Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Catch up: March

March was a month of fun...we had to stick around Milwaukee (baby coming soon, and although it didn't snow, it was about 20 degrees all month), so we went on a few field trips:

The Milwaukee Public Museum...Anna loved the butterfly exhibit. Hattie was to paranoid she would accidentally smash one, and Niels thought...who knows what he thought but he kept running away from them. But Anna could have held that butterfly all day.
 But Niels did enjoy dressing up like a butterfly...
 ...and sitting on a huge dung beetle.
 We also went to the zoo...
...and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Glad I did all these things before the baby came...and before it gets warm and they'll want to be outside all day.

The art museum is right on the lake. They have a great kids exhibit that lets the kids do lots of hands-on art.

Hattie lost tooth #2

 The kids snuggled Paul whenever he was home.

And of course, St. Patrick's day. Honestly we didn't go all out this year...no trap building party with friends or making green bread. But we bought Niels some fancy green suspenders for church...
 ...and the girls, who had been planning our trap for months, spent the entire afternoon decorating it.
 They filled it with beautiful green and golden things...
 ...and then placed a golden marshmallow on the floor and glued it there. They then placed Glue Dots on the floor all around the golden marshmallow, so that when the leprechaun tried to pick up the marshmallow, his feet would get stuck and we would trap him.
Sadly the next morning, we had no leprechaun. But we did have his shoes! Glued in place :) Despite having not caught the real leprechaun, the girls were pretty thrilled to have some shoes out of it.
 We also did swimming lessons...again, something to do while it's still cold and before the baby comes.
And Paul got the goose-egg of his life while playing Marshmallow Wars in a friend's basement. He ran into a basement pole.
 Immediately after
 Day #2 morning
 Day #2 evening
 Day #5
 Hattie lost tooth #3
And the best purchase of 2014: A king-sized tempur-pedic mattress. We have talked about getting a new mattress for the last 6 years, when our queen-sized one got moldy on the bottom when we first moved to Texas. But we've procrastinated and postponed, and now, almost 3 pregnancies later, I finally said we had to do it. And we love it. I made this quilt almost 3 years ago in anticipation for the day we had a king-sized bed and I love it. I've been sleeping so much better, and that's coming from a woman who is 9 months pregnant.
 Coloring, iPad, headlamp, and fort-building.
 And I ran into a friend that I haven't seen since I was 10 years old! She is in my stake, but moved about 2 weeks after I ran into her. Strange to run into someone from my past - from 22 years ago! I'm getting older...
And the kids favorite part of March was going to the park again! Ready for spring!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Catch up: February

February started with our little boy turning 2. He really is such a doll. 90% of the time, he is the best kid a parent could ask for. He talks a ton, and has a bigger vocab than I remember my girls having at this age. He loves his sisters and wants to do what they do. He loves cars, planes, trucks, tractors, etc. And he can run...fast. Keeping up with him at church/store/park is almost impossible for me. I usually have to send Hattie to chase him down and tackle him before he gets himself hurt. He certainly can throw a decent tantrum, but hopefully we can nip those in the bud before too long.

The girls enjoyed frosting the cupcakes, but sadly, the frosting recipe was kind of gross, so we mostly just wiped it off and ate the very yummy cupcakes.
Niels loved the attention and the gifts.

 And still loves to close his eyes while smiling.
 He is also a book lover. I don't remember my girls loving to read books when they were two, but this boy could be read to for hours...as long as they are truck books or rhyme a lot.
 I hosted a valentine's day party for some friends at church...they decorated their mailboxes, then cupcakes. A big mess, but lots of fun. Don't worry...I didn't make the frosting this time, so it was yummy.

 Like I said in my post about California, Paul had a lot of vacation to use during January, February, and March, so we took off on a Sunday afternoon for Wisconsin Dells.  It's the indoor water park capital of the world. Our hotel had 4 indoor water parks we could use (and in the summer there are numerous outdoor ones as well) and admission is included in the room rental rate. We loved it. We went last year for one night and we are definitely going every winter. It's a great getaway, because you get to swim, be warm, stay inside, and you almost forget how cold it is up here.
 Paul and the girls did a ropes course. The girls were pretty nervous, a few tears were shed, prayers were said, but in the end, they didn't hate it...and it was a good experience for them...I think :)

But of course, the highlight was the endless swimming and slides. It would have been nice not to be pregnant, but it was easier than having a newborn with me!
Anna and Hattie did these slides a million times it seemed.
Niels was on cloud nine...
...and they couldn't get enough of the wave pool...you can see Anna in the distance in a purple suit and Hattie in a red on. All in all, a great family getaway!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

California vacation!

