Archive for January, 2010

staying warm

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Last winter we had some major issues with keeping our house warm and the electric/gas bill low. The house was still new to us with numerous other projects to do, so we let the winterizing go by the wayside. Mike and I decided we would really focus on winterizing our house this winter, and I must say we’ve made quite a difference. Shrink-wrapping the windows, adding a new storm door to the front door, making sure all windows were properly shut and locked, adding more insulation to crawl spaces and around the basement, and adding light switch/outlet cover insulation have really been noticeable by our bodies and our wallets. We do still like to warm up by a wood-burning fire occasionally. As you can see, so does Lucy.

Going through pictures I realized I missed posting this picture of Violet wearing another Christmas dress she received as a gift. She wore it the same New Year’s Sunday that the girls wore their Christmas dresses. Can you tell we like to dress up around here?

Sorry about the test posts earlier (and then deleting, in case you missed them), but my sister-in-law alerted me to the fact that my blog feeds had not been updated since around Christmas (to those who have no idea what I’m talking about, then this probably doesn’t affect you…LOL). I had upgraded to the latest version of WordPress (the blogging format I use here) around that time, and it apparently screwed something up. I was able to switch my feeds to feedburner and went through some blogs that I know link and here and saw that all is fine now. I hope I can rest easy now.

sick kids, does the fun ever stop

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

Having the kids home for a snow day was one thing. However, add illness and another day home from school and the whole weekend to the mix, and it’s just glorious. The constant chorus of coughing, sneezing, sniffling, and fussy baby would be music to anyone’s ears, huh?. The girls weren’t too disappointed though because they had this to do each day (look below). As you can see, Sadie does get a bit annoyed with the ever presence of the girls in her face, but most of the time she truly enjoys their company. Sadie is really making herself at home here with lots of hyper playtime and perchtime on the shoulder of the couch. We couldn’t have asked for a better kitten for our family.

Violet, on the other hand, hasn’t been having as great of a time. She’s been feeling pretty rotten with a constant fever requiring round the clock doses of Tylenol. Today she is finally feeling like herself again but can’t seem to figure out why the same cute voice isn’t coming from her lips anymore.


annie’s first post

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Annie asked if she could start her own blog. Instead of that scary idea, I told her she could make a post on our family blog. This satisfied her. The following was typed up by Annie all by herself with only a couple of spelling/grammar helps from me. Sniff, sniff; she’s not my little girl anymore.

I got a cat and she is so good and well I named her Sadie. We love her but I got a American girl doll. Happy 2010. I lost a tooth my 2nd . Vivi is sick. I am home from school because of snow. Bye bye.

Annie wanted to have pictures to post, too, so she was given permission to take the camera on her own to snap a couple of pictures of Sadie.

What she says is all true. All kids are home today. Thank goodness we have the kitten to take up much of that time and outside playing in the snow more time. Violet was up much of the night last night with a fever and coughing/sniffling/sneezing. Poor bebe:( Once the Tylenol sets in though she’s just fine. Annie did lose her 2nd tooth yesterday. However, the tooth fairy wasn’t able to make it through all the snow to trade Annie’s tooth for some money. We are going to send her a snippy email reminding her that little girls get their hearts broken when the tooth fairy doesn’t come. (Yes, we forgot. We are bad bad bad bad parents. In our defense, the tooth was overshadowed by a sick kid and new kitty.)

I’ll leave you with some random pictures, too. The girls have been dying to wear their Christmas dresses to church but our trip to NC forced us to miss the previous 2 Sundays. They wore them for New Year’s Sunday instead. Mimi picked out her own tights and shoes. Both girls adore those coats that Grandpa Indiana got for them a couple of years ago, and they constantly wear them around the house, too. Daddy accidentally broke off Annie’s fur collar on her dress, so Annie improvised with her white, furry scarf. And the story behind Mimi’s furry hat is that Mike purchased it for me because he wanted me to have a real fur, Russian hat. It was too small for my head, so Mimi is very reluctantly wearing it.

Lastly, Lucy looks so forlorn.

meet sadie and winter beans

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Yes, we did something crazy. We’ve added another pet to our already chaotic lives. However, it had to be done. The girls get so sad when Lily makes an appearance thinking there are no kids around only to run frantic from them when they try to pet her. Lucy, on the other hand, will tolerate the girls touching her, but that’s all it is: tolerance. The girls absolutely adore Violet, and I think they secretly consider her to be a pet. In my opinion, that poses a big problem. Mike and I love to have pets (remember, we used to have a 2nd cat years ago named Harvey, but he was too aggressive for our soon-to-be-born child…poor Harvey). We’ve always known at some point that the girls would want a pet that they could love on, bond with, and make their own. Every time we visit Petsmart we take a peek at the cats/kittens they have for adoption. The girls always beg us to adopt one of the kitties, but we never give in to them and end up leaving with sad, little girls. I don’t know why we put them and ourselves through that torture, but I guess it’s that we love looking at those darn cats so much.

