Eye of the Beholder

When you're a parent of small children...

...the old saying rings even more true.


...really is...

...in the eye of this beholder!



This past Sunday, my brother Joseph asked his girlfriend Becky to marry him! He had a really sweet plan in place, and I had the very fun honor of hiding and taking pictures of the whole thing!

A few days beforehand, he took me to "the spot." It was a dock on Lake Rebecca, the place where they had made their dating relationship official and where they had their first kiss. The scenery was beautiful.

We rigged up a tarp on another part of a dock that was pulled up on shore in hopes that it would look like the park was covering up some canoes or something. I hid underneath with a little hole to peek out of.

With all of the snow we had on Saturday and the temps in single digits, Joe had a hard time convincing Becky to get out of the apartment and take the dogs for a walk by the lake. They were trudging through over a foot of snow, and as they approached I could hear Becky saying, "Are we there yet?" and "It's so cold."

Once they got to the special dock, they walked to the end and watched the trumpeter swans flying overhead. Then, as they walked back, Joe pointed to something on the dock and told Becky to take a look.

It took her a second, but once it registered, this is what she saw:

When she turned around, Joe was on one knee with the ring. It was so sweet!

And of course, she said "Yes!"

We are so thrilled to have Becky as part of the family. Don't get me wrong, she already was, but it's very fun to officially call her Joe's fiance! We love you both, and we're looking forward to the big day!


Christmas Cards

We aren't going to be sending out Christmas cards this year, but if we had, this is what you would have received! :)
Merry Christmas to all of you!


Rae's Dream

Rae: "Last night I had a dream that a Queen came to our house."
Me: "Really, what happened?"
Rae: "I asked you & Daddy where she came from."
Me: "What did we tell you."
Rae: "You didn't answer me. There was fire coming from the sink and I think the Queen put it there."
Me: "That's very strange. Then what happened."
Rae: "She was trying to tell me & my elf** what to do."
Me: "What did you do?"
Rae: "I told her, 'Who made you the boss? You're not my wife** OR my Dad!"

**See previous post!

My daughter calls me "Wife"

It all started about 5 days ago. Rae wanted to play Santa Clause. She was Santa, and she loaded up her "sleigh" (chaise lounge) with "bags" (blankets) full of toys to hand out to the children around the world. She added the three stick horses to the front to be "reindeer."

Then she declared me to be Mrs. Clause and Ruby to be her Elf.

Then I guess she got tired of saying Mrs. Clause over and over, so she started calling me, "Wife."

Now for the last five days she has continued to call me her wife. And if I call her Rae, she says, "You mean, "husband," right?


Recent Quotes from Rae

Rae (playing on bunk bed, annoyed at Ruby, and spoken in a very superior tone.): "Mom, will you puh-leeease get this earth creature out of my tree?"


Rae: "Wow, that door looks bigger than Jesus!"



Me: "I love you."
Rae: "I love you."
Me: "I love you more."
Rae: "No, I love YOU more."
Me: "I love you the MOST."
Rae: "No, I love YOU the most!"
Me: "I love you the mostest, mostest, mostest, mostest, mostest, mostest, mostest!"
Rae: "I don't think I can love you that high!"


Rae learned one of winter's coldest lessons tonight when she licked JP's metal trailer while we were playing outside. At first she didn't even cry; she just came to me and said, "Mom, my tongue!" She had blood all over her face and at first I was pretty concerned.

As we walked back to the house, I explained to her what had happened. Only then did she start crying and then she wailed, "I don't think I'll ever be able to eat again!"

After we cleaned her up, we realized it wasn't that bad. Lesson learned!


And for good measure, here's one from Ruby (peering through her binoculars): "I see Oo-da!"

Translation: Rudolph! :)


O Christmas Tree

The first year we were married, I went out and bought us a bunch of decorations for our first Christmas tree. I'm not sure why, but for some reason I really wanted one of those trees that you see in shopping malls or magazines with ribbons and color-coordinating decorations and white lights only. Maybe it was from working downtown? I don't know. But that's what I bought, and that first year we had a magazine-worthy Christmas tree.

JP hated it. It had no charm or sentimental value to him. He missed his mom's tree, where every ornament had a story & memory behind it.

Times have changed. Five years and three kids later, we finally have the Christmas tree JP's heart wished for, full of keepsake ornaments and tokens of our short history. And I have to agree -- this tree warms my heart like none of our past trees ever have. And watching the girls decorate it, clumping them all together on the same low bough, was so, so sweet.

We made the "mistake" of getting a blue spruce. We actually chose it from a local cut-your-own tree farm on purpose because we had read somewhere that the spruce tree was the "original" Christmas tree as the branches make a cross shape. We didn't realize that the nails of Calvary would also be represented by the very SHARP spruce needles! OUCH!

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches!


Rosie Rolls Over!






Recent Pictures

Daddy loves his girls, and oh my, do they ever adore him!

Winter fun!

Rosie is getting so chubby! Here she is at bath time.

Winter Wonderland

I have to admit...

As boring as Princeton can be in the winter...

It is without a doubt...


JP's Buck

As I think I've mentioned before, this was JP's first season of deer hunting. The first time he went out was for an early "antler-less" season. Before the girls and I were even done eating breakfast, I got a text from him saying, (and I quote): "I just got one! This is amazing. I am still shaking all over."

And from that moment on, he was hooked. :)

He & his friend ended up seeing 6 deer that day. It was very exciting. But every single proceeding hunting trip he took, he saw little or nothing the whole time.

Finally, it was the last day of the last weekend, and out of the blue they started seeing deer all over. JP shot his first buck that day, a 10-pointer, and his friend James shot one large doe and two button bucks (yearlings).

