Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A White Christmas!

What an awesome surprise today! It started snowing around 11:00 this morning and hasn't stopped. We spent the day at the historic Dayton House in Worthington with Britney's dad's family. It was a great day with great food, cards and time with family.

These pictures are some I took really quick once we pulled into the driveway tonight. So far we've gotten about six inches of fluffy white snow and it hasn't stopped! I don't know how much we're due to get, but what a perfect way to end this Christmas Day!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007

The last few weeks have been hard for me. Harder than I want to admit. Christmas is always a special time with my family. We have breakfast together and then go back to mom's house for whatever shenanigans she may have cooked up for the day. There are always lots of presents, but those are balanced with what's really important - Jesus' birth and some great family time. I'll miss that this year.

The Lord has used this year to teach me a lot of things. Faith, giving, trusting, the list goes on and on. When we decided to move, my gift of faith was really put to the test. But, there's a saying that I think is very true - "Faith is not believing that God CAN; it's knowing that God WILL." It was on the wall of our old house and was the last thing we looked at before we walked out the door to move here.

My whole family's faith was tested this year too as we watched my mom go through her battle with cancer. True, maybe it was harder on my sisters having to be there with her and watch her after her treatments. But, it was hard on me too - not knowing exactly how she was doing and only being able to see her over the webcam. It was so hard to leave Georgia knowing that she was sick. But, because our Lord has greater plans for her, she is now in remission and is doing well!

Letting go of Ashlyn when she started kindergarten was harder than I imagined. Preschool last year was a breeze! And even the first week of kindergarten was pretty easy. But there were several days I walked home from school with tears in my eyes after leaving her at her classroom door. I usually spent that time praying for her, her teacher and anyone that she may have contact with that day. Our prayer for her is that she would be a light in the school - that people would see a difference in her and want what she's got.

Ashlyn loves school. She's learning to read, making great friends and becoming more independent by the day. It's hard to watch that some days, but every day, I'm reminded that she's not mine to begin with - she's only "on loan" to me. It also helps knowing that she goes to a school where the principal believes in Jesus and the teachers really care about her. Some new things have developed in her too! She's quick to say I'm sorry and really cares about her friends. Her brother is sometimes a different story :) She's also really developed a love for animals and dancing.

My patience was also tested many days having only Carter to entertain. He is still the little tornado and has gotten into more than his fair share of trouble. He'll make a mess in a blink of an eye, but then flash you that mischievous smile and in an instant you're laughing with him. Somewhere along the way, he lost his love for Eeyore, but replaced it with a love for combines, tractors and football. Rarely a day goes by that he isn't running around with his gloves on and his football tucked under his arm. Apparently you can't carry a football without gloves on - you know, just like the big boys!

We spent our summer days at the lake or at a parade. Our falls days at football games and raking leaves; and so far our winter days inside playing or outside shoveling snow and building snow forts.

Today I went to WalMart to get the things I'll need for next week when Britney's family comes for Christmas. For some reason, getting that done and having a good talk with my mom this morning makes my spirit lighter. Christmas is a magical time of year for me. It's filled with wonderful memories and knowing that Christ was born, just so that he could die for ME! Spending time with family and opening gifts around the Christmas tree are what I'm looking forward to most this year.

I'm ready for whatever the holidays may hold now. I'm ready to put my nose to the grindstone and get my house cleaned for our company. I'm ready for our "virtual" Christmas with my family over the webcam. Years ago that wouldn't have been possible! But most of all, I'm ready to show our kids that even if you're far away from family or in a new place where you haven't figured out exactly what your traditions or plans are, Christmas can be magical because of what it truly means.

Wishing you a magical season of happiness and peace - knowing that Christ was born to die for you!

Want more pictures of our 2007? Click here :)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mobile Murals

My friend Beth has a company called Mobile Murals Atlanta. She's one of my good friends but she's also a very talented artist. She did murals in both of my kids' nurseries and did a lot of work at the Journey Church in Georgia in the kids' rooms.

Anyway, she recently finished this nursery. I thought it was incredible! There are Beanie Babies that are velcroed to the wall. Can you tell which are the Beanies and which are painted on the wall? I could only tell on some of them. I thought it was a great idea and just had to share the beautiful work she did!

Anyway, when you get a chance, check out her website - www.mobilemuralsatl.com. The pictures of the girl on the moon are from Ashlyn's nursery in our first house. Now she paints on craft foam so that you can take at least parts of the "mural" with you if you move. We have Carter's airplanes from his nursery and she was nice enough to repaint the little girl on a canvas for us when we moved from Cumming.

If you ever need artwork for your child's room, call Beth! She does great work!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

More Snowy Pictures

I finally remembered to upload the pictures of the kids playing some more in the snow. We hadn't had any new snow for awhile. I'm just hoping what's here stays around until Christmas!

Click here to see the new pictures.

A Very Frugal Christmas

This always seems to be how Christmas is at our house. Partly because I LOVE to find bargains and see how far I can make the money go. Partly because there's never enough to buy gifts for all the people I want to buy gifts for. My love language is gifts, so I love to give them as much as I love to get them. I really enjoy shopping for gifts for people - finding the perfect thing for that special person.

Well, this year there were about 10 families that I wanted to give something to at Christmas, but I was having a hard time coming up with something special that wasn't going to cost a fortune. So, one day while shopping at Hobby Lobby, I came up with the idea of painting flower pots and filling them with goodies to give out to our friends.

I know we're not the only ones in this situation. Seems like everyone I talk to has people they want to give something to at Christmas but just can't afford to. So, I thought I'd use my blog as a way to "give" something to all of you! If you ever want to copy this idea, here's your chance :)

Not including the ingredients for baking (which I was going to buy anyway), each pot cost me less than $2 to make - it was actually probably closer to $1.25-$1.50. You can't buy containers for that!

Here in the Midwest, it seems that Hobby Lobby is the best place for buying the pots. They were only $0.99 each. Then I used some red acrylic paint that I already had and painted green polka dots on them, again with acrylic paint I already had. Once that was all dry, I used glossy polyurethane (again, that I already had) and painted the outsides of the pots to make them shiny. I bought the ribbon on sale at Hobby Lobby for $1/roll and only needed part of 1 roll. Hot glued them to the top rim of the pot so that if I needed to stack the pots inside of each other for some reason, it wouldn't smash or rip the ribbon off. Finally, I found the tags at Ace Hardware next to the keys. This is probably the best deal of all! For a bundle of 10 tags, it was $0.29!!! Going to a scrapbook store to buy these would've been a lot more than that!!

So, there you go! If you get one of these pots, please don't think I'm cheap :) Just know that you were special enough for me to pull out all of my creative stops to come up with a way to show you you are loved by our family at Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

One Word

Last week I got an email from my sister Jill, asking me to describe her in one word. I have to admit, it was pretty hard for me to do! I tried to think of something that would describe who she is in her heart - not just on the surface. So, I came up with savvy. If you know Jill, I think you'll agree that's a pretty good description. By the way - Webster defines savvy as "practical know how." Jill knows how to practically do a lot of things!!

Now, enough about her :) Just kidding. I thought I'd share what some of the responses were from friends that I sent the same email to. I thought my friends did a pretty good job of describing me, or at least the person I hoped I was. So, here goes:

I also got supermamalicious and fabulicious, but those aren't real words, so I'm not sure what to make of them :) Hopefully something good!

I'm happiest in the kitchen or in my craft room, cooking or making something (domesticated and creative). I LOVE to have fun :) Intuitive? I'm not sure I wouldn't known that about myself, but my mother-in-law saw it. I hope she's right! Loyal and consistent - those are qualities I hope I always portray. The loyal one is really important to me. I've had far too many "friends" in my life who suddenly decided it was more important to stab me in the back than to stay my friend. Loyalty is a big one for me.

Which, ironically brings me to our dog Maggie. She's really a good, sweet dog. She's great with the kids and rarely gets in trouble - until she runs away. But, I don't like her AT ALL. If it were up to me, she'd be living with someone else now. She's NOT loyal (yes, we have a DOG who is not LOYAL). Our old dog, Hunter, was so loyal, he didn't leave my side for days after Ashlyn was born. He didn't like her getting my attention and not him. For me, he was the perfect dog because he was LOYAL and I miss him every day.

