Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Weekend of Cousins!

(The kids have all woken from naps and I do not have time to edit this -- so in an attempt to get it posted, I will just "let it be" -- sorry!) We went down to Altoona, IA for Memorial Day weekend. Here's a pile of all the cousins. I was pretty sketchy with my photo-taking. I didn't even get a single photo of our great day at the Des Moines Zoo. I was totally impressed with it -- full of kid-fun exhibits. Atticus, Dietrich, and Max even rode a camel! Over the 4 days, we spent so much time with their cousins Max and Ivy. We took the boys bikes and had some great walks along the Altoona bike path. I finished an interesting book on culture-making (Culture Making: Recovering our Creative Calling by Andy Crouch) and got farther into my on-going ancient history overview by Susan Wise Bauer. Nancy had pulled out Brad's childhood collection of He-Man figurines and the boys spent great swaths of the visit playing with all the crazy action figures. Brad had so much fun watching his boys dive into a play-world he adored as a kid. Grandma also pulled the giant case of Legos and a box of new books from the attic. I wish I had taken some shots of them immersed in these...We were able to see Great-Grandma Trellis a couple times and even a visit with Aunt Kay and cousin Ethan at the park. It was a good, real vacation where everyone was able to relax together and find some "space" to re-group. Thank you Tom and Nancy! (And thank you, Kara & Brian, for spending so much of your weekend with us!!)

Thea Belle, Lincoln & Ivy June!

A lot of backyard playing in the sun!

The kids loved playing a rowdy, slightly disorganized version of t-ball with Grandpa Tom, Uncle Brian and Brad!

These three really got along well...Lincoln wanted Ivy to know that Thea Belle was HIS baby, but he was his usual agreeable self and enjoyed both the girls.

Bath-time for the girls

Thea Belle & Aunt Kara

Grandma read piles of books, went garage sale-ing with me, cooked mountains of food, played Legos, and poured on the love for all the grandkids all weekend long (-:

I love this little serious face -- I feel that way about chocolate too.

Great Grandma Trellis with Thea Belle & Brad

I loved getting to know Ivy. I haven't been around her very much -- especially since she has moved out of the baby age. She was so gentle with Thea and a very affectionate little girl. I am looking forward to spending some more uninterrupted time with this little one during the Johannsen week at the Lake coming up in July. Sometimes I feel feel stunted in getting to know children other than my own. I want to know my nieces and nephews as much as I can considering I live far away from every one of them. I really think I need to be even more deliberate with the distance.

Scissors Supreme

So last time I was at my folks' house I brought down a sewing project to finish while I was there. My mom let me try out her new Bernina sewing machine -- wonderful, amazing machine! When I returned home, I realized I had left my scissors and pin cushion-tomato thing there. I've been using Atticus' scissors and pins from his birthday sewing kit. Well, apparently my mom tried using my scissors and thought they were crapola -- hey! I've had them a long time -- Fiskars blue plastic ones -- carefully only used on fabric -- never paper, etc. -- a cardinal rule of sewing scissors (learned growing up with my seamstress mother). Anyway, last week a package arrived in the mail for me. I thought my mom had decided to mail back the sewing stuff --hooray! -- and then I opened the box and -- OH MY GOODNESS!!!! Inside was this silver metal box. The imprint on the lid was enough to make my heart leap...for non-sewing geeks out there, "gingher" is like the cadillac of sewing scissors. I carefully opened the lid and...my breath caught...

Are these not the most beautiful scissors you have ever laid eyes upon?

I can't even bring myself to use them yet...

I have taken them out once a day, when the house is finally quiet, and just held them for a little while...

In hushed respect...

They feel so good...heavy, strong, well-made...Thank you, Mom. Thank you for knowing these things about me...for always being one of those people who remembers the frosting-on-the-cake parts of life. Sometimes I want you to be more practical and a little more rational. But I would not want to trade the surprising, party-making, frosting parts of you. I love you. Oh, and when I finally make my first cut with this lovely tool, I will give you a call (-:!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Holy Cake, Batman!

Look at this cake my friend Liz found -- My boys are in love. They are begging me to make this for them. Can you even imagine....I wonder if I will try to figure it out...Wow.

Minnesota Arboretum

Now that preschool is done for the year and we still have Meagan coming to help Tuesday and Thursday mornings until the end of May, I have declared these mornings as Exploration Fun Days! With an extra set of hands and eyes, I will try to take the kids to some fun places that are hard for me to do by myself with all the kids. This Thursday we went to the Minnesota Arboretum out in Chaska. It's a beautiful, magical place that would takes days to explore as an adult and will definitely be a perfect place to take kids who can last walking just a little longer. Until then, this is still a wonderful place to bring little kids -- just keep the expectations a little lower. The boys loved it, but had trouble keeping all the rules -- stay on the paths, don't climb on the stone walls, don't pick the flowers, don't pick up rocks, don't climb the enormously climb-able sculptures around every corner -- When we were leaving the park, Dietrich says, "Mom, these people have problems." I said, "Really? What problems, Dietrich?" He replied, "They don't let you touch anything. That's crazy." I kinda thought so too. Still, beautifully maintained, lovely to be in and walk through...and miles and miles of trails where there is no one to scold or guide you back onto the immaculately groomed trail. I liked the wild parts best, but appreciated the walled and bordered and tended gardens too.

Lincoln being silly for Meagan...

There were hundreds of Tulips in every color and style imaginable...These double tulips were amazing...

Dietrich loved the flowers...and requested a picture with them.

Cool boardwalk across the wetlands...with woodchip walking paths winding off into the marshes -- quiet, pretty, and perfect for little ones. They loved this part -- It led off into miles of forest trails but we only went for awhile longer despite the kids' protests that they wanted to keep going (I knew we had to go all the way back and that they didn't have that much left in them). Thankfully, we turned around because they barely made it the last 20 minutes of the hike to the car. One day soon we will tackle those long trails...until then, I am thankful they had this and a picnic under a ginormous tree with woods bordering their backs and quiet marshes stretching out in front of them...

Sweet girl still recovering from many days of illness...