Monday, May 31, 2010

Our Waldorf-Inspired Playroom!

I think the playroom is 'done'. (Well...we'll see what the future holds, but for right now we're very content). We found a new setup that includes the playstands that Gramps built and a gigantic low table I found for $8 at Goodwill that functions as a 'block table' area. After one more 'purge' of extra toys, I'm feeling really good about the mix of natural, handmade, thrifted and a few select store-bought items that make her new environment. I think we'll be spending a lot more time down here!
The playstands have found a space as the corner of Alex's 'house'. The shawl that makes the roof is a very special Pashmina that Brad brought Alex from Israel! Our (mostly Goodwill) baskets are filled with our shells from Mexico, stones and driftwood from the North Shore, sticks and pinecones from our backyard, antique wooden spools and home-dyed playsilks!Alex's Doll from Grandma Mary and antique wooden spools (thanks GrandMama, for collecting and saving those!)
The kitchen section of Alex's 'house'. Grandma Mary, Papa Bob, GrandMama and GrandPapa Jones had an 'in' at Pottery Barn kids for the stunning kitchen set about 2 years ago. The artwork on the wall is Auntie Rorie's (circa 1995), and the table is Mama-made! She often enjoys long teas with the natural tea set that Auntie Carrie picked out, and runs a pseudo grocery-store with the cash register from Gramps and Grams. Grandma Mary made the 'Alexandra' pennant that hangs over the area.

Daddy and Alex build a 'village' with a mix of secondhand and handmade blocks (from Gramps) on her new table. Uncle Willy's old LARK Toys Noah's Ark watched over, complete with Mama-made wooden animals!

The 'large motor' area. Grandma Mary and Papa Bob picked out the slide for Alex as a housewarming gift last year, Daddy made her balance beam, the bookshelf was a garage sale find ($5), and the swing and jungle gym are relics from my own childhood, and teacher GrandMama supplied the word walls and alphabet charts in the hallway!

If I haven't said it before, THANK YOU to all our loving families who support our vision for our home environment! It is so special to form a complete playroom filled with items gathered and handcrafted with intention and love!


Sunday, May 30, 2010

To the Park!

Alex, Grandma Mary and Daddy took a beautiful trike ride to the park today. It was Alex's first time riding all the way to the park on her own! She's been struggling a bit with the whole steering concept, but after today's ride it appears she's mastered the skill! It's unbelievable that next year she'll be on a big girl bike with training wheels.

A playtime well-earned!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Back to Work

We still are entertaining our guests, but now that we're back at home, we're getting back into our regular rhythm. Grandma Mary and Papa Bob are attending Bob's 35 year St. Olaf reunion, so it was quiet around the house. Today Alex and Daddy stained the playstands, in preparation for a playroom redecoration!
This was actually Dave's job, but somehow he Tom-Sawyered his way into a little help! :-)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Lutsen Day 4: Water Physics

Alex and I got up early (as always) this morning, packed up and headed down for one last beach session.

After we tossed in rocks for a while, she started noticing the current of a little stream that feeds into the Lake on the side of the property. We spent a LONG time doing 'experiments', comparing the different ways that the sticks floated (in circles, straight, fast, slow). What fun!

Collecting items to float:We started down low, on a dock...To the bridge!! Higher is always better, right??

It was really interesting to see her work out some rules of nature herself. She kept alternating sides of the bridge and dropping the sticks, then rushing to the other side to see how long it took to come out. After a few times of dropping them into the downstream side, she looked at me and said "they only go one way!" Yea for Water Flow!

After our physics/ earth science lesson, we loaded up in the car and headed back down to Woodbury. See you again next year, North Shore!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lutsen Day 3: My Day Off

Grandma Mary and Papa Bob took Alex for a morning (and then afternoon) of playtime, allowing me to rest and relax on the shores of Lake Superior. Here's a visual journal of their day.

Betcha can't guess where they started the day! :-)

Then, to the shore! There's a cute little bookstore down by the shore, and it didn't open right away, so they killed some time on the 'beach'.

Back to the store....still not open, yet! Be forewarned, Dramatic Alex makes an apperance...

After the bookstore finally opened, they came home for a delicious lunch-- Papa Bob's sliders! Then, after a failed nap attempt, Grandma Mary, Alex and Papa Bob headed back out. They managed to find a cute little park not too far away!
And picked up some famous 'Sven & Oles' pizza for dinner, followed by another bonfire/rock throwing session on the beach. What a great day (for all!)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lutsen 2010: Day 2- The Rest of the Day

After a snack break at the cabin, we decided to head into Grand Marais to do some exploring, by way of a few stops.

We stopped at Caribou Cream Maple Syrup operation, which looked very similar (if not a tiny bit smaller) to the setup our friends the Somers have at Somerskogen. It brought back some great college memories of boiling with Pete and 'the gang' in springtimes past! They were obviously not boiling or bottling today, in fact the whole place was unattended, with an 'honor' box to make your own change from. Alex got to sample her first maple sugar candy ....mmmm and Papa Bob got some authentic MN souvenirs for friends back in the southwest.
We made a detour to the local quilt shop, where I picked up a little bit of cute Easter fabric (40% off) for next year. Alex got a Tootsie Pop from the clerk, and that kept her quite happy. Sugar consumption was quickly becoming the theme of the day.
Then we headed into town to see if the World's Best Donuts were available (years past, we've been up too early in the season to catch them). By the photos below, you can tell that they were, and have been judged by Alexandra to truly BE the World's Best Donuts!!

