Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thankful Tree

One of the items on my list for this season was to Start a “Thankful” book to be updated annually by our Thanksgiving dinner guests. But then I ran across a tutorial from Better Homes and Gardens for a Thankful Tree and I loved that idea even more. The tree in BH&G called for spray painting it orange and putting glitter on it, which I had planned on doing, but after Collin and I headed out to the back acreage and cut this little guy down, I kinda fell in love with it just as it was. So I decided to leave it au natural. I had Collin cement it into a two liter soda bottle and once it was dried I trimmed the bottle down, wrapped it in brown tissue paper and tied it with twine. On Thanksgiving morning, while Collin was busy hunting and Keaton was napping, I made little cards out of card stock and twine for all of our guests to write on and then hang on the tree. At the end of the evening my brother read all the cards and there were lots of cheers and awws as all of our blessing were listed off one by one.

We had a wonderful long weekend spent with family and friends. I love holidays so much and Thanksgiving is no exception. Although I was a bit frantic on Wednesday trying to get the house clean and the table set and everything prepared for Thursday afternoon, this is the first year that I can say I actually took the time to sit back and reflect on all of our blessings, and wow, did that feel so good.
Not only are we surrounded on a daily basis by amazing and supportive family and friends, we have jobs that are flexible and accommodating to our family and a son who fills our hearts with joy and love. We have so much to look forward to in the coming year. I feel so blessed and so thankful.

Keaton woke up bright and early on Thanksgiving morning as Collin and I were prepping the turkey and getting it in the oven. Once we were done Collin went hunting and the Stink and I spent some time watching the parade.
Guests were scheduled to arrive at noon and because it always takes a little time to get things prepped once everyone gets there, we didn't end up eating until about 2 pm. We tried hard to keep Keaton awake but by 1:45 or so he just couldn't take it any longer and he zonked out. So, our little boy missed his first Thanksgiving dinner. But, when he woke he got to try turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and more, and he loved it.

The rest of the afternoon the boys played while the adults mingled, napped, and munched on dessert.

We also spent a considerable amount of time trying to get the perfect Christmas card picture. Keaton wasn't really having it but I picked one out of the bunch anyway. Here were a couple that were contenders.

On Saturday we spent some time with Collin's family celebrating his Grandma's birthday. It was so great seeing all of his aunts and uncles and a couple of his cousins. Then we headed over to see his cousin Jenny and our nephew Aiden. Today we went with Papa & Busha to get our Christmas tree. And guess who takes her son to get his first Christmas tree but forgets to bring her camera?? Me! Me! Luckily Busha had hers and hopefully I'll be able to get some copies.
Overall this was just a really amazing weekend. I feel renewed and refreshed as we look at starting a new week. Hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Camo pants and a blaze orange jacket are hanging from our patio furniture. They have been there for a week, in hopes that the crisp autumn breeze will remove any indoor, human smells.

There’s a buck knife, stocking cap, and a box of ammo sitting on our bathroom sink; the packing has begun.

A stick of venison summer sausage is thawing in our fridge and an apple crisp on the counter; snacks for the weekend.

Tree stands have been built/repaired weeks ago and in the woods now all you can hear are chipmunks and squirrels scurrying through the fallen leaves.

A license and tags have been purchased in hopes that all will be filled.

Tomorrow is a big day here in Wisconsin, opening day of (gun) deer season. The anticipation of a certain someone in our house is comparable to a kid waiting for Christmas morning. I know there are some deer hunters/deer hunter widows out there that read here and I just wanted to send out a big Good Luck and Happy Hunting to all of you!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

White Trash Pool Party

Some kids get to spend their summers swimming in big fancy pools.
Our kid don't get no pool.

Pictures taken in July 2009.
Or was it August?
Well, one of the two, it was awhile ago anyway.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

SYTYCD: A late start

As I'm sure you have noticed, I haven't been watching Season 6 (it's six, right?) of SYTYCD. The 7-9 pm time frame is spent playing with Keaton and then getting him ready and into bed. To be honest with you, I'm not really watching any shows right now; not Grey's, not Private Practice, not Brothers and Sisters. I'll watch shows sporadically, but nothing routinely. And unfortunately SYTYCD has also fallen off my radar.

Tonight though, I got home from Tai Chi^ at 7 pm and because Collin had had a rough day at work he chose to get dinner put together while I watched Keaton because, honestly, preparing dinner is more relaxing than playing with an active baby/on his way to toddler. So, while we were playing I turned the station to Fox and guess what!!?? I caught an episode of SYTYCD. In good 'ol fashion SYTYCD style, I had to take notes, and of course, I HAVE to share them with you!

