Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Five Things

Five things I love about decorating the Christmas tree:

  1. Zella exclaiming !!!! how each ornament is VERY SPECIAL to her.  She declares a special memory for each ornament even if it isn't hers and she wasn't born when we got it.
  2. Madeline recalling how COOL preschool was as she places the ornaments she made on the tree.  It was so COOL she made a reindeer out of toilet paper tubes.  And so COOL she made an ornament out of beads and a jello cup.  Now that she is older and likes to HANG OUT it is so COOL to see what she used to do when she was little.  (Sometimes she is 5 going on 13)
  3. Watching Violet hang four ornaments from a single bubble light instead of a tree branch.  It was her first time hanging ornaments and she thought it was very COOL and SPECIAL.
  4. Travis wearing a Santa hat doing his job....handing the ornaments out to each girl and telling them about when we got them.  We always collect an ornament when we travel. 
  5. Giving each girl Christmas pajamas at the end of our tree decorating party. They were almost as excited as I was.

    Zella and Vi
  6. Zella and Madeline reaching high
    Papa is the official ornament hander-outer
    Mama and Violet
    Five ornaments on one branch.  A new record!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


We have (mostly) recovered from the great coughing/sick fest of November/December.  Hopefully.

Violet is now teething in full force again which is a bummer.  She is still not feeling the greatest.

Last week Vi started yelling at me, "I GOTTA GO! I GOTTA GO!" and it turns out she was talking about going pee on the potty.  I was surprised because my other two girls weren't interested in the potty at her age.  She has continually gone potty about 4-8 times a day, even when she was sick.  Hopefully this will last and I will experience no kids in diapers for the first time in almost SIX years. 

(Must be time for another!)

Or maybe the potty is just a phase.  Either way, it's fun to see how excited she gets when she goes. 

Yours sincerely,

(Just when you thought I forgot about "yours sincerely", I throw it back in the mix.  I'm annoying crazy like that.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Two out of three weren't camera shy...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Songs In My Head

I must be singing this out loud more than I realize because Madeline was singing it today (with her version of the words, of course).

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Miss Violet

I know I keep mentioning the coughing.  But.  Oh. my. word.  The coughing has been ridiculous. 

I keep having coughing fits and Miss Violet will drop whatever she is doing to run over to me and say,

"You okay, Mama? You okay?"

She is an absolute sweetheart when she does this over and over each day.

She puts her hand on my back or face and gets such a serious look in her eye.

"You okay?"

And although this is a true picture of a little angel, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the flip side.  I mentioned that she "drops whatever she is doing" to come and check on me. 


The "whatever she is doing" is generally naughty.  Climbing on the dining room table and piano, pulling hair, stealing toys, throwing her baby and baby bottle at our heads, etc.

She is a wild one and I am exhausted.


Then she comes over to me with such concern and care.

"You okay, Mama?"

Yes, Violet  I am.

Violet and Mama. Feb. 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's Been A Long Couple Days

Oh my.  Friday morning was spent taking all three girls to the pediatrician (30 miles away).  Then the pharmacy. 

Friday afternoon was spent holding crying girls and then taking myself to the doctor (3 blocks away luckily).  Then the pharmacy.  Again.

We all have sinus infections and I also have an upper respiratory infection.  Ugh.

Today was the  We were all crabby and not feeling well.  Violet was sooooo naughty.  Hair pulling, hitting, taking things away from her sisters.  Zella couldn't stop herself from sticking her hands and feet in everyone's faces.  Madeline was feeling the worst and was very emotional.  (And by emotional I mean flying off the handle and crying for no discernable reason).

I spent the day just trying to deal.  One of the hardest parts for me about being a stay-at-home mom is not having a sick day/day care.  It is hard to take care of three littles all day and all night when you feel terrible.

Travis is deer hunting at my sister Lisa's house.  We were all supposed to go but with fevers and the COUGHING  (ugh) we just couldn't.  Travis offered to stay home of course but I know how much he looks forward to this weekend all year. 

I honestly didn't think bedtime was going to come!

So while I feel grumpy I know I still have a lot to be thankful for.  Sure, I paid $60 in co-pays and $60 in medicine on Friday, I am THANKFUL for health insurance.  Free health insurance, actually (THANK YOU Vestas!).

I am hoping we all wake up tomorrow feeling much better.  I have been coughing for ten days and am ready to be done with it.

I hope you are having a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Cold/Cough is Winning

We are sick.  (Everyone but Travis).  Coughing.  Congestion.  Runny noses.  It is getting ridiculous.  I am SO OVER this cough.

