Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A battle of wills!

In the past week, we've had an influx of critters outside our house. For one thing, a family of skunks moved in under our mini barn. I was convinced that these skunks were polygamists because there are 3 or 4 adults and 3 babies living there. I was informed by a wildlife rehabilitator though, that skunk babies stay with their mom for a year or more- so this is actually a mom and two litters of her babies. Sad. I thought that there was some skunky Big Love action under my barn.

We're not sure what to do about these guys. They have been minding their own business for the most part during the day, but at night, they come right up to our house. Matthew went out the front door the other night to get something out of his truck and there sat one of them poised to spray right off of our front porch!

We're living in fear waiting for one of them to be hiding under our vehicle when we go to get in it. And we're almost expecting that Reggie is going to get sprayed one of these nights when we let him outside.

What to do?

Secondly, I'm having a battle of wills with a tree frog. For over a week now, this one stinkin' tree frog keeps perching himself on our bedroom windowsill (or somewhere near our window) and proceeds to croak loudly throughout the night. I have relocated him five times now to locations clear on the other side of the house, and it never fails- he's back the very next night! One night, he even came back in the course of the same night! Apparently the lady frogs live near our bedroom!?!

Now he's beginning to get wise to my frog catching ways. When he sees me step outside, he stops croaking- which is how I was finding him every night. As soon as I walk back inside he commences his incessant noise again. So frustrating.

At least I don't live in fear that the frog is going to spray me with putrid fumes that will penetrate my every pore and fiber!

I love all critters- but this is ridiculous.

Anyone have any suggestions for skunk removal/relocation??

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Cow Appreciation Day

For one day each year- a beautiful, amazing, WONDERFUL thing happens. It's a national holiday (almost)- and it's one of my new favorite days!

Cow Appreciation Day!

On this one day, you can get your silly on and dress up like a cow to receive free food at Chik-fil-a. I don't just mean free waffle fries (although, I'd dress up for those waffle fries- man they're good!) You get an entire free combo meal- for dressing head-to-toe like a cow! For just a cow accessory, you can get a free entree. It's a pretty sweet deal if you ask my frugal-hearted self! So, on Friday the 10th, my boys and I donned are cow attire and enjoyed a completely free lunch at our local Chik-fil-a! It was so fun and entertaining- and the boys really enjoyed it.

This is one of those things that people far cooler than me, roll their eyes and say something like, "You dressed like a cow just for a free lunch?" To which I respond, "Absolutely!"

There's something about letting go of caring what others think about you to be totally silly with your kids in public. It's letting my kids know that they're what's important to me- and I'm not above getting weird looks from strangers to have fun with them. Sure, I could have just dressed them as adorable little calves and called it a day- but I did it with them. And guess what, it was FUN!

Try it next year. Get your "moo" on, paint some spots on a white t-shirt and go to Chik-fil-a with your family. It's definitely a fun way to make a memory-- not to mention get a free meal :)

P.S. I made our cowstumes from the cow print fabric that I bought as a table cover for Owen's birthday party. No really, I did. Go back to Owen's birthday post and you'll see that very same fabric adorning the cake table!

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Toschlog Reunion

The second Sunday in July always belongs to the Toschlog Family Reunion. Always has. Always will. This is a day when all of my mom's extended family, (her dad's brothers' and sister's families) descend on Mom and Dad's pond house and we have a wonderful time catching up, eating food, swimming and fishing.

I have always loved this reunion. When I was little, it was at my Great Uncle Edward and Aunt Betsy's house. Now, my mom and dad have taken it over- and it's still a blast.

This year, I was fortunate enough to have a couple of days prior to the reunion off work so that I could go up and spend time helping them get everything ready. It was awesome because I got to spend three days in a row with my wonderful cousin, Tonya, and her fantastic kiddos. (All three of her kids were in our wedding-- yeah, we LOVE them!) Even though we were working our tails off, it was really great to get to spend some time together.

The day of the reunion, we had over forty people come to be a part of the festivities! It was a special day. Unfortunately, I don't have a ton of pictures of the day... I was too busy having fun to take pictures! But believe me when I say that it was a good time.
So fun- it conked this guy OUT!
This swimming--to sleeping on Grandma tradition is three years in the making
I have such an incredible family and I am so thankful for them. They are quirky, funny, loving, and above all- they stick together! I'm super blessed to be a part of this family.

One of Owen's favorite parts of the reunion is getting to see his cousin, Tessa. This little darling is almost exactly the same age as Owen, (even though she dwarfs him), and he just loves her. They play together so well, and it's been fun to watch them grow up.


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Happy Birthday America!

