golfing in march

Bryan has been out a few times this year but I believe today was Connor's first. And it's March! Crazy. We all went out to the golf course after work today, Grayson and I just walked along for some exercise and Connor helped drive the cart. Hopefully the nice weather continues!

(sorry, getting a little addicted to collages :))


2012 Birthday Bash: Monster Style

We celebrated the boys' birthdays this weekend and it was such a great day! Since their birthday's are relatively close (Grayson March 15th and Connor April 10th), I decided to throw a joint party, easier for all, right? Ha, in theory, yes, but next year I VOW to start executing on all of the ideas more than 24 hours prior to the party. Someone shoot me an email or something next February and tell me to get started :)

So, here comes the photo overload!

The inspiration for the Party. Pear Tree Greetings' Monster Birthday Party Invitations. I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of the real invitations, but, I did, so you get that cute boy instead and text that doesn't make sense to our party. Promise the actual invites were cute, too :)

Just in case the guests weren't aware of the fun they were about to have :) 
(supplies/instructions: I taped a plastic table cloth to the door, cut out the shapes from construction paper and adhered with glue dots. Super simple and easy! So you couldn't open the door...details, details.)

This was definitely a last minute project and prompted my aunt and uncle to come down the night before (since I can't sew). Love how they turned out and gave the pink and purple ones to my nieces as their party favor (Krystal...you forgot these, ha).
(supplies/instructions: drew random shapes on fleece for the monster shapes, cut out eyes and mouths from felt sheets, ironed those onto the fleece with heat & bond, then sewed and stuffed. I take zero credit for the assembly of these, thank you Aunt Mary!)

This might be my favorite thing I did for the party. I got the idea from this Infarrantly Creative blog post while browsing Pinterest (where else?) and I will admit, the tutorial made it sound a little easier than it actually was, however I was a total rookie to mod podge. But, two prints of each photo later, I think it turned out pretty well :) I was/am not great of taking consistent monthly or yearly photos of the boys, so I only did four younger shots for each, but overall I'm really happy with how it turned out. Now, what to do with these massive prints? 
(supplies/instructions for the prints: Printed 36x24 prints at FedEx Office (Kinkos) for $4.50 each. They're printed on engineer/blueprint type paper so it's very thin, but again, $4.50! Purchased two 4x4 sheets of 1/4 sanded plywood from Menards, drew the shape, cut it out with a jigsaw, spray painted it, then here's where it got tricky. You're supposed to use spray adhesive to set the photo then use mod podge over top, when we applied the mod podge, the photo started buckling, raising, lifting, wrinkling. Eventually we just trashed our first round (thankfully the board survived), got new prints and just did spray adhesive. Someday I'll figure out the mod podge thing. Update: I reached out to the IC blog and asked for any tips, they said the lighter the coat of mod podge the better but that even without the mod podge the frame still looks great, which, I can agree with!)

The table. I had a table under each of the boys' photos, Connor's table got all the food, Grayson's all the treats. We used Pear Tree's Monster Bash Kids Gift Tags for napkin rings and again for the monster juice (see below). The personalized confetti in the bottom left and top right corners is a new product we're working on at Pear Tree! Fun fun!

We had a lot of fun with the food. I will admit, the visit from our Schwan's man on Wednesday before the party definitely helped set the menu :) 

Monster Brains: baked spaghetti
Monster Bones: baked asparagus
Monster Slime: chips + dip
Monster Toes: mozzarella bites
Monster Ears: potato skins
Monster Fingers: pigs in a blanket

Monster Juice! I ordered these 12 oz. sauce bottles from Specialty Bottle. Added some raspberry lemonade, gift tags and paper straws for the final touch :)

The treats. We definitely had an overload of treats, but would it be a birthday party without? Frosted made the monster cakes and cupcakes, which were as tasty as they were adorable, a co-worker made the absolutely amazing cookies (I think people were actually afraid to eat them they were so amazing), and my mom made the monster eyes. Yum!

Grayson's first cake smash! He never got REALLY into it, but absolutely LOVED the frosting. 
Love this boy!

