Happy Birthday to Annika!

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OK, so when we last left off it was the day before Annika’s birthday, Kris was still taking a day class and our house was on the market with nary a buyer in sight.  My, how things have changed!


Annika’s birthday was great.  She brought her treats to school and the class sang “Happy Birthday” to her at the end of the day and she handed out her treats to the class as they headed out for the day.  That night after we ate dinner we sang to her again and had the last of the birthday cupcakes that we’d made the weekend before.  She didn’t expect any presents as we gave her some at her family birthday party.  That Friday night, the 9th, we had her very first sleepover!  Instead of a big birthday party, we invited three girls over and had a sleepover instead.  Annika was so excited to do this.  She’s been asking to have a sleepover or to go to a sleepover for what seems like forever!  All three girls invited (Erin, Elyse and Sargam) were able to come too and it was the first sleepover for each of them too.  I was a little nervous to see if they would all actually stay the whole night.  I had a big night of activities planned too.  We were going to make jewelry (necklaces or bracelets) with Annika’s new beading kit.  Then we were going to make homemade playdoh.  Then we were going to pop some popcorn and settle in for the night with a movie.  In the morning we’d have from scratch pancakes before the girls went home.  You know what they say about the best laid plans though!  Ours were interrupted by a showing for the house.  The party was to start at 6pm and sure enough at 3:30pm that day we get a showing request for 7-8pm that night!  I tried to get it moved but the potential buyers were coming from out of town and that was the only time they could come.  We worked around it by taking a little walk and then playing at Erin’s house for 15 minutes before heading back home to ours.  The girls didn’t mind the break in the sleepover action.  Instead of my planned activities though we just did free play until 7pm and then when we got back we quickly made jewelry before starting the movie.  No playdoh for us.  After the movie (which none of them feel asleep during – darn!) we got everyone changed into pj’s and settled into their pillows/blankets in Annika’s room for the night.  Sargam said once that she wanted her mom but it didn’t go any further than that.  I sat right outside Annika’s bedroom door to make sure they settled down for the night and that they were all OK falling asleep.  It was 11:30pm by the time they were all asleep!  And then of course they were up by 6:30am too!  They played for a bit and then I made pancakes.  By that time I think they’d all had enough of each other.  Annika completely melted down Saturday morning when Sargam and she both wanted to play with the sole boy Barbie.  Oy.  It was awful.  But we recovered to eat breakfast together and everybody was back being best friends by the time each girl went home.  Each of them said they wanted to stay longer and each was practically drug from the house to go home.  I think we’ll call it a success!  And maybe keep the sleepovers to one girl at a time for a little while!  Levi was pretty oblivious to the whole sleepover thing.  But James thought it was great!  More people to play with!  He didn’t quite get that the girls weren’t really there for him to play with but he tried to tag along when he could.  He did wonder one time why Elyse’s brother Liam wasn’t there for him to play with.  James even stayed up and watched the movie (“Little Mermaid”) with the girls too.


James has started preschool for the year.  He’s in M-W-F preschool this year with Ms. Annette.  Annika had Ms. Annette two years ago so James was very comfortable with the classroom and his teacher and had no problems transitioning to school.  At the open house Ms. Annette commented on James’ long hair.  He told her he was growing it out to be like Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and Ms. Annette thought that was terrific.  Her son is a Foo Fighters fan and on the first day of school, she told him that her son was very impressed that there was a preschool-aged Dave Grohl fan and wanted to meet him.  My little rocker dude looks more California surfer boy with his sun-bleached blond hair than dirty rocker but that’s OK.  He’s adorable either way.


Levi still isn’t saying many words.  He has mama, dada and uh-oh down but would otherwise prefer to point and grunt at us.  He has been playing with sound lately though by babbling incoherently with consonants and vowels.  I’m hoping he’ll pop out some new words shortly.  One adorable thing he has been doing though is singing.  We have a cheap (McDonald’s Happy Meal) microphone toy and Levi loves to grab that and sing in to it.  He’ll sing, look at me, I’ll praise him and then he’ll sing again, repeat.  Adorable!  Another thing Levi loves to do is mimic James.  It is totally monkey-see-monkey-do with those two.  James is dancing in the living room, spinning and then falling down?  Levi will crack up laughing and then do the exact same thing.  James is running around the house, playing with a car or doing something else?  Well, watch out because here comes Levi to do the same thing!  James loves “pughing” things.  He folds his little hand like a gun and then shoots things with it.  We’re always telling him to not “pugh” people and such but the other night at dinner James “pughed” Levi.  After reprimanding James, what did I see?  Levi “pughing” James right back complete with the hand-shaped-like-a-gun and “pughing” noises.  Great.


Our lives are settling into a routine once again.  Annika is in school every day.  James is in school M-W-F afternoons.  Kris is done with his day class that had us shuffling kids to neighbors or having Nana at our house helping or having the kids gone for days at a time at their house.  We’re glad to be back to some kind of normal.  Kris passed his class (it was pass/fail) and now only has Nutrition (online) and Physiology (M-W evenings) for the remainder of the semester.  I’m grateful for routines.  They make the chaos of our lives a little more manageable.


