Monday, December 31, 2007

Another year of marriage bliss and the glory of Ikea!

Steve and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary this past weekend by making a shopping trip to Illinois. They have an Ikea there, and I was beyond excited. Instead of getting each other presents for our anniversary, it's become our tradition to just go shopping together.

I told Steve I was serious about my Ikea shopping, but he didn't realize how much I meant it. Ikea rocks! Modern furniture, bargain price. That pretty much sums it up. Plus, they have escalators that actually take your cart up for you. How awesome is that?!? So we left Ikea with two big shopping carts full of closet organizers, a desk for Jack and some other odds and ends. After that, we hit the Apple store, and we are now both proud owners of the iPhone. I can't change over my service until the 2nd, but I can't wait. Those phones are great.

We still have Grandma in town, so we're hitting the town tonight with some friends wqto try out a steak place in downtown. We're not really livin' it up that much, as our diner reservations are at 8, and we have no intention of hitting the bars and whatnot just to stay up until midnight. So we might be lame, but at least we're lame together. Now that's compatibility at its best!

So time flies. Seven years ago, I was only 19, marrying "some older guy" from Wisconsin. I think both of our parents wondered what the heck we were thinking, but it worked out.

More info and photos from our Grandma visit later in the week.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Livin' it Up!

Our family had a great Christmas, and I feel like I'm finally starting to get things organized again. This won't last long, though. While Christmas is finished, we've got a lot going on in the next week.

First off, my mom is coming into town. We're waiting for her arrival as a type. Both of her flights were really delayed, so the anticipation has is really mounting. We have some presents under the tree that we're waiting for Grandma Linda before we we open. Oooo, Grandma's plane better hurry up.

Then (as my mom and I always seem to do), our next few days are packed with activities. Tomorrow, there's a furniture place delivering a new mattress for Steve and me...and also a new "Big Girl" bed for Anna. Then later that night, Mom and I are going to the spa. It will be her first massage/facial, so that will be fun. Then we have shopping, a breakfast with Curious George at the children's museum and Steve and I have a couple of date nights. Grandma is awesome!

So remember that for all of you people out there that are lucky to have a mom/mother-in-law nearby. It's a wonderful thing. Not only do the kids love it, but it saves a TON of money on babysitting. Here's my quick point...when we have a night out at a movie or something, we'll likely spend $100 for the night. About $50 for babysitting and another $50 for the movie/dinner/popcorn/whatever. I'm not complaining, as we enjoy where we live and how it works out, but it sure makes you grateful for the Grandmas of the world. So thanks Grandmas! My mom is great and so is Steve's mom. We're lucky to have you around, even if you're not in the same town. Oh, and you're great for more than just the free babysitting. :)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Christmas Post

Our stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and we're just hoping that our bathroom window stops leaking water. Okay, not a great lead-in, but we've had a crazy, busy week. We've had record snowfall in December in our area, and it really added up. On Wednesday, we noticed a steady drip coming from the bathroom window. Turns out, our something-or-other was frozen over. I don't know what it was, but it wasn't good and was causing an ice dam. Our roof is now cleared, though. I just hope we don't come home to a wet bathroom after all of our travels.

We're making our holiday rounds...Minneapolis, Rice Lake then to Appleton where Steve's mom lives. It's hard to believe that we used to do all that and then get on an airplane to go to Oklahoma. I don't like being away from family around the holidays, but we're able to handle things better now that we've learned how to pace ourselves. My mom is coming up Wednesday, and I am very excited. We have off of work until Jan. 2, so I get the whole time to hang out with her and the kids. Of course, I already have all kinds of plans while my mom is here. Shopping, spa visit, movies, night out with Steve. It's going to fly.

Well, Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you have a peaceful and blessed time with your families. Have safe travels!

Monday, December 17, 2007

My Mr. Incredible

Anna is going through a huge Incredibles stage right now. She and Jack will take turns picking a show, and when you ask her what she wants to watch, there's no doubt in her voice. "Credibles! Credibles! Credibles!"

This story is the perfect lead-in to talk about my Mr. Incredible. Steve's birthday was on Saturday. He was supposed to be in London, working, on that day. But then I got stuck in an ice storm, and he canceled his entire trip to be home with the kids. He figured it wouldn't be a good idea for both of us to be randomly flying around the country, so he had them cancel his trip. Of course, he made up for it because the rest of his work team went. Steve ended up working many hours this weekend, over the phone and on his computer. It wasn't much of a way to spend a birthday. But he's a trooper.

We got Steve some presents for his birthday, but the real highlight was the cherry pie we picked up from Bakers' Square. He and Jack devoured that thing. Those boys were bonding over cherry pie. I wish I had a picture!

So, thanks Mr. Incredible. We know you had a lame birthday, but hopefully there will be blue skies ahead (especially when you're using your new ipod Touch). We love you!

Friday, December 14, 2007

I'm back!

