Monday, August 30, 2010


It's funny how I was so worried about James at the beginning of the summer.  Turns out he just needed a couple of days to adjust to the school year ending and his entire world being turned upside down.  huh.  It's been a good summer for he and I...good to have so much time together.  I am really going to miss him this year even though I will appreciate my daytime responsibilities being reduced by 1/3.

I know this is horrible to say but maybe you'll understand.  If I could pick which child to send away from me for the whole day...right now it would be Ruby.  Good Lord, she is a pain in the butt.  I know her, though, and know she will be a much easier companion once she is getting more attention again.  Her little world got shaken up, too.  And she is a four year old girl.  'Nuff said.

My mom is here until tomorrow when she will fly out to be with my sister and her new little family for the month of September.  Andrea has committed herself to finishing RN school this year and she starts, um, next week.  My mom gets to be there to help her out through this huge transition and I think that all of them are so lucky that it worked out.  I am jealous, of course, but am already planning when I can go for the weekend.  (with my pickle in tow)

My mom is refolding the clothes I folded yesterday.


p.s.  thank you for the congratulations for my sister and the other comments lately.  I adore every one but have been kind of hit or miss about responding.  Maybe it will get easier next week?  (preschool starts..ahhhhhh.)

Friday, August 27, 2010

oh my God, I am in love

Here he is, little Jacob Asher. 

Looking just like he should look even though I didn't know that until I saw him.  Do you know how that is?  He is a perfect mix of my seester & her husband.

I love him.


I won't feel bad if you don't read this post

I am tired.  taaaaaaaared.

My house is a mess.  I am sick of sunshine and heat.  Right now Ruby is watching sponge bob and James is playing zelda.  I haven't had my coffee yet.  I just put a load of laundry in, finally.  My floor needs to be swept.  I need to take a shower and put my contacts in.  (I am always more productive in contacts vs. my glasses)  I wish the pickle would nap all day. 

On the other hand:  Patrick brought home roses and we had a really good night.

That's really all I've got.  I am a jumbo slug today and you know what?  It's hard being a jumbo slug when it's so damn nice outside.


p.s.  picture of james & buddies at a park a couple of weeks ago.  they are very intent on their play, no?  so cute.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

split but not

On Tuesday morning we left bright and fairly early to meet Melissa and her kids.  Melissa is a dear friend of mine that I met when we moved to Eau Claire right after getting married 15 years ago.  (15 years ago today...holla!)  She is the kind of friend that I can meet at a children's museum (in LaCrosse) with our 5 kids after not having seen her for 4 years and it was like we had seen each other last week.

Let me back up a little, though.  As I was nearing the exit to LaCrosse that morning my phone rang.  My sister asked how I was and where exactly I was going and then calmly told me her water broke.  As in, SPLASH, her water broke!  Holy crap!  Now imagine my mind being split in two, one half in Massachusetts with her & Ronan and one half in LaCrosse with my dear friend and our 5 kids.  That is how it remained the rest of the day.  It was so fun to see Melissa and her sweet kids but my mind was racing with thoughts of my sister and her impending delivery the whole time.

We had a really fun day at the Children's Museum in LaCrosse and then headed to our very cool hotel to spend the night.  We successfully got 5 kids, a 3 monther, a 4 monther, and one of each 2, 4 and 6 year old-er, asleep in the same room by 10pm.  Astonishing.  Instead of staying up and whispering about our lives (like I wish we could have) we both fell asleep, too.

I think I slept for 10 minutes.  I was up for what felt like most of the night thinking and praying about my sister.  We got up (ha!) Wednesday morning and I took my 3 down to the pool for a little swim and then we packed up and were out of there by checkout time at 11:00am.  I had heard updates from my mom and had texted my sister but all I knew really was that she was still laboring.  I felt anxious, like I just wanted to get home.  Oh yeah, my Dad was scheduled for surgery at the Mayo Clinic on Wednesday, too.

