Thursday, May 27, 2010

Backyard Makeover

This is what our backyard looked like last fall. It is kind of hard to tell by this picture, but the three trees in the back were not in good shape. Two of them were now straight at all and the other one was the one that had half of it break off two years ago. The broken tree had a huge crack in it and it was only a matter of time before that old tree fell down. Kristoffer posted about having the trees taken down while I was in Indiana and last weekend we started the first step in our three year backyard makeover plan.

Last Friday night we went out to dinner and then had a very romantic date night at Home Depot. As an early Father's Day gift the boys and I had Kristoffer pick out 8 shrubs and 2 trees for the back yard....aren't we generous...haha!

Can you tell Karter was excited to help us out!? With Kaden hanging out in the stroller and Karter ready to "help", we were all set to start transforming our backyard.

Karter had his shovel...

...and was ready to help Daddy dig!

He really wanted to use Daddy's shovel though!

We planted to 8 shrubs first and Karter was really helpful...Kristoffer would dig and Karter and I would plant. Although, when it came time to plant the trees he got a little restless. Kristoffer had to dig bigger holes and Karter's almost 2-year old attention span couldn't handle it. So as any good parents would do...we showed Karter how to dig for worms...haha! As Kristoffer would turn over the new soil, Karter and I would dig for worms and put them in his bucket.

After one tree was planted, Karter and I got the hose to water them and that is when things got messy! The water was freezing cold, but Karter still wanted to be sprayed and was eventually soaking wet and had blue lips! He is definitely ready for some fun in the sprinkler this summer.

This is what our backyard looks like today. Our new trees are looking really good, but don't look too closely at the new shrubs. They are growing great, but that section of the backyard won't look that great until the next phase of the plan is complete. Check back next spring to see the next phase!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kaden's "New" Toy

Kaden is getting so strong lately that we decided to pull out the exersaucer for him to play with. He really seems to like it and I am glad that he has something to sit in that gets him up off the ground. I always feel bad for the poor little guy when I have other things to do he is usually just laying on the activity mat, now he can watch of his favorite things to do!

He can't really play with too many of the toys yet, but he does really like to watch his Big Brother play with the toys. Karter gets that it is Kaden's toy, because he always wants Kaden to sit in it, but he wants to be the one to play with the toys....he says that he is "teaching". A couple of months ago I told Karter that big brothers teach their little brothers how to do things and that has really stuck with him, he will always tell me that he is teaching Kaden something.

When Kaden is down for a nap, Karter likes to do this....just like he did when he was 9 months old....

It won't be long before Karter "teaches" Kaden this trick!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Making Progress

We are making great progress in the potty training department. On our trip to Indiana earlier this month we took several steps backwards, partly do to Karter being in a different place and partly because I was in a lot of pain and didn't ask him often enough...potty training is a lot of work!! To help re-motivate Karter into using the "big boy potty" I made him a potty chart. So now, every time he uses the potty he gets one sticker and 2 M&M's...this boy loves his stickers!
Over the past week Karter has made significant progress, we have gone several consecutive days with dry diapers, he has even woken up from naps and bedtime with dry diapers. The only time he has pottied in his diaper has been when he has pooped....(sorry TMI...Karter, please forgive me for sharing this with the world!)...we have yet to poo in the potty! Since Karter has been so great at going potty, yesterday we moved him into big boy undies (aka Up & Up training pants) and he loves them. Next week, when we (hopefully!) don't have to make daily trips to the clinic, he will move into his Handy Manny undies...he will go crazy when that happens!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Baby Brother

As I have said many times before, Karter is in love with his baby brother and Kaden is pretty smitten with his big brother too! (Don't let his scared expression fool you, Kaden was loving every minute of his brothers attention...just not the 100 pictures I was taking of him!) These two boys really like to be where the other one is. Karter is always wanting to hold and carry Kaden (with help of course) and if Kaden hears Karter he is always looking around to see where he is...partly to make sure he is safe and partly because he wants to be involved too.

