Tag Archives: Emma

Emma Grace: 33 Months

19 Jan

Emma was 2 3/4 years back on January 7. Her 3rd birthday is going to be here before we know it!

20151028_151547 (Large)

That’s a classic Emma face. {her school picture this year}

Here’s what Emma has been up to the last 3 months (Oct/Nov/Dec):

* Corn mazes — We went to two last fall (one local and one in KY) and she enjoyed both. But at the local one, she walked into the corn (off the path) and wouldn’t come out, and at the one in KY, she went into the corn maze by herself so that we couldn’t find her for 10 minutes. Worst 10 minutes of my life.

* Leaves — Emma loved playing in the leaves this fall! She liked laying on a big pile with a leaf “pillow” and being covered with a leaf “blanket”. She also thought it was a hoot to pick up piles of leaves in our hands, count to three and throw them in the air to rain on us.

2016-01-19_11.20.28

* iPad and movies — Emma LOVES watching shows on her iPad and has figured out how to use it all by herself. Her favorite shows are Sofia the First and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Her favorite movies are Monsters Inc, Frozen and Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue.

20151126_113830 (Large)

Asleep with gum in her mouth and her iPad playing Frozen

* Dancing — She enjoys a good dance party and at her uncle Matthew’s wedding, she tore up the dance floor. She was pretty darn adorable twirling around in her little dress. (And I do mean little. Apparently, in the stressfulness of getting both girls and myself ready all by my lonesome, I accidentally put the 12-month size on Emma and the 24-month size on Annabelle. I noticed Emma’s dress was really short and a little tight but I just thought she had either grown faster than anticipated or I hadn’t thought to look at the length when I tried the dress on her. Similarly, when I put Annabelle’s dress on her, I thought I should’ve ordered the 9-month size since the dress seemed really big. D’oh!)20151015_104828 (Large)20160101_093156 (Large)

* PINK — This girl is still obsessed with pink everything. “Pink pony” (tail), “Pink poopy”, “Pink snowmobile”, “Pink truck”, “Pink daycare”, “Pink ice cream” are just a few of the endless list of things she tries to request in pink. For her birthday, we are going to throw her (and Annabelle) a “pink party” — everything will be pink. I think Emma will love it!

20151022_205233 (Large)

* Dresses — Emma loves wearing dresses, which is funny because last summer, she didn’t want anything to do with them. She has gotten more use out of her summer dresses from last year during the fall and winter than she did then! Unfortunately I didn’t know this until after I bought her fall/winter clothes, so most of those have only been worn a couple times so far. Kids.20151026_134729 (Large)

* Crafts — Emma has really gotten into playdough, painting, chalk, drawing, glueing, glitter, etc. She got an art easel for Christmas from my parents and has loved it. She also loves trying to cut with scissors but hasn’t completely mastered that yet.20151227_173712 (Large)20151026_103056 (Large)

* Singing songs with actions — They sing songs at daycare and Emma has started singing them on her own. She knows about every third word but gets the right melody! And when we sing the songs, she’ll join it with the words she knows (she wouldn’t do that before, so it’s exciting to see progress!). Her favorite songs are Slippery Fish, The Freeze, Sticky Bubble Gum, and Fire Truck.

* Blankets — Emma now has 4 blankets on her bed (yet Travis has to go in every night before going to bed to cover her while she’s sleeping because she kicks them all off). She got a Frozen blanket for Christmas from Travis’ parents and she loves it. It has replaced her favorite blankie.

* Sleeping in places besides her bed — She has slept in bed with me on vacation since Annabelle was born (which she still enjoys), but now she also likes sleeping on the floor next to her bed, in the Frozen castle she got from Auntie Cari, or in her bedroom closet. She’ll even close the closet door! “Crazy Crinks,” we often call her. (Crinks was shortened from Crinkleberry. I don’t know how Travis comes up with some of the nicknames he uses.)20151015_111222 (Large)

* Girly stuff — Getting her nails painted, wearing stick-on earrings (we’re planning to get her ears pierced for real as part of her 3rd birthday present), and (sometimes) having me put her hair up with barrettes and pink ponytail holders

2016-01-19_11.14.57

* Playing outside — Emma has been loving snow this year. Last year, she wasn’t sure what to do with snow and just stood in place, but this year, she has helped us build snowmen, make snow angels, and “eat” snow and ice (the clean stuff!).

