Twins Baseball

If all goes well, Husband and I will have been to a Twins’ game on Saturday (my first in the new ballpark)!  Back in the day, baseball was my favorite sport.  I remember staying home from school one day in 1987 to watch the World Series with my dad, faithfully waving my Homer Hankie.  They won again in 1991, but during the strike, my love faded and it’s never been the same for me since.  That doesn’t stop me from loving the experience, though.  I wouldn’t want season tickets, but going to a couple games a summer and breathing in the atmosphere of the game is quite enjoyable.  Pass the foot-long.

Thanks to my brother and sis-in-law for the invitation.  And a big thanks to my in-laws (though I don’t think they can read my blog because of the poor internet service in their area) for watching the kids so we could go!

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A Visit to Grandma

It seems to me we’ve been at my mom’s for the last few years over Memorial Day weekend, and this year was no exception. Husband was working on the house, so I took the kids alone this year (no. fun. driving.). We spent as much time as we could outside or in the basement. Anja comments on a regular basis about how Grandma’s house is her favorite place on earth because of All the Toys in the Basement and All the Good Food and All the Fun in the Yard. It makes me happy, because I really loved visiting my grandparents growing up, too, and I want my kids to have great memories at their grandparents’ homes the way I do from mine.

There was:
– playing in the basement
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– riding trikes on the patio (Markus’s personal favorite)
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(possibly my favorite picture of the trip)
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– exploring nature
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– tasting nature
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– more trike riding
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– walking with Grandma, in the yard and around the neighborhood
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– mischief, and apparently, getting caught in some sort of crime?
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– cuddling with Uncle
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– sidewalk chalking with Auntie
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– sleeping in Grandma’s bed
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– rocking “guys”
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– kicking a ball
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– getting body-checked by a sister
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– so much good food that Mama gained 2 pounds (but we won’t post a photo of that)

Thanks, Mom/Grandma! We had a great time!

Anja, 3 3/4 years

I’m done with calculating months for her. Too much math. 🙂

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Our little lady is growing up so quickly. Less than three months and she’ll be four. Yikes! Anja is impetuous and precocious (unknowingly so), bossy to us yet shy with her peers. In the last semester of preschool, we really noticed her coming out of her shell (as did her teachers, who said she was starting to act out more and mind them less…sigh…) with friends. (She got the hat below, and the schmutz on her face, at the party they held for summer b-days at preschool.)

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She is goofy beyond words, which is one of the few things that keeps everyone from assuming she is five. Every. time. someone finds out she is three, they are shocked. “Yes, she’s tall for her age, and she talks well and A LOT.” I say that statement usually at least once a week. She is encouraging with her words (but also uses them to mame!) and affectionate, giving hugs and kisses to those who love her.

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She has little quirks, like playing with the hair on the right side of her head, putting her hands in her mouth when she’s laughing or nervous, and screaming loudly and often. She tells elaborate stories while playing with her toys, acting out scenes she has memorized from books or made up herself. She sings long songs, usually in the car and usually directed to God, but also usually with poor theology (“God…..I love you…..and you made me and I made you…..la la la…..the earth is the sun and the trees are all around, and it is so beautiful….”). I may have to record some of them before she is out of this stage.

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Anja is playful and cheerful but may burst into tears suddenly at a moment’s notice. We have noticed very lately that she seems to be coming out of the “terrible threes” (which all my friends warned me would be worse than the twos…I think they were all about the same, but it’s been a looooong phase either way). She is more willing to help without complaint, fusses less about routine tasks/daily life, and is more cognizant of others’ feelings.

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Anja, you are our special little girl. We are so glad God gave you to us, and we can’t wait to see what unfolds next out of that creative mind of yours. 🙂

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Markus, 17 months

I meant to post last month but didn’t.  Here’s the latest and greatest on our boy.

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Markus’s vocabulary has really exploded this past month!  He was already saying Mama, Dada, Anja (Ah-yuh), car, baby, bear, and signing a few words.  But he has recently added cracker, cookie, please (which is freakin’ heart-melting when he says it), amen, duck, cow, sorry (signed), ball, and pshhhh (which means various things, but is mostly a sound effect).

Between months 15-16, he really began walking well, too.  This has pros and cons, of course.  🙂  He is a dancing machine, which is adorable.  I love walking around with his chubby hand wrapped up in mine, but he can be pretty reckless in his walking and often sports a noggin full of bruises.  His new favorite thing to do is grab something he knows he shouldn’t have and take off with it, giggling like crazy.

He has not only figured out the cupboard locks but occasionally opens the gate himself.  Thankfully he is conscious enough of danger to turn around and take stairs on his tummy, since we have a set of 16 from entry to the gate!  He loves to climb anything his stumpy little legs can get him up on, and his favorite places to get into mischief are in the shower or bathtub (when he’s not supposed to be in them) or behind the computer, pulling on wires.  I have grown a third eye and sharpened my hearing immensely these past couple months.

