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Archive for July, 2011

Let me start out by saying that every year these vacations get better and better and this year was by far the cream of the crop. Part of this has to do with the fact that our kids grow bigger and more independent every year, and with that independence comes more freedom for us, which gives us more quality time to spend with said children in these sweet, precious, short years. And also more time to drink. And nap. And did I say drink already?

In all honesty, it was pretty bittersweet. On many occasions throughout the week I would ask Rowan if she wanted to go on a kayak ride with me, or to the playground, or tubing and she turned me down a majority of the time, mostly because I was not an eight year old girl named Ellie, who is apparently The Shit, or whatever the elementary school equivalent of The Shit is {And you all know that The Shit is good, right? That I’m not calling my lovely niece shit? Okay. Good.} By the end of the week I was feeling pretty jilted and though really what mattered was that we were all having a blast, I sort of wish my five year old could have fit me into her Very Busy Schedule full of Very Important Things. She did go on a paddle boat ride with me, Jen and Jorie but she brought along a fly swatter and was sort of freaking me out with the furious passion of hate with which she went after the flies. I may have backed slowly away from her when we returned to the dock, for fear she’d turn her whapping powers on me.

Anyway!

We left on time and under happy circumstances around noon on July 16th. The kiddos were granted Happy Meals upon embarking out of our city which is something we don’t ‘do’. Rowan could count on one hand how many she’s gotten and I think this was Keaton’s 1st or 2nd and LOOK AT ME I WIN AT PARENTING FOR NOT GIVING MY KIDS HAPPY MEALS REGULARLY. {Now let’s not talk about the peanut butter sandwich/hot dog/spaghettios diet they’ve been living off of for the last 2 months, m’kay?} Anyway it doesn’t matter because I now SWEAR by happy meals as Strawberry Shortcake and C-3PO got along fabulously in the back seat for more than two hours, at which point they started incessantly asking if we “were there yet” so I threw them out the window into the grill of a semi {oh I’m kidding. Or am I.}

Little known fact: Paul Bunyan is a HUGE Star Wars fan. He's pretty lukewarm when it comes to Strawberry shortcake though.

Keaton was very confused by how this giant Paul Bunyan came to be sitting on that stump at a rest area in Brainerd so I very stoically told him that when giant lumberjacks get too old and tired to cut down trees or take care of cerulean oxen they look for the perfect stump, sit down and BAM, just turn into a statue. “Ohhh….” He said like he’d already known this but just forgot and it was all very confusing and then I looked up and knew I had done my dad proud. Not because he’d told me that particular story but because given the chance he would have done the same thing just to fuck with us. Your legacy lives on, old man.

The last hour of the drive was definitely the worst but all in all we did pretty well. We arrived a little after 5pm and set about trying to get our things unpacked and our beverages safely nestled in the coolers as it was eleventy billion degrees outside. This part of MN nearly ALWAYS cools down at night but not this week, people. The humidity and heat indexes kept temps in the 80’s and 90’s+, day and night, almost the whole week.

Getting into actual cabin recap times now. I’m going to try and use as little words as possible and make use of all. the. pictures. Because holy jebus there are many of them.

After dinner we headed to the beach so the kids could get in a late evening swim and we were greeted by old friends, Dodge the One-Eyed Dog, and this other guy whose back legs didn't work so well. Which didn't inhibit him from seeking out kids' sand castles and plopping down on them...

This group of ducklings was new but no less tame than last years. Keaton got into a face-off with the mama duck that I so wish I'd gotten video of. She fell backwards off the dock because she was so distracted by quacking at him {Advantage: Keaton} and then he got too close so she chased him all the way down the dock {Advantage: Mama Duck}. They seemed to come to some sort of mutual agreement after that so I'm calling it a draw.

There were festive summertime drinks {Pictured: This year's new concoction by Jen called The Smurf. All I will tell you is that it contained diet blueberry juice and it was definitely something Gargamel would have been pissed about due to it's epic deliciousness.}

We didn't forget to hydrate the kids either. Or dress them up like little hippies with real flowers in their hair.

The second day there was overcast but HOT so we spent it at the resort beach for the most  part. Monday was beautifully sunny and hotter still, so back to the beach we went, where a lot of shenanigans on the trampoline took place.

This was a little launcher thingy, where one person sat on the end while the other jumped on it to throw them off. Sadly, in a horrific turn of events, my husband could not get his ass to the end without falling off so I never got to launch him. I know. The saddest story EVER told.

