Thought you might want to get to know me a little better... Here's a list of things you may not already know about me...the good, the bad, and the ugly.
25. My second toe is longer than my first. Freakishly longer. In fact, I have heard it referred to as E.T.'s finger. Skinny and boney at the joints. Awesome.
24. I am in debate with myself right now about daring to bare my silver streaked former home to two children in a bikini. I've been in a one piece since the kiddos, but my white stomach is begging to see the light of day. (Feel free to weigh in on this decision by commenting. I value your opinion.)
23. I love to read...especially to my kids. I'm hoping that they will fall in my footsteps and get into trouble after bedtime when they are older (like I did)...because they are reading. There is such a wonderful joy in cozying up with a good book and getting lost in the pages.
22. No matter how hot it is, I always want to have covers on me to sleep. I just can't sleep without them.
21. Every night I go to check on Myles and Jillian to see their cute little faces so peaceful and sleeping. It is a night time necessity for me.
20. My sock drawer has more running socks that dress socks. It proves to occasionally be a problem in the winter.
19. Wine makes me stuffy. It makes my nose so stuffy, in fact, that you might as well pin a clothes pin on my nose...it wouldn't change my breathing. It isn't even worth the side effects anymore.
18. The kids and I sing in the car. If we know the words, we will be belting them out. Jillian cracks me up at the amount of songs she knows the words to. And Myles? I love to hear his interpretation of the words in songs.
17. Real Christmas trees are a necessity in our house. I love picking it out, cutting it down, the whole kit and caboodle.
16. I have never had a cavity. Not one.
15. I hate thong underwear. If only I was born ten years later...I wouldn't know any different. Cheekies, no problem. Thongs, no thank you.
14. I read an article recently about how women are their most beautiful at age 31. I've got exactly one month left at 31. Better make the most of it! I was shocked by this number...I assumed the twenty-somethings would have the thirty-somethings beat by a landslide. I guess with maturity comes beauty?
13. I rarely eat red meat. I just don't like it all that much.
12. Now that I have a hybrid, I am obsessed with my gas milage. It's a game to me. How many miles to the gallon can I get on this trip?!? Can I get into the 50 mpg range? I sometimes (to myself) cringe when Ben gets in the driver's seat. I know my average for this tank of gas is about to take a hit. Idiotic...I know.
11. Eleven is my favorite number. Don't know why, it always has been.
10. I love sauces. Barbecue, sweet and sour, anything I can dip something in...I will. I have even been known on occasion to put barbecue sauce on mashed potatoes. Try it, you'll like it.
9. I never drank in high school.
8. We have a large children's calendar with weather and season charts hanging in our kitchen area. We write important days to the kids on the calendar and go through the weather and seasons each morning. The kids love it and the mini preschool lesson has them very familiar with their days of the week, seasons, counting, etc. They love knowing what to look forward to in the upcoming week. Changing out the calendar to the new month is always an exciting day in our house. (What has become of my life!)
7. I wait until the last possible minute to get up in the morning. Many times, it's not worth it when I look at how funky my hair looks when I get to work.
6. My favorite color is yellow. It always has been. How can the color of sunshine not cheer you up?
5. A fresh coat of nail polish can make me feel like a whole new woman. And yes, I apply it myself. I'm too cheap to go get a manicure. In fact, I have never even had acrylic nails.
4. I shave my legs every single day. Even in the winter. I can't sleep with prickly legs touching each other (and NO, I can't just tough it out until it gets long enough that it is not prickly.)
3. I hate the sound of people brushing their teeth. It gives me goosebumps. It is a showing of true love that I brush my kiddos' teeth for them.
2. I love the smell of coffee, but I hate the taste.
1. I love lists. Oh, you already knew that.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
- Sunday night on my long run, (which is so awesome lately because I don't need to run a set mileage and I can just run and run wherever and how ever far the road takes me) I saw three tiny deer crossing the road. They were not scared of me and they were just adorable. What a great way to start my run.
- The sunshine!! No need to explain this one! Even better? Sunshine and this view of the sailboats on Gull Lake.
