Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Top Five Holiday Traditions

As a young family, we are starting to get our own traditions together that will hopefully leave really special memories for the kids.  Thus far, these are the ones we've started - and will hopefully stick to.

5. Baking and delivering Christmas treats to friends and neighbors
4. Opening presents to John Denver and the Muppets Christmas songs
3. Taking a night to drive all over town to see all the Christmas lights
2.  Some form of nativity with the kids - last year the kids put on Nativity Puppet show that was just perfect.
1.  Dinner at Red Robin followed by a train ride and a visit to see Santa

As a kid, my parents always bought presents for a family in need - and I'd like to start doing that with the kids as well.

Anybody want to share some of the things they look forward to around the holidays?  I'd love to make my list a little bit longer!

BDEM:  I finally got my hands on the "hard to find" present that I've wanted to get Jude.  Now I can start focusing on the other gifts.  Talk about a huge weight lifted!   

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

On the Wish List

This year's Christmas list is ridiculous.  I'm having a hard time thinking of anything.  The two items I do want are off the charts with Christmas budget:

Therefore, I am not planning on getting either.  So I kind of lucked out when I found this little thing today.

I've never been too much of a watch person - I have a remarkable internal clock. (I have no problem bragging about this - only because it's freakish how well I always know what time it is - my family can attest to that) but I think these watches are ADORABLE!  And you can change out the color of the faces.  A white band with a pink face, a black band with a white face - they are just so cute.  AND, the bands are super soft.  Kind of like a slap bracelet.  They remind me of a craze that I was desperate to be a part of when I was a kid (but my parents said I was too young at the time - they were probably right).  

Who out there remembers Pop Swatches?  

I still remember the commercials.  Everyone was walking around in ripped, stone-washed jeans trading watch faces.  All of them being cooler than I ever thought I could be.  My grade school best friend, Denise had one.  She was that cool.  She had the biggest bangs in our grade. Yes, I had bang envy.

I guess that finishes my list - two unattainable items and a watch.  At least the watch comes with the promise of fulfilling old dreams!

BDEM:  The stockings are hung by the chimney with care.  With the exception of our Christmas tree, we are ready to get this holiday started!  I'll post pics later.

Maddie has been walking around singing Christmas songs lately - and it's AMAZING how many she knows.  Even more amazing are the lyrics she makes up for the songs she doesn't know.  

Deck the halls with balls of holly
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
This is seasons to be jolly
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
(this is where it gets interesting)
Ahm bee acka, oooh - lee icket
Who loves Christmas?  Jiminy Cricket
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la

Monday, November 28, 2011

I know a lot of mothers.  We all have similar experiences with our kids, love to talk about life raising small children - and all seem to be able to relate to life as a stay at home mom.  But one area in my life that I'm not sure anyone will ever be able to relate to is being Jude's mom.  I have no idea how to explain this kid without seeming like I'm making fun of him, because my feelings for him couldn't be more opposite.  The kid literally cracks me up in the head shaking, baffled, where did you come from sense.  And it is all of the Jude quirks that make me love him even more.

Remember how he makes EVERYTHING out of paper?  The other day he was playing Super Mario Brothers in our living room.  He designed, cut out, and taped all of the characters to the wall, couches and entertainment center.  Then he took the Yoshi that he made and ran from one bad guy to the next defeating each one and gathering coins at the same time.  He even made sure to make a mushroom picture that he could run to in case Yoshi got small.  There is just no stopping his weird creativity.

I came home from my Sunday meetings, and saw that he had made this:

In case you can't tell - it's him, made out of stuff.  

This leads me to my BDEM:

This morning as I was searching Cyber Monday deals Jude kept coming up and talking about his snowman costume.  I have to be honest and say that I really was not listening at all.  If you know Jude, then you know he gets an idea and has to see it through.  AND he talks about it in full force until it's done.  

After coming up to the computer several times talking about snowman, stealing scissors, grabbing the tape, and leaving while saying things like, "it'll go in my costume drawer because it's a costume"and, 
I turned my pajamas inside out.."  he finally came back and said, "It's done mom!"


There you have it....a snowman costume.  Yes, he colored sticks and TAPED them to his arm.  Yes, those are colored pieces of coal taped to his pajamas, and yes - it now is in his costume drawer.  Because according to Jude, he "can't wear it all the time yet because there is no snow, and people won't believe that (he) is actually a snowman. There has to be snow for that."

I don't love this kid despite his weirdness,  I love him for his weirdness.  And boy, is he weird!  

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I finished my baking, we finished family movie night, we got PJs on, had the kids brush their teeth, and sent them to bed.  While I was unloading the dishwasher I had that record-scratch moment when I looked at the clock and realized it was only 7:45pm.

