Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fall Festival

We had a busy weekend (our social calendar tends to fill up quickly due to our extreme popularity:), and wrapped it up at the Darlings' fall festival. We played touch football--well, I didn't, but hopefully next year!--bobbed for apples, carved pumpkins, talked, ate, and played games until late at night. It was a lot of fun.
It was a costume party, and we decided to take advantage of the Belly. I--or rather Baby--was a basketball, Vance was the hoop, and Isaac was the basketball star. Hopefully you can tell that just by looking at us! :)

Taking a time out to forage for grapes...mmmm

I generally consider apple bobbing to be an unhygenic activity, but due to a) not being much of a germophobe, and b) being a sucker for dares, I got roped into competing against Vance in the bobbing contest. He won.
Below is my first attempt at posting a video. Vance takes on Mike in a heated race for an apple. If you can hear the sound at all, you may pick up my laughter and Isaac's freaked-out screams. The sight of people dunking their heads into a metal bin and the raucous screaming of everyone else was too much for him. But he had a sick fascination with the whole thing, and couldn't stop looking. Hopefully he isn't scarred for life.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ice, ice, baby

Saturday was a fun date night for us. Our wonderful neighbors (and their two boys) took Isaac with them to a nature center festival at 4:30 and watched him for the rest of the evening so that Vance and I could have a date night. We've had a lot of coffee dates lately, so the chance to get away before dinner and enjoy a lesiurely evening together was really exciting.
We went to our new-favorite Chinese restaurant for dinner, where we met a very chatty elderly couple who were rabid U of M athletics fans. They were decked out in all the paraphenalia. For a while I was afraid I wasn't going to get a date with my husband! :) But after they left we got a good chance to talk and talk and talk.
Then we went to my first hockey game. It was so fun! It was a preseason game, but still amazing for a non-hockey initiate to watch. For those of you who've never watched, I highly reccommend this very entertaining sport. Guys are crashing into each other everywhere, doing the craziest moves on ice, and when they're bad, they have to go to Time Out in the penalty box. As a mom of a toddler, it was too funny to watch these college guys dutifully trudge into their isolation station and wait out their two minutes. We had a great time.
And by the way, the U of M's chants don't hold a candle to NCSU's. Any chant that includes spelling the entire state of M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A just loses some of the momentum for me, especially when it's concluded with a rousing, "yaaaaaaaaaaaaay Gophers!" at the end. Give me the good old Wolfpack any day.
This also cracked me up. Iceleaders? Cheerskaters? I don't know, but I'd never seen them before. :)

Yes, we are dorks. We took our picture on our date, and we aren't even in high school. We were just having so much fun, we had to commemmorate the event!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

the unexpected

Since we've been married, Vance and I have been (trying) to keep a pretty tight budget. We tried to live on just his salary when I was working so that we could save up for kiddos. Now we live on his graduate student income plus my small contribution as a part-time piano teacher. We try to be good, really we do, but it's amazing how much money gets spent! But over the last three years, I have been amazed at how faithful God has been to us financially.

Little things, big things--blessings all. Like someone leaving a bunch of organic groceries on our doorstep. Another nameless contributor bringing by some produce when I was just stressing about the food budget. Checks that came in the mail from friends we didn't even talk to that much. Gift certificates from other dear friends. Extra gas money from piano students. The list goes on. Like it says in the psalms (can't remember the reference, sorry), "I was young, and now I am old, but I have never seen the righteous man forsaken, or his children begging bread." It seems that just when I am about to start worrying about how we'll cover the next big expense, God shows his faithfulness to remind me that he is in control.

That happened again this weekend. On Saturday night, Vance and I worked on the finances. Vance pointed out that we were overspending on entertainment, and that we should try to cut back. I hate cutting back on entertainment, because that's our date money. But we figured we could try to do more free/cheap things.

The next morning at church, a close friend came up to us with a gift bag. We had helped her with some yardwork over the summer, and she had come to say thank you. She had two gift certificates to some fun restaurants in the area, plus four movie tickets. That's four dates, people!! We were so thankful--both to Beth, for her generosity, and to God, for knowing our desires and choosing to bless us.

Then this week, Vance's advisor gave us tix to the next U of M hockey game. 6th row seats. I've not been to a college hockey game before, but they say hockey in the Midwest is like basketball in the south. Should be fun--another adventure, and another free date.

Just another kiss on the head from a Father who is so faithful...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Terri, Terri, quite contrary, how does your Baby grow?

...with peanut butter, dark chocolate, and tubs of ice cream all in a row! ..or something like that :)... 29 weeks and counting. We're both getting BIG!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

the many faces of Hazel

Yesterday was (yet another) rainy day, but it was brightened by a visit from Bethany and baby Hazel. Isaac is fairly interested in babies right now, so he enjoyed rocking Hazel in her carseat and touching her nose. Mostly, though, he enjoyed spending time with Bethany. I have a ladies' man on my hands.

