Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pre-K Open House

Tonight was open house for school!  Since Amelia is still "behind" in her speech and language she will continue to go to pre-K speech at the elementary school this year.  This year she is in the "Little Tiger" program, has a new teacher and will be going three days a week for three hours each day vs. two days a week for an hour and a half each day.  She was thrilled to go to school tonight and I had a hard time getting her to leave!

This evening we dropped off her supplies, met her teacher (who we knew from meetings already) and saw her classroom.  Amelia was very excited that there was a guinea pig and blew her teacher away because she knew what it was and could almost say it right!  Her teacher asked if she wanted to see the "mouse" and Amelia informed her it was a "gee-hee pi!"   His name is Gus.  We have our neighbors, M and D, to thank for her knowledge of guinea pigs - she loves theirs!

On our way out she ran across to the sensory room.  She'd been in there before I found out and she got herself a swing ride!

Her teacher told me they spend the first ten or fifteen minutes of the day in this room to loosen the kids up and get the "wiggles" out.  In addition to this neat swing there is one other type of swing, a ball pit, exercise/yoga balls, trampolines and a few other things I didn't recognize!

I didn't get milk on the way home from work today because Amelia belongs to the Kwik Trip Kid's Club so I wanted to take her for an open house treat!  With her membership card she gets a free cookie, donut, bagel or muffin when she is with me when I buy milk.  It's a neat program!   
**We buy our milk there in half gallon bags because it is so, so much cheaper.  A gallon of 2% is only $1.98 - the grocery store/Target can't beat that!

One thing I am excited about is the Scholastic book club program!  I remember my parents ordering us books from this same program when we were in school and I loved the day the book orders arrived and I got my new books!

I paged through it and have already found a few things to order her!  She has recently taken a huge interest in being read to (vs. just looking through books independently) so I want to encourage that as much as I can.  We've always kept books in baskets around our apartment and in her room in the hopes of getting her interested - it's finally happened! 

School officially starts next Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Birthday Party Fun

Last Saturday we were invited to celebrate W's first birthday!  We know W's parents through one of my best friends and we all have babies right around the same age.  It is a lot of fun getting together!

H - 11 months, W - 12 months, C - 11 months, Joe - 10 months and D - 9 months

Babies with big sisters!

It was a wonderful afternoon!  We spent a ton of time outside - W's parents have a great yard!  Joe was enthralled with ladder-golf:

He played with this, alone, for at least fifteen minutes.  I'm betting he would have played longer but I took him in for present opening!

There were a lot of fun new toys for W but the hit was definitely the activity table. 

These guys (and gal) loved this thing!  Even Amelia squeezed in there a few times.  We don't have one of these tables so it was brand new to my kids!

Amelia had the best time.  She ran around with dogs and cats, pulled the wagon, played with C's big sister, S, visited the chicken coop several times and her favorite part of any birthday - cake.

Both kids were completely wiped out from our afternoon but they would not sleep on the way home!  Go figure ;)  We're looking forward to the next time we can get together with everyone again! 


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday at Home

It has been a long, long time since we have stayed home - all four of us.  Usually on the weekends I've worked (I'm on a M-F currently and loving it!) or we've had places to be/commitments to keep.  Not today though!  We were home - except for that walk we took :)

Home-made supports - sticks and zip-ties

Joe wielding the neighbor's home-made, wooden sword

Sunflower in our community, parking lot garden

She rode her car all day long!

Dinner, as a family, at home

Evening walk with the kids and S

Joe on our walk

Day at the Fair

We spent Friday at the Minnesota State Fair!

The fair is definitely different with kids - that is for sure.   We now spend time in the ride area, we have to stop to change diapers, eating takes a greater length of time (no more eating and walking!) and they get over-stimulated and cranky.  With that being said, we enjoyed the fair this year but I'll be honest in the fact that it was not as much fun - it was stressful.

We arrived bright and early at 6:30 a.m. to beat crowds, park easier and beat the heat.  We've been having temperatures in the seventies for about three weeks and now we are right back to 90+ degree temperatures and humidity - right in time for the "Great Minnesota Get-Together."

One of the first things we did was visit the DNR area so Amelia could see the fish before the crowds arrived!
She told us she found sharks and dolphins there with the fish.  I'm not so sure about that since they were all native to Minnesota!!!!!  

