Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gratitude Day 36 & 37

Day 36/Monday - Today I am grateful to have had an enjoyable Christmas and time away from work.

Day 37/Tuesday - Today I am grateful for the giving, generosity, kindness of others and the examples it provides to me. Today I met and amazing family at Gillette. For a year, they collected and saved their own money. At the end of the year, they had well over $2,000. They took the money and bought I-pods for the kids at Gillette, because their youngest daughter is best friend's to one of our patients. This mom, dad and their three kids were an honor to meet. If only I can raise Marly and Dean like that...

Check out the story on KSTP by clicking here! The boy mentioned at the end is Brandon. He is one of my HEROS and he is my friend!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Saturday we headed to the county to Aunt Carol Walters. All three of her boys were home from Indiana and Iowa. Marly and Dean got to play with their second cousins!

Let's see if I have this right (from left to right)
Adian, Dylan, Dean, Alex, Drew , Kaitlyn, Marly

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Day with the Melberg's

Every year of my entire life I have attended church on Christmas Eve with the Melberg Family. In my younger years, we ate dinner and went to Trinity Lutheran (our very small county church) for our Sunday School Christmas Program, which my mom always helped with. Rumor has it, she was always the predomonant voice when the children (including Brett & I) sang 'Away in the Manager.' This year many of my relatives went to Hawaii, so we did a switch-a-roo and spent Christmas Day at Brett and Rachel's in Eden Prairie with Dad, Chris, and Chris's son Kevin.

Mark was sick at home, and I found myself forgetting to take pictures. There are no pictures of Marly and Dean with Grandpa David and Nana Chris. There are also no good photos of the Thomberg Family unit from Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Unfortunately, Mark was a pasty white.

Brett was very proud of his cuts of meat.
Kevin is holding one of Rachel's Christmas cocktails. It had apple cider, champagne and some sort of rum in it.

Someday Uncle Brett is going to teach Marly to water ski!


Day 31/Christmas Eve - I am grateful for safe travels to nearby family. I am grateful for my solo opportunity to attend the 10 pm worship service at our church. We got home from the Thompson's at 9:20. Mark went STRAIGHT to bed, I unloaded the kids to their cribs, and made it just in the nick of time. The hymns warmed my heart and quited my soul.

Day 32/Christmas Day - I am going to be trival, because of course it is Christmas which is all about the gift of Jesus! I am grateful for the tasty porterhouse steaks Brett made for Christmas dinner! Yup - I am thankful for red meat. Okay... I am really thankful the kids and I didn't get Mark's stomach flu too!!

Day 33/Friday - I am grateful Thomberg Family Pizza Night took a road trip! We headed to Pizza Luce' on Selby in St. Paul. Afterwards we took in the lights at Rice Park and watched the ice skaters at the outdoor rink. We even ran into my cousin Karin Holt who was ice skating with her boyfriend Martin!

Day 34/Saturday - I am grateful to see the Walter cousin's and kids at Aunt Carol's! More information in a separate upcoming post!

Day 35/Sunday - I am grateful for some time to sort through unused items and gather for Good Will or to Once Upon a Child (for cash!) and to make room for the new we are so very blessed to have. Our tiny home will implode upon us if I don't bring items out if I bring items in!

Christmas Morning

At home on Christmas morning...
Mark was feeling terrible, so he spent the day resting.
The Twinners and I headed to Brett and Rachel's for Christmas dinner.

Dean woke up soaking wet in his holiday PJ's, so both kids started the morning with a bath & fresh jammies!

Mark and I try not to be over-indulgent with gifts. The favorite toy was the John Deere dump truck.

Christmas Eve at the Thompson's

We spent Christmas Eve at the Thompson's in Lindstrom.
Unfortunately, Mark had the stomach flu over the duration of the Christmas holiday. Marly and Dean with Auntie Kelly and Patrick.
With Grandpa Gary and Grandma Pauline

On their new rocking horses with Uncle Jeff in the background. Dean loves pushing the ears to make the horses sing and neeee. He would jump off of his horse, push Marly's horse's ear, then jump back on his own.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Fwd: Christmas Getting to Know Me!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper and lovely bows!

2. Real tree or Artificial? We have a little, skinny, fake Charlie Brown like tree.

3. When do you put up the tree? Mark starts to go Christmas decorating crazy the day after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down? After New Year’s. For several years, Mark would actually change the decorations for New Year’s Eve to a silver theme!

5. Do you like eggnog? Sure.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Oh gosh, I am not sure… I remember Brett being three and thrilled by “We-go’s and a Fwashwight!” – That was Lego’s and a Flashlight.

7. Hardest person to buy for? I don’t get that into gift buying… but Mark actually. He LOVES gifts and can get disspointed…

8. Easiest person to buy for? Kids.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? A new Willow Tree one from Chris. I have a hand made ceramic one in storage of my mom’s. It was made by the ladies who had the beauty shop in Cosmos.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Snail Mail forever!

11.Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Knifes and storage containers from Mark one year when he worked at Kohl’s prior to us being married. Later, I cut myself with one of the knives and should have gotten stiches.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Rudolf the Red Nosed Reighneer, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Whenever….Plan to do it all on line next year.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Umm… I am not going to comment, but believe me.. neither party was the wiser!

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Rosettes

16. Lights on the tree? Lots

17. Favorite Christmas song? It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, and many others hymns in the Green LBW.

18.Travel at Christmas or stay home? Never been anywhere but MN. Have never been anywhere but Hector on Christmas Eve in my entire life until this year. My relatives are jet setting to Hawaii so we are going to Mark’s family on Wednesday.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Um, No…

10. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star… but the kids have pulled the tree over twice, and it is not looking so good.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Some on each. As a child, we got to open ONE gift on Christmas Eve before we headed to out for the evening.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Not sure….I am not annoyed….

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Changes from year to year.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Changes with where we might be. This year I think Brett orders us special cut steaks!

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Same thing I want every year, to be surrounded by friends and family, and to see love and joy in everyone’s eyes.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Orange Recipe Box

Tuesday/Day 31 - Today I am thankful for my mom's orange recipe box. I wanted to make those cheesy cubed/hash brown potatoes my mom use to make every year for Christmas Eve. We are going to Brett and Rachel's for Christmas Day. Brett has ordered steaks for our meal, and I offered up fattening potatoes. This morning I dug the box out of the cupboard HOPING that is where I would find the recipe I needed. Sure enough, there it was near the front.

I suspect my mom got this recipe box as a shower gift for her wedding. It had many typed cards divided by category. There were a few hand written cards added in... then there were my mom's recipes on scratch or notebook paper written in pencil. Clearly, these were the ones she used. They were all stuck in the front, and not by category. I could tell where the recipe originated by the paper. If it was on paper with some manufacturing company logo or another, I knew the recipe was from Toot's. I can picture my mom jotting down the info at Toot's white round Formica table with the orange place mats. If the recipe was written on small notebook paper... then I knew mom had called someone on the phone for it, or gotten from someone at home.

