Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Diversions and Detours

Yesterday I had a dental appointment in Roseville first thing in the morning... so I later headed to work via Lexington Avenue. Several blocks after Como Park and before University, a neatly created, hand made sign directing drivers to "pumpkins" caught my attention. I made the snap decision to turn right at the next street, and headed in the direction of the arrow. This is what I discovered three blocks later...

It was so picture perfect. I put my cash in the metal lock box next to the wagon and loaded my treasures into the Twinner's car seats....

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Weekend Stuff

All summer my kids were doing damage to their eyes and skin because they never wore their hats outside. INSIDE their hats were a favorite play thing on Friday afternoon. Once again, Marly had on her tulle skirt. She gets it out nearly every day. I am so glad I nabbed it off the clearance rack (with an additional coupon) at Gymboree before Piper's fairy birthday party!

*See the leather chair - the $4.95 blue throw pillows from Walmart did NOT make the cut... nor did the ones I purchased from TJ Maxx last week. Back to the drawing board. I have now decided we are opposed to blue in the throw pillows. I need HELP from Young House Love!*
Saturday afternoon my cousin Kris, daughter Marissa, and her husband Rick came to visit. Marissa had a soccer game in Faribault, and they drove an additional hour and 15 minutes north to visit us and deliver a snow blower! We were DELIGHTED to have them. We had Brett and Rachel over too, and I made plain old lasagna for supper. I pushed it a tiny bit close on the time line though... I arrived home from the grocery store about 17 minutes before they arrived! Of course during the day, Mark and I were trying to do "just one more thing" to get the house in order. I browned the meat for the lasagna (but didn't get everything into the pan), finished hemming the curtains, and Mark put up the last rod by the table. He fixed the kid's curtain rod, which Dean had pulled down weeks ago, and we hung up TWO things on the wall in the living room. (This is progress folks!) I arrived home from the store with just enough time to get the wine in the fridge, and the bags put away. I woke up Mark after they pulled in the drive. He had been at the 'Bou from 4 to 7 am for a special coffee order and needed a nap.

The kids with cousin Marrisa!

Later in the evening Dean and Marly showed off their Halloween costumes for Brett and Rachel, but you will have to wait to see them. Next Dean modelled the afore mentioned tulle skirt. Brett was NOT impressed. What did we tell Dean earlier in the day, "Do not put on the skirt when uncle Brett is here!"

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall is HERE!

Hope everyone is enjoying this CRISP, rather blustery Monday! Yes Cindy - Summer is now official gone!

It is one of those days I would like to be curled up on my couch with a good book and a cup of coffee, watching the leaves fall outside our windows, with the Twinner's happily played with each other at the foot of the couch. In my dream world, there would be some warm baked goods too.

Yeah right - In all actuality... I don't bake. I would get to read only a few paragraphs, then end up spilling my coffee, and then Marly and Dean would get bored with their puzzles and crayons, and I would try and ignore them for a few more minutes, and then I would head to the kitchen for a rag for the coffee, while Dean would start to color on the wall, and then I would need to find the Magic Eraser, and then Marly and Dean would get in a tussle....and both would start to cry.... oh.. and then I would realize someone needs to rack all those leaves!!!

: ) smile


Wishing all of the farmers a safe, successful and bountiful harvest.

Other random tidbits. Today we broke out the long sleeve shirts. Marly and Dean have on 2T Gap shirts they wore at their birthday last year, and they are still plenty big. Marly has on GAP Jean's in 18-24 months and they fit just fine. I often buy two of the same, so they are actually boy jeans. Dean's are too short... and STILL too big in the waste. He has on 2T jean's from Gymboree with the button adjustable waste. VIOLA!. I know Marly's 2T jeans are most likely going to be WAY TOO LONG! Good thing she can have Dean's other pair from GAP. I desperately need to find the box of kid's clothes that has whatever the kids wore last winter. I know there are shirts, etc. that will still fit... or maybe it is in a drawer right now that Nanny Auntie Kelly organized that I haven't looked at all summer because it was all long sleeves...

Friday, September 25, 2009

REFLECTION OF MARLYS. In my heart I know...

...what kind of a Grandma my mom would have been.

Okay folks, I am just going to let it all flow out, so click to another site now, or settle in...

I know it must be fall rushing in that is prompting my commuter reflections about GRANDMA Marlys to and from work these days.

