Sunday, March 31, 2013

Pirate Ship: Part 1

For Christmas, Marin's baptism, and Mallory's birthday we requested, as gifts, donations to our swing set fund. Marin didn't need any toys, since we have plenty infant toys from Mallory. And even with donations, Mallory still got toys at Christmas...everyone wanted her to have something to open.

Since Thanksgiving, I have wanted to build this Pirate Ship playhouse with attached swings that I found here. Here is a picture from their website:

John thought I was crazy. Being a girl, and having two girls, I know that when I was younger my sisters and I played on our swingset with clubhouse all the time...especially the clubhouse part. This ship would be an awesome clubhouse for our kids who live on 4.5 acres, with no other kids around. After looking around the site, we thought his projected cost was totally doable, but maybe unrealistic - wood is expensive! Still, we asked for donations knowing that if we didn't build the ship, the girls would still be getting a swing set of some sort.

Luckily, we got a great amount of donations, and Menards was having its 11% off everything sale this week! So, we purchased the ship plans online, printed out the materials list, and off to the store we went! We knew that even if our total was over this guy's estimate, we were still going to build it, thanks to the amazing contributions from our friends and family.

We got to the register and checked out. After a few calculations, taking out the other stuff we bought and the rebates (which we will use on the swings and slide), we were surprisingly almost exactly at his lumber/screws and nails estimate!

John, his parents, and his brother, made three trips to Menards on Friday to collect all the wood we purchased. It was a lot! But we were able to save even MORE money because when they went out to the lumber yard, John noticed that the price listed outside was cheaper than the price we paid on most of the lumber we purchased - so he "wheeled and dealed" as he puts it, and we got the cheaper price adjustment. Fantastic!

We headed outside to see trip #2 being unloaded:
Unloading trip #2

Today, we headed outside to map out where we wanted the ship to go.
Daddy laying out the footprint of the ship - it's 4 feet smaller than the longest part of the ship when built, so we had to make sure everything would be in the right place one we add the arm off the back for the swings. We have a bumpy/hilly  lot so we needed everything on flat land. 

Mallory sitting on the tractor...ready to play!

It was pretty windy out there today! Marin kept trying to lick the air!

So...hopefully we will be able to make some progress on it this week! More updates to come!


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Reflections and Egg Hunting

First of all, I want to take a second to reflect on the Slice of Life Challenge. I am sooooooo glad I participated! I loved reading other people's posts everyday. I also loved getting comments from other people! People who felt the way I did, or gave great advice, or shared their experiences with me. I think, as humans, we are all craving to make connections with others and this challenge has helped to feed that craving a bit. I also was able to get some things out that I have always wanted to say or explore and that was amazing for me. I WILL continue to blog, and can't wait for the challenge next year!

Today was a pretty great day. I was so excited to have some decent weather! I was able to get a few things done, thanks to my sister-in-law and her fiance. They watched the baby while I showered and took Mallory's 2 year pictures outside.

See more photos here.

John and his parents and brother did some work in the garage, prepping to drywall the ceiling. Afterwards, we went to a birthday party,
It was dinosaur themed. My girls are the last two all the way to the right. And no, I would not have put the mask on the baby if she had cried about it - which she didn't...she really didn't mind at all for that minute it was on, and she LOVED laughing at all the other kids with their masks on!
went out to dinner, had an egg hunt at our house for Mallory, and dyed some eggs. More of these photos here.

Sorting her loot.

 A very busy day, but lots of fun with Mallory. Marin was really just along for the ride.  :)

Friday, March 29, 2013

First Tennis Match

Today we went and played tennis with my husband's family. It has been 3 years since I've
played, and 2 since John had - we were busy having kids and all.

We forgot to look for a kids' racket before leaving, but Mallory had a good time with the one we gave her. I can't wait for her to be able to hit the ball! Horrible pictures below - I forgot the camera so I had to use the ipad instead. I'm promising myself not to forget next time!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Not today...

Really having a hard time choosing a topic for today. So, here is the list of things I kind of wanted to, but will not blog about today:

My original topic: My daughter's doctor appointment (can't blog about it because my husband had to take her).

