Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A very Merry Christmas...

Being the last day of the year and all, I thought I better get a post done while it's still 2008. We had a great trip to Iowa to celebrate Christmas with the Hanson's and Pladsen's. Once we got home it was clear to us that some old toys had to be put down in the basement to make room for the new presents the kids brought home.

Katie made a Pixos picture...after spilling about 300 beads. :)

The Christmas cards that we got this year were just too pretty not to take a picture of. Katie got excited every day to open them and tape them to the wall.

Katie got some Legos from Grandma Mary and Jim. They were a prehistoric set with a dinosaur....Dick the Dinosaur, if I remember right. I don't think Will is ever going to let that dinosaur go. He has claimed it as his own. :) He uses the dinosaur to play with a demolition toy that Sarah got him. It's an odd combination, but it seems to work for him.

Katie got some games from her cousin Joey, who had her name. So far we have played checkers, memory, rummy, Hi-Ho Cherry-O, and dominoes. We are trying not to let her win every time.

John is working at home today - God help him. He is working on the new Twins Stadium now and can do most of it on his computer, especially now that we have wireless Internet at home.

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year, and plays it safe tonight. As for us, we are planning a fancy party with popcorn and apple juice out of champagne glasses. :) There is a special Hannah Montana/Miley Cirus New Year's Eve show on that we will try to watch too. Aren't you jealous??

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Wally!!

Before the day gets away from me I better take some time to send some birthday wishes out to my brother-in-law, Wally

Happy Birthday Wally!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Our family Christmas

We celebrated our family Christmas on Sunday here at home. Since we'll be traveling on Christmas day, we wanted the kids to have a nice, easy going day here at home with their presents. Well - maybe not always nice and easy going. :)

Katie and Will picked out cookies for Santa on Saturday night and left them by the tree. Will couldn't really understand why we were leaving perfectly good cookies sitting out by the tree - he much rather would have just ate them.

Sunday morning we skipped church due to the cold weather and snow. I'm not sure how much we got over the last 2 days, but the blowing created drifts at least 7 inches deep. Once the kids got up they opened their Santa gifts right away.

Katie got "Computer Cool School." It's an interactive keyboard for kids that connects to the computer.

Will got a tool bench and a couple tools.

Then we ate breakfast, and took our time opening the rest of the gifts. John got the movie "The Dark Knight" and a pair of slippers. I got a beautiful pair of earrings, and new pan. We also got an Ipod Touch for the family to use...although John says I get to be in charge of it. :)
Will got a little train, some books, a ball, and a dinosaur. Katie got some Pixos (it's an art thingie), a spelling game, slippers, and a mailbox toy.
They played pretty well the rest of the day, although each were pretty territorial over their new toys. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Staying Warm

Brrrr! Who left the freezer door open? It's a chilly day here in Minnesota - as is in much of the Midwest. It's not going to get above zero here today...currently it's -4. The past few days have been good days to stay home and make cookies. :) So that's what we have done. Last week Katie helped me make Melting Moments, a signature cookie of my aunt Carol. It was my first attempt at making them and I think they turned out great. I had help with the frosting - Katie managed to frost every single cookie...and we had over 150!

Over the weekend Katie helped me make Christmas cut-out cookies. She did a beautiful job of rolling out the dough, and was a big help with the cookie cutting. Shhh....don't tell her, but I think I am going to frost most of them during her nap today.
Ok - I frosted them all. Instead of doing each individually, I kind of drizzled them. I put frosting that I made into ziplock baggies and snipped the end off the corner. It worked beautifully, and will certainly be my method of choice for future cookies

This morning while Katie was in school, Will helped make some regular old chocolate chip cookies. He poured some sugar in and helped hold the mixer. But while the fridge door was open, he helped himself to some cookies of his own.

This past weekend marked Katie's last basketball practice and game. She was happy to be done with it - basketball doesn't seem to be her cup of tea. But she was extra glad to be done because she got a medal for participation.

Sunday was Katie's Sunday School Christmas program. It was very cute, like it's supposed to be. She did a great job of singing, and was very excited to be in it.

Today we were back to school - Katie is the STAR OF THE WEEK this week in her class. She gets to bring in the snack every day, bring things for show-and-tell, be the 'line leader,' and basically just rule the roost, so to speak. Obviously, she had a good time.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Say 'Cheeeeese!'

