Monday, February 28, 2011

Visiting castles and dragons...

One of the current exhibits at the Children's Museum in St. Paul is Lego: Castle Adventure. Last week, Clay and I took the boys for a morning of castle viewing and fortress building. There were three separate areas for building, all based on age and skill level: Soft, oversized Lego foam blocks were available for young toddlers, duplos for older tots, and a Master Builders area for older kids that allowed the use of standard size Lego blocks. Along with building their own creations, kids could explore the castle grounds, safely play in a jousting field using foam lances and soft targets, dress up as a princess, prince or dragon, read some of the favorite children books on dragons and medieval times and much more!

Although Parker had fun standing next to the extra-large Lego statue of a mother dragon and her baby, testing a castle's defenses using a 3-D computer and catapult, and running through the castle grounds that included sliding down the slippery sloped exit, his favorite part of the morning was building his very own fortress with his dad.

When I took a closer look of Parker's creation, I smiled at the pattern. :) Clay told me Parker was building an airplane and the smiley faces were the passengers.

I always look forward to visiting the Minnesota Children's Museum and seeing the latest exhibit. Castle Adventure is here until September; I'm sure we'll be playing again at the castlegrounds before fall. Something else I'm hoping we can do in the near future...Pizza Night at the Museum (offered every Friday night for families).

Thursday, February 24, 2011

his first time to ski

Parker made his debut on the slopes of Buck Hill this week. He was sooo excited to ski with his daddy for the first time on Monday.  He was told that his reward for consistently (at least two days) not having any potty accidents in his big boy pants would earn him the opportunity of skiing for the first time. There ya go. That's what it took.

The little man did great and had a blast. They skied for several hours Monday morning before Cooper and I were able to head out to see the two take the lift up and go down the last slope before we broke out the picnic lunch -- inside of course.  :)

I have a feeling this will be a frequently repeated activity next season.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

documented: our wintry, stormy day

As I type this, Clay (and a dear neighbor) are outside working on our driveway --for the second time today. Currently, over in our neck of the woods we have had over 14 inches of snow dumped on 10 am this morning. Oh, and don't's still falling and will supposedly continue for quite some least until tomorrow morning is the current word. But hey, dear hubby is home, so I am quite the happy bird! He spoils us when he's home with fires in the fireplace and taking care of all the cold, hard, yucky winter things that I like to observe, but not do -- unless I have to! :)

 Let me fill you in on our day. These pictures were taken this afternoon on our way home from church and from having lunch with friends....low visibility would be an understatement. (And here yesterday we were laughing because we were grilling out and skiing in the a friend said earlier in the day, "Only in Minnesota.")

As we're loading the boys up in the car to head to church this morning, Clay says, "Oh, I've got to run down to the basement to grab the sleeping bag real quick."
I'm thinking, "What are we doing here? An overnight at the church?"
He comes back out, pops the trunk to put the sleeping bag in and I notice a shovel, snowbrush, extra blankets, gloves and other winter gear.
Me: "Ok, seriously Clay, if it's going to be that bad, why are we even going?"
Clay: "Oh, it's just a precautionary thing." as he waves his hand like no big deal.

We get to church and the snow starts and hard. We had a total of 8 people in our Sunday School class of over 80 members...and that included the teacher, Clay and me.

We were delivering a meal to some friends of ours who recently had a baby, so we left immediately after church to run to their house. They had invited us to eat with them so after staying for lunch and driving back in the winter storm it was about 3:30 before we arrived home...Clay loving every part and minute of it.

To give those of you who care, a glimpse inside our car on the way home...

Wee Sing Bible Songs cd playing...Parker singing "This Little Light of Mine" and his favorite, "I'm in the Lord's Army" (which he had us play over and over and over and over...) :)

Cooper hanging out in his car seat playing with his links...happy just to be there.

Me taking pics of the weather conditions (as we passed a news crew doing a take on the current weather conditions, more than a few snow plows and quite the handful of cars abandoned on the side of roads due to car trouble.)

And then there was Clay...(with a smile on his face the whole time)
"Wow, this is really tight quarters. I've gotta get out of this spot so we have an out in case we start spinning."
Pointing over to the right of the road, "See, they've plowed all this now."
"Baby, check out this snow drift on my left side...I hope we can get in our neighborhood."

