Thursday, February 25, 2010

Valentine Fun!

Holidays really are made for kids, no doubt about it!  I remember the fun of school Valentine parties... getting to decorate our Valentine boxes, doing up the Valentines for friends & finally the fun party.  So no surprise that Brandon & Melanie were both anxiously awaiting their school parties. We spent several hours making the Valentine's for their classmates as both enjoy doing all sorts crafts & didn't want to buy them. 
Lining up for some gym time!
Melanie & her friend Lexie racing around

Delivering her Valentines

Nothing like frosted cookies at 10 in the morning! YUM...

Melanie got to go with me to Brandon's party too & tag along with Brandon & his friend Ian for the craft & game stations

Waiting for their root beer floats!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

At that age...

So we are at the age/stage where we have a kid in school who likes to come home telling us about what his friend said or what they were singing on the bus, etc.  Generally it is quite amusing... today I heard that one of his friends in kindergarten (a girl) has a brother who wanted Dora shoes & his favorite color is purple... Brandon thought that was funny.  We hear about kids who have to sit in the "refocus" chair in school.  "So&so said a bad word... (oh no)... he said b-u-t-t."  (GASP, not the b-word!!  Ha ha... followed by an explanation of how butt isn't a bad word & there is another word that is B-U-T, which sounds like it but means something different and words like butt & poop aren't bad words, we don't sing songs about them or call people names them in it, we just use the words when talking about butt or poop.)  Another day he came home telling us they made up a song on the bus..."jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg..." & "Happy Birthday to you, you live in a zoo, you look like a monkey & you smell like one too!"  It was hard not to burst his bubble by telling him not only did they not make those songs up but those songs have been around since we were kids... and probably even long than that because I'm sure we all thought we made them up!  Another day they were supposedly all smelling each other's breath on the bus... "you know... we go HUUUH in each others faces"... can you say easily amused?!  We've heard stories about parents & funny things that go on in his friend's homes... and it makes us wonder... what anecdotes is he sharing of us & his homelife that might make us do that "nervous laugh" if we knew his friends were going home & telling his folks??!  We are probably better off not knowing!!

Monday, February 8, 2010


December started out good on the snow front... no doubt of a white Christmas & lots of little snowstorms here & there to keep us in that festive mood. Then after Christmas, we hit a dry spell. We had snow on the ground, but we hadn't had any new snow to freshen things up or give us some new snow to play in until recently... with a couple little systems that dropped a couple inches here and there. But finally, we got a winter storm to remind us that it is indeed still winter in Minnesota... and can I say, I love it! It started snowing late Sunday night & has been going slow & steady all day & is supposed to continue into the night. We have to have at least 8 inches & are supposed to get a few more on top of it... and moderate temperatures too! Kids & I got out for some mid-day playtime today in the backyard which consists of Melanie swinging on her swing in full snow gear, which she loves because she figured out the pumping thing around Christmas time. I had to laugh because who learns to pump in the middle of winter in Minnesota?! I'm guessing not many Minnesotan kids can lay claim that one! Brandon just likes running around... throwing snow, sliding down the snow filled slide, playing on the snow hill... basically anything that turns him into an abominable snowman! Eventually he gets his sister to stop swinging & run around throwing snow with him. Me... well, I like when we get enough snow that I can strap on the snowshoes & traipse around the backyard making paths all around & basically getting some exercise disguised as playtime. I may not have grown up here but I think I really was meant to live here... I love our Minnesota seasons, yes... even winter. We make the most of our spring, summer & fall seasons... so for me, winter is a forced break from it all. Makes us slow down a bit & rejuvenates us for the next round, so come spring, I'm raring to go again with all our outdoor activities. Plus, what isn't to like about a snow-covered, wintry wonderland? It is beautiful!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Minnesota Winter Myths... or are they?

For those of you who don't live in Minnesota... ever see the movie "Grumpy Old Men"??  I saw it long before I ever lived in MN or even knew I might... & I really had to wonder how much of it had been embellished for the sake of entertainment.  I remember thinking... Ice fishing... really?  Who does that?  And snow mobiling... people don't just snow mobile around towns.  And snow doesn't pile up & stick around all winter in the city... that just happens in the mountains.  Certainly it contained caricatures... but in many ways, it wasn't far from reality as I discovered in my first winter in Minnesota 13 years ago!  We actually have a snow mobile trail that goes through the suburbs & it goes right in front of our house... so it isn't uncommon for us to see them zipping right along next to the traffic out on our county road.  It always strikes me as funny when we hear or see them at home.  And it truly is a site to the the mini ice cities on nearby lakes... in some cases, it may just be a handful but on a big or popular lake, there could be hundreds of shacks (& vehicles) strewn about!

We've always joked that with my summer birthday I always get to go camping if I choose & Mike's winter birthday has many fewer outdoor options. Well this year, he wanted to go ice fishing on a nearby lake... how Minnesotan was that? We went to a lake that is known for being so clear that you can see the fish swimming around below (if the fish are in the area). Most lakes only have visibility for about 1-2 feet, but in this one, you can see a good 10 feet at least.
Drilling the holes...
In our portable shacks... cousin Allison & her dad Dave joined us too!
Waiting for the fish to swim by our hole...that's really what ice fishing entails...
Taking a break to toss the vortex around... i.e. the fishing was slow & the kids wanted to play!

Mike caught a bass... the only fish of the day!

We've been getting out in the winter with the kids from day one & in some cases just before... here are a few winter highlights from years past...
A winter hike down by the river (Dec 21, 2003) the day before Brandon was born! (Being 2-3 miles from the vehicle may not have been the wisest move in retrospect.)

Ice fishing with Brandon (4 weeks old)

Winter hiking Jan '06 (with Melanie "on-board")

Ice fishing Jan '07...
Brandon (3)
Melanie (7 months)

Snowshoeing on the north shore (Dec '07)

Well, we've made it through January 2010... generally a cold, long month for us.  The days are already getting longer & we are well on our way through February... no matter what that Groundhog said... spring is on the horizon!