Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Self-Exam Day

I've done mine, ladies, now you do yours!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Camping...the Maiden Voyage

We went camping this past weekend. We took out the new (used) camper and loaded up the kids, bikes, and cooler and went to find some wilderness about a 1/2 hour away. That was the farthest we were willing to venture forth on this first trip, just to make sure everything went smoothly. And it did!

Here we are getting ready to pull out. When I saw this picture, I thought, "Oh my gosh! My butt looks huge! Is my butt really that huge?!" And while, yes may be the answer to that (I'm not disillusioned, I know the truth) it really isn't quite THAT huge. Upon closer inspection (I zoomed in), it's the curve of the camper sticking out behind me that adds a few inches. Just so you know.
It was quite cold and windy our first morning, so we ate breakfast in Grandma & Grandpa's fancy camper. Breakfast burritos, if you're wondering.
Greg's parents...a.k.a. Black Grandma & Grandpa
It was too cold to be outside, so we checked out the campground's Nature Center. The kids had all kinds of fun in there.
There were all sorts of dead things to touch and to look at.
These bins became a favorite, though not before some major coaxing by Greg. The idea is to put your hand in and feel around, trying to guess what's inside. Then you can lift the flap to see if you're right. Sophie was too freaked out to try it at first. Me too. I ALWAYS lifted the flap first. Turns out that was a good idea. One of those bins contained real snake skins that a snake had shed. That would have been the end of the nature center for me.

Owen got measured. He's not very big.

Then we went outside (it had warmed up a bit) to see the birds at the feeders and to watch the gophers in the grass.

Trying to chase a gopher.

Where did Sophie go?!
She was there all the time. Go back and look!

The kids rode their bikes up and down the road in front of our site. It was a bit warmer, but Sophie's still wearing two sweatshirts here.
The kids loved camping! This was Owen's first time. Sophie was showing him the ropes.
We actually got to eat outside for two meals the whole weekend. However, at this one we were all complaining that we were cold.
We toughed it out and had a camp fire. We could not sit safely close enough to keep warm.
The next day (our last) was beautiful and warmish, so we played outside a lot. The kids had a fun time playing near the nature center with some new friends from the neighboring campsite...Jillian and Ryan who were camping with their dad. Sophie kept calling her "Julian."

Da-da, da-da...da, da-da... Little House on the Prairie theme song anyone? It was actually Greg who brought this up...the part where Laura is running down the hill in the long grass.
New friends. They sure got along well with our kids and enjoyed playing together.
Hanging out under the camper while waiting for lunch.
We had a great weekend, even though it was really cold and the kids' noses were drippy. We all stayed warm enough (except for Greg the first night) and had plenty to keep us occupied. Thank goodness Greg's parents were there to help us out! We'll be doing it all again in a few weeks...venturing farther from home, though, and hopefully without the cold weather and drippy noses.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY Wednesday, May 14. . .
Outside my window...the sun is shining, but it's super windy and about 50 degrees.
I am thinking...about what to feed my children for lunch.
I am thankful ...that a year of commitments has come to an end. Yeah, summer!
From the kitchen...I made "Turkey Lattice Pie-- hold the turkey" for supper last night (I used leftover chicken), and Hearty Oat Bread.
I am wearing...my black yoga pants and a grey long-sleeved t-shirt. Typical stay-at-home-day clothing.
I am creating...a list of food to pack for camping.
I am going...to pack bags for the kids and me for camping. Greg's on his own.
I am reading...a book by Joanne Harris (??), I think it's called "Five Segments of the Orange." I've gotten about 5 pages in, so I can't remember all the details right now.
I am hoping...for some warm, dry weather this weekend.
I am hearing...my children playing nicely together on the air mattress nearby. Sophie is telling Owen what to do, and he's doing it.
Around the house...two loads of laundry going, with two more to go. Camping preparations.
One of my favorite things...summer break.
A few plans for the rest of the week...Camping nearby in our new (used) pop-up camper for the first time.
Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Race for the Cure

This past weekend, my mom and sisters came to stay so we could all participate in the Race for the Cure (for breast cancer, you know) around the Mall of America. We had some fun girl time the night before while going out to dinner and doing a little shopping. We all came home with perfume samples from Macy's and headaches from too many scents on our bodies.

