Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day 2007

The day started at 7:30 am (not bad) when Lily came into our room eager to see if Santa had come. We woke the boys up and headed down stairs. Looks like Santa thought they were pretty good, because the Christmas tree had tons of gifts under and around it. It was a total frenzy. Earlier in the week they had all picked out their own wrapping paper, which I gave to Santa, so they new which gifts were for them without asking. Of course after each gift is unwrapped, they want to open it. You know how it is, every toy is packaged so it is adult proof and our kids get their patients from me. So Matt and I are frantically twisting and pulling those wire things to get the toys out and putting together parts and pieces as fast as we can, while the kids are on top of us, telling us to hurry. I think they were all pretty excited and happy with the loot. As you can see by the pictures, the kids didn't even have time to change out of their pajamas all day. That would have taken away time from playing. It was just a relaxing day at home, watching the kids play, snacking and enjoying the family. Pretty good Christmas in my book. Through all the chaos, commercial, hustle and bustle of the season, I try hard to take moments and think about what it is all about. My heart is full as I think about Christ's life and what he did for me. I love the way President Gordon B. Hinckley expresses some thoughts of the Savior:

It is proper during this season when we commemorate His birth that we remember the Lord Jesus Christ in reverence and with love. He has done for us what we could not do for ourselves. He has brought meaning to our mortal existence. He has given us the gift of eternal life. He was and is the Son of God, who was “made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

God be thanked for the gift of His Son, the Redeemer of the world, the Savior of mankind, the Prince of Life and Peace, the Holy One.

I hope you all had a fun Christmas day with your families and loved ones. Only 365 days until next Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Magic Kingdom and Sea World

We just returned from Orlando, Florida where we met my mom and Ken for a quick trip to Magic Kingdom and Sea world. The kids were a little under the weather, but all in all, we had a good time. Lily's favorite part was meeting Jasmine, and the boys seemed to like everything about Sea World and the animals. Can't beat the Florida weather in the winter. One last hurrah before the big move to Erie.....in 8 days.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Bairds Crash Erie

We just returned from our house hunting trip in Erie. We actually found a great brand new house to live in. They were just finishing up the building and laying the carpet. It has beautiful woodwork, a gas fireplace, upstairs and downstairs, a huge master bathroom, and my favorite part...stainless steel appliances with granite counter tops. Who would have known in Erie? Funny how your home makes everything much more tolerable. Now that we have a nice place to live, I am O.K. to move there....but only for 6 months. I wish I had some pictures to share, but we didn't take any. I was actually pleasantly surprised about some of the homes there. A lot of building and new neighborhoods. The movers will come to our house 2 weeks from today. Looks like we'll be spending New Years in a hotel somewhere in the mid west until our stuff arrives. Erie here we come!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Christmas In Chicago

If you ever have a chance to visit Chicago during the holidays, it is a MUST. On Saturday Matt and I left the kids with the babysitters and took the train into the city. Not only was it awesome just having a date day with my husband, but being in the city with the decorations, snow, and culture was so fun. This city knows how to do Christmas. We started out going to the Chicago Institute of Art to see the works of Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh, and so many other well known artists' work. Then we went to lunch. Next we visited the Christkindlmarket which is a charming German American market with German food including pastries, chocolate, and wiener schnitzels, German Christmas decorations like original handmade glass ornaments, that I am in love with, (I've included a few pix of my favorites that are now on my tree), advent calendars, etc. Just so fun and festive. Next we walked in the wet, slushy storm (but I loved every moment of it) to the famous Michigan Avenue. I like to call it Oprah town. AMAZING shopping. Of course, we didn't buy much, but to see the lights, window decorations, and people was so fun. Definitely a day to remember in Chicago.
We also got to take the kids on the "Polar Express" where we got to see Santa. The Metra train turns into the fun train on December weekends.I love this time of year. I love to see my kids get excited. I love the decorations. I love the feeling I get during this time of the year. I try so hard to remember the true meaning and always keep Christ in my mind.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Top Ten Things I Am Thankful For

At this time of the year as I reflect on my life, the past year, the upcoming year, the holidays and all the hustle and bustle to come, I feel so blessed. How is it that someone so imperfect as I, can have so much. I know that it is because of my loving Heavenly Father. So hear is my top ten things I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving Day. Of course the list could go on and on, but these are the most important to me.
1. The gospel.
2. My Savior Jesus Christ.
3. Matt (hottest guy on the planet).
4. My 3 beautiful, awesome, fun, loving children.
5. Supportive and loving parents.
6. My house. We may not own it, and it may be in Erie in a month, but it is HOME.
7. Late night tuck ins and sneaking a kiss from my kids.
8. A free country-thanks to all the troops and brave people who chose to defend this country.
9. Matt's job
10. Unconditional love from my family, friends and Heavenly Father

