Thursday, April 26, 2012

packing progress

An updated picture of our packing progress as of Thursday morning. (as much as I would love to claim the little sweet pea in the picture, I cannot....just babysitting our neighbor's precious daughter earlier this morning.)
Packing progress update:
Everything packed in boxes except for pantry, pots and pans, random odd and ends spread throughout the house (including areas of desk, medicines in bathroom closet and junk pile in kitchen) and 12x12 albums (finding a box for these in our selection of grocery store boxes has been quite the challenge :) ...will finish the albums tonight.)

*Yesterday we wrapped up the last big areas for packing: my craft area (which was a HUGE mess!), coat closet, boys bathroom, last items from Master closet, Carrie's bedside table, and most loose ends down in basement.

Goals for today:
Grocery for food this weekend
Cook and prepare supper for tonight and lunch menu for Saturday helpers
Pack 12x12 albums and odd and end items found throughout the house
Load of laundry + laundry sitting on dryer
Pack suitcases with weekend necessity items for all 4 of us.
Pick up trailer (Clay)

Note to self for the 112th time this week: sooo thankful that I am home to be able to get this stuff done!!!

Picture taken of Parker's room early this morning. (I think he is enjoying the current state of the house. I guess he thinks that since mama and daddy have messes everywhere, he can too! Take advantage of it while you can buddy, because this will not be lasting much longer!)

A shot of the "junk pile" currently on my kitchen counter...driving me crazy!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

dandelion walks

After a day full of preparing for our upcoming move, I was excited when Clay got home and all 4 of us were able to sit down on our deck, enjoy a warm dinner with a cool breeze, and then head out on a relaxing walk around our neighborhood.

Our little mr. mr. decided he wanted to walk the majority of the way instead of ride in the stroller, so we made frequent pauses and stops to enjoy the dandelions and to make wishes in the wind. My favorite part of this, is watching and listening to Cooper happily blowing his dandelion to watch the seeds flutter off in the sky. He is still at that point where his blows are uber cute to listen too...there's not a lot of gusto of wind behind them, but he thinks he is doing big things with those little breaths. :)

My husband scoffed when he saw this picture that I took of thistles along our walking path, but it made me so happy. I love that he and the boys are just up the path a ways...Parker riding his scooter and Cooper happily walking along, with a few breaks to ride on Daddy's shoulders.

I am going to miss the walks in this neighborhood. Crab apple trees, ponds and lakes, century-old oak trees, wide walking paths, the baseball field and park...this area offers such a variety of eye-pleasing landscapes.

Cooper took a much wanted turn on the scooter on the way home.

If you have never taken a dandelion walk in the evening, I would highly recommend it. It is good for the soul. :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

learning and playing at the MN Children's Museum

Last week, Clay and I took to the boys to the Minnesota Children's Museum in downtown St. Paul for a little morning fun. One of the temporary exhibits on display was "How People Make Things."

From the MCM website on 'How People Make Things':
"Get a behind-the-scenes look at how everyday items are created in How People Make Things, an exhibit inspired by the factory tour segments from the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood television series. Explore hands-on activities using real factory tools and machines to create objects with four manufacturing processes- molding, cutting, deforming and assembly.
Everyday products featured in How People Make Things include 10,000 Crayola crayons in 90 colors, 10,000 plastic pellets, 300 ice cream cups, stop lights, cooking pans, baseball bats and matchbox cars.
See the nuts and bolts of how products are manufactured through hands-on activities such as:
  • Flatten a penny by placing it into one of two rolling mills.
  • Operate a 3-axis mill and use the hand wheels to move the x,y, or z axis to cut a block of machinable wax.
  • Assemble parts of a real golf cart using tires, dials, body panels and a steering wheel.
  • Dress up like a factory worker with safety glasses, overcoats, hardhats and aprons. Then, compare your reflection to pictures of real factory workers."

Parker had a fun time with his daddy trying out all the fun contraptions.

Cooper walked around and touched everything that looked fun to his bright little eyes. :)

Neat facts about Minnesota Manufacturing:

The "Warehouse" has always been a favorite exhibit of Parker's here at the museum. This play area is a place where kids can come together and learn the benefit of working in a team environment. It is cute to watch Parker's leadership abilities already shining through in activities such as these.

