Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Hi Babe! I can't believe that it's already been 8 years since the day of our wedding. It was a great day but it's been an amazing 8 years. I am so blessed. I love you more every day and I'm so thankful for everything that we have. I'm looking forward to celebrating many, many more Happy Anniversaries with you!


PS-When we got married we didn't have "digital photos" so this is the best I could do! Love you!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What happens when we throw mud and dirt on the porch?

WE CLEAN IT UP no matter how much we whine, jump, hop, storm, or cry.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Daddy!!!

It's the big day and we were all very excited. What a day! First, Steve's family came up to celebrate - his Mom & Dad, sister Kristin, brother-in-law Rick, Josh & Sydney. Then Dawn, Trevr, Kayla & Callie came which made my day too - I missed the girls!!! Then Kelly, Peter, Ethan & Owen stopped. Whew! Lots of company, food, cake, friends and fun! On top of it all, Steve had a wonderful birthday! Thank you to all of you that called, sent messages and stopped over. It meant so much to him!

Girls Girls Girls!

Last night we had a nice dinner at Jamie and Mary's to celebrate Brady's First Communion. The girls had a blast as usual and thank heavens for Owen that Brady has another boy to play with...except that little Owen spent a lot of time with the girls playing the Hannah Montana guitar. He had fun though - all of the kids played so nice together!!! It was a great day. I wish I had photos of all of them to post but I didn't have my camera with me enough. And, to top the night off, they had a birthday cake for Steve, Grandma Carla and Grandma Aykens!

Emma & Carley

Carley Rae

Happy Birthday Grandma Aykens, Steve & Grandma Carla!

Dear Brady

I remember the day that you were born like it was yesterday. And the day that your mom and dad asked me to be your godmother - I was so honored and proud. As I sat there yesterday watching you take your first communion I thought of the day that you were baptized and it seems like it just happened! I'll never know what it's like to have a son of my own but I will always love you like my own. You looked so handsome yesterday and so grown up. After we got home last night I told Steve how proud of you I am and how you are such a cool kid. Congratulations on your first communion! I love you very much!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Is there anything better than cake batter?

Normally I do not allow my kids to "lick the spoon" but today was a new day. I'm trying this new thing out called "don't sweat the small stuff" and looking back on my childhood I used to love making cakes or brownies with my grandma and from the moment the box top opened I couldn't wait to get the spatula covered in batter in my hot little hand. So, this time with Maggie and Emma asked to lick the mixers and I said "yes" they were thrilled! As if creating a masterpiece for Daddy's birthday wasn't enough, now I'm letting them lick the mixers. What happened to me??? :) I knew that Steve would never believe me so I made sure that I documented this monumental moment!

Then, after all of this excitement, Emma decided that it was "Family Picture Day" for her and her babies. Without further ado, here are Gabriella, Ellie, Sharpay, Baby Alive, Kaitlan, Elizabeth and Naked Baby.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's all about Daddy

Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike, no detest, art projects. Why? They mess my house up and something always happens. It's just the way it goes. However, when Steve said that all he wanted for his birthday is something made by the girls, how could I resist. Now, you know me ... of course his ONLY gift isn't this handmade masterpiece BUT...

Anyway, back to the project. This undertaking has taken 3 nights. 3 nights of getting my husband out of the house for 2+ hours. So, tonight after our 6th hour, project is done. We painted several pictures. I purchased a giant 30x40 frame to mount everything to. Pictures painted - Check. Pictures mounted to the board - check. Kitchen clean - check. "Mooooommmmmm I broke the glass!!!!" - CHECK. Yup. You got that right. Maggie decided that standing on the glass that goes with the frame would be a good choice. Dawn and Trevr - did you hear me screaming at your house? Probably! So, now the darn thing is done but I have to go and buy another frame just so this thing has glass. What does this all mean? Momma irritated - check. As I told my daughters, "THIS IS WHY I DON'T DO ART PROJECTS MORE OFTEN!" Anyway, here it is - the finished (minus glass frame) product. I hope he likes it!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Just the way it is!

When I decided to take up this "blog adventure" I knew that at some point I wouldn't be able to take a photo each day or keep up with it. I also knew that in the process of uploading photos I'd realize that there are some really good ones from a week, a month or even 3 years ago that I haven't shared. Its just the way it is. I'm human. I'm a mother of 2 small children. I work 40+ hours a week and I travel often. Well, not as often as some people but often enough. I have a house to maintain and we haven't even talked about my husband who is possibly the neediest of all. He's a guy. No further explanation needed. Anyway, I was uploading some pictures and realized that I didn't post anything from Easter. So here they are! We had a great day! Spent it with Steve's family. The cousins played, the adults ate and drank. Good times!

Yeah! The Easter Bunny found us at Nana's House!

Maggie and Emma with Cousins Sydney and Mya

Maggie, Emma, Sydney and Auntie Kristin

Ugh - Technology?

