Thursday, December 22, 2011

Our Christmas Card and Letter

So just in case you aren't one of the 120 people who get our Christmas card and letter each year... here you go!

Another year come and gone—can’t believe it’s time to write the Christmas letter once again!

Clara will be 18 months old on Christmas. She grows so much everyday, both physically and developmentally. It’s so much fun when she learns something new. It’s also funny when she does something you didn’t teach her and you wonder, “where did she learn THAT!” I’m sure there will be plenty more of that in the future as well! Her blonde hair is getting longer, but she won’t let me do a thing with it… no barrettes or bows! She loves playing with her baby, tractors, cars, pushing her shopping cart, and reading books. She is also quite the fish and LOVES being in the water. She talks up a storm, and some of it is actually understandable! She loves being outside, whether it is to do chores with daddy or help Grandpa Henderson in the shop.

Paul continues in his role as the Retail Manager of the Pepin Heights Store. I am thankful that once the snow flies we get to see more of him, as he spends most of his days and all of his weekends at the store during the busy apple season. New products and marketing strategies keep him on his toes, and he really loves his job. In the spring he worked for Sargent’s Gardens, and also worked in the orchards at Pepin Heights. Volunteering as Vice President of the Fairboard continues to be one of his favorite activities, and took us to many county fairs across the state again this year. The garden, chickens, and being an amazing dad keep him from any “down time”!

I will celebrate 6 years as the County 4-H Program Coordinator in January. One would think with 7 fairs under my belt, that it would get easier, but I still manage to find ways to make it a challenge! I am enjoying my role as the State 4-H Lamb Lead Co-Coordinator, and actually helped write some new statewide curriculum for the event. I graduated with my Master of Education Degree from the University of Minnesota in May - I am SO glad to be done! Not much time for being crafty these days, but I still enjoy playing in the bell choir at church, and teaching cloth diaper classes to new moms.

Our flock of chickens, known as Clara’s Cluckers, had grown to around 75 laying hens this summer, but a pesky raccoon has left us with about 40. We get several dozen eggs a day, which we have been selling to local fresh egg fanatics. At $2 a dozen, we will only have to sell 95,000 dozen to save for Clara’s college education! Get busy laying ladies! :)

Paul and I continue to work with the Luther League Youth Group at church. The kids love having Clara at events as well, and you can’t beat having 15 eager babysitters! They are so much fun, and we enjoy working with our co-leader Carmen.

You can check up on us throughout the year by following our blog:

We hope this letter finds your family happy and healthy this holiday season as we celebrate God’s most precious gift, His only Son, Jesus. May God continue to shower His blessings on you throughout the new year!

Mamie, Paul, & Clara

Josie & Lucy too

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Clara's bangs were getting long... they were kinda shaggy and hanging in her eyes. So being the frugal and very capable mother that I am, I figured I could give them a trim. So the other night while she was in the tub, I grabbed the scissors and took a whack at it. I wanted them a little "feathery"... not just straight across. Well... they look.... bad. They look like she went after them with one of those clown kids scissors and hacked a chunk out the day before school pictures. (What? You didn't have clown scissors growing up? You didn't cut your own hair before school pictures?) Oh well... maybe people will think she did do it... of course, then I'm still a bad mom for letting my 18-month-old play with scissors...

And I will have the pictures from Christmas to remember it by for the rest of my (and her)life!

Here's a fun series of photos from last night... showing the bangs!

This is her "I'm so excited" face - she makes a little gasp noise too

I realize I am also a bad mom for letting her put a pen in her mouth...

This is her, "Are you done yet mom" face

That Can't Happen Here...

This blog was originally started as a way for us to keep track of the life and times of my pregnancy and then the childhood of Clara. While it has morphed to include more than that, we do still use it for that purpose. That is why I think it is important to include a post about something that has happened in our community during the past week. Even though Clara won’t remember it, it is something that will affect her as she grows up in this community and I think it’s important to document it.

