Friday, March 30, 2012

We're Going on a Treasure Hunt

*The boys and Brad returned home on Wednesday after spending several days with Brad's parents...and we have had a full week since they got here!  I have a lot to catch up on and write's all coming soon!  I'll start with today to get it started.*

The boys, Grammy and Papa toured the town this morning when they went on their very own treasure hunt.

Well, they and several other Mankato residents.

For the past several months (and for the next few years), Mankato is sponsoring a CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour.  It's something that my dad has been wanting to go see, and he proposed to the boys coming along to follow the map to find their "treasures".

There is a total of 25 sculptures placed throughout downtown Mankato and downtown North Mankato

 and the boys ventured out, map in hand, to hunt for every single one.  I met up with them when they were about two-thirds of the way through, and Drew showed me all of the numbers he had already found and crossed off on his map.

Finding #15 (which you can't see because I'm such a sweet photographer). :/

 Taking a peek at #16.

 Learning all about #17.

And if looking at sculptures begins to get a little weary... can just making your own living statues!

Or become part of an existing one!

The display throughout town was pretty amazing.  I'm not typically artsy fartsy like that, but these sculptures really are quite stunning.  The boys seemed to enjoy it and even though it was a bit chilly this morning and there was quite a bit of walking, they both fared well.  Although, something about one of the sculptures must've spooked Drew.  As I was tucking him in tonight, he told me that he needed to sleep with me.  "I need you to help me stop thinking about the walk this morning" he told me with a shaky and nervous voice.  I talked to him about other things, like his friends at school and the fun we had yesterday and the fun we'll have tomorrow and then we prayed that Jesus would calm him fears and fill his head with only good things.  He was better after that, and I haven't heard from him since.

Maybe next time we'll go on a treasure hunt for Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies. :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Project Life {Week 12}

Well, I guess I'd better get on this before it's time to post week 13.  I get so distracted when the boys aren't here!  

This week I wanted to really focus on our daily routine.  For the past couple weeks, I've been trying to really observe the dailiness of our lives and capture with the camera some of our everyday routine.  It was a lot harder than I thought!  Our routine is so, well, routine, that I had a hard time making taking pictures a part of it!  I did really good in the morning, and then by lunch, I would've forgotten all about my camera.  So what I tried to do in a couple days, really got accomplished over a few weeks.

And as I was putting this week's photos together, I was struck by how much of our routine is really quite different than it was before we moved last August.  Things are definitely different, there's no question there, and having more adult hands around the house has certainly changed a lot of the what/when/how of our previous routine (namely, caring for the house and caring for the kids).  And now I wish that I would've documented more closely our "old" routine in our previous albums.

So this week is a fairly general overview of how our days usually look, with a few more meaningful stories tucked in there as well.  When I was finished with the layout, I realized how much of it focuses on the boys.  Obviously, they're the center of our world and require the most attention, so maybe in a few more weeks I'll use another week to record mine and Brad's daily routine.

So, here's what Week 12, and our daily routine, look like.

 7:00am - The boys are usually up sometime around 7, and we promptly snuggle while catching whatever is on either Disney or Nick Jr.  Sometime between 7:30 & 8 we have breakfast.

 I'll include some journaling about how Brad and I make the mornings work between the two of us showering, etc and getting the boys ready.

 9:00am on M/W/F (school days) - I take Drew to school, and we almost always meet up with Jeremy, Avery and Addy in the parking lot.

 From 9-11:30 while Drew is at school, we have a fairly common routine.  I try to escape on my own once a week to run errands while Brad and Reed play at home.  Reed's day can really be complete by saying he plays all day.  Truly.  What else does a 3-year-old do?!?  Brad spends quite a bit of time online, primarily job hunting/networking/etc but also reading the news and catching golf scores.

 On Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday when there is no school, the boys are becoming quite content on playing together on their own.  They occasionally find our bed the best place to catch up on their reading. :)

 11:45ish - lunch.  This is pretty typical fare.

