We’ve had a busy spring so far! Because I can’t seem to find or make time to update here more often, we’re going to capture the recent fun in bullet point form.
- Levi peed in the potty for the first time! I was leaning over the bathtub washing James’ hair with Levi standing next to me when he bolted for the toilet. I helped him up onto it and he peed! He hasn’t peed in the potty since but we do put him on it before each bath and whenever he shows any interest in sitting on it. Go Levi!
- At the beginning of April Gramme retired. We were able to join her on her last day for lunch and then cupcakes at her workplace. And only a few days before retirement she sold her house. She’s currently homeless and unemployed! Hee! She’s currently living with Krystle and Pierce for the month of April and then will leave for Florida after Levi’s birthday party. We’re going to miss having her so close but I think she’s excited to get to Florida. And she’ll be back in July for a couple months and I’m sure we’ll see a bunch of her again there.
- On March 31st the kids and I (Kris was at work that morning) along with Gramme, Krystle, Pierce and Ayla all went to the circus! Gramme received free tickets and we were excited to use them. There were elephants and tigers and trapeze acts and a woman shot out of a cannon and clowns and so much more. Annika’s favorite part was the cannon lady. James wanted to make sure we were going to see clowns but then he was disappointed that the baseball comedy routine they did wasn’t funny enough for him. We all enjoyed the show. And after the show we stuck around for a bit so Annika and James could get a ride on an elephant. While nervous, they both thoroughly enjoyed their ride. Annika said when the elephant stopped walking they were slightly tilted and she thought the elephant was going to fall over!
- After arriving home from the circus we had unexpected visitors waiting for us…Carrie, Adam, Isak and Hans were in town for the weekend and were at our house for a visit! Annika and James were so excited to play with Isak. At times Annika was disappointed that Isak “wanted to play with James more than her” according to her. There may be a bit of hero workship going on between Isak and James. James is the big boy cousin so it makes sense. Isak is the oldest cousin of Annika and James’ though so they both get really excited to play with him. We just made sure that they were all playing together, shooing them all outside to enjoy the nice weather too. They all stayed for dinner and we had a lovely day together. Hans is getting so big and it was exciting to see him practice taking a few steps between Carrie and Adam. What cuties!
- On Saturday, April 7th the kids and I (Kris was again at work that morning) met Grandpa and Grandma and Krystle, Pierce and Ayla and we all went to the Minnesota Zoo together. We were hoping to see the outside animals but rain prevented us from doing that. Instead we made sure we saw all the indoor animals from the aquarium to the Tropics Trail to the Minnesota Trail. The kids love going to the zoo and they really liked showing Grandpa and Grandma all the fun things along the way. We even saw the dolphin show (me for the first time) and that was really cool too! After the zoo we all met Kris for lunch to celebrate Easter together. Maybe Old Chicago isn’t your first choice for Easter meals but it sure was tasty for us! We’re going to try and go back to the zoo with Grandpa and Grandma soon so we can see all the outside animals too.
- Easter was on April 8th and we celebrated with Nana, Papa, Dusty, Mel, Mabel, Gramme, Krystle, Pierce and Ayla all at our house. First we had to all find our Easter baskets and the eggs, both real and plastic, that the Easter bunny had hid around our house. In order to keep that fair, I kept Annika and James upstairs, playing in their rooms, until Levi woke up and then all five of us went downstairs together. Levi is a bit too young to really get what was going on but he had fun picking up the eggs he found anyway. Annika and James raced around grabbing as many eggs as they could find and squealing with excitement the whole time. Annika found her basket hidden under the desk in the front room. James found his basket last as it was tucked on the pantry floor slightly out of view. Levi’s basket was hid in plain sight – on the bench in the mudroom. After a quick treat from our baskets we got dressed up in our Easter fancy outfits and went to church. We went early to enjoy the pancake breakfast with Gramme and Nana and Papa and then the three of them joined us for church. It sure was nice having three extra people with us to help wrangle Levi! Once back at home after church Kris started cooking our fancy meal (ham and pork roast) while I made delicious homemade mac ‘n cheese. The bigger house along with the new furniture made it very easy to accommodate that many people in our house. I was so happy that we could fit everyone around the table (with one card table on the end) and in the living room. What a great day!
- Annika and James started swimming lessons in April. Both can float on the backs and stomachs and are progressing. Annika is learning to tread water and the front and back crawl. It’s my goal to continue with swim lessons for both of them as often as possible from here on out so they both become proficient swimmers. It will be another year or so before Levi joins in the solo swimming lesson fun. Along with swimming lessons, I also signed the kids up for summer activities. James is going to play t-ball and soccer this year. Annika elected to only do soccer. But Annika did express interest in being in the Wizard of Oz play that the local theater group is performing this summer so we’re looking more into that for her.
