Sunday, August 29, 2010


Some of the closest people to me are my cousins. I have two in particular that I love like a sister and a brother and I can't imagine life without them. To see my girls with their cousins is so much fun. As they grow up they grow closer and I love it! Yesterday we had a big family party with Steve's side and for the most part, the girls are all close in age. Tasha is 8, Sydney 7, Maggie 7, Mya 6 and Emma 5. They played together so well and love being together!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Reality Shots

In 2007 we got this photo out of our annual family photo shoot and I appropriately named it our "Reality Shot" at the time. Maggie pouting and Emma whining.

Now, although the "pouting and whining" hasn't changed, the bodies have gotten bigger. And, although this is not a professional photo, I've just found our "Modern Reality Shot" and here it is!

I Know It Won't Be Long

I know that the day is fast approaching when my girls can't fit together on one queen sized comforter that's been folded in half ... I know it won't be long until the last place on earth that my girls want to sleep is in my bedroom. Although I know it's fast, I also realize to be thankful for every moment that I can wake up and open my eyes and see my baby girls sleeping soundly next to me because it won't be long until I can't do that anymore.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Extreme Home Makeover, Neenah: TAKE 2!

I had no intention on being there at that house for the big reveal ... until we were nosy, got a good spot and couldn't get out!!! We were there for 4 hours! It was so hot, humid, smelly and exciting. Maggie and Emma hung in there like troopers all for a chance to get another look at Ty Pennington :) or Paige! Good news: We saw Ty quite a few times (and he is NOT hard to look at)! Bad news: No Paige. She just didn't get close enough for the girls to see. We were definitely a part of the production and got to yell "MOVE THAT BUS" for the home to be revealed to the family. Congratulations Arboleda Family!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Extreme Home Makeover, Neenah Edition

The team from ABC's Extreme Home Makeover is here in Neenah building a home and filming the show. It's been a huge buzz all week and bringing a great deal of opportunity to our community. Maggie is LOVING this! She loves watching these home decorating/make over shows so she knows who everyone is. Plus, as a bonus, the dancers from "Dancing with the Stars" are here too! Last night we hung out for a few hours - here are some shots!

The Crowds are HUGE - something that this city hasn't seen in a long, long time!

Maggie, Emma and Carley had a blast! Maggie wants to go back again tonight...and tomorrow to try to get a glimpse of Ty and Paige!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The List

Do you have a list of things that you want? I do. I keep a running list of things that I want. Steve doesn't seem to understand that if something is "wanted" enough it actually becomes a "need". Well, I've NEEDED a new camera for quite some time now and got my new little beauty yesterday. I got a new Canon that I love ... so far. Here are some of the first shots!

Monday, August 16, 2010

When it Rains, it Pours

There is nothing worse for me than being away and getting a phone call that there is an emergency at home. I am so helpless and when my "wanting to help" feeling kicks in, it is so hard to focus on what I'm doing because there's only one place that I really want to be.

Sunday morning at 5:00 a.m. my phone rang. I was up running around the hotel already and figured that it was Chuck's "where are you right now" call - when I picked it up and saw my mom's name I knew it couldn't be good. I answered with hesitation and heard her crying saying "its an emergency - the tree feel!" I knew immediately and my stomach sank. For years now they have been asking their landlord to have this 100 year old rotten mess taken out but he wouldn't because of the cost and he insisted that it wasn't rotten. Well guess what? IT WAS! Thankfully no one was hurt. Thank heavens. Structures can be fixed. Cars can be replaced. The question still remains, is the structure safe? The landlord says it is ... I have my own opinion.

Since I was out of town I truly didn't understand the magnitude of the disaster...and I do mean DISASTER. Carla emailed me photos that I was able to see when I got home last night and I was shocked. This morning I went over to the house to get the ball rolling for them and it's definitely rolling in full swing. Here are a few of the photos. Carla did an awesome job capturing it but even these photos don't do it justice.

Friday, August 13, 2010

2010 PGA Championship

I've been here for 24 hours and have had lots of firsts already. Although I'm not a huge golfer, I have to say that the course (Whisting Straits) is just beautiful. I've seen a lot of courses over the past few years and this is definitely one of the pretties. Lots of hills and right on the lake - yesterday the sky and the lake were so blue that it was hard to tell where they met.

1-I have never been to a pro-golf tournament and now I have. I'm totally impressed by the inner-workings of it all. Fascinated is probably a better word - it's like seeing thousands of little worker ants all scurrying around-everyone has a purpose and knows what they need to do and they do it.

2-I've never seen a pro-golfer and now I have. Chuck and I were standing on the tee box where hole 3 and 7 meet. We were just chit chatting and I started fanning myself with my course map (BTW, did I mention that it was 102 degrees out there?) and John Daly opened their cooler to get a refreshment - he pulled out a gatorade for himself and then handed me a water. What a guy! He was one of 3 golfers that I'd actually be able to recognize simply because of his "Loud Mouth" apparel. In case you don't know, Loud Mouth is the company that John Daly owns - they sell golf apparel but it's very unique. I learned about this from one of my favorite clients! :) About 20 minutes later, at the same spot, Tiger Woods came walking down and sat on the bench right next to me to have his afternoon granola treat. Chuck patted him on the back and said "Hey Tiger" and he smiled and said thanks.

