Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas from The House of Des!
We hope the holiday season finds you healthy, wealthy and warm!
It was a brown Christmas here in Chilly-Minne. Not that anybody noticed...all we could see for miles and miles was Cars. Cars, Cars 2, Mater's Tall Tales, Lightning McQueen shoes, Lightning McQueen pajamas, Tow Mater matchbox cars and Cars Playdoh.
Richard decided not to buy Vikings season tickets this year, after Brett Favre (verily, verily) retired and he grieved not being at the Metrodome on Sunday afternoons...until we realized we would just be grieving if we were there, anyway, what with their dismal season and all... He has since turned his attention to Tim Tebow and enjoys tuning into a Packer game every now and then. He tore down and rebuilt our deck this summer and helped me plant a beautiful vegetable garden. Never have there been more cucumbers or tomatoes for one small family. Rich enjoys playing pick-up hockey on a fairly regular basis works hard from his office in our basement.
Erin has discovered the joy of Zumba and has lost over fifteen pounds since September. Now that the children are no longer hanging from her body (literally), she has rediscovered the joy of reading, writing and the occasional alcoholic beverage. She turned the Big Three-Oh this year and has grown leaps and bounds in the arena of "not caring what you think about her." She thinks this comes with age. In 2011, she had the opportunity to emcee two events at her church and longs for more opportunities to hold a microphone in front of large groups of people! (The POWER! Oh, the POWER!) She maintains her status as Media Maven (self-titled) and makes people laugh on a regular basis on Facebook (or so she is told).
Shirley Jean started preschool this year and loves every. single. minute. Shirley's vocabulary has grown exponentially in the last year and she has not stopped talking in approximately seven hundred years. She loves "danleen" dance class, Mater, princesses and her favorite color is purple. Her best friends are her Dad, her "buddyPedro," and Button, who we think is a horse. She is starting to listen and pay attention when we talk about God and Jesus, and loves praying for her family and friends.
BabyRichard (which is what we all call him...we did NOT think this through) is a healthy, happy, hungry boy. He is also very vocal. And by vocal I mean, he is VERY LOUD! He wakes up very slow in the morning and by the time he is cheerful, it's time for naps! He is a lot like his mama in this way... He is starting to talk more and more every day and is growing by inches daily. (I swear!) He has grown a very nice mullet that I just can't bear to cut off quite yet. He will just have to have "hockey hair" for a little while longer.
Pedro turned six this year and grows more neurotic by the minute. Kitty is between eight and ten years old and grows less interested in humans every day. We figure our mammal pets have approximately ten years left with our family. But who's counting?
It was a tough year for fish in The House of Des. Our beloved Fishmael died after living in our care for nine months. We replaced him with Nemo, Pinta and Santa Maria, who all died within twelve hours of coming to live with us. We replaced them with Boring, Stirling and Ming. Only Stirling and Ming remain. I maintain my innocence. Their deaths are not on my hands, but on the City of Roseville. May they rest in peace.
And that about brings 2011 to a close for us. We hope the Christmas season and the New Year bring you much joy and contentment in the Lord--who is real and alive!
Blessings to you all from our house to yours!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nice one.

Today for our Advent gift, I got Shirley and Richard cat chase toys that have a fish attached to a string, which is attached to a pole. They look an awful lot like fishing poles and my children were thrilled.
They also look an awful lot like a torture device after an hour or so of having them whipped around the living room.
Good thinking, Mommy.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Santa and Jesus

Erin: It's fun to talk about Santa, isn't it?
Shirley: YEAH!
E: Does Santa bring toys to good or bad children?
SJ: Only GOOD kids.
E: What happens if you are naughty?
SJ: [silence.]
E: Do naughty kids get toys?
SJ: Nooooo.
E: You know what's special about Jesus?
SJ: He's REAL!
E: Yeah! He's real! And you know what else? You don't have to be good to receive his gifts! Jesus gives his gift to anyone who wants it.
SJ: Ok, Mom.

-a few minutes later-

SJ: Mom? What about reindeer?

Monday, December 05, 2011

Advent Calendar

After perusing some friend's blogs and thinking about it, I decided to create an Advent Garland for our children. I set out to put it together the other night. I prayed that through this fun experience, my children would learn something about Jesus.

I picked up treat bags, tissue paper, a package of cardboard gift tags and some pretty ribbon.
I also picked out some chocolatey treats and a couple $1 gifts.
I picked out a font that I liked on my computer and typed out the numbers 1-24, so I would have something to draw from while I numbered the tags.

