The Extra-Curriculars

The kids and I laid low this summer with our extracurricular activities.  Swimming lessons and that was it!  Gotta say it was nice!  of course, that maybe made our transition back by adding them back in a little crazier!

Not to mention, we seemed to have transitioned preschool tuition directly into funding our new activities!

so yes, we continued swim lessons through the end of October, but also added in Sunday School, gymnastics and piano lessons for both kids.  Plus now Charlie is officially a hockey player (!) and Maria starts basketball next week.  Maria also started chess club… whew.

It’s all good. The hardest part is setting priorities and not going overboard. It’s really important to me to keep this fun for them. So for now, piano – I’m not strict about practicing… I kind of anticipate it will wear off for Charlie. Maria practices on her own for now.  It’s still new. I hated practicing as a kid – my teacher didn’t want to teach me anymore when i didn’t practice.  Essentially, I was fired from piano lessons.  I, of course, regret that now.  I took piano again in college, but it would have been a lot easier to learn when I was younger!

Hockey & Basketball are where their passions lie.  At least for now.  Charlie could not be distracted or deferred from wanting to play hockey. Believe me we tried to distract him with other ideas! Neither Chad or I have had much experience with hockey.  Fortunately his cousin’s have, so we have uncles and aunts that are helpful! Charlie has had 2 practices and loved them both! He’s pretty cute in all his gear.

Maria starts basketball next week.  It was supposed to be tonight, but there was some drama with another parent and the team her daughter ended up on.. So we graciously switched (along with another friend, so they remain teammates).  Still not sure if it was the right decision.  I would never have asked to switch based on not knowing the other girls, but I don’t know the situation.  It might be the girl, it might be the mom – whatever I just didn’t need to match the drama and put the poor volunteer coaches in a even stickier situation.   Still looking forward to the season, because this is Maria’s sport.  She loves it!

For now, here’s a picture of our hockey star… Basketball to follow once we get up and going…


Charlie turned 5 last Wednesday. And we whooped it up for the kid!

It started last weekend with a friend party at the Eagle’s Nest. Theme was pirates – Not Jake, but a real pirate.  We had pirate plates and a cake, and eye patches in the goody bags.  That’s as far as I took it! Six PreK friends, 4 neighbor kids, 6 PreK siblings, and Maria!  It was about -5 degrees outside so they got to burn off some energy with a bunch of other kids!  And no one got sick last week! whew!

Wednesday, we went out to dinner and he opened gifts from us.  He also had a cake at school.

This past weekend we had a party with the family.  He picked Green Bay Packers theme.  I swear I did not even suggest it. It was his idea completely.  Chad and his family did make a lot of “stinky Packers” comments, but that probably adds fuel to the fire.  Especially when my family was all sporting green & gold.

Charlie 5th Birthday

This kid is pretty amazing at 5.

About a week before his birthday he DECIDED to stop peeing w
hile he was in bed, so like that we’re done with pull-ups, and the Diaper Champ is airing out in the garage after almost 8 years of use.  I’m happy to be done, but wish he would have DECIDED this a while ago.

He has a ton of imagination and likes to build things with just about anything: Legos, Tinker Toys, train sets, Magna Tiles, Marble Mazes, He is able to follow most instructions by himself, but he also likes to deviate and be creative.  The stuff he brings home from school is pretty awesome too.  Lots of sculptures made out of cardboard tubes, or plastic cups…

Like  most boys his age, he loves super heroes (Spider Man is his favorite), trucks, hot wheels, and most recently Star Wars… but still enjoys Sofia the First, Fox & the Hound, and other movies with Maria.

He likes sports too, but not obsessed with them yet.  He loved skating lessons this winter, and wants to play hockey for the Minnesota Gophers.  But when asked what sports he will play when he grows up, he consistently says “golf!”  That makes Chad so happy and probably cancels out the fact that Charlie likes the Packers!

He is doing awesome in preschool.  He is learning the sounds of all his letters and can do all his letters in sign language.  He has yelled at Chad for leaving the car running and harming the polar bears homes!  He can explain the difference between blue and red veins. He is learning simple math, although he may not realize it’s math! And we consistently hear that he is a leader and a good listener and rule follower at school. All good stuff, that makes our hearts swell…

He’s a great kid!  Just can’t believe he’ll be starting Kindergarten in the fall, so we’re trying not to blink right now!

More Birthday Pictures

Back to School

We’ve been “Back to school” for a week now.  And it was a good week!

Maria loves her new school.  We are so glad we sent her to the school age program this summer, because she knew so many kids before she even started.  (and at Sunday School too!)  When we asked what she liked about her new school, she says she likes that they have a school song!

Charlie is in the same classroom that he started in this summer and with the same teachers but most of the students changed rooms, so it’s kind of new to him too!

Looking forward to a great school year!  Glad it is off to a good start!


The Weekend of Falls

Last weekend was not a good one for Charlie’s head!

