Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Superb Birthday

Well, if today is any indication, 27 is going to be a mighty fine year.  Today was such a great day.  Michael surprised me by taking the day off, so instead of having to rush out the door for work, he made me a delicious pancake breakfast (with berries and whipped cream, of course) and we had a nice relaxing morning at home.  It was so nice!  Then AnnaMarie hosted a little birthday brunch for me over at her house with my sister, Kelly, and her kids.  It was so much fun!  Thanks, you guys!  Great food, great company, and a LOT of CRAZY kids.  Then I headed back home, and surprise!  Michael had made the birthday cake and cleaned up the house and Kelly and the kids came over for cake and ice cream!  It was my favorite cake, angel food cake with whipped cream and berries (am I boring?  I pretty much could just eat strawberries and whipped cream forever). 

We opened gifts, let the kids play outside, and then after I dropped Ryan off at preschool the rest of us all took naps.  Perfect addition to my already amazing birthday!  Then I spent the afternoon playing the new games I got with the kids.  They had so much fun, and so did I.  And my parents sent a fruit basket which included a gourmet caramel apple.  I am either very predictable or the people in my life just know me really really well, because everything I got today was just what I wanted.  It was perfect and fun and relaxing.  So thanks everyone for the messages, phone calls, and company.  It was really a fantastic day.  27 feels great!

About to blow out my candles:


Celebrating with the family:

Opening some presents:

 A girl after my own heart:


Free Christmas Cards? YES.

So, my friend tipped me off to this great Christmas card deal.  Last year I did my blog book from Shutterfly and it turned out beautifully. This year, thanks to his awesome deal, I'm trying out Shutterfly for our very first Christmas card attempt.  Exciting, I know.
 

One thing I really like is that you can include your Christmas letter right on your card in some of their designs.  I really like this one and this one.  With over 100 designs to choose from, there is surely something that will be perfect for you! Check them all out here.

They also have gift ideas like personalized ornaments (here) and wall calendars (here).

Anyways, I thought maybe you all might like to know that you can get your Christmas cards for free, too, just for posting a blog about them. Sign up here.  Woohoo for free stuff!

IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!

I took the liberty of removing the blinking message and giant picture that Michael put up :) Here is the non giant version instead. Thanks for the birthday wishes! It was a fantastic day!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

SNOW!!!

Well, we finally got our first snow of the season, and what a snow it was!  Last night the kids and I came down to Eagan to spend time with Kelly and the kids while Ken was on a scout campout.  We had a sleepover and what do you know?  When we woke up this morning there was a beautiful, fluffy 7 inches on the ground!  So, of course we got the kids all bundled up and let them run wild.  They had so much fun and were so excited to be playing in the snow.   We had to borrow some snow clothes, so Calvin was looking pretty awesome in hot pink snow pant and cowgirl boots.  Sweet.  Anyways, it was lots of fun to play in the snow--perfect for snowmen!  I love the first snow of the season.  It's always fun, at least for a couple of weeks :)  Here are some pictures of all the fun:















And here's how I found Ryan when he had finally fallen asleep last night.  I can only imagine what he was doing right there when he suddenly just got too tired to be awake any more...


And the girlies in the tub this morning:




We had so much fun, so thanks for having us, Kelly!  Yay for snow!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Family

Lately I've been thinking about our little family.  I've been thinking about how I need to be more patient with my sweet little kids and have more fun with them.  Tonight when I tucked Ryan into bed, I told him that I had fun playing with him, to which he replied, "Actually, Mom, you didn't play with me at all today."  I assured him that I had, but even as I was doing that, I was honestly struggling to think of when I actually had played with him today.  It's funny, because I felt like it had been a great day.  My kids were sweet and fun, I got to snuggle Ryan for a while in the beautiful 60 degree weather in the front yard while the other kids napped, I checked a few good things off my to-do list.  Great day in my book.  But for some reason I didn't take the time to make sure I was giving Ryan just a few minutes of fun play time doing what he wanted to do.  It made me sad.

