Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Our yard this summer

I thought I would give you a little tour of our yard and home from the outside. Last year we worked on clean up. This year we have continued the clean up, while working to make our yard pretty, comfortable and enjoyable for us as a family. (...knowing we aren't going to be doing a major landscape overhaul right now. Yes... there are some huge overgrown shrubs that need to go, but that would just lead to the next thing, and the next thing!) So, here is what we could tackle!

This spring, Mark moved and separated the hostas to go in a perimeter around the landscaping by our front door. Before they were in random disjointed clumps. He also added the shrub/tree in the middle. I added the bench cushion, pots, and planter you can't see by the front door. Mark updated our house numbers.

Down at the end of the drive by the street, we planted a ton of impatients and some perennials. We will slowly be working to add more shade perennials that can handle the soil and light. There are two frog statues from the "Lemons and Leftovers" area at Bachman's and a troll/gnome statue in the middle, which was a Father's Day gift to Mark. The ferns are new transplants from our neighbor. We will add and move some hostas here again this fall.

Notice the nice lawn by the rocks above. We are busy seeding the dead patches all along the landscaping, etc. Slowly but surely we are working our way around the house and other areas. Also, I often now help mow the lawn too!

These lilies use to be in a clump in the landscaping at our front entrance. They were out of place, (along with the hostas). I separated and moved them to the back yard along the garage...

amongst the garden area we are working on. I placed extra rocks around the edge, but ran out. We have talked about heading to the country to get some from one of any of the rock piles I added to as a child...but haven't quite gotten to that.

Lettuce we neglected to eat, along with a few peas, carrots, tomato plants, and herbs.

This basil never gets any bigger, because it is always my first pick...

Now on to our back yard flower bed. It still needs a lot more something or another. The kids picked out the flamingo this spring. I have tried to add a few perennials. They have a long was to go yet. Stevo the gnome is Mark's Father's Day gift from last year. I am working to trim back the rose bushes, a little each year. And... the stones now neatly follow the edge, instead of sitting in a pile in the middle.

Finally, our weeping willow tree. I just trimmed all the branches up a bit last week. We have moved some more hostas over to this area, and will do a few more inthe fall, to go along the roots. I wish I could tell you Mark and I relax here with a glass of wine...but that doesn't really happen.

So there you have it! A yard we are enjoying.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Father's Day at the Lake

Thanks to my cousin Michelle, digital photography, .jpg's, and the Internet... I have some photos now of Father's Day.

On the beach at Jan and Sheldon's at Lake Allie. Marly is our little fish. She wanted to go way out to the water trampoline and jump off, multiple times. Dean was more cautious about such activities. She also loves to swim about in her life jacket and jump off the dock.

(The Twinners still fit into their suits from last year. Actually, their Gymboree 2T suits from last year are STILL too big. Dean's falls off his waist. Maybe when they are 4???)

Marly and Dean went on their first tube ride. They made if for a little while before they got scared, even though Uncle Sheldon was the perfect toddler friendly driver and Mikayla and Mariah gave them assuring and comfortable laps to sit in.

SMILE on such a GREAT afternoon at Lake Allie.

Thank you to my wonderful relatives for precious time with family!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Our Fluid Weekend Schedule

Tuesday - I e mailed/face booked a bunch of friends inviting them to a Summer Cook Out at the Thomberg's for Saturday.

Thursday Morning- By this point, most everyone had RSVP'd they were unavailable.

Friday - The H-we's wanted to spend the weekend at home, and invited the Thomberg's to come play on Saturday. We had our usual Thomberg Family pizza night.

Saturday at 8:49 am - I was scrubbing the grout in our front entry with a Magic Eraser and Mark was installing a ceiling fan when Gretchen called. P wasn't feeling well.... we'll touch base in a few hours.

Saturday at 9:50 am - P is definitely sick and contagious. (I was nearly done figuring out what color our grout really was.)

Saturday around noonish - Brett Calls. "I see your cook out is a bust. Want to come over to the lake."

Saturday at 1 pm - Mark and the Twinner's go down for a nap. I run to Costco, make a pasta salad, and pack up our things for Brett & Rachel's.

Saturday at 4:15 pm - We arrive at Brett & Rachel's. I ski and the kids swim in the lake.

Saturday around 6:20 pm - We walk across the street to Brett and Rachel's neighbors for a pool party. Mark will swim in a pool!

Saturday around 10:00 pm - We return to Brett & Rachel's and put the Twinners to bed.