So, Lori, thanks for the ultimate compliment in your one word. I hope I'm always a LOYAL, fun, intuitive, creative, consistent, domesticated woman!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Today is my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. What a long time to spend with someone :) Just kidding. They are heading to Disney World to celebrate. I hope they say hi to Mickey for us.

I just wanted to say thanks to mom and dad for being such wonderful examples of a loving husband and wife over the years. Growing up over the years, I hardly remember them fighting or being mean to each other. Sure, they got frustrated and I'm sure they did take each other for granted sometimes, but I remember them always loving each other.

I hope my kids can say the same about my marriage when we've been married 40 years.

Happy Anniversary! We hope you enjoy your trip and can celebrate 40 more years together!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Covered Up

That pretty much describes how I feel. I have a list a mile long of things I need to get done in the next couple of weeks before Christmas. Add in the snow and the extra "chores" that go along with that and you can imagine how busy things are here. I shoveled the sidewalk for the 4th time yesterday. The snow plows come along and dump snow from the street over the sidewalk I just cleared 2 days ago!

Want to see picture of the snow and imagine what life is like at 5 degrees? Click here to see our first snowy experience. We have about 5 inches on the ground right now and there is a little more predicted for tomorrow. Winter has definitely set in and so far hasn't been too bad. It's cold, sure. But if you have the right clothes (when are my boots going to get here?), it's really not too cold. The kids ask to go outside and play in the snow every day. They love it.

We have a lot more snow than what you can see in the pictures. The ones of Carter by the snow fort were taken last weekend, after we got the 5 inches. I'll try to get pictures of him by some of the piles made by the snow plow. They're as tall as he is!

Looks like we may have a white Christmas after all!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

First Tastes of Winter

Happy Thanksgiving! Oh wait..that was last week. Better late than never though, right?

We had a good trip to Georgia, although the drive did get a little long. The kids were troopers and probably watched more TV during those car rides than in an entire week at home. But, they never once complained.

We got home Saturday, worn out and cold! Apparently winter arrived while we were in Georgia. In fact Saturday morning at our hotel in Kansas City, there was a light dusting of snow on the ground. The kids were so excited! I can only imagine what they'll be like after it snows here this weekend...

Yep, that's right. Snow. This weekend. And yesterday when I took Ashlyn to school, it was 3 - THREE - outside, with a wind chill of -13. Today isn't so bad - 25 with a wind chill of 10. The wind is wicked outside today though. There are wind advisories out and they're predicting winds of 40+ MPH. Sounds like a good day to stay inside and bake some Christmas goodies.

The parades also start again this weekend, so if we can stand it, we'll be in Luverne for their Winterfest parade. But, we'll be prepared with layers upon layers of clothes, warm Mexican blankets and a thermos full of hot chocolate! Don't worry - I'll be sure to post pictures after this adventure of sitting in the snow watching a Christmas parade!

Is it time for Santa yet???

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I Love Football!

And small towns and the fact that when the varsity team goes to state, the schools are closed for the day! The Dragons haven't been to state since 1997. There are signs all over wishing them luck! It reminds me of when Parkview went to the state championship when I was in high school and the "We Believe" signs were all over Lilburn.

At 8:00 this morning, the team left with an escort of siren-blaring ambulances, fire trucks and our one police car. I looked out the window to see what was going on and then it hit me - it was the team's send off! If we hadn't all been in our pajamas, we would've run out to wave and cheer as they drove past.

The Adrian Dragons played today in the semi-finals (and won 25-14) and next weekend will be playing in the Metrodome in Minneapolis. If we weren't traveling to Georgia, we'd be there. But, in consolation, since school is closed on Friday, we get to leave for Georgia Thursday afternoon instead of Friday, which means an extra day of resting there!

We'll be going to our old church on Sunday, so having an extra day between traveling and the start of what will be a busy week will be so nice - for us and the kids. And, while we'll physically be in Georgia on Saturday, our hearts may just be at the Metrodome cheering for the team.

Go Dragons!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Kitty and A Combine

For Halloween this year, my kids got to pick their own costumes. Yes, last year I was one of those neurotic moms where they had to match, and I must say they were very adorable at Elastigirl and Dash from The Incredibles. This year however, I overcame my neurosis and let them decide what they wanted to be. The only mistake I made was telling them they could be whatever they wanted.

Ashlyn was easy. She picked a cat. So, one black leotard (which she already had for dance), some black pants (which were hand-me-downs from someone anyway), some makeup, ears and a tail - and we were all set. But, please note the bling on this kitty. A regular collar wouldn't do. It had to have jewelry! And she came up with it all on her own after sneaking into my jewelry box. I must say she is definitely related to her Aunt Pam!

Carter, on the other hand, decided early on that he wanted to be a combine. I'm not sure how this happened exactly, except I casually asked him one day if he wanted to be a tractor. (By the way - his initial idea for a halloween costume was a bunny. Ummm, a boy? As a bunny? On Halloween? I could just feel the decades of ridicule that would follow him). BUT, the offer of tractor was only made after careful research on the internet for pictures of other tractor costumes that I was sure I could copy - and copy well!

Anyway, as harvest progressed, so did Carter's ideas for his costume. First it went to a tractor with a wagon. There was no way this was even physically possible unless Ashlyn agreed to be the wagon. Nope - a kitty. So, then Carter got in his mind that he wanted to be a combine. Imagine me when I heard this. There are NO PICTURES - ANYWHERE - online of any other kid in a combine costume.

But after some careful examination of those tractor costumes and spending some time at the farm and driving down the road STARING at combines, I thought I could handle it. Until Carter told me that he wanted to be a RED combine. In Britney's family, that's equal to heresy. Luckily, Ashlyn saved us from being excommunicated by telling Carter that Uncle Jerry wouldn't give him any candy if he was a RED combine. He HAD to be a GREEN one.

So, I finished his costume on Monday and you can only imagine the fight I had on my hands the next two days trying to keep it somewhat together. I must have reattached the corn heads a thousand times - so many times that when it was finally time to leave to go trick or treating, he went with one missing, because I just couldn't do it again.

The night was pretty chilly, but we only went trick or treating on our street. That didn't take too long, but the kids were satisfied with their candy and pretty tuckered out.

I just want to end this post by saying that I am the world's coolest mom for coming up with the combine costume. All of the boys who saw Carter last night went nuts over his costume and I even had one lady stop us at the Fall Festival at Ashlyn's school to take a picture so she could show her husband! I ROCK!

By the way - you can check out all of our pictures from the Fall Festival and Halloween here. I'm not sure why there are NONE of Ashlyn at HER fall festival. I think Britney was too enthralled with Carter's costume...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Six Months Ago

We arrived in Minnesota six months ago today. Sometimes it feels like we've always lived here and some days it's very clear that we're still the newcomers in town. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord moved us here for a purpose - even if that purpose was just to move our kids to a school where the teachers actually care about them and the principle is visible EVERY DAY around the school either greeting kids in the morning or helping in the crosswalks in the afternoon. We've met some really incredible friends who have helped make the transition here a little easier when we're missing our family and friends in Georgia.

I have to admit that I am a little uncertain about the holidays. Starting tonight with Halloween, the kids are looking forward to visiting all of our friends on our block to get candy and visit for a little while. It's supposed to be cold though, so I don't know how long we'll stay out. We'll be going back to Georgia for Thanksgiving and already it looks like the trip is going to be too short! Christmas is the kicker though. Christmas has always been huge in my family - a whole day of being together, eating, opening presents, eating, watching movies, eating...You get the idea. But, we'll be in Minnesota this Christmas. I hope it's at least a white one. The kids would love that. And we'll still get to see my family, thanks to modern-day technology, as they hook up the webcam to my dad's movie theater screen and we connect ours to our TV. It won't be the same, but at least it'll be as close as we can get!

