About Me

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I have two kids - a girl and a boy - and live in north-central Minnesota, land of snow and ice. Well, for 9 months of the year, that is. I work full-time for a local government, and on my "free time" I enjoy cooking, baking, hanging out with my kiddos, and RELAXING.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Easton: Seven Months

Vital Stats
Easton weighs 20.8 pounds and is 29 inches. He is going to catch Natalie before too long (she is 33 inches)!

Milestones This Month
Easton can sit fairly well, although he has a freaky tendency to suddenly throw himself backwards. Mommy is not a fan of that. He gets up on his hands and knees and rocks back and forth constantly, so will probably be crawling before too long. And then, watch out!

Easton has been doing well sleeping at night. He isn't the nighttime sleeper Natalie is, but is pretty consistent. With the current heat wave he hasn't been sleeping as well, but neither has anyone else. Naps are hit-and-miss. Sometimes he will take a great 2-3 hour nap, and sometimes it will only be 30 minutes. Mommy always plans for 30 minute naps so she can be pleasantly surprised when they are longer.

The doctor told Mommy at Easton's last appointment that "there are no real food restrictions, except raw honey" and to start giving him red meat! So sky's the limit for this boy. So far Mommy hasn't branched out too far, but he has had some spaghetti and almost every fruit and veggie under the sun. Mommy keeps trying to give him Puff snacks but he isn't crazy about the texture and ends up gagging most of the time. We are working on it.

Easton is pretty good at getting his point across. He giggles, smiles, cries, and whines with the best of them. He doesn't babble as much as the last month, but he is pretty busy with physical milestones so social milestones have taken a back seat.

Play Time
Easton loves to play! He is really starting to get into his toys, and Natalie's toys, much to her consternation. She isn't a huge fan of letting Easton play with her toys and often has to be convinced that it is okay. Watch out world when he starts crawling; we are going to have a VERY unhappy big sister! Easton isn't as entertained in his jumparoo, exersaucer, or bouncer as he used to be. He would much rather be on the floor playing with toys, rolling/scooting around, and trying to crawl.

Monday, August 26, 2013


I love the Fourth of July. And Americana decorations. I buy them whenever I can, but my favorite time to buy them is July 5th. You can get some good deals, man.

I got this napkin/silverware holder last summer on clearance after the Fourth.

And also these wind things...I know they have an actual name, but I'm only coming up with windmill, and I know that isn't right.

We bought a flag this year and put it on our garage. It mostly blows up on the roof, but sometimes it hangs nicely.

My mom gave me this earlier this year. She's had it since I was a kid but hasn't used it much recently. It has all kinds of themes. Currently we have a "Happy Birthday" cake up there since Natalie's birthday was a few days ago.

I got this on a garage sale in the cities a few years ago...

...and I got this handy-dandy Americana mail holder just last summer. This one stays up all the time. 'Cause it's okay to be patriotic year-round, you know.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


I have failed at these lately! But here are some cute pictures of my kiddos:

Thanks, Mom!

Easton: Six Months

Vital Stats
Easton weighs 19.5 pounds and is 28 inches. Mommy pulled out the 12-month jammies yesterday! He is getting so big!

Milestones This Month
Easton is a fairly proficient roller, and can almost sit unassisted. Mommy has seen him get up on his hands and knees only once, so it will take a lot more time and practice before he is crawling.

There was an unfortunate waking-in-the-middle-of-the-night phase that lasted about two weeks. After that there was an almost-as-bad waking-before-the-crack-of-dawn phase. Mommy finally figured out that yes, Easton CAN hear her walking around at 5:20 a.m. and put a big, noisy fan in his room. The first morning after that he slept until 7:30 and Mommy sang praises to Jesus.

Easton is almost ready for stage 2 baby foods. If he knew it was coming he would probably be excited! He appears to be very tired of the same old, same old sweet potatoes and bananas. How about some variety, Mom? Easton eats three meals a day, with an occasional mid-morning and/or mid-afternoon bottle, and a bottle before bed.

Easton babbles!! This is new for Mommy because big sister Natalie almost never babbled, and certainly not at this age. Mommy loves hearing Easton’s “dadadadadada”! Easton is also a master at expressing excitement, especially when it’s time for a bottle. It’s a perfect mix of anxiety and anticipation: “Give it to me NOW, Momma. NOW, NOW, NOW!” (Cue waving/grasping hands and frantic expression.)