I think it’s easy to have a false sense of security when you live in a small town. Just the other day I ran into the post office with my car running and unlocked and my wallet sitting on the front seat in plain view. But isn’t that why people love living in small towns? That sense of, “Those things don’t happen here” in regards to violent crime, school shootings, serial killers… But they do. And on Monday, in Lake City Minnesota, it did.

In case you have been living under a rock, or just don’t watch the news (or facebook, or the radio, or the newspaper), a police officer was shot and a stand-off between the gunman and the SWAT team ensued for the next 10 hours in our little of town of just over 5000 people. The situation ended with the gunman taking his own life. The officer is still holding his own in critical condition.

Life was pretty much on stand-still on Monday. No matter where you went, it’s all people were talking about. The schools, and several manufacturing plants in the area were on lock-down. A 12 block area of the neighborhood was secured. Helicopters hovered overhead and there was the constant sound of sirens.

I have several friends with spouses who are law enforcement officers. They never take for granted each day when their loved one comes home after a shift safe and sound. For them, their fears of, “this could happen to us” were once again renewed.

Just because our address isn’t Lake City doesn’t mean I don’t consider our family a part of that community. Paul went to school there, and now works there. He is a chamber member and we shop there. In fact, the house where all this went down is one I had wanted to buy about a year ago.

The community is truly rallying around the fallen officer and his family. There is a facebook page set up in his honor, a fund at the bank to defray costs for the family, candle-light vigils, and everyone is leaving their porch lights on to show their support. Even our little house in the country has its porch light on.

May we all hug our children a little tighter, tell our spouse “I love you” one more time before they walk out the door, and say “thank you” to the public servants who give so selflessly to protect us all.

Tonight I ask that you say 2 prayers:

One for Officer Schneider and his family, that God would grant healing as is His Will, and that his family find strength and peace in the days and weeks that lie ahead. That God would keep all public servants safe from harm.

And one for the family of the gunman, because when it’s all said and done, they lost a loved one. The gunman was a son, brother, friend… His mother once rocked him to sleep and cradled him in her arms. I didn’t know him; I had never uttered his name until Monday, but he was a person. May God grant peace and healing to his family and friends as well, and give them the strength they need to move on.

One life lost and another changed forever.

It CAN and DOES happen here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Getting to Know You - Christmas Style!

I'm not sure which blog I pulled this off of... I started working on it awhile ago and then just remembered it again today.

1. Do you send Christmas cards? If so about how many will you send this year? How do you display the cards you receive? Or don't you? (gasp!)
We seriously send out 120 Christmas Cards each year… between relatives, high school friends, FFA friends, 4-H friends, college friends, co-worker friends, and long-lost friends, it’s a pretty lengthy list. I LOVE Christmas cards though – it’s one of my favorite parts of the season. I used to be able to get them out shortly after Thanksgiving, but last year (…and this year…) I’m a little slow. Mine just went in the mail today!
We display them on the wall in our living room, and then after New Year’s I take them down and put them in a book that I have with the picture cards from every year.

2. What is your favorite kind of Christmas cookie?
I have so many that I remember from my childhood, but will fully admit to the fact that I don’t bake for the holidays. My family doesn’t do the whole “Christmas Baking Day” when we roll out hundreds of thousands of holiday goodies! I’m a big fan of date cookies 

3. What is one gift from your childhood that you vividly remember getting?
My grandpa made us dollhouses when we were young. I remember him backing the truck up to the door of the house so we wouldn’t have to go out in the cold to see them. I have no idea where the dollhouse is now… Mom – do you have it?

4. What's something you like to eat that might cause another person to turn up their nose?
Beets – can’t wait for them each summer. I like the little ones that you can cook and each whole – yum! I am a pretty picky eater – although I am better now than I was as a child. I still turn up my nose at hamburgers, hot dogs, condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayo, salad dressing, etc), shrimp, eggs…

5. Gloves or mittens?

6. What's the longest queue you've ever been in? Was it worth it? Queue=line but doesn't queue sound nicer?
I have no idea – somewhere at the State Fair maybe?

