Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Dollies are coming...

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...and this is only half of them!

Don't forget we'll be drawing a winner of Anna's book tomorrow night. Leave a comment here if you haven't already.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wrap up

That first day, pulling up to the airport and then making my way inside with the girls to meet our friends, I was so excited and nervous. But then I heard Jessica calling my name (with what little voice she had left) from behind me. They were already outside waiting for us. I can't even tell you how fun it was to see them all in person for that first time. Everyone was so warm and just as lovely as I had expected them to be.

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Jessica and her heart through countless e-mails (and of course her delightful blog) over the past couple of years. And I was pretty sure her Mom was equally delightful. This was indeed true! We became fast friends. I loved getting a call on my drive home that last day, from her mom, because with all the commotion of getting the cars and car-seats unloaded at the curb and tickets checked-in, we hadn't had a chance to say good-bye. What a sweetheart!

So, that first night after they arrived, we helped them get settled into their hotel and then they came over for dinner. The girls had already become fast friends and of course enjoyed opening gifts. So funny that anytime travel is involved, so are gifts. That's probably pretty universal I think.

David loved the fun creole seasoning and there were goody bags for all the kids (the contents of which are all over the house by now). Jessica made the girls chalkboard mats and the brown one for Sam came all the way from Canton. They are awesome! She promises to have a tutorial on how to make them over on her blog soon so keep an eye out for those.

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And I love, love, loved this sweet necklace she brought me. It's by Madison Reece on Etsy.

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And, because they came all the way from Louisiana to Minnesota to see little 'ole me and my family, I made her something very special, a thank you for such a huge gesture. I'm pretty sure she loved it. ;)

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If you remember this story, you'll know why this inscription was so important. I conspired with her mom to get the words correct to say "In loving memory of my great-grandfather" in Spanish. It was driving Jessica nuts not to know what this surprise was going to be, but I think the wait was worth every minute.

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I even took the time to make the little pig on the left, a red stripe dress, like one of them from the fabric, and the one on the far right is wearing a boutique dress similar to this one. That's what I love about drawing your own iron-on transfer, you can customize it to your hearts content. I'm only wishing I had redrawn their faces to be like the pigs in the fabric design, but that part didn't occur to me until the apron was all done and there was no time to re-do it. Oh well, these sweet little faces definitely give it a vintage feel and they are adorable just the way they are. :)

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You can read more about the trip here and here.

Thank you Jessica, Virginia, Grace and Hudson for coming to visit us in Minnesota. We hope we get the chance to see you again. ((HUGS))



Monday, May 24, 2010

Handmade Beginnings Giveaway {Signed Copy}

Well, if you hadn't guess it, Anna Maria Horner was the fabulous designer we had the pleasure of meeting last Saturday night.

Quilt Market was in Minneapolis this year, and although we didn't get to go (we don't buy fabric wholesale *sniff * sniff*) we still had the perk of going to Anna's book signing.

We got to ooo oand ahhh over all of her samples from the book too.

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She was so sweet in person and Amy and I had a blast hanging out for the evening. I got a chuckle when I asked the ladies behind us to take our picture and we ended up exchanging camera settings...hehe.

Everyone, this is Amy...say "Hi".

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Turns out though that I will forever be known as the "book-signing saboteur". Now that I've been to a couple of book-signings, I wasn't nearly as nervous as I was when I sat next to PW. This time I started chatting right out the gate. And of course I had to mention Market. Evidently it was at the same moment she was signing her name.

Poor Amy, I hope this doesn't devalue her book, but rather makes it even more awesome. Hehe... At least we got a good laugh out of it when we sat down to dinner and looked more closely at our books.

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Back to the giveaway. We are so excited to offer up this signed copy of her newest book "Handmade Beginnings." It's adorable and I'm sure you'll love it. Here is the actual book you'll receive. She even signed her real name for you. ;)

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You know the drill...to enter, just leave a comment here. Leave an additional comment for each additional entry you earn for 1) blogging about the giveaway, 2) for following this blog (see sidebar). If you are already following us through reader or the like, just say so in a separate comment.

We'll close comments 9pm this Friday night.

Good luck!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Family photos are always a challenge...

...even when you have a beautiful setting, the right camera and coordinated outfits. I had no idea that most of us matched, clothing wise, until I saw these later that night. That was fun to see.

Thank you Jessica for taking these! Even though no one wanted to cooperate, it still captures who our family is right now. Playful and independent.

