Thursday, April 27, 2017

Yes, Another Costume Day

Hello, I haven't posted on here all week.  My excuse is I have come down with a cold that has really escalated the last few days in my typical pattern which is horrible sore throat for a few days, nose that is like a running faucet and now a continually running nose with chest rattling cough.  I haven't had this happen yet this winter and now, here we are almost in May, and it caught me.  Also, we don't have any Kleenex so I have been walking around the house with a roll of TP.  So I have been worthless and just doing the minimum.  Here is what I have managed to do. 

It is the "Week of the Young Child", which as I probably said last year,  I feel like is overkill because it seems like everything already revolves around them.  I get the purpose.  Some kids don't have access to quality early education since it isn't part of public schooling in the USA and it really is the foundation for future success.  However, we don't live in an area where this is an issue and it seems to be just for fun here.  Tuesday was favorite book/movie/tv character day and on Monday I was at a loss.  Fortunately, Ben received a cowboy hat as a birthday treat at school a few weeks ago and we received a cute leather vest in a hand me down box so I threw this together.


He's not just any cowboy...


He's Wood from Toy Story!  Sure, we didn't have the boots and the vest isn't cowhide print but I think it works still.

The kids had their last day of basketball yesterday and received their new prized possessions:


At least they each have their own! 

I brought Milo in from the Child Watch room to watch the last ten minutes of basketball and it was just as I thought...He wanted to run after them and play with a ball. 


Imagine him writhing in my arms whining, "Balllll Ba-ballllll!" 

This is from last week but on that day Tessa insisted on wearing her sunglasses to play basketball.



She did take them off after a few minutes but it was pretty ridiculous.

It is freezing cold this week but last week was nice and one afternoon the kids started playing "sandbox" with the gravel in the gutters around our house.  Ben build a dam and I suggested they get some water and test it out and it worked. 



They formed a little man made lake for recreational use!  We really need a sandbox. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

I Made an Art

I feel kind of behind on this old thing these last few weeks.  Long weekends for Holidays always throw me off.  A few notable things...I am a member of some buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook and I spotted this cute medal shelf/cabinet thing a few weeks ago.  It was spotted on my hometown's site and the group includes people from lots of surrounding towns too.  I decided to let it go since the poster was not from my hometown and it would have required some arranging to get it from the lady.


A few weeks later, she bumped it up meaning no one bought it.  I said "sold" since she lives kind of on the way we take when we visit.  She agreed to drive a few miles to meet me along the highway at a golf course and I picked it up on the way to Easter.  It's not in the house right now since we didn't have room and I'm not sure where it's going yet.  It's so "fixer upper" though!  So many possibilities! 

Also seen on social media...last week was our old neighbors who lived across from us at our old house's 90th birthday and his family advertised in the paper for people to flood him with birthday cards.  He's active in the community so a lot of people know him.  I wanted to get a card sent but we didn't have any in the house and Justin was gone so I would have had to bring three kids to buy one and I didn't want to.  So I made one! 


 I drew a picture of our old house, which is his daily view when sitting in their living room.  After I was done I wrote a message on the roof in marker and a note on the back.  If you need your memory jogged to figure out what exactly is in the picture above...


















 I actually had a pretty good art teacher in middle and high school and I gained a lot from the occasional semesters of art we were offered.  I used to amaze my co-workers with my Microsoft "Paintbrush" abilities during our downtime on our stripped down and highly secure computers.  The main thing is to pick a point on the horizon and go from there and to think about what you are actually looking at and not your perception.  I did a sample like this angled photo but the curved front step was throwing me off.  The classic struggle between the left and right brain!  My teacher used to make us stop talking and listen to music without words while drawing and painting so we could push out the left brain while doing art.  It sounds crazy but there is something to it.  Anyway, I didn't have time to work through it (or to find a ruler, as you can tell my by freehand lines) so I did a head on perspective. The step still looks weird but oh well. 



I added a last minute finishing touch! If you can't tell it's Allan...I have to say, that although my drawing skills are mediocre, in the eyes of two preschool age kids I might as well be a true artist.  They couldn't believe I made that!

Seeing pictures of that house made me miss those lovely irises we planted in the front.  They are still there serious need of being divided.  Good thing we have our own irises which have been growing strong for the last few weeks.  They came up early this year.  They need division too. 


We (Justin) will be mowing back there before we know it!

Finally, I love seeing a balk eagle in the wild.  They probably don't want to hear this but I think they are really cute.  I love watching Eagle nest cams and seeing their little white heads in the trees and fields as they perch makes me giggle.  Well, I am so excited to report that eagles have been spotted near my parents' farm and even in their yard. 