The kids usually go to bed between 8:15 and 8:30, so 7:45 seemed a bit early, but hey - we all know I'm not going in there to rile them up again! Then I wondered what time other kids are going to bed.  Am I putting my kids to bed at a whimpy hour?  I don't want my kids turning into these guys:

Maddie is in first grade, and I still put her to bed at the same time as a ten month old, and a barely three year old. Just typing that made me feel like a bad mom!  Whoops.

BDEM:  Tonight at dinner Jude just could not get the words "sour cream" out of his mouth.  He must have said "Shower Keem" ten times in a row.  He was flustered but he just couldn't stop laughing either. Every single time he thought he had finally said it right, too - which made it even funnier.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Look Who Came to Town

For the locals - it's right by Target

BDEM:  It seems like weekends are always rush-rush around here.  We are busy, busy bees - we are.  So this morning laying in bed in a half-sleep state until 8:30 was wonderful.  

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Funday...

If the whole point of our Christmas shopping date was to have fun, then we were totally successful.  If the whole point was to get everything we wanted at a killer deal, then we were somewhat successful.  I think I prefer the first option.

On top of all the shopping and eating on our long-day-date, we had planned on seeing a movie.  There really wasn't much we wanted to see without our kids, so we went bowling...again.  Maybe I've never mentioned it before, but Rob and I are bowlers.  It's OUR thing.  When we become empty nesters we are fairly sure our life will be filled with bowling, traveling and fly fishing. But that's obviously while we are running our private resort.  So much to do!

Today I bowled a 171, a 147 and a 103 - in that order.  171 isn't my all time high - but it's pretty close.  (I should have stopped while I was ahead). I think 177 was my best game, so it was almost a record breaking day.

Oh - but we did break the fun record.


BDEM:  AN ENTIRE DAY WITH JUST MY HUSBAND!  He didn't complain once about the time we shopped, the crowds, the traffic or the smothering heat in H&M.  He actually outwardly enjoyed a black friday with the wifey.  Possibly another record.  Tradition started.  Thanks to everyone who helped out with the kids today! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Today was a beautiful day. A long, food-eating, bowling, card-playing day. I am truly blessed.

Tomorrow will be another beautiful day. A long food-eating, shopping, movie watching day. Rob and I are spending the day together, no kids. We haven't been on a date in about three months, so naturally I am stoked. Stoked that my good sport of a husband loves me enough to brave the crowds, just to please his black Friday loving wife.

So, to bed I must go.

BDEM: A lot of really great moments today, but bowling had to be the highlight. We laughed, we danced, we passed around children, we gutter balled, and we did it all as a family. Joy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ready for the Big Day

The turkeys are brining, the cookies are baked, the green bean casserole is all ready to be thrown in the oven, and I am ready for the food coma that will surely ensue tomorrow afternoon.  Now I can wake up late, lay around in my PJs as the turkeys cook, and watch the Thanksgiving Parade with my kids.  

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my dear friends and followers.  I am grateful to have wonderful people, like you in my life.  May your day be filled with food, family, and fun.

Here are a couple of food pictures I snapped this afternoon on my cell....just to set the mood!

This is the brine that my turkeys are currently soaking in.  This year I included rosemary, brown sugar, garlic, peppercorns, salt, bay leaves, apple cider, and orange peel.  Cooking up four gallons of this stuff will make any house smell festive.

Snickerdoodles - one of the billions of desserts my family has on Thanksgiving.  A tradition started by my Aunt Cindy many, many years ago.  To me....they are a Thanksgiving staple.

BDEM:  As I sat here, pondering on the day, trying to figure out what was the Best Day Ever Moment, I think it's right now.  The house is quiet and clean, all the dishes are done (oh man....if you could have seen this place earlier) the food is get the picture.  I think it's the feeling of accomplishment that comes at the end of a really successful day.  A deep breath, a smile, and a nod of approval for my day.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cable Schmable

Comcast and I have a love/hate relationship.  As in, I love to hate them.  I am on the phone with them at least once a month complaining about the newest raise in prices and/or bad service.  I swear there is a flag on my account that pops up every time I call that just says, "Good luck - she'll never be happy."

That's the truth.  I just feel like prices keep getting higher and higher and the "after I've complained" price keeps getting worse and worse.  So now I am curious as to what other people are using.  Are my hands tied?  Do I HAVE to stay with them for cable/internet?  I've threatened to leave so many times now, that I don't think they are buying it anymore.  For once I just want to say, "No, this isn't so you'll lower my price, it's because you drive me insane."

