Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Summer in the City

I remember running through sprinklers as a kid. The thrill of that freezing cold spray, the freshly mowed grass plastered to my wet feet, the joy of screaming at the top of my lungs just because I could...

This year Max was able to enjoy his first sprinkler run! It took him a few tries (I showed him how it's done) and he was a little wary at first, but once he got the hang of it, he was unstoppable. He pounded the pavement for as long as we'd let him- back and forth from steps to garage, squealing and shouting, sticking his face full on into the blast. He even got to try a waterslide!

Hooray for home-ownership! Hooray for sprinklers! Hooray for summer!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I've Seen Better Days

Centennial Lakes has children's entertainment every Tuesday and Thursday during the summer, and I found out last Thursday that the performers were the Okee Dokee Brothers! Well, of course we went- as soon as Max found out, he went and posted himself by the door (even though I wasn't planning on leaving for an hour).

I've been feeling like lately Max and I have come to an understanding about boundaries and distance- I don't keep him closely reigned in, and he doesn't go out of my sight... usually. I guess Thursday he decided to test the waters to see if he still had to hold up his end of the bargain. Judging by the way he acted, I may need to rewrite the rules.

"From now on, you must stay within arms reach of your mother, because I'm tired of having to chase you to keep you from taking other kids' food!"

Yeah, I was that mother of that child who's always getting in the way at fun events. For starters, he went and stood in the middle of another family's picnic blanket, begging for french fries. Thankfully, they were sweet and invited him to bring his own food over and join them, which he did willingly!

Then he moved on to another blanket and gathered up all of the toys of some 9-month-old twins. He would have carried them off, I'm sure of it, if I hadn't caught up with him. The kids' nanny wasn't too thrilled with him- she grabbed the toys back and hid them away, and I saw her eying him warily every time he came near them the rest of the afternoon.

I shepherded him back to our own blanket to finish his lunch before the concert started, just as Lucian decided he was hungry. Of course, as soon as I had Lucian under a blanket and myself incapacitated, Max decided to take off for the steps. I helplessly watched him go for a minute, and I saw concerned mothers look around for his guardian as he made his way quickly out of my sight. Thankfully, Lucian took a break so I could go chase after him- and at the top of the stairs I found him chatting with the Okee Dokee Brothers! Oh Maximilian, always the social butterfly.

This escape warranted a time-out in his stroller, which he hated, but when his time was up nothing changed. After the music started, he played with the extension cords connected to the band's amp, he ran off across a bridge in the other direction, he tried to steal a little girl's butterfly net, he stepped over countless blankets/babies/lunches and ran me ragged.

The vast majority of moms were very understanding, and actually thought he was adorable! And the escapes weren't anything too dangerous (except the fact that the amphitheater was surrounded on two sides by water), but I simply wanted my son to behave. Is that too much to ask?

I hate to do it, but next time I'll have to change the consequence from a stroller time-out to simply leaving. He's just not getting the memo yet.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

All Grown Up

Last night, Paul and I had a glass of wine with dinner. Every time we break out the wine glasses, Max asks as sweetly and politely as he can muster "Can I have some of this please?" Yes, he has gotten tiny sips on occasion, but I think he hopes that one of these days we'll just give in to his over-the-top efforts and pour him a sippy cup full.

But our response is always the same. "Wine is a grown-up drink. When you're a grown-up, you can have some too." ("Blast! Foiled again... I'll need to change my tactics" he thinks)

This morning, Max found a pair of Paul's flip-flops and shuffled into the room. "Oh, Max, that's a good look for you!" I said.

"I look like a...." he asked, waiting for me to fill in the blank.

"You look like a grown up!" I responded, without thinking. Then with a twinkle in his eye, he paused, looked straight at me and asked in a sugary voice,

"....Can I have some wine?"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mommy Rogers

Dear Sara,

It's been a long, hard road, but here you are now weeks from delivery! You're about to meet this little girl and begin a chapter of your life unlike anything you could ever imagine. I've already begun to plan our play dates, imagine our conversations about school choices, and practice what I'll say to Lucian when he wants to ask "that Rogers girl" to Prom.

I could throw you a baby shower every day until "labor day", that's how excited I am to meet this little one- and I know Angela and all of your friends feel the same. I hope that a few platters of food, some party games and a pile of gifts gave you at least an inkling of how much we love you and Baby SJ.

