Monday, June 28, 2010

Minnie-Sooooaaatah!

My mom and sisters took a trip to a special place that is near and dear to all of our hearts...



We were all born there and spent our formative years in a very special town that no one has heard of when I'm asked "where were you born?", which makes it an even more special place for us all; like it's this little secret slice of heaven right under our noses. It's a small town called Waseca that oozes with wholesome goodness everywhere you turn.



and the house I was born in along with my sissies... we stalked, i mean, contacted the current owners of the house and they were MORE THAN HAPPY to give us a tour of the inside. of course we had to watch this video just before the visit to increas emotion, nostalgia and meaning. We like to do everything with an added dose of happy tears:)



as we toured the city, this is what you saw at every turn...



cornfields that went for acres and acres and super soft grass. it felt like you were walking on clouds. They say that the grass isn't greener on the other side, but after visiting Minnesota, I beg to differ...




our dear friend Dottie planted Lily's plant just after Lily's baby shower on 2/2/08 and it's still growing every year and just about to bloom....was such a neat reminder of how far we've come in just 2 short, but life changing years.


this is the house that my mom, sister and brother grew up in and so nostalgic for my mom to go back with her 3 daughters.....holy full circle batman...


they even deliver your mail by foot....i felt like Laura Ingalls was going to step out any minute...


and words like 'rubbish' were used to replace the typical garbage chute...



I packed light because I didn't want to pay the extra luggage fee to check my bags, but I made sure I packed an extra love cup to catch all the overflow...i should've brought 5 more. Seriously, feeeling like i could float up in the air with how much love was poured into my cups. Big thanks to Bridgid and the fam for being the greatest host to the Irish Mafia. It was like being in our home away from home...



we went to this yummy mexican restaurant where we were encouraged to go behind the bar to self-serve our own drinks. Then when we paid the bill, we were asked how many margaritas/beers/mixed drinks the group drank (minus me of course) and then the owner pretended like we said a smaller number...not sure how she comes out in the black every month, but we'll be heading back there for sure...



the best part of the trip was that NO ONE knew we were coming. They all expected to see just my mom, but the 3 girls would pop out individually and the surprises/gasps/shock/awe/excitement/disbelief built with every one. We moved away from MN 33 years ago and haven't been back probably in 25 years so it was QUITE the surprise to say the least. Nothing like being with family and friends where there really is no difference in the two titles


the tables were turned when my mom was surprised to see her long time friend and mentor from 40 years ago. we wanted to just drive by her house, but Millie happened to be outside and it was like time had never passed when they saw each other...



I thought my camera and flip were going to explode from all the snapping, videotaping and number of times I passed it off to another Minnesota stranger to take our picture...


We moved away when Jen was 10 so she had the most memories of Waseca and she really got into it. She wanted to relive every memory so we went to our favorite family park to play like kids again.



we did lots of this with Bridgid's sweet twin boys who are almost 7 and seemed to have grown up so fast. I remember when they were born like yesterday and to see them today was another full circle experience...



Their dog Gem was the sweetest and cuddliest dog ever. I think she suffers from a little misunderstanding of how big she really is because she'll hop on any lap and lay there like a small kitty cat not realizing she's fully grown and almost as big as the lap she's sitting on...


this sign above the couch just called for instant snuggles... such a cozy house...



then we visited Brian at his fire station; he's like our brother from another mother who visits us during the holidays with his dad Bob, so it was cool to have the tables turned and see him on his turf. He's a firefighter, but Jen wanted to get in on the fun...


I couldn't control my sisters who wanted to play with all the toys...


okay, so maybe I was guilty of it too...



then we all joined in on the fun...



and trooper of the year went to my Aunt Kathy who hung with us all day and added lots of laughs to the day...


our sister from another mister, Teresa (Brian's sister) joined us too at the mall of america. I needed an extra dose of my ritalin after visiting this mall because it was like if you pictured 4 malls-in-one plus a ferris wheel, roller coaster, aquarium, mini golf course, flume water ride in the middle in case you needed a break from shopping. I swear it would take 2 weeks of shopping to get from one end to the next.


The visit completely exceeded any expectation I had of Minnesota and I came home with a full love cup and a renewed excitement to write on Lily's (and baby's) blank slate of life to create the same childhood memories, friends, family ties and allow her to grow up in life filled with family and friends who show her how to love. A gift we were lucky enough to be given growing up by all these people, places and memories.

It is just so exhilerating to pay it forward.

Thank you Minnesota.

We'll be back for sure!

Life is good.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Posts on days like today are tough for me because it's hard to talk about seeing David as a daddy. Words escape me and writing about it seems to cheapen his daddyhood. I feel like I've seen him as a father longer than the last 2 years because I saw him work tirelessly to unturn every possible stone to become parents. It didnt matter what it took; if the doctors told us to do it, he would be the first person to sign us up. We were on the road to parenthood longer than we've actually been parents so I still have a hard time believing that 4 years of trying are over and we get to enjoy the fruits of all that labor. It strengthened us in ways we're not even aware of, but get glimpses of here and there, knowing nothing we've ever faced was more painful and heartwrenching. So on his 2nd father's day, it is such a gift in itself to see him as a dad. Lily kept telling him "Happy Fatters Day Daddy" and it brought a huge laugh and smile every time. She brings endless joy and is like the cork that stopped the pain and opened up this huge vast ocean of joy for us. And I think they make a pretty cute pair. I don't know who is more smitten with whom?


