Monthly Archives: December 2008

i get by with a little help from my friends

I am part of a moms group that gets together every couple of months.  Earlier this month, we had our holiday get-together.  This is one of the cuties in our group, trying to decide if he remembered me from last time or not:


My friend, Amy, started this group last year after realizing that she and a bunch of her friends had all had babies around the same time.  She planned our first get-together, where she brilliantly specified that we didn’t bring our older children, but just brought our (at that time) one-year-olds to play.

It was genius.  A set time for just the littlest ones.  Something totally new for all of us.

We’ve gotten together every couple of months since then and now all of the kids are somewhere in their 2’s (a few even nearing 3 … ahhhh!).  Sometimes we let the kids play while the moms eat and talk.  Sometimes we all go to the zoo.  And sometimes we leave the kids at home with their dads and have a “just us” cocktail hour or dinner.

I feel lucky to be a part of the group because the women are all great:  they are fun and caring and real and honest.  They’re nothing like what you might imagine a stereotypical “Mommy Group” mom to be.

And being able to vent to other parents who have a child the same age as yours — not only vent about the kids, but about the stressors of “family with young kids” life in general — is priceless, really.  Plus the kids all get along really well and are, of course, the most adorable children any of us in the group have ever seen.

If we do say so ourselves.

And we do.

So I guess you could say I’m an official endorser of mom groups.  Set one up in your neighborhood today!  Act now!  Do not delay!

Anyway, like I said, we had our holiday get-together recently and it was really nice.  We moms ate our potluck chips and dips and cookies while the kids kept busy.  I peeked into the bedroom at one point to find Amy’s daughter (front) and my daughter (back on the little couch) having some reading time:


And yes, they are both wearing fairy outfits.  I think they put those on about 10 minutes into our gathering.

With a house full of 2-year-olds, the bathroom was a hub of activity.  Lots of kids having to “go potty” and lots of kids spending quality time running the faucet.

And again, I caught Amy’s daughter and my own checking themselves in the bathroom mirror quite a bit:


You kinda get the feeling that they might be doing this same thing together 10 or 15 years from now, don’t you?

I have to say, I would be quite pleased if that were the case.

festivus for the rest of us

My husband went to a Festivus party last night.

I don’t know if this was a door prize or his parting gift, but he came home with it and it’s pretty good:


(small wording says, “to celebrate the holiday season, a charitable donation in your name has been made the The Human Fund”)

And it reminded me that I really want to wish you all a happy holiday — whichever holiday you may be celebrating.

Travel safely, eat and laugh heartily, wear your pajamas all day, and enjoy time with your family and friends.

And, hey, if you’re able to fit in any Feats of Strength or Airing of Grievances, then all the better…

linen cards

Well, I finally managed to mail a 2008 holiday card to our friends and family.

We have relatives all over the place — east and west and south — plus all of our friends from when we lived in Iowa and, of course, our wonderful friends and family here in the Cities.  So I always send out two huge stacks:


The real reason I am posting these pictures, though, is because I’m sort of in love with the linen stock that these cards are printed on.  We did a 2-sided 5×7 linen card this year with the kids on the front and our “holiday letter” on the back.

And, man, I just REALLY LIKE the way they print on that linen paper.


Seriously.  I wish you could see the paper up close.

Here, give it a try:


I’ve always been a little obsessive about paper, you know.  I could stand in the Archiver’s store at Eden Prairie Center for 2 hours, just picking out fancy papers.

I’m going to guess I’m pretty much alone with that obsession.

But that’s okay.  I can handle being alone on this one.

It just means more paper for me…

family of five

The week before Thanksgiving, I got to take pictures of a really fun family of 5 at their home in Shakopee.  And I love this shot where they are all trying to make the 2-year-old laugh:


Do you see his little dimple and how he’s trying not to smile?!  AHHH!  So cute.

And this is just a good-looking family, right?:


Yeah, I know.

We lucked out with brisk-but-tolerable weather that let us take some pictures outside before heading in.



The kids were really sweet together.


And obviously right at home on their own turf.



Did I say good-looking family already?



The kids were fun inside, too.


I love the wrestling:


As you can see, I had a hard time whittling down which pictures to post.


In fact, I didn’t whittle-down very well at all.


