Friday, September 30, 2011


We are autumn people in this family.

I have always found it hard to motivate myself to do anything when the sun is beating down on me and the thermometer creeps past 80 degrees. I feel stagnant, I feel like my energy slowly but constantly evaporates. But when the weather starts to cool and I can push our double stroller all the way to the park without breaking a sweat, I start to think I can really accomplish something! I am at my best in jeans and a sweater.

I have intended to visit the Farmers Market all summer, but when I noticed the first hint of leaves changing I realized my time was running short. Maybe that is part of my motivation in the fall; this season is a transition period. It doesn't sit around and outlast its welcome like winter, and it doesn't beat down on me and make me lazy like summer. It's gone almost before it starts. So I made the Farmers Market a priority, and in the last two weeks I have been there twice.

mmm...fresh green beans

There is something special about buying fresh produce directly from the people who grew it. I feel as if I need to treat each vegetable with care and create a masterpiece with it. Paul will attest to the fact that our vegetable intake has gone up (in quantity and quality) since I brought home Farmers Market produce. Fresh green beans sauteed with garlic, red peppers and onions. Shrimp and leek stew. Spaghetti squash with basil, garlic and butter. Usually I am one to take the easy way out with meals- the faster and simpler the better. I worry that fresh vegetables from the store will go bad before I use them, so I don't buy them often. I keep a stock of frozen broccoli, peas, corn and green beans, and that usually does it for veggies around our house. But now I realize what I've been missing!

I still have squash, carrots, onions, red peppers, green beans and red potatoes that are awaiting their turn in the kitchen. Next visit will be to the orchard for some apples- Paul has requested a Caramel Apple Lattice pie with crust from scratch, and I feel motivated to take up the challenge! I'll get back to you with the results (if there are any results worth sharing...)

Oh, October, you will fly by too quickly! I'm not ready for snow, I just want to bask in the sun on a cool 60 degree day... every day for the rest of my life.

farmers market flowers

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Oh, 18 months. The most photogenic time in a child's life. Lucian has turned into a little camera hog in the last few months, and while I struggle to get any pictures of Max's face, Louie actually poses to get his picture taken! He has taken to pointing at the camera and grunting until I ask him, "Do you want me to take your picture?" Then with a big, overexaggerated nod 'yes', we commence the photo shoot. Here is a recent set of Lucian pictures, hope you enjoy!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Line Up

I am so proud of my boys.

While grocery shopping today, I had the check-out experience to end all check-out experiences. If not for my sons' amazingly awesome behavior, I probably would have left my cart full of groceries in line and simply walked out of the store.

Are you curious? Am I hyping it up too much?

I completed a quick zip through the grocery store with one of those monster cart-attached-to-toy-car for the kids to ride in. This thing did not steer easily; it constantly veered to the left and occasionally one wheel would skid to a stop. Not exactly smooth sailing, but no biggie.  I finished quickly and we heaved-ho toward checkout. I rolled the contraption into what looked to be the shortest lane: only one customer was in front of me, and she was already in the process of checking out.

My first clue that something was amiss was the fact that she had split her items into two separate transactions. Now, all you coupon moms out there, please do not take offense! I know how these things work, and I know you can save big bucks this way. I wish I had the determination to really be a couponer, it would probably save me a bundle. But you know how it goes, sometimes it takes a little longer to check out. Ah well, I figured they'd zip right through the two transactions, so I piled my items onto the conveyor.

Soon I realized that something really wasn't right. The cashier was deep in conversation with the woman about the coupons being used, and all checking-out soon came to a halt. She called for assistance and we all stood there waiting for a manager to arrive. When the manager came, they discussed the problem with the coupons- something involving double days and triple items... a language I'm not quite fluent in. They voided the entire transaction and began again, this time manually entering each coupon with each item. By each item I mean each one of at least fifteen boxes of Trident gum, five gallons of milk, and assorted other odds and ends.

This went on for awhile until the manager stopped. She said something, walked away to consult someone else, returned a few minutes later to undo the transaction and try again. Part of the way through this attempt, she walked away again, consulted, and returned.

By this point, several people had lined up behind me, assessed the situation and left. I have never done this before, but I finally packed all of my items back into my monster cart, backed out of the lane, and clumsily maneuvered to another lane. I know I need to work on my patience in the checkout line, but this was a little ridiculous.

Ahhh... now this lane only had one person in front of me, and only a small pile of items similar in size to my own. I was nearly at the end of my rope, but I could make it through this.

Suddenly, the woman in front of me walked away and back into the store! Seriously? Now? And for some reason, the cashier awaited her return before she even began to ring up the items in front of her. The woman returned (after what seemed like a millennium) with the forgotten gallon of milk, and checking-out ensued. But then the woman pulled out her WIC information. Now, I normally have ZERO issue with the paperwork that goes along with WIC purchases at the grocery store. (Just as I have no issue with coupons) But I just wanted to catch a break! How about a nice, normal transaction, no coupons, deals, paperwork?

