Sunday, May 31, 2009


Friday was HOT!

Luckily, I am done scraping, priming and painting the chaise lounge!

Spicy, no?

Dana brought a pillow out and I got them some snacks to eat while I slaved away scraping the table. I am almost done with it, and am half done with the chairs, and my hands hurt so bad! It's as if I ran a marathon or something, only with my hands. They're all cramped up.

I am looking forward to warming myself on the chaise lounge, knitting away, while the girls play on their "island." That is, once it gets above 47 degrees again...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dandelion Love

That Nora-she sure loves dandelions!

She got off the bus yesterday and told me she would be inside in a few minutes. Ten minutes later, she came in with this:

Yeah, I am not sure why her eyes look like that. But isn't the dandelion chain cute? We asked her where she learned to do that, and she said she just thought of it. She also made me a dandelion necklace and was very sad to see that it got all wilty overnight.

She decided the dandelion chain would look best hanging from one of the bird feeders.

Visiting the Farm with ECFE

Yesterday was Dana's ECFE field trip to the Woodland Hills Farm. Boy, did that girl have fun!

The kids got to feed bread to the chickens.

Baby chicks under a warming light. Dana spent a long time oohing and aahing over these chicks. She wanted to pick one up and couldn't understand why she wasn't allowed.

This was Dana's favorite chicken. She totally cracked up every time it walked by.

This little lamb was two days old! There was a new black lamb in the previous stall that was one day old.

A baby goat. There were two of them and Dana fell for them hard.

Teacher Emily pets a baby goat while Dana hugs it. She hung out with this sweet baby until the very last second of the barn visit. On the way home, she said, "Mom, can we get a goat instead of a dog?"

Munching on animal crackers afterwards.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Summer in May

Yesterday was summer. It was 75 degrees and we spent the entire day outside. I am still giddy from the joy! I am keeping my fingers crossed that today will be just as lovely, but it was 38 degrees when I woke up, so we'll see...

I weeded my entire vegetable garden on Sunday. I know it looks ridiculously tiny, but it's a bit bigger than it seems. If you can see some tiny specks of green in there, those are carrots. They are from last year. They have green tops. I have no idea if they lived through the winter or if they reseeded themselves or what, but I kept them in the garden once I realized they were not weeds. I figure that up north, we need as much help as we can get, so if that means planting carrots and harvesting them an entire year later, I'm in.

Here is what is going into this garden. Well, some of it. We will do beans and peas from seed. Here in the wagon we have tomatoes, cucumbers, and yellow peppers. There are also pansies and a clematis for my flower garden.

Currently I pull the wagon into the garage each night and back into the yard each morning. This is to avoid the inevitable late-May frost.

I spent a couple of hours cleaning weird things out of the yard and woods. Things like broken toys and thistles (also known as porkies for some reason). When I finished, and the garbage can was full despite Monday morning pickup, Kevin mowed the lawn. Dana got her lawn mower and followed him around, eager to do her part. She likes to follow me in the house with her toy vacuum. I love this about her.

Nora lives in the Rhinosaur River. She spends so much time out here, collecting seaweed, mosquito larva, rocks, flowers. I spent a lot of time just downstream from here when I was a kid, and I understand her fascination. For the record, there is a large, flat rock poking just above the surface of the river, and Nora is kneeling on it. She is not kneeling in the water.

Here is a bigger shot of their island. It isn't technically an island, but let's not get nitpicky about it. In the upper righthand corner, you might notice the remains of a campfire, especially if you click the photo to enlarge it. Last weekend, Keenan was over and the three kids conned Grandpa Don into helping them clean up their island. He built a little fire and they burned up all of the "junk" that was in their way (think branches, twigs, rotten tree trunks). They even convinced him to get his motorizer brush cutter out so he could make a clearing. They are all so proud of their island. Zak has a similar island downstream, on Grandpa Don and Grandma Inese's property. They call it George's Island because my dad calls Zak "George". Anyhow, the three younger grandkids are thrilled to finally have an island of their own. Nora went so far as to color a flag on a large sheet of paper. She hung it in a tree, but it rained that night and the flag didn't survive. I foresee a sewing project...

Summer, we have missed you!

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Today was our regularly scheduled Sunday barbecue.

Guess what we brought?

This photo makes me think it's summer: corn, bare feet, a blanket on the lawn, a bouquet of cow slips. It wasn't hot, but it was a pretty nice day! And I feel pretty lucky to be a mom to such lovely girls, and an auntie to such great boys!

Here's hoping your Mother's Day was lovely!

Cinco de Mayo

On Saturday, we went to our friend Callie's annual Cinco de Mayo party. It was held at her dad's house, since he has plenty of space and the most amazing backyard.

