Saturday, April 30, 2011

On Easter Sunday

I know its almost been a week now, but I just realized that I had not posted about how our Easter morning and Alan's first Easter egg hunt! They both went so well, but were over-shadowed by the wedding and reception. Nonetheless, they deserve their spot in my blog. I will also add photos as soon as I figure this whole thing out lol (Can you email pictures to your blog?) but for now, bear with me. :)

Sunday morning came to find Lon and I toddler-less (Alan had spent the night at his grandparent's house) but for some reason we still woke up at 8 am lol so I made him a breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast that we ate in bed lol, watching Mystery Science Theather 3000 for an hour or two. For those of you who have never heard of this crazy awesome old show, google it lol. :D Here's a photo of the characters from one of the seasons. Lon and I are just obsessed!





Via


Then we went over to Alan's grandparent's house for Alan's first Easter egg hunt. :) It was made by Grandpa Kevin (We aren't going to tell Alan that the Easter Bunny is real. He is just a story, that's what we'll tell him.) in their backyard.

Alan before the Easter egg hunt

Grandpa Kevin did a great job! Upon first glance, the backyard was spotted with color. Then with a second look, you realized all those spots are eggs! He must've hid like fifty eggs for the three kids lol! He even had "layered" the eggs for height: some on the ground for Alan, some mid-level for Uncle Kalvin, and some up high for tall Miss April. Go Grandpa go!! You rock! :D

Aunt April, Alan and Uncle Kalvin

Alan and I went through it with Aunt April and Uncle Kalvin. Before the hunt, I planned on having to show Alan what to do with his eggs. I imagined him filling his little hands with eggs and then throwing all of them just so he could get more eggs lol. :) However, as soon as I set him on the ground, he was off picking up eggs and putting them into his firetruck basket! I was so proud of my big boy, I just stood back and took photo after photo. The funny thing was, even though Alan and I have practicing the word "egg" all week, he kept calling them "balls." Silly boy. :) He did great altogether though, and found over TEN eggs all by himself!

Aunt Natalie, Grandma Melanie (looking fabulous lol), Me and Alan

Alan spoiled when it came to Easter gifts as well. He got an Hippie Easter Bunny, Thomas the Train egg, and Hippie Easter van from us. My parents got him several Easter Bunny books, a Tonka firehouse playset, Elmo PJs, some toddler appropriate candy :) and an Easter outfit. Great Grandma and Grandpa Kimmel also got Alan the cutest little outfit. And Alan also got a bubble lawn mower from one of his "What to Expect cousins." :)

Then of course, we prepared for the wedding reception at the Village Inn. <3 <3 <3

Looking back on the day as a whole, I am pleased that we were able to fit some family Easter time in before all the choas and fun of the wedding reception. It was nice to wake up early and spend time with my new husband :) and then to go over to my parent's house for some Easter fun! Hope everyone else had as good of a day as we did! Happy Easter holiday everyone!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy Arbor Day and Five Question Friday!!

Wow this week just flew by! I honestly thought it'd be the slowest week ever, after having just had our wedding Saturday, but I'm shocked that its already Friday! Tomorrow's our one week anniversary! Wow! :D This weekend will be good for us, not too busy but with just enough things to do. Tonight after work, Lon and I are going out with my brother Darren and his fiance for her 21st birthday. :) Then Saturday I have three birthday parties to work and afterwards we will go eat dinner with my parents. And Sunday is Family Day, which is always unplanned but wonderful. :) 

Happy Arbor Day everyone! I am displeased to say that my hunt for a place to plant my tree has been unsuccessful, but I am still glad to announce that The Many Adventures of the Modern Hippie Mama blog's tree was planted in Plumas National Forest in Northern California! :) Success! So I can be happy today and just hope that next year we have our own HOUSE to plant a tree by!

Congratulations to William and Kate! I did not watch the wedding, but googled her dress before work (and you thought I wasn't into it lol, but they got married in April too!) and man, was she gorgeous! I wish them nothing but happiness and children. :)






Via


Even William looks good! Wow lol, I always thought he was the goofy looking son lol. :)





Via


And speaking of weddings, for those super anxious readers wanting to see my wedding photos, I have an announcement from my photographer! He has so many photos to edit from the wedding and he wants them all to be perfect, so he will have them out by Monday at the latest! :D Ooooh so excited!!!! I will post them on here asap for everyone!

Okay, okay, now onto Five Question Friday!!















If you could buy any car, money not an option, what would it be?
A 2011 Cadillac Escalade. Hands down. :) In black of course.













Via


Super sexy car!! Ooooh I love it! And all the space! For my future eight kids (that's plus Alan), lmao! Perfect! :D













Via



Just joking Lon, please don't have a heart attack. I only want another two... Or three. Or until I get my baby girl lol. :P Loooooooooove you!

What was your worst first date ever?
Hmmmmm... I'd have to say the time my second cousin set me up with this gross hick redneck guy who was missing most of his teeth. Ick. We went to Target and then McDonalds. Classy. :) Don't worry, I ditched the dweeb after McDonalds. Sick. Thanks Andrew, I love you.

How old were you when you fell in love for the first time?
Sweet sixteen... :) But the guy was a jerk and I fell for him HARD. We were engaged and he's Rosalie's father (Read about that here). But he was a bad person and we had an unhealthy emotionally abusive relationship, so good riddance I say! :D


When was the last time you reconciled your checkbook?
Reconciled? Lol you mean balanced? Not in ages. :)











Via


When I first got my checkbook (back in 2007 lol), I was known to balance it right after I purchased something. I know, total geek right? But nowadays, I don't ever balance it. If I use my checking account, its to pay bills and I know how much money I have perviously put in. So that normally works out for us. Keyword being normally lol.


If you were going to fashion a "Wanted" Ad for a best friend, how would you word it?
I don't need to fashion a Wanted Ad for a best friend, I already have one. Her name is Miss Jenelle Mehling, and I love her. :) She is the perfect best friend for me too. We've known each other for almost four years now. She was my Maid of Honor even in my wedding.

Here is a pic of that beautiful girl that I love so much. <3




But of course, for the sake of 5QF, I will play along lol.

Wanted: Best friend for life. Any age, male or female. Must support me and be there for me always, and I will return the favor. Must make me laugh and laugh at my jokes, even if they're not always funny. Must love me unconditionally, as I will feel the same about you. Someone to jabber with, someone to dork around with, someone to stay up late talking with. Should like to cook and eat food, because that will be done quite often. Should also probably know how to sing and play air guitar or dance, because we will be doing a lot of that as well. :) Mostly, just be yourself and open your heart to me. I will love you as my best friend always. <3

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!! Peace and love!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Toddler Talk Thursdays!! April 28, 2011

Still not feeling my best, but I'm still planning on going to work today. Blah. Wish I could take off a few days to recover like Alan did, but I'm the mama so I can't.  :P Anyways, today I'm again running around getting my name legally changed to Andersen. But I'm gonna start this blog hop from Crazy about my Baybah, Family and Life in Las Vegas and Sippy Cup Mom today. Its called Toddler Talk Thursdays! :D Enjoy!



Crazy About My Baybah


This week's topic: 
What's your toddler's bedtime routine?

We start Alan's bedtime routine at 8 pm, when we usually get home from work. If its Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday night then we give him a half hour bath. If its Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday then we watch Yo Gabba Gabba and we color. After that, I read him several books and we snuggle in my bed. Then we brush his teeth, go on the "NightNight Train" to his bedroom. The "NightNight Train" is a favorite with my boy lol. Its a spin-off on the PBS show the Dinosaur Train, only we go around and say goodnight to pictures in our house. Alan has recently started singing the "NightNight Train Song" with us too. :) It goes something like this:

"Going on the NightNight Train. Chugg chugg, choo choo. We all love the NightNight Train. Chugga chugga chugga, choo choo choo."

You sing those four sentences over and over lol, and then you have it!! I know, classic right? That's one you will definitely be singing in the shower tomorrow, lmao! :P After the NightNight Train, I rock him to sleep. Lol yes I still rock my baby to sleep, but lately I have been putting him down earlier and earlier so that he gets used to putting himself to sleep. But I just can't get over snuggling with him and rocking him to sleep, feeling that blessed moment when he finally falls asleep and his little body rests more comfortably into my body. <3 I'm sure I'll be able to give up rocking him to sleep when he's two... Or when he gets his toddler bed lol. :)

Idea for next week's topic:
What types of arts and crafts do you participate in with your toddler?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I've caught the dreaded disease, the horrid plaugue!

Okay so I may be exaggerating a little, but not much... :)

Just last night, I started feeling a little queasy. I thought it was just because we ate dinner late but sure enough, I vomited this morning. Three times. Uggggh!

Thankfully, I was sent home from work because we were slow enough for three people to close. And my mother brought me some Powerade and soup from Subway for us for dinner. I'm so glad I have people who help me when I'm sick, even now that I'm an adult. :) Thanks guys!