20151217_105136 (Large)20151202_113152 (Large)

* Baby sister Annabelle — Emma still loves having a baby sister, giving her lots of hugs and kisses, and bringing her toys to play with (if Emma wants a toy that Annabelle has, she’ll usually bring Annabelle another toy and grab the toy she wants. It works at this age, and it’s cute that she’s at least that considerate.)IMG_20160116_08402620151031_194449 (Large)20151116_104842 (Large)

* Sweets — I don’t know any kid who doesn’t like sweets, and Emma is no exception! Her favorite candies are suckers and candy canes. She loves chewing gum, and has lately developed a love for “strawberry cake” (angel food with strawberries and cool whip). 20160107_111741 (Large)

* Food — Emma’s favorite foods and drinks the past 3 months have been: mandarin oranges, apple sauce, yogurt, string cheese, baby’s purees and puffs, cereal, chocolate milk, peach tea, peanut butter, fruit snacks and animal crackers. Those are the things she requests the most often. But she also eats most vegetables (her favorites are broccoli and almost any kind of bean), noodles, deli turkey, quesadillas and toast. She eats pretty well for breakfast, lunch and snacks, but dinner has become quite the battle. She won’t eat unless she is sitting on one of our laps and we spoon feed her. I am hoping this is just a phase. 20151205_124030 (Large)

And that’s Emma at 33 months!

2015 Recap

7 Jan

Last January, I said that I had two specific goals:

  1. Give birth.
  2. Start and finish the Northwoods Triathlon on August 8.

Check and check.

The other, less specific goals I mentioned (and an update):

  • Don’t let newborn sleep deprivation turn me into a raging b!t@h. (Trust God to provide sleep.) I have dealt with this much better!
  • Pray for and see my mom be healed. Still praying!
  • Spend more time playing with Emma instead of getting stuff done. Still struggle with this. Some days are better than others.
  • Support my husband more sacrificially and selflessly. Uff da. This is an area where I need to grow but I have had some victories this year!
  • Read more books and watch less TV. Currently sucked into Gilmore Girls, but I’ll be done with the last season soon and then I’m cutting myself off!
  • Go on bike rides in the summer. I biked during triathlon training, but that was it. We plan to get a bike trailer this summer and go on family rides!
  • Be more intentional about inviting people over, or getting together. I get together with friends for play dates on a regular basis, but we still would like to have families over for dinner more often.
  • Finish my book and either self-publish, or seek publication! Book is nowhere near finished. It is SO hard to find the time and energy!

Goals aside, this past year was challenging because of Travis’ working so much and my mom’s health situation. But it was also filled with lots of fun memories. I went through my phone and here’s a smattering of the Best of 2015.

2016-01-05_12.47.47(From top to bottom, left to right) 1) Pregnant! Due April 8. 2) Fun painting with Emma 3) It’s a girl! Annabelle was born on March 27. 4) Big sister + little sister. 5) New swingset from Nana Beth and Papa Al! 6) Spring’s in bloom! 7) Nana Sheri & Annabelle — we spent several weeks down in Rochester during the summer when Travis was traveling for work. 8) Emma at my parents’ cabin throwing rocks into the lake off the dock. 9) Kriswold family reunion at our place.

2016-01-05_12.52.271) Emma feeding a deer at Paul Bunyan Animal Land. We also went to the Safari North and Pine Grove Zoos. 2) Emma “painting” with yogurt all over the deck and sliding glass door. What a mess! 3) Annabelle’s faux hawk in full force! 4) At the beach, boy! 5) Emma holding baby on her lap. 6) We re-landscaped the planter in our driveway. 6) Lots of chalk drawing happened this summer. Other daily outdoor activities were playing outside on the dock by the river, picking wild raspberries on our property, pushing Emma down a small hill in her wagon or Little Tikes truck, and walking or riding her trike down the driveway to get the mail. 7) Sweet baby. Love this picture of her. 8) Emma taking her baby for a walk with no pants on.2016-01-05_12.56.301) Aftermath of the devastating storm in July. Picture taken just north of us a few miles. 2) I took Emma and baby to the St. Mathias corn maze by myself. One word: stressful. 3) During our trip to Evansville, we went to another corn maze / pumpkin patch. Almost lost Emma in a minion-shaped corn field. 4) Beautiful fall colors right in our yard! 5) Baby feet are the cutest. 6) Fall fun in the leaves! 7) Selfie of me and baby on our dock, enjoying the fall colors on the river. 8) One of Emma’s crazy outfits. 9) Dressed up as a fairy, 80s girl and Snow White at Pillager Fall Fest.2016-01-05_12.59.181) Annabelle sitting up in the cart for the first time! 2) Emma wearing stick-on earrings and the cutest top knot ever. 3) Sister love at Costco. 4) Family trip to Cabela’s in Rogers to buy daddy a muzzleloader. 5) Baby’s first Thanksgiving! Too bad it was followed by the stomach flu. 6) Diana’s bridal shower in Grand Rapids. 7) Snowman! 8) Annabelle’s first Christmas. 9) Travis’ and my trip to Denver for his work Christmas party.

