Monday, March 29, 2010

A Walk in North

Tryn, Berlin and I went on a little walk this afternoon. After we walked to the park and played for awhile we took a little stroll around the neighborhood. This is something that, for me, takes a little courage to do the first time each spring, mainly because I have had all winter to re-grow my anxiety about living in North - really because I am not an outdoorsy winter type person. Here are some things that happened:

* On the way to the park Tryn noticed, "Mom! The floor is so sparkly!!" This was mainly because of shattered glass littering the sidewalk.

* After we left the park we took a walk down a street where we had never walked before. There were three men sitting outside one house, one of them asked me where I lived. I did not feel inclined to tell him. I just said, "Oh, a few blocks that way," pointing in the opposite direction.

* There was a dog twice the size of Berlin sitting behind a fence, she wanted to, "Pet the cute puppy!" I had to tell her no, that puppy didn't want to be touched. She wanted to know why. "Just because," I told her.

* There was a bright blue tarp running along the fence of someone's back yard and we couldn't see what was on the other side. Tryn said, "That looks like fun! We should go in there!" I told her no, we should probably not ever go in there.

* When we got back to our intersection the same two men who had been sitting at the park where now standing across the street, right where we needed to walk, just standing there. We decided to extend our walk an extra two blocks and go a different route.

* Just before we got home Tryn and Berlin found the first dandelions of the year. Tryn was super excited when she saw a group of kids playing a house away from ours, she wanted to give one of them her dandelion. They were all boys bigger than her. She gave one of the boys the dandelion anyway and he all he said was, "Thank you!" Whew, thank goodness.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


* Pink Mank has indeed ripped apart now. The final separation occurred yesterday morning while I was getting the girls dressed. Tryn looked at me with horror in her eyes and then burst into tears. She was so sad. Daddy assured her that it could be fixed; I wonder if he is planning on doing that?

* Berlin did climb out of her crib finally. A few days ago, literally as I was walking into their room, she had her feet up on the edge of the crib. Instead of overacting, freaking her out, and making her fall I tried to act nonchalant in hopes that she would change her mind as she saw me enter the room. She didn’t. She swung herself over the edge and turned around. Unfortunately, she missed catching her feet on the mattress and fell down. She didn’t get hurt, just scared herself to pieces. I think she got scared enough that she won’t be trying that again anytime soon. I hope.

* Saturday morning Berlin decided that she wanted to start wearing underwear. This is how Berlin does many things around our house. She decided she wanted to use a big chair like everyone else, so she doesn’t use her highchair anymore. She decided she wanted to get dressed herself like everyone else, so she does. She realized that everyone else talks in full sentences, so her sentence structures amaze me for a newly turned two year old. She also realized that nobody else in our house wears diapers, so she wants to wear underwear. On Sunday morning we went on an excursion to Target to buy new underwear. We came away with Princess Tiana/Princess and the Frog underwear, Tinkerbell underwear, and Fancy Nancy underwear. Unfortunately, Berlin is not a 24 hour potty trainer like her older sister. So we have been cleaning up lots of accidents. Shoot.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

This post is for Cait - and anyone else who loves really yummy breakfast food.

I have this easy recipe for fantastic cinnamon rolls that I am going to share with you, because I am so great like that. I made them last night and while I was making them I realized the smell reminded me of Christmas. I don't make these only at Christmas, but I have made them every Christmas morning for the past few years. And Thanksgiving morning. And most of the times when Rollie and Cait would spend the night because we all stayed up so late.

Since you have to make these the night before you want to eat them, they are perfect to make when you are up late at night. Playing Catan. And having a grand 'ole time. Or if you don't stay up late, you can just make them before your regular bedtime. Whichever you prefer.

Cinnamon Rolls

* Slightly thaw 2 loaves of frozen bread dough, like Rhodes (often I forget about this part and only remember to take them out when I am usually already wishing I was in bed. Then it's great to have a big strong man, like Steve, that you live with to cut them for you. Only he cut his finger last night doing it and so he might not do it for me next time).

* Cut into pieces and put into a 9x13 pan (or bigger, the bread rises!) Make sure to grease the pan!!!

* Melt 2 1/2 sticks of butter (yay, butter!!)

* Add 1 large and 1 small package of vanilla (or butterscotch) COOK & SERVE pudding. (Do not, I repeat, do not use the instant kind. It will not work. Not that I'VE ever done that...just sayin'. Again, also great to have a nice strong man, like Steve, who will be willing to run to the grocery store at 10pm so that you can save breakfast and Christmas won't be a total failure.)

