Thursday, December 28, 2006


Here is Asher yesterday, sharing a snuggle with me in his new, fleecey duckie towel/hoodie from Grandma Carol. One of his favorite things to do is to take a bath. And he usually doesn't like to come out into the cold, so his new towel is a big hit, as it covers him from head to toe!
Our house has been slowly settling down from the post-Christmas chaos. The boys spend every afternoon on the living room carpet, grabbing toys from under the tree and playing. It's been a lot of fun!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas 2006

Here is a 5-minute video recap of our Christmas extravaganza! We had a wonderful holiday together, complete with glow worms, light sabers and a Rody! If you don't know what a Rody is, just watch! But let me tell ya, he doesn't stand a chance against an armed jedi knight.... Merry Christmas everyone! We hope you all had a blessed holiday!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Boys in Boxes

This short video speaks for itself. After all, what would Xmas be without packing materials and boxes?? :) But if you want more info, read the post below this one! Incidentally, Jingle Bells, by Bing Crosby (playing in the background) has become Gabriel's favorite holiday tune. Enjoy!

Fun in a box

My sister, Gretchen, sent two huge boxes to our house last week, creating quite a stir amongst my boys. Little did I know that it was mostly for the boxes themselves, that the boys were so excited! Oh, Gabe certainly got quite a thrill finding each and every present, reading the tags (he's especially worked up about a package addressed to him, from "Batman") :) and tucking them under the tree. But after this was done, he noticed that Asher had crawled INTO a box and was sitting amongst the packing peanuts, throwing them around, shrieking, and in general ... having a ball. Then my (almost) 5-year-old quickly reverted back to the small boy he was, and decided that he too, wanted in on the box action! Within minutes, they were both in a box, having "peanut" wars. I kept thinking, as I was watching them, of one of my FAVORITE books as a kid, by Eve Sutton, "My cat likes to hide in boxes." Well, I guess "My boys like to hide in boxes" as well! I have video footage that I'll be posting shortly! :)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

1-year portrait

Here is Asher's 1-year portrait. I can hardly believe he's gotten so big! We snapped these photos of him while we were shooting our Christmas card.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A teaser...

We have finished shooting our annual Xmas card. Every year, Nate takes a picture of the boys and we send it out to all our friends and family as a card. Gabriel started the tradition in December of 2002 at age 11 months, when we shot photos of him as a naked cherub, complete with feathery wings. Too fun! This was our card last year. Asher (at two weeks old) slept through most of it, especially since we had the heat cranked up to almost 80 degrees to keep him warm! But he did manage to pee on the present at the very end of the shoot. Yahoo! And yes, for those of you who are wondering, that is indeed his real skin. We always get asked if he's wearing some kind of "suit" ... but no! It's just his birthday suit! What a sweetie! :) We're very excited for everyone to see this year's card! We'll be mailing them off tomorrow!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Exploding Whale

Okay, this post is totally thanks to my friend and coworker, Jen Kuszynski, who e-mailed me this clip from YouTube in the first place. Maybe I have a sick sense of humor, but we all thought this was pretty darn funny at work!! FYI: This is real news footage from the 70s, I believe.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Belated Tree-Hunt Photos

We went out to get our Xmas tree a week and a half ago. I forgot to post photos, so here they are! Gabe was overjoyed to be hiking through the woods, looking for the perfect tree. For the first time in awhile, we didn't find our tree right away. We had to hike around a bit, before stumbling across the Balsalm that we picked out. And then of course, Gabriel had to supervise dad's sawing abilities as Nate did the grunt work. But it was beautiful ... and LIGHT! (as you can see in the photo where Nate and Gabe are hoisting the tree above their heads!) Gabe and I had such fun decorating afterwards. He hung most of the ornaments on the lower branches, and I learned (as I've been learning all season!) that I have to set aside my ideas of "what looks right" when it comes to decorating, and instead, enjoy the whims of a 4-year-old interior designer. :) It's quite enjoyable actually!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sledding with the boys