Ever since Paul started residency, we have been saving up vacation. He has 15 days vacation during the year, and in the first 6 months, he only took 4 days off. Then we learned that he would also get paternity leave when the baby come...which in the end, meant that in January, February, and March we needed to take 9 days vacation or else he would lose it. 

So one night while tossing and turning in my uncomfortable, pregnant state, I got the idea to surprise Paul with a trip - by ourselves. I knew I couldn't completely surprise him...he would have to know we were going somewhere since I would be asking him to take 5 days off in a row. But I could surprise him with where we were going. At 3 am I planned out a good chunk of the trip, and almost even got out of bed to impulsively buy the plane tickets. But then I remembered that it was 3 am, and, although my idea was good, I had better wait til morning, and make sure that Paul really could get 5 days off in January. 

I picked to go to L.A. This was a little risky - Paul does NOT like huge cities and REALLY hates driving in huge cities. I knew that in order for it to work, I would have to plan things pretty well, and steer clear of bad traffic and super crazy parts of town.

It ended up the perfect vacation...if I do say so myself. We drove to Iowa to drop the kids off at Laura's house, flew out of Des Moines, and off to LA. I kept the destination a secret from him for months - and he only found out while we were were in Iowa when my brother-in-law spilled the beans. At least that gave him time to adjust to the idea of being in Southern California.

We stayed near the 3rd St. Promenade. We tried to get a nice picture, but it was too bright. With jet lag, we woke up really early (even though we slept in according to Wisconsin standards) so we wandered around lots of mornings looking for places to see. We found a shop with hundreds of old Singers as decoration.

And we stayed at a funky art deco hotel right across from the Santa Monica Pier. Yes, we were loving the 55 degree weather and wearing shorts.
We at a lot of good food...we ate way too much on this trip and I'm sure you'll get tired of looking at food pictures. But it really was amazing. This was the best Italian meal of my life.
We went to the Getty Museum, something that has been on my bucket list ever since I was at BYU. It was such an amazing museum. We went one afternoon and spent two hours in one building, and realized we'd have to come back the next day to see the rest. I'm glad my husband loves art too! He was usually moving at a slower pace than me!

View of LA

After our first day at the Getty, we drove through Hollywood (just to say we had been there) and Beverly Hills, to arrive at the Griffith Observatory. It was cool...but Paul being an astronomy undergrad, I think we had higher expectations. The didn't have any of the big telescopes open, so frankly it wasn't that interesting for us, since we had seen a lot of that stuff at BYU. The view of the city was great, we saw Saturn, and could make out the outline of the Hollywood sign - the dang lights were broken so we couldn't really see it.
The next morning, again we woke up before anything was open, so we wandered down the Santa Monica Pier. Too bad I was 6 months pregnant...I would have loved a roller coaster ride or something more exciting than a lot of walking. But we were still happy to be out of the cold Wisconsin winter...we loved checking that the temps were always below 20 degrees while we were gone.

And then back to the Getty...

From there, we left LA, and took the scenic route along the Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Barbara.
Again, amazing Mexican food.
Again, waking up early, so we walked out on the wharf. We loved Santa Barbara. Paul was convinced that we should move there someday, and immediately started looking online at real estate...and immediately got discouraged. So Cal is an expensive place!
We were limited as to what we could do because of my belly, and because SB is pretty laid back, so we took a drive farther up the coast, and then looped around to drive through the hills around SB. We stopped in Solvang...the quirkiest town I've ever seen. It's a little slice of Denmark nestled in the hills. There is even a fountain to the Little Mermaid.
But the Danishes were amazing.
The clouds finally lifted when we got back to Santa Barbara...we checked out the mission...
...and then the courthouse. Awesome views of the city, ocean, and hills. We really were just thinking about Shawn and Gus the whole time, and how none of the show was actually shot in SB. But it was still fun.
On our last morning we went on a very leisurely bike ride up the Cabrillo Bike path. Weird being on a bike that brakes by pedaling backwards...it's been years and it took a while adapting.

And we stopped for a burger, just to say we did. All in all, a relaxing, delicious, much needed trip, which would only have been better if we had another week, and if I weren't pregnant. It's always refreshing to spend so much time with Paul one-on-one. I really believe getaways are the best for marriages!
The girls, meanwhile, had a party with their cousins, which was topped off by Hattie losing her first tooth. We missed it by about 10 hours. There are plenty of more teeth to come!