Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Recap

What a fabulous Christmas we had! I think two-and-a-half is an absolute perfect age to be at Christmastime, and so does Lana. She couldn't get enough of her Grandpa and Grandma and Uncle Kasey and Aunt Christina. More than the presents and the treats, this little girl knows she's loved because of the hugs, snuggles, kisses and tickles.
(click on the collage to see pictures larger) (Oh, and the pictures of the table setting and the napkin rings are purely for my sister's benefit (Hi Jen!) she thought I was crazy to make my own napkin rings, but I did it anyway and really, really like how it all turned out.)

We had a busy weekend with a family Reindeer Run 5K (Kasey won), sausage making (40 lbs worth), dinner preparations (prime rib, casserole, garlic mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables) and desserts galore (pumpkin pie, peanut butter pie, pumpkin roll, chocolate cake). Lana was a sheep in the children's nativity and she did a great job and was oh-so-very adorable.

Christmas morning brought stockings filled with goodies from Santa Claus and a shiny new bike! Lana had a great time pedaling around the house. She got a ton of other neat presents too. It was so fun to watch her open gifts because everything was the absolute coolest thing in the world. She was genuinely thrilled with every single gift she received. Thanks everyone for thoroughly spoiling our little girl.

Merry Christmas!
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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

"We make treats Mommy?"

Yup Lana, we made lots of treats.

For the past several years, I've made a selection of Christmas goodies and sent them off to friends and family in far-off locales. It was usually all done over the course of a long day or weekend, and while it was a fun activity for me and I loved that recipients enjoyed getting treats, it wasn't one of my very favorite things to do.

That all changed this year. Mostly because of this little chocolate-covered sprite:

Lana absolutely loved making treats with me. She would dump in pre-measured ingredients, tell me it was too loud when I turned the mixer on, patted balls of cookie dough, and decorated. Boy oh boy can this girl decorate her some treats!
(Here she was covering peppermint bark with tiny peppermint marshmallows and eating marshmallows by the fistfull.)

Lana had our treat-making routine down pat and when I told her we'd make more treats, she'd push over a chair to her work spot on the counter top and be ready for action. She'd vigorously and enthusiastically add sprinkles and sparkles to cookies and cake truffles or wait for a fudge-covered spoon to clean off with her tongue. No matter the task, she thoroughly enjoyed herself.
Of course, eating the fruits of her labor was the best part for Lana!

But the best part for me, the part I will remember the most, is the time the two of us spent together.
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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gettin' Our Craft On!

Last weekend I was so happy I have a little girl. (That's not to say I'm not happy to have a little girl every single day, but last weekend was particularly special.) I had been looking forward to hosting a house full of little girls for quite some time, and last Saturday, I got my chance.

Dan and I scrubbed the house clean and set up tables and chairs. I baked cookies for decorating, set up craft supplies and ordered some craft projects. Dan vacuumed the carpet and left for the afternoon. And then the mayhem began. Little girls and their mothers arrived for our First Annual Mother-Daughter Christmas Craft Party. (Oh yeah, that's right. I just now decided to make this an annual event).

The girls (with the help of our most excellent volunteer helpers - thanks again ladies) made four different types of tree ornaments, a nativity scene, a really cool bird feeder and then they decorated all the cookies they could handle. I was impressed with their creativity and it appeared they all had a fun time. Surprisingly, my house did not end up covered in glitter and the only casualties were a few stray sequins - nothing out of the ordinary for our house.

If you want to make some of these neat Christmas crafts with your kiddos, let me know and I'll tell you where I got the supplies and what tricks I learned.
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mother of the Year - 2011 Edition

I submitted a pretty detailed and thorough application to the Mother of the Year Award selection committee last year, but alas I was not the chosen winner.

However this year, I am confident that I've got the trophy in the bag.

And guess what, I'm not even going to write a big letter to plead my worth. Nope, this picture is more than enough application for me:

Yup, I sat my sweet Lana on the lap of a strange and hairy-armed Santa Claus in Wal-Mart and despite her passionate protests, insisted she stay there until a picture had been snapped. And I think it's awesome. Surely one of those two things makes me Mother of the Year.

Oh yeah.
Mother. Of. The. Year.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

November was...

A successful hunting outing for Dan...

...while I spent the weekend crafting with friends.

Lana and I met up with friends for apple picking....

...and cider pressing. (Lana was more cute than helpful, but it was still a neat experience.)

Lana learned the pre-pre-school version of the first Thanksgiving and enjoyed the feathered headdresses of the Native Americans much more than the boring black hats of the Pilgrims.

