Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I dare you.

I dare you to find something cuter than this.  

On the way home from church in Ashland on Sunday, we passed some hay bales in a field.  I wish I could claim that it was my inner artist that made us stop and take this pictures, but it was really Michael who had the awesome idea (trespassing is a Sabbath-appropriate activity, right??).  Aww, these pictures seriously just melt my heart.  I love my sweet boys!
Happy on a hay bale:

Trying oh so hard to get it to budge.  Look at Ryan's face.  Classic.

Love love LOVE this one:

Ryan presenting me with the flowers he picked from the field for me.  He learned from the best!

And Calvin presenting me with the flowers he picked for me. 

Love love love love love.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bond Falls

On Saturday Grandpa had the excellent idea of taking  an excursion to Bond Falls, the second-largest waterfall in the Upper Peninsula.  It was beautiful!  We had an awesome time taking a little hike with all the kids and seeing the beautiful fall colors.  Great idea, Grandpa!  Here are a whole bunch of pictures from the falls:

Our family at the falls:

The boys checking out the upper falls:

Christy and Sophie:

I love this one of the boys:

Calvin showing Christy the rocks in the water:

Excited Calvin:

The beautiful falls:

Happy little Ryan:

Mommy and Ryan:

Both boys ventured into the water while we weren't looking...

Christy and Grandpa:

Ryan found these two stumps and said, "Look!  A chair for me and a chair for Calvin!"  They are making binoculars out of their hands in this picture:

Ryan thought he was a very big boy.  And of course Calvin wanted to follow suit, but needed a little help:

Christy asked Calvin if he wanted a piggy back ride.  He got really excited, hopped on and said "And you will be my motorcycle??!!??"  Then he proceeded to make motorcycle noises while Christy carried him:

Ryan checking out his shoes:

Calvin very excited about his find.  Whenever he would drop this leaf, he'd look around through all the other leaves on the ground until he found this one again.  Funny guy.

When she wasn't napping, Sophie was looking up at the trees with this face, making an "OOOOOOOHHHH!" sound.  Very cute.  This girl loves nature.

Ryan in front of Bond falls:

Ryan and his leaf:

And what trip is complete without a little melt-down?  Ryan did something I told him not to do, and so we told him he didn't get a treat on the way home.  He was very sad.  In the car when Calvin got his little treat, Michael and Christy informed me that Calvin said in a sing-song taunty voice "You don't get a treat, ha ha ha ha ha."  Little stinker.

And a little blast from the past.  When we got back to the car, we saw that we were parked next to a somewhat crummy older black Jeep Cherokee with a photography logo on the back.  Oh, the memories!  (For those of you that might be confused, I used to have a similar sort of crummy black Jeep Cherokee with my own photography logo on it)

Anyways, it was a lovely day!  Thanks for taking us, Grandpa!

Guess where we've been?

The only place in the world with this:

The world's largest free-standing Indian.  Ironwood.  Sweet. 

We got in on Thursday night and on Friday Michael and I spent the day playing around Ironwood with the kids.  We had such a great time!  Christy and Vitoria were at school and Grandpa was at work, so here's how we passed the time until they all got home:

A visit to Hiawatha, of course.  Sophie sure looks happy to be here!

Playing around on the train car you can climb on:

Playing at the park:
After everyone got home we had a lot of fun playing around with Christy and Vitoria and Grandpa, eating banana splits and generally having a wonderful time.  We love coming to visit!  Thanks for giving us your bed, Christy!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Calvin. Oh, Calvin.

Here's what we've been up to for the last hour:

Our children were sleeping soundly and peacefully after a pretty magical and perfect afternoon/evening where I got to spend high quality, enjoyable alone time with each of them, thanks to an alternating nap schedule.  All of a sudden, Calvin goes from being completely asleep to complete freaking out screaming at the top of his lungs.  I go to see what the problem is.  He is sobbing and shaking and screaming all at the same time.  It was something along these lines:

"That mean dog bit me!  Where is he? Where is that big big dog?  Is he under my bed?  Is he outside?  I'm scared of that dog!"

Poor little Calvin was having a nightmare about a great big frightening dog.  So I calmed him down and he went back to sleep.

Fast forward 10 minutes.

More sobbing/shaking/screaming.  This time Michael goes in and I am listening in from the couch.

"It bit me!  The dog!  There's a dog under my bed!  It's German!  There are Germans!  The Germans bit me!"

At this point I am laughing hysterically at my poor crazy son while trying to conceal it because he is clearly very upset.  So, we bring him in the living room with us.  Here's his stream of consciousness:

"The Germans bit me. We don't have any tomatoes. I don't like coffee. I'm afraid of the Germans. The big bad wolf doesn't like Germans. I don't like Germans.  I'm going to tell mommy there's no Germans. Mommy there's no dogs and no Germans.  Jesus said "Go away Germans".  And I don't like them.  That dog was mean.  And then I said hi to the dog.  He's not a German any more.  He got nationalized.  Now he's nice.  He's Lucy.  I like to pet him.  He's black and he doesn't bite me.  There's a bug in my pants. I've gotta get that bug outta my pants.  It's a squito.  And I smashed him with my pants.  (Michael gets out a pita and hummus snack and offers one to Calvin) Did you make one for Lucy (Grandma and Grandpa Walton's dog)? I don't like sharks biting me.  And I'd say, shark, you are naughty.  The shark is on time out. (Michael tells him "Quick take a bite") Before the German does??  I'm gonna keep it so the German can't eat it."

