Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter


Coloring eggs -
this 1 year old would rather eat the eggs or tip over the cups of dye then wait patiently for brown eggs to absorb color

Miles had more patience and colored some beautiful eggs

Just another spring day in MN - snow, winter hats and a hot chocolate break

The Easter Bunny visited our house!  Baskets were hiding behind the bookshelf.
The big bunny left little bunnies, eggs with candy and puzzles for the kids.

All dressed up for church and two parties!


That's my girl - dressed up so pretty and playing with a car

My handsome boy

We are so lucky to have a huge extended family and celebrated the day with lunch with the Nickolay side and dinner with the Giesen side.  Thank you to Tony & Lisa and all of the Lambrechts for a fun day!

Easter bonus - visiting your aunt and uncle who live on a hobby farm and have dogs, cats, cows and possums.  Never a dull moment when there are lots of kitties to pet, dogs to hug and wild animals to see.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Cure for Cabin Fever

Our week
This was an interesting week but the challenges far outweighed the joys. Everything started Monday when Doreen (our wonderful Monday nanny) called me at work saying something was wrong with Hadley's arm.  She described the symptoms - right arm hanging limply and Hadley whimpering in pain -this is exactly what happened when Hadley's elbow got dislocated in September.  Nothing obvious had occurred to make it happen this time but when I got home it looked like another case of "nursemaid's elbow."  Hadley wouldn't even let us put a shirt on her and she kept saying "hand hurt" so I threw a little pink poncho sweater over her head, bundled her in a quilt and drove through a snowstorm to the doctor. She was so sweet and cuddly as we waited to be seen.  The first thing the doctor had us do was play in a little toy area so that she could observe Hadley's arm.  The first thing Hadley did was raise her right arm high to grab beads on a toy.  I stared - part of me thinking "it's a miracle!" and the other part of me thinking that the doctor is going to think I'm a crazy person for dressing my child in blue pants, a pink poncho with her belly hanging out and driving through a blizzard for no reason.  The doctor confirmed (yep, I'm sure this will cost us $150) that the tendons around her elbow popped back into place on their own and assured us that eventually Hadley will outgrow this.  Just that morning I thought I'd love to have more time with the kids and I got my wish.  Hadley and I cuddled and got an extra 2 hours together that morning. 

Tuesdays through Thursdays nanny Amy comes to our house.  This week - Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, something unbelievable happened each day that prevented her from taking care of the kids (none intentional or her fault!).  So I worked from home most of the week.  In a way it was a blessing in disguise because I didn't have a lot of meetings and the kids were so wonderful.  It was a great week to work from home - and again I got my wish to spend more time with Miles and Hadley.

A sweet moment
Today Miles took Hadley's toy (typical these days) and while I was telling Miles that he needed to give it back and ASK her for it instead of just grabbing it, Hadley, never complaining, leaned over and started hugging Miles.  Then she just walked away and started playing with something else.

Cabin fever
The snow and cold continues here - it feels like February - and I thought that if we had to spend one more cold, snowy weekend at home I'd go a bit crazy (or crazier).  Friday afternoon I thought - let's just get out of town and do a road trip.  The Nickolay family was in for an adventure too so we found a last minute deal about a 2 1/2 hour drive for each of us and Saturday headed to Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, MN, near Brainerd.  I can't describe adequately in words how much fun we had!  It was just the cure for cabin fever.  We stayed in a huge, two-bedroom condo on Gull Lake, had yummy meals at the lodge and thoroughly enjoyed the pool and water-slide.  It was a perfect 26 hours.

Some little princess is very proud of her two little pig tails in the back!  (Mommy's proud too.)
Since I got to take Miles to and from preschool this week I captured this picture of him with his "queen crown" in honor of the letter of the week - Q!
When I proposed a spontaneous road trip adventure to my family everyone was game and started packing immediately.
Ready to hit the road!
Sometimes you have to find the beauty in a long, Minnesota winter.

This was the first trip that Miles picked out his own clothes and packed his own little suitcase.  I have to say that the fishing hat was a cute touch!
Relaxing at the condo watching March Madness.  While not at the pool or the lodge we snuggled in by the warm fireplace, watching the snow fall outside.

There was one huge water-slide at the pool and Hadley must have done down it 30 times.  She loved it saying "more water-slide - go, go, go!," as she pumped her arms in the air and waved to everyone from the top.


Do I even need a caption when their smiles say it all?
It's pretty cool to be lounging on a beach chair, enjoying the tropical humidity of the pool when there is 2 feet of snow outside.  Miles and I also loved the water-slide and we went down it as a family several times.

