Saturday, October 31, 2009

The newest Westra boy!

Here he is, the newest member of the Westra family! Ethan Scott was born to Matt (Rick's younger brother) and Julie, at 12:50 pm on October 29th. He was 8 lbs. 4 oz., adorable, and 20 inches long!


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Now if only South Carolina weren't so far away! You know how much I love babies :)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy "Merry" Halloween?


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One word for ya... blech! I'm all for a white Christmas. But black and orange and white for Halloween? No thanks. Wearing parkas for trick or treating really isn't much fun at all. I really don't want to start humming "I'm dreaming of a white Halloween..."

Two days ago.


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Today.

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I'm thinking I may have to go shovel the pumpkins :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

How the camera saved the day.

Miss E wasn't sure she wanted to come to my house today. She seemed tired and we thought perhaps it would be a "Couch Day." But what's a couch day without a few "squares" in your stomach first? So with Caillou on tv and squares (Life cereal) in her bowl, Miss E ate her breakfast. But she was having nothing to do with the camera. All requests for her to look my way were skillfully avoided. So I clicked away in spite of the ignoring I got.

But no smiles ensued. In fact for the first time in the last 6 weeks I heard her say "I want my mom." After trying to encourage her with toys, and offer snacks and to play with her, I finally decided to leave her be. But I didn't put the camera down. I clicked away. And ever so slowly, I caught her wanting to peek at me. She'd try to look away, but I'd catch her. And a game ensued. I wasn't sure of what I was getting so I finally plopped the card into the reader and looked. That is when I heard it. The giggling. "That's me!" She exclaimed. "Do it again!" The morning flew by. The smiles were now out in force. Who knew it would take a camera to save the day? Turns out it wasn't much of a "couch day" after all.


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LINK LOVE

I am so inspired sometimes by the powerful voices of so many different bloggers. If you love solid and powerful writing you will not want to miss this post. Please visit Janine at Sniffles and Smiles for this most moving piece of writing. Beth at Be yourself everyone else is taken gives you some food for thought in her beautiful piece about not being too quick to rush to judgement and has great photos to boot!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ice Time


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Early morning.

Frost-covered-every-thing.

Gear finding missions.

Bent over positions.

Skate lacing.

Parents racing.

Lights shining.

Some kid whining.

Frigid fingers freeze.

With mommy whispering "please."

Skates tied.

Tears dried.

Crossovers, swizzles, and stops.

Backwards, forwards and Superman flops.

One at a time,

Or all in a line,

Seek some skill.

Celebrate the thrill.

Its ice time.

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With Rick in Idaho this week, I have spent 4 out of the last 6 days at the rink as hockey clinics have officially begun. I find myself doing daycare by day, homework and hockey at night and hopefully, blogging in between. I dread looking at all the "cracks" where all the things I have "dropped" have accumulated!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 2: The Griswold's take Minneapolis


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Day 2. We woke up refreshed from a good night's sleep and the promise of another full day. And then he opened his mouth... "Lets go to the park!" Now when you are staying at the "WATERpark hotel, where do you suppose the kids are thinking they are going?" But if you know my husband, any park that has the word "water" in it, is not his idea of fun.

Somewhat skeptically, the boys loaded into the car and we left for "the park." Do you see it in the photos? The "park?" It would be the one outside of the "Walker Art Center." And when the boys discovered that the "park" they so hoped for was grass around a pond that was murky, and replete with a foul smell? Well, they were less than thrilled.

My dh, however? He was in photographer heaven! The "park" was filled with gardens, flowers, sculptures and history! He could have spent hours walking the grounds. Plus, The Walker has been a favorite of ours forever. But for two "active" boys? I shudder to think of what even a brief tour would be like.

As for me? I was caught somewhere in the middle looking for Switzerland in the midst of the landmines we were navigating that day. We moved from the outdoors to inside the conservatory filled with tropical lipstick palms and the promise of a "fish sculpture." The fish was indeed grand in scale and covered in glass and then surrounded by another pond of water which beautifully reflected off of the scales. Another photography bonanza.

When we heard the "plink" however, and saw the mischievous look on Nolan's face with his hands moving away from the water, the decision to move on was made rather quickly. Besides, the boys were excited to see the new Target Field, the soon to be home of the Minnesota Twins. In what would become the last Griswaldian twist to our adventure, after walking block after city block with tired and hungry children, we caught a glimpse of the new stadium. We cajoled the children into walking just a bit more and having patience and being watchful so as not to miss it except that... every conceivable path leading to it was blocked. We'd have to settle for a glimpse. We distracted the boys with the tall buildings on the way to get something to eat.