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*And thank you to my sweet friend Amber for making Emily's bow. More on that later. ;)

Mall of America

Ok, I'm not doing this in any real order. I'm saving the best for last. My mind is all over the place, I can't think quite straight as I'm still recovering from the massive had cold I started getting the day the Little Pumpkin's family arrived. Oh and Jessica started her trip out by losing her voice. What a pair we were! And I'm pretty sad that this is the only good picture of the two of us that ended up on my camera (of over 400 pictures!!!). I'm hoping she has a good one on hers. You can see what's she's started writing here and here.

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Our day at the Mall of America was really fun. We started with a quick ride on the Hot Air Balloons and then off to lunch at Rainforest Cafe. I really love that place, but my sweet and very sensitive Emily, cried through most of it and plugged her ears through almost all of it (even asking me to feed her). We were sat right in the middle of the gorilla room and boy was it loud and evidently scary too. Kind of funny to see Allison and Grace across the table from us loving every minute and pretending to be monkeys themselves. They had a blast!

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Taking pictures in Lego Land. The Lego sculptures are enormous!

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Two of a kind.

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I love that at this age we can walk right past American Girl and no one even notices.

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All aboard!

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We were pretty surprised that we both fit in there with all five kiddos.
I think this was Hudson's first ride.

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I never got a good picture of it, but Hudson loved to grab at Sam's hair, and Sam would just giggle the whole time because it tickled.

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Hudson is a good on-the-go napper. This little boy is just precious!

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Couldn't resist a picture of my big guy. :)

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The Merry-Go-Round is always a favorite.

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And the roller coaster was hilarious. I sat with Sam and my little daredevil thought it was great fun. Even Virginia (aka Noonie) enjoyed it.

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Allison sat in the front row all by herself. What a big girl!
Of course Emily wouldn't get near this one.
Someday...

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We finished our time with the Ferris Wheel. I still have yet to go on it, but I'm sure the view is great from up there.

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I've got at least one more post about our week-end, but bye for now. I'm about to go catch some sun in the backyard with the girls, sip some lemonade and nurse my poor arms and hands that were butchered at the Dr.'s office this morning. Just the normal cholesterol and glucose test (now that I'm over 35). Five pricks later, and lots of digging, they finally got what they needed. But the bruises are already starting to show up and man does it hurt. Ouch!

Oh and a little teaser for you. Amy and I are going to a book-signing this Saturday night. And we will be giving away a signed copy of "___________" on the blog next week. Can you guess which book it is and which amazing woman we are so excited to meet? Never a dull moment around here!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Girlfriends

One of the best parts of the whole trip was seeing our daughters play together.

(Oh, and I've decided that dressing my girls alike in crowded places is a good thing. Makes them so much easier to find.)

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Here they are enjoying a game of Ring-Around-The-Rosie. Never mind that from the other side of the room you could see the big Leopard walking right in front of the glass, ready to pounce on it's prey (way cool if you ask me).

Ring-Around-The-Rosie with friends, trumps Leopard's.

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Jessica tells me that most of Grace's friends back home are little boys her age, not many girls around. So she was pretty excited to have two new girlfriends to play with.

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After going to the Zoo and then finding out that we were going to the Mall of America the next day, Emily exclaimed "The days keep getting better and better with Grace!"

Oh, if you could have seen the joy on my girls face!

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And Grace later asking "Where are my cousins?" when she got up in the morning, was pretty priceless.

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Grace, we so enjoyed your visit. Emily and Allison really loved playing with you.

We look forward to another visit someday!

Monday, May 17, 2010

We had F U N

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I'll be back to share more soon!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Mary and Martha Moment

"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."" Luke 10:38-42

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Yesterday I was being a Martha. Then David dared come in the same room as I, to remind me how having people over when I was growing up was sometimes a stressful thing and to be careful not to let it be for our girls. Ouch! That really stung, but it was so needed.

Do you find yourself scurrying around the house getting everything in order for company and forgetting what's really important? Who really cares if there are cobwebs in the corners? Who really cares that the tops of light-switch covers may have dust? Seriously! These were the things I was tending to around a bustling family and making them miserable in the process.

But then I was reprimanded by my husband. The man that God gave to me, to help make me the godly woman He desires for me to be. Then, I remembered Jessica saying to me (after I warned her that we live in a modest house) that it's the people she's coming to see, not the house. And then, I remembered what Jesus said to Martha. And finally...then, I learned my lesson. Though I'm sure it won't be the last time. What lessons do you struggle with learning?

It's easy when your spiritual gift is that of hospitality, to let it consume you. My favorite things to do are care for my home, cook and bake and then welcome people into my (hopefully) warm and inviting home. But to do it in such a way that I ruin it for my family in the process, and have to collapse in complete exhaustion after everyone has left just leaves me drained and well, alone.

