Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Well it has been a while since I have updated and once again I cannot remember all of the things that I would have liked to have posted!  We have added a new addition to our family.  Brighton Michael Mansfield was born November 27 and the boys were pretty excited to have another nephew!

Connor and Brighton

Breydon and Brighton

Even Emery was excited to hold him!

Connor just finished wrestling...he really had a lot of fun.  He was able to compete in a few matches which he won!  He was pretty proud of himself, and Ryan and I just love watching the boys do things that they enjoy! 

Each year we celebrate Grandma Alice's birthday and Santa comes to visit all of the kids.  My boys are teetering on that edge where they kinda beleive and they kinda don't.  Connor was adamant that this could not possibly be the real Santa and wanted to say..."If you are the real Santa then why are you asking me what I want for Christmas? Shouldn't you already know?"  I had to tell him that this indeed was not the real Santa and that he was just a helper that would relay the message to the real guy!  I was so worried he would ruin it for all of the little ones.  I always tell the boys that you have to believe to receive...it might backfire on me one of these days!!

Sweet Grandma Alice

Connor telling Santa's "helper" his Christmas wishes

Breydon joking with Santa

We spent Christmas Eve with the Holmes family this year and had a great time!  We decorated cookies for all the kids to take home for Santa, but I think Damon and Emery spent more time eating the cookies than they did decorating them.
Emery must have used an entire bottle of sprinkles for each cookie!

Damon just kept dumping sprinkles on his half-eaten cookie, and then eating each sprinkle individually!!

I think he might be kinda proud of this one!

Cute Breydon and one of his many cookies!

Here is our finished plate of cookies...don't they look delicious?!

The boys were pretty excited for Christmas, but as usual I think I was the most excited.  I never sleep very well the night before Christmas because I am so excited to see the boys open their gifts.  Jaryd called us around 6:30 from D.C. to let us know what time he would be calling the family that night and he thought for sure the boys would be up.  He was wrong, I was pacing back and forth waiting for the boys to wake up; finally Ryan went up and got them up around 7.  I thought I was going to go crazy!!

Both boys knew that Christmas would be pretty small this year so that we would be able to go pick Jaryd up from D.C. at the end of March, and I don't think they minded this at all.  We had a great day and thanks to our family for making the holidays so much fun.  We love you all.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Halloween turned out to be a pretty fun night. I am not a huge fan of Halloween, but the boys really enjoyed themselves. This year, in the effort to save some money, we decided to try to make their costumes. As many of you know, I am NOT a crafty person; and Breydon wanted to be a Pepsi can!! Great, I thought. But, thanks to my fabulous friends at work, the Pepsi can came together quite nicely. I don't know what we would have done if I didn't work with such amazing people who, for one, know how to operate a sewing machine, and two, are very creative, helpful people. So here is the great unveiling of his costume….

Connor's idea for a costume was much easier; he wanted to be a gangster. He decided he would wear a dark hoody under his football jersey and some bigger jeans. So the clothes were all figured out! We just needed a giant necklace, magnetic diamond earrings, a doo rag and a hat! He did. This year our grand total for Halloween costumes was under $17!!! My hate for Halloween has weakened slightly.

Breydon and his friends all had a theme for their costumes: hot dogs, mustard, ketchup, Pepsi, etc. I thought it was pretty funny, they are such funny kids. Breydon was nice enough to let Connor go trick-or-treating with him and his friends. At first I was hesitant about this because I felt like it wasn't Breydon's responsibility to take Connor, but Breydon kept reassuring me that it was ok, and Connor really didn't want to be stuck with just me….so I finally gave in. Basically they went out trick-or-treating, Ryan went to a football game, and I spent the night watching The Office, doing homework, and passing out candy to the cute kids that came to the door. It was one of the better Halloween's ever…mostly because I didn't have to endure the extreme cold.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Dinner Party!!

