School!

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Fall is in the air.  Leaves are starting to turn and the new school year has started.  Yesterday Mette started with her first day of Pre-K.  She now goes to school every afternoon.  She is so excited to finally be in the all exciting afternoon class.  She can remember when Otto was in Pre-K making this the first year she is going to school like Otto that she can remember.  There is no drama sending Mette to school.  No tears, no hesitation, she is just gone.  You have to be quick to get a hug and a kiss from her before she is off in a gaggle of girls building, drawing, painting, making.DSC_1426

I managed to get a few photos of her before we headed out the door.  She is not always the most cooperative with photos when she knows you want to take them, but I got some winners this year.

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Ask her to smile and you never know what you are going to get!

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Two weeks ago, at the end of August, Otto started First grade.  He was excited and nervous and any kid would be.  Change is hard for Otto and going from the summer of constant mom and family time to getting on the big bus and heading off to school is a tough transition.  There were tears for the first few days but each day when he comes home he says he has had a wonderful day, he just misses us and wants to be home.  Actually I think the fact that Mette started school this week has helped him a lot.  I am sure part of it was that Mette got to stay home with me and he had to go to school.  Now that she is also going to school he seems to feel a bit better about it.  She on the other hand was a total pain in the butt his first few days of school.  She so clearly missed having him around and the only way she could think to handle that emotion was to spend the entire day getting into trouble.  She is not usually that destructive or troublesome but the first few days of school for Otto were tough.

Otto on his first day of school.  Mette needed to be in the picture too.

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and no, before someone asks, Mette does not need glasses now, she just likes wearing fake ones from time to time.

 

Otto was a little nervous at the bus stop but he did well.  He is such a sweet sensitive little guy.  I can’t believe how much he has grown.  It’s nice though, he still comes home and wants to snuggle and hang out.  The other morning he woke up early and crawled into bed with eric and I and his Lego magazine and wanted to read and snuggle.  I am glad he is not too big for that yet.

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Speaking of reading, this boy can read.  It is totally awesome. He reads anything and everything in sight.  He really enjoys encyclopedias and any book about Lego, space or the ocean.  He reads piles of books in bed at night and is often found reading books to Mette.  Both eric and I swell with pride watching him enjoy reading as much as he does.  And, not to be outdone, Mette has started sounding out words and reading short simple words.  It’s pretty awesome.

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And then there is just adorable Mette with her hair curled for a wedding we went to last month.  Pretty fantastic.

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This summer was a total whirl wind, though tons of fun.  Somehow despite trying to have a easy year we seem to be beyond busy this semester.  Both kids are doing soccer which is awesome, and time consuming.  Otto is starting allergy shots to help combat seasonal allergies.  Twice a week Mette and I pick him up from school and take him for a shot where we have to then sit there for 30 minutes to make sure he doesn’t have a reaction.  Soon we won’t have to go twice a week, but for right now it is exhausting.  Then Otto has OT once a week to work on hand writing, eric has screening for work, it’s crazy around here.  Still, we are having fun and the kids seem to be doing quite well.

 

We have our first soccer games this weekend.  I will try and get some photos of that up soon.

 

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Mother’s Day

I had a lovely day yesterday with all of my special people.  Eric had to leave in the morning to fly to Florida but not before he and Mette brought me coffee in bed and lots of beautiful flowers.  While he was airport bound Rachel (whose husband was also out of town) and I took all four of our kids to Cherry Alley for brunch.  It was lovely and the kids were quite good.  We went to their house to play for a bit after brunch which was lovely.  Rachel and I even got to lounge on the couch for a while which was nice.

 

The kids and I spent the rest of the day hanging out around the house.  They put on various plays for me and sang me lots of silly songs.  Otto even offered to help cook dinner, and DID actually help.  It was a wonderful day.  The only thing that would have made it better would have been if eric was there, but he was flying to see his own mother which was equally as important.

 

I snagged a few photos from eric’s camera to share with you.  It has been a busy past few weeks as eric’s class wound to a end and school winds down for the kids.  There are concerts, book fairs, field trips, you name it, all happening now.  And, somehow even though it’s the end of the cold season we were struck with a nasty stomach virus and fever.  Gross!  It seems tobe gone now.  Thankfully!