Anyway, in celebration of our six months here, I thought I would list ten things that I've learned about life in Minnesota in the last six months.
1. When the cashier asks you if you want to "drive up" at the grocery store, it's not for a donation - they really will carry your groceries out to your car, which you drive up to the curb! You better believe I'll be doing this when it turns cold!
2. Hog manure aka fertilizer - STINKS!
3. You can get a 3/4 pound Dragon burger at the local steakhouse for a whopping $6.50
4. Walking your kids to school is better than watching them get on the bus or driving them in the car any day - even in the rain!
5. Nothing beats summer on the lake in Minnesota!
6. I can pass a written driving exam, even at 30.
7. In a small town, people know about you before you know about them!
8. We've learned more about our neighbors in the six months that we've lived here than we knew in the 3.5 years in Suwanee.
9. You can WALK to the doctor's office when it's only 3 blocks away :) Definitely beats the hour + drive to John's Creek for an 8:30 a.m. appointment!
10. There are lots of great flea markets, yard sales and consignment stores where you can find some REALLY great bargains!!!

If you want to experience small town Minnesota life, just give us a call - we always have room for more!


So, my last post generated a lot of questions - mostly people wanting to know my super secret recipes. Just kidding, but there were some requests for my recipes, so here are the bread, pancake and Christmas ornament ones.

Bread Machine Bread:
1 1/2 cup warm water
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 cups bread flour (I usually do 2 cups bread flour, 2 cups whole wheat flour)
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
Makes a 2 lb. loaf in a bread machine.

1 large egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Beat egg in medium bowl until fluffy. Beat in remaining ingredients just until smooth. Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat or to 375. Grease griddle with butter. For each pancake, pour slightly less than 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle. Cook pancake until puffed and dry around edges. Turn and cook other side until golden brown.

Christmas Ornaments
1 cup ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 c. applesauce
Mix together dry ingredients. Add applesauce a little at a time. Mixture should have the consistency of playdoh so you are able to work it in your hands. If it is too dry, add 1-2 tbsp. applesauce; too wet, sprinkle surface and mixture with cinnamon. Roll out between waxed paper and cut out with cookie cutters. Poke hole for ribbon hanger. Air dry 4-5 days or set in low temp. oven overnight.

Monday, October 22, 2007

8 Random Cooking Things

I've been tagged by my friend Kathy to list 8 random things from my cooking life. They may not be all that interesting or informative, but here goes...

1. I mostly use Pampered Chef products. That's right. I'm still stringing my Pampered Chef business along, mostly for the free or cheap products. My favorites would have to be the Forged Cutlery, Garlic Press and Executive Cookware.

2. I love to use fresh garlic when I'm cooking. I made a pork loin last week and had to wash the sheets the next day because of how our house smelled :)

3. I make homemade bread now - no store bought stuff for us! We bought a bread maker shortly after we moved in because of how my friend Robin talked about her bread maker and how much she saved buy buying bulk flour, etc. and then making her own. We love it!

4. I usually procrastinate about what's for dinner until the last minute. I like to plan so that I don't have to make a million trips to the grocery store, but I always forget to take something out in the morning...

5. I love to bake! Enough said!

6. I make my kids pancakes from scratch almost every day. It's their new favorite and now they don't like the ones from the package at the store. Fine by me - less preservatives this way!

7. I'm the master of simple and delicious! This was a compliment someone gave me just last week!

8. I bake my own Christmas ornaments every year. You know, the ones with lots of cinnamon and spice so they make my house smell so nice.

There you go! Now I'm passing it on to Deanna, Lori and Melena!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Dancing Diva!

Ashlyn had her dancing debut last Thursday at the high school football game. She did a great job, and I think her teacher was very smart to keep the dance so short. They had only practiced four weeks!

Uncle Monte flew in just in time for the game and Britney's uncle Jerry and aunt Mel ran (literally!) and got there just in time for the performance.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Impractical = Romantic?

I'm reading the book Kid CEO by Ed Young right now. Overall, I think it's a really good book so far - nothing earth shattering yet, but good basics all parents need to be reminded of occasionally. I'm about halfway through and so far, it's felt more like a marriage book than a parenting book. One of his main points is that as parents, we need to put our marriages first - not our kids. Kids have a place in the family and we need to honor our covenant of marriage instead of putting the spotlight on the kids.

Anyway, I was reading the chapter yesterday on Sex Builders and Sex Busters. One of the things he mentions time and again is to make sure that you date your spouse. "What you did to get her is what you need to do to keep her." What struck me in the last part of the chapter was his discussion of romance.

You see, I'm a romantic at heart. I always want the fairy tale. But, I married Britney, who is NOT very romantic. He tries, but it's just not in him. AND, I love him in spite of that and appreciate the times he does try.

Here is a quote from one of the last paragraphs in this chapter. "If you look up the word impractical in the dictionary, one of the synonyms is romantic." I died laughing when I read that because my husband is the complete opposite of that. Almost every decision we've made, I've heard the words "but this is more practical." Say for example, driving an SUV vs a mini van. Obviously, mini vans are more practical when it comes to gas mileage, etc. But the romantic in me wants to throw that out the window and get what I LIKE!

I guess my challenge to all of you (and ourselves too) is to pursue your spouse. Don't become a statistic. Be a little impractical every once in awhile. It's what God made marriage for!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Fall Is In The Air

I love fall. I don't remember many "falls" in Georgia. I just remember the 90 degree days immediately turning into 50 degree days. The colors there are beautiful though. I'll never forget my L-O-N-G drive down GA 400 when I was working and enjoying the beautiful leaves.

Fall here is different. It's beautiful in a different way. Britney always told me that Georgia only had 2 seasons - Summer and Cooler :) Now I understand what he meant. The weather here has been a little rainy, which is not very good for the farmers trying to harvest. But the weather has also been beautiful on those days when it's not raining. Like today - sunny, clear blue skies for as far as you could see (which is usually at least 10 miles because it's pretty flat), and temps in the 60s. Right now it's about 52 outside. Perfect weather for sweaters and football!

We look outside and gone are the green fields of corn and soybeans. A lot of the fields have been harvested, so they're mostly dead stalks and black dirt - a little bleak. But that bleakness is redeemed as soon as Carter shouts at the top of his lungs, "Mom! LOOK! A Combine! And! Tractors! With! Wagons!!!!!" That makes all of the bleakness worth it.

Oh yeah and as for football - the Adrian Dragons are 5 and 1. They play again on Thursday night when Ashlyn's dance team will dance at halftime. Don't worry - we're going to video it and I'll post a link to it as soon as we get it downloaded.

Toto Tequila and Mrs. Mary Toosteal

A couple of weeks ago, Britney and I were invited to a murder mystery party. This was our third one and we felt like old pros :) The best part for me is dressing up...I'm not much of an actress. But, the people at this party were all great at it and made it pretty easy!

The setting was the opening of a speakeasy in Chicago in the 20's. "Toto" was the Big Boss from the mob in New York. "Mary" was the wife of a congressman who was looking to run for president, hence the lack of flapper costume.

I won for best costume, which was a huge surprise for me, considering I spent less than $20 for everything Britney and I needed!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Pukefest, Round 2

My mom is cringing at that title, I know :) But, I thought you should have an accurate description of the last 15 hours in our house.

Carter this time. Last night, 10:30 p.m. comes downstairs crying. That's very unlike him. Britney was trying to comfort him and had no idea what was wrong. Something inside me said, "He's sick." I asked Britney if he had thrown up and yep! Ding, Ding, Ding!!! So, you can imagine how our night went from then until about 6:00 this morning. Every 20 minutes or so. YUCK. This can move along to someone else's house anytime now.

The funniest thing was Ashlyn. She woke up around 2:30 this morning because she had had a bad dream. She couldn't find anyone at first because we were all downstairs. After I got her back in bed, she would wake up just about every time Carter threw up and yell at me to go be by Carter. I wonder where she thought I was???

Anyway, Carter seems to be on the mend today. He bounced back even faster than Ashlyn did. If you think about us tonight, say a prayer that neither Britney nor I get it. That would just really stink.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wednesday Night

Not too much going on now in Minnesota-land. I haven't been able to find a funny festival to go to in a couple of weeks! It seems that there will be a little break before all of the fall festivals kick into gear. We've heard about a couple that will be really interesting but haven't seen any details on them yet :) Don't worry though - we'll be sure to hit them and you can enjoy them with us here!

Ashlyn has settled into school. It turns out that the crying last week was from her worrying about her field trip last Friday to the apple orchard. After last Wednesday, I talked to her and she told me that she was really nervous about it and wanted me to go along as a chaperone. I asked her teacher if I could just meet them at the orchard, and that was all it took for Ashlyn to get over her fear of going. Now, she loves school and can't wait to get there in the mornings. Every day we try to think of something positive and fun that she will do that day. Wednesday is library day, one of the highlights of her week. And I love hearing at the end of the day, "Mom, I love school! Can I go again tomorrow?"