- Hearing, "Jillian, I love you" from Myles on our road trip this weekend.
- During my nightly song ritual with Jillian, (each kiddo gets three songs - Rock-a-bye Baby, Zippity-Do-Da, and a made up song composed impromptu on the spot by me!) I was singing about Jillian the princess visiting the pink castle where Mommy the queen, Daddy, the king, Myles, the prince, and Wilson the beast were waiting for her. From Myles' room down the hall he yells, "Moooommm! I don't want to be the prince. I want to be the knight!"
- During a Saturday morning tea party with Jillian, she poured me a cup of tea in the yellow cup that she always reserves for me. She proceeded to pour pretend sugar in the tea. She looked up at me with her matter of fact expression and said, "Don't worry Mommy, this sugar is sugar-free."
- The "cookie fairy" left cookies outside for the kids. Upon hearing about it, Myles ran to see the cookies. He said, "Let me see what they look like... Yup, definitely my Nana did this." Of course, he was right. Think he might have eaten a few of her cookies in his lifetime?
- This week Jillian met her first other girl named Jillian. Let's just say she wasn't a fan of sharing her name. We had to have a talk about stomping her feet, slamming a door, and pouting in her room. She decided going by "Jillian Kate" for the rest of the day would help.
- We are working on our awesome wicker lawn furniture that we found at a garage sale last year on the way to a family party. (You could practically hear the brakes squeal as Ben slammed on them to stop and see the set on display as we were passing by.) Well, it isn't all that awesome yet... It is country blue and faded, but nothing we can't fix! $35 and some spray paint (okay - a LOT of spray paint...have you ever spray painted wicker? It takes A LOT of paint.) Soon enough, I will have an adorable sunshine yellow wicker couch, two chairs, and table for our yard.
I'm Better Off Without List...
- Enduring presentations that include more of the word "ummmmm" and "like" than all the rest of the words combined. I started keeping count. 37 "ummmmms" in less than seven minutes. Keeping count did make things more interesting, though!
- Fire drills at work. No, I don't mean alarms sounding, flames engulfing offices, and people running out of the building (although, this would be horrible and I don't want that either). I mean, hurry, hurry, hurry!! My (symbolic) hair is on fire, and Nicole...you need to please find some water and put it out!!! Please drop everything you are doing and FIX THIS!!! Before we all get BURNED!!!
- This week I asked the kids, "What is something you don't like very much?" I thought they could contribute to the list directly this week. Myles' response: Princesses. Jillian's response: Star Wars, Batman, or Transformers.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
You know it was a great weekend when your camera battery is dead before Sunday even gets rolling. Only sad thing about that - not one picture from the two FUN parties we went to today. Oh well. It is what it is, right?
Friday was the last t-ball game for the AAA Lions. The boys were excited and so proud of the great season they had. The medal Myles received is now the newest important accomplishment...and it has Jillian contemplating t-ball next year. It's all about the jewelry, right? Here are some pictures from Friday night's game...
Myles (on left) in ready position. Seriously, how cute is that?
Jillian, never missing a game...loves to cheer on her brother. Or - maybe I should say play with the other little sisters in the stands.
This week Myles was sneaking out of the dugout to talk to his sis.
Dad and son high fives on the field.
A little trash talk on first base? Not sure.
Two super buddies.
Saturday morning it was on to Holland, Michigan for the Eighth Street Farmer's Market. Myles and Jillian scored two huge Amish chocolate chip cookies.
I didn't know it...but Ben was taking pictures of me taking pictures.
Jillian and I looking at succulents. I just think they are so cool!
On to downtown Holland for lunch. Yes, I let them have cookies before lunch. It's the weekend, right? Myles and Jillian were leading the way. It is pretty awesome to not have to haul around a stroller and diaper bag.
Daddy capturing Mom and Jillian sneaking a kiss in the booth.
There are no words for these silly faces.
After lunch and a quick stop at White House Black Market (of course), we headed to Windmill Island. The last time we were here, Jillian was one week old.
Myles kept asking if we were still in Holland, Michigan or the "other Holland".