I adore the fourth of July. I really, really do! I love that it's in the heat of summer. I love the 3 day weekend (supposedly), I love eating hot dogs cooked over a fire, and burning my fingers with gooey, hot mallows in the quest for a perfect s'more. I love the swimming, the beer drinking, the cornhole, the four-wheeling, the Hop Skip (Thanks Stephen!), the campfire, the fireworks, the fishing. I love it all!!

Last year, we decided that it would be fun to have a family get together with Matt's siblings and family down at his Mom and Dad's lake. Several of us decided to camp out and make a weekend of it. It was a blast.

Now, it's tradition. We're doing this thing! So we packed up our gear and headed down for 4th of July, Southern Indiana style, take two! All of Matthew's siblings made it this year- along with Sweet Baby Nolan.

One of the highlights of the weekend is the boat race. This is a very serious event. It is a tradition that Matthew's family participated in every year when the kids were young. Everyone built a sailboat, and then they raced them across the lake on the 4th. There was always a prize for the winning boat.

Now, we're adults and the ante has. been. upped.

We all have more skills, better ideas, and access to superior materials. Now, it would seem that we're all on an equal playing field- yet one boat has prevailed two years in a row... OURS!! That's right, "MOES" can kick some tail. Even with all of the trash talk that spoken by a certain someone, MOES still came out victorious. It's okay though, the boat belonging to the owner who did the trash talking, didn't completely sink before being rescued by paddle boat. ;)

It is a really fun competetion, and it's exciting to see what ideas everyone comes up with. My favorite boat this year was Stephen and Jacki's. "The Destroyer"

Their boat was creative/hilarious/slightly dangerous. It was great to see this thing going off on the water.

I fully expect to see some pretty amazing boats next year, Gessners are nothing if not competitive and I don't believe for a second that our 2x victory will go unavenged for another year.

Owen won a kite because of our boat- and he had fun flying it with Grandma Carol, who according to Owen, "really knows what she's doing." I'd say that she does... Check out this professional-looking kite flying pose.

On Sunday night, we went to Santa Claus with Aunt Ruthie and Uncle Kenny to watch the fireworks. Owen was thrilled to get to see his sweet cousin Riley and his cousin/twin, Wyatt. The kids enjoyed watching the fireworks together, and we were thankful to get to see Craig and Marlene for a little bit.

This is such a fun weekend, and I'm thankful for the time that we get to spend with family!

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Five Years

June 25, 2005
I officially became the luckiest girl in the world. I walked down the aisle, sobbed as I said my vows, kissed the love of my life, and felt my heart about leap out of chest with joy when I heard the words, "Mr. and Mrs. Matthew and Stephanie Gessner" Seriously people, I hit the jackpot with this man. He is kind, gracious, loving, hard-working, forgiving, patient, smart and funny. He gives me so much better that I deserve every single day. I'm so incredibly lucky to be married to my best friend. August 17th marks ten years since the day that we met- and I can honestly tell you that I knew that he was something special the moment that I laid eyes on him. Two years later, we started dating, two years after that, we were engaged, and one year later we were married.

Now, five years later, I love him even more. We've grown together, we've created a home, we've created a family, we've created happiness. Seeing my husband become a father was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. He was born for this role. He has incredible patience with our children, he teaches them, reads to them, plays with them, and is an amazing role model to these two little boys. These little guys adore their daddy! I couldn't ask for a better man to raise our children with.

Five years has gone by in the blink of an eye. We've had challenges, but we've faced every single one together- as a team- and each challenge has made us stronger, happier, better. Our marriage is an unbelievable blessing in my life. Matthew, YOU are an unbelievable blessing in my life. I thank God every day for the gift you are to me. Thank you for being YOU!!

Lots and bunches, a hole punch

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Sunday, July 18, 2010


We left around 11:30 pm on Saturday evening after Owen's birthday party. We drove 15 hours through the night and we arrived in sunny Jacksonville Sunday afternoon. We were worn out, but thankful to be there! With the help of my wonderful friend, Megan, we got checked in and immediately started soaking in the Florida sun.

