Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Quick Baby Update/XMas Cards

I love to send Christmas cards.  It honestly has never bothered me if I don't get one in return.  Well, maybe it did the first few years I sent them, but I have sent them for years and it has been a fun way for me to touch base with distant family and friends.  So, if you would like one (without an obligation to scramble and get me one) just leave a comment with your address.  Or if you'd like my email is

In the meantime, I have so much to catch up on with this blog- it is a joke.  It may happen, but not until after I finish Vinny's first year scrapbook that he is getting for Christmas.  And then there is Christmas.  I know I probably won't get to blogging til after then.

The baby is doing well.  My placenta is over my cervix.  This simply means no heavy exercise, no sex, excuse me "pelvic rest" and hope for no early bleeding as the baby starts to weigh more.  It also means that if I do start to bleed (usually happens late 2nd or 3rd trimesters) I will go on bed rest!  So, I'm hoping for a good pregnancy.  Oh ya, and if it doesn't move I will be looking at a c-section for the first time.  I have another ultrasound on Friday and am hopeful the placenta has moved, though statistics in my case (100% covered cervix) do not favor us.

We also are having a terrible time choosing a name for another boy.  I like Brazilian names, Josh Estonian.  Both are often weird in English and don't sound well together.  The family tree has been plucked pretty dry as all of our boys first and middle names can be found there.

Hope everyone is getting ready to enjoy the Holiday Season.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Raising Sons

I want to jot down a few events over the last couple of weeks, before they are forgotten:

As we are running late for Church, Ivan:  Everyone look, look!  I have a spider leg and it is still moving!  Sure enough, he had taken the leg off of a daddy-long-legs and was having a science experiment.  We walked into church late needless to say.

Ammon, in front of most of Josh's co-workers during a nice dinner:  FARTED.  And it wasn't a slip-excuse me kind of fart.  No, it was loud (think clown nose sound) and I believe I saw a fist-pump accentuate it!!  Embarrassing!

Vinny:  finds a way into the bathroom every chance he gets.  He plays in the water-clean or dirty.  I beg and beg the older boys to flush and keep the door closed.  It is still a challenge.  This week I caught him stirring the pot with the remote control.  Later, the toilet was clogged and we found-a toy car after some serious plunging.

Orlando:  "Mom, you're treating me like a slave!"

Oh boy.  The joys of motherhood!

Saturday, October 6, 2012


I'm very excited that missionary age has changed at long last for the sisters to age 19-a full 2 year difference!   Boys can now leave at 18-if they are ready and it is more convenient.  They can leave up until age 25, but are encouraged to go as soon as they are prepared spiritually, financially, etc.  I don't feel like it will be that different for the boys-a few will leave earlier, but you still have to finish high school, and many are 18.5 by then anyway-so maybe a 6 month difference.
For girls-well we've had to wait until we were 21.  It's a hard age, because often you are a junior in college and stuck with deciding between a mission and finishing your degree.  I was there-and chose to finish my degree and then leave for a mission when I was 22 (ancient!!).  Also, for way too long it has been said "girls go on missions because they aren't married."  Sheesh.  No.  Girls went on missions for the same reasons (love of God, love of mankind, love of the church and its teachings) it's just we had to wait because of the age requirement.  Yes, sometimes this meant Mr. Right came along and so a mission didn't happen, but that doesn't mean a girl didn't want to go.  I am thrilled that now a girl can leave at age 19.  No longer can it be said that she "didn't get married".  Perhaps some stereotypes can be put aside.  And my prediction: a whole lot of sisters will be serving!
Why the year difference? I'm not sure, but it doesn't bother me.  For boys, it is asked of them-get 'em out the door as soon as they are ready.  For girls, it is optional and a year after high school to consider it is probably smart.  I was VERY happy though that the age was lowered for girls!
I went to the MTC 13 years ago today-as a very old 22 year old sister missionary who just hadn't gotten married. :)  Life changer and no regrets!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Baby 5

