Tag Archives: pictures

10 Things That Make Me Happy

I have a lot to feel happy about right now.  I’m happy to be back to blogging and yapping with you lovely people!  I’m also happy that Victoria is doing so much better right now.  She’s recovered from the latest surgery very well and the pain has been much more manageable during the recovery.  Lovely people from all over have sent heartwarming little cards, letters, craft projects and pick-me-ups.  The rest of us are finally over our various illnesses and it really seems the clouds have lifted.  Victoria will have another round of tests in 3 months to check on the cancer but we’re optimistic, and we’re doing what we can to keep her super healthy in the meantime.

Here’s a few other things that are making me happy lately…

  1. Baby feet. 
  2. Siblings who still like to play together.  
  3.  New herb gardens even though I didn’t get a chance to plant a veggie garden (yet) this year. 
  4. Puppy kisses. 
  5. Glamour photo shoots in the back yard. 
  6. My bulletproof roses
  7. Kombucha mother shared from a friend so we can start a new round of flavored concoctions. 
  8. Kids who love nature and photography. 
  9. New parks and places to explore together.        
  10. You.  Thanks for all of the comments, well wishes, prayers and encouragement this month.  It really means a lot, and every bit was appreciated.

I’m hoping to be back in the swing of things soon. 

Now, who’s up for some fabulous messy fun?  I hear international Play in the Mud Day is coming soon……  😉




Filed under happy stuff

On the Banks of Plum Creek (Once More)

Long time readers probably know by now that my family lives near Walnut Grove of “Little House” fame and that my girls have acted in a local outdoor play (The Wilder Pageant) about the Ingalls family’s time in our area since they were little.

Anna started acting in the pageant when she was four years old!

And some of you may remember the drama around Victoria and her “crazy hat” last year (she’s wearing another crazy hat this year, much to the dismay of that same girl!).

The girls are now in their 7th year in the pageant, Daddy is in his sixth, and this year marks Jack’s first year in it.

Last night was opening night, so Alex and I headed out with Grandma and Grandpa to see the show.

Here’s a few pics of my wonderful actors and the show.  🙂

(Apologies for the terrible quality of the photos!  I was using Victoria’s fancy camera and I really only know how to point and shoot!)

Back stage

Before the show

Jack got a little distracted by seeing me and the audience (over a thousand!) at first but then got into the swing of things

The Ingalls Family arrives

Reverend Alden (my hubby) leads a prayer

Jack was just too quick in the potato sack race for me to capture him!

Victoria and Daddy (I mean Reverend Alden) help erect the church

Jack (in back) prepares to roll some hoops during the church raising

Trying to burn out the grasshoppers during the plague (thousands of oyster crackers are blown into the air as grasshoppers!)

Those rotten Oleson kids 😉

The reverend says a few words in the Christmas scene (Jack is on the far right, the girls are hidden from view)

The exciting fire scene!

In the second half, my hubby plays the mayor (at the first city meeting of Walnut Grove)

I wish I knew how to use Victoria's camera! Anna did Irish step dancing and was in the middle of the front (in blue)

Victoria (in green with the hat) dances with Laura during the town social

Jack dancing

Anna dancing (in blue)

Jack hanging out with the other boys during the adult dance

Jack and Anna stand with their families at the end, as Laura tells what became of each family (the Olesons moved to California and Willie was blinded playing with firecrackers)

Taking a bow

My actors on stage afterwards

And being silly...

Jack, Alex and a pageant buddy

Signing autogaphs and meeting the audience

It was a great start to the new season.  🙂


Filed under This and that

A Little Madness

“You’re only given a little madness.

You mustn’t lose it.”

– Robin Williams

It has been a kind of wonderful week here. 

There’s been the usual messes and meltdowns and stresses


I seem to finally be done with “morning” (all the time) sickness


and while a new set of pains has replaced them,

I am getting my energy back

and spring is just too wonderful

to waste

not feeling pretty fabulously happy

(especially when the sun comes out).

I am now about 21 weeks along

and feeling lots of pokes and wiggles. 

Victoria is working on getting belly pictures. 

In the meantime,

here’s a few pictures of happy madness here lately…

Happy weekend!


Filed under happy stuff

We’re Back!

We’re back from our road trip to Florida.

It’s a bit of culture shock to be back in snowy Minnesota.

I had kind of hoped it would have magically turned a little spring-like while we were gone, but no such luck!

Lucky for us, we got so much sand, sun and smiles that it should carry us through for a long time.

Here’s a few pics…

And a few more…

I’ll be back tomorrow with something fun to share.

For now, I’m still very very tired (something about the combination of first trimester and four children!) and have a date with a nice soft bed.  🙂


Filed under This and that

Happy Holidays from the Real Us!

Every holiday season, we have a tradition of dressing all the kids up in some fancy clothes and taking them someplace suitably festive to take holiday pictures.

Sometimes it’s a nearby casino resort that puts up an indoor sleigh for photos.  We take pictures and then go to their buffet restaurant for dinner.

Sometimes it’s a half empty mall.  Once it was our friend Tiffany’s house, because it’s marvelously festive and incredibly tidy.

It can’t ever be our house, because our house is definitely not in the least bit incredibly tidy.  😉

Okay, once we used our house — we put Alex in a gift bag in front of the tree and put the bigger kids all around.  But mostly we use ultra-decorated fancy spots!

