Friday, September 30, 2011

Officially Not Slacking

Marlin was seen across the street jumping out of the forest, somersault to catch a rodent that looked very familiar...only to carry it into the forest, and return (sans rodent) looking very satisfied...just in case you were worried about his hunting skills :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Um....Marlin's slacking!

Totoro isn't the only four legged animal that loves our trampoline...This wild "friend" sat perched up there for about an hour...Look Louise, this nature head has a body attached to it : ) Aren't mice supposed to be small, gray and unseen? Look at that tail...shivers are running down my back.
I cannot say with any certainty if I did or did not run around the back yard screaming as it scurried around the trampoline. Em, Andrew and the crew did eventually catch it and released it in the park across the street...isn't Marlin's sole purpose in life to keep these guys away?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Apple Valley Campout 2011

Once a year we "go" camping. We don't actually go anywhere...just the back yard. We had a busy summer and we missed our chance..or so I thought. The kids had other plans. We looked at the weather for this past weekend and decided it was now or never. The kids chose now. I am glad that they wanted to do it. Erik dragged the tent up and the kids help set it up. We played around in the backyard all afternoon.They had so much fun spending time together. No TV or computer screens, just good outside fun. The weather was perfect and the bugs were gone. Everyone was just enjoying themselves.
We kind-of rediscovered the swings and the trampoline.
Ry even tamed the local wildlife.
Believe me that is not easy to do. I have been trying for about a year now!

We had a warm campfire going all afternoon.
As the sun went down, we cooked hot dogs over the fire.
Once the sun had set, we had our s'mores and circle stories. This year the stories were especially funny...because Dumbledor kept showing up in the stories without any pants have to be a fan of Potter Puppetpals to truly understand this humor.As you can see, Andrew is a fan of the Potter Puppetpals.
Inside the tent was fun too. We fit five kids..two of our neighbors joined us..andONE adult. For the record, I slept in the tent and Erik slept inside. This was not the first year that this has happened either. I guess that's what I get, because I am always the first to fall asleep!
Andrew did wake up the next morning and said, "Next time dad needs to sleep in the tent, just for the experience." I agree :) Now I am going to let you each in on the secret to camping with five kids on a chilly fall night.Lots of couch cushions and a big extension cord to power the heater and the portable DVD player!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Andrew Night

Last night was Andrew's night. Emily was gone to a party and Ry was camping with his scout troop. So Andrew was in charge. We could go anywhere, do anything.

He decided that Erik should go and get treats (Nacho cheese Doritos, chocolate and popcorn) and Andrew and I got to go out to the back yard and swing while we wait for him to return.

I loved the chance to swing side by side with Andrew and just listen to this incredible child.
He told me his favorite class was art, because that's when he can let his imagination go wild!

We also talked about how his kindergarten and first grade teacher (the same person) would always say, "the sky's the limit" when introducing project. That always made him want to build a tower as tall as the sky and see what she would say.

At one point he asked if I thought we were going high. I told him that I thought that we were going super high. Then he says, "Quick close your eyes, it feels just like flying! I do it every day at recess."

As we were walking in the house to play Guess Who 2, he asks, "Aren't you glad it is Andrew night? I am choosing such fun activities!" Erik got back and we played Castle Keep, ate our treats and watched Avatar episodes.

I loved my Andrew Night. I can't wait for the next one.

Friday, September 16, 2011

What's Missing?

Do you notice anything missing from this picture?
It is a picture of the front of our house. Does that help? If you look at the roof line you might be able to notice...No old black yucky spider webs! (Man it is almost Halloween too...the one time of year my spiderwebs were socially acceptable...oh well)

After living in this house for over 8 years we finally got our house repainted. Fresh, clean and a new color. I like it. I also like that we did NOT do it ourselves!

Actually there is something else missing too. I won't make you guess. It is our green glitter glue glob. We moved into the house and about two months later, Andrew was born. My parents helped little Emily and little Ryan make a Welcome Home sign for us. Evidently, they put the sign up before the glitter glue was completely dry. The green glitter glue dripped down onto the windowsill. We never cleaned it up (that's how we roll around here). The glue sat on our front window trim for years cooking in the sun, and freezing in the winter.

Fast forward about five years, and a very enthusiastic cleaning supply salesman comes to my door. He is excitedly explaining to me all the amazing things his product can clean. He tells me that it can clean anything. Not wanting to say no (I feel mean saying NO, even when I don't want to buy whatever they are selling), I tell him that if he can clean the glue off the front window, I will buy his product. He happily agrees, probably thinking this was going to be a quick sale. I show him the spot. He starts spraying and wiping. After a bit, he turns to me and says, "this is NOT Jesus in a bottle" and leaves. The glitter glue drip got to stay at least another three years pretty much undisturbed.

Yesterday, as the painter was preparing the window trim for new paint, I told him the story and said good-bye to my glitter glue drip.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Back to School

Day one was a complete success. Everyone made it to school. Everyone is happy with their teachers, friends and classes. Ry's binder even fit is his locker.
Ryan starts 7th and Emily starts 6th. Both get to ride their bikes to school this year. They did not ride together though. Instead they went to school with friends.
Ry went ahead to meet someone at his house. Em started with a friend and met one more along the way.
Not to be outdone, Andrew rode his scooter to the bus stop. He is so ready for second grade.What a huge bus stop this year. Every single grade at our school is represented. When Ry started at this bus stop, it was only him. Look how it has grown!
We love our neighborhood friends!
The kids are not the only ones to have school start.
My classes started too. Unfortunately, I can't ride my bike or scooter to school. I think this semester is going to be great. I only have an online class, a Saturday class and student teaching.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pet Story

Before moving here to Minnesota in 1980, I lived in Ohio. We had a dog named Tiffany. She was a West Highland Terrier. I remember loving this dog with all the love a preschooler/kindergartener could give. Plus, I really liked the idea of walking the dog, and would frequently ask to walk this dog by myself. Mom finally reluctantly let me walk this dog around the block. The story goes...Tiffany got away from me, and I think the police had to bring us home. This did not hinder my love for walking dogs.

