Monday, May 21, 2012

New swingset

You have NO idea how excited we are to say that we are finally finished building the kids' new swingset. I think the instructions should list hour requirements separately for working with the help of toddlers vs. without. We still had a lot of fun moments interacting with them outside, as well as some learning teaching Adam to point the teeth of a rake down when leaving it in the grass because if they are up and you step on it, the handle can fly up and hit you in the forehead.

The process has been long. I considered it to be an investment, something that I wanted to grow with them thru the years and not just apply to today. I also wanted it to be able to accommodate friends that might visit. When you belong to a Twins Club, the number of attendees at a playdate can increase quite quickly! Then there was the planning of where to put it and make sure the layout corresponded with the space. It took us weeks just to decide which swingset to buy. I'm guessing there were moments that we were making it harder than it needed to be. Let's be honest, I was making it harder than it needed to be. But in the end, I think it was worth it.

Let's walk thru the journey together!

April 15...
We finally decided which swingset to buy and headed to Menards to make the purchase. I think the excitement of the decision clouded our planning judgement! We showed up 20 minutes before closing time. As we walked out, it started pouring down rain. We have a 16' trailer, which we left at home for some reason. And we didn't even empty the contents of the Expedition! Thankfully it was a 1.5 mile drive home!

The kids thought it was a fun adventure having slides and rock walls crowding their seating space.

Adam held up the rock wall the entire way home, except for that small break he had to take because he said his arms hurt. A good teaching moment about what it feels like when lactic acid builds up in your muscles! Notice Sara peeking into the picture!

Weekend #1...
Another trip to Menards to pick up all the lumber. This time, trailer in tow! The kids were very helpful in stacking the boards up, the lumberyard security guy brought over 2 handfuls of candy (thanks?), and I was thankful I brought the travel potty because Sara had to pee three times within 90 minutes. Are you getting a sense as to how the kids can slow down the process of a building project?

Here's Adam helping Shannon get the boards ready to cut, ear protection and all.

Our friend Ryan and his girls spent the day helping us build the roofs and structural legs of the towers. Adam got plenty of lessons on how to run a drill and a hammer drill.

Shannon used the sod cutter to clear the area. Our neighbors lent us their teenage son and daughter for the afternoon to load the sod into a trailer to haul it away. Thanks Tia and Kyle!

The kids had a great time playing with Ryan's girls. We were so thankful they kept the kids occupied. Sara and Makayla spent hours just sitting in the grass and chatting.

Weekend #2...
We finished building the components of the towers and loaded them on the trailer to drive in the yard to assemble them. Kyle helped us quite a bit this weekend, too, and had fun learning about power tools!

First tower is assembled! As you can see, it was quite chilly this weekend. It felt like we went thru almost all the seasons by the time we were done building! Fall weather, cold stocking hat weather, rainy spring with mud everywhere, and mid summer 90 degrees!

The first tower was moved into place by Shannon, myself, and my mom. Sometimes you have to get creative by how you move heavy, awkward objects.

Weekend #3...
It's a little hard to tell from the picture but this was the weekend of mud. Adam is covered from head to toe. He was constantly running his bubble lawn mower in the mud, getting the wheels so caked that they wouldn't turn!

This is part of why it took a number of weekends to finish. On days that it was just Shannon and I working, the typical schedule was eat breakfast, work for an hour, fix the kids a snack, work for an hour, fix the kids lunch, try to get them to nap but they wouldn't because it was too exciting, work for 2 hours, fix the kids a snack, work for an hour, fix the kids dinner, work for an hour, throw the kids in the bathtub...and start the process all over again the next day!

A second tower built and moved into place by myself, my neighbor, her daughter, and Shannon!

Weekend #4...
Shannon had some uninterrupted time to work on it, well except for the interruption by the rain! The kids and I headed to Wisconsin for a long weekend and when we came back - slides! Here is Sara's first slide on the swingset.

And she sticks the landing!


Adam's turn. Of course blankie had to watch from the ladder.

