Monday, May 27, 2013

Goodbye Kindergarten - Hello 1st Grade

Grace finished up her first year of school this year! She had a great year in kindergarten...I have been so impressed with her this year. All day kindergarten is a big deal for a little girl who still likes a good nap every now and again.

However, I am so happy that we decided to send her this year rather than waiting until next year. She did amazing - I credit of course a lot of that to the school as well, we are very happy with where she's at. She's reading, writing, doing great math, and has learned a tremendous amount this year. I can't believe that she can read stories to me at night - amazing. I love to hear that voice every night.

A couple pictures from her last day of school. Cody and I went and watched their "ceremony" inside the classroom.

Picnic in the classroom. Unfortunately her field day was cancelled due to a rain storm the last morning of school. We certainly welcomed the rain - but were bummed that the event was cancelled.

Grace and one of her good friends, Maggie

Love how she's watching and looking at her teacher.

Mrs. Shaw had the kids walk the "red carpet" prior to handing out specific awards for each kid. Each had a candy theme.

Grace's kindergarten class.

I think the kids enjoyed having Mrs. Shaw.

Heading to first grade!!

Thank you for a great year Mrs. Shaw! I'm sure Grace will never forget you!

And this picture is from the start of the school year. I'll have to take a picture of her outside in front of this tree soon to show a good comparison.

Monthly Photo Series - 8 Months

The good news is - these photos were taken right around the end of April when Annie was turning 8 months old. The bad news is - I haven't gotten around to posting them yet, and I need to get her 9 month photos done.

Happenings for Annie this month - CRAWLING! She is on the move. Thankfully her only sickness this month was her double ear infection.While it was still not fun to deal with, it certainly wasn't as serious as her sicknesses she has had in the last few month. She's been chewing on everything - but still didn't have any teeth pop through this month. She's eating anything and everything we give her. She's a little puff monster and just burns through them as fast as you can get them on her highchair. She's also loving bananas, pears, peaches cut up.


And hello from Iowa! I'm currently on a bus with the Mount Rushmore mascots - we are just on the interstate coming north from Kansas City. We'll be in Des Moines for two nights before heading east toward Chicago. We began the tour at Mount Rushmore and went to Wall Drug, Pierre, Sioux Falls, Lincoln, Omaha and Kansas City so far. Onward!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Road Trip!

So, Jen always jokes that she thinks I live a celebrity life with all the places I go....I always laugh because it's hardly that way at all. Now, I can really prove it to her. I'll be riding on a bus for more than a week. Celebrity life, NOT! :) least I can say that I will not be in costume - thank goodness. Pregnant Lincoln last summer was scary.

Actually, this bus trip is pretty cool that we're going on, so I had to share about it. I've been dreaming about this, thinking about this constantly, and yes, even having nightmares about it. But it's a pretty cool promotion, and I'm glad on not going to be bus for the whole two weeks. I'll be jumping off in Chicago and flying home JUST in time for Grace's dance recital.

The OFFICIAL information about the trip:

The presidents of Mount Rushmore National Memorial will embark on a 14-city tour across the Midwest, beginning May 23. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln will visit some of the most popular sites in the Midwest and personally invite residents to make a trip to South Dakota this summer.

The official tour by the presidential mascots and an accompanying street team from the Department of Tourism are part of the Department’s “Your American Journey” marketing campaign. The campaign encourages vacationers to visit places of great historic significance, unimagined beauty and patriotic inspiration within the borders of South Dakota. The group will ride in style in a bus wrapped with custom artwork depicting the variety that South Dakota offers travelers.

“All of the cities along this tour are filled with people who have a high propensity to travel to South Dakota,” says Jim Hagen, Secretary of the Department of Tourism. “The goal of the presidential mascots’ tour is to build awareness about South Dakota, create excitement among those who see them, and plant the seed of a South Dakota vacation with all of the potential visitors we have the opportunity to speak with one-on-one.”

