* Avrie's 1st year of Dance!

It's May which means BIG milestones for Avrie are coming to an end. The end of preschool... the end of being a 3 year old... and the end of her 1st year of dance!

Dance was touch and go (for me) all year... mainly because I was NOT a fan of her studio and really wouldn't recommend this studio to anyone else. But I will stop right there and from here on out only share the fun we've had with Avrie experiencing her first year of dance class.

I begin with a flashback to a 4 week 'Mommy & Me" class that we took back in the fall of 2013, the year before she was old enough for the 3 year old "Creative Movement" beginners class. She was mostly all over the place being a free spirited self and then there were times where she just wasn't into it at all. See below...

After the 4 week session, we took a break from dance and when she turned 3 in June of 2014 I signed her up for class to begin that Fall, EKKKK! Despite her lack of enthusiasm the first time around, I was still pretty excited.


Her first night of dance! She was SO cute and ready to dance (even if the look on her face above says otherwise) and she had no problem figuring out those things called tap shoes! We came right now and tapped all around the garage and any patio block in the yard she could find.


All year long, I couldn't get enough of her darling dance leotards & dance outfits- rhinestones, tights, flowing skirts, tutus, ballet shoes, leg warmers and dance hair!

It's all so sweet!

For the Holidays the studio put on a Christmas show- it was a short version of what's to come in the Spring with a lot of the little kids doing fun Holiday songs and donning Santa hats. This was a great way to get a feel for how the little ones would handle stage time. Avrie did SO good. I was teary watching her, it brought back so many memories for myself AND I felt like the the luckiest mom with the cutest kid on stage! ;)

I danced at the age 3 to 18 years old at the same studio in West St Paul and LOVED it. Nancy Raddatz was and still is a non-competitive recreational dance studio that has been around since 1948!!! Being that we are now in the area, I might even look into Raddatz for Avrie's next year of dance. Then I'll REALLY get a blast from the past and I KNOW I'll love it there!

After Avrie's first show, I just had to buy her a flower- I always remember loving the after show flowers! Avrie made me so proud, she too needed a flower! She also made Grandma Ertle, Grandma Kay, Grandpa Ambrose and Kelly smile as they watched her dance to "Must Be Santa!" with bright red cherry lips! We celebrated with lunch at Blue Heron to follow.


Throughout the year, we danced our way through Winter and into the Spring. And with Spring time dance there comes a lot of the most anticipated & fun dance stuff!

Costumes! Dance Pictures! and the big finale- RECITAL!!

[i HAD to share Avrie's dance pics & my 1st year pic circa 1986! wow... i know... more like YICKS!]

Avrie had a dress rehearsal the week before recital. She had zero hesitations which helped me feel confident going into recital weekend knowing how excited Avrie was about being on "the stage!"

For the last few months, I have had multiple frantic dreams about the pressures of backstage during recital. Having been apart of the dance scene for so many years, I WAS feeling nervous!! but again SO excited. Excited for Avrie and excited to watch!

We made it to recital day on Saturday 5/9/15! That morning we woke up early to eat a good breakfast get ready for the day. Now with us living in our new house we had quite the drive ahead, traveling all the way from Hastings up to Lindstrom's Chisago Lakes High School- PAC.

We made a day of it and took Grandpa Billy & Auntie Jamie along with us. Grandma Ertle & Grandpa Paul met up with us to watch the big show as well. 2015 Recital - "Annie" was a tad long, clocking in at a little over 2 and a half hours, but fun to watch. Having the mix of both competition dancers & rec dancers kind of makes for a show that is all over the place, but still fun to see the different dance levels.

Backstage: I was a little skeptical of the 3 year olds being in a gymnasium for almost three hours, without mom or dad. After intermission when I ran back to help change Avrie into tap BUT she was already dressed and preoccupied with all the fun that she was having with her dance friends. One of the mom helpers gave me a thumbs up so I quickly sneaked out to return to the show before Avrie could spot me.

