Monday, June 30, 2008

Dinner with friends

On Saturday night we had friends from our daycare days over for dinner. Rose #1 and their daughter are still really good buddies. They were together in the infant room at daycare so have known each other for 5 years! Whenever they see each other they pick right back up where they left off. My hope is that they can stay friends for a good long time, despite living in different cities (I know, St. Paul vs. Minneapolis, but it is hard to stay in touch with people that live on the next block!).

The highlight of our night, besides delicious dinner and good company, was that Ruhi's nightgown and Rose #1's jammies were of the same fabric and pattern. So, everyone changed into jammies, and H snapped a shot of the three big girls on the living room rug:
I think they have the sparkliest eyes and the widest smiles.

The Minnesota Zoo

We spent time at the zoo yesterday with Anna and Nadia. A family membership to the Minnesota Zoo is one of the best things you can buy if you live anyplace close to the zoo. Seriously, it only takes a few visits for it to be cost effective, and the kids love the zoo.

Our first stop was the butterfly garden. This shot, as cool as it is, does not do justice to the beautiful garden. There are butterflies everywhere - Rose #3 kept saying "FLY! FLY! FLY!" and beautiful flowers. It is so peaceful and floaty and beautiful. If our kids hadn't been there (and if about 1,000,000 other people hadn't been there) I would have sat on the bench and watched the butterflies for awhile. It was lovely. Anyway, this is one of the butterflies that H caught on his cell phone camera. I think it is a swallowtail.

Even though this is lilies, my husband H said, "Look: Three Roses Minnesota!"

After the butterfly garden we went to the new grizzly bear exhibit. It is called Russia's Grizzly Coast, and it is a very well designed exhibit. They have sea otters and grizzly bears in a very nice exhibit. You can see the sea otters swimming up very close, and you can also get very close to a grizzly bear. The girls loved it.

After you see the sea otters and the bears, you get to a spot where you can pretend you are digging out a woolly mammoth. This held the interest of Roses #1 and 2, and Nadia, for quite awhile:

Rose #3 also very much enjoyed digging in the sand. Regarding her attire in this picture, here is the thing. Between the butterfly garden and the grizzly bear exhibit is a HUGE water fountain in which children are expected, nay, encouraged, nay, nearly compelled, to run. We had 1) no swim diaper 2) no towel and 3) no change of clothes. For either Rose #2 or Rose #3. (For some reason I had a change of clothes for Rose #1 which my colleague, quite correctly, pointed out was kind of strange. Who carries a change of clothes for the 6-year-old but not the 4- or 2-year-old?)

Anyway, all of this by way of explanation regarding Rose #3's diaper peeking out here. She was just wearing a t-shirt and diaper by this point (luckily I at least had a dry shirt for her)!

After the sand pit we checked out the wild boars and then headed home. We had a very delicious dinner with Anna and Nadia of brats, bean salad, watermelon and lettuce salad.

I am very grateful that we can do things like take our kids to the zoo and then bring them home for a delicious dinner with good friends. At dinner, Rose #1 said to Anna, "I feel like you are members of our family, and that Nadia is one of our cousins." Rose #1 is such a good girl. I was very, very proud of her to say that.

Friday, June 27, 2008

A long day

I have a demanding job (I won't say what it is here, since this is a blog about my children and family and not my work). Occasionally - more frequently lately than I would like - I have to stay at work late, and my husband H covers my evening "relieve the nanny" shift. It is such a blessing to know that I can call him in a panic and he will generally agree, quite cheerfully, to pick up my slack.

Here is something I have wondered about a lot. I sweat my work. Really. I work really hard, and I worry a lot about getting everything right. Yet, ask me what is the most important thing in the whole, whole wide world to me, and I will always say, hands down, every time: My family.

I don't obsess about how I should dress my children, or whether I structured the correct activities for them, or whether I am using the most perfected childrearing method for them. Yet what is the most important thing? Making sure that they are raised well, raised happy, raised healthy.

I wish there was a happy medium, or that I could just stop worrying about work.

On another note, yet in the same vein, I emailed my brother this morning to see if he was available for lunch. I had to cancel at the last minute (more work) and my dear brother picked up lunch at Subway and brought it to my office to have a picnic with me. I love: 6" tuna sub with extra pickles, cucumbers, and lettuce. I also love my brother!