So this year, I was thinking about all the things I had to do to get ready… find coordinating outfits, pick a location, get us all there, make everybody happy for long enough to get a decent shot of four very wiggly kids…

And I decided to break with tradition.  Enough of that.  People know by now what our kids look like all dolled up.  And plenty of people have probably forgotten completely what Daryl and I look like, since we’re never in the shots!

I wanted all of us, and I wanted it real.

I told everybody to dress however they wished, and to wear something that summed them up — plus a fun hat.

I thought for sure the boys would want to be superheroes, but Jack picked a cool skeleton drummer shirt (with a top hat) and Alex opted for warmth!  This is Minnesota after all!  He topped it all off with a jingle bell elf hat that suited him perfectly.

Victoria wore a prom dress with jeans, a metallic scarf and a cowboy hat.  Anna picked a dress, top hat and a poncho that a friend knitted for her.

Daryl picked the tux he wears to play “The Gambler” at the old fashioned Christmas events at a nearby historic site, plus a Santa hat.  And I picked some high heeled boots, a jaunty cap, jeans and a shirt that said, “I am so blogging this.”

(I love that shirt.  It sums me up!)

And then we marched to our front yard, let the kids climb a snow drift, and set the self timer on my camera.

Several sets of bursts and crazy laughter later, we had our holiday pictures.

I kind of love them.  They’re us!

Here’s some of my favorites…

And here’s the one we went with for our holiday cards…

Yep, that’s us!  🙂

Happy Holidays!


Filed under happy stuff

Go Take a Hike

We’ve done a lot of hiking lately, something we don’t get to do too much of in our flat little town surrounding by cornfields.

I have to say that it feeds our souls like nothing else.

We have had a habit for years of stopping by libraries of whatever nearby towns we travel to in our library system, in order to check out piles of new books.  I’ve decided from now on to also try to find hiking spots (even little and unusual ones) on our errands from now on.

Some things are just worth the effort.

Happy weekend!

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Filed under activities, happy stuff

Sort of Wordless Wednesday

I love the idea of Wordless Wednesday but I’m too yappy to possibly go without speaking in a whole post and there are too many pictures I love from the past few days to narrow it to only one.

So this is my (not really, kinda) Wordless Wednesday entry, but with extra pics.  I’ve never been very good with directions!  🙂

A few magical moments we’ve found lately…

Happy Thursday!


Filed under happy stuff

The Puddle Stomping Personality Test

A couple of weeks ago I found myself in a store full of very breakable objects with a small boy.

Being a sensible sort, I left my friends and older kids to continue browsing and took my small boy outside.

We looked for things to do while the others smelled every scented candle in Lincoln, Nebraska.  This included running games…

thinking games…

and eventually led to…


Now, I knew puddle stomping would not be a particularly good idea on that particular day.

It was COLD out.  They were big puddles.  We didn’t have extra shoes, socks or pants.  Alex would get cold.

And he’d also get happy.

Life is short.

I let him stomp.

And stomp.

And stomp.

While Alex stomped, I noticed the reactions of people passing by.  There were three types:

1.  Those who were delighted at the sight and broke into big grins.

2.  Those who looked horrified, no doubt thinking how cold and wet he was going to be soon or what a mess he was making of himself.

3.  Those who were so busy they didn’t notice at all.

It was very interesting watching their faces!  Many of the second group looked around to spot me, no doubt thinking that I must not have noticed what he was up to.  I swear they wanted to yell at him themselves!

I loved watching the first group, and just felt a little sorry for the last group.  But mostly I just loved watching Alex in his absolute delight.

And I also knew that he was going to be wet and cold when he was finished, and we had a lot left to do in the day and no warm clothes.

Some parents would take this opportunity to teach him about “natural consequences” and let him be wet and cold and miserable for the rest of the day.  I’m not that sort of parent.  I didn’t want his fun to be at a price learned at the tender age of three about the steep price of having fun, mister.

The nice thing about outdoor malls is that there are lots of stores!  And while we get most of our clothes from thrift stores and garage sales, I know my way around a Gap well enough to know that there’s almost always something on clearance.

So when our friends were finished, we made a quick stop for a rather darling, warm pair of striped pants at the unbeatable price of $2.99 and he was nearly good as new.

(Okay, he went bare footed for a while and I carried his shoes.  Shoes were a lot more than 2.99!)

I love those pants now.  They remind me of a joyful afternoon and the sort of mama I strive to be.  And the sort of passer-by.  🙂


Filed under happy stuff

Happiness is…

… Barrel rides

… Fresh pressed apple cider

… Making scarecrows

… Getting to help drive the horses

… Making gravel angels  🙂

… Face painting (what IS that???!)

… Doing art

… Embracing chaos

… Good friends

What’s making you happy lately?


Filed under happy stuff

A Little Museum Magic

While we were down in Nebraska last week, we went to a local museum and made it extra magical with some dress up fun. The girls had a blast and they even overheard one excited child whisper, “Look Mommy, there’s princesses in the museum!”.

Here’s a few pics…

From Jamboree
From Jamboree
From Jamboree

It was a wonderful way to make a fun day even more fun. 🙂

Happy Friday!

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Filed under activities, happy stuff, Ways to make today magical