ok...I couldn't keep you guessing a minute longer
{it's so funny that so many of you immediately thought pg...I told Dave that would happen:)}

yes it is true
i finally got that new camera I have been dreaming of
i used Christmas money from my parents and money we had been saving and said
Just Do It
i didn't think the sales would get any better
and sams had a pretty good deal going
so we went for it

i got it the day before Thanksgiving and you would think
that my pictures of the special day would have been breathtaking
candid shots of wonderful memories
great food pictures
everyone snuggled around the table
but by the time i informed the big two that "no, they could no play with this one"
and convinced the little one that her Fisher Price camera was way more fun
the moment had passed
and I got nothin'!
well a few
but still...

you know how when you have been saving for something
and dreaming of it
and then you finally get it
you somehow expect your whole life to change?
well, maybe not your whole life,
but you know what I mean

i am still waiting for that big change!!
i know that it is going to take time
and i am ready to do the work and learn
i know the key is going to be to pick it up everyday and

so that is what i will do
i would love some insight and advice from all my great
photographing geniuses out there:)
i would much rather learn from friends
then from some boring ol' book any day

Hope your Tuesday is terrific,
Enjoy the day,

Aubrey update...fever went up a bit in the evening
but she slept through the night
hopefully today she is smiling when she hugs her elmo!


{This Little Peanut}

is sick
what a sad little sickie huh?
we sure are grateful for
fuzzy blankies

 and motrin

i feel a wee bit behind the 8 ball these days
more then a wee bit
how bout a whole lotta bit!

thanksgiving came and went like a blur
there was shopping
more shopping
and more food

oh...and a little surprise
maybe i will get caught up enough to tell you about it...
until then...
{and no I'm not pregnant}

Hope your holiday was wonderful
and your monday marvelous
Enjoy the day,


{Blessed to Bless}

happy monday friends
good weekend?
ours was great
a little dreary weather wise
but i guess that's ok

did you make your bags yet?
we started with two
and made an extra smaller size with just food
{in case we see the same person again soon}

the girls were so into this
they kept saying over and over how good they felt about it
i hope they always want to change the world with kindness

i cannot believe it is thanksgiving week!
where has november gone?
my parents are arriving today for a week of
family, food, fun and maybe just a wee bit of shopping
i will be taking a blogging break
to soak it all in
and focus on all that is good in life

happy thanksgiving friends
i am thankful for every single one of you
i hope your holiday is safe 
and filled with blessings
Enjoy the day and the little things,


{A Good Day}

thursday was a good day
it started at one of my favorite places
so it had to be good right?
after dropping the girls off at school
Aubrey and i headed to Panera for breakfast
i think Aubrey might love Panera almost as much as i do
all I have to say in the car is "do you want to go get a muffie?" 
and i get a very enthusiastic "ah yeah yeah yeah"
that is her new way of saying yes and it is just the sweetest
makes me want to grant her every wish
just to hear those little words

we tried it without a highchair this time
i think she loved the freedom
of almost being able to climb on top of the table

then we headed to Kohl's to look for jammies for the girls
we always give them a new pair on Christmas Eve
i usually wait too long to get them and they are picked over
or the sizes are wrong
this year was going to be different...
this year i have a 17 month old in the carrier which makes hunting for the perfect pair of jammies
practically impossible
i will try again 

Aubrey woke up after 7 today so we decided to visit Janey for lunch
now that Aubrey is only taking one nap
and going down between 12-12:30
we don't get to visit the girls for lunch as much as i would like 
we had the chance so we jumped all over it

it was great to surprise her
wish i had a picture of her face when she saw us
you know that whole saying..."Do your eyes light up when they walk into the room..."
well hers did
and that made me so happy
it was a great lunch together
but a sad good-bye
that always breaks my heart and makes me wonder if i should still keep coming
i think i should and that eventually it won't be so hard

ended the day with my honey 
on the sofa
watching food tv
and a mug of edy's mint chocolate chip ice-cream 
of course

thursday felt a whole lot less busy 
and that was a good thing

Hope your Friday is a fantastic one,
Enjoy the day,



feel like there is not much to say today
actually there is tons to say
i just don't have any photos to go with it
which brings me to my number one subject i guess

my camera
are you tired of hearing me complain about my camera yet
i'm a little tired of hearing myself complain about my camera
i have been doing my research and my plan
is to really check the sales after Thanksgiving and possibly
take the plunge then
i really worry about getting  a new camera and then having zero time to play with it and learn about it
my hope is that it will be so much more fun to take pictures that I will make the time?!?!?:)

