Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Gift to Treasure

I did this layout based off a sketch for the ScrapFreak May class as well as a little challenge with friends. Enjoy! JOURNALING: Christmas 2008. Nick has this amazing ability to give the most perfect gifts. they are unique & always something that you'd never think of. This year his thoughtfulness resulted in a gift that not only made me cry, it made me feel so incredibly loved. Something that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I had one more gift to open. As soon as I spied the cover my heart flipped a little bit. I tried to hold back the tears. Nick had found a 40th Anniversary Edition autographed by Mary Badlam, the actress who played Scout Finch in the film. The inscription is the last line from the 1962 film, "Well, it would be sort of like shooting a mockingbird wouldn't it? - Scout Finch" Words cannot express what this book means to me. I felt so special. I almost felt undeserving but I also felt overwhelming happiness. I know how much work he put into finding it. It is a family heirloom. Someday our sweet daughter Scout will inherit this book containing her namesake and she'll know the signifance of a gift that was more than a gift- it was love.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

Happy Memorial Day!! We had a wonderful weekend at the cabin. Everything just worked. The girls behaved (and napped), the weather was gorgeous, we laughed, ate good food, smiled. . . it just all clicked. We were there less than an hour when Bennet got her first war wound. She was soooo excited to be there that she was dancing around. She hit her right temple on one table and as she was reacting to that she hit the left side on a different table. It got purple and swelled immediately. Quite the shiner! The weather was amazing all weekend. Sunshine and warm temps. Bennet ran onto the dock to welcome Nick back from a morning of fishing. It was time for Bennet's first fishing experience. We dug up some worms in the yard and she was ready to go.

On her first cast she caught her first fish- a bass.

On her second cast she caught her second fish- a sunny. She was a maniac!! She caught 7 fish off the dock.
What a view!

After lunch the 4 of us took a boat ride. Both of the girls loved it. It was all fun and games until Scout fell overboard. She climbed up one of the edges and tipped face first overboard. I was there in a second but it was still scary. She was wet and shaken up but bounced back fine. That is why you WEAR the life preservers right?

While I took care of getting Scout bathed and dry Nick and B went back out fishing. According to Nick they 'slaughtered them'. They caught over 12 more fish. Bennet said, "Dad- I like the catching part!" (Video is below) We celebrated Bennet's banner day on the lake with dinner at Bent's Camp. Here is Scout and I reflected in the car while waiting for Nick and B.

Bennet is saying "Scout fell in the water to say hi to the fishies" Not exactly.

8 years today

8 years ago today Nick and I had our first date. Our 10 hour first date.

Photo from our engagement party in 2003

I forgot to mention in my last post that I was living in Madison at the time and Nick was 1 1/2 hours south in Milwaukee.

Over the course of the week we discussed the date over email. Nick said he'd come up to Madison but I told him since I asked him out that I would go to Milwaukee. Only fair. We decided to go to the Milwaukee County Zoo on Memorial Day.

I wore a cute yellow linen skirt and a white tank top. I drove to Milwaukee and arrived for our date promptly at noon. As predicted by Karin, Nick opened the door wearing his "Surf" shirt.

We drove to the zoo and parked in a Catholic church parking lot. I remember Nick asking if I thought it was ok. My reply was, "Sure. My Mom would be really happy to know I was at church" Then we broke into the zoo. Not intentionally. We just walked across the street and next thing we knew we were in the zoo. I guess you pay admission when you park- in the zoo lot. Oh well- let's see that Albino Alligator! (On a side note- Nick has told me he thought it was cool that I didn't go all girly and freak about about sneaking in. In my opinion they should have a better system :) )

We sat on a picnic table eating our hot dogs and having our beers and just talking about our families and friends. I dripped mustand on my skirt. I just wiped it off- good thing I was wearing yellow :) I can honestly say that during that conversation I remember looking at him thinking, "I like this guy. I could marry someone like him".

Then we held hands. You remember that first hand holding deal. Oh my goodness- heart flips!