The guests! This is the first time I've made a point to photograph everyone in attendance, definitely want to try and make this a tradition. Thank you to these wonderful people for making the boys' birthday party such a wonderful day!

After presents and cake we spent the rest of the party outside. I'm not sure we'll be able to do this ever again in March, so we absolutely made sure to take advantage of the 70+ degree weather!

I give Bryan credit for making sure we got a family photo (I know, I was shocked, too!). We love these boys beyond any level we'll ever understand. 

Happy Monster Birthday Connor & Grayson!


3rd Annual Golden Heart 5K Fun Run/Walk & Kids 1K

It's that time of year again! Planning has commenced for the 3rd Annual Golden Heart 5K Fun Run/Walk and Kids 1K. My friends Angie, Matt and I founded this event and have organized it since. We hope to see you there!

Saturday, May 19th
5K starts at 9:00 AM
Kids 1K starts at 10:15AM

Benson Park, North Mankato

Runners, walkers, strollers and pets welcome!
There will be face painting and other activities for the kids!

So, here are your two simple instructions.

1. Like us on facebook.

2. Sign up  - link to registration form below

Thanks :)


Florida 2012

Finally got around to posting about our Florida vacation! Excuse all of the collages, was playing around with them and also thought it'd save this from being a massively large post :)

We left pretty early on Sunday morning, the kids did great and were so excited! Connor got a little nervous on the plane ride but slept for probably two hours out of the three hour flight. 

As you can see the kids thoroughly enjoyed the airports. They were ahead of us constantly, running with their adorable suitcases, loving when we had to take trams or trains or moving walkways, etc. I think they only biffed it once or twice :) Grandpa Tim even took them to the Delta perks club (or whatever it's called) for free treats.

 Our first night we went to a pizza joint down a little ways from our resort that I think we visit every time we stay at Orange Lake Resort in Kissimmee. Pizza was great and they even had someone making balloon art and we were seriously in awe over her mad skills. I mean, LOOK at Ariel the mermaid. Connor opted for a Spiderman helicopter which was also pretty cool.

Monday we spent the morning getting settled into the resort and then headed off to Epcot. We knew the kids wouldn't LOVE Epcot (I remember it being my least favorite as a kid, but love it as an adult), so we thought it'd be good to just head over in the afternoon and then eat somewhere somewhere neat. Little bit of poor planning and assuming we'd get into any of the country's restaurants didn't work out so well, but we had a great time. Kids had more fun I think than we thought they would (if you go, Talk Time with the Turtle (or whatever it's called) was seriously hilarious) and we ate at the Mexican restaurant which was really tasty. We of course had to stay for the laser and fireworks show as well.

 Tuesday we did Magic Kingdom.
Here Grandpa Tim is giving the kids a pep talk about being good listeners. Ha.

Ashlyn was in heaven with the all of the princesses! Connor, not so much a fan of life size characters so no photos of him next to Goofy or Donald or anyone :)

There aren't enough pictures to really support what we all did. First off, it was absolutely packed. We may have picked the worst week or day or something to go, but the kids still definitely enjoyed it. Lots of rides for them to go on (thanks to Bryan and Joe for running around the park to get Fast Pass tickets so we wouldn't have to wait in the incredibly long lines), lots of things to see. We were nearing the end of the night and the kids were definitely ready to call it a day but we did stay for the first 15 minutes or so of the famous lighted parade which was really neat. Bryan was the only one that went on the Space Mountain ride. We went to go try it at the end of the night but it had just broken down. Not sure I'd want to be stuck on the middle of a roller coaster that is pitch black :)

Wednesday we went to Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure. Selfishly...this was probably more for the adults than the kids, but they did have Dr. Suess' Landing which they really enjoyed. I should have gone straight for Harry Potter Land as soon as we got in (we got a little smarter and tried to get there right when the park opened), but figured we'd just head in that direction and hit up Dr. Suess stuff first. By the time we got to Harry Potter...the main attraction was a 2.5 hour wait. No thanks. However, it was pretty neat to see the recreation of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade (see all the people in the top middle picture? That's about what Disney's Magic Kingdom was everywhere. At least in Islands of Adventure it was only that busy in Harry Potter).