Last night we had our family picture taken for our local church's directory. It had been about 3 years since we had our family picture taken. Will obviously wasn't in the last one and I thought it was time we went through it again. We get a complimentary 8x10 as well.

Our photographer was a bit odd, but they all seem to be. :) He tried a few different family poses, but said we were limited to our choices because we had 2 small kids. (Thank God!) Then he did a couple of just the kids, and one of John and I together. Will really liked the flashes...he would just giggle whenever the camera went off. We did get a good family picture, and resisted the urge to purchase anything more. It was certainly not a hard sell. All in all we were out of there in about 30 minutes. Nice.

Right before the pictures, the kids and I had to attend an information meeting about kindergarten. Basically, I just wanted to know how the busing worked. I didn't get all my questions answered, but couldn't stick around to ask them because the kids were not cooperating. We were all stuck in a room sitting shoulder to shoulder with about 100 parents. It was hot, loud and the kids did not want to be there. I did learn that kindergartners ride a kindergarten only bus, and it's free.

On Wednesday night Katie went to yet another birthday party for a classmate of hers. Cole was turning 5 and a week earlier his mother had called me to ask if Katie could come. They were only inviting 4-5 kids from class, and there was going to be about 12 kids total, so it was going to be kinda small. (I thought that was pretty good sized....) Anyway, because it's winter in Minnesota, they opted to have the party at a place called Pump-It-Up. It's a party place that has rooms filled with HUGE inflatables. There are slides that go from ceiling to floor, giant jumping castles, and obstacle courses that they raced through. After play time, they went into the other room and they played with a bunch of blow up balls. Then it was time for pizza and cake and presents. I returned to pick up Katie 2 hours after I had dropped her off. (No, I didn't get to stay...Katie said I had to go home. )

She got a 'goody bag' and was full of ideas for HER birthday party. She keeps insisting that we have her party there as well, but I think I got through to her that it will be better to have her party outside instead....after all it IS in June. She does have the guest list started though. She's taking longer planning her birthday party than I did in planning my wedding.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Santa Claus - Part 2

Ok - let's try this again.
Today I took the kids to the Mall of America to see the REAL Santa. Don't worry - despite the 4 inches of snow we got last night, the roads were really good. Will would NOT go anywhere near the 'lap,' but we did manage to get him to sit on a stool by Santa's feet.

"If that guy in red makes a move....I am OUT of here!"

And another picture from the mall...Katie wanted me to take her picture in front of EVERYTHING! Talk about feeling like a tourist!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Santa Claus - Part 1

After church today, the community rec center had a "Breakfast With Santa" event. It was a fundraiser for local charities with unlimited pancakes and sausages. After we had all had our fill of pancakes we went to visit Santa. As you can imagine, Katie was very excited. She'd been rehearsing her 'list' for a while now, but was suddenly drawing blanks.

Obviously, Will was not as excited. He was fine until he got up close to Santa - then not so much.

We have plans to go see Santa again on Tuesday at the Mall of America. Hopefully this 'trial run' has prepared Will for the next encounter. On second thought, it's probably scarred him more than even and he'll scream louder next time.

As we were putting on our coats, Katie informed me "You know Mom - that's not the real Santa." Quickly, I came up with an explanation - "You're right, Katie, I don't think that one is...Santa has helpers that help him talk to all the children, and then they tell Santa what you said." She was quite satisfied with that answer - I hope the next Santa is up to her 'standards.'

Also, on Saturday we had Katie's basketball practice/game. This was her 5th time participating on her Tiger team and we are HAPPY to say that she finally got a rebound!! It was so precious - she literally was in the right place at the right time. The shot went up - it bounced down right into her hands. She happened to be paying attention at that moment (which usually isn't the case) and caught the ball! Immediately John and I start yelling "YAY KATIE!!!" And then I realize that every other parent there was cheering for her too. They, too, knew that this was the first time she got the ball without it being given to her. It was a sudden uproar of cheers which put a HUGE smile on her face. She came close to another rebound later in the game as well. And by 'close' I mean she took a few steps toward the ball. :) She was so proud of herself after the game, you would have thought she just dunked the ball!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Will's First Haircut

So today was the day...Katie and Will got their holiday haircut. We went to Kids' Hair, which is great with little kids...and I really didn't know how Will would behave. He did SUPER! With the exception of moving his head around alot....he was awesome. He got a very 'shaped' boy haircut. Katie had about 3 inches taken off, and a sweet little braid put in.

