Thursday, December 30, 2010

Goal Complete: Get a Family Pic Done

Although I did do a little research on photographers in Wisconsin and some different family photography options, we ultimately ended up propping the digital camera on a stool in the back yard and crossing our fingers.

Also, I'm just too cheap to shell out the dough.

My only requirements: had to be done in the snow, and it had to have all 5 of us in it (Those requirements are in no particular order).

We had originally tried the picture at the top of the hill behind our house. The lighting wasn't great but I was so eager to just get it done that after we took just a couple I looked at it on the LCD screen and said "DONE". Luckily, Keith said why don't we try a few more on the other side of the trees, and we did. I'm SO thankful because the other ones that I was previously satisfied with were horrible.

We ended up using this for our Christmas card and I think it's really good. The boys aren't screaming, it's in the snow and we actually look like we all get along.

Happy Holidays!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Essen Haus

Keith and I have driven by "The Essen Haus" at least a handful of times, and each time he is really adamant that he wants to try it! SO, on Sunday night when we had our date night I surprised him by heading that way and checking it out.

I expected something similar to "The Bavarian Grill" in Plano. German decor, loud music and lots and lots of lederhosen. "The Essen Haus" had 2 of those things (no live bands on Sunday nights).

We were impressed with the setup and there was a large bar area (of course-Germany is known for a beer or 2, right?). Lots of little details and the menu really was authentic food with a few additional options. We were both super excited when they brought out PRETZELS instead of bread. Awesome! They also brought out rye bread during the meal. The place fell one notch down on my soda ladder seeing as they didn't have Dr.P…but then again, most places up here don't. I settled for a Sierra Mist (Oh if I must).

I have no idea what Keith ordered but it ended up looking like an entire animal's leg severed and laying on a plate. I went safe and ordered grilled shrimp and potatoes and it was SO good! Keith said his was OK (after it kicked him in the face), but we both agreed it's a place we would go to again. We think Keith's parents would especially enjoy it. Seems like a good family place (minus the beer), and if the kids got loud it would be OK.

Great place! Two animal legs up!

Friday, December 24, 2010

What Makes a Successful Santa Visit?

In this instance I think it's the fact that we went with 3 kids and returned home with 3 kids.

Okay, it wasn't THAT bad.

Going to see Santa was something I had been putting off. Up until this year my Mom and I had a tradition of her taking a Friday off work and helping me to take all the boys to see Santa. So I was kind of bummed that we weren't able to do that this year.

One weekend Lands' End was having a free breakfast and the chance to see Santa. I had signed us up for 9am on a Saturday, and of course when the time came I didn't want to load everyone up that early and drive out to Dodgeville.

So here it is the last week before Christmas and we had to brave the mall one night. I wanted to get in and get out as quickly as possible. We got there and Santa was on break (I guess even Santa needs to pee), so we got in line and waited. It wasn't that long of a wait, I'd guess about 20 minutes. I brought a stash of marshmallows as bribery and only had to use them for about the last 5 with Erik. When we got up to Santa I didn't really think there would be a problem...


No one addressed us...not even Santa. There was a lady taking the pictures, a man taking the money and of course...Santa. We just had the boys climb up and Keith tried to put Erik down and he wasn't having any of it. I told the girl to take the picture even with him crying. Nick was good but more interested in the sock he was holding that he made that day. And Kolbe wanted to walk Santa through all the train magazines he brought. Santa listened to him surprisingly, and then said "Good luck with that". Not kidding.

I'm glad we took them of course, and we have the picture to prove it. I'm glad Santa is pulling through and getting the train Kolbe wanted...that is going to make the trip all worth it!!

Mom's Visit to Madison

A few weeks ago my Mom and youngest sister (Taylor,9) came up to visit for 3 days and we had a blast.

They came in on Friday morning and I drove out to MKE to pick them up. We went and got Kolbe out of school early and spent the day running around. Lunch at Chuckee Cheese, the thrift shop, Target, Toys R' Us and then back to the house for a little relaxing. Friday night Taylor and Kolbe went to the gym for Parents' Night Out. My Mom was able to spend some time with Nick and Erik that way.

Saturday morning we were thrilled to wake up to the first snowfall of the month! How exciting!! What we were not thrilled about was how to get out of the driveway that morning to had out to Mt. Horeb to go to the caves. We made it there anyways just in time for the tour. Afterwards, I was able to provide entertainment for them since I couldn't get out of the parking lot and had to get towed in the snow! Within a couple hours we had the car in the shop for new tires.

That evening we had JJ over for dinner and had so much fun. My Mom and Julie were able to catch up after not seeing each other for at least 5 years. Then at about 10 that night my Mom and I went to the casino. Reminded me of when we went to Shreveport for my 21st!