Do you see the little mr. mr. climbing onto the conveyor belt to retrieve his block?

Now, Cooper is sending his block back down the chute to Parker and the other boys. :) I think we spent a good 1/4 of our morning here.

Another favorite of Cooper's was making a splash in the World Works exhibits. If my hands had not been near, this child would have been trying to sit, swim and sip this play water!

Of course we visited the other temporary exhibit: Grossology. I was not quite sure what my little ones would get out of this exhibit prior to going into the large room, but I have to say, the bright colors, the humorous exhibits and the simple learning tools changed my doubtful thinking.
Though a little different and interesting, it was truly very educational and rather funny at the same time...even for my little boys.

From the MCM website:
"Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body tackles all the sticky sources of children's curiosity. Based on the best-selling book Grossology by Sylvia Branzei, the exhibit runs through May 13, 2012. The exhibit's goal is to harness kids' natural curiosity about themselves and their bodies by teaching them about how the fascinating human body functions. Kids of all ages will enjoy exploring this interactive environment which promotes learning while having fun.
The learning environments in Grossology provide fun and creative opportunities for interacting play, including:
  • Mimic the build of acid indigestion by causing the "Burp Machine" to release a giant belch.
  • Scale a wall full of warts, scabs and pimples.
  • Explore the role of the kidney in a virtual reality experience in "Urine: The Game."
  • Play surgery and attempt to remove organ parts from a body without touching the sides of the patient.
  • Find out what causes runny noses, sneezes and allergies with Nigel Nose-It-All"

Would you believe that that is snot hanging out of Nigel's nose?

This picture speaks for itself.

Before leaving the exhibit room, Parker wanted to take a try at climbing on the "wall of skin." Without assistance, he made it to #4.
High five for a successful morning out at the Children's Museum! :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

363 Service Project and our evening

This morning, we left to meet some of our friends from Young Couples at the church for our 363 project. Our goal: to assemble 400 sandwiches to be delivered by 363 to various shelters and food shelves around the Twin Cities. It was a such a fun project to be involved in! This is my second time to participate with 363 ministries and I look forward to continuing to working with them in the future. (What a great idea it would be for a group of families in a neighborhood to get together and participate in with their children!! It is simple enough for older toddlers and young school age children to be able to help with and to realize that in doing so, they are helping others in need.) I can't say enough good things about this organization. I am a fan.

Parker got to help for a few minutes by placing the bread out on the table and layering some of the cheese.

It was such a tremendous feeling to know that our sandwiches were going to feed 400 hungry mouths!!! Yea!!! So exciting! (ahem, it was also nice to have 40 pounds of meat, 40 loaves of bread and a lot of cheese out of my house. Between that and all the boxes, our house was starting to look like a carpeted food distribution warehouse.)

And for now, this little fellow and his dad are at Parker's first Lacrosse game; they joined some of our friends from church. Minnesota Swarm vs Philadelphia Wings (Clay sent me these photos from his iphone.)

Meanwhile, back at the homestead, this little cowboy has been keeping me busy playing cars and ball...until a few minutes ago. He is now sprawled out, arms overhead, snoozing in his little crib dreaming of the sweet little things that baby boys dream about.

I am now blogging and searching pinterest for a few things instead of doing what I should be doing...packing. Oh well. I can spare a few minutes. In addition to playing on the computer, I am enjoying one of our last fire's in this house. No, it is not really that cold here, but it sure does sound and look nice in my living room. ;) Aah, I am going to miss this fireplace and the fire's that dear hubby builds for me.
All right, I am off to pack until the boys get home!

Friday, April 20, 2012

snapshots around our house

Our 14 day meal plan. Yea! This makes me happy! (this should actually last us 3-4 weeks with all the leftovers! Yea!!!) I was inspired last week before I packed up my cookbooks to come up with a meal plan so that there were not more frequent repeats of Monday's lunchtime throughout the next several weeks. :) In a half an hour I had 4 beef dishes cooked and either in the fridge ready to be eaten later that week or in the freezer. Several other dishes were prepped the next day for easy peasy grab-and-go meal access. :) Fun as McDonald's may be for special occasions, we needed some healthier options.

