31 May 2009

My dad is a bad a**.

Okay, so, I'm going to ask everyone for one second to put their politics and opinions on war aside for, like, the next five minutes or so. Can you all do that? If not, quit reading now, and go about you business. Alright, are we ready? Good.

That's my daddy up there. He is awesome. For lots, and lots, and lots of reasons, but that's a post for a different day. On Friday, he left for a year long tour of Afghanistan. It is his third year-long tour in 5 years or so, his fifth tour during war time overall. He is not in the Army full-time, but is in the Army Reserves. It never gets easier, especially for my momma. Not to mention, my dad will be 60 in November. Wowza! But it is his duty.

Here's where this gets hairy for some...

how can you be expected to fulfill your duty when it means doing something that you don't, necessarily, believe in?

My answer is pretty simple. That's what duty is. It's a moral commitment. It is committing to a cause without thinking about your own interests. Sacrificing. It is about character, and obligation to something greater than yourself.

At the farewell ceremony for my dad's unit, I was struck at the diversity of men and women leaving to serve with my father. Older, VERY young, fathers, mothers, people who have no family (literally), educated, and not. Some looked excited for the adventure to come, some looked like they might vomit (one passed out, seriously). But all united by duty. It was quite profound.

Should our country be in the middle east? I don't know. At one time, my right wingness would have shouted yes, yes, yes. But, it has robbed my family of its patriarch for a total of 3 years, and now, I'm not so sure. We are the policemen of the world, and, agree or disagree, I would hate to imagine what our country or the world would be like without the US assuming the policing role.

What is unseen is, often, quickly forgotten. It is an unfortunate truth. But, I'm asking all of you to NOT forget. I'm putting a picture of my pops in my sidebar. Let this be your quiet reminder to remember him and all of those that serve this great country.


28 May 2009

the finals.

WOO-WOO! Jake and Pete's room was named as one of the 9 finalists in ohdeedoh.com's 'smaller, cooler kids' room contest'. Now, it is up to all of you to vote, vote, vote. Tell your momma, tell your poppa, tell your friends, tell you neighbors, tell your kids, tell your pets...cause I tied for 3rd in the semi-finals, and we all need to step it up a notch. This time around, you only have 24 hours (tomorrow at 1:30pm EST, it's all over)! That's it! Make it count! If I make the top three, remember, there could be a homemade apple pie* in you future. I never needed reader loyalty more than now. I, graciously, leave it in your hands!
*some restrictions apply, duh!
Thanks y,all!

smaller, cooler...THE FINALS!

Okay, so...I tied for third in the semis in ohdeedoh.com's smaller, cooler contest. That means I should be going to the finals. Here's the deal, as soon as they announce all of the finalists, there is only 24 HOURS to vote. Based on the semi-final results, I need more people to help me out. Please, please, pretty please vote for my boys' room. I will love you forever, and ever, and ever. And, since we are NOT moving, that gift certificate would be great for sprucing up the basement for the kiddos! I will let you all know when the voting begins!


26 May 2009

Happy Birthday, Jake!

Yesterday, was my sweet first born's birthday. The boy who made me a mother 8 years ago. He had a great day. We celebrated with a Memorial Day BBQ, rainbow cake (thanks Meg), and presents (Shaun White's Snowboarding for Wii, Magic Rocks, a yo-yo, money, and a Rip Rider 360).
I love you, Jake!

24 May 2009

10 things...

Inspired by Crystal over at Little Bit Funky, I am going to give you my '10 things' list.

Here goes...

1. my sweet, sweet children, what a gift from God.

2. my amazing, patient, humble husband.

3. my parents for raising me the way they did.

4. my wonderful sister.

5. the closeness of my family.

6. God for being so freakin' great.

7. health & security.

8. my incredible friends.

9. vacation with my husband and kids in 1 week!

10. all the love.

Sounds a little nauseating, but it's true.
My life is pretty, wicked awesome!


22 May 2009

house tour, take 1.

I have gotten a couple of requests for a virtual house tour. And, although, I have already posted some pictures of my house at the VERY beginning of my blogging days, I thought I would give it another go. Since my house is sooooooooo huge, it will take 2 parts. This is 'take 1'. I hope you enjoy, and if you have any questions, please let me know. I LOVE comments!

