Friday, December 31, 2010

Ringing in the New Year

(sans Paul)
with 7 under 7

looks like this

and this

and this.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

It's Christmas

When Paul and I left CA earlier this week a small part of me was sad. The rest of my family would be together for Christmas (minus T&J, still honeymooning).
But after another year, our third actually, of Christmas at home in MN...I gotta say, I love it.

Paul was off Christmas Eve. It snowed (even more). We spent the day delivering goodies to friends, sledding, shoveling, watching a movie and baking world peace (cookies, that is).
And in an attempt to find a meal that the kids would be happy about we ordered pizza (per Noah's request) and drank Martinelli's. Pretty sure it's a new tradition.
Before bed, also per tradition we sang Christmas carols and talked about the real story of Christmas.
And although Noah insisted he couldn't possibly sleep, the kids were asleep by 9. I set a new record by getting us to bed by 11pm on Christmas Eve. That would be because I'd stayed up till 1:30 am wrapping 2 nights earlier. It also helped to have Paul around - oh wait, no it didn't but it was fun anyways : )

This morning, Christmas morning, we were all up at 7am (after sending Noah back to his room to read books at 6:30am).
Our morning in pictures:

Noah was happy and excited and played a great Santa. He spent much of the day mastering the levels of Super Mario Bros. on the Wii.
Alex, never one to hold back, gives the best reaction you've ever seen to anything and everything. She has been in Disney Princess heaven ever since.
Avery had no idea what was going on but loved wrapping paper, her little baby which she carried around on her shoulder (patting it's bum), her many musical toys which she danced to all morning and just being in the middle of everything. She's never played on her own for so long in her entire 14 months of life.
Paul and I loved watching it all unfold : ) And of course all the hugs and kisses.

We also had friends over for Christmas "lunch" since Paul had to head in to work tonight at 5pm.
Good food, good friends.
Great Day.
Minus 5pm, at which point Paul and I were both exhausted but he had to leave for an all-night shift and I got to stay home alone with 3 kids on the brink of meltdowns and a house that looked like a Christmas bomb went off.
But that was ok too. We managed to have a good night.

As I was getting the kids ready for bed tonight they insisted on tattoos (from their stockings). Which led to a an intersting conversation about Mom's tattoo. Which I of course turned into a teaching moment. (I had to when Noah asked me if he looked like, "one of those guys with tattoos all over who rides a motorcycle with no helmet?")
Something along the lines of following the prophet and me getting my tattoo laser burned off...
I knew I'd got the lesson across when Alex looked at me with big eyes and said, "I think I just like fake tattoos mom."
Or maybe I hit it a little too hard, because a few minutes later Alex nervously asked, "Mom, do Dr.'s still have laser guns?"
I explained they only use them when people want them too. She said, "Yeah, like when you have a real tattoo."

Not really wanting to end the night on that note we read a bunch of the kids new books. One of the stories mentioned the "olden days."
At which point Noah interrupted and said, "olden days? they mean the 1980's."

Actually, the night ended with the kids, once again, fighting sleep.
Because they didn't "want christmas to pass."

Ooohh I love these kids.
Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Tanner and Josie

and we were there!
and now we're here.

My brother was...himself. (Which means there are funny stories)
Josie was beautiful.
It was rainy.
It was perfect.

And now I have a new sister!

Tanner and Josie, love you both.
Enough to stand on and almost slide down a muddy hill in high heels and wedding clothes in the drizzle to pose for your pictures - sisters squealing, husbands cracking jokes, and dad wondering aloud about why we have to have so much #*&@ drama in this family.
Ah, great memories.

Did I mention how great it was to be together with all of my siblings and their spouses?
And their kids, wow I love'em.

Thanks for getting married guys.

But don't forget Leland...destination wedding.
pressures on.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Because he thought it would be fun?

and to prove he could do it.

I did not marry a wimp.
Great food, hon.
And a pretty great weekend.