Last year we started a new tradition and it has turned out to be so much fun! The Olsen family has a "Mystery Dinner." The Dinner is three courses and everyone has to order their food by writing their order down on their menus. But…there's a twist. The food has spooky names, so they don't know exactly what they're ordering. This year we had chili, hot dogs, corn bread, Jell-0 worms, chips, veggies and veggie dip, etc. Only Kristi, Nanette and I knew what foods went with which spooky name. Here is the list that the family had to order from:

  • Witches Wart (Fork)
  • Mummy Wrap (Bun)
  • Goblin Guts (Chili)
  • Devil's Tail (Jell-O)
  • Black Cat Curse (Chips)
  • Frankenstein Phlegm (Onions)
  • Pumpkin Pus (Punch)
  • Rotting Brains (Cheese)
  • Troll's Toe Jam (Deviled Eggs)
  • Warlock's Nose Hair (Napkin)
  • Spider Spit (Corn Bread)
  • Ghostly Goop (Cake)
  • Bloody Boogers (Veggie Dip)
  • Eerie Ear Wax (Veggies)
  • Squirmy Skeleton Fingers (Hot Dogs)

For example, Ryan's first course was: a hot dog bun, cheese, punch, veggie dip, and onions. After everyone is served their third course, they can get up and fix a full plate of food! We really have had so much fun with this, and I am excited to continue this new tradition! It seems like it is so difficult to get everyone together in one room and even though Eric and Jaryd were missing, it was still nice to get almost everyone together for a night of fun, food and laughter.

"Tapeworm" Hot Dogs

Punch...yes there are floating bats and spiders

Kristi's Kitty Litter Cake...Looks disgusting, but was pretty delicious.

Jell-O Worms (Kristi if you are reading this and this picture looks familiar...I stole it from your facebook page! I couldn't find a picture of these on my camera.)

Our table!

Kade and Issaiah having fun with the sticky eye balls...they are anxiously awaiting their first course!

Not sure how excited Uncle Ryan is about finding a spider in his punch!

Breydon must really be studying his menu...or maybe he just needs to put his glasses on.

Being silly as usual!

Monday, October 19, 2009


We have had a fun and busy weekend. Ryan and I had planned a fun night for us on Friday, but Breydon had a different idea for a fun night! He left us and went with his friends to Frightmares at Lagoon. He and his two friends were going through one of the haunted houses; they were running from a guy chasing them and each was holding on to the others shoulders as they ran in a line. Well somehow, Dakota, who was leading them, ran into a wall, so the rest of them also smacked into the wall! Breydon said the guy chasing them stopped being scary and asked: "Are you guys okay?" They were so embarrassed that he had left his character and was worried about them that they all jumped up and ran out of there! While he was having fun at Lagoon with his friends, Ryan, Connor and I went out to dinner and then to Black Island Farms in Syracuse. Connor tried and tried to talk me into going through the Haunted Acres but there was no way! As we were standing in line there was a man in a clown mask that was freaking me out, then I heard the chain saws!! Connor couldn't believe what a wimp I am, so he settled on the corn maze. I don't think he wanted to deal with me in the haunted house! I, of course, forgot my camera so we took pictures on the camera phone…sorry they don't turn out very well!

In the maze…it was so dark! Ryan and Connor kept hiding around corners and scaring me when I walked by; Connor thought it was hilarious!

I actually got him to pose for a picture after we spent over an hour completely lost in the maze! Usually Ryan knows exactly where we are and how to get out, but this year he was quite lost too! It was pretty crazy.

Saturday, we were up bright and early for Breydon's soccer game. I can't wait until he has a full team of players and we can actually have subs during the game. Right now we are lucky to have 6-7 players there. Next spring we will have a full team because half of our team was also playing football and football took precedence over soccer…lame! Anyway, they played a good game against a full team of players and only lost by 1!

I wish I hadn't jerked the camera up right before taking the picture!!

Breydon is about to kick the ball (he is in the green pants). He really has become so aggressive this year, and goes after the ball….it is so much fun to watch him play. I am so happy that he decided to start playing again; he thinks he is a bad player and I wish he could see how much he has improved and really how good he has become!

Kade and Kristi made it out to the game, and Kade seemed to really have a good time! Breydon loves having his family come out to watch him play and we (Ryan and I) really appreciate how much our family's support the boys in all that they do. So thanks everyone for coming out and supporting our kids!

Saturday night Connor had his football banquet. It was held at the Athenian and we really had a good time celebrating the season with his team. His coaches handed out trophies at the end of the night and Coach Wilson said something about each player before calling their name and giving them their trophy. When Coach got to Connor he said: "This guy we call our #1 draft pick, he played almost every position on the field…Connor Olsen." Of course, Connor loved hearing that he was the #1 draft pick and goes walking up to the front with his tough guy look on his face and his tough guy walk. It was pretty funny to watch, when he got up there his coach got him to smile and quit being a weirdo!

