Friday, July 31, 2009

Off to the ...err.....Swine Races!!

Rorie, Alex and I headed to the Washington County Fair today to soak up the....culture :-) It was a perfect day for roaming about the fairgrounds! Alex absolutely LOVED the experience, and was very sad to leave. She's a farm girl at heart, for sure. Here are some highlights from our trip.

First stop was the goat barn. Hello, friends!

Then it was time for Alex's first sno-cone. I think she approved!

The children's barn had some friendly animals to talk to. For some reason, she adored the sheep but was petrified of the calf napping in the corner of the pen. She wouldn't go near it!

The best part of the day was the swine racing! I think I could be addicted to this sport. It's pretty funny to see eight pigs jostling and flat out running for an Oreo cookie.

After the racing it was time for a visit to the Midway! Alex and Mama went down the big slide together (sorry about the sideways video-- apparently Auntie has issues with her camera) ;-)

Walking around looking at rides and games is exhausting! Better stop and refuel with a funnel cake (also a first for my daughter).
We had a fantastic trip to the fair! While the MN State Fair is something we normally do, I find the slower-paced, more agriculturally-based county fairs to be lots more fun! I mean-- pig racing!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"More EMMA, Please!"

It was another playdate day today! Megan and Emma graciously agreed to host us for an impromptu playdate this morning. The girls were SO elated to see each other! All the way to Emma's house, Alex chanted "Em-ma, Em-ma, BUBBLES!".
We played outside for a long time (the weather was perfect!), and then had a nice lunch together. Thanks for a wonderful morning, ladies.
(By the way-- on the drive home Alex chanted "More EMMA Please!" ALL the way to 494E).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Alex's Art Show- 1

Here are some current pieces from Alex's "Googly-Eye Series".

Inspired, no?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Park Date and Mic-nick!

We packed a picnic lunch and headed to Eden Praire this morning to meet Graham and Amelia ("meelya") for a park playdate! Melissa has found a perfect fenced-in play area that is just right for three busy toddlers. For a while the kids all did their own things-- Alex headed straight up the play structure, Graham worked on digging himself a tunnel out of the enclosure, and Amelia sat in the woodchips, sorting the good ones from the bad. Once in a while, however, they were all three in the same spot at the same time. After our 'mic-nick' lunch, we decided to throw caution to the wind and attempt a two family, three kid Costco trip! It went amazingly well, thanks to the pretzel sticks that Mama Olson had in her purse. Alex was so exhausted by her busy morning that she fell asleep before we even left the Costco parking lot!

Caterpillar Update

Well- for those of you who remember, we had a new addition to the family a few weeks ago-- a little Caterpillar. He spent the last few weeks eating and growing.....and growing, and finally decided the time was right to go into chrysalis. Now I have a beautiful cocoon hanging in my dining area. Lovely, huh?

Every morning Alex checks to see if the butterfly has emerged yet. We'll keep the status checks coming.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Riding Bikes

Some days it seems like no matter how much fun Alexandra has during the day, she's always SO much happier when Daddy gets home. Today was one of those days-- Dave and Alex spent some time practicing bike riding this evening.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Looking for "Elmo"

We decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and take a hike this morning at Lake Elmo Regional Park. Having looked at a trail map, Rorie, Dave and I decided upon a 3.8 mile loop around the lake that would be somewhat flat (so that Al could keep up when she decided to walk) and afford good birdwatching. What we failed to predict was that Alex would want to walk the WHOLE time....resulting in our turning around after 45 minutes and approximately 3/4 of a mile into the trail. Little legs do not go as far as big legs-- even when they're working really hard! All that, and we never did find Elmo :-)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Presenting....Dave's office!

So we've almost been in our new house for three months, and we finally got around to getting the last of the boxes out of Dave's office and getting it organized!

As you can see, the office is also Alex's gallery. Thanks to Ikea, we were able to install a collection of Alex's works on the west wall. I'm really excited about this space because thanks to the clip hooks, it will be a rotating display!

The only other thing we purchased for this room is the great Ikea blonde shelving unit that currently is our office and craft supply rack. The little picnic table is vintage Morrison family. The two desks were old Target-quality pressboard desks that I painted 'Citrus Burst' (or, as Dave likes to exclaim- "Macaroni & Cheese"). Finally, Dave has a spot for his beloved collection of vintage beer least until Alex's playroom is converted into a home theater (about 15 years in the future).

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hail and Shark Teeth

Breakfast was interrupted this morning by a freak hail storm! Alex and the cats were fascinated by the 'ice balls' dropping from the sky and bouncing all over. I'm happy to report that Auntie Rorie's car is virtually unscathed.
After Tumbling Class at the YMCA this morning (which, by the way, is the best $35 I've EVER spent!), we headed to MOA to help Auntie shop for some new school clothes.Alex was quite the helper-- except for the point where she thought that the sales clerk was her 'other' Asian auntie (to be fair, this girl did have the same haircut as Rorie).
As a reward for being a good shopper, we hit Underwater Adventures to see 'the turtles'. They had a jewelry making station that Rorie and Alex decided to try. As a result of their combined efforts, I was two dollars lighter, but one shark-tooth necklace richer.

