Friday, March 31, 2006

Duck Duck ... SPRING!

Okay, this is an odd little post, but my "Moment of Zen" for the day was a rather pleasant experience. When I pulled into the parking lot at work today, I was rather surprised to find two lovely little ducks, puddling around in the leftover rain in the depressions of the space I had chosen to pull into. They took my presence in stride, and lazily waddled off toward the next parking space. Maybe they had been steadily moving down the lot all day, as new cars arrived ... who knows ... but it gave me a pleasant sort of feeling to see them there. I know that Spring is hard to come by in Wisconsin, but I still take "ducks in my parking space" as a positive, Springish sign!!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

An afternoon at the playground

Gabe, Asher and I spent a couple of hours at the local playground today. It was GORGEOUS outside, almost 60 degrees!! So we had a "no TV" day, took a walk, and discovered about five or six other little kids at the park. Gabriel had fun running around with them and going down the slides "in trains," where each kid would grab onto the kid in front of them and then they would all go skidding down the slide in one massive, slow-moving unit. It was great fun. Then we topped it all off by playing a little tackle football... Gabe vs. Mom. I let him win! Basically we used the opportunity for Gabriel to blow off the winter dolldrums by running around like crazy for two hours. We're ALL very thankful that winter is over!! You can't really tell from the picture of Gabe on the climber, but he's posing and being cheesy for the camera. What a weirdo!!!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Sassy shirts!

So we splurged at Kohl's the other night when we were out browsing around. We found a BUNCH of cool clothes for the boys, and since I was tired of seeing Gabe in clothes that were one size too small, and we hadn't really splurged yet on new clothes for Ash, we ended up having quite a lot of fun. We got Ash a couple of cute onsies. This one made us think of Uncle Leon, because of his phrase "Chicks dig you!" So we HAD to buy it, in honor of Uncle Leon! The other cute onsies we got said "I'm a Boy." Which will be handy because, believe it or not, people still occassionally think Ash is a girl. The other one says "Tax deduction" on it, which we thought was pretty hilarious.

Soccer and Saucers

It finally got warm enough this weekend, that Gabe and I were able to get outside and break open the new soccer ball and net that he got last Xmas from Aunt Kathy and Uncle Jon. We had a blast! Gabriel really enjoys soccer, and as long as Roxy is inside, we do okay!
In the meantime, Ash had his first "saucer" experience this week. I can hardly believe he's big enough to play in this already, as it seems Gabriel was in this toy just yesterday! The final picture is a photo of my boys watching TV together last night. Pretty cute!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Messy eater!

Asher had his 4-month check-up at the doctor's today! For those of you who are curious, he's 25.5 inches tall and 16 pounds, 3 ounces! He's in the top 75th percentile for his height and weight ... which is a much different number to get used to, as Gabriel was always in the top 98th percentile as a baby!
Here is a photo of Asher taken just an hour ago -- no, he doesn't have rabies!! What he's trying to do is eat rice cereal for lunch. His doctor said it's okay to start giving him solid food. And it's a good thing too ... because that boy is ALWAYS hungry! He opens his mouth for the spoon already, but then he doesn't seem to know what to do with it once it's in his mouth. He looks at me as if to say "Gak! Mom! What is this lumpy, lukewarm white goop??" Needless to say, I want to try him out on Gerber starter founds. I can't wait to see his face when he tries sweet applesauce for the first time!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Birthday Girl!

Well folks, Roxy "Burger" is officially 1 year old today!
We treated her like a queen all day -- starting this morning, when Nathan allowed her to jump up on the bed and snuggle with us -- she was quickly followed by Gabe and then Asher, until the entire family was snuggled in our suddenly small, queen-size bed!
During the afternoon, we visited "Pet Port of Call" at the Shops at Woodlake, Kohler, and bought her a birthday cake from the "bakery" there. (It's actually a giant cookie covered in yogurt.) We're not usually the kind of people who spoil our dog EVER, or treat her like "people," but Gabriel seemed to want to celebrate -- and began insisting on a present for her ... which quickly led to the cake and party hat.
For those of you who don't know, Roxy is named after our favorite hamburger joint in St. Joseph, MI, called "Roxy's." She's been a great dog for us, and we're happy to celebrate her first year as a member of our family!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


So I was recently chatting with my folks on our computer at home -- we have a camera in our new iMac G5, and so do they, so it's a strange sort of video-conferencing thing that happens, rather reminiscent of George and Judy Jetson's TV/telephone of old, if ya'll can remember that show!
First, let me tell you that during a recent visit to St. Joe, Michigan, Gabe got to see some of Uncle Jon's magic tricks. He was utterly amazed and became an instant believer of magic. Ever since then, he frequently tries to make pennies disappear out of his own fist, only to open his hand and discover, with the kind of disappointment that makes your heart ache, that he can't do it. But still he keeps on tryin'!!
He also believes that mommy can do magic by telling the stoplights to turn green when they are red. (He doesn't notice me timing them out of the corner of my eye of course!) So for Gabriel, real "magic" does indeed exist.
Anyway, during our "video chat" with my mom and dad, Gabe was busy telling Grandma and Papa all about his day at school and how he "learned about Jesus and stuff." Then he proceded to try to tell them the bible story he learned that day and how "There was a man who couldn't hear, and Jesus used his magic and made him all better."
Well, I'm sure you can guess what a good laugh we all got out of his choice of words. It was a great "Gabe" moment. And I'll never be able to hear that bible story again without a smile, thinking of my son's version of the story!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

So proud of my hubby!

