Friday, December 11, 2015


All bundled up for our three plus inches of snow that arrived today. So cute. They lasted only twenty minutes, of course. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day.

As a lifelong member of the American Legion Auxiliary, I want to say thank you and honor Veterans. Truly our freedom and conveniences and politics and laws and all that big American stuff, is not free. Grateful to live in this land. All the many lives lost, families shaken, for our country... that's not to be taken lightly.

Oh and thanks to my dad for enlisting in the Army when it wasn't cool to do so. Wish all vets could have government jobs (so the day off) and cute kids to serve them breakfast in bed like he had!


Monday, November 2, 2015

Costumes and Candy.

Not my favorite holiday but we did Halloween dress up and candy three days in a row! Thursday for Eli's trunk or treat at school and Friday for a quick treating through Greg's work. Both times Star Wars for the kids (Obi Wan Kenobi (with Darth hat) and Yoda) and just on Thursday Han Solo and Qui Gon Jin showed up. 

But by Saturday Eli was ready for a change and our cold weather required a quick costume box check for new costumes. Robot and cupcake for the win! Annalee could barely walk with basically a snowsuit on underneath it. Hilarious and adorable. They went out in our neighborhood with Daddy and enjoyed it all. Then we stopped by grandparents for spoiling - they each got a stuffed animal instead of candy. 


A Skelton costume trick or treater scared Annalee badly that night. Again, not my favorite day but I'll just focus on the good. And the joy two kids had! 


Friday, October 23, 2015

One Boss Only.

Eli is a little ham. This week he has had some great quotes. It's so fun seeing his personality. He's caring. He hates when others get in trouble. He's a snuggler. He loves to show off to anyone who will listen. He has an insane imagination, with perhaps some issues in what's reality versus not. He has a tough time focusing on the task at hand. He loves to be around people. He loves being read to and flipping through books. He likes comfy pants and can do most dressing himself. He loves playing "little legos" and will do so by himself for a good bit. He loves screens but gets headaches from too much. He sometimes gets his "l's" right... so he actually says Annalee instead of Annawee. He is awesome.

From this morning:

Eli: "When are you going to drop me off at Grandmas?"
Me: "I'm not going to drop you off. Annalee and I are going to go to Grandmas with you."
Eli pauses, then whines "Nooo"
Me: "You don't want us to come?"
Eli: "No. There is Grandma. And Mama. That's two bosses. I only want one boss."

Pure talent to make a lowercase "e" out of his pretzel. 
At the library. He always grabs the pencils and paper to "write a list of books to get" (aka scribbles)
Batman - I gave this outfit to him as a "just because you're super" gift Thursday. He's worn it everyday. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Candle Day.

I'll probably think of Maelee every day of my life. Having days (like her birthday) are especially nice. Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day are good for that collaborative community "hey this happens and we need to remember." Grieve loud folks, it's good for you.

I was in Fargo for two days and hurried back because I missed my living kiddos and wanted to light a candle with them and tuck them in tonight.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Shoot Me Now.

We had a friend take family photos because it was an AMAZINGLY beautiful day on Saturday and we've had scheduling issues with our real photographer. Since it didn't cost anything, I'm not too upset that the kids hated it. We got a few shots frame-worthy. And some others.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Shoe Party!

I think I did a better job of not going over the top for the second birthday of Miss Annalee. Just slightly over-the-top.

I will say the theme was oh-so-appropriate for her. She still loves shoes! I went with pinks and black/white damsk-like pattern because I had some plates and napkins like that I thought would work. I used many items we already owned and I commissioned friends to be on the lookout for cheap shoes.
The birthday girl eating a snack pre-party (she was really cranky after her nap).
The tablecloth is just fabric I got for crazy cheap (I didn't even sew the edges! Gasp!)
And the shoes in the middle I spray-glued and glittered BUT were messy so I only did one pair.

I used photos of Annalee from this last year on our other table with little plastic shoes I found at Hobby Lobby (also used with favors). Had a sign to keep shoes on for the guests! The favors were shoes for the little ones (Old Navy clearance) and scarves for the older kids (gift box, clearance I had bought two years ago) and shoe-shaped rubber bands (ebay). Thanks for coming print (shutterfly) with her newborn, one year, and recent photos (oh my how she keeps getting cuter)!

The "shrine" china cupboard (I try not make it shrine-like but always seems to become so) - printed photos of Annalee framed. Pendant banner TWO in the same fabric as the tablecloths. I cut out pink fabric to line all the shoes so they'd look nicer. I did circle cut her name out. I used the same font from her invitations for everything else needing printing because y'all, that is how I roll.