So I got through the icky Oklahoma weather and made it home Tuesday night. My favorite story to tell from the whole ordeal is driving from Tulsa to OKC. Northwest was saying that they couldn't get me out of Tulsa until Thursday! So I booked at flight from OKC and rented a car. I figured I knew more people in the OKC vicinity, so if I got stuck there, it would be better than Tulsa.

It was a rainy drive, and I was almost out of gas. In fact, I was running on fumes and my gas light was on. After the gas light came out, I squeaked out about 20 more miles on the highway. There wasn't anything in between there! Then when I stopped for gas, none of the stations has power. Therefore, I couldn't get gas. I was really scared I was going to break down on the side of the highway and that no one would really care since everyone seemed to have their own problems. Thankfully, I came across a gas station that had just gotten their power back, and I fueled up. Whew! After that, it was pretty much smooth sailing at the airport. I even got to eat Sonic, which I LOVE because Sonic doesn't come this far north.

On another note, Steve has been taking his physical therapy to help his back very seriously. He's been working on nearly every day and is doing lots of stretching. Here's a great photo of Steve and Jack stretching together on the floor. Jack wanted to be like dad. Of course, he didn't have the same stretchy band, so he's using his rubber snake. :)

Monday, December 10, 2007

When the going gets tough...

I'll admit it. I'm not having much fun, stuck in a hotel room in Tulsa. I'm watching boring TV, doing work and definitely missing my family. Steve told Jack that my plane was stuck, and Jack was coming up with solutions to fix it. "Then it won't be stuck anymore, Mommy!"

I have no idea when I'll get home. I'd like to get home tomorrow, but there's no telling. It's crummy.

But you know what? It could be worse. There are thousands of people who are out of power right now while I'm sitting in a warm hotel room with cable and Internet. Hundreds of trees have been destroyed, many falling into houses or crashing into cars. Lots of people are in shelters, unsure of when they'll be going back to their homes.

But most of all, I'm safe. One of my good friends from high school (and college roommate for a while) lost her parents to a car accident because of this nasty weather. It really puts things into perspective for me and gives me very little to whine about.

They were helpful, loving people, and my thoughts and prayers go out to the family. There are no words that can ease the pain of this type of loss, so I won't try. But I will definitely be sending out some prayers from my little hotel room in Tulsa. For Emily, her family and all the others who are affected by this crazy weather. May you have strength and courage to make it through.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Ice in Oklahoma

So here I am, sitting in my hotel room in Tulsa. This was the weekend of my writing workshop. It was a lot of fun, but exhausting at the same time. Saturday morning, my mom and I got up bright and early to show up at the writing center before the teachers. I was the featured guest, so I had to make sure my powerpoint was ready. After the teachers were done, it was on to the kids' workshop. Whew! We had about 50 kids, and I had three hours planned with them. We did writing exercises and played games. It was a lot of fun (one little girl even asked me for my autograph!), but I was happy when 4 o'clock rolled around.

Last night, an ice storm came through and left the roads kind of nasty this morning. Around 8:30, my mom and I decided we'd walk down to this little Route 66 diner a couple of blocks away. We probably looked pretty funny out there, taking little baby steps through the crunching ice. The roads cleared up pretty good, so we hit the mall late morning and got some good shopping done. She's gone now, and I'm sitting on my bed, hoping and praying that I can get home tomorrow. There's supposed to be more ice coming in tonight, so I'm a little worried about my flight. I'm also supposed to do a classroom visit in the morning, but I have a feeling they are going to close the schools.

So, send some warm thoughts my way. I gotta get home tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Ahhh, this is the life.

I think I found the way to happiness...working 1/2 days.

Daycare called this morning because Jack fell down and got a pretty good sized bump on his head. Then they called back about 45 minutes later because he was still sad and just asking for me. He didn't want to go back into his classroom, and they felt bad for him. Who can blame them? This poor little boy with a big bonk on his head and his arm in a sling.

I have this 1/2 vacation day that I've been meaning to take at some point, so I decided today was the day. It's not like Jack is actually sick, so it's a great day to just give him some extra attention and relax at home. Now I'm sitting on the couch in my sweats and watching some sappy TV show. I think I'll wander downstairs in a bit and get a good workout in. Then maybe I'll do some writing or wrap Christmas presents. This is an awesome 1/2 day! I think I could do this all the time. (I'm going to send this posting to my boss. See how much fun I'm having H?)

Of course, it wouldn't really be this blissful. Working part-time usually means working a lot more "unofficial" time. And it would never be perfect. And then there's the whole making less money thing. And it would be for total selfish reasons. And Steve would probably balk at it because he would be jealous. BUT...for this afternoon, I'm going to live the dream. It's my half day, and I'm going to live it up. Ahhhh....

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Sooner or Later...

I knew this day would come. After all, Steve had multiple broken bones as a kid. I've always said that he must have weak bones. I've never really broken anything myself, but I was afraid his weak bone genes would rub off on our kids.

