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Sunday, July 29, 2012

New Blog!

Haven't posted here in, as Jordan would say in Wyomin'-ese, "a coon's age". Mostly because back in early June I started up a new blog to follow our new and exciting journey as we welcome baby #3 into our family. I chose Wordpress to host it, as it is much more user-friendly. Eventually, I would like to transition this entire blog over to that site but we shall see what comes of that!!

At any rate, I have a feeling there will still be plenty of shenanigans to follow, so if you'd like to join us, the new blog is at:

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Letter to My Bam Bam

Who, me?
You weren't expected.  You were absolutely without a doubt wanted once we knew you were on the way, but you were a huge surprise to your family.  Ya still kindof are, kid.

At this very moment, you're lying in bed singing "We Built This City on Rock and Roll" at the top of your lungs, even though you were supposed to be asleep almost an hour ago.  Your Dad is downstairs & can't hear you, and I am a complete schmuck and can't bring myself to go yell at you on your birthday, of all days.  I'm a sucker for pretty much everything you do, son.  From the instant I held your little self in my arms, I knew I'd been had.  That night you were born, you came out with that scrunched up, pouty look that you still get right when you're about to cry. 

Ohhh, that pout.  Throw that thing on top of that adorable Dudley Do-Right chin dimple and those big green eyes, and I'm a goner.  You want ice cream for lunch?  You got it.  Wanna go play outside wearing nothing but your cowboy boots?  Okey doke.  Want to sleep in the dog bed?  Knock yourself out, dude.  I can't say no to you!
But look at this sweet pouty face, Mama....

Oh, and you know this darn well.  You have known exactly how to pull my strings from Day 1.  I remember one very late night, not all that long after you got home from the hospital.  It was 4:00am, a late night following about 4 weeks of very late nights, where you were fussing, wouldn't burp after feeding, wouldn't go back to sleep on your own, and just driving your poor mother to exhaustion.  After trying every trick in the book, I held you at the side of my bed as you fussed, looked you in the eye and demanded, "What do you want, baby!"  You immediately stopped sqawking, looked me square in the eye and smiled your first, huge charming smile.  I melted like butter -- you've had that same power over me from that day forth!

Noah, the pet-whisperer.  I fear they're all plotting against me.

Mr. Noah.  I can't even remember what my life was like without your hilarious and crazy little break-dancin' self.  How would I know what a Euphocepalus looks like?  How would I understand the importance of constant snacking?  How would I know which color light saber Obi Wan uses?  How would I know that "poop" can be universally used as an adjective to describe everything, ever.  What on earth would I do without your bony knees jabbing me in the belly when you lumber up into our bed at 3:00 every morning, then cover my face with your smelly-ass blankie? 

You keep me from ever getting "too comfortable" with parenting, but show me the value of patience and kindness at every turn.  You have shown me that a little curiousity and a big imagination can get you really far in life... or at least make you think you've gone really far, without caring about how far you've actually gone.  Your free spirit and fearlessness are inspiring!  And you have truly taught me that one can find humor in almost everything in life.  Your giggle can make the shittiest day turn all sunshine & rainbows in no time at all!

The past three years have been a thrill ride with you in my life.  I can't believe how quickly it's passed!  The psycho-Mommy part of me wants to just steal these little moments away and keep you a baby forever.  But the logical-Mommy part of me knows that you are growing up, there's nothing I can do to stop it, and I'm just gonna have to deal.  I couldn't have asked for a better "surprise", Little Man.  You made our family whole. 
Happy 3rd Birthday Dino Dude!

One night last week as we snuggled before bedtime, you brushed your chubby little hand ever-so gently across my cheek, looked adoringly into my eyes and said in the most angelic voice ever: "Mommy?  You're a poopy head".  Though I use lots and lots of them, there will just never be the right words to describe exactly how much I love you.  So on this, the anniversary of the day you arrived on this Earth and into my life, I also say to you my dear son, "Noah?  You're a poopy head." 

