Monday, November 30, 2009

"It's the most wonderful time of the year"



The tree is up and decorated! (*grin*)

Of course, nothing is easy in the Wesley household!

I've always been a "real" tree fan, having grown up in a household where the Christmas spirit only arrived once the tree made it inside and our home began to finally smell like Christmas. However, since we've been married, Ray and I have always just made do with a very nice artificial tree. But, every year I'd say that I really wanted to, someday, get a real tree.

So this year was it. Ray is working to get into the holiday spirit this year so he and Lola went out Saturday to Home Depot to buy a tree while I was at work. (He said he got some pretty strange looks from people as he had a 1-year-old in one arm and an 8-foot-tall tree in the other.)

By the time I got home, the tree was trimmed and in its stand. We were ready to decorate. Or so we thought.

I kind of remembered that when I was young, it always took a few days before we saw the tree finally make it indoors.

So I texted my dad: "How long to let tree sit so branches can fall?"

Answer: "Overnight. Did you trim 1 or 2 inches off the bottom?"

Crap.

Me: "Um, no, why?"

Then I got a very long text explaining that if you don't trim the trunk on a live tree it will seal up and die.

Ray, the environmental man that he is, also said something similar to "crap" under his breath as he realized that, yes, my dad's explanation made a great deal of sense.

So, the tree came down, albeit temporarily. And Ray trimmed a few inches from the trunk. And I vacuumed and Ray put the tree back up.

And, even before she saw it all decorated, Lola was a fan of the Christmas tree:




Fun times!

Ray and I worked, after she went to bed,to decorate the whole house last night. We didn't get everything done (only because I forgot to switch out the dinnerware's springtime designs for the Christmas set), but we did pretty well.



We even let Lola get a sneak peek of the newly decorated house.




In retrospect, this was a terrible idea. It only got her all wound up before her real bedtime. But I am not home tonight (city council, sort of) and I wanted to see her reaction. Again, in retrospect, I would just let Ray take a video or something. She cried a lot when we tried to put her back to bed. Oh well. Live and learn.

***

In other Lola news, I, occasionally, try to relax a bit and let her enjoy life - even if it means creating a totally unnecessary mess.

Sunday was one of those times.

She so wants to be feeding herself. She is getting mad if you break her food into small pieces or try to feed her. I'm trying to let go. Really. But it's hard. It's just one more step away from babyhood.

Anyhow, I let her try to giver herself applesauce Sunday afternoon. Her dad was watching the Vikings game and thought she could use some free time.

Wasn't long after she got a bath, too:




And just in case someone might want the live version:



Enjoy!

***

I leave you, today, with another "messy kid" photo, but this one, I think, should be captioned "trouble" - Lola just looks like she's plotting something!



- Bethany :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

And the holidays arrive...



The holiday season officially opened here in Bemidji Friday night with the annual Night We Light parade. The Pioneer (newspaper) always has featured dancing snowmen (who spell out, on their tummies, P-I-O-N-E-E-R) and in the years I've been here at least, they are accompanied by dancing elves.

So that is the story with the elf costume, if you hadn't already heard. The first year I was here, 2007, us elves didn't do too much of the dancing. More like shuffle this way, shuffle that way. In 2008, we did the Hokey Pokey and the Chicken Dance. More coordination required, but not too much.

This year? We did Michael Jackson's "Thriller" - it was much more choreographed! Although, I have to say, we did pretty well.

Ray and Lola didn't make it to the parade this year, mostly because Ray was worried that she wouldn't like the noise and people everywhere.

But I couldn't resist the chance to take some pictures.



I had to run Friday night because I was running late, but I did let Lola play with the hat a bit on her time Saturday morning. She loves that hat! She got really mad when I had to take it away...







Anyhow, I just got word that Ray has picked up our Christmas tree and is getting things settled at home. We should get to decorate for the holidays tonight!

Enjoy your weekend!
- Bethany :)

Happy Thanksgiving!



This was Lola Thursday at her second Thanksgiving meal. Other than her not quite understanding the concept of crossing her legs, she's such a big girl!

All day I couldn't help but remember last year's Thanksgiving, when Ray and I had our own little Thanksgiving with the cutest centerpiece of all:



We spent Thanksgiving at my Dad's place in Nevis, where we enjoyed a delightful afternoon with the Norgaards. And, of course, we all ate too much.



Lola loved her meal, although she focused mostly on mashed potatoes. I, of course, forgot to pack her bib, so we just let her get a little messy. She did pretty well, considering.





Of course, her favorite part of the meal was the dessert, where she had a little help from her Grandpa Al as he gave her some of Great-Grandpa Norgaard's famous pumpkin pie.



We all also had some fun away from the dinner table.

Lola was quite taken with the plastic on the windows. (I didn't get pictures of that, though, because I was too busy trying to keep her away from the plastic on the windows. She has sharp fingernails...)

My aunt Peg also found Lola some wooden toys to play with. She loves seeing new things!



Lola's favorite toys, though, as always, are her books. Just like her mom.



Of course, while we all had a great time getting together and sharing food and laughs, we also all were missing Grandma. The first holidays are always the hardest, I think. Ray and I (and Lola) stopped by her grave site Thursday as we left Nevis. Just to say hi. The cemetery there is just picturesque, sitting above and alongside the lake. On Thursday night, when we stopped by, the sun was setting just behind Grandma's marker. It was beautiful. And sad, but mostly beautiful.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone (a few days late).
- Bethany :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cities: Day 3

On Sunday, we three Wesleys left my parents to return to Maple Grove for a day with the other Wesleys. Ray and Ray went downtown for the Vikings game while us girls spent a day playing and eating.