For the last bit of our little adventure we had promised my dh a stop at the camera store. So while dad spoke camera speak in the store we watched movies in the car. It turns out that "bit" translates into 3 hours! Thank goodness for Toy Story 1 and 2! When he finally came out he offered to take us to several different places. It was Nolan who finally spoke up and said "Dad, how about if we just go home? I'm tired, this vacation was a lot of work!" So with the nine year old voice of reason echoing in our minds, we cut our losses, jumped on the highway and headed home. The Griswalds have nothing on us!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Westra's "Griswald" adventure.

I've been excited to go for so long now. Somewhere. Away. To recharge, regroup and renew. With teacher conferences and almost a week off from school its our last hurrah before winter descends upon us permanently.

What started as a "we'll get up and go" directive from my dh turned into a five hour delay. With the rest of us packed and watching out the window, "I'll be home soon" became interminably long. The business doesn't stop because we want to leave. Several hours into our wait, I begin to think of folding. I can't keep up the house of cards charade with the boys. They don't have a grasp on hours and minutes when they just multiply into "too long."

Finally in the car, I always fall for the last ploy... "I just need one last stop at the office, it'll take a minute." "Mutiny" crosses my mind. By now, at 4 in the afternoon, we're starving, tired and I have used up an exhaustive supply of patience.

We stop for dinner at 9:30 pm. Whether it was the spicy and heavy food or the long day of hurry up and wait, we arrive exhausted at our hotel and settle in for one of those really long nights of little sleep.

For some reason, Nolan can't sleep. He is up poking one of us every few minutes. I give up trying to sleep after 2 am and we all acquiesce to getting up shortly after 6. I begin dreaming of home and my bed.

Realizing McDonald's would be one of the only places open and serving breakfast, we jumped in the car. We plugged the name into our new GPS and started looking for the closest one. A list with many locations popped up. So we jumped on the highway and began driving. Several minutes later we realize our GPS has routed us to the airport! We void the directions and begin again for the next location which is back the way we came from. We quickly discover its the airport McDonald's again. Now traffic is beginning to pick up for the morning commute. I'm beginning to crave my morning bowl of shredded wheat and fresh ground coffee. We pick a suburb and head off in a new direction and this time its a long drive. Finally after many turns and confusing directions we arrive at a location that is no longer a McDonald's! I don't think any of us were even talking to each other by the time we finally found breakfast at yet another McDonald's. (The next day we discovered one just 6 blocks down on the same street as our hotel.)

Next we decide to go to the Mall of America. Ah the sheer number of stores is staggering. If you can't find it here, it doesn't exist. I am thrilled to begin tackling this long list of winter items we desperately need. We are shopping for winter boots when one of the boys has to use the restroom. Sounds harmless enough. Since I am off in another part of the store looking, my dh decides to take the boys on his own. Without telling me. Of course, minutes before I had warned him I didn't have my cell phone with me, but it fell on inattentive ears.

So in true Clark Griswald fashion, what should have been a 15 minute excursion, quickly developed into another 5 HOUR separation. At the Mall of America. Did I mention how many stores there were?

I tried everything I could think of to find them. I walked to all of their favorite stores. I sat and waited by the car until I was shivering with cold. I found a pay phone that took credit cards, but my card was new and I didn't have the new pin number memorized. So I couldn't use an ATM or the phone. I had two dollars on me. However the stores are not allowed to open their till to make change. So I had to find something to buy that left me with enough change for a phone call. Just try finding that "item" when a 12 ounce diet coke is 3 dollars, because you are at the Mall of America.

Finally, the Nestle cookie guy took pity on me. He broke policy and made change for me after I bought a cookie. I had enough change to make a phone call. I don't know if my dh was really happy to hear from me or not :)

When I say I was apprehensive to take the boys to the water park alone that night, can you blame me? I would have to say though, it was the highlight of our trip. For two active boys with some pent up excitement and energy this was the place for them. For 4 hours they swam, and tubed and sat in the hot tub and ran through the sprinklers. Fortunately sleep came quickly to us all that night. It seems we were going to need it for day two of our adventure...


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When you get lucky

When you get lucky

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