And enjoying modern-day Thanksgiving with family.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving, by the numbers

Miles driven to and from Lynden, Washington: 746
Times we listened to/Lana watched the Mickey Mouse DVD: 2
Times we were driven nuts by the Dora DVD: 2
Total minutes the little one spent napping round-trip: 89.5
Number of excited little blonde cousins ready to greet Lana upon arrival at Grandma Sue's: 3
Times Sue told Lana 'I love you!': 92
Number of people over at Sue's cozy townhouse for Thanksgiving dinner: 16
Number of turkeys: 2 (one traditional, one smoked, both delicious)
Total pictures I took during the entire trip: 10
Total pictures of anything other than Lana and her cousins: 0
Number of times I thought to take out my camera: 40
Number of times I actually did take out my camera: 2
Times I woke Dan up with my horrible cough: 4
Number of cough drops I went through to silence said cough: 45
Stores we went to on Black Friday: 2 (Ace Hardware and the Little Red Wagon Children's Store)
Delicious mochas from our favorite Lynden coffee stands: 8
Number of times I braved the rain and wind for a morning run: 1
Number of toilets Dan fixed in Sue's house: 3

Times I reflected on how thankful I am for the blessings that surround me everyday: 1289 and counting

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why I don't Hate Minnie Mouse

This past Halloween Lana once again dressed up as Minnie Mouse. We did this for a couple of reasons. 1) We had the costume from last year and it still fit, and 2) That girl loves her some Minnie Mouse.

Sure, she's perpetually perky and her giggle gets a bit annoying, but after seeing some of the cartoon characters idolized by little kids these days, I've come to the conclusion that Lana could do a LOT worse (SpongeBob anyone?).

So, as a public service as well as a bit of self-defense, here's a list of reasons why I do not hate Minnie Mouse (as gleaned from watching several episodes of Lana's favorite (and only, really) TV show):

1) Minnie Mouse is helpful. During every episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse there is some type of problem to be solved. Mickey is usually the central character, but the one with the best, and most helpful ideas and suggestions is usually Miss Minnie herself.

2) She's a team player. Sure, Minnie might have the best ideas, but she doesn't demand credit for their success and celebrates with the team without making it all about her.

3) Minnie Mouse is modest. In her clothing choices (she wears BOTH a top and bottom), as well as her actions (she's certainly not the overly flirtatious fame-whore that Daisy is) Minnie is the perfect example of modesty.

4) She's always looking out for her friends. In one episode she made Minnie-strone soup for an ill Goofy to help him feel better. In another she hung on to a floating-away Daisy so she wouldn't be scared and alone. There are dozens of similar examples of Minnie exhibiting loyalty and faithfulness to her friends.

So, in a nutshell, that's why I don't hate on the Minnie. Yes, I know soon enough Lana will outgrow Miss Mouse and move on to princesses and then on to I-don't-know-what, but for now, we're enjoying the pure and innocent world where Minnie Mouse is the best.

Other parents, help me out here. Did your daughter go through different phases of character adoration? What ones did you like? What ones drove you crazy?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

One Weekend, Two Ways

Last weekend was a bit different for us. After work on Thursday, I met up with a lovely group of girlfriends and we headed west, finding our way to Seattle for a much-needed girls weekend. Dan would be having a different kind of weekend - complete with hanging out with Lana, his favorite girl.

Three friends and I went to the Creating Keepsakes Convention, a weekend-long convention of all things scrapbook related.
We all took some great classes and stocked up on the latest and greatest papers and supplies at the mega-huge vendor fair. And since we had no husbands with us to tell us no, and no children in the way, we shopped at stores we don't have here. Crate and Barrel, Gap, Bass Shoes and Gymboree to name a few. We ate at Whole Foods and Cheesecake Factory. We stayed up too late drinking wine and laughing. We swapped stories in the van and ate onion rings and chocolate malts. It was the exact thing all of us needed.

Dan, on the other hand, didn't spend the weekend shopping and scrapping. On Friday morning, while I was waking up to in-room coffee and trying to get the hotel's treadmill to work, Dan was getting Lana fed, dressed and dropped off at daycare on time. Since Friday was his day off, he spent the morning hunting. (A side question: Is hunting the direct antithesis of scrapbooking? Anyone familiar with that scale? Was one marriage really on completely opposite polar ends last weekend?) His efforts were not fruitless.
Two birds - not a bad day. But look again. See that monster pheasant? Yeah, it's huge - probably the biggest bird Dan's ever got.

Saturday, while I took classes and gushed over meeting scrapbooking royalty, Dan and Lana went to town and did errands as he would normally do them. Although this time he was accompanied by the blonde two-year old and the purchases at the hardware store included a pink camo t-shirt that I'm pretty sure wasn't meant for me. He then went home and made a gourmet dinner of deer steaks, fried potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and creamy corn. (It was really awesome. I had leftovers on Sunday. I should talk him into cooking more often.)