Last week I called, complained, gave them my usual "I think I'll be switching to Dish," line - and I think they decided to add me to a new list of some sort because a few days later THEY CALLED ME to inform me of a better price option.  At first I was very intrigued.  The call went like this:

"Hello, Melissa - I see some notes in your account that say you are looking for better pricing on your current package.  I think I can help you out with that."  I smiled.  "Okay, so it looks like you pay $(X) every month for cable and internet, right?"

"Yeah, but I'm probably switching to Dish - it's just getting to be too much."

"Oh, well - I've got a great plan for you.  Now, do you have a home phone, or do you just use cellular phones?"

"Just cell phones."

"Great, great - this is perfect. Are you looking to get a home phone any time soon?"


"Okay - great.  Well, now since you are paying $X/month for your cable and internet, I want to let you know that I can get you signed up today for a package that includes the same internet and cable you have now, plus a home phone line for only $45 more than you're already paying."

"WHAT?  Are you listening to me at all?  I don't want a home phone, and don't want to pay MORE than the bill I am already complaining about!"

"Right.  It's just a really great promotion that's only going on for a limited time, and since you're someone who we know likes to get in on the best pricing, we feel this the perfect package for your family."


Okay - I didn't really hang up.  I gave a few nice goodbye comments as I punched myself in the face. It's hopeless.

Please tell me you have Dish, or direct TV, and have great pricing and service. Please tell me you use someone other than Comcast - OR that you have slow Comcast internet and it works just fine for your family.  I can handle mediocre internet - and for cable the only real requirement is that I get DVR service.  Heck, I'd take only basic channels if I could get DVR with them.  Is that even possible?

Oh help!

BDEM:  Maddie and I raked all the leaves today.  It always LOOKS like such a fun and easy task.  Two hours later as my biceps and back throbbed I decided that it's just not as fun of a fall activity as I had hoped!  But in this time we had this conversation:

"Mom, all of the kids at school LOVE Michael Jackson.  Everyone but me."

"But Maddie, you DO love Michael Jackson.  Don't ever say such blasphemous words in my home again."  (Second sentence was only in my head)

"Oh yeah - I do like him, but there's somebody else all the kids love."

Eye roll, "Justin Bieber?"

"Yeah!  Him!  All the girls just LOOOOOOOOOVE him."

"Do you even know his songs?"

"No, but I don't think I'll like him.  Besides - I don't really think I'm his type."  

Then she ran away and pretended she was an Indian shooting arrows from her make believe bow.

Now, what kind of pop-star wouldn't be ga-ga over a gal like that?  

Monday, November 21, 2011


I sat down to blog, but instead have found myself staring at pictures of pretty kitchens. Ya know how sometimes you get an idea in your head - and it seems to be all you can think about?  I swear this is my life story - and this way of thinking often gets me into trouble.  I can't walk through my kitchen lately without thinking about HOW SIMPLE it would be to turn my kitchen into this:

I love this kitchen.  It's not crazy over the top - wow....but I like the subtle colors and white cabinets.  Since my cabinets are looking a bit bleak over here, I just keep imagining taking an afternoon and just taking care of them.

This is where the trouble comes in.  I honestly get the urge to do this (and finish this) on a Wednesday afternoon - with thoughts like, "Oh, Rob will be so excited when he gets home!"  I just can't seem to grasp that it would take me a million years to do this on my own - let alone, buy everything (then take twenty trips back to get it all right!)

The worst part is that you get on Pinterest, and every single person has somehow whipped this up, already - posted the before and after pictures, and now has a perfectly, perfect kitchen.  And has also added phrases like, "do it yourself,"  or "the easy way to.."  so I get myself all psyched up to do it.

Will I ever?  Not sure.  Maybe.  Or maybe I'll just get on Pinterest and dream about refinishing my entertainment center. Perhaps that is a bit more within my reach.  Until then, I'll just blog about how desperate I am to do it.  That's how I roll.

BDEM:  Probably Rob's nod of approval as I mentioned painting the cabinets.  I've kept my mouth shut on that one for months.  I figured if I even mentioned it, it'd be shot down.  Instead of, "Oh, I don't think that'd look very good," he just said, "That's a lot of work..."  WHICH IS NOT A NO!  

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's been a busy Sunday around here.  I had meetings this morning before church, then ran home for about an hour, and then headed to church. With the exception of my slight congestion and double cold sores, I am the only healthy person in our house right now.  Whatever hit our house has slowly been passed from one child to the next, and now onto Rob.  So in that hour I had at home, I made some vegetable soup and a few loaves of french bread for dinner.

When I got home from church, half of one of the loaves had been eaten, and the kids could't stop talking about how much they loved the bread.  We sat down for dinner, and they began this chorus of gratitude thanking me for anything and everything they could starting with the bread - then hitting the soup - then talking about the drinks - it just went on and on and on. It was one of those, "Is this really happening?" moments.