And it did on Friday night. We had a friend over to play and he and the little girl were running around and around, having a blast. Jack rounded the corner and soon went down. He was complaining about his arm, but it wasn't swelling so we put him to bed for the night. After a lot of restless sleep and some pain, I took him into the emergency room at Children's Hospital around 3 a.m. He was a trooper and really charmed the nurses. It's not a bad break, just a crack near his elbow. The good news is they didn't have to sedate him to realign the bone or anything. The doctor put a splint on him and a sling. Then we go to see an orthopedic doctor in another week or so to see if he'll need a more permanent cast for a few weeks. Hopefully this temporary cast will work wonders, and that won't be necessary, though. He's doing fine. At first, he thought the cast was pretty cool, but now he's mad about it. Dad drew a shark and wrote his name on it to make Jack feel better, but that coolness only lasted about 10 minutes. His pain comes and goes, but hopefully in a couple of days, he'll be fine and not even notice the cast.

On top of all this, Steve is pretty immobile right now. He had a disc pop out of place in his back or something like that, and he's in a lot of pain. This happened Thursday, and he's pretty miserable. He's trying to help out as much as he can, but he's just trying to stay well himself.

Finally, I'm pretty sure poor Anna was running a fever today and was pretty sad. Tylenol seemed to take care of her for the most part. And the snow that came down today. She was awed by that! So we're having a rough weekend.

And to add a little humor to the situation. Part of the reason that Jack fell is that when he was running like a mad man around the corner, Steve gently put his hand out to stop him. Well, Jack happened to hit Steve's hand at just the right angle with his head. Then he went flying to the ground like one of those defeated ninjas in the kung fu movies. So what's the humor in this situation? Well, Jack was pretty distraught that "Daddy hit him." When we were at the ER, the first thing Jack told the nurse was "Daddy pushed me." Luckily, there weren't any phone calls made to the authorities.

We're hanging in there!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Leader of the Pack

Here’s a story from high school, specifically for some of my readers out there. Don’t worry, this is a very safe story girls…

It was 1998, and the school talent show was looking for participants. Of course, a talent show isn’t really any good unless you have those blatant “no talent” act. My friends and I checked the list.
So far, the list of competitors seemed pretty typical from solo singers to actual bands. You know, real talent. It was time to shake things up a bit.
The year before, my friends and I were a filler act for the talent show, and we crafted a creative kick routine, complete with black lights and white pantyhose. (Ooo, imagine the glow!) But this year, we were ready for the real thing. We signed up as an actual act.
First, we carefully chose our music. Leader of the Pack by The Shangri-Las. It was perfect…recognizable and fun. Then we practiced our lip-synch routine. Yep, that’s right. Our talent was pretending to sing. (And act. We had some stellar overacting in there.)
It was a big hit. We had “The Leader of the Pack” guy ride in on a bicycle and crash when the song goes into the part about the guy on the motorcycle. Meanwhile the “doo wop” girls were doing a swell job in the background. At the end, we even had an angel come and take “The Leader of the Pack” to heaven. (At least, this is how I remember it.)
So, here’s the kicker, though. We won the talent show. Yep, a group of no-talent people won. Of course, the talented people weren’t too pleased, but we sure had fun.

Ahhh, the simple joys of high school.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Oh where, oh where has my Amber gone?

My talented writing friend, Amber, is MIA. (Missing in Action). Where could she be? Doesn't she know that if I go too many days without my Amber dose that I start to get cranky?

Do I need to start busting out high school stories to get her to talk? Don't challenge me. I'll do it!

Monday, November 26, 2007

We are weak

Steve and I have NO patience when it comes to gift giving. Before we had kids, we would always break down and have all of our presents open before Christmas Day. Birthdays are pretty bad, too. One of us needs to be strong in these kind of situations, but sadly, we are both weak.

For instance, this past weekend, I got Steve this really great coat for his birthday next month. I decided that he needed to have it to wear, so I gave it to him right away. Then today, I figured he should get an ITouch for his birthday/Christmas big present, so I ordered it and then told him about it. I even told him what I had engraved on the back. For the record, he'll be in London on his birthday, and I wanted him to have it to be able to take on the plane for watching movies.

So today, Steve informs me that my Christmas gift from the kids arrived at his office. He sent it there so I couldn't snoop. And believe me, I would. He brought it home and then with very little prodding, he said that Jack could decide if I could have my present early. Of course, my little man said yes!

Here's my lovely, wonderful present from my adorable husband. It's a Mom necklace with Jack and Anna's birthstones in little baby booties. And on the bottom of the booties, their names and birthdays are engraved. I thought I was going to cry, and I'm not really a sentimental kind of crier! So, we might not have any patience, but I have a fabulous necklace and he'll be enjoying plenty of movies on his way to London. If that's not a Merry Christmas, then I don't know what is!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Round-Up

We had a great Thanksgiving. We celebrated Anna's birthday on Thanksgiving. (She turned 2 on the 21st.) We had a Curious George theme going, complete with streamers and balloons. Both kids were pretty excited about it. Now all Jack can talk about is how it's HIS birthday next. Yesterday, I tried to tell him that his Dad's birthday was coming up in a couple of weeks. He seemed pretty upset by that idea. "But Mommy! You said mine would be next!"

