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.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More weekend in Review

Saturday the Thomberg's attended Taylor Collins confirmation dinner. We missed church, as Mark was working. It was a delight to be at a family gathering, and realize my kids ran wild for hours without the need of assistance from Mark and me. They happily played with their cousin Marissa and other kids. More realistically, Marissa followed them around and did a great job entertaining them. They ran upstairs, they ran downstairs, they went back and forth through the halls, they played with the cat, they played with the toys in the basement (cool and rather extensive collection of toys considering Kelsey is in college and Tay is a sophmore), and they only occasionally took a break to come and check in on mom and dad (or to eat desert). Mom and Dad got to have adult conversion with my cousins Kris and Dee and others. Pretty cool.

At the end of the day, we also got to take home pumpkins home grown by Toots and Doug. We also got squash. Thanks Toots! The pumpkins are the perfect addition to our front door.

Showering Kelly & Pat

Several months back, Mark's sister Kelly asked me to be her Matron of Honor at her nuptials with Pat in Jamaica this winter. It is an honor to be asked to stand up for her and her fiance. Mark will be walking his sister down the aisle, or rather... up the beach for the big event! Five years ago she was a bridesmaid in my wedding. Kelly has certainly matured and grown and ready to tie the knot herself. Actually, the wedding will take place in Nigril, at the same resort Mark and I went to for our own honeymoon.

Sunday I helped to host a lovely bridal shower, along with her future mother-in-law and two family friends to the Kaulfuss's. We did it in a tropical theme, with various palm tree decorations adorning the restaurant banquet room. I think Kelly had a very nice time, and was certainly showered with many wonderful gifts.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I MIGHT have a problem...

I think by now you gather I prefer a deal, and this Last night I discovered I MIGHT have a problem.

Last week I bought Marly a pink OshKosh winter jacket at Marshall's. I then searched for a similar coat for Dean. I discovered Kohl's carried the boy version. Big surprise... it was 55% off. Nice ploy. I think most of us have Kohl's and Herbergers figured out. Everything is always on sale...for the price the merchandise is actually worth.

Last night I went to purchase the coat. As I was standing in line, I heard the cashier say to each customer, "Do you have any coupons today!" My heart started to race. I did NOT have a coupon. Was there a mailer or Sunday insert that I overlooked? No one in front of me had a coupon either. This put me a touch more at ease, but I was seriously thinking of leaving the store to track down this allusive coupon. I also considered getting out of line and going to customer service to play the, "I forgot my coupon at home, can I get a new one here?" card. Once I purchased the coat, I am sad to admit I also briefly thought about returning it, then asking my dad to purchase it for me next Tuesday. Tuesday is Senior Discount Day! I mean, seriously, even I know this is ridiculous.

Oh my lord, truly I might be sick in the head! A day later, I am still weighing my options. At the store last night, I gave them my e mail address. According to the promotion, I will now recieve (via e mail) a $5 coupon and free shipping on an online order. Hmmm.. I could return the coat, and buy it again with the coupon. I am sane enough to realize I will waste more in gas and time then is worth $5. The problem is, whenever I do NOT have a coupon (and I think one is out there somewhere...), I feel like I am giving away free money! I don't gamble, I play the coupon game.

To further tip the scales towards my lack of sanity, this morning I popped online to quickly take a Papa Murphy's survey which Mark received with last weeks pizza purchase. I needed to take the survey to get a code to give to Mark to get $3 off our pizza for tonight.

I might be a savvy shopper, or... I might be off my rocker. Feel free to weight in and comment if you like. Hey, at least I can mock myself. That has to mean something!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fall Fun

Marly is all girl and Dean is all boy for sure!

Dean loves to sit in my lap and have story time. He especially loves the touch and feel animal books. Also, it is a riot to watch him zoom around on his little red car toy. He zips one way, stops short, and turns quick to change direction. Occasionally he ambushes Marly. Marly prefers to push her lion rider toy.

Marly and Dean are truly becoming best friends! It is a delight to watch. I like to think I am not the type to go on and on about only my children, because all of our children out there are so special - But, since this is my 'scrap book,' I will say twins are proving to be a great deal of fun for Mark and me. They are so humorous these days as they explore together. Marly has on hand-me-down jeans in 12 M, Dean has on the same pair in 18 M (courtesy of the Johnson Twins). Oddly worked out well with Dean's 2 inches over Marly. When purchasing new clothes, I current buy everything in the same size for both, since girls run different then boys. That being said, Marly (as seen in these photos) often has on boy jeans (which rather upsets Mark).They fit better then the girl flared leg!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The good old days at Dayton's

When I was a little girl, shopping at Dayton's was 'special.' It meant a drive into the cities (Edina/Southdale) and new clothes at the department store. When I was in college, I worked at the St. Cloud Dayton's as gift wrapper. Here I learned what it meant to have pride in the place you worked and to uphold a certain standard. Our dress code was "three piece." This meant you had to have a top, bottom and third piece, which could include a jacket, sweater, scarf, or perhaps a distinct peice of jewelry. Believe me, an extraordinary amount of care went into wrapping a gift at Dayton's. If it was not perfect, it was not acceptable to give back to the customer. It was not unheard of to rip off the paper and start over on a gift wrap if the seams did not match perfectly. Would you like to know what a "double wrap" is??? This large item wrap takes actual skill!