Sunday morning we went over to eat at Ella's Diner, spent a lot of time on the sledding hill and then headed back out to the airport. The weekend went back way too fast, but I'm SO glad they were able to come visit and see the house and the area. I'm also proud of my Mom for flying because she is never thrilled with being in a plane!!

We miss them already!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

Our first winter in the Midwest has just begun, with our second weekend of SNOW!

I can't believe this goes on through March? I'm used to pulling out shorts and t-shirts by that time every year. Shoot, sometimes it's possible to wear shorts in December in Dallas and not even have to wait until then!

Here's a Texas girl's random learnings after a mere 9 days into the winter wonderland:

• Sometimes you need to snowplow 2-3 times each day just to keep the snow out of your driveway, sidewalks and away from the mailbox.

• You really can feel a difference between 20 degrees and 2 degrees.

• 6-year olds must have some additional layer of skin that repels cold weather.

• It feels like it takes 2 hours to get 3 pairs of snow boots, 3 pairs of snow pants, 3 hats, 3 pairs of gloves and 3 jackets on 3 kids. Just to turn around and do it again over and over again.

• I find myself drinking less so I don't have to pee as much, because it's too cold to remove any article of clothing for any length of time, no matter how quick it may be.

• Almost everyone has a story about sliding off the road into a ditch, it's just something that happens.

• I still haven't mastered getting out of the driveway and have to go the opposite direction just to get out.

• When I get home I just slide into the garage. It's actually kind of fun.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hello St. Mary, Goodbye Pain

"Well, you're no spring chicken"-Keith Mueller to his wife Nicolle after sledding down the snow hill.

It's Sunday afternoon, and Kolbe and I had just come back from dropping my Mom and sister off at the airport. There was about 45 minutes left of daylight and Kolbe wanted to go back to the hill to sled, and I wanted to go too! We went over and started trekking up to the very top.

Kolbe makes it down just fine, he actually slows down in a few spots. I get on the disc and go bolting down. I have no idea how fast but my legs are out straight and I end up getting turned around to where my back is facing downward...several seconds later at the bottom of the back runs right into Kolbe who is still laying down.

I hit him...hard.

He's crying, and it took the wind out of me. I get up and help him and after a couple minutes he wants to go back and try again. We go one more time and it takes about 5 minutes. By the time I get down the hill again I get up and can't even stand all the way up...ouch. Pain in my lower pelvic area that I can't even describe. I barely made the walk home. I laid down the rest of the night in a lot of pain, but it was tolerable.

By Monday I was doing OK and went into work just like normal. Still not able to stand up straight and assuming this is all from the sledding run-in, but my back didn't hurt at all. I was really tired, and slept about 11 hours the night before and was still exhausted. I took it easy Monday night too.

By Tuesday morning I went into work already feeling "off". My skin was hot but I couldn't get warm. I had a headache, no appetite, my stomach was still hurting and once again I was exhausted after 10 hours of sleep. I made an appointment to see the LE doctor on-site.

I went over there at 2:00 thinking they would confirm it was from running into Kolbe and that I just needed to rest and get over it. Not the case. They took a urine sample, did blood work, did an exam and he was worried. I also had a fever of 104. He thought it may be my appendix and that the sledding incident was merely coincidental. He wanted me to head into Madison for a cat scan to get everything checked out. I drank what seemed like a gallon of barium and headed over.

Keith and the boys met me over there and only stayed for a bit. It was sweet of him to stop in and see what was going on. We're definitely not used to problems like this without family around. I'm not one of those people who likes to be sitting around waiting by myself, but it was not easy for the boys to be there so Keith took them home.

They did the cat scan with an IV in to run more fluid through. It only took about 45 minutes to get the results. Good news-appendix was OK and no surgery needed to remove it! That's what I thought because I was having pain on both sides. So...what was the diagnosis?


The doctor found a 3" cyst on my right ovary that was bleeding. It was bleeding down into the pelvic area as well-which is what was causing pain on both sides. Treatment: lots of R&R, no lifting the boys, pain meds and Tylenol for the fever (the fever stumped him). He's going to monitor it very closely. There's a small chance of a hemorrhage-but it's very unlikely. I asked him whether or not the sledding accident triggered it and he couldn't rule it out. Obviously the cyst was there, but I think it wouldn't have just started bleeding on it's own. I feel very fortunate it was found and can now be monitored. I don't know how long it would have taken if this hadn't have happened.

See, there is a good side to bad things that happen! I'm also thankful to know what it is now...and very thankful to the person who invented Vicadin.

BIG thanks for my wonderful hubby for running ragged taking care of me and the boys. Also Kolbe set up a train to bring food to the guest bedroom downstairs eventhough he did tell me I needed to make the food to put on the train, it was still very sweet.

Now, where are my drugs?