Sunday, September 30, 2007

Funny things kids say

Max this morning:
"Dad, California is the state that has the most earthquakes. But it is not California's fault. It is San Andreas fault."

Sophie at breakfast "Everyone! I have an announcement to make. . . . . . Calvin is cuter than the squirrel outside."

Friday, September 28, 2007

It's Still Popsicle Season - Right?

Even though September is coming to a close and I have pulled out the winter coats, I still have a somewhat large supply of Popsicles taking up space in my freezer. So, if the weather is at all appealing, I send the kids out to the sandbox with Popsicles to munch. I have not heard anyone complaining!

We believe in passing around germs around here, so all of the kids try everyone's flavor to see which one is best. Notice how Calvin goes in for a taste without even asking - rude.

Eyelash Envy

Just look at those looooooong eyelashes! Now, is that even fair? Calvin and Sophie have lashes so long that often when they rub their eyes, all of their top lashes get caught under their bottom eyelid. Is that not ridiculous (and somewhat gross)? They do not get them from me! Make sure you click on a photo to take a closer look before you grab your mascara and eyelash curler!

Kindergarten Soccer - A Gathering of Serious Athletes

Today I thought I would share a little lesson in the "sport" of kindergarten soccer. If you think you know the rules of soccer, set that information aside. It does not apply to kindergarten soccer. It's a whole new world people.

First, we keep things real, and fun. Here is Sophie and her best girlfriend, Jillian. They are on the same team. This can be both a good (they LOVE each other) and a bad (they LOVE each other) thing. They spend a lot of the game hugging, and dancing and laughing with each other. When Max was in kindergarten soccer, he liked to lie down on the field and watch the planes pass overhead.

Kindergartners tend to travel in packs. They find it is more effective this way as there is no need to ever pass. Ever.

Sometimes, when they are all kicking the ball and no one is moving, they get creative. Right after this photo, a little guy on the red team picked up the ball, moved out of the group, put the ball down and headed off towards the goal. Very clever, red team. This is why they ultimately won the game - it's called innovation.

Jillian is demonstrating an excellent advanced kick technique here - but where is the ball?

Sophie finds it helpful to do a bit of zen meditation on the field. She finds the good karma most helpful.

See? Look at the results! Here she is flying down that field in hot pursuit of the ball - or to give Jillian another hug.
Here Sophie collaborates with the other team to redefine the goal. They simply pick up the cones defining the goal space and move them where they are more convenient. So easy, and yet so effective.

I'm pretty sure this is illegal even in kindergarten soccer.

Here Sophie gets tough and lays one on that poor kid from the other team.

Are you following? Here is a quiz for you - which way are each of the teams supposed to be heading? Can you tell from the photo below?

Ouch - Sophie takes one for the team. Wait, that guy is on her team! why is she trying to steal the ball from him?

Sophie is evidently "open" in this shot. 99% of kindergarten soccer is throwing the ball back in from out of bounds. Sophie is merely indicating that she is open - along with every other kid on her team and conveniently, they are all in the same spot.

I don't know why these red players are consoling each other - they did technically win the game. How they bested our superior skills and speed is beyond me!

Only a few more weeks of this on-the-edge-of-your-seat action! Go team!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Who's that sexy guy?

So, I had a hard time finding some good before shots. I have a tendency to delete all photos where people look fat - especially if they involve me! These are photos of Bryan taken this summer (July) - notice the "man-belt overhang".

Here he is in September having dropped over 15 pounds while training for the Twin Cities Marathon! Isn't he looking great?! He and my sister, Kirstin (she is referred to as Koo most of the time on this blog as Koo Bear was her nickname when she was little) just ran a 10 mile trail run this past Saturday and the marathon is in less than two weeks! We love running - and by "we", I mean Bryan. I personally hate running - I just love the results on Bryan!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

And the car is back - can I keep the rental?

Today is what I call "crazy Tuesday" - every Tuesday is nuts, but today we added a bit more crazy just to make it fun. You'll remember our van is in the shop, so this morning when Susan dropped off the kids, she took Bryan over to Thrify to rent a minivan for the day. (mind you I spent about three hours yesterday trying to find a minivan to rent - who knew minivans were so stinkin' popular?)

