Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A weekend of fun

Last weekend, we were HOME in DULUTH....which is such a rare thing these days. You know, the summer is kind of supposed to be a relaxing thing, I usually picture a Grain Belt Premium in a can koozie, a grill, some lounging in the sun, and lots of time to do "the stuff that needs to get done..." In all actuality, I think we're twice as busy in the summer with family get-togethers, weddings, etc....especially on the weekends. It's nice to have a whole weekend at home where we don't have to pack up everything we own into little bags and laundry baskets, pack non-perishable food items, and load everything into the minivan.

This past Saturday, we went to Carleton Days, a little town festival just outside of Duluth. It was very small, but we had a great time. There was a craft sale for mommy to explore, a used book sale for papa to explore, a "portable zoo visit" and lots of yummy foods for Julia, and shade for Mary so she could eat in peace. All in all a good time. I bought some homemade wash cloths from a lady, Mike bought a bunch of used books for five bucks from the library fundraiser (which was being hosted by the same lady who made the crafts.....these small towners know how to multi-task.) Julia ate some corn on the cob and a candy necklace, she also commandeered our root beer float and walking taco.

The highlight of the day was when Julia heard the TRAIN coming. She LOVES trains. And like most MN small towns, there's a train track running through the center of town, just past the grain elevator and just behind the storefronts of downtown. So we took off running toward the tracks and Julia got to see the train first hand. The engine guy....(is that the engineer?) tooted his horn at her and it was so loud she cried...but then laughed, I think... She tried to jump up and down in excitement, but she hasn't figured out jumping yet...one leg goes up and the other stays on the ground. She also does this "happy dance" that looks like an injured gazellle....you have to see it, I guess. Anyways, we saw the train and headed home after a busy afternoon and NO NAP. Mommy and Papa were happy to put her highness to bed at 7:30. Ahhhhhhh.

On Sunday, while the girls was napping, I left Mike at home and went boating on Lake Superior with a buddy. So, fortunately, there WAS some Grain Belt Premium, a can koozie, and lounging in the sun. What a lovely relaxing way to spend a beautiful day!

Here's Mary, looking shocked to hear that we were planning to make her sit in her carseat while we drove to Target. (She hates the carseat....this look could also be called, Not Acceptable!)Here's my seafaring buddy, Jeff, who was the captain of our Lake-dwelling vessel
Here's Mary tolerating her car seat on the way to Carleton Days
Julia and the train. She looks like she's posing for a musical number...don't you think she looks like she's about to turn around and start singing the chorus?

Here's the tortoise from the portable zoo.

Mary was happy to be home that night....notice the change of outfits during the day. Mayday Mary struck again.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Up at the Lake

Hi there,
Here are a few more photos from our trip up to the lake. Grandpa Dick took them...he's a much better photographer than I.

We had a few firsts that I forgot to mention while we were up there: Miss Mary had her first dip in the lake (the shallow water was like bathwater!) and her first non-milk food: Watermelon. The best part? She ate her first real food WHILE she was in her first lake dip! Yup...a two-fer.

Julia also had a fun time...the last time we were up there (April 08), we tried her on a tricycle because my parents have this huge blacktop driveway that we dubbed "the parking lot." We thought it would be a great place to try a new trike.... Well, even after daddy/grandpa duck taped wooden blocks to the pedals to make them easier for her to reach, she still wasn't able to grasp the coordination. (She's my daughter, after all....) Well, this time, we put her on the trike and off she went! She rode for hours. Mommy was pleased. Grandpa Dick spent a lot of time with her on the trike, teaching her and keeping her from crashing over the hose/basketball hoop/etc.

One more fun story: mom and I went swimming for "just five minutes' out over the drop off...and left the two diaperless girls on the pontoon with grandpa Dick. When we returned, we learned that diaperless Mary had peed all over grandpa's arm. One of the neighbors was over talking to grandpa. Miss Diaperless Julia decided she wanted more attention....and so she shouted, "I pooped!" Sure enough, in the corner of the pontoon, there was evidence that we had indeed eaten corn for supper the night before. It gets worse: two seconds later, my sister's puppy, Sofie, came on the pontoon and gobbled up the poo. Mmmmm....corn. Our neighbor was so impressed with our kids that he left right after that....

