Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Trick-or-Treating here was scheduled from 4 pm to 7 pm on Sunday night.  After the boys came home sick on Friday night (all three of them, Nolan's started on Wednesday, Hutt followed on Friday and Keaton's came on quickly Friday evening) I was afraid all of our weekend Halloween plans would be canceled.  And most of them were, but the kids rallied enough to get dressed up on Sunday afternoon and head out to get some candy.

The boys decided to be lumberjacks this year.  I debated having Nolan be Babe the Blue Ox but then we were at a wedding recently and the mom of an old friend of ours was holding Nolan and she said to me "he's so strong, like a lumberjack!" and right there I knew he couldn't be an ox.  He was a lumberjack, just like his big brothers.

We headed out right at 4 pm, thinking the boys wouldn't last long with their colds, and met our friends Tanya and Jason and their two little boys at a nearby subdivision.  

The boys were a little timid at first but then warmed up to the idea. Hutton carried his bucket AND his ax around the entire block.  

When we were done there, we headed over to Collin's grandma's house so she could see the boys.  We also met up with my brother and sister-in-law and the kids' cousins.

Hutton had fallen asleep on the way, but Keaton was ready to rock.  He and his cousins ran from house to house, just like old pros.  It was pretty adorable.

Of course no good trick-or-treating event comes without a little mischievous   

See that ghost there behind Keaton?

And you see Hutton eyeing him up?

As soon as Hutt got his candy he took a swing at that ghost with his ax, just like any good 'ol lumberjack would do.

(No ghosts were harmed during our trick-or-treating)
(The owners also laughed.)
(Hutt had a talking to about no chopping Halloween decorations.)
(After I was done laughing)

Nolan was such a trooper, he stayed awake through the entire thing and never complained.  Even at stop #2 when his eyes were watering and his nose was running.

As I was going through my pictures that night I came across this one.  It is my favorite. Sometimes they fight so much that I forget they really do love each other.

By the time we arrived home at the end of the night, Keaton was out cold.  All that running and fresh air did him in.  Hutton was still awake though, so as is proper on a Halloween night, the candy was dumped and the sorting (and eating) began.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

25.9 pounds of squash

And our winner is.....Sharaa!!  

Sharaa guessed 20.5 lbs, which was pretty close.  25.9 was the official weigh in.  That's....a lot of squash.  I need to get cooking :)

Sharaa, due to sick kids I wasn't able to make it to the post office today, but I will get you your Trick-or-Treat sign before the holiday.  Promise.

Unfortunately our Halloween plans for today were thwarted by horribly runny noses, coughs, and 100 degree fevers.  All three boys are now sick.  Hutton's definitely the worst.  His lips are so chapped they are bleeding.  They were all in bed at 7 pm tonight and I'm hoping a good night's sleep will allow us to go on with plans for tomorrow.  Caramel apples, Packer game, trick-or-treating, that's what's on the docket.  Just hoping these colds can subside a bit. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween Preparations (and something for YOU!)

On Wednesday afternoon we dressed the kids up in their Halloween costumes and took them all outside for a little pre-Halloween photo shoot.  All I needed was one picture of all three of them for our annual Halloween card.

After everyone went to bed that night, I joined Collin on the couch with my laptop and camera and transferred all the pictures to see what we got. 


No really.  Laugh. out. loud.  I looked at Collin and said, you have got to see this.  It was hysterical. 

I settled on a picture.  Keaton isn't smiling (although I kind of like it that way), Hutt's smiling but not looking at the camera, and Nolan, poor Nolan, he was sick and not looking his greatest.  But here's the thing, all three boys are in the picture.  That in itself was a feat.

Wednesday afternoon the boys helped me decorate the new grapevine tree Mimi brought for us. 

Our Boo tree is outside the patio door, but still doesn't have lights on it.  I'm hoping that will happen at some point before this weekend's activities.

We also need to carve pumpkins.

All of the stuff that is remaining on our Halloween to-do list makes me thankful that I put up these few decorations at the beginning of the month.  I had thought about waiting until we were "settled" but Ha! that's going to be awhile yet.

In the meantime, our decorations are making me happy.

