Saturday, September 22, 2012

Beach Time?

On our nature walk through state parkland we found this beach which I officially vote Most Real Sand Sandy Beach in all of Minnesota, right there on the river. The kids loved it. It was like a huge awesome sandbox...or like being at the beach except way too cold to actually be at the beach. 

First of all, I love this picture!! It makes me laugh! What a cute family I have. 
And Kyeson, who spends most of our walking/hiking time strapped to Steve's back in a backpack, got to get out. Which he LOVED. "Look Mom! I got sand on my feet!"
Instead of footprints in the sand, this is what it looks like when you can't walk down a sandy hill but scooch a gimpy crawl down the hill.

And, haha!! This picture also makes me laugh! I wish you could tell what this hill was like from the picture, but Kye was trying to stand up to make another walk attempt through the sand and got off balance because of the incline. At first I thought he was just doing his "look through the legs" thing, but then realized he wasn't when he started getting mad because he couldn't lift up his head because it was too heavy at that angle. Haha!!

My Hearts

First there was one. 
Then there were two. 
And now, now there are three. 
Oh, my sweet babies. 

Friday, September 21, 2012


Anybody else watch The Cat in the Hat?


(And Red, Orange, Yellow all in one!)
Then Green followed by...


(Indigo, which, what the heck? It's not even considered part of the primary rainbow colors anymore.) And Violet! That's a rainbow song for you!!

Obviously, we went on a beautiful hike through a state park. It was glorious. I brought my camera and took way too many pictures, but I don't regret taking way too many pictures. :) 

Stay tuned for the important pictures, the pictures with kiddos in them!! ;)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

On Having A Man Child

People ask me all the time if having a boy is different than having girls. It's funny because how could it not be different? I wondering if they are asking secretly hoping that I am having the trials and tribulations of a young man child and they want to be sure their boys aren't the only ones. Haha!!

Even though I have what is considered a tom boy, my sweet little Berlin who I frequently find has been laying in the neighbor kid's sand box and will come home with a scalp full of sand, a little man child is still very different.

It's not just the fact that his favorite things are trucks and balls while the girls liked dresses and dolls. Perfect example? We have had the same garbage can, a tall silver contraption with a pedal and a flip lid, since Tryn was Kye's age almost exactly. Well, I recently realized why they sell locks for said garbage cans. Neither of the girls cared one bit about the darn thing, but not a day goes by without Kye and I having a "discussion" about whether or not he should open the lid. Worse than that, he likes to put things into the garbage...and pull them out. I'm starting to consider that lock.

Another way I noticed that Kye is completely different from the girls is when he ate a mouthful of sand. All kids do it at some point, sitting at the beach or in a sandbox they take a huge fistful of sand and pop it in their mouths. Well, when both of the girls did this as babies world ending cries and lots of spitting and drooling ensued. The man child? Well, he popped the sand in his mouth, paused, and then looked up at Steve and I with a big sandy grin and started laughing. Steve had to dig it out of his mouth so he didn't try to swallow it all.

Don't even get me started on taking this kid to the store. Wow. He is a pain in the you know what. Let's just say that most of the time involves him screaming because he is trying to turn around in the cart seat and gets stuck or falls over. Or he spends his time trying to wriggle out of the strap so that he can stand up. I basically have to walk around with my hand on him to keep him in the cart and he treats it like torture. How dare he be confined! I used to think the girls treating the store like a playground was a lot to deal least they were laughing and having fun and not screaming like their fingernails are being removed.

And then there is the whole diaper changing situation. I recently read this thing that a mom wrote to her son, 25 Things I Want to Tell My Son (who was three). I can't find it now, but number 18 was something like, "You do not always have to touch your penis. It will be there for the rest of your life. You will have lots of opportunity to use it, you don't need to grab it all the time. It is not a toy." I just want to second that. Every single diaper change...every single time.

There are, of course, the things that are easier too. I finally have a kid that loves to eat. The girls treated food like it was a chore or something and would always eat the smallest amounts possible. Kye can already out eat them most of the time. That will probably never change. 
Don't get me wrong, I love this kid. I think he is the cutest little baby boy on the face of the earth right now and I am enjoying him immensely. But the answer to the question is YES. Yes, having a baby boy is much different than having a girl, in some ways at this age it is much more difficult. I have heard this is true, that boys get easier as they get older and girls get harder. That remains to be seen.  

Oh my, this could not have happened at a more ironic time. As I finished up this post Kye walked past me into the kitchen and this is what I found two minutes later:

Yes, next to his t-ball bat on the floor are banana peels and coffee grounds that he pulled from the garbage. And yes, of course I just swept and mopped the floor less than 30 minutes ago. Yes, I forgot to put the tray back on his chair to block him from climbing up. And what you can't see in this picture, and what alerted me to the trouble, is the fact that he also had a beaded necklace around his neck that he pulled and broke. I heard the beads landing on and rolling all over the floor. Thank goodness it's nap time. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The "H" Word

There is one thing, and mostly one big thing, that Steve and I said we would NEVER, never, never ever do concerning our children. It involves the "H" word.

We said we would never homeschool our kids. Ever.

Steve and I were both homeschooled (cue jokes about denim jumpers, socially awkward, whatever, whatever. We've heard all the jokes, we've made all the jokes ourselves, go ahead, try one. I bet I've heard it or said it myself already. Haha!) and we both didn't want to homeschool for various reasons.