Self professed by my mom, she was not a good cook or baker... and didn't really like to do either. That being said, she had a few items she did really well and was known for.

I am thankful for....
-Chocolate Chip Cookies (the regular Toll House recipe). She would make huge batches while listening to Carol King, Cat Stevens, or Simon and Garfunkel on the records. The cookies were perfectly round and uniform.
-Oatmeal cookies (NEVER with raisins, but often with chocolate chips for my Dad.)
-Baked rice dish with cinnamon on top (I did locate that hand written recipe)
-The beloved Poppy Seed Cake recipe from a church cookbook. I think it is St. Mary's... but I would have to look to be sure. I have now mastered this cake, but it took time. The first time I tried, I honostly didn't know what it meant to cream the sugar with the butter, or an 8" round versus a 9" round, etc. Every time I make it, I get a little bit pissed off. The recipe takes a bit of time. For goodness sake, you have to sift the flour and seperate eggs! (Please note I do NOT bake!) I never remember my mom crabbing about making this cake, but I DO know it was for SPECIAL occasions. Of course I now know why!

Gratitude - Day 30

Monday/Day 30 - Today I am thankful to have enjoyable holiday activities for work. I started the day picking up 16 boxes of books at the Coon Rapids Borders book store. Their 7 metrolocations have done a book drive for our hospital, clinics and patients. Customers have donated over $35,000 in books.

I am thankful for time to gift wrap once the kids are put to bed! I have only two gifts left to wrap. They were in my car, and I didn't want to go back into the cold.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Gratitude - Day 29

Day 29/Sunday - Today I am grateful for my Aunt Toots. She is my mom's only sister. She is pretty cool. She stopped in on her way from Dee's in Apple Valley headed home to Elk River. She came bearing wonderful gifts - turkey soup, cookies, home-made cider for adults, and even more!

Toots is a FABULOUS cook and baker. In full disclosure, I will tell you I am SHAMELESS. I e mailed her before Thanksgiving. I wondered if she might happen upon the turkey carcass, would she be making soup, and could I please have a jar??? Lucky, lucky me - I got an ice cream bucket of soup. I can't wait to have some. I shouldn't write this (and did leave out details) because now others are going to learn about how spoiled I am!!!

Toots - your the greatest! Thank you for being a blessing in my life! Please know you are a complete blessing even if there were no delicious treats.

Gratitude - Day 28

Day 28/Saturday - Today I am grateful for snowstorms! I don't get panicky or anxious about winter driving. Must be my rural/country blood. In high school, at age 17, I use to take off across the pitch black countryside and buck snow drifts to get to Johnny Holmes dances at small town ballrooms. Yup, my parent's (& Cindy's too) use to let us go. We had one of those old school cell phones (what a newfangled, coveted gadget at the time). It was heavy and looked like a lunch box! I would take my mom's big, old navy blue Caprice Classic and we were on our way. Don't worry - I was armed with emergency clothes if I went in the ditch! Of course there was the time I did go in the ditch (I was only on my way to play practice though). I called my Dad on the two-way radio. He said, "Pick up or tractor?" Of course I needed the tractor to get me out.

Anyway, despite the snow and ice, Mark and I packed up the Twinners and headed to the H-we's for an overnight. I still have an Emergency Bag. My Dad calls EVERY year to make sure it is safely in my trunk when winter arrives. (Not sure what is in the bag or if it fits though! The bag is purple). Although we could not go the speed limit on Saturday, we arrived with no incident what so ever. The snow was beautiful and we had a fun time getting "snowed in". It is no surprise the Pacifica got stuck in their drive-way, but anyone who has/had this vehicle knows it SUCKS in more than two inches of snow!!

Basically, I love the element of unexpected surprise a snowstorm creates. If you stay in, you can be cozy. If you decide to venture out, you might get snowed in elsewhere... which can turn into serious fun! Basically, you get to shrug off responsibility for a day!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Gratitude - Day 27

Today I am grateful for the inspiring Gillette patients I am honored to meet and work with. One of them is a 10 year old double amputee. Many of you may have seen Nick Nelson on KARE 11. He is quite an amazing kid. How lucky am I (and the other Gillette employees) to know him and his family!! He instantly brings a smile to my face. One day I was giving a sponsor tour of the hospital. We entered the area that makes Nick's prostetics, and there was Nick himself. I said hello and introduced the group to Nick. Nick helped me out and pretty much gave my tour for me! I think I owed him part of my pay check that day. You can see Nick on the NBC Today show this Monday morning... probably around 8:20 AM. He is also expected to be featured in a Today show evening special on Monday night.

Take a look at the KARE video by clicking above. Look at his prosthetics - see our Children's Miracle Network logo on them! Pretty cool. I have also provided a link to Nick's Caring Bridge website.

If you would like to donate to the wonderful place I work.... Click Here!

Thank you to the wonderful Gillette patients and their families who include me in their lives! Today I had a message from a Gillette mom. She was returning my call to her, but of course went on to share her blessings with me!

Gratitude - Day 26

Thursday/Day 26 - 'Tis the season! Today I will give thanks and express gratitude for my Dad. I am an adult, and he remains a world class parent. He and my mom showered me with love, gave me a good foundation of morals and values, disciplined me, gave me confidence, taught me about consequences, and lived their lives in a way that was a positive example to me and Brett. When I reflect on my Dad, I have this subtle knowledge he has quietly given generously to others in his life (not counting Brett and I of course). I think of this especially at Christmas. I hope I can parent like he parents. I am thankful for his calm and supportive demeanor and constant presence in my life and Brett's life, and now the lives of Marly and Dean.

This post is prompted by nothing in particular. I have not even talked to my dad today... but that is the point of gratitude... it just is.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

MORE bedtime shenanigans!

7:30 PM - Kids placed in cribs for the night.

8:00 PM - I come in to check on the noisy duo. Marly was grinning from ear to ear and inching her sleeper zipper down. Both kids got their diaper pins put in place at the top of the zipper to prevent removal.

8:20 PM - I returned to the noisy room. Dean had crawled out of his crib and was standing between the two. I replaced him.

9:15 PM - Mark returned to the NOISY room. I hear from downstairs, "Andrea - Get up here!" Dean had AGAIN crawled out of his crib... and climbed into Marly's crib.

See - She does smile! : )

Curly Sue gets a haircut!

Mark took Marly to get her first professional cut.
She has had many, many, many mommy trims.
Yesterday was the real deal! Before
During her cut, she did not move. She did not cry.

She did NOT smile!

Ta-Da! Finished!

Gratitude - Day 25 & 26

Day 24/Tuesday - I am thankful for the US Postal Service. Our Christmas cards are in the mail and headed toward many of you!

