Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!







So, we are officially moved in to our new home! We love it here and want you all to come see it! We have everything done except for some pictures that need to be hung and some rugs we need to buy. 
On Thanksgiving night, we decided to put up our Christmas tree. It looks great in our sun room! We all took turns putting the decorations on the tree, but Ethnie got to do the most. She was having a blast checking out all the ornaments. She especially loves the ones that play music. We also tried to explain to her how Christmas is when we celebrate Jesus' birthday, but I don't know if she understood. Now, every night she plays with something on the tree after we plug in the lights. She has already busted two Nutcracker ornaments. I guess we need to watch her better by the tree ...

Monday, November 17, 2008

2008 Chocolate Extravaganza










Over the weekend, Meg (Matt's mom), Ethnie and I went to the Minneapolis Convention Center to check out the Chocolate Extravaganza. Wow! We all had gut rot within a half hour of arriving! We tried all kinds of confections and breads. We even tried 'sipping chocolate', which was simply divine! There were baking demonstrations, a chocolate fashion show, drawings and prizes, and a chocolate sculpture contest. The photos I have posted are mostly of the sculpture contest. These are amazing! They are made entirely of chocolate and some of them also had cake in them. Ethnie had a lot of fun with her Grandma, especially when we got to ride in 'Grandma's black truck'. I would recommend the Chocolate Extravaganza to all you chocolate lovers! It's a yummy time! 

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Boo Bash on Grand Ave. and Church Halloween party!











My friend Katie and I took our girls out on Grand for the annual Boo Bash. We always see so many adorable costumes on the kids. Ethnie and Ariana of course ate way too much candy! I guess it's the one day you can have a few Snickers bars for lunch. Anyway, we had a good time. Ethnie was a giraffe and Ariana a bee. Ace Hardware had a small petting zoo. There was a calf, a sheep, two goats (who attempted to eat the stroller!!), and 3 of the cutest bunnies I've ever seen in my life. So, the girls hung around the animals for awhile. Then we made our way back down the other side of the street. Ethnie took a great nap afterward.
Later that evening, our church had its annual Halloween party in the gym. They do a really great job with games and food. Matt bobbed for an apple and got one! Although there was tons to do for the kids, we think Ethnie had the most fun running around in the halls with her little boyfriend Reagan! At the end of the party, we all went out in the parking lot for the 'trunk or treat'. Volunteers decorate the trunks of their cars and pass out candy. It's pretty clever and safer, I guess. Ethnie dressed as a little hula girl and she pretty much hated it. Bummer!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Our Fall

We'd like to update everyone on a few things. First of all, we have really enjoyed this fall season so far. It has been so beautiful and the weather has been nice! I wonder if it will hold on for a few more weeks... Ethnie loves stomping on the fallen leaves and listening to them crunching beneath her feet. She also likes to tell us which colors they are.
We are trying to get Ethnie potty-trained asap! She is phisically ready, but scared to let it out when she is on her potty. We encourage her every day so we'll keep you all updated on her next milestone! Our goal is to have her trained by her birthday.
Michelle got a part-time job. Franz, Matt's brother, helped her get a job at the office he works at. The company is called Bahama Consulting and it's in Eagan. It's a really easy job and gets her out of the house. She is the Project Manager, which is pretty self explanatory. She does the projects for the team of employees to make their jobs easier and more efficient. She is learning two new computer programs, which will be great to add to her resume.
The biggest update we have to share is that WE ARE MOVING at the end of November. We are renting a house in St. Paul on the corner of Dunlap and Hague Ave. It's only about 8 blocks from our apartment. We are really excited! We will be getting much more for the money. The entire first level is ours and it's almost 2,000 square feet. We also get to use the basement for laundry and storage. Plus, Ethnie will have a yard to play in! We have already started to pack and can't wait!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Michelle's Trip to Maryland and Washington, D.C.






Our friends, Dan and Elizabeth Burton, invited me out to stay with them in their home in Baltimore.  We had been meaning to get together for a long time and it finally worked out to go out there and stay with them!  They have a very nice and cozy apartment and live in a great area.  It was so nice catching up with them and seeing the sights.  We had a really great time and am so grateful I was able to make the trip.  The pictures I have posted are of some of the fun things we did.  On Friday, we took the subway downtown Baltimore to the Harbor.  It looked amazing at night with all the lights.  We took a water taxi and went to the Rusty Scupper, a fantastic seafood restaurant on the other side of the Harbor near the Aquarium.  We ate until we were busting out of our pants!  The food was too good to be true.  On Saturday, we set out for D.C. and went to the D.C. Temple.  It was gorgeous and unbelievably peaceful.  If you look closely at the picture, you can see me sitting on the edge of the water fountain.  That will give you an idea of how huge it is!  We then drove into D.C. and stopped at the Chevy Chase Plaza to do some shopping and get something to eat.  I didn't know so many things in D.C. were named after Chevy Chase.  We made our way farther downtown and walked around the Capitol Mall.  It was so pretty.  The pictures do not do it justice, believe me! The picture I took of the Capitol is right over by the large reflecting pool (from the scene from Forrest Gump).  Our last stop was the White House, which was much smaller and plain than I had imagined.  Regardless, it was beautiful and a sight to see!  I really loved it out there and would definitely consider moving there some day.  Thanks, Dan and Elizabeth for a fabulous weekend!      

