Thursday, March 31, 2016

Outside

In connection with the last post, here's some documentation of the times we've been able to get outside.

Michigan in March means mud madness! By which I mean there's lots of mud.

Our Outdoor Adventure Baby LOVES to be outside (if she sees Niko go outside and can't join him, she screams and throws herself on the ground...and once she's outside, she just wanders around exploring everything in sight!) and had an awesome time the other night, when we joined some friends out by the playground for a picnic dinner.


Behold, the sweetest little muddy bottom ever!


Speaking of mud: another evening when we were out, Miriam found some mostly clean water in the top of something and started drinking it. As the daughter of someone who used to dip her hair in puddles, I'm pretty sure it's genetic.


 Jesse and Nikolai and some other kids ran around, waving sticks at each other (they were maybe turning each other into bad/good guys? something like that). It's always fun to watch them go.


We've also been going on family bike rides a lot. When the weather's nice, we finish dinner, leaving the dirty dishes for later as we head out to soak up the sun. We just bike around our neighborhood, following Nikolai as he goes wherever his heart takes him.


It's incredibly relaxing (even when Nikolai gets to a hill and starts complaining that it's too haaaard) and never fails to put a smile on my face.


We haven't spent a lot of time out of doors with friends yet, but this morning we saw some friends at a park. Nikolai and his friend were having a hard time sharing a rocking horse (read: Nikolai didn't want to get off) so this was the solution Niko came up with.


It was likely as uncomfortable as it looks--they got off shortly after. But boy do I love those friends!

As the weather continues on it's upward trend (which will inevitably culminate in the too-hot days of summer that I dread--not that I'm already worried about that), we're looking forward to spending much more of our time outside. And with our adventure baby by our side, I can predict that it will be a very muddy spring and summer.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Inside

March in Michigan means that some days, the weather is awesome (70 degrees on Easter Sunday?? Yes please!) but other days we feel winter's chilly fingers still gripping our ankles as we head out in the morning. It's hard to predict which days the cold will linger and which days it won't, so we've still been spending a considerable amount of time inside. That's ok though, because we've had some good times inside!

Our two rambunctious rascals love wrasslin':


We went to storytime at our local library (not my library). Nikolai loved the stories and Miriam loved dancing to the songs:


The hands on museum always makes for a great time. This is the first that time Miriam has really gotten into it too! (I don't have any pictures, but obviously she LOVED the water parts) She just kept coming back to this fire truck, climbing up on the seat and playing with the steering wheel. 


It's really hard to take a decent picture of Nikolai these days--he almost never makes a normal "smile" face. I do end up with a ton of goofy face pictures though!



Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Easter

Hello friends and loved ones!

I hope you had a swell Easter--ours was lovely! As it turns out, preparing Easter baskets and egg hunts* for a four year old is really fun. Nikolai really got into it and obviously has been excited to eat ridiculous quantities of chocolate.

*Despite our frivolous celebrations, we aren't telling the kids that the Easter bunny is real. In my mind, if there's any holiday that should actually be about Jesus, it's THIS ONE. 

My favorite baking blogger posted a recipe for Italian Easter Bread, so obviously we had to try it.


It turned out delicious AND beautiful, so I think it's safe to say it will be a new Easter tradition.

Nikolai enjoying the Easter egg hunt:


Miriam in her Easter finery*:


*aka a hand-me-down dress from friends

And I tried very hard to stick to the serving size:


Happy Easter!

Ice Skating

We found out sort of last minute last week (ok, 2 days in advance, but that qualifies as last minute in my book) that the graduate school was having free ice skating (skates included!) for grad students and their families. We've been hankering to take Niko skating all winter (some sort of intuition that he'd like it, maybe?) but it always seemed to hard to fit in the budget. Fortunately, FREE is always the right price so we went!

And, as we suspected, Niko LOVED it.



I think Nikolai spent about an hour on the ice, alternately pushing the ice support himself or holding on to it as we pushed him around the rink.

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Normally when Niko tries new things, he gets nervous and sort of grumpy and often decides to stop before he's really gotten started. But this time, he didn't complain once! Sure, his little legs got tired from time to time, but we'd let him stop to rest and before we knew it, he'd be back at it again. He even pushed the blue skate support away from him a few times and tried to skate without it! And when he promptly landed on his behind, he just smiled and got up and tried again.

