Thursday, February 4, 2016

Greetings from February!





Hi, all! Look how happy we are that we survived January!  (You know, just to be in the middle of a big old blizzard now.) BUT we aren't letting all this crazy weather get us down. It's Thursday, but I feel like we are still coming off a great weekend. Joe did not have to work THE WHOLE WEEKEND! He took the girls to the gym on Saturday and I was able to get a lot of cleaning done. We ran some errands and had a pizza and movie night, which in my opinion, are the best kinds of nights.  (We watched How to Train Your Dragon 2... I totally cried.) 





On Sunday, we continued errand running (Menards! Wahoo!) Joe did have a lunch meeting and then a gym visit planned, so I took the girls to Wood Lake Nature Center since the weather was gorgeous (40 degrees! Could have worn flip flops). We even "hiked" around outside for a little bit. Cece is a pretty cute wilderness explorer if I do say so myself.


And look who came by all the way from Chicago Sunday night just to bring cheesecake and read some bedtime stories? The girls were so happy to see Grandma.


Since the weekend ended, Cece has been back to school and it's back to business as usual around here. (Grocery shopping, bringing in the car to be fixed AGAIN, and then getting a root canal done today... the glamorous life.) We haven't had a good romp in the snow yet, but I did introduce Rosie to shaving cream while I was desperate to get the dishes done one day and that went over well.


I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before, but Rosie has been aggressively demanding requesting snuggles a lot lately, and I literally always give in. She pronounces it "NUGGLES!" and spreads her blanket on my shoulder so we can properly cozy up. I'm pretty sure my productivity around the house has decreased about 75%. And I don't care, because I love snuggles too.


Lastly, here are some beautiful flowers that Joe and Cece picked up for me last week. They cheer me up every time I look at them!

That's all for now, folks! 
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Friday, January 29, 2016

Dino Day










Here is a good example of my mom brain in action. 

This week, the girls and I made a trip to the Mall of America as I heard their Children's Museum had a new dinosaur exhibit. I thought the girls would really enjoy it and it might even be new blogging material. (It seems like January is my toughest month to come up with creative things to do!) When we got there, I realized that I've totally seen this exhibit before two years ago at the Children's Museum in St. Paul. And blogged about it two years ago, haha. Oh well! Rosie had never seen it and wanted to ride all of the dinosaurs. She also loved  the fake volcano ("LAVA!" she said when she saw it.) I'm really glad this new spot exists at the mall as it is super close to our house. 


Cece insisted on pushing Rosie in her stroller upon our arrival and departure. I just love this picture of her sporting her pink cowgirl boots, poncho, and face paint while Rosie holds her own artwork. Cece's look really makes a statement (as in "My mom lets me do/wear whatever I want!")

Lastly, it needs to be noted that when we got home, Cece tried to wash off her face paint by herself in the bathroom. She came into the living room and scared the daylights out of me because her face was all blue, like Braveheart. Then I laughed, which made her cry and then she uttered "I'm sad when I'm blue!" (Of course, this made me want to laugh even more, but I restrained myself.)  Then we had to take a bath to get it all off as she didn't want Joe to come home and see her blue. So, there's that to remember.

Hope you are staying warm and not feeling blue ; )

Oh, and here is that two-year-old post of us visiting these dinos when I was all super pregnant with Rosie and Cece was just a wee one!

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Snow, Snuggles, and Swimming

Hey, all! It's been a couple weeks since a post, but I'm happy to report that life is good and January is almost over! Is that glass-half-full thinking or what?

Our activities were low-key during the middle of this month. We only got out of our PJs when it was truly necessary. Like when we had to register Cece for kindergarten. Figured we shouldn't show up in our bathrobes.



And I also suited up when  Joe took me on a date recently. We departed from our beloved sushi spot and ate at The Cheesecake Factory. Post dinner, we even caught the movie Daddy's Home.  Although it we had a fun evening, I have no pictures of said date. I was trying really hard not to be that person who takes pictures of their water, breadbasket, appetizer, waitress, etc. Because I usually am that person.









So, yes. It's been cold, but the cuteness and coziness has been strong around these parts. There's been lots of tea-partying, soup-eating, robe-wearing, and snuggling. Can't complain too much!