I used vases we already had... and you know what? Most every one of those pink vases were from flowers we received after Maelee died. Plus her tulips and birdie are there, too. Because she... she is not here to celebrate her little sister but I choose to have specs of her around us always.

Had this photo printed and framed at the party. So cute. 
You can see the three shades of pink nail polish bottles I was going to use for the game winners. But, party planner fail, I forgot to actually play the games. I was going to have the kiddos walk in high heels holding a spoon and egg (well, not a real egg but something similar) and walk from point A to point B. Eli also came up with a game (YES, he did! my son! theme games!): hide one shoe and they have to find all the pairs (seriously, how great is that kid?!). We weren't going to open gifts but cousin Lilli brought over a gift excitedly and we ended up doing that so I'm guessing that's why I forgot.

She ate a little frosting and then stopped. Not into the cupcake. 
I made cupcakes, white with homemade frosting, pink on pink. Found damsk print cupcake holders at JoAnns (used coupon, of course). I was going to make high heels with them (there is a way with milanos and wafer sticks) but refrained from that work. Made lots of mini cupcakes instead - I'm loving bitesize goodies. Also I made creme wafers... recipe from the old Betty Crocker cookbook. My mom made these at our wedding. CRAZY AMOUNT OF WORK. Rolling out dough, cutting, dipping in sugar, poking with fork, filling, etc. But so damn good. And cute. Worth it.

Oreo balls, cute with pink dots. Krista shared a nail polish recipe on her wall so I made her make them (marshmallow, frosting, tootsie roll) - gross but cute. Also made a lemon pound cake from Krusteaz that was very good.

The main food was chicken salad crossiants - though I wish I would have added bacon to my chicken salad recipe. Chips, pistashio salad (so North Dakotan), shrimp salad and crackers, cheese, fruit. I bought little pink cups at HL and we filled with veggies (I was going to add the ranch on the bottom but Greg thought that was a bad idea). Also we had a bunch of pink/red drink options and water in my new water server thing (86 cents after my Kohls cash) but the thing leaks (fail).

Those hot pink shoes are my size. They are terrible to walk in but so worth the $2.50 I paid for them at the thrift store. The white serving platter I just was gifted from my mom's aunt that passed away in July four-days shy of 101. My moms two cousins were going through their mom's house and I was given some gems. I love that platter. I also used my mom's wedding gift silver platter and other silver platters she gifted me. And one of her delicate, Rosenthal china bowls too. It's right next to my plastic IKEA bowl though so the amazingness of that china isn't displayed in all it's glory. Sorry mom.

I had a SHOE coloring book (bought on Amazon) but didn't take a photo of that table and cute sign. Here's Lilli enjoying it though (like I knew she would).
The photo booth was my favorite (photos below). All and all, the details were there but not too much work. I also now have a crazy amount of dress-up shoes for our costume box.

I am most happy about our family and friends that came. A few folks were sick or couldn't make it. The invite stated:  "Fancy attire requested. Spectacular shoes required."

Clearly Birthday Girl is the only one not on board with her party.
Three of us married Kasowski's - great choices! A great lineage for Annalee. So glad Great Grandma came from Buffalo and also that Grandma was back from China in time for this party. Annalee is holding the baby doll from her Great Barb and it was a big hit. Also notice my zebra SHOES. A $5 splurge, purely impractical because I could wear them for five minutes. 
Annalee was gift a whole set of dress up shoes, like six pairs. And a crown. This is my crazy mom face. 
This is the best we are getting for the kiddos photo.

Okay. I think that covers everything. I loved planning this girly, for ladies only, party and I love celebrating the gift that Annalee is!

-I-like-party-planning-too-much Mom

Monday, October 5, 2015

She's TWO!

Our sweetheart turned two yesterday. What a joy to see her face most every day these last two years. From the first time we saw her eyes that snowy Friday night, to the overcast, chilly Sunday yesterday, every day with Annalee alive and healthy has been a gift. She's precious to me (and so many others too) and if there is one thing I want her to know is how much she is loved.

Her personality is fun to watch. She seems more introverted, not a fan of loads of people. She is also wild and crazy and impulsive and silly and hilarious. She is opinionated and her lower lip can pout out with the best of them. She loves her family and knows most of them by name. Annalee's vocabulary is consistently increasing, and we just love to hear her speak. Mostly we understand but sometimes we have no clue. When we come up to the stop sign next to the park, she now always says "uh thdat" meaning "want that".

