Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mother's Day is almost here!

Maybe it is because I still consider myself to be a brand new Mom, but I'm really excited for Mother's Day!  Last year is COULD NOT WAIT for Mother's Day.  It would be my first one ever!  The way I explained it to my husband went something like this-

Me: "You know, I'm really looking forward to Mother's Day..."

Ryan: "Oh,  OK.  That's nice."

Me: "I guess I'm hoping this first Mother's Day for me is REALLY special..."

Ryan: "Umm hmm."

Me: "Well, you know, since I don't really remember my first day AS a Mom, I want to remember my first Mother's Day."  (Refer to Brennan's Crazy Birth Story for more details!)

Ryan: "Yeah, I know."

And so on...

It did turn out to be a nice day.  We went to church and then Ryan and Brennan brought me out for breakfast to a restaurant in town, which is perfect because breakfast is definitely my favorite meal of the day.  After breakfast, we went and did some shopping and Ryan surprised me by bringing me to a greenhouse and letting me pick out any hanging basket of flowers I wanted!  Yay!  I'm a flower person... 

But the best gift of all may have been from Brennan.  He was a VERY fussy little baby.  He liked to cry nonstop (we eventually found out he had a dairy sensitivity).  Well, on Mother's Day he was happy!  He didn't cry much at all and was just a model little boy! 

This year I'm hoping to spend Mother's Day with Ryan and Brennan again.  I would love to go do something fun together after all, that's what the day is really about- spending time with your family.  I'm not sure what we will do, but that's up to them anyway!  Ryan has already begun to taunt me, "I ordered your Mother's Day gift.  Hope it gets here on time!"  I'm guessing this means that it is already hidden in the house, although he assures me it isn't.

Brennan and I with last year's Mother's Day present.

Friday, April 29, 2011

My wedding wasn't royal, but I felt like a princess!

All of this talk about the royal wedding that took place today has got me to thinking...  My wedding sure wasn’t as big of a deal as this one- not even close, but it sure was a special day for us!  Yes, Kate is now officially a princess, but I was the princess for a day!  I know that as more time passes we’ll forget more and more of the details, but we’ve got some amazing pictures that I’m going to share that captured most of the memories.

Attractive, huh?
Planning for our wedding, like most, started months ahead of time.  During the last couple of months, we were busy with the last few details, making sure everything would be just right.  I remember hand beading my gloves, making my veil with my mom, and creating our table centerpieces.  In this picture, I am having my hair colored while Ryan was working on folding our programs.

Heather fixing my hair.
Finally the big day had come!  I was so excited!  I guess I wasn't the normal nervous bride.  I just couldn't wait for the day!  We all woke up and my mom made us some french toast for breakfast.  My Maid of Honor, Heather, had spent the night, so we thought it would be a good idea to start working on my hair right away.

All ready to go!
Before we knew it, it was time to head to the church for a few pictures and to get ready for the service!  Ryan and I didn't have any pictures together before the service.  The first time he saw me in my dress was when I was walking down the aisle! 

Just starting to get ready.

Once we got to church we all got dressed for pictures.  I made my garter, myself.  It had my 'something old' and my 'something blue'!  My 'something old' were two wedding bands- one was a gift to me from my Grandma Alice when she died.  I was only 6 months old.  The other was borrowed from my Grandma Jan.  She is still alive as ever and I'm so thankful for it!  My 'something blue' was the blue ribbon and stitching.
My pretty garter.

Finally... time for the dress!  I just loved my dress.  It was a princess dress and it was absolutely as poofy as can be!  I've never been a big girly girl, so it was a lot of fun to be a princess for a day!
My attendant, Shannon, helped.

The service went off without a hitch.  It was just as I imagined it.  Ryan and I both were a little teary-eyed, but nothing compared to the rest of the men in my family!  My Dad and both Grandpa's were ALL crying!  We exchanged very traditional vows.  Actually almost everything about the ceremony was traditional- just the way I like it!  
Here are a few more pictures from the service.
My Papa walking me down the aisle.

During the ceremony.
Blessing our marriage.
"You may kiss the bride!"

