I’ve been doing the holiday card thing long enough that I plan far, far ahead for the pictures. Just in case you need to do a retake! Last year’s pictures were not the best, after which I vowed to just do professional shots for this year. Unfortunately with the house, that just isn’t in the budget this year, which meant it was up to me.
A few years ago we hit up the river by downtown Minneapolis and I immediately noticed the gorgeous colors and many photo opportunities. Given that we were doing a staycation for the break, I knew we could get down there when the fall color was prime, but there weren’t a ton of people.
It was chilly on Friday! I waited until after lunch time so it warmed up a bit, then promised the girls hot chocolate after if they cooperated. We got some amazing pictures! This year I have multiple that I like which is a bit novel for mom directed holiday card photo shoots. Now I just need Shutterfly to run a sale on their holiday cards and we’re in business.
Here are a few outtakes! I’ve learned to take the silly face pictures when they request, and I let them pick a few spots to take pictures. We had so many backdrops to choose from. Between the gorgeous fall color, the river, and the downtown skyline, we got some great shots!
Since the corn maze was super fun last year, I really wanted to make sure we got back there again this year. With 75 and sun predicted for Saturday, it seemed like the perfect day to hit it up and it was!
The girls had a birthday party in the afternoon, so we headed out after that. I worried that we wouldn’t have enough time there, but we were there for about two and a half hours and that was enough. We hit the petting zoo, did the corn pits twice, and spent a ton of time in the corn maze. In the corn maze they have markers with letters on them, so you try to work your way from A to Z as you go through the maze. We completely screwed up the first part and found ourself at the back of the maze while still looking for A. Oops! So we slowed way down, took our time, and found as many letters as we could. We probably got 75% of them? And then everyone was hungry and tired and we headed out for some food. We ended the evening with a hay ride and the hay bale maze. And then showers at home, the corn dust was everywhere!
I would like to note that this picture was taken last week when we still had snow on the ground. The snow is all melted now!
My dad and I built this playset five years ago. Last year we started brainstorming ideas on upgrades we could do. If we were going to stay in this house long term the plan was to yank out the rickety swing behind the tree house and double the size of it, really making it nice. But, we are not, and so our plans needed to be scaled back.
At this point, I think the plan is to take the roof off and make it taller so that the girls can stand up in it. They’re both on their knees in this picture, and can only stand in the very center of the platform. We also have a hammock swing that will replace the tire swing.
If the girls get their way, they will also get shingles on the roof, so they can be out there during a rain storm. They also want a door, but that may be something we do with some tent fabric or something similar. They also want “no holes” in it, but I think that’s the cool spring weather talking, because I’m guessing once it’s summer they will want the breeze.
We have a lot of spring projects coming up, but hopefully this one can be done easily in an afternoon. I’m hoping with just a few changes this tree house can be made into a super cool little spot for the girls.
So! We are finally feeling better! Delaney stayed home with me again today. It’s been a bit of a pain having her sick this week, but it is infinitely easier to deal with things now than it was when they were little. I can work from home and get things done, while she colors or plays on the computer beside me.
I even cooked a meal. All week I’ve had zero appetite and have only wanted bland carbohydrates, so it was good to feel like cooking again. We had chicken burgers with grilled pineapple. The girls weren’t thrilled with it, but it worked.
I had a conference call from 5-6, so my brilliant idea was to set up the sprinkler for them. Luckily I didn’t have to speak for the first 30 minutes while they were running through the water and screaming. Still, it felt good to have them out and running around the yard.
First, here are more shots that Laura took of us, this time with her camera. I love them so much! She’s such an amazing photographer, and it was really cool for me to get to watch her in action.
While we were at Duke my camera got passed around. Laura took pictures, Delaney took some, Caden snapped a few, and even Nate took a few in the chapel. It was fun to look through everything when I pulled them onto my computer. Caden was on a full run almost the entire time, so most of my pictures of her are blurry. But Delaney was really thoughtful while we were there. My mom loves flowers, so Delaney wanted to take pictures that Grandma would like to see, which slowed her down a bit.
I’ve noticed that since taking the daily outfit picture, I’ve stopped taking other pictures.
Taking the daily picture is supposed to make me take more pictures! So this weekend when Delaney hopped in the swing I ran to get my camera. ps – favorite pic, right here!
Swing pictures are always fun, but I especially love these. She was super happy, and totally willing to spin and flip and whatever else I asked her to do.
