Sunday, July 28, 2013


Besides the zoo, we had lots of fun in Omaha hanging out with Andy and Kim. Here are a few highlights:

  • Checking how Mario and Luigi were doing (Andy's classroom hamsters who live in the basement during the summer)
  • Playing Wii. Have you ever seen 4 adults watch a 3-year-old try to play Mario? Painful. He also played Mario Kart, but loved Wii Fencing the best. Andy may have let him win a time or two.
  • Going to the park to play soccer and Uncle Andy teaching Ryan how to slide on his knees and yell "Gooooooooal!"
  • Swinging on the swings (on his stomach)
  • Playing with Tessa (their dog)
  • Playing with Andy's classroom "gears"
  • Going to Orange Leaf. Ryan's favorite fro-yo combo is chocolate frozen yogurt with M&Ms and then gummy worms, gummy bears, a chocolate chip cookie on the side.

 Thanks, Andy and Kim and to Adam's parents for a fun weekend!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Omaha Zoo 2013

The boys with Aunt Kim and Uncle Andy
We've made it a yearly (or more) tradition to visit the Omaha zoo. This year, we spent 2 nights at Andy and Kim's and spent 6.5 hours at the zoo on Saturday with them and Adam's parents. The weather was gorgeous...even cool in the morning and it was busy, but we had a great time.

3D Imax movie about African animals

The aquarium was Cohen's favorite part

Demonstrating how a bat sleeps upside down
Gorilla on the Carousel

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Fishing

The weather was great on Sunday, so after Ryan took a long afternoon nap, we decided to pack a picnic and head to Paullina. Ryan did great casting and had a few nibbles, but hasn't really mastered setting the hook. Adam pulled in a bass and then we tried out a new fishing spot.  The weeds had gotten a lot taller since our last visit to that spot and there's a lot more algae/weeds along shore. The warm weather was also probably driving the fish to deeper/cooler water. I guess what I'm trying to say is...we didn't catch any more fish.

So, we took a break for some PB&J and then tried out the bridge. All we accomplished there was Ryan dropping his Spiderman fishing pole into the drink. Adam was able to drop his line in and wrap it around the bobber to pull Spidey to safety.

Cohen just enjoyed being outside and was content to hang out in the carrier for the evening. We loved having a fun summer weekend together as a family!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Backyard Camping

We've been promising Ryan that he could try out "camping" in a tent in the backyard and we finally had a weekend at home to do it. 

After supper, we started up the fire and did my favorite part of camping...roasting s'mores. It was fun to just sit around the fire on such a nice night too.

 Ryan spent some time catching fireflies in our backyard and wanted to keep them in the tent with him.

Then, it was time to get pajamas on and head into the tent. Cue exit for this mom. I would be spending the night in my own bed, thank you very much.

Adam and Ryan played a rousing game of CandyLand and read some books before drifting off under the twinkling lights of... the Fareway back lot.
Ryan did great sleeping in the tent, even sleeping through two rain showers and lasted until 7:30am Sunday morning. He's already asking when he can go "camping" again!

Friday, July 19, 2013


Ryan's been itching to catch fireflies and we hadn't spent time with my parents in a while, so on Friday night while Adam was helping at football camp, the boys and I headed to Hull. Abbie's family came over for supper and to hang out and the kids had fun in the backyard chasing fireflies. They had nets but also caught many with their bare hands.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Fair : Inflatables

After the pony rides, Ryan decided he was finally ready to tackle the inflatables. These were a free even sponsored by the Farm Bureau (thanks, Arvin!).   I was leery after an incident last year where he climbed all the way to the top of the inflatable slide and then, you guessed it, refused to go down. Other kids tried to coax and/or push him down but my pregnant self was forced to climb to the top so we could get out of there! This year was much different, though. He loved the jumping castle that included a tunnel and a small slide inside. Then, he tried the obstacle course. He did better than expected and navigated it just fine. There were only a few times I was afraid he was going to be smushed by an older kid running over top of the crawl-through barrels.

The inflatables closed at 8:00 which resulted in full meltdown. Meltdown can kind of be taken literally in this instance as Ryan pulled the "limp" trick where he refused to put any weight on his legs and just lay on the ground crying. Lovely. Especially when it's 95 degrees, I'm holding a very tired baby and we are blocks from the car.  But, we eventually got out of the there and got grandma back home, then headed home.  Adam helped finish up the landscape the next day and Ryan and Cohen enjoyed another day at Grandpa and Grandma's.

Fair: Animals

While Adam helped his dad out with a landscaping project, his mom and I stopped by the Sioux County Fair for about an hour. First, we visited the petting zoo. Ryan made sure each goat got a pat. There was also a cute baby donkey and a calf. In the bottom right picture of the collage you can see the one-horned goat that made Ryan exclaim, "Mommy! It's a unicorn!"

