Monday, January 25, 2010

My FAMOUS Thrift Store Buffet!

This is the buffet table I bought at the Salvation Army Thrift store on University Avenue for $64 this fall...

This is my buffet after 2 quarts of white high gloss paint and six new brushed nickel drawer pulls!

Oh my gosh - Here is the nearly SAME buffet featured at The Lettered Cottage Blog. (I went to Young House Love clicked thru to All Things G&D, and then clicked to The Lettered Cottage and came across it.) My buffet is FAMOUS! According to The Lettered Cottage Blog, the photo is courtesy of "Cottage Living".

I don't think Mark would go for ribbon drawer pulls...?!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Communication 101 in 2010

I graduated from St. Cloud State in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science, double majoring in Mass Communications and Speech Communications. I graduate Cum Laude. But, 13 years after completing my degrees, I think I need some sort of update course in Communications (the word "speech" has now been dropped from the major). You see, I no longer seem to have a solid grasp of interpersonal communication with the current technology. Many of us apparently have no problem communicating with the "masses" though...because of Facebook, texting, tweeting, blogging, etc... But what about communicating directly, with one person?

Where am I going with this? Well, what is the best way to be in touch with individuals, friends or family for personal purposes?

Honestly, I think of the missed, lost, or neglected messages due to the fact that there are simply too many ways to communicate, and too many places to leave a message. Because of the multiple ways to send or receive a message, every single one of them is diluted in their effectiveness of reaching the recipient, and then actually being responded to.

Examples of interpersonal communication - E mail, text messages, tweeting, Facebook messages, VM at home, VM at work, VM on the cell phone, caller ID log if you choose NOT to leave a msg or you didn't listen to my message, comments on a blog, or snail mail with the US postal service... I guess.

Honestly... it is complex (and TIME CONSUMING) to keep up! With so many options (or distractions?) is there any time left to actually "chat" with true friends, one on one, exchanging meaningful information... (rather than a one line 120 character update about your reaction to what you viewed on TV last night?)

There are times when I long for the day when there was ONE home phone number for a family, with ONE machine to take messages (or the human who answered), and NO caller ID. You knew if the family was home, because if they were, they actually ANSWERED their phone. You knew if they were on the phone (thus being home) because there was a simple BUSY signal! How often do we simply CHOOSE not to answer a phone, because we don't want to be bothered with actually TALKING to someone (communicating DIRECTLY). We would rather listen to the message, or read the message, and then choose how we will respond and when. If someone actually has an EMERGENCY, and doesn't get in touch with us with their first course of contact, they quickly move on to the next method to contact us.

Back in the good old days, people actually ANSWERED A RINGING phone, because there might actually BE AN EMERGENCY! They actually HEARD their ringing phone because it was loud, and attached to the wall, with a curly cord. Back in the day... like all high school girls, I LOVED to lounge on my bed and TALK to my BF Cindy on the phone!

Now days, who EVER calls a home phone??????? Like many, Mark and I do not have a land line. Back in the day, we would have actually had to communicate with other individuals in a household to take a message. I actually miss this!

For many individuals today, a phone call to any number is the least preferred method of communication. (God forbid there is an answer, and we talk, converse, directly, right then... and there...)

Honestly.... Do you see what I mean?

It actually saddens me how this is shaping our communication with our friends and family in this decade. I know I am effected. In fact, I am blogging right now, which is a MASS COMMUNICATION in its truest form. I am just expounding on things we all know are true. Sometimes, I honestly fear we all may know both a LOT MORE unimportant things, and a LOT LESS important things about those dear to us because of mass communication (Facebook!?).

My brother told me a few years back, "If you want to get a hold of me, or tell me something, CALL ME! You are my sister for GOD SAKES! Pick up the phone. Don't e-mail me!" I truly respect this about Brett, and he remains firm to this even today. We don't text each other either. You see, we care enough about each other to talk directly, with our voices, on an even exchange.

Mass Communication and Communications are NOT the same thing. As a society, we have become pros at communicating with the masses, and I feel with each key stoke on our fancy phone, laptop, etc... we move a teeny tiny bit farther from true interpersonal communication. You see interpersonal communication takes more of an investment of ourselves, our time, and our emotions. But my point is, to be true to friendships and family, I think this investment is pertinent.