We made awesome time getting home with Nicholas passed out the whole way.  As soon as we hit the Beltline I noticeably relaxed.  As soon as we hit our front door I melted into a virtual puddle of relaxation.  I was at my home base now and could wait comfortably until hearing news of my most beloved family members.  (and Patrick was very near to me, if needed.)

Throughout the afternoon my mom and I called each other when we heard anything.  I was hurting for my sister knowing full well how tired she must be by now.  By late afternoon my aunt called that my Dad was out of surgery and all had gone well.  I texted my brother and he replied back and made me laugh so hard.  (he is a funny one!)  An hour or so later my Mom called saying that little Jacob had finally arrived!!!  Praise God.  I got to talk to my sister a couple of hours later and after we hung up I immediately headed up to bed for the best night of sleep ever. 

Now I am again split...this time between Duluth and Massachusetts.  I wish I was up in Duluth so I could bring my Dad cookies and make dinner for him during his week of recovery.  I wish I was in Mass so I could hold that baby and help my sister with whatever she might need.  And give her the biggest hug.  She is a mother for the first time.  That is the most awesome thing ever. 

Oh Lord, I love my family.  We are so blessed to have each other.


Monday, August 23, 2010

ruby's tuesday (posted on Monday night)

(We took the clothesline down when the patio got poured and it never managed to get back up.  When the dryer broke while Patrick was out of town, I had to get creative.  The top half is simply stuck in our umbrella base and it works great!  It's kinda nice to have it waist high and Ruby loves being able to help.  Today she told me she loves doing laundry.  xoxo)


The kids & I are leaving tomorrow morning on a little overnight adventure.  See youu on Thursday!  xoxo

oh that mr. pickles

Dear Mr. Pickles,

That is not how you are supposed to use a sleep positioner.


The Mgmt.


As you can see, we are still dealing with the rolling over business.  Right now he is up there, on his tummy, grumbling and muttering under his breath about me.  I am leaving him there to work this out for once and for all.  He is obviously past the point of those little foam pieces being of any good use.  I hope he falls asleep sooner than later.  He can, for the record, roll both ways now...he just needs to put 2 and 2 together.  (this is killing James, he is begging me to let him go and flip him over.  All he has heard for the last 4 months is NO SLEEPING ON HIS TUMMY and now we're all, GO TO SLEEP ON YOUR TUMMY FOR PETE'S SAKE.)

I have so many little things I want to mention so I don't forget them in the future.  (like this afternoon)

  • Ruby asks me to snip her doll's shirt for her (snap it) and got her pillow-sheet (pillow case) off of her pillow for me this morning.  I will miss these little things when they cute, Miss Harper.
  • Patrick got home safely on Saturday morning.  We were all thrilled to have him home but there was an adjustment period.  I mean I had just gotten everything running just the way I like it and then he shows up!  :)  One big thing:  I normally wake up hot every night and curse Patrick for either turning down the A/C or opening the windows. (hello, humidity is SUPER HIGH in the middle of the night.)  This was blissfully a non-issue while he was gone and I loved it.  I got a fan yesterday to blow directly on me all night.  Happy fan!!!  No more middle of the night hating my husband!  All this peace and love for only $12.99.  Sure, it's a little loud, so loud we now call our room "the hive," but at least I'm not hot.
  • I am losing GOBS of hair.  Don't invite me over right now.  Seriously.
  • My sister's baby is due in six days.  SIX DAYS!!!!  Did you hear that, baby?  Come on out!!  
  • James will now be getting a weekly allowance of $2.  This is non-chore related as I feel like chores are just a part of living in this house together.  He will however be getting an additional $3 every time he gets 15 stars on his chart.  He earns a star by not complaining about doing his chores.  See how this works?  Two dimes for keeping his little mouth shut and emptying the dishwasher?  A bargain, in my opinion.  What do you do with allowances/chores?  This is our first foray into this world so any advice would be appreciated.
  • Our dryer broke while Patrick was gone (after 15 was a wedding gift) and I can't say I'm too sad about it.  I do want to put off getting a new set (the washer still works well) for a while and am line drying all of our laundry now.  I think I can do this for a couple of months as we have lots of lines in our basement as well as outside.  We'll see.
  • I started reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest and almost put it down.  The beginning is kind of boring.  I'm glad I gave it another 30 pages or so because it got REALLY good.  I read The Girl Who Played with Fire during my induction with Nicholas and through his first week here at home with us.  I will always have really fond memories of sitting up in our bedroom nursing the baby and reading in that perfect afternoon light.  (love.)
  • She writes so beautifully about what I am longing for right now.
My baby finally gave up and fell asleep on his tummy.  First time ever.

