Archive for March 2014

Off to MN: Day 1...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
It's spring break around our parts and it kind of becomes mass chaos at all the fun places here so I thought we could go see Grandma.  Well then it got better that Grandpa was at home in between gigs so he was there too - yippee!  Unfortunately, my grandma went to the hospital right before we went so we couldn't hang out with her much.  She is home now but has a long road of recovery ahead of her.  I was thankful I could visit with her while there (thanks to my dad for being super-grandpa and taking care of the kiddos for mom and I!).  

The first day it ice/snowed so the commute to the mall was torture and filled with traffic - yuck! But when we arrived, it wasn't too busy and Solon was tall enough to ride the "Orange Streak" roller coaster.  He was over the moon excited.  He rode twice.  Vera is loving the kiddie rides now and so we rode all morning before catching a late lunch in the food court.  We sent them with my dad and packed in some fast shopping, my mom and I know how to power shop, before heading to spend some time with my Grandma at the hospital.

That night, Uncle Alex and Auntie Ellen came over to hang out and they brought the "fun".  We had a serious stuffed animal fight in the bunk room.  We all had a blast, the kids were in heaven!

Uncle Alex taking cover in the tent Grandpa made for the kids...
Auntie Elle and her mini-me (they are seriously attached at the hip)

We also found the moose head and had some fun!

Time for Uncle Alex to go home - shucks him and Auntie Ellen have jobs now!

We all fell into bed after a fun-filled first day at the lake!

Lovin' Spring..

Sunday, March 23, 2014
Are you getting sick of all the spring picture overload?  I am just so happy to have tired, happy kiddos outside in the fresh air, I can't help but snap a picture of the joy they have!  We have been sprung from the inside....thank you God for the change of seasons and the warmth of the sun!

Every year it seems we have to buy a new bubble machine, I buy the cheap ones now as it doesn't matter how much you pay ;).  BUT they do provide hours of entertainment and squeals of delight from both kiddos!

Not sure what they were dreaming up here but they had to come inside to get sunglasses and dug out the cushions.  Solon's imagination is really running wild these day and Vera is happy to oblige him for the most part.  They have become good friends until Vera gets hurt ;)!

Silly sunglasses! 

 So glad we need them - yay for SpRiNg!!!!!

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off to the Zoo We Go...

Friday, March 21, 2014
One of the first nice March days, we planned to head to the zoo with our friends, the Porter's.  We had no idea how fantastic and warm the day would turn out to be....near 70, no coats and a picnic while the kids played -- it was MARVELOUS!  All the animals were super active and the kids got to hear the lion and tiger roar and see the penguins & sea lions out swimming.

Look how close mama lion was?  She was licking her chops too ;)

The fabulous 4
My munchkins getting SO big!

We have to go back, the train and carousel weren't working yet and the giraffes weren't out (a fan favorite). 

A little river...

Thursday, March 20, 2014
It's no secret that the one downside of our new house was it didn't have our old backyard.  It was perfectly flat and had some large established trees to the side so there was some womp, womping when we realized our new home had a slope.  Luckily for us, kids see things differently from us and our new backyard has been one of the favorites of the new home for Solon.  

As the snow was melting, it started to forge a little "river" complete with different little off-shoots and a current, perfect for floating Solon's playmobil speedboat down.  

It was a fun mommy-son date and a good thing I had my new Hunter rain boots.  Solon went through 4 pairs of shoes that day...even his rain boots were too short for the "raging waters".  The river is gone now sadly but it might be back with some April showers!

Bring on Spring...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Oh the weather has been so much kinder lately and really these large piles of snow are gone but the kids finally had fun playing with them on the warmer days.  They also were so happy to be reunited with their playset, swings and slide.  Yay for beautiful sunny days, dirty tired kids and the need for baths and a good nights rest.  And the ability to see our neighbors out and about again!

March Madness Party...

Monday, March 17, 2014
We resurrected the March Madness Tourney Party this year after several years (pre-kids was the last one).  People always stare at us funny when we explain the party and leave saying "that was so much fun!" as if they expected any less from us ;)!