Other things worth mentioning:

* Memorial Day was spent up at Travis’ parents’ cabin on Lake Namakan. The Fourth of July and Labor Day were both spent down at my parents’ cabin in Pine City. For the Fourth, Al, Beth, Matthew, Diana and Chris joined us too. Thanksgiving was spent up in Nevis with Trav’s family and Christmas was down in Rochester with my family.

* The girls and I played at the beach well over 2 dozen times, including several evening trips with daddy or by ourselves while daddy had Bible study. Annabelle went swimming a handful of times and almost always fell asleep in her carseat at the beach after I changed her into dry clothes.

* Emma loves dancing so we had many a dance party in the basement (many of them were with daddy while mommy was at Bible study).

* Other fun things we did (not caught on camera) were go to the Mall of America, Children’s Museum, Crosby Project Play, Family Fun Center waterpark in Nisswa and Timberlake Lodge waterpark in Grand Rapids.

The more specific things for each girl are captured in their monthly or quarterly updates (coming soon!). These are just the big picture things that I want to remember later.

Even though I mentioned that I’m not making any resolutions or goals this year specifically, I still am praying for and focusing on all the things I had mentioned last year, plus one other main thing: managing my time wisely. I’m going to do a separate post about that soon.

So that’s it for 2015!

Evansville Trip, Fall 2015

28 Nov

My oldest brother, Jeremy, and sister-in-law, Jen, live down in Evansville, Indiana. My (and Travis’) last visit to their house had been when my nephew Jensen was a couple months old — he’ll be 4 in January. So we were due for a visit.

Timing-wise, it worked out best for me and the girls to go while Travis was going to be elk hunting in Colorado during October — which obviously meant he wouldn’t be joining us this time. I had a hard time deciding whether we should fly or drive. Flying sounded challenging because I’d be on my own with two kids. Never mind Emma’s craziness or Annabelle’s dependence — the sheer logistics of getting all our crap into the airport by myself were mind-boggling.

But the thought of driving 13+ hours with Emma was equally intimidating. And I had a $100 credit for Southwest, and tickets were very reasonable. So in the end, I decided to fly. We would fly from Minneapolis/St. Paul to St. Louis, where my parents would pick us up and drive us the last 3 hours.

After much thinking and strategizing, I pared our stuff down to a manageable amount: I had our jogging stroller with Annabelle’s carseat (and Annabelle), a single giant rolling duffel bag with all of our stuff, and one larger carry-on bag that contained toys/markers/iPad/snacks for entertaining the kids during the flight, as well as my small purse that contained only the essentials. For Emma’s carseat (that we would need once we got to STL), we ended up buying Annabelle’s convertible carseat early and shipping it to my parents’ house, so they brought that with them in their car (they drove the whole way).

Thursday morning, the girls and I left the house right on time. My plan was to park at an off-site airport lot so that the shuttle would pick me up at my car and drop me off right at the door. Well, right as we were driving through St. Cloud (after we had been on the road about an hour with 1.5 hours more to go), Emma puked up the copious amounts of applesauce she had just ingested. I pulled over at a gas station (soooo happy we were right by one!) and spent about 30 minutes wiping off her carseat, changing her clothes, and rinsing the dirty ones.

I didn’t feel like we had enough time for the off-site parking anymore so I decided to just park at the airport. It would mean more walking but less time waiting. We made it to the airport without further incident and got our stuff unloaded how I had planned. As we were walking through the parking garage trying to find the entrance/elevator, Emma got freaked out by all the loud noises so I pulled over and ended up putting Annabelle in the Ergobaby, Emma in the stroller and carrying the carseat in the same hand I was using to push the stroller (the other one was pulling our duffel). It was tricky to say the least.

Luckily, getting our bags checked and going through security were both a breeze. We had plenty of time so while we waited for boarding to begin, we played at the kids play area they have in MSP Terminal 2.
image
The flight went well. Emma got a window seat and I sat in the middle with Annabelle. Emma started getting a little impatient on the jet way before we took off because she had to be sitting down and buckled in but I turned an iPad movie on and that solved that. It was tricky nursing Annabelle on the plane because the seats are so cramped and she really dislikes the nursing cover but we made do.

