Monday, November 06, 2017

Calvin and Hobbes

Joy is finding this 500 page Calvin and Hobbes book at the library. He reads the characters with such gusto. He really has a good time reading the mom with what I can only assume is a "mom voice" that I both take offense too and laugh hysterically about! He stayed up (probably way too late) reading the crazy antics of this boy who is always causing mischief with his imaginary pal. It is the perfect reading material!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Grayson's marathon!

This year I was asked/volunteered to run the Crocker Cruiser program at the kids elementary school. Kenna and Grayson both loved it so much I couldn't let it phase out when the head of it last year moved on to middle school! It is a ton of work, but so rewarding! The kids just love running at recess and earning charms. The goal is to run a marathon by the end of the year. At the halfway point we have over 30 kids who have finished! Such a great way to teach goal setting, fitness and a fun program to expend some energy to focus on school! I've introduced an air horn this year which has been quite a hit for those that have finished! Grayson finished today and I was so lucky to be there to celebrate with him!!

Inside Out Halloween

This may be our last year of family Halloween themes. As the kids get older they have their own opinions about dressing up - Kenna wanted to be scarier, so did Zach...may need to get my creative juices flowing to come up with family themed scary idea!

BUT, all that being said this was really fun costume theme! I made Kenna's dress out of 3 tshirts and a potato stamp. It turned out really well I think! Most of the other clothes we owned with the exception if the ties and vests! The face paint went on well and actually didn't get all over the place. This was definitely our coldest year was like 32 degrees and windy! The kids only made it about an hour and people were dumping their candy in the kids bags because of so few trick or say they made a haul is an understatement! We had fun, and Grayson was super excited and unphased by the cold cute to watch him running up and down driveways "trick or treat, smell my feet..."

Monday, October 30, 2017

Black Belt Exam

Kenna had a very busy weekend. On Friday she was invited to her very first solo costume party. She had a great time. Chloe and Abby threw it at Abby's house. Sounds like they had crafts and games and a dance party! She almost didn't go because she has been SO SO SO stressed about her black belt testing. This poor kiddo has her mom's worry genes. A few weeks ago she started getting really nervous as it got closer. She planned meals leading up to it, and did great in the pre-exams.

On Saturday morning she woke up at 6 and we gathered all of her already laid out items to drive to the DMACC pond. There she did a 2 mile run and finished over 10 hours of testing. She had physical endurance drills, hours of sparring and katas, recited creeds and pretty much just worked her body to the bone. She could barely move the next day! We are anxiously awaiting her results and should know my mid week if she made it! 

I cannot tell you how proud I am of her. Not only her discipline, but her dedication over the last 6 years to really bettering herself. She has had her eye on this prize since she was 5 years old. She rarely complained and overcame a few hiccups along the way that made her stronger...she is an inspiration to me!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Grayson's Writing

I just LOVE Grayson's writing....and apparently he loves that we make him food and that I run Crocker Cruisers :)

Monday, October 16, 2017

Kitchen Remodel


We are in the midst of crazy kitchen remodel - going on week 5 with no dishwasher, no oven, no real counter space....

The journey all started because I didn't like how our cherry cabinets looked after we stained all the oak trim a walnut color...the redish hue didn't match the new Gray/dark brown theme we seemed to have adopted in our house. So, I got a quote on what it would cost to paint them. It was about 20% of the cost of new cabinets. That seemed reasonable, but we had a cabinet person come in just to see what they had to say. He said that our cabinets were nice, but definitely pointed out a few things that we could do to make them more efficient, and I have always dreamed of having a big we started dreaming and scheming and worked with our new BFF Alex the designer and had something worked up!

In the process of this Josh came up with the idea to reconfigure the entry way from our garage, that would make the kitchen longer (more island friendly) and allow us a much needed place to hang all the coats and kid crap! I have no vision, but now that the wall is done I love it!

I spent the entire weekend painting the newly textured ceiling, walls, pantry, new mud area....6 gallons of paint later and it looks fabulous!

Some fun memories from this journey:

- We sold the cabinets to a really nice couple that is refurbishing a school house in Creston Iowa....would be amazing to have a gym IN your house!!

- During Demo we also found the heart that was left for us by Kathy the last time we did this!

- We about broke josh's back trying to scrape off the crazy amount of quickset we used with the last tile!

- I learned to make an entire hot breakfast at once on the griddle!

- Penny and Colin brought us a tray of food because they knew we were down a kitchen, mom made us multiple dinners and had us over, and Stone's invited us over for much kindness!

- I sold the cabinets, stove, barstools and microwave in relatively little time...thank you Craigslist!

- The damn counter took us (and by us I mean Josh) literally smashing the tiles with a hammer to get it dislodged! Jon Bellis had to come and help us carry the monstrousity out of our house with sink still attached!