*Being too judgmental.
*How much I hate this cold weather.
*Getting to meet a real miracle of a baby yesterday, and how my daughter was still talking about the stuffed puppy she wants to "visit" because I told her yesterday she could.
*The pants I wore today.
*The AT&T commercials with the little kids - LOVE these!
*The awful television I watch.
*How much I detest Niki Minaj on American Idol...and in general.
*The mound of papers I brought home to grade over break.
*The failed doughnuts I attempted this morning.
*How much I really really miss acting.
*The amazing IPad app I reluctantly bought to use in class today and now LOVE!
*Teacher evaluations
*Again, how much I detest Niki Minaj...can you tell what I am doing other than blogging right now? I mean, seriously...this is who our youth enjoys? And what were they thinking putting her on IDOL? She says nothing constructive or intelligent at all! She mostly just comments on their attire. Grrrr...
*How right at the end of my rant about "she who shall not be named" there is another adorable AT&T commercial that restores my faith in the people who put things on television.

Maybe I will expand on one of these later, but not today.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


We had lunch provided in the lounge today. On my way there I offered to get cupcakes for the other people I eat lunch with. On my way out of the lounge I saw our principal in the hallway. Everyone else with plates had one small dessert. She said hello so quickly I didn't have the chance to explain my plate. She'll probably think I'm pregnant again. Or a total glutton. I couldn't blame her if she did, though. See photo below...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

10 Birthdays

Tomorrow will be my husband's 32nd birthday, and his 10th birthday that we have spent together. That's a lot of birthdays, and a lot of time together. I knew I could spend forever with him WAY before that thought ever crossed his mind. Here's how it began...

It was spring break, 10 years ago, that he broke up with me. We had been "seeing" each other for 4-5 months, and the day before spring break he told me he wants to break up. He was going to graduate in a few months and then move back to his parents', which was 2.5 hours from where I lived, and 2 hours from school, and I still had 2 years left to go. He told me that since we were such great friends, which we were, that he didn't want to mess that up by trying to do a long-distance relationship.

I was really sad for a mili-second, and then I thought, "What an idiot! We are fantastic together!" I think that at one point, the next day, I even told him how stupid I thought it was.

Over break we played Literati (scrabble) and Cribbage online against each other, like we did at school late at night. He told me that he still wanted to take me out for my birthday when we got back to school. So, that Sunday, when we returned, we saw each other at a mutual friend's apartment (the place we met, actually). Later that night he came over to watch a movie and we discussed the plans for my birthday the next day, and then he left.

We went out for my birthday the next night - dinner at Amarillo Steakhouse - and, afterwards, decided to get back together. After a week of playing games online with him every night, I knew we couldn't stay apart for too just worked too well.

One of his gifts to me for this birthday was an actual Cribbage board he bought at the local church rummage sale. It had no pegs, so he went to Walmart, bought a dowel, and cut and whittled the wood into pegs. This gift was so "him." It was inexpensive, but extremely thoughtful - as have been almost all of my birthday gifts since then.

Sometime after he proposed (years later), my dad said he knew he was right for me after a visit to our house one weekend. We had spent the entire day Saturday playing board and card games and if this guy was happy spending the day like that with me, he had to be the one.

Now, I don't believe there are "perfect" marriages. How can there be? If there are, ours isn't one of them. However, I know that there is no one in the universe I would rather be spending my life with than this man...not even Justin Timberlake (see my post "Confessions"). I don't think I'm a great wife, though - I hate cleaning, and dishes, and laundry, and I don't cook very well, so if we lived in any time before 1960 or so, it would be a wonder he's still around! Even in the post about him, I could remember MY first birthday with him...but I can't remember what we did for HIS birthday a week later! But most of the time, on his part of the marriage, he is a great husband and father and here are some reasons why and why I love him so much...

He does all the yard work.
He does the laundry.
He has been doing the dishes a lot more - really a trade off now because it's either dishes or watch Marin, who, right now only wants mommy so he would be trying to entertain a screaming baby...or dishes. What's your pick, really?
He works misc. jobs to make a few extra bucks.
He stops me from spending (even when he's not there).
He puts Mallory to bed most nights, and it is adorable to listen to from downstairs.
He is 1/2 the reason I have such amazing and beautiful daughters.
He has taught Mallory how to ask really politely for things, and taught her her shapes with K'nex.
We have similar views towards our kids and parenting.
He makes me laugh.
His friends love him.
He is always willing to help others and puts others first, sometimes to a fault, I think.
He loves our kids sooooo much.
He has put up with 2 epidural-less labor and deliveries.
He's smart.
He's going to build a pirate ship playhouse for the kids because I really want one.
We still have fun together.

