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Not my kind of day


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Saturday, February 28. 2009

Today was one of those days, that luckily, I don't have that often. I am usually blessed with having the ability to spend a lot of time with my kids throughout the day. Today was different. I had a Girl Scout training for 7 hours and then headed directly to our troops' first cookie booth. I got to spend the next 5 hours with L but missed most of the day with my other three. Luckily we were able to have breakfast together before I left and they headed to dance class for the girls. I was grateful for the opportunity to learn what I needed to for an upcoming encampment for our troop but I must say I would have preferred being home, unpacking from our time away and just being with family. Luckily for me that is more the norm of my days. LJ has just woke up so now we'll get some snuggle time. Gotta love it.

There were five in the bed and the little one said......


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Saturday, February 28. 2009

..............move over, move over.

A few days away, sleeping in different beds in close proximity must have given our children the idea they needed to sleep near us. At midnight, LJ crawled in. At 2:00am AJ crawled in and at 6am A-girl crawled in. The best part was that when LJ, A-girl and I were going downstairs to try and reduce the crowdedness and the noise factor at 7am, S was very surprised that there were five in the bed! Glad to know that at least 4 were able to sleep. I must admit though that it was a good way to start the day all snuggled with most of my family. Not sure where we would have put L in our queen bed but if she had chosen to leave the comforts of her own bed, I am sure we would have squeezed her in.

Winter Fun


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Friday, February 27. 2009

This past week, we decided to take advantage of some midweek rates at a ski resort in northern MN and had a nice break. We skied Tuesday to Thursday and then enjoyed a short snow shoe adventure this morning before checking out.

The weather Tuesday was beautiful. We explored the mountains and the various runs, learning quickly which lifts were closed during the week and which ones were closed due to the construction of a new lift (all the ones that looked great off the lift nearest to our accommodations). It was very quiet on the hills and you often felt like there wasn't anyone else on the slopes yet occasionally you would see someone in the distance. Even more rare was actually having to wait behind someone in the lift lines. The lifts were all two person (center pole) so it became clear very quickly we would need to figure out if they had a magic carpet for LJ to experience any skiing this trip. A-girl did an amazing job of learning to get on and off the lifts.

It snowed overnight Tuesday and Daddy and the older two kids enjoyed "first tracks" while I took the younger two to the learning center which had a magic carpet that A-girl was completely independent on and thoroughly enjoyed. The day before, we weren't familiar with the various mountains and their runs and I think I overwhelmed her with the runs I took her on. For a 4 year old I am sure they seemed very very daunting in length and slope. She was on the harness but wasn't confident at all and seemed very anxious and nervous. The mountain with the magic carpet and some gentle slopes was the ticket and by yesterday she was singing down the runs! The fresh snow was a bit hard for LJ as he just can't really move in it. He kept wanting to go up high (on the gondola which he affectionately called the "bubble") and after one ride on the gondola he was hooked. "Red bubble. Up high!" Wednesday was pretty good skiing but the winds started picking up in the afternoon and by the time I was out on the runs with L the winds were so strong that she was actually moving backwards at points. A bit chilly with the winds blowing that hard.

It snowed overnight again and then all day Thursday. The mountains were very busy with a country wide college race which was fun to watch/see. There was a lot of snow so it was a lot of hard work for little legs.

This morning before we left the area, we tried a little snow shoeing adventure. It was cold and we had some equipment issues but all in all it was a great time. I was really impressed that LJ was able to walk in snow shoes and I was really impressed with the perseverance of my 4 year old who didn't complain and just kept trying despite her one snow shoe that kept falling off causing her to drop down quite a ways in the snow. We also enjoyed swimming every day, making meals together and a great talk by a naturalist on moose.