Aubrey loves to play in the cabinets
it is really quite cute
the only bad thing is you know those foamy little disks
to keep your cabinets closing somewhat quietly?
well mine are all gone
i have the noisiest kitchen ever
but if I can't find her sippy cup it is the first place I look

i have been working a lot on typing up routines in our house the last few days
i got a lot of my inspiration here
i am not really a big "check it off" kind of mom
{not that that's bad, it's just not me}
i don't like a lot of systems and rewards
i think children should do what they are supposed to do
because they are supposed to do it (said in a motherly voice)
not for a reward
but that being said, i do think there are times when a little change is good
something new to inspire
and get the juices flowing
i am hoping this check-off routine system will be just that
{you can see we just started last night}

i am hoping it will lessen the amount of time we all have to hear my voice
and taking the responsibility for what they get done
i want the responsibility back into their hands
where it belongs
there is no reward to earn
no big prize at the end of the week
just  a way to see what needs to be done on any given day
and hopefully inspiration to get there
wouldn't it be kind of cool to see what one we typed up for ourselves would look like?
i think i would need legal paper and really small font  for sure

i know Riley will thrive with this
she loves lists and things to check off
she gets that from me
Janey will love it too
just not quite as much

speaking of Janey
we finally convinced her to let us throw her jack-o-lantern out
the poor thing looked like a really old man with no teeth
it was a bit embarrassing on the front porch
she cried real tears and we assured her it would not go into the land-fill but
rather it would decompose into the earth to help other plants and animals grow
she has such a heart of gold

busy planning two classroom parties today
need to get my letters out to the parents soon
i love being room mom
but it makes the already busy holidays
seem even busier

i really do not like that word
it doesn't even sound good when you say it
i refuse to use that word to much this season
i am determined to have a simple
low-key kind of holiday
i will not stress over minute details
instead i will focus on the big picture and the little things
that bring me joy

Have a Thankful Thursday and
Enjoy the day,



happy monday folks!
how did you greet the day?
ready to take on the world

or ready to climb back in bed???

i feel like I am ready to take on the world
do you ever have those days when you seriously wish there were 5 of you????
(not quite sure my family would agree!)
but i sure do wish there were more me's running around here right now
more me's to get all the things done I want to accomplish
i feel like my mind is running 60 mph
and with just little ol' me driving
i can only go about 10

i am starting to feel the holiday crunch I guess
I always feel the biggest urge to seriously nest around a holiday

get my priorities in order
and fast
chaos is a comin'

i finally got to my floors today
i try to vac and mop on mondays and fridays
it seems the last few mondays and fridays
someone has woken up early
i get to the vac part
but sadly not the mop part
i was seriously thinking i was going to be turned in for some dank floor reality show
not kidding!

any great ideas for cleaning wood floors?
i just get on my hands and knees and wipe with a hot rag and vinegar
i love when the girls are home and they can help too
we have a contest to see who's rag is the dirtiest
can you say YUCK!

the girls and i did a tad bit of shopping this weekend
we made a list
had our cash in hand
and did exactly what we planned
it was seriously fun

i love to buy gifts
thinking of something someone will love
getting the best deal
and then wrapping it up pretty

speaking of wrapping it up pretty
any of you have a Meijer in your area?
Katie Brown has quite a few new lines going in there these days
today while grocery shopping with Dave and Aubrey
i stumbled into the Christmas section
bad news!!!
totally gorgeous and
totally me

we celebrated my honey's birthday this weekend!!!!!
i seriously love this guy and am so happy to be sharing this journey of life with him

what do you do for a guy who does all the cooking on his birthday?
you bake some seriously awesome chocolate cupcakes