Sunday, September 28, 2008

We Love You, Ethnie




We were taking a walk today just before supper, with Ethnie riding on her "new" tricycle. Her first one got stolen so we picked up a used one at a thrift store. She is so happy to have a tricycle again! She is very particular when she rides it and has a system: First, she opens up the storage compartment and puts dolly in there. Then, she has to turn the key in the trike all the way around. Finally, she gets on and starts riding. EVERY time she gets off and back on the trike she has to do those two things! It's really funny, but can make us impatient!
Anyway, while we were watching Ethnie ride we started talking about what she really means to us and how we would describe what she means to us in one sentence. It was really hard! We are just so grateful to be parents, especially to such a sweet pea of a girl. She is so very precious and every day we discover something new about her that we love. We can tell she is growing up to be a caring, polite and friendly person. She really has a love for the world around her and that is so delightful to watch. We are enjoying every minute of her growth and development, especially that of her personality. We couldn't be happier with our child. We love you, Ethnie.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Matt's Brother: 'Master' in Origami





Dan, Matt's younger brother, made this shirt and pants out of one-dollar bills!  Isn't it cool?  The shirt is his own design; I watched him make it entirely by himself by memory.  He is very talented at origami.  He has made many little things for Ethnie that she has kept.  When Dan was really young, he made an anatomically correct Adam and Eve and won the blue ribbon at the State Fair!! Amazing.  He also has tons of things in his apartment we still have yet to see.  I just thought I'd post this so you could all see his origami outfit!

Dan also folded this koi out of a 1-dollar bill. If you look closely, it's very detailed. Parts of the dollar bill's design are strategically placed!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Gorgeous Saturday At Como Park







We went to Como Park with Matt's family to get family pictures taken.  We really needed one!  It's been over a year since we'd actually planned a nice family picture!  That's pretty pathetic considering the fact that we have a toddler and she changes every day.  We had a very nice afternoon down by the lake.  We celebrated Dan's birthday (Matt's younger brother) with a picnic lunch and homemade chocolate cake, which was to die for!  

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bowling Night!





We went to Blaine on this rainy Saturday and introduced Ethnie to the game of bowling.  She enjoyed it so much that we think she might join a league someday!  She hated the bowling shoes, but loved everything else about it.  She even rolled a spare!  Every time she saw the pins fall she would bounce up and down and cheer.  It's so fun watching her do things for the first time.  We will definitely be bowling periodically now!  For those of you who are looking for a fun bowling alley sometime ... Brunswick Bowling in Blaine is huge with an arcade, restaurant, and 30-something lanes to bowl from.  They have pretty good package deals and you can order food and eat it right at the lane you are bowling at.  They have great pizza and fries.  We recommend either calling ahead and seeing how long the wait is, or plan on waiting an hour for a lane.  It's pretty popular!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Minnesota Zoo Trip

Nana Dianne came down and we took Ethnie to the Minnesota Zoo.  It was a beautiful day and we had the nicest time there!  The baby monkeys were by far the cutest little things!  Ethnie loved watching them play and groom each other.  The animal she wanted to see the most was the dolphin, but when we got to the exhibit, she ended up liking the shark and sting ray tank much more!  She also loved watching the tropical fish and pointing to all the 'Nemo' fish in the tank.  
The new MN Trail exhibit is really great.  The actual trail you walk on is made from ripped up tires turned into mulch.  There were animals we saw that we didn't even know lived in MN.  The beavers, otters, and raccoons are always fun to watch.  There was also a bald eagle there that was the most beautiful bird!  It had a broken wing so it couldn't fly, but it still looked strong and majestic.  
The last place we visited was the farm.  Ethnie had the most fun here!  She got to see horses, cows, sheep and goats.  The goats were very cute and friendly and Ethnie got to feed them some treats.  She thought that was the coolest thing!  She could had stayed there all day ...
We also went out to eat and visited Steve and Alison.  Ethnie had a blast spending the day with her nana and uncle.    

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day Weekend



This weekend we were up north for Labor Day.  We had a family reunion in Bluffton, which is a tiny town neighboring Wadena.  We got to see all of Michelle's extended family and celebrate her grandma's 75th birthday.  We went to a nice supper club for dinner and had a great time.  Ethnie got to meet two of her great uncles for the first time!  We also had a nice time staying in Brainerd with Michelle's mom and Rick.  Ethnie had a blast playing with the dog and washing the car with Matt.