Where's Waldo?

This was Addi's favorite hiding spot for about a week.  This time, she wore just the right jammies to make it the PERFECT hiding spot.


My mom is HILARIOUS!

A brief explanation is needed.  
My Mom LOVES the book, "Here Be Dragons."  She's actually a bit obsessed. And we have her BF, Connie McBride, to thank.  She got my mom into these types of books.
It got a bit OLD, hearing about this dang book.  It got to the point that hearing the title would send chills down my spine.  
My mom loved to tease me about it.
Dave is much more couth and didn't make fun of my mom to her face, but he did make his HBD stance known.
My mom decided to be SUPER generous and give Dave her most PRIZED possession for his birthday.


She included her inner-most feelings about the book.  So thoughtful of her.  It reads:
Dear Dave, 
On this very special day of yours, our gift to you is one of our most prized possessions, Here Be Dragons.  
Some say I suffer from HBDD (Here Be Dragons Disorder), but I am here to testify that I know that the things that are written in this book are true.  I also testify that Llewlyn is the son of, well I don't know who he is the son of.  Most likely Llewly the first.  I also know that you can come to this same knowledge of it's truthfulness by sincere fasting and prayer.  Nevermind, you can just read it and have faith that Sharon Kay Penman did her homework, as I have.  Oh, and Connie as well.
May this book bring you the same joy as it has for me, and that you may gleam from the truths that are written therein.  And that you will be begging me for the next 2 books in this series.  Dream on!
Oh, and I want it back when you're done!
Happy 32nd belated birthday!  This book is so popular that I had to special order it.  I know it looks used, but... um...maybe it was.  Who knows?  Oh yeah, maybe I do.
Love, Ron and Shar 
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SERIOUS rainstorm

We had quite the rainstorm a little while back.  It started raining in the early afternoon and didn't stop for over 24 hours.  And when I say rain, I'm talking sheets of rain!  I've never seen so much rain in my life!  Plus the thunder and lightening- Minnesota thunder and lightening is like none I've never experienced.  The thunder is a constant deep rumble with loud bursts every now and then and the lightning is like a super bright strobe light that literally lights up the entire sky.
But anyway, this storm was unreal!  There was flooding all over the city to the point of closed schools and freeways.  And there was an unfortunate amount of flooding in a lot of our friends' homes.  BUMMER!

Dave has always had quite the fascination with Mother Nature.  He tries to experience it as up-close-and-personal as possible.    

 After the first lap.

2nd lap.

 Completely SOAKED.


Happy Birthday, DAVE!

When Dave got home from work we decided to start the Birthday celebration at the "vehicle park," as my kids call it.  It was such a beautiful night that we couldn't NOT be outside. 

 I'm not a huge fan of seafood, so we never go to seafood restaurants.  Since Dave really likes seafood, we went to Red Lobster for his birthday dinner.  Can I just tell you that there are NO really great restaurants here.  Seriously- nothing!  I mean, not saying that Red Lobster wasn't good, but that's one of the best we've got.  It's a shame.

And then it was home for Dave's favorite cake- SKOR cake, or better known as "Better than sex" cake and PRESENTS!  Dave SKORED in both departments :)


School Bus

Tol has been waiting to ride the SCHOOL BUS for a long, long time.  Luckily, we moved into a neighborhood where he is able to ride the bus to and from school.  HE LOVES IT, to say the least!
School started on a Thursday but because we registered Tolman for school late, he couldn't start riding the bus til the following Monday.  It was a long 2 days of having to commute in the car!

Tolman. Dawson. Garrett.

Aren't they cute?  Tol has made some great friends in our neighborhood and we are so grateful!

Getting on the bus.

And there they go. . .