I took the easy way out an ordered a turkey breast from the local grocery store. (For the record, I can do the whole turkey thing. I just wanted to have more party time, and it was SO worth it.) I went and picked it up Thursday morning, and then popped it in the oven. Come lunch time, we just took it out and sliced it up in less than 5 minutes. Wooohooo!

Anna got some great presents. Curious George clothes, pajamas and slippers from Grandma Vicki and then a big pop-up Dora the explorer playhouse from my mom. Grandpa Steve send this really cool wooden sled. Jack got her Curious George shoes. Uncle Scott and Aunt Maggie got her an awesome dancing Mickey Mouse that plays Hot Dog. And then we got her a realistic baby doll that just happened to be named Baby Annabelle. (Actually, I scouted out the dolls and deliberately chose this one because of the name. Sure it cost about twice the other dolls, but how cute is it that they had the same name?!? Yeah, I'm a sucker!) She did love her doll. Though, at one point she kicked it out of its stroller and took its pacifier. (See the photos.)

It really was a great birthday and Thanksgiving. When Anna was opening her presents, she would do this gasp thing. Her mouth would be open in disbelief and her hands were out, shaking in excitement.

After presents, we attempted to bust open a monkey pinata. At the time, it was pretty chaotic. All the kids wanted to whack it repeatedly. Anna and Alex were both crying in between their turns. Meanwhile, we were just trying to keep them from smacking people in the head. In the end, Steve had to cut open the pinata with a knife and we pretended that Jack actually busted it open.

On Black Friday, Vicki and I woke up at 3:30 a.m. to go to the stores for some deals. We were doubting ourselves around 3:35, but five hours later, we were actually pretty pleased with our deals. We only hit three stores during that time...Kohls, Target and Toys R Us, but it was fun. At Kohls (they opened at 4), we got our stuff and then stood in a line that wrapped completely around the store. We waited in line for about 45 minutes, but we found plenty of good deals along the way! It was fun.

So a good weekend at the Tornio household. I'm looking forward to hearing about other Thanksgiving happenings. For your viewing pleasure, I put together a photo slideshow from Anna's birthday. And, I'm also putting on the little video I got of the pinata fun. You might want to watch it a couple of times to truly appreciate it. The crying in the background is coming from Anna and Alex as they're having to wait their turn. And at some point, while Vicki is trying to contain Anna, she knocks her Grandma down!

Link to pinata video...


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pany days

This weekend we went horseback riding. A very nice guy I work with has ponies, and he graciously invited us over. Both of the kids loved riding the horses...and feeding them. Anna even learned why you shouldn't stick your fingers up near a horses mouth. She was fine, but just a lesson learned. These were the best ponies. The one the kids rode used to be at this place where they teach kids how to ride, so it was very nice and gentle. Here are some pictures of our adventure.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Oh, the things that kids say...

We've started a family blog with Steve's family, so now some of my posts will be on both the family site and then again on the Tornio site. I have this great Jack story that I've been telling to everyone, so I'm finally sharing it on the blog. This summer, we went to this working farm while my mom was visiting. While there, we held baby ducks, milked the cow, rode on the hay wagon, etc. Well, we have this little video of our farm trip, and the kids love to watch it. We were watching it the other day and it was about to come up on the part where Jack is milking the cow. Jack gets all excited and turns to Anna to say, "Anna. You want to watch me pee that cow?"

Ha! It still cracks me up every time I think about it.

I've been starting to think about Christmas shopping. I've actually done some good shopping already. The closer it gets to Christmas, the more I love the idea of shopping online. I do, however, have this weird desire to hit this after-Thanksgiving sale at the outlet mall down in Pleasant Prairie. They have a "Midnight Madness" sale, and even though I can't think of the last time I was up past midnight, I'm oddly drawn to the idea of going out at midnight after Thanksgiving. They have this giveaway where they're giving bags to the first 500 people. Five of the bags will have $500 shopping sprees and one bag will have a $1,000 shopping spree. Those are definitely better odds than the lottery! And they have giveaways for gift cards every hour. I'm a sucker for that kind of giveaway stuff. So I'm not sure that I'll actually do it, but I'm considering it. Are there any other crazy people out there who want to come to the Milwaukee area to shop at midnight? (I know, most people are actually sane enough to lay low on Black Friday.)

Monday, November 05, 2007


My dear friend Amber made the mistake of letting me know she can’t stomach the thought of putting cute little symbols or acronyms in her messages. Something about making her feel like she was 13 or something.
So Am, just for kicks, this posting is for you. ☺
Daylight savings time really threw us for a loop this weekend. And not in a good way. ☹
Steve’s day on Sunday (it was his turn to get up) started around 4 a.m. on the new time. WWTT! (What were they thinking!) FWIW (For what it’s worth), I was up a couple hours later, and it was clear that this was going to be a long morning until nap IYKWIM (If you know what I mean).
We watched some Shrek and did some playing, and then I decided to let the kids help me make bread to go with the beef and vegetable soup we were making for lataer. Yeah, WWIT (What was I thinking)? Actually, we had a lot of fun. They loved pounding the bread, using the rolling pin and dipping their hands in flour. By the end, they were LOL (Laughing out loud).
Later, they decided they needed to get decked out in their rain boots, sunglasses, hats and backpacks. I think they were planning an escape. HHJK (Ha ha, just kidding).
I got some pics (pictures) that I will share later. AW (Anyway), that’s all I’ve got for now ASAIK (As far as I know). Keep your FC (Fingers crossed) for more good stories later on. ☺

SYL (See you later).
TTFN (Ta ta for now).
BBS (Be back soon).
YCBNYH (Ya’ll come back now, ya hear)?

