Friday, August 31, 2012

Move-In Day!

In order to help Auntie Rorie move in, Justin jumped in the Ergo, Alex pulled on her working shoes and we loaded up the minivan with college gear. Luckily Rorie was able to move in early, so we weren't fighting the crowds-- AND her room is on the first floor (no stairs). After getting all her stuff in, Justin promptly raided her pantry of snacks.


Last Day with Auntie Rorie!

We are really going to miss "Aunties" (as Justin calls her) when she goes back to school tomorrow. To celebrate the end of the summer, we headed to the Mall of America to ride a few rides and overload our senses. Success!

Guess which animal Alex chose to ride?

(She ALSO rode her first real rollercoaster. The Orange Streak (no loops, but some fun dips and twirls!). She was having a great time (adrenaline junkie she is) until we went through a 'mountain tunnel' where we were both a bit surprised to see an animatronic lumberjack-- not scary, but startling. Then she wasn't so sure about the rest of the ride, due to the fear of the unknown.)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tomato Season!

Our four little tomato plants have been producing fairly well this year (much better than last). In the mornings, the kids go out and harvest the 'perfect' ones for the day. It never fails to surprise me that Justin understands which tomatoes are ripe and ready to pick and which are not. I guess I shouldn't be amazed when he has a teacher like Alex.
Next year I want a few more full-size tomato plants. The cherry tomatoes are great for the kids -- they snack on them all day long, but I want more to can! So far (with the help of 20 lbs from our CSA) I have 9 quarts put up for our winter chilis, stews and pizza sauces.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Auntie Carrie's Bridal Tea

We hosted Auntie Carrie's Bridal Tea at Cedarhurst Mansion today. What a lovely place! We brought a few decorations along with us, but for the most part it was a turn-key process. Alex was the only young lady in attendance-- and did a fabulous job for a four year old at her first 'real' tea! Her favorite part (aside from helping Auntie Carrie open presents) was drinking the tea-- pouring just the right amount of cream and carefully transferring a sugar cube into the delicate teacup!

The entry table- hand-calligraphed placecards (Alex's is missing.... she couldn't STAND waiting!), a framed copy of the tea invite, some gorgeous orchids and some antique teacups/saucers from (Great)Grandma Alice.

A close-up of one of (Great)Grandma Alice's teacups. They were perfect, and it was nice to have a bit of her there, even though she was unable to attend.

A group of lovely ladies!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Storytime with Papa Bob

Storytime with Papa Bob. The kids are soaking up as much Papa Bob time as they can. He's leaving tomorrow evening (we get to keep Grandma Mary for a few more days!)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Alex's Big Adventure!

For the first time ever, Alex had a fantastic adventure...without Mama, Daddy or Justin. She had both Grandma Mary and Papa Bob all to herself for two days! They headed up to our favorite Gunflint Trail lodge-- Bearskin. Here is a compilation of some camera-phone photos they sent us to make sure we knew she was alive and having fun ;-) We enjoyed our time apart-- Justin got some quality one-on-two time (as opposed to two-on-two)! They made sure to stop at "Poohsticks Bridge" on the way up. Mmmm...Betty's Pies!

I Will Taunt you a Second Time!

Without Alex around for a few days (she's been up at Bearskin with Grandma Mary and Papa Bob-- updates to come), we've seen a new relationship budding. Justin loves his kitty-- automatically screaming "HUGGS-LEY!" whenever he spies him. The cat, on the other hand, for those of you who know him, is not incredibly quiet himself. So he just 'yowls' back at the Boy. But he loves playing with Justin-- as evidenced by the photo below. Justin's other favorite game is to crawl onto the couch and tease Auntie Rorie. This reminds us of the scene from "The Holy Grail" where the French tell King Arthur to 'go away, or we will taunt you a second time'....

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Renaissance Fair.... with two dragons!

Gramps and Grams offered to take us to the MN Renaissance Festival again this year. Alex has had 'the perfect' costume for all planned out for weeks now. She was convinced she wanted to be a dragon. Her birthday party will be dragon themed, so we already had a few tails laying around. I threw a golden belly on her sparkly leotard, looped a playsilk through her sleeves and voila! Instant dragon! Of course, Justin had to follow suit. How could you NOT want to be a dragon hatchling when your big sister is so cool? We got so many compliments and comments about their awesome costumes!Alex got her face painted. The artist took one look at her and said that she would do a custom dragon piece that matched Al's outstanding costume. It did!! We found the perfect little knoll to stop and take a break during the busy morning. It was nice to just sit and watch the people stroll by.At some point, Alex ditched the tail in favor of a new pair of fairy wings (thanks Gramps and Grams). She's flexible like that.