He got to plan our day together and I gave him lots of grandiose ideas, but he came back with church, brunch, family nap, pool and a bbq in that order. We're lucky because we get to have another Father's Day celebration when my dad is back in town and the Taylors are here so we got to break up the love into 2 separate days celebrating daddies. David and Jamie are great places to start...


I asked him if he wanted me to take Lily shopping so he could rub his belly, drink beer and watch the US Open (golf) with some peace and quiet and he looked at me like I was nuts. Got me thinking how there was a guest pastor at church today who talked about how his first marriage collapsed because he was such a workaholic dad/father and never put his family first because he was more worried about the roof over their head instead of actually enjoying the children under that roof. It was a powerful message and I thanked David on the way home for not falling into that trap and always putting his family first with his heart, his time, and his love. He teaches me how to turn off the computer, shut off the phone, turn on the music and what quality time should really look like...

and reads a mean Goodnight Moon while giving the best snuggles around...


in Lily's mind, daddy is the one who hung that moon...



all the while teaching her life skills that will last a lifetime...



and gives Lils some really good guidance in life with so much patience and tenderness, holding her hand all the way...


Thank you David for being a role model for both of your girls and soon to be baby boy...the 4+ years of trying feel like 4 months and seeing you as a daddy make all the pain worth it and simply vanish.

I love this picture because it catches the pure joy in David's heart and what it means to him to finally be a daddy ...



Happy Father's Day to Lenny Lou, Larry, and all those other amazing daddies out there who have been that strong foundation that acts as the rock in every family. You make the family complete.

life is good.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lily is Happy Summer is Here...

We've been playing with the potty around here and she gets an M&M when she's umm, successful. Usually the M&Ms are in the kitchen so one person will excitedly go and get them while the other builds up the excitement while waiting. When she hears them shake, she goes absolutely bananas. She's just too much. Oh, and she ALWAYS picks orange. As in always. Sorry for the loud M&m's, but it's worth it for her giggles that overshadow it all. So funny how she just started covering her mouth when she laughs really hard; like she's trying to contain it.
click here if u can't see video below: M&Ms
video

Sometimes I think there is giggle juice in the bubbles and not liquid soap. Click here and here to see what I mean. Lily thinks she's french because she always says "voah" for "woah" and I hope she does that when she's 16 it's so cute! I swear she has an eraser in her back pocket bc her happy spirit can erase any bad day :) I think she knows summer is here so she's extra happy like her mommy and daddy are.

life is good.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer, Summer, Summer

It's 7:40am and I can't believe I'm NOT at work! Working for the school system is the best job ever because there are lots of big and little holidays sprinkled throughout the year to 'sharpen your saw' and then there's summer where it's this giant shot in the arm of happiness and the buildup leading up to it is like waiting for Santa to come as a child.

When I was away at work, I knew Lily was in good hands. That was such peace of mind that you can't really put a price on. As a going away gift to the parents, the teachers compiled all the pictures they've taken throughtout the year and gave a CD of pictures with hundreds of images for each family. I can't imagine how long that must've taken.
Here's Lily on her first day of school. I remember being so nervous and wanting to be a fly on the wall wondering how every minute was going. I was sent this picture mid-day to let me know. Ummm, somehow I don't remember her so bald!



and Aunt Jen was always just around the corner. Seriously who is that little girl?



ok, this is a few months later and now I'm starting to recognize her...





it always makes me laugh seeing her do everyday things all by herself when I'm not around...



and with the super big kids....periodically, they'd be invited to assemblies that were with the big kid school and I truly can't imagine what is going on in her mind during times like this...there's a kid sitting next to her that is twice her size!

and daddy and lils had their special time in the morning as it was just the 2 of them...

and i did pickup which I thought was the best job ever because as i walked by the window and knocked on the door i could hear lily yelling "Lee-lee's mommy" and my heart would skip a beat each time I saw her like it was the first time.


and Grandpa got to take her a few times last week when David was out of town. Normally, she didnt cry when David left her in the morning, but there were major tears when Papa left and she'd wail "mooooooore papa" and dad wouldnt know what to do. Kim told him to make a quick getaway and I dont know who it was harder on. And somehow Elmo made it to school even though toys from home aren't exactly encouraged. Hmmm, think Lily was pulling a fast one on Papa and he fell for it hook line and sinker. Awww, I love their bond...



racecar lily...



peek-a-boo...



this one melts my heart....she's rubbing Leah's back to help her sleep. I think leah is already asleep so maybe she's trying to actually wake her up early to get in some twubble together. :)


great friends swing together...


this picture just made me laugh.


and this one too...always with her baby. always.



and washing dishes.



and the art projects they did were things I never thought of...


and themed dress up days...



and more sleeping....they said some days lily was so tired, before it was nap time, she'd get out her own bed, blanket and lay down like she's saying "hutch-out" . look who she's sleeping with...



did i mention she always has to have a baby close?



getting some loving from Joseph...


and giving some back to Owen...


and a good night hug from Sebby who I'm told they had a little crushola...



and this one snuck in from bubbles on the patio



and seriously if this one doesnt make you laugh, then you need to check your laugh-meter. finding pants to fit over a cloth diaper are tough, but we thought we had a pair. Not so much. Apparently, she was dancing and even though this happened, it didnt stop her from getting her groove on.


She will miss this place dearly this summer, but we'll make some visits and sharpen our saw together as I'm sure they will too! Thank you Kim, Em, Julie and Evie, for these endless priceless pictures and thanks for filling up our love cup everyday! Have a happy summer!

Ohmygoodness, it's now 8:15 and no school bells are ringing and I dont have any meetings to get to or fires to put out. Ahhhhh, the joys of summer, summer, summer!!


Life is good.