Throwback Thursday- Brianna Michelle

In a couple of weeks the girl who made me a mama will turn 9. Sometimes I can’t believe it! I can’t believe that I’m old enough to have a 9 year old! I can’t believe it’s been 9 years since this ball of energy with a personality that’s bigger than her came screaming into our lives! Our world forever changed the day she entered this world. Brianna is a very strong willed child. She knows what she wants and what she doesn’t. She is very independent. She was born a diva! She is so smart- too smart for her own good sometimes! And even though we butt heads a lot I wouldn’t change her for anything! That strong willed, independent personality is going to serve her well in this life, as long as we can teach her to channel it when and where appropriate! I’m grateful for her infectious laugh and the way she loves her brothers. She is definitely the princess in our home. (That doesn’t mean she gets when she wants all the time though, much to her dismay!!) I love this girl so much!

I thought for the next few Throwback Thursdays I would share with you a few of my favorite pictures of Bri. She has always been so photogenic and taking pictures of her is always so fun.

First up, her first official photo: her hospital picture.

Brianna birth

Her Stats:

Weight 7 lbs. 6.5 oz

Length 20 1/2 inches

Born November 19, 2004 at 3:24 am

Labor about 13 hours, delivered with the assistance of forceps after about 2 hours of pushing.

Head full of black hair

Looked just like mommy as a newborn (has since started looking more and more like her daddy)

Instantly had everyone who met her wrapped around her finger.

I knew immediately our lives would never be the same!

We love you Brianna Michelle!

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Our Anniversary Celebration and Some Goals

October 18th was our 10th Anniversary. We went back and forth for weeks what we wanted to do to celebrate. Initially Steven wanted to fly to New York for the weekend, but the flight times didn’t give us much time on the ground and they were sooo expensive. We looked at going to Lexington to see Les Miserables, We looked at going to one of the resorts at local casinos, eating in the restaurants and maybe taking a few pulls of the slot machine. In the end we decided it would be really cool to just stay in town and do some of the things that we haven’t done in years, or have never done together.

We got a room at the Marriott Rivercenter in Covington with a view of downtown Cincinnati. I have to say that it was the best experience! All the employees at the hotel were wonderful and so professional. When we checked in we were greeted so warmly and they congratulated us on our anniversary. They gave us a voucher for 2 free breakfast buffets in the restaurant 10 West the next morning. When we got up to our room there were a few surprises waiting for us:

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The chocolate covered strawberries and sparkling wine were from the hotel staff. And it just goes to say whenever you are celebrating a special occasion be sure to tell them what you are celebrating. Businesses often look for ways to go above and beyond for their customers and make you feel important. We saw this again at dinner but I’ll share that in a minute.  The chocolate covered strawberries were especially delicious and a very nice treat before we headed off for dinner.

The flowers were a present from Steven. 10 sunflowers, 1 for each year of marriage; 4 red roses, 1 for each child and 1 white rose for our angel baby. I’m not kidding ya’ll, I almost broke down in tears right then and there! It was awesome!

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Another wonderful thing about our hotel: the view! We decided on a king size room with a balcony and a view of Cincinnati. I know I might be a little biased but I believe Cincinnati has one of the most beautiful skylines in the world. Especially at night. And it lived up to the expectations.

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We made reservations that night at Ruth’s Chris on The Banks downtown. The Banks is a project that has been a long time in the making in Cincinnati. They have been trying to build the banks of the Ohio River up with restaurants, upscale apartments and nice parks. The transformations being made there are awesome and we enjoyed our stroll across the suspension bridge (in the right side of the above picture) and taking in the energy of The Banks before time for our reservation.

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It was a first experience for both of us at Ruth’s Chris. And it was amazing! From the red rose petals sprinkled on our table because it was our anniversary, to the steaks (ermergherd!!!), to the picture souvenir we got before we left the meal was magical! It’s definitely not a place we can eat at often but we really enjoyed the experience.

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And yes, we’re matching! Don’t hold it against us! lol- It’s just something we do!

After dinner we strolled back to our hotel and snuggled up in our king size bed (ahhhh….) to watch a movie. It’s not often we get to watch a movie uninterrupted and Steven said one thing he really wanted to do that weekend was just veg. So we did! I packed the laptop, grabbed a couple of movies that we hadn’t seen out of the $5 bin at Walmart and grabbed some of the dollar boxes of movie theater style candies. We decided to watch Little Red Riding Hood with Amanda Seyfried and Billy Burke. I’m not gonna lie, it was a little weird. And I was way tired so I kept drifting off. But it was good and nice to just lay there snuggled up with my man.