So...for myself, I will make it a goal to be conscious that "mass communication" is NOT a direct connect! I will be conscious to invest of myself for those I value. (Most certainly I will also continue to blog. Tune in and out as you please! My best friend has never once visited my blog (I don't think). That is just fine by me. We usually chat several times a week.)

Unfortunately, I think society and technology are working against me. At the moment I don't text, I don't twitter and tweet, I rarely post about myself on Facebook. I still like personal e mails to individuals through their actual e mail account too. Shall I call myself a "purist"? Surely not, since I am a blogger! I will tell you though, with blogging, I do feel I get to share the whole story, and emotion with all of you.

So, the truth is, I have no clarity... I just wanted to bla bla on my blog about my observations!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Eye Twitch Meet Tonic

Today my great coworker/friend and I were at an off site meeting. On our return trip back to the office, I commented my eye had been twitching for a while, and it was beginning to drive me batty. I figured I would need to eat a banana when I got home. (I thought a banana would help because Mark told me years ago the twitching had something to do with potassium, so a banana was the cure).

Molly commented to try Tonic. Tonic Water? I can't recall what she told me that Brian told her was in it... but it seems to cure that annoying twitch. Molly is quite intelligent, and better yet.. her husband (Brian) is an Optometrist (oh, and I am positive he is quite intelligent too!).

(If you live in, around, or anywhere near St. Paul - I give the Highland Family Eye Care my glowing recommendation).

Anyway... this tonic thing sounded like a VERY good plan to me (Grey Goose, Grey Goose). Mark had a work dinner meeting, so I was on kid pick up detail, thus had to shorten my work day. As I made supper for the three of us (left over lasagna and fresh steamed broccoli), I decided to put the tonic to the test. Well...the truth is, my eye wasn't actually twitching anymore, but it REALLY felt like it might start again at any moment! So, I got out the tonic (and the Grey Goose of course). I mean really, who is going to drink JUST tonic!

Anyway, I really enjoyed my tonic (and Grey Goose). My eye is MUCH better too! I am sure the TONIC did the trick!

Thank you Molly (and Dr. Snyder)!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Differences - rural vs urban vs MY reality...

After living in a metro area for more then ten years, I have come to notice many subtle differences between urban area homes versus rural homes and in lifestyle choices.

Many months back, I mentioned Mark and I bought a vacuum. Honostly, we made a considerable investment in this necessary home cleaning tool. We bought a top of the line brand at a vacuum store. I STILL cringe at what we spent... but I do not plan on buying a vacuum AGAIN for about 18 years! (Seriously! Plus we had special needs with the kind of carpet existing in our home.) Below is a model of the beauty that now resides in our upper hall closet, or lower furnace room, depending on where we last vacuumed. I hope it was money well spent. Below is a model or style of vacuum coveted by women in the country ( my mom! Oh.. and my aunts have them too). There it is folks - CENTRAL VACUUM! (Insert vocal AHHHS! here.)

I bet many of you born and raised in a metropolitan area didn't even know this type of home maintenance product existed. It is a vacuum system installed into your home. There are pipes in the wall, a motor and collection system in your garage or basement, and little holes with covers the size of an electrical outlet throughout the house where you attach your hose and floor unit. Quite a system! Let me tell you from experience, these things have power! (and they last forever).

When my parent's built our house back when I was in the 8th grade, my mom got central vac. My parents stuck to a budget. My mom had a regular tub in her master bathroom (nothing extra big or elevated, no jets) but she got CENTRAL VAC! What does that say about the priorities of a farm wife! Our house was around 3,000 square feet and we had two plugs/wall mounts upstairs and two down. We also had a VERY long hose and two different floor units (one for carpet and one for limoleum) that had a special home in a custom built cabinet in my mom's HUGE laundry room (further insight to life on the farm).

I have yet to encounter ONE SINGLE metropolitan home with central vac (including new or newer construction). I wonder why this is? I know people in the country (my aunts...) still use central vac today. (Although when my dear friend Cindy built her farm home several years back... she didn't get central vac, but does have a nice bath tub....)

I didn't think 'cenral vac' was just an '80's thing or a Melberg thing... but now I am not sure? My aunt has a cabin they built just a few years back. She has central vac in her cabin....