Thank you friends, family, and especially my true love, Matt. You all have made some sort of difference in my life, big or small. I love you and appreciate you all. I wish you joy, happiness and health this holiday season.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Shabby Creations- My New Blogger Business

As many of you know I have been building blog templates and learning a little about HTML coding.With a lot of help from Matt, I have started my new little blogger business designing blog templates and headers. I have already been busy completing new orders for interested bloggers. It's been a lot of fun. Check out the new blog business site at SHABBY CREATIONS
The blog site is pretty bare bones and still a work in progress, but I wanted to get it up and going. I want to thank you all who have allowed me to give your blog a face lift and those of you who have sent me referrals. You have been great.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


It's official. We are moving to Erie, Pennsylvania. If I had to make a list of the WORST places in the U.S. to live, Erie would be at the very top...if not the top. It's a good thing I love my husband soooooo much and that it is only for 6 months, because in another situation, this could be grounds for divorce. (Matt, I'm justing kidding, you know I love you to death!) For those of you who don't know much...or anything about Erie, it's a small city (100,000 people) on the very very north western tip of Pennsylvania. They are known for their brutal lake effect winters and Splash Lagoon indoor water park(many of you Clevelanders may have been their). It is an old city with not a lot of growth (NO growth)...except for us, and an average winter temp. of 28 degrees. Should be a good time for a SAHM with three small kids in the winter. Nothing to do but potty train two little boys.
O.K. now that I have released all the negative feelings I have about this move, I promise not to complain about it anymore (except to Matt). In all reality, it is just another great adventure in our lives. No matter where we go or what we do, we have a great family and always seem to make great memories wherever we are. I am already looking forward the following rotation move in June. Maybe Huntington Beach?! Wouldn't that be great.
Any condolences appreciated.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I'm Finally Ending My Affair......With Candy!

Dear Candy,

I never thought I could one day be writing you these words. At one time my heart was so filled with love for you. But, it's over. Our relationship just hasn't been working for a while, and now, this is it. I'm leaving you for a healthier life style.
You are a cheater!
The truth is there's nothing more you can say to make things better. I know about your secret affair with weight gain. You say you two are not seeing each other anymore, but I just don't believe it. You say you can live without weight gain, and I've heard that weight gain can live without you, but I know that's simply not true.
I know, I've tried breaking up before, and I've always come back, but that's because I couldn't find the right food to move on with. What I want is a food that's makes me strong and healthy, one that increases energy and burns more calories. I have found just that.
So this is it! Good-bye. I know you'll do fine without me; you always have. I'm sure there'll be someone who'll find you to be tasty and satisfying. It just won't be me.



Wednesday, October 31, 2007

hAllOwEen FuN!

Just wanted to post some pictures of the kids on Halloween night. They had a lot of fun dressing up and trick-o-treating. They filled their buckets up to the top and then had fun dumping them out to check out the goods at home. Hopefully they can sleep well tonight. They all had about 10 lbs. of candy to eat right before bed, so I'm sure they have sugar running through their veins. Good times!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Creating Blog Templates

I have been wondering for sometime now how to make a cute blog background and how to change the template to make it look a little more like me (my style). I see others with cute backgrounds and want my own, however, it's not that easy. So I have started playing around with my blog template and learning all about HTML coding. This stuff is HARD. Anyways, after many hours of reading, experimenting, and playing around I have figured out a little bit. I can now easily change the background and wrapper color (that is the black part of this blog). So I have been tossing around the idea of starting a small business of creating cute blogs for people. What do you think? Is there a market out there for this stuff? Check out my link to my flickr site www.flickr.com/photos/maniacmom/
These are all blog templates I have created. I have included a few sample pictures in this post too. Let me know if you want one and I'll e-mail you the template. Or if you have a copy of a background you like, just e-mail it to me. If enough people are interested, maybe I'll start a little design blog business. I figure word of mouth is the best advertisement, so if others seem interested let me know.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Autumn Greetings

I've been having a lot of fun with photoshop and Elements. Slowly but surely I am figuring out new ways to play with and manipulate photos and graphics. I think my next step is getting a decent camera. But, I make do with what we have and fall is a great time to take fun pictures. These are some pictures and my creation from Morton Arboretum here in Chicago today. The kids and I spent a lot of time enjoying the leaves and out doors. It is a toss up as to whether I like summer or autumn better, but I think right now fall is my favorite.

