Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Wedding Weekend

This weekend, I had the privilege of standing up for my good friend Sara in her wedding. The wedding took place at St. Olaf which was the perfect opportunity to introduce Amelia to her future institute of higher learning. Hopefully, in 17 years :), both Graham and Amelia will be living the fantastic life of an Ole on the hill so Jeff and I always love the chance to take them around campus. Both Amelia and Graham did a fantastic job sitting through the beautiful ceremony. The highlight for both of them though was having a quick visit with Sara before she walked down the aisle. Sara is dearly loved by both of our kids. In fact, Graham usually greets her with a giant "Sara! Hooray!" I don't know too many brides who would welcome two toddlers into the brides room just minutes before the biggest moment in her life. Sara sure is a special friend to all of us!

Congratulations Sara and Chris!!! Your wedding was just gorgeous and we couldn't be happier for you!!!

Amelia is getting one last kiss from the beautiful bride before she walked down the aisle

After the ceremony, I thought it was the perfect time for us to get a nice family picture. We were all dressed up and the kids were in good moods, so I was hopeful that something would work. As you can see, successfully getting a family photo with two young children is quite the challenge. But you can't say that we didn't give it a really good shot!

This was much easier... At least I have a nice picture of Amelia and I

Since we were on campus on such a beautiful, sunny day, we had to follow tradition and have the kids sit in the giant chairs that are scattered around campus. Each time we visit Northfield, we stick them in these chairs. Years from now, we'll have quite the collection and it will be fun for us to see them growing up at St. Olaf! Here is Amelia's first 'Big Chair' picture...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

An attempt at pigtails....

I know this isn't huge news, but Amelia sat still long enough for me to get not one, but two, teeny, tiny hair binders into her baby fine hair this morning. They're not very even, and her hair sure isn't very long, but here is our first attempt at pigtails. Her new 'do' is a bit hard to see in this picture since her dark hair doesn't show up very well with our furniture as the background, but at least she's sharing a nice smile! :)

This picture I have to share just because I think it's funny. This is Amelia being VERY frustrated with Graham for taking a toy away from her. It's really too bad you can't hear the high pitched squeal that goes along with this frustrated face!

This is Amelia's "I'm really, really mad at Graham!" face

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A new playroom...

Today we visited with our friends Amy and Alexandra. A lot has changed since our last play date....they've since moved to a new house and we've welcomed Miss Amelia into our family. Alex was a wonderful host-eagerly showing off her new bedroom and sharing all her toys in her fantastic new playroom complete with jungle gym and swing hanging from the ceiling! As exciting as all the new toys were, Amelia seemed to most enjoy riding around on a green bug and Graham went back to the wooden tool set which happens to be an old favorite of his.

After working up an appetite playing all morning it was time for lunch. This wasn't just any meal though, we made our kids (at least the two older ones) work for their food! Well, not really, but they did have a great time assembling and and ultimately indulging in their own pizza. Thanks for a great morning Amy and Alex, we all had a great time!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Life is Good

In our family, the beginning of summer is usually signaled by cruising around the lake for the first time of the season. This past winter felt unusually long, and we were all anxious to get back out on the water. Even Graham got caught up in the excitement...the night before we left, we told him that when he woke up we were going up to the lake. Well, when he woke up at 3 am demanding the 'lake house' he was quite upset when we insisted he go back to sleep. After spending last summer battling Graham's sleeping issues up at the lake, we were understandably a apprehensive at the thought of having two little ones missing their very own cribs though. But, I'm pleased to report that both Amelia slept through the night (all the nights) without making a peep! Both of them were in great moods, were tantrum free, and took nice long naps...Life is good...and with that, we welcome summer!

Can you tell by the size of Amelia's tummy that she really enjoyed her dinner??? :)

Very determined to conquer the slide

It was a bit windy for Amelia's first boat ride so she spent some time bundled in a blanket

Taking break from playing on the boat for some ice cold water

Enjoying a morning tour of the yard...wagon ride compliments of Grandpa

What a way to end a great weekend...curled up with Daddy to take a morning nap

Friday, May 22, 2009

Retirement Party!