* 2 tbsp of milk

* 1 cup packed brown sugar

* 1 heaping tsp of cinnamon, almost 2

* Pour mixture over bread. Cover with plastic and let it set overnight. (Make sure the plastic is tight, the bread will rise a lot and if the plastic is not tight it will overflow. I promise. Not that I've ever done that either. Ahem. It might overflow a little anyway, even with the plastic tight, but it will be a lot less messy.)

* In the morning, bake at 350 for 20 minutes or 325 for 25 minutes. (I do 325 for 25 minutes, otherwise it will sometimes be a little raw in the middle, but that's because my oven is dumb.)

I took a lovely picture of this delightful food for you this morning, but when I tried downloading it to my computer there were serious issues. Like too many other pictures on the camera and not enough space because of too many other pictures on my computer. Apparently I take way too many pictures.

Love you, Cait! And everyone else who likes yummy breakfast food.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Poor Pink Mank

The day that Trynica was born my mom brought a basket to the hospital. Among other things, it contained three blankets. One was bright pink with purple and yellow hearts, one was bright green with little bugs and creatures all over it, and one was a soft green with little white daisies all over it.

These blankets were bigger than normal receiving blankets and so were perfect for swaddling up a brand new babe. Somewhere along the line, right around the time I lost the soft green blanket with daisies (my personal favorite), Tryn decided that these blankets were something that she could not live without. So became "green mankie" and "pink mankie" (or mank, depending on...nothing really).

Pink and green mank have been everywhere with us, including but not limited to lots of bathrooms, the park, the grocery store, and even Poland - when Tryn was six weeks old.

These manks have gotten to be so incredibly soft. And fragile. I think pink mankie might be reaching the end of it's life. I have no idea how we are going to tell Tryn that though. It's two pieces are literally being held together by a thread.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

New Favorite Pictures

I have mentioned before how great our girls are about waking up in the morning. About how they just play in their room until we go and get them out. The type of play varies. Often, if we don't get up and get them immediately we will find Berlin in her crib basically swimming in toys that Tryn brings to her. Thankfully, she has never figured out that she could probably crawl out of her crib by now - but maybe she doesn't need to because the toys are brought right to her. Occasionally, we have found them stripped down to nothing. This is how I found them this morning:

Dressed in their Sunday best I guess. I love these pictures :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thoughts for Today

Three times this week I have had people say to me, "I don't know how you do it. I don't know how you work AND take care of little people. That must be hard." And you know what? Sometimes I don't know how I do it either. It is hard. One of my friends even said, "I love just being able to relax on the weekends and do whatever I want or need to do. What do you do about that?" Honestly? You give that up when you have kids, that's just a sacrifice you have to make - with the hope that someday you might get it back. My "me" times are after 8pm when the kids go to bed or during their nap time on the weekends...if I don't have to clean the house or do laundry.

Coming from both sides of the spectrum, being a working mom is much harder than being a stay at home mom, hands down. For my personality, working helps keep me sane. But the price of my sanity feels pretty high sometimes. No, I don't get home from work and just hang out and relax, not until after 8. All of the house work that a stay at home mom or person without kids has to do, we still have to do. That's what days off/weekends are for.

One person asked me, "Is it worth it?" Well, of course it's worth it. I honestly barely remember life before kids and sometimes hardly remember what it was like to be a stay at home mom. This is just life right now. And there is absolutely nothing better in the world than when my child lays her head on my shoulder and says, "I love you Mommy." Or when she holds my face between her little hands and says, "I have a secret for you Mommy! You are beautiful." There is nothing better than rediscovering the excitement of snow or summer through the eyes of an almost four year old, to feel those childhood feelings for myself again. There is nothing better than loving someone with a love that can't be explained or put into words. There is nothing better than my little family.

When I think about the challenges of parenting, most of the time I don't remember to think about the lack of "me" or "us" time. I don't immediately think about how my kitchen looks like chaos right now, that I can't remember the last time I really cleaned the fridge, about how I really need to wash the floors, about how I NEVER get around to making my bed in the morning because I am trying to feed two little girls breakfast and get them out the door at a reasonable hour. No, I think about things like the conversation that Tryn and I had in the car. When she asked me, "Mom, why do we love Jesus?" The thing that concerns me most about parenting is how to have the right answers to the important questions. How does one explain unfathomable love, immeasurable grace, sin, heaven, death, and resurrection to an almost four year old? I teach my girls to be kind to each other, to be loving to others, to be helpful, to want to be good. But what about everything else? Sure, having kids used to scare me, just like it scares my friends. But now that I have them, dealing with kids is a completely manageable, although chaotic, part of life. It's how they are going to turn out and how much future counseling they are going to have to pay for that scares me the most.

