Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Meet Totoro

We have been tossing the idea of getting a puppy around for a while. So, when we found this guy we decided we would just go look. Does that ever work? Has anyone ever gone and just looked at a puppy? Meet Totoro our newest addition. He is an eight week old Malamute/German mix. He is a good mixture of playful and sleepy. He is just plain adorable. We love him already.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gingerbread Picture Search

Last Friday, I got to go help the first graders make their gingerbread houses. They look forward to this day each year. These first graders dove into this project.
They piled their houses high with frosting and candy. Not to mention the frosting and candy that ended up in their tummies (and mine-yummy).
Each house was unique and the kiddos took pride in their work. It reminded me of doing this same project with Ryan and Emily. I thought it would be fun to show the houses that Ry and Em made in first grade too. So I started going through old pictures. I found a picture of Andrew's house he made in preschool.Look at the baby face. I kept searching and somehow I ended up in a folder of pictures of baby Ry.He loved that lion towel thing..I miss Provo and our old apartment and old times. When we were living there, I NEVER thought I would miss Provo. But I do. That's the power of old photos. Back to task, I soon realized that a first grade picture of Ry would not be in the same folder as these little Ryan pictures, so I skipped ahead and found these. I had to pause again. Cute little Em all dressed up. She loved princess dresses and babies. I also found this picture of Em all dressed up for picture day in Kindergarten. Emily in her early years of fashion. Now, she has put away her fancy dresses and can be found in sweatpants EVERY day. I decided I should just give up on the gingerbread houses. Crud, time is flying by these days!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Homework and family Unite!

As I have mentioned, I am going to the University of Minnesota to earn my Master's degree in Early Childhood Education and in Early Childhood Special Education. This has been a BUSY semester. I have had a ton of homework, but today I would like to share with you my most fun project yet.

The assignment was to find a child, get to know them and plan three activities/lessons based on their interests. I chose Fiona. I feel lucky to live so close to most of my nieces. It was great to spend good one-on-one with her. I had to put together a powerpoint, but have no idea how to post a powerpoint, so I am going to recreate the basics of it for you. Bottom line: I love these pictures of Fiona and I want to share my adorable niece with everyone.

Meet my niece, Fiona
Fiona is an out-going 31 month old. She loves playing with balls, trains and other toys. Her favorite places to go are grandma's house, the zoo and the library. She can be often found helping her mom and dad around the house.

Meeting One: Exploring Play-Doh

Fiona Quotes: "I do making tiny holes." "I have a duck." "It's spinning." "I'm screwing."

During our first meeting, Fiona explored different ways to make holes in the Play-Doh. I introduced different tools that would make different kinds of holes. She experimented with each of them. The Play-Doh drill was her favorite. She consistently went back to using this tool to make her holes in the Play-Doh.

Meeting Two: The Drill Set
Fiona Quotes: "Look Cathy, I'm doing it!"

Our second meeting's activity was based Fiona's interest in the Play-Doh drill. She gradually filled the entire board with bolts using the drill and a hand screw driver. While she worked, we talked about simple patterns, colors and counting.

Meeting Three: Making Cookies
Based on Fiona's fascination with tools and my knowledge that she likes to help in the kitchen, we made cookies during our last meeting.Fiona Quotes: "I'm stirring." "It's spinning." "I can tap it." "I made a big hole."

Fiona was able to add the butter, flour, sugar and egg. She used a spatula and an electric mixer to stir the dough. As soon as the dough was formed into a ball, Fiona began making big holes in the dough with her fingers (just like during meeting one).

Once the cookie dough was made, it was time to roll it out and cut the cookies.

Fiona's Quotes: "The big one is heavy." "I made a rocket ship." "I want to cook it."

Fiona wanted to use the tiny rolling pin. She cut out rocket ships, tiny hearts, mittens and stars. She then carefully transferred each cookie on the cookie sheet to bake them. While we were waiting for the to cook, Fiona told me the different ingredients she used to make the dough.

The powerpoint went with a super long, more detailed write up. I will spare you all those details.

