Life as we know it

Our family adventures


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The next generation

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Today the kids and I drove down to Roscoe to visit with my friend Sarah, who is in from New York with her kids, Abbi and Ethan; and Roxanne and her son Ryder. Peyton, Ryder and Ethan were all born within a couple months of each other. Abbi is about a year younger than Allie. So it was fun having all the kids together to play! Its funny to see little kids meet each other either for the first time or if they don’t remember meeting before. They all stay kind of separate for a while but then warm up to each other.

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It was nice to reconnect with Roxanne and Sarah. I am being reminded so much lately of the value of good friends! We were in high school and girl scouts together. I do need to bring the kids down more often to get together with Ryder and me with Roxanne! I have so many good friends but I have been bad at staying connected with them.

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And of course its so fun if our kids can become as good friends as us!


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Cows on the Concourse

We haven’t been to Cows on the Concourse for a couple years, so I’m really glad we could go today! Cows on the Concourse is an event for June dairy month where cows are brought downtown and you can get up close and personal! I remember Allie’s delight when we stumbled on this at the Farmers Market when Allie was about 1 and a half. We have tried to go every year. They have a bunch of different dairy-themed activities, but we were only interested in the cows.
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When were were done looking at the cows, we started to walk to the car, but then decided the check out the rooftop at Monona Terrace. And then of course I wondered… how have we lived in Madison nine years and never gone up here??
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What a great Saturday!


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School’s out!

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Last Tuesday was Allie’s last day of school. The kids had fun playing an obstacle course and having ice cream. Allie is excited for going to Bridget’s all summer and then a new school in the fall. Oregon has two elementary schools and we won’t know which one Allie will go to until July.
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And here’s the first day of school! Allie was so nervous about school. She didn’t want to go and she complained about the bus for the first few days. But then she made a few friends and decided school wasn’t so bad. She still says every once in a while that she is nervous about kindergarten, and we tell her its OK to be nervous. I think she is excited too. She will have some old friends in her new class and she will make new ones!


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Trying my hand at gardening

I finally got my garden planted this week! It took about a week and a half to get from weeds to planted, and I am so excited to see how it goes!

Here is the before picture, when weeds still dominated.
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I got two tomato plants, one cucumber, one cilantro and one basil. Bottom right plant is Allie’s sunflower that she planted at the school scavenger hunt a couple weeks ago. I put those in the garden too!
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This is after the weeding.
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And my helper… for a little while anyway. She wasn’t too interested after I started digging, except to tell me where she wanted me to put the plants.
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Dada took some action shots.
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I really have enjoyed putting the work into this project so far!
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Above¬†is the finished side with plants. I did the plants last Sunday. Then I did the sunflowers and seeds on Tuesday. Below is the complete garden, but you can’t tell because the seeds are buried and the sunflowers are so small!
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The seeds I planted were green beans, carrots, kale and squash. I had gotten watermelon seeds, but realized they need a lot of space so I didn’t plant those. I may try to clear out another spot in the ground somewhere to plant those. I have read that they are very easy to grow!

I am not too sure how its doing so far. All the plants have yellow leaves. Maybe from transplanting? I have been watering daily, so hopefully they will perk up. The leaves have some holes too, not sure if there are bugs? I had an idea for a fence that didn’t work, so we don’t have a fence yet. But a fence won’t keep bugs away, so hopefully that isn’t anything. I hope no critters disrupt my plants. The one plant I can tell is doing well are the sunflowers. Those have gotten bigger since I put them in the ground. I remember planting sunflowers as a kid and I never saw one to huge sunflower stage, so I hope these grow big!
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The seed packets all say there should be sprouts within 7 to 10 days, so hopefully by next weekend. Weeds come up so fast though, I am not sure if I should weed until I know I have plants coming up. I don’t want to accidentally pull a plant!


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Brilliant combo: Painting and wine!

What a crazy week! There has been so much going on, and not enough time to post it all. I am posting it all tonight though, because my extra storage on the blog is expiring either tomorrow or Monday and I’m not renewing it. So get ready for pictures…

Last Saturday I went down to Rockford to celebrate my sister Jeni’s birthday. She has a painting and wine party and it was so much fun!
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Sisters! Me, Jeni and Johanna. Jocelyn couldn’t make it. ūüė¶
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Getting ready to start! Painting and wine are a great combo.
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My finished background. I had a lot of fun with this part. It was very thick, so it had to be put outside to dry faster.
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We traced the main part of the picture in order to paint it. Can you tell what it is?
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Birthday girl at work.
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And me at work! I did take a few painting classes as a kid. I had no artistic talent (still don’t), but I did enjoy it, and I enjoyed it last weekend!
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All the artists at work.
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Jeni’s husband, Dave.
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Finished products!
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Group shot. Its cool to see how everyone varied on the painting. I would definitely do this again! I still need to hang my painting up somewhere in the house.


