Saturday, March 29, 2008

Fun Fair Part 2

Apparently you can never have enough fun. Today was another fun fair at Ella's school. I volunteered to make a cake. I ended up making 2 cakes which I think turned out pretty well. Ella was sad we could not keep one. She tried the cake walk once and did not win- I decided she was a little too sad to keep trying it. Perhaps I will make another? She did say her favorite moment was when Lars showed up. She was such the big sister. She grabbed his hand and showed him right to the fishing pond and had to show him how to do it. She was so proud and happy he was there. I think the feel to this fair was completely different than the feel of the Amana fair. Still fun but in a different way. I met lots of parents and kids as I helped with tattoos and facepainting with Karen, Rebecca's mom. We had a great time. I would love to do it again!

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Tonight, Bret and I took the kids to the U of Iowa Art Museum to see the Zoom exhibit by Robert Wilson. The kids were pretty fascinated by the HD "portraits". Lars was alittle scared f the close up of the dog but he loved the Owl Room. The owl portraits are scattered around the room and the sounds of the owls screeching take you all around the room. Ella was proud to show me her favorite. It was a beautiful woman on a swing wearing sparkley pink pumps, sparkley pink underwear and shiny pink tassels. She was so proud to tell me loudly that she loved the sparkles and it was her favorite! She made a couple of women next to me giggle and agree! At bedtime she asked me what she had that was sparkles like the picture! I love the fact she thought a girl who basically was a pin-up girl was pretty! No judgment other than admiration of the sparkles!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Funny girl

So it really was a crazy morning without my help. A shooter on the loose and it turned out very badly. There was a school lockdown, but Ella missed it because she was at Nora's due to a set of missing keys.

Some funny things were said on Ella's part! She was excited for French class to sing "Frer a jack ass"! Nora laughed pretty hard at this one. Then when I went to pick her up at school she greeted me with, "Guess what mommy. I had two pairs of panties on today. Isn't that funny!?" To which her after school worker laughed and told her how funny she was. I looked at Ella and had a hard time keeping my face
straight because she was telling me the truth! Somehow she had on 2 pairs of underwear. My guess is that she was putting on her new panties but forgot to take off her old ones. I laugh that she did this and even more at how funny she thought it was! I wonder if they believe anything she says at school because she has some pretty funny stories!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Potty 101

I have not been pushing it at all but Lars insisted last night on going potty. He began tugging at his pants an pulling at his diaper. Then he ran over to the potty and sat. He would push then check and see if he had done anything. I sat with him, scared he would get up midway due to excitement. I shared a book with him and he just chattered away for about 10 minutes-in between grunts and grins! He had a big poopy and no diaper for me to clean! This was how it began with Ella. I look forward to him toliet training but I can't quite see him ready for it all yet. Just one to remember.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Haircut & Pizza

Lars has had several haircuts now. But I swear each one makes him look older. Here he is wearing a black tee and I cannot get over how much he looks like his daddy.

We decided to stay home tonight and make pizza. Ella and Lars totally love spreading the sauce then sprinkling the cheese on. I think this is one of their favorite participatory dinner activities. They even ate much at dinner which is always a plus! The pre-made crusts are fantastic and if you have not ever tried it you should! Highly recommended!

Friday, March 21, 2008


Just a moment. They decided to play "Candylandia" together. Or Ella would tell Lars how to do it. They amazingly did very well. I just love it when they lay on their tummies and play. Something about that seems so grown up. I also love how Ella really is enjoying herself with her game.

Recycled art

I can't seem to get all the projects in my head completed, or should I say even started. Well I did get the recycled Easter cards done but I doubt I will have them in the mail in time for people to receive them tomorrow. I guess I won't worry about that. Recently I took pics of all of Ella's artwork (too numerous to show all here) and some that we have many kinds of- I recycled into eggs and bunnies, to make our own one of a kind easter cards. This was totally an inspiration from Secret Agent Josephine. I think they are pretty but simple. I can't wait to try more for another occasion or just for fun.