Boing.

Sploosh.

CANTALOUPE! {Keaton yelled out a number of things before jumping into the water, "blast-off!" and "I believe I can fly!" among them, but Cantaloupe! was our favorite. And yes that it my tiny 3 year old jumping from a high, unstable surface into deep water. Whatofit?

Here is where I do need to break out and say that the independence factor carried over to the water this year as well. Last year the kids would jump off the dock to Bill or I but we had to be there with sturdy, open arms. This year, by day two they were both taking running leaps off the dock and in Keaton’s case, the trampoline, all by themselves. Obviously the life jackets and the little inner tubes were key here because they almost always kept their heads above water upon impact but still. This led to greater water confidence and both were dog paddling all on their own around the beach in their life jackets which was great. Keaton even jumped in with us when we took the boat out deep water swimming; jumping off the back ladder to me and then swimming back to the boat on his own, wash, rinse, repeat 400 times over. Most times kids gain their independence in such small, slow steps that we don’t even realize we’ve witnessed it, so it was pretty cool to be there front and center this time.

Photographic evidence of Rowan, who is NOT a water lover, clearly loving the water. The fact that you can see there are drops on her face and she's not writhing about in agony but smiling, is a small miracle in and of itself.

This guy was in heaven. And so fun to watch.

There are some moments in life when you hopelessly look down at the underwear your partner's left for you to pick up on the floor for the 3rd day in a row and you sort of wonder WHY you're still married. Then there are times like this when seeing him with your kids makes your heart warm, then expand in your chest and you wonder how the hell you ever got so lucky. Makes you forget about those underwear for an hour or two anyway.

I think the kids might have liked it too.

Gratuitous ring pop photo. Sometimes they're just necessary, ya know?

I’m going to have to break this into two parts so I’ll have to save the full t-shirt spread, our one and only Challenge {guess who ended up in the water? AGAIN.} And the most epic bonfire substitution ever recorded in recent history. Oooo! Don’t you love cliffhangers?

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A preschooler with a bow staff is clearly the only logical answer.

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Hi. Sorry about that sort-of-but-not-really intentional extended blogging silence. Part of it was due to the gearing up to and going on of our annual cabin vacation and part of it was due to the Extreme Cabin Vacation Hangover and subsequent onset of a very ugly case of Beach Withdrawal, suffered by at least 3 out of the 4 members of my family.

I have now resigned myself to the fact that we are back home and that our reality, while more mundane and considerably less gin-soaked than I would like, is not so terribly bad after all, as it contains a clean shower and a bed that was not hand crafted by the ghost of Hitler in the reddest, hottest fires of Hades*.

{*Okay, that may be an exaggeration. The bed we slept in was actually pretty comfortable but for the fact that it was two small  but very annoying inches too short for me. At 5’5” {when I strain my neck high enough}, I am not a tall woman and think it ridiculous that a double bed does not adequately contain my slumbering person. Also, on the third night I found a teeny, tiny spider crawling up my leg when I got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night which may have largely shaped how I felt about the bed. No decent bed would house miniature spiders, amirite? Of course I am. It also didn’t help that on the first night Rowan had a hard time being away from home and to ease her fear I selflessly offered her my own pillow, which always accompanies me on overnights.  I was pretty confident she would rather sleep on her unicorn pillow pet so I was fairly sure she wouldn’t accept the offer, but no, her greedy little paws wrapped themselves around it and my own head did not touch it again for 8 looooong nights.

Me, unabashedly optimistic on the second night: “You’re probably ready to give mommy her pillow back, right?!”

Rowan, lips tightening from a relaxed grin into a taught, thin line, brow furrowing down, threatening to crush her eyelids out of existence, faint but unmistakable storm clouds, gathering about her small, bebraided head: “I think not.”

I didn’t ask again. And the pillow was not offered back up to me. }

{Wow, I really had no idea I actually felt this strongly about all this until this writing. I did know I hated that motherfucking tiny spider though. It has brought out my passion for the right to unarachnied sleeping arrangements. Stay tuned for the creation of some sort of grassroots movement with it’s own facebook fan page regarding this.}

Anyway this whole post is actually not a post at all but instead a sort of a promise of a post. I have been busily sifting through the 500+ photos I took {Aside!: With my penchant for hyperbole I feel I really do need to clarify that this is not an exaggeration. The exact number was 548. I know. I have a problem- but I’m pretty sure I took even more last year, so progress? I think?}

Now because I’m not cruel, and certainly don’t want t0 keep any of you awake at night, wondering in unbridled, nervous glee about what ridiculous shirts Bill picked out for himself and Keaton, I will mercifully show you this picture, which I’m sure will be the fodder of many a therapy session for my second born in the coming years.

