Saturday, December 31, 2011


In 2011 we:

welcomed our third daughter

took swimming lessons

(I) chopped my hair

took up Insanity - I lost 50 lbs, Rob lost 15 (and got ripped!)


(I) loved my calling as the Young Women's President

Rob lost a bad job, and then was blessed to quickly find a much better one!  


hiked a lot

spent holidays with Rob's family

went to my dad's wedding in Chicago - and somehow didn't get a picture with the kids and my dad!

saw one of our favorite bands in concert - in the rain

lost first teeth - some more naturally than others

had the time of our lives at family camp (and can't wait to go again in August!)


pierced ears

and celebrated Christmas like it was going out of style

Can't ask for a better year that that, now can I?

Happy New Year, friends!!

BDEM:  My dad got us some gift cards for Christmas, and I'm going to use the money to re-vamp my bedroom.  I bought the bedspread today, and am looking forward to putting it all together - then buying the finishing touches!

Friday, December 30, 2011

I'm No Fashionista...

I never have been.  Like I've mentioned in the past - Rob tells me what to wear.  Now, that being said - I keep seeing these blanket sweaters all over the place.

Is anyone I know wearing them?  What do we think?

BDEM:  It's going to happen, right after I finish this post.  I'm going to convince my husband to rub my shoulders.  He's pretty good like that.  I'll let you know tomorrow if it was a successful BDEM, or this day was BDEM-less.  (I suppose I should have a back-up plan.  If he laughs, then throws things at me, the delicious curry soup I had at Noodles will have to take its place. So yummy!)

Thursday, December 29, 2011


My kids are all little sickies.  They've had this horrendous cough/cold for weeks now.  Maddie was the first to get it, then Jude, then Claire, and last - but never least - Ms. Ella Bell.  Maddie is just about done with it, but Ella is still in the thick of the nastiness.

Now, when it comes to being sick, all of my kids have some sort of strange trademark.  Madelyn HONESTLY doesn't know how to sneeze.  Within days of her birth we realized it.  She starts with a half cough, followed by an "ack" noise, then this weird head jerk while making a "CH" sound, then a real sneeze.  It is the STRANGEST thing to witness, and people turn to see what the drama is all about every time she does it.

Jude has had asthma since he was a baby, so when he gets sick, all of his coughs turn into asthmatic coughs.  He barks, he wheezes, he sounds like he is going to vomit, then stops and goes on about his business.

Ella hasn't really been much of a cougher - but she is a sneezer, and she actually knows how to sneeze.  Ella sneezes usually 4-5 times/hour when she has a cold, and I kid you not, it is GUARANTEED that after every single sneeze she will look like this:

Did that gross you out?  Imagine wiping this several times/hour....AND this is only an average booger shoot.  Sometimes they hang well past her chin.  Oh, and it's even more disgusting when it happens while you are driving, have no tissues, and have to yell, "KEEP LOOKING UP!" so it doesn't spill all over her shirt and car seat.

BDEM:  Oh man, perhaps it is the grinch in me, but doesn't de-Christmasing sometimes seem as great (if not better) than Christmasing?  I feel like my house is finally clean.  Oh, and I even finished taking the tree down, getting all the decorations put away, vacuuming and dusting five minutes before the SURPRISE meeting Rob had at our house at 5pm.  I'm glad they didn't all show up at 4:30!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Video of the Day

I'm kind of a closet-muppet freak.  I always have been.  I loved them as a kid, and secretly still adore them. This probably doesn't surprise most of you seeing as how I've already confessed to loving Sesame Street as much as - if not more than my kids.

Here is one of my favorite clips.  My husband and I actually quoted it today, so this is actually for him.  (Still secretly for me, too)

BDEM: We spent the evening watching old movies at Rob's parents' house. We watched the video of my mother and father-in-law's wedding, and then some classic Christmas clips circa 1971(?). So the BDEM has to be a tie between the videos, and having to dry my hair with a fan. Stupid blowdryer.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Before and After

Man, was this little guy brave!  The nurse kept asking, "Is he always this good?!"  And truthfully, the answer was, "Actually, yes!"  He really is such a positive little guy who is wise beyond his years.

