Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy 5th Birthday Soren!

Yesterday Soren woke up at the crack of the crack of dawn (as opposed to just the usual crack of dawn) because he was so excited about his birthday. He's FIVE whole years old! I'd say that is certainly a reason to wake your mom up at 5:30 a.m, wouldn't you?

Peter, Grandma and I went with Soren to pre-school for his birthday celebration. It starts off with the usual circle time.

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And a few warm up songs to get the kids moving.

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But then all the attention gets heaped upon the birthday boy (who might be just the tiniest bit self-conscious with all eyes on him.)

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They go through the birthday ritual of playing out the earth going around the sun as the years pass and reminisce about what Soren must have been like at 1, 2, 3 years old...

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And then he got to stand on the chair while everyone sang!

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And to top it all off, before passing around his special treats, he plays the Happy Birthday music box and thinks about what it feels like to be five.

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Judging by the fact that this morning he woke up at 3 a.m. wanting to play with his new birthday toys, I'd say that five apparently feels pretty good.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Meijer Gardens

On our last day in Michigan, on the way to the airport actually, we visited Meijer Gardens. Meijer's grocery store chain is a major Michigan institution. Everyone I grew up with will have memories of shopping at meijerthriftyacres (pronounced as one word) which later just became Meijer.

One aside: the Meijers founder was Frederick Meijer. I find it interesting that in the northwest the most comparable grocery store we have here is called...Fred Meyer. Clearly the Fred + Meijer/Meyer name combination means you'll turn out to be a giant in the grocery biz!

Anyway, said Mr. Meijer created this really cool plant and sculpture garden. And we visited it.

The most famous icon of the Meijer Garden is the American Horse. Wow. It is beautiful. And very, very big! (To get a sense of the scale, notice my sister Amanda on the left!)

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But on this visit, while we did enjoy the plants...

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...we were mostly on the lookout for butterflies (check out Luke in the background here, looks like he's spotted one!)

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Soren was really proud, and still, when one landed on him! (Look just above his elbow for a black butterfly.)

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And another one found Luke!

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Soren was absolutely fascinated with them. He'd hold so still, and look so serious as he watched them.

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We were so lucky to get in on the end of the big butterfly exhibition. What a great day.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Great Wolf Lodge

Oh there are so many wonderful things to say about Great Wolf Lodge!

Waking up with your cousins in the beds next to you is a great way to start the day.

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And a giant bedtime story with dozens of other children is a great way to end one.

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Even the drive up to Traverse City was fun, thanks to Auntie Amanda's clever packing:

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Doesn't a green tongue just mean that it must have been super tasty?!

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Silly boys kept us all laughing the whole weekend.

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But, mostly, it is all that other stuff that really gets a kid's adrenelin pumping!

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Floating down the lazy river...

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Watching all the wet and wonderful action...

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Or just bobbin' along (check out Luke in the background beckoning to Soren.)

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The biggest hit of the weekend, was without a doubt the small waterslides...

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The boys went around and around and around all weekend long...

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The only remaining question is when can we go again?!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Our Recent Trip to Michigan

There's nothing more exciting than going to Michigan when Grandpa and Grandma have a new foal on the farm.

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This is little Elle, and she's about the cutest thing you've ever seen in your life!

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Oh, except maybe for Riley, he's pretty darn cute too.

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Soren loves visiting his cousins.

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Especially since they have really fun toys and swings to play on!

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There was the usual fishing too, of course.

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And so many other fun things that we'll have to break it up into a few posts!

Friday, April 23, 2010

We Love Spring Weekends!

Last weekend Peter headed to the mountains for the last reasonable chance to ski for the season. So Soren and I did what any other people would do when faced with a weekend without super-fun Daddy: we slept in a fort!

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I did get told that I wasn't as good as Daddy in fort-building, which is actually very very true.

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The next day we went to an earth day celebration at the Oregon Gardens. Fresh compost and a magnifying glass, is there anything that could provide a greater thrill to an almost-5-year-old boy?

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The short answer is YES! Compost, a magnifying glass and piles of squiggly worms!

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In the Oregon Gardens they have a children's area where they've built a tiny hill with a small tunnel under it. The hill is just the right size for rolling...

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...and again...

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...and again...

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gratuitous Spring Photos

Oh how glorious to be out playing in the warmth and sunshine!

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pizza Pizza

We invited the neighbor girls over recently for a little bit of pizza making. First you roll out the dough...

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...pausing to poke a few holes in the crust to keep too many bubbles from forming.

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We like a little bit of olive oil on the edges of the crust (or, er, not the edges as the case may be.)

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If I ever learn how to make my own pizza sauce with Peter's tomatoes I'm totally going to try to emulate Glen Muir organic pizza sauce. Yum! For now, we use Glen Muir pizza sauce.

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There was some fancy crust forming happening that day.

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...and some more, um, free form shapes too! Can you tell that Soren likes pepperoni?

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The end result was yummy, if these smiley faces are any indication.

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(even when those faces are covered with Odwalla green juice!)

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Tiny's Tiny Life

Well, I guess we are getting better at fish-keeping. Tiny, Soren's latest Beta lasted three whole months in our house. But, alas, she has now joined Salmon Salmon in nurturing the plant life in the front flower bed.

Tiny was a cool fish. Even choosing her made me laugh. You see, I think Betas are all about the flash. Those iridescent colors, long flowing tails, voluminous fins. Betas are flashy. Well, male Betas are flashy.

When I took Soren to the pet store I told him he could choose any Beta he wanted. I was pointing out all the fish with these incredible colors. He uncovered this itsy bitsy, non-descript female Beta off in the corner. Seriously, this fish was BORING looking. I tried to point out some more interesting possibilities, but no, he was set on the dull little fish.

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At first he wanted to call her Little, but soon settled on "Tiny." It was a fitting name. Tiny turned out to have a big personality. She'd swim to the side of the tank to check you out when you'd look into her tank.

But, poor Tiny had been struggling lately. She started sinking. Yeah, really. Our fish sank. You could watch her swim to the top but as soon as she stopped finning, she'd sink like a rock to the bottom. I actually Googled "sinking Beta" and found a wealth of information. The suspect was the swim bladder, and the most likely cause was constipation - too much food, or the wrong kind of food.

We fasted Tiny for three days and then fed her mashed peas which were supposedly good for swim bladder problems. But, dear Tiny kept sinking. We kind of got used to her that way. She'd either sit on the marbles or on the plant leaves in the tank.

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But since Betas occasionally swim to the top to gulp air or to eat we put her in a shallower tank. And I suppose, this was her eventual undoing, sadly.

Peter was picking up the house the other day and said that he noticed something out of the corner of his eye on the living room floor. He kept cleaning and ignored it, but it kept catching his eye. When he did go to investigate he found that poor Tiny had lept out of the tank and was laying all dried out on the floor. Poor gal.

But when he picked her up she gasped, so he put her back in her tank. She sat there for the rest of the day occasionally gasping, but mostly looking sad and dried out. The next morning she was dead.

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When I told Soren the next morning, just like at Salmon Salmon's death he asked if he could see her bones. This time though, I said yes. I spread newspaper all over the kitchen table, gave him the fish, and stepped far, far away while he ripped her apart.

After she was properly dissected we gave her a burial in the flower bed.

We already do have a replacement fish. The HUGEST beta you've ever seen. Still not flashy, but ginormous! His name is Sharky Shark Eat Everything. May he live a long and happy life.

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