Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gourmet Christmas Dinner 2008

This was one of Paul and I's favorite events this holiday season.  Our wonderful friend/gourmet chef/amazing hostess Melissa F planned the evening (including but not limited to: the guests, the menu, the recipes, the food assignments)

4 couples (the best)
4 courses (exquisite)
and an infinite amount of laughter and fun

What could be better?

You can read all about it and see pics here

Thanks again Meliss (and everyone)!

P.S.  We did the first course.  I was pretty pleased with how it turned out (and pretty sure that we got the easiest assignment - Thanks M)!  We'll be using these recipes again soon...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The All-In-One

Things were a little crazy before Christmas...and I got behind on my blogging.  But I couldn't not document our pre-Christmas fun.  Hence, this post, "The All-In-One" (although I am reserving separate posts for Christmas Eve and Christmas day, and all the things that came after that - so maybe all-in-one was the wrong choice?)

#1. - It was cold (surprise!)
This is a picture of the (very ugly) windows in my entryway, completely iced over
And don't worry - that ice is on the INSIDE.

But we made good use of that cold which brings me to...

#2. - Sledding
This is the view from our front window much of the time.
I love it
So Paul got to work building the worlds greatest sled runs - one on each side of the house
Here's Noah giving the North Run a go

This wall is supposed to stop him from flying right out into the street - but we've had a few incidents...

And quite a few crash landings - but Noah's been tough about it (as opposed to last year when sledding always ended in tears)
Above is our mailbox, completely buried in snow
Below is Alex, looking cute as ever, while trying to catch snowflakes on her tongue
Noah loves to throw himself down the hill and bury himself in the powder (except for the time he succeeded in COMPLETELY burying himself, head and all)
Paul and I had some fun tubing (well mostly just Paul), on the South Run
(which turns out to be the more dangerous of the two)

Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of me and Noah coming down together, flying right up and over the wall, and smashing into a car.  (it was a parked car).  I thought I broke my nose.  But once Paul realized we were going to be ok...he thought it was pretty funny.  
Noah and I did not.

Alex is still a little wary of the snow, but loves having daddy by her side

And last but not least...

#3. - Gingerbread House
Nothing fancy - but in my defense this was totally spur of the moment
(but if I'm being honest they wouldn't have been fancy, even if I'd planned ahead)
We busted out the Graham Crackers which we always have on hand, the strawberry frosting leftover from Noah's birthday, and the candy from the Christmas package Grandma sent.
And this is what you get.

Turned out it wasn't too sturdy...which brought about tears...until we said they could eat it.
Then they looked like this

Well, Alex just looks like this most of the time (messy, sticky, snotty face and ratty hair)

And that's the end : )

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Love The Gunn Family

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Christmas Eve

Right now...I'm wishing that was not Martinelli's

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Did ya know?

How many errands you can get done in 1 hour without the kids?
That leaving the kids with my post-call husband is pretty much like leaving them unattended (and I could probably get arrested)?  (Hey they were all asleep...'er in bed)
That Starbucks has a new flavor of hot chocolate? (Salted Caramel Signature Hot Chocolate) 
That it's really yum?
How nice it is to walk around Target, said hot chocolate in hand, all by my-blesssed-self?
That when it's 9 degrees outside in Minnesota people say things to you like, "Isn't it nice out there tonight?"
That I smiled and agreed?
That I meant it?

Ahhh, life's simple pleasures

The upside of -37 degree weather

Yesterday was a whopping 8 degrees.  And let me tell was nice!  
Balmy! (as Jo would say)
Didn't even bother with my hat and gloves for most of the day
And we were out and about (were we ever)!
One of those days where you're gone from about 9am to 5pm - it went something like this:
Lunch with Daddy
Grocery store
(yes that really can fill up your entire day)

And as I sit here and blog it's 2 degrees - I know because Noah checks the weather constantly
(I won't let him go sledding if it's below zero)
And it's sunny
And I'm happy : )

I may be a little obsessed with the weather - but I don't want you to get the wrong impression.
I still love Rochester, MN
I still wouldn't want to be anywhere else
I DO wish I could heat my house a little more...but I'm dealing

Everyday is an adventure

But in case you don't find the weather here as fascinating as I do I decided to drum up some random pictures for this post


For Grandma
Noah loves it, wears it all the time

Noah tried his hand at shoveling one night - and discovered it's harder than it looks
(hello, why do you think I never do it?)

Noah's favorite computer game - Kid Pix
(thanks Grandma!)

and last but not least...
belly dancing.
or something.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I'm thinking I should change the name of my blog

To "The Weather in Rochester, Minnesota" (or something equally clever)
You know, just temporarily.