I am lucky to be the mother of this toothless little feller.

BDEM: There have been a lot of great moments today.  I'll just list a few - seeing Jude's excitement with his "funny new mouth,"  watching Puss 'N Boots with Rob's family, eating grocery-store (aka -cheap) sushi while blogging, and learning that Claire's fussiness is curable (ear infection)!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Guess who has two thumbs...

and just got her ears pierced...

this gal:

She didn't wince, squirm or shed a single tear.  What a brave {and EXTREMELY HAPPY} little girl!

BDEM:  Rob's brother and his family are in town from Arizona, and we have had such a great time hanging out with them.  We adore them and their kids, and wish they lived closer.  So over the next few days we will cram in as much Matt and Lindy time as possible!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

We Came, We Saw


And now, instead of wasting time on my computer, I am going to go enjoy the rest of this blessed day with my husband.

Merry Christmas to all!

BDEM:  Saying, "It's Christmas," suffices, right?  

Saturday, December 24, 2011

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

My belly is aching from twenty six delicious dinner courses at my brother's house, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, we read the Christmas Story as a family, Santa has already stopped by our house, and now there is nothing but silence and the warm-glow of Christmas lights.  Tomorrow will be filled with church, wrapping-paper-messes, bakery donuts, dinner with Rob's family and lots of love and laughter.

I love everything about Christmas.  Most importantly, I love that I can share everything about Christmas with those I love the most.  I have a wonderful home that provides me with warmth and shelter, I have four beautiful children that make this season so magical, and I have a husband who would go to the ends of the earth for the happiness of his family.

I am truly blessed.

Merry Christmas, dear friends.

BDEM:  Derek and Jessica threw the most rocking Christmas Eve party ever! We ate so much, laughed so hard, and just enjoyed being together.  You guys truly make Christmas special for us, and we appreciate all the effort that you put into this special tradition! XOXO

Friday, December 23, 2011

Muppet Christmas Carol

'Twas the night before, the eve before
the day we love the most,
So we sat 'round, as tradition states
and watched a film with Ghosts.

A red-head screamed, a blonde felt sick,
A little boy played with toys,
But in our all-togetherness
We shared in Christmas Joy!

BDEM:  My family loves to send me little reminders of home at special times, and one of those is getting Chicago Style Pizza for Christmas.  The past few years the dry-ice-packed box has come a few days before Christmas, so we've started combining Chicago Style Pizza with The Muppet Christmas Carol as one of our Christmas traditions.  YUM! Thanks, Dad!  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

One Last Day

I wasn't expecting Internet interruptions when I started my Christmas blogging, but as of tomorrow, I'll be back in business. I can post all the photos and videos that I've been storing away for my big Christmas finale. For now, I'll leave you with a Christmas poem:

Night Before Christmas For Moms

Twas the night before Christmas, when all thru the abode
only one creature was stirring, and she was cleaning the commode.
The children were finally sleeping, all snug in their beds,
while visions of Nintendo 64 and Barbie, flipped through their heads.
The dad was snoring in front of the TV,
with a half-constructed bicycle on his knee.
So only the mom heard the reindeer hooves clatter,
which made her sigh, "Now what's the matter?"
With toilet bowl brush still clutched in her hand,
she descended the stairs, and saw the old man.
He was covered with ashes and soot, which fell with a shrug.
"Oh great," muttered the mom, "Now I have to clean the rug."
"Ho-ho-ho!" cried Santa, "I'm glad you're awake."
"Your gift was especially difficult to make."
"Thanks, Santa, but all I want is some time alone."
"Exactly!" he chuckled, "I've made you a clone."
"A clone?" she asked, "What good is that?
Run along, Santa, I've no time for chit-chat."
The mother's twin. Same hair, same eyes,
same double chin. "She'll cook, she'll dust,"
she'll mop every mess. You'll relax, take it easy,
watch The Young & the Restless." "Fantastic!" the mom cheered.
"My dream come true! "I'll shop. I'll read.,
I'll sleep a whole night through!"
From the room above, the youngest began to fret.
"Mommy?! I scared... and I 'm wet."
The clone replied, "I'm coming, sweetheart."
"Hey," the mom smiled, "She knows her part."
The clone changed the small one, and hummed a tune,
as she bundled the child, in a blanket cocoon.
"You the best mommy ever. " I really love you."
The clone smiled and sighed, "I love you, too."
The mom frowned and said, "Sorry, Santa, no deal."
That's my child's love, she's trying to steal."
Smiling wisely Santa said, "To me it is clear,"
Only one loving mother, is needed here."
The mom kissed her child, and tucked her into bed.
"Thank you, Santa, " for clearing my head.
I sometimes forget, it won't be very long,
when they'll be too old, for my cradle-song."
The clock on the mantle began to chime.
Santa whispered to the clone, "It works every time."
With the clone by his side Santa said, "Goodnight.
Merry Christmas, Mom, You'll be all right.

