Archive for the ‘memories’ Category

This week on Home Tour Tuesday it’s: Trim your Tree!

I love setting up our Christmas tree every year. It’s so fun to open up the ornaments each year, and add to our collection as well.
Here’s a shot of our tree (I think I showed it earlier this week). Here she is; small but mighty.


This little guy is about 4 years old now; and it’s nice and small. In our little condo it was awesome, but now that we’re in the big house I may look for an upgrade this year.  I LOVE the topper; it’s a great gold colored star that light’s up. Nice and pretty. Here’s one of my favorite ornaments:
We actually got this as a wedding gift and it was one of the coolest ideas! I was so excited to use it that first year, and I LOVE how the light reflects through the beautiful shaped glass.
The coolest part about having our own little family now (party of 2) is that we get to start our own traditions. One of my favorites is buying an ornament from every trip we take. There’s nothing worse than “souvenir-shopping” while being on vacation. I don’t want a magnet, or a keychain. Those will only add to my already disastrous junk drawer. This is a fun thing to look for while on vacation, and they’re typically not too expensive. Here are a few of my favorites that we added to the tree just this year:
From our trip to Arizona this spring.
From our Anniversary trip to Craguns Resort (the resort in northern MN where we got married).
From our AWESOME trip to Boston this summer. (a little blurry, but combining baseball with red glitter makes this ornament one of my favorites!)
Santa on an NYC cab from our trip this Spring. Can you tell I like when they’re real cheesy and represent something from the place? The hokier the better; and if Santa is involved? Done deal.
I’m not cool enough to have a color-coordinated tree. I love that our tree is also a scrapbook of our life!
Matching ornaments or a “theme” don’t really get me in the holiday mood.
Stop over at Thrifty Decor Chick’s Holiday Home Party to see more adorable trees!

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Today’s challenge is: “Take five minutes to write about how grateful you are for all of the wonderful things that you currently have in your life. Don’t long for what you don’t possess—instead, take stock of all the blessings you already enjoy.”

Today I’m grateful for my family. You’re all probably sick of hearing about them on this blog; but it’s not stopping me. I had a conversation with a coworker today who said, “You’re family seems like one that you’d love to be a part of.” It made me realize how often I talk about not only my lovely husband, but also my brothers, nephew, and parents. When I think of my family, I think fun. Mom, Dad……..that means you did something right! There’s nothing better then when we’re all together, and someone all of a sudden slyly says “I have an idea…….”
Let me just summarize of few of theses “ideas” that have become lasting memories with my family.
– Extended family decides to rent a houseboat for a weekend down the Mississippi River. My family decides to jump off the roof into the water almost giving grammy a heart attack.
– Family comes to my new house for Christmas last year. Mind you this is 6 grown adults and 1 toddler. Entire family gets bundled up and spends two hours sledding down the neighborhood hill.
– New Years Eve Momma and I check into bed early. Wake up to hear that dad and my husband have decided to do a “Polar Bear Plunge” into the lake at midnight. (January 1st in Northern Wisconsin……bad idea)

We’re spontaneous. We’re unorganized. We laugh really loud. I love it.

I’m grateful that these memories were created throughout my younger years growing up. It says something when your parents move an hour away from everyone, yet you can still find one or many of the now adult kids huddled around the cabin fireplace most weekends. They’ve adopted my crazy husband right into the mix; and that was the most touching of all. He may not understand the insanity all the time, but he accepts it………..and 90% of the time he joins right in. (Case in point, when the houseboat jumping adventure occurred, I believe him and my dad made the inagural jump. As the heads of the households it’s only fitting that they have established such a great bromance.)

You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family. It’s hard work to maintain the relationships there but at the end of the day they’re the most rewarding.

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I realize that although many of you are home-grown Minnesotans, I do have readers from other areas of the country. Something that’s a common aspect of our lives is “the cabin”. Here; most of you will appreciate this visual:

Ahhh…….heaven. That was my view all weekend at what I deem my “happy place”. My parents lake-home in Northern Wisconsin. They recently sold their house, and have moved full-time out to the lake. It’s a life-long dream of theirs and I reap the benefits! I booked it up to the cabin Friday afternoon, and stayed the weekend. Here’s a glimpse of my weekend; hopefully you’ll understand why I love it so much!
Friday afternoon
Arrive at the cabin around 6pm. You’re greeted by a happy yellow lab who wants to play in the lake. You gladly accommodate his requests and a 20 minute game of fetch ensues. 

Then you’ll stumble upon your dad, who wants to show you all the turtles that have burrowed their nests in the driveway. Some have recently hatched and the lake is now FILLED with little turtles. 
Head into town for dinner and enjoy some thin-crust pizza at the local bar/restaurant. You end the evening watching the sun go down across the lake. Ahhhh heaven.  (see first picture)
Saturday morning, you wake up and enjoy a cup of coffee with your pops on the end of this dock. Catching up on life, hopes and dreams. Many a deep conversation will occur on the end of this dock. 

