Saturday, July 31, 2010

Happy Birthday GrandMama!

Today is officially GrandMama's birthday (even though we've celebrated all week long, in good fashion!), and Auntie Rorie came up to help us celebrate.
As I am swamped with laundry and household chores that piled up during our two week vacay, Auntie Rorie took over Alex-care, and they made a beautiful chocolate fudge cake from scratch for GrandMama.
Sifting the flour with my NEW antique flour sifter!
I gave a mini-lesson on cake decorating (now that I'm an expert and all) Our finished product.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Synod School 2010

We had a great (if exhausting) time at Synod School with GrandMama and GrandPapa Jones. It was quite a different experience to be in a dorm room with a toddler.
Alex got right in there to help GrandPapa set up his University of Dubuque Seminary School display.....I don't think the 'free' candy had anything to do with it :-)
In front of the chapel, where Presbyterian children run wild. Really.....why is it that while some parents think they are 'on vacation', they feel that their kids can take a break from behaving in a civilized manner?!? :-)

My roomie, all ready for school. She took the word "Roomate" to a whole NEW level. I don't remember Melissa ever waking me up at 3am, declaring that she needed help to go potty. Apparently I checked "early riser" on the housing form, because she was up at the crack of dawn every morning ready to get to class!

Alex enjoying Bible School with some new friends......only one of which bit her later in the week. Yep-- my baby was bitten on the fingers by "a mean boy". No broken skin, and hopefully the other parents were informed that they have a juvenile delinquent on their hands.

Alex and I stopped in to see GrandMama in her Random Basket Weaving class. Since we're a tv-free family, we tried to pull Alex from Bible School during afternoon 'movie time' to do something a bit more productive...... like weave baskets!

We spent a bunch of time drawing and working on 'projects'. Here's Alex's first representation of a person with legs. It's me. Note the second 'head' in my tummy. "That's the baby brother".

I took a Cake Decorating class.....here's my 'final exam'! Practice makes perfect for a certain Birthday Girl in October!

Once again, I don't remember Melissa ever riding her bicycle in our room....not that she wouldn't have if the opportunity had ever presented itself.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

to Synod School

Alex, GrandMama, GrandPapa and I will be at Synod School for the next week. Look for blog updates the first few days of August-- enjoy the end of July, everyone! :-)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Des Moines Farmers' Market

Enjoying a Dutch Letter from Jaarsma Bakery....yum!
Des Moines Farmers' Market is one of my all-time favorite places to be on a Saturday morning. Besides the fun people (and variety of dogs) to watch, there are delicious snacks, beautiful produce, 'amusing' (read not very good, but funny) musicans, street preachers, and lots of interesting vendors to visit.
GrandPapa thought that Alex would really like a 'train' ride...... she was excited to get in the train, OK with sitting and playing with the steering wheel, but when the it pulled away from the 'station', tears welled up in her eyes and she decided she'd had enough. The kindly conductor brought the kids right back and Alex was able to debark.
She also got to decorate her own canvas grocery bag which was a bit more her speed-- we will bring it to all the farmers' markets in our future!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Two Great Things: Puppies and Japanese Food!

We stopped by to visit Gramps and Grams this afternoon, and Alex was delighted to get to play with their 'Puppies'. It doesn't seem to phase her that these dogs are the same size (if not heavier) than she is. They spent some time playing fetch, getting treats and lots of pets and hugs.
After playing for a while, we all went to Ohana Steakhouse (Auntie Rorie's absolute favorite restaurant), where the chefs cook right in front of you! Alex was transfixed by the knives and sizzling. She will be following in Auntie's footsteps as a loyal Ohana customer.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Playdate with Inez

Cathleen's niece Inez came over for a playdate, and the girls spent a warm afternoon running through the sprinkler in the backyard and eating popsicles. Inez has two siblings Alex's age, so she knew just how to handle a slightly possessive younger child. She was so kind and Alex asked for her repeatedly after they left! Thanks for a fun afternoon!

Our Daily Rhythms: Oatmeal and Devotional

Looks like Wednesdays will be 'my' day at the Simplicity Parenting Blog.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ice Cream Sodas!


GrandMama and GrandPapa took us to a really cool soda fountain / coffee house this evening, and Alex enjoyed sampling everyone's treats. She ordered strawberry ice cream, but ended up thinking that my strawberry ice cream soda was the best thing ever invented!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Flower Arranging with GrandMama



I have so many memories of my mom collecting, drying and arranging flowers and wreaths. I unfortunately never showed any interest in it as a child, but Alexandra seems to have inherited the 'bug'. GrandMama has a beautiful garden full of colorful blooms for her to use!

patience....

We're in transit to Iowa for Benjie Crowley's funeral (Cathleen's beloved grandmother)-- so I have yet to upload photos from the past weekend. Hopefully the technology there will be up and running, so I hope to get updates on Alex's World in the next day or so.
Thanks!