Today, after picking Gabe up from school, I decided to get both boys stuffed into their snowsuits and take them sledding. It's been a long time since I've been sledding with Gabriel and (of course) Asher has never been.
It took almost an hour to find the various hats, mittens, scarves, boots etc. that we needed, and get the boys all ready to go. But once we were there, it was such fun!
All three boys and I squeezed onto our new, little tobogan sled. We were at Vollrath Park (bowl) and the hill sort of bumps down three times on the way down. The snow was packed down very hard (I guess there were over 100 sledders there on Saturday) so the first time we went down was rather fast, and intense, with the sled lifting off the ground as it flew over each mini hill in the series. I admit, I was a bit nervous and for a second, I questioned my sanity for having brought Asher along with us ... but all was well and we didn't capsize! At the bottom, Gabe let out a whoop and Asher just sort of sat there in shock. It was funny!
After that, Gabe pretty much went down alone for most of the runs. He was so proud of himself for going down the hill on a sled ALL by himself! The first thing he wanted to do was call daddy and tell him all about it! We topped off the trip by going home and having hot chocolate! What a great afternoon!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Catching snow flakes!

Today we had our first real "snow storm" of the season. Milwaukee was under a blizzard warning and got about a foot of snow, but we got 8 inches in Sheboygan. After Gabe got out of school (yes, he still had school today!) we all went outside and played while Nate shoveled. Gabriel had fun making snow angels, pummeling Roxy with snowballs, and teaching Asher his favorite snowy day trick -- catching snowflakes on his tongue!! Here are some photos of the boys trying to catch flakes on their tongues! Asher was trying really hard!!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Asher Walking

Here is a video we shot just about 2 hours ago of Asher taking his first try at some SERIOUS walking! ( meaning, more than one or two steps). What I love about this video is the way he cheers for himself throughout it. It's only about 1 minute long. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Birthday Boy!

Asher is 1 today! I can hardly believe it's been a year since we had our last-minute C-section and Asher Edmund joined our family! Wow! Here's a photo of the little cheeser when he was just a few hours old. He's changed so much! His favorite thing to do now is say "hiiiiii babeeee!" with a huge smile on his face. He's also VERY close to walking. On Sunday, he took about three steps between Nathan and me.
Happy birthday sweetheart!

Friday, November 17, 2006

It made a better movie...

Okay, so it's fairly rare that you hear people say that a movie was better than the book it was based on. Usually it's the exact opposite. My friend Nhia and I got chatting about this fact at work recently. Her example of a movie one-upping a book was "The Last of the Mohicans" and I have to whole-heartedly agree with this one! What a great film! And I'm sure the book is good, but the one time I tried to muck my way through it, I didn't even get through the first chapter. Ugh.
Another one in my humble opinion is "The Princess Bride" and yes, I have indeed read the book by William Goldman. (I was THAT big of a fan!) The book is funny, I'll grant you, but not nearly as entertaining or addictive as the movie.
Rumor has it that Forrest Gump also falls into this category, but I've never read the book, so I can't really say -- although I find it hard to believe it could be as fun as the movie was.

Can any of you think of any other examples of movies over books?? It's rare, lemme tell ya!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Highlights of Tuscany

Here are a few of the photos that Nathan took during our vacation in Italy. We had an amazing time -- some of the highlights? Wine tasting in a castle built in the 12th century, hiking to a monestary in the middle of rolling vineyards are hearing the Benedictine monks who lived there sing their Gregorian chants, eating bruscetta and tiramasu while sitting next to a gorgeous bath/lake used by the Medici family -- sitting on the Piazza Il Campo and sipping cappuccino. It's too hard to pin down only one favorite memory! What a trip!


Well friends, we are back in the country! After dealing with some serious jet lag, I find I'm now dealing with work jet lag. I had sort of gotten used to going to bed by 10 p.m. and sleeping for 9 to 10 hours per night. Now, it's back to working until midnight and getting up with the boys at 7 a.m. or earlier. Ugh. I'd be lying if I said my first night back to work last night was easy. By 8 p.m. my eyelids were dropping. Oh well. At least its a short week! And next week is short too, with the Thanksgiving holiday! Yay!
Our trip was amazing! I hardly know where to begin. I'm going to try to post some photos here shortly, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Piazza Il Campo

We had a great night tonight in the Piazza Il Campo in Siena, Italy. This piazza is known for the horse race that is held in it twice a year, in the summer, drawing thousands of people. Tonight, we arrived at Il Campo at dusk and sipped cappuccinos while overlooking the piazza. It was a lovely evening.


