Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Donate Life

April arrives tomorrow, and I wanted to alert you this is National Donate Life Month. Please consider organ and tissue donation after death for yourself or your family members. Please consider adding 'donor' to your driver's license if you have not already. PLEASE tell your family. Ultimately, it is their choice.

When my mom died (nearly 10 years ago) in a car accident, she was able to be a tissue donor. She died cardiac death, rather then brain death in a hospital, which is why she could not be an organ donor. My mom's driver's licence and will indicated she wanted to donate, but actually, it was my Dad's decision. Of course he did not hesitate and said 'yes' to the Red Cross when they called. He said take or use whatever you can.

All those years ago, when I learned of her death while at my own apartment in St. Paul, I was also alerted she would be a donor (which was no surprise). All those years ago, I thought the tissue recovery group was going to take my mom (whose body was at the St. Cloud Hospital) away before I could see her. I want all of YOU to know, if you choose to donate, it will not affect a families ability to see the body. It will also not change any wishes you have for your funeral.

My mom was able to help at least 48 individuals with her gift. Although I have never asked for details, this may have included skin, bone for many uses, various tissues and muscles, corneas, and heart valves. After my mom's death, the Red Cross informed my family about the donation process and updated me on my mom's gift. I became a volunteer speaker advocating donation for the Red Cross. I spoke to groups including driver's ed classes, nurses in hospitals, some sort of surgical technicians conference in Sioux Falls, SD, other donor families, and the Ramsey County and Hennepin County Medical Examiners offices.

After doing so many speaking gigs, I eventually applied for a job with the Red Cross Transplantation Services and got a position as a Transplantation Services Hospital Liaison. Basically, I was then paid to advocate donation and educate hospitals on the process. After less then a year with this national division of the RC, the division was sold to another larger and very reputable non-profit tissue bank. I went on to a new job, but continued to volunteer for the groups carrying out the tissue services in our area, until my own story became a bit tired from use!

BUT - I REMAIN a strong advocate of donation. For me, it helped bring some sort of positive element I could grasp to my mom's death. To this day, as I face new milestones in my own life, I think of the individuals who lives may have been enhanced or saved by my mom's gift, and their milestones.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Overkill perhaps???

As you all know, just a few weeks ago we hung these IKEA shelves designed to display photos. On it, we set out an 8X10 family photo and a 5X7 of each child taken by a professional photographer this past fall.

Just a few feet away, these two family photos hang in the living room as you come up the entry stairs in our split level home. The top photo was taken in November of 2008, and the threesome is from October of 2007.

A few more steps down the hall leading to our bedrooms and bathroom, we have displayed several wedding photos (by Deitrick Gesk, who took this fall's family photos).

Across from them hang a series of black and white photos of the kids from the 2008 sitting.

Hmmm - Here is a small framed photo from this year, which sits just BELOW the larger version on the photo shelves. Chris gave us this framed photo at Christmas. I put it out immediately because it went perfectly in our living area (which she knew of course)... but neglected to move it when I put up the larger version.

Oh.. and here is the coffee table on the other side of the couch. Yup - a smaller version of 2007.

Now we travel to the lower level. You guessed it, there is the smaller version of 2008.

Ummm - We do consider this overkill, and we will be having a decoroating DO OVER! We are not quite that conceded, I assure you!

Friday, March 26, 2010

March in Minnesota

Spring is in the air here in Minnesota. We haven't had a single flake of snow this March, which is a first in Minnesota's recorded history.

After work and before bedtime, we try and get outside and enjoy the weather!

The fashion "must have" of the season for the toddler set are garden boots!

Hmmm....Is "Hello Kitty" on backwards Miss Marly?

Raking under our giant weeping willow.

Last fall I planted 90 tulip bulbs from Costco in the back corner of our yard, and they have begun to emerge.

This spring I am attempting to protect them from becoming dessert for the deer.
Pew. It smells like pee!

Hope you all are enjoying the warm ups as much as Dean!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My New Purse!

For my birthday in February, I got this decadent new designer handbag as a birthday gift. I LOVED it from the moment I opened it. I have never had a real designer purse before. Chris bought it for me, and I know she spent a lot of time picking just the right one for me. It was a very special gift I delighted in.

I brought it home.... and put it in my closet. I got it out often to admire it, but the truth is, I was intimated by the leather object. You see, I worried my handbag was classier then it's owner!

