Thursday, September 30, 2010

This and That

  • Mark has a new role at the 'Bou. He is a multi-unit/area manager. In a remarkable twist from my usual reality (where Mark gets up and leaves long before I wake), today he was in his bathrobe working on line at the kitchen table when I rose. He made pancakes for the kids and took them to daycare. I was cruising towards work before 8 am. WOW! We even navigated our relatively small bathroom together without dissent!
  • I am just fine! I LOVE fall and find little moments of bliss here and there. In the summer I feel pressure to socialize, get out, be somewhere, find water, pursue extended family activities, etc. In the fall, I find contentment all around me, and close to home (although I long for the country harvest). Apple orchards, pumpkins, and crisp, colorful leaves beacon me (along with Marly, Dean and Mark).
  • The kids are fun. Dean seems to think EVERYTHING is a race. Getting dressed first, getting undressed first. First to the front, first to eat, etc. He is constantly exclaiming, "I WON!" I do not know what he is winning. I do know he gets upset when Marly has all components of her attire on FIRST.
  • They have been potty trained for nearly a year. I chuckle every single time one of them yells, "WIPE MY BUTT!" from the bathroom. My smile gets wider when I appear, and one of them is standing there with their little butt in the air, and their hands planted on the floor. Okay, that may be a little weird.
  • Marly is shy in public. She is clearly not comfortable at Sunday School unless daddy stays in the room. Dean is doing just fine. He is an eager listener ready to learn.
  • Both kids love swimming lessons at the YMCA. They conclude at 7:20, so last Monday I donned my suit and joined them in the pool for open swim before going home. They are definately picking something up in class. I was glad to give them more water time to practice. They love the water, so they are not in class to simply to gain COMFORT. The only problem came when it was time to go home for bed. Dean didn't want to leave. He SCREAMED the whole time we were in the Family Locker Room. It is possible others thought I was beating my child behind the locked door of shower/changing room #5.
  • I am finding great enjoyment in our yard. To us, it is a pretty place. I love our mature trees. Yes...we have worked hard to create an expanse of lush, suburban, weed-free lawn. We have pruned and pulled. We have a swing set. We attempted a garden, with little success. We enjoy! Marly and Dean are excited with the prospect of a leaf pile in the month ahead.
  • I changed out my lack-luster, puny, red geraniums for yellow mums and gourds in our front planters. The geraniums looked awful, so I was ecstatic to move on. I purchased cheap mums at Walmart. The truth is, they are not thriving either. I suck!
  • The palms on our patio DID thrive. I removed the flower heavy inpatients from the bottom and they are finding homes inside.
  • We ate supper on the patio last night. It was a gorgeous fall day. The time to eat outdoors is limited. The kiddy pool is deflated and returned to storage in the garage.
  • I pushed the kids on the swing forever last night after supper.... because soon this opportunity will be gone too.
  • Marly is still strongly attached to her two blankies. Dean loves Oscar more then ever. Those three items go with Marly and Dean most places.
  • Dean is much taller then Marly. Marly has lost her chubby cheeks. They bear no similarities in appearance, and surely don't look like twins. But, they ARE every bit TWINS. Marly told me yesterday Dean was her best friend. At daycare, our provider says they always like to sit by each other at meal time and often hug each other, etc. I am very comfortable with this. They act independently in groups as well.
  • Dean loves yogurt and Mac n' Cheese. Marly probably likes ice cream more then Dean.
  • I love listening to Marly and Dean converse with each other.
  • I wish I knew what "Mocha Mocha" meant.
  • Marly has a variety of favorite stuffed animals, which she rotates between. Most of them do not have names. She does have a blond dolly named "Inga".
  • The Twinners remember things and ask questions (as you would expect of their age). They know their family, and identify and converse about so many things. They were at Brett and Rachel's this past weekend. Rachel picked them up at my Dad's. She travelled home and Dean insisted she was going the WRONG way. When she finally convinced him they were heading to her house, Dean started requesting a boat ride. When Kelly comes to get them, they know she will arrive in a fast, yellow car.
  • They clearly adore all of their grandparents.
  • I need to lose a few pounds. I put on black dress pants the other day for the first time this season. I thought I was going to bust out of them at the end of the day.
  • I use capital letters too often in my blog.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tonic Sol-fa, Chili & Mickey Mouse

So what have the Thomberg's been up to lately? Just this and that. Lately, I have been trying to take the time to enjoy all those little moments in life. You know... the usual stuff. I've been having fun enjoying just getting my three year olds dressed in the morning. What a great stage in life we are at with the Twinner's.