A few days after this, I was putting some bar stools together and lost track of the time.  When I finally  looked at the clock, I realized Tolman should have been home from school 15 minutes prior.  I wasn't too concerned, but when a few more minutes passed I began to worry.  Right then Tol walked in the door totally laughing.  It turns out he ended up on the wrong bus to go home.  He swore he was in the line to get on his bus, but  realized he ended up on the wrong bus as it was pulling out of the lot.  Poor Tol!  I guess he was too scared and embarrassed to say anything.  After a few stops, Tol got up the nerve & walked to the front of the bus and told the bus driver his unfortunate situation.  Let me just say that I was totally impressed with how the transportation dept. handled this.  Tol said the driver was very nice and told him to sit in the seat behind the driver's seat.  Then he got on his CB radio to find out who Tol was and where he lived, etc.  He ended up driving Tol right to our front door after all the other kids were dropped off.  Obviously Tol's fears were completely put to ease because Tol came in our door laughing.  Hearing Tol tell the story was actually pretty hilarious.
Tol wasn't phased by this, which was surprising, and he was rearing to get on the bus the next day.


surREAL WORLD Minnesota

Now that I've been here a few weeks, I thought I'd write another one of my Journal-ish type entries about my new life.  Calling it a 'new life' sounds a bit dramatic- even coming from me, but it really is a whole new life for me minus a few major staples (namely Dave, Tol & Addi).
First of all, the neighborhood we live in is great.  I really went out on a limb by putting the home shopping completely in Dave's hands- which is SO NOT like me.  But since we decided not to buy and rent instead, I didn't care so much.  Plus, Dave is a FREAK about weird mysterious odors and stains so I knew he wouldn't move us into some nasty cat lady or smoker house.  I gave him my short list (really) of criteria and it was all his.  Blah blah blah.  So yeah, neighborhood is great.  There are lots of kids and the streets aren't busy and stay pretty empty so I don't have to worry about Tol riding his bike or walking to a friends house.  It actually reminds me a little bit of my neighborhood growing up.  
Except for one crazy neighbor family (I'm sure I'll touch more on that at a later date- but let's just say:  a "Debbie Downer" single mom with 5 kids from 4 dads mixed with LOTS of DRAMA), the neighbors seem great!  We have an adorable lesbian couple that live next door.  They are 50ish and are both nurses.  The first week we were here they brought us a tomato from their garden.  A single tomato- I thought that was funny.  Then the next week they brought us the YUMMIEST double chocolate zucchini brownies.  SCORE!  Our neighbors on the other side is a darling couple from up state New York.  He is finishing up his residency @ Mayo.  He is an ass man.  His wife is adorable and they have 3 darling little girls.  I think we'll become good friends.  We were actually going to go apple picking with them today but, of course, Dave's schedule got hectic and plans changed.  Bummer!  The kids and I went to a neighborhood pot luck a couple weeks ago- and yeah, first five minutes we were there a plate of mushy green bean goo with bacon blew right into my lap. Awesome.-  The neighborhood is quite the mixture of people.  I think I'm gonna like that.
The house is perfect for us.  It needed a inner face-lift and I'm finally almost done with that.  Everything felt too white so I added lots of color.  And paint.  My favorite is the yellow wall, which everyone respectively refers to as "Mom's yellow wall" or "Jame's yellow wall," as they should.  I don't want it to get confused for anyone else's wall.  My second favorite is Tol's room.  But maybe not because it still smells like dog pee (the previous renters had a dog).  Everyone thinks it's just in my head, but I KNOW that disgusting smell because Max (one of the many family dogs) used to pee in my room.  I cleaned Tol's carpet with Dave's professional carpet cleaner machine and I think I still smell it.   So my second favorite might be the deck. But the deck is empty except for Dave's grilling gadgets- nothing to sit on.  It does, however, have the greatest view of nothingness and serenity.  We have a huge backyard that backs up to a field which backs up to a forest.  I feel like I live in the wilderness sometimes and I really like that.  I never worry about shutting the curtains or blinds because no one is out there to see me.  Except the wild turkeys.  Yes- there have been wild turkey sightings in our back yard.  We also have a finished basement that has been turned into the kid domain.  Both Tol and Addi's rooms are down there and so is ALL their crap.  I am LOVING that and I think Dave loves it even more.
