Thursday, June 27, 2013

Here comes the bride...

and the turtles too!

My cousin {the bride} has arrived for her wedding. And while much of yesterday and today was spent preparing for the wedding, we did manage to sneak in a little nostalgic fun at the turtle races.  

See this, this is us as 4 year olds in our cute 1980s-esque rompers. Clearly she has always been the cuter one but she is such a wonderful person inside and out that I haven't held it against her...too much:) 

{Pink romper = me; Blue romper = bride}

And here she is racing a turtle with our eldest (and smartest) cousin's assistance:
 Now if that doesn't scream summer fun with a capital F I don't know what does!

Without further ado, my kids at yesterday's turtle races with Turtlick:

I am pretty sure this is so obvious that it doesn't need mentioning, but Charlotte definitely rocked her pink romper way better than her momma! Need more proof?

Here ya go...

Turtlick was FAST! Unfortunately he (she?) decided to turn back right before touching the finish line! So close yet so far away. And now he has been released into the wild where no one will be disappointed in his ability (or lack there of) to crawl a straight and fast path. 

My romper clad girl and I had the privilege of tagging along with the bride for her hair trial run. 

It was fun to see the bride transform into...well....a bride right before our eyes. Better yet, Charlotte kept whispering in my ear that she {the bride} was getting pretty like mommy. Yep, I was pretty much putty in that girl's hands. How can you resist that sincere sweetness and adoration?!

Lastly, because I can't ever resist a little, teeny walk down memory lane here we are circa 1989 and yesterday:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Up North

Where the mosquitos are thick and hungry. The ticks are plentiful. And the air is heavy with heat and humidity. That is where the kids and I can be found. Sounds just delightful, doesn't it? Despite how it may sound, it really is wonderful.
We are surrounded by family. Playmates galore! And wide open spaces to explore. Turtles and toads have been collected by the buckets full (and released:). Games have been played - I even managed to squeeze in a round of golf with my cousins...the card game not actual golf!
We have been spoiled rotten by all the grandparents and extended family. My aunt served the kids breakfast (= juice & CHOCOLATE Lucky Charms) on TV trays while watching cartoons this morning.  And tonight they had ice cream and raspberries before bed! They are never going to want to leave...
Me neither now that I think of it! A couple bugs and poison ivy has never scared me away before, why should it now? 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Roadtrip Marathon

The kids and I are 18 days and 1,000+ miles into our month long roadtrip extravaganza and going strong! 

(There was a minor hiccup this past weekend - I got sick - but I am better now).

Our bags are packed and the van is loaded. We are ready! A mere 130 miles and we will be at our next destination - Great Grandpa and Grandma's house for pre-wedding fun. Even Turtlick gets to join us for this leg of our journey! Should be interesting!

And we are off!!!

Can you tell I am excited? Not so much for the loading and unloading of the van again. I mean how many times can I do that in one month?! The answer: too many times. But time with family makes it all worth it. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Nothing says camping like diapers drying in the grass...or a dad napping amongst playing children in a tent, right?
Cutest little tent escape artist ever! And I am not biased at all:)

We had a great week camping. The kids loved spending time with their daddy...and so did I. Sadly we have to part ways today. Back to school for him. And back to MN for more fun for us!
We promise to come home again...eventually! Until then enjoy the peace and quiet. Oh and try to eat more than just PB&Js:)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Let the good times roll...

Thank you dear friends for allowing us to crash at your place. The accommodations were great. The food was fantastic! Obviously we enjoyed your toys:)

But spending time with your family was the BEST! We love you guys. Thank you for you hospitality. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Celebrating 30

These are my girls. 
And it was an absolute pleasure to go out with them to celebrate my {belated} 30th birthday. It was a perfect evening of eating, chatting and laughing! I truly spent the best years of my 20s with these girls and I can't think of a better way to usher in this next decade than with them by my side!
And now I must (over) share about them because they are so FABULOUS!