Thank you Fiona for spending time with me. Let's do it again ASAP!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Noah's Ark

I now have a teeny tiny more of an understanding of what it was like on the ark. Animals, animals and more animals. This past week, Emily gave her brothers an early Christmas present. Let me introduce you to Rocky, Speedy and Hermes. Rocky hides most of the day, Speedy is fast and Hermes loves to explore. Yes, even hermit crabs seem to have personalities. That puts our pet numbers to six. But, this weekend we have a guest staying with us. Rodeo is spending his Thanksgiving with us while Erin is out of town. We couldn't be happier. Rodeo is a calm loving little guest. But this is not all...This is not a picture of our Thanksgiving dinner. Becky's family, who happens to be our wonderful neighbors, have chickens in their back yard. This morning Emily and I got to go over and check on them. We fed them, watered them and generally made sure the chickens were having a happy holiday. Ashley, Nutmeg and Marlin's reactions range from mouth-watering interest, to oblivion, to a dignified ignore.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Headed to Broadway

This year, our elementary school choir is putting on a play. They were expecting around 30 children to show interest in it, but they got around 90 students. Hooray for school enthusiasm! Emily tried out for a speaking part, and got one! She gets to play the part of Yellow Beard.
Yellow Beard has some funny lines and she even gets to lead all the pirates in a cheer. "Hip, Hip," they say, "hooray!" The play is about a Stowaway who wants to become a pirate. The music is catchy..."What do you do with a Stowaway?" (my favorite song from the show). Fear not, I won't give away the ending..but if you come the show you will learn what to do with a Stowaway.

Over the past weeks, Emily has been going to school early every morning to rehearse. She has also been working hard to design and sew her costume-with help from grandma. Hooray for Grandma! She looked fabulous up on stage.
This morning was the dress rehearsal. It went really well. The kids looked like they really were having fun. I think they are ready for Broadway.
The kiddos have finished both of their performances and they were fabulous-way better than the dress rehearsal. I think it is so great that Emily had this experience. I asked her if she is going to do the school play next year...and she quickly answered, "Of course!"

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I shouldn't have laughed!

A few days ago, I was talking to my cute and fun friend Cynthia who lives in California. She asked me how much snow we had up here. I laughed. She said, "Well, it is Minnesota." Wanting to fight all MN stereo-types, I assured her that it was 60 degrees outside and my kids were wearing shorts. Let's just say I shouldn't have laughed.
Yes, it is Minnesota. Yes, it is November and yes, we were hit by a beautiful snowstorm yesterday. We are embracing the snow. We are loving the snow. The kids are building snowmen, building forts, sledding and sipping cocoa. We had a fire going all day and we are listening to Christmas music.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Grandpa comes to town

We were lucky this month to have a family visitor. Erik's dad, Grandpa Dan came to visit for an extended weekend. It is always fun when family comes around! Grandpa was nice enough to get our yard work done, chop the last of our wood, and he was even known to wash a few dishes.
Fear not, his visit was not all work. We had a yummy brunch at the Original Pancake house (the most delicious breakfast place this side of the Mississippi), and watched movies. They (I was at school) played Blacklight Putt Putt at the Mall, played tons of ping-pong, and went to the driving range. The kids loved simply playing around with him. He had to be on his toes, because Grandpa Dan was Andrew's favorite person to practice his latest wrestling moves on. Thank you Grandpa Dan for the great time! Can't wait to see you again soon.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween

This year our Halloween was filled with family and candy. We got to start celebrating on Saturday night at the Truck-or-Treat. Our ward combined with two other wards.This meant there were lots of cars ready to give out candy and lots of costumed kiddos.We parked our car right between Mom and Cousin Beqi's car. Mom was running the bean bag toss game that Emily and Andrew helped make. The next night was Halloween. Grandpa Bill, Grandma Ginger, Louise and Adele stayed back to pass out candy. (Sadly Adele was not feeling good enough to be out in the cold air-next year will be her year!) This was Fiona's first time out trick-or-treating and she was adorable. Louise says they practiced all day, and she racked in the treats! Here are Andrew (ninja), Fiona (Thomas), Emily (Cleopatra), Adele (Ladybug-which I will add is the same costume Em wore for her first Halloween-sigh) and Ryan the Dementor (From Harry Potter). Erik, Grandpa Dan, Ben and I walked the kiddos around the neighborhood. It was hard to keep up with Andrew...that kid can move, especially when there is candy involved.It is so much fun to get to spend holidays with cousins and friends, I can't think of a better way to spend the day.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wax Museum and a party