Mike and I decided now would be a good time because it will not only help take some of the attention away from Violet, but the girls are also at the right age to understand how to behave around a small animal. That’s not to say we won’t have the kitten separated and only allow the girls kitty time during designated and monitored times in the beginning. Ok, rather than ramble on about the why/what/whens, let’s just have a look at this darn kitty.

Meet Sadie. Sadie is a Himalayan (Tortie Point) with blue eyes. As you can see, the girls are over-the-moon. Neither one of them have given Violet a second look since her arrival. Let’s hope it stays that way at least until Violet can fight them off on her own. We chose Sadie because she has such a sweet disposition and doesn’t seem to mind the giggling, screeching, and touchiness of little girls, and Himalayans have a wonderful reputation for being great cats like that (I grew up with them as well).

Another project we’ve got in the works are a couple of bean plants growing inside. Mike wanted me to post a picture to show their status. He tied twine to the curtain rod above to let the beans vine up.

ear flaps for annie

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

I finally put the finishing touches on Annie’s hat and snapped a couple pictures. She wasn’t pleased with the venue since I made her step outside to take the pics. But her hat is complete, and she’s been wearing it to school. Apparently, her teacher liked it so much that she took a picture, too. I will say I’m not completely satisfied with all the yarns because they are so different from each other in texture and weight. However, I didn’t have enough of the purple to make an entire hat, and that was the color that Annie truly desired.

And I can’t leave you without a glimpse of Violet’s daily doings. She is quite busy these days.

crocheting for baby

Monday, January 4th, 2010

The drive to NC was 18 hours each way. As a way to busy myself I decided to start some new crochet projects. I adored the little earflap hat that I made for Violet, so I chose to make another for her. I think I like this one even better than the last one. I made it on the way down to NC. {I did have a couple of people ask me for the pattern, here it is via Brrr Baby Beanie Pattern. This time I used a different flower pattern which I thought was much easier and cuter. I didn’t do the last couple of rounds because I thought it would end up overtaking little Violet’s head. Here’s the pattern for it (again from Frothy Flower Pattern.}

As you can see, Violet isn’t really able to sit up on her own yet. This is what most of the pictures look like, Violet tipping over.

While in NC I decided to make Violet some baby bibs. She’s a drooler, so what better way to help catch all that drool than a crocheted bib. The pattern called for a button to fasten the bib, but I didn’t have access to any buttons down in the tiny town in which we stayed. I decided to crochet a bobble instead. Works like a charm. {Again, the pattern was from which was very easy: So-Simple Baby Bibs.}

The pattern was every quick to make, so I made another bib for Violet on the way home from NC. I used the frothy flower pattern on this one but just made the first couple of rounds to keep the flower small. I think this one may be my favorite.

The girls both requested their own earflap hats, so I couldn’t refuse. I just finished Annie’s hat last night. I’ll post pictures of it tomorrow.

let’s exchange white elephants

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

We got a special treat for New Year’s Eve this year. The Smiths, Mike’s sister’s family, stopped by our house on their way home to Florida. They got to spend Christmas with the Minnesota relatives, but their journey home will be quite long. It was decided that they would take a 2-day break at our home. The Smith girls are getting so tall and mature. They are all taller than me now (not that that’s a big record to break) and no longer resemble the little girls I have carved into my memories from our Beaufort, SC days.

The Smiths are a fun group, so we decided it would be amusing to ring in the new year with another white elephant party. They were definitely on board and searched for interesting gifts at Grandma Minnesota’s favorite store called Bethesda Thrift Shop in Hopkins. The Smith girls also got presents to participate which meant more fabulous gifts to exchange. Mike and I shopped for our gifts separately in order to maintain the surprise element. The Johnsons also attended and brought along Seth’s sister’s family. They followed our instructions properly and each provided one gift per adult. There were 11 wonderful presents to open, and everyone could hardly contain their excitement.

I picked #1, and the gift I chose was a Vanilla Ice c.d. and a “Happy Purim” noise maker from Morgan.

Next up was Seth’s brother-in-law, and he received an inflatable, Vikings pennant from Maddie.

Then Seth’s sister received something so useful, an adding machine. Rozzie was the giver of this gift and apparently was coveting it greatly as she stole it back on her turn.

Seth was so thrilled for his gift, a cobra incense burner. Jenni later stole this in hopes of intriguing her students. Mike provided this gem.

Morgan couldn’t have been happier about her “Lunker Lake” board game all about fresh-water fishing. After some other stealing Mike ended up with this and tried to convince us later to play it with him. I believe Seth’s brother-in-law gave the ever popular board game.

Maddie’s gift required a lot of work to discover the final contents. Seth thought he was so clever to use up all the boxes around his home to wrap this up.
Box #1.

Box #2.

Box #3.