7. What is your favorite Christmas Carol?
I don’t know that I have a favorite… Away in a Manger maybe?!?

8. If you could choose to be anywhere on Christmas where would it be?
At my parent’s, surrounded by my family.

9. When did you stop believing in Santa?
I don’t know that I ever believed in Santa… my parents might tell me differently, but I don’t really ever remember Santa being a big thing with my family. I don’t think we will push it with our kids either, I would rather they knew the story of Christ’s birth.

10. Insert your own random though here:
I’m OK with the fact that we most likely won’t have a white Christmas here in MN. I hate driving in snow!

If you write a blog, feel free to use this with your own answers! You can link back to me in your post, and leave a comment on this post with the link to your blog.

Happy Holidays!

ETA: My friend Beth did a post about this - you can check it out (and all her cool ideas) at her blog, Design Your Dwelling!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Long time... No Bloggy...

Hey all! Sorry for the bloggity-blog hiatus - our household was hit by the flu! OK, so not the "real" influenza, but the stomach bug. While it hits fast and moves on quickly, we are still dealing with the repercussions a week later. Child care has been interesting the last few days, as we have shared it with our daycare "siblings", as well as both sets of grandparents. We are thankful that my parents were able to watch her yesterday when both of our regular daycare options were out sick.

This past weekend we had a blast caroling with our church youth group to elderly members of our congregation. The kids really make it fun and do a great job singing and talking with those we visit.

Afterward we met at one of the familie's homes and had a little Christmas party with food, a fun gift exchange, and a candle-light reading of the Christmas story. Clara loves hanging with the teens and even set down to play piano with Ben!

Ok - back to work. Just didn't want you all to think we fell of the earth or something! I hope the sickies stay away from your homes!

PS - I have a pork roast in the crock pot at home. YAY for supper being DONE!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Y3W - Create A Favicon!

Last week I created my very own little favicon.

For those that don't know, a favicon is a little icon that appears next to the web address at the top of your browser. Favicon is actually short for Favorite Icon. If you look to the right, you will see that some of the blogs I follow and have listed on my blog have a little orange box next to them… that’s the Blogger Favicon.

Basically it helps your website stand out in a list of websites. But, I just think it's really cute! So I created one of my very own last week. I used the same little owl that “bullets” each of my posts as my favicon.

It was quite easy actually, and I wanted to share how to do it in case others want to create favicons for their blogs too!

Step 1. I figured out what image I wanted to use. Obviously you want it to be something that ties to your blog, so I selected the little owl on my blog. (I also chose this because I am infatuated with owls, as if you haven't already figured that out!)

Step 2. To get my little owl as a jpg image, I did a “print screen” of my blog into Microsoft Publisher, then cropped the picture until only the owl was left.

Step 3. I made sure the owl picture was square (it must be perfectly square for this to work), then saved it as a jpg image.

Step 4. I signed into Blogger and clicked on the “Design” tab. On the Design page, the Favicon option is on the upper left part of the main screen.

Step 5. I clicked “edit” in the Favicon box, uploaded my pic, and hit save.

That's it! That's all you have to do! You should now have a cute little favicon!

When You're Feeling Crummy...

Cuddling with daddy does the trick!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Trick

Oh yeah - and here is Clara's newest trick -

The kid is a monkey! Our kitchen chairs now sit on the kitchen table unless our butts are in them.

Clara. Lately.

Every day I am astounded at how much Clara grows and changes. It seems in the last few weeks she has thrown all “baby-ness” away and is full on toddler. She has been sleeping like a rockstar lately (which I realize I just jinxed…) and Paul and I are VERY thankful!