Oh - and there are frogs that chill on our porch at night.  We have big toad-looking ones and tiny little bright green ones.  Tol is afraid of them while Addi gets down on her belly and in the frog's face saying, "hi froggy froggy!"  
When it rains, little skinny ugly worms come out.  I like the big fat Utah ones better, not that I really like any of them.  The first few days here were miserably hot and humid.  YUCK!!!  Then it was cool for a few days.  Then it got yucky hot again.  Now it's cooler and I think it's here to stay, for a while anyway until it gets cold.  Like SUPER DUPER cold.  We have a DE-humidifier in our house that is constantly running.  It actually sucks water out of the air and fills up a 70 pint (you do the math) bucket that we empty at least once a day.  There is that much water in the air.  In our house!  
And I can't forget the BUGS.  Wish I could forget them but they have a BIG way of letting themselves known.  Especially flies and mosquitoes.  I have killed 4 flies today.  My neighbor said she killed 6.  Tol killed one with his bare hands the other day.  WOW- we are transforming into real-life red necks!  You wait- those wild turkeys are going to end up on our dinner table.  Maybe the frogs will, too.  Annoying bugs aside- we also have lots of fireflies that are HUGE.  They glow when it gets dark, which happens earlier here, and we can't get enough of that- the fireflies, that is.  The crickets here are loud, soothing and lovely.  
Our ward is awesome!  Everyone has been super friendly and welcoming.  I think it'll be the perfect fit for our family.  There are LOTS of kids both Tol and Addi's ages.  Tol and Ad look forward to church, which is something I'm not used to, and are both happy to be there.  I would say our ward is an equal combination of a student ward and a Daybreak ward.  Student ward because I feel like all of us are in the same boat.  I'd say AT LEAST 80% of the ward are medical residents and their families.  It's unusual for 5 minutes to pass without someones pager going off.  Nerds.  And then DAYBREAK because it is kid infested.  Sacrament meeting is noisy, just like my parents ward.  I don't mind a loud sacrament meeting, probably because we are loud too.  I do have to drive about 15 minutes on the Highway to get to church and I actually like that.  It provides a nice break between the HECTIC- getting- ready- for- church morning and actual church.  It's like the 'count to 10' rule.  Ya know- to calm down.  I still don't have a church calling and am curious to see where I'll get called.  If I could choose I would want to be a R.S. teacher again, preferably the 4th Sunday.  But I dunno- I was in Primary for a bit today and listening to the kids sing brought that spirit that you can only get in Primary.  But let's be honest, I'm completely fine without a calling, too.
Tol and Addi have both started school.  Tol is in Kindergarten and Addi started preschool.  Tol rides the bus and has a locker.  Addi has a cubby that she calls a locker and has a Tinkerbell backpack that is bigger than she is.  Tol naturally picked a CAPRI SUN backpack.  Addi LOVES preschool unlike Tol did when he was her age.  The preschool directors wear business suits and the whole establishment is much more professional.  Tolman LOVES kindergarten and is so happy to finally be going.  He really likes his teacher and other than that, the only thing I've gotten out of him about school is that he drank milk.  He's not into details, nor is he into milk.  I wonder how his teacher got him to do it...
I bought a hydrolic chair so I can do hair in my house but haven't used it once and haven't missed work, surprisingly.  I do, however miss my clients and coworkers.  Maybe when things calm down a little and I have more downtime I'll miss working.  Maybe then I'll be motivated to get the word out that I do hair.  I think I've only told 3 or 4 people, if that.  Oh- and I miss the money.  I miss never having cash in my wallet.  It makes me feel poor.  Well- poorer than I am.
I also miss my family.  Luckily I haven't been too homesick and I'm dreading the day it hits.  I talk to my mom quite a bit and my dad, too.  That's about it.  I talk to the sibs as often as I did in Utah.  Except Curt.  He's too busy learning about soil and shearing sheep in FFA to talk :).  Understandable.  We really miss Curt and can't wait for him to come visit.  We are lucky to have shared a house (but not a bathroom or my Purology) with him! 
I'm super into Facebook now.   Suddenly I'm totally interested in what everyone is up to and what not, where I wasn't too interested before.  No offense.  It's like my lifeline to my real world.  This is just my surreal world.  
After 3 weeks I'm ankle deep in my new life.  Right now, it is still surreal but all too soon it will be real.  I hope it is a good REAL.  But right now, it is a really good SURREAL.


First day of preSCHOOL!