We are excited to announce that we have a new baby coming in April of 2013!  Choosing to have another child is difficult.  I was ready for number one, okay when number two came, shocked that number 3 snuck in, frustrated that 4 had such perceived bad timing-and then this time.  This little number 5 has been the hardest.  Coming off of birth control was the hardest decision I've made at this point-I cried before and after my Drs appointment.    3 of my 4 are in school.  Vinny is an easy kid who still takes naps.  I felt a glimpse of freedom that had been only on the horizon for so long. And yet, the nagging didn't stop.  I couldn't find the peace I searched for. So, the decision was made and here we are.
I'm so excited and overwhelmed.  I wish I was in better shape, weighed less, and was younger.  But hey, I'm a mother of four, and here I find myself.  I've been pretty sick and don't enjoy that, but it will hopefully pass within a few weeks.
We are pretty sure it is another boy.  I thought for sure Ammon was a girl, and Vinny-so maybe I'm just changing tactics ;)
Probably no one would ever believe me if I told them I wanted a boy.  But honestly, I am so in love with each of my boys and each one is so different-that another boy would be wonderful.  And honestly, a very comfortable idea for me.  My gut is saying it is a boy for what that is worth.
We are also setting a record in the surgical residency program for the most children ever by a surgeon resident here at the Marshfield Clinic.  We had been tied at 4.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Day of School!

Dear Ammon,   
You are so excited to be in Kindergarten.  You have at least two friends in your class, and wanted to play as soon as you came in the door.  I tried to get you to give me a hug, but you didn't want to.  You gave me a high-five!  You are very smart and I am looking forward to you having a good year.  I will miss having you at home and playing with Vinny.  You have been a wonderful good brother.  Love, Mom

Dear Ivan, 
You are starting 2nd grade.  You are so upset that there are just girls at your table!  In fact, you wouldn't even go to your table!  I'm sure by high-school your thoughts will change!  For now, you wanted me to stay.  I hope your day is getting better!  You are smart, and athletic-great at the skateboard, rip-stick and basketball.  I am so glad you are my little boy.
Love, Mom

Dear Orlando, 
You are now in third grade!  I am so proud of what a great student you are!  You are smart and nice.  It is hard to be the oldest, but you do a great job.  You are more responsible all the time.  You are crazy about your Lego's and like Frisbee Golf.  You help with Vinny, and  are working on earning your Wolf for Cub-Scouts.  I am so proud of you and hope you have a great 3rd grade year!
Love, Mom

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A great day to be a Mormon.

 I consider myself an independent voter, as I do not vote on party lines and have voted for different parties.  I do not agree with everything on the Republican Platform.  I do not agree with everything on the Democratic platform.  I do my best to make a decision that lines up MOST with my conscience.

Today, I just want to celebrate that a Mormon is at the top of a major ticket in the USA!!  I would be just as happy if this happened on the Democratic side.  It is wonderful to me, to hear people cheering for a Mormon.  The history of our church is a challenging one.  I understand why people have questions.  I get it if they think we are racist or polygamists.  I also reflect on the persecutions that Mormons have endured-and marvel that more of them did not leave the church in its early days.
 How much do I really know the details of other peoples faiths?  Often, I do not know much about them at all.  It has been my experience, that the more I learn about their faith, the more I respect it.

I hope that this is a time when things that are false are corrected.  When things that are true are better explained, and when the wonderful things that my faith offers are better received.

My church and faith have blessed my life in countless ways.

Go Mormons!  May we continue to serve in our communities and our countries-regardless of political affiliation!

