Sunday, July 31, 2011

30 Days- Day 7

Day 7- Post a picture of your most treasured item.

Today's picture post is hard!  I couldn't narrow it down to ONE most treasured item, so I did my top 3.  Obviously, I'm not including people as 'items'.  So, in the top 3 we have my wedding ring/anniversary band, my hard drive which contains all of our pictures and videos (Don't worry!  I'm in the process of backing them all up!), and Brennan's day-old-foot replicas we made.  I would be heartbroken if I lost any of these items.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

30 Days- Day 6

Day 6- Post a picture of the person you'd love to trade places with for the day.

 This one is a hard one for me.  In a way, I think it would be better to switch with your spouse so that you understand what their day is like.  At the same time, it would probably be more fun to switch with someone whose life is completely different from your own.  That's why I posted a picture of Rachel McAdams.  She has been in several great movies including 'Mean Girls, 'The Notebook', and 'Wedding Crashers'.  I think she is absolutely beautiful and it would be really fun to be a curly-haired brunette for a day!  Plus, the dimples are too cute, as well.

Friday, July 29, 2011

30 Days- Day 5

Day 5- Post a picture of your favorite memory.

This picture was taken on our honeymoon.  We went on a cruise to the Western Caribbean.  The day this picture was taken we were at a swim-up bar in Costa Maya, Mexico.  I'm not sure that this day in particular is my favorite memory, but I think the whole week is.  It was just so much fun being brand new newlyweds and having so many fun things to do and new things to see... and it all being packed into one short week.  It was our first big trip together by ourselves and it felt so 'adult' to be all on our own!  We were only 19 and 20, so were really were kids still!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

30 Days- Day 4

Day 4- Post a picture of a habit you wish you didn't have.

These pictures aren't of myself, but it describes the habit I have that I HATE!  It's called Trichotillomania and it basically means that you have a strong urge to pull out your own hair.  People with this disorder all have different ways or rituals of pulling their hair and they may pull it from different areas of their body.  It is embarassing, at least for me.

I started pulling out my eyelashes when I was about 12 years old.  I don't know why I started, but it felt comforting so I kept doing it.  I would develop 'holes' in my lashes like in the pictures.  Eventually, I moved from pulling my lashes to pulling my brows.  My eyebrows resemble those in the picture.  Now, 13 years after this habit started, I'm still struggling to stop pulling out my hair!  It sounds crazy to the normal person... only someone else with the disorder would understand.  Boy, do I wish I could just knock it off!

Our other newly decorated room!

A few weeks ago, I posted pictures of our newly remodeled bathroom.  While that, in itself, was an undertaking, it wasn't the only thing we have been busy with!  We have also been working on redecorating our bedroom.  Well... it is finally all finished!  Here's what we did:

We decided to go with a black and white theme with just a small amount of dark pink to add some excitement.  My Mom sketched the tree onto the wall for us and then I spent many tedious hours painting it all in.  Afterwards, I hand-glued silk flowers the branches.

Here's a little bit better look at the tree.

This is the opposite wall of the bedroom.  I chose to frame up several black and white pictures in black frames so it kept with the theme of the room.

And here's the last detail.  I made these twig decals with my computer and some decal paper!

It sure feels nice to have our projects all done!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

30 Days- Day 3

Day 3- Post a picture of the cast from your favorite show.

I like a lot of shows.... it is hard for me to pick a favorite, but Little House on the Prairie is way up there on the list!  It is such a good, wholesome show that really makes me think.  I love to imagine what life would have been like in a different era, living like Laura.  I love the family's unwavering faith in God even when life gets extremely hard for them.  The characters are amazing.  I feel like I know each one personally.  They elicit strong feelings from me... so many episodes get me tearing up!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

30 Days- Day 2

Day 2- Post a picture of you and the person you have been close with for a while.

As most of you probably know, this is a picture of my husband, Ryan, and I.  It was taken last summer at a Minnesota Twins game.  Ryan and I have definitely been close for a while.  We met in September of 2002, got engaged in January of 2004, and were married in June of 2005.  It seems funny to think that we've been together for so long already... time really flies.

Ryan is a lab tech in the drugs of abuse lab at Mayo clinic in Rochester.  As of yesterday, he is also an 'official' EMT.  He was just granted his state license so now he'll be working on call as a part time EMT in our town.

