Wednesday, January 28, 2009

4 Days

of cousins
(Jack and Isabelle, from Paul's side)

of a long-awaited and much needed (it's been 7 months people) haircut.
for me not Paul
(this is pre-haircut)
(there is no post-haircut pic.  It's looks pretty much the same [but feels so much better]
I'm keeping the long locks for awhile)

of riding the Frontrunner train down to SLC
complete with (spilled) treats
(too hot) mints from a stranger
and entertainment provided by none other than Grandma Gunn

of new headbands for (hippie) Alex
and cute new hair everyday, compliments of Grandma and Aunt Ging
(I have utterly failed in this department of motherhood)

of a trip to the treehouse museum

of mac and cheese for the kids while mom and dad were on a date

of a cousin sleepover with matching pj's
(supplied by Grandma)

of quality (not quantity) time with (BOTH!) of my sisters 
and even a few hours with my mom.
Here's the cousin pic from my side
(too hilarious not to post)

Tiff's baby boy is due in May
Cousin Boston (Michele's) just turned one
(And Noah and Alex just look utterly ridiculous - closed eyes and picked noses?!?)

That's more like it

We also...
went to the airplane museum (surprised?)
had dinner with Paul's friends (thanks Laings and Bischoffs for a great night!)
saw Twilight again (me and my sisters-in-law that is)
and ate
and ate
and ate
(but thankfully did not gain 5 pounds - you were right Paul)
think Maddox (twice)
Cafe Rio (twice)
The Mandarin
and many of my mother-in-laws wonderful home cooked meals.

Our faces looked like this the whole time

until it was time to go home.
and then we all cried
(and Alex went the extra mile...she kicked screamed shouted hit and sobbed her way home. the airport was great.)

Thank you to all of our family members (especially Grandma and Grandpa Gunn) who spent time with us and made our trip wonderful
(and possible).

We couldn't ask for more...
except for maybe more time
: )

Next time...

We love you all!

Sunday, January 25, 2009


We're home.  

This was our first time leaving MN since we moved here, and I always think it's an interesting experience to come home to a fairly new place.  It's when I realize this new place really is home to me (or something like that which I can't really put into words).

It was a short trip - we wish we could've stayed longer.  Yet it always feels so good to be home.  

Here's the really weird part.  We came home to (what else?) freezing temps.  10 degrees, -10 with windchill when we walked off the plane.  And it felt good to me.  Freezing, yes.  But it felt like home.  (I'm pretty sure this is the weirdest thing I've ever said).

Trip details coming soon  - but first I need to steal pics from my mother-in-law's blog and get some from my little sis too.  Because (shockingly) I forgot my camera.  (In this area I am definitely not my mother's daughter).  

So for now, I will leave you with a story.
It goes like this:

I get airsick.  This is a fairly recent development.  It didn't start until after I had kids.  I'm not saying they're linked, that's just how I remember when this began.  
So I get airsick.  Not throw-up sick, but dizziness and nausea that begins on the plane and sometimes lasts for several days.  
Annoying, to say the least.

Last summer I flew the kids to Cali, and turned around and got on a plane 24 hours later by myself.  (My parents were watching the kids for us while Paul and I took a graduation trip.)  I got sick on the way there and was worried about getting on a plane again so soon, so Paul suggested I take Dramamine.  There's no such thing as non-drowsy Dramamine, but I did find "less-drowsy Dramamine."  Perfect.

Or not.  Good thing I was traveling kid-free cuz who knows what would've happened to the kids?  That stuff knocked me out.  I couldn't stay awake - during my layover I was worried I'd miss the plane cuz I'd be out cold while they were boarding.  And when I did have to stay awake (for boarding and such) I was near tears it was so miserable.

Well, time plays tricks on you and you forget.  Or I do.

I forgot what Dramamine does to me.  So when we flew home Friday and I was feeling sick at home that night Paul suggested I take Dramamine.  When I reminded him how sleepy it makes me he was unconcerned.  I could sleep in the next morning and we didn't have big plans for Saturday.  I could lounge around if I still felt sleepy.

So I took one.  One "less-drowsy Dramamine."  (The dosing instructions say "1 to 2 pills").

And I slept 12 hours straight.
Yep.  Couldn't pull myself out of bed until 10am.
At 11am, still feeling the foggy head, lead body syndrome I told Paul I was going to get in the shower.  I headed to my room for my robe...but that's when I saw my bed.

I can't really explain what happened next.  But I crawled in and slept for the next 4 hours.

Ridiculous, I know.

I forced myself up at 3pm.
At 4 I took the kids to the library, but called it quits after only 40 minutes, at which point I felt like I was going to pass out from fatigue.
I remember thinking on the way home...I really shouldn't be driving.

But we made it home, safe and sound.

