Saturday, August 30, 2008

Calvin Commendation

In honor of Calvin's birthday this week, I thought I'd spend a couple of moments jotting down what I love about this kid at age four.

  • He is unbelievable adorable. His little dimple in his right cheek turns me to jelly every time he flashes it my way. He has the longest eyelashes ever recorded and beautiful blue eyes. He has a lot of freckles and we like to count them together.
  • His pronunciation is hysterical. My current favorites are "colcano" (volcano) and yetherday (yesterday).
  • He is unintentionally funny all of the time. When we were camping, he looked over at me and said "mom, last night I was freakin' out about my dream!" He also likes to say "what the heck!" at everything - I'm not sure who he got that from. When people get too loud in the car he yells "shut it!" He's very helpful that way.
  • He likes to dress himself now and can even buckle his overalls. He cannot figure out which feet his shoes go on.
  • When I try and teach him his letters, he looks at me all serious and says "I can't know that mom."
  • He loves to close the garage door.
  • He is still extremely loyal to Thomas the Train. He likes to have a train with him at all times and every time I go in Michaels or Barnes and Noble he is tugging on my leg telling me he needs a new train! He is also loyal to his stuffed tiger Hobbes. He still spends a lot of time looking through Calvin and Hobbes books.
  • He is a backseat driver.
  • He loves the library (especially playing computer games on the computer and doing puzzles) and he calls Half Price Books and Barnes and Noble and the library "the bookstores."
  • He can now actually pedal his tricycle as opposed to pushing it along with his feet on the ground. He loves to tear around the cul-de-sac in hot pursuit of Sophie on her much-to-small for her bike.
  • He loves to get the mail.
  • He is very attached to Johnny and misses him when he does not come to our house. Like siblings they love each other and they play hard together!
  • He is so excited for preschool to start! He is getting better at sitting with his primary class though I still have to occasionally bribe him with candy to get him to go to class.
  • He has Johnson ears.
  • He loves strawberries and pancakes, cheese sticks and milk and mac and cheese. He loves to help me cook in the kitchen. He does not like to help clean up.
  • He sleeps in a blue car bed - most of the time - in a room he shares with Max.
  • He is my cuddliest of children. He loves to give kisses and hugs and pats and he loves to kiss my nose. Even at age four, he wants to be held whenever Mommy sits down. I love that.

He is just a great kid and we love him.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Check out those Pots!

I think it is pretty impressive to see how lush my pots have grown this summer considering I did not plant them until after the 4th of July!!! Sadly, I did not plant anything in the pots on the deck (they grew some huge weeds all on their own) because I was too lazy. Maybe next year.

It was actually hot and muggy here today (after a cold morning) and the kids spent the afternoon running in the sprinkler and riding bikes in the cul-de-sac. This is it - the last day of summer vacation - school starts on Tuesday!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Baby is Growing Too Fast

Tuesday was Calvin's 4th birthday. My baby is clearly no longer a baby. Calvin has been talking about his birthday for ages, telling people "my birthday is in August!" We had a low-key little celebration with dinner (Calvin chose cheese pizza, macaroni and cheese and strawberries) and Thomas the Train cupcakes for dessert. This is my baby. He's not supposed to grow up so fast!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Summer is Winding Down

Summer is Winding Down here in the Far North. The nights have become chilly and one needs a sweatshirt to sit through soccer games in the evening. I am feeling a bit cheated this year. School let out late, we had a full month of rain instead of spring and now school is starting again - next Tuesday!! What happened?!

I have been digging through the bubbles and sidewalk chalk, letting the kids use them up rather than finding a place to store such items during the long winter ahead. This is what the kids were up to on Monday. I kind of like the sidewalk paint. It is different and fun to use, the colors are VIVID, so they show up well, and one good rain like last night and all the mess is gone - well, except that mess that is on the kids and all over their clothes.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Weekend Camping

We spent last weekend camping with the Barringers. We decided on a state park about an hour South of here and managed to arrive after dark on Friday night. It was only our second time setting up our tent, so it was loads of fun to be reading the direction by the headlights of the car! The kids, of course, had a wonderful time! They especially loved the campfires (little piros) and making smores. We did a lot of hiking and had time for a quick trip to a local beach. I loved getting away even for a weekend with the family, but I have to say, 2 days is my limit for sleeping in a tent!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Shiny, Shiny Dress-Up

