31 August 2008

GNO, Part 2

After dinner we went to Barnes and Noble. Clare and Meghan had some silliness in them!

One last picture of the girls. The all-elusive Maggie is in the back row. She is my birthday twin, and we will celebrate on September 16 (she'll be 15). Ladies, I had a great time with all of you! We'll have to do it again soon!
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Back to School Kindergarten Night

Wednesday was Kindergarten Night.
The official start of school is Tuesday.
Think my Drew is ready?
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Girls Night Out! Part 1

The evening began at Applebees.
From left to right are my nieces, Clare (13), Martha (9), Meghan (13), and Anne (11).
Maggie wouldn't pose in this picture.

Martha's enjoying our appetizers. We had the sampler and chips with queso.

More yumminess!
I need to add that we had dessert shooters which were mini versions of dessert!
I thank that was everyone's favorite part!

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29 August 2008

I am so excited!

***WARNING**** The post you are about to read contains political musings of a conservative nature. I am not turning into a political blogger, but I cannot contain my excitement. I promise to return to my regularly scheduled blog after this one.
So, I have not been too enthused about this year's presidential election. I am a conservative. I make no apologies for that. It is who I am, and who I will always be. When looking at the candidates, I thought to myself, "Nothing great here this time around." Obama, although a dynamic speaker, is way too liberal in his views. He even makes Wisconsin's own Russ Feingold look not so liberal, and that's saying a lot. McCain is alright, but I wanted someone truly conservative. He has always held a hard line on the pro-life issue, but there have been other times where he has crossed the party lines. McCain is a moderate Republican, and I would like to see someone more conservative. All in all, things being what they are, I knew I would vote for McCain, but I wasn't enthused about it. But then it happened...
He picked Sarah Palin. I have to say that this was completely unexpected, and I am so excited about it! She is exactly what his campaign needs! As Governor of Alaska, she is the only one of the candidates (presidential and VP) that has executive experience in both the private and public sector. She is a hard line conservative, and has lived the example of pro-life through her experience of her Downs Syndrome child. I am just so ecstatic about this choice of a running mate! Go McCain/Palin!

F x 4 King of the Tube

These three are my niece and nephews that have been staying with us this week. As you can see, we have a tiny pool, but we've had a lot of fun! We're glad you stayed with us-Meghan, John and Tim. We still have the weekend...Can't wait for our GNO (Girls Night Out) with Meg and her cousins Saturday night! Applebee's here we come!
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28 August 2008

My head is swirling!

I am sitting here feeling a bit overwhelmed by my fall schedule. As I always do this time of year, I sit down with my calendar and try to get everything on it. I always joke about being a jack of all trades, but my work is definitely increasing.

My main part time job as an online instructor includes three separate positions: teacher, team leader, and substitute. I am happy to say that I now have off weekends, but it means having to cram more work time in during the week.

I also write my weekly re-cap for my beloved Guiding Light. This may not seem like a big deal but umm...I have to watch the show (so far I am 3 episodes behind this week). I am also writing some weekly re-caps for the archives that are missing from the website. There is job number 2.

I am also taking on a real life student this year that I am tutoring. Four hours a week. I am really excited to be doing this, but again, it means more scheduling, more planning.

Finally, I go back to SAT essay scoring come October. I am glad that this job is only 7 times per year because it is the least favorite of what I do.

So, there it is-my work at home life. Pretty busy, isn't it? Andy and I knew that day care was not going to be an option that we wanted to pursue. I support women who make that difficult choice, but it isn't for me or our family. I am glad I have found a way to use my degree and make it work for us. Most of my odd jobs take place at night leaving me the flexibility to tend to my boys, so I am happy about that. I am just a little apprehensive about working out the details of this schedule!

27 August 2008


Sorry I have been MIA the past few days. The children in my household have increased from 3 to 6! I guess I should explain lest you all think I suddenly had triplets! My sister and brother-in-law are taking their older girls down to school, and I have the youngest three: Meghan, 13; John, 12; and Tim, 8. Tim is only 12 days younger than Peter, so I have a set of twins right now.