xoxo  Here's to a good week for us all.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

dairy free ice box cake

I made a little discovery last weekend.  In the cool whip section (at Woodman's, if you're local) they had a little carton of Rich Whip.  I picked it up and it appeared to be dairy free so I bought a few of them (they are a dollar and some change for an 8 ounce carton).  I googled them when I got home and I was not mistaken, it's dairy free!  The ingredients are nothing to brag about which might explain why I've never heard of it on all the vegan/food allergy blogs I read??  Anyways, it's basically fake, like cool whip, but I'm glad I know it's there.  There are lots of summery desserts that I think we can try in the future using this stuff. 

We needed a little pick me up after Patrick left on Sunday morning so I told the kids we'd make some whip cream.  I did chill the beaters, but not the bowl, and this stuff whipped up beautifully.  I added a little vanilla and it was just barely sweet and pretty tasty.  The day I bought the Rich Whip I also got those chocolate wafers pictured above (also dairy, egg & peanut free)...the classic icebox cake recipe is on the back of the box.

I whipped up two cartons, enough for one long cake roll, but decided to just make a half of one to start with.  The kids loved it and we made the other half to take to the park on Tuesday night so James could have some "cake" too. 

I'm always happy to find something else he can have.  It's good to have another easy option for the times I don't want to make another crazy cake.  :)

One thing you should sprinkles quickly melt into the whipped topping and look like mold.  Might be nice at Halloween???  Good thing kids don't care about stuff like that.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

the boot

A week ago Monday, our first day home from Duluth, I asked Patrick to rip apart our old entertainment center and put the TV downstairs.  He did it!  The mythical lower level is still not done but I was going to lose my mind if I had to deal with the tv questions all day, every day for another 3 weeks.  (if we were home, they wanted it on.)  I was so sick of it being smack dab in the middle of our living room and lives, really.  (it was where the couch covered in laundry was.)  (please excuse the laundry but do take a moment to notice how nicely it is folded and displayed on said couch.)

Anyways, I love having the tv out of here.  I've missed it maybe twice and the kids only missed it the first day.  Nobody really wants to be down their alone to watch so they are watching a lot less tv.  (and when they do watch it is really a break for me, which I love.)  This main level, where I spend most of my day, is so much calmer.

Now I want to paint in here so bad it almost itches.  I'm going to wait until we are nicely settled into our new fall routine before I start anything.  It will be a big job.


I have a babysitter today!  Hooray!  She's coming in an hour.  uh oh.

We had another good day yesterday even though I was kind of down all day.  (really missing Patrick along with the whole rolling over drama.  funny how that made me so sad.)  We had dinner at a park last night (with birthday cake!) with friends and that was a really good way to end the day.  There was a little chill in the air and we all had sweatshirts on.  bliss.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

ruby's tuesday

She takes her babysitting duties very seriously.

dying a little bit

We are having another really lovely morning (thank you, Lord).  Or rather, we were having another really lovely morning until it happened.

I was in the shower, taking my time as the baby had just gone down for his nap.  I finished up after about 10 minutes (leisurely for me...normally my showers are less than half of that) and heard the saddest crying.  The big kids were downstairs watching TV (in the lower level...more on that later) so they didn't hear him.  I rushed in and little Nicholas was

ON HIS STOMACH.  Beside himself with upset, lying on his tummy.