The Exterior...front & back.

The Living Room.

The Family Room.

Betsy's & Rosie's Room.

The Girls' Room...details.

Stay tuned for take 2.

21 May 2009

My wish.

The following photos (by Martha Manning) of Whitney Deal's wedding (creator of the blog, "Darling Dexter") are real-life illustrations of why I wish I could sew. Like really, REALLY sew. Not cutting and hemming sheets for curtains. I mean, like, reading a pattern or better yet, making my own pattern and sewing. SEWING. Sewing pretty, pretty things. If I could it, I would promise to make the world prettier with things like these. Whitney and her mom made all of them. Even her gorgeous wedding gown. How freakin' cool is that? By the way, I think that her dress is the prettiest I've ever seen. Timeless. Modest.


ps Incidentally, the daisies also captured my heart.
My bridesmaids and I also carried simple clutches of
daisy mums. So pretty!

Love. Love. Love.

buckets and bubbles.

I challenge all of you to do your summer on the cheap. There is really no reason to do it any other way. A vintage summer. A summer full of kool-aid popsicles, bubbles, buckets of water & paint brushes, sprinklers, and root-beer floats. Seriously. Kids love it, and really need nothing more!
ps congrats to
bryan & tammy
on baby isla!

18 May 2009

Lil' Jake's 1st Holy Communion.

Any Catholic knows that the sacraments are a big dealio. First Holy Communion is a REALLY big deal for Catholics. It is a rite of passage in the church. It's like going from little kid, cry-room status, to big kid, too cool for Sunday school status. Jake made his First Holy Communion on Saturday, May 9th. It was such a great day. The weather was beautiful, he looked so handsome. Not to mention, how excited he was. It was a fantabulous day. At his reception at our house, we also had a candy and dessert buffet to honor, not only him, but Betsy's accomplishment of receiving the Rosemary Zander Award. Fun, fun, fun!

Congrats, Jake!

17 May 2009

Put the sign in the yard.

Okay, so...

Big Jake and I have made an executive decision for the Grebe corporation, we cannot leave the school district/area we live in. As wonderful as it would be to move into a brand spankin' new house, we don't want to sacrifice schools and territory.

Where does that leave us then?

We still think it is probably the time for us to be movin' on. I think this makes my parents cringe. They probably hate all of the updates we've made to this house, which has left little in the bank, but we aren't my parents. We have our own lessons to learn and our own mistakes to make. Most of you would wonder why I care what my folks think, but I value their opinion, especially when it comes to real estate. They have made great decisions in that arena, and now, live in an incredible home that would probably have been out of their reach, had they not done what they have, financially speaking, along the way. Let's just say, that for a retired cop and a career secretary, they have one he** of a crib.

Anywho, if all goes as planned, I think the 'for sale' sign is going in the yard within a month's time. It is exciting, nauseating, scary, fun, sad, all kinds of stuff. Assuming we get what we want out of our house, in this suck-big-butt economy, we have crunched the numbers, and will be able to buy much "more" house than we ever thought possible. Working with one income is always a challenge, but it is important to us that I stay home with the kiddies until they are in school. It's better that I screw them up, rather than someone else.

Now, the work begins. Looking, trying to sell, and hopefully, not having my heart broken along the way. We'll see. And, until something good pans out, I promise (cross my heart) not to bore the poo out of you with house/moving stories.

And, yes, Daddy, start collecting boxes!


15 May 2009

Lots o'lots!

My sister and I drove around Maxville Gardens, again, today. I am even more in love. Jake is on board, too. Which is always good. I love the location, I love the homes, I love lots of the lots (he, he). Love, love, love. We scoped out plots and I found my favorite. It is a corner lot, and both streets it is on the corner of end in a cul-de-sac. There are also several other level lots in the neighborhood, and one in the original development, Tenbrook Estates, that I would highly consider. But, I'm rootin' for numero 28.

Above, are some of the other nice level lots, and these are IN a cul-de-sac. The only problem is the massive retaining wall at the back of the property line. What do you think? It is pretty stone and all, but I'm just not sure. The only upside is that you wouldn't have to stare at the back of someone else's house. And, nothing could ever be built behind you. Give me your thoughts!