Happy Third Birthday, Noah Grey.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Just your average Saturday

After an absoutely nutty week, I was really hoping to have a laid-back weekend.  Psssht.  Fat chance.
Following a quick-and-not-so-thorough clean of the pigsty we call a house, I took the little dude on a 90-min power-shopping trip (remind me again why I had children whose birthdays are 10 days apart?!  Holy party-planning, Batman!). Then we went over to the fields to cheer on our favorite soccer player...

Our little star forward had a great 1st game of the season -- scored two goals!  Plus she met a bunch of new friends and did a great job of cheering her team on.  We had a beautiful day for a game too!


My saintly husband helped me spend our entire afternoon on a "little" project (the kiddos' birthday present!):

This was my incredible-bargain-impulse-purchase: $100 discount because of a "broken door" which had been repaired by the store (not clear where / if it was even broken!)  There was not a single thing wrong with it otherwise, other than seemingly the assembly instructions were compsed in Bosnian.  The grownups are exahusted, sunburnt, and ready to let the chlidren go LIVE there after all the blood, sweat, and swear words we put into that thing!  But it's SUPER cute, and the kids are loving their new little house!  So I'm pretty proud of my deal-hunting self right now.

2 very dirty and played-out kiddos, hangin' out in their new digs.  They patiently played outside for almost 4 whole hours while we put this badboy together!  They're already making plans for all the "stuff" they're going to bring out there.


Aahhhhhhh...  That hits the spot!  Note my fine china... heck no, I'm not doing dishes!!

All in all, not a bad day. Nighty-night!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Grandpa and the Inappropriate Snowman

Grandma & Grandpa came to visit last weekend.  The weather was just starting to turn nice, so G & G took the kiddos outside to let them run off a little of that pent-up excess energy they've been storing up all these long winter months.  We hardly had enough snow this winter to do any building with, so what better activity on a warmish spring day, (following a snowstorm that dumped 12" of snow) than to build a snowman!?! 

Posing with their work of art

But this was not just any snowman.  Nope, this was a Chuck Christman special. 
It was a snowoman.  And she had a snow rack.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen: snowboobs.

Really, children?!  Those are NOT sno-cones.
I guess it had slipped my mind that this was his "signature" move.  I used to find it absolutely hysterical as a kid when Dad would help us roll up a snow mistress and slap a couple snowballs on her for good measure. We'd giggle as we watched Mom pull in to the yard and notice our snowperson... wearing a handkerchief for a bikini and sporting a jaunty hat.  She'd scold us, but I'm pretty sure Dad was the one who would get an earful for his part in the shenanigans.  For some reason, now that I'm the mom, it's not nearly as hilarious.  But they all had a blast, and that's what counts.  I doubt the kids will soon forget this adventure!

And apparently, Ms. Snowlady is a smoker too.  Classy, Gramps. 

I heard that at one point there was a request made by the youngest contributor to the snow sculpture:  to use dog turds as the eyes, nose & mouth.  Thankfully, Grandma intervened, and they opted instead for some lava rocks from the rock bed...

It's like having a Vegas showgirl right in the backyard.
Ah, but alas, the lovely Ms.Snowlady perished in the warm Dakota sun.  2 days after she was created, she met her untimely demise:  all that remained was a pile of lava rocks and her 'cigarette butt'. 

What a difference a week makes!  We awoke to nearly 50-degree temps today, with a high of nearly 75... SO unusual for this time of year around here!  My floppy, out-of-shape, glowing-white winter legs got a heck of a workout with all the bike rides to the park we've taken these last warm nights.  We spent the majority of the day outside today, and plan to do the same tomorrow -- we'll take what we can get because you never know when it'll be snowing again.
7 days later... perfectly comfy with no coats, and even SWEATING on this beautiful 75 degree day! In MARCH!

Dare I say it?  "HAPPY SPRING!!!"

