Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Karter is at a super fun age! Each day his vocabulary amazes us, and lately his imagination has been running wild! We have an overload of stuffed animals and this weekend they have become Karter's best friends. His monkey and piggy (not pictured) have gone everywhere with him the past three days and he loves to read books to them. I asked him this morning what their names were and he looked at me like I was an idiot and said, "Piggy and Monkey, Mommy".

Another one of his friends is our Target dog. Sunday before church Bullseye was "playing" with the blocks and turtle...and you had better not touch them! Karter got pretty upset when Kaden even tried to reach for them!

Piggy and Monkey even enjoy watching Karter's favorite shows with him. I hope neither of them are scared of heights, because they often get thrown "high"!! It is so fun and keeps us on our toes to see what he comes up with next!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Saturday at the Zoo

Saturday morning we packed our picnic basket and headed to downtown St. Paul to the Como Park Zoo. We really like this zoo because it is free! We hoped that with the Minnesota State Fair going on that most people would be there and not the zoo...that wasn't really the case!

Before we left home we asked Karter if he wanted to ride in the stroller or walk by himself. Of course he chose to walk by himself! All morning he kept saying, "Karter walk by self!"

The drive in Karter kept demanding asking what animals we were going to see. As soon as he saw his first animal (flamingos), he ran to the fence to get a better look!

My two monkeys posing with a monkey!

The African animals were a family favorite. Of course, Karter picked out Gramaw's favorite...the ostriches!

I love giraffes...and how sweet is this little giraffe family?!

The polar bear exhibit has been under construction for the past 2 years, so it was pretty neat to check out the new Frozen Tundra area.
After checking out the polar bears we blatantly ignored the sign and had Karter climb up and pose with Sparky!

Sparky puts on a good show!

Karter and I took a little break while Kaden and Daddy made a bathroom run, and we spent the time recapping everything that we had just seen. Can you tell this little guy had a great time at the zoo?!

Just outside of the zoo they have an old fashion carousel. Last year we were at the zoo later in the season and it had already closed up for the winter, so we were excited to take Karter on it this year. He was a little freaked out by it at first!

Mr. Happy and I watched and waited while Daddy rode it with Karter.
We all had such a great time at the zoo, and everyone was exhausted and napped great when we got home!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Position

Last week Kaden decided to start rolling over in bed. He has been able to roll from his back to his tummy for some time now, and can roll from his tummy to back, but he just won't! He likes to roll over and act like he is stuck and scream his cute little head off. So last week when I put him down for a nap and two minutes later heard bloody murder screams from the monitor, I got pretty alarmed. I went in and found him acting like a beached whale. I turned him over and he immediately rolled back over, so that time I just gave him his pacifier and left. He woke up 2 1/2 hours later still on his tummy!

Over the past week he has stopped screaming so much after he rolls over, now he just gets mad if he loses his pacifier in the process. I would say about 50% of his naps he is sleeping on his tummy. I have stopped going in to make sure he is still breathing, it was pretty scary the first few times! Kaden is such a ham, he was grumpy until he saw I had the camera!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Camping at Itasca Day 3

The second night didn't go as smoothly as the first. We didn't have anyway of knowing what the actual time was, but sometime when it was still dark both boys woke up screaming. We were doing anything we could to prevent them from waking up the whole campground, so they both ended up in "bed" with us. We are not big fans of family beds, because no one sleeps soundly...or comfortably. Kristoffer was on his side cuddling Karter telling him random stories until they both fell asleep and I was laying on my side with my arm behind my head and Kaden laying on my elbow, my hips at a ninety degree angle because Rascal was laying where my feet should have been. I was just happy when the next time I woke up it was daylight!

We had already decided that for breakfast we were going to go up to the lodge and have a nice meal before heading back home. So before basically anyone was up at the campgrounds we were already loaded up and ready to hit the road.

Kristoffer had it all planned out that we would take the 10 mile Wilderness Drive before ending up at the lodge. The description of this drive made it seam like you would see some amazing wildlife and beautiful overlooks. We saw the tallest and most beautiful trees...but sadly, no wildlife. Well, we did see a dead squirrel in the middle of the road!

Our breakfast at the lodge was delicious and a great ending to our time at Itasca State Park. We took one last look at Lake Itasca before heading out on our adventure back home. It was suppose to take 4 hours to get home, but with stops it took nearly 6 1/2...we were happy to be home!