We threw this trip together so quickly that we didn't even pack toys and didn't need them.  A cupboard, the perfect size for little kids, is all you need!
Two little cousin-buddies - just one month apart in age - enjoying the view.

I feel like the luckiest girl to have such a wonderfully fun family...

...and the two cutest...

...and sweet kids ever!

Me and my girl just off the water-slide.  Hadley's fearless!

Everyone loved swimming.

Me and my little brother.  Mike snapped this photo and sent it to both Matt and me.  Independently of one another we each told Mike when we saw the photo "that's a good one!"

Hugs at breakfast.

So excited - a chocolate frosted donut with sprinkles - Miles favorite.

Inside the lodge.

How could I not include this little pouty face?  "Where's my dinner?"


The girls!


We're cured of our cabin fever!  Spring you can come anyday now!

 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Swimming, dentist and singing

We had another busy week.  Monday Hadley started swimming lessons at the Chaska Community Center.  This time she is in the pool with daddy and loves it again.  Wednesday was Miles' turn.  Hadley was very upset when he got his swimsuit on and walked out the door - she wanted to go again too.  This session Miles is a "guppy" which means he's in a preschool class without a parent in the water with him.  He was very excited about it until the teacher called his name to get him in the pool.  Suddenly he was hiding behind me, clinging to my legs.  I did eventually get him in the pool.  The other three little boys in the class were all splashing, putting their faces in the water and singing songs along with the teacher while Miles did his own thing - twirling around in circles about 10 feet from the group.  I don't think he would have even noticed that he was supposed to be paying attention to the adult in the pool if I wasn't kneeling at the side of the pool pointing (like a crazy person) to the teacher and gesturing to remind him to use his listening ears.  He did eventually join the class and practiced floating on his front, back, swimming across the pool with the teacher and jumping in.  My favorite moment was when he was across the pool from me.  The other boys were all dutifully doing what they were supposed to be doing while Miles was mouthing words to me, grinning ear-to-ear and giving me the thumbs-up sign.

Friday was Hadley's first visit to the dentist and Miles' third.  Everyone oohhed and ahhed over how cute they are.  Miles went first and after a little coaxing (and threatening from mommy) got his teeth cleaned, flossed and got a fluoride treatment.  His teeth are looking great.  Next it was Hadley's turn.  She didn't need any coaxing at all.  She just climbed into the big chair and dutifully opened her mouth so that they could count them.  She has 16 teeth - the only baby ones remaining are her last 4 molars.  The dentist did say that her teeth are crowded which is an indicator that when she gets her adult teeth they will be crowded and crooked too.  I guess braces are in her future!  I was very proud of my two little dental patients.

We're all going a little stir crazy as winter drags on here.  The high today was 25 degrees and windy with lots of snow still on the ground and the meteorologists warning us of a coming blizzard.  Not fun.  Luckily Saturday afternoon and evening we went to the Sievers for dinner and had celebratory grasshoppers in honor of St. Patrick's Day.  The kids all love playing and running around together.  Hadley and Corey seem to be becoming kindred spirits  - they both love performing and they stood on "stage" and Corey played the guitar and Hadley sang.  Today, at the height of cabin fever, both kids entertained themselves while running up and down the hall in their undies and diaper yelling "Super Readers!"  They burned a lot of energy in the 45 minutes they were, self-proclaimed, streaking.

I actually didn't take any pictures with the regular camera this week.  These were all snapped with my smartphone.
That's my boy!
Hadley's first dentist visit.  Miles, the protective older brother, made sure they did a good job.


Miles teeth are looking good!
Johnny Cash and June Carter

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Growing and changing

On Sunday night I always lament the things I didn't get done over the weekend (organizing my pile of recipes, making photo books of the kids, etc) and think that we could have done more but the reality is that we are usually pretty busy and try to have at least a little down time (hard to come by these days) every weekend.  On Friday Mike had some much-needed adult time at beer club and I took the kids to a carnival at the Chaska Community Center.  The kids played games, made cool fish hats and danced.  In one room they had a dj, all the lights were off except the dance/strobe lights and lots of little kids were shaking their little bodies everywhere.  Miles and Hadley had a blast and spent 30 minutes getting their grooves on.  Saturday we went to Target, to the library and had a movie night.  We actually got through a whole G-rated movie - Cars!  Today we went to the zoo with the Sievers, I went to a heavy hula hoops class (so fun if anyone in Chan wants to try it with me), and to Costco.  So we were pretty busy... and my recipes and photo books have been moved to my to-do list for next weekend. 