We slept in the next morning (ha! Yeah right! He slept in! I woke up at 6:30, 7:30, and 8:30. After that I just gave up!! lol) We got dressed and went down to breakfast at 10 West. They have a wonderful buffet breakfast with lots of options. I had french toast, bacon, fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, coffee and orange juice. It was a rainy, cold fall Saturday morning but it was nice to sit in the restaurant and watch the rain fall on the river.

After breakfast we went back up to the room and decided to work on a project I had come up with for us to do. You may have heard of the 101 in 1001 Project where people come up with 101 goals to accomplish in 1001 days. I thought it might be cool for us to come up with 180 goals to accomplish in 1825 days or by our 15th Anniversary. These goals can be anything from travel goals, marriage goals, family goals, financial goals, or just for fun goals. I’m not gonna lie, it’s been hard to come up with 180 goals! But we’re chugging along and I’m adding more each day. It might take us a year to just get 180 goals thought up though! lol

What’s on our list? (Hello List It Tuesday readers…I bet you were wondering when a list was going to appear in this post weren’t you?? lol) Well, so far we have things like

1. Go camping without the kids.

2. Pray a decade of the Rosary every day as a family.

3. Have Bible study and prayer time each evening as a couple.

4. Write a love note to each other once a week.

5. Have a weekly date night.

6. Have a monthly date with each kid.

7. Start Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover.

8. Take the kids to Disney World.

9. Take ballroom dance lessons.

10. Spend our 15th Anniversary in Italy.

11. Get our marriage blessed by the Pope.

12. Learn some conversational Italian for our trip.

13. Install crown molding on our kitchen cabinets.

14. Install crown molding in the master bedroom and bathroom.

15. Build steps off of the sliding door into the back yard.

16. Have family time at least once a week.

17. Stovetop travel the world by cooking a meal from a different country every week (ala Global Table Adventure)

18. Hold dinners with extended family at least once a month.

19. Go away for the weekend alone at least twice a year.

20. Take the kids to a new Kentucky State Park each summer and camp.

This obviously is just a portion of some of the goals we came up with. I look forward to coming up with more goals and reaching them together.

Since it was raining we had to scrap some of our initial plans for the day and decided to spend the day at The Cincinnati Art Museum. It’s been years since I’ve been to the Art Museum. I forgot how much I liked it! We strolled through the museum for hours, holding hands and actually taking the time to stop and read plaques and study pieces of art. It was glorious! And something we hadn’t done in years! (one of the last museums we went to just us was the Contemporary Art Museum in Chicago when we got engaged and it’s just not up our alley! lol) You know the best part about a lot of art museums..they are free because of the generous benefactors that donate to them. And we have one of the best in the country right here. We need to take advantage of it more often, especially their family programs.

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One of Steven’s favorite sculptures. Marble is amazing!

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Two of my favorite sculptures by Degass. They made me think about Brianna!

We ate lunch at the little cafe called Terrace. It was cozy and delicious. Afterwards we went to the second floor and continued our leisurely stroll through the museum. It was a wonderful day and I enjoyed spending it with my love. We went home after that to just Brianna and Eli. Steven’s mom decided to keep the boys another night. We decided to take Brianna out to dinner at Panda Express (Brianna’s choice) and then went home and watched the 2nd movie that I had bought for the weekend, Soul Surfer. It was so good! I think we all sat here and cried. Brianna loved it and I think she found an inspiration in the main character.

All in all it was a perfect wedding anniversary celebration. I’m looking forward to many more celebrations to come.

Linking up to List It Tuesday at Many Little Blessings and Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Halloween TruMoo Goosebumps Giveaway

A few months ago I signed up to be a BzzAgent (pronounced “buzz agent”) after the persuasion of a friend on Facebook (thanks Monique!!) She kept posting about all of the cool free stuff she was receiving as a BzzAgent. So I decided to try to sign up and was accepted! My first campaign was for a product that our family already loves…TruMoo!!

You might remember a while back when I shared about how we were trying to cut down on high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors to help reduce symptoms of ADHD in Jonah. That usually means that a treat like chocolate milk would be a no-no. But not with TruMoo! It is one of the only flavored milk brands on the market that doesn’t use HFCS! And recently they even reduced the amount of sugar in the product…and it still tastes awesome!!

