Friday, March 21, 2014


During the 2-day "Christmas ski school", Willow didn't really "get it", but I guess it was good preparation, because on her very first Saturday lesson, she got it right away. It was remarkable, really. She went out with her teacher and her class and the next thing you know I looked out the window and she was snowplowing down the bunny hill all by herself. I could hardly believe it. She's had the same teacher every week - Alex. I think he's done an awesome job.

On her second or third class, it was a nice day, so my mom watched Seda while me, Josh and my Dad all went out with Willow after her lesson. We brought her up the chair and took her down the "deer trail" beginner hill far over on skier's left. It is steeper than the bunny hill. She did really well, and we had a blast skiing with her!

It was pretty nerve-racking bringing Willow up that black chair. It doesn't have a safety bar, and the support bar is in the middle so it's not easy to put your arm around her to hold on. Josh did the hard work; I watched nervously from behind. 

It's been such a cold, snowy winter. Willow's ski lesson has been cancelled three times because of the cold. They'll make it up in the spring though. Here's Willow in our pathway from the house to the garage. That's not a bank from the snowblower or anything. That's just the snow depth in our yard.  

Seda reached some milestones in January. She said her first word on Janury 4: "kitty". Then the next day she said "dog" (she says "gog"). That quickly changed to "goggie" and she's been saying it ever since. She'll still say kitty once in a while, if prompted, but goggie has become her favorite word - she pretty much calls every animal a goggie. She also started waving bye-bye in late December. The first time she did it, she was waving bye-bye to her friend Mayona when Mayona was leaving our house. Oh, she also started crawling in December/January, and also cruising around the coffee table. It all happens so quickly it's hard to keep up. Here are some pictures of Seda with her friends. We hung out with Jari on New Year's Day....

...and attended a chili cook-off at Maggio's one evening where she hung out with Mayona. :)

Here's Seda chilling out one warmer day at the Nara sled hill.

Some bath photos:

This picture cracks me up. These are some of the dress-up clothes that Willow got for Christmas. The red tutu was mine from a ballet recital when I was a kid. 

Seda showing off some of her new skills. Looks like trouble to me!

Sunday, February 9, 2014


I had to do a whole separate post for Christmas because there were so many good photos. While Josh skied at Mount Bohemia, I brought the girls to see Santa at the same place as last year: the Chassell Heritage Center. Willow acted about the same as last year. She wasn't shy at all, but she couldn't seem to think of an answer when Santa asked her what she wanted for Christmas. Last year she said "a bear and an airplane". This year she said "a bear and a car". Pretty much the most generic gift ideas imaginable.  Funny. I even prompted her beforehand to try to get her to think of something to ask Santa for. 

After seeing Santa, they had cookies for kids to decorate. 

This was our Christmas to stay in Houghton. It was nice and relaxing. Christmas Eve, we went to see the movie "Frozen" with my parents. Willow loved the movie. Then we all went to our house for homemade pizza. Willow put out cookies for Santa and also sprinkled some magic reindeer food outside. The reindeer food was a gift from aunt Jill. 

Christmas morning was fun. Santa's big gift to Willow was a red barn for her horses. She also got the bear, and some matchbox cars.

Seda got into the action a little as well.

We did our usual tradition of delivering meals for Little Brothers, and then we went sledding at the Hancock Finlandia sledding hill with Scott, Sharon and kids. 

Then we went over to my parents' house for Christmas dinner and some gifts. Willow got some more horses for her new barn. 

Here's Seda and grandma with one of Seda's gifts. 

Once Christmas was over, it wasn't really over. Grandma Jean, Grandpa Jack and Janna came up a few days later. This is what our tree looked like after they unloaded their car. Willow was practically hysterical with excitement...let the spoiling begin!

For the most part we were able to spread out the gift-opening over the length of their stay, so we didn't have to have an hours-long gift opening session. Here's Willow opening one of her bigger gifts- a horse swing. We'll hang it outside in the spring.

Here's Seda modeling a balaclava that Janna made her. 

Seda and papa.

Willow looks a little strange here, but this is the only photo I got of Grandma with the girls.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


During the fall and into winter, Willow took swimming lessons at the SDC. She passed the "preschool" class. They said she could take it again if we wanted to before moving her up to level 1, so we did that. So, she passed the preschool class twice. Here she is with her certificate. :) She really enjoyed swimming lessons, and I did too. Even though I'd have Seda, she'd usually fall asleep, and the 40 minutes or so that I spent sitting on the bleachers in that warm pool room was always the most relaxing 40 minutes of my week. I could even read a book if I wanted to!

Willow got into taking a sauna after swimming with some of the other girls, which got her into saunas. A true Yooper! She's tough too, and can stay in for a long time. Here she is in the sauna at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

After swimming ended, Willow started ski lessons! She started off with the 2-day "Christmas Ski School" at Mont Ripley. Her very first day, as I was getting her ready, a guy from the Gazette came and took our picture. We ended up on the front page:

Here she is on her first day getting ready to join the "first day beginner" class.