Traveling with kids is a lot of work and brings with it its own challenges but despite some quirks, we had a great time and the kids are already planning next year. Experiences like this are truly a blessing and we are grateful to have created great memories with our family.




















































The mom in me


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Sunday, February 22. 2009

Today, we joined several friends from our church for some ski fun. I spent the majority of the time initially on the bunny run with A-girl and LJ. A-girl graduated today from the tow rope and bunny hill solo to the chairlift and the longer runs. Our first two runs were awesome. She did very well, stayed focused, made lots of turns and looked great. At one point though, I stopped her and asked her if she thought she was going to fast (I thought so!) and she replied with a grin, "NO!" and kept on going. As one of our friends put it, she was fast but her fast was not out of control. For a mom, watching your 4 year old move quickly down the hill is a bit of an anxiety producer. When we were ready to go out again later in the day, we joined up with some friends and headed out. A-girl did very well again as we went down harder, steeper narrower and longer runs. On the second run however, I hung back a bit to see what she would do and she was so excited to be skiing with our friend, 11 year old LE, that she wasn't as cautious (or at least not seeming so to me). All of a sudden she was speeding towards the trees and directly towards a very large pole for the lights for night skiing. For a moment all I could see was my little girl heading very fast head first for the pole and I let out a scream that came somewhere from my toes and was blood curdling. A-girl manged to stop herself just before hitting the pole and all was well, except that I think I aged about 10 years and my heart was pounding. Then I had this embarrassing feeling of how loud and insane I must have sounded. My friends were gracious with me and told me that their hearts stopped for a moment as they watched the unfolding scene and were paralyzed as we were not close enough to do anything and said they would have also yelled like I had done. They were quick to add though that it was very loud! Nothing like that mother bear instinct kicking in to make sure you are heard. As for A-girl, she was grinning ear to ear when I got to her and told me she hadn't been afraid at all. Somehow, I don't find that hard to believe. Today she revealed to me more of her thrill seeker, adrenaline junky self. I may need to find a great stress reducer technique for post ski days with her!









I should have realized I was in trouble today when A-girl waved goodbye to me as I tried to take her photo on the slopes!


On the "big runs."

More celebrating


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Saturday, February 21. 2009

AJ celebrated his birthday with a few friends. He had wanted a skating and sledding party and then when the weather warmed up, it seemed like that plan was out of reach as the rink in the front yard was more of a swimming pool and the hill at the corner had mud showing through. Then the temperatures cooled down and the skating portion looked like it would be a go. Then, Friday night we got a couple of inches of snow and all looked promising. AJ's buddy who had been injured last weekend in a freak encounter with the corner of a table while at a friends' house (gash to the forehead, eyebrow to eyebrow down to the skull and several stitches later) decided he would like to come to the party after all (he had decided earlier in the week that it would be too hard as he has to be treated as an "egg" as the risk of re-opening the wound is extremely high....and well five 7 and 8 year old boys are not very calm and egg like) and AJ being the awesome friend that he is decided to change his birthday plans to include his friend. R and another boy A. were going to arrive late due to a schedule conflict so the boys started out on the ice and then came indoors. They all seemed to have a good time and then after the party ended we headed to the hill for a quick slide before dinner. Hope your day was extra special buddy.

Hockey time.


Quieter play.


Treasure hunt. The treasure was hockey pucks.














State Swim Meet


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Thursday, February 19. 2009

This past Sunday was the State swim meet. L and AJ each competed in one event. L swam the 50 breast stroke and AJ the 25 back stroke. To qualify for State you need to place either first, second or third in the Sectional Swim meet (there are 4 sections in the state) or obtain a wild card for the next four fastest times after the initial 12 spots have been filled. Both of our kids got in on Wild Cards. L took the last possible wild card in her event as she placed 7th at Sectionals. There was much excitement the day of the meet and it didn't seem to bother the kids too much that they warmed up at 9am and didn't swim until noon and 3. They were caught up in the excitement and energy of the day. There were 2 heats of each event for a total of 16 swimmers. The boys swam in one pool and the girls in another. (the 50 meter pool was divided in half with a bulk head). AJ swam a personal best and was only 0.25 of a second off of a regional qualifying time taking 6th palce in the state. L swam well (about a half second slower than her personal best) and placed 12th in the State. Great job AJ and L!! We are so proud of you!!

