Welcome to our Family Blog!

We've decided blogging would be a great way to capture all of the fun things that we encounter in our adventures of being a family.

We hope you enjoy the pictures and stories that we share, and that you come back to visit often.

Please leave some comments for us along the way and let us know you are reading our stories!

Thanks for visiting!


Ada's First Year of Soccer

Vikings Soccer Team #13: Ada Milbrandt

Go Vikings!

The Goofy Vikings!

#13 Grinning in the Wind


Ada's first day of Kindergarten

~~~Ada's First Day of Kindergarten~~~
My Favorites List:
Color: Purple
Food:  Chicken Noodle Soup
Thing in School:  Learning Areas
Thing to Do:  Play outside with my friends
Movie: Good Luck Charlie
Song:  Taylor Swift songs
I want to be a Doctor when I grow up!

We have a THIRD Grader!!!

~~~Tehya's First Day of Third Grade~~~
My Favorites List:
Color: Black
Food:  Mini Tacos
Subject in School:  Math
Thing to Do:  Ride my 4wheeler
Movie:  Lemonade Mouth
Song:  Ready or Not (Bridgette Mendler)
When I grow up I want to be a Teacher!

Happy 5th Birthday Ada

Happy 5th Birthday Ada!
Ada picked Chuck E Cheese as the place to be for her birthday celebration. Take some friends and a few slices of Pizza, add in some Games and Prizes and then top that off with some gooey Chocolate cupcakes and you have a great day!


Heading North

This summer we "ran away" up north several times to enjoy the beauty of Lake Superior.  We love the town of Bayfield and are so unbelievably greatful for friends that share their amazing slice of heaven with us by opening their cabin for our use.  We enjoyed a long weekend away with the girls, a Milbrandt family getaway and Labor Day weekend with a group of friends and all of our kiddos.  Ferry rides to the Island, trips to the candy store and kayaking through the Sea Caves are just a few of the highlights.

  We even managed to snap a few pictures along the way:

Dan and the girls checking out the view from the end of the dock 
 The girls and I having a girls moment
All the Milbrandt girls enjoying ice cream on Madeline Island
Dylan and Ada goofing around in the kayak
The Sea Caves
 Entering the Sea Caves
John taking Tehya for a cruise


Homestead Facelift- A Work in Progress

This summer has been a very busy one at the Milbrandt residence - our house is in the process of receiving a complete makeover! 

I want to state for the official record that I am in awe of my husband and his ability to do all of these amazing things.  Construction has been his trade since long before I knew him, but seeing these things happen right in front of my eyes is very impressive.  I don't think I will ever be able to say thank you enough for all the hard work and hours he has put into this project, so I will just take the before and after pictures and stick to the non-structural improvements like flowers!
I am also in awe at the amazing people in our life that have been willing to help.  Evenings after work,  beautiful sunny weekend days, even in 100-degree temps, you name it they have been there.
Thank you to all of you - you know who you are!!

Note: I will update this entry as we progress through the to-do list, so please check back and see what we have been up to since your last visit!
Before: Old Roof

After: New Roof
Thank you to Adam, Al, and Dylan for your help!
Before: Front of House Getting a New Garden
Thank you Becky and Diane
During: Layout starting to take shape
After: Front Sitting Garden Complete
Thank you to my mom Sue! 
This project started YEARS ago and is finally completed with the exception of the growing part!  I call this my "Secret Garden" because you can't see it at all until you get right up to the house!  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Before: Side of Garage In Progress
Tehya and Ada helping (tool belts and all!)

Dan with Tehya on the Roof - "Hi Mom!"
(as moms heart skips a beat!)
After: Side of Garage Complete
New siding and Cedar Trim around windows
Thank you to John for all your help!!
Note: "We" decided that the blockwork at the base of the house needs a fresh coat
 of paint now too -  oh no, another thing added to the to-do list! At least it's something I can do!!
Before: Fence looking pretty drab next to the new siding and trim on the house.  I decided that it MUST be feeling left out and should get a make-over as well:

During: Ada helping mom stain

During: Beth and I staining

During: Front side half done - what a difference!

After: To Come Soon!

Before: Back of House

After: To come Soon!