After a quick trip to a few kitschy souvenir shops to find some presents for friends, we headed t lunch at The Crooked Spoon Cafe. Yum! What fantastic food, in the middle of such a small town! Then a swerve to Betsy Bowen's studio, where Dave unknowingly bought me a wonderful birthday present- a woodcut of a Ruffed Grouse framed in reclaimed barn wood! :-) (Thanks, Dave!!).
When we got back to the cabin, it was just in time to take a LONG nap (3 hours!!)-- all that running around (and sugar) took its toll. After her nap, we headed down to the beach again to enjoy the evening,had dinner at the Lutsen Resort restaurant, and retired back to the beach to enjoy a campfire (complete with marshmallows.)
Just in case you've been keeping track:
1. Maple Sugar Candy
2. Tootsie Pop from kindly Quilt Lady
3. Powdered Sugar Donut
4. Taste of Fudge from the fudge store (I know...I didn't even write about that!)
5. Marshmallows

No wonder we had a slightly wound-up, cranky kid on our hands this evening!
But what a relaxing view for the adults to decompress by this evening!

Lutsen 2010: Day 2- Morning

When your toddler arises a 5:30am, it leaves loads of time for sight-seeing! Luckily, we were able to catch the (flotilla?bevy?) of loons on the Lake right outside our cabin. I've never seen more than 2 in a spot before, so it was unbelievable that we had 5 (and then, after a loon call, 6) out the back door! After our Loon-watching (and Papa Bob saw a Bald Eagle soar past him when he was out), we went for a morning hike. All started well. We got to the main 'beach' area, where we all had fun picking out the 'perfect' rocks. Alex got a skipping lesson from Papa Bob and spent a while throwing stones in the water to hear that oh-so-satisfying 'plunk' when they land.
Then we continued our hike. After we crossed a covered bridge, Alex wasn't quite sure she wanted to continue walking, but Grandma Mary found a fantastic 'hiking stick' that spurred her on...for a while.
Full-speed ahead!
Not sure the hike is worth it.
Ok....I can be convinced...
We ended up wandering a little off course, ending up by what I coined "The Friendly Tetanus Bridge" that, for all it's faults, did afford a breathtaking view of some small waterfalls.
As we headed back into the resort, Alex and I found what we had been searching for, perfect 'fairy wands' (more to come on that later), and Papa Bob found an abandoned golf ball. Alex and her grandpa spent some great time playing 'throw golf' -- she's hooked!

....and ALL THIS BEFORE 10AM! :-)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lutsen 2010: Day 1

After a loong car ride (read 4+ potty stops for the 2 1/2 year old), we arrived at our beautiful cabin nestled on the shore of Lake Superior. Alex had a little time to explore and make herself at home before bedtime. We invested in a set of new-to-us bedrails, which turned out to be the perfect solution to the 'too big for a crib, but will kill herself in a twin' conundrum.Alex's new favorite hobby- requisitioning a camera and snapping away! We've gotten some interesting shots....mostly blurry legs and vignettes of empty furniture.

Last Day of School!

Alex's ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) Classes are all done for the year, and Alex and her friends had a great last day of 'school'. They painted pictures of suns (the year long theme was 'Mr. Sun'), played lots of picnic-related games, enjoyed their last romp in the large motor room (many of them riding trikes that they could barely sit on in the fall), and sang lots and lots of songs. Many thanks to Ms. Marlo, Ms. Bridget and Ms. Marjie for a year full of nurturing and learning!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Feelin' HOT HOT HOT!

It's sweltering here in Minnesota, especially when your air conditioning is not working! The thermostat inside the house read 90 degrees today. We have plans to get our house a/c repaired, but due to timing of our appliance repair insurance, we can't schedule anything until June 8th! Mary and Bob have been real troopers-- we spent most of today running around town, going to classes and hanging out in air conditioned environments-- like REI and Ikea! This afternoon, however, the only relief to be found was outside in Alex's baby pool.We picnicked in the master bedroom tonight. The cats are prostrate in front of the's just miserable-- which leads me to my next train of thought. Mary and Bob graciously offered to take Alex up to the North Shore on their own, and I was just about ready to accept when the humidity and heat snuck up on us. Even though it seemed like these two brave souls were really excited to take Al for the three days, I need the cool Lake Superior air to regain my sanity! I'll be tagging along anyways!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Carrie A. Marotz, J.D. !!!

Congratulations, Auntie Carrie! Alex attended her first law school graduation (if you remember, she attended both a high school and college one last May) today. All I have to say is thank goodness for wide, open conference center hallways-- they're so much fun to run around when one tires of the commencement address! We are so proud of the dedication and drive that Auntie Carrie has shown for the past three years-- what a great role model for Alexandra to have in her life!

New Toys

When Uncle Willy came up on Friday, he brought a few presents from GranMama Jones-- a bunch more antique wooden spools and a little play iron. Alex and Grandma Mary had a fun morning playing with her new toys!

I was a bit amazed that Alex knew what to do with an iron, being that the only iron in our house is in my studio, and is basically reserved for quilting (I hate ironing!). We found a perfect little wooden ironing board at a garage sale a month back, and brought it up today for the event!
Grandma Mary and Alex recreate the St. Olaf Campus in spools. Honestly. I heard them discussing building the Mohn tower and then making sure the other dorms were placed accordingly! :-) Grandma even made sure the old Women's Gym was represented with a colored spool to represent the only brick building on campus! Impressive, no?