Earlier this week I was in Chicago for work. We were staying on Michigan Avenue. I decided the trip would would be the perfect inaugural event for my fantastic new accessory. First we went to lunch on Sunday at a place called Grand Lux Cafe, and window shopped along the Miracle Mile. Inside the purse, I had my sort-of-sleek sunglasses from the Banana Republic Factory Store. I wore a black spring trench coat with it, also from the BP Factory Store.

Here is the purse one evening in the bathroom at Rebar, which is the bar inside Trump Towers. We went there one night for a drink after our work dinner.

Yup - a swanky destination for my classy handbag!

*If I can degrees (which I can, because this is MY blog), I had a drink concocted of jalapeno infused Belvedere Vodka, pineapple juice, lime and fresh cilantro. That's mixology at it's finest for $15!*

Here I am taking my picture with the purse in the mirror in the bathroom at Rebar. Of course THAT didn't work well!

Shirt - Black silk sleeveless with a tie bow from The Limited from like 2006.
Sweater - J Crew clearance cardigan from last season in pale pink.
Belt - J Crew, also in pale pink (full price... I almost returned it until the sales lady commented that it would be re-sold almost immediately because it was sold out everywhere.)
Chunky pink/bronze necklace - Target Clearance.
Long Necklace - Strings of freshwater pearls with a pink tinge purchased on our trip to the Big Island in Hawaii with Gretchen and Dan several years back.
Earrings - Gold hoops from Target.
Jeans - Banana Republic trouser jeans.
Shoes - black suede heals from Casual Corner when they were going out of business several years back. Okay that was probably like 6 years back.
Purse - The Luna by Dooney & Bourke!

So, now that my purse has been initiated, I am comfortable and ready to take it out and about for the more mundane activities in my life!

**The purse was also used locally and for the first time ever last Friday for Rachel's belated birthday dinner at Crave, along with Chris. Our babysitter commented on my cute outfit that evening. I consider that a SCORE for the mommy, when a 14 year old thinks your outfit is cool!**

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Proud of our Home Town Team!

God Bless the internet...

About an hour after my post below, my fellow blogger formerly from Hector, friend, and fine woman I USE TO BABYSIT FOR, Nicole Mages of Mages Mania commented to alert me the Lady Mustangs had lost.

Thank you for the quick update Nicole. She also noted NINE fan buses were chartered from Buffalo Lake-Hector. God Bless our wonderful home town.

Your ALUMNI remain PROUD!

Go Lady 'Stangs

I graduated from BL-H High School (Buffalo Lake-Hector for those of you who don't know your small town acronyms) about 17 years ago. Today this Home Town girl is cheering on her Home Town team!

The BL-H Girls Basketball team is playing at state TODAY, and I am mentally cheering them on.

I am sure you could guess I did NOT play sports in high school. (I was speech and drama geek myself.). I will also alert you the Mustangs did not generally excel in most any team sport. My entire high school career, the football team did NOT win a single game. The one notable sport in my time was volleyball. We did go to to state several years. I remember our family staying at a Days Inn in Bloomington to attend the games. Back then, it was a BIG DEAL.

I am sure it is a BIG DEAL today too! I AM EXCITED, and I DON'T LIVE THERE anymore!

My Dad is over at William's Arena right now watching the game. He called me at 10 pm last night to alert me, just in case I could come over. He also alerted me buses were chartered from Hector. Well of course! That's what you do in a small town!

My cousin Michelle's daughter (Mikayla) plays on the B-squad. She is quite young for B-squad! My cousin's husband (Mikayla's dad) helps coach B-squad.

Go Lady Mustang's!!!

*The photo above is our actual mascot. I grabbed it from our school district's web site. Pretty classy don't you think???!!! When our two small town schools combined when I was in the 6th and 7th grade, I think there might have been quite a debate about the mascot. The mighty Mustang won out, and s/he looks the same to this day...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Decorating with the Thomberg's

What do the Thomberg's do on Saturday nights after we put the children we love to bed???

We watch HGTV, drink wine, and decorate!

Mark and I feel our home is our sanctuary and our oasis, the center for our family. We want to make it comfortable, and truly and distinctly our own (on a budget of about nothing...)

So, after two trips to IKEA (because I changed my mind about the shelf size and location), we were ready to take the boring wall between our dining and living area from bla to brilliant. (Obviously I forgot to take a BEFORE picture & had to stage the props.)

