Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Madison, part II.......the wedding!

B and I at the rehearsal dinner- so cute in his bowtie!!

P&N are a fabulous couple and, really, there's nothing like going to a wedding where you just know that the bride and groom are just meant to be together.

(Great friends that I really miss!!)

Some of the major highlights of the day were:
1.  Our friend's officiating.  I think many of us were nervous for Parker as he has never officiated a wedding before and you just don't know how that is going to turn out.  He was amazing, you guys.  He gave a history of their relationship which was awesome and had spent an hour with each of them interviewing them prior to writing his ceremony, and it ended up being so incredibly personal.  I don't think their was a dry eye in the house during certain parts. 

(P&N after the ceremony- they had beach balls thrown as they walked down the aisle together)

2.  Upon me telling P that his sisters looked gorgeous in their bridesmaid dresses, he stated "Really, I haven't noticed.  I haven't taken my eyes off her (his wife) all night."  Melt!!

3.  Seeing N as a bride.  N is a total ponytail, hoodie sweatshirt, no make-up kind of girl, so to see her with make-up, her hair done, and an incredibly beautiful, slinky wedding dress on was amazing.  She definitely was the star of the show!

4.  Watching P's dad do air guitar to Baba O'Reilly by The Who.  Eventually all three of his kids joined him on the dance floor.  Hysterical and legendary!

5.  The DJ.  I've never heard a better wedding dj in all of the gazillion weddings I've been to.  He totally rocked and the dance floor was full ALL night long!

(Hottie C and his incredibly beautiful future wife, N)


 6.  Spending adult time with B and our friends.  It was truly nice to get away (though I'm not doing it again, ever!  Well at least for a lot of years!!). 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Madison, Wisconsin...........L-O-V-E!!!!

What a wonderful weekend!  Madison was everything I expected it to be.  A fabulous college town, great downtown, really good food (oh the food!!), great views down every street, and an amazing setting for a great wedding!

This, THIS, is the view from UW-Madison's student union.  Seriously!!!!  And there's a bar where you can sit outside and just watch this view.  After seeing this I was really bummed I didn't go to school here :) 

Doors on campus.  Not all the buildings were this lovely (there were certainly some 1970s war buildings that were NOT cute), but many were great!

Camp Randall!

The Wisconsin Seal

The farmer's market was amazing.  It surrounds the entire block of the capitol each Saturday morning.  We bought muffins, veggies and fruit for the week, and thoroughly enjoyed all the football fans out in their red and white getting ready for the game.  I would do this every Saturday, for sure!!

Once again, the amazing view of the lake.  You could see peeks of it down some of the downtown streets and, just like I do up north, I would get so excited to see the lake.  I'm such a water sign!!

We ate two meals (dinner and bruch) at Sardine (as recommended by QBS) and all of us talked about it ALL weekend.  So, so, so good!!  Have you ever had creamed eggs?  Oh, you should!!  B and I a went to Marigold for breakfast on Friday- YUM!  We also ate lunch at the Old Fashioned and Dotty Dumplings Dowry.  All the meals we ate were delish!!!!!

I can't believe we haven't gotten to Madison prior to this.  It's a great city!!  It was a wonderful weekend with our friends and a great weekend to enjoy just being married. 

As for the real reason we were there?  The wedding?  Pics to come tomorrow!!! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Long weekend, coming up!!

My mom and Ralph come tonight to stay at our house and take care of the buddy for the next 4 days while B and I head to Madison, WI for FOUR days!!!! 

We're driving to Chicago tonight to stay with friends, split up the trip, and have a great dinner.  Tomorrow morning we'll get up and drive 3 more hours to get to one of my top 5 places in the world that I've wanted to visit.  This is a HUGE trip for me, you guys.  I absolutely cannot wait!

Our plans are to walk around UW-Madison's campus, shop, eat, exercise ( nice), hang out with friends, attend a fabulous rehearsal dinner and wedding, and sleep in (you know, til 7:30!).  Darling QBS provided me with tons of recommendations for restaurants and shopping, and we can't wait to utilize them all. 

Yes, I am slightly nervous about leaving the buddy for this long (we've only ever left him once for less than 24 hours), especially since he is rocking a wicked diaper rash right now and is having a disgusting amount of diarrhea, but since it's my mom that's coming down, I know he'll be in great hands and he'll love being with them.  I also know we'll leave super early on Sunday in order to get back to him and smother him with kisses!!