Everyone needs a picture in front of a Windmill, right? Our last name means brown cabbage in Dutch for goodness sakes!
Myles and Jillian running to go inside the windmill. We cheated on the tour...we snuck ahead. I never do stuff like that, but it was hot and we didn't need to know every detail about how the windmill functions. I felt like we were skipping class or something.
Two cuties on a rock...sitting right next to each other...without fighting! It was a great weekend. Hope yours was too!
Thursday, June 21, 2012
I hope everyone is having a good week. Tomorrow is Friday, so we all have that going for us. This week has been filled with fun. Today we took a freezing cold trip to Lake Michigan. It was at least ten degrees colder there than it is here. Just enough for goosebumps and chattering teeth, instead of relaxing in the sand and water. Myles ran through the waves, Jillian chased the seagulls, and then we got the heck out of there. Better luck next time. We watched the temperature rising with every mile we drove on the way home.
After nap, we went on a shopping spree, so they could each spend their "hard earned" dollar bills. On the way to the store, we had a discussion about why sometimes people call dollars "bucks". It was quite comical. I digress... Anyway, after perusing the dollar section at Target, they decided that they wanted to go to the Dollar Store next door to make their purchase. (Whose kids are these anyway? Give me a dollar and I can always find something at Target to spend it on. In fact, I bought some sand toys in the dollar section before they left...maybe I was the sucker on that decision...hmmm...did they play me?) After some heavy debating at the Dollar Store, they each settled on some goggles to enhance their swimming abilities.
Thanks to the woman offering rewards in the restaurant yesterday. It made our day...literally. We didn't "put it in our piggy banks" like the kids promised when they received it. (I'm thinking they might be programmed to say this or something?) Instead, it made for an exciting afternoon for two tiny tots. Maybe someday when I am done wrestling with my own kids during a meal, I will take her lead and seek out some well-behaved kids on a Wednesday afternoon. They all have their moments of perfect behavior, don't they? I'm so glad she caught us on one of those moments.
Cheers to Friday, friends! Enjoy!
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
- Listening to Myles and Jillian in the backseat of the car discussing Star Wars characters and plot lines. Jillian is definitely more like me on the topic (just really not all that into it), but (like me) she cares about it because he does. The best part? She says R2D2 as R2Du2 every time, no matter how hard she tries.
- Myles and Jillian were swimming like little fish in the lake this weekend. We have overcome all of our fears of the water!
- Shopping for a new dress. Who doesn't love a new dress? I honestly believe that a dress that fits a woman properly is the most flattering article of clothing she could wear. Add a pair of heels (to improve the leg appearance and va-va-voom) and Viola! You are gorgeous!
- Father's Day at its finest. Jillian paddling my dad around.
- Jillian got her princess shoes for Brooke's wedding in the mail yesterday. When Ben commented on how cool they were, she corrected him... "They are not cool, Dad. They are beautiful."
- Myles is a planner. He loves to know what is going on for the rest of the week...month...and even farther out into the future. Inquisitive minds need to know these things, you know?
- Wearing skirts and dresses for work in the summer. It looks nice and it is more comfortable than pants and a dress shirt. It's a win-win!
- Every night after bath I brush Jillian's hair. Actually, it is really the only time I ever brush those curls...when they are wet! Anyway, every single night as I brush through those gorgeous locks she asks, "It is like Tangled yet?" as she arches her neck trying to get every last inch to count.
- We received our AAA trip tik in the mail today. It maps out our trip to Myrtle Beach later this summer. The trip will be 950 miles and it is spread over 38 pages. I'm glad I'm going to be able to turn the page a lot. You feel like you are really going somewhere with each page turn...kinda like crossing things off of a list. You know I love that.
I'm Better Off Without List...