When Dayton's became Marshall Fields, I grew to accept the change, mainly because as a consumer, I did NOT notice a change in quality or standard from the service or products available. I do believe even the bag color remained the deep forest green.

As we all know, Dayton's/Marshall Fields was bought out. It has now become just another big box national retailer named Macy's. The icon I remember is long gone. Also, I have noticed a distinct shift in quality and service. Yesterday was the perfect example. Mark, Marly, Dean and I went to purchase a bridal registry gift for Nanny Auntie Kelly for her shower next week. We selected a lovely item (Yes, I had a $10 off coupon from the big box retailer!), and headed back to customer service for the 'complimentary bridal wrap.' At Dayton's/Marshall Fields the bridal wrap was a standard white on white paper. The paper was very simple, but high in quality. The bow was also plain white, but again, the same quality as the paid wrap. Well - you can kiss the 'complimentary wrap' Good-Bye!

Now, the 'complimentary wrap' is nothing more then the standard white Macy's box with the logo across the top. This would be the same box you could get for ANY item you purchase in the store. Oh... but they will put a ribbon/bow around the box to cover the logo! My gift was already in a sturdy box from the manufacturer. Macy's did not have a white box that was an appropriate size for this box. I expressed my disappointment to the sales person. The poor, unsuspecting woman was from India and had only been employed at Macy's for two weeks. I assured her I was not upset with her personally, but rather Macy's as a company. She was so distressed by me and my remarks, she gave me a partial roll of the ribbon.... a LOT of ribbon, for me to use at home, since she had no 'complimentary' box to accommodate my gift! I swear, I was not a B-I-T- (you get the idea), although Mark may disagree. I swear I was VERY polite ( but pehaps terse and pronounced in my language and delivery) the entire time.

I miss Dayton's! My dad tells me the Midwest Macy's have seen a decline in sales since the change over. Big surprise!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Weekend Review

What were the Thomberg's up to this weekend...
  • Andrea and Marly make a quick trip to the pediatrician to check on Marly's cold on Saturday morning. She was just fine.
  • Nap time for all on Saturday afternoon. Even Mommy got 20 minutes, so everyone could fight their colds.
  • Play time with other buck-a-roos (young and old) at the Lyon's Party on Saturday night.
  • Mommy and Daddy stayed awake until 11 pm!!! watching a Netflix movie (Mr. Brooks) after returning from the the Lyon's Party.
  • Sunday Mommy read the scriptures at church.
  • Direct from church, the Thomberg's headed to Costco, ate the $1.50 hot dog lunch, used our $8 off diaper coupon (and spent a whole lot more on supplies), and gassed up the Pacifica too.
  • Sunday evening, Jesse, her boyfriend Tony, and Frank the basset hound came to babysit Marly and Dean.
  • Andrea and Mark dined out at Manny's Steak House in the new W Hotel to celebrate Brett's birthday.
  • The birthday crew headed up to the 27th floor to the bar at the W for a nightcap. Mark enjoyed a tasty mint martinee!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mid-week ramblings

It's Thursday and Mark has been battling a cold this week. Marly and Dean have snotty noses, and I am doing my best not to have my sore throat progress to the full blown symptoms.

Yesterday I wanted a meal that would be cold-friendly. I am not the greatest cook. If any special skills or techniques are required for a meal, this would not be a recipe for me. I do love my crock pot though (from my mom's big country kitchen. I can't recall if she gave it to me when I lived in St. Paul, or if I took it from the kitchen after she died). I love loading it up and plugging it in as I leave for work, knowing while I am away, something delicious is simmering and will await my return. I think I use it way more then my mom ever did.

Wednesday my crock pot was filled with beef minestrone soup. About 45 minutes before eating the soup, one cup of pasta and some cut squash needed to be added to the crock. I called Mark at the appropriate time and asked him to add these two ingredients. When I arrived home, I headed straight to the kitchen to check my masterpiece meal. I had added crushed garlic and fresh basil to the recipe, for an added oomph. I opened the crock and noticed a nearly empty box of whole wheat rotini sitting next to it.