They started chowing down on the bread - and Rob said, "Okay guys, now you can't just eat bread - you need to start on your soup.  Jude took one bite and his whole body went into a shudder.  He grimaced, he gagged and then said, "I don't like this soup, Mom.  Can you get all the yucky stuff out?"

Rob looked at him and said, "Buddy, just two seconds ago you couldn't stop telling Mom how great everything was, and how happy you were to be eating it!"

Jude replied, "Oh yeah. That's just because we said all of those things before we knew it was gross."

BDEM:  I'm about to sit down to a parade put on by my children and husband.  They practiced it while I was at church.  I'm sure it's going to be magical.  I hear Rob is throwing candy.

(I was actually able to catch some on video - it looked like this.  I DO PROMISE my kids and husband are sick...although you wouldn't know it from their perfect parade faces!)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Commenter

Lately I feel like commenting is kind of on the outs for blogs - like it's losing its appeal.  Since starting the blog-a-day thing, I've seen my number of readers go way up, while my commenting has gone way down. Rob asked me the other day if that bothered me, and my immediate answer was, "No - it seems like it's that way on all of my friends' blogs, too."  Which really is a bummer - I think everyone loves a good comment, right?

After that I also added, "And the good news is, we always know Deon will comment."

Have any of you seen the funny comments from Deon?  I get asked a lot how I know her, so I figured I'd share the connection.  Deon and I went to the same church back in Illinois, and she and her husband were good friends with my parents.  Her kids were some of the first I have ever babysat - and DEFINITELY some of the best!  Deon and I lost touch for probably a good fifteen (maybe) years, and I somehow found her blog - and stalk it.

Her blog is one of those that cheers me up, makes me laugh, and just shows exactly who she is.  She is witty, she is crafty, she is ever-so-fashionable, and is listed under top five kindest people I have ever met.  She is genuine to the end, and has a heart made of pure gold.  The funny thing is....I still haven't seen Deon in person since the blogs rekindled our friendship, yet oddly, via blog, I still feel so close to her!

It is because of that - I wanted to give her this award.

This award would be a lot cooler if I was better at photoshop....still learning in my "free" time.  AND there is melting frozen yogurt waiting for me....but really, the main reason is the photoshop.

I love you, Deon - you are amazing.   Now - go visit her blog HERE.  She's hilarious.

BDEM:  I think it will be eating the frozen yogurt that is melting on my end-table.  I have been blessed with not one, but TWO cold sores!  WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS?!  My mouth is on FIRE!  Hopefully the frozen yogurt will make me feel numb.  If only it could help numb the emotional scarring that comes with my leprosy as well!

Friday, November 18, 2011

First Taste of Ice Cream

Boy, was it a doozie. 

BDEM:  My husband got home tonight after four days on the road. Enough said!  

Thursday, November 17, 2011


When Ella was born, and actually for most of her life, everyone has said that she looks JUST LIKE ROB! But recently, someone saw this picture that my dad posted of me on facebook and people started saying that she looks just like me.  I've NEVER seen any of my family in her, but perhaps I'm wrong. I'm not sure, with the exception of Jude, that any of my kids look like me.  Maybe I actually have been birthing Stefanie's red-headed children as she likes to assume!

BDEM:  While Maddie was at school and Jude was at his buddy's birthday party, I was able to spend a little bit of one on one time with Ella (Claire was there, but she was really quiet - so it was close enough).  I told her maybe we could go out for some ice cream together so she had something fun to do, too.  I explained that first we had to go to Target to get a few things, then we'd go out for a "just girls" ice cream. As we walked through the frozen food section she saw the ice cream and said we needed to buy some.  I reminded her of our next stop -  but she then told me we needed to buy THAT ice cream, so we could take it home and share with Maddie and Judy (as she calls him - yes, I realize Judy is a girl's name - no, I don't even kind of care - I actually think it's pretty cute.)  So we bought the ice cream, and shared it with Maddie and Judy after dinner.  

What a sweetie.  

Don't worry, she realized her mistake and immediately took care of that by punching Jude in the back.  

There's my girl!  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

So you're telling me...

...that you can make microwave popcorn in brown paper lunch bags?  How did I not know this?!  Am I the only person out there still buying microwave popcorn?! I really am a sucker.

Maddie begged for family movie night tonight, and wanted "that popcorn that comes in bags." I'm not really sure why, I actually think microwave popcorn is gross. Truthfully it's a rare occasion I eat any popcorn.  Something about it makes my stomach pancakes with maple syrup.  Vomit.

Anyway, I told Maddie I could make her regular popcorn, but she just wasn't feeling it.  That's when I searched this amazing thing called the internet, and found out that people all over the world are buying into the fact that because the microwave popcorn bag says, "this side up" there's something to it that we don't have.  Not true.