This is Wanda.  Wanda came from Mimi & Papa Grizz's house.  (Mimi wanted rid of her, I said, She's Perfect!)

Wanda is our Switch Witch.  Wanda used to be surrounded by a nice display of pumpkins and corn stalks, but then Collin removed all of that to set up for concrete and every day since then it has rained.  Sigh.

This is our first year for Wanda and the Switch Witch.  I first read about it online somewhere, but I can't remember where.

On November 1st (because our kids will trick-or-treat on Sunday this year) the boys will leave all of their left-over candy at Wanda's feet and that night she'll put a spell on it and in the morning, poof! the candy will switch into something fun. 

Keaton would like a movie.

I was explaining this to the boys on the way to school on Wednesday and one of the greatest things about having multiple children is watching their reaction to life. 

From the back seat Keaton was enthralled, ooohh, Mom, can you tell the story again???

Hutton, meanwhile, was pissed.  No take Hutton's candy!

One of my favorite decoration ensembles is this witch, crows, and signs that sits on top of the dresser in the living room (an auction find!)  I saw the "A Witch Lives Here with her Little Monsters" sign in early September.  I didn't buy it right away though. But then everyday after that I thought about that sign and so I went back for it.  Along with the Trick-or-Treat sign.

And guess what?  I thought it was high time for a little holiday guessing game around here.  So I bought one for you too! 

I thought I'd write this post before the very last minute, but alas, here we are.

So, here's the deal.  Below you will see a bowl of pumpkins and squash (Correction: original post said gourds) that sits on our dining room table.  The bowl is pretty big, I've given you a few angles to try to see the size. 

The first person to correctly guess the weight of that bowl, with the squash in it, will win the Trick-or-Treat sign.  If no one guesses correctly, I will send the sign to the closest guesser.  Now, we're running out of time, so my plan is to go to the post office tomorrow morning.  So guessing will have to close tonight.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go weigh a bowl full of squash.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tales from the Sea (Okay, Lake. Whatever)

This past weekend we packed the car, loaded the boys, and headed south to Milwaukee where we promised them a ride on a Big! Boat!  We had told them of the trip only a few days before, because I knew if we shared the news any earlier our entire house would be packed by one Mr. Keaton.

Have I told you about how he likes to "pack"?  Anything and everything.  Friday morning, the day before we left, he was refusing to go to school because, Mom!  Dad!  I have so. much. packing. to do.  And, and, if I have to go to school then tomorrow morning when you say, Teaton!  I won't be ready to go, because I'll still be packing.

Yes.  He said that.  All of that.

We managed to make it out of the house with only a few extra pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals.  Honestly, I was actually surprised at how much room we had left in the back of the car.

Once in Milwaukee, we boarded the Lake Express and set sail for Michigan.  Destination: Miss Lily's 1st Birthday Party.  Unfortunately, our boat didn't dock until mid-party so we got there late and missed most of the festivities, but, it was still so great to spend some time with Ember and Drew, to catch up with Gail, and chat with Ember's parents. The boys had a ball playing, Hutt stayed up partying with us until almost 10 pm, and I don't think any of us were ready to leave the next morning (note to self, next trip add an extra day, you won't regret it.)

The only thing that got the kids out without too much trouble was the promise of another boat ride.  We had a couple of 2/3 yr-old behavior issues on the trip, but for the most part I was really happy with the way they traveled.  Some highlights of the boat ride for me:

* Keaton taking his head phones off at the beginning of Madagascar 3 and (loudly) announcing, Mom!  I have TWO favorite songs.  This one aaaand Sexy and I Know it! 

* Hutton, grabbing the chair handles any time the boat rocked and saying "Hold on tight!"

When we got back into Milwaukee on Sunday we spent the day with April and Josh and finally got to meet their new beautiful baby girl.  The boys, oh our dear boys, oh, they were in rare form.  But they did have a blast playing with Odie, the cat.  And trying to concoct a plan to climb to the top of Odie's play tower.  Hutton.  Hutton was going to climb to the top of Odie's tower.  Man that kid is determined when he sets his mind to something. 

Our weekend jaunt was short, but oh so sweet. Many thanks to Em & Drew and April & Josh for taking us in and feeding us this weekend!

