Monday, May 30, 2011

Jump right in, Jeff....

Alex's Godfather Jeff was in the area (from Phoenix) visiting family, and managed to carve out a bit of time to come and visit on Memorial Day. Having no kids himself, he was a HUGE sport and jumped right in to help with entertaining Alexandra and even feeding Justin!Alex was a big talker before he arrived, telling us everything that she was planning to do with him. Once he got here, however, she clammed up! I think she was a little intimidated by how tall Jeff is. She did warm up eventually, though. Hopefully when we're in Phoenix next time she'll really chat him up!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The end of life as we know it....



Just a week away from the 6 month mark!

Justin's First Hike

Despite the threatening skies, the Marotz family headed out on our first hike of the season today. It was a beautiful (if overcast) day at Afton State Park, and we took full advantage of it. Justin hiked like a pro. He's so used to being 'worn' in our Ergo daily that the feeling of being in the hiking backpack was familiar enough to be comfortable, yet enough of a different perspective to entertain him. He stayed awake through the majority of the hike, just soaking in all the new sights, sounds and smells. About fifteen minutes from the end trailhead he was finally lulled into a deep sleep by Daddy's hiking cadence.




We had a very enjoyable day in nature. Alex collected treasures of all sorts to carry in her collecting basket, we had a quasi-picnic (granola bars and water for 3 of us, a nursing session for the other) and took our time exploring. I am proud to report that Alex walked the entire way without getting tired or whiny!

Garden Day

Well, we took advantage of a beautiful (and somewhat shady) day to get our garden planted. While we were at Home Depot, Dave and Alex also got materials to make a cart for our reticulating umbrella. The hope is that it will be MUCH easier to roll from one spot to another.

After we got home, Brad came over to help supervise The Boy while Dave worked on his construction project and I got the beds ready to plant. Alex was convinced that it is now summer, and dragged her inflatable pool out of the deck box. We decided to humor her and fill it with water-- she was quite happy jumping in and out of the (very cold) pool, checking on Daddy's progress and hurrying over to me to help with a few weeds before running back to her pool. Justin and Brad hung out on the quilts and watched all the action.

While digging in our beds, we found many, many beautiful pink worms. I am so excited to have gorgeous soil to work with! We also encountered a fair number of spiders, and a few Mama spiders with egg sacs. We decided to let them be and hopefully have a reduced mosquito population this year (remind me of this when I'm complaining of a spider infestation in a month or so). I also found one slug by my strawberries. We tried eggshells last year-- any suggestions for keeping those critters off my plants?

Strawberry blossoms!
Alex's very own "Tigger-Lily". Actually, I'm not convinced that it will have spots, but she was so excited to bring it home that I couldn't break it to her. We planted some spent tulip, hyacinth and daffodil bulbs around it so that she can have a beautiful spring garden next year.




Digging a hole to plant some tomatoes-- we did one Early Girl, one Better Boy and one Sweet 100 Cherry this year.






Dill and Chives (originally from Great Grandpa Ed's farm) that self-seeded. The rest of my herbs (Basil, Rosemary, Thyme, Cilantro, Sage) are in the window box on the front of the house. Other than that, we planted shelling peas and our fairy tale eggplants. Because we're a drop-off site for our summer veggie CSA this year, we felt much less pressure to squeeze lots of stuff in our boxes. Hopefully the plants will be healthier and happier this year!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Last Day of School (Justin-style)

Justin's first ECFE class came to a close today. It is amazing that the first time he attended, he could barely stay awake through class and he absolutely detested 'tummy time'. Today he was rolling back and forth, actively searching and grabbing for toys. He sat unassisted for about 5 seconds today, too!
Justin, Miss Susan and Miss Linda. What wonderful ladies!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Soaking up the Sun!



Finally a sunny day again! It's been so gloomy and overcast that as soon as we saw Mr. Sun pop through the clouds, we grabbed a couple quilts and camped out on the lawn for an impromptu 'snack picnic', reading, relaxing and playing.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spring Nature Table

Now that it's fully spring, here's a view of our nature table. Normally there are 'bouquets' of dandelions, too...but the cats kept knocking them down! :-)

Rhubarb!




We decided to harvest some of our Rhubarb yesterday. We planted these last year, and I am very pleased at the production so far this spring! They seem to really like it, nestled on the side of the house. I'm planning on getting a few more plants this year so that we can freeze and enjoy the tangy sweet-tartness all year long!As a child I remember distinctly not liking rhubarb, so I was expecting Alex to deem it 'too sour', but she gobbled it up (it WAS in a cobbler!). More fun than eating, though, was doing all they layers herself. Do you like my new 'cookbook'? :-) It is perfect for pulling up recipes as we work in the kitchen. (By the way, this is a typical view of our kitchen. I don't know WHAT I'm going to do once The Boy starts crawling...right now he just chills on a blanket and we can get cooking done!)

Mmmm....anyone want to come over for dessert?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Weaving


When Gramps and Uncle Willy stopped by on their way up North for a fishing weekend, they dropped off something wonderful. An easel loom! Alex, Justin and I got busy finding the perfect fabric (we settled on flannel because we found a bunch at Goodwill) and prepping it over the weekend (our own weekend in Superior, WI will be documented as soon as I get the photos transferred from Dave's computer to mine!). Today was the day we got to start weaving.