Okay I made that last one up. ☺


Thursday, November 01, 2007


Yep, I'm a slacker on the posts lately. I've been busy with all kinds of stuff. For some reason, I decided to take on the responsibility of organizing a family cookbook, so that took up a lot of time. Then I'm supposed to be giving a workshop to teachers in December in Tulsa about writing. I've been working on my presentation lately for that, too.

And then I've also been reworking a children's story that a publisher has shown some *slight* interest in. I don't want to get too excited, but I am trying to do some work on it now before the person interested leaves or something. :)

Just a quick Jack and Anna story. Almost every morning, Steve and the kids call me on their way to daycare. Steve has a fancy car where the phone hooks up to the stereo system, so when they call me, it's like I'm on this massive speaker phone. Every morning, Jack says..."Hi Mommy. I'm not going to have an accident at school today." And then he says, "You gonna pick me up Mommy?" All the while, Anna's in the background, saying "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" It's like she can't believe it's me.

It's pretty much the favorite part of my day (except for picking them up and they run up to me to give me huge hugs).

One more quick story. We go to this music class as a family on Thursday nights. Anna's favorite thing to do is....not singing, not dancing, not playing instruments. She likes spinning. Yep. Spinning around and around and around until she gets so dizzy that she falls and starts giggling. She's hilarious.

Okay, that's enough for tonight! Later.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween weekend

Good morning! We had a great Halloween weekend. Greenfield had their trick-or-treating yesterday from 4 until 7. We went over to this little neighborhood we often visit because they have a nice park in there. It was great. At first, Jack was just in amazement that all you had to do is say "trick or treat" and then people give you candy! He kept saying, "Let's go to the that house! Now that house!"

By the end, Steve and I were both carrying the kids from house to house. Anna's little bag was pretty heavy and she started dragging it a bit. I offered to carry it, but no way! Here are some pictures from the weekend and a few older ones from this fall. It's a photo album and scrolls through automatically. If you want to see the images bigger, you can click on it to go to Google's picasa.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Happy Birthday to Ash!

Here's a little birthday tribute to my good friend, Ashley. May you have a great day, free of stress and full of love. I'm glad you don't have a drinking problem.

Quick Update

I've been seriously lacking in the posts, so I'm throwing out a quick one this morning. Last night, I made cookies for the cake walk at Jack and Anna's day care. They do a little party every year, which is tonight. We can't go, but I still made cookies to contribute to the cake walk prizes. Yeah, I'm one of those mom overachievers. :)

This morning, I decided that Anna and Jack could just eat cookies and milk for breakfast. I know it's not that healthy, but it's fun to have those crazy mornings every once in a while. I think Jack thought something was up. He would say, "I can have another cookie Mommy?" At one point, he even looked at me and said, "But if I have another cookies, then...."

He couldn't quite finish his thought. He must have been thinking in mom terms or something because it was just too good to be true! Since I wasn't stopping him, he must have thought he needed to stop himself.

Tomorrow we're heading up to Steve's moms. Along with Grandma, Grandpa and Steve's brother's family, we're all dressing up and going to a little kids Halloween party tomorrow night. Actually, most people are dressing up. Steve is going to wear a "funny hat" and thinks that counts. Jack and Anna are going at Mickey and Minnie, and they're pretty excited. As for me...Quack, Quack Baby! I'll be Donald Duck. Big white rump and all! (I was actually supposed to be Daisy Duck, but they sent Donald instead. It was just so cute that I decided not to return it.) Don't worry, I'm not too proud that I won't post pictures!

That's it for now. For my fellow blog friends out there, keep writing. I check your blogs every day. It's one of my best sources of entertainment!

Monday, October 15, 2007

A proud mom...

I am so proud. I'm just ecstatic. Dixie, our wonderful new cat, killed a mouse!!! That's right folks. Jack, Annabelle and I were on on way downstairs when I spotted a dead mouse at the bottom of the steps. Anna is riding on my back at this point, and Jack is walking down the steps by himself. I see the mouse and tell everyone to hold on because I have to get the mouse. (I did nudge it with my foot first just to make sure it wasn't playing dead.)

Now I should mention that I HATE mice. I know they are small and do no harm and blah, blah, blah, but I don't care. They make me shiver in disgust. Just the thought of a mouse in the house makes me want to move.

So I called Steve (who's at a class in Illinois this week) and proudly report on Dixie's killer instinct. The conversation went like this...