You just throw about a half a cup of kernels into a brown paper lunch bag (I drizzled mine with a little bit of oil while they were sitting in the measuring DROPS), folded up the top of the bag, then popped it in the microwave for a little less than two minutes.  I salted, and gave each kid their own bag of popcorn.  Maddie was even more excited about this than regular popcorn because the bag had her name on it.  It really is the small things...


BDEM:  I got the cutest little card in the mail from my grandma.  I love reading cards from her, because it reminds me of things that are just so...her!  Being so many states away from her it's easy to forget little personality traits that she has, but reading it was like one of those movie scenes where the person who wrote the letter is narrating it.  And her handwriting...I'm pretty sure anyone in my family could pick out her handwriting in a handwriting lineup!  It's just so unique.  It also made me smile that at 97, she still has it in her to send me a beautifully hand written card.  Isn't she cute?!

Yeah - cute.  Oh, and did I mention she loves hot dogs?  I think that makes me love her even more!  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Celebrity Style Match Up

Who wore it better?

Madelyn rocked the tan carpet in a sheik, retro-rocker get-up...
While Jude took the opportunity to show off his long, pale gams in a barely-there hoodie.

I'm not sure I can pick a winner this round.

BDEM:  With all these sick kids, even five minutes of fun can turn your day around.  My friend Stacy (who if you remember from THIS post, I always seem to call Jamie) came over to drop off some unused baby food - and lifted my spirits.  She even listened and watched intently as my kids showed her break dancing, Toy Story toys and injuries.  Thanks for popping by, Stacy!  Loved seeing you this afternoon!  

Monday, November 14, 2011


Happy THIRD Birthday to my first little redhead.  You went from being the sweetest, most calm little baby I have ever seen:  

To being the sneakiest, silliest, bully-est, giggly-ist, spit-firey-ist, cuddliest little kid in a matter of no time!  Raising you has been a learning experience, to say the least, but I wouldn't have you any other way!

The day you were born, I called my 94 year old grandma and told her that you had read hair.  I will never forget her reply..."Oh dear, honey!  You'd better be careful with that one!"

I think I am now understanding what she said - and loving every minute of having you as my "passionate" daughter.

Happy third Birthday to you, my little Stinkerbell!

BDEM:  I made a cake for Ella on Saturday, but since nobody was feeling well, we never ate it.  So today I decided to pick up a tiny little cake from the local bakery so we could finally sing happy birthday to her.  When I pulled the cake out of the box, Ella made the BEST face!  It was a Tinkerbell cake, and she couldn't have been more excited.  It looked a little something like this:  

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"A chair fell on Jude and there's blood pouring out of his head."

That was the line that my totally composed 11(ish) year old niece calmly stated as she carried Jude up a flight of stairs.  I looked over and his head was covered in blood along with his face and shirt.  I took one look, and freaked!  Upon seeing the amount of blood, I panicked and immediately said, "We've got to get this kid to the hospital!"

Luckily there were people around me to better assess the situation and look at the damage before I called 911 in complete hysterics.  It was a good sized gash, but we were able to stop the bleeding and get the cute kid cleaned up.I am so glad that I wasn't alone - my stomach was shaking in panic! Thanks to everyone that was there to calm me down.

I still cannot get over how unbelievably mature my niece Lexi was.  She was in the basement when it happened, and instead of running upstairs screaming to everyone that Jude was going to bleed to death (like I probably would have) she scooped him up with her arms under his legs and behind his back, and carried him to his parents.  UP A FLIGHT OF STAIRS!  Jude's no itty-bitty four year old, either - Lex was carrying someone more than half her size.  How amazing is that little hero of the day?!  Get that kid into medical school, asap - she could be an amazing doctor or nurse.

Thanks again, Lexi!  Love you!!

Jude after getting cleaned up.  He was looking up at Lexi who was also trying to distract him from the pain by asking what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas.  I on the other hand spent my time whimpering and telling him that it looked so painful.  I'm so good at this kind of stuff!  

BDEM:  It's been a long, great day - but I have to say that taking off my 3 inch-heel boots after walking in them for fourteen hours just felt like HEAVEN!  I'm surprised I could even pull my swollen feet out of those puppies.  

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Even though it's the last thing I WANT to be doing right now, I figured I'd blog really quickly before passing out on the couch.  Sickness has taken over our home in the last twenty four hours, and we all just seem to feel like junk.  Maddie has been home from school for several days - and was finally put on an antibiotic - but still sounds like she has whooping cough.  Jude is worn out and coughing a lot now, too. Rob and I have been feeling something coming all week, but it seems to be settling in.  We are adults - we can handle it.  But the SADDEST thing is that it hit Ella really, really hard this afternoon.  Just in time for the last minute birthday party I was trying to force into this busy day.  She cried, slept, whined, and pouted through the entire thing.  We didn't even sing happy birthday or cut the cake.