{this was my "I don't want to stop eating raw batter" face}

and then go out to dinner of course
we went to Olive Garden
usually I am pretty mellow and easy to please at a restaurant
well maybe not totally
but if you bring us lots of bread
talk nicely to my girls
and get us the check quick i am all good
this dinner out was the absolute worst!!!!
the service was bad
it took forever
and the food was just so-so

i left the smallest tip in my life
thank goodness we had a $25 gift card and the girls each had a free children's entree Q
they had gotten from school
or I would have been really bummed
i just hate paying a lot of money for food
and we don't go out that often
so i want it to be great
i have to say though the girls did awesome
they were patient
and did an amazing job helping us keep Aubrey happy
that part really made me smile
{Janey's card...Dear Ol Dad, Dad Ol Dear, you are better then iced root beer!
see his University of Miami shirt???}

we had a totally awesome dinner tonight
baked potato soup
image from link

one of my all time favorites
especially when my honey makes it
and i don't have to wait for slow servers:)

hope your monday was marvelous
filled with smiles
and a little bit of something yummy
Enjoy the night,


{Fruit Stripe Gum}

remember Vanilla Pudding with Purple Sprinkles?

well...let me introduce you to Fruit Stripe Gum

our latest edition in designer night wear
a lot has changed in these last few months
the sweetie who was just learning to stand 
is now 
and trying so hard to jump

Hope you have a Fruit Stripe sort of weekend
flavorful and
full of fun!
Enjoy the day,


{Our Family Story}

They say everyone has a story right?  
Jen over at Denton Sanatorium is doing a linky party on your mothering story 
and how your family came to be... 

I am linking a bit late....mothering a "sick little no napping teething 17 month old" took a hold of my day yesterday 
and just wouldn't let go!!:)

Dave and I were married in 1999 at the age of 33.  We both always knew we wanted children and feeling a bit older (seems pretty young now!!), we decided to start trying right away.  A job transfer brought us about three hours from our families.  We were building a new house there so I decided I would finish up my year of teaching where I was and then just sub once we moved. That's how confident I was that this whole baby thing would happen quickly for us.  Little did I know...

I had read all the books and had all the information.  I was a walking encyclopedia on trying to conceive, I knew how everything was supposed to work...but for some reason it just wasn't!   I remember thinking and feeling I was pregnant so many times and then finding out I wasn't....it was a monthly game of preparing, trying, waiting, hoping and then being devastated. I always thought it was one of your bodies cruelest jokes...to give you a period, a loss of another chance right in the middle of the time you were feeling the most emotional and vulnerable.  Sometimes mother nature has a really bad sense of humor doesn't she???:)

We tried for about 11 months before the stick finally had two lines. It was the greatest day of our lives!  We were so excited and so naive...we told everyone!  After all, we had waited for so long for this, we wanted to share it.  It was near Christmas time and I remember the way we told our parents, we wrapped up two little baby booties to give them as an early gift.  It seemed the whole world was happy for us.  We had our first doctor apt and saw the little flicker of a  heartbeat at 6 weeks.

Several weeks later I began spotting.  We read the books and talked to the doctor, sometimes this was normal they assured us.  But we waited what seemed like an eternity for that next dr apt at 10 weeks.  When they tried to find the heartbeat it wasn't there.  They said sometimes that happens, and wheeled in the stronger machine to try and find it.  That's when the dr said the baby was gone.

Our life changed forever in that second.  All we had dreamed for and prayed for was gone. In an instant.
The next few days seemed like a blur.  Family and friends crying for us. But at the end of the day it was just us. And no baby.  I am crying even writing this now....those feeling of loss can come back so quickly can't they?  I guess they never really leave us, they just get buried a bit.  I had a d&c and was told to try again in a month or so.

We did.  But nothing.   We decided to see a specialist.  He did lots of tests and found nothing "wrong".  He told me to stop charting, and to go out on a date!!!  Oh how I did not like that guy! :)  I had always handled any kind of problem in my life with tons of research, facts and effort.  I had never come across a "problem"  I couldn't hard work away!!  Until  now...and boy was that frustrating for me!  Which, in hindsight I know made it so much worse.

We got pregnant and lost our babies two more times.  By now the feeling of joy of seeing those two lines were so quickly replaced with fear and doubt.  It had turned into something other then the joyous moment it was meant to be and that was so hard for both of us.

Finally, on October 30th, the stick showed two lines and this time it was for our sweet Riley Grace.  I have never felt so overjoyed and completely overwhelmed with panic in my life.  A strong heartbeat and assurance from the specialist, that "our work with him was done" and we could return to our regular doctor.

