Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hey Toothless!

Ehren and Christian's bottom front teeth were on identical schedules. They lost each of those teeth within days of each other. But for some reason, even though Ehren lost both of his top front teeth months ago, Christian's did not want to come out... until this weekend. Right before we piled into the van for our camping trip, he finally lost one.  Now we have another toothless wonder.

Before we got in the car to leave, he penned this note to the Tooth Fairy.  I'll translate:  "Dear Tooth Fairy, I'm going camping at Woodlin [Glenwood].  Give my tooth to Grandpa.  From Christian."  He wanted to make sure he had his bases covered.

Here's the tooth, all ready and waiting for the Tooth Fairy.

He told me about how one of his classmates almost caught the Tooth Fairy, and "he even thought he saw some wings."  I asked Christian if he knew who the Tooth Fairy is.  And he said, "No.  Do you?"  I told him to ask Ehren.  Ehren promptly told him, "Mom's the Tooth Fairy."  I don't make much of Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.  I'd rather not feel like I'm telling them fibs.  But I think Christian still wants to believe.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Catch of the Day

Memorial Day Weekend is camping time.  This year we had a non-stop fishing weekend on Lake Minnewaska in Starbuck.  Grandpa brought up his new fishing boat.

Saturday night's dinner:  Ehren and Christian's first ever Northerns and one Largemouth Bass!

At first light on Sunday, Ehren's eyes popped open, and he said excitedly, "Is it morning time?"  While the rest of us snoozed in our sleeping bags, he jumped out of his, made a trip over to the bathrooms, found his clothes, got dressed, roused Dad enough to get him to click the remote to unlock the van, got his fishing gear, got his life jacket {after a sleepy reminder from me} and walked over to the docks {a few steps from our tent}.  I decided he needed a little company, so I got out of my sleeping bag, found some clothes and dragged my sleepy head over to watch.  It was around 5:30 am.  Not another soul was out casting on the docks, but one early riser did cruise past us in his boat {he caught a bass while trolling out of the marina into the the main lake}.  We were out of live bait, so Ehren didn't have such good luck, but that didn't deter him, he kept at it non-stop until breakfast at around 8 am. 

After {our cold cereal} breakfast, we all headed out in the boat. 
Dad caught this nice Bass.

Mom caught one too!

We took a break for lunch at the Glenwood Ballroom.  Afterwards, the boys went back out in the boat with Dad, Grandpa and Uncle Gene.  Grandma, Mom and Anna took a nap and then went searching for wildflowers at Glacial Lakes State Park.  Christian landed a cute little Walleye {his first ever}.  Not a keeper, but still fun to catch.

Meanwhile, Ehren fell asleep in the boat {due to his very short night's sleep}.

We heard rain was in the forecast for overnight and Monday morning, so we decided to pack up the tent early and head home Sunday night.  It was a good plan.  We missed the rain and the traffic.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Last Day of Preschool

Well, it actually arrived, Anna's last day of preschool.  During the closing program, the kids sang so many beautiful songs for us.  Anna's favorite was "Awesome God." 

For a couple of weeks, Anna has been telling me {often} about a song that her teacher said would make the moms "cry happy tears" at the closing program.  She has sung it to me in a sweet, shy way many times:  "Spend some time with your child everyday.  Hold on to each moment as you may.  Childhood won't last 'cause we grow up so fast.  Spend some time with your child everyday..."  I shed a few tears over it even before the program.  There is never enough time with your child when you are a working mom.  Two words:  "health insurance."  There are some other words too, but this might be the most important reason I have to work a minimum of 30 hours {plus commuting time} per week.

At the program, I kept it together while the kids sung, but shed a few tears during the slideshow at the end of the program.

I will say however, that Anna shed no tears as she enjoyed her long-awaited, post-performance cupcake.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Jump, Jump

Everybody just jump, jump. 

Jump roping has become a favorite with Ehren.  Recently his class learned to jump rope in preparation for Jump Rope for Heart.

Also, if you listen closely to Anna talking in the background, you can experience Dad's amazing translation abilities firsthand. 

Anna:  "I'm wishing to play outside with the... with the... with the...  I'm dreaming to play outside with the Elsie things that have the wings.  Uh, what is that called...?"

Dad:  "A pogo stick?"  {Cousin Elsie has a pogo stick.}

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Date Day

Every spring Dan and I take a day off work and go garage-saling together.  We shop all morning and then eat lunch out afterwards.  Sometimes we go back to work in the afternoon, but usually we don't.  I'm not sure when this started, but we've been doing it at least five or six years.  We used to do this during our city-wide garage sale, but the suburb we moved to a couple of years ago doesn't have a city-wide sale, so we now we plan our "date" for our neighborhood garage sale.  The really funny thing is that I didn't discover that Dan liked to garage sale until after we were married, and honestly, I couldn't believe my good luck!

When we were first married, I used to go "run some errands" on Saturday mornings, which usually included stopping at as many garage sales as I could find.  One time I got home and was telling Dan about some great deal I found "when I just happened to stop by this garage sale..." when he interrupted me and said, "Garage sale!?!  Why didn't you say you were going garage-saling?  I want to go..."  I think my jaw might have hit the floor I was so surprised.

