30 May 2008

the end of the beginning




Bergen's first year of school has come to a close. . . and I can't believe how fast it went! When you have a baby everyone tells you they will grow up before you know it - and boy, if his first year in preschool is any kind of an indicator, we are in for a quick trip before he is off to college. *sniff, sniff*

Okay, before that thought gets too overwhelming and the tears actually begin to flow. . . I want to say what a wonderful experience preschool was for us. Bergen's teachers had nothing but great things to say about him (well, 98% of the time - he is a 3 year old after all!) We had countless art projects that have filled up the front of our fridge. . . Bergen got to play with his friends. . . and we saw him grow and develop in ways that continually surprised us. We couldn't be more proud of our little man. It was a great year!!

For the last day they invited the parents to join them for circle time. So in my usual style, I snapped just a few pics. Here are a couple - as well as some video of circle time. . . .




























video





video

bergen & megan: stars of the mini-golf world!


Aunt Megan took Bergen to the Walker on the Green a couple weeks ago. . . and made it into this short video produced by someone who works at the Walker. You will see the golf pair about 1:22 into the clip. Bergen is on the bike while his caddy Aunt Megan is giving him a little assistance with the pedals.

Click here.

29 May 2008

so you think you can dance?

Annika has started dancing over the past week and I have been trying to catch it on video. The best way to get her to dance is by dancing with her - which is hard to do while taping. But I think you will get a little taste of her new dancing skills from this clip. . . she is a natural if I do say so myself!

video

the sun will come out. . .

Eventually. . .
Bet your bottom dollar that eventually. . .
There'll be sun!















It has been a hard-knock start to the summer here in the great north. We have been ever so patiently waiting for warm weather to not only come but to STAY. We have had glimpses of the beautiful Minnesota summers that we suffer all winter for, but so far we have been sadly disappointed. We were, however, lucky enough to get a beautiful day yesterday so I threw swim suits on the kids and headed over to the Leafblad's pool.
As usual after a warm, beautiful day we are back to cool and cloudy today. Summer is on the way though. . .
any day now. . .
I know it will be here. . . .
Eventually.










23 May 2008

are we having fun yet?

As the reports about bpa in our children’s bottles came to light, I added it to the long list of things to stress over as a parent. It is clear we have become a fear driven society. All you need to do is turn on the 10 o’clock news to learn what you didn’t know is sitting right under your nose that could kill you. And in a way, parenting has become the same.

If it isn’t already stressful enough getting through the day with small kids; it has become even more fear driven. I find myself second guessing *everything* I do. . . .

....Do my children’s toys contain lead?
... Should I be vaccinating?
... Is tap water safe?
... Is the car seat installed correctly?
... Is it okay to give my child peanut butter before the age of 3?
... Should my children only eat organic food?
... Are household cleaners safe?
... Should we have stored our children’s cord blood in case of illness later in life?
... Is it safe to use a bumper in the crib?
... Is it okay to let my baby sleep on her tummy?
... Does watching TV lead to ADHD or autism?

It is hard to weed through and/or remember all the wonderful nuggets of “advice” you hear. You can give your child milk, but not too much. Juice is okay, but be sure it isn’t too high in sugar and don’t forget to water it down. Vaccinations are healthy but do a delayed schedule and never do more then two at a time. . . .

And if that weren’t enough to make over-analyzing parents’ head spin, studies have come out saying that “breast fed babies are smarter then bottle fed”. Ouch. Such horrible, harsh words for those mothers who couldn’t nurse for whatever reason. If one were to believe such things, Annika will be much smarter than Bergen given that she has nursed about 9 months longer then he ever did.