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Our Starlet Takes the Stage

It's no secret... at least not to anyone who's checked their Facebook, Twitter, email, text messages, voicemail, standard mailbox, or has come within 100 yards of Grama & Grampa within the past couple weeks... that The Princess made her debut in her first stage production this past Saturday. 

Perhaps the term "stage production" may be a bit overboard, but it was actually a very well done little show! The team of 2 actor/directors from Missoula Children's Theater arrived Monday afternoon at the school to audition the kiddos, selected their cast (of Elementary-aged kids, mind you!), then immediately started rehearsing.  By Saturday morning they had an amazingly well-oiled machine and all 60-some kiddos hit the stage for 2 really fun & entertaining performances of "Red Riding Hood". 

If you can't tell, we were just a smidge excited about this whole thing. Mommy & Daddy, being the big fat nerd-o super theater geeks we are, could barely contain our pride when she landed the role of... Raccoon #6.

Yep.  Stardom is her destiny.

Anyone who's ever met Asha can attest to the fact that she was born ready to be a drama queen.  Like a reeeal big one.  With a huge imagination, a love of playing dress-up, propensity to randomly burst into song/rhyme, and the vocabulary of your average English Literature doctoral candidate.  Reality generally tends to elude her.  So we figured she'd be pretty comfortable up there on that stage, pretending.

She sang, she danced, she looked like a deer in the headlights.  (Err... raccoon in the headlights?)

Once onstage, she was so stoic, subdued, & mature, I barely recognized my own offspring (maybe that was just the mask?!)  She didn't forget one single line and appeared confident in the choreography and song lyrics: but nothing more, nothing less, than EXACTLY what she was told to do by the director. WHAT!?!  WHO ARE YOU!!!?? (*what Shanna doesn't know is that we've secretly replaced her regular 5-year old with a decaf version*) But when it came time to shake her little booty-tail in the raccoon dance... now, that was epic.  This was where that giant twinkly-eyed smile spread across her face and her inner bustamove really shined through!  She sold it.

Ta-daaaa!  Those costumes were absolutely darling!
Have I mentioned the child also excels at bossing?  She's a real pro.  Note the kid to the left of her... y'know, the only one not wearing his raccoon mask during photo call?  He seemed to have some, uhh, 'distraction issues' onstage.  Like every time they were supposed to move somewhere, he was too busy spinning in circles, staring directly into the spotlights, or deeply fascinated by his neighbor's shoes to pay attention to what's next.  So Ash apparently took it upon herself to be his "wrangler".  For example, when it came time for the line of little Raccoons to exit stage right, she'd grab his shoulders, turn him about-face and literally push him forward offstage.  She didn't utter a word, but shot him that face which I know to mean, "Son, you best quit screwin' around and get your little raccoon @#& moving along."

The little Raccoons (K-1), she is 3rd from left in the back row

Robin Hood (Center, in green) was probably my favorite child-actor ever. Casting perfection!!

Bam Bam attended the early performance, sat still and silent (I know, right?!), fascinated by the whole deal.  I should say, silent UNTIL... the moment big sister came on stage, when he'd point out: "There's Asha! Right there! She has zebra shoes! I see her!  DO YOU SEE HER!!!!???"  I feel we may have another little theater geek on our hands with him too, as he has been singing Red Riding Hood songs all week, after only watching one performance!  The whole production was an excellent learning experience for Asha, and a fantastic source of enjoyment for our whole family!

The whole cast of Red Riding Hood

Her buddy Nolan (and his wonderful Mama!) surprised both Asha & myself by making an appearance at the afternoon showing.  He brought her sweet is that?!  I may be biased but I think these might just be the two cutest 5-year olds on Earth!  He looks terrified of her... haha!

The best "Nanny" on earth

Her two biggest fans posing with the star following curtain call.  Papa even got an autograph!  They made a biiiiig detour from their vacation to come all the way up here to see the show, but something tells me that even the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse couldn't have stopped them from being here for this!!

