Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I'm beginning to wonder if my absense from blogging is a pattern in the making?! Well, I guarantee you that it actually IS, at least for the next couple of weeks. Why is that? Well, because my brother, Tory, and sister-in-law, Lisa, just welcomed a new baby girl into their family on Monday morning (wait, that's yesterday right?! Holy moly it feels like more than one day has passed since then!!). Say hello to the absolutely beautiful Abigail Grace!

My upcoming absense comes partly due to the fact that I am going to Jamestown, ND to spend a few days with my brother and his family. I will leave tomorrow morning and return home again on Friday. That being said, on Saturday morning our family is leaving for a week "up north" at a cabin near Brainerd, MN. We are going to spend the week fishing, swimming, reading, relaxing ... oh, and I am determined that I am going to learn how to knit ... so I'm going to do that this coming week as well! :) All-in-all, I'm just giving you a heads up so you don't miss me too much. Of course you're going to miss me, just don't miss me too much!! :)
Please make sure to keep sweet, adorable Stellan in your prayers as he is going to be heading to Boston for another surgery soon. Pray that God will be present during the surgery, that He will guide the hands of the doctors, that He will allow total healing for this sweet little babe ...

To read his story, visit MckMama's blog here.
This past weekend was pretty much a dream come true! Monte and I were able to get away together and head up to Duluth to celebrate his birthday - and it was so wonderful! We spent time skipping rocks on Lake Superior ...

... we saw a crazy funnel cloud and just had to document it for all of you ...

... we walked by the harbor, stopped in a lot of little gift shops, ate dinner together at Hell's Kitchen (FABULOUS food, by the way!!) ...

... we went golfing ...

... and bowling ...

... and while he won one game, I kept the competition up and beat him twice (though I only documented it once!!). I must say, however, that we did end up playing three or four games (I'm honestly not sure), so we may have been tied at the end of it all ... or he may have won, I'm honestly not sure!! ;)

By the way, on the score card, he is Ricky and I am Lucy :)

So after an amazing weekend away, I now have a house FULL of girls (Claire Bear is having a sleepover), my three boys, laundry to do, a house to clean, dinner to prepare and Bible study to go to tonight ... all while I get packed and ready to go meet my beautiful new niece! So, while I'm gone I'm going to use this time to allow you to ask me ANYTHING - and in an upcoming blog post, I will answer all of your questions!

Have fun commenting! :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I have received many emails asking me where I've gone, so I'm guessing it's about time that I jump back into my blog world again! Life has been incredibly busy, with this past weekend topping the charts of overwhelmingly busy! Thankfully, though, it was also completely refreshing and rewarding in the same. Isn't it amazing how God does that for you? When you know that you're going to be extremely busy, He provides rest in the middle of it all!

So, here's a quick recap of my weekend ... :)

Friday was spent with Claire and I meeting up with Tanya and Breanna (my sister and my niece) and doing some great shopping! We started off at Ikea in hopes to find some end tables for my living room. Instead of end tables, I ended up finding some beautiful lamps and an arrangement (of which my boys lovingly refer to as "the dead sticks in a bowl") of branches in a very tall vase which are now sitting in the corner of my living room. All in all, it was an incredibly successful trip .. even if I didn't get to find the end tables I wanted!

We then ventured over to the Mall of America where we grabbed lunch, where I got sucked into Maurices yet again (have I mentioned that it is my favorite clothing store EVER?!), and we ended our trip there by a fun time at Build A Bear. Claire made a bunny for herself and Breanna made a bear for her sister, Khloe, who her family is in the process of adopting from China. All-in-all, it was a great time for all of us!

Friday night was a spontaneous date night for my hubby and I, which was a BLAST! We went out to dinner at The Green Room (have I mentioned that I just LOVE this restaurant?!) and then decided to spend a couple of hours at the casino. I'm new to blackjack, so I play just for the fun of playing! We enjoyed ourselves for awhile until the grumpy old man next to me started huffing and puffing at the way I was playing (evidently you're supposed to follow the rules of "the book" and play a certain way. I just follow my gut and play that way, and evidently it is just not correct!). He was under the belief that the way I was playing was directly effecting the cards he was receiving, so he was getting mad at me for the fact that he was losing money. After about 10 minutes of listening to him grumble at me under his breath, I decided it was time for us to head home before I punched him in the face we got too tired to enjoy the drive home. :)

Saturday was a busy, up early and moving right away sort of day! We were up, had a quick breakfast and loaded up the kiddos and headed out. Where were we going?! To the MckPicnic of course! I took Claire and Colin with me to pick up the balloons and Monte took Iain and Ellis and headed to the park to help MckMama's very own Prince Charming get the tent set up. I got there just in time to snap a few quick photos!

Claire Bear was quick to jump in and help, too!

