Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mall of America

We HAD to go to the Mall of America while we were in Minnesota. Our first stop was the Lego store.
 
 
Dallin was in heaven. He was running around playing with all the legos he could touch and sorting them according to color and shape.
 
There was some Lego artwork.
Each little square of color is a  tiny lego.
 
 
 There were several structures made from Legos above the store.






 
 When one of the structures tried to eat Dallin...
 we decided to move on.
 
 
 
 While eating lunch in the food court, we unexpectedly ran into Sue and Sara Hodgson. The Hodgsons are old friends of my family from St. Louis. Now they live in Minnesota. It was a crazy coincidence that they happened to be at the mall at the same time as us. It was fun seeing them.
We had someone take a picture for us to prove we were in the same place at the same time. Too bad you can't trust other people to take a good picture.
 
Next we went to Nickelodeon Universe, the indoor amusement park at the mall. We bought a few tickets for some rides.
The boys were so excited, they could hardly stay in line for rides and tried to squeeze through the bars.
 
 Dallin is a little hesitant when it comes to rides, so we chose gentle ones and he really enjoyed himself.

 
 Connor was fearless and loved every ride.
Don't let his expression fool you. His face looked blank like this on every ride. That's just him soaking in all the fun and excitement. He liked the small roller coaster so much that when it ended, he said, "More. More." Then when I started to unbuckle him and remove him from the seat he screamed, "MORE! MORE! MORE!!!"
 
Here's the view of the whole park from the top of the ferris wheel.
 Dallin was a little nervous about being up so high, but he was ok as long as Mckay held onto him.
 
 Probably the best part of the day was getting to meet Spongebob Squarepants. Dallin loves watching SpongeBob, more than any other show. (Why? I have no idea...)
 
Dallin was so excited to see SpongeBob, he ran right to him and gave him a hug.
 
I think Dallin was so surprised to actually be seeing him life-size and in person.
 
 They posed for a picture together.
 
Then there was jumping
and more hugging.
This seriously made his day.
 
On our way out of the mall, we stopped at the Peeps store to see all the marshmallow candy and get a free sample for everyone. Dallin didn't really eat his, he just held it until the chocolate and marshmallow melted all over his hand.
 
Now we've crossed two more things off our summer list: See the Mall of America and Meet SpongeBob Squarepants!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Minnesota

 A few weeks ago, there was a conference in Minnesota that related to Mckay's research, so he went to Minnesota. Rather than stay behind alone and bored, the kids and I went with him. The drive there wasn't too long and the kids kept busy in the car.
I brought some puzzles for Dallin and a metal baking sheet with raised sides, which helped to keep all the pieces all on his lap and gave him a flat work surface.

Connor read books and slept a lot.
At least he was comfortable.

My roommate for the first two years of college currently lives in Minnesota so we got to visit her and her family a few times.
It was so great to see Amy again. It's was almost 8 years ago that we met and started college, but I think we look pretty much the same.


 One day while Mckay was at his conference, we went to the zoo with Amy's family. Dallin and Connor got to be chickens.

They got to feed pellets to the goats.
Connor loved brushing the goats. He would move quickly from one goat to the next, one brush stroke for each goat.


I think he was trying to set a world record for how many goat he could brush in 5 minutes.

 It was a hot, sunny day, but we all had a lot of fun.
With 5 kids between us, we had our hands (and strollers) full.

 The kids were worn out by the time we got back to the hotel.

We ate at restaurants most of the time on our trip since we didn't really have another choice. I did not miss doing dishes every day. Dallin liked that he could choose exactly what he wanted to eat, and his choice was usually pizza. One place even had a "make your own" pizza option. They brought dough and toppings out to the table.
Dallin very precisely placed each pepperoni.

He was so proud of the finished product.
Yet he only managed to eat one slice. Kids...

We got to see lots of cool sights in Minnesota, like the Mall of America, the Sculpture Garden, the Children's Museum, and the Spam Museum.

More post on those places will soon follow....