When we got to St. Louis, my mom met us at baggage claim to help with all our stuff. We got everything and everyone loaded up and hit the road after a quick lunch at Culver’s. Both girls napped almost the whole way to Evansville.

That night, we got settled in at J&J’s house, ate dinner and hung out. It was really warm that day — probably mid-70s — so our bedroom upstairs was hot that first night. Thankfully it cooled down for the rest of our trip and then it was very pleasant. Emma alternated between sleeping on the air mattress with me and in Jensen’s toddler bed.

The next day (Friday), we checked out the Evansville Fall Festival (what we Midwesterners call a fair). Emma went on the several rides, including the carousel, swings and train (Jensen was not interested one bit!).
image
image
Jeremy and I went on a crazy ride called Freak Out. It didn’t look that bad from the ground but holy cow, it was crazy. I’m not a fan of roller-coasters so my mom was surprised that I was actually willing to go… she was right. I screamed so loud that my throat hurt the next day.
image
We also tried a bunch of different foods at the Festival, including a deep-fried Monte Cristo, kraut balls, Creamsicle float, and deep-fried pickles. My stomach and esophagus hated me later.
image
Saturday, we stopped by Ruby Moon winery on our way to Cates Farm in Henderson, KY. The winery had some of the best wine I’ve ever had. My favorite was a white called Stellar White. I definitely need to get some more sometime.

Cates Farm had a little of everything. They had a pumpkin patch, sandbox full of corn kernels, rubber ducky racing, slides, bouncy house, hay rides and a corn maze. We spent our first hour or 2 doing all the kid activities. Emma LOVED this big slide they had, which was just a 50-foot-long black, plastic culvert pipe. We went down it 5-6 times. She also loved the duck racing because it involved water.
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
She did not love the bouncy house though. She wanted to jump in it but the two times she tried, she got scared by the bigger kids and had a meltdown so I had to go in and get her out.

The only bad moment of the day was when we couldn’t find Emma for about 10 minutes. We looked everywhere we had been in the kid area… she wasn’t anywhere. It felt very surreal. We started asking employees and other patrons if they had seen her; no one had. FINALLY, we found her. Apparently, she had wandered into the corn maze alone. A wonderful lady had seen her in there and heard me calling for her, and brought her back out. Thank the Lord!

After we walked through the minion-shaped corn maze (watching Emma like a hawk), went on a hay ride, and picked out our pumpkins, we called it a day.
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
On Sunday, we went to J&J’s church and then just spent the afternoon at their house. Jensen and Emma painted their pumpkins and spent the rest of their time doing what they had been doing the whole trip: chasing each other around, wrestling, screaming, jumping off couch cushions, playing with toys. They had a great time together.
image
Monday, we packed up, ate a quick breakfast and hit the road. When we got to St. Louis, we ate lunch at a hole-in-the-wall BBQ place called Mark & Wanda’s. It had great service, great prices and great food. We’ll definitely remember that place for the next time!

The flight home went well. My mom helped me get our stuff into the airport and stood with me in the security line until I got to the TSA person. We had just enough time after getting through security to buy Emma some candy (she chose Swedish Fish), change diapers and go to the bathroom, get our stroller tagged for gate-checking, and fill up my water bottle. Then it was time to board!

When we got on the plane, I was worried that I was going to have to ask someone to move because only middle seats where left. But there were two rows on one side in the back that had a middle and aisle seat open so we sat in the very last row. Again, both girls did well and it was definitely easier to nurse Annabelle sitting in an aisle seat and not the middle.

It took us over an hour to leave the airport after we landed. First, I thought I should try to nurse Annabelle a little more so she didn’t get hungry on the way home. So we stopped at the kids play area for a bit and met another little girl named Annabelle.

Then we made our way down to baggage claim but we had taken so long, they had already moved our bags back to their offices. We walked over there, found our bag and Annabelle’s carseat, and then Emma had to poop. So we stood around for 10 minutes waiting for her and then changing her diaper.

We were finally on our way to the car except then we took the wrong elevator, so we went up, got out, got back in, went down, walked to the correct elevator, got back in, went up and got out. All that while pushing a stroller, pulling a duffel and wrangling a toddler. Ugh.

Emma then discovered moving sidewalks, which she thought were pretty fun. So we rode it a couple more times than necessary (that part of the airport was dead) just for fun.

Then came the fun of finding the car. In the midst of the chaos of getting to and into the airport, I forgot to take specific note of where I parked. I knew the general area but we had to walk around a bit before finding the car. Emma was walking and wearing her backpack leash, and she kept whining “Emma’s car. Emma’s car.” I was relieved when we finally got loaded up!

