Patient Molly

We walk to the park and Molly waits and waits and waits...
Waiting patiently
While Walter slides and slides and slides...
Walter plays
Until, finally, it's her turn to play!
Molly plays
Molly plays

Minute Rice to the rescue!

Walter loves to help in the kitchen, which is great, but it can a real pain in the neck when you're just trying to get dinner on the table. So the other night, while we were cooking, I found a box of expired Minute Rice in the back of the cupboard. I set Walter up with the rice, plastic bowls and a measuring cup. He could scoop and measure and pour and stir, right along with us. Cheap toy, happy kid, dinner on the table – score!


Sewing for me

I used to do quite a bit of sewing for myself, but I rarely, if ever, had the courage to actually wear anything I made. In fact, I have several dresses and skirts hanging in my closet that have yet to see the light of day. But I'm sure to get a ton of use out of this – my new clothespin apron: 
Clothespin apronI know, it's kind of dorky and old fashioned, but it's so useful when hanging things out to dry. And it was super easy to make. There's a great tutorial here, which I sort of followed. I had to piece a few things together since I was working with some fabric remnants, but it turned out great. 
It took us two years to properly install a clothesline in our backyard. Um, yeah. It's a long story filled with several embarrassing incidents in which the whole thing came crashing down on my head. I'm sure I've been keeping the neighbors entertained. I finally went out and got a simple umbrella style clothesline. It holds a ton and there's little chance of anything falling on my head. I love it! Everything feels and smells so fresh after hanging in the sun and breeze. 


Playhouse fun

I found this awesome blog today, A Place Imagined, featuring amazing playhouses for kids. We will soon have a tree house to fix up for Walter, so this is great inspiration. This pirate ship is so cool! 
While I'm talking playhouses, here's a little playhouse/tent we made for Walter a few months ago. 
Walter's Tent
The frame is made from pvc pipe and fittings so it's easy to put together and take apart. The fabric cover is made from a set of sheets – much cheaper than buying yards and yards of fabric. And when we want to put it away, it all gets stored in the pillowcase. The window is great for peek-a-boo and there are openings on both ends so Walter can run right through it. He also hides in it, throws balls into and out of it, and even has an occasional snack in there. It's nothing like the fabulous playhouses at A Place Imagined, but Walter seems to like it just fine.
Walter's Tent


Pretty pepper plants

I don't know if it's all the rain we've been getting, or the warm weather, or maybe I've finally found the perfect, sunny spot. My pepper plants are looking fantastic! I usually only get three or four sad looking peppers towards the end of the summer, so I planted a few extra plants this year and put them in pots in a hot spot on the deck – I've heard peppers do well in the heat. These cute little guys are already popping up all over the place. Hooray!
Baby bell pepper


Our TV is permanently tuned to HGTV

So, about those big changes I mentioned yesterday... 
We're buying a house! And it's on 4 acres of land! Nate and I have been looking for land for several years now. We wanted more outdoor space, more freedom, more privacy, and we've found it. We thought we would end up building, but this house is in the perfect location and is surrounded by beautiful trees, trails, and plenty of open space for gardening. There's an outbuilding and even a tree house for Walter! The house itself is very outdated and is going to need tons of work to make it just what we want, but it's got lots of potential and we've got the rest of our lives to shape it into our home. I'm so excited about all the possibilities – my head is swimming with ideas.
But before we get too ahead of ourselves, we've got to sell our current home. It's a beautiful house and, I'll admit, I'll be a little sad to leave. We've spent 6 years here and have lots of memories in this place. But we're moving on to what will eventually be our dream home – one we will put our blood, sweat and tears into, for sure. We close at the end of August and, pending the sale of our current home, renovations will start soon after. I can't wait!
p.s. Anybody want to buy a house?