Also adding to the decrease in chaos and overall stress?  We sold our house!  We are so excited because we think we have found the perfect buyers for our home.  They are a young, newly married couple with a toddler aged son.  Our house is perfect for them!  We’re scheduled to close on the current house on 12/9/11 and on the new house 12/2/11.  We should have one week overlap to move to the new house and clean up the old one.  We had our inspection earlier this week which found two minor issues.  We knew about one of them and had planned on fixing it anyway (cracked garage window) so we were happy the inspection didn’t turn up any major, deal-killing, issues.  And now we’re all signed and just waiting patiently for closing!  Oh, and packing.  We’ve already started packing up 2-3 boxes per night.  I’m hoping that consistently packing things away will help me at the end of November not be so frantic.  I know there will be last minute items (clothing, dishes, towels, etc.) that will need to be packed up but I’m hoping we can get everything else boxed up and out of the way.  And we should be set for boxes I hope.  Our new neighbors are unpacking and saving all their boxes for us!  Isn’t that so nice of them?!  When we’re done with the boxes we’ll give them back and then they can do with them what they wish (maybe sell them?).  Either way it’s a win-win for both of us.  I’m so grateful for awesome new neighbors!


And how is our new house doing?  Well, it’s starting to look like a house!  They have it completely framed.  The plumbing is roughed in.  The electrical work is almost done.  The roof is shingled.  The windows are in.  We are having our frame walk with our site supervisor on Saturday and after that I imagine they will start insulating and sheetrocking in the next 1-2 weeks.  After that it’s really fun to see all the interior items come together – light fixtures, trim, cabinets, etc.


Last night it was such a gorgeous night out that we played outside our house and at the neighbors house.  When they needed to go inside we went over to the new house to check it out.  Then we met friends, Elyse and Liam, at the new city park a block away from our new house because it’s only a block away from their house two!  We played there until it was getting dark out and even then the kids complained that it wasn’t long enough.  It was a great fall night.


I was going to wait to post this until I had pictures to accompany it but that might not be for a while at this rate.  How about I post this now and then promise to update flickr with new pictures this weekend?  I’ll even get started on it tonight.  Promise!

Baptism, Fair and School!

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When Kris is bugging me to update you know it’s been a while again. Oops. So, what have we been up to? Lots!

The weekend of 26th-28th we were in Iowa visiting Carrie, Adam, Isak and Hans and celebrating Hans’ baptism. Kris and I are two of his sponsors and we couldn’t be prouder! We drove down Friday night. Annika and James spent most of the week at Nana and Papa’s house and met us down in Waterloo at the hotel. We all arrived early enough that Kris could go to the house to visit Adam and Carrie and while put Levi to sleep. After he was asleep Annika and James arrived and I got to see them for a bit before they went to bed. Saturday morning we all went down to the pool for a while. Annika had fun perfecting her shallow water swimming. Then she’d take a water noodle and go to the deeper end. She can’t swim yet so we kept a pretty close eye on her. James is my cautious child so he kept his life jacket on at all times. With that jacket on he has total confidence in the pool and was all over the place. Levi wasn’t too keen on the pool which surprised me. He loved being in the lakes this summer. He did love the “hot” tub though. It wasn’t too hot (more like a warm bath) so we let him dip his toes in it and spend a few minutes in it. After that, that was all he wanted to do! When we were able to round up the kids we got them all showered and dressed and we went over to Adam and Carrie’s for the afternoon. They had lots of family in town for the baptism and the kids had a great time playing with the kids on Adam’s side of the family plus Isak of course. Carrie said Isak told her the week before we came down that he loved James…a lot. Isn’t that cute! Annika and James adore Isak too and were excited to see him again. That evening we sent Annika and James back to the hotel with Nana and Papa, put Levi to sleep in Hans’ crib and played a few games with Adam and Carrie and Dusty and Melanie and eventually Adam’s brother too! Then we scooped up Levi and went back to the hotel for the night. Sunday we met everyone at the church for the nice outside service and then back to the hotel for one last swim in the pool. Then we went to Adam and Carrie’s for lunch. On the way there Levi fell asleep! It was a little early for a nap for him but there was no waking him up. So, we ate lunch and let him sleep and when he woke up we fed him and then got on the road for home. One highlight of the weekend was having all the cousins on that side of the family together at once. Of course we took some pictures!

All the cousins on this side together for the first time!

One funny thing that happened on the way down to Iowa was in Nana and Papa’s car.  Papa was driving through Red Wing and there was a stop sign hidden by trees on the street.  Papa saw it at the last minute and braked hard.  From the backseat came James saying “Papa, you scared the hell out of us!”  Nana and Papa didn’t know what to say so they pretended they didn’t hear anything while also trying not to crack up.  I’m not sure where James learned that but at least he used it in the right context?!?