Anyway, as a farm girl now transplanted to suburbia, I have taken to wasting time contemplating/blogging about how location and lifestyle effects what is considered a luxury, necessity, an item you don't want to live with out, or styles and variations that are common place in the country and unknown to suburbites... (crosages on Mother's Day)

I also conteplate how much of my "REalities" as a farm girl are really "MELBERGalities." I also suspect my mom's desire for a top of line vacuum cleaner somehow lent itself to our own Riccar purchase. (I will alert you though, Mark wanted a high quality vacuum, and I was the one dragging my feet before the purchase!)

Thoughts? Insight? Once again, it leads me down the road of how VERY different my children's life will be compared to my own, for so many reasons.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kelly's House!

About once a month or so, Auntie Kelly takes the kids for an overnight on a Saturday. It's the best. Before Christmas, she e mailed asking to take the kids last weekend. You Betcha Kelly!

So, starting on Thursday, Marly and Dean were a chorus of "Kelly's House? Kelly's House?" in anticipation of the weekend.

They played outside.
They played inside!

On Saturday morning Miss Marly requested special "pony's" (as in pony-tails). She wanted special hair to go visit her Auntie.

These are her bows after playing outside in her warm hat.

Of course there was PJ party!

THANK YOU KELLY & PAT for taking the kids for these overnights to give Mark and I time to ourselves. It means a great deal to us.

In case you are curious, Mark and I had lunch at the Good Earth, ran retail errands, went to see 'It's Complicated'. On Sunday we did our Costco run solo, and then picked up the Twinners.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Please Give!

Please give the the people in need in Haiti. Please know every donation helps, even a small one. Please know YOU can make a difference. I do not have a long list of blog followers. I do not have a wide circle of influence. But, I want to reach out to my regular readers (all ten of you) and ask you to give, and ask others you know to give as well. Perhaps you have already made a donation.

If you bought a latte or coffee (or plan to this week), perhaps you can donate $4 too. Do you have $10 to spare... go on line and donate it. When I look at the generation younger then myself... twenty somethings who mostly don't read my blog (but have a home, a job, a car), I hope they will be inspired to give something to the people of Haiti. I hope this will also inspire them in a lifetime ahead of philanthropy.

There are many places to give. Heck, Mark and I just gave to the Red Cross at the Costco register on Sunday. With all we spent on OURSELVES, it only felt right to add a few dollars on for those in Haiti who do NOT have a cart brimming with food (who are HUNGRY and THIRSTY right now). Our receipt clearly indicates our Red Cross donation, and is tax deductible.

I have include two links in case I have inspired you to grab your check card RIGHT NOW. I picked two organization where I felt resources would be wisely used and would be accountable. There are many other organizations equally worthy.

Clinton Bush Haiti Fund
Red Cross

You can also go on to my friend Molly's blog and see how her family is giving and involving the blogger world by clicking HERE.

PLEASE GIVE. Now or in the weeks ahead, our funds are needed.

Friday, January 15, 2010

These are the days...(insert Indigo Girls song here)

My kids often end up in our bed in the middle of the night. In the past I have tried to resist this. I have tried to teach them to be good sleepers in their OWN bed. As you may already know, we have always, always put the Twinners to bed at a baby or toddler friendly time in their OWN crib/bed, and never started a night out in ours.

At nearly 3, Marly occasionally wakes up in the middle of the night crying. Dean is even more likely to wake up, cry... or wake up and simply toddle to my bedside, to be scooped up and snuggled in. Honestly, giving in to their desire is the path of least resistance. It is the path most likely to lead to MORE precious sleep. More sleep is very important to a man who works at a coffee shop, and begins his day well before the crack of dawn. Often though, I resist letting the Twinners into our bed. (Which upsets Mark as they are crying at 2:45 am.) I have thought it negative for their greater sleep habits to indulge them in this way.

This week I have changed my thinking on the subject. You see... I read this post by McMama about the times and moments your wee ones WANT and NEED you being GONE before you know it. She talks about cherishing and living in those moments. Before I know it, Dean and Marly won't WANT to sleep in my bed. Just this morning, McMama updated her thoughts in this post. She mentioned the last night she was going to bring one of her MSC (Many Small Children) into bed with her, just because SHE wanted to.

So... Marly and Dean, if it is the middle of the night and you want your mommy and daddy, "Come on in!"