This time we hosted our small group at our house for the party and had soup and snacks as well as a million kids that had a blast playing with every toy we own (thanks to the parents who cleaned up - it was spotless at the end :).

Scott made the brackets and we had 3 tournaments couples had to compete in as a team either taking turns every time a point was scored (in air hockey and Wii bowling) or as a team in Foosball. 

The kids had a blast playing in the basement like they do every week at small group, they don't care it is just a carpet remnant!

Solon and Mason bonding over the iPad!

The brackets - we won Wii bowling and others won in the other categories!

We did have a leg up as we practiced HARD ;) for the party!  Just kidding!

We had a great time and hopefully we won't wait so long until the next time to do it again, everyone was ready for round 2 never fails to pull out the competitive nature in EVERYONE!

Answered Prayers...

Saturday, March 15, 2014
Lately, it seems life has gotten stressful at times.  A number of things have come our way quite unexpectedly and it can derail you if you don't watch out BUT I have really been steadfast in trying to be thankful despite my circumstances.  It isn't that life could be worse, because God isn't about comparisons and either should we.  All stuff is hard but God does tell us to be thankful in all circumstances and I tell you what, when the rubber meets the road, sometimes it is harder done then said.  

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thes. 5:18

Another favorite verse is...

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Romans 12:12

What God has been showing me is when you turn your mind to thanksgiving, you start to really see all the blessings God pours out on a daily basis.

It seems lately many prayer requests we have been praying for have been answered, both big and small. For me, the thing with an answered prayer, is just like the verse above, it gives me more encouragement to continue to be faithful in prayer and joyful in hope that God is working things out...

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

The thing it isn't always on my timing, but rather God's.  And we may never know on this Earth "why" God has the timetable He does, but He is faithful in all circumstances.

Here are a just a handful of answered prayers - both big and small that God has answered...what an encouragement, that He hears our cries.  And for you skeptics out there, that say it is coincidence, nothing is by coincidence in this life...

1.  Solon's glasses were lost, we prayed several times at bedtime and that evening and the next morning God answered when my friend Emilie called that she had found Solon's glasses in her car that morning.  Coincidence she called after we prayed, I think not!  What a testimony to share and praise God for with the kids!

2.  The containers made it to Zambia and our friends the Smith's and Kinzenbaw's finally have their belongings.  We prayed for what seemed like forever for this prayer to be answered.

3.  A friend of mine from the gym received Christ and is being transformed from brokenness and being made new - it is amazing and humbling to have walked in prayer for her.

4.  Our friends sold their home for the 2nd time and for more money the 2nd time!

5.  Scott had some meetings at work and was nervous for them, God was faithful in giving him confidence and those going well.

6.  I feel more like myself everyday thanks to the prayers and petitions on the part of many people and seeking God to hear His voice alone and have wisdom in our diet.

There are a few more too but we are just praising God.  We are joyful in the waiting that in due time the requests he still hasn't answered, including Solon's prayer for twins for our family, that God will work together all things for our good!

Be encouraged, I am - God hears our prayers!

A snapshot of daily life...

Friday, March 14, 2014
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this photo and actually this is totally normal.  Just wanted to document it for future reference...a kitchen, some chairs, umbrella, a santa hat and apparently around here clothing is optional (only for those 4 and under of course :)!

Our Fish...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I hate to brag about my kids BUT I am going to today because we are just SO extremely proud of Solon.  He has been taking swimming lessons since he was 3 so about 18 months and this last 10 weeks has really "gotten it".  He went from pike to eel in the fall and today was upgraded to the next and final level for preschoolers "ray".  He is now jumping in to the pool on his own and swimming to the edge, is starting to learn to turn his head to breathe, can front float, back float tread water, can swim on his back (still working on proper form so he doesn't sink) and can swim on his front.  He can swim the whole length of the pool with a barbell (seen above).  He loves to swim and his passion shows in his hard work and determination.  His teacher mentioned he is a kid that likes a challenge. Why yes, Solon is VERY competitive!  She thought if he was in a class that was all better then him, he would rise to the occasion.  This next class works on shoring up side, front and back stroke and continues to work on breast and butterfly and will also introduce diving.  He is so proud of himself and we are too!  Swimming lessons were a necessity because of our many trips to the lake and pool, but he has really come to love it!  Who knows, maybe like his cousins, he will be a competitive swimmer?! Only time will tell, until then we are happy to nurture his passion and watch him blossom!