Most of my blog readers knew my mom, but I will describe her anyway. Her full time job was "doing" for others. (And her "doing" often revolved around us kids first). In her lived life over the years, during the fall season she would have been in the shack at the grain set up dumping trucks. She would have been making meals for men, and cleaning up her big farm kitchen afterward. She would have been cruising the countryside from farm to farm meeting and moving vehicles with my aunt. She would have been baking huge batches of chocolate chip cookies, then letting them cool on newspaper on the center island, preparing them to freeze in Tupperware. She would have been heading to JoAnne Fabrics in Hutch to get material for Brett and my Halloween costumes, and then at the sewing machine in her basement sewing room late at night. She would have been mowing all the lawn, and the road ditch, and between all the trees, and my Dad's ultra lite runway. She would have been visiting my Grandpa. She would have been cutting some one's hair in a kitchen somewhere...

She would have been shopping for clothes and the needs for the season ahead for her kids....

If she were alive and well TODAY... I miss what she would be "doing" for Marly and Dean.

In the expressions that follow... PLEASE don't think I am being materialistic. My expressions are something I know and feel in my heart of hearts. 9 years and two kids later these feelings prompt pangs of grief.

I know she would have discovered my love for Gymboree and shared it with me. Looking back, my mom always dressed Brett and I neatly and nicely, for church and daily life. I had multiple church dresses for each new season (most of which she made). Brett had little dress pants and ties (his were bought). I remember going to Jandy's on Main Street in Hutch for new Weather Tamer winter coats. I don't think those exist anymore. I remember getting shoes at Buster Brown in Southdale. I had narrow feet, and this was the best place to get shoes that fit right. She wasn't looking for something trendy, nor did she seek out a fancy logo on the clothes, shoes, or coats. She was looking for a good fit and good quality to best meet her kid's needs. It took time to drive all the way to Edina to get me shoes, but it was important to her.

I highly suspect my mom would have geared up her Twinner grandchildren in Gymboree, Stride Right Shoes, and nice winter coats... and would have had fun doing it. If she didn't want to let my Dad know what she spent, she would have hid it in the trunk of her car (which my Dad knew anyway), or used her "hair cutting cash" she stashed in the cupboard above the stove. (In her lived life, some of it would have been from her dad/my grandpa...because she was often "doing" something for him, including cutting his hair or setting my grandma's hair once a week when she was alive.)

I miss how my mom shopped for me (and with me). And, I AM MY MOTHER'S DAUGHTER. I now understand I outfit Marly and Dean like my mom outfitted Brett and me! What a revelation (and a relief actually) to finally get it! For me to feel I best meet the kids needs, I take TIME, and make the extra stop, or go on line because I feel I am better providing for them (like my mom did for me).

I mourn how she would have shopped for Marly and Dean (with me and without me). I actually think my mom would have ventured into the INTERNET WORLD for the Twinners!!!

As I really delve into it, I mourn the TIME she would have given to help me support their needs, and "doing" for all of us. If she were alive and well, she would have learned how to navigate the route to my house in suburbia to spend time with the kids, she would have babysat, she would have stayed over to give Mark and I a weekend night out, she would have had us click in the car seats and taken them back to farm, etc. Of course... we would have been out at the farm a lot anyway. I miss so much the TIME she would have spent with Marly and Dean. (oh.. and Grandma's kitchen hair cuts would be SOO much cheaper then Kidz Hair!) When she was not with us, I bet she would have been at the sewing machine I now have creating something for the kids, or our home, and "doing" even more.

Thanks for letting me take a moment to acknowledge these feelings...(and the time that has been taken away from me.) I also want to acknowledge this is part of my difficulty with working full time. I want to be a "doer" like my mom was, and I don't think I can...

Oh good gracious... ENOUGH already. Back to reality please!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Home Improvement

Last weekend we decided to fore-go two party invitations and hang around town to work on home improvement projects. I always feel guilty skipping out on or declining invites, and feel angst for the fun happening without me, but we really had a productive weekend.

Straight away from church on Sunday we drove down to IKEA. After closely examining their catalog, we had several purchases in mind.

Potting the plants we purchased below was the kids' project...

Besides the trio of plants, we picked up the small white side table below and two chairs to add to the those we already had. We needed additional seating for our table, and simply wanted something that would mesh nicely with the four we owned.

We put together our three big purchases while the kids napped. We barely even fought, so clearly it wasn't very difficult. Once the kids woke, we potted the plants.

