Greg’s 33rd Birthday and The Official Mother’s Day

IMG_1897 pancake breakfast

Yesterday was Greg’s 33rd birthday! And also Mother’s Day (officially). I’m REALLY glad those days only fall on the same day every once in awhile. (Next time – 2023)

So! I asked Greg what he wanted for breakfast a few days before and he said he’d just eat cereal. But I was up really early, did a ton of cleaning, and decided to make a real breakfast. So I made strawberry sauce, bacon, and chocolate chip pancakes. I’m usually the world’s worst pancake maker, but I think I’m getting better! I’m pretty sure every pancake was fully cooked and none were burned. A vast improvement!

IMG_1899 caden's card

Present time next, obviously.

IMG_1904 new controller

Caden picked out a Switch pro controller and a bag of sunflower seeds to give Greg.

IMG_1910 giggles

They were so giggly happy! If only it had lasted all day. (Ominous foreshadowing intended.)

IMG_1912 green daddy

Daddy is green.

IMG_1913 lucas amiibo

Shepard was a little greedy in what gifts he picked to give! πŸ™‚ First Greg opened a Lucas amiibo. It was apparently one of his favorites, and Annie chewed it beyond recognition a few weeks ago. Fortunately, I was able to find another one from a secondhand seller on amazon.

IMG_1916 lego set

Not shown – a big bag of dark chocolate covered cherries. Now on to the main gift!

IMG_1920 palace legos

He was pretty excited!

IMG_1925 expert level

Expert level Palace Cinema set.

IMG_1931 dancing groot

I gave Greg a dancing Baby Groot and a gift card to Mod Pizza. Jack, Rory, and Annie gave him the newest Guardians of the Galaxy lego sets. Greg never buys things for himself, ever, so we like to spoil him when we can!

IMG_1934 annie window watching

Annie’s always watching out the back window and it’s so dang cute!

IMG_1940 the dancing groots

Got out the older baby Groot and had them dancing together.

After present time, the guys played video games for awhile. I spent a long time getting ready and doing my nails as a little Mother’s Day time to myself. At some point during game time, Caden got super frustrated and switched over to his mean side. HOW do you get kids not to ruin special days?? It’s just so draining. Disappointing. Sad. Caden can be so great sometimes. And then the switch flips and he’s spewing as many insults as he can think of, hitting us, being totally uncooperative. I feel like maybe overall, in his lifetime, these episodes have gotten a little more spread out. But the older and bigger he is, the more intense he can be. I don’t know what to do about it. And it just plain sucked that he picked Greg’s birthday to act this way again. It’s almost always triggered by video games. Like 98% of the time. But video games are also his greatest happiness and the one thing he always wants above all else. So how do we make him happy without him turning into a monster???

IMG_1945 hiding the lemon tree

Anyway. Around lunch we headed over to Greg’s parents’ house for the big Mother’s Day party. Shepard planted a second lemon tree to give Grandma. He was standing in front of it so she wouldn’t see it when they called her outside.

IMG_1949 lemon tree reveal

The big reveal!

IMG_1953 tree climbing

The boys and their cousin Jeremiah spent most of the day climbing this tree. It was so beautiful!

IMG_1959 kids table

The kids’ table. There were three girl cousins there too, but I think they were still playing in the sandbox. It was fun to see them having so much fun with other kids! Since they’re the only grandchildren on both sides of the family (for only two more months!!), it’s pretty rare that they get to hang out with the extended family little relatives. I’m glad they’ll have some of these fun memories that I so fondly remember from my own childhood of running wildly around with my cousins.

IMG_1964 greg's birthday cupcakes

Taking a minute from the mega Mother’s Day celebration to remember Greg’s birthday. Those boys really wanted some cupcakes!

IMG_1979 shepard singing

IMG_1990 waiting for relight

I guess Shepard insisted that Grandma buy trick candles, so they were all waiting for them to re-light.

IMG_1993 greg present

IMG_1995 lighthouse legos

IMG_1997 cindy melissa magnolia

Cindy and Melissa and the magnolia tree she gave her. If my neighbors didn’t have a gorgeous one in their backyard, I think this is a plant I’d want to get for myself too! So pretty.

IMG_2000 all the moms

That’s a lot of moms!