Buongiorno from Italy! It is Tuesday evening here, and we have arrived at a four star hotel that has Internet access. Now we can give you all brief sneak-peak at what we have been enjoying so far in Tuscany. With the hundreds of photos Nathan has taken, you can imagine how difficult it is for us to choose a handful of photos to post!
It has been like heaven on earth for us these past few days. Everyday we hike to a new town and enjoy the wine, the shopping and the views.
Here are a few photos from our journey. The photo of the old man playing the concertina was taken in Florence on Day 1 of our trip. What an incredible city! That is also where the picture of the two of us is from. Here we are standing in front of the Duomo of Florence, where they were marking the 40th anniversary of the great flood of 1966, in which the Arno River flooded some parts of the city – 15 feet deep at some points. Here in Tuscana (as it’s called here) it is the olive harvest season. The photo of the man spreading nets on the ground below the olive trees for the olive harvest was taken outside the birth home of Leonardo da Vinci, outside the small town of Vinci. The photo of the vineyards was taken at Colle Verde, an excellent winery, as well as olive oil producer, located outside Montecatini. Tonight we are in Siena. We have yet to see much of the city because we just got here. But please check in later, as we’ll be at this hotel for 2 days and plan on blogging a bit more before we set off for Rome. Ciao! (And to our sweet boys, Gabriel and Asher, we miss you so much and can’t wait to see you soon! All our love and kisses! Be good boys! We’ll be home soon!)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween knight

Happy Halloween! I've been trying to download these photos all night! But every other parent must be trying to do the same thing -- blogger is reeeallly slow tonight! Gabe had a great time as a knight in shining armor. At the end of the night, he got a visit from his good friend Isaac, who was dressed up as a dragon!! It made for a GREAT photo!!

"Mischief Managed"

The title of my blog is a reference to Harry Potter -- you'll have to forgive me -- since it's Halloween, I'm in a "spooky" frame of mind! These are just some cute pics taken last week of Asher trying to get into trouble. One of his favorite things to do is try to open the drawer on the coffee table. We try to block it with his toy basket, but (as you can see) he has managed to outsmart us. Too cute!
Gabe woke us up this morning with a loud "Good morning! It's Halloween! Happy Halloween!!!" I've never seen a little boy so excited for candy. The funny thing is, we haven't really been talking up the "holiday." For him, the excitement has been building all on its own! I'll post photos of the trick-or-treating later tonight!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Carving Pumpkins

The much-anticipated pumpkin carving happened last night. Gabe has been talking about it for a good three weeks. He had each of our patterns picked out and ready to go. The dragon is my pumpkin (carved by Nathan), the spider holding the pumpkin is Gabe's (carved by Nathan) the big pumpkin with the goofy grin is Nate's pumpkin (carved by Nathan) and the cat pumpkin is Asher's (carved by me)! We had such a blast, and Gabe helped us carry the pumpkins out to the front porch afterwards so that we could snap some photos. He is SOOOOO excited about Halloween tomorrow!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

No more 'love' for Miss Couric

Okay -- it's finally happened.
I always knew that I didn't particularly LOVE Katie Couric. But I wasn't sure why. Maybe it was because she was too peppy. Maybe it was because she seemed to try too hard to be young, hip and trendy. Or maybe it was because during several interviews, I witnessed her turn on perfectly well-behaved sources, and "rip into them like a monkey on a cupcake."
But yesterday, I was reading the wire (an occupational hazzard of mine) and came across a story about an interview she did this week with Michael J. Fox. Fox was going on about stem cell research and how much he supports polititians who support this type of research, even though he "doesn't care about politics."
At the end of the interview, Katie apparently felt the need to inform the TV audience that her father has Parkinson's Disease and that she has made financial contributions to Fox's foundation for research.
Um. Hello? Hi! Welcome to Journalism 101. I shouldn't KNOW what causes you support or don't support! And quite frankly, if you are financially involved with your source, you should probably be the LAST person interviewing this particular person!!
Whatever happened to non-biased, uninvolved, third-party journalism? Couric has always bugged me because I know EXACTLY where she stands on way more issues than I care to count. There are some extremist journlists who think that voting should be off-limits to us, as a group. Now, while I certainly don't skew that rigid in my beliefs, I nonetheless must stand up for my belief that a viewer should have a HARD time figuring out where reporters and journlaists stand on the issues they present. Because, quite frankly, it's not about US. It's not about the writer or the reporter or the journalist. It's about the story and the different players in it. It's about presenting each side fairly, whether you like it or not.
End of rant. I'm sorry Katie, but I just don't think this is going to work out anymore. I've lost all respect for you. Please don't take it personally.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Gabes First Soccer Season

