Thursday, September 29, 2011

Go Huskers!

Being from Nebraska, I love the Huskers.  Zach is from Wyoming, and loves the Cowboys!  Nebraska and Wyoming last played one another in 1994.  There has been a lot of talk about this game for several months.  Tickets were hard to get, and luckily Zach's brother was able to snag 4 extra tickets.  Zach, his dad, my sister and brother-in-law went to the game.  I stayed home with the kiddos, but that didn't mean that I wasn't cheering them on!

Before Zach saw the kids last Saturday morning, I was already wearing a red shirt, Adlyn was wearing her Husker cheerleader uniform, and Brooks had on his red Husker football jersey.  They were cute!  Below, Brooks wore his UW shirt just long enough for the picture, but he was cheering for Big Red. 

We went to church that night and the kids were wound up.  Afterwards, one of my co-workers who was sitting a few pews behind us told me that if the kids were dressed in UW colors, the behavior might have been more acceptable! 

Nebraska won the game, and I couldn't be happier!  I've been waiting for a game like this since Zach and I first started dating eight years ago!

Brooks and Adlyn are ready for the big game!

Naked House

I feel so naked!  Zach's artwork is in a show for the next two months, and it is exciting, yet depressing.  Our house has bare walls because the majority of the pieces in the show typically hang in our house.  Most of all, I miss Mookie the moose.  When Zach and I first started to get to know each other, he was painting "Oops", his close up moose painting. This remains my favorite piece of his artwork, and always will. 

I can't wait for it to be the end of November when the moose will go back up on the wall.  I look at it every day.

Make, Try

Another phrase that Brooks and Adlyn like to say is "make" or "try".  I think they are very determined, and enjoy challenges, and they want to make sure that others are giving their best.

When I asked Brooks if he wanted to ride to the park, he said he would "try".  As he was riding, he would tell me "make".  He was going to make it! 
If I come up with an excuse to not do something, they will remind me to "try".  I like seeing that they have perseverance.  They rarely give up, and I think this is a great trait that they both have!  As I look back, I think both of them have been strong-willed since they have been born.  They thrived quite well in the hospital and as infants, and I look forward to seeing them strive to be the best they can be as they become young adults. 

Same Same/Match Match

Brooks has been very interested in things that are the same.  He likes to spot a color, and then find lots of other items of that same color.  He says, "Same, Same," or "Match, match." 

Last weekend, a picture of Zach's moose was in the newspaper to promote an art show displaying his work.  Both of the kids recognized his art and showed me the match located in the living room.

It has been wonderful to see the growth in the words in the past few months. 

Longest Ride

This week, Brooks and Adlyn have both had their longest bike ride.  They rode their bike for almost one mile on the way to the park.  They did great - and I am so proud of them!  I did take the stroller along, just in case. 

Last weekend Brooks made it all the way, and Adlyn decided to ride in the stroller after a few blocks.  Last night, Adlyn made it all the way to the park, along with Brooks.

They are doing so good with their bikes, and have made so much progress over the summer.  I'm looking forward to bike rides with the kids in the future.

Dance Dance

We were walking home from the park last weekend, the kiddos were being hokey-pokey, and I turned around to tell them to hurry up.  As I turned around, they had grabbed one another's hands, and were saying, "Dance, dance."  They would jump around in circles, dancing, and holding hands.  It was pretty adorable.  For that moment, the thought of me asking them to hurry up disappeared.  They were just being kids and were completely in the moment.  I told them they would have to show Dad their new trick when he got home.

Several times this week they have continued doing this.  Sometimes one of them will want to "Dance Dance" and the other one doesn't.  They have a little argument, and then they usually give in and do a little dance together.

I'm looking forward to catching them dancing on video.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Social Media

At work this week, I coordinated a Social Media workshop.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to sit in on it since I had to prep for some other trainings I'm delivering next week.

I thought I would share a little bit about the topic...

So, I was a little late to join the Facebook craze, but signed up in April 2011, probably 5 years too late.  By then, I had started this blog, and it would be a good way for me to connect with some old friends, and maybe gain a few readers.

