Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Day the Car Died

Friday was a little more than chaotic. If you read my Facebook status update, you already know that both our refrigerator and car stopped running. Here's how it happened:

Friday afternoon, William and I went to the grocery store. Typically when I take William with me, I'm only getting a few things and I walk there. On Friday, however, I decided I was going to do my major shopping trip and drive. I had my list, William did fantastic, and even had a few admirers in the checkout lane.

When we got home, I needed to take two trips to unload everything. On the second trip, William asked if he could "drive." (By ask, I really mean, demand with force.) The only things left to take in the apartment were non-perishables so I wasn't worried about letting him play for 10 minutes. But after 10 minutes, the car was getting really hot and he was sweating (we had the doors open, but it was approaching 80 degrees outside). He loves to press all of the buttons with the radio and the air conditioning, but with the key out of the ignition I wasn't too concerned. He had turned on the flashers too, but I was going to remember to turn those off before we left. I gave him his one- minute warning and then after much whining and crying, we got out of the car . . . forgetting about the flashers.

As I was putting the groceries away, I thought the fridge didn't feel too cold and noticed the freezer wasn't working properly either. I called Chris and he said he'd look at it when he got home that night. I left it at that.

Well, by 7 p.m. I knew we had to do something with our food . . . we were supposed to have dinner with our pastor that night and had a babysitter coming. We called the pastor to say we would be late. We told him the situation and asked if we could keep some food in the fridge at church. He said yes! We packed up all we could carry and Chris went to get the car . . .

But it was dead. And he couldn't get the key out of the ignition. The evening wasn't going well at all. We took the truck instead and made a stop at the grocery store to return what I had just purchased and brought the rest to church. We made it to dinner just over an hour late, but they were forgiving and we all had a wonderful time.

On Saturday morning, Chris looked up possible solutions to fix the car online. He found a couple of things worth trying, thankfully the one that required the least amount of labor worked! He got the key out of the ignition. But when he tried to start the car again, it wouldn't make a noise. He went battery shopping with the truck, which seemed to take all morning as the first place he went didn't have the battery we needed. But by 1 p.m., he was home and had the new battery installed! Just in time for us to go to a pool party we had been invited to with is co-workers! Hooray!

So, no more "driving" for William, because mom forgot to turn off the flashers. (sad face)

(This video was taken during a previous "drive")

Stay tuned for the update on the refrigerator. As of right now, the repair man is coming tomorrow morning!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Shower Games (The Party Kind)

Last weekend, a few friends and I hosted a bridal shower. It turned out to be the hottest day of the year and we went with a southern comfort food theme of mac and cheese and biscuits (and we don't do air conditioning in this city) . . . we should have just bought ice cream! Anyway, it was fun and a great time to be together.

My role in this shower was to plan the games. Games are tricky. They can get long and boring, they can get too personal or not personal enough, they can be so fun that no one remembers the guest of honor . . . just kidding, shower games have never done that! Anyway, games took me a while to plan. But I think they did well enough to tell you about them!

Game #1
Not really a game as there were no winners, but an activity that got people talking (to the bride). I typed up questions and cut them into strips so that each person would pick a question out of a jar. They had to read the question and answer it for the bride.
Questions included:

  • Share a piece of advice for the bride 
  • Share a fun date idea 
  • What is your favorite cleaning product?
  • What do you cook when you don't feel like cooking?
  • What is your favorite Scripture regarding marriage/being a godly woman?
  • What is one kitchen utensil you have but have never used?

Game #2
How well do you know the Bride? I typed up 10 questions and had everyone fill them out; after a few minutes we had the Bride tell us the answers (tip: if you ask "what countries have you been to?" make sure you know if the bride has literally traveled the world... my 10 point quiz had a possible 20+ answers)

Game #3
Bridal Shower Bingo. I took this idea from another shower I had been to because it was the best way I had seen guests involved with the gift opening portion of the party. Everyone gets a bingo card which has potential gifts listed. If the bride opens that gift, you get to mark the square. First one to 5 in a row wins! It was great because all the guests were hoping for the next box to be something specific and were even shouting "Is that a toaster," or "Please say that's a toolbox."(NOTE: this may not have a winner . . . best used for larger showers)

Games are not essential but they kept the party going and we got to hear some great advice and get to know our friend a little better! The event went well and the Bride felt loved which is the most important thing. 

