Friday, August 06, 2010

Summer Milestone

First ever treats from the ice cream truck. None of them were able to finish before massive melting occurred.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Busy Summer

Summer is flying by, and we are doing our best to soak up every warm second of it. We've had an exceptionally busy summer, with Corrie playing soccer and continuing violin lessons, Corrie and Jack taking swim lessons, and visits from our families. Thrown into the mix has been some work related travel for Joel, along with an unexpected trip to California for the funeral of his grandfather. I am looking forward to the second half of summer having a slower pace . . . especially since I still need to sort and organize curriculum for the fall!

Here are some pictures of our latest excitement:

Jack turned 5 in June -- my parents came for a visit, and we had a fun celebration.

In honor of the big birthday, we went to the Children's Museum in Saint Paul. Jack is trying on the scarecrow's hat from the Wizard of Oz exhibit.

Joel's sister and her family came for a visit!

Lots of fun cousin time . . .

. . . including some nice swim time in the local lakes.

Corrie LOVED playing soccer this summer.

She was on a team with a very sweet group of little girls, and she wept bitter tears when the season ended.

Wes has spent most of the summer doing something like this.

I can't believe he will be 3 in a few weeks!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


We arrived home yesterday from a road trip to Chicago, and are feeling very thankful for our time back on our old stomping grounds. We piled the kids in the car on Wednesday morning, and enjoyed the beautiful drive across Wisconsin and down into the northern 'burbs of Chicago. The kids did quite well on the drive, and were delighted with our hotel and the wondrous murphy bed upon which Corrie and Jack were privileged to sleep. Thankfully, no one was smashed or maimed as a result of their fascination with that bed.

Our first day in Chicagoland involved taking the train into the city, where we went to the Shedd Aquarium, Buckingham Fountain and Michigan Avenue. The kids had a great time, and the boys were especially enamored with the train ride. Our second day was dedicated to returning to our home in Evanston, where Corrie was born and lived the first year of her life. It was great, and so nostalgic for Joel and I. The next day we went into the city again, this time by car, and visited the fantastic Lincoln Park Zoo, and saw a concert in the same neighborhood by our friends, The Spares. Love, love, love their music!

Finally, we were able to attend a church that was recently established by some good friends from our Chicago days, and then were hosted for lunch by some friends who made up our small group at that time. We haven't seen many of them for years, but it was great to make connections again, and to see how our families have grown. We were all young married couples with no kids in those days, and now there was quite the gang of little ones running around.

All in all, a great trip . . . and a gift to have Joel away from work and all to ourselves for a few days!

On the Train!
Getting ready for the 3D Movie. She hated it, by the way.
Wes & Daddy
That is one big fountain
At the front door of our old apartment
Best giant cinnamon chip scones ever.
We stopped at a lot of playgrounds
Hey look, it's a polar bear

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Lowry Nature Center

We took a family field trip this week to one of the nature centers / park reserves in our area. It was a beautiful, HUGE place with great walking trails. The kids absolutely love these places, and are more than happy to spend the morning being "nature explorers." This particular nature center included a great nature themed playground, complete with otter slides, a beaver dam, and lily pads. We are having an amazing early spring in Minnesota, and it feels so great to get out an enjoy it.

Some pictures . . .

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Latest News

We've had a great couple of weeks here in Minneapolis. Spring has arrived early (for this part of the world), and we have been enjoying beautiful days. Daffodils and tulips are coming up, trees are blossoming, and I am LOVING the general greenness all around.

We had a great visit with my parents, who were here for a week and spent Easter with us. Trips to the zoo and to the park were highlights for the kids, and I especially enjoyed our fantastic Easter feast together. Here are some pictures of our times enjoying the sun . . . and a short video of Corrie's very first attempt at riding her bike without training wheels. I think she's got the hang of it, and she's looking forward to a lot of riding this summer.

My handsome guy, on a stroll.
The Easter 2010 shot
Grandma and Jack at the zoo

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Violin Recital Time

Here is the video from Corrie's violin recital, which took place this evening. It was our fourth recital of this school year, and was a little bit more challenging for Corrie than others have been. She was upset because a couple of girls teased her by telling her there was a spider in her hair right before the recital started. Being deathly afraid of spiders, she did not take this joke very well. Then, she was frustrated because the accompanist played her piece too slowly. But, all in all, she survived and made it through the song. Oh, and you'll be happy to know that the teasing girls apologized to her during the post-recital cookie and punch time, so all is right with the world.

Here is a link to our usual poor quality video. Someday, I shall purchase a new camera . . .

Corrie's Performance

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Kansas City

We arrived home yesterday from a short trip to Kansas City, MO. Joel's parents were there in order to cheer on our ol' alma mater, Biola, at the national basketball tournament. So, we made plans to meet up and spend a few days together. The kids did amazingly well with the driving portion of the trip. As long as we kept their favorite CD's playing, and the snacks coming, they were quite content. Wes had a couple of minor meltdowns when he just couldn't take it anymore, but other than that, the 7 hour drive went smoothly.