I'd like to give you a visual idea of me blogging right now- I'm laying in my bed, propped up by pillows and blankets, wrapped up in my comforter. With my Powerade, veggie soup, a trash can, latest book I'm reading, tv changer in case I want to watch something and cell phone right by my side. My toddler is not far away. He sits in between my legs with his sipper, toy car, Lego Batman, a Elmo book, his pretend tv changer and his pretend cell phone all in his lap. Alan keeps pointing at the screen and telling me different things, I assume he's helping me edit lol. :) We are quite the sight though.

I'm gonna call this good and go back to sleep. My stomach has finally stopped trying to double knot itself, and I think I can get the little man to go down with me. Wish me luck, and I'll see you all tomorrow. :D

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Honeymoon Plans and Art Class

For any of you who don't know (if there is anyone lol), Lon and I were married last Saturday, April 23. :) It was a beautiful event, and though I have yet to post pictures of it yet, you can read about it here and here. We cannot wait to go on our honeymoon, but unfortunately we will have to wait until June when my mother is out of school (she's a first grade teacher) and can babysit Alan for a weekend. We still are super excited to go and are grateful for the extra time to save more money! :)











Via


Lol, sorry I just love Precious Moments! I had to put one on here, especially for the wedding! :) But I digress... We have finally decided on a place to have our honeymoon, and I'd love to share the exciting details with you!

We plan on leaving Saturday morning (Toddler free! Wahoo!!) and going to Chico Hot Springs Resort, by Livingston Montana. There we will participate in such activities as outdoor pilates, horseback riding, massage therapy, hiking, hot springs and swimming. And we will be renting the Honeymoon cottage for the night! Oh how romantic! :) Here are some pics of it!









Via








Via


Ooh cozy!! :D Then on Sunday after checkout, we will take the three hour drive to Yellowstone National Park for the afternoon. We will go view Old Faithful, Fairy Falls, the Paint Pots and other beautiful spots. We'll take the back way home, through Cook City and the switchbacks to Red Lodge, where we will have a late dinner together. Here is a beautiful photo of Fairy Falls, one of my favorite places in the Yellowstone National Park. :)







Via


I cannot wait until June comes, we will have such a great time! Chico Hot Springs or Bust! :P

In other news...

Art class was great today. All of my students were present and excited for the art show. Alan and Lon had helped me set up the show before class and everyone loved how creatively we did it (even though we ran out of tape). We made Spring Collages, Pipe Cleaner and PomPom Birdies, and drew an Easter Day Drawing. The majority of Alan's collage was of off-road vehicles and ATVs lol (He sure is his grandfather's grandson lol). But Alan helped Lon glue with the gluestick! Lon also helped make Alan's bird very artistic and colorful. Alan added his own abstract marker drawing on the picture, and togehter they glued the PomPoms on. :) Then Alan was able to do his favorite thing, draw with a pencil. His abstract version of the wedding and his Sunday morning Easter egg hunt (which I have yet to blog about) was quite interesting, especially when he added color. But I think you can make out the three of us and some Easter eggs. :) Good job lol!

Lon is still advancing on his hand invention. He has added bike cords to it, to help move the fingers more automatically. It keeps developing into something different (probably because of his ADHD lol) and now its become a grip enhancing glove. Its still nonetheless impressive. He showed me several laced up his arm in his glove the other day and wow! He needs to improve a few slight things, patent that, and start creating some cool stuff! He could make a serious new invention that would be quite beneficial to the common working man. :) Go hubby go!

No Top Two Tuesday today, though I'm not sure why. Most likely Easter. :) I will update soon and possibly have a late T2T post! Who knows! Good night! :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

This weekend was complete bliss! Thanks to everyone!

Ooh everything went so well this weekend! We had our private wedding (only parents and grandparents were invited) Saturday afternoon at the Veteran's Memorial Park next to the courthouse. We were married by Judge Herenadez, who was just hilarious! :) Then yesterday, we had our wedding reception at the Village Inn. Both events were just wonderful, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. And for those of you readers on the edge of your seats wondering if Lon got to a tux store on time or just went in jeans... He did! And man did he look dashing! <3

There are so many people I am thankful for, who pulled through for us and helped make this wedding perfect! I'd like to first thank my parents and Lon's parents, for all the assistance and support they gave us. My Maid of Honor, Jenelle, for making our wedding cakes, doing my hair for the wedding, planning my Bachelorette party and helping with reception decorations. She did such a beautiful job on the cakes and my hair. I totally appreciate her helping us plan and purchase our decorations too. I'd also like to thank my three other bridesmaids, for helping me with anything and everything I asked you to do. :) You girls surely are great! Lon's best man Darren was so awesome to us too. He planned Lon's Bachelor party and wrote a hilarious speech. Lon's two brothers were great help too. Chase played waiter at the reception and made the delicious pizzas. And Cameron helped clean up the mess afters lol.

I'd like to also thank Jeff Bryson, who did our wedding photography and did an amazing job! I love the ones you've produced so far and I can't wait to see the rest of them! And Dixine at Gainan's for my gorgeous flowers and bouquets! That yellow was so pretty with all the purple! I'd like to thank Larissa and the other girls at David's Bridal, for helping me pick the perfect dress, veil and shoes! And finally Nikki at Ritual's Spa and Salon for doing my manicure and pedicure for the wedding. She did a great job, was very understanding when I messed up one of her nails on accident and it was all very relaxing!

I had such a grand time and am so glad that everyone else did as well. Thanks to everyone who came and celebrated with us! We appreciate you sharing our love with us! And thank you for all the wonderful gifts. :) You guys spoiled us!

I hope that I can get these photos up here asap, I will dedicate an entire post just to them! Lol, have a good night everyone! No Meet Me on Monday today, but I'll see you tomorrow for Top Two Tuesday. Peace!

Motivational Mondays!! April 25, 2011



I will take another set of mantras from the Dhammapadda today. This is particularly one of my favorites, as it uses an elephant as a metaphor of the self. I hope you enjoy it! Happy Monday!


The Elephant

I will endure abusive words like the elephant in battle endures the arrow shot from the bow; for many people are ill-behaved. The lead a tamed elephant into battle, a king mounts a tamed elephant; the tamed one is the best of human beings, the one who endures abusive words. Excellent are mules that are tamed, horses of good breed, and the mighty bull elephant; even better is one whose self is tamed. For it is not by these vehicles that one may go to the place of inaccessibility, where the tamed one goes, with self mastery, by virtue of being tamed.

The elephant called Guardian of Treasure is hard to control when in rut. It does not eat any food when bound; the elephant longs for the elephant grove. The foll who becomes a sluggard and a glutton, tossing and turning in sleep, like a fat fodder-fed hog, enter the womb again and again. This mind used to roam about where it wished, where it wanted, where it pleased; now I will control it judiciously, as the holder of the hook controls an elephant in rut. Take pleasure in vigilance, guard your own mind; extricate yourself from the way to misery, as you would an elephant sunk in the mud.

If you find a prudent companion, a wise associate who leads a good life, having overcome all troubles, travel with that one, uplifted and aware. If you do not find a prudent companion, a wise associate leading a good life, then travel alone, like a king abandoning a domain he has conquered, like an elephant roaming the forest. It is better to walk along; there is no companionship with a fool. Walk alone, like an elephant in the forest, with few desires, doing no evil. Companionship is pleasant when a need arises; satisfaction is pleasant when it is mutual. Virtue is pleasant at the end of life; pleasant is relinquishment of all misery.

Pleasant is motherliness in the world, and fatherliness is pleasant. Pleasant is religiousness in the world, and priestliness is pleasant. Pleasant is morality that lasts to old age; pleasant is faith well-founded. Pleasant is attainment of insight; pleasant is avoidance of evil.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Wedding Details...

I don't have a lot to post but I'm too excited and can't sleep lol, but I will just make this short and sweet. I figured it'd be fun for me to post about all the little fun details and traditions that we will be doing at the wedding and reception. :)

We will be getting married at the courthouse, which may seem old fashioned or plain to some. However, there are several reasons why we are doing this. We do not belong to a church or organized religion, so having our non-religious wedding in a church seems somewhat disrespectful to us. That leaves us with other indoor venues and outdoor venues. I'm not an indoor wedding venue type of person, especially since I am getting married the end of April. I had a few outdoor venues in mind (Fairy Falls in Yellowstone National Park, The Rimrocks) but I have six very important people that need to be present at my wedding, my grandparents, and several of them would not be able to transverse the terrain of said outdoor venues. Thus the courthouse is perfect. The final reason is because my parents were married at the town's couthouse, as were my grandparents, as were my great grandparents. Wow what a legacy. We'd love to carry that on with our wedding. :) I did treat myself a little bit though, and if the weather is nice we're having the wedding outside in the vetran's park (they have a ceremony are set up). So its a win-win!