She loves toys: babies, her stuffed animals (puppy, dolly, beary), shapes sorter, cell phones, fake food, etc. She is finally getting into books, many of Eli's past faves: hippos, red bow, brown bear, pat the bunny, goodnight moon, and whatever random ones she hijacks from Eli's stash. She wore 12 month size pants today (snuggly) but most are 18 month. She wears 18-24 month or 2T tops. She seems to be growing taller.

And she Glad her party theme was still fitting!
Some Adorableness for you in the form of Annalee Linn!

More party photos to follow!


Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Last Year:

This Year:

I sure love that little sunflower of ours. Almost TWO years old!

And this guy is pretty great too!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Grammy left tonight and Grandpa Lloyd leaves tomorrow. But it was sure great to have them here for a few days! I will treasure hearing Annalee say "Hold Me Grammy" and "Bum-pa Loid" and seeing the kids light up when my Dad is pretending to be a cat "meow" or when we are all giggling at the dinner table in corn-themed pirate voices. Grateful for these ordinary moments that seem so extraordinary because we are together.

Come back soon!


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Grand Day 2015.

I am saddened by the fact my paternal grandparents died while I was so young. Man, some of my cousins had so.many.years with them and I was less than a year old when my grandfather passed and only nine when my grandma passed away.

And really I was too focused on myself to take time to really know my maternal grandparents before it was too late.

Damn being the youngest.

Yet I am grateful I married into having three awesome living grandparents to know, missing out only on knowing Greg's grandpa by a couple years.

And this grandparents day, I am especially glad our kids have four wonderful people to call their grandparents. A strong heritage is something to be celebrated! And what a gift, truly, that each of them are present in our lives.

Happy Grandparents Day!

These four are Eli's grandparents, too, but you know I just don't have those all nice and posed like I had these from June!


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Two Today.

Maelee would have started kindergarten last week, friends. She would have been so ready to take on the world of school. Her little pink-ish backpack. Her dress and sparkly shoes. Five years and four months old, our firstborn would have been no more baby and all girl. So yes, she has crossed my mind as I think about that milestone this year and prepare for that for our boy next year.

You bet I loved the fact I could take these photos of our rainbow boy this morning. He had a year of two-day per week preschool last year and he started three-day per week this morning. Eli K (since now there is ANOTHER Eli in his class!), was roaring and ready to go back to school to see friends. And the new Eli? He wore a yellow shirt today. That's all Eli really could say. He painted and played and life is just grand at four, folks.

And let's not forget about this adorableness that is our Annalee. She has really gotten into a handful of stuffed animals, a few special ones get carried around. Puppy has stayed at the top of the charts, even after a week-plus hiatus in Buffalo (I mean even Puppy realizes it's a happy place and decided to stow away under the bed - thanks for the return Great Gma and cousin Mike!).

So there's our two today. One in the morning, the other in the afternoon in this very lovely fall day in ND.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Halfway to 70.

My guy, he doesn't do birthdays. He isn't into the limelight. So even though I'd love to theme-up his day, I try let it pass with just a few specialties. This year it involved thai food, his favorite. We learned we have a food truck in town. They gave me free egg rolls for his birthday! Sweet lady, reasonable and authentic food that I didn't hate! Win!

Greg's mom made his favorite Apple pie. Big win!

Better watch out, I'm going to break out a giant over-the-top birthday party for him, someday. 


Friday, August 28, 2015


It's girls night in our house. Me and her while the boys watch football in Buffalo. I had a dress I wanted her to try on and she found mismatched socks she requested me put on. Then she puts on shoes and her own headband. Bam! Instant 20s era flapper! I better step it up for girls night (I didn't know we had a theme!!).  

This girl is fun! She just tried shoving a toy in my mouth as I type this to prove it. So I better go get some swing music on...


Friday, August 21, 2015

Niece Love.

We have a handful of nieces (girl cousins for our kids)... of course we are smitten with them all. And all but one has a birthday in July, August, or September!

July 23 - Miss Ali, now 9 (and looking so like her mom!)
August 2 - Miss Alexia Maelee now the big 2! We had such fun at her GOLDEN birthday!
Halfway around the world, missed and loved!
August 26 - Miss Marian will be 8! (oh Vivi Hope, too, the only March birthday girl)
September 7 - Miss Lilli will be 8 (and she will be the first to say how excited she is for her parties and gifts)!
September 23 - Miss Ava Maelee will be 5 (and what a fun girl!) 
To each of you, we love you much and want you to know you are treasured, adored, and blessed. Don't waste life worrying about what others think, just care what God thinks. Life isn't always easy but it's always beautiful. You are loved dear ladies!