Today my new phone came! YAY! I waited all day to get home and tear into the box. I couldn't wait - most exciting thing that's happened to me all week. Well, to make a long story short, it is currently 12:09 a.m. NONE OF MY CONTACTS WOULD TRANSFER. I've been sitting here since my darling babes went to bed at 8:30 entering contact information and I'm about 1/2 way there. So frustrating. At this point I can't think clearly enough to think of what other fun things have happened today. :) Is this really modern technology? Seriously? There are some bugs that need to be worked out of this system! Better luck tomorrow...right?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Whatever You Want, Dear

Maggie calls me at work and says "Mom I want to play a summer sport." My response, "Absolutely! What do you want to do? Soccer, softball...." Maggie: "Why would I want to play softball? I don't like softball. It wasn't fun and I didn't like it." YIKES! ME: "Well what about soccer?" Mags: "Mooooommmmmmm you aren't listening to me! I want to play a summer sport." This is how the conversation this afternoon went. Over and over and over. What sport does she want to play? Your guess is as good as mine! But, having this conversation made me think back to the good ole days when she loved to play t-ball with her BFF Sydney. I love these photos - some of my favorite ever! This was 3 years ago already ... time flies. Enjoy!

Life Lesson Lunes

Growing up is hard to do. You have to do all kinds of things that you don't want to do. You have to pick up your dirty clothes, come in the house when the sun is shining, brush your teeth, comb your hair, make your bed and you start to realize that life isn't fair. I've learned that teaching my girls, especially Maggie right now, that "being the bigger person" is always a good decision even though it is hard, makes your tummy hurt and seems unfair. Well, it is unfair but it's part of growing up and being a good human being. Maggie's had a really hard time with this lately. She is my child through and through and therefore "combat" and "confrontation" flow through her veins like oxygen. That is why I understand what she is going through. It's hard for her to get the "if she follows you and you know that she's trying to fight or be mean, walk away from her without saying a word" concept. Nope. My daughter wants to say exactly what is on her mind and find any and every mean thing to do and say back. Not because she wants to be mean but because her feelings are going to be hurt and she wants to make sure that the other person feels just as bad. So, my lesson to my daughter's today is this. Sometimes we have to do things because they make our hearts feel good. Often times the same things are not reciprocated but those are not our decisions. There is nothing that we can do about that so worrying about it and feeling bad is only bringing you down - not the other person. So, stop feeling bad. Rub some dirt on it and keep making decisions that make your heart feel good. You will always know that you are the bigger person that way and you will always get further ahead. My grandma always said "Those that Give Love, Gather Love." Remember that. It's a valuable lesson.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ta Da!

Today was spring haircut day for the Mantel girls. Not intentionally though. I took Maggie and Emma to the mall for a Mommy-Daughter-Sister date. We passed a salon and Maggie wanted to go in and get her haircut. Since every morning in our house is a crying, sobbing fit because of tangles and brushes, I didn't waste a second and walked in. I asked Emma if she wanted a haircut and she declined. Maggie hopped in the chair and we were off and running. No sooner did the chunks of hair start to fall to the ground, Emma looked at me and said "Mama I want my hair up to here" and put her hand by her ear. I didn't waste a second - a 4 year old mind changes like a fart in the wind! (Thank you Grandma Loehning - I always liked the "fart in the wind" phrase that you used so often!) Anyhow, back to haircuts. The girls got the same cut, basically. I'm sure you'd never know by looking at them that I am a **HUGE** Victoria Beckham fan ... and they are quite fond of her as well. Emma calls her that "pretty lay that has pretty sunglasses, purses and shoes and talks like Uncle Dominic". :) So, without further ado .... DRUMROLL...............

Maggie Mae

Emma Lu

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, Grandma Wendy!

Today was Grandma Wendy's 55th Birthday. We went roller skating, had lasagne for dinner and a birthday cake. The girls had a blast! Emma was in bed by 6:45 this evening and Maggie is on her way out, 20 minutes later. Emma worked so hard to try to catch up with big sister at the roller rink - her little legs were working faster and harder than I ever thought that they could. She never did catch up but she got an A for her efforts! Anyway, Happy Birthday Grandma! We hope you had a nice day and we love you!

Friday, April 16, 2010

13 Days and Counting

I am so fortunate to work with a great client several times every year on their programs. In 13 days I leave for their biggest event of the year - it is something that I work on for an entire year but it is what I love about my job. I can't wait to tell you more about it as I'm here (because much of it is a secret) but it's going to be amazing. Plus, I will be home from this trip for all of 4 days and then Steve and I are heading back for a vacay with our friends. Where am I going this time, you wonder?