Box #4 finally revealed what the gift was to be, the Clapper. The Clapper caused quite a stir and was stolen into to retirement with the final recipient being me.

So Maddie got to open another gift. Oh, the pure joy she expressed after realizing it was a Dale Earnhardt lunch box. What a collector’s item!

But wait, there’s more. It’s look awfully like the winner’s cup after a Nascar race. How appropriate! (This was my contribution.) This combo gift was popular among the fellows and was stolen into retirement with Seth being the final recipient.

As you can see, Seth was quite proud of his “tropy”.

Travis was up next, and he got exactly what he had been wanting for so long, Stitchopoly and a wall hanging reminiscent of something you’d find in the Cracker Barrel General Store. This wonderful combo gift was from Seth’s sister.

Julie received the perfect gift, a 1999 Internet for Dummies desk calendar. And she was just telling me the other day how she really needed help on how to use the internet. Turns out that 1999 and 2009 have the same days. I believe this was Travis’ gift.

Jenni’s turn was next, and she actually got a gift that I think most people wouldn’t have minded, 10 pounds of candy corn in Valentine’s colors. At least I wouldn’t have been disappointed if I had received this delicious gift. Of course, it probably would a little nauseating after eating a few handfuls of that stuff.

And the final gift to be opened was a garlic house given by Jenni. I told Jenni she should have provided some garlic to the recipient to make the gift so aromatic.

Violet was sad that she couldn’t participate and kicked herself in the eye.

I’m pretty sure fun was had by all, and I hope we can continue the tradition next year with another party. Most everyone stuck around for the final minutes of ringing in the new year. Mike has had the urge to rent a keg of root beer for ages, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to get one. It provided 90-12 ounce glasses of Pointe Root Beer made right here in Wisconsin. Yum! There was enough root beer to enjoy the next day, too.

beachy christmas

Friday, January 1st, 2010

It may seem like I’ve given up on blogging, and there were days when I thought the same thing. Life is finally feeling a little normal again, so I think it’s time to get back on the horse. To be honest, all my Christmas pics from our trip in NC were on my laptop, and I was too lazy to unpack the laptop to transfer the pictures to flickr. The deed is done now, and I now I can blog about Christmas.

Our time in NC was relaxing and fun. The weather cooperated all week with sunshine and warmth in the high 50’s most of the week. It was a nice break from the snow/wind/cold. My dad wanted me to search for retirement homes for him one day, so Mike decided that day would be a great opportunity to take the girls on the ferry over to Bald Head Island. They rented a golf cart and toured a couple of lighthouses. The girls had lots of stories to tell and shells to show.

On the ferry.

At the lighthouse.

Can you imagine the excitement these little girls had when they got to ride in the golf cart?

A chilly day on the beach.

The house my dad rented was right on the water. It was gorgeous.

The town was all along the water with a quaint downtown within walking distance of the house. We decided one morning to go for some hot cocoa and muffins down at the local coffee shop. Lucy accompanied us. She was made to wait outside, and looked so pathetic as she stood by.

Mimi and Lucy are great buddies.

My dream is to one day have wrap-around porches like this. I have always loved the southern style homes with their large porches.

My dad came well-equipped with Christmas gear including a tree/lights, decorations, stockings, hats, and other stuff. So we felt at home when it was time to open presents.

The girls awoke at about 4 am to open presents, but we made them wait until at least the sun had risen. Finally, at around 7:00 a.m. everyone was up and ready to open presents.

The girls were not thrilled to pose for this picture when all those gifts were just waiting to get torn open.

We had taken the girls a couple of days before Christmas to pick out presents for each other. Mimi gifted Annie with a jewelry box that has a dancing ballerina inside. And Mimi received a pug puppy in a cute purse. She named her Joey in honor of our friend, Matt’s, pet pug with the same name.

All other presents were overshadowed by long-awaited American Girl dolls, Kit Kittredge and Ruthie Smithens. The girls received a few other AG doll accessories like clothes, pet, vet set, etc. and the Kit Kittredge Movie, but the dolls were the big deal for this Christmas.

Of course, we couldn’t forget about Violet. She got some great clothes from Grandpa and lots of fun rattly toys from her stocking.

The adults got some fun gifts, too. Santa got Grandpa a Starbucks thermos and giftcard and a golf pullover from the local golf course. Mike received more hunting gear and new socks. I got a stick vac and a seasons flag pole. My dad wasn’t thrilled about getting me a vacuum cleaner for Christmas, but I told him that’s this is my life and vacuuming is what occupies my mind these days.

Mike and my dad spent a day golfing and another day fishing. Mike set it up to have a fishing guide take the guys out one day for in-shore fishing. It turned out to be a fairly windy/chilly day for it, but the boys survived and came home with lots o’ fish which now sit filleted in our freezer.

We had a really fun Christmas, and I’m glad we decided to make the trip down south. It actually reminded me a lot of my Christmas’ from my youth where we’d usually spend the holidays down in Florida.