There were enough tags left over that I could re-make the ones I didn't like. You can see my "boo-boos" on the top right.
Treat bag #1 has peppermint kisses inside!

It occurred to me about half way through to put one member of our manger scene in each bag. Shirley LOVES opening up a bag to see who is inside. She knew right away that they were coming to see Jesus! Of course, baby Jesus is in the last bag. :)

The final product isn't quite as cute as I had hoped, but it isn't hanging quite right because the last ten (or so) bags don't have treats in them yet.
This is what it looks like this morning.

So far, the garland is a huge hit. Shirley loves it, and Richard loves anything his sister loves. As a side note, next year, I might not put so much chocolate in the bags...or set a precident of opening the bags after or before dinner, otherwise your morning starts out with kids all hopped up on chocolate. I thought about putting something else in there, but putting Cheerios in Advent bags just seems a little anti-climactic.
Also, waiting until tomorrow to open another bag is basically torture for my three-year-old. I knew it would be, so I'm glad I hung the garland WAY out of anyone's reach.
More than anything, this garland gives us a way to talk about Christmas and what it means. So far, so good!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I started a load of laundry last night before bed. I went down this morning to switch it to the dryer to find it standing open and full of water.
At least we know it doesn't leak.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


For the past four years I have either been pregnant or nursing, so when I caught a cold, I had limited options for drugs. I'm still having a hard time getting used to the idea that I can buy cold medicine--and take it. To feel better.
So, tonight for the first time in over four years I bought and consumed DayQuil.
Oh my stars--it's glorious! Who knew (remembered) this stuff worked so great?!
Tonight, I opted to only take half a dose of NyQuil so that I won't be too groggy when the kids wake up in the morning. They don't care if I'm sick! They still wake up at the same time.
I just can't remember: am I allowed to take NyQuil with a glass of wine? Seems like that might be dangerou...z.zzzzzzz.zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The GQ Shopper

Your super cool, stylish, uber-metro image goes right out the window when you pull out your royal blue velcro wallet to pay for your Axe deoderant body spray, deli sushi and your Diet Rite (white grape).

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Passive Aggressive Shopper.

Erin: Plastic bags for you today?
The Passive Aggressive Shopper: I guess.
Erin: Are you sure?
The Passive Aggressive Shopper: It's fine. Whatever.

I can not express how frequently this conversation occurs.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thoughts on Zumba

Doing Zumba tonight in front of the wall to wall mirrors in the gym, I got a good idea of what I have looked like at all the bachelorette parties and weddings I've been to in the last five years. And to all of you who may have happened to be there, I'm so sorry. Turns out, people weren't watching me dance because I'm so cute and have great moves. They're watching me because they think I need a drink. They're thinking I need to ligh. ten. up.
It might be possible that I have finally found something for which I am truly too Baptist. It has to be the Baptist thing, right? ...Otherwise the only other logical conclusion to draw is that I am not very sexy. (But really, what's the difference?)
I burned 558 calories in 55 minutes. Fifty-five minutes of pelvic-thrusting-hip-rotating-girating-jumping-up-and-down-booty-shakin' good fun.
I will go back next week.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Top Ten

Top ten phrases most likely to result in my telling you to get lost*:
1. It goes so fast.
2. It's gonna take a LOT of cardio.
3. I am well, thank you.
4. Just wait until they're teenagers!
5. If you think you're tired now...
6. Losing weight gets harder as you get older.
7. You'll miss this season of life.
8. Oh...can I have paper? Can you re-pack that?
9. Just keep swimming.

And last, but not least...

*The phrase "get lost" is intended to signify two very different words.

Friday, October 07, 2011


I've given myself a goal to lose ten pounds in ten weeks. So far it's going great! I'm down four pounds in three weeks. I've been very careful about what I eat and working out regularly. I decided yesterday to sign up for the Weight Loss Challenge at my gym. Every Thursday for six weeks I get to go circuit train with personal trainers and hopefully bolster my weight loss efforts at home.
I can hardly walk today I am so sore.
The prize for winning the Challenge (whoever loses the highest percentage of body fat wins!) is eight personal training sessions. After last night, that doesn't seem like a prize to me. It seems like torture.
Onward and upward.

Monday, September 26, 2011

That was a first...