I have always loved to go garage-saling.  You just never know what you're going to find.  Garage sales are good for everybody:  fewer things gets thrown out; somebody makes a little money; and somebody else (me) saves a lot of money over going shopping at say, Target.  Here's a few of our finds from today:  six like-new "Hello Kitty" pieces of clothing and two new pairs of pajamas for Anna; two pairs of jeans (slim!) for Ehren and Christian; two Magic Tree House books for Ehren (we're trying to collect the whole series); a Hello Kitty beginning reader for Anna; some knitting yarn for my mom; a pair of pants for my nephew that have legs that zip off to make shorts (he loves these and has a hard time finding them in the store); stackable plastic storage containers; and two pairs of winter ski gloves for Ehren and Christian.  But the best bargain of the day was this:

A new, much-needed rug for my front door... for fifty cents!!!  I'm not going to tell you what was in front of my front door before...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


My iPod is full of apps and video, and very little music.  Overall, music isn't a big part of my life, but the other day I needed to drown out some nearby cube chatter at work, so I plugged in my earbuds and listened to "The River Runs Low Tonight" by Bruce Hornsby and the Range.  It's one of those songs that puts me in my happy place, but doesn't distract me from my work {Listen up family members, if I ever have a mental breakdown, this is the song to play to calm my nerves}.  It's from the album "The Way It Is."  I rarely listen to the whole album not because I don't like it, but because I don't want to replace the memories attached to it with something new.

When I listen to this album, I am in my 17-year old mind, where the amazing life I'm going to have is just around the corner.  I can literally see big green meadows with mountains just on the horizon.  {It looks just like the cover of a college brochure for a university in Wyoming that I got in the mail.  I saved it just to look at the picture, even though I knew I would not be able to afford the out-of-state tuition.}  I am dreaming of moving to the West {Wyoming,  Montana, Colorado} or maybe even to Alaska.  I am living a life in the outdoors, marrying at 23 or 24, having a bunch of kids, living off the grid.  My husband's going to be a mechanical genius who can build and maintain our solar generator, wind generator and/or hydropower unit.  I'm growing a huge garden.  My husband and I are going to fish and hunt to fill our freezer {you know, the one that runs off one of the aforementioned generators}.  I am dreaming of somehow working botany into a career, even though I already know there are probably a total of about five jobs in the whole United States that actually pay you to walk around and look at plants, all five of which require a doctorate and pay minimum wage.  But hey, at 17, you can dream.  Besides I had a backup plan, I was going to be a writer.  Is everyone such a ridiculous romantic at that age, or was it just me?  Is there a song or an album that puts you in a particular place and time?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Our Robins

These little guys live in a big shrub right next to our front door.  Their nest is conveniently located right underneath our bathroom window, so we can spy on the little guys without upsetting their mother too much. 

May 11

May 5

April 20

We also have two more nests under under our deck:  Another nest of robins (just hatching today) and a nest of sparrows.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

On Wednesday before Mother's Day, I received this beautiful card from Anna {now proudly displayed in my cube at work as shown below}. 

When I got home from work, she made a beeline for me with the card and present she made in preschool.  She couldn't wait four days for me to open them.  Her excitement alone was gift enough for me, but when I opened the card, I couldn't believe how perfect it was!  She definitely colors more neatly than I did at her age.  Her handwriting is also quite lovely for a four-year old {although she still insists on writing her name in all capital letters -- Kindergarten will be a shocker for her in that respect}.  Part of the reason for her skill might be that she likes drawing more than I did, but I also have to give credit to our au pair Bara, who spends a lot of time writing, coloring and drawing with Anna.

When you compare to my Kindergarten drawing skills {plate made by me [for Mother's Day?]}

or to the boys' Kindergarten coloring skills {Ehren's Santa Maria turned pirate ship, also displayed in my cube at work},

you'll understand my excitement.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Walk in the Woods

My mother and my daughter humored my wildflower obsession by spending a day hiking with me (and my camera) at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park.  It was a perfect day.  After inquiring at the park office, I found out the dwarf trout lilies were blooming {the enthusiastic staff also tried to clue me in about all the birds in the park, but I was having none of that!}.  The Minnesota dwarf trout lily (Erythronium propullans) is a federally endangered forest wildflower found in Rice, Goodhue, and Steele counties in Minnesota.  It is found nowhere else in the world.  With some pointers from other wildflower enthusiasts in the park, we found four plants in bloom, and I was giddy with excitement!   {I know, I know... total nerd.}

I won't bore you with all my pictures {and believe me, there are a lot},
but here's another favorite, wild ginger (Asarum canadensis)

Anna posing for me with her hiking stick at the falls.
{"MOM, it's not a walking stick.  It's a hiking stick"}

Anna was really just biding her time on the hike,
waiting to swing in the playground at the end.

Thanks Mom and Anna for a wonderful day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Last Preschool Field Trip

Today I went with Anna on her last preschool field trip, ever.  Soon I'll be a mother of all school-age children {still taking this in}.  Anyway, we had a great time together.  First, the kids attended a program called, "Let's Get Buggy."  The program leader was great with the kids.  My favorite part was when she had them practice their "silent screams" before she brought around a large centipede {or was it a millipede?  I forget.}.  Afterwards, the kids could walk around with their parents or a chaperone and visit all the zoo animals.

Anna watching Sparky the Sea Lion

"Well, hello friends."

Anna:  "I love this giraffe."
Mom:  "Oops, did that sign say 'no climbing'?"

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Dripping with Beauty

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)