Tuesday, December 31, 2013

NovEMBER Visit

In November, Ember visited Wisconsin (hence the ultra-clever blog post title). It had been awhile since she had seen the kids, but they quickly bonded and made up for lost time.

Ember brought some rocks for the kids that she had collected on a number of her mountain climbing adventures.

Julia had to show off her long candy wrapper chain.

After posing for a nice picture, the kids and their aunt had more fun with the crazy shots.

I needed to get in on the fun too!

Though she only stayed with us for a little over a day before she headed to central WI, we found some time to do a little fall hiking around River Falls and nearby.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Scooting the Scans and Scads of Scampering

We hit a milestone with Julia's October scans. She's been going to Children's every three months since Summer of '11 for post-cancer treatment procedures and blood work. This now marks the stretching of that time-frame out to six months. Of course the real good news is that the abdominal ultrasound and chest x-ray showed nothing of concern. She also finished up a two-year physical therapy study by getting a good workout.

Julia's way too big for the toys, but since there was no one else around, she had to give 'em a whirl.

Because she couldn't eat anything until after everything was done, we let her choose whatever she wanted for breakfast. She waited, somewhat impatiently, for her late morning breakfast of Pringles.

And back to the regularly scheduled hiking! Earlier in the Fall, before the leaves started to change and while we had one last burst of warm air, the kids and I had a picnic at Kinnickinnic State Park.

Post-picnic, we walked down the hill to check out the busy St. Croix River.

We dried off by hiking some of the trails before heading home.

We make sure we never neglect the hiking within city limits either. Foster Cemetery is fun to check out during each season.

And along the Kinni always provides for a quick, scenic walk.

Julia saved up to buy her first MP3 player. She was so excited to be able to get her own music and listen to it whenever she wanted.

Finn still lives and breathes legos. He also dreams them. He fell asleep while looking through a catalog for the hundredth time.

Click here to see what Julia looked like when she found out what animal she was posing with at Como Zoo.

Up close and personal with a big cat is always a treat.

And while the leaves were falling outside, even a few giants ones fell in the conservatory.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Summertime - Part 2

Julia turned nine in August. She had a birthday party sleepover to celebrate the day! The theme was Harry Potter and the first movie in the series was planned. The girls only watched part of it before they wandered off and created multiple fashion shows.

There was quite the spread of snacks laid out for the girls. The rest of us enjoyed it too!

After presents, cupcakes, and more giggling, the girls hoisted the birthday kid for a group picture.

We met up with family at the Sun Prairie Corn Fest to share in good weather, good food, and spending quality time together.
The kids always enjoying goofing around with their aunts and uncles.

And Julia and Finn's one cousin is sure to get a lot of their attention.

We had a nice picnic to top things off and to celebrate both Julia and Johannah's birthdays.

On the same trip we were also able to see the other side of the family. Along with the visit, we were fortunate to get a great tour of a fire station.

It was hilarious seeing each kid put on ALL the firefighter gear!

This is Julia giving a thumb's up.

We've camped in the backyard with the kids and Julia has camped with Girl Scouts, but our whole family hadn't gone real camping together...until recently. Our family and three others spent a hot (but fun) weekend at Willow River State Park.
We spent a lot of time by the water to try to stay cool.

Finn and I went kayaking for the first time. I wasn't sure how Finn would do, but he was enthusiastic and handled the vessel quite well!

Even with the heat, we still enjoyed a campfire in the evenings.

At the end of summer each year, the kids get shipped off to split a week at each of the grandparents. They excitedly call it the Kids' Vacation. Amanda and I get excited about it too - extra free time in the evenings is a great treasure!
Taking in some mini-golf is always a treat for the kids.

An evening at the ballpark with extended family made for some nice generational pictures: Julia and her Great Grandpa Ronnie.

Finn was chosen for a race around the bases dressed as a piece of pizza. He didn't win, but I think anyone who gets to dress like pizza is a winner!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Summertime - Part 1

When we want to go for a hike, but don't want to go far, we can always choose the trails at UWRF.
A quick lunch before we got going.

Fortunate to see the herd of horses out and about.

Random sprinklers cooled off the kids.

Finished up with grabbing at fish in the South Fork.

We had numerous summertime activities going on to keep us and the kids busy.

Swimming lessons seem to be a staple.

Having a nearby park to ride 'round and around.

Acrobatics on playgrounds.

Strawberry pickin' and the subsequent pies.

Visits from friends and the little ones that come along looking up to the older kids.

Julia was thrilled to be able to go back to Camp Courage for a 2nd year. She had another great time and came back with many fewer bug bites than last time.

Finn had his first experience with tee-ball. He enjoyed the games, the friends, and the snacks afterward.

At bat.

Running the bases.


At a regularly scheduled appointment at Children's Hospital, Julia fulfilled a promise and brought her guitar along.

Erin, the musical therapist, had wanted to play with Julia - so they finally got to!

A zoo outing seemed to have a lot of focus on funny faces with animals that weren't really alive.