As a BzzAgent I received a kit in the mail that included a coupon for a free half or gallon of chocolate or the Halloween Orange Vanilla milk. We decided to use the free coupon for a gallon of chocolate and also picked up a half gallon of the Halloween Orange Vanilla. I was a little disappointed to find that it has artificial food dye in it (instead of using natural colors) but we let Jonah have a little to try it out and tell us his thoughts about it too. The kids loved the creamy flavor of the vanilla milk. And they thought the orange color was really fun, especially for Halloween!

Right now if you like TruMoo on Facebook you can enter to win a Goosebumps Haunted Hollywood Family Vacation. And when you go over to enter to win the vacation you can print off a $2 coupon for a Goosebumps movie, just in time for Halloween!

If you haven’t tried TruMoo I highly recommend it. And so do my kids!!

I received free product in exchange for my review of TruMoo products. All of the opinions are honest and 100% mine.

Throwback Thursday- Honeymoon Edition

Hey there everybody! It’s time for another Throwback Thursday. Since I spent all this time counting up to our Anniversary (which was awesome by the way, I’ll be sharing more later!) I thought I’d share some pictures from our Honeymoon in Hawaii, since 10 years ago we were there! And man, do I wish we were there right now. It’s FREEZING today!!

We spent 6 days in Waikiki and loved every minute of it. We hiked Diamond Head, chilled on Waikiki Beach, went to the Polynesian Cultural Center, wandered through outdoor markets and just reveled in being in love. Hawaii is definitely the most beautiful place I have ever been. We hope to go back for our 20th anniversary and take all the kids so we can share it with them. By then Brianna will be 18, Jonah 16, Micah 14 and Eli 11. We figure at those ages they should appreciate it! Better start saving now!! lol

So without further ado…

surfer diamond head luau

We took so many pictures in Hawaii! I obviously only chose 3 because I can’t possibly share them all. If you’d ever like to see the scrapbook I made let me know. I’m trying to scan all my pages and digitize them. Maybe that should be my next project!!

Next up on Throwback Thursday…Brianna is getting ready to turn 9! I think it’s time for some baby pictures! Have a great one!

List It Tuesday- Pumpkin Patch

It’s time for another List It Tuesday over at Many Little Blessings and Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. This week I thought I’d share our pumpkin patch fun from Micah’s field trip yesterday.

One of the things on our family fall bucket list was a visit to the pumpkin patch. And one of the good things about a preschool aged child is that almost every preschool takes a trip to the pumpkin patch in the fall. So go to the pumpkin patch-it’s now checked off the list. And hayride? Yup, it’s checked off too! I don’t know if we’ll find time in our crazy schedule to get to a pumpkin patch as a family this year but I’d like to! And I wouldn’t mind going back to this one! It was very cute and very close to home which is a plus!

So our favorite things to do at the pumpkin patch?

1) Feed the farm animals! This farm had sheep, goats, cows, a donkey, a pony, a llama, bunnies, chickens, turkeys and a swan. Micah wasn’t too sure about feeding the animals at first. I think he was afraid they would bite him! But once he saw me feed a few of them and finding some that ate “slow” instead of quickly nipping for the food he decided it was actually quite fun.

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2. Hayrides. What’s better than climbing in to a cart filled with bales of hale and being pulled around by a bright green tractor? Especially when you’re 4?! Absolutely nothing! We sat the back of the cart, closet to the tractor. Micah loved watching the big wheels work to pull the cart, especially when we had to go up a muddy hill.

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3. Obviously the biggest draw about the pumpkin patch- going out into the field and getting to pick a pumpkin! Each of the kids got to pick a little pumpkin. And I was impressed…they weren’t just thrown out into the field. They were actually attached to the vine! (I’m not sure if that was the case for the bigger pumpkins or not.) Micah had to pull hard to get his favorite pumpkin off the vine. And then he chose one for Eli too! We’re cleaning them up and adding them to our Halloween/Fall mantle.

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4. Playing on the playground equipment. After we got back from the patch the kids had a snack and then had the chance to run around on the playground equipment for a while. This farm has a great playground complete with a train, a bus, and a pirate ship, all wooden. They also had a sandbox which is always a big hit!

5. And of course for mommy one of the best things is posing them in front of the cute displays and getting trying to get a decent picture!

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It may have been chilly but it really was a perfect fall day at the farm!

Head on over and check out more lists at List It Tuesday! Have a great one everybody!

WIWS- Black and Grey Edition

Thank you all for the kind comments on my What I Wore Sunday post last week, both here and on Facebook! You guys are awesome and made me feel so good! So thank you! So I thought I’d join in on the fun again this week! It was another busy Sunday for us but that’s kind of par for the course during the school year. I know God said Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, but I just don’t know how that’s supposed to work!! lol

ImageGrey Turtleneck: No Boundaries- WalMart (?) I’ve literally had this top so long I don’t exactly remember where it came from anymore!

