Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Countdown is On

The other day I went to wake this reluctant morning girl up and she asked about how many days of school we have left.  "Five until Christmas break, and five after break 'til we leave." 

Hurriedly she sat up, smiled, and said, "Fun!"

You see, we're on our way to Spain.  We're heading out in January for a five-month family adventure that I've dreamed about since we first got married.  Having spent two years living over seas in my younger days, I have an amazing desire to share this experience with my family.  We had talked about the hows, the whys, the details and logistics and figured it would happen some day.  Early last spring we decided that given the ages of our kids, the time was right.  Now.  We're headed on our family sabbatical to Dos Hermanas, a medium-sized town near Seville in southwest Spain.

I'm going to start a separate blog to document the trip and also share a few more details here before we depart.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Feeling Christmas

Christmas has arrived to our house this year in a simple, restrained kind of way.  Instead of hauling up all the boxes of decorations from the basement, we have only decorated a few, high impact areas.  Our normal ceiling-height tree became a five-footer.  While I love the usual decorations, I'm finding the simplicity quite nice.
The piano becomes our mantle, as we have no fireplace.  Every year Gus asks, "But how does Santa get into our house?"  Hmmm... the door?  The back door?  Molly the dog lets him in?  As a result, our next house WILL have a chimney. 
The pots this year are a hodge podge of purchased and found, clipped from the yard and imported from up north.  I was going for Scandinavian modern... a bit of Ikea in the candle holder and more sparse than usual.

We inherited six bags of almond bark from a friend who was moving.  Six bags?  Tough to use it all up.  Pretzel decoration with friends for afternoon group fun became presents for school friends.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Trick or Treat

And for the year 2012, we have a Washburn Hockey player (with monster pjs beneath for warmth), a Nordic Viking and a Mermaid, with glittery fake lashes and a lot of eye makeup.  Oh the fun!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Happiness Project: Reading over lunch

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm well into the book The Happiness Project. 

I'm learning that I am quite similar to the author and find many of her comments sound like something I would say.  She mused in the chapter I read while eating my lunch today titled "Be Serious about Play" that when she was eleven, she would sit on the floor in her room, poring over magazines with her scissors and glue stick, cutting, clipping, copying inspiring tidbits and colating them all together in her little Blank Books.  I look back at my piles of these same kinds of books, giggling at the things I too, cut out and pasted diligently on the pages.  Super models, flowers, fortune cookie fortunes, recipes (what 11 year old cuts out recipes?), craft ideas, sketches for future logos, poems about journeys, the Eiffel tower and red headed children. 

The author then questions, why isn't she still doing these same activities for fun, as she once did?  She writes, "Too often, I'd give up fun in order to work.  I often felt so over whelmed by tasks that I'd think, "The most fun would be to cross some items off my to-do list,  I'd feel so much better if I could get something accomplished."" 

This is my daily struggle, now that I'm not working.  While the kids are at school and my husband is at work, my to-do list is pages-long and full of tasks to do to get our house ready, to prepare for the upcoming trip, to get caught up on all the tasks I've put off while I've been working.  Amidst this time, I love being able to check things off, to feel like I'm accomplishing things, but when do I start to find time for the Blank Books of my life now?

And you?  What are you doing for fun?  I'm going to go play outside with my kids on this lovely fall day.  And count this as day two blogging again.  I've missed being here.  Glad to be back.

p.s.  And my lunch? It is ratatouille I made recently for a dinner party.  I'm the only one in the house that likes all the deep, velvety flavors melting together, so I get all the leftovers.  Eating this alone reminds me of the semester I spent in Paris on a budget.  I would buy a can of ratatouille and a can of kidney beans, mix them together and serve on top of white rice.  Cheap, filling and yummy for a college kid on a budget in a city full of fancy delights.  I saved my money for desserts.  Always dessert.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A little trip

This little family of ours is about to embark upon a big journey.  The journey began this weekend as we made the cross country trek from Minneapolis to Chicago to take care of a few details before we depart. 

Within the coming weeks and months you'll begin to learn more as the details unfold of our adventure on the horizon.  Will you follow along with us?