My day:
7:30-9:00 - shower, make bed, fix school lunch for Max, snacks for Sophie and Max, feed three kids breakfast, clean up the kitchen, help Max finish his homework, remind Max 10 times to practice the piano, yell up the stairs at Sophie to clean her room, make her bed and bring down the laundry, pack three backpacks, dress Calvin, do Sophie's and Natalie's hair load 5 kids into the rental van.
9:10 - drop off Max and Sophie at school
9:30 - drop off Natalie and Calvin at preschool
9:45-10:35 - visiting teaching
10:35-10:45 - drop of cookies at friend's house
10:45-11:20 - Sam's Club - quick trip to pick up film and soap - $120.00 later?!?
11:30 - pick up Calvin and Natalie
11:30 - 11:55 quick trip to WalMart to try and buy the last 51 notebooks for our school kit service project. They are STILL out of stock even though a six days ago they told me they would be in stock in a "couple of days", chew out assistant manager. leave.
12:00 - should be meeting Sophie at the bus stop. Ooops.
12:10 - pick up Sophie at Jillian's house. Jillian's mom was late as well and said when she got to the bus stop the girls were just standing there looking completely lost.
12:15 - go over "what to do if Mommy is not at the bus stop" with Sophie in the car ride home
12:20-1:00 - Make lunch for 5 kids, clean up kitchen, put Johnny down for a nap
1:00-3:45 - laundry, eat lunch, pack Sophie's dance bag, help Sophie practice dance, decorate the family room for fall, find all of the soccer gear, meet with friend Nola at the house to go over Christmas cards and enrichment stuff, chop up tons of vegis for a huge pot of soup - throw in crock pot for 6 hours, breathe.
3:45 wake Johnny, go through Max's backpack, get coats and shoes on all kids, load car with kids and soccer gear and have Max finish changing the car.
4:00 drive to dance class
4:30-5:30 - dance class - help Max with his homework (this is never very successful at dance class as it is so noisy and there are kids running around everywhere!) try to keep other three kids under relative control
5:30-5:40 - change Sophie into her soccer gear
5:45 - drive to Max's soccer field, meet up with babysitter Emily - hand off Max, Natalie and Johnny
6:05 - oops, late again! Arrive at Sophie's soccer game, watch game. Freeze.
7:00 - load up car with Sophie and Calvin (who has had a little accident while watching the game - nice. The lawn chair is all wet as is the kid)
7:15 - race back over to Max's field to pick him up - thank you to Emily, for waiting with him!
7:30 - arrive at home, run inside with Calvin, take him to potty and change his clothes, throw tortellini into the cooking soup, get back in car and wait for Bryan.
7:45 leave home and drive to Honda dealership in Burnsville
8:10 - pick up the minivan with its new transmission, computer, air bag something or other and new power steering wires. Total cost? $125.00. Bryan would like to take a moment here to thank his practical wife for insisting we buy the used minivan with the cloth interior and the extended 100,000 mile warranty instead of the cooler, upgraded, leather interior model he wanted. OK, he really did not thank me, but I reminded him that he should have!
8:30ish - arrive home with one sleeping kid and two hungry ones. Notice above that no one managed to have any dinner!
9:30 Put kids into bed after eating some of that delicious soup!

I am now going to bed as Max has piano lessons in the morning at 8:00 and we have to return the rental before then. I was kind of sad to get my old minivan back tonight. The rental was so clean!
Tomorrow is not a Tuesday.

Friday, September 21, 2007

It never rains, it pours, and then it seeps into our basement

Could one more thing fall apart, please?!

We purchased this home 3 years ago at the same time we finally purchased a minivan for our growing family. Since moving in we have replaces both shower heads, the disposal, the dishwasher, the dryer, parts of the sprinkler system and the sump pump.

On Sunday Bryan and I were emptying the utility/storage room of all 40 or so bins that I store in there so that the room could dry out and we could wipe the bottoms of all of the bins. Why was the room wet you ask? Well, we had a flood down there a year after we moved in and have spent the last two year trying to figure out why. The plumber came and put in a new sump pump and snaked the main drain. We pulled off all of the insulation and plastic sheeting off the cement wall and threw them away. We pulled up the carpet in the adjoining room and put down new carpet padding. We bought a dehumidifier. We dried out the walls in the utility room and painted them with three coats of dry-lock. Still, when there is a hard rain, the utility room gets wet.