You should know that Breydon was also absent from the banquet. He got a better offer from his friends Matt and Dakota. I am not sure when friends became more important than family. I knew it was going to happen and I knew he would start to pick his friends over hanging out with the family, but I didn't expect it to happen so soon. I mean, he is only in 6th grade. Is this normal? I know football isn't his favorite, but there was food involved, and lately that has been his favorite.

Sunday we decided to carve our pumpkins. Halloween has never been my favorite celebration, but I try to put on my happy face for the boys. I can't think of many things that are more disgusting then pulling the "blech" out of the pumpkins. That stringy, sticky, nasty mush inside the pumpkins makes me sick! Anyway, I sucked it up and we carved a couple of pumpkins. Breydon got frustrated with his stencil of a fiery face and just cut out a Cyclops. I think it turned out pretty well, but he was not quite so satisfied, so tonight he started the fiery face on a new pumpkin. I think it will be a work-in-progress. He and his friend Parker have got it started, but it will be a few days before it is ready for its unveiling. Connor got lucky; he was carving a mummy-looking face into his pumpkin when the saw broke. Ryan and I ran to the store and found this cool battery operated tool. Once Connor started using this handy tool, he finished the mummy in no time! This took us probably 3-4 hours to finish two pumpkins…we are pretty slow! Then Amy, Danielle, Emery and Damon came over to paint pumpkins. This was probably the most entertaining part of the day! Damon was painting everything except the pumpkin: Emery, his hair, his stomach, his mom…. Of course, Emery was directing everyone and telling them what they should be doing.
We've removed all of the "blech" and carving has begun.

Pre-battery-operated tool!

Handsome Breydon and his Unibrow Cyclops!

Now it's really coming along with this handy new tool! Wish we had had it all along….

Showing the boys how to properly paint a pumpkin…it's serious business!

I wasn't kidding when I said he painted EVERYTHING! Can you see it in his hair even? He was so funny!

Here are Breydon's pumpkins! He says the painted one is Mr. Johnson...I am not sure why, but I know that he is not very fond of this teacher.

And Connor's finished pumpkins. You can't see it in this picture, but on the painted pumpkin he painted a goatee that he was pretty proud of.

Anyway…that is about all I have to report on so far. They boys are getting ready for Halloween this year, and many of you will be impressed to know that I will be making Breydon's costume this year! We have been very frugal and both of the boys are getting homemade-ish costumes. Connor is being a gangster and his costume has come together pretty nicely. Breydon is being a can of Pepsi, and we will have to see how it turns out! I am making it out of a pop-up hamper and well….we will just have to see how it turns out! I will be sure to post pictures of them and you can let me know what ya think!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

3 am.....

I find myself wide awake at 3 am, and have been wide-eyed since midnight. I find myself wondering what to do! I should clean the house, but then I would wake the rest of the family up, so what better time to update the blog?? I may be somewhat incoherent, as most of you know I LOVE my sleep! My poor family will have to deal with my crankiness tomorrow...which I guess is really today. Since I have not updated since something like June I am not sure how to go back and remember things I should have put on here. I do know the summer flew by and that since the weather was so weird we did not get to do as much camping as we would have liked. Even with having the entire summer off of work and the boys home with me, we really didn't get to go on any fun vacations! Maybe once I am graduated and we can have a true summer off, we will be able to do more fun things....

Anyway, soccer and football consume a large majority of our time. The boys love it, and I love watching them work hard and have fun! Breydon scored his first goal last Saturday, and even though he will tell you that he was passing to his friend Decker so Decker could score, I was still so excited for him! We were talking about it later and he told me..."Mom, it is so weird because if Jaryd were here I know he would have been there and been so excited! This is the first time that he has missed any of my games." He was a little emotional when he said this, but if any of you tell him I said that I will deny it forever!! After he said this I realized that it is so weird without Jaryd here. He was, and has always been my boys biggest fan. Two years ago when Breydon was playing soccer Jaryd painted Breydon's soccer number and Olsen on the back of one of his signature white t-shirt's; and of course he had to make Connor a matching shirt as well! I just always loved how supportive Jaryd was of the boys. He is missed and I cannot wait for him to come home!!

Connor has a love-hate relationship with football. He hates how much time it consumes. He has practice Tuesday-Friday from about 5:15-7:00, then has to come home to eat, shower, read and then go to bed. Getting him to practice can sometimes be a fight, but once he is there he loves it. He is the first to tell you that practice is hard, but part of that is due to his competitiveness. He has to be first at everything, so when they run, he pushes himself to the front of the pack to make it back first. He LOVES the games though. He is a great tackler, and has fun while playing. I guess all that time antagonizing his brother helped him a little, it still drives me crazy though.