Today Emily and Andrew's school celebrated Halloween. The fifth graders put together a wax museum for the rest of the school. It is really a creative process. These guys came up with some really cool ideas. This year there was a lemonade stand, various sports, a roller coaster, band concert, a flight, beauty pageant, a spa, hunters, roller parks, and other cool vignettes. Emily's group decided to put together a camp-out scene with boys attacking them. I just have to let you all in on the organization behind this scene. My daughter made up different lists for each person of things that they were responsible to bring. On top of the list it said, "please tape on the cover of your binder." So unlike her mother :). The fifth graders stood perfectly still. It was great to walk through the museum. After spending the morning setting up the wax museum, and watching the Halloween parade run by, I got to spend the afternoon in Andrew's classroom. Somehow, I was in charge of the whole class party. We had a pumpkin bean-bag toss (made by Andrew, Emily and Grandma Ginger-thank you very much), a bat craft, Halloween bingo and a "wrap the mummy" game. Of course, there were snacks too. I did not get as many pictures as I had hoped today, because I was busy running the craft table and other various things.
Then it was off to my class at the U-sadly no fun Halloween party for me, just a powerpoint lecture-boo.
Over all, it was a REALLY fun day and now I am REALLY exhausted.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Today was a fun day. Actually, it started with me in the dentist chair and that is NEVER a fun day. So I am going to focus on the fun part of the day. I decided it was time to make good on a promise that I made to Emily I would do years ago. It was simple really. I told Em that I would eat lunch with her at school. I don't know what took me so long to show up. I am glad I finally did though. Today we enjoyed a yummy Subway sandwich, chips, pop and a cookie. It was fun to be back in the elementary school cafeteria. Not much has changed. Still the long lunch tables, and the yucky garbage cans. I do think the company has gotten better. These girls are hilarious.

Of course the girls could not help but pose for some fun pictures. These were taken in the name of the yearbook.
I am grateful that Em has so many wonderful friends at school.
Of course we could not resist stopping by Andrew's first grade class. First graders are some of my favorite people on this planet. Somehow Andrew does not look amused that his mom is taking pictures in the middle of his school day. He'll get used to it : )

Monday, October 25, 2010

Let the wrestling begin!

Andrew started wrestling (officially) last year, but he has been drawn to wrestling since toddlerhood. Andrew participated in the preseason wrestling clinic put on by the HS wrestling team and tonight was the grand finale. Wrestle-Mania! The clinic was a fun way to brush up on the skills from last year and get ready for this season. The wrestling coach had the high school team members demonstrate some moves and then help the boys as they practiced with their partners. Then they had time to free-wrestle with their partner. Andrew really got some good take downs in tonight.
I do have to say it is really a strange feeling cheering your kiddo on as he pins some other kid to the ground. Oh well, when in Rome.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The house guest tradition lives

You were warned that we had people visiting us this past weekend. If you have ever read this blog before then you know what this post will be about...More specifically..we had a fun family outing to Nickelodeon Universe.We started the afternoon riding the rides with our little cousins. It was so much fun to watch them take in the entire experience. I really think that Fletcher and Fiona had a good time. It brought back so many memories of my little kiddos riding these rides...Little cousins are a fun excuse to ride rides such as Blues Clues ride and the Diego's Rescue Adventure.
After a filling dinner at the food court, some of us stayed to ride the older people's rides and some of us brought little ones home to bed. Ben, Ryan, Emily, Atom, Jennifer and myself did the Flying Dutchman. In fact, I have to add that Ben did a few of the bridges "no hands." I kept my same old style of holding on for dear life through the entire thing. This trip also marks the first time Em has actually wanted to go on the Rock Bottom Plunge and even begged to go on it twice in a row (which we did). That turned out to be the group's favorite ride too. She also conquered her fear of the Avatar ride. She is one step closer to going to Valley Fair. Here's a fun tip for going to Nickelodeon Universe. Go during Monday night football while the rest of the state is watching Brett Farve not win another football game..the place was empty. Simply fabulous.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Family and Apples

We are having amazing weather around here. Weather that makes you want to cry if you have to stay inside. Weather that actually may be, dare I say, too warm. I take that back. It can never be too warm in October. We also have family visiting us this weekend. My cousin Atom and his fabulous family are here. It is so much fun to get to meet little Fletcher. He is adorable. We decided it would be fun to take these guys to an apple orchard. After all, they ARE visiting Apple Valley.Here are some the the cousins. Actually this is a picture of most of Grandma Hamer's great-grandchildren. Emily, Fletcher, Ry, Adele, Fiona and Andrew. A pretty cute and fun group of kiddos if I do say so myself : )
We went to the Fischer's Croix Farm Orchard in Hastings. We got to pick apples, eat apples, feed animals, eat apples, go on a wagon ride, eat apples, get lost in the corn maze and then eat some more apples.
It is so much fun to have so many members of the family together.
Anyone want to come over for homemade apple sauce? Better hurry : )