Noah is thrilled that school is cancelled tomorrow.
Alex cried because it means no "show and tell"
(although Noah tried to convince her to do it just for us).
Avery is cute and clueless and tries to follow the kids out the door every time they go play in the snow.

And I'm just kind of fascinated that I actually live here.
(and like it!)


He's done!
And half-dead.

Words Paul used to describe the ordeal: brutal, intense

And I left the house for the first time in 24 hours to get this picture.
It's killer out there.
Did I mention how glad we are that Paul has the weekend off??

Because I live in Minnesota

Yesterday was a blizzard.
An actual legitimate blizzard.
Worst storm since 1991, in fact.
Wind, ice, and I don't even know how many inches (which turned into feet) of snow.

Our day went something like this:
Paul shoveled the driveway in the morning while the kids played in the snow.
Then decided to brave the streets and weather and take the kids sledding, since they were already bundled up and it was only going to get worse.
You see, Paul has the entire weekend off (unheard of!) and Noah has been dying to head over to the big sled hill in town
Noah loved it, Alex made a few runs too, but didn't love the spraying snow.
So they made a little shelter for her underneath a pine tree, where the branches protected her from the cold and wind and she was happy as could be.

On the way home the roads were worse, but still do-able.
That afternoon Noah and Alex were invited to play at a friends house - on the other side and very edge of town. We had to wait for the call that the snowplows had cleared their streets before Paul could take them over.
So he shoveled the driveway again.
And on the way home...he almost didn't make it.
I was stressed out that our kids were going to be stuck at our friends house until the next day.
But a few hours later Paul made the trek again (which required more shoveling) and they all made it home in one piece.
Barely! Paul said it was treacherous. He had blankets and everyone's snow gear in the car in case they got stuck.
(Noah probably could have handled it, but Alex?? Paul was praying he would not get stuck with Alex.)

They eventually pulled the snowplows off the roads yesterday - they couldn't keep up.
Our ward Christmas Party was canceled.
Church was canceled.
We stayed in, stayed warm, made cookies, and ate grilled cheese and homemade chicken noodle soup.

This morning the sky is clear, the roads are plowed, and we have "arctic temperatures" for the next few days.
Right now it's 0 degrees, -25 with wind chill.
And Paul is out doing this:

Shoveling the driveway yet again, and trying to clear away the wall of snow taller than my kids that the snowplows left at the bottom.
The kids didn't last very long out there, even Noah who loves the cold.

Paul? At this point I've lost track of how long he's been out there.
Tomorrow the High is -2.

Welcome to the North Pole.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Boy

Noah was born the day after Thanksgiving.
Which was great on the day of his birth because all of my family was in town for Thanksgiving. Paul's family was already there of course, which meant that everyone got to be there to meet him and hold him the night he was born.
The first grandkid on both sides.
I love remembering that day, when our first child was born : )

Of course, since then, having a Thanksgiving birthday isn't necessarily ideal, but we make it work.
This year, instead of a birthday party Noah took his family and a friend to The Mall of America to ride the rides all day. He's tall enough to do every single one, and he does'em all. The scream-your-guts-out-think-you're-going-to-die ones and the ones Paul and I can't handle anymore because we are old and they make us sick. He loves it.
And he had a blast, we all did, on black friday at Mall of America.

His actual birthday fell on Sunday this year.
We celebrated with presents, the Happy Birthday song, candles and cake and ice cream, phone calls from the grandparents, and watching the movie we made of the day of his birth
(which, fyi, does NOT include the actual birth).
Noah looooooved it all.
Honestly he was so super sweet and happy all day.
Like when I got out the camera and started snapping he looked up and smiled happily at me??!!

Kinda weird that our oldest is

Love you Noah boy.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Yeah, It's Real

Me: Why are we always buying our tree in the middle of a snowstorm?
Paul: Because we live in Minnesota.

Alex: (screaming and crying) It's too fat!!!
Alex: (screaming and crying) It's too skinny!!!
Home Depot Employee: Do you have any questions?
Paul: Do you know how to handle a 5-year old girl?