If anyone has any ideas about how to explain God's love to a four year old, please let me know.

Monday, March 8, 2010

My Favorite Part, Part 2

This is my last post about Berli's birthday, promise. But here is my other favorite part:

I love watching Berlin eat. She has always been a good eater, often an attacker of food. If she is eating something that she really likes she will basically just shovel the food into her mouth as fast as she can until she has such a mouthful of food that she can't chew it and doesn't know what to do with it. She is still clumsy with a spoon, she still pounds every bite of food that she is trying to get on the fork, she still likes to eat a lot of things with her hands...even rice. She sucks on things that aren't generally sucked, like frosting. She plays with food, she loves to see what it feels like, how it moves, what it can do. I love it all. It makes me feel like she is still a little bit of my baby.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Favorite Part, Part 1

I forgot to tell you one of my two favorite parts about Berlin's birthday!! It was great celebrating "my bertday" with a two year old, having a fun party with almost all my family (one missing brother), eating Edy's Slow Churned Thin Mint ice cream, those were all great things for sure. However, none of those things were my favorite part of the day. One of my favorite parts of Berlin's birthday was this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

This girl was a perfect older sister on her little sister's two year old birthday. She got to be the present giver and so she brought Berlin each and everyone of her presents. She didn't whine, complain, or even ask, "Where are my presents?" She sounded like a little grownup, saying things like, "Look Berli! You got this! Isn't that so fun?" If at all possible for a 3 1/2 year old, it seemed like she was truly excited for Berlin and understood the concept that "Today is Berlin's birthday, your birthday will be in a few months and you will get presents then." She didn't start any fights, she didn't whine about anything, she didn't tease anyone, she played great with all her cousins, she was a perfect angel. She even let her two year old little cousin Tyvan repeatedly throw a balloon in her face and pretend to be surprised, which made him laugh hysterically. She was such a big girl on that day. I am so proud of her for being such a gracious and loving big sister, she is SUCH a good kid.

(Stay tuned for my second favorite part of the birthday day!!)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Birthday Bash

Here are the birthday day pictures! Berlin was so excited about, "My bertday!" Here is the sweet girl immersed in her birthday present chaos.

At first I thought this was going to be her favorite present. It's the movie The Swan Princess which I remember watching numerous times when I was little - talk about memories as I watched this with the girls! It's not a Disney movie and it's not even really a classic, but I liked it and now so do my girls. (Also, this is Berlin saying, "Cheese!" I don't know why she has to close her eyes when she says it.)

But this present got a hug, so I am pretty sure this may have been the favorite. We have never had a princess dress that Berlin didn't trip over while wearing it and since Tryn has a few I decided it was time for Berlin to have her own - one that fit.

And of course you get to lick things that kids are not supposed to lick on your birthday!! Right? Especially if your mom procrastinates baking your cake until breakfast time on your birthday when you party starts in less than two hours. Then of course you get to lick the cake batter with raw eggs in it during breakfast.

We practiced saying, "I'm two!" which went pretty well during breakfast.

Then all of Berlin's little cousins came over to play, which was so much fun. We have always invited other people to the girls birthday parties, but not all of my family has ever lived in MN since Tryn was born and so they have never all been able to come...nor have they ever been so MANY! 17 people, not counting my one brother who had to work. Almost 19 family members when my new nephew comes in June!

Berlin apparently got a little mixed up on which two fingers to use, although she does understand the concept of two at least! This is what she showed me in the afternoon when I asked her how old she was :)

Oma and Berlin were really excited to eat cupcakes. They spent a long time looking at them and I am pretty sure there was more than one cupcake with finger prints in it. Which is funny because I am sure my mom never would have let me do that when I was little! I think Oma is having a little too much fun spoiling the grandkids ;)

All in all, I would say it was a pretty successful, yet uneventful, two year old birthday party.

Cake eating pictures to come later! There were just too many cute ones and I couldn't pick just one to show you.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Little Preview

Berlin's birthday party was really fun. I want to edit the rest of the pictures before I post them, but I just couldn't wait to post this one of all of the kids. Tryn, Berlin, and all their cousins.

From left to right:
Baby Vienna - born in January (parents are Andy and Kristy)
Liam - born this last October (parents are Nathan and Tia)
Gabrielle - will be 2 in September (parents are Kayla and Josh)
Berlin - turned 2 on Friday (she belongs to Steve and me :))
Tyvan - will be 3 in October (parents are Nathan and Tia)
Trynica - will be 4 in June (she belongs to Steve and me too!)
Brendyn - will be 4 in April (parents are Nathan and Tia)