The clock sculpture thingy above was taken down. The shorter IKEA shelves on the floor will be returned. I wasn't sure if we wanted two shelves, three shelves, or a combination.

Because Mark wanted to hit the studs, he also needed to drill new holes in the shelves to center them on the wall between our windows. After we were done, we couldn't find enough of the little white sticker hole covers, because now we had more holes(even though I had those ones that needed returning), and OF COURSE none of our projects turn out perfect (but remember... we're OKAY with that). I'll deal with the little sticker/cover issue later.

Whalla - We love our stud finder! We decided on two shelves of the same length (at a cost of $14.99 each).

Next we sat on the floor, stared at the empty shelves, and drank more wine for a while. We ran around upstairs and downstairs grabbing things from cupboards and boxes trying to find the right display combination. Wild, crazy Saturday night action!

The shelves turned out to be the PERFECT place to display two platters we love. There were from our Crate and Barrel wedding gift registry. As we approach our 7th anniversary, they have now found their perfect resting place (outside of the bubble wrap they were most intimate with for too many years).

This vase is from Tiffany's. It is a VERY, VERY special gift from my dearest friend Cindy. She gave it to me in it's beautiful robin egg blue box as a pre-wedding shower gift one day when we met for lunch at the Country Kitchen in Hutch. The egg was an Easter gift one year from Chris. Mark prefers to stick it in front of the unsightly screw with no sticker cover!

The shelf the following morning.

See the empty photo frames? The whole point of the shelves was originally to display photos & add "depth" to our decorating. Well...we hadn't yet printed any of our most recent family photographs taken last November!!

The finished project!

This is after a trip to the Costco photo counter the following Saturday to print family photos for less then $5 & a stop at JoAnne for the .99 fake flower.

I will admit it is not BRILLANT, but really, what were you expecting! We like it (mostly...)

**So here's the deal fine readers! We are very happy with our shelves, but it is a work in progress. The truth is, we will probably change out the family photos with something else!!!**

**Also, I haven't found just the right fake flower for the Tiffany vase.**

**And, we have also toyed with the idea of painting the space behind the shelves a different color. We have no idea what color that might be.

Decorating is very personal to both Mark and I. It takes us time to find that just right fit. We also love finding ways to decorate with and display things that are important to us - OR WE MIGHT JUST BE CRAZY!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The View from our Window

Spring arrived in full force on Sunday! After church there was no way the kids were coming in the house after they unloaded from the car. Mark and I flung open the windows and let the kids putter around out front while we puttered in the kitchen.

Fear not, we were peering out the open window ever few minutes to check on the Twinner's.

Here is the view from our living room window...

Okay, this one below is from the front of the house. Naturally the independence to be on their own was some what short lived as they moved on to other areas of the yard not visible from the windows.

Trike season is here again... but we may need to graduate to small bikes soon!

Anyway, I will confess the "view from our window" and all that comes with it reinforces our home choice as we work our way through the first year at our current address.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Mid Week Get Away!

For a great many past winters, our friends Gretchen and Dan have headed up to Breezy Point in the off season for a little get away from home & work. Many years ago (pre-kids) Mark and I joined them for a weekend. All those years back, Mark got a speeding ticket on the way, and the men indulged in too much Saki.

This year, Gretchen invited us to come play again with kids. Mark couldn't get away from work, and my schedule only allowed for a mid week visit, but it was an opportunity not to be passed up. So, Tuesday after work the kids and I headed up, and had a VERY NICE break from the usual routine.

Wednesday night the kids baked a cake with Gretchen... which is good.. since Mommy doesn't bake!
At the time the photo above was taken, P (who is 4) was at round two at the pool with her Daddy. The younger threesome stayed back.

Both Wednesday and Thursday morning were spent at the pool with a water slide just the right size for all the kids. The first day both Marly and Dean independently climbed the staircase OVER AND OVER and went down the slide.

On day two, Marly concentrated on her swimming skills. She paddled back and forth across the pool over and over. She announced to me at some point, "Mommy, I'm a good swimmer!' I think it is time for swimming lessons.

I am embarrassed to report this is probably only the second time in their life they have been in a pool. They did get to the lake often last summer, but not a pool!

Three ducks in a row. (P is missing from the photo because she wasn't feeling well on Thursday morning.)

