A very, merry Christmas!

I wish you all a very, merry Christmas! We plan to spend the holiday weekend with family in our hometown and then hope to squeeze in a few days of R & R at the lake. I can't wait to curl up on the sofa next to a warm, blazing fire!

One of my favorite holiday traditions is the reading of this Christmas story. The birth of Jesus. Our extended family read it each year before we opened gifts. I remember being so excited when I was old enough to read it to the whole family. Surprisingly, the room full of 20+ people (12 being very excited kids) was very quiet as this was read. We started to do this in our own little family a year or two ago...when Miss A was old enough to sit through it and perhaps grasp part of its meaning.

I hope you all enjoy a very, merry Christmas. Remember the reason for the season. Share your family traditions. Take some time to quietly soak it all in. And sing "Silent Night" by candlelight at least once:)

Luke 2:1-20 (New International Version, ©2010)

The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.). And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Little Bo Peep...

has lost her sheep and doesn't know where to find them. Leave them alone and they'll come home, wagging their tales behind them.

I think I got that right. I should have it fresh in my mind. Miss A's kindergarten class studied nursery rhymes in October. They were able to choose their favorite character to dress up as for the day before Halloween. Not surprisingly, Miss A choose Little Bo Peep. I was ready to tackle a costume but thankfully a little break from school and a couple days at the lake made it possible for Grandma to take over and finish the dress. It made a very cute costume paired with a cane from great-grandma's house and a sheep from a fantastic 2nd cousin from California (a gift a couple of Easter's ago). The entire class got to ride the bus to a local retirement home where they all recited several nursery rhymes. It was fun for the kids and the residents seemed to enjoy it as well. I even got to ride along and help out...yeah!

Here are a couple of pictures. The girls both attempted to sleep in curlers (Miss K didn't last very long!).

Drum roll please.....presenting Little Bo Peep!

Thank goodness for Mother Goose!



I'm a big fan of words. I love quotes. I find them very interesting. I love things with words on them, artwork, blankets, pillows, a cute end table I found for the lake, jewelry. I have a tray in my kitchen with the alphabet scrolled on it. I love paintings with words. Right above the computer now is a painting from a local street fair with this phrase, "Your wings already exist...all you have to do is fly." There are pictures in my living room that say, "How we spend our days, is how we spend our lives," and "Life is not measured by the breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away." I have a cute tray propped up on my kitchen counter that says, "Candy Cane Kitchen & Bakery." You name it and I probably love it. I think I'll take some pictures and try to get them posted although I'm not sure when that will be. It is the holiday season so cut me some slack.

In the mean time here are a few good quotes that I revisited recently.

There was an old owl lived in an oak,
The more he heard, the less he spoke;
The less he spoke, the more he heard,
O, if men were all like that wise bird!
-Punch magazine

If you think education is expensive,
try ignorance.
-Derek Bok

I have generally found that a man who is
good at excuses is usually good at nothing else.
-Benjamin Franklin

Well begun is half done.
-Greek proverb (I think Mary Poppins borrowed this line)

The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.
-William James

What matters is in a character is not whether one holds this
or that opinion: what matters is how proudly one upholds it.
-Germaine de Stael

Send me your favorite words!


A few words that said it all

Mr. M was driving us to a hockey game this past Friday night. He was heading down the street and Miss A suddenly starts saying, "Slow down Dad, you're going too fast. Slow down, the police will get you." Not missing a beat we hear another little voice from the back seat, "Faster, faster. I yike faster!" Of course those of us in the front seat laughed.

I was immediately struck by this. I think I even said, "There you have it. That's the personalities of our two girls!" One who is cautious and sticks to the rules and the other who loves speed, some danger and pushing limits. I'm always amazed at how different they are when everything around them is the same. That's what makes it interesting I guess.


With gratitude

Oh, the places you'll go... You know the rest I'm sure. I'm thankful for Dr. Seuss. I love his books! My favorite is probably the first line of this post. I just love the message. Work hard, persevere and great things will happen. Thank you Theodor Geisel!

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look’em over with care. About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down a not-so-good street.

And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town. It’s opener there in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

You’ll be on your way up!

You’ll be seeing great sights!

You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.

Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And if you go in, should you turn left or right…or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

No! That’s not for you!

Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!

Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?

Yes! You will, indeed!

(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Kid, you’ll move mountains!

So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting.

So…get on your way!

With gratitude,

With gratitude

I've had the good fortune to travel quite a bit over the years. I love soaking in a new place. It gives me such great perspective. Usually I end up loving the place I'm visiting but end up being very thankful for where I live and returning home. Hopefully I'll have the opportunity to do more traveling in the future.

Places to go, people to see!

With gratitude,


With gratitude

I'm stealing this one from a friend who recently posted that she was thankful for patience. There are many times I wish I had more of it but I'm thankful for what I've got! With two little girls there are days when the chatter seems like it will never end. Thankfully I've always made it through and I hope it continues. They really are fun little voices to hear.

With gratitude,


With gratitude

Thankfulness Challenge Day 20.

I had the good fortune of dancing as I grew up. My mom spent hours in the car driving me, waiting for me and sewing/altering costumes, pointe shoes, etc. Thanks Mom!

Now its my turn. The girls both dance and its been so much fun. They both started when they were about 18 months old. Mommy & Me classes started and I got to dance with them. It was such a joy! Even dancing on stage for the recitals (the only requirement for the mommy costumes were all black!).

This year Miss K is on her own. No more Mommy & Me. I just get to watch now and its great and awful all at once. She can do it by herself now...she doesn't need me anymore. This growing up stuff is  for the birds!

Then there is Miss A. She has dancing in her soul. I've gotten compliments on her dancing since she started and she continues to prove herself all the time. She'll soon be dancing with the Moscow Ballet in the Nutcracker. She's a french girl. We'll see how it all turns out!

Dance as if no one is watching!

With gratitude,


With gratitude

Thankfulness Challenge Day 19.

Yesterday's candle post reminded me of something I am very, very thankful for. It's been a place for me to go with a sleeping, quiet baby and stroll around. It's been an escape from my house after a crazy day with kids. There have been a few nights when Mr. M has walked through the door and I've quickly said I'm heading here for awhile. I've run into many a fellow mom strolling the aisles picking up what they need or browsing. I've spent hours there looking at everything. I've been asked, on more than one occasion, where something in the house has come from. The answer is often...


I'm thankful its there. I can pickup groceries, diapers, clothes, toys or whatever I may need in one stop when I have kids with me. I can grab a diet coke at the snack bar and stroll the aisles for an hour now and again just to look or get ideas. It's almost meditative...you will understand that if you need an escape but also have errands to run! It may be strange but I'm very thankful for that place.

With gratitude,


With gratitude

Thankfulness Challenge Day 18.

Candles. I have a thing for candles. I don't know why or where it came from. I just love them! My favorites are apple scented or citrus. My current favorites are the Harvest Apple from Bath and Body Works. I've gone through a few of these babies between our house and the lake.

Next is a very recent find. It's Clementine and Clove. Citrus is my other favorite. I love anything orange, tangerine or the like. So I came across this at Target. It smells like something I call 'Russian Tea'. You may have another name for it...a mixture of Nestea, Tang, cloves and a few other spices. Anyway, it cures any cold you have or at least is hot and tastes good on a sore throat. Bonus: it comes in a mercury glass container (I have a collection!).

The picture wouldn't work but click here!

Then there is this little wonder. I've long since burned it up but I loved, loved, loved it. I can't really describe what moss smelled like but it was wonderful. I was more than a little sad when it was gone. Part of the charm was the quaint little shop I got it in last winter. Charleston, South Carolina. So beautiful, so fun!

I just love when the house smells wonderful when I walk in the door!

With gratitude,


With gratitude

Thankfulness Challenge Day 17.

I'm thinking about hobbies today and I'm grateful. I have several I suppose but currently I really enjoy photography (some day I'll master photoshop). I also love to sit down and 'tinkle the ivories'. In fact, I'm waiting for a new Lorie Line book to arrive shortly and watch out Christmas carols! I love to go to movies. There's something about a movie theater (smile!).

I hope you have one or darn it get busy and figure one out! Someday you'll have free time and you might as well spend it productively! (double smile!)