"Umm.. .Mark, how much pasta did you put in here?" Needless to say, the soup was less soup like then intended (we had to add more broth). On the economical end, I have a nice Pyrex full of minestrone soup/casserole in my freezer. Perhaps a bit carb loaded??? Mark agreed to left-overs for tonight.

On an unrelated note, here are my dirty faced, wild haired kiddos last week - 19 months old. I do not take them out of the house in this state! Yes, they are both in stripes and that is intentional, if you are wondering if I still coordinate them.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Borders books supports Gillette!

I am working with a new fundraising sponsor for Gillette/Children's Miracle Network - Borders bookstores.

This Thursday through Friday (Oct 9-12), Borders will donate 25% of all purchases made using the special coupon shown here to Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare.

I am having a GREAT time working with some wonderful employees at Borders, and hope we can get many people into any of the metro area Borders with the coupon!

If you are in the market for some books... Click HERE for this coupon you can print. Feel free to forward the information and coupon to others.

I suspect Nanny Auntie Kelly will be taking Marly and Dean on a little excursion to the Coon Rapids Borders to pick out a few items on Friday. Dean likes to eat his board books... It may be time to replace "Goodnight Moon" or any of our Sandra Boynton board books.

Click HERE if you would like to sign up for our Gillette E-newsletter!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Weekend recap of reunions

This weekend I had the opportunity it catch up with several college friends from various circles. On Friday evening and Saturday morning, Jenny Lyons and I hung out with our friend Molly Dellwo. Molly (and Jenny) and I studied abroad together in England. We lived up 120 steps in Upper Diana at the Alnwick Castle. It is best not to start on memories, as I could lose pages of text to this period of my life. Molly supervises corporate travel programs for Carlson and has spent the last seven years on the road and traveling the world. She was in town this past weekend and had pizza with the Lyon's & Thomberg Families on Friday night, spent the night at Jenny's, then on Saturday I met the two of them for a delicious brunch at the Clicquot Club Cafe in Minneapolis.

Sunday I enjoyed seeing several women from my sorority at SCSU - Delta Zeta. Marly and I attended a baby shower for Angela (Clement) Reda. I was delighted to spend a bit of time with our friend Holly, and see Amy, Melissa, Trista and Deanna. Angie and I lived together in the DZ house on the corner or 6th and 6th...or was it 7th and 7th. To mention a single favorite memory, it would be battling bats one summer in our basement/cave apartment at the sorority house!

Anyway, somewhere between the reunions, Mark and I had "date night." We saw the Dutchess at the Roseville theater. Although our evening was anti-climactic, on the rare occasion I go out alone with my husband, I surely attempt to savor the time, and not just talk about parenting!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Visiting a friend

Earlier this week my friend Amy (Degnan) Schaffer flew into town from her home in Kansas. She came to visit her mom with her week old son - William.

Who is Amy? Amy and I met when we both lived in Duluth and worked at KDLH Newschannel 3 (CBS affiliate). I was working part time on the assignment desk and doing some reporting, after completing an intership at the station. Amy then got hired on as a full time reporter (a position I had applied for.) We were both fresh out of college. When she arrived in Duluth, she was shacking up in a hotel, while searching for an apartment. After completeing his own TV intership at a competitive station, my then friend only Mark had departed as my roommate in Duluth for a job in Alexandria, MN. This left me with a two bedroom apartment lease, an empty room, and need for someone to pay the rent. I walked up to Amy on her first day on the job and pretty much said, "Hey, you want to come check out my apartment?" She looked friendly and nice. We have been friends ever since. We also made great roommates. I spent many mornings yelling at her to wake her up. Seems alarms were never very effective for her. After Duluth, I moved to Madison, and she moved to Witchita (both of us moved on to climb the TV job ladder.)

We both got married, naturally. We both left TV news. Amy returns home to MN to her mom's house in Eden Prairie for holiday's and family events. This red head is a regular visitor at the Degnan house the day after Christmas. They can pretty much just expect that I am going to show up.

Anyway, Amy came back Tuesday with her new son (leaving hubby and two daughter's at home) to introduce the babe to Grandma Maureen. Amy's mom Maureen is in my prayers DAILY... more then once a day. She is battling cancer. Amy's mom is a very special woman. Over the years, she has touched and warmed my heart in a very mom-like way. When I got married I had a very tough time with out my mom. Somehow Amy's mom reached out it just the right way, at just the right moment, and for this, I will hold her dear forever. It was something little and simple, but it mattered so much to me. Maureen went on to lay out my whole wedding program for me... just because she wanted to help!

Yesterday, I popped over to Eden Prairie for a quick visit to Amy, her new son, and her mom. I will continue to pray for all.


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