During the show: Avrie's class danced ballet to "Snuggle Puppy" where they had a little stuffed animal with them on stage- so perfect for Avrie. She would have LOVED to have Kangy up there but we somehow managed to have her use an alternate animal for just for dance.

I absolutely adored her HUGE ballet tutu- the colors were so pretty on her and she did SO good on stage. As good as any 3 year old would do- but she actually REALLY did some of her steps and didn't just stand in place and jump like she does in class!

For tap, Avrie's class danced to "S-M-I-L-E" in glittery, bright teal & hot pink stripe & polka dot costumes. It was ADORABLE and SO cute on all of the girls!

As I suspected, she was a little more distracted on stage for tap being that her feet made noise! She still did pretty good but being in the front row, she spent a lot of time turned around & watching the other girls.

At the close of the show & finale, I was able to go to the gymnasium and check Avrie out so that we could all congratulate her and give her high fives & hugs. This time around I bought her a ring pop for all of her good work!! She earned it and she loved that sweet treat WAY more than a flower.

After the show we all went out to a late lunch where Avrie pretty much snuggled up against me and didn't even eat one bite of food. The second we were in the car headed back home she was out like a light. Such a long & exhausting day. SO much that we SKIPPED the Sunday show. It was just not in the cards for us on Mother's Day and with it being almost an hour and a half drive it would have made for a really REALLY long Sunday and a, I'm afraid, a terribly crabby 3 year old. #momknowsbest

And now we close the book on dance: year one! 

Hoping to find us a good fit for next year and to keep the fun & cuteness going!


*Where Oh Where Have I Been!?

It's no real news that we have been BUSY- but we're all busy right!? We all just define busy a little bit differently...

 [priorities: powerful words providing clarity, appreciating family & time spent with friends who understand]

For me, for us, busy is... taking pictures and looking back at them a week later [and saying] "awe, oh that was fun!" :D

Busy is... not being able to go to the movies, or go to the mall or getting my nails done [THAT is fun] but that can also wait. I DID however make time to get my hair done- those GREYS CANNOT wait... and I am NOT trendy enough to rock the newly, 'highly fashionable'!? greying hair look. It's cute... but not for me. :/

Busy is... running Avrie back and forth to school three days a week JUST to finish up the school year and not having to miss a day with her first year of school friends and her sweet & kind preschool teachers. Oh and dance... there has to be that dance factor in there.

Busy is... keeping in touch with friends that are ALSO busy- whether it be via a text, a snap, a group me message, an instagram [my life line], A PHONE CALL or an email [but way TOO BUSY too send out snail mail] BUT either way that little bit of contact each day, makes my day, so I thank you! :')

On that note, busy is... responding to friends texts hours and HOURS later because... I read your text and responded to it in my mind. Thank you for your patience ;)

Busy is... WORK! So much to do, NEVER EVER enough time or ever enough days in a week- but that's the case for everyone, so that's all I have to say about that.

Busy is... stopping what I'm doing to write down that one thing I JUST thought of so that I don't think of it at 2am and it keeps me awake for hours in the middle of the night. Wait, maybe that's just a MOM/OCD thing!?

Busy is... saying a million times over and over and over...  "just one second, mom has to finish this first." or taking a "break" to keep Avrie busy by playing legos on the floor and building lego girl, Mia's, pool, slide & radio [for the zillionth time]. a side note: Avrie is so much like her dad and I- she loves to have the company of others near her... to be by her... even if I am sorting papers or writing bills, as long as we are on the floor with her, she's cool with that.

Busy is... getting to the grocery store ONLY when there is NOTHING left to scrounge together to make a decent meal for my family. Only to end up buying anything and everything that sounds good... strawberries, Oreo's, "circle" cheese and lime-ade :P

Busy is... living amongst towering piles of boxes, house decor and personal belongings scattered EVERYWHERE because- we just can't do it all in one day.

