Sunday, November 30, 2008

Maybe a little too much fun this weekend!

Most of the weekend we just hung out and played around the house!

Lot's of alphabet games!!! Sam is doing much better...he knows about half of the letters now!

This morning, we brought the kids out for brunch. They were so darn cute! We're still working on the manners while in a restaurant stuff, but they sure looked the part of perfect kids!




Last night we brought all of the kids to the Buck's game! It was hilarious! Jack and Caroline loved all the action and Sam and Emma loved the popcorn, and cookies! Not to mention the Sprite! We don't usually allow soda, so they all filled their bellies while they had the chance!


On Friday Jud brought all of the kids to the theater....by himself.... to see a movie!!! (He's so brave!) While I headed to Green Bay for a night out!


It was a little surprise get together for my sister Jean, because she didn't want a party... but she is turning 40!!! We couldn't let that go by without a celebration!

Jean had to teach a spinning class the next morning, so she wasn't quite in the party hardy mood that I was, but hey, no kids and no Jud, that doesn't happen often, I had to take full advantage!






My mom, aunt, cousins, sisters, sisters-in-law, some of Jean's friends and one studly brother;) (Pete only a real man can hang out with a bunch of drunk old ladies!!!)

We had dinner, and for a few of us, maybe a little too much fun!



Sisters!



My sister Karin and I, and a few adventurous friends of Jean's, really made a night of it!!! We actually closed the bar! I can't even remember the last time I did that! And I sure felt the consequences the next morning!!!

But we were just having so much fun! It was awesome so have some fun, girl time with Karin! We haven't done anything together in quite awhile, so we really let loose!

Sadly this was only the beginning of the night!




Why does she look so annoyed with me already???


Believe me, by the end of the night, she was dancing too! Those pictures however, will remain in a file for future blackmail!!!


And here's a picture of two of my favorite people!

Kristin and Mel



They had our puppies at their house for the last week! I think Sophie is already a little depressed to be home. She is back to the life of a dog, sleeping in her crate, rather than the life of a queen, sleeping on Kristin's pillow!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Normally we celebrate Thanksgiving with some of our enormous extended family!

...some years we travel to them, some years they travel to us.

But this year, we decided to take a break! And celebrate with just our own little family.

With Jud working so hard lately, our family time has suffered a bit...so we were all in need of a little togetherness!

So instead of a turkey dinner, we opted for a few days at a water park in the dells!

it was wonderful!

No computers, no cameras, no phones, and very limited blackberry time (You can only ask so much of a senior VP I guess) I didn't check e-mail or the forum once! That's major!

This was a first for me, I actually put the camera down...I took absolutely no pictures this weekend. Even though there were a ton of awesome photo opportunities! Instead , I went down the howling tornado with the brave Caroline, I surfed the wave pool with Jack, rode the lazy river ride with Sam, and swam in any pool that wasn't too "noisy" with Emma!

It was so nice to just be us.

Just us.

our family.

the kids, and us.



But now, even though we've only been home for a few hours, I already feel we're being sucked back to reality!


I can't stop thinking about the kid's conferences earlier this week...


On Monday, I met with all of the "bigs" teachers.

First was Caroline,

I heard about how she was reading far above her grade level and how she was testing in the 99% for math. I heard about how responsible and honest she is...

Then Jack,

I heard about how much his teacher loves having him in class. What a helper he is. How nice he is to all of his classmates. And of course, how well he tested in reading and math...and what an overall awesome kid he is!

No big shock, they're great kids, I already knew that. But then came Sam.

This picture was from his first day of school!





During his conference, I heard about what a good listener he is, how well he follows directions, how nice he is to his friends...

and then the shock!

his teacher told me that he wasn't able to recognize most of the letters...immediately, my head started spinning.

he doesn't know his letters!!!


What?!!!


We've got him working on addition and subtraction...did we really forget the basic alphabet?

It can't be. There must be some mistake.