The story is long, but I don't feel like getting into it right now.  I'll share some really pathetic pictures tomorrow...hopefully we all feel much better then!

BDEM:  Rob and I went to Stephanie's Mom's funeral today.  It was one of those amazing funerals where you feel proud to have been a part of the life of such a wonderful and kind woman.  Stephanie sang a beautiful song, and brought tears to the eyes of every person in that room.  I know it seems odd to have a funeral as the BDEM, but the amazing talks that were given, and the strong spirit that was felt uplifted everyone that was there. 

Friday, November 11, 2011


My friend Mary and I were notorious for making 11:11 wishes on digital clocks in high school, so when I passed by the microwave, and noticed it was 11:11 on 11.11, I just had to kiss my fingers, touch the clock and wish for the following small things to happen in the year 2011.

- win a million dollars (or just the HGTV dream home - no need to be greedy)
- lots of dates with my husband
- go to Disney with my family
- buy a new car
- lose 15 more lbs

Then I realized that the year 2011 ended in eight weeks.  Sheesh.  So I forfeited all of my earlier wishes and made the more realistic choice of world peace.

I just want you all to know that when everyone grabs hands on December 31, 2011, and breaks into some cheesy song (hopefully written by Michael Bolton, with a lovely interlude by Kenny G) that is my wish coming true.  I made that happen.

Happy 11-11-11 to all my friends out there. I  hope all of your wishes come true - as long as they don't interfere with my wishes.

Dang.  I should have wished that my wish would trump all other wishes.  Stupid!

BDEM: Someone (meaning my lovely sister in law, Sierra ) CALLED ME, to see if she could take my kids to a movie.  Um, yes please!  Rob and I had our first date in what seemed like a million years.  We ate wings, and bought a birthday present for Ella Bella.  Sigh.   It was heaven.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The red envelope arrived in the mail today carrying Captain America.  Neither one of us have seen it - so I'm looking forward to sitting down now, and doing a bit of this....glasses and everything. I hope it's good.  Any reviews you're willing to share?

BDEM:  I ran over and used this coupon - 

and bought the skinny jeans I've been wanting to buy.  Although, now that I'm at home I'm wondering if I bought the wrong size.  Does an A at the end of your size mean that I bought the short kind?  At gap isn't R regular and A ankle (short) - or something along those lines?  Because now I'm questioning the length...hey - how was I supposed to know? I've never owned skinny jeans - what a WEIRD adjustment.

Oh, and if you're interested, save the pic to your desktop, print it up and use it for yourself!  Happy shopping!  

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Double Take

Even though I'm their mother, and know better - I would probably still put money on this being the same kid:

Claire 9 mos

Madelyn 9 mos
Creepy, huh?

BDEM:  Dinner at the Cheesecake Factory with some lady friends.  What a hoot and a holler you gals are!  Thanks for letting me come - even after I said I wasn't really up for it,  it really was the pick me up I needed on a day like today.  

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

I have this friend....

and she has meant the world to me. We've been "together" since 1999 and have been through a lot together. She was my roommate, my late-night drive-thru buddy, she set Rob and me up, we were bridesmaids at each other's weddings, we've vacationed together, she's the first person who comes to see me in the hospital after I've had a baby, and she always knows exactly where to take me for my birthday.

You get the picture...she's awesome, and I'm a better person for knowing her.

This past year, she has been through so much that I can't even begin to explain.  And today, especially, I am thinking of her, praying for her, and loving her very, very much.

Hang in there, my friend.  Love you always!

BDEM:  Today Jude came up to me and very randomly said, "Mom....I know why Jesus gives people hair."  

"Oh, really buddy?  Why is that?"

"So they won't look weird."

I said, "Well, what about Gordon, from Sesame Street?  He doesn't have any hair!"

"Well, he doesn't look too weird.  But that's because he has hair and just shaves it off."

"Isn't that the same as not having hair?"

"Well, kind of...I guess it's not too weird looking.   Hey Mom - I know why Jesus gave people stomachs.."

"Oh yeah?"

"Because people would look REALLY weird if they were just a head and feet."  

Monday, November 07, 2011

Again, With the Redheads...

Everywhere.  People who want to talk about your redheaded children are EVERYWHERE.  It's just an open invitation for strangers to tell you their life story, where the redheads fall in their family, how desperately they "tried" to have a redhead {I don't get that one - is there a magical concoction I don't know of?} And today was another gem of a moment.