With gratitude,


With gratitude

Thankfulness Challenge Day 14, 15 & 16.

A little behind but I'm still here. We've been getting ready for a little adventure so you'll have to excuse me. Other things were more pressing. I have found it fun though that throughout the days I am always thinking of things I am thankful for. Much better than thinking about the things I could complain about on a daily basis.

Friends. New, long-time, young, old I'm thankful for you all. I've been blessed with so many wonderful friends over the years. Some of you I've known for years and we've been through many of the same experiences. Some I've met through strange twists of fate and we've stayed connected for some reason or another. I love that there are many of you I can meet up with once or twice a year and its as though we've never been apart. Thank you for your friendship!

Family. I have a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful family. Immediate and distant you are all so fantastic. Thank you for your laughter, tears, help, support, prayers, lessons and smiles. This past year has proven to me once again how necessary a great support system is. I'm thankful for terrific people who help us through.

Parents. Kind of the same as family but a special 'thankful' to them. Ours have helped us out more than any four people probably should. They are always there though and thank goodness! It even means that occasionally Mr. M and I get to travel and the kiddos get to have 'sleepovers' with grandparents. Thankful!


With gratitude

It was a great day! Mr. M and I got to go on a date this evening. I must say I'm very thankful for those rare moments when the two of us can sneak away for a few hours. We have a chance to talk or even sit in silence for awhile. We got to enjoy a quiet dinner. OK, not totally quiet as there were a few little kiddos belonging to others running around and chatting it up. It's actually enjoyable when others kids are doing that! Then a movie in a full theater which is always fun. I love to hear the audience reaction to things. Makes the funny points even funnier.

Anyway, I'm thankful for quiet date nights that are complete with dinner and a movie!

With gratitude,


With gratitude

Thankfulness Challenge Day 12.

This whole blogging thing is relatively new to me. I have to say I've loved it and am glad I began. Hopefully it will be a record of things we've done, said or enjoyed. I'll be able to look back one day and remember (something that seems harder to do these days).

I began my own blog only after spending many, many hours looking at those of others. I'm thankful to all these amazing people who blog about things that inspire them, things they do, things their families or kids say and all the other wonderful between.

Here are a few pictures from recent favorite posts.

What a cute little girl's room, right?!?!?! Holly at Life in the Fun Lane refinishes furniture. She also love white and has a nearly all white house. If I didn't think everything would turn black or shades of chocolate (thanks to Miss K) quickly I'd do it at home.

What do these ingredients make??? Apparently cheap dry shampoo. I have yet to try it but Allison at Petit Elefant has tried it and says it works! Allison loves to travel and can describe a hotel like no other. She also has great ideas for beauty products, clothes and kid-friendly projects. I'll let you know if and when I get around to trying said shampoo idea.

So she is a-d-o-r-a-b-l-e. This is Leslie from a room somewhere. This picture is one of her 'what I wore Wednesday' posts. These posts seem to be popping up all oer! Anyway, she's got a great sense of style in clothes (check out many, many more pictures on her blog), home furnishings and all other things cute.

So...I'm thankful for blogs. There are many, many more that I read when I have a chance. What blogs do you follow?


With gratitude

Thankfulness Challenge Day 11.

Today I am thankful for the men and women, past and present, who defend our country every day. They make sacrifices big and small to proect our country and us. Thank you for your service!

by Brittany Skinner

They were there,
And they remember,
The shock, the horror
Of watching strangers die.
A life ended
By a fellow soldier's shaking hands.

The unimaginable debt,
Owed by a free world
Can never be repaid,
Still we try
Giving up an hour, a day
To thank you for the burden you now carry
Laid there so we can live our lives.

They fought,
And killed
Enemies with faces
Identities unknown to the bullets
Shattering the protective shield
Laid there by those they loved.

For one day a year we honor you
For our lives,
It can never compare
Still we try
Thanking you on this day
For a million moments
You lived so we could too.


With gratitude

Thankfulness Challenge Day 10.