Team warm up.




U of M is a huge venue!


Aj swimming his backstroke....girl's pool was much better for taking photos as the girls swam parallel to spectators. Boys swam perpendicular to spectators so most shots were up the nose and in 22 seconds it was too hard to get a second shot with our current camera!








Watching their teammates after their events were finished. The shirts list all the teams that were at State. Our kdis swim for Blaisdell Blazers.

Garbage


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Thursday, February 19. 2009

LJ's toddler speech/jargon keeps expanding by leaps and bounds everyday. He is constantly talking and telling us what he wants and thinks he needs. The main words currently in his vocabulary are "Chocolate" and "presents" (must have been the monthly celebrations for the past three months between Christmas, his birthday and AJ's birthday)

Recently, I said to him, "I need to go and put this in the garbage" and walked by him. He came running behind me chanting "Go bitch!" I stopped for a moment thinking he was cheering me on in a manner I was too happy with, til I figured out he was saying "garbage" in his own way.

Sunday, the kids were at the State swim meet and LJ was wound up. He stood along the railing beside the garbage can for that seating area (bad placing in my mind). Several times I had to keep him from touching the garbage (gobitch). There were several families from our team sitting together cheering on the various kids on the team. At one point I was cheering for a teammate of the kids' and saying "Go J!" LJ pipes in "Go bitch! Go- bitch!" and before I can stop him he takes a plastic bottle from the garbage and throws it down onto the pool deck! Luckily no one was injured in his garbage fling but I was completely mortified.

I turned back at one point in my chat with LJ (he kept looking past me and grinning ear to ear) to see everyone in the immediate area hiding behind meet schedules, newspapers and anything else to conceal their laughter and enjoyment as LJ was thinking he was pretty cute and clever.

I think from now on, garbage will become "trash" in this house til LJ's pronunciation is a bit clearer!

My boy is 7!


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Tuesday, February 17. 2009



AJ celebrated his 7th birthday today! He wanted to have breakfast at a local restaurant and was very excited when they brought him a candle in his pancakes. Daddy headed to work and we went to a class to learn about hovercrafts. The class went long, original schedule for the afternoon needed to be altered as my friend J wasn't feeling well so I ended up keeping R with us so we decided to go out for a special lunch. From there it was Mommy's work, playtime with his friend and then group piano lessons.

According to AJ one of the best things about his birthday was not having to eat at home. The worst thing was having to get out of his new "comfy birthday pajamas. Tomorrow will be a slower day so he can stay in his PJ's all day."

When I look at AJ, I am amazed with how much he has grown and changed in the past 7 years. He loves sports (soccer, football, hockey, swimming, baseball and tennis) and loves to build and create with K'Nex and Lego. Tech Deck (finger skate boards and gear) has become another favotrite activity and he thoroughly enjoyed his gifts today. As a toddler, he would wake up early and play quietly with his "Little People" and would create imaginative adventures for them. He has now moved to playing with Playmobil and still creates many scenarios of great adventure. His books have changed from picture books of trucks and dinosaurs to reading the adventures of the Hardy Boys with Dad and the other kids. He is an awesome big (and little) brother. He is my helper around the house and is quite the cleaner when he chooses to be (if not pre-occupied with one of his favorite activities). In the past year, he has learned to read quite well and math continues to be a favorite subject as does anything science oriented. History and Geography are also favorites. Printing, spelling and poetry are not his favorites but he still readily participates. He would like to be in the Olympics and when asked which sport, he will tell you soccer. He also wants to be a coach when he grows up and a Dad. He is 4 feet 2 inches tall, wears a size 1 shoe and size 7/8 clothes.

