Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

This is an odd pic to show on Christmas,
but perhaps you've come to expect the unexpected on my blog page by now...

This is a post-cookie decorating party pic...
The girls had some friends over a few weeks ago.

They frosted,
and it was over.

Kind of like Christmas.
We decorate,
spend time together,
and then it will be over.

There will be sweet spots
and sorrows too,
and then it will be over.

While Mark puts presents around the tree,
and I clean and prepare for tomorrow,
Dad is sitting at the bedside of his father-in-law.
Grandpa is 97,
a sweet, gentle, strong man.
Thankful for his presence on our family tree.
Thankful for the memories I have of a visit with him last week.
Remembering how he couldn't wait to come home for Christmas.

I've busied myself waiting for more news...
nothing yet.

Thankful for the day...
zumba to rocked out Christmas tunes,
hiking with dogs,
last minute wraps with eager children,
giggling in the snow,
champagne brunch with dear friends,
time together,
playing with toddlers in the nursery,
dinner at Grandma's,

the ups and downs,
the sweet spots,
the messes,
the giggles,
the excitement,
and knowing that tomorrow,
it will be over.

Ready to hug everyone a wee bit tighter in the morning,
spend some time with family,
and just enjoy the many blessings we have...
Merry Christmas to you and yours,

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Notes To Self for Next Christmas

1. Do not stick a little tealight under this cute tree.

It will start a fire.
All is good.
Nothing like a smoke alarm during a Swedish smorgasbord with 32 people.

2. Don't make cookies without a purpose,
You will eat them.

3. Go to the gym,
Every day your children are home.

4. Wear a turtleneck in cases of extreme social anxiety,
It will save yourself embarrassment of possible allergic reaction.

5. Make meatballs.
You don't eat them, but everyone else does.
There is never ever enough during the above smorgasbord.

6. Make chore lists for your children,
Make it long,
every day.

7. Plan a date night for Dec. 22 with your husband.
and maybe the 23rd too.
The children are very strung out post Sofi's perfect Dec. 21 birthday.

8. Plan activities over break with each child,
Two of the four will inevitably be bored....making each day very long.

9. Start the Christmas cards in October,
Mail in early Dec.

10. Do not engrave any Christmas presents,
Will save you $ later on when a return is necessary.

11. Have presents wrapped before children are home on break,
This will save you from wrapping until 2 a.m.

12. When starting the wrapping of presents,
make sure you have tape that you have hidden from children.

13. When ordering presents online,
read the small print,
make sure all of the pieces are included,
and no starter kits need to be purchased,
this will save dear husband from heading to store at 11:30 p.m.

14. Do not make presents two days before Christmas.
If they aren't done,
they aren't done.

15. Be flexible.

16. Be patient.

17. Be flexible some more.

18. Be patient some more.

19. Keep your own private stash of dark chocolate well stocked.

20. Have fun,
it only happens once a year.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's a P Day

P is for Parties, Pajamas, Poinsettias, Police Station, Pilates, and more Parties.
That's my agenda for the day.
I'm between the police station visit and pilates right now.

Let's start at the beginning....

P for Parties....5 today....
1. Sofi's school birthday party...cupcakes delivered. Check.
2. Preschool party at church....helped serve. Check.
3. Sofi's Christmas party at school. 20 gingerbread men made, and 20 bags of "kitted"toppings. Why? Please don't ask.... I never want to see a gingerbread man again.
4. Izzy's Christmas party at school. I get to show up and see her smile. A beautiful thing....
5. Carl's Christmas piano recital. Still need to make skor bars. Yikes...not sure when I'll fit that in....

-Pajamas...should have been wearing to the preschool party, but I opted out of that.
I don't wear pajamas.
I don't have a pair I like,
and I wear a variety of things.
The other day I wore my ski vest and mittens.
Hey, I was cold.
So romantic too.
Get your mind out of the gutter.
Back to my day....

-Poinsettias...had a sweet visit with an old friend in assisted living,
brought a poinsettia from the bright point of the day

-Police Station
I got pulled over last night.
First time in 22 years of driving.
I've had some other issues with driving over the years,
like the car wash incident of 1988,
but I've never been pulled over.
Sofi started to cry, "my mommy's going to jail!!"
Fabulous way to start the evening.
En route from train to a church dinner.
Pulled over right in front of the church.
I thought I was too fast at the stop sign.
I wasn't.
The problem?
She wanted to see if Mr. Johnson was driving?
He was in the passenger seat.
Good thing.
Turns out his license expired last month.
One more thing I don't keep track of.
Then she wanted the insurance docs...
Madly fumbled through the glove compartment...
five years were there, not this one.
Whoops again.
Got a warning.
Brought the insurance docs in today,
we had them.
All is good.
No Sofi, mommy is not spending Christmas in jail.

A billion things I could do,
including the making of the aforementioned skor bars....
(saltines, butter, brown sugar, chocolate chips...deadly)
I've made two batches.
I've sampled a few to deal with stress.
said it.
When stressed,
I bake,
or head to the gym.
This week has been very stressful,
and will continue to be for a few more days.
Since I've baked,
and created this week,
it's time to employ strategy number 4...
head to the gym.
Pilates vs. the skor bars.
May pilates win.

