Friday, September 28, 2012


Finally...a chance to introduce Lucy!  It will be one week tomorrow that we brought her home, and I'm just now giving this girl her proper introduction?

First the whole story:  we had slowly been having snippets of conversations about getting another dog.  Slowly, mind you.  We though maybe in the Spring we'd talk about it.  Nothing serious.  I was pinning puppy pictures, so the puppy fever was burning, for sure.  I just miss that fuzzy little creature in our home.

On Saturday, I get a message from a friend that she has something she really thinks I need to see.  After a bunch of fumbling with technology, we finally got it together enough for me to see a picture of the sweetest little puppy that was looking for a home.  Relatives that got into a puppy situation and realized it was not the right time for them t have a puppy, and that the puppy needed a family.

Let's just say I fell very quickly for this puppy's face.  Brad too, and we set up a time to go see her that afternoon, without telling the kids anything.

And seeing her in person?  Hook, line and sinker...fell for this girl hard.  She is a miniature Goldendoodle, with much more Golden than Doodle.  So she'll be more of a miniature Golden Retriever.  Right now she's 4 months old and weighs 14 pounds, won't get much bigger than 25 pounds.

And she is the loveliest little lady.  Has a precious face, and a temperament to match.

She's had quite the week as a Carlson...trips to the park, a cross-country meet, went to visit a 1st-grade classroom, to the vet, to the pet store...we are one step away from a little sweater and a stroller for her.  I kid.  Believe me, I kid.  If I ever cross that line...please step forward and set me straight.  But I do love her a lot.

Here are some random We Love Lucy shots:

The girls meeting Lucy for the first time.  A sweet moment I will remember forever...Beth literally fell to her knees and wept, hugging her.  She is an animal lover to her core, and saying goodbye to Archie left a big hole in her heart.  Lucy's helping to fill that.
Beth trying to get a picture to send to her friends.
Brenna and Lucy!
Alex was extraordinarily surprised to get home that night and find Lucy waiting for him!
Walking in the park
I'm not sure what was happening, but this laughter on Brenna's face pretty much sums up the joy this little fur ball has brought them!
She was so worn out from the trip to the park, she fell asleep sitting up!
This is what Edgar thinks of it all.
Really now, what a cutie!
She came to us crate-trained and potty-trained.  She hasn't (knock on wood) had a single accident in the house.  She goes to the back door when she needs to go out.  She is crazy-hyper during her wild times, and loves to run.  Brad and Brenna took her for a short run this evening, Brenna has high-hopes of her being her running buddy!
So that is our Lucy story!  We are so happy to have her in our family!

Friday, September 21, 2012

One Stupid Boot and One Delicious Boot

There's only so much I can say about the reappearance of The Boot.  It was a stupid boot two years ago, and it's a stupid boot again today.

The reason for its return?  As stupid as the boot itself.

Twas a romantic walk on the beach.  That's it.  On our anniversary.  Beautiful sunshine, soft warm sand.  A long, long beautiful walk.  Barefoot.  And apparently that's all it took.  The next day my foot was swollen and bruised and wickedly painful.

It's some sort of ligament sprain or something, related to the cuboid area or something irritating.  So the boot for two weeks, hopefully not a day longer.  It's already getting better, and I am walking lopsided and loud and everything I despise about the boot.

Anyway, onto better topics!

We had a low-key Friday night at home.  Snuggly blanket, pizza for dinner, girls chilling out together.  And it was the perfect evening to make cookies.  So I tried a new recipe...and good gracious!  These are yuuuuumy!  I think they may be my new favorite cookie, for now.

I found this recipe on Pinterest, and it is credited to Laura Bush.  I find it interesting that these have the word "cowboy" in the title.  Cowboy boots.  My boot.  Boots are the theme.  It's meant to be.

Laura Bush's Texas Governor's Mansion Cowboy Cookies

3 cups flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1 TBSP baking soda
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 TBSP vanilla
3 cups chocolate chips (I used 1/2 dark chocolate and 1/2 semi-sweet)
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (I used quick cooking, all I had and was great.)
2 cups sweetened flaked coconuts
2 cups finely chopped pecans (I used just shy of this)

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

In a second large bowl, beat butter until smooth.  Add the sugar and brown sugar and beat for at least 2 minutes, until fluffy and creamed.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla and mix to combine.

Stir in the flour mixture, blending until just combined.  Add the chips, oats, coconut, and pecans and stir until fully blended.

Drop by large tablespoonfuls onto baking not overcrowd!  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are set and golden brown.  Allow cookies to cool on the pan for 2 minutes, then remove to cooling rack.

