October 24, 2016

Their Epic Blindfolded PlayDoh Challenge (AKA Siblings)

Two of our littles interact much like oil and water. They are always noisy, always rubbing, burping, whining, or shouting about one another. They literally crave the attention of each other yet complain about it constantly. Meant for each other, basically.

Also: they could not be more alike.

For weeks, Mabel begged to be featured in one of Andy's vlogs and today I found that he did make good on his promise to put her in one. This is now my favorite video of them, ever. Precious little puddings.

Nana, enjoy.

August 29, 2016

Our Muppet

Lola Montez is so beautiful. She is happy every minute of every day. Unless her Bean is sick, but that's another story for another day.

Her birthday is April 5
Her back legs do not run - they hop
If brother Bean can do it, so can she
She prefers her ears "open"
She squeaks and grunts like a ferret when she wants something
She has a MUCH deeper bark than Bean
Attitude, always
**Mommy's girl**
She is not fond of loud bangs at all
She is also not fond of the hammock
She is fearless and still wants to jump off of things that are too tall for her
She snorts when she licks something
She snorts when she eats or drinks
She is terribly messy when she eats, often dragging pieces of food all over the room
Yes, she likes Cheetos (not that she gets many)
If it's Bean's she wants it - and yells at him until he gives it up
If Kiki is around, she wants to play - and yells at her until Kiki rolls her eyes and leaves
Her nose is very tiny
Her smile is very big
The fur on her head is very long and when it's not in a topknot, she looks like a muppet
When she runs, all of her parts flip flop all over the place, like this

She does love everyone in the house. Actually, she loves everyone. Non discriminatory with her affection. But, my girl does have her favorites.  Ahem. I am one of them.

Here is the other:

August 24, 2016

Lola Montez Was Small Enough For a Sink Bath

Lola Montez is not prissy. She likes to get dirty. Her favorite things outside are mud, potting soil to sniff into her beard, and water. She likes to eat poop, too, but we aren't going to mention that right now.

A few weeks ago, she was outside hopping through the sprinkler, chasing leaves from the birch tree, and playing in the mud. Basically making herself look like a furry hog. It was cute, but after she finished frolicking with her Moo, Lolabear needed a bath. Girl was STINKY.

In a flash we had her in the kitchen sink and Mabel ran to grab her soap (we use Dr. Bronner's baby castille soap). We slathered and lathered and tickled and giggled. Lola was very well-behaved for the whole process.

I die of cuteness. I mean.

In a jiff, she was spiffed up to her usual Lola self. We towel dried and she got very sleepy while swaddled up. We all fought over who would hold her and bounce her like a newborn. She also looked like half gremlin, half wookie while wet, in case you were curious. Also, behold the underbite.

After her hairs were dried, we pulled her hair up so she could see to chew on her bison tendon. She looked ADORBS. Two ponytails, Nana!

Over and out!

August 19, 2016

We PokemonGo

Sometime in the early 2000's, an older cousin in the family handed my boys a shoebox full of yellow cards with imaginary animals on them, called Pokemon. The boys were little - maybe 3 and 5? For almost ten years, Trevor and Andrew traded the cards back and forth and had daily Pokemon battles. They got new Pokemon cards in their stockings each Christmas. I remember that Trevor's favorite Pokemon was jigglypuff and Andrew's favorite was squirtle. In fact, that is why I called him psquirtle for years.

Okay I still do. Moving on.

Somewhere in the file cabinets in my brain I also remember that a squirtle evolves into a wartortle and then again into a blastoise. Please don't ask me what that even means in the game, but I'm pretty impressed that this data still exists in my brain. High fived myself just now.

So, when the new PokemonGo game app was released this summer, I downloaded it for the boys right away. (Still shocked it was free!)  Once they were back from their dad's, it was ON.

[For the Nana reading, let me explain: PokemonGo is a free, virtual game that is played using your cell phone. It is structured much the same way the card game was a decade ago. There are hundreds of these little imaginary animals, each with certain powers and worth different amounts of points. The goal is to collect as many as you can or want of your favorite kind. When you stand near someone else playing the game, the animals can battle and do fun things. The Pokemon are broadcast using a fancy GPS that randomly makes the Pokemon appear near your location, and you can "catch" them using your phone.]

While it is a game and is certainly "screen time", I love that it's gotten kids out of the house and moving. Entire families are enjoying it because you can join teams in the game and battle Pokemon together! It's not sitting on the couch or killing zombies, so for me, that's a plus. And I have to tell you, watching the boys plan Pokemon stops and talk about point values and Pokemon evolutions brought back a lot of memories for this (at the time) boy mama. Watching them sitting together without whining or punching is also lovely.