Our crab apple tree bloomed early in the week. One day there was no hint of blossoms, and the next morning we woke up to this!

Thursday night: before bathtime quiet activity. Playdough! This was Cooper's first time with the "doughy stuff" and completely enthralled with the project.

Making progress.

40 loaves of bread covering our dining room table for our Sunday School Class's service project.

Earlier in the week, Parker and I decided to bake some of Nanny's Cookies. We decided to share and deliver some to friends the next day. Wish you lived closer and we would have brought you some "Happy Day Cookies!" :)
**So thankful for Dave Ramsey and our Emergency Car Fund. Yesterday we had to replace our radiator at the last minute! Sooo thankful hubby was home to take care of this! Thank you dear Hubby! :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

documenting the busy times

Funny how for months now it is the norm for me to start a post and then 7 days later (or much longer than that!) actually get it posted. Blogging is a creative outlet for me to jot down my random thoughts and our families' happenings through words and pictures, to showcase creative projects and to document pieces of our daily life RIGHT NOW (not months or years later!) all the while listening to inspirational music and sipping a warm cup of tea. Documenting life has always been important to me...but more on that in another post.

Every day I am smiling and grasping for my camera so as not to miss capturing the important pieces of today that I will want to remember many years in the future...the good, the bad, the crazy, the simple, and the serene. After snapping pictures of some of our life moments, it is theraputic for me to sit down and write about write about the happenings, to write about the photography, to write about the history, to write about the process. My writing is inspired by imagination, photography, the world around me, and special memories. I like to write and always have. In elementary, jr. high, highschool, and college my teachers and professors would laugh as they would say, "Carrie, we are not looking for a book here; a paragraph will be fine." I do not know if that concept has always been hard for me to grasp due to the fact that I love writing and documenting so very much or because I am a perfectionist in just about every way and do not want to miss something. However, I do think there is something to the "less is more" notion.

I have set up a personal challenge for myself over the next 30 days to start and finish most of my posts in 20 minutes or less. This way, I can still get my "creative fix" more than a few times a month, but also be content in knowing that I will have a few lengthier posts. I will let you know how it turns out! P.S. This post does not count.

We are moving in less than two weeks; life is busy. Before you know it, half a month is gone and you just have the exhausted body and mind to prove it. I have done this one too many times. I have decided to embrace this insane craziness of a lifestyle right now and document it as best as I can. It should be interesting. :)

Now, on to the fun boys. :) Last week, more than usual, every day was like a marathon for me. I said a prayer for strength, patience and a positive attitude every bright and early morning when Parker would burst into the room excitedly saying there was a "7 by the dots" (whether there was or was not) and asking if he could go downstairs to playFor a number of months, we were actually getting really good sleep in the mornings; I could not believe how late my boys would sleep most days...Cooper especially. With our crazy schedules since the end of last year, it was nice to get that golden hour of extra sleep some mornings. As of last month, they are raring to go as soon as they sense least Parker is. Usually Parker is up before Cooper. Golden hour of extra sleep no more.

Clay and I are having a blast watching our boys grow, play and learn...loving the random things that come out of their sweet mouths at any given moment. I actually like a bit of rowdiness around the house and enjoy seeing the little antics that my kids come up with. However, with all that is going on right now, it is exhausting some days.

Monday morning, my boys woke up ready to eat, play and run with a zest. I wanted to be, but was not. I was tired and energy was long gone from the weekend's festivities. I decided that until naptime came I would try and only accomplish two chores around the house: one load of laundry and the dishes in the dishwasher and sink. The first of the two did not work out well. I did get a load switched over to the dryer before screams broke out from two levels above over a toy mishap. After taking two steps at a time up two flights of stairs thinking someone had gotten hurt during the 52 seconds I had been downstairs, I decided the laundry could wait till naptime.
The latter of the two chores on the list was completed. As I set out to unload the clean dishwasher, two little tikes ran in circles around the kitchen to the living room and back to the kitchen again. I lifted the dishwasher door to put it back in place each time I left to put dishes away in cabinets for fear that one of the little men would ram right over it during one of the circular roundabouts. All sorts of fabrications went through my mind as to what could happen if this accident was to take place. If you are a mom reading this, you totally get what I am saying here. I patted myself on the back when this chore was finished rather quickly and readied myself to load all the dirty dishes. Cooper, meanwhile, thought the loading of dishes looked like quite fun so he decided to help. The loading of the dishwasher was not accomplished quite as quickly. Mama's big helper. ;)

