Monday, April 30, 2018

Bits and Pieces: April

I think it's March that's supposed to go in as a lion and out as a lamb, but this year it's April's turn. This weather is so beautiful, though. That's one thing about living in a state with a long winter - I really appreciate every sunny day. And the kids have been going crazy since the weather finally turned to spring - they are outside running around like maniacs every day. It is wonderful.

This month has been strange and sad in some ways. We had a death in the family and Clare's teacher had a serious illness. I am sad for some of my relatives who are grieving. The good news is that Clare's teacher is recovering well, and will hopefully be back to work full time soon.

On a happier note, Ben and I had a wonderful night to ourselves last weekend. I have been trying to plan a date night once a month. It seems like we go too long without having a conversation that doesn't involve child or house maintenance tasks. These date nights are really important for us to reconnect. My sister and brother-in-law gave us a very generous Christmas present this year: a gift certificate to Butcher and the Boar, along with the promise to take Clare and Christopher for a sleepover. We cashed in last weekend. We started with a few beers at Bauhaus, along with eleventy billion other people who wanted to enjoy the sunshine. Then we had a delicious dinner at Butcher and the Boar. (The best part were the whiskey cocktails: an old-fashioned for me and a whiskey sour for Ben.) It was so nice being able to sleep past 7 the next morning. Then, we went out to breakfast, just the two of us, at Tillie's Farmhouse. We did a lot of talking about the kids, and reminiscing about how we used to go out to breakfast almost every weekend before kids.

Spring Break feels like a year ago, but it was actually just at the beginning of this month. Weird. We had Easter here. We went to my friend Heather's annual brunch, which was fun as usual. I love the Easter egg hunt and the mimosas. We hosted Ben's parents' and aunt and uncle here for Easter dinner. I made kielbasa, warm potato salad, asparagus, and lime curd bars for dessert. The kids had fun hunting for their Easter baskets. We still have Easter candy, which I am doing my best to help get rid of. Don't tell Clare.

We spent Spring Break at my parents' house. Ben stayed here to work. It was a nice time, despite weather putting an end to our plans to visit my grandma. We took the kids to an indoor play area and they went sledding. I got to have dinner with my friend Christina, which was wonderful as always. My Aunt Karen and Ruth also came for dinner one night. We had a good time.

I've been busy with ECFE this month - we had our annual potluck on Friday. This may or may not be my last year on the PAC, since I apparently don't know how to say no.

I also had dinner with my friend Chrissy this month! We had gone way too long without seeing each other. I love seeing old friends and feeling like very little time has past.

We went to visit my grandmother and aunt in La Crosse this past weekend. She is going to be 95 this year! The kids always love visiting her, and do well in the car.

Clare has finished the second Harry Potter. I am making her take a break before she reads the third one. She is quite upset by this, but I am just not sure she is ready for the third one yet. They get pretty intense pretty fast. And she is only six.

The kids are both doing well. It has hard to believe how close we are to the end of the school year. Why does that always take me by surprise? Christopher's last day is May 25. Help. Way too soon.

Decorating Easter eggs.

I wonder how many more years I can hide his basket in the front hall closet without him remembering.

It took her awhile to find it, but she was happy when she did.

Spring break sledding. #wrong

These two adore each other.

When there's a blizzard, you put on a party dress and walk to the local kid-friendly bar.

Snowball fight.

On the snow day we got together with friends , went sledding, and had a massive kids vs. adults snowball fight.

Ben and I at Bauhaus.

"Will you take my picture? I want to see my style."

Thursday, April 19, 2018

On Purpose

When Ben and I moved back here 5 years ago, it certainly wasn't for the weather. I admit, I was in a foul mood about this weekend's blizzard, and having school canceled on Monday certainly didn't help. Last week, I heard someone on the radio say, "We live here on purpose. Just remember that." And that made me think it would do me some good to think about all of the reasons why we moved back here and why we plan to stay. That, along with they memory of the epic kids versus adults snowball fight that took place on Monday, is sure to help my mood.