I really like the blogging world.  It is fun, and I like knowing that I am capturing all of the stories, phrases, and actions of Brooks and Adlyn.  I want to remember the details someday, and this is a great method to achieve it.  Surprisingly, I've had 1,200+ hits to the site since I started in March 2011.  I really didn't think anyone was looking at it!

As far as texting goes, I don't think I'll be going there.  I have it blocked on my phone.  I'm the only one in my office who doesn't, and I'm ok with that!  Maybe after seeing my college-aged brother-in-law being addicted to texting has turned me off.

I like seeing my husband's YouTube videos, they make me smile.  He puts in a lot of work to make them, and he really enjoys the process and production. 

This summer, while meeting with my friend Amy when she was camping nearby, a man spotted Zach and recognized him.  Do you know where he recognized him?  From YouTube!  Ugh, I rolled my eyes...and chuckled inside.  Who knew so many people watched Zach Even's hunting and fishing videos.  Two of his videos have 50,000+ views!  Geesh!  To me, that seems like a lot!

This winter when we were coming home from a snowmobile outing, long story short... we went into the ditch after partially hitting a construction grade ladder that was in the road.  A man pulled up behind us in a big pick up truck, Zach got out, and I overheard them talking.  He recognized Zach from a fishing forum he moderates online, and asked him if he was "mountain man".  Once again, I rolled my, these people recognized each other from pictures on a fishing forum!  I'm thankful he pulled us out of the ditch.  Too bad I don't remember his forum name, otherwise I could have posted him a nice message. 

So, the role of social media is great...and has come in very handy.  It has been a fun thing to get started with, and it will be exciting to see where it goes in the future.

Football Game

Last Friday night, we took the kids to their first football game.  It was a success!

Not only did the team win, but the kids did great!

We found a seat at the very top corner of the bleachers - it was a packed with fans.  Zach took the kids to the concession stand to get some popcorn.  Two bags of popcorn kept two - two-year-olds completely occupied for two quarters.  They sat between us like angels and munched away at their popcorn and watched.  They loved every minute of it.  The seats were so full that there was not any wiggle room, or space to climb around.  They had no option but to sit in their space. 

Adlyn and I shared a popcorn, but I wasn't allowed to hold the bag.  This was Adlyn's responsibility, and luckily, she didn't drop it.  Brooks munched away at his.  Adlyn became sad after dropping a kernel near her feet.  She made me get it, and yes, she ate it.  She didn't want it to go to waste! 

It sprinkled just a little during the first quarter, but we stayed dry.  The lady in front of us took out a pink, lacy, shower curtain once she felt a few drops, poked her head between a loop near the top, and covered herself up, for the entire game.  I gathered she had a disability, but it was funny and she thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the game. 

Brooks enjoyed watching the kicker and the tackles.  They spotted the football 'team' and recognized the colors of the jerseys.  The fire truck and ambulance would turn on their lights after a touchdown, and that was very exciting.

At half time we watched the men's swim team run a lap around the track in their Speedos, next, the cheerleaders did a dance.  It was quite the half-time show! 

We also visited the mascot and shook his hand, that was very cool in the eyes of Brooks & Adlyn.  By the fourth quarter, they were getting tired and it was late.  We brought their milk, they snuggled in close, and kept warm with the blanket that we brought to sit on. 

Best of all, our team won, and we look forward to going to a local game again sometime...soon!

Here, Kitty Kitty

Recently at the park, we don't even have to say, "Here, Kitty Kitty," and the kitty comes!  It started last weekend when I had the kids at the park, and a cat came over to visit.  Wow, what a nice cat!  It was very friendly, and enjoyed the kids.  Surprisingly, it didn't bite, scratch, or hiss, even after everything our kids put it through.

