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

Summer Review

Here’s what you missed in July:

      • Our annual 4th of July picnic was small (just family) but fun!
      • Maria had a belated birthday celebration with her BFF – lunch at American Girl store and a sleepover!

American Girl Birthday Celebration

      • Maria took a hip hop dance class.
      • Charlie and Maria took swimming lessons.
      • Introduced Charlie to Playland at McDonald’s (LOVED IT!)


      • Maria spent several days with her cousins and went to Vacation Bible School with them.

VBS 2013

    • Charlie went to one of his cousin Drew’s baseball games.
    • Discovered Chutes & Ladders park.


    • Maria went to a week of day camp with her friend Gracey


  • Both kids had a week at backup daycare – Charlie loved it!

And August:

      • We spent a week at Luther Park.
      • Maria went to see Dispicable Me 2 with a friend
      • Signed Charlie up to start preschool and Sunday School in September (next week!) and toured both!
      • Maria went to a Lynx game with Chad.

Lynx fan!

    • We went to see Planes – Charlie’s first movie.
    • Chad golfed in a couple of golf tournaments
    • Checked out the Splash Pad at the YMCA and a newly “remodeled” park near home

Teeter totter

  • Celebrated our friend Ellis’ first birthday
  • Met Maria’s First Grade Teacher

Can’t believe it’s time for a new school year!

Maria is SIX

Six years ago – I introduced my baby girl on my blog.  Six. Whole. Years!

We celebrated last week with our family.  It was a fun party – We also had a girl scout event, so her friend celebration is post poned a few weeks.  We had a tired 6 year old after all the celebrating.

At age 6,  She is just 2 weeks from being done with Kindergarten.  She is starting to read chapter books all by HERSELF! Ivy & Bean are her favorites right now.  She loves princesses. (The theme of her party was princess with emphasis on Sofia the First).  She wants to dress like a teenager (?!)  and loves having her nails painted.  (which we do every week to celebrate her NOT sucking her thumb)  Maria is really close to learning to ride bike on 2 wheels.  She loves to play with Charlie (even if she may not admit it).  They play “babies” a lot. He loves to have her nearby. Even if he isn’t playing nicely, he gets upset if she leaves him at the sand table by himself.

We get the occasional eye rolls and sassy-ness.  Typical things like negotiating for dessert and trips to the Mall of America.  And also times when she forgets things and loses focus on the task at hand.  I’d say pretty typical for her age.    And really, it could be a lot worse.

She is loving school, loving having friends, writing notes to the 6th graders who are going to junior high next year. A real social butterfly.

We are just blessed to have such a special girl!

Birthday Presents!

Birthday Party w/ Cousins

Birthday Girl & Cake

More Birthday Pictures


Can I just tell you that it’s pretty amazing that my baby boy is 3?

Charlie turned 3 this past Monday. We started our celebrating on Saturday with a Jake & the Neverland Pirates party.  It was definitely fun!  Lots of presents, cake, family (although some were missing due to a stomach bug). Charlie got loads of presents. Many pirate themed.  Sunday, he asked “my birthday still?” when I told him why we still had the balloons ups.  And on his birthday, he was hesitant (tired) of the blueberry muffin I got him, but then dug in and hung out in his jammies for awhile with Maria. Then we checked out his new train set. Later we had friends (6) come over for playdate and lunch. Plus more cupcakes!  It was a great birthday!

This kid at 3 has sooo much imagination. He loves his treasure maps, and just sitting and playing with toys – cars, pirates, toy phones, blocks, puzzles.  It amazes me how much he focus.

He transitioned to a big boys bed 2 weeks ago. And it was amazingly seamless. He also did a week of potty camp at my work’s subsidized backup daycare.  He did ok, but was not that interested. We’ve decided to give him more time (and all of us a break) until he seems more interested/ready.  The “nuk” (pacifier) is mostly being limited to sleeping and bedtimes, although he has a cold right now, and he seems to be getting some molars, so there are definite needs for exceptions on that rule.

His vocabulary has exploded again. and his sentences are getting more clear every day. I think my brother was a bit shocked at the party when Charlie walked into the room and said “Uncle Mike, come and see my bedroom!”

So yeah, seriously love this kid.  He brings so much joy to all of us, especially his sister who calls him a stinker but at this point doesn’t even realize that he is her biggest fan and best friend.

Charlie the Pirate! ARgh!

More Presents!

Birthday Cake & Candles

More Birthday Pictures


Next stop – 40!  Yikes. I’m 39.  It was a very good birthday.  Although maybe it was because my day before was just really not fun.

Last weekend, I had a 31 and Shutterfly Party as kind of a way to earn myself some presents, plus spend time with friends and my in-laws brought a cake.

The day before we had cookies at our team meeting.

The actual day of my birthday:

  • I woke up to a lovely card from my husband which also included a gift card to Caribou and Chipotle.  Not diamond earrings or a MacBook, but I can’t expect that every year, right?!  🙂  And we did get new furniture earlier in the week.
  • Free coffee from Caribou on my way into work.
  • More coffee, a new mug and another gift card from my friend Sara, who is a contractor on my team and who usually works from home, but came to work because I thought my day would be more fun with her there.
  • Lunch with Sara.
  • Some work throughout the day.
  • Dinner out with Chad & the kids – Chili’s
  • More Cookies
  • Facetime call with my niece’s Elizabeth & Katelyn
  • PhotoBooth with Charlie & Maria

Yesterday, I spent with my friend Sarah doing our annual tradition of the Christmas Tour of Homes in Hudson and and lunch and shopping.  Plus a quick stop at my brother’s.

Today I got to spend an hour with my friend Karin who also brought me more coffee and gift cards. All Good!    It’s great to start a new year feeling so blessed and so loved!

Photo on 11-15-12 at 7.45 PM #2
Facetime with Maria & Charlie

Shutterfly Party 2012
31 and Shutterfly Party

September Weekend #2

Trying to catch up on what we’ve been doing!

We have had some fun weekends this month! The 2nd weekend, we were on the go. We went to the Annual Firemuster Parade on Saturday.

Sunday Maria started Sunday School again. And then we went to cousin Jana’s 9th birthday! I made the cake and I also made a fun little gift for my sister-in-law’s 40th birthday.
Maria & Daddy
At the Parade

Too Loud!
Fire Trucks are LOUD!

Jana and her horse cake
Jana and her Pony Cake

40 Sucks
40 Sucks!

Labor Day Weekend

We spent Labor Day weekend at my brother’s cabin.  It has become a bit of a Labor Day tradition, as we usually celebrate my niece’s birthday too.

Highlights of the weekend include:

  • Boat rides
  • Fishing
  • Maria riding the tube behind the speed boat
  • A Camping themed birthday party
  • Lots of cousin and family time!

Look who caught a fish with the Barbie pole!?
Look who caught a fish with the Barbie pole!?

Camping Cake
Camping Cake

Birthday Girl
Elizabeth – The Birthday Girl

Nature Hike
All the cousins on a Nature Hike

Elizabeth & Maria Tubing

Boat Ride
Charlie loved the speed boat “Uncle Mike, Go More Faster!”

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