Carter is adjusting pretty well to his days without Ashlyn. We've enrolled in an Early Childhood Family Education class for the next few weeks. It meets on Tuesday mornings and you go and play with your child for the first half of the time. It's pretty nice because that's all I'm there to do - play with Carter. His favorite toys are the tractors! and wagons! We drive them around and around the room. Then for the second half of the class, I go in for a class or discussion on parenting while he plays in the room with the other kids and has snack and story time. It's a pretty good compromise for no 2 year old preschools here.

Britney is still alive and well, for those of you who have asked :) He's been very busy with work and has been putting in some extra hours. He's been fishing a few times since we moved with his uncle Jerry. In fact, we had some of the walleye that he caught for dinner tonight! I'm sure he'll try ice fishing this winter. I, on the other hand, will NOT be walking out on the frozen lakes this winter!

We hope you're all doing well. It's going to be a busy few weeks here. Britney's cousin Marci is getting married on the 19th and it's his grandparents 60th wedding anniversary this year. We'll be gearing up for company, the wedding and the anniversary, so if I'm not around here much, just drop me a line to say hi! I will email back :)

Oh yeah - Carter did get a new stocking cap yesterday, so he doesn't have to wear Ashlyn's purple one this winter. That's it for the exciting news in our lives. What's yours?

Monday, September 17, 2007

King Turkey Day

There's a celebration in Worthington every year called King Turkey Day. It's usually the third weekend in September and you can read the whole history of the day here.

Yes, they really do race turkeys through downtown Worthington and yes, there is the same celebration a few weeks from now in Cuero, Texas. We figured after Hot Dog Night we really shouldn't miss Turkey Day. So, after freezing our tails off on Friday night at the Adrian High School football game (which they won 29-0), we set out for Worthington Saturday morning.

When we got there, we found a pretty decent parking space and then put our chairs down on the sidewalk to hold our spot for the parade that afternoon. After walking around for just a few minutes, (during which time Ashlyn managed to lose her new purse, which was holding her new Polly Pocket doll), we trekked over to the fire station for a free pancake breakfast/lunch. They were some of the best pancakes I've ever had. The kids even loved them!

After the pancakes, we met up with Britney's grandparents who were nice enough to lend us a blanket for the parade. Yes, it was still cold on Saturday and even though the weather said it would be 65, I doubt that it made it that high.

Then we grabbed a spot to watch the turkeys race! Paycheck (the Worthington turkey) won in about 57 seconds. The turkey from Texas, Ruby, had to be carried down the race course and had a time of over 2 minutes.

After that, it was time for the parade. The parade was one of the longest ones I have ever seen, and it did get a bit boring. There were over 120 entrants, including floats, marching bands and horses. Once again, our stock of candy is well supplied and we're planning to save it and hand it out at Halloween :) Britney's grandfather was part of the historical society entry and rode in the back of a Model T playing his accordian. Britney's cousin Marci was also in the parade handing out candy. She gave our kids an extra helping!

So, despite the cold weather and other mishaps of the day, we had a really great time. Ashlyn loved watching the turkeys and Carter loved playing hockey with the candy that was leftover in the street. Everyone should experience Turkey Day at some point in their lives!

There are pictures from the huge event posted here.

A Long Weekend Makes for a Hard Monday

Today started Ashlyn's second full week of school. She cried all morning. We were busy all weekend, but the kids went to bed pretty close to on time except for Friday night when we went to the football game (more on that in another post). Saturday was King Turkey Day, which deserves a post all its own. But Ashlyn lost her new purse and new Polly Pocket doll while we were in Worthington for the race and parade. We looked all over for it, but we couldn't find it. Of course, this was AFTER she insisted on taking it and just knew she wouldn't lose it. Sunday was church and then out to the farm for Robin's husband's birthday dinner.

Today was the hardest day for me to leave Ashlyn. I don't know what to do for her when she gets like that. I spent extra time with her this morning and even played a quick game of Memory with her - just she and mom. But in the end, I felt like it still wasn't enough. I plan on taking a walk with Carter in a little while and we'll go peek in the window of her classroom, just to make sure :)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

First Day of School

So, the big girl made it today! No tummy aches last night at all and a good night's sleep was a welcome relief. I made the kids pancakes for breakfast today and we didn't even have to run to make it to school on time. :)

I'll pick her up a little after 3:00 and will try to post more about how her first day went. She walked in with a smile on her face, ready to give her teacher her "flowers."

By the way - do you like Carter's boots? They're the latest wardrobe staple. Everyone should run out and get a pair. He's starting a new fad.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

No First Day Today

So, Ashlyn missed her first day of school. She was up all night with a stomach virus of some kind. She's sleeping peacefully for now, but in the process of all the commotion, Carter woke up and is now wide awake at 3:45 a.m.

Ashlyn's a little disappointed, but I think she felt so bad that she was relieved not to have to go. Hopefully it's just a 24 hour bug and she'll be back to her old self tomorrow.

One question for anyone out there who might know...Why do these things always hit in the middle of the night?

I'll update on how she's doing and how her actual first day goes!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Big Day Tomorrow

Tomorrow is Ashlyn's first day of kindergarten. We went today to meet her teacher, only to find out that her teacher had a baby two weeks ago, and she'll have a substitute until October when Mrs. Erdmann returns from maternity leave. Ashlyn's current teacher is Miss Christensen. She seems really nice and like she'll do very well with kindergarteners. Ashlyn loved her right away and even made her flowers for tomorrow.

Honestly, I'm relieved that this is the way school is starting. Maybe I'm projecting my fears from elementary school onto Ashlyn, but I remember being terrified when I walked into first grade one day and we had a sub! From that day forward, I asked my teacher, Mrs. Causey, every day if she would be there all day or if we would have another substitute. I'm sure I drove that woman nuts! But, I didn't want Ashlyn to have the same experience I did, so we've been talking about how Mrs. Erdmann would leave after a couple of weeks and a new teacher would come in while she was out having a new baby. Whew! I was anxious for nothing! We don't have to worry about that transition until October and we'll only have to do it once. I'm sure Ashlyn would do fine. She never even blinked an eye when she would have a sub in preschool.

As for the big girl, she's excited and a little anxious. She was already saying she didn't want to go to kindergarten today - until we were able to go and find her seat and look around the school. When we were leaving, she looked at me and said, "Mom, I'm not nervous at all anymore. I can't wait for tomorrow!"

I'm going to bed tonight holding onto that statement. I'm a lot more emotional about her going to kindergarten than I thought I would be. I didn't bat an eyelash last year when she went to preschool, but this is a real SCHOOL with FIFTH GRADERS! I can only imagine what I would be like if we were in Georgia and she was going to Suwanee Elementary for the first time. I am so thankful that the Lord provided for us to move out of that area and even though it's very far away from family and friends, we all rest assured every day that this is where we are meant to be.

Okay, enough rambling. I'm off to clean and do laundry! My parents come in on Thursday and I want to make sure I don't have any boring housework to do while they're here. Pray for me tomorrow if you think of it; and Ashlyn and Carter too. I'm sure she'll do just fine! I only hope I do as well :)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tornado Warning

The Little Tornado. That's Carter's nickname and has been since he started crawling around 9 months old. That being said, you can imagine what my house looks like some days. I've said many times that it's a good thing he's so darn cute...

These are looks he's given himself in the last few days. I laughed so hard when I found him in the first look that Britney thought I had lost my mind. Then he rolled his eyes when he saw Carter in his favorite purple hat (it's Ashlyn's) and the pink princess slippers.

The second picture was after Carter somehow came across a Sharpie that had been left out on the counter and decided he needed some tattooing. It's times like this that I hold onto the first picture - to remind me why I shouldn't kill him.

By the way - my son does have clothes. This is a phase we're going through called potty training and his favorite part is taking off ALL his clothes to go to the bathroom. Somehow, they never seem to make it all back on when he's finished.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

My Friend

I met my friend April my freshman year at Berry. She showed me how to lock my door the first day we were there. (I was not having a blonde moment; the locks were on the side of the door and none of us could figure it out). Anyway, it was the start of a friendship that is still going strong 13 years later! We were roommates the second half of our freshman year, and after that April felt she needed to go to school near her home in Columbus. I can honestly say that Berry was not the same without her.

