Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sliding Maniac

We headed out to our (aka MY) favorite toddler oriented playground in town last night now that the ground is officially dry to the point of fire weather warnings on my weather.com app.  It was fun to get back to the old warm weather routine although it wasn't without the usual toddler B.S. including Tessa repeatedly taking off in all directions, Ben getting knocked over by Tessa's baby swing twice in a row after repeated warnings to stay clear of the swing and having to drag Ben to the car mid tantrum when I decided we had to leave.  I did manage to capture this cute video though. 
 
 
She is a little one year old wild woman!  She really loves sliding.  Most kids her age love to swing but she didn't really want to swing.  She was just staring at the slides the whole time.  She does this head first thing at the Y too.  They have an indoor playhouse with a slide and she has been going down head first for a few months.  I love watching her but I also instinctively cringe after years of lifeguarding and having to fight with kids over breaking the feet first rule on the water slide!  There is no denying which way is more fun!  Head first!  Rules sure are a buzzkill!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Book Baby

Tessa is going through a book phase.  Well, I hope it is not a phase at all but a lifetime love of reading and learning like I have!  But I will just focus on the present.  Right now she loves to look at, carry around, and listen to books.  Every morning, she goes right to the little cupboard doors that hold books in the living room and empties both of them all over the floor and proceeds to spread them all over the house throughout the day.  They are under the couch, in the kitchen and everywhere else.  She has a small book in the car and taking it away from her is a fight.  She clutches it at yells "book book boooook!" when I take it away from her.  She can always be found in the reading nook at the Y when I pick her up and removing her from their is usually a fight.  And at home she is always carrying a book around and I am always on guard in case a dense little board book is launched at me followed by a little maniac toddler clawing her way into my lap. 



 
She looooooves this one...It is "Old McDonald" in book form and you count the animals on each page by popping a little plastic bubble.  Taking her away from it to put her in her room for a nap or bedtime is a very dramatic separation.  Imagine outstretched arms, shrieking and flailing. 
 
The books are paying off because she is learning new words every day.  This morning she said "doctor" for the first time and this week she has said flower, star, and tractor to name a few.  It's cute.  I am going to enjoy these early days of language.  By early days, I mean the time between when a child starts saying words and when they first repeat some obnoxious or unflattering phrase like a little parrot.  Ben's favorite was "come on!!" when he was feeling threatened or exasperated.   Imagine carrying him to bed and him wailing, "come onnnnnn!"  Hmmmm I can't imagine where he heard that! 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Easter in the House

Last week it occurred to me that Easter is less than a month away and there was not a decoration to be seen in this house!  What was to be seen was a Valentine's placemat on the dining room table and my fabulous bunting that I used for my Valentine photos back in February.  So I dragged the container of Easter delights in from the garage and Mr. No Nap McGee helped me unload everything which isn't much.  I decided I wanted to have an Easter tree or branch this year because how can a person resist a holiday where a decorated tree in the house is acceptable?  Christmas need not get all the fun.  I had in mind something like this, which is from my Pinterest Seasonal D├ęcor board. 

Cute Easter tree
We usually had one of these on our dining room/oddly placed living room table when I was a child and it was almost as fun as Christmas.  I remember buying the little ornaments at JoAnn fabrics and we always found the branch from around the farm.  However, unlike the farm, our current yard doesn't have a wooded area full of hundreds of scuzzy little volunteer trees just waiting for the job.  Here, we only have one tree in our yard because of the tiered rock walls in the back yard.  The tree isn't very big and I couldn't bear taking a branch from it just so we could keep it in a vase for a few weeks.  I feel like the Easter section at stores gets bigger every year so I assumed I could find a fake branch or pre-made tree at Hobby Lobby or a fabric store but I couldn't find anything!  I couldn't even find little ornaments anywhere!  I ended up buying a fake pussy willow branch to put in a vase which isn't at all the same.  Maybe next year I can make some ornaments or something. 

At least we have plenty of baskets and eggs to decorate with. 


 
I forgot that I bought those fun pattered and metallic eggs last year on clearance.  And I just noticed from the picture that they have holes in them!  I could turn them into ornaments! 
 
While tucking away my Valentine's Day placemat I came across stacks of unused dish towels from our wedding and decided it was time...time to rotate out a few towels...
 
I have memories of opening dish towels at my bridal showers and the women talking about how they still had towels from their weddings twenty or thirty or more years ago.  Now I can see how this happens.  Almost eight years later and this is my first time scrapping a towel and reaching into the pile.  And these haven't been used lightly.  There were many years without a dishwasher before we moved to this house. 


Goodbye, old dingy, hole filled, frayed towels with your many faded stains.  That horse one was made by my grandma.  I have a towel even older than our wedding that she gave me when I got my first apartment that still is hole and fray free.  Not all flour sacks are created equal in their durability!

Hello new blinding white towels! 