Left to right...
Jennilee: this girl is the reason I survived (thrived in?!) PA school. Seriously she more than carried me through 2 of the most challenging years of my life. And on top of that she provided the best study snacks...candy, popcorn, chips, salsa, apples and caramel. Spending all of my free time studying was so much better when it was spent on her couch.  Last but not least she is a wonderful, loving, patient mom...if I was only half as good at this whole mom thing as she is I would be...well a much better mom:) She is AMAZING, trust me. 

Next is me. Moving right along...

Jessie & Erica: these girls were my first "mommy" friends. We met at story time at the library when our oldest were just babies and after I fabricated a playdate that did not exist a friendship was born! We have navigated so so much of motherhood together. We have watched our babies grow into toddlers to preschoolers and now school agers! We gave birth to our second children within months of each other and learned all about mothering 2 kids together. We have laughed together and we have cried together. I am the mother I am today because of the love and support from these amazing mommies. 

Last but certainly not least, Andrea: this girl is an inspiration to me. For starters she is the mom of 2 boys! That right there puts her on a pedestal in my world. And her sense of humor is the BEST! She is also the most supportive, understanding wife. She has weathered the storm of her husband's residency years with grace and seemingly unending energy. I may need to take a lesson or two from her in the near future. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Mr (or Mrs) Turtlick

*Disclaimer: mostly this is post for my husband because he misses the kids and wants an update. Therefore it will be full of kid pictures and very little else:)

We "rescued" a turtle from the middle of the road yesterday. The kids' reactions to our turtle range from excitement to fear to indifference. They did however pick a good name for him (her?): Tootie Turtlick.
Tootie has been "hissing" at us quite a bit so I was afraid we found a mean turtle! After a little googling I discovered turtles don't have vocal cords, who knew?! The "hissing" is actually the air rushing out so they can fit in their shell when they are scared! So as long as we can get Tootie to eat we will be keeping him/her around until The Turtle Races in a few weeks. 

And now for the picture overload: a morning at the park with Grandpa Paul. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Tomorrow. Tomorrow.  
It's only a day away!

This guy takes his FIRST board exam TOMORROW. Step 1. Appropriately named as it is the first major step in becoming a doctor. Besides getting accepted to medical school of course. That's kind of a big one too:) The Step 1 score is what residency programs look at when choosing candidates. Meaning for us that the score has a pretty significant role in our future...

I can hardly believe the day is *almost* here! I feel like the past 6 months have been so focused on studying for Step 1 and it felt like it was NEVER going to happen! And now it is only a day away! 

I completely believe that Joe is prepared and more than competent to succeed tomorrow (and as a doctor for that matter)!  But it is a big deal. It is an 8 hour test that covers 2 years worth of material. So if you think of it would you mind praying for him tomorrow? Pray that he is calm and thorough. And able to recall the information he needs. And quite frankly pray that he is able focus. It is hard taking a test ALL DAY LONG. It gets boring. I know from experience. 

And now onto today:)
See this guy?
That is NOT my husband. That is my husband's little brother. Uncle Chris. But don't tell Hannah. She thought it was her daddy. Isaiah made the same mistake as a 2 year old! 

That's all. 

Oh wait. Charlotte just told me if a volleyball hit her hand and broke off her thumb I could use glue and a bandaid to fix it. Because she needs it for sucking! She ended her story with "I was just thinking about that Mom." A little glimpse into the inner workings of a 3 year old mind:)

P.S. Joe if you are reading this, I love you and I am so proud of you and all you have accomplished over the past 2 years. You have made med school look easy and I am sure you will do the same tomorrow! You have got this thing! Oh and sorry for copying the picture you texted me and putting it on the blog:) I hope that doesn't stop you from sending picture texts in the future. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


My baby boy turns SIX today!

Again I ask myself, "How did that happen?"

So now a walk down memory lane...

