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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

North Dakota Arm Part II

Just about this time last year, we took William for his first visit to North Dakota. If you'd like to compare, the entry is here. This year, it was just William and myself as John was working in order to have enough vacation days for Thanksgiving, Christmas and a few days in between. We had a wonderful visit with the Great Grandparents that did not involve anyone throwing up (woohoo for that!).
I was running around and trying to get our belongings (there are a LOT of them) together so we could leave on time when I noticed that William had crawled his way up into Great Grandpa Tom's lap for a little cuddle and a read. How cute!

All snuggled up...the tornado at rest!
It is hard to see in this picture, but there was some construction vehicles working just down the street....

William was mesmerized... He sat for a long time just watching them drive back and forth. I think he would have sat a lot longer if we hadn't had to leave!
Trying to reproduce the picture from last year on the front porch of McGarry's
Me, William, Grandpa, Great Grandpa and Great Grandma by Great Grandma's (G.G) beautiful flowers
At the Wennersten's. Look at what William is doing! Growing up, my Grandpa Budd always kept M&M's in his front pocket when the kids were around (or maybe even when we weren't around?). His excuse was that he was trying to teach us our colors with the candy. This summer, the M&M's have returned to Great Grandpa's pocket and it didn't take long for William to discover where they were hidden! Every time we saw Great Grandpa, William would reach his arms out to Great Grandpa Budd and then search out the candy. He wouldn't even come back to ME unless I physically picked him up!
Pick pocket
Mmmmmmmmmmm....
The evidence is on his mouth, face, and hands. For what it is worth, it is a total lie when they say the candy won't melt in your hand. At least the way William eats them!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The North Dakota Leg Part 1


Late Saturday morning, we left Rochester and drove to Minneapolis to pick up Aunt Megan and drive the rest of the way to Grand Forks. William had about the worst timed (and smelling) poopy diaper ever. Nice. We got to Grand Forks in time for some "chips, dips & dippors" as William calls them at Paradiso. We also got some good visit time in with the great grandparents before it was time to put William to bed.

Sunday morning, we were off to the reunion in Karlstad, MN.

What? You've never heard of Karlstad, MN? How about Halma? Or Lake Bronson? You need to get out more! Karlstad, MN is in waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay northern Minnesota. Very close to the border of both North Dakota and Canada.

We had a nice lunch and visits with Great Grandma Nona's family before attempting a nap at Judy (an awesome relative of mine, exact relation is unknown by me) in the afternoon. The nap was a no go and I was concerned about the rest of the afternoon. Just fine - he made it through until just about his normal bedtime.

Here are a LOT of family pictures. I'll try and get the names right - please e mail me if I get someone wrong. I was only able to half listen to the introductions as I was chasing around a little toddler tornado.
Look at all these kids!
There is a bad joke here to be made about Scott and his buns....
Blowing bubbles with Grandpa. William loves to blow bubbles. Only he isn't really able to blow them himself. He takes the bubble wand and puts it IN his mouth - then gets mad about the lack of bubbles produced. It's a good idea to make sure the bubbles are non-toxic before you start :) If he's trying to help you blow bubbles, you need to be careful as the bubble wand may also end up in your mouth as he tries to help you.
I think this is Taryn's (sp?) family: Jessica, Evan, Taryn, Tom, Kayla, Becca
Perry Oien's extended family
Jandy's fiance?, Jandy, Paulette, Tom and Ryan
Jared, Susan, Jasie, Jerry
Perry Oien family: Paulette, Avis, Perry, Susan
Great Grandma Nona and her brother Perry
The Wennerstens (Nona's family): Kim, Nona, Budd, Kevin, Kaye
Nona Wennersten extended family: William, Kevin, Kim, Megan, Kelly, Nona, Kyle, Amber, Kevin, Kaye and Budd down in front
Craig Oien family: ?, Avery, Liz, Corey, Shannon, Regan, Caden , Judy, Craig
Leatrice Spilde extended family: (Back) Jessica, Kayla, ? Liz, Avery, Corey, Caden, Shannon, Regan, Judy, Rebecca, Tom
Front: Stuart, Taryn, Evan, Craig
Wennersten Grand kids play games
William and Avery check each other out. Funny story: someone told Avery to kiss William. So, like a good listener, she leaned in to kiss him. He wasn't having any of it - he pushed her away and said "No!". I was laughing and patting myself on the back when he leaned in and kissed her. I guess it just has to be on his terms.
Baby Regan just turned 1 - isn't she cute?
All the Oien Grandkids in age order: (L-R) Kaye, *pretend you don't see William sneaking in*, Taryn, Kevin, Kim, Susan, Stuart, Paulette, Craig
Craig and Judy with their grandkids: Regan, Avery, and CadenJessica, Evan, Judy, Kayla and Rebecca in front
Taryn and Kaye (Kaye sure is an Amazon here, isn't she! What, you never noticed how tall she is?)
Susan and Paulette - I confess to not knowing who is who
Stuart, Taryn, Craig

Another funny story: We were taking pictures of Jay and Leatrice's kids when William stood back and really studied what was going on. Then he turned around and backed himself against the wall and started saying "cheeeeeeeeeeeeeese!" Very, very very cute (and v. proud mama!) He is doing a LOT of mimicing these days!