Lunchtime rolled around and the thought of even taking bread out of the pantry and turkey and cheese out of the fridge seemed like an impossible feat, so off to McDonalds we went. Truly on days like these, McDonald's tops my list of favorite places!!
The kids had a blast playing! This was actually Cooper's first time to go up inside the play area...he loved it and was all smiles the whole time. Parker helped him get up the initial steps and then off the two went! It was cute to watch Parker and Cooper together.

I even called one of my girlfriends back home for a much needed girlfriend chat for a few minutes while they were contentedly playing! Thank you Terra!

After Monday, thankfully my momentum picked up and we geared up for some fun happenings (besides packing :)). Clay and I swapped babysitting services with our neighbors to see "Hunger Games." I thought beforehand, it would be a miracle if we weren't snoozing at the end since we went for the 9pm showing, but thanks to the director's and actors' success in keeping up the suspense throughout the whole movie, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time! Anyway, last week was our turn to watch Brad and Kat's precious daughter, Claire, while they caught the flick. Claire is such a sweet little doll. Parker instantly fell for her and insisted she watch him brush his teeth (so that she would know how to do it) and observe the whole bedtime routine. He asked if she could sit beside him so he could read her a book and she could hold his blankie and wrestling guy a few minutes...I am sure that Claire's highlight of the night was holding the prized wrestling man. :) Random, but speaking of wrestling, I have to tell you how incredibly weird it is to have your four year old come home from preschool talking about Teddy Dibiase and Randy Orton. For 4 years, I sat in college classes right next to Teddy...great guy. He was actually considering getting into the ministry at the time. With a dad who is known as the Million Dollar Man, it would almost be hard not to follow into the legendary footsteps. It is just so weird to hear your child talking so excitedly about this wrestling guy on television when you only know of him as Teddy from college. I will never forget earlier last year when I went in a Blockbuster's and did a double take of Teddy on the cover of Marine 2. Unbelievable. That's awesome! You go Teddy!

I could not stop snapping pictures of these was precious to watch the interaction between them. Claire, kicking her feet and babbling with a smile at everything Parker said, and Parker very solemnly and proudly showing her his abilities to tell stories from the pictures in books.

Friday morning we had the pleasure of watching the O'Conner boys, making it five boys in the home for quite the wild adventure. :) We love having these boys over as they are so well-mannered and kind to our boys...and a joy to play with! They played Cars, built forts, and rode bikes and scooters outside.
Cooper's favorite part was definately the fort! He was jumping up and down squealing with happiness!

Saturday and Sunday were beautiful afternoons that we could not stand to be indoors. Therefore, we took our packing outside where we could enjoy the sunshine. :) It was perfect. I started grabbing groupings of "like" things and carrying them out to our deck table. Clay sweetly commented on how organized I was being and then as soon as I grabbed my camera shook his head and said, "Wait a minute! You are totally staging all of this for pictures!"  Not necessarily, but yes. ;)Packing in an organized fashion actually makes me very happy. And why not get a few pictures of the process?!

I had been dreading this very moment and putting it off for as long as I can. My McCarty's and Peter's Pottery. Uugghhh...can't I just carry this over in my front seat one by one until it all gets there?! Dear hubby: "Here we go again." After silently praying that the Lord would have mercy on each of my sweet pieces of pottery and help them to arrive safely to their new home, I finally started slowly and carefully wrapping each of the pieces.

Parker wanted to pack his own box. He proudly declared, "Daddy! I'm all done. My box is full. I need a new one!" Sweet thing. How can you not smile and tear up when you see his little box?

Saturday night, our neighbors, Brad and Kat, had us over for an official farewell backyard bonfire complete with delicious appetizers and drinks. Sniff. sniff.
I can not even begin to say how much I am going to miss our bonfires.

It was a full week filled with lots of packing, lots of friends, and lots of sweet memories made in the craziness of it all.