Our wedding colors are purple and gold. Oooooh so royal lol. :P Nah, just our favorite colors. The flowers for the wedding are yellow calla lilies and red roses. My bouquet is a gorgeous draping yellow calla lilies and bear grass bouquet. Sooooo perfect! The bridesmaids will also be carrying calla lilies and the flower girls will be throwing red rose petals.

The Wedding Party:
Maid of Honor: Jenelle Mehling
Best Man: Darren McCandless

Bridesmaids:
Natalie Kimmel
Rachael Dabel
Kari Stringfield

Groomsmen:
Cameron Andersen
Tyler Andersen
Chase Andersen

Flower Girls:
April Kimmel
Ariel Andersen

Ring Bearers:
Kalvin Kimmel
Alan Andersen

My somethings:
Old: The sparrow broach on the bow around my waist, from Lon's grandmother (its over 75 years old!)

New: Dress, Veil

Borrowed: My mother's wedding ring <3 <3 <3 <3 My father gave her a anniversary ring and she wears that now. I'm so honored to wear the ring my father gave my mother on their wedding day <3 <3 <3 <3

Blue: Shoes


Our Song: "Wonderwall" by Oasis


My Daddy and Me Song: "Butterfly Kisses" by Bob Carlilse


I cannot wait to get on here next time as Mrs. Andersen! I will post photos of the wedding as soon as I can! I love you all so much! <3

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day, 5QF, and the wedding is tomorrow!!

I simply cannot believe that tomorrow at three, Lon and I will be getting married! This just blows my mind, and I've think I've finally figured out why. :) When I first met Lon's older brother my first (and only so far lol) year of college I would I never thought that three years later I'd be getting married and have a toddler! And definitely not to Lon! :) Lol I was seeing someone else at that time and was still young and wild, I didn't think I'd settle down and have kids for another five or ten years! I was a free spirit to be reckoned with back then. :) But Lon tamed me lmao (We both did some taming) and now I'm just another boring mama who turns in a ten pm lol. I wouldn't have my life any other way though! I love my boys to the sun and back!



Lon I can't wait to marry you! <3





Via




Ooh today is so busy for me! Happy Earth Day too everyone! We will be doing lots of running around today because we have my mani/pedi, a playdate at Riverfront Park, my bouquet viewing, Earth Day at Zoo Montana, Lon's last minute tux pieces shopping, work, and the decoration making with Jenelle! I will be so exhausted after tonight, I will sleep like a baby even though I'm so excited for the wedding. :)







What is your favorite Easter tradition?
Easter egg hunts. I love setting up for them and then watching the excitement in each child as they search for eggs. They are so much fun! :)






Via




We are hoping to take time away from the wedding Saturday morning and take Alan to his first Easter egg hunt! Last year we just went with Grandma Melanie, Aunt April and Uncle Kalvin to watch, and the weather was no good so little 7 month old Alan had to stay inside. But this year, we are taking him and he can participate! Ooh he'll be so excited! :) Lets just hope he doesn't get distracted by all the other children and forget to grab eggs lol.



Are you a "shower" or a "long, hot bath" kind of person?
I am 100% a "Jump in and out the shower, hoping it works just like a carwash" type of person.
:D Lmao! I hate bathing and how tedious it is (I'm a hippie remember lol?) and showering isn't much better. This only increased when I had Alan, and spent a year as a SAHM with the Cling Miester. :) The only time I would get away from him, to shower or even pee somedays lol, would be when he was napping. And I was super paranoid mama back then, so I never liked being out of earshot of him even if he was asleep. So I'd jump in, lather up my whole body at once, and rinse. And done! Tada! :D



Can you parallel park and if so when is the last time you did it?
Yeah I can parallel park, can't most people? I mean, its on the driving test? :) And I don't necessarily remember the last time I did it, but I know that tonight I should have. I went to my parent's to pick Alan up (They watch him from 6-8 every night while I'm at work) and the only "available" spot was right in front of their driveway. So instead of parallel parking like I should have, I just drove in forward and scraped into the side of my dad's company truck, fml. Thankfully it didn't do really any damage to either vehicle, but the same can not be said about my pride lol. :)



What is your favorite Easter candy?
Reese's eggs! Yum they are so delicious, that's all I ever get from my family for Easter lol.






Via




Easter: do you go all out with the Easter Bunny or focus on the religious part of the holiday?
Haha I literally just wrote about this nine days ago. :) You can read about it here. In short, we go all out with the Easter Bunny. But another thing we do differently than most parents, we do not tell our son that the Easter Bunny (or Santa Claus for that matter) is real. We tell him its a fun story that helps us celebrate the holiday. :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Probiotics and toddlers

Ever since Monday when Alan's doctor diagnosed him with the stomach flu, I have been researching her recommended remedy of probiotics. I have discovered that not only are they not harmful to a toddler, but they have been around him since birth.

By the way, here is what she recommended for him. He has had two doses of it so far. :)




(This photo thanks to http://www.pronto.com)

Toddlers that were vaginally born and/or that are breast fed have a higher amount of probiotics already in their system then toddlers that were delivered via C-section and/or formula fed. Alan was both vaginally born and breast fed for almost eight months. When a baby starts eating solids, the bacteria begin to increase.





(This photo thanks to http://www.findmeacure.com)

However sometimes when toddlers are prescribed antibiotics, it decreases the amount of probiotic bacteria in their systems. Overall, a toddler's digestive system is still developing, and probiotics can help keep everything healthy and more immune during the process. Introducing probiotics to toddlers (even if they're not sick like Alan), will help prevent and treat diarrhea. The bacteria can also help with lactose intolerance. It breaks down the milk sugars which makes it easier for them to digest.

I will continue to give Alan probiotics after he's recovered from his stomach flu, but only once a week most likely. The bottles are around $25! We will try to experiment with yogurt based probiotics after he feels better, because he barely tolerates yogurt anyways. We will see how that one goes lol. :)

A big thanks to Gerber, Parents, eHow, and 1stProbiotics for all the information I learned.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What springtime means to me...

Alan's doing better today. I know I keep saying that every morning and then posting twelve hours later saying he's regressed, but I'm hopeful today. He's on Step 4 this morning, and only had two bad blow outs last night. He hasn't gotten sick since two yesterday and should hopefully be able to go to daycare this afternoon. We hoping that he's finally in the clear and will not regress anymore. I really want him feeling good the day before the wedding so that he can enjoy this weekend as well! :) The only thing I'm nervous about still keeping him hydrated and then his probiotic dosage. That's what made him vomit last time, so we are planning to try a different way of getting it in him.

Oh my gosh, the wedding is in THREE DAYS!!! That's so close, I'm starting to panic a little lol. Everythings planned and paid for, except Lon's vest and button up shirt. We had to use the money for that to buy medicine and diapers when Alan first got sick. And now we have to wait until Friday *gulps* when I get paid, to get him his outfit. I hope we are able to and nothing goes wrong lol! We're cutting it waaaaaaaaaay close. :)

And now, I want to try this thing I call What Springtime Means to Me... Lol I know it sounds like a fourth grade essay, but it is something I'd like to do for all of the seasons. So here you are, and enjoy! :D

What Springtime Means to Me...

Springtime is birds chirping and the sunshine outside my window waking me up in the morning.

Springtime is trips to Riverfront Park to feed and chase the ducks and geese.

Springtime is walking everywhere and recycling for Earth Day.

Springtime is dying Easter eggs with Aunt April and Uncle Kalvin, Easter egg hunts with the family and pictures with the Easter Bunny.

 Springtime is going to the Shrine circus to see all the acrobats, clowns, jugglers, tigers and elephants.

Springtime is jumping and playing in the rain puddles after a rain shower.

Springtime is creative colorful chalk drawings up and down the driveway and sidewalk.

Springtime is the beginning of Grandpa Kevin's famous outdoor barbeques. Yum!

Springtime is being OUTSIDE in the sunshine!!! :D

Springtime is celebrating my siblings' birthdays (April 8, May 4, May 5) in each their own individual ways.

Springtime is going to Dos Mochos on Cinco de Mayo to celebrate Mexico and Aunt Natalie's birthday.

Springtime is going to all of Aunt April's dance competitions and cheering her on from backstage, with my toddler on my hip.

Springtime is for breaking out the light coats, skirts, shorts and flip flops and is also for wearing them defiantly sometimes even when the weather isn't nice enough. :)

Springtime is morning walks around the neighborhood with the family, exploring and talking as we go.

Springtime is drinking Rasberry Ice and eating strawberries on the porch.

Springtime is getting down and dirty while planting trees for Mother Earth on Arbor Day.

Springtime is spring cleaning your house and your mental state.

Springtime is still going outside to play, even if its raining. You just bring your boots and umbrella of course. :)

Springtime is celebrating playing in the dirt and mud, because its the first time of the year the ground isn't covered with snow.