April is one of those friends who no matter how much times goes by between visits, it always feels like it was just yesterday the last time we saw each other. She ALWAYS remembers my birthday and the kids' birthdays. I really appreciate that about her.

I knew that April had learned to knit a few years ago, and she's mentioned it a couple of times in our phone conversations. I mentioned in our last phone call that I would love a scarf since I didn't have one to endure the long Minnesota winters. Well, Saturday I went out on the porch and found a large box that the mail carrier had left. The return address was April's, so I ran inside expecting to find a scarf that she had said she would knit.

I was completely surprised and amazed when I opened the box and found not one scarf that she had made, but FOUR beautiful scarves that she had made just for me! The picture doesn't really show how beautiful they all are.

April - thank you so much for your friendship over the years and for the beautiful scarves. I can't wait to wear them, and I will always cherish them (and you!).

I hope you all have the chance to have a friend in your lives like April. You'd be truly lucky to.

Monday, August 20, 2007

It's My Birthday

Yesterday was the big 31 for me. I wasn't quite sure what to expect with it being my first one living in Minnesota away from my family, but Britney came through and did a great job! Saturday he and Ashlyn baked me a cake (his first one ever!) and it turned out pretty well! I like any kind of yellow cake with chocolate frosting, so it was relatively simple :) He bought me a new comforter set that I had been eyeing for awhile and some new tennis shoes from the kids. Just exactly what I wanted!

If you think about it today, please pray for Britney's Grandma Tracy. She's in the hospital with some kind of bacterial infection. There is an infectious disease doctor coming today to run some more tests and see if they can figure out what it is. We went to see her yesterday and she seemed to be in pretty good spirits.

Well, that's our weekend! I hope you had a great one too!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Wallpaper Should Be Illegal

I HATE wallpaper. I'm not sure where my pure hated of it comes from, but it's alive and well. I HATE wallpaper.

I'm in the middle of taking the wallpaper off the walls and ceiling of Ashlyn's room. It has taken a full week to get just the ceiling done and it's not really all the way finished. You see, the previous owner's (one of whom was an interior designer), patched the cracks in the plaster but then didn't prime or paint over them. So, I basically have wallpaper glued to raw sheetrock mud. Fun.

If you know of ANY tips that will help this whole horrible process go more quickly and more easily, please let me know. My parents are coming to visit the first week of September and I need to have Ashlyn out of the guest room and back in her room before that. Until then, I'll be cursing the man (because I'm sure it was a man) who invented wallpaper.

Oh yeah - and did I mention I have MANY MANY MANY more feet of walls with wallpaper on them??????? I may go insane!

Friday, August 10, 2007


If you know me AT ALL, you know I like change. I'll change my mind forty times before I finally decide what color to paint a room. And clothes? Britney just rolls his eyes at the number of times I change my clothes on Sunday mornings. Why only Sunday? Why not the rest of the week? I don't know, but I digress...Living with me can be a nightmare!

Anyway, I'm sure you've noticed that I changed my template. I'm not the tech-savvy one in the family. He's on vacation. So, until I can sit down long enough to figure out how to customize some things, you'll probably have to endure several changes through the standard templates through Blogger. Hope you don't mind!

How about you? Do you like change? If so, why and what do you like the most about it? If not, why not? Leave me a comment and explain yourselves!!

And the tree came tumbling down...

So, I knew it wouldn't be long before we experienced small town life again. Before I tell this story, let me just say that I LOVE living here! I don't know why but the novelty of it and the simpleness of it just must be what I need right now. I don't know that I'll always say that, but for now, I'm perfectly content to live in a town that is the same size as our neighborhood was in Georgia.

Anyway, this afternoon the kids and I were out taking a walk around the block. We made it as far as our neighbor's driveway. Our next door neighbor and the one next to them and the one across the street were all coming out of their houses because a big boom truck had just parked on the street. You see, our neighbors one house over have a dead tree in their front yard and apparently today was the day it was to come down.

The kids and I finished our walk - quickly so as not to miss the excitement. Then we came home, grabbed a quick supper and went across the street to watch. Oh yeah - did I mention that watching the tree come down was the entertainment for the block for the night? Our next door neighbors were there as well as some neighbors from down the street. They came prepared to stay awhile with small coolers full of their choice beverage even.

I was laughing to myself for the whole TWO HOURS that the kids and I sat there - visiting and watching this giant of a man cut a tree down all by himself. It really was quite amazing, but I've never heard so many comments about the amount of sweat in my life! I just kept thinking - I live somewhere that it's OK to be nosy!

And there you have it - life in a small town - where it only takes a little to entertain a lot!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Random Thoughts Tonight

Britney is out of town until Sunday, so I am sitting here trying not to fall asleep at 8:45! I should be cleaning out toys and cleaning up the kitchen, but I just don't feel like it right now. The kids and I worked together to clean out the playroom this afternoon. Ashlyn did a pretty good job of getting rid of some of the toys she doesn't play with anymore. Carter was right behind us pulling things out of the "yard sale" pile. Oh well - at least all of the yard sale toys are on the same side of the room now!

My mom called me yesterday that the results from her scans on Monday were GREAT! There is no sign of cancer anywhere! Praise the Lord! Thanks to all of you who have been praying for her. I know some of you don't even know my mom, so it really means a lot to me. Please continue to pray that the cancer stays gone! Oh yeah and they finally got tickets to come visit in early September!

Yesterday and today the kids and I saw crop dusters flying over some of the fields. The one yesterday was flying over a field behind our house, so he'd go dust the crops and circle around again, coming right over our house and the school. We went out and got some pictures of it (coming soon) and then the kids played on the playground until he was done. They were so excited to watch him circle and circle and circle and...

We saw another one today after we dropped Britney off at the farm. He was flying so low that I could look out the window of the car and I was looking eye-level at him. I've never seen one that up-close before. It was so neat! Until he circled right above us and started diving toward the field and I had all kinds of horrible visions going through my head :) We didn't stick around much longer after that!

One more thing - sorry for all of the horribly hot days in Atlanta this week. From what I've seen, it's almost unbearable! Try to stay cool! I don't miss this part of the summer in the South!

Hmmm...anything else out of the ordinary? Not that I can think of, but I'm sure it won't be long until there's something else we encounter that we never did in the city!

Monday, August 6, 2007

My Kids Are Awesome

The Lord has been teaching me lately that I need to build and encourage my children. Sometimes I get so caught up in what they're NOT doing that I forget all of the smiles they've brought to my face and what good kids they can be. Walking through a house that is cluttered with toys in EVERY room and constantly having to pick up or clean up something that is spilled gets to me. So, I'm trying to overlook that and come up with creative ways to show them how to take better care of their toys and to appreciate them. I've also been trying to be more encouraging and less nagging :)

Today I just have to share a little bit about what great kids I have. I'm in the middle of stripping the wallpaper in Ashlyn's room. There was even wallpaper on the ceiling - YUCK! So, when I started, Ashlyn decided that she wanted to help me. The little trooper has been in there almost as much as her mom and has made pretty good progress on the walls - at least as far up as she can reach. Yesterday she even told me that she was having FUN! She's also been doing a great job at helping Carter lately. She'll get things for him and tries to be a second mommy in more ways than just bossing him. It's so neat to see the friendship developing between the two of them.

Carter is the one who can make me laugh when I just really don't feel like it. He's also the one who can make me so mad I want to throw him through the wall. Teaching him to clean up or to use the potty takes all the patience I've got most days. But then there's days like today. He was watching VeggieTales and when the silly song with Larry came on, I walked in the room and he was standing in front of the TV dancing his little heart out to the Bellybutton Song. He always asks to hear The Way I Was Made by Chris Tomlin whenever I'm working in the kitchen and have my music on. Once again the dancing shoes come out and he really gets down. But, I love that he wants to listen to that song because it's my prayer for both of my kids. The words are below. I hope you enjoy them as much as Carter does!