This isn't a very good 'after' shot, but he was just sick of the camera.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I found 'em (Will is vindicated!)

So...a few weeks ago...maybe more - I lost my keys and asked for suggestions on where to look for them. You all had wonderful ideas...but they didn't help. Today as I was wrapping Christmas presents, I found them! Gee, no one suggested I look in that random bag that I brought home from the store and then crammed it WAYYY back in the porch closet so that no one would find it. :) Today as I was collecting presents I had tucked away in different nooks and crannies of the house, there they the last bag.

I also discovered that over the last 3 months as I have been collecting stocking stuffers and odds and ends for the kids, I have FAR too many for Katie.... I need to even out the distribution a bit. :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Home, Home on the Range...

Ok, we aren't exactly on a 'range,' but it was all that came to mind when I was trying to title this post.

We got home yesterday from our 'vacation' in IA. We spent Thanksgiving with family in Waukon. It was a nice trip - good weather, and now it's nice to be home again and getting back into our routine.

Katie was back to school today, which improved her behavior by a factor of 10. She really excels when we have a structured schedule. While she was in school, Will and I went to Target to pick up a small humidifier for Katie's room and some other odds and ends. I also had to get a gift for a little boy whose name I got from church. Our church is sponsoring some children that were removed from abusive homes this past year, so I found a 5 year old boy to buy for. We got him a shirt for school, a toy race car and some other grab bag things from the $1 bin. I've wanted to do that other years too, but have never gotten around to it.

Last night when we were getting ready to have supper, I found I really didn't have much to make. Correction: I didn't have much to make that we felt like eating. So we decided to order a pizza. I always order pizzas online now because I accumulate points that can go toward free future pizzas. This time I marked delivery and sent the order in. I then get an e-mail confirmation telling me the approximate delivery time. Thanks to the Bears/Vikings game it was going to be over an hour for delivery. So I called the restaurant and changed it to a pick-up.
"No problem" they said, "just bring in your credit card with you to pay because I will have to void the payment online." Easy schmeezy. About 20 minutes later I am there to pickup the pizza, which they tell me they don't have because the whole order was deleted, but if I would be willing to wait they would make me another one at no charge. Fine.
I wait another 15 minutes, grab my free pizza and head home. Meanwhile, a second pizza (or technically, the first pizza) was delivered to the house. The delivery guy told John it was all paid for. Hmmm...

I did check today - we were charged for one pizza, but got 2. Anyone hungry?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I am sneaky

So today Katie was supposed to go to her friend, Ben's house. Unfortunately, Ben's mom called this morning and said that Ben's younger brother was up all night sick. We agreed that it would be best to wait til next week for the kids to play. So after Katie stopped crying, I realized that I was supposed to pick up Will's Christmas present this morning that I had gotten off Craigslist. No big deal, right? It's for Will, not Katie. Well, yes, but in this case I was helping Santa Claus out...and well...I didn't want Katie to see Will's Santa gift.
So I fed Katie a line about going to pick up a kitchen appliance for my brother and she bought it. I took a sheet along to drape over the....ok, it's a little workbench with tools. I draped the sheet over and carried it past Katie's window, stuck it in the trunk, and she hasn't mentioned it since.
We returned home, happy to have that errand done with. Then I discovered that the 3 postings I had put on Craigslist last night had 3 interested responses, which in turn will pay for what I just picked up today. It may take a bit more time and effort than just running to the store, but so far I'm doing fairly well with the Christmas budget. And hey - I've never started shopping this early before!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Preschool Conferences