IMG_2005 all the moms

It was a very nice party. We only planned on staying for lunch, but Greg didn’t really want to go back home only to have Caden flip the switch again. Because it would have surely happened. πŸ™ I wish he could have had the perfect day he would have wanted. But children are very unpredictable. Or perhaps predictable, because something always goes wrong.

IMG_2032 pizza buddies

Greg requested buffalo bacon pizza for dinner. Shepard and I made it together. It was good! My favorite little trick for buffalo pizza is adding buffalo cheese curds to it. It gives some big chunks of gooey cheese mixed in with the regular mozzarella.

IMG_2033 pizza smiles

IMG_2034 pizza crazy eyes

IMG_2038 birthday dessertBirthday dessert was peanut butter bars. They’re seriously the greatest dessert ever. Not so pretty, but super easy and delicious! Non salty side for Greg because he abhors the salty sweet combination (blasphemy!), and salty side for the rest of us. Because salty chocolate is AMAZING.


After dinner we got word that the crib Timmy and Brittany were looking at buying (from the Columbus garage sales) was still available and we had to go pick it up. We drove the car over hoping there was some way we could finagle it into the trunk with bungee cords. That most definitely wasn’t going to happen!! So I put the extra crib side and mattress in the trunk, drove back home, and “ran” back to meet them. It was about four blocks away – fortunately, but four blocks carrying a heavy crib feels like miles! It was hilarious, though. A really nice humorous way to end the evening. And we maybe worked off our pizza and peanut butter bars!

The rest of the night was pretty low key. We put the boys to bed and then started the second season of Masters of None. (So good!) I guess I can’t speak for him, but I hope he had a relatively nice birthday. I feel like pretty much all birthdays for everybody end up being a little bit of a let down. ButΒ we tried. At least he didn’t have to work! This is kind of an odd year with all four of us having weekend birthdays. And next year three of us will again.

Happy birthday, Greg! Happy Mother’s Day, everyone else! I hope you were treated like queens and had a wonderful day. And if you weren’t treated that way, then go out and do something for yourself asap. You’re in charge of your own happiness. πŸ™‚ Be a little selfish. I definitely am this time of the year!

Mother’s Day 2017


To preface this post so you guys don’t all think I’m stupid – I’m well aware that Mother’s Day is actually this coming Sunday. πŸ™‚ But we celebrated yesterday because Greg’s birthday is next Sunday. I think this is the first time they’ve fallen on the same day since we’ve had kids. I really didn’t want to share MY special day with his birthday. And it seems extremely unfair that he’d have to share his birthday, an extra special day, with everyone else. So! For the most part, except for his mom’s Mother’s Day party we’ll be stopping in at, May 14th is just Greg’s birthday. And yesterday was Mother’s Day. πŸ™‚

My Mother’s Day started when I woke up around 5:30am. I would have liked to have just laid in bed reading for awhile, but that’s no longer an option for me as I have a dog waiting downstairs who always needs to go out first thing in the morning. And I can’t just let her out and go back to bed because she’d know I was awake and make a bunch of noise when I locked her back on the opposite side of the house. And if I let her go upstairs with me, her clangy collar tags would wake everyone else up. So instead I spent a little time reading on the futon. Shepard joined me soon after. Caden woke up and yelled at me awhile for not letting him play video games. After a very rough night on Friday Greg told me I wasn’t allowed to let them play anymore. So I was following that message and Caden wasn’t happy. Anyway, Greg eventually got up and gave me “breakfast in bed” – one of my morning buns. Shepard and Annie were very anxious to share with me!


After breakfast they gave me my presents. Caden gave me a set of bath bombs. I’m trying to get into the occasional habit of taking a bath to unwind at the end of the week. And bath bombs make everything more fun! Shepard gave me a necklace with a super tiny little “dot” charm. It’s cute. Good for layering, which I’m pretty into lately. And Greg gave me a pack of my favorite lip balm in a flavor I don’t have yet.


Annie was trying very hard to eat my lip balms.


Greg started messing with my phone and trying out the filters we could use on selfie mode. I saw they were there when I got the phone a few weeks ago, but never tried them. It was pretty fun! We spent like an hour doing selfies. Which I will now bombard you with!







This is my favorite!