We didn't share our news with anyone except our parents and closest friends.  By now I had taken that full time teaching job I thought I never would and was facing the year ahead with a first pregnancy at a new job.  I was so nervous about every little twitch and pull.  I can not tell you the hours and days I spent crying to Dave that I couldn't feel her anymore.  She wasn't moving.  Every little thing felt like a problem to me. It was so hard because on the one hand I was so happy...but I was so petrified  of losing her too.   We finally started sharing the news with more people.  I actually didn't tell anyone at work until I was almost 20 weeks.  I guess I hid it pretty well!!  It was a great year of teaching.  I got to share our pregnancy with my 20 wonderful kindergartners. They actually used to love reading to my belly and would ask to feel her move.  It was a lovely year filled with so many great memories!

The day after school got out and I packed up my classroom to be a full time stay at home mom, we went to our regular dr apt and my blood pressure had started creeping up and Riley's heart rate was dropping.  They rolled me over on to my side to try and "find" it and it took the dr

Finally we were admitted for good, and after tests to check her lungs, they decided to induce me at 34 weeks.  It was a fast and furious delivery with her heat rate dropping and my bp soaring.  After she was born they rushed her to peds to check all of her vitals.  She was here and she was healthy and we were overjoyed.  What a miracle indeed.
{I apologize for the photos of photos....}

We felt so grateful and oh so blessed that our little miracle was finally here.  I actually looked at the time it took to get her as a gift.  Not to take away anything from moms who get pregnant right away, but I had prayed for her for so long and I felt a true since of gratitude and awe every time I looked at her.  She did not come easy.  She was not something I could snap my fingers and get.  It took loads of prayer and a true miracle to bring this little one into the world.  Our year home together was wonderful and I loved every minute of being a full time mommy. At last I had found my calling (I still feel a calling to be a teacher, I guess in a way I am just a different type of one....)

After all the issues we had getting Riley, we decided to try for another before Riley turned one.  We got pregnant right away, but lost that baby at 7 weeks.  It was an all too familiar pain.  We figured we were on that road again....but at least we had our sweet Riley to love along the way.

We got pregnant again the next moth and actually found out the week of Riley's first birthday.  We had also just found out we would be moving to IL!!  Talk about a crazy next few months but we were happy beyond belief!.  Being pregnant and having a little one was some of my greatest mothering memories.  I remember walking through the mall pushing Riley in the stroller with a big belly feeling like an absolute walking poster for motherhood!!  I know that sounds strange, but I just felt like this was such my true calling in life and I felt so absolutely beyond honored to be living this life.

Janey's  pregnancy and delivery were just like Janey....easy!  My bp elevated a bit at the end, but it never affected her heart rate.  We had her at 37 weeks in a peaceful, easy delivery.  After she was born they placed her in my arms (something I really missed with Riley) and she nursed almost immediately.  We had two sweet girls to love and we felt so blessed and so very happy.

All growing up and even when we first got married I always said I wanted four children. Looking back, I think the demands of two little ones may have pushed me to thinking we were done a bit before my heart was ready.

Fast forward two years and a new house.  Janey was potty training and our new friends across the street were expecting a baby.  All those familiar feeling came rushing back and the day I held that newborn, we went home and talked seriously about another.  Could we really do it???  After all, we were 39!!!  We decided to give it a try.  And even when we began that journey, it was always two more I felt my heart was calling for.

We tried for about 8 months and then saw another specialist.  He told me my FSH numbers were really bad and that the chances of getting pregnant again were pretty low. I drove home from that appointment in tears.  We decided to be thankful (which we already were) for the two beautiful blessing that we already had and to move on with our lives.

Fast forward another year.  We were not even really "trying" anymore.  I barely even wrote my cycles down on the calendar.  It was near Halloween and I stated wondering where I was in my cycle.  Could it be?????....nah!!!!!  Finally Dave took that long drive to Walgreen's to buy a test.  We took it in the evening...that's how sure we were that it would be negative....who takes a test in the evening?????:)  The girls were outside playing and I remember taking the test and then leaving it on the counter for him to read and going downstairs.  He went up to check it and then yelled out "what am I looking for again???  Am, I supposed to see two pluses or just one"??!!  I yelled I think any plus is good?!?!?:)  And that is the day we found about about Aubrey Kate.  Exactly 6 years to the day that we found about Riley!!!