- Hospital parking ramps. I don't like to generalize about different age groups, but goodness gracious! We pulled into the ramp and an owner of a Cadillac was just getting in their car. Despite the fact that the ramp had eight floors, the woman (read: crazy old lady) in front of us felt the need to wait and honk repeatedly for the Cadillac to hurry up and pull out. After backing up three separate times (and us backing up in turn) to create even more room for the Cadillac, she finally got her coveted first parking place in the ramp. Congratulations. What makes it even better? The Cadillac was now in front of us and proceeded to turn the wrong way on a one way in the ramp. Myles noticed and couldn't stop laughing about it...even hours later. A five year old could read the blatant signs that it was a one way...
- Hanging out on the beach viewing the most interesting attire (or lack there of). Actually, maybe I should have this on the other list because it made for such an interesting day. Have you ever seen a bikini where you couldn't actually visually see the bottoms under the overhang? I have. She would have looked so much better with a different suit choice. I'm wondering why I am so self-conscious in my strapless one piece...
- Macaroni snobs. Why won't my kids eat Kraft like every other kid? No...they have to have Annie's (organic macaroni). That is...unless we are at a restaurant. Then, they magically don't mind Kraft at all.
Saturday, June 16, 2012
A year ago, the world lost a wonderful man, our brother, Tyler. I wanted to write a dedication to such a special person. We miss him every single day that goes by. In thinking through what I wanted to say, I knew there was already the perfect dedication written in my husband's handwriting, in his top dresser drawer. Who better than Benjamin to tell Tyler's story... I have changed a bit, to adapt it from a speech to a written piece of work, but the words are his...about his brother.
Growing up, I always knew that Ty looked up to me. I was quick to try and pass on my current taste in music, fashion, and movies (the important stuff). I wanted to make sure my little brother was cool. In high school, I would look forward to coming home, grabbing Tyler, and taking a cruise in the Jeep. Although we were four grades apart, we shared a special bond that very few siblings have the opportunity to experience. When leaving home for college, one of my biggest inner struggles was leaving Ty behind. This proved not to be a big deal at all. He and his buddies were a mainstay at our place at Western. They became part of "the guys". It was hard for me to think of him as just my brother, but more of a best friend. When I remind myself of my college days, Ty is there. In 2002, Ty was graduating high school and I was getting married. He was the best man in my wedding... Yet, I had no idea the amazing life journey he was about to begin.
The things that Tyler did between the ages of 18 and 27 were things that most of us will have on our "bucket list". Personally, I always have made "safe" decisions, choosing the route that I was pretty sure of the outcome. The comfortable way. I never got the chance to tell him this during his time here, but he knows now... It was during this period of his life, that I started to look up to him.
Follow me on just a few of his stops.
- At 19, he packed a backpack and enrolled at NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School). There, he set out on a four month trek through the Rockies, the desert, and down the Rio Grande. He was sleeping under the stars and learning to live off the land.
- After a short stint back home, he loaded up his Toyota (backpack, flip-flops, guitar, and music) and hit Route 66, on his way to Southern California to live with our Uncle Jeff.
- When Ty was ready to go back to school, he enrolled at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. It was there he met his soulmate, best friend, and future wife, Becky. Together, they shared with us their gift of life in Koa (their son).
- When their journey in Hawaii was complete, they made a home in McKinleyville, California. There they started Kindersports, a grass-roots program teaching and coaching youth sports programs.
- He had just recently completed post-graduate work to receive his teaching certificate in California. He was about to begin a career working with Autistic children.
Who does these things? Tyler did. And...he had only just begun. To hear him talk about his future plans was adventure enough for a guy like me. I know he is in our hearts, our souls.
We are not here all that long. I know that Ty had no regrets. Take a lesson or two from Tyler and make sure you are living your life to its fullest.
Gone from this Earth, but not from our lives.
Tyler, we love you, brother.
In Loving Memory of Tyler Patrick Bruinekool
A wonderful son, husband, father, brother, and friend
February 14, 1984~ June 17, 2011
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
- Summer anywhere along Blue Star Highway...along the western coast of Michigan. Do I sound like one of those "Pure Michigan" commercials yet? Seriously, I really appreciate this awesome state I live in (..well mostly just in the summer). I have traveled all over the United States for work, always thinking there was somewhere so much better out there. I decided that I am the most happy right where I am.