We walked around the zoo looking at the animals. The Albino Alligator looked fake, robotic. There was also a very scary display of recycled animals that some schoolkids scultped out of styrofoam cups and soda cans. I still have nightmares about them.

After the zoo we drove to a little bar downtown called 'The London Bridge'. We spent the afternoon drinking Guinness and talking more. Then we were hungry again. We made a quick trip to the grocery store for some food for dinner.

Back at Nick's townhouse he made dinner. Grilled steaks, pototoes and some vegetable. I can't remember (see- this is why I need to write this now. At 10 year it will be gone!) We just turned on some tunes and kept talking!

At 10 p.m. he walked me to the door and we had our first kiss. A nice goodnight kiss. More heartflips. It was such a wonderful, whirlwind day. I was on such a high as I left his townhouse that I started heading the wrong way on the freeway back to Madison.

We had another date the next weekend. He drove up to Madison this time. It wasn't a 10 hour date though- it was 4 days :)

I love you Nick. Even more today than I did 8 years ago. Thank you for always making me laugh!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

8 years tomorrow

The Story of Nick & Kari
Photo taken by Karin Weiss during my first trip to the cabin. Summer 2001

8 years ago tomorrow Nick and I had our first date. Of course many mad props go out to Karin Weiss for her stellar matchmaking skillz. I used to work with Karin at CUES in Madison.

Karin first mentioned Nick to me in the summer of 2000 after she returned from a trip to Georgia for a wedding with a bunch of her husband's friends from high school. Nick and her husband Travis went to Wausau East together. Her pitch was, "Kari- you have to meet this guy Nick. He's hilarious. One of the funniest people I've ever met. And he wears khakis and buttondowns and drinks Cosmo's two at a time" In all honesty- that did sound like my kind of guy (still does). But I was sort-of-half-way seeing someone else so I just put it into the 'someday, maybe' pile.

Fast forward a year. Completely single. I first met Nick in person at an Everclear concert, March 1st at UW-Oshkosh . Talk about random. I'm not sure how we all ended up there since none of us were big Everclear fans. Karin, our co-worker Ann Christianson and I drove up from Madison for the show. He was getting over a cold, but he did dress very well. I was playing it cool. We spent most of the night picking out fashion victims in the crowd. The guy wearing far too much camouflage. The dude with the game ending Mullet.The woman wearing a lace Cross-My-Heart bra which you could see through the buttons of her teal silk blouse. It was low key and felt comfortable.

Back in the Spring of 2001 I was a single gal living alone in Madison. After work I would frequent The Speedway Bar with my friends Jeff Willauer and Pat Knecht. We'd drink beer, commiserate about life and I would sing karaoke. I'm not a good singer but I LOVE karaoke. When I'd get home from singing I'd log onto my MSN messenger to chat with friends. Somewhere along the way I added Nick to my list of contacts and we started talking. Simple topics like music and movies. It was easy. It wasn't complicated. Karin was right, he was funny. We would chat every other day or so. I looked forward to it. I started to think, "hmmm. . . maybe this could be something"

One Friday evening in May 2001 a group of us (once again including Karin & Ann) were at The Capitol Brewery listening to a band. Nick was in town to celebrate his best friend Bill Bodemer's (our best man in the wedding) graduation from college. After the concert Karin suggested we head to the Essen Haus to meet up with them. For those of you unfamiliar with the Essen Haus, they are famous for their Boots. Big giant glass boots full of authentic German brews.

Well, as with too many things in my life, I had a little liquid courage that night. I walked up to Nick, put my hands over his eyes, and said 'Boo'. After a couple minutes of small talk I said something sly like "Hey- remind me to ask you out when I'm sober ok?" Real classy right? I thought I was bold, daring, a take-life-by-the-horns kind of gal.

