Monday, March 23, 2009

Minnesota Children's Museum 2009

If you enjoy the Iowa Children's Museum, be prepared to be blown away by the MInnesota Children's Museum. Nora and I planned on going while we were in Minneapolis on our Spring Break. The decision was based upon the fact that we were able to go for FREE! Our museum is a member of the Association of Children's Museums and since we belong due to our membership with the ICM then we automatically gain entrance to all the other museums within the ACM due to reciprocity. This is the coolest reason to belong to the ICM. Bret is already looking to see how many free museums we could hit on our way to Colorado if we take a road trip this summer. Click on the link to see all the museums included! It is amazing and I want to see several; on my list is Denver, Brooklyn, Navy Pier, and some in Wisconsin. Did you know Lacross has a children's museum?

Well, the MCM was fantabulous! We began on the fourth (yes Fourth!!) floor and worked our way down. You will see highlights on the Earth Room, Clifford Room, and Waterplay. I left out some of the city (which was pretty cool too!) The younger kids enjoyed Habitot which explore habitats of Minnesota in a kid friendly way! Even Hazel got in on the action. The kids loved working with conveyer belts and I was amazed at the ant tunnels that Ella and Alice crawled in for quite some time. Lars loved making frogs and tadpoles jump in a real like creek with Greta. But I think bigger than life Clifford was a highlight! All were exhausted by the end of our morning. It was a full day and I would guess we only saw about 1/2 the museum really had to offer! What a great time!

This museum catered to a wider age range than our own. Each room has a variety of activities to engage kids of ages 1-10. I would think some older kids might enjoy it too! What I can't wait for most of all is going back when we visit our friends in Minneapolis!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Break 2009- Decorah

This is a view of the kids descending the trail. You can see from here how steep and windy it was. They absolutely loved it and I must say it was really pretty. I would love to come back here in the fall sometime.

Nora & Hazel in front of the waterfalls mouth. Here is where Nora jumped the fence to take a closer look. Later Lars told Nora he did not want her to go with us. Turned out he was mad she "broke the rules" and jumped the fence.

The waterfall was fed by a natural spring and had a beautiful little creek with clear water.

Running on the bridge. I love Lars' floppy hair in this picture!

The loved the little hike, although we may not have been dressed the most appropriately for this trip. It was about 10 degrees cooler in the shade of the trees. This caught all of us by surprise. About halfway up the stairs, Ella's little silver slide-on shoes stayed behind in the mud and her foot kept moving, thus getting her tight covered foot covered in the same sticky mud. I, of course, had whining and tears but she put her shoe back on and continued up the path. Getting to the top was way worth it!

Ella, Alice, Elyse
They all have become such big girls since their first days as preschoolers at Willowwind!

Here we are in front of Elyse's house. We do not exactly look like we are ready to go hiking do we? The girls and Lars had just has a splendid afternoon playing throughout the house and we had a delicious lunch of pizza, chicken fries, fruit and veggies.

The reason we came was to see the new baby, Ole Hans Storjle.
He was a good little baby, sleeping through much of the commotion of the kids playing.
It was fun to meet him and Patty & Elyse again!

Spring Break 2009- Elkader

Needless to say our trip began after a quick run to the pharmacy to get my kids both medicine for having strep throat. Lars had all the classic symptoms- a strawberry tounge, a red rash and a a high fever. Who knew? I asked Nora if she was comfortable having my kids int he car with hers and she knew Hazel was on antibiotics and we figured Alice had all ready been exposed, so we went for it and left that afternoon. The girls were so excited to be buddies and sit by each other in the back of the van. Lars understood we were going to see Nana but he was learning how to say MInneapoils and only could get out "appleis" or "applemini". Adorable!

The kids did sleep some of the way to Elkader. Everyone was excited about the plethora of cows and pigs (Alice's favorite!). When we arrived in Elkader and saw Nana's house or should I say Victorian B & B, the kids could not wait to run around and check everything out. Tours were given and I laughed as all the kids ran towards the toy closet immediately and began to play. Busy bodies had taken over Nana's house and they were having fun. Ella and Alice set up a dining table and began serving us all sorts of food. Brenda prepared us the kids a dinner of mac and cheese and hot dogs. Alice seemed to eat and eat! When they were done we got jammies on and let them play while we ate pork, walnut salad, with pesto pasta. Brenda never fails to spoil her guests. This was really a welcome and great start to our many nights ahead. We knew we had a long trip the next day so we all turned in at a reasonable hour but I enjoyed the wonderful conversation we all had. It was wonderful for me to be surrounded by 2 of my favorite women in the world for one night!