Day 25/Wednesday - I am thankful and grateful for my life of ABUNDANCE. On my way home Wednesday evening, I needed to make a work related stop at the Midway Walmart in St. Paul. As I was walking in, there was a mom and 11?? year old daughter walking toward me in the cold. They each had on a heavy hooded sweatshirt, but no coat, scarf or mittens. I quickly realized... they had NO coat. I have several winter coats in my closet. At the time, I was wearing a warm, fashionable wool scarf I had gotten as a gift around my neck. I have pink, red, cream scarves and more at home. My kids have three winter hats each....

Many 'tweeners now days have cell phones. It is deemed necessary due to the elaborate lives we lead. This eleven year old HAD NO COAT!

As I sit hear typing now... I think... Could I have at least given her my scarf or gloves? What more can I do to give back? What can you do?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dean is Picasso - Marly is his canvas

Last night my commute was extended due to the weather. When I finally arrived home around 6:40, the lower level was neat, cleaned up from supper, devoid of a floor full of toys.... and quiet. Upstairs I can hear Mark chatting to the kids. I climb the stairs and discover everyone in the bathroom. Dean is happily splashing in the tub. Marly is right along side of him. Mark is leaned over gently yet vigorously scrubbing at Marly's face. I can't help but laugh at what I see.....

I glance at the nursery - a complete wreck. While Mark was downstairs cleaning up (and I was inching along in my car), Marly and Dean were upstairs playing. Generally we consider their room a safe zone. Of course there is always that one thing you have overlooked. Dean found a blue permanent market in the top drawer of the changing table. Not sure where the marker even came from. You can imagine the results. As I enter the bathroom, Mark just smiles and says, "Sorry Honey, I forgot to take a picture for the blog. Minutes ago her face looked just like a Smurfs. I have made a lot of progress!" We traded spots. I continue to work on Marly's cheeks and forehead, then started in scrubbing Dean's little legs!

I am grateful both Mark and I found complete humor in the situation. I am UN-grateful I didn't run for the camera! You would then see the total humor too.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The weather was perfect on Saturday night, so we headed down town to Nicollet Avenue to take in the Holidazzle parade. We dressed Marly and Dean to excess, made a stop at McDonald's for Happy Meals, parked in a ramp, unloaded the DuoGlide, and found a good spot on the street. Marly and Dean were generally in awe. About midway throught the parade, they figured out they should clap. Neither even tried to get out of the stroller. Once we got home and got off the snowpants, they unleashed their excitement and jumped up and down and hollered with delight.

Really, Dean enjoyed it!

Poor Mark, I accidentaly deleted the photo with him in it!!!

Oscar got to come with on the adventure.

Gratitude - Day 24

Day 24/Monday - Today I am thankful for my husband. On this COLD December evening, Mark was waiting for me at the door with a kiss when I arrived home from work. How sweet! When I looked over his shoulder, the kids were already seated at the table with plates of food already in front of them. It was the start of a simple, yet relaxing and pleasant evening.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gratitude - Day 22 & 23

I typically choose to share about the enjoyable, thankful, blessings in my life... or my reflections, or funny information, but I wouldn't be an honost blogger if I didn't share my personal hardships too. This weekend was a very difficult weekend for me. Mark has been working long hours and gets up very early. He is tired all the time. On Friday at 7 pm he told me he would be working all day on Saturday. Whatever plans I had for Saturday needed to be adjusted.

Sunday (Mark's only day off) the phone rang at 5 am. The supervisor had forgotten her keys. Most days, Mark opens to the store. Even if he is not scheduled, most mornings the phone rings at 4:30 am with an employee problem requiring his immediate attention. This is how Sunday began. It really didn't improve. We went to our church band Christmas concert. Marly had a melt down and disrupted the whole show (from the narthex). We had to leave. From there I tried to cook a nice meal. I stuffed and baked a chicken. The taste did not match the time and effort I put into it. My tiny home is in disarray most of the time. As soon as I pick up, I need to start over.... and then I feel like I am failing as a mother because I am lackluster at entertaining the Twinner during this whole process.

Add to that, I really wanted my MOM, and generally spent most of Sunday on the verge of tears. Wanting my mom is a lose, lose situation. I am 33 years old. I am a grown up. I have my own DAUGHTER (and son) who needs her it seems wrong to wallow for myself.

Day 22/Saturday - I am grateful for my girlfriend Jesse (and the telephone). I had been playing phone tag with her all week. Her birthday was Tuesday. I finally caught her on Saturday morning. She let me vent. She was excited to share with me she had "payed it forward" at the Caribou drive-thru just that morning. She had purchased her coffee drink, and kindly payed for the car behind her. Jesse is just that kind of wonderful human being. She gives kindly to her friends, her family and strangers. She is a delight to know and have in my life.

** We did attend Holidazzle, which was great. I am grateful for the fun outing on a balmy December evening. I will post seperately on another day**

Day 23/Sunday - Again I am grateful for the telephone. My girlfriend Dawn (on the east coast) called me at 8:30 pm. I needed to talk to a friend, and she was just the voice I hoped for on the other end of the line when the land line rang...

Gratitude - Day 21

Day 21/Friday - Today I am thankful to the Cambridge W-M. W-M and Sam's across the land raise money for Children's Miracle Network. In 2007, Gillette received over $425,000 from our stores and clubs. One of my favorite locations to visit is the Cambridge W-M. I was there Friday morning and was presented with an additional check of $2000 from the Foundation for this locations volunteer service hours. While I was there, the associates held a bake sale auction for CMN. Two carts of cookies, cakes and breads made and donated by associates were sold to the associates. Most items were purchased for OVER $20 each. Not only do these WONDERFUL associates reach out to their customers for donations, but these W-M employees give very generously of their OWN funds too. They are an inspiration. YTD Cambidge W-M has raised over $14,600. This does NOT include Friday's bake sale!

In case you are curious, I purchased gingersnaps. I had $23 in cash... but the bidding went to $25. An associate had to borrow me the other two dollars! This holiday season I encourage everyone to think of others in need, especially in this tough economic time. Currently, I strive to have dollar bills in my wallet at all times. I never want to pass a Salvation Army bell ringer empty handed.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Double Trouble Bedtime Shinanigans!

Twinners sleep update -

Wednesday and Thursday I got Marly and Dean into their cribs at 7:30 pm, in an attempt to get a better nights sleep for ALL of us. It turns out Dean has some new tricks up his sleeve for the extra 1/2 hour of down time. Wednesday I could hear Dean giddily chatting to himself at 8:15. I went in to access the situation. Marly was asleep. I look down at Dean, who is peering up at me with a big grin on his face. Dean had unzipped his fleecy footy jammies and undone his diaper. Thankfully this is NOT another poop story... but he did pee all over. Mark re-diapered and dressed Dean while I changed the sheet, then he was promptly placed back in bed. Of course he did NOT pee on Oscar. Marly slumbered away blissfully through the whole event.