I woke up the next morning feeling not quite so enthusiastic about my super cool pick up line from the night before. I decided there wasn't anything I could do about it now. Monday evening came around and after a rousing rendition of 'These Boots Were Made for Walkin' I returned home from The Speedway. I logged on to Messenger and got a lump in my throat. He was online. Oh man- this is going to be embarrassing. A message popped up on my screen, Nick: So, about that date you mentioned

The story of our first date will follow tomorrow.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Fill Ins

Happy Memorial Day weekend!! This weeks Friday Fill Ins.

1. Moving sidewalks I can't see under my feet (the 80's classic by Dan Hartman)
2. The best things in life really are free.
3. My best quality is my ability to turn lemons into lemonade
4. Remember the details. The details are what you'll laugh about years from now.
5. In nearly 10 years, I graduated from college (10 years ago this month), lived in 2 cities, 3 apartments, 1 house, had 3 jobs, 1 husband, 2 cats, 2 kids.
6. A weekend away to 'unplug' and relax is what I need right now!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to driving to the cabin, tomorrow my plans include spending time together as a family and starting my new book and Sunday, I will be thrilled that we have another night at the cabin!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

WooHoo Wednesday's

Once the snow melts in Wisconsin, Wednesday's turn into WooHoo Wednesday's. Nick has golf league every Wed. He really enjoys golfing with his brothers. I love that this gives him a chance to get out of the house and socialize with other adults. I also love that is gives me some quality time with the girls.

I try to plan something fun every week. Last week we went to Wendy's for dinner and sandal shopping at Kohl's. Not too much fun so I tried to make up for it this week.

It was 85 degrees today so this week we went to a fun new park. It's off 5th Ave., is fenced in, AND has the bouncy ground which is softer on my maniacs limbs.

Scout still loves going to pick Bennet up from daycare.

On the merry-go-roundLike I said, she's a maniac! I love her pigtails- LOVE them! Bennet picked me some dandelions and then promptly squished all the tops. Hmmm . . .

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Spring Colored Layouts

Back in March a group of scrapbookers I belong to had a challenge to put together your own kit and make at least 2 layouts from it.
Kit requirements-
At least two sheets of cardstock
~At least two different patterned papers
~At least one decorative can use an edge punch or add a sheet of precut deco paper (go ahead and just add the punch to the kit photo if you don't want to punch it yet)
~At least three different types of embellies (ie. buttons, ribbon, bling, flowers, etc.)
~letters of some kind (can be stickers, die cuts, stamps, cut from your machine)
~At least one of the following: rub ons, stickers (like those die cut stickers), a stamp, an ink pad or a transparency

Here is the kit I put together. I created SO much from this kit. I was also able to enter the Manufacturer Challenge at ScrapFreak. I won 2nd place!!

JOURNALING: At age 3 you like me. There may come a time when you won't. Remember I am here for you & will always, always love you. I love you B. ~ Mom.

I used Photoshop to put the words on the photo.The 'Happy' and 'Kind' are rub ons. I love how the words match Scout's shirt.

Set of 4 cards

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Fill Ins

My sister Megan missed my Friday Fill In's last week so here we go!

1. If we had no winter we wouldn't appreciate summer like we do.

2. I avoided jury duty on a reckless homicide trial, a perpetual astonishment. I was convinced I was in for it.

3. If I had my life to live over there isn't much I would change

4. Daycare drop, jury duty, walk home, swimming lessons, TV watching, sick kids and a so-so night of sleep inside of four and twenty hours yesterday.

5. If you've never been thrilled by the lyrical musings of Lionel Ritchie I highly recommend it.

6. To be interested in the changing seasons is a must if you live in the Midwest.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to chillaxin', tomorrow my plans include yardwork and housework and Sunday, I want to do some more prep for my upcoming Scrap weekend!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Up & Away

I love Bennet's face in this photo. Her cheeks are all red from running around.

The green strip is actually a sheer ribbon. It didn't scan very well.

