Lost tooth!

Kira lost another tooth today. This makes seven so far. Apparently (I wasn't home for this) she got her hair tangled in her mouth, and when she pulled it out, it popped the tooth out with it. How does this happen? I didn't even ask.

In any case, this tooth has been dangling and clinging for weeks and I'm so glad I don't have to look at it any more.

But then she seemed worried, so I asked her if she was ok. She said "I'm sad because I wanted to show my friends at school, but now the tooth fairy is going to come and take it and I won't get a chance!"

I told her to write  a note that I was sure the tooth fairy would be very  understanding. (And I'm willing to bet the toothfairy has her *(&% together, so surely coming back a different day will be simple for her to remember to do. ;) )

*I* would never remember to come back a different day, or even that same night, so it's  a good thing I'm not in charge of these things.


How stinkin' cute is that!? It's really small too, so the toothfairy will be able to hold it. :)

She turned her head to smile so you could be sure and see the hole in her head. 

Meet our new friend!

So Shawn went downtown to a meet up to play board games and meet people. So the kids and I are at home without a vehicle.

Sibling rivalry has been abundant the past week or so and I cannot take another day of arguing so I made sure I had a plan for the day!

We started off making our first ever snowman! The snow was absolutely perfect for the task, and so we set to work.

Our snowman in progress:


And a group shot, sorry, it is difficult to focus, set a timer, put the camera on a snowball and run through 12" of snow to be in a picture. After 4 or 5 tries the kids were tired of me and my camera. So you get what you get. :) 

The Choo Choo Restaurant,

 "In 1951, a young entrepreneur and his wife opened a diner in Des Plaines with the hopes that they could operate a successful business that would be an entertaining experience for all ages."
The choo choo history.

One of Shawn's co-workers told him about this place in Des Plaines, so we headed down today to surprise Evan.

It was insane. We had to wait for about 20 min. for seats at the bar. They have a few booths, but the food is served on a train if you sit at the bar. Evan really wanted to wait.

Luckily there is a 30 min. time limit and then you are asked to leave, so they keep things moving. Shawn and I agree, it was difficult to get too, we missed the parking lot, but it's surrounded by 1 way streets and no left turns, so it took some driving to get back to it. It is also *very* loud, and they play happy birthday to anyone who comes in for their birthday. It is played really loud and the waitress pulls a whistle after it plays. On top of each cupcake, there is a high pitched train whistle, and it seemed like every kid in the place had one and they all were blowing them constantly. But if you can get past that...the food was ok, and the experience was still good for the kids!

We agree it's a "We went there once!" kind of place. ;)

Kira thought it was boring and for little kids. 
Here comes our food! On a train!
Then it stops in front of you and they serve it too you right off the flat beds. ;)

I got Kira with bad expressions every time I snapped, this is the best of the worst. Sorry kiddo! But she perked up when she got her food, and said "Well at least the food is good! Can we come here again?"

 Do you see that rotary phone? Good grief. This place was caught in a time warp, and I don't mean it was "retro" I mean it was trapped. And it needed some TLC. 

If you read the story of how it started (in the link above) you would think they had such great potential...they were beating McDonald's! For petes sake. Oh, my little decorator/fixer upper self just saw so much potential in this place, but alas, they did not ask my opinion. It made me twitch though.

 Shawn reminded me that I'm not a food photographer. It was duly noted and ignored, and now you must suffer the sad consequences my dear readers. Sorry about that. He tried.

Next up: Dessert! How darling are those cupcakes! If only they were served with dog whistles.

Shawn came along to pay  er...I mean, eat with us, and good thing too. This place was a little on the pricey side, and only takes cash or checks! Can you believe it? Who takes checks these days? Places that are *trapped* in 1959, that's who. So poor Shawn had to go get cash. And not from the bank across the street, oh no, that would be too easy. They only serve their *own* customers. So he had to suck it up and pay $3 for the atm that was some urban hiking distance from the restaurant. Poor guy. Good sport though right? One of the many reasons I love him! 

Over all, I think we can all say it was fun but even Evan said "I think this is more for little kids". So we likely won't go back, but we would recommend it to others if they ever get the chance, to just go once. :) So you can say you did.

It's likely that I blog too much.