"Dixie got a mouse! So there! What did your cat ever do?"
"Really? She got a mouse?" Steve asks. "Good for her."
"Yeah! So there," I say.
"Did you put it in a plastic bag and put it out with the garbage?"

This makes me laugh.

"Are you kidding me? I flushed it!"
"Why did you flush it?" Steve asks.
"Hey! It was smaller than poop. Don't give me a hard time for flushing it! I was balancing Annabelle on my back during this whole time!"

Steve repeats something about how I shouldn't have flushed it, but whatever. Out of sight, out of mind. I feel so safe in my house now with my big bad cat! I'm still grossed out by the whole mouse thing, but at least I know I have a cat in shining armor to come to my rescue. Dixie is awesome.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cross Your Fingers...

We've had a bit of stomach bug in the Tornio household. I was home with Jack on Friday who had a very hard time keeping food down. Then it looks like he passed it to Annabelle over the weekend because today, she kept pointing at her stomach and saying in this sweet, adorable voice..."belly hurt, belly hurt, belly hurt."

She finally threw up a little bit later. Steve was pretty proud of himself because he saw her convulsing and got her to the bathroom right away. She threw up on him the first time and then in the toilet for the rest. After the ordeal, he proudly handed her over to me, happy with the fact that she hardly had a drop on her. Now that's a good dad, taking one for the team. :)

On another topic, anyone who knows me also knows that I'm a notorious planner. This drives some people crazy, I know, but that's just the way I am. If it were up to me, I'd have Christmas '08 nicely planned out already. Anyway, Anna's birthday is a little over a month away. I felt a little bad because last year, we rolled her 1st birthday into Halloween weekend so that Steve's family could make it. It was a lot of fun, but it wasn't just an Anna day. (As someone who has a birthday in early January, I'm sensitive to birthdays around holidays. By early Jan., everyone is already worn out from Christmas.) So anyway, this year Anna's birthday is the day before Thanksgiving. We're going to have her a birthday party on Thanksgiving. I think we'll be able to meld that holiday in nicely with her birthday. She's a big fan of turkey, too, so it works out perfectly. We're having a Curious George theme. She loves George. Oh, and for any grandmas or others out there, we're getting her a realistic baby doll and a baby stroller.

I love fall. Cross your fingers that we're done with the sickness. I can't take off any more days from work!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Tribute to Columbus

So in honor of this lame holiday, we spend our Columbus Day at the zoo! Steve left for Seattle this morning so it was just the kids and me hanging out. As we got ready to go, Annabelle had to put on a whole zoo attire, complete with her horsey purse and Little Mermaid hat. She's really a cutie (of course I have to say that as the mom) with her soft rolling curls. Her hair is really getting long now. We used to have to always put it back so it wouldn't get in her eyes, but now she's almost at the point where she can tuck it behind her ear.

To be fair, I had to include a photo of Jack from the zoo in here, too. His favorite animal is the giraffe, but I didn't have the camera going at that point, so you get to see this lam-o picture of a swan instead.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Bow Zone

We have finally entered the bow zone in our house, thanks to my very talented friend, Amber. She's whips out the best bows. She made a couple for is this fabulous football bow to match her Peyton Manning jersey.

Anna was pretty proud of it this morning. She's notorious for ripping things out of her hair so we'll see how long this will make it. Maybe she's so proud of it that she'll just wear it gleefully all day.

Thanks Amber!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Crafty Mom

I admit. I'm not exactly the craftiest mom in the world. I can think of some good ideas, but I'm just no good at anything that involves detailed cutting, sewing, drawing, etc. Whoever knows my mom will find this very hard to believe. She's the kind of woman who can whip out a contest-winning Halloween costume in 1 hour. Or she's like that MaGyver guy who can fix anything with 2 paper clips and some chewing gum. How did I miss getting these wonderful skills of hers? Who knows.

Anyway, Jack and I are very proud of our little pumpkin creation here. Sure it's not some crazy detailed carving, but look at us! Wooohooo! Take that all you crafty moms out there. We used different colored leaves, some pine needles and mums for the rosy cheeks. We stuck them on with double-sided tape, and Jack had a blast doing them.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dixie update

By the way, Dixie is doing great. The kids LOVE her and have never gotten so many timeouts since she arrived. (They have to be reminded a LOT not to chase her and grab her.) To their defense, they've never had an animal that they can just go up to and pick up. That charm hasn't worn off yet.

Every day when we get home, Dixie comes to greet us within minutes. She's a sweet, great addition to our family. Even her and Sasha are doing okay together. She likes the kids a lot and lets them pick her up, carry her around, etc. We're just trying to teach them early on to be nice so she'll like them in the long run, too.

Juggling the homefront

Steve's gone this weekend. We miss him, but we do okay. Saturday we wen to the zoo and then today we hit the apple farm for about the 4th time this year. We LOVE apples in our house, and the apples at the store just can't compete with the ones you can pick yourself.

I'm doing this pre-holiday fitness challenge with some family. You know, instead of getting on the big fitness kick after the holidays, we're going to try to lose a little weight now so we don't have to feel guilty at the holidays.