Adlyn enjoyed picking it up near its front legs, and its back feet would drag on the ground.  She would carry it up the steps on the playground equipment, and set it down on the wiggle bridge.  Then, she would jump up and down to make it bouncy for the cat.  It lasted about 2 seconds and the cat hopped down.  Next, she would get the cat and carry it to the highest part of the playground, by the steep slide.  After several attempts of trying to push it down the slide, she basically resorted to tossing it lightly on the slide where it would 'slide' down the rest of the way.  The kids thought it was hilarious to see a cat go down the slide!  Poor cat...  But, for some reason, it didn't seem to mind.  Adlyn would get it again and take it to another slide and do the same thing.  Brooks also picked it up, but it was Adlyn who was determined to have this cat play with her.  Brooks liked to look at the cat really close, and kept telling it, "Me."  I think he was introducing himself.  Sometimes it would lay down under the slides, and Brooks would tell it, "Out!  Come!"  It usually stayed put.  There were a few small pieces of cat food at the playground, and they enjoyed feeding it to the cat.  Brooks also tried to hand it small pieces of tennis court surfacing, and proceeded to tell it, "Eat!"  The whole time I was just laughing to myself.  How could this cat be so calm?  Why in the world is it putting up with two kids?

The next day we went to the park, and the cat came to visit.  Its interactions this day were quite the same.

A few days later we went to the park with Zach and Grandma, and the cat came to visit.  On this day, it seemed a little timid.  It might of been because of all the adults that were there.

Maybe we'll see the cat again this weekend.  If we do, you'll know that I'm laughing!

New, Special, Store

Brooks & Adlyn have a phrase they say quite frequent, and that would be, "New, special".  It makes me laugh.  Anything new is also pecial (special).  Also, if it is new, it is probably from a store, and they will tell you that.

To me, it is along the same lines of, "Big, huge," and "Little, tiny."  The two word phrases are great, and they are building upon their words everyday.

Our neighbors got a new, special dog yesterday.  The kids are excited!  We don't have animals, so the new dog is quite special for us!  We get all of the excitement of a dog, and we don't have to take care of it.  Perfect, and just the way I want it.  It is a 1 1/2 year old chocolate lab named Mocha, or Mo for short.  It seems to have a great demeanor thus far, and I'm sure the kids can't wait to dog-sit. 

As I reflect on our evening tonight, I realize Brooks & Adlyn are really good buddies.  They play well together, and they keep themselves quite entertained.  Zach mentioned today that Brooks was calling for Adlyn "Addy" when he was downstairs today and wanting to play.  They do like each other's company.  To a mom, that is very special!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fly In

Last weekend we also enjoyed the annual Fly In!  It is so nice for the kids to be able to walk around the airport and see all of the planes and helicopters.  This year they had a hot air balloon, and they enjoyed seeing that.  Brooks really liked the green airplane.  I'm looking forward to the day when they can go on their first plane ride (I won't count the Flight for Life ride to Denver just before they were born).  We were hoping to see the Black Hawk helicopter again this year, but it wasn't there.  We are looking forward to next year's event!

Dad & Brooks


Adlyn & Mom


Duck Adlyn!

Brooks & Dad in the Crowd

Adlyn's Takes a Close Look

Church Picnic

Last weekend we took part in the church picnic.  I took some photos of the kids playing, they were having such a great time.  They enjoy playing on the stair railing after church, and it was fun to capture it last weekend since I wouldn't typically bring a camera to church. 

I have to say, taking two kids to church is getting easier.  We had our fair share of stages when it was better to not take them at all.  Since the kids were born in the winter, I don't think it was until late spring that we even took them to church for the first time.  We were so freaked out they would get sick from being around other people that we basically stayed home.  The risk for RSV was high, and we couldn't take that chance.  Then I was scared to take two infants to church in the event that both of them would need to be held or fed.  At home I could handle that, but at church, that was a different story.  Our church isn't exactly kid-friendly.  Instead of smiles, you get glares when you kid makes a peep.  Once your kids can walk and crawl, it becomes challenging to get them to stay in the pew.

For the last few months, they have been great.  They look forward to going to church, and we can sit in the pew the entire time, with a few exceptions when someone needs to go to the bathroom.  Highlights of church for the kids are putting a dollar in the basket as it comes around, shaking people's hands, and going up to the front for communion.  Adlyn doesn't mind singing along with everyone.  And, if we sit near a family with an infant, even better.  They love little babies, and the distraction is perfect to get through an hour of church. 