I have so much on the blog to catch up on.  Thanksgiving!  Black Friday!  Old pics from our two camping adventures (spring and fall). 

It's my own fault I am sick.  I stayed up all night on Black Friday.  I think the lack of sleep really did a number on my immune system.  (But it was totally worth it.  Best.Black.Friday.EVER.)

I hope we are over this soon.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Something to Think About

We sang the hymn "Just As I Am" in church recently and one verse really stuck with me:

Just as I am though tossed about
          with many a conflict, many a doubt.

          Fightings and fears
           within without

           O Lamb of God I come.
                I come.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Happy Thanksgiving!  It's hard not to be thankful this time of year. 

I have been counting my blessings all year.  I haven't written about this on my blog, because I want to be respectful of privacy, but I feel the need to share.  An immediate family member had a health scare in the spring that required a week of testing at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.  It was a very scary and stressful time.   Have you ever heard the saying, "It's all okay in the end.  If it's not's not the end."?  That totally applied.  Everything is alright now, but it took months for things to go back to normal.

I am sorry to be so vague, but it is not my story to tell.

All year I have imagined the "what ifs".  What if it can't be fixed?  What if it's cancer? What if it is debilitating?  What if I lose a loved one?  What if everything is not okay?

And now that we are through this trial, I can't help but wonder...

What if I forget all that I learned?  What if I forget to be thankful for my blessings every day?  What if I neglect to tell my loved ones how much they mean to me?

I don't want that to happen.

I am so blessed.  I have an amazing husband.  Our marriage is eleven years old and in it for the long haul.  He loves, supports and challenges me.  (And he can drive me crazy too but the feeling is mutual.)  We make a really great team.  We don't always agree but we do always love one another no matter what.  He accepts me for who I am and I am so thankful for that!!!!!  He is a great father and provider.

I have three incredible kids.  I'm not sure why God picked me to be there mama, but I really lucked out.  They are all so funny, caring and VERY imaginative.  We laugh every day.  We cry most days too but I'll take the crying if I get to experience seeing their personalities develop.  I'm not sure I know three funnier girls. 

I feel very blessed to be a stay-at-home mom.  Travis has made that dream come true for me and has never complained about it.  (Even when we were on a VERY tight budget.)  We waited a long time to have kids and I don't want to miss a thing.  Of course I would like my "job" better if it didn't involve so much housework but who am I to complain?  Three tornadoes follow me around as I try to clean each day but I wouldn't have it any other way.

We are very thankful for our families.  They were with us supporting us through the health scare.  They all helped out in lots of BIG and small ways.  Mom, Dad, Stacey, Carrie, Kate, Karen, Lisa, Bonnie, Kurt, (plus spouses, nieces and nephews) we are so thankful to have you all in our life!  We really appreciate all the support you gave us.

I am very thankful for my friends.  They have been with me through ups and downs.  They have supported me, uplifted me and loved me in my darkest times.  I am so lucky.

I have watched helplessly the past few months while people very important to me have lost loved ones.  It is hard to know what to say or do.  Nothing I say or do can take away the pain.  But what if we let their struggles change our life?  What if we start TELLING and SHOWING people how much they mean to us?  It would be a great way to honor those who passed.

So in honor of Brad and Irv I am writing this post today to let the people I care about know how much I love them.

Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope you have a lot to be thankful for!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fun/Not Fun

Eating supper with my parents and sisters who live here three nights in a row last week.

Not Fun:
We were free three nights in a row because Travis was in Portland, Oregon working. He was gone for four days. A couple weeks ago he went to Cuba* for four days so we have been missing him.
*Isn't that random? Vestas has four wind turbines on the base at Guantanamo Bay. For some reason they are in Trav's region and he is responsible for them. You know, because IOWA and CUBA are so close together, right?


Realizing what a strong bond Travis (Papa) has with all three of his girls.

Not Fun:
Realization occurred because all three were very upset he was gone. Violet cried out in her sleep for him in her raspy adorable voice.


Violet snuggling with me for hours on end. She has been on the move so much she doesn't snuggle as often.

Not Fun:
She's so snuggly because she is getting FOUR teeth at the same time. We're talking fevers, drooling crabbiness (slight understatement), sleeplessness...

Christmas shopping! I am almost done. Hopefully I can finish up on Black Friday and get wrapping. Now if I could just get my tree up...
Not Fun:
Where to store/hide all these presents???? We have been trying to declutter and all these tubs of gifts is not working for me.
Getting a new bathroom door and trim.