Springtime is green trees, green grass and flowers!

Springtime is horseback riding and helping feed animals on Great Grandpa Gordon's ranch.

Springtime is experiencing the beauty of live animal birth and helping with it, if you're old enough to. :)

Springtime is the beginning of nightly meditation trips to the Rims during sunset. Its the most peaceful and beautiful time to meditate.

Springtime is camping in Nye by the river for Labor Day weekend.

Springtime is preparing for summer and all the wonderful things that come with it.

What does springtime mean to you???

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Back to Square, er Step One...

Alan threw up three times today. Once around 9 after breakfast of banana yogurt, again around noon after he had some chicken broth watered down (probably not my best idea), and the third time around 2 after my husband insisted on giving him a dosage of the probiotics (we think this time was only because he was force gagging himself on the grittiness). Surprisingly, he did keep the probiotics down. We were lucky there. :) Alan is currently (even though he's in bed now) on Step 3, and when he awakes he will be back on Step 4.

Our biggest concern with this right now is dehydration. With the combination of explosive diarrhea (Sounds terrible, but that's the best description I have. He will fill a whole dry diaper in one sitting) and persistant vomit, a toddler can easily become hydrated and end up in the ER. Alan's doctor reminded us of this at our visit, and I would like to avoid this at all costs. We are following this diet to a "T" and even when he is allowed to drink as he pleases (Steps 3, 4 and 5) I am always offering him his drink. Alan has never personally been hospitalized for dehydration, but I was when I was pregnant with him, sometime around the second trimester. I know all too well what involves "rehydrating" a person and the hour to two hour long process it is. I would not like Alan to go through that, no thanks.

His appetite is improving, slowly but surely. His sleep pattern has luckily not been affected at all, he continues to go to bed and rise at consistant times. His naps have increased from one hour to 2-4 hours a day. But then again, he's healing. :) His demeanor has improved as well, he seems to be gaining a little more of himself back. Today we finished most of his "homework" from art class. We worked on his Easter egg and his Easter card. Now he only has to do his Monet watercolor painting sometime tomorrow or Thursday. Alan is still really into just laying down and snuggling, which is okay with this mama. This morning we watched Seasame Street, Sid the Science Kid, Jungle Junction and Chugginton together in bed. It was great. :) He even snuggled nicely while I did Top Two Tuesday. :) Good little boy!

Hopefully this will all be gone by Friday. Crossing my fingers he'll be better for the wedding! :)

In other news...

I totally spaced mentioning this earlier today. Last night it snowed! Like quite a bit too, but it was weird because the snow was heavy so by noon it was all melting onto the ground. It was crazy to look out the window this morning and see the HUGE snowflakes falling to the ground! And somewhat off-putting and upsetting, I'll be honest. But I was relieved when I saw it start to melt. Now there's only random chunks of partially melted snow in different places on the ground. But no snow in the trees and none on the ground. :) Gotta love Aprils in Montana!

Top Two Tuesday!! April 19, 2011

Alan is doing tons better this morning, and only had one diarrhea blow out last night. He has two and a half hours left of his liquid diet, and he's no longer contagious after noon today. Unfortunately, that means that he will not be able to go to art class today. :\ But I'm just going to prepare him some "homework" so that he still gets his art projects for that week done. And I'm just thankful last night went billions of times better than Sunday night and that he's doing so much better today. He's starting to act like himself again, which makes me smile. :) Hopefully, he'll be able to go back to daycare by tomorrow. :)

And now, for Top Two Tuesday!!



Top Two Things I Collect!!

#1 Elephant figurines




(This photo thanks to http://www.dinodirect.com)

I am obsessed, I mean obsessed with elephants lol, and I have been most of my life. I think they are beautiful, brilliant, elegant creatures. <3 I have been collecting elephant figurines as long as I can remember and have over 30 different figurines and maybe 20 different stuffed animals that are elephants. :) About half of the collection is displayed in my living room, on top of the entertainment center, and the rest is in storage. I once almost bought a 3 foot tall bronze elephant that was so darling, but it was going on $700 so I decided not to lol. :) My most expensive elephant would probably have to be my 12x12 wooden relief carving of an elephant carrying a trunk through the forest. It was probably $145.




(This photo thanks to http://www.wholesalecentralnet.com)

Did you know that elephant figurines are a symbol of happiness and prosperity? Oftentimes they will be given away as gifts to bring the receiver good luck. The trunk needs to be high and the more elephants the better, according to lore. I never knew this until just know lol. Too cool! :) I love them so much, I have to put one more on here! :)




(This photo thanks to http://www.superiormartialarts.com)

#2 Books and Movies

I know its two things, but I consider them to both be in the category of multimedia. Hey just be glad I didn't do CDs too lol! :P





(This photo thanks to http://www.worldhum.com)

I love to read just about as much as I love elephants. Watching movies is a close second. I have started this habit of just buying every book I read or every movie I watch, instead of just renting. Oops! Lol so now my book collection is at 110+ and our movie collection is in the 200s. We have quite the collection of each too- from romances, to horror, to action, to comedy, to dramas, to Broadways, to anime, to children's movies. You name it, we've probably got it in either VHS or DVD. And with books, I have everything from Harry Potter to Walden 2 to Into the Wild to The Amityville Horror to Catcher in the Rye to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to Plato's Republic.





(This photo thanks to http://www.listal.com)

My most recent book added to my collection was my Water for Elephants book. Our most recent movie added to our collection was Tron: Legacy for Lon and Battle for Terra for Alan.




(This photo thanks to http://www.movieposter.com)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Alan's Doctor Appointment and His 24 Hour Liquid Food Diet

I took Alan to the Billings Clinic Pediatrics West this morning and after getting a check up from the new med student (He called Alan "Jaden" and me "Taylor" lol. Oops!) and then Alan's regular doctor too, it was confirmed that he has... The stomach flu bug. Oh joy. My poor baby boy! :( He has been put on a 24 hour liquid diet and when he recovers from the vomiting we are to give him probiotics for two weeks. He is currently contagious until he stops vomiting for 24 hours.The liquid diet flow chart she gave me goes something like this:

Step 1: 5 milliliters clear fluid every 5 minutes for an hour
Step 2: 10 milliliters clear fluid every 5 minutes for an hour
Step 3: Clear fluid for twelve hours
Step 4: Any fluid or soft food (Jello) for twelve hours
Step 5: Any food with probiotics once a day for two weeks

Everytime Alan vomits, I go back to step one.

*Sigh* This is tedious. As of right now, Alan is on Step 3 and will no longer be contagious tomorrow at 12:20 pm. I was able to get most of my shift off today, until my mother could watch him at six, but I don't want him to get sick and have my mom have to go through all the steps. She's busy enough dealing with schoolwork and April and Kalvin with Alan every night, I don't want her to have to do the 5 minute oral syringe feedings. If he regresses back to Step 1 while at Grandma's, I will just leave work early and take him home. Those feedings are hard, but necessary with all the vomiting and diarrhea that he's doing. I don't want him dehydrated. That would result in a trip to the hospital and a even more anxious mama. :\

I am grateful its not something more serious, but this is a hard diet to have a toddler follow. He currently is feeling a *tiny* bit better (I know its short lived) and has noticed the emptiness in his tummy. He keeps asking for all the food he knows how to ask for and asking to eat. We made him some jello but he only picks at it. Its all very frustrating and upsetting for him, and I just want him to be happy. So here he sits, on my lap with three of his stuffed animals, a book and his sipper while I *attempt* to type this post around him lol. :) Oh motherhood! Gotta love it! I'll keep everyone updated on how the little man fares tonight, but for now I'll see everyone tomorrow for Top Two Tuesday!

Meet Me on Monday!! April 18, 2011

My poor son is super sick. :( He's gone from bad to worse over the weekend. I'm starting to think that the diarrhea isn't from teething molars, as it usually is, and that its another symptom to whatever he has. His doctor appointment is at 11, I'll keep everyone updated. I just hope its not something contagious, or I will have to get the night off of work. I'll also be sure to post his weight and height.

But for now, here's Meet Me on Monday!!





Caesar Salad or Garden Salad?
Totally gonna say Garden Salad because Caesar Dressing just grosses me out. I can't do Caesar Salads, I haven't been able to since I was pregnant with Alan. There's no going wrong with a Garden Salad, I love just about all vegetables. Throw the whole garden on my salads lol, just no bugs and dirt please. :)

Will you be watching the Royal Wedding on April 29th?
???? Clearly I won't because I have no clue what royal wedding... Oh wait, is one of Princess Di's kids getting married? Charles or William? I live under a rock when it comes to things like that, so you'll have to forgive me.

Okay, okay, I went and googled it lol. So Prince William is finally marrying Catherine? Good. Don't think I'll watch it though, I'm not really that into things such as that. Don't like watching weddings (or funerals for that matter, MJ's was so BS!) on national television. So unpersonal...