My baby.  Rolled over.

He's been "rolling" to his side for a while now and I guess he decided since he's officially 4 months old now, as of yesterday, that he should roll over.  I don't think he was fully prepared for the onslaught of emotions that would go with this new development.

They never are, are they?  And they never bother to ask us first, do they?  sigh.

He was crying his super sad cry and I just scooped him up (I did throw clothes on first, so please don't picture me doing all of this naked.)  I wrapped him in his softest green blanket (you know those really soft and squishy ones) and just rocked him and told him how sorry I was that I was obliviously showering away while he was in the greatest turmoil of his life.  His crying slowed down to those little sad hiccups and sighs that told me how traumatic it all really was for him.  And then he rubbed his face in that blanket and fell asleep.  And then I cried a little bit.

(the big kids were still watching some birthday party for Dora, thank God for Nick.)

You know those 100 thing life lists everyone is doing now?  When I started thinking about what I would put on my list, what I would do if I knew I couldn't fail, my first thought was another baby.

I'm not putting it on my list, though, because we both kind of know, with our heads, that we should be done.  But my heart says something different, I guess.  I am just praying that God shows me what to do with these feelings.  I think it's okay to not get what I want all the time.  I think decisions need to be made with heads and hearts and prayer.  I don't regret us waiting so long to have kids but I guess I do a little tiny bit.  I wouldn't change it, though.

(I'd like to clarify that my "have another baby" dream occurs about 3 years in the future.  I don't want another one right way.)

I also wonder how much oxytocin has to do with it.  :)  Of course, I wasn't breastfeeding while I was thinking about a 100 things list the other day.  (I don't have one, btw, do you?  Do I even want to do 100 things with my life??  Probably but they'd be more like: eat less cake and floss daily.)

All of this because of one little milestone.  What am I going to do when he sits up?  Or leaves for college? 

And p.s.  I wanted to lay him down with that squishy blanket so badly.  Why do babies + squishy blankets have to = very bad things???

Monday, August 16, 2010

it's 20 past 9

and my kids (the oldest 2) are still up.  Ruby just came down to tell me she loves me (again) and James was right on her heels needing just one more Lego piece.

I don't even mind.  We had a really good day.

First of all, the weather here is gorgeous.  Gorgeous!  Ruby and I sat out on the patio all morning drinking coffee and watching each other do tricks.  (Ruby can run really fast and hop on one foot.  I can cross my eyes and jump pretty far.)  After that we met some friends at the park and had such a nice time.  The big kids played outside all evening, not coming in until 8:00pm.  By that time I was half way through Bachelor Pad so they just had to finish it with me.  (I jumped to another channel if something looked to sleazy for them.)  James said he thought Craig would go home.  :) 

I have lots more I'd like to say but I just, all of a sudden, lost my energy.  I think I hear someone hollering for me.  I think it's my bed. 

Sweet dreams.  xoxoox

Sunday, August 15, 2010

15 years ago this month

This is me with my Dad on my wedding day nearly 15 years ago.  (our anniversary is on the 26th)

Do I look a little excited or what?


I know I should save this mushy stuff for our anniversary but the mood struck tonight, probably because he's gone and because he looked so darn cute when he left this morning.

I am still amazed that I happened (I use that term loosely, I know God had a hand in our meeting) to find someone that I enjoy living with and being around every day as much as I do him.

Crazy good stuff.  Love that.


Friday, August 13, 2010

mostly about mr. pickles but a little whining

I came down here at 6:30 to make some coffee and read for a while and, of course, Ruby woke up 10 minutes later.

I hate it when that happens.

I just sent her upstairs for being annoying (already!).  She got her first zhu-zhu pet yesterday (blame it on the heat) and she can't find it and won't SHUT UP about it. (I did already help her look.)

heavy, woe-is-me-type sigh.

I didn't come here to complain.  I came here to write a little snippet about mr. pickles so that's what I will do.