We also got drapes for our living/dining room windows. Only $9.95 for two panels, but I still need to hem them with the fabric tape. We are on the hunt for the perfect, affordable throw pillow to tie everything together. It is best not to tabulate how many Mark and I together (and while shopping individually) have bought and returned on our quest. Today I picked up two at TX Maxx. Maybe... just maybe... they will make the cut.

The blue throw pillow above was on clearance at Walmart for $4.95 cents. So far, they have NOT been returned, mostly because they make a good filler at less then five bucks each (versus the $35 ones I see and love, but choke on the cost). Please note this is all an ongoing work in progress.

Mark installed a new outdoor light on our patio, similar to the one out front. I wish I had snapped a photo of the ugly, small, dated, cracked light we replaced. I am terribly dissappointed at the expenditure for the fixture, because Costco carries a model for $27, but it just isn't quite the right style.

Painting continues on the doors and molding in the lower level. The door knobs have also been removed. Upstairs we have pewter toned handles. Downstairs, the original brassy knobs remained. We have a long way to go...

But... we have come a long way too... (closing day photos)...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ramblings on Wednesday!

Yesterday my co-worker Becky and I went on a bit of a CMN sponsor visit tour of the metro. First we headed to the St. Louis Park Costco. They were donating a gift card so I could purchase an auction item for a fundraising event being hosted at a national DQ conference. We picked up the card, said our hello's, exchanged updates, and purchased the new IPOD Nano.

(And while there, we perused the merchandise, munched on a few samples, and I made a personal purchase of the kids' Halloween costumes. They were $9.99 each and a very nice quality. I could not buy costumes on E-bay for $9.99. I have checked. I would have liked to create something on my own, but even supplies at JoAnne Fabrics and some sort of sweatshirt or plan colored shirt and pant to go along with the supplies to create a lion or cat or something is more then $9.99. I wish I had the time to create... but I probably realistically don't. Plus... we need to get the kid's shoes for fall/winter, as they can't keep wearing sandals. Stride Rite wear well, but cost a lot more then $9.99 and they wear them every day for months, not one day. I need to be practical. I have to be practical...)

Next, Becky and I dropped off the Nano at the DQ headquarters .

(And while there, I ate a complimentary Dilly Bar from their cooler in the lobby for visitors. That is what it is there for! The wonderful lady at the reception desk offers me one every time I visit, and I almost never take her up on the offer.)

Finally we cruised along 494 to the Bloomington Walmart. The store just opened two weeks ago and we wanted to say hello to the managers.

(And while there, Becky picked up a bag of frozen shrimp. She was overwhelmed by the great deal. I picked up Halloween window clings for the kids.).

That concluded our sponsor visits for Tuesday, and we headed back to office!

(In case you are wondering, it is a big part of our job to visit our sponsors and make social calls to them. We also like our sponsors to know we support them not only for work, but choose to support them in our personal lives as well... so please don't think I am just goofing off on the clock. For us to know our sponsors well, we do need spend time at their business. Plus... we are women, and we multitask... and we were already there. It would be silly not to pick up what we need.)

Marly and Dean putting the Halloween window gel clings on the patio door in our kitchen.
(We are very happy with this Anderson door we had installed along with our front door. The old one was a rickety, single pane, non-safety glass French door. It leads to our patio. We were in constant fear the kids were going to push their hand right through the old door...)

Marly and Dean ripping their window clings to shreds a short time later.


(Marly and Dean tried on their costumes when I got home from work. Marly didn't want to take hers off. To get her to cooperate, Mark let her put on her favorite tulle skirt. Dean just decided he was done with pants for the day.)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Not Me! Monday...

I enjoy lurking on a wide variety of blogs, including a woman named McMama. She is a mom to 4 and a photographer and blogger by trade. She has quite a following. Every Monday, she has a 'Not Me! Monday' post. Thousands of followers add their two cents.

Here is my two cent confession for Monday.

I most certainly did NOT lose site and sound of one of my Twinners last night right before starting bath time, while I was assisting second Twinner on the potty chair. I most certainly did NOT leave the second Twinner unattended while searching for the first naked Twinner. I most certainly did NOT run circles upstairs and downstairs in my home shouting the name of the first Twinner loud enough for individuals who might pass by outside to hear. I most certainly did NOT frantically peer out the windows still shouting, before frantically running outside. I most certainly did NOT circle the outside of the house only to find the first Twinner outside, naked, and playing on the small hill adjacent to the NEIGHBOR's garage (just a few feet from my own home). I most certainly was NOT chuckling when I scooped up my precious little Deaner, who was happy as a naked clam when I found him (wait.. aren't all clams always naked...). This most certainly did NOT happen before 7 PM when it was still light outside, so any of my suburban neighbors who might have been outside could see my skinny naked jay bird.