Last thing you spent lots of money on?
My wedding lol. Specifically my wedding dress. It is less than most people spend on their dress (my whole wedding is lol!) but I still feel somewhat guilty for getting it. :) But look at this beauty!




(This photo thanks to http://www.recycledbride.com)

That top strap will be a dark purple and I have a purple ribbon that ties around the waist, otherwise its the same. But I totally think its a beauty. :) Can't wait until Saturday!!

Window seat or aisle seat?
Window seat all the way. I hate getting bumped around being on the aisle seat, and my favorite thing to do during trips is look out the window. Though I have been known to be unusually nice and give up my seat for a first time flier or a child. There's not another experience like looking out an airplane window while flying.

Do you know your blood type?
I used to, but is it horrible that I don't remember??? Lol I knew it when I was pregnant with Alan, but since then I have forgotten. I think I'm like B+ or AB+ but I don't remember. :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

All I have to say, is it better not be raining on my wedding day! Lol.

It rained all day today in Billings. Off and on all morning, all afternoon, and all night.

Blah.

We were planning on doing part of my Bridal Shower outside. That clearly wasn't in Mother Nature's plans for us. :)

And on top of all of that, Alan's sick with hopefully just a cold (going in to doctor tomorrow to double check) and has been teething his remaining molars (OUCH!) so he has been horribly out of sorts and not himself this weekend. :( He's been having pure liquid bowel movements (Not TMI, its for health reasons lol!) and has been throwing up anything even slightly irritating to him. That along with a wet cough and runny nose, and my boy is not a happy camper. :( He even threw up in the car today. Let me tell you, that's so NOT fun.

Despite the rain and Alan's sickies, I still had a great day with my son and the rest of my loved ones. The Bridal Shower was a blast! We had taco soup and fruit for lunch and brownies for dessert. Then we played four wild games- Toilet Paper Dresses, Purse Scavenger Hunt, Couple Trivia, and He Who Must Not Be Named (has nothing to do with Harry Potter either lol).

The Toilet Paper Dresses game was absolutely crazy fun lol! There were four teams with four beautiful "brides" dressed in their toilet paper gowns for my Grandma Carol, Kalvin, my mom and I to judge. The teams weren't given a specific time limit and we let them use tape (We had littler ones who participated, so we made it easier for everyone). But the results were incredible! April and one of my bridesmaids created this beautiful (for toilet paper lol) dress with "pickups" in it and even a veil! My girls from work collaborated and made a halter dress with the cardboard roll made into a bow lol. Classic. :) My aunt and her daughter designed a strapless dress with a cute bow on the front. And my two youngest cousins made a pretty peasant type dress with wide straps that I loved! They ended up winning. :) I have to get pictures of these up on here though, they were sooooo much fun and so stinking silly! We were all total dorks.

The Purse Scavenger Hunt was pretty wild and funny too. The beginning of my list was common things such as wallet, cash, checkbook, cellphone, etc. But the last fifteen were wild things like diapers, socks, children's/infant's Tylenol, screwdriver, CDs, and GPS.  Aunt Rachael ended up winning, but only because she has baby Connor I think. :P

They Couple Trivia was pretty simple: 5 questions about the bride, 5 about the groom and 5 about the couple. They started out really simple (Where did the bride go to high school?) and ended up really hard and personal (What two things does the groom love to collect?) but people were also encouraged to guess. And some of the answers were just HILARIOUS! Rotfl I had to keep all of them, they made me laugh so hard. My other bridesmaid Kari won this one, she knows a ton about me (we work together and talk a lot lol) and guessed right on the ones she didn't. Go Kari! She chose my favorite Bridal Shower prize, the Water for Elephants book.

Now the He Who Must Not Be Named game is similar to the Baby Game played at baby showers. But instead of not being allowed to say the word "baby" you can't say the groom's name. Everyone was given three clothes pins and were told to patrol other guests. If you caught someone saying Lon's name, you'd get their clothes pin. My Aunt Carolyn won this one, but only because she was given a ton towards the end lol. What? :P This is still a fun game, especially if you have the kids play. April was so into this game it was silly. I couldn't believe it. :)

The shower was so much fun. For gifts, I got some lotions and soaps, a decorated picture frame, fleece blankets (YES!), a 7 quart crock pot, and a coffee maker. And we all just had a wonderful time together, playing games and just chatting. I also got to see my nephew Connor and Alan's second cousin Sophie! I love my family and friends, they make even rainy days fun. <3

We also had the Rehearsal Dinner tonight at the Village Inn. The majority of the wedding party was there, except for 3 that are out of town and my maid of honor who was doing homework for finals. But we got our order figured out and fine tuned the whole walking down the aisle thing lol. And with the two LOUD families combined, it was waaaaaaaaaaaaaay harder than I thought it would be. Lon was flipping Kalvin over his arm and shoulder, Cameron was chasing April and Ariel, and Alan was in the middle of it, dancing on his toes and screaming with the all. :) Wow lol, I don't think any two families could mesh together any better. Thankfully, we made it through the rehearsal and then chowed down on Lon's delicious pizza like a pack of ravenous lions. That pizza was amazing!

Now its back to the grind for a week, then Friday is Earth Day and after that is the wedding! See you all tomorrow for Meet Me on Monday and Motivational Monday! Have an awesome night and a wonderful Monday! <3 Peace!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A week away from today, I'll be given away by my father!

Today was a busy but good day for me. I only had to do a party at work today, and was off by two. Then my parent's surprised me with four new tires for my car (for those of you who don't know, my back tire was literally shredding off of the axel) for a wedding gift. We went shopping for Bridal Shower prizes and ingredients for our Taco Soup for tomorrow. Then I spent some time with Alan before dropping him off at my parent's for his second ever sleepover (his first was on his birthday) and going to the Bachelorette party.

The party was so much fun! We didn't do anything to wild lol. :P We stayed at my Maid of Honor's house, dyed Easter eggs, and made bracelets for the wedding. Even though I told them no strippers, the girls still couldn't resist getting me novelty penises! Oh lordy lmao. :D They got me a sexy coupons, a penis sucker, penis whistles, penis mints, penis confetti, and penis candles. I love my girls but wow lol! :P I really enjoyed making matching bracelets for the wedding party though and even won the drawing for a prize! It was just so great being able to just sit and chat with my ladies too, we've all been so busy with life lately, I miss all of them so. <3

Can't wait for my Bridal Shower tomorrow, but for now I'm gonna go to bed and enjoy my baby-free night with my husband. :) Good night everyone!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Earth Day Plans

I did one of these for Arbor Day, and I believe that in this family Earth Day is as or more important of a holiday. I love Mother Nature and the Earth so naturally Earth Day is one of my favorite holidays. My son and husband share a similar appreciation for the holiday and every year we try to do something (or a few things lol) special. This year we will be busy bees, and not because of the our wedding the next day. We have plans to recycle, explore the outdoors, and dig in the Earth! :)

The morning will start off with me getting my mani and pedi for the wedding, while Alan goes to daycare for an hour or so. Afterwards, we will have breakfast, do some art projects about Earth Day, and watch Sesame Street's Love the Earth DVD.




(This photo thanks to http://www.growingyourbaby.com)

Alan and I have been discussing the Earth lately and how we can help it out by planting and recycling. He's excited to celebrate "Earf Birfday" with us on Friday. :) So as soon as Lon gets home from work, we are going out on our Earth Day adventure!

*Weather Permitting- and it better!* We are going to Riverfront Park to pay dear Frogsley's grave a visit. Then we have plans to meet one of Alan's friends and his mom to go for a hike around the park, feed the ducks and geese, go for a Nature Scavenger Hunt, and have an Earthworm Race! :) The last two are fun games to play with your little ones that teaches them about nature and life.

The Nature Scavenger Hunt is pretty self explanatory. You develop a list of 10-25 natural items found in the outdoors. We're doing ten items because we have a nineteen month old and a two and a half year old playing lol. Then you release the kids into the wild to find the items, chasing them around to help them out! Our list will look like this:

Bug
Pine Cone
Leaf
Stick
Blade of grass
Seed
Flower
Bark
Feather
Rock

The Earthworm Race is also quite fun. We give each child a shovel (And take one yourself lol) and find a nice patch of dirt to let them dig. Then you tell them to help you dig and find earthworms, and the "team" who finds the most in ten minutes wins! :) You as the parent, only really need to help the kid find the worms not touch them, so I encourage all moms (even squeamish ones lol) to get out and get dirty! :D

At noon, I have to leave my boys at home to eat lunch and I get to go look at the bouquets for the wedding at Gainan's. We are doing yellow calla lilies with bear grass for our bouquets. So excited to see how they look! :D

Then we're going to Zoo Montana for the Earth Day celebration there. The admission is only $3.25 (Children's price) and a recyclable can or used cell phone! :) We have plenty of both of those at our house lol! We just heard about this, and are excited to participate! At this event, there will be a Lion's Club barbeque, Earth Day activities, a snowcone stand, and the release of the new grizzly bear cubs!! We will spend an hour or so there, and then Alan and I have to go to work til six. After work, I'm headed up to Jenelle's house to help her finish our wedding cakes and make decorations for the wedding reception.