Spring Updates...

Saturday, March 8, 2014
I have finally had some energy - amen - yes amen! And with that comes my crafty crawling to be used!  Have I told you I have a serious current obsession with typeface art?! As referenced in my recent family room art....anyway I like to have a little somin-somin when people are greeted in the entry.  I moved the dresser my parents gave us from Vera's room down to the foyer.  I loved it up there but the drawers are old and harder to open then the easy one handed ikea kind and it was pretty bulky and space is prime in kiddo rooms.  My mom actually housed this dresser in all the foyers of the many houses we grew up in, so in an odd way it feels like it is at home and makes me smile!  It also houses not-in-use accessories.  So I try to do a teeny-bit of seasonal decor on it as my mom did growing up. I have this memory of vintage valentines she would put on there...anyway I digress!

I don't have a ton of seasonal decor BUT with the long winter I decided to dig through the accessories and find something spring-ish to make it at least seem like spring and of course I whipped up some typeface art that says "Think Spring".

Then I also found this little grapevine wreath for a quarter at a garage sale and had no idea what I would use it for but knew I would find a use for forward 9 months and I whipped up this little wreath with the "P" I had, some ribbon I also had, and a sprig of lavender-ish looking fake flowers on 50% sale from Michael's.  Total project cost was $4.  Perfection!

It does currently clash with the snowman and sled also on my porch but this weekend I am planning on getting those things stored away so that our house is ready for warmer weather....wonder when my tulips will pop up?!

Happy Spring Folks!

Project 3106 Making a house Our Home: Family Room Shelves...

Friday, March 7, 2014
Oh my gosh it has been too long since I did a house update post.  We loved our house when we moved in and picked all the paint colors, flooring, etc so there wasn't anything major to change BUT once we moved in I realized our fireplace wall would look better flanks symmetrically by two shelves, I wanted built-ins for a more finished look for our long-term home.  I didn't want to just get something I liked so we waited until I thought I had what I wanted mapped out in my head.  Scott is great because I give him the vision and we work out the nuts and bolts together and then away he goes to Home Depot to get the supplies and constructs.  He was quite willing because he got a new "toy" for Christmas and he couldn't wait to try it out -- a nail gun and compressor!

Okay so last we left, we had ripped the backs off of these hammy down but lovely shelves (one currently lives in Solon's bedroom and the other is in storage in the basement).  That mirror has since seen a makeover and has been moved!
This is day 2 after we moved in to give you what we started with...

 So this is where we started.  I wanted low shelves, I can't stand too much clutter and I may still enclose them at some point but for now they are fine (one is partially covered by our chair).

Okay then I went to Ikea and got 2 more large square ribba frames, made some word art and put those up symmetrically.  I have major issues with things being "even".  I then went on a lamp hunt....I mean, I brought 6 different lamps home from TJ Maxx and Target (oy vey - the return guy thought I was nuts!).  I knew what I wanted and

So as a place filler, we took our bedroom lamps and took them downstairs, our family room was in sore need of additional lighting on that side of the room and it worked great, but they were kind of blah...but still nothing better!
One of the axed lamps - cute just too small and not substantial enough - I seriously am so picky sometimes!
So low and behold one day while at Target I actually saw some lamp shades I had brought home on a different lamp on clearance for $7 a piece...and I hemmed and I hawed and you know me, I didn't get them, because I stink at impulse decisions and then I kicked myself and prayed the random blue bird shades would still be there a few days later and they were - they are kind of taste specific and out there but they were just the "pop" o'color I was looking for and a little feminine in a leather dominated room!

Don't mind the real-life cart track hanging off my shelves...

I also am digging the wall art I seriously made as place holders since I wanted the art up before a party but knew I would be slow as a snail in ordering prints for those slots....and now I think I might leave them for a while!