So, here were my thoughts from tonight. Remember, this is the first and only time I've seen a show this season (I didn't even catch Vegas week) so I'd love to hear what you are all thinking.

* C1: Ashleigh/Jakob - I love Napoleon/Tabitha routines, love them! And this one did not disappoint.
* C2: Karen/Kevin (Broadway routine) - All I could think the whole time I was watching this was, oh, my, what a train wreck!
* C3: Noelle/Russell (Fox Trot) - I was preparing my plate at the time and completely missed this routine. The crowd was cheering though, so it sounded like it was good?
* C4: Channing/Victor (Tyce Diorio routine) - Liked the dance; liked the couple.
* C5: Kathryn/Legacy (Paso doble) - The music was so powerful that at each hard beat I kept wanting to shout More! More! But I never really felt like I got more from them, so I was left rather disappointed. But the judges loved this, so apparently I know nothing about a paso doble.
* C6: Elenore/Ryan (Travis Wall routine) - I loved this dance and I loved this couple!
*C7: Mollee/Nathan - I missed what "type" of routine this was, hip hop?? Not positive but I liked it. Oddly though I found my eyes kept diverting to Nathan. This doesn't usually happen for me; I usually end up liking the girl better than the guy. But this time I kept watching him, and I really, really liked him. Also, Mollee is super cute!
* My favorite girl tonight was Elenore.
* My favorite guy was Nathan.
* My top three (if I had voted, I didn't because I don't know how to use my phone now that I have a full keyboard and OMG, what number is T???) were C4, C6, and C7.

So, am I totally off? Who have you guys liked/disliked. And is it just me or is this season already better than last season?

^In unrelated news, except that I mentioned it above, I took a Tai Chi class tonight and OMG you guys, I LOVED it!! I feel so awesome right now; like happiness is oozing from my pores. I'm hoping to make this a regular thing. A regular thing that I'm going to totally look forward to each week!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dear Keaton: 10 Months

Dear Keaton,

Over Halloween weekend you turned 10 months old. I don’t have your 10 month stats but when we took you to the doctor at 9 ½ months you weighed in at 18 lbs and were 27 ¼ inches long. These measurements put you in the 10 percentile for your age, which is a drop from all your previous visits when you were in the 25%. Your noggin however, measured 46 cm, which is in the 50% (it too, used to be in the 25%). So apparently, you’re all head. I was a little concerned when the nurse handed me the sheet of paper after she wrote these numbers down but Dr. T wasn’t at all. In fact, he told your Daddy and me that the calories you consume go first to your brain, so it is good to see your head jump up in size. We’re hoping at your next visit we’ll see your height and then weight do the same thing.

With the amount you are eating these days, I’m very hopeful that this might be the case. Your typical 3-4 oz bottles have recently jumped to 5-6 oz and this month you started eating lots and lots of finger food. Anything we put on your plate you throw right into your mouth. Well, mostly into your mouth, also into your lap and onto the floor. There is one member of this family who is quite pleased with this change of events. During mealtime Maia camps out right under your highchair. You’ve also taken an interest in feeding yourself with a spoon, which is a lot of fun, but very messy. We still have to help you out a bit, but each time you successfully get a bite into your mouth your Daddy and I cheer, Yay!!! This thrills you to no end; you get a huge grin on your face and then start beating your tray with your spoon yelling, Ya, Ya, Ya! The other day Daddy was helping you eat apple sauce and I accidentally gave you a premature Yay! You didn’t miss a beat, you instantly started chanting Ya, Ya, Ya, and banging your spoon while apple sauce flew across the room, hitting the wall, table, you name it

In preparation for Halloween, at the beginning of the month I bought you the book Corduroy’s Halloween and we started reading it every night before bed. It took you a few readings, but soon you warmed up to this book and when I pull you into my lap at the end of the day and take the book out you start banging on the cover, which is your way of saying “two thumbs up”. While Grammy was up visiting us one weekend she was reading you the book and happened to peek into your closet where she found a stuffed bear we got as a shower gift that looked remarkably like Corduroy. She pulled it out and held the two of you in her lap and while she read to you, you made the connection, looking at the pages then looking at the bear, back and forth, back and forth you’d look between the book and the stuffed animal. Now, as soon as I pull out the Corduroy book you crane your neck looking for the bear. When Halloween was over I could not bear to see this nightly routine end, so I bought you Corduroy’s Thanksgiving. And I have every intention to buy you each and every holiday Corduroy book for the rest of the year.