Mutt Mix 101

**This is Buster**
Busters genetic makeup has been the topic of many conversations in the last 9 months since we adopted him.  The litter that he was kenneled with at the rescue was listed as Lab/Pointer mixes, however we are pretty sure that Buster is not this mix and was most likely mixed in with a group of puppies not truly his siblings. 

Although he does resembles the characteristics of this mix, he doesn't quite match the bill in size and stature for either.  Buster is long and lean, very muscular and has topped out at a whopping 23 pounds and about 14 inches in height.  Not even close to what a Lab/Pointer measures in at:

Appearance: The Lab-Pointer is a beautiful, medium sized dog.

Size: The Lab-Pointer can weigh between 35 to 50 pounds.

**This is not Buster, this is a Lab/Pointer mix**

Buster is most certainly a mix, or a mutt if you will, but of what breeds?  I cannot count how many times this question has been asked.  He looks lab-ish, but is too small.  He has some Terrier traits, but not enough to convince me.  At the right angle you can see Chihuahua, but again the size and traits are not fitting.  The list of options go on and on and on and on..... 
I looked up the definition of Mutt, and found the following on an Ehow article written by David Samson:

A mutt is any dog of mixed breed or uncertain ancestry. In contrast to purebreds, mutts display a high degree of genetic variation, and come in a wide variety of sizes, colors and temperaments. The terms cur, tyke, mongrel and "Heinz 57" also refer to dogs of mixed breeding.

Read more: What is a Mutt Dog?
eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/info_8736923_mutt-dog.html#ixzz21efKuJYJ

This defines Buster all right, but doesn't get me any closer to an answer.

I have looked into Doggy DNA testing (yes, my curiosity is getting the best of me on this) only to decide that the cost is not worth the risk of all the poor reviews I have found posted online and a warning from my vet that the results are a toss up.

I resigned myself to the fact that I will never know what Buster truly is.

This fact of uncertainty remains the same, but at the suggestion of a good friend I looked into another breed and I am now convinced that Buster fits the bill.

Let me introduce you to the Miniature Italian Greyhound:

**This is not Buster, this is a Miniature Greyhound**

Now don't get me wrong here, I still firmly believe that Buster is a Mutt and has multiple breeds included in his one of a kind DNA, but I am convinced that Miniature Greyhound is at the top of that list.

Here is what I have found on the breed:

History: Believed to have been popular 5th century BC as evidenced by representation on artifacts. An ancient breed which was popular with nobility during the Renaissance times. This tiny tot has had a recovery in popularity due to its Hypo allergenic qualities and low maintenance, low odor coat.

Personality: The Italian Greyhound is affectionate, non aggressive and playful. They are reserved with strangers. They can quiver with excitement. They are gentle and elegant and extremely loving. They love human companionship but can be left alone for short periods without suffering from separation anxiety.

Playful, lively, energetic, he can be a fast-moving dog when young and outside will run and run just for the fun of it.  Like the grey hound he will chase a ball but sees no point in retrieving it - that's for you to do - and if there's a squirrel or a bird to chase instead, so much the better.  Inside, he loves nothing more than to jump on furniture and hurtle around a room from chair to table to bed in a kind of doggy assault course. 
Without anything to chase indoors he will play with stuffed toys and, always curious - some would say nosey - he likes to be up high. If he can find a window ledge to sit on he will entertain himself for hours watching the world go by - and wanting to join in.
But on the other hand the miniature greyhound is a creature of comfort. He hates the rain and will refuse to go for a walk in cold weather if he can get away with it. If there's a spare sofa he will make sure he fills it by stretching to his full length. He likes nothing more than to doze in the sun, waking from time to time to eat or be stroked.

Appearance: Short and fine coat. In solid colors of black, slate, grey or yellow. White patches are allowed only on feet and chest. Athletic and slim in appearance.

Family: An excellent companion dog, not suitable for young children due to their fragile frames. He is gentle and gets on well with other family pets.

Training: The miniature Greyhound can be challenging to train particularly in cold weather as it hates getting cold or wet and dislikes windy days too. Jumping up must be discouraged early on. They need gentle and determined training.

Ideal Home: Highly suitable for apartment living or in the country but it must have some daily exercise outdoors. This is a quiet house companion and care must be taken not to trip over this little dog that will become your shadow. In-door kenneling is absolutely essential.

Lifespan: 13 plus years.

Watch dog: Whilst these dogs are reserved with strangers, they are not considered watch dogs or alert dogs.

