Archive for October, 2008

cat bowling

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Seeing as I have quite a few relatives and friends who enjoy Halloween so much, I thought this would be something fun to share here: CAT BOWLING. Enjoy and feel free to post your score(s) here. I got a 116 on my first try. Of course, the girls think I can do better and are screaming at me this very moment to do it again. Thanks, mom, for sending this my way!

the patio is done! the patio is done!

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

At last, the patio we’ve worked so hard on for the past couple of months is complete. Of course, there’s a few finishing touches that need to be done such as spraying off all the sand and stone dust and putting all the furniture and grill on it. I’d say we’ll be able to have our first official barbeque by tomorrow night. I’m just so giddy with excitement to finally have this project finished.

As you can see, there’s still a lot of equipment to put away and such, but I just couldn’t contain my joy and wait to snap some pictures. Here’s the overall layout.

And from the other side.

The view of the opening to the yard and of the fancy columns.

And the magical steps. Ok, they’re not magical, but, man oh man, were they tricky to build. Of course, Mike did all the work, but I felt his pain as I watched from the sidelines.

Don’t worry, I’ll post pictures again once we have it all cleaned off and filled up with our outdoor goods. Join us some time for a barbeque. Consider this your official invitation.


Sunday, October 26th, 2008

The other leader in charge at Mike’s camp out the other night brought along the ingredients to make doughnuts. Mike was impressed with how easy and delicious they were, so he decided to make them for us last night. I, too, was amazed at how easy these were to make.

All you need is a tube of biscuit dough. Flatten out the biscuits to almost paper width and tear a hole in the middle. Heat up some veggie oil in a skillet. Once the oil is hot enough, then you drop a biscuit in. You’ll be surprised at how fast the dough poofs up. It only takes a few seconds on each side to fully cook. Then in a dish mix together some sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg to your liking to dip the freshly fried doughnut into. And, there you have it, homemade doughnuts. The process wasn’t messy either unless you count the sugar crumbs while eating the doughnuts. It was so worth it though.

8 things

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

I’ve been tagged again by Courtney S., and I swear this is the last one I’ll do. Anyone that wants to participate can, but I won’t force it.
Here are the rules:
1) Post the rules on your blog.
2) Answer the six “8” items.
3) Let each person know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog. (so not doing!)

8 Favorite TV shows (Sara asked if cancelled shows count, so I will count them.)
1. Chuck
2. Psych
3. Monk
4. Burn Notice
5. 3rd Rock From the Sun (we recently discovered it’s been airing on TV Land Prime)
6. House
7. Arrested Development (it’s been cancelled but we have the episodes on DVD)
8. Seinfeld

8 Things I did yesterday
1. Got the girls ready for school
2. Walked Annie to the bus stop
3. Drove Mimi to school
4. Worked out at rec plex
5. Pulled out frozen items from freezer for Mike’s foil dinner (he went camping)
6. Talked to Janet
7. Went to Burger King with girlies for dinner (a treat for us since Daddy was gone)
8. Took advantage of a free movie rental at Family Rental and rented a movie to watch with the girls

8 Things I look forward to
1. Halloween and all the candy I’ll get to eat (I’m a bit of a sugar addict.)
2. Finishing patio (Hopefully, today!)
3. On or around November 16th (I’ll explain later.)
4. Making the roman shades for the other rooms of the house
5. Mike mowing the lawn (It hasn’t been mowed for a couple of weeks since we’ve got all that patio junk scattered around the yard.)
6. dinner
7. For the girls to go to bed
8. To enjoy a movie rental with Mike tonight

8 Favorite Restaurants
1. Oceanaire (fancy and expensive seafood)
2. Maggianno’s
3. P.F. Changs
4. Fuddrucker’s
5. Steak ‘n Shake (Can you tell I like burgers and shakes?)
6. Outback Steakhouse
7. Lido Pizza (a local place in College Park, MD…the best pizza ever)
8. Luigi’s Pizza (a local pizza place here)