That last one is important. I think we get caught up in school and work and parenting, and sometimes go long periods of time without having any real fun together. And then it unexpected day off, a family trip to Lowes, a discussion about how ridiculous something or someone is, a talk about something adorable one of the girls did - a time where we're pulled out of all the crap that drags you down and away from each other, and we reconnect again.

All this emotional stuff drives him bananas. If he reads this he'll be rolling his eyes....the entire time, I'm sure.

I've come to realize that I am a great mom, but I know I'm not the best wife - I still have no clue what I'm going to get him for his birthday and it's tomorrow - but I know what a great husband I have. And even though I don't show it enough through my actions - dirty dishes, unfolded laundry, a funny tasting dinner - I do love him, and I hope he knows that.

Happy Birthday!

Monday, March 25, 2013

What should I blog about

I asked my husband what I should blog about today. He said...

How about the CRAZY weather.

Snow in spring!?

Oh my gosh!!

The ladies will eat that up.

Hopefully no one actually takes offense to this. I'm pretty sure he is referring to how we, ladies, often go a little nuts about ridiculous the weather, or cute babies, or, as I type this, my 2-year old is running through the kitchen, pantsless, yelling "POOP, POOP!" - another successful trip to the potty and it's the greatest accomplishment of her life - she is her mother...and I totally agree. I always go nuts about little things. I am queen of overreactions. And obviously my daughter is following in my footsteps.

I wish you could have seen his mannerisms, though.

Just another day at OUR house. 

Hope everyone else is having a great day, as well.  :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

I knew you before I knew you.

My daughter, Marin, is 5 months old. I knew Marin was our next child when I was only a few months pregnant with her. By this I mean that I just KNEW I was having a girl and that her name was Marin. If any other kid came out I would have wondered where my Marin had gone. Now my husband thinks this is all hogwash, but sometimes, I think moms just know. Side note: we choose not to find out the sex of our babies before they are born - we were surprised each time.

At the beginning of my pregnancy I began reading a book series. In these books there was a woman named Maeryn. As I read, I read her name pronounced as MARE-in, rhymes with Karen. I really liked the name and so I played around with spellings, just in case we ended up with another girl.


The more I read, having to say that name, the more I grew to love it. And the more I knew that if it was a girl I would feel weird for a while if her name wasn't Marin. Sure, I would love my baby, no matter the gender or name. However, it was really strange how, as time went on, I felt like I already knew it was a girl and her name was Marin.

Well, actually, I was set on Maren, but since my husband wasn't fond of the name, I let him choose the spelling. While looking online at the meaning of the name Maren or Marin, I found lots of sites that said Maren and Marin both meant "of the sea," which is great because my husband has lived on a lake all his life, loves water sports, and likes to sail. Then one site I found had the same definition for Maren, but Marin's definition added that it would be "the perfect name for a sailor's daughter." We'll, there ya go.

I just knew that Mallory and Marin belonged together, and I saw them together, growing up. It really was weird. I think God also knew I wasn't ready to deal with a boy's equipment just yet...I protested having to have a boy's diapers to change the entire time I was pregnant as my friends wished it upon me.

With a boy name we had one decided on when I was pregnant with Mallory, and this time around we hated every other boy name but that one. We still didn't LOVE the name as much as I loved the name Marin, but it was good enough. Now, I feel like our next child is that boy, and he's just waiting on us to decide to bring him into the world. And if it's not the next one, I think I'd have to change our boy name if we had a 4th child because it wouldn't be him.

I know....totally ridiculous. Either way, ridiculous or not, Marin was destined to be a part of our family.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A special day

Wednesday was my daughter's actual birthday. Unfortunately, on Wednesdays, Daddy has a grad class he takes where he has to lock himself in the den for 3 hours while he "attends" class on the computer via webcast. However, we made the best of it and had a pretty good evening together, beginning with some pictures:

Love this picture of her. She insisted on wearing green pants after getting up from her nap, and
insisted on the blue bow, as well. Not Mommy' ideal birthday picture outfit,
 but it's all her and I love that.

Took a lot of pictures to get this one real smile.

Went through a lot of these kinds of moments before and after that last shot.
 Her favorite meal is pancakes. So, I made her pancakes with sprinkles in them, in the shape of Mickey Mouse. She was super excited about this :)
"Spwinkles pancakes!"
 And a dance party to end the day...