Just last night, Marly did wake up crying. I went in to comforter her. I did bring her to our bed before she woke Dean up too. (Indeed, at first I tried to resist. Indeed, Mark just said to bring her in. He always does) She found a comfy spot between Mark and I. Sometime around 4:30 AM, Dean wandered in on his own. He had been fussing somewhat prior to his entrance. He found his own warm, comfy spot on my side. Mark left early. Like normal, he barely interrupted my own slumber. It was comforting and calming to wake this morning with my own precious brood snuggled next to me. This morning was a morning to cherish. There are so many times like that, and I will not let them slip by me.

Too bad we don't have the room or the finances for a king size bed!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Men (husbands) are who they are (and it sure annoys me)

Last night I noticed the garbage was full just before Mark announced he was leaving to run an errand. I quickly went to the pantry, removed the bag, and said, "Could you please bring these out to the garbage when you leave?" I also grabbed the recycle bag. In suburbia it is all mixed, so I just throw it in a paper grocery bag kept inside the pantry near the garbage. "Sure." he said. (Please note I did NOT ask him to remove the bag himself, or put a new bag in place.)

I commented I didn't think he had taken the trash out once since we moved in (6 months ago). "Sure I have." he said, but then forgot the trash at the top of the stairs. As he was putting on his shoes at the entry, I again said, "Can you take this trash out?" He replied, "Sure, if you bring it down to me." So I did. He finished zipping his jacket and left the house. I noticed the bags sitting at the bottom of the steps. I rushed out to the garage as he was pulling out. He rolled the window down. I yelled, "Would you PLEASE put these in the trash!!!" as I dropped them on the floor of the garage.

You get the drift... and yes at this point I might as well have put them in the large bins myself...

Mark returned home. Before entering the house, he did put the bags in their containers (I checked). Later, he drank a bottle of Izzy All Natural soda. When it was finished, he set the glass bottle on the counter (right next to the pantry). Many, many times I have noted Mark's recyclable items left there, and requested he PLEASE throw them away instead of leaving his trash on the counter for me to clean up behind him. I picked up the empty bottle, pulled back the pantry curtain, threw the bottle into the recycle bag, and asked, "Why do you always leave your trash on the counter??? Why don't you put it in the bag?? It is about a foot away?"

His response - "There is a recycle bag in there? I never knew that! You never told me."

Oh dear lord! I have kept the brown paper grocery bag in the pantry for this EXACT purpose since we first moved to our home (6 months ago). Maybe I should use my label maker and put a nice little sticker on each bag for Mark's benefit!

This solidifies my argument that he hasn't taken out the trash since we moved in.

The recycle bag (above)... and it's location inside the pantry (to the left in the lower photo, directly inside).
In Mark's own defense, he does vacuum, and will scrub a bathroom with out even being asked. He is a good guy... but good grief men/husbands (not just Mark) sure have their annoying qualities.

Mark also finds himself unable to get his laundry into a clothes hamper. I have asked many married women (both young and more mature) about their other half's use of this dirty laundry collection mechanism. From what I can tell through my research, this appears to be a universal problem with that other half. (No I do not ask Mark to wash laundry, fold laundry, or put it away. This would be a waste of my breath. I only ask that he put his DIRTY laundry where it belongs. He has a lot of excuses as to why he is unable to perform this task.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Red meet Red

Since the Twinners were little, little... Mark and I have red them 'Hop on Pop' by Dr. Suess.Meet 'Red' on page 3.
Meet Me!



Story time with Mommy.

Since the kids were little, little... they have turned to page 3 and exclaimed, "Ma Ma!" Mark SWEARS he didn't teach them this.

My name is 'Mommy,' but you can call me 'Red'!

*Really red hair this time around courtesy of Feria Sunset Blaze by Loreal.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Our weekend

I had a contented weekend. It was nice. I was calm. What more can I ask for! Friday I attended the 'Riverview Readers' neighborhood ladies book club. Only 3 people had read the book. Better luck on actual readers next month, but we all had a very nice time.

Saturday our neighbor girl Anna was on board to babysit. The Thomberg's were going out like real adults, to dinner with the Hentges. It has been a long time, and it was a GREAT night out... like real adults.