Anyway, I get this bright idea this afternoon to get a quick workout in on the elliptical downstairs while both kids were awake. I set them up with popcorn, water and some TV. Should be smooth sailing, right? Uh-uh, sure. Kids have this radar that goes off when they know you're in a helpless position. They did okay at first, but then both ended up spilling their popcorn everywhere. In my best panting/threatening voice, I threaten them with something. They won't get to go to the park or something if they don't clean up that popcorn.

I bet they were laughing at me on the inside. "Hehehe. Go ahead, Mom. Get off of that thing and make us!"

After I finally finished my workout, I got off and "made" Jack go and get his little vacuum. The joke was kind of on me, though, because he thought that was great fun.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

And one more makes...

EIGHT! We're now a family of 8. I've been talking on and off about getting another cat. Then this summer Steve made the mistake of saying we could get another cat if I REALLY wanted to. There's this great adoption place in town that saves the animals from animal control. On Monday, we went to look at this little kitten, and she was NOT a big fan of the kids. She was sweet but shy and we were way too rambunctious for her. But while we were there, there was this other cat who was desperate to get out to say hello. When they let her out, she strutted all over the room and even let Jack and Annabelle pick her up. We were hooked!

Five days later, we became the proud owners of Dixie. (The name is a tribute to the Dixie in Brisco County for anyone interested.) We figured we already have three animals, so really, what's one more?

She's beautiful, sweet and the kids LOVE her. Sasha (our other cat) would never willingly be in the same area as the kids, and even our dogs don't choose to interact with the kids unless there's food involved. I don't think we could have found a better fit. Dixie is roughly 1 and is tolerant of everything. So it's only our second day, but so far, we're very happy. Here are some pictures...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"We don't say come here, Daddy! We just say teddy bear."

Yes, this phrase also puzzled us when Jack said it. Huh? Are the kids abusing the phrase "come here" at school? We quizzed Jack for a while, thinking we'd get the real answer out of him but no dice. He was very certain that Miss Molly told them that they can't say come here. They can only say teddy bear instead.

So finally I remembered to ask Molly about it this week. "Are the kids not allowed to say come here?" I asked. "They can only say teddy bear?"

Molly laughed. "Well come here isn't the thing they can't say," she told me. "It's for the child here that swears. Instead of swearing, we try to get the child to say other silly words like teddy bear."

Ahhh, it all makes sense now. Yes, there's a 3-year-old in Jack's room that swears. He's been known to drop the f teachers bxxxx...and finally, throw around "shit!" In fact, Jack was very eager to tell us about it last week. "Mommy, Billy says shit but we don't say shit. Right Mommy? We don't say shit, but that's what Billy says. He says shit."

This conversation happened at Target. :)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Naughty Mickey

As most know, we're big Disney fans in our house. The kids even own Disney stock, so please, spend all you can to ensure the domination of "The Mouse."

Anna's favorite show is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, which is a modern take on the Mickey cartoons. And while it is a modern take, I can't help but point out that the show is still kind of sexist overall. First of all, Minnie and Daisy are always wearing dresses, high heels and bows. Come on! Where are the jeans? Furthermore, the males are always the ones who are solving the problems and going out on the quests to fix problems.

This brings me up to the whole point of this posting...naughty Mickey. So in this one episode (Goofy's Petting Zoo), the boys are all out looking for the animals that Goofy lost. He was napping on the job, and the animals escaped. They finally find the last animal, which is a baby elephant. And guess where the baby elephant is? Sitting up in a tree. (Yeah, the logic of a kids show!) Anyway, the boys decide they have this brilliant idea to shake peanuts at the baby elephant to bribe it down the tree. So they all stand at the bottom of the tree and start singing "Shake, shake, shake, your peanut. Baby elephant, come down the tree. Shake, shake, shake your peanut. Baby elephant, come home with me."

Now while they're singing this, Mickey, Goofy and Donald are doing an Elvis-like hip gyration. And they are emphasizing the "Peeeeeeeeee" part of peanut. Think about it. The boys, hip gyration, shaking their pe....

Now you can tell me those Disney people didn't have themselves a little laugh as they were writing that episode.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I am a bad mother

So Steve is gone this week to a computer training class. It's just me and the kids. Actually, it's kind of relaxing when it's just the kids and and me. Not that Steve isn't relaxing, but when it's just me, I tend to relax because I know there's no one to lean on. I don't need a man!

Well tonight, I learned that I'm not as confident as I thought. I put Anna to bed, and about half an hour later, she's giving me trouble. Trouble as in, she's not sleeping. She's been teething lately, so we never know whether we'll get a full night of sleep. (And you think you're all done with that after they're newborns!) I think all four of Anna's canine know the pointed ones...are coming in at once.

So she's giving me trouble tonight, and I'm semi-frustrated. Okay, I'm definitely frustrated. After multiple trips into her room, she still won't go to sleep. I even tried rubbing her gums with the teething "magic" ointment, which really isn't so magical.