Lord, thank you for the gentle (and not so gentle) reminders of what's important to you. And thank you for my sweet girls that were so excited just to see the flowers I brought home this morning. May company in our home always be a joyful experience for everyone, especially my family and especially in the days and hours leading up to those times. And bless our time with friends this week-end, may our conversations be pleasing to your ears. ~Amen

Getting Ready

First of all...I found my cf card!!! And it's all because of Jessica. Really, it is! If she wasn't coming today and I hadn't asked David to take the day off so I can meet her at the airport, and if he wasn't carpooling the girls to school today so I could cook and bake up a storm, I would have had no reason to look in my wallet. Seriously! I hate carrying a purse and rarely use a wallet. I'm always leaving them in restaurants or shopping carts. I'd call it "Mommy brain" but this has been my story since way before kids. Instead my life is stuffed in my back pocket. So for some reason (I must have been wearing a skirt with no pockets at the time) I removed my cf card and stuck it in there. And when I went to look for the teacher's e-mail address (to tell her David would be picking up the girls today instead of me, and to please hand them over to him), in my wallet, there it was (in a compartment I never open) where it would likely have sat for probably 6 months had Jessica not decided to come to town today.

I'll thank her properly when she gets here. Like with Meg's peanut butter pie and the quintessential MN chicken wild rice soup (it's raining today) and sweet tea. Yum!

So, what was on this card you say? My little man has discovered crayons and coloring.

How can this be?

He's still my baby!

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He even changes colors!

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I better get our art gallery set up in the playroom. Three little Picaso's are waiting on me. Oh, and the crayons are still a mess. I didn't succumb to the madness. ;)

Jessica just called to say their plane will be late about 3 hours. Boo hoo! But...that means that ALL of us can meet them at the airport now. And I won't feel silly carrying my big camera in with me and David can be our car-seat guru, instead of having to teach me how to do it.

I am ready for a FUN week-end!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hilarious!

A friend just sent me this in an e-mail, because he resembles the Dad.

And now I can't stop cracking up!

It was a welcome break from scrubbing my kitchen floor.



And yes, I will admit that we would love to own a minivan someday.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Celebrations, Stamps, OCD and Fabric

On Saturday we celebrated my sweet grandmother's 86th Birthday.

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On Sunday the kids surprised me with this cute bird jewelry dish from Pottery Barn.

I may or may not have left the window to this dish, open on the computer.

And I may or may not have said "I'd love this for Mother's Day." Because I'm subtle like that.

And have you seen these serving dishes and mugs? Wow...expensive darling!

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Oh look, I found the stamps!

But the 4 gig cf card is still MIA.
And it's really a shame because the 256 mb only held 67 photos for me today.
That won't quite cut it.

If you were a cf card, where would you be hiding?

Oooo...I should probably check inside the piggies.

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I have given up putting the crayons back in rainbow order (for today at least). The OCD side of me is really pained to see them in such disarray. Someday I hope to teach them the beauty that is crayons in RAINBOW order, until then I am patiently waiting.

Or I might just sort them all again tonight after they are tucked in bed. Assuming I can wait that long. I'm seriously feeling anxious just looking at this picture. I didn't realize I had a problem until now.

Hello, my name is Angel, and I can't stand it when things are out of order, it makes me crazy.

Is there a support group for that?

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Heather Baily just sent me a big box of fabric. We're tight like that. Or at least when I fork over lots of money. Now I can finish my quilt. Yippee!!! The backside will have 6 large horizontal stripes (the far right one is the oddball, it's by Paula Prass...L O V E!). I have a feeling that the backside will be used as the front side more often than not. And looking at this photo, I can tell I'll be rearranging the order until then, a lot. Because I'm so indecisive.

Before I started this quilt I had no idea how much I'd dislike cutting such beautiful fabrics into small pieces. You don't get to see the full pattern, and that just seems wrong. So the back will be my solution. I've decided to hang it over our couch in the living room and the kitchen will be going from red to yellow soon. I'll also change the curtains in those rooms to just plain white. No more "Fall" all year long in our house.

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Oh and look what else was in the box. My favorites! I just knew I had to fill up as much as I could on these prints. I won't be using them until next summer, but I'd hate for them to sell out before then. I used my original pieces for the canvases in the girls room.

These will become at least one cute skirt for me, maybe a top too (not to wear together, Silly) and coordinating outfits for the girls next summer.

I can see a fun summer family photo opp. Can't you? With the guys in matching green polos.

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Alright, I gotta get back to cleaning...companies coming...soon...