Your mom will convince you of how amazing and fun kayaking is. You will agree to go kayaking with her, and silently curse her tomorrow when you can’t lift your arms anymore. 
Check out that sandy lake bottom. Calm water, sun-shining, awesome quality time with the momma-san. Again, heaven.
After dinner, you’ll load up the cooler and hop in the boat for a little lake cruise. Captained by this guy:
Who happily makes the boat jump waves, guns it across the lake when you want to feel the wind in your hair, and zooms up to beautiful houses so you can stalk the inhabitants. No biggie. You’ll fire up the grill that evening for some BBQ chicken and steamed asparagus. Relaxing afterwards with a nice strawberry margarita.
The sky opens up so all fun is moved indoors. No need to worry. Momma always keeps a cabinet full of s’more supplies, and she feeds her adult daughter’s craving for this late-night snack: microwave-style. 
Sunday morning unfortunately it’s raining, so the outdoor activities are limited. You’ll wake up to the smell of Sunday tradition; pancakes and bacon drifting into your room. Snuggle under the quilt for just a few more minutes and then it’s time to get out there. Again…..heaven.
There’s my weekend for you. I love it. I hope you all have a place that brings you such peace and relaxation. Sorry it’s not very exciting but it was just the rejuvenation I needed after my crazy work week. Counting down the days until the next cabin weekend…..

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And we’re gonna have a good time! (don’t worry, this will make more sense later)

Yes, today is my birthday. I must say it feels like just another day, but I’m really looking forward to a few things. First off, I’m meeting a girlfriend for coffee/breakfast this morning which is just fantastic. She has a little 6 month old at home and to know she wants to spend her Saturday morning with me just makes my day. I’m hoping she brings the little bugger with, but would also understand if she wants a little escape as well!

I realize looking back that I have had many many fantastic birthdays. My family (YES, You mom and dad :o) always made birthday’s a very big deal in our house. There are a couple of memories that really stand out. I thought I would share some that seem to stand out the most.

1. Every year on your birthday, you got to pick what we had for dinner. My older brother often chose Red Lobster, and my younger brother was always dying for a steak house. I always picked to have my mom make her beef stroganauff and eat together at home. It was hands down one of my favorite meals and because her recipe took quite a bit of time it was always a special night when we got to have it.

2. Mom would always make my favorite cake. To this day I still think that all birthday cakes should be vanilla fun-fetti with hot pink strawberry icing. Other kids got professional cakes at the grocery store, or ice cream cakes at dairy queen. Every year without fail I prayed that pink cake would make an appearance. And it always did :o)

3. I will never forget one birthday; I think I was turning 6 or 7, and my parents brought my brothers and I out on the front step. I had to close my eyes and wait for my present. My dad came up the driveway holding an amazing light pink bicycle with a huge banana seat. I was the happiest girl on the planet. My brothers and I freaked out because this meant it was time to learn the big girl bike.

4. The kids in my family only got to have birthday parties every other year. Sometimes I tell people that and they think it’s a travesty but you know what? You learn to really appreciate those parties! Every other year, you got to invite your friends from school, mom would host a bunch of sweet games (the dice game anyone?) and you were the cool kid for that one day.

5. And the very best of all memories. Every morning on your birthday, my mom and dad would barge into your bedroom in the morning singing a song at the top of their lungs. Mine always went like this:

“Today is your Birthday
da da da da DOT da
And we’re gonna have a good time
da da da da DOT da”

So awesome. And when my mommy calls me I can guarantee this is the first thing she’ll sing into the phone. (Don’t worry, my little brother Zach got a rendition of “Joy to the World” but instead of “Jeremiah was a bullfrog…” it went “Zachariah was a bullfrog” Nothing to do with birthdays but fantastic and all his own just the same. We all had a song on our special day. So cool)

It’s funny looking back that in all the years of birthdays, there are only a couple memories that involve gifts or material things. My family made birthday’s special by being fun and crazy together. Also, because we had these small traditions, I would love to spend every birthday surrounded by family. Now that I live over 2 hours from all of them? Makes it a little tougher. Because I’m kind of moving towards the grown up side of things, is it ok to bake myself that funfetti angelfood? I think so. Have I taught my husband my special birthday song? Abso-frickin-lutely.

So here’s to today. I’ll be celebrating with my new family (party of 2), and hopefully setting some traditions of our own. Mom and Dad? Thank you for always giving me a kick-ass birthday. You rule.

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Are you sure?

This weekend I had another one of those, “Am I a grown up?” moments. We went back to my hometown so see my nephew get baptized. A few weeks ago, my older brother had called and asked if my husband and I would be his godparents. I can’t describe how honored I felt!!! Until I realized I had a very big job ahead of me.

In the service, the priest asked us all a few questions. One went something along the lines of, “Who here vows to be responsible for ensuring this child grows up supported in his faith”.

What I heard was, “Who here will help ensure this adorable little toddler grows up and doesn’t make stupid decisions? Who will try to make sure he doesn’t hurt people, steal, lie, or be a horrible little human?”

I think my husband and I responded with the correct answer, but really I wanted to lean over to my brother and say, “Are you sure? Remember how when we were little I lied to get you in trouble sometimes, I would steal your halloween candy, and if necessary: snap you really hard with a wet towel?” Clearly my brother has forgiven me of all these trespasses and somewhere in the last twenty some years I’ve climbed in the rankings.

Did he miss the part about being responsible for another human being? I just got married a year ago, and hubby and I are on a five year plan just to learn how to take care of one another. Add a small child to the mix? Let alone someone else’s small child? TERRIFYING.

Then I realized something. My nephew thinks that his Aunt and Uncle hung the moon and the stars. His uncle has taught him important life lessons like “soccer doesn’t pay the bills, football does” and I’ve taught him how to “shake it like a salt-shaker”. These are obviously right up there with the 10 Commandments, and the Holy Rosary. Although I’ve gained a new title of Godmother this weekend, I think “crazy aunt who makes up songs” resonates more to this little rugrat. I’ve got some time to try and impact his spiritual life, but until then I’m happy to be his laughing/dancing/goofy aunt who someday will feel worth of this new title. God help us.

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