Here is a photo of two of the three grizzly bear cubs to be released to the public at Zoo Montana this Friday. :) They're so cute!




(This photo thanks to http://www.zoomontana.org)

I think Alan will have a great time on Earth Day, and it will be nice for us to just spend the day with him outside the day before the wedding. I honestly can't wait to go and will try to get photos and post them of the day! :)

Five Question Friday!! April 15, 2011

Today is the day before one of the best weekends for me (next weekend will be better though lol)! Tomorrow night is my bachelorette party and Sunday is the Bridal Shower and the Rehearsal Dinner. I'm so excited, all of it will be so much fun! :D I just have to get through my five hour shift tonight and work a birthday party tomorrow, but then its PARTAY TIME! Hope everyone else has a great weekend as well, I will try to keep up and post this weekend, but you might also just get a long, descriptive Monday post. :) Happy Friday everyone!

And now for Mama M's Five Question Friday!!







What is your favorite sign of spring?
The sound of birds chirping. <3 Oooh, I love that sound so much, I will sometimes turn off all sounds in my house and open up all the windows just so it can fill my ears and my heart! :)

What was your best birthday ever?
That would have to be a tie between my 18th birthday and my 19th birthday.

For my 18th birthday, we were already in Las Vegas for a national dance competition and workshop (I danced for twelve years and competed with a company for six years). It was my mom, Natalie and I with my whole dance company and their mothers. We had classes/competition from 7 am to 6 pm most nights but after 6 was when we got wild. We saw Mystere, Ice and Cirque du Soleil's LOVE (Best show ever! Loved it sooooo much!) and went out to eat at Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen and PF Chang's. My mom spoiled me a little because it was my birthday, despite all the hard work I was doing for dance. The only thing that stunk was the no gambling until 21 law. Lame! I have yet to go back now that I'm legal too. :P

For my 19th birthday, my best friend and two other people went to Soo Pass, Minnesota for the Ten Thousand Lakes Festival. It was a three day festival and we spent another extra day in Minneapolis. And on my specific birthday, we went to the Flaming Lips show. <3 Okay so the Flaming Lips is my all time favorite band, and to see them live on my birthday? Simply amazing. :) I mean, watch this video (this was filmed at another concert, same tour though) and tell me you don't wanna cry? It was nothing but beauty and happiness there. So wonderful!



I mean, can you imagine what they spend on confetti alone lol? So pretty and so breathtaking! Watching this video floods me with wonderful memories of that night and will make me tear up. <3 I love this band so much!

What is your favorite dessert?
Hmmm, I probably have to say cheesecake. Or anything with chocolate really. Especially milk chocolate, YUUUUUMMM! :)

What is the best excuse you've ever used to get out of a ticket?
It wasn't an excuse lol (It was the truth) but I was pulled over in February for not having changed from the dealership's plates with the date on them to my actual license plates. Well the interesting thing was, the day that I got my plates it had snowed. A lot. So we tried to switch them out, but the bolts were frozen! I tried this every morning for eight days before they had thawed enough lol, and was pulled over on like the fifth day. So I told the cop my story and he went back and actually checked and then he let me leave. Score! :)

Do you wake up before your alarm, with your alarm, or after hitting snooze several times?
Well my alarm is my son (my husband wakes up when Alan does and then brings him to bed to wake me up), and he likes to wake me up by jumping on my face lol... So I wake up with my alarm, and pretty quickly too lol. :) Jumping toddlers are very convincing alarm clocks, I reccommend all adults should have one! Rotfl!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Book Review: Water for Elephants

Today is Lon's technical weekend, he has today and Friday off of work. So he's getting some much needed spring cleaning done here, and Alan gets to sit down to dinner with his father which doesn't happen but once a week (Lon normally works six nights a week, so Alan usually has dinner with me or Grandma and Grandpa Kimmel). Yay! I wonder what they'll have lol... I took out round steak, but am not sure now if Lon knows how to cook it. Hopefully... :)

I finished my book!! After only five days of reading it, with all of my daily chaos that I experience lol. :) I know, I'm pretty proud of myself too.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen







(This photo thanks to http://www.examiner.com)

I would just like to say that I am obsessed with this book! I loved it sooooooooooo much, I think I might reread it tonight. <3

This book was a wonderfully captivating story about a young man who experiences the life as a vet on a train circus in the Depression and his life in the nursing home after. The story jumps back and forth between the man's consciousness and his memories of the circus. The young Jacob Jankowski, a college student from Cornell who's life is changed drastically when his parent's die in a wreck and his house is taken by the bank. He is instantly a vagabond, an orphan of the Depression so he jumps a train. After discovering he's jumped onto a circus train, he convinces them to let him join as their vet. And he is instantly pulled into a world of entertainment, hierarchy, back stabbing, illegal booze, and violence. Uncle Al, The ringmaster is an evil, self centered man who only likes Jacob when he's helping him out. The beautiful Marlena, the pride of the circus show, is a very lost soul in an mentally and emotionally abusive relationship who starts to find herself after meeting Jacob. August, the equestrian director, is a confusing man who will be pleasantly nice at one moment, and viciously malevolent the next. I will not give away why though, I had a feeling of what it was but was even taken a back a little by the actual reason. :) Walter or Kinko the clown, is Jacob's bunk mate who hates him at first but they become friends by the end. And then there's Rosie, the elephant Uncle Al acquires midway through the book. Everyone sees her as dumb except for Jacob, Marlena and a few other people but she surprises everyone in the end! The old Jacob Jankowski however, experiences different turmoil. He is 93 and living in a nursing home. His circus memories are suddenly flooded back to his mind when a modern circus sets up outside the home. He experiences the fear of aging and memory loss, and the sadness that unfortunately most old people feel at nursing homes- the sadness of being left behind. This book brings a blatant view to what life was like in the circus during the Depression, everyone was out for their own survival and it was a dog eat dog world. And at the same time is very upfront about the distress an elderly person goes through on a daily basis. Amazing story, truly amazing. :)

The two people I could most relate to in this story are the two main characters, Jacob and Marlena. We are share a love of animals and a sense of companionship with them. I wanted to be a vet when I was in elementary school, and only didn't pursue the career because of my squeamishness of needles and blood. I can totally relate with Marlena feeling trapped in her abusive marriage, I experienced a similar thing with an engagement my senior year of school. I can relate to Jacob also in the feeling of being homeless and hopeless. The fall of 2008, I lived in my van and slept in the back parking lot of where I worked for almost two weeks. I barely had any money, had no food but what I could get at work, and felt completely alone and hopeless until Lon invited me to live with him.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read about the inside life of the circus, or to anyone who has elderly loved ones in nursing homes. No matter how old they are, they are still people, with feelings, and they should not be left alone! This book has really opened my eyes, and I vow to make a point to visit Alan's great grandparents more. <3

"In Poughkeepsie, we are raided, and for once the social strata are bridged; working men, performers and bosses alike weep and snizzle as all that scotch, all that wine, all that fine Canadian whiskey, all that beer, all that gin, and even moonshine is poured onto the gravel by straight-armed, sour-faced men. It winnows through the stones as we watch, bubbling into the undeserving earth.

And then we run out of town.

In Hartford, a handful of patrons take serious exception to Rosie's non-performance, as well as the continued presence of the Lovely Lucinda side-show banner despite the unfortunate absence of the Lovely Lucinda. The patches aren't fast enough, and before we know it disgruntled men swarm the ticket wagon demanding refunds. With the police closing in on one side and the townsfolk on the other, Uncle Al is forced to refund the whole day's proceeds.

And the we run out of town.

The following morning is payday, and the employees of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth line up in front of the red ticket wagon. The working men are in a foul humor- they know which way the wind is blowing. The first person to approach the red wagon is a roustabout, and when he leaves empty-handed the line buzzes with angry curses. The rest of the working men stalk off, spitting and swearing, leaving only the performers and bosses in line. A few minutes later, another angry buzz runs down the line, this one tinged with surprise. For the first time in the show's history, there is no money for the performers. Only the bosses are getting paid." (page 281 and 282)

This quote sums up best how much these circus workers go through on a day to day basis. It would definitely be a job for the overly cautious, I feel like you would be on your toes all the time! Jacob, Walter, and Marlena experienced some very difficult times in their life, all on that circus. Some people are just bad people, and they tend to flock to the train circuses in the Depression.

