During the month of November, our family “grew” a Thankfulness Tree. It was a lot of fun, and it gave us time each day to think of things we were thankful for together. Since I’ll be throwing away all the leaves from the tree, I decided I’ll record the things we were thankful for here for posterity. Markus had to be encouraged not to put “books” on his leaf every day, and Anja had a hard time coming up with ideas besides food. And some of the kids’ ones crack me up.  Daddy has less because he wasn’t always with us at dinner time when we put up our leaves.

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My job
Warm house

Grandpa Mike’s help on our house
“Cooking” with my kids
Hot, healthy food
Snuggles with my kids
Central heat
Mornings at home
Fresh water
Anja and Markus
Daddy’s hard work cleaning the garage
pretty chirping birds

Yummy Owl S’mores
Sweet oranges for yummy snack
Cat picture I colored
Trees (she wrote that herself)
Bananas and fruit
Our old house
Alydia, Sherman, and my other toys
If someone will fix my kitty
Colorful leaves
Pretty birds and yummy fruit bananas
Coloring crayons
Beautiful rainbows
Daddy and Mama

Biggie (his lovey)
Green leaves
Graham crackers
Toy school bus
Mama and Daddy
Fingers (twice!)
M & Ms
Boomer (his fire truck)

Disney on Ice – Treasure Trove, December 8-11

Two years ago, right before Markus was born, Husband and I had the privilege of taking Anja to Disney on Ice Princess Classics.  She was mesmerized, and of course I found myself singing along.  🙂  This year, Disney on Ice is back with Treasure Trove.  Here are some details:

Discover endless riches when Disney On Ice presents Treasure Trove comes to your hometown!  Disney On Ice sets the gold standard with its newest skating spectacular.  Get tangled up in Disney’s 50th animated feature with Rapunzel and Flynn and enter the worlds of your other favorite Disney princesses –Tiana, Cinderella, Jasmine, Ariel, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Mulan and of course, the one who started it all, Snow White.  Ahoy, Mateys!  Set sail with Peter Pan, the always sassy Tinker Bell and the cantankerous Captain Hook and his pirate pals on an adventure beyond Never Land!  Trek the wilds of Africa with Simba, Nala, Pumbaa and Timon as they discover the true meaning of the ‘Circle of Life.’  Tick-Tock!  Tick-Tock!  Don’t be late to a very important date with Alice and the Mad Hatter as they march with the Queen of Hearts’ Army Of Cards.  Be sure to see this show full of memories guaranteed to last a lifetime.

The wonderful folks at Feld Entertainment have sent me a deal for my readers saving you $5/ticket.  This is definitely going to be one of Anja’s Christmas gifts this year.  I’m a huge proponent of gifts of “experience” rather than only physical objects (toys, clothes, etc.).  Memories last so much longer than the latest doll!   Again, the details:


4 tickets for $44 on select show! A total savings of $20!

Discount valid on all weekend evening performances (Friday 7 p.m. / Saturday 7 p.m. / Sunday 5 p.m.) Offer in effect Monday, November 28 @ 10 a.m. through Wednesday, December 7 @ 10 p.m.

Offer Valid toward regularly-priced $16 tickets only, excludes VIP and Front Row Seats. Offer subject to ticket availability. For best seats redeem as soon as possible. Valid on up to 12 discounted tickets. Not to be used in conjunction with any other discounts, premiums or rebates.

To Redeem:

Call 1-800-745-3000 Use code: MOM or online here with code: MOM. (Offer subject to service and handling charges.)


Show Times:
Thursday, Dec. 8 – 7 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 9 – 10 a.m. & 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 10 – 11 a.m., 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 11 – 1 p.m. & 5 p.m.
To discover more about Disney On Ice, go to, or visit them on Facebook and YouTube.


If you plan on going, let me know so I can keep an eye open for you!

Carving Pumpkins

Aw, sad. This is a post from last year that I never completed! So I’ll put up a couple pics of our family pumpkins from this year (soooooooo last month, I realize). Anja wasn’t afraid to scoop the innards of the pumpkin this year (a first!), which made it a lot more fun. Markus was still squeamish, but that’s okay. He’s only one. 🙂

Mine is the cannibal, Husband’s is the spooky drippy mouth guy.

Markus, 22 months

Only 2 months until you turn 2? Slow DOWN, little man! At 22 months, you:

  • Have mastered some tricky (and sometimes hilarious) phrases.  One of your favorites is “Grandpa doo-lat” (Grandpa do that).  Every time you see a truck or type of machine, you say, “Grandpa doo-lat,” indicating that you pretty much think Grandpa can do anything.  So cute.
  • Have the cutest giggle on the planet.  It is most often heard when you have been into something you shouldn’t and are running from one of your parents.
  • Are a climber!  If you can’t climb it, you will figure out a way sooner than later.  Tables, chairs, kitchen cupboards…the way you use your noggin for leverage is humorous.
  • Love to “read” over the reader.  This drives Anja nuts.  We’ll sit together trying to read a book, while you do your own narration, and she wants to hear the real story.  Okay, it sometimes drives me nuts, too.  But you’re expanding your already-large vocabulary all the time, so I guess it’s one way to learn.  We draw the line at praying over the pray-er, though.  Just plain rude.
  • Are attempting to eat spinach, which you haven’t done for the last 6 months or so. You can pick a piece of spinach or tomato out of almost anything and call it like it is.  Ha!
  • Are over your “shy” phase (thankfully).  It is fun to see your bubbly little personality as you attempt to make friends.
  • Can scream with the best of them, but your soft “yesh” is about the cutest thing in the world.
  • Still want a pacifier at night, and until after Christmas (and all the travel and sleeping in strange places), I’m letting you keep it.  Call me soft, but we like to sleep at night.
  • Climbed into the bathtub with all your clothes on last week.  And within 15 minutes of that, you climbed out of your crib for the first time.  Time for a toddler bed!
  • Sing.  “Jesus ah me” (Jesus Loves Me) and “Twinkle twinkle little star” so far.  With decent pitch!  Again with the adorableness.  It kills me.
  • Bonk your head all the time.  I’m surprised you haven’t had a concussion yet.  Yet.
  • Pray the same way Anja does, thanking God for each thing, even if it hasn’t yet happened.  It’s precious, that trust.  Keep it!
  • Still have trouble pronouncing “cracker.”  “Graham cracker” is even worse.  Probably worst of all is “bunny cracker,” because you can pronounce “bunny” perfectly.  Yikes.
  • Are getting good at puzzles.  Daddy said you put together all of them the other night without much help.  Good job!
  • Sleep very well.  Sharing a room with Anja has made you quite impervious to nighttime disturbances, but you still wake and scream multiple times per night on occasion.  We aren’t sure why.  😦
  • Are quite happy to steal and play with your sister’s ponies, princesses, and other tiny toys.  Since you’re getting older, we bought you a fire truck to go with your garbage truck, and now they hang out and do manly things.
  • Have a stellar sense of humor.  Daddy and I were discussing when the point is that funny baby humor turns into dorky little kid humor, and we hope it’s not for a while yet with you, because you make us laugh all the time.
  • Don’t like your sister in your space, mostly because she hurts you 95% of the time.  We pray this gets better over time.  I love it when I find you two quietly playing together, and now I understand why mothers savor those moments!  They are rare.
  • Give the best hugs.  Your head on my shoulder is such a good fit…I hold on too long each time, and you get squirmy.  But I just love you so much!  You’re our goofy, rough-and-tumble, happy little man!

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Every Little Girl

That is, every little girl I know…dreams (or at one time dreamed) of becoming a princess. Anja has not seen Cinderella or The Little Mermaid or Aladdin. What is it that makes her know the story without hearing it? Prince sees beautiful maiden, falls in love, she becomes a princess. Happily ever after.

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Anja’s 4th Birthday

We had an “ice cream social” birthday for Anja. Since I make her a new homemade decoration each year, there is kind of a hodge podge going on, but I think she felt loved just the same.

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One of my ice cream “flavors” popped on the way home. 😦
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The happy b-day girl.
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“Is it my birfday, too?”
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So many special gifts from her loving family.
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And the “pin the cherry on the ice cream” game we forgot to play…so the 4 of us played it later.
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Crummy picture of the balloon surprise she would wake up to the morning of her actual birthday.
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And a photo with each of us on her birthday.
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We love you, Anja!!

A Trip to Door County





We stayed at The Landmark in Egg Harbor. It had great views, and we loved the village.





At a pizza place we visited, they gave the kids pizza dough to play with instead of crayons. Markus was not thrilled; in fact, he wouldn’t touch it. But Anja had a ball!











This was one of our favorite memories of the vacation. We were out on the pier and it started to rain, so we ducked into a little gazebo in a nearby park and sat there for a long time, playing together, watching the lights over the harbor…

I took a bunch of photos at Sweetie Pies, but we didn’t eat there. It was around 11:30 when we arrived (they’d been open for hours), and when I requested 3 slices of pie, the gal working said 2 of the 3 weren’t “ready to cut into yet…come back in an hour.” WHAT? You are a pie place, and you won’t cut your pies until afternoon? I didn’t want to pay $4/slice for day-old pie, so we left. And didn’t return in an hour. And got pie somewhere else. Sherman signed the guest book, though.





We ate custard 3 different places, but this was the tastiest.




Ate at Al Johnson’s, with goats on the roof. Food was okay, atmosphere was fun. I’m a sucker for anything Scandinavian.





Saw this on our drive around the island. Those poor “ladies of the night,” being forced into slave labor for Bea.


These are hard to see, but we made a wrong turn near a park and found this odd little boat of Snoopy dogs made of milk cartons. I made Husband stop so I could take a picture.


I wish we’d had more time to explore it, but this county park, recommended by some friends who’d just been to Door County, was beautiful. Great place to explore. Reminded me of the north shore of Lake Superior, actually. Rugged, fresh, lovely.





We dubbed it a “trip” rather than a vacation (since small children were involved), but you know how the fond memories stick around and the hard times melt away? That’s how it is.

August 2011 Highlights Reel

We found (and continue to find) these stickers everywhere. They entertained Anja for weeks.
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We kept unpacking.
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We made crafts (his front leg used to be longer…).
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I take photos of my kids sleeping all the time. Am I the only one?
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We played. Rosie (the tiny dog in the tractor) was hired to cart around this stroller. 🙂
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We also went on a little vacation and had Anja’s 4th birthday party, which I’ll feature later!

Sherman’s Birthday Party

I don’t think I ever posted Sherman’s party last year (sad!), so I think this year’s party deserves a post of its own. I kept it simple–some paper lanterns, jacks we had lying around, candy from Valentine’s Day and Easter, a pan of GF brownies, and a few odd gifts. But Anja was tickled, as was Sherman, of course. 🙂

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Singing to Sherman, who was clearly embarrassed.
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A disheveled guest.
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Sherman scarfing down some candy.
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Sherman with gifts–a sleeping bag and some bubble wrap from Mama, and a watering can from Markus.
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