 

Enjoy…..

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Getting dirty

 

 

 

 

 

The sun!!

 

Finally it has come out and we are taking every minute outside that we can.  This past weekend it was still a little cool but the sun was warm.  So warm that Mette and I had a bit of a rest on a neighbor’s deck.

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Once we were rested up we headed over to the community garden where we will be farming a plot this year to celebrate the arrival of spring with some ice cream and friends!IMG_5144

 

I took a few minute breather after lunch earlier this week to sit back and enjoy the newly budding green lawn. In a few days the trees will explode with buds and leaves and our whole view will change.  Before that happens I am attempting to repaint the pergola.  A large, but important task.

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Mette, in one of her better outfits!  Perhaps here I should mention I once won clash day in second grade, without knowing it was clash day.IMG_5157

Earlier this week I asked the kids to get out forks and napkins so we could have dinner outside.  Thinking they would sit at the table.  I came outside to find them like this, siddled up to the bench, to quote Otto, “sitting like Han Solo.”  Priceless.

This my friend is why you have children.

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Mette loves dirt.  LOVES it.  This was here less than half an hour before ballet yesterday.  I got her almost all scrubbed off in time but as she was walking away from me into class I noticed a mud caked elbow I missed.

Ooopps.

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Last night after dinner all the kids wanted to do was to play outside.  Give them each a squirt bottle with water and they will be happy for hours.  Mette was, once again, covered in mud.  Otto happily took on the task of spraying her cleaner!

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Today was class picture day at Kinderfolk.  Mette chose her outfit and looked adorable in my mind.  On the walk to the photographers studio I tried to get some shots of her but she was having none of it.  This is the best I could manage!  I’ll post proofs when we get them later this week!

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It has been down right hot here the past few days but I think tomorrow will start some cooler weather.  The trees are on the verge of popping and the whole town is exploding with color.  It’s lovely!

 

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Back in the saddle again

Looking through old photos I realized that I have a lot of good stuff I haven’t shared with you.  I really should be working on the second chair I need to recover, but instead I am going to post more photos.  Lucky you.

 

In March we had an old friend of mine from when I lived in Denmark come and visit us, Pernille.  It was a ton of fun showing her around Lewisburg and she even came to Chicago with us.  The kids adored her.  She had constant companions everywhere she went.

 

Pernille and the kids

Pernille and the kids

In Northbrook (after we got there, snow storm, cancelled flights, new airports and a day late!) we had a joint  birthday party for Mette, Otto, Kristin, Dee and myself.  We all have birthdays between Feb 7th and March 9th.

Mette opening birthday gifts in Northbrook

Mette opening birthday gifts in Northbrook

The Birthday Crew!

The Birthday Crew!

We all got to check out Roger and Dee’s new Tesla S.  It is amazing.  The kids get to ride in the back and be the look outs which they think is really cool.  The other day at Kinderfolk one of Mette’s teachers pulled me aside and told me she had told another kid in class, “I am kind of like my papou’s luggage, he puts me in the trunk.”  I had a little explaining to do after that!

The kids strapped in the back of the Tesla, ready for a ride!

The kids strapped in the back of the Tesla, ready for a ride!

Dee took Mette to the American Girl Doll store to get a doll for her birthday and Dee, Pernille, Mette and I all had lunch there with the new doll.  It was a lot of fun.  The boys went to the Lego store and had lunch at the cheesecake factory.  Everybody wins.

Mette on her lunch date with her new American Girl doll

Mette on her lunch date with her new American Girl doll

Mette and yia yia at lunch

Mette and yia yia at lunch

After lunch we met for drinks at the bar on the top of the John Hancock building to see the sights.  It was a clear sunny day and the view was amazing.

Eric showing Pernille the view of Chicago from the top of the Hancock building

Eric showing Pernille the view of Chicago from the top of the Hancock building

Mette warming up in the sun at the top of the Hancock building.

Mette warming up in the sun at the top of the Hancock building.

The kids went to camp grandparents for two days and eric, pernille and I stayed downtown to see more sights and eat ourselves silly.  Everyone had a blast.

Mette getting ready for the day with Dee!

Mette getting ready for the day with Dee!