That night when I asked Hutton what his favorite part of the day was an he told me, Yily's birfday party.  Awwww....Happy 1st Birthday, Lily Mae.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Dear Nolan: 5 Months

Dear Nolan,

A couple of weeks ago you turned five months old. I held off on writing this letter because a week after the occasion you had a well-baby visit and I wanted to make sure I recorded your stats here. Of course, I didn’t mean to hold of this long, nor did I mean to lose the paperwork that housed all of this information. This seems to be our life lately, one misplaced item after another in a sea of boxes and totes that still need to be unpacked. Your Dad and I are flailing a bit these days, trying to take things slowly and be patient while life just keeps zooming by. So while I don’t have all of the information I wanted to put here, I do remember a few key things, for instance, your weight. Around four months we were in the doctor because you were sick and you weighed in (with your clothes on) at 14 lbs. So I was pretty surprised when your official weight at 5 months was 13 lbs 15 oz. I believe this was in the 10th percentile for babies your age. While I don’t remember your length or head circumference I do remember that your length was in the 15th percentile and your head circumference jumped up a notch on the growth chart. Despite the decline in weight from last month, you are growing nicely and while you remain in the lower percentiles, your curve looks good.

As I alluded to above, this has been a busy month for our family. But, we have big news. Exciting news! This month, we moved home. I know you won’t remember living in the duplex and you won’t remember having to squeeze into a queen size bed with your old mom and dad and brothers. I know you won’t remember this move or the first nap you took in your new room. You won’t remember the day we set up your nursery or your first night in your crib. But I will. I will never forget your wee little body on that big (looking) crib mattress camped out in the middle of the floor. You slept on that several times, surrounded by boxes, before your crib and nursery furniture arrived. You slept so well in fact that as soon as your crib did come, we moved you in there during the night. While you do usually make your way into our bed at some point during the night, you are no longer going down to sleep in your bassinet. I have mixed feelings about this. It makes me so happy that you sleep so well in there, but a little sad that my baby is inching his way to being a big boy.

And speaking of big boy, you, you little stinker, found your toes this month. You’ve always been pretty content lying on your back but now I’d say you love it. No matter where I lay you down, in your crib, on your play mat, on the changer, instantly you curl those feet up and grab your toes, nom, nom, nomming on them to your heart’s content. It actually makes diaper changes a bit tricky because you don’t really like to let go of them and you are not necessarily happy when I pry them out of your mouth.

In addition to your toes, you’ve also started putting anything and everything into your mouth. You’ve kind of reached that piranha stage where your little head twitches and your hands instinctively fly up to your face any time something comes in contact with them. While you haven’t actually popped a tooth yet, I think we are definitely in the beginning stages because it seems these days that you must be gnawing on something at all times.

You are still a very happy baby. I was trying to think of the right word to describe you, laid back kept coming to mind, but that didn’t feel entirely right and then Busha nailed it. Good natured. That is it right there. You are such a good natured little guy and people comment on your big smiles and constant chatter all the time. Being a third child I was afraid you might be quiet, as you soaked up everything your brothers did, but oh dear Lord you are anything but a wall flower. In fact, at five months, you command a room. People notice you and love to love on you. I also have a strong feeling you will keep up with your brothers just fine. The other morning I heard you grunting in bed and when I looked Hutt had rolled a little too close to you and you were, quite literally, pushing him away. Ahh, my little boy, those big brothers better watch out as you get older.

At five months you are still wearing 3-6 month clothes and size 2 diapers. You drink 4 ounce bottles and after an eating strike earlier this month (where you were down to only 1 bottle during the day) you are now again eating 2-3 while at Busha’s. You hate your car seat and anything to do with the car (unless you are sleeping), you don’t enjoy being carried down stairs, and you could do without your morning vitamin (I don’t blame you, it smells pretty gross). But you love people talking to you and walking you around. You like being pushed in a shopping cart and hearing your brothers call you “yittle buddy”. If you ask me, you are growing too big, too fast, but that doesn’t mean I’m not excited about what this next month will hold.