One of the goofiest things you did this month was start a new sound. Just when we thought you’d come up with every sound possible you pull out the big guns: a rolling R trill. I can’t roll my R’s so I think this sound is absolutely awesome and when you make it I find myself acting like a little kid, clapping my hands and exclaiming; Do it again! Do it again! The sound has become commonplace in our home, but I’m reminded just how unique it is each and every time a new person hears it. The reaction is always the same, their eyes get huge and they draw back a little questioning, what is that? Your Daddy and I always answer the same, oh that? That’s his new sound. I’m so glad I finally got a video clip of it before you stop doing it all together. The only way I can explain it in words is that you kinda sound like a helicopter taking flight.

At 10 months you now have 5 teeth, wave hi and bye, give high fives, are ticklish on your belly, neck, upper thighs, and feet, and love to dig, splash, and bang. When you are upset or tired music calms you. Busha has music time with you each afternoon before your nap and you love it so much you’ve learned how to turn the cd player on by yourself. When we are in the car and you are inconsolable a good ‘ol rendition of Old McDonald usually settles you. You are growing and changing so much each day and this month has been so much fun.

Love you so much,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

She. He. They.

She wore bright nail polish on her toes each and every summer and her legs were always sun kissed from sitting on the dock

She made the best Mississippi Mud brownies and she timed it perfectly every time, pulling them out of the oven just as we drove up the lane.

She didn’t put up a Christmas tree because it would have blocked the television and she couldn’t bear to miss Sunday football.

He is quiet and reserved yet big and strong. He likes to tinker around in the tool shed.

He sits with her on the dock, sipping coffee, throwing out a fishing line.

He introduces himself to my friends as “Great Grandpa”; he adores his great grandchildren.

They love to hit the golf course or bowling alley and are always up for a game of cards or Yahtzee. They teach us kids most all of the games we know.

They listen to big band music every afternoon; she takes a nap, he relaxes in the reclining chair.

They love each other from the depths of their souls, and it is so, so obvious.


Today I am thinking of and remembering my Grandparents. It was 12 years ago today that my Grandma lost her battle with cancer. I think I can speak for everyone in my family when I say we miss her. We miss her terribly.

Today is also Veteran’s Day and this day can not pass without me thinking of my Grandpa. He was on the USS Wisconsin during World War II. I think I can speak for everyone in my family when I say we are proud of him. We are incredibly proud of him.

As I rocked Keaton to sleep this afternoon I looked into his eyes, whispered ‘I love you’ and then silently thanked my Grandparents. I am here today, with my son, because of them. Grandma and Grandpa, I love you. I miss you. I am proud of you. I thank you.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Swing Rides are more fun than Cleaning

Fall finally decided to bless us with her presence this weekend. Well, at least that's what people tell me, I spent yesterday holed up in the house working on....ummm....let's see...I DON'T KNOW! I have no idea what I did yesterday other than wash a set of bottles and talk to Ember. Now granted, when Em and I talk, we taaaaalk, but still, it wasn't the whole day. So what exactly was I doing?? Your guess is as good as mine.

I do know what I WASN'T doing. I wasn't cleaning Keaton's room, which was on the to-do list for this weekend. Thanksgiving is only 3 weeks away and in past year's that would be plenty of time to get this house ready for guests, but now? With a kid? Not so much. So I've made myself a cleaning timeline. This week, Keaton's room; next week, the den. These two rooms each get their own week because, well, they are in pretty bad shape. The weekend before Thanksgiving I need to do the back bathrooms, our bedroom, and the spare bedroom. And on Wednesday, the day before, the mudroom, kitchen, dining room, and living room. Now. If I can only stick to this schedule. I spent a good chunk of energy today complaining about how I have noooo! tiiime! to clean, instead of just getting my ass in there and doing it. I'm a champion procrastinator. Funny, when I did finally get started it 1) was actually enjoyable to see the mess disappear and 2) didn't take as much time as I expected. Of course, I'm not yet done, but at least it is started.

Thankfully I didn't miss out on all of the good weather this weekend. This morning our friends, Tanya & Jason's, little boy, Cooper, was baptised so we did get out of the house for awhile to enjoy the sun. It was a beautiful afteroon and a great party. I tweeted this picture earlier today, but I had to post it on here too. It was so nice out that the kids were all running around playing outside; riding bikes, going down the slide, and swinging on the swing set. Keaton was thrilled with his swing ride. As soon as I put him in it his eyes lit up and his face was all smiles. As I pushed him back and forth he giggled uncontrollably. Every time I look at this picture I can't help but think, man, I love that kid.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Halloween Fun - Part 3: Trick-or-Treating

The finale to our Halloween celebrations was Keaton's 1st Trick-or-Treat on Saturday night. As the hours ticked by on Saturday I felt like a little kid waiting for Christmas. Keaton had no clue what was about to happen, but Mama was so, so excited. When the clock struck 4 o'clock we got the Stink bundled up into his costume and began taking pictures.
Does anyone else feel the need to take 800 pictures of their child's first [fill in the blank], or is it just me?

