How many parties can one kid have? 3 to be exact. The kid party was perhaps my favorite. LEGO theme upon request, using a few online printables from Delia Creates we had the perfect party at the perfect price - under $100.
Don't forget to invite your elf!
A huge "Thank You" to all party guests. Fun was had by all.
Contrary to popular belief I have not left you all hanging in cyber space. You just don't know where to find me these days! I'm still blogging – yes – but not for myself. I have entered the incredible world of putting words in other peoples mouths.
While I've written at least 15 drafts to post on my own blog...I've published several on blogs for my peeps. See below.
I have to break the streak however because Jahred complains that he has no "reading material" at work and several friends are hoping for a sign-of-life. This should hold you over...until better material comes to me.
This week/month we celebrate Axel turning 6. Six seems so real, as real as his full time job (referring to all day Kindergarten). I've spent time volunteering in his classroom this month and we are working to publish a classroom book. I have been amazed with his grown-up demeanor on the 'eve of 6.' He sat at our counter and meticulously filled out 30 valentines this week. "This is good," he said upon completion. Such pride and satisfaction in himself.
In so many ways I cannot believe we have arrived at 6 in one piece. As I struggle with the toddler in Oliver I can't help but think that I must have struggled with Axel as well and yet I can't remember the battles. While most girls probably dream of being a great mom to their babies – I struggled an indescribable amount in the early years and am just finding my joy in an older/interactive child.
I am celebrating 6 this week because I love that I love my children more with age. 6 is no longer about survival and is about detail and enrichment. I plan for 6 to be wonderful for Axel and fantastic for our family.
While I've been out...I've been playing the part of video producer and furniture mover (for home staging). I'm having a blast! To read where I'm blogging:
Yes. The best way to get that couch upstairs was to go through the window and over the deck railing.
It took a few man-hours to build – but just before another deep freeze the "Grandpa Moustache Lawn Luge" opened for business.
We've been sledding ever since (in-between arctic blasts of course).
Hope you're finding ways to stay active this winter!
Ok, really? Can we toughen up Minnesota? While I will definitely fail to express my feelings on "snow days" as eloquently as my friend @uppoppedafox I'm going to give my two-cents anyway.
Defn: 'Snow Day' - On RARE occasion something to be celebrated (especially if it really does involve SNOW).
While the rest of the nation carries on – following routine and feeling refreshed after a day of "everybody in their place" – Minnesota has turned into the Midwest Wussies. (Perhaps this would be a great name for our football team...we could hang it from the new stadium that the tax payers are buying for them.) Thanks to a wonderful precedent set by our Governor, every time the temp drop below zero now – school is called off. Are the buildings not heated? Do we need another referendum to pay the Xcel bill?
I know, I know. You all can tell me it's because of BUSSING and I'm tired of the excuses. We are now an advanced auto nation and if we can't find a way to keep these suckers running we have more problems than the Edmund Fitzgerald. You're worried about the kids standing out by the bus stop and freezing? How about placing a little responsibility on the parents to make sure they are dressed appropriately. I (as many other Minnesotans) currently own a sleeping bag that is rated to
"-40 degrees." Surely if it's implied that we could sleep in this weather...a few minutes waiting for a bus won't kill you. WEAR A SLEEPING BAG IF YOU MUST!
Just to raise a point here...parents are running out of PTO days. I am lucky that this doesn't play a factor in our house, but in the majority of homes, PTO is a commodity and non-paid days off aren't a problem. At some point the choice will be made to leave the kids home alone on a 'no school' day because grocery money pulls rank over child supervision. No judgement here – but you can't tell me that every family has the flexibility to put up with this years' district weaknesses.
To follow up the multiple 'no school' days in our district there seems to be an insane amount of "teacher work days." Again...just saying:
- work 9 months/year
- extended days off for each holiday (spring break included)
- "prep time" throughout the school day
- many teacher 'workshop' days
- I could go on
Argue if you must. I was a classroom teacher for a short time so I can honestly speak from both sides of the coin. But I'm pressing you to imagine this:
- April 13th: Accountant "workshop day"
- Post-birthday party: Sanitation Engineer/Trash Man "workshop day"
- Your uncle has a heart attack at a family dinner: SORRY it fell on an "Emergency Room" "workshop day"
Instead of complaining about extra time with my kids this week (and another blessed day anticipated for Monday) Axel and I enjoyed a peaceful day with some paint. Using an old projector screen that I bought for $1 at a garage sale years ago – we filled an empty wall with: "Kite Flying 101."