I didn't write that, but it sure does apply this time of year. It gets busy, but try to not let the "busy" ruin your Christmas spirit!

BDEM: Listening to sweet Ella sing The Little Drummer Boy as we drove through the Thanksgiving Point lights.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

All I Want for Christmas

Sweet Jude was riding his scooter around the gym at our church and took a nasty fall. The wood floors were really slick, and the wheels slipped sideways sending him and the scooter into a pile of chairs. The handlebars went straight into his mouth, and messed up his upper lip pretty bad. After about ten minutes of icing it and blotting his lip, I noticed blood was still pooling up in his mouth, so I looked inside and realized his two front teeth didn't look right. We ran him over to a new dentist who told us that both teeth would have to be extracted. He is waiting until after Christmas, because in his words, it is going to hurt.

I explained the situation to Jude and then Rob started singing, "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth." Jude was pretty bummed, and I asked him if he was sad they would be gone. I explained that the tooth dairy would still come, and hoped he'd be okay. Then he very quietly told me, "Mom, I am sad because I don't want my two front teeth for Christmas. I already asked Santa for something else."

Oh, that kid.

So glad he's okay.

BDEM: On the way to the dentist's office, Rob told me that we didn't have dental insurance, and the thought of an uninsured dental surgery scared the daylights out of me. I guess I was expecting it to be around $2000, so when they handed me the estimate for $275 I nearly wet my pants. Another Christmas miracle, considering we will need the extra cash for the car that broke down on the way home!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The World's Greatest Gift

One thing my parents were really great at was making sure that we always knew how lucky and blessed we were to have so many comforts of life. We lived in a nice home, and enjoyed our share of extras, but along with that, we always knew that the very best gift was the one we gave away. Every year my parents spent a portion of our Christmas budget on a family that desperately needed a Christmas miracle. One of my favorite Christmas memories is making the yearly trip to the "bad" parts of Chicago. We usually left very early in the morning (my dad thought it would be safer then) drove the forty five minutes, and delivered Christmas to an unsuspecting family. We filled entire rooms with gifts. That's not saying we brought too many gifts, just showing how different their circumstances were. We rode on elevators that reeked of urine and went into apartments where children in ripped tee shirts slept on couches. We placed presents under Charlie-brown-esque trees that had nothing below them. As children, we were not sheltered from the hardships that others were facing, and for that I thank my parents. I can only imagine what we must have looked like: six young, white, children, walking around the projects carrying bags of gifts. We were such an easy target, yet the only people who approached us were neighbors or friends of the family we selected offering assistance.

I am so grateful that I was able to be a part of making a miracle happen for a few families. It was and still is one of the greatest possible gifts you can ever receive; the joy that comes with serving others. The Christlike love you are able to have for a complete stranger. To me, that is Christmas.

BDEM: the youth group I work with at church did a sub for Santa for a local family. They purchased and wrapped the gifts, and tonight I was able to deliver them to the family in need. It took me back to the jobless spell we went through. It was a time of uncertainty, and I was worried about what Christmas would or would not hold for my children. I am grateful for the chance I had to play a small part on helping this family, and for the reminder it brings that all families are not as lucky as us this Christmas. We truly are blessed.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Old Friends

It's official. As of this afternoon Comcast is no longer our Internet provider. Unfortunately I don't have a new Internet provider lined up just yet, so I'm phone blogging again. Good luck to all of us!

