Sunday, September 19, 2010

Graham Cave State Park

The weather has been cooler, Parker is getting older, and it was supposed to be a nice weekend, so we decided to go on our first family camping outing. The forecast said sunny and mid to upper 80s both days. Saturday night was clear with a low of 62. 10% chance for precipitaion. Great for camping! We packed (and packed, and packed) everything up and away we went!
Ted really wanted to get a tent that we could grow into, one that was very water proof, and an easy to set-up and take-down one as well. After much researching, here it is.
Several of the reviews mentioned how it held up well in strong, severe thunderstorms. I thought people had to be crazy to actually go camping if there were thunderstorms forecasted. I mean, seriously, who does that? We checked and double checked the forecast and knew we were safe. But at least they tested it for us and we could be assured that we would stay dry in any light rain we might encounter.
Saturday afternoon got REALLY hot. This was what we did to keep Parker happy:
(That is a battery operated tent fan. Note the drool-teeth are moments away from erupting...hopefully!)

Nolan was happy playing with his cars. I guess Ted was right, a large tent kept these boys happy!
When it finally started cooling off, we went for a hike. 0.3 miles of a paved trail up from a parking lot counts, right? We planned on doing a much longer hike in the morning.
Graham Cave

After the hike and a romp on the playground, we came home for dinner. Hot dogs and marshmallows cooked over the open fire!
After all that crazy playing we were getting really tired and ready for bed.
As we were setting up beds, the ranger came around and told us we were under a severe thunderstorm watch until 10:00 pm. Hmmm. Must be an isolated storm cell. The lightning started shortly after. And continued ALL NIGHT LONG! We had at least 5 waves of crazy strong storms. The thunder was so loud and it looked like daylight with the amount of lightning! We had Ted's cell phone with sketchy internet, so we watched the radar while deciding what to do. We decided to ride it out, but woke up several times throughout the night to recheck the radar. Amazingly enough, the boys slept through the entire night. I have no idea how they managed it. The tent was a success in that we stayed almost completely dry.
At about 7:00 in the morning, we decided it was time to go home. Ted pulled the car right up to the tent and he loaded everything up. After we got the boys in, Ted collapsed the tent, rolled it up, and strapped it to the roof of our car. Another success with the ease of taking down the tent in the pouring rain!
I now realized that I was way too quick to judge those poor souls who reviewed our tent. Now my wrath is upon the weatherman. Really, how do you miss 12 hours of storms???
Although we had some bad weather and we spent hours getting ready for our very short camping trip, all in all we consider it a success. We are already planning the next trip! Any suggestions?

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I love fall time. Especially since I don't go back to work as a teacher each fall. It gives me time to feel grateful again for staying home with Nolan and Parker.

Nolan is very ready for playmates. We thought about sending him to preschool this year, but then he would have 3 years at the same place. Instead, we are doing a mom co-op with 3 other great families. It is every Thursday from 9:30-12:30. Nolan calls it preschool, he has a backpack and brings a lunch, and they do a letter of the day. Most of it, though, is structured for social learning and exploring. He loves it!

First Day of School
He HAD to wear Darth Vader and his Lightning McQueen socks

The kids at lunch

We have also been busy trying to find other ways to keep Nolan busy. My sister Lara gave us this great sand table that her kids no longer used. We love it!

Aside from outside activities, we staying busy inside, as well. We made a bean bucket (Thanks Wendy!) with dried beans, a large rubbermaid under-the-bed storage container, and a construction truck set. Voila-an inside sandbox! Nifty. We also got a train/car table to keep us occupied. Hooray for independent playing!
In other news, Parker grows better-to-play with everyday. Nolan has begun body slamming him with hugs and kisses. Parker just laughs. Who knew they were so squishy? Nolan can't wait for him to crawl around. I can wait.

Bath time is so much more fun with a little buddy.
Nolan and his favorite Buzz Lightyear pajamas and his superhero cape.
As our summer progressed, so did Nolan's swimming ability. I was pretty impressed with the latest achievement.

We are looking into swimming lessons, but the YMCA won't take kids under 3 unless it is to learn how to blow bubbles with Mom there. I think we might be past that. We'll wait until he is 3.

Parker is 7 Months Old

Our Sweet Parker is 7 months old!
What a fun kid he is becoming! He loves to play with toys, sit, jump in his jumperoo, go for walks, go to football games (Rams, unfortunately), and laugh like crazy. He makes our family so much better. We love you Parker!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Minnesota Part 4: Camping

Our final 4 days in Minnesota were spent in my parent's wonderful new camper at Bear Head Lake State Park by Ely, Minnesota. It was gorgeous! Nolan and Papa spent most of the time throwing rocks in the water together.
"I'm gonna get your favorite rock!"
"Where'd it go?"
Nolan needed a picture of his rock in the water
A common view:
The back of Nolan

Playing at the campsite
Nolan's special fort

Parker's spot

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Ta-da!"
The beach with cousins

Pizza dinner at Sir G's in Ely
Night at the campfire
Plenty of dancing!

After all the pizza and S'mores, my Mom and sister Lara figured out how to work it all off.

We love you Minnesota and we can't wait to come back soon!