This is what I will remember about Mallory's second birthday.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Resale

Twice a year, a church in our area holds a children's resale. There are over 300 sellers at this event. This spring sale I was able to be a seller. This meant hours of going through, selecting, hanging and tagging clothes and other items. I really really priced things to sell, so we'll see in a few weeks how we did! 15% of your sales go to local charities so that's an added bonus to selling - other than getting rid of things you don't need and making a few dollars.

There are 200 people who volunteer with the resale each time. I am one of those 200, and have been for the last 5 sales. When you volunteer you not only are helping out a charitable event (good for the soul), but you get to go to the presale the Friday before the resale and get first dibs on the items (good for your kids)!

Now, even after 200+ people go through on Friday night, there is still A LOT of stuff for the rest of the public to go through and buy.

Here are some of my finds from tonight for both of the girls:
A Bumbo seat, with tray, for $8
A small trike/ smaller version of a big wheel, for $3.50
A medium sized purple fold-up papasan-type chair for $15
1 coloring book
6 dresses
15 tops
7 pants
12 shorts and skorts
2 pairs of shoes

Take a guess at my total!!!



Yup! Summer wardrobes for both girls AND the other fun items for under $100! For Mallory I only needed one size but Marin will need the next two sizes to get through the whole summer.

I LOVE the resale.

And sorry that the pics are crummy...not enough light and I used the ipad to take them with a baby in my arms :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Stupid girl problem alert! I understand how silly it may seem to even think about this, but I do, so I'm sharing it here. Stop reading at any time if you start rolling your eyes at me. It's okay to walk away from my writing today.

I don't have a best friend.

I'm counting out my husband here, by the way.

I have friends. Friends who brought us food after having a baby. Friends who I talk to online with. Friends I work with. Friends I do stuff with. Friends from before, during and after college. I have friends.

I'm talking about a best friend. Someone who is your best friend and you are theirs. Where people say you two are joined at the hip; everyone knows you are best friends. I know this is a totally ridiculous problem, but I'm just trying to be honest here and this is what's on my mind today.

I have a hard time thinking of one of my friends whom I can't pair up with their BEST friend - I know them all, even if I've never met them. My mom had a best friend for years and years and I think they've parted ways now. Now she has 2 new best friends and I think the three of them are great together and so I don't think like she feels like she's missing out on having just one best friend...she has 2. Both my sisters have best friends. For Kate, it's Rachel. For Nicole, it's Diane. And if you asked Rachel and Diane, they would say my sisters are their best friends, right back. That's the kicker, here.

I have a really good friend whom I would say is MY best friend, but I know I am not hers. That's where I'm stuck. Not that our friendship isn't good enough, I just know, when asked, I would not be listed as her BEST friend.

I'm not sure I'll be able to find one at this point. Anyone new that I meet at this point, most likely, will already have one. I meet people all the time and think, "we could be such great friends" but they already have a best friend so I'm left out again.

I'm not really sure where to go from here. And I am in no way trying to throw myself a pity party either. I don't feel like,"poor me," I just think about this sometimes and it bothers me. A lot of times as I'm writing I come to some realization, or epiphany, or figure out the solution. Today, I'm stuck. Stuck without a solution (if there even is one). Stuck without a best friend. Stuck without knowing if it's okay - I have friends, so that's good, but will I ever stop feeling like I'm missing out on some secret sisterhood?

I guess, at least, I'm no longer stuck without a good title!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A letter to my daughter...


Today you turn two! I can't believe that it has been two years already! When you were born I couldn't believe how small you were. I was instantly in love with you and couldn't wait to start our life together.

You are such an amazing daughter. You are so sweet and kind and polite. You can always make me and daddy laugh. Even when we try to put you in the corner for being naughty, your matter-of-fact way of telling us "Mallowy sit corner. No touch da tv." is too adorable for us not to have to turn our heads away and smile.