This is really all I can think of right now...since I have to get up in about 2 hours, maybe I will try to get some sleep. I am sure 6:30 is going to come too soon! I will try to be better at updating this but even as I type this I know that I won't be!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Breydon's Poem

Breydon's 6th grade class is currently working on poems. He just wrote this poem and I thought it was amazing, heartbreaking and profound! So I am sharing it because I am so proud of him...

I Am
I am a cool soccer player
I wonder how the world spins
I hear echoing sounds in the dead of night
I see darkness in the day
I want to be ruler of all things
I am a cool soccer player
I pretend that I am a wrestler
I feel the weight of the universe on my shoulders
I touch the heart of others
I worry only about me
I cry for nothing
I am a cool soccer player
I understand that all people do things they regret
I say no one should cry from despair
I dream of becoming the richest person that has ever lived
I try to care about everybody
I hope everybody will know me in ten years
I am a cool soccer player
Some of these statements break my heart while others make me so happy I want to dance! (which would be a treat for all of you to watch lol) I am so lucky to have such a caring son and I cherish every moment I have with him.

Monday, June 29, 2009

My Boys

After a conversation with Kristi today, I just wanted to post about my sweet children. I am so very lucky to have two boys who love me (most of the time). I love them with all of my heart and cannot imagine my life without either of them. I know I complain a lot about them, but mostly they make me laugh and can brighten my day in the blink of an eye.

Breydon is so tender-hearted. He is super smart and such a quick learner. He tries his hardest at every task he attempts. He would do anything for anyone and loves to make others happy. He always puts aside what he wants in order to please those around him. When he was younger we always joked that he would be a politician because he always knows just what to say. He is so diplomatic. He loves to tell stories; what you could say in ten words takes Breydon at least twenty, he has to tell you every detail. He has a smile that can melt your heart and always makes sure to hug and kiss me goodnight; even when I don't deserve it. He is sarcastic and moody and I love him more than I ever dreamed I could love a person.

Connor is....Connor. He is like no other person I have ever known. He is adventurous, energetic, stubborn, loving, playful and a ball of energy. He would be content to be outside from the time the sun comes up until the time the sun sets...or longer. If he is in the house, he is bored. Although he thinks it's "uncool" to hug and kiss me, he will endure it for my sake. Children are attracted to him always. He has a bright smile and can melt you with his eyes. If things do not go his way he makes his irritation known! He is a jokester but doesn't like it when the joke is on him. He is the most difficult and amazing son a mom could ask for.

I am so grateful to have two healthy children, who may cause me great stress, but who also give me so much happiness I can't even explain. Please remember to hug and kiss your kids often, they can be taken from us so quickly and unexpectedly.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Beware of the Bears.....

CAUTION!!!!! This is a very long post! I am sorry, but we had so much fun I wanted to share it all with you.

I have learned something about myself: I am horrible at this blogging thing. How is it that I don't have a few minutes to update this?? Anyway, I am sure much has happened since February, but at this point, I can't think of much. I have this new goal that we will visit each state in the U.S. before I am too old to travel. So each year we will try to visit a new place. (Next year will be the D.C. area to pick up Jar!!!!) Anyway, this year we picked South Dakota. We decided to drive....what a long trip that is! 10 and a half hours in a car with two boys was quite interesting. We need a stretch limo in order to give them some space from each other. Sometimes they can be such good buddies and then the next second, BAM they are fighting. I can't figure out how to stop it! Anyway back to the subject. We made sure to get a hotel with an indoor swimming pool, because that is always Breydon and Connor's favorite part about vacation.....swimming. Weirdos.

Because we left Friday morning at 3 am we got to South Dakota around 1:30, had lunch, checked into our hotel, and first words out of their mouths....."Can we go swimming?" So since we were tired, we decided to just hang out and swim. Those of you who know Connor can probably guess what he wanted for dinner. Right, Pizza. In the small town of Custer, where we stayed, there are 3 places to eat....Subway, Dairy Queen and Pizza Hut. I know, big selection. There are a few steak houses that we tried later in the trip...horrible. I would not suggest eating at Cattleman's in Custer. Ryan had been to one in Texas and said it was super nice and delicious. Not the case in South Dakota. Must have been a different Cattlemans.

