First Sleepover

The first weekend in February, I was lucky enough to have Arionna spend the night with me. It was the first of many sleepovers to come.

It was a big week for her, as it was also the week she learned to stand up.

On Friday night, we just stayed in and played until she went to sleep.
I managed to get what may be my favorite picture of her….
Wow. I just love that.
She slept okay at my house. I had trouble getting her to stay down, but once she was asleep it was about six solid hours before she woke up. And she didn’t cry when she awoke, just talked to herself in her crib.
Even though she isn’t smiling, I love this photo. Just the merging of all the different colors as she sits on my bed. She just finished eating Jello (her first!) in my bed. Yes, she ate in my bed. I didn’t know where else to put her, it isn’t like she can sit at the table!
The next morning, we were up bright and early and just played in my bed for a while.
She’s very cheerful when she wakes up! Or maybe because I was letting HER control the remote. She never gets remote privileges.
Then I let her play with the pink pillow. That thing might be the smartest thing I ever bought!
She was literally gasping for air she was laughing so hard. Plus, you can see ALL of her teeth in that picture!
After we got dressed, we decided to call up Grandma and see if she wanted to go out to breakfast with us. It was insanely early and since I was up, I needed to eat. I figured Ari would like to taste her first Denny’s (I was right) and I hadn’t been in years. Grandma was delighted to be a part of our special time together. While we waited for her to arrive, I tried to get a shot of me and my best babycakes.
That’s not too bad…the best of the lot, for sure.
After breakfast, we were looking for something to do to kill time and we decided to drive out to Grandpa’s new store on Ford Parkway. It’s all the way on the far edge of St. Paul, so it was a bit of a drive. My mom and I had never been there, so it was fun to see where he works now. He was shocked to see us and gave us all the grand tour. He was even nice enough to carry the baby, who is no lightweight.
I figured we needed to mark her first ever tour of a Produce department back room. It will be the first of many, no doubt!
Neither one of them was really a good sport about it, but it is still recorded for posterity.
On the drive back, we decided to pop into downtown St. Paul to see the ice sculptures. We didn’t stay long, since the baby had no coat, but we took a few cute shots.
I was bound and determined I’d get her on the ice throne. After waiting and waiting with a calm baby, once it was finally our turn:
Think she liked it?
My mom hadn’t even stood back up or fully let her go and she’s wailing that hard. Mom just scooped her back up and off we went.
// photo
She seemed to like the ice wall much better.
Then, because I think Em and Chad let her watch too much Wheel of Fortune, we decided to get this poor child some culture. So we took her to the Ordway.
Of course, that is a joke. We did not take a ten-month-old to the symphony.
But we thought it was funny.
Then, on our way out, we saw the classic statue of Herb Brooks. Naturally, I thought it time for another photo op. My mom thought it was weird.
I told her it wasn’t weird, it was funny.
Then I offered her the baby so we could get a shot of Ari and Grandma and Herb. Grandma said it wasn’t necessary.
But then….
She climbed up there, so I guess that meant she just wanted to be alone with Herb.
Of course, seconds after I took that she said, “why did you take a picture of me ALONE with him?” And I poked a little fun at her and she said, “give me the damn baby” or something similar.
And suddenly, even though she was JUST up there with me, Arionna has now realized there is a third “person” on this pedestal and cannot take her eyes off that statue.
That ended our adventure to downtown St. Paul. The baby was getting tired and so we headed back to my house to hang until her parents picked her up.
Grandma even let her play in the fireplace…
…things sure have changed since *I* was a kid. Grandma was a lot tougher then.
Thanks for the memories baby cakes…it sure was a fun weekend!

Kid Party

As a Christmas present to the Humphreys, I volunteered to have Victoria and Christian come and spend the night. I was going to have them over Mark and Kelly’s anniversary, but we didn’t do Christmas early enough (actually, we still haven’t done it, but it is finally scheduled, for the 28th) and Kelly made other plans.

Then, out of the blue, she tells me she needs a sitter for January 22nd. I said I’d love to–and I meant it!

I planned so many special activities, but we ended up mostly just playing.

But, back up a bit. Let’s talk details.

First, it was countless emails with Kelly about what to bring. She was planning on bringing everything but the kitchen sink. I did my best to talk her out of it. I know parents get nervous about making sure the kids have what they need, and I don’t have kids…so that might be an added level of “what will they do if they need _____?” But, I know from experience that very little is actually needed. Next time, Kel will just bring the kids, already in their jammies, and we’ll be set.

The arrived about 4 pm. I was so excited. I think, perhaps, Victoria might have been more excited, but it was a close call. Kelly was normal and Christian and Mark were a little apprehensive. Christian I get, he’s little. Mark–well, let’s just say that before he left his children with me, he made me promise 2 things.