I believe that cherry towel is what would be considered a "nice towel" which you would bring out at times when people might see your kitchen!

When I was looking through the piles I found this very cute one.

 
 I will continue to hoard that one for another eight years. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Big Sky 2015

It's already the middle of the week so I thought I better get this vacation post done before it's too far in the past to be interesting anymore.  If it is interesting at all...

Between my phone, my camera, and everyone else's phones and cameras there is a large assortment of photos and first I added the phone pictures and then my camera pictures, which put them at the top.  I arranged a few but these won't be in a very logical order.  Since I am a non-type A person I don't care about this at all but it may drive others crazy. 

We spent the night in Billings at a hotel before heading into the mountains.  This has been the tradition since I was a child and although a night at a hotel doesn't seem that exciting this night has always been a fun kick off to the trip.  There is a Fuddrucker's burger restaurant across the street from the hotel and since that place is gone from ND and was a family favorite when it was in Fargo it is always fun to eat there.  Well, this year, we were dismayed to walk up to the door and find it temporarily closed (there is another restaurant that overflows into the parking lot so it looked busy) because there had been a fire in one of the bathrooms!  So pizza delivery it was. 

That night we took the kids swimming. 


 
This hotel conveniently had a shallow wading pool and Tessa loved it.  She stood in her floaty ring and ran around the pool in circles for quite awhile. 
 
The picture below is the first glimpse of Big Sky as you drive along the highway toward the resort. 
 

It is always a thrill to see, especially on a clear day when you can see the mountain peak!

This year we had two condo units that connected to each other. It was a nice arrangement to have two kitchens, two laundry rooms and countless bathrooms.  There were five bathrooms in each house so we had 10!  What a dream!  There were also robes.  Fancy.  Here is my brother in his robe with my sister's daughter. 

Since we have the most kids we ended up sleeping in the bunk room with them.  So Ben and I shared  bunk bed.  He loved having the top bunk and I have to admit that I found something very cozy about sleeping in the little cave of a bottom bunk.  This is probably due to the nostalgia of someone who loved camp as a child and who lived in dorm situations for several years beyond the initial freshman in college experience.  Although, looking back, I don't know how we hauled our...ummm...exhausted...selves up to those top bunks in college. 

 The big event for us was Ben putting on skis for the first time!  Justin pulled him down to the base area in a sled the first morning so he could see us all in our skis and on the way he ran into a ski instructor and asked about the lift ticket policy for kids (they ski free!) and ended up signing him up for a lesson. 


I have more photos of him in his skis down below.

Here is the complex where he stayed.  It had one of the better views we have ever had  I think!



Here is a baby takeover in the kitchen.


Cousins!


Every year since Ben was only a few weeks old we have taken a picture at the base of the mountain.  They look thrilled, don't they?


The evening sun was not ideal for photos and they are kind of shadowed.  We thought hiding in front of that pillar might help. 





Children, look at the camera!
 

Our houses were filled with lovely touches.  They are pretty new and very modern.  Ours had a shuffleboard table and my aunt and uncle's had a pool table.

 
 
 
Here is my cousin and I on the first morning of skiing.  The weather was really nice this year and warm.  It was almost too warm and by the end of the week the snow melt was becoming an issue.  Personally, I don't like being outside in frigid temperatures all day so I liked this regardless of the lack of snow depth. 

 
Here is Ben and Grandpa in their matching outfits.  We had to joke about the recent "dress" controversy.  Does it look like they are wearing blue and black or gold and white?  Definitely gold and white...
 

Here we are out on the mountain at the same time!


This mountaintop bar and restaurant has been closed for a few years so it was fun to see it open again and the weather was perfect for outdoor breaks. 

Here is the little skier! 

 
We have a video from his lesson which is so cute but I can't figure out how to get it on here without a lot of work so I didn't add it.  I believe most people have seen it on Facebook or had it sent to them already anyway.  He did really good, which by three year old standards means that he didn't throw a fit, have a meltdown or get scared.  I didn't see him at his lesson but Justin observed from afar for a few minutes.  We skied with him after the lesson on our own and took him out for awhile again the next day.  I have to say that I really admire those teachers.  It is not easy lugging those little kids around! 


See that camera I am wearing strapped to me?  It's a GoPro.  Ben wore it also!  His footage is mostly me and Justin standing over him hauling him off the ground. 


Look at him go!  Skis nice and straight!  The instructor said that children don't have the strength in their legs to do stops and turns before they are four so they didn't get into that yet.  It was more about the enjoyment of skiing.  He did like it and continued to ask to go during the week. 


 
Here Ben is again on a tower of bean bag chairs in the movie lounge room upstairs.  It was a good place to it!

 
One morning I took these two out sledding.  It was uneventful except I just love the scenery. 
 