Last night at 8:30 Dean began to wimper and whine loudly. I opened the door wondering what I would find this time. Dean was completely naked. He was laying on his stomach with his knees pulled up under him. Only Oscar remained in the crib. I carried him to our room for Mark to change and re-dress. I went back in to further access the situation. Everything was dry. Next I turn to Marly to see if she needed her blankets re-adjusted. Indeed she did. She had ALSO stripped out of her jammies... clearly on the prompting of Brother Dean! She is not nearly as bold as Dean-er. She still had her diaper on. She was asleep, but surely looked cold.

Tonight - Duck Tape on the zipper! Seems from the many mom's of multiples blogs I read, Duck Tape seems to be the answer to a great number of toddler dramas.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gratitude - Day 20

Day 20/Thursday - Today I am thankful for Christmas cards. I love Christmas cards. I love pictures on Christmas cards. I enjoy the letters of those who choose to include them. I love it when families include photos with the parents as well. The Thomberg Christmas cards are at the printers, and we are eagerly awaiting their arrival so we can get them into mail...probably late next week.

I love arriving home from work, being greeted by my excited kiddos, and then checking to see who's Christmas card has arrived in the mail that day!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

People read my BLOG!

Today I am grateful (Wednesday/Day 19) for the responses to my post on sleeping! What fun to have friends and fellow mommies comment and lend me their support. I appreciate each of you!

Sleep update - I am sure we will soon be back on track with the Twinner's sleep. In the past, we had good routine and did NOT have babies in our bed...then somewhere... we went awry! In the past, we put M & D down at 7:30 or 8 pm and that was that. There was nothing complex about their routine. They would easily go down in pack n plays if we visited others. If we invited friends over on a Friday or Saturday night, we generally did not have any bedtime hassles. They were/are put to bed awake and simply went to sleep. They did learn to self soothe in infancy. I generally adheare to babies learning to put themselves to sleep. Heck - I have two... Mark and I were not taking turns with the rocking chair! Where Mark and I went wrong or veered off, I just cannot pinpoint??? Perhaps said Mommy and Daddy also rather liked the cuddle time and the warm, snuggly body of a 20 month old...

Anyway, nap time on Wednesday went well, at night Dean put up his usual evening protests. I was not home... and Mark gave in to some additional snuggling at 9:30. Marly wanted her usual drink of water at 1 am, but she was instantly back down. Dean slept the night.

Thank you again to those of you who commented. I have indivuduals comment in person about reading my blog, but so few ever add a response! What a brightener to my morning! THANK YOU to each of you who log on and tune in to my blog ramblings. It warms might heart to know you care enough to look in on my life.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Gratitude - Day 17 & 18

Monday/Day 17 - I am grateful I have a car that handles the slushy, slick metro muck well. I am thankful and delighted the seats in my sedan have butt warmers - seriously nice luxury to have in Minnesota!

Tuesday/Day 18 - I am grateful for warm scarves. I LOVE scarves and the cuddle on my neck. I am thankful for hot coffee and the warm feeling when I hold it in my hands on a cold, nippy day like today.

I am thankful a co-worker just described me as "terminally perky!" I am honored to be thought of in this fashion! Gratitude pays off folks!

I am thankful for the blessing of babies. Tuesday evening I babysat 5 month old Vivi for Jenny and Jeremy while they attended the Harry Connick Jr concert. Just last week I sent off gifts of Gymboree Gymmies for two different babies of friends. One of them is the baby of the girl I BABYSAT for. I was filled with delight and excitement to learn about her daughter. Oops... I haven't gotten off a gift to my girlfriend Molly yet....

To sleep, or NOT to sleep...

The past few weeks, Mark and I have travelled down a bad path. We have allowed poor sleep habits to form with the Twinners, and we are paying the price. Recently, we have become lax about constantly consistent naps, or night time responses to crying . In the past few weeks, we have begun to take Dean into our bed when he fusses at bedtime for additional cuddle time. In the middle of the night, or in the wee hours of the morning, we have also brought one or the other into our bed. We have done so to give ourselves a precious few minutes of sleep, or avoid waking the other child. In general, Marly and Dean do NOT collectively sleep through the night - and Mommy and Daddy are taking BACK control. They MUST/will learn to self soothe when they wake up, for every ones greater well being. We did not have these problems in the past...

I am tired. Mark is tired... so I consulted the trusty Dr. Marc Weissbluth through his book, "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child." I read and worried I am creating chronic fatigue in little Dean-er. He is my anti-napper, who does not like to stay asleep. Mark and I are partly to blame! Please note I have a FIRM belief that sleep qaulity/quantity as an infant/toddler effects the over all child and their well being NOW and LATER in life. I believe teaching them good sleep habits now will affect their health and habits, even as an adult.

Anyway, while I was down stairs reading/consulting the book last night, Mark picked up Dean at 9 pm and brought him into our room. (Bed time is 8 pm). Dean was putting up his usual bed time protests, which begin AFTER Marly falls asleep. Oh yes - That will be the LAST TIME little Dean-er!!! At 10 pm he was returned to his crib, and minutes after began crying.... Ignore, Ignore, Ignore.

At 1:12 am, Marly had her own plan of attack. She began to cry. I went in to give her a drink of water, which usually solves the problem. This provided no relief. I left the room. She waged a good battle. Mark and I stood our ground. She raised the stakes and volume and SCREAMED until 1:57. I give her credit for persistence. At the begining of the onslaught, Mark and I had our own dissension in the ranks about how to handle Baby A. Mark feared she would wake the light sleeper - Baby B. Really, this is the main reason one child sometimes ends up in our room, rather then letting them cry. It is miraculous Dean (who wakes at the slam of a car door outside) stayed asleep. Because he maintained his state of slumber, the parental unit was able to maintain and hold our stance. If Dean had created a chorus, Mark would have crumbled! I suggested Mark find ear plugs. He put several pillows over his head.

We heard only minor, dull protests the rest of the night. We did NOT re-enter their room. When I left the house at 6:50 AM both kids were in their own crib, asleep. We will stay our ground, and we will be triumphant. Tonight, we will be moving their bedtime from 8 pm to 7:30 pm. Sleep begets sleep! We will work on our naptime routine. I am hoping this also helps Dean get to sleep and STAY asleep. Dr. Weissbluth has been our guide to sleep in infancy, and I should have checked back in with his methods sooner.

Thank you Dr. Weissbluth. Wish us luck tonight. I am sure the battle of wills is NOT over yet.

Monday, December 8, 2008


This Sunday I got to see Wicked! This was the last show of the sold out run at the Orpheum Theater. The musical was wonderful. I am grateful to Chris who got 8 tickets and kindly took two friends, me, Rachel, Rachel's sister Sarah, and my aunts Jan and Carol. It was great to see my Aunts at such a fun event, and surely we all enjoyed every minute of the show.

The truth is, I also enjoy the act of getting dolled up for an event, and heading downtown through the lightly falling snow for a show during the holiday's! The vibe is one I forget about until I have the opportunity to do it again.