I also have the beginning of two more capes. One for Alena, one of Ella's classmates- this is the pink and yellow ensemble. It is some really cute zoo animal fabric that had a modern and batik feel to it. The second set is for Grace, who is exactly one month younger than Lars. She loves sock monkeys and I was so happy to find this fabric. I think it will be perfect! I need to give kuddos to Elizabeth and Heather who recommended I try a fabric store in North Liberty called the Common Threads Quilt Shoppe. I seriously never would have gone into there since I do not quilt, but their fabric selection was beautiful. They also love children, which is a huge plus in my book! There was a toy section and a baby area where Ella could put a baby to bed or in a high chair. They were beautiful antique baby toys which made me want a cute baby crib for Ella. I must remember to look for one this summer!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Irish Princess

We have been spending the first part of our spring break visiting grandparents in Dubuque and Elkader. I took the kids and left Bret to deal with our dilapidated heating system (have fun honey!). Tonight we had a St. Patrick's Day parade in Elkader and the kids got so much candy that I will need to edit it as soon as I remember. After the coldest parade ever, we met John and Janet at Gunder home of the Irish Shanty. Now, we were not there for their famous "gunder burgers" but for their Irish night. They have singing and serve corned beef and cabbage and soda bread. The owner knows Mark and Brenda well and greeted us with several sweet Irish welcomes. The kids were enjoying thierselves eating thier food but then they heard the singing. There was a barbershop quartet which fascinated Lars and Ella. We watched and they clapped. As we were preparing to go, the quartet told Ella and Lars they had to stay for one more and they proceeded to sing "This Little Light of Mine" to them. They also gave Ella a corwn that said "Irish Princess". I do not think Lars blinked during the performance and mid you it was right in front of us- 1 foot away. It was truely amazing and they were very taken with my beautiful sweet dear boy. His eyes and clapping were so sweet and sincere, I was a little teary too. In the car on her way home, she told everyone this was the favorite part of her whole day! Mine too Ella.

If you look close here you can see the eagle in the tree. We were on the Mississippi and there were about 5 eagles in the tree at one point! We watched them eat fish!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Amana Fun

My kids have spent 2 days in Amana having FUN. (Not in a row) Last week we survived the fun fair. This week we went to the middle school play. Above are many pictures of the fun fair. We started off in the ball bouncing pit, for toddlers, and they really loved being able to jump without being trampled by the big kids. Below you see a threesome jumping, that is Ella, Lars and Grace- one of my co-worker's child. She is one month exactly younger than Lars.

Lars loved kicking the soccer ball and Ellie Cutler was more than patient to let him kick it wherever he wanted. It was pretty funny how he ignored all direction and just would stick his tongue out and kick away.

Once Ella discovered she could go up and down the slide, she ran a circuit of about 6 or 7 laps. She was pretty exhausted and on the way home she told us that she was tired!

At the middle school play, we came prepared with popcorn and water so I could bribe my children with somethings to eat as they watched the play. Here are a few highlights; Ella loved it when the actors did a play fight to "Kung Fu Fighting" as they were staged in two circles. Jess (the director) was not even sure how it was going to turn out and it was funny! One of my favorite parts was when one of the sets fell down , 2 or 3 times, and the cast did a fantastic job keeping it together. It just is not a middle school play without something disasterous happening! And the biggest things that was overcome all evening was when Jory W. filled in for main character Ali Baba (aka Nate L) who went home sick on the day of the play. Jory held his script and did the best he could and the supporting actors tried to help to. It truly added to the "middle school play" feel! At the end of the play, Ella stood up and cheered loudly and yelled Jess' name. Then when she realized Jess did not hear her over the crowd she began crying. So we went up to the stage to congratulate her and Ella was able to stand on the stage. She went home super happy because she was on the stage. She loved that over everything else!