Newborn Isaiah:

One Year Old:

Two Years Old:

Three Years Old:

 Four Years Old:

Five Years Old:

And nearly six years old:

Monday, June 10, 2013

Camp Life

We made it to our favorite camp today and Isaiah is a real camper! In a real cabin with a real counselor with real cabin mates!!! Let the real fun begin!
The theme this summer is Christmas:) 

The girls, Grandma Donna and I are here too. We are the volunteer camp nurses. And I am going to really try to NOT hover too much. My goal is to blend in with the background and allow Isaiah to acknowledge me when (if?) he wants to. Easier said than done. I just want to know what he is doing...and is he having fun...and is he making friends...does he like his counselors...what did he buy at the snack he scared sleeping in a new place?! So many questions so few answers. I *might* have reminded him to go potty just before bed. I mean I would hate for him to have an embarrassing incident:)
All serious at chapel tonight! Checking out his junior counselor. Despite how it appears I think he had a blast today...I think. Hopefully soon enough I will know:)

Saturday, June 8, 2013


I finally did it. I cut my hair. Well technically speaking I didn't cut it:) A lovely young hairdresser at Ulta Salon cut it. (Is my old age showing yet?!)

I LOVE it. And by love I mean I nearly hugged the girl. Then I decided that would be awkward and restrained myself:) 
11 inches gone! Off to a better, more appreciative owner through Locks of Love. This was my fourth (maybe fifth?) time donating my hair. 
Aren't those before pictures horrendous? I hadn't showered in.....a while:) Sorry hairdresser. But it sure made for impressive after pictures!

The first time I donated my hair was as a young newlywed. I was tired of my long hair PLUS I discovered some salons will cut your hair for free when donating! Perfect solution. The cheapskate in me was hooked. And since my hair grows fast the rest is history!

My kids were/are pretty indifferent to my new hair style. (I thought they were going to be more surprised/excited/sad...I don't know just more something!) Although Hannah is a bit confused as to why she can't grab my pony tail and falling asleep tonight without it in her hand was tough but we made it! In response to the picture text I sent him, Joe said "it looks nice but we will know more tomorrow". As in when I style it myself without professional guidance. 

To celebrate my parents, kids and I went out to dinner at one of my favorite childhood restaurants. Ok it wasn't really in celebration. More like reliving the good old days/introducing it to the next generation. The burgers and malts at The 50s Grill were just as delicious as I remembered! And the kids had no complaints about ice cream for dinner. We drove away full and satisfied at 5:42 pm...yeah we are just that hip and happening.

We all could get very used to this summer vacation thing. We may never want to go back to reality where dinner is served with a side of peas and bedtime stories are limited to two!

Friday, June 7, 2013


I survived solo parenting at the pediatrician's office for back-to-back well child checks {yesterday} and 400 miles in the van {today}. And I am not sure which was worse...

The appointments only lasted one hour. BUT that one hour was confined to a 15x15 foot space that seemed to amplify my children's whines, grunts and all out shrieks! All while I was either A) attempting to converse with our sweet and very patient pediatrician or B) trying to cajole/force my children to *appropriately* interact with their doctor! Oh the joy! And for some reason I thought rice cakes would be a good snack to bring along.  Sorry janitorial staff for that one! I am sure the remnants are still being found...
But aren't they adorable in their little gowns?!

The drive from Illinois to Minnesota was...well as would be expected when traveling alone with 3 small children. Plenty of crying and chaos confined to a too small space. A space that somehow transforms into a too large space when I can't reach the needy children in the back! This phenomenon still boggles my mind even after 8 hours in that space!
See that ever happy dream lite? Her smirk mocked me and my dreams of a pleasant trip for the ENTIRE 400+ miles!

Looking on the bright side, my husband bought me a *fun* drink for the drive:

I am just hoping all those antioxidants are voiding the accelerated aging effects due to the stress:) A girl can dream, right?!

Oh and if today had been an episode of survivor I know who I would have kicked off my minivan island...lucky for her that isn't how real life works!

But the good news is we all survived (with just a few tears shed) and now we are ready for VACATION! Onward and upward I am sure.