After the ceremony we walked out of the church and were showered with white birdseed!  I wanted to do the traditional 'throwing of the rice' but the church doesn't allow rice because they are worried about old ladies in high heels falling on the cylindrical rice!

Our birdseed showering!

 We took some more pictures at the church and in the park across the street...

Newlyweds right after the ceremony.
I had stargazer lilies in my bridal bouquet.
Happy to finally be husband and wife!  I was 19 and he was 20.
The groomsman swept me off my feet. 

Our bridal party, minus the littlest ring bearer.
Kissing under my blusher.

The new little family.
Resting my tired feet on the church steps after the ceremony.
 After those pictures were done we got in our white horse-drawn carriage and left for the reception.  And when I say "horse-drawn carriage" I really mean tiny, red Saturn coupe!

Our car was so pretty!!!
Look!  He's even opening the door for me!!!

My dress rode to the reception on the dash.

We had our reception at a golf course that we both worked at.  It is just a beautiful spot!  We had chicken sandwiches for dinner and then moved onto the dance.   We danced the night away with friends and family!  It was such a wonderful day!  I've got a few more pictures to share from the evening.  They were hard to choose!  I've got so many I love!

Sitting on the grass with my poofy princess dress and new husband!

Here are our rings and my bouquet.

Let's see Princess Kate do this!!

A kiss at sunset.

Looking forward to our future together.

Here are our centerpieces I made!
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog!  I hope you all come back!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

He's so tired he'd like to rub his eyes... if he could only reach them!

I'd like you all to imagine something.  I'm cuddling with Brennan on the couch, feeding him a bottle when he starts yawning and pushing the bottle away.  Ok, now I know he's ready for bed.

I walk him into his bedroom, whispering his bedtime prayers in his ear and gently place him down in his crib.  I tuck his plush grinch (I know- of all stuffed animals to cuddle with...) into one arm and his favorite teddy bear into the other.  He yawns and tries to rub his eyes, but with his animals in the way he can BARELY reach them!  He suddenly flops over and squeezing his animals close, yawns once more, and goes right to sleep. 

I know he's not the only baby who does this, but it sure melts my heart every time!  Sweet dreams, baby boy!

Here's my sweet boy with his teddy in the background.  This wasn't taken today.  It was taken January 2011.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy birthday, little sister!

My little sister isn't so little anymore!  Today she turns 20!  I'd like to say, "Oh, I remember the day you were born!" But that would be a lie- I don't.  I had just turned five and I really don't remember Haley being born... I must have blocked it out or something.  Haha!  Just kidding, Haley.  Anyway, we all hope you've had a wonderful birthday so far, and we hope the rest is great!  Can't believe you're 20 already...

Haley and Brennan at Easter.

Haley was pretty cute, but not quite as cute as I was.

Here's Haley, our older sister, Kris, and me.  I'm little blonde one.

A busy, baby day!

I'm doing something I haven't done since before Brennan was born- babysit!  I'm watching 2 extra girls today in addition to my own little guy.  So currently, I've got a 2 year old, a 14 month old (mine), and a 10 month old! 

The day has gone rather well, so far.  Brennan was fairly shocked to wake up to two strange little girls in his house!  Well, they aren't strange- I guess I should say unfamiliar...  But within a minute or two, they were already starting to play like crazy!  I think they are all having a good time.  This makes me wonder, though, how do people with several kids close in age keep their sanity?  Don't get me wrong- they are all behaving pretty well, but it just doesn't stop!  As soon as one is done eating a snack in the high chair, I need to wipe 'em down, pull 'em out, and slip the next one in!  The 2 year old is in potty training stage, so every half hour she yells, "I needa go potty!"  So I tear myself away from whichever child I'm playing with/taking care of to run her to the bathroom.  The two little ones still need bottles and two naps per day, which my little man doesn't always go down easily for.  So between all these things, preparing meals, settling 'sharing squabbles', changing two babies' diapers, filling up the sippy cups, and letting my ever-needy dog in and out, there is just not much time left!