Enjoy watching this video montage of Gabe's first season of soccer. He had such a blast! I'm not entirely happy with how "fuzzy" the quality of this video is on YouTube. For family, I will happily burn you a DVD if you like, so that you have a clean copy! For friends, please forgive the 6 minute length on this video... what can I say ... I'm a proud mama! :)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Just some pictures

These are some cute photos of the boys from this week. Gabe, Nathan and Asher playing in a fort they made in our living room ... and Asher sacked out for a nap. So cute!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Pumpkin Time

We went to the pumpkin farm today! What a difference from last year, when I was almost 9 months pregnant and looked like a walking pumpkin myself! Gabe had a blast climbing through the straw maze and eating a "Cider lick" which is basically a popsicle made out of apple cider. We also went on a hay ride, which the boys loved. Asher seemed a bit bemused by the whole process, but had some fun crawling over the pumpkins. We had beautiful weather for it too -- in the 50s, which seems warm compared to what it's been like lately!
In the photos: Gabe and Asher sit together on some pumpkins; "I want this one! But only if I can lift it myself!" ... Gabe picks out his pumpkin; mom and Gabe on the hay ride; dad and Asher on the hay ride; "What are these round orange things?" ... Asher picks out a pumpkin; mom and a snuggly Asher on the hayride (It was his naptime, and he was inclined to try and get in a good snuggle if he couldn't actually sleep!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

If you have to drop the "F" bomb; it may be time to start singing

I freely admit it. I have a pet peeve. Actually, I have several. But this one involves celebrities and politics.
My pet peeve involves celebrites who use their star power to soapbox about their political beliefs. Now I fully agree that everyone has a right to the good old first amendment -- but my theory is that performers/actors etc. are popular for a reason, (their talents) and when they start to use their positions to bash politics, the president, or promote the leader of Abu Dhabi (I don't care which), I lose my patience. Yes, they're famous ... but does that necessarily make them more enlightened in the area of politics than your average Joe-citizen? So why should I be forced to listen to their impassioned drivel?
Case in point. Monday night, Barbara Streisand performed to a sold-out crowd in New York. During the performance, she apparently took a lengthy break to do a mock comedy routine with a Bush impersonator that apparently got "a bit too long." Now, I understand that there are comedy "bits" in the entertainment industry, but apparently, this was going a bit over the top, as audience members began heckling Streisand from the crowd when the president bashing "bit" got lengthy.
Her response? "Shut the %$#@ up!" Now that's classy. Maybe if you have to resort to cursing at your own fans, it's time to just do what they paid you to do in the first place -- sing -- not soapbox.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Go Gabe ... Go!