For those of you celebrating your first weekend this week (this is at least my second) – Happy Saturday. It's a "snow day!" Stay home and enjoy.
Grandpa Moustache hits it out of the park again this year – donating his "curb appeal" for the love of his grandsons! From the movie Disney movie "Planes" we've recreated "Dusty!"
Have nothing better to do in the northern territory this winter? We value competition and would LOVE to see your snow creations!
Coming soon: "Grandpa Moustache's Super-Swirly Snow Slide."
If you're going to visit the Twin Cities you might as well come on the 2nd weekend of every month. I like to call it – Fun Free Weekend. What would be more fun however – Jahred not "conveniently" working on these activity-filled weekends. While museums are right up Axel's alley, I have to be quite cunning to avoid mayhem with my smallest man.
Today we ventured to the Bakken Museum of electricity – one of our favorites. While Axel made things turn on, go wizz, and beat nearly all his competitors in "Brain Ball" (where you put on a headband and whoever can create the LEAST brain activity wins – I told you he was an excellent relaxer) – Oliver discovered the drinking fountain.
Where can you find us tomorrow? 11am – Minneapolis Institute of Art. Family Day.
We've had a makeover in our living room this week and I'm completely infatuated with it. Although the final set of drapes haven't been hung I was so anxious to show you all what a little paint can do to a space that looked...well...drab.
Here are the details:
Paint: Martha Stewart Collection (Home Depot) - Enamelware ($50)
Curtains: World Market - Parrot Ornithology ($35/panel)
Rug: HomeGoods - Shag in Silver ($199)
Furniture: Hennen's (St. Cloud) - Dutailier (Already owned.)
Sound of Music: Bose - SoundLink Mini (The most fabulous streaming machine money can buy. A lovely gift.)
While entertaining both for brunch and a dinner this weekend we sure broke in our wonderful new space. Have a room that needs updating? Throw a little money at the problem and make yourself smile!
Feel like splurging? When it comes to sound – go Bose or go home.
We have been sick as crap for the past week and a half. It started...well...I can't remember when...and has involved waiting an hour at the Target Minute Clinic, 3 fevers, 7 nights on the couch, an entire bottle of children's Mortin, antibiotics for all, 6 loads of linens, 2 new pillows and a final visit to the clinic yesterday because Oliver is just NOT GETTING OVER THIS!
We have literally hit these germs with more gusto than necessary. We have rested, quarantined and tried to freeze them out by outside walks. There have been movie nights, hand washing parties and bathing EVERY NIGHT. Oliver has literally gotten his boogers on every surface of our house and persons – followed by disinfectant. He knows how to wipe his own nose better than most adults.
Yesterday, what I believe to the the culmination of this experience – 3/4 of us feeling better – Jahred took the day off work (never happens) to get Oliver into the clinic (we had to BEG for this appointment).
2 hours, 2 blood draws, 1 shot, an exam and a load of brainstorming later the doctor just shook his head puzzled and said, "It must have all been viral?!" Those are the dirtiest words you can hear as a parent. Am I right? After all – don't we just want something TREATABLE? Isn't being told you just have to "wait it out" as a parent like asking you to endure a silent torturous hell?
In the end I think the doc was right. The antibiotics from the Target Clinic seemed to do nothing. The steam baths and fresh air never sped it's course. The washing and bleaching seemed to have no effect as one-by-one it took us all down.
Moral of the story? "It's viral," is the worst swear in the book. I'm sure you've all been there – wishing for bacteria and something that modern medicine can tackle. Next Christmas I'm putting my kids in a bubble the month prior...well at least I'll try.
Where's a good place to go when you're sick this winter? Como Zoo! It's not busy (where you could infect other people) and it's a nice outside walk! We've had more fun there than in any Mall this Holiday season!