-Auntie H

Monday, August 17, 2015

Noted and True.

On Saturday we were driving together as a family and Eli stated a very true statement: "I think God created Annalee to love shoes."

Yes. yes He did. This girl. If there are shoes around, most likely she's got her feet in them. No matter the size (yes, even Grandpa's size 13/14 slippers she will try waddle in). 

So of course we are having a shoe-themed birthday party for our sweet girl, turning two in seven weeks. Here's a sweet photo from after church yesterday, enjoying my shoes. 

She's on a mission. Or a job interview. 
It's so fun to see her girliness and her fondness for certain things.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Digital Short.

I'm just testing to see if I can upload videos on here easily...


UPDATE - it worked! But now I'm too tired to find another short video so this is all you get...

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Zander Fam.

It's been a busy and fun weekend. All but one cousin's husband met up in Dickinson for some fun. Sad not to have my grandparents around to be with us and see us all together. A weekend is too short of time, but we still made the best of it. Thanks to Auntie Ruphie (well, that's how Eli says it) for all her work coordinating it.


PS - our t-shirts were BRIGHT!

Girl Cousins

Thursday, July 30, 2015


This photos are from awhile ago, but I'm dumping photos from my phone and card onto the computer. And these are begging to be shared.

Pieces of my little heart, these two. Looks like a hat my grandpa Ray would have worn, too.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Pinker Family Week.

My sister and family arrived late last Friday for a week of vacation. Yes, they take a week to travel to North Dakota. Truly a vacation destination, folks!

We had a nice weekend together and it's just a great feeling to be all together. We went to a kids renaissance fair and Heritage Center Saturday. Sunday was a trolley ride and trip around Fort Lincoln. Late Sunday night, however, I woke up with pink eye. Bad, goopy, sore right eye, up for a few hours in the middle of the night deal. I was bummed knowing we planned the waterpark for Monday and I wouldn't be able to go! And worrying about giving it to others. And mostly kicking myself for not getting new glasses yet.

Sidenote: I actually DID get new glasses a few weeks ago. I bought them online. They showed up and the box and case were all smashed and the frames were bent from bad shipping. Plus they were a little too big. So I returned them and planned on trying that online route again. My old glasses are over ten years old. Most of the coatings are scratched off. They are way small and severely bent causing them to be way crocked. In my defense, I only wear them right before bed or in the morning before my contacts. So part of what I was worrying about was having to wear those glasses this week!

Thankfully there is a place in Bismarck that does same-day glasses. So Monday Annalee and I missed the waterpark but went and I blindly picked out one of the cheapest glasses they had (still more than I wanted to spend but not bad). Plus I had still-good prescription drops for pink eye I started Monday which significantly improved my eye. I ended up going in to the doctor today for that and to make sure I didn't have strep or something since my throat has had issues this last week. Just not a great week to be sickly. No strep, thankfully. Especially since the Zander Family Reunion starts Friday. Spread the love, not germs.

To note, Eli had a great time with the family at the waterpark Monday. Perfect hot day for it! Then the wind arrived yesterday so we had a low-key day. Today the Lipperts and my parents headed up to Crosby for a quick visit, to come back tomorrow. The house will be quiet tonight! It makes me happy to see my kids interacting with my family and vice versa. It's got sweetness written all over it.
authentic mexican (food, not us)
At the burger place, soccer themed for Ali, our soccer star!
HILARIOUS! The waitress took some of our baskets when we were done. She said "NO, don't take my food!" and used her hands to cover her basket. Biggest sentence I could understand. Then she repeated another waiter she overheard say "is your food ok?" - she just talked and talked and made us all smile!
Better than TV entertainment. We had winds 50-70+ mph last evening. We had stuff flying. Greg got out his goggles and jacket to run to rescue things. We all watched and laughed. Lots. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Trolley Ride!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Bee.

If you're not from the can't KNOW wind. (Looking out on the family field)
I brought the kids to the Threahing Bee last weekend. My dad was there and we had a nice time. Annalee was cutting teeth so battling a fever but she improved by Sunday. 

I took some great photos on my camera that I'll share later perhaps. 

For now: 
Eli got to steer the golf cart. 

Fagerlands let us take over their house stay with them and Eli loved it. Playing Sorry and picking wild peas were highlights.

Our friends gave us this stroller and it is THE BEST! 

Riding the family fire truck in the parade! Whoot!