A while ago, Ian was constantly saying the word “da-dis” and I couldn’t figure out what he meant. It was Jess who was looking at photos with Ian when he made the discovery. Jess pointed to mom, Ian said “Mama.” He pointed to himself, Ian said “Dada.” Then he pointed to Oliver, Ian said “O-ee.” He pointed to Ansel, Ian said “Da-dis.”  Ansel is now sometimes Da-dis around these parts, and he kind of likes it. He’ll say to Ian, “Come with Da-dis,” or “Give Da-dis a hug.” The rest of us have taken to it too. This makes Ansel Ansel 80 percent of the time, and Da-dis the other 20 percent. 

And Here’s the nick-namer himself. Growing and talking up a storm these days. He’ll say hello to people on the street. He loves to wave good bye to Jess as he leaves for work. He’s loves dogs, cars, books, and balls. And he can never get enough cottage cheese. 



The other night Ansel declared to Jess and me that he wants to be a ninja when he grows up. Apparently, he feels like he is a ninja-in-training because he’s spent some time at an America-Ninja-Warrior-based obstacle course and he can’t get enough of it. 

We asked him how he plans to make money as a ninja, to which he replied, “I’ll just go to the bank and get some.” 


Spring break in the warmth

We headed down south for Spring Break again this year. It did not disappoint. It’s always such a great time to spend time together with extended family. We hiked, and sand duned, and swam. We were never short on food, fun, and conversation. Pics below. 

Ansel plays some music at the coolest park I’ve visited. 

Making cairns at Red Cliffs. 

Playing in the water and sand with cousins. 

Ian looking hip with Dad’s sunglasses. 

The blue, green, and red of this scene was so beautiful. 

Admittedly, I didn’t take too many photos because I was having lots of fun. It was a perfect break for us. So much so that on the morning after we got back home, I awoke thinking we were still there.


March wrap up

We had a good month over here. Here’s a quick bit of our latter end of the month. 

We went ice skating at the Olympic Oval. 

Have I ever shared on this blog how good Jess is at ice skating? He played hockey as a kid and practiced and practiced. I am not exaggerating when I say I have never been to an ice rink where he is not the best hockey skater there. I could watch the guy skate for days. And he keeps his hands in his pockets! Now that is confidence.

We competed in the family bowling tournament. 

We didn’t win any trophy his year, but we had a lot of fun. The place we bowl at has been around for years and has looked the same for all those years. 

Oliver did a report on Theodore Roosevelt. He did a great job and we had a fun time making a video presentation. I love how on the top of his poster it says, “Very nice president.”

Ansel checked on our flower blooms daily. He was also very excited to wear this green vest for his preschool’s St Patrick’s celebration. 

Ian ate his sweet potatoes. Thank goodness, because his love of spinach is nonexistent. And yes, he is wearing Halloween pjs. This was a laundrynday for sure. And yes, I have a very sharp nose!

We celebrated my birthday and took this photo right before picking up the kids from grandma and grandpa’s. Niether of us had washed our hair that day since it was a busy Saturday and wanted to make sure we had picture proof of how amazing it still looked. 

Ansel and his cousin entertained themselves as I returned some things to the store. 

And then they all had the greatest time saying hello to the Easter bunny from afar. Ian did not want that thing to get near him, but he couldn’t stop smiling at it when it was sitting down. 

We held the first neighborhood Easter egg hunt at our house. It was a great time. Filling 500+ eggs was actually kind of fun. Plus, I hid them in the yard instead of scattering them (when did an Egg Hunt become an Egg Scatter? Anyhow...). Most were filled with candy. Some were filled with 50 cent pieces. And I hid one silver egg with a two dollar bill in it. This kept the older kids very interested in the whole thing. Afterward, one seven year old came up to me and said, “Next year you’ve got to hide 1000 eggs!” I’d better start filling them now. Ha! All my neighbors were very helpful and some brought more eggs and food. 

I had over six target bags filled to the brim!

Ansel made a sign to hang up before everyone came over. 

The hunt took about 8.5 minutes, but people hung around to eat and chat. It was a beautiful day and a lot of fun. 

And finally, I got my oil changed and unfortunately, for them, the boys had to tag along. They did a great job. At one point Oliver and Ansel saw the garbage can and said, “Why is there a recycling sign on a bin that says ‘trash only’?”  That bin along with the “accelerated service” the dealership touted as being an oil change and tire rotation in 30 minutes or less was false advertising. But I think the kids ate half of the refreshments they offered at the place, so our two hour stay wasn’t all bad. 