JOURNALING: Simply soaring with the first swing of spring. Saying weee. April 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I love being a Mom. It isn't an easy job. You always wonder if you're making the right decisions. You want to set a good example. You wonder- are they eating enough vegetables? (in our house- no!) You play referee. "Scout- stop kicking your sister" "Bennet- you're just fine. No tears please" You play boss "Scout- I understand you want a snack and I'm working on it" "Bennet- it's time for bed. No more whining"
But at the end of the day no matter how many tantrums or "why's" I endured it is all worth it. Do you ever have those moments that you just feel like 'this is what life's all about'? After dinner last night the 4 of us went downstairs to watch 'Wall-E'. Bennet was snuggled up on the 'baby couch'. She talked non-stop "Mom- why is Eve floating?" "Mom- what is he doing" "Mom - waaaalllll-e" Nick was doozing in and out of sleep and snoring off and on. Scout was snuggled up beside me. She kept grabbing my hand and wrapping my arm around her tummy. She'd lean back and snuggle her head into my chest. It just made me think, my gosh, it doesn't get better than this. A happy, healthy, for-the-most-part sane family. I felt like a very lucky Mom.
My sweet Bennet. Our Christmas baby. As prepared as we were for your arrival we never imagined you were breech or would arrive via c/section.

You test my patience daily but you also make my heart go gooey. I love that I see so much of myself in you and that makes me laugh more than you know. I love that I know exactly how much you love me by the strength of your hugs. I love that you are independent. I just love you!
Less than 2 years later Scout joined our family- 2 1/2 weeks early at that. I remember being nervous about how I was going to juggle two kids under 2. But Scout was just an easy going, happy baby. She just fit right in. I love how excited she gets when I walk in the door from work. I love how she nuzzles into my shoulder for hugs. I love that I can finally put her hair in pigtails. I just love her.
Happy Mother's Day!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Growing Up

This last Tuesday Scout turned 20 months old and incidentally had her first day of day care. Bennet has been going to a fabulous in-home daycare, Tadpole Academy, since she was 22 month old. When Amy said she had an opening for Scout on Tuesday's and Friday's we jumped on it.
Scout has been at home with Nick since she was born. But as anyone with kids can attest to, it's hard to get real work done while trying to keep toddlers at bay. Nick's graphic design/web development company is really busy (woo hoo!!! way to go!! Big Fat Designs) and well, she was starting to get a little bored. Now Nick can schedule his meetings/etc on those days and Scout gets some interaction and development with other kids.
When I dropped her off on Tuesday it was a piece of cake. She just walked me to the door, smiled, waved and said 'Bye Mama'. Bennet was the one who requested 5 hugs and kisses :) I had no doubt that she would be fine. Both of our girls are pretty independent, social beings. The only thing I was nervous about was nap time since they nap on mats on the floor. She's used to a crib. Not to worry- she went right to sleep.
We feel lucky to have found a place that fits us and our kids so well. Amy- Thank you for everything you do for our girls!

Monday, May 4, 2009

It was a Good Weekend

Nick spent the weekend at the cabin with his friend Nate for fishing opener. Not even rain nor hail could damper his spirits. I guess it helps when they were, according to him -'slaughtering them'. Apparently they caught quite a few HUGE fish.

I spent the weekend home with the girls. Friday night we watched 'Bolt', had popcorn and snuggled on the couch. Once the girls were in bed I started scrapping.

It was National Scrapbook Day on Saturday and I participated in a couple online crops (, Scrap4Life and ScrapFreak). I was totally in the groove. I had Sense & Sensability playing on the laptop, cold Summer Shandy in my hand. . . I was in the zone. I looked at the clock and it said 1:30 a.m. That is LATE for me since I'm usually zonked by 10:30

Saturday we relaxed. We played outside, played inside, colored, scrapped, napped, went to McD's to play and got baby ice cream cones from DQ. It was a good day. Bennet decided that her 2 1/2 hour nap meant bedtime wasn't going to be at 8 p.m. At 10 p.m. she helped me scrap a a little bit and tried to get sleepy watching Pooh. After many tears I suggested the special treat of letting her sleep on Dad's side of the bed. I am kind of a sleep nazi. The last time she slept with us was over 2 years ago. Now I remember why- she kicks.