But anyone who knows me wouldn't (or at least shouldn't) be surprised, because I also talk a lot!

I have 36 posts for the month of February. Wow. That is really something considering it's the shortest month of the year.

At least in blog world, you can shut me up if you need too, just don't click.

So I'm back today because I wanted to post about Aunt Valentine around V-day, but I'm not sure what happened and now the month is almost gone.

I would link you to my Aunt Denise's blog, but it is private so I'll share some comments posted this year by our very own Aunt Valentine. Fun facts about Aunt Valentine and Cousin Valentine.

This year's picture:

"Okay, here are some facts for you.
Last year 56 boxes of chocolates, 128 valentines.

Coldest shoot....probably last year (car one) at 17 degrees and wind chill made it more like 1 million degrees below 0!!

Hardest one, when Mychaela was 1 year 9 months and WOULD NOT HOLD STILL!

Also, the one in Tucson with the snake and our hair ratted up...we could not fit in the car to get to where we took the pics. :)

People get chocolates until they get married. Then they get card only. When they have children they get the chocolate and it starts over again....

Saddest thing to me is when people tell me its the ONLY valentine they get..I think thats sad.

SIDE NOTE: We would love some new ideas if anyone has any for us. Its hard to come up with them each year.

I am so glad everyone enjoys this tradition.

With love, Aunt Valentine"

This is what my Aunt Denise wrote on her blog:

"Do you all have any idea what "AUNT VALENTINE" goes through to BE Aunt Valentine? After today...I got a teeny tiny peek at what it takes....(I got the awesome job of being their photographer!) First of all...she has to make new Valentine costumes EACH and every year for this occasion..just to give everyone a card! Then she schedules pictures...and that isn't easy let me tell you- especially NOW when she works a schedule around a very busy teenage daughter, AKA COUSIN VALENTINE! After getting the pictures taken she chooses one and then goes to get it developed. (Leora- in the 'comments' below, let us KNOW how MANY you have developed!!) Then she wraps the already purchased (because she has to buy so many she does this as soon as they come out in the stores)valentine boxes of candy for ALL younger (until age 18?) nieces,nephews,great nieces, great nephews and all 'adopted' neices and nephews of her very close friends and extended family. AS you all know, the cards ALONE are a work of art.... hours- ALL DAY in fact, putting them together and writing on them....and addressing, licking stamps....ETC ETC. Then she takes the whole lot to the post office!
OK...for those of you who do not KNOW "Aunt Valentine" she is my little sister! On Valentines Day I will post a picture of her and Mychaela, on this blog. Leora has done this since she was 16...18?? years old. Old enough to drive over and deliver her packages of Boxed Valentine Chocolates... I took a picture of her that first year...and when I find it I will post it BY VALENTINES DAY as well.
Leora~ "Thank you". Thank you for the memories that we ALL hold dear. THANK you for continuing this wonderful tradition of BEING Aunt Valentine to MY Grandchildren...your Great Nieces and Nephews- and the grandkids of all your siblings."

Here is what the valentine looked like this year. I wish I could take pictures of the others, but they are all back in storage in Tucson. Hopefully next year I can pull out past pictures and share our fun tradition with you.

I'm on a horse.

Funny right! It is even better, watch the "making of" and prepare to be more impressed than you already are by sexy man in a towel, on a boat, on a horse. :)

It's pretty long. But lets not fool ourselves. We all know wasting 20 min. on the internet isn't a big deal. ;) You know you can't resist!

Panera Bread. Mmmmm....

Shawn and I took Evan out for lunch today. We had Panera Bread, Evan was really excited because he loves their grilled cheese. I was really excited because I love their french onion soup in a bread bowl. Shawn was not as excited as we are, because it is a lunch hot spot, and he gets to eat out far more often than we do for lunch. Plus they forgot to make his chicken caesar salad with the chicken.

(Remind me never to be a food photographer.)
Sad for Shawn. Happy for me.

Ten for Tuesday!

I am addicted to decorating blogs. I love them. I especially love the do it yourself blogs, that give me ideas for low cost options.

I am chomping at the bit to get home to do some of these things to my own house, but since I am stuck in a rental for now, I just read, star and tag them in my reader, hoping to one day get back to them.

