Sunday, June 30, 2013

Soccer and Strawberries

I was in no mood to write a blog post last week.  We had spent the weekend at the cabin and it was a challenging two days.  Hadley was in full two-year old mode - tantrums, not listening, hitting and climbing out of her pack-n-play.  I had envisioned a fun and relaxing weekend as a family but came home Sunday night feeling tired and depressed at having to yell more than I'd like combined with a dose of mommy-guilt.  My post last week would have been about all the ways our family didn't get along and the stress of the weekend.  Luckily, we redeemed ourselves and had a wonderful week.

New with Miles
Miles got another haircut from nanny Doreen - she has him looking so cute!  The kids are both in Pea Pods, a children's nature and science class, at the Arboretum and Miles comes home with facts about dandelions, dirt and all sorts of interesting stuff.  Every week they bring home a plant to plant in the garden.  One night he was carrying around a basil leaf - smelling it - fascinated by the scent.  Watching him was an awesome reminder to stop and take time to smell all of the amazing things around us.  He's also getting really good at recognizing all of the letters and numbers and is the mini-adult in our household.

He had soccer the last three Tuesday nights.  While he spent the first night crying and clinging to us by the last class he was huddling with his team (the Dinosaurs), kicking the ball, running and scoring goals.  Sometimes he would lag behind his friends - walking instead of running.  When I asked him about it he said his shoes made him run slow. 

New with Hadley
Hads can sing the alphabet, recognizes some letters and numbers and counts up to 10.  She also has the most amazing vocabulary for a two-year old.  People often remark how much and well she can speak.  Our girl has been going through a more challenging phase and we went back to reading "The Happiest Toddler on the Block" - a parenting book that explains even if our little one looks and acts like a mini-adult their little brains are still developing and are often irrational, physical and extremely emotional.  In this book they liken small children to cavemen and the description seems appropriate.  It helps diffuse our frustration with Hadley's challenging behaviors when we think of her as "Bam-bam" our little cave girl.  

Family Fun Day
Saturday was an official family fun day.  We headed to Hutchinson in the morning and visited our CSA farm, Loon Organics, where we picked strawberries, watched the chickens and learned about bees.  We then had lunch at Zella's in town and played at their city center park.  After naps we headed to Lebanon Hills Park for professional pictures.  While it's always a bit stressful trying to wrangle the kids and cajole, bribe and threaten them in order to get a few good pictures we're optimistic that our photographer captured a few cute moments.  This afternoon we had a party at Grandma and Grandpa Nickolay's with the Sievers.  It was was a great weekend with beautiful weather - it feels like summer! 
The first pontoon ride of the year.  Everyone was happy at this moment!

Miles Beckham on the soccer field

The rest of the team is by the goal already - this is one of the times where Miles' shoes were slowing him down

So proud!

Checking out the chickens

Picking and eating juicy, ripe strawberries

A fun summer party

The three cousins

Hadley made us all laugh while she aimed perfectly to blast Miles and Corey with the hose

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Summer and Father's Day

Finally it feels like summer.  Only in MN can it go from cool and rainy to hot and steamy within a matter of minutes.  The nice weather comes with all sorts of hazards - giant mosquito bites, bruised legs, and heat rash...but we're enjoying it anyway.   
The kids were absolutely delighted with the suckers nanny Doreen gave them

Hadley's entering a period where she wants to "be a grown-up" (or so she says) and a baby at the same time.  Usually this combination leads to bouts of whining and crying for up to 30 minutes at a time.  When she's happy she's super happy and funny and when she's mad she's difficult to be around.  It's hard being a two-year old...and a parent of a two-year old.  When not pouting and crying she amazes us by speaking in full sentence and is so smart.  I have to remind myself that the toddler years are a good practice in patience for me.   
Little pouty face
Miles is impressing us with writing his own name by himself, starting to spell important words like m-o-m, adding small numbers like 2+2=4 and exercising patience with his little sister.

Miles started soccer this week.  Just like with swimming lessons, it'll take him a little while to warm up to this new activity.  Although he hung on Mike and was hesitant to participate with the other kids at first he eventually started dribbling the ball with his new friends and even scored two goals.  When I asked him what his favorite part was he said "everything!"  When I asked if he wanted to go back next week he said "yes!"
We spent Saturday evening at Adele's in Excelsior and walking along Excelsior Beach.  It was such a beautiful night with lots of boats on the lake and people enjoying the night.

This morning Miles and Hadley were so excited to pick out donuts for dad and serve them to him in bed.  Happy Father's Day to my wonderful, kind, fun and handy dad, father-in-law and husband. 

We spent the afternoon celebrating the day and the sunshine with the Sievers.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A little crazy

Grandma and Grandpa Gray and Auntie Annette and "Auntie Roger" (as Hads called him) left on Friday.  We had such a great time with them and are so grateful that they made the long trips to visit and spend time with us.  We very much look forward to seeing them again at Christmas and wish that our visits weren't so few and far between.

This week the kids started their summer Peapods class at the Arboretum.  They learned all about dandelions and how dirt made our lunch.  It's fun hearing the stories of all of their adventures.

Miles continues to be a serious, inquisitive kid.  His questions are often intense and complicated and now that he's a bigger boy I'm feeling some pressure to answer his inquiries thoughtfully to give him correct information.  Some of his questions are out of my league though already!  His latest wonderings are about things that we all wonder - "what is God?  Who is Jesus?  How do you die?  When you die do you fall asleep?  How do you get to Heaven?" Seriously.  This kid is deep.

Hads is giving us a run for our money lately.  I'm not sure if she's just a spirited two-year old or if she's an old spirit frustrated by being trapped in a toddler body.  She has a mind of her own and no amount of reasoning, bribery, threats or break times will sway her when she wants something.  What she often wants are things that are inappropriate for her age - like to use a knife at dinner.  She even announced several times this weekend "I want to be a grownup."  When she storms and tantrums when things don't go her way I have to take many deep breaths and remind myself of her fun, cute times - because truthfully it's not always very fun or easy to handle her extreme moods or desires.

One of the Gray family's pastimes - an intense dice/board game affectionately titled "Balls"

Happy birthday Auntie!

Hads and I scored this cool sunhat at a garage sale Saturday morning.  My little movie star - relaxing and looking good!

This kid seriously loves his bike.  Our neighbor commented today that it seems like he is always wearing his helmet - yep, that's so he can easily jump on and ride at any moment.

I love that our view is all green and peaceful.

This morning the kids insisted on watching cartoons from inside a couch fort.

So proud.  That picture is Miles' first drawing of something that actually looks like a person.  He said that it's a drawing of Mickey Mouse sticking his tongue out.  I'm so proud of this kid!