I have learned the key to a big family-SCHEDULE. We have a daily schedule right now-what I wanted to do with my three boys all summer. It really does help. The kids aren't constantly asking what is happening next-they just know! I'll have to remember this, and stick to it, next summer.

My niece and nephews are staying until next Monday. In the meantime, we have Kindergarten night tonight for Drew, and school supply drop-off day tomorrow for the rest (they all go to school together). Soccer has also started, so even though we have not had the official start of school yet, we are getting into the swing of things.

For those of you wondering, my plan is to get back into school mode, and have a time each day to read my favorite blogs (you know who you are). I know a couple of you have asked where I am-I am here and reading, but kind of on the fly this week...comment love is coming back-I promise!!!

22 August 2008

Friday Foto Finish Fiesta

I took this picture a couple of weeks ago, and I am so glad I did. These two are thick as thieves, and in one more week, Drew will be in school full-time leaving Michael with his Mama. Michael is going to miss his "Drewsie".

For more great pictures, check out Candid Carrie!
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18 August 2008

We signed him up!

My darling Michael is all signed up for his first class. He will be taking Gymnastics on Thursday mornings. He has the same teacher that Drew had, and she is a wonderful woman with immense patience! Each of our boys does this the year before they start 4 year old Kindergarten to give them some time away from me. We are actually not sure if Michael will go next year because he misses the cut off by one day. Our principal has assured us that we could put him in next year, but we are still on the fence with this decision. He is extremely bright, but we do worry about him being a boy and the youngest in the class. On the other hand, Drew is also the youngest in his class (July birthday), and he is just fine...We will have to just wait and see...All I know is that come September 4th, I will have one glorious hour to myself! I don't ask for much, do I?

17 August 2008

The Secret Came Out...

Andy and I took the kids out to lunch today. This was, of course, before we knew Drew was coming down with stomach flu-AGAIN, but I digress. So we are at lunch, and I feel like I have a stray hair on my nose. You know, one of the longish ones that won't seem to stay in place. I couldn't find it, so I ask Andy if there is something-on my nose. He reaches over and pulls at a hair-on my cheek!

Yes, ladies, the dreaded granny hair! I don't know what other regions call them, but that's what we call them here. Those hairs that seem to sprout overnight in places they are not supposed to-like my cheek. Andy looked quite surprised when he saw it, and kind of grossed out. I explained to him that I didn't have them before we had kids (like skin tags, but that is another post). I now have them sprout in 3 places: the aforementioned cheek, my forehead and my neck.

You know what I hate about them? They will be gone for a long time, and then I will wake up one morning, and BAM! There it is, and it is like 2 inches long! Only this time, I missed it. And I grossed out my husband. The secret's out, and it isn't pretty!

16 August 2008


This is me. A rarely seen picture of me, but I am posting it here because I need advice. You see, I am in a hair funk. I have pretty much worn my hair the same way for at least 15 years. I flip between 2 styles-long with layers or bobbed. I don't do the bob anymore because it emphasizes my round face. So, now, I am here and looking for a change. My husband likes it long-as long as possible, but I usually cut it when it gets to about where it is now. I have moderately curly, really thick hair, but don't do a lot with it other than pull a bit of it back with clips as it is right now. So, what should I do?

The next award...

Waaaaaaaaaaay back in July, Sydney over at Diapers and Deadlines presented me with this award. Life's been crazy-busy, so I am spending some time while I am on-call at work today catching up!

Here are the rules:
Once an award is received, the rules are as follows:
1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.
3. Nominate at least seven other blogs.
4. Add links to those blogs on your blog.
5. Leave a message for your nominee on their blog.

