Fall 2012

Fall 2012
[learning to live a perfectly imperfect life]


Did you guess what the kids were looking at?

It was a...


Summer 2010 will also be known as the "Summer of the Toads."

I do not have vast knowledge about toads and their habitats. Maybe we always have lots of toads around here but it wasn't until this year the kids took an interest in them. Or maybe, for some scientific reason, there were more toads around here than normal. (You know, like we've had more rain than a typical year, or the earth is turning on its axis slightly faster than normal, or something else I obviously have no idea about.)

Whatever the case, it was all about toads.

We bought a 4-wheeler in the spring, which has provided hours of fun with Daddy at the river. With the Big Sioux River just a hop, skip, and a jump short 4-wheeler ride from here, Jeremy took the kids down there a lot... to throw sticks in the water, play in the sand, get muddy, and look for...



Each time, the kids would return from their adventure and report to me with such excitement what they had seen.... some deer, a huge stick stuck in the ground, a beaver. But quite often, they brought back proof of their findings.

Both kids liked the toads... but each had their own idea when it came to actually touching them.

Rylee was definitely content just looking.

Carter, on the other hand, began the summer with some hesitation....

got a bit brave from time to time, with some encouragement from Dad....

and by the end of the summer, was handling* them like Jack Hanna's little assistant.

* No toads were harmed during the "Toad-catching Adventures of 2010."

After a trip to the river, I would hear the garage door open, and this is quite typically what I would find.

Two cute kiddos, with mud on their shoes, sand in their pants, and toads in their bucket.

Sometimes, the toads wound up in our large aquarium for awhile...

so the kids could watch them hop around.

For Rylee, it was a good way to see them up close, (you know... without having to actually touch them.)

For Carter, it was just something he had to be patient about until he could help Daddy scoop the toads back up out of the aquarium and back into the bucket.

(You know, after Sid, our box turtle, had had enough of his uninvited guests.)

Then, Jeremy and the kids would let them all go in our backyard.

I would listen to their stories about their trip to the river that day, praise them for being so careful with the toads, (and then quickly scoot them inside to wash their hands!)

Sometimes toads were brought back, simply to make a cozy little (temporary) home for them in the bucket. (This time, just one toad made its way back to our house.)

Both Rylee and Carter liked dropping in little sticks and handfuls of grass.

And Carter, of course, knew exactly what the little toad wanted in his home.

"Mom, he really likes it when the stick is right there. Don't Wy-Wee! (Rylee) He doesn't like the grass there! It goes here!"

But, they always worked it out. The toad would live in his bucket for, say... 20 minutes or so, and then it was time to let him go.

And, before I could scoot them inside to wash their hands, they were already asking, "Daddy, when can we go to the river again? I want to catch TOADS!"

Wordless Wednesday

The Birthday Boy

(Alternately Titled: It's My Party and I'll Post Pictures When I Want To.)

I have lots to catch up on around here... because a lot of the reason I write this blog is for our family, I don't want to miss out on capturing some big events or important milestones for us! (You know, I'm sure the kids will someday read this blog and think, "Geesh, Mom... you didn't even POST about me finding that toad at the river with Dad that one weekend? I am deeply hurt.")

So, as I recover from the Buddy Walk (pictures & details to come!) I will backtrack a bit and see if I can catch up...

* * * * *

Carter turned three this weekend way back in April. Capturing all the fun details of a birthday party and the birthday boy's expressions tends to be much more accurate when posting about it within, say, a month of the actual party.

Posting two months past party date is definitely not ideal, as one's memory slightly fades. However, scanning back through the photos does spark some recollection.

Posting five months past party date is, well... what you get here. I will do my best to describe the fun day with accurate details... (and what I don't remember I will make up to sound even more exciting than what it really was.)

* * * * *

The stage was set.

There was no doubt as to what the theme would be this year.

With a pull-string cowboy and space ranger as a little boy's best friends, it was all about Toy Story.

The birthday boy had been so excited about his party since the first mention of it... and when Mom says it's ok to wear pajamas to the party, it's all that much better.

(Not quite so thrilled about the request for a photo wearing the birthday hat... )

Moving right along to the family picture... you know the traditional "get-us-all-in-here-quickly-and-take-a-picture-of-everyone-smiling -- or-at-least-looking -- before-the-guests-arrive-and-the-kids-take-off-to-play-or-someone-spills-down-the-front-of-their-shirt-or-someone-is-busy-texting-her-friends-or-someone-is-getting-whiny-about-wanting-cake-NOW" photo.

The birthday boy does his best to show his age... if only that pesky pinky would stay down! The other hand comes in to help out, and everyone sees that he is THREE! (Don't be confused about the birthday party theme... Carter snuck on his Lightning McQueen cap, and for a little while, it looked as if the party was a tribute to PIXAR studios.)

It doesn't take long to begin tearing in to the presents... and what should appear are eight tiny reindeer is the very toy that has been the birthday boy's request for months... a "big Buzz."

Guests can sense the excitement, and as he moves on to present #2, he sees that the "Big Buzz" is not alone! Here comes Buzz's friend Woody!

Now, the birthday boy continued to open presents one by one...

with a few "thank yous" tossed in there randomly to those who could hear them.

The birthday boy tries out his Buzz Lightyear arm bands... one has buttons and makes noise (Mom thinks this one is cool) and one shoots out little red plastic disks (Mom is thinking this was designed by someone without children.)

But none-the-less, the birthday boy is thrilled to be "just like Buzz," and shows all of the guests their matching arm bands.

Big sister is so great at standing back and letting the birthday boy open presents, but an equally-great little brother lets her come on in and help out on a few of the presents!

And now for a big surprise from Mom and Dad! A new super-big-kid bed with Toy Story bedding! It takes less than 7 seconds for the birthday boy to gather his new toys -- and JUMP!

And, of course, a jumping-on-the-bed party would not be complete if Buzz Lightyear weren't there to fly around!

Oh yeah... don't forget Woody!

A big kid bed... pretty exciting. But not as exciting as a bed with a shelf for every Toy Story character to sleep on!

And now... what birthday parties are really all about (when you're three)... CAKE!

The birthday boy couldn't decide which Toy Story character he wanted for his cake, so Mom (with Grandma's help) let everyone be a part of the cake! (We're all about inclusion around here.)

After a quick "Happy Birthday" song, the candle was quickly extinguished by the birthday boy's puff of air and spit.

By the time someone turns three, he has learned a lot about patience and delayed gratification... yet, those skills are tossed aside when it comes to cake and frosting.

Just one little taste before it's taken away to be cut...

Oh wait! Maybe two tastes...

With his new Toy Story friends by his side, the birthday boy enjoys his cake and ice cream.

Eventually, all parties have to come to an end... with fun new toys, a big comfy place to sleep, and a full belly, the birthday boy thanks everyone for coming to his party (and passes out from exhaustion on the couch.)

* * * * *

The party may be over, but the birthday boy has a couple of new friends to begin lots of adventures together!

Happy 3rd Birthday Woody! ....... Buzz! ........ CARTER!