It wasn't the greatest day for taking pictures, but I wanted to practice on a baby, so that I can get better before I'm taking shots of my own sweet girl. I'm realizing that babies are easy to shoot because they don't move, and hard to shoot because they don't do much. Most of you don't know Hazel, but I thought I'd share some pictures of our little friend anyway.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Camping on the St. Croix

I was itching to get outside before the weather got too cold, so we took a family camping trip with our new friends, Mike and Karly. It was a great trip, although not without it's little bumps in the road (more on that later). The campground, being only an hour from the Cities, was crowded. Although that wasn't my ideal, it was heaven for Isaac. Dogs, fires, lights, people, all outside, all the time. What could be better?
For those of you who've never seen a Peapod in action, here it is in all it's glory: one of my favorite pieces of kid-gear. Isaac has slept in that tent when we were in Germany last summer, when he spends the night at Beth's house, when he's napping at someone's house during the day...anytime he needs to sleep while we're on the go. He's getting too big for it, though :(. He still fits, but barely. Of course, he did have something like 16 layers of clothing on when we were camping! He was a little freaked out by being in a new place, but I love that he is at the stage where he is comforted just by the sounds of my voice. He started crying a couple of times as he was falling asleep, but I just stood outside the tent and sang a song or two, and he calmed right down.

If only that was our sole musical endeavor for the night. We unfortunately had some drunk neighbors who loved to play one oldies song after another after 2am in the morning. Picture this: you're a rather pregnant woman who wakes up early in the morning to 1) a shivering cold body 2) a strong need to go to the bathroom, and 3) "In The Still of the Night" (the irony was not lost on me, even at 2:30am), "Build Me Up, Buttercup", "Rollin' Down the River", etc, etc. Not a pretty picture. I felt like I was in some sort of twisted nightmare. Thankfully, after suffering through ten or so foot-tappin tunes, I got up the nerve to venture outside, go to the bathroom, and put on another layer of clothing. Mercifully, the music stopped at 3am, and then euphoria set in. I was warm, I was comfy, and I was surrounded by silence. Blissful. And yes, we did tell the park rangers about our nefarious neighbors in the morning. :)

My man, the pyro (or is that just all men? or all people? Everyone loves a good fire.).

Ok, I know I'm a bad mom for letting my son pick up the hatchet, but it was so cute! He really wanted to imitate Vance, and he really thought he was helping. And he didn't cut off his legs at the ankle.

Just look at that impish grin!

It was so cathartic to take a nice long hike, and Isaac loved riding up high.

Did you know that you can whistle through an acorn top? You can! Mike showed us how.

We hiked through the wetlands, which had an open beauty all their own.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

my favorite park

My happy, snaggle-toothed boy (did I tell you he chipped his tooth? he did.)

Zack could swing on the swings forever...sometimes I actually get bored pushing him for so long :)

Please forgive the abundance of Isaac pictures. I've been trying to practice with my new lens, and since children are the most challenging subject and Isaac is my most available subject, you probably feel like you see way too much of him (unless you're one of his grandparents :). But these are some pictures of him at our favorite park up the street.

Monday, October 08, 2007

crazy weather

We have been having some craaazy weather here in Minneapolis...for the last few days it has been as hot as blazes and we've been wishing for our a/c that we had already put away for the year. Today is cold and we are back to our wet and rainy weather. All I can think about is making a nice big pot of soup and cuddling up with a mug of tea.

Yesterday, however, we all fled outside to beat the heat, and I was so grateful that it was Sunday and I didn't have to cook. Our new tradition is to have popcorn and smoothies for dinner on Sundays (well, the popcorn is a well-loved tradition on both sides of the family, the smoothies are our own addition), so I didn't spend long in the kitchen. I'm trying to enjoy these last few times that we can eat outside and send Isaac to play in his skivvies...I know the cold is coming....
Isaac loves being a big boy, and last night we let him eat with us, sans high chair. He thinks he is the stuff when he gets that privelige.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


I love this picture of Isaac and his Aunt Beth. For my birthday, Beth took Isaac overnight so that Vance and I could go shopping and have a relaxing morning together. Beth and Isaac went to Woodlake Nature Center that morning, and we met them there at lunchtime. Isaac always has such a great time with Beth, and he can identify her spontaneously by name now, which is so sweet. Hopefully I'll get some better pictures of them together sometime soon, but this is a good start. They are such good friends, and we are so grateful to God for our dear friend Beth.
Isaac and Vance, checking out an airplane (one of the most exciting machines known to man, don't you think?)
Woodlake has a neat touch-n-fel nature center indoors, complete with a few toddler friendly toys.

of rainy days and laid-back mammas

One of the things that I (sometimes) enjoy about boys is their amazing facility in getting themselves completely and utterly dirty. Yesterday was an easy day for that, thanks to our downpour. It was also one of those days where I didn't care what happened to his clothes. This was the result... :)

birthday fun

Yesterday was my birthday (I am 26 now, thank you very much...does passing the quarter-century mark automatically make me more respectable? Let's hope so :). Lots of people made sure I had a wonderful birthday, from cards and early presents and phone calls and a surprise birthday cake and some things that I had been longing for giftwise. My birthday champion award goes to Beth, who not only went in to get me a new camera lens that I was wanting, but also made me a birthday cake for small group AND took Isaac for the night so that Vance and I could have a leisurely morning this morning spending all my birthday money. She is my hero, and she made "my day" special indeed.

In other news, Isaac chipped his tooth when he tripped and fell on a pot (sounds strange, I know, but it happened). He has now inherited Aunt Allie's old nickname of "Snaggletooth". I'm bummed, knowing that my son will have a chipped tooth until the antique age of 6 or so. He's learning lots of words right now, and can understand more and more. I can't believe how much my little boy is growing up.

And yes, I realize that these pictures have nothing to with my birthday, but these pictures are so much more fun than any picture you would have seen with me, bleary-eyed at breakfast opening my present and eating Vance's pancakes with strawberries & whipped cream. Isaac and Vance are just too photogenic to leave out of this post. :)