Thursday, July 23, 2015

Tamarack.


Beautiful, if a little hot at Tamarack Nature Center yesterday afternoon. Lots of space for personal agendas, whether dam building or pool forming or just redistributing buckets of sand. I'm always amazed at how peaceful and quiet it is there, unlike any other playground. Kids work together in their sand and water industries, adults are cooled by the kid-powered stream, too.

One of our must-do's every summer.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Duluth 2015.

We just returned from a lovely jaunt up to the North Shore. Yay! (Alla is showing how we all felt about being there. Nothing like dipping your toes in fifty degree water! It's refreshing!


Fisher has other faces, I think, but this is one of his best. Ha! Perhaps after an afternoon of hiking Gooseberry, this is the best he can do.


Thankfully my other child has better faces, even after the same amount of hiking.


Ah, Duluth, where you can make a whole day out of enjoying your lake view in an Adirondack chair, unless you have a kid like Alla who makes a whole day out of exploring every last rock and crevice and you're sure she'll just slip right into Superior and be lost forever.


Where no one can resist finding dozens of rocks, skipping them, collecting them, plunking them, stacking them.


Where someone used to an ocean can have that same immense feeling, of being so small next to something so big. Also, here, since I have never been in the winter, I always try to imagine what Superior looks like snow-covered. All of it.


 So thankful we got up there for a few days.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ten on Tuesday.

1. I'm happy to report that my crockpot is ON, plugged IN, and making us chicken tacos for dinner.

2. Many of you will also be happy to hear that I have gotten up THREE times now to go for runs before the sun gets hot, and while it's not pretty or fast, I might be getting the hang of it, and at the very least I am certainly enjoying the fact that I can check that off the list before the kids are even up.

3. Kids and I went for a lovely bike ride this morning to a nearby park with big rocks to climb. Sometimes I am wondering as I hear them stirring in their beds what we are going to do today, do they want to do something from our summer list, the summer is so short! And then they rise slowly in only that way that happens in summer, with their books, curl up somewhere with them while I get breakfast going, and I hope not to rush out and do something.

4. I am super happy to report that Fisher has finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, loved it and wants to keep on with the series!

5. Last night we had one of our favorite dinners, crockpot baked sweet potatoes with bacon and cheese. Ron also added BBQ sauce and coleslaw and declared it the happiest meal ever.

6. Today we harvested the first of the beets! It's like magic putting itsy seeds into the ground and ending up with these big leaves growing red round deliciousness at the ends.

7. I had really hoped to finish All the Light We Cannot See before the end of May June, but as we are down to the last 5 or 6 hours of it that I'll be awake and I have 200 pages left to read, still, I am fairly certain that it's going to carry into July. Please don't be scared off. It's very, very good. Maybe it's one of those savor books. Maybe it's just that our May was crazy and our June was settling into summer, but the next two months I'm going to read 20 books.

8. A recommendation for your road trips: listen to The Wednesday Wars. I read it a few years ago so I knew it was good, but it might be even better on audio book, and the kids absolutely loved it. Funny, sad, witty, insightful, and interesting because it takes place in 1968. Highly recommend you run to your local library for it before you road trip again.

9. I've heard Harry Potter is also wonderful on audio book...

10. I can't believe it, but we've made it to the end of June and we've yet to turn on our air-conditioning.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ten on Tuesday.

1. We are happily into our third week of summer here, and the schedules of school have pretty much been forgotten. The kids are sleeping in. Alla in particular is doing this like it's her job.

2. Last weekend Ron and I spent two nights in San Francisco! And then a night south meeting our beautiful twin nieces. They are so cute, I just cannot express the cuteness of two baby girls together.

See what I mean? I even have some great ones of them both laughing at the same time with Mama. Coming soon, as in the next time I get to sit down at the computer!

3. Father's Day, like Ron's birthday, was glorious, and by glorious I mean that the sun shone, no one had to wear a sweater, we dined outdoors. Glorious. Oh, and we celebrated what a great dad Ron is and all that. And saw Jurassic World. So fun!

4. We are headed to the [Air Force] Thunderbirds show in Mankato this weekend, which Fisher assures us is going to be so much fun.

5. The kids are also reading books like it's their job, which really sounds like a fun summer job. If only school didn't get in the way of reading. Hm. Anyway, we have finally got Fisher onto Harry Potter, and he is in the middle of the first book and seems to be enjoying it. I haven't heard yet whether he will continue with the series. Stay tuned. Alla will start a new book at breakfast (this morning it was Circus Mirandus), and by bedtime she'll have it half-read. Clearly I should have picked heavier books. As in tomes.

6. We were supposed to have delicious chicken burrito bowls for dinner, but the crockpot bandit struck again! Do you have this at your house, where you walk in expecting yummy smells but instead you smell, um, just house? Today the crockpot was mysteriously unplugged, last time it was set to 'warm' instead of 'high.' Ah, well, try again tomorrow.