Little things. There were several 'little things' and/or 'little moments' today that make me very thankful. The kids get ready in the morning without a big fuss. We didn't have to battle over what everyone is going to wear today. We made it to school on time. I was lucky enough to get some Nutcracker tickets switched and it meant even better seats (Row #5...yeah!) to see our oldest dance with the Moscow Ballet. I got to steal away by yourself for a couple of hours of peaceful bliss. Dance class went well and the holiday show is just around the corner. I played piano at church school with only a couple of mistakes (give me credit as I hadn't known which Christmas music to practice!). The girls made fabulous fruit loop necklaces. I got to sit with Mark for church services. We all had a late dinner at Taco John's. Girls in bed by 8:15 p.m. Time for me to get a quick workout in. Time to relax on the couch and blog!

To most everyone its a collection of little, insignificant things. To me its a wonderful combination of things that make up all of these special days that I get to share with my girls. I realize at times these days are all so similar they run together but I wouldn't trade a single, solitary 'little thing' for all the big things in the world.

With gratitude,


With gratitude

Thankfulness Challenge Day 9.

The weather. I live in North Dakota. That means its cold. Often cold. Especially in November. In fact, I remember more than one Halloween that included trick-or-treating with snow on the ground. Well this fall has been glorious. We've had lots of sunshine and warm (at least for ND) temperatures.

Today was beautiful. I'm thankful for that.

With gratitude,


With gratitude

Thankfulness Challenge Day 8.

Today its simple. I'm thankful for health. I've been doing some work lately on my health. Just trying to get back into exercising more regularly. You'll be happy to know I just got off the treadmill! I'm also trying to eat more healthfully. I'm sure I'll always be working on that one but I'll do what I can.

Drink lots of water. Take my vitamins. Get enough sleep (is that humanly possible?!?!?!!!). Eat fruits and vegetables. Exercise. Work hard. Play hard. Do what you can to enjoy a long, long life!

What are you doing to be more healthy?

With gratitude,


With gratitude

Thankfulness Challenge Day 7.

Spring forward, fall back. Yeah! Today we got to fall back. I am thankful to be 'gaining' an hour today. Hopefully my girls will decide sleeping in sounds good. We could all use a little extra sleep. Regardless it will be a nice long day of relaxation and hopefully a couple of projects to get me feeling a bit more caught up.

All my thinking about time made me think of clocks. I've been keeping my eyes open for neat clocks lately. I think a big, over sized one would be fun for our fireplace at the lake. I also seem to be noticing clocks and displays of them in more places. I'm sure its just because I've been looking for one. Anyway, this clock is at Pier One Imports. On another store shelf they had the best display of clocks, all sizes and shapes. They'd be great on a mantle somewhere.

Can't you just picture this up high on a fireplace? The only thing is changing a dead battery might not be much fun...

What will you do with your 'extra hour' today? Make it count!

With gratitude,


With gratitude

Thankfulness Challenge Day 6.

If you grew up anywhere near where I did you have probably been to, heard of or watched a game of Fighting Sioux hockey. I was lucky enough to grow up attending many, many of their games. I remember going when I was little enough to be lifted up on my dad's shoulders when the team scored to cheer with the crowd. I have very fond memories of games sitting next to my grandpa. He was always there and usually ate some popcorn as I recall. Our family traveled to watch the team a few times. We all have great memories of a trip to Milwaukee and a national championship. My dad even made a mad dash downstairs at the end of the game to get us championship t-shirts. My first date with Mr. M took us to a game. I happened to have a job that got me involved in the grand opening of perhaps the most wonderful college hockey arena in the country. Now I get to take two little girls to games and they get to eat popcorn with their grandpa (usually followed by ice cream which has become a 1st period break tradition).

Miss A loves the games and has been going since she was still in an infant carrier. This year she is actually starting to pick up the game. She notices the score for reasons other than fireworks! Miss K has gone since she was teeny tiny as well. She however is still excited to return to "Sioux hockey" because there are fireworks and she gets treats.

No matter what its been a great blessing in our lives and we've enjoyed many hours of entertainment (lots happy and some disappointing) at Sioux hockey games.

Go Sioux!

With gratitude,


With gratitude

Thankfulness Challenge Day #5

Today and everyday I'm thankful for family, friends, community and all the amazing people in my life. I've recognized for a long time that I live in a wonderful place. There have been many times along the way when people have needed help and others have been there to do what was needed. I know there are places where this doesn't happen.