Gratitude - Day 15 & 16

Saturday/Day 15 - This morning at the breakfast table, I was so very proud and thankful for my little Dean-er. Whenever we eat, the kids get their plates first. Then Mark and I get ours and sit down. At supper, we try and remember to pray. This morning at the table, Mark and I sat down and Dean looked at us and clasped his hands together to pray (with NO prompting - He prompted us!). Marly eventually folded her hands neatly too. She can even get her fingers intertwined.

I am grateful to raise my children with religion in their lives. I am grateful for the way my parents raised me, with a sound spiritual basis, and for the foundation religion provides me as an adult. For me ,this just happens to be Lutheran. It is my religious comfort zone, but surely I respect each individual for where they find their own religious center.

Sunday/Day 16 - I am thankful again for our Church community - Peace Lutheran in Coon Rapids. It is a good place for Mark and I, and a very good worship home for our family. I am always thankful for those parishioners with grown children who comment on our attendance, delight in remembering me pregnant or Marly and Dean attending in their long outgrown baby carriers. Dean practiced his praying skills again. Marly prefered to eat her cheerios over folding her hands.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Flashback

A year ago.....

Looks like they were really into carrots and squash. Their little noses are a bit orangy!

Gratitude - Day 13 & 14

Day 13/Thursday - Today I am grateful for Kelly. We are blessed to have her taking care of Marly & Dean. I am thankful she is flexible with her schedule to help Mark & I, and so forgiving when the schedule is constantly changing, or we do not arrive home when expected. I a grateful for her love for Marly & Dean. Yesterday she took the kiddos to Adventure Park (an indoor play center). She endured Marly throwing a tantrum in public because she didn't want to leave, while managing Dean too of course.

Day 14/Friday - It's Friday. I am thankful just for that. I am thankful the holiday's are upon us with plenty of fun family activities to partake in. I am grateful Mark shared his Breve with me this morning. He got called into Caribou unexpectedly at opening, then returned home for a bit. He gave me his shift drink when he got back. I am also thankful for our new sponsor for Gillette/Children's Miracle Network - Borders Books. The metro locations are doing a holiday book drive for us, so I get to stop by area Borders and pick up MANY, MANY, MANY boxes of books which we then bring to our Child Life department for the kids. (Yes, I have help from my co-workers...) They are excited and we are excited!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Gratitude - Day 10 & 11 & 12

Monday/Day 10 -Oh goodness, I haven't taken time to give thanks... hmmm. I am grateful as I return to work on Monday after a fun four day break that I have a decent job I enjoy at a amazing place that values and respects me and my family too! I am grateful my husband also has employment.

Tuesday/Day 11 - Today I am grateful BOTH Twinners slept completely through the night. Basically, one or the other or both wake most every night for whatever unknown reason. Marly wants a drink of water. Dean has separation anxiety or a bad dream or something. Truth is, it has been beginning to wear on me, especially when both kids cry at separate times through the night. Then I question our parenting skills. What am I doing wrong that they won't stay asleep? (They are in bed 90% of the time by 8 pm and have consistancy and routine.) This morning at 4:30 AM when Mark was getting ready for work, I sleepily realized I had gotten several SOLID hours of uninterrupted sleep. I am very grateful. I will be even more grateful if this continues.

Wednesday/Day 12 - Today I am grateful I tried to do a little at home work out this morning. In the past, I worked out at Curves at least 4 times a week. It was a very good thing for my emotional and physical health. While pregnant, I worked out until I could not, then started pregnancy yoga until the Twinners arrival. At exactly 6 weeks after their birth, I was back at Curves, not bothering to wait for a Dr's go ahead. Then I went back to work, and ALL work outs came to an abrupt hault. This morning I did 20-25 minutes of jumping jacks and general activities to raise my heart rate, some yoga stretches, some sit ups and pilates moves, and some weights. I REALLY want to try and keep this up. It's not much, but it is something.

This evening I am grateful for the lovely evening Mark and I had running a errand for our family. We ordered our family photos. After we had a OUTSTANDING burger at the House of Coates, a small restaurant/bar near the studio.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Charlie Brown Christmas

Tonight the Charlie Brown Christmas special airs. Here is a flash back to naked Dean watching the classic last year. Hmmm.. Just noticing our wall has also changed colors since then. One thing that has not changed - Dean still likes to be naked!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The holiday's are here!

Dean at Grandpa's on Saturday testing out a new toy. It's pajamma time!

At home with the tree!

Saturday Pizza Party Review

I need a blog photographer. I SUCK at taking pictures. I have tried to make Mark the Official Thomberg Blog Photographer, but he doesn't even read the blog, so he resists. Hence, you get this visually impaired pizza party post about Saturday evening.

If I had a blog photog, there would be photos of the Waterford champagne flutes with candle light bouncing off the crystal on the table with the cocktails. If I had a photog, there would be artistic photos of the pizza slices in their boxes. If I had a photog, there would be photos of Yowdie chatting and dipping a pretzel in the chocolate fountain. If I had a photog, you would see my aunt Jan smiling as she converses about her upcoming family Christmas vacation to a warm destination. If I had a photog, you would see cousin Joey smiling lovingly at her granddaughter, Sophie, and my Dad ever so proud of Marly and Dean. If I had a photog, you would see Sutton, Saxton, Sawyer, Eric and Ethan in the basement trying to play their version of Monopoly between outbursts of wrestling...

Instead, you just get these 3 fuzzy, poorly positioned photos of Dean, Marly and Sophie dancing, clapping and bouncing to the singing Santa statue, which got played over, and over and over for their delight!!! What a lovely evening it was.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Gratitude - Day 7 & 8 & 9

Day 7/Black Friday - I did not even leave the house this Friday. I did no shopping. Mark worked. I am grateful for a simple, ordinary day with my beautiful children, who make things extraordinary. We did take a little walk to the playground for some swing time.

Day 8/Saturday - I am grateful to Kelly's fiance Patrick. My cell phone was on the blitz. I am not eligible for a new free phone until March. Pat works at AT&T Wireless. Today he was able to hook me up with a phone EXACTLY like my old one, free of charge, which he had in the back. Thank goodness. I explained to Patrick I don't text, don't need a camera, don't need Internet - I just need a phone!

I am grateful for a leisurely weekend morning with my family. Mark was home from work by 8 am, and made us eggs for breakfast.... always the ultimate nutritious way to start a day. A favorite super food of mine. Most mornings I eat hard boiled eggs. Today - even better, they were fried with a pat of real butter and mine were over hard. Yes, its true - even fried eggs are VERY good for you!

Day 9/Sunday - Today I am very prickly to my husband. We are two married people who focus on our toddlers and the simple necessities of getting on in life, and less on our marriage. This is not unlike basically all other couples in the same situation. It is easy to point all frustrations to one's spouse. Heck - they are an easy target! Kelly came to baby sit so we could attend a matinee of "Don't Hug me Christmas Carol" (along with Brett and Rachel) upon the invitation of Dad and Chris. Due to some time out together as adults, I am generally contented by about 1o minutes into the play. Thank you Dad for a adult family outing and an interesting tapas meal afterward at Solera. I am grateful for the generous outings Dad and Chris plan and gather us together for as a family.

