Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rambling about Choices

There are so many choices each of us need to make every day. They are not overwhelming choices. They will not have a profound effect on our lives next year (or even two weeks from now) but just the same, choices weigh on each of us. There is cause and effect to even the small, daily choices we pick.

Recently I was invited to join the board of a small non-profit. I decided to accept. I am excited to serve and share of my talents and time. Last week I attended my first monthly meeting on Tuesday evening. Making this choice is making the choice to take some "after work" time away from my family. I was knowledgable of this when I said "yes" to the board. I remain happy with my decision. That decision also means I did not put my kids to bed last Tuesday, nor did I pick up around the house.

Thursday night I made a choice to go to a MN Bloggers Gathering/Happy Hour. I RSVP'd several weeks in advance. Later, some good girl friends decided to get together the same evening. I made a choice to go with the original Blogger event, to meet new people, and connect with bloggers. I made a choice to be away from my home again, and to chose networking over investing in my current friendships.

Saturday I made a choice to stay home most of the day. Originally, I thought I would make the choice to attend my friend Molly's garage sale fundraiser to help fight hunger. Or I thought I might choose to stop by my friend Jenny's house, who recently had her second child. But, because I had chosen to be away from my kids several nights last week, my son indicated he wanted to be AT HOME with his mom!

Early in the week, Mark and I made a choice to have our friend Mike and his girlfriend to dinner on Saturday. Then God made a choice to send the rain mid-morning on Saturday. This made the decision to stay home (thus not supporting two friends) easier. It made the dinner that night great, because I had time to clean the house, shop, and prepare for the festivities.

Sunday I made a choice to attend two cousin's graduation receptions in Olivia. This choice was made much easier by my Aunt Toot's who was willing to drive out with me (and Marly and Dean). I made this choice the night before. It turned out to be a great choice too.

I am constantly wondering... Am I making the right choice? Time plays a constant role. The truth is - at this stage in my life, I find some of my better choices made on a short time line, rather then advanced.

Anyway, I have no real point - other then to declare with kids, careers, husbands, families, homes, and whatever might be important to you... each of us needs to find the right fit in our hearts to best invest of ourselves.

Sometimes even the little decisions are tough to make!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Where I will be tonight...

Tonight I am going to a MN Blogger's Get Together.

Click HERE to find out more.

I am a little bit embarrassed to attend, as I don't have many readers, I still have "blogspot" in my blog address, I have no sponsors, and no one would ever want to give away anything on my site...AND I DON'T EVEN HAVE A CUSTOMIZED HEADER.

But, I am going anyway and suspect I will enjoy it. I also suspect I may have many recommendations on where to get a header made up.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Weekend with Kelly

This past weekend, Kelly had a re-do weekend with the Twinners. She arrived on Friday afternoon, Mark no sooner then attached the last latch on the car seats, and Dean was yanking on Kelly's arm, demanding, "Let's GO Kelly!"

Clearly our children have NO detachment issues. Marly didn't even feel a need to hug Daddy goodbye!
The kids played at the park, played on their trikes and made a trip to Como Zoo. Dean was expecting the Polar Bears to be back... but he will have to wait until June.

Truly, the kids love their Auntie Kelly. It is clear their bond from her time as a nanny remains strong.

Thank you Kelly for taking the kids. She brought them back on Sunday morning, all smiles!

While the kids were away, Mark and I enjoyed a cocktail at Maverick's, went to the movie "Date Night", went to breakfast at Fat Nat's, worked on our yard, had dinner with my family at 20-21, and then did our grocery/Costco run before the kids returned.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Happy Anniversary to our House!

We signed on our house a year ago May 15th! For an anniversary gift, the house received new house numbers. We feel they better reflect our style. (bench cushion & painted terra cotta pots still to come for added curb appeal and comfort!)