Friday, October 19, 2007


So Lily's teacher walked her out to our car this afternoon and wanted to tell me a cute/funny story about a conversation between Lily and another little boy in her class. It went like this:
Hi, what's your name?


Hi Lily, I'm Ryan. Do you want to be my friend?

No, not today, maybe next week.

I guess I thought we had taught her to be nice and friendly to everyone. I am noticing lately she has become a little picky with her friends and not exactly "nice" to the people she is not too fond of. I am glad the teacher thought this conversation was "cute" and that Lily said it in the nicest way possible. We have had to have the talk about how Heavenly Father created all of us and that we are all His children. She has been noticing the differences in people's skin, hair color, and languages. She has been asking a lot of thoughtful questions regarding different people. I am hoping that we are responding and explaining things to her so that she will one day learn to respect and understand all types of cultures, races, handicaps and religions.

Then, yesterday we were at the Aquarium, and we saw a couple of Muslim women. They of course had all black on and their heads and were completely covered except for their eyes. Jack stopped about 2 feet away and stared with horror. I was praying and hoping he didn't start screaming and crying right there in front of them. Halloween has scared my kids a bit, and lately they are afraid to even go into WalMart in case there are stones (skeletons) displayed. I can only imagine what was going through Jack's mind when he saw this totally veiled women in all black. Luckily, he waited until I pulled him away to say, "mommy, what's that?" Bless their little hearts as they see and learn new things in this big world.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

St. George Report

We had a great time in St. George. We did a lot and saw a lot of people in a short amount of time, but it was well worth it. The kids really enjoyed hanging out with the horses, acting like cowboys and cowgirls, riding the tractor and playing farm at my mom's house. We were able to see Millie and Laurie, play at Haley's cute house, see Matt Hammons' fancy dental office, eat at Cafe' Rio, attend the marathon, visit with Matt's parents and sister, hang out with Omi and Opi (great grandma and grandpa) and grandma and grandpa, watch a little conference, and meet with some Cleveland friends for lunch at the park. Here are some pictures from our trip. If you click on them you can see them a little bigger.

Here are some pictures of Matt during the race and after. He sat in that spot for over 30 minutes. He said he couldn't get up or move or he would get a cramp. His recovery is almost complete. He pushed himself pretty hard, but really wanted to qualify for Boston. The other picture is a bunch of friends from Cali. that all qualified for Boston too. So we'll be meeting up with them in April.
On Sunday we met a bunch of old Cleveland friends and their cute families. It was great to get together and catch up. Everyone's kids are so cute and growing up so fast. We missed a couple other families who didn't make it, but I think we had a pretty good turn out.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

So Proud Of My Matt

Just a quick post to brag about how great my husband did in the St. George Marathon. 3 hours and 6 minutes! Way to go! Love ya and hope your legs feel better soon. Boston bound. I'll post pics when we get back to Chi-town.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Here We Come St. George Marathon 2007

We are leaving to St. George, Utah this evening. (Not looking forward to the 3 1/2 hour flight to Vegas and then 2 hour drive to St. George with the kiddos.) But we are so excited for the St. George marathon on Saturday. At the time of this post there was officially 2 days, 17 hours, 4 minutes and 51 seconds until the start. Matt will be running in it for his 3rd....maybe 4th time. In addition we have some amazing friends running as well. You go Katie and Tresure. Just wanted to wish everyone luck and let you know what respect I have for all of you training and entering this race. It is definitely one of my life goals. I don't know when or which marathon, but one day it will happen. We also get to see Matt's parents, his sister from Cali., my mom and her husband, my grandparents, and other local St. George friends Haley and Laurie. Should be a fun weekend. If we don't touch base with you all before the race, we'll watch for you at the finish line. Maybe we can get together for ice cream or at the park. Just remember at mile 20, when you hit the wall and all you want to do is stop, that you are amazing and you can do it. This is a quote that I like,

"I like running because it's a challenge. If you run hard, there's the pain - and you've got to work your way through the pain. You know, lately it seems all you hear is "Don't overdo it" and "Don't push yourself." Well, I think that's a lot of bull. If you push the human body, it will respond." - Bob Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers general manager, NHL Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Trying Out My New Photoshop Elements 5