It's that time of year again...tonight we had a parent/teacher conference with Katie's teacher, Ms Laurie. No big surprises - they said she is a wonderful little girl, very kind to the other students, friendly, and independent in the classroom. We were happy to hear that she is asserting herself more and asking questions. Her teacher said that she is in the top tier of her class when it comes to things like handwriting, asking questions, and being able to express how she feels and why. Katie is off from school all this week. When she goes back next Monday she will have a different teacher - Ms. Erin, who is back from maternity leave.
We also had a checkup at the dentist today. A few weeks ago I noticed a spot on Katie's tooth that I didn't like. We were pretty sure it was a cavity, but wanted to get it checked out. So I took her in today and sure enough - it was a cavity. While examining her, the dentist found two other spots that she didn't like - the VERY beginnings of a they are going to put some sealants on there to make sure it doesn't turn into a cavity.
Luckily we caught her cavity early and they didn't need to use Novocaine to numb her. She did get the nitrous oxide, however. They sent Will and I out into the waiting room because they were going to do x-rays, and then they went ahead and filled the one tooth. I was told she was being pretty silly back there. She was out within 20 minutes and the nurses raved about how great she did. And she's excited to go back so no scarring done yet. :) But sure is hard for a mom to sit out in the darn waiting room!!!! So we are going to be a bit more aggressive in our flossing and brushing. She doesn't really eat many sweets, but they will REALLY be few and far between now.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Katie's Screening

We had a busy weekend up here - trying to get things done before Thanksgiving. It's hard to believe December is almost here! (And soon the warm weather, right?!?!??!)
On Saturday morning Katie had basketball practice for 30 minutes, and then a 30 minute game. I think it's safe to say that this isn't her favorite activity. She was excited to go this time though, because it was her turn to bring the snack. She brought Fig Newtons and juice boxes. And although we got 2 "I don't liiiiiike thooooose!" comments, I thought it was a success. She also didn't get hit in the face today, which is a vast improvement. No tears at all. :)
After basketball, John took the multitude of leaf bags to our local environmental center. He came back to watch Will while Katie and I went to an Early Childhood Screening sponsored by the Dept of Education for Minnesota. Every child between the ages of 3 1/2 and 5 is required to go through this screening before kindergarten. It isn't a "readiness" program, but more of an opportunity to identify the children that will need more help or assistance in the coming school years.
Katie played some 'games' with the screener which included building with blocks, drawing pictures and symbols, some memory exercises, and some jumping and hopping. Katie was a chatterbox during the whole thing, telling this woman ALL about her day at basketball, the snacks, etc. It was very amusing. Of course I had to sit in the corner, and not say a WORD. I couldn't make any gestures to Katie or anything like that. And I tell you - it was not easy. They came to one question...."A table is made out of wood....a window is made out of_______" Katie had to fill in the blank. I was telepathically sending her the answer, but it didn't do any good - she didn't have an answer. :) That was the only one she 'missed' though and wound up with a score of 30. If she had scored lower than 21 it would have indicated that she needs some extra help, but that isn't the case.
Then she had her vision and hearing checked, which was also funny to watch. Everything checked out great, and she could read letters on the eye chart that I wasn't even CLOSE to seeing. :)

On Sunday all four of us headed to church with plans to eat brunch at a restaurant afterwards. I don't know what they do to Katie in Sunday school, but it seems that she is just a BEAR after they are done. Maybe it's me....maybe they don't run around enough. We signed up to make 6 dozen Christmas cookies for a party at church in December. Was that dumb???? We'll see..... :)

We are heading to IA for Thanksgiving. Right now it looks like we will be leaving here Wednesday morning. Katie has a dentist appointment tomorrow as well as her parent/teacher conferences. I'll let you know how both of those go....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Flu shots

Today the kids and I are getting our flu shots. Correction...Will is getting his flu shot, Katie and I are getting the nose squirts. They are supposed to be more effective, and Katie is all for a vaccination that doesn't involve getting poked.

Besides our visit to the doctor, today is our "hangin' out" Thursday...nothing scheduled. An outsider would think that this makes for a great day. HA! Little do you know that a day of nothing scheduled can mean chaos and screams. We'll see how it goes, but my expectations are usually set pretty low: finish laundry, clean 2 bathrooms, and have a supper on the table. Anything else that gets done is gravy.

We are getting excited for Thanksgiving. (Geez, can you believe it's Thanksgiving time already?) Part of me says "Yay! It's Thanksgiving time already...Christmas is right around the corner...and then it's only a matter of time til it's spring again." But now that I have kids, time going faster is more of a punishment. So as much as I hate winter and being cold, I'm really trying to find happiness in the single digits. In keeping with this thought, I've posted a new poll question on the side of the blog...maybe you can give me some ideas on how to enjoy the season more.

Here is Katie rocking her warm gear when she was Will's age. She doesn't look real pleased about if either.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday, Monday

Today was another work day, another school day. We had great big snow flurries, but nothing that really amounted to too much.