Towards the end of the first day, getting the feel for it. We didn't really feel like she figured out how to snowplow those first two days. The third time she skied though....well, you'll have to wait for the January post to hear about that!

Here she is in the chalet having a hot chocolate after a long day of skiing.

We also went cross country skiing once or twice in December. This was before she got into downhill's yet to be seen if she'll still enjoy nordic now that she can rip it up on the slopes. She made it about halfway around the dog loop - much farther than she ever made it last year.

The whole family went, and Josh and I took turned holding Seda / staying at Willow's pace, and doing loops at our pace. It worked out OK.

Meanwhile, Seda spent December working on her crawling technique. She really got it down by the end of the month.

Here's a picture Linda took of Seda looking very proud holding her own bottle. I'm still going strong pumping twice a day at work, but I'm nowhere near the milk machine I was with Willow. The best part about pumping is that I share an office with Mariah who is on the same pumping schedule as me, so we just close our office door and put up a sign. No need to go down to the pumping room and lose all that productivity. I feel very fortunate, since I know that many women don't have such an ideal situation for pumping at work.

Here's Daddy and Willow moving snow. It just won't stop snowing this year!

And sisters in their red jammies.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


We kicked off November with my 35th birthday, which fell on a Sunday. The weather wasn't too cold, and we decided to go disc golfing. Mariah, Jarod and Mayona joined us at the course in Lake Linden. Everyone was having so much fun during the first 9 holes, we decided to keep playing. Well, we didn't make it to 18, but I think we made it to 14 before the babies started getting hungry and Willow started getting bored. I was pretty impressed that Willow played that long without whining. She really had a good time, and actually played each hole, for the most part. The birthday girl (me) is not in any of the photos we took, but here's some cute ones - of Willow, and of the two dads wearing the babies while disc golfing.

After disc golf, we all went to the Loading Zone and got a free birthday pizza. It was a good birthday.

One night, another awesome band -Breathe Owl Breathe - was playing at the Orpheum. We really wanted to go, and we were thinking about bringing the kids...but it started at, I think it was 7:30, and bedtime is normally 8-8:30ish. It was a weekend night though, and we decided to go for it. We knew that our friends Mark and Azure were going and bringing their 3 kids, so we figured we wouldn't be the only ones. I was more for it than Josh, who was being somewhat of a nay-sayer. Well, I'm happy to report that I was right - it was just fine. When we got there, we were a little apprehensive, because there was a line out the door to get in, and of course most of the people in line were college students. So yeah, it was pretty crowded, and there were not too many kids, but there were a few. Seda pretty much slept in the sling the whole time, and Willow did well until the very end, when she fell asleep too. But she didn't melt down or anything, just crashed in Josh's lap. So we thoroughly enjoyed the show, and when it was over, we said to ourselves, "We have to do this more often, and not let having kids stop us from going to shows". I got this one photo of Josh and Willow watching the show.

Here's another night we got out on the town - just at the Library restaurant. I like this photo though. Seda crashed in my lap.

One warm-ish day, Emily and I and the kids walked to Chutes and Ladders. Emily took these nice photos on her phone. Thanks, Em! You can see in the background, they had already blocked off the "chutes" for the winter.

As far as milestones go, Seda became mobile in November. She started with an army-crawl, and would also do this cute thing where she'd be on her belly, and her feet would want to move...she'd keep moving her feet forward until her butt was up in the air, then she'd topple over sideways.

We went to Minnesota for Thanksgiving - the usual routine. We started in Hastings. Here are a couple photos from that leg of the trip.

The night we got into town, Willow and I went to bed, but Josh took Seda over to see GG at the rehab facility she was staying at at the time.

Seda also got to meet her new second-cousin, Isabelle. Here's Janna with both girls. (There seems to be a proliferation of baby girls in Josh's family lately! One of these times we should try to get a photo of them all together..!)

We did sneak in a quick visit (sushi lunch) with the Martell's and Lanners on the way fro Hastings over to Alexandria, though I didn't get any decent photos of that. We stayed at Scott and Lisa's for two nights and didn't have another Thanksgiving, but just hung out and visited with family. Willow had a grand time playing with Ellen, as usual, but for some reason I didn't get a photo of her with Ellen. I did get one of Seda and Nicholas though :)

I'll finish off this post with a few of my favorite random photos from November...

When Seda starts to get sleepy, her favorite thing is to suck her thumb with some sort of fabric in her fist, up against her face. She'll use a burp rag or a blankie, or my t-shirt (at night in bed) but her preferred thing to use is her sock.

Here's a photo Linda took of Willow and Seda in Willow's fort.

And Willow getting her hair cut at Wal-Mart. Grandma Judy took her there and took this photo.