Maria is 8!


I’m a month behind.  I realize this, but I wanted to share how awesome my EIGHT-year old is!

Maria’s personality has completely blossomed in this past year.  I think a lot of it is her age and growing up, but I think some of it is also her new school and new friends.   While she can be sassy and roll her eyes, she is still mostly fun.  There are plenty of days where she is “bored” and is drawn to any type of screen – Kindle, computer, TV, my phone or iPad.  But then there are days where she locks herself in her room to sing and dance and days that she can’t put down the book she is reading.  And while there are days when she just wants to be with her BFF Molly who lives up the street, she also is often perfectly content playing camp or school with Charlie in his room (his room because it’s cleaner).  Yesterday she read him 4 of his library books and helped him complete his summer reading “homework” from the library.  She did hers the first day she brought it home.    This girl likes to be on the go.  If we don’t see any friends over the weekend, you may want to watch out by Sunday afternoon.  I can’t imagine keeping her home in the summer.  The Y-care program is completely up her alley… swimming, field trips, playing with her friends.

Favorite things right now:

  • Socializing!
  • Swimming, biking, scooters
  • Music – Kidz Bop and Taylor Swift – and anything on KS95
  • Books – she just finished the Betsy Tacy Tib Treasury
  • Toys – Barbies & Ever After High

Birthday Number 8 – How we celebrated:

Beanie Boo Party with Friends

  • Each adopted a Beanie Boo to take home, complete with adoption certificate
  • Beanie Boo Bingo
  • Everyone wore PJs (but still went home at 8:30pm)
  • Cake & Ice Cream
  • Lots of giggles & screams.


Ever After High Party with Family

  • Taco Bar – complete with Velveeta-y nacho cheese (birthday girl’s request)
  • Ever After High Cupcakes
  • Simple, but good time with family and cousins.


More Pictures Here


Charlie turned 5 last Wednesday. And we whooped it up for the kid!

It started last weekend with a friend party at the Eagle’s Nest. Theme was pirates – Not Jake, but a real pirate.  We had pirate plates and a cake, and eye patches in the goody bags.  That’s as far as I took it! Six PreK friends, 4 neighbor kids, 6 PreK siblings, and Maria!  It was about -5 degrees outside so they got to burn off some energy with a bunch of other kids!  And no one got sick last week! whew!

Wednesday, we went out to dinner and he opened gifts from us.  He also had a cake at school.

This past weekend we had a party with the family.  He picked Green Bay Packers theme.  I swear I did not even suggest it. It was his idea completely.  Chad and his family did make a lot of “stinky Packers” comments, but that probably adds fuel to the fire.  Especially when my family was all sporting green & gold.

Charlie 5th Birthday

This kid is pretty amazing at 5.

About a week before his birthday he DECIDED to stop peeing w
hile he was in bed, so like that we’re done with pull-ups, and the Diaper Champ is airing out in the garage after almost 8 years of use.  I’m happy to be done, but wish he would have DECIDED this a while ago.

He has a ton of imagination and likes to build things with just about anything: Legos, Tinker Toys, train sets, Magna Tiles, Marble Mazes, He is able to follow most instructions by himself, but he also likes to deviate and be creative.  The stuff he brings home from school is pretty awesome too.  Lots of sculptures made out of cardboard tubes, or plastic cups…

Like  most boys his age, he loves super heroes (Spider Man is his favorite), trucks, hot wheels, and most recently Star Wars… but still enjoys Sofia the First, Fox & the Hound, and other movies with Maria.

He likes sports too, but not obsessed with them yet.  He loved skating lessons this winter, and wants to play hockey for the Minnesota Gophers.  But when asked what sports he will play when he grows up, he consistently says “golf!”  That makes Chad so happy and probably cancels out the fact that Charlie likes the Packers!

He is doing awesome in preschool.  He is learning the sounds of all his letters and can do all his letters in sign language.  He has yelled at Chad for leaving the car running and harming the polar bears homes!  He can explain the difference between blue and red veins. He is learning simple math, although he may not realize it’s math! And we consistently hear that he is a leader and a good listener and rule follower at school. All good stuff, that makes our hearts swell…

He’s a great kid!  Just can’t believe he’ll be starting Kindergarten in the fall, so we’re trying not to blink right now!

More Birthday Pictures

The Moving Process

It was a LONG process… so I’m going to break it down for you.