Cities, in order of the tour schedule, include:

  • ·         Rapid City, S.D.
  • ·         Pierre, S.D.
  • ·         Omaha, Neb.
  • ·         Lincoln, Neb.
  • ·         Kansas City, Mo.
  • ·         Des Moines, Iowa
  • ·         Chicago, Ill.
  • ·         Milwaukee, Wis.
  • ·         Madison, Wis.
  • ·         Eau Claire, Wis.
  • ·         Minneapolis, Minn.
  • ·         Fargo, N.D.
  • ·         Watertown, S.D.
  • ·         Sioux Falls, S.D.

The presidential mascots and accompanying street team will also offer residents of these cities a chance to win one of four vacation giveaways. Contest details and registration can be found beginning May 15 on the Department of Tourism’s Facebook page, The contest runs through June 14, 2013.

The mascots, designed to depict the mountain carving in the Black Hills, have traveled across the country the past two years, including a stop in New York City to watch the “Mount Rushmore’s American Pride” float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The presidents’ journey can be followed online at, or by using the hashtag, #SouthDakota, on Twitter (@SouthDakota)

I am excited because I'll get to go back to the old stomping grounds in Omaha (maybe see Uncle E too?) and maybe meet up with my old roommates parents in Lincoln. Then I'm guessing we'll be close enough to MAYBE see Hayley in Iowa, if she's not extremely busy.

I am disappointed that I'll be getting off before we get to Madison/Eau Claire though, where I could have snuck in a visit with Jen and then the bus is on to Minneapolis where I could have made my family come and cheer on the mascots doing our events. The bus is even going to Fargo where I could have seen Jena! Seriously, so many of the people I love are in the area - I'll be happy to see some, and sad that I'll miss others. I'll catch back up with the bus when it comes back to South Dakota for the wrap party where I hope my sister in law and her family will be able to come see us.

So, that's what I'll be up to at the end of the month. I told you I'm busy this month. I just didn't think you all knew that I'd be packing up and heading around the Midwest on a bus! For goodness sakes it will be interesting if nothing else!

Of course, I'll be posting to Facebook, Instagram (which you can see on the blog also), and maybe even blogging along the way. Should be a great time!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Painting Cement Project - Complete

Painting the concrete around our house, on our entry steps, and on the outside of the driveway was a project that has been on the to-do list for far too long. It's one of those things I always knew would make a big difference, we just never got around to it. I was so nervous that we were going to have the worst time chipping off every morsel of flaking paint. Here's what we were dealing with...

The cement bunkers on the sides of the driveway get to be a real pain in the butt. Especially in the winter. The snow sifts into them and fills the driveway with snow like you wouldn't believe. A neighborhood snow trap of sorts. Our neighbors to the south of us should be really grateful for our snow catching driveway. 

The brown streaking and spots like you see here are from Pierre's water - the mineral manganese makes it have this color on cement, houses, etc. 

Luckily, we had some help around. Cody's parents were in town for work, so we got Annie off to bed, and Grandma and Grace hung out. We put Cody's Dad to work with a roller. It was so great to have another hand at the job - went by very quickly. Thank goodness!

Here's the start to the process. It actually dried a bit darker than this, luckily. And you can see how badly this job needed to be done! Yikes!

 And a little before and after...

 So happy to cross that one off the list!

Annie The Spitzer

A couple videos of Annie's eating adventures. There were all taken right around Easter time, so about a month ago. Slow to getting them up here - but they are here. The last minute or so is my favorite part!

A things I think are funny about these videos:
1. Annie looks exactly like Grandma Fran when she smacks her lips! I love that!
2. Cody can't NOT open his mouth when Annie is supposed to open for a bite.
3. I love that Grace is just force feeding Annie and shoving the spoon in her mouth!
4. Again, I love everything about the video when Grace is feeding Annie. I love Grace telling her she's such a mess and wiping her face, I love that Annie squawks at Grace when she wipes her mouth, and I love Annie's deliberate spitting! :)

Next up, I need to get a video on here for Annie crawling. YES, crawling. Crazy girl! I may have said "oh crap" instead of horray! when she started! :)