Thursday we had plans to go to the ocean but we decided against to kind of take a 'break' :) We spent the day relaxing and playing in the pool which everyone enjoyed. Connor and Ashlyn loved the water slide one of the pools had. It was just the right size for them to go down and that they could do themselves. I will admit I was a little shocked Connor did this by himself but he did great! Ashlyn eventually didn't even need someone at the bottom catching her, the little fish she is :)

The guys + Krystal went golfing in the afternoon and I think we just ate at the resort that night followed by a family round of mini golf. Nice, low key day :)

Friday we went to SeaWorld. I think this was my favorite day. Even though the employee at the gate said it was already an incredibly busy day at the park, it just didn't feel like it. I don't know if it's because they have so many shows going on at various times throughout the day (which means thousands less people walking around the park) or what, but it was great. And, SeaWorld is my favorite. The 'shamu' show used to make me cry (because it was so amazing), no tears this year, maybe because there aren't any trainers actually in the water with them anymore but the show was still good. Another show, primarily a dolphin show, was also great. I highly recommend SeaWorld, but I'm a sucker for shows like that, too.
The top left photo is Connor showing the dolphins 'Flipper' and you can see how much Connor enjoyed the little Shamu roller coaster in the bottom right :)

Saturday we stayed around the resort and spent some time at the beach (Orange Lake Resort's beach).
The bottom right photo was taken by Krystal, I thought it was such a great shot of my brother and Ashlyn.

That about sums up our trip! We had an amazing time!



We took Grayson for his first four-wheeler ride yesterday for his birthday and he LOVED it. Well, since apparently my children don't show emotion while doing something they enjoy, one can assume he loved it as anytime you took his hands off the wheel or got out he had a melt down. :)

This weather is beyond amazing right now, it was over 80 today! We are spending every minute after school outside and it is so fun. Connor has started heading over to the neighbor's swing sets so I'm finding myself trying to understand how this whole neighborhood play thing works. Do I have to go stand over by him? I trust him (I think), but I don't want the parents to be wondering where the heck I am or if I'm even paying attention to him, etc. But he just loves it, so we'll figure it out. Just so happy to see my kids enjoy the outdoors!

I am officially addicted to thrift stores after only two visits. In the last week (which is both of my visits), I have spent a total of $75 and in return got a couch and three chairs for what will hopefully make for fun photo shoot props. We will see. I have grand visions of Bryan and Aaron carrying the couch to the bottom of the creek later this spring when it's all nice and green outside. Aaron, sorry if you're reading this and I automatically rope you into things.

Grayson's one year appointment went well...........however....he's in the 8th percentile for height. Ha. I guess I should never get my hopes up for my boys to be tall :) I will say I swear that's hard to measure and the littlest of measurements seem to make them jump 10's of percentages on the charts. Or so I will continue telling myself.

Just realizing I have yet to blog Florida. Coming soon!

Have a fabulous weekend!


grayson: ONE!

I am finding it so difficult to look at Grayson and convince myself he's one. One! I know, I know, our babies always grow too fast. I think part of it is that he's not walking, he still seems like my baby and couldn't possibly be one!

Okay, okay, so he's one :) Happy birthday, Grayson! Too bad you're spending it at home and not with your friends since he threw up again yesterday at school. I think he's doing it intentionally or something, because he seems completely fine at home and is LOVING this weather! Bike rides, stroller rides, gator rides, 4-wheeler rides, you name it. He crawls towards the door all the time. We are so blessed to have such a happy little guy in our family and the bond that he has with Connor is growing day by day. Connor I think is much more into him now that Grayson can play back, playing catch, crawling races, etc. So fun to see them together.

