Friday, September 24, 2010

Rock Climbing

Last weekend we decided to take Lil Max climbing at Adventure Rock.  Big Max wanted to go ahead and buy him his own climbing harness -- but sensible Mom talked him into renting one until we knew that Lil Max was going to be as avid of a climber as his Daddy (good thing).  :) 

First things first -- putting on the harness.  I think it's cool that they sell/make harnesses for kids as little as Max!

Then Daddy tested the integrity of the harness.  Safety first!  As you can tell, Lil Max thought this was fun! 

Next came the instruction -- try to explain to a 2.75 year old that they should climb UP the wall rather than swing around like a monkey on a rope....not EASY. 

The concept of straightening out his legs was somehow elusive as well.  He just kept tucking his feet under him like this...

Then he tried to be lazy.  Just pick me up, Dad -- he says.  Ok, that kinda is beside the point of CLIMBING, Max.....

In steps Mom.  Put your feet here...and here...I tried to explain.  He seemed to grasp it a little better...

Not bad for his first time -- look at it this way -- he's over 6 feet up on that wall.... that's 6 feet higher than I'd be willing to go....

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Catch up (Ketchup)

Wow, it has been almost a MONTH since my last post.  CRAZY!  Time has just been flying by -- life is busy with two kids, lots of house projects and trying to make the most of the beautiful weather before we are stuck inside through the winter months.

Sam is almost 5 months old!  Max is nearing his 3 year birthday!

Here are a few photos off my phone -- I figured they are a good indication of what we've been up to lately.

Here is Sam, asleep in the middle of the living room floor.  Sam is such a sweet sweet boy.  He hardly ever complains, and if he does, it is super easy to calm him down or figure out what he wants/needs.  He also has the tendency to just fall asleep wherever he is when he's tired, which is kinda nice.  Max definitely wasn't like that -- Max was a great sleeper, but he definitely had his preferences on WHERE he wanted to sleep.  In this photo, lil Max told me he needed to use the potty -- and when that happens in our house, EVERYTHING gets dropped and we RUN to the potty.  Gotta take these requests seriously.  Sam must've been tired, because when we got back downstairs, this is what we found!  It was a short-lived nap, if I recall -- because big brother Max doesn't play too quietly....

Daddy left us for a week to travel to Europe for work (Germany and Denmark). So, I got a sense of what it would be like to do everything all on my own.  It wasn't horrible, but is definitely something I do NOT prefer -- it's nice to have someone helping out with bedtime, morning rush, etc.  By the end of the week, I think I had everything figured out: lunches packed at night, I showered before bed, the order for showering/baths and bedtime stories, etc.  I was exhausted. 

Sunday morning, we took a walk with our neighbors up to a newer coffee shop/pizzeria up the street from us for coffee and muffins.  Lil Max was very excited to eat his muffin, as you can tell from this photo.  The coffee shop is also right across the street from the railroad tracks.  We can HEAR the train from our house, but we can't see it.  We were treated to a train passing while we were sitting outside enjoying our breakfasts.  It scared the beejesus out of the boys.  Owen started crying and lil Max covered his ears and started shaking and saying "LOUD, MOM!".  It took a little while to recover.  :)

Science experiment #1.  I hope we have many MANY more science experiments like this in our house in the years to come.  This is something I can definitely get behind!  My parents brought over some caterpillars (what they thought were monarch caterpillars).  So, we put them in a jar with some milkweed and some twigs, read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and waited.  When the caterpillars built their cocoons (or RACCOONS as lil Max likes to say), we noticed that they were brown, and not jade green as monarchs generally are.  So, Mom dug out the insect field guide at work and correctly ID'd the little critters as Anise Swallowtails, rather than monarchs.  We've been waiting for them to break free as beautiful butterflies....but I can't tell if that will happen soon or if they overwinter...I need to do some more research, I guess.

