Tuesday, August 31, 2010

ch- ch- ch -changes!

About two months ago, we bought Lola a new fan:



Look closely (I know the photo is not great) and you'll see that each fan blade is a different color: red, "purple" (really, looks pink), blue, green, yellow and orange.

Know where this is going yet?! * wink *

Well, in the middle of our less-than-stellar August, Ray and I decided to have some couple bonding time by doing the house project that has been nagging at us since we moved in: Lola's room.

It was so hard for us to have her go from this (at the old apartment):





To this (at the house):



So it was time to get started.

About a month ago, we went to Home Depot. I can't remember what we needed that day. But as walked in, Ray looked at me and said, "Hey, why don't start Lola's room today?"

We already knew what we wanted to do - we wanted to paint each of Lola's walls (she has six) one of the colors of the fan blades. So she basically would have Crayola's dream room.

Luckily for us, we happened to have bought the fan from Home Depot. So we took grabbed another one form the shelf and brought it to the paint section, asking ever so nicely if the kind employee could color match each blade.

Then we got started.

Lola slept in the Pack n' Play in our bedroom for about three nights while we worked. She loved it the first night, was mad the second night and hated it the third night. By the fourth night, it was an all-out battle to get her into the Pack n' Play. (Imagine trying to stuff an octopus into a pickle jar.)

Every morning, though, she ran to her closed door and asked to see her "pretty room."

And she would color on the walls (I will explain, hang on) and gently touch each wall, calling out its color: "Green!" "Red!" "Blue!" (OK, more often than not, she had the wrong color, but, hey, she was trying!)

We gave her six brightly painted walls and two chalkboards (made with chalkboard paint). She loves it. Absolutely loves it.

Of course, we are still FAR from done. Many touch-ups are needed, the decorations are not all set - and the carpet will be replaced sometime, hopefully, soon.

Not to mention that we haven't even bought the paint for the focal point of the room...

But here are some sneak peeks in the meantime:






Once the touch-up work is complete and the decorations are finished, we (and by we, I mean Ray, since he's the artistic one in the family) move on to the fun Stage 2. Which is where Ray spells out Lola's name in a whole new way.

I'm so excited!

- Bethany :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Miss us?!



Isn’t she cute?!

She makes me smile every day, a hundred times a day. And I've needed that lately.

We’ve not had the best month. Nothing earth-shattering or anything, it is just one of those months that brings you down a bit. It’s kind of funny (as in ironic) because at the end of July, Ray told me, “The next 12 months could be best of my life.” And then God threw us a curveball of sorts. (Kind of like those bumper stickers: “Want to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans.” I love those.)

Luckily, we have this little angel girl who brightens all of our days.





Here she is telling me, with gusto, what sound a cow makes:




Life continues up here. We are enjoying what is left of summer. (Our leaves are already orange and red.) And this weekend, the most sure sign of fall arrives: Ray is going to the Cities for the season’s first home Vikings game. Which means the next three months will be a blur of purple and gold and lots of drive time! But at least we will get “home” a little more often.

Meanwhile, we’re wrapping up summer with two last family visits: Ray’s parents are in town this weekend and then my parents come up next weekend, while Ray is out of town with friends.

But more than anything else, we’re staying busy with an incredibly fun home project. Which has, of course, turned into a real big project. But it has been – mostly – enjoyable. More on this later.

And somehow in the middle of all this, we’re still finding time for weekly Wii competitions!

Busy times. (And I'm not even mentioning work stuff.)

Happy weekend to all,
- Bethany :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Because, sometimes, you just need a large pumpkin



Sometimes, Ray's excitement gets him into trouble. Last year, while we were living in the apartment, he mentioned to his buddies at work that he had bought some giant pumpkin seeds and was going to grow them in his garden. As luck would have it, his boss mentioned that he used to have giant pumpkin-growing contests with his brothers when he was younger.

And an annual competition was born (seriously, the office has developed official rules and a trophy and everything).

Ray, of course, lost last year. While we were fortunate to have space for a vegetable garden, there wasn't really a ton of space for giant pumpkins. He got a pumpkin, but it wasn't really all that huge.

This year, he's gone all out.

The above picture was taken on Saturday and the pumpkin has since gotten much bigger. I won't post any updated pictures in fear of lurking competitors (ha, I'm kidding ... mostly) but let's just say Ray is feeling pretty good this fall.

Here is how this year's vegetable garden has, well, turned into a pumpkin patch:



And here is Lola ... just because she's cute!



(Ray calls her "Hollywood" when she struts around in her shades.)

- Bethany :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Itasca!

Every family has its own special place, I think. For some it might be the North Shore or Disney World, but for us, it has always been Itasca State Park. It's where I saw my first bear (actually, we saw three bears that day: we saw a momma bear and two cubs) and where we have gone to celebrate special occasions (for instance, we went there the day we found out we were expecting Lola).

On Saturday, we went back. Ray's parents were in town and we all went to celebrate a pair of birthdays (Ray's and his mom's).

It was a gorgeous, wonderful day.

We went, in part, to take a ride on the ferry. But, first, we had a few free minutes, so we let Lola do what Lola loves best in the world: swing.

Just look at her smile!



While waiting to board, Ray took Lola around to see the lakeshore...



And then we got on the boat.

The boat trip was certainly memorable! It ended up being a little more than two hours, so Lola got a little restless toward the end. It also was over her usual nap time, but all in all, she did pretty well. (Hey, at least there wasn't any screaming!)





Lola and her grandfather played on the benches a bit after getting off the boat...



And then we all went and had a bite to eat at the Lodge, where Lola chugged down two glasses of chocolate milk and passed on the macaroni and cheese.



And while everyone else finished their food, Lola and I went outside and sat by the big trees. I love the trees at Itasca; they're my favorites.




Even though it was just about 2 p.m., Lola was still doing pretty good without a nap, so we pushed our luck a bit more and went to the Headwaters. (I mean what trip to Itasca is complete without at least seeing the Headwaters...)

It was pretty darn warm by then, too, so we all were pretty thankful for the chance to soak our feet.

And Lola loved it!






This is one of my favorites - since she is right there at the Headwaters - but it's so hard to pick a favorite picture, I think...



Eventually, we decided to just strip her down and let her really have some fun. (Plus the idea of having her sit in wet clothes in the car on the drive back home just didn't sound enjoyable at all...)






And one last one...



This shot makes me smile.

Really, the whole day was full of smiles. It was a fun afternoon.
- Bethany :)