Now, they are starting to sound like angels, but remember, we've had our fair share of difficulties.  One time this summer, a dad who attended church by himself said to me afterwards, "Your children were perfect, so well behaved."  I responded, "Thanks, I was shocked.  That was the first time in 2 1/2 years we didn't leave the pew once!"  He just happened to see us at the right time.  My biggest fear is one of the kids is going to ring the bell located right by the entrance.  They have a string hanging down on it that is at perfect eye-level for a toddler.  That would be embarrasing!  There was a time Adlyn chucked a toy a few pews ahead of us.  There was also a time that they were both being so bad, we just left...along with a few other families.  All of us parents decided it just wasn't a good day to bring kids to church.  There was also a time that Adlyn crawled under the pew and into another row.  She also fell off the pew and bonked her head and was crying, luckily it was towards the end, so I grabbed her and we left. 

Here are some pics from the kids playing at church.  It will be fun to look at these as they get older.
Stair railing.

Adlyn - Age 2 years, 9 months

Brooks was serious that day.

Go Huskers!

Adlyn & Cross

Brooks - Serious again

Adlyn looks to the sky

Brooks looks to the sky.

Brooks smiles!  He asks me to take a
photo of him sliding down the hill.

Adlyn rolls down the hill.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Whistle Car

On Sunday night I took the kids out for a run in the stroller.  It made me laugh when they saw a cop car, and referred to it as a whistle car!

I'm glad to see they were excited to go for a run with me.  It makes it challenging to push that much weight.  A few weeks ago I just took Adlyn with me.  Wow - it was so light!  The Chariot Carrier stroller has been our best investment when it comes to buying kid stuff.  It has allowed us to continue our active lifestyle.  I like to take the kids running, and Zach typically pulls them on his bike.  It was worth every penny!

Horse Ride

A few weeks ago we went out to my friend's house so the kids could see her horse.  We had a great time, and Adlyn enjoyed her horse ride.  She liked the fact that it was being pulled by a leash.  Adlyn has no fear, and gets right on.  She simply loves it!

This past weekend we had our church picnic, and once again, Adlyn had an opportunity to ride a horse.  Brooks likes to watch.  Above you'll find the video of her riding the horse.

Adlyn enjoying her ride!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Letter to Brooks & Adlyn, 10 Years Later, 9/11/01

Dear Brooks & Adlyn,

I wanted to write you a letter to document my day on 9/11/01, so that you could know and someday understand.  I always find the personal stories fascinating when people share what they were doing when they heard about JFK being assassinated, or other moments of history.  I do recall the Oklahoma City Bombings, and the verdict of the O.J. Simpson Case.  But, for me, 9/11 serves as the major thing that happened in the world that I will be able to recall in my lifetime. 

I happened to be home from school that day, I was a senior in high school at the time.  That morning I had a doctor appointment because of stress fractures in my leg from running cross country.  It was a Tuesday, and my sister was home from college and must have been sleeping in my room that evening before, because for some strange reason, I was sleeping on the couch in the living room.  The first plane crash was at 8:46 AM ET, 6:46 AM our time.  Sometime between then and 9:03 AM ET, I had turned on the TV.  I turned it to Good Morning America or The Early Show.  I remember the newscasters didn't really know what was going on, but they were showing live footage of the World Trade Center in New York.  I didn't have my glasses on, and I am mostly blind without them, but I saw the second plane hit at 7:03 AM MT.  I was confused, as were most other people.  I continued to watch TV, trying to process what happened, and shortly after, left for Ogallala to go to the doctor.

Even at the doctor's office, everyone was glued to the radio.  They didn't have a TV, so even as I waited, everyone was more focused on the news then the daily tasks at hand.  I could hear the radio as I waited in my patient room.

I returned to school mid to late morning, and quickly realized everyone else knew what was going on as well.  I remember we moved from classroom to classroom each period, but class was the same.  We turned on the TV and watched.  Not a single teacher tried to accomplish a lesson plan.  Everyone seemed to be frozen in time.  There was nothing more important that keeping up on the latest details about the days events. 