Busy is... being late, everywhere, all of the time [but then again for ME that's normal] ;)

Busy is... not getting [an hour] out of town to visit with my BEST FRIEND in almost a YEAR!!!! Thank goodness we broke that streak last month. Thankfully Lana is like a sister to me and just get me, and TOTALLY understands. <3 br="">

Busy is... forgetting to eat a full meal [and using up all of those groceries that I just bought] it's usually a bite here or there- or lunch at about 3pm or cold pizza rolls [slightly burnt] that I took out of the oven over an hour ago [which by the way MIGHT be my new fav thing, yum!] 

Busy is... forgetting to mention the cookie dough that I bought on my last grocery run, popping them into the oven and then forgetting about them... the timer when off, Aaron was too busy to check on them, they burnt, I threw them away- but not before I ate one of those crispy things soaked in some milk! [not yummy] :Z

Busy is... running out the door in my slippers and NOT shoes!? YICKS... BUT catching myself before stepping into my car.

Busy is... paying bills at the VERY last second online, of course. :/

Busy is... reading 1-2 pages on my Nook before bed and waking up as the Nook crashes down onto my face- and not giving a care what. so. ever. ZZZzzzzzzz 

Busy is... starting a new TV show and only getting into the first 2-3 episodes.

Busy is... falling asleep in the WORST possible sleep position on the couch... watching approx 13 minutes if said variety of recorded DVR'd shows.

Busy is... thinking all about those blog posts that I WISH to someday get documented.

Busy is... not being able to stop at 'bou for an iced mint condition or campfire... WAIT... that's a LIE- never too busy for COFFEE!!!

Busy is... forgetting what it was that I was just about to write....


* Happy 2015!

New Year, more posting!? Yeah... probably not for a little while yet. I mean... I have YET to even blog about Halloween, that's a DEAD ringer for me just not having the time!! I can't say I'll be back soon but I can say that some day, ONE day I will return. My blog will wait for me and that helps me feel better about posting once every 3 months about random topics.

So for now, I just wanted to post my favorite family photo to date!

I want to cherish my beautiful little family and remember this moment of love and warmth- literally we were doing "fall photos" on a GORGEOUS Sunday afternoon September 28th- it was the last day of WARM fall temps and the leaves around our yard were out of this world- the perfect backdrop.

A few big time events that I must must MUST find time to blog about this year, and not in any particular order, will include; Avrie in dance, MOVING to Denmark Township, Halloween (costumes, events, party!), The Holidays of 2014, an update on all things Avrie, and to share more of our fun family photo session here at home on "Dead Branch Ranch" ... With our move, we will really miss all the beautiful colors that our property full of trees provides!

With life currently in crazy status and 1000% chaotic we look forward to what 2015 will bring for us- stay tuned!


* Our dog, Demie!

This past Spring we made the family decision to add a plus [furry] one to our family... a DOG!

With having owned a dog pre-Avrie and than having to endure the loss of our beloved dog, Tiki. We went back and forth [for a LONG time] on the pros & cons of getting and having another dog around again.

In the end, the list of pros won and in April we were reserved a Female German Shorthair Pointer born on Easter in Braham, MN. Aaron, Avrie and I were able to visit the litter before it was time to take our pup home. That was such a fun day for us AND Avrie. Being able to see the puppy so brand new was TOO CUTE! AND to be able to see/meet both the momma "drew" and daddy dog "ted".


Then the first weekend in June we went to pick up our new dog!! While on the drive home we all agreed on naming her Demie! The name has fit her from the start. Avrie LOVED having a cute new puppy napping beside her on the car ride home and Demie couldn't get enough of Avrie either.

Welp, fast forward now to 5 months later and Demie is 7 months old- kind of in the awkward teenage stage. Doing things that she KNOWS is naughty but doing so just to make us mad. She can be moody and gets REAL hangry at times. So in a nutshell, we know her antics pretty well at this point. Being dog owners again has it's challenges and while I say that I have to admit a couple of things. Demie is A PAIN IN MY BUTT!!

