Monday, September 28, 2015

September Update - Ryan

Ryan made up his own recipe for "Chocolate Sprinkle Brownies"

This brownie is approved.

Homecoming football game with friends.

Their picture made it on the local sports as "Fan Fource" photo

One of his many lego inventions

Practicing for school picture day

Celebrating Saylor's birthday.

Saylor's pinata was a bit "hit"
After I accidentally microwaved something much too long, Ryan named it the "muffin of doom"

Creating new Angry Birds levels
Creating his own computer with several games. 

Teaching Cohen how to use a (cardboard) mouse.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Ryan's first Twins Game

On a Friday afternoon, I found out at work that we had 4 tickets to the Twins game the next night from one of our vendors and the people who were going to use them couldn't go at the last minute. After a few frantic phone calls and a trip back to the office to claim them, we decided that we would take the offer and bring Ryan to his first Twins game.  Grandpa and Grandma graciously agreed to take the 2 younger kids and I found a last-minute hotel deal. We drove up on Saturday right to the field and had a great time at the game in our awesome dug-out seats.  Here are some highlights:
Ryan got a little dog from Target named "Bulls-eye"

We sat a few row behind the Twins dugout.

Beautiful weather!

Dippin' Dots
My high school friend who lives 2 hours from Mpls was also at the game! Thank goodness for Instagram so we could meet up!

As the players came out of the dugout, they threw some stuff into the crowd and Ryan caught this bag of dill pickle-flavored sunflower seeds. He thought it was pretty special and spent the first 5 innings spitting seeds like a pro!

After the game, we drove to our hotel and got to bed late. The next morning I took Ryan swimming while Adam did game-film and then Ryan had fun making a fort before it was time to head home.

 It was a pretty quick trip with no extra time for shopping or eating out or anything, but I think Ryan really enjoyed a special time with mom and dad and we were so thankful for this surprise opportunity of tickets. We had been wanting to take Ryan to a game all summer and could never work out the timing, but this way we had amazing seats and great weather and just a really fun time together! I'm so glad we took a chance and just went for it!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Back to School

Open House
Ryan was excited about going to kindergarten and has loved it so far. He has a great teacher and class and he was especially excited about the caterpillar he saw at the Open House. So far, his favorite "specials" are Art, P.E. and Library (because the librarian is funny). He has made a few new friends through school and daycare and has many church friends at school too. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

August Update

 I snapped a few pictures of the kids in the backyard before we went to a family reunion. 

This is my favorite picture and reflects the love these boys have for their little sister.

Avonlea and Grandma enjoying a backyard campfire.

Cohen roasting a 'mahsh-a-mallow' with Grandpa

Floofy hair, bright eyes

Saturday morning cartoons

Jena and the kids\
We had an amazing nanny this summer, the daughter of one of Adam's co-workers. She came almost everyday for the morning and sometimes part of the afternoon while Adam was at either baseball or football and we were sad to see her go back to college in mid-August. The kids had a great time with her and it was so nice for them to be able to be at home. They really enjoyed their own toys and backyard for once, and I think both Cohen and Avonlea took better naps in their own beds in quiet rooms.  We started going to a daycare center after Jena left and they have all adjusted well and it's a great situation for us during the school year.

Party favors from a safari birthday party Ryan went to.
Avonlea turned 9 months old.

This black and white with metallic gold dress was one of my favorite summer outfits.

Adam and Grandpa ran a 5K for an adoption fundraiser.
The kids and I did the 1K fun walk with Grandma

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Blog Update and Photo Book info

As you can tell, I got way behind on blogging. The start of football season, school, and just the overall care and feeding of 3 kids has severely limited my "free time" and sometimes staring at a computer after a good 8-9 hours in front of it is just less than I can handle.  I also committed myself to a new scrapbooking goal. Instead of editing and cropping photos mostly for use on the blog, I thought my kids would appreciate an actual photo album. So far, we have exactly 6 100-page digital photo books chronicling Ryan's first 2.5 years. And that's it. Not one book with Cohen in it, not to mention Avonlea. Typical first child syndrome, right? It also had to do with the fact that the online company I'd been using to store all my photos and make books (whenever they had a flat-rate sale), Winkflash, went out of business for a while and when they finally got bought out, a lot wasn't the same and the book-making section was probably worse, instead of better.

