Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Preschool Grad

Ben's preschool graduation was last Thursday afternoon.  I am just getting around to this because I was in Las Vegas all weekend.  The trip there ended up being a complete fiasco.  I will save that for another post.  For now, we will just remember the happy times before I had a 26 hour flight delay (yes, you read that right).

Last year, this little girl got loose as the kids were lining up in front of the gym and starting saying "Hi Ben Hi Ben!  I dancing I dancing!" and then she started doing a weird little dance up there.  I was trying to adjust the settings on my camera and it just happened so fast...

Let's flash back to that morning...

I knew we would have to keep a good eye on Milo to prevent him from doing the same thing or else making a break for the door and getting loose in the YMCA.  We let him run before it started and I couldn't even get a good picture of his "dress" clothes. 

He ended up being restrained. 

Sorry buddy!

Soon the kids filed and sang their featured songs, including "Months of the Year" and a musical rendition of "Five Little Monkeys". 

Then they got their certificates.  Their hats made me laugh.  If you can't tell, the mortarboards are fully intact pieces of rectangle shaped construction paper.  They made their own as an art project which I liked.  I have been seeing more elaborate Kindergarten and preschool graduation photos the last few years on social media and many schools even have miniature satin robes and hats that look even better than the nylon Jostens numbers high school and college students get stuck paying for. 

I tried to get a picture of the Bros but one bro was too busy checking out all the action in the room. 

My photogenic family. 

Slightly better...

After the program we went upstairs to the room to have some fruit and cake and say goodbye to everyone one last time.  This was pretty sad for me since he's been going here for two years and many of the kids have been in his class the whole time. As a result, I have become friends with the parents.  Ben has a day camp type thing scheduled for two weeks in June with a few of his friends so that will be good at least. In this picture he playing at the Lego table, his favorite free time activity, with a few of his main guys who will all be at different schools next year.  Sniff...

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Pretty Flowers

I'm sure no one remembers when I posted about the irises behind the house last year, but the post worthy thing about them was that an unusual pink variety with a gigantic bloom was mixed in with a bunch we thought were purple.  They came from the yard of a botanist who works with Justin, and she has a botanical garden right at her house with so many different plants that bloom with the seasons. Chances are she dug a loose rhizome from another variety as she was digging up this purple cluster but it didn't show up the first year they bloomed so it was quite a surprise. 

Now the pink has spread!  They seem to be spreading around the outside of the cluster. All the clusters are really getting huge.  Too bad the pink ones ended up in front of all the ugly utility stuff. 

This was taken last night and they are even more filled with blooms today.  I want to cut some and put them in a vase but last time I did that the color dripped out of the blooms and left purple marks all over the picture frames that were nearby.  It was weird and not what I was expecting to happen.  There are so many blooms though that cutting a few couldn't hurt. 

I think I will leave the pinks out there.  I looked up pink irises to see if I could find one that looked like these and I think they might be a variety called "Peggy Sue".

 I really need to get to a greenhouse.  We don't have any potted flowers yet.  The time has come! 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

My Late Mother's Day "Surprise".

So far, we've avoided any ER visits, stitches and bone injuries in this house.  I know the kids are still young but so far anyway...There was one occasion where Ben fell out of the car and the impact caused him to bite through his cheek so he had a huge gash inside his mouth and Milo's hospital stay last year for the unidentifiable respiratory virus.  I guess Tessa needed a turn...and yesterday she got it.

She was running through the kitchen and she collided with the counter and started crying.  I initially reprimanded her for being wild and not watching where she was going but when she turned to look at me she had blood running down her face.  Eeek!

Of course, it isn't a large cut at all but blood caked hair never looks reassuring.  I made her sit down and I held a wet cloth over it and then an ice pack.  While I was doing that, Milo got into the bag of Easter candy from the egg hunt we went to that was out on the table and unwrapped five suckers and proceeded to eat all of them at once. 

Yes, that's safe and healthy for a one year old.  He was NOT happy when I took them away.  He was so sticky.  These kids are CRAZY!  But then they totally redeem themselves, like when I caught Ben thinking he was giving Milo a bath last night.

I got my preschool made Mother's Day gift yesterday.  I already knew what it was because Ben told me last week.  "Mom, we are making a surprise for you at school!  It's a picture of our hand and we drew it on shrink dink paper and put it on a key chain!"  Haha...yep, it's a surprise!

It's so cute.  Hopefully it lasts a long time unlike the painted flower pots they made last year.  One rain shower washed off all the paint!

