Thursday, August 30, 2012

Max starts school this year. I may have mentioned it on this blog before but our school district has an early education class that buses the 4 year olds to the school for a half day of class. That means 5 days a week my son will be in class for three and a half hours and then just over an hour of travel between going to and from school on the bus.

I've been anxiously looking forward to this day. I mean, your kid getting in to school, ready to learn, making life long friends, gaining some independence? Awesome!

And then we go to his open house. And suddenly it's not so exciting. You guys? I'm losing my first baby. I realize he's already attended preschool. I realize he isn't really a baby anymore. And to be honest, I'm still looking forward to those afternoons with only one kid around. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to miss him like crazy. That I'll be that mother playing with her daughter by her driveway an hour before my son is even supposed to be dropped off? Pretty much a given.

This is going to be an interesting adjustment. And I'm really glad our district offers these half day introductions first instead of jumping into the full day kindergarten. I know Max would do fine but I think I'll enjoy gradually moving into this new stage of our lives.

As for Max? Well he's pretty sure he's excited about school.

He loved all the toys and games we saw in his classroom. That neat little chair made perfectly to his size? Now that was awesome! And the fake fish tank that you turned on? He was entranced.

But while we were walking to and from the school he wasn't as thrilled. He talked about how much he didn't like school and how he wasn't going to have any fun. I'm sure some of it is nerves, and another part is just Max. He was this same way when we'd go to preschool and while I knew he was having a fun time he still insisted he was not or would not have fun.

So for now we wait. We talk about riding the bus, all the friends he already knows and all the ones he's going to meet. He loves to ask us what our favorite parts were in school and we continue to encourage his curiosity. In less than a week my boy will be loading onto a school bus for what will be the first time of many first days of school. I can only hope that I've done my job right to prepare him to go, and that I'll be able to hide my tears, both of joy and sorrow.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It's our last week of summer before Max starts school (more on that a different day) and instead of cramming in all the fun activities we can we're sitting around at home, watching more TV than we have in at least the last month. Max caught that weird virus that is going around. From the few people I've talked to it lasts about 3-4 days and instead of him being sick all day long he'll be running around and normal and than suddenly not feel well and have a rather high fever. A couple hours later? He's back to normal. And than it happens again and again and again.

We're on day 3 today and we also have his open house at his school today. You know the one, where he'll meet his teacher and see his classroom? So instead of hoping the bug is gone and letting him run around only to find out he is still sick, I've confined him to the house and put on more and more movies for him to watch. I'd really hate for him to be sick and have to miss his very first school open house!

With all this sickness going on at our house I've been going a little stir crazy. Thankfully Uncle Cecil agreed to watch the kids last night so that Dusty and I could join Katie and Andrew at the Minnesota Twin's baseball game last night. We had a great time even if the game wasn't all that exciting. (I don't even know who won, we left before the end as it was a late game and we had a bit of a drive to get home.)

Yes, my husband really does hate having his photo taken. I can't seem to make him change his outlook on that. Thank you Katie and Andrew for inviting us and for a nice adult evening out, and thank you Cecil for watching the kids (sick and all) so we could enjoy our evening.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

We gave Max the choice of what we should do for an activity on Sunday after we finished cleaning up from the party and he said we should have "family time". How stinking cute is that? So after running through various options, keeping in mind we had to stick close to home so the kids wouldn't fall asleep in the car, we decided on some fishing from the shore of the river closest to our house. Max and Dusty were fast at work getting those fishing poles all setup.

Rory was fast at work checking out the water. Throwing sticks, making up songs, and of course, trying to get into the water as far as she could without getting caught.

She got caught.

Nobody ended up catching any fish. Even I gave it some effort and ended up scaring away a bunch of bass when I snagged a large branch they were all hiding under. Whoops! At least we can say we gave it some effort.

And when we got home we still had plenty to eat without the fish. I mean, we'll be eating pulled pork, buns, and potato salad for days to come!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Today? Some of those silly photos that came from our Very Merry Unbirthday photo booth!

A bunch of our neighbors, and Andrew, having a good laugh and flashing our new neighbor gang sign, because we're young like that.

Seriously, Rory's face makes this photo alone, although having Bano and Tara in it helps.

My boy was obsessed with this glow stick gun that Tata brought for Uncle Cecil. It was his most favorite toy that night.