- April 10th was a big, eventful day in our house. Not only was it Gramme’s birthday (a milestone one too!) but two other big things happened. First, Kris received his acceptance letter from MCTC and is now officially going to nursing school this fall! We’re so excited to keep moving forward in his quest to change careers. I’m so proud of him. And almost equally as momentous was James’ kindergarten orientation which we also had that day. James (and the rest of us) were able to meet the kindergarten teachers, take a tour of the school, see the kindergarten classrooms and go on a short school bus ride. James is fairly familiar with all of that due to Annika already going to that school plus field trips he takes with his preschool. But it was still a pretty big deal for both him and Kris and I. I can’t believe James is going to kindergarten this fall! He’s my little baby boy! He can’t go to kindergarten already! He’s going to grow up at warp speed now! In fact, I’ve been noticing him growing up more and more lately in how he talks and acts and his imagination and play. He is turning into such a school age kid and not my little preschooler anymore.
- This past Saturday the Annika and James had quite the packed social life. First they went to Elyse and Liam’s house in the early afternoon for a playdate. They played outside most of the time, enjoying the nice weather again. Then as I was about to leave to pick them up Amy called and said Jack and Calvin wanted them to come outside and play. So as soon as we got home, instead of going inside, Annika and James went directly to the backyard to play with them. And then later that night Annika’s friend Maija from her class at school came over for a sleepover. The girls had fun playing Barbies in her room and playing kitchen in the basement. They even let James play with them sometimes which was great. I didn’t want James to feel too left out. The girls finally fell asleep around 10pm and then at 4:57am Sunday morning I heard one of them get up to use the bathroom. And then the light went on in Annika’s room and the Barbie play resumed. About 5:15am I shushed them back to bed and turned off the light but of course they didn’t go back to sleep. Instead they played under the bed, jumped on the bed and played more Barbies. Thank goodness they were at least quiet enough that neither James nor Levi woke up because of them. We dropped Maija off on the way to church Sunday morning and had a successful sleepover in the books.
- Sunday afternoon we had a little family bonding time. Kris, with James’ help, built two fence panels for us to put around our (deep) window well in the backyard and the kids and I helped paint it. Of course James got paint on his jacket and brand new jeans. And Levi got paint on his jacket too. Annika changed her clothes so there were no paint casualties there. I think the kids enjoyed painting outside though and it looks pretty nice too! One more item to cross the house to-do list. This one was a big one because Levi liked to walk on the cement rim of the window well and scare the bejeezus out of me each time. I have nightmares about him falling over the edge and through the glass. *shudder*
- Levi has been a walking, tripping, non-talking disaster lately. First he fell on the stairs and cut his cheek. We’ve been applying mederma to that daily to minimize any scarring. Then on Gramme’s birthday we surprised her with a Culver’s cake at Krystle and Pierce’s house. And while the adults were chatting around the table, Levi climbed up on the couch and fell over the back and fell directly on his nose. The next morning he woke up with a rug burn on the tip of his nose. Poor guy. And then the very next night he tripped on a toy and fell against the barn toybox in the basement (with me standing right next to him) and got a nice bruise on his ear. My little walking wounded soldier. He’s still not talking very much. We can get him to say yellow and please (sounds like a soft “sss”) and of course he still screeches “Ma!” whenever he wants my attention. But using words to communicate still isn’t something he does. He uses pointing and his own little sign language to get what he wants. If he wants to sit on my lap he pats my leg. If he wants something to eat he grabs my hand and leads me to the kitchen and points at the refrigerator. If he wants his diaper changed (not always a fan of poopy diapers) he’ll pat his butt and then run towards the stairs to go to his room. While I adore his toddler sign language I also wished he’d start communicating with words. It’s very frustrating sometimes when I don’t know what he wants and he can’t tell me. He has his two year check up on April 30th and I’ll be requesting an evaluation at that time so we can get him checked out. I just want to know if we’re dealing with a speech delay or if he’s just on his own timetable.
- Last night we went to Grandpa and Grandma’s house. Our mission was to bring home one of our motorcycles which had been wintering there since we were in the middle of a move last fall. The Easter bunny always has an outdoor Easter egg hunt at their house for us and this was the first time we’d been there since Easter so as soon as we got there we all stayed outside to find all the eggs. The kids had a great time! They took off racing around the house looking for eggs. Even Levi found a few eggs with help from Grandma, Kris and I. Then we at a few pieces of candy, had some pizza for dinner and played before it was time to go home. Annika read from a Junie B. book for Grandma and James and Levi were busy playing with trucks. What a nice evening!
And that is what is new with us.