When we arrived back home via the the scenic route all the way down Central from downtown, the house was picked up and the kids were bathed and ready for bed! Thank you Kelly!

Gratitude - Thanksgiving/Day 6

Of course I am grateful for the gathering of family and delicious food at Laura and Mike's house.

Today I express my gratitude for Hwy 212 and the journey home. There is something about this drive that calms my soul and fills me with emotion I can't properly put into words. As the car cruises west into the countryside, I feel the open sky fill the air and space around me, with the hue changing ever so slightly as it rises up from the all encompassing horizon. I am being pulled along to a familiar endpoint. The clouds and sun shift with the passing miles and minutes. The landscape stretches endlessly before me as far as the eye can see. The trees and farmsteads are familiar blips approached and passed as we speed along. There is something magical and ethereal about the place too far off to pinpoint where the land and the sky come together. The color palate of the land changes with the given season. This Thanksgiving, the hues are brown. To an outsider, it is probably bland, lifeless, and baron. To me, it is the colors of another safe and bountiful harvest that has drawn to a close....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gratidute - Day 4 & 5

Day 4/Tuesday - I am grateful for a certain someone who sought out Mark to order a large quantity of coffee beans. Caribou has contests and bonuses for managers based on sales numbers. The sale of the Reindeer Blend was a nice shot in the arm for his numbers. I am grateful for how clean the downstairs and bathroom were when I got home from work. I am grateful for the wonderful Willow Tree nativity set Chris just gave me as a pre-holiday gift (and the kids can't break it!) I am thankful Mark put in on display for us.

Day 5/Wednesday - I am grateful I went and ran my Thanksgiving errands last night after the kids went to bed. I am grateful there is a delicious pre-made, ready to heat meal in my fridge for supper. I am grateful for the anticipation and excitement I feel for the Thanksgiving festivities and travels we are engaging in Thursday. We are headed to Hector to Mike and Laura's for a delicious meal.

Daddy + Haircut = Dissappointed Mommy

I am grateful Mark took Dean to get his hair cut yesterday. Unfortunately, there is a BUT... so this makes the THANKS void.

Mark called me on the way to Kidz Hair for Dean's 3rd professional cut (with lots of Mommy trims between.) I really like/prefer Dean's hair grown mostly one length on top with the back and sides tapered neat and short. Mark said, "Should I tell the lady to take off a 1/2 inch?" This seemed reasonable to me while sitting at my desk with no visual cues, and my response was simply, ".....umm... Sure." I did not give Mark any further explanation of what I hoped for.

When I arrived home from work, I was met at the door with a very short haired little boy. He now has a haircut that reads, "My mommy and daddy don't want to have to bring me back and pay for another cut for a loonggg time, so I have the practical crew cut!"

I won't lie. I am really disappointed. I know, I is silly. I remind myself, it is only hair. It will grow. I will also assure you I in no way blame Mark for Dean's hair.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pizza Party Shout Out

To those who know my Dad... We hope to see you at the Annual Pizza Party this Saturday! Many friends and family received a snail mail invitation some time back from my Dad, but inevitably... someone gets forgotten. (Tracy - married lady...are you out there? I bet you didn't get an invite!)

History of the Pizza Party - The Melberg Pizza Party inauguaral event took place when I was in the 8th?? grade. My cousins' Jared, Michelle, and Jason were in college at Fargo/Moorhead. My mom thought we needed a non-turkey gathering so we could see those 3 (and Michelle's then boyfriend/now husband) Chad... thus began the Pizza Party. It was pretty simple - pizza picked up in Hutch, maybe a leftover salad from Thanksgiving, pop, and paper plates.

As years went by, the Toren clan joined in, and any neighbors and friends too. After my mom died, this was an event my Dad felt he could/should still host and handle. The event moved the the cities when our house in the country was eventually sold... so here we are in 2008 with another pizza party just days away. The pizza party is an event I am thankful for. It has evolved with our changing lives.

You know, this may be the 20th annual. I was in the 8th grade in 1988...???

Anyway, I know I will see many of my blog readers (is that maybe 8 people if I am lucky! - j/k) and I am looking forward to it. For those of you who are traveling elsewhere for the holiday, I wish you a safe journey and return. If you want to attend, but need more details, just give me a holler.

Gratidute - Day 2 & 3

Since buying into the concept of a 'Gratitude Groove' on Saturday, I am going to attempt to express gratitude or thanks every day, as a follow up to yesterday's post. Although I will not post daily, I will express thanks from each passing day in some manner (hence the various tenses, as I may record and save until a later date - bear with me). With Thanksgiving on Thursday and Christmas around the corner, 'tis the season! Surely there are times when the holiday's become overwhelming for each of us. I feel this excercise will help me stay in tune with the true meaning of the season. If you should like to join my excercise, feel free to post comments or e mail me thoughts you may with to share.

Stay tuned for the next 38 days! You may also see my thanks in bold/italics when woven into upcoming posts.

Sunday/Day 2- I am grateful for our church and worship. I am grateful for the $1.59 gas at Costco. I am grateful for my Twinners and husband and how fun they make a Sunday trip to Costco. I am grateful for Marly and Dean's personalities and enjoy watching them express themselves so differently in public.

Monday/Day 3 - I forgot my usual lunch including a baby spinach salad with my own vinaigrette and a hard boiled egg on the counter at home. I am grateful Jodi from the Publications Department invited me to a vendor meeting, and the group went out to lunch afterward. The Ahi tuna I ordered was a treat I can't get at home and fit my desire for something healthy too. I am grateful to be heading to my Dad's straight from work where I will be meeting Mark, Marly and Dean then going out for a bite to eat. I am grateful for my best friend Gretchen. I exchanged an e mail, then a phone call from her in the midst of my work afternoon.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Gratitude Groove

Saturday morning I left my house bright and early at 8 AM. I was headed toward Eden Prairie to take part in the Community Ed Cookie Bake with Rachel and two friends. This is the third or fourth year I have attended. As I was driving, I was listening to my usual women's talk radio station - FM 107. The topic was about getting into a 'Gratitude Groove' with a teammate/girlfriend and expressing gratitude EVERY SINGLE DAY for 40 days. The 40 days correlates to the idea that it take 40 days to change or form a habit.

I arrived in EP and followed my map quest direction to the same school the event is hosted at yearly. Somehow, I could not find where I needed to be. I ended up in an empty middle school parking lot at a locked door. I attempted to call Rachel on my cell phone. This was futile. My cell phone is on the blitz. I can hear the person on the other end, but they can't hear a word I say. I head back up the road to find a gas station and happen upon a small BP on Mitchell Road. There is actually a pay phone outside. I try to operate the system, but keep dropping and losing my coins in the snow. I can't figure out if I need to dial then drop coins or vice versa. I feel stupid I can't operate a pay phone in the cell phone world. I am about to be late and my anxiety level is on the rise.