Maddie was home sick today, and when she started feeling better, she asked if we could meet Dad for lunch.  As we were walking out of the restaurant, this little old man and his 40-something son were walking out as well.  They kind of passed us - and the son was holding his father by the arm guiding him away, but the old man stopped, turned to us and said, "You wanna hear a story about redheads?"

We have learned that this is a very important common thread amongst people, so we smiled and said, "sure!"

With a huge grin he said, "My wife said that she'd die for a redheaded grandchild.  She finally got one, then she died.  So be careful what you wish for."

What on earth are you supposed to say to THAT?  Rob and I stood there, staring blankly at the old man. The 40-something son shot us a look that said, "I'm so sorry - crazy old Dad," and they walked away.

After a silent walk to the car Rob asked, "He said his wife died, right?"


"Well, THAT was weird!"

BDEM:  I have this friend at church who has been a huge inspiration for my weight loss.  Over the past few years he has lost a ridiculous amount of weight, along with becoming a devout runner.  I love reading about his ups and downs - and remembering the truth in weight loss and exercise. 

 I had one of those days where I didn't eat terribly, but I didn't eat great.  I'll most likely hit the scale tomorrow morning and see the exact same number staring up at me as I saw this morning.  Because I was feeling just "meh" about my daily diet, I was contemplating sitting down with a treat when I was done blogging.  One of those, "I I might as well..." attitudes.  I stopped by his blog, read his post, and remembered one of the things I told myself early on in the diet days.  "A bad food day can EASILY turn into a worse food day, if I just give up on the calorie count."  

Thanks, Bruce for the post...a day that I don't gain is a win!

(Visit Bruce HERE)

Sunday, November 06, 2011


I want to tell you all about a friend of mine.  She's witty, clever, and always there for me when I'm in a pinch.  Sadly, I haven't been a very good friend to her - seeing as how I always take and never give.

Maybe I should drive over to her house and offer to watch her kids while she goes on vacation. Then again, she might find that a bit odd....

...since we've never actually met.

But her name is Jamie, and I stalk her.  I mean, I love her.  Actually - it's both.  I stalk and love her, on a totally legal level.

Over the past few days this lovely lady has given me all of my dinner ideas.  And who doesn't need dinner ideas?  Check out the quick, delicious breadsticks I made the other night to compliment my lasagna casserole:

forgive the horrid cell-phone photos!

I know, right?! (I said that specifically for my husband who hates that phrase.)

And as if that weren't enough, I also stole her cheesy broccoli soup in homemade bread-bowls for our Sunday family dinner.  Good grief, Jamie! I was immediately taken back to my midwest days where my mom and I frequented Panera for the same delicious meal.  Never in a million years did I think I could make something similar in the comfort of my own home (that's not saying Panera isn't comfy - it is.)

The kids thought this was the best meal ever.  They loved the soup, and were hysterical over the fact that they could eat the bowl.  Just like Willy Wonka eats the daffodil cup that he drinks out of.  {Did you know that part wasn't scripted?  That cup wasn't even edible.  Silly, Gene Wilder!}

Anyway, back to my dear friend, Jamie. She is a wonder in the kitchen, and I am grateful to her for giving me endless cooking inspiration.  Go on over to her blog and bring some of her deliciousness into your home.  Better yet, leave her a comment that Melissa sent you.  Get a few of those on there and a restraining order might be put in place.

 A restraining order from Jamie...I feel famous already. Scandalous!

Click HERE for Jamie.

BDEM:  I made the broccoli cheese soup before church, and then made the bread bowls after, so it was one of those meals that takes up a good chunk of your day to prepare.  Within one bite, I knew it was all worth it.  Then Jude said, "Mom!  Did you make this food?  It's really good!"  I answered, "I did make it - and Dad helped."  Jude smiled and said, "Thanks Dad."  After a nice long awkward pause he said, "Oh, and thanks, Mom."  

Kids THANKING me for dinner?  Oh, Jamie - you crazy, crafty, tricky chef, you....

Saturday, November 05, 2011


I just got a call from my brother, Dan...laughing about the fact that I posted about my grandpa, then used an after-death reference in my Far-Side Comic.

No, it was not intentional.

No, I don't think my grandpa "somehow answered incorrectly at the Pearly Gates" (Dan).

No, I didn't even see the connection.

Yes, I am that thick.


Sorry, Grandpa - just one more blog blooper for you to enjoy!


BDEM:  Why do kids look even cuter when they are bundled up in hats and scarves?  We pulled out the knitted hats that my sister-in-law, Marissa, knitted for the kids last year, and I just smiled as I sent their cute little hineys outside to help Rob take down the trampoline.  (Phew, that was a long sentence - probably falls into the run-on category.  So is my life.)

