Small town days

Mr. M and I were lucky enough to grow up in a small town just north of where we currently live. He works there every day and the girls and I make the trip often. We're lucky enough to have family on both sides of the family there so it's a no-brainer!

Recently we joined a few others (really more than a few...I suppose a few hundred) to celebrate this great little town. A place where you know those who live there. A place where I grew up riding bike over to both of my grandparents' homes. A place that will always be a bit of home no matter where I go or what I end up doing.

Miss A and I began the day bright and early to walk in the inaugural Relay for Life walk/run. I really should have taken a picture or two (bad mommy blogger!). You'll have to use your imagination but it involved Miss A on rollerblades with a pink Barbie helmet. She skated the 1-mile loop (a.k.a. was pulled by Grandma and Mom) while my mom and me walked. We may have finished near the end of our division (you are really slowed down when you have to pull a 5 year-old, ocassionally on gravel) but we got medals!

Then it was time to get ready for the parade. Miss A rode in the back of a shiny black pick-up with me and Miss K got to ride in a tractor with Mr. M. She was most excited to throw candy although I have a sneaking suspicion more ended up in her mouth than out the window!
We ate at the park, watched some dancing, played at the playground, got temporary tattoos, saw kids of all ages race tricycles down Main Street and capped off the night with some great fireworks.

Let's get this parade going.

Riding with Mr. M in the "tacter"

A view from the box...as we rounded the corner Ally said, "Oh Mom, there are thousands. Hundreds!"

A wonderful day in a wonderful place.


Blogging 101

A few months ago I began to think that I should start blogging. I have become a fan of MANY (perhaps TOO many) blogs over the past couple of years. I have learned many things from blogs like how to do projects, new fashions, adorable home decor, great floor plans and fun nail polish colors. The women who write and/or edit these blogs have very interesting stories and lots of fun information to share. Maybe I have something to share?

Then there's the inevitable fact that in a couple of years both of my girls will be enjoying school all day, every day. What's a stay-at-home mom to do? I admit that it will be nice to schedule appointments without worrying about where the kids are going to go for that hour or two. However, I have a feeling that after a week or two of days alone I will begin to need something to fill some time.

I also have this problem/affliction/challenge that prevents me from keeping very good track of everyday moments/funny things that happen in our everyday life. While I hear funny conversation in the car on a regular basis I rarely (if EVER) write it down somewhere. I always think, 'I'm sure I'll remember that.' Then come bedtime I think I should tell Mr. M about it and its gone. So perhaps typing it on this computer screen will be more fun to do than writing it in one of the pretty journals I keep buying.

Here are a few things I've learned on this blogging journey.

I had long admired the cute signature Holly uses on her blog, Life in the Fun Lane. One day I scrolled over the signature and realized it came from this site. My Live Signature lets you create your very own signature to use on a blog or email. Check it out if you ever need such a service.

This little endeavor also introduced me to code. It's a whole new language and I wish I could speak it! After a little (ok, really it was ALOT) trial and error, I figured it out and got my signature moved to where I wanted it instead of way at the bottom of each post!

Don't you love all of my cute buttons? If you're not sure what I mean scroll down a bit and look at the right side of your screen. They also look like stickers from a few of my favorite blogs. You can 'grab' the code for these little guys while reading other blogs and bring them over to yours. Cross-marketing at its finest! Perhaps I'll have my very own button one day.

Everyone needs a great reminder of things they may have missed. LinkWithin lets you remind your blog's visitors of posts they may have missed. It creates a widget (another computer language word!) that puts those cute pictures and titles from other posts at the bottom of this one. I'll help you create one for yours but don't ask me to help you get it in the right spot...blame it on a computer language barrier! I hope to change the font associated with this little widget one day too. That however requires me to break that barrier again.

Then there's the wonderful world of Facebook. It is addictive as many had warned me but really fun too. You can share the link to your site as well as a little picture from it. A great way to let friends know what you're up to and increase visits to your blog.

Finally I had to figure out how to add a counter to my site. It's probably a function of my marketing degree but what's the point of doing something if you can't measure some type of result. Thank you UND College of Business for making me do this!

All in all, this blogging adventure has been a great learning experience for a stay-at-home mom. I get to flex my professional skills a bit on a personal level. I get to share some fun stories from my wonderful family. It's also a great (and more fun) way to record what we're doing in our lives. I'm sure all of these reasons will continue to be very worthwhile for a long, long time.

Off to learn more wonderful things....


An unkept house

I love to look at home design and decorating magazines. I also love Pottery Barn (love may not be strong enough a word!) and miscellaneous other home decorating catalogs that so kindly arrive in my mailbox from time to time. I love to get ideas and dream about what a house I design and build one day would look like. Aren't these beautiful?!?!?!?!!! If you want to see more click here.

Don't misunderstand me, I am fully aware that designing and building my own home may or may not happen...ever. You also have to understand that we have a great house already that has truly become our home. We've painted nearly every room in here and put my own 'stamp' on them. I love most everything about this house and could easily live here for the rest of my life.

When I get these great home magazines and catalogs they have beautiful rooms, fully decorated and completely uncluttered (see above photos). There is no stack of mail sitting on the dining room table, no toys from two lovely daughters on the floor or every other flat surface of the room and no dust in the corners. You can even see the top of the desk. When does that ever happen?

My house, on the contrary, looks that neat only when I'm hosting a birthday party or other such gathering (and only for a small window of time). Most days you will find mail on the counter, toys on the floor, clothes in the living room (from a small girl who has decided to change for the 2nd, 3rd or 4th time that day!) and perhaps even...gasp!...dirty dishes in the sink.  Oh yes, you will probably also find laundry on the floor of the laundry room (dirty) or on top of the washing machine or dryer (clean).

I've come to the conclusion that I like it neat and uncluttered but not enough to devote every waking moment to keeping it that way. When I have a free moment I'd prefer to catch up on email, read a magazine, paint my nails, watch TV or sit quietly without two sweet voices asking questions, telling stories or singing songs. I do not want to follow people around picking up everything, every waking moment of the day. Not my thing although God bless you if that is your thing.

Another thing I often think is that someday the little people of this house will no longer have blocks, dolls and little outfits that they like to try on. Some day they will grow up, move on and I'll wish I had those little fingerprints on my windows. So I leave them around more then I probably should. At a recent art festival I saw a sign that read something like, "Please excuse the mess, my kids are making memories." I love that sentiment. I nearly bought it but decided that it would only add to the clutter around my house. (smile)

So we will always live in our home whether it is this one or a dream home we build someday. There will always be 'stuff' around us. If you stop to visit you won't find a photo-shoot-ready bunch of rooms. You'll find a house that's used and occasionally abused...just as it should be, I guess.

The above quote seems especially fitting and was the inspiration for this post. Gina Sekelsky, Dreamland Designs owner and lettergirl on etsy, wrote it so beautifully. Doesn't she have the best handwriting?!?!!! Check out her blog which is always full of wonderful quotes. If you're in the shopping mood you can check out her etsy shop too. Click here.



a glorious American flag...

a little surfing...




a little...


a little swimming...

a little gazing...

and a wonderful holiday weekend at the lake.


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