Amelia had her first face-painting this year and she did so good!

She was so happy with her "rainbow face."  I was impressed at how patient she was.  Since that went so well we went and got her some "fair hair."   Again, she sat so still and was so patient!

She was so excited!!!!

Final product:

She promptly ripped the crown off but look at how happy she was:

She kept checking herself out in this mirror.  Turning and smiling and clapping.

By the time she cooperated for a final picture most of the face-paint was gone but she still was a colorful sight!

Our next stop was the "kid-Way" to use the ride tickets we pre-purchased (at a cheaper rate!)

Joe was a trooper all day!  He spent a lot of time in his stroller and he was a good sport about it!

When we could, we let him out to explore!

He took his naps like a champ!

We are very fortunate that our stroller allows both the children to sleep at once!!!

See Joe's little feet poking out?

Our jogger (by Phil & Ted's) has an attachable second seat and there are several ways to configure it.  In the above photo Joe is in the main seat, fully-reclined, and Amelia is in the second seat, attached above the main seat, where a feeding tray is usually located on a regular stroller.  

Our usual set-up is this:

Milwaukee Trip, June 2012

Joe is behind Amelia in the second seat.  It was a hefty investment but it is beyond worth it for our family!

Another year at the fair is in the books for us and we are hopeful next year is a bit more enjoyable for all!

Home-made tie-dye (except for Papa...)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sweet Moment

This evening we had a playdate at the park with our friend, L, and her son, D.  Joey was all over the place - exploring.  At one point I looked over and he had crawled to a ladder of sorts.  All of a sudden big sister showed up at the top of the ladder.  I started to get up to mediate but then she stuck her hand down to him.  He took it but she realized her plan wasn't working.  So she climbed partway down, took his hand again and tried to help him up the ladder.

I think I push her too much most days to get along with him.  This is a perfect example of why just stepping back and letting them be is needed.  

I snuck up behind them to snap this and as soon as she realized I was there the moment was over.  That's ok though - it's moments like these, that are far and few between, that I am reminded that she does love her little brother and that there is hope that they will get along semi-peacefully someday!

ps - Happy 29th Birthday to Daddy today!!!!

Monday, August 20, 2012


Today I had a half-day of work unexpectedly!  Last night there were system updates and this morning the system never came back up.  We can do our jobs to a certain point without the internal network working.  We hit that point just after 9 a.m. today and there was no guesstimate to when things would be up and running so we got to go home!  This is the first time in over two years of working there that the system has been completely down, cash registers and all, so it was like a "snow day" for us :)

I enjoyed getting home in time to sit with the kids for breakfast.

Yes, I let Amelia have a cupcake for breakfast...

Since I was home with Jason today I took the opportunity to go through Amelia's closet bins/dresser to figure out what she needed for fall/winter.  Guess what?  She needs nothing!  Last winter she was between 3T and 4T so we went with 4T in case she grew more that winter not realizing that they'd still fit this winter - score!  At this point I'm guessing Joe won't need much, if anything, but his clothing situation will take me longer to assess so I saved that for another day.

Another big accomplishment that I made today was this:

Yes, a clear kitchen table is a big accomplishment for me.  For the first time since we moved in there are not bills or papers or coupons or bags or anything else sitting on the table!  This feels so, so good!  I am determined to keep it under better control from here on out.  What I really need is a better system to keep bills and such in order.  The kitchen table doubles as my desk so it is a clutter magnet.  I have a few ideas that might help - the question is will I enact one of them before the clutter builds up again?!

I'm so glad I got this extra time at home today!  I got a few things done and I got extra time with the kids :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Paper Wave

At the Vikings/Bills pre-season game last night we witnessed what might have been the world's best "wave!"  It started and then it grew.  Both decks of the stadium were participating.  Then programs were being thrown like graduation caps are thrown.  Then people started tearing the programs into "confetti" and that was being thrown.  

It was nuts and it went on about 20 minutes!  We didn't partake in throwing paper as we did not feel right about it - those poor janitors.  Despite the mess it was pretty neat to witness first-hand.

Happy Saturday!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Weekend Highlights

We had another full weekend!