I know I've gone through this once before with Tol, but sending my baby off to her first day of preschool was a little rough.  Addison just seems so little and helpless to me, and sending her into the "real world" seemed like a HUGE DEAL.  Have I fulfilled all my motherly responsibilities to prepare her for this?  I felt like I was literally cutting the umbilical cord as she walked into school.  I knew Addi would LOVE school and wouldn't hesitate saying goodbye to me as I left her in the lone and dreary world so that made it bearable- knowing she would love it.  I was right.  She hugged me, waved goodbye with a huge smile on her face and off I went.

Into the BIG, big world, she goes! 
Hanging up her jacket & backpack in her VERY own cubby.  She thinks it's pretty cool that she gets the BELL cubby when her middle name is BELLE.  Pretty cool, Ad!

Felling pretty awesome in her name tag.

First up: PLAYDOUGH!!

Addi might not have been super sad to see me go when I dropped her off, but she sure was happy to see me when I picked her up!  I loved seeing her run to me with a giant smile on her face screaming "MOMMY!!"
And it must have been a HARD, LONG day at preschool.  She was OUT within 5 minutes on the way home.


First Day of School!

This is Tol's first year of Elementary School and Addi's first year of Preschool.
They both couldn't be more excited for this new adventure!
Me on the other hand...?
I kept my opinions to myself and let them choose their own backpacks this year. They are both mighty happy with their selection.  In fact, Addi filled hers up with anything and everything and wore it around for DAYS before school even started.

Tol apparently wanted to get some action shots with (and without) his backpack, while Addi was feeling pretty grown-up and was aiming for that perfect "first day of school" shot. 

Aren't they ADORABLE?! 
I know I'm a little bias.


Froggy Friends

I'm not really sure
how to work the 
night setting on my camera.

 These cute little fellas hang out on our porch at night.  
Aren't they cute?  
There are big toad looking ones and cute little bright green ones.

 And this is an attempted picture of one of the frogs after it jumped in the bushes.  Obviously didn't capture the frog, but kind of a cool picture.


Minnesota State Fair

WOW!  This was a state fair at it's finest.  Supposedly, Minnesota's State Fair is one of the country's biggest and BEST and is famous for it's array of CRAZY fried foods.  Here, anything goes.
Dave has been looking forward to being able to attend a Minnesota State Fair for as long as we've known we'd be living here.  Dave's deep-fried dream fulfilled.

Minnesoata's is the largest State Fair in the U.S. in terms of average daily attendance.  I can believe it!  I mean, look at all these people!   It was complete MADNESS!  But, the fairgrounds must be GINORMOUS because it didn't seem too crowded.  A reported 1.78 million people attended this year's fair, and that number is down from last year.  That is a lot if Krispy Kreme Burgers!

What is a trip to the fair without going on a bunch of crappy & overpriced rides? Tol loved the rides while Addi didn't so much.  The kiddie roller coaster put her over the edge.
I have to say though, there were some pretty WILD & CRAZY rides here.

It was pretty ridiculous that we even spent money on ride tickets because the kids loved playing in these cart thingies WAY more than riding on the rides.  Of course.
And some samplings of the fried goodness (?)  available at the fair.  
Deep fried fruit?  Seriously?  I'll admit that some of it did sound tasty.  Like the Chocolate & marshmallow sandwich.  Anyone who knows me know that I LOVE me some marshmallow anythingMmmmm marshmallows!  But no, I didn't get one.

Here are the things we DID get.  Just looking at this picture makes me a little queasy.  But I can't deny that it was some GOOD food.  I didn't try the Corn dogs or bacon, but the other things were delish!

 These pics with the animals are a little bitter-sweet for me.  Sweet because it was a fun family day with pictures of cute animals with cuter kids.  Bitter because the animal barns REEKED, but mostly because this is where I busted my camera. Sniff.  I was sliding my camera into an outer pocket in my purse and MISSED!  Who misses their pocket?!  It fell right on the ground and a piece broke off.  It worked just fine for a few days after, but now the zoom doesn't work.  LAME!!!  And I'm too poor to fork out the money for a new one (I don't want a cheap-o replacement).
Anyway, the animals were cute, but I can't help but feel bad for them that they have to live in a cage for people to stare at.  And if that's not bad enough, this fair had a labor and delivery area where you could actually watch mom's give birth to their babies.  I guess it's kind of cool if you're into that kind of thing.  But I'm not and thought it was weird.

Well, there you have it.  
Until next year...