{For those of you new here, 2008 was Bass Attack {scroll down to the 9th picture}, 2009 was the year of the Wolf Pack, 2010 brought with it the Galloping Wild Stallions and this year…

The Majestic Eagle.

Frighteningly majestic, I know. Or maybe just frightening. With a heaping side of lame, but you know it’s the GOOD kind of lame. And there’s so much more to come, Internet. So very much more.

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PS~ Yes. It IS totally acceptable to jump in puddles wearing either Hanes’ boxer briefs or a sparkly sheer skirt. It really comes down to comfort level, personal fashion choices, and/or a lazy mother. Have a happy weekend, Internet.

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As always, I’m late on my 4th of July post so I’m just going to get to the point here, shove some pictures down your eyeholes, Internet, and call it a day.

We had an AWESOME 4th of July weekend, full of all of the things summer weekends like this are supposed to include, like gin and tonics, locally brewed beer, some more gin and tonics and…maybe some more beer. {WHAT?! It was hot here in the MN! We need to stay hydrated and stuff.} Oh! The kids were there too. And something about a boat and maybe, possibly, for sure the most meat anyone has ever seen cooked at one time, for one meal, ever in the history of time. All in all? Perfection.

Saturday morning these poor, put-upon children are made to stand still and smile in front of the camera before being released into the wild to go have fun.

We went out on the Mallingers' boat to White Bear Lake which is where I grew up boating with my dad.

It was pretty cool to watch my kids play in the same place little Christy did so very many years ago.

The kids are old pros at tubing this summer, and had a blast riding behind the boat.

I was so impressed with Rowan, who jumped in {and when I say jumped I mean slowly slithered off the back ladder} to the deep water and swam out to me in the tube. When she made it to me the nervous look of concentration gave way into a big proud smile, and then she proclaimed that she was ready to swim right back to the boat where her feet properly touched the ground as all feet should do at all times. Baby laps, people.

Not to be out done, Mr. Sir showed up at my front door next and was thoroughly disgusted when I wouldn't let him climb up with me. Sorry, son~ mama doesn't want a Keaton shaped blotch ruining mah tan. Priorities and such.

After the afternoon on the lake we went back for a bonfire at the Mallinger’s which was fun but perhaps my earlier priorities regarding my tan should have been more focused on sunscreen as I got a little fried. I actually did put on 50 block before we even left the house and reapplied twice or more while we were out there but I got lazy and used the spray stuff for reapplications and it didn’t really do anything by the looks of me. Don’t worry though- I medicated with lots of aloe and booze.

Sunday we went to my mom’s house, which is lovely, and very shaded so we got a day to recoup. Here is where I should have a bunch of pictures of Keaton playing his new passion in life: The Almighty Frisbee, but he wouldn’t even let me take a break to get any photos. Kid loved it.

On the 4th it was back in front of the camera and back to being put-upon by the awful mother, only this time with MOAR PATRIOTISM. This is what you get from 5 and 3 year olds when you ask them to give you their most "overindulgent, American smile". Keaton's look of "Has mom been drinking already?" pretty much says it all. WHATEVER KID, this is AMERICA, and in AMERICA we drink on holidays.

Sisters!

More sisters!

And cousins. Maddy, almost 16 {!!!!}; Jorie, 13 with a newly be-metaled mouth; Ellie, almost 9; Rowan, 5 {and no I'm not putting 'almost 6' because that would mean I have an almost six year old and I'm not ready for that shit yet}; Keaton, 3.5 and Mia, 15 months.

Emmy and Giacomo. My sister really did not want to pose for a nice picture but I assure you this is better than the one where she's sticking her tongue out with her eyes crossed or the one where she's choking the living daylights out of her poor husband.

Susie and Vince, who whooped everyone in the ladderball tourney.

And Jen and Jay who graciously hosted 78% of our weekend activities. The DCFI really outdid himself by running three different grills at once; serving smoked ribs, bacon stuffed burgers and hot chicken wings. It's safe to say we all nearly died in our meat comas after dinner.