Monday, July 30, 2012

My Amish Experience

I don't know much about the Amish.  I know the stereotypical stuff, like they drive buggies, not cars.  I also know they dress very plain and modest, and don't use electricity.  Our family is now living in central Wisconsin.  There is a lot of farm land, and a large Amish population as well as Mennonite.  I have been doing some reading about them, and it is quite interesting.  I also had my own Amish experience (beyond the farmer's market).
Recently, I was given some quilt blocks from my great Aunt Jean.  My great-grandmother hand stitched them.  To tell you the truth, I was not that excited about them initially.  They are a very old-school pattern-the Dresden plate, and also had very plain material.  With my mother-in-law in town last week, we decided to get them out and see what we could do.
First, a material hunt.  We went 3 places, and Wal-Mart won out with the best suited material for these antique treasures.  We sashed away, and the quilt started to come together better then I could have imagined.  I like our color choices, and the quilt is pretty.
Next, we had to decide how to quilt it.  A friend in Little Rock has a long-arm, and I love to quilt on it-put anything on it, and it looks great.  One drawback though is that is does all-over quilting.  I want to do more specific quilting.  One thing around the plates, another for the sashing and accent squares. This can be done on the long-arm, but I'm not sure I've got the skill set!
I knew there was a little Amish store (the screened in front porch of a farm house) about 20 minutes from me.  I knew they had quilts.  We decided to go.  I wish I had pictures.  But, the Amish do not want their pictures taken (this could encourage vanity) and I don't want to offend them, so phone and camera were not with me.  My in-laws were with me and soon Dan was out in the barn looking at a loom to make rugs.  Kathryn and I were admiring the beautiful quilts-all quilted by hand.  They cost between 500-850 dollars.  This sounds like a lot, but on-line similar quilts can be in the thousands.  The actual quilting was gorgeous, the patterns and stitching so beautiful.  I had brought my quilt top along, and as I got more comfortable with Sarah (woman of the house) decided to show it to her.  Of course, it was very basic compared to their appliqued beauties.  We discussed how to quilt it and patterns to use.  Because I'm not a hand quilter, I don't have stencils, etc.
Then the fun began.  She got her mom, and they pulled out a box they called "trash and treasure".  In it we found the neatest patterns made from various papers-most often though old corn flakes boxes.  They would twist and turn the patterns demonstrating how to pencil them on just right.  After some more discussion-I hired the mom to mark the quilt. She is charging me only $15.00!!  I couldn't believe it.  It should be done in a week or so.  They will mail me a postcard, since they don't have a phone to call.  She will use pencil on the white and soap of the darker boarder. I still have to decide how I will tackle the quilting.  Dare I do a by-hand project (it is almost king-size) or do I attempt to do it by machine?
Such a neat quaint-go-back-in-time experience.  I really enjoyed myself.  We only had Vinny with us and he is such a runner-he kept going into the house and I would have to chase him out.  I would have been more embarrassed but Sarah has four young kids and seemed to understand. Things I noticed: The house was not super clean-in fact it was dirty.  She apologized for not having her morning chores done (she had already milked cows by hand). There were simple pallets on the floor where kids had slept-baby toys strung all over-egg shells on the counter, etc.  She had running water, but a very shallow sink.  Wooden floors and furniture was sparce.  A beautiful big stove though-as this is where they cook and how they keep warm during our long winters. The kids don't know English yet-the oldest some, but not great.  They speak German-or perhaps Pennsylvania Dutch-not clear on the differences.
Sarah asked me to do her a favor and make her some business cards, or go to a place here in town and have them made.  She doesn't have a car or any way to do them.  "She'll pay me of course."  I am excited to do this, and maybe build a bit of a friendship with her.
I continue to study about their culture and religion (trying not to stick my foot in my mouth) and came across, on Wikipedia a court case in central Wisconsin about the Yoder family and going to school past 8th grade.  Interesting, that Sarah's last name is Yoder-and now I'm wondering if this case was about her or a family member.  The one-room school house is located across the street and had some rustic playground equipment, and again-quite plain.
Kathryn's foot at the top! 
Well, I'm excited to get my quilt back and see the markings.  I could pay them to quilt it for 2-300 dollars.  I'd like to try it on my own first and see how it goes.  The above picture doesn't show the outer border that added quite a bit.  I had a tenth  Dresden plate square that we cut in fourths for the corners.  It really does look nice.  At the "Country Quilt Store" Kathryn bought a log-cabin pillow cover, Dan bought a rug and some home-made jam, and we all had an experience to remember.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sweet Summer Moment

Dear Readers,

It has been a long, hard summer so far.  My kids have pushed me to my limits.  That, I suppose is why tonight was so special.

I started reading the Lemony Snicket books to my kids tonight.  As you probably know already, the 3 kids are orphaned in the first chapter and things don't get better.  We read through chapter three.
We stopped reading and the kids starting asking all kinds of questions.
"Mom, what will we do if you die and just leave us 3 boys and Vinny?"  Ivan.
"Mom, wouldn't you come back?  I mean later.  When you could?"  Orlando.

Then, they began to tell me that they would miss me.  Actually miss me!

This was a shock.  I have not been the "fun, cool" mom.  They have let me know this through tantrums and fits.
I am the mom that did not buy them that remote control car at the garage sale.
I am the mom that cancelled movie night because they watched too much t.v. in the afternoon.
And that's just today.  I've also been griped at this week for making them take baths, 
timing their computer time, 
doing chores-yes, they have to clean!, 
making them go to their practices, 
put away laundry, 
and two weeks ago packed up a sack of Lego's because they wouldn't help clean. (That's worth another post ;).  

