Thursday, May 31, 2012

1st Day of Break

Yesterday was my first day of summer break- wahoo! 

To be honest, it wasn't much different than a normal day around here but my shoulders felt a little lighter and there was a little spring in my step. Here's what we did:

1- Taking care of flowers- trying to keep everything watered and it rained last night! yay! 
2- We headed up to Ames to visit with a friend and buy her daughter's sandbox from her. Michael loves it! 
3 & 5- After getting the sandbox we went to Lowe's to get some play sand...and so much fun for a little boy to pull a cart around!
4- Memorial day fun (just in with the mix today)
6- On our way home from Ames we headed to the cemetery to check on Trace's things and his little pot of flowers is going strong! The cemetery looked amazing with all the decorations on every stone. 
7- Early morning skies on the way to my last day of school (work day on Tuesday)
8- A little panorama of the backside of my house with my hosta bed. I'll have to share real pictures with you soon!
9- Big boy with a new haircut!

Our first day of summer break ended with a quick trip to the Y for Michael and I and then he headed to a birthday party for a friend and I headed up to Boone for the first municipal band concert of the summer season. A busy day for sure...I am hoping today is a little more low key!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May St. Paul Visit

I'm trying to wrap up all my May activities actually in the month of May so here goes...

We headed up to the Twin Cities early in May for Scott to play in a hockey tournament and also visit with Scott's sister's family that lives in St. Paul. It was a really beautiful weekend and a nice chance to get away from home. 

Scott's men's team played in the Walleye Chop Classic tournament, played 3 games in two days. It was a lot of hockey! Michael did really well during the games and had lots of fun running around and entertaining the other fans. He was also excited to see the Zamboni clean the ice before and after each game. He would say, "'Boni coming! Clean ice!"

See that big crack between the bench and the wall? I talked to Michael about it and how if he dropped McQueen, he would be gone forever. There was no way to retrieve a fallen down from down there. He did pretty well being careful but he lost him at the end of the 2nd game. I felt so bad for the poor guy! He knew instantly that McQueen was gone forever and he wasn't coming back. We survived the rest of the trip just fine without him and I had a backup once we got home. It was a good lesson to learn...Michael will still talk about how that McQueen is gone forever. It just makes my heart break! 

We had plans to spend the weekend with our niece and her family but due to a bad accident earlier in the week, our little Ellie broke her elbow and was in the hospital until Saturday night! We did do a quick visit with her at the hospital but we were so sad she wasn't feeling like herself. She is a trooper!

After our hospital visit, we headed to Como Park Zoo for a little outing. It was a beautiful day and it was PACKED so we were just there for a little bit. We ate lunch at the little restaurant they had and I think that was the best part. 

Can anyone say mini-Scott? We were stopped two times by strangers that told us how much Michael looked like his dad that weekend. So funny! I need to get them matching outfits or something. 

Besides lunch, my other favorite part was the polar bear exhibit. Michael liked it too! 

Scott's sister had us over for a Mother's Day brunch at their house Sunday morning and it was nice to see everyone and get to hang out for a bit. Ellie was still feeling a little under the weather but she had lots of fun playing with Scott's ipad!! Fruit ninja was a hit for sure. 

Michael had lots of fun exploring all the new toys Ellie had at her house. Isn't that just the funnest thing when you are a kid? 

It was a great weekend and hopefully we can see family again when our little Ellie is feeling better!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Spring Babies

Announcing...Miss Sophia Jo! 

Our good friends Adam and Kelly had their sweet baby girl at the very end of April and we finally got to meet her. She is so precious, beautiful, tiny and just absolutely perfect. We are so happy for you! Thanks for letting us get in some snuggle time! 

I stopped at the coolest kids store, Kangaroo Boo, while in Valley Junction this week and found this sweet little owl. Sophia's room is all owls and so I had to pick it up for her- I love how it is a mama owl hugging her little baby owl. 


We had a triple baby shower at school this spring and I wanted to do something small but cute for all the new moms. I love Aden and Anais swaddling blankets and so I bought a new package and made these little cupcakes for the ladies. The frosting is a little onesie wrapped up inside the blanket. I also tucked a lullaby CD inside because I think that is only fitting since it is a gift from the band teacher. :o)

 I hope they enjoyed the gift as much as I enjoyed putting them together!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Garden Tour: May

Yesterday was the perfect day. It was nice and cool early in the morning with no wind. I had a pile full of plants to get in the ground and Michael and Scott were being great helpers. We got a ton of work done and I think I can officially say that everything is planted for 2012!