MckMama's Prince Charming and MY Prince Charming :)

Big Mac was a BIG help ... and mischievously tried to push all of the connector buttons after we got them snapped together!!

MckNugget wanted to help too!

Somehow, though, I never managed to capture a photo once the tent was actually UP! :) Oh well! Once everything was set up, people began to arrive and all the fun started! My Claire Bear was loving her time of cuddling with sweet Stellan ...

... and I was enjoying trying to keep my children away from eating all of these beautiful (and incredibly DELICIOUS) cookies made by Amanda!

After we enjoyed our lunch and had time to chat with other phenomenal bloggers, we had to pack up and head home, as we were expecting dinner guests that evening. So, off we went back home with cleaning and grocery shopping on my To Do list. Thankfully, my husband is completely amazing and 100% wonderful, and he insisted that I lay down and take a nap before I start working on my list, as exhaustion was quickly setting in! So nap I did! Post nap, however, the crazy of life resumed and I ran to the grocery store, came back home to help my hubby finish cleaning the house, and started preparing appetizers for the wonderful dinner guests who were soon to arrive. We were hosting dinner with two of Kelley's sisters, Debbie and Connie, and their spouses (soon to be spouse in Connie's case!). It was a wonderful evening with great conversation! Unfortunately, the tired from the day crept up on me quickly and I was pretty much a bump on a log by about 8:30pm! Shortly thereafter our dinner guests headed home and Monte and I decided to leave the mess of dinner on the counters to be cleaned in the morning and headed for bed!

Sunday morning we got to sleep in a little bit (which was completely glorious by the way) and I started getting ready to head out to the MckBrunch. Part of my excitement that morning was the fact that I knew we were eating at The Green Room (my restaurant obsession!) and that the menu was going to be amazing! :) Upon arrival, I found a chair for myself and immediately entered into a world of chatting with amazing woman after amazing woman! I sat by Sarah and Jolene, enjoyed chatting with Amanda, Jess, Tina, Hilary, and Jenna .... to name a few :) It was such a wonderful time spent with truly wonderful women and I was so grateful to be part of it! Wouldn't you have wanted to be part of this group?!

Sunday afternoon and evening were spent with my phenomenal family out in our boat on Lake Minnetonka. We enjoyed hotdogs on the grill, swimming, fighting (come on, every sibling does!), doing a crossword puzzle (this is what my husband and I do together for relaxation ... yes, we are nerds at heart!) and just relaxing.

The end of the day consisted of me crashing into bed in exhaustion! What a crazy busy, but completely amazing weekend!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

After three days of driving all day long (or what felt like it) to drop Claire off and pick her up from horse camp (one hour each way, twice per day), after endless moments of not cleaning my house and not doing my laundry, after a date night with my husband and a Bible study with him as well ... after all of that I can say that my schedule is sufficiently BUSY! Thus why I haven't been blogging.

You would think that I have a ton to talk about now, but instead I'm going to leave with saying just what I've said. Why? Because Claire and I are going shopping with my sister, Tanya, and my niece, Breanna and we have to leave in less than an hour!! Sheesh :) Life is just SO rough sometimes *wink wink*!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Welcome to Blog Hop Tuesday! Today's theme is "Three Things You Might Not Know About Me", so without further adieu ...


I love love LOVE planning and organizing events! This comes from my obsessively organized side. If I can plan anything from having dinner guests (which I LOVE to do), throwing birthday parties, or even helping to plan weddings - I just LOVE it! I don't want to be paid for it, I just want to plan it!! :)


My sister is one of my favorite people in the entire world. We talk on the phone almost every day during the school year, and now that summer is here and we both have kids at home, we don't get to chat as often. I MISS HER! She was the person who helped me to truly define my path in life and to head in the direction that God intended. She also helped me in every stage of planning my wedding and has walked by me through the transition into life as a wife and mother. Tanya and her family are adopting a precious little girl from China and I love being able to walk with her through her journey. She is completely amazing and I love her so much! If you don't know her, you should!!! You can meet her here!


I can touch my nose with my tongue. Not only can I touch my nose, but I can PICK my nose with my tongue. Disgusting, I know! I don't actually do it - only to gross out my hubby every now and then! :) It's something I've been able to do since I was young and I only do it to disgust people, I promise!! :)

>MckLinky Blog Hop

Monday, July 13, 2009

While having guests over for dinner last Thursday, I did not tell my 11-year-old daughter, Claire, to shut up while she was telling them how much of a product stocker I am. By no means would I have eight back-up bottles of handsoap in my cupboard and be embarassed when Claire would choose to announce this. By NO MEANS would I ever use the phrase "shut up" with her - I am a much better parent than that!

Since having my wisdom teeth removed this past Friday, I have not been SO sick of the soft-foods diet that I'm on that I would ask our wonderful MckMama for some ideas of what to eat since sweet Stellan eats an entirely pureed diet as well. By no means would I be searching to see what various babies eat just to get something more appealing into my stomach!