I go inside the small store and a very kind looking man comes out from the back. I am grasping my cell phone and directions and fumble to explain my dilemma. Please can I use his phone? Yes! He gives me the phone and politely stands to the side as I call Rachel. While I am talking and scribbling directions, he silently put a fresh coffee in front of me. When I get off the phone, he proceeds to get out a map, and highlights where I need to go. I am overwhelmed by his kindness and desire to truly help me.

I was only a few minutes late to the correct entrance of the middle school (along a different street) and cookie bake went off with out a hitch. When I was done, I stopped back at the gas station and brought him some cookies.

I am grateful for the kindness of this stranger. These types of things happen less and less often. As a society, we also seek out help from strangers less and less often. Instead, we rely on technology to get us out of a fix or bind. I believe in kindness to strangers (and friends and family) and hope Marly and Dean will see this trait lived out in my actions. I hope I can instill in them the same goodness to others as was demenstrated to me on Saturday morning.

So today, in the blogger world... perhaps this is day ONE of expressing some gratitude. We will see...

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Little Miss Marly

As a blogging twin mommy, I actually feel guilty when a post is centered just one of the Twinners, which is completely ridiculous - and I am getting over it RIGHT NOW. I love them both equally, but they are two seperate human beings.

Mark took these photos of Marly recently, and they are just irresistible. Cousin Laura Melberg knit the lovely boiled wool hat. Isn't it just darling! Dean has a blue one, but he wouldn't cooperate when the camera turned his way. True to form, Marly was at home, so she had a few smiles to share. People comment Marly looks like me as a child (I honostly don't know). I do know she has her daddy's big brown eyes.

Also, if I could rewind for just one hour to an age where it was cool to wear a shirt called a onsie that snaps between your legs...Marly and Dean's days in onsie's have nearly drawn to a close.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fly in friends!

Lucky for the St. Paulie Gal Pals, our friends Dawn and Derek were travelling from Dawn's home in Colorado back to their own home in Massachusetts and had a long lay over in Minneapolis this past Sunday. Dawn took up residence in MN post college. Somewhere along the journey, Dawn entered a circle of gal pal friends, starting with me. Derek came into the picture numerous years back, and joined her in MN briefly before they married. Then Derek whisked our dear friend off to California to complete seminary, then to Germany to intern, and then our Lutheran pastor friend took a church on the East Coast. WHAT!!! You two decided not to return to MN, the epicenter of the Lutheran's in America!!! Too cold for you???

Well, at least we got the pleasure of a quick fly through visit this past weekend. Jess shuttled them to and from the airport. We met for brunch at Bonfires on Grand Avenue, our old stomping ground. There were plenty of babies to hold and toddlers to run after (niether of which existed when they left). The crew was either a great motivator for Dawn and Derek to start a family, or the best method of birth control. I am not sure which...

Dawn is the tall one near the back.
Only two of the six children present are pictured.
NOT PICTURED - all of the men in attendance.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Katelyn & Kalvin's Birthday Party

Saturday afternoon I loaded the Twinners into the Pacifica and we headed in the general direction of home (A.K.A Renville County, Hector, the Farm, etc.). Just after Brownton, we hung a right at the four-way on Hwy 212, and a few miles later we pulled into Koenig Park. We were attending Katelyn and Kalvin's joint b-day party at their home.

K & K are the children of my dearest childhood friend - Cindy K. We all had a fun time. Look at all the kids!

Once in a blue moon I get to see Cindy's sisters, Lori and Jenny, and the rest of her family, which is fun for me. On the car ride home through the dark countryside, my brain washed over long ago memories of Disco Mickey Mouse in their living room, Lori getting sick from pizza (or the cheese), the playhouse, Debbie's baked goods, the pond Chip flooded outside their house one year to skate on, their two tone Suburban, bike rides, cats, sleep overs, Cindy's room in the basement, and so on.

While I took a trip down memory lane, Marly and Dean giggled and babbled for about 15 miles, then drifted off to sleep... (they had Capri Sun juice boxes for the first time. What a treat! Not even the sugar could keep the tired Twinners awake after all the party excitement!)

Kalvin is right in the middle in red - Katelyn is to the left of him & Marly.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Family Photo Fun

Last week we had family photos taken at Victoria's Gallery. I picked this studio in Hastings because I had met one of the photographers from the Gallery at a Gillette event I attended. Nick had helped plan a lovely wine tasting fundraiser, and had a great personality I suspected our family would enjoy.

We had fun at the shoot and Nick just sent me this sampling of photos to share on the blog!

Dean acted like he was the GAP baby. Marly stayed true to form and choose to save most of her smiles for at home. This was not unexpected by Mark and me.

We are delighted with the images Nick and Victoria captured on film.

Click on the photo and it will enlarge on your screen!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The boot hoopla!

There is just a bit of snow on the ground this morning in Blaine. I suspect Marly & Dean will be outside with Nanny Auntie Kelly to check out the white stuff. They have coats, they have mittens, they have hats, and they have snow boots.

Finding snow boots was actually more of a challenge then I anticipated. I wanted PLAIN, sturdy, warm boots. I did not want them to light up. I did not want them to have princesses or hearts or soccer balls or spider man on them. Is a plain jane children's product too much to ask for in this retail driven mass marketed world we live in?

Saturday Mark and I went to Kohl's (I had a coupon). We went to JCPenny (I had a coupon). No snow boot luck. The more we looked, the more we got ticked off by the crowds, the lack of choices, and the lack of costumer service. The truth is, I don't even want more choices. I just wanted to see one good option amongst the sea of branded kiddy stuff. Deep down, I knew I would NOT find this at a big box retailor. Deep down, I know this is why I shop at smaller stores which specialize in a given area.

Monday I went back to the mall and went to Stride Rite. I purchased Marly nice simple pink boots. I purchased Dean nice simple navy blue boots. No coupons, but at least they have a 10% Twins discount. (Although I appreciate the twin's dicount, how am I any different then someone with two kids who need shoes??? hmm...I degress...)

Next year I will be buying their snow boots online at Land's End and avoid the mall all together. Two mom's did alerted me to this fine option before I even started my boot quest. Should have went their FIRST and LAST.

Oh to be Marly & Dean! They don't have to do the shopping, but they were interested in the purchase. Monday night they stomped about testing out their new PLAIN footwear. Then each took theirs off and insisted on wearing the other's for a while.

I do feel slightly redeemed in my wasted time spent boot shopping. I was able to share my experience with my friend Molly (whose son is the same age as Marly and Dean). She has a brand new baby besides, so I bet she is online today shopping Land's End from the comfort of her home for Charlie, and ordering two sizes larger then his shoe size for correct winter fit!

Shoot... they do still need snow pants. NO stuff embroidered on them PLEASE! Well, almost there!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Overall weekend update....