Amelia and Graham's Halmoni is a superstar elementary teacher and her official teaching career is quickly coming to an end. She's retiring in just a few weeks, and today, some of her past and present students honored her with a party! Of course, we had to attend to show our support to her, and also let her show of her two adorable (I know, I know, I'm a bit biased) grandchildren. This was the first time Amelia was really in the middle of a crowd in an unfamiliar environment so she stayed in the baby carrier to help her feel secure. I could tell she was a bit uneasy for a while with all the attention she was receiving when people were 'oohing and aahing' over her, but she really did a great job hanging in there. After the party ended, we continued with our own family party and went out for dinner where Amelia discovered one of her Mama's favorite treats...a hot fudge malt! For the great majority of the meal, Amelia sat contentedly in her highchair munching on cheerios and goldfish crackers. Once I offered her a taste of malt though, she became very vocal because I wasn't spooning it in fast enough. It's safe to say that my girl is a true chocolate lover!

Graham decided that he needed to be on my lap while eating his ice cream at the party. I guess there is room for everyone on Mama's lap! Amelia was trying to figure out why she was suddenly so squished!

Posing with the party guest of honor

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Just Swinging

This morning we packed up and drove to an enclosed park. Not enclosed as in it has a roof, but enclosed as in it is completely fenced in. This is crucial, as Graham loves to run off and it's a bit difficult to chase him down when I have Amelia strapped to my chest in a baby carrier. Eventually, I did give my back and shoulders a break by sticking Amelia into a swing. I love how expressive her face is....pure joy!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A visit to the Zoo

Today, along with my Mom, we paid the Minnesota Zoo a visit. After the surprise party this past weekend, all Graham can talk about are goats, so the farm exhibit was just what he needed to get his 'goat fix'. Amelia was again not so sure about them and I can't say I really disagree with her. Although the little ones are pretty cute, big or small, goats are pretty stinky and loud. I was very surprised to see that the large cows absolutely freaked Amelia out though. She was not a happy camper in the cow barn, so that pretty much put an end to our farm visit. I think we've got a city girl on our hands!

Graham and Amelia are still learning the fine art of 'keeping your hands to yourself' in the side-by-side double stroller. Amelia likes to lean waaaaaaay back and stick her feet in Graham's face and Graham loves to pull out her hair bow. Even when they're contained in a stroller, I'm still playing the roll of The Referee Mama! After a few hours of roaming the zoo in the heat and getting into each others personal space, Graham and Amelia were extremely tired. Amelia fell asleep mid-tropical fish display and Graham was fast asleep not five minutes later. Judging by their level of exhaustion, I would say today's visit to the zoo was a success!

On a completely different note, but I'm guessing of interest to some, we were able to get a weight update on Amelia this evening. When we first arrived home from Korea and took Amelia for her check-up, her pediatrician wanted some routine blood work done. Since Amelia had just been in the hospital hooked up to an IV, we didn't want to traumatize her again so soon, so we decided to wait a bit. Well, we waited until tonight....Jeff was the unlucky one to escort Amelia and he's more than relieved it's over. It took three nurses holding Amelia down and Jeff standing in the hallway to get the necessary vials of blood. Poor Amelia and poor Daddy! But, we did find out that Amelia is definitely gaining weight. When we left Korea on April 2, Amelia weighed 19 pounds 2 ounces and tonight she weighed 21 pounds 8 ounces! I guess baby food agrees with our little princess!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Party Weekend!

For the past few months, my Dad, and brother and I, have had project in the works...a surprise birthday party for my Mom! It was no small feat to pull it off, especially since her own home was the party location, but I think the following picture says it all...we were successful in pulling off the surprise! Here is my Mom walking into her house and finding 75 people waiting to celebrate with her!