Monday, July 25, 2011

In Honor of my 100th post!

Hi everybody!  I can't believe that I just published my 100th post today!  I thought it would be fun to do something new in honor of my 100th post.  I noticed this fun photo project that my cousin, Christi, is doing on Facebook and I thought it would be really neat to give it a try.  It is called 30 days and it is a great way for people to get to know a little bit more about you.  I challenge you all to give it a try, as well.  If you do this on your blog, please leave me a link so I can come check it out! Today is day one and over the next 29 days I'll be covering the rest of the 'days'.  So, without any further ado, here we go!

Day 1- Post a picture of yourself with 10 facts.

Ok, anyone who reads my blog definitely already knows what I look like... I post hundreds of pictures!  But to satisfy the requirement of day one, here is one of my favorite pictures of myself.  It was taken in November 2009 on an unseasonably and pleasantly warm day when I was about 6 months pregnant with Brennan.

And as far as my 10 facts... I've listed some facts about myself a couple different times, but I can't remember offhand exactly which ones I told you, so I'm going to just start fresh with the first ten that come to mind.

  1. I love to take pictures... surprise, surprise!
  2. In our household, Ryan is the primary cook and I'm the baker.  And I make a killer cheesecake if I do say so myself.  The recipe is listed here:
  3. I love animals and have had a lot of different pets throughout the years including dogs, cats, fish, a rabbit, a lizard, a baby turtle (we found it on a road and "fostered" it until we released it safely), and a gerbil.  Currently we have one dog, two guppies, and a snail.
  4. My toenails are painted red for 90% of the year.
  5. I cannot make my front teeth touch regardless of how I move my jaws... you should see me eat a sandwich with lettuce!
  6. I can't ride in the car without singing with the radio.
  7. I absentmindedly throw bits and pieces of Spanish into my everyday conversations.
  8. Christmas is my favorite holiday and I just love to decorate with lots of Christmas lights.
  9. When I was little, I had two imaginary lion friends that were named Mario and Luigi.
  10. My name, Colleen, is of Irish origin and means "girl".   I suppose I fit that description.
:)  That was fun!  Come back tomorrow for day 2!

Looking for activity suggestions...

Wow!  I just realized I am writing my 100th post!!!  I can't believe how things really just add up when you work on them little by little! 

I'm looking for some advice again from all of my awesome blog followers.  My little man has just turned 17 months old and I'm hoping to find some more activities to do with him.  You see, I think that he get bored very easily.  Many days he seems to just play for a while and then start walking around and whining.  He just loves to be outside, so we go out to play most days, but of course, some days just aren't great for playing... especially the days when it downpours from dawn until dusk.  We play with his toys inside, we read a lot of books, and we've tried coloring, but he still is pretty into trying to take bites out of his crayons or color his face and tongue with the markers.  Play doh also tastes pretty good to him.

So, does anyone have any activity suggestions for him?  This is kind of a hard age for me!  Littler kids are easier to entertain and many times are just happy being held and older kids are able to do more difficult activities like art projects, play doh, and coloring.  He's right in the middle.  I want to stimulate his brain and keep him busy and happy.  Let me know what you do with your kids at this stage!


Friday, July 22, 2011

Baby Brag #3- My Baby is Starting to Talk!

I'm soooo excited that Brennan is really starting to say a few words!  It seems like it took him a little longer than a lot of babies to say some 'real' words, but now it seems like he's learning a new one every day!  Besides saying Mama and Daddy I'm considering his first 'real' words to be "All done!".  I took this video a few days ago...

Isn't that cute!?!  Besides "all done" he is also learning to say "please", "puppy", "Emmy (our dog)", and "bottle".  He'll try to repeat almost anything we ask him to, which I think is very sweet, even if his pronunciation sounds nothing like mine :). 

I can't wait for more words!  It will make our lives so much easier just knowing a little more about what he wants and having him be able to communicate more with us!  My little man is growing up!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Our Favorite Books- These are Awesome!

Like most Moms, I love to spend quality time with my boy.  Sometimes I'll get down on the floor and play with him, but for the most part and I just like to be near him, watching,  and talk with him as he plays.  But what I really enjoying doing with him is reading.  It's a nice, peaceful activity that keeps both of us occupied (ONLY when he's in the mood for it!) and gets him on my lap for a little snuggle time.