8 Things on my Wish List
1. That my kids will grow up and find as much happiness as I have found (stole this from Sara, but I feel exactly the same way)
2. That the girls would learn to clean the house and do it without my asking (ha, ha)
3. To have a live-in cook and housekeeper (I know this will NEVER happen. I don’t even know that I could allow this to happen even if we could afford it. It’s a control thing.)
4. To finally settle somewhere to live and stay and live happily ever after
5. To one day have a flourishing photography business with my own studio (this can’t happen until both girls are in school full days, and it may never happen)
6. That I would stop getting junk mail (electronic and paper)
7. To get a vacation sans kids for more than just a couple of days preferably somewhere warm and beachy
8. That none of us will get sick this winter

channeling annie

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

Mike informed me the other night that I had another one of my dreamy outbursts. This is all hearsay because I don’t ever remember any of what Mike claims that I do or say. Apparently, I sat up and was laughing hysterically and declaring that “the letter R is so funny”. Supposedly, I even went on to say, “It even has on a tutu!” I asked Mike if he’s sure it was me and not Annie because that is totally something she would say. Annie’s teacher has started sending home nightly homework assignments for Annie to do such as counting to 20 or going through a list of letters on a list. I think that these constant practice sessions are causing my brain to get a little out of whack.

For those of you who don’t know the history behind my animated dreams and nightmares, I’ll give a little background information. Maybe I should’ve listed this as one of my quirks. I don’t recall having this little problem until I married Mike, but then again I didn’t have witnesses before Mike. It all started on our first night in our apartment after getting married. I woke up screaming and saying that there were ants all over the bed. As you can imagine, this freaked Mike out. He promptly flipped on the light and searched for the pests in our sheets. Mike soon realized that there were no ants, and I was already back to sleep. Similar events involving spiders, worms, and other disgusting insects happened for several nights after that, but Mike was on to me by the 3rd or 4th time. Eventually he just started telling me, “I got them all, honey. Go back to sleep.” The nightmares stopped after a few more nights, and Mike could soon sleep soundly. However, they started up again when I began teaching. The bad dreams were usually the worst on Sunday night. Hmmm, I wonder why? Sometimes I would just wake up screaming at the top of my lungs and then go right back to sleep. Of course, Mike was always stirred from his slumber, the poor guy.

My theory behind the nightmares is that they come when I’m under a lot of stress. So I believe the reason I had them right after Mike and I got married was because I wasn’t used to the whole marriage experience. Teaching always stressed the heck out of me, so I can understand the nightmares during that time. Sometimes when we’re traveling I will have outbursts which must mean sleeping in a bed other than my own makes me a bit nervous.

The most embarrassing experience was when we were staying at the Arnolds’ cabin out in the Black Hills. On our first or second night there I woke up screaming hysterically but went back to sleep almost immediately. The next morning during fishing Ryan asked Mike if everything was alright. Not knowing what Ryan was alluding to Mike just shrugged and said all was fine. So finally Ryan asked what the heck had happened the night before to cause me to scream so harshly and to freak Ryan and Shannon out. Mike just laughed and said that that happens sometimes. Of course, Ryan felt compelled to mention it front of the whole group making me painfully aware that I had caused quite a raucous the previous night.

Another event has become an inside joke among Mike’s family members. Mike had just left for Iraq, and Mimi was a fresh newborn. Mike’s ma was staying with us, too. That night I went picked up Mimi and walked into Kathy’s room. Here’s the conversation that followed:
Me: Kathy, I think we have a problem.
Kathy: What’s the matter? Is everything o.k.?
Me: Mimi has lost her snake.
Kathy: ?
Me: (kind of waking up and realizing what must be going on) Nevermind. Go back to sleep.

Thankfully, I had warned Kathy about my possible outbursts, so she wasn’t too freaked out. In fact, she found a lot of humor in the situation and promptly told all of her children who now remind me about it every so often.