Levi isn’t saying many words yet (Mama, Dada, uh-oh) but he’s starting to pick up some signs (more, milk). And he thinks he’s a big kid, even if he’s not yet. The other night Annika asked if she could go across the street to play with the kids. I agreed so she looked both ways and crossed the street. Levi then tried to follow her but of course he’s not as safety conscious as she is and was just going to bolt across the street. And man was he mad about that! He was OK later when an older couple was walking by the house and he ran to the sidewalk and on up to them until they stopped and the older lady picked him up. And he waves good-bye to just about anyone walking or driving by now. His wave is so cute. Instead of waving his hand he curls his fingers over like he’s making a fist instead. Adorable.

Last Wednesday night Annika met her teacher for this year and saw her classroom. She has her own little desk that we unloaded all her school supplies in and we found her locker where she can put her coat and boots this winter and her backpack. Her room is nice and her teacher seems nice too. She has a few kids from her kindergarten class in her first grade class with her including one of her friends (Catherine). She’s happy to have at least a couple friendly faces in her room. Here she is unloading her school supplies.

Annika and her desk

Annika by her classroom

Saturday we had Annika’s family birthday party.  Grandpa, Marcia, Krystle, Pierce, Ayla, Nana, Papa, Dusty, Mel and Mabel were all able to come.  First we had a nice dinner together and then we opened presents, sang happy birthday and ate our cupcakes!  Annika was spoiled as usual.  She received some really nice gifts and really likes them all.  Of course she wouldn’t show anyone how much she liked them because she HATES being the center of attention like that.  But she’s insisted on playing with most of her new toys and she’s tried on all her new clothes and she even had to wear one of her new watches to school today even though she can’t tell time very well yet on an analog clock.  So, to everyone who gave her a birthday present – she loved it, but she has a hard time showing/telling you that.  Here she is as we sing to her.

Annika getting ready to blow!

For her birthday we got her a new (used) 20″ bike.  After we opened presents and ate our cupcakes then we had to go outside to try out the new bike.  She got the hang of it after just a couple passes up and down the block.  It of course rides a little different than her 16″ bike.  She looks good on it though!

Sunday was another busy day! It was State Fair day! We got going “early” (ha!) and finally got down to the fair grounds by 10:15am or so. And then we met up with Nana and Papa (Who had James with them. James spent a few days down at their house again last week – I think he’d like to move there if I’d let him!) and spent the entire day at the fair! We didn’t leave until almost 7pm! We went on (kiddie) rides, went through the little farms, checked out all the tractors and ate a lot of food! Levi even took a short nap laying down in the wagon. Dusty, Mel and Mabel joined us too for Mabel’s first day at the fair! Annika and James LOVED the kiddie rides. Annika was laughing like crazy during a few of them, especially those that spun her around really fast. James tried to go on the ferris wheel (it was his idea actually) but didn’t make it past the loading of the wheel before he was crying to come back down. My poor boy is afraid of heights and the ferris wheel was just a no-go. He loved the rides though that were low to the ground and fast. Nana and Papa took the kids through the Little Farm hands exhibit like they always do. This year Levi got to go too! He tried to run away at one point so then Papa had a hold of his hood so he couldn’t get away. That Levi is a runner!

And today was Annika’s first day of 1st grade! This morning when Annika came downstairs she was fully dressed and had brushed her hair. All she needed was to eat breakfast and she was ready…1.5 hours before the bus came! That’s OK though, we leisurely ate our breakfast together and doublechecked her backpack. Then I took a couple pictures and we went outside to the bus stop.

Annika on her 1st day of 1st grade!

Annika on her 1st day!

After Annika left, the boys and I were on our own for the day.  First we had a little wrestling.  (Levi won!)

Levi needed to "help" his brother play with Duplos

Levi for the win!

And then Levi “helped” me work.  He’s very helpful like that.

Levi concentrating very hard on his "work."

Levi taking a break to mug for the camera!

And why are all the chairs in the above picture pushed to the side of the room?  Because otherwise we find Levi on the table, countertop, etc.  He’s a climber.

And then at 4pm we met Annika at the bus stop and walked her back home.  I pulled out as much about her first day as I could.  We heard about lunch (didn’t have enough time to eat all her food) and gym (that was fun and Elyse’s class was in there with her) but not much else.  She has art tomorrow and is excited about that.  I could tell right away the the girl was tired.  It was a big, long day for her.  She was crabby most of the night so we made sure she had a good dinner and then got to bed a few minutes early.  We also made a Target run to get some fun things to put in goodie bags for her to bring to school tomorrow and hand out to her classmates on her birthday.  She has her outfit all picked out (new polka dot dress, pink leggings, sparkly shoes, new headband) and she’s ready to go.  Nana is here (sleeping in the basement with James on the trundle bed next to her) to watch the kids for us tomorrow while Kris is at school.  And with that the first day of school is done.  One to day two!