In response to grandparent demand, here's another video of Alex counting-- it's a bit better quality :-)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

One to Ten!

Of course, when we actually got in on camera, she is speaking very softly-- but Alex surprised me when, in the car, she started counting cacti out the window. From one to ten without any prompting! Turn up your volume to hear her whisper :-) Mary is repeating the numbers after she says them-- it's really soft, but Alex is doing it, I swear!

Monday, July 20, 2009

when 99 degrees feels cool!

In order to really do anything outside at this time of the year in Phoenix, one must rise before the sun. Grandma Mary, Papa Bob, Alex and I headed to the Phoenix Zoo at 7am this morning in order to enjoy it in the relative coolness of the day.We had a great time! The animals were all active and playful (we even saw an eland playing with an ostrich). Alex was well-rested and ready for a day! She insisted on walking everywhere, and since we were basically one of 5 families at the zoo that early, we could let her.
Somehow, we got off of the normal path that we've taken on past trips, and experienced a whole different set of animals and exhibits. Alex got to go into the monkeys' 'house' (an aviary-type exhibit with squirrel monkeys) to visit them and watch them eat their breakfast! How cool is that?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Happy Day Party!

As we spend every morning in the pool, Alex has become quite accustomed to a Phoenician life of luxury. Here she is lounging on the patio!

Mary and Bob had an 'informal' party for family & friends on Sunday evening. Let me just say that their 'informal' party was better organized than any formal affair I've ever thrown. We had some fabulous gourmet pizzas, tons of salads and munchies, and even a cake! Alex was convinced that it was someone's Happy Day.
Alexandra and 'the girls'- Kristin, Jenny, Madeline and Leah. She had so much fun visiting with them that they ALL got kisses and hugs at the end of the evening! The benefits of being the only child at a party. Attention from EVERYBODY!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday with Papa Bob

Mary and I had an engagement on Saturday morning (her 'Saturday Mornings in America' group-- and then some shopping!), so Papa and Alex had an entire morning to themselves. According to Alex, they went swimming, played with toys, rode her bike, and had a snack. :-)
When we returned, it was again time for a dip in the pool. Alex donned her new 'Dorothy' swimsuit and hopped right in. Unfortunately, we only had a few minutes in the water until a massive dust storm blew in, blocking out the sun for a bit!
Alex watched the storm with great interest.

Friday, July 17, 2009

We're leaving on a jet plane---

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. There's no free lunch in the Marotz family. Alex had to work for her plane trip-- she was such a great helper in the airport. I was amazed at how easy (relatively) it was for her and me to get our bags checked in, through security and on the plane!
I'm not sure why this photo keeps showing up sideways, but it's testimony to Alex's best plane flight yet! She was a perfect travel was Hippo (yes-- we hauled him along, too). She entertained herself with her books, crayons, magna doodle and personal DVD player. The most remarkable part was when she was experiencing some ear pain from pressure changing on the descent. I broke down and gave her a 'nook' (explaining that the airplane was letting us 'borrow' it just for the 'down, down, down' part). She took it and it helped tremendously (thanks, Mom-- yes, you're always right), but after we landed I put it away and there were no tears!
We started our Phoenix vacation with a traditional stop at Reynoso's Mexican restaurant. Mmmm..... Alex enjoyed the chips and a cheese quesadilla.
Then, because it was 115 degrees out, we hit the pool! Alex was quite content to dangle her legs in the water and throw toys in for Grandma Mary to retrieve.
As if new toys and swimming weren't enough of a treat, Grandma Mary had made some special cupcakes for Alex. Elmo cupcakes on a 'Bob' plate!!
Enjoying her poolside treat.
After the extra sugar rush, she was back in the pool with Grandma! What a great day!

On our way to Phoenix

We may have a few days lapse in blogging as Alex and I are on our way to Phoenix to visit Grandma Mary and Grandpa Bob (and the 'cak-tis').

In the meantime, enjoy these photos that Rorie took while making 'birdfeeders' with Alex (stale buns with oatmeal and stale tortilla chips) to hang from our tree.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Word of the Day is "Caterpillar"

About two months ago, I signed Alex up for a 'Butterfly Adventures' class hosted by our local Creative Kidstuff. Today was the day, and since I had (*blush*) lied about her age and said she was already 2, we had a cram session in the morning to prepare for the class.

We talked about caterpillars-- how they were baby butterflies and then they ate and ate and ate and turned into butterflies. We used playdough to build a baby caterpillar, fed it green playdough leaves, and then added wings. Yesterday we worked on the letter 'C', so we just built upon that as well.

When we got to the store, I was a little dismayed to find the kids all working on the same worksheet that I had printed out for Alex at home. With the same dot paints that I had just bought her. But there were some different materials that she got to experiment with, so that was fun.

Alex listened intently to The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. She loved the arm and face painting that they did, and decorated her butterfly house with pride. I'd say she did splendidly for a 21 month old posing as a 2 year old :-)

Our newest 'pet'. He's tiny (about the length of a fingernail). We have yet to name him, but it should take 10-14 days for him to go into chrysalis and become a butterfly.

Alex really wanted to put him in his new 'house', and make him comfy. I have yet to convince her that he doesn't need stuffed animals next to him to make him happy.