Sunday, July 31, 2016

Alarik Spills the Beans

I think the boys missed their sister while she was at camp last week.  Though Scott for one would never admit it.  It was a happy reunion when we picked her up last Friday.

That is, until Alarik spilled the beans that I had taken him to Park Rec without her while she was gone.  I TOLD him not to tell her!!!

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Yard

Jesse and I have done a lot of work on the yard in the last couple of years and I've tried to remember to take pictures.  I wanted to compare how the yard looks now compared to when we moved in 13 years ago.  I didn't realize just how much we've done over the years!  This is the area behind the garden in 2005:

Here's Scott checking out the back corner of the garden in 2006:

And here's a view that includes the whole garden a few years later.

Here's what that area looks like today:
The garden is in the same spot but we replaced the raised beds with a traditional garden space, adding a fence to the back corner.  We cleared a lot of space behind the garden to expand the yard and our most recent project is the area with the fresh woodchips that you can see in the background.

Looks like in 2010 we had done some of the clearing work and started the log cabin. 

It's now 2016 and the log cabin still isn't finished - taller, but still no roof.

This is the backyard when we bought the house in 2003.  Ugly red shed, useless lattice shed, and rock garden area.

Here's the same view today - all the buildings and rock garden gone, swings in the oak trees, a bigger back deck and a fire pit. Oh, and the house is green now instead of that awful newborn-baby-poop tan color!

It's been a slow and gradual process over the last dozen or so years, but we're happy with all the changes we've made to our yard.  Jesse and I might be old before our time, but from the time Spring has sprung until it's time to pull everything or cut it back, one of our favorite things to do it walk around the yard together checking out all the plants, watering, pulling a few weeds, and just admiring our work.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

8 hours later

I snapped this picture of one of our lilies ready to bloom at 8:30 p.m. one evening.

And by 8:30 the next morning, it looked like this:

Oh, so pretty!  Every other year, all of our lilies have been orange so we have no idea where this more red one came from, but it's gorgeous!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hiawatha, take 4

This is Bekah's 4th summer going to Camp Hiawatha.  The first two years she went all by herself, not knowing anyone else that was going to be there.  That just amazes me because I never would have done that at her age.  Heck, I STILL wouldn't do it!  Last year three friends from her class at school ended up going and they had a good time.  This year, all of them decided to go to a different camp so Bekah was faced with the possibility of going alone which she was no longer interested in doing.  Thankfully, Eleanor decided that she wanted to go.  Siri and I dropped them off on our way home from Jay Cooke on Sunday.  We are keeping up with their daily happenings through the online newsletter, though not many pictures have been shared yet.  I can't wait to go get them on Friday and hear all about their week!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

MomsnKids 2016

For our 6th annual MomsnKids camping weekend, we ventured a little further from home than usual, to Jay Cooke State Park.  It was SO gorgeous!

The Kallinens and Storlies got there around 4pm after spending a day doing a little shopping in Duluth.  We set up camp, had delicious pulled pork fajitas for dinner and took a quick walk to the bridge before bedtime.

All 12 kids and 3 dogs!

On Saturday morning, the King ladies were in charge of breakfast and they did omelets in a bag.  I've always wanted to try them and they turned out very good so they will probably be a repeat meal for future years.
After breakfast we battened down the hatches because the weather was calling for big thunderstorms later in the day.  In fact, we were under a flash flood warning for the latter part of the day!  But we had a big hike planned so we got moving figuring we'd get back before the bad weather hit and spend our evening in the lodge if necessary.

The kids did fantastic on the hike.  Alycia, Violet and Tovah had stayed back for naptime, and Scarlett was in the backpack, so Alarik was our youngest hiker.  He complained a few times that he was too tired to walk anymore, but he made the whole trek.  All told, we hiked for 2.5 hours with a break at the halfway point.

The kids changed into swimsuits when we got back, since the weather was still looking fine, and went for a dip in a calm bend of the river.  However, that didn't last too long as a park ranger came by and said "no swimming allowed" due to the current and how fast the river levels can change. 

Back around the campfire, we had an alfredo dinner made by Siri and then enjoyed some lively rounds of Catch Phrase and Fortunately/Unfortunately.

Bekah was by far our most animated player and we all got a kick out of her expressions and frustration with us when we couldn't get her clues!

We did end up with a short stretch of thunder and lightening in the middle of the night, and just a little bit of rain.  Bekah was pretty unnerved by the lightening so she and I moved to the truck.  I moved the boys with us in case it got worse and Steph had to vacate the tent as well.  Sleeping in a truck is SO not comfortable and about two hours later, Alarik and I moved back to the tent.  Scott had no problem sleeping in the backseat.

Sunday morning's breakfast was sausage corndogs and berry parfaits...yum!  Then we started packing up.  The kids went for one last climb on the big rock next to our campsite and Alarik wanted Steph and I to climb it with him.  That's when we learned that all weekend the kids had been climbing up the face of this ridiculously tall and steep rock!  Ack...a mother's nightmare!!!

I mean, just look at that thing!  Oh well, all's well that ends well.  No broken bones.

Once we were all packed up, we made one last stop at the bridge to take in the beauty and climb a few more rocks.

I think everyone would give this MomsnKids trip two thumbs up.  Around the campfire on Saturday night, we talked about where to go next year.  We had it narrowed down to either Bear Head or Itasca and we took a vote.  Dexi and all the kids had it with votes for Itasca so we're staring to research and pick the best sites.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Throwback Thursday - Bekah's First Selfies

I talked about the kids' selfies recently.  I was searching for some older photos for another post I'm working on, and I ran across these. 

Selfies before any of us had heard the word "selfie" - and with a point-and-shoot camera, no smartphone in this house back in 2010.  But she managed to pick up the selfie skill early on.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Summer Lists

I leave the kids a list every day of chores and other things they need to do that day.  I try to make it fun with lots of colors and by mixing up the layout...but you can only do so much to make a chore list fun. 

I've tried several different "chore charts" over the years and found that just a simple list works best for us, even if it is a little boring.
I made it REALLY fun on this day with a themed chore day to help us get ready for our 4th of July camping trip:

Bekah or Scott will often jot a note to me about their list.  On this day, Scott let me know that he wasn't a fan of having to practice math by writing "poop on multiplication" on his list.  Nice.

And here's one that Jesse added an item to for all of them.  Stop being Jerks. The night before we'd had a family meeting of sorts about the way the kids were all treating each other.  Notice they did not check off the box as having that item done that day.  Hmm...

Here's the list Jesse left them when I was out of town for a few days.  He doesn't bother with fun colors.  

The last several weeks I've added a short journaling task for Bekah and Scott along with their math practice.  Here is Bekah's journaling from today.  I guess she's not a fan.