My mom also claims to have witnessed some strange things from me while sleeping. While house-hunting with me in Beafort, SC she says that one night she woke up with me standing over her bed. She asked me what was going on and I said, “There’s someone at the door.” Mind you, this was about 3:00 a.m. My mom says she told me to just ignore it and go back to sleep. Supposedly, I then grabbed her arm with brute force and demanded that she answer the door. She said she was more afraid of me than whoever could be at the door, so she just opened it to discover nobody there. By the time she walked back to the bed I was already tucked in and back to sleep.

Sometimes I will wake up Mike (or my mom if the case is that she’s with me) and make bizarre statements such as there being a white animal on the overhead light, or that there’s dog food on the ceiling, or that someone is staring at us through the window. Mike says that I will usually make sure he’s fully awake and swear that I’m also awake and that whatever I’ve said is actually happening.

Wow, sorry to go on and on about this, but I just felt I had to explain.

absolutely lucy

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

One of Mimi’s homework assignments for school tomorrow is to bring a picture of a dog. Of course, she has to bring a picture of Lucy since she’s the family dog. Upon searching for a picture of just Lucy I got to thinking about our many years with her. This 7-year-old dog that resides with our family has and will always have a love/hate relationship with me. Lucy continues to do things that irk me to no end. Many of you have been witness to her food thievery which she will never overcome. Countless times we have found her hiding in a corner because she knows she’s been very naughty by stealing food from the kitchen countertops. Lucy absolutely knows that this is wrong but still does it anyway because the gratification of people food far outweighs her punishment. Lately, we’ve discovered that Lucy has been obsessing over a landscaping nook in our yard surrounded by keystone. This dog has almost completely dug out the area including removing the keystone. Apparently, there is some creature living in the patch of land that is tormenting Lucy to no end. She doesn’t care that she will get disciplined for her actions. Again, her obsession is much more important than the consequences.

After many years with this dog it has become clear that she has a bit of OCD. When she hunts there is no way to deter her from the ultimate goal of finding birds. Mike literally has to shove food and water down her throat because she wants nothing other than to search out her feathered enemies. Her blood sugar gets so low that she’ll have a seizure if not properly nourished. Another obsession for Lucy is Mike. That dog wants nothing to do with anyone but him when he’s home. His arrival from work each day results in Lucy yelping and jumping at the door until she reaches him. Sometimes at night she’ll try to sneak under the covers with Mike while I’m still awake downstairs. When I try to coax her off the bed a little battle ensues. She growls and snaps at me. The only way to get her out of that bed is to either tempt her with treats or wake Mike up. I’d rather just find something down in the fridge than spend 10 minutes trying to wake Mike up.

What makes it all worth it though is that Mimi is utterly smitten with Lucy. Each day Lucy has to endure acts of “love” from Mimi such as lying on her, singing to her (“Looshy, Looshy!”), poking her in the face, pulling her ears, etc. I’d say Mimi spends a good half hour every single day alone with Lucy. Lucy usually takes it in stride with only a few growls and baring of the teeth. I think Lucy knows that Mimi means no harm.

All in all, Lucy is a pretty good dog. People who don’t live with her often comment on how “well-behaved” she is and how many tricks she can do. I just wish that after 7 years that she would realize that there are certain standards she must live by if she wants my unconditional love. Well, she already has that from Mike and Mimi, so that’s all that really matters to her.

the 4th picture in the 4th folder of the 4th folder…

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Sara tagged me to for an exercise of finding the 4th picture in the 4th folder on my computer. However, my orderly way of organizing pictures doesn’t make finding pictures in this manner possible. I have my pictures set up in folders by the year, then by month, then by the day of the month. Sometimes within in that day of the month I will also have categories if more than one thing happened in that day. Yes, I have OCD. It’s already been stated before. I suppose I may need to seek professional help.

Anyway, I did the best I could for this homework assignment and just stuck with the “4th” theme and found the forth folder at the beginning of my pictures folder, then found the 4th folder within in that folder, then the 4th folder within that folder, then the 4th folder within that folder, and then the 4th picture in the folder. And can you believe the excitement in this picture? Apparently, I was going through an eBay phase of wanting to sell more of my stamp sets. This is a picture of “A Tree for All Seasons”. Enjoy!