Both girls slept the whole way home and it didn’t mess with their bedtimes too much either. So all in all, it was a very successful, enjoyable (albeit exhausting) trip!

Emma Grace: 30 Months

7 Oct

Emma is officially 2 1/2 years old today! She won’t go back to the doc until she’s 3 so these are just a few rough estimates by me, but she’s now 27 pounds and 3′ tall. This BabyCenter percentile calculator puts her in the 10-20th percentile for weight and 25-50th percentile for height.

20150827_134741

Fun with chalk

Here’s what Emma has been into the past 3 months (July, August, September):

* Peach tea — She’s obsessed. One day, we had run out of peach tea. While we were playing outside, she wanted to get in the car and be buckled in her carseat. As I’m doing it (hey, she’s asked for weirder things), she says “Peach tea buy.” I laughed, and we went to the store and bought some more. Who was I to turn down that determination?

11816256_983667251663597_1990904476285592359_o

Having a living room picnic on a rainy day

* Beach — Even though it is no longer beach-going weather, Emma still asks to go on a regular basis. We went to the beach quite a bit this summer. Probably at least once a week. At the end of summer, we started going in the evening. I loved it because it was still warm but we didn’t need sunscreen, didn’t need to worry about baby getting burned, didn’t need to pack food and we usually had the place to ourselves.

20150828_174006 20150730_120338

* Being outside — In addition to the beach, Emma’s favorite things to do outside have been: gather acorns and leaves to throw in the river, ride her truck/trike/bike in the driveway and down the hill in our front yard, play at a playground or swing set, play with water and/or the hose, and go down to the dock and “poke the water” with a stick (there’s lots of algae and weeds to entertain her).

* Taking care of her baby — Emma has started wanting to take her baby doll with her everywhere. She wants baby to swing, go in the stroller, sit in the Bumbo, come in the car, and she’s even asked me to “tick Baby” at night (by that she means rubbing her foot or back). She also likes taking care of Annabelle, but since she is real, I obviously limit what she can do with Annabelle.

IMG_20151002_182506 20150909_170459

* PINK everything — Emma is so obsessed with pink that she is adamant about getting or using the pink version of anything — even if it’s just a CD of 70s music she wouldn’t like. She even suggested that instead of replacing our roof with gray shingles, we should use pink shingles. She’s also started using pink to describe things that have no color, like the booms we can hear from artillery hitting the ground on the military base near our house (“pink booms”) or the beach (“pink beach”). What a silly girl.

20150830_102506 20150813_092224

* Watching TV — Right around 27 months, Emma started getting interested in watching movies and shows on TV, and now she is obsessed. I have to admit that she watches quite a bit now because it’s just so easy to turn a show on while I’m nursing Annabelle and/or putting her down for a nap (and other times, I just don’t feel like fighting Emma over it). But she only sits down for about 20 minutes before running off to do something else, then comes back to watch for a bit, then runs off. She also stands right in front of the TV and jumps up and down during her favorite parts. Emma’s favorite movies/shows so far have been: Ratatouille, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (1&2), Despicable Me 2, Minion mini movies (specifically Banana, Puppy and Training Wheels), Gnomeo and Juliet, Super Why, Horton Hears a Who, Finding Nemo, and Flower Power and Farm Feet from a Little People DVD we got with a toy.

20150902_205954

* Playing games on my smartphone or the iPad — Emma’s favorite games are painting, puzzles, counting, fish in a koi pond, and tea party. I think this could end up being our incentive for potty training…

Speaking of which, no, I have not potty trained her yet. I think about it often, but I am just dreading the time commitment and hassle of it. I’m thinking we might wait until the winter when we’re hunkered down inside and have nothing else to do…

20150907_160243

We’ve had success on the toddler bed front though! For the first 2-2.5 months that Emma was in a toddler bed, we laid with her on her bed until she fell asleep — which sometimes took 1.5 hours! It was not sustainable. Not only were we losing precious “me” and “our” time, we almost always emerged from her room frustrated that it took so long, and too tired to do anything but stumble to bed ourselves.

Finally, about a month ago, I decided enough was enough, so at bedtime, I explained to Emma that we wouldn’t be staying in her room until she fell asleep anymore, that she needed to be a big girl and go to sleep on her own again. Then I went through Emma’s usual nighttime routine of put on pajamas, drink peach tea, watch moons, brush teeth and rub her back/arms/feet/legs (what she calls “tick”). Then when we got to the point where I’d just lay there until she fell asleep, I explained to her again that I wasn’t going to stay until she fell asleep, but that I’d be right on the other side of the door, and would leave it cracked. I gave her extra kisses and snuggles and then went out of the room, leaving the door cracked.