Play Time
Easton is playing with toys on the floor more and more, much to Natalie’s dismay. Yesterday Mommy told Natalie she had to let Easton play with some of her toys, and, with a very concerned look on her face, she stared at him from the corner of her eye. Easton also still enjoys his bouncer and jumperoo, but he isn’t as content for as long as he used to be. Much more like how Natalie always was: ready to be on the move!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

an ode to my sheets

I love clean sheets. They are one of my favorite things. I may have mentioned that a time or seven.

I used to wash my sheets every week. I used to clean the house every week, too. But that was back before I had kids. And internet. Kids and internet take up a lot of my free time.

Now that we are living in our own place, with our own washer and dryer, washing sheets is way more convenient than it used to be. I was so excited for it.

But then Easton was born. Easton, with all his crazy skin problems. Easton, who ate in the middle of the night for FOREVER, it seemed to me. Easton, who would come in contact with my sheets. Which meant, unfortunately, they had to be washed in dye-free, SCENT-FREE detergent.

What a sad state of affairs. No more clean-smelling sheets. Instead, they would smell like nothing. Like NOTHING! For about one day, I guess, and then they would smell like formula spit-up.

But now Easton sleeps in his own room, in his own bed, and never comes in contact with my sheets. You know what that means? For the first time in about four years, my sheets can be washed weekly in yummy-smelling detergent. And I can enjoy clean sheets once more.

Let me hear you now..."CEL-E-BRATE GOOD TIMES, COME ON!"

Saturday, July 6, 2013

mailbox: before and after

When you move in December in Minnesota the mailbox can cause a few problems. Well, really only one problem: it's impossible to dig a hole.

And by impossible, I mean "possible but expensive and time-consuming" (i.e., not for me).

So we had a solution: freeze the post in a five-gallon bucket. And it worked well, during the winter and into the spring. Sure, there was that time I came home to the mailbox tipped over and mail scattered all over the road, but no harm done.

It was, however, getting really old. I was afraid the whole thing was going to tip over into the vehicle and scratch it all up. Or the mail lady was going to leave us a nasty note reminding us that the ground was no longer frozen and hey, got on that already.

Finally last week we fixed it. A call to Gopher One and two hours later, VOILA!

A definite improvement. Please take special note of the house number painted on the mailbox. A bang-up job, if I do say so myself.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Easton: Five Months

Vital Stats
Easton weighs 18.7 pounds and is 27.75 inches. He is getting bigger every day.

Milestones This Month
Easton can roll back-to-tummy and tummy-to-back, when he wants to. One day at daycare he rolled all the way across the living room! His legs are getting stronger as he plays in his jumparoo and exersaucer.

Easton still does well in his crib all night. There were a couple weeks in the past month where he started waking up at 5am, but the last week or so he has been sleeping until Mommy wakes him up around 6am. Last Saturday the whole family even slept in until 7am! It was wonderful.

We have an eater! Easton will eat anything. He isn't crazy about peas or green beans, but will just keep on chowing down with a frown on his face the entire time. He LOVES his fruits. Mommy always has to save them for the end of the meal, otherwise he will fill up on them and not eat his veggies. Easton eats three meals of solids at approximate "mealtimes" and has four or five 4-8oz bottles a day.

Mommy thinks Easton knows his name. Either that, or he just a good listener and looks at Mommy whenever she is talking to him. 

Play Time
Easton spends a lot of time in his exersaucer. He loves to stand! He still LOVES to kick, too, so he is in his bouncer a lot. He has been spending more time on the floor now that he can roll. He likes to play with his toys on the activity center. Unfortunately, so does Natalie. She will try to jump right under there with him, so Mommy or Daddy need to always be right there to keep him from getting smashed by his big sister.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013

when saving is a sacrifice

I've always been proud of our ability to save money. Darren and I have been very fortunate to spend most of our married life without financial stress, and consequently have been able to save up quite a bit of money. Easily. I always wondered why more people didn't do it.

Enter "buying a house."

I like to throw around the term "house poor." Really, we aren't poor, but we are cash strapped, and here's why: I still consider saving money a necessary "expenditure" of funds.

Between pension contributions, deferred comp retirement savings, college savings, Christmas savings, and our emergency savings, plus our additional mortgage principal payment, we are "spending" over $1,250 per month. Almost all of these payments are optional (except our pensions, which are statutorily required) in theory; to me, however, I consider them necessary. And, since I refuse to eliminate them unless absolutely necessary, this means we don't have a lot of extra money sitting around. It's a sacrifice, most definitely. But it also has taught me some important lessons about fiscal responsibility and patience. It means less (or no!) eating out, no new clothes, and paying better attention to prices at the grocery store. It means we survive without the Disney channel, and I'm pushing to get rid of our smart phones when our contract expires in six months (although I'm not sure I will win that one!).