ART extravaganza

I have finally taken my photos of my kids artwork and downloaded some of it on Artsonia. It is way too cool how you can look it up and order items with your kids artwork. I plan on doing this throughout the year pretty regularly. The amount of "Stuff" I have is making me really think ) need to re-purpose some older stuff into something new like easter cards. My inspiration is Secret Agent Josephine. I love how she routinely uses and re-uses crafts and art for new projects. I am a believer that I can snap a picture then I can do something more. Hopefully there will be a project to come....

Walking down the street

The snow really is melting! It is not just a dream. We have had fun enjoying the warmer days (30's & 40's) and splashing about in the puddles. Ella had dance class earlier today and was still in her outfit. It was fun getting groceries with my little princess- she had her gold shoes on too! I got way too many smiles- I sure I had a slightly exasperated look on my face- as if she wore this kind of stuff all the time. I am thankful she does not! She did seem to have a slight extra bounce in her step today though!

If you look closely at their feet you can catch the unicorn I drew. Ella has asked me for a unicorn for a pet. I think we will get this one when I locate the pet mermaid. In fact, I think they can room together!

Friday, March 7, 2008

More Birthday

We were so glad to get through the party in one piece, that we actually forgot to give Lars the gifts we had gotten for him. It actually is pretty funny since Ella was the one who remembered at naptime. She was very excited to give Lars the books she picked out at a church book sale. Lars is fascinated by the troll in The Billy Goats Gruff.
Then we gave him his basketball hoop. As you can see, he absolutely loved it. he demonstrated that love with a hug for the box. Cute! He loves putting the ball in the hoop and yells loudly, in true Dora style, "I did it!". Then of course he claps and laughs and smiles for himself. Mental note to teach humility at some point- but not today. He is way too happy with himself. The "Mr. Happy" tee he has is by far one of the most perfect shirts he has so far. It is a favorite of his and sums him up pretty well!

He concentrates so hard when shooting his hoops. I especially loved the tongue action here!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Bag a Bargain!

Oh my! Oh my! What a haul! I need to be jealous because it wasn't all mine. Our local favorite consignment store cleans house once a season with $5 per bag. In all, it was $45 and $20 of it was mine- a $12 cute outfit for Ella I could not pass up and clothes for friends as well. My clothes are in the picture. Nora had about 6 or 7 more bags and a few coats. I can't wait to see all of it!

This is really one of the best sales for kids clothes since it takes all the guesswork out of the pricing and it goes! Isn't that the whole point of a clearance sale? Now we love our other consignment stores in town and I have become a disciple of Goodwill. It is really amazing what I can find if I just spend a little time looking. You certainly can't beat the prices and I almost always find something cute.

I seem to be developing some rules. Here they go:
I try to find designer above all. This means names like Catimni, deux Par deux, Room Seven, Oilily, Appaman, Goldrush, Cakewalk, Zaza Couture and many others- anything European. The second tier is still higher end but better know names usually from catalogues like Hanna Andersson, Mini Boden, Garnet Hill or Fresh Produce. Then my third tier consists of Gap, Gymboree, or anything you can get locally or at a mall/outlet. Now I rarely will buy Target, Kohls, or other discount brand clothes unless it is mint and really special. The reason is- I can go there easily and buy it new, often for less than the consignment store is selling it for.