Nope, Mark was NOT at Super Walmart at the time of the above occurance purchasing yogurt, fruit, milk (oh.. and curtian rods), because NO we did NOT run out of both skim and 2% milk, so that our kids only had water to drink most of Sunday.

Do you have any confessions to share. PLEASE feel free to post a comment with me! By the way, ...Please don't turn me in to Child Protection either!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Miracle Jeans Day

Today was Miracle Jeans Day at Gillette! This was a national event promoted by Children's Miracle Network. You guessed it - We all paid $5 to wear jeans as a fundraiser for our hospital. Can I tell you what a difference a simple wardrobe change can make to your attitude about heading to work on Wednesday! Staff were all smiles when I entered our admin building today.

My co-worker Becky and I.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy 2nd Birthday Wilson....

Saturday the Twinner's and I headed out to Jan and Sheldon's on Lake Allie for a birthday party for grandson Wilson. Who doesn't like a birthday party at the lake on a hot September afternoon??? Mark played a trump card, and stayed home. He said, "Think about how much painting I can get done if the kids are gone!"

On a golf cart ride with Mariah and Michelle. Future farmer Wil is sporting a John Deere cap.


If you are from Hector, can you guess who made the cake?

Yes it was Bunny Wolf. Yes... there is a lady in Hector named "Bunny" who makes delicious, lovely cakes.

We didn't leave Jan's until after 8:30 pm! Naturally the kids slept most of the way home. Laura sent 2 pieces of cake home for Mark, which he inhaled when I finally returned at 10:30.

While I was away, Mark was painting the doors and trim in our basement white. Upstairs, the woodwork had all been painted white... and it needs to be carried out in the lower level. Slowly but surely it is looking brighter, since completing the task requires priming and several coats for full coverage.

Froggy Friend

The kids found a frog in the yard on Sunday.
Isn't it great to view the world through the eyes of a toddler!

Evidently, Mark found his Twinner's to be more photogenic then the frog...since no close ups were captured of 'Freddy'!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Andrea has a case of the Monday's!

Today I have a case of the Monday's. Thankfully my children, for the most part... did NOT. I woke up with a slight headache around 5 AM after Mark had left for work. All was quiet, except for my mind... which swirled wildly from one thing to the next, to the next, to the next - from personal to work and back and forth. Anxiety followed.

Several hours later, with the kids dropped off at Daycare Cindy's, while travelling down a side street in St. Paul, a small chiwawa crossed my path about two blocks from work. He or she was trotting up the oncoming lane on Jackson Street towards me. He or she was causing other drivers to slow - and me to CHUCKLE. It didn't cure my Monday's, but it diverted my mind for a few minutes.

How is your Monday going?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

SOLD! on Craig's List

These awning were attached to our 4 back windows when we purchased our home. Mark and Brett removed them on our second day of ownership. Yup.. Mark REALLY disliked the black aluminium coverings (and so did I).

The awnings have finally found new owners, after a second round of listings with upgraded information and photos on Craig's List. I will admit I was a PUSH over in haggling when the purchasing party arrived at the designate time last Thursday. The woman came up from Bloomington, did not speak English, and brought a translator (along with her daughter and cute little granddaughter). She brought LESS cash then I was requesting... but they were all so polite, and I was so determined to get these ugly items out of my yard. I accepted her offer (she wanted all 4, thank goodness!) with out much fuss. What the heck were we going to do with them anyway???

Cash in our pocket!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Plain Jane Thursday Photos in the Digital Age

The beauty of the digital age is the ability to take TOO MANY photos at any moment in time with no real cost to the person behind the lens. The beauty of the blogging age is the ability to share these photos and expound upon them with no real purpose (beside providing myself an opportunity to write and record).

Hey... if your not interested - click to another site! Probably someone else blogged something more interesting about Thursday.