Caught in the half-light, I’m caught alone Waking up to the sunrise and the radio Feels like I’m tied-up, what’s holding me? Just praying today will be the day I go free

I want to live like there’s no tomorrow I want to dance like no one’s around I want to sing like nobody’s listening Before I lay my body down I want to give like I have plenty I want to love like I’m not afraid I want to be the man I was meant to be I want to be the way I was made

Made in Your likeness, made with Your hands Made to discover who You are and who I am All I’ve forgotten help me to find All that You’ve promised let it be in my life

I want to live like there’s no tomorrow I want to dance like no one’s around I want to sing like nobody’s listening Before I lay my body down I want to give like I have plenty I want to love like I’m not afraid I want to be the man I was meant to be I want to be the way I was made

ohhhhh The way I was made Ohhhh I want to live like there’s no tomorrow I want to dance like no one’s around I want to sing like nobody’s listening Before I lay my body down I want to give like I have plenty I want to love like I’m not afraid I want to be the man I was meant to be I want to be the way I was made I want to be the way I was made I want to be the way I was made

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Parades and a Tractor Pull

So, I'm a little behind in posting. I guess a few days at the lake will do that to you!

A couple of weeks ago, our town had its summer celebration. It seems to be something every small town here does. Ours is themed Christmas In July and some of the activities were a 5K race in the morning, garden tours, craft fair complete with the same train that was at Hot Dog Night and finally, a parade!

That same Saturday happened to be Brewster's Fun Day. Brewster is the town where Britney's mom grew up and her brother and sister-in-law still live on the farm there. Britney's grandpa has an antique tractor and drove it in the parade, so we went over to Brewster to see that. Yes, another parade...

Carter and Ashlyn were so excited! Two parades in one day? Does life get any better than that? Apparently, the only thing better than watching the parade and catching the candy that is thrown is EATING the candy! We have a HUGE bowl of candy on our counter right now - more than Halloween provided last year. I think our next stop will be to the dentist :)

But wait - life DOES get better than that! In Adrian, after the parade, there is a kids pedal tractor pull. Guess who wanted to try her hand at it? Yep, Princess Ashlyn in her dress and flip flops got out there and tried to pull the weight on the pedal tractor. She did just fine for never having tried anything like that before, and pulled a whopping 13+ feet!

You can check out pictures from the parades and tractor pull here.

And update from the lake will hopefully come soon!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Off to the Lake!

The kids and I are off to the lake with Britney's aunt Kris for an impromptu short vacation. We're just heading to Okoboji, Iowa, which is only about an hour from here, but, hey, it's a vacation - in a condo - on the water!!! If you need me, call my cell phone! We'll be back on Friday!

Thursday, July 19, 2007


We finally got some rain yesterday. It hadn't rained here for weeks and all of the crops were starting to look pretty sickly. We live in a HUGE farming/agricultural area with a lot of corn and soybean farms. My stomach would knot up when we would drive somewhere and see how bad the fields looked. I can only imagine what the farmers were thinking!

But, the Lord is faithful and answered the prayers for rain yesterday! Some areas got over an inch! Hopefully my flowers and yard will perk up a little too :)

I was also praying for rain for a different reason. Our house here is over 100 years old, so we don't have central air. Most of the time the house is cool despite that. I know those of you who live in Georgia couldn't imagine living in a house without air! I couldn't when we first moved here either, but I have been pleasantly surprised! Well, the last couple of days, the temps were in the 90s with 90-95% humidity. It was like living in a sauna upstairs. We have a small window air conditioner downstairs that kept that part of the house cool, but no such luck upstairs - yet!

You'll be pleased to know that we're taking a trip to Lowe's this weekend to buy a second air conditioner for upstairs :) So, when you come to visit, no worries - the house will be cool, even if the weather outside is hot and humid!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Hot Dog, Hot Dog, Hot Diggity Dog!

So, Hot Dog Night is apparently a big deal in Luverne, MN. We got there around 5:30 and people were already lining up for the free dogs. We picked a spot and got in line. All of the businesses on Main Street were giving away hot dogs in front of their stores. Some were just basic, with ketchup and mustard and some had all the fixin's.

Ashlyn got to enjoy a pre-race "train" ride. It's a contraption we've seen many times since living here. There's a riding lawn mower with all of these little "cars" attached behind it. To me, they look like 55 gallon drums turned on their sides and painted to look like little airplanes with a place cut out for a child to sit. They charge $1.50 per ride and can hold 20 kids. Britney and I have decided that it's a very lucrative way to make money here!

Anyway, Ashlyn rode and Carter got scared so he got out before the ride began. BOYS!

After our hot dogs and train ride, we walked around a little and then headed to the bleachers to get a good spot for the race. Folks, this is serious business. People have strategies about how to get their dogs to race. There were over 40 wiener dogs in the races. Kielbasa, last year's winner, didn't do so well. He was out after his first heat.

This year's winner was Kali. I think she's a 2 year old whose owners bribed her with a t-bone at the end of the race.

All in all, it was a pretty fun night. And amazing to me how grown, mature adults will sit on the side of a road and yell for their favorite wiener dog to run, run, run!

You can click here for pictures

Or you can click here for the complete story from the SPORTS section of the paper!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Hot Dog Day

Every Sunday we get a free newspaper called the Luverne Announcer. Britney calls it my "crack" (as in the drug). I grab it off the front steps as soon as it's delivered and read it all the way through. It's basically just a little local paper that advertises everything that is going on over the next week - special events, garage sales, auctions, etc.

So last week I was reading it and came across something called Hot Dog Days. Apparently tonight in Luverne the businesses are giving away free hot dogs. There are other activities too, but the one that stuck out to me (aside from the free food) is the weiner dog races down Main Street. Yes, apparently they race actual weiner dogs!

I'm curious to see how it goes. I'll post an update and pictures about it tomorrow. Who knew that there ever was such a thing as Hot Dog Day!

This weekend, Hot Dog Day will be followed by the Edgerton (another small town close by) Dutch Festival. The kids are excited about another parade and more CANDY! Maybe this time we'll be more prepared and will take a bag of some kind to catch all of it. Maybe I'll remember the camera for this one too. Life shouldn't be complete until you've experienced a small town parade and gotten to see the Beef Princess and Dairy Princess :)

The Singing Bee

Did anyone watch this on Tuesday night?

We did and loved it! I was surprised at how many of the songs I actually knew the words to, although there were at least a couple that I had no clue about.

Anyway, it's a pretty fun show and thought I'd share! I think it's on NBC at 9:30 (ET) on Tuesdays. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Fourth of July!

Doing anything fun for the 4th?

We're planning to take the kids to Pioneer Village in the morning. It's a place in Worthington that reminds me of the plantation at Stone Mountain, except on the 4th, they have the village "working." There will be all kinds of activities there and you can do things the "old way" like shucking corn, grinding flour, etc. Britney and I went there one 4th several years ago, and I really enjoyed it.

I'm sure we'll see fireworks somewhere tomorrow night - we just haven't decided where yet. A few years ago we were at the farm for the 4th and you can walk just up the road and see fireworks from 3 different towns. Maybe we'll do that again or we'll go to Worthington to see the ones over the lake. Whatever we decide, I'm sure it will be fun and I'll have pictures to share!

Monte and Matt got here late last night (or early this morning actually), so I'm sure the next few days will be full of visits to other family and probably some races in South Dakota.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pictures - Finally!

I've finally sat down long enough to create some photo albums online!! You can click here or go to www.picasaweb.google.com/larafransen

I don't have many posted of the kids yet, but check back often. I plan on adding more and will try to remember to post here when I do!


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The King and His Court

What more can I say?

The girls are Ashlyn and Carter's friends from down the street - Elisabeth is Aurora (Pink for those who are Princess Challenged) and Emily is Cinderella.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Where Have You Been?

I know you're probably asking me that question :) We've been busy, but I can't really tell you what we've been doing. Have you ever felt that way??? We did spend most of last week expanding our patio and as soon as I can get out there to take pictures of it, I will post some. I have before and after so that you can truly appreciate it! A couple of weeks ago, we took the kids on a wetland tour. Britney's aunt Mel works for the Heron Lake Watershed District as the Education Coordinator. This was a special event that they coordinated along with some other organizations in the area. The pictures are of Carter and Ashlyn on that tour. At one of the sites, a baby goose (a gosling) had fallen into a hole and one of the guys on our tour noticed it and rescued it. The gosling rode on the bus with us back to the starting point. Carter and Ashlyn loved it. We also got to see some monstrous tadpoles. This one is only about 1/4 of the size that another one we saw was! And the plant is what the Pioneers used as toilet paper in their early days on the prairie. It really was quite soft - almost like brushed cotton or something. Other than that, nothing too exciting. I'll try to get some pictures up of the house and the yard tomorrow. Hope you all had a good weekend!