1. The children would still be alive the next day. (Yes, I really promised not to kill his children, on purpose or accidentally).

2. That I wouldn’t let them jump on the couch for fear they might bounce so high as to jump over the railing and fall down the stairs. (I promised this with a straight face and kept it. I didn’t even let them sit on the couch….)

And, then, just before he left, he made me promise to keep my phone on, just in case they wanted to check in. Then he called me–to test that it was on, before he left. (But I think that was a joke?)

He’s really quite cute, worrying so much.

Once they were gone, we started the fun. We checked out where everyone was sleeping, then we jumped on the “bed” I had for Victoria, an air mattress. Since it’s about 4 inches tall, I didn’t worry. They bounced and jumped and played and occasionally I’d pick up one of them and toss them onto the bed. We just laughed and laughed at this. Then they started running from the hall and jumping, once conking their heads together. After that, I made them take turns at running and jumping. (So very few rules at my house).

We then started dinner (by that I mean, I preheated the oven for frozen pizza) and then went out for a walk. I had set up our Mystery Walk, which was a special walk, outside, after dark, carrying flashlights. These kids love Scooby-Do, so I had planned to have us solve a real-life mystery in my neighborhood. We solved “The Mystery of the Flashing Red Light”. There is a red light you can see from far away, slowly blinking, day or night. We set out to find out why.

Before our mystery could commence, there was a car on the street (very, very rare…), I herded the kids back into my driveway, to assist in keeping my promise to Mark. Well, the car stopped right next door, it was my neighbor, Donna, home from an evening out. Donna met the kids and saw their little flashlights, so she asked them to light her way to her front door. Donna’s front walk is really long, like 3x longer than mine, and there aren’t any lights. So they walked her to her door, shining their lights the whole way. Victoria also shined hers on Donna’s locks, to help her get inside. It was so adorable.

Then, we got my mail.

Finally, we did our walk. I wish this had been longer, but it was so cold outside. We just walked down the length of my street toward the light. Less than halfway there, Christian stopped cold and said “it’s a water tower!” and it was! I was so surprised he could tell. You can’t see the shape of the tower at all from where we were, only the light on top. I was impressed. Victoria ran ahead and as she got closer and could see it, she agreed with Christian.

When we got to the end of the street and could see it clearly, we stopped for a photo, to commemorate our successful Mystery Walk.


Victoria, bless her little heart, wouldn’t stop talking long enough for me to take a picture. She was telling me a Scooby-Doo story about…something. Sorry, I forgot.

And then we walked back home because we were all cold (though in truth, we’d been outside about 6 minutes).

Once we got back inside, I put the pizza in the oven and we selected a movie. Victoria had great fun sorting my movies into piles. “Adult movies” (and that would be movies adults are allowed to watch, not porn) “Kid movies” and “We’ll See”

The “We’ll See” category was developed when she tried to convince me she was old enough to watch “Batman Begins”.

We ended up choosing to watch “Cheaper by the Dozen” with Steve Martin. I’m a firm believer in having kids watch live-action, rather than cartoons, and they seem to enjoy it more. Once the pizza came out, I let it cool while I set the kids up at the table with my laptop. This sparked a HUGE discussion because they were convinced that you cannot watch movies while eating dinner. I tried to explain, but ended up going with, “when you’re at Olivia’s house, you follow Olivia’s rules–Mommy is NOT in charge” and that seemed to work.


You can see my little chair off to the side. My mother will also note the lack of tablecloth. I had to pull it. Little kids and tablecloths are NOT a good mix. There was pulling and tugging and my computer almost dove off the side of the table. So we went with bare wood and it was fine.


I love this picture, you can see how much they’re loving this. Christian is pointing out things to Victoria that he noticed in the movie. If you’ve ever seen it, it’s chaotic, lots of things going on at once. And Victoria is just entranced.

However, they ate surprisingly well. Two and a half slices of pizza (triangle slices, not squares) EACH. They were wolfing it down.

Then when the pizza was gone, I asked them and they wanted popcorn right away. So we moved to the cushions in the living room and did popcorn and the rest of the movie.


Victoria is bouncing on her cushion, I think I caught her mid-bounce. Christian is, as you can see, the happiest boy in the room! He sure likes popcorn. (Maybe even as much as me!)

After the movie ended–and they sat for the entire thing–it was still too early for bed, so we played some more. I have this game called “Pass the Pigs” where you shake two tiny rubber pigs (about the size of dice) and however they land, you score points. We were going to play the game, but I wanted them to expend more energy, which is how I came up with GIANT Pass the Pigs. We took my two stuffed pigs, courtesy of my favorite Aunt Judy, and used them.