This past weekend Mark and I attended a Tonic Sol-fa concert at St. Ben's. It was a fundraiser for Gillette put on by an amazing young woman who is a student there. She connected with Children's Miracle Network because she was a contestant for Miss MN. Anyway, the event was an entertaining night away for Mark and I.

Beyond that, we enjoyed the nice weather and our yard. Mark made up a big pot of Al Roker's Chili on Sunday.
Later in the evening, at bedtime, I noticed Ramona the Cat poised and ready to pounce, steady at the stove. I knew instantly what this meant. Surely a mouse was under there.

Indeed I was correct. About 20 minutes later I heard scuffling in the kitchen. "Mark... get up.. there is a mouse out there!" And so we did. We successful caught Mickey in a corner in the basement after chasing him about a bit. (Ramona does not have claws. She likes to play and toy with Mickey and his friends.)

Here is Mickey's back side in a Pyrex dish. What I did next was probably a mistake. I released him "into the wild" of our suburban street. My co workers tell me he will RETURN TO THE WARMTH of my home and kitchen.

Oh dear...All because I wasn't quite sure how to kill the little bugger without grossing myself out. Next time I will make my husband "be a man" and take care of it!

I also spent some time "jazzing things up" for fall and Halloween. More on that in another post.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Jazzing Up the Bathroom

When we moved into our home a year and 1/2 ago, Mark put up our pre-existing Pottery Barn shower curtain, painted to match, threw down the rug, changed out the standard flush wall mount mirror to a framed style, and that was that.

I mentioned we later changed out our toilet this summer (due to necessity), and now we finally "jazzed it up" a bit! (The bathroom, not the toilet.)

I feel bad posting about our decorating after my "Life Lesson from Craig's List", but the "jazzing" occurred before my post. And...well, who am I kidding - Mark and I really enjoy decorating.

Anyway... we recently added two Ikea shelves above the toilet and the 3 Ikea glass storage containers. Two of them are very functional and contain cotton pads (I use daily and now have easy access to) and Q-tips. The plant use to sit on top of the toilet.

Next, I searched Etsy (Catagory 'Art' , search word 'fern' since this was my initial vision for the wall hangings). I wanted just the right thing (within my meager budget) to add some pizazz to the wall opposite the entry door. I saw something I liked from a crafter called Crafterall. I sent Crafterall a special request, and we started a "convo". I explained what I planned to do, and she created three 5X7 custom papercuts to fit my in-expensive Ikea frames. It turned out the lady was located in nearby Shorewood! The items she created are perfect,unique, and neat works of art!

I LOVE Etsy. You can search endless avenues for gifts, decor, kids items, clothes, WHATEVER - hand made from across the world. Often, you work directly with the crafter/creator (like I have done on several occasions) to get exactly what you hope for! If you have never visited, go take a look. Thrift Stores - another love! The Kleenex box above is thrifted along with the garbage below (brand new with tags from Target). Oh... and the little finger towels hanging on the towel bar above the toilet. All these items were purchased here and there over many months.

The sink - finished off with my favorite Mrs. Meyer's hand soap (the bottle label happens to match the paint) and an antique jewelry box with a "T" inscribed on the top, which Mark bought me one Christmas off E-bay. And finally, a tiny vase and fake flowers purchased for a few bucks at Ikea.

There you have it! Our "jazzed up" bathroom!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Nickel Dickel Days

Sometime over the summer, Rachel asked Mark if he wanted to run the Nickel Dickel 5K in Waconia with her. Sure! What a great way for Mark to motivate himself to start working out, right?