I can't wait to raise children with you, my neighbor and friend!


The party planners with the guest of honor (Taryn, Sara, Angela)

Sara Smo and Weston, Grandma Kay and Sara R, and lots of tasty food!

Playing one of the party games, "Baby Necessities Scattergories"

The very excited, very proud Grandma with Mama and Baby

Girls' Weekend!

The Girls at brunch
It's been a long time coming...

An entire weekend spent with my girlfriends, no men allowed! (except those under 8 months old, of course) Paul took Max for the whole weekend, and he spent most of his time with the other "single dads" and their kids, Aaron and Luci, Luke and Lachlan. I love Max with all my heart, but I didn't look back when our car drove him away for two full days, and I didn't call to check up on him once. I figured no news is good news, and I was ready to treasure every second with only an immobile baby to care for. Rest and relaxation, conversation long into the night, waaaay too much good food... it was a much appreciated break from the everyday.

Karen, Laura, Sarah L

On Friday, I went grocery shopping with Karen while Sara and Angela watched my kiddos. I had forgotten how fun grocery shopping can be with a friend and no children. We brought the food to my parents' house- our getaway for the weekend- and the girls slowly trickled in until late afternoon, fourteen in all, plus four babies!

Grillmeisters Karen and Angela

Sarah S and Emily with Baby Augustine

Swimming was the order of the day all afternoon, and we grilled hamburgers and brats for dinner. Later on, we settled in to the living room and chatted until 2am. Saturday morning came with more conversation, snacking, and swimming (when we all finally got up the energy to move it outside), then we quick-changed it in time for 5:00 Mass. I never imagined that so many girls could go from full swim attire to Sunday Best in thirty minutes flat, but we did it! Amazing, we are.

Bathing beauties Sara R, Jinger, and Shannon

Mass was incredible- I got to soak up the beautiful voices around me (Lily & Shannon, I could listen to you both all day!) and Sara R held Lucian so I could really pray after Communion. Whoa. It's amazing what God can do with only a few short minutes of total focus!

Saturday night brought us Tim-Tam Slams, courtesy of our favorite "Aussie", Angela. For lack of a better description, it was like taking a shot of a chocolate cookie (no alcohol involved). Yeah, I know- you'll have to try it to understand! We played a rousing round of Bowls (Animal PUNCH! Punch, punch! Punchpunchpunchpunch), ate more snacks, and again stayed up until 2am. Yeah I know, two nights in a row? I haven't done that since college. (I paid for it later, but it was SO worth it!)

Angela teaches us how to correctly perform a Tim Tam Slam

Brunch on Sunday morning was perfect, and then everyone pitched in to prepare for Sara's Baby Shower (which of course will have a post all to itself); even the guest of honor spread cream cheese on sandwiches! After the shower, we cleaned and packed... another girls' weekend come and gone in a flash.

Feeling kicks from Babygirl Rogers (i.e. Sara Junior/ SJ/ Cherry Armoire)

Sara, Angela, Jess, Karen, Sarah, Sara, Emily, Shannon, Sarah, Catherine, Laura, Lily, and Jinger, you are all beautiful women. Thank you for making my transition back to Minnesota basically seamless! To steal a line from Angela... Love ya, mean it!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Feast of St. Maximilian

Maximilian Robert and Maximilian Bernard

August 14 is the feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe, Max's patron. We were in Rapid for the special day, so we got to celebrate with lots of fun people! First thing in the morning, Paul and I stole away to get donuts (one with sprinkles for Max, of course!), balloons and a feast day gift. While Liam distracted Max, we decorated the kitchen and then called him upstairs. Grandpa Yantes made a delicious breakfast, and we followed it up with donuts and coffee (have I mentioned that's one of my favorite food combos? Well it is.) Then Max opened his presents and played with balloons for awhile. After popping most of them and scaring the pudding out of Lucian with each BANG, we took the party to the mall play area to get some energy out before the trek out to the Trask Homestead.

When the rest of the Yantes clan shipped out to a wedding, Paul and I took Max and Louie to Dal Zell, Trask Territory. It was a blast watching Max and Patrick play together- they're finally getting old enough to occasionally play with each other instead of just beside each other! Al was out combining, so Paul provided some cold beers and company until they came in for a game of Tee Ball with the boys.