Now we have a reason to try and end up in a northern state--so this little guy can be a future hockey player/ice skater! ;)





Sunday, March 20, 2016

Seasons: Winter

Continuing in my seasons embroidery, here's what I came up with for Winter:


It's the view from our back window at about 7:40 in the morning in the winter. It's one of my favorite sights and I'm glad to have memorialized it in thread.


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Chatterbox/Trump/High Five

Our kids have been super silly and chatty lately.

Exhibit A: Miriam chatting 

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Exhibit B: Nikolai has heard us talking about politics a lot lately, and has caught on about our dislike of a certain orange-faced politician

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Exhibit C: Miriam has learned to high five and it is ADORABLE

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Frankenmuth

Over spring break, we knew Jesse needed to get work done and I still had to work, but we really wanted to take take a short trip. So, we packed up the bags the night before and took off for Frankenmuth as soon as I got off work Wednesday, and came back before I had work Thursday! It was a wild ride but it was very good to get away.



The best part was that we went to an indoor water park that was highly recommended by some friends (it's a thing in the midwest, apparently). It's attached to a hotel and staying overnight automatically gets you tickets to the park the day before and the day after, so it ended up being a great deal.



Also, have we mentioned how much our kids love water? They LOVE it. We had a blast romping in splash areas, floating the lazy rivers, riding on water slides and warming up in the hot tub, and the kids slept all the way home :) 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Work: Eric Carle

The last two weeks, I've spent my storytime prep time putting together a spiderweb so that I can recreate an Eric Carle story (The Very Busy Spider) with puppets. 


The spider lands on a fence and makes her web there, ignoring other animals as they try to interrupt her. I made a fence out of cardboard and hot glued pins in so I can wrap thread around them to create the web.


The only drawback so far is that the pretty, shiny thread I'm using gets kinked up when I spool it up (a necessary feature so the spider can seem to be spinning the web) so I might need to switch to yarn. We'll see! Either way, it's been a really fun project.

Spring has sprung?

Guys, it is sort of spring around here (though I hesitate to use the S word!!!) and it is glorious!! Two exclamation points!! We've been soaking up the sun (in upper 40 degree weather...you know) and living the high life.

Speaking of the high life, these two kids of ours are about as high as it gets.

Behold, Miriam eating her first pickle!


Yeah baby, that's about how I feel about it too :)

The kids had a great time at the zoo, with Nikolai going so far as to give his sister a kiss (gently!!):


They were just as mesmerized by the fish in the aquarium as I was.



Back to the outdoors: the boys (and the babies, when they're not napping) have been having a great time running around outside, playing with sticks and occasionally playing too rough with each other. 


The mud has been a great hit also (in case you were wondering, March in Michigan Means Mud):


And we went to a family night on campus, where the ever impatient Nikolai (I want milk! Now!) waited in line for 15 minutes to get this *dinosaur painted on his face:


*yes, I know it's a dragon--the line was long and I told the face painter to do the best she could with our request. I think it turned out great ;)


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Seasons

 I am currently working on some embroidery for our wall, to represent each season here in our awesome town. They are each on simple linen in a 3 inch hoop and come from scenes we see around our apartment. I made the first one last summer (coincidentally, it was summer), but I don't think I've posted a picture yet. I will do that soon, but I just finished Fall and I wanted to show it off!


This one comes from the view out front of our apartment. It features the awesome summer-camp looking buildings we live in (it's shocking to me to say how much they've grown on me in 3 years!) as well as the vibrant fall foliage we get around here.

I'm working on Winter right now, but here's a shot from when I started, with the colors I picked out for the sunrise and the sketch I'm working from:


I've gotten a lot done on it and I'll post a picture when it's finished!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Ice Cream

The other day at the grocery store, Nikolai spotted some mini ice cream cones and wanted to get them. They were cheap and I thought letting him pick something might make our progress through the store a little easier (sort of worked) so we got them. 

Once home, we discovered that they are not just mini but teeny tiny! I mean really, they were so small they made me giggle. SO CUTE.



The best part is they only hold a tiny scoop of ice cream so we can eat them every day after dinner and not even feel bad*. 


*no really, not at all