Sunday, June 29, 2008

The children's museum: not just for winter.

Yesterday, we joined Gramma J and Dylan at the Children's Museum where we all checked out their new exhibit, "Once Upon a Time." It's all about fairy tales, and is very cool.

The exhibit has a number of interactive stations based on various fairy tales. Here, Maisie (and Dylan's shoe) are going for a ride in Cinderella's carriage.

The exhibit had all kinds of interesting fairy tales, both familiar and new to me. For instance, there was a Hmong fairy tale, Lon Po Po, that I had never heard of before!

Here, Maisie and Dylan are the elves in the fairy tale about the shoemaker and the elves, where the elves mended shoes all night... remember that one?

I don't really recall its name, but I'm sure you remember the one I'm talking about. The whole time they were pounding shoenails on this exhibit, Dylan kept saying "We're elves! We're elves!!" It was very cute.

Finally, she spent a lot of time climbing up Jack's beanstalk (with a little help from her daddy), and sliding down the slide on the other end. She really loved that part of the exhibit!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Artist at work

Happy solstice, everyone! It's officially summer, and we know it here. Although it's been raining a lot elsewhere (and we think of our Iowa friends and family often!), it's beautiful and sunny here, and we haven taken the opportunity to get some much-needed yardwork done.

Yardwork used to be a real challenge, what with Maisie wanting to help trim the hedge and mow the lawn and all that. But now we are able to be more productive, thanks to perhaps the best $5 we have spent on Maisie: a bucket of sidewalk chalk.

Like most kids her age (I think), Maisie loves to scribble with different colors. When we bring out the crayons inside, it's a perpetual battle of "No, Maisie, crayons stay on the paper. On the paper! Don't color the kitty, okay? No, not in Mommy's book! On this paper!" But with sidewalk chalk, she is free to scribble away as the mood strikes her. We also sometimes draw pictures that she can color in, but she really prefers her free expression.

It's also a great way to keep her occupied while we do yard work. Today we were able to mow the lawn, weed a bit, and trim the hedge while she colored.

It was a very productive day!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tire swing

A few pictures from last Sunday's trip to a park with Dylan and Auntie Laura.

Maisie used to be scared of swings, but now they are the BEST EVER. She likes the bucket-style baby swings, big kid swings - whatever you've got, she'll swing on it. But the clear favorite is the tire swing.

It's fun to swing by yourself, but it's even better with Dylan!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Auntie Laura and Dylan had us over for a picnic/bbq dinner yesterday!

It was not just us - Gramma was there, too, along with her friend Sue Ellen and Cliff, our family friend Gayle, Gayle's mom Verna, Gayle's sons Lenny and Marco, and Marco's girlfriend and her two kids, and their two dogs. It was a lot of fun!

We had barbeque chicken (with veggie burgers for Aaron, of course), grilled asparagus, pasta salad, fruit, rosemary potatoes...

and of course, no picnic is complete without corn on the cob!

As you can see, Maisie's gotten really adept at handling corn on the cob. She hardly ate anything else, until the cupcakes came out, that is. I think she had two ears of corn and two cupcakes, along with a juice box. That's a balanced meal, right? Right?

There were a lot of people there, and it was very fun and good to see everyone.

Dylan sometimes pretends that he doesn't like having so many people over.

But he really does enjoy having parties! And we enjoy it when they invite us over.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Why I don't go out on Saturday nights anymore.

This morning, Maisie and I got up bright and early: 5:55 a.m.! Aaron and I take turns sleeping in on the weekends, so we let him sleep until 8:00, when we woke him up and suggested going to the Minnesota Zoo.

The Zoo has this new exhibit called "Russia's Grizzly Coast" that we'd heard great things about. We figured that, given it's a weekend day with beautiful weather, the exhibit would probably be pretty crowded unless we went early.

It was a great exhibit! There were bears, of course, and several boars,

sea otters, leopards, tigers... it was really well done.

But even though the Zoo opens at 9 and we got there by 9:30, it was already pretty crowded. So, we headed out to check out the Family Farm. Along the way we had to stop and say hi to some friendly prairie dogs, though.

They were very cute and pretty friendly - as you can see, this one came right up to Maisie! There was one big fat prairie dog that kept jumping to try to get over the fence. We were like, buddy, you're going the wrong way. Think tunnels!

One funny thing about the prairie dog exhibit is that, even though there is information all over about how beneficial they are for their environment, there's always a farmer or two complaining about them at the exhibit.

Anyway, we got out to the Family Farm, which is about a mile's walk (or stroller ride). We saw draft horses, a bull, pigs, chickens, and sheep. The highlight, though, was the goat barn!

For $0.50 you can get a handful of little pellets to feed the goats. The goats are really kind of aggressive about seeking it out, and if you put out your hands you'll have a whole bunch of goats nosing around looking for food. Maisie was clearly delighted by this - you should have heard her laughing. If she'd had her way, we would've stayed at the goat barn all day!

She wasn't happy when we said it was time to go,

but she got over it pretty quickly.

Then, this afternoon we spent a couple hours doing yardwork and playing outside. It was hard work!

I never thought I'd turn down a babysitter, but tonight we did. We're bushed! It's a movie and an early bedtime tonight.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

See a resemblance?

A lot of people have said that Maisie looks just like me. Others have said that she's a perfect combination of me and Aaron. As for me, I don't really see it - she just looks like herself!

Well, that is, until I saw this picture that Aaron took of us watching Curious George this weekend.

I always thought it was just the curls, or something, that made people say we look alike. But with this pic, I guess I do see the resemblance between us now.

Just wait until she gets glasses. (Inevitable, I think.) Then the resemblance will be really clear!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Rooftop sandbox!

Now that summer is (finally!) here, a new part of the children's museum has opened up:

Rooftop art park!

Maisie's favorite part of the rooftop art park is the giant sandbox. Which, clearly: who doesn't love a giant sandbox? She had a lot of fun playing in the sand.

You might be able to see that the sandbox is decorated with hexagons. It has pictures of all kinds of different hexagons you can find in nature, including snowflakes and turtle shells! It's really cool.

Of course, you have to take your shoes off to play in the sandbox.

Then, when it's time to go, you can wash your hands and feet off at the tap on the side of the sandbox.

Aaron had to help Maisie get the water started so she could wash off her hands and feet. But once he got it going, she was ready to do it herself... or as Maisie says, "my do it!"

I don't know how well it worked - the sand really stuck to the sunscreen on her arms and legs, and her carseat has about half a cup of sand in it now. But she had fun with the water, anyway, and isn't that more the point?

And at least she tried!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The joy of parks

The weather was (mostly) beautiful this weekend, so we spent a lot of time outside.

(there was a freak hailstorm on Saturday, but it missed us entirely.)

Saturday afternoon, we went to the city park a few blocks south of our house. As you can see, Maisie really enjoyed the swings! This was the first time she actually enjoyed swings - in the past, they've been a little scary to her.

She also had a lot of fun on the slide!

She went down the slides over and over - she loved both the regular and the curly slides.

It was near 80, so we had to stop by Dairy Queen on the way back. Maisie and I shared an ice cream cone.

Or, rather, she allowed me a few bites of her ice cream cone. It was not her first ice cream, but it was her first cone, and she really enjoyed it. Living four blocks from a dairy queen has its advantages!

Then, today, we had a new first: Maisie's first street fair and parade. Maisie, my mom, her friend Gayle, and I went to Grand Old Day today! We watched the parade and ate some mini donuts.

Maisie also suffered her first skinned knees this weekend, but she took them like a champ, with minimal tears. All in all, it was a beautiful weekend.