Here are my award-winners...Oh wait, we are all winners...Ahem...The award goes to:
1. Gramma 2 Many at Yes, they are all mine: I love this blog! She has become someone I look forward to reading, and someone I love to hear back from on my blog as well. I feel like I know her even though we have never met.

2. Deanna at Eight is Great: A fellow Wisconsinite, and mom to 8 kids-another blog I look forward to!

3. Jessica at The Life, Faith and Creativity of Jessica Turner: OK, I know I'm biased, but Jessica is my cousin, and a very talented person as well as a new mommy. You should check out her blog just to see pictures of her baby, little Elias! Too Cute!

4. Sometimes Sophia at I Hope You Have a Good Day, Charlie! Another read I look forward to! Beautiful photography as well!

5. Karen at Food, Glorious Food...and life in general: I just found this blog when Karen stopped by yesterday, and I am hooked!

6. Amy at Escape Into My Thoughts: I have read Amy for a while now. I consider her one of my first bloggy friends! I love reading her thoughts, and she loves Rick Springfield as much as I do!

7. The Wilson's House: Another blog that I can't get enough of! Make sure you stop by and say Happy Anniversary!

Tag! I'm it!

Within the past couple of weeks, I was tagged by 2 people-Mrs. 0309 at Outnumbered Two to One and Deanna at Eight is Great. Because I am unable to come up with 12 quirks about me, I am putting them together, so you only get 6! Now, for the rules:

1. Link the person who tagged you.

2. Mention the rules on your blog.
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours.
4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them.
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.

Here are my unspectacular quirks:
1. I don't like bugs-of any kind. They really kind of freak me out!
2. I tend to be kind of OCD. I used to really get worked up if a virus was going around, but then we had rotovirus in the house for 3 weeks, and puke really doesn't faze me any more.
3. I am addicted to reality TV. The Amazing Race is my favorite! I can't wait for it to start up this fall!
4. I love rainy days! I love to curl up in my chair with a good book or my crocheting and listen to the rain.
5. I don't like seafood. Enough said!
6. I am very allergic to cats. I wheeze, need an inhaler, and get hives. It's not pretty!

I am not going to tag anyone specifically. If you want to play along, please do!

I got an award!

I am trying to play catch up this weekend on awards, tag, and such. I am going to start with the newest and work backwards.

Sherri at Kaysville Momma gave this award, and I couldn't be happier! I showed up late to the party going on at her blog, but she welcomed me with open arms! Thanks, Sherri!

So here are the rules:
* Pick 5 Bloggers that you feel are Kick A** Bloggers
* Let em' know in your post or via email, twitter or blog comments that they've received an award
* Share the love and link back to both the person who awarded you and back to
Kick A** Blogger Award
* Hop on back to the Kick A** Blogger Club HQ to sign Mr.
Linky then pass it on (which you can also get to on the above link)

Pretty simple, right? The award goes to:

Sydney at Diapers and Deadlines: One of my real-life best friends. We met through book club, and just clicked. Check out her writing-it's really good!

Sue at Susie's Homemade: Another real-life best friend. Sue and I have known each other since high school (we just celebrated our 20th reunion!). She's a foodie with a lot of entertaining ideas-and her own ETSY business!

Who Says 8 is Enough? is a blog that I literally just found, and have fallen in love with! Mom to 9 kids, some natural, some adopted, but all hers in her heart! I love big families!

Tressa at American in Norway: I have been reading Tressa's blog for a while now. She is, just like her title, an American living in Norway, and I love the comparisons between the two countries! I went through withdrawal while she was visiting her family stateside, so I am glad she is back!

Kelly at Song for Whoever: Kelly is Tressa's best friend from high school, and a great writer herself! I always look forward to what she has to say!

Please check these ladies out! Thanks again to Sherri for the award!

15 August 2008

Friday's Foto Finish Fiesta

Better late than never...This picture is one of my favorites from my parents' 45th Anniversary Party. With thoughts of my Mom this week, I wanted to share this. Mom died 5 months after this party, so I was so glad that we had been able to be together with all of my siblings, nieces and nephews. Mom is having a stare-down with my niece, Annie, who will be leaving for college again next week with 2 of her sisters.