I think we finally know the problem. There is drain tile system in the storage room with holes drilled into the cement which allows the water to seep in through the concrete, run down behind some corrugated plastic sheeting to the drain tile system in the floor and them the sump pump removes the water from the house. Well, this system is in place for all of the storage room except about three feet under the sink. There we have the holes (three of them) but no drain tile. Just cement floor. So, when we have a hard rain, I can actually watch water coming in those holes. In the end we need someone to come and jackhammer out the floor in that area and link it to the drain tile system. Nightmare. The one quote I got was for $4000.00.

So on this Sunday morning, we assumed the wet floor that would not dry out was due to the severe storms we had that week. But, no. While cleaning out the room Bryan noticed a large leak in the main water line behind the hot water heater. Conveniently, the leak was below the place where we turn off the water to the home. We could not turn it off and yet it was spraying water on our wall and spreading out into the room.

This story is getting very long. Okay - thanks to my dear friend Lori, we had a plumber over her on Monday evening - along with the city which had to be called to turn off the water - and he replaced the piece of pipe. Total cost? $102.00! That's right folks! If you live in the Twin Cities area and have a plumbing issue, you need to call Hessian Plumbing at 651-681-8252. Truly, they are wonderful - I about cried when he told me the cost. I was envisioning having to take out a small loan. He did mention while he was down there to keep and eye on the furnace because "it will be the next to go."

Moving on to today. The minivan has been "jumping" into gear for the last several weeks and I could not get anyone to believe me. Bryan could not feel it and our regular mechanic checked out the car twice and said it looked fine - granted they do not do major repairs. Today I took the car in to the dealer who had a repair guy ride around in the car with me for about 3 minutes and then he turned to me and said. "Yep, you need a new transmission." We should get the car back by next Thursday.

What do all these buttons do?

I have been reading a book on photography for scrapbookers. Even though I have a relatively simple camera (Canon S3IS) and no Photoshop software, I would like to learn how to at least use the features on my camera. One of the settings I read about was the portrait mode which focuses on the closest object and then blurs the background. This is trickier than you would think as I found is hard to get the camera to give me the "beep, beep" which lets me know I am in focus. I had to try out my new found knowledge, so I forced the kids into photos shoots in the living room. These are the "best of" shots.

Natalie looking pensive or truly annoyed - not sure which.

I tried Max's shots outside but the background does not seem very blurred.

Random shot of friend Emily who was over for playgroup.

More of my kids impersonating fish.

... and a grizzly.

We also spent an hour at the park with Kelly and her kiddos yesterday. Sophie and Natalie decided to put on an impromptu dance recital for us! I love the words to Sophie's song (listen for "liberty and the American flag") and Natalie's "jazz hands!" So cute!

**NOTE: I cannot get the video to load as it is too big and I do not know how to make the file smaller. Hmmm - I need a computer savvy friend around here!**

Well, good news for you, I took photos as well!

Baby Evelyn is so cute, she makes my ovaries hurt.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Things that make me happy!

I love a good yard sale, flea market, going dumpster diving, or really any kind of junking or antiquing! Finding an amazing deal just makes me giddy! I miss New Hampshire with a vengeance come yard sale season. Though MN has a ton of yard sales and there are great things to be found, in NH it was so easy to find wonderful antiques and vintage items for a fraction of what they sell for here.

This little shop is just South of our home and is open only one weekend a month. I drove by on Saturday evening just after they closed so I was not able to get any great deals, but I was happy enough just browsing through all of the outside items!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Max - Thunderbirds Soccer!

Max is also in fall soccer this year - conveniently at the same time as Sophie in different locations. He has the same coach that he had in the spring who we absolutely love! He is just a great coach and is really wonderful with the boys. Max loves to play soccer!

Max is on the same team as his friends Gregory and Cole which makes it nice for me as many times I have to attend Sophie's game and have someone else watch Max.

Attending Max's games are always amusing to watch as the boys still tend to crowd the ball and usually when they get near the goal they stop for some reason like they are thinking "OK, what now?" which gives the opposing team enough time to steal the ball away again. Max likes to play defence and no matter what position he is assigned, he acts like he is on defense!

Cole's sister Carson - Sophie loves to play with her at soccer!

Greg and Max on the sidelines - notice how they are intently watching the game, learning from their fellow teamates, studying the plays in order to better their own game - or not.

Natalie enjoying a soccer treat! The treats are Calvin, Johnny and Natalies favorite part of soccer!