I would very much like my face to be filtered this soft glowing pink at all times. πŸ™‚



And as much as the filters made my kids laugh, it’s still nice to try and get a real picture! Not as amusing, but still sweet.


At this point we remembered the gift Shepard brought home awhile ago and was saving for Mother’s Day. Very cute! I’m using the bigger bowl for some lipsticks and the small bowls for earrings. Shepard thought I could use them for soup!

IMG_1763 mom and boys

After a little play time and me getting ready, we had our annual Mother’s Day photo shoot. We usually go to a park, but figured standing in front of the house was good enough this year.

IMG_1764 amy and boys best one

Normally the boys would also dress up. But they have VERY definite ideas of what things they’ll cooperate with each day and dressing nicely was not going to happen yesterday. It was also like 50 degrees at this point. But Caden insisted on the tank top and shorts.

IMG_1770 caden being weird

IMG_1772 still trying for smiles

IMG_1774 mom and boys

IMG_1780 kitchen workers

Next we headed over to my mom’s house for the main part of our day. The men were in charge of getting lunch on the table. I wish I took a video of Greg and Timmy taking the rolls out of the oven one by one with their bare hands, instead of like pulling the whole tray out? Using a spatula? It was hilarious. Then they needed to double team the mushroom pouring.

IMG_1781 master griller

The grill master. My dad made steak for my mom and a spicy chicken for me.

IMG_1782 hydrangea

The hydrangea made it. It was too tall for the trunk. And then we could barely get it in the car on my lap.

IMG_1783 boys and pip

Hanging out with the dogs. I love how easy going Annie is, but now the boys think all dogs are as gentle and carefree in personality.

IMG_1789 juno

Juno and the pretty tulips.


I’m always amazed that on days like this Greg seems to always anticipate what I’m going to wear and picks out a shirt that matches exactly. It’s never planned and it always happens. So I wanted to get a selfie of us and Caden photobombed.


Caden and Greg trying to hold Shepard up so he could be in it too, without me dropping my phone.

IMG_1791 food

Lunch time! I brought over all my leftover dips, pretzels, and veggies from the baby shower. My mom made another batch of her amazing Chinese salad. Then we had the meats, baked potatoes, fruit, buns, and green beans. I forgot to take a picture, but we had ice cream sundaes for dessert.

After lunch my cousin Jenny and her two boys came over for awhile to give Brittany her gift. It was fun to catch up with her and the boys loved having more boys to play with.

IMG_1792 grandma shepard

Present time!

IMG_1796 poor gracie

Poor Gracie!

IMG_1817 the bib apron

My mom opened this and Shepard yelled, “A bib!!”

IMG_1821 pip sleeping

Pip doesn’t realize who she’s cuddling up with.

IMG_1822 really good mom and kids pic

Family picture time. Mom and kids. I like this one!

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IMG_1837 mom kids grandkids

When I want the boys in a picture, they refuse to cooperate. When I specifically tell them not to be in the picture, they sneak their way in. I like Gracie lurking in the background.

IMG_1839 juno so confused

Poor Juno is so confused why we’re all standing there.

IMG_1841 the moms

A mom picture. Brittany was trying to hunch down because she was wearing mega heels and towered so high above us short people.

IMG_1845 the mom picture

The moms.

IMG_1849 grandma and her dogs

Typical scene.

IMG_1854 mom and tyler

Mom and Tyler.

IMG_1860 matching tyler caden

Uncle Tyler and Caden. I was amazed that they were wearing the exact same shade of shirt.

IMG_1866 gracie lounging

Gracie contemplating life. Or just wondering why so many people kept standing around.

IMG_1869 family juno butt

And finally some attempts at a full family picture. We’ll have to do another one later this summer with the baby!

IMG_1888 family nice

IMG_1891 timmy weird

IMG_1892 baby kiss

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IMG_1896 family picture nice

It was a really fun get together! If the weather had been just a bit warmer it would have been perfect.

The rest of the day was pretty laid back. We took Annie to the dog park since she’d been cooped up for awhile. It was Greg’s first time there. Despite our attempts, he’s still not very amused or entertained by dog antics. But Annie had fun! Then we just went home, I did some planting, I got teacher gifts put together for the week, I wrote a blog post about Saturday. We all just had random leftovers for dinner. I took a bath with one of my bath bombs. And that was it! Overall, it was a nice day.