Sometime in the wee hours of Sunday - The adults go to bed. What's in a 'Kris'tini anyway?

Sunday - We return home and EVERYONE in the family needs a nap.... (a long nap).

Sunday around 4 pm - The kids and I hit the park for an hour. We can't let all the grand weather go to waste.

Sunday evening around 6:35 pm - After a supper of chicken with grilled red/green/yellow peppers, tomatoes and onions on the patio, The Thomberg's finish off a sunny weekend with treats from DQ!

**As you will note, my kids still do best with an afternoon nap. That's reality.**

Little Miss Marly needs a real hair cut. I trimmed her bangs, but she is lacking shape here! They are not as crooked as they look here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Compliments are nice...

Today I was bouncing into the office around 9:45 AM. Prior to my arrival, I had been making pleasant stops a two great sponsors with 'THANK YOU' bagels in appreciation for a fun charity event they had hosted the night before.

As I entered/bounced in, I was a bit caffeinated and cheery for Friday and the week end. A kind male co worker encountered me on his way to our coffee break area. He said politely, "You look summery today!"

I stopped, smiled, paused and replied, "Really? It doesn't look like I barfed up accessories?"

The poor gentleman had NO IDEA how to respond.

I need to learn to take a compliment!

I am the only adult home when I get ready for work in the morning. The Twinner's have no opinion on my appearance! As I view my self photo. I clearly need to put on some lipstick.
Yes.. it is June and my toes are still not done!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Father's Day Post

Where is it????

Where are the pictures of the kids swimming, boating, and going on their first tube ride ever???

That's a good question. I don't know. For some reason, the card only has photos from soccer last night. I was sure it was on the same card. I never delete cards fully before reusing.

I really hope I locate them somehow. But I am worried I will not.

Hmm....Oh dear!

I really hope to replace this with a REAL Father's Day Recap of our afternoon at Jan and Sheldon's.

In the mean time, take a look at today's post.

Tiny Tots Soccer

Last evening the Twinners attended their first night of community ed soccer for 3 & 4 year olds. As parents, it was amazing to watch them interact with their coaches, the other kids, and each other.

They clearly show their own distinct personalities (as they should). The coach started the kids out by asking them to sit in a circle. Dean cruised around to find himself a good spot. Marly clung close to daddy and choose to sit in Mark's lap.

Dean is an eager, active, and attentive listener. He was ready to interact and do what he was told. Marly was apprehensive and often looked to Mark and I for support.

Dean was social. Marly took more time to warm up. (This is ALWAYS true of Marly in public. You may recall I have mentioned she often scowls at people she doesn't know well.) At several points, kids were told to pick a circle on the ground to stand on. There were purple circles and orange circles. Marly wanted a purple circle, but on one occasion, the purple circles were already occupied. She decided the next best option was to stand on an orange circle next to Dean, near the end of the line... but all those circles were full too. OH DEAR!

Go! Go! Go!

Both kids had a great time and we are excited to go back next week.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The first day of summer = GUILT

Full Time Employment + The First Day of Summer = GUILT.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. In my dream world, those are the days I would like to work!

Yesterday's Star Tribune had an insert featuring their findings on Minnesota's top companies to work for. Mark's employer rated 8th among publicly held companies. My employer rated 3rd among private and non-profit companies. We both can attest to the claims, and are proud of the places we work. We both like our jobs and our employers.

But... there is so much guilt in working full time and raising kids. Mark and I need to work to support our chosen lifestyle. We do not plan to change how we live. We love our children too, and strive to find the balance.

Mark has worked in retail since before we married. It suits his personality and fits him. That being said... working some nights, some weekends, and some holidays is par for the course. Except for the one year Mark was unemployed (and stayed home with our babies), I have tried to accept changing our plans, or him missing or leaving holidays or family events early. Sometimes I do not do well with this.

On the same token, I languish in my own guilt every summer evening, and every weekday morning. TODAY is the first day of summer. Summer is a glorious time in Minnesota. My kids want to stay outside and play later. They want to soak it up. They don't want to get up in the morning. They don't want to go to daycare. They tell me this most mornings. I don't blame them! I want to go to the park, or the lake, or the pool, or meet up with friends too! I want them to be able to stay up later, sleep in longer, and live life to the fullest (3 year old style).

We left the wonderful Father's Day event we were attending yesterday before all the other guests. We needed to get home. Life is like this sometimes. It isn't the way we want it to be.