Susan's kids came home last week which meant on Tuesday I was back to work. Sophie and Calvin were both THRILLED to have their playmates back! I took these photos after Sophie and Natalie came downstairs to show me the "pretty princesses". They had obviously been into Sophie's make-up stash which consists entirely of lip gloss. Evidently they decided that the light cream lip-gloss should be used as foundation thus resulting in the terrifically shiny faces they are sporting below!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sunday Adventures

These photos are from a couple of weeks ago taken on a Sunday afternoon at Lebanon Hills Park. It has been fun to see the park changing as the summer progresses. The lake was about half covered with lily pads and flowers and the kids founds several little frogs on the paths as we walked.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Girl's Night Out - Breaking Dawn

Finally! Here are the photos from our Breaking Dawn Release party! We had soooo much fun! Eleven of us met up at the theater to see Mama Mia - we took up almost an entire row and were the rowdiest bunch in the room! After the movie we walked over to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner where we were joined by another 2 gals from the ward. What a fun group of women! We had such a great time eating and laughing together and just having a night away from being mommies!

At eleven, we drove over to Barnes and Noble where one of the managers recognized Tiffany as being from the Eagan group by her Cheesecake Factory bag (the schedule of events was mentioned in the Star Tribune article)! There were about 150 people at the bookstore - mostly teenage girls and we all picked up our copies of the book and headed home by about 12:30. Our group was reading aloud from the first chapter on the drive home and we had another car on speaker phone listening along as we drove!

The book. I finished Saturday afternoon after Julie and Kelly. It was kind of hysterical to get so many phone calls on Saturday from people wanting know how far along I was and what I thought so far. I enjoyed the book but Twilight will always be my favorite from the series. I thought this one seemed a bit rushed and I was very shocked by the whole honeymoon baby (I hate baby's name)! Once I got over the shock, I loved how she handed the pregnancy, birth and transformation - I cannot imagine how they would film those scenes and keep the movie under an "R" rating. I missed the whole Cullen family in this book. It felt like most of them were absent and poor Edward spent 80% of the book in angst! I am glad that Jacob got his happy ending thought I have to admit I was kind of rooting for him to end up with Leah somehow. I loved all of the new vampires though when I finished the book I felt like it was missing a big battle scene at the end.

I would like to read it again, slowly to get a better feel for the book - this first reading was a speed reading. Overall, I love a happy ending, but I felt like Bella did not have to sacrifice enough. Becoming a vampire was supposed to be this huge sacrifice and in the end Bella got Edward, the wedding, the baby, the wolves are happy, Jacob is happy, she gets to continue having a relationship with Charlie, no one close to her died during the confrontation with the Volturi - it was all just a bit too tidy/happy for me.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The ABC's of Maxwell Erickson

I was cleaning out the school pile (I realize school ended in June) and found this worksheet Max completed in computer lab.

A is for alphabet game. I like playing it. Most often in the car.
B is for Bryan. I love him. He's my Dad.
C is for Calvin. He is my little brother. He's three.
D is for Dads. Mine is the best of all. He's awesome.
E is for Erickson. That's my last name. I'm proud of it.
F is for Forrest. That's my middle name. I like it.
G is for gazelle. That's my favorite animal. It's interesting.
H is for the Harry Potter books. They're adventure books. I like them
I is for ice cream. I love ice cream.
J is for jaguar. I like Jaguars.
K is for kerosene. Kerosene is used for rocket fuel in Canada.
L is for lemons. I ate a lemon candy stick today.
M is for Maxwell. That's my name.
N is for nil. That was once zero.
O is for oranges. Dad juggles oranges for us.
P is for Paul. He's my uncle.
Q is for queens. They're high in War (the card game).
R is for reading. It's my favorite.
S is for Stacey. She's my Mom.
T is for TV. I like TV.
U is for umbrella. Umbrellas are useful.
V is for violin. I like music.
W is for watermelon. Watermelon tastes good.
X is for xylophone because it is the only thing I could think of.
Y is for yak. They are heavily muscled.
Z is for zebra. Zebras are cool.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Movie Reviews

I recently read and loved the book Stardust by Neil Gaiman. We finally bought the movie at Target and it is brilliant!! The movie is every bit as good as the book with perfect casting (look for Ricky Gervais , Mark Strong and Rupert Everett). I loved the humor (the dead brothers are a riot) and the movie has the best sword fight I have ever seen. Definitely worth seeing for the whole family (I'd give it a PG-13 rating).