Friday, July 25, 2008


Hello out there in blogland,

WHEEE!!! I am here to proudly announce that Miss Mary slept in until a few minutes ago, and we put her to bed at 11:30 last night. Yes...SEVEN hours of "night night-ing".....we are very excited indeed. More later....I have a few good stories for you. :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mary at 5 days old

Here are Mary's baby pictures, taken when she was just five days old. I keep forgetting to put them up. We were a little bit on the busy side to send announcements to everybody, so this is the next best thing. Have a great day, everybody...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

More Vacationing!

Well, last week it was the Riesgraf side, this week it was the Sprengeler side. Both sets of grandparents took us in this summer to their respective Lake Villas. Grandma and Grandpa Sprengeler rented a cabin up in Park Rapids for a week, and it was loads of fun for all. (except the three and a half hours in the car to get there.....)

Am I a bad parent for investing in a portable DVD player for car trips? Julia is glued to the thing when we drive....she is going to need a twelve step program one of these days...

Anyways, we spent the week with grandparents and aunties and uncles that spoil the nieces/granddaughters. So, this week will be spent trying to get our children back from the "I AM SO CUTE THAT YOU"LL DO OR GET ANYTHING FOR ME, RIGHT?" stage. Ahhhh parenthood. Life is grand!

Here is Julia after she came out of the bedroom holding the camera. I knew she was up to something...it was too quiet for too long. Her dirty fingers found the lens. Notice the blur. Here's a picture of strawberries bought at a roadside stand. mmmmm. They didn't last very long.
Here is a picture of papa and miss Mary. She has earned herself the nickname, Mayday Mary. When you are holding her and you hear the sound of "liquid," your prompt response is, "MAYDAY, MAYDAY..." Let me explain: this child doesn't do anything half-arsed. She goes all day without pooping, and then blasts a dookie so huge that it comes out all ends of her diaper, through her clothes, and then comes dripping out onto your lap....all in a matter of about two seconds. I have learned to feed her over a changing pad.

This photo is illustrating her other talent: projectile vomiting. (I think she is trying out for the sequel to the exorcist...) She is NOT a "spitty" baby, never drools, never spits little bits after every feeding, no reflux....BUT...if you feed her a teeny bit too much, then watch out. Every couple of days, you'll be feeding her...and she has this cute little content look on her face and you get real close and try and give her a kiss...and then breast milk comes flying out of her tiny little mouth at MACH THREE. And there's a LOT of it. It spews out all over everything...the velocity and momentum of the partially-digested breast milk have made it on the walls, the ceiling, the bedspread, the lamps, the CD player, MOMMY's CLOSET, oh you know.....few things in our house have been spared the wrath of the spew.

above: another one of those oops pictures that I couldn't delete.
Below: grandma Ruth with Mary
A beautiful sunset over the lake. Mike took this picture...I was probably either drinking a margarita or cleaning up Mary's latest project.
Julia, who never puked when she was little and always pooped a little bit in every diaper as an infant.....is enjoying her favorite food: corn. Take a good look at her plate. YES, she ate all of that corn before this cob. I believe there is one whole cob and three halves sitting there, all devoured. I don't know where she puts it all...
I think everybody else got one ear because Miss Julia was pounding the rest of our feast.
Here is Julia roasting marshmallows for smores. She is very particular about things....she won't let you hold her stick and she will hold it there until SHE decides they are done. I think she's gonna be a cook like her mommy.
Evidence of a smore attack.

Friday, July 11, 2008

To all the single ladies out there.....

Hi to all the single ladies out there...here is a picture of my single, obviously handsome and quite personable, twenty-six year old cousin, Matt. He has skills with children...he's an elementary school teacher and also knows how to hold an infant! ( Notice that baby Mary is not crying?!) He also has a job and lives in St. Paul.

He enjoys pretty much everything, including Twins games, golf, anything else outdoors, playing cards, and reading stories to small children. (He knows all the good books, you see...)

Hurry up ladies, this one is going fast, better act now....times a-wastin'
Contact me and I'll give you his digits.
Matt, if you check this, please don't kill me...it's for your own good. :o)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Week at the Lake

Here's a selection of pictures from our week at the lake. We had much fun, and I tried to remember and bring the camera, but, let's face it...sometimes you're just having too much fun to remember the camera. Oh well.