I knew that Alex would enjoy the process, but I had no idea how adept at it she would be. I anticipated having to hover over her, directing her fingers to go 'up and down', but she jumped right in and is able to do it on her own. I do help her pull the fabric strips through and make sure that the tension is consistent, otherwise she's in charge!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Angry Baby

Just a photo of an angry baby, smothered in carrots and oatmeal. Makes my day, hope it does the same for yours!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

First 'Harvest'

My lovely boquet. It took about fourty-five minutes to gather the perfect blooms :-)
Do we have moles? Nope--after Dandelion gathering, Alex took it upon herself to continue weeding the empty garden beds. She was working so diligently that I couldn't bear to tell her not to throw the clumps of crabgrass all over the lawn so I waited until naptime to go and tidy up.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spring Princess

Spring Princess in her crown.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Getting the garden ready

Time to get those garden beds ready to go! Alex has her own pint-sized hoe, and she was ready to get to work. If the weather holds, we'll be filling the gardens with spinach, peppers and tomatoes later this week.
Justin and our ever-watchful Garden Gnome supervised.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bagel, Anyone?



We've found the only thing that really soothes sore gums is a frozen bagel. The Boy can chew on it for about 15 minutes before it gets too mushy and soft! What a hit!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saying Goodbye, Saying Hello!

Both GranMama and GranPapa had to get back to Des Moines for the weekend, so it was a quick visit. The kids had so much fun with them, and it's always a tearful afternoon after they leave. Luckily Alex had something to distract her this time. Emma's Mama and Daddy were walking Relay for Life, so she came over to have a SLEEPOVER!


The girls played outside, did an art project, ate dinner, took a bath and read stories before bedtime. It was so much fun-- they really entertain each other and we had very little (or no) squabbles or sharing issues!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Siblings...

Alex puts Justin to bed in a 'soothing and relaxing' manner. Enjoy.



Thursday, May 12, 2011

Garage Sale-ing 2011!

GranMama came up to spend time with the kids and hit the Woodbury Lions Club Garage Sale extravaganza this year! Despite the rainy, cloudy weather we were up and 'saleing' before 8am. I even scored a gorgeous antique Birds Eye Maple Dresser at around 7:30am (it's previous home was across the street from us!)







Alex is quite the little bargain-hunter. If you give her a 'goal' (for example, a small pitcher that she can use to pour her own drinks), she stays focused on finding that prize-- ignoring the piles and piles of plastic toys, dolls and stuffed animals displayed at these sales. She'd sometimes examine a toy with blatant lights/noises, interested in why it behaved so peculiarly, but after looking/playing with it she'd always tell me "Mama-- these toys are plastic. They don't last so long, do they?" (We had a sad incident with Nicki's plastic glasses from the American Girl store).


Justin was the perfect baby. He was quite content either in the stroller or in his carseat. GranMama and I would take turns running into a sale while the other one stayed with the baby in the minivan.
Once we got home, GranMama and Alex played with some puzzles and read some books while Justin watched. What a great way to spend a rainy afternoon!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

We don't Gnaw on our Kitties.

Justin is teething....and I mean on EVERYTHING! :-)


He's also just really 'noticed' the cats. Percy and Huxley are good sports about getting tufts of hair pulled out. Being that the baby isn't really mobile yet, I figure they are free to move out of reach if they choose-- they just choose not to.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day



It was Justin's first trip to The Hill today! We headed down to see Auntie Rorie's Gospel Choir concert. Justin and Daddy didn't make it very long into the concert (Dave ended up giving Justin the Grand Tour of St. Olaf), but Alex was engaged the entire time. She loved it! She also loved the fact that Auntie Rorie came and gave me (a stand-in for Mom) a rose-- it was pink (Rorie practically had to push her way to the front to grab a pink one!).
After the concert we went to El Tequila (a college favorite) for dinner and Alex enjoyed a cheese enchilada, without the red sauce. Because of the poor selection (mac & cheese, chix nuggets, etc) on kids' menu options, I've started just ordering for her off of the adult menu in order to get a somewhat 'healthy' meal in. It's an extension of our 'No Choices' mantra (which, by the way, is still hard to do but getting easier every day).

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sheep & Wool Festival

Auntie Carrie came over this morning to hit the Sheep & Wool Festival with us. Being that it was at the Washington County Fairgrounds, we had to check it out. It was an absolutely lovely day and we soaked up the sun.






Justin and Auntie Carrie enjoyed watching the sheepdog trials. I learned that if you flank your dog around your herd of sheep they should be able to go all the way around the herd without moving them. Things to know.



We visited all the barns, where we got to see a large variety of goats, sheep, llamas, alpacas and bunnies. They had a neat 'feeling' station where they had wool from all the different animals for you to touch and compare.



Alex and I fell in love with a sweet Angora bunny. Daddy's pretty lucky that we already have two cats, or she may have come home with us! As it was, Alex did get a small bag of Angora roving for our crafting. Who knows what will come of it!



We scored big time when we found a basket of beautiful felt scraps. We selected a few gorgeous pieces and ended up paying $1 for the bag! :-)












Enjoying some 'sand restaurant service' for the rest of the evening while Mama and Daddy had "a playdate". (Thanks for babysitting, Carrie!)