When I got home and told Jud what the teacher said, he didn't believe me. So we started pointing out letters to Sam, asking him what they were. Sure enough pretty much the only ones he knew were S A M .


I know I worked on letters. I know I did flash cards with the ABC's, I know we talked about what letter everything started with... turns out, even though I did these these things...it wasn't with Sam!

Holy #%*%!!!

We forgot one!

Some how this one got by us!

How can that be? Jud and I are very involved parents. We talk to the kids everyday about everything that's going on...we know what they're doing and when they're doing it!

But somehow we missed this!!!

Totally embarrassed, I assured his teacher that we would work on his letters and he would know them in no time!!!

Caroline helped out...we made flashcards, and made up games. Tonight we played alphabet go fish, and Sam did, well...let's just say we've got a lot of work to do!

On the bright side,
Emma knows all of her letters already!

yup, worst mom,
right here!

Monday, November 24, 2008

I love vacation days!

Caroline and I worked very hard on this, for really, far too long!!!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Big weekend for Jack!

First, he lost his second tooth! Very exciting! Then, for the even bigger news, Jack has now joined the late bedtime club! This was a major development! He's been talking about it for weeks!


For sometime now, at bedtime, after we read stories, while we tuck in Jack, Sam and Emma, Caroline gets to sneek douwnstairs for late bedtime. She usually gets to have a little snack and then we either play a board game or we watch animal planet together. Just a little special time together!

Well, now Jack has joined the club! Caroline was very gracious in welcoming him to the late bedtime club, "because it will be more fun to play board games with 4 people!" That's just good thinking!

I just can't believe how much Jack is growing up lately! He sure is one awesome kid!


Here he was at bedtime tonight!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Rhona, AKA Bubbie!

I remember when Jud and I were dating...over ten years ago! (gosh do I feel old even typing that!) When things started getting serious, we drove to MN so I could meet his mom, Rhona. I was so nervous!

I heard how Jud talked about her, how strong she was, how caring she was, how incredibly supportive she was...I knew that she was an extremely important person in Jud's life (obviously)! but, what if she didn't like me???

Once we met, it took me all of two minutes to get over my nervousness, and realize that this incredible woman was not one who was going to judge me, that's just not her.

Honestly, in the ten years I've known her, I've never heard her say a negative thing about anyone!

Rhona's life has not been an easy one... if there where ever a person who deserved to hold a grudge, or the right to be a little spiteful, she would be that person. But she doesn't. She always sees the best in people. And with her sweet, nurturing, nature she accepts everyone as they are, doesn't try to change them, just tries to understand them.

Rhona and I pretty much hit it off from the start, we're very similar in some ways, and very different in others, but there is such a mutual respect for each other, even from those first days together, that our relationship has just grown over the years.

But really, I don't think there's any doubt that our relationship, kind of, stepped to another level, while I was pregnant with Caroline.

While I was pregnant, I was on bed rest...for a long time...I seriously thought I was close to losing my mind! But that's when Rhona started calling...and calling...and then I started calling her...and calling her...soon, we were talking everyday, usually several times!!! If I had a doctors appointment, I'd get in my car and call Rhona to give her the update. If I read something troubling,or I was freaked out about something, I'd call Rhona... She was my go to gal... my friend!


When it FINALLY came time to deliver, Rhona was supposed to be teaching a class, but instead she was on a last minute flight to Milwaukee because she just couldn't bear to miss the birth of her first grandchild! A memory we'll share forever!


Rhons and Caroline










Once Rhona became a Bubbie...I think I began to love her even more. And the kids, oh my gosh! Bubbie is the bomb!!! Caroline was two years old, and she already knew Bubbie's phone number! Caroline would call and leave messages, always ending with "luv you bye!" (which Bubbie taped and recently gave me a tape of!)

The kids all love and adore Bubbie! As do Jud and I!!! She is such a huge positive influence in all of our lives. Caroline and Bubbie, definitely have a very strong bond! Which I just love! And I hope that over the years just gets stronger...(as long as you don't encourage her to dye her hair green!)