So, it is with great confusion that I find myself as a homeschooling mother this year. What?! Yes, you heard me right. I am homeschooling Tryn and Berlin.

I'm not really confused, but sometimes it's still hard to say it out loud. Yes, I really am teaching the kids at home and there is no way to get around that fact. We are a homeschooling family. (I'm still mentally saying, "What?!" to myself. WHAT?! I'm HOMESCHOOLING?! Yes, I really am.)

How did this happen? So many reasons, lots of evaluation, and the realization that for this year (and this year only, one year at a time commitment to this craziness) homeschooling was the best option for the girls and our family as a whole. A big factor was that Tryn would have been getting on the bus at 8:39am and getting off at 4:09pm Monday through Friday. Steve works almost every Saturday and Sunday. We were starting to feel like, "What's family time? Is that going to exist anymore? Will we ever have a "Saturday" day all year long?" Whoa. Depressing. And that does not hold true to our values as a family at all. Also, the school that we really wanted Tryn to go to was full. She got put on a waiting list and never got in and so our first choice (performing arts magnet school where they have piano lab every day and can be in band/orchestra/choir etc. starting in first grade!!!!) for schools was out for this year.

We waited until the last minute to commit to something that we never thought we would commit to and every morning now I don my denim jumper, ahem, and teach my children.

I am pleased to say that so far it is going quite well. I think that quality time speaks love strongly to both of my girls and so school time is just one big bundle of love for them. It's also nice for me because I get to spend time with the girls not coloring (activity of choice 99.9% of the time otherwise) but doing other things that I find interesting as well.

I was also able to start Berlin in kindergarten this year. If we were doing the public school thing she wouldn't have been able to start until next year and she really wanted to start school with her big sister. So here is our first day of school picture for Tryn in first grade and Berlin in kindergarten. I let them pick out a new first day of school outfit and they picked the most sparkly dresses that were available. And they have worn them almost every day since. I have to steal Berlin's while she is sleeping to wash it. But, hey, they can wear the dresses every day for the rest of the year without getting teased if they want to...because we are a homeschooling family. :)

Friday, September 7, 2012

The House

On August 31 it was our one year anniversary of the day we bought this house. Since we worked so hard and so long to be able to purchase a house, the one year anniversary was really fun for me. For us, purchasing a house was not just another big purchase, not something that happened very easily (to tell that story I would have to write a book, which I might someday, but not today) and so it has never been something that I have taken for granted.

I feel so thankful every single day. 

I don’t know how we got this house. I mean, I know how, but…It’s perfect for us. It was on the market for several months before we bought it, priced significantly higher when it was first posted. Maybe that had something to do with it not being sold? It also had an icky flooring situation in the basement, but we took care of that. I just can’t believe that nobody snatched it up before we did. Honestly, this is better than I thought our first house would be. 

This was the first house we looked at and we made an offer the next day. It was accepted within a few hours. We live in Robbinsdale, which is just outside of North Minneapolis, seriously about three miles from where we were living before. It is so much quieter and safer though. We still get to be next to North, and we are still in a very central location which was important to us. We also live one block off a parkway which connects to miles of trails all throughout the Minneapolis area. Just wonderful. 

I once heard someone say that you should never buy a house that you can’t live with just as it is…otherwise you will never, ever stop doing projects and putting money into it. I’m not sure if they meant structurally or cosmetically. Part of the fun for me of owning a house is getting to do some projects to improve it, but it’s all easy cosmetic stuff. I could live with this house, just as it is, for a really long time. However, if we stay here for a really long time we have some exciting ideas to improve the kitchen, potentially add one more bedroom, fix our two garage situation, and it would even make our yard bigger than it is. But we don’t need to do any of that to be happy here. We are just happy. 

A lot of people also talk about home buyer’s remorse, that time when you regret not waiting for something else, wanting something else, or wishing you didn’t have your particular house to deal with. I can honestly say that I have not had one day or moment of buyer’s remorse. Not one. And it’s not like we don’t have issues to deal with here. We have a bunch of doors and cupboards that don’t stay shut or just don’t shut well, we have plaster walls that get holes when we try to hang pictures, we have old plumbing that Steve has had to deal with several times and has us considering buying stock in Drain-o, a poorly designed bathroom/ventilation so that mold likes to grow there…blah, blah, blah. I don’t even care. 

I just feel so thankful every day. And I love living here. 

Our yard is almost twice the size of the average city lot, which was one of the reasons we loved it. We went from having basically no yard to a bigger than average yard. It’s awesome. Honestly, one of the only reasons we might move someday is because we would actually want to live in the country and have 5 or 6 acres, a few more animals, and some serious produce growing on our land. Right now we have other priorities that don’t include large plots of earth and growing things…we have found we aren’t super good at growing things anyway. The whole south side of our property has a built in garden that we tried out this year. Maybe when we get better at it…Anyway, we have a fabulous yard AND we have a built in playmate directly across the alley, which is something I am also thankful for on a daily basis. The girls not only have our yard to play in, they have Ava and her yard and unending hours of magical childhood playtime. I have realized that this is a rare blessing. How often do you buy a house and find a best friend for two of your kids? Not only do all three of them get along famously, I can also see them playing in her backyard from my backyard. How much better could that be? I don’t think it could be. 

Did I say how thankful I am yet? 

I am so thankful.