It's a great weekend for cookies...finally some perfectly wonderful Fall weather settling in, just in time.  Makes my heart happy!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Two nights away...
Just being with the one I love.  Celebrating 22 years...thankful, blessed. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Back To School Lunches

One of the tasks I love to see go away at the end of the school year?  Packing lunches.  I don't know why this gets so tedious, but it just does.  Now here we are, fully back at it again.  The fall is especially crazy around here, so I've been trying to streamline our lunch-packing process.  The kids now pack their own lunches for the most part, and anything I can do to eliminate kitchen chaos makes my life calmer.  So I've found a couple things that my kids L-O-V-E, and I've made them in bulk and pre-packaged them.  Everyone's life is just a bit smoother.  At least in the lunch department.

Snack-sized zip-loc bags are my friends, and the snack-sized zip-loc containers are a must for this too.  A tiny chunk of your Sunday churning these out means a lot less thinking on school days.  Gotta save that thinking for school!

Frozen Fruit Cups

2 large cans fruit cocktail, drained well
1 large can pineapple tid-bits, drained
3 bananas, sliced
5 kiwis, peeled and sliced
Frozen blueberries (about 2 cups or however much you like)
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 can frozen juice concentrate: any tropical fruit variety

Mix everything together gently in a large bowl.  Obviously, the fruits are to your taste.  Add more or less or different, just whatever the family likes!

Scoop into small zip-loc containers, leaving a little room.  Freeze.  Put into lunches frozen and by lunch time they are a slightly-slushy fruit cup!  Great little dessert for lunches!


These next yummy little treats came from one of my little friends at school.  They are so very yummy.  A little like Chex mix, but you don't bake it.  One of the big benefits to pre-bagging these is that it slows down the biggest kid in this house from eating the entire batch in a couple handfuls.  Paces him.  Saves him from my "WHERE did all the food go?" rhetorical questions.

Seasoned Pretzels

2 16-oz. bags mini pretzels.  (I used a third of the giant bag from Costco)
1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix (original)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 TBSP dill weed
12 oz. Orville Redenbachers Popcorn oil

Mix together everything but the pretzels.  Pour over pretzels in a large bowl.  Stir well, then stir every 30 minutes until the pretzels start to look dry.  (They will look very wet at first, bu the pretzels absorb the oil and they do get dryer!) 

Out of time for today!  I have also frozen breakfast sandwiches, pre-bagged popcorn, made 3 batches of mini-muffins (pumpkin and banana) and frozen those in snack-sized baggies.  Lots of easy choices for the kids to grab and add to their lunches!

Almost Friday of the first FULL week of school!  Amen and hallelujah.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Surprised, But Not Really

Sometimes things surprise you, sometimes they don't, and sometimes you are surprised and yet not surprised

I experienced all sorts of that on Saturday!

The ever-full-of-surprises Brenna has been running cross country, doing summer training, and faithfully running miles and miles with her team.  Last week the team had their time trial meet, and Brenna ran well enough to be on varsity for the first week!  She actually placed 8th, but due to someone being ineligible, she took the 7th and last spot on varsity!

So Saturday was the first meet, Capital Invite...23 high schools, swarms and swarms of runners. Brenna ran with 62 freshman girls and placed 7th!  Amazing job, making it look so easy even though I know she was working so hard.  And that was also enough to claim the #7 spot among all her teammates...still varsity!  I'm so proud of her.  It doesn't surprise me that she's worked so hard and given it so much, but it does surprise me that the results have been a spot on varsity as a freshman!  And the sweetest bunch of girls, I'm so thankful.

New spikes!
The Oly freshman four!
Brenna coming through about the half-way point.

And here she is sprinting into the finish!

Another surprise, that shouldn't realize surprise me, is how much Alex poured himself into his sister's race.  Alex isn't running for the team this year because of all the music conflicts.  Very tough decision to make, disappointed yet understanding coach, disappointed but certain runner.  So Alex threw himself into his new role: coaching and cheering for his sister!  He took the freshman girls on their warm-up run.  Once the race started, he ran from one location to another along the course, cheering Brenna on and telling her to "GO! GO!".  It warmed my heart to see him get so involved in her race.

Brenna getting a little pre-race pep talk from her big brother!
I don't know the lady in this picture, but Brad just happened to catch Alex in the background, white shorts/grey shirt, sprinting across the field to go find another spot to cheer after Brenna went by!
A little later in the day it was time for Beth's first cheer game of the season!  It was a beautiful day to be in the shade, so we were thankful for a shady track!

And the surprise here?  I think my girls have hit my height.  I'm not really surprised, because I've known it was coming.  But I'm surprised to find myself there already.