14 May 2009

Maxville Gardens...home?

So, we found this new housing development, Maxville Gardens, the other day through my momma's boss, Miss Tina, Now, in my former life, I was not fond of such communities. Of course, that distaste was born out of not having an established family of my own, and thinking that one day I could by a 100-year-old charmer in Webster Groves (a hip suburb of St.Louis chock full of older, beauties) and completely rehab it without a second thought of what it would cost or how long it would take. Geez, that was a looooooong time ago!

Now, when the subject of moving comes up, all I'm asking for is a pocket of nice homes with lots of kids, fun parents, a Target, and a grocery store. As far as the house goes, 2+ bathrooms, big closets, 2-car garage, main floor laundry, and one big open space for living. That's it. If it's new, and cookie-cutter...so be it! If it's affordable, and fits every other criteria, stick a 'for sale' sign in my yard and call me done.

I can't get the above two homes out of mind. For the past 7 hours, it's all I can think about. Oh, how it would change our lives. New part of town, new schools, new friends, new life. I'm not going to lie, it excites me. I love my house, but, walk-in closets? C'mon! Sure, it's a terrible time to sell a house, but if ours doesn't sell, then we don't move. Simple as that! If it does, then all 6 of us move in with my mom, while my dad is in Afghanistan for 4-6 months, while our new house is getting built. Duh!

Ahhhhhhh, what to do, what to do?!

Anywho, like I said, I've only been thinking on this for 7 hours, but something about it all feels good!
Movin' on up!

12 May 2009

I'm posted, I'm posted, I'm really, really, posted!

Okay, all...

The boys' room has been selected as a post, here, in ohdeedoh's "smaller, cooler" contest. Puuuuuuuh-leeeeeeez, vote for us. We would love you forever, and ever, and ever. Now, I am warning you now, that you have to register (if you aren't already), but it, literally, takes 10 seconds! Then feel free to give me a ginormous thumbs up!

See, isn't that simple. And, if I make it to the semi-finals, I will personally arrive at your door with a homemade apple pie, straight from the oven.* Now, doesn't that sound like a sweet deal!

*some restrictions apply.

PS I'm going to make you feel really sorry for me...I've never won anything in my whole life. Not even Valentine's Bingo in elementary school. Now, don't you wanna help me out?


You can also access the post from Apartment Therapy, here,

which is just double cool!


11 May 2009

loooooong weekend.

It has been a long weekend, and I am pooped. I will post pictures tomorrow of the events from the past two days...Jake's First Holy Communion and Mother's Day!
'Till then...

08 May 2009

i shouldn't be blogging right now.

I have, like, a gagillion things to do today. Tomorrow is Jakey's First Holy Communion followed by a reception at our house. So, instead of cleaning and assembling all of the lasagnas, I have done the following...

I got together Jake's duds for tomorrow, just because I think they are so darn cute. Don't you just love the jacket and linen bow tie? I thought I would take advantage of the fact that our church does not have a specific dress code for this sacrament. The tie is from etsy. You can find lots of cute ones here.

Then, a thunderstorm shook up the St.Louis area. Apparently, Rosie has decided she does not like, "'under, ow-side". So, instead of tending to my pre-hostess duties, I held her and tried to get her to calm down. About 2 hours, that's right, 2 hours later, she fell asleep on the couch with her beloved "B". Then, I proceeded to take a crap ton of pictures of her because she is such a wonderful subject when sleeping.

Now, it is 2:29pm, the house is a mess, I feel like dog dirt from a cold, and not one lasagna has even been attempted. Oh, and I still need to go back to the grocery store AND pick up a table from Mrs.Lewis' house for the candy buffet. And, tomorrow morning Jake has a play-off football game, I need to pick up the cake and balloons, and then it's off to church and straight back here for the festivities.


07 May 2009

a stunner.

I think I am a wedding/party/baby naming nut because it is a chance for some one's tastes and personality to translate itself into something greater than the sum of its parts. I am always captivated by bold choices. I may not always like them, but I appreciate them nonetheless. So far, I'm the only person I've come across that is willing to defend the name Gwyneth Paltrow chose for her daughter, Apple. I certainly wouldn't name my child after a fruit, but I admire the choice and the reasons behind it.