Having a busy toddler and a puppy is not exactly a walk in the park. Potty training/disciplining a puppy, caring for a toddler AND working from home is the perfect combo for a REALLY STRESSED OUT MOM! ME... That was the case for most of the summer. While we still have our moments, we are all getting better and adjusting to the additional responsibilities that come with having Demie. We have a routine established for the her. She getting the hang of knowing her role in the family. She has her spaces within the house (mainly the office and her spot in the garage) and Aaron built her a really great kennel outside.

Now with winter here and cold temps we have had to skip over nights outside and time spent in her kennel during the day. She spends a lot of her day in and out of the office and her spot in the garage near the fire. #princesspup

Demie's worst habit at this point is the jumping... she is getting better each day (i think i let her jump on me more than she should so she still tries it on my all the time) but she learned VERY early on that jumping up to Avrie is NOT ok so she has been REALLY good about not jumping up to knock Avrie down, being crazy around her or anything like that.

For the most part, Demie is very independent. A common characteristic of the breed. While she is a working dog, during the long colder days (aka not a TON of time outside during the day) she is getting into things and eating/chewing/destroying things that are NOT OK!

Avrie LOVES her dog... most days. Once in a while she wants nothing to do with the dog, and we think that's OK. They do love to play outside together.

Demie LOVES bubbles... she will jump up biting bubbles for hours if we were to let her. Avrie even gets a little annoyed that Demie pops all the bubbles before she can get to them! LOL! We also recently found out that Demie LOVES playing in the leaves. We had a ton of fun one afternoon a couple weeks ago- we captured some great pictures and some hilarious videos. She also REALLY like playing with her hula hoop! She also loves cats and people- she's a pretty social & happy dog.

The only that we have found to not be her favorite is riding in the car. She gets a bit anxious (VERY DROOLY) and without Dramamine- she barfs. Poor thing. And also, she does NOT like her sister dog, Allie (Brad & Kris's GSP) as in, they do not play well together. They don't hate each other, but they are WAY TOO rough with one another and can't really be left unsupervised while together.

I feel like I could go on and on about her, but basically she's been a great addition. Stressful at times, but she's a great dog that sleeps through the night and always has. Potty trained really well right from the start. It's nice that nothing ever really seems to bother her- we've heard her bark MAYBE 5 times. She sounds weird when she barks because she does it SO little.

Have you had any GSP experience? Whats your favorite trait of this breed? Do you have any questions for us about Demie. Also, if you Insta- you can find all the fun photos and videos of her under #DemieGirl


* Our Preschooler

Being so far behind, I thought I would just ditch everything missed (for now) and just chat for a little while about the fact that WE HAVE A PRESCHOOLER!!! With preschool, comes a lot of really fun & CUTE things!!

School projects, book orders, school pictures, new best friends, new songs, backpacks, show & tell, field trips, etc etc etc... We love it all, Avrie loves it all! She attends a Lutheran Preschool program just minutes from our house three days a week for a couple of hours in the morning.
On September 4th we had so much fun anticipating the 1st day of school. After a day trip of "school shopping" we had the perfect 1st day of school outfit picked out. I made her a cute little sign to hold (which she loved and insisted she hold for a picture before school for the rest of the week). Her and I worked on a banner to hang as a fun & cute backdrop for 1st the day of school photos.

 [her excitement made for some really great pictures!]

The weather was beautiful, so no jacket was needed and she was SO excited to go to school. The 1st day was parent/student day, so I was able to tag along for day 1 to get an idea of how Avrie's school day will go.

The 2nd day back to school, she ran into her classroom hugging BOTH of her teachers and yelling BYE MOM!

[on the way to day 2]

Right there I knew that we made the right decision on both putting her in school at age three and we picked the right school as well. So far we love it and Avrie continues love it and to also be excited for school each day!

I look forward to hearing from her teachers in November at conferences. I am SO curious to hear if she is as independent there as she is at home? Does she get along well with all of her classmates? She talks about a couple of the girls in class, non stop and mentions a few others here and there. Is she enjoying the curriculum, how is she doing with it? What does she do well with & what areas can we work more on with her? Do her teachers have a good feel for her true personality- and do they think that she is just the CUTEST THING EVER- like we do!  ;)

[kangy was included in on such an important day!]