What a better role model for Caroline to have? A strong, independent, loving, and secure woman...oh I hope Bubbie rubs off on her!


The girls again!





Really, knowing Rhona, has changed me as a person, I have learned to think about things I never really thought about before, care about things I never really cared about before, and love much deeper than I ever have before.


In the last, probably two years, I have gone through a sort of moral makeover...just trying to think more about others and less of myself...give more, take less...and in the midst of this "transformation" one day, Jud told me that I reminded him of his mom! I smiled, I was so proud of myself! I felt like I had made it! To be compared to you....well, it's the best compliment anyone could ever give!


Rhona, I love and respect you, I admire your strength and courage, I am honored to be your daughter ( even if it's only by law!)

I Love you! For who you are...For who you are to me! To the kids! And to stubborn old Jud! You are one incredible BUBBIE! And one amazing Mom!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!


I Love you !

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How Cute are They?!!!!

Caroline and Jack are practicing for their big duet on Tuesday!







And Emma playing with her leapster! I know I'm biased, but isn't she just the most gorgeous little three year old ever!!!






Sorry no pictures of Sam tonight...he was feeling a bit under the weather...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thirty-one

Really, what's a number right?

Well, today was my birthday.

Yup, 31.

And really, I don't feel any different than I did yesterday! So I think I'll just stick with 30!

Last night Jud made a wonderful dinner, we lit Shabbot candles, had challah, and my favorite, Sima's cheesecake for dessert! Awesome!

Today, the girls and I went out for lunch and got Caroline's hair cut! She "wanted a change"! (is she a little me or what?)

She looks adorable! And more importantly, she loves it!

Last minute, we decided to go out for dinner tonight...Papa Bruce, and Grandma were planning on coming to visit, but poor Auntie Mim is sick, so they stayed home to take care of her. (Mim, hope you feel better soon!)


Anyway, we went out for dinner tonight, it was kid's night at our club...Something we haven't done before, but recently, I made a promiss to Caroline that we would all step out of our comfort zone in the hopes of meeting new people, and hopefully, some new seven and a half year old friends!

So the kids had a blast doing crafts, playing games, eating ice cream....and Jud and I were able to have a nice dinner with some friends from Jud's work upstairs.

All night, of course, I was worried about the kids...I mean, we've had sitters, but we've never really left them with strangers. Seriously, every few months when I get into the "gotta workout" thing and I try to bring the kids to the Y .....Yeah, they just don't go for that!

But they really did have fun tonight! It was so cute on the drive home to hear them talk about their favorite parts of the day....Here's their take!



Caroline "Listening to the storyteller and playing with the nice girls."

Jack "When Mr. Taz pulled a dollar from my ear!"

Emma "Eating ice cream!"

Sam "Watching the alien movie with Jack and Daddy" (the boy's watched ET while the girls were out today!


We also heard lots of of hilarious comintary on the evening!...And details of the night. It definately sounded like fun, and the kids voted unanamously that it was definately something that they would like to do again.

Ahhh. It seems like life is getting easy!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A whole lotta nothin!

We had an awesome weekend! We had no plans, and pretty much did nothing but cuddle and play! As a family, we went to see Madagascar 2 on Friday, it was so much fun! The kids absolutely love going to the movie theater! It was a fun outing for the whole gang! Saturday, we just hung out...Caroline had a friend over to play. And then Jud and I went out for dinner with friends, it was really fun to actually spend a little time together! Time together, as a couple, is kind of hard to come by these days!!! So it was much appreciated!

Today, we had a few little visitors. My friend Dani was feeling very under the weather, so she finally agreed to let me steal her gorgeous little girls for the day! I have to say it felt great to have a baby in the house again! (Probably not what Jud wants to hear! ) Although, I could have done without the poopy diapers! Seriously, I don't know why it never seemed to bother me before? Does my kid's #&%& really not stink? Or have I just fallen out of the poopy-loop since it's been over a year since we've had diapers in our house?!!!