I ran outside and snapped a few pictures last night to show you what I've done so far. I just took these really quickly and are mostly for informational purposes. You may think I am crazy, and I'm pretty sure my neighbors think I am also, but taking pictures is such a good way to document my landscaping from year to year. I love looking back on old pictures and seeing how it is changed and also just comparing pictures from spring to fall. 

Here is the front bed. You will see the mum in the foreground (my "Betty Naibert" mum from Scott's grandmother's house...a true heritage plant!) and then we have purple wave petunias in front, followed by lavender and then the salvia. In the very back is my purple fountain grass which looks pretty terrible now but will do just fine as the summer progresses. I just cut back the salvia so they should rebloom again soon and the lavender is transplanted from my side retaining wall bed. It is so pretty and was just getting lost in with all the other perennials so I moved it up front with all my other purple plants and I think it will fit right in! 

My side retaining wall bed got a total overhaul this spring. I meant to get to it last summer but I didn't and so it was just a disaster. I mostly had purple coneflower and black eyed susans in it but my coneflowers got a disease and had to be pulled and there were volunteer black eyed susans everywhere. It was so bad I even hated just looking at it. So I pulled almost everything out and started over. I kept the Russian Sage because it is so beautiful and easy and makes a good backdrop and also kept a few black eyed susan plants that looked good. I filled in the rest with some new perennials I wanted to try out.

I tried to keep things in groups of threes and leave plenty of space for it to grow and not get crowded. The foxglove should hopefully look like this when it blooms:

Around the corner you'll see my giant sages, along with the new Speedwell I planted:

 The speedwell will hopefully look like this when it blooms:
And around the final corner you'll see more sage and black eyed susans and the new Liatris I planted which will hopefully look like this when it blooms:
I tried to keep my new perennials in the purple family and I like the look up the upright shape. I'm crossing my fingers it will all look good together when it blooms later this summer. 

I also bought some bee balm and some lupine for my perennial bed but they didn't fit so I stuck them out in my grasses. I hope these will be beautiful as well and I'm looking forward to some new perennials growing out there.  They should look like this when they bloom:

I also added a nice new maiden grass to this side bed from Earl May with some memorial gift cards. It is really big and nice and something I would never in a million year splurge on so I am happy to add it to my garden because it makes me so happy to see it. I also transplanted a huge catmint plant to fill up some space and I like the color its purple flowers add. 

Around back, I planted a TON of zinnia seeds. I hope they bloom and bloom and are giant and gorgeous. The seeds are so easy to plant and once they get going they require almost no care. I love watching carefully for my little seeds to grow and it is really exciting to me. 

 All this dirt-like area will hopefully be full of zinnias this summer! They usually peak around the beginning of August. I also have some sweet potato vine planted here to trail over the wall and some mint for mojitos!

This is my trio of foliage plants. Mom got the fern for me and I planted the coleus- they were the super tiny ones you can get in a six pack for like $1 and they have already filled out nicely. 

In our garage side bed I planted some more memorial plants we got for Trace. I have a few other things to add in here for a little memorial type garden but really....I feel like my whole yard is a memorial garden. The lilac is a gift from our childcare friends, and the Viburnum is a gift from other friend (thank you, Jodi!) and then the Endless Summer Hydrangea is another big plant I splurged on with memorial gifts from Earl May. I love love love hydrangeas and I've always been too cheap to buy them because nice ones are so expensive. I am really happy with this one and it is doing so well in that spot. It looked a little droopy when I got it home so I cut off the big blooms and it is already blooming again! I am in love with it. 
 I do have another small one tucked behind the hostas but I've had it for three summers and it has never bloomed. I'm sure I am doing something wrong....if it doesn't bloom this year I will go back and get another big one because it is so beautiful. 

Since you've made it this far, here are a few pretty pictures for you from around the garden. It is such a joy to me!  These hydrangeas are the ones cut from my new plant.

 Okay, wow....was this like the world's longest post or what? I really wanted to get it all in one spot so I could reference it easily. In case you are wondering, I could barely walk yesterday. I was so sore from working all day and I know Scott was too (he was mulching for me). I am so excited to watch things grow and I know I will stay busying just weeding and watering until then. 

Most of the perennials and some my expensive annuals like the purple fountain grass were bought with memorial gift cards to Earl May from friends and family and I just want to say how fun it has been to carefully choose plants to make my yard a happy place. It is such a healing place for me and I hope it brings enjoyment to others as well! 

Friday, May 25, 2012


Hey all....we made it to the holiday weekend! Hurray! We are looking forward to spending time visiting friends, doing a TON of yardwork, and just spending time together as a family. We've been out of town or busy every weekend the whole month of May and so we are looking forward to just staying put this weekend. It should be a good kick off to summer- last day of school is today and then Tuesday is checkout/work day. 