I spent a long time "fishing" for the best site to commit to based on cost, sale patterns, ease of use, and sometimes even just simplicity of use (less is more sometimes). I finally landed on Snapfish. One of my main reasons is that you can import directly from flickr, which is where I decided to back up all my photos and videos. I am manually uploading folders by months from my computer but another nice feature is that you can download the app and it will auto-sync the stuff on your phone so in case something happens to your phone, all your un-downloaded photos won't be lost.   Snapfish also has a 50% off sale fairly often, which is when I plan to buy books. You can also get a 10% cash-back rebate from ebates. (If you're not on ebates, you totally should be.) I've already ordered my first book and I'd say the quality is decent--good enough for kids albums but probably wouldn't do wedding photos. But, it's mostly due to all of my photos being taken with my phone.

Here's my plan:1 8x10 book per kid per year that they will receive at Christmas. Since my kids were all born in the fall, it works out that they'll get the year starting from their birthday up to right before their next birthday. So, "the year I was 2", for example. I am hoping it will be a fun thing to open at home on Christmas morning and that we can spend time reflecting on the past year. It will also hopefully keep me motivated throughout the year to get at least part of it done over the summer so I just have to fill in the last few months before ordering for Christmas.  So far, I have Cohen's book complete and received and Ryan's just needs 1 more month added. Avonlea's isn't started and I think hers will be the longest because the 1st year has so many picture taking opportunities.

Anyway, this is a really long way for me to say that I'm going to be a little more sparse on the blog and hopefully spend that time on the photo books. If you know me in real life, you can follow me on instagram @cobo2000 (I won't accept your friend request if I don't know you personally) or you can find me on facebook (also keep to people I know in real life). I will try to do some updates here as it really helps me keep track of what my kids were up to at different ages and I personally enjoy reading it. But, it might just be a little less detailed, etc.   Thanks for understanding!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Landscaping project: Front of house

Since we moved into our house four years ago, we've been dreaming about re-doing the landscaping. Although there was some hardscape in (retaining walls and bullets in the front), the vinyl edging around the sides and back was starting to fall apart, and the 5 plants looked sickly and haphazard. We were not fans of the white rock and debated back and forth about whether to keep or replace it.  After saving up for a while, we finally decided this was the year to strike on some outdoor projects.

The first thing we needed to do was get rid of the rock. ALL.THE.ROCK.  That turned out to be a bigger task than anticipated. The white rock was about 8" thick in most places and the retaining walls were FILLED TO THE BRIM! No wonder no plants could grow in them! We had a friend who wanted the rock for his acreage and could bring a skid loader and dump trailer to haul it. (We totally won on that deal.) We also hired three football guys to come scoop rock. (You're welcome, family members that we did not ask to help with this rotten task).  It took 5 guys a total of about 5 hours and that was after Adam had already done much of the prep/back yard work.
Scooping rock.
All the rock is out!
We hired a babysitter for a Saturday morning so Adam and I could go to Ground Effects to pick out all the plants. We had a list made of ones we'd like but they helped us cross a few off that wouldn't work in the sun/shade. Adam and the boys went and picked up all the selections later in the week and set them out to make sure we liked the placement.

Ryan helped plant the big topiary.

Adam got everything planted and mulched, then one evening we stuck Avonlea in the exersaucer outside while I helped cut plastic while Adam tacked with rock.  Here is the rock we got from Aalbers Excavating:
The boys were around, running between the front and backyards and only after investigating a lengthy absence, did I discover this:
Swimming fully clothed.
Adam finished the rest of the rock around the house and we finally could tie a bow around this project!  Here are the plants we picked:

As you can tell, I'm a big fan of the flowering plants, but we hope the blooming periods spread out throughout the spring, summer, and fall.