Now I tag anyone who wants to participate in this fun exercise. Let me know if you do.


Friday, October 17th, 2008

Mike’s dad, Dennis, is visiting this week. They have been fishing each day since his arrival on Wednesday evening. Unfortunately, they aren’t have much luck even though the fishies are circling them everywhere they go. The girls are enjoying having Grandpa Minnesota visiting. He brought them some books to read, and they were thrilled to receive those. Grandpa Minnesota also doesn’t seem to mind their constant questioning and pestering. Ha, ha!

In other news, I finally got around to making Roman shades for my home, at least for the kitchen and living room. The white blinds were really starting to get to me, so I got out the fabrics I bought ages ago to start the process of making the window treatments for my home. The kitchen and living room windows are ginormous each with a width of 93 inches. Fabric that wide is non-existent, and the windows aren’t set up in such a way that I could make 2 or 3 shades across. After doing some research I came up with the grand idea to purchase queen-size duvets (comforter covers) which so happen to be approximately the same width as my freakishly wide windows. As luck would have it, I was able to get the perfect patterns/color schemes for my decor on sale at Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel paying less than it would have cost to buy that much fabric yardage. Since the duvets were already the correct width, I did not have to cut out the fabric to fit the windows. That’s usually the most difficult part of the process. Typically, when I make a shade I connect it to a slat of wood to then screw into the window. It was Mike’s bright idea to make fabric loops and use a curtain rod instead. I was skeptical at first, but we tried it successfully. I still have a few finishing touches such as putting the metal rod in the bottom to weigh down the shade and to make fancy pulls for the end of the strings. The rods will hopefully keep them from sagging on the sides like they are now.

Like it nor not, I have a few pictures to show you of my “new” kitchen and living room. Here’s the roman shade in the kitchen. I wanted something bright and cheery that had green, orange, and yellow. Found this at PB. Sorry that the pictures are darker on here than what showed up in photoshop for me…urgh!

Here’s a shot of the girls’ “art” station. They have their own table/chairs and cubbies for art supplies. It has been great to have for them. The girls are constantly drawing and coloring now. Take a look at my attempt at a “daily system“. In case it’s hard to tell, there is a white board calendar on the left, a mailbox/charging station in the middle, and a chalkboard/cork board on the right. I love it.

Here’s a view of the kitchen from the corner by the dining area.

Another view of kitchen from the living room. I love how the floor plan is all open on the first floor.

[memedex: pollid#488134]

You know how annoying I can be, so I need one more favor. Pretty please. With sugar on top. Before we moved into the house Mike and I agreed to paint the kitchen table and chairs black. After moving in Mike changed his mind and said that the green/tan actually goes with our current kitchen decor. What do you think?

I’m not going to give my opinion on this until after I a good amount of results have been given. I will admit that some days I’m for it, and other days I’m against it. So I really do need some outside, unbiased opinions. Please:)

Here’s a close-up of the fabric.

Let’s move onto the living room. The view from the kitchen. You can also see the den from here.

Kind of a view from the foyer.

The view from the den.

This is the last picture of my house that I’ll bore you with. The fabric close up. The material is from Crate and Barrel. I wanted exactly what you see–orange with white flowers. It was meant to be.

Next on the list for roman shades is the den and formal dining room. I’ll post pictures of those when I complete them. Who knows if it’ll happen anytime soon though. I just gotta keep telling myself that the final results are so worth it. No more ugly, white blinds. I’m not trying to offend anyone who has them and love them, but I just don’t. I make no apologies.

Annie brought home her first report card last week. There were no official grades, but she’s excelling in all aspects of her education except that she can’t spell Annabelle yet (something we never worked on with her since she goes by just Annie). We had a little issue with her not finishing her lunch at school. I contacted her teacher about this, and Mrs. M made the extra effort to reward her with certificates for finishing lunch for a few days. This has seemed to help so far. Unfortunately, Annie would rather chat during meals. It’s a problem we’ve had with her for years. Annie is also really progressing with her reading. She can read a simple book without much help. I’m noticing her memorizing lots of words she’s seen before.