You may remember said hats from this picture taken last fall.  I should also add that this has been one of the top five downloaded pictures from my blog.  People love your hats, Marissa!

Friday, November 04, 2011

I've been thinking about my Grandpa a lot today.  Actually, it's been more like my Grandpa wants me to remember him today!  Seems like there have been a million little Grandpa moments...songs on the radio, stories on the news, things I've seen in's just been a funny string of coincidences.  While typing this, the song Mele Kalikimaka even came on, and I'm not even listening to Christmas music! (He used to always say that instead of Merry Christmas)

He died a little over two years ago, but I think I'm supposed to send him a shout out on my blog today.  He followed my blog on a daily basis, and always had the nicest things to say about it. So, here we go:

Grandpa - I love and miss you!  Thanks for watching over my family - I've enjoyed thinking about you today! XOXO

Oh, and here's a little Far Side Comic - just for you!

BDEM:  Okay, this is kind of morbid - but it definitely sticks out as a "doesn't happen every day" moment.  There was a chicken crossing the road today, which in itself is pretty comical....unfortunately, the car in front of me JUST didn't see it!  

How ironic is THAT?!  

I also got a quick preview of the family pictures we took last week.....I'm SUPER stoked!  

Thursday, November 03, 2011


This is a sad...but true story.  It's not sad because it's true, it's sad because it's pathetic.  It's sad because it in turn means that I was pathetic.

Was being the operative word here.  I now struggle with being too awesome.  But it's a humble awesome.  

When I was a little girl, I saw this video on Sesame Street.  I think I watched a LOT of Sesame as a kid.

(I wish my UPS man was in as big of a hurry as that milk truck driver)

Now that I have kids of my own, I'm realizing this is kind of a weird video.  And a bit long for the attention span of most kids.

However, when I was little, and I watched this video, I would feel very sad.  Why?  Because I was 100% positive that I was the screaming little girl in that video.  I thought that when I was a baby, my parents had forgotten to buy milk, and they caught it all on tape.  So whenever I saw it, I would get lost in a memory that wasn't even real.  Yeah, I was kind of a odd kid.  If that's not strange enough, I also thought this was me:

(This is a really long video - I come in around the 9:15 mark)

...I sure was cute in that last one!

(Just a last minute thought....wouldn't it be interesting if that was the crying milk baby five years later?)

BDEM: Oh, I had a lovely baking day today.  I made some really yummy blondies and also some delicious Italian breadsticks to go with the lasagna bake.  I'll share some recipes later.  YUM!  Now I just have to avoid the kitchen until I send them to work with Rob tomorrow.  Easier blogged than done.  

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Soundtrack of my Life

I love music.  L.O.V.E.

I do my best as a stay home mom, to stay caught up on new artists, and still live through the classics, etc.

So, then why is it that the soundtrack of my life always seems to revolve around childrens' TV shows? 

Whenever I need to fix something - I am automatically singing, "Let's get going and fix it right...twist and turn, make it tight..."  

Thanks to this guy:

Sadly, half of the words are in Spanish, so I have to make that whole part up.  According to Rob, I'm not even close.

It rained yesterday - so I spent the entire day singing this song:

I can't seem to tell my kids to brush their teeth without going here:

Today, I was on a mission to find some really cute brown boots.  And for the rest of the day I was stuck with this one:

ALL because I was on a "mission." I couldn't stop the count-down.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.  I can't even look at my brother Derek when someone says, "milk."  It brings on some major traumas.  I'll blog about that tomorrow, I think.  That is another weird story. The good news is that I have four kids and can pretend this is all because of them.  The bad news is this has been an issue ever since I was a child, so that makes the good news nothing but a lie!

BDEM: There have been five loads of washed/not folded laundry just laughing at me every time I walked in the laundry room.  It was like a scene from Pee-Wee's playhouse.  (WOW...did I really just say that after posting about my life as a children's TV show weirdo?) But yes, I'm pretty sure the laundry laughed at me.  Today I folded it, and put it away.  Look who's laughing now, chumps.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

I'm a family-friendly blogger...


I have been laughing about this all week:

BDEM:  There were two.  I was feeling a bit blah this morning with just a touch of a cold - and I had to throw something in the recycling bin.  I opened the door, and the weather was cold and wet, and someone nearby had a fire burning.  It was like every single one of my senses was suddenly flooded with fall memories.  It was a much needed pick me up.  The second was when Ella walked up to me and said, "Here's your blue brush, Mommy."  My favorite hairstyling tool that Ella lost four days ago.  Apparently she shoved it behind the TV in the entertainment center, and just remembered. I have no idea why she kept insisting it was in the front yard.  Glad that wasn't true!