Then last week Joe had some vacation time. So we packed up and headed to see my family in Chicago for the week. We stopped in Wisconsin Dells on both ends of the trip and the girls didn't mind some January pool time one bit. 


Oh, and they love hotel rooms too. Why are they being so cute??? I look at this pic and I'm like, "I'll have a dozen more of those, thanks!" Like they are donuts or something.


We stayed at my sister's which meant top-notch hospitality and delicious food at all times. 


And we visited Robbyn at the bakery. She really couldn't get away from us.

We also had lots of family and friends visit us while we were there. It was fantastic to see all of your lovely selves at to catch up!


On our last day in town we went to PGN Fun Village with my Mom and sister. The girls experienced their first-ever ball pit. Rosie kept declaring that the whole ball pit was "MINE!" I tried to explain that it wasn't all hers but... Sharing doesn't exactly come naturally to that one, I guess.

I haven't been there  to PGN in years and it's like walking back in time into the 90s, but the girls had fun playing in the indoor park and then also accumulating tickets in the arcade.


"TICKETS!" Rosie would yell as they dispensed. And then she waved them around victoriously. Goofball.


 And I'll end this post with one last pretty picture of winter. I briefly visited Lake Katherine during our trip to take some photos. This is the only one I got on my phone, but it makes me realize that this is how I want to spend winter... by looking at pictures of snow on a screen/ behind a window instead of actually standing in it and freezing my extremities off.

Thanks again to my sister for hosting us last week and to everyone who drove out on a weeknight to come see us. Can't wait to come back in the spring!

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Poncho Pals!


Today, the girls were the epitome of winter fashion and function as we tested out their new ponchos from our favorite new small business Tinley. We ended up getting so many compliments while we were out today that I figured a blog post was necessary in case anyone else wants to get in on this cold weather couture!

 

It was so nice not to deal with "bunchy sleeve" frustration, removing layers once in the car, or juggling extra blankets. Toss over the head and you are good to go! They are super cozy due to the double-lined fleece. Car seat buckles can also be securely fastened underneath the poncho.  For a mama who doesn't have an attached garage, any small thing to make loading kids up in the winter is much appreciated! 


Cece picked out this fabric herself as purple is her favorite color. I think she made a great choice! And to her delight, the ponchos twirl like a big skirt which she is loving.


Thank you again, Kristina, for turning my girls into cozy princesses in plaid! Let me know when you start making adult-sized styles! (Just kidding... sort of.)

Check out ponchos and other awesome products for kiddos here!



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Monday, January 4, 2016

Sledding and Snowmen

Last week may have been the most relaxing week of winter. With Cece out of school, Christmas being over, and no more planned activities we got to finally just relax at home instead of running around and enjoy the snow that had finally fallen.


As you can see, we took the girls sledding a few times and they really enjoyed themselves. (Or if I'm being honest, Rosie had a blast until she toppled out of the sled once. She was fine, just cold and mad.) Cece and I even sledded together a few times and all went well. These experiences also made me realize that I need to do a lot more cardio. Apparently eating lots of Christmas cookies and only thinking about going to the gym does not sufficiently train you for pulling two children uphill in a sled .


Cece has also been my shoveling assistant and snowman sculpting helper. Look at the new cute friend we made!

  
We had one last fun winter activity before Cece had to return to school. Joe spent yesterday afternoon baking and making brownie snowballs with the girls with Olaf decor. This was his idea and specified that this was a Daddy-led project so I didn't have to worry about anything  (which initially made me worry as I think this was a multi-step process and also the first time he had ever baked.) But everything turned out great! Well-done, Joe!



How cute are these little fellas? If you need someone to cater confections at your next event, just contact Joe ; ) Hope your new year is off to a sweet start too!

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Toodles, 2015!

Happy New Year, all! It would have been great to have published my farewell to 2015 post prior to 2016. But... I'm pretty certain no one cares except me. And if you received our Christmas card, you pretty much got the gist of how the last year turned out ; )

2015 proved to be top-notch in many ways. We checked off lots of fun things on our to-do lists, and that's always a good thing. Here are some of the highlights:



 

2015 started off quite shiny and bright for me personally! In January,  I got to model a couple bridal gowns at a wedding fair in St. Paul! I think the only thing better than dress-up as a kid is dress-up as an adult. Yes. Yes. I am right.