Sleeping at the Jelly Belly factory

Sleeping at the Jelly Belly factory

Eric, Pernille and I in the Bean!

Eric, Pernille and I in the Bean!

Because of all the difficulty getting to chicago, on the way home we flew into Philly.  It actually worked out great because we got to see Grandpa Chris, Nonna Jen and Harry and head around the corner for a delicious brunch.

Chance visit with Harry as we swung through Philly

Chance visit with Harry as we swung through Philly

When we got back to Lewisburg that afternoon it was actually warm and sunny.  We took full advantage and spent all the rest of the day outside.  Good thing too since it went back to cold and snowy the next day.

Enjoying the one day of Spring in March!

Enjoying the one day of Spring in March!

Uncle Matt is credited with teaching the kids about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and now we have to heroes in a half shell running around!

Turtle Power

Turtle Power

Heroes in a half shell

Heroes in a half shell

And then, there is just random cuteness you can’t not share.

This sweet face

This sweet face

Look mommy, I have glasses like daddy!

Look mommy, I have glasses like daddy!

Mette had a ballet recital at the end of May.  They got their costumes last week and Mette was very excited.  If she was as excited about actually DOING the dance with the rest of the class we would be all set.  But, whatever.  She is four.  It’s cute no matter what.

getting her ballet recital costume!

getting her ballet recital costume!

trying it on in class

trying it on in class

Having everyone home over spring break meant lots of crafts.  The weather wasn’t really spring like so we were inside a lot.  Mette started out painting rocks, but ended up painting more of the paper instead.  Oh well.

painting rocks, or the table if you are Mette

painting rocks, or the table if you are Mette

Mette is often found singing to herself.

Mette is often found singing to herself.

Soccer season has started again.  We are back to Monday night training and next week starts Saturday games.  Otto is super excited!  I think this summer Mette can do a U5 league which she seems pretty interested in as well.

first day of spring soccer training!

first day of spring soccer training!

 

So there, that is a bit more of a catch up.  I won’t go so far as to promise more all the time, but let’s just say it feels good to get more photos up!

 

with any luck it will be spring here soon and we will have good outside shots!

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Spring!

Yesterday there was a Spring Egg Hunt run by the student government at Bucknell and the kids were super excited to go.  So we went.  It was a glorious day and the idea of being outside sounded lovely.

 

I did not remember to bring, nor do I even have Easter baskets for the kids.  Luckily, they rode scooters/tricycles there and had helmets!  Score one for safety!  Score one for you too, readers of this blog, Eric got a fancy schmancy new camera for work and is learning all of the new tricks and settings this weekend.  The kids and cats have been very helpful models, most of the time.  He even lets me play a little.  It’s a LOT of fun.

 

The weather has turned to rain today and we are all hunkered down finding quiet things to keep us busy.  The kids have been off school since Thursday and don’t go back until Tuesday so we still have one more day of hanging out.  It has been a good spring break and if the sun comes out this week and might even start feeling like spring here!!

 

Otto!  all smiles

Otto! all smiles

the kids painted some beautiful watercolor spring eggs

the kids painted some beautiful watercolor spring eggs

eggs lurking in the playground, ready to be hunted

eggs lurking in the playground, ready to be hunted

waiting for the Go Ahead at the Egg Hunt

waiting for the Go Ahead at the Egg Hunt

and they are off!

and they are off!

finding eggs

finding eggs

scootering home

scootering home

handsome boy

handsome boy

she loves to climb trees

she loves to climb trees

Nurkel, eric's other model

Nurkel, eric’s other model

sidewalk chalk is very popular this year

sidewalk chalk is very popular this year

Otto, the bubble master

Otto, the bubble master

spring is finally coming to our garden

spring is finally coming to our garden

learning how to blow bubbles is a great skill

learning how to blow bubbles is a great skill

mette at the park

mette at the park

in her element

in her element

 

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The boy turned six!

So I sat down to write this blog post about Otto turning four and I realized, crap, Otto is not turning four, he is six.   Mette turned four a few weeks ago.  And I turn 32 last week!  how could this be???