Next we moved on to the exhibit animals. We walked through the horse and cow barn, then checked out the poultry, rabbits, sheep, and goats. Ryan got awfully close to kissing a goat.

 We headed back for a pony ride and Ryan seemed to enjoy the slow walk in a circle more than the pony.

Here's a video of that

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Church Picnic

On Sunday night, we had our church picnic at the Alton Roadside Park. We had a great time roasting hot dogs, eating potluck, and visiting with friends. Ryan was excited to fish and offered to share his fishing pole with his buddy from daycare, Collins. I thought they made the cutest picture!

What better way to finish off a hot day than a s'more?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Cohen: 7 Months


Cohen is growing and changing so fast! He can roll all over the place and often goes from a sitting position forward to his tummy. He's also started rocking forward and back a little, so as soon as his arms get strong enough to support his weight, I think he'll be off and crawling! He gives us lots of giggles, especially when playing peek-a-boo. He babbles a lot and blows raspberries. His favorite syllables sound like "Ah-boo" and, despite my efforts, there is no sign of "mama" yet.
Cohen's hair is getting crazier. It's still the texture of peach fuzz, but it just gets longer and therefore, taller! My best efforts to smooth it down only result it in popping back up in minutes, so we just let it do what it wants. His bottom right front tooth is all the way through and the bottom left has just started to poke through. He's gotten pretty good at eating rice cereal so we've ventured into a few other foods. He thought apples and peaches were a little sour at first but now seems to tolerate them. Our first attempt at green beans brought some funny faces and gagging, but we'll keep trying! I'm attempting to make my own baby food and though I'm not too far into it, it seems easy enough. I have a good food processing attachment on my mixer and there are lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in season right now. I was inspired by a few friends who said it wasn't as hard as they thought and saved a lot of money. 
He eats in a little chair with a tray that straps onto a kitchen chair. The highchair takes up too much space and his thighs are officially too large for the Bumbo! He loves slapping his hands on the tray and goes crazy rocking back and forth in it.

Cohen has been having fun experimenting with new toys like a lion with a light-up nose, sorting blocks, a pop-up toy where he can close the lids on the animals, and basically anything else he can get his hands and mouth on. He loves Ryan "wrestling" with him, but it's hard to get him to understand how to be gentle. He usually falls asleep in the stroller or carrier, but seems to enjoy being outside, especially swinging on the playset. He still goes crazy if you try to read books to him.Cohen continues his routine of waking up twice/night to eat and sometimes wakes up 1-2 other times as well. He's never up for long, but it makes it difficult to get long blocks of sleep. He's so cute when he sleeps, but it's my favorite thing to find him awake in the morning when he's so happy and slamming his feet down.

Our current nicknames include "fuzz head," "Cockatoo" (both in reference to his hair) and "Conando". Ryan calls him "Buddy."


St. Cloud: Family

We had an extended family picture before Adam's cousin's wedding. Only the professional photographer got the whole family shot, but we took a few pictures in the lobby of just Adam's family. At this point, we'll take a cheesy smile over nothing :)

We also got to see some extended family, including all the Great Aunts and Uncles and most of Adam's cousins and their kids.
Great Uncle Jim and Great Aunt Sharon

Isaiah (11 months) and Cohen (7 months)

Cohen being silly with Great Grandpa and Grandma Mol

Ryan finding a seat to peruse the program.
And...getting a little tired after no nap.
Ryan and Isaiah
After the picture and some supper, I didn't even risk bringing the boys into the wedding ceremony so I just hung out in the nursery with them. We were eventually joined by 8 other little ones :) Then, we headed to the reception in Sartell after only a slight delay of Adam's phone GPS directing us to the Water Treatment Plant and a private driveway. There were 3 other cars with dressed-up people making a U-turn so we think they all had Galaxy phones too!  Ryan had been so excited about going to the "dance party" but by the time the bride and groom kicked off the dance, it was late and Ryan was ready to go. I consider carrying a 40+ lb 3 year old from the parking lot to our second floor room - in heels - to be one of my greatest physical feats of all time, second only to balancing Cohen's 20+ lbs on one palm during the wedding picture because Ryan insisted on holding my other hand.

We took off the next morning and were home by 2:00, just in time to unpack and get dressed to go to another wedding! This time we went without kids and had a nice time with a bunch of other football coaches (the head coach's daughter married a player).

St. Cloud: Hotel

Adam's cousin, Caleb got married on Friday night in St. Cloud, so I took the day off on Friday and we headed out in the morning. After a few trips in the last month, I was really getting sick of fast food and we had plenty of time before check-in, so we made a stop in Willmar for some good old Pizza Ranch buffet. Yum!