In the meantime, I'm reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin for my book club.  The theme is so timely, given the place we are in our lives here.  The book brings up a lot of interesting points about living a purposefully happy lives, not taking happiness for granted, and ensuring that we are doing the most we can to make every day a happy, adventure and song filled day for ourselves, our families and the world around us.  Have you read it?

Friday, June 8, 2012

All done with school

We have the cousins over for a sleepover tonight and the night is beautiful! Sprinkler in the yard, dinner on the grass and ice cream from the ice cream man. Summer, here we come!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Happy 7th Birthday, Mr. Gus

Mr. Gus turned seven last week, the day after Louise turned five.  With Mother's Day and their two birthdays, our lives are filled with lots of celebration and hugs all around.
Gus is finishing up first grade and is loving all that comes with getting older: growing out his hair, getting a real bike that fits him, more freedom to ride his bike around the block, more chores around the house.  He's extremely helpful, when he's in the mood, loves to listen to music on the Gus playlist on the IPod and sing really loud, has fun digging worms and bugs in the garden when he's not running the weed whipper, and thinks that string cheese is the perfect snack food.  He's cuddly and affectionate, gets along with his brother and sister (most of the time) and enjoys being in charge of our dog. 

We love you, G!  Happy Birthday.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 11, 2012

Birthday Girl Louise

Today my baby turns five. How is this possible? Wasn't it just last week that I packed my bag to take to the hospital?

Today Louise and I got to go out for a lunch date. She had already eaten at school by the time I was done teaching, so she was more than happy to order chocolate ice cream at Wise Acre Eatery while I lunched on a lovely salad with a poached egg on top.

We sat outside and enjoyed the sunny--and breezy day while she wrapped up in her nap blanket from school to keep warm.

Happy fifth birthday to my red-headed soon-to-be kindergartener who loves to sing, dance, color, dig for worms, eat fruit all day long and play preschool with her dolls and animals. I love you Weez!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dancing in the puddles

Maybe now that the iPhone makes it easy, I can start posting more often. This afternoon we donned our rain gear and headed out into the puddle land near our house. The kids wondered why they don't make rain gear for dogs.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Rolling fun

An unexpected sunny day amidst a series of rainy ones. Let them roll!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

A visit to Sevilla

The students I am chaperoning are with their host families now, so I have a few days in Sevilla with the other teacher. They are setting up for semana Santa processions (holy week) and many spaniards are already in church, hanging out with friends and family, and preparing their "pasos" for the religious processions.

Friday, March 30, 2012

A trip to Spain

I am in Spain with 21 students from my school. While I hear that the media seem to be portraying the worker strikes here as a crazy unsafe situation, we quite enjoyed seeing the marchers.

These photos are from one evening at a market with the kids when we let them buy their own ingredients for a picnic. Such giant smiles on their faces!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Outdoor Adventures of the Best Kind

It has been an odd winter for Minnesota. Last year we got more than we could have hoped for, and this year, not nearly enough. This week we've had a few flurries and lovely 30-ish temperatures, so we have been trying to get out and enjoy it as much as possible before we're dancing in the tulips.

Yesterday after it had snowed 3 inches, I picked the kids up from school and headed to a new (to them) snow hill on the Minnehaha Parkway. It is a tucked away little place in a neighborhood that you might miss if you weren't paying attention, and not well travelled. We were the only ones sledding on the tree-lined hill, but were later joined in the woods by a group of 10-year old boys with nerf guns. Ahh... to be a kid in the Minnesota winter!

We sledded and threw sticks for the dog until she couldn't run anymore, then took off on a hike into the snowy woods, along the creek, until we found a magical little hollow. There were two giant oak trees that were lying on their sides, begging to be walked upon. Louise and I busied ourselves playing in the nearby kid-made stick forts while the boys made up stories about knights and tomptes that play there at night. The temperature must have spiked while we were there, as suddenly the snow flakes turned to rain.

We left in our sleds, pulling the kids through the woods, drenched and happy.

Over the weekend we visited Centennial Lakes park and met some dear friends for a kid ice skating party. It was the first time that Louise actually liked going ice skating and was able to gain some confidence.