Her vocabulary continues to grow and now she will repeat most of the things you tell her. Cookie seems to be her favorite word lately and she knows EXACTLY what it means! She sings the ABC’s and knows the EIEEIO part of Old McDonald has a farm… it goes like this:

Me: Old McDonald had a farm….
Clara: E-I-Yo!
Me: and on that farm he had a puppy…
Clara: E-I-Yo!

…and anytime you say “Puppy”, you usually get a “woof, woof” too 

Last night she was playing with her toys and I mentioned taking a bath. She dropped what she was doing, marched right to the bathroom door and tried to take her shirt off. Apparently, she wanted a bath!

She is also starting to get picky about her clothes (already… ugh…) I tried to put some shoes on her the other day, and she grabbed her foot and firmly told me “No mommy!”. So I grabbed another pair, and she held out her foot. I guess those are the ones she wanted!

She loves to “haul” things… she will grab any large box or toy and tow it to another part of the house. We have a large penguin that keeps showing up in odd places! The other night she pushed a tote of toys into the living room, climbed in, and then threw the toys out.

The girl LOVES to be outside in the chicken coop, shed, and barn. On Friday, mid-clothes change, she bolted for the front door, plopped a hat on her head, and waited to go outside… in just a diaper. So funny and cute, but she was NOT happy when I told her she couldn’t go out.

I am excited for Christmas this year to see if she will actually be interested in opening gifts this year. I’m still on the look-out for a Christmas dress for her too. Hopefully I will find something soon!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving and a Wedding!

It’s hard to believe the long Thanksgiving break from work is already over! Those 4 days blasted by, but we were pretty busy.

Thanksgiving Day we found ourselves at my cousin’s home in a nearby town. It was a small group, but the food and conversation were both great! The weather was gorgeous, so when we got home Paul headed out to start putting up the Christmas lights.

The rest of our weekend was taken up by the wedding of my close friend from high school and college roommate, Sarah. On Friday I headed to the reception site to help set-up and decorate. I ended up putting together all the centerpieces, which were barn-board boxes with arrangements of dried grasses, grains, and berries. No pics of course, but you all shouldn’t be surprised by that! That evening we had the rehearsal at our church. Clara liked walking down the aisle with the couples and standing up front next to mommy! The rehearsal dinner was at Sarah’s childhood farm in the shed. It was very low-key and fun! Clara especially enjoyed climbing on the snowmobiles in the shed!

Saturday morning was filled with beautiful dresses, pictures, ouchy shoes, music, party bus, drinks, food, dancing, and more dancing! My feet and legs still hurt! It was a beautiful day and I am so happy for Sarah and her groom KC! I will post some pics of the day if I find some, since I took 1 whole photo the whole day!

Here is a pic from my wedding of Lisa, Sarah, and I taken at my wedding in 2006. The 3 of us have been close friends since our freshman year of college in 2000.

This is the only picture I have from the wedding this weekend! It is the 3 of us again, at Sarah’s wedding.

Hopefully sometime in the next few years I can post one from Lisa’s wedding! (no pressure Nate...:))

Busy weekend, but so worth it. Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving as well!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday

This is what happens when you leave your iphone on the couch, with the camera app open...

Absolutely LOVE these shots!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Making Homemade Babyfood - My Experience

A friend of mine has a 2-month old and posed a question on facebook about making baby food. My head started spinning about how to answer her question, so I just decided to do this post about it. (Thanks for the inspiration Mandy!) I'm not an expert by any means... this was just my experience.

We started feeding Clara rice cereal at 6 months per the recommendation of our pediatrician. As you can read about in this post, she wasn’t ready at 6 months. My best recollection is that she really started doing OK with the solids at about 7 months. We started with rice cereal, then rice with a little fruit mixed in, than purees.