Monday, May 15, 2017

My 6th Mother's Day

In case you haven't looked at social media over the weekend, yesterday was Mother's Day.  It seems like just yesterday that I was enjoying my first one.  I looked back in my files for pictures from that day in 2012 and found these nice photos. 

Glad I put on such a nice outfit for the occasion!  Actually, based on the other pictures in the file it looked like we were planting flowers and our garden that weekend so I probably did wear sweatpants and an old shirt of my brother's. 

This year was fine.  We didn't do anything special.  We were at the farm and yesterday everyone just worked.  My parents' friends from when they were in their 20's were stopping by on a cross country motor home trip and they hadn't seen each other in 30 years so that was crazy.  Me and my sister actually stayed at their house when my mom went in to labor unexpectedly early when my brother was born.  Otherwise it was uneventful.  From my youth I remember Mother's Day being focused around church and having a Sunday School performance where we all fanned out with carnations at the end to give to our moms.  If you had siblings you could give yours to another woman who's kids weren't there aka an old lady.  My mom and grandma were usually there but the little kids always went first so my brother and sister got to them first so my flower always went to an old lady.  After church there was usually some kind of family gathering with one or the other side of the family where my mom spent the day cooking and cleaning. 

Here is my card from the family:

Now this is my kind of card!

I will love this one forever because of Ben's writing in it.  Justin helped his spell the words.  No, he doesn't know the correct variation of Allan/Allen/Alan that we chose for Allan.  He has started being able to sound out words so I've been reading from beginning reader books with him and I must say I'm glad I'm not a reading teacher.  I know my way around the English language but explaining some of this phonics stuff even confuses me.  You forget that at one time some one told you that adding an "e" at the end of a word changes the vowel sound. 

There were a few dandelions growing on the lawn so I tried to teach the kids how to make chains.  I remember a friend teaching me this skill in elementary school.  Some kids just brought their teachers limp dandelions clenched in their fists...we brought them a whole damn rope! 

Ben caught on pretty quick but then they tried to use them as you would actually use a rope and they kept breaking.  No, you can't tow a Tonka truck around with a dandelion rope!  Ben looks pretty dirty here and as the day went on (he spent a lot of time "farming" and riding around on my dad's ranger ATV) he ended up so dirty that I thought he had a tan but it was just a full body layer. 

Stay tuned for my next post...the irises behind the house appear to be blooming any second and they are huge.  Since last summer it seems they have doubled in size. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Like Being a Kid Again...

On Saturday, I visited my grandparents' house in Minnesota for the first time in a few years.  It brought out some weird nostalgia in me even though there is not plans for my grandma to move out of there anytime soon.  My mom and my sister were there with her two kids and I had Milo and Tessa and it was like the old days when I was a kid having little kids roaming around there and playing upstairs again.  It's a pretty special and unusual thing to be 34 and still have your grandparents living in the same house they did when you were born and it's even more rare for that house to be the house your parent grew up in. 

This is it, where I spent many Christmas days and summer weekends.  When my grandpa was alive his friend would come over in the mornings to visit and the kitchen would be full of grandkids and the dog barking and tapping around and it was always kind of crazy but fun.  Before that my mom grew up here as one of five kids. When I was really young we were here so often we had a season pass to the public pool.  In the slants of the roof and the garage there are many little doors into storage spaces and my grandpa could always find more old baseball equipment or toys for my brother and where the old prom dresses and baton uniforms and school jackets hung. The rooms upstairs are so small that they don't have closets and everything was hung in built-ins in the hallway.  The tan siding and deck and sliding door into the kitchen were 1990's updates.  It used to be brown with a regular window and the front step is still under the deck. 

It is so enjoyable to return and see everything the way it's always been.  My grandma is a tasteful lady so the décor had been updated through the years and not every single knick knack and decoration is the same but some things never change.  For example, this bulletin board that we all love to look at that hangs by the phone in the basement:

That anniversary picture in the middle is from their 40th in 1994 and that is probably the newest thing on this board.  Actually, the school photo of my cousin in the bottom corner could be from the early 2000s. 

And then there is the plaque wall, also in the basement.  These are just a few.  I wonder if my aunts and uncles were jealous of my mom's overrepresentation on the wall.  In fact, she was the only one of five with any awards on the wall.  It's kind of like that time my brother and sister were both Athlete of the Year and I wasn't.  But I did get a "most improved" trophy one time at basketball camp...

You can't see it well, but that says valedictorian! 

Most of the plaques and frames were my grandpa's however.  He gave a lot to education and high school sports in his time. 