I really wasn't sure these boys liked me much with the fits they've dished out lately.  Maybe it is the heat, lack of routine, or a "phase" but they have been challenging.  All at once.  And all 3 of them.  Plus Vinny is mobile and into it all-even running (it's so cute!).

Well, they started talking and even tearing up... and I told them that if I died, they could live with their favorite cousins, and they would have grandparents to help them.  Then, they were a little better.  But I have to admit, it touched me when they teared up at the thought of me being gone. We had a sweet talk, and I won't put it word for word here, but man I love those kids.

Yes, the ones who don't pick up their Lego's,
have appetites for hot-dogs and ice-cream and that's it,
complain about cleaning constantly,
and who recognize bath as a four letter word ,
and believe every broken, nasty toy at a garage sale IS worth 5 bucks.
Yep, those kids.  I love 'em and can't imagine life without each one of them.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Divisive and Strange

I told myself I wouldn't blog about politics any more.  I don't want to cause riffs-and really I'm not a confrontation person.  Still, I can't handle some of what I am seeing.  I deleted my "Patriotic blog" and I've tried to be quiet, but look at these!  Both of these pictures I find offensive and just weird.

First picture:  What?  I'm not sure what God's law they are talking about.  Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and God what is God's? Are they talking about abortion and birth-control?  I'm not sure what the message is, but I don't like it.  It strikes me as divisive and strange.

Second picture:  Whoa!  So I understand this one-I think.  The idea being that Christ didn't discriminate and that he was a great healer.  But, I so don't like this.  Think of how the argument could go the other way.  Christ healed-but he didn't ask others to pay for it.  Christ sometimes asked the person to go wash themselves in a river 7 times-which could be compared to doing what you can for yourself.... Christ invited others to come unto Him, but he didn't mandate it.  I don't know but I think this argument could go either way-and we shouldn't go there at all!!   It strikes me as divisive and strange.  Plus, the inference is terrible-if you disagree that a big government program isn't best to take care of people-you are obviously not being Christlike.  (Wow.  There is a lot of judging in that!)  I'd love to bring up "No Child Left Behind" and compare it-but I'll save that for another post.   Maybe.  Or maybe I'll learn to be quiet.   

ps. Both pictures were from Facebook.  One my sister in law took with her camera, the second has been posted on many a "wall".

Friday, July 6, 2012

Perfection of the cookie!

Today I am a food blogger.  I'm taking a photography class with my little Sony Cyber-shot.  It is amazing how much it can do.  (I had no idea!)  So, here is a post, complete with a recipe!
Also, I'm dedicating this post to one of my best girlfriends, Jen Schwartz.  She is amazing with the camera, and loves chocolate.  I really miss you, and since we can't be together for your birthday, here is a post just for you!

It's hard to love anything more than the perfect cookie!

This shot uses the pretty china, just to mix it up.  Also, you can see the chocolate chip is soft, not hard, just the way I like 'em.


You always include a picture of one of your kids if you are a food blogger.  It's mandatory.

Dunked in milk!  (I liked the colors here.)

Finally, a darker background with milk and plenty of yumminess!
These are all raw shots, without any editing.  That way my cool photo teacher, Jenna with Jenna Beach Photography can see them, in their first form. Okay, ready for the recipe?  It has two secret ingredients-The majority of the recipe comes from a site called
Follow this recipe exactly-including the cornstarch! The second secret is to substitute the butter to Butter-Flavor Crisco.  Trust me on this, it gives an amazing result.  I only cook them for around 8 minutes, and let them rest on the tray for another minute or two, then remove.  That way the bottom is just brown enough, but the cookie is so, so soft.
Oh, one other thing: double the recipe.  You won't be sorry!
Enjoy everyone, and happy birthday, Jen!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Thanks for coming, mom!

Dear Mom,
We are so glad you came to visit.  Hopefully, soon I will find the pictures from
Circus World!  It was a fun day!
I enjoyed having you here, please come again soon!!
Love and kisses from the Cheese capital (I know you are craving some-and some peaches and cream, right?  wink. wink.)

G-Ma in Wisconsin Part III: Jurustic Park

There is a little known place here, on Sugarbush Road, called "Jurustic Park".  

 Very creative metal sculptures made of all kinds of things are put together.  People buy them for lawn ornaments and what-not.

My mom claims to be more of an Okie, but she is still a HOG fan!  Look at her kiss a pig!

G-Ma in Wisconsin Part II

 Grandma watched the boys while Josh and I went on a date.