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone else, in a few days!

A Mother’s Day Tradition


Mother’s Day is always kind of a weird holiday for me. I will openly admit that I’m pretty selfish and really want the day to be all about me. And if the day really were about me and only me, there’s a list of things I’d probably want to do. Or a list of things I wouldn’t want to do! But, we have two grandmas that also deserved to be honored, and most of our Mother’s Day each year is split between their houses. Which is fine. But I wanted something more. Just for me. And if I had that thing for me, I’d be so much happier giving actual Mother’s Day to the other mothers in our lives!

So! A couple of years ago I started the tradition of making the Saturday before Mother’s Day MY special day. And not the kind of day where I sit at home and get served by my family. (Because, let’s be honest, that would never happen.) But a day where I’m allowed to be selfish, allowed to be indulgent, and not feel one speck of guilt over it. And this year because we’re celebrating a week early, yesterday was MY DAY.


I always start my Saturday before Mother’s Day at the farmer’s market. I love the farmer’s market so much!! I guess I should say I love the farmer’s marketΒ before 7:30amΒ so much. Because after that the crowds get to be way too much and I can barely deal. But the early market is awesome! The weather is always cool, the customers are few, and the food and treats are abundant! The only problem with the spring markets is that they’re filled with flowers and plants. Which are gorgeous, but also very annoying to have to try and carry around. I usually end up mostly buying baked goods. Which taste amazing because I can’t find anything like that more locally. But it’s not exactly the best use of my dollars or calories!


It’s allowed on this particular day, though, because I have the excuse of needing to buy a Mother’s Day breakfast so nobody has to do any actual work. This year I bought us each morning buns from Stella’s. They’re SO GOOD. I also bought Potter’s rye crackers, which are super delicious. And I bought two kinds of spreadable cheese, which I forgot to put in the picture. And then because I heard there was a new donut shop nearby, I walked all the way down State Street to check out Dutch Baby. I’m not sure if it’s because they were a day old, but Greg and I didn’t like the donuts at all. Just in case you were wondering! Not worth the walk or drive. Get morning buns!


This year’s MY DAY was a little bit different because my sister-in-law Brittany was having a baby shower in the middle of it. So after the farmer’s market I went to Shopko to leisurely look around. It’s a weird store to enjoy meandering, but I always find some cute clothes or jewelry. I bought a replica of my favorite dress (the one I was wearing yesterday) in black. And found some cute earrings. I still had a little bit of time before I had to get to the shower to set up, so I stopped at a greenhouse I saw along the way. I bought my mom a hydrangea (her favorite) and some pretty coraly colored flowers for my pots. I just can’t stray from coral flowers! Love them so much.


The baby shower was at Brittany’s sister’s house. We all got there early to set things up. I was in charge of making the game prizes/gift bags. It was so much fun putting all the little gifts together.


The cake!


Lots of the food. So much yumminess.


It was a small, more intimate baby shower, but I think that made it more special. Everyone was so genuinely happy for Brittany and excited about the baby! We ate, talked, played a few games, ate and talked some more. It was really fun!


The present pile.


My cake piece. It had a chocolate mouse layer and a raspberry jam layer. Very good! The whole shower was really awesome. I’m so glad Timmy and Brittany moved back to Wisconsin and we get to share these days with them. I’m also extremely happy we’ll get to know and see our nephew on a regular basis!


After the baby shower, it was back to my day! I wanted to hit up Starbucks for their half priced frappucino happy hour. I thought about going to Target’s, but decided to head to Barnes and Noble instead. I tried out their new Midnight Mint Mocha frappucino – but cream based instead of coffee. It was good, but I still prefer the double chocolate chip one. But it was pretty great getting a venti size for $2.50!


Barnes and Noble is one of my favorite places to go when I just want to escape. I LOVE just reading all the book blurbs and making lists of the books I want to read. I almost never buy anything (amazon prices, anyone?), but this time I had to. I started thinking about how fun it would be to collect some of the books that I love so much I’d read again. That list is few and far between, so I think it might be worth it. Especially when they have awesome looking covers!!Β Carry On was seriously one of the greatest books I’ve read in recent years. If you’re a Harry Potter fan – read it. For real.