Monday, June 11, 2007


This is gonna be quick because we're on our way out the door for dinner. But, OUR HOUSE IN GEORGIA IS SOLD!!!!!! We are so thankful and relieved that the deal finally closed and that the Lord has seen us through. Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts over the last few weeks. There have been many times of frustration, anger and questioning, but through it all, Britney and I both felt the Lord saying "Trust Me." We knew this was his plan for us and where he wanted us to be. We just had to wait on his timing.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Removing Wallpaper = Fun???

No, I haven't completely lost my mind. But believe it or not, over the last week I've had fun stripping wallpaper off the wall in our front stairway. It's kind of a long story...

When Alyson was here, we were talking about how I was going to change the house - what my ideas and plans were for decorating. We were in the living room talking about colors and somehow Britney brought up that he thought the stairway was paint over wallpaper. So, I went up the stairs, found a small rip and pulled :) Sure enough, there was at least one layer of paint over some wallpaper. But, the real find was underneath that first wallpaper layer. It appears that I uncovered the original wallpaper of the house or some that was installed in the early 1900s at some point. It's a mural of what appears to be antebellum homes with horses, carriages, etc. It reminds me of the movie North and South.

Anyway, I did some research online about historic wallpapers and mostly found opinions of people who think it's horrible if you rip down a part of history. Then I found other sites with instructions on how to safely remove historic wallpaper and ideas on preserving it. So, armed with Ivory soap, a squirt bottle and a razor blade, I set off tonight on the task of removing the mural wallpaper. It actually came off quite easily but I still have a long way to go...

It seems that the mural is painted on the wallpaper because when I first started and sprayed the paper, I was using a sponge and wiping the residual glue from the other wallpaper off before I tried to ease the mural paper off the wall. As I did that, the colors smeared and the lines became less crisp. At least that proved that it was in fact an old paper and my thinking that it was probably the original was correct. The things you can find on the internet are amazing!

I wondered what I might find underneath the wallpaper, but it looks like it's just the original plaster with lots of cleaning to be done. I've decided that since I was able to get at least two large sheets of the mural off, I'll have them framed and they'll hang in our guest room as artwork. I have our Charleston pictures of Rainbow Row in there right now, so the mural houses will go too.

The wallpaper is just one of the many finds I've made since we moved here. Maybe I'll save the others for another day. I have to keep you coming back somehow :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

A long overdue update!

Hello! We're still alive! We haven't frozen to death :)

Please remember my mom today - it's supposed to be her last chemo treatment! We're all praying for a clean report and a healthy mom after all of this is over. We know that the Lord put us all through this for a reason, and we're praying that He will restore her health quickly. Thank you all for your kindness and concern over the last 6 months. I always appreciated the notes, prayers and questions about how Mom was doing.

Life here has been delightfully slow. Alyson visited over Memorial Day weekend, and it was so great to see her! She helped me set up the disaster area that was to be the kids' playroom. Now that's a true friend! The kids have even done a pretty good job of keeping it picked up. She conquered 3 states in her short visit - South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. We turned her into a true road warrior and world traveler :)

A lot of you have asked for pictures of the house or the kids. I'm working on it and as soon as it's up on the website, I'll post the address and let you know. Sorry it's taken so long.

Last weekend was Buffalo Days over in Luverne, MN. It's a town about 15 miles away that is a little bigger than Adrian. I discovered lots of little gift shops and clothing stores that are just calling my name!

Anyway, Buffalo Days is kind of like Lilburn Daze or Suwanee Day, but without the heat and the crowds. The morning starts with a parade down Main Street. Ashlyn was expecting characters dressed up in costume enclosed in snow globes to go passing by. But, to her, this was even better because the people walking down the street in the parade threw CANDY! There were beauty queens, tractors, "big trucks" and the best part for Carter were the fire trucks! There must have been close to 10 of them in the parade, so you can only imagine how many times we heard "A FIRE CUCK!!!" at the top of his lungs! Oh yeah and there was also a cement mixer, so that was pretty good too.

After the parade, there is a huge craft show with over 100 booths. And a hot dog stand where you can feed a family of 4 for $7 :) We ate lunch and walked around the booths, the kids played on the playgrounds for awhile and then we came home. It was a nice day and Ashlyn is already asking when is the next Buffalo Days???

Today we're planning to go ride bikes around the lake. It's supposed to be sunny and almost 80, so should be a good day for it. Hope you all have a good one!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend!

I'm off to the airport in a few minutes to pick up my good friend Alyson. She's flying in for a weekend of sitting around doing nothing - and she's excited about it! Thank God for good friends. Have a great Memorial Day and remember to thank a veteran for giving of their life and time to ensure we keep the freedoms that those before them fought so hard for. Jonathan, Reggie, Granddaddy - thank you so much for all of the sacrifices that you've made. I love you! Happy Memorial Day Weekend! Enjoy it!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A sad day...

Our TV died this morning. Broken. Kaput. Nothing. What's even sadder is that we had just gotten it hooked up and working yesterday. Oh well. Britney didn't much think it would survive the move.

This is the latest in a series of attacks against our family since we moved here. Obviously, our biggest struggle has been our house in Georgia not selling. We haven't been able to buy or do any of the things we had planned because of that. We were both starting to get a little freaked out about money, especially after we got the bill from the movers last Wednesday. So, we decided that we would seek God and what His will is for us like we never have before. Thus, the full-on war began.

Wednesday night, Carter didn't sleep very well, so I was sleeping in his bed with him. I twisted wrong and pulled what felt like every muscle in my upper back and neck. It was 5:00 in the morning - not a great way to start what would turn out to be a very bad day. It's feeling much better now - thanks to a great husband who has been taking good care of me!

Thursday morning was the elusive trip to Sioux Falls - enough said!

Friday was actually a pretty good day. We've met a lady down the street who has 3 kids - six, four and 15 months. So, we played with the younger ones most of the day.

Saturday was good until my oven acted up (again) while baking Britney's birthday cake. Apparently the thermostat or something is busted on it because it cooks VERY VERY HOT! I made a cream cheese pound cake (is your mouth watering?) that was supposed to cook for 1 hour and 55 minutes at 350. Instead, I had to cook it at 225 for 1 hour and 20 minutes - and one side of the outside still turned black and I USED MY STONEWARE BUNDT PAN!!! AGH!

Anyway, Sunday was a great day with Britney's birthday and church. We went to Jerry and Mel's church and they had a missionary from France in to speak. He was incredible! But, we both realized that there are very few churches reaching our generation or even the next one. We were the youngest couple in the church (with the exception of Britney's cousins). No young marrieds, singles or even many high schoolers. It made me sad and also made me realize that we ARE here for a purpose.

Enter Monday - Carter didn't sleep much at all Sunday night and Ashlyn was up by 6:30 in the morning. Both kids woke up with a cold. We were all grumpy Monday and didn't get along well all day.

Which brings us back to the TV - and money - and the fact that our house still hasn't sold and God is in control! When we realized the TV was dead, I just started laughing. Satan CANNOT steal my joy!!!

So, if you think about us over the next few days as we continue to seek what God's will is for us and what His plan is for us, please pray that satan would leave us alone.

James 1:2-4 (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Carter, Ashlyn and a Broken Car

I know it's been awhile since I updated. Sorry about that. We've just been unpacking, grocery shopping and playing outside. Nothing too exciting, so I just thought I'd share some of the highlights and lowlights of the last week ;)

Ashlyn got registered for kindergarten this week. It was exciting and sad at the same time. Britney was excited because the school uses all Macs! She's getting so big that it's hard to remember all of those sleepless nights when she was so sick as a baby. Her "mama" tooth is also starting to come in where she lost her two baby teeth. She has really blossomed here and has such an imagination!