I came across this song and found it perfect for this book one night while I was reading. Lon was listening to Modest Mouse and this song came on. The lyrics are perfect and the overall sound is very harsh and in your face, much like a circus. :) Now I know the music video is about fish and the sea, but it is also brilliant. And it was directed by Heath Ledger. <3 So enjoy and listen to the lyrics! That's what made me think of the book, and the amazing brass in the band. :)



 They made it into a movie!! And it comes out in theaters THE DAY BEFORE MY WEDDING!!!! Its starring Robert Pattinson (gag lol) and Reese Witherspoon (Love!) and it looks so good! Oh my goodness, I think I might just have to go. This book made my heart sing. Really. :) Just for fun, I'll leave you with a movie poster of it!! Have a good day everyone, and I'll see you tomorrow for Five Question Friday!








(This photo thanks to http://www.i-movie-channel.com)

My next book review: American On Purpose:The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot by Craig Ferguson
Release date: May 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Easter and other religious holidays (Christmas)

This post is not to offend anyone, to the contrary I want to explain my family's situation beforehand to make sure no one is confused or offended by it. I wish to never go through the discrimination my son and I experienced last year at an Easter egg hunt... But that story is for another day, another post. I figured I might as well post about this topic today though, as Easter is on Sunday.

My family and I will be participating in Easter activities, as we traditionally do, even though we are not of the Christian religion. As most of my readers know, I am Buddhist but my husband and son do not belong to any religion. My husband has his own scientific theories about our creation and our fate. We have not decided if we will raise Alan as a Buddhist or just raise him without a religion. The latter seems more appropriate to me, as even though I am a Buddhist I do not practice with a church. I do not believe in organized religion (I actually believe your relationship with your spiritual side and your diety should be private thus you should worship alone or with your family at most), and my husband feels the same way.  We may have Alan participate in family meditation with us in the future, but I do not want to insist my religion on him, even as a child. Let me clarify before I offend anyone, I do not think that anyone else who believes in ANY religion is insisting their religion on their children. I choose to raise my son this way and respect everyone else for raising their children their own way. We are a family with two different religious views, and I believe my son has a right to experience both of them and choose which he would like to believe.

Now we do not celebrate the religious aspect of Easter (or Christmas) but the I guess "commercialized" part of it. For Christmas, we read stories about Santa Claus and celebrate family and give gifts and go visit Santa and decorate a Christmas tree and go to Christmas dinner and brunch but do not go to church or celebrate Jesus. For Easter, we read stories about the Easter Bunny and celebrate family and participate in Easter egg hunts and visit the Easter Bunny and go to Easter brunch with the family but once again do not go to church. My son has heard the religious back story to both Easter and Christmas (my parent's and siblings are Lutheran) when we have gone to Easter activities. We allow him to listen and learn, but we tell him its just a story to us but this is something that some people do believe. When he is older I will elaborate more on that but that is what we tell him now, even only as a toddler. He may not fully understand what I mean, but I get the point across to him. I respect the right of each person's own religion and will teach my son to do the same. We realize that neither holiday would exist if not for the Christian religion and the story of Jesus, and this is why we let him listen. Plus, I'm not going to take my son away from his family during the holiday just because they are doing something religious. That's silly. He loves my family, regardless of what religion they belong to, and so do I.

My wish is to simply celebrate the holiday with my son, husband and all my loved ones. And to not be judged for my religion,  whether or not it correlates with the holiday's religion. I clearly am not judging you for what you believe in, could you kindly return the favor? I would not be saying and posting this, except for I got extreme back lash and hatred last year for being Buddhist and celebrating Easter. Really??? We're only celebrating the LOOOOOOVE<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 Can you be apart of it to? Please? :)

In other news...

Alan's art class went wonderful yesterday. We had a boy and a girl join him and we continued with our Springtime/Famous Artists theme and created a DaVinci-style Segmented Drawing (Similar to the Sistanine Chapel),  Easter Bunny Ears, and Animal Drawing. Alan and the kids did great with their projects. They all behaved so well and followed directions, with help from their parents. :) Alan sat in between the two, and loved once again being center of antenttion. Hambone. :P Lon even got Alan to help him draw a kitty (which he kept calling puppy lmao) and a tree! He's getting really good at drawing circles and lines. He can also say almost all of his colors. The only one he has a hard time with is his favorite color: orange. Its a hard word though, so we still give him credit. :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Top Two Tuesday!! April 12, 2011

We have art class again today, can't wait to see what my amazing toddler artist creates! I'm sure it will abstract and breathtaking. :) Plus the three of us with the whole class always have such a blast together, learning and creating. I love it, and I love my boys in my class!

Oh my goodness, my wedding is literally eleven days away!!! I'm freaking out a little bit right now, I'm just so excited!! I hope its as awesome as I imagine it, and I have a feeling it will be. Everything is planned, and (almost) everything is perfect. The only missing thing as of current is the remainder of Lon's tux, we still need to buy his shirt and his vest. But honestly, I love Lon and will marry him in jeans and a t-shirt. If he doesn't get his stuff by the wedding, I will not care one bit. :) That's how much I love him. <3 <3 <3

Okay, okay, enough of this wedding bliss lol... Onto Top Two Tuesday!!!





Top Two Favorite Drinks (Alcoholic or Non)

I'll do one of each, because I'm not a big drinker AT ALL anymore lol, but I do happen to have a favorite alcoholic drink. :D

#1 Dr. Pepper

Like the Undomestic Mama, I have a special spot in my heart (and stomach lol, get it?) for Dr. Pepper. I like to have at least one every other day, or even one a day sometimes! I have drank it since elementary school, and just love to crack a nice cool Dr. Pepper on a warm day. Or a stressful day at work, for the caffeine! :) Lol not to even sound like I'm plugging for them, I just love my DP! Yum!




(This photo thanks to http://www.nydailynews.com)

#2 Malibu Coconut Rum with Pepsi

Oh my, does this drink get me into trouble lol. :P I will drink one of these like water and forget about all the alcohol content in them, and then I'm a little wild. They just taste so yummy! And... Don't tell my mom lol, but this drink *kinda* is the reason I got pregnant with Alan. That and the Nine Inch Nails concert we went to lol. 'Nuff said. :P

This bottle is cool! Wish I would have seen this special edition!



(This photo thanks to http://www.popsop.ru)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Motivational Mondays!!

I have gotten back my Dhammapadda back from my much deversing friend, so for this edition of Motivational Mondays I will use a mantra from my own copy! Yay, so excited lol! :) Enjoy everyone! Happy Monday! Peace and love to all!




The Worthy

For those who have completed their journey, left sorrow behind, are free in all circumstances, and liberated from all bondage, affliction does not exist. The thoughtful exert themselves; They do not relish attachment. Like swans leaving a lake, they abandon one attachment after another. Those who have no accumulation, who eat with perfect knowledge, whose sphere is emptiness, singlessness, and liberation, are hard to track, like birds in the sky. Those whose compulsions are gone, who are not attached to food, whose sphere is emptiness, singlessness, and liberation, are hard to track, like birds in the sky.

Those whose senses are tranquil, like a horse well controlled by a charioteer, who are free from pride and have no compulsions, are the envy of even the gods. For one who is docile as the earth, a pillar of good conduct, like an unpolluted lake, there are no more compulsive routines. The thought is calm, the speecha and action are calm, in one who is liberated and gone to serenity by perfect knowledge. The best person is one who is not credoulus, who knows the uncreated, who has cut off ties, gotten rid of chance, and renounced desires.

Village or forest, hill or dale, anywhere that saints dwell is pleasant. Forests are pleasant where people do not frolic, those who are free of passion will enjoy them, because they are not pleasure seekers.

Meet Me on Monday!! April 11, 2011

Good morning everyone! Today looks like it will be another beautiful spring day! :) Alan and I are watching Seasame Street and Alan's coloring Lon a picture of Elmo and his daddy. So I'm gonna go ahead and start my Monday blog hops. :) Here's Meet me on Monday!!






Who would be your dream celebrity date?
My husband thinks this is so weird because this man is so old (well older than us lol) and so not often seen as "hot" lol, but my dream celebrity date would definitely be Jim Carrey. Ooooh he's so attractive and so funny, I've been crushing on him since Bruce Almighty. <3 Now I know he's dating Jenny McCarthy, but I like her and I love them together, they're so adorable and perfect for each other. But a girl can still dream right? Lol love him in this pic, I love him with his long hair!!





(This photo thanks to http://www.meltedreelonline.com)

Do you have any food restrictions?
I do not but my poor sister does. She has gone most of her life changing her food restrictions because her food allergies kept changing in her body. :( She was at one point allergic to beef, yeast and potato. No burger and fries for her. :( Food allergies stink.