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Going above and beyond...

...your mortgage payment.

You can use excel to create a simple payment schedule that will show your mortgage payments for the entire length of your loan, with principal and interest breakout. All you need to know is the length of your mortgage, interest rate, and monthly payment amount. Excel, in all its wonders, will do the rest.

The best part is playing around with your payment and determining how much you can save in interest by contributing extra principal each month. Darren and I have decided to contribute an extra $100 each month towards our payment. This will save us almost $20,000 in interest over the course of our 30-year mortgage, and will allow us to pay it off 8 years sooner.

One hundred dollars a month is a bit of a sacrifice for us (more on that tomorrow), but it is something we are willing to stick with.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sunday, June 2, 2013


A couple months ago I was looking through some of my mom's scrapbooks. On one page she had pictures of her home from every season. "What a great idea!" I though.
And so, observe:
Our first winter in the house.
The first spring.
And more to come!

Thursday, May 30, 2013


I missed 20/52...oops.

But these are from the weekend!

Yes, I feed my little girl bacon (only one half piece!). She thinks it is the most delicious thing ever.

Big boy trying cereal for the first time. Not a fan of the cereal, but a definite fan of carrots and apples!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Easton: Four Months

Vital Stats
Easton wears 6-month day clothes and 9-month pajamas. Mommy has a 12-month suit Grandma got on a garage sale, and she is going to try to fit him into it for a wedding in a few weeks. It will be close! Easton weighs 17 pounds and is 27 inches (plus or minus one inch...Natalie was "helping"). He is a big boy! Mommy is curious what percentiles he will be at his 4-month checkup in a week.

Milestones This Month

Easton is doing better and better with tummy time. A few weeks ago he kept rolling tummy-to-back but then apparently decided he doesn't want to any more, since he stopped. He sits pretty well with help, and loves to stand in his exersaucer and jumparoo.


Easton is sleeping through the night in his crib! Mommy is very, very excited. It only took one sad night of sleep training and since then Easton puts himself to sleep (with a little crying) before the first "check" (used in sleep training) and sleeps all night long! Naps, however, are another story. Mommy wonders why both her children were terrible infant nappers while still being good nighttime sleepers.


Two nights before Easton turned four months, he drank 14oz of formula before bed. The next night Mommy gave him cereal. He ate it once, and then never wanted it again, the same as his big sister. So Mommy moved on to carrots. He LOVES carrots! They are so tasty, and he doesn't even mind when there is some cereal mixed in with them. He also has tried apples, and they are pretty yummy, too. Mommy is very excited he is into solid food. The first time he had carrots he cried when Mommy wouldn't give him any more. Easton was pushing 40oz a day of formula (general guidelines are when a baby reaches 32oz he/she is ready for solids) but is now back to around 26-30oz per day with three small meals of solids.


Easton likes to smile and giggle. He loves to interact with his sister, and she likes to entertain him. So far she is good about sharing toys, but that is probably because she can still take them away when she wants them back. Easton loves to watch himself in the mirror and watch the world around him. He is very content to sit in his bouncer and watch everyone move around. 

Play Time

Easton's favorite toy is still his bouncer, but he is getting more and more time in his exersaucer and jumparoo. He doesn't jump yet but he does enjoy standing there and watching Natalie play with his toys. He will play some with the toys on his exersaucer. He is using his activity mats a little bit more, and will grab and play with the toys hanging from his bouncer.

Monday, May 27, 2013

sleep training

For those of you fortunate enough to never have to sleep train your child, count yourself blessed.

It's not the world's most enjoyable activity. But the benefits make it worth it.

Natalie was a breeze to sleep train. She was already used to sleeping in her crib, all night, but she had just started to wake several times at night for her pacifier. Literally one night of sleep training, during which she just woke a few times and put herself back to sleep within minutes, and we were done. Easy peasy.

Easton, however, had been sleeping in the swing for a couple of months. The last month he was waking up for his pacifier, even while in the swing. I was not anticipating an easy go of it. I figured it would take several nights of really poor sleep before he would finally sleep all night in his crib, without his pacifier.

