Kindergarten

Yesterday was Andy’s first full day of Kindergarten. Technically, he started school on Tuesday but the elementary school in our district does an open-house style for their first day. For days and weeks, (Heck, months!) we counted down until the first day of school. I think it’s safe to say Andy was a little bit excited.

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On Tuesday, our suggested time slot according to our last name was at 4pm so we waited a torturous 6 hours until 3pm before we made the short drive to school. Finally we found Andy’s classroom, met his teacher, Mrs.K, and dropped off his school supplies. As I filled out paperwork (that could have been sent to our homes and turned in during orientation), Luke terrorized the classroom playing with the toys and books Mrs.K didn’t want touched. In fact, not only did he drag her Arthur doll across the floor and out the door, he broke Arthur’s glasses. Teacher was rather disappointed and I’m afraid we did not make a good first impression. Needless to say, we are ordering a new Arthur doll for the classroom.

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On Wednesday morning, while I was at work, Andy FaceTimed me and told me that his tummy felt scared. Both Chris and I reassured him that there would be a lot of adults around that would help him and to ask questions if he didn’t know what was going on. We told him that it is ok to feel scared but that he would soon get to see his friends and have fun at school.

I was so excited to hear about Andy’s first day of school that I was anxious for the clock to strike 3pm so we could meet him at the bus stop. Except the driver drove right past the curb I was standing on. She finally stopped when she saw me with Luke in a stroller chasing her and let Andy out. I wanted to get a picture of Andy coming off the bus since I didn’t get one of him getting on but that didn’t happen since I was still running to catch up with him when he stepped out.

His first words to me were, “I didn’t have a good day.” He knew I was going to ask and my heart just broke. Apparently, the kids still weren’t allowed to play with the toys and Mrs. K wanted to hold Andy’s hand as the class walked down the hallway. I can hardly get him to hold my hand so I’m sure she was frustrated with him. He also told us that she yelled at everybody. Of course I wasn’t there so I don’t know the circumstances but Andy was clearly upset about the day. Oh to be a fly on the wall.

Last night we talked more about school and prayed that Andy would have a better day today. I really hope so. He has such a deep love of learning and I would hate to see that love diminished so early in his schooling career. It’s been a rough start and this school year has the potential to be long but we will get through it and learn a few things along the way.

Update: Andy had a much better day today. Praise God! Mrs. K stilled yelled but it seems to be the only way to get the kids’ attention. And I was able to get a few pics of Andy getting off the bus today…

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Labor Day Weekend. Also? Stuffed Silly.

On Friday, my parents were kind enough to watch our boys while Chris and I went to The Great Minnesota Get-Together. We ate a Gizmo and walked and ate Cinnie Minnies and shopped and ate Cheese Curds and people-watched and ate a Chocolate Malt and toured campers and ate Cinnamon Roasted Almonds. Oh! And we rode the lame Ye Old Mill.

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Saturday, my parents were kind enough to watch my nieces and nephew while my brother and sister-in-law went to the state fair. So we ran around the splash pad for a while before heading back to their house for pizza.

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Early Sunday morning, in a one-shot effort to rid my body of all the wiggly, I took a two-mile walk. Then my guys and I went to church, met some family and friends for pizza buffet, and headed home to clean the boys’ bedrooms. Chris decided it was time to trim some trees and our neighbor kindly helped him. Then Chris lit a bonfire and we had an impromptu wiener roast with our kind neighbors for dinner.

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On Labor Day, our little town’s little grocery store held a giant brat grilling event sponsored by Budweiser. Besides the 152 foot long record-breaking brat, the stars of the show were the Clydesdale horses, for sure. The Lion’s Club also made an impressive 12′ apple pie. I’m positive all 4000+ citizens of our city showed up because the place was packed and the lines were loooong. Afterwards, we headed back to my parents for a corn-roast and cookout with family. 

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It was a fun and busy weekend filled with lots of yummy food! I spent the vast majority of it stuffed silly.

