Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wrapping Up The Year

Reserving our seats for once the water is in the tub
Spring has sprung (and then fled, and re-sprung, then fled....
OMG! There is a house behind those trees!
unpredictable weather lately).  Since David's dad's visit, we have been very busy here, not only wrapping up school activities for Madeline's school year (I can't believe that she is almost done with 1st grade!!) but also starting outdoor projects around our house.

Shortly after David's dad left Minnesota, David and I started our outdoor work.  With a
David ran track in high school (above) and college
toddler in tow, it typically takes two of us working outside to make sure that Jonathan isn't getting into anything that he shouldn't be into.  As a result, our progress has been a very ongoing process.  Our first change was the addition of a hot tub.  Since we moved from New York , David and I really missed our evening quiet time, soaking in the tub.  Needless to
Madeline wearing David's college track jacket
say, we were beyond thrilled to add this addition to our Minnesota house.  One of our other outdoor projects is to work on our landscaping.  Trimming or removing very overgrown shrubs/trees have kept us busy as well as planting new bushes, an herb garden and mulching beds.  We are still not done cleaning/mulching the various beds but the progress that we have
About to cross the finish line - Go Madeline!
made looks much better.

Madeline had joined a running club in school to help her train for the school's 5K run.  Madeline is actually a pretty fast runner.  Heck, she takes after David who was a very skilled runner in high school/college.  The initial plan was that Madeline was going to run the kid's race and then, as a family, we
Face painting fun
would walk the 5K.  The day of the race came and it was pouring rain.  None of us had any
desire to walk the 5K in the rain, however, we felt that it was important to at least have Madeline participate in the kid's race.  Prior to leaving the house, I pulled out of the back of the closet, David's Marquette University track wind breaker, from his dollege track days.  Although
Jonathan loves playing ball
Madeline was swimming in the jacket, Madeline wore for her first race (who knows, maybe
she'll be a track
No....not Dr. J! It's Baby J!
Olympian one day) her papa's running jacket.  The kid's race wasn't a very serious race as it wasn't timed in any way, however Madeline did a good job.  There were many older kids (4th/5th grade) in the race and although Madeline didn't finish at the front, she wasn't in the back either.  I was also proud that after she completed her race she
wanted to stand at the
Madeline enjoyed the bounce houses
finish line and cheer on the other runners.  After the kids' race, we headed into school for the family fun activities that they
Getting ready for the bridging ceremony
had, due to weather, moved into the gym.  Madeline was excited about the face painting and bounce houses.  While Madeline did her thing, Jonathan was content to play with a basketball at the corner of the gym.

Our Daisies
Madeline was also a Girl Scout Daisy again this year.  Due to the fact that we moved schools and cities, this year's Daisy troop was different than last year's troop.  A Longggggg story, but I ended up taking on a leadership role in this year's new troop.  So wrapping up Girl Scouts for the year
Silly girls!
was not only a big event for Madeline, but was for me too. 
Not Daisies anymore! They bridged to Brownies!
Additionally, the end of this year meant that, since all the girls are going in 2nd grade next year, they were ready to bridge from Daisies to Brownies.   We spent our last night together, making
Signing each other's shirts
friendship bracelets and then the girls received their bridging certificates, bridging patch, membership pin (for the year they just completed) and their new Brownie pins.  After the girls bridged we shared an appropriate treat - brownies, of course! (and juice) with each other and parents while the girls signed each other's Daisy t-shirt (we opted for tees instead of the official vest/smock).  All in all, the evening was a success.  Event's like this are always bittersweet as there is happiness about the new milestone, yet at the same time a realization of how quickly time is passing and how quickly my babies are growing up!

There is just over a week of school left for Madeline and more wrap up will occur.  First grade is almost over, yet we have a whole summer of fun to look forward to and a whole summer's worth of memories to cherish.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Grandpa's Visit

Madeline drawing with Grandpa
We were so happy when David's dad called us and told us that he wanted to come for a visit (from Indiana).  We were particularly happy since he last visited us at our house in April of 2011.  At that time we were still living in NY and I was pregnant with Jonathan.  David and I were excited to have his dad see what Minnesota is all about and also have him see our new home here. The kids were also excited to spend time with Grandpa.

Jonathan and Grandpa at the playground
David's dad flew into MSP on Thursday (4/25).  Grandpa being Grandpa, before his departure, he asked what he could bring the kids.  We told him that Madeline loves to draw and is always asking us for a blank piece of paper and Jonathan loves balls.  Sure enough, Grandpa did not come empty handed.  Jonathan was beyond thrilled to start tossing around his Mickey Mouse ball while Madeline immediately pulled out her markers and started digging right into her ream of white paper.  Since Grandpa's flight came in shortly before dinner, we decided to have a quiet dinner at home.  We enjoyed baked spaghetti, Caesar salad and garlic bread. As far as the "quiet evening" goes, I'm not sure if you can call it that with the kids circling around Grandpa.  Grandpa is such a good sport!  He was ready to go and played ball with Jonathan, took "drawing commands" from Madeline, played hide and seek and "I Spy" with the kids. 