And then another strange and wonderful thing happened: my husband was too intrigued to resist Andy's pleas to, "Turn left! Right there is a pidgey! Wait, go back there!" and he downloaded the game for himself.

They've gone on several Pokemon hunts together. Bonding time and all. Hey, quality time is sometimes unexpected, but all the time awesome.

This is also why I typically do the driving now because he sits in the back with Andrew, Hayley, and Trevor and catches/battles/evolves Pokemon while we drive around town. The giggles are awesome.

The most exciting Pokemon hunting area here is in a large park downtown. We made plans to go as a family and after Trevor drove us down there (yep), everyone but Mabel and I scattered in search of rare Pokemon. Moo and I climbed the rocks around the waterfall.

Andy counted 60+ people Pokemon hunting on our side of the park. He was definitely in his element. Team Mystic!

Even Hayley Noelle has gotten in on the action, leveling up 6 times in about a week. Her brothers have taught her well. Mabel just watches because yo, she's not old enough for a cell phone with data.

Love my Pokemoners.

August 17, 2016


So, child 2 is going to be 14 tomorrow. I mean, can I even call him 'child 2' anymore? Sigh. Such a blessed to see him grow, but so bittersweet. Today would have been his birthday if his induction would have gone as planned, but no. No, Andrew George took his sweet old time and they turned off my pitocin to allow me to get some sleep overnight. In fact, it was 14 years ago today that Mindy Lu showed up at my hospital room door with a McDonald's brownie sundae. Awwwww, tear. Anyway, Andy took his time on the 18th, too, not showing up until the evening but what he lacked in timeliness he made up for in strength. My son, who they weren't sure would breathe at birth (suspected cystic adenomatoid malformation of the lung, which ended up being an extralobar pulmonary sequestration instead) WAILED and peed on the doctor. Andy has more strength than any of us and every day, I am proud.

Planning a family barbecue this weekend to celebrate Andy Roo, followed by watching Trevor's first scrimmage of the football season. Whoop!

Salt and pepper pistachios with a colby jack cheese stick. SCORE.

Last night I made an asian-influenced soup. It was so delicious! I created a broth using chicken stock, mushroom stock, and gluten free soy sauce, and then added meatballs, zucchini, carrot, a teeeeeeeny bit of onion, and mushrooms. At the end, I tossed in sliced jalapenos and sesame seeds on top. If I'd had cilantro, I would have used it, but alas, I was out. It was SUPERB. Child 2 ate two bowls because he has a hollow leg and loves all the things.

I am strongly considering Beachbody. There, I said it. More to come.

Related to that - God always amazes me. Something random connected me with an interesting woman on Facebook and over the past few months she's become a very close friend. I have about a million things in common with her - for one, she loves Jesus something fierce. She's also a Beachbody coach and if I join, she'll be my mentor. She's super cool and a million a five percent supportive of every possible scenario, and has just about the best boho style ever. I have no doubt that God was behind our paths crossing and I'm so grateful. No matter what happens in the future.

August 16, 2016

When Your Daughter Steals Your Phone for Selfies

A few weeks ago, Mabel was talking on my phone (with permission) outside. After a few minutes, she brought it back to me quietly.

Days later, I went through my photos looking for something and found this sweetie puss instead:

And then I almost peed my pants.

That's my girl.

August 12, 2016

Man-Bun Oriented

Child #2 asked to grow his hair out this spring and after he promised to rinse the shampoo and conditioner out of his hair better than he had previously, we agreed. He had big plans to grow it out into a man-bun that he could wear to school. Because he's a mini hipster, our Andrew.

And so we watched it grow when he left for churchcamp

and grow long enough for a mini man-bun, which he advertised on his instagram -

and grow long enough to reach his chin when stretched out. Unfortunately, the front became a tent around his face, with very wiry curl that frizzed with .01% humidity

just like our Lolabear!  Even Nana thought Andy was giving Lola a run for her money in the messy hair department when he visited her this summer.

As the weeks passed, Andrew struggled to get his hair to pull back. It combed easily; the curls and kinks stretched themselves down to his chin afterall. Except they also snapped back to their original kink with such force that man-buns did not survive. I think his heart was a little broken. And so, the hat came out. Every day.

Cute boy, yeah?  But the hair was CRAY.  He had to keep a hat on to keep it from taking over his face. 

So our amazing hair hero, A, decided to have a peek at it and make some recommendations. Love A. She's been my stylist for a very long time now and seriously loves the power points I bring to every hair appointment. She embraced emo as a teen and loves the Lord. I think she's just about the best combination for a human ever. Anyway, she combed through it and, Friends, he had an afro. Not a cool one, either. Together, Andy and A decided a trim was necessary. I left it up to them.

