Friday, July 7, 2017

Lana's Summer Marathon of Fun, Part 1 (Bike Camp and Ross Point)

Last summer Lana learned(ish) how to ride her bike(ish). We decided to sign her up for bike camp to help her get better on two wheels and gain more confidence as a rider. Bike camp did all that and more. The instructor and his helpers got all the kids riding upright and took them on jumps and ramps, down some maintain biking trails, and helped them work on riding up and down hills safely. They learned about proper helmet fit, basic bike maintenance and riding rule and etiquette. They also rode their bikes a lot, which is exactly what Lana needed.

The first day I picked Lana up, she proudly rode her bike around the obstacle course without falling, a grand improvement over what she did when I dropped her off five hours earlier. She excitedly told me. "I crashed three times and have two band-aids and IT WAS AWESOME!" I took my cues from her and figured if she wasn't too hung up on the injuries, I wasn't going to be either.
Over the course of the week Lana earned the nickname of Crash Queen, but also earned the admiration and respect of the other campers and the instructors for dusting herself off and getting back on her bike after every fall. I was expecting Lana's bike riding skills to improve over the course of the week, but it was her strength of character that probably grew the most. Lana wants to do one of the more advanced bike camps next year and I think that's a great idea.

After Bike Camp came Ross Point Baptist Camp, the only overnight camp Lana's got scheduled this summer. For Lana's age group, she's only gone Sunday-Wednesday, but that's certainly enough time for me to miss her. Ross Point is very much a typical, traditional summer camp. There's swimming in the Spokane River, as well as canoeing and paddling, campfires, a climbing wall, singing silly songs, Bible studies, s'mores, staying up too late, and making a dozen new friends.

Lana loved going last year and I knew she'd love it again. More than anything, she's excited for next year because she gets to stay for a whole week. I can easily see our girls going back to Ross Point year after year after year.

Two camps down, six more to go! These two are definite keepers.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Goodbye Spring, Hello Summer!

With tomorrow being the first official day of summer break, I thought I should chronicle some of our highlights from this past spring.

Lana's Science Fair Project - Let's Make Crystals!
(Not Crystal Meth, like it kind of appears the board reads. We didn't make drugs, I promise : )

Easter egg hunting is the best!

Sweeties on Easter morning!

We visited some fun spots for Go Idaho articles.
Here's the one for Shattuck Arboretum.

We enjoyed some incredible sunsets......

.....and some pee-wee soccer fun.

Little House on the Prairie day was a big hit.....

.....and I think Lana and Nora made the cutest Mother's Day cards ever!

Lana rocked her singing solo and her 3 lines in the church's children's musical.

Our Memorial Weekend at the cabin was like hitting the resent button.

Double rainbows are beautiful!

We've got lots coming up this summer and maybe (just maybe) I'll hop on her to update every once in a while : )

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Happy Birthday Nora!

Yesterday this bundle of personality and spunk turned three years old. Being a day-after Christmas baby means the party is small (just the four of us), the activities are easy (a movie and lunch at McDonald's) and the treats are store-bought (grocery store cupcakes because the fancy bakery was closed and I was done with baking). However, the giggles and squeals from the birthday girl were as delightful as any could be.

Three years of snuggles, stubbornness, dancing in the snow, infectious laughs, and sloppy kisses are all wrapped up in this one little girl. Nora knows her own mind and lets her wants be known. (Yesterday she wanted a birthday hat and a birthday dress, so I dug around and found both. She didn't care that the hat was a crushed leftover from last year or that the dress needed ironing.)

This girl challenges me more than anyone on the entire planet and also holds on to me tighter than anyone ever could. She's taught me a lot about patience, expectations, and perseverance in the last three years and I'm sure will continue to in the years to come.

Happy Birthday Nora!


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Crafty Girls!

When Lana was a wee toddler, we started a tradition of inviting a few girls and their moms over for a morning of Christmas crafting fun. This year was out 5th annual party and it was a success! Eight little girls and four moms made ornaments and nativity blocks and cards and got messy with paint and glue and stickers galore!

 Nora loved being a part of the good times this year!



Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The End (of Summer) is HERE!

The first day of school is TOMORROW! I am really looking forward to getting back into our regular routine. Summer has been great, but I am a creature of habit, and I just never felt like I was on top of our makeshift summer routine.

This morning I asked Lana is she was excited for school to start. She kind of gave me a mumbled, "I guess?" but didn't really elaborate. Oh no! What had I missed? What was she dreading? Why wasn't she looking forward to school?

A quick conversation cleared it all up. Lana didn't dislike school, she was just going to miss all the fun things she did over the summer. When I thought about it from her perspective, of course she might be a bit sad. Her summer was pretty epic.

Let's recap:
*Overnight camp with a dozen other girls and two fabulous counselors *Ziplining at a friend's 4th of July party *Park time with cousins *Big BBQ with fire trucks *Bowling with Cody *Picking flowers with Grams


*A day at Silverwood *Gymnastics Camp *Cougar Kids Camp *Lots of summertime treats!

Not to mention two different VBSs, hours of uninterrupted outdoor play, adventures with Mom for GoIdaho.com articles, pool time, and getting spoiled and loved on by extended family. Yeah, I get it. I might not be all that excited to return to school and "regular" life either.