Because my last post doesn't even begin to cover the situation here - that was just the tip of the (literal) iceberg.

Monday was -37
Today things warmed up a bit, to -22
(I admit that is with windchill - but shouldn't windchill count when you are under a WIND CHILL ADVISORY???  But for those of you who like it straight-up, the temperature was somewhere around -6?  It's slipped my mind now - the point is it was in the negatives even without wind chill.)

But back to monday...
Sunday night I happened to be spending some quality time with a few friends.  And the storm was blowing in - like blowing right in Brooke's front door.  As we snuggled under blankets on the couch lamenting the fact that we all needed groceries asap and would be forced to haul the kids out in this the next morning we's after midnight.

So we took a trip to Walmart at 12:30am.  (What, wouldn't you?)

cars iced over and so cold they almost don't start
the wind howling
snow blowing in vortexes all around you
and 3 brave moms, running and screaming for the front entrance of walmart

We were even smart enough to get movies from Redbox - because OBVIOUSLY school would be cancelled.

Not so.  (Good thing I was up till 2:30am)
Who cares that the winter storm warning on the morning news stated  "frost bite will occur on exposed skin in less than 5 minutes" 
Or that a Wind Chill Advisory had been issued and was still in effect?
Don't know what that is?
Now you do.
Noah had to be at preschool - and I was not about to be the reason he missed "Santa's Workshop"

So Paul's advice to stay in?  Didn't happen.  I had every intention of dropping Noah off and turning straight back for home...but we we're already out...and there was so much to do...I mean it's chrismas...

We ended up going about 47 different places over the course of the day

The kids were fully suited up in snow gear (let me tell you how much Alex loved that).
Me?  Well my face hurt every time we stepped outside and it was a little hard to breathe
But other than that...

And in case you ever find yourself in weather as ridiculous as this, let me give you a few words of advice:

hot tub
steam room

That's how I ended my day anways : )
(Have I told you how much I love the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center?  aka the Mayo gym)

Friday, December 12, 2008

To My Husband

The house is too cold.
It is only 10:30 and I have to go to bed - not because I'm tired but because I can't stand being this cold for one more minute.  
And really, I'm much too busy for this.  I was in the process of adding all the addresses I've recently been emailed to our contacts list - but typing with gloves on does not work.
And this afternoon, when we were actually home for a whole 1/2 hour before we ran out to do the next thing, I had to turn on a movie for the kids and sit in the tub.  Not to relax, wash my hair, get clean, or even shave.  No, I did none of the above (I didn't have time).  I just filled it to the brim with hot water and immersed myself up to my ears for a good 5 minutes.  Just to get my body temperature back up to a normal and acceptable level.
It is also very difficult to do much of anything when you are forced to walk around the house wrapped in a blanket.  YES, I am dressed appropriately for the weather.  I have on 2 shirts, a sweatshirt, my fleece jacket, my wool socks, and my slippers.
And how many cups of Hot Chocolate can one girl drink???

I love you - but I am FREEZING.  Possibly to death.
Ok, not to death - but to serious levels of grumpiness and inproductivity (did I just make that word up?)

To everyone else:
Today is the first day the MN winter really got to me.  So I made it to December 12th.  Nice.  I've only got about 5 months to go.  

But really - I was all over town and back today and the highest the temperature ever got was 8.  That does not include windchill folks (which my husband says is just a way to exaggerate how cold it actually is).  A good portion of the time it was hovering around -1.  And let me tell you.  My face just hurt.  And my kids were crying, saying they were turning into icicles and getting frostbite (I really don't know where they get this stuff).  

Ok, I'm done complaining. 
(But mostly just because I had to take my gloves off to type this post and I can no longer feel my right hand)

So yes - the issue in our marriage is...the thermostat setting
At least for the next 5 months.

To my husband again:
Love you hon : )
Really I do

Which is why I posted this on the blog - so you could imagine me saying it in whatever tone of voice you'd like to hear (that and the fact that I hardly ever see you).  Yes, I'm that good of a wife : )

Can't wait for our date tomorrow night!
(Somewhere warm please!)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Countdown

6 hours
5 stops (ABC, Famous, Target, Applebees, Walmart)
4 girls
3 budgets ruined
2 giant cookie things
1am when we finally called it quits

Totally worth it

Or ask me tomorrow
('er ask my kids tomorrow)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Don't try this at home

It's part of the Christmas season
and intern year
and homeownership
and church callings
and motherhood
and LIFE


And it's coming at me from every angle these days

you know you need to chill out a bit when you hear your 2 1/2 year old muttering to herself repeatedly, 
"I'm so stwessed out!" 


when you're 5 year old says he can't sit by his little sister because, 
"what if we have a breakdown?"


no matter how frustrated you are with your kids - do not say to yourself
"I'm gonna kill him/her"


when you're in the car and they are screaming, whining, fighting, and screaming do not say
"I'm gonna throw you out the window"

Even if you think they can't hear
(They can)
Even if you think they aren't listening 
(They are)
Even if you think they don't pay attention
(They do)

And they tend to take things literally.

