Thursday, May 31, 2012

Yesterday the kids, Maya, and I took a trip to Interstate State Park for some hiking. The hiking trails at this park were amazing! You're pretty much walking along the rocks that were stripped when the St. Croix River was formed and it made for uneven terrain, stairs, and a bit of climbing which was really entertaining for the kids. Our first break, overlooking the St. Croix River.

We need to refuel after that initial climb. (Yes, the water was really that mucky brown but to be fair the river is currently flooded; the southern half of the park is currently underwater and inaccessible.)

One of the big appeals of this park are the natural potholes that were made when the glacier came through and the waters started reshaping the river valley. The kids? They had fun poking sticks into the potholes!

Don't worry they couldn't hurt these holes, and they were surprisingly deep! There is no good way to show that so you'll just have to take my word on it.

Do you see these stairs? Almost all of the stairs were created with rocks. This park has a lot of work put into it. This is the first time I took the kids for a hike that I wasn't annoyed with how slow they were moving. They were so excited to see what was coming next it kept them moving along!

We took another trail so we could check out the view upriver and see the dam. I wasn't aware, but St. Croix Falls, WI was actually named after a waterfall that used to be upriver but has since been flooded by the dam.

Max and Rory were a bit nervous up here as it was really high up and the rock ledge was steep. They did great though and there are some man made stairs to get you up to the top ledge so it wasn't as uneven as most of the rock stairs we encountered on the trails.

On our way back down Rory asked Max to catch her. You guys? Does your heart hurt as much as mine does looking at this?! He's such a good brother. And Rory stated that about 15 times for the rest of the way down.

We also had to stop to check out this little pond. This is the spot where I desperately wished I remembered exactly what poison ivy looked like because there was a patch of three leaved plants that I was pretty positive were not poison ivy but couldn't shake the fear my kids were infected. (No, they do not have a rash today.)

After all that hiking it was time to get our picnic lunch from the car and find a nice sunny spot to eat. Everyone pitched in to help.

GG gave us this picnic basket, isn't it just perfect?

And Maya was so exhausted she just lounged next to us which meant I didn't have to attempt to eat while holding on to her. I'm very thankful for that little reprieve.

After lunch we did a little wrestling with the Rock-em Sock-em finger Robots. We found these in a free box at a neighbor's garage sale. Seriously awesome!

After our lunch we visited the Visitor's Center, walked along another trail that had an audio tour you used by calling into it with your cell phone (awesome idea), and then we packed up for the trip home. We didn't go all the way home though, we ended up making a detour, but since this post is so long and photo heavy I'm going to save the second visit for tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

OK, I'm backtracking a bit here, but we did have a big first birthday celebration on Friday last week. Miss Nora Wynn turned the big 1!

For the record, the children were invited to taste the cake in hopes of encouraging Nora to eat it. She just sat there staring at it for a very long time. And the trick worked!

That is, until she got distracted by the balloons on her chair.

She was not happy when she was removed from the balloons, but Mommy was quick with the present distraction and Nora had a very successful gift opening. You know, where Mommy opens all the gifts while Nora gets distracted with the boxes, tissue and wrappings.

Happy Birthday Nora, we love you!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sunday and Monday were spent trying to soak up as much sun as we could find. We took a pontoon ride Saturday evening and while Mom and I were hamming it up for the camera? We got lost in a bay. Don't worry, we found our way out!

Sunday morning, Auntie found a turtle before starting her morning run. The kids sure thought that was pretty cool!

That afternoon we took another pontoon ride. As soon as we got close to the restaurant we were stopping at, Rory fell asleep in my arms and the sun came out. So I spent the break in the pontoon, sweating in my sweatshirt, letting my sweet baby girl take a nap.

TaTa, Max and Dusty decided to go fishing instead of joining us for a pontoon ride. We ended up crossing paths with them and stopped to say hi.

Max was again my brave man and was jumping into the cold water both off the shore and off the dock.

Rory was really excited to play in the water, until she realized how cold it was, then she was all over Taylor making him hold her above the water but he wasn't allowed to leave the water either.

Monday morning was a bit quieter, as everyone was a bit exhausted from the long weekend of festivities. Well, except for Max, who always wakes up with more energy in the first hour then I could summon for a whole day. He decided to join Bopa outside for a reflective morning chat of all the fish they've been catching.

It was a lovely weekend with my family that will be hard to bounce back from this week.

**Thank you to all our service members and their families, we remember you this Memorial Day, and every day in between!**

Monday, May 28, 2012

Our memorial weekend was spent with Grandma and Bopa at their lake house. Saturday brought rain so most of us ventured into town to do a little shopping and have some fun.

Mom pointed out this shirt to Tara which really did make for this reaction.

We stopped at the hot dog joint because Taylor wanted to introduce Rory to their amazing hot dogs and she seemed to agree!

After a little over an hour of goofing around we headed home to see how Max, Dusty, and Bopa did fishing only to find they came in shortly after it started raining and we had left. Guess that's what they get for being slow, a lazy afternoon in front of the TV instead of hamming it up in town with us!

Friday, May 25, 2012

The last two days have been a bit crazy over here. On Wednesday Nora joined us for the day. It was interesting having an almost 1 year old, I was always on my toes to see what she was trying to get into and making sure to remove any questionable items away from her grasp or out of her mouth. Max and Rory were great helpers!