After completely indulging all day we sent Keaton home with Grammy as the boy still loses his shit if he hears a firework within 70 kilometers. And you think I’m exaggerating but I’m not. Earlier in the day at the BBQ he was playing out on the swing set and there was a faint POP of what had to have been the world’s most teeniest, harmless firecracker and faster than lightening, that boy hopped off and bee-lined for the house where he stayed the rest of the day. Would. Not. Come. Out. For anything. I had CAKE out there, people, and he wouldn’t even step 5 feet onto the patio for a bite. With his hands firmly planted over his ears, I had to carry him at a run to get him in the damn car when it was time to go.

So once again it was just Rowan with us for the fireworks, and clearly she didn't mind as she got a Powerpuff Girl ice cream treat and to run around with Ellie.

And I do mean run. Sugar at 9:30pm after a weekend of sun, swimming and very late bedtimes~ Just what the doctor ordered! Or would if you had a completely insane doctor or just really stupid parents. Needless to say she crashed when it was time to walk back to the car so I was tasked with the lovely job of carrying the 35 pound sack of exhasted Rowan a half mile. And I know 35 pounds doesn't seem like a lot but when it's all dead weight and whiney, trust me, it seems pretty heavy.

It was a really fun few days spent with family. It feels ridiculously good to kick back and just enjoy life, letting the worries that come along with it float by the wayside for a short while. Plus. All that meat. You really can’t beat it.

Hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th!

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When I took Rowan to her very first dance class, I honestly didn’t think my heart could take any more cuteness than seeing that tiny, newly minted three-year old in her black leotard with the soft pink trim, tights and taps.

Slightly fuzzy photographic evidence of unbearable cuteness.

It certainly didn’t hurt that I knew from the time the ultrasound tech uttered “Girl!” that this was to be her destiny when she turned three. I remember hovering outside the little window, watching her test her teeny pink tap shoes out on the studio floor and seeing her smile stretch to new heights when she saw how her skirt twirled so high around her.

Some of you might remember that we started Keaton out in dance last fall but at 2 he just didn’t get the whole coordination and following instructions for 45 whole minutes thing. We talked about putting him back in this fall as he’s definitely ready for it now but then I talked to another mom who had put her 3 year old in karate and how much they loved the program.

Here’s where I admit that I’m thoroughly unversed in boys’ activities. I put Keaton in a 10 week soccer clinic last winter which he liked and he’s going to a 4 day soccer/kickball camp in a week or so but we won’t put him back in formal clinics until the fall because well…the summer clinic was 25 minutes away and at 9am on Saturdays, and I’m sorry, son I’m just not that good of a mother. Saturday mornings are MINE, ALL MINE. Anyway I mostly chose soccer because, well… David Beckham is monumentally, astoundingly good looking and if Keaton gets really into it, then I have an added bonus of eye candy while watching it with him. Do you see how smart I am, Internet? Take note.

Anyway, since mine and Bill’s DNA combined seemed to produce the world’s most INFLEXIBLE spawn ever, I wanted to get Keaton in something that gave him a better shot of at least getting within 5 inches of touching his toes, so when I looked into the karate program it seemed like a good fit. What I wasn’t prepared for was the ridiculous cute of that boy in his karate… um… ensamble? Uniform? Whatever you call it it had a very odd effect on my eyeballs, which started watering profusely as my smile got wider and wider. Very strange, indeed.

He looked so small! It didn't help that he was the youngest in his class and that they gave him a uniform that was so big we had to generously cuff both the arms and the legs .{And please ignore his expression as that is how he looks at me when I ask him to smile- if I don't catch him in an unscripted moment? I'm screwed because the boy up and forgot how to smile on command. Quit over-thinking it, Son. It's a smile, not quantum physics.}

The class is for preschoolers so they do a striped belt system. Keaton will be able to earn his white belt, which is awarded for good listening skills, on his second lesson and after that they have to earn the next belt up by doing belt ceremonies or some shit like that. To be honest I wasn’t really paying attention to how these things work because my baby boy was killing me with karate chop cuteness. My favorite part was that they called a plain ol’, boring somersault a ninja-roll, which I have to admit, sounds much more awesome. And like a kind of sushi. Which is also awesome.

You guys, I don't even care if he doesn't stick with it-the $30 for month one has already been WELL worth it. Plus we get to keep the outfit regardless and if you've been paying attention you understand that that's all I really care about here.

Good job, Budders. We're so proud of your newfound grasshopperhood.

 

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