Green Thumb

When we first moved into our home, our yard was pretty much a clean slate. The grass was well taken care of and there were nice rock beds surrounding much of the house. Only a few flowering plants were placed on the side and back of the house in the rock bed which left the front to fill however we chose. Since I am slightly indecisive and was still figuring out the feel of my home, I waited a long time to choose something. Every so often, a weed would poke its nasty head up through the rocks and one of us would pull it out. Then more weeds would poke through along with grass that went to seed and before we knew it, our rock bed was looking quite abandoned. It looked awful but I just couldn’t keep up with all the unwanted growth. I didn’t take a photo because it’s just too embarrassing.

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A few weeks ago, it was time to call in the big guns, aka Josh, to help me shovel rock but we needed bigger guns so Chris came out to help. As they removed rock, Chris would pull up the weed-embedded weed blocker. No wonder I couldn’t keep up! Soon we exposed the soil and put down a new weed blocker. Then, on a trip to Menards, I picked out a few flowering shrubs and Chris planted them.

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The rock needed to go back in the bed, which became an ordeal in itself. The rock was so covered in dirt and weeds that it had to be rinsed. My ever-resourceful husband made a type of sieve with lumber and wire and proceeded the arduous task of washing rocks. It took hours and hours to wash just a few loads. We finally finished the front rock bed and it looks great! I’m excited to see how it will look when the shrubs get bigger and start flowering. Next Spring I have plans to start a vegetable container garden in our large rock bed on the other side of the walkway. And we need to continue the weed removal in the rest of the rock beds. It’s a lot of work but it feels good to have accomplished something that intimidated me. Thanks to my guys for all the help! It would still look like a condemned home if not for Chris and his strength, perseverance, and smarts.

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Red Bench

When Chris and I got married, Josh and I moved into his 1970’s bachelor pad. But before we moved in, we made a few updates like paint the walls, pull up some carpeting to reveal more hardwood floors, refinish the floors, completely gut and redo the kitchen including new appliances and flooring, and rebuild the deck. My grandfather, aka Gramps, helped us with much of it. When it came to the deck, we put our heads together and designed a space that would be pretty, spacious, and accommodate our new-to-us hot tub that Chris bought to fulfilled my dreams. He’s nice like that. Gramps and Chris spent days putting that deck together and when they were finished, Gramps surprised us with a handmade bench to fit. We brought the bench with us to our new house three years ago, of course, and its been sitting on our new deck. I asked Josh to bring it out to the front porch and, after painting the rocker, I knew I wanted to paint the bench too.

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Josh helped me prime it but we ran out of primer when it probably could have used a little more. I was too lazy to go get another can and too anxious to get it painted though. So here it sits in all its imperfection.

I’m not sure what to do with it next. I think I would like to get a cushion but I kind of like the idea of displaying flowers or plants on it too and it can’t be both. I have a few ideas but I think I’ll just let it evolve and see how our family utilizes the red bench for now.

Birthday Blues

Sunday I celebrated my 37th birthday. This is the only pic I have from that day:

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The accompanying caption says: To celebrate my birthday, Chris made an amazing breakfast of blueberry buckwheat pancakes topped with fresh blueberries and homemade whipped cream, sausage links, and bakery donuts. Unfortunately, I couldn’t eat any of it due to a stomach bug. #nooneshouldbesickontheirbirthday

For lunch after church, my parents, my brothers (one of whom is celebrating a birthday tomorrow) and their families, and my uncle had a small party. I, on the otherhand, basically spent the entire day in my bed or in my bathroom while Chris single-parented our children. It was, quite literally, a craptastic birthday. Don’t worry. I had my own little party. A pity party complete with Saltines, Ginger Ale, and a few tears.

I called in sick to work on Monday and cancelled dinner plans with a friend, shouldn’t have gone to work yesterday, and probably should have stayed home today too. But birthdays aren’t just a day, they are a season, right? I’m calling a do-over as soon as I am feeling better. Same breakfast, same lunch and time with my family. I’m not going to let the birthday blues keep me down. :)

Red Rocker

About 5 or 6 years ago I went to a garage sale in my neighborhood and found a classic, oak, solidly built rocking chair for $25. It was in great shape and the owner even threw in the cushions that were on it. I stuffed that chair in my car, took it home, and arranged a space in my living room for the rocker. When we moved into our new house, the chair ended up in the basement collecting dust.