That is in a tree you can see from the house!  My mom saw two of them frolicking in the sky, clearly having some kind of romance.  There has to be a nest somewhere nearby.  Baby eagles...be still, my heart!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

"Lives again our glorious King, where, oh death is now thy sting?"

I can't have a religious holiday without a hymn reference...what song is that title from?  It is an obscure verse of "Christ the Lord is Risen Today", the classic Easter song which I used to play on my trumpet in church on Easter.

I love a late Easter...there is at least a chance of wearing nice spring shoes to church and not winter boots and coats.  This year was a warm one and it made the holiday very enjoyable.  We had a fun but hectic weekend.  We did our own egg dying on Wednesday while Milo was sleeping.  Sorry Milo...one year olds who like to climb on tables and throw things are not allowed to dye eggs.  Maybe next year. 

I bought each kid a dozen eggs for themselves to dye.  There are always bargains on eggs this time of year so it was $.88 cents well spent for the extra pack for the entertainment and lack of fighting.  Ben was a very careful and precise egg dyer this year.  Is "dyer" the way to spell it?  Or is it "dier"...that's definitely wrong...dyer it is. 


Tessa did pretty good.  She finally understood that you need to slowly lower the eggs and not drop them into the cup from six inches above. 


The inevitable happened and Tessa finished hers way before Ben because she had multiple cups in use at once and he was doing one at a time and she said, "Ben, can I have one of your eggs?"




I had a few extra in an old carton so I did my favorite shrink wrap method.  I love the satisfying moment when the wrap clings. 


Good Friday was a very warm day so we walked to the park.  It is a about a three block walk from Justin's mom's house and me and Grandpa L made the walk with them.  Of course, the inevitable whining about being hot (it was 70...) needing a drink and being tired ensued.  The whining was mostly on the way home.  Milo loved the big twirly slide and went down over and over again. 


The kids had a second round of egg dying.  Notice the true red one on the left...if you want that color add red food coloring. 




Milo got his own baby Easter egg hunt.  It was cute...he actually figured it out. 

On Saturday morning we went to the Grand Forks city egg hunt which, as I have described in past years, is not really a hunt but more of a grab.  It is nicely done though.  Each kid gets a bag and once it is full they are done so no one can hog more than their share.  The candy was even a step up from the usual cheap "parade" mix of hard tootsie rolls.  There were lots of gummies.  That's what I like to see.


We got some fun prizes including one of the "good prizes" which was pancake mix from the North Dakota State Mill.  That one was more for the adults...They each also won a cheap baseball set so they were happy. 


After the hunt I took Tessa to my cousin's farm in Northern MN for a family get together.  I have been there a few times before but I have never paid attention to this huge a$$ cottonwood tree in the yard.  That thing must have been one of the first trees in that area.  I love a good cottonwood even though I spent my teenage summers pulling tangled cotton seeds out of the swimming pool filters where I worked every day.  They seem to really stand the tests of time and most of the biggest trees in the farm shelter belts are cottonwoods.  

We went to church early on Sunday morning in my hometown and it was...a struggle.  The kids were wild but Ben and Tessa participated in the Children's message and obtained yet another plastic egg containing an Easter message.  At the end of the service there were wooden crosses lined up at the alter and the kids were asked to carry them out in triumph and Ben carried one out in the crowd.  I know kids need to attend church to learn how to behave but taking a one year old...it is just not a very enjoyable or reflective experience.

I tried to take a few pictures of the kids in dress clothes before they went outside and got all dirty.



Hmmm...pretty good...

Our attempted cousin picture was not so successful. 

My brother and sister-in-law planned an egg hunt (the kids had three over the weekend...lucky children...) and my mom got out all the baskets from our youth.  The one Tessa is holding here is one of the first I remember when I was very young.  I was probably five years old.  That basket is almost thirty years old!  Be careful with that thing!  I'm sure my mom bought them at Woolworths or Pamida.


My brother did the hiding...nice work...

Ok, I have to go sort through the buckets and bags of candy that have taken over the counters.  I always rolled my eyes at people who take their kids' Halloween candy and freeze it so they don't eat too much junk but the problem here is me eating too much junk so I may have to do just that for my own health.  The kids aren't even asking for too much.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Basketball

Like I said last week, Ben and Tessa are currently participating in a basketball program for three to five year olds.  Program is too strong of a word I guess. It's every Wednesday morning for 45 minutes for a month. Ben did the baseball version of this when he was three and I have to say that it's a bit crazy to have three and five year olds together.  The maturity level is completely different and so is the coordination.  But, here they are, as teammates for probably one of the few times in their lives. 

They even stretched before starting!


They played a few playground games before getting started to get the kids in "listening" mode and then they practiced dribbling.  Tessa was a bit clueless about this and there was some travelling going on. 