Have any of you been to Mad-town?  Do you have any recommendations for things to do?  Am I going to love it as much as I think I'm going to?  I can't wait to report back next week with lots of pictures!!  Enjoy the rest of your week and your weekend.  I'll be off the grid and enjoying every second!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

If only this came in a different color.  I would buy it in a heartbeat.  Can you imagine how gorgeous this would be in a deep teal, a navy blue, or a simple ivory?  It just looks incredibly flattering and is nothing short of glamorous.  Very Mad Med-esque, non?  Unfortunately, I cannot pull of mustard, especially in the winter.  Not good against my soon to be pale northern skin!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Five for Fall

One of my faves, QBS, tagged me in a fun post to name 5 goals for the fall and nominate 5 blogs to follow in my footsteps.  She is, not only, the queen of goals but also the queen of meeting them.  It's a lot to live up too!!!

Here we go.....
1.  Find a Halloween costume for Spencer.  I am NOT a Halloween person and strongly dislike dressing up, so I don't really give this stuff much thought.  However, since I've gGeot a little one at home, it's something I now have to think about every year.  I currently have no ideas, so if you have a great one, let me know!!

2.  Make these.  Because, seriously, yum!!  I also need to make Vineyard Vogue's pumpkin chocolate chip bread (one of B's faves).  It's pumpkin season, finally!!!

3.  Finish our two art projects we have going on (making a mirror for our mantle and a subway sign) and get another room in our house painted.

4.  Get to an orchard to pick apples.  I need to make homemade applesauce and stuff myself silly on Honeycrisps. 

5.  Get our yard/plants/gardens bedded down for winter, get all the deck furniture cleaned and put away, and put SYT's sand and water table away (maybe in the basement with rice in it). 

The five people I'd like to see fabulous fall goals from?

Thanks for the tag, kHm!!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Crass, yes.  But seriously, just try not to laugh.  I love this!!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

God Pause for Sunday.........

"My Hope is Built on Nothing Less," LBW 293 & ELW 596 (Click to view the hymn text below.)
Nine years ago I, like many others across the country, awoke to the news that an airplane had crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. As I live on the West Coast, it was just after six o'clock a.m. when the second plane hit the other tower. I remember the fear I felt as I drove to work that morning. By that time another plane had hit the Pentagon, a fourth plane had crashed in Pennsylvania and we had no idea if there was more to come. That morning we gathered as a church staff in the sanctuary to pray. It was not something we did regularly, but that was certainly not an ordinary morning. We prayed for our nation. We prayed for our world. We prayed for peace and courage. We prayed for hope.

The hymn, "My Hope is Built on Nothing Less," reminds us that in the midst of a world in which acts of terror can strike fear in our hearts, God is still at work.

"In every high and stormy gale my anchor holds within the veil. On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand."

That day and the rest of that week, it felt like the ground was shifting underneath us. Since then we have learned to live with fears of terrorism and heightened security. This hymn reminds us that our ultimate security is in Christ Jesus who gave his life to forgive our sins and redeem this world. We stand securely in Christ, trusting in his care at all times.

Most gracious God, we thank you that you are the solid rock on which we stand when the ground shifts beneath us, whether due to world events or our own mistakes. We thank you for holding on to us securely and helping us to have hope in you. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Andy Taylor
St. Andrew Lutheran Church, San Diego, Calif.
Master of Divinity, 1986
"My Hope is Built on Nothing Less," LBW 293 & ELW 596

1 My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness; no merit of my own I claim, but wholly lean on Jesus' name.

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.

2 When darkness veils his lovely face, I rest on his unchanging grace; in ev'ry high and stormy gale my anchor holds within the veil.


3 His oath, his covenant, his blood sustain me in the raging flood; when all supports are washed away, he then is all my hope and stay.


4 When he shall come with trumpet sound, oh, may I then in him be found, clothed in his righteousness alone, redeemed to stand before the throne!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Current favorite books and toys at our house

I have always loved it in the past when other bloggers mentioned their favorite toys and books for their little ones.  It helps me to know what to look for at the stores and what to plan for for big gifts like Christmas and birthdays.  Spence is almost 16 months, and these are a few of our go to things around our house.

We bought this bike for Spencer for his birthday.  He loves it!  He scoots around on it, climbs on it, wants us to push him on it, etc.  We keep in indoors mostly and he'll scoot and scoot and scoot around the kitchen while we're working in there.  He loves to say bike (seriously, it's his favorite word), so he'll get on it and say bike, bike, bike forever and ever.  We debated between this and a wagon, and I think he would have liked both.  I think he would like to pull the wagon around and put things in it.  That's a possible Christmas idea for him.

Oh, goodness, we love Sandra Boynton around this house!!  This is, by far, my favorite bedtime book to read to the buddy.  Moo, Baa, La La La is another great one.  If you don't have these in your bedtime repertoire, you're missing out!!!  WAY better than Goodnight Moon (which I just don't get!?!?!?).  We also love Thomas the Train books, Big Red Barn, Mary Engelbreit's Mother Goose, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Recordable Storybook from Hallmark (this is a GREAT idea for a niece, nephew, or grandchild!!)