Today I was able to spend the evening with three of my best college friends. Ben, Tom and Dan were those life-changing friends that are there as you try to figure out who you really are. The ones who will always hold a special place in your heart. Luckily enough, Ben and Tom married girls that I absolutely adore, so maintaining the friendship has been a piece of cake. And i have been lucky enough to find new friends in their wives. Even though we are all spread out across the country, we can still get together and laugh like we haven't missed a beat.

To me, there are few things as perfect at Christmas as spending time with people that make you feel good.

I am grateful to all the wonderful friends I have out there, both near and far. Merry Christmas, old pals. I hope your Christmas Season is filled with lots of laughter.

BDEM: Same as above. Nothing like feeling young again, if only for a night!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Snowflake Wreath

My kids are obsessed with paper snowflakes, and I just found this cute idea as a way to display them all, without having to tape each individual snowflake to the wall.  It might even be cute to laminate this so it can be preserved as one of those, "when you were a kid" decorations.

As UNcrafty as I am, I may just have to make one of these over Christmas Break with the kids.  They would be in heaven!

BDEM:  My cute friend, Stacy (the one I always call Jamie) and I made dinner for a lady at our church who just had a baby a couple of days ago.  It's one of my favorite things to do, because it makes me feel like I'm giving back to those wonderful, WONDERFUL people that have brought me dinner after I've had four kids.  Anyway, on top of getting to see a tiny little newborn baby, Stacy also made enough bread and salad to share with my family!  Pure deliciousness.  Seriously, what is it about food that is prepared FOR you that tastes so much better?!  Thanks, Jamie!  

PS - Does anyone else feel like they've gained 50 lbs this Christmas season?! I have literally BEGRUDGINGLY eaten sweets because I feel like it's the "Christmas" thing to do. In that sense, and that sense alone, I am ready for New Years.  On January 1st, I have vowed to give up baking again.  Rob is actually as excited as I am about it.  We are sick of groaning about how much we hate ourselves for eating every single thing in our house.  

Resolutions....they are coming!  

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Because Everybody Loves Santa, Right?

Santa has called our home on more than one occasion this year.  Mostly it's to tell Ella that he just saw her hit Jude, and that the forty five minute tantrum where she kicked the door and screamed bloody murder were not helping her cause this season.

But now that we're getting REALLY close, I need to show them THIS:

Click HERE to get a free, personalized video from Santa where he either congratulates those on his good list, and chews out those on the naughty list.  Okay, he doesn't really chew them out - he just gives a little bit of encouragement and says there is still time to change their ways.

BDEM:  I love listening to Ella sing Christmas carols.  If asked, she can't.  She giggles too much and suddenly becomes super shy.  (Yes, this is the same Ella I mentioned earlier)  But if you catch her when she doesn't know you're watching she has the cutest little voice, and unbelievably adorable-pretend lyrics to all the songs she sings.  Oh, and she'll even improvise with a whistle when she can't remember or make up the words fast enough.  Ella has been whistling since she was 18 months old, and she's actually gotten pretty good over the years!  (Maddie is still really jealous that her little sister can whistle and she can't!)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Charity