She pretty much watched Ben the whole time to see what she was supposed to be doing.



She is so tiny!  I'm not sure anyone believed she was three since there were two year old siblings the same size as her watching who were too young to play. 

Later that day we went to the park for the first time this year. 

Milo loved swinging last year and now he's afraid of it.  Ben still wants to ride in the baby swings so I tried to teach him to pump.  You have to know how to swing before you get to elementary school!  Tessa loves it as much as ever. 

Here are a few more OOTD (Outfit of the day for anyone who doesn't follow fashion bloggers on social media...) choices from Tessa.


It's always good to fly a kite in a formal dress over parrot leggings!


Milo and his three pacifiers are still stuck wearing the boring and conventional outfits I pick out.


This one is right up there at the top of the crazy list...wow...

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Tessa's New Milestone

The weeks and months of little kid dependence seem to drag on and on but every once and a while there is a breakthrough.  The ones that stand out to me at Ben learning to buckle himself into his seat in the car, being able to feel comfortable leaving a baby in a crib with a blanket without fear of them suffocating, and being able to put a kid down in a parking lot and not having to worry that they will run off in all directions.  Recently, Tessa had a big breakthrough.  She started dressing herself.  This include everything, including socks and zippers (zippers!  Yippeee!).  This is one less thing for me to do but it also means that she dresses herself.  She closes her bedroom door and says, "No, I don't need help!" and it's anyone's guess what she will choose from her drawers.  And it is wild...






This was a tough one for me at first since I love her cute little outfits and everything but I have learned to embrace it since getting herself dressed is a major step.  The downside, besides the clown outfits, is now she will disappear into her room at any given time and come out with different clothes on or even pajamas and her room is often strewn with clothes and I can't figure out what's clean or dirty. 

For those of you who know me, you know that my birthday was on the 4th. I'm two days into the big 3-4.  She picked this very special outfit out just for me that day.


Eeeek.  I almost couldn't bring myself to share this picture because it looks like a pile of laundry is in the background.  Just let me explain...I am in the middle of a tshirt quilt for a college friend and those are the cutting scraps, OK?  So chill.  If you couldn't tell, he went to NDSU. 

I had a good birthday which was typical of mid-thirties (ugh, did I just say I'm in my mid-thirties?) birthdays of people with young kids. This means we did nothing exciting and had an early supper at a restaurant (I got a free beer at least!) and then went to the mall to return some shoes.  I had a stressful hunt for gym shoes for Ben on Tuesday because his size is the size when shoes transition from Velcro to laces and we haven't even started talking about shoe tying yet.  Ben and Tessa started a little kids basketball session on Wednesday (more about that later) so I needed to get them that day.

One of my gifts from Justin was a Yeti cup.


This is awesome because all the clich├ęs about moms never getting to finish a hot beverage before it gets cold are true. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Call the Exterminator

I had a fun post planned for the day. Well, I wouldn't say it was planned, but I had the urge to do something fun and this is for me...this is my fun thing I do.  But, something else developed this morning.  Actually, we noticed it last night.  Ants.  First, it was just one ant last night.  I spotted another one nearby but no others.  Then this morning  when we returned from our morning activities I noticed several ants.  I "took care" of them all and soon enough I noticed more.  They are near the patio door which is not unusual this time of year although I always blamed it on that old screen with holes from animal claws that we replaced last fall.  But the door has been closed tight and they are still coming in.  I think they are coming from under that little raised area of trim you can see in the picture. 


I checked outside and I noticed a stray ant on the deck but not a whole colony.  This means they are under the deck so someone will probably have to crawl under there and spray.  Ben,.how would you like to earn $1?  Haha, JK.  But seriously, I hate this.  I grew up in an old farm house and depending on the year and the seasons there was always some insect or bug pestering us.  It was ladybugs, boxelder beetles, flies, crickets, the occasional spider, mosquitos in the light fixtures, you name it. For awhile there was ants but only in the upstairs bathroom which makes no sense really.  So I really have enjoyed not having to deal with any of that since living in "town". It actually probably had more to do with the age of the house and the boxelder trees in the yard too since I know people deal with boxelders and lady beetles and all the rest in town.  I did have one garden level apartment in Fargo that had a cricket problem which was disturbing.  They aren't dangerous and they don't get into food but they look so gross. 

So I had something else planned for today but I have to use this time to clean the kitchen floor and eradicate every crumb so those little creeps don't go back to the ant hill and tell their friends that there is a feast if you just squeeze through the siding and under that doorframe.  Gaaah gross. I just read on the Internets that spraying vinegar and water on the area where they are coming in will deter and kill them and I have some of that already mixed up so, if you will excuse me...