It was a very magical (and busy) day-- what fun for a pair of baby dragons!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Zoo Day

Gramps and Grams are visiting for the weekend and we took a trip to the zoo. They took Alex to a very special class about sloths while Dave, Justin and I wandered around for a while. Alex learned a lot about sloths, got to prepare a meal for an adolescent sloth and witness an ultrasound of a pregnant one! What a neat experience 'behind the scenes' at the zoo! Before-hand at the Dinosaur traveling exhibit.

Auntie Rorie and her little monkey.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Soul Fever Treatment

Daddy was gone (fishing in the Boundary Waters) for about a week.... he came back yesterday, but promptly left for a work trip to Virginia. This obviously caused a bit of a stir on the homefront (and it wasn't me!) In order to try and work through a bit of our soul fever fussiness, we took some time making some bread. It worked. Deep breaths all around, the smell of baking filling up the house. We can make it one more day 'till Daddy comes home!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Inspired By:

In Hopkins last week, I found the perfect vanity for Alex's room. After all, she IS going to be turning five soon. What little girl wouldn't love brushing her hair in front of this? Then I saw the price tag. At $89, it was one lovely antique that wouldn't be coming home with us. And so I began a quest to recreate a vanity as or more perfect for my Alexandra. Because, despite the fact that she has her 'four-year-old drama-queen' moments that sometimes make me question my parenting skills, she's overall a respectful, well-behaved, all-around great kid. My solution- I found a $7.50 half-table in another antique store in Hopkins. Staple-gunned a $2.99 window valance beneath it to create a 'princessy' feel. Found a $4.99 creepy bear char at the thrift store (really-- there's a cut out face of a teddy bear behind that fabric cover... scary!) and a $5.99 mirror there as well. Used some of the backing left over from her quilt (post coming soon) to create a chair cover and pad, and voila! A vanity AND stool for about $20.00...give or take.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Al's Stage Debut

As a part of her Theater Camp this week, the campers had a performance on Thursday evening. Due to the late start time (7:00pm ??? Really??? For a bunch of 4-6 year olds???), Justin stayed with Sam and Carrie while the rest of us enjoyed the show. For those of you who will be visiting us in the next few months, please be prepared to sit through a 15 minute video of Alex as "George the Dog" :-)

Until then, these photos will have to do:

(and no... no one told us that some children would dress up for the performance. Alex was a bit disappointed to not have face paint or a costume. However, the fact that she received flowers after the show seemed to alleviate that concern!)

Our Week in Hopkins

This week Alex participated in Stages Theater Camp..... in Hopkins. For those of you who are not from the Twin Cities Metro area, Hopkins is pretty much the exact opposite corner of the city from where we are located. Nevertheless, Alex, Justin and I braved the 45-60 minute drive every day for a week. It definitely made it worth it to see Emma there! And then there was the Hopkins Public Library. We stumbled upon it, hoping that Justin and I could read some books to kill time during the two and a half hours Alex had camp. What a treasure!! The Minnesota Children's Museum has worked with the library to create a wonderful children's section with interactive displays, literacy-promoting exhibits, and a fantastic environment for fostering a love of reading. I especially loved the BASKETS of board books next to every child-sized couch. It was so accessible! Another couple days we crashed at Auntie Carrie's new house in Plymouth (not so far) for a while. Auntie Rorie came with us one day and we hit the Hopkins Antique stores. I was shocked at how well Justin did.

Give that boy an antique die-cast tow truck and he's happy! (He actually thought it was a train, and entertained all the shoppers by playing with it and crooning "choo choo" throughout the stores).
File under : Things Justin LOVES.... cases full of cars, trucks and trains!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Carrot Harvest

Prompted by the neighborhood kids' curiosity, we deemed today 'carrot harvesting day'. Daddy and Justin examine the produce.
Sampling the different colors-- we really enjoyed the 'kaleidoscope carrots' (purple, yellow, white, orange) that we planted this year. Next year I want a larger carrot crop that I can blanche/freeze/put up for winter! This one was just enough for some snacks and a meal or two.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Rainy Saturday: Part Three

Will, Dave, Justin and I headed back out for another hike. (Justin was refusing to nap, and we knew he'd fall asleep to a hiking cadence). Auntie Rorie and Alex stayed in the cabin to rest and play for a while. We returned and made a fun 'gourmet' chili dog dinner with the very last of our hot dogs from Painted Hills Farms. S'mores for dessert (can't be healthy ALL the time!), and another late bedtime for the kids. What a day!