It was all about the weather and road conditions for the next hour. Have I mentioned how much my husband loves a challenge? He actually thrives on continuously practicing his cautious, winter driving skills on a regular basis. (I don't know what he'll do when we move back South...I'll have to redirect his passion for driving on snow somehow) :)
Have I mentioned, also, that if my husband wasn't a pilot he would be a phenomenal meteorologist. Another fabulous thing about being married to him is I don't have to watch the news or weather (I never have watched or wanted to watch either one...but I would definately choose the weather over the news.) I know he will call me if he's not at home to update me on anything I need to know. I tease him lovingly about it because in truth, I love that he is that way :) I just call him when I need to know what's going on in the world or how cold it's going to be the next day. Anyway, I couldn't help but smile at how excited he got while talking about the possible weather conditions over the next 24 hrs...picture a giddy little boy ready to romp around in the snow for an afternoon.

So, in our winter driving wrap-up, we made it home safe and sound without any issues, thanks to dear hubby. Would I have been out driving in it? That would be N-O. But that's why I have my's always a fun adventure when he's around.
....and later in the day...

No nap for Parker = a need for creativity (aka something/anything to do) prior to bedtime to keep parent A and parent B from going insane

The paints came out.

Oh and what creative little visions popped into my head. I got a little excited over the neat things he could paint...snowmen, a house with snow piled in the front yard...I suggested everything I could think of that he would get pumped about. I couldn't wait for my painting that would proudly adorn the fridge. However, I think he was brewing other creative visions in his little head; he preferred just to paint himself and slap paint every which way on the paper. (As you can see from the picture above, I tried to get current handprints for his album...Clay laughed at me on that one.)

5 minutes after the paints came out (if that): "I done Mama!" (as he holds up his nicely painted arms, hands, shirt...)

On to our next venture ;)
And I can't not share this sweet, blue-eyed wonder with you...
Hope everyone has a warm and happy evening!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

ramblings on a Saturday night

Hubby and I are about to work on our Bible Study for tomorrow night's Small Group...this session we're doing "Love Talk" by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrot. It seems to be a good one; and of course, how can you go wrong with doing a study on communication in your relationship!

I need to take more pictures. My camera is probably accumulating a little dust with the little bit I have used it this week...that's a rareity.

Parker tried out his new skiis and ski boots today. Clay took him outside this evening to ride the hills in our backyard. It was hilarious to minute he loved it; the next he wanted out of those skiis. But at the end of the night he asked his daddy if he was still going skiing with him next week. :)

I have been putting off going to the Post Office for a week now for no specific reason.

LOVE building fires in our fireplace in the winter.

Cooked a delish dinner tonight that was very last minute. Grabbed a recipe from a 5 ingredients or less cookbook that mom sent me...Clay LOVED it and wants me to add it to our "regulars" list. After we cook it again and I get some pics, I'll post the recipe. But for now, it was a yummy chicken recipe that included salsa, bacon, bbq sauce and a sprinkle of a few other things. Yum.

For a week now I have been craving dark chocolate (only) and wine. I have now depleted my dark chocolate stash and will have to get more soon. The milk chocolate and other yummy sweets are still sitting there waiting for a moment of weakness in the future. ;)

Cooper is one of the most expressive babies I have ever known. He melts us with his dimples and smile every day.
Cooper at 4 months: February 11, 2011

We're supposed to get a foot of snow tomorrow...Clay just came bouncing (literally) in the room to tell me.

I am about to go eat a banana because I am really hungry all of a sudden.

I was not a happy individual on Tuesday evening when I found out USA network was airing a dog show instead of White

Ok, enough ramblings for one Saturday night. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

P.S. The boys had a great time down in Texas with the girls. Parker enjoyed every minute with his daddy and his aunts. The zoo, McDonalds (always makes it in the favorites list in this kids book), lots of special playtime with his Aunt Ashee and Aunt KK...he came home with a smile on his face. Thanks for having them for the weekend, girls!
Cooper and I had a great time back in Minnesota as well. We actually stayed pretty busy with events and being on the go; however, we made sure to have extra special one-on-one play time together. Also, I was thrilled to get down on my hands and knees and scrub each of the bathrooms from top to bottom. Sad, but true. I actually was really looking forward to cleaning the whole house...and clean the whole house I did. :) Still have some paper and magazine stashes to go through, but I felt so much better to have the house clean...well, for 3 whole days before it needed it again. :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Our Christmas in Minnesota (2010)

I can imagine what most of you are thinking...
"Carrie must really be in zombie mode; does she not know we just finished Valentine's Day?!"
Well, I can assure everyone reading this that I am aware of what month it is...I wouldn't go so far as to say the exact day, but I am aware of the month. ;)

We started 2011 off in full sprint mode and my December posts just got lost in the hustle bustle of everyday life. These posts are important to me because they were a big part of our month and year. (Additionally, believe it or not, today is the first day I've actually sat down and looked at all of our Christmas pictures. Gasp! I know. So, by posting this and going through all my pics, I am picking our favorites and sending them off to be printed so they actually make it in our albums.) :) Though there were hundreds to choose from, here are a few I wanted to share with ya'll.