What made this party so special, was the amazing group of people that we were able to celebrate with. We are so thankful for all those that were able to attend, many even got on a plane to celebrate with us! Since keeping track of two kids in a crowded, loud house proved to be quite challenging, unfortunately I really don't have pictures of the actual party to share here.

The morning after the party, we got together with my out of town family for a brunch, and this, I do have pictures of. This provided the perfect opportunity for us all to visit some very special guests...both human and animal....As a joke for my Mom, my brother arranged to have two goats (no, I'm not kidding) attend the party. The party guests were a bit surprised to see two goats tied to an apple tree in the heart of suburbia, but 'Dolly' and 'Presley' did provide much entertainment and laughter. Much to my Mom's relief, the goats weren't hers to keep, and they returned to their farm home on Sunday afternoon.

Amelia getting to know her Great Grandpa

Graham LOVED the goats! He's going to be extremely disappointed next time he visits Grandma and Grandpa and realizes that his personal petting zoo doesn't exist anymore.

I'm a mean Mama trying to make Amelia ride on Dolly. Graham loved the goats but Amelia preferred to enjoy them from a distance.

Graham and Dolly having a staring contest.

Hanging out with Mama

Four Generations - I sure do feel lucky to be part of such an amazing family!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Early Morning Cheerios

I've found that Graham and Amelia get along much better first thing in the morning. At 7 am, Graham isn't annoyed (usually!) with having to share my attention, and Amelia isn't annoyed with Graham having challenges sharing his toys. I think the interaction between the two them in this photo was particularly sweet. You really can't tell from the picture, but Graham pushed a chair up to Amelia's high chair and fed her Cheerios one at a time until they were all gone. That may not sound like a big deal, but 9 times out of 10, when Graham pushes a chair up to the highchair, his mission is to grab the Cheerios, cram them all into his mouth, then run away laughing. For some reason, on this occasion, Graham decided that Amelia must have been hungry. :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Spaghetti 'Do'

One of Amelia's favorite meals is spaghetti. She's not quite eating spaghetti like you or I would eat it, rather she still prefers the mashed up Gerber version of the Italian favorite. Not only does she eat her spaghetti with enthusiasm, but there seems to be something about it that drives her to rub it with equal enthusiasm through her shiny hair over. and over. and over again. I thought I was ahead of the game by pulling as much of her hair as I could into a cute little pony. I thought I could prevent her black hair from being coated with an orange sheen and tomato-y smell for the rest of the day. As you can see by these pictures, I was wrong. I now accept the fact that not only does Amelia like to eat spaghetti, but she also likes to wear it.

These are just some fun video clips from the same messy meal. As you can hear, our house is no longer quiet. As much as I do enjoy the occasional quiet time, I'm loving that my house is filled with not only one giggling child, but two!

Monday, May 11, 2009

A trip to the lake...

This past Saturday, Amelia made her first trip up to the lake. Since we drove up north and back home all in the same day it was a very quick trip that unfortunately involved quite a lot of car time. Jeff was lucky enough to get to help put the dock in the water on that blustery, rainy spring day which was the reason for our trip in the first place. Graham was pretty ticked off as he watched the boys in the him it looked like they were swimming and playing with 'big sticks' and he certainly didn't want to miss out. Amelia obviously had no idea what was going on, but she enjoyed exploring and playing with an entirely new set of toys. Now, if only the weather would warm up because we're all more than ready for our lazy, warm days on the boat!!!

Trying out Graham's rocking chair. Judging by Graham's reaction, I think another chair needs to make an appearance

Who says you have to wait until your first birthday to have a cupcake? We were celebrating my Mom's great, fantastic, and wonderful news at Mayo last week and we couldn't leave Amelia out by not offering her a dessert too!

Amelia and her Daddy

Amelia and Mommy

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mama proudly holding her kids!!!

