Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Minnesota Harvest

Last weekend we took our annual trip to Minnesota Harvest to pick our yearly bag of apples. This year, the plywood photo prop got a new coat of paint, and we added to it our newest member.

Can you believe that baby wouldn't even smile for this?

Exciting tractor wagon ride.

Colin takes tractor rides very seriously.

Selecting a choice apple with Grandma.

Annual selfie on the wagon ride.
Their apples rarely made it into our bag.

Running through the sunflower maze.

This baby did not contribute to the apple picking.
Jared, ready for the maze.
Since then, I've been making apple stuff. Apple smoothies. Apple butter. Apple cake. I even made these apple turnovers, which Oliver dubbed "gross burned triangles that aren't even food."

So they're not exactly Martha Stewart quality, but I wouldn't go so far as to label them "gross burned triangles." 

Next weekend, we're hitting the corn maze. Good thing I won't come home with a giant bag of corn to bake up.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

State Fair Time

Last weekend we loaded everyone up and headed to the Minnesota State Fair, in accordance with tradition. We got there early and stayed most of the day so that we could eat an unreasonable amount of fried food. This year we ate:

1. Korean BBQ pork collar with kimchi pickles.
2. Bison hot dog.
3. Pickle dog.
4. Big fat bacon, on a stick.
5. Cheese curds.
6. Smoothies.
7. Deep-fried peanut butter buckeyes, on a stick.
8. Sno-Ribbons, a weird mix between shaved ice and ice cream.
9. A bucket of Sweet Martha's cookies.
10. Mini donuts.
11. Deep-friend pickles.
12. Cotton candy.
13. Dairy barn milkshakes.
14. Blue cheese corn fritters.
15. Chicken in a waffle.
16. Beer gelato.

Colin enjoying an inflatable flapping man.

Colin trying to cheat in the maze.

Oliver, finally not afraid to jump high this year.

Colin, who is never afraid, whether he should be or not.

He would have gone a lot higher if he could figure out how to jump.

Jared, enjoying a giant piece of bacon on a stick.

Colin enjoying a deep-fried mess of peanut butter and chocolate on a stick.

William, who didn't even appreciate the beautiful cows.

"What does the cow say, Colin?"

Annual photo op in the horse barn.
Now that September is here, we'll be frantically running around trying to pack in the last few weekends of outdoor fun before the cold sets in. Our weekends are already booked for the corn maze, apple picking, Oliver's birthday, and the pumpkin patch.

Things have been going surprisingly well here on the home front. William is a pretty easy-going baby. I'm tired, but I'm not as tired as I could be. This time around I've made it a lot easier on myself. I've given up completely on doing any housework. I've got premade frozen meals for dinner. The kids have been making their own lunches. I've let other people do the work for me.

And while the house is a complete mess and the kids have eaten yogurt and dry cereal for lunch almost every day, it's so much better this way. It's too bad it took me until our last baby to figure this out.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

We're home.

When we were discharged from the hospital on Friday, the nurse going over our discharge orders remarked multiple times about how calm we all were about going home with a newborn.

"You must have done this before, you look so relaxed!"

And really, somehow, I am. A few weeks ago I was panicking about how all of this would work but we've made it here and now I can finally remember: Oh yeah, we've got this. We're good at this.

Because we are. Jared and I? We make a great team. I am the boob-latching expert; he is the diaper-changing guru. We've done this before. We've done it well. The hospital was almost like a little vacation for us, because taking care of one sleepy newborn baby was so easy by comparison to our normal routine. We ordered Chinese takeout and had a date night in our hospital room with HGTV playing over the crappy hospital bed speakers.  It was one of the nicest nights we've had together in a long time.

On the drive home, we casually swung by Target to make a diaper run. (It's true, we had no newborn diapers. I didn't imagine a baby of mine could be so small.) When we pulled into our neighborhood, we saw that the road resurfacing work was going on right in front of our house. While we were carefully navigating our way through the neighborhood streets without wet asphalt, we heard William barf up a little bit and start coughing/choking on it. I stopped the car and Jared automatically unbuckled himself and leapt into the backseat to get William out of his car seat. Jared got him out just in time to get splattered in a second bout of baby barf. Then, as soon as William stopped choking, he curled his legs up, arched his back, and let out an explosive shit.

There are other, nicer, ways I could put it but let's be real. It was an explosive shit.

At that moment, pulled off to the side of a loud, active construction site in a car reeking of breastmilky vomit and hot asphalt, we both started laughing hysterically. Because this is our life. This is how things go. And let's be real:

It's pretty funny.

Once we were able to stop laughing, we continued the circuitous drive home and discovered that there was no way to get to our house except over freshly-laid asphalt. So we drove over it, leaving light tire indentations that forced the angry crew of steamrollers to drive over our tracks.

We smiled and waved with our barfy, poopy newborn as the steamrolling men drove by, then walked up to the house to find welcome home signs made by Colin & Oliver. And when I saw those signs I thought to myself, "Yeah. We've done well."

We are so fortunate to have such an amazing life right now. I don't know how I ever doubted us.

Ready to leave the hospital.

Taking a rest after eating.

Biggest brother Oliver and tiniest brother William.

Daddy, big brother Colin, little brother William.

Tiny 8 lb 13 oz baby and giant 2 lb 2 oz tomato from my garden.

Friday, August 22, 2014

One last baby.

The last member of our family decided to show up last Wednesday. This is William.

At 8 pounds and 12.6 ounces, he is by far the smallest of our boys. He decided to come out without an induction, and he was kind enough to be born in one contraction. He's a pretty considerate guy.

Oliver and Colin got to see him a couple hours after he was born. They both seemed to like him alright.

Since then, we've just been hanging out at the hospital watching mediocre home remodeling shows on TV.

After being admitted to the hospital, we finally figured out a name. His full name is William Sterling.

Does he look like a Will? A Bill? Who knows. Certainly not us.

We're waiting for some bilirubin test results before we can leave the hospital and head back home. So far, so good.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


I've just been sitting here doing a bunch of nothing, so I don't really have anything exciting to report. The kids have been in swimming lessons. They're resurfacing our road. Nothing else going on here. Here are some photos from the last few weeks. 
Monkeys at the zoo.

Riding the tiger.


Dhole statue.

Excitement of World's Largest Lefse museum.

Colin eating a donut.

Colin br(e)aking the train car.

Oliver trying his best not to be afraid.
Oliver swimming (with a lifejacket) for the first time.

Colin watching from the safety of the boat.

Disappointment at asking for a snack and getting his picture taken instead.

We tried our best to selfie on the boat.

The favorite part of the cabin - the rock gathering grounds.

Colin in his country club golf attire.

Watching the monarch chrysalises hatch.

Local Touch-A-Truck event.

Operating a forklift without proper certification.
Tubing down the Cannon River.

Haul of tomatoes from earlier today.
 Happy Tuesday.