I want to share some of our very favorite books with you.  These are some great books to cuddle up and read with your kiddos!

Brennan's Favorite Books
Lately, Brennan's favorite books all DO something.  They are pop up books, books with moveable pieces, books with textures, and books that talk.  The only downfall with these is that he isn't allowed to read them by himself because he'll ruin them and we love them too much for that!  I'm only listing a few.  These are definitely not the only ones, but if I included them all, this post would take all day to write, literally!

Here's his list of favorites:


This book is truly awesome.  We got Brennan this book for Christmas and have read it hundreds of times with him!  The dogs in this book have fur patches for the reader to feel that demonstrate different textures including, fluffy, scruffy, curly, smooth, shaggy, and silky.  You can feel floppy ears and even a sticky tongue!  There are also a lot of moveable parts such as several wagging tails, a doggy shaking off after a bath, and a dog scratching himself.  I really enjoy the last couple of pages of this book a lot!  All of the dogs in this book are pictured there along with their names and their breed.  So really, this book grows with your child.  They can learn to recognize all of the breeds and become a dog aficionado!  This one is soooo worth the price (which isn't bad to begin with!)

The Very Funny Frog-

The pictures in this rhyming style book are just great.  They make me smile when I'm reading this book to my son.  We both enjoy the rhythm and rhyme and he loves how the pages pop out at him.  Brennan loves to learn about all of the garden animals featured in this book including the Very Funny Frog, of course, and many others such as rabbits, a mole, and spiders!  A word of warning, though... this book isn't best for grabby little hands!  I've already had to make a few repairs to the pictures even though I never let my son read this book by himself!

Hallmark Recordable Storybooks-

Our little man is lucky enough to have two of these awesome storybooks, one from each of his doting Grandmas!  He has "All the Ways I Love You" and the classic, "Goodnight Moon".  I do let Brennan read these books by himself, but ONLY under close supervision.  They are so special, I don't want them getting ruined!  If you aren't familiar with these books, they actually record your voice and play it back as you turn the pages.  Brennan's face just lights up when he hears his Grandmas reading to him!  At first he would look around for them, but now he knows what's going on.  To find out more about these books you can visit Hallmark's website, here.

Lull-a-bye Little One-

Now, this choice by Brennan may surprise you... it doesn't DO anything!  However, from pretty early on Brennan has really enjoyed this book.  Whether it is the bright, simple pictures or the calming rhythm and rhyme, I'm not sure, but we all like this one.  This simple story outlining a typical little girl's bedtime routine with her Mommy and Daddy is very sweet and somehow it always ends up being part of our bedtime story lineup!

Mama's Favorite Kids Books

The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear-

This book is an oldie, but a goodie!  This one holds a special place in my heart.  I remember my Mom reading this one to me all the time when I was a little girl.  It is all about how this sweet little mouse can keep the Big Hungry Bear from eating his delicious strawberry!  I just love the adorable illustrations.  I actually remember laughing when my Mom would 'sniff sniff sniff' to find the strawberry just like the Big Hungry Bear.  You can only imagine my own joy and amusement when Brennan laughed the first time I 'sniff sniff sniffed' like the Bear! 

God Gave Us You-

This book is really sweeter than sweet.  The typical childlike questions that the little polar bear in this book ask make me smile every time I read it, but the answers that the polar bear Mom gives have the opposite effect on me.  I always get choked up when I'm reading this book, especially as the Mom talks about the birth of her sweet little baby.  As many of you know, I was put under general anesthesia for the birth of my own baby, so I get pretty emotional about that sort of thing!  Anyway, it is a heartwarming book that reminds us that our children are God's most wonderful gifts.

You know... I'm sure I could come up with so many more great choices, but I'm going to leave it at this for now.  Maybe I'll need to do a followup post with even more of our favorites!  I hope you'll check some of these out!  Enjoy!

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Lazy Summer Afternoon...

Normally when the weather is this hot, I'll do just about anything to stay inside where it's nice and cool.  However, when you have a baby that likes being outside as much as mine does, it's not really an option.  Brennan will search the house until he finds a pair of shoes and bring them to me with a lot of loud whining until I oblige and put the shoes on him.  Then, if I still don't take the clue, or choose to pretend I don't know what he wants, he'll go find a hat and put it on.  By then it is just too cute to ignore and I finally give in and take him out into the scorching heat to melt.