Of course, we've had some very cute moments along with the craziness.  The littlest one was down for a nap.  The oldest was playing with one of the 'Shaka Shaka' eggs that come in the B. Parum Pum Pum Drum.  Brennan came up and held his hand out like he wanted to see it.  She immediately walked over to the drum, grabbed the other egg and gave it to him.  They spent the next 5-10 minutes looking at each other, laughing, and shaking the 'Shaka Shaka' eggs!  That was pretty cute!

Earlier in the day, the littlest was in the Graco doorway jumper and the older two were 'helping' her jump.  They were all just giggling like crazy and having a grand time! 

Right now, the little two are sleeping... yay!  The oldest is awake and playing nicely on the floor while I type this up.  She 'tried' to take a nap but I think it was mainly a little rest.  I could hear a bit of talking to herself the whole time.

Although this is going well for the most part, this makes me happy I only have one baby so far!  I'll just keep enjoying being a mom of ONE for the time being!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rainy day are good for something... brownies!

It is quite a rainy day here in Southeast Minnesota.  It's cold and dreary and the rain just keeps coming.  You can't get anything done outside on a day like today, but if you're motivated rainy days are great for cleaning, but better yet, they are great for baking!  I've got a brownie recipe that is to die for!  Give them a try.  They're fast and easy to make and you'll be so happy you tried them.   Here is the recipe!

Grandma Alice's Brownies
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp. salt
1 cup shortening
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup walnuts (optional- I leave them out)

Mix all ingredients together just to blend.  Spread in 9x13 inch pan.  Bake @ 350 degrees for 25 minutes. 

A scrumptious brownie!

I recommend using a metal pan rather than glass if you have one.  The edges tend to get a little hard when a glass pan is used.

Note: Sorry I don't have a picture, yet.  If my hubby is lucky, I'll make a batch this afternoon and take a picture of those!

Our Beautiful Easter Day!

Happy Belated Easter, everyone!  I hope you all had a beautiful day filled with love and good times with friends or family.

Brennan found his basket in his chair.
Our Easter began bright and early on Sunday morning.  We woke up and let Brennan find his Easter basket for the very first time EVER!  It was awfully cute.  He was actually throwing a fit in the middle of the floor when he spotted it across the room.  He made a bee-line for it and had a great time sorting through the gifts from the Easter Bunny!  He had the most fun pulling all of the grass out of the bottom of the basket. 

Church Easter picture- 2011
After the basket hunt, we got dressed up in our Sunday best and headed off to church for the annual Easter breakfast and the always triumphant Easter morning service.  It was a great service filled with traditional Easter hymns, the church choir singing, and some congregation members playing various instruments.  What a treat!  We belong to a very small church, so any kind of special service is really fun.  But what was even better than the service was the fact that Brennan made it through almost the whole service!  Normally, we can keep him quiet until the sermon, or so.  But since there was so much going on during this service, he was really good for most of it.  By the very end he was getting really squirmy and mad, so Grammy Sue took him out.  It's also nice to have someone else take him out, for a change!

His second Easter basket.
After church, we stopped by my parents' house so that Brennan could find his second Easter basket of the day.  The Easter Bunny was a bit more crafty at their house.  Brennan finally found it hidden in one of the kitchen cupboards.  He enjoyed a little bit of one of the 'marshmallow friends' that he had found in his basket before we hopped in the car again and headed up to Cottage Grove, MN to see the next set of Grandparents. 

Claire (left) learning how to climb with B, the master climber!
We had a nice time visiting and enjoyed a fantastic lunch of ham, cheesy potatoes, glazed carrots, and fruit jello.  My sister-in-law made a delicious cake for dessert.  Brennan and his two cousins got to open their Easter presents after lunch.  Brennan was given a t-shirt with a monkey design embroidered on it.  (My mother-in-law does a lot of sewing and embroidery and even has a sewing business.  Here's her website, that I designed, if you would like to check it out. )  He also got an awesome pop-up book about a frog.  Brennan did a lot of playing with his cousins in the afternoon.  He even began to teach his little cousin, who is 3 month younger, how to climb the stairs!  Yay!