Carter is still the most adorable little tornado! Every day he drags his cars out all over the living room and pushes them around. His favorite toys these days are his John Deere tractors and wagons. He "put, put, puts" them around all day. He also loves his Elmo toolbench, which he got for Christmas, but we left in the box so I didn't have to re-pack it when we moved. He'll stand up in the playroom by himself for half an hour singing along with Elmo about "working at the tool bench!" I bought him new sandals this week and we ended up with the Buzz Lightyear light-up sandals from Target. He SCREAMED when I took his old shoes off (which were way too small, but he was very attached) and didn't want to try ANY new shoes on, until Ashlyn was kind enough to point out the ugly Buzz Lightyear ones. Now, that's all he wants to wear. Which, isn't necessarily a bad thing except that it's been in the 60's here the last couple of days, so MY SON has worn his SANDALS with SOCKS! I know - it's the worst fashion catastrophe, but sometimes it's worth one less fight in the morning.

Let's see...what else? Oh yeah - the broken car :) The kids and I had a great day planned yesterday to go to Sioux Falls for shopping and lunch with Britney's aunt Mel, his cousins Robin and Marci and Robin's daughter Haylee (she's 3 weeks younger than Carter). We all piled into Mel's van, two hours later than we had originally planned, and headed out. We made it exactly 20 miles when the kids were getting antsy. Then the car made a loud clicking noise, like when you run over rocks in the road and the power steering went out. Luckily, we were already getting off the interstate to start a movie for the kids. We pulled over and I called Britney. He came and confirmed what we already knew - we had thrown the power steering belt. So, a couple of hours later, we were on our way - BACK HOME! Haylee and Carter were both asleep within minutes of getting back on the interstate and our trip to Sioux Falls was postponed. Bummer!

This weekend we'll celebrate Britney's 31st birthday with brats (the food, not people) and birthday cake. We have a few family members coming over to have lunch with us. We hope you all have a good weekend and enjoy the nice weather I hear is coming to the South!!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Decisions, Decisions

I'm sitting here in the living room, looking out the window on another beautiful morning. The weather here has been perfect the last few days. Highs have been in the 80s with very low humidity. There hasn't been much wind either. The hardest decision I've had to make the last few days (besides where to put things) is what we're going to do with our days!

Tuesday the kids and I worked in the yard all day. We planted some wildflower seeds in a new flower bed that we dug out. The kids also played frisbee and on their new slide that Nana gave them for Christmas. By the time we went inside, they were covered in mud from head to toe and left a nice ring around the bathtub once they were all clean! One of our neighbors stopped told me that she could always tell how much fun her kids were having by how dirty they were. By the looks of Carter and Ashlyn, they must have had a blast!

Yesterday we spent the day at the lake. There is a pretty big lake in Worthington, about 15 minutes away. We found this little park that joins right up to the lake, so the kids could play on the playground for awhile and then play in the sand and they even ventured into the water about knee-deep. I'm sure it was cold, but they insisted it wasn't, so I let them play.

Hmmm, so what should we do today? I'm sure we'll be outside again and I need to walk down to the grocery store and the hardware store. So far, life here is very good. I hope I'm still saying the same thing next January and February :)

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Small Town, USA

Small town life is so good. I love it here and can't believe how much it feels like "home" to me already. The last week is somewhat of a blur, but I'd like to share some of the things that have stood out to me.

The biggest one is probably grocery shopping. The kids and I went to Hy-Vee, a small chain grocery store that is probably only in the Midwest. There is a WalMart close by, but I wanted to get out of my rut and try something new. Britney would say their meat counter is incredible - and they actually have a meat counter where you can go in and order your "usual" of whatever cuts of meat you like.

At the register, the cashier asked me if I would like to "drive up" today. I thought she was asking for a donation to something, but she politely explained that I could drive up to the curb and they would load my groceries in the car. How's that for service! Anyway, once I explained that we had just moved from out of town and that's why I didn't know what "drive up" meant (duh!), she invited me to church. She was very nice and politely answered my questions about their church the best that she could. I don't know why that stuck with me so much, but it really made an impression.

The other thing that has stood out to me is the wind! While most of the time there is just a nice breeze blowing (kind of like being at the beach), yesterday and Friday were down right gale force winds! Remember watching Little House on the Prairie when it took them pushing against the door of the house to just get it open enough to squeeze inside? That was no exaggeration! We were on the playground the other day when a gust of wind came out of nowhere and literally knocked Carter to the ground. He just layed there for a minute because he didn't know what to do. Then, in true Carter fashion, he laughed and got up and said "silly wind!".

I think my favorite part of Adrian so far is the fact that we can WALK anywhere we need to go. If we were Catholic, we could even walk to church (it's a block from our house). But, the library, bank, grocery store, pharmacy, consignment shop, etc. is all within just a short, flat walk from our house. Hopefully that will motivate me to get some more exercise!

Well, I hope this gave you a little bit of a glimpse into our life here so far. Feel free to call or email anytime (or visit!).

Monday, April 30, 2007

We have arrived!

Boy, I'm tired! It's Monday - our first full day as Minnesotans. We arrived yesterday around lunch and then spent a couple of hours at our new house. The kids picked their rooms and saw where everything is going to go. They love the yard and the playground at the school across the street.

Today, the kids and I spent the afternoon at the house working and playing. There were a lot of things that the previous owner left, so I spent the day going through that and cleaning cabinets. I think the last 3 days of driving are hitting me today.

Our furniture should arrive tomorrow afternoon or Wednesday - almost a week earlier than we were originally told. I guess that's good news! I just feel like I have to hurry and get things all cleaned up so that the house is ready for our furniture and stuff...Maybe not - life is so much slower here, I think I'll just take my time and do it right the first time. Oh yeah - but I do remember to call and have my washing machine delivered - OOPS!

I've met a couple of our neighbors already. There is an older couple who lives behind us. They moved to Adrian in 1960. They were very nice and helpful, which is good because I didn't even know where the post office is! I also met another neighbor who lives a couple of streets over. She was waiting for the kids she watches to come out of school today, so she was just standing in front of our house. She was also very nice.

I'm sorry if this post doesn't seem very coherent! Maybe it's because my brain is tired. I'll try to do better in a couple of days!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

We're on our way!

I'm typing this post from a McDonald's in northern Kansas City, MO. The kids were at their limit for riding in the car, so we've stopped for dinner and are letting them play on the playground to their heart's content!

The trip has gone fairly well so far, except for trying to get out of Atlanta at 4:00 on Friday afternoon! Two hours later, we were finally to Cartersville! We made it to Murfreesboro, TN last night and are planning to get to Council Bluffs, Iowa tonight - only 165 more miles...

Yesterday before we left, both kids managed to take really nasty falls. Carter tripped over a small bush in the backyard at Britney's parent's house and has a nice scrape on his forehead and arm. Ashlyn fell in the driveway while she was chasing Maggie and did a number on her elbow. She has the strawberry of all strawberries and quite the bruise to match!

As if that weren't enough, I looked at her yesterday and thought one of her teeth were loose. She calmly said no - it was just crooked. Then she proceeded to test it and it wiggled freely! Apparently it's been loose for awhile, but she didn't even realize it! Well, she must have worked on it all afternoon and then pulled it in the car on the way back from dinner. She is officially a snaggletooth! One day I'll post pictures of her - eventually.

Anyway, we should be in Minnesota around lunch time tomorrow. Check back often and thanks for all of the great comments! We miss you already!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Adventure Begins!

After two weeks of emotional roller coasters and "we're moving - we're not moving," we're finally moving! We had some issues with our buyer's loan and as of right now, our house is still for sale. But, we feel that God is calling us to move to Minnesota and have the faith that He will see us through. The moving truck comes in the morning and if all goes well, we'll be pulling out tomorrow afternoon. I can't tell you how trying the last couple of weeks have been for me. I think I've experienced every emotion on the planet! It's incredible the peace that you experience when you surrender everything to the Lord (again...). I really should be in bed, but I've been running so crazy all day, I'm trying to unwind. Hopefully sleep will quickly ascend upon me - unlike last night where I got a whopping 3 hours because Carter has an ear infection - again. OK - off to bed. Enough rambling. Pray for us tomorrow, Saturday, and Sunday as we drive to our new home in Minnesota! If I can figure out how, I'll post some pictures once we're there.