As the idea of fear-driven parenting remained close to mind, I found myself reading an article in baby talk (a free magazine I picked up at babies R Us) titled SUMMER SAFETY GUIDE. It warns parents of hot sand that can burn your children’s feet, jagged shells that can cut your child’s hand when on a seashell hunt, bees and mosquitoes that can sting your child, sandboxes that can contain harmful bacteria. . . and of course don’t forget dehydration! After reading that article it makes me think it might be best to just wrap up the kids in bubble wrap and have them enjoy the outdoors from the windows. Sigh…

20 May 2008

empty house = empty mind


Michael Scott: Today is Spring cleaning day here at Dundler Mifflin, and yes I know it's January, I'm not an idiot, but if you do your Spring cleaning in January guess what you don't have to do in the Spring... anything. They say a cluttered desk means a cluttered mind, well I say an empty desk means an...
Dwight Schrute: Empty mind.
Michael Scott: Well, no... that's not what I was going to say.
The Office Season 2: The Secret



We are huge Office fans here at the Blad Pad and that particular exchange between Michael and Dwight came to mind as I prepared for our garage sale last week. Of course it is much funnier when you are actually watching the show, but as I cleared my house of all things unwanted or un-needed, my house started to feel a little emptier. . . which got me asking myself, does it make my mind a little emptier?

I have to say YES.

A long, long time ago I read an article in Real Simple about a life coach helping a woman combat her anxiety. The gist of the article was that as part of her therapy she had to remove 100 items from her house and each item had to be a different thing. She could have recycled 100 old magazines or donated 100 books, but that would have only counted as 1 actual item. At first the woman thought of the project as daunting and impossible, but the more she got rid of, the easier it became and the freer she felt. In this case it truly was an empty house = an empty mind. . . or at least a mind empty of anxiety.

I definitely felt a sense of relief detoxing the house of things we don't need or use anymore. There is freedom in the things you own not owning you. That isn’t to say I don’t value *anything* because I do. For every 100 items I could get rid of, there are 100 items I would be heartbroken to lose. That being said, I learned a lot from my first garage sale experience. I learned they are a lot more work then I would have ever thought. I learned that the work doesn’t end when the garage sale ends. I learned to surround myself with the things I love and get rid of the rest. I learned less is more. I learned that a cluttered house makes for a cluttered mind.



And now my mind feels just a little less cluttered.

old dogs can learn new tricks

The Whole Wheat Tollhouse Cookie

Here's a version of a cookie classic from 1937, made a bit more nutritious with whole wheat.
Excerpted from Bob's Red Mill Baking Book by John Ettinger and Bob's Red Mill Family, © 2007, published by Running Press. All rights reserved.

SERVINGS Makes 4 to 5 dozen cookies

INGREDIENTS
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup nuts, chopped

PREPARATION
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or cover with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Cream the butter with the brown sugar until light in color, about 4 minutes. Beat in the egg until well incorporated. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and blend well. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, and nuts.

3. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Source: The Daily Green

15 May 2008

game on

Julie challenged me to a game of tag and I LOVE games. . . so here goes:

I am: joyfully tired
I know: now what I didn't know at 21
I want: what I can't have
I wish: to live on a lake someday
I hate: hate
I miss: time. It is hard to come by with 2 kids.
I fear: too much
I feel: blessed
I hear: my top rated playlist on my iPod
I smell: coffee
I crave: junk food all the time
I search: for meaning
I regret: not going to grad school
I love: therefore I am
I ache: for our babies I never got to hold
I care: about the environment
I always: have a pile of laundry on my bedroom floor
I am not: good at cooking. I mean, not good at all.
I believe: that God does have a plan
I dance: whenever I can. . . but it isn't pretty
I sing: only to my kids when no one else can hear me
I cry: easily
I fight: because there is so much good to fight for
I write: rarely
I win: when I can
I lose: my cell phone daily
I never: say never?
I confuse: the days of the week
I am scared: of flying
I need: life to slow down
I am happy about: today. Today is a good day.
I hope: for each and everyone peace, love and happiness

Tag. . . you're it Kate.

14 May 2008

9 months and some change

We had Annika's 9 month visit today with her DR and as usual we are almost a month late as she will be 10 months in 3 days (Yikes!). The best part of the appointment is getting the "stats". . . she weighs 17lbs6oz (15%) and is 29" long (82%). No shots this time which was nice, but we did a small blood test which required a small prick on her finger. . . but Annika let me (and the entire clinic) know she wasn't happy about it.

The DR thinks she is doing great. . . and I couldn't agree more.

12 May 2008

a mother's happy day

My Mother's Day celebration started last Thursday with a present from Bergen that he made at preschool. It was supposed to be something for me to open *on* Mother's Day, but he couldn't even wait for the car ride home and had me open his gift sitting in the hallway outside his classroom. It is a pot with a drawing he did inside. He is so proud. . . and so am I!




