She took almost 5 inches off of the top and 4 off of the back. The pile was also cray. She left the sides and back longish so he could embrace his flippy curls, so he loves it.

I think Andy's man-bun dreams are over. His hair is just not made for that style. Well, not without consuming his face. Oh well, bring on the beanies instead.

August 8, 2016

Twin Brothers, Different Mothers

In the mid-90's I was part of a Christian youth group at my high school called Young Life. It was amazing and honestly, life-changing. We went to Camp Storer one fall and attended something called skit-night, where the YL leaders acted out various hilarious stories that always ended with the same theme: God is good. Anyway, my favorite skit was about two best friend brothers. They were entirely different yet delightfully similar.

Quite some years later, I have my own set of those. Well, with uteruses. So different, these two. One is ambitious and quietly motivated. The other is more fly by the seat of her pants with feathers in her hair, fearless. But 6 years in, I've figured something out: they've rubbed off on one another. I'm sure that was God's doing. Sometimes Mabel will be shy or scared, and sometimes Hayley will be ready to try brand new things without hesitation. It's been beautiful to watch God work.

It comes down to the same theme: God is good.

Every day.

August 4, 2016

MN Zoo

After this past school year ended, Daddy and I took the girls to Minneapolis for a fun weekend. We hit up the zoo and science center.

Mabel's most life-changing experience at the zoo happened at the aquarium. Not only did she get to see a big tiger shark up close, but they also have a shark and stingray petting area. Mabel was out of her mind, excited. We touched leopard sharks for almost an hour. I didn't get a single picture because I was busy petting them myself. The stingrays were so soft. All of them liked the attention and so would swim around and around, popping up at the surface of the water to rub against our hands. I'm pretty sure Mabel squealed eleventy times.

Hayley was most excited about the farm area of the zoo and made fast friends with a goat who followed her around for about a half an hour. It was precious.

The Science Museum of Minnesota was also a great time and reminded me very much of troop #219's trips to the Center of Science and Industry when I was a Brownie. Lots to do and touch and experience. Hayley made electricity and Mabel learned about proximity.

Then in the laboratory, Mabel stained slides and examined them beneath the microscope and Hayley examined the properties of grain.

We also visited the Mall of America and IKEA and the girls swam like fishies in the hotel pool.

The most hilarious part of the trip came on the last night while we were out to eat. Hayley and Mabel went to the bathroom, where Mabel found a basket of complimentary tampons. After Hayley told her what it was, she decided to open one and check it out. Being much more conservative, this mortified Hayley. We could hear laughing from our booth a few feet away and both of them popped out of the bathroom bursting to tell us all about it. Loudly. They teased each other about it for an hour and laughed so loud that the entire restaurant stared at Daddy. Because I was laughing my ass off about it, too. Daughters are fun!

Unfortunately on the night we got home, Daddy found out rather abruptly that he had a kidney stone. After a quick and painful 2am visit to the emergency room, he got to spend the next couple of days being spoiled (ice cream and Netflix binging) and medicated. Lots of essential oils and WATER later, he gave birth to two shiny baby stones. He is a champ! Egads and goodbye.

August 3, 2016


I think everyone will be surprised that I'm writing again this week; I know I am. The hiatus wasn't intentional, truly. But life hit a point of busy we'd never seen before and it made more sense to live and enjoy every morsel of spare time than to spend it blogging. Hopefully I'm back for good because Lord knows, I have a lot to say.

With that, bring it Weddennessday!

So yesterday I got some homemade jerky from a local place that was so delicious, I couldn't stop gnawing on it. Seriously couldn't stop. I ate entirely too much cow and ended up with meat sweats and a stomach ache for a few hours. Yay for protein, but ugh. Not fun. Lesson learned!

The 15 year old's idea of fun is as follows: swimming, eating, playing board games with football buddies (I know, right?!), and Pokemon hunting until the a.m. Three of his friends recently spent the night in our family room and when I went down to wake them before leaving for work in the morning, all I saw were 8 socked feet sticking out of cushions, a dozen empty Gatorade bottles, and it smelled like rancid BO.  One of them was seriously sleeping between the couch and the wall. Guaranteed they had a blast. Ahhhh, teen boys and summer time.

Andrew has taught Bryon how to play PokemonGO and he loves it! Trevor, too. We now leave the house early so that we can stop at a few Poke stops on the way to/from places to stock up on some important balls, we hit up Poke gyms, and I frequently hear, "MOM! Turn left right now! There is a dragonite in the grass!" and "Do a u-turn right here!"  Ummm... okay. If you're curious, the brand new driver in our house is NOT allowed to play PokemonGO whilst driving because I want him to stay alive.