Before the guys took off, though, Lola got to play with her Grandpa a little bit. For some reason, Lola does not like cuddling much with me.

So it drives me absolutely crazy when I see this:




OK, not really. I'm super glad she loves spending time with her grandparents! It is so cool to watch her form bonds with people that she may not see weekly, but remembers as special people in her life.

***

Since we had yet another four-hour drive ahead of us, I thought it might be a good idea to just take Lola outside and let her run around. So we took her to her most favorite place: the park.

We had so much fun watching her explore and run around. It is especially cute because Lola hates to get dirty. At this suburban park, the playground floor is filled with sand (up here they are usually wood chips) so every time she stumbled, she would hold her palms up and wait from you to come brush her off until she is clean.

She also is teaching herself about pathways and surfaces. So she would walk from the grass, over a paved trail, to the grass on the other side, turn around and do it again. She did this, I kid you not, like 100 times. Walk three feet, turn around, walk three feet, turn around, etc.







***

Lola also learned a new way to eat: by feeding herself completely. I knew this was coming soon. She's been trying super hard to feed herself with a spoon this past week or so. She is very independent. So I have always enjoyed the times that I can sit and feed her. Even if it just means breaking up her grilled cheese into tiny squares.

But she decided she's done.

(On Saturday, during the party, she saw the twins sitting in their booster seats taking their own small bites of larger-sized foods. So I'm sure that's where the idea came from.)

She decided that she wanted to sit on her own and eat her grilled cheese herself. She even threw a little fit when I tried to spoon her some mashed potatoes. She wanted to do it all herself. And she did - even if 80 percent of it ended up on the floor (sorry Grandma!).




***

After the big win (yay Vikes!), we went to Totino's for dinner with one of Ray's sisters and a niece and nephew. We ha a wonderful time - well, except Lola was really fussy by then. I actually didn't even take any pictures (*gasp*) because I was out walking with Lola in the parking lot.

It was nice to catch up!

***

So that was our big weekend. Trips "home" fly by too quickly and we never get enough time with everyone. But we try.

OK, now I'm going home to play our new Wii! (Shh, don't tell Ray this, but it is driving me completely batty that he keeps beating me at tennis, which just should NOT happen. Ever. It would be like me beating him in football: even if it is a video game, it's just not cool.)

Happy Thanksgiving!
- Bethany :)

Cities: Part 2

Our Saturday began with an Evans family tradition: going downtown for the annual Dayton's/Marshall Fields/Macy's holiday display.

(As you probably know, this year's display is a repeat of last year's A Day in the Life of an Elf. And while I wasn't thrilled to get a repeat of last year's show, I was pleasantly surprised to be reminded just how cute the show actually was, even if it is much shorter than past year's displays.)

Anyhow, I, Lola and Grandma and Grandpa went downtown and got in line about 9:30 a.m. or so. It was perfect timing. And Lola even managed to have some fun while waiting in the hallway.




We discovered this weekend that Lola is terrified of elevators. She manages OK in the one at Maplewood Mall - the kind made of glass - but she was not thrilled to be in an elevator, much less one packed with strangers. But she did OK.

Once we got into the display area (no wait!) it took Lola a few moments to relax. She was quite mesmerized by all of the sights.



She loved the display! It was fun to see her experience it for the first time (well, we went last year, too, but she didn't really have any idea what was going on, so this was her first "real" time, if that makes sense).






Afterward, Grandma and Grandpa wanted Lola to pick out a toy or gift to mark the trip. She had so many choices!



But she ultimately picked the one I knew she would: a new "fuzzes"!



***

And I just can't forget the annual Santa photo. We stopped by Santa on our way out of the display. We thought about ordering a photo, but decided that the cost probably just wasn't worth it.

But we got a quick snapshot:



(No, I didn't expect anything else... Lola has a thing against "real" men with beards, so I knew she wouldn't be a big fan. Not yet anyway. Maybe when she's older and can credit him with some gift-bringing. Although Ray is really not in favor of the whole "lying" thing when it comes to Santa, the Tooth Fairy, etc., so we will see...)

***

Mom and I then dropped Grandpa off at home before heading to our next destination: the Mall of America.

It was Lola's first trip to The Mall, which is amazing considering.



She did pretty darn well in her stroller all day. She got a little fussy in the afternoon because she wanted to run around, but a little applesauce and a few French fries later, she was good to go.

We stopped by, of course, at the American Girl store, which I had not seen before. I was a little bummed to learn that they retired "my" doll, Samantha. So they had no displays of her. (It also made me think I should probably be taking a little better care of Samantha if she's now out of circulation. I let Lola play with her all of the time, because she's fascinated that with her eyes that open and close.)






***

Saturday ended with a family get-together that was partly for my birthday and partly for my brother's birthday.

It was chaos! :)



OK, not really, but boy, did those kids have a great time! It's so fun to watch the cousins get old and more comfortable around each other. It's just sweet.













And, of course, we saw the happiest baby in the entire world. Little Katelyn doesn't know how to do anything other than smile! She is so adorable.





It was such a nice day.

***

One more update is on its way soon, the one that documented Lola's and my day with her Grandma Wesley.

I told you it was eventful trip!!!
- Bethany :)