One more:

Last year I created another game for a baby shower which I don't think I ever shared here. It was also a Bingo game but instead of playing it for the gift opening, we played it as a get-to-know you game. The idea was to find people at the party who matched the description in one of the boxes. You had that person sign that box and the first one to get five in a row won.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Two Little Families

A couple of weeks ago (yes, I'm behind again), we had more visitors!

Two little families (at the end of a long day)

Brad, who is Chris's brother and youngest sibling came out with his wife Emilee and their 15 month old son, Elijah.

We had so much fun watching our two sons interact -- finally at an age where they can interact! There were a lot of hugs, a lot of watching cars, and a few opportunities to learn about sharing! It was our hope that we would have found a bigger home before their visit, but that didn't work out, so they ended up staying in an AirBnB just down the road (about a 15 minute walk or a 3 minute drive). This gave them plenty of space for rest and toddler naps, but was still close enough to see them in minutes.

We also borrowed a travel crib from a friend so that if Elijah felt like napping at our place, we could spend some more time together.  A few nights it worked out well for him to sleep in William's room so we could play games!

We did a lot together: Walked around Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park, hiked in Muir Woods, played at the Discovery Bay Children's Museum, and got an all-day drive-thru tour of San Francisco.  They also had one morning to themselves and a date night. I'm sure they went home exhausted!

Discovery Bay Museum

Discovery Bay Museum -- not just for children . . . 

Discovery Bay Museum -- trains!

Discovery Bay Museum -- fish (toys)!

more fish and frogs!

At home, playing with trains and watching the busses

Emilee and I share our birthday month (August) and our sister-in-law gave us a certificate for "Tea for Two" at a local tea house. I had never been before, but it was really fun. The teas were delicious, the food was yummy and it was great to have some one-on-one time with Emilee.  (Sharon, next time you visit, I'll bring you!)

These two boys are a little over six months apart. Right now, that seems like a big difference, but in a couple of years, it will be nothing. It's my hope that these little boys grow up to be close buddies, even if there are states in between.

Thanks for making the trip out here Babiaks! Let's do it again soon!

Friday, August 7, 2015

MN Trip: Itasca State Park (Part 2)

The plan was to arrive at our lake house rental around noon on Saturday. We were all coming from different directions - five cars total. But if you know anything about the Hagen family and our vacations it's that they never start on time. By noon, our groceries were not packed nor were our bags. Tensions were a bit high (mine were anyway, pretty sure everyone else knew this is what it was going to be like, so they were just fine).

After a quick lunch and loading up the van in the rain, Chris, William and I headed out a little after 1 p.m. Mom needed to finish packing up and Dad wasn't even close to finishing up his work. Once we got on the road, we found out no one else was able to leave on time either -- so the pressure was off. We could still arrive and unpack and get ready for everyone else! I tried to enjoy our road trip.

We arrived a little after 3 p.m., with another vehicle arriving nearly every hour until 7 p.m. We had a lovely grilled dinner of hamburgers and veggies (made by John) and enjoyed the sunset on the patio. After the toddlers had gone to bed, we headed down toward the water to have a camp fire with s'mores.

We did fires a lot when I grew up; I enjoyed it again with my family now, noting the four additional adults around the ring. We didn't really have serious conversations or anything, it was mostly "pass the bug spray" or "who wants this burned marshmallow?" But we were all together, just enjoying being together.

Sunday was a fun day. After getting William's breakfast out, I noticed my mom had made her way down to the dock. I loved seeing her enjoy the beautiful morning before the day went crazy. It was quiet and peaceful. A little while later, I noticed my dad grab a book and head down there too.

After William's nap we headed out to the Mississippi Headwaters. William was so excited to see water, he practically jumped in. He did wade in far enough to get his diaper soaked; after that it seemed pointless to stop him. The water was warm and the sun bright, it was really fun just to watch him experience the river. He loved picking up and throwing rocks. (no one got hurt.)

After splashing around for a while, we drove down to the beach for a picnic. William was much more interested in the playground than the beach. Eventually, I put him in his swim diaper and took him into the water and we splashed around. After falling and getting his head dunked, we put him in his life jacket, which he didn't like one bit. Charlotte had one of those cool puddle jumpers (arm bad with waste flotation) and William was eyeing that pretty badly. We'll have to look into that for next time; she certainly had a blast!