In the morning, the kids slept in til almost 8 am! Is this Heaven? No, it is Nana's, but close. I love hearing their pitter pat in this house as they run down the stairs and exclaim "nana" at the top of thier lungs. Truly a greeting of love and excitement. More playing ensued... I loved seeing Hazel sitting on the floor in the kitchen looking like a little cherub or a 20's baby. Her brown curls on her head and her angelic smile just make her one of the sweetest babies ever. Brenda could not quite get over how good she is! I told her that is is Hazel...that is how she is. After a breakfast of pancakes we began packing the car. Next we had a quick tour of Brenda's store, Willowcreek. Check it out here if you'd like to see it up close.

It really was a great night and morning. Thanks to Brenda for her ultimate hospitality. We felt so at home!


  • sleeping over at Nora and Jeff's house
  • yummy sprinkled donuts
  • cartoons on the DVD player with friends
  • playing Light & Dark or Red Light, Green Light, Sharks in a basement with no furniture
  • The Hannah Anderssen outlet mall!!!!
  • lunch at Wendy's
  • consignment in Minneapolis
  • Oilily finds!!!!!
  • quiet time by all
  • pizza & pop!
  • watching the pizza dude throw pizza in the air as the kids clap and cheer
  • baby Thomas! awwww
  • riding a motorcycle - it looked dangerous and I heard it was too
  • drawing on the huge chalkboard
  • answering 70's trivia by Tom
  • winding down with friend's
  • wine & beer & March Madness basketball on Nora's red TV/pirate streaming
  • A possible revelation. Change is a comin'!
  • A fun day to be had by all!

MOA 2009

The whole gang left from Iowa around 2pm after a wonderful waterfall hike. So after a short car ride, we arrived at the vast Parthenon of the MOA- Mall of America. I saw IKEA beckoning me from afar but it was not meant to be.

We entered the enormous parking ramp and settles on the Florida or as the kids called it the alligator section. A few of the kids did not have tights or pants or socks on due to mud (see prior post) so we had to get them all dressed. We were so excited to see what awaited us ahead.

As we entered the building, Ella and Alice were aghast when they viewed the Nickelodeon Universe. We told them it would be our activity for later. Then we set out to find at look at the Hannah Anderssen store. The kids all measured themselves as we window shopped. Maddie called us to say she would join us with Greta soon. So we worked our way towards the North food court and spied Beatnik Bead Store where Nora got the kids all a bead and made them necklaces.

Greta soon joined our crew and it was clear she had missed mommy and her friends very much. We all sat down for a bite to eat and no sooner than a few minutes we were joined by another Iowa family, the Keplingers! Lars was blown away by this! We all then decided to wander downstairs to try out some of the rides.

Melanie & Miranda, Karin's daughters bravely took my children on many rides. We explored Diego's Bus RIde Adventure, then Swiper's Car Ride and the kids all screamed their little hearts out! Lars and Greta then went on the Azule Train ride, to which Lars thought went tool slow! Nora and I took Alice and Ella on the Backyardigan's swings. We found out they were actually tall enough to go by themselves- which we found hard to believe. The ride goes up pretty high but both girls loved it even though Nora and I felt a little green towards the end. Lars finished with a one on one balloon ride with Karin and when I informed him we were going home I had some serious protests by him. He did not want to leave the Universe and certainly did not want to leave Karin. Our night was getting late and we still had to unpack the car and get to Nora's home about 20 minutes away.

We bid all farewell and toured the American Girl store on our way out. Ella really did not understand why she could not get a "girl". We discussed how these were very special dolls and were for a special reasons, possibly like if you stop sucking your thumb. Ella was excited to this possibility. She did remind me about this in the morning when she woke up as she informed me that she did not suck her thumb and would like to get a girl. I giggled at her memory and told her that it would need to be along time of no sucking before that would happen. I guess it was worth trying.

I might be doing these out of order, but picturetrail is not cooperating with me!