The Nolen's flew in mid-month for a Christmas visit. To say we were excited to have family with us for the holiday, would be an understatement. We all become like giddy kiddos over here when someone flies in to see us. It would be next to impossible to pick a favorite memory from this past Christmas, but here are a few worth mentioning:

CiCi's Christmas containers filled with homemade sweet treats for the family, Ashee and Parker sledding, Nana and Poppie cooking in the kitchen, watching KK read to Cooper in the early morning, the wrapping stations we set up several different days and evenings, skiing at Welch Village, Parker almost catching Santa Claus in action (sneaky little thing!), our display of Christmas cards from family and friends, watching Parker over all the Christmas excitement, Clay, Parker and me riding around the nearby neighborhoods to look at Christmas lights, Parker and Clay spreading magic reindoor food outside around the house, Jesus' birthday cake, Parker's barn (that was made for Clay by Poppie when Clay was a little boy), our beautiful Christmas tree in the dimly lit living room in the evenings, the fun packages that came in the mail from our dear family (thank you all!!!), Cooper sitting contentedly in the bouncy seat during a portion of our opening gifts, Parker dressing up in his new Buzz and Woody costumes from Uncle Taylor and Aunt Fair. Taking (well, attempting to anyway) pictures of the boys in the Christmas pjs and outfits, the nice woodpile delivered to our house as an early Christmas happy (thank you Nana and Poppie!), snow on our evergreen trees by the side of the house, lots of outdoor fun! CiCi baking more Christmas cookies (after we heartily finished off the first batch that she brought!), Parker in his apron helping Nana and CiCi in the kitchen, good visits, Poppie's yummy breakfasts, playing with all our new Christmas toys!!, reading Christmas stories to Parker and Cooper before bedtime, watching Parker playing with his felt nativity, Elf on the Shelf, visiting with our family back home each day to catch them up on the Christmas action in Minnesota and missing them not being with us...

Thank you to our family for coming to see us this Christmas! We loved having you here and enjoyed making special holiday memories with each of you.
Love and miss you all.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2010 Christmas Cookie Swap

A few days after arriving back from our two and a half week stay in Mississippi, we hosted our 2010 Christmas Cookie Swap for our Sunday School class. The Nolens had just flown in for a little Christmas visit...poor things, the girls literally arrived 2 hours before the event started. They were awesome though. All of the family jumped into the kitchen to start helping in whatever way they could (I was a little behind from being out of town for the last several weeks.) :)

The evening was a sweet success...and I do mean sweet! That array of bags, ribbons and cookies (shown below) was the collection that was brought to exchange. The table was heaped with yummy goodies. We had 12 families in attendance so everyone went home with 12 different cookie sets...gingersnaps, chocolate chip, peanut butter blossoms, peppermint oreos, buckeyes, oreo truffles, haystacks, oatmeal cranberry...and more!

Thank you again to each of our dear friends who were able to come; we loved having you!! We missed those of you who were out of year though! :)

Kristen and Craig

Mike, Emmett, and Laurie

Lauren, Jonathan, and Eleanor

Katie and Blake (We missed you, Ryan!!)

Kathryn and Eric

Andy and Sally (Andy and Sally were recently blessed with a precious little baby boy of their own!)

Luke, Landon and Katie

Bethany posed with Blake and Katie since her husband couldn't make the event either!

Parker, Me, Clay and Cooper

Leina, Kelli, and Brent

A photo of the girls

A picture of the guys

Ashee and KK

...bad quality picture, but cute of the kids was a serious toy zone downstairs :)

Does it look like Brent was excited about his cookie stash?! He flew in to Minne about mid-way through the event and headed on over to help with the eating of decorating of cookies. ;)

Kristen and Ashleigh were the ring-leaders in the kitchen ...they whipped up some mean gingerbread cutouts.

I'm impressed. Baby in one arm, icing to decorate gingerbread cookie in another.

Cooper, Ashee and Nana!

A "sweet" event with family and friends...already looking forward to next year!