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Scout Camp

As assistant Scoutmaster in our ward, Mckay went to Scout camp at the beginning of June. That meant it was just me and the boys at home for several days. Before he left, we had a special dinner guest, a fly:
video
 
We went to the park many times to keep ourselves busy. On one trip, we stopped by the pond to feed the fish. I brought some flakes from a fiber cereal that I didn't care for (which is saying something since I usually like the bran, wheaty, high fiber cereals. This one was too "cardboard" for even my tastes.). We dropped a few flakes into the water.
 The fish nibbled on a few but quickly lost interest. Not even fish would eat this cereal. I did find one taker though:
Connor inhaled all the cereal I gave him.
 
Connor is a cereal maniac and has even learned how to eat cereal out of his own bowl with milk on it.
He drinks the milk when he's all done.
 
 The boys tried to be helpful while their dad was gone. They took the recycling out for me.

 
One morning was a little cold so they requested blankets to be wrapped around them.

 
 Dallin has been pulling his shirt up on his head:
 He'll walk around like this for a while. We're trying to teach him how to say "Cornholio."
 
We read lots of books while Mckay was away. Connor is developing a very good memory, especially for books. He remembers words or pictures in books very well and recognizes several books by their cover. Most of the books in this video are from the library so he's only been exposed to them for a week or two.
video
 
We managed to have quite a bit of fun while Mckay was gone, but we were very happy to have him back from scout camp.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer to-do List

Dallin is out of preschool, the weather is getting hotter and humid...er: it must be summer! These warm summer months mean a lot of playing outside, but it also means a lot of trying to stay cool inside during the miserable heat. And with Dallin being used to preschool every morning and a lot of structured play, I have a feeling he'll get bored pretty quickly. So I came up with a plan to keep us busy and also have some fun.
 
I made a list of fun things to do this summer.
Some of the things on our list are big family activities (Visit the Sand Dunes, Go to St. Louis, or a movie night). I also tried to come up with lots of smaller activities to do like a picnic lunch, catch bugs, or fly a kite.
 
Making the board was pretty easy. I used a big thrift store picture frame and put white poster board behind the glass, so now it's like a white board. I started writing with dry erase markers but the color wasn't very vibrant and hardly showed, so I used permanent marker in various colors. Did you know that permanent marker comes clean off glass with window cleaner? The fun things you learn being a teacher...
For a finishing touch, I cut out some sun shapes and taped them to the glass. Easy!
 
Since taking this picture, I've added a few more things to our list: Visit Minnesota, See the Mall of America, Meet Spongebob Squarepants, go the County Fair, and make ice cream.
 
I'm really happy with our list because I think it will give us a quick idea for fun activities when we're bored. And it will be cool at the end of the summer to see all the things we've accomplished.
 
Feel free to use our list to come up with ideas for your own family. And if have any more ideas for a summer fun list I'd love to hear!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Outings in May

We've been busy this month doing all kinds of fun things.
 
At the beginning of May, my mom and brother came to visit us. We took them to the zoo and went on a train ride.
Dallin and Connor had a blast.
Dallin keeps asking when Grandma is coming back.
***
 
This one actually happened in April, but we went to Purdue Spring Fest. It's a big outdoor fair and all the colleges set up tents and displays.
The best part was the insect petting zoo. Dallin got to hold a tarantula.
It didn't last long but I'm proud of him for trying.
 
Connor fearlessly went right for a hissing cockroach but freaked out a little when he discovered it could crawl up his arm.

 
 We stopped at Taco Bell after Spring Fest for some lunch. We had to really convince Dallin to try a bite of cinnamon twist.
But after the first bite, we couldn't get him to stop eating them. 
***
 
We went camping with some friends. While the adults set up the tents, all the kids climbed into the car.
 ***
 
 
 
 Dallin's friend had a "Halloween" birthday party. In May.
The boys had a lot of fun. Everyone dressed up in costumes. The 4 closest neighbors knew about the party and let the kids come trick-or-treating.
 
 And then everyone had cupcakes and played under blankets.
 Oh the simple joys of being a little kid!