We were able to sneak off for a quick walk/bike ride and Nora was adorable babbling away. She made sure to always know where Maya was and would point and laugh whenever Maya would stick her nose close to the stroller.

On Thursday both Lyla and Nor joined us for the day. Naturally it down poured almost the entire day and I also had to get Max to and from preschool with the extra kids in tow. Thankfully, no one seemed to mind getting a little wet and we had fun with both the play tent and ball pit for some indoor fun!

Tonight we'll be celebrating Nora's first birthday, and what a crazy first year it has been! There is a lot to celebrate as this brave little girl has overcome many more obstacles than most children her age and we cannot wait to help her ring in her first year!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Just some fun projects with stories from the past week or so.

I showed Max and Rory the joys of combining vinegar with baking soda. We added food coloring drops to make it a little more exciting and they really had fun with that.

Max has a subscription to My Big Backyard and this month's issue was about Starfish. They had instructions for making starfish pretzels. Naturally on the 90 degree day last week we decided to spend some time indoors and run the oven to cook up these pretzels. Thankfully they were pretty yummy or I would have been really upset with how hot we got the house!

And this picture is just too funny not to show. I was emptying out Max's school bag and stumbled across this.

When Max saw me looking at it he got really excited. That was his tree! See the trunk and the leaves?! Yes Max man, Mama sees the trunk and the leaves. She also sees that you signed your name oh-so-perfectly below the tree. (And don't you dare tell me my mind is in the gutter here people, I happen to know of a few people who did not see the tree as the object first!)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My little spider girl.

This is what she did at every single soccer game. Run to the playground and constantly spider climb this tall ladder. No wonder she out climbed her brother!

She makes her Mama so proud!

My brave little man.

We filled the pool after watering the garden, so the water was extra cold as it was pulling directly from our well. That didn't deter my kids from splashing around in the pool but they weren't really going in. Suddenly I look over at Max running and catch him flying in! Naturally he had to ham it up for the camera too.

I've got some pretty amazing kiddos over here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ashley's bachelorette party was very entertaining. We met up at Katie's house where we played some fun games, ate some snacks, and watched Ashley open her presents. And of course, I setup a group shot!

After that we headed out to a bar in Burnsville that had Good For Gary performing that night. We had called ahead to reserve a table and laughed when we were pointed to a table reserved for "Angi" instead of "Ashley" figuring they just misunderstood the name over the phone.

So imagine our surprise when Angi's birthday party group showed up to claim their reserved table! After a bit of a hassle, we finally got a table for our party too and we broke it in with a group shot! (Not another photo, a drink. Yay!)

I snapped a picture of us sister-in-laws that are over 21 and able to drink at bars. (Sorry Rosie!). Ok, so technically Ashley isn't a sister-in-law yet...

And the rest of the evening was spent blissfully on the dance floor, or collapsed in a stool from exhaustion and heat. The bar was extremely hot. But we made the best of it, took breaks when necessary, and danced most of the night away. It was very fun and a great way to celebrate Ashley's last days as a Miss instead of a Mrs!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Saturday was crazy busy for us this past weekend. Get ready for a photo overload!

To start, Max had his last soccer game, and naturally I had to take as many photos as I could.

When Max was excited, he would really keep up with the big kids. And while he rarely got to kick the ball, he wasn't afraid to get close and right into the group. He just usually couldn't keep up.

But once he'd get bored he'd start to get funny. Like, he knew if he stopped running he'd be yelled at to hustle. (No, not literally yelled at, but the coaches do have to yell to be heard.) So a lot of the time we'd catch him running like this.

That's right, he's running, but he's watching his shadow, or the ground, or whatever was right over his shoulder. He literally ran without looking where he was going or where the ball/group of kids were. It was pretty entertaining to watch him try to be sneaky.

After Max's soccer game we were lucky enough to go the Children's Theatre to watch Pippi Longstocking. Yoyi (prounounced Chu-Chee) Gayle bought tickets for the kids and their mom's to join her as their Christmas presents this year. Our drive out to the theatre was horrendous, a major highway was closed, which we weren't expecting and we barely made it to the play on time. Once there and in our seats though? The kids did great and really seemed to enjoy it!

Yes, I did stop someone to take a few photos for us!

Don't mind Max's pouty face here, he was done with photos and I couldn't really be mad at him. I mean, our car ride there was way longer than we had anticipated and then he had to sit for a play. I'm just glad everything went as well as it did! Thanks Yoyi!

After the play we hurried home so we could load up the little kids and ship them off to the babysitter's house for the night. Rosie, Katie and I had to get ready for Ashley's bachelorette party! I'll share those photos and stories tomorrow. This post is long enough!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

So remember how back in March we planted some veggies early? Well we didn't have as many veggies as we normally would but we still have veggies earlier then usually!

Hello beautiful radishes. Can't wait to slice you up in a salad!

Also, I forgot to share a story during story hour this week. Rory has been spending a lot of time climbing at the soccer field playground. The other day the kids and I visited a playground we'd never been to. Max started climbing up one side and became scared and stopped. Rory, who was following him, became bored with Max and climbed right over him and continued to the top of the play structure. Max, meanwhile, decided to make his way back down.

That's right folks, Rory out climbed Max. That's my girl!