Balls.  Any.  All.  He loves to kick them, throw them, drop them, chew them. 

This Melissa and Doug stacker is great.  It has a ball on top (see above) and the circles in the middle are large enough that he can get the rings onto the peg.  Melissa and Doug really do make great toys.  We have on of their puzzles, and I know I'll be looking to buy more this fall/winter. 

We received the above Tonka truck from a friend of my mom's whose boys are too old for this now.  I would have never thought to buy something like this, but it's definitely Spencer's favorite outdoor toy.  He likes to sit in the back and have us push him, and he likes to push it up and down the sidewalk in front of our house. 

My Quiet Book is a great book for church or to have in the diaper bag.  It teaches all kinds of good skills for young ones (buttoning, snaps, lacing, matching colors, etc), and it can all be done quietly!!  It's a little pricey, but the bookstore up north that I frequent can't keep it in stock, it's so popular!!

These flashcards were give to us by my SIL, and I would have never expected them to be the hit they are.  Spencer loves looking at them and has learned a few names/sounds already from doing them with him.  There are a few others (First Words, Animals, Colors, etc) and I have to imagine they're all just as good.  They're great now for learning all the modes of transportation, and they'll be great later for learning colors, sounds, and jobs.

So, these are our current favorite toys.  What are yours?  Anything I should be thinking about for the fall/winter? 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


**Thank you all so much for your comments from my last post.  They totally made my day.  I guess if you are reading me regularly, you probably approve of most things smocked, Lilly, preppy, and the like, so it's not surprising that I got such kind words, but I do want you to know that I did really, really appreciate them.  While I knew dressing Spencer more "baby-like" would be more contraversial in the north, it's nice to know that others do the same (and have gotten the same reactions, no matter where they live!!)!!

**My hair, toenails, and eyebrows are gross.  We have a wedding in 2.5 weeks where we will see wonderful friends, and I need to get with the "operation don't look like a sleep deprived mother" program sooner than later.  I have a dress, I have the jewelry, I have the shoes, now it's just all about the physical stuff.  I've got a call into my hair lady for an apt, I'm hoping to get my eyebrows done on Friday, and I'll probably do my own pedicure this weekend or next.  Let's hope it all comes together....

**I'm seriously obsessed with Pinterest.  I'm here if you want to follow my boards.  I know I already follow a few of you, but who else is out there?  I found the most amazing (and seriously WAY easy) oreo and reece's peanut butter cup dessert today and I'm making it this weekend to take to work on Monday.  I also am dying to try the (baked) pumpkin spice doughnut holes.  YUM!

**Labor day came and went and with it went all forms of summer weather.  I actually asked B last night if we could turn on the heat (didn't happen).  It's been in the 40s the last two mornings!!  I was hoping it would be a warm September, but so far, that's a no go. 

**We watched "Something Borrowed" over the weekend.  Very formulaic, but I still loved it.  John Krasinski is definitely in my top three.  He plays such sweet guys and you can't help but love him.  I would hope he is as sweet and nice in real life!!

**One of the kiddos in Spencer's daycare class just moved up to the toddler class about three weeks ago.  The toddler's all play outside at the end of the day, so we always walk by her as we are leaving to go to the car.  Every single day, he walks up to the fence and says "bye-bye" to her and then leans in for a kiss.  It melts my heart every time.  Seriously, nothing cuter than toddlers kissing, and it's nice to see  remembering someone.  His best buddy in his class is going to move up this month and it's going to be so hard for him.  Luckily he'll be moving up to the same class 3-4 weeks later!!

**B had to run 18 miles last weekend, this weekend he steps back to 14, and next weekend it's the 20 miler.  Just think about that- he's going to run 20 consecutive miles because he WANTS to for four hours straight!!!  Marathon training is intense and I'm really proud of him for doing it (again).  I'm really nervous about being able to get Spencer all around the city while also trying to see B at at least
4 spots, but hopefully we can do it.  I know it's a lot more pleasant to complete the marathon when you are being cheered on by people who love you!  I also know that B's ultimate reward will be eating pizza at Pequod's after the race (we miss Chicago restaurants so much!!)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

God Pause for Sunday.......

Isaiah 55:3-5 (Click to view Bible text below.)
A friend who is a camp counselor taught me the phrase "Listen up!" When she uses these words she is not just getting the attention of her campers. She means, "Listen to God." In a world of noise and distraction, of banter and buzz, Isaiah whispers a profound word for those patient enough to take time to listen for God. What we will hear, the prophet promises, is an extraordinary word of God's nearness and God's faithfulness.