Yesterday afternoon, John watched the kids as I headed out for a get together with my friend Shelley that lives in Rochester. Shelley is getting married in April, and Katie is the flower girl. So we discussed all things wedding and girly. We sat for a few hours at a Chinese Buffet and I really think we got our 8 bucks worth. :) Thanks to John for wrangling the kids for an evening!
Shelley and I met in Northfield, and earlier in the week I had made plans to pick up a pair of used snow boots for Katie. Much to my disgust, there was no one home when I stopped to pick them up at our agreed upon time. I knocked, pounded, called their phone...nothing. I peeked in the window and SAW the boots sitting on a shelf...hmmm....should I just try to open the door, take the boots and leave them their $5? No, I decided not to - but left a very assertive message for them. I haven't heard from the woman yet....and probably won't. Now I have to find another pair of boots on Craigslist. :)

After we dropped Katie off at school, Will and I headed to the grocery store. I had intentions of going to Cub - the discount grocery store. But at the last minute decided that because it was so cold out I would rather go to the upscale grocer who offers drive-up pick ups, but doesn't stock generics. I was still very happy to see that our weekly trip to the store resulted in a total under $90.

"And just what do you think YOU are looking at?"

Saturday, November 15, 2008

5 letter word for smart little girl...

Tonight John suggested we break out the Scrabble board and play a 'real' game with Katie. Usually we just let her put the tiles in any order any where on the board, but as she's getting older and wants to spell more words we thought that we should teach her the rules. It was rocky at first, and her attention span got tested towards the end, but she played a wonderful game.

She even beat the pants off John and I. Of course we were both helping her spell words and find spaces on the board...that's why our own scores suffered. (At least that's my story.) Katie added a new element to the game too - she was like a had 45 seconds to make your word otherwise the timer would explode into an antsy 4 year old tantrum.

After we got done I took a picture of the board as proof that we did finish the game. When we were picking up the pieces, John was reading the box and discovered that Katie's score of 166 was very close to their estimation of an 'expert's' score of 180. Geesh...that's all we need.

The Scrabble champion
Earlier tonight while I was getting supper ready, I taped a big piece of paper that John had brought home from work for the kids to draw on. They did a GREAT job - both of them. This easily entertained them for 45 minutes or more. They each had specific areas to work on and pretty much stuck to their own sides. Will got messy, but hey, it'll wash off. He really pays attention to how Katie does things and really tries to imitate her.

"So that's how I'm supposed to do it."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Winter Time

It's that time of year again when we need to break out the boots, hats and mittens. In breaking them out I realized that Katie got bigger. Darn it anyway.
Thankfully her Elmo hat has been passed on to Will. So that means we have to get her a new hat. She also needed some good snow gloves. I had gotten her some thinner ones last year that get sopping wet after 10 minutes outside...not gonna work this year.

So while she was in school yesterday, Will and I picked out some for her. Will also took the liberty of trying on her new gloves and Hannah Montana hat. Luckily, she loves far.

Where the heck is my little boy???

Katie had a play date today with her friend Ben. Ben was in Katie's preschool class last year and they were lucky enough to be together this year too. He is such a sweet little boy and the two get along very well. They played with playdough, pretened Will was a monster, played board games, ate lunch and colored pictures. Whew!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Big news

..and no, the news is NOT that I found my keys. :)

There's big news in the Hanson family. I was just made aware of it yesterday. My brother, Jeff and his wife Erica are expecting again. She is due in May. But that's not the exciting part...she's having twins! We won't know for another 5-6 weeks what the sex is, but we are all anxious to find out.

As for my keys...I have looked in 1 toybox, all of the shoes in the closet, my coat pockets (even though I didn't wear a coat the last day I had them), Katie's bookbag, the toy kitchen, and various odd places. All of your suggestions were GREAT ideas! But alas...nothing. I half expected Will to just come waltzing around the corner with them someday, retrieving them from where ever they had been placed.

I don't even KNOW if I took Mommy's keys!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Little Girl Time

Today Katie and I had a little "Girl Time." She and I went to the 2008 Gymnastics All Star show at the Xcel Center. Thanks to the Ortega food company I had 2 free tickets waiting for me at the will-call window. A few months ago I saw an ad in the Sunday paper that said if you bought $15 worth of Ortega Mexican food you could receive 2 free tickets to any Gymnastics All Star show. YAY!