Schooop! He flew!

Weekend #5...
A delivery of Kiddie Cushion mulch - thanks for picking that up for us, Corey! Adam was so excited that Corey let him push the button to raise the dump bed.

After breakfast the kids had great fun playing on the mulch pile,

Dancing on the mulch pile,

Concentrating hard to help me spread the mulch,

Sliding down the mulch, you get the idea! While Shannon added accessories and put on the finishing touches, I spread the mulch. All 6 yards of it. By myself. In the heat. *whew*

The stairs were built, and the swings attached. Sara was practicing pumping her legs to swing on her own.

The built in picnic table was assembled under the tower just in time for the kids to enjoy lunch under there. For the record, it's a little crowded for all 3 of us to sit under there! The advantages of being 5'2".

Final pieces - building the rock wall and attaching the bronco swing that they can both ride at the same time.

Even looking back now, I'd have to say it was well worth all the hard work we put into it. I love where we put it even though a few more gray hairs were added to my head to make the decision. It gets good shade for most of the day. Now the kids have a sandbox, trampoline, playhouse, and swingset to occupy them - all visible from the kitchen window and back deck.

Big, big thank you to Grandma Marilynn and Grandma Sue and Grandpa George for contributing to the project - Adam and Sara will enjoy it for many years to come!

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Really, there are no introductory words for this one...

Out of the mouths...

Sara: "Are you going to be here today and dad's going to be here today?"
"Yes, it's a family day today."
"I like family days."
"Me, too, we need to do that more often."
"I need to write that down. Can you get me a pen and paper so I can write that down?"

We were getting the kids dressed for church last night. Adam had on a nice pair of plaid shorts and a polo shirt (orange, of course.) I asked him to go in his room and get his good sandals to wear to church. He came out with black dress shoes that tied. Shannon told him "you can't wear those with shorts - you would look dorky!" Sara pipes up "I can't wait to see that!"

Today while eating lunch together, Sara puts her arm around Adam and pats him on the back. "You okay, buddy?" Adam replied "Yeah."
"I love you, Adam."
"I love you, too, Sara."

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Time for toddler beds!

We have felt for a little while that it was time to convert the kids' cribs to toddler beds. Knowing the transition can require a little extra patience from Mom and Dad, we wanted to wait until we saw a small break in our hectic schedule. Shannon had been teaching 3-4 nights a week and I didn't want to navigate the transition alone. This weekend seemed like an appropriate time. Shannon has a lighter teaching schedule the next few weeks and no night classes.

The kids and I had a long weekend in Wisconsin for a birthday party and Shannon took the opportunity to perform a little crib origami. Just when he thought he was done, I asked him to rearrange the room...then make the beds and put some stuffed animals out for a surprise.

When we headed inside from our trip, the kids ran down the hall to their "new room!"

They jumped right in and laughed and giggled...and giggled and laughed some more!

Sara was so proud to have a big girl bed - she kept saying "I can climb in by myself."

Adam was ready to go to bed right away with blankie.

Thanks, Dad!

It's 10:07 pm of Day 1 and I haven't heard a peep out of them for two hours! It could be that they really got worn out in Wisconsin...I'm okay with that for tonight. We've been talking over the past few months that when they were ready for big girl and big boy beds, they had to lay down and go to sleep and not get out of bed and act silly.

And so the next chapter in the journey begins...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Silly fly

We had a fly in the house this morning and it was driving Sara nuts...not for reasons you would think!

"Stay, fly. Mama, the fly isn't listening to me."
Really? Does he need a time-out?
"Yes. Fly, go sit over there in time-out. Don't move. Do you understand?"
"I put him in time-out. He's not listening. That frustrates me. He's old so I don't know why he's not listening. He should understand."

She proceeded to have a 10 minute conversation with the fly about how she was frustrated by his not listening and he needed to stay in time out, continuing to ask him if he understood.

I have no clue where she is getting any of these ideas! I guess I need to tell her the fly can only stay in time-out 1 minute for every year of his age!