I remember when I was pregnant with Rose #3 I craved Subway tuna subs. I know, the mercury in tuna, etc. I still ate them every week!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rose #3 - Then and Now

Here is Rose #3 on her first birthday last June:And here she is this year (being held up so her hair did not catch on fire from her birthday candles).

Time sure flies from age 1 to age 2! By the way, if our Apple laptop had not been ruined by the Lemonade Incident, I would have included a picture of Rose #3 on the day of her birth. Alas.

A Northfield Birthday

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, I went to the Soviet Union on an exchange program. My best friend Anna was on that trip too, and we became lifelong friends. Sunday was her birthday (age 27!) and we went to Northfield for the celebration! Here are the girls eating dinner on the porch. The repast was delicious: hot dogs, corn, watermelon and edamame (which my children pronounced yucky but which I found to be quite delicious). A birthday is not a birthday without a good game of "upside down." Here are the Roses and Nadia playing this fine game. Luckily this game happened before dinner, since the upside down game can be hard on one's tummy.
(Can you tell how much we love being invited for a party?)

Happy Birthday Anna, and many, many happy returns. I honestly believe that you never know what might be around the next corner - life has a way of working out. All my best birthday wishes to you!

A T-Ball Game

Tuesday nights is t-ball, and Roses #1 and #2 are on the same team. The Giants! We struggle to get to the games on time, but we made it last night. We had a can of Pringles, a bag of candied pineapple, a water bottle, our REI chairs, and we were set. Rose #1 loves t-ball. Any sport where she can run after the ball and try to beat other kids to the punch is good with her. Here she is on the bench waiting for her turn in the batting lineup:Rose #2, on the other hand, struggles a bit to keep up with where exactly she is supposed to go and what she should be doing. Here she is, for once appropriately placed in the outfield:
Last night our kids only got one chance at bat (yes, in a 1 hour game). There are no outs at this age, so everyone who goes to bat gets to run the bases. Rose #2 did a pretty good job!

Rose #1 cracked a line drive down center field. Then she ran around the bases with her chestnut hair flowing behind her:

Guppy and Poppy came to the game and entertained Rose #3, who mostly wanted to drink the entire water bottle down to the dregs. I had to go back to the rec center to refill it!
I am very glad that we live so close to the rec center, we can walk to tball and to the park.

Pictures from Grandparents Day

Guppy emailed pictures from Grandparents day. Here is Rose #1 reading:Guppy and Rose #1 making the list in my previous post:
Circle time with the fabulous Mrs. Webster:
A shot of Rose #1 at her cubby:

And the best of all - Poppy, Rose #1, and Guppy.

It is such a blessing to have lots of people who love our kids. When I was a girl, only my mom's dad was alive, and I knew he loved me, but we didn't see each other very often. He died when I was in second grade. My paternal grandfather is still with us - practicing medicine at age 95! - but he lives in Bethel, OH. I am so grateful for Guppy and Poppy, and Ahma and Ahgong, who can be here to love the Roses in real time.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Rose #3 is 2!

On Saturday Rose #3 turned 2! Every time we told her "happy birthday" she did her weird leaping around dance, where she waves her arms and hops around in a little circle. Perhaps she is one part bird.

We had birthday lunch with Ahma and Ahgong at a buffet restaurant they like. The wait staff there knows Rose #3 from her frequent visits there when Ahma and Ahgong take the girls out for lunch. Here she is posing with the special birthday cake that the staff made for her:

It looks like sushi but trust me, it is small Asian pastries with a lot of chocolate sauce drizzled over the top. She loved eating her special birthday cake. In case if you are wondering if the container at the bottom of the picture is ketchup, it is. The buffet also serves mac and cheese and french fries!

On Saturday evening we had our neighbors over for dinner for a birthday party. Rose #3 just loves them, and we had a great time eating burgers off the grill. We all sang happy birthday to Rose #3, and she opened her gifts from us - Ladybug Girl and a Lemon Drop Dora. Lemon Drop Dora smells just like a bottle of furniture polish. Yum.

When I first found out I was pregnant with Rose #3 it was, to put it mildly, a bit of a shock. But now I can't imagine life without her. She looks like a miniature version of Rose #1 but she has a personality and a mind all her own. She is very stubborn and independent and she always wants to be included. That must be the personality of the youngest child! Now that she can talk I love chatting with her, and tonight we were reading the book Click Clack Moo, Cows That Type. Rose #3 can say: "Click Clack MOOOOOO!" I love you so much little bunny. Happy birthday!!

Grandparents' Day

Friday, June 20th was Grandparents' Day at Rose #1's school. Here is her list:

My Gramadma and Grapa
Both in 60's
See me evry week
Love me
Mom's mom and dad
Big house
Use to have a dog and a parit
My grapa fixex evrything

My gramama and Grapa

Says it all - especially "Love me"

Thanks Guppy and Poppy!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rose #2's Fourth Birthday Party

We had such a lovely party for Rose #2's fourth birthday! Her cousins, our neighbor friends, and friends from preschool came over on a lovely summer day. We all gathered for a picture, and as I sat next to H, I remarked that if it wasn't for us, the party would not have been possible. Not just in the conventional sense, of course (I filled out the invitations, mailed them, etc.) but also in the metaphysical sense. Without us, there would be no Rose #2, and without Rose #2, we would not be gathered here for a party. (OK, is this too deep for 9:51 p.m. on a Wednesday? Perhaps.)My sister Charity has become the family cakemaker. Below you can see the princess cake WITH the ladies-in-waiting cupcakes. I think the one on the far left looks curiously like Elizabeth Taylor!!
After the guests gathered we went to our local park. The kids really enjoyed playing under the bridge. Here are a few shots of them:

I only had to bring three girls back to go potty during the 20 or 25 minutes we were at that park. I guess this was my fault for not forcing all the children to go before we left! After we got back, it was time to open presents. H had the fine idea of putting the birthday girl and the friend whose gift was being opened on the steps. The other birthday guests sat on the rug in our living room.

After gifts we handed out the prize bags, which were comprised entirely of items from the $1 bin at Target. (Hooray for the $1 bin at Target.) I think everyone liked their prize bags and I did not feel like I was contributing overly to the propagation of cheap plastic toys in this world.

Here's to Rose #2. Four years old: what a big, big deal. I will never forget the MINUTE you were born, and how when they put you on my chest you were crying, but when your daddy spoke to you you quieted down and turned your head toward him like you had been waiting all of your life to hear his voice. You are such a sweet girl and yet so fierce and so bright. I love you with all my heart!

Monday, June 16, 2008

We Are Cut!!

On the same night that H was in Phoenix (see my earlier blog post titled Dinner Without Daddy) Aunt Boo and Baby Kate came over. Aunt Boo had her camera and took a few shots of the Roses showing off their muscles. The first shot was Aunt Boo and Rose #1 (a self-portrait):
Then we got down to serious business about showing off our muscles. Rose #1 really has PIPES!

Rose #2 is not quite as cut as Rose #1, but she got into the spirit of displaying her muscles. Normally she does not look quite this serious:

Poor old Rose #3 has not lost enough of her baby fat to actually have a 6-pack, or really any bicep muscles. But she got the concept. Here she is mainly showing off her belly (and her tongue):

We love having Aunt Boo and Baby Kate over. You come on over any time!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ice Cream Sandwiches, Pudding and...Roofing Tar?

While H went to run errands tonight, the girls had dessert! Here is Rose #1 enjoying a delicious ice cream sandwich. Rose #1 had a good day. I asked her what she learned at school today - "I forgot."
Imagine that you exist in a state of ALWAYS looking for your next sugar fix, but that you are at the whim of a horrible dictator who is always withholding the sugar. This is Rose #2's moment-to-moment existence ("Mom, can we have a treat? Mom, is there any candy? Mom, can I have dessert?"). She is so accustomed to hearing "No" that whenever she hears "Yes," it seems like a miracle. Doesn't she look smug?
Alas, by the time I got to Rose #3, the ice cream sandwiches were all gone. Never fear. Rose #3 got a pudding with squirty whipped cream on top.

Here you can see how she painted herself with pudding including on her dress.

Tonight we went to kindergarten roundup for Rose #2 (OK, it was pre-kindergarten roundup!). She was pretty excited to finally be at Rose #1's school for some reason other than to pick up Rose #1! It is probably wrong to say this but there is much less anticipation and drama attached to taking your second child to kindergarten roundup. I admit it - I did not even listen to the talk by the principal, nor did I take the "parent" bus ride (I guess this is aimed at parents so we can instill the importance of bus safety in our children).
On a final note, I am very sorry to announce the death of the first Fish. H noticed that there were in fact only 7 fish in the aquarium and he quickly located the unfortunate little creature. I could tell you where it was - it involves one of the snails (Gary or Amelia, we can't be sure) - but that would just be too yucky.
On a final, final note, I would like to send out a wish into cyberspace that the insurance adjuster on our homeowner's claim would call me. Tomorrow. And, that he would appear at my front door with a roofing harness, roofing nails, roofing tar (whatever that is), shingles, and a very, very tall ladder. I type this as it rains for approximately the 13th straight hour today. Sigh. Does anyone have extra buckets (for the leak in my roof that I know is developing as we speak)?

Monday, June 9, 2008

June Birthdays!

Tonight was June Birthdays at MND. Rose #3 LOVES Aunt Brenna. She also loves to ham it up for the camera.

Rose #2 understands birthday presents in a big way. Here she is unwrapping her new princess sheet and blanket set from Guppy and Poppy:
Rose #3 is also a June birthday! She got a new Dora book from Uncle Andy & Aunt Tonya. She did NOT want any help opening up her presents.

Here are the June birthdays (all except baby Kate, who was VERY sad tonight because of her 2-month-old shots! I sure hope she will sleep tonight for her mom):

Thank you Guppy and Poppy for the fine June birthday party.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Fish Have Landed

Today we brought Guppy and Poppy to the Original Pancake House for breakfast for Poppy's birthday. Poppy's birthday was January 17. (We did not mean to take so long to take Poppy out for his birthday breakfast! Other things like Sunday school kept getting in the way.) Here are Guppy and Rose #1 at the restaurant:

Rose #2 likes to sit on Poppy's lap and borrow his reading glasses. Poppy has at least two pairs of glasses - the cheap $10 reading glasses kind, and the very very expensive bifocal kind. I hope that he always gives Rose #2 the cheap ones.

Rose #1 enjoyed the kid menu, which doubled as a coloring sheet. Rose #1 is old enough to keep herself occupied with crayons for quite awhile.

Rose #3, by contrast, can only play with crayons for about 36.2 seconds before she is literally jumping out of her skin. Here she is playing with Poppy:

We had an enormous amount of food. I took a picture of the table after we were done. It was very good (I had the senior plate, which Poppy ordered for me. I ordered his breakfast, which was two sunnyside up eggs, 3 pieces of bacon, and 3 pancakes. The only part of that breakfast I would actually eat is the pancakes.) After breakfast was over, we went to the pet store to buy The Fish. Here are Roses #1 and #3 looking at the available fish. I had to restrain Rose #3 several times from climbing up the fish tanks like a ladder.

Finally I put Rose #3 on my shoulder so she could see the upper level of tanks. We stared at the sharks for awhile. It is easy to get more ambitious about fish when you look at all the available varieties at the pet store.
We ended up getting 5 girl guppies (Rose #1 kept telling me they were tomboys, to which I responded, "tomfish"?) and 3 boy guppies. Guppy, the namesake of these fish, is really hoping that we will have fish babies. Here we are putting the bag of fish into the tank.
I am VERY pleased to report that none of The Fish have died (yet). Also that Roses #1 and #2 reached a compromise about the names of the snails. Rose #1 wanted them to be called Gary and Patrick; Rose #2 wanted them to be called Amelia and [some other girly name]. They compromised on Gary (aka Snail #1) and Amelia (Snail #2).

Friday, June 6, 2008

Waiting For H

Today was a good day. Our power was out due to very, very high winds last night, so I woke with a start at 5:25 a.m. (which is late for me). I always feel dejected when the power is out, and I spent quite awhile trying to find the phone number for reporting outages. It is of course a sign of WEAKNESS to have a paper phone book in the house, so I was reduced to searching for Xcel Energy's customer service number on the browser of my Blackberry. Who knows if reporting the electrical outage did any good, anyway. It took about 1 hour 15 minutes for the power to come back on. Bother...

Fast forward to tonight...After putting the Roses to bed (way too late, I might add) I decided to go through my closet and to set aside items I haven't worn or those that are too worn out for the Goodwill. I came up with two bags of clothing to drive over to the Goodwill, maybe tomorrow. I always feel like I don't have anything to wear, but after surveying my closet, that is of course not true.

In reality I am waiting up for H to get home from his business trip. I have been watching to see when his flight will land. It landed at 10:50! It was delayed for "inbound aircraft" in Phoenix. I am glad he is coming home. Rose #3 can now say "Where's Daddy?" She has been saying it a lot. Daddy will be home when you wake up JKML!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Dinner Without Daddy

Tonight H is in Phoenix, so we had company for dinner. Guppy brought over delicious chicken and noodles, and Aunt Boo brought Baby Kate, delicious broccoli and fruit pizza. Baby Kate is getting so big! Her eyes are open a lot and she was so good at dinner playing with her rattle. She took a little nap on my chest. Here she is resting on her mom's shoulder:
For the first time ever Rose #3 was permitted to hold Baby Kate (under STRICT supervision of course). She thought she was the cat's pajamas. Look at her smile! You can just tell what she is thinking: Look at what a big girl I am!!
Rose #2 never lets a little baby-holding action pass her by. When I was putting her to bed tonight she told me that holding Baby Kate was the best part of her day.

We also got a chance to say "hi" to Daddy on the phone. H is in Phoenix for work. I honestly do not know exactly what he is doing but it involves airplanes. This is the picture he sent to me from his phone.

One of the most alive parts of my day was running through the rain after work. It was POURING DOWN RAIN right when I came out of our building. I had no umbrella (of course) and so I got soaking wet. For some reason the sidewalk I normally walk down was JAMMED with people right when I wanted to go through, so I ended up dodging under people's umbrellas. I felt like I was in a pinball machine!
Since I am a single mom tonight and tomorrow night (at least until H gets home around 10:30 p.m.!) I better turn in. As Rose #3 would say, "Ni Ni."

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Aquarium is Ready

Look out, fish of the world (or fish of the local Petco): the aquarium is ready! We brought a water sample to Petco tonight and the nice fish lady tested the water for us. It is ready for fish! We got a bubbler and a couple of fake plants today. These eventual fish are going to have a pretty posh home, all 10 gallons of it. Guppy is going to bring Rose #1 fish shopping on Sunday. Guess what kind of fish we are going to get? (One hint: it starts with a "G" and ends with a "Y".)

Last night the father of the Roses and I had a birthday dinner (for me) at FireLake H had prime rib and I had walleye. It was a lovely birthday dinner and thanks to Guppy for watching the Roses so we could celebrate my birthday.

Rose #2 has been enjoying her day camp experience at Camp Como The class this week is called "In the Dirt," and is supposed to focus on animals that either live in the dirt or that eat insects. So far all we have been able to get out of Rose #2 is that she saw a bunny rabbit. Those dirt-loving bunny rabbits, I tell ya.

Rose #3 understands everything that we are saying. In the car tonight I was telling Rose #2 about how she would go to Camp Como tomorrow, and Rose #3 kept saying "Me?" "Me?" "Me?" Too bad they don't have day camp for almost 2-year-olds...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Grand Old Day

Today was Grand Old Day, which is a street festival a few blocks from our house. We went to the parade and it was a beautiful day. The parade started at the other end of Grand Avenue, though, so our candy and other "haul" was not as robust as last year! (Oh well. I tried chewing a piece of blue razz Dubble Bubble. It is YUCKY.)

Here we are with the neighbor kids.

Later on, the father of the Roses watched the girls while I went to coffee with a friend. I ordered a very, very large mocha drink. It was too much.

After a great weekend, it is back to work tomorrow. Tomorrow is June 2, my birthday. I will be 27. Again.