We moved into a 1970's split level with new flooring, a newly remodeled kitchen and updated bathrooms, but we have made tons of cosmetic changes to add to that. (YES... we mostly knew what we were getting into when we bought this house. We EXPECTED to spend lots of our time and elbow grease to make it look like US.)

  • We had our trees professionally trimmed. (Now we pray we don't lose 4 of them to Dutch Elm disease)
  • We cleaned up, cut back and removed overgrown shrubbery. (We needed the tree company to remove all of our mess, the pile became so large!)
  • We had energy efficient entry and storm doors installed. Our upstairs french door glass was so fragile, toddler Dean cracked a pane our second week there, so it was also unsafe. Mark changed out the door bell button to complete the look.
  • Mark has painted every room in the house except the two downstairs bedrooms, and a back stairway we keep forgetting about.
  • He painted the unfinished banisters white.
  • He painted all of the downstairs trim work white to match the upstairs.
  • We have changed out (or painted) the lower level hardware, door handles, fireplace front, etc. to match the brushed nickel upstairs.
  • We have made "temporary fix" roof repairs, but need to address more serious issues. (Okay.. we didn't expect that when we bought the home)
  • We had our microwave removed from an overloaded electrical circuit. My kids were beginning to think microwaves ONLY work in the dark. (No, we didn't expect that either). The fine electrician (my co-workers kind and talented husband) also wired our bedrooms for overhead lights, which we will install someday.
  • We have had a tub faucet repaired after it blew off, probably due to a corner cutting remodel. Then we addressed a leaky drain in the same tub, which caused basement ceiling damage. (Nope, not expected... but damn glad we got a home warranty.)
  • I installed shelving in our bedroom closet.
  • Mark installed new panel doors (with foam inside) upstairs. He accidentally punched a hole in one hollow door, and another actually FELL OFF because it had not been reattached correctly when the former owner removed it to paint. I think those doors are on sale more weeks then not at Menard's.
  • Mark changed out the outside patio light to match the front door.
  • We have dumped TONS of chemicals and fertilizer on our lawn, and had it aerated. (So sorry to all our our ecologically minded readers who might be opposed to our lawn maintenance...
  • We added new house numbers.
  • Mark planted a few lilacs and arborvitae along our property line.
  • We have added some perennials to various beds around our yard.
  • Naturally, we have decorated, and I have all these little DIY projects all over our home.
Our list of "To Do" projects always stays the same length we will see what the next year brings!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Me and My Wedding Rings

My wedding rings have been too large for four years. Yesterday I was driving right by the small family-owned jeweler on Grand Avenue that created my band, so I stopped in to get an estimate to re-size them. The same two ladies I have encountered the past 7 years were on hand to help.

I showed the lady my rings and she got out the sizers. Of course, like any good shop owner, she complimented me on the lovely and clever wedding ring designs and their beauty.

She asked, "How long have you been married?" - "Seven years now I think. "

She asked, "Did you lose weight, and that's why you need to re-size?" - "Sure... like FOUR years ago! I kept meaning to come in. I was here about three years ago and you guy's put a "temporary fix" on them..."

The woman congratulated me. (Yes, we all know I put on a lot of pounds in the years after my mom died, my metabolism changed, and I got married.)

I went on to explain - "I lost weight, then got pregnant. I didn't re-size them then because I was unsure what weight I would gain or return too. Well... then I breast feed the twins for a year, and lost even more weight, but I really didn't think I would ever stay that size. (God what I wouldn't give for that tiny waste and legs and GENEROUS cup size again!!!! No I did NOT say that outloud.) twin's are three now. So, I thought I should do something about it before I lose them... and I was driving right by.. and thought I would come in. (I didn't tell her I had been at a Happy Hour gathering for a co-worker nearby.)

Anyway, we continued to chit chat. I prepared to leave and the woman said, "I will call you when we have an estimate. Congratulations again to you, and continued success!"

My response (after a pause) "... Thank you....Yes... I am glad I am still married and it worked well!"