Another road trip

Have I mentioned that we have a busy summer planned? Yup, it's mid-June and I am wiped out! We've got all of our normal plans, plus some new, big changes are in the works for us, but I'll get to that in another post.
For now, a quick recap of our second (or is it our third?) road trip of the summer. Nate, Walter and I spent 2 days in fabulous St. Louis. We visited the zoo – possibly the best zoo I've ever been to. It's big, it's beautiful, it's FREE! There are tons of animals, a train ride and a carousel. Walter loved it all, and so did we! 
St. Louis - the zoo
We also walked around the arch and visited Grant's Farm – both very nice and entertaining for all of us. For a road trip with a kid, St. Louis is a great city to visit.
St. Louis - the Arch
St. Louis - the Arch
Then we were off to Springfield, IL for 2 days, and we met up with the rest of the Billmeyers. We visited the new Lincoln Presidential  Library and Museum, which was very cool. I was a little concerned the kids would be bored, but there was plenty for them to do. There was a neat play area with dress-up clothes, old-time toys and a log cabin-style play kitchen. We could have spent all day in there! We also spent plenty of time in the hotel pool. Walter impressed us all by jumping into the pool all by himself (with Mama and Daddy there to catch him.) It's amazing the brave things he'll try when he sees his older cousins doing them. We ended our trip with a picnic and a short hike at Starved Rock State Park. And, finally, on the way home, Walter decided he was tired enough to nap in the car – the only sleep he got in the car the entire trip! (No wonder Mama's exhausted!)
St. Louis - the car


The party

Today was Walter's birthday party – baseball-themed for our little sports lover. Here are a few photos, and there are a few more on Flickr. We had a great time and Walter is wiped out! He's already sleeping soundly. Thanks, everyone!

The birthday party
The birthday party
The birthday party
The birthday party


Two years!

Our darling boy is two years old today! Where has the time gone? We celebrated this morning with breakfast at the Original Pancake House. It's becoming a tradition for us. The day Walter was born, we stopped in for French crepes before heading to the hospital. Walter had his first taste of scrambled eggs there on his first birthday. Today, he had chocolate chip pancakes, covered in whipped cream. Seems like a good birthday tradition to me!
2 years old
Walter is getting to be a great little talker. He practices saying things over and over until he gets it right. He's putting together 3 and 4 word sentences. I can't get over how grown up he sounds when he speaks in sentences. 
2 years old
He's a huge sports fan, which makes his Daddy proud. Walter loves to play them, watch them and talk about them. Golf, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey – he loves them all. He also loves to help out in the kitchen and the garden. He pulls a chair up to the counter to help me make dinner. He hands me things to chop up, and steals bites of whatever he can get his hands on. And he likes to bring his wheelbarrow down to the garden to help carry the weeds away.
2 years old
He has taken a break from the tantrums for the last couple of days – I hope that lasts! I'm sure there will be more in our future, but we'll enjoy the peaceful days while we have them.
2 years old
Happy birthday, sweet Walter! We love you!


Bike to work week

It's bike to work week in Madison! I haven't biked to work in years – since before we had Walter. Now that Walter is older and his schedule is a little more predictable, I decided to give it a try again. Sunday night, I packed a bag and Nate found a route for me that would be safe and easy to navigate. (Note: Google maps gives bicycling directions now – a huge help!) My Monday morning commute was perfect. The air was cool, the streets were empty – a beautiful day for biking. It's a 12.5 mile ride and it took about an hour. My ride home was just as nice, only a little warmer in the afternoon sun. I was home by 5:30, had put in a full day of work, and rode 25 miles. It felt great! Sadly, Tuesday was rainy, and today I had evening plans that I needed my car for. It's not realistic to think I can bike to work every day. Weather and busy schedules get in the way. But once a week seems like a reasonable goal, so that's what I'll be shooting for this summer!



A couple of months ago, Walter started being more and more involved in making decisions and participating his daily routines. Putting on his pants: "I do it!" Picking out a bedtime story: "I do it!" Climbing into his booster seat for dinner: "No Mama. I do it!" The more he realizes he can do, the more he wants to do. And he wants to do it when he feels like doing it. He gets dressed only when he's good and ready. And leaving the house is a 20 minute ordeal. We reason with him for 15 minutes, then end up wrestling him into his car seat, while he screams and cries. His behavior is the same whether we're going to the bank or going to get ice cream. That's right – not even the promise of ice cream will get him into the car without a fight. But, somehow, he manages to mix his worst behavior with his best. Between these fits and tantrums, Walter is sweeter than ever. He snuggles, he hugs, he kisses, he laughs. He runs to the door to greet me when I come home from work. So, I think we'll keep him. The kicking and screaming won't last forever and when he's done, we get this silly, adorable little boy to enjoy. Upside down Walter
Thoughtful Walter


Shopping without a list

My sister asked me to go to the fabric store to help her choose fabric to line a sweater she's making. Easy enough. We picked out a cozy cotton that Finn will love. But, 2 shops and $40 later, I have 8 balls of yarn, and half a yard of fabric. And I don't have a clue what I'm going to do with any of it. Any ideas?
No plans