12:30ish - Quiet time.  No photos for this but I'll journal about our regular pre-quiet time book reading,  then Reed's in bed to nap and Drew's on his own to do something quietly.

3:00 - Afternoon snack.  Again, no photo, but a journal card about our usual snack options, before we turn the Electric Company on at 3:30.

 4:00pm - Our current time for video games.  I'd like to move it back to 5:00 now that warmer weather is here so we can be outside after naps and before dinner.  But I need to choose the right day to have that discussion with the boys.  :)

5:30ish - Dinner.  I'll be taking a photo this week to fill in for here.

6:10pm - One of the small stories I want to include is how we watch the stock market arrows on our local news while we're eating dinner.  It's something the boys started noticing shortly after we moved in with Mom and Dad, and it's become quite the little tradition to see how the markets of our favorite companies did each day.

7:00pm - Baths every other night (I also have yet to take a picture to fill in here).

7:30pm - A journal card about our bedtime routine: potty, brush teeth, read books, say prayers, good night, I love you, lights out by 8:00!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Being Brothers {A Photobook}

When I received an email from Shutterfly with a promo code for a free photobook, I knew just what I wanted to create.  I wanted to make a keepsake for the boys, documenting their relationship for the last three years.  {Granted, there's only one for now the book will serve as a lesson in sharing.} :)  After I searched through three years of photos, and created a new folder with 377 pictures of the two boys together, I had my work cut out for me to narrow it down to a select handful that would fit into the photobook.

I'm super stoked with the results...and Shutterfly allows users to share on their blogs, so I thought I'd give everyone a peek inside.  I hope you enjoy looking back on these brothers as much as I have.


Note: Please don't point out the typos.  I already know, and being as it has already been sent to the printer, there's nothing I can do about it.  My perfectionism has already been told to take a back seat and get over it.  Thank you. :)

{Click on the full screen option below to get a better view.}

The new way to make a photo album: photo books by Shutterfly.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Left Behind

My three boys loaded up into the van yesterday afternoon and headed out for spring break. 

And they left me behind.

{Why?  I'll explain soon.}

This was the first time that the boys have left me.  We've all been apart before; this is not new.  But it is usually me who is taking the boys somewhere.  And the times when Brad has had the boys to himself, they have stayed at home while I've gone off somewhere else.

So this was new.

This leaving me behind business.

And I didn't like it one bit.

When your whole world drives away without you, and all you're left with is this really empty feeling and way crazy, unnecessary and unhealthy thoughts tumbling through your head, it causes an insane case of anxiety.

I was having a really hard time.

For whatever reason, I was reminded of a woman's story I had read/heard/seen somewhere; a woman who had lost her entire family in a car accident when they traveled somewhere without her.  Morbid, I know, but that seems to be how my crazy head works sometimes.  I think about scenarios that aren't likely to happen and dwell on them until I hear their sweet voices on the other end of the phone telling me they made it safe and sound.

Because I'm crazy.

And have control issues.

Or maybe lack of faith.

Or I'm just crazy.

I told Brad that he has to come back to me or I'll be living with my parents f.o.r.e.v.e.r.

I might be crazy, but I'm funny, too. :) 

Suffice it to say, they did arrive safe and sound, and when we Skyped today, Reed's first statement was, "We're ok!"  {He later asked, "You okay at your house, Mama?"}

So that was yesterday.  Today, I'm a whole new woman!  What's a girl to do when the men of the house are gone?  Play, that's what!  I've been working on several fun projects and I'm knee deep in some serious Mama downtime.

Walks in the sunshine?  Check.
Blog hopping?  Check.
Scrapbooking?  Check.
Cereal for supper?  Check.

I'll be good until Wednesday, when the boys begin their trek back home.
Then I'll be a nervous wreck again.

{So where did the boys go?  Some people opt to go to Florida or a tropical island or on a cruise for spring break.  Not us (you think I'd let those boys do that without me????).  We just hop from one grandparents' house to another!  :)  They are in Pella, enjoying the 75 degree golfing weather.}

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How He Measures Up

I took Reed in to see his new pediatrician last Thursday for his three-year well-child check-up.  There isn't much to share, really.  He's a healthy little guy, with no needs or worries.  I updated the doctor on his previous speech deficit and we talked a bit about potty training.  Other than that, there wasn't a whole lot to talk about.  She examined him, he looks great, and we were out the door.