Today I planned ahead.  While he was napping this morning I went out and filled his baby pool.  I figured that I could at least hang my feet in to stay a little bit cooler.  By the time he woke up and started acting like he was ready to go outside, I had decided that I was going to go all out.  I put on both of our swimsuits, slathered him up with sunscreen, and trekked outside.  I sat myself down in the pool while he walked around the yard for a while, just coming over every now and then to throw his bottle of sunscreen into the water and laugh when it made a big splash.

After quite a bit of playing 'sunscreen splash' I remembered the new pack of foam balls that I had bought for him.  I ran into the garage and gave him one.  That was a big hit.  We played catch for a while in the pool and then I went into the garage and got out the bat I got for him.  I know he's a bit young, but you can't start learning how to play baseball too early.  So he would throw the ball for me and I would hit it.  Then he would hold the bat out and I would carefully aim for it and bounce the ball off.  That way he could 'hit' the ball, too!  It was such a good time.  I can't wait for a second adult to be around to help him swing!

After a little while of playing baseball, I put Brennan into his swing and quickly ran inside to get the load of clean diapers out of the washer to put them on the line.  I figured I might as well take advantage of the heat and sunshine on a day like today.  Unfortunately, the humidity is so high, I don't know if the microfiber will dry all the way by this evening!  We'll see, I guess.

Brennan spraying himself with the garden hose.
I let Brennan back out of his swing and I headed back to the pool to cool off.  I was just drenched in sweat slightly glistening already so the cool water felt so good.  I basked in the watery heaven while Brennan explored the yard.  I got distracted just long enough for him to cover his feet, legs, arm, ear, and the side of his face with mud from the one obvious mud puddle we have.  We've had a ridiculous amount of rain lately and the yard just hasn't dried out yet.  I didn't want him getting the water all dirty, so I grabbed the garden hose and sprayed him off.  The water was nice and warm from the sun warming the hose, so he didn't mind it at all.  In fact, he loves spraying himself with the hose.  He'll spray himself until he's shaking because he so cold, yet he just keeps spraying!

When I finished cleaning him off, I turned off the hose and laid it down.  That caused an immediate uproar!  He wanted it back on!!!  So I cooperated and gave him the hose.  I knew that would keep him busy for a while, so I laid right back in the pool, head resting on one edge and calves resting on the other, to soak up some sun.  It just felt so good.  That's when Brennan started spraying me.  It was a little cold, but I just couldn't help but laugh as I listened to his mischievous giggle and felt the water raining down all over me.  It really just made for the perfect summer day and made me feel like a kid again- laying in a kiddie pool with the powerful sun warming my skin, not being self conscious about my stretch marks and extra padding.  After all, there was no reason I should be!  I was in my own backyard in the middle of the afternoon when my neighbors were all gone to work.  The only person with me was the one who gave me the stretch marks in the first place, and he doesn't seem to mind.  In fact, the extra padding on my tummy makes for awesome, obnoxious noises when he blows raspberries on me!

I just love days like this.  They make you realize that it is the little things in life that really matter!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Boy, it's hot!

Today, in our part of Minnesota, it is a scorcher!  I heard that with the humidity, it feels like 110 degrees!  Ick!  Since Ryan had to work this weekend, I called my Mom to see if she wanted to take Brennan to the beach with me.  She happily obliged and we headed down earlier this afternoon.  Brennan was a little apprehensive about getting into the water any deeper than his calves, at least at first.  So for a while he stood at the water's edge and threw in sand, and rocks, and sticks.  He even attempted to throw in some logs, but gave up pretty quickly when he realized he couldn't lift them!  He's not used to that- he's really strong.  In fact, earlier this morning he was carrying around my cordless vacuum, which isn't light.  Maybe we should have named him Angus like we always joked about!

After a while I carried him a little further into the water and tried to get him in deeper.  He was just OK with it.... still a little nervous.  Finally Mom and I put him into his Baby Floatie and just made/encouraged him to give it a try.  After a minute or two of freaking out, he decided was ACTUALLY fun, not scary!  He floated for a while watching other kids play Frisbee and splash in the water nearby.