The Daniels came out for dinner and a bonfire, s'mores, ice cream and fireworks! We stayed late into the night, until the kids all looked ready to drop over any second. Max Daniel took our Max under his wing, explaining that they were celebrating their feast day together, "But I'm Maximilian Bernard, and you're Maximilian Robert." Little Max thought that was super cool, and he talked about "Maximilian Bern" the whole next day!

We got in some great conversation around the fire and decided that next time we will try to get a picture of all of the kids together before, rather than three hours after, bedtime.

Al & Bridget, Jacques & Annie, we miss you guys!!

St. Maximilian Kolbe, Pray for us!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Feels Like Home

Forever more, I am going to have two places to call home. Both the drive to Rapid City and back to Minnesota felt like I was returning, rather than leaving!

As always, our visit to Rapid wasn't long enough, but we had a great time and got to see lots of wonderful people. Thursday morning was Monica's Bridal shower with a bunch of beautiful Rapid City Catholic women. This was followed by lunch at Bully Blends and shoe shopping with Monica, Kelley, and Bridget while Grandma took Max and Liam swimming at the Y. In the evening, we went to a Chuckwagon dinner and show- barbecue, beans, cornbread, potato and applesauce all slopped onto a tin plate, and a local group performing an array of country and classic rock hits. Max loved the music (and making piles of gravel on the floor), and I loved watching him dance!

The next day was spent with various visitors swinging by, as is always the case at the Yantes house. I hope that our home can be just like that some day! Golf for the boys and more shopping for the girls took us to the end of the day, a relaxing evening of ice cream and a movie.

Saturday was Max's feast day!! I have so many pictures, this day is going to get a post all to itself. But for a brief synopsis, there were donuts, Matchbox cars, balloons, t-ball, fireworks, bonfire, and FRIENDS! Max had a great day.

Of course, Sunday came too soon. We went to Mass, had a pizza lunch, and then it was time to pack up and move out. It was easier to leave this time, only because we knew we would be back in less than two months for the WEDDING!! Can't wait for that!

It was so great to spend time with all of Max's aunts and uncles (minus Megan- WE MISS YOU!!!!!). Liam is a young man who took great care of Max all weekend, and Patrick is within millimeters of passing Paul up in height (although Paul would want me to add that he can still beat his little brother in both disc golf and regular golf). Kelley got to meet Lucian for the first time, and it was fun to get in on the latest wedding discussions with Monica.

We're counting down the days til we can make the trip again!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A page from the Lazy Mom Handbook

If you don't feel like clearing off the table,

Just have a picnic lunch on the living room floor!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ready, Set, Jump!

When I was in high school, I really enjoyed the fact that my parents had a pool. Our house tended to be THE hangout spot in nice weather, and it was great having the option to swim right at my fingertips. But not until this summer have I fully appreciated this glorious oasis in my parents' backyard. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but I would add that a lack of central air conditioning, a rambunctious two year old, and 90+ degree weather have made this heart grow fonder.

Whenever we want to (and we have wanted to a LOT lately) we pack up and drive to Burnsville for a dip in the pool. It doesn't cost us a penny and we have the place to ourselves- except when my cousins stop by, which makes it even more fun!

Max swims like crazy in his life jacket, but he prefers to splash around in freedom so that he can go underwater. When I was his age, I doubt I was even willing to put my face in the water; this kid dunks himself, eyes wide open, and comes back up laughing! Also, in the last couple of weeks, he has gotten comfortable jumping off the edge of the pool by himself. It scared the daylights out of me a few times, but he can even make it back up to the surface on his own. Now we're working on those first few doggy paddles, and I'm thinking that by the end of the summer he may be able to keep himself afloat!

Lucian, you're next.

Hot enough for ya?

On this incredibly hot and humid day I'm reminded of last Tuesday...

(cue flashback music)

I woke up in the morning expecting a very normal, low-key day. Morning walking plans with a friend got canceled, so I decided to check the weather to see if it might be a good day to invade Grandma and Grandpa's pool (tired of us yet, Grandma?)

Lo and behold, the hourly forecast predicted cloudless skies and steadily increasing temperatures throughout the day, reaching past 90! Yep, it's a swimming day. So I called Grandma to invite ourselves over, but she had a morning appointment so we planned to come down after lunch. That left us the morning to chill out at home, turn on the a/c if it got too hot, and leisurely pack up for the trip down to Burnsville.

Not so.