I love this baby.  I've loved all of my babies, sickeningly so, but with each one I think I've loved their baby-ness a little bit more.  They don't talk!  They stare at you with nothing but love!  They don't talk!

Nicholas is just such a perfect little bundle of baby.  He is so good natured but when he gets crabby he lets you know it and I love his little crabby self.  He scowls and grumbles and gets generally cantankerous but doesn't bust out the screams unless he is ignored for a long time.  (so you can imagine how that almost never happens with a mother like me around.  HAHAHAHAHA)  I love his scowls.  He is a bossy little

(update:  she found the flipping zhu zhu pet!!!)

nurser.  He pushes and grabs at my breast like he is in charge of the whole business.  He'll look at me out of the corner of his eye while he's eating and if I am doing something else (like sleeping) he will pop off and look at me until I look back.  Then he smiles.  He will also stop nursing to follow a conversation I am having with one of the other kids or if he hears a scream or a thud downstairs.  I just smile at him and say, "It's okay" and he smiles back and continues eating.

I've gotten a lot of his cradle cap off so his head looks much better.  He does still seem sensitive to dairy but, and I'm just guessing here, probably not allergic.  He doesn't get rashes or anything...just spits up and gets gassy if I have too much of it.

I have to wrap this up because I am starving and a fresh cup of coffee is waiting for me.  The zhu zhu pet is also in the kitchen now and I might accidentally step on it if I don't get some food in me.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

canal park & the lakewalk

These pictures are from our first day in Duluth.  James is only in the first one because after Canal Park (and lunch at Amazing Grace) we walked over the lift bridge and Patrick took the kids to the beach while I nursed Nicholas.  Something transpired and soon Patrick was informing me that James would be going home for the rest of the day.  Patrick took them back to the beach later in the week so he didn't totally miss out.

My mom and I had a really nice day with Ruby & Nicholas. 

(after wiping Nicholas all over Ruby sighed and said, "Babies are a lot of work.")
I hear ya, Ruby.  :)


Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I just called Patrick and asked him if he knew he'd have to go back to NY.  He said yes.  I then asked him why he didn't tell me.  You mean right before vacation? he asked me.

good point.  He is pretty smart, that husband of mine. 

I have decided no bounce camp.  Instead I am going to use the money to eat out, do fun stuff and get a sitter as needed.  The weather is supposed to be nice (low 80s, not as humid) so we can hopefully resume meeting friends at parks along with (some of) the following:

janesville wading pool
bouncy house open gym
movie night (with malts and popcorn)
madtown twisters
madison childrens museum (All! New!)
spray park
pool here in town

My pickles just woke up.  Here he was a bit earlier.

We all had fun singing "baby in a basket" over and over.

We are (usually) not hard to please.



I stand by my choice to not sign the kids up for any camps this summer...the running around would have really driven me crazy.


school starts three weeks from today and I honestly feel like I can't do this for three more weeks.  I am just so bored!  The kids aren't driving me that crazy (well, sometimes...) and thinking about James being gone all day again really makes me kind of sad.  I feel like the heat has really decreased our outside time and I miss that...a lot.  I am so sick of this house.  (but eternally grateful for the A/C that it has)

(I should mention that mr. pickles doesn't like the heat & humidity so much.  He gets fussy and hot and wants to sleep on me, who is also hot.  And then his nose gets little beads of sweat on it and I remember that babies can't really perspire like bigger people can and I feel guilty for having him outside.)

And then,

Patrick has to go BACK to New York next week.  From Sunday until SATURDAY.


So now I'm trying to decide if I want to send them to a 3 day camp at one of the bounce places.  It's reasonably priced (for a mother afraid of losing her marbles due to solo parenting during the final stretch of summer) but is on the far east side of Madison.  And then I think...3 days from 9:30-2:30?  I might kind of miss them.  But then I think...what an amazing break.  But then I think I should just get a sitter for one day again and make plans with friends as the weather looks really nice for next week.  Now that I type that, I think that's what I should do.