This was one of Victoria’s turns. She tended to throw them one at a time, I think it was tough. When they held both pigs, they were as big as the kids. Christian is watching intently, figuring out how many points she was getting.


And now, Christian’s turn. You can see how challenging this was for them. But they absolutely loved it! You only scored one or two points per turn, and we played to 10. So it took a while, but after Victoria won the first game, we played a whole other game. I won the second one…but I told Christian he won, as he came in second. And his little face lit up when I said he won, so it was worth it.


I think this is one of my favorite pictures. He is saying “no more pictures” as I take this. It cracked me up, because if you know his mommy, you can only imagine how sick this little boy gets of having his picture taken!

Next, Christian said he wanted to play baseball. Well, it was January in Minnesota, so that took some thinking to figure out how we could make this work. Plus, I don’t have a bat and a ball. Eventually, I devised this game:


We put my huge floor cushions out and used them as bases. We used the inflatable fire truck (V’s got it in the picture) as the “ball” because if they threw it, it barely went anywhere and wasn’t strong enough to break anything. So when it was your turn, you stand at “home” (C is next to it) and throw the truck, then run. The other two get the truck and try to tag you with it. If they can’t and you make it all the way around, you get to go again. If you get tagged, the person who tagged you gets to go. No scoring. I get sick of keeping track.


I love these action shots! And please notice that Christian is running the wrong way. Which was fine. When it was her turn, Victoria would run to first and stop, every time. The concepts were a bit much in this game, but we were silly and they laughed and laughed, so it was fun.

Then I figured I best get a shot of me, so Kelly could see I was playing with her kids and not just supervising, so I set the camera up to take 6 pics in a row and this ONE turned out.


We’ve moved past baseball to a baseball/tag/football combo at this point. So C is trying to tackle V, but I grabbed her and started swinging her around. And he’s trying to jump to get the “ball”.

Then I glanced over and noticed it was about 8:45pm. They normally are sleeping at this point. I asked Victoria what time she goes to bed and she said 8:30. I told her we should go do jammies. They didn’t want the fun to end, so I told them they could watch a movie for a bit before bed. Christian picked Scooby-Doo that they had brought.

They look so darn cute in their jammies. I love, love, love kids in pajamas. They’re always so cuddly.
Within about five minutes of this picture, I sat with them and they were both cuddled up next to me, falling asleep. Victoria had me scratching her back. Then, at a minute or two past nine, I said bedtime.
I swear, Christian looked relieved. He got up and walked in to my room, where his pack-n-play was set up. I walked with V into where she was sleeping. I saw C in my room, just standing still. He was standing in the center of the room, perfectly still, not making a sound. It belatedly hit me that he needed me to put him in the bed. He was just waiting. Once I lifted him in, he dropped down, curled up and closed his eyes. I said, “hey, buddy, you want a pillow?” He shook his head. I laughed and went and grabbed him a blanket, so he’d stay warm. I think he was already sleeping in the 30 seconds it took me to get back.
Meanwhile, V was in the next room, setting up her sleeping bag. There was a huge air mattress for her to sleep on, but when I came back she was in the only available floor space, a 1.5′ x 4′ strip of carpet. I laughed and asked her why she didn’t put her sleeping bag on the bed and sleep there. And she said, “I want to sleep here”. Fine by me.
Then I asked her if she had fun and she said it was lots of fun. Then a moment of silence. I thought she also fell asleep and then she said, “Olivia?”
“What, sweetie?”
“You know what would be super-duper fun?” (I swear, that’s word-for-word)
“If me and mommy and daddy and Christian and Cookie lived here with you.” (Cookie is their dog.)
I was laughing so hard I could barely talk but I managed to tell her that I also thought that would be fun and she should ask her mommy about it tomorrow.
It feels good that she had so much fun she wanted to live there…with practically everyone she knows!
Traditional sleeping shots:
No kidding, that was about 9:15 when I took that. He was sound asleep.
And you can see how she’s squeezed in among the crap I’ve yet to unpack. I couldn’t even get to her, I am leaned on the desk, with my arm extended as much as possible to take this.
The next morning, they slept in for me until about 7:30. That’s unheard of for them…but everyone sleeps well at my house.
I took this because it is so rare for me to be up with the sun…I didn’t know it comes right in to my bed!
Here we’re all cuddled in my bed, with cartoons on in the background. They discovered the pink squish pillow, which is a huge favorite of the little ones. So much so that I just purchased a red one, so I have two squish pillows!
You can see who REALLY loved it! And I adore how the sunlight is streaming in, making rainbows in the photo.
She’s proud of herself because she could climb in and out of the crib by herself. Christian said, “No Toria, you can’t be in there. Mommy give you time out!” I cracked up. He was so serious. He really thought she couldn’t be in there. I told him it was okay, but only at my house, because I make the rules.
The sunlight started getting out of control, but he’s wrestling with the squish pillow.
She’s showing me her scary faces.
At about 8:15, we went to go have breakfast. Victoria wanted cereal, so, of course, so did Christian. I told them that all I had was Special K and V replied, “Great, I love Special K.”
She must have been telling me the truth because she ate her whole bowl. Christian ate about half of his, but he also ate his entire chocolate pop tart. V only picked at hers. We watched the end of the Scooby movie we started the night before, with our breakfast. Kelly showed up to get them not too long after.
It was delightful, listening to them tell their mommy how much fun they had and all the stories. Before they left, Christian threw and out-and-out tantrum. He He had so much fun that he was refusing to leave my house. I kind of felt bad, because that’s not the kid you want to send home, but it was so darn cute. I was pretty flattered that he loved it so much he wanted to stay forever!
They were wonderful little house guests and they are welcome any time. But–before they come again, I call “Adult Party” and I get to go out with their Mommy and Daddy–because it’s been far too long.
And kudos to Kelly, who has been waiting for this blog since that morning and has been so very patient!
Thanks for letting me play with the kids, Kel, we had so much fun. And, Mark, they were safe and sound, as promised!