And the dramamine seemed to wear off around 10pm last night.

Paul was a good sport, letting me sleep, taking care of the kids, doing the grocery shopping.  He thought the whole thing was pretty hilarious.  I vaguely remember waking up several times to Paul standing over the bed, laughing at me.  All he said was, "Now you know how I feel when I'm post-call."  And that's probably as close as I'll ever come.

And I will never be taking Dramamine again.  Less-drowsy or not.
(It's more debilitating than the nausea.)

The End.

Friday, January 16, 2009


My new favorite song is "Gives You Hell" by the All-American Rejects
Perfect for the gym - which is the only place I'll be listening to it.
(not exactly one I want the kiddos singin' along to)

Blame it on Ellen - they're performing on her show today.
I even checked out the video (had to after the clip I saw).
(the really mature side of me) thought it was pretty funny.
(My sisters would like it)

Speaking of the gym...(we were, weren't we?)
today marks 2 straight weeks of going to the gym 5x's (a week) (Got it?)
Now I can go to Utah and gain 5 pounds in one week (Paul is gonna roll his eyes when he reads this - he keeps telling me that's not possible)

Next step (as soon as we return)
treats on sundays only (!!!!!)
once a week
as opposed to my current level of 4 times a day.

Wish me luck...(starting in 8 days)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I live here

a vast [treeless] Arctic region with permanently frozen subsoil 

(minus the treeless) that pretty much sums things up

But in case you wanted more detail (which I'm always happy to oblige), here's a little glimpse of life in the tundra:

strange phenomenon, such as ice crusted snow.
the kids love to eat it.
I love the sound and feel of walking on it 
(crunching, cracking ice before plunging into powder)
other strange phenomenon (not pictured), the tingly, prickly feeling you immediately get inside your nostrils when you step outside and they start to freeze up.

Today is a "stay-at-home-day"
(Noah's words)
school cancelled
things closed
(and into the -40's and -50's with windchill)

so we did this
(yes, they're in there)

I even delivered their lunch
(which Alex is currently stuffing into her mouth)

It's after 1pm
we're in our pj's

I did clean my bathrooms today
and made Orange Rolls

Pretty productive if you ask me.

And from where I'm sitting

(inside my house, with the clean bathrooms, at the computer desk, in my sweats, wrapped in a blanket, next to the fort where my children are playing happily, and not far from the oven where the orange rolls are baking)

this place is beautiful

Another bonus to the coldest weather MN has seen in over 5 years:
Paul turned the thermostat up (ever so slightly).
so the pipes don't freeze.
: )

Monday, January 12, 2009

What we do

Snowed (iced would probably be more accurate) in
Paul in the ER taking care of all the slips, falls, and car accidents
Me and the kids breaking out some of our new favorite games
(I Can Do That! and Cariboo)

P.S.  I'm trying to make sure I'm actually in some of our pictures.  But looking at the picture above made me think...maybe I should save that camera timer for the days I actually get ready - you know, like do my hair and make-up?  Except, oh yeah, that doesn't happen very often anymore.  Rarely both on the same day anyways.  One of the things I love about living in MN
(not a lot of pressure to look perfect or in style) . 
And before you go feeling all sorry for my husband...
he prefers "the natural look" 
(i.e. no make-up and air-dried hair)
Really, he does!

Friday, January 09, 2009


I'm not big on New Year's Resolutions.  I don't make lists of things I will do (cuz I wont).  But this year I decided I needed a theme.  Something I've been thinking about a lot lately.  So here it is:

"You will never be happier than you are today."

Who said that?  Oh, that would be my friend Joanna Morris.  At least that's where I heard it first.  I also read something similar on my friend Elise's blog.  (Umm, yeah my friends are awesome.)  

Now, when I find myself feeling sad, wanting and wishing for something that I don't have, or waiting for the future I say this to myself.  And it inspires me.  It motivates me to be happy.  Today.  Right now.  Because if I can't be happy now, with all that I have...then I never will be.

Yes, there are things I want.  Things I wish that were different.  Things I look forward to.  But even if I had all of those "things" today - I would still be me.  And if I can't be happy with what I've already got?  Well then all those things aren't going to change that.  

So...I will be happy with all that I have today.  Because I have so much.  How could I not be???

Thanks for the inspiration girls - you're the best : )  

And here's to a happy 2009.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

And Then

The Party Continued
As mentioned earlier, Paul's day off was the 26th.  So we had two days off in a row, which pretty much doesn't happen all of intern year.  We felt like we were on vacation!

we woke up that morning, left the Christmas mess, loaded the car and were on our way to The Cities by 9am.  Spur-of-the-moment.  Cuz we're just like that.