Even when I got home from school, it was the same.  The family was glued to the TV, and the United States was frozen.  Nothing was happening.  Everything was cancelled.  There was a lot of fear.  We were supposed to be the top dogs in the world, and suddenly, we were blind-sided by terrorists.  I still wonder, how could we not have known?  How could such a master-plan be carried out?  I remember my library teacher/speech coach was in NYC the day before, and had just returned home the evening before.  It can hit close to home.  I thought of all of the people who were killed during the 9/11 attacks, so much grief, so much mourning, and so much mystery.  Some waited for loved ones as they dug through the rubble, trying to find some clue about what may have happened to them. 

As time went on, you could start to see the healing, the display of patriotism, and growth from what happened.  We became stronger.

Then there was the hunt for Osama bin Laden.  All I could think, as the hunt went on for nearly 10 years, was how could we not find him?  He is one man in the world...why can't we find him?  After a few years, I thought the US had killed him, and was keeping it quiet.  But, to our surprise, he was killed this year, just a few months ago.  On May 1, 2011, the US got him.  It couldn't have gone better.  It felt like closure!  The mission could not have been carried out in better fashion!  Go USA! 

We have so many people to thank for our freedom today.  I hope that you may come to understand the 9/11 happenings someday as you get older.  We were at church last night and Father had a good message regarding 9/11.  Note, I couldn't hear and focus on it all with two active two-year-olds, but I will share this.  He said, it is hard to define good, but we know it when we see it.  What happened was evil.


Saturday, September 10, 2011


I had a few extra hours with the kids on Tuesday morning before work.  It was after the Labor Day holiday weekend, and it felt like a Monday.  The overcast sky directed us to wear pants and a long sleeved shirt that day.  The kids were up early, and everyone was dressed and organized by 8 AM.  I told the kids we would go out for a ride on their bikes, and they were happy. 

Since school was in session, we couldn't go to the nearby playground, so instead they rode bikes to the local church parking lot.  By the time we go there, it was really getting cloudy and cool.  While we were there, Brooks had a few crashes, I'm not for sure why.  He doesn't typically crash on his bike, but he was done riding.  It started to sprinkle, and I decided we better start heading home.  It could take forever to ride back.  I debated standing under the church eaves, but who knows how long the rain would last.  Just then, Zach pulls up on his bike to remind me that I forgot to keep the kids at home for their appointment.  Great, and I'm the one who harps on him when he forgets!  Luckily, the lady said she could reschedule for later in the morning if he called and confirmed that time slot.  So, I told him to ride home fast and give her a call so they wouldn't miss it that day.

I had Zach take Brooks's bike helmet, and I didn't think he'd want to carry his bike, or Brooks himself, home on his bike.  So, Adlyn was on her bike, riding, and I was carrying Brooks and his bike.  The rain continued to fall.  I kept thinking that Zach might actually ride his bike home and come back with the truck to pick us up.  No such luck.  Adlyn could care less that she was riding in the rain.  I think her helmet was doing a good job of keep her dry, and it has a bill on it which was even better.  Adlyn was her hokey-pokey self, and was in no hurry to ride fast to get home and out of the rain.  I was starting to get drenched, and Brooks was getting heavy, as was his bike.  Brooks continued to tell me, "No like."  He didn't like the rain, and just wanted to get home.  Once we made our turn to go up to our house, Zach appeared and carried Brooks and his bike the rest of the way.  I am sure it took Adlyn and I another 3 minutes to get to the house, at least. 

The whole time, I kept thinking someone might stop to give us a ride.  That didn't happen until we were at our property, and this old guy driving a car pulled up and asked if I had much farther to go.  Maybe the drenched hair and clothes were a clue I needed some extra help.  I told him we were at our house, and he waved and drove off.  Nice fellow.  We got inside, and I stripped the kids since their clothes were soaked.  Adlyn got her dry clothes on and warmed up quickly.  Brooks just wanted to snuggle in a blanket because he was shivering.  I really wanted him to get dressed because the lady would be arriving to our house any minute.  I managed to pull my soaked hair into a ponytail before she arrived.  She probably thought I just got out of the shower, at 10:45 in the morning. 