For more great pictures, check out Candid Carrie!
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13 August 2008

Saucy Eats Contest!

The SITS Saucy Eats site is having a recipe contest. I am entering one of my favorites-Beef Stroganoff. I hope you enjoy it!

Beef Stroganoff

1 small onion, diced
1-16 ounce package button mushrooms, sliced
1 T olive oil
2 T flour
2 pounds beef stew meat
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1-16 ounce container sour cream
¼ C Worcestershire sauce
Egg noodles, cooked and buttered

Saute onion and mushrooms in olive oil. When onions are translucent, sprinkle in 2 TBSP flour and stir. Allow flour to cook through. Add in stew meat and brown. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cream of mushroom soup, sour cream and Worcestershire sauce. Add water as needed to loosen sauce. Place in a 325 degree oven for 2 hours or until meat is tender. Serve over buttered egg noodles.

11 August 2008

In memory of my Mom...

Thank you all for your wonderful comments about my rant. I have been very blessed to find those of you who read and comment on my writing here. Rest assured that my family and I are doing better. Now onto more important things...

As I was sitting and feeling sorry for myself on Saturday, I realized that there was a deeper reason. I kept thinking to myself How did my Mom do it? At some point, it hit me. Monday (today) is the anniversary of her death. I mean, I knew it was coming up, but a part of me always tries to push it away. Well, it is here, and I am OK. I miss her terribly, but I realize that she wouldn't want me wallowing. I am going to spend the day with my boys, and my husband (when he gets home) celebrating the person my Mom was. My Peter only has vague memories of her, and the other two don't remember her (Michael wasn't even born when she died). Andy and I promised each other that we would always keep her memory alive for the boys. My Mom's children and grandchildren were everything to her, so she would want that.

So, how will we spend the day? I am going to take them to the park in the morning, and then pick up lunch for them on the way home. My Mom used to always insist on taking the boys through the drive-thru for lunch if we had taken her to a doctor's appointment or shopping. I will also take some time to show them some of the family videos Andy made while Mom was alive. I am going to make a special dinner and dessert. Not sure what yet-I made my Mom's meatballs for dinner last night, so we'll see what I come up with. Then. we'll finish up the day watching the Olympics. Mom loved watching those, and we are trying to instill that in our boys. Peter has wanted to watch non-stop since they started!

So, I leave you all with thanks for being here, and thanks for reading. I want to share some pictures with you of my Mom. I think she was beautiful, and I am proud to be her daughter!

We came across this picture while we were going through my parents' pictures. I had never seen it before. I think it may have been one of her graduation shots.

This is my Mom and Dad with my three oldest siblings, Sal, Frank, and Mary.

This picture was taken on our trip to Texas in 2002. We were celebrating Peter's 2nd birthday.

10 August 2008

Wisconsin State Fair Cream Puffs!

Wisconsin State Fair ends today. We didn't make it this year, but we did enjoy the Cream Puffs! The Fair has a drive-thru for Cream Puffs from 6-8 AM every morning. My sweet hubby went out and picked these up! Drew and Michael were first to the table!

Drew loves the creamy goodness! And, yes, we had them for breakfast! I felt like Bill Cosby-they have flour, eggs, dairy-that counts, right?

Peter may have been last to the table, but after many years of cream puff eating, he has the devouring down to a science!

09 August 2008

I feel a rant coming on...

So, it hasn't been the best summer. I have tried not to be whiny about it (I know, Syd,I whine to you), but 2008 will not go down as the best summer in history. Don't get me wrong-we had a great time at the water park in June, and other various activities, but I am ready for this summer to be over. The past ten days have sealed that one for me.

