Merry Christmas

HUMMER LIMO... finally!

Tolman's had another fundraiser this year where the GRAND PRIZE for selling 25 items or more was a pizza party in a HUMMER LIMO!
For those who follow my blog, you know that last years' was a total BUST, so we couldn't let this years' get away from us! 
You can read about last years here.
I, uh...I mean Tol was successful in selling 25 items. So this time I was totally prepared. I called the school THE VERY DAY the fundraiser finished up to hear if there was a date set for the limo ride. There was a tentative date set for November 4th. I immediately put it on my calendar. Then, I asked again a few weeks later when the goods arrived. Again, they told me the 4th.
I didn't mention this earlier (and totally should have) but my mom came to town for a little longer than a week over Halloween... more on that to come. Anyway, so on the 1st we send Tol off to school (that I was going to let him miss because: 1) everyone deserves the day after Halloween off, right? and 2) Grammy was in town). About an hour later I get a phone call from the school {(that I usually would have ignored because: 1) the number wasn't in my contacts and therefore came up 'nameless' on caller id and 2) I was in the shower. Who gets out of the shower to answer the phone?!? Especially from a no-namer. Me, that's who. It was meant to be}. It was actually Tol's teacher on the other end explaining that since she was brand-new and still didn't have everything together, she forgot to send the Hummer-ride permission slip home. Then she continued to tell me the ride was to take place in 45 minutes. "WHAT?!? Today is the 1st! What happened to the 4th?!!! I can't let this happen again! What do I need to do? I'm not too late, am I?" I basically freaked out to myself while poor Ms. Messmer listened. My heart would have been doubly broken for Tol if he missed it again (even though he did get off pretty good last time).
I got dressed and ready -faster than ever before. My mom, Addi and I jumped in the car and RACED to Tolman's school to sign the dang waiver before the limo got there. We arrived just in time. We took some pics AND they let us go on the ride with them! Which I felt good about because it was from the fruits of MY  labors that Tol even sold anything in the first place ;)
Tol was thrilled and so was I.

When the ride was over and it was all said and done, Tol said that next year he wanted the Penske instead of the Hummer Limo ride.


a police officer and strawberry shortcake

...and an army dude. 

Oh, and here's one more.

Apple picking

I took Tol, Addi, Grace and Garrett apple picking. We had a great time picking & eating apples (especially the B-52s) feeding the animals and running through the corn maze. 
These 4 are so adorable together; the pic on the bottom left is their "Band Picture," for when they're in a band. Hilarious! Man, I love these kids!


Christmas pictures

 Christmas Pictures
by the one and only Jolene Reed

 Our 2011 Christmas Card

Cutest faces on a Christmas Card EVER!


Chi Town

Candice, Chelsea and I met in Chicago for a little GIRLS GETAWAY.
It was a fantastic time filled with warm weather, great food, good shopping and most importantly the BEST company! What can I say- Chel, Candice and I make a great trio!

I'll mostly let the pictures speak for themselves.
The Bean. We LOVED the bean.

The Chicago Marathon.
The original reason we planned our Chicago trip. Becca ran it in under 3.5 hours! She is a wild woman!  

 SeaDog is a Chicago MUST!

Apple store.
We just happened to be there the weekend after Steve Jobs died. It was a sobering scene.

Of course I know I'd have fun, but this trip exceeded any and all expectations. It was a BLAST! It was especially great because I don't get to see these gals too often with Chel living in Seattle and Candice in California. I mean, a trip with my dear sis and my dear friend; life doesn't get much better than that!


Kristen came to visit!

Rocky Mountain Ranger Cookie Dough
Wilson Phillips
Women's Conference
Making the Bed (we slept in together)
Eating out
Late Nights

...are just a few ways to describe the BEST extended weekend I had with Kristen. She left her clan behind and came to visit me in Minnesota FOR 5 DAYS. It was the BEST!!

While she was here a few of us went to Lake City to celebrate Andrea's birthday.
{on the Mississippi River}

And here is the 1000 piece puzzle that got finished (except for one missing piece) AFTER Kristen left. Kristen and I were obviously feeling rather ambitious buying this puzzle- we worked on this thing day and night and it still wasn't completed by the time she left. But, I drafted a few clients to help while their colors were processing and there you have it.
Kristen and I had the BEST time together! I am so grateful for the BESTEST best friend ever!!


dirty 30

Since my last post I have received so many emails, Facebook messages and phone calls out of love and concern for me. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart! It wasn't my intent to worry anyone or cause a stir (who really reads blogs anymore, anyway?), but all the love sent my way was so much appreciated. It made me realize that I am loved and genuinely cared for. It is a good feeling, so again THANK YOU. 

Speaking of, my dear friend SHAWNI turned the DIRTY 30! Mauri and I joined forces {it was really me joining Mauri's force} and put together a SURPRISE PARTY! 
A few gals first went to dinner then it was back to Maur's where the 'real' party was waiting. We hit a few glitches and wondered how we'd ever get Shawni back to Mauri's without being too obvious, but we did and Shawni was definitely SURPRISED!