So...tonight at work, I had a very strange couple come through my line. I don't think I'll go into very much detail except to say that they made me exceptionally uncomfortable and my goal was to get them through the check out process as fast as possible.
Their bill came to $46 and the man looked and looked for his money. He couldn't find his credit card, his cash...in fact, his whole wallet had gone missing.
Just when I was starting to try to formulate a Plan B, when he said, "Oh, wait! I got it!"
This man TOOK. OFF. HIS. SHOE. and pulled out four, one hundred dollar bills.
It really takes a lot to gross me out, but sweaty foot money puts me over the top.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Erin: There's football tonight? I thought Monday Night Football started later in the season.
Richard: Yeah. It starts a day later.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ten on Ten

Good morning!

It's laundry day!

Lunch for the littles.

Dessert? (For the mama.)

Lunch for the bigs.

Watching the "construction crew."

: : This blog will now break for its
regularly-scheduled nap time. : :

Dinner time!

Post-dinner giggles.

Better make those returns.
The House of Des wing of the library is big enough.

A new snail companion for Fishmael. Meet, Margot.

Be sure to check out Lauren's blog for her ToT, scheduled to post tomorrow.

Click the link below for more info on Ten on Ten.
ten on ten button

Saturday, September 03, 2011


Richard [proudly surveying his newly cleaned-out refrigerator]: It's nice to know exactly what we have in the fridge.
Erin: I know exactly what we have in the fridge. If you did the grocery shopping, you would, too.
Richard: Oh, yeah? Then no more shredded cheese.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Working Girl

So...some of you may know that I went out and got myself a part time job at an enormoous retail chain store as a cashier. Looking back, I'm pretty sure I decided to get a job in a hormonal fit of pique, but that is immaterial.
Anyway, I applied for the job online, and they called me less than twelve hours later, and hired me twelve hours after that. Either they don't get my kind of resume very often or they are seriously desperate.
My first interview went great. My interviewer said, "Can you stay for a second interview so we don't have to call you back?"
Thrilled, I said, "Sure!" Secretly, I was grateful I had stopped in the ladies room on my way to the interview.
My second interviewer said, "Ok, I'll be honest. If you don't blow this interview, we are going to offer you a job."
I said, "I won't take any phone calls and I won't say anything offensive."
From there, I went to the on-site clinic to do my drug test, which required my ability to fill a cup with 30cc of urine. That is 1/8 of a cup. Do you think I could do it? No. Way.
I sat in that dang clinic for TWO HOURS trying to fill my cup. It was humiliating. Finally, we turned in 11cc and hoped it would be enough to pass the test.
When I left, I sincerely thought I might be the first person to fail a drug test due to lack of a sample.
I started my first shift not knowing if I had passed or not, but no bells or whistles went off when I clocked in and no one from HR yelled at me, so I just kept working.
Thankfully, I recieved this in the mail earlier this week:
So...that's that. More on this in the near future.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Garden Goods

This is what happens when you ignore your garden in order to rear children:
Salads for everyone!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I pretty much own the place.

I just paid my library fines online. With a credit card.
If you'd like to tour the House of Des wing of the library, please give me a call to set something up.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Good advice to keep in mind.

Big changes are hard on everybody. And when you're a little person with minimal control over your life, major adjustments like the arrival of a new sibling, a move to a new house, or a change in childcare often trigger regression. Your child may lapse into baby talk or soil her pants for the first time in months. Rather than getting mad, see regression as what it is: a sign that your child needs some extra TLC as she adjusts.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I'm not really the kind of girl who wears toe rings.

When we moved in to our house five years ago, I found this broken earring in the carpet. We had out-of-town company shortly after we moved in, so I have saved it all this time in case someone asked me if I found their sterling silver and sapphire earring.

Imagine my surprise when Shirley taught me the real purpose for this "earring."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Book Review

Synopsis: Orphaned Jody is all grown up and suddenly has to face the reality of her parents' murders when key evidence that put their killer in jail comes into question.
Readability: No problemo. Well. Except for the fact that Pickard used her thesaurus a little too much. I felt, frequently, like she used too many words to say something relatively simple.
Predictability: Man! I thought I had it figured out, but boy was I wrong.
Couldn't Put it Down Factor: In-between. The first hundred pages were touch-and-go for me, but the rest of the book was pretty exciting. Mostly, I kept reading because I wanted to know if what I thought happened really happened.
Recommend it?: Sure. Not a bad read. This one didn't leave me hot or cold. It was a decent book, but not compelling enough for me to even really remember it enough to review it a week later.
Three out of five stars. Meh. I would like to read more of Pickard's books to determine if she chose to write in this rambling cowboy style to fit the theme of the book of if she always uses too many words. I really did enjoy the plot twists, though.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ten on Ten

 Good morning, big boy!