I feel better.
Have a wonderful day...and check your drivers license, and glove compartment today.
That my friends, is my public service announcement for the day.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Three Things That Make Me Happy

There are a billion things really,
I'm loving the applesauce maker turned Christmas tree...
Mark's idea actually.
He didn't think I'd use it.
He's probably right.
It' s much more functional this way.
Resting on a candleholder and a little two tiered tray....

My sled.
-18 with the windchill yesterday.
The kids are dying to sled.
not until it gets above 5 degrees.
I'm pretty sure my Swedish ancestors settled here in the Fall.
It's beautiful then.
Who would move here in the Winter??

My skis.
Pure bliss heading up the stairs.

In the midst of bows,
and baking like a fiend,
it's good to have some things that cause me to pause....


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sledding to Dinner?

Goodwill candle holder meets curbside sled for a wild ride on the dining room table..

It's a wonderful conversation piece,
and has a sense of humor too...
something that is important to maintain during the holidays....

The chandelier above is sporting some ribbon and pine cones...

Simple and rustic.
I'll add some greenery and berries to the table this week.
We're hosting a big family gathering on Sunday.

Here is my Pottery Barn knock-off...

The little girls put these together with me...
Five minutes of crafting,
and they were done....
the crafts and the girls.

They found a home on the corner hutch...found curbside a few years ago.

I haven't done any Christmas shopping.
Plenty of time still....

Any teacher gift ideas?
I have 4 days to figure it out.

Any good gift ideas for women?
Something thoughtful but not too impersonal for someone you don't know very well?
I'm stumped.

14 days and it all needs to be done.
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated...


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Best Christmas Present Ever!

I woke up and my antique skis were hanging in the staircase!

We haven't had a railing up for a few years...
since I painted.
I wanted something unique,
and a while back thought these would be perfect!

The only problem?
I had no idea how to make it work.

As always,
Mark did,
and I am so very thankful!

I have my crazy ideas...
the window seat canoe,
the piano innards hanging on the wall...
the branch in the staircase....
I could go on and on...
and he always makes it work!

Now the next step is to paint the sides and risers....

I may spend the day sitting by my front door in bliss!

Bring on the snow!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Is here to stay in IL....
Arrived just in time for our trip to cut down a tree....

Carl had fun throwing snowballs at his sisters.

Mark and Linnea cut down the tree....see them working hard in the background?
They make a perfect team.

The rest of us played.

They hunted and were successful.

Sofi helped too...

Why did we give him the saw?

Highly recommend Larson's farm out in Sandwich.
We will be heading back there next year!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Decking the Kitchen

Added this little chandelier above the sink...
a wedding gift from a family friend that's moved around the house....
Loving it here...

Made a little cork and music tree...

Had this urn in the corner with a white pumpkin all Fall,
and wanted a little something for Christmas...

Took some posterboard,
a few Christmas songs,
and some old corks.

Love making 5 minute projects that make me smile!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ah, what a day

Vino and blogging...
a wonderful end to a crazy crazy day.

I bet you didn't ride on a bus with a trumpet, trombone, cello, and percussion set today.
I did.
With a busload of excited middle school musicians,
performing at a nearby mall.

A mall...
what a novelty...
our closest is a ghost town.

Had a wonderful group of 4 girls,
shopped, watched, lunched, and just enjoyed being with them...

Came home,
dined with the family,
helped direct a kid's choir at church,
cleaned some more,
helped with homework,
a bunch,
cleaned some more....

....should be cleaning my room (what a disaster....dumped the Christmas decorations there),
or the floor,
or making birds,
or folding laundry,
or cleaning a toilet,
or prepping for tutoring,
or doing paperwork,
or decorating for Christmas,
or making lunches,
or cleaning off the countertop behind me....

But I'm not,
I'm here trying to figure out why my text is underlining,
trying to figure out how it can possibly be Dec. 2nd.,
contemplating why I live here in the Midwest,
when I could live somewhere much warmer,
trying to figure out how to juggle the tasks of tomorrow,
when I put them all on hold today.

Off to the bedroom,
hoping to find a few more homes for Christmas decorations.
I don't like the cluttered feel of the decorations right now...
it's stifling.
I may be going for a minimalist approach for a change.
I think it would be a breath of fresh air,
but I'm not sure the family would approve.

I'll leave you with a bird.
She's at Little Luxuries in Naperville...a lovely boutique, along with 4 others.
A beautiful story for another day....

Off to find " a sense of order" amongst the everyday clutter of our busy family....

Monday, November 29, 2010

Help Me Pick Our Christmas Pic!

Which would you choose??


7.Or should we try again?
This is exhausting!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


every day...
for my life,
and these four...
Every year I feel a little scrooge in me around Thanksgiving...
some years it brews into the New Year.

I try to stifle it,
but usually have at least one good cry in the closet during this season.

The root of the scrooge is primarily the empty chairs around the table.
Missing too many that are no longer with us,
or live too far away to come home.