Oh yeah, Trevor can drive. And I am old.

Last week, my amazing friend and stylist (she is my wonder twin and loves the power point presentations I bring with me to each appointment) took my roots back to my natural level 6N. She smudged me down and added low/babylights of 6N throughout and, friends, I feel so much better. Things got a little too beachy there for a mo'.

How is it August already? Really?! I am trying to be a Yes Mom this summer. You want to jump on the trampoline at 7am? Yes. You want to run through the sprinkler for the 11th time today? Yes. You want to color before breakfast? Sure. You want to have 3 football player-sized friends spend the night? Okay. You want leftover pizza for your 8th meal this week? Gross, but sure.  Childhood is brief. It should be full of great memories. 

There is a tiny part of me that is excited for fall. It's my favorite season. Bring on pumpkin errr'thing, scarves, boots, and NO HUMIDITY while watching football. Whoop!

This year, my dad would have been 87. Can we all take a moment to say WOW? I mean, wow. This December will mark 20 years that he's been gone. And every day after that will be one day longer that I've lived without him, than with him here on earth. Looking forward to Heaven!

Hayley has been asking a lot of questions lately about what Heaven will look like. Aunt Mindy gave me a great recommendation for a book by Randy Alcorn called "Heaven For Kids."  Hayley and I have both been reading it. It is superb! It compiles all of the scriptures about Heaven and the New Earth in a way that is easily understood by kids. So proud of Hayley's eagerness to learn more about Heaven and so grateful for resources like this!

Tonight is chicken nachos for dinner! While I do buy gluten free tortilla chips for the kids and B to enjoy, I eat my Mexican in a bowl, Paleo-style. Meat (ground beef, turkey, or chicken pieces), seasoned with cumin, oregano, garlic, S+P, and chili powder, topped with chopped romaine, sliced avocado, fresh tomatoes from our garden, cilantro, plain Greek yogurt, and a sprinkle of cheese. Sauteed zucchini sometimes. I've also been known to add a fried egg on top. So, so good.

This was our first year for a garden. After Bryon got the area prepped and fenced, we picked out starter plants for baby yellow tomatoes, cherry reds, green peppers, cucumbers, and zucchini. In our inexperience, we did not read the recommendations on planting proximity and most of our plants strangled each other. Now we know! It was a rookie mistake, but I did get one enormous zucchini out of it. The tomatoes and peppers though, they are rocking it out next to the trampoline. Each day we send Mabel or Andy out with a bucket to pick the ripe tomatoes. Then they eat half of them on the way back into the house. No better snack, in my opinion.

Little Lola Montez is doing splendidly. She is still the mommy's girl.

Football is coming. His second summer training camp ended last week, so he has about a week of free time left to visit the pool, hunt for Pokemon, and hang out with friends. Football is coming. It will be two-a-days, hell week, training pods and team meetings, offensive and defensive line drills, and daily gym trips. Football is coming. It's his 8th year playing and we are so proud of his dedication and drive. He's a great safety and may play varsity wide receiver this year as well. Be still our hearts. Football is coming. It will be practice until dusk and more protein that he can shake a stick at (the stick is his leg - he's 6'0" and only weighs 127 lbs). Talking with Bryon about plans and plays and college team stats from breakfast to bedtime. We are ready to hit the stands and cheer him on, ready to gear up in our Titan wear. Man, I love being a football mom. FOOTBALL IS COMING!

And Now, For a Message For the Nana...


The kids were able to visit with my mother while back east this summer. She was so happy to squeeze them. I was so happy she could. Such a blessing.

She means everything to each of us - we are so grateful for her love and influence in our lives. I'm so grateful to hear her voice every day. One of these days, I'm going to shove her in a sack and drag her back to Da Plains and keep her in my pocket for daily cuddles.

Happy birthday, Mom. We love you. Hugs and kisses all around.

August 1, 2016

Goodbye, July

The month of crazy is upon us: August.

It's been a lovely summer, and I'm so grateful for everything we've done.

Chris Stapleton in Nebraska. Whoop!

Upcycling a quilt top from Anthropologie!

Lots of this fuzzy boss, right here.

1600 miles of driving.

Girl times.

Enjoying the shade under the new deck in dad's hammock!

Of course, there is our new Lola-bear.

This summer included lots of projects around the house while the kids were back east, including adding a deck and a fence to the house, and painting the interior. Don't let the hubs fool you - I painted. But he totally gets all the credit for the split foyer and ceilings. Oy.

Some of us found unique ways to relax. Yoga poses are big in our home.

There was also a very special visit with Nana Judy...