We have compiled a top ten list of things we learned during this trip...
  1. Once you've seen one tall tree, you've seen them all!
  2. We are too old to be sleeping on the ground! Next year we will be investing in airbeds...waking up with stiff necks, backs and sore hips is no fun!
  3. Camping with a child that is immobile is very difficult. Kaden had a hard time, because he is too big for his bouncy seat but not big enough to crawl around. One of us had to be holding him most of the time.
  4. Karter LOVES camping! He thought he was Mr. Cool sleeping in a tent in his very own sleeping bag. This is one of those trips that we really hope that he remembers!
  5. Rascal is the best dog ever! Over the past 2 years he has mellowed out so much and really enjoys camping too.
  6. Our days of long hikes are over until our kids can hike by themselves. Hiking with a 22lb baby and a 30lb boy strapped to us adds a lot of weight and really hurts our backs.
  7. Our van is AMAZING! We are totally in love with it and not sure how we ever travelled without it. Oh wait, yes we do, we were super cramped and uncomfortable before!
  8. Just because you see signs and read it in a brochure, DOES NOT mean you will actually see bears!!
  9. Karter and I must taste pretty good to mosquitoes. We all used the same bug spray but Karter and I got eaten alive. Dana = 32 bug bites, Karter = 15 bug bites, Kaden = 3 bug bites and Kristoffer = 0 bug bites
  10. It may have been more challenging than before and we may have been sore, but nothing in the world could take away the amazing feeling you get when you relax with your family around the campfire. These are the kinds of lasting memories we hope to make for our boys...our family is amazing, God has truly blessed us!!

    To end our camping story, here are a two more videos of our adventure!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Camping at Itasca Day 2

The kids slept great the first night and we woke up feeling refreshed and ready for a morning of hiking.

Since the park is so large, most of the hiking trails are actually a few miles from the campsites. To get to the trail heads we drove down and stopped at some beautiful overlooks along the way.

It was such a beautiful morning! We couldn't have asked for better hiking weather.

We did about a 5 mile hike and saw a lot of beautiful lakes along the way. Much to my husbands disappointment, we didn't see any bears...but believe me, he was looking!

Our hike was right in the middle of Kaden's nap time, so he was pretty fussy for the first mile but then fell asleep for the rest of it. We were pretty nervous that our hike would be a disaster!

After we finished the trail we headed back to camp to eat lunch and hopefully take a nap. Rascal was sure ready for a nap!!

Once again, for the second day in a row naps, were a no go! On Friday we had checked out the "beach" and decided it would be a good thing to do on Saturday, so we changed and headed down to swim. Unfortunately, everyone else in the state park had the same idea and we actually only stayed for 10-15 minutes. People were loving this beach, but after spending a week at the beach, we weren't really digging this one.

Next to the beach was a large playground, so we took the boys over there to play. Poor little Karter started to have some tummy issues while we were there and had a little accident (TMI?).
Kristoffer always has ice cream on the brain and the day before he saw at the headwaters museum that they had ice cream, so being the good parents we are, we bribed Karter off of the toys with ice cream!

This boy loves ice cream!

This boy loves sleep!

We knew eventually two days of not napping was going to catch up with him! He fell asleep on the way back to camp and we ended up having to wake him up for dinner.

Can you say happy!? Kado LOVES the camera (and the camera loves him!).

For dinner we had the classic roasted hot dogs!

To cap off our evening we took a walk around the campgrounds to see how other people camp. Day 2 was just as good as day 1...tune in tomorrow for our final day!
Here are a few videos from Day 2 at Itasca...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Camping at Itasca Day 1

Before we had kids ("pre-K") we went camping 4-5 times each summer. Minnesota has the most beautiful State Parks and it is relatively inexpensive form of entertainment that we both really love. The summer that Karter was born of course we didn't go...camping with a newborn would be torturous...last summer we went twice, and were really looking forward to going this year. One of the major obstacles is the amount of stuff that we take with two children and fitting it all in the Tracker, so the weekend we bought the van in June we booked our first (and only) camping trip of the year.
We have always wanted to go "up north", since that is what all of the true Minnesotans do and we wanted to experience it at least once. Since Kristoffer was willing to take a Friday off work we picked Itasca State Park that is about 4 hours north of our house. Just looking at it on the map we were excited...it is Minnesota's oldest state park, has 100 lakes, is 32,000 acres and has the headwaters on the Mississippi River...what more could we ask for!!
We woke up early Friday morning and loaded up the van to set out on our adventure!
About an hour into the trip we stopped at McDonald's for breakfast and had to convince Karter to go in! They had a picture of Ronald McDonald on the the building and he is VERY scared of clowns!

With only a couple of stops along the way we made it to Itasca right at lunch time. We were lucky and no one was in our campsite the night before so we were able to set up early.

We attempted to have the boys nap, but only this cute little fella napped! Karter was way too excited to be in the tent to actually sleep.

Since naps were a no go, we set out on our first hike.

We hiked about 1.5 miles to the headwaters of the Mississippi. We cross the Mississippi all the time around here and it was amazing to see how it starts and actually be able to wade in it.

Karter thoroughly enjoyed playing in the water.

Kado was happy to be out of the carrier.

We lured Karter away from the water with a little snack before heading back to our site for the night.

Our redneck clothes line!

While I was preparing our feast, Kristoffer was in charge of entertaining the kids. It was fun to watch them all play...they dug in the dirt, threw frisbees, collected sticks and rocks and hugged trees!

Kaden was sneaky, he would play happily and the next thing we knew he would have a handful of dirt ready to put in his mouth!

We put Kaden to bed but let Karter stay up a little longer and sit around the campfire with us.

He was pretty happy to stay up late!

We all slept great that night and were excited for what Day 2 would hold...tune in tomorrow for Day 2!
Here is a video of us playing the Mississippi...