{I saw this story earlier, and it actually brought tears to my eyes.  Everyone knows we had a rough patch this year, and it truly was through the kindness and generosity of others that we were able to make it through.  How I love the kindness of strangers!}
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- The young father stood in line at the Kmart layaway counter, wearing dirty clothes and worn-out boots. With him were three small children.
He asked to pay something on his bill because he knew he wouldn't be able to afford it all before Christmas. Then a mysterious woman stepped up to the counter.
"She told him, 'No, I'm paying for it,'" recalled Edna Deppe, assistant manager at the store in Indianapolis. "He just stood there and looked at her and then looked at me and asked if it was a joke. I told him it wasn't, and that she was going to pay for him. And he just busted out in tears."
At Kmart stores across the country, Santa seems to be getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers' layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn't afford, especially toys and children's clothes set aside by impoverished parents.
Before she left the store Tuesday evening, the Indianapolis woman in her mid-40s had paid the layaway orders for as many as 50 people. On the way out, she handed out $50 bills and paid for two carts of toys for a woman in line at the cash register.
"She was doing it in the memory of her husband who had just died, and she said she wasn't going to be able to spend it and wanted to make people happy with it," Deppe said. The woman did not identify herself and only asked people to "remember Ben," an apparent reference to her husband.
Deppe, who said she's worked in retail for 40 years, had never seen anything like it.
"It was like an angel fell out of the sky and appeared in our store," she said.
Most of the donors have done their giving secretly.
Dona Bremser, an Omaha nurse, was at work when a Kmart employee called to tell her that someone had paid off the $70 balance of her layaway account, which held nearly $200 in toys for her 4-year-old son.
"I was speechless," Bremser said. "It made me believe in Christmas again."
Dozens of other customers have received similar calls in Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and Montana.
The benefactors generally ask to help families who are squirreling away items for young children. They often pay a portion of the balance, usually all but a few dollars or cents so the layaway order stays in the store's system.
The phenomenon seems to have begun in Michigan before spreading, Kmart executives said.
"It is honestly being driven by people wanting to do a good deed at this time of the year," said Salima Yala, Kmart's division vice president for layaway.
The good Samaritans seem to be visiting mainly Kmart stores, though a Wal-Mart spokesman said a few of his stores in Joplin, Mo., and Chicago have also seen some layaway accounts paid off.
Kmart representatives say they did nothing to instigate the secret Santas or spread word of the generosity. But it's happening as the company struggles to compete with chains such as Wal-Mart and Target.
Kmart may be the focus of layaway generosity, Yala said, because it is one of the few large discount stores that has offered layaway year-round for about four decades. Under the program, customers can make purchases but let the store hold onto their merchandise as they pay it off slowly over several weeks.
The sad memories of layaways lost prompted at least one good Samaritan to pay off the accounts of five people at an Omaha Kmart, said Karl Graff, the store's assistant manager.
"She told me that when she was younger, her mom used to set up things on layaway at Kmart, but they rarely were able to pay them off because they just didn't have the money for it," Graff said.
He called a woman who had been helped, "and she broke down in tears on the phone with me. She wasn't sure she was going to be able to pay off their layaway and was afraid their kids weren't going to have anything for Christmas."
"You know, 50 bucks may not sound like a lot, but I tell you what, at the right time, it may as well be a million dollars for some people," Graff said.
Graff's store alone has seen about a dozen layaway accounts paid off in the last 10 days, with the donors paying $50 to $250 on each account.
"To be honest, in retail, it's easy to get cynical about the holidays, because you're kind of grinding it out when everybody else is having family time," Graff said. "It's really encouraging to see this side of Christmas again."
Lori Stearnes of Omaha also benefited from the generosity of a stranger who paid all but $58 of her $250 layaway bill for toys for her four youngest grandchildren.
Stearnes said she and her husband live paycheck to paycheck, but she plans to use the money she was saving for the toys to help pay for someone else's layaway.
In Missoula, Mont., a man spent more than $1,200 to pay down the balances of six customers whose layaway orders were about to be returned to a Kmart store's inventory because of late payments.
Store employees reached one beneficiary on her cellphone at Seattle Children's Hospital, where her son was being treated for an undisclosed illness.
"She was yelling at the nurses, 'We're going to have Christmas after all!'" store manager Josine Murrin said.
A Kmart in Plainfield Township, Mich., called Roberta Carter last week to let her know a man had paid all but 40 cents of her $60 layaway.
Carter, a mother of eight from Grand Rapids, Mich., said she cried upon hearing the news. She and her family have been struggling as she seeks a full-time job.
"My kids will have clothes for Christmas," she said.
Angie Torres, a stay-at-home mother of four children under the age of 8, was in the Indianapolis Kmart on Tuesday to make a payment on her layaway bill when she learned the woman next to her was paying off her account.
"I started to cry. I couldn't believe it," said Torres, who doubted she would have been able to pay off the balance. "I was in disbelief. I hugged her and gave her a kiss."