  • February: cleaning out and organizing.
  • March: repairing damage from ice dams in February, painting, carpet cleaning, storage locker
  • April: our house hit the MLS.  We had some showings… then it slowed down.  We removed wallpaper and painted some more.
  • May: fired our realtor.  2 days later he brought us an offer, so we didn’t effectively get rid of him.  But honestly, he sold it in just over a month and got us well over what other realtors said we would get. I think that is more to the house and how we prepared – vs. his marketing skills.  We hired another realtor to help us find a new house.
  • June: packing and moving.  Moved out one day.  Closed on both houses the next morning. Then moved in that afternoon. It was stressful. But we started to see the light at the end of the tunnel, when our new neighbor came over literally 5 minutes after the moving truck pulled up.
  • July: unpacking and starting maintenance on a house that needs some work, but we were meeting the best neighbors!


Those 6 months were pretty draining… to say the least.  and unfortunately the money pit house maintenance continues… But honestly, we still love where we’re at, and we’re accepting this will be slower than planned.  We still have boxes and rooms without furniture.  We have not painted one single room.  It will happen. We’re going to be here a while so taking it slow, because we’d much rather spend our evenings and weekends going for bike rides with the neighbors!

Back to School

We’ve been “Back to school” for a week now.  And it was a good week!

Maria loves her new school.  We are so glad we sent her to the school age program this summer, because she knew so many kids before she even started.  (and at Sunday School too!)  When we asked what she liked about her new school, she says she likes that they have a school song!

Charlie is in the same classroom that he started in this summer and with the same teachers but most of the students changed rooms, so it’s kind of new to him too!

Looking forward to a great school year!  Glad it is off to a good start!


Summer Retrospective

I’ve been absent. I realize this.  And there is wayyyy too much to try and catch up on all of it.  But here’s a summary of our busy summer!


  • Packed up and moved out of Burnsville.
  • Into our new house in New Brighton
  • There was some soccer and birthday parties too.


  • Home Repairs & Upkeep – leaky water main, smoke detectors, brick repair, toilet seats, shower heads, more leaky pipes, catching mice
  • Meeting Neighbors – This was the highlight of our summer.  All the wonderful neighbors that we have met.  Lots of kids.  Lots of baths required after nights of riding bikes, scooters, and ziggles.
  • New preschool for Charlie and summer care program for Maria – new friends & new teachers.


  • A week at Family Camp – super fun – bikes (no training wheels for my kids), scooters, worship, music & friends
  • A sleepover for Maria at Grandpa & Grandma’s
  • Charlie’s first Twins game
  • Daddy golfed and went white water rafting.
  • Discovered a new water park in the area.
  • Labor Day weekend at Uncle Mike’s cabin

It was a little stressful for the first half, but once we were settled in we had lots of fun.  All good stuff!  Ready for fall… more changes coming…


I’m moving on.  Twice…

First after 9 years I am leaving our beautiful family home and moving to a new one in just 3 (very short) weeks!.  Closer to my job, with the bonus of being in a great location complete with a top rated school district.  so YAY for me and YAY for my family!

Second, with the little respect I’ve given my blogging side lately, I’m passing on this domain to another Jane who will be completely awesome and successful in this space!  And on this day where kids are bringing home report cards, I give my blogging course a big fat “F”.    Once I’m settled into my new home, I’m going to work on reviving my stuff here.   Hopefully get more exciting than just some book reviews for y’all!   Meanwhile, keep track of me at my new domain  I know, I’m not moving far… but still different.  So update your reader and I’ll fill you in when I get back on track.  I have some clean up yet to do, so I’ll be here for a little while longer.

The Weekend of Falls

Last weekend was not a good one for Charlie’s head!

On Friday night, he fell down the stairs. We didn’t see it, but within a minute his forehead had a purple goose egg on it. It was really kind of scary.  We called the on-call nurse who told us, the fact that it was swelling on the outside was good (it wasn’t swelling within his skull).  I did however have to monitor him overnight which meant setting my alarm every few hours…

Saturday, we were good.

Sunday, we went to skating lessons.  During Maria’s lesson, Charlie was running in the stands with his boots.  And tripped and went face first into a bench.  Came out with a fat lip.