Brennan on the hunt!
After our afternoon in the Twin Cities, we jumped back in the car and headed back to Red Wing, MN.  We arrived at my Grandma and Grandpa's farm for the annual Easter egg hunt and supper.  Soon after arriving, we let the two little kids do their hunt.  They had a nice time and I think Brennan did well for only being 14 months old!  We all went inside for supper and were soon heading back out for the second Easter egg hunt.  A couple years ago we started doing a competitive Easter egg hunt since the average age of the grandkids is 20 something.  It is a sprint to find as many eggs as you possibly can.  They are hidden all around the farm.  We really get into it and it is a great time!  My little sister won and I was the biggest loser :(  Oh well.  Next year is mine...

My mom ringing the starting bell, signaling the beginning of the hunt!

We wrapped up Easter at the farm and finally headed home.  It was an early night since we were all so tired!  It was a wonderful Easter!  We're looking forward to next year already!
Family shot at my parents' house.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Celebrating the Little Firsts!

I know this is my third post concerning Easter in as many days, but for some reason this year I'm just extra excited.  This year isn't Brennan's first Easter, but it is his first Easter that he'll actually appreciate (I hope)!  Last year he was just a tiny little baby at Easter time.  This picture is from last Easter when Brennan was only about 8 weeks old!  He and Daddy had matching suits!

Although I miss those days when he was just a tiny little thing, I'm enjoying all of the new adventures we get to have together!  I bought Brennan his very own Easter basket about a month ago and have been patiently waiting for Easter Eve to come so I can hide it for him!  I'm sure the extent of my hiding will be setting it on his rocking chair in the living room for him to find, but nonetheless, I'm super excited.  He's still kind of young for candy, so we bought some little toys to fill it with.  The basket's crowning glory is definitely the kiddo cell phone I bought for him today.  You see, lately Brennan has been super interested in cell phones.  If you tell him to say hello, he'll put his hand on his ear like he's on a cell phone.  We gave him an old cell phone we had, but since it doesn't DO anything, he's not really a fan.  Now he'll have his own phone that actually does something!  And it is the coolest one they had at the store, if I do say so myself!  Check it out- Baby Genius Swivel N' Sounds Phone.  I'll have to let you know what he thinks of it!

Tomorrow Brennan will also get to participate in his first Easter egg hunt!  This will probably consist of picking up obviously placed plastic eggs off the grass, but I'm sure it will make for adorable pictures!  Hopefully the nice Easter goose egg he got on his forehead today won't show too badly!  Now hopefully he won't try taking on his Great-Grandma's door frame again!  Kids always seem to do that- get injuries on their faces just before a holiday or other big photo day.

Anyway, you can all expect more Easter pictures within the next couple days!  I wish you all a lovely holiday tomorrow!  Remember to celebrate the real reason for the holiday- our risen Savior!

Friday, April 22, 2011

My little boy with an Easter suprise!

As a little girl, I grew up out in the country.  We didn't live on a farm- if anything, it was more like a hobby farm.  We had dogs and cats, a bunny, a lizard, a gerbil, and borrowed sheep in the summers, but not all at the same time!  It was a great way to be raised and I'm excited for Brennan to get to spend time in the country as a little guy, too!  

My parents' desire to make their place into a little hobby farm must be growing each year, though, because last summer they got their first chickens!  They have five hens for eggs, and one rooster, to crow.  Now this spring, they got a brand new batch of baby chicks to raise- 26 of them!  We took the opportunity to introduce Brennan to the fantastic world of baby animals and got these cute pictures!

Brennan being careful with the chicky!
This reminds me of a line from one of our books, "Chicks are fuzzy yellow balls... peep! peep!"

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hippity! Hoppity! Easter's on its way!

First off, I'd like to wish a big congratulations to my wonderful friends Heather & Charles on their 4th wedding anniversary!  I was there with you four years ago when you said 'I do' and can't believe it has been that long already!  How time flies!  I hope you two and Lorelai had a wonderful day!