Thankfully, there were no problems with the WIC account and everything went very smoothly- probably only adding thirty seconds to my wait. Then the cashier flew through my checkout, I swiped my card and I was outtathere. As I wheeled my groceries and kiddos toward the door, I glanced over and who did I see still waiting in the checkout lane? Coupon Lady.

But the moral of the story, and the reason I began writing this tirade was to gloat to everyone about how wonderful my kids were through the whole ordeal! Notice I didn't mention them once in the story? That's because they did nothing worth mentioning! They were perfect. They were angelic. They truly kept me from blowing a gasket. I am a proud momma today.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

And Another One Gone

You've all heard me talk about what a klutz I can be, but maybe until now you just thought I was exaggerating for comedic effect. Rest assured, ladies and gentlemen, there is no exaggeration here! I have reached a new level of clumsiness, and I'm not ashamed to share it with you.

Since Paul and I have been married, I have made it a habit of breaking glasses. Seriously, it happens all the time. And in the entire five years of our marriage, how many glasses has Paul broken? None. That's right, none. Every glass we've lost has been my fault (well, except maybe one... but I'll get to that later). And to top it all off, I have even managed to break a Corelle bowl. You know Corelle? The unbreakable dishes? We got them for that reason alone- they are unbreakable. Except in my hands, apparently.

But most often the victim is a glass, usually a tumbler. For some reason, the shape and the size of a tumbler makes it a perfect target for my butterfingers. We were down to one tumbler (from a set of six), so we decided to pick up a new set from Ikea recently. I kid you not, the FIRST TIME I was putting them away after washing them, I cracked one. It had not even been used. Cripes.

For the fun of it, we decided to take an inventory of our glasses to see how many were actually missing. Were we blowing this out of proportion? Had I really broken as many glasses as I thought I had?

So we went through our cupboard. One tumbler remaining from the original six meant I had broken five. Plus one broken from the new set of six Ikea tumblers. Then we realized we only have three water glasses... that means another three broken by yours truly. And finally the shot glass that had made its way into the garbage disposal without my knowledge that shattered when I flipped the switch. (Needless to say, I always check the disposal before use now.) Personally, I don't think that one's my fault, but Paul's not so sure.  For his sake, I'll count it in the total.  So let's see... calculators out!

5 original tumblers
1 Ikea tumbler
3 water glasses
1 shot glass

Equals 10 broken glasses. If Paul had even broken one, I would be only ten times more clumsy than him... but since his total is at ZERO, that makes me infinitely more likely to break a drinking glass. Oy. I am not good for this family's budget.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Turn, Turn, Turn

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven"
-Ecclesiastes 3:1

Summer has been a whirlwind, full of travels and weddings, swimming and enjoying the great outdoors. But it looks as if the seasons are changing. Who knows, we may have another 80 degree day try to sneak its way past the autumn guards.  This is Minnesota after all, the Land of Ten Thousand Weather Changes. I won't hold my breath, though. I think it's time to sit back and enjoy the cool breeze and changing leaves.

We were able to make the most of one of the last beautiful days of the season by going to the Fire Muster Parade with Grandma R. It's been awhile since we've been to a parade, and this was definitely the first one that Max fully appreciated. In other words, if you're looking for candy, the Fire Muster is your parade! He started out a little apprehensive, but after watching the other kids dive for the candy as it flew from a few of the first floats, it clicked. Then there was no stopping him!

Got it!

My favorite moment: a bag of Skittles fell on the pavement and Max dove for it, reaching it just before a big kid sitting to our left. While the kid stood sorrowfully watching the candy go and moaning, "Skittles are my favorite...", Max moved on to collect an armful! Ok, so maybe I do have just a little competitive edge to me... at least when it comes to my son.

Max graciously shared his take with his brother

Lucian was in on the action the whole time, not moving quite as quickly as his big brother, but getting his share of the loot nonetheless. Actually, we had to teach him that it was his job to collect the candy, not throw it back to the floats. "But guys, they threw it to me first!"

Yes, they gave out freezy-pops!

We now have a plastic grocery bag full of candy, which I know will still be half-full when Halloween comes around. Oh my goodness, what will I do with all of these sweets??

Post-parade sugar high

Monday, September 12, 2011

Heeere Fishy, Fishy...

Max has been a little water baby since the first time we motored him around in the apartment pool in Rapid City. Combine the natural affinity he has for water with the huge blessing that my parents have a pool in their backyard and we have one bona fide fish on our hands!

You wouldn't think that September would be a major month for swimming news, but with the beautiful weather this year we were able to enjoy the pool through Labor Day weekend and beyond. Think we'll hit October this year? ...Okay, that may be pushing it.

So this weekend Max had a swimming breakthrough, and I am so excited to share it with you!  See for yourself:

We have a swimmer on our hands! With no life jacket, and no help from Dad, he is able to keep himself afloat in deep water. And the best part is... he LOVES it! We nearly had to drag him out of the pool for a break. Otherwise he would have just kept swimming until he couldn't move his limbs anymore. I am so proud of my little boy... who is not so little anymore.