3-I've never, no not ever, used a port-a-potty and now I have. I held it all afternoon until I thought that there was a very good chance that my bladder was going blow up. If it wasn't for the fact that I've had 7 kidney infections over the past 6 months I probably would have pushed it even more. Needless to say, after that point I was just ready to get to the hotel and hit the shower!

4-I've never parted with my cell phone for more than about 5 minutes and now I have ... and it sucked. You are not allowed to bring cell phones, data devices or cameras in to the tournament so NO, there are no photos of Tiger.

Today we're back at the hotel running the hospitality for group arrivals in the nice and cool air conditioning. Life is least until tomorrow when we're back out there.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Scuba Girls

When summer started the girls were what I would call "average" swimmers for their age groups. In less than 2 months they have become quite strong and brave. Maggie's off and running from the second we hit the pool - jumps in the deep end and swims all over. Emma's getting there too - we've found that she can hold her breath longer than any of the other Mantel's in the house. Weird. They would be in the pool all day every day if they could!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

We LOVE Birthdays!

Our family has made a big deal out of birthday's for as long as I can remember. If someone has a birthday, no matter how young or old or who they are, they get a party. This past weekend we celebrated Bailee's 11th Birthday!!! I can't believe she's 11 already - time really flies! It's "funny" to see the emerging teenager and what I have to look forward to!!! The girls spent 5 hours in their bathing suits outside and even convinced them to put a sprinkler UNDER the trampoline for added bouncing enjoyment. Here they are in all of their party glory!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Goooooo TEAM!

First, YAY Mags!!! Today was the close to cheerleading camp for the summer and parent's day and YES, I teared up. Sitting there watching her was surreal at first because it seems like just yesterday I was out there cheering my heart out but then to see her and how thrilled she was was just such a great feeling. She did AWESOME too! I was so, so proud of her. She was out there shaking her stuff and going to town. Way to go Mags! You're a natural ... and for now I'm going to just think that I had a little something to do with it.

It's hard to be the little sister on the sidelines. Emma couldn't be in the camp this year because she just missed the age cut off. I asked her if she wants to do it next year and she said "not til I'm 8" ... we'll see!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Leadership Star

Maggie is in a Cheerleading Camp this week (YAY Mags, following in Mama's footsteps!) and she's having a blast. I'm so proud of her. Each day someone in the camp is awarded with a special star - Patient Star, Friendly Star, Sharing Star, etc. Today my girl was awarded with the Leadership Star. I'm so proud of her! So, in honor of Mags, I wanted to find a quote and I found a great one. This actually means a lot to me because when I first read it, it made me think of those that I consider to have been leader's in my life. There are only a few people that come to mind but they all hold a very special place in my heart ... and now my daughter has been added to this list of Leader's.

If your actions inspire others to dream more,learn more, do more and become more,
you are a leader.
-John Quincy Adams

What color was your day?

It was just "one of those days" today. First day back to work this week, last day in the office tomorrow and enough work to last me for months. Add a "fire" that needed to be put out, chaos, drama and all kinds of other stuff and here we are. So, what color did you have today? "My Many Colored Days" was Maggie's favorite book for her first few years and I still read it to them. It always makes me feel a little better!

Some days are yellow.
Some are blue.
On different days I'm different too.
You'd be surprised how many ways
I change on Different Colored Days.

On Bright Red Days how good it feels
to be a horse and kick my heels!

On other days I'm other things.
On Bright Blue Days I flap my wings.

Some days, of course, feel sort of Brown.
Then I feel slow and low, low down.

Then comes a Yellow Day and Wheeee!
I am a busy, buzzy bee.

Gray Day....Everything is gray.
I watch. But nothing moves today.

Then all of a sudden I'm a circus seal!
On my Orange Days that's how I feel.

Green Days. Deep deep in the sea.
Cool and quiet fish. That's me.

On Purple Days I'm sad. I groan.
I drag my tail. I walk alone.

But when my days are Happy Pink
it's great to jump and just not think.

Then come my Black Days. MAD. And loud.
I howl. I growl at every cloud.

Then comes a Mixed-Up Day. And WHAM!
I don't know who or what I am!

But it all turns out all right, you see.
And I go back to

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cupcakes, Cupcakes, Cupcakes!

We love cupcakes! I got all kinds of fun new tools for decorating cupcakes for my birthday so the girls and I decided to try some of these out. I didn't use any fondant which was my original plan but I let the girls try out a bunch of tips. They had a blast! We decorated cupcakes for quite awhile. Maggie loves doing a really good job ... Emma likes making sure that she has the most frosting on the cupcake phyisically possible!