As I went in a couple of times, I'm thinking...ewww, something stinks! I even took out her favorite blanket because I thought it was the source of the stench. The last time I went in there, I was holding her when I decided it was her pajamas that smelled. I took them off, and all of the sudden, it hit me. She had a poopie diaper. I felt awful as I changed it. She had a really red little bottom. I loaded her up with diaper ointment, and asked her if she felt better. With these big, soulful eyes, she nodded and said, "Yeah." I laid her down and haven't heard a peep since then.

Poor kiddo with the bad mommy. I guess Steve is good for something after all.

I can just see Anna tomorrow at day care, comparing "bad mother" stories with the other kids.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Trip to the Farm

My mom came for a visit in August, and one of the highlights of our trip was going to the farm. I thought I would share a few pictures of our adventures. We saw plenty of "real" farm animals, but our favorite by far were the the cats. Yes, that is a picture of my sweet little girl, having a time out on the farm.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day weekend

We went Up North for one last time this summer, and it was great weekend. The water was a little cool, but it didn't stop us from playing in the sand and even jumping off the dock. Actually, the kids jumped into the water while I stood about waist-deep in the lake, hoping I wouldn't get splashed too much.

The other big part of the weekend was our 2007 Fantasy Football Draft. Steve's family has a friendly fantasy football league, and I love it! Before I participated in the league, football season was often painful and excruciatingly long. Don't get me wrong...I love football. But I'm also married to a man who LOVES football. Before we had kids, we turned football early in the morning on Sundays (pre-game show) and then we watched until late at night. He'll watch anything, though his team of choice is the Chicago Bears.

Anyway, football season is much more fun now that I play fantasy. (It probably doesn't hurt that I won our league last year, too!)

So in this year's draft, I was thrilled to pick up Peyton Manning with my first pick. I also picked up the Bears Defense, another one of my favorite picks this season. As many of you know, we have a little bit of football rivalry in the family. Steve likes the Bears and I like the Colts (because of Peyton). The kids have apposing jerseys, so I snapped this picture of the two of them sitting together. Wouldn't it be great to see the real Manning and Urlacher, sharing a moment like this?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Baseball Jack

So I'm really getting fancy with this blog now. I have a video of Jack to share! I'm so impressed with myself. I'm like one of those young kids with the technology!

Back to the purpose of the video, though...Jack is a big fan of playing baseball. Sometimes he likes to play catch with his mitt. But lately, he's been wanting to hit. We tried throwing him a baseball-sized ball at first, but that's hard to hit for a little guy! Now, we use a giant purple ball which works out much better. He's getting to be pretty good with his timing and stance!

By the way, for anyone who knows Steve, this makes him VERY proud. In fact, as I'm typing this, Steve is sitting here, watching baseball and reading a book about fantasy baseball. (I'm really not making this up.)

Anyway, we think Jack might be left-handed, but he bats like he's a righty. Oooo, maybe he'll be a switch hitter.

Okay, okay...back to the video. Well, I'll let you watch it yourself. This is what happened during a recent "batting practice" in the living room.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sick girl update

So for anyone out there biting your fingernails to find out what's wrong with Anna...she has hand, foot and mouth disease. (Don't worry, it sounds much worse than it really is.)

Actually, it is pretty icky. She's got a sore throat, mouth sores and spots on her hands and feet. They can't do anything to actually treat it, which means no real antibiotics. But for now, we have this over-the-counter mixture that the doctor recommended. You know, a little bit of this...a little bit of that. It's all good. I just hope I got the right medicine. When we went to Walgreens, the lights were completely out so one of the employees had to help me find the medicine with a flashlight.

Anyway, she's fast asleep now. She looks so peaceful. It's hard for me to imagine that she's the same girl who was crying in the doctor's office earlier.

For any worrisome grandparents out there, she'll be fine. This is not to be confused with "Hoof and Mouth Disease," commonly associated with cattle. I looked it up, and it turns out when an animal gets this similar disease, the owner usually kills it and burns its carcass. (Harsh, but that's what it said.)

I'm glad the treatment for Anna is less severe. Hopefully with a few days of ice cream, yogurt and our secret mixture, she'll be good as new!

Sick girl=cranky girl

We should be embarrassed that it's been so long since a posting about our dear little fam. Steve has been falling down on the job, so I'm taking over. My pal, Am, recently started a blog, so she's inspired me to write about our own family, too.

So what's up with the title of this entry, right? Well, I'm home with Anna today. She's sick. And let me tell you, this girl knows exactly what she does (and doesn't) want. She's not shy about telling you.

This morning she spent a good 5 minutes in the corner because neither Steve nor I could understand what she wanted, and frankly, she'd rather hang out by herself than to be around her slacker parents. (I could just imagine her thinking, I'm so misunderstood!)

Actually, I don't want to give her a bad rap because she's pretty darn cute, too. In fact, she's especially adorable right now as she's watching Curious George in honor of her sick day.

We're going to the doctor soon, so I'll report after that.

Oh yeah, I'll give a family update at some point, too. After all, it's been an entire YEAR since our last blog. Something must have happened by now, right?