I made 99% of the purees that Clara ate. I bought a few Target-brand baby food containers for when we were traveling or out and about because they were just easier. I found it to be a major money saver. Since Clara started eating purees in the middle of winter, I couldn’t just go out and pick something out of the garden for her, so I had to purchase the veggies and fruits we used. I bought frozen veggies for $.88 a bag at Aldi and whatever fruit was on sale that month, paying only $.60/lb usually. I had honeycrisp and SweeTango apples coming out of my ears, so I had loads of those for free. I pureed everything using my $12 stick or immersion blender which worked wonderfully! No need to buy another piece of expensive “baby” equipment to do the job.

I froze everything in ice cube trays because they are usually 1 oz per cube. 1 bag of veggies would make at least 1 tray of cubes. For less than $7, I could usually make enough food to last more than a month. The Target brand food was $1.09 for 2. So at 2 containers a day, it would have been close to $30 for the month with purchased food.

I looked for inspiration on the Wholesome BabyFood website, and found TONS of useful information there. I didn’t really make any “recipes”. I made all of my cubes using single veggies/fruits, and then just used 2 or 3 different cubes when making up her bowl for the meal. That way I wasn’t stuck with a bunch of cubes that she didn’t like.

I really enjoyed making Clara’s food and will admit being a bit addicted to the stick blender… I was almost sad when she moved on to table food at 9 months. But for the 2 months she ate purees, it was fun! I plan to make food for Baby #2, when that day arrives.

Some other things to consider are what your daycare will be using. If your daycare provides food, you may want to just use that since you’re paying for it anyway. Our babysitter didn’t provide food, so we sent purees every day. It might not be worth it to make purees for the few meals your child will eat at home.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Must have been a rough night...

Happy "Owl"aween!

To further indulge my current obsession with owls, I made an owl costume for Clara for Halloween. She was a pretty cute owl, if I do say so myself!

We put on a lot of miles for Halloween, but when you live in the country and have family in 2 different towns... it happens.

I picked up Clara after daycare and headed to Zumbrota to visit my parents and hopefully catch a glimpse of my nephews and niece. My sister's current obsession is PBR Bull Riding... so she worked long and hard on these ADORABLE bull-riding costumes. They are seriously the cutest bull riders EVER! And they know their stuff - Colby is riding "Asteroid", and Chase is riding "Bushwhacker" - names of actually PBR bulls!

After lots of pictures, playing in the gravel and leaves, and lots of hugs and kisses from grandma and grandpa, we headed to Lake City to pick up Paul and do a little trick-or-treating. Clara fell asleep on the drive there, so she was pretty shy and out of it when we got to Washington Street. The businesses on Washington Street dress up and hand out candy for the kids. Since we live in the country and don't really have a neighborhood to trick-or-treat in, this was a lot of fun. We know many of the business owners from our involvement with the Chamber of Commerce, so it was fun to show-off Clara a little too :).

And seriously, with all the work that went in to that costume, I was definitely going to make sure more than just the grandparents got to see it!

We made a few more stops in town to some of Paul's co-workers homes, then headed to Great-Grandma's, and finally Paul's parents. Clara even went trick-or-treating in the barn to see grandpa.

By 8:30pm, we were all bushed from the running around, had some pizza for supper and hit the hay. Not bad for our first "real" Halloween adventure!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Two Years.

October 25, 2009

October 25, 2011

It is absolutely amazing to me how fast two years has FLOWN by. How did we live so much of our lives without this miraculous little person?

We have allowed a part of our hearts to live outside of our bodies, and at times it is absolutely terrifying. But we have learned to love like never before.

We are better people because of her.

Love you little Clara, more than you can ever imagine. We love watching you learn and grow, amazed at the little person you are becoming. We see some of ourselves in you, but see that so much of who you are is you and you alone. You make us smile, laugh, giggle, cry, and dream of only the best for you. Keep being you, little one. You are the best you there is!

Love, mommy and daddy

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Foodie Friday - Wild Rice Soup

I love soup. Wild rice is probably my favorite kind… but any kind will suffice.

Of course, I just love wild rice in general… Paul does too. He would eat chicken and wild rice every day if I would let him.
Which I don’t.