Trip to MN.  Over Labor Day weekend, we made a trip to MN to visit with the McGrandparents and Uncle Fran, Aunt Denyce and cousin Lilly, along with some other of our close friends.  It was a fun trip.  We got into town a day earlier than usual and stayed in a hotel in downtown St. Paul so we could do a little sight seeing since lil Max is getting old enough to appreciate things now.  We decided to do the Science Museum of MN as our first real 'fieldtrip', and it was a SUCCESS!  A lot of the concepts were totally over lil Max's head, but there was a lot of button pushing to be done, and different things lit up -- so he was in heaven.   We decided NOT to bring the stroller along for the trip to save room in the trunk, so I carried Sam around in the Beco -- and it was AWESOME.  Seriously.  That carrier has already proven it's worth. 

Lil Max had a wonderful time visiting with family and friends.  He always gets a kick out of staying at the McGrandparent's house because they have big grassy fields to run around in, and fun new toys to play with.  This year, he was all about climbing up Uncle Fran's deer stand, helping McGrandpa with the wood for the fire, roasting marshmallows, and talking about staying away from the big, mean deer that comes out at night.  LOL.  Gotta love a 2 yr old's imagination!

Can you believe this is my old highchair?  Over 30 years old, and in this great of condition?!?  My mom redid the pads covering the chair (and made a matching bib while she was at it).  Sam was a happy camper sitting in it!  Then again...he almost always IS a happy camper....

Sam, asleep in the pack n play at my parent's house.  He took two 2-hr naps while we were there.  I almost didn't know what to do with myself!  'Free time' is such an obscure thing was a treat to be able to sit down and read a magazine cover to cover without interruption!

Lil Max and I are signed up for three Zoo Classes for this fall.  We call it our 'Mommy and Max' time where just the two of us get to hang out and have fun.  Our first class was the 'Zoo Train' class, and lil Max had a blast.  We got to do train art, several other art projects, and we made a train costume and decorated a train whistle.  We were worried that because it was raining that morning that we wouldn't be able to ride the train, but, just as we were getting ready to leave, we heard the train whistle!  Riding the train is definitely something I remember fondly from my childhood at the zoo -- and lil Max seems to enjoy it just as much as I did (do).


We've lived in our house 8+ years now, and one of the very first "projects" we identified when we moved in was that the extension needed to be remodeled.  It took 8 years, but we are now nearly finished.  5 years ago, Max took down the wood paneling they had put up for 'walls' and re-drywalled the entire room.  Then, we got the windows replaced and re-did the wood trim.  Finally, this year, we had the floors refinished and finally put up the wood baseboard.  The room looks 100% better.  I'll have to find a before picture for comparison.  Right now, the room is being used as my home office and a playroom.  It really adds a lot more usable space onto the house which is good because we really lack a true basement.  Plus, having a room for toys is just awesome -- it helps keep the clutter down in the rest of the house, and it is place where little Max can let his imagination go free.  I hope if/when we move that we can have a dedicated 'playroom' again.

Do you see that? Doesn't that just make your heart melt?  I've been taking the boys for more walks lately as the temperature has started cooling down, the mosquitoes have started dying off, and Sam is able to sit up in the stroller instead of being in his car seat.  One afternoon, I looked down, and lil Max had slipped his little hand around Sam's chubby little fingers.  Sam was sleeping, and Max was just in heaven.  He tilted his head back, looked up at me and said "I'm holding Sammer's hand.  I love my Sammy Sam."  I just about melted into a pool on the asphalt.  Instead, I looked back at him and said "You are such a good big brother.  I love you and so does Sam."  Since then, he insists on holding Sam's hand every time they are in the stroller together.  It is pretty darn cute.  It is even cuter when Sam tries to put Max's hand in his mouth (because that's where EVERYTHING goes at his age), and Max gets upset and tells Sam that 'you can't eat my hand,'re too little."  LOL.  Anyone in the market for a double stroller should consider a side-by-side.  Especially if your kids get along -- these two just LOVE sitting next to each other and enjoying each other's company.  It makes me feel that I must've done at least SOMETHING right so far....