Although we were kinda in the nose bleed section - at least we were there. We could see everything great - just kinda far away. Katie didn't really care because she got to have popcorn and lemonade.

Personally, I LOVED IT. We got to see (forgive the spelling) Shawn Johnson, Nastia Lukin, the Hamm brothers, Chelsea Memmel, Shannon Miller, and more. Everyone that was on the 2008 Olympic team was there. The routines they perform on tv look difficult...that's nothing to seeing them in person. Wow. They look darn near impossible!

Katie was having a good time until somewhere in the second half of the show...suddenly a Miley Cyrus song comes on - "I Might Even Be A Rock Star." BOOM - there is an excited look on her face and she is on her feet singing and dancing. Her 'good' time turned into 'great' time. Then on comes the Hannah Montana song "Best of Both Worlds." Holy cow - I thought I was going to have to hold on to her! Everyone in our section enjoyed the dancing. :)

My favorite moments were the guys on the high bar - they really put on a show! I also liked Nastia Lukin on balance beam - so beautiful. She also spoke about her dad, who is her coach and how much it meant to be in Beijing with him. So the song she performed to was "Butterfly Kisses." And while normally that song makes me wretch...I actually got chills watching her.
All in all it was a terrific show - almost a teenie-bop rock concert. I was able to take pictures, but let's face it - we were too far away for them to be worthwhile, so I'll spare you.

P.S. - Welcome back to IA my niece, Sarah (who was in Chicago) and my Mom (who was in Branson) I also have a favor to ask of you readers...I seem to have misplaced my keys here at home. If you were my keys...where would you be? Also - what do you think are the odds Will threw them away? :(

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pardon me for a moment

Today is Thursday - a rainy, wet Thursday. The good news is that I raked almost constantly for the past 2 days...and I think I have most of the yard done. There is still an area on the side of the house that I would like to get cleaned up, but if I don't, I'm ok with that. We bagged up about 19 bags of leaves. We have a lot of trees.
So how are you feeling about the election? Relief? Let down?
I do feel relieved to have it over with first of all. I am also happy with the outcome of the presidential election. I think Obama and Biden will make a good team and surround themselves with positive, intelligent people. I think Obama is an honest, smart man whom I enjoy listening to. I can't say that about the current administration...I can barely even type it. It also seems that he genuinely loves his wife and will continue to be faithful to her. Does that mean he will be a good leader? No - but I appreciate the trait.
However, all across the country individual states passed some amendments that concern me. It seems that we may have taken 2 steps forward in the presidential election, yet taken 1 step backwards in some state elections. In California, Proposition 8 passed which bans gay marriage. In Arkansas, a bill passed that bans homosexuals from adopting children.
Here's my two cents in case you care. The whole gay marriage thing upsets me. Why SHOULDN'T they be allowed to marry? Is it going to affect my marriage? Is it going to affect yours? NO! If anything it will improve the divorce statistics. And as far as adoption goes - it's a sad time when there are so many children awaiting adoption and now there are good families that won't get a chance to love them. There are a lot of people in this world that need to devote more time and energy to THEIR OWN family, and less time trying to manage and control other people/families. I now step down from my soapbox.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Birthday Jeff!

I wanted to take a post to say Happy Birthday to my brother Jeff today! As I was counting on my fingers to try to figure out how old he is today I realized....Oh My God....he's 40!
Also - Happy Voting Day....hope everyone takes an opportunity to cast their ballot. (This means it's the last day of political advertising right???)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

And 3rd prize goes too...

The COW!

Those were the words we just heard at Chanhassen's city Halloween Party. Will won third prize for his age group...0-4. Guess who else was in that age group. Guess who got kinda upset because she didn't win too.

Anyway - the town had a Halloween trick-or-treat at a local strip mall. I wasn't planning on going, but John had some work to do at home and the kids were kinda restless after Katie's basketball game. Every business in the little area had candy or toys or toothbrushes. We even got two cereal bowls from Cub Foods! There was a costume contest at the end and we happened to be around for it... Will won a little plastic trophy and $10 from Subway. I explained to Katie that she really won too because it was originally her costume, Will was just wearing it this year. After we got home she really didn't care because she got all the candy.