BDEM:  In the past 24 hours I spoke to three brothers, one sister, one sister-in-law and my mother on the phone.  The funny part is that every single one of them called ME!  Talk about feeling loved!  XOXO - love you guys!  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Program

Even though my brother, Dan, still holds the award for Best Supporting Actor in a Christmas Program  {Dan changed lives with his portrayal of an elf in "Wake Up Santa Claus"} Maddie's Christmas songs were pretty darn cute.
Poor little, short Maddie was hidden in a sea of red santa hats - can anyone spot her in this horribly blurry photo?

It was the closest thing to "Where's Waldo?" that I've encountered since the 90's.

So I wanted to get a solo video of her singing her songs: Once There was a Snowman (In English, then Chinese) and I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.

Ella was doing EVERYTHING she could to distract Maddie, so there are a few seconds of, "uhhhhhhh!?" and me trying to scoot Ella out of the way, but we did our best! 

BDEM:  Definitely seeing Maddie at school.  As I dropped a few gifts off with Maddie's teacher, she said, "I just want to tell you how much I enjoy having Madelyn in my class."  I smiled and thanked her and she continued, "She is the FUNNIEST kid.  She makes me laugh every single day - and honestly, there are not a lot of kids who can do that.  I seriously just love her."

I am a proud, proud Momma!  

Cute kid!  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Favorite Children's Christmas Books

I still have a few of these, but by golly, I wish I had them all.  I loved these books as a kid, especially around Christmas time.  {Christmastime?  Christmas time?  I know it can be one word but I just don't know when.  Any smarty-pants peeps out there?}

Fill me in on any I might be missing!

BDEM:  A surprise visit from one of my very favorite people!  My friend, Kat, is in town from Florida - and popped in with her three kids.  We spent the afternoon chatting as I baked cookies and chasing seven kids around the house.  I miss having her here, so it really was the perfect Christmas surprise.  Even better than the backpack puke.  Yes, it's true Kat....I like you better than puke.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Peppermint Popcorn

As I was making this today I HONESTLY thought, "Oh finally a recipe that's NOT chocolate and mint."  Yeah, seriously.  I think it's because of the almond bark.  It all just felt so vanilla.

1.5 C uncooked popcorn kernels
1 lb almond bark
1 C crushed candy canes
2 teaspoons peppermint extract or a 10-14 drops of peppermint oil ( I used oil...since Rob is now in the biz)
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Melt almond bark according to instructions - be really careful not to burn.  Pour over popped popcorn, then add crushed candy canes.  Stir to combine.

Lay the popcorn out flat on a piece of wax paper and drizzle with melted chocolate chips.  Allow to cool, then enjoy.
BDEM:  As I was making this - Ella came in and asked for a little bite.  She smiled and said, "Izz yummy mom!"  Jude immediately followed suit - so I told him to open his mouth and I popped a couple pieces in.  His face immediately turned sour - his eyes got REALLY angry and he ran to the garbage can to spit it out.  He even wiped off his tongue. "MOM!  Why didn't you tell me this tastes like candy canes?! YUCK"   I received the evil glare and he left the kitchen.  Apparently, tasting like candy canes is a bad thing!  

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Christmas Surprise

We had a little Christmas miracle happen at our home last night, and I'm hoping that everyone will indulge me as I share one of the stories that I'm sure will be told in our home for years to come.

For as long as I can remember, we have spent one Sunday a month at Rob's parents' home with all of his side of the family.  Last night Ella refused to eat her dinner.  She complained that she wasn't hungry and her tummy hurt.  Both Rob and I blew it off as we always do, because as soon as Ella's plate of food hits the table, her tummy immediately hurts.  We forced a few bites down before letting her run around with her cousins.  As the night went on, she came back to me and acted a bit more cuddly than normal - and then started crying about everything.  I assumed she was really cranky because she has had some late nights lately - so we took her home and put her to bed.