In fact, I am NOT sitting here at 9:15am eating ice cream for breakfast! That would be absurd :) I have far more common sense as to eat something of nutritional value as opposed to ice cream so early in the morning!

I am not choosing to go to my sister's house this coming Wednesday during the day with my boys while Claire is at horse camp. I know how much Claire Bear LOVES coming to see my sister and her family and therefore would never make her miss out on such a wonderful visit. Not me!

Finally, I did not make my first pie EVER this past week and shamelessly take a picture of it because I was so proud of myself! I then did not choose to save it so we could share it with the MckFamily when they came over for dinner as opposed to allowing my family to have it two nights in a row just so that we don't have dessert twice. I always allow my family to splurge on sweets whenever they choose and would NEVER tell them that dessert can't be had that often!

Oh, and I would also NEVER post a picture of said pie on here just to share with all of you! :)

Come visit MckMama's Blog to see hers and other stories of Not Me! Monday :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Errr .. wisdom TEETH. That's right, this morning I had them taken out. I will admit to being incredibly scared on the way in, as I had never been put under anestetia (sp?) before. Thankfully I have an amazing husband who was reminding me that "God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind". Walking into the room was nerve wracking, the doctor said a bunch of mumbo jumbo that I don't remember, and then they gave me the anestetia. Next thing I know, I'm waking up and Monte is sitting next to me, just waiting for me to come around :) So, all in all, it really wasn't bad!

Now, I'm at home in bed, eating a lot of ice cream and watching Friends on DVD. I'm sleepy and about to conk out, but just wanted to update for those who were waiting to find out how it went!

Pain is minimal. Not really swollen at all. Content, at least :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Welcome to the MckLinky's Blog Hop. Today's features our favorite picture. I don't have just one favorite, but this one is definitely up there on the list!! This is Claire and I at her cousin, Reed's, wedding, shortly after Monte and I were engaged.

We had a really fun, but really tiring night! These are our "we're so tired we want to go home" faces:

Join in the fun!!!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day! What a day it was :) We had a very lazy morning, which included sleeping in until 8:30am (which rarely happens here!). It was so nice! We got up, made pancakes for breakfast and got ready to head out for our day of adventures at the MN Zoo! What a wonderful day it was! We were a little disappointed to miss out on the bears, as we just couldn't see them while staring at their exhibit. We stopped there to take a picture, anyway!

We were surprised when, less than five seconds later, the bear appeared directly behind us! It was amazing to be that close to the furry little creature!!

We then visited the prairie dogs, the Africa exhibit, the zebras, the giraffes, the wildebeasts, the wolves, the panthers and every other animal that is under the sun at the zoo! It was such an insanely busy day, but when we left, the smiles were still on our faces ...

... and our kiddos were happy (though one was more than tuckered out and he fell asleep as soon as we hit the road!), and that's what truly matters anyway!


I recently received an email from my older brother, Jeremy, that brought me to tears. Jeremy has always looked out for me (as all of my siblings have) and has always wanted the best for me, and his letter proved exactly that. After some amazingly sweet words, he ended his email with the following:

"Just remember God loves you.
Monte, Claire, Iain, Ellis, and Colin Love you
You Mother, Father, Sister and Brothers love you.

And nothing else
No opinion
No criticisms
No nothing else will ever top that or take that away from you
In other words you and your family win


Nothing could have said it better. My family wins, and nothing else matters. Jeremy, my dear brother, I love you and thank you tremendously for this email. It came at a time that I needed to hear it.

It's wonderful the way that God works ... one of my favorite blessings that He has given me comes in a package of three - my three siblings: Tanya, Jeremy and Tory. Growing up with them and having them walk next to me through life - it has been so wonderful!


My house is moving forward in the decorating department! I've added my "expressions" to a couple of different walls in the house, and thought that I would share! This one is in our living room:

The expression reads, "Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often". I absolutely love it! The next one is in our bedroom:

It reads, "So in love with you". I love it. Phenomenally love it!" These expressions, in my opinion, have warmed up my two favorite rooms in my house. Let me know when you'd like to see them and I'll clear the calendar .. I love them that much! I purchased them from my sister Tanya who is an interior redesigner - if you're interested in getting some of your own, contact her!


Finally, I leave you with the really fun story. This evening, when we were done with dinner, the kids were playing outside and discovered a turtle that was in our front flower gardens and it was laying eggs! The kids had a great time counting the eggs as they were layed (talk about no privacy!!) and ensured that they were covered and safe from any preditors when the turtle left. So now we're keeping our eyes on the "turtle bed" and are excited to see the day when the mini turtles hatch and leave our "nest"!!