First stop was the Children's Museum, where we met up with our friends the Wests.  The kids loved:

The water

(yep, big fat tears running down her big fat cheeks.  [did you even have to ask?]  Oh the drama)

the bubbles

the grocery store
(I love those rosy cheeks)

the dress-ups
(daddy so obviously loved those too)

and the hand-dryer
(a serious highlight [bordering on obsession] for Alex)
Another favorite spot, not pictured, was the anthill which I was too claustrophobic to climb around in.

All-in-all, a hit.
Noah is a little spoiled from our days in Cleveland, when we had a membership to the Children's Museum just 5 minutes from our house.  As we were leaving Noah said, "I'm going to come here everyday!"  
That's funny, considering that every time we make the 1 1/2 to 2 hour drive to the cities he says it "feels like a roadtrip" (and not in a good way).

We packed a lunch (Christmas leftovers) which we enjoyed at the museum.
After the museum we headed over to the West's house, where we ate some more and enjoyed great conversation.
Then we went to dinner together before heading home (noticing a theme?) where the kids were perfectly well behaved (not really).

We pulled in to Rochester about 9:30pm
a 12-hour day!
(4-hours of driving!)
Hey, sometimes you just gotta get outta town.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Practically Perfect

Christmas Eve?
a little sketchy

But Christmas Day?

Christmas 2008

Our first Christmas (alone) in our first house.
Every minute of it.

Alex didn't sleep well Christmas Eve and ended up in our bed.  She woke up at 6:45 asking daddy to turn on a show for her.

Paul: But Alex, it's Christmas!  Don't you want to wake up Noah and open your presents?
Alex: NO! I want to watch a show!

She's such a joy in the mornings...

A few minutes later Noah came running in all smiles
"Merry Christmas!"
And then Noah and Alex were jumping up and down on the bed (on top of me and Paul) laughing, hugging, cheering.

As is tradition, we sent dad to the living room first, to check and see if santa had come.
And then the kids were bolting down the hall before I could even pull myself out of bed and grab the camera.

Alex loved everything she got.  She loved it all so much she never wanted to open the next present - she was too busy playing with the last thing.  (There were a few minor tantrums).  But mostly she was overflowing with her dramatic gasps, squeals, ooohs and aaahhs.

Noah was an absolute sweetheart.  He loved playing santa - making sure everyone had a gift to open, taking turns, showing interest in everyone's things, making sure they liked it.  And he was excited about everything he opened.  Lots of loud laughter and great facial expressions.

(I know this looks hideous - an industrial sized garbage bag with a red ribbon around it? But the thing was huge [sleeping beauty vanity from G&G Gunn] - it would have taken a roll of wrapping paper all on it's own.  And...well...I ran out of wrapping paper on Christmas Eve.  The kids thought the wrap job was awesome though.)

Noah and Alex had a lot of fun picking out presents for mommy and daddy this year too.  Noah couldn't wait to see our reactions.  And Alex...well she got a little confused about the "to" and "from" thing and wanted to open the gifts she got us herself.

By 8am the presents had all been opened.  So we sent daddy to the kitchen to make crepes - the batter had been lovingly prepared by me the night before, which Paul was pleasantly surprised to learn.  (It has to sit for an hour before you can make the crepes - I was so proud of myself for remembering!  I felt like my mom for a minute)

In the meantime, Alex was a (literal) blur of activity, enjoying all her new dress-ups (sent in the cutest little pink trunk from G&G Hunt)
While Noah enjoyed one of his favorite gifts, the ($2) National Geographic Sharks magazine
Breakfast was consumed with lots of powdered sugar, whipped cream, (a little bit of fruit) and of course...Martinelli's.  The kids were in heaven.

As good a picture I could get of her outfit: new turtleneck with pink butterflies and silver sparkles, crazy pink tutu with ribbons, pearl necklace, and little heels with pink foo-fooey feather stuff
(how's that for a description?)

After breakfast Noah and Paul chased each other around the house with these nerf-disc-shooting guns (wow, I'm on a roll).  I got caught in the crossfire at one point and started screaming as the things pelted me from all angles.  Alex started sobbing, "Don't shoot my mommy!"
But, for most of the day, she could be found here, at her Sleeping Beauty Vanity having the time of her life.
Noah didn't waste anytime and got to work on his art projects before he even got dressed for the day (hence the old paint shirt)l.
And these pop-bead things were a huge hit with both of the kids
(thanks for the tip B!)
And, oh yeah, that's Alex talking some family members ear off
Last but not least we opened the package from Uncle Tanner, serving a mission in Mexico City.
Noah loves his "Mexican jacket" and Alex loves her "Mexican dress-ups"

She'll grow into it...

And so we played away the morning and the afternoon.
And Paul and I did a little cooking: ham, potatoes, rhodes rolls.