So, where was I?

Right...so, I am always struck by any of the things mentioned above when they are a bit different. This particular "thing" (a wedding), caught my eye because of the dress. It is stunning. I have never seen anything like it. The photos that followed were equally striking, and I thought I would share.

I love, love, love the cake. Each tier is covered with edible black & white images of the couple. Fantastic! I want to get married again just to have a cake like that.

*photographs by Luna Photography*

See more of this beautiful celebration here.


06 May 2009

smaller. cooler.

I just entered the boys room in the ohdeedoh.com 'smaller, cooler kids' room contest'. I don't think I have a chance in Satan's lair of winning, but someone who doesn't at least try will ever win. Okay, so I think that I just totally made that saying up by combining lots of other well known words of wisdom, but you get what I mean. So, if by some miraculous stroke from the Big Man upstairs (and HE IS MIRACULOUS), I get posted...you will all have to visit ohdeedoh and give me a thumbs up. But don't worry, because you are sure to hear if I'm posted.

And, yes, your house has to be under 1000 square feet to enter.

Did you all know that I live in 1000 square feet of pure heaven with a husband, 4 kids, 2 dogs, and 2 mice? And I love every second of it!

Wish me luck!

Happy Birthday, sweet Jill!

It's my sister's birthday today. She made me promise not to reveal her age, or it would be certain death to me. But, let's just say that she IS (not) younger than me. She is my only sibling, and I used to detest her. That sounds real nice, doesn't it? But, it's true. One time, on the evening of my first date with Jake, at the ripe old age of just-turned-17, we had a knock down drag out. Jake came to pick me up, and I had her jeans on that she had no intention of wearing, and she made me take them off before leaving on my date. She caused a big stink in front of Jake, embarrassed me, and made herself look like a 'bleep'. See what I mean? Then there was another time that she attacked me with her cat-like claws, so I pushed her down the basement stairs, and when she tried to come back at me like a meer cat, I did what any sensible person would do...I threw a kitchen chair down the stairs at her. I think we were 18 and 20 at the time. (Whoops, did I just unintentionally reveal her age?)

That was then...this is now. I love my sister. She is a GREAT sister, an awesome mom, a thoughtful daughter, an attentive wife, and a top-notch friend. We do just about everything together. She married Jake's best friend, my boys were born just weeks before her two kids, we have breakfast every Wednesday, and talk on the phone about 3-5 times a day. I cannot imagine us living apart (we live within 5 miles of each other now). Did I mention she is my very own personal shopper?

S0, happy birthday, Jilly-bean! I love you!

Psssst, she's 33!

01 May 2009


So, I have scheduled a family photo session for my posse on June 6th with the the wonderful Laurie of EyeSmilePho'tot'graphy. I am very excited. We have not had a family photo since Betsy was a newborn. I haven't taken the kids either, since Rosie was 4 months old. Wowza! I am utterly inadequate as a mother, I know. Anywho, she came highly recommended by a facebook friend, Christine Plamann (who incidentally is another awesome photog up north, check her out here if you live in the Milwaukee area). Laurie takes awesome natural light shots, and many of her photos have a funky urban feel.

Now, the anxiety is setting in. Five weeks out, and I am already wondering...
Will the kids behave?
What will we wear?
Will Laurie wish she never met us when it's all over?
Will there be at least one great shot?

You know, the usual prephoto stress. The one that is really plaguing me is the attire issue. I don't really want to buy anything new, and I want the clothes to coordinate but look natural. You know, stuff we would wear in real life. Something funky and fun, but not overkill.

I was on Design Mom the other day, and stumbled across her recent family photos, here. This really couldn't have happened at a better time. They are beautiful (taken by Candice Stringham), AND I love their wardrobe (check out details here). I am totally going to use them as our inspiration. Surprisingly, I won't have to buy much of anything. That's super great!

Below are two of the beautiful photos Candice took of Gabrielle's (Design Mom creator) family. Aren't they stunning? If ours turn out a quarter to a half as good, I will be more than satisfied.

Photo by Candice Stringham

Photo by Candice Stringham

PS I looooooooove Gabrielle's kids' names...Ralph, Maude, Olive, Oscar, and Betty. Uh, hello! So cute!

Say cheese!