Breydon laid his head on the table and went to sleep, but Ryan and Connor finished our pizza for us.

Saturday was our site-seeing day, so we went up to Mount Rushmore. I have seen many pictures of it, and have never really thought much of it. It is honestly one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Breydon, being his usual smart self, was rattling of stats for us. One of the presidents, I can't remember which one, has something like a 21 foot nose and a 18 foot mouth. It is really extraordinary. Here are some pictures, but they really don't do the mountain justice.

After a few hours here at Mt. Rushmore, we headed over to Bear Country. It was super fun. It is crazy, there are bears just pacing in front of your car. A bear kind of jumped up and put its front paws on the hood of a car just ahead of us. I would have freaked out if that happened to us! Anyway, here are a few pictures of the animals here.

This must be where Santa's reindeer go during the summer months!

This guy was just loungin' by the road next to our car. Pretty cool.

I wish we could have gotten a better picture of this guy, but he was kind of in an awkward place where we couldn't get a good shot. He was sitting right on his butt with his back legs right out in front of him. It was funny, he looked like someone sitting on the floor watching TV or something.

He was pacing right in front of our car. And he was only one of maybe five or ten bears that were surrounding our car at that moment. They are all throughout the park. Am I normal? I just found this to be so exciting. The boys were loving it also.

There is a baby section in bear world also that was fun. Breydon took this picture of a baby bear. After Bear Country we headed over to Rushmore Cave. I was not that excited about it. I thought it would be lame, plus it is far underground and that scared me a little bit too. It turned out to be pretty neat. I have never seen so many stalactites. Actually, I have only ever seen them in books and pictures, and those don't do them any justice. They are really cool. I will put some pictures here, but like I said the pictures (especially mine) don't do them any justice. They are amazing, and I would recommend this cave to anyone.
While we were waiting for our tour to begin, we walked around the gift shop. It's hard to tell but Connor has a Jackelope hat on and Breydon a raccoon hat. I wanted a picture, and leave it to Breydon to "hunt" Connor! You can kind of see the opening to the cave behind and to the right of Connor. It goes very deep and is HUGE!
There were some tight squeezes and low ceilings but we made it through.
Can you see the pig snout right above Connor's head? They called this "room" the cartoon room. There were all kinds of characters in this room. Daffy Ducks feet, Minnie Mouse's bow, Donkey from Shrek...it was pretty fun.

Stalactites. Like I said, pictures do not give justice.

Ok...I am going to try to wrap this up. I took 814 (no exaggeration) pictures on this trip. It is very difficult for me to only put a few up here. We just had so much fun, and I think my family is so cute, I can't seem to help myself!

After Rushmore cave we were all pretty tired and it was time for dinner so we headed back to eat and, guess what else?............... Swim!

Sunday it was a bit rainy but we decided to venture out since it was our last day to enjoy South Dakota. We went to a place called Reptile Gardens. It was a fun place. The boys really enjoyed it. There were all kinds of nasty snakes, spiders, cockroaches, alligators, etc. that freaked me out. They enjoyed my "girliness" too....they made fun of me pretty much the entire time.

There was this cobra that absolutely hated Connor. Each time he walked by the cobra would flare out his skin by his face like they do and dart towards the glass. I can't figure out what it was about Connor, but it's a good thing he was in an enclosure, because Connor would have been dinner. I can't seem to get that picture to upload, so you don't get to see the angry cobra. Sorry, I'm sure your disappointed; especially since there are not enough pictures of this trip already!

Making friends with some kind of lizard.

They have a crocodile/alligator show where this man was in the crocodile enclosure, pulled out an alligator and wrestled it. It was so much fun.
Can you see their excitement?

"Fishing" for the perfect croc to wrestle with.

"I caught one! I caught one!"

I wish you could see that surrounding this guy is about 100 crocodiles and alligators. As he is wrestling this one, all the others are poking their heads out of the water and just creeping closer and closer. I don't know how this guy does this! I was freaking out and I was sitting in safety on the bleachers!

Time for dinner.

Anyway, they also had a bird show and a snake show. The snake show was pretty lame, but the boys really liked it. We really had a good time up there and I would recommend this trip. It was a lot of fun, and very relaxing. The weather at this time of year was perfect for the boys, a little chilly for me, but with a jacket it was great!

Sorry this is so long! I would have kept going on and on, but I have spent too much time already on this one post, and you have probably spent too much time reading it. I hope you at least enjoyed the pictures! Love ya