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On to kindergarten

Who is that big girl in these pictures??
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Who told her she could grow up?
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I guess there was nothing we could do, it was going to happen eventually.
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Tonight was Allie’s 4K graduation ceremony.
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Looking at these pictures, I am struck by the difference now compared to the beginning of school.
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Allie was so shy and we didn’t know how she would adjust.
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Tonight she was so confident and happy, saying hi to all her friends and walking in like she owned the place.
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The ceremony was short and sweet, which is good because there was just enough to keep Peyton occupied.
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Peyton enjoyed coloring on Mama’s phone and clapping.
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Teachers made some speeches…
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… kids sang some songs…
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… and they got their diplomas!
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It was so cute.
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But we’re not quite done yet… Allie still has 4 more days of school!
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She was so excited! It was hard to get her to stay still for a picture.
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We got a nice family picture with the lovely graduate.
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And with Bridget and Gianna!
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And on we go to kindergarten!
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I’m so proud of my big strong brave girl! She tells us every once in a while that she’s nervous about kindergarten, but I think she will do great.


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A rainy day, a zoo day and the garden

Sunday’s¬†zoo day got canceled because instead it rained allll day. An all-day soaker rain is even worse than a snow day, I think!

But Mama had a stroke of genius because when Allie and I went to the old house to get our stand fans, we also picked up a play doh set that Allie had gotten for Christmas a few years ago but had never been opened. Turns out, as an adult, I hate the smell of play doh and its a pain to clean up. I’m still finding play doh bits ¬†on the floor downstairs. But it kept Allie occupied for more than THREE hours. Peyton played the first hour and would have played more, but it was nap time for him.
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This picture was at the beginning of the play doh time. I swept the floor three times during the play time. Colors got mixed and the session ended with a lot less dough than we started with. But the rainy day wasn’t spent entirely in front of the TV, so that’s a success!
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Mama’s rainy day project was cleaning the master suite. That took a surprisingly long time. I need to clean up there more often! I finally put away the straggling boxes… but only in the crawl space so I don’t have to look at them any more! I will eventually organize the last few things in the house. I do want to create a den/office space in the third bedroom.

Anyway, the forecast was for rain this morning too. Luckily the sun came out. And we were SO happy to see the sun, we decided to sacrifice nap time and head to the zoo.
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This weekend the Arctic Passage opened. Its been two years since they had bears at the Vilas Zoo. We decided to brave the crowds to see it opening weekend. We love the zoo because the kids love it and its completely free! There are only a few zoos that are completely free. Anyway…
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We were able to park surprisingly close. There were people everywhere. And it was SO crowded to see the bears. But the bears didn’t disappoint! I’m a little disappointed that the viewing areas are so limited, but that will be better once the novelty wears off.
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Allie and I were at the window when the polar bear got up close and personal!
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It was a lot harder to see the grizzly bears. But they didn’t disappoint either.
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They moved the seals into the Arctic Passage too. I’m not impressed. Maybe just because of sentiment. I remember seeing the seals in their old pool when I was Allie’s age.
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But again, the viewing area is really limited. There is an underwater viewing area though, so that’s neat I guess.
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On the other side of the Arctic Passage is the prairie exhibit, which we haven’t seen in two years because the entire area was closed for construction on the Arctic Passage. First we saw the bison.
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And the highlight of the trip for both kids were the prairie dogs.
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Allie and Peyton could have stayed here watching these guys the rest of the day if we’d let them.
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When we finally tore Allie away, she decided she wanted to climb up on this rock. She had help.

Then we went to see the giraffes.
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After this it started falling apart. We did skip nap time, after all. We glanced at the tiger and the lion and then headed back to the car. We had to run a couple errands and then we made it to the place Allie was asking for all weekend, the ice cream store!
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They enjoyed it, though Peyton had to get over the shock of the cold!