The first few nights and naps, I sat in the hallway outside her room, watching her on the video monitor until she fell asleep. She did get out of her bed a few times, but I just went back in her room and told her that she needed to get back in bed. I kissed and hugged her again, and left the room. That was it. We really haven’t had any problems since. Sure, there are nights when she rolls around in bed for an hour, putting her feet on the wall, and throwing stuff on the floor and then reaching for it with her body half off the bed (really testing the limits). But we are so happy to have “our time” back!

IMG_20150728_204305 20150926_113148 20150926_113145

Now that it’s fall, we’re back into our rhythm of MOPS on 1-2 Mondays per month, daycare on Tuesdays, ECFE and speech appointment on Thursdays, with Wednesdays and Fridays open for play dates, errands or chilling at home. It’s a good mix for us!

20150731_100310 20150731_100406 2015-10-06_13.24.08 20150826_122036

And that’s Emma at 2.5 years!

Annabelle’s Newborn and Emma’s 2-Year Pro Photos

19 Aug

Way back when Annabelle was 7 weeks old, we had professional photos taken of her and our family (since Emma was just past 2 years old too). It was kind of chaotic and took us meeting 2 different times, me nursing Annabelle several times mid-session to calm her down, and Emma holding on to a plastic baseball she had found in the photographer’s car (random) in our family photos to stay happy. But all you need is a split-second of everyone looking happy!

Here was the result:10475445_980834938594907_3082657565790053818_o 10914950_980828621928872_1653972813925739179_o 11145270_980828665262201_297409411428702661_o 11265574_980828611928873_5341966412947857647_o Kluthe (13 of 1) (Large) Kluthe (22 of 1) (Large) Kluthe (27 of 1) (Large) Kluthe (28 of 1) (Large)

Kluthe (38 of 1) (Large) Kluthe (41 of 1) (Large) Kluthe (50 of 1) (Large) Kluthe (56 of 1) (Large) Kluthe (68 of 1)-2 (Large) Kluthe (73 of 1) (Large)In the past, we used our friend Jen Jacobs from Kitestrings Photography for our photos. But since she’s all the way down in Minneapolis, we decided to try out a local recommendation, Sarah Larson Photography. Sarah was great and worked well with Emma and Annabelle. She also has a lot of props, backgrounds and lighting options. My only frustration was that instead of getting rights to all the photos like we did with Jen, we had to either buy prints from her, and or buy the rights to the digital files. So we ended up buying the rights to 10 photos, and ordering a few more prints of the ones we liked, but not enough to buy the file for. It ended up working out though and I love how the photos turned out!

An Impromptu Week in Nevis

3 Aug

Since the bad storm in the Brainerd area caused us to lose power for several days, we hightailed it up to Nevis to stay with Travis’ parents until our power came back on, which it did on Wednesday afternoon (after being out since Sunday night). Regardless, we decided to just stay put until Friday night. Travis’ parents’ were watching Emma for us that following weekend so instead of driving down to our house just to drive back up, we stayed put.

20150713_074537 20150713_074540

Travis, of course, had to work while we were up there. But Emma, Annabelle, and I – we just hang out all day, every day. 🙂 I do like those perks of being a stay-at-home mom. On Tuesday (the day after we got up to Nevis), we headed into Park Rapids to buy a few things at Walmart, but otherwise, we just hung out at the house.

Wednesday was my birthday, so to celebrate, I carted the girls and three armfuls of stuff to the beach. Seriously, going to the beach is an ordeal. But hey, I went to the beach last year on my birthday, I went this year – I think it’s going to be my new birthday tradition. I like going to the beach, even if it does take forever and a day to get packed up. There wasn’t anyone else there when we arrived and we had forgotten to bring our beach toys from Brainerd, so Emma was a little bored. Baby and I went in the water too but there’s only so much you can do at the beach… after what seemed like 3 hours but was only 45 minutes, Emma wanted to go swing on the swings at the beach playground. Ok. So I schlepped all our stuff up there. Bless her heart, Annabelle went to sleep in her carseat while I pushed Emma on the swing. It’s just so easy to love that baby.

20150715_121502 20150715_121530

Wednesday night, we went out to dinner at the Iron House in Nevis with Travis’ parents. The restaurant had changed owners since any of us had eaten there and the food was delicious – though the service was a little slow. Emma, poor girl, had a fever and when we got home, we discovered it was 104! We thought about taking her in, but we gave her some Tylenol and her fever went down. By the morning, it was gone. So strange. I’m thinking teething again?