To say we were shocked was a huge understatement.  I think we walked around with this strange awed look on our faces for several days!!  I knew all too well not to let my feet get off the ground too quickly.  We had a long road ahead of us. But somehow in our hearts we knew it was going to be ok.

To our surprise and delight, everything went smoothly.  Being able to share this pregnancy with the girls was so magical for us.  We didn't tell them or our families until Christmas.  We told the girls with a scavenger hunt where we hid pieces of a letter we had written them that they had to put together. We have the whole thing on film and it is such a  beautiful memory. We surprised our families by wrapping up a sonogram picture for them to unwrap on Christmas morning! It was the best Christmas ever.

My bp spiked again with Aubrey at 37 weeks one day and they induced us that afternoon. Like her other June Bug sister, her delivery was a bit fast and furious too.  When they placed her into my arms and I looked into that very alert little face I fell immediately in love.

It is funny how all three of our girls have such different stories.  They all came into our lives and into our  hearts in such different ways didn't they?

When we began trying for Aubrey, I felt in my heart that four was to be our number.  I had lost four babies, and I hoped and prayed that God would somehow send them back to me.  I guess I am still hoping.  I do not know what the future holds for us and our family.  I do know that I am beyond blessed to be called mommy by these three beautiful girls.

Thank you so much for reading my rather long story. 
My heart goes out to all those women who may never be mothers even though their hearts so desperately long to be.  
Enjoy the day,



i try really hard to instill a spirit of thankfullness in our girls
looking at all we have
instead of always wanting more
we should be thankful all the time right?
not just during a certain time of year
but there is something about this season
that really gets my thankful spirit soaring

this year we are trying something new
a thankful thoughts garland

something to hang over our fireplace
a daily reminder of all the many things we have to be thankful for

we just started last night but we already have quite a collection

everything from our home to the earth made the list
we plan on working on these each night 
after seeing the excitement it generated last night
i have a feeling we are going to need more room

What do you do to stay thankful in your home?
Want to try a Thankful Thoughts Garland with us?
Enjoy the day,


{Weekend Glimpses}

Hi friends
happy Monday to you
so how was your weekend?
ours was a wonderful mix of both...my favorite kind

we have a wonderful park in the front of our neighborhood
it was really just a big open field
until Saturday
the neighborhood and community came out to install the playground equipment
it's really quite amazing
wish I could have gotten some pictures of the job in progress
but it was 19 that morning
yes 19!!!!
the girls and I waved hello as we drove by on our way to Panera
we are bad aren't we!!!:)

Dave rented a carpet cleaning machine
can I just say YUCK!
think your floors are clean?
rent one of those
i love it when I can really see the dirt that is leaving my home
we {I mean Dave} did the carpets
the sofa and my van
must be true love I think

Riley and I went for a little date in the afternoon
we shopped for Dave's b-day and
some winter clothes and jammies for Aubrey
we got these
Gap jammies are my absolute favorite
we squeezed in a pretzel and lots of chit chat
loved every minute of it

for dinner we had this
image from Pioneer Woman

of course Dave doctored it up a bit
like any awesome chef does
he pureed his sauce
it totally rocked

cinnamon rolls for breakfast
nothin' fancy
just good ol' bad for you Pillsbury
but they sure were yummy

Janey and I had a bit of alone time in the afternoon
Riley was at a Brownie function and
Aubrey was napping
we finished up Dave's b-day shopping
browsed Borders
{I love to go to the book store
copy down the names of all the great new children's books
and then order them from the library :)}
browsed Michael's
{I love their $1 Christmas section}
and then stopped by Panera for a cookie and some good conversation
it was nice

ready for Christmas shopping??
I'm not quite ready yet
but I have a pretty good To-Do List in the works
the traffic and the mall was crazy this weekend
you would have thought it was December 1st already
I don't like traffic
or crowds actually
looks like Aubrey and I will be doing all of our shopping
bright and early

for dinner Dave made these
image from link

they were awesome too
of course!

I am determined to get back to my walking and workouts this week
it seems like a series of things have been keeping me away
Dave out of town...company...Dave out of town again...a cold...
but today is the day
I began
it was great and
I WILL be on that treadmill tomorrow too

oh and the Halloween candy...it's outta here!!!!!