Just FYI

Yeah - me too

Friday, December 05, 2008

i HEART i-tunes

Favorite Christmas songs this year:

Summer - Silent Night, by Relient K
Paul - O Holy Night, by Avril Lavigne
Noah - The Little Drummer Boy, by Johhny Cash
Alex - The First Noel, by Leigh Nash

but we also heart:

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, by Sixpence None The Richer
Mele Kalikimaka, by Chris Isaak
Frosty the Snowman, by Fiona Apple
God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman, by Barenaked Ladies
Breath of Heaven, by Amy Grant (Paul does not heart this one, just me and the kids)

(besides i-tunes) I Heart:
sledding with my kids
the kids singing Christmas songs all day, wrong words and all
hearing them tell each other the story of "jesus being born"
reading christmas books by the light of the tree every night before bed
hot chocolate everyday, multiple times a day
staying home for Christmas, first time in our marriage
Christmas countdowns: paper chains, scriptures, service activities, and carols every night

I HEART Christmastime!

A Daddy job if ever there was one

We broke out the Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving - so of course the kids have been begging everyday since then to get a Christmas tree.  And while there are many things I have taken on (ah-hem, been forced to take on) without Paul, I have my limits*.  So the kids began the countdown to Daddy's day off.

The magical day finally arrived.  We loaded up the minivan and headed to...Home Depot.  (chopping down your own Christmas tree sounds really romantic and all but I've become much too practical for such nonsense - pay MORE money to do MORE work?  no thanks)

And we found her - Our Christmas Tree

A little bigger than Paul was hoping and a little smaller than Noah had envisioned (although I soon had him convinced it was a "Giant!")

A stop at Target for some decorations (because I think we owned about 6**) and then we headed home to decorate, Christmas music blaring.  The kids loved every minute of it.

Alex even insisted she put on a "special" outfit to decorate the tree (pink and grey shirt with sky blue capris, I totally get it [???]).

And now 
for your viewing pleasure
I present
The Gunn Family Christmas Tree

(A little bottom heavy - like me)

* My Other Limits
 - shoveling snow
 - unclogging the toilet

** About the 6 Ornaments
Some of my favorite childhood Christmas memories are decorating the Christmas tree with my family.  We all looked forward to it.  Our tree was not the type with color coordinated decorations.  (I didn't even know such a thing existed for quite a long time!)  It was just a hodge podge of random things.  But those random things all meant something, they all had special memories attached to them.  And as we'd unwrap each ornament and hang it on the tree we'd reminisce.  This is a tradition I carry on today with my family.  Our 6 (or whatever) ornaments are from special events and special places.  And we will continue to collect these over the years.  Until one day we won't need the sparkly glass balls from Target.  Our Christmas Tree won't be matchy-matchy.  But it will be full of memories.  And I can't imagine a Christmas Tree any other way.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

What Yesterday looked like

GNO until 2am
climbed into bed and Paul was just waking up
hadn't talked for a few days - and hey, we were both up, so why not then?
Talked until 3am
He got up and left for work not too much later while I was sound asleep

Alex woke at 5:47am - and came into my room for something every 15 minutes

So when I dragged myself out of bed just before 7 - 
I looked like this
Pale skin, dark circles, bed head (and that's how I went to preschool with Noah for his Special Day)
I also woke to this email from Paul:
Hey, nice talking to you at 2 AM.  This may be our best way to talk this month since I'll be going to bed with the kids every night.  I hope you aren't too sleepy today.  Tell Noah I'm excited for his special day.  I'll talk to you later on sometime. Love you. pg

Outside my front window - 
It looked like this

and the sled hill out back - 
It looked like this

So the kids demanded some Hot Chocolate (with a capital H capital C please) - 
and they looked like this

Alex finally got some snow clothes, so when we went sledding that afternoon - 
she looked like this

and tried to climb the slippery slidey hill  - 
like this

Noah's face - 
looked like this
(the whole time)

But the backyard sled hill is no longer sufficient for Noah
It's gotta be the longer, steeper, faster (much faster!) hill in the front yard - 
that ends at the street (no sidewalks).