Karter has really picked up on talking to Kaden and getting him to "talk" back and apparently he has picked up his own baby voice...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Karter Singing

Karter LOVES music...he loves to listen to it, dance to it and have it sung to him. He has started to sing some of his favorite songs to himself while he is busy playing with his toys and thinks no one is paying attention to him. This afternoon I asked him if he would sing a few songs for me while I recorded him, this cute little video is what I if he would just stand still!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Today our baby boy rolled over for the first time! He has really been into playing with toys lately, basically just to see if he can stuff the whole thing in his mouth, so I set up the blue elephant next to him to see what he would do.

I was in the kitchen making lunch for Karter and started to hear Kaden grunting a lot so I grabbed the camera.

He was pretty determined to get that elephant.

But was pretty upset when he realized all that work still didn't get the elephant in his mouth! I flipped him back over and he rolled right over has this boy grown up so fast!?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Our Exciting Anniversary

Our 5th anniversary is one that we will ever forget, but not because our celebration was that fantastic! Our celebration did involve Kristoffer passing out, but believe me it was not because he was so excited! Here is a little back story...

Four days into our trip to Indiana at the beginning of the month I started to have a lot of pain in my tailbone. It was pretty mysterious how the pain started, but thought it was from the long car ride or sitting on a toy or something like that. Like most Americans I Googled symptoms and read that I could have injured my tailbone during my labor with Kaden and not of felt it until now. Each day the pain got more intense and it was really bad when I was sitting down. On Mother's Day I drove up to Chicago to stay with my brother and the pain that whole night was the worst it had been and then I noticed the area around my tailbone was red and swollen. The drive all the way home on Monday was TERRIBLE...I couldn't get comfortable and it hurt the whole way. That night I couldn't sleep and was up most of the night on the couch researching what could be causing the pain to intensify. I didn't like what I read and decided to call our nurse hotline, she encouraged me to go to the doctor because she thought it sounded like I had a cyst on my tailbone. The doctor took one look my tailbone, which was now swollen to the diameter of a baseball, and confirmed that I did indeed have a cyst. On Thursday I went in to have outpatient surgery to have it removed, and the surgeon told me to bring Kristoffer on Friday because he was going to have to clean and pack the incision daily.

So Friday (our anniversary), Kristoffer met us at the clinic and the doctor started to show him what he was going to have to do, and Kristoffer was holding onto my back and then I noticed he wass holding on to the table looking down and then I saw him start to fall. I turned to look at him just as he was falling back...he hit his head on a computer behind him and then falls to the floor with his eyes rolled back in his head!! I start freaking out and jump off the table (with my pants still down) to comfort Karter, who is pretty scared that his daddy is laying on the ground. To make a long story kind of short, we ended up having to stay for an extra 20 minutes so Kristoffer could be monitored since he hit his head.

It was pretty freaky to see Kristoffer go down and his eyes roll back, but he is pretty lucky he didn't hit his head harder than he did. My incision still needs to be cleaned daily, but because of Kristoffer's reaction to what happened he didn't want to/couldn't do it, so I have to go to the clinic daily to have it cleaned and repacked. Apparently it says in my chart that my husband passed out, because every nurse I have had has mentioned it....poor Kristoffer! Needless to say, this is an anniversary we won't forget!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

One Lucky Lady

Five years ago today I married my best friend, the person who gets me the most, and puts up with me the wonderful husband, Kristoffer!! God has blessed our lives with so much during our five years of marriage...a good job, a wonderful home and our 2 precious boys! I am so thankful that our paths crossed at the Wright Place and brought us together, Kristoffer has truly changed my life for the better.
Kristoffer, thank you for all you do for our mean the world to me! Happy 5 Years!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Home Sweet Home

After our wonderful 10 days in Indiana, the boys and I were pretty happy to get home to see Kristoffer on Monday! The boys have been great getting back into their normal schedules...just like before, our mornings are filled with lots of moochies...

...and reading books of course!

We left Kim and Terry's on Sunday after lunch and stopped in Chicago to spend the night with my brother and his family. It is always a great time to watch Jonah and Karter lose their minds together! We had a little hiccup on our trip home on Monday. When I went out to load up the car this is what I found....

The front passenger window had been smashed. Whoever did didn't actually get into the car...not like there was anything really in there to take anyway!