Friday night, before going to my parent's for the night, Amelia was a self-proclaimed "cow doctor."

She only "worked" on cows and, well, her mama.

Saturday morning we visited with our friend, Marie, and her son, Leyton!  They were in town so her husband could help out with a family member's move so we got to visit about two hours at my parent's house!

Joe - 10 months, Leyton - 7 weeks

After our visit Jason and I had a date afternoon/evening.  We had Mexican for a late lunch and then headed towards Minneapolis.  On our way we stopped at a thrift shop and found awesome deals on children's books (69 cents each - hardback, paperback or board) and Carter's pajamas for $2.99 that were maybe worn twice - they looked brand new!

Once we arrived in Minneapolis we walked around Mill Ruins Park which was really neat!

After exploring the park we headed to our final destination - The Guthrie Theater.  Jason (with the help of his mom) got tickets for us to see Roman Holiday.  It was a really nice surprise since I had no idea he even knew I liked that movie!

We enjoyed the musical a lot!

On our way home we stopped for pizza at Pizza Luce.  Funny tangent - when I was younger my dad took us to Pizza Luce and our server had green hair.  This apparently scared my sister and I and we started referring to it as "green hair pizza" and never wanted to go there.  Now I love it!

This trip we ordered the "Athena" pizza which has spinach, artichokes, red onion, tomatoes, feta and kalamata olives (which I held off my half.)  It was really good!  We ordered a larger size to have leftovers for work this week which was a nice treat today!

Sunday my parents brought the kids home.  We had dinner out in the parking lot with our neighbors, Matt and Dallas.  We cooked up the zucchini from our garden with some garden-grown oregano, fresh red potatoes and white onion from a local farmer.  In addition to that we also got sweet corn from the same farmer as well as a cucumber which we had with balsamic vinegar and onions.

It was really good and it felt really good knowing that all of the food came either from our garden or a local farm.  Our gardening goal has been met - we grew something and were able to eat it!  

We watched a bit of the Olympics closing ceremonies before bed and I am a little glad the Olympics are over.  We enjoyed watching them, especially Amelia, but it is also nice not feeling like we are missing something when we aren't inside with the TV on in the background!  Plus, this week is "Shark Week" on Discovery Channel and I know a certain little girl who loves "haw-eeks!"  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Siblings and a Stroller

We had a trying day today but this moment is one worth remembering:

Amelia pushed Joe "really fast" back and forth across the parking lot.  They both had a blast :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Car Buddies

Amelia and her friend, S, spent all day together today.  This is a first for them because S is usually at daycare until around 6 p.m. but today we had the first of two walk-throughs of the apartments in preparation for new owners so S's mom took the day off.  

I got so much done around here because Amelia and S were in her room playing and Joe took two naps!  They were short naps but two naps nonetheless.  This evening we got out of the house finally and Amelia and S rode around the parking lot on their little cars - a typical evening activity around here.

Silly girls.  I guess this is what happens when you spend all day playing and having fun - you get a little wild :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Weekend Fun

We had a fun weekend!

Saturday we spent the morning cleaning around the house and watching the Olympics.  Late in the afternoon we had a wedding to attend for someone Jason grew up with.  It really was a beautiful, outdoor wedding and the food was, hands-down, the best wedding food I have ever had.

It was on a farm and Amelia was convinced that there were cows in the barn.  All she wanted was too find the cows.  After the ceremony we saw something that made a certain little girl ecstatic:

Not cows, but three horses.  The gray/black one even ate grass out of her hand:

Family photo:

Today we watched some more Olympics and then went to my parent's house in the afternoon.  We had stew for dinner this week and it made me excited for when we start making hearty meals like that to freeze as we enter the winter months!
After dinner we had Blizzards from Dairy Queen and Amelia chose to eat hers in the garage down the stairwell that goes into the basement...

When we got home this evening our neighbors asked if we had seen the tomatoes popping up on our five plants.  We hadn't so we went to check it out.  While we were there we checked everything else and we have one nice zucchini!  The neighbors and us both have cantaloupes starting but theirs are just a bit more developed.

cantaloupe, zucchini, tomatoes
It was like Christmas out there this evening.  We were running from plant to plant showing each other everything we were finding.  Who knew that you really can grow a successful garden in a parking lot?