Thursday, Emma was still off so the girls and I just hung out at the house. Emma and I actually watched the majority of Finding Nemo before she got bored and wandered off. (This has proven to no longer just be something she does when she’s sick! She enjoys watching shows now, though her attention span is still about 20 minutes). After dinner, Travis, the girls and I headed back to the Nevis beach so that I could do an open water swim (same beach of the triathlon I’m doing). I feel more confident knowing that the water gets deep enough, fast enough that the seaweed doesn’t touch me! Seriously, that’s the worst part about swimming in open water for me – I have an irrational phobia of seaweed.

That night, Emma took forever to go to sleep. She asked for anything and everything (milk, water, juice, yogurt, strawberries) to get out of going to bed. And silly me, I believed that she might actually want something to eat or drink. She did end up drinking a few juice boxes and eating some strawberries in bed – after over an hour of trips downstairs to the kitchen for food and drink. By the time we went to bed for good, I had had it. That’s when it’s nice to have reinforcements in the form of a spouse.

Friday, the girls and I headed up to Bemidji to go to the zoo (Paul Bunyan Animal Land) and have lunch with Travis’ sister, Carolyn. It was really fun – we fed deer and kangaroos from our hands, gave the monkeys bananas through holes in their cages, and saw a lion, pot-bellied pigs, camels, rabbits and tortoises.

20150717_105825 20150717_105937 20150717_110158 20150717_110442 20150717_112123 20150717_112202 20150717_114642

Afterward, we ate lunch with Carolyn at Green Mill. Emma took a nap on the drive up and drive back, so when we got back to the house, she was wide awake.

After work, Travis packed up his stuff and headed back down to Brainerd to make sure everything was good with the house. Meanwhile, I packed up Annabelle’s and my stuff. Once I got the all-clear from Travis, Annabelle and I sneaked out while Emma stayed with Grandma and Grandpa.

20150717_184240

While leads me to the weekend that Travis and I had without Emma… coming soon in another blog post.

Kriswold Family Reunion 2015

2 Aug

The weekend after the Fourth of July, we hosted my annual family reunion at our house in Brainerd. The reunions started out as my mom’s side of the family but my dad’s only brother Noel and his wife Pat have attended several years too. The more, the merrier!

My mom and dad, brother Jeremy, sister-in-law Jen, and nephews Jensen and Jackson all came up on Wednesday night. Besides getting food and tables ready for the day of the reunion (Saturday), we went to the beach both Thursday and Friday, played with the kids outside, watched Frozen at least a half dozen times, and of course, ate lots of food.

11754695_10102176482089652_8704636943997148234_o 11722438_10102176483017792_8647893803242054627_o 11700820_10102176482678472_1708864970602841707_o 11717508_10102176484619582_1259868130360249896_o

Jen and Jackson

11145036_10102176482249332_3376008099578079540_o

Jensen
11238267_10102176483102622_1461717142146569691_o

wpid-fb_img_1438253924863.jpg

Friday night, Noel and Pat, my uncle Roger and aunt Sharyn, and my uncle Kim came over for pizza. We ate outside on our deck and patio. It was a beautiful evening and the best part – no mosquitoes! We had our lawn sprayed by the Mosquito Squad and it was very effective. Definitely worth $150 in my opinion! My brother Chris and sis-in-law Meg showed up after dinner.

11057644_10102176484729362_9099520116818159271_o

Annabelle and Jackson “playing” together11016961_10102176484544732_5167785230461321536_o

11016819_10102176482184462_7112476780432306023_o

Saturday was the official day of the reunion. We were slightly worried about rain, or about it being too hot (previous forecasts had called for 85 and sunny) but it ended up being low 80s and mostly overcast – perfect weather for a reunion!

This year’s theme was Disney. I had really wanted to find a Belle (Beauty & the Beast) costume for Annabelle but just couldn’t find one in her size. So she ended up being Snow White.

11223984_852958014759071_5223546584184055322_o

Emma was Minnie Mouse – I found her dress for $0.25 at a garage sale, and princess shoes and Minnie ears at Walmart (that she wore for about 1 minute).

11731582_852957684759104_2860013623488812387_o

I had really wanted to dress up as a princess with a fun dress and tiara, but since I’m nursing, a dress wasn’t very practical. I already had a skirt and tank that would work well for Ariel (The Little Mermaid) so I decided to do that. I bought a purple bikini top from Walmart and a red wig from Walmart.com.

I tried my hardest to convince Travis to dress up as Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid – I even bought him a white polo shirt, blue shorts and a red sash from Walmart. But he refused. He said the costume made him feel like a Walmart hobo. So what did he do instead?