After Maria’s lesson it was Charlie’s turn.  First time on skates. And he did awesome!  He fell quite a bit, but kept getting up.  But after 45 min on skates (and no nap), he took a faceplant and apparently landed on his forehead again, because that giant goose egg was back!  So once again I monitored him overnight, and then we went to the doctor in the morning.  Just to make sure everything was good! (Plus it was -20 and he didn’t have school anyway)  The doctor said just to continue monitoring him and not to let him watch TV (or any screen time) until it was starting to heal to avoid straining his eyes (so not cool when it was so cold and I needed to entertain him so I could work!)

But he’s getting better. The bruising has moved down to his eyes, so he looks a bit like a raccoon, and he’s still got a bump.  So no skating tomorrow, but he’s looking forward to next week, because we got him a helmet with a “jail” on the front (a mask)
Just another Shiner...
The day after the 3rd fall

Our Raccoon (on Wednesday)

2013 In Review

A few days into 2014, but I love looking back at these each year – This year the revised list of questions from RA.

1. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 40 – the big one. The day of my birthday, I took a vacation day. Had a manicure/pedicure with my friend Sara, met Karin for lunch and shopping, dinner at Noodles with the family, and then we played Just Dance Disney with the kids at home. Good day! The next day we had friends over for the evening, so the kids play Just Dance again and we caught up with friends. It was a GREAT birthday!

2. What are your strongest memories from this year, and why?

My kids aren’t babies any more…

In 2013, Maria transitioned from a Kindergartner to a big kid. She is quite the social butterfly and has a lot of interests. She has definite opinions about what she likes. She also now to the point where she chooses her friends based on common interests and not just because she sits by them.

Charlie went from a toddler to a preschooler. He is all boy and loves all things trucks or balls. He transitioned to a big boy bed and gave up his “nuk-er”. He started preschool and is now going all-day, every day. He can easily play by himself for 45 minutes at a time or with other kids. Maria and Charlie really have discovered they love to play together! He does not like when she has a friend over and he is left out.

3. What did you do this year that you’d never done before?

Fired my cleaning lady… A few things had disappeared and when my friend’s daughter’s piggy bank was emptied out, we let her go…

4. What did you want and get?

Braces – Still have them, but I see the changes and only have a few months left in them..

5. What did you want and not get?

Charlie to be potty trained!

6. What would you like to have next year that you didn’t have this year?

Better balance to my evenings during the week and spending more time with my kids.

7. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

For 2013 my goals were to:

  • simplify and not over-think. – I don’t know how well I did at this!?

My 2014 goals/resolutions are:

  • Get healthy – Eat better (stop cheating and eating gluten/dairy/soy) and exercise more – Cliché, but I really fell off the wagon this year…

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?

I think I got some clarity on how I can be more successful at work.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not being prepared for change when I got a new manager at work. It was my first change in manager in my 4 years with the company and I did not handle it as well as I should have. I think it still would have been hard, but I think I could have made it easier and I will do better next time.

10. What did you rely on when you were overwhelmed?

My co-worker friends , seriously they supported me a LOT this year.

11. What are your strongest recommendations for entertainment from this year? (books, television, movies, music, etc)

TV = New Girl , Books = Still Alice

12. What song will remind you of this year?

Girl on Fire – by Alicia Keys – Mostly I will remember Charlie singing along in the car… too cute!

13. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year (not necessarily from the song that reminds you of the year).

I don’t quote songs…

14. What was your most enjoyable purchase?

Mazda CX-7

15. Did you travel? If so, where?

I made it to Wisconsin a few times – Luther Park in August, Spooner and the Dells in October, Green Bay in November

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Time off with my friends – with and without kids…

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Candy Crush

18. Compared to this time last year, how are you different?

I think I pulled myself out of a rut. Or at least recognized that I was in a rut – Baby Steps.

19. Compared to this time last year, how are you the same?

I still weigh the same, I still look the same,

20. What’s a life lesson you learned this year?

I need to embrace change and be prepared for curve balls. I think I’m slowly getting better equipped for this.

Previous: 2012, 2011, 2000-2009

My First Grader

My First Grader:

  • is still waiting to lose that first tooth
  • loves reading Little House on the Prairie
  • wants to be a pop star or an artist
  • loves watching The Wizard of Oz and Annie
  • loves her little brother
  • loves her cousins and 2nd cousins
  • formed a club with other girls on the playground and they compete against a club of 3rd grade boys! (help!)
  • likes to dress “like a teenager”
  • wants her grandma to teach her how to sew
  • is a member of the school chess club and a daisy scout
  • does her homework on the bus

I just love this girl so much, and she’s growing up so quickly!

First Grade School Pictures - 2013