Steve and I haven't set foot in the city together since we got married so we are looking forward to it! (Not to mention the cocktails, the pool, the sunshine and the silence!)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Chuck the Cat

When I was a little girl my cousin would act like he was punching my dolls and it broke my heart. Emma has a favorite stuffed animal, a cat, which is lovingly named Chuck. (Yes, Chuck is also my partner in crime here at work and Emma L-O-V-E-S him and that's where the name from.) This morning Maggie wanted to take Chuck to school for show and tell, probably because she knew that it would royally upset her sister. When Emma said NO, Chuck was launched across the room. Emma's little heart broke. Ahhhh sisters!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Favorite Things

Oprah who? I could have a show on my favorite things. It might be the same things over and over but one never knows for sure. I could actually do an entire show on Steve Madden shoes or my favorite cosmetic products. Then there is just about anything that has been branded with the color "Tiffany Blue". Yes, it's my favorite color and if you are a girl it should be yours too! Oh and don't forget the fact that my life would end if my cell phone wasn't in one hand and my beloved iPod in the other. But, are these REALLY my favorite things? Yes, they are. But not at the top of my list. You see, my girls and amazing husband aren't really "things" so they didn't show up here. Maggie's favorite things would include her white blankie, her cat and her books. Emma's can be summed up in one word - JAMMIES. When Steve and I were in Seattle on vacation last fall we ran into this at the Gap. I wish I could have fit it in my suitcase for her.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

All Glam'd Up

Oh Emma. I'm not quite sure if there is anyone that loves lipgloss more than Emma ... well maybe me but that would be about the only exception. We have buckets and buckets. Red, purple, pink, clear, sparkly and gold. We have lipgloss that looks like cans of soda, bottles of Hershey's Chocolate Syrup, pots, tubes, sticks and roll ons. You name it, we've got it. Now we are moving on to jewelry, sunglasses, skirts and dresses. Who knew that I would have such a girly girl? When I was 3, I'm told that I could put lipstick on without a mirror and it would be pretty perfect. Well, I've passed the talent on to my youngest daughter but not on purpose. :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Life Lesson Lunes (Monday)

Throughout my 31 years of life I've learned a lot of lessons. Some hard, some easy, some happy and some sad. Some are necessary and some fill my head with useless information that I'll never use. Today I was reminded of 2 of my favorite and most helpful lessons.

Lesson Number 1: True Friends are hard to find but when you find one, keep her because she'll be one of the most important people in your life. She will stand by you when things are bad and cry with you on the phone, she will laugh with you at silly jokes, she will sing out loud to songs that you both love, she will be the person that gives you comfort. She will be the person that you think about when you are sitting in on airplane on the runway when your plane is about to take off because you know without a doubt that if something happens to you on this trip, she will be the person that will comfort, love and hold your babies when you can't.

Lesson Number 2: If you have something to say to someone, are trying to resolve a situation or have an issue, make a phone call and do not, under any circumstance, SEND AN E-MAIL. E-mails have a way of creating bigger problems. You can say that the sky is blue but it will come across to who ever you are writing to that you are saying that the sky is red. I have learned this lesson time and time again but cannot seem to figure it out.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

In Her Eyes

One weekend day a month I have a "date" with Maggie and one with Emma. Today was Maggie's day. She wanted to go to a movie - The Last Song. (Miley Cyrus of course!) So, we headed out. We got to the theatre, she went in and told the girl what we were there to see. I paid for the tickets. Then she looked at me and said "you get the popcorn - I'm going to hit the potty before it closes". (BTW-I've convinced my kids that when the movie starts, the bathroom closes.) We got all set, found our seats in the theatre and sat down. During the previews I looked over to her. I remembered what it was like when we saw her first movie. We stacked 2 winter coats up so she could sit higher to see better. She had a sippy cup and fruit snacks were her movie snack. Today I saw this little girl that is growing so fast. She's tall and beautiful. She was munching on her popcorn and sipping her soda when she looked over at me and said "Why do you keep staring at me?" I simply replied, "I don't know baby - you are just amazing to me." The movie was cute but in classic Nicholas Sparks fashion, got sad at the end. So, there I sat bawling my eyes out when I realized that the tables had turned and she was staring at me. When our eyes met she simly said, "Seriously?" I love my days with her. She is getting so big so fast. I hope that I remember today for the rest of my life. It meant so much to me.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pizza Pizza

Today we made our own pizzas - each one of us got to customize our own to what we like. Well, I had to share with Steve which meant that his chicken was overflowing on to my pepperoni but someone one told me ... PICK YOUR BATTLES!! :) Maggie and Emma always enjoy this and I think it may have been the highlight to our very long, but nice spring day. We went to Rocket Park this morning but got rained out. Went to Funset Blvd. and then Culver's for a treat and now, at 5:30, Miss Emma is ready for bed. We're ready to do it all over again tomorrow - crossing our fingers for a nice day. If we get it, destination: ZOO!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

As long as I live here I will never understand our weather patterns. Only 1 week ago it was 75 degrees. 2 days ago, 65. Yesterday, 3-4 inches of white, packy, wet, heavy snow. I couldn't believe my eyes when I peeled my curtains open. When Maggie & Emma woke up they were thrilled! Within minutes they were in full head-to-toe winter gear and out the back door. Today the sun was shining and the snow is once again gone. The girls enjoyed their last "hoorah" in the snow ... or at least it better be! We are officially ready with summer!

My Many Colored Days

When Maggie was a baby and toddler, her favorite book was "My Many Colored Days". I can't even begin to imagine how many times I read it to her. Still, nearly 7 years later, it best describes a day in our life. So, here I am. This is my LAST attempt at blogging. My purpose is to be able to give something to my family to read about on the days when I'm far away from home and even when I'm just steps away. So, wish me luck!!!