Sunday, December 13, 2009

Friday, December 04, 2009


Our friends Bethany and Patrick loaned us their old Jumparoo...

Sunday, November 29, 2009


In Minneapolis, from Thanksgiving through the New Year, there is a parade every Thursday through Sunday called the Holidazzle. It's short, but it's sparkly.

I'd never been, and neither had Maisie. So last night we went to check it out, and we had a lot of fun!

We got there about half an hour before the parade started. There was a person selling light-up wands, so we had to get one of those while we waited.

A person sitting next to us took this picture, which I thought turned out really well, especially given that Maisie is totally not into posing for pictures.

So anyway, we had a lot of fun!

Holidazzle is all about Christmas-y lights, and all the floats are covered with lights. The city actually turns out the street lights along the route, to better illuminate the floats.

This is the Christmas train. It was like a zoo train - there were children wearing lit-up animal costumes in the cars! It was very cute. Cinderella was the grand marshal, and Santa in his sleigh was the last float in the parade. Maisie was very impressed with both of those, as well as with the Wizard of Oz float in the middle - there was a wicked witch riding a bicycle! Very scary and cool.

All the floats were really sparkly and fun, and the parade was short, so it was over right around the time that Maisie started to get bored with it. We had a really good time, and I think we'll go again!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The next generation of Vikings fans

I don't know if you can tell, but both Dylan and Maisie are wearing their Vikings jerseys in this picture from last Sunday, when we watched the Vikes beat the Lions!

Ella has Vikings gear too, but she wasn't wearing it.

Skol Vikings!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thank you

Maisie and I had a very crafty weekend! I love being able to do these kind of projects with her.

On Saturday, we made thank you cards (somewhat belatedly) for her birthday gifts.

As you can see, this is serious work. Maisie loves doing "stamping work" and really enjoyed the activity - she chose the cards, the stamp, and the stickers.

I think they turned out beautifully.

Her hands, though, were a different matter....

(and yes, that's a big ink splotch on her upper lip!)

We also had a crafty Sunday, but that'll have to wait for the next post.

Right now we need to say WELCOME! to Maisie and Ella's new cousins Sullivan and Ryley!! and yay for their mommies and daddies. We can't wait to meet you two!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Ella Report

I feel like we talk a lot about Maisie here, so I want to take a moment to get you up to date on Ella.

She's now completely recovered from her hospital stay. She's a fully healthy almost five month old baby, smiling and cooing and trying like crazy to be mobile!

Her big sister is one of her favorite people. Here, Maisie was running circles around Ella's bouncy chair singing DING DONG THE WITCH IS DEAD! DING DONG THE WITCH IS DEAD! Ella was trying so hard to watch Maisie that she almost flipped out of her chair!

Maisie loves to give Ella hugs and kisses, and Ella loves that too. She gets a huge smile on her face every time Maisie gets up near her face to say hi and kiss her!

We love our Ella! And it seems like she's pretty fond of us, too.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Maisie's birthday party

On Saturday, 10/31, we celebrated Maisie's 3rd birthday with our friends and family!

We held the party at the Minnesota Children's Museum. It was a wonderful Where the Wild Things Are themed party.

First they read the story, then they did a craft activity.

Here's Maisie (a witch) and Dylan (a vampire bat) decorating Wild Thing vests and terrible eyes. Scary!!

After the craft activity, we had a wild rumpus!!

You can see the Narcum family really got into the wild rumpus, which really comes as no surprise to those of us who know them!

After the rumpus and a hide-and-seek game, it was time for cake.

Maisie blew out all the candles!

We really had a great time. It was so fun to celebrate Maisie's birthday with our family and friends!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

In addition to the normal Halloween festivities, we held Maisie's 3rd birthday party on Saturday. I will write about it later, but tonight, I'm just too tired... apparently my children didn't get the memo about daylight savings time meaning that everyone gets an extra hour of sleep.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Health care

Normally I try to keep the politics out of the baby blog. But you have to forgive me here. It's just SHOCKING to me that we're still debating whether or not we need health insurance reform, when the costs are so outrageous, and coverage seems so arbitrary. Someone without health insurance for themselves or for their kids - what would you do if you or your kids got sick?? Why should insurance depend upon your employer??

This post, by the way, is prompted by our receipt today of the preliminary statement of what Ella's hospital stay is going to cost.

Yes, that is just over fifteen THOUSAND dollars.

Now, we're fortunate enough that Ella has good insurance. But right now - Aaron is uninsured, because we figured he'd get a job after he finished school, so we didn't add him to my insurance. If it was him with this infection instead of Ella? We would be SO underwater. I don't know what we'd do.

If I didn't have the good job that I do and Ella didn't have insurance, what would we do now, with a fifteen thousand dollar hospital bill? Or would we not have taken her to the hospital at all? Tried to treat her blood infection with baby tylenol?