Not Fun:
The door breaking trapping Travis inside our bathroom. It took me a half-hour to get him out.
Who am I kidding????? I don't consider it NOT FUN. I consider it hilarious!

Yours sincerely,

(Did you think I forgot about the "yours sincerely"? No such luck.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

First Snow

The first real snow this (almost) winter was absolutely beautiful.  The weather was gorgeous.  Not too cold, no ice yet, just big beautiful flakes and three eager girls.  They couldn't wait to get out there and play!

Photographic evidence:

Madeline catching snowflakes.


Even Josie was having fun.

Vi and I in the fun mirror Travis put in the backyard.

Violet was unsure at first but decided she loved the snow.

Papa and Vi.

Two goofballs.

I really love living in a place that experiences four seasons.  It is going to be a great winter!

Yours sincerely,

Friday, November 12, 2010

At Least I'm "Famous"

Note to self: before going to vote make sure you are showered and presentable.  Besides seeing everyone you know (bonus of small town living) there may be a photographer there taking pictures for the paper.

I opened the paper to find a small, unflattering photo of myself voting.  I had to laugh when Madeline said, "Oh well, Mama.  At least you're FAMOUS."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Just Like Papa

Tonight Madeline was changing into her pj's in the living room.  She was about to pull off her tights and she announced,


I can tell you that without a doubt she gets that from Travis. 


Monday, November 8, 2010

Have You Seen CUTER Costumes?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween from the Clendenen Family

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Yes, We Really Lived in a Truck Part 2

Okay then.  I have had requests of a pic of me circa truck driving years.  I found one that showed our bunk area.  (And Josie when she was younger and leaner.) 

I'll have to do some more digging for additional pics. I remember taking a lot of cheesy photos of one another. Trust me when I say you'd like to see those! 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Yes, We Really Lived in a Truck

Here is Travis (circa 2003) in our semi-truck talking on the phone with our dispatcher.  He was looking at the Qualcomm getting the information for a load by satellite.  Pretty fascinating, right?  I was sitting on the bed taking this picture anxious to find out where we were off to next.   

How many miles?
It's fun to look back at pics from truck.  I really wish we would have taken more. 

Isn't he cute?

Yours sincerely,

(I know.  AGAIN with the yours sincerely.  Will it ever stop?)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Water Park Extravaganza/How We Spent Our 11th Anniversary

We spent our anniversary with the girls at a water park hotel in Minnesota.  We had such a great time!  The girls LOVED the water park.  And honestly?  Travis and I loved it just as much.  We are both kids at heart so this vacation was definitely a no-brainer for us.  Water slides? Check. Lazy river? Check. Shooting hoops in the water? Check. Fun little kid area? Check.  Oh, and hot tub?  Checkity check.

Violet actually learned how to say hot tub and requested it often.  It was fun to watch Madeline be so independent and fearless.  And Zella tried some things even though they scared her. 

Eleven years!

Eating popcorn in bed.  The girls loved to break some rules in the hotel room.

Miss Violet

Our room was the whirlpool suite.  Their favorite part was watching TV while taking a bath.

Game room fun.

Miss Madeline

Pool break

Mama and Vi

I had to pry Violet off.

Violet snuggling with Papa. 

Ready for the road.

Zella was really good at this game.

Classic Zella. (Superstar!)

If you know Zella in real life, you know this pose is standard.  She is hilarious.
The last night we were there we were at the water park from 3:15 to 7 pm when they closed.  We ate pizza by the pool and spent the rest of the time in the water.  We just couldn't pry ourselves away.

We also got to do a little shopping at the outlet mall and Cabela's while we were there.  We found deals (a hobby of mine) and Travis even suggested I go shopping by myself during nap time.  He is a smart man. :)

The girls were very well behaved and it was so nice to spend some time together.  I'll never forget it.

Happy Anniversary to us!

Yours sincerely,

(Am I really going to keep writing yours sincerely?  I can't seem to help myself.)

Monday, October 18, 2010


One of the best parts of moving back to my hometown is being near family.  Two of my sisters live here too and it is a lot of fun to watch our kids grow up together.  The weather has been gorgeous lately and we have been taking advantage of it.

I will miss this park when the snow hits! 

From top to bottom: Claire, Zella, Madeline, Violet, Grace and Lily


Grace pulled Zella all the way from her house.


Madeline and Lily

Miss Violet

Zella and Vi