Back in the day (when the Twinners were just infants) Mark use to run a 5K's here and there. The first one after the kids birth was in May. It was the Get in Gear 5K at Minnehaha Park in Mpls. Mark, Rachel and our friend Jeremy all ran. M&D took their first bus shuttle and light rail ride that day. Of course the Duo-Glide was dragged along. Our trusty Graco stroller was a necessity back then. I might have breast fed in the middle of the park while waiting near the finish. I remember M&D were wearing darling coordinating red and white Gap outfits. A few weeks later, Mark ran the Grand Ole' Days 5K, and then the Lumberjack Days 5K in Stillwater. Me, the Duo-Glide, and the Twinner's were along to cheer Daddy on for each one, and we enjoyed it. I would push the kids up the street to find a latte while Mark ran. That was three years ago...

...And it may have been the last time Mark ran, until this past Saturday! (So much for getting in shape.)

Rachel, Mark, and Mark's friend Mike. Notice Mark is wearing a DMB concert T-shirt. Some sort of consolation being he couldn't attend. The Twinner's and I drove separate and met them, since we stayed overnight at Brett and Rachel's.

Marly started chanting, "Go Daddy Go!" a block and a half before we arrived at the finish line.

I must find the similar post-run photo at the Get in Gear 5K three years ago! Things look a little different now.

Afterwards we enjoyed all the activities in the park, including the bounce house.

Thanks Rachel for helping inspire a fun day for all!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Date with Dave!

Many moons ago I was on line with Ticketmaster at exactly 10:00 am to click 'purchase tickets' for Dave Matthews Band. I got 4 good seats to their concert at Excel in September and was delighted. DMB hasn't appeared in the Twin Cities in ages. Mark was as excited as me, and we recruited Gretchen and Dan to join us.

Fast forward to August. Mark discovered he had an out of town work event and couldn't attend. I e mailed my friend Amy C. Will you be my date for Dave?

Now rewind to late last week. Gretchen and Dan were also unable to make it. Amy asked our friend Joan, and I invited my co worker Jenny.

Wednesday night finally arrives! Too Bad/Soo Sad for Mark, Gretchen and Dan. Andrea, Amy, Joan and Jenny had a FABULOUS time and Dave did NOT dissappoint.

Qouting the Pioneer Press review of the show - "By this point, Dave Matthews Band concerts are a rite of passage, and the group's Wednesday-night stop at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul was no different. Baby-faced college kids seeing the group for the first time bumped elbows with 30-something couples celebrating yet another notch in their DMB belt."

You can put me in the that 30 something catagory. Amy C (then Amy D) reminded me we first saw Dave together 15 years ago at the Target Center, while in college! Since then, I've attended performances in Madison, Alpine Valley, and the Twin Cities again. Dave isn't music preserved in a decade or era of my history. Dave provides music for my life, and through time (remember Dancing with Dave?)... and the band is an outstanding live experience.

I don't have a ton of 'notches in my belt' for DMB (5 I think), but be assured I will be 'celebrating' more in the years ahead.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Swimming Lessons and more

Monday the kids attended their first swimming lesson. We signed them up at the YMCA and are excited for the 5 weeks left! The first session was great. The kids were chomping at the bit to get in the pool. I kept telling them they had to stay OUT of the water until the instructor was ready and lessons were scheduled to start, since we were early. Their toes kept inching towards the water.

The Twinners spent quite a bit of time in water this past summer, so they were ready to go!


This past Sunday, Marly and Dean also went to Sunday School for the first time. I signed up to be a teacher too, because I sort of felt like that is what you are suppose to do when you bring your kids. (Okay, that is what my mom did! Oh... and the head of Children's Ministry ASKED me, and said they didn't have enough teachers...). I am helping with 1st Grade, and it should be interesting. Mark reminded me I am not someone who enjoys large groups of other people's children! (Oh, and crafts are NOT my foray!)

As for Marly and Dean, Mark stayed with them last week. Things were rather chaotic for the first Sunday. It remains to be seen how Sunday School will transpire (for all three of us, actually). Marly and Dean's class has over 20 preschoolers in it, and last week they were actually short chairs! The teachers did provide a bio about themselves for the parents of the class. Thank heavens they are actually trained pre-school teachers, and have more experience then said S.S. teacher/blog author!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Life Lessons from Craig's List

Today I spent my time around the house. I washed windows and screens neglected this past spring. We did some yard maintenance. Mark cleaned out some clothes, and we started bags for a Courage Center collection/pick up.