The last event of the evening was finally starting the garden!
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The first task is weeding. And its a big one.
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Allie was going to help, and she did a teeny bit… then she saw an ant and abandoned the project! Good thing too… I saw more critters than just ants! And oh, the ants… they were crawling all over my gloves and getting on my arms and in the gloves… ewww! They irritated my arms too, I didn’t think ants bite? This is hard work… there are a lot of weeds. A lot of baby maple trees too!
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We let Peyton get in the dirt because bath time was right after this!
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I worked for about an hour and a half. I think I actually got a lot done because the weeds were worse on that side. I’ll work a little each evening (except Wednesday, its 4K graduation!). Hopefully I can get plants in the ground before the week is out. After weeding, I need to rig up a fence to keep the dog, children and other critters out and then do the planting. I got seeds for green beans, carrots, kale, summer squash and watermelon. I got two tomato plants, one cucumber, one cilantro and one basil. I’m not sure if I got too much or not enough! I can get some more though if its not full! I really hope the garden works. I’m excited about the possibility of eating my own home-grown salad!


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Going to the Brat Fest!

YAY for the holiday weekend! Allie has been looking forward to Brat Fest all week. We told her we’d go on Saturday and she was asking about it allllll day! We decided to go in the evening after Peyton’s nap. And that ended up being the perfect time! We ended up getting there at 6 and leaving about 8:15. It was nice but not hot as the sun was going down. It was crowded getting the food, but we were able to find a nice space to sit and eat. And I think the highlight for Allie was definitely the bouncy houses! This year they had a bunch set up and we paid $5 for a wrist band that allowed Allie unlimited bouncing. Too bad we didn’t get there until a half hour before they closed! Allie got her money’s worth though. She kept shouting this is “the best day ever!!” As we were going to the car to come home she was asking to go out in the back yard and swing when we got home. Then in the 10 minutes we were in the car she practically fell asleep!
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They had these crazy bubble things in the water! We didn’t try them out but I think Allie would have liked to.
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Allie ran around the bouncy houses with no fear. Its nice to see when she is independent as that is something we’re working on.

After the bouncy houses closed we came home. We had wanted to get ice cream but it got late. Mama and Dada almost considered staying to listen to the music, but it was a good idea for us to go home when we did. Allie was so tired, it was quite a process to get her ready for bed! Peyton was pretty wound up though, even at 10 p.m. he is still babbling a bit.

Hopefully the kids will sleep in tomorrow because we have more fun stuff planned! The Arctic Passage at the zoo opened today. That’s the new bear area that’s been under construction for a long time. We are really excited to see it, even though we expect the zoo to be even more of a zoo than usual with the new exhibit and the holiday weekend. So we are planning to go tomorrow morning. We will get ice cream too since we didn’t at Brat Fest. Also today Allie and I went to Home Depot and got stuff to start our vegetable garden! We used the gift card that Grandma and Grandpa Durso sent when we moved, so thank you Grandma and Grandpa! So we will work on the garden tomorrow and Monday. I’m excited to try it. I got two tomato plants, a cucumber plant, basil and cilantro plants and seeds of green beans, carrots, squash, kale and watermelon.


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Memory time

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Allie brought home her timeline this week. I would have liked to save it, but she played with it and all the pictures came off. I did still want to share the memories though.
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Allie’s birthday! Oct. 30, 2009. The top picture is with her first toy, Allie-gator. She still loves Allie-gator most of all her toys. Pardon my fat legs.
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Going home on Nov. 1, 2009!
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Trips to the pumpkin patch! We go to the Shuster’s Playtime Farm every year. For her timeline, Allie picked this photo from 2010, just before her first birthday.
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Peyton’s birthday! Feb. 20, 2013. I will never forget Allie’s excitement the first time she held Peyton! And she is an awesome big sister, though she gets annoyed that he copies her. I tell her its because his big sister is so cool, but even that doesn’t appease her.
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Petting zoo at the Mallards game on Father’s Day 2014. Dada is awesome and both kids enjoyed the Mallards game and the petting zoo was the highlight for Allie. I hope we can go to another Mallards game this year!
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Panama City Beach in July 2014. What a great trip and amazing experience. We can’t go back this year, but we definitely want to go back some day!
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Easter 2015. It was one of the last things we did in our old house. And a good reason to dress up!

For the school timeline project, we were limited to 6 events, one was birthday and another had to be current. Then we only had room for four more. But Allie has tons more favorite memories! We’re making them every day.