She burst into laughter. She said, "I'm NOT congratulating you on your marriage working out! I'm congratulating you on your weight loss success. You dropped a pretty dramatic ring size."

OH! Yeah... That too.... (Maybe I shouldn't have eaten those onion rings at Happy Hour...)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dancing with the Stars, Twinner Style!

On Monday, I tune in to 'Dancing with the Stars' NOT to watch the show... but to watch the Twinner's watch 'Dancing with the Stars'!

It's hilarious. If only I were good blogger who also added video. Please use your imagination to enhance these still photos.
Marly and Dean attempt to dance and watch simultaneously, then try to mimic what they see on screen.

Their conversation during this process is interesting to say the least, as they attempt to give each other direction on the next move.

Notice the TV screen image above, and Marly below.

Why should only the lady partner get to skid across the floor?

Not pictured, but they also break out into their own dance. Dean is a little hip shaker and Marly loves to twirl! You should have seen them dance to their favorite "Lady Ga Ga" two weeks ago. Next week I will remember to get out the video camera.

As the mother of toddler/preschool twins, I can tell you they are exactly what you would EXPECT twins to be in basically every sense.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

A pictorial review of my life as a mother....
Mother's Day 2010... The photo was taken on the very popular new swing set. (Yes, I am wearing a cardigan!) This year, we again had lunch at Mark's sister's house with his mom. Later we went to the Galaxy Drive In (like past years). Nana Chris and my dad joined us there for supper.

Mother's Day 2009 - Back at our townhome, after eating at the Park Tavern (with the Lyon's and Brett & Rachel), after discovering that Wagner Drive-In had been dozed for a new drive in construction (Galaxy Drive In).

Mother's Day 2008 - Snapped at Lake Calhoun after eating at Wagner's.

Mother's Day 2007 - Again at Lake Calhoun. (Man... I look like crap in this photo!)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Swing Set update and my thoughts on the phenomenon...

Saturday Mark and his dad were back on the job to complete the swing set! Mission Accomplished and Complete!
That's the neighbor's house behind the swing. We spent a lot of time deciding where to put it. We have a large front yard, a strangely shaped back yard, and several mature trees. The perfect location off our patio couldn't be used unless we wanted to cut down a pine tree.

This is what the Twinner's found waiting when they woke up from their nap!
The glider on the end needs some additional bolts, and will be operational soon!

Honestly, getting the swing set put up appears to be some sort of 'Rite of Passage' in Suburbia and elsewhere. Drive down my street, and there they are in many a back yard. But...Where do they go to when the kids are in middle school, Jr high, etc??? I have checked on Craig's List. I think they are a hot commodity over there. I actually considered asking a neighbor if they might be done with theirs, and could I purchase it used, but didn't. At work, while chatting with a fine sponsor to our hospital about our weekend, he commented, "Oh.. I have one of those in my backyard we are done with!!!"

I do believe this monstrosity will be worth the money spent (gifted...), but it is sort of an interesting phenomenon.

Do European kids all have their own swings in their backyard???

I had a swing growing up. It was not so sturdy or fancy as Marly and Dean's (who actually have a pretty cheap version as systems go. No Rainbow Play System for them!!). Mine was metal, or aluminium perhaps. My mom had spray painted over the rust. Mark had a swing purchased from Sear's growing up. I also had an actual tree swing.

Fun Fact - I still love to swing to this day. As a child, I flew off three seperate swings when the chain or rope broke. One required an emergency room visit to check my wrist, which was fine.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Welcoming Baby Ian!

I am honored my dear friend Jenny and her husband Jeremy have allowed me to be a part of their birth experience when their children enter the world. There daughter Vivian arrived nearly 2 years ago on July 4th, and I was there to count to 10 in a steady and calm voice for her contractions!!

Last Thursday, the Lyon's welcomed a healthy, beautiful baby boy into their family. I met them at the hospital just after lunch, and Ian arrived around 5:30 pm. He weighed a very healthy 9 lbs on the nose!