- Bronzer. Otherwise, my face would not match my body at ALL! Can't go without sunscreen on my face...I don't need any wrinkles! Bronzer can make up the difference.
- Myles asking from the backseat this weekend, "Mom, is it okay if I share my tootsie roll with Jillian?" What a sweet boy!
- Driving with the windows down. I don't care at all about messed up hair...bring on the wind. This is our first summer in a while without a Jeep Wrangler to take the top off... Guess the windows and a sunroof will have to do.
- Lazy evenings on the couch.
- Sweet tea. Now I can only have it with artificial sweeteners, but I love it. I wasn't even born in the South. When I was a kid, I remember drinking so much of it on our trips to the Carolinas that I would get sick. Still worth it.
- This weekend I missed Myles' tee ball game that was during the bridal shower. (It was the first time I missed one and it was kinda sad!) I called him to wish him good luck. He told me, "I'll get a hit for you, Mom!" Love.
- Strapless swimsuits. Why have I not done this before?? Hello? Now my sundresses don't look weird with awkward tan lines. Too bad I didn't do this the year I got married. I remember putting oil on the strap marks and 50SPF everywhere else. I still had lines. Ten years later, I finally figured it out.
- Watching Jillian chew bubble gum. She chews like a major league baseball player. She had her first piece (that my mom gave her) a few weeks ago at a baseball game. She fell in love with it. Now, every time she sees my mom, she is hoping for a piece.
- This week my goal was to be peaceful. I rocked it.
Better Off Without List...
- Jillian's new disdain for meat. Yesterday, after dinner we drove to Battle Creek (a half-hour drive). After arriving at our destination, I noticed she was still chewing...her chicken. Sick. What got her to swallow it? Seeing my mom...she was hoping for gum.
- A sunburn. I never burn! Guess I can't say never. I have a pink back and a new understanding for people that sunburn. Ouch!
- A dog that has been sneaking on the couch while we are away. Nothing a little tin foil can't solve...but I'm not used to a naughty dog! He's not a puppy anymore!
Monday, June 11, 2012
So…Friday night was Brooke’s bridal shower. My house, her friends, drinks, hor’dourves, presents, and one wacky game…made for a fun night. Let’s review in photos…
I totally raided Brooke's bedroom the night before the shower. She didn't even notice. I was able to have pictures and memorabilia for some of the decorations. They were free...and meaningful to her.
Some other decorations that I had included these two banners reading "i do" and "love". They are made from black glittered letters affixed to weathered (water, crumple, dry in the sun, and repeat) paper bag cut outs. They hang from hemp. I love how they turned out. Brooke thinks she might use them at the wedding. After that...I think I might even hang the "love" banner above my bed.
I’ve never been one to take pictures of food…but just for you…I did.
The cake. Honestly, nothing special. I had big dreams for the cake, but the cake decorator disappointed me. Oh-well. I was told it tasted good. That's all that matters, right?
Kiss pies. They turned out pretty well and most of them were gone...always a good sign. No matter how I tried to press them, they looked Asian. The effort was there at least. Thanks for the recipe, Pinterest.
Mini Fruit Cups. Okay, I am going to be brutally honest. This recipe sucked. Sorry fellow pinterest post-er. I was spewing words not appropriate for all ears at 11:30 Thursday night when the sugar cookie cups were not able to just “pop out of the muffin tin.” I was ticked. I’m sure it was just my baking inadequacies, but after cooking all day – I wasn’t in the mood for it. I was getting four to a pan of twelve…and those four were surgically removed with a fork, knife and spoon. Ridiculous! Ben eventually asked me to move on to making regular sugar cookies. Good decision. Then, the next day – I needed to make the filling. The recipe called for a tub of cool whip and a package of cream cheese. Well, it wasn’t very good. I ended up concocting my own recipe by adding some powered sugar, real vanilla, and milk to the recipe. In the end, I could never duplicate it, but that’s the way it is for 95% of my recipes anyway! They were good. Next time, I'll just make the cookies flat.
Shower favors. Paris lotion, following the Paris theme.