Anyone want to get together next week?  ;)

But still, Patrick gone again.  sigh.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I first saw this blog before vacation, linked from somewhere else.  (forgive me for not remembering)  I forgot about it, of course.  Luckily, Maggie linked to it while I was gone so I was reminded of it when going through my feed reader last night.

Mila's Daydreams

Go there now and enjoy.  I think what she is doing is so perfect and am just a bit jealous that I didn't think of it.  (jealous that I would never have thought of it..such an original idea)  I might try one with Nicholas because I think it is SO CUTE.  Brilliant!   (can you imagine having these images of yourself?  Each one feels so loving.)

done gushing.  go look.


a list, of course

some of the things I loved about vacation in no particular order:

  • reading in the van next to Patrick and a 44 ounce soft drink
  • lunch at Amazing Grace's with Patrick, the kids and a light sprinkling of rain
  • lakewalk with my mom & Ruby (and Leif Erickson & the rose garden)
  • tasting the Portland Malt Shop malt my mom & Ruby shared
  • only cooking once - a pot of noodles
  • being fed by others 
  • hot dogs on the grill
  • bbq with Thomas & Erin
  • seeing Thomas & Erin's new land/house
  • sleeping over at Dad's
  • watching the boys on the 4 wheeler (Patrick was happier than James)
  • just LOVING all the trees and smell of the woods at my Dad's and Split Rock
  • watching the hummingbirds on the deck
  • Split Rock Lighthouse (aside from the fecking black flies)
  • my new hoodie, even though it's too big
  • coffee with Kristy & Rachel
  • watching Kristy hold a sleeping pickles (that's Nicholas)
  • Kristy calling and offering to watch James and Ruby so Patrick and I could have some quiet time (she offered to watch pickles too but I don't have any milk for him)
  • my mom making us bacon, egg, tomato and cheese sandwiches
  • sitting on my mom's back porch
  • going to the bookstore in the rain
  • seeing Lee and watching her also hold a sleeping pickles
  • spending the morning with Jolee & her boys at their cozy home (and having her share her fresh picked blueberries with us!)
  • playfront park & bayfront park (why doesn't anyone go to bayfront??  it is gorgeous there and was totally empty.)
  • meeting my mom at Saver's on Wednesday night (double coupons!) and having her get Nicholas to sleep so we could shop longer
  • that Nicholas slept so often and so well
  • stopping at Starbuck's on the way to and from my dad's house
  • that Patrick took the big kids to Park Point
  • watching Ruby play some tank game on the Wii
  • BW3 with Thomas & Erin
 I'm sure I'm forgetting something.  If it involves you, please forgive me.

We had such a nice time.  Oh!  One other thing:  hearing Patrick scold Nicholas on the way home.  Hearing someone say, "Pickles!" in a stern voice is pretty funny.  :)

I will hopefully have some pictures tomorrow.

Happy ONE YEAR Anniversary to Andrea & Ronan!!  (yesterday)

Welcome sweet Samuel to our family!  (3 wks early...please pray that he continues to do well)


Monday, August 09, 2010

how can I make my life more like vacation?

I have been pondering this question for a few days which means it was a GOOD vacation.

More on that later.

We are home now, as of 7pm last night, and I am:

  • out of laundry detergent & most groceries
  • wanting to throw half of my kids toys away (or give them away)
  • not reading blogs during the day anymore...this will be a night time activity for now
  • SO SICK of summer heat & humidity  (is it just me or has this summer been REALLY hot??)
  • patting myself on the back for cleaning my entire fridge this morning (as it being sticky + empty = good opportunity to clean it out)
I don't have time to blog anymore right now.  Mr. Pickles (Nicholas) (the light of my life aka squishiest baby ever) is sleeping and I still need some coffee.  

It's (kind of) good to be home.

Big x's and o's.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Long gone

Here we are up in Duluth. We are having a really nice time. Kids are good. No Internet! Hot. Xoxo. Back next week.


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