I got back late Saturday night and lounging around with my family on Sunday morning, I certainly had a new-found appreciation for them. I was more relaxed and less uptight about things. We even had an unexpected surprise.
A cattle drive, right in front of our house.

Yup, you don't see many of those on the streets of Seattle.
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

October was...

Lana spending hours and hours playing with her new favorite toy - the dishwasher box.

Lots of Daddy-daughter snuggles.

"Helping" in the kitchen.

Dan's buck, and the resulting pride Lana had for her Daddy.

Cousin Grant's 6th Birthday party. It was a farm party and it was AWESOME.

And of course, Halloween. Trick-or-treating, games, friends and too much candy.

Dan and I also celebrated 4 years of wedded bliss and we saw that despite our protestations, winter is certainly on its way.

How was your October? Is your November shaping up to be as busy as ours?
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Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy Friday!


I'm so excited to have a guest post running today on one of my all-time favorite stops, Stuff Christians Like. Jon Acuff is super funny and talented and was so awesome to give me this opportunity. So, if you're dropping by the Lenssen Acres Almanac from SCL, welcome! (And if you're one of the eight people who regularly visit here anyway (Hi Mom!) you're certainly welcomed and appreciated too.)

Pour yourself a cup a' coffee and sit for a few. We've got a bit of everything here, really. Like cute stories of funny things kids say? Here you go. Prefer tales of bad mothering? We've got that too. Or are you the tough-and-manly-kill-something-and-drag-it-home type? Gotcha covered. Be warned, sometimes I can get a bit sentimental, as evidenced here. I try to make this little ol' family blog of ours a lot like our little family; Sometimes funny, sometimes messy, sometimes silly and sometimes sappy, but always full of love and faith.

My husband, Dan, is an all-around handy man's-man. He builds and repairs farm equipment (and about anything else) during the day and then comes home to our place where he's got an endless list of home-improvement projects going on, animals to hunt, a two-year old daughter to tickle and a wife to kiss.

Our two-year old daughter, Lana Jean, is, of course, the smartest and most beautiful baby to ever walk the planet (and yes, I'm probably a little-tiny-bit biased).

And then there's me. I'm Shelle and I'm our head blogger. I work full-time in a laboratory during the day. I make sure dinner's on the table at 6:00 and the baby is bathed regularly. I like date nights with Dan, singing silly songs with my daughter and scrapbooking with my friends, and recently, I re-discovered my passion for writing, hence the guest post on Stuff Christian's Like. I've been working on making writing a higher priority and posting more consistently to this blog, as well as doing some freelance article and blog writing. In March I had a HUGE dream come true when one of my stories was published in a widely-circulated collection. I loved writing that piece and am eager to write more. I also enjoy helping others share their stories and lending them my writer's voice until they're confident with their own.

Thanks again for stopping by. Leave a comment to let me know you visited or send me an email (shelle(dot)lenssen(at)live(dot)com) if you want to know more about my writing or just to tell me you think my daughter is adorable.

Have a happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A not-scary-at-all-and-actually-pretty-cute Halloween

There was nothing scary about our Halloween, in fact, in our house anything at all remotely scary has been replaced by cute. Don't agree? See for yourself:
(Click on photos to enlarge.)

Our little Lana Minnie Mouse had a blast dressing up as her favorite character. She dutifully shouted "trick or treat" and got her bucket filled with candy. She ran around the church fellowship hall playing games, throwing footballs and winning cupcakes. She loved that party and wanted to stay and play all night. Even after we had gone around one last time, she still begged for "One more game, Mommy. Pleeeeeeeeeease?" Needless to say, she was not too happy with me and Dan when we extracted her from her fun past her normal bed time.

Some observations and thoughts:
-Trick-or-treating at the mall is a model of candy-grabbing efficiency my friends. Seriously, it's pretty dang awesome. All the stores send an employee to stand out front and you just walk by and they put candy in your child's bucket. A "trick-or-treat" from a giddy two-year old is appreciated, but not at all required.

-When a child sees an opportunity, they'll totally jump on it. Lana walked in the cupcake-walk with her friend Lily. Despite Dan and I telepathically sending messages to the volunteer running the booth, Lana's number was called and she won a cupcake. Instead of opting for one of the mini cakes available, she took hold of the biggest cupcake with the tall swirly frosting and smashed it into her mouth. She's a smart one, our girl. She knows if it's up to Mum and Dad, it's mini-cupcakes all the way, so if she's choosing, it's gonna be the biggest cupcake on the table.

