new game called 21-dot-dot. In the midst of it all we went to my 20-year High School reunion and spent time with many of my best girls from school. Fun times!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Roadside Relief

Often called monotonous and void of any interesting landscape, the Midwestern stretch of I-80 gets a bad rap. While the drive between Chicago and Salt Lake City can be boring at times, somehow, we managed to find beauty every time Ethan needed a between-gas-stops potty break.

Nebraska or Iowa on the way home

Wyoming or Nebraska on the way home

Wyoming (I think) on the way out

Wyoming on the way out

Colorado (technically not on the I-80, but close by)