At 3 our wonderful friends, the Allemans, joined us for some sledding in the yard and, of course, Christmas dinner (which also included caprese salad, cheeseball and crackers, izzes, and homemade strawberry ice cream for dessert).

Great food
Great company

We stuffed ourselves (over and over again) and talked the night away, while the kids laughed, played, and made huge messes with their new stuff (and all the wrappings).

It was perfect.
(Thanks Allemans, we love you guys!)

We went to bed that night with the house a mess and the kids happy and exhausted.  Paul and I felt much the same way - perhaps a little fuller though...

I will always remember Christmas 2008
practically perfect in every way

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Taking the good with the bad

Christmas Eve 2008

At the beginning of this holiday season a friend of mine, and fellow resident wife, said something to me about this being a time of survival - not enjoyment.  And with Paul working in the MICU (the busiest service of intern year) the entire month of December there were many days when I felt that.

Just survive
Get through it

But there were many days and moments that were perfectly magical this year.
Christmas Eve was a mixed bag.
But let me back up for just a minute...

Paul was scheduled to work Christmas Day.  But (in a weird resident life kinda way) we were lucky: Paul's one day off that week was the 26th.  So Christmas was coming to the Gunn household on December 26th this year - and the kids didn't know the difference.

The monday before Christmas Paul called from work with some good new:
It was a Christmas miracle (really).

And it put me into panic mode.
Now I was one day short with a lot of Christmas prep still left to do!

But first things first:
"Um, kids mommy's kinda silly and she messed up on the christmas countdown.  You get to take off TWO chains today!"
(Followed by lots of cheers from said kids)

So on the 24th I was pretty busy - but I wanted it to be perfect for the kids.
First mistake.
Never plan on "perfect" and "kids."
They don't go together.

The day started out well - the kids were so excited that it was Christmas Eve!  But that excitement soon pushed them right over the edge (and they tried so hard to drag me with them!).  I think they just couldn't handle that Christmas was almost here but not really here.  
Lots of whining, fighting, crying.
Noah asked me LITERALLY every hour if he could open his presents yet.  It went like this:

Noah - Mom, can I open my presents now?
Me - No, you can open one tonight before bed and the rest tomorrow on Christmas.
Noah - (complete emotional, mental, physical breakdown).

Every hour people.

But we did manage to have some fun.
I rented "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" on i-tunes and set the living room up like a movie theater, popcorn and all.

The kids loved it.

We also made cookies for Santa and ate way too much of the dough.

Then I (attempted) to make rolls for Christmas dinner.
But what actually came out of the oven were hard, flat, little disks.
Not really what I was going for.
But seriously, what was I thinking?
I have a curse when it comes to making rolls
(too many stories, for another time).

The one downside to Paul having Christmas Day off was that this meant he would be post-call (coming off of a 36 hour sleepless shift) on Christmas Eve.

And when he got home I had to run to the grocery store for some Rhodes rolls before they closed (seriously, not even a back-up plan?) leaving exhausted daddy with over-the-cliff-long-ago kids.
And then, we suddenly remembered something we were supposed to get for Noah to go with one of his gifts - which we never got.  It was pretty much necessary to the gift.
So Paul ran to Target before they closed.

Dinner that night was leftover enchiladas and we didn't even eat together.

But we did gather together before bed.
We wrote Santa a note and set out the milk and cookies.
We sprinkled the magic reindeer food in the backyard.
The kids opened one gift each.
We sang our favorite Christmas songs
And we read from the scriptures the story of Jesus' birth.

Then I tucked Paul and the kids into bed
and went to work.

Like I said, the good with the bad : )

P.S.  Here's what the kids had to say about the movie.  
warning: this will probably be boring to everyone but the grandparents
But I got a kick out of it : )

P.P.S.  Alex's reaction to her first gift on Christmas Eve was priceless.  What I wouldn't give to have gotten it on video!  Words will not do it justice, but I will try.

The kids decided to open their gifts from their cousins in Utah, Jack and Isabelle.  Noah went first, and loved the ball they gave him.  (he'd been waiting all day!)
Then it was Alex's turn.  She ripped the wrapping paper off the front of the package and, when she saw that it was a baby doll inside, she threw her hands up in the air and started squealing at the top of her lungs!  
She was laughing, clapping, and screaming,
"I always wanted a baby doll!  I always wanted one!"
It went on and on and on.
The rest of us couldn't stop laughing.
And she never put the baby doll down - she slept with her that nigh
Noah slept with his ball on the dresser, so he could see it.
(Thanks Jack and Isabelle!)

Like I said, magical moments : )

Thursday, January 01, 2009

To Grandma Hunt

LOVE the dress
(and the tights and the shoes and the bows)
Love that she let me do her hair
Love that she wanted to make this video
(and then acted like a little b.r.a.t.)
(but a cute one)
Love this little girl

Hope you love it too Grandma!