11722140_852955964759276_2511843126971487029_o

If you guessed the hunter from Bambi, you were correct.

905772_852957611425778_4435125192329795817_o

11411804_852957714759101_6797774246252665376_o 11228936_852957334759139_8453608010919131880_o

Tinkerbelle, Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Mr. Smee11053615_852957471425792_358843996009049173_o

The Jedi (apparently Star Wars was bought by Disney?)11709926_852956574759215_5461904379036690660_o

A few of us kept our costumes on for most of the day but most people put theirs on long enough for pictures, and then took most or at least part of them off. I wore my wig and bikini top until after dinner and then ditched them. The wig wasn’t itchy at all, and surprisingly not too hot, but that darn long hair was always in the way with holding and nursing Annabelle!

Other people that showed up for the day of the reunion were my aunt Jayme, cousin Jody, second cousin Lacey and her son Parker, uncle Don and aunt Marilyn, and cousin Tim and his daughter Charlotte. All in all, we had about 25 people. It was a troop!

11727829_852970491424490_410986021_o

Snow White & the Five Dwarfs, plus Malificent11722617_852958474759025_3315473040157688123_o 11700623_852957248092481_4235108760304224122_o

We ate a giant brunch of food around noon, and then dinner was around 5:30 I think. Honestly, the day was one big blur – between keeping track of kiddos, nursing, people coming and going, helping in the kitchen a bit, and catching up with relatives I hadn’t seen in years, it was kind of chaotic. Fun, but crazy.

20150711_180725 20150711_180722 11741125_852958508092355_1889269533072790254_o 11717445_852958124759060_736496249945315213_o 11267884_852959201425619_7540627825193291741_o

1501109_852958708092335_8406422433065910082_o 11411884_852958731425666_935661028673413561_o 10866254_852959011425638_7996432045694406046_o

20150709_200108

Sunday, my immediate family (minus Chris and Meg who had left Saturday night because Meg had to work), Travis, our girls and I all made it to church. Amazingly, we weren’t even that late. It was a Christmas miracle!

After church, we had our relatives who were still in town over for lunch. My dad’s cousin Brian and his wife Dianne who live in Brainerd came over too with their daughter. We had been talking about seeing them ever since we moved to the area, so it was nice to see them. I didn’t get to chat much between taking care of kids though – such is the life of a nursing mom!

While the family was there for lunch, we celebrated my mom’s and my birthdays, which were on July 13 and July 15 respectively. She turned 62 and I turned 32. Everything that has happened this past year with my mom’s health makes us thankful for one more year of being alive, and being together.

20150709_193423

(This was earlier in the week — we celebrated more than once — but you get the idea.)

Sunday evening, Jeremy and Jen headed back out on the road with their boys. They made a short pit stop at my parents’ house in Rochester and then continued on their way to southern Indiana – all in all, a 13.5-hour jaunt! They’re brave souls for making the trek with two little ones and two wiener dogs.

After everyone, except my parents and Noel and Pat, had pulled up stakes and left town, we settled in for some White Collar episodes. We were pooped! But our viewing was interrupted by a crazy storm system that quickly blew in. Travis was watching on the porch and called us to come and look. There was a huge wall of greenish, purple clouds blowing in. The wind picked up so fast that after just a few minutes, we were spooked and decided to head to the basement. About 15 minutes later, we lost power. The trees looked like little rag dolls in the wind. A huge branch fell off a tree in the middle of our yard, and a tree on the side of our yard came crashing down too. I was too freaked out to even watch. Not only is it sad to lose trees, it’s scary to know that one could fall on your house!

The worst of the storm lasted for less than an hour, but we were without power until Wednesday afternoon. That night, we got out all the candles we owned, played music through little speakers connected to my iPod, and the guys went out to survey the damage. We were extremely lucky – a tree fell right next to our shed, but did minimal damage. Another tree next to our house was blown partially over, but not snapped. There are other branches in the middle of our woods that broke off too, but we suffered no structural damage.

Other people were not as lucky. This was one of the worst storms to hit the Brainerd Lakes area in decades. In the woods just 4-5 miles north of us, about half of the trees were either snapped off or completely uprooted. And we’re talking big, 60-year-old trees. One of the resorts right in our area had its entire roof ripped off. It’s just devastating.

When you live in the country, no power means no sewer and no water. So after cleaning up the yard on Monday, my parents headed home and we headed up to Travis’ parents’ house in Nevis until our power came back on.

This post is crazy long already, so I’m going to cover our time in Nevis in a separate post. Coming soon…