A friend of mine came over today who has 6 kids, most of whom are teenagers.  As I got a small glimpse into her life right now, I realized that my sweet little ones who love me so much and crave my attention so much and want so badly for me to just be with them and do what they're doing all day long will soon be teenagers who probably mostly won't want to hang out with me or have me do what they're doing.  And I know I'll miss it.  So my new goal is to make sure my kids know how much I do love spending time with them.  Dishes can wait.  Dinner can be a half hour later.  I can stop surfing the web for 20 minutes and go play a game.  It's really not that hard.

So, I am re-committed to being a better mom.  I love being a mom, really I do.  I feel so blessed and lucky to be able to spend my days with my little buddies.   I guess it's just a matter of translating the love I feel into love that they'll understand.  Which, I think, is one of the most important tasks of parenthood.  So anyways, here's to being better and trying harder!

On the lighter side, today in honor of the last day of beautifully warm weather, we got all dressed up in coordinating outfits and put forth our best attempt at taking our own family pictures.  Great, huh?  I was thinking about hiring someone to do them, but it seems like the photography world is divided into 2 groups: People whose stuff is affordable, but looks like any old person walking by could have done just as good of a job, and people whose sitting fee is manageable and whose work looks so great, but whose CD of images costs you, like, $600.  On top of the sitting fee.  I just couldn't bring myself to do it!  Anyways, here are my favorites from today.  Yay for a tripod and a timer!













Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween!

Well, we had a WONDERFUL Halloween here in Minnesota.  We were lucky enough to have my Dad visiting over Halloween weekend so we had a blast.  His visit deserves an entire post of its own (or two or three) so we'll just focus on Halloween itself for now.

Since I really couldn't top the garage door costume from last year, I didn't do anything homemade.  But they were still adorable!  Here they are, in all their Halloween glory:

Calvin the Monkey:



A bucket full of candy?? Who needs this banana?


Ryan the Cowboy:


Showing that buckin' bronco who's boss:


 Sophie Bug:



A little tipsy...


We started out with a trunk-or-treat at our church on Saturday night.  AnnaMarie and the girls came, and Christy and Grandpa Moore were down visiting briefly, too, so the whole gang was there.  Here are the monkey and the princess holding hands, ready to go:


Sophie was quite content bundled up in a blanket with aunt Christy:


So content, in fact, that I pretty much turned around and when I looked at her again, she was fast asleep.  Christy is the best!


The two cowboys, Ryan and Grandpa Walton, taking on the trunks:


Calvin and Grandpa Moore on the home stretch:


The whole trunk or treat gang (minus pirate Jane who I think was sleeping):


Then on Sunday we went down to Ken and Kelly's house to trick or treat with them.  Here is the whole group before heading out:

We had a monkey, a cowboy, a bug, an owl, a witch and Darth Vader.  


 And I love this one of the babies.  Poor Lily really hated her owl costume.  But she was very cute!



The kids had so much fun together!  We all started out together but all the kids ended up finding their own pace.  Ryan and Michael ended up going together just the two of them.  Michael said Ryan was pretty funny, being meticulously polite at every door, "Trick or treat!  You have beautiful flowers!  Thank you very much!  Happy Halloween!"  When I caught up with Calvin and Grandpa Walton to check on them, Calvin ran up to me and in the most excited version of his classic grumbly voice yelled, "IT'S MY MOM!  HEY MOM!  I GOT A BUCKET FULL OF CANDY!  AND IT'S FOR ME AND YOU!!!!!!!!!"  They really had a lot of fun, and both got their little buckets all filled with candy, which they were very excited about.  Sophie and I came home earlier because she was cold and tired and hungry.  She felt a lot better after a little of this:


Anyways, I hope you all had a lovely Halloween, too!  Now bring on November!  Best month of the year, hands down.