Now... to the post!  I was reminded today, over, and over, and over again, that Easter is right around the corner!  Normally, I wouldn't mind this reminder, after all, who doesn't love Easter?  It is a fun and joyous holiday all about celebrating our risen Savior.  Easter brings  Easter baskets filled with chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, and toys!  Kids run around like crazy on egg hunts filling up their baskets with Easter eggs.  Little girls wear Easter bonnets that make them look practically angelic (Brennan is lucky I'm not making HIM wear one!).  So you are probably wondering, why am I sick of being reminded about Easter?  Well, is is all because of one of Brennan's book.  

Let me preface what I'm about to say with an apology to my mother-in-law who gave Brennan this book last Easter...  Brennan has a Peter Cottontail book that sings the song when the cover is opened.  This probably doesn't sound too bad.  How long can a kid possibly play with a book that sings the same LONG song over and over?  Actually, it entertains him for quite a while.  Once again, if my child were occupied playing with a book for a while, even a loud one, I wouldn't be complaining... unless the music kept playing even when  Brennan stopped playing with it.  Well, that's exactly what is happening.  This book is kind of malfunctioning so it randomly starts playing music whenever it feels like it.  My theme song for today has been an endless chorus of 'Here Comes Peter Cottontail'.  The only way to stop the music is to pile a big stack of books and toys on top of it to weigh it down!  But anyone familiar with one year old boys (or girls, I'm sure) knows that piles are made to be toppled!  I don't have the heart to take the book away and put it out of reach.  So, until Easter comes I'll just be singing along with the popular Easter favorite, 'Here Comes Peter Cottontail'!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I've got a yarn addiction! Here's how to save a little money on the habit!

In my spare time after I've finished cleaning and cooking, and if I'm not blogging, and assuming that Brennan is asleep, I love to knit and crochet!  Well, I'm being over dramatic.  I'm able to to my fair share of knitting and crocheting to satisfy my yarn itch. 

It might surprise some people, but needle crafts can start to get expensive!  Yarn is NOT cheap!  Neither are knitting needles.  Crochet hooks are a bit more reasonable, but add up, too.  And after you've got your physical supplies, you still need a pattern (unless you are just THAT GOOD).  Well, here are 3 tips to save you some money if you like to knit and crochet as much as I do.

Tip #1:  Find a free pattern.  Did you know that there are a ton of free patterns online?  There are!  I generally use one of two sites to find my patterns- either or  Both of these sites have hundreds of free patterns and they are good ones, too! I've made a TON of items from their patterns!  All of these patterns are available for personal use and many of them can be used to make items to sell.  Don't forget to read the pattern for copyright details.  If you don't find what you are looking for (I would be surprised!) you can check out where some people sell their own original patterns.

Tip #2:  Buy bulk size yarn or order it online.  If you haven't noticed, the yarn that is sold in the huge 1 lb skeins is a lot less expensive than the small skeins.  It is good for the majority of projects and unless you need a specialty yarn, you should give it a try.  Another good source for yarn is an online retail called Smiley's Yarns and can be found here:  Smiley's requires a minimum order of $50, but if you need a lot of yarn at once, this site is a great resource.  As far as needles and crochet hooks go, you can find great deals on sets or individual pieces on

Tip #3:  Don't forget your local thrift store!  I've gotten several sets of knitting needles, crochet needles and some yarn from our local Salvation Army.  It only takes a minute to check into this, and it can save you a lot of money!

Now, because you are lucky, I'm going to give you a bonus money making tip!

Money Making Tip #1:  Sell the things you make!  Earlier I mentioned  On etsy, not only can you buy handmade items, but you can sell them, too.  The fees involved are extremely affordable, and etsy gives you a means to reach a large number of people who are looking for what you have to sell.  I have an etsy store where I sell items that I've made.  Please feel free to check it out!

I hope you enjoy these tips!  Now get knitting!
A sweater, scarf, and hat set I made for one of girls I used to babysit for.

Baby's first knitted set!  My little froggy boy.

A cool Nintendo DS sheep case for my nephew, Wiley.

A cute knitted baby elephant for my baby.