On Friday night, he fell down the stairs. We didn’t see it, but within a minute his forehead had a purple goose egg on it. It was really kind of scary.  We called the on-call nurse who told us, the fact that it was swelling on the outside was good (it wasn’t swelling within his skull).  I did however have to monitor him overnight which meant setting my alarm every few hours…

Saturday, we were good.

Sunday, we went to skating lessons.  During Maria’s lesson, Charlie was running in the stands with his boots.  And tripped and went face first into a bench.  Came out with a fat lip.

After Maria’s lesson it was Charlie’s turn.  First time on skates. And he did awesome!  He fell quite a bit, but kept getting up.  But after 45 min on skates (and no nap), he took a faceplant and apparently landed on his forehead again, because that giant goose egg was back!  So once again I monitored him overnight, and then we went to the doctor in the morning.  Just to make sure everything was good! (Plus it was -20 and he didn’t have school anyway)  The doctor said just to continue monitoring him and not to let him watch TV (or any screen time) until it was starting to heal to avoid straining his eyes (so not cool when it was so cold and I needed to entertain him so I could work!)

But he’s getting better. The bruising has moved down to his eyes, so he looks a bit like a raccoon, and he’s still got a bump.  So no skating tomorrow, but he’s looking forward to next week, because we got him a helmet with a “jail” on the front (a mask)
Just another Shiner...
The day after the 3rd fall

Our Raccoon (on Wednesday)

Our 2nd Annual Wisconsin Dells Weekend

After last year’s fun weekend in the Dells, we were more than ready to do it again! Maria had the whole week off from school again, so we left Thursday morning, stopped for lunch with Grandma in Rochester, and then proceeded on to the Dells. What I loved about this, is that it was exactly like last year, and Maria did not figure out where we were going!


Our first stop was the outlet mall for new Crocs for Charlie, and of course, Jibbits for both kids! We then checked in at the Wilderness for our 2 night stay. We got a good 3 hours in before a late dinner and bed. And then up early Saturday for more water fun!


After late-afternoon naps, we headed to Buffalo Phil’s for an awesome dinner! Yummy food (gluten-free for me) delivered to us on a train! Then on to a night of fun with our friends at Knuckleheads! It didn’t take long for Maria and Briann to team up and go on the rides. They even took on the ropes course and had a great time. Charlie and Brooke were stayed on the smaller rides, but Brooke soon learned that Uncle Chad would chaperone her on the bigger rides.


Sunday we got in a little more time in the water before heading home. All in all, a great time!

More Pictures (you’ll notice more pictures of Charlie… this is because Maria was often off on the bigger slides with her daddy!)

Rally Sunday

We had Rally Sunday this past week.  Charlie started Sunday School.

There was NO separation anxiety at all. He just walked in the classroom and made himself at home!  When I picked him up he said “We went outside. And God made Everything!!”

When we picked up Maria she showed me a picture she drew of herself on the Wild Thing and could not remember the Bible story they read. (Which I especially found amusing later that afternoon, when she told me that she was a better listener than Charlie)

Here they are being cute before church. Both are wearing hand-me-downs from their cousins!
Ready for Rally Sunday!

2013 – First Day Of School

Here we go again!  More milestones – of the first day of school type!

Charlie had his first day of preschool today and Maria her first day of First Grade.  Both had great days. Both were tired tonight – Especially Charlie!  But his teachers said he just went with the flow and it wasn’t like he was the new kid at all.  Of course, it helps that they all know him as Maria’s little brother!

First Day of Preschool!

Maria declared the new girl in her class her new Best Friend in the car ride home from after school care.  Which is good, considering her Kindergarten BFF is at a different school this year.  And she came home with homework (1/2 page of numbers). She has also been asked to read 20 minutes a day. So we set up a little table in her room, where she can work without Charlie and I showed her how to set the timer to make sure she gets 20 minutes in.

First Day of School - 1st Grade!

All in all, based on the first day. I think it’s going to be a good year!
First Day of School!

More First Day Pictures

Labor Day Weekend

We’ve had a good weekend!

I took Friday off and ran errands and got my haircut… had some “down” time by myself.  It was a good way to start the weekend.

On Saturday the kids and I went to Rochester to visit my parents.  We also were able to get in a visit (and swimming) with my best friend from junior high who I haven’t seen since probably the early 90s!

Yesterday both kids got some special attention. Chad & I took Maria to Valleyfair and Charlie stayed home with Grandpa & Grandma all by himself. Both kids were very excited!

This was our 2nd visit to Valleyfair with Maria and I have to say it was very different!  As she had grown over 3″ since last summer (and over an inch since May!) and was now able to go on most of the big rides.  The Wild Thing and Monster being her favorites!  Her favorite from last year was not quite what she remembered although she tried to make it fun!  She also declared the Looping Starship (the upside down Viking ship) the most boring ride ever, even though Chad almost got pegged in the head with someone’s cell phone that came loose.

Today is laundry day… 🙂  and both kids are off to school tomorrow – Maria starting 1st grade and Charlie starting preschool! Both are excited!


Lifting weights at Grandma's