Dr. Ferber ("Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems") is a genius. That's all I have to say.

Easton's first night of sleep training was rough, as I had imagined it would be. He woke up four times during the night. I finished Miss Congeniality and started Ocean's Eleven. The longest he was awake was from 2-3am, after which he slept until morning, only waking himself up once but going back to sleep within minutes with only some minor fussing. Darren very kindly got up with him and Natalie around 7am and let me sleep in. The next night it was Darren's turn with Easton. I kept telling him, "I hope your night goes better than mine!"

And it was. I was really excited the next morning when Darren told me Easton didn't wake him up at all. I didn't necessarily take that to mean that Easton never woke up, though. Darren is a heavy sleeper, so I figured if Easton did wake up, he didn't cry long enough or hard enough to wake up Darren.

And it continued. Last night neither one of us heard Easton at all during the night after his last bottle around 9:30. We did hear him a couple times before that, although he put himself back to sleep before the first "check." He slept from 9:30-7:00am without waking either one of us up.

Sleep training success.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


A Mother's Day picture with my kiddos. Probably shouldn't have sat in the sun because we are all squinting!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Monday, May 6, 2013

Entry Shelf

Our entry area is long and narrow, so we don't have room for the nice mud-room style built-ins I always wanted. Fortunately, there's ana-white.com. Darren found plans for this awesome shelf.

He made it in the winter and we weren't able to paint it until it warmed up outside.

There were even plans for little pallet boxes.

Too cute!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Easton: Three Months

Vital Stats
Easton is still wearing six-month clothing and can’t really fit into his three-month things any more. Mommy remembered to take his picture when he turned three months but forgot to weigh and measure him. :(

Milestones This Month

Easton tries to giggle sometimes. He will either produce a very strange sound or will make no sound with his mouth wide open in a big smile. Easton is a supported sitter and likes to sit in his Bumbo or on Mommy and Daddy’s laps. Easton holds his head and upper body up pretty well during tummy time on Mommy’s lap, but when he is on the floor he smashes his face to his blanket and cries.


Mommy is very excited that Easton is now sleeping through the night! He started sleeping 9 hours when he turned 12 weeks old. Currently he sleeps in his swing at night, but Mommy will take what she can get.


Easton will take 5-8 ounces of formula at each bottle, typically eating a whopping 36oz per day! He is almost ready for solids and Mommy can’t wait because she is hoping it will improve his naps and stretch out the time between bottles, which is every 2.5-3.5 hours.


Easton loves to smile at everyone. A stranger can smile at him and he will smile back. It seems like he is starting to try and giggle. He also loves to “talk” to Mommy and Daddy in his baby language.

Play Time

Easton loves to kick, kick, kick in his bouncer. He will get that thing going! Sometimes when Mommy is downstairs she can hear him through the ceiling just bouncing away. He loves to watch his toys swing back and forth when he is bouncing. He also enjoys trying to grab things held in front of his face. This is difficult, though, because typically his big sister will try to come and take it away if it’s held still for too long.

Big sister wanted to hold his sign.
"Here, Easton, you take it."

Thursday, May 2, 2013

One. Two. Three?

Bad things come in three’s, or so I’ve always heard.

One: Two nights ago, Natalie was sitting in her booster at the kitchen island on a counter-height stool. She was happily eating pizza and fruit, chattering away to me while I went through the mail. All of a sudden she and the chair are on the floor. She had kicked back off the counter, tipping herself over backwards. She banged the back of her head pretty good, resulting in quite the bump, which resulted in a call to the clinic after-hours line. Instructions to monitor her for the rest of the evening and wake her once during the night were all that came about, fortunately.

Two: Last night during bath time Natalie fell and smacked her face against the edge of the tub. Later Darren noticed a chipped front tooth. Poor little thing. After a call to the dentist it was discovered that nothing is really done for chipped baby teeth.

Three: ?
I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. Or would that be the third shoe?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Leslie Patricelli books

A couple weeks ago I bought Natalie a potty for potty-training, and I also bought her some "potty books," one of which was a book by Leslie Patricelli.

Natalie loves it. The pictures and captions are pretty funny. I had a few chuckles the first time we read it. I also bought her "Yummy Yucky," which contrasts things that are "yummy" with things that are "yucky." Best line: "Burgers are yummy. Boogers are yucky."

Leslie Patricelli has a few other contrast books like "Quiet Loud" and "Big Little." They are both on my wish list for Natalie.

These books are definitely becoming a favorite in our house!