Thursday, May 11, 2017

Logan's Ski Trip

In January, we sent Logan to Colorado for my family's annual ski trip.  He had the opportunity to fly on an airplane alone both directions, spend time with family, and learn to ski!  He surprised everyone by how aggressive he was on skis, and his instructor said that he should have been in a more difficult lesson. 

He had so much fun!  He was in a lesson the first day, and then he skied with everyone the second day.  My dad stayed with him the whole day and said it was one of his (my dad's) favorite ski days ever.  

Hilarious story:  My dad spent a lot of time skiing backwards in front of Logan in order to teach him to go back and forth on the mountain (Logan wanted to ski straight fear!).  On one run, Logan failed to tell my dad that he was heading straight for a tree; he skied backwards right into it!  Thankfully, they were going slow enough that he wasn't hurt.
My sister sent me this video and this one as well.

I'm excited to go on the ski trip next year and ski with my boy!  We haven't made it back for the trip as a family since we moved to Iowa.


Everyone loves to pull Laurel around in boxes, containers, and on blankets.  She loves going for a ride.

Cute Annie.  She never tires of posing for the camera.

On Valentine's Day, I woke to the smell of cooking.  The kids surprised me with breakfast!  They'd made hashbrowns, eggs, and smoothies.  Thanks kids!

I love the toddler phase.

We had some really nice weather one weekend, and so we spent the day outside working and playing.  This girl was looking pretty wild with her dirty face and crazy hair by the time we went inside.

Alex lost his first tooth!

Our garage was a mess!  This is a before picture I took in the spring.  It was fall before we fully cleaned it, and winter before I took the after picture.  Ha ha!


Logan Learns Piano

Logan has a very musical ear.  Since he was a toddler, he could carry a tune.  As he got older, he could hear a song once and then accurately hum the melody weeks later.  I've often wanted to encourage his natural music ability, but haven't felt good about pushing lessons.  This fall, however, I felt inspired to encourage him to begin piano.  Rather than teach him, I felt impressed that he could learn on his own if he just had a little motivation.  So we made it part of our school routine every day.  He doesn't receive any instruction unless he asks for it, and he isn't actually required to practice.  His requirement is to choose one of three options each day, piano practice being one of them.  In January (about 4 months after beginning piano) he let me make this video of him.  He's doing great!

A Guide to a Mom's Life

12:00pm: Pat yourself on the back for putting away three weeks worth of laundry.
12:01pm: Share your success on social media.
(See my pretty new quilt?  I bought this for $17; it was originally $120...pretty pleased about it.)

12:02pm: Have delusions of grandeur about the read aloud time and other attention you are going to give your children for the rest of the afternoon.
12:03pm: Discover half a bottle of bubble bath poured onto the carpet.
12:04pm: Go downstairs to retrieve the carpet cleaner and discover that your gluten intolerant baby is eating Grapenuts by the handful (which she first poured all over the dining room).
12:05pm: Wonder how sick your baby is going to be and then infuriate her by removing her from the scene of her delight.
12:13pm: After cleaning up the dangerous cereal, retrieve the carpet cleaner.
12:15pm: Bubbles...BIG bubbles.
12:20pm: Rinse, suck, and repeat...over and over.

12:30pm: Wonder if putting away the laundry was worth it (because that left the 3yo unsupervised to dump bubble bath).
12:35pm: Ask an older child to feed the baby lunch.
12:45pm: Tell yourself that the lovely smell in the room is the silver lining.
12:46pm: Not convinced.
12:48pm: Observe that the water in the dirty tank is now clear enough and soapy enough to bathe your children in.
12:50pm: Smaller bubbles...hope!
12:55pm: Fresh rinse and...BIG bubbles! Hope squashed.
1:00pm: Decide to attempt the throw up trick. (Using a metal utensil to squeeze liquid out of carpet.)
1:01pm: Release crying baby from her high chair. Observe her entire lunch that she threw on the floor and resolve to get a dog next year.
1:02pm: Open utensil drawer to grab a spatula and wonder what the 3yo did with all of the untensils.
1:03pm: Attempt throw up trick with some success.
1:10pm: Wonder if two square feet of carpet is worth all this effort.
1:11pm: Envision the dirt that will stick to soap left in the carpet and the resulting large stain. Rinse, suck, and repeat.
1:30pm: Decide that putting away the laundry was definitely NOT worth it.
1:45pm: Consider how many gallons of bath water this much bubble bath would normally be used in. Sigh at the half gallon rinse tank on your carpet cleaner.
1:46pm: Promise yourself that you will stop after three more rinses.
2:00pm: Heartily wish someone had thrown up instead.
2:15pm: Fulfill your promise. Carpet still sudsy. *sigh*
2:30pm:Commiserate on social media.
2:31pm: Take a deep breath, and go downstairs to discover what mischief has been done while you failed to clean the carpet.
2:45pm: Bump into a pile of dirty laundry. Recall that you were on your way to start this laundry when your afternoon was derailed.
2:46PM: Start that laundry.