So now close your eyes
 and imagine this:

Noah flying down at approximately 56mph - 
twisting rolling turning flipping flopping and churning limbs

me, braced to catch him at the bottom and prevent us all from getting run over by a car - 
and getting completely knocked out by my 5-year old speed demon
(not the unconscious definition of knockout - the knock my legs right out from underneath me and we all end up in a heap definition)

Can you picture it?
Replay that in your mind another 43 times.

Good Times.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Holiday Party anyone?

Click here.

And check out my moms new collection of special occasion dresses

Don't you want them? 
(One of each please!)

My personal favs...Delaney, Chloe, and Ava.
In case you were wondering.

Happy Shopping (or at least wish-listing)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

It was good

Yesterday, on Noah's actual birthday, we had his "family party."  You see he's got it all categorized.  Noah keeps reminding everyone that he has "4 special days"
one at church (when they sang to him last week and he got a birthday treat from the Bishop) 
his Ocean Party with his friends 
his family party
and his special day at preschool (which is Monday).
And so the party continues...

But Yesterday.
Yesterday, part of my present to him was that I would spend the day, THE WHOLE DAY, playing with him, paying attention to him, and pretty much doing whatever he wanted.
(i.e. no cleaning, blogging, reading, long social calls, errands, appts, etc.)
It was really nice for both of us.  We didn't go anywhere, just hung out at home.  We didn't even watch tv (except once, when we watched the animated version of the Nativity).
One thing Noah was really excited about was getting out all of the Christmas decorations.  So that's how we spent the entire morning.  Yes it really did take all morning.  Because first I let the kids do it all themselves.  Then I made them gather everything up and let mommy help.  They rolled with it.  (Really though, would you want a stuffed snowman sitting on top of your trash can?  Or tree ornaments hung from the nobs of each and every (bottom) kitchen cabinet?  Or stockings hanging from light switches?  Or how about a box of Christmas cards propped up on your coffee table?)

The kids wanted to pose with some of their favorite Christmas decorations

Noah is holding a tree ornament with Humpty Dumpty on it (nursery rhyme included)
while Alex giggles at the puppy who's santa hat has become detached
I admit we are lacking in the Christmas decorations department.  This year especially, I noticed how...ummmm...small everything is.  That's just how it goes when you've lived in cramped apartments your entire married life : )

But Yesterday.
We decorated
We listened to Christmas music
We sang and danced
We read books
We baked and decorated a cake
We watched The Nativity
We ate some of Noah's favorite foods (waffles for breakfast, quesadillas for lunch)
And we tried not to watch the clock too much
Noah was DYING to open his presents.  Which, of course, I told him he couldn't do until Daddy got home that night.  When Paul got home about 5:30 (hurray!  and that was a close call.  somewhere out there there is a resident to whom I will always be grateful) Noah immediately gathered us around the presents.
Sorry the picture is blurry but he couldn't stop moving he was so excited!  
Noah loved all of his gifts (thanks again Grandmas and Grandpas)!
But we were starving so we headed off to Wendy's
His choice.
When I asked him earlier this week what he wanted for his birthday dinner he rattle off in 1.3 seconds "chickennuggetsfriesandsprite!"
It was nice actually, being the day after Thanksgiving and all.
Back at home we sang to Noah, he blew out the candles in one shot, and he and Alex dug into the cake.
Don't even ask about the cake.  Seriously, whole'nother story.  But yes, go ahead and laugh (I did).  If there's one thing I'm confident about in the kitchen it's dessert.  So this was totally not my fault.
After cake we had some fun with Noah's new stuff
(puzzles, bowling game, books, art project)

It was a Happy Birthday

As you can see.

I overheard today

Situation:  Noah chasing Alex with his stuffed shark and pretending to attack

Alex - Noah!  Your shark is biting me!!!! (at the top of her lungs)
Noah - (with a shrug of his shoulders) Well Alex, he hasn't been trained yet.
Alex - (incoherent SCREAMING)
Noah - (sighs) Ok I'll take him to shark training.
Alex - Yeah, and train him not to bite me Noah.

Situation:  Noah helping Alex "read" from the Book of Mormon 
(she repeated everything he said so when you see the ... just imagine it again in Alex's voice)

Noah - And it came to pass...that they pitched their tents...and roasted marshmallows and hot dogs.  And they went forth...and drove a minivan

Giving Thanks

We had a nice Thanksgiving.  