Next stop, Ulta! Mostly because I’ve been on a mission the last two weeks trying to find a perfect lipstick gift to give my mom for Mother’s Day. I love that Ulta and Amazon have such great return policies because I really made use of them this week! It’s just so hard to tell what’s going to work. Anyway, I think I found some good buys this time around. If not for her, then for me!


Immediately trying on a new lipstick. This is Too Faced La Creme in Honey Bear. I really liked it! We’re both pretty big Lipstick Queen fans, but Madison Ultas don’t carry it. Hence all the online returns I did this week! But Too Faced makes a pretty good lipstick too, I’ve learned!


After Ulta I headed to World Market and Marshall’s because I can’t be near Middleton and not go there. It’s a rule. I didn’t find much, but it was fun. At that point it was around 6:30 and I was tired. I woke up around 4. Went to bed too late. Typical day for me lately. I wanted to go out to eat because it was my day, but I didn’t want to go to a sit down place alone, or go to a fast food place just to eat something. So I ended up back at Mod Pizza in Fitchburg. I got the exact same pizza as I did last month, but I didn’t like it as much.

Anyway, that was my day! I got home, spent a few minutes with the boys as they were going to bed, cleaned up all my stuff from the day, and finished the night watching the Superstore season finale. It was a really good day! It was so worth it just to get out of the house and not have to worry about anybody or feel guilty for how long I was staying out. Nobody had any expectations for me. I didn’t even think about Annie for most of the day! After six weeks of her being a massive part of my brain space, I really needed that day off. So many thanks to Greg for being an awesome husband and letting me have this little tradition. It makes me a much happier mom!



Mother’s Day 2014


I thought I’d share the best of my Mother’s Day pictures from the other day. It turned out to be a really relaxing and wonderful day. My boys gave me breakfast in bed – a gigantic donut I bought at the farmer’s market on Saturday. Then they gave me two little Willow Tree boy figurines. And then they left me alone for a few hours so I could read!


We stopped at the park for awhile to try and get some nice mother sons pictures. I was really happy Caden was so cooperative this year! He doesn’t usually put up with posed photo shoots too well.








“Planting a tree.”


Side note – things have gotten SO much better with Caden in the last few months. He seems so much happier than he used to be. I love it.

Next we headed to Greg’s parents’ for Mother’s Day brunch. Caden immediately had to go check out the gardens. He’s kind of obsessed. I’m glad somebody in our house will hopefully be able to take care of our plants this year, though! I’m so terrible with gardening.

Caden is tasting chive bulbs. Chives are like his favorite thing EVER.


It was actually relatively warm out, especially in the sun, so Grandpa set up a brand new slip and slide for the boys.

They couldn’t really figure out what to do with it, but Caden eventually caught on to the sliding part. Shepard just ran through the sprinkler sprays.








Mom picture before present opening.


Noe women pictures.


Caden and Shepard gave me a giant almond scented bar of soap. Which they immediately had to rub all over themselves.



They were so proud of the pictures they drew for the grandmas.


We gave Grandma a Lisa Leonard “My Wildflowers” necklace. I got one for myself for Easter and it’s my current favorite.


He’s fascinated.


We also made some hand print embroidery pictures for both grandmas.



And an Andy from Greg.


Shepard watching the neighbor’s dog play while eating his fruit snacks. And still wearing diapers – 3 years and 3 months old and still has ZERO interest in potty training. Hopefully this summer….


Caden talked Grandma into planting a bunch of herbs and flowers, even though she was supposed to be taking a day off!


Gardening. And Greg having fun playing with my new camera. I haven’t even had much time to play around with it yet, but Greg was trying to find ways to be more creative.

Mother and children pictures, without Sarah.

Ah, this is the Caden photo poser I know so well.


In the afternoon we headed over to my parents’. Caden was super excited to give Grandma cards and presents.



This dog cracks me up every time I look at her.


Mother daughter picture.


Mother and children, without Timmy. Right after these pictures a gigantic thunderstorm rolled through. It didn’t last long, but it was big!


My dad, the master griller, made me some hot wings so I’d have something for dinner that I liked. They were SO good. So good that Greg said we could take the grill out this summer so I can make something similar.