I love you Little Buddy,

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Magic Cookies

This past weekend Collin, Nolan, and I traveled across the state for a family wedding.  The big boys, meanwhile, got to spend the weekend at home, with Mimi. As we were walking out the door Saturday morning Hutton was crying, No! No! He wailed, don't take Nolan.  Leave Baby Nolan here!  He could have cared less that Collin and I were leaving; he was just so upset that we were taking Nolan with us.

We finally managed to distract him long enough to sneak out the door and head north to Hwy 29.  Since we needed to be in Prescott by 2 pm for the ceremony, we took the quickest route possible. 

It was a good weekend.  We got to spend time with friends and family, including Cas & Ben, which was really, really nice.

On Sunday, Collin and I decided to just slowly mosey our way home.  Instead of taking the Interstate we jumped on Hwy 10 going east, which led us through some beautiful cliffs, rolling farmland, and some tiny little towns.  Due to high winds the previous few days the leaves were mostly gone from the trees, but it was a pretty drive anyway. 

We left without eating breakfast because we were set on stopping at The Loft for lunch. Looking for auctions or antiques, Collin found this little pit stop online earlier in the week.  We didn't have the exact address on us when we arrived in town and instead of stopping the car and getting my phone from the back, we decided to head downtown and just see if we could find it.  Up and down Main Street we went.  Up and down, up and down.  Having no luck what-so-ever we pulled the car over and resorted to using my phone. 

Ahh ha!  It was on the other side of the Interstate.  We headed over 94 and found The Loft tucked behind a couple of diners and gas stations.  I knew almost as soon as we pulled in that it was a bust.  I mean, it was fine for a wine and cheese stop, but we were hoping for a little mom-and-pop joint to eat lunch.  This just wasn't it. 

But!  What do they say?  The journey is more important than the destination?  Or something like that?  Well, in our attempts at finding this on our own, we happened upon Norske's Nook in downtown Osseo. I looked at Collin holding the pizza info and said, let's go back to Norske's.  It didn't take him even a second to put that list down and agree.  So back into Osseo we went.  The wait was only 5 minutes, Nolan coo'ed up a storm, and before we knew it we were eating home cooked cream of chicken with mashed potatoes and potato soup.  And oh my gosh, it was a perfect meal for a chilly, breezy, fall day.

We followed lunch with a piece of pie where I decided I need to 1) eat more pie and 2) learn how to bake a mean pie.  On our way out the door we stopped at the bakery and ordered up a dozen giant chocolate chip cookies to go.

That night, after we got home and saw Mimi off, I was trying to get the boys to come out and eat dinner.  They weren't really having it so I bribed them with a promise of a giant chocolate chip cookie. 

A giant one?  Keaton asked.  Like, this big?  He said as he held up his hands.

This big.  I said as I made the circle even bigger.

They sprinted to the kitchen and gobbled down leftovers from Friday night.  Afterwards Collin went into the pantry and emerged with two chocolate chip cookies. 

Except.  EXCEPT!  He did not bring out the giant cookies.  Trying to fool them (and prevent them from having too much sugar in the evening) he tried to pull a fast one on them, by giving them a normal sized cookie.

I rolled my eyes as soon as he came out and gave him a 'you are so mean' look.  And Keaton asked, that's giant??

Feeling at least partially guilty he took the cookies back and told the boys "Watch!  These are MAGIC COOKIES! When I take them in here they will grow bigger!"

The boys stood up on the bench trying to sneak a peek in the pantry, they were so excited to see the magic cookies grow.  They were bouncing up and down when Collin came back out and presented them with two GIANT cookies.

Ohhhh!!!  Dad!! They exclaimed as their eyes grew huge and they turned the cookies over and over in their hands.  They grew!!  These are MAGIC!!  And GIANT!

And then suddenly Keaton thrust his cookie back at Collin and with much excitement and anticipation asked - Can you take this one back and make it EVEN BIGGER??!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

From the archives: a day at the orchard (2011)

If you were a fly on our wall you'd hear a lot of "we just need to power through this" around here lately.  Setting up the house, emptying and cleaning the duplex, finishing our inventory, purchasing those last few items, sending out the remaining birth announcements, we just need push through, go a few nights with no sleep and get things done.  But oh, that's so much easier said then done.