Now for April! It started off with April fools jokes which included hiding the cereal (Oliver’s trick) to poking his parents (Ansel’s trick). We are off to a good start!



A perfect activity for a chilly afternoon. 


Pinewood Derby round 1

This week we had the chance to experience the Pinewood Derby. I’d never been to one and didn’t know what to expect. Jess worked on Oliver’s car the night before making sure the weight was around 5 ounces. Oliver and I finished it the day of the races. To finish the car the directions read:

Apply several coats of sanding sealer; then sand entire car with a fine-grade sandpaper. Give model at least two coats of fast-drying paint in your choice of color. When paint is completely dry sand with a fine sandpaper, apply a final coat of paint and allow to dry thoroughly. TO FINISH, rub entire car with a rubbing compound. Details such as steering wheel, windshield, driver, racing numbers, etc., should be added now. For a super finish apply a coat of auto wax and run to a high gloss. 

Um, yeah. Congrats if you got through that whole thing. We spray painted the car red and Oliver put some designs on it with a white paint marker. Not bad at all. Our motto: simple succeeds. Oliver finished 9th out of 30 cars. He was happy with the result. 

It was quite the event. I think the little siblings enjoyed it almost as much, maybe a bit more, than the kids participating. 



It was a whirlwind of a weekend. Jess headed off to Texas to run a Ragnar race. He had a fun time and ran fast. His team finished fourth overall (out of 100+ teams) and had the best team van out there! It was fun to get a text here and there to be updated on the latest. In the photo below, see his reflection in that van there? Look to your right. His team was the NachoAverageRunners and had a Nacho Libre theme. His brother and sister-in-law put it together and are so creative. Love it!

Back at home it got a little crazy. It culminated with discovering that Ian had spilled paint on our office carpet (while I was folding clothes and the other boys were in the room with him, albeit doing something else), rushing to make a moustache for Oliver’s Theodore Roosevelt report, restocking the school art supplies (emergency!), and handing out candy to the kids at lunch for spirit day, plus hosting a gaggle of kids on Friday (and while making them hot chocolate I couldn’t get the whipped cream to, well, whip)! Needless to say on Saturday, I was tired and mentally exhausted. I went to bed at 8:45pm. I should probably do that every night. Haha!

But it was also a weekend of good times. My favorite part was when the kids decided to do this:

That’s right. They slid down the park hill on their bellies. Believe it or not, zero grass stains on their clothes. A miracle! They also did some of this:

...with some friends one afternoon. They call this the zip line and all the kids love it. 

And then there’s Ian. He is riding the scooter with no fear.

Ollie decided to take that same scooter down the sliding hill. 

Wahoo! I guess that was a fitting way to end our whirlwind weekend on a Sunday afternoon. 


Snapshot of the latest

Do you find that the amount of pictures you take correlates directly to the temperature outside? If the temperature is higher I take more photos, which means these cold winter months don’t get as much photo recognition. With that, I give you a quick snapshot of these days with some of the few photos I’ve taken. 

This cute kid is 18 months old and as active as can be. He likes to do everything everyone else is doing. He sings and dances to music, loves basketballs, golf balls, baseballs, soccer balls. He can’t get enough time in swinging, riding his scooter, and reading. Oh yes, and he loves to eat snow. 

We went sledding on a beautiful sunny day in February. 

I took Ian down the hill and he sort of liked it. When Jess showed me this photo all I could think of was, “I totally have mom sledding form here!” The boots, the hood, the face! Ha!

Ansel and Ollie take a breather after several good runs. 

Ansel REALLY wanted to go bowling one afternoon so we made it happen. We have a family bowling tournament coming up and the kid wanted to get some practice in. 

It was league night and the older people couldn’t get enough of Ian. We had several octogenarians smile and wave to the little guy. He was eating it up. 

Jess and I visited the Tiffany Glass exhibit and LOVED it. I mean, look at this wisteria lamp!?! The cost for this lamp was around $499, that’s $10,000 in today’s dollars. These lamps now go for over a million. The workmanship. Wow!

It was fun to see the lamp below because we have a copycat version of it in our home. This outing was a rare date for Jess and I and we were like, “Gee, it sure is fun to hang out together.” Ha!

We took the kids to a basketball game and they enjoyed the first half, tolerated the second half, and could hardly stand the overtime. I remember feeling the exact same way when I was their age going to college basketball games. But it was a great game and we went home with the win!

And that’s about it. The month has turned to March and Oliver is happy to hear the birds, Ansel is eagerly watching the flowers spring up, and Ian wants to ride that scooter everywhere every day. 



$1.50 at DI

One of my greatest accomplishments for this week: buying tinker toys at the DI for $1.50.