I shifted the conversation by asking about Lana's favorite school subjects like Art, Science, and Music. She perked up pretty quickly talking about those things. Maybe not with as much gusto as talking about camp, but I'll take it.

Nope, the school year isn't the same as summer, and contrary to what the seven-year old thinks, that's actually a good thing.

Friday, August 5, 2016

I'm still here, I promise!

No, really, I am.

While I've been less-than-faithful about keeping this blog updated, I've actually been writing more than I have in years. I am regularly contributing to two different websites. Both sites are very professionally done and have a growing readership and I'm still so excited I get to be a part of them.

I've been writing for the Moms Code Blog for about 6 months. I love the funny and relatable content. Here's my latest post:
Back-to-School

More recently, I've been writing for an online magazine, Go Idaho!
They don't seem to mind that I don't actually live in Idaho, as long as I keep writing about the cool people and places in the state. New issues come out every Friday. I often have the girls with me when I visit a new place, so you might just see a picture or two of your favorite 7 and 2-year old.
Here are a few articles:
UI Arboretum (You can see the girls hunt for fairies.)
Q'emiln Park (Lana's pink hair makes a cameo.)

And if you really want to know what we've been up to, I guess I can tell you.
It's summer. For Lana that means camps, VBSs, working on her summer reading list, and generally having a grand time as all 7-year olds should. Nora's schedule has fewer camps, but no less fun. Dan and I still go to work everyday, make dinner every night, and definitely get the short end of the summer vacation stick. Sigh, thus is adulthood.

Here are some pictures of summer so far.
Lana soaring high!

Nora swinging (not too) high!

Nora poked her head out of the window and said, "I want coffee please!" Perhaps she's seen Mommy order a coffee or two. Perhaps.

Lana loved dancing with sparklers on the 4th of July.

Cougar Kids Camp is AWESOME!

Both girls got to take a lovely painting class.




Sunday, June 19, 2016

His Biggest Fans

I wonder, in the history of fathers and daughters have two little girls ever loved and adored their daddy as much as these two do? Do other daughters ask when their daddy will be home? Do other little faces light up with excitement when they hear the familiar sound of their dad pulling into the driveway? Probably. But that certainly doesn't diminish the joy that seeing these sweeties love on their dear daddy brings.

 In Lana and Nora's eyes, their daddy is really a superhero. He can drive anything, fix everything, lift the heaviest object, and still snuggle with them before bed. He truly is their favorite person in the whole wide world. Which makes sense, because he's my favorite person too.

Happy Father's Day, Dan!
From your three biggest fans.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Seven (7!)

This lovely lady turns seven years old today.

School just ended five days ago, but Lana already considers herself a full-fledged second grader. She's excited to try new things, fearless, and full of ideas for new stories, new inventions, and new ways to have fun.

Oh, and right now she has pink hair. The summer you turn seven is the perfect time to have pink hair.

She's artistic, compassionate, works hard, and is the most loyal friend you could ever wish for. She loves her little sister fiercely, is incredibly creative, and still likes to snuggle with me on the couch.

Lana has made a couple for goals for herself this summer, including learning how to ride a bike and learning how to tie her shoe laces. She'd also like to swim often, camp in a tent, and have a giant water fight. I'll have to see which of those requests can be granted.

She's as sweet as that s'more she's chomping on and brings me so much joy I can hardly contain myself.
Happy Birthday Dearest Lana! I hope 7 is just as awesome as you are!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

"Does it taste good?" Thoughts on family history, traditions, and food.

My Grandma Carol makes the most delicious canederli you'll ever eat in your whole life. They're dense and hearty and full of flavor. They're also full of history. Grandma learned to make them from her grandma, who very likely learned from her mother or grandmother.

(Side note: I've also seen it spelled kenederle, kanederly, and canederle. I have no idea what spelling is authentic and "correct." If anyone reading this is knowledgeable about foods from the Italian-Austrian border region, please fill me in.)

Canederli is a traditional dumpling that is made of dried bread, chopped meats, and an onion. The dumplings are held together with eggs and a bit of milk. The dumplings are cooked in simmering (not boiling) stock and served hot and still steaming. Canederli is very typical cucina povera fare. Cucina povera translates to "poor kitchen" and this is the type of food that was typical in the peasant diet. Cucina povera recipes call for staple ingredients, and those that could easily be found locally, or like this one, used bits and ends of leftovers to create something filling and delicious. Peasants weren't in the habit of throwing out still-usable food, and neither am I, so this recipe that has been passed down for generations has a special place in my heart.

First, we start with the bread.Traditionally, staling bread would have been torn apart into small pieces, here I have my two sweeties ripping into some day-old bread from my lab. Because the bread wasn't stale, the torn pieces were dried in the oven for a few minutes.

While the girls were being my helpers, I explained to Lana how through the generations, it's typically been the women who have cooked for their families, and therefore it's been the women who have passed on their family's food histories and traditions. I'm not sure she felt the true weight of what I was trying to teach her, instead asking, "Yeah, but Mom? Does it taste good?" She's clearly only focused on the end result and hundreds of years of tradition can be thrown out the window if the recipe in question doesn't taste good.

The dumpling balls came together nicely.


And the end result? It tastes good, Lana. So very good!