Upon arrival in Kansas City, we settled into the Residence Inn, where we shared a nice, spacious suite with Joel's parents. It was perfect for our family. It was perfect for the adults because the children could be enclosed in their own room, and we didn't all have to go to bed at 8 o'clock. It was perfect for the children because of the free breakfast buffet that was included with the room price. I don't know about other kiddos, but mine can (and do) eat a serious quantity of food at breakfast time. Perhaps this is because they are often less than thrilled with my attempt-at-healthy dinner offerings, and therefore hold out until the good stuff comes out at breakfast. In any event, our kids felt that this breakfast buffet was truly nirvana, because they could eat, and eat, and eat cereal and yogurt and oatmeal and fruit until stuffed. Every morning.

The kids also enjoyed our trips to the art museum, the zoo, and the Crayola Cafe, where we celebrated Corrie's 7th birthday. She was thrilled with the special day, and capped it off by attending the Biola basketball game that evening. I was not with her, as I stayed back at the hotel to put the boys to bed, but Joel reported that she loved her first basketball game and cheered with exceeding loudness for Biola throughout the entire game.

The excitement for the adults mostly centered around food. Kansas City is known for it's barbecue, and massive quantities of it were ingested within a three day period. I think I'll eat salads forever from now on. Joel and I also had the rare opportunity to go out on a date, and we had a great time exploring the city a bit.

Unfortunately, the trip was very short, but it was great to get some bonus Grandma and Grandad time.

A sort of strange looking picture taken at the Albert Lea, MN gas station/gift shop/McDonalds. Jack, pull your shirt down, please.Running toward the giant shuttlecocks at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art.
Me 'n' Joel
Awwww. Aren't they cute?We left our stroller at home. Not good with a rambunctious two year old in tow. Thank goodness for those stroller rentals at the zoo. Love this kid.Corrie and her Grandad.With Grandma on the big birthday.Wes and Corrie.
And, the big birthday celebration. She did share this with her brothers, after exclaiming, "Oh, I couldn't POSSIBLY manage it all!" Good times.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Posted on my Basement Wall

Upon further investigation, I determined that they were looking for a shirt for one of their stuffed animals. Because they were playing house, and they "don't want naked children."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Co-Op Day

Today is a busy day in our little world. Homeschool co-op, library, group violin lesson, dentist appointment. Listing all of this reminds me that I need to stop for gas in our van. But . . . anyhow . . . the kids love days like this, especially because it is a "co-op day." Our little co-op has been a great thing in our lives since moving here and beginning homeschooling. It meets right down the street (we could walk if I was inspired to walk through the sort-of-spring-melting-slush). Jack goes to a preschool class, and Corrie goes to art, PE, and science classes. They have a great time hanging out with the other kids and they get to learn all kinds of fascinating things that I would never cover at home. For example, Jack gets to use a lot of glitter, glue, and other mess-making craft stuff that I avoid like the plague. A highlight (or was it a lowlight?) for Corrie recently was learning about the anatomy of a fish in science class, by watching the teacher gut a fish right before her concerned eyes.

I am currently the "room mom" helper in Corrie's PE class. Though here in the frozen north they call it Phy Ed. Weird. They also call duck-duck-goose, "duck-duck-grey duck." Double weird. But the mild mannered Scandinavians will fight you to the death if you tell them that these names are wrong. Just a warning. What was I saying? Oh, yes, I am working in Corrie's Phy Ed class and am having a great time watching her learn the important things of which she is deprived while homeschooling, like how to play kickball and dodge ball.

Meanwhile, when I'm not helping out in some way or another, I get some time to sit and talk with the other moms. This has been a great resource for me, as a non-native to the area, because I hear about all kinds of fun ideas for family outings, lessons, activities, etc.

Now, we'll work on being just as thankful for the dentist.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Weekend Excitement

We kicked off this weekend with fresh haircuts. This picture pretty much captures the attitudes of our children regarding this activity:

On Friday (day 1 of Joel's weekend) we decided to explore a bit of Minnesota that we haven't yet seen. We drove for about an hour down the Minnesota River to the town of St. Peter. It was a pretty drive, even across the snow covered landscape, and we had a good time spotting farm animals and bald eagles circling overhead. St. Peter was a cute little town, and is home to Gustavus Adolphus college. I enjoyed the trip, though I was sorely disappointed that we were unable to locate the cheesy tourist attraction of "St. Peter's Pearly Gates." The city's website declares that authentic appearance of the gates will actually make you pinch yourself in order to confirm that you haven't reached the great beyond. Perhaps next time.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


For months, or perhaps years, Corrie has been asking to take a ballet class. She loves to dance at home, and would earnestly tell me, "Mom, I just really, really admire people who do ballet." We were hesitant, however, to pursue this interest because of the time and money involved. I had always heard that dance classes were very expensive, especially when considering the cost of costumes for performances. I looked into our local park and recreation options, but they only offered classes for wee little preschoolers. Finally, I happened upon a great option. A local dance studio started offering ballet classes during the daytime for home schoolers. The price was reasonable, there are no formal performances, just an hour per week to dance, dance, dance with a great teacher and a few other little girls. Since Corrie's birthday is coming up this month, it became her birthday present, and she is overjoyed.

Her first class was this week, and it was pretty fun to watch her having such a great time. I truly don't think she ever stopped smiling.