7. The only downside of summer that I can see, and which is an every summer problem for me, is not finding time to run. I am not a morning runner, as in before breakfast or, gasp, coffee, and by the time the sleepyheads awaken it's often too hot. Yesterday I tried to solve this problem by running to Fisher's baseball game. Luckily the location was moved and Ron had to come pick me up mid-run. It was hot.

8. Our summer adventure yesterday was getting a Venus flytrap. Alla thinks it is the coolest ever. I'm going to have to watch her, because she wants to feed it critters all day.

9. We are very much enjoying our deck now! The chairs have been padded so as not to scratch and the pots are sitting on risers to do the same.

10. Our garden is in perhaps its best year ever since the first year or two. I attribute this to my husband building a new frame this year, higher, so there was an opportunity to put lots of new soil and compost in there, and the plants seem to be happy about it. Even the peas and beets we grew from seed are tall and full and lush! Yay summer!

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Ten on Tuesday.

1. Summer is up and running!

2. Fisher - first day/last day comparison. I'm not sure about growth-wise, but I definitely see a need for a haircut and some teeth.


3. Alla - 1st day/last day comparison. She looks like the same kid from September to June, to me. Thank God.


4. So, summer. I always feel like the first two weeks are just a different animal, because we do the everyday swim lessons thing these first two weeks, which takes up our whole morning. Alla really wants to keep swimming for more of the summer, and Fisher needs to, so I may see about a private lesson for him so that we can be in and out of there in less time. Currently we have Fisher's lesson, then wait 40 minutes, then Alla's. It's a long morning.

5. Currently we are having our first 90 degree day and I am listening to the hose being turned on and off and child delight and screams and water balloons being popped and it is wonderful.

6. I think summer may be slightly more relaxed this year with only one kid playing an evening sport. Ah, baseball, the quintessential summer sport.

7. Our new deck is lovely and might soon have furniture on it for the enjoying. Ron has bought some sort of chair dealies that protect your deck. Even your plastic deck.

8. Are you looking for summer reading lists for your kiddos? Look no further! Alla started with Little House and is now almost done with the Chicken book. Fisher started with Sideways Stories, then read Endurance, and is now onto Derek Jeter. I must catch up!

9. The catch to our summer reading lists this year is that by July 31st each kid must make a recommendation to each parent and each parent must then read those [two] books before the family activity can be done!

10. Summer also means summer eating, which means that by the end of summer I have often forgotten how to cook. So I was glad to come across a few new recipes recently that have just been so easy, also approved by all family members, and also kind of cooking. One favorite: Chicken sandwiches. Put two pounds chicken in crockpot. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle 1/2 cup BBQ sauce on top. Put 15 oz. crushed pineapple on top of that. At the end shred the chicken and stir in some diced red onion. Serve on buns, or whatever. I had mine over rice and quinoa. Delish.




Tuesday, June 02, 2015

TWENTY on Tuesday.

Twenty, because was your May as busy as ours? These twenty are all from the day before Labor Day through today.

1. Ron turned 38.

2. I potted a jillion flowers.

3. Ron ripped up our deck.

4. Ron replaced all the boards on our deck.

5. Ron doesn't want furniture to scratch our new deck.

6. Fisher found a smallish toad.

7. Ron found a smallish toad, as well as a very large one that is currently residing under one of our hostas.

8. A mama duck crossed our street in the rain with her twelve little ducklings. Twelve!

9. Fisher took me on a 3 mile run. That kid ran the whole time.

10. Fisher ran a 7:45 1.1 mile at our school's Fun Run. He was the 5th finisher of the entire school.

11. The baby robins left.

12. I am still reading All the Light We Cannot See. It is very good. I am not reading lots lately.

13. Alla and I started clearing rocks for a new flower bed. We are now in search of native perennials to attract butterflies.

14. A lot of baseball has been played.

15. Train track-building remains a great rainy day activity.

16. We finally put the winter clothes away.

17. Alla and I went to see The Weepies in concert. So amazing!

18. I went to about seven hundred different school events.

19. I gave the kids their summer reading lists!

20. Two more days of school. Cannot wrap my head around that.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Mother's Day.

My biggest priority on Mother's Day is always, always getting in the picture. I maybe get in one shot a month all year long, so I figure Mother's Day is my May photo op! I make sure to leave that camera close by before I go to bed on Saturday night so that my loving husband can snap a few after he brings me breakfast in bed. He really does. Every year. I am so lucky.

And I leave it out so that when I get together with my own mom later that day, I get a picture of she and I together too!

I did take one photo myself on Mother's Day, because we woke up to find that three of the four robin eggs had hatched overnight, just as Alla predicted. I wish I could just cut away those deck boards for a better view! Happy Mother's Day, Mama Robin!


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