We stayed with Grandma Beth and Grandpa Dick at their cabin on Deer Lake. During our week, we managed to get Julia to the fireworks twice , and this is the first year that I've been more entertained watching my two-year-old watch the fireworks than my watching the fireworks themselves. Julia was in absolute awe. "Boom Boom Boom" she would shout, and then yell, "Watch out, guys, there's fire!!!" We watched one set from my aunt's pontoon boat, and Julia stood transfixed as they blew up over the water. She was amazed that the fire didn't come and get her. I was laughing too hard to take a picture of that.

Later in the week, Mike and I decided to take the Catamaran out for a sail on a particularly windy day. As we were leaving the shore, Mike said to me, "Woman, you need to wear a life jacket."
"Why?" I asked. "They're in the boat house and I'm afraid they're full of spiders."
"Too Bad" Mike said. "Wear one anyways, what if we capsize in the middle of the lake and you get thrown overboard and the sail hits you in the head? I can't swim very well, you know..."

Well, I gave in and wore the stupid jacket. (After I dipped it in the water to remove all potential insects...)

You can imagine what happened to us when we were out on the water. It was a particularly windy day...one where sailing becomes tricky. You don't want your sail perpendicular to the wind gusts because they're too strong and your boat will fly up out of the water and blow right over....so you try and get the sail to catch the edge of the wind....more like at a 120 degree angle to the gusts. All was going very well....we were going at a nice fast speed, but weren't gripping the boat completely terrified...and then I think I got too confident...and waved to somebody on shore. At that moment, my clumsiness "Kicked in" and I kicked the rope loose from the trolley at the end of the sail that controls the angle of the sail.

"Oh CRA....."

The sail suddenly made itself perfectly perpendicular to the wind gust, and before I could mutter the word, "Crap," We were flying in the air and then upside down...and I was underwater...and the mast came under and knocked me............in..........the life jacket.


Somehow, Mike and I managed to get the Catamaran standing upright in the middle of the lake. We learned that "go COUNTERclockwise can mean many things...depending on where your point of reference is from. We learned that the little thing that holds the rope at the end of the sail tightly is easily knocked free. Mike learned that the middle of the lake is much colder than the nice warm shore water.....and I learned that I should listen to Mike and wear the stupid life jacket....cause even a lifeguard can get violated by the mast on a catamaran.

Well, needless to say I didn't get any pictures of that, and If I'd brought the camera along, I'd have no pictures of anything at all....the muskies at the bottom of deer lake would have our camera.

Here are some random photos from our vacation:

Julia, preparing for a kayak ride
Playing cards, a Riesgraf tradition, complete with Fuzzy Navels and letting the kids play with the two's and threes during a game of 500
Mary's first boat ride. It must have been windy...
This is Lindsay, Dan's girlfriend,who is simply fantastic. Mary thinks Lindsay is her second mom....
Mary, smiling for the camera right before she poo'd all over this nice new onesie....and on the couch behind it...
Cousin Dan took the cousins to an island in the middle of the lake with a nice sandbar for swimming. Julia LOVED It.

Mike discovered a new love for crossword puzzles...
Grandma Mitzi and her great granddaughter #2
I seem to feel compelled to take a naked butt picture whenever I have the chance. Julia will someday want to kill me for this.
Papa, Julia, and I canoed out to an island. We wore our life jackets. :)
There was a nest of sea gulls on the island, and when we got there, they all flew up in the air and made angry squaks. Mike calls them "rats with wings."
Julia and I got out of the boat and did some exploring
A pair of loons dared to get close to our canoe. Later, I took the kayak out for a spin and got within six feet of a loon! He didn't seem to care that I was even there...I must say it was a bit intimidating looking him in the eye....their eyes are red and they are the size of a turkey!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Day two: on to St. Cloud

The next day of our adventure was spent in St. Cloud, celebrating Grandma Schwartz's 91st birthday. It was fun for all....Mike and I got a nice break from the kids because the rellies were more than happy to hold and/or entertain the kiddos. Plus, there are six or seven other girl cousins just about Julia's age that were there to play with. Ahhhh.....it was splendid....

Here's a generational picture...Great grandma Schwartz, Grandma Ruth, Papa, and baby Mary Here's cousin Bernice and I. On the left is Elsie, on the right is Mary. Our girls were born five hours apart on May 30th. Note the size difference.....

Grandma Schwatrz and her two newest great grandchildren

A family photo with Grandpa Schwartz (93) and Grandma Schwartz (91).

Miss Mary....awake as can be and not a bit camera shy.