After Madeline's "Silly Song" concert (That is why Madeline is dressed silly.)
On Friday morning (4/26), David was off to work and Madeline was off to school.  David's dad enjoys walking and so he was happy to accompany Jonathan and me on a walk to
David with his dad at the Minnesota Wild game
the playground down the street from us.  Grandpa was pretty amazed at how much of a climber Jonathan is already.  In the afternoon, Madeline's school had a music concert that was performed by the kindergarten and first graders.  It was a concert of silly songs (that is why Madeline is dressed silly - dyed hair and mismatched clothing).  Madeline was so happy that Grandpa was in town and was going to her school to see the concert.  In the evening, David had tickets to a Minnesota Wild game.  Going back to the early 90's when David's dad visited David, shortly after David moved to Buffalo, the two of them would go see a hockey game together.  Of course in the past the two of them went to see Buffalo Sabres game, however, this time it was nice that the hockey schedule worked out so that they could now share a game together in Minnesota too.

A beautiful day for the zoo!
Saturday (4/27) was a beautiful day, one of the first really warm days of the year.  We had nothing particular planned to "entertain"
The whole family squeezing on a scale together at the zoo
dad for the day.  We just went about our normal everyday activities, yet, I believe that Dad enjoyed just being part of
Although Madeline doesn't look impressed, the whole lot of us weigh as much as an adult bear
that.  In the morning I made breakfast for the gang.  Later in the day,  I took Madeline to a scheduled play date that she had with one of her school friends.  While I was with Madeline, David and his dad and Jonathan went to Target for some groceries and then later took Jonathan to the playground.  In the evening, David grilled out steaks for dinner.  After dinner, we sat around the table asking Grandpa questions about meeting Grandma as well as what he remembered about various events in history.  As an adult it was nice to be part of this conversation but it was especially nice to have Madeline at an age to be interested and ask questions as well.  In general, Saturday was a very laid back day, yet very enjoyable.

A fun family photo at the Minnesota Zoo
Sunday (4/28) after Mass we headed to the Minnesota Zoo.  We definitely gave Grandpa a work out on this outing but, as usual,
Dad with Mary Tyler Moore
he was a trooper.  After leaving the zoo, we did a quick drive-thru tour of Minneapolis (he was able to see St. Paul when he & David went to the hockey game).  Of course what must *every* tourist to Minneapolis do??? Yep, that's right, get a picture taken with the statue of Mary Tyler Moore.  After dragging Grandpa all over the zoo he wasn't about to do a walking tour of Minneapolis.  David and I informed David's dad that we were going to pull up to the curb and that he'd have to get out of the car for me to take a picture.  As I told him to pose with the statue, David's dad asked me, "What should I do"?  My response was, "I don't know.....hold her hand or steal her purse".  Looking at the picture, I am not sure which of those options he decided......maybe somewhere between the two options.

At the ER! Feeling better and ready to go home.
On Monday (4/29) we once again had nothing out of the ordinary planned.  The day, however,had other plans for us.  Shortly after lunch time I had received a call from Madeline's school because she was at the nurse's office.  Madeline was climbing on the top of the playground equipment at recess time.  She had fallen from the top of the playground and hit her head on another piece of playground equipment on her way down.  Madeline's eyes were crossed inward and she was seeing double.  Needless to say, this required a trip to the emergency room and a head CT scan.  Talk about a scary situation!!  Thankfully, the CT scan was normal and Madeline's eyes and vision returned back to normal by the time we left the hospital.  Talk about adding some excitement to Grandpa's visit!!  David had dinner squared away for us when Madeline and I got home.  We enjoyed shish kabobs from the grill, rice and salad.  Although the original plan was to watch Argo with David's dad once the kids went to bed, I think the day included too much excitement for Grandpa as the movie idea was nixed and an earlier bedtime was planned for all.

Putt Putt golf
On Tuesday (4/30) our plans for the evening were originally to head to the Mall of America for dinner and allow the kids to
Madeline's custom hat at Dick's Last Resort
ride a few rides.  As a result of Madeline's playground injury we needed to slightly alter the plans so that it did not include rides.  We decided to still head to the mall for dinner but prior to dinner we chose to play a round of putt putt golf. I think Grandpa was really enjoying the golf, however, Madeline was showing zero patience for the accuracy required in the game of golf and Jonathan was
Jonathan's custom hat at Dick's Last Resort
having no patience for the rules of the game.  To a bystander I am pretty sure that it appeared as though the kids were running circles around Grandpa and Papa as Mama chased each of the kids.  Despite the varying values of the rules of the game, I believe that everyone enjoyed themselves.  After golf we headed over to Dick's Last Resort for dinner.  If you are not familiar
Grandpa being amused by the wait staff
with the chain of Dick's Last Resort restaurants, they incorporate as degree of light-hearted rudeness into your dining experience.  Aside from me having a pile of napkins leaf blown into my face, the kids got a kick out of the silly hats that the server made for them, David and his dad found humor in the waiter's "off" comments and Madeline thought it was hysterical that the waiter told her it was time to leave and then dragged Madeline (while she was still sitting in her chair) to the entrance of the restaurant.  Not the usual dining experience for any of us....especially David's dad, however I believe that everyone still had a fun evening.

On Wednesday (5/1), just like that, in the blink of an eye, David's dad's visit was over and he was flying back to Indiana.  We really enjoyed our time together and the kids not only loved spending time with Grandpa but were also sad to see him leave.  It might be a couple months before we can head to Indiana for a visit but we are looking forward to spending time together again soon.