No easy answers here, I guess. Other than, boy does something need to change.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Photography by Maisie

One of Maisie's favorite things to do is taking pictures with our digital camera. We usually end up with lots of pictures of her toes and tummy, but recently she seems to have gotten the hang of it. Here's some examples of her recent work.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


So, our Ella was really, really sick.

She woke up early Tuesday morning with a high fever, so she and I were off to the ER while Aaron stayed home to care for Maisie. Ella had bacteremia, a bacterial blood infection. It was really scary, but she is much better after 2 1/2 days in the hospital receiving IV antibiotics. As you can see, her whole left hand and forearm were all taped up to protect her IV... she kept sucking on her hand and trying to get the tape off.

She had a really high fever, which is gone, and she finally seems like herself again - she wants to play and have fun, whereas when she was sick, she wasn't playful or laughing at all.

We are all so glad that Ella is home!

Friday, October 16, 2009


Ella is HOME!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Ella Update

As many of you know, Ella was hospitalized on Tuesday morning with what we originally suspected was H1N1... she had a high fever (102.7), cough, and runny nose, and was super cranky.

It turns out that Ella has strep. pneumoniae bacteremia - that is, her blood is infected with the bacteria strep. pneumoniae. She's doing a lot better since we brought her in. She was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday, and is on IV antibiotics which are knocking the strep out like LL Cool J. Mama said knock you out!!

We've been alternating spending time with her at the hospital, me going to work, and someone being home with Maisie... and thank goodness for family - my Mom has picked Maisie up from school and fed her dinner the past 2 days, and I get home from the hospital to find Maisie playing happily with her Auntie Laura at our house. We're also thankful for my understanding employer, and my coworkers who are stepping up to cover my missed court appearances.

So right now we're hoping that Ella will be able to come home tomorrow (Thursday). Obviously we'd rather she were at home, but we want to make sure that everything's under control before we bring her home. The last thing we want to do is have to boomerang back to the Children's Hospital after being discharged!

We'll keep you all posted. And thanks for everyone's love, thoughts, prayers, and support. We truly appreciate it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Portrait of mommy

Maisie drew this in school the other day.

It's a picture of me! I'm pretty impressed with her drawing skills, for someone not quite 3 years old. She was very proud of it, too. She pointed to the mouth and said, "That your teeth, Mama!"

Monday, October 05, 2009

Fall Festival

Yesterday, Maisie's new school had its annual Fall Festival. It was so fun!

There was a pumpkin sale - as you can see, they had huge and beautiful pumpkins. There were also some really beautiful heirloom pumpkins - some were white, others were green. So cool! Maisie picked out a small enough pumpkin that she could carry it. Very cute.

You can also see that Maisie got her face painted, too. I loved that the elementary school children were doing the face painting for the younger children.

Gramma, Auntie Laura, and Dylan came to the fall festival too!

Dylan and Maisie had fun playing, getting their faces painted, and generally just enjoying being outside on a crisp fall day. I was glad that Gramma and Auntie Laura got to see Maisie's school, and meet her awesome teacher. They even got to peek into her classroom!

All in all, it was a really fun way to spend the afternoon - playing outside, and getting to know the people in our new school community!

And of course, Ella came along for the ride!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tomato sauce

My canning adventures continued today while the girls took their afternoon naps. We'd built up a backlog of tomatoes from the past few weeks' CSA deliveries, so I decided to make and can some tomato sauce.

First I blanched and peeled the tomatoes.

This was kind of gross, because they were somewhat slimy underneath their skins. But also fun, because they were somewhat slimy! And look, naked tomatoes! I was surprised at just how easily the skins came right off. I had considered skipping this step and pureeing them with a food mill, which would keep the skins out, but I'm glad I did it this way... much easier.

Then, I cored, seeded and chopped them.

At this point I started to get a little concerned. I thought I had sooooo many tomatoes when they were rolling around in my fridge. But suddenly, hmmm... not so much.

Next, I threw them in a pot and started cooking.

As they cooked I mashed them up with a potato masher. I also had garlic, onion, and green pepper in there, along with the tomato and spices, even though the recipe in my canning book called for carrot instead of green pepper. This was kind of scary to me, because my canning book warned me that if I deviated from their recipe even one little bit, my lovingly crafted tomato sauce will kill my family with botulism!!!!

So even though the University of Minnesota Extension said I don't have to (because I'm using locally grown tomatoes, and my sauce is at least 3/4 tomato), I added 1 Tbsp of lemon juice to each jar. Just to be on the safe side.

After the filled jars spent 35 minutes in boiling water, the canning was finally done! All that effort yielded me...

TWO PINTS of sauce. You may be thinking to yourself, gosh that seems like a lot of work for just two pints of tomato sauce! And yes, I would have to agree with that. I now get why people do these kind of things in giant batches, and why my recipes tend to call for 10 lbs of tomatoes. I don't think it would've been that much more work to do 5x as much sauce. So, lesson learned... but the two pints do make a nice addition to the growing collection of canned food down in the basement!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dylan's birthday

Still catching up on the backlog... I suppose it would help if we posted more than once a week! Well, it turns out that life with two kids is pretty busy, which I suppose is not news to most of you! So, we're doing our best to keep up with the blog. :)

Dylan turned 6 about a week ago! Auntie Laura had a really fun party for his birthday.