My parents took Chris, William and I back to the house for nap time and then mom and I went on the paddle boat. I had never used one before and was a little surprised by the workout we got! (That and realizing they aren't meant for tall people.) We had a good time together -- and was our only time of just me and mom.

El and Ryan grilled chicken, sweet potatoes and corn on the cob for dinner and after dark we headed out to the camp fire again!

Monday was our last full day together. One of the things on my "must-do" list was taking William on a bike ride. I had hoped to rent bikes and go with my whole family, but the timing just didn't work out for that. Instead Chris and I borrowed my sister's bikes and child seat and went for a shorter ride ourselves. It ended up being just under 30 minutes, but we William got to experience the bike seat and I think he liked it. This is another item we'll have to look into getting for the near future!

The rest of the family went on a 16 mile bike ride when we got back. They made it back in time for lunch and then we had the rest of the day to enjoy the lake. The guys went fishing, the kids played outside, and some of the girls went canoeing. It felt a little like "free time" at camp!

That night, Molly and Quintin grilled salmon and asparagus for dinner; it was amazing. Then we surprised my mom with a birthday cake for her birthday which was later in the week. She had no idea! We ate cake, dad read a poem he wrote for her, and we watched a slideshow of pictures from her past that my brother put together. It was a really fun way to celebrate her -- and I loved how everyone played a part in it. 

After the kids were put to bed, we played games. The next morning we had planned to take William out on the water with the canoe, but we woke up to rain and a power outage. So we packed up, ate breakfast and went our separate ways. Thankfully the sun came out when it was time to say goodbye. 

We had a flight to catch that evening and everyone had to work the following day. It seemed like such a short time together--only three days. But we had a lot of fun. William got to play with his cousin, Charlotte and re-meet his aunts and uncles that he's seen only a couple of times before. He experienced biking and swimming and long car trips! It was a great weekend and a wonderful time in Minnesota -- Summers at the lake really are the best in Minnesota!

If you want to see even more photos of our week in MN please check out this album.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Minnesota Summer: Part 1

Last week Chris, William and I headed to Minnesota where we planned to spend time with my family and celebrate my mother's birthday. The flight went well enough. William did really well during the whole flight, including the hour we sat on the plane before taking off. We read a lot of books, played with stickers, ate snacks and talked to our neighbors. He shouted "Hooray" several times throughout the flight. And who can't smile when a little boy shouts "Hooray" in your face?! My sister picked us up and we had dinner with her and her family. After that, William clearly needed to go to bed (this kid doesn't nap on planes or in cars!) so we rushed across the street to where we were staying.

The next day, we had breakfast with my Great Aunt Sylvia, Aunt Carol and Uncle Paul and the Hunt family. It was a full table, but still a pleasant time to get to see each other face to face. After a breakfast and a few photos, we got in Uncle Paul's car and started the long drive "up North."

We stopped along the way to see my Grandma's sister. She promptly made us lunch and we had a nice chat. Then a few miles up the road we stopped again to see my cousin and her family. Her youngest daughters are almost year older than William -- he tried to keep up, but often just stood back and watched what they did.

We made it to Plummer a little before 7 p.m. Not bad considering how many stops we made! Mom had dinner ready for us and then it was early to bed for William.

On Thursday, Erin (another wonderful cousin) drove over to see us with her almost four year old son, Blaine. I hadn't seen her or her son since Blaine was 2 (and William was 3 months old). We all played with my old childhood toys and went outside to watch the sheep and play on the skid-steer and lawnmower. I'm so glad they could come and see us for an afternoon, although, with two very active boys, there wasn't much time for "girl-talk."

 On Friday, we drove to East Grand Forks so I could see my little sister's house. She and her husband bought it last year and have been working hard at decorating and making it their own-- including remodeling the bathroom! It is such a great place for the two of them and I'm so glad I got to see it -- and introduce William to their little dog, a toy poodle who loved to run and jump just like him.

We also hit up Sam's Club for our weekend family reunion -- and yes, we over did it! I think we could have stayed an extra three days and not ran out of food!

We made it home just in time for a few aunts and uncles to join us for dinner. My dad's eldest brother was about to turn 70, which is much cause for celebration!

And on Saturday, we headed to Itasca State Park for our Family Weekend. Stay tuned for Part 2!