And a very proud Mommy gets a smooch from her big girl.
And here it is... the big number.  Alllll 2.5 minutes of it! ;) 

And don't forget to wash your hands!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Bedtime Story

I just had to share with you the monologue which my sweet princess delivered to me tonight, as she was procrastinating her task at hand:  bedtime.

There are times when I just kindof gawk at her, astonished at how much this little person who looks nothing like me can be so VERY MUCH EXACTLY LIKE ME…. with her ADD-induced tangeants, and yet, with her father's uncanny ability to deliver full "sermons" that no one really cares to hear.   She cracks me up so much.  After she finished reading me her own bedtime story, I literally could not squeeze a word in during her stream-of-consciousness rant!  Believe me when I tell you:  this is the GREATLY CONDENSED version of her 7-minute soliloquy:

"Mom, I had kindof a quiet day, because I was feeling a little sick to my tummy so I had to go lay on a mat and it had red stripes on one side and blue on the other and I picked blue because it's my favorite, well, except for pink which is really my favorite and then Mrs. Nelson said I had to wake up and I got a little crabby and I told Morgan to stop talking to me and she got mad at me but she never stops talking and I was feeling tired 'cuz you guys woke me up too early and I couldn't sleep last night because I was so worried about you and I am really nervous about being a Raccoon and why in the world do they say "wash your hands"? if you tried to wash a raccoon you'd get all scratched up and they'd hiss at you, also, Dad said he's gonna help with the set but then how I am gonna get home because Noah needs a nap and are you even gonna make my own costume or what and is your video camera charged because grama said to tape the show... hey, when are you gonna get my swim pass because we need to sew it on to my new swimsuit and did you order me a new bed because this one is really squeaky but then if I get a new bed can we paint my walls because I really want pink but maybe we should just paint it green and then Noah could sleep in here sometimes too are you even gonna eat tonight you should because Dad made cheesy ranch hamburger helper and it was so good Noah even ate some and didn't throw a fit and get in timeout which is good because then he got to watch a movie and he always picks how to Train Your Dragon but I don't like that one I wanted to watch Mary Poppins instead, hey, 'member when Noah used to say "Fox and the Howard" instead of Hound? He's so funny...*yaaawwn* I'm not very tired, can I stay up and read the rest of "If I Ran the Circus" because I have to take that back to school on library day which is it Thursday yet?"

"Nope, not yet.  Go to sleep, Noodle."

Big, sleepy, toothless grin, "But I'm not even tired Mom."

I love that kid.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Cuteness Overload

We got the opportunity to spend some time this Christmas getting to know the newest member of the Franzen family, Miss Josey Dell.  When we last saw her in August, Asha was a huge fan - Noah, not so much.  In fact, after placing her on his lap his exact words were "I don't like her", as he hastily handed the little bundle back to her Mama (yup, he's got his father's tact).  But this time around was quite different for Bam Bam -- he really took to his very smiley little cousin, and right away asked if he could hold her.  The "awwwww" factor went through the roof...

These two could be a lot of trouble in the very near future...
They became fast friends -- mostly because when Noah asked her "Hey Josey, do you like dragons?", she just beamed -- leading him to the conclusion of course that she does indeed like dragons.

If you thought getting two kids to sit still for a nice picture was tough...
Auntie Shanna snuck in some snuggle time with the babes

Even Uncle Jordy stole a smooch or two on those chubby cheeks
And these sweet blue-eyed girls -- Asha was in 7th heaven snuggling and playing with her little cousin (but who wouldn't be, how adorable is this babykins!?)  Ash was quite the good little helper too, and took full advantage of every moment she was allowed to hold Josey and spoil her! 

I found these insanely cute Viking beanies on Etsy, and had one custom-made for each of our little Nordic  babies.  I should have tried to get a pic of all three of them, but well, easier said than done...

Such a smiley little nugget - a very good little girl with plenty of grins & giggles to go around in spite of her extremely noisy and busy older cousins

We had a very merry Viking Christmas!