Swipers Ride at MOA

We just returned from our vacation to Minneapolis. I will have much much more to post. But a teaser of the girls on the ride at the Mall of America at Nickelodeon Universe. Nora and Greta are right behind them. The screams by these littel ones made us all laugh so much!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

On the Road....

I have been indulging myself in time with my kiddos and am soon to embark on a road trip with Nora and our kids! Bret joked that his spring break is us leaving. He will be preparing for his upcoming baseball draft (yawn)!

We plan to hit (not necessarily in this order):

  • Nana's B & B in Elkader
  • Meet Ole (pronounced Ollie) and play with friends in Decorah
  • Head north to Minneapolis
  • Hannah Anderssen outlet
  • Nickelodeon Universe & M.O.A.
  • IKEA!
  • Minneapolis Children's Museum
  • More babies
  • and more shopping and general fun stuff!
So more will be coming! With 2 women and 4 kids I am sure I will have plenty to write about!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Interview...try it!

Interview with Ella--age 4 & Lars--age 3

1. What is something mom always says to you?
Ella: No hitting Lars.
Lars: Go to time out.

2. What makes mom happy?
Ella: When I say I love you.
Lars: When we play with our trucks.

3. What makes mom sad?
Ella: Biting.
Lars: When I say stupid.
(both true!)

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
Ella: Making funny silly faces.
Lars: When you make a funny face. : )

5. What was your mom like as a child?
Ella: Like the Easter Bunny. (huh?)
Lars: Play with trucks.

6. How old is your mom?
Ella: 15
Lars: He showed me 3 or 5 fingers and said "this".

7. How tall is your mom?
Ella: Really big.
Lars: Motioning with his hand he said, "This big". (raising his hand approximately 1 foot taller than himself)

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Ella: Kiss me!
Lars: Play with trucks.

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
Ella: She goes shopping.
Lars: Target.

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Ella: Dressing up.
Lars: Huh?

11. What is your mom really good at?
Ella: Typing.
Lars: Exercising.

12. What is your mom not very good at?
Ella: She could not think of a thing.
Lars: No idea...

13. What does your mom do for a job?
Ella: I know! Teach kids.
Lars: Computers.

14.What is your mom's favorite food?
Ella: Vegetables.
Lars: Pizza.

15.What makes you proud of your mom?
Ella: Loving me!
Lars: no answer

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Ella: Tasha on Backyardigans
Lars: need to do yet

17. What do you and your mom do together?
Ella: Kiss.
Lars: Color.

18. How are you and your mom the same?
Ella: We both have colors in our hair.
Lars: Pizza?

19. How are you and your mom different?
Ella: We don't have the same skin (she later explained my skin is bumpy...I think she meant wrinkled... hmmm)
Lars: Sit in chairs.

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
Ella: Because she scares me.
Lars: She plays cars with me.

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
Ella: Because he's our daddy.
Lars: When he toots. (answer suggested to Lars by Ella)

22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
Ella: The Castle (aka the House of Lords)
Lars: Target. (its true!)

23. What do you like most about your mom?
Ella: When she helps me go down the hill on my bike.
Lars: She's my best friend.

24. What do you like least about me?
Ella: When she tells me to go to time out.
Lars: When she tells me to go potty.

25. Is there anything else you'd like to share about your mom?
Ella: I really love her for truth!
Lars: No.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


This is a video of Lars playing with his new birthday racetrack. He loves to make the cars crash. It is also super easy for him to work. He has tried many of his other cars and a few of them work. This is parked on his train table and I would say he plays with it almost every day. I was inspired by Brenda to get this racetrack. It is smaller than the one they had- but I love the fact that he can operate this completely on his own. IT also folds up and is completely portable with one move. Easy to set up and take down is a huge plus in my book. I love how Lars will cheer for one car - so cute!

Amana Fun Fair 2009

Ella looking so big & having a great time with her Amana buddies

Ball Pit (germ pit?) with Ella

This is the huge obstacle course inflatable that Lars was literally obsessed with!

Lars climbing up the wall with Tatiana (who played with him all night!)