This content is taken from my website : 'Explore Italian Culture'. Visit us to find out all about Italy. : The miniature greyhound: an animal fact file of the miniature italian greyhound. http://www.explore-italian-culture.com/miniature-greyhound.html#ixzz21TSjGoXZ

Check, check, check and check.  Like I said, I am convinced we have found a major part of his lineage.

Besides, I adore him no matter what mix of Mutt he is.  He is a a snuggle bug, hilarious to watch run around like a maniac in the back yard, very tolerant of the girls antics and an all around good pup.  Here are some of my favorite pictures of him so far:

**Buster taking a nap on the big puppy at the cabin**

**Buster taking a nap on "his" pillow**

**Buster and Ada napping after a hard day of playing**

And because apparently most of the pictures I have of Buster are of him sleeping, here is one to prove he is awake sometimes too:

**Buster and his friend Rupert playing**

Cinderella is NOT the Only Princess

This past weekend the girls and I joined Grandma Sue for a production of Cinderella at Eagan High School.

We always love plays and shows, however this one was very extra special as they invited girls to dress as a princess!!  Can you imagine the excitement?!?

After much deliberation the girls decided that they would like to wear the beautiful gowns that Aunt Shari had made for them to wear as flower girls last summer in Jeremy's wedding.  They also made it very clear to me that they expected to wear lipstick, because of course all good princesses wear lipstick.

Here are the girls all dolled up, fancy hair and lipstick complete:

And here are the girls with Grandma Sue:

As you can see, Grandma made their day by making them true princesses and crowning them each with a tiara. 

We had a fancy lunch at Perkins, where the girls were bombarded by compliments of their beauty.  This was enjoyed very much by both of them, and made mom and Grandma both very proud!

We then headed to the play - which started with the girls being registered as Princesses and being whisked away for the Princess Parade.  The crew members of the play started the show by announcing each girls name as they walked across the stage (with a glittery take-home septor in hand of course!) and then the LARGE group of Princesses all took a curtsey and exited the stage to watch the play from their seats.

Here is a photo of all the Princesses on stage (my apologies for the poor quality).  Tehya is the one with her hand up waving:

What a fun day -- thank you Grandma Sue!!!

It's For the Birds

Our backyard is slowly becoming the space that I dreamt of when we bought our house several years ago.  Just as any of the projects we had planned it is taking time to pull everything together but the progress we have made so far is rewarding.

One of the things I love most about our backyard is the variety of birds that we have visiting.  Robins, Cardinals, Red Wing Black Birds, Hummingbirds, the list goes on and on...we even have a pair of Morning Doves that enjoy our rooftop!

My particular favorite is the Momma Robin that has nested under our deck stairs for three years running now.  She picked the perfect spot for her babies, protected by our stairs from predators and the weather.  The girls get excited every spring when we see that there is a new batch of pretty blue eggs in the nest that we can peer through the deck cracks at to inspect.

Momma Robin is back in full force this year with a nest full of chirping little ones, with one major difference.

This year we have a dog.

Buster cant get any closer to the nest than we can on the deck, and really hasn't shown any interest in the chirps below his paws when he runs down the steps.

Momma Robin however has shown a major interest in Buster.

Momma Robin is convinced that Buster is the devil and is going to eat her babies.

For the last week or so I have been watching Momma Robin screech from the tree tops at Buster when he comes outside.  Buster cocks his little head, wags his tail and simply goes about his business.

The amusing part has started in the last couple of days.  Screeching is not getting Momma Robin her desired results and she has now started chasing Buster around the yard swooping in at him as she chatters her discontent.

Now as much as I recognize that she is protecting her babies as any good Momma does, I also recognize that my poor puppy needs to be able to do his business without being terrorized by a bird.  I have not come up with a solution to this dilemma yet , but I did manage to capture a couple of swoops on video:

Poor Buster!

So far (even though I have encouraged him to a couple of times) Buster has not retaliated.  My hopes were that he if he would chase her back a bit it may keep her at bay.  This plan failed because my puppy is too nice.

My fear is that Momma Robin will not return next year.  This is probably the best outcome for Buster, but it would be sad to not see those pretty blue eggs.

Say What? Ja Way Go?

Dan and I were presented with an amazing opportunity to enroll both girls in a Spanish Immersion program for 7 weeks of the summer.  We discussed this at length and in the end it was a no-brainer decision.  Fun, education and another language?!?  Sign 'em up!