God of power and might, help us draw near and listen to your voice amid the shouts and boasting of this world. Where we have been too full of speech, quiet us. When we substitute our own verbosity for your words of promise and grace, help us to listen up. We remember today those who have taught us your ways, and we name them before you now; for Christ's sake. Amen.
Patricia Lull
Former Dean of Students, Luther Seminary
Isaiah 55:3-5 (NRSV)

3 Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.

4 See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples.

5 See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Yes, I dress my baby like a baby........

I've been thinking about this post for the last week and am not really sure how to write it.  I am not into controversy, and I would never want to hurt anyone's feelings on purpose so I hope this post doesn't offend anyone.  I just had "a moment" last week at church and need to get it off my chest.  The "moment" has been building for awhile (pretty much all summer).  I do know that I've brought this on myself.  I do know that it would be easy to change this.  But at what point do I get to do what I want vs what the rest of the midwestern mommies and daddies and random strangers at church think I should do? 

As my (10) faithful readers know, this is my buddy.  He is sweet, he is my heart, and, he is ONE!!!  He is not 6, he is not 13, he is not 22, and he is not his daddy.  He is still a baby, and I really, really don't see the problem with dressing him like one. 

Peter pan collars?  Sweet on babies.  Smocking on longalls?  Even more precious.  Bubbles, jon jons, rompers, sunsuits?  I don't care what you call them, they're appropriate when it's hot out and make him look like a little boy.  I may not be jealous of the extreme heat that the south has in the summer, but I am jealous that you can take your babies out in sweet outfits and people don't look at you like you are a crazy woman who might just be trying to turn her son into a girl.

(see, even as a newborn he looked like a boy!!)

I have to say, I am NOT trying to dress my little guy up like he is a girl.  I am dressing him like he is a baby.  If you look at pictures from my brother 30 years ago?  Same kind of outfits.  Sweet sunsuits with appliques, the occasional smocked outfit for church, etc.  These are classic clothes for young boys.  I understand that there are plenty of people out there (especially in the midwest) who don't dress their children this way.  Church clothes are khacki shorts and polo shirts, khacki pants and sweaters, cordouroys and button downs.  Don't get me wrong, Spence has plenty of all of the above.  He certainly isn't wearing smocking to daycare (too expensive to ruin!!) and wears very "normal" boys clothes a lot.  However, there are times when I want him to look sweet and a little more "dressed", and I don't find anything wrong with that. 

(bad picture, adorable outfit!)

I've heard it from some of my extended family "Oh, AEOT's got Spence in a dress again."  I've heard it from B's family, "Seriously, don't they make, like, regular collars?".  I heard it from a woman at church who asked my what my child's name was (essentially because she couldn't figure out why a boy would be wearing an outfit like the one he wore to church)(which was sweetly balanced out by a very darling grandmother who told my husband how sweet his baby boy looked in his cute outfit!).  And I've heard it from others "Oh, he's a boy?" when he's wearing something a little fuller (as above) or something smocked.

Yes, he's a boy.  Seriously, dude, my son has the BEST hair (not to brag but for a 15 month old he has his daddy's really good hair), and if he were a girl, don't you think he'd have bows in it?  And not a bowl cut?  And he'd be in an actual DRESS?????  Shortalls snap at the crotch and have legs.  They are NOT dresses. 

I want my baby to be a baby for a year or two or three.  Is that too much to ask?  Is it really that odd that I don't dress him exactly like my husband?  He has the rest of his life to dress like his daddy.  Yes, he looks cute in a button down and cords, but he looks much sweeter in his smocked longalls and peter pan collars.  And that sweetness will go away soon enough.  Why do people feel the need to rush him through this sweet, innocent baby stage? 

Listen, I don't care what you dress your kid in as long as said child is clean, so let me do my thing too.  You want your baby in skull and crossbones?  Go for it (Gap did it well last year)!  You want your kid in a sport jersey all the time?  I can totally respect that (though I may not respect your teams ;)).  Your favorite kiddo's outfit says "I dig my mom" or "Daddy's little pumpkin".  Totally cool.  It's your sweet babe, and you are picking out the clothes that you think are cute because you know that in 4 or 5 years, you will have very little control over what he will wear (it'll only be the Superman tshirt that he has worn every day for the past week or the shirt that is getting way too small but is the favorite) and so you have to get it all in now while you can.  Well, that's all I'm doing too.  And, honestly, I'm going to do it no matter what others say, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt my feeling at times. 

Moral of this (very long, very ranty) story?  If we have 2 or 3 more children and they're all boys, I'm going to have to convince B to move down south where momma's believe in smocking!!