Hope your weekend was filled with the right mix of work and play!
Enjoy the day,


{Stolen Moment}

After writing yesterday about the lack of simple down time with the girls
I decided that sometimes you just can't wait for a stolen moment
sometimes you have to make one

Nothing says stolen moment like a trip down memory lane
at breakfast time we were reminiscing about JoJo's Circus
one of our favorite kids shows from when they were little
I decided to pick the DVD up from the library
and greet them after school with a big bowl of popcorn and some
unexpected snuggle time
it was wonderful!!!
there was singing
laughing and
lots of snuggling

I wish it could have lasted longer
in all honesty I had to cut it short to dash to a teacher conference
...sigh... there goes that busy life thing again...
I guess that's why they call it a stolen moment
luckily Dave was home to take my spot on the sofa
right in the middle of these three little JoJo lovin' lovelies

Hope you find at least a moment to steal today!
Enjoy the day,


{A Day With Janey}

I told you the weekend felt like a whirl-wind
probably because Friday felt like one too
I am the co-room mom for both girls classes this year
I know, what was I thinking
less is supposed to be more right
but I have cut down my school volunteering in other areas
so I guess that's ok right?!?

Friday was the Halloween parade and parties
the parade is a big deal at our school
I'm not kidding
people start lining up at 12 for a l:45 parade
when I pulled up at 1:15 to get a parking spot
{and I was blessed with one right up front, as a sweet little old lady pulled out of the community center...she probably thought "what in the world is going on"... thank you God!}
it felt like New York on Thanksgiving morning.....

Janey had such a great time at her party
we paraded
we ate "Boo Cups"
we bobbed for apples on a string
we pinned the nose on the jack-o-lantern
we yelled Bingo

that girl can find joy in anything
she has a smile on her face almost always
she is really a blessing

after a whirlwind party day (Dave and Aubrey went to Riley's)
and way too much sugar
Janey and I headed to her Daisy Family Cookout

you can tell from our attire
it was cold
I wish I could have gotten better pictures
we did so many fun things
flashlight hike
roasted hot dogs (Janey doesn't like hot dogs so she just ate 4 buns!)
made smores
practiced lummi sticks
made edible campfires
made a Halloween picture frame

I loved spending this time with just Janey
sometimes our life gets so busy
{and we really are not that busy so I don't know how those families who really are busy do it}
and I forget to take time to just be with the girls
really just enjoying the moment
as the mom I always feel like I am
"driving the routine" as I like to call it
do you ever feel like that?
moving them from one part of your day to the next
from breakfast to school to homework to showers to bed
at the end of the day I stop and think
"when did we just flop on the couch together"?
I am all about routines and I think they are so important
without them, I think in the end you really end up with less time together
but finding that balance is something I struggle with
the balance between driving the routine and finding time to just be
I guess it is really just about those stolen moments
grabbing them when you can
a chat in the car
an extra snuggle at night
a weekend date

How do you find that balance?
Enjoy the day,

sorry...didn't plan on this post going there...I guess the end could have been a post on it's own! :)


{Halloween Weekend}

with Dave out of town
Halloween really snuck up on us.
the big day seemed to get all smooshed together into one big orange blur.

Saturday we carved our pumpkins.
what fun that was.
it brought back a flood of memories of carving my own pumpkins as a kid.
and the countless ones I did in my classrooms too.

for some reason the girls decided they wanted to "harvest" their own before carving.
goofy little cuties.

I know these pictures are so blurry 
and the lighting is bad.
but I just couldn't help myself
the looks on their faces were so priceless.
where do they get such totally expressive expressions....
Dave says he knows...
ha ha must be a girl thing!!:)

love how different these look.
Janey's had bangs and hair and
Riley's had peace signs for eyes.

after countless "is it time yet??"
the big moment was finally here.
Scarecrow, Minnie and Pup-a-Dup
could finally suit up.

not a real lollipop...just a stick with some "crumbs" left on it
but boy did it make her happy.

Aubrey and I did a few houses
then headed home.
the girls were real troopers and
traveled quite a distance.
but I guess when candy is involved
one can do amazing feats!

Hope you all had a 
Happy Halloween!
Enjoy the day,