  • Our neighborhood: friendly people, great parks, and the ability to walk to locally-owned restaurants, even in a blizzard.
  • Clare's school. A free, public Montessori school is a wonderful thing.
  • Christopher's preschool. We will miss this sweet school next year.
  • Living close to many family and friends, both old and new. (We do miss living near my parents. And I will probably wish forever, in vain, that my brother and his family will move here.)
  • Proximity to many beautiful state parks. Being within an easy drive to Minnesota's gorgeous north shore and the BWCA is not a small thing for our camping-loving family.
  • The Como Zoo, the Children's Museum, the Big Zoo, the Science Museum, the History Center, the Aquarium.
  • ECFE. Did you know Minnesota is the only state with this program? It has been a huge help for me, and I have made many friends in the neighborhood through my classes. And the kids love it.
  • So many delicious places to eat, if only I had unlimited funds and unlimited babysitters.
  • The Palace Theater and First Ave. And the Turf Club and even Xcel.
  • The Twins, the Saints, not the Vikings.
  • MIA and the Walker.
  • Hockey games at the U and the Minnesota United. (This one is for Ben.)
  • Surly, Lake Monster, Bauhaus, Indeed, Urban Growler,  Rails and Ales FTW.
  • Bike trails. The River Road. Minnehaha Falls and Wabun Picnic Area practically in our backyard.
  • The State Fair.
  • A plethora of options for summer camps and classes for the kids. We're already so busy this summer!
  • Many job opportunities for Ben and me.
  • Free ice skating at Groveland. Free sledding all over the place. Broomball. (Also for Ben.)
  • Coffee shops aplenty, including a local bean roaster and a coffee shop with an entire play area for the kids.
  • Coffee shops seem like a lame one to end on, but I can't think of anything else right now. What am I missing, Twin Cities friends??
There. I feel better. But spring, you are welcome any time. (Summer, don't get any ideas. We need at least a week of spring first, okay?)

Monday, April 9, 2018

Four and a half

He refuses to sit with the moose, so here he is on Easter morning.

I'm a few days behind with this, but here we are. Christopher is 4 and a half!

Despite being no longer remotely a baby, Christopher still has the most kissable cheeks in the world. And he still lets me kiss him, so I'll take it as long as I can. He likes to snuggle, and most mornings I wake up to find him laying in bed beside me. I could do without the night time visits, but it really bothers Ben more than me, and there is something sweet about finding him there in the morning.

He is becoming more articulate and interested in words. He can spell some short words, and recognizes his name. He still says pee-pano (piano), pizz-ya and ta-gar (guitar).

Christopher loves preschool. He is learning a lot, and comes home with interesting facts for us about a variety of topics. His favorite subjects have been outer space and dinosaurs. We had a conference with his teachers a few weeks ago, and they said he is doing well. He understands the school routine and participates. They said he is more interested in talking to the teacher than any other kids, though. Apparently he'll be inventing some game, and kids will go to play with him, but he can take it or leave it if he has company. I'm glad he is so independent, and I'm sure he'll be more interested in friends as he gets older. (And he does play well with his sister and dotes on his baby cousin Otto. He and Josie love to fight and antagonize each other, but they sometimes play nicely, too.)

We found out that he was accepted at Clare's school for pre-K next year. He'll go five mornings a week, and take the bus with his big sister. He has been enjoying watching her get on the bus for three years, so I think he'll be pretty thrilled when he gets to ride it himself. And it will buy me an extra 45 minutes every day, so yay for that.

Christopher is quite a comedian, both intentionally and unintentionally. We were having Easter dinner, and Christopher was dressed as Batman, as one does. He announced to us, "I am going to save the world when I am done here." This got a big laugh, of course, so he tried a second joke which involved poop. That got a scolding. He is still trying to figure out what will land and what won't.

He enjoys performing. The other night he said to me, "We are going to put on our super hero costumes and then we will dance." He told Ben he is going to be a stage singer when he grows up, but he will still live here. Ben: "If you are going to be a professional singer, that's probably true."

Some of Christopher's current favorites: "Here We Are" by Oliver Jeffers, Richard Scarry's "Best Word Book Ever", Rescue Bots, superheros (especially Batman), pizzya, all fruit, ta-sert (dessert), the sharks at the Aquarium, the Children's Museum (especially the big slide and the lasers), dancing and singing with his guitar, bouncy houses, balls and trucks and dinosaurs, Jupiter, the "Science is Real" album by They Might Be Giants, playing Super Mario Bros, his blankie (which is not so slowly disappearing), watching golf with his Baba, all four of his grandparents in general, his cousins, and of course, his best friend and sister Clare.

Some dislikes: Scary movies or scary parts in TV shows (he covers his ears and runs around the house). And I actually can't think of anything else. He's a pretty easy going kid.

And now, my interview with Christopher, in two parts. I am trying to do this every year. It might be hard to understand, but I find it entertaining. (And you will notice that he is really into potty talk, much to my annoyance.)