Shannon, Cristie and Ashley barging in on Rory and Lyla whom spent a good chunk of the evening dressed up, standing on the chairs, watching themselves in the camera. It was really funny to watch!

I love my nieces and their parents, how stinking cute is this?!

4 generations of girls...obviously Rory has big shoes to fill!

Kelsey, it may have taken a little convincing but this picture so made all my begging worth it!

My oldest friend, Kristen, and her family. Seriously amazing photo guys!

None photo booth photos, but still worth sharing:

Auntie Cyd and Uncle Jeff left the farm and made it to our party, in the middle of the summer and the busiest season! Now that is love.

Uncle Cecil does not pose for pictures. But if you shove one of the kids next to him? Well, he's a sucker.

Becca, baby Remy, and Erica, some of the best experiences to come from college. Lisa, we missed you!

Now you want to have a photo booth at your next party, don't you? It was genius! And I may have spent a lot of time in front of that camera but it was so worth it for those photos.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Yesterday Dusty and I celebrated our 30th birthdays...a little early.

It really wouldn't have been nearly as fun to celebrate our birthdays in November, February, or in between and directly after the holidays. Snow and cold weather just don't give you as many freedoms as summer does, so we celebrated early and we had a dang good time! (Thank you again for the invite design Molly!)

I had a lot of fun planning our party. Pinterest was of course a big help in visualizing how it could all work out. I mean, check out my adorable sucker bouquet!

I also purchased this cupcake stand and then decorated it for the party. I had big visions of cleaning it up and using it multiple times throughout the years but after suffering a hot glue gun burn and seeing how much work would entail taking it apart and cleaning it up enough to store for a long time...well lets just say it made for great fuel for the bonfire.

With all the preparations I'd say my most favorite part of the party was the photo booth I put together. Thank you Ashley #2 for writing out the sign.

My poor man's photo booth consisted of my laptop, web cam, an extension cord light for when Dusty is working under the hood of our vehicles, and some miscellaneous items.

It was the perfect addition to our joyous occasion!

Yes, we really are that cute when no one is looking. And our kids? They certainly enjoy all the fun!

Tomorrow I'll show you some of the silly photos that were taken. And yes, they were actually made into strips of 3 for printing and individual photos because I'm awesome like that. Now I have to work on a fun photo book with all the silly photos!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Things have been a bit crazy over here, as I stated yesterday. So we decided to take a break and head to the Great Minnesota Get Together. It was our first year as a family to attend, naturally I had to document the moment. (Thanks Grandma!)

Grandma took Max and Rory down the big slide. Rory did not look like she was having fun at all, until the very end.

And then they begged to go again with Mom so we had to do it one more time, but I insisted we ride together because I can!

Daddy met up with us after work and we headed over to the kiddie midway where the kids had a blast riding the rides. Rory loved the swings.

And riding the carousel with Grandma.

Max was brave enough to attempt the flying ride on his own. (And just barely tall enough.)

Grandma had been watching for the State Fair mascot the whole time. My family picture in front of the statue was not enough satisfaction for her. I thought it was a lost cause but Grandma prevailed, and we got the kids' picture with the gopher.

We also got to learn about bagpipes at O'Gara's (while Grandma and Daddy had a refreshment) and he even let the kids take turns squeezing the bag.

Of course, we also ate lots and lots of food. Nothing like wearing a chicken hat while chowing down on a corndog!

It was a fun day at the fair with the family. And now? I'm exhausted.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The last couple weeks have been really busy for me. It's also been extremely boring for the kids. You see, the garden has been producing more than we can keep up with, so we've been busy trying to preserve what we can. Last weekend we spent our Saturday pickling jalapenos. When you have a wheel barrow half filled with jalapenos, you know it's going to be an all day process.

The potato bugs have started spreading onto other plants so I've had to pick almost all our eggplant and quick make meals that we can freeze because there isn't much else you can do with eggplant that won't have it turn out mushy. So we'll be eating quite a few eggplant parmigiana and pasta meals in the near future.

One of my favorite canning veggies are the green beans. Not only is it my favorite way to eat them but I don't have a pressure cooker, which is required for canning beans. So it becomes a social event as I help my mother-in-law pick her beans and we combine what we have to get enough canners for both of us and she pressure cooks them. (Dusty and Rosie both helped us with different steps this year which was really nice.)