Last night Gabe and I were snuggled in, reading "Go Dog ... Go!" (a classic!) When he insisted that he could read it to me. To my astonishment, he did just that! I pointed to each word, and with the help of the pictures, he read each word! I was shocked! Granted, the book uses simple words and phrases, but the fact is that he was RECOGNIZING them! And when he got stuck, he would sound it out. He sounded out the word "Green" all by himself and you should have heard his whoop of excitement when he figured it out. Yes, I said "WHOOP!" That's the only way to describe it. So now, it appears that my little man is a reader.
He's also been trying to figure out (and use) longer, more complicated words. We've had some humorous moments in our house during the past few days as he tests the waters with his new vocabulary. For instance, we went on a hike this weekend. (That's where the pictures are from, by the way). While getting his shoes and socks on, he called out to me, "Hey mom! Something in my shoe is embarrassing me." !!!! I think I had told him that when you're embarrassed you feel foolish or feel bad. So his foot felt "bad" so it was "embarrassed." Funny! Oh, and just this morning, Nate was getting Asher dressed when Gabe wandered in and asked what he was doing. Nate said, "I'm dressing Asher." To which Gabe responded, "Oh, that must be expensive." I have no idea what he meant by that, but it was pretty funny!
We hiked at the Ellwood H. May Environmental park this weekend (called Maywood by the locals). It's right up the street from us, so I'm rather "embarrassed" to say that this was our first time there. They have gorgeous trails! While hiking along the Pigeon River, which is a sizable little creek with small areas of mini-rapids where the water flows a bit faster ... we saw a Hmong boy jumping along the banks. At first we couldn't tell what he was doing, but then, as we wandered out on an embankment, we saw that he was fishing and had a HUGE fish on the line. He fought with it for awhile, running past us up the banks. To our astonishment, we then spied more large fish leaping up the creek by themselves -- fighting the current. One was just sitting there, so we got a good look, before it skittered and flipped about 30 feet up the creek. I've never seen a fish do that! When we walked further upstream, we saw the boy on the bank of the river, with his fish. Turns out, it was a HUGE salmon! With teeth!! I'm not kidding when I say it was 3 feet long! The boy was so proud of himself, it was really cute! He told us all about his catch and how long it took to real him in. It broke his line and he lost his lure, but he didn't seem to mind much. He tied it to his bike handlebars, and the thing still dragged on the ground! Gabe had fun looking at the fish, but he wouldn't touch it!
The photos are from our hike. The one of me and Gabe with our sticks, is when we were pretending to have guns ... we were "hunting" turkeys. (There were wild turkeys in the park) The other photo is of Gabriel, finding "turkey" tracks. We had a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Berry Bounty

We are enjoying a GORGEOUS sunny fall day here, in the low to mid 70s. This fall has been inconsistent at best, going for days in the low 50s, only to spike back into the 70s again -- rather like a spoiled child who can't make up their mind which way things should be. So while I wait for fall to calm down and finish its tantrum, I alternately have my sweaters and fleeces ready one day, and my short-sleeved T-shirts out the next. It's NOT fun to wake up each morning to the "Guess the weather" game. And of course even on "consistent" days, this is the time of year in Wisconsin where we have our heaters on in the mornings and our windows open by noon. Such a paradox!
I picked these berries just two hours ago. The 6 plants we transplanted from St. Joe last year are THRIVING to put it mildly. I get a bowlfull of berries off them every other day. And Gabe and I make a game of eating them as fast as we can. It's hard to tell, but they're quite large -- some the size of the top half of my thumb -- more the size of blackberries than raspberries. I love it, because they're just like they should be -- just like they are in St. Joe. And they're SOOOO yummy! We didn't realize until half-way through summer that the plants were fall bearing ... so it's been quite a pleasure to have something to "harvest" and enjoy, since most of my garden is done... the corn stalks are browning, the last eggplants are hanging on for dear life -- all that's left is the red cabbage, hugging the ground in snug rows, which makes me think they must KNOW that winter is coming! Yes folks, fall is here at last! If favorites are an option -- fall is mine, no questions asked!

Friday, September 29, 2006

New teeth...not much else!

Hello! For all of you who thought I'd slipped off the face of the earth ... no indeed, I am still here. Work and life has been hectic lately, which has largely kept me away from my home computer ... I usually don't feel like sitting in front of a computer, when I sit in front of one at work all night!! Bleh!
I'm a single mom this weekend, as Nate is out and about shooting for Buell. The boys and I have bunches of fun stuff planned, including a trip to Breaker Bay water park out at the Blue Harbor Resort. Gabe is tall enough for all the slides, so we're gonna try it out! I'll take photos and post them!
Mr. Asher woke up this morning and showed me his gums ... we've got the top two teeth breaking through, as well as a third one on the bottom. For a baby who is cutting new teeth, he is in a remarkably good mood! But of course, I've never had any complaints from my sunny-faced Ash, who has nothing but smiles for the world in general.
Gabriel is EXTREMELY eager for Halloween, and we went to Kohls to get him the all-hallowed SPIDERMAN costume. As soon as we got home, he informed me that he DOESN'T want to be Spiderman anymore. (A difficult lesson in patience for mom). So now that we've returned the Spiderman costume (I think it was the mask that was freaking him out) he wants to be a knight in shining armour. I'm not sure how we'll accomplish that, but we'll figure it out I suppose. I know they have helmet/sword/chest plate dress-up packs at Shopko, but I have no idea how I'll "make" a suit of armour. Oh well!
That's all for now!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A fascinating find