When I look at my big seven year old, I am taken back to his first hours of life. He was slow to make his appearance arriving less than 18 hours before they were going to force him out. Arriving quickly when he finally decided to come (less than 20 minutes form the time punch on the car in the parking lot to his time of birth) and quickly teaching us that anything that we thought "worked" with his older sister was not going to work with him. He grew quickly and was a 20 pound 2 month old. Whenever people talked of a "big baby", his name was often used as the reference until his little brother came along and stole the thunder in that department. He is adventurous although some of that reckless abandon has been toned down after several trips to the ER at age 2 and the loss of one of his teeth last year sledding. He lost his front teeth at age 4 1/2 due to injury and having to have them removed and now after 2 1/2 years we are getting used to his big "light up the room grin" with teeth again.

AJ is an observer. He likes to watch before he participates and this is especially true of sports.

AJ, we love you and are so proud of you. Hope your birthday is extra special and that you know how very special you are to us. We love you!

A look back:



















Today:









Solo


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Monday, February 9. 2009

We went skiing yesterday afternoon and had a wonderful time. S took the older two and headed off initially as LJ had fallen asleep in the van on the drive there and wasn't too happy that he was now awake.

A-girl really wanted to get outside so I took her out to the bunny run and tried to work with her and LJ on a tiny little bump. She would go down and was able to stop before careening into folks putting on/taking off their skis at the racks and I was quite amazed at how much she is learning over the course of the season. She then wanted to go up the rope tow and I tried to convince her that I couldn't take both she and LJ so she would have to wait or go alone. She hasn't wanted to go alone before but everything must have been aligned yesterday and she wanted to head out on her solo flight. With just a little assistance she managed to grab the rope and make it all the way to the top and ski down to me. L and AJ had returned to the bunny run so they skied with her a bit. After several trips up the rope tow without incident, she did fall but it didn't seem to phase her and she managed to get up and out of the way and head out on her own. I can't remember ever seeing that excited or proud of herself. It was incredible to watch.









End of season play


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Monday, February 2. 2009

It seems odd to think that L and AJ's hockey season is coming to a close. We have barely turned the calendar for February and they are in their last games of play this week. The park league has a really short season ( 6 weeks) which on one hand is great as it doesn't last half the year (or all year) as some of the bigger leagues do but yet I don't feel I have had enough hockey this year. I'm not ready to move to the next season of sports just quite yet.

Busy Weekend


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Sunday, February 1. 2009

This weekend seemed to be extra busy and extra full. Saturday was the Sectional swim meet which filled our day from 10am to 6pm. L and AJ had a great time and swam well. Loran swam personal best times in all three of her events and was able to get a Regional Qualifying time in her breast stroke which was an incredible accomplishment and we are very very proud of her. AJ also had great swims in his freestyle and backstroke and his breast stroke is still problematic resulting in another DQ. If only the breast stroke technique involved a dolphin kick (fly legs) and breast stroke arms....he's have it perfected! The kids had a great time being with their swim team friends for the day. They didn't qualify for State in any events (needed to place in the top three in their events)but were excited for friends that did and are looking forward to next year's season already.









We hurried home and celebrated LJ's birthday with a and AJ. It was a great evening of cake decorating (for some reason I had no time to decorate LJ's cake before dinner as we arrived home about 10 minutes before A and AJ arrived), birthday celebration and Wii challenges. We all were having such a great time that none of us realized it was 11:30 and all 4 kids were still awake and going strong.









This afternoon we joined friends at the ski area and had an outdoor picnic on the hill. The temperatures were just above freezing making the late afternoon party lots of fun. LJ enjoyed his first chair lift ride and I had a hard time convincing him to go inside after several runs. He kept pointing to the top, grinning ear to ear and saying "More, up, high, go down fast." The photos do not capture his great joy and smile as by the time the camera (whose battery has issues in the cold) would finally take the picture it captured his "would you hurry up mom, you are wasting ski time trying to take pictures impatient face.















All in all a very full weekend and not a lot of rest. Tomorrow will be interesting.

Word of the week


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Sunday, February 1. 2009

LJ's word of the week this week is "huge" Everything around him is huge....the train, the snowbank, the hill. He is also very obsessed with the moon and often will tell you that it is "hiding in house" (meaning hiding behind a house) when he can't see it.



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