We tried our shirts on for size the night before since we figured we wouldn't be into photo opps at 6 the next morning (and neither would our photographer!). Mom got a pink shirt because she's a survivor.
We arrived at the mall a little after 7 a.m. and were directed to the perfect parking spot--right by the port-a-potties. Seriously...it was perfect! Then we checked out all the tables and tents where vendors were giving out free stuff, including breakfast! We got free (everything, really) Panera bagels and Caribou coffee on top of a load of other fun stuff. Then we dropped off all of our loot back at the car (which was parked in the perfect spot!) and got ready to walk the 5k.
It was a little chilly, but an otherwise lovely day.

Getting ready to walk--this was just heading towards the START sign. We were very enthusiastic!

I'd say we were in the middle of the crowd waiting to start the walk, so this picture only shows the gazillions of people in front of us. We heard that there were 50,000 people there that day. Amazing! Those pink signs on people's backs were tributes of celebration or in memory of loved ones with breast cancer. It was very moving to see how many people had lost moms, grandmas, aunts and friends to the disease. It was very sobering to see multiple women in families whose names were listed--family history plays a big part in breast cancer. I feel so fortunate that I did not need an "In Memory of" sign.

All along the way, there were groups of people cheering us on as we walked. This was a fun drum group on the sidelines. I imagine that support like this was especially encouraging to those who have survived breast cancer.

Here we are at the finish line. What a wonderful experience! Something I think we'd all be happy to do again...especially if we can get the same parking spot.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cubbies Awards Night

Yesterday was the last night for Wednesday evening church activities for the season. We had a big awards ceremony for all the kids in programs on Wednesday nights, and Sophie's Cubbies group was included. The kids each got called up to the stage by name to receive their award for completing their book. This meant that they memorized and recited all the verses to their teacher throughout the year. They received a small stuffed "Cubbie Bear" to wear on their blue vests.
Here, Meg, Sophie and Gavan are waiting for our group's turn.
All the 3 & 4-year old Cubbies stood on the risers to sing the Cubbies song and recite two verses for the crowd of older kids and families.

Notice my child, the one not doing the actions. Also notice the pantleg hiked up higher than the other. I also just noticed that her patches are sewed onto the letter "C" instead of the "A" like the all other kids. I don't think it matters, but too late now!

Sophie was on the front riser due to her name (alphabetical) rather than her height. But I imagine this is the beginning of a lot of front-row pictures for our puny kid. I was always in the front row too!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Children's Museum

Greg's company sponsors our Children's Museum, so our family scored tickets to an after-hours event for donors to the museum. The night included a buffet dinner. We love buffet dinners! They had chicken nuggets and mac&cheese for the kids and fancier pasta for the adults.

But in Owen's case, it was basically a juice box buffet. He downed a few of them while the rest of us ate the food.

The newest exhibit was "Clifford the Big Red Dog." Sophie enjoys the Clifford TV show on PBS, so she was excited to see this!

In the "Outdoors" part of the museum, Owen loved the pretend creek. Here he is dressed like a beaver.
He just kept throwing the fake tadpoles and crayfish in the water over and over again. Thank goodness for plastic aprons! Those children's museum people really know their stuff.
It was even warm enough outside to go to the rooftop park and play in the sand.

Sophie got her face painted by a very fancy face-painter.
She also sported this at church the next day.
Here, Owen is showing Clifford his tattoo. It's how he greats everyone lately.
But by far the biggest hit of the night was the water tables. Owen would have played here until the wee hours of the morning if we hadn't gotten kicked out at 8:30. Again, the brilliant aprons.

We went, we saw, we did it all. And on the way out, we even snagged dixie cups of goldfish snacks for the ride home. We love the Children's Museum!