The celebration continued up in D-Town for a busy, fun-filled weekend up north. In only a matter of about 30 hours, Bergen got to feed the ducks, watch a deer that has been frequenting Nana and Papa's back yard, make a visit to Papa's office, see the Aerial Lift Bridge in action, help Papa BBQ. . . He was a BUSY boy (who took a very long nap today to catch up!).
































We had a great visit with Great Grandma and Grandpa Birk on Saturday. . . Annika was mesmerized by their dog Birkie while Grandma and Grandpa were mesmerized at how fast the kids are growing!












On Mother's Day we had about 16 people over for brunch to the Hus House. It was wonderful to see everyone . . . especially those that are "snow birds" and are back for the summer.
























































My wonderful day ended on a loud note with Annika screaming at the top of her lungs on our drive home. Now we know that she will not sleep in her car seat so when we travel we will go during her awake times instead of when she should be sleeping (which tends to be the more logical times for families to travel). At any rate, I ended the day squished. . . and I mean SQUISHED. . . between the two car seats in the back seat. And even though my legs were feeling numb and my ears were going deaf, there is no place I would rather be.

09 May 2008

our sweet baby girl


i see the signs



Signs are surrounding us. . . road work ahead. We received numerous warning notices this winter from City Hall about road construction that will occur this summer in front of our house. These notices made a quick entrance into our garbage without much thought. However, when I started to see the trucks and signs this past week I got a heavy feeling in my stomach. While I think it will be fun for Bergen to have front row seats to watch heavy duty trucks in action, I have a feeling we are in store for a very looooong summer of dirt, dust and detours.

my two left feet

My mom and I went to the Mom of Multiples Extravaganza Sale a few weeks ago and I scored these super cute pink stripe shoes for only 75-cents. I couldn't believe it. Such cute shoes for only 3 quarters? I thought it was too good to be true! I couldn't wait for Annika to wear them and when I went to put them on her yesterday I discovered that they were two left shoes.

Ahhhh, a great deal for someone with two left feet. For me? A deal too good to be true.


05 May 2008

bpa-free(dom)

In light of all the recent information about bpa, I decided to get rid of all of our bottles and was planning to sell them in our garage sale later this month. We had a ton of Avent bottles that Bergen used as a baby and since Annika has never taken a bottle, we don't need any right now. So I had them all priced and ready to go. . . until a friend told me that Babies 'r Us is buying back ALL bottles with bpa in return for an in-store credit. I just took all of our Avent bottles to our local store and they gave me FULL PRICE towards an in-store credit! Yup, full price on bottles that were 3 years old!! Now we have a nice credit to put towards things we need. . . like bpa-free sippy cups that we can use with both kids.

The word on the street is that not all stores are doing this - it is at the Managers discretion if they are going to participate or not. So, if you have any bottles that you would like to get rid of, give your local Babies R Us a call to see if they will take yours back and you too can be feeling bpa-freedom and have a nice in-store credit to boot!

ladies and gentlemen,

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Annika didn't make it through the night to give us two in a row, but that is okay!! She was up at 4:30am as opposed to her usual 2:30am. . . so in my mind we *are* making progress. And truth be told, I really don't mind getting up once (key word being ONCE) a night with my little princess. I know it won't last forever and someday I will miss this time with her . . . just the two of us awake in an otherwise quiet house when I can soak up all her goodness and shower her with love.

04 May 2008

9 months, 2 weeks, and 2 days

For Annika to sleep through the night for the very first time.

02 May 2008

the bachelor pad

monday night madness


Jenna, Bergen, and Trace
(missing from photo Max)

This spring Bergen had indoor soccer on Monday nights with three of his friends. Lars always took him because it conflicted with Annika's bed time (she would usually be asleep by the time they got home) so for the last soccer practice Annika and I wanted to join them. I have to say it was quite a treat to watch the madness unfold in the gym - nothing like trying to get a bunch of 3 or 4-year-olds to to do warm up exercises and practice dribbling the ball. The best part is the scrimmage they play at the end. The kids just have no clue what is going on and basically chase each other around while giggling. . .





































Afterwards Bergen got a special treat from Culvers. . . chocolate ice cream with M&Ms on top. His favorite!
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