Go and see Mama Mia with a group of your very best girlfriends. We saw it on our Twilight outing with 11 of us together and it was hysterical! I seriously wanted to climb into the screen (the shots of the Greek islands are gorgeous) and I had to restrain myself from singing along to every song! Meryl Streep was so good and her singing was really impressive (she stole the show). Pierce Brosnan is the only miscast in the film - he cannot hold a tune at all!

We had a large number of Pride and Prejudice fans in our group, so there was a collective sigh of "Mr. Darcy" as he came on screen. Here is a completely gratuitous shot of Colin Firth in my favorite all-time movie.

Rain gutter Regatta

Max participated recently in the Rain gutter Regatta (not to be confused with one of my favorite events in Boston - The Head of the Charles Regatta). This is one of the Cub Scouts things that I am still unclear about. Bryan took charge for this event and made Max's boat sea worthy. Max contributed by putting Pokemon stickers all over the boat and sail. Evidently the two of them were a good team because Max won his division - wolves? cubs? bears? and was extremely pleased with himself!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

My Girl

This is my Sophie girl who somehow manages to get taller every time I look at her. The sweet dress she is wearing was a gift from her Grandma Erickson when she was here to visit.

Thing I want to remember about Sophie right now:
  • At age 6 she LOVES school. When I told the kids today that school was starting in less than a month Sophie cheered "hooray! I love school!"
  • She loves reading and can stay in her room for hours immersed in a good book. She has read The Magic Tree house series a dozen times - at least.
  • She still loves bugs but has decided she is afraid of spiders (like her mom).
  • When she is hungry she comes to me and lifts up her shirt and sucks in her stomach as far as it can go (she is a skinny little thing and I can count every one of her ribs when she does this) and says "look Mom at how hungry I am. I'm starvin' Marvin'."
  • She loves make believe and is always making up stories out loud with herself and with her friends while acting them out.
  • She is both a girly girl (loves her dance classes and lip gloss and dresses) and a tom boy (loves bugs, mud and soccer).
  • She sleeps in the strangest positions I have ever seen - usually like a frog or bent way back like a long arc in the bed. I can't figure out how it can be comfortable?!
  • She loves to unload the dishwasher and clean the downstairs bathroom, but she loathes cleaning her room.
  • She has my hair - stick straight. It will hold a curl for about 15 minutes!
We love you Sophie!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Summer, please stay

I just printed off the kids fall soccer schedules and practice starts on MONDAY! What?! We just finished spring soccer and we are not ready for anything to do with fall around here! I need a couple more months of hot summer lunches on the beach . . .

and pizzas on the grill.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Grandparent's visit

Bryan's parents drove in (from Rochester, NY) for a short visit. They brought our nephew Gregory with them which made our kids completely happy! We so enjoyed having them stay at our house for a few days and then they moved over to David and Trisha's for a couple of nights before making the long drive home.

That's a rhubarb crumb cake from Bread for Breakfast on the table. We are still eating rhubarb from our "garden" - we only have rhubarb and mint really. I cannot get rid of the mint - it spreads like crazy and how much mint can one family use?!

Gregory wanted to see the zoo and the Mall of America so despite the July heat, we walked the 2-mile loop at the zoo and saw the new Russian grizzly coast exhibit as well as my favorite, the bird show. Because of the hot weather, all of the outside misters are on which was the kids favorite thing too see at the zoo! They were all completely soaked by the time we left.

At the MAll of America, all of the kids went on some of the rides in the 7 acre amusement park in the center of the mall. The three oldest braved the swing and the ferris wheel while the little ones rode the train. Max used to be completely afraid of rides, so I was glad to see him brave them with Gregory!

One of the nights they were in town, we have David and Trisha and the boys over for a BBQ. The kids ate outside on the deck together and generally made a mess and had a great time! They were particularly fond of the fudge bars - I love these photos of them!

Another night, we drove over to David and Trisha's house for dinner. It dawned on me as all of the cousins were playing, that Sophie was the only girl in the bunch. She brought some books and spent most of the time reading outside on the play yard!

I preferred to hold sweet little baby Matthew and watch So You Think You Can Dance on their clever TiVo. I want one, even though we do not have cable. I guess I'll stick to watching the You Tube clips!

Here is my attempt at getting a photo of all of the cousins in one spot. Guess who's kid was being the biggest twerp? This is seriously the best shot!