I whipped them up on my silhouette and printed them off on cardstock - I had myself some cute little type-art print for pennies.  Win-win!

So even though I can't stamp this project FINISHED because the shelves need to be painted, that won't be done until spring break when the kids and I vacate and the enamal fumes don't eat us alive!
I will be back with post-pictures when I remember ;)!

The One Nice Day...

Thursday, March 6, 2014
News Flash -- it has been a long, COLD winter and it doesn't take long to find out people are just about sick of being cooped up inside (us included).  I wouldn't mind winter if it wasn't SO cold, talking negative wind chills for days on end.  Solon has come to hate snow because he thinks it accompanies nasty, windy cold weather.  We did have not one but two nice days in February.  Day one I was not up to being outside but day 2 we spent a good chunk of our day outside after preschool and before and after rest time.  The kids were easily entertained with minimal toys and lots of imagination, it is funny how going outdoors does that to children!  I was happy to watch and observe and soak in some much-needed Vitamin D!  

We are hoping the sunny, warmer weather predicted comes to fruition so we can spend more time walking to get the mail, taking trips around the block and venture to the neighborhood parks and finally socialize with all of our new neighbors.  There is no shortage of kiddos to play with now - yippee!

A Winter Trip to a MN Lake...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
My parents finally finished (well 95% finished - too cold to finish the outside) their renovation so they finally had a kitchen again.  They had gone without since August, my mom is my hero in more ways then this, but no kitchen and a house torn apart for over 2 years would send me to the loony bin!  Of course the effort was worth it and the finished product is amazing.  I didn't take any pictures because I forgot but I am sure to share after our spring break visit!  This trip was all about hanging out and enjoying MN winter activities.  Solon has been wanting to try his hand at ice skating since he saw us in a picture doing it.  My dad was anxious to drive us out on the lake.  It is currently nearly 3 feet of ice....we weren't going to break through.  The fisherman were having a hard time doing it with their augers.

We all piled in and V found Grandma's lap quickly.

Solon took the coveted front seat (he was so proud of his status!).

It was SO cold and windy we got out and snapped a few pictures and drove the plowed routes.  There was a TON of snow so it didn't feel like you were on the lake except for the known points of interest like the island behind us in the picture above!

V and Grandma stayed in the warm car!

Solon had to take a picture of something black to preschool - why not a MN black fish house?

While we were taking these pictures an ice fisherman came out of one of the houses and I, being super shy, asked him if we could take Solon in for a peak.  My dad and Scott took him and of course learned all sorts of things in the 8 minute house tour!  They didn't catch much this day and many went home - just TOO cold even in their fancy houses.  There are plowed routes, cul de sacs of fish houses and the whole nine yards.  In normal years, they make them take them off the lake March 1st but they extended the deadline by a week since the air temps haven't gotten much above 10 degrees yet!

(total side note but my mom looks ah-mazing, she is doing so well!)

So normally my parents shovel off the lake in front of our house but the kids tried to go sledding but when you fell off Solon would be waist deep in snow so there were two problems, figuring out how to get down to the lake and that is entirely WAY too much snow to scoop for a 30 minute ice skating exercise.  Luckily my sister is a teacher for the schools and happened to know where the secret phy-ed rink was, so we had a nice little rink to ourselves!

Scott refuses to skate, he says he's too tall and the fall would be too hard.  So my sister, dad, Ellen's boyfriend, Solon and I skated and Vera hitched a ride with a variety of us.  Solon LOVED it.   We seriously skated for a good 45 minutes and it was a GOOD workout....I was sweating ;)!

There was a layer of snow on top which actually helped when you fell (yes I fell several times).

All those lessons came back to me, add ice skating to the list of things that is just like riding a remember....except I can't twirl or skate backward like I use to!  Poor Solon had the wrong socks and ended up with 2 huge blisters on the back of his legs.  They are all healed up and next time we will wear longer socks.  He is hoping he can skate again at spring break!

We also spent time relaxing on their new couch, laughing, playing games and just hanging out.  The weekend went fast and we had to head home!  We still prefer summers on the lake but MNers do know how to have fun in cold weather!

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