When we moved to Minnesota, Tiffany did not come with us. She stayed in Ohio with a family who loved her and treated her well.

Like most petless children, I begged for a pet. Mostly, I begged for a dog. I used lines such as, "it has been proven that people with pets live longer happier lives, don't you want me to live a long time?" I also would beg and plead and generally be annoying. I was always told that I could get a dog when I had my own house and my own yard.

Not giving up, I switched to wanting a cat. My sister Carol and I borrowed a tiny kitten from a friend whose cat had just had a litter of kittens. We wrapped it up in a box with holes and a big bow and gave it to my dad as a birthday present. It would be rude to say "no" to a birthday present, right?

Of course, we all fell in love with that tiny kitten. Mom and dad let us keep her. (We had to return her for a few weeks because she was too tiny to leave her mamma). We named her PJ. We, esp. me, loved her. She lived over 20 years. Friendly, beautiful fluffy orange cat.

Growing up, Erik had many cats, dogs, birds, snakes, reptiles, rabbits, chickens and other animals. He even worked at a pet store.

As soon as Erik and I bought our first house, I got my much wanted puppy. He was a beagle. Ryan, our 20 month child at the time, named him Goalbee. He was adorable. But, I had no idea how to take care of a puppy plus small baby Emily and toddler Ryan. We had him two weeks, but I was overwhelmed so we had to sell him. That was the right decision.

Our love for pets has continued and has been passed on to our children. To date our family has had:
* a water dragon. Erik and I got it when we were first married...sort of had a tragic death

*a hedge hog named Pokey who we ended up giving away when we moved apartments

* a teddy bear hamster named Hairball.
*another teddy bear hamster named Patty. We had her for years while the kids were young..she got sick and died

*random goldfish. Our first one was named Ernie, Emily loved to pick it up and hold it in her hands...that fish lived a surprisingly long time.

*a cockatiel named Savannah. HaHa Emily and Savannah had matching hair! Actually a cool pet...very messy though. We had to give her away because it kept biting little Ry and little Em. One day it cornered baby Em in the corner of the room. It was time for her to go...

*a Beagle..see above storyBut he was soooo cute!!!

*two fire-bellied biggest memory of these guys was that one got away and we could not find it. A few days later I found it dried up in a corner of the room. Yes, I freaked out. I don't like surprises like that!

*our beloved Ashley. She was an Australian Cattle (Blue Heeler) Mix. Sweet little face..patient loving. Still miss her.

* Marlin. Our cat who still lives here. As feisty as ever but when in the right mood, cuddly. In my mind, he keeps the mice out, so he gets to stay no matter how feisty he gets:)

* a corn snake named Alice. Actually turned out to be a fun pet...a neighborhood favorite. I am going to block out the night she escaped. Alice was traded to a family for Nutmeg.

*Nutmeg and Snirt (guinea pigs). We had Nutmeg and felt she needed friend. Snirt was given to us, but Snirt and Nutmeg did not get along..and were never able to be in one cage together. An experiment gone wrong. We gave Snirt to our neighbor down the street. They love her and she has her own cage.

*Hermit crabs. These guys did not last died and the other two were donated to Emily's class. Hermit crabs are surprisingly boring pets. At the end of the school year, they were part of a class auction and Em's friend Natalie brought those home.

*German/Malamute mix pony-I mean puppy- named Totoro who still lives here. Kind-of my baby.

*Now meet Misty our newest addition.Misty is a Russian Dwarf Hamster. She is really friendly and very calm. She does not run around her cage when the kids pick her up. All three children are happy to have her around.

(Because we have a 1 caged animal at a time rule, Nutmeg has found a new home with Emily's friend. We saw her today, and she is happy as can be playing with her new family!)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Back to School Parties

Emily is starting middle school next week. MIDDLE SCHOOL! At some point I blinked, and I now have TWO grown up middle schoolers. To make the transition into middle school more comfortable, we thought that it would be fun to have two small back to school gatherings. Day ONE was the girls:

Emily is very lucky because there are five girls from church all starting 6th grade together at the same middle school....

So she invited all of them, plus a few other friends also starting the same middle school to grandma and grandpa's place. The more familiar faces the better right?
They jumpedOh boy did they jump.
The girls also swam and swam and swam.Just as fun as the swimming, was the fishing...these girls were very successful fishermen! and successful Kayakers.Because the weather looked iffy at the start of the party, I had a back-up craft for the girls.Even though the weather only got nicer and nicer, the girls still made the craft: Foamie locker picture frames. It was fun to see each design. Some girls spelled out their school name, some put their own names on it, and others just put foamie flowers around the edge. When the girls were done, we put the first picture from this post in each one. Then they hit the water again. Emily is ready to start this new chapter of life.

Day TWO: The boys' turn! Same idea (back to school swim party for all the boys attending Ryan's middle school from church and a neighborhood friend)...same place (grandma and grandpa's back yard). Ryan had eight boys over to celebrate (or mourn) the end of summer. They had a great time boating, squirting each other with water guns, fishing, jumping, swimming and eating. They missed out on the cute craft...(I don't think they were disappointed though!) Ry is also ready to continue his middle school adventure! Now it is ANDREW'S turn for a party!