So, name brands is one way I deliniate what to buy. But it really is based upon what it looks like- the cuteness or origniality factor and comfort! If it is a good deal that can always factor in. Size is another buying factor. I was limited myself to buying only 2 sizes up from clothes they were wearing currently, but for anything in the first tier, if it is a really good deal I throw that rule out the window! I do however need to draw the line at anything above size 7/8 as my kids are only in sizes 2-5. I figure by that time, if not sooner, they will be able to voice what it is they want to wear and want more of a hand in choosing their clothing. I love, love, love bargain shopping. A part of me wishes I could afford to purchase all my kids clothes new and not have to spend time looking. But it really is my hobby and I love being familiar with all the brands and finding them in unexpected places. All I can say is that I can't wait for garage sales!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Asleep. It is 8:15 and all kids are asleep. This is one of many days since the spider made an appearance Ella has become a great sleeper again. She once was- but I guess she forgot how to sleep all night when she hit 3. Lars still goes down at 7:30 and he is so funny at bedtime. He needs his lamb, his elephant, his giraffe and he often wants a book too. Then he takes all of these things into his arms at bedtime in his crib and holds them, hugs them tight to his chest then says "goodnight". He just wants all his friends close. He might be a stuffed animal kiddo just like his uncle Bobo. Will he have his own Kirby? This is a picture Bret got one day at nap. They really do not sleep together!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


It is a big deal to be big in my house right now. Ella has understood that her brother is now big and no longer a baby. Lars even says "I big boy now." She is even encouraging him to use the potty. Oh I am not ready yet for this. Along with this BIG discussion comes the "I want my way" discussion. Lars will roar very loudly when he doe not get his way or so as to voice his displeasure with whomever he is dealing with- most often Ella. I am not sure where it started but I am ready for it to end. ROAAAAR!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Dancing Lars

Lars learned this dance from the Miss America Pageant. He was mesmerized with the swimsuit portion and how they women came out and would strike a pose and often would swing around with their hand on their hips. This is his interpretation of the posing swimsuit models. I will say Bret just watched and shook his head. I think his limits were even further pushed when Lars lifted his shirt up to expose his belly much like many of the contestants baring their mid-drifts in 2 piece bathing suits. Dance baby dance! Please ignore the whining jealous sister trying to hog the lime light from her brother.

Lars Birthday

I have been shamelessly checking out friends' blogs and I discovered this easy photo display tool! I am in love. It was easy and is so cool! Thanks Brenda!

As for my weekend, it was birthday party fun! I think Lars had a great 2nd birthday. He had breakfast with grandparents at Mickey's first then we had a small party at our house. The theme was "Messy Party" and Lars did a great job making a real mess! We began by making playdough from scratch, which I must say worked really well. The older girls loved dropping & mixing in the colors. We had red, spring green, yellow, purple and orange! Quite a beautiful assortment.

Next I cleared the table for painting. Again we had some very beautiful mixing and blending. The little spill proof paint cups worked! I was amazed at how well the kids did. I am not sure what I expected- but it was much much messier in my head than how it ended up. Lars did paint his head and his highchair-but other than that it was paint free.

Then we cleaned the kids up and let then run and play while I got lunch and cupcakes ready. They were happy to play with their Groovy girl dolls and try to play monster with Lars. Quickly they were all running and screaming so we practiced some quieter games. Then we ate pigs in a blanket, pears and banana cupcakes. Ella led everyone in a rousing version of Happy Birthday as Lars looked around slightly confused but when he realized all the fuss was for him, then he decided to blow the candles out (with daddy's help). Ella was a such a good big sister!

Lars did get many gifts throughout the day- which I think was almost better than all at once which can be overwhelming. He got presents from Grandpa at Mickeys, then later bunches of stuff from Nana and Papa. At the party he got cars from Natalie & Max. Later, because we forgot, he got books from Ella and a basketball hoop from mommy and daddy. He loves to shoot hoops then cheer, " I did it!" I will be sure to post more on the basketball hoop another time!

Again, I must remember to keep it simple. Even though there were only 4 guests, it was a full day for him. It was plenty big and fun of a party for a 2 year old. I would say the other kids had a great time too! We accomplished this all in 1 1/2 hours and clean up was pretty quick too! Lars did not nap today likely due to all of the excitement. He was a really good sport about trying but there was no chance he was going to sleep. Bret and I both tried but to no avail we gave up after 2 hours. After all it was his birthday right...?