Sunday started with waffles, coffee and cartoons. We drew Daddy a 'Welcome Home Daddy & Nate' sign in the driveway. The girls were sooo excited to see him. Watching Scout run toward him made me choke up a little bit. Just that genuine enthusiasm.

Last night Nick and I went to see a production of 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. Nick does work for the FOX station in town and they gave us free tickets. Since we have a daughter named Scout and all. It was hands down the worst interpretation of TKAM I've ever seen. The whole thing needed to be turned down a couple notches. Scout was over the top annoying. Not inquisitive or precocious. She was spastic, hyper and just plain annoying. They made poor Atticus into a schmaltzy goober. It was painful. I don't have high standards for theatre by any means- but it was THAT bad. We stayed for the first half and couldn't stomach anymore. A nice Vodka7 for Nick and a Pomegrante martini for me helped lessen the sting a little bit.

Here are some layouts from the weekend.

Bennet actually took this photo of Scout and me.
"Ready to GO"
JOURNALING: At 4:30 every afternoon you go tug Dad's leg to remind him that it's time to get B. You run to the closet for your shoes, coat & everything else.

'The Love of a Family is life's greatest blessing'
Photo from Megan & Matt's wedding last Sept.

Oh- and I almost forgot. I won one of the Grand Prizes at Over $140 worth of goodies. I can't wait!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday Fill Ins

1. The first rule of working in an office and getting along is do not whistle to every song on the radio. It's annoying.
2. I'm not sure I like clams.
3. When I think of carnivals I think of corn dogs and the Tilt-A-Whirl
4.Tulips are my favorite spring flower.
5. Things on my desk include photos of my family, a calendar and my phone.
6. The fact that people are misspelling Flu (as in Swine Flu)makes me wanna scream!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching a movie with the girls- Nick's fishing!! tomorrow my plans include celebrating National Scrapbook Day and Sunday, I am going to see the play 'To Kill a Mockingbird' at the Grand Theatre with Nick.

May Day is not for Sissies

Happy May Day! I grew up in Minnesota. Where we played Duck, Duck, Gray Duck NOT Duck, Duck, Goose but that's a debate for another day. Where was I? oh yeah, May Day.

In Minnesota, well, Elk River anyways, we put together May Day Baskets filled with treats. The baskets were usually really fancy- Dixie Cups. (Not as fancy as shown above) We would bring them to our friends doorstep, ring the bell and run away. Our friends would then try to catch us as we ran away. If they caught us, they got to kiss us.

May Day is not for sissies. It can be a dangerous tradition. I should know. When I was 5 years old my May Day delivery landed me with 80 stitches.

I decided to deliver a basket to my friend, Stacy Dargis. (Total side note: Congrats to Stacy on the arrival of her daughter just this Tuesday!) Her house had a little breezeway/porch between the exterior door and the door that went into her house. The exterior door was a swinging door. The kind that was metal on the bottom half and a window/screen on the top.

I walked into the breezeway, dropped off the basket, ran the doorbell, and turned to run away. As I got to the exterior door of the breezeway I pushed the door open at the window. My grandparents had a door like that and their's swung right open. Stacy's did not. My arms pushed straight through the plate glass shattering it into a million pieces.

The rest is a little hazy. I remember there was alot of blood. I remember wrapping dish towels adorned with big orange, yellow and green flowers on them around my wrist with pressure. I remember singing 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer' over and over with my mom as we went to the Dr.

When all was said and done I had 80 stitches that ran outside my left arm from the top of my wrist down to my elbow. The scar has faded in the middle in the last 28 years, but you can still see it at the top and the bottom.

I did go back to the neighborhood after the stitches and delivered the rest of my May Baskets. I'm a trooper! Although I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that my injury prevented anyone from chasing me.

I told you, May Day is not for sissies.