What a blessing! Congratulations to the Lyon's family! Both mom and baby are doing well and settling in at home.

(p.s. - I neglected to have a photo taken with me and the proud parents, but I was wearing a cardigan!)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mid-Thirties Mama

You know you are a Mid-Thirties Mama (specifically named Andrea) when...

  • You don't have any weddings on your summer calendar.
  • A majority of your friends have attained their personal kid quota, and you don't have any baby showers on your calendar either.
  • Your wardrobe staple includes cardigans. Lots of cardigans. You wear them more days then not. You own more then you choose to count in multiple colors, sleeve lengths, v-neck, rounded neck, longer length, regular length, and of various materials. You feel you can never have TOO MANY cardigans. You wrap them around your waste, belt them, etc.
  • You adore your kids 15-year-old babysitter because every time she comes over she compliments you on your wardrobe, or some element of your attire. The babysitter has actually asked you where you bought something, and this pleased you more then any compliment your husband gave you that evening, because you worry having kids may have made sucked any cool-ness out of you.
  • Less then a year after moving to your street, you get the guts to host your neighborhood book club and invite the neighborhood ladies all the way in, knowing they are more established in their homes, and they don't have toddlers...
  • You have been known to buy a pretty sexy pair of high heeled/open toed/boot shoes that zipped up the back, then returned them because you knew you couldn't chase your toddlers safely in them, and they weren't appropriate for church.
  • You have decided to invest in a full skin care regimen.
  • You discover your c-section scar is completely non-existant, and have mostly come to grips with your Twinner's pouch that is here to stay.
  • You put things like "Britax car seats" and "swing set" on your Christmas list.
  • You love your fancy red vacuum.
  • Your usual special drink of choice is found at Caribou Coffee and not Happy Hour.
  • You don't remember the last time you were at a Happy Hour.
  • When you do have a drink, you have a vodka of preference, rather then a rail pour, but you probably mix it at home.
  • You get excited about Taco Tuesday at the neighborhood bar & grill because the tacos are only a dollar & you have discovered your toddlers also like the wings on special & if you get there BEFORE 6 pm they have great drink specials & it is kid friendly & you know you will see other mommy's and daddy's there (with kids) having a drink too & there is nothing to clean up when you are done. (...wait a minute, this might be Happy Hour!)
  • You sleep with greater ease if before going to bed, you have loaded the dishwasher, wiped up the counter tops, started another load of laundry, and folded or put away a load.
  • You have a swing set in your backyard and you couldn't imagine it any other way.
  • Your Twinner Toddlers are signed up for community ed soccor.
  • You debate with your husband about shrubbery.
  • Your kids begin to ask for a hot dog ($1.75 with a drink included) at Costco mid-way through the shopping trip.
  • You have had the same doctors for years now, and they remember how to pronounce your name, or at least remember they pronounce it wrong EVERY year.
  • Your Friday night fun always involves pizza, which is just fine because there are NO decisions to be made except what kind to eat.

I could go on an on, and suspect I will come back and add more.. but that's all for now folks!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Weekend Projects

Lest you think the Thomberg's haven't been up to our usual home improvement projects, here is a pictorial look at our weekend (weeknight) projects of the moment...I spray painted our fire place front and tools "satin nickel" to match the rest of the hardware and decor in our home. The front is now dry and ready to be re-mounted.

Planting grass here and there...

Painting terra cotta pots for our patio the same shade as ones I covet from Crate and Barrel!

Moving rocks in our back yard flower bed.

Moving hostas (and rock and mulch) in our front entry area.

Oh yah!!! And putting up a swing set. It is now about 1/2 complete. Mark's dad and brother will be back next Saturday, hopefully to finish the project.

The Twinners already LOVE it, and they only have a slide so far. (sorry for the blurry photos, I had the camera on some incorrect setting.)


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