Baked brie. I make it all the time and as usual, it proved to be a success. I couldn't believe with a group of 22-23 year olds, it was the first thing gone.
Caprese skewers. Fresh mozzarella...is always a winner.
Simple bread and olive oil dipper. Simple.
A look at the food table.
Drinks, anyone? Wine, Sangria, and a wine punch. All were a success and mostly finished. Surprise!
The Sangria was good (I was told). It was a bit of a concoction, but the general recipe included:
2 bottles red wine
1 bottle white wine
Shot of Brandy
2 Lemons squeezed and tossed in
2 oranges squeezed and tossed in
Refrigerated over night.
Before the party, I added 4 cups of club soda
So yeah, the food is important...but bridal shower games are always such a drag... I had a shower ten years ago that had this amazing idea for a game (from an amazingly witty woman)...so quite frankly, I copied it and passed the fun onto my guests Friday night.
Here is a run down of the game (I SO wish I had pictures - but that would have given me away)...
I asked a friend from work, Terri, who was simply perfect for this acting role, to come and crash the party. So, after everyone was settled into our family room, happily eating and chatting...in barges Terri...in a tizzy! A hot mess, she walks right in apologizing for being late and is all flustered carrying baby shower balloons and a huge purse. I asked Brooke to please introduce her guest...who she of course DOES NOT KNOW!! She asks Terri if she is going to a baby shower... It appears that Terri has the wrong address and decides to dump her entire purse on the floor in search of the invitation. Let's just say she had a few questionable items in her purse. Frantically, she gathers all of her belongings back into to her purse and rushes out the door.
It took a few minutes for the buzz of the room to calm. They just could not believe that crazy woman just did what she did! And - there you have the game. Whoever identified the most items from her scattered purse items...won. It was a blast and a fun twist on traditional shower games. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Too bad I just gave up my gig to everyone I know!
Sunday, June 10, 2012
This weekend we had a lot of adventures! It all started with a fun shower for my sister-in-law, Brooke. I'll post some pictures from the evening later this week. You already saw the menu in one of last week's posts... I do have a few comments about some of the recipes. Stay tuned!
As for the rest of the weekend...we did a great job of checking off many of our Fun Things To Do This Summer. Here are our fun times in photos...
Fun Thing to Do # 4 Go To The Beach. We spent an awesome day in South Haven on North Beach. We loved every minute of it. We also knocked out #14 Go to the Farmer's Market while we were in South Haven.
Lunch in South Haven.
So happy to be at the beach. They are finally awesome ages to play all day in the sand, sun, and waves.
The Sandman, Myles.
I was so happy that the kids made instant friends with Owen, the kiddo next to us on the beach.
Building a sandcastle with Dad. Yes, this was on the list as well... It is # 26.
Two sandy thumbs up from Jillian on Beach Day.
Take a serious look at this pose. Poor Myles missed the boat...but Jillian is rockin' it! People were honestly laughing at her on the pier (which walking it is #25 if you were wondering). She just knows how to work it, doesn't she? I swear, I did NOT teach her this. You don't see me in many pictures...that proves my case.
We saw a college-aged girl selling bracelets on the beach. The kids each made their pick and displayed them proudly.
Star Wars in the water.
Myles, Jillian, and their beach friend.
I'm so happy that they can make friends so effortlessly.
Somehow, these two high school girls took to Jillian and wanted to include her in their game. So sweet.
Mack Daddy Myles moved onto the ladies when Owen was on a walk. He was chasing and playing with this little sweetie for quite a while.
After the beach we headed to Saugatuck (#13) for dinner and ice cream (#2).
Myles' biggest wish for his half birthday (which was SO IMPORTANT to him this year - I'm wondering if it is because he has a December birthday?) was to go putt-putt golfing (#3). So today was his day.
Yes, Jillian's club is backwards in this pictures. She was surprisingly half-way decent at putting.
We knocked a lot off out list for the summer this weekend. I have a feeling we will be doing all of those Fun Things again this summer...because they were just so fun.
Hope your weekend was awesome.