We had a little trouble finding our motel because MapQuest has it marked on the wrong frontage road but once I pointed it out, I believe Adam's comment was, "We're staying there?" It's a long story on how I thought I could get a corporate rate at a night hotel, but turned out it was way on the other side of town and then the hotel with the block of rooms for the wedding was booked and I didn't want to pay over $100 for a name-brand hotel, so I ended up at the Americanna Inn (and convention center). Whoever took the photos for their online profile should either be given an award or reprimanded. It was...less than stellar.  A few highlights:
  • trucker in the hotel lobby telling us that when he retires, his dream is to drive around in his pickup going to all the "Diners, Drive-Inns, and Dives" from the Food Network. Wanted us to tell him where all the famous places were to eat in Iowa. (Either he creeped on our license plate or figured Adam's Hawkeye shirt was from a home-town fan)
  • The lobby smelled so musty that Ryan actually plugged his nose and waved his hand around staying "Mommy! It's stinky in here!"
  • On the front counter, they have the base to a cordless phone with a sign that says "Press the button that says "Find handset" for service. You guessed it, they carry the handset like a beeper.
  • You have to use your door key to get into the side entrances, except the one by our door apparently didn't work. 
  • Don't even think about elevators.
  • Room smelled like bacon. Bad thing/Good Thing? Smelled better than the hallway.
  • I was not fooled by the headboards being queen-sized. The mattresses were doubles.
  • Pool (which we had promised Ryan we could swim in after a long car ride) was a little sketchy and about 95 degrees in the room, so Cohen and I couldn't stand to sit in there and watch. Also shared it with a dad who had "GANGSTA" tattooed across his back and "GHOST" on his chest.
  • Outlet I plugged my phone charger into all night didn't work. (Discovered at 3am, luckily)
  • In desperate need of a dehumidifier.  I refused to walk around without sandals, the carpet was so disgusting.
  • Broken ceiling tiles, sloppy paint job, ink pen scribbled on wall, mysterious reddish splash stains on the bottom of the wall (not kidding), toilet with problems flushing, general upkeep lacking.
  • 1 out of 2 door keys didn't work.
  • Zenith tube television that only had a few channels that were more picture than snow
  • Bath mat towel had green tinge except where there were bleach stains.
  • If you thought you were going to use their conditioner, forget it. You get shampoo and a bar of soap.
  • It took 2 of us a few minutes and a bent-back thumb nail to get the chain lock back off the door in the morning because it jammed.
  • Everywhere we walked, there were laundry carts in the hallway, doors propped open to messy offices, supply closets, etc. You kind of felt "behind the scenes" all the time. I also witnessed a cleaning lady chuck a bag of garbage into the dumpster area from a good 15 feet away. Didn't seem like her first time.
  • The breakfast tables were "made for Hobbits" according to Adam and the dining area seemed to be lacking air conditioning.
  • The utensils at breakfast literally bent in half when I tried to cut and eat my waffle.
  • We needed to fill Cohen's bottle with drinking water. There was none, not even at breakfast and when we asked, were told to buy water from the vending machine, which of course, was out.
Did we survive? Yes. Did we save about $30? Yes. Worth it? Maybe.  I think I should have checked the first tip on the FourSquare checkin which was. "Yeeeeahhh....don't go here."

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Weekday Fun

Now that Adam is finished coaching baseball for the summer, he had a few days at home with the boys. They did lots of fun things like fishing, going for walks, checking out different parks, playing in the sprinkler, going to the library, etc. Here are a few pictures from the week:

Cohen is learning to roll a ball.
Ryan playing with playdough. The top one is Jesus (a gingerbread man) on the cross. The one on the right is an ice cream cone.

On Tuesday, Adam and the boys met Abbie, Wade and Saylor at the Splash Pad in Boyden. The water was cold, but from the pictures Abbie texted me, it looks like they still had fun!
Boyden Splash Pad
Hanging out at the Splash Pad
I was in desperate need of a dress to wear to two weddings this weekend and it came down to going to Maurice's on Wednesday night. Adam took the boys to play at the park while I tried on [dozens of] dresses and then they came back to the mall for the free train rides. (It was Crazy Days.)  The nice man driving took Ryan on a 20-minute train ride around the mall! I guess it pays to go there late when all the other kids are getting ready for bed!

Cruisin' the mall. ["At the Centre of it all."]
Ryan picked out the blue car.
On Thursday night, we got packed to head to St. Cloud and then Adam took Ryan to the baseball game for a while to watch Colin. Juliana texted me this picture of Ryan wearing his hat like Grandpa Terry :).

I think they're all enjoying the summer break!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

MN: Family Fun

Courtney, Ryan, Adam, Cohen, Brandon (Ashley's husband), Cousin Ashley, Uncle Chuck, Aunt Connie
Besides all the fun outdoor activities, we had a great time just hanging out, reading (I read the entire book of "The Book Thief" in 3 days), going for walks, eating delicious food, and spending time together. We are so grateful to the Petersons for their hospitality! Here are a few more pictures to round out our weekend.

Cohen waking up with the sun.
Playing with toys in the cabin.

Nap time. We brought a queen-size air mattress why?
Hanging out on the lawn after playing ladder golf.