Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We heart the Library

So, even though we live in a town of 500, our library is linked up with a whole system comprised of several counties worth of libraries! Some of these libraries have amazing resources to check out. In all of my spare time, I'm scouring the library search engine looking for toys that I can check out (and not buy) for Sora. We get them for a month at a time, and they ship them to our library for us. Amazing! Tot school started for Sora last week, when Kyle went back to work. We're super organized this year and have monthly themes and everything. This month is zoo theme so I focused on zoo items at the library.
 Here Sora and Kyle are playing with the Curious George kit. It comes with a felt storytelling toy with 5 different scenes and pieces to tell stories in each scene. Super cute. Sora's favorite is the ice cream shop theme (no surprise there). It also comes with 2 books (which are AWEFUL - I didn't realize how terrible the stories are of Curious George. One involves his capture from the jungle - and I hate the way he's called "naughty" when he's really just being curious - okay, end rant. Luckily for Sora, I can easily edit the stories to my liking without her realizing it) and a stuffed animal.
 Here is the rest of our current library loot (not including books). 3 puzzles and a monkey themed kit.
Sora freaking loves the puzzles (the two floor puzzles at least) and does them 3-5 times per day. Of course she needs a lot of hand holding through each puzzle, so it's a mixed blessing for me and Kyle.

I love that Sora loves the library, going to the library (and our weekly play group) and totally understands the idea of returning things and doesn't get upset at all when she requests something that we already took back to the library (like after a week straight of reading the same book over and over and Kyle and I can't take it anymore)!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Missed Photo Opp

On Wednesday, we had a day camp come up for the day at camp. Sora and Maleah came to visit the kids and me at work while I was helping them catch frogs and turtles with nets. Sora wanted to get in on the action and she and Maleah caught a frog before they went home for lunch. Yesterday, Sora wanted to catch frogs and turtles again, so she and Maleah (and Walker, the baby that Maleah watches once a week, who is ironically a late walker) went for a walk to see what they could find. Maleah was holding Walker so she wasn't right next to Sora. Maleah said it was time to go and started to walk away thinking that Sora would follow. She heard a splash and Sora crying and turned around to see that Sora had fallen into the lagoon while trying to snag a large lilly pad! This is the first of what I'm sure will be many falls into the water around here. Luckily Sora recovered quickly and was ready to go back minutes later.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Back to Normal

So, Kyle went back to work on Monday and Sora and I are settling into our normal routine. I love some parts (her projects, watching all the new things she can do and knows) and dislike some parts (like sitting by her bed for 30 minutes while she sings to herself instead of naps). We had a huge break through on the potty front as she now goes to the bathroom all by herself! We had a huge setback on nap time as she now insists that she's not tired (right before her 2 hour naps). Anyway, life is back to normal and is in no way exciting around here (which is a nice change for a while).

Friday, August 19, 2011

County Fair

I have been waiting months to go to my first midwestern county fair! I grew up as a fair kid, heavily involved in 4-H and spent almost every hour of the fair week at the fair for years. I was excited to have Sora experience the magic. Of course, it was WAY different than the fair that I'm used to. Despite having a larger population (250,000 v. 200,000 people in the county), it was maybe 1/3 the size of my "home" fair, which was probably my biggest beef. Kyle's biggest beef was the total pro-milk propaganda, but I think that's true of most county fairs. 

Sora jumped right into the pro-milk love by milking Addy the cow (not real, of course). She's milked other "cows" this summer, so she's a pro. 
 She also loved playing in the corn box. It was obviously a big hit.
 Sora loved the parks display - they even had a frog catching pond set up!
 We supported the FFA and 4-H booths while we enjoyed some BBQ sandwiches and moowiches.
 The best part of the fair is that $10 paid for parking, admission, and unlimited rides! Sora and Kyle took advantage of the wristbands by going on at least 5 each.
 Another great thing about the fair is the view! It's right on the river and I'm sure that the top of the ferris wheel was beautiful.

 Kyle took Sora, so I'll have to take their word for it.
We still have at least 1 more county fair on the agenda this summer, so we'll see how it compares! Overall, Sora loved it, and Kyle and I liked it (and loved the prices). We were both spoiled with great fair memories as kids, so hopefully someday Sora will have a more stable fair experience as well so that she too can become a county fair snob.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Seattle Photos

While we were in Seattle, we had our family pictures taken by the fabulously talented Carly of Carly Tee Photography at Seattle Center (near and dear to my heart after working at Pacific Science Center for 5 years). We had our pictures with her last summer as well in Ferndale and loved those results too! If you need a photographer in the Seattle area, I highly highly recommend her - super reasonable rates, sweet, great to work with, and does amazing work! Okay, end commercial. Here are a few of my favorites:

Hopefully for our next photo session, Sora will be a more willing participant and we will end up with even more amazing photos! Thanks again Carly!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Swimming in the Lake

One of the many amazing things about living at a camp is that we get to do all of those fun camp things that you remember about summer camp whenever we'd like to! Okay, maybe not ALL of the fun things, but we are lucky to get to go swimming (or boating or hiking or lots of other things) whenever we feel like it! Which, if your a toddler, is often.