Friday evening I attended an event for work at a small private school hosting a waffle supper and silent auction. Several kids from the school come to Gillette, thus we were being granted some of the funds. Much to my delight, there was a gift certificate on the silent auction for a sitting with the photographer who shot Mark and my wedding - Dietrich Gesk. SCORE for the Thomberg's. I won the item for a very good deal. We just got family photos taken last week at a wonderful studio (also a Gillette fundraising connection), so we will be saving the sitting until next year. The best part is we get the CD after the shoot to print as we like.

Saturday I brought the kids to Rachel's for an overnight. She took them to the Macy's auditorium display. Mark and I had a great evening out with the Lyon's. We ate at the Talk Town Diner in Mpls and had drinks at the View and Figlio's afterward in Uptown. The lights turned on Figlio's at 1:30 am and the parental group could not believe we were out so late. Photo was taken at the View, as we enjoyed espresso martinis.

Hope you all had a nice weekend too. Stay warm!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Weekend Pass

Tomorrow around 10 AM I am dropping off the twinners with Auntie Rachel... and we won't get them back until Sunday morning. Wow! What a deal! Mark and I aren't quite sure what to do with ourselves. We can sleep when we want. We are going to dinner with friends. It will be a nice time for sure.

Thank you Auntie Rachel. Rumor has it the kiddos are going to the zoo and will be meeting new friends too!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Halloween 2008

This Halloween we went to Grandpa David's and Nana Chris's for pizza & trick or treating. Brett and Rachel joined the fun. Obviously both kids loved the candy! I swear, they had a good time and were full of smiles... but not for the camera. We should have taken the pictures FIRST, and then given them their candy. Their only concern once they tasted the sugary treat was getting MORE in their mouth. Notice they have candy in their hand & mouth in every single photo.

Before we left for my dad's, we saw the neighbor girls in costume and collected candy from a few folks who were home.

Where's mom's princess costume?

We were blessed with beautiful MN fall weather. It was a perfect Friday.

Jammies and more candy later in the evening at Grandpa's.
Dean got scared of some the costumes on the trick or treaters that stopped by. Of course they fell sound asleep on the car ride home.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Voted

Hope everyone will get out to vote today! Mark just called me giddy with voter adrenalin coursing through his veins. He exclaimed, "Honey!!! I have been kissed by Liberty!!!!"

What - "Kissed by Liberty!!??" Seriously, the man gets a high off of performing his civic duties. Mark and I will be glued to the TV with a big bowl of air popped popcorn tonight!

I should have cruised by Starbucks on my way in to get my free coffee with my "I Voted" sticker. Too bad we don't have a Ben & Jerry's near us. You can bet Mark and I would be indulging on our free scoop!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Memories of my Childhood...

* My mom sewed fabulous costumes for us. I am sure they cost a lot more then the store bought ones actually. Brett and I got to pick our fabrics as we got older. I was often a princess. In kindergarten I think, I had a cool witch costume. It had orange rick rack and felt pumpkins cut and sewed onto the hem of the skirt. One year Brett and I were both clowns. My costume was green with white snails. Brett's was striped. We both had green hats. Mom sewed yarn to Brett's hat for hair and then pulled the yarn apart so it was kinky. For a high school dance one year, I had a black witch dress. It was one of those long to short skirts. The dress was black. The inside of the skirt was orange with white polka dots.

* Riding in the back seat of the Caprice Classic and trick or treating to all the various aunts and uncles all through the country-side from Hector to Bird Island. Actually, I never once trick or treated in town going from house to house.

* Halloween parties with my cousins at my Grandpa's house in Bird Island. We had bubble gum blowing contests and bobbed for apples in a giant wash tub. I think my mom always won the bubble gum blowing contest. I remember my aunt Karen wearing a pirate's costume. I remember a scavenger hunt one year. I never remember any men being there, as I assume they were finishing up in the field.

* Grandma Elna's popcorn balls that she handed out for candy. She made them with Jenny who lived on the other side of her one level duplex in Hector. They were colored and flavored with Jello I think. I REALLY would love to have one of those today! Gosh, now that I think about this.... How many pop corn balls did they make and how long did it take them??? Did only relatives/friends get them or everyone who came to the door? This was Hector. Everyone is either your friend or relative.

* When I was in college, I remember making a trip out to the Cosmos Costume Shop with sorority and fraternity friends to rent costumes from that cool/quirky lady whose name I can't recall. What a steal in cost compared to renting in St. Cloud. In general, the experience was worth every gallon of gas. Of course we then headed home for a free supper.

Today, Halloween is another day to miss/contemplate Marlys too. She is a part of every great childhood Halloween memory I have. I think of the cool coordinating costumes she would have made Marly and Dean if she had been able. I have no doubt she would have taken on any request her dear daughter could come up with! In my head, I was dreaming Dorothy and Toto!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Miracles Happen

Last night my cell phone rang while I was upstairs with Marly and Dean. Later I saw my missed call was Amy S in Kansas. I was afraid to listen to my message. You may recall me blogging about Amy and her mom's battle with stage 4 cancer. The message was NOT what I expected. It simply said, "Call me back. I have good news!"

A while later we connected. She had GREAT news. Maureen (here in MN) had went to the doctor yesterday expecting to undergo chemo. Instead she was told the cancer appeared to be gone - tumor gone, lymph nodes clear. Basically, it sounds as if the doctor's cannot explain why, and it appears to be a miracle.

In Maureen's own words, taken directly from her Caring Bridge web site: This did not happen by itself. Thank you all for your prayers. And thank you to an awesome God who listens.

I am overwhelmed with happiness for Maureen and her family. I was one of those people praying regularly, daily. My prayer was simple. "Please God, Don't take Amy's mom away from her." The motherless daughter's club doesn't need any new members, and most certainly not my friends. The initiation and orientation is too long and too painful for words.

I am so moved, I had to blog, even though my readers probably don't know Amy or her mom....

Toasty Twins

Marly & Dean testing out their hats and mittens.

The little red car is becoming a point of contention. Dean loves to drive it all over. Marly has a similar lion toy, but it has no steering wheel. Dean gives Marly a less then kind SHOVE when she tries to take a turn...

Curls are hiding under that hat.

Dad with his kiddos. It is hard to find b/g clothes that match. Because of this, the kiddos rarely MATCH match. But - I have this thing where I just CANNOT put one in say corduroy pants, and the other in jeans at the same time, or different brands at one time. They generally have on things that are similar. They are going to mock me for this some day. The matching shirts above are from the Pottery Barn Baby web site clearance section... the jeans are from Wal-Mart!

General Update - Although the kids seen to understand each other, they are not saying a lot. At the moment, they seen to be rebelling against naps. Not so fun. Believe me, they need a nap! Marly wakes up most every night wanting a drink of water. As soon as she quenches her thirst, she is back down for the count. Tonight I think I will leave the sippy in the corner of her crib. Maybe I won't need to go in there at 2 AM.


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