Making beds.
Still love my pretty bed.
Playing in Sissy's hat.
Quiet time with a gift from my girl.
Oiling my favorite cutting board.
Stamp a stack.
Ten on ten. Check it out. Lauren's, too.

ten on ten button small

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Are you ready for some...

Apparently something exciting happened in football last week.
It has been FOOTBALL 24/7 in our house for the last two weeks.
Madden 2012 comes out on August 30th, but the demo comes out on August 9th.
A bunch of old guys have a lot of redundant things to say about football on the NFL network and ESPN. And ESPN2. And ESPNespanol.
Football officially begins the same weekend as the marriage retreat (just like it does every year. Just like it causes a paralyzing panic in my husband EVERY YEAR).
All this begs the question:
Isn't it still baseball season?

Friday, July 29, 2011

I'm a Sidewalk Surfer

Aren't these shoes cute? I've wanted them for a couple of years now, and tonight the Des Crew headed out to go spend a gift card. Imagine my surprise when I found the last pair of these babies...one size too big. I took them to the customer service guy and he looked them up for me. He determined that there might be one pair left in Berkeley, California, but I would have to have the customer service desk call and confirm.
I took my little slip to the front desk and she called California. I admit, I was concerned that some California girl was already wearing my shoes, but I remained hopeful.
The call took over ten minutes during which we (yes, "we." I bonded with that CSR tonight!) got put on hold and transferred three times and I got sent back to the shoe department to grab the pair that was too big, and then the computer froze up, and everybody panicked because the store closed ten minutes ago, but in the end, the Berkeley store is sending my new shoes to Roseville early next week. I got the very last pair in the entire company. The whole country. Maybe even the whole world.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Grand Pickle

In my opinion, cucumbers are the lemmings of vegetables. The guys that no one really notices and take on the flavor of whoever they're hanging out with. If the onions want to jump off a cliff, so will the cucumbers. I guess it's safe to say that God created cucumbers to take on strong flavors in order to make them actually enjoyable.
That being said: I think it is important to confess that I will eat just about anything if you put enough vinegar on it (insert joke here).
Also, I have hated plain cucumbers my entire life.
So...when I lost my marbles and planted two cucumber plants in the garden this spring, it became necessary for me to figure out to do with all these cukes.
Obviously, the answer is to pickle whatever cukes I can pry out of my husband's greedy little fingers. I found a recipe for Spicy Refrigerator Dills on allrecipes.com and knew they were the pickles for me!

Everything I need...Chop!

Let sit at room temperature for two hours.

Fill jars.Cute, huh?
Label and refrigerate for ten days.

Garden Update: For Real

I am finally able to post an update on our garden! I am so proud of it...I couldn't narrow down the photos. Please indulge me while I share.

First, for posterity, here is a picture of the front of our house. The Snap Dragons haven't really filled in like I had imagined...and they are not variegated like I thought they would be, but they look pretty cute!The garden! I just can't believe how it has taken off! I took these pictures five days ago, and even now, the cucumbers have continued to grow and the tomatoes are bigger than ever.Early Girls.
Strawberries.Bell peppers.
Heirloom: Lemon Boys.

Beautiful basil.

Beets for pickling.


Heirloom: Cherokee Purple.

"Beefy support" for my aggressive killer cucumbers.

This guy is currently being pickled.

These guys were turned into cucumber salad.


Richard's garden stone. Shirley made one, too, but surprisingly, it can not support the weight of a mommy stepping on it. Or maybe it's not surprising.


Better Boys.

Will there come a time when I can't remember what we did or didn't do with a specific vegetable? I hope not! The day after I took these pictures, the tomatoes sustained a lot of wind damage. They drooped over and got completely tangled. They are looking better, but I was pretty worried for a couple of days. The truth is, this is just a TINY fraction of the tomatoes we're going to have and if some don't survive I'll still have tomatoes coming out my ears.

I just can't imagine what it must have been like to have to grow food for your family and depend on the family garden for a whole year's worth of food! I think about pioneer women, and women like my great-grandmothers who tended gardens every year in order to feed their families. I am so thankful that if this doesn't work out I can still go to the grocery store for fresh, healthy food!