Then we had the great pleasure of butchering them all in JP's workshop. Well, not we. The guys did it. But I brought the girls out to see it. I don't want them to be as grossed out by it all as I am. Yuck.

I have a list of venison recipes on hand to try out. If you have a good one, send it my way! :)


Don's Last Night

I'm sitting on the couch with my laptop, watching Don Shelby's final newscast on WCCO 4 News at 10. It's bittersweet. I'm happy for him as he heads into retirement. He's a grandpa now, and is still full of life, energy and adventure. I'm glad that he gets to move into this phase of his life.

But I feel the very real sadness that must be upon the newsroom tonight. I was a part of that newsroom for about four years, a very tiny fraction of his very long, very successful career.

I remember the first time I ever sat in the newsroom as an intern. Don came strolling into the room that night playing a mournful song on an Irish flute. It was very strange, and I remember thinking, What kind of guy is this he? Is he some new age, ex-hippy tree worshiper? He did that the next two or three nights, as well.

Turns out it was just a fad. I'd quickly learn he goes through a lot of fads, quirky things that he thinks are interesting and tries out for a little while.

I eventually got hired as a production assistant, and then a writer for the 10 pm show and got to sit right next to him. As I got to know him, I realized he is just as much of a great man in real life as he seems on TV. He is genuinely a very kind, funny, enthusiastic, hard-working man, and it always blessed me that he would take time out to talk to me and show a genuine interest in my life and career.

I remember very vividly when I told him I was leaving my producer job to be a stay-at-home mom. He looked me square in the eye and said he was proud of that decision and gave me a hug. Family, to him, was always the most important thing in his life, and I'm so happy he gets to be with his more now.

Don made a big difference in the newsroom. He has been passionate about what he does and has literally changed lives. I'm not saying I agree with everything he is and stands for, but I respect him for doing what he's done and will miss his face on the air from my spot here on the couch.

Best of life, love & family to you, Don. I know your presence will be very dearly missed.


2 Years & 2 Months

Ruby and Rosie both had checkups this week, Ruby for her 2-year well child and Rosie for her 2-month.

Ruby, bless her heart, seems to be taking after her mommy. She was 34" tall, which is only 41%, and a whopping 31 pounds, which is 88%! Short and solid. Like her mama. :)

My goodness is she sweet -- and funny, too. Her quote of the week was as she pointed to her nipples: "Look, Mom! Two buttons!"

Rosie continues to grow and grow, and she's becoming more and more smiley and interactive every day. She bats at dangling toys with her hands and is proving herself ambidextrous when it comes to thumb sucking.

Rosie is tipping the scales at 13.3 pounds (94%!!!), and she was 23 1/2" tall (85%).

We are on weekend #4 of JP being gone hunting. In my heart I'm so happy that he's found a hobby he loves, keeps him active, and gives him a chance for camaraderie with his guy friends. Buuuuuuut, let's be real. In reality, I'm tired of spending weekends alone with the kids and dogs, and selfishly look forward to the end of deer season. Bird season isn't so bad. I feel like I went from nothing to full-tilt-boogie hunter's wife in one year. Oh wait -- I DID! :)

In the meantime, we're keeping busy. Tonight the girls and I are having a sleepover in Mommy's room, and tomorrow we have errands to run and friends coming over to stay the night. Then on Saturday, Rae is having a sleepover with Ava, and I guess Ruby, Rosie and I will kick it at home one more night before Daddy returns.

Sorry I haven't been keeping up with this blog more often. I do a lot of communicating on facebook, and I know some of you are not on there to keep up-to-date. I've been spending a lot of my free time editing photos. I did a family shoot for my friend Crystal and took head shots for a "ladies night" at my Dad's church. All the gals came together and did each others hair & makeup (other's? others'? Help me Jon or Deb!), then I took glamor shots...lol! Maybe I'll post some when I'm done editing them all...maybe.


Pictures, Stories and Quotes

Today at the park, a local photographer asked if he could take pictures of the girls playing on the warm, November day. I told him of course. Moments later he says, "I think one of them is eating dirt." I replied, "Yep, that's pretty normal."


Ruby: "What's this?" (pointing)
Me: "That's my belly."
Ruby: (laughing) "Your belly so BIG!"


Rae: "Mom, I need your help. I have three stuffs, but only two hands. And I was gonna have Ruby help me, but she stole my grape."


Rae: "Mom, can you fill up my ukulele?"
Me: "Your what?"
Rae: "My ukulele. That's what I call my cup, because when I drink chocolate milk it kind of sounds like a ukulele."



JP & Rae built a tree stand in our back yard. The other night, JP crept quietly into the woods and saw 6 deer in there. Yesterday, Rae sat out with him in the stand for the first time.


And finally, thumb sucker #3 -- Rosie! She's smiling and cooing all the time now. I'm absolutely smitten with her.


Sarah & Nixon

Last weekend, JP's cousin got married to a wonderful man named Nixon. Nixon has been a part of the family for a long time now, but it was fun to finally make it official and celebrate the day.

You can imagine my surprise when Sarah approached me about taking pictures for their wedding. I had never done anything like that before, and I was pretty nervous. But I'm so glad I said yes, because it was so much fun and such a learning experience!

Another friend of the family, who is a real photographer, approached me when she heard I was doing the wedding and offered to help in any way she could. It was such a relief to have Jacki help out that day, shooting from different angles, watching for details, letting me borrow equipment, and offering tips as I shot (Visit Jacki V. Photgraphy here).

I am slowly working my way through editing all of the photos (I whittled it down from over 1300 to around 750), and here are a few of my favorites so far. Congrats Sarah & Nixon!