Yesterday we went to a local nursing home to trick-or-treat for the residents there. It was perfect! No crowds, plenty of room, etc. There were only 2-3 other kids there when we were walking around. Katie felt comfortable enough to basically just walk up to the residents on her own, and say trick-or-treat. She's used to wheel chairs, etc., thanks to our visits with my aunt Carol. They all gushed over Will and thought Katie was a very sweet bee. Again...she walked away with a full bucket after about 20 minutes.

No, you can't eat that...

And last night was SO beautiful outside! What a great night for trick-or-treating! Honestly, any warmer and it may have been TOO warm! Will and I tagged along for the first 2 houses, then John and Katie headed off by themselves. About 45 minutes later they came back with another bucket full. By 8 when we turned the lights off we had gotten 58 visitors. It beats our 3 from last year. :) And I was very impressed with how polite everyone was - plenty of thank yous.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Birthday Noah!

Just a little shout out to our buddy Noah who turns 2 today! Holy cow.....2!!!!
Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Early Start

We had errands to run today at the local Target. Picked up some $1 wrapping paper, $1 tape, and a few other odds and ends. We meandered down the toy aisles and at the end of one aisle was a clearance display. I found 2 Christmas gifts for Katie! Grand total? $4.25. Original price? $21.00. How could I pass them up?

I've pretty much vowed that this year Katie and Will's Christmas gifts are coming from Craigslist...that wonderful online garage sale. I would say that last year we succeeded in doing that, except for a few last minute ideas. This last minute ideas! :) I've already started making lists of things to look for on Craigslist, and hopefully, if I am patient, they will get listed. Speaking of which...I think nows the time to post some of OUR toys to sell too....

P.S. Don't forget to vote in our poll on the right hand side of the page. Some people have said that they don't vote in it because they think it will take them to a different won't!! It's completely set up by me/Katie/whoever! It's good practice for next week.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pumpkin Carving a la Daddy

Last night John and Katie carved our family pumpkin. I say "John and Katie" carved the pumpkin because they did the bulk of the work. I was busy video taping, taking pictures, and cleaning the seeds. And Will? Well, Will was pretty much scared of the whole process. He would NOT touch anything having to do with the insides of the pumpkin. It was probably for the best...what a MESS it would have been to have him flinging goo from one corner of the kitchen to the other! Next year Deb, next year...

Mr. Happy/Funny Pumpkin

Mr. Surprised Pumpkin (Katie's masterpiece)

Mr. Scary Pumpkin

Katie wanted to have a lot of faces on the pumpkin so she made John do a happy/funny face and a scary face. Then she wanted to draw a face on there as well...and John carved that. Yes, somehow John managed to get 3 faces on one pumpkin. I wish I would have thought of that when I was a kid. My brother-in-law, Wally carved all the pumpkins for us when I was younger. I wish I would have made him do 2-3 faces!

This was right at the beginning of the carving session. Will acted like he wanted to help...then he felt the goo and didn't want to have anything more to do with it!

Our illumination...note the scary face on the wall...the pumpkin's AND Katie's...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Another day, another party

Will did NOT like having his "cow head" on, but he got used to it. Katie tries to make the best of a screaming brother.

See...all better.

Today after church, the kids and I went to the annual Halloween party at My Gym in Eden Prairie. My Gym is a children's fitness center where Katie took classes til she was 3 and Will has been taking them for a few weeks now.
Will is old enough now to remember where gym class is and he gets excited as soon as we pull into the parking lot. Today they were all dressed up in their costumes. They played some games, sang some songs, and got some play dough. It was a little crazy, but it was free and darn it, I'm gonna do as many free parties as I can! Up next...the grocery store's Halloween Party on Tuesday. :)
Climbing at My Gym

This afternoon I had to go to the library to do some work on their computers. While I was there I noticed their book sale was still going on. The kids and I went to the book sale on Friday. We came away with a bag of children's book and videos for $5.

I LOVE library book sales. Honestly, if you ever get the chance to take a child to a book sale, DO IT! There was Katie thumbing through books and videos - she would come upon one that she liked and meekly would ask if she could get it. "SURE!" How great is it to say that?!! If we are in a store the answer is usually "no." But here, where the average price is $0.25, anything goes. Katie got into it after that and began to find more and more she couldn't live without. Again, it was a nice feeling to allow her to indulge.
Another reason I adore the library sales?? Old books. I absolutely get chills every time I come across an old children's book that I had when I was 3 or 4. This sale was no exception. I found the book "Gus Was A Friendly Ghost." My aunt, Carol, had this book at her house and it was one of my favorites. It was written in 1967, so it's not as if you could run out to Barnes and Noble and pick it up...they don't print it anymore. Yet there it was amongst the worn books. When we got home I pulled it out and remembered bits and pieces of the story Carol would read to me...but what jogged my memory even more were the pictures; the pictures I had stared at for hours when I was little. And now I am reading it to Katie...sometimes life is surreal.