Avery: (not loving her puffy coat, trying to squirm out of my arms and run around in the snow, oblivious to the decorating of the tree [hallelujah], but cheering smiling and clapping along with the rest of us when we lit it up!)

Me: (not taking any chances) Higher! Put the ornaments up higher!

Noah: This is the best part of Christmas!

It smells like Christmas too : )

Now if I could just remember to water it this year...

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

things that should not be a tradition:
- the kids throwing up the day before Thanksgiving
- going to Great Harvest Bread Co with a barf bucket
- discovering the night before Thanksgiving that the bottom of your springform pan is missing, tearing apart the kitchen, and then driving to the grocery store in an ice storm to replace it
- me being in charge of the turkey
- Paul going on about 1 hour of sleep on Thanksgiving
- (almost) getting a concussion on black friday (but that is a very misleading statement)
- Paul trying to find a parking spot at Mall of America on black friday
- going (back) to American Eagle, was it 4 times Tiff or 5?
- the babies screaming the whole 1 hour 30 minute ride home from the Mall of America
- Tiff convinced that something was terribly wrong (I say it was the 6 cookies they ate for dinner while we shopped)
- husbands somewhat displeased about the money spent at Mall of America
- Brimhalls only staying 3 days
- not taking hardly any pictures

the keepers:
- the Brimhalls
- staying up late cooking with my sis
- Paul being home for Thanksgiving
- Madden loving Uncle Paul
- kids enjoying "the feast"
- black friday shopping with my sis...but not too early
- sending the kids home early with the guys
- riding Avatar and screaming like a kid
- yams and triple layer mousse for every meal for days
- enjoying the moment so much you can't be bothered with taking pictures

some stuff that makes me laugh:
- Tiff leaving me blog comments while I stand 10 feet away
- a certain commercial (you know the one Brimhalls)
- A&E guy that thought I wanted to leave my baby with him
- creepy straight-faced guy sitting across from us on Avatar

and all we've got to show for it:

Thanks for coming Brimhalls! Can't wait for Thanksgiving 2011 -
I think they're getting better every year : )

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


We're not a family that has a ton of'em...but we've got a few.

We've been doing Thanksgiving on our own (away from family) since Paul started med school. Was that really six years ago??
That makes this our 7th Thanksgiving on our own, we've hosted 5 out of the 7 times.
We've come up with a few good traditions along the well as some funny experiences and great memories.

First of all:
Martinelli's Sparking Cider. As in every one gets their own bottle.
And yes, we drink from the bottle.

Best Pecan Yams. They'll change your life.
(from the Favorites book)

And of course:
Triple Layer Chocolate Mousse. Nothing else needs to be said.

Then there's rolls...and this is where the funny experiences come in.
(Although not at all funny at the time.)
To make a long story short...homemade rolls are the bane of my existence.
I've tried different kinds, different recipes, tricks of the trade, I've even had more than one tutorial.
But a few years back, when we were not hosting, for some reason I agreed to bring rolls.
That was mistake #1. But it got a lot worse from there. And that frigid snowy Thanksgiving morning was turning into something of a disaster for me as one thing went wrong after another.
And then, the car is loaded and ready to head over to our friends house - we're just waiting for the timer to go off so we can take the rolls and stuffing out of the oven.
Which is when we realize...I never even turned on the oven.
And THAT is when I sat down in the middle of my kitchen floor and cried.

I've come a long way since then.
Which is why tomorrow morning you'll find me at Great Harvest Bread Co.
Buying rolls.
(Don't judge, they're delicious)

We do have Thanksgiving traditions that are not based on the menu.
Most years we go around the table at the beginning of the meal and say one thing we are thankful for - not Paul's favorite, but I like it : )

And this year we've started something similar with our kids.
Every night for the month of November we get together as a family and say one thing we are thankful for.
It's always fun to see what the kids will say...and to come up with our own new thing each day.

Here's mine for today:
I got to have lunch with Noah at school
bring treats to his class
read to them
and watch them do a super cute birthday song thing too.