My least favorite, and a first time canning item for me, has been preserving the tomatoes. I was slowly skinning and freezing them as they came but the tomato plants are in full harvest mode now and there was no way I could keep up. It was getting to be really overwhelming. So Dusty and I took the plunge and bought a tomato juicer. The kids were thrilled!

So far, I've cooked down about 50 lbs of tomatoes into a sauce and I have to do that yet again to get through what we've harvested so far. Worse yet? It's just sitting in my fridge as we haven't even canned them yet. My fridge is stock full of tomato sauce and juice and I don't foresee an open day for Dusty and I to actually jar them until after our big party this weekend.

Somebody hold me?

The good news is that we should really save quite a bit of money on our grocery bill this year. I've got at least 8 meals prepared in the freezer along with the foods we've frozen and canned. Here's hoping the garden stops soon or at least slows down enough to just enjoy as we go.

I didn't even mention the pepper jelly, salsa, beets, brussel sprouts, roma green beans and stuffed peppers I've worked on in the last month or so. Do you see why I'm so overwhelmed now?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

We celebrated Lyla's 4th birthday on Friday.

Auntie Katie and Uncle Andrew got a bounce house for the kids to play in! Nora was having a great time showing off in the bounce house, and if you started encouraging her she'd get really goofy for you.

Max and Rory were pretty good about letting Lyla open all her presents on her own but as soon as the paper started to rip their faces were just as close as Lyla's was to see the present. It was cute, and Lyla was a good sport for her cousins.

And of course, Auntie Katie got a lady bug cake for Lyla and the girls were in matching lady bug outfits. Such a cute family!

Happy Birthday Goddaughter, we love you!

Friday, August 17, 2012

While we were at the cabin, Max officially learned to swim. He'd been getting better at it throughout the summer. First he started diving down to the bottom of the water, thrashing his feet around above and coming up oh so happily with sand in his hands. Then he progressed to swimming under water. Now mind you, he doesn't get far, but he was able to kick and paddle under the water long enough to actually move forward a bit. I was pretty ecstatic with this skill and thought we'd seen the end of his swimming progression for this year as keeping his head and chest above water seemed to be too tough for him yet.

The last day at the cabin? Max started freaking out at me to watch, that he was swimming. My kid asking for attention and telling me he is doing something he's never done before? Pretty common. So I didn't think I'd see much but for him to swim underwater yet again.

Also? In case you aren't aware. I am a pretty decent swimmer. I competed in both junior high and high school. I love swimming and always have. Hence going to the beach at least once a week in the summer.

So when Max started actually doing a doggy paddle that had his head above water and him also moving forward? Yeah, I may have jumped up and down clapping and laughing and just making a way bigger deal than may have been necessary. I am just so excited that my 4 year old is swimming, all our water time has paid off. Next year? We'll race!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tuesday was our last day at the cabin. The sun finally came out so we spent most of our time by the water and I relaxed and left my camera in the house. Sometimes, you just have to do that. I did, however, get some photos of other activities.

The kids were very good at helping us clean up the cabin for our departure. Here's Lyla, holding the dust pan for Rosie so she can throw the pine needles into the fire.

And Grammy got a nice big fire going for the kids so we'd have at least one fire to enjoy before we headed home.

Rory of course had to get a cuddle in.

I also found Lyla "reading" this story to Rory, puppy and bunny blankey. How stinking cute are they?!

It was a very fun mini vacation. We had so much fun with everyone and we're (I'm) especially thankful to Uncle Rick and Sharon for those fishing poles which lead to hours of entertainment on our cloudy days. And of course, thanks to Grammy and Rosie for putting up with my kids and an additional preschooler. Although, I think they wouldn't have had it any other way.
Monday the weather was still a bit cloudy but with the sun peaking out it actually warmed up a bit more. Since it wasn't warm enough to go swimming right away we took a nice long walk along the property where we saw bear tracks along with deer and horse tracks. We picked flowers for a beautiful bouquet, and we also found the tallest grass we could walk through.

The bugs surprisingly were hardly bugging us at all so we were able to go for a nice long walk before returning. Max, right away took up a fishing pole and very quickly caught a Bass! He was very excited!

When Lyla saw that she came running to fish too. They did catch some more little sunfish but we mainly just practiced our casting skills.

Rory, well she decided she didn't need a swimsuit to go play in the water. You can't tell since the outfit is so dark, but her lower half is drenched and she's giving you the "I know you caught me but I'm too cute to yell at" look.

It was another fun day at the cabin.