Saturday, November 26, 2011

first snow

November 19, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Turkey Day!

Clay: "What are you doing Parker?"
Parker: "I'm cutting and cooking my turkey!"

Wishing you all a blessed Thanksgiving with friends and family! Happy Turkey Day! :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

while my boys are in Texas...

On Monday morning (in the wee hours) I dropped all three of my boys off at the airport so they could catch a flight to Texas. I watched them until they quickly disappeared in security, got back in the car and completely and totally lost it. I cried so hard that I missed my exit towards home and had to drive an extra 10 miles in the wrong direction because of the little detour.

I had to laugh at myself later because I have no idea where that came from. Since Cooper has been born (over a year ago) I have not been at the house by myself for more than a couple of hours...and even the times where I had an hour to two by myself was a rarity. I think I have gotten so used to having a chaotic household that I don't know quite what to do with myself when I am home alone. Well, at least for the first few hours anyway....  ;)
Clay, Cooper and Parker at the airport in Texas - November 2011
1st trip for Clay to take both boys on a trip by himself

The funny thing is that I am a very independent person; I always have been. Parker comes along and shocker...I'm thrown for a loop. It didn't take too long for me to work that out though. I wouldn't give anything for our precious boys and the "busyness" that they have brought to and continue to bring to our lives.

Fast-forward to Wednesday...I'm good. ;)
Time to start crossing off things from the bucket list.
#1 Enjoy a plate of strawberries
...chocolate covered. :)
No worries about me. I'm good. Boys are having a blast. I'm enjoying a few "date nights" with myself. It's great. ;)

Tonight I went to see "Breaking Dawn" at the movies. Now, exactly 3 weeks ago I would have scoffed at anyone who mentioned this film to me; my sister-in-laws have been trying to convince me to read the books and check out the movies for over a year now. Every time they mentioned it I would shake my head and respond, "A love story about vampires and werewolves? Yeah right." Almost 3 weeks ago, Twilight came on television. Now, I don't watch a lot of television but I decided to give the movie 10 minutes to check it out and see why so many people thought this was a "must-see." Within 7 minutes, I was shooing my husband and 3 year old away from the room. I was glued to the t.v. for the rest of evening and have been only slightly obsessed ever since. Monday evening, I went and checked out the first three videos in the saga and have played them over and over in the background every single night while I've been doing random things around the house after getting home from work. Aaaahhh. Love it. It's like a modern day Romeo and Juliet..sort of.

It just happen to work out that the 4th part of the saga was coming out in the theaters while my boys were out of town. Tonight, I think the guy at the ticket desk at Regal Cinemas thought I was crazy when he handed me my ticket and I looked at him and asked, "Is this for one person?" What happened to the little red single ticket stubs you used to get? Or the little bitty individual ticket stubs that 5 years ago just had the name of the title of the movie you were going to see? Tonight, I got this credit card sized (if not larger) ticket plus some other slip that I was to show to the attendant. Then I sat down right in the middle of the theater with my popcorn and coke and watched the previews for when the screen popped up to "silence your phone"... and then came the message.... "No texting allowed." That's when I realized how old I was getting.

I think it was at that point when my mind went back to my Jr High days. The movie theater experience in my hometown was a little different experience than this. Not in a bad way...just different. I couldn't help but smile as I sat there and had flashbacks of my Saturday evenings at the movie theater. Simple ticket stubs, sticky floors that literally stuck to your shoes, bouncy seats (due to age), theater building right next door to the Pizza Hut and McDonalds...and usually you knew 3/4 of the people in there. There was no pre-entertainment commercials...the lights would dim, the previews would come on and the movie would start. There was typically a 5-10 min silent period where one would enter, take their seats and nothing was playing on the was at this time all the jr highers and highschoolers would goof off and check the room to see who was there on this particular evening. Who was on a date with who, what group of girls were having a girls fun thinking back on all of that.

Funny thing..about the time all of this was running through my head...when I was reminiscing about my youth, the preview for "Titanic" came on. Who knew it was coming back to theaters? I couldn't help it; I had to laugh because it was this movie that I went to see twice...and both times I was asked to leave because I was crying so hard. True story.

Some things never change. Within 15 minutes of Breaking Dawn starting, I had tissues in my hand and was sniffling...was it from the movie itself or the fact that I was having a girls night all to myself...who knows? Either way, it was fun. Ashee, please don't forget my books at Christmas. I have some reading to catch up on this December. :)

Time to head to bed. I have quite a few more things to cross of my bucket list before Sunday, so I'd better get my beauty sleep tonight. ;) I can't believe I've just stayed up this late...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

a zoo trip, some randomness, and leaves of fall...

This morning after Clay flew out, the boys and I headed to the MN Zoo to enjoy one last trek around the outdoor exhibits before they close up for winter. The weather predicted for today was beautiful, and I was so excited that the weatherman was right on target; it was indeed a gorgeous day. The boys loved seeing all the different species of animals. They contentedly stayed snug under their thick blanket I brought along to drape over their legs and heartily snacked on goldfish as we passed many of the exhibits. Both got out of their seats plenty to romp and play, but I was thankful I brought the double-stroller for the longer strides. Both were happy happy boys, which made for a very happy mama. ;)
In addition to seeing the outdoor exhibits and the indoor shark feeding show, one of the highlights was playing at the Woodland Adventure.  It features a variety of climbing structures and a number of nature elements for the children to explore and play in. Parker went multiple times down the giant curvy slide from the lighthouse, over the swinging rope bridge and into the treehouse. On the opposite side of the play area, sits the giant eagle's nest, which just so happened to be Cooper's favorite of the day. I'm not really sure why, but he was totally cracking himself up in that was way cute.
It was a great morning...and a great afternoon. We got home right at lunchtime, and enjoyed some chicken pasta salad, grapes, broccoli, carrots and almonds. Both guys tucked right into their beds and drifted off to sleep without a cry. Aaaahhh. Success. :)

For some randomness...last week was a very happy day when I discovered my favorite pair of hoop earrings that have been lost for 2 years now. I squealed when I found them in my Vera Bradley eyeglass case...random I know. But I've been so happy and have enjoyed wearing them again so much that I thought I would share.