So for today, some eye candy. (And links, if you want to add them to your own reader, because they truly are fabulous finds!)

1. Jen is amazing, she has her personal blog that I read all the time as well, but whenever I need some inspiration to make my home beautiful, I turn to her blog Inspiration for Decoration. You simply cannot go wrong there.

2. Kimba over at A Soft Place to Land is also a favorite. I cannot wait to steal this fantastic idea! I've been really struggling with the wet gloves and mess all over, but again, with the rental! So command hooks and wire baskets? She is brilliant. This great idea is called her "Good Enough Mudroom".

3. Kate. Over at Centsational Girl is my hero. She is like a thrifting Goddess and does things like this FABULOUS kitchen (it is her real house, hello!) on a budget. All her goodwill finds make me smile.  Don't believe me? Check out her before/after section and her tutorial section. She will amaze you. Even if you don't decorate you will start to think that maybe you could. ;0)

4. Toni at Design Dazzle provides lots of inspiration from all around the blogoshpere! This headboard is from DIY (dyi ideas @ Better Homes and Gardens)

5. Karla gives me eye candy galore over at It's the Little Things... I love all the little details she never misses! I linked directly to this make over of her boys room, and I love everything about it! Don't miss this great inspiration!

6. Anyone who follows decorating blogs knows the Nester. Her blog just speaks for itself. The Nesting Place. Her motto is "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful". Truly words of wisdom when you want to make your house a home. Her home just seems so cozy. Like you could go over and hang out comfortably, while still enjoying how pretty it really is.

7. The DIY showoff just knocks it out of the ball park on a regular basis. I *LOVE* this blog.(And btw, I'm SOOOO doing this project as soon as I know where I am going to live for the next year! ;) )

8. Melissa over at The Inspired Room is another that just has the best finds on the net and shares them in one happy, shiny place. (photo credit House Beautiful)

9. How can you not just love someone like Sarah The Thrifty Decor Chick ?What is not to love about someone who will spray paint anything and then show you "See it turned out to be beautiful!" I have been loving spraypaint lately myself. Kira's b-day party would have been a bust without it! (The lamp, the frame...etc.)

10. One final source of inspiration comes from Sarah over at Pewter+Sage. She has the best finds and offers up tons of eye candy for your perusal. Someday, I won't have pets. Or kids in the house. And I will own a white bedspread. And it will stay white and pretty. (Hey, a girl can dream!)

Sadly, I didn't even get through all of the design blogs I enjoy, but hopefully this will help get you inspired! Or at least give you lots to look at for a rainy afternoon.

Monday Motivation on Tuesday.

Yeah. I'm pretty bad at this I guess. :)

I am going to be honest and say I didn't get to my desk this week. I've done other stuff, but not my desk/office. So I'm just going to take that on for another week, it will be done. AND I promise to post about it on an actual Monday!


Sledding! A first for my Arizona babies!

We had so much fun. We borrowed the neighbors sled and their children, then we went sledding in a nearby forest preserve!

We lasted about an hour and a half, I called it a day when the kids were just staying at the bottom of the hill and laying down rather than hiking back to the top.

I'm really glad I bought ski pants and boots, it was a lot of fun and really good exercise! And I only went up and down half as often as the kids I think. :)

Here are some pics from our day!

Heading up the hill:

Z *had* to wear his ski goggles. Cracked me up! But he is a very serious kid, and sledding is serious business. He never took them off. ;)
The girls getting ready to go down:

 And coming back up:

Evan by himself. He would only ride with me one time and Kira took a really blurry picture. He was a loner all day. Just the way he likes it.


Then I got bored and took some self portraits. :) And played with them in photo editing for fun!

No laughing.

Ok. Back to the kids, who are much more fun to look at. ;)

A little perspective, there *are* hills in the midwest! 

That is Evan coming up the hill at the bottom right.
And while it was beautiful if you looked this way and to your left, we had to try and pretend this wasn't to the right:

(Yes, there is a star blocking our exact location. For safety's sake)
Right before we left we had a race, boys against girls. I'm unclear about who won. I'm just glad that they went around the other sledders before they collided into each other. We'll say it was a tie. ;)

(I don't know. Looks like the girls were in the lead in the beginning of the race. ;) We'll never know.