The Hengtes came and played with the kids a bit before we headed to a nearby restaurant in Champlin called Maverick's. Maverick's is a woodfire bar and grill a couple of miles from our house on the river. I have yet to actually sit in the dining room, so I have no idea if you can actually see the river. I do know that is has the right price point, decent service, atmosphere, old school decor with retro punches, and is a nice departure from the typical suburban chain. Mark and I have been there a few times for drinks, and decided it might be just the spot to take the Hengtes. It made for a great, casual night out with friends. As we invest in things near our home, I am sure we will be back often in the year's ahead, including with the Twinners.
There is live music at 9 pm every Saturday. I think it's neighborhood folks who come and play for free, but that is fine by us. We are old, we don't like loud stuff! (ha! ha!). The photo was taken on Doris's phone. A patron walked by, and out of the blue, asked if we wanted our picture taken. Maybe she sensed I was a blogger, Doris would instantly e mail it to me, and here it would be on Monday.

I know I am getting redundant, but is was really good for Mark and I to get out with other adults, like real adults. Am I repeating myself. You bet!

Sunday we all slept in. That's 8 am if you have kids!. We went to Brett and Rachel's for lunch (for city folks)/ dinner (for country folks). My dad joined us too.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Book Club... What I am NOT reading...

Here is what I am currently reading! A co-worker just borrowed me her hard cover copy since I have been too cheap to buy it. I am excited to read the conclusion to the Twilight series.

Below is what I am suppose to be reading for my neighborhood ladies book club TOMORROW night...

Yup.... I have NO IDEA what the book club selection is this time, and I have deleted the e mail with this important little fact.

Despite this lack of pertinent information, I will be attending the monthly meeting of the "Riverview Readers" anyway. We usually gather the last Thursday of the month, but it coincided with Thanksgiving and November was cancelled. An alternate/earlier December date was chosen, but the hostess needed to postpone. we are. Tomorrow's book club meeting is actually a Friday. You see, the hostess then decided it had been so long since we last met, we cneeded to shift to Friday so we would have more time to chat and sip wine, and maybe have a little more wine...

Yesterday when I got the RSVP reminder, I quickly 'Replied to all' I would attend, and PLEASE let me in even though I didn't read. The hostess replied to ME only, she also hadn't read the book...shhhh! The kicker is - SHE PICKED THE BOOK.

Like the prior 4 months, I am really looking forward to Book Club. I am enjoying getting to know these women better with each gathering. I can see the women have bonds with each other and their families. I want to build those relationships with my neighbors too. I want to invest our family in Riverview Lane, the place we call HOME, the place where I live, and the place I don't need to drive to.

I know many women who belong to a book club. This is the second book club I have attended/belonged to (not that you really 'join' or 'quit' most book clubs. Most appear more fluid.). At the first meeting of the first book club I belonged to, 12 women consumed 13 bottles of wine.... but that was back in the days when my gal pals were in our '20's, referred to ourselves as the "St Paulie Girls," were mostly single, and surely had no kiddlings. In both situations, wine consumption and catching up outweighed talk about the literary selection.

Do you belong to a book club? What is it like? Is the group based on geography, friendships, a specific genre of reading material? (My Dad belongs to a Non-Fiction book club that meets monthly at a book store in the Galleria. No wine involved...)

After reading my post, I bet you wouldn't invite me to yours?! I don't think I am the guilty one who drank MORE than a bottle of wine at that first book club all those years back...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Year's Eve photo review

Last Wednesday evening Heidi HB called to accept the Thomberg's invitation to a simple New Year's Eve dinner. It came with the stipulation they make the blog! Well.... you didn't even have to ask Ms. HB! Unfortunately, Thursday evening arrived and Jeff B was ill, so Heidi and Cale were on their own to join/brave our ROUSING (this term is used loosely and facitiously) toddler friendly festivities.

Here are the kiddos after our beef stroganoff dinner. Cale loved my fresh green beans baked with olive oil and sea salt, although I think he decided his chef/entertainer extrodiare for the evening was a wee bit nutty herself. M & D were such great hosts, they could not contain themselves long enough to sit at the table (set with china) and eat any of the nutty chef's food. The Twinners favored running circles around the kitchen instead, which was the perfect display of manners for our fine little guest, as he nibbled on his green beans.

After eating, we had a wild crazy toddler dance party (again these terms are used loosely)! Because of my Target bag/ shopping cart/parking lot mishap, a very quick trip to Walgreen's was made to gear up (again) with balloons, a new set of blowers, and poppers.

All we really needed were balloons...

...lots of balloons!

Our official New Year's countdown occured just prior to 9 pm. Heidi was assigned the task of noise maker, and given kids play band toys as props for her duties.