I'm super SUPER proud of my wonderful husband, who took home four awards at last night's WIPA (Wisconsin Imaging Photographer's Association) annual Vice-President's Dinner. The first shot above won BEST OF SHOW, as well as first place in the "People" category. The shot was taken of a homeless man in New Orleans late last year.
Nate also won third place for the shot of the smoker for the "Editorial/PR" category, and an honorable mention in the "People" category for the shot of the musician. I'm so proud of him! He was very surprised and we had a wonderful evening out together at the dinner!

A new friend and morning snuggles

Asher got the chance to have his first "play date" recently, when we stopped by Nhia's house to say hello. Her little girl, Norah, is quite charming, and is just about the same age as Ash. We sat the two down side-by-side so they could get a good look at each other. They were pretty much oblivious to the whole process, but I caught some cute photos!
The other picture is a photo of what Ash and I do best together -- sleep in! He's my snuggle buddy (at least whenever I get a free morning when Nate can take Gabriel to school!) He wakes up at about 7 a.m. to eat, and then falls fast asleep next to me. I never sleep very well with him next to me, but it's still fun to snuggle. Nate snapped this picture with my little digital camera on Saturday, when Asher and I slept in till 11:30 a.m. HOORAY!! It was WONDERFUL!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

My smiley baby!

Okay, if this face doesn't make ya grin, there's no hope for you! None at all!! This picture perfectly illustrates the reason why one of my many nicknames for Ash is "Smiley Joe" (I have no idea where the Joe came from! It just stuck!). He is SUCH a happy baby, full of grins and giggles! It's such an interesting difference between him and Gabriel. When Gabe was a baby, he was much more serious, and would just "take in" whatever situation he was in with a very calm, serious little face. I used to joke that he was in "work mode" just like Nathan gets when he's busy ... very focused and intent.
Ash on the other hand, is our "happy go lucky" baby. Every morning he greets me from his crib with this face. Tell me, what mother in the world could be more blessed? :)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

A brand new basement

Okay, for those of you who did NOT see our basement when we moved in, let me tall ya, it looked NOTHING like this! It was full of horrible kitchen cabinets, with a rotten old carpet on the floor and strange, garrish stenciling on the walls. We used it for storage and could barely walk to the laundry room thru the mess.
Well, this is our "new" basement -- we started remodeling during my maternity leave, and Nathan, (my wonderful, handy husband!!) did all the work repainting, putting up new trim, leveling the concrete floor and putting down pergo-type flooring. Then we bought a new desk set, complete with iMac ... and also a futon, for guests to sleep when we have company ... and Whaala! A fully functional guest room/office/second living room! All we have left to do is finish the new ceiling and maybe buy a bookshelf or two!
We're super pleased with the results, and Nate finished up a lot of the electrical work down there this weekend, so I was able to supervise the hanging of the mirrors and such. (finishing touches etc.) It's so much fun nesting in a brand new room!! Now if we can just keep Roxy off the futon ...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Warming up

"Spring beckons! All things to the call respond!" (Ambrose Bierce)

Check out the snowman that Gabe and I made just three days ago! You can tell that the world is warming up, even in good ol' Wisconsin! My favorite part of this photo, (which is kind of hard to see) is the little pile of charcoal briquettes at the bottom of the snowman. One by one he lost them as the days went by ... an eye here, a nose there -- half a mouth! PLOP! Into the snow! Until finally one day, we pulled up in front of our house and Gabe gasped "MOM! The snowman's HEAD fell off!!" :)

Here is a shot of Asher playing with his favorite floor toy. The toys spin and play music when he bats at them. He considers it his mission to STOP them from spinning by grabbing onto them as tightly as possible, making the toy click and whir as it continues to try to move. He's such a strong little guy!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Waxing Nostalgic