En Route to Reunion

William and I attended the Oien (Grandma on my mom's side) family reunion held in Karlstad, MN on July 20th. It was quite the operation to get the two of us to the reunion as John has limited time off right now. On Wednesday, John drove William and myself to Iowa City (approx halfway) and met Grandpa. William was super excited to see Grandpa, although usually when he sees Grandpa he is done riding in the car. This time, we had to get back in the car and ride the rest of the way to Rochester.

An added bonus to driving early to Rochester was getting to see my Aunt Sheila and Uncle Bobby all the way from Massachusetts! We don't get to see them very often, so it was a real treat. William enjoyed playing cars with everyone who would get down on the floor with him. He was in heaven!

A phrase I heard a lot over the weekend was: "Oooooooooo, cars!" William loves playing with Uncle Mike's old matchbox cars at Grandpa and Grandma's house. Good thing Uncle Mike knows how to share!
One of the best parts is the cool carrying case the cars come in. Hours of entertainment for us: put the car in, take the car out. Repeat exactly 7.54687816819897 katrillion times.

Checking out the car options with Bobby. As you can see this is a serious discussion.
Trading in, trading up. Also you might consider this the early stages of sharing. Bobby got to hold a car for more than .123243 seconds before William reclaimed it.
Look out if you have a smallish digital camera. William has learned that it is very fun to look at himself in the pictures/video stored on the phone. Here he is patiently looking at pictures of Bobby's friend Woody hoping to catch a glimpse of himself.
Even Sheila admires the handy, organized carrying case. They don't sell 'em any more Sheila!
And for a few minutes we played with something besides a car! Playing with the barn and sharing!

The breakfast of champions! Bananas, milk and a diet coke (no, he it isn't open). Also, we're training him to multitask at a very early age. "Don't do just one thing when you could be doing 10!"
Playing cars with Grandpa
Grandpa put together a little bit of track to race the cars down. William really liked this after he got over the issues he has with actually letting GO of the car.
William is starting to line the cars up. I guess he really is related to John. All the cars must be end to end with their front parts (hoods? noses? bumpers? headlights?) facing the same direction. Then, he likes to count how many cars he has. So far he'll point to his line of cars and say "Onnnne, duo..." and wait for you to do the rest of the work. So much for working on our colors next. I guess he wants to learn about numbers first.
Another extra special treat was a quick visit with William's cousins from Des Moines, IA. They drove in Friday and left Saturday. We caught them for a few hours on Saturday morning before we had to leave to go to Grand Forks. Reading books with Grandpa and cousin Mike. Guess what else the kids played with? Correct answer: cars.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

18 Months + 1 Day


William was 18 months old yesterday. Somehow I just didn't get into our office to write about it. As usual, we've been busy, busy, busy busy. William is learning about all kinds of new things and I am loving being part of it. Just exhausting trying to keep up with him. And amazing to sit back and watch him try to figure something out.

Look! It is our messy laundry room!
Peek-a-boo! William is such a great helper! And, when you come to visit our house, this is why the laundry room, bathroom and bedroom doors ALWAYS remain closed!
Trying to figure it out.
Climbing out - climbing is one of our favorite things to do 'round here!
One of William's favorite activities is the box - John tends to spend a lot of time in the box as you can see...
He is also showing a great deal more interest in puzzles. He has the shape sorter figured out! He doesn't always have the time to sit and put ALL the shapes in, but he is getting pretty good at getting them in the correct places without help.
William's sense of humor is also blossoming. This is a funny joke called: Where is William's nose? Then he pulls the block off and we are astonished to find it! Right there on his face!
More shapes!
What better place to eat a messy popsicle? The bathtub of course!
What a great idea! Unless of course you find it at the bottom of the tub turning all the water orange. Then you have to rewash everything to get rid of the stickiness.
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We had our 18 month appointment today with our pediatrician. William did very well, although he wasn't happy about sitting on my lap (sorry, kiddo! you are NOT going to get down on the floor at the dr office without shoes on!). Here are his updated measurements:

Height: 34.5 in (up 1.75 inches from 3 months ago)
Weight: 26 lbs 9oz (up 6 oz from 3 months ago)
Head Circumference: 49 cm (up a 1/4 of a cm)

He continues to be at the very top of the chart for height and has dropped to the 50% for weight. I don't know where his head is at, but I can tell you the size 3T hat I bought is pretty snug. The doctor was impressed by his motor skills and even more so by his verbal skills. Last night John and I came up with a quick list in a few minutes of William's words (every time she asks what words he knows and I draw a blank). In about 15 minutes, we came up with over 85! So, I'm sure there are more we just didn't think about. He also had begun to combine two words together to ask for "mo milk", "mo 'mo" (elmo), "bye bye dad", "bye bye truck", "no no kitty" and "light on".

A quick peek in his mouth showed that he does in fact have some kind of virus as I suspected and that his 2 year molars are starting to poke through, which I hadn't suspected. Overall she was very pleased with his development and growth - which is what I was expecting, but still nice to hear.