recent read.

nicolai bought this book with some birthday money.
we started reading it aloud on car rides and everyone loved it.
i must admit i am a huge fan of the original movie with gene wilder as willy wonka (which we own) and it was fun to see how much of the book made it into the movie script and which ideas were changed.


5 years old.

nicolai is now five years old.
he's had a successful year in a monday, wednesday, friday half day pre-k program (just four days left).
he has made some new friends and had a few over to play or gone to play at others' homes...feels like such a new phase.
he is outgoing, though occasionally nervous, but able to express that to us easily.
he insists he'd like to be in full day kindergarten next year instead of the extended day (and free) option...he wants to be there for all the learning he says.
he continues to love being read to and has a memory like a steel trap.
of course we are occasionally challenged by grouchy moods, limit pushing behavior, and angry outbursts, which can be maddening...parenting can be quite the wild ride, no?
he's enjoyed swimming lessons over the last four months and is now moving on to tee ball for a bit.


disneyland adventure.

nicolai asked for a birthday trip instead of a birthday party this year.
d and i got to thinking that maybe 5 years old would be a fun time to celebrate at disneyland (a place we got to go to relatively often as kids growing up in california).
nicolai didn't get to know our destination until the morning of his birthday.
we flew out the next day and spent sunday and monday in the parks.
it was a really fun and successful adventure which we hope to continue for the next kids' 5th birthday celebrations.


tree trimmers.

since moving into the little blue house five-and-a-half years ago we've always known we needed to have our trees trimmed...especially the monster out back (the guys said it's probably 100 years old and hadn't been trimmed in 20 years based on cut marks they noticed up there).
 (before, out back)
a couple weeks ago we finally got to it.
 (during, out back)
 (during, out back)
 (after, out back)
 (after, out back)
if you've been putting off a tree trim, go for it...get some quotes, put aside the cash, and book the appointment. 
 (before, out front)
our trees look so much happier, alive, and safe now.
 (after, out front)
it's been such a relief to have it complete.
(after, out front)
if you're local we highly recommend fort collins tree care.


do you use meal train?

these last couple weeks have brought three new baby girls into the homes of some of our good friends.
for the local friend i'm organizing a meal train through mealtrain.com
we received dinnertime meals when each of our boys was born and it was great.
i log on, enter the family's information (with permission and their provided list of friends' email addresses), add in the email addresses of friends they think will help, and send it out...the site manages the rest and meals show up on their doorstep each evening.
can't be beat.


podcast love (3).

what are you listening to these days and how do you most enjoy listening?
my current list includes:
stories podcast (for the boys)
for those unfamiliar, and i don't intend to offend, i listen to all mine through the iphone 'podcast' app and in this way the above links are unnecessary.
 simply search the podcast's name and subscribe or download individual episodes as you see fit. 
then when you have time, i recommend popping in wireless headphones and opening the app to play whatever you're in the mood for.
d, on the other hand, is often traveling for work and ends up listening while on a plane or through his rental car.


2.25 years old.

matteo is developing his own little personality.
he likes to sing, dance (usually spinning in a circle), and sometimes recites ring around the rosy (or the parts he recalls) while walking in a circle on the trampoline or spinning in the house.
he's a jolly guy often trying to make peers laugh by making a "grr" sounding belly laugh all his own.
he still calls his brother "gogo" (his version of "nico" we think) and when he actually uses nicolai, it's just two syllables: "nick-lie".
he can usually be found sucking his thumb and we are certainly seeing the effects of that on his teeth/bite.
he loves playing toy kitchen and often helps cook in the real kitchen as well.
he's a slobbery mess when playing with vehicles as they make a lot of engine noises all produced by him.
he's been saying "i love you" once in a while and at bedtime as i'm making my way out of his room he tells me, "wait sec mama".
his basic schedule: up in the morning between 6:40-7:30, down for a nap usually about 12:30 for 1.5-2.5 hours, asleep for the night by 8.
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