Friday, July 07, 2017

Fill the Tank

Zach is hilarious. We have been going on this journey of his sleep....he has been a great sleeper his entire life. The last two years have been a little different. He has a hard time getting to sleep and HATES getting up early - just like his dad ;)

With that has sparked his love of reading! He reads an entire book a night sometimes. Often we have almost reached our 100 item checkout limit....its kind of crazy. He also is a late eater...last night I cracked up. He came into our room and said he was hungry around 10pm. Usually we make him go reheat the dinner he hadn't eaten or have a yogurt or banana. He had a protein drink in the fridge and drank that instead.

He came up after he was done and said "yum, that filled the tank" while rubbing his belly. Then "goodnight!" The kid is a hoot.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

July 4th

We had quite a busy 4th of July weekend! Started off with our neighborhood "flip flop party." That consists of each neighbor on the culdesac making a signature drink and maybe a snack. Then we start at Colin's house and work our way around to the 8 houses in the circle. Great way to get caught up with the neighbors. This year we had 24 people participating! Fun group!

The next morning we had "breakfast on the green." This is another neighborhood tradition where we each bring a breakfast item and celebrate in the center of our culdesac. It was a bit too much "neighboring" for Josh, but I enjoyed seeing everyone! I made mini cinnamon rolls which were a big hit!

Following breakfast we headed to Ames to watch Kade and the rest of the drumline march in the parade! The temperatures were pretty close to the surface of the sun...but we didn't melt entirely! Em ran back to her car to get some umbrellas which helped immensely! Was fun to see Kade being all cool....

After that we went to Baca's and Josh helped him get rid of some fallen trees. Then headed home where the kids got a much needed nap (we didn't get to sleep until after midnight from flip flop night!) I went to Amanda's and watched a few episodes of that was a blast from the past! Went to Chelseys for a bit to walk through changes she needs to make to her house before renting it and finished the day watching Ripleys set off fireworks!

Happy 4th to all!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Jester Park Family Campin

Jester Park is a nearly 2000 acre state park just across Saylorville Lake from us. They have an equestrian center where Kenna took horse riding lessons as well as TONS of outdoor activities. They have about 200 camping sites, but I've had my eye on the 4 cabins for quite a while. Early in the year I tried to recruit some other families to rent the other three cabins. The only day we could land on was sleeping Sunday night through Tuesday morning this last weekend. Well - I can say this will definitely be a tradition! The Andersens and Stones came with us and we had a FABULOUS time! 

This is the first time we had ever done something like this - renting cabins with other families, but will definitely be something we do again! The hardest part about an undertaking of this size is coordinating and packing. Luckily we were only like 20 minutes from home - so we did have to back for a few things that were forgotten. I ended up having to pack by myself because Josh and the kids were playing with the California cousins at Gonas. By the time I loaded chairs, scooters, fishing supplies, enough food for an army, board games, helmets, clothes, bedding, and hiking backpacks....the car was nearly full! Josh and the kids met me there at 4pm. 

I could not believe the high quality of these cabins! They were only around 2 years old and the builders thought of everything from remote controlled light switches to a wheeled cart to bring your stuff from car to cabin. We rented cabin #2 equipped with an upstairs master bedroom, full kitchen and gas fireplace. Downstairs had two twin beds and a futon as well as another full bath. There were two picnic tables out back and one up front as well as a fire pit for each cabin and giant one in the center of the cabin area. Chad, Tara, Chloe, Lucy and Simon arrived that night as well. We spent the evening playing in their awesome hammocks, riding scooters to the natural playscape (nursing a scuffed knee from Simon's wipeout) and then eating pulled pork and smores. The adults played a rather inappropriate drawing game and enjoying a few beverages. 

Stones got double booked with a family reunion, so Andrea and Katie and Kevin came around lunch the next day. The morning was spent canoeing, eating breakfast, playing games in the cabin, exploring, doing nature scavenger hunts, reading and just goofing around. Chad helped the kids catch a turtle and the turtle was less than pleased! Tara had to leave for a while to go be with her dad for a medical procedure and Nate came later that night where we all had a greek dinner. Prior to that we took the kids out for the first ever geocaching for many of them. I can see the appeal trying to follow the clues to find the treasure! We carried some small pokemon figurines and the kids loved choosing something to take with them! What a neat idea!

The afternoon was more canoeing and playing. After the greek/pizza feast the kids got a bunch of glowsticks and created a game called "Godzilla." They played that, kick the can, and pretty much just ran until they were exhausted. We had smores again and kids called it quits around 10. My boys slept until after 9 this morning, I had to wake them up so they could eat some donuts and egg casserole that Andrea brought!

We took the kids out for one more canoe trip after Andersens left this morning. Kevin and Kenna did great steering on their own! Andrea and I took turns taking kids around. Its the perfect size for their age, completely calm and full of frogs and the turtle.

This was definitely so much fun. I'm really happy we found a weekend that worked for everyone! Love Jester Park!