Let's go back a week and a half ago. Peter (the 8 year old) is limping and complaining about his foot. He had a cut-a tiny one. I told him it was not a big deal, get over it. Then, 24 hours later, it became a big deal. He had a red streak on his foot, emanating from the cut. Not good. Guess what? It's infected. And not infected like throw some Neosporin on it. Infected like he could have gotten sepsis. He is still on an oral anti-biotic for it.

Then, we move on to Saturday. Michael (age 3) takes a nap. KNEW something was brewing. When he woke up, his fever was 102.5. Give Motrin. Four hours later, fever is 103.5, and he is lethargic and breathing funny. Decide to take him to the ER, but not before he throws up all over the couch. Get him to the ER at Children's-his fever is now 105! He is losing consciousness. Fabulous triage nurse puts him ahead of everyone else. Not-so-fabulous nurse in ER "2" informs me that my son has been given Tylenol, and they will check on him in an hour! Excuse me? My son's eyes are rolling back, he's breathing funny, is like a rag doll, and you'll check on him in an hour? Her response-Ma'am, that is normal for his fever. So we spent 4 hours in the ER while they got his fever down. This nasty little virus lingered on for a few more days, until...

I. got. it. Yep, my turn! You know what they never tell you when you sign up to be a stay-at-home mom? You don't get sick days-ever. So, for the past few days, I have been sick, and trying to keep the kids occupied. Finally started feeling better last night...

Then we come to 4:30 this morning. My son, Drew (age 5) comes down the stairs, goes to my hubby's side of the bed and says, "Mom, I threw up in my bed." GRR...I go upstairs, and he actually missed the bed, but hit the carpet instead. So, I got him cleaned up, the floor cleaned up, and back in bed by 5 AM.

Now, I am working again, until 3 this afternoon. If you feel the need to leave me a little comment love please do. I truly am sorry for sounding like the whiny girl that I am. Maybe Brett Farve's whining has rubbed off, maybe I am just tired. I am tired of illness, tired of summer, and ready for school-until school makes them sick...Thanks for listening...

08 August 2008


There is a giveaway for some really cool stationary over at The Pink Potpourri. Head on over and take a look! I really hope I win!!!

Friday's Foto Finish Fiesta

Andy and the older boys took Grandpa to Packer Family Night on Sunday. It is so rare that Andy is in a picture that I had to post it! Yes, this was the night that Brett flew back into our lives, and now he is gone. Seriously, as much as I was tired of the whining from Brett Farve and the Packer management, I am still sad to see him go.
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07 August 2008

The song that started it all...

Even though I am a native Wisconsinite, there were four years when I lived in Texas-for college. I heard country music, but never took a liking to it-too twangy. Then, during first semester my senior year, I heard this song, and I WAS HOOKED! I really have a wide rage of music that I listen too, but country is one of my faves (OK, Amy, Rick does still come first!). I never saw Garth in concert, but if he ever tours again-I AM SO THERE!

05 August 2008


Hello to all of you Camp Candid Carrie members who decided to brave the bus trip to another Wisconsin blog. Yesterday's blog, written by Sydney, is a favorite of mine! She is a friend in real life, and did an excellent job talking about all that Milwaukee has to offer!

I am a native Wisconsinite who fled the state for four years of college (including a semester in Rome), but who now calls Milwaukee home, and most likely will permanently. We have really great weather here. I love the change of seasons-although the almost 100 inches of snow last year was a bit too much. I would love to share some of the seasonal offerings in my area: Spring flowers, LOTS of snow in winter, and lovely warm weather for swimming!

Speaking of summer, and warm weather, would you all like some ice cream? Let's head over to Kopp's-it's a Milwaukee tradition! Besides vanilla and chocolate, today's flavors are "Macadamia Nut" and "Pancakes and Maple Syrup". For me, I am going with the strawberry sundae!

