Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Playdough Circuits

Ever expect to get preschool activity ideas from NPR? Sean was listening to the radio and heard about Squishy Circuits. So one day, after a trip to Radio Shack, he and the kids set to work.

First, we made some conductive playdough (thanks to salt and cream of tartar).

Next, the insulating dough.

Now it's time to make some circuits!

Getting the lights set up...

It works!

That day, we learned that LEDs are polarized- we kept having to switch them around to make them work.

Then we just experimented for a while. Playdough circuits: fun for all ages!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Introducing Rusty

Meet Rusty. I get to play mommy to him a few days a week. Well, truly I don't think I could ever mother him as well as his real mommy, but I try.

Rusty was real skeptical of me and my lot at first. It took him a long time to fall asleep for naps and didn't really enjoy his time with us in general. But he's warmed! Now he falls asleep easily to long naps. He's fairly happy when he's awake!

The boy likes to be up high. When he's not held, he usually let's me know his displeasure. But sometimes he's cool with it.

He's more happy-go-lucky the first half of being awake- full of smiles and wiggles. As we get closer to the next nap, he's more particular in what brings him amusement.

The first day or two, all the noise during his bottle feedings made him very distraught. I thought it might be just because he wasn't used to much noise being all around him. But I really think it was because he was weirded out by the whole situation and not sleeping well. He now does feedings just fine (unless I have a cough, then he's a little bit terrified).

(This photo makes me giggle) My kids have been amazingly accepting of him, even excited for the days we care for him. Dash and Liam are very doting and love bringing things to help him. Grey is really sweet, giving him pats and kisses. Sometimes he wants to help hold his bottle.

This has given me a small taste of what it's like to have four kids. Planning around naps, getting things done one-handed, meeting even more needs at once. But I don't have the restless nights like I would if he was my babe. Days when he's not here seem so simple. Unexpected bonus: when Rusty's here, I don't do much snacking. Not enough time!

And now Rusty's done taking photos. Thanks, little cutie!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


After the construction crew switched out the pipe in the yard, refilled the hole and laid grass seed. We made sure to water it every day. And by we, I mean the kids. It was their favorite. The hose was the most coveted thing around.

When it's Grey's turn, the grass seed (down by the road) didn't get much water sprayed on it.

The hose doesn't reach the seed area so we were distance sprayers. Which invited a lot of water play.

"My arms are soaked and I couldn't be more happy." We're gonna have to try a garden one of these days if they like to help out outside this much!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Grey, 2

Hi. I'm Grey. Today I'm two years old!

I really like to eat. Not so much vegetables. More like... sweets. Oh dessert, you complete me.

I might only be two but I can pretty much do anything my brothers can. Well, at least I try to. I'll attempt any height, join any game, explore any hiding spot. Liam and Dash LOVE it, right guys?

I REALLY don't like it when I don't get the food I request, when my brothers pick on me, when I have a goal/destination in mind but am stymied, and when I don't get the food I request. Oh, did I mention that already. Well, I really don't like that.

My mom keeps saying I am so getting so silly. I guess that's because I laugh so much and try to get her to laugh, too. I like to make funny sounds and do goofy walks and hide in crazy places.

I still don't get the hype about talking. I'm getting by just fine using my handful of words, my signs, and a variety of grunts. I can make "mommy" and "daddy" mean at least twenty different things each, depending on my tone, syllabic emphasis, cadence, and volume. It's an art. Though if my parents are really not getting it, I might throw out a "help me!" Only if I'm desperate.

I love to cuddle in the chair in my room, give hugs, lounge on my parents, and be sweet. Mommy and Daddy like that a lot. In fact, I think they like ME a lot! Happy birthday to me!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Minnesota's Capitol

Guess who visited the state capitol!

Half of it was under construction.

I think that made it twice as cool for many in our group.

Although it did limit our access to several areas within, like the Supreme Court (and made it very confusing to enter the building at all).

Still, we got to see the State Senate. Classy.

And here's the State House.

As seen from the House Gallery. You better believe those flippy chairs provided a LOT of entertainment.

All along the walls were past governors, including Minnesota's finest. Can you see the stogie in Ventura's hand? Oy vey.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Ice Dam

Have you heard of ice dams? It's when ice forms on the roof with a pocket underneath that holds water, which often leaks into the house. Apparently it's a frequent thing in Minnesota come wintertime. And such a thing happened to our rental. One evening, our kitchen's ceiling light started dripping. Another night it happened again with a new neighboring drip. By the end of the season, there was a two foot, ugly crack right in the middle of the kitchen. Our owners wanted to wait until it was warm to do repairs and kindly arranged it when we were away on vacation. Well, that one-week estimate turned into two months of a dozen contractors visiting the house sporadically. But they finally finished and it looks good! And despite the repeated intrusions (and our owners being furious at the contractors who didn't seem to have their act together half the time), all that work was especially entertaining for my three kiddos.

P.S. Speaking of kiddos, I have a new niece! Isn't she precious?!
baby Ellie

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Local Barnyard

I'd seen some signs for Johnny Appleseed Day at a historical barn I pass on my way here and there but have never visited. I didn't know if it'd be small and lame, so I didn't wake up Sean early from his post-night shift slumber nor invite any friends. While it was small, it was not lame! Almost completely because of the great backdrops for photos.

But also because there were hayrides!

And "cow" milking!

And silly games for cheap (but instantly adored) prizes!

And rest breaks! (okay, okay, this was posed but they had no interest in looking at me for a photo)

There was even a creepy giant chicken!

This old truck was very, very rusty. Go play on it, kids!

We got to churn our own butter by shaking cream and salt in little jars (and when I say "we," I mean primarily me). It was tasty on crackers!

But seriously, the photos. I need to come back with some more intentional outfits and no weird knee bandaids and bright wristbands. But now I know.