Loved it.
Love that he wanted me to come (Paul says next year he probably wont)
love that he insisted we take the extra cupcakes to the principal and other office ladies
love his cute friends
and loved hearing from some of the adults at school what a wonderful boy he is : )

And now for one more funny Thanksgiving memory:
a few years back, after a somewhat late Thanksgiving dinner (to accommodate crazy work schedules) we all gathered in the living room around our little tv...
to watch the Thanksgiving episode of Grey's Anatomy.
It was very important to me.
And now it makes me laugh out loud!
Because I've given up Grey's and I'm totally beyond that now : )

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Thoughts On...

(Because I don't want my most recent post to be about Avery getting her head split-open anymore)

online Christmas shopping - best.thing.ever
skinny jeans - pretty dang comfy
ear warmer head scarf thingy - I might not do my hair a single day this winter
having 3 kids - well. tonight I said to my husband, "Children was a mistake." He said, "I know."

But that is mean. And not true. So here are my real thoughts on parenting:
It's hard. And there's lots of crap. It's exhaustingfrustratingdrainingneverendingmaddening. It's not the laugh and play and read books and snuggle and have fun with your kids all the time that you imagine it's going to be. Although we do some of all of that. It's just that there's a lot of hard stuff in between. More than you realize there is going to be. But here's the thing - the good still outweighs the bad. Not in amount. Most days there is a lot more "hard" and "bad" than good. It's more that the good is so great that it makes up for the bad, makes it worth it.

So today I am grateful that when I sat down to play with Avery she kissed my face every 5 seconds. And that Noah insisted on reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to me before bed. And that Alex danced with me in the living room after dinner.

Yeah, today was a(nother) hard day. But that is the stuff I'm going to remember.

"Life is just like an old time rail journey ... delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."
- Gordon B Hinckley

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Warning: the following image may be disturbing to some viewers

Or is it just me?

Avery had her first stitches today after slamming into the coffee table.
It was traumatic - for me and for her.

And after a visit to the ER we barely had enough time to make it to church for the Primary Program.
Like I threw on a skirt, took a minute (much to the annoyance of my husband) to put on minimal make-up, and went to church with Avery's blood on my shirt and the I-rolled-out-of-bed-and haven't-touched-my-hair yet look.
Awesome morning.

Poor Baby.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Winter Love

Today I loved the "first snow"

and watching the big kids from the window with this little kid.
Because I like snow a lot more through the window.

I loved watching them build a snowman together.

Never mind that moments later they were fighting about said snowman, which turned to screaming, which led to Alex trying to demolish the snowman, which caused Noah to throw snow at her, which sent Alex into the house in tears.
It was cute while it lasted.

I'm also loving Bath & Body Works hand soap in winter scents.
This one is my fav for sure.
I'm loving (a little too much) these buckeyes
(aka chocolate dipped peanut butter balls).

Not so good for my (first-ever) pair of skinny jeans I just got.
Not posting a picture of that, still trying to adjust to the idea.
But they fit in my boots - warm and dry warm and dry warm and dry.

I'm loving this ear-warmer head scarf thingy.

And I love that it fits me no matter how many buckeyes I eat.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Would You Rather

This is what the alarm on Paul's phone looked like the other day.

Yes, that's 3:30am
Although it was Daylight Savings, so it was more like 4:30 am. A typical day in the life of an anesthesia resident.

And then there was my morning:
I woke at 7am - to a sick, crying baby covered in vomit and diarrhea shortly followed by a second screaming child with a face covered in blood.

The story:
As I was dealing with Avery I heard what sounded like my big kids sliding down the stairs in sleeping bags.
I yelled, "that's a bad idea!"
just in time to hear a crash and then blood curdling screams from Alex who came running to me with her face covered in blood.
Face first down the wood stairs and straight into the tile landing results in a bad bloody nose.

work 90+ hours a week in a high stress environment including 30 hour shifts and getting up to go to work in the middle of the night
or blood vomit diarrhea laundry 2 screaming kids and another one to get ready for school

Some days I'm not sure what I would rather.
(Alright. I'd still rather do my job.)