I love the way you walk on your tiptoes with your blanket around your head...
...the way "May I have some milk, please" is really 3 words: mayI hasome miwk, pwease.
...when you tell me to get out of your room because you need more cuddle time in your bed.
...the fact that the top section of your hair is mostly straight and the bottom has some unbelievable curls.
...the way you scream when you are really excited about something.
...that your favorite activity is reading a book. incredibly intelligent you are.
...the fact that you know your letters, and can count items to ten, and know your colors already - you amaze me!
...the way you say Marin, Marwin. happy you are.
...the way you scream, laughing, and run and hide from daddy at bedtime
...the way you look in the mornings.
...the fact that you still love to cuddle - please, always do this! ridiculously weird you are (no surprise, really)!
...the fact that I know without asking that you want pancakes for breakfast.
...the way you want to talk to Grandma with the phone " up to ear," all by yourself.
...the way you dance; bouncing with your arms waving. when you say "Phonics Song" it sounds more like "thong song."
...the way you help take care of your sister.
...the way you dance/walk in the kitchen when you're by yourself. you love to play K'nex with daddy. you are such a good helper. gosh darn adorable you are!
...the way you put a headband on.
...the way you yell and clap for yourself, still, after 3 months of going to the bathroom.
...your curiosity.
...the way you smile.
...everything about you.

I hope this next year brings you so much more adventure, excitement, and happiness. Know that I love you more than I can stand, and that I always will.

Happy Birthday, sweetheart.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013


One of my daughter's gifts on Saturday was a Hunter Hayes cd. She really loves listening to him so we thought the whole cd would be a good gift.

Last night after dinner we put on the cd. We normally try to do no television until after she is in bed, although occasionally it gets turned on to Jeopardy at 7:30. Last night was a no tv night.

We danced for a little bit and then I sat on the couch playing with Marin while Mallory played on the floor. After a little while Mallory grabbed a blanket and joined us on the couch. She wanted to hold Marin. I made sure her arm was propped up and laid Marin in her lap.

It was the sweetest thing.

Mallory said, "Hi, peanut. Shhh, it's okay." in her sweetest toddler voice, as she gently stroked her nose like mommy does.

We made faces at her and sang to her. Mallory got all of the infant toys from the basket next to her and piled them on her sister's lap and tried dangling them in front of her. Mallory tickled Marin's belly, and squished her cheeks, and pointed out her nose and eyes and ears and head. We were fairly quiet as Hunter sang in the background. It is a pretty chill cd and was the perfect complement to our cuddle time.

We don't always play like this. Usually I play with one kid while my husband has the other. The baby is a little young to play WITH Mallory. Tonight he had work to do so the three of us had some time together. Such sweet, unexpected, unplanned time.

This small moment with them was perfect, absolutely perfect, and I wanted to write it down here before I had the chance to forget about it.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Something to look forward to...

Every month or so, the Knights of Columbus hold a free breakfast or lunch for the members of our church. We find out about these breakfasts through a flyer that is sent through the mail. Yesterday was our St. Patrick's Day celebration.

Ready to party!!!
Not as ready...:)
She LOVED her lemonade -you can see
the red ring on her face from drinking
from the cup so hard!
Marin had a great time (after her short nap) - ready for home!

I look forward to getting those flyers and putting them on the fridge. I love these flyers. They always have random print about the fun, food, and fellowship that awaits, with little or no punctuation and incomplete sentences. Oh, and the pictures of pancakes (see above)! For as long as I've lived here and gone to this church (5 years) they have used the same graphic of pancakes with a pad of butter on top. There are always a minimum of three of these pancake graphics on the flyer - the same one repeated, not three different ones. I don't know why all this makes me roll my eyes and smile, but it does. Maybe it's because whomever designs the flyers is resistant to change and those pancakes drive me bananas. Or maybe it's because every time I see one of these flyers I think I could do a much better job....but then I immediately realize that I don't think I would enjoy getting these flyers as much.

I look forward to going to these breakfasts and lunches.

I look forward to games of Bingo, where everyone gets a chance to win, and the prizes are ridiculous (one time I got a plastic pumpkin, and another time it was a set of lint rollers). Today, Mallory got a purple stuffed dolphin.

I look forward to pancakes and homemade doughnuts and a huge table full of desserts.

I look forward to the conversations I know await us. We are definitely the youngest adults in attendance (almost 100% of the time), but I love talking to the people that frequent these breakfasts and watching them gush over my children (the actual youngest ones in attendance). All are fellow church members. Some of them are friends, neighbors, and relatives of my in-laws. My husband, both his parents and I, all teach in the same school district and some of these people are our colleagues, including our school district superintendent - who is the one who gave Mallory her new dolphin. I love talking with them all. 

I look forward to the good, old-timey, small town feeling I get and the visions of our children growing up with those flyers on our fridge, and joining in on the games of Bingo, and eating too many doughnuts, and talking with those wonderful people.

I look forward.