I'm always the most excited to see how big the boys are when we go to the doctor.  I like to see how much they've grown and where they are measuring on the charts.  Reed weighed in at 40.7 pounds, which wasn't a surprise as he was weighed just a few weeks ago when he was in Express Care for an ear infection.  He is in the 98th percentile for weight, which is where he's been his whole life. :)  And he is 3 feet 2 inches tall, which is in the 76th percentile.

For comparison purposes... when Drew was three-years-old, he weighed 38 pounds and was 3 feet 3 inches tall.

We've always said that someday Reed will surpass Drew in size.  He's built a little bulkier than Drew is, so we predict that Drew will take after Brad and be tall and lean, and Reed will more likely be a bit shorter than Drew with the body of a football player.  Although, I can see that Reed is starting to slim down a bit.  His cheeks aren't as full as they used to be, and his belly isn't as big, either.

And he adamantly tells me he's not my baby anymore. :(

I suppose he isn't.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Project Life {Week 11}

My album this week will consist mostly of a collage of photos from our St. Patrick's Day activities, but here are a few other display worthy photos from our week.

 {At his 3-year-old well-child check-up.}

 {An absolutely gorgeous week sent us outside every day.  We were lovin' it!}

{Goodness sakes.  Stinkin' adorable.}

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Going Green

As I mentioned earlier this week, I attempted to reclaim my "fun mom" title by putting together a week's worth of activities leading up to St. Patrick's Day.  Why?  My kids really know nothing of St. Patty's Day - green, leprechauns, rainbows, etc etc etc.  It's never been a big deal to me (except it's my father-in-law's birthday..."Happy Birthday!!") and aside from wearing green, I remember nothing significant about it really.  But with all the inspiration overload out there in the blogosphere, I figured why not introduce this green holiday to my kids with my two favorite things - crafts and food!

My goal was to have a new craft and fun snack everyday... "fun mom"- yes ... "Supermom" - no.  We worked in quite a few different activities, but didn't quite tackle everything I had in mind.  That's kinda my M.O. though, ya know?  Shoot for impossible and see what you can do!  I figure someday I just might surprise myself. :)

So here's a little rundown of all that we did this week that was green and rainbow-y.

I needed a way to introduce the holiday to the boys in an easy to understand way (I don't care so much that they believe in leprechauns and legends but more about the actual St. Patrick), so I went to the library in search of a few books that would do it for me.  Unfortunately, the St. Patty's books were pretty picked over, so I came home with only two, and the boys only wanted to read one of them. 

This book told nothing of St. Patrick but rather a fictional lad named Finn O'Finnegan, but at least for now the boys are well versed in little men who make shoes for fairies in exchange for gold. :)

Craft #1: Froot Loop Necklaces

 We made a rainbow pattern with the loops (minus the red as they were the 8-shape Sooper Loopers like the box exclaims) - Drew followed it precisely; Reed not so much.

His favorite part was making it
Snack #1: Froot Loop Necklaces

 One certainly cannot complete such a craft and not immediately eat it. :)

Craft #2: Tissue Paper Shamrocks

 We attempted to do these outside (being as it's been in the 70s all week long) but the wind got to us and made it a bit difficult.  And because Drew wanted to cover his entirely, it was a 2-3 day project for him. :)

Snack #2: Green Pudding and Mint Creme Oreos

 A little green food coloring goes a long way.

 A long, long way. :)

 Reed didn't participate in this craft as he was napping when Drew was chomping at the bit for something to do.

 This one was a flop (it was bound to happen).  It doesn't look anything like the picture, my popcorn was old, and the boys barely touched it.  Ah well.  Live and learn.

 Drew is a very tedious rainbow maker.

 Reed is a little more free-form.