We drove home from Chicago in redneck fashion!! It surprisingly wasn't that loud, but it was pretty annoying/dangerous to not be able to see out that window. Our insurance covers glass replacement, so someone will be coming out to our house Saturday morning to replace it.

The boys and I had so much fun with our family, but we missed Kristoffer terribly and it is great to all be back together again!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mr. Clean

No...not THAT Mr. Clean! I mean me...Kristoffer Gray - doing something that I doubt my mom or wife have ever seen me do for an extended period of time...


It's long overdue. Our island in the kitchen (pictures above) has become a magnet of mail, breakfast ingredients, dirty dishes, and anything else that I have not had ample time to put in a proper place during my Bachelor Week.

The kitchen is in dire need of cleaning. As you can see above, my most recent mail included one frozen pizza - a food that I think had to be invented by either a single man or a busy mom!

Yep...time to get to work before Dana sees this mess! That's my first Mother's Day gift to her - coming home to a CLEAN home! All thanks to Mr. Clean himself!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bye-Bye Trees

As you avid TGGF readers may remember, we had a bad storm a few years back that tore up some of our trees in the backyard. We have had three very mature and large box elders since we moved into this home - that are three of the only 5-6 mature trees in our neighborhood.

Since that storm, the trees have looked very ugly - there might be more pictures in an upcoming post when Dana has time to find them. of them was also becoming a hazard as it might fall at any moment, causing untold damage to our shed, our neighbor's shed, and potentially either one of our homes.

So...we decided to get rid of the trees. We hired someone that we heard about via word of mouth, and he came out this past Monday to get the trees down. He worked all day - just two men - chopping and cutting and carrying the wood away. I was at work, so no one in our family saw all the hard work they did - but they did an excellent job, grinding the stumps below the ground level and cleaning up the yard as best they could.

When I got home, I ran inside to take some pictures. It felt very odd being a man - very capable of helping these guys out - taking their picture working in my yard. So...I took all of the pictures from inside the house. And I only took a few. :-) Above is their last job of the day, cleaning up debris.

You can see the flash from my camera in the picture above, but here is some of their equipment. The stump grinder is on the left.

Here is their wood chipper (every time I see that word, I think of the movie Fargo).

And here - in both the red truck and the trailer attached to the white truck - is all that is left of our box elders. They will be missed for their shade, but that's about it! Now, we have a big outdoor project deciding how to make our backyard prettier!
I'm most excited to see what Dana thinks when she gets's a pretty incredible sight - making our backyard seem about twice as big as it really is!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Signs of Spring in Hampton

As you know, Dana, Karter, and Kaden are in Indiana for the next week - which leaves me lonely, but with plenty of time for projects. As I was working outside yesterday, I noticed many signs of Spring in Hampton...below are some signs that the winter doldrums in southeastern Minnesota have given way to warmer weather and sunshine.

The basketball nets are up at the local court. FIrst off, these goals are not ten feet tall. I can touch the they must be around eight and a half feet tall. Plus, no one is EVER on these courts. A sign that you are in Minnesota - hockey country - not Indiana.

The hockey rink is empty. During winter, this rink is always full of ice and ice skaters - usually hockey players playing pick-up games.

It's baseball season! The Hampton Cardinals had their first ballgame today against the rival Miesville Mudhens. It's a little known fact that hometown baseball in Minnesota is a long standing tradition. Every small town has a town team, and their are state playoffs each year as well. In fact, many former pros come back after they retire to play in their hometown.

Here's the field (complete with new bleachers for the 2010 season).

The raspberry bushes are HUGE!

The lilacs are in bloom. Dana was upset that she would be away from town as the lilacs were in full bloom. There is nothing that says Spring like the smell of lilac bushes!

The hostas have poked their way through the soil after a long winter.

And so have the gladiolous.

Our yard is green and dandelion free!

Which is in sharp contrast to our next door neighbor who must sell his dandelion flowers at a farmer's market somewhere...because he literally has a field of them in his front and back yard. It is always a constant battle between our yards in keeping his dandelions our of our yard. Can you tell where the property line is on the photo above?

It is Spring in the upper's to a great Summer!!