I'm still working on re-entering the real world after a week in the mountains.  At least the warm weather was waiting for us when we got home but now it is snowing today so Waaahh waaaaaah. 
 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ben the 3 Year Old

We made it back from our trip to Montana on Saturday.  We came home to spring weather and spent all weekend playing outside.  I am so tired from everything and the time change that I have hardly managed to unpack anything besides the necessities and am just starting the laundry.  "Spring Forward" is such a beast. 

Before I tell you all the fascinating details of my family vacation (since everyone likes to hear all the details of other people's family vacations!) I have to devote a post to Ben's birthday which was last Saturday. 

He had two mini parties, one of which was at a hotel since we were travelling on his birthday.  He didn't care though.  Here are a few photos from his celebrations.

 
He got a t-ball set the weekend before we left.  I thought it would be awhile before this thing got any use but we were able to try it out this weekend!   It was pretty fun.  I was never a t-ball player myself so I don't think I am the best person to demonstrate this equipment.  I played softball for two years in the later elementary school years because all my friends did and it was just embarrassing since all my friends had played since the t-ball years.  This was followed by a few mediocre intramural and recreational league softball adventures which found me happily chilling out in right field.
 
Here he is with his first cake.  For his first and second birthday he had a cake made my me (recall the Allan cake from his 1st birthday and the construction site cake from last year!) but this year he had two store bought cakes.  This one was purchased by Justin's mom. 



We gave him a present before we left on Saturday morning so he would have a travel buddy. It was Curious George!  George was a hit. 

 

That night at the hotel he received some other nice gifts including this farm set with a machine shed from Justin (and me, but especially Justin).  He calls it his "tractor house". 


 
Here is his second cake, which Justin purchased at Dairy Queen in Billings, Montana.   It was delicious.  I couldn't have done it better myself.  Not even close.
 
Of course, no good birthday post would be complete without a few old baby pictures to smile over.  His are really special to me because our old house is in the background.  I still love that wood floor. 
 



 
Having a three year old is hard to believe.  Three is a transitional year when everything starts, such as preschool and little kids sports at the Y and Sunday school and all sorts of things.  I feel like it is a gateway between being a say at home mom of babies to being a mom on the go hauling kids all over town.  It should be interesting.  But it is good.  He is a big boy now who doesn't even wear pull-ups at night anymore and can run to the bathroom without even telling me.  It's crazy!  He can also mostly dress himself and his memory is getting so impressive.  I can't believe the way he remembers books and songs and things like that.  He loves to draw and build creations with Legos and "help" around the house.  He can also throw a major fit for no discernable reason.  Aaahhh...three year olds are the epitome of crazy.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Ben on the Ice


I feel as though I am neglecting the old blog these days.  It's not because I don't want to write anything.  It is because Ben quit napping so now I can't get anything done ever.  Without getting into it and sounding really whiny and like I don't enjoy my children I will just say that it's bad around here.  Conditions are deteriorating rapidly and discreetly stashing toys away has become nearly impossible.  He's watching "Curious George" in another room right now and I am stealthily using the computer before he figures it out and comes in here wanting to press various letters and numbers. 

So, let me see...what has been interesting in this house lately?  Ben went ice fishing with Justin and his friends last weekend. 

 
This is when they were setting up.  They each have a portable house with a heater so it's not so unfathomable to have a little kid out in the cold all day.  However, they did have to come up with some...interesting...alternatives to a toilet while he was out there.  I was impressed.  He really is trained now.  The photo above was taken when I dropped him off and yes it is in the middle of a lake.  It was my first time driving on a frozen lake!  Don't freak out Grandpa!  He loved to tell a cautionary tale of a pickup that fell through the ice on a lake near my hometown many many years ago. 
 
Here is a fun candid of Ben wearing Allan's Christmas costume. 

 
I am always embarrassed to behold the clutter in the background of most photos taken in our house.  This one isn't even bad.  I can explain most of it.  The shoes are from a drawer in the dresser where I stash all the slippers and baby shoes of various sizes.  Tessa loves to open it and empty it so there are mismatched shoes all over the house most of the time.  That blue circle is a coaster.  I have no idea why that is there.  None of our tables are worthy of coasters and I used to just use them for looks until Ben was old enough to take them and spread them all over the house.  This one was probably in his toy box. 
 
I was going to explain why the crib was full of blankets when I noticed that Tessa is in there!  I think she was supposed to be napping and Ben snuck in there to play with her.  He likes to throw all the blankets from that quilt rack by the crib into the crib. 
 
My big recent excitement is that I got jury duty for today.  When I called last night for details I found out my pool was off the hook although the trial actually is happening.  Although I have no problem fulfilling my civic duty I am relieved about today.  The child care part was going to take some orchestrating. 
 
We are leaving for a trip to Montana on Saturday so I have a lot of packing to do and also cleaning because we will have guests staying here the night before we leave.  So hopefully I will have one more post before then!  The day we leave is Ben's 3rd birthday so maybe I will do his birthday post before we leave.