I would eat soup every day, but he doesn’t let me do that either.

We balance each other out.

I made wild rice soup the other night for supper, and realized just how much I really love the easy recipe I use. Love it so much I’m going to share it.

If you love easy recipes… this one is for you.

If you love 1 pot recipes… this one isn’t for you. Because it requires 2 pots. Sorry.

In pot #1, make a box of Uncle Ben’s Original Wild Rice per the instructions.

In pot #2, put diced carrots, celery, onions (as much as you want) and enough water to cover. Cook until the veggies are as tender as you like them. (In case you accidentally undercook them, and they are a bit crunchy for your liking, don’t think that they will be tender the next day when you eat the leftovers. They won’t be… and you’ll be disappointed. I know from experience.)

**Ok, so I guess you could make this using 1 pot… but I don’t like to waste time, so I make these 2 things at the same time.**

Once the rice and veggies are cooked, combine them. (into one of the pots… no need to dirty a 3rd pot!)

Then add 1 can of your favorite “cream of” soup. I use cream of celery… but I don’t like mushrooms.

Then add some milk. I don’t really measure… but enough to make the soup the consistency you want it.

Let it warm through.

That’s it.

I told you it was easy.

And it’s yummy too!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Clara. lately.

Clara's vocabulary has just exploded lately! It seems like over the weekend she picked up a bunch of new things... it's like a switch was turned on! She has at least 4 animals sounds that she knows:

Kitty says, "mow"
Puppy says, "woof"
Cow says, "mooo"
Sheep says, "baa"

Chicken says, "cheep! cheep! cheep!"... this one she does only if you say it first... but she dances when she says it.

She has several other words that she uses in context as well:
Baby (meaning doll or blanket...)
Ba Ba (sippy cup or bottle)
side (outside)
She also sings what sounds a lot like the ABC's.

It's crazy what she understands. If you ask her if she's hungry, or if she wants breakfast (or dinner, or supper), she will go to her high chair and try to climb in. If you tell her, "night, night", she'll curl up on the floor like she is going to sleep.

As far as socializing, she is usually pretty quiet and clingy when we are around new people or in situations she isn't used to, but it doesn't take long before she warms up and plays with the other kids or will go to other adults.

If you have made it to the end of this post... I applaud you for reading my bragging! I just wanted to keep track of some of the things she is doing these days.

Back to your regularly scheduled programming...

...and a quick pic from the weekend... Clara was helping me make brownies!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday

Just a few shots from the store this Fall... Clara loves to hang out there!

Clara's First Ponytail!

Ode to the Trailblazer

I recently turned the big 3-0, and Paul decided to surprise me by buying me a new car. Ok, actually, he didn’t buy the car, we will be making payments on it for a while… but it’s the thought that counts… right?

Getting a new car meant I had to trade in my Trailblazer. That was harder than I thought it would be… me and that car have been through a lot!

I bought the Trailblazer in 2006 when I started my current job. While I did pay for my first 2 cars, this was the first one that cost more than $5000 and I had to make payments on. I even paid it off early!

We took vacations in that car. The trailblazer was our “get-away car” at our wedding.

It went in the ditch 3 times, which resulted in 2 new bumpers. I drove through road paint and had to have it professionally taken off.

The trailblazer hauled projects to the State Fair, and brought my little baby home from the hospital.

I’ll miss it.

Good-bye Trailblazer – you were a trusty old friend!

(wow- awkward pic...Paul did one of those, "stand there and smile" things...)

Hello 2012 Equinox. I guess I can settle for you. :)

(even more awkward pic... Paul, we need to work on this!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Clara & Lucy

On boring weekends... when I'm left alone with a 15-month old and 2 cats... things like this happen -

"Hi! My name is Clara!"

"and this is my cat, Lucy!"

"I like to pet Lucy."

"and run her fur against my forehead..." (which causes mom some concern...)