I have been trying to weed through the mountains of magazines and paper stuff that has been slowly piling up over the last 6-8 weeks around our house. Usually, I stay on top of our mail and things of that nature pretty well (actually, at least half of it if not more, never even makes it in the house before it goes in the recycling bin), but lately that has not been the case. So, I'm on a shredding/burning/recycling spree of mail, magazines and "paper stuff."

...which leads me to my next random tidbit. Tonight, hubby built me my first fire of the winter. Yea! I do LOVE fires in our fireplace and never tire of those (which is good because that is the ONLY thing about winter I do not tire of). He knew I had a good bit to shred...our shredder is officially non-existant as our last one he built me a gorgeous fire to be able to throw my paper in...and to prop my feet up to. (Truly, I think he's a little tired of me complaining about the cold temps in the house and shivering loudly enough for him to purposefully hear! ha ha!)

The other day after work, the boys and I, along with our neighbors' two girls, played outside for some time before supper. Clay and I were on a mission to rake leaves and the kids, of course, discovered the big, colorful piles that come with that chore. I think we raked one of our piles up 8 or 9 times as they would squeal, run and jump to their little heart's content..laugh...and then do it all over again, until it was time for us to come rake it up into a mountain for more jumps. So fun!
We had four of these big piles in our front yard so it was not long before we recruited help from the youngsters; they were happy to oblige. ;) What do you see that is wrong with the picture below? ha ha! Clay actually was on the phone with his sister and the kids would get upset if we tried to help with their "job," so we let them load up two wheelbarrow fulls all by themselves. As you can see below, they were very much into it and did a terrific job. *Remember, to hold a "leaves party" next year and recruit all the neighborhood kids to help. After the "mountain jumps" and re-rakes of the big piles of leaves, job should be completed in less than an hour. ;)

Even Cooper was quite the delighted little fellow to have a position in the chore with the big kids. He "held up" the wheelbarrow (well, when he wasn't trying to turn it over! ;))
Fun times around here...happy Fall!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

our 2011 Halloween

"Carve a Pumpkin"
If you can, buy a pumpkin carving kit - it will make the carving easier and safer. Choose a pumpkin with a fairly even surface. Cut a lid out of the stem end, set it aside, and remove the pulp and seeds with a large kitchen spoon. Scrape out some of the meat of the pumpkin to make the inside clean and smooth. Draw a face on the outside with a magic marker. Use a sharp knife to carefully cut out the design. Choose a short, fat candle to illuminate the pumpkin. Light the candle and anchor it in some soft wax dripped in the bottom of the pumpkin. Put the lid back on the pumpkin (tilt it slightly to leave a space; the flame gets more oxygen and burns brighter this way.) ... Place your jack-o'-lantern in a window or on a porch to light up the night." excerpt from Mom's Almanac
We may not be pros at carving pumpkins (this was technically our first year to do it all by ourselves without help from our parents! ha ha!) but rest assured, we had fun in the kitchen with the boys creating jack o lanterns this Halloween. I laughed and told Clay that in two years we would be doing this in record time with our eyes closed! My thoughts were to keep the designs simple...2 eyes and a mouth with a scraggly tooth. Clay and Parker decided they wanted to try out their carving skills, so they went to town with their design cards and carving utensils.
Fifteen minutes before our Small Group arrived Sunday evening, our kitchen still had pumpkin seeds, pumpkin juice, and pumpkin carving utensils everywhere. In the midst of frantically pulling it all together in the end (kinda like that 1980s movie "Adventures in Babysitting" with Elisabeth Shue when Chris did a 2 minute mad-dash clean-up as the parents were pulling into the driveway), one of my jack-o'-lantern's teeth fell out leaving only a single tooth on the smallest pumpkin of the group. There was no time for glue, so Clay lined the pumpkins out on the front porch, laughed and said, "Carrie, come look!" I ran out to see what the humor was and couldn't help but shake my head and smile...
...I had made a baby Cooper pumpkin! (although Cooper has quite a few more teeth than this friendly fellow!)

Parker was a pirate. Cooper was Peter Pan. Aaahhhh!!! My heart melts all over again seeing them dressed up like the little characters. PRECIOUS little boys....who are getting too big too fast.
 Though Cooper did not take part in the actual trick-or-treating part of the evening, he had fun hanging out with his brother before passing out in his daddy's arms precisely at bedtime. Parker loaded up his little McDonald's Happy Meal bucket with treats from all over the neighborhood. He ran from house to house excitedly saying either "hello!"(sometimes he forgot the "trick or treat" part!) or "trick or treat!" and then politely saying thank you to each of the candy-givers. My heart smiled during the whole hour. He came home proudly dumping all of his treats on the floor. Parker then took over a very important job of handing out candy to the last of our trick or treaters. He took his job very seriously and loved it! After reading a Halloween story or two, we then all turned in for the evening. I'm pretty sure I drifted off to sleep dreaming of a certain pirate and peter pan. ;)

Hope you all had a safe and fun Halloween this season!