It made for a great afternoon and a wonderful way to get Brennan outside and expending some energy without both of us passing out from heat stroke!

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures from today right now.  My mom took a few on her phone that I'll have to get from her.  Of course, I had charged up my camera battery and loaded it into the bag along with my video camera, but then left it all sitting at home!  Bummer!

We also had some water fun at our friend Helene's pool last weekend.  Since I love to share pictures in my blog posts, I'll include these water pics!

Brennan was pretty unsure of the water!  It was a little chilly and he hasn't been swimming since last year (when he LOVED it).  I thought his floatie wetsuit would help make him feel more comfortable, but it didn't seem to help too much.

He seemed to be much happier sitting, or in this case standing, on the sidelines, drink in hand.

Even if Brennan wasn't in the mood for a lot of splashing around, Mommy and Daddy sure were!


After we got a basketball out, Brennan was anxious to get back in the water.  Brennan just loves any kind of ball.  He picked up on how to slam dunk almost immediately.

We all had a great time.  Don't Daddy and Brennan look happy?  Gotta love my boys...

 You don't think Brennan was in the water long enough, do you?  His feet felt like cold rubber!

And here's what Brennan looks like after an afternoon of swimming INSTEAD of napping!  He fell asleep with 2 minutes of getting in the car, was carried in the house, had his diaper and clothes changed to pajamas, fed a bottle and put to sleep all without waking up!  I sure would love to sleep like that!

Friday, July 15, 2011

A question for my readers...

Hi there everybody!

I hope you have had a wonderful Friday and that this weekend treats you well!  I've got a quick question I thought I would just put out there to see if anyone has any information to give me.  I really want to get/make my son a board book.  You see, lately he has just been enamored with looking at pictures of our family on the walls and in our photo albums.  The only problem with that is that he hasn't learned how to be gentle at all yet.  He likes to grab the pictures and I'm afraid that he'll damage them!

So that's the reason I want to make him a board book!  I'd like to have one printed with pictures of all of his family members on pages that he can't rip out.  I've looked into this a little and found very few options, all fairly spendy (at least $25 including shipping).  Does anyone know of any other options that are more affordable?  Or other ideas to accomplish my goal?  I would love some input!  Thanks!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Baby Golfers

I had to work last Saturday.  I only work a couple of shifts per month so as long as Ryan is home, he gets to spend some quality alone time with Brennan.  Last Saturday was one of these 'boys-only' days.  Daddy decided to take Brennan golfing!  This was his first time, so we didn't know how it would go.  Luckily it went great!  Here are some pictures of my boys having fun together!

Brennan isn't the first or only baby to golfing in this family.  Here are some really old pictures of myself golfing as a little baby!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Before and After Pictures of our Bathroom Remodel!

Last week we FINALLY finished our bathroom remodel!  We're so happy to have it done!  It feels great to have it completed and know that we did the work ourselves with only a bit of help from my Dad, the teacher.  Here are a bunch of before, during, and after pictures!

These two pictures are from before the remodel.  The first was actually from a while ago.  It show the ugly shower doors that used to adorn the tub.  We removed them and put up a curtain for a short time just before we started the remodel.  You can also see the tall stack of cupboards.  (In this picture I'm actually doing my makeup after having my water break!  I wanted to try to make myself look beautiful for new baby pictures!)  In the second picture, you can see the horrible duct tape.  I attempted to temporarily stop the surround from leaking into our basement!  At least it is unfinished...

Here are some pictures we took while we were doing the work.  In the first Ryan is finishing taking off the surround.  I did the other two walls.  The second picture is of the walls down to the lathe.  The next three just show us working and how covered in dust we got!  Yuck!  In the 6th picture, the cupboards have been ripped out and a new stub wall is up.  The 8th picture shows the plumbing nearly finished.  I even sweat my first copper joints!!!  Look out... I know how to use a blow torch now.



And finally, here are the after pictures!!!  The door to the bathroom is shown in the first picture... I just panned to the right from there.  Notice the lack of cupboards in the second picture.  I really hate to have the gone, but that's what happens when a standard tub is too big for the existing hole!  This post I wrote talks about that problem- Ahh the Joys of Living in an Old House.  The last picture is just to give you a better idea of what the shower curtain looks like. 


I'm so happy with the results!  I love having my bathroom back!  Yay!!!