Mimi loves school so much. When she started school we realized that her teacher(s) would probably expect to be calling her Amelia. Needless to say, Mimi was not keen on this new development. She would declare, “Don’t call me that. My name is MIMI!” So a couple of weeks into the school year Mike was telling Mimi to do something. She turned around and told him, “My name isn’t Mimi, it’s Amelia.” Now when she introduces herself to people she says she’s Mimi and Amelia. I hope she’s not too traumatized. Oh, one more quick story. Mimi was supposed to be napping the other day, but I heard her sobbing upstairs. I went up to check out what was going on and found her holding a photo album from my MN baby shower when I was pregnant with Annie, and she was sobbing uncontrollably. I asked her why she was crying, and she pointed to a picture of me and said, “I love Mommy so much!” My heart just about melted at that moment. I gave her a big hug and told her that I wasn’t going anywhere and that I loved her so much, too. Mimi definitely surprises me sometimes. You realize this is the same child who tried to sneak upstairs with her pockets full of earth worms.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Tagged for quirks

Monday, October 13th, 2008

I’ve refused to do this in the past, but since family is involved I figured I better do it this time. My lovely sister-in-law Sara was tagged to list her quirks and, in turn, tagged me to list my quirks. Honestly, it took me a while to think of some things because I thought I was fairly easy-going and “normal”. Mike helped me with the first couple; you can probably figure that out.

1. According to Mike, I ask a lot of questions. For instance, if he’s calling someone, I will then ask who’s he’s calling and why. If he’s doing something that has not been given prior approval, then I will ask what he’s doing, why, how, when, where, what, who, etc. I don’t think I’m a controlling person or being jealous or anything like that. I just can’t stand not knowing what’s going on around me. This may be where Annie gets the same awful habit. I believe it’s called curiosity to the nth degree.

2. I tend to overly fuss and obsess over details. Whenever I take on any project it will usually take me forever to complete because I will notice minute elements that aren’t perfect and will work on them until I fix the problem(s). Although Mike says that I tend to fix what’s not broken. A lot.

3. Extending the quirk in #2 about obsessing, I will be consumed by a project or problem and cannot do much of anything else (eat, sleep, take care of my house or children, etc.) until it’s complete or solved. Is this a quirk, or should I just commit myself for having OCD? When I was in college in many of math courses I could rarely skip a problem to work on another. It would drive me insane to not solve a problem. I even started keeping a piece of paper and pen next to my bed in case I would dream about or wake up with the answer to that unanswered question. Nowadays I do this with my web design and craft projects sometimes staying up until all hours of the night until it’s at least nearly complete (shhh, don’t tell Mike about this…thank goodness he can sleep through anything).

4. Anytime I’m sitting/lying on the couch I must have a light blanket, an afghan, if you will, on me. It could be 95 degrees outside, and I will usually at least have my lower body covered. As you can imagine, this absolutely drives Mike insane.

5. This kind of contradicts #4 because I can’t stand to wear socks. I will go as long as I can into the cold season wearing shoes without socks or flip-flops/sandals. When I was younger it was actually a more serious problem. I would have to take my shoes and socks off (even at school). I honestly felt like I was being “suffocated” because I couldn’t move my toes around in my shoes. I am getting better about wearing socks especially around the house when my feet are turning blue from being too cold. I also have 2 pairs of lovely, knitted socks that my mother-in-law and sister-in-law made for me. {Thank you for those, and I swear that I have worn them on numerous occasions.}

6. All of a sudden I realized that a lot of things bother me or things I do, but I’m only allowed to pick 6 things. So I’ll list just one here. My eyes are sensitive to light which means I will usually be wearing sunglasses when outside (even on cloudy and sometimes rainy days), and I don’t like the lighting indoors to be too bright. I will get a headache if the brightness is too much for too long. Unfortunately, I foresee myself in the future as one of those elderly persons who have sunglasses on that cover the top half of their face.