Well, the kids and I had an adventure.  Next time I'll stick closer to home when the gray clouds and looming above.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Puppy Named Cup-a-Cake

Here is a story, part old, part new, part Pound Puppies, part Shrinky Dinks, and a boy who says Cup-a-Cake.

I'm dating myself here, but who remembers Pound Puppies and Shrinky Dinks?  If you were a kid in the late 80's, early 90's, I'm sure you remember.  This story begins when I was about 4-6 years old, I'm guessing.  I remember this day all too well.  My older sister, and younger brother, went with my mom to the big town of North Platte.  For some reason that I don't recall, I didn't go on this outing.  Now, North Platte was the big shopping town for us at the time, which meant it was a source for some really cool toys.  I remember my sister and brother came home with Pound Puppies!  Wow - this was the coolest toy, and I can't believe mom got these toys for them.  What do you know...they didn't bring one home for me!  There I was, adding this to my list of why it wasn't fun to be the middle child.  I laugh now, but I remember being very disappointed at the time. 

As a kid, did you ever get to play with Shrinky Dinks?  The piece of plastic that you color on, and then bake in the oven where it shrinks?  That was a neat toy!  I wonder if they even make them anymore.  We had a box of many different kinds of Shrinky Dinks.  They usually featured the latest cartoon characters.  I'm not really for sure of their purpose, I guess they are just a trinket you put on a shelf.

Jump forward 20 some years later, and story resumes.  About a year ago, my mom brought up a box of old stuffed animals from when we were kids.  At first, all I could think was that these stuffed animals have probably collected a lot of dust up in the attic, but then, it was a nice flashback as you recall each stuffed animal that represented some part of your past. 

A few weeks ago, Brooks eyed a little puppy on top of his closet that he could see through a clear tote.  I got a chair, retrieved the puppy, and smiled.  He wanted the Pound Puppy from my (or should I say, my brother and sister's) childhood.  This little puppy was pretty neat!  He even came with a little blue and red jacket to keep him warm.  Ha, ha, Mike and Niki, guess who has the Pound Puppy now!  Brooks became attached to the little puppy, and it was cute.

Then, a few days later, he wanted me to help him take the jacket off the puppy.  As I did, I noticed a Pound Puppies Shrinky Dink tucked inside!  It was a little dog tag, complete with the puppy's name and phone number!  The phone number is still the number to my parents' house, minus the first two digits.  As a kid, we only had to dial x-xxxx to reach our home.  I bent down and showed Brooks the dog tag, and told him that his name is Cupcake.  I know the name and phone number filled in on the Shrinky Dink isn't in my writing, but is one of my siblings.  From then on, Brooks called his puppy Cup-a-Cake.  It was cute to hear him say it like that.  Little Cup-a-Cake went many places, and spent many night snuggling with Brooks.  He wanted the puppy to sleep on his belly, completely covered with his blanket. 

So, there you have it.  A long story of a puppy named Cup-a-Cake.

Big Buns

Adlyn - you make me laugh. 

Adlyn likes to sit on a little potty seat on top of the toilet seat because she has this fear of falling in.  Brooks stands most of the time, and when he does have to sit, he is perfectly fine with a normal sized toilet seat.  Adlyn is becoming very skilled at placing her little seat all by herself, and is enjoying her independence.  I am enjoying it, too.  There is nothing better than having a toddler tell you they are going to the bathroom all by themselves, and being directed to sit on the couch to wait for them as they do it all by themself.  We've come a long ways since diapers!

This week Adlyn was in the bathroom with me, and pointed to me and stated, "Fall in?"  I told her that I didn't fall in to the toilet.  Simple as that.  Or, so I thought.  Adlyn pointed at me again and said, "Big buns!"  Adlyn, you make me laugh...but, I really don't enjoying hearing that comment from a two-year-old!