At about 11:30, Rob and I were pulled out of a very deep sleep to Ella crying at the side of my bed.  I couldn't quite place what she was complaining about, but after touching her wet face, I figured she had a bloody nose and bounced to my feet.  While walking to the bathroom she kept telling me that she needed a bowl - and then threw up on the bathroom floor.  Luckily being only feet away from the toilet, I pushed her towards it JUST in time to catch most of the vomit.  We stripped her clothes, washed out the rug, and realized that we had been SUPER lucky. With the exception of a couple little vomit spots (next to my bed where she was crying, and a tiny bit by her bedroom door) we had made it out clean.  It was idyllic for a night-time vomit.

Most nights I am up for hours after puke episodes scrubbing sheets, giving baths, trying to get the stench out of my house. Not last night.  Right back to bed. Christmas miracle indeed.

This morning Ella woke up feeling happy - and had no tummy ache.  I figured it was something she had eaten, and fed her breakfast which she miraculously kept down.  I told Maddie to gather her things so I could take her to school.  Maddie yelled, "Mom, what's this?"

She came into the kitchen - carrying her backpack.  That's when it all hit me:  Ella's wet face, the tiny traces of vomit in her room and by the door.  Upon waking up sick, Ella scrambled out of her room to come and tell me, but didn't make it past her bedroom door...wherefrom Maddie's unzipped backpack was hanging.

Surprise!  Dried vomit all over all of the contents of Maddie's backpack. I had only witnessed, and cleaned round two of throw up.  If I had been in my right state of mind I would have realized that "little spots" of vomit don't just happen.  Throw up NEVER happens in small amounts.  I just didn't put two and two together.

I can't decide what excuse is worse for the papers left in Maddie's bag - the dog ate it, or my sister puked on it.  Maybe I'll just send it to school with no explanation and see what kind of response I get.

BDEM:  My sister in law, Marci, and I had a conversation last night about how to style girls' hair.  She insisted that any mother of three girls had to have a topsy-turvy.  I have tried manually topsy-turvying Maddie's hair in the past, and always end up with weird pieces.  So, while at the mall, Marci picked one up for me and hand delivered it.  I'm going to go try it on Ella's hair as soon as I'm done typing this.  Thanks Marci, definitely a BDEM!  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My Favorite Christmas Movie Moment

I've posted this clip before, but I don't think it ever gets old for me.  Amidst all of the hustle and bustle it's nice to take a moment and remember what's really important.

BDEM:  My little sister Sarah gave birth to a BEAUTIFUL baby girl.  I am so sad to not be close to snuggle and kiss this sweet little thing, but I am so happy for her.  There is no feeling like having your first child.  Your heart expands in a way you never knew possible, and I can't be more excited that Sarah is getting to experience it!  Congratulations Sarah, love ya!  

Saturday, December 10, 2011

We're still waiting for snow,

But that's not stopping us from getting all bundled up to see the lights!

(Sorry about all the red-eye shots...I'd usually take the time to fix them, but my computer is freaking out)

BDEM:  With eight adults and ten kids, you can pretty much count on disaster at a restaurant - but somebody had the great idea to take the kids to IKEA for dinner.  All of the kids were perfect little angels!  They ate their food and allowed time for the adults to catch up over a few plates of Swedish Meatballs.  

Friday, December 09, 2011


Every year there is a part of me that has Christmas tree envy.  I see so many monster-sized, beautifully decorated trees with shiny ribbon and color coordinated ornaments.  The kind of trees that look like they could have come straight from Martha Stewart's very own tree collection.

But then I remember how fun I always thought our Christmas tree was when I was young.  It wasn't always the prettiest, but it was perfect because it had something that represented everyone.  And, to me, that's what makes our tree special.  It may not be the most beautiful - but my kids find it enchanting, and it smells divine.

I also remember that turning my back for three minutes can result in this:
and who wants to be mad at that happy face if she destroys the tree?

My point is - I have plenty of years to build the tree of my dreams, but so few where I can make it something that my kids love.  I hope they are able to look back and remember that our tree was special, because it represented them.

BDEM:  Playing Patty-Cake with my cute little chubber dubber.  She belly laughs every single time.  To the point of hiccups.  Heartwarming.