Look out, Michael Phelps, here we come!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Keeping House

My book club just finished reading "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. I highly recommend the book for many reasons- it's one of those books that made me fall in love with the characters, and it opened my eyes to a period in time that I knew nothing about. It was sweet without being sappy, and realistic without making me too depressed.

It did, however, make me feel like a lazy bum.

In "The Help", you will read very descriptive accounts of the household chores that southern black maids in the fifties completed each week. These included polishing the silver, waxing the floors, washing, mending, sewing, and making elaborate meals from scratch each day. I aim to cook most of my dinners in under thirty minutes; these maids started making the evening meal first thing in the morning.

So one day after reading a few chapters, I felt inspired to go a little wild. I made egg salad sandwiches for lunch! I boiled, peeled and chopped the eggs, mixed in the mayo and mustard, toasted the bread, washed some lettuce and sliced up fruit to complete the meal. I felt accomplished. This wasn't just peanut butter and jelly or reheated leftovers, it was a labor of love. (Grandma Moorse, feel free to laugh at me as you whip up your five course lunches from scratch.)

And all the while, the kids were playing nicely in the living room. (this is called foreshadowing)

I assembled the sandwiches, carried them to the table, and my jaw dropped to the floor. What had my children been doing while I slaved away in the kitchen? Systematically deconstructing the living room. All of the books within reach were strewn on the floor and piled on the newly-cushionless couch. I nearly slipped on a pile of Kix by the dining room table (What is it with my kids and Kix?), toys were everywhere. This room had been in some semblance of order before I started cooking... and now look.

My pride balloon quickly deflated as I picked my way through the minefield and ushered my children to the table. All I could think was, "How did Aibileen do it?" She did the cleaning and the cooking and the caring for children, and everything was always in order. I attempt to tackle one area and another one pops up to taunt me. It's like playing Domestic Whack-a-Mole.

I don't have a moral to this story, but please do read the book. Just beware: it may inspire you to become Superwoman Housewife and then quietly mock you when you are reminded that you are human.

I'm human. But I may try to be Superwoman again someday. Off I fly to tackle the dirty dishes!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Visitors from the North

Huzzah! Ryan and Maggie came to visit over Labor Day weekend, trekking across the border with their two kiddos to spend some time with their long-lost friends from CYC. It was great to see them, and to finally get to meet little Liam... who, at 14 months, isn't really so little at all. It was fun seeing the three big kids really play together for the first time, sharing toys and stealing toys from each other like they had never been apart!

We hung out at the pool on Saturday, followed by a pork chop dinner at A&E's house (best pork chops ever. EVER.) and kept the kids up way too late! On Sunday we met up in the evening at IKEA, toting all five kids along... that was an adventure. Then apple pie and ice cream and conversation, again keeping the kids up much past their bedtimes. Is that why I'm pulling my hair out today? Huh. Guess I brought it on myself.

It was great to see the whole clan, and we hope to get out to the far reaches of the earth (i.e. North Dakota) to visit them soon. We miss you guys! Come back again!

Sunday, September 4, 2011


I will admit, my sons are unmistakably brothers... and unmistakably ours. White-blond hair, big blue eyes, super fair skin, they really do look remarkably similar for being two years apart. But my friends, they are still two years apart. This summer, I have been asked at least six different times by six different people if my sons are twins. Twins?! I'm sorry, come again?

The first one or two times, I laughed it off and put it in the "Odd People" file. But as it has started happening more and more, I feel like there's something I should be able to do to clue people in and stop this insanity! I guess I do enjoy putting them in matching colors sometimes... if the clean laundry permits. But if my brother and I both wore a red t-shirt, would you think we were twins? And, ok, no one has ever asked if they were twins when they were standing perfectly still right next to each other. (When does that ever happen?) But all other things equal, wouldn't you think that the head-and-a-half height difference would be a clue?

At the grocery store recently, two elderly women asked me The Twins Question within ten minutes of each other. Oh sigh. The first of the two was genuinely surprised to find out they were two years apart. "Well that older one must be waiting for his brother before he starts growing!" ... I didn't know what to say to that, so after a short awkward pause I responded, "Heh, heh... yeah, my little guy's... pretty big, isn't he?..." and returned to my groceries.

I'm not offended by the question, I'm just baffled. I honestly do not understand how anyone closer than a half-mile away could look at my sons and think they were twins. I expected it to start happening when they got closer in height, but this has thrown me for a loop!

Next time I get asked, maybe I'll just say, "Yeah, they are, but that second one came out as such a runt, I tell people he's two years younger."

Friday, September 2, 2011

Celebrating Five Years

"If I had a single flower for every time I think about you, I could walk forever in my garden." -Claudia Ghandi

Happy 5th anniversary, my love!