More January

Laurel is such a sweet little thing.

Sweet Abby.

Alex is my ham.

Laurel loves cuddling with Daddy and a book.


One evening, Abby asked with a pout if she could have a pink doughnut.  I told her that maybe Daddy would take her on a date sometime for a doughnut, and she could call him to ask.  So she called him at work.  He took her the next day.  This little girl has her Daddy wrapped around her finger.

Little miss mess.
Schooltime snuggles.

Laurel learned how to climb onto tables.

We learned about narwhals one day with Abby's friends and made a craft.

They were funny with their paper horns.

Laurel has decided that spinning in this chair is her favorite activity.

Luckily, she has siblings who are happy to oblige.

In memory of the matching nose scabs that took over a month to heal...

Monday, January 16, 2017

Icy Family Weekend

We spent a lot of time as a family this weekend.  We had an easy day at home on Saturday.  After church on Sunday, four of us took naps, two read quietly, and one was a tornado of destruction.  Then we had a movie night. 

Annie was slightly mischievous when she was little, then Alex came along and I thought I'd go crazy with his mischief.  I suppose that was all preparation for Abby.  This girl creates easily creates 80% of the messes in our house, and she often does it for the sake of making a mess or destroying things.  Her destruction is incredible, and we lose things on a daily basis thanks to her mischief.  She especially loves to swipe anything small (toys, games, q-tips, kitchen utensils, crayons, garbage, etc) and she hides scissors so she can cut things up.  We've had to vacuum the main level of our house four times in the last six days, each time because it really needed it thanks to this little girl.

When we woke up from naps on Sunday, we found the kitchen floor completely flooded, tortilla chips/ crumbs and raisins strewn all threw the main floor (soggy in the kitchen), and her normal mess of books, toys, shoes, and paper.  Aah!  I wish this type of thing wasn't a normal occurrence with her.  It's a good thing she's so sweet and cute.  She charms the frustration right out of us.

Today we had icy rain conditions all day, plus it was a work holiday.  So Jim was able to stay home with us all day.  We'd planned to have a family outing, but our road looked like a solid sheet of ice, so we had a game day instead.

I whooped Logan in Othello and took a picture because I'm actually terrible at this game.  Alex legitimately beat me on the next round, and I had no chance again Jim.

Laurel was adorable all day.  She's the most easy going little thing ever.  She plays nicely and comes over to give occasional loves before going back to playing.

Logan and I played Scrabble while we waited for everyone to finish chores.

Jim chose Settlers for our big family game in the evening.  He slaughtered us the first round, and I cleaned house for the second.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

House Makeover

Last year we had a lot of house projects.  We had a very expensive and extensive French drain put into our basement (It's dry now!  I can't wait to finish a family room down there!), we made some small improvements inside (dishwasher, trim, mudroom makeover, ceiling fan/ lights, garbage disposal, bathtub repair), and we completely changed the exterior of our house.  Previously our roof was leaking in approximately eight spots, half of our windows were over 100 years old (two of which were missing panes), the old asbestos siding was cracking in places, the wooden siding was peeling, our gutters were in bad shape, and the soffits and fascia were falling apart.  Yikes!

I made sure to take some pictures before the exterior work started.  Notice the tarp on the roof the keep the rain out.

The soffit and fascia were really bad on this side of the house. Birds frequently came into our attic through those holes and would startle me when I'd go up there.

This was on the back of our house where the three parts meet (main house, kitchen addition, and garage addition).  It was mostly full of garbage from the previous owners (I lack good excuses for why we hadn't cleaned it up previously).

We'd talked about eventually turning this space into a shed, but weren't planning to do it yet.  Then I had a conversation with the guy who was putting our siding on, and we made a last second decision to do it then.  Jim built the wall one day, so that siding could go on it the next.

After!  We have a new roof, new windows, new gutters, new soffits and fascia, and new siding!  I love it!

Birdies can't get in here anymore!

Our shed still lacks a door, but it's been put to good use already.  We made a lot of space in the garage by moving items into our new shed.

I forgot to take a picture of the brick and mulch that the kids laid for a berry patch.  They did this part completely on their own.  I didn't need to poison this area, so we can plant berries this year!