How much time do you take to get ready in the morning?
Haha, I was in dance all my life so I can literally get dressed in under a minute. And I'm a hippie so I don't wear makeup so dressing is pretty much it, besides I guess combing my hair and brushing my teeth. So let's say under six minutes? :) I can even do it ALL with a baby on my hip (learned that real fast after being SAHM for a year with Mr. Clingy Lovie Boy lol, I joke that he never let me put him down until he was five months old). :D  But thats a little talent that I kept from Tracy's School of Dance lol. I can't still do a leap or a pirroette turn anymore, but I can still do the splits and still dress fast. :)

Sausage or bacon?
It depends really. I have this weird thing against the skin on sausages, bratwurst and hot dogs. The texture of it just oogies me out lol. So I really only like bacon, unless its like ground sausage or a sausage patty. I'm a weirdo, I know! :)

Do you Google, Bing or Yahoo?
I'm loyal to Google lol. Had my Gmail account since 2006, and I've just always been partial to Google. I don't like Yahoo and Bing was okay the one time I tried it, but I just always go to Google. I love their pop up link feature now too! Man I <3 Google!



(This photo thanks to http://www.businessweek.com)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring is here again! Hope its stays for more than a week this time lol!

Today was a wonderful, relaxing day for me and my family. Alan woke us up pretty early, so we all snuggled in bed and watched the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends movie for a few hours. Then I pulled myself out of bed lol, and made the family eggs with toast and hashbrowns. My boys love Sunday morning breakfasts, they both chowed their food down and even had seconds! :) It looked like a nice, sunny day outside so we dressed Alan in shorts for the first time of the year and took him for a walk around the neighborhood. He loves walking outside on his own, holding our hands and talking with us. He is growing into such a big boy these days, he seems to understand more each day and is such a sponge when it comes to learning. I love how smart he's become these days. <3

After the walk, we had a lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chicken noodle soup. Alan's getting better at scooping with the spoon, and its adorable to hear him enthusiastically say, "Scoooooopp!!!" each time he spoons up food. :) Too cute! Alan then went down for his nap, so Lon and I got some spring cleaning done. Then we were able to get some alone time to ourselves, Lon worked some more on his robotic hand and I was able to read more of my book. I'm already about halfway done with it, whoo-eeee I read too fast sometimes lol! Its just a wonderful book, and I've gotten pulled into it. I can't seem to put it down!! :) And Lon has almost the whole hand developed now, just needs to "thicken" it up a bit (his words lol). I'll ask him if I can post a pic of it on here, and get one up asap if I can. Its pretty darn cool looking!

Once Alan had woken up, we had snack and then watched the Elmo Goes Party DVD while we colored. Alan is has still plateaued with his potty training, but I'm not going to start him with underwear until after the wedding. So I don't mind too much. If we stay home all day (like we pretty much did this week), then Alan normally will not wet a diaper all day. Like today. :) He went potty twelve times today, and was successful seven of those times! And he only used one diaper today really, just to go poop. He's getting there and I'm very proud that he's being this attentive about it, at only nineteen months old! Alan also colored Aunt April a birthday picture of a ballerina Zoey from Seasame Street. Then we read some books and played with his cars and Matchbox garage.

We had a coupon for milkshakes at Dairy Queen, so the family went there for "tweets" before dinner. Not the online mini blogs of people, that's Alan for treats (I know, bad mama for doing it backwards lol). :P Lon and I got chocolate and Alan got vanilla but halfway through mine Alan insisted on having some of mine, so we switched. Children... :) Alan had fun drinking through a straw again, and enjoyed using a spoon again too. Then we took Lon to work for a few hours and went to Grandma Melanie's house. The family had just gotten home from Great Falls, so we hung out with them and Alan played outside with Uncle Kalvin and Grandpa Kevin. Then when it got dark, we went in and listened to Aunt April practice her violin. <3 Alan's so silly, he likes to get right underneath the end of her bow to listen. :) Then we gave her the birthday card Alan colored and helped me make. She loved it, and loved the dancing Zoey the most. <3

When we picked up Lon at work, he surprised us with a Chicago style pepperoni and mushroom pizza for dinner! Yum it was delicious! Alan can even say "pizza" now! He wouldn't STOP saying it all dinner lol! :P We had beets with our pizza, and though it sounds weird Alan loved them! He's gonna have red poo the next few days, because I think he ate more beets than pizza! But I'm glad I've found another vegetable that he likes, and beets are really really healthy for you! Score one for this mama! :)

Then it was bathtime, and bedtime, and now its this mama's time again. Lon and I are going to watch Skyline for the first time. Hope its good! Today was a great Spring day for this family, hope it doesn't go away!! :) Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

On inventions...

My husband definitely is an intriguing man. I love him so lol. <3 For those of you that don't know, my husband is not only the supervisor at the Village Inn, he's a somewhat successful inventor. I say this because of all the inventions he's made, a good sum of his inventions have either hurt him or made a "mess" but a handful have been quite successful. I have a blog post back loaded into my computer about a specific invention (his jet pack lol) that caused him quite a minor injury and made a disaster of my house, I'll have to locate it tonight and upload it here because its a must read and a classic. :) I have since then made him promise to put his jet pack plans aside until we purchase our own house, so he has moved his focus back to robotics. His full plan is to create a humunoid robot, but for now he's developing the hands and feet of said robot.

You know Honey I Shrunk the Kids or even Flubber? That's my husband lol, only waaaaaaay more attractive than either Rick Moranis or Robin Williams!




(This photo thanks to http://www.clevescene.com)

Today while Alan napped, Lon was able to work on his robots fingers and start one of his hands. I got time to start and read a good chunk of Water For Elephants (I know, I'm so bad lol! I just started it!) after I had meditated and vacuumed the living room. It was a nice for us to both get some time to ourselves to do things we wanted to and Lon got a lot accomplished with his hand! :) I checked out his progress after only a short bit and he had already developed a three jointed finger setup and had made four other fingers! He has since created the whole upper hand and just has to finish developing the palm and wrist. He has an easy movement system set up and just needs to get parts for the motor. Wow! Definitely chalking this down as a successful invention! :D

Lon has gone to work and my whole family is out of town, so Alan and I might go to the Imaginarium at the mall after he finishes with snack. Or we might just takeover Grandma and Grandpa Kimmel's house to play in and use their laundry facilities lol. I cannot believe that two Saturdays from right now, we will have had our wedding and I will be an Andersen! I'm so excited!

Friday, April 8, 2011

ABCs of me

I borrowed this thing from Amy @Our Crazy Beautiful Life because I loved it so much and it looks like tons of fun! :) So enjoy, the ABC's of me! <3

Check out Our Crazy Beautiful Life and see her ABCs at http://www.ourcrazybeautifulife.blogspot.com

A. Age:21

B. Bed size: Queen size

C. Chore you hate: The Dishes- we don't have a dishwasher so I do them by hand. Thus, dishes are the bane of my existance. :\

D. Dogs: None yet! Not until we buy our own house! We want a great dane for Alan though. A great dane puppy like this would be ideal. This one is soooooo cute!!






(This photo thanks to http://www.321dogs.com)

E. Essential start to your day: Snuggling in bed with my boys <3

F. Favorite color: Purple

G. Gold or silver: Silver definately

H. Height: 5’4

I. Instruments: Played the clarinet, bass clarinet, alto clarinet and some piano in high school.






(This photo thanks to http://www.concordband.org)

J. Job title: Art Teacher

K. Kids: Alan, 19 months old

L. Live: Big Sky Montana!

M. Mom’s name: Melanie

N. Nicknames: Jilly Bean, Jilby, Jiggs (from the children's book series Jillian Jiggs...)






(This photo thanks to http://www.scholastic.com)

O. Overnight hospital stays: When I had Alan

P. Pet peeve:People who are inconsiderate!

Q. Quote from a movie: "Ladies and gentleman, ladies and gentleman... this world, this world that we live in is full of enchantment for those with eyes to see it. Chicken!" Anton, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus






(This photo thanks to http://www.comingsoon.net)

R. Right or left handed: Right

S. Siblings: Are you ready for this? I have Cameron(27), Tyler(25), Darren(22), Sam(21), Aaron(21), Nikki(21), Rachael(20), Chase(19), Natalie(19), Mary(17), April(12), Ariel(10), and Kalvin(6). That's in laws included lol. :)



Me, Aunt Natalie, Aunt April, Alan, and Uncle Kalvin (clockwise) Only missing two siblings!

T. Time you wake up: Whenever Alan wakes up, between 8 and 9 am

U. Underwear: can be hard to find in this household. We don't have an onsite washer lol. :P

V. Vegetables you dislike: Califlower or broccoli, but I only don't like them raw

W. What makes you run late:My son and my husband

X. X-Rays you’ve had: Uhhh, just my head I think... But that could have been an MRI too, I dunno, I was a little out of it (I was having a stroke so you know).

Y. Yummy food you make: Spaghetti, Tacos, Taco Soup, Stew, Chili, just about anything with a recipe I can follow really.

Z. Zoo- favorite animal: Elephants! Ooooooh I'm obsessed! I have a 26+ piece collection lol!







(This photo thanks to http://www.endangered-species-1.com)

What are the ABC's of you?