Too bad my kids never knew him...he would have loved these little monsters. 

Before I had kids I loved to look at pictures at both of my grandparents' houses.  I got a few minutes on this visit and found this picture of my great grandma Margaret, which is where I got Tessa's middle name. 

A lovely lady, she was.  I don't know of any other young pictures of her and she died young after having 14 children.  I think this might have been a wedding photo since there was a matching one of my great grandpa. 

Hopefully this place will stay the same for a long time.  It makes me think about how strange it must have been when we moved into our first house after buying it from an elderly woman who had been living their since 1954.  At some point the familiar décor comes off the walls and the storage spaces get emptied. 

OK, enough nostalgia.  I have to go find my kids' sandals now.  It was 90 degrees when we returned home last night (a thunderstorm went through so today is much cooler but the time has still come) and Tessa is still wanting to wear boots everywhere.  Ben wore hand me down sandals at Milo's age and they ended up being worn out by the end of summer so I think I have to (ugh) buy Milo new sandals and I'm sure Ben's from last year won't fit either. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Bicyicle Built for One

When I was a child, riding a bike was one of the key pieces of our small town childhood.  Justin didn't grow up in a small town and still he had a similar experience. He used to ride his bike from his house to downtown Grand Forks, which was much farther than a few blocks.  As a farm kid, it was a bit different for me, but no one's parents were shuttling them around to every little activity and practice in a car seat until they weighed 48 pounds.  (Leaping out of a rolling stopped grain truck and walking two blocks because the trucks couldn't drive on the street by the that did happen!)  Especially during summer, kids rode bikes everywhere.  You could find where the fun was happening by which yard had bikes strewn across the lawn.   In front of the swimming pool bikes were practically piled in the parking lot.  Kids streamed up to the Co-Op air compressor to fill their tires.  At school there was always a short little unit about bike safety.  I seem to vaguely remember a "rodeo" or "corral" themed event in a parking lot that addressed safe biking but I can't remember details. 

As I said, I lived on a farm three miles from town so often my siblings and I had to be driven around but we still brought our bikes to town some days and I often ended up riding around on my best friend's older sister's bicycle when we got up to town kid adventures.  I actually didn't learn to ride without training wheels until second grade because my family moved overseas before that and we didn't take bikes with us.  Kind of embarrassing in the kid world! My first bike was a Schwinn banana seater named "The Desert Rose". 

I purchased a new bike in law school so I could ride around to my summer bar review classes and I soon took to riding it on short errands or if, perhaps, I may have drove myself to a bar then took a taxi home and had to retrieve my car the next day. It's good to have some self propelled wheels for those situations...rollerblades work too. One morning I arrived at bar review class and realized I forgot my note packet for the day so I decided to zoom back to my apartment to get it. Outside the building there was a half-circle driveway up to the door and as I started to ride I noticed a line of teenagers lined up to board a bus for a camp or a tour.  While watching them, I failed to watch where I was going and I hit the curb and went flying into the grass with my bike falling on top of me.  They all saw and laughed.  It was downright silly and totally my own fault.  I smiled and rode away while dying inside and fortunately they were gone by the time I returned! 

When me moved to Bismarck I quit riding it altogether after one horrific ride where I ended up walking the bike up a very steep hill cursing my crazy idea to take a trail.  I had rode along a busy street to get to the trail only to find the gate closed across it because trails hadn't opened for the year yet. Then I had to hike back along the busy street up a steep incline. Maybe I would have rode more if we ever lived in a flat part of town, but we never have.  My neighbors often drive to the river and ride trials there but we've never made the effort. 

Finally, our bikes ended up at the farm where, this weekend, I decided to air up my tires for the first time in probably five years.  My kids have never seen me on a bike and Ben was delighted.  I wheeled it over to my dad's shop and aired up the tires and as I took off across the yard he was running right along side me shrieking with glee. 

It was pretty fun biking again although certain areas of the body definitely need to acclimate to sitting on a bike seat again!  I am pleased to say that the inevitable didn't happen, which is having a bird poop on your seat as soon as you leave your bike unattended outside. 

The bike thing was the least of our weekend adventures...we planted the pumpkin patch version 2017!  I feel like it's too early...but what do I know.  We planted some different varieties this year that have a 110 day maturity so we need the extra weeks. 

There is Justin's single row drill all ready to go! The neighbor's dog was helping us out...

I'm really good at dripping seeds into a funnel. 

Next comes the weed control portion of this project.  The best part!