Snack #4: Green Chocolate Chip Cookies

 These totally made up for the popcorn snafu.

And don't forget about our outdoor rainbow hunt!

And our holiday grand finale was this afternoon when we headed to St. Peter to see their annual St. Patrick's Day parade.

 You know we had to sport the green boots.

It wasn't the best parade we've ever been to - LOTS of kids - older kids - so not much chance for the boys to grab any candy.  And it was a very short parade with only a few participants.

Seeing Uncle Justin, Mindy and Perry march with the Govenaires was the highlight, though!

So that's how we went ga ga for green this week.

Next up...Easter and bunnies and Jesus, oh my!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Looking for Rainbows

Since my previous post regarding some of the things I've started to check off my Pinterest boards as "completed!" I've decided it is high time to get my "fun mom" on.  I used to be fun.  A lot of fun, if I do say so myself. :)  The boys and I did a lot in our time together, when it was just us --- art projects, outdoor activities, making new snacks, sometimes a field trip here or there (like Hobby Lobby or Walmart) ;) --- but it is something that I haven't been able to make a regular part of our day/week since moving.  But no longer!  Last week I began to gather ideas for crafts and snacks to do this week, in honor of St. Patrick's Day.  (Because if you haven't caught on, I'm a "theme" kind of girl.) ;)  One of the things we did yesterday was go on a rainbow hunt.  Combining the outdoors with a purpose is a win/win in my book. :)  {And oh has the weather been gorgeous!}

I'm sure that I read about this idea somewhere (because that's what I do - I steal) - combine a walk around the neighborhood with a good ol' scavenger hunt, looking for things that are the colors of the rainbow.  Reed didn't want to come along, but that turned out to be okay as it allowed Drew and I to have a bit of "just us" time.  However that also meant for a much shorter walk as Drew is a bit more advanced in this type of activity than Reed is.  So off we went, on a short walk up and down our street, looking for the colors of the rainbow.  In order, as per Drew. ;)

 A hydrant, a warning sign, a yard flag, the street signs, a newspaper baggie, and Luci's walking collar.

Pretty, isn't it?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Come Inside, It's Fun Inside!

Reed has been talking about his birthday party since Drew's party.  He knew that once Drew's was over, his was next.  "When's my party?" "When's my party?" "When's my party?" "I can't wait for my party!"

You get the jist.

Although this was the first year I gave Drew the option of what kind of party he would have, I decided to let Reed have a go at it too.  When asked, he said, "I want a pink party."  A pink party?  Pink?  First, where did he even get that idea?  And second, what the heck does that mean?  He wants a party with pink everywhere???? (Which...random sidenote...reminds me of the movie Steel Magnolias when Julia Roberts' wedding is all pink and Sally Field says it looks like the whole reception hall is covered in Pepto Bismol.  HA!  Sorry, I just thought of that as I was typing and couldn't resist sharing.) :)

Anyway, I wasn't exactly sure how to pull off a pink party without having Reed look back on it in several years, questioning me as to why in heaven's name would I throw him a party meant for a girl.  {Thirteen year old Reed will thank me someday.}  So with more discussion and more *options* being presented to Reed, he decided that a Mickey Mouse party would be grand.

So, of course, I set to work finding inspiring ideas for how to pull this baby together.

I was focusing on Disney Junior's Mickey Mouse Clubhouse when it came to the overall style of the party (listen to me...what am I, a party planning extraordinaire??  Uh, no.  Good grief.).  Reed loves that show, and it is where his love for Mickey comes from.  So I had that theme in my mind as I searched for ideas.  I ended up really liking this party set-up HERE.  The blues and greens and yellows are definitely very very cute, but it also keeps things very boyish, and reminded me of the Clubhouse.

Once I had some finds bookmarked, I went on a hunt for party invitations.  And when I found what I liked...everything changed. :)

I found these incredible invites HERE...and because I own a Cricut and the Mickey Font cartridge, I knew I could replicate it.  {Inspiration for the back of the invitation came from HERE.}

Of course, I could've modified the colors a bit and adjusted it to coordinate with the blue/green/yellow scheme...But I found THIS in my online searching and  This, too, could be made with the Cricut and Mickey cartridge, and I became absolutely smitten with the classic red/yellow/black Mickey color combination.  All other party planning then and henceforth began revolving about that.