Asher and I made a trip to the local farmer's market here in town after dropping Gabriel off at school yesterday. Most of the vendors there are Hmong folks who have am impressive array of perfect veggies and flowers. One of the flowers that I found was like nothing I'd ever seen! I think it's called a Japanese lantern flower. But aren't they amazing? They don't even look real! They are like little balloons, or "lanterns" hanging off the stalk. The wonderful thing is that they dry quite easily and look almost exactly the same! Asher thought they were wonderful. He kept trying to grab them and squish them on the way home! What a marvelous find!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Check out my hubby!

Okay, so this is the music video made for the 2007 National Youth Gathering, which takes place in Orlando, Fla. in June. This happens every 3 years and draws about 35,000 teens to one major city for a week. My sister is one of the communications bigwigs who organzies the event, and my hubby is in the music video! Before you ask, yes, they did indeed get Jars of Clay's permission to do this video. The footage was shot in pre-hurricane New Orleans (where the gathering was initially slated to be, before disaster struck). It's kind of creepy, when you think of the lyrics in the song " ain't built to stay." Yikes. But anyway! Enjoy watching Nathan in this video. I think it's pretty cool, even if he gets all embarassed about it! :)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bathtime for my boys

Gabriel and Ash took a bath together the other night. They had such a fun time splashing around and fighting over toys -- it was great! And we had a great time watching them play! Check out these photos that Nathan took!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Yes, men (at least my man) have a sense of style...

Two posts back, I mentioned that I had challenged my husband to find a great outfit for me for our date, since my attempts at shopping with both boys were fruitless. Well, he succeeded! When I came home from work, he had a whole new outfit for me, complete with accessories -- jewelry, belt and shoes. He did a GREAT job, and I've decided that I will send him out to do all my shopping from now on!
On a side note, these pictures were taken on our date last night. We went to a phenomenal restaurant in Milwaukee's historic Third Ward called "Sauce." Ooooohhhh it was gooood! (Sauted Prawns the size of my hand, no joke!) Then we went to the fashion show, which was outside, under a tent -- also in the Third Ward. The first photo was taken of me (by Nathan, my wonderful pro photographer) before dinner. The other photo was taken two hours (and WAY too many Hawaiian cosmopolitans) later. Nate shot these downtown. There was some kind of Native American festival going on down by the lakefront- hence the fireworks. We had a LOT of fun!!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I'm a soccer mom!

Gabe had his first soccer practice today! It went very well, and he absolutely loved it! Much to my surprise, there were 30-40 kids there, all his age! At first I thought it would be absolute mayhem, but the two "coaches" they had handling things did VERY well. They started by announcing that there was "ONE RULE!" to playing soccer today ... you weren't allowed to use your hands! They approached it like a fun game, which really made the little ones eager to get going. All the kids practiced kicking back and forth, stretching and then dribbling, with their parent. Asher and I sat on the side and watched Gabe and Nate have fun. I get to go with him next week! Of course, even at this age, it was interesting to watch the parents and figure out which were going to be the "nightmare" parents ... the ones who were already telling their 4-year-olds, "Come on, you can do better than that!" Yikes! But it was a lot of fun! They had a good coaching team ... a "pro" (who I'm just guessing was a recent player/coach with Sheboygan North High) and a gradeschool teacher who knows a lot about soccer, and who would breakdown what the "pro" was saying, in words that little kids would understand and find humorous. Gabe and Nate had a BLAST! Even Asher got in on the action, as you can see from the photos!