New with Hadley
Hads had the stomach flu the first half of the week.  We missed her cheery energy and smile.  She finally started coming around on Thursday and I knew she was getting better when she greeted us from her crib in the morning (like she does every morning) by yelling cuckoo-coo clock!  This week she also surprised and entertained us by pulling off and on her own socks and enjoyed sucking on lemon slices - making faces when they were sour.  I was also ecstatic because her hair is finally long enough for pigtails!  Also, she's so sweet that every time I say "I love you Hadley" she immediately responds with "I love you mommy."

New with Miles
We had Miles' preschool conferences this week.  Ms. Emily, his teacher, reported that he is adapting to his new routine and new class so well and always has a big smile on his face when he comes to school.  He doesn't always choose art as his first option when doing different activities but once he gets into it he loves it and is sometimes the last one still creating a masterpiece.  He also really enjoys Legos.  Overall, she reported that he is one of the quieter ones in class and if he doesn't feel like participating in a group activity he'll just sit down but when it's a game or song that he likes he enthusiastically joins in.  She also reported that he gets along well with others and is well-mannered.  Things he should work on include small muscle skills like control while cutting and picking objects up with chopsticks.  Also, his goal in the class is to discover the importance of listening the first time to redirection.  None of these things were surprises to us - we're happy that he's doing well and thriving at his new preschool and with his new nannies at home.

After going to the zoo this morning we were talking about the zookeepers (we saw a zookeeper in scuba gear feeding the fish and two with the penguins).  He was asking me if the zookeepers live "in the rocks" with the animals.  I explained that the zoo is where they work and at night they go home to houses just like ours.  I also told him that when he grows up he can be anything he wants to be including a zookeeper.  He looked at me and said "I want to be just like you...  and I want to the feed the penguins and then come to your house."  I just about started crying because it was so sweet. 


Snuggling in for movie night!

Fun with fish at the community carnival

I was taking a picture of Miles getting dressed by himself in order to tape the photo to the fridge to remind him that this is something he needs to do everyday.  Not the best photo of miles but look at the little crazy girl in the upper, right hand corner.  She cracks me up!


Miles and Hadley are demonstrating "listening ears" and "using their words."

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Texas 2013

In the case of a wonderful family vacation - the photos tell a better story than words...

Within the first 5 minutes of arrival at the Rockport beach house the kids were on their bikes, riding around and enjoying the sunshine.  They then quickly moved to the beach where they spent the majority of our vacation.

We were very busy building sandcastles, filling buckets with water, making lakes and finding seashells.

The fresh sea air made us all sleep well at night so that we could get up first thing in the morning to ride bikes!




My cool guy!


My pretty lady!

This family trip is always so relaxing and great because it is filled with so much quality time with the kids.  They are at the age where we get so much enjoyment from playing with them.



Miles loved kayaking and often insisted on paddling - so I got to sit back and relax as my dad and Miles ferried me around.


One of Hadley's current obsessions is "coffee" which she demands on a daily basis.

Enjoying a cup of joe (or whole milk in Hadley's case) in the morning.

We also feasted on delicious home cooked breakfasts...lunches...and dinners.  My mom filled us to the brim with good food.  The kids knew where the action was and bellied up to the breakfast bar.

We also played at the park a few times and fed the ducks.







Enjoying the sunshine on the deck.

Our first all family kayak ride!

Our first all family trip down a slide together!


Every year we take a family photo on the deck before we head to a shrimp dinner at Charlotte Plummer's, our favorite restaurant in town.  I remember the years where it was just Mike and me.  Now our arms are full!

Miles and Hadley were not only stuffed with good food and lots of treats but were also showered with attention from grandma and grandpa.  They read lots of books, played on the beach and took many walks.

After dinner one night we saw a beautiful sunset.  All of the oyster boats were coming in - it was great!

This picture makes me laugh.  The sunset is gorgeous and Mike and Hadley not only look like twins but the scenery is so vibrant they look superimposed on the background.

Feeding the ducks at the house.  (We kept a lot of ducks fat and happy on this trip - feeding the flock at the house and at the park.)

A day of leisure wouldn't be complete without ice cream!



I tried my hardest to get a cute shot of these two.  They love each other so much and have a great time together but capturing these moments with my camera is hard.

This is more the norm for my sibling pictures.  After a trip to the local aquarium we toured a sculpture garden right on the water.

Miles and grandma made rice krispie bars and everyone is enjoyed the fruits of their labor.  (Notice me and Mike in the background - truly relaxing with our magazines.)  We had a wonderful, wonderful time - thank you mom and dad for another year of Texas memories!

We arrived home late at night so the kids went right to bed but the next morning they were the most thrilled to see Ruby again.  Both of them kept exclaiming "Ruby, Ruby!" over and over again.  This picture captures these two being their normal, goofy selves - hiding under the shower curtain together, hugging and brushing their teeth.