Ok - so today I was at the library again. It was the final day of their sale which means bargain bag time! $3 bag...all the stuff you can fit into it. Today was about adult books. I found some John might read, some I will read, etc. (Mary - I even got a collection of Updike short stories....Shelley - I got my first copy of Anne of Green Gables.) Anyway - I look forward to the next sale and the next book I can collect to relive my childhood.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

One thing after another

Today was one of those days where it seems everything got scheduled together. This morning we had Katie's first basketball practice and game. I must say it was pretty entertaining. There are 4 teams of 6-7 kids ages 4-5 years old. They take turns scrimmaging each other on Saturday mornings. Katie is the only girl. :) And I must say she gave it all she had. Were there tears? Of course - she shot the ball and it came back down and bonked her on the head. :( But two other little boys on her team had shed tears already, so it was no big deal.

Here is Katie standing in line waiting for her turn to do some dribbling and shooting drills.

Katie dribbling up court during their "game." Initially, she was dribbling the wrong direction...well, they all were, but soon got it figured out. It was really funny when the other team's coach would shout something out...they would ALL do it. Like for the defense "Hands up!!" shouts the other coach...BOOM, up shoots 18 little hands. Or all the kids yelling "I'm open! I'm open!" Even if they're on the other team. :)

She really did a great job and wants to go it again next weekend...good, we have 6 weeks left! John is even going to help coach for a few sessions too. :)
After lunch we had to make an appearance at Katie's fall family party. The theme this year was Harvest Hoedown. Katie and Will both got some sticker tattoos, got to play in the gym, have a snack and listen to some stories. Katie got to make a, well, something...we're still figuring out what it is. It's a piece of cloth with assorted leaves, pipe cleaners, string, stickers and ribbon glued on it.

Then we headed home for a nap and supper. After a quick bite to eat, Katie and I went to Chanhassen's Halloween party. We opted to leave Will home with Dad because I wasn't sure how crowded it would be. I'm glad I did cuz I would have had to hold him for a LONG time. Next year, Will, next year...

Oh yeah, and somewhere in all this, John managed to mow the lawn, bag up more leaves and discover that "our" grey cat that visited us before is still hangin' around. She came right up to him and wanted some attention.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Falling Leaves

Today I knew was going to be one of the last 'nice' days for a while so I wanted to make sure we got outside to tackle some of those leaves that have managed to coat our front yard. (Of course they are in the backyard too, but lets' be realistic here....I'll be happy to get the front done.) We got Will down for a nap, and Katie took a 20 minute rest while I got started. I had about half the yard raked when I went to go get Katie. She was in leave heaven! At the townhome, the grounds crew always sucked all the leaves up and away before we ever got a chance to play in them. I was able to get 4 bags filled...and still have a heap of a pile in the front yard. Oh yeah, did I mention that 2 of our big trees haven't even started losing their leaves yet?

Bonus - I just noticed in the newspaper that tomorrow is a free recycle program in Chaska...bring in your bags of leaves for free disposal. We'll have to work that in.

Tomorrow Katie goes on a field trip with her class to the Eden Prairie Fire Station. No bus this time - they just have to walk across the parking lot. Obviously, she isn't that excited.
After a quick lunch we are going to try to take advantage of the local library's book sale. It's such an easy way to stock up on some $.10 books for possible stocking stuffers at Christmas time, birthdays, rainy days, etc.

And luckily Saturday is going to be a nice day - Katie has her fist basketball practice/game that morning. After lunch her preschool is having their annual fall harvest party full of games, crafts, snacks, music, etc. And as if that wasn't enough activity for a day we have decided to go to the Chanhassen Halloween party after supper. Believe me...there will be pictures later.
Sunday is going to be our pumpkin carving day. We were going to go to a party at gym class...but with the time change it's going to be....well....let's just get used to one thing at a time.