Now it’s my turn to tag 6 (I think) people. Sneaky Sara already got most of my audience. So I choose Denise, Stacy, Maggie, Courtney, Sherdon/Lani, and Janet.

retraction and my artists

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

Apparently, I misreported what Mike shot out in SD. In actuality, he shot 1 doe with his bow and 2 antelope does with his rifle, and his friend Matt shot 1 doe with his bow and 1 doe antelope and 1 buck antelope with his rifle. The deer were shot out in Vermillion on Matt’s turf, then they headed out west by the Black Hills to get the antelope.

On their way out there they passed the center of the United States, so some pictures were taken there.

Here are Mike and Matt proudly displaying their antelope.

Immediately upon his return to Wisconsin, Mike put all us Hawley girls to work with grinding up the meat from his prizes. A few years ago Jake was kind enough to gift us with a meat grinding attachment for the Kitchen Aide, and it works fabulously. It took us the rest of Monday and most of Tuesday to finish all the grinding. I calculated that each package of ground meat had anywhere from 1 to 1 1/2 pounds, and we ended up with about 56 packages of meat. Therefore, our freezer now has anywhere from 56 to 84 pounds of meat (this isn’t including the deer meat we already had which was given to Mike a couple of months ago). Mike had also pre-cut out all the meat appropriate for steaks. On Tuesday night I cooked up some antelope steaks after marinating them in red wine for a bit. Let me tell you, those pieces of meat were very tender and succulent. I’d liken them to eating New York strip steaks. YUMMY!

Here’s what our deep freezer looks like. The middle row is what we already had. The top is the ground meat, and the bottom row has all the steaks. I’d say I won’t be purchasing any red meat for some time.

Now in other news. The other night while Mike was still out of town we (or I) decided to go to Luigi’s Pizza Kitchen for dinner. It’s touted as having the best pizza in Kenosha. On the way there I turn into the side parking lot. It looked full to me (I didn’t realize that the side parking lot connected to the front parking lot), so I exited out onto a residential street to turn around to go into the front parking lot. Here’s the conversation between Annie and me that proceeded:

Annie: Where are you going? Luigi’s is back there.
Me: I have to turn around to get back to other parking lot.
Annie: Oh.
Me: Wait a second. How do you know that Luigi’s is back there.
Annie: Remember, Mama, when we tried to eat there one time, but it was closed. We ended up eating somewhere else.
Me: ?!?
Me: {A few seconds later and starting to laugh.} How would you remember something like that? If I recall, that happened when we first moved here. I didn’t even remember that.
Annie: {Shrugging.}

Another time where Annie never ceases to amaze me with her memory and remarkable sense of direction was on the way to a birthday party for one of Annie’s classmates. We were just exiting the highway.

Annie: No, Mama, you’re turning the wrong way.
Me: I am? No, this is the right way.
Annie: No, it’s back the other way next to the mini golf place (we went there for her birthday in August).
Me: I know, it’s this way.
Annie: No, it’s the other way.
Me: {After a couple of minutes of driving and realizing that Annie was correct, I turned around.} I guess you were right, Annie. Mommy needs lots of help when driving, and I’m glad I have you for that.

Then another time. Driving home from the grocery store and approaching a stop sign. We have 2 choices: we can either turn left at the stop sign and then turn right into our neighborhood’s back entrance, or we can go straight through the stop sign and turn left into the front entrance of our neighborhood.

Annie: Mama, go straight. That way is so much faster.
Me: {Flabbergasted.}

Here we are at Luigi’s. I just had to get some pictures of the girls because this was first time since having kids that I could sit in a restaurant and not have to constantly be answering kid questions, scolding, cleaning up drink spills, forcing squirrelly children into their seats, or just going out of my mind in general. My babies were totally focused on drawing their pictures for most of the time. It was pure paradise.