The backyard is a fairly steep hill, which is very cool. This tire swing was a huge hit. Kids can propel themselves by climbing into the tire and walking up the hill. When they get as close to the top as they can, they just lift up their legs and fly! Keenan spent a lot of time pushing kids on the tire swing, which was even more fun. That kid is strong! Nora looks so gleeful here.

There are two giant dinosaur sculptures in the backyard. Callie's dad made them both. Here you can see Keenan and Dana climbing on one of them. The other is a t-rex.

I did not get a very good photo of the pinata, which is sad because it was spectacular! Callie outdoes herself every year. This year the pinata was a giant brown frog in a sombrero. The kids all took turns hitting it. At one point, Dana chose a baseball bat, spun around in a complete circle, and flung the bat into the garage. Not very effective, but pretty funny (since nobody was hurt and all). Eventually, Callie's sister Shawna broke the frog all the way open.

I love this shot of the kids gorging on their pinata treats. Keenan, Dana, Nora, and Josie snuggled into an oversized armchair to look through their treat bags.

Keenan and his creepy frog hand. There were many different kinds of frogs stuffed into the frog pinata.

Nora being silly with an inflatable cactus. See that fire in the background? Proof that May in Minnesota is not that warm.

Dana thought is was hysterical to sneak up behind people and put this ginormous sombrero on their heads. Here, my sister Alyx poses after being "hatted" by Dana.

I took a lot more photos, but this highlights our evening. We can hardly wait for next year! What will the pinata be? Will I come up with a more thematic cupcake flavor?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Really? More on Ears?

I just realized how long it has been since I posted here.

The thing is, I haven't felt that great for over a week now. And actually, neither has Dana.

On Saturday, Kevin took the girls for a daddy date. All day. He basically took them everywhere they wanted to go. They visited several playgrounds, the zoo, DQ. I wasn't feeling 100%, and it was awesome to have the whole day home alone. I used my time to sew.

Around 7:00, Dana was walking up the stairs at Grandma Bev and Grandpa Jerry's house and she grabbed her left ear and started screaming. She cried for over an hour, for the entire ride home and then some. When we finally calmed her down, we asked her some questions and decided that, with all of her ear issues, we were best going to the ER. Not that it was an emergency, per se, but they are the only doctors around on a Saturday night.

Of course, it was infected. And, after telling the ER doctor the whole ear saga, he told us to call the ENT on Monday morning to touch base. He also prescribed an antibiotic, which Dana found quite delicious.

We ended up going to the ENT on Tuesday. And once he ascertained that there was, indeed, fluid behind her ear drum, he told us to continue the drops he had prescribed two weeks ago for an additional two weeks. If, when he checks again in mid-May, her tube is still plugged, he wants to surgically remove it and replace it with a clean tube. Because clearly it is causing problems. And he thinks she still needs it after all. I am not going to rant here, but I do want to say that I have not been thrilled with the ENT visits. I guess I think he should spend more than three minutes looking at her, asking us questions, and READING HER CHART before deciding to perform surgery on my child.

Anyhoo, in the meantime, who else should come down with a double ear infection? And when I say "double ear infection" I do not mean two infected ears. I mean two infections in the same ear. That is just how I roll. The past five or six infections for me have been this way. So yeah, it's me. And let's just say that my body doesn't get along very well with antibiotics. I will spare you the details, but between the two infections and the side effects, I have not had the best week. Me and Dana have been extra grumpy and I have been feeling sorry for myself. The nurse practitioner who looked at me on Tuesday actually commented that she had never seen a middle ear infection in an adult. I loved hearing that.

So, with all of this, I haven't been taking many photos.

However, I found two that I took a couple of weeks ago. This one totally cracks me up. I was cutting up an apple for Nora and she asked if she could have the sticker. She peeled it off, skipped over to the table and crawled underneath it. I didn't pay much attention until she said, "It's OK that I have stickers under the table, isn't it?" And so I joined her under the table, where I was amazed to see a hundred different produce stickers on secret display! I had no idea! I can't believe she started this little tradition on her own and I never knew.

This is another funny one. Barbie and Smurfette are such an unlikely pair, aren't they? I love that Smurfette, who is supposed to be all tiny and miniature and stuff, absolutely dwarfs Barbie. Dana introduced these two friends and pushed them around in Barbie's convertible all day. I love that she made sure to put their seatbelts on.

In case that was a pretty lame post, I want to assure you that, while I am not completely healthy yet, I am well on the way there and am pretty much past the grumpy part. The side effects are not fun, but my ear no longer hurts. It itches and I can't hear that well, but the pain is all but gone. So I am pretty thrilled.