We really had a blast this year at the Amana Fun Fair. The theme was Lego Land and it was full of building opportunities everywhere. Ella and Lars made beautiful sculptures that resemble a city at the scraps and building area. All wood scraps from the furniture store- some nice wood scraps I must say! Lars enjoyed Lego bowling with huge oversized Legos as pins. Together they enjoyed the Duck Pond where everyone is a winner! Ella tried her luck at the cake walk but sadly was not a winner. She handled it better then I thought she would.

The real excitement was seeing their friends and playing and jumping over and over with them in the ball pit and obstacle course. I really do not think i have ever let my kids go into a ball pit before due to germs. I read somewhere once that the germs in those pits (especially like at McDonalds) are horrible because they are never cleaned. But here it seemed to be something they enjoyed for a short bit then moved onto the bigger obstacle course. Ella cruised through but once she found her friends they decided to stay at the end of the course at the slide. They the three went up and down repeatedly- the slide part is the best! Lars was lucky enough to have a 5th grader, Tatiana, who thought he was super cute : ) who wanted to help him. She would get him in line and help him if he needed it over the climbing wall. He was really quite amazing and would just shimmy right up the wall, as my husband observed, "using his little monkey toes to grip right onto the wall."

We let the kids place bids on some of the gift baskets but we did not win. I heard they raised about $1000 which I find amazing. It was really a nice small fun fair. I hope future fun fairs are as much fun!! I have no idea what Shimek will have to bring.

My Chariot Awaits

I was shocked when I saw the posting on Craigslist. A a price range I could afford? I was not looking for one but this was always on my dream list. I emailed immediately and was set up to look at it in a couple of days. Lone Tree...literally in the middle of nowhere. When we arrived at the cutest little yellow house with a picket fence, I was happy to see such a beauty. The husband proceeded to show me in about 30 seconds how to fold it downa nd pack it up so nicely all inside itself. Clearly a great feature! It also has attachments to hook it up to a bike for bike adventures this summer.

I see bike adventures this summer taking us to Farmer's Market, dance, ICPL, taking them to the gym, grocery store, possibly Mercer Park, Shimek, and many parks for playing. this gift to myself and my family fits right in my three goals for the year: fitness, fun and financial. It was a steal and I could turn around and sell it for more next week than I paid for it! That is a good thing!

I still need a bike tune up and need to get a lock system. I looked at helmets the other day and will outfit the whole family next paycheck with new helmets. When we looked at Bike World for helmets, I also started wondering if I need a new bike? Mine was a graduation gift and is about 20 years old..sheesh, that seems old. I will seek some bike advice from a neighbor and see what my needs are!

Toe Sucking

Did you know that you should not make your thumb jealous so it is recommended that you suck your toes instead?

Well, if you were my daughter this is what your daddy would have told you. We are well into "operation stop thumb sucking" with Ella and it is beginning with phasing out the day and late evening sucking. Bret told her that she could suck her toes only during the day and night. She actually was trying it last night- so of course, I had to take a picture! Lars wanted to join in too. She was not particularly pleased with her toe's scratchiness. I bet she needs a pedi! HA.... There will be more updates on this for sure!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Wordless Wednesday


Just how innocent and sweet can your children really look when they are asleep? Doe this little boy look like he would quietly dump an entire container of cinnamon powder under the kitchen table? No - he appears way too sweet for such an act. Come check out my wonderful cinnamon smelling kitchen if you would like some proof.

I also really notice how much alike they look in these pictures!
Whoa they look like siblings for sure. Is it the noses?
Sweet dreams.

I really got my haircut....

Here is proof I am getting my hair cut. Please take notice how really really long it is over my ears. also notice cute Cassie cutting my hair. She is cute!

Daddy is holding my head here. I am almost done.

Do you like my haircut? I know it still is long but I like it! So does my mommy and daddy.

Coming Soon....

I am so excited....

Monday, March 2, 2009

Three: Happy Birthday to me!

I am three! Such a cutie pie here!

Strawberry pancakes for breakfast was the beginning of his day.
The celebration seemed to go on and on!

First candle in my pancakes!

Opening presents with Nana and Papa on Sunday after we went to the
Children's Museum for some fun!

Ice Cream with Nana- yum!

Birthday dinner at Culver's with Grandpa.


When we got home from dinner there were presents from Karin awaiting Lars.
Oh happy dino balls and "rawr" dino!

Alice joins in to sing Happy Birthday after dinner!

Blowing out three candles.

Happy Birthday my sweet baby boy!