Missing the traditions of the past,
and trying to make new memories for the kids.

Like everything,
it's a balance.

Thankful for last night.
Our Friend's Thanksgiving Tradition.
Night to relax, eat, and be merry together...
roaring fire,
candles ablaze,
goodies we didn't bring to our Thanksgiving table,
and good times.

Wonderful week,
just being family.
Visit from Papa,
playing Twister,
pet sitting,
making Christmas cards,
chilling out,

So very much to be thankful for....

Thursday, November 18, 2010


With this sweet girl in her classroom this morning.

So fun to be Picture Person today.
Thanks Izzy for working so hard in school.
You make me smile.
Your Mom

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Girls

Really aren't always this innocent.

But they sure are cute.

Last night they had their first big fight.
Sounded like two cats.
Why is it always during the dinner hour?
Tears from both.

More tears upon seeing vegetables.
Why does the sight of broccoli always move Sofi to tears?
I need to start hiding veggies again.
Ridiculous since her mother is a vegan.

Today's agenda?
A trip to the attic....long story for another day.
More birds.
Clean the bathrooms.
Meal plan.

Need to head to the store AGAIN.
My 13 year old has a hole in his leg.
I can't keep food in the house.
Maybe I need to hide it all.

Recipes with hidden veggies anyone?
Anyone recommend the cookbook Deceptively Delicious?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bye Bye Birdies...

"You'd think they were your children or something, Mom,"
said my oldest daughter today.

Three birds.

Are gone.

Flown away to new homes.

They're not my children, but they are a little piece of me.

My pencil moves so easily.
The texts are so fun to find.
The feathers, bits of my fly-tying days...
things I love.

Four more to complete,
and they'll fly away too.

Last night's show was amazing.
Fabulous turnout.
Met wonderful people.
I couldn't sleep last night.
Too excited.
Wired from the energy.
Creative wheels spinning.

Now it's back to reality.
Piles of laundry.
Floors to clean.
Grocery shopping.
Monday morning.

Quiet in the studio again.

I'm staying up late to tackle the mess,
so I can play again tomorrow.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

We Have a Winner!

Carl picked Natalie in Florida.
Natalie email me at and send me your address.
We'll send some happy mail your way!

There is he is...
my boy.
I had to tilt the camera up since I wasn't wearing heels.
If only time would stand still for a bit....


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wings and Giveaway Reminder

I'm wrapping things up for a show on Saturday night.
Here are a few sneak peeks of the wings....

I can't even begin to describe how much fun this process has been.
The artists that I'm working with.
The gallery space.
The time I'm devoting each day to drawing, painting, and creating.
Good stuff.

Don't forget to leave your name, and state (or country!)...
I'll have my kids pick a winner of happy mail at breakfast tomorrow!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Random Bits and a Giveaway

1. Here's the result of last week's roadtrip...

to Izzy's fairygodmother,
my big "sister" Trish...
an amazing photographer.
I'm thinking we send this one out as our Christmas pic?

Whoops...we're missing the boys.
Yikes...maybe not the best idea.
That would raise a few eyebrows.
Do you still send cards?
I used to make them.
Now, not so much.

She claims she didn't photoshop out my extra thigh or tire,
I'm not sure I believe her.
One of the families I tutor gave me this...

I kind of shared it with the family.
Kind of.
They had a few portioned bags.
I had the rest.
It was soooo good.
Worth a few extra trips to the gym.

2. New glasses.

My puzzled wrinkled face shows my inability to handle technology.
" do I take a pic of myself?"
I did it.

Linnea was a trooper and helped me try on 50 pairs.
Yep, fifty.
Buying a pair of glasses is tough.
I hate committing myself to a pair for a few years.
Plus I'm prone to losing things (thanks Dad),
and they're pricey!

I loved the last pair,
until my Dad and brother told me I looked like Sarah Palin.
I lost them.
Really, I really did.

These are a little funky, but fun,
and the best part?
I can see!

3. Soccer season is over.
Here is one of my favorite pics of the season.

That would be me huddled under my sleeping bag,
wearing a down coat and gloves,
holding my umbrella in a windy rainstorm,
and trying to stay warm with some Starbucks.
I do love watching Linnea play...

4. Some of you have been showing "what I wore on Wednesday."
I thought I'd start a new one,
"what I wore to the train."

That's me.
In my bathrobe over my sweats.
Tied with a leopard scarf for a little personality.
Wearing my fake uggs that have a hole in them.
They're fake.
They didn't last.
I guess I need the real deal, right Santa?

I drive Mark to the train every day that he works downtown.
Ten years of crazy get-ups, crazy train stories,
and I probably could have written a book.
Lets just say I'm thankful the girls are no longer babies
and need to be wrestled into snowsuits.

5. I need to go.
To the train.
To school.
To the gym.
To the paint store.
To find some paint samples for the master bath.
To the art studio to finish some pieces.
3 days till hanging....
and I'm almost done....

If you read this,
you deserve a prize.
Leave your name and what state or country you live in.
I want to teach the kids some geography.
We'll have our first little giveaway.