So, the decor and food.  Because these are my favorite parts. :)

 I was able to make a reasonable facsimile of the banner I linked to up above.  I think that banners are my new favorite party decor item.  They're so fun.

 And here's the food set-up.

Isn't it great to know people???  I was able to borrow this cupcake stand from my sister-in-law, which turned into an awesome centerpiece for the counter.

 Cupcakes inspired by THESE.

 My mom has a Mickey cookie cutter, so it had to be used.

And I knew I wanted to make these when I saw them on a stick HERE...however, they ended up being quite difficult for me to make.  They probably aren't that hard, with a bit of patience and culinary fortitude, but for me, I'm just not fantastic like that.  So after several Oreos were sacrificed, I finally figured out a system that worked and ended up with some pretty delicious looking (and tasting) Mickey Oreos.

The rest of the snacks...

 Goofy's Goldfish & Pete's Pretzels

 Mickey's Mix

 Clarabelle's Candy

 Donald's Dips

 Pluto's Popcorn

 Daisy's Vegetable Garden
(And yes, there are only carrots.  I'm sure there are gardens out there, somewhere, with only carrots in them.)

Hot Diggity Dogs


{Food ideas/names taken from HERE and HERE.
Mickey silhouette tags with ribbon decor idea taken from HERE.}

When it was all said and done, I told my mom that it looked kind of feminine.  Maybe I could've pulled off that pink party after all. :)

So then, the cake.
I really liked THIS ONE and THIS ONE.  {And no, I could not have pulled off either one...hence why they are called "inspiration"}.  But I thought that I might combine ideas from both to create something "cute enough."  But then I thought better of it, and decided that with the other sweets I wanted to make (cupcakes and cookies) it would be best to downsize things a bit in the cake department.  In the end, I created a much smaller cake inspired by THIS ONE and ended up with this:

 When I was almost finished, I kicked myself for not saving any white frosting to put the two buttons on the front, like the invitations.  Ah well.

Goody bag inspiration came from HERE

 and they were filled with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse coloring books, a Mickey card game, and M&Ms.  I also made ears (of course!) for all the kids, with the pattern and instructions found HERE.

I am typically a game girl.  I like party games.  I didn't put too much effort forth in the game department for Drew's party (it was an afterthought) but I had intended on doing a couple for Reed's party.  I ended up only planning one, which turned out to be the perfect number.  Kids are incredible at being able to entertain themselves. :)

The game we did was "Hidden Mickeys."  I had placed several of these silhouettes throughout three rooms in the house and the kids were to count how many they could find and then report back to me.

They did great, with guesses ranging from three to 18.  :)  We didn't quite guess them all, so then we did it a second time and I had them bring the Mickey heads back to me when they found them.  They ended up snatching up all but one.  {I failed to get a good picture of all of the kids with their Mickey ears on, so this picture is the best I have.}

Gift opening was the highlight of the day.  Duh.  Reed is a pretty lucky guy as he was given some really awesome gifts.

And not to be left out (cuz it's hard to be the brother of the birthday boy), Drew received a couple small gifts as well.

And then it was time to eat.  Again.

{After the obligatory birthday-boy-with-party-guests pictures were taken.}

This was the moment Reed had been waiting for.  I think he totally classified "his party" with this moment right here!

And that's it.

My little man is three.

{Oh, the shirt.  I happened to find it at Walmart two days before his party.  Score!}


Lest you believe that we didn't make it to Culver's for Reed's birthday meal out...

...we went for lunch before the party began.
And we were joined by much of our family, too.

We were all really happy about that.

Annnnndddd, do you know what else turning three means?!?!

A new car seat!
Provided you're at least 30 pounds (ummm, yeah, no problem with that) and 30 inches tall.
We're all pretty excited about this milestone. :)