Wouldn't be right without the traditional list :)
-FINALLY has a few more teeth, although they're not all the way in, there are about 3 at least that have just popped through and a few more on top appear pretty swollen. Bring on the steak!
-Seems to be bored with any type of food I give him UNLESS it's what we're eating. Stinker.
-Sleeps okay, not complaining. The week is about half through the night and the other half he's up once and will admit just ends up in our bed
-seems to love daycare and his teachers
-I wouldn't call him SUPER speedy in the crawling, but, definitely moving faster and faster
-Will pull himself up onto things but only onto his knees. No interest in getting up on his feet or even having us walk him around. Which, I know that gets exhausting as a parent, ha, so maybe it's ok :)
-Babbles, imitates noises and sounds, but no words
-Will get his stats tomorrow at his checkup
-Still not sure where we are on the BM issues. We've had him on miralax for probably a few months now and goes once a day or so, but if we cut back the dosage or skip a few days, he gets backed up again. Will obviously be discussion this with our nurse practitioner tomorrow.
-ran out of breastmilk earlier this week. Pretty happy to make it without ever having to purchase formula!

Big birthday party is next weekend, joint party with Connor. Super excited about the theme but really need to get working on all the details!

And now for the year in review :)
 2 days
(photo credit m.isebrand photography)

6 days
(photo credit m.isebrand photography)
9 days
(photo credit Daniel Dinsmore)

2 weeks

eight weeks

twelve weeks

4 months + a week or so

5 months

6 months

8 months

9 months

 10 months

11 months

 12 months

We love you so much buddy!


knock on wood

We had another beautiful weekend here and tried to enjoy every minute of the nice weather. Bryan and Connor under Grayson's supervision from the stroller cleaned out the garage, scrubbed the floors and then brought all the summer stuff up from the basement. All I could think was 'I hope this doesn't jinx us'...but with 5 or so days of 70+ in the forecast, I think it's safe to say goodbye to the snow :) Bring it on, Spring!

"Connor, watch out for that!"

Just like his older brother when he was young, Grayson's facial expression doesn't quite show his excitement and enthusiasm for getting a ride on the lawn mower.


60 something

It was over 60 here today, absolutely gorgeous. I even wore sandals to work. I told Bryan the weather was his birthday present. Nice, right? Speaking of Bryan's birthday, Connor is completely unable to keep a secret. We went to pick out a card yesterday after school, what does he do as soon as he sees Bryan? Dad...we got you a Phineas and Ferb birthday card and reeses peanut butter cups for your birthday. Just a warning to all...don't tell Connor secrets :)

Anyhoo...the kiddos enjoyed the weather today. I know Connor went for a long walk at school in addition to I'm sure plenty of time outside on the climbers and such and then after school Connor gave Grayson his second official spin on the gator. You should see Grayson's reaction when he sees the gator. Adorable. Hopefully by spring he's really able to hold on himself and I don't have to follow closely behind, Connor is pretty good (so far) about keeping it in first gear when Grayson is on.

Funny thing about Grayson's bear suit thing...On the feet and hands it has the roll-over thing so that you can keep hands and feet nicely tucked in, or un-roll it and reveal hands/feet. (hope you're following me). I accidentally unrolled one of his feet today, and the suit popped up to about his knees...ha...guess he's a little too big for it, but hey, should only need it a few more weeks, right?


vintage Christmas cards

While working on some photo/memory boards for my Grandma's services this week, I came across a few of their Christmas cards from the 1950's. I'm sure it helps that I'm related, and that my mom is in two of them, but there are so many things about these cards that I just love! I will have to learn the story of where they got them, if my Grandpa designed them, etc. since I'm in the business and all. (any of my aunts or uncles reading this and know the answer, comment or email me, I would love to know!)

Obviously this post would be much more relevant in November, but I was too excited to share now. Again, you know me and holiday cards. Love them.



(my mom is the babe in the middle)
I also just love how this looks like some shot I'd set up now that I'm into photography. My Grandpa was hugely into photography as is my aunt Mary (girl on the right), so maybe it's just meant to be :)

This is the last one I found, but aren't they neat? Can you guess which one is my mom?
(and for those of you who know my aunts, this picture includes Mary, Rita, my mom and Nancy, see if you can guess who is who :))