The U of M has just unveiled their new apple hybrid, which is a combo of the famous Honey Crisp and the Zestar. The new apple is called the Sweet Tango. It was available for purchase on Thursday at select upscale Minnesota grocers. Mark is now overseeing management of the Lunds Caribou at 50th and France, so he picked up a sampling of the delicious fruit while visiting this site. It is quite tart and very crisp. All of the Thomberg's give the apple two thumbs up.

Man... the Twinners are a bit dirty at day's end! I did daycare pick up and drop off Thurday, which is rare. I arrived home just after 4 pm, so I had a little time to do some digging in the back yard. The kids assisted. Typically, I do the drop off just after 8 am, and Mark does the pick up before 4 pm, but Mark had a double day on Thursday.

Not related to the apples, here are two of the neighbor kids - Alera and Michael. Dean saw them from the patio and immediately wanted to go say 'Hi' to his buddy Michael. They are great kids and so very polite. This was their third day of school. The bus picks up Alera (along with the other middle school kids) right on our corner as we are heading to daycare, so the Twinners see the whole neighborhood slew every morning when we load the car.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Conclussion of Summer

Our summer concluded much the same way we started it on Memorial Day. We spent time as a foursome at our home this Labor Day... and it was a perfect, magical day.

The hours slipped by in the yard and on our patio, doing a little work and a lot of playing. NOT pictured - Me hosing, scrubbing and cleaning up our front side walk and cement drive.


Wild curls on little Miss Marly.

Me watching the sprinkler action with a glass of wine.

On our deck, we noshed on cheese and cut salami from Costco through out the day. When I gave Dean his own plate at their Little Tykes picnic table he said, "ohhhhh - Fancy!"

Soaking up the last of summer. Mark also hooked the hose to the laundry tub to fill the Twinner's kiddy pool with warm water.

Over the past few months, we have watched our Marly & Dean become best friends. Surely they have their own identities, but we relish and embrace their twin-ness and encourage the relationship.

We live on a quiet street heavily travelled by bikers, runners, and dog walkers. Our house is on a corner that dead ends in one direction to a caldesac, so everyone coming by skirts our yard on two sides. M & D like to greet the passers-by. Just the other day Marly was yelling, "HI-eeeeeeeee!" Then she decided to introduce herself, and of course her bro, in one breath while vigirously pointing, "Marly..... DEAN!"

After a steak supper (eaten on the patio like Memorial Day), Mark decided to a create a new holiday tradition for Labor Day resurrected from a childhood memory of his own - Sundays on a Monday!

Look above - we now have furniture upstairs. Accessories and decorating NOT complete.

After spending a GREAT day at home, can I just say again... we LOVE our neighborhood and our home. It has been a wonderful move for us.

Hope you all had a GREAT summer too!

Monday, September 7, 2009

The State Fair

We had a great day at the State Fair on Friday. Once Mark got home from work we were out the door. We arrived just before noon. Mark loves to try his luck at free street parking. Every year he manages to hit the jackpot and find a spot on the street bordering Como Park. We stroll the few blocks to the main entrance.

We met my dad at the Food Building for Cheese Curds (but not before we quickly consumed corn dogs and deep fried pickles and cream cheese). We ate plenty and went into virtually every barn. Don't tell Dean we missed the llamas! In one of the horse barns I was nearly peed on by one of the giant creatures. Surely Mark thought it was the funniest moment of the whole day. I would have to agree, as I lept out of the way with a start and and a yelp.

Behind Dean is Deano the Giant Bore!

Marly just wanted to take a nap...who cares about the pigs!!....but first... a carousel ride!

The day is more enjoyable if you DO NOT add up what you spent on getting in and eating, and eating, and eating!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

State Fair Countdown!

It is no secret the Thomberg's love the State Fair! We are heading to the 'Great Minnesota Get Together' this Friday.

The last two years we attended, they were changing out the cow favorite place! That was on a Thursday. I hope we are safe on Friday. We plan to meet my Dad as well. Big surprise - He loves cows too!

This will be the Twinner's 2nd trip to the Fair. We didn't take them their first year of life. I did take my back pack breast pump and used the Lactation Station at the FM 107 area (TMI???). That was the last year Mark and I volunteered at the St. Cloud State Alumni booth in the Education Building. Last year we did drop by the booth so the kids could get their Huskies temporary tattoos!

Cheese curds, deep fried pickles with cream cheese, and fresh fries with vinegar... Here we come!

If you are at the Fair on Friday, give us a jingle. We actual fore-go naps for this event!


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