I was making the girls shrink down a little bit.  Not working.  Technically I could crop this picture and make it look like they really are littler than me, but that would be just deceitful.  I've still got 'em both in the weight category, so there.
My photographer was in Seattle for a music lesson with his son, so I didn't do a very good job getting pictures.  This is it.  But they are cute!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Day

The first day is under our feet.  It's so good to get that first out of the way!  This was a big transition year...start of a senior year, start of a freshman year, and the start of middle school.  Only I am left at the elementary school!

Once again, on Monday I made the kids get dressed in what they were going to wear on the 1st day of school and took them to their schools to get the "1st Day of School" picture.  They protested a bit ("but I wasn't going to do my hair today!!!" and "I don't know what I'm wearing! why does it matter???", etc.) and then I told them that I'd be glad to follow them to school the 1st morning and embarrass them by making them stand there and pose for their mom's camera.  They got ready perty quick!

I don't know why this day made such an impact, but the pictures I took really made me realize how grown up they are.  They all look so much older to me, and I'm stunned by them. 

 We pulled up to the school to find the football team practicing right near where I wanted pictures!  They were thoroughly humiliated! We had to laugh awhile about that, and how dorky we all looked showing up to school on Labor Day, backpacks and all!
They are a pretty sweet pair.  Right back at the school where their parents met! 
 I had to get a picture by "The Rock", the landmark at OHS where many messages are spray painted for all to see!
 My sweet little-est, off to old stomping ground!
 Off she goes, into this new world.  It's so brave to do these new things, even if you have no choice.
 I decided to take advantage of their good-natured cooperativeness and get some pictures of the trio.  Oh, my.  They are growing up.
 Happy, sweet, loving me and to each other.  I can't ask for more. 
And the first day review?  #1 and #2 had nothing but great things to say.  A good day, friends in classes, exciting...everything you hope the first day will be.  #3 had a tough time with the big move.  Locker sticking, rushing to class, crowded halls, bus confusion...all a bit overwhelming for my tender girl.  But we ended the day with a fun cheer practice, and assured her that tomorrow will be better!  Sometimes it's hard growing up.
And my first day?  A bit like herding cats.  Feral cats.  But also so much fun to see those sweet little people! Lots of hugs and smiles and eager little faces ready to learn!  Flaming red, sweaty faces finishing recess and totally confused how to get back to class.  "Who's your teacher?"  "I don't know."  Perfect.
My feet hurt, my ears hurt, my brain hurts.  And I love it, truly!
It was a day.  A good day, a growing-pain day, a full day.  A day.
Here's to a successful, happy school year!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

We Have A Winner!

So today is officially my last day of summer.  Even thought I worked all last week, it doesn't really count.  Tomorrow my kids go charging into their new year.  I go charging into mine, all those little munchkins coming with spongy, eager minds...can't wait!

And so, today was the perfect day to draw the winner of my little give-away!  Time to blow a kiss to this season and throw our arms open to embrace the FALL!  And what better way to do that then to go indulge in a yummy Starbucks drink with a friend??  Or maybe bake a yummy treat for someone you love?  Or maybe do the dishes and dry them with some cheery new towels?  (Okay, that's a stretch, even for me.  I apologize.)

We picked the winner, Carlson-style.  Translation:  we wrote all your names on a little piece of paper and one of the kids drew a winner, while another complained that he didn't get a chance to enter, and another pleaded to make it the best 2 out of 3 so she could have a chance to draw.  Can't please 'em all.

And......get a drum roll going in your head, please........the winner is.......

Aunt Claudia!!!!

Your loot will be on its way soon!

On a completely unrelated topic, we had a very productive weekend! The new bathroom vanity got it's tile black splash, looking all spiffy.  The hall closet and my closet went through a very thorough purging...ah.  Feels so good to lighten the load!  And Brenna's room went through a MASSIVE purging, in which I realized my daughter is dangerously toeing the line of being invited onto Hoarders.  She finds treasures in everything.  Everything.  I know she loved her kindergarten teacher, but keeping the mass-produced pencil-holding birthday card from her?  Time to part with that.  The tag from the new socks?  Bye-bye.  The planners from every middle school year?  All done.  New closet organizer installed by daddy, cleaned out room...hello.  Time for a new season, indeed!

In the process of cleaning and organizing, I pulled out my wedding dress for the girls to see.  Oh, my.  They both ended up trying it on.  Lessons learned?

1.  I was once quite thin.

2.  I have been married a long time.
3.  My girls are growing up.
4.  I'm old.

 (I'm also experimenting with how to get my pictures bigger on here.  I may have chosen a bad picture to experiment with, because I don't need announced any bigger all this does to my heart!)

Alright.  On with the day.  Food to buy, dance to choreograph, time trials to cheer for, alarms to set (boo), and clothes to pick out.  It's almost the 1st day of school!  Yahooo!