I've had a whole lot of random things going through my head so I thought I would lump them all together here....

Michael and I had to say goodbye to our awesome childcare provider this week and it has really been weighing on my heart. I am so sad not to be taking Michael there anymore but also excited about what the future holds. We are starting a new preschool-type program with an in home provider in August which I am pretty excited about for Michael. I am also excited to have him home with me every day this summer even though I will miss the extra break sending him to childcare a few days a week gave me! Michael's caretaker made him the sweetest little photo book of all the photos she had taken throughout the almost 3 years he was there. It is the cutest thing and such a treasure to see all the pictures of him and his little friends! I stared and stared at the picture of Michael on his first day and just can't figure out how that can be. 

Speaking of trying to figure out how things can't be....I feel like we have entered into the next "zone" or level of dealing with the loss of Trace because now I have all these memories of things that we did last year when he was here with us. It really has caught me by surprise, almost like some days I feel like I am in a time warp and I feel like he should be here with us as a tiny baby like he was last May. When we were getting the boat ready to take out on the lake earlier this week I kept thinking that "I had to get Trace ready, too" or I kept reminding myself not to forget to put Trace in his carrier...and it was just really weird because I know he is not here but I just think those memories have really been floating around in my head a lot lately.

I keep thinking about how last Memorial day we spent the day at the park with Michael and then went to McDonalds as a family. Now that I think about it....why did I leave the house with a two week old baby!? Was I crazy? 

Yes, yes I was crazy. I was crazy in love with my two little boys and I just remember feeling so good and energized and quite frankly, I actually think I felt better last May than I do now....but that is a whole different story.

I also want to thank everyone for all the kind words, texts, emails, comments, facebook messages, cards, and gifts we got for Trace's birthday. You are all too kind and we are once again totally humbled by everyone's love for our little boy. It will forever be a very special day in our lives. 

Have a great, safe weekend.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Garden 2012 update

Even though I've been a bit behind in posting garden updates, rest assured I've been out there working nearly every day. So much work is still to be done that I haven't taken very many photos yet but it is slowly but surely coming together. 

Our newest addition is our square "foot" veggie garden. I didn't follow a square foot plan, I just kind of shoved lots of things into the raised garden beds we bought from Home Depot. I think we will have quite the harvest and I'm sure it will be overgrown in no time! We planted three tomatoes, mini peppers, three green peppers, a whole bunch of zucchini seeds (which will be thinned out), cucumber seeds, and some herbs. I also did some herbs in my regular perennial bed and I think they will be a nice addition once they start to get a little bigger.

Michael has been doing a pretty good job of entertaining himself while I'm outside working. His favorite things to play with are dirt and the water hoses. Yesterday he spent a good 20 minutes turning the hose on and off at the spigot while I took advantage of his interest and tore up the nearby perennial bed.

Mom and I went plant shopping the days she was here over Trace's birthday. We got lots of nice things I can't wait to share with soon as I get them all in the ground. I always get a little too ambitious at the plant store but I hate always running back for more. It seems like I can always find a little space to squeeze in a special plant! :o) I hope you are enjoying these nice sunny days as much as I am!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Celebrating Trace's Birthday

My parents were in town the past two days and we spent some time doing special things to celebrate Trace's birthday. 

It is so hard to know what to do and I was feeling the pressure from everyone asking what we were doing. I could tell them what I would want to be doing...throwing a huge first birthday party for my little boy complete with a cake smash, balloons, and lots of friends and family.

We did have cake (angelfood), balloons, and a little birthday "party" at Trace's headstone with a little picnic at the nearby state park afterwards. I thought it was the perfect way to celebrate his little life.

I found this little book at Target and we read it to Trace at his site. I also bought one for a friend whose little angel's birthday is today. When I was checking out at Target the lady asked me if these were gifts and I said, "Yes...birthday gifts". There really isn't a big market for birthday gifts for little angels.

Michael had lots of fun helping me make Trace's cake. He loves to watch the mixer go round and round! 

I feel weird posting these pictures of us at the cemetery but I want to show everyone how beautiful it is out there. I have a love/hate relationship with the place because as much as I hate that I have to drive there to see my baby, I think it could not be in a more beautiful, peaceful place. He is buried in a children's garden and it is so sad to see all the babies but also so sweet to see all their little headstones decorated with flowers and gifts. 

 Trace's birthday was a really hard day for me. It was stressful and I felt a lot like I did right after we first lost Trace. I am not lying when I say that I feel a little sense of relief that today is a new day and his birthday is over. We love to celebrate his little life every day.

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