Two summers ago, when our patio furniture fell apart, I brought that chair out to our front porch where it weathered. I knew I wanted to paint it but the project seemed so intimidating. I wasn’t sure what color I wanted or even how to go about painting furniture. So I did what any self-respecting novice DIYer would do and went online for ideas and instructions. After reading and reading and reading some more, I hesitantly picked a color and bought my supplies…last summer.

It wasn’t until this summer when Chris sanded the chair for me (after Josh and Andy took a shot at it) that I finally worked up the guts to actually paint it. It wasn’t too difficult even though my hands are splattered in red paint, I have a lovely red “highlight” in my bangs, and as I was sweeping the spray can back and forth, the part on my arm where my tricep is supposed to be was waving hello to all the neighbors.

I absolutely love how it turned out. The color is perfect and cheery and pops against the house just the right amount.

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Now I’m wondering what else I can get my hands on…

Labor Cake: My Story

I’ve been making some much needed changes with my blog and as I’ve been looking around, one thing I’ve noticed is that the Labor Cake post is by far my most visited post. In fact, if you Google “labor cake” you’ll find my post at result #18 out of almost 25,000,000 results. That’s 25 million! There are a lot of desperate pregnant women out there willing to try anything to jump-start their labor and I know the feeling!

Anyway, I realized that I never recorded the results of my finding and even 16 1/2 months later, I still remember: I finished baking the cake on a Sunday night. I frosted it and promptly ate a large piece for breakfast on Monday. I ate another large piece Tuesday and Wednesday and by late that night I was in labor. Luke was born Thursday morning. Coincidence? Probably, but I thought I would share my story even if it gives miserably pregnant women false hope that eating copious amounts of sugar and chocolate would trigger that ever elusive contraction signaling the beginnings of labor. If you are one of those ladies searching the web for an easy recipe and a success story, welcome. The cake is ridiculously delicious and makes a great dessert even if that’s all you get out of it.

Below is my original post dated March 12, 2012 and the recipe for Labor Cake. Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~At the beginning of this pregnancy, I downloaded a couple of pregnancy apps on my iPhone and started reading some of the forums, mainly the March 2012 forum. As it implies, this particular forum is for all the women due in March of 2012, myself included. During my pregnancies with Josh and Andy I didn’t visit many pregnancy sites and rarely jumped into any forum but I’m sure that’s because I didn’t have them so readily available to me through an iPhone. Now I read them daily and, surprisingly, they have been mostly drama-free, given the amount of hormonal women posting various topics. Sure there have been some heated debates but most women are respectful of others’ opinions and views even when the opinions and views are quite ridiculous.

With it being mid-March, many women have had their babies already and so those of us who are weary and still waiting for that first sign of impending labor are doing whatever we can to get it started. One such endeavor I learned through the forum and had never heard of is the “coffee trick”. Boil a pot of coffee, pour the hot coffee into a bowl, place the bowl into a toilet bowl and sit over the steaming coffee for 20 minutes or so. It’s supposed to ripen the cervix or some such nonsense. And women are actually trying it! Silly if you ask me.
Another labor kick-starter is a sweet confection called a “labor cake”. Now, I am all for cake but I really don’t believe that a cake is going to start labor. I’m a firm believer that labor will eventually start in most cases when the baby is good and ready and if it happens to start after eating the cake (or sitting on steaming coffee, or eating spicy foods, or whatever) then it is purely coincidence, a happy coincidence nonetheless. Anyway, the cake sounded oh-so-delicious regardless of its claims to start labor so I made it last night. It was still too warm to frost when I went to bed so I frosted it this morning and ate a big slice for breakfast with a large glass of milk. And, wow, was it divine! So good and rich and yummy. I thought to myself that I can’t keep this cake a secret from my non-pregnant friends so here is the recipe:
Labor Cake
1 box devil’s food cake mix
I package chocolate instant pudding
1 cup sour cream
12 ounces chocolate chips
 
Prepare cake mix as instructed on the box. Mix in the pudding, sour cream, and chocolate chips. Pour the batter evenly into two greased 9 inch round cake pans and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. If a toothpick comes out clean, they are done baking. I used a can of chocolate frosting to frost the cake when it cooled.
Supposedly the concoction of the ingredients should trigger contractions but here I sit without even a twinge. Oh well. At least the cake was good.