"and snuggle with her. I love my Lucy!"

Weekend Recap

It was actually a pretty boring weekend… nothing too exciting going on. But it seems like on the weekends like these I am able to spend more quality time with Clara and marvel at how big she is getting and all the things she can do!

I discovered she knows where her nose it. She does – just ask her. But don’t ask her too many times –then she just gets annoyed with you and gives you the “grumpy” face.

By the way, she has a “grumpy” face. I haven’t been able to capture it on film yet, but her eyes get slanty and her mouth turns into a pout. It’s super cute – you can’t help but laugh.

She also makes kissy faces… and “clucks” her tongue.

She LOVES music! Church organ, commercial jingle, pop on the radio, annoying toy… she bops and sways to it all.

She repeats a lot of what you say… or at least tries to.

She has added to her vocabulary… socks.

She is also quite the climber. More than once this weekend I found her moving the laundry basket full of clothes closer to the couch or coffee table so she could climb up on it.

She has the memory of an elephant. (they have good memories, right?) Yesterday when we got to Grandma’s, she walked right over to the drawer full of Tupperware, opened it up, and started pulling out the pieces.

We spent most of yesterday at my parent’s house. It was a rainy afternoon, so good for bumming and not doing anything. We went out to the shed and Clara had fun playing with the toys out there, petting Hank the dog and Shop-Kitty. She also had her first ride in the combine with Grandpa. She looked so little in the buddy seat, but laughed and giggled the whole time.

"I'll settle for this 4-wheeler for now... but someday soon I want to play on the BIG one!"

Riding with Grandpa in the Combine! The RED Combine! Because tractors are red and corn in green"

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Little Girl

Long weekends are great – I finally had some time to spend with my wee-one. I can’t believe how much she changes every day. She is quickly becoming a “little girl” and not so much a “baby” anymore!

Walking is definitely her preferred mode of transportation and walking very fast is even better! She still falls a lot, but she is definitely not discouraged.

She likes to take the musical toy off the refrigerator in the kitchen and carry it around dancing to the music, like her own personal boom-box.

Mommy and daddy are clear as a bell. She also says baby, see?, why?, kitty, bye, hi, shoes (shs), and something that sounds like chicken. I even got a “mama no” out her the other day while trying to change her pants!

She is into everything! The other night while I was making supper she managed to clean out the bottom half of the pantry, and the cupboard with the small appliances. At least it kept her busy and quiet – no harm done!

Lately she has had an infatuation with the litter box… yuck. I’m all about germs, but this crosses the line! Good thing she likes to wash her hands.

Oh little Clara – you are growing too fast! It is fun to see how you change each day and the new things you learn. I hardly remember that little helpless babe I now only see in pictures. Love you!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Summer "Vacation"?

So other than my post yesterday, I realize it had been almost a month since my last post. I was reminded of this when a reader at the state fair told me she was sick of looking at the baseball picture everyday when she logged in. Sorry. Life gets busy, and August in just one of those months.

In very early August we decided to take off for a few days for a “vacation”. I say “vacation” because it ended up being a trip to cram in as many county fairs as we could, which isn’t my idea of a get-away. I let Paul plan it, since he has yet to enjoy a vacation I plan. My only stipulation was that there was some shopping in it for me at some point – and outlet shopping would be even better. I think this suggestion changed his plans a little, but he made it work.

We ended up attending 3 county fairs in one day. Washington County. Pine County. Crow Wing County. 3 Fairs = 3 carnivals, 3 sets of barns, 3 4-H buildings… and 3 times the food! We made away with some pretty good freebies too – a book for Clara, several balloons, pencils, and 2 Fleet Farm T-shirts.

Checking out the horses at the Pine County Fair

Crow Wing County Fair - we only got a few looks while taking this photo.