This fall it was our turn to be on the receiving end. I've written about it before. Click here to read.

I'm thankful for all of those involved in helping us but also those to help others each and every day. I hope I am able to find ways both big and small to help others and pay it forward. Let's all try to do the same.

With gratitude,


With gratitude

Day #4.

Today I'm thankful for something you may remember from your childhood. I don't remember having it at our house on a regular basis but I do remember often mixing up a pitcher of it when we were busy playing at our neighbor's house. Nothing like a tall glass of cold Kool-Aid to quench childhood thirst and make you ready to head back outside.

Now they make a sugar-free version. A little friendlier to my waistline and nearly as tasty. My current obsession is the tropical punch variety with lots of ice in the glass. It may be strange but its something I'm thankful for. Tastes better than a plain old glass of H20. (Please keep this little tidbit to yourselves as my husband raises sugar beets and would probably prefer I mix up the original stuff with a couple cups of American Crystal Sugar's best. You can rest assured that I eat plenty of that in other stuff.)


With gratitude

Thankfulness Challenge Day #3.

Today I'm thankful for my family. I am so lucky to have a wonderful husband who happens to also be my best friend. We laugh together every day and life has been more wonderful than I could have ever predicted. I've also been blessed with two beautiful daughters. They make me smile every day. They are beautiful young people. I am so glad they made me a mom (and give me a job every day!). 


With gratitude

Day #2 of the thankful challenge. Today is Election Day here in the U.S. of A. I'm thankful to live in this country where we are given the right to vote. Please take some time to do your duty. We should not take that for granted!

I have to admit I'm also very thankful that election day means an end to all of the political ads that are played over and over and over. They typically get more vicious and more vicious and more vicious. So I'm happy we can all put in our two cents today and we no longer need to watch those ads. Let's see how it all turns out!

With gratitude,


With gratitude

November already. Where did the time go? Seems like yesterday it was the 4th of July and I was starting to dread (or countdown) the days until Miss A started kindergarten. Now here we are at November 1 and she's preparing (a.k.a. she needs a poodle skirt) for a 50s themed party at Kindergarten celebrating their 50th day of school.

Today I was reminded via facebook of a wonderful challenge that I did last year. Unfortunately I don't remember where I came across the idea but it was NOT born in my little brain. Here's the deal...each day until Thanksgiving post something you are thankful for. You can make it your status on facebook, blog about it, write it down on your calendar, make a post-it note, whatever floats your boat. The point is write it down somewhere and before you know it you'll be finding all kinds of things you're grateful for instead of all the little things that bug you during the course of a day.

November 1 - today I'm thankful for the sunshine. It was a beautiful day in North Dakota. I almost didn't need a jacket. That's a huge bonus when the calendar says, "November."

What are you thankful for?

With gratitude,


A new place for memories

So I've been meaning to post something on this for a long, long time. A combination of laziness and life's adventures has gotten in the way. It seems my days are relatively busy without blogging...go figure?!?!?!!!

There is a new place to make memories in my family. It's a great place on a beautiful lake. It is surrounded by trees that turned all of the wonderful fall colors you can imagine. Said trees also left a carpet of leaves that may take a couple of days to pick up and move somewhere. We'll get to that in a couple of weeks.

It has a wonderful fireplace that will be so fun to curl up in front of as the snowflakes fall this winter. We found a great dining room table that will hold our little family perfectly and will expand to fit family and friends for holidays, weekends and all the fun that comes along with that.

The girls love it there. In fact, every once in awhile Miss K will sadly say, "I miss the yake. Me yake." I'm also pretty sure we'll spend at least part of next summer teaching her that the entire lake is not, in fact, hers. On our one boat ride this summer she seemed to think that everyone else should leave as it was, "me yake."

The fact that both girls love it there is perhaps the best part of all. I am so excited to spend time there with them as they grow up. I hope they continue to love it there and will always return to spend time with us, our family and friends. Maybe they'll even bring their own little ones some day (far, far, far, far into the future!).

The lake is...
 ...funny faces

...awesome sunsets

...all about rock skipping

...a good place for hide-and-seek

...where Miss K finished picking all of the tomatoes left by the previous owners. She insisted Daddy needed them.