I can never understand when adults are able to put together a list of what they want for Christmas. Since my earliest memories I have always found it difficult to name the top 10 material things that would make me happy. As I look back on this year I can't help but think that I should actually be giving a few "things" back. A few of the things I wished for – many of them in the wee hours – were nothing short of miracles and certainly nothing that could be found at Macy's.
Take last spring when the nights were long and my life seemed monotonous – I wished for Axel to successfully audition for a live theatre production. It was nothing short of amazing that my 4-year-old won a spot in the cast that would change our view and respect for each other. Montessori preschool and now all-day kindergarten could NEVER have allowed him to develop the way GREAT theatre did in just a few weeks. My pride in seeing him on stage in front of hundreds...for 14 shows could never compare to something I might find in a stocking.
During that same period of time I wished I could live somewhere that would make my life easier. I wished my kids could see less of the interstate and more of their own beds. I wished I didn't have to listen to Oliver scream in the confined space of our van EVER AGAIN. That wish was truly Christmas come early when by the seat of our pants Jahred secured a job/schedule that would change the way we saw life and our house would sell. I reconnected with an old acquaintance through her ad on a bus bench which led us to a house located between both of our parents. Santa wasn't going to get this quirky '50's house down the chimney.
I wished this summer that I could make new friends and keep the old – this is probably what I'm most thankful for – I got both – sure beats a lump of coal.
In September my deepest inner wish was to go back to work. I didn't know how or where. I had no idea what I was qualified to do but I needed out of "perma-mom." I was DONE with DIY daycare. I had two fears in going back to work: that I couldn't hack it (my clothes would be too ugly, my mind would be too lethargic from years of toddler-talk, my family would fall apart), and I feared that I would regret having stayed home because I would LOVE working so much.
Let's conclude up the last month of my "year of Christmas wishes" like this:
- Bus bench girl needed someone for marketing/admin.
- I'm hired.
- For Christmas she buys me a dress.
- My fears are crap. Balance is restored.
As I read a friends blog earlier this week about her difficulties in leaving her son at daycare and as I remember the resentment I felt towards my own 1st born for "having to" stay home I can now objectively see this: when you find the perfect balance there are no fears/no regrets. The need to regret missing my 20's is no longer there. The guilt in dropping Oliver off at daycare in not even on the radar. By taking a year to make the right changes, in the right order (although frustrating at times) I can't imagine what wrapping paper could hide for me this Christmas. I am JOY FULL.
** DISCLAIMER ** That being said – should any of the packages contain things I might like...please don't return them...did I mention my clothes are still ugly?
Below you'll find our family Christmas card (front and back). I LOVE my virtual readers and my LIVE/IN PERSON fans equally and consider this addressed just to YOU. I mean that. Happy Holidays.
Between babysitting an elf and staying 1 step ahead of our Advent Calendar – the month of December has escaped me faster than a kid with sugary contraband. We are quite literally staring down the chimney towards Christmas and I have to admit...this weekend will likely be filled with, "one more thing" and "oh forget making cookies...Cub Foods has plenty."
I would like to share with you all – however – something that has saved the "stocking stuffer" category of my list and it's something you can likely make at home with few supplies. Have a tree in your yard that needs trimming? Then you've got one of the ingredients already.
Wood slices: Any size. Think "bottom of Solo Cup" for the ideal ornament size. Can be bought at Michaels.
Paint: Orange, White, Black
Hookers: The little metal kind with a screw.
String: Strips of fabric/yarn/ribbon to hang the ornament by.
Sharpie: For being clever on the back.
What did the Fox say in 2013? Your guess is as good as mine. If you haven't seen the wildly popular YouTube video...the people on your "Gift List" most likely have and are much cooler than you. If they don't get the joke? Then they will LOVE the adorable fox hanging on their tree for years to come and the joke is between you and I.
Truth: Axel painted everything on these with the exception of the eyes and nose. If a 5-yr-old can do this (and have them for sale in a swanky gallery at that) you can most likely create a bakers dozen in about 30 minutes.