We chose to enroll the girls in the program for 3 days a week which allows them one or two days at our normal daycare for relaxing days and gives us the chance to still take those long weekends away we have planned this summer.

In discussing this new summer plan with the girls, we had a cute kid story occur:

Tehya:  I think this sounds like fun, but I already know Spanish.
Mom:  Yes, you learned some Spanish in school this year but this school will teach you more words and how to use them the right way.
Tehya:  Ok, but I already like know all the words.
Mom:  You know ALL the words?  I doubt you learned ALL the Spanish words in a two week section on Spanish.
Tehya: I know A LOT of words.  Like words for food, drinks, animals, you know, all that stuff.
Mom:  What is the word for Milk?
Tehya:  I dont know, I need to look it up in my packet.  But I know how to say Juice.  Its JA-WAY-GO
Mom:  (Trying very hard not to laugh) Honey, its not pronounced the way its spelled.  I think maybe you say it like whey-go or something like that?
Tehya: Oh, are you sure?  I guess Spanish school would be good.

Todays Spanish Lesson is brought to you by 123TeachMe.com:

English Word: juice

Spanish Word: jugo, zumo

Now we all know how to say juice in Spanish :-)


Fathers Day - Remembering and Celebrating

Fathers Day has come upon us again and in the joy of watching my girls create their handmade cards for Dan I find myself remembering back to the Crunch Bar I used to purchase yearly. 

You see, Crunch Bars were my dad's favorite candy bar and it became tradition long before I knew what a tradition was for me to give him one each Fathers Day that we would share.  In looking back after all of these years I sometimes wonder if the Crunch Bar really was his favorite, or if maybe it was just the joy of me tearing open that wrapper for him that gave him such a huge grin on his face.

I watch Dan have that same grin with our girls and I am grateful to have him as their dad.  I am watching him build the relationship with each of them that I had with my dad, and that is priceless to me.

Dan is a dad that teaches our girls to do things, instead of just doing things for them.  Our Fathers Day project was prime example of that as the girls helped Dan assemble the "new" backyard swingset that we inherited from their cousins.  Ada helped carry parts and Tehya took the helm with the drill:

We also took our yearly Daddy Daughter Photo:

And we then enjoyed dinner at Big Bowl with Dave, Becky, Lauren, Kate and Diane. 
Both Tehya and Ada did a really good job using chopsticks, but I have to say Ada was the most entertaining to watch - mainly because she had ordered chicken noodle soup for dinner!!!

For me, Fathers Day is a day set aside to celebrate the Dads in our lives and to say thank you for the amazing job they have done. 

To Dan:  You are an amazing father and a wonderful husband.  I thank you for your humor, your patience and most of all the way you are with our girls.  I could not hand pick a better father for them out of a book if I tried.

To my dad:  Although you are gone, you will never be forgotten.  I am forever grateful for the life lessons you taught me and for the person that you helped me become.  I will never be able to show you those things passed on to my children, but I know you would be proud of all of us if you were here.

Happy Fathers Day!!

We're Back!!!

It has been almost 2 years since I last posted here and it is difficult to know where to start.  I have been staring at this post screen for quite some time trying to figure out just what this entry should read after all this time away and where exactly all that time went. 

It is by inspiration from my neighbor and friend Emily that I decided to start blogging our family adventures again, and I thank her for that. In looking back on past posts I have realized that this miniature timeline is more important to me than I realized.  Today I looked back on the first post I wrote, the stories of  the girls' antics that still make me laugh when I read them and the time lapse images of Dan and I aging as gracefully as I think either of us know how.  I don't want to lose these moments, and I certainly don't want this life puzzle we are putting together to sit uncompleted.

Looking back I see where it all started going down hill and I blame it on using Facebook.  I got lazy and started quickly posting  items there where  I could see instant gratification for a cute picture or a one sentence snipet.

Nothing I have ever done in my life has been instant.  Nor has it ever taken me one sentence.

This can only mean one thing.

The Milbrandt's are Back to Blogging!!!

Stay tuned....I promise there is more coming soon


The Pictures Before The Pictures

Here are a few shots we snapped in the front yard before heading to our family photo shoot.  Mom is excited to see the "real" pictures when they come back, but thought that we would share these in the meantime!