We need to clean out, and purge. We have too much. I intended to have a garage sale this summer, but the truth is, I lacked the motivation to take on the challenge, even though my garage is brimming with things we don't need, or want.

Neighborhood dump day is one week away. As residents, we can pull pretty much anything we want to the curb, and the city will haul it away. It rotates between neighborhoods every three years, and this is our year on Riverview Lane. Remember that toilet we replaced after the kids flushed a toy down it? Neighborhood dump day. How about those hollow panel doors we replaced, or the bi-folds? Neighborhood dump day. Small pine dresser used at my various apartments since college, missing one drawer? Dump Day!

But then I felt guilty. Should I find a way to recycle these items, instead of filling a landfill? I decided to place FREE posts on Craig's List for the doors and dresser before pulling them to the curb next Saturday. In the post for the pine dresser, I listed the dimensions, and indicated clearly a drawer was missing. Two hours later I got a call.

"Yes.. the dresser is available. It's all yours if you want it!" I alerted the man it was MISSING A DRAWER. He said he would take it and place a panel over the missing drawer. For my own security (since Mark was out for the evening), I gave him my address, and told him I would leave it on the curb. I said he could take it or leave it, and if it was on the curb at the end of the night, I would pull it back in the garage. Before he hung up, he said, "God Bless You."

Because the dresser was light, I could easy pull it down the drive. Minus the missing drawer, it didn't look too bad from the front, but is wasn't very sturdy. I discovered the back particle board panel was missing too. I felt guiltfor y having posting something so crappy actually.

A while later the kids and I were finishing supper. I noticed a late model mini van drive by and circle, but payed no attention. The kids moved to another window and said, "Mommy, there's a man at the curb!" Dean exclaimed, "Mommy, that man is taking the garbage!"

Instantly, my heart sank. This man was taking the dresser for his children. My own kids (peering out the window in their crisp, new jeans for the season), thought the dresser was garbage.

Hours later, as I type now (hours before going to worship tomorrow morning), I feel so very guilty for all we have, as I contemplate what others do not.

I waved to that man in the mini van after he loaded the abused, damaged dresser. I wanted to do more for him. He drove off, and I cleaned up the left overs from supper. Chicken strips I made scratch, mac n' cheese (Dean's favorite), fuit, milk, etc. What was this man and his children having for supper? What kind of clothes would his kids fill the four remaining dresser drawers with? Here I stood, with bags of perfectly good clothing on my living room floor sorted for donation.

How did I get so lucky to be blessed with so much, my whole life? With all I have, why do I always want more? Why does materialism so clearly find such a strong hold in my life. Now, and in church tomorrow, I will ask for forgiveness...

Life Lessons from my Craig's List Free Post....

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Camping Photos - Post #1 of Two

We camped and played at the site... (Owen, Marly, Mason, Dean)
We ate and snacked on all kinds of things we don't get at home... (Marly, Sophia, Dean,Owen, Allie)
We played at the beach, even though the temp was cool....
We hung out...
We made new friends... (Marly and Mason)
We loved fire and flashlights and s,mores....

Camping Photos - Post #2

Yes... there were adults on the Labor Day Sibley State Park camping trip too.
Heidi and Mason.
Mark and Dean.

Josh, the man with hundreds of pounds of free wood to burn.

Brian and Abby.

*Thanks to Brian, Josh, and the other men who helped Mark set up the tent (since we arrived later then many in the group). Maritial harmony is maintained if Mark and I don't have to perform this act together!*

Me "shakin it!" with the kids in the water.
Denise and Doris.
Campers Extrodinaire!

Thanks to everyone involved for a GREAT time!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Camping - Sibley State Park

Before we had the Twinners, Mark and I use to camp once or twice a year with a bunch of other couples, a motley crew of who knows who, typically gathering at two State Park camp sites hand picked in advance by one of the coordinators (our friend Doris Hentges). We visited Lake Carlos State Park one Memorial Day, and Itasca a few times.