The kids helped me cook and bake all morning (and watch movies intermittently)

They were worried about their daddy, who had to work:
Noah - where's daddy?
Me - he had to work today, remember?
Alex - (with a dramatic gasp and hands to her cheeks) but he will be so lonely!
Noah - (worried) but daddy has friends at work, right mommy?
Me - yes he does

We spent the afternoon with good friends
The food (mine and everyone else's) turned out great
The kids loved the pinata

and best of all...
Paul showed up that evening 
He got a kiss from me, a cheer and a hug from Noah, and a squeal and a tackle from Alex
I was surprised, given how busy he'd been at the hospital that day.  
His response, "I hope I didn't kill anyone."

When I think about what I'm grateful for it all comes down to this:
The gospel
My family

But I wouldn't want you to think I'm taking the easy way out so here's a more specific (but also short and sweet) list
I am Grateful...
When my husband says/does something I know is not part of his nature but he knows I need it/want it
when my kids make me wish I could freeze time and keep them that way, in that moment, forever
when my friends make me laugh so hard I cry
when I remember that Heavenly Father is directing my life (when I let him)

I am grateful for where we are in life, right now.  
I'm grateful for my 2 kids and the ages and stages they are in right now and all that we've been able to do and enjoy because of it - yes we want more kids
I'm grateful to be living in Rochester - yes we miss our families
I'm grateful for Paul's residency (I think) - yes, we'd love to have him around more.  But I think (I think!) we are learning, stretching, changing, and growing 

On a daily basis, there are always things I wish I could change about my life.  But when I look at the whole picture...I don't want to change it.  I don't want to rewind or fast forward.  I like it here.

Hope you do too.

Happy Thanksgiving

Friday, November 28, 2008

Five years ago today

Noah Paul Gunn came into the world
(all 9 lbs 2 oz of him)
and joined our family.
It was the day after Thanksgiving that year too.

And, amazingly, this little baby

has grown into this boy

in just 5 short years.

Here are a few things about Noah at age 5 (and in no way a comprehensive list):
1.  Loves Discovery Channel
2.  Obsessed with sharks
3.  Talks a lot and loves to tell (make up) stories
4.  Asks lots of questions - wants to know how and why 
5.  Gets really excited about the little things in life
6.  Loves to come and snuggle in my bed every morning before he eats breakfast or watches cartoons
7.  Loves to be a helper
8.  Has lots of energy, always going a million miles an hour
9.  Very stubborn, everything has to be his idea or on his terms
10.  Cannot entertain himself - follows me around the house all day
11.  Always wants to win, be right, or go first
12.  Loves to be busy.  Wakes up every morning and says, "What are we doing today?"
13.  Likes to be social, a lot less shy
14.  Is usually an angel for other people (who then think I've got the easiest kid in the world)
15.  Loves preschool, wishes it were everyday
16.  Still a picky eater - doesn't like his foods to be mixed.  Has made progress though and will now (sometimes) eat sandwiches
17.  His emotions are always extreme: very happy, very upset, very sweet, very mean, very obedient, very naughty.  There is no middle ground with him
18.  Doesn't like change (at all) but always adjusts very quickly
19.  Reminds me of his dad every single day
20.  Says the funniest things and is so much fun to be around!

We're so grateful for Noah.  For who he is, who he is still becoming, for what he teaches us, and what he brings to our lives.  

I'm grateful to be his mommy.
Year 4 has been so much fun and I can't wait to see what age 5 brings

Happy Birthday Noah, we love you!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Noah's 5th Birthday Party

Beach Theme
The kids wore swimsuits (we cranked the heat)
Beach Boys playing in the backgound
Noah handed out Lei's to all his guests as they arrived

Noah loves art projects so we painted seashells
(messier than I thought, but washable)
We played Pin the Fin on the Shark
We played "Shark Attack" in a roomful of ocean blue balloons
We also played Limbo and Wipeout
Limbo was hysterical - their faces!!!
(Paul was laughing so hard he couldn't hold the limbo stick)

Noah opened presents
Sharks, cars, dinosaurs, transformers, art projects.
He loved it all
We ate  Goldfish and "Ocean Cupcakes" (i.e. blue jello topped with whipped cream and a swedish fish).
Yeah, I ate one.  And it tasted about as good as it looks - but the kids loved'em.
Can you tell?
Noah loved handing out the goody bags at the end
Alex loved it all - and keeps reminding me that her birthday is in February.

Overall - it was chaos
But the good kind - fun chaos.
Wish I had more pictures of the kids in action but I was busy trying to manage all that chaos.

So glad it's over
But totally worth it
Noah loved every minute.