THANK YOU H-we's for inviting us to play with you and get away!
As the whole thing played out, going mid week was squishing time off between work appointments, but the truth is, I really needed the break, and am grateful to have gotten it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thrift Store Bunnies, Meet your Hoody-Toody Pottery Barn Cousins!

Pottery Barn Bunnies - ($24 and $29 dollars respectively)

Salvation Army Thrift Store Bunnies - (59 cents each = $1.18 total)

Thrifts store bunnies after three coats of high gloss paint and spray on lacquer.

Easter Decor Savings - About $47.07

**Okay... I have to be an honest blogger, and pictures can be TOTALLY decieving! So...I must inform you I went a little (WAY) overboard with the spray lacquer. It is a bit drippy here and there, and yellowed the bunnies in some places. If you come to my house, DON'T LOOK TOO CLOSE!!! I won't let you pick them up. The truth is, I really NEED to learn some patience when doing my little projects! UP close, mine look like an elementary kid did them!

For full disclose - for all the projects Mark and I take on... well, they are NEVER perfect (not even remotely close) - AND THAT IS OKAY with us!!!

Just the same, I am HAPPY with the outcome... but I don't want ya 'all to think I got it all going on 'cuz I don't**

Monday, March 8, 2010

Marly and Dean's New Ride

Two years ago I purchased the Twinner's a Little Tykes wagon for $5 at our Mother's of Mulitples garage sale. It was worth just that much. It had been laiden with so much love prior to our use, the wheels bowed out a bit. Just the same, our Little Tykes wagon saw many trips around our town home complex in Blaine, and our current neighborhood along the river. She made many pulls to the park.

Alas, I got her out last week when the weather warmed. At the kids current size and weight, she couldn't cut the snuff. With an envelope of the kid's birthday cash in the cupboard (and a few gift cards), I knew it was time to upgrade. Of course I planned to search for a used model on line first before shelling out the $79 retail. Guess what? - Friday a wagon was posted on my M.O.M.S message board, "Like New Radio Flyer Wagon - $40"

I e mailed immediately, and got a call back in less then a hour. A mother of QUADS was selling the wagon. She oringally owned two. It was barely used because it turns out ONE stay at home mom, with TWO wagons, pulling FOUR kids doesn't work so well.

I picked it up Saturday morning. Four 5 1/2 years olds (3 girls/1 boy) peeked into the garage with their footie jammies to see where their former toy was headed. I don't have a photo of that.

The Twinner's new ride has storage and cup holders.

Marly was excited. Dean was not.

Marly decided to try and pose Dean more appropriately for the photo.

Dean finally smiled into his usual squint.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Saturday at the Thomberg's

This Saturday Mark and I decided to have some fun about Easter. Mark borrowed a wire tree from last year's Christmas display at 'Bou, and we needed to create some Egg's to hang on it.

When I was little, my mom made absolutely beautiful decorated eggs from real eggs she had blown. They were adorned with fabric, glue, ribbon and glitter. Every year we would hang the eggs on a live honeysuckle branch my mom would cut and force in a coffee can wrapped in pastel paper and filled with wet sand. Every year she made me an Easter dress and Brett and I would have our picture taken in front of it on Easter 'morn. Those eggs are in a shoe box somewhere in our home. I will get them out when the kids are a bit older.

In the mean time, I made an trip to JoAnne Fabrics for Easter supplies while the kids were napping. I purchased plastic eggs in a kit.

(I admit I didn't have the ambition to blow eggs myself this year. Plus I don't have any pretty fabric scraps! Someday though...)

Concentrating on our work.

Mark drilled a hole in each plastic/paper egg. I jammed embroidery thread in, then Mod Podged the crap out of the little buggers.
Dean hanging his work.

Kind a pretty hu!... and there is more...

Once we get started on our little projects, it is hard to stop. Below is one of the 8 wreaths that hung around the church and reception hall at our wedding way back when. Just last week, my aunt Carol brought them to me from storage. They were bought on super clearance at Pottery Barn post-holiday. Our local florist in Hector (Jerry of Flowers by Jerry) jazzed them up to make them wedding worthy all those 7 years ago.
I drilled more holes in strophome eggs to jazz one up to make it Easter worthy. I think it turned out prettier then the egg wreaths they were selling at JoAnne!

Below in our thrift store buffet in it's Easter motif.

The bunnies in the corner are another project for another post down the road...


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