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!


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

New Year’s

We are not all that exciting on New Year’s Eve. But we did actually go out that night.  Last minute we got a babysitter so we could go to dinner and a movie. Except there was beef stew in the crockpot and it smelled too good not to eat. So we ate an early dinner with the kids. Then went to Target for some shopping and then to “This is 40”. It was a good movie. We were home by 9:30.  I think I stayed up until 11.

New Year’s Day we made our annual visit to the Children’s Museum with cousins Jana & Luke. Charlie is the exact ideal age and would have spent all day there if we had let him!

2013 is off to a great start!

New Year's Day

Christmas 2012

We had a great Christmas.  I loved have the weekend leading up to the holiday. It seemed so much more relaxed. And then I took an extra day after Christmas and worked primarily from home after that.

Family Picture

Maria got her American Girl doll that she has been talking about since September.  She was pretty excited to get it from Grandma and her aunt on Christmas Eve, because she thought that meant she would have 2 when Santa brought her one that night.  (She asked Santa for the doll, because she knows they are expensive and that way I wouldn’t have to pay for it!)

Maria & Kit

Charlie was a pirate for a couple of days.  He got a spyglass and pirate scarf, complete with a map leading to buried treasure.  Fortunately we realized the map was a prized possession and scanned it in before it got lost so we can make more copies.  He used the map to guide Chad to my parents house on Christmas day. “Go to the X, Daddy!”

Charlie the Pirate

More Christmas 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

Wisconsin Dells – Take 1

This past week, Maria had the whole week off from school.  We had talked about getting away, so in August when we found a deal via, we jumped on it and committed to a weekend in Wisconsin Dells at the Great Wolf Lodge.  I was excited, especially once I realized this is the first time we have gone on a family vacation on our own. (not that we don’t enjoy vacations with our families!)

We had a great time.  We didn’t tell the kids we were going anywhere until breakfast on Thursday, when I came out of their rooms with packed suitcases.  We told them we were going to a hotel with a swimming pool.  Anyone with a 5 year old knows we had to limit the anticipation to a matter of a few hours.  I think within 5 minutes at one point that morning, Maria had asked the time at least 3 times.

We stopped for lunch with my parents in Rochester, then we continued on to the Dells.  While Chad checked us in, the kids and I went to check out the “pool”. The kids were pretty surprised to see a whole water park and not just a pool! Maria was hoping for a diving board and got water slides! Then we went and bought a big cup full of candyI figured we were on vacation!  Ha… I figured out pretty fast that a sugar-rush on a 2.5 year old boy is quite a match for this mom!

We spent a couple hours in the water park before dinner and then checking out the arcade and story time in the hotel lobby.

Saturday morning, we were up early for breakfast. We checked out the outlet mall. The kids got new Crocs and got to pick out Jibbits.  exciting stuff for the kids! 🙂  We spent several hours in the water parks, including eating lunch there. We all had naps in the afternoon to prepare for an evening of fun at Knuckleheads, which is like Chuck E Cheese on steroids.  We met up with our friends, which worked out perfectly for the kids.  Maria and Briann (and the Dad’s)  took on the big kids rides, while Charlie and Brooke stuck to the slides and bouncy things.

Sunday morning, we weren’t up quite as early, but managed to get to breakfast and the water park before checkout time.  It was a quiet ride home as both kids slept!  It was a great weekend, and we’re hoping to make it a tradition!
Wisconsin Dells!

Wisconsin Dells!

Wisconsin Dells!

Storytime at Great Wolf Lodge

A few more pictures here – unfortunately playing at water parks and fast moving rides do not go with cameras and my photography skills.

Pumpkin Patch 2012

It’s become somewhat of a tradition to go to the Pumpkin Patch with Grandma and Aunt Kim and cousins Jana & Luke the first weekend of October, while the Dads and Grandpa golf.

This year however, was the coldest visit yet.  The temps were in the low 40s (if that high) and there were very few visitors. We still fed some sheep, ran Grandma out of quarters on the small rides, took a hay ride and picked out pumpkins.  But it was our shortest visit ever.
Pumpkin Patch 2012
Jana & Maria

Pumpkin Patch 2012
Charlie & Luke

a few more pictures from our visit

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!”

More Pictures

Luther Park 2012

We had a great week last week at Family Camp last week at Luther Park. We had a stressful week leading up to it since our daycare was closed.  But once we were there it was a lot of fun!

  • Lots of friends!  Former counselors and other families who have been there for many years as well.  oh and Grandpa & Grandma.
  • Seeing the kids make new friends! Charlie and Evan were best buddies and Maria just wanted to “catch up” with the older girls. (And using her imagination when making new friends)
  • Campfires!
  • Singing and Dancing and Pretending to be a Puppy
  • Lots of sidewalks for the scooters!
  • A Pool and a boat ride.
  • Tie-Dye.
  • A giant sandbox (volleyball court) and slides
  • Games – Chapel Quest and Pharaoh, Pharaoh were Maria’s favorites
  • Great weather (only one rainy day) and the temps were in the 70s-80s all week.

At the "Park"

Tie-Dye with Carly

Grandpa's Scooter

More Photos