With today being Mother's Day I (Jeff) decided to make the blog entry and give Melissa the day off.....however coming up with witty lines and entertaining captions are not my forte. hmm....this is harder than it looks.

This morning Graham gave mama a Mother's Day present by sleeping until 730. Well almost, he slept until 615 and then called for her and he slept the next hour in between us. When everyone was awake he proudly presented Melissa her Elmo Mother's Day card. Graham was quite proud of his artwork (pen drawings on the front, inside and back of the card). Amelia was also proud of her card and the teeth marks left along the edges and a Gerber puff to go with it.

For lunch we met my parents at a restaurant and Amelia and Graham were on their best behavior. Amelia ate puffs and mum-mums while Graham drew with crayons on his placement. I need to admit that the impressive public behavior of my kids is due to Melissa hard work each and every day. At dinner time we met up with the other set of grandparents and Uncle Peter, Auntie Lynn and cousin Miles. Both kids finished off their meal with some 'iss-cream'...who doesn't like ice cream at the end of the night. As we left, we weren't on the road more than 5-10 minutes before Amelia was fast asleep and Graham was rubbing his eyes. Mother's Day 2009 was busy but being with family makes it all worth it.

One last comment, tonight I learned that writing the blog entry is not as easy as I thought. Financial models and spreadsheets are no match for the creative juices needed to turn out a "Day in the life of the Olson's" For those that think I am kidding, try taking over a blog for a night and let me know what you think.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Already?

I honestly can't believe it's Friday evening already. If I thought the days passed quickly with one child, they absolutely fly by with two! Even when we don't have much scheduled during the day, we're constantly on the move. Amelia's usually racing off somewhere to find a new toy to chew, Graham's chasing close behind to monitor which toy she's going for, and I'm trying to stay on top of both of them to ensure safety for all. Honestly, it's not as easy as it may sound! Even at 10 months old, Amelia has a strong opinion about what she wants, and we all know that Graham definitely has strong opinions so we're trying to find a balance that pleases everyone!

Earlier this week we ventured to General Mills for lunch. Graham loves visiting his Daddy at work and Amelia just appeared to observe all the hustle and bustle of the cafeteria over the lunch hour. Each time someone approached the stroller to say 'hello', Graham was very quick to point to Amelia sitting behind him in the stroller. He wanted to make sure that 'Amel ya ya' received a proper introduction!

Enjoying some Cheerios at lunch. We're lucky her favorite cereal is a General Mills product!

Attempting to get a picture of the the three of them...

Still trying to get that perfect shot....

Still not perfect, but at least we tried!

After lunch we pulled into the garage and I found Amelia with a happy grin

This is how I found Graham when we pulled into the garage. I love the cracker hanging out of his mouth!

This afternoon, both kids seemed rather wound up. Graham was literally running circles through the house yelling and Amelia followed behind trying to imitate Graham's lovely vocals. Amelia finally got tired of chasing Graham and collapsed on the kitchen floor only to lay there and laugh her head off. I really don't know what she found so funny!
Completely hysterical with laughter

Graham and Amelia studying the photo's on the fridge.

Apparently Graham thought it was time for Amelia to have a new diaper...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Enjoying Our Sunny Day

We're enjoying picture perfect weather today so with no real agenda, and two kids with colds that are 99% gone, we were lucky enough to spend most of the day outside enjoying the sunshine. Graham was happy to be reunited with his large outdoor toys and Amelia was happy to explore them for the first time. Their happy faces say it all-after being cooped up in the house for a week with colds, they finally have some freedom outside! YEA!

Amelia climbed to the top of the play structure all alone. Does she look proud of herself or what?

I'm actually surprised she's still smiling here...she was getting a bit ticked with me since I wouldn't let her climb up the slide while Graham was trying to come down.

Here, Graham was repeatedly telling Amelia that it was his slide...we're still working on sharing!

We can't forget about Big Brother Graham who was trying to ride a sand box toy!