Vincent is just so darn cute!

I couldn't resist this one, my older one with the undies, and the younger one showing off his curvy legs, and cute bottom.  I'm totally in love with my children.  

Grandma OK comes to Wisconsin! Part I

 My mom, known as "Grandma Oklahoma"  came and visited for two weeks.  We had a low-key visit.  It was nice.  We went to the farmer's market, made peach jam, and drove to small towns in Wisconsin for fabric sales.
 We played in the sprinkler, put together puzzles, and watched sadly as OKC lost to Miami.
 We admired the cuteness of this lil' one.

 More pictures coming soon!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Come on over. . .

We will be in Wisconsin this summer-"hanging around"  Josh has made quite the climbing wall in the garage.  The boys are good at putting on their helmets (excuse the pictures) and going for a climb.  Josh boulders around, there are a few on the ceiling.  This is located in our large garage.  Whoever owned this place had an RV,boat, or something because there is plenty of space.  

I have a strong influence over Josh, but I've never been able to take the climb out of this boy.  I have influenced him to wear a helmet.  ( He didn't own one when we married).  Our boys will climb, even if I get anxiety.  I'm slowly warming up to it.  The wall isn't as scary or as dangerous as I might have thought, and the angry bird stickers helped.  LOL.

 Here are a few pictures of our beautiful garden.  We worked from sun up to sun down.  It is about 17 by 25 feet.  We have lots of tomatoes, strawberries, cauliflower, carrots, lettuce, watermelon, zucchini,
herbs, peas and more!  I can't believe we did this.  I am in NO way good at keeping plants alive.  

Here are a few reasons I gave in and we planted: 1. When in rome-I mean everyone gardens here.  It is just the thing to do.  2.  I'm gonna be home this summer, so I can take care of it.  3.  The plot was already here-so why not use it.  4.  Josh wanted to, and we could work together.  5.  I have crazy dreams of it producing and me becoming some yummy organic cook and my kids eating vegetables that they have weeded and watered.
Let's hope it isn't dead by July!

Here is a shot the boys got in the tree house.  It has two stories and is a fun place.  We also have a maze on the hill.  Yes, a maze where we cut down the tall grass.  Why not enjoy the large field behind the house?

   Have you ever played, "Fox in the Meadow?"  You should.  It is a super fun activity.  We learned the game in snow, but you can also make a maze in grass, like we did.  Basically, it is tag with a fox chasing geese.  You just have to stay on the maze.  Once the fox tags someone and there are 2 foxes, you can trap people and use a little strategy on which path you take.
Here is a spiral shaped dead end.
This is also a very random, spiral-like post.  Oh, and even though this post is early a bit for father's day.  I just want to throw out how my boys are so lucky to have a dad who builds them a wall, and a garden, and a maze!  I love Josh, and while Marshfield wouldn't be my first pick, as long as Josh is here this is where I want to be. So, come on over-it's gonna be a fun summer!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Medieval Family

Vinny's very first birthday happened to fall on the night of the school carnival.  I dressed up as a princess and passed out royal invitations at the school on Thursday.  Students and families were encouraged to dress up; if you ever need a pick-me-upper, I strongly suggest dressing as a princess and going to a kindergarten classroom.  The little girls told me time and again how beautiful I was and asked me, "are you a real princess?"  
"Of course, I am, " was always my response.  Such an esteem builder!

Vincent was our dragon.

Dragon Vinny.

Vinny and Dad.

Our  knight in shining armor, on a wave board, Ivan.

Ivan the knight!

Ammon as Robin Hood.

Orlando was the jester.  He was great and even memorized jokes.  My favorite was what do you get from a nervous cow?
A milkshake.  


Monday, April 9, 2012

Mt. Olympus

We had a wonderful spring break this year!  Josh was able to take vacation.  We went and spent 2 days in the Wisconsin Dells.  We got a steal of a deal and stayed at Mt. Olympus and rode roller coasters, and enjoyed the inside water park.  The boys loved it!

The next day we went to Devil's Lake.  It a a beautiful place.  Josh is discovering the rock climbing available here.   Thursday I went to the temple in St. Paul with a friend in the branch. Friday we worked around the house, and just played catch up.  Saturday, Josh went to the temple with a couple of people.  Sunday was spent celebrating Easter.  Another post hopefully coming soon on that.  But in short, it was a very nice week for our little family.