Monday, March 31, 2014

A Month in Pictures {March}

“To be in your children's memories tomorrow,
You have to be in their lives today.” 
-Barbara Johnson

I've always loved when the calendar turns from February to March, as if this simple thing is the catalyst for impending change. Usually in Minnesota spring comes much later than the first weeks of March. Most years it doesn't come well into April or May. But just the technicality of the calendar declaring the changing seasons ignites the excitement of warmer weather and outdoor activities once again.

This March began with the feet of leftover snow from February, but the bitter coldness lifted and we were able to get back outside. Gradually the snow melted enough to uncover the buried swing set, and we rejoiced. As the days ticked on and more snow turned to slush and then puddles, we traded in snow boots for rain boots and splashed our way down the street. As fickle as the Minnesota spring is, we know not to become too attached to the warmer weather and snow-free yard. Any day the sky could dump another foot or two of snow down upon us, screeching our spring-time activities to an abrupt halt.

Now that we're waving good-bye to March and looking toward a more permanent season change, it's time to review the past month with a series of pictures.

I. School field trip to the Children's Museum.

II. Mommy Photography.

III. Seasons.

   A. Winter Prevails.

   B. Spring teasers.

IV. Random Moments.

   A. A walk with Scharmer.

   B. Indoor Picnics.

   C. Mommy's Helpers.

   D. Daddy's Helpers.



Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mid-week family dates.

“It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” 
-Laura Ingalls Wilder

This week we ditched our regular projects and activities and loaded up the van on two separate occasions for some long-ish day trips to meet family. The first one was to meet my sister-in-law and her two kids at the Mall of America. Although I married Katie's baby brother, I actually met her first, before I had ever even heard the name of my future husband. It was a chance encounter at Country Jam, where we happened upon each other in the campgrounds and my friends pointed her out as the sister of the soldier from our hometown who was injured in Iraq. Katie and I didn't interact much at that musical festival, but the memory of our first meeting still lingers in my mind. We've never lived in the same city, always hours and miles apart, but over the years we've gradually connected as friends separate from the "in-law" title. Just this morning we sent off a frenzy of text messages discussing at length our heated opinions regarding the ending of the Divergent series. It went something like this:

Me: Noooooooooooo!!!!

Katie: Noooooooooooo!!!!

Me: Why?!!!!

Katie: Why?!!!!

(I won't get into specifics on the topic as to not ruin the series for anyone currently or planning on reading it.)

So when Katie suggested we meet halfway between our respective homes for a play date the week she is on spring break, I jumped at the opportunity. My boys don't see their cousins often enough anyway. Maybe driving two hours for brief visit is excessive, but it's most definitely worth it. The kids connected as if their last reunion hadn't been months ago. 


Our second family date this week was for a farewell lunch with my mom before she moves clear across the country. After receiving a clean bill of health from her doctor here in Minnesota and selling her home, she packed up and is starting fresh in a new city. Having never lived more than three hours away from my mom, the thought that she'll be so many miles away is a bit unsettling. Even grown women need their mommies sometimes.

My Grandma Faye and little sister, Sheila, came along for the ride. It was a nice lunch, visiting with my family I so dearly miss living a few hours away from them. After nibbling our way through lunch and sharing a rich lava cake, we embraced for what could be the last time in quite a long while. Although I will miss my mom, I can see the happiness radiate out of her and the confidence in her decision is evident. Apparently a vacation to the west coast is in our distant future!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Alphabet: T

The letter T always seems to be one of our favorites of the alphabet series. So many fun words start with the letter. Trains. Trucks. Tractors. All three of those are staples in our house. We only focused on one of those during the T week this time, though.

Train Ts for the door alphabets. Once the tracks were assembled, the boys choo-choo'd their paper trains on the them before finally gluing the trains down.

Traffic lights. We've been using traffic lights as a way to learn colors since Spencer was a toddler. It's always interesting in the car to hear the boys directing me according to any traffic light they see, whether or not it's the right one.

Traffic signs. After making our own signs, we put them to use playing a few games. Red Light, Green Light wasn't as successful as I thought, so we quickly moved onto our own game of Traffic. One of us stands with the signs and directs the "traffic" (i.e. crazy kids on bikes zooming around my dining room). This game has kept us busy for quite a few weeks now.

Paper plate turtles.

Toilet paper roll trees. We learned about the three parts of trees after making our own visual aids (leaves, trunks, roots). Then we planted them in homemade dirt (flour mixed with vegetable oil. I added a few packets of hot chocolate mix to give it a brown color, and the mix had those teeny tiny marshmallows in them that acted as pebbles in our dirt). This kept the boys occupied long enough for me to make dinner. I saved the dirt and pulled it out a few more times. A messy good time.