Although not related to Halloween, making an appearance in this picture is:
My New Hair!
Come on Down!
That was a Bob Barker joke, did you get it? Here, reread it:
My New Hair!
Come on Down!
No? Oh nevermind.

As we were taking pictures we could hear him coming through the trees...
Nana, nana, nana, nana,
Nana, nana, nana, nana,

Before we set out on the town we got a special visit from Kristi, Barry, and their sweet little zebra, Addie. Addie has the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen. She is such a doll. And look at this, is that not a bucket full of cute?

As we got the boys buckeled and bundled into the wagon I knew coming home for Keaton's 1st Halloween was a very good decision. There is nothing quite like trick-or-treating in a small town where you know your neighbors.
As we walked up and down the block I was transported back 20 years to when I was a little girl going door-to-door on that fun-filled night. Along with Justin and Kira, my mom and Kira's sister, Kelsey, joined us for the trek.

I am so proud of our little boys, they took in the sights and sounds without a bit of complaining. Although it was chilly, it was alot of fun.

After about an hour they started taking turns digging through the pumpkin and it became apparent that they were getting hungry, so we decided to head home.

When we got there we let them dig through their loot and they were oh so happy. They loved the candy bars, nevermind the fact we didn't unwrap them....

It was so good to go home. It was so good to see friends. It was so good to have the boys spend their first Halloween together. I can't wait for next year.

(More Halloween pictures on Flickr)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween Fun - Part 2: Caramel Apples

Since we were in Illinois over the weekend we celebrated Halloween a couple of days early up here with Papa, Busha, and Auntie Bea. For Keaton's 1st Halloween Busha started a new family tradition.

Do you know what it was?

How 'bout now?

Oh wait, my title totally gave it away....

Oh well. That's right! Caramel apples!

I have never made caramel apples and not only was it super easy, it was alot of fun. Plus, I'm a total sucker for family traditions, especially for starting new ones, so I was totally pumped about this project. Great idea, Busha!
Although Keaton wasn't able to enjoy the caramel this year, he also gives this tradition a big two thumbs up!
I love apples! nom, nom, nom.

But apple eating is alot of work. I must rest for a sec to build up my energy.

Alright, I'm ready, let's eat!

He repeated this over, and over, and over: chomping on his apple, throwing his body back onto Auntie Bea's shoulder for a rest and then whipping himself back up for another bite.
After apples we all sat down for a delicious meal of roasted chicken, potatoes, and carrots followed by the tastiest brownies ever. Mmmmm....perfect fall evening.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Fun - Part 1: Pumpkins

You may recall that a couple of things on my list for this fall included taking Keaton to the pumpkin patch and carving a pumpkin.

The weather this fall did not play nice for us and the pumpkin patch trip that I had envisioned - a sunny autumn day with a breeze just cool enough to make us bundle up in fall coats for a hayride out to the field in search of that perfect pumpkin. Finding said pumpkin and heading back to the barn to celebrate and warm up with hot apple cider. - did not happen. No, our trip to the pumpkin patch went more like this:

Oh my word it's cold out here.
Sorry, Stink, I know you're sleeping, but this will be real quick.
Put on his hat and zip up his coat.
Okay, sit him in front of those pumpkins.
Keaton. Keaton! Look here Buddy. Can you smile for Mama?
Kate, that's not a smile, that's a shiver!
He's freezing!

Baby: Good God, people, what are you thinking bringing me out here? Fine. I'll take another picture, but then can we go back to the car?

Okay, grab a pumpkin.
Which one?
I don't care, just grab one. Or two. Get two.
And a squash.
Okay, let's get the hell out of here.

Ahh well, we tried. So next year; next year I hope to have that ideal pumpkin patch trip.

Thankfully, pumpkin carving went a little better than pumpkin patching. On the Monday before Halloween we spent the evening carving. Keaton loved sitting on the table with his pumpkins.

But he wasn't quite sure what to think when we started cleaning them out.

You want me to do what?

Okay Dad, if you say so....

Oh hey, this isn't half bad.

I wonder what it tastes like?
This is pretty cool.

But if it's okay with you, I'd rather just bang on it like a drum. K?
In the end, I think Keats was satisfied with his pumpkin.