 ...has great campfires

...the appropriate place to eat a smore (note the extra large marshmallow)

...perfection in the fall

...ideal for hiding in the leaves (there are millions of leaves to rake into piles, thanks mom!)
...just plain fun!

So many, many memories to make with my family and friends for years to come. Can't wait to get started!


Wedded bliss

August was a big month at our house. Miss A started kindergarten. We found a new place to make memories for years to come (more on this one to come). Plus we got to celebrate a wedding and add a new member to our extended family.

Our girls even got to be part of the big day as flower girls. They were beyond excited to be included in the celebration.

The party started with a morning of pedis. Everyone got to pick their own color. Lots of little toes in warm, bubbly water. Lots of brightly painted toes in perfect shape for dancing the night away. So pretty!

Then it was off to IHOP. Nothing like pancakes to complete a morning of fun.

Practice makes perfect.

Wedding day. A beautiful, very warm, sun-shiny day. Off to the salon...not surprisingly Miss A was ready to jump up and get the curling started.

Miss K, on the other hand, was happy to wait until last and then not so sure she wanted anything to do with that funny looking chair. Fortunately a partly melted Kit Kat saved the day. Chocolate makes everything OK.

The smiling results.

Picture fun.

A beautiful ceremony. A beautiful location. A beautiful couple.

A little dancing. A few props.

Proof of a good night...Miss A's feet when she woke a bit sleepy eyed late the morning after.

Thank you J & D for including us in your celebration. We were all honored to witness a beautiful day. Miss K's flower girl dress still has a few sparkles on it after many days of wear including a few speech sessions. Nothing like a fuchsia flower girl dress to turn heads during a walk across campus.


With gratitude

I can't begin to describe the emotions of the past couple of days. Mr. M was recently injured while working at the farm. Fortunately we were sent to a great surgeon and all that's left is the healing. Unfortunately the timing of this injury was about as bad as it could have been. Harvest is upon us and that's tough to do with one hand.

Before Mr. M and I even got home from the hospital there was a group of friends, and fellow farmers, organizing an event. They planned to harvest our crop so Mr. M didn't have to worry about that on top of healing.

So on Tuesday (and again on Wednesday) friends came to our fields and harvested the crop. Roto-beeters, harvesters, trucks, tractors, tools and extra pick-ups arrived on a foggy morning. Another group of friends set up a grilling station at the piling site and fed everyone. Another group made enough bars, cookies and goodies to satisfy every sweet tooth.

When the girls and I arrived at the farm in the morning it was so foggy you couldn't see anything but a truck turning onto the highway once in awhile. Later when we left the farm yard, I literally turned the corner and saw this.

Only there was more of everything spread throughout a large field. I was truly, speechless and the tears filled my eyes. It was awesome, amazing, wonderful, overwhelming and so much more.

Since I'm teary-eyed I'll collect myself as you look as these pictures.


There are no words for all that I've seen these last few days. Thank you seem to be the most appropriate words. They don't seem to be enough though. We are grateful for such a wonderful group of neighbors and friends, a community that doesn't hesitate to help and family who are around to pick up the pieces when other things come up. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

While we will never be able to say 'thank you' enough or truly show our gratitude to all please know that we will 'pay it forward' as best we can. If ever there is something we can do to help we will.

God bless you all!

With more gratitude than I'll ever be able to express,


With gratitude

I was listening to the radio today and caught a chat about gratitude. Apparently people who practice gratitude are healthier in mind, body and spirit. It just so happens that I have many, many things to be grateful for. Makes complete sense to me.

Today my 3 year-old decided it was just fine to head to a drop-in childcare center for awhile...all alone. I will admit it shocked me when she said, "Shooooe." (sure in Miss K-speak). See she hadn't gone there alone before. We pulled up and she happily ran in, took off her shoes, sanitized her hands and let me lift her over the gate. Off she went directly into the Dora the Explorer playhouse. She was happy as a clam.

I returned a couple of hours later, errands and appointment finished, to pick up a very happy little girl holding a beautiful picture she couldn't have possibly colored by herself. It was just for me though!