Casual Disciple

The last couple weeks have been, well... rough. I'm not going to go into detail and I don't want anyone worrying about me. I am fine. Life just really sucks sometimes, as we all know.

I've been afraid for this.
For a while, I've been one of those casual disciples who is stuck going through the motions. I'd attend church meetings, teach my most adorable Beehives, pay my tithing, say family prayers etc. and I'd also allowed my testimony and conviction of the Gospel to slide. Meanwhile, because of where I was at spiritually, I was afraid of my own upcoming, yet unknown, 'come to Jesus' moment. I really felt like I needed (but definitely didn't want) something to zap me into gear. {why couldn't i get my own butt into gear myself? That would have been much easier, right?} Anyway, I knew I couldn't stay, as Elder Maxwell put it, a casual disciple forever and I was afraid for what my Heavenly Father had in store for me.

 Am I really one of those Laman & Lemuel types who has to constantly be reminded of the truth and be shocked (luckily just figuratively) into shape? Gosh, It makes me wonder what blessings and inspiration I've passed up because my laziness in the gospel had taken center stage.

So here I am, shocked and humbled because of the unfortunate situation I find myself in. Like I said, it SUCKS, like really really bad. But it feels good to say that I am no longer in the church rut. It feels so fabulous, even amidst the darkness of my situation, to have the gospel in my life and to have all it's miraculous tools at my fingertips. I can't tell you how many times in just the last week that the scriptures have answered my own personal questions. MY questions. I mean, isn't that amazing? What else is amazing are the angels that God has put on this earth for our benefit. I can't tell you how amazing my friends and family are. Really, how did I get this lucky?

I know I sound cheesy, really cheesy. Especially to those who are always in-tune and on-board or to those that are on the opposite end. But I felt somewhat inspired to record this on my blog (maybe just for when I print my blog book for my kids to read).

Heavenly Father is real. He KNOWS us and LOVES us. He can bless us beyond our wildest imaginations. He can give us the strength we never thought we had. He is the giver of all things grand and the only provider of true peace. Today I am grateful for the gift I have just rediscovered, the gospel and all it's perks.

And I will be fine; this too shall pass, right?


well, yeah...

There is a new ice cream shoppe in town and this is on the wall.
Couldn't have said it better myself!
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It's only natural that we move from 'Last Day of Summer' to 'First Day of School,' right?

And there you have it...


Last day of Summer

The day before school started we had an "End of Summer" family night @ Chester Woods. It sounds all great and cheery and for the most part it was, but let's be honest, 4 of us on a paddle boat in the middle of a lake is a little much. 
Between bumping into trees and playing musical chairs I was a nervous wreck; I thought for sure we were gonna end up swimming. But we didn't and it was a great little family adventure.
After, we went to our 'Back to School dinner' at Pannekoeken (we let the kids' choose the place). The kids love it there because when you order a 'pannekoeken' the waitress brings it to your table in a full sprint while singing "pannekoeken, pannekoeken." It's weird.
Then we went home and Dave gave both kids Priesthood Blessings. Can I just say I love to hear Dave give blessings? If you've heard him give a blessing, or even say a prayer, you know what I mean. He's so eloquent with his words and it invites an awesome spirit.
SO all in all it was a great night and the perfect way, in the not-so-perfect kind of way, to spend our last day of Summer.


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Carroll's Cup

It feels like Christmas! 
We finally have a frozen yogurt joint here in Rochester!!
Embarrassing as it may be, Addi and I frequent the place at least twice a week.
Yes, it is that good!


Meet the Teacher

Tol was pretty dang excited to meet his new FIRST GRADE TEACHER, and he was pretty stoked when he finally found out who it was. BUT, it was short- lived; she has already retired. I know, only one month into the year. It's okay, I wasn't the hugest fan anyway.
But isn't this the cutest little first grader you've ever seen? LOVE this boy!

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Minnesota State Fair

State Fair + The Barneys =
One SERIOUS good time!



 We finally took advantage of some of Minnesota's Summer Offerings during the summer we were left with after our Utah trip. Minnesota summers are amazing! When the super rainy and indecisive Spring finally turned to Summer, I understood why people choose to live here. There's nothing like it.

We experienced our first Rochester Water Ski Team show. It was a little ghetto mixed with some cheese, but was pretty incredible at the same time. These are some talented people!

We also took advantage of a community swimming pool that was super fun. It reminded me of the 'no frills' pools that I went to growing up.  And I should mention adorable Grace (pictured with my kids) because she and her brother were a HUGE part of our summer. They live down the street from us and our kids have become inseparable I love it. And I love them :)

I refinished these chairs that we inherited from my Aunt Mindy years ago. Wish I had a 'before' picture so you could really appreciate the finished product.  Now we have something on our deck besides Dave's grills!

PARK TIME! The kids at their very favorite 'vehicle park.'
Thursdays on First. Tol and Ad with one of the many Loosey Gooseys around Rochester. This goose is part of the local 'The Goose is Loose" statue project that goes to support the arts. I have the cutest little geese ;)

That's it for now.