So there you have it. There is no resolve. I will live with my acute guilt (culminating to the an extreme on Sunday evenings). I will go to work for an employer that is good to me. We will pay our bills. I will start over again each Monday, and the consecutive week days forth... The guilt will stay.

Any words of insight? I'll take them.

Saturday afternoon riding the Ferris Wheel at Brooklyn Park Tater Daze carnival. (After Mark returned from an exhausting work day way up in Duluth for Grandma's Marathon.)

Marly liked the ride better then Dad!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A 'Bou-ism from a Fine Father!

Go home early and play with your kids

My husband works for a lcoally based coffee company. The company has their own language of sorts. They talk in acronyms, lingo, metaphors, and catch phrases. When Mark talks about his job, I sometimes need translations.

The company also does a fine job of marketing itself. This coffee junkie (1/2 caff latte please) is a dedicated and loyal customer (when I splurge on such luxuries), even though I get no special discounts for having a husband employed with them. (Yes... I love my reusable cup sleeve. I have several cool selections Mark has purchased for me.)

Many months back, the cups, napkins, and POP kits at this company started sporting quotes all over them (along with an updated logo). They are called 'Bou'isms' (there's some lingo for you). I like it, and others seem to agree, and are blogging about it too! The quotes are from company employees. A new run of cups came out recently, and one of the quotes on the Large, at the top, is Mark's! He won't claim complete ownership, because he thinks others may have submitted something similar, but... as his wife, I know the quote is accurate to him. The handwriting even looks like his!

Go home early and play with your kids

Mark gets home from work at a time most individuals would consider EARLY... though NOT because he leaves work EARLY. He goes to work EARLY too! While I am at my desk waiting for the clock to strike 5:00, Mark has come home early, and is playing with our kids!

The truth is, I am proud of the quote, I am proud of my husband, and he is a DARN GOOD DAD!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Laundry Obsession Confession!

I have a confession. I am obsessed with laundry. I feel a great need to "keep up" with the laundry. It is not possible to get ahead, but I never want to be behind. I have this ominous feeling that if the laundry baskets were full, everything else about the balance of our lives would come crashing down around me - EVERYTHING. Okay.. maybe this is a bit weird or not so mentally healthy.

I do laundry basically EVERY day. I rarely let a single day go by with out performing a laundry related task. Weekdays, weekends, holidays... I do laundry. I start most every morning starting a load, moving a load, folding, or putting away laundry. I do this before the kids get up. I throw a load in quick before going outside, or leaving for an errand. I do laundry after everyone else goes to bed. You know, 5 minutes here and another 5 minutes there.

I think my obsession may relate to my mom. In my mind and memory, she was a laundry guru.... seriously! Her laundry room was large and functional. It had cupboards and counter top, a hanging rod for ironed clothes on hangers or to air-dry, and a cabinet for the ironing board. It was a rather large room in our home off of the entry from the garage (if my dad came home dirty, it was easy to dump his clothes).

In the laundry room, there was a blue plastic laundry basket that sat on the floor near the door. Nobody had a laundry basket in their room. Dirty laundry was to be brought directly to the laundry room, or more likely, my mom came and got it daily. The only time the blue basket was EVER overflowing was when we returned from vacation. Otherwise, it contained a load or less most all of the time. My mom ironed everything when it was dry and returned it to our closets. She probably ironed the t-shirts and jeans. On the rare occasion I brought girlfriends home from college to stay, their laundry basket were welcome. Beware, because once you put it in the laundry room on Friday evening, everything inside would be clean and folded for you on Saturday... probably before the guest got up. Her detergent of choice was Era.

I studied abroad in England while in college. I lived in a castle with 28 other St. Cloud State students. While there, my classmate and friend Amy washed her clothes with a tube of red lipstick, and ruined many of her clothes. I alerted my mom, who was coming to visit. Not only did she arrive armed with an arsenal of her favorite stain removers, but she requested Amy give her the clothes and let her have a hand at them. She got out most every stain with the coin washers in the castle basement. She liked good 'ole Dawn dish washing liquid and something or another from Shacklee. I have no idea who got my mom turned on to Shaklee! Anyway, my mom knew tricks or something about laundry, and they worked!