Lake Carlos will be remembered for extreme heat, extreme drinking, and an extreme camp fire. The first Itasca trip will be remembered as the time our camp buddies nearly convinced me you had to pee in the headwaters of the Mississippi River on your first visit. Yes... I am gullible and nearly dropped my drawers. No...alcohol did not play a role in my stupidity.

Our last Itasca trip (4/5 years ago?) will be remembered as our final trip as a kid-free couple. We biked the 16 mile Wilderness Drive Loop one day, and I was ecstatic to have safely hit the 12 week mark in my pregnancy. We haven't been back until now.

The Thomberg's finally re-joined the crew this Labor Day weekend. We visited Sibley State Park and caught up with friends old and new, many who had also joined the ranks of parenthood. Sibley will be memorable simply because it was the Twinner's first camping experience. M & D slept in a tent in new pink and blue sleeping bags, have their own pink and blue camp chairs, ate s'mores, enjoyed the fire each night, played on the beach, braved the water in the cool temps, and had their own special adventures with their new friends Joey, Mason, Allie, Owen, Abby, and Sophia!

We all had a good time! Three is surely a fabulous age. I enjoy simply watching them discover everything around them, and especially the outdoors this past summer.

Hopefully, there will be photos to document our historical first. I discovered Saturday my camera battery no longer re-charges and am waiting for a few .jpg's from friends!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The State Fair 2010

Andrea's Running Commentary!

Friday afternoon Mark retrieved the Graco DuoGlide stroller from her storage place above the rafters of the garage for a return trip to the Great Minnesota Get Together - The State Fair.

We hopped on a shuttle from the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Roseville and joined the record setting, weekday crowds on a hot, but breezy afternoon.

We kicked off our glutenous activities with a corn dog, cheese curds, fresh cut french fries, and then milkshakes (and another foot long corn dog, because Dean insisted he was HUNGRY!)

We enjoyed the people watching. These teen boys all have shirts that declare, "Fat Kids are Harder to Kidnap!" Interesting.

We visited most every barn. Like all kids, Dean loved the "Miracle of Birth" Barn. Below is Dean on Grandpa's shoulders, with the Largest (ugly) Boar behind him. "Reggie" weighed 1450 pounds. In general, I really don't like the Swine Barn. If it weren't for that disgusting giant boar, I would ix-nay (spelling?) the pigs all together, but I am too Minnesotan to skip the Largest Boar.

Of course we also made sure to visit the Giant Pumpkins in the Ag Building. The winner came from East Bethel and weighted 1036 pounds this year.

Rabbits, poultry, sheep, cows, horses...Somehow we missed the llamas!

The Twinner's enjoyed the day with Grandpa. (Actually, Grandpa enjoys every minute of his time with his grandkids!!!) Grandpa loves the animals, just like his daughter, and now his grandkids.

Token photo of the me and Mark, taken by... me! I had consumed A LOT of cheese curds by this point, and not a drop of beer!

The Thomberg's all went down the Giant Slide, then moved on to the Kiddy Midway.

After dragging Dean away from the rides kicking and screaming, we hunted down the Deep Fried Gourmet Pickles. They moved to the end of Dan Patch by the Grand Stand from the Food Building. Those cream cheese fried pickles are usually the SECOND thing Mark and I eat on our State Fair binge. Imagine our surprise when we entered the side of the Food Building and they were no where to be found.

Did I mention we had a snow cone and mini donuts between the rides?

Surely we had to try the Chocolate Covered Bacon Pig Lickers at Famous Dave's, since it was right there kiddy corner from the pickle place. Roasted Corn would have been a better option for our last $5. (Okay it was my Dad's $5. I wouldn't pay for it, but Marly and I did split the last piece. It wasn't very good. I am not sure why we finished it, but I couldn't waste/throw away my Dad's investment!)

After the kids' bedtime (with NO nap), it was FINALLY time to take our bulging bellies home! (Not as bulging as the Largest Boar of course.)

I am sure we will be back again next year. I am sure our day will look pretty similar to this year, or last year, or the year before. That's why we love the State Fair. We all know EXACTLY what to expect! And you never know what new food concoction will be invented to waste your last $5 on.

See you all then!


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