Friday, October 27, 2017

Four Months Later...Jay Cooke State Park Camping!

Events of the past four months: birthdays, vacations, family reunion at Topsail Island, kids started school...and about a hundred other things I'm forgetting and may or may not ever be documented on this here blog. But today is a good day to start catching up. It's the first snow! It's lovely and watching from the windows in our cozy little house, (oh yeah, and we bought a house a few months ago), The snow is still drifting down and is sticking to every twig and branch so that even while the ground is not yet frozen, the trees look like a winter wonderland. It is the most marvelous first snow you could ask for. And while Henry naps (hallelujah. Boy did he/I need it) I am going to get busy recording some recent good old-fashioned family fun:

Camping at Jay Cooke State Park

When the leaves started to turn, we decided to get up north to see the fall colors and squeeze one more camping trip in before it snowed (how well did that work out??). Minnesotans love to camp in the fall, apparently - there was nary a site available on a weekend until October 13th. Works out - since we got married on Friday the 13th, whenever one comes along we try to do something special.

I had an idea that while we were up there, we'd take a day trip to see some lighthouses and explore Lake Superior's southwest shore. Turns out that Jay Cooke is enough of an attraction on it's own - we didn't leave the park once.

 It was chilly but beautiful our first day - we watched the sun set on the swinging bridge and clambered over giant, glacier-churned rock formations.

"Ok, put your arms around each other, I'm going to take your picture." Ha.

That night we had a ceremonial last s'more and wienie roast and tucked the kids into the sleeping bags dressed in their thermals and hats and socks. The stars were so clear and bright - you forget about that when your usual city lights keep the sky fairly dark. It was gorgeous and so nice to just sit by the camp fire and talk to my other half. He's a good one. He's a good one to have on a camping trip too. A tent-setting up/taking down, fire-building, baby-wrangling wizard.

 We cut our trip short to avoid a night-long freezing rain our last night (nobody wants to pack a co1d, wet tent). But we had our fill. We had our adventure, and then we went home and thoroughly enjoyed sleeping in our own snug beds while the rain drummed on the roof. As much as I love camping with my family out in nature, I might like that feeling of coming home even more.

*How about that camp bathroom selfie.

If you zoom in, you'll see...
This cutie:

* #munionpartyofsix
* February 2018

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Midnight Musings: Parenthood

Actually, 3am musings...but midnight sounds better


Guy on the trail today, "Babies! Oh, Mamas, you are so lucky!"
Me to other mama: "Yeah, you know, he' right."
Other Mama: "He is."
Joe: "Huh, that guy was weird."

Haha! He was a bit cooky! Tall, white haired older guy with 80's themed, colorful clothes. We saw him while walking around Lake Harriet with friends today and I've been thinking of him and what he said. It was another of those, "don't blink or you'll miss it" reminders. Happened again this afternoon in the grocery store parking lot. A grandma across the lane in the parking lot stopped and waved and talked to Henry a little bit. He did not engage, but she was thrilled to make eye contact with this baby. Don't blink!

So here is what parenting looks like now:

It's wrapping up our first year with a kindergartner.
I was so torn up about sending her to school that first day...and for about 6 months after. Had I not felt spiritual confirmation that it was in her best interests to go to school, I would have pulled her for homeschooling. We all missed her terribly, and not having all my babies around me all the time felt like the end of a golden era. But how satisfying it has been to see her grow and develop and love learning, and her teacher and her classmates and and her lessons and her field trips. Every mini-essay, every video and picture sent by her teacher, every delighted story she shares over an after-school snack or at the dinner table, is absolutely filled to the brim with cuteness that melts me in a puddle of warm fuzzies. Watching her navigate social waters has been a little stressful - just be nice to my kid, kids! - but the triumphs have been sweet! I have felt to pray with her just before she walks out the door in the mornings that she will have the Spirit with her to help her learn a lot and to be a good friend to those around her, and you know, she has, on both counts! She is wonderful. School is wonderful. I look forward to the years ahead on this wild ride! And I wonder how long before she doesn't want me to crawl in bed with her at night so we can have a cuddle a heart-to-heart. Yesterday when I told her it was time for me to go out now and for her to go to sleep, she giggled and said, "Yeah, we are just a couple of girls chatting late at night. We just like each other so much!" We do like each other so much!
Parenting now is being quietly impressed with Joe's thoughtfulness in taking care of his baby brother and his own preparation for school starting in the fall. He's so smart. The other day he bit his pretzels into "rain drops" and then bit one into a "B" to spell "brain." Roll your eyes at my mother-doting - the way the kid thinks is He also makes me count with him when we're in the car. I've counted to 100 more times than any sane person can handle (that's right, I'm insane now), and he's begun to try to count in patterns. "2+2=4, 4+4=8, 8+8=16, 16+16=....Mom! What comes next!" He gave us a run for our money the first 9 months of Henry's life in learning how to be gentle with a baby, but boy has he come into his role as big brother. He has learned to wrestle and not hurt him! (Henry LOVES it - is actually the instigator more often than not). Joe coo's and talks him down when Henry is hating his car seat. Joe does NOT believe in letting a baby cry for any length of time. More than once I've thought that Henry soothed himself and is now napping, when actually, it's just Joe is in there throwing his toys in his crib or entertaining him with his antics.

Parenting now is THE BABY! Still killing it with all that cuteness! Getting very good at communicating without saying actual words, just babbles, grunts, and head banging. Has mostly "baby-proofed" the house by now (read, already broken everything within his reach...). It's NOT BEING ABLE TO SLEEP more than 5 hours in a row because of his feeding habits, so, even though he actually hasn't woken up all night on this rare occasion, here I am, awake at 3:30am, writing about his highness (the allergies might also be to blame).  Parenting is coming home from work and hoping to make it before he goes down so I can hear his baby roar and stomp-walk coming down the hall to greet me with outstretched arms. He is into anything and everything, but, that's what anything and everything is there for, right? No? Yes. He has pulled us all into his orbit and we all thoroughly enjoy being part of his world.

 Glad I got that off my chest. Now, sleepy time.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ballerinas and Ballers

See what I did there?

Softball is back! What red-blooded American doesn't enjoy and night at the ball park, eh?

Same goes for a little one's ballet recital. So many warm fuzzies! All the feels! It was the sweetest thing I've ever seen in my life. Here is a video from the dress rehearsal. They were nervous, on stage under the big lights. But they bravely carried on, smiling, "even though it was hard to smile that whole time, Mom" and totally won the show. (If there was a competition for cuteness.)

The dress rehearsal went great and then we had a girl's night with Riley's friend and her mom. We went to dinner and shopping, and let me tell you, it is getting so fun to shop with Riley - she has opinions. "Ooh, that looks so good. Ooh, Dad would love that hot dog shirt."

The next day was pouring rain ALL day, but never mind. The first half of the day we spent house hunting. With the kids, their raincoats and umbrellas, in and out of the car, in and out of houses. Definitely the best way to house hunt ;). Then we headed back to the auditorium for another rehearsal right before the actual performance. Those girls were super prepared.
 Warming up.

Eagerly waiting the big reveal. We haven't watched any of her practices this year so we really didn't know what to expect.
 (No pics during the actual performance, but here is one from the rehearsal)
They did such a great job! I was mush inside, absolutely melted.

Here is Riley and Gracie, and Riley and Ms. Zachari. Their teacher does all the choreography for all fifteen or so dances for all abilities and ages - she is very, very talented. And Riley loves her - totally wants to be a ballet teacher now.

So beautiful. I see so much of my mom in this picture.

Following the recital we went (back out in the rain) to...Snuffy's!

 Kid-approved as a great place to celebrate a sweet ballerina victory.

And for the "Baller" portion of this post: here's Dave.

It was so fun to be back out at the ball park. I love how no matter the ballpark, there is always a mismatched gang of happy, wild children packing around, running up to the fences to yell at their Dad or Mom, trying to hug the dogs, bumming food off each other's parents, leaving socks, shoes, and jackets strewn across the bleachers and playground, and basically having the time of their lives without any regard to bedtime or the dirt on their toes. It's also fun to watch the teams though. Dave's team appears to be something of a "comeback" team. It makes games extremely engrossing and satisfying to watch. We are going to have a fun summer!