When I looked at them in Lightroom I fell in love with the bright colors. The girls have exactly one red shirt, but man does it brighten up the pictures! Clearly we need to do more bold and less pink.
A trip to Gale Woods Farm has been on my Adventure list for years. I had hoped to get in some pool time this past weekend, but with the cooler weather, we needed a different plan – The Farm! Our friends that live nearby were available as well, so it was perfect timing.
The kids get to help out, as well as explore on Saturday mornings. First up, feed and water the cows! I love that they put the kids to work.
How adorable are these cows? They were very sweet and friendly.
I could have taken pictures all day. It was the perfect setting. Big blue sky, gorgeous green trees on the horizon, and lots of wide open space. It was also the perfect place for four 5-year-olds to run and get dirty.
We watched the cow milking demonstration, and then went into the chicken coops to collect the eggs. I’m pretty sure the volunteer planted the eggs just before we got there, because they kept reappearing. The kids didn’t care though! If you wanted to pet or pick up a chicken, Delaney was the girl to go to. The other kids couldn’t get the hang of it, but she just went up to each chicken and calmly picked them up. Even the volunteer commented “Your daughter has quite the way with chickens.” She’s a chicken whisperer. We washed hands after this.
I don’t have any pictures of the vegetable garden, mostly because I was in complete awe of their plants. It puts my poor garden to shame! Caden and I decided that next year is our year. We just have to figure out how to get rid of the weeds and get the soil better.
They do some week long camps that are supposed to be very good, but you need to be a little older to do them. Before then, we will definitely be back, we all loved this adventure.
Caden LOVES soccer. LOVES it. I’d love to indulge her love, but I’ve searched and searched and can’t find soccer in our town before the age of five which honestly, is fine.
She’s actually quite good at it. Runs and kicks and if Laney kicks it to her, can track it and kick it back in one kick.
Which is just what they did on Saturday. OMG yay for gorgeous November afternoons! It was exactly what we all needed, a little sunshine and some outdoor time where we weren’t whining about how cold it was. The girls kicked back and forth and counted each kick. I do love that universal kids game.
They ran and ran and ran. It was so good for everyone. Even the dog got some good exercise in.
I’m kind of excited for next year and the impending Soccer Mom title. I want to be ready for this, to truly soak up my soccer field time. I need to find a good blanket, and a cooler, and maybe an umbrella? Anything else?
The weekend before Christmas we spend with my dad’s side, the weekend after with my mom’s side. This year we headed up to northern Minnesota to my uncle’s house on the lake. My brother brought his two four wheelers up, Uncle Jeff cleared the snow on the lake so we could skate, and it was on!
Here’s the thing about sledding – you have to climb back up the hill. That’s Hard. Why not just get pulled behind a four wheeler with your cousins?
I wanted to get a picture of my girls with their cousins because the difference between their snow outfits and ours was Awesome. Their cousins have nice coats and matching hats and snowpants and they look like they’re about to go skiing in Colorado. My girls don’t match at all, and I bought their coats on clearance from JCPenney. Next year I’m asking my brother to adopt my two just for the winter season, as long as he puts this one in hot pink.
We had an awesome day. It was cold enough that we weren’t worried about falling through the ice, but not so cold we couldn’t be outside. I don’t always have the best relationship with winter, so it was awesome to have fun with the girls and not just be sucking it up so they could have a sledding memory.
We of course played games, did a craft, ate dinner and then headed outside for sparklers.
We rang in the new year about 9pm, then headed back to the hotel where the girls immediately crashed. They have not fallen asleep that quickly in ages! It was a pretty awesome celebration. My mom will have a difficult time topping it next year!
For Memorial Weekend, we headed up north with my parents and my brother’s family. My brother and his family camped, while the rest of us stayed in a cabin. We’re staying in a cabin for a week with my mom’s family later in the summer, so this was a good dry run. The girls loved playing in the lake so we’re set there. The beds we tried worked well for naps, but not so well for night time. Between the plastic from the air mattress and the swish of the sleeping bag, they made a lot of noise. Caden fell off once, and Laney did a lot of tossing and turning. Next time, we’ll just take two crib mattresses and crib sheets. Hopefully that will be more familiar and will allow me to sleep peacefully by myself in the bed. If not, Caden will be relegated to Grammy’s bed for the week.
Our location was perfect. In front of the cabin was a big stretch of grass that the girls could run and play on.
There were two sliding patio doors that provided hours and hours of entertainment.
There were lots of firsts! First time sitting around a campfire telling stories.
First toes in a lake.