I have so many creative friends, I figured it was about time to get on the band wagon. No, I'm not ready to start scrap booking or anything crazy like that, but I do think it would be fun to design my own Christmas cards, maybe my blog heading, and stuff like that. So I ordered Photoshop Elements 5 (the day I got it in the mail, I realized Elements 6 came out). Anyways, here is my first attempt at a"layout".......if you want to call it that. Yes, this is not that creative and it looks pretty simple, but it took me TWO days to figure out how to do just this alone. I have so much to learn. It took me hours just to figure out how to open a new file. I suppose just taking a class would be the easiest. Any tips would be appreciated. I will admit, it is kind of fun to get my creative juices flowing.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Autumn Fun

Today we took the kids to Goebbert's Pumpkin Patch. This place was so much fun. They have pony rides, a petting zoo, pig races, hayrides, a corn maze, and of course pumpkins. There are a lot of pumpkin patches and farms here and since I love this time of year, I hope to take the kids to a few of them in the next few weeks. Each kid got to pick out one pumpkin. I think they changed their minds about 20 times each until they got the exact right pumpkin. So much fun!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Some Fun Pictures

Just wanted to share some pictures of the kids over the past two weeks. We have had awesome weather here in Chicago, so a lot of outside time. Also, like I said in my last post, my dad is visiting, so we are on the go doing a lot of fun things.

Kids playing in the backyard

At Shedd Aqaurium

In the city with Papa
At Celtic Fest
Lily's Collage for school

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Chicago Sights

My dad is visiting us here in Chicago, so we decided to take the train into the city and spend the day. Here are some fun photos we took of this great city. And, just so you know, we are only here for 3 more months, so if you are interested in visiting the "windy city" and want to stay with us, you better hurry! We love company.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Never Forget September 11, 2001

Again it comes, for the sixth time now -- 2,191 days after that awful morning. I remember exactly what I was doing, where I was the the entire events of the day. I will always remember that devastating day in history. On that day our president, George W. Bush stated,

"Time is passing. Yet for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family who lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children."

May God bless this country and watch over us through the calamities of the world. I love this country and am thankful for all those who fight and defend for our freedoms and safety.

Confessions of A Reality Show Junkie

"Hi, my name is Michelle, and I am a reality show junkie."

O.K., there, I admit it. I started thinking about what shows are going to be on this fall and which ones would make the evening entertainment line up, and I realized every show I was interested in was a reality show. So, maybe I'm an addict? Anyways, here are a few in the line up.

The Hills

Survivor: China

The Bachelor:

Brad Womack, 34, a successful, self-made entrepreneur

The Hills has already started, and thank goodness MTV shows it 20 other times during the week in case I missed the first showing. Drama, drama, and more drama is the theme in this show. Survivor has always been one of my favorites. I guess I just think it would be fun to be on this show. I wonder if I would be one of the "older' women or still be considered one of the "younger" girls. I swear I can do anything they do on that show and better! The Bachelor, well, if they would take my advice from the very beginning, maybe their relationships would last longer when the show ended. I always tend to pick my favorite girls, but the guy always picks a different one. Anyways, sadly, I look forward to the drama these shows bring. Fun stuff!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Pre-K at Kensington

Lily started pre-kindergarten today at Kensington. She goes from 12:45 P.M. until 3:45 P.M. M-W-F. And, starting in October she start the lunch bunch and an "enrichment class" at her school as well. She'll start at 11:30 A.M. So basically, I'll have 4+ hours with only the boys. I planned on her doing afternoon preschool so that it was while the boys napped. I am so excited about having a few hours to clean, read, blog, etc. a few times a week. The thought of grocery shopping with only 2 kids instead of 3 sounds exciting too. Yes, shopping with 2 instead of 3 makes a world of difference and I tend to get excited about these little pleasures in life. Lily came home from school today excited for the next day. She met a few cute girls in her class. The teachers name is Ms. Hogan and the teacher's aid is Mrs. Shaw. I am so proud of her and blessed to have her as a daughter. Lily, have a fun school year and know that I love you!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Fun Things To Do Around the House When You Are Bored

Jack and Cole on a bored day.

The Laughing Baby

This baby cracks me up -- I challenge you to make it through this clip without laughing or smiling.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Herrick Lake - DuPage County Forest Preserve

Here in Illinios they have all these places that are called forest preserves. Basically they are protected areas preserving nature and can be used for recreation, bird watching, picnics, or what ever. They are quite beautiful, and we are fortunate enough to have several of them around our house. Today we went to Herrick Lake for a little hike. If you are wondering why Cole is not in any of the pictures, it is because I had to hold him most of the time. He could hear the buzzing noises of bugs and locusts in the bushes, and he was afraid "that spider get me, he eat me." So being the nice mommy...pushover mommy, that I am, and not wanting my middle child to get "eaten" by the spider, I held him. I just think of it as my exercise for the day. It was fun and a beautiful place.