You really can’t whittle down kids like this, I’m telling you.  You just can’t.


We even got a fireplace picture.  I sometimes get a little iffy about a fireplace shot because, depending on how it’s set up, it can be kind of a busy background.  But theirs was great; the arch in the brick was perfect and framed their family wonderfully:



I’m so glad I got to meet this family; my favorite part was actually chit-chatting with the mom and dad after we were done.  They are both whip-smart and really down-to-earth and easy to talk to.

I love meeting people like that.  It’s just icing on the cake and makes the session that much more rewarding.


Two weeks.

Christmas will be here in TWO WEEKS!

I was feeling all cocky and ahead-of-the-game a month ago, but now I’m completely behind again.  Just like every year.

I did manage to get our Christmas decorations out, though.


Last year, the kids received this really great carousel from their Gramper; it has lights and music and the horses go around and around.

The kids love it.

Honestly, I love it, too.

Our tree is up.  The kids picked out their annual Christmas ornaments from The General Store.  And our stockings are hung (over the landing with care).

So the gifts may not all be bought yet, but at least it looks festive around here.


I asked my Mom if I could borrow her Christmas garden this year, which is a whole collection of little figurines that she used to set up on top of cotton (snow) under our Christmas tree each year.  I always loved it and was pretty excited to try setting it up at our house.

The problem, you see, is our cat.  Our cat who bats things around.  Chews on things.  Knocks things over.  Carries things away.  And just generally makes a mess of things, when possible.

A lot of the figurines in the garden are ones that my Mom collected when her family lived in Germany.  A few are even from her parents and hold a lot of sentimental meaning.

And even my Mom knows about my awful cat.  She was super nice and let me borrow the garden, but as she was giving me the boxes, she said, “Maybe just don’t put out the couple with the feather hats…


… or the skier …



… I would be pretty sad if something happened to those.”

So I packed away the feather hat couple and the skier and tried to figure out how to set up the rest.

And I just couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t find a way to get them set up where they were protected from Kiddies and Kitties.

I was pretty bummed, but I still had a good time taking everything out and looking at it again.  I used to sit and stare at the tree and the Christmas garden for hours when I was a kid.  Our tree had those big lights that made a “tink … tink … tink” sound when they blinked.  I loved it.

So maybe when my kids are a little bigger and my cat magically stops being such a pill, I’ll be able to put out the Bavarian Band.


With its cute, little conductor.


And the bride and groom that I always loved to set up in front of the little church.


But until then, it’ll have to be plastic Target decorations at our house.  ‘Cause nothin’ says Christmas like a battery-operated, singing elf, right?


one tough cookie

This might be the toughest little toddler I’ve ever met:


(and my lands, he slays me in that tiny aviator jacket)

The day of our session was … ohhhhh … I’d saaaayyy … about 20 degrees too cold to actually be outside for longer than 3 minutes.

But this little guy was totally up for it.


I was all, “Hey, my fingers are frozen!” and he was all, “Look at the super fun water!”


Apparently, I’m a bit of a sissy.

And also, while we’re at it, let’s just mention how lovely his Mom looks, and how you WOULDN’T EVEN KNOW that she is 7 months pregnant:


I mean, really.

I won’t even subject you to photos of me at 7 months pregnant.

I had a really good time with these guys out at Lake O’Dowd in Shakopee and I can’t wait to see their new family addition when s/he arrives in January.



And real quick, I just have to post a picture or two of their little dog, Bo, who came along for our walk.

Poor old puppy was 10 years old and fading a bit.


Such a cute little guy; he had lots to say.


Good little puppy had to be put down the week after our walk, but I know he’s feeling happier and a lot more comfortable now.

Those pets, man … they sure tug at our heart strings.


a few more items out the door

Okay, I remembered to take a few more pictures.

This is a 5×5 10-image proof book in a lovely satin cover:



A 16×20 wrap of one of my favorite pictures:


A really nice-sized collage to be framed and displayed:


Two sepia photo groupings done as standouts (I love these ones … so unique):


A great grouping of three 10x10s to be framed and hung side-by-side on the wall:


And a 12×12 wrap of one of my favorite 2 year olds:


See?  I told you parents are good at this.  They pick great images and know just what they want to do with them.  I’m always impressed.