I'm also grateful for the lovely outfit the previously mentioned little girl wore outside to play after dinner. Picture this:
Fuchsia flower girl dress
Light pink cowboy boots
Dora's lavender backpack
Bright pink swimming hat (tied under her chin)
Target plastic shopping bag in hand

I'm sure it's exactly what I'd wear to look at the trees, climb up to the playhouse and 'gallop' on a play horse.

What are you grateful for today? Post a comment!

With gratitude,



My dear Miss A has begun kindergarten. It is so amazing to think she is already old enough especially since I'm still 24 or so (you are free to laugh here!).  She began the countdown to the first day around #25. Each day, usually several times, she would announcement the new number with a smile on her face. She would happily share it with anyone we encountered as well.

Mr. M and I decided to take her out for a special evening of school supply shopping and dinner. Fortunately we had grandparents waiting in the wings to take Miss K for a special evening. Younger sisters are not allowed on these special shopping excursions for kindergartners. Really, they are but it was nice to have some one-on-one time. So we hit Target for the essentials.

4 boxes broad tip Crayola washable markers - check
3 boxes 16 count crayons - check
8 No. 2 pencils - check
1 bottle Elmer's glue (not gel!) - check
1 6 pack dry erase markers - check
school box - check (a cardboard version complete with Ally-applied Toy Story stickers)
tablet/doodle pad, no lines for free time - check
1 box snack or sandwich size zipper bags - check
1 box Kleenex - check
1 bath towel for rest time - check*
backpack - check**

*double check, this item has been purchased since early summer when on a shopping trip with Grandma Miss A decided it was just the right pink polka dot beach towel for Kindergarten rest time.

**surprisingly she decided it was OK to use the backpack we have had for a few years. It made a trip to Disney World with us so its bound to hold good luck!

After shopping we headed to Space Aliens for dinner and lots of game playing. We finished the night and had enough tickets (when added to our stash at home) to get not one but two 'disco ball' light things. They are arcade-fabulous and perfect for a dance party when the mode strikes you!

Someone who had been growing her hair out for a year decided that she was going to cut her hair off 'after two days of school'. Then the weekend before school as we were headed to the salon to get "flower girl ready" she said she wanted to get it done tomorrow. Needless to say before we left the salon the Saturday before school started Ally had arranged an appointment for Monday morning to get her hair cut!

Next off to a lunch at Paradiso. Gotta love the statues there.

We packed up all the school supplies and headed out. We found Ally's room, dropped off all of her supplies in her desk and found everything on her teacher's scavenger hunt list. Off to the gym to deposit some lunch money into her account (to which she needed to memorize the 6-digit number so she'll be able to eat!).

Little sister had to help out as well.

We met Mr. M and my brother for dinner following the open house. One last chance for a night out before we all had to start getting up early.

Now onto school. Miss A got out of bed all on her own and got dressed in the outfit she had chosen the evening before. After a breakfast of champions (fruit loops and milk), she got shoes on and we headed to the front porch for the traditional first day of school pictures.

We decided to walk to school the first day. So off we went. A few minutes later we were standing at the doorway. I think she struggled to contain her excitement while I struggled to contain a few tears.

That was that! She happily began to color at her desk (markers, not crayons!) and I headed out the door. Mr. M, Miss K and I walked back home. I kept the few tears I shed in until we were a good 20 feet down the sidewalk. Thankfully Miss K and I had a play date to head off to. It was a great distraction and a good way to get through the morning. After a couple of errands it was time to get home for an early nap.

I have to say while it was quiet at home I knew Miss A was having a wonderful time at school and Miss K seemed to enjoy her alone time with me. I certainly did!

All of a sudden it was time to head back to school so off we went to get Miss A. This picture was taken as Miss A headed over to us in the hallway. She even bent down to give Miss K a hug and squeeze in the stroller. Ahhhhhh...gotta love that!  

Miss A,

May your day be filled with blessings,
like the sun that lights the sky,
and may you always have the courage
to spread your wings and fly.

You've heard that a thousand times from me and while its a bummer our all-day time at home is over you are more than ready to spread those wings. I can't wait to hear your stories and see what you learn. I'm so glad I can be there at the end of the day and look forward to our after-school time together. Enjoy kindergarten! 

Love, Mom
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