So I got a phone call at work earlier tonight. It was Nathan, and both the boys were crying and upset -- Gabe was sick and feeling miserable and Asher, I'm sure, was just jumping on the 'wailing my brains out' bandwagon. And I wanted nothing more than to be able to jump in my car and go to them, and sooth my boys and be there for them as I should.
And that's when I got to thinking.
Isn't life funny?
More and more I find myself nostalgic for the simpler times, when Nate used to work just down the street and would come home every day for an hour at lunchtime and we'd be together for dinner every night. We had it very good then -- although we sure wished for more!! We were living small, planning six months in advance how to pay the BIG bills and digging for change to go to McDonald's in the sofa -- hoping the old cars would last because there was no way we could buy a new one. I remember the highlight of one Fall was when we bought our new coffee table. Our little brown coffee table!! And it was beautiful and it was new and I LOVED it!
Now, God has certainly blessed us -- with our house and our cars and countless other 'material' things ... but it's amazing how you look back with fondness at the old times you used to think were such a burden! When really they weren't! Really it was a great time to be young and poor and in love! And that's what really matters!
Anyway, I'm just nostalgic tonight! Life now is great and wonderful and truly a blessing, and I wouldn't trade it for anything, but sometimes it's fun to remember the 'good old days!' and give a smile for your foolish old ways of thinking! Do any of you have some 'good old days' stories of poverty and true love to share?? :)

Monday, March 06, 2006

Our First Snowman!

Well, today, Gabriel and I went outside and constructed our very first snowman together! We got about two inches of snow last night -- what I figure will probably be the very last snowfall of the season, since it's supposed to be 50 degrees by Friday. So I showed him how, when the snow is sticky enough, you can roll it up into a big ball. He helped roll the snowman, and was in charge of placing the hat on our finished snowman, and also putting the charcoal nose in place. We had a blast, although it was all done rather quickly (20 minutes tops) as Asher was bundled up and watching from his carseat, placed in the sun on the front porch, next to us. But both boys seemed to enjoy the fresh air and snow! As we worked quickly, the sound of melting snow could be seen and heard rushing down the gutters, and the bright sun beat warmly down on us, reminding us that Spring is in fact ... just around the corner!

Friday, March 03, 2006


Here are some pictures, as promised, from our trip to the St. Louis zoo last weekend!
Gabe had a blast watching the hippos and penguins swim by! Here you can see me and Asher saying hello to a hefty hippo! And Gabe and I hanging out in "Spiderman's web" as Gabe called it. There's also a pellican, which just about took a bite out of Nathan's camera while he was snapping a picture!
On a completely different note, I feel I must do a public service announcment and warn everyone away from any product called "A Taste of Thai." I made the mistake of eating this "dinner in a box" at work last night and got, what I can only assume, is my first case of food poisoning! YIKES. It was NOT fun, and I've been pretty miserable for the past 24 hours. It has taken that long for me to get my appetite back, and my stomach is still rumbly! So stay away from Thai food in a box at the grocery store!

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Well, our little man is now pushing himself up with GREAT enthusiasm when we put him on his belly! This is a HUGE relief to me, as the last few times I attempted to put him on his tummy were dreadfull -- he began to cry and didn't seem to understand what was expected of him. This only served to distress both me AND the baby, causing tears and eventually "blef," (our 'nice' word for projectile vomit/burp-up) from Ash, which soon covered the floor and then me! What a trial!
But today, I put Ash on his belly and propped his elbows under him and rattled his zebra rattle in front of him profusely, until he reared up with his head at about 90 degrees and looked at me in pure awe -- his little eyes wide at his accomplishment. In this photo, he is doing the same thing, later in the day, on Nathan's chest. His little neck is getting so strong! It won't be long before he's doing somersaults!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Greetings everyone! Well, we had a busy, fun few days in St. Louis this past weekend! We drove down on Saturday morning and made it just in time for a tea party hosted by my mother and sister. What fun! My new favorite food is scones with clotted cream! YUM! Seriously dangerous food!! Good thing I can't seem to find clotted cream at my local grocery store! Gretchen served all kinds of different loose teas in fancy pots, and each lady got to pick her own antique cup and saucer to use while she was there! I'm seriously thinking about hosting my own tea party, after enjoying the one in St. Louis!
Then on Saturday night it was TRIVIA NIGHT! This was the first time for Nathan and I, although we've heard about this church fundraiser for years! There were probably over 400 people at the trivia night, and it was a blast. Nathan and I didn't manage to win any prizes, and our table didn't come close to winning -- but Gret and Leon's table got second place! Yay! I hardly knew any of the answers to the questions ... except one!

How many wives did Henry VIII behead? Send me your guesses and I'll announce a winner!
(No family guesses, as you obviously all know the answer already!)

Anyway, obviously I'm not too smart with the trivia since I only knew one or two answers, but oh well!!! The photo of me and Nathan was taken at trivia night. So was the picture of me, my dad, my sister and her hubby, Leon.
On Sunday, we relaxed around the house and caught up on some much-needed rest. You can see my boys being bed bugs in the photos.
And on Monday, Nate and I took the boys to the St. Louis Zoo to enjoy the 70 degree weather! That's right ... 70!!! Gabe really enjoyed watching the hippos swim around, and also the penguins. I'll post more on the zoo later!
All in all, it was a fabulous weekend!