Black Lace Skirt: Anne Michael- Burlington Coat Factory

Black Leggings: George- WalMart

Belt: Heart Soul- Burlington Coat Factory This came on a red shirt but I love mixing and matching my belts with other outfits!

Black Ballerina Bow Flats: Steve Madden- Burlington Coat Factory

Jewelry: Miley Cyrus for WalMart

This week for PSR my class was about Piety and Prayer. It was the perfect day for it actually because we met in the library the last 30 minutes of class and prayed the Mission Rosary on helium balloons. The kids lead the Apostle’s Creed, Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be and some of the teachers introduce each of the mission mysteries. Then we took the Rosary outside and released it in to the air, raising our prayers up to God. It is probably one of my favorite things that we do all year long! You can learn more about the mission rosary here at Family Rosary. And here’s a picture from our Mission Rosary. (If I can get my computer to stop being SO SLOW!! I’ll try to add more pictures later!!) It takes a while to put together every year but I think the kids love it and parents always tell us how much they enjoy joining in with their kids! If you’d like more information on how to start a Mission Rosary service with your PSR or parish let me know. I’d love to email you the information!!

ImageAfter PSR we attended 11:30 Mass. All I can say is that Eli gets a big fat F in Mass Behavior this week and Micah was a solid D! Brianna and Jonah I’m not too sure about since I spent the majority of Mass in the Vestibule. It was one of those Sundays that Mass ends and I look at Steven and say “Well, can we just start this one over again?!?!” Definitely not our most stellar Sunday of recent memory. The best thing I can say is that Eli stopped screaming long enough for me to be able to go forward for Communion. Yeah, we were THAT family this week!! Oh well! You live, you learn and next week we take more snacks! lol

After church we went to visit Steven’s grandma and grandpa for a little while. It was a short visit. The boys were still bouncing off the walls and it doesn’t take much for grandpa’s nerves to start fraying. So we try not to overstay our welcome on days like that. But it was good to visit them for a little while.

We got the kids home, Steven and Eli went down for a nap and I got ready for a CRHP meeting at 4 pm back at the church. We are just in the beginning stages of putting our team together so we are meeting a lot more regularly than we will need to. After discernment on November 1 we will take November and December off for the holidays and then start meeting once a month in January. Right now it’s kind of frantic and busy but I’m looking forward to being part of another team.

When I got home after the meeting (in which I forgot to pick up keys to the convent so we ended up having to sit outside on the benches in the courtyard to have our meeting! Luckily it was a beautiful day and I don’t think anyone really minded! At least I hope not! Another big epic fail on the day!! lol) we filled our bellies with chicken stew and sweet potato muffins that mom had simmered all day. It was the perfect way to end a not so perfect Sunday. But it was still good!

Join in on the fun and check out more Sunday style over at Fine Purple and Linen. Have a great week everyone!

Throwback Thursday- Let’s Get Married!

Tomorrow is the big day! Have I mentioned recently that we are celebrating our 10th anniversary?!? lol- For today’s Throwback Thursday I thought I’d share some wedding photos. I know I’ve shared some before that were taken by our good friend Dionne Newton. Today I thought I’d share some of the professional photos taken by Kim Schmidt who has since died from cancer.

I know that every girl thinks her wedding was the best wedding ever. Well, mine was! The ceremony was beautiful. The reception was a blast! People were on the dance floor the whole night. The food was delicious. The cake was amazing! There was none left at the end. Luckily I ate 2 pieces! lol- I was exhausted by the end. It was the best day ever! I look at the cost of weddings today and it blows my mind. I heard the average wedding is now costing $25,000. Our entire wedding, including our 6 day honeymoon in Hawaii was a fraction of that. And I wouldn’t change a thing!

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steven wedding

the couple

wedding party

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Fischer family

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cake kiss

kari and boys

steven and girls

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years! And then I go back and look at the pictures and I believe it! Especially when I see Michelle, Steven’s little sister. She turned 20 last week!! (Yep, the little blonde in the pictures is now 20!!) It’s incredible to think of all that has happened this past decade. One thing that hasn’t changed though- how much I love this man! I am so glad that I said yes when he asked me to be his wife. It’s been a journey but I’ve never regretted it for a minute!

I love you Steven, and I’m gonna love you forever!

SHMILY