Best buds. πŸ™‚ They’re watching the rain. The rest of the night I spent reading, the boys played outside with Grandpa, and Greg and Tyler did math (again). Overall it was a really great day. Happy Mother’s Day!


Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day! I really wanted to write this post yesterday, but I just couldn’t force myself to stay up past 10:30 to work on it. It’s been a very exhausting weekend! It’s been a very exhausting month, actually. I’ve been really busy working on something which I will (hopefully) announce later today. πŸ™‚

Anyway! Mother’s Day – it was really nice this year. Very low key and relaxing. I really enjoyed being able to just spend time with my family at our homes, just hanging out.

Because we were out late on Saturday night the boys actually slept until almost 8:00 – a miracle! (Except that they also appear to be sleeping in that late today, when Caden needs to be at school at 8:00 – not fair!) I wanted to have a delicious, but very easy breakfast, so I picked up a bunch of fancy donuts and pastries at the farmer’s market on Saturday morning. Of course I ate two of those pastries before I ever got home! But I definitely enjoyed my chocolate croissant on Mother’s Day.

I got the boys gigantic sprinkled donuts, which Greg made them split. Good stuff, though. I pretty much ate carbs and only carbs all weekend. And then I looked at these pictures last night and realized I seriously need to lose some weight! So this was my last hoorah.

FYI, when you’re about to have tons of pictures taken of you, you should probably put on some makeup. Oh well. Here are my babies giving me my special presents.

Caden and Daddy made me a button picture of Caden and I holding hands!! I thought it was pretty funny when I opened it – I can’t believe Greg sewed something! Who knew. It was very sweet and I’ll treasure it forever. πŸ™‚

The card Caden made me with a small, medium, and large real life looking hearts.

Shepard’s cards for me. He was in quite the silly photogenic mood yesterday.

Button picture from Shepard!

Shepard is quite excited about this!

I got a pink shelf that I really wanted to hang near my sewing area. I’m slowly pulling it all together.

And a sun umbrella so I can spend more time outside without getting cranky. πŸ™‚ I know most of the world does not agree with my feelings, but I seriously HATE being out in the hot sun with no relief. Summer weather is my least favorite. I hate being hot. Hopefully with this portable shade I’ll feel more inclined to go out!

And a candle (that came with the shelf) that the boys spent ten minutes passing back and forth and smelling.

There we go – ready for the day and looking a little better! πŸ™‚ Time for my annual mother sons photo shoot. It was too cold to do it outside this year. Stupid Wisconsin weather only knows how to be super cold or super hot. We hardly ever have those perfect in between days anymore.

We went to my in-law’s house for brunch. The boys had to have some piano time. 
The mothers and (young) children sitting together. 
I got a San Francisco tour guide book so I can start planning for our vacation in August!
And a Raggedy Ann book! My sister-in-law also gave me a really pretty pot filled with plants. Hopefully I can keep them alive! Every year I say I’m going to do better, and I’m pretty sure every year I do worse. 
Typical sight! Caden managed to slyly fit in a lot of screen time this Mother’s Day!
After digging through all of my mother-in-law’s craft supplies and taking a bunch of things, we headed over to my parents’ for the rest of the night. I gave both grandmas an Annie and Caden and Shepard Andy set. And both aunts/godmothers got an Annie and respective child set. Fun times!
So I’ve been sick all week. It started with a weird cold and turned into a major cough. It’s worst at night and I’ve barely been getting any sleep. Pretty sure I’m keeping Greg up too. Anyway, we got there yesterday and my mom immediately made me some tea. Why did I never once think about that all week?? Moms definitely come in handy!!
Time for a photo shoot here too. Gracie insisted on being in all the pictures too.
Grandma with all her daughters and grandsons. These dogs NEVER leave her side. 
Grandma kisses.
I decided to make nice with my mom’s cat, Oscar. He usually hides the second the boys walk in the house, but he let me pet him for a long time yesterday. I tried to get pictures with my kitties earlier in the day, but apparently even though they want to be on my lap every possible second, they do NOT like to be photographed there.
And finally back home with two last pictures from the boys. It was a very nice day. Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful moms, grandmas, aunts, godmothers, sisters, and daughters out there!