Ever since Mette started preschool this past fall I feel like I should have so much free time.  Three mornings a week to do whatever I want.   I thought “I will have more time to blog, in fact, I’ll blog all the time.”  I have already talked about it a few times before as to why I haven’t got had any time, so I won’t bore you now. Somehow having one kid in kindergarten and another in preschool has given me far less time than I could ever imagine.

getting a picture with the star of storytime, Clifford.

getting a picture with the star of storytime, Clifford.

Otto and Mette found matching pillows and chose to sit together downtown for storytime.

Otto and Mette found matching pillows and chose to sit together downtown for storytime.

Still this year, somehow the children have managed to have birthdays, despite me not allowing them.   Mette is finally 4!  I still can’t get over it.  But even more than that, Otto is six.  Tall, lanky, smart, learning to read – six.

When we were living in London last year the thing Otto wanted more than anything else for his birthday was a party. A  party complete with friends on the other side of a very large ocean.  We couldn’t do that but he somehow survived with a few Buchnell students, a cake, and a few friends locally we had in London, but major promises were made for parties to be held this year for his sixth birthday.  Let me tell you, that boy can plan a party

The hardest thing with Otto is getting him toagree to a theme or an idea and not change his mind every five days.  It’s the same for Halloween costumes.  He picks out a new Halloween costume almost every day of the year.  At some point I have to say “no more changing your mind were settling on this. ”  It’s the same with this party, no more changing your mind, we are settling on this.

We settled on a movie theme.  When you’re inviting multiple six year olds to your house for party, things that can hold their attention are a good idea.  We decided to set up the third floor as a screening room complete with video projection,  comfy chairs to lounge on, adorable little popcorn containers and popcorn snacks.  Of course there was a Tatooine cake to share as well.   Otto graciously allowed me to decorate with Lego figures which is good because my fondant skills are not up to the task of making tiny little people with the detail he has in mind!  Luke’s house on Tatooine does not make for a very appetizing looking cake hence the few pictures here.  It was however delicious and when you get down to it that’s all that really matters.  There were sparkly candles for him to blow out and plenty of sugar to ramp the children up before we asked them to sit still to watch a movie

Otto getting all the guys just right and in position on the cake.

Otto getting all the guys just right and in position on the cake.

the problem with a dessert scene cake is tan icing does not look good no matter what you do to it.

the problem with a dessert scene cake is tan icing does not look good no matter what you do to it.

All of them sitting down to pizza -pre-cake.

All of them sitting down to pizza -pre-cake.

buddy by his side, ready to blow out the candles.

buddy by his side, ready to blow out the candles.

they are watching the movie.

they are watching the movie.

The kids actually did amazingly well and while completely exhausting to host 6,7,8,9 I can’t even remember how many kids were here for a party it went remarkably well.  All had a wonderful time, no one cried , and Otto was gracious and thanked everyone.  They even seem to like the homemade Playdough I made as party favors and the Lego surprise packs were a big hit with all the kids, not just Otto.

Rows of homemade playdough to give as party favors to Otto's friends.

Rows of homemade playdough to give as party favors to Otto’s friends.

Otto continues to amaze us every day.  Somehow the small little person who burst into our lives full of screaming loud wakeless nights and attitude and desires for constant movement has settled into a loud full of sleepFULL nights, bursts of energy and excitement person who follows rules, looks for structure and longs to be the everyone’s friend.
Otto continues to love kindergarten, a fact I give most of the credit to the his wonderful teacher Mrs. Jamieson whom we all love.  He enjoys going to school each day and genuinely seems to be enjoying learning.

He is still having difficulties with writing though I’m sure it will all work out in the end.  In fact even in this past week he has shown great improvement.  No longer are his letters flipped from left to right or top to bottom, they’ve begun to sit on the lines where they are supposed to and I can read everything he writes now.  His reading improves every day and he seems to enjoy it.   Both Eric and I remember fondly the joy associated with being able to read all on your own anything you see.  This is joy is not lost on Otto.  He reads cereal boxes, bags in the trash,  street signs, store signs,  magazines on the table, anything with words or letters- he’s putting them together asking questions.  It’s exciting and invigorating.  No longer do Eric and I have a way to spell secret things behind his back because he simply puts the letters together and reads them!
As springtime nears soccer season will start, outside playtime will begin, scooter riding, bike riding are all about to happen.  He is so ready for all of that and the freedom it will bring him, and yet, he still likes to come into bed every morning and snuggled between Eric and I.  One cute cuddly little boy whose legs now reached down to the end of my toes is still happiest snuggled up warm and happy with mommy, daddy, Blankey and alligator.