We unpacked, spent some time at the beautiful pool, checked out the beach, went to dinner, then went to B-E-D! We were super fortunate to be able to have my mom and dad join us for the vacation so they took the boys and we were able to crash and catch up on some much needed sleep.
Monday morning, we got up, had breakfast, and then headed down to the beach to go meet up with a childhood friend of mine that lives in Jacksonville. Patti contacted me right before we headed to Florida to see where our travels were taking us, and we were both surprised to learn that we'd be able to meet up during our vacation.
After a mishap involving me having no clue how far 4 blocks really is- and walking about a mile down the beach (and back), we were finally able to meet up with my long lost friend and her two beautiful girls. It was so nice to be able to spend the afternoon with her and catch up about where our lives have taken us. Eli had conked out by the time that we met Patti, so she graciously loaned him her stroller to finish his nap in.
That night, we took Patti's recommendation and went to this uniquely "Florida" restaurant called Clark's Fish Camp. This place has the US's largest collection of taxidermy in one place and it's pretty incredible. If it can be killed and stuffed, it was in there! Monkeys, giraffes, lions, tigers, bison, birds, snakes, fish, you name it- they had it. Their menu was nearly as eclectic as their stuffed animal collection and when we returned on Friday night with Sara and Todd, Sara decided that she wouldn't eat anything that was taxidermied in that restaurant. It seriously limited our options :) Tuesday night, after giving the boys goodnight hugs and kisses, Matt and I went out to a little beach bar with live entertainment for some "just the two of us" time. We had so much fun hanging out together!

Tuesday, we took a trip down to St. Augustine with my mom and dad and the boys. We went to Marineland and had a great time watching the dolphins and playing on the gorgeous beach. We had lunch at a little beach diner, then returned to Jacksonville. That night we all had dinner together at a fantastic restaurant. When we returned to the hotel, Sara and Todd had just arrived and were getting checked in.

Wednesday, we spent the day with Sara and Todd on the beach. We set up our canopy, rented a surfboard, and bummed around the whole day by the water. Matt and I both tried our hands at surfing. We both managed to stand up--- but not for long. :) We had a great time, even if we both were aching and bruised before the day was over.
That night, we went to dinner at a swanky "member's only" restaurant. We had a groupon for it, but when we arrived, we found out that we couldn't even PARK there without reservations. It was not busy, and we were able to get reservations right away- so they allowed us into their swanky, private parking lot. We had an amazing meal at a table overlooking the ocean, and had an awesome time laughing when Sara got suckered into a $10 bottle of water. We celebrated our anniversaries, and had an excellent time making memories with our best friends.
Thursday, Sara and Todd went their own way for the day, and I was fortunate enough to get to spend the day with my wonderful friend, Megan and her little boy, Liam. We set back up on the beach and hung out together and watched our littles eat sand. One of my favorite moments was when Eli decided to help feed Liam his bottle. :) Spending the day with Megs was one of the highlights of my trip, and I am so thankful that we finally had a chance to meet up!
Friday, we had to say goodbye to Mom and Dad. They spent over 24 hours trying to make a flight home, but they finally made it there safely. Sara, Todd, the boys and I all made our way to the Jacksonville Zoo for the day. And OH MY- what a zoo!! We absolutely loved it! We particularly enjoyed the gorillas, stingrays, and the alligators. Owen's most important goal for Florida was to see an alligator, so this day made his trip! We were so impressed with the variety of animals and the beauty of the landscaping and habitats.
The gators!

Owen feeding the stingrays

Eli trying to kiss the penguin

Saturday, we packed up to head home, but not before a final stop at the Budweiser Brewery. The boys with "Larry" the ClydesdaleWe took a fantastic tour and enjoyed some time in the "Hospitality Room" before heading on our way. We said goodbye to SarTodd at the brewery since they were flying home.
We continued on our way North and even made a stop at the Macon, Georgia Bass Pro Shop. The boys sat on boats, watched the giants fish swim around in their giant tank, and Owen of course, made a flat penny.

After that- we dug in our heels for the last leg of the trip. We finally made it back into Indiana around 5 am, and pulled into the drive around 8:30.

This was our first beach trip as a family of four. We took Owen to Hawaii when he was 6 months old, and Eli went to Alabama last summer, but this was our first trip all together. It was truly such a fun, special and memorable trip. It was so fantastic that my mom and dad were able to come as well. We were able to spend a lot of time with them, but because they were there, we also had a lot of time to spend as a couple or with our friends. I'm so thankful that we got to have fun with our boys, watch them dip their toes in the ocean, see the delight on their faces as the waves rolled around their feet, laugh as they fed seagulls wheat thins out of their hands- but I'm equally as thankful for the time that I was able to spend with my amazing husband. To have our boys "with" us, but not be responsible for their every care was the perfect situation. Mom and Dad also really enjoyed getting to spend their vacation with their grandsons, and the boys were pretty happy about it as well. Win-Win-Win!!
This vacation was truly the highlight of our summer, and I wish that I could have written this blog when more of the specific memories were fresh on my mind- but at least you get the jist.

I just have to say thanks again to my Megs. She truly made this trip possible for us, and getting to meet her and spend some time with her tiny, little, sweet self was icing on the cake! Love you Megs!