First Sleepover

On November 6th, I had Kelly over to be my first sleepover in my new house. I kind of feel like she’s been waiting 20 years for me to have a place for her to come and sleep over. She LOVES to spend the night. Loves it–like an addiction with her. As that was her birthday weekend (Happy Birthday Kel!–for your neverending day) it seemed an appropriate time.

I had a super special present all picked out for her–something that she would love and that no one else on earth could give her. And then, she found out about it two days before. Damn it!

The present was that New Kids on the Block were touring again! Since that’s our thing, it seemed appropriate. So, I was giving her the gift of promising that we’d go, no matter where they were. (Which is a good thing, because the closest they’re coming is Chicago). Of course, on November 4th, she saw that they were going on tour and called me to tell me about it. I’d already known for over two weeks and had a surprise worked out for her. I should have known I couldn’t fool a rabid fan like her! But, I still gave her the gift, I just missed the joy of seeing how shocked she was and hearing her say “are you serious? is this a joke?” when she saw my present.

She came over while my mom was still there, painting. When mom finished up, we talked her into a glass of wine (or two) and some girl talk. It was fun. Then, after mom left, Kelly and I just sat around talking and then I pulled out a random box of unpacked stuff. It turned out to be terrific as it contained memories from high school and our days as the craziest bff girls around. There was even an old newspaper article about NKOTB!

We also drank and I let Kelly burn pizza rolls in my oven. I find myself relieved that I was NOT the first person to burn something in my house! Kelly claims she is a wizard at making pizza rolls and can smell when they’re done. Since we’ve made them together before, I know this to be true. However, something (and I’m not blaming the Mich Golden Light–much) went a little wonky in my house and we ended up with this:

To a Crisp

These got trashed. We also sang and laughed and danced around my kitchen. At one point, we put on Tim McGraw’s “Don’t Take the Girl” which is a song with a very long history for us (story for another time) and we ended up laying on my cold tile on my kitchen floor and singing along at the top of our lungs. We also took photos of ourselves doing this:

Sleeping During Don't Take the Girl

(We’re pretending we’re asleep and then we’d start singing at the top of our lungs again, don’t ask me why!?!)

I also have video, which I’ll spare you. It ain’t pretty, I promise. And Kelly will thank me for not sharing the video of her dancing to BEP’s “Boom Boom Pow”, which I’m telling her, is funnier than the lost video of her doing “Dirty Dancing” in the BW3s parking lot a couple winter’s ago. But I will save it for future blackmail purposes.

And I’m probably going to show Mark, because he’ll think it’s hilarious.


That was the last pic we took of us both. And it’s pretty cute considering its 1 am and several beers into the night!

Then we were sitting on my couch and she was asking me to save a picture to her phone. So I was helping with that and talking and the next time I looked up at her…sound asleep. Seriously, in the middle of the conversation.

Like any good friend, I gave her a pillow, tucked her in, and then took funny pictures of her. Isn’t that tradition? Never be the first one to fall asleep at a slumber party. I think it is a golden rule.

Jordan Loves Kelly

And, yeah, I got permission to post this. It’s pretty tame…but that is my Jordan Knight doll cavorting on her chest as she slumbers. It sure made me laugh!

And that is the tale of my very first slumber party at my new house!