I am not looking to stop morning snuggles anytime soon!

the guys on the drainboard the next morning.  rough night.

the guys on the drainboard the next morning. rough night.

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“I am Four!”

Birthday Princess of the Heat Vent!

Birthday Princess of the Heat Vent!

All day last Thursday Mette would randomly come up to me and say, “mommy, I am four!”  It never got old.  Mette embraces the changing of a calendar year with such zealous that every year we have to reassure Otto that she hasn’t really changed, and neither will he on his birthday.  Every day we are all one day older and your birthday is just one special day, but we don’t really change.  Mette seems so excited to have changed into this new older version of herself each year he is visibly shaken.  Poor kid.  Mette however, LOVES it.

Eight layers of gradient pink for the cake!

Eight layers of gradient pink for the cake!

This year I introduced Mette to Pinterest   She now asks to look at the scrolly page with all the pretty pictures all the time.  After guiding her away from many over the top ideas we settled on an eight layer ombre pink cake tower.  Those of you who are familiar with Pinterest will know that this is quite tame.  I really love making the kids fun birthday cakes and while I am no amazing baker by any stretch, it is fun to push the limits of what I can do.  Besides, it’s all just butter and sugar anyway.  How can you go wrong?

all stacked up with the all important chocolate buttercream holding them together.

all stacked up with the all important chocolate buttercream holding them together.

She was insistant there be chocolate somewhere so we added a chocolate buttercream between the layers of the cake.

quick crumb coat before the icing

quick crumb coat before the icing

TOWER of HEARTS!

TOWER of HEARTS!

We opened presents before dinner so Mette was of course wearing her new Pocahontas outfit from Grandmom and Grandpa for dinner and dessert.  Otto was finally fever free by Thursday and was up, out of bed and feeling much better.  He even ate dinner which was a first in a while.  Mette requested macaroni and cheese made with bow-tie (like men wear she told me) pasta and broccoli for dinner.  Yum!

Pocahontas ready to blow out the candles.

Pocahontas ready to blow out the candles.

Before we could start eating I asked eric to help get a few shots of the inside of the cake.  It was pretty awesome!

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And then the fever strikes.

And then the fever strikes.

On Friday after her birthday she headed off to Kinderfolk excited to try it out as a newly minted four year old.  However at pick-up it was not a good scene.  She has been crying over every little small thing and the teachers debated calling me to pick her up early.  She wasn’t running a fever, but it was only a matter of time.  At dinner she didn’t want to eat and was rocking a 101.7 temp.  So, Otto’s first day back to school and Mette’s first day down.  Great timing.  Though, she was at least not sick for her birthday.  We spent the whole weekend in the house with one kid super sick and very out of it and the other not as sick but still really worn out and super whinny.  Awesome.  We streamed so much Netflix last weekend!  This virus has been really tough on each of them.  For the first time ever they both complained of headaches and of course as with most fevers they were achey all over.  There were lots of Epsom salt baths to help soothe and cool them off.

cooling salt bathes make a big difference

cooling salt bathes make a big difference

Otto was able to get some good work done on his Valentine’s for school.  We made his mailbox and worked hard on decorating it.

And, eric set up a green screen and helped Otto makes the coolest valentines ever.  The light saber is actually a glowstick pocking through.  On the back he is writing To: and From: with the names of each kid, and of course his own, which he is almost done with.  Mette finally felt well enough this morning to do hers.  We colored hearts and glued them all together and she wrote her name on all of them.

Otto working hard on his valentine mailbox

Otto working hard on his valentine mailbox

Geek parents that we are, these are Otto's valentines we made with him

Geek parents that we are, these are Otto’s valentines we made with him

With any luck the rest of this week will be sickness free and we can get to the weekend without any incidents.  We have one birthday party for a friend of Otto’s this weekend and nothing else planned.  Should be lovely!

 

Hope everyone has a great week and a happy Valentine’s Day!

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