We have absolutely no idea where he even heard about Germans, let alone where all this hostility came from.  We can only fathom that somewhere he learned about German Shepherds, so Michael showed Calvin some pictures of nice cute German Shepherds doing things like wearing sunglasses and standing up on their hind legs next to a lawnmower so they look like they are mowing the lawn.  Calvin's only response is, "There's a German pepper on my cuter (Calvin speak for 'There's a German Shepard on my Computer")."

We try to send him to bed again.  He reluctantly starts heading--very very slowly--in the direction of his room.  He is muttering "Daddy, we do like Germans. I don't like Germans.  I don't want them in my low bunk..."

I tuck him in, sing him a song, check all over his room for possible Germans or German Shepherds and leave the door open at his request when I leave.  For the next 10 minutes we hear a fairly happy Calvin repeating "There' no German in my low bunk!  There's no German in my low bunk!"  But all of a sudden this turns once again into complete sobbing/shaking/screaming about the German in his low bunk, even with the door open.

So, I go in and tell him that he can just go get in my bed.  And little slowpoke Calvin bolted like lightening to my bed and climbed in chanting that there we no Germans in Mommy's room.  I've seriously never seen him move that fast.  Michael tells him "Close your eyes, honey." to which he replies, "So the Germans can't see me?"

We tuck him in and come back to the living room.  Before I even sit down he is begging to have the lights on.  So I left them on.  That was about a half hour ago.  He's as quiet as can be, laying flat on his back with the covers pulled up to his chin and his two little hands just sticking out to clutch the top of the blanket, eyes wide open.

This could be a very long night.

Monday, September 13, 2010

First Day of Preschool

Well, Ryan had his very first day of preschool this afternoon and boy was he excited.  I took him to Old Navy this morning and let him pick out a new shirt.  I took him to Old Navy for 2 reasons.  One, there was a 30% off one item coupon online.  Two, Ryan does the most ridiculous dance moves in Old Navy.  Really, the second he walks in the door and hears the music, he starts bobbing his head in a weird way and from then on it just escalates until he is just really getting down.  It is pretty much the funniest thing I have ever seen.  While we looked at different shirt options he would focus for a while and then just break out in crazy dance moves.  Oh Ryan, I love you.

But back to the subject at hand.  So, Ryan was all set for preschool in his brand new shirt and his new Lightening McQueen shoes and his backpack (er, Calvin's backpack.  That he got for Christmas. Don't tell him).  He felt genuinely grown up.  If you've ever met Ryan, then I'm sure you know that he doesn't have a shy bone in his body and that he has never felt one iota of separation anxiety, so he was all set.  I drove him over to his preschool and we walked inside holding hands, talking about how fun it would be.  Then he looked up at me with his sweet little face and said, "Mommy, I love you.  I'm really going to miss you."  Then he hurried down the hall and bounded into his classroom, grinning from ear to ear.  It was very sweet.  And I know, it's not even real school, but I felt like my boy grew up a little right before my eyes today.

He had a fabulous time at preschool and said his very favorite part of the day was helping the other children glue things onto their pictures because "some of them don't know how to glue things on!  But some of them do..."  To this, Michael responded, "You know, Ryan, maybe we should have looked into the advanced placement program for you..."  When I asked Ryan what his least favorite part was, he thought for a long time and finally said, "Uh...going to the bathroom...cuz I didn't really like that too much..." 

Here's Ryan, showing off his backpack before leaving:

And here he is jumping off the porch...

 Sitting with Mom for a picture:

And a smooch:

And here he is with his teacher, Miss Jenny:

And doing his first official scholastic task--writing his name on a piece of paper.  He's in full concentration mode. 

Way to go, my great big preschooler!  We love you, Ryan!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Anoka County Fair!

Ok, so remember two months ago when we went to the fair?  Probably not, because I didn't blog about it.  But I am now!  Michael took me and Christy and the kids on a surprise outing while Christy was visiting in July, and we ended up at the Anoka County Fair!  It was so much fun, and the kids had such a great time!  They absolutely loved it, with their favorites being the dog show and the log cutting.  Oh, and the cotton candy.  Don't forget the cotton candy.  They also really loved seeing all of the animals.  Calvin's favorites were the ducks, while Ryan favored the horses.

It was a lot smaller than the state fair, which suited us just fine, since it was just the right size to see most of what we wanted to before the kids were ready for lunch and a nap.  And of course it was the site of the pride of Ryan's life, his coloring contest victory!  And it was so great to have Christy along, of course.  Not only is she a ton of fun and excellent company, but she also put on my baby wrap and carried Sophie around for most of the time!  Christy is the best!

Here are some pictures of our fair adventures:
Michael and Christy and the boys:

Now just imagine Calvin screaming (in his very most excited voice) "DUCKS!!!!!!!!"

Michael and the boys taking a stroll by the horse pens:

Ryan checking out Snickers the horse:

Calvin on a tractor!

This was Calvin's favorite way to traverse the fairgrounds.  It was pretty cute.

Sophie with wonderful Aunt Christy:


When she wasn't strapped on to her Aunt Christy, Sophie hung out in the stroller with her buddies:

And here is the whole gang (minus the photographer) lovin' the cotton candy:

Calvin and the new love of his life:

Ryan feeling pretty good about life with his cotton candy:

Christy looking not so sure about the cotton candy...

My personal favorite.  Cottoncandy-handlebar-mustache-man!

So thanks for the fun surprise, Michael!  We all had tons of good old fashioned county fair fun!