-Watch out for costumed two-year old boys! When we entered the party at the church fellowship hall, Lana saw her good nursery buddy, Gavin (dressed as Buzz Lightyear), and went in for the customary and adorable toddler hug. Gavin apparently had other intentions and planted her with a full on lip-to-lip kiss that lasted an uncomfortable amount of time. I am not ready to see my baby girl kissing boys - not now, and not for a very, VERY long time. If you ever see my daughter getting some lip action, you have my permission, nay, my encouragement, to break that nonsense up and call me immediately. To all those little Buzz Lightyears out there, I'm watching you. And my husband owns guns. Lots and lots of guns.

-As is probably quite evident from the picture above, football isn't Lana's sport.

-See the Minnie Mouse jack-o-lantern? Dan carved that for Lana because she likes Minnie Mouse and he likes doing things for her that make her smile. Yeah, he pretty much rocks.

I hope your Halloween was full of candy, games, appropriate displays of affection and cuteness!

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

"Look Mommy! Daddy got a buck!"

Indeed he did!

My mighty hunter manly-man really, REALLY wanted to get a buck this year. His luck's been down the past couple of years and he needed a change of fortune. He drew a tag for late season, so actually wasn't putting a lot of pressure on himself to bring home a deer early and was not going out all that often, because he knew he'd have the late season which has historically been better for him.
I was more than a bit surprised this morning when he kissed me goodbye at 6:45 to go out hunting in the woods and fields behind our house. I was even more surprised when I got a phone call a couple hours later. Dan was trying to be nonchallant and cool while he was telling me about shooting his deer, but he wasn't fooling me - I knew how excited he really was. He walked back home and got his 4-wheeler and brought back the deer to show off to his girls.
Lana was impressed - very impressed. She was very proud of her daddy and wasn't put-off by the carcass at all. (Side note - this is my new favorite picture of Dan and Lana. Their identical facial expressions crack me up! Yeah, Lana's her Daddy's girl.)

She even kept wanting to touch it. Later in the car, Lana told me, "Daddy got a big buck. Good job Daddy."
Good job indeed!
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Thursday, October 20, 2011


She looked at him fondly; that he had been sent to her, when there were so many other, lesser men who might have been sent, was a source of constant gratitude. That we have the people we have in this life, rather than others, is miraculous, she thought; a miraculous gift.
(From The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by A.M. Smith)

Happy Anniversary Dear Dan. I oh-so-very-much love you!
Goodness, four years just flies by, doesn't it?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I'll have Missing Consonants for $400 Please, Alex.

This morning's conversation with my daughter:

LANA: Mom! Help my b*tches please!


LANA: See? My b*tches fall down.

(I pause, look at her and help her pull her too-big pants back up.)

ME: No Lana sweetie, say britches. Brrrrrr-itches.

LANA: Brrrrrr-itches.

ME: Good Job.

LANA: Thanks helpin' my b*tches Mommy!

(Sigh, maybe we should just call them pants from now on.)

(Or maybe she knows EXACTLY what she means and dang it, pants that fall down all the time really are b*tches!)

Monday, October 10, 2011

September was...

(Dang, I'm getting slow posting these monthly recaps. I first started doing them to force myself to blog more regularly. I wish I could say we've been busy with exotic vacations and days at the spa, but alas, reality is far more mundane and rewarding than a fantasy life of luxury. Anyway, I digress.....)

September came in with a bang! Well, actually more like a chilly, cold frost.
Yup, you read that right. The 2011 Clear Creek Killer Frost hit us on September 3rd. It was tough on the whole garden, some vegetable didn't recover at all.
These poor sweet peppers didn't have a chance.

Then there was Labor Day.
Complete with a Lana black eye. (I think this injury hurt me and Dan more than it did Lana. It was painful to see her pretty face so marred, but she stayed pretty happy and never let it bother her.)

On September 11, our church hosted a community remembrance and picnic, full of tons of activities for kiddos.
Lana and her cousins enjoyed the bounce houses and water slides.

Somehow I got the wild idea that I needed a house project that was just mine. I chose to scrape, paint and prime the deck railing and told Dan he wouldn't have to do ANYTHING concerning my project.
And here he is, pressure washing the railings. I did (eventually) get everything primed and painted, but it's taken about a month to finish this little project.

We also celebrated Dan's birthday.
Complete with home-made made-from-scratch (Cool Whip counts as scratch, right?) Chocolate Cream Pie.

One weekend we headed down to Oregon to visit my parents and watch the Pendleton Round-Up Westward Ho! Parade.
Let'er Buck!

And finally, finally, FINALLY, the huge, huge, HUGE flooring project was done, done, DONE!
It's beautiful and amazing and so much neater than I ever thought it would be. The floor (and all of Dan's hard work) deserve their own post, so I'll go into more detail and show more pictures at another time.

So, how was your September? Anything of note coming up in October?
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