That's all I have for you - now that this insanely random post is complete, I wish you an absolutely wonderful evening, lots of beautiful fireworks (of which I am missing all of them - my kiddos are sleeping soundly, so the hubby and I are watching "P.S. I Love You" in our room) and dreams of all things happy and lovely!

Nighty night!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

In light of my desire to respond to recent commenters who choose to remain anonymous, or who give a name but give no means to contact them, I have uploaded a new comment system to my blog called Disqus. I heard about this comment system from MckMama's blog and have found it to be useful, as it will allow me to leave comments on people's comments!

One tip that I have learned by being an avid reader of MckMama's blog is that it may take awhile for the Disqus system to load. That being said, I also discovered that, once I created a Disqus profile for myself, it loaded without problems and very quickly! So, this is my trial run at my new comment system - let me know what you think!!

In my most recent post I received an anonymous comment regarding my relationship with my husband and I want to address it. Here is the comment, for those who did not see it:

Anonymous said...
what does a 25 yr old single woman and a 42 yr old man have in common??????? It sounds to me and looks like to me that it was all about money! In a yrs time you went from living with your brother and "just making it" to being a "stepmom"! How does that work? Sounds kinda fishy to me.

July 1, 2009 8:49 PM

One thing that I have to say, first and foremost, is that I am not at all offended by this comment (though my step-daughter, Claire, who is sitting next to me says "I am!"). I understand that, if you don't know me and you don't know my husband, if you don't know us together, it certainly can look like something really crazy. The thing is, it IS crazy, but a really good kind of crazy! What 25-year-old do you know who would give up a good job that she loves, very minimal debt, plenty of free time and lots of friends so that she can be married to a 42-year-old, acquire LOTS of debt, leave the job that she loves to stay at home with her FOUR step-children and lose most of her friendships because her time is consumed with her family? Yes, I no longer live with my brother and his family, I now have a house I can call my own. Guess what? I now have a house payment that I can call my own as well, which is larger than any amount of money I have EVER personally borrowed. I now have free-time instead of having a job, I stay home with my step-children. Guess what? That free time is consumed with laundry (remember, there are six people in this house with clothing that needs to be washed), cleaning the house (remember, the one with the massive payment?), mowing the lawn, weeding the flower gardens, sweeping the driveway, picking apples and raspberries, cleaning the house .. oh, and did I mention cleaning the house?!

Yes, I can certainly see how that seems like a trade off that anybody would give their left foot to make. Wait ..... no, no it doesn't!

I will be the first person to say that the timing of when Monte and I fell in love was not at all ideal. I will also tell you that it was not at all in our control. We went for dinner one evening because he was grieving the loss of his beautiful wife, Kelley, and needed someone to talk to. At the time of Kelley's accident I was managing the physical therapy clinic that Monte went to (as he was rehabing his shoulder after having surgery), so we had already been acquaintances for awhile. Monte had known that I was a joyful person, he knew that I had something more (in my relationship with God) that made me have a genuine happiness that didn't go away. Guess what? When you lose a spouse, you want to be around ANYBODY that can make you smile, if even for a moment. So Monte and I went to dinner one evening. I can now say it, though I would have never admitted it at that time, but we fell in love at that one dinner. It scared us both to the extreme and we ran from each other for awhile, but eventually we realized that we were part of God's plan for each other.

Nobody was okay with it. Not my family, not his family, nobody. Eventually, though, they met him/his family met me. They saw us together. They saw me with his kids. They saw the love that was already forming, the love that had already started to bring us together as a family. When you see us together, there's no chance that you can deny that we are truly in love, that I truly love his children, that we were meant to be a family. It's not easy to be a step-mother to four children who are grieving the loss of their mother, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. I love these kids as if they were my own, as if I had carried them and I gave birth to them. They are so completely amazing and, while being a step-mother is not always the easiest thing in the world, these kids make life completely amazing. I love them all so very much. I love my husband more than I have ever loved anybody ... and that's what our relationship is about. Our relationship is about love, about our family, and about centering it all on a relationship with God. I could care less about money. To tell you the truth, I miss my job - I wish I were still working at the physical therapy clinic! That being said, I also know that I want nobody else here to raise my children but me. It was a choice I had to make. A choice that I do not regret. But I won't deny the fact that I miss my job.

I don't take offense to your comment entirely because you do not know me. You assume that you know enough about me to think I'm gold digging, that my husband is cradle robbing. It's just that - an assumption. By all means, if you would like to get to know us, be brave and contact us. Monte (my husband) read your comment and immediately wanted to get to know you, wanted you to have a chance to know who we are and to know that your assumption is the farthest thing from the truth!

To end, I leave you with a quote from my 11-year-old step-daughter, Claire, who has been sitting beside me as I write this entire post:

"If you were the kind of person who would marry dad for his money, I think you'd divorce him in a hurry. You know, he has four kids and ... you know ... we're not the kind of people who would accept someone who was ....... a money freak."