 Sora loves climbing up and down these steps. Her favorite thing to do at the waterfront is to go up the steps to the dirt, get dirt all over her hands, toes, and hair, then wash it off in the lake.

She's a great camp kid and is lucky to have such a great camp dad who is willing to go swimming with all of those fishes with her!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Wildlife Sanctuary

After spending two evenings working on the floor, Kyle and I realized our estimating skills are amazing! We estimated just 2 square feet off! Unfortunately, we were 2 square feet short. Sora and I made the trek to Green Bay to buy those two more tiles while Kyle worked yesterday. Attempting to make the trip fun and not just errands, Sora and I went to the amusement park afterwards. She rode 9 rides (1 with me) for $3. Amazing! Another reason to heart Green Bay. Afterwards, we went to see the animals at the wildlife sanctuary across the street. 

Sora loved it! We saw river otters rolling in a log.

 And red fox playing a mean game of tag.
 And coyotes marking their territory.

Sora had a ton of fun, and I love that this is a free place to take her! After a full morning in Green Bay, including the tiles and a trip to Starbucks, I still had $1 left (from $10 I started with). I love days like that!

Handy Man

We've been enjoying a relaxing week at home with perfect summer weather and lots of summer camp kids around to entertain Sora. After about 5 days at home, Kyle was ready to find another way to fill his time - he's decided that being a stay at home dad is a little dull. We took a trip to the hardware store and came home with several new projects to keep him busy. He's actually done most of them already - I'm impressed!

He built me some shelves in the closet.
 Which I couldn't wait to fill with tot school stuff for Sora!

He put together his new grill - surprisingly, this came in a LOT of pieces! He's tried to grill a lot of things so far, but we haven't had brats or burgers yet.

He turned Sora's old crib into a compost bin. So far, no critters seem to have gotten in, which means Kyle did a great job! (Update: I just saw a chipmunk in said compost bin...)

He put up Sora's swing that we bought from Ikea. This picture doesn't show his system, but he had to create something to hang the swing from. Pretty impressive, and Sora loves it.
 The biggest project so far has been redoing the floor in the dining room and kitchen. It looks amazing (and was super cheap)!

 We still have some painting and decorating to do, but Kyle's gotten a lot accomplished in a short time. Yeah for having a motivated husband!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Epic Journey: The Final Leg

Okay, so when we last left you, we were in Bozeman, MT, enjoying a mix of weather and a plush campground.

The next day, we headed to Eastern MT and enjoyed a more rugged landscape. We stopped at some caves to see cavemen drawings (which I am trying to explain and point out to Sora).

 We camped in the Badlands of Eastern MT. I'm not sure why this description didn't make me realize how hot and dry it would be when I picked it, but it was very pretty and luckily not too hot or too dry.

 Oh, and the bee sting I got on Monday? Well, my poor foot swelled up like a balloon. It was hard to walk, especially since I could only wear flip flops. I survived though.
 Sora liked exploring the landscape with daddy while I sat on the sidelines.
 And she has decided that "maybe an animal lives there" in every hole.

 The next day, while still feeling sorry for my poor foot, we headed to Fargo, ND. We went to a children's museum, which Sora loved (while Kyle and I couldn't help but notice almost every single thing had something missing or broken - I wouldn't have been so annoyed if I hadn't read some brochure that billed them as in the top 25 children's museum in the nation or something - there must have been A LOT of cool stuff outside of the building we were in that we didn't see).

To celebrate our crabby attitudes and total disgust of bugs that we had dealt with lately, we decided to live it up and stay at a hotel. We ate with the aliens at the Space Alien's Grill and Bar. It was hard to explain the theme to Sora, but since they had fries, she didn't really care.

 The hotel we were in had a tiny water park. Really it involved two slides and a lot of spraying, but Sora loved it. Kyle and I loved the free breakfast. Kyle kept count of how many times Sora did this slide before I took over. He was up to 53.
 Our next destination was the Mall of America and Ikea. We bought Sora a new bed and managed to fit it, along with the mattress, lots of toys and some other Ikea "essentials" in our already crowded car. This meant I couldn't buy much at the MOA, but I was too picky so it worked out well.

 Sora's favorite store was 77Kids by American Eagle. It was super interactive and full of little rocker clothes. Cute if you want your kid to look like a rock star at age two. I prefer my two year old looking like a crazy two year old.
 Our car couldn't have been more stuffed on the way home. Instead of spending an extra night, we ended up driving straight home from the MOA, which cut an extra day off our trip. We also ended up not going to Glacier National Park this trip, since the overnight low was 29 and the main attraction we learned was this beautiful scenic drive that would take 2-3 hours. Somehow adding more driving to our trip, no matter how beautiful, and subjecting Sora to a freezing night in a tent didn't seem like the most responsible parenting move. This also cut a day off our trip, so we got home late Thursday night instead of Saturday!
This means we've been home for almost a week now without blogging. Sorry. We've been enjoying our house and Kyle's additional two weeks off. We have a lot of home improvement projects on the horizon, so I'm sure there will be good blogging soon. Also, there are still two more weeks of summer camp going on all around our house, which Sora is enthralled by. As soon as we walked into our house late Thursday night, Sora was happy to be home. We all miss our friends and family and our home state, but we are happy to be back at our house and to experience another year of our crazy midwestern life.