Monday, November 30, 2009

Second birthday soiree

Brennan turned two -- two! -- on November 15, but Sherri postponed the big family birthday bash until this past weekend when everyone would be home for the Thanksgiving holiday. The Jones family was kind enough to host everyone in Springfield, and Brennan was kind enough to put on quite a show. He really got into opening the presents this year, but it really burned his little butt that we wouldn't let him play with the gifts once they were opened. At one point he just walked out of the room. What's the point of unwrapping gifts if they're just going to take them away, right? B finally got through all of the presents, and then followed that up by passionately blowing out the No. 2 candle on his cake. Three times. He would blow it out, gleefully smile at all of us and matter-of-factly state, "Again." It wasn't really so much a request as a demand. But none of us could deny his impish grin, least of all Grandma Pat, who was in charge of the matches.

And really, how can you deny a little guy who spent a good chunk of the day profusely thanking us and shouting "love you!" I will be certain to demand he make the same declarations of thanks and love when he turns 13. Because that's just the kind of aunt I am.

Click here for the full birthday set.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for what you see below, and so much more.

We are lucky enough to have two sets of parents who not only dote on Mary Clare, but are supportive, helpful and, most of all, incredibly talented and hard working. The things they have done to our house these past months ... bless them and their patience. Mary Clare has four loving aunts, uncles and a bevy of cousins, all of whom are healthy and happy. Our house is cozy and warm, thanks to Steve, my brother-in-law Brian's dad, who not only sent the most delightful furnace repair guy our way, but helped with the installation of our new furnace. Our network of friends never ceases to entertain us, and really, what more could you want from friends but to know that you are in for high-spirited fun anytime you see them? And while no one likes to talk about work, I am thankful that both Chip and I have jobs where we are still reasonably happy to trot off to everyday.

Here's wishing you a Thanksgiving that is full of family, friends, laughter and all those special treats that only come around once per year. Personally, I am already dreaming of my Grandma Thole's dressing and pecan pie. Ah, heaven.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Eleven months

Stunned. Stunned is the best way to describe how I felt last night when I asked Chip, "Is tomorrow the 25th?" and he confirmed that yes, in fact, our girl would be 11 months old in a few short hours.

It should come as no surprise, really. While she can still squeeze her skinny heinie into some three-six month outfits, she's growing like a weed (upwards, at least), and she seems to master a new skill every day. This past Sunday she took three steps for Chip and I. She won't do it again, of course, but my word ... it was amazing. Of course, with each new delight comes increased defiance. When we say, "Mary Clare, don't bang on the mirror," she pauses, smirks and then goes about pounding the hell out of the mirror. Same goes for Buddy's water bowl, the one kitchen cabinet we don't keep locked and the area under the desk with all of the routers, modems and cables that are simply too tempting for words. She also shakes her head "no," which is hilarious, because half of the time she inevitably wants what you are offering her. Hair bows rarely stay in anymore, and once she's extricated it from her hair, she spends a good amount of time patting her head to make sure we didn't sneak one in when she was distracted.

Charming, coy and a clapping machine, she is a constant delight. Walking, however, will certainly be the death of me. And Buddy. Oh, poor Buddy. He is in for a world of hurt.

Click here for a few -- and yes, I mean a few -- photos from this past month.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Should you happen to be looking for me, I am one day into a vacation here:

Drinking these:
With this guy:

See you next week.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Year three

To my husband,

Today marks year three of this happily ever after gig, and while the past year has changed our lives in more ways than I could ever even imagine, I'm terribly happy. I love you. I love our beautiful daughter. I even love that crazy Lab of ours who is on the furniture more than we are.

Life is good. Really good. Thank you for making it that way.

With love,

Your wife

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bringing the pain

Our morning routine varies based on what time Chip has to leave each morning, but more often that not he gets Mary Clare dressed in the nursery while I finish getting ready. As I was finishing up this morning, I heard Mary Clare let out one of her disgruntled cries, to which Chip responded:

"Oh? You don't like having your hair brushed? Well, just wait until I get the boogie sucker out. Then you'll know what real pain is."

Monday, November 2, 2009

A real treat

Our girl survived her first Halloween, and I daresay she even had a little bit of fun during the two week process. The festivities started off with Boo at the Zoo on October 24, which was chilly but a good time. The next big event was her school party on October 30. It was so funny to see all the infants and toddlers in their costumes and Halloween gear. Of course Mary Clare ruled the costume contest. When Grandma Thole makes a Halloween costume, she sews to win. She even sewed a tag into the seam that says "Mary Clare Bear." In the same font as the Care Bears logo, no less. I'm telling you, when it comes to the Singer, the woman knows how to bring it.

Saturday afternoon we hustled Mary Clare into her costume and did a quick visit with Gramps and Gram Lindh, and then headed over to the Hehmeyers for a little trick-or-treating fete at their house. So fun. Mary Clare was a real trooper and sat bundled up on our laps outside watching everyone come and go. The next day Grandpa and Grandma Thole came over, and back in the costume she went. By this time she was seriously starting to hate the hood and ears, and who can blame her? That was probably round eight in the costume.

All in all, she was a terrific sport for letting us play dress up with her over and over again. Click here for more photos of our good little Mary Clare Bear.