Time.  Everything takes so much time.  Collin started assembling our closet but then we took a few days to figure out just where we wanted it and what more pieces we needed.  Looking up final prices, scanning receipts, emailing our adjuster - it takes more than one evening to do it all.  Comparison pricing bookshelves for Nolan's room online, making sure the dimensions will fit the wall, comparing again. Looking for that chair and ottoman we picked out for his room, why isn't it available anymore?  Is it available anywhere? Google search, google search, google search.  Pull out the birth announcements, stuff, lick closed, realize you don't have a current address.  It's all so time consuming. 

I'm trying to look at the bright side, at the things that have been crossed off the list, but man is it overwhelming.  I have a list of blog posts I want to write, "fire" is one of the items on that list.  That's the fire story.  Finishing it, that is.  And when I do (and I will) I'll tell you about how when Collin ran back in the house he stopped in my office on the way out.  It was pitch black and he was on his hands and knees, he couldn't see anything but he reached up scanning my desk with his hand until he found my computer.  We had been using it earlier that evening in the living room so it was unplugged.  He grabbed it and one of our camera bags on his way out the door.   

Just writing this brings tears to my eyes.  It's not about the computer or the camera, those items could have been replaced, it's about the pictures and the letters and documents that were spared.  Those are what make me so happy that he made that stop in my office.

Because I haven't had much time to do housekeeping this year my computer is now brimming with pictures, old pictures that need to be moved off of here and on to an external hard drive (an external hard drive we'll be keeping in a fire and water proof safe from now on) (yes, please make sure your fire proof safes are also WATER proof.) So while I work through clearing some space on my computer I thought I'd post some pictures from the last year that never found their way to the blog.

These were from our trip to Lapacek's Orchard last year and our visit with my college roomie, Karma.  The boys had a ball eating apples, feeding the goats, and eating apples that they already fed the goats (Hutton).  I was newly pregnant and I shared the news with Karma before we had made an official announcement.  I was worried about some things and I shared my concerns with her and her response has been something I've fallen back on many times this past year: Pray about it.  

Those three simple words carried me through my concerns last fall and have continued to carry me through this entire year.

Happy weekend, everyone!  If you have something weighing you down, may I suggest  you pray about it.

P.S. MAN, I need a goat! And chickens.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pumpkin Patching

This past weekend was a nice mixture of work and play.  On Saturday we took a drive into the country in search of an auction that we had our eyes on.  It was a beautiful drive through rolling hills, pastures, and vibrant, in full-fall colored trees.  We were in Amish country and just being there made our heart-rate fall and our breathing slow.  The kids loved seeing the horse and buggies, we enjoyed seeing the clothes on the line swinging in the breeze and the children working in the yards and fields.  It spurred some serious conversations between Collin and I. 

The boys behaved well through the auction and we promised them pumpkins on the way home.  Unfortunately, it got late (and dark) quick and we had to postpone our trip until Sunday morning.  While the boys didn't seem to mind, I felt very bad about this.  I don't want to make promises we don't deliver, even if it is something as small as pumpkins.  Instead, we headed home to set up Nolan's crib and arrange his room.

In the end, it worked out well that we didn't have time for pumpkins on Saturday because on Sunday morning, just after breakfast, we bundled up and headed to the patch not far from our house.  We had never been there before and didn't know what to expect, which might be the reason it was so perfect. 

The 'pumpkin and gourds here' sign sat in front of the people's house, the entrance was between two large rocks situated in the middle of the house and garden, there was a tent on the perimeter of the patch that listed prices and had a cash box.  Two dogs came out to greet us and the owners popped out at one point to corral them in.  Other than that it was just us and the boys and this large garden of pumpkins for our choosing.  It was perfect. Pumpkins (any size) were $2 a piece, pie pumpkins and gourds were $0.50.  The boys kept running back in search of another and at that price, we said, okay, one more.  Our car was brimming with pumpkins and squash when we pulled away and we all agreed it was the most fun we've had pumpkin patching yet. 

Of course, this trip also spurred conversations.  Conversations about how we will carve these pumpkins, and about how much squash we are going to eat this year (and the lack of complaining I want to hear from those who picked it!), and about next year's garden.  Being away from home, we didn't have a garden this year.  But next year, next year! we have plans, and those plans just might include some pumpkins.