Happy New Year's!

Okay people, it is safe to say I am NOT crafty. The hat on my head (photo below) is my attempt at 'do it yourself' hats for the kids. I had this grand idea they should color them with markers (with adult supervision to avoid walls, furniture and faces) as a project. Only Marly would try to color hers (which is on my head below), but it was only about 2 minutes before she asked for plain, flat paper!

For full disclosure about our ROUSING evening, after Hiedi departed, Mark and I watched the New York CNN live version of the ball dropping snuggled under our comforter at 11 pm our time. Mark was coming down with a nasty cold and was asleep by 11:36 PM. After I pouted a few more minutes about being in bed so early on NYE, I drifted off to sleep too!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hanging out at Home!

Here's what you do when you have the entire week of New Year's off at home...

You take a hot bath and use your favorite new princess and frog towels (which were a Christmas gift from Auntie Rachel).

You bundle up, head outside in the cold, and make snow angels...

...after Mommy pulls you on a sled ride up and down the street...but before the hot cocoa. (No Boot Hoopla this year. I ordered the Snow Flurry from Land's End on line.)

Then one day you have your friends over for a play date...

...and give everyone a turn shopping around the living room. (Owen deVries)

You play with your baby dolls. (with P H-we)

If you are an adult at the play date, you watch your 'live' baby dolls run circles around the house, while gabbing and catching up, munching on Costco Butter Croissants with turkey or ham and cheese, drinking coffee, or sipping a little glass of mimosa.

Eventually, everyone needs to go home for a nap! (Jenny Lyons and Miss Vivian)

So you bundle up again for the cold. (Molly and Charlie deVries)

If your name is Marly or Dean and you are nearly three, it is best to snuggle up every afternoon, all cozy inside, and take a nice long nap too... (while mommy checks e-mail, types a blog, does laundry, preps supper, cleans up, wipes up, picks up, and generally enjoys quiet time each chilly winter afternoon - AT HOME!)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas Photo Review

Better late then never - a condensed photo montage of our Christmas. I will admit this is a relatively uncreative, blog-bla representation of our holiday, but better then nothing.

So, where is there a single holiday family photo of the Thomberg 4? There isn't one. We forgot!

How about one of Marly and Dean all cutsie in their Christmas ensembles in front of the tree or fire place? Yup - No photo. My goodness! You can't see it, but Marly has on little leg warmers with her GAP dress that match Dean's sweater. (Yes, I am the mommy to Twins who still attempts to coordinate them from time to time, and still dresses them simultaneously in the same brands.)

Here is what we do have (minus a LOT of photos of the Twinners opening gifts)...

Eating our wings and ribs dinner (along with cheese curds and jalapeno poppers) after church at home on Christmas Eve (since we did not travel to Jan's due to the weather). I am chuckling as I type. It doesn't look all that appetizing because it wasn't, but it will make for good story in the year's to come.

Christmas Morning - Santa left the kid's gifts downstairs by the fire place where he naturally entered via the roof. Of course we had left him some snacks the night before on the kiddy table nearby - Chex Mix and carmel corn for Santa, spinach for the reindeer, and a glass of red wine to keep the big man jolly (...oops, Mommy drank the wine!)

Out of order, but we are dressed and ready to head to Kelly and Pat's for Christmas dinner.

Marly opening a gift. Santa's wife must do his wrapping (Dayton's seam-less of course! Once you are taught to gift wrap to the department store specs in customer service by a 70-year-old named Eda, you can NEVER go back.)

Toys... Actually, Marly and Dean still don't really grasp Christmas morning. When they got up, they wanted to watch PBS cartoons like most weekday morning for a little while, and I had to ask them several times to go and see if Santa brought them anything.

Ham dinner at Kelly and Pat's in Wyoming (which is the next town north of Forest Lake). Thank you Kelly for hosting your first family holiday for us! I recently used the last of the ham left overs in a breakfast frittata.

A favorite Christmas gift of Mark and mine. Pat went and snagged TWO YEARS worth of photos off the blog to make us the photo album of our lives. It is FANTASTIC. Of course I always say, "Someday I will make an album..." and never have. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH PAT!

Marly and Dean got these very special gifts from their Uncle Jeff!

Merry Christmas all. To those of you who blog, thank you for sharing your Christmas.


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