So, as many women in their thirties discover daily... we are our mother's daughter. Like my mom, every one's sheets get changed once a week. (Okay... once in a while it is less then once a week, but not often.) I will tell you I don't iron anything until I am going to wear it (unlike my mom), but I do iron. I do NOT iron as well as she did. I also do not yet possess her talents for stain removal, but I do like OxyClean. Our laundry area is tucked in the hall straight off our front door (above), which further fuels my laundry obsession. No one wants guests to see the laundry. I have no room or door to hide behind.

Here are my drying racks. I hang dry most everything, except sheets, towels and underwear. If guests are not expected, the racks are often sitting in my lower level family room. With just two racks, if you want to hang dry, you need to keep up with the pile!

So there you have it... me being, well... ME!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Biker Babes

Well... the truth is we have no BABES anymore at the Thomberg House!

No Babes last year on three wheels!

(I couldn't find a picture of the year before, when they were BABES, when we pushed them on the trike with the Steer & Stroll handle at the townhome!)

No BABES this year on TWO wheels....

Well, actually, that's TWO wheels and TWO trainers!

And that's the Twosome in two helmets!

Making two silly faces!

...And cruising off into the sunset!

**A special Thanks to my co-worker Jenny for passing on her daughter's bike to Marly. We got it early this spring. The kids each toyed with it. In the past two weeks, both kids "get it" so we were off to Toys 'R Us on Saturday morning to get Dean his own ride. Saturday, after seeing Shreck, the kids took a cruise up the street. As you can see by the dusky light, we are clearly pushing the bedtime limits on a summer night!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Weekend Updates

The last two weekends have been pretty low key for the Thomberg's. We have been sticking close to home as a foursome. Last Saturday we visited the Mpls Farmer's Market (between rain showers) and this Saturday we took the kids to 3D Shrek 3 (between rain showers). Yup - These two are buddies, most of the time. I didn't tell them to pose like this. They do it on their own.

This is their second movie ever. They love the popcorn, (but don't know about pop yet). Bottled water is a treat to them.

The past two Sunday's have been about family suppers. Last Sunday Dad and Chris came for pork chops. We ate on the patio (between rain showers). This Sunday we headed to Brett and Rachel's on the lake. No swimming for us (because of the chill in the air from the rain showers), but we did get a boat ride after supper.

Last Sunday Dad and Chris also attended the Edina Art Fair and picked up fun capes for Marly and Dean!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wednesday Night OUT!

Monday Gretchen called, "Can we stay at your house Wednesday night? Dan's birthday is next week and we have tickets to some Scandinavian, female, acoustic, indie-rock singers or something that Dan found on U-Tube, who is playing somewhere or another in Minneapolis"


Tuesday I left a VM, "Hey... Can Mark and I meet you for a drink or something before. Maybe I can get my dad to babysit?"

Response VM, "Hey... I guess we aren't staying with you, but yah... dinner would be great!"

Fortunately my Dad called me back on Wednesday morning and yes he could watch the kids...

So Mark came from home, I came from work, and the Huwe's came from Dan's parents where they dropped off their kiddos, and we united at the Lohring Pasta Bar in Dinky Town for drinks and a great meal.
The time to dine outside in Minnesota is fleeting, and this was the perfect June evening. The four of us enjoyed every single minute of side walk dining, people watching, and friendship talking on our mid-week much that Dan and Gretch were surely late to the show at the Cedar Cultural Center!

What a fantastic break from the usual routine.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The New Look

Alrighty Readers! I finally have my own header. I am so very excited. I owe it all to my friend Mary Ray McCarthy. She read my post about going the the MN Bloggers event, and e mailed me offering to MAKE ME A HEADER! I couldn't believe it.

I am probably one of the few individuals who call Ms. Mary "Mary Ray McCarthy". You see Ray is her maiden name (not her first or middle name), but it has flow. Mary Ray McCarthy is so catchy. I know Mary because I lived with her one summer in our sorority house in St. Cloud. Mary was not a Delta Zeta. She wasn't even a regular SCSU student, but she did take a few summer courses there and was living with her friend Tammy, who was a DZ. Anyway, there were only a few of us around the house that summer. Mary moved away to Colorado, and she moved back. Some where in there she got married to her long time sweetheart, Tim McCarthy. I got to be her personnel attendant at her wedding.

The years have passed and I RARELY see Mary. I remember when my mom died and I came one day to visit her (10 years ago). At the time, she had just one baby boy, and an on line clothe diapering business. I visited and she let me take a nap at her house. I know it is weird, but fresh grief is exhausting, and sleep can be elusive. I will never forget that day or that nap. Mary is now a good wife and mom to FIVE boys. I admire her faith and devotion to her religion. I admire her spirit. I admire MARY.