The kids loved having the extra "littles" here too! When Caroline and Jack got home from school, they were fighting over who got hold the baby first! But the baby's big sister, Miss Olivia, has a bit of crush on Jack, so like a true gentleman, he let Caroline have dibs on the baby, and he opted to play with Olivia.


Jack and Olivia









Caroline and the adorable little Lauren






The puppies were a bit jealous! Can you tell?








The ever silly Sam! Why is he wearing a glove you may ask? I have no idea! He had it on all day!






Even Emma wanted a turn with holding the baby! Just for a second and then it was back to playing with Olivia. When Olivia was leaving, Emma said she wished that Olivia could stay her forever and ever!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Such a proud MAMA!

Who could have ever thought...that from this gorgeous little face there would one day come such wisdom?



I know I talk about Caroline a lot, but I am just constantly amazed at what a wonderful person she is becoming! Her and I have a lot of good talks! We talk about everything, from the bullies at school, to how unfair the world is sometimes, to taxes! Yes that's right,we even talk about taxes! With all of the election stuff going on, she was hearing things from kids at school about how Obama was going to take their money! So we talked about taxes...we talked about how many people in this country have so much but many many more people in this country and around the world have very little. I told her that by paying taxes we pay for things like schools, roads, policemen, firemen, and lots of other people who keep us safe. And we also talked about how it is also our responsibility to help those people who don't have enough, who maybe lost their jobs, and can't afford to pay for food and clothes or even their house...Pretty complicated issue to be talking about with a seven year old, I know. But she got it.

So last night after one of our little heart to hearts, she asked where we donate. I told her we donate to a lot of different places. She said, "but what's the one that you talk about a lot?" I asked, "do you mean AHOPE?" She said yes, and asked about what AHOPE is and what they do. So we talked for a few minutes about what they do and who the children are that they help... and then, without hesitation, my sweet little girl said, "do you think that this year for my birthday, instead of me getting presents, we could donate presents to the kids at AHOPE because they probably don't get birthday presents..."

She really gets it!
I am so proud of my beautiful little girl! She is the change we need to see in the world! We need more selflessness, more empathy, more people wanting to make a difference! We need more people to be as smart as second grader!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

VICTORY!!!!!

So proud to live in a Blue state!!!!

And I'm so thankful that I didn't have to stay up until 3am to do this!!!

Not the sign I was hoping for.

I just picked up Jack from school, he was sad to report that McCain won their moc election at school...

Today's the day!

I dropped all four of the kids at school, and then went to vote!

After I voted, I took my "I voted" sticker into Starbucks for a free coffee. Now I feel extra jittery! I have a feeling this is going to be a long day! I'm just hoping that everything turns out OK so that I can get out of bed tomorrow!

Here's to HOPE!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Party Time!

This weekend we hosted an engagement party for our longtime babysitter, Jessie, and her now fiance, Brad! Jessie has been a really important person in the kids lives, and in mine. She is the first person we ever had babysit! I'll admit, I started out as one of those neurotic moms, who almost never left her children... And really the only reason that I ever left them with Jessie is because I knew her! I used to babysit for her when she was little! I know her wonderful family. I know what a funny and sweet person she is. I know how loving she is. I know how responsible she is. I know that I can trust her.

When Jessie started babysitting for us, she was in college, and we only had two kids! (doesn't that seem like forever ago?) But here we are six years later and Jessie is still our number one! She stuck with us through all of our moves, even lived with us for a little while! The kids absolutely adore her! They cheer so loudly when I tell them that Jessie is coming, that I almost feel bad. She is so creative, the stuff she comes up with sometimes! Even Caroline is amazed!

Jessie and Brad have asked all of the kids to be in the wedding! Caroline for one is super excited, she can't wait to go shopping for dresses. She told me that it was going to be just for her and Jessie, (not me) because, I was not in the wedding! Ouch!


Anyway enough of me kissing Jessie's @#& !!! Here are a few pictures of her other side! She finally let loose after the guests went home!


Sorry Jessie, I just had to do it!!!


Fondue Fun!