Monday, July 19, 2010

En route

Today was spent en route to Des Moines. We were not originally planning this mini-vacation, but were glad we were able to make it down to spend some time here to see Alex's Godmother.

Unfortunately, Cathleen's beloved grandmother, Benji, passed away a few days ago. Cathleen's family has been so much of an extended family to me (since 6th grade), that it was very important to me to be here for Benji's funeral. I have so many warm memories of her, especially from my middle school and high school years, when I spent as much time at the Saylor home as I did at my own-- she was a nurturing and loving woman who always had time for her grandkids (and whoever else they dragged home!).

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fishing with Gramps




Grams and Gramps took Alex for her first 'real' fishing experience at Colby Lake this morning. Even though they caught "just weeds", Alex had a lot of fun and is already rallying for a return visit!

After fishing for a while, the fishing girl took a break at the playground! What a perfect Sunday activity.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Nature Center Morning Walk



Grams and Gramps arrived yesterday for a visit, and Alexandra decided that she wanted to take them for a morning 'hike' at Carpenter Nature Center. We were hoping that the tadpoles would still be out en force, but there were only a handful left-- interestingly, though, they were schooling in order to avoid becoming an easy meal for a little catfish in the pond.
We took an easy walk to the lookout platform over the St. Croix River and enjoyed the (increasingly warm) summer morning before heading home for Little Gym! What an active morning!

Friday, July 16, 2010

NIP: Nursery-In-Progress- Colors

Here is another 'sneak peek' at the nursery. Gray, Black with Lime, Turquoise and Orange accents. Detail of the side of the bookshelf I'm working on. Can you believe this was originally Pepto-Bismol pink?! (Yea for clearance room furniture)

Alex's Pink Room

I've had a few requests for photos of Alex's pink room....I don't know how exciting this is, since the room is basically the same, only pink. Enjoy! (Alex sure is!!)


Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Challenges: Simplifying the Closet

Here's my latest Simplicity Parenting blog-- it's a recycled Alex's World post (shh....don't tell anyone!)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

NIP: Nursery-In-Progress- Project 1

Alex and I have been battling the heat (don't even ask, we're on A/C Repair visit #7) by keeping busy in front of fans. Yesterday we made a fabric wall sculpture for the baby's room. It all started when I saw some ironing board insulating fabric at Jo-Anns, and my imagination was sparked!
First we drew our rocket ship on 1/2" foam-- Alex had a LOT of input (at least in the mark-making process).

After cutting out a matching piece of foamcore for the backing, we covered the entire thing with our metallic fabric. A lot of pinning and gluing went on during this stage. Luckily for me, Alex is a superb 'pinner'!

Then it was time for Mama to add details-- Alexandra helped me pick out the colors for each section, and sat with me, fingerpainting, while I added them on.

Finished product!
(If you haven't guessed already-- the theme is Space- a combination of vintage 50's sci-fi and 'Ugly Doll' alien-types)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Which one is the REAL Alex?

A few days ago, I noticed that Alexandra had started drawing intentional eyes and mouth inside circles as representation of faces! I was so excited, but didn't blog about it because I couldn't get a good photo of the drawings.
Today I decided to see how many details she would draw, given a large canvas. We ripped off a huge piece of butcher paper and traced her whole body.
Then she went to work:

The first thing she added were, of course, the eyes. It cracks me up that she draws little circles and then quickly adds one 'dot' with a sharp pencil jab in the center of each.

Here's a close-up of her eyes, mouth and hair.

The whole figure was a bit large for her to finish on her own, so Mama had to help-- adding details where Alex decided they needed to go. Now I have two Alexandras in my home.....

Mama-Made Tutu!


A few weeks ago, I was feeling ambitious....so ambitious that I decided 'instead of buying Alex a short practice tutu for ballet class, I'll make one'. (She had been getting tripped up with her long practice tutu, and had specifically requested a 'puffy short one').

So...instead of shelling out $28 for a pre-made tutu in the Dance Studio, Alex and I took a trip to the fabric store for all things tulle and sparkles.

$40 later... (isn't it always the way?), we had our tulle (three shades), fancy dress rhinestone fabric, elastic, no-fray ointment, iron-on rhinestones and some new fabric glue: the makings of a beautiful lavender tutu. I used instructions from this site as a starting point, and added a few more layers and embellishments as we went along.

The important thing: it held up during class! And I have enough raw materials to make a few more to give to some other young ballerinas in our lives.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer Nature Table

Here are some photos of our summer nature table. We'd have more fresh blossoms if our darn kitties would leave them alone! As it is, the onion blossom Alex claimed from the garden has lasted quite a while!

Creating a Weekly Rhythm

Monday's Simplicity Parenting blog.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dinner with Laura



Our St. Olaf friends the Brauns came over for a late afternoon playdate and dinner. We had so much fun catching up, and 'Baby Laura' (as Alex kept referring to her) is definitely not a baby any longer!
In what will soon seem like a few short years, these two will probably share a few years on The Hill together!