Ella, of course, found the whole thing to be a total snoozer.

But don't let Ella's reaction fool you! The rest of us had fun and nobody else fell asleep even once.

It was a beautiful day, so the kids all had fun playing outside... and there were a LOT of kids there!

As it turns out, between family, friends and neighbors, Dylan has a lot of friends. There weren't even any of his school friends there! (He started kindergarten this year, which is kind of unbelieveable to me. KINDERGARTEN. I still remember the first time he peed on me when I was changing his diaper!)

He got a lot of great presents from generous friends and family!

Maisie wanted to help him open them, but he didn't really need her help, as it turns out.

Finally, of course - birthday cake!

At Dylan's request, the cake had one or two of the trick candles that re-light themselves after you blow them out. But he actually got them all the way out the first time, and they didn't relight. He was bummed about it! But only briefly. Because hey, cake!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Yo Gabba Gabba!

I know I've mentioned one of Maisie's favorite shows, Yo Gabba Gabba, on here a few times. For those who aren't familiar, it's a music-based kids show. Every show teaches a different lesson, such as "making new friends can be scary but is worth it," "being different is what makes us all special," and "don't bite your friends." Each show also has plenty of music, and the main character, DJ Lance Rock, frequently reminds us that "Singing and dancing to music is awesome!"

So, last weekend Yo Gabba Gabba was appearing live at the Target Children's Book Festival! We had to go.

DJ Lance Rock was there!

So was Brobee!

Maisie danced and danced.

Dylan thought the music was too loud!

(He did have fun, and danced a lot too! But I thought this picture was too funny to keep to myself.)

Monday, September 14, 2009


I've recently become intrigued by canning, of all things. We got an abundance of tomatoes in our CSA delivery, and my friend Anne showed me how to can them. I was hooked! Next I wanted to try applesauce.

So on Sunday, Maisie and I went to the farmers market and found a guy selling apples with a big sign that said "ask me questions - I grow everything I sell." Perfect! So at the farmer's recommendation, we bought a 5 gallon bucket of Cortland apples. He said they were tart and would make great sauce, and a lot of it.

That apple farmer was right!

I used maybe a quarter of the apples - I didn't want to do them all at once as I was short on jars (and time) - and made 4.5 pints of yummy applesauce! I didn't even have to add any sugar - just some cinnamon.

So now we have 4 pints of applesauce sitting in storage in the basement next to the tomatoes I put up with Anne's help, and more apples left to sauce up this week, or weekend, whenever we find the time to peel them all.

And as for that other 1/2 pint - Maisie's already eaten it!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

First day of school

Last Tuesday was not only my birthday, it was Maisie's first day of preschool.

She looks a little apprehensive, but she did great. She really loves her teachers and her classmates, and has a lot of fun at school. She went right down the hall without looking back, and certainly with no tears.

I mean, at least no tears on her part... I was another story!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

State Fair!

This morning, Maisie and I went to the State Fair!

I've only been a handful of times and it wasn't something I ever really loved, but I thought Maisie would enjoy it and it would be fun to see with her. And it was!

The first fun thing we did was to park at the new football stadium, on the U of M campus, for the free park & ride. Maisie thought the bus was great! She was really into the idea of a bus that has a potty in it. (by the way, have I mentioned that Maisie is almost completely potty trained now? Nights and naps are not dry yet, but that's fine. Uh-oh, hope this was not jinxing it.)

Anyway: at the fair, we went on a bunch of rides.

We went on this beautiful carousel twice! We also went down the Giant Slide twice, and through Ye Olde Mill twice, which is this weird tunnel of love-type ride I guess? You get in a little boat together, and ride through this pitch-black tunnel that has like four or five dioramas with painted plywood cutout figures? I have never seen anything like it. It's super weird but people love it, Maisie included!

Maisie has a bee painted on her left cheek here. She got that done at a display by beekeepers. This lovely young woman was painting kids' faces. When Maisie got up to the front of the line, the woman asked her what she wanted on her face. Maisie said, without hesitating, "a spider!!" The woman said, "Oh, I can only do a bee, a butterfly, or a flower." So Maisie went with the bee. The woman looked at me like, a SPIDER?? That's my girl!

One thing people always talk about regarding the State Fair is the food.

Maisie and I didn't have anything crazy - no chocolate covered bacon, deep fried candy bars, or alligator on a stick for us. We stuck with the basics, and had walleye for lunch, followed by a huge strawberry ice cream cone!

We also went through some of the animal barns, and saw horses, rabbits, sheep, poultry, and cows, as well as the new babies in the Miracle of Birth center - we got to pet a one-day-old lamb!

All told, we were at the fair for about three hours. After all that, Maisie was exhausted. When we got back to the car, she said "I'm really sleepy, Mama. I sleep in my carseat!" And she did.