In the winter, Cece got the hang of using her new ice skates and Rosie figured out walking and standing, no big deal.



Also, over the winter Joe and I (and the girls) ended up discovering and making lots of trips to Vertical Endeavors. I love that Cece now has a little rock climbing vocabulary and and I love that this has literally made us stronger as a family!







Rosie turned one in March and fortunately figured out the whole smash cake concept right away.



Also in March, Joe and I finally went on our honeymoon! (Only 5 years after the wedding.) We spent a week in Huatulco, Mexico and it was incredible. (Tacos and sunshine everyday, I mean, hello! HEAVEN!)



In April, our spunky Cecelia Ray turned four! We celebrated her birthday Frozen-style in St. Cloud. Robbyn came in for the occasion  made a beautiful Elsa cake for the party. Cece also received a Frozen bike as a gift from her aunts. Not too shabby of a birthday!




During that same time that Robbyn visited, we took her newly-engaged self bridal dress shopping. And we also got tattoos with our brother among other activities. Sister time is THE BEST.


In May, we also ran a 5K with the Olsons and the girls completed a fun run and were awarded with medals and popsicles. I had never run an official 5K before, so I was just feeling proud that I finished!





In June, the girls and I made a trip up to Chicago and got a chance to celebrate my bestie finishing her undergrad!







We spent the Fourth of July at Joe's parents' cabin. As we always should.


In July, Joe and I got to live out some of our American Ninja Warrior dreams and also ran/survived 10.1 muddy miles of the Tough Mudder. (This we trained a tiny bit for, but not really much. We are kind of bad at training.) Even though I clearly remember being extremely sore for days after, we are still hoping to do it this year again!


Cece very excitedly returned to preschool in the fall!




Fall was for weddings! We celebrated my lovely friend Rachel getting married in Minneapolis. Then the girls and I made a trip to Chicago to watch my beautiful cousin Joanne get married as well.

 

In the fall, Joe and I also took a flying trapeze class! I had asked for this as a birthday present and was thrilled when we actually made it happen. This was easily the most exhilarating and terrifying thing we did this year and I highly recommend it to ANYONE who enjoys having fun!


Remember how I said I'm not a runner? I'm not, but I do happen to be plenty crazy. One week before the Monster Dash, my sister-in-law asked if I would be interested in taking her bib. I'm always compelled to take a bucket-list opportunity when it is offered, so I did it. In true Rachel fashion, I did not train at all (not that I could have in a week's time), but I DID complete the half marathon. I'm still extremely proud of myself even if I was extremely slow. 




Post-Monster Dash, we made it to a Halloween party and trick-or-treating with Office Girl and a little monster.



We spent Thanksgiving in St. Cloud and actually managed a family picture of everyone. 



Cece began taking dance classes in November and performed in the Christmas show in December. We were so proud of our little show-stopper!



We had fun in December baking cookies, decorating, visiting Santa, reading Christmas stories, and pretending there was snow outside. 
____

In addition to all those above activities, Joe also bought a new motorcycle and had a blast playing flag football on the weekends in the summer and fall. I continued growing my photography business, finally publishing my own website and taking many pictures of babies, families, and even two weddings last year. I also signed up to be a Jamberry independent consultant, so if you follow me on social media, you were probably spammed by me posting pictures of my nails, What else? We attempted to do The Whole 30 (we may try again this year), We had a month of technological failure (our hard drive crashed and I shattered my phone screen not long after that... so there was a lack of blogging for a little bit there.) And let's be honest, we had a few more sushi dates than I'm willing to admit.

The girls have been wonderful little weirdos and it's been such a joy to watch them grow. There were moments where I was nearly tearing up out of delight. (Like when the hug and kiss each other good night unprompted? I just melt.) And then there were moments when all three of us were crying in the parking lot at Target because, well, being a mom is hard and I'm sure someone was sad because of lost mittens, and someone else was tired... but that's all part of the package. Cece is very much into art projects, dancing, educating us about nutrition, and planning fun dates with her friends. Rosie loves Cece and whatever Cece is doing. She also has expanded her vocabulary big time and can command most things that she wants (SNUGGLES! BLANKET! COOKIE!) 

I have a lot of good feelings about this upcoming year.
That about wraps it up! I hope 2015 treated you well and I hope 2016 treats you even better!

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