We were so ready to crash that night when we made it to the hotel. Clara had been cooped up in the carseat or stroller all day and was CRAZY when we finally allowed her to fun free. We hit the pool, then got ready for bed. Clara only lasted half the night in the pack and play before ending up in the bed between us. We’ve never bed-shared, so I was hesitant, but she slept like a rock.

The next day we headed to the outlet mall and I was able to find some Fall/Winter clothes for Clara. By then, Paul was ready to go home.

We were back home in time for supper.

So our weekend “get-away” turned into a 2-day road trip.

But that’s fine.

I’ll hit him up for the Bahamas this winter.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I got a tattoo.

I have wanted one for several years, but the stars just never quite aligned for me. I have several friends who expressed interest in getting one with me, but when it came right down to it… it was just talk. Then, a few months ago my sister and I started talking about getting one together. Our July appointment fell through, but yesterday worked out – it was THE day!

We had decided to get the same design, so it would be like a “sister thing”. Since she already has a foot tattoo, she decided to get hers on her wrist.
She went first and reassured me it didn’t hurt.

Then it was my turn. I’m not going to say it didn’t hurt… it did. But it’s not the worse pain I have ever felt and once it was done the pain was gone. I would equate the pain to someone stepping on your foot with a deep-tredded shoe and twisting back and forth… for about 10 minutes. Actually, I’m not sure it even took 10 minutes… he was fast!

I love it.

It’s exactly what I wanted.

It’s the perfect reminder on those rough days how truly blessed I am.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Love and Marriage

A week ago, I said some mean things about my dear husband on facebook. Although there was truth to everything I said, I feel like I need to redeem myself.

Things that annoy me about my husband:
- He does not turn his nasty socks right side out before throwing them in the laundry.
- He sucks at expressing his feelings (shocking for a man, huh?).
- He always puts his dirty dishes in the sink, then fills it 2 or 3 times before actually washing them. (I know, I know… I should be happy that he washes dishes at all)
- He is always right (or at least he THINKS he is always right).
- He has really sucky judgment.

The one thing that makes the above tolerable? I absolutely love him to pieces.

Marriage is always puppies and rainbow colored unicorns hard. I will be the first to admit that I sometimes can majorly suck at being a wife. I get pissy, moody, completely unlovable and a straight up b-word. (Don't judge, I am trying to improve on my sailor mouth). I sometimes wonder how he has put up with me for 7 years and married to me for almost 5.

But the fact is that nothing can break the commitment that we made to each other and God, especially now with Clara in the picture. We love each other and would do almost anything for each other. THAT has never been questioned.

So, I will try to turn the b-word down a notch and be the loving, KIND person that I committed to be – not all the time, but as much as I can. Because Clara and I are the luckiest people in the world to have Paul, we really are. Everything else doesn't matter.

This pic was taken over 2 years ago... man we look young! :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

County Fairs 1-5

So far this summer we have hit up 5 County Fairs (Paul has been to 7, good for him). I have been good about getting at least 1 picture at each fair to prove that we were there… although except for the fact that her outfits change, these pics really could have all been taken on the same day.

But they weren’t.

I promise.

And I have the mini doughnut pudge to prove it.

One would think we would go broke hitting up all these fairs, but we actually do pretty good. Our entrance and parking are always free, thanks to our Fair Exchange Pass Paul gets for serving on our local fairboard. Sure there’s gas, and food, but we usually bring water, and we spread out our absolute fair-food musts over the course of the summer. We usually have mini-donuts at every fair though – it’s tradition!

Last night Clara had her first cheese curd. She thought it was great and reached for more! She settled for the strawberry off my smoothie though instead.

Fair #1 - Cannon Valley. We took a break under the shelter and listened to polka music - Clara thought it was great!

Fair #2 - Winona County. Checking out the pigs.

Fair #3 - Wabasha County. No pic for this one, I was clerking the Beef Show when Clara came to visit.

Fair #4 - Fillmore County.

Fair #5 - Olmsted County. At the petting zoo - the Highlander calf got a little too close for comfort!