You should also know that in our household, we are HUGE Packer fans, I have blogged about it a couple of times. You can check those out here and here. As I write this, I am waiting to hear the status of Brett Farve. I hate that he has looked like a crybaby, but after seeing him on TV on Sunday night when he flew into Green Bay, I am a little excited at the prospect of him maybe playing. I am still mad at him for turning our state into such a media circus, but we'll see what happens!

So, thanks for checking in and stopping by. Please feel free to hang out all day as there is lots to see and read around here. Just don't forget to leave me a comment so I can come visit you, too!

04 August 2008


So, I received an email today from my boss that I write recaps for. When I got this job, I openly admitted that I had never had a job writing, but he liked what I had written as an example and hired me. I asked for feedback, and the only thing I was told was that the recaps were good, they all needed to be written in past tense, and I had one misspelling of a character's name.

Today, I got an email with a file of ALL the recaps I'd written, and every correction that had ever been made. Do you remember those teachers who could make your papers bleed with comments? That was nothing compared to what I saw. I also noticed improvement-tons of corrections in January and only one correction to the last week on file. What bothered me was that when the file was sent to me, he had forgotten to erase the email from the editor. She had said to him, "You'll be busy with this one." Umm...isn't her job to edit? Don't get me wrong, I want to do quality work, but the only mistake I made in the last recap in the file was a misspelling of a character's name, a name that has two spellings, and quite frankly was not something that spell check would have picked up.

So, I sit here once again, feeling doubtful of my ability to write. Thank you, though, to those of you who gave me such great comments on my post on Saturday. I really appreciate it!

02 August 2008

Something I Wrote...

My cousin is putting together a book for publication, and asked me to write a couple of pieces for it. I believe it will be called, Voices of Ordinary People. I have been procrastinating on the project partly because I don't feel confident in my writing (it's why I beg for comment love!), and partly because I knew I wanted to write something about the deaths of my parents in 2004 and 2006. I knew it was going to be painful. The anniversary of Mom's death is coming up on August 11. The tears flowed, and I wrote. I wanted to share this piece, so here it is:

Your father has cancer. I heard this news two weeks before my wedding, and I felt like my world was coming to an end. My Dad was the strongest person I knew. How could he be sick? Would he be able to walk me down the aisle? I had such an immature understanding of this disease at the time. That time was 12 years ago. Since then, I understand more than I ever want to about that disease-CANCER.

Twelve years ago, we thought my Dad was one of the lucky ones. They caught it early. He only needed surgery. For the next six years, he continued to be one of the lucky ones. Six years-we thought he was safe. He made it past five-he was out of the danger zone, right? Nope. After six years, we heard it again.

Your father has cancer. How can this be? Then, two years we heard it again, but it was slightly different. Your mother has cancer. WHAT? How the hell did this happen? How did I end up losing not one, but two parents to that disease?

CANCER-I HATE that word. I hate what it means. Watching your parents fight to survive. Hoping and praying that they will live to see your children born. Hoping and praying that they will be here when your oldest starts school, and then crying when they’re not. I hate crying every time my kids hit a major milestone because my Mom and Dad aren’t here for it. I hate hearing that they’re here in spirit. You know something, that’s not good enough. I want them here-now.

My heart aches with the fact that I lost my Mom at 34 and my Dad at 35. I am too young to be without them. I know there are many people who have gone through this, who have lost their parents or (God forbid) a child even younger than I was, and I grieve for those people as well. This club is one I did not sign up for, and one I don’t want to belong to.

So, CANCER, do you know what I think of you? I think you suck! I hate what you have done to so many families, including my own.

I have made some really great friends here in the blogosphere, and I wanted to share this because my parents were/are such an important part of who I am.

01 August 2008

My Son, the Supervisor! Friday's Foto Fiesta

Out of the almost 1,500 pictures we took in July (new camera, and we take A LOT of pictures!), this one is one of my favorites! Andy had decided to dump the water and clean out our 10 foot by 30 inch pool. Michael decided he needed to sit and supervise the refill. Needless to say, he did get wet!
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