Social media has it's ins and its outs, but I know I wouldn't still be connected to Mary with out my computer and the Internet. I feel blessed for knowing her, on line and off.

THANK YOU MARY of Vocations of Motherhood!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sewing 101

Last Thursday I attended a Sewing 101 class at JoAnne Fabrics... AND I MADE THE TOTE BELOW.
Yes sirree! I bought the fabric, thread and interfacing, cut it myself, and sewed it together with my mom's New Home sewing machine (just back from a tune up)! At the moment, I love the tote fabric so much, I just leave it hanging there on the hook as you walk in the door, for a cheery welcome!

If you were to look at it closely, you would quickly discover my seams are not very straight, but in the words of a 2 or a 3 year old, "I did it myself!"

When we move Marly and Dean downstairs, I know I could sew simple curtains. I instantly thought the tote fabric would be punchy, fun, and bold in Miss Marly's room. Mark would probably hate it, and Marly has indicated she wants butterflies.... but of course during my sewing class, my mind was whiring along with the purr of my machine!

I may sign up for a beginner's class where you make a simple skirt with a draw string waist. Could be a good next step for me.

Friday, June 4, 2010

What I Want/What I Buy

I WANTED these Welsey striped throw pillows from Crate and Barrel. On Sale, they cost $16.95 each.

Instead, I purchased 4 Wesley place mats for $3.95 each.
I hand stitched the place mats together because I was feeling intimidated by the sewing machine.

Add stuffing (purchased with a coupon at Jo Anne) and I was able to create this! Total cost of my pillows was less than $18 versus $33.90 at Crate and Barrel.

See the Crate and Barrel catalog in the corner of the photo below. I WANTED 5 of those cobalt blue glazed pots. They are no longer available on line, but they were over $35.00 each.

Instead I bought 15 inch Tera cotta pots for $8.75 , one quart of Behr paint and primer in one (yes, I choose to use a pricey paint), one spray can of Thompson's Water Seal, and two spray cans of Minwax polyurethane. I followed these instructions from the Young House Love blog to paint them.

And got THIS finished product for our front entry...

and our patio...
The overall costs of the pots was around $80.00,
versus at least $175 I would have spent at Crate and Barrel.

I am pleased with the results, of course because I didn't feel I could afford the other items, but also because I did it myself. I will tell you, as I painted and sealed the pots over MANY, MANY days, Mark was getting impatient with me to PLANT in them!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Our Long Weekend

We had a just full enough, pleasant, Memorial Day Weekend and hope you all did too. Mostly, I was on hiatus from taking pictures, so I will give you my journal review. The truth is, Mark and I often find ourselves enjoying the doing and the living when with friends and family, to jump behind the lens of the camera....

Saturday neighbor's and passers-by our home on Riverview Lane would have seen what I consider a true slice of Americana. We had a flag flying out front, and small flags adoring our potted patio plants. In the back yard, you would have seen kids running from the sprinkler, to the kiddy pool, to the swing set, squealing with delight. You would have seen their parents sitting under the giant weeping willow sipping wine and beer. You would have seen a table with white linen set out, with a lovely perspiring water pitcher on the table, and a wicker basket of towels nearby for the kids. You would have seen blue plastic paper plates piled with watermelon, potato salad, hot dogs and hamburgers. You would have seen laughter, conversation and smiles with the Lyon's and the Huwe's.

Sunday brought with it another BBQ at Brett and Rachel's. Grilled pork and delicious baked beans were a part of the menu. Mark was at work, but the kids and I enjoyed the neighbor's trampoline while others played croquet. Unfortunately, the cloudy sky and cooler temps kept the boat in the launch.

Monday dawned to be a day for a drive. After a visit to the cemetery in Hector, we stopped in at my cousin Chad and Michelle's where the kids spent more time jumping on another trampoline, got a wild wheelbarrow ride, and peddled the John Deere. Next it was on to Aunt Jan & Uncle Sheldon's for a quick hello at Lake Allie before heading back to suburbia. Once home, we had ribs, fried potatoes and green beans on the deck. After supper I actually helped to mow our lawn. Yes... it is true... this farm girl had never operated a push mower until Monday!

I also had Tuesday off, and it was a wonderful day at home.

And, we remember our veterans who have served their country and sacrificed for us too.


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