At about 10:30, right when I was starting to debate whether open windows and fans were keeping us cool enough, I heard a strange noise.... I think the fridge just stopped running. Crud. Then I looked up- lo and behold, the fan was starting to spin slower and slower. Power outage!! I called the power company- all they could tell me was that it could take up to four hours to fix. No big deal, right? I was planning to leave anyways, let's just bump up the departure time a couple of hours. I called my parents and packed up the kids quickly; the house was heating up fast.

Out to the garage we went- a little stifling, but no worries, we'd be out of there in no time! (Ahh, you see where this is going, right?) I pressed the garage button... nothing. So I did what I always do in these situations- I called Paul. He told me where the lever was to release the door, but then the door wouldn't stay open so I called him again. He told me how I could try to lock it in place, but that didn't work so I called him again. He even offered to take an early lunch break and come home to help me, but I think he knew I could figure it out.

In the meantime, I found out from John Rogers that the power was out all over the area- even across the river into St. Paul! This could take longer than we thought. He offered to come help with the garage (Thanks John!) but I finally figured out how to prop it open with a ladder before he had to make his way over.

I pulled the car out of the garage, blasting the a/c- I'm so thankful that cars aren't connected to the city power grid. Finally, we were on our way to the pool! Now the city can take its time fixing the power, we're in the clear.

Literally three minutes after I had pulled away from the house, I got a call from John. "Hey, just wanted to let you know the power's back on!"

Super. Great timing, Xcel Energy!

Oh well, we went and enjoyed a full day in the water anyways. Max has turned into a little fish lately! He spent over four hours in the pool with Shanni and Sawyer. So much for a quiet day at home!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bedtime Stories

Each evening, after prayers, we have been reading a chapter from The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh. I loved the old Pooh movies growing up, but I never read the actual A.A. Milne stories... at least not that I remember. I had no idea how funny they were- Paul and I laugh out loud at Eeyore's cynical sarcasm, Baby Roo's non-stop chatter, and the misadventures of Pooh and Piglet.

Throughout our reading, Max has started to call himself Roo. Fitting, in more ways than one! Max's new found favorite thing to do is jump- on the ground, off of steps, into the water, anything! That in combination with the way he narrates nearly everything he does makes him a perfect Roo! (While playing Pooh Sticks, Roo waits for his stick to come into view: "'I can see mine!' cried Roo. 'No, I can't, it's something else. Can you see yours, Piglet? I thought I could see mine, but I couldn't. There it is! No, it isn't. Can you see yours, Pooh? I expect my stick's stuck. Rabbit, my stick's stuck. Is your stick stuck, Piglet?'")

Now we've come to the end, and we're looking for suggestions of a new bedtime story for Max. Any ideas? Maybe we'll just start over and enjoy the adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh again!

Our little Roo, in midair

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Visit from Glenn

Take One...Max, let's try this again

On his way back to Chicago from Rapid City, soon-to-be-Uncle Glenn stayed over at our house. It's proven really nice to be located at a mid-point for traveling relatives, because we get visitors whenever they hit the road!

It was a quick visit, but we packed in some good conversation and some exciting moments to make it a really memorable evening. Glenn arrived in time for dinner after about 10 hours of travel time on an 85 degree day, super grateful for our air conditioner (his car has none at the moment... ouch.) and we enjoyed Paul's grilled masterpieces with a nice cold beer.

After dinner, we decided that the weather had cooled off enough to take a walk to the park before bedtime. Our plans of stopping for a smoothie were foiled when we strolled up at 8:05 and the coffee shop was already closed! Sad! Someday, Glenn, you will experience the amazing Mango Smoothie.

We continued on to the park and Max ran ahead, as usual. He got to the playground and started running his usual route, across the two bridges toward the tube slide. However, this time he got side tracked and noticed a big kid crossing the monkey bars. Before we knew what was happening, Max was hanging by both hands from the first bar, with nowhere to go but down! As he hung on (a good ten seconds) Paul took off around the play set and got there just as he was landing in the sand. Poor kid had quite a scare, but no scratches or bruises to show off.

Talk about making an entrance!

In no time, he was back on his feet, playing like nothing had happened. As it started to get dark, we headed home for prayers, a story, and bedtime for the boys. We stayed up chatting for quite some time, but eventually our beds started calling to us as well. Glenn headed out early the next morning to beat the traffic and hopefully some of the heat!

Thanks for stopping by, Glenn! You are welcome here anytime.

Take two... there, that's better!