Markus is definitely disobedient in a different way than Anja.  While she is all guile and drama, he will blatantly look you in the eye and merrily do something wrong (pull out the carbon monoxide detector and run away, beat the mini-blinds until they are ruined, throw every toy out of the bin into all corners of the room, bite his sister).  Yet he still seems disturbed and shocked when he is disciplined.  He is most penitent (or at least most upset) when he hears Daddy’s stern voice.

He loves the outdoors and frequently begs to go out.

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His favorite toys are anything with wheels and his special bear lovey.

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And here are a few shots of him dancing (excuse the toys and boxes–we still haven’t moved).
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(You perhaps thought I was exaggerating the stumpy legs, but those are shorts he’s wearing!)

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He does this move often–we think it may be an early attempt at break dancing?
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We love you, Boofy! You’re the goofiest, cutest, sweetest little boy in the world.

Sherman’s New Lease on Life

Sorry to keep all three of you in suspense over the past week. 🙂 Here’s the lowdown on Sherman:

I posted a pic of Sherman on Facebook a few weeks ago, and a friend of ours from college mentioned that he was pretty sure he had an identical dog sitting on his desk at work. This seemed like a long shot, since the original Sherman was purchased about 9 or 10 years ago. He mentioned that he’d gotten his quite a while ago from his girlfriend (now wife), and that amped up my hopes considerably. After a few more Facebook exchanges, we determined that the new doggie was a match, and his wife dropped him off at our house on her way through the Twin Cities to Chicago (thanks, Liz!!).

I prepped Anja that afternoon by telling her that a new doggie that looked like Sherman was on its way to our house. I asked her what she would call the new doggie. She thought for awhile, then said, “I will call him Rosie.”

“Rosie it is!” I proclaimed happily, and we went about our afternoon. To say Anja was excited to see “Rosie” was a vast understatement. She was bouncing off the walls with giddiness. Her first comment was, “I didn’t remember Sherman was so soft, Mama.” Haha!

“Rosie” didn’t last long, and we had a resurrected Sherman by bedtime. A couple weeks later, he is already showing some signs of aging, like a crustier coat and a squeezed neck, but there’s a new shine in his little eyes.

While the original Sherman still remains at large (*tear*), we are so grateful to our friend Greg who was willing to share his doggie with a little girl who will love him times a million. Hopefully he won’t end up like Lotso.

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Paper Bag Dolls

Another recent craft from the use-what-you-have school of thought is paper bag dolls. I cut two little doll shapes out of a grocery bag, then gave Anja a bunch of scraps of paper, recycled greeting cards, her little scissors, crayons and a glue stick.

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With a little help from Mama, she ended up with two cute little friends. One, as you might be able to tell, was accessorized by me, one by her (those are “sleeves,” not water wings, and no, she hasn’t been “cutting.” She just has veiny arms…). She insisted on also making them beds, pillows and blankets, and a little “house” out of the remaining paper bag. Cheap fun for little girls!

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Snack Picnic

Sometimes they require less prep, and we do them in our own “backyard.” This one happened to be early May when Grandma was here for a visit! How much they have changed since last spring!

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Grandma being a dork.
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Markus’s expression while watching Grandma be a dork. “Huh? I don’t get it…”
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And so began the shaking of the sippy cup.
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Got a little in my eye…
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“Seriously, Markus? Grow up.”
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Ever the maverick, Markus loves going down slides by himself this year. Sometimes headfirst, sometimes backwards, and sometimes he just steps off onto the slide.
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I’m sure a good mother would catch him at the bottom…
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I am looking forward to many more days of outside play, Lord-willing!

Monday is, er, was Blogging Day

Hi all! I’m missing this little online world these days. I’ve been busy in this one, however.

In my “normal” schedule (meaning non-wedding season), Monday afternoons are reserved for blogging both here and there. In spring and summer, however, afternoons get trumped by whatever is most urgent, whether that’s uploading a client gallery, color-correcting or answering gobs of emails.

Today, however, I decided I need a moment to process some of my own family photos, since the summer ones (which are often the BEST) always get lost in the shuffle. For instance, last summer we had a spontaneous birthday party (with balloons and lanterns and a little cake) for Sherman, and I don’t know if I ever even posted about it.

Speaking of Sherman, I have some news about him I might be able to post later this week. I know you’re all on the edge of your seats. 😉

Even when work picks up, the kids and I are still going to the zoo and the pool and parks, having picnics and watching the local puppet shows and arranging playdates.  We squeeze every drop out of summer we can, especially when the warm is late and infrequent.  This summer will be no exception.  I just need to be happy with making memories and not having time to record them all.

I have tried